A Long Chase (3)

Macrophage Militant; 2,000,000 miles from the Gal-kiderax stargate.

The better part of a day later, the Flight Commander’s glare had hardly lessened at all.  “Anything new?”

“No status change on target.  No halo, no trailers, and still decelerating into gate intercept – definitely not confident in his ability to make crash transit, I’d say, sir.” The sensor operator’s tentacles flew over his keyboard.  “Gate diagnostics show it’s accepted their transit request.  We have a five by six shooting solution, but we’re going to lose guidance lock as soon as they hit the gate.”

“Very well.  Comms, anything from the Galians?”

“Nothing new, sir.”  A tentacle squeezed a control node, and a grating voice spoke.  “Empire vessel, you are denied passage into Galian space.  Clear.”

“Such gentlesophs, the Theomachrats.  Send this for relay: ‘Gal-kiderax SysCon, this is Macrophage Militant: we are a naval vessel in pursuit of an identified slaver.  It is your obligation under the Accords and the articles of interstellar law to permit us transit and capture.  Is it your intent to impede us, sir? Militant, clear.'”

The Exec leaned over to the Flight Commander again.  “Planning on starting a war, skipper?”

“Is it that time again already?  But no, they’ll back down.  They can afford it even less than we can.”

“Are you sure they know that?”

“Well, if they don’t, a year from now I’ll be on the beach, and you’ll have the Militant.  But either way, those chance-bred tumors will still be vapor.”