Ships Log - Narada - (3305-11-11)
I've been on three day excursion to the Dryooe Prou region again. This time with a tag-along Ph.D, Sam Trevino, that begged a ride after learning that I was visiting white dwarf systems in the region. Even from Colonia these stars are over 1000 light years distant making detailed observation from science facilities in Colonia difficult. He's got secondary work studying the magnetic field variation around several classes of these cinders and while he could always have the probes delivered and returned, an opportunity to go in person made him giddy. He spent the majority of the trip tapping and swiping away on a hand-held ship terminal connected to his probes while I got on with the mining work. He handled the maneuvering pretty well for a station-rat. Only the first couple of deep core extractions had him gripping the chair for dear life. By the 6th he was just bracing his terminal and working away. He did always look up at the 10 second mark to watch the fireworks.
At the end of the second day out we had visited 5 white dwarf systems, explored 3 planets with life, and mined 120T of void opals. He had good data from 4 of the 5 probes and was memorized at each jump into the face of these little monsters. He tried to get into a conversation on the quantum physics of electron degeneracy pressure and theories on how the sub-atomic particles behaved but I was never a physicist, only an amateur had at Astronomy and a gawker. I was happy to be able to bring someone out to do real science. I shut down in orbit below the ice ring and we had a good dinner I brought along for the trip. With most of the systems shut down the cold crept in a bit despite the life support systems keeping the overall temp comfortable. Some places just radiated the cold. We were in a place only a handful of degrees above absolute zero.
Day three I told Sam that I'd show him something interesting then we would do some metal mining before preparing for the ride home. I ran him through a few black holes that next day and he was fascinated to see them up close although like most that view them the nothingness is underwhelming, just the hard gravitational lensing to mark it's location. We toured a few more stellar mass black holes and then proceeded to a mining location in an A class star system that I had not previously exploited. Turns out the yield here was quite good. Within hours we had the remaining cargo hold filled with painite, platinum, and osmium. I took a couple of hours to do some maintenance on the cargo scoop to refinery mechanism that had been sounding a bit 'off' and then we headed home.
Sam was sacked out while I made the 21 jumps back to Colonia. About 3 jumps from home a contact appeared. I shouted Sam awake and told him to get locked in, now. Within moments the familiar hail demanding that we stop was sent. Sam was looking a bit panicked and shouting "what's going on"!? "We are trying to high-wake out before this guy can grab us", I said as the FSD charged. "We got a fortune in the back and he wants it". I don't think it even crossed Sam's mind that this was not a science ship until just now. "Can we get away", he asked. "Maybe, we can fight too if we have to", I snapped back. I think all the color drained from his face in that moment.
Just before the FSD could complete the charge the interdiction alarm sounds and we're yanked out of the jump sequence. I check the hostile target and it's a Python. "Hmm, stepping it up a bit I see", I think. This pilot is no slouch either. He's really pegging the interdiction vectors and we are sort of playing tug-a-war with the ship moaning under the strain. "Hang on", I said, "We're dropping". I throttled back to submit. Deployed hard-points and his communication came in demanding all my cargo. "What are you going to do", Sam croaked? "This", I said as I boosted away, disabled flight assist and pitched over into the enemy Python. I laid into it with all turrets and the class 4 beam. "Oh god", squeaked out of Sam as 'gravity' rotated around him like a dancing moth. "Hang tight", I told him, "We've got the upper hand here".
The Python was with some faction I had not heard of "Saraha's Dragons" or something like that and he was a skilled pilot with lots of shield boosters. We grabbed on to each others belt loops and went at it. He was preventing his shields from breaking but with full pips to shields and weapons he was not getting through mine. He was losing this fight, but hadn't accepted the reality yet. He finally broke contact with chaff and tried again to charge shields with his SCB but the class 4 beam kept burning them away as soon as his chaff dissipated. His plasma hits were really setting off a light show though and I needed to run him out of SCBs soon. I switched to forward-only fire to keep the beam on target though his chaff and kept the separation up to try and dodge those plasma shots. My long-range lasers didn't mind the distance.
Finally I cracked his shields and began to do damage. Narada still had more than 60% shields, so I closed in to bring the multi-cannons in on the action. He tried a few times to pull behind me but I was using the Annie as a tank and with low speed I could constantly keep fire on him. Sam made occasional high-pitched noises, but nothing that could be called a word as we grappled around each other. Finally as serious visible damage began to appear on his hull the Python rolled out and boosted away. I laid into his rear with everything we had and he began to charge his FSD to run. We were about evenly matched on speed so he was not able to extend out of range of the beam but had got out of effective cannon range. Then, with his ship nearly coming apart, he waked out.
I throttled back and shifted pips to shields and engines in case we got another visitor. I finally had a chance to glance over at Sam and was a bit shocked at the sight. Apparently, the high-G maneuvering had been too much for his stomach. He was in the center of a maelstrom of vomit. "I'm sorry", is all he could get out. "No, no, no, don't worry", I said. "I'm sorry we had to go through that, I forget not everyone grew up twisting in space". "We'll get everything cleaned up before you step off on station, don't worry". "Is he... is he dead", Sam asked. "No, he jumped out just before. If his ship holds together back to a port he'll live". Sam looked a bit relieved and concerned at the same time. "We'll need to hurry up and get out of here though. Don't need to wait for him to get word to his crew", I said. First lets get this mess sucked up. I unlocked and ran the portable liquid-spill vacuum to get rid of the stuff that had not splattered to a surface somewhere and got him a towel to at least wipe him and his area up with. Then it was back to Kojeara at max rate.
No further incidents happened on the way back and we docked at the junkyard. Sam took a shower and got changed back into station gear and offered to clean up the mess. "No way doc", I said. "I got it covered. I hope you got some good data and enjoyed the show". "Immensely", he replied. "I even got the experience of a lifetime in that fight, but all the same, I hope I never get to see another one."
We parted ways and I got to the business of securing the Narada and getting the cargo loaded onto the Occam's Razor to get it out to an outpost to sell the void opals and low temp diamonds. I'm sure Sam has a fun story to tell at the bar from now on, but I bet he skips the messy part. This was good, the Narada had acquitted herself well in that fight, not even a scratch on the paint and I'm hopeful that it will give the rest pause before attacking, but that's probably wishful thinking.
CMDR R. Cramer