Chilton Orbital Shipyard
41 Lambda Hydrae, Federal Space
It was a large pit - probably the largest he had seen apart from the bridge of a Federal Corvette he visited on various occasions. A helm and additional two crew works spaces plus lots of extra panels, displays and control hubs. James decided he was going to buy it, but didn't want to strike the deal just yet. Shipyard representative was standing patiently beside him - a tall and skinny man with neatly trimmed blond hair. He was smiling.
"I told you Sir that you will like her. I haven't met a single commander who wouldn't be happy with a brand new Krait Mk2."
"Well, aye, she ain't bad... but I am still not sure if I could take her with this jump range. I mean come on, it's merely 16 light years."
"She is a big ship, Sir. And..."
"If I am not mistaken, Anaconda is also a big ship, mate" - James interrupted - "but she does have the largest jump range out there. So don't bust my balls, will ya?"
"But Sir, that's a..."
"Nevermind" - Barret waved his hand, got up from helm's position, passed the man and walked over to the ship's equipment console - "I want her fitted with a type 4 rafinery, prospector and collector controllers and all the types of mining equipment you have available. Plus a fighter bay. Once ready, you'll have someone deliver her to T-Tauri system."
"Yes, of course."
"You'll take the power distributor from my Chieftain and install it here, then count the value of my ships as part of the payment. I also need a Diamondback Explorer fit for long range travel, use the Chietain's FSD."
"At once, Sir. Anything else?"
"Yes. Get me some Dublin Reserve whisky and we have a deal"
Hyades Sector LX-S b4-0, uninhabited
James finished scooping fuel, flew away from the system's sun and set the throttle to idle. He pulled down the discovery goggles and put them on.
"Let's see what we have here..."
He tuned the scanner for planetary search. Initial scan has shown 27 bodies, and even with a naked eye he saw three stars. The charts told him that this system has already been explored, but he was certain that some stations would be happy to buy more detailed data.
As he was setting up for the search and passed the frequency for non-planetary signals at least a dozen dots popped up in his field of view.
"What the hell..?" he muttered changing the focus and targeting the closest one.
Thargoids... he quickly checked other signal sources: they were everywhere, with threat levels between 4 and 8. He has seen them before
in this very region of space. Back then he came here with Sib in order to free her brother from the claws of the pirates.. It was less then one year ago, yet somehow it seemed like an eternity...
"OK Betty, plot the course for our next system. I don't want to stay around those bugs any more than I really need to".
T-Tauri was only 16 jumps away from 41 Lambda Hydrae, and as he went he realised how close the bugs were to the Winters Wolves base of operations: less than 100 light years. He will need to report it back to base once he gets to his destination. James stopped several more times on the route to run the discovery scanner and the 'goids were visible up to Hind sector, spanning through the area of over 400 LY. That also meant they were pretty damn close to T-Tauri and to Sib...
Approaching Hind Mine
"Diamondback Explorer Delta Golf 002, this is Hind Mine Control, state your business."
"Control, Delta Golf 002, request docking. Carrying some exploration data for ya."
"Delta Golf 002, cleared to land on landing pad 27, report to station security once you land. That's a standard procedure."
"Control, copy, wilco."
This was the first station built inside the asteroid that James recalled and it was pretty damn impressive. According to info he gathered it was also the only space station in the 200 ly radius... and half of that was filled with Thargoids it seems. Just great.
First things first. He will land and find Sib, see how she is doing and how he can help. Then he will write back to the HQ about the aliens... oh, and that he hasn't gone AWOL, just has some pressing matters to attend to.
He glanced on the stardate and smiled. He completely lost track of time and forgot it was Christmas Eve already... he probably should be home in Dublin Gateway, with his father... Or not. Sib needed him much more than the old man.