Friday, May 16, 2014

The Logs of Captain Oni of the Kestrel Ship Eidolon: Day 8

Day 8: After arriving at the today's beacon our sensors picked up what I assumed to be a refugee ship. despite the fact that their ship looked to be in bad shape, they seemed to be avoiding us. I decided to hail them to see if they needed assistance.

Right as I opened communications a Zoltan ship jumped into the system, its weapons hot, moving to engage us.

I have always been fascinated by the Zoltan. While they have their outliers and bad eggs just like any race, culturally they have a very refined sense of justice. Also, as beings of pure energy, they fit with classical representations of the "next stage" of human existence, as our consciousness transcends the material and we shed our bodies and become something more. It's hard not to look up to the Zoltan when seen from that perspective.

Of course, it's all rubbish. The Zoltan are energy-based lifeforms that evolved from less complex energy-based lifeforms. Humans are about as likely to evolve into energy-based lifeforms as the Zoltan are to evolve into ape descendants. Still, the romantic fantasy holds some appeal.

That appealing sense of superiority comes through in the way they speak as well. Even through our communications hardware I can feel a warm glow pressing gently on either side of my head as the captain of the Zoltan ship spoke to me. It was so gentle and pleasant, his voice so reasonable-sounding, I almost missed the fact that he was accusing us of protecting fugitives.

As it turns out, the Zoltan's refined sense of justice can sometimes make them unreasonable.After declaring their intent to attack us for a crime we were not aware we committed, they promptly closed communications and would not respond to my repeated hails.

We were forced to defend ourselves, and the battle was surprisingly one-sided: with my recent shield reinforcement an Lt. Tach controlling them the Zoltan weaponry was not able to penetrate our defenses. I gave the crew ample time to surrender as we systematically destroyed parts of their ship, but they continued to ignore us, despite the hopelessness of their fight. They fought on until, finally, their ship fell apart from our laser barrage.

The refugee ship used that time to escape. I wondered briefly what is is they did that caused the Zoltan to track them down so zealously. Perhaps we'll never know.

Day 9: What luck! We discovered a sensor station guarded by a mere automated ship. Engaging the automated ship was admittedly a bit of a risk, but I decided it was worthwhile in order to get a better idea of what's going on in the rest of the sector.

The automated ship was easily dispatched, with minimal damage to our hull. Even Ens. Elizabeth thought the exercise worth the gamble. Ever since reinforcing the shields she has been considerably less on edge, so I'm beginning to think that her attitude was linked to stress from feelings of vulnerability. I'll continue to keep an eye on her.

In any case, the sensor array proved to be most helpful. It showed an asteroid field nearby, which would have been dangerous to fly through. It also showed us the width and breadth of the Rebel search through the system: we were still well ahead of them, but we would need to take a detour to get around the asteroid field. By my calculations, even with the detour we should be able to reach the sector-to-sector relay well before the Rebels.

We set a course for the nearest apparently unoccupied beacon and charged our FTL drives.

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