February 9, 3306
Swoilz AW-C d125, planet 2
Ration packs would need to be the staple diet, for the foreseeable future. With no low clouds to cover them, and so much traffic above, even an underground fire could be spotted, with thermal imaging. Their movements would need to be timed, to cut between the above ships search paths. After a couple of hours of watching and timing, a definable pattern had emerged, allowing for twenty minutes of travel-time, per standard hour.
The captain in charge of Phil Talbot’s group became impatient, wanting results now versus later. Phil ignored him, as he carefully moved around the wooded perimeter of the ship, looking for the faintest of signs. He admired those who were responsible, as no track could be positively identified, save one small ice covered twig, half buried in the snow. Though easily explainable as one of thousands, which snapped under the weight, this one had his attention. Phil knew that gut instinct should always be heard, and he felt this might be a clue. Looking up towards the direction it pointed, he raised his nose to the air, taking in the scent of nature.
The boisterous captain continued to bark, and under normal circumstances the captain of a ship could not be ignored, though orders from the leaders of the Promba Clan made it clear, that nothing would be allowed to hinder the efforts of finding those on the surface. To that end, Phil could ignore the captain, as he was their resident planetary expert.
Though not a person of political leanings, Phil found it absurd to be hunting only a few individuals, based upon their actions to negotiate trade relations of so great a distance; as if one or two ships could hurt their profit margin. The powers of the Promba Clan believed differently. Having a well fed and clothed population in the HIP 74290 system, could negatively impact smuggling arrangements with the systems local anarchist group, calling it-self “The Guild.” That others were involved in this hunt was welcomed, the only result the Promba Clan’s hierarchy cared about was the removal of this threat to income.
Near the systems local star, a fleet appeared. These were expected, as several wings of pirate ships, moved to intercept. All totaled more than one-hundred ships accelerated towards one another, on a collision course. The Ankh guards lighter ships, boosted to the front of the fleet. They would be the first to take the fight to the pirates. The super heavy ships formed into a wedge formation, more than a minute behind the lighter ships. Heavy ships moved into positions to guard the super-heavies flanks, as the medium ships formed into opposing wings; looking to flank any exposed opening, in the pirate’s formation.