I left my seat and get up to the pilot’s cabin. The screen was showing a scene of desolation. In front of us, there was what was left of a capsuleer’s outpost. Those structures were built in space to offer protection and supply in hostiles space area and this one were completely destroyed.
Huge parts of the main structure were cut open, the melted metal torn and scattered in space, the slowly drifting part showed many signs of battle. Many spaceships of multiple size were also here, some almost intact, other barely recognizable. And corpses, at least a dozen of them, all of capsuleer’s, their neural interface still plugged for some. The ominous structure who loomed over us was a wreck of a capital ship, the 2km long hull was in a sad state…
Broke in two, this giant was slowly used by the solar winds, his structure showed signs of energy blast, the huge holes in his flanks were impressive, whatever could have done this must have had an incredibly powerful firepower. Our radio was scanning for frequencies but here was nothing, no S.O.S., no beacon, no life sign, not even some echoes, just the silence of death. While cloaked we approached the giant to see if the battle was recent or not, and soon our suspicion was confirmed: the battle WAS ancient… the degradation on the wreck indicated that the hull was drifting since at least one year old. The white sound of the radio and this space graveyard was really gloomy.
“Yup, that’s a bad sign….” Tarrel whispered.
I nodded, such wreck, left alone, should have been scavenged long ago. Even for the low density of scavengers in wormhole space, it was strange that such a treasure was left here. Could it be that we were the firsts human to see this since the death of the people living here?
“At least we can suppose that nobody else is alive in this system.” I said “nobody would live here and left this mine gold untouched”
“yeaa I suppose. But if we are the first here, it would be stupid to let it here, I’m salvaging it! We should get a good price for the parts. ” Tarrel decloaked our ship and launched the salvaging laser.
This little tool was a wonder of technology, a tractor beam coupled with a precise analyser and a laser cutter. It can scan and take the best parts of a ship in a mere couple of seconds. I was returning to my seat when something appeared on my scanners.
“Tarrel, we got company! Cloak the ship!” I yelled.
“Can’t, the salvager is already at work!” The cloaking technology was near undetectable, but for it to work properly, the ship should generate a minimum of energy variance, so the cloaking device could work fine with a ship’s shield but no other thing could be activated. If the enemy was too powerful for us, we could not reactivate the cloaking device before it is too late.
“Engaging high speed manoeuvre” said Tarrel as he activated the engine booster.
The ship’s signature was too far for my scanners to detect it precisely, but it was clear that it was no common ship. the signature’s speed was starting to slow down.
“Enemy warp out in 3…2…1…TOP” I said.
“Enemy ship sighted” Tarrel shouted in response “frigate size class vessel… identity… unknown?!?” the doubt in Tarrel voice was perceptible “Locking it, Aura estimated his integrity structure levels, I think we can do it, launch the drones Drak!” the use of my pseudo was Tarrel’s sign for when thing’s became serious.
I reached the drone control panel and started to launch the light ones, to match a frigate speed and manoeuvrability it was the best, even if their cannons were not that powerful.
“Drak, I want as much information on them that you can give me! Who are they?”
I activated the scanner on our opponent, comparing it to every ship that aura known of, but no exact match returned. Only a partial one, and the information were few.
“Apparently it’s a sleeper scout vessel, no shields… high energy resistance… low kinetic and explosion resistance… and nothing else… ”
“who’s the pilot?!?”
“no one, they’re drones remember?”
“oh yeaa, well, Gallenteans sure aren’t the best anymore at drones! This bloody thing sure is a pain in the ass! SHIELD AT 50%!”
Our ship started to activate the low shield level alarm, in response I activated our shield booster, in the hope of having enough time to destroy the sleeper frigate. That’s when I saw them on my scanners, multiple signatures started to blink on my subspace scanner, almost a dozen of signature heading to our destination, and all of them were without a doubt sleeper.