Forum:The Efate Run: Chapter 2
Bridge, Silver Sphinx, 12:04 028-1120
The Sphinx' bridge is crowded. At the main console Pat Kerana sits monitoring a screen split into four windows, each showing one of the screens being used by the other crewmembers. Stennetii and Bralt are sitting on each side of her, both watching navigational plots. Chip Uamdar is manning the com console and Rolf Barker the sensor console.
From the main speakers a voice sounds: >>Silver Sphinx, this is Regina High Traffic Control. You are clear to leave dock and proceed to parking orbit. Contact System Traffic Control with flight plan. Thanks for staying with us.<<
"Roger that, Regina High," Kerana replies. "Proceeding on standard departure course for parking orbit. Mr. Stennetii, contact System Traffic Control and give them our flight plan."
"System Traffic Control, this is Silver Sphinx outbound for Forboldn. Ready to transmit flight plan, standing by for instructions."
>>Silver Sphinx, this is Regina Traffic Control. You are cleared to the Forboldn jump point as filed; flight plan is activated as of 12:07:53-028-1120. Squawk 9137. Continue standard departure profile; remain on this channel until passing Assiniboia jump limit.<<
Gani says, "Course for Forboldn jump point laid in. Estimated time to complete 10 hours 34 minutes."
Kerana says, "System Control, this is Silver Sphinx, confirm transponder set to niner-one-three-seven, on the go. Will remain on this frequency until prepared to jump. Clear sailing, Regina."
>>Safe trip, Silver Sphinx.<<
There is a general sense of relaxation on the bridge. Ten and a half hours until anything interesting is due to happen. Kerana turns to Gani. "Mr. Stennetii, I shall have to ask you to take the rest of my shift; I have to talk to our COO. I'll take the first half of your next shift instead. Mr. Stennetii, you have the bridge."
"I have the bridge, aye."
A few minutes after Kerana has left the bridge, Chip, who has been paging through routine starport bulletins, speaks up. "Looks like we have us a forerunner, Mr. Stennetii. Another ship departed for Forboldn two hours ago. Bit of a coincidence, that. I don't think Forboldn usually gets visited by two ships a week, let alone two per day."
"Really?", Gani looks surprised for a second, then concerned. "Mr. Barker, would you please find that other ship, passives only. If you have some problems, let me know and I'll do a course plot to narrow the search area."
"No need, Sirr, I can do it," Barker replies. He shoots Chip a resentful look and bends over his screen.
"Got herr!" Barker yelps. "Same grroove as us, but 111 minutes ahead of us. She's... well, Uamdarr is rright. Herr trransponderr says she's the Khaorrao."
Gani pauses, then thinks about it. "Bah, I'm just being paranoid. Like this one time, we were down in the Reaches. Usual tramp freighter runs between D class starport worlds, got ourselves into the same kind of fix. Two ships going to the same place at the same time, to a world where there may not be a ship once a month. " Gani launches into a 20 minute story about a Ihatei "invasion fleet" consisting of two tramp freighters and an Aslan scout ship so broken down they were scavenging parts from each other.
[Common knowledge: Regina System Control does not allow ships to get within one hour's flight (by 1G) of each other. The Khaorao should have jumped almost two hours before the Sphinx reaches the jump point. Also, there is a squadron of escorts stationed near the jump point.]
"Made a tidy profit on that run," Gani says as he finished his story. "Any change on the Khaorrao Mr. Barker? I don't want us to get too close, they might think we're treading on their tails."
"The Khaorrrrao, Mrr. Stennetti? Oh! The Khaorrao! No, she's sticking to herr assigned flight path same as us."
- [The above was written by me, posting from a library. I just forgot to log in properly before I posted. Sorry. [Hans]].