[READING] [V & A Shipping] Chapter 64
“Report from a drone, sir!”
Finally, good news at last. Sheriff Justice stopped his pacing and strode over to the officer. “Report.”
“Actually we’ve got a second, confirming report as well. We have their course. They made a correction.”
“Are they going to go through the blockade?”
“They’re going around the black holes?”
“Well they’re not coming back, are they?”
“No sir, they’re on a course to pass close by the black holes.”
“It looks dangerous. The ship is too small to pass through there without incident.”
Where are you going? Sheriff Justice thought to himself. Only one speed existed in space and when you passed into hyperspace, you went as fast as you could. Passing by the black holes wouldn’t do any good, in fact, it could even slow them down.
“What do you want me to do sir?”
Justice blinked. “What are the odds of them making it through there alive and intact?”
The officer punched a few buttons on the console. “It looks like they have better than a ten percent chance to make it though on their present course.”
“Why?” Justice asked himself rhetorically.
“Well,” Junior piped up. “I think it’s because there’s a theory that the gravitational force of a black hole will accelerate a ship even one that’s traveling at hyperspeed. In fact,” Junior pulled up a three dimensional map. “If they go around the first, the speed they gain could swing them around and the second could continue their acceleration and…”
“Shut up! There is no reason they’d put their ship at such risk just to go faster.”
Junior looked up, his mind twisted in thought. “Maybe they just want to get away?”
“They’ve eluded us enough without going faster thanks to the pathetic crew I’ve got.” Justice raised his hand to strike an officer with his riding crop, but his hands were empty. He had to go and break his favorite tool.
“What if they’re on a tight schedule?”
“If they had to get a shipment back to Planchar in an abbreviated time frame…”
“Beer? Are you telling me that someone sent them on an intergalactic beer run and they want it as soon as possible? I have trouble with that one, Junior. Of all the lame-brain ideas you’ve had, that has to be the worst.”
Idiots. He was surrounded by idiots. Did anyone on this ship even have two brain cells to rub together? No, strike that, if they did, they’d be dangerous.
“Sir, GCP Central Office calling.”
“Damn. Bad timing.”
“It’s being sent urgent on a secure line. Counselor Pitrine is demanding an audience.”
Justice loomed over the officer, but didn’t respond.
“Sir, he’s sent the request again. He demands an audience.”
“Put it through to my quarters. Junior, come with me. And keep this ship right behind the SS Acid Rat. I don’t want to lose them because you didn’t know what to do. I don’t care where they go, you stay on their tail. Do you understand?”
He didn’t wait for an answer. Sheriff Justice knew this wasn’t going to turn out well. Sheriff Esconso must have contacted GCP Central office. The last thing this pursuit needed was unwelcome company. Justice cleared his throat as he pushed the door open to his room and left it open for Junior to close.
“Put it through.”
The screen lit up with Pitrine’s visage. The man appeared irate beyond compare. Definitely he knew what was going on.
“I have a report that you are no longer in the Raado system, but I also discovered that you are not in route back to your own system.”
Justice smiled. “We’re taking the…scenic route.”
“Your scene will be more twelve by twelve if you don’t return to your own system.” Pitrine’s nose twitched as he talked.
“I assure you, that as long as we were in the area, we’d check out a couple black holes. You can plot our course if you like. It’s not too often my crew and I can take a look at two black holes on the verge of colliding.”
“That’s not all that will be colliding, I assure you. Make course corrections now and head back to the Bamda System. This insolence will not go unpunished, I can assure you of that.”
“Insolence? I assure you that I am doing nothing wrong.”
“Sheriff Esconso stated otherwise. He said you’re on a vengeance pursuit. He said you’re trying to track down the SS Acid Rat. I hope I don’t need to state the Galactic Central Point Central Office’s stand on your leaving your system. This is your last chance to return to your own system Sheriff. I will have a cruiser waiting for your arrival and they will remain with you until such a time as this office deems you able to patrol your system on your own again. Have I made myself clear?”
A tick found its way to B.T. Justice’s right eye.
“Perfectly.” Justice straightened himself and smoothed his uniform. “If there’s nothing else.”
“Actually, there is. Even if the SS Acid Rat is in your system, you are not to arrest them under any circumstances. If I discover that you have apprehended any of its crew, or detained the ship in any way, I’ll have your badge. Do you understand?”
The tick twitched Justice’s eye again. “Yes.”
Justice stood and waited for the grimacing image of Pitrine to fade. Once it disappeared he turned to Junior.
“You know that nifty little trick the SS Acid Rat pulled on us?”
Junior’s jaw fell in amazement.
They were interrupted by an officer over the con. “Sheriff, a drone has taken pursuit of the SS Acid Rat!”
“Order the drone to lock on and stay in constant contact. Also, I want to prepare a special drone to send to Bamda. Junior is on his way to explain everything.”
Junior headed to the door.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“But you said…”
“I need a hamburger first.”
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