Like a stone dropping through water, the Nighthawk cut through space with the graceful aplomb of its’ namesake. The ship was truly a marvel of engineering; an unprecedented credit sink to some, but it was far from perfect.
With a lurch that took more than half the hapless crew off their feet, the Nighthawk tore back into realspace, alarms blaring and systems shorting throughout the craft. No sooner than the sensor readouts started calculating their location than a flurry of ion strikes took apart the craft’s electronic systems. With a surge of overloaded circuitry, backup power was restored, bathing the already dark ship in even murkier light, barely enough to see by.
“Report! What the hell happened?” Arcia Cortel, the ship’s captain barked as she strolled onto the craft, her appearance un-mussed despite the lateness of the hour.
Finn Legain, the operations officer who barely seemed out of his teens dragged himself back over to his console and tapped in commands, to no response. He looked over at Arcia and shook his head, clearly at a loss.
Hissing in vexation, the Captain strode the length of the command centre and moved swiftly down the hall to the cockpit, where an equally baffled Karth Orsai could give her no answer as to what had dragged them from Hyperspace and unceremoniously left them adrift.
“Captain!” A voice called from the command centre. Arcia took off at a run. “Captain, we don’t have any internal systems running, but our comlinks are still operational. I’m getting reports in from all decks now.” Logain grinned triumphantly through the haze of ozone forming from so many damaged sub-systems crashing at once.
Arcia waited impatiently, her arms crossed under her breasts, her polished boot tapping rhythmically on the deck for Finn to ascertain the fate of her vessel. It wasn’t good news.
“Chief Norsin is working to restore backup power. As it is, we only have emergency life support operational, which gives us maybe two days’ worth of air before we suffocate. There are reports of injuries all over the ship, though no casualty reports so far, however we’re still working to find everyone.”
“Have the injured taken to medical and get a power droid up there to give Maaks something to work with. Anyone else is to report to Engineering to try and get this bird flying again.” Arcia ordered, running a hand through her hair.
The real issue was still bugging her: whatever had knocked her ship from Hyperspace was presumably still out there. It could be something as benign as an uncharted asteroid…or it could be pirates intent on killing her, her crew, and taking her craft as their own.
Minutes of tense waiting turned into an hour. Sight managed to get the backup batteries operational, however there was only so much power she could have poured into sensors, and they didn’t show anything useful. No asteroid, which ruled out one theory (leaving a far more sinister one in its place). Deciding to make herself useful, the Captain toured the ship, offering help and advice where necessary. She found her XO in the hangar, crouched down by the kennels, murmuring to the pair of massive creatures contained within: the Cythraul.
“Is this really the best use of your time, Commander?” She asked scathingly.
Teroch was, as usual, out of uniform, sporting only a pair of shorts and a tank top. He ignored her.
“Commander Erinos, I asked you a question.” She said loudly, causing heads to turn.
“They’re scared. You should be too. The only reason we’re not being boarded is because whoever did this is probably waiting for us to either use up what little air we have left or fix the ship up for them before they take it for themselves.”
Arcia sighed. “You’re assuming this hasn’t all occurred to me. What would you advise, then?”
Teroch shrugged, finally turning around and standing to face her. He was just barely taller than her, however the difference was negligible.
“I’d work on getting those doors open and flying a Stealth-X out there to do a proper sweep. I’d put security on every possible breach point ready to repel boarders. I’d work on getting communications online so we could call for help. You’re trying to do too much at once. It’ll take days to restore all the systems. We’ll suffocate long before then. At any moment those guys could get bored and decide to speed things up. Just one hull breach and we’re screwed. We can’t close blast doors. The entire ship would be decompressed.”
Arcia listened to his little tirade in silence, privately weighing all of his suggestions. It was a mistake she repeatedly made: Teroch often looked and acted like a spoiled teenager, but beneath that façade was the mind of a youth who’d been trained since birth to be the ultimate answer to his father’s legacy. His suggestions were sound, but without even minimal power, none of them were feasible.
“I’ll take them under advisement. Report to engineering and assist Chief Norsin in whatever way you can.”
Shaking his head in disgust, Teroch walked off without another word.
“There’s got to be a way to make him grow up.” Arcia murmured, then proceeded from the Hangar towards the bridge.
They’d been without power for a total of twelve hours when it came. Not like Teroch predicted: there wasn’t a huge breach or a massive explosion. It was a quiet, subtle approach guaranteed to go undetected, as it occurred in the one place nobody on the ship would be; the captain’s cabin. A hermetic seal prevented the craft from being decompressed, and a single, cloaked figure dropped down, their face obscured. With the wave of a hand, a datapad was called from the desk to their outstretched hand. The masked humanoid briefly skimmed it before moving towards the turbolift. The Nighthawk wouldn’t know what hit it.