Prologue – What goes around

 

„Be cool. Everybody, be cool.” Captain Lafayette brandished his disruptors at the crew of the freighter Monarch, thinking ‘what a grand name for a lousy little freighter’.

Andre Lafayette - privateer captain

 He shot a glance over his shoulder at his men breaking open cargo crates. “Well, boys and girls, what have we got?”

“Barely enough to make the job worth our while,” one of boarders irritably replied. “Some computer parts, foodstuffs, medicines. A real grab-bag, but nothing really valuable.”

Lafayette swung one disruptor around to the Monarch’s crewman who had taken two careful steps towards the nearest door. “What’s wrong with you? I told you guys to stay cool. Do just that and you can all go home alive.”

“Yeah right,” the freighter’s XO spit back. “Why don’t you get it over with?”

André Lafayette sighed and replied slowly, like someone who was tired of telling the same story over and over again. “Listen, we are not some bloodthirsty pirate types. We are privateers and whatever you think, there’s one hell of a difference. For you the difference boils down to this: Cooperate and we will just shut down your warp drive and you can limp back home on impulse. Don’t cooperate and we will leave you stranded here. Offer any resistance and you can find out how good your first aid skills are and maybe how good a job your techs did on lifeboat maintenance.”

The freighter’s XO was about to make another acrid remark, but the Monarch’s captain grabbed the younger man’s shoulder and shook his head. “It’s no use, Clarence.” Turning to the privateer he said: “We will cooperate.”

“Great!” Lafayette enthused. “Now why don’t you show your cooperation by decoding your cargo manifest for me? That way we don’t have to open every crate and you’ll be rid of us all the sooner.”

Just as the Monarch’s captain nodded, one of the privateers stepped from the airlock. “Captain,” he addressed Lafayette, “you will never believe this. Just heard that Grelkov ran into two Alekian freighters, but they had an escort with them. Three guesses what happened.”

André Lafayette groaned. “One, he went straight for the escort. Two, while he slugged it out with the escort the freighters escaped. Three, he shot up the escort so badly it’s not worth taking home as a prize. How am I doing?”

His crewman grinned and gave him a thumbs-up. “Spot on, Captain.”

“See how lucky you were to run into such a civilized outfit as mine?” Lafayette asked the Monarch’s crew. “Now let’s make certain your luck doesn’t run out.”

As he followed the freighter’s CO to the nearest computer terminal the privateer shook his head to himself. ‘That idiot Grelkov. Bloody stupid even by Nausicaan standards. If he survives in our line of work another month it’ll be a miracle.’

*****

"Commander Tucker, good to see you are back on duty, Sir."

Ben grinned. "Glad to be back, Chief Thordon, but I have to admit taking a few days off wasn’t that bad."

The Andorian chuckled. "If you would like to have my advice on it, Sir, despite all the possible benefits I’d caution against another one of those little vacuum trips."

“Oh, don't worry, Chief, I'll stay around for a while." Ben clapped the Andorian on the shoulder and turned towards the Hawk. "So, how is everything coming along? We have a few hours, but I want to double-check everything before the mission starts."

Thordon turned all business. "We are well within the time-table. So far everything is going smoothly and I expect no problems. Let me fill you in on the details. First of all..."

As the Andorian went through the details of the modifications, the two men walked around the small ship. All markings had already been removed from the hull and through the cockpit windows Ben could see Reto Kevas working on the Hawk’s helm station.

Before Commander Tucker and Chief Thordon entered the Hawk, Ben consulted his padd. They had to get this right the first time – there was no room for second chances. Any mistake could jeopardize the away-team’s mission.

 

Prologue    Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10    Chapter 11    Chapter 12

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