A Long Chase (1)

Slavery violates the Universal Accord on Sophont Rights.  It also violates at least half a dozen other solemn articles of interstellar law – the kind which, as matters which offend everyone’s sensibilities tend to do, are applied ecumenically even to non-signatories – and, indeed, the natural order of things.

None of this means that it isn’t also practiced in the galaxy’s darker backwaters.

Nor does any of this mean that there are an abundance of tools to deal with it.

Flight Commander CGGGTTCACTTTATATGGAACAGT glared at the red dot floating far ahead of his own ship’s position in the tactical tank.

“Freighter identifying as IUS People’s Harvest, this is Macrophage Militant, Imperial Navy.  Under the provisions of the Accord on Uniform Security, you are directed to cut your drive immediately and prepare to be boarded, or be fired upon.  Militant, clear.”  He thought for a moment, leaning back in his command pod to let its cilia ease some of the tensions out of his tissues.  “And, Sensory, punctuate that for me, would you?”

The sensor operator’s tentacles caressed the rounded surface of his console for a moment, and a light-map icon-counter joined the time-to-receipt counter next to the target.  “Pulse away, sir.”

The Exec pushed his drinking bulb back into the retaining clip, and leaned over.  “Do you think there’s any chance they’ll do it?”

“Not if their captain’s got the brains of a rock.  We’ve got more accel, but they’ve got the range advantage in a stern chase.  Our weapons can’t bear at all until he’s within half a light-minute of the gate, and he’s got to know that we can’t fire on him until knife-fight range.  He’s betting we won’t violate Galian volume just to catch one ship.”

“So what’s the plan?”

“He’s betting wrong.  Pass the word to rig for crash transit, if you please.”