It's soon time for the convoy to depart and we gather in space above moon 4 a. There are maybe eight of us to begin with and we wait for others to arrive.
Tay is with her companions in the luxury cabin; she seems less interested in the mystery of the disappearing Eldrin Dood now that she has some friends close by.
Aware that we have maybe fifty hyperspace jumps ahead of us to reach the Lagoon Sector which is where we'll make our next landfall at Amundsen Terminal, and on account of the size of my prostate these days, I leave the bridge momentarily—or indeed for as long as it takes—to empty my bladder.
When I get back, I find that the ship is under attack from a Lance fighter. He's shooting Gauss cannons at me and my shields have lost a ring before I get under way, and then another ring when a single shot strikes home.
I put pips into shields and try to manoeuvre so I can see who's firing. So much for the season of goodwill and carrying treats to Centralis. I mean, I don't mind being shot at as long as I'm in my Corvette and can respond. But in a stripped-down Orca with a 4D unmodified shield generator and no weapons, my only option is to run.
I identify the shooter as Helium7. The next shot melts my shields completely and the hull is at 92 percent. It's time to go; I spool up the frame shift drive and boost away from the nearby mass of ships. The firing continues and by the time I jump the hull is at 41 percent.
I take us back to Hillary Depot for repairs and then think it prudent to plot my own course to Amundsen.
It's now clear that other members of the convoy are not legitimate haulers and have now made two attempts either to stop me or dissuade me from continuing the search for Eldrin Dood and the missing antimatter containment designs he was carrying.
Forty-nine jumps later we arrive at Amundsen Landing. Weary, stiff, and aching, I flop into the Commander's berth and fall asleep instantly.
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