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Posted on Thu Jan 7th, 2016 @ 2:15am by Reg Fistinhand

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Federation space; between Allura and the Inconnu Expanse

“Unknown ship closing on the port beam,” Praecens announced. “Range fifteen thousand kilometres.”

=^=You are a long way from any trade route. Prepare to be boarded and your cargo inspected.=^=

“On whose authority?” Kareel asked.

=^=On the authority of Commodore Lax Rendo’re the Eighteenth,” a different voice, this one distinctly surly, replied. Praecens was sure he could hear sniggering in the background.

“We have nothing to declare. Our holds only contain supplies for ourselves.”

=^=What are you doing out here then? You do not have permission to be in this region of space.=^= It was the first one again, one with a more authoritative tone.

“We are on our way to Ferenginar but an ion storm threw us of course,” Praecens explained. “This is the most direct route now. We plan to pass between Allura and the Inconnu Expanse.”

=^=You would do well to avoid the Expanse,=^= the first voice said. =^=It is a difficult region to navigate. The Briar Patch is a breeze in comparison.=^= The link went dead momentarily. =^=It is still our business to board and inspect your vessel but, to show our good faith, we will escort you to Ferengi space.=^=

Praecens cut the link then turned to Kareel and his fellow passengers. “What do you think?”

"I can get us through the expanse if that's what you're worried about," Maxx told them "Though I can't promise it'll be a smooth ride. Can we out-run them?"

Skitty voiced his opinion in a growl of disapproval but Reg said nothing at first. He knew about the Expanse, of course, but had not traveled through it so couldn't say if it was a good idea or not. He would only have to trust in the others judgement, they seemed to roughly know what they were doing. As for the other ship, Reg always trusted the warning hairs that stood up on the back of his neck, as they were now. "I don't trust them," he answered finally. "We don't want them aboard."

Praecens ignored them; he was still waiting for an answer from Kareel. For her part, she was studying the sensor data on the other ship.

“We run,” she announced. She spun on Maxx. “You’d better be right about getting us through the Expanse,” she said. “You can start getting some navigational experience right now. Set a course for Irtuk. We’ll run inside Ferengi territory for as long as we can.”

Maxx switched to navigation and looked over the route he planned to take. "I hope this little ship of your's is fast enough and that you don't mind a few scratches on the hull. What about borders are we ignoring them?"

“I doubt they’ll take much notice of borders either but there’s a meteor belt this side of Irtuk. It will give us some cover if they prove faster than I anticipate.”

"Anything I can do?" asked Reg

“You’ve just been elected our gunnery expert. Your station’s over there. Keep an eye out for support arriving for that marauder. As for you,” she said, looking at S’Kitty, “keep your scrawny arse out of the way. Last thing I want is to stumble over a cat in the heat of battle. Now Bruttius, get us out of here.”

Within the blink of an eye S'Kitty had changed from cat to human. He looked like any one of them apart from his eyes which remained feline. "Good grief, woman, my arse has never been in the least bit scrawny. Now, what would you like me to do?"

Bruttius spun round but Kareel didn’t even blink. “Bloody Flamecats,” she said. “Next time warn people you’re going to do that. Monitor their communications. If any call goes out for assistance, I want to know about it.” Now she turned around. “Oh and, by the way, your arse is scrawny.”

Hissing at her would not bring him any satisfaction so he ignored the jibe. But as all cats are vain creatures, including Flamecats, S'Kitty made a point to check himself out in the next mirror he could find one. Meanwhile he sat at comms and listened in to any radio traffic that happened to be around. His ears twitched independently as he heard a tangle of noises.


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