The Vessel Chapter 3

It was quiet on the bridge. The only person on the ship was Marle, and she sat there watching the stars on the monitors.

Other than background engine noises that can barely be heard from the bridge, it was quiet. Just her and the computer.

Then it got too noisy.

With a start Travis appeared on a holographic panel with a panicked looked in his face. "Sensors are detecting another ship coming our way."

"Do you know what they are?" she asked him.

"Not yet... their too far away," Travis looked worried all the same, "it doesn't bode well."

"Travis, what is it?" Marle asked him.

"This sector has Hiopchete," Travis explained, "they are an extremely territorial bunch... possessive too."

"Space Pirates by another name..." Marle trailed off. The look on her face made Travis quickly chat "Marle... not quite... ah, what are you thinking?"

The dead look in her eyes said everything that needed to be said. "They will not get near this ship," she replied mater of factly.

"They make claim to everything in their 'space' including hijacking vess..." Travis' worried explanation was cut off with another statement of fact from Marle: "They are not boarding this ship."

"Sounds like we are about to get our first test as a team, aye?" Travis spoke in a failed attempt to lighten the mood.

"They are not boarding this ship."

"Course not... hopefully," Travis replied, "course, if they did..."

"They are not boarding Travis. They just won't. I'm not letting them. They will not board. The Phoenix-Belle will not have Space Pirates on here. I will fight til I can get up no more before they board." The tone of the room became solemn as Marle gritted her teeth.

"Alright then Marle, alright." Travis became quiet at that point.

Marle's eyes were glued to the bridge terminals. The helms station was reading it and the navigation station was reading it. Something, clearly a ship, was closing in on them. At varying readings of the instruments the ship was creeping closer and closer.

"They're going to intercept us," Marle called out.

"You don't know that, yet anyways," Travis popped back into existence, "it just might look like they're going to intercept but..."

"They're pirates..." the look in Marle's eyes as she stared at the instruments. The wild, wide-eyed look as the second ship was coming closer still, now tailing them.

"Marle, I'm not so..." Travis' voice quivered as he could sense his friend's fear.

"They're pirates..." Marle snarled, "they are going to try to board and they're going to take me."

With a groan of the ships engines the Phoenix-Belle shifted course. It went off of its normal course and was heading for the current system's star. The ship following them changed course to follow.

"What did I tell you!" Marle growled.

"Marle, relax." Travis quietly explained, "if it is Hiopchete, they can be reasoned with... trust me on this."

With that the Phoenix-Belle slowed to a stop. Marle turned to Travis' image. "What the fuck are you doing?" She screamed, "you should be gunning it!"

"Their ships can outspeed me," Travis quickly explained.

"Dammit! Travis!" Marle began to freak out.

"Easy Marle, I can take care of this," Travis cooed.

Right when the Phoenix Belle came to a complete stop, minus minor drift, a second ship of a similar make was shown on sensors. At this point Travis dematerialized. Only his voice persisted.

"This is Travis of the Phoenix-Belle. This ship is peaceful and is merely passing through your space. Please grant us safe passage." The intercom was clear as the message was relayed to the other ships.

After a brief pause the reply came through: "You are infringing on our space. Your ship and crew are property of the Hio-fraga Nuich."

"We are leaving your space," Travis replied, "You can't just make willy-nilly claims on random ships."

"Trayfix, we are not stupid Hio-none Nuich who would just waste opportunities and let ships out of their space," the Hiopchete grunted, "We seize what is ours, and your ship is ours!

"Now, be prepared for boarding."

"They are not boarding again!" Marle screamed as she made a grab for a hail speaker.

"P13 in your own laws state that you can't just board random ships and take them..." Travis pointed out, with laughter on the other line as a response.

"Listen, your space pirate fucks!" Marle roared into the hail mic, "If you board you will die! Die in a fury of fire! You fuck off or this ship will destroy yours! Do you hear me!?"

"What my first mate means is, while we come in peace, we are willing to defend ourselves," Travis faux translated in quivering, but confident tone. He than rematerialized onto the bridge and spoke to Marle in a worried tone "our weapons aren't exactly up to snuff you know. They could crush us."

"They are not boarding Travis," she replied, "They are not boarding.

"You call us pirates! Insolence! Surrender or you will be crushed!" The hiopchete wasn't very happy.

"Now you've done it..." Travis spoke with his forehead in his palm before Marle looked at him and said "Do whatever you need to do to defend the ship. Those things will not board again. It won't happen again. Not again! I won't let them kill you again! Please, fight them!"

She then made her way to the ladder leading to the other parts of the ship. "You let those pirate fuck board and I will personally put a blaster to your black box," Marle growled, "They don't simply want the cargo: they want you dead and me in the slave trade."

She then climbed down.