“I thought this sector was supposed to be empty?”
Galyn glanced down at the map, then at the mishmash of clearly inhabited asteroids, then back at the map again. He then turned on the 3d mapping system, which showed an empty blot where they were supposed to be.
“It’s very much not empty.”
“I gathered…” Galyn growled to himself, quickly writing something down on his 2d map, before making some quick calculations. In the distance, a much larger ship could be seen. It was similar in shape to the Thantir Two, similar colours as well, but it was lacking an important insignia. The ship was a Decay Lord vessel, but not one aligned to either Deathven or any of the local Deathven-aligned Decay Lords groups.
“I think we should move…” Arkay whispered, feeling very stressed. “I feel like we shouldn’t be here.”
“I think you are right.”
Still working on his calculations, Galyn hit a switch, transferring ship controls to Arkay. Arkay immediately threw the ship into reverse, keeping his eyes on the larger ship ahead of them. Without any real sort of hesitation, Arkay kept on going in reverse until the ship was both no longer visible and no longer appearing on the local radar.
With a grunt, Galyn finished his calculations, and readied himself to take the ship controls back. But before he did so, he noticed that Arkay was still making more and more distance between themselves and the supposedly empty sector. To the point that Galyn was getting a tad concerned.
“Arkay, can I have the controls back, please?”
“We’re not far away enough.”
Arkay snarled. “Can still smell them.”
Galyn eyed Arkay some more, then turned on the intercom. “Litvir, Retvik, can you both come to the cockpit please?”
It only took a couple of seconds for the other two to arrive, but it still felt too long. As Retvik stepped in, Galyn made another request to take back the controls.
“Arkay, can I have the controls back now, please?”
This time, Arkay relented. He seemed to be aware of what Galyn was thinking. Arkay slowed the ship down and brought it to a complete stop, then handed the controls back to Galyn.
“Thank you, Arkay. Retvik, do you mind doing a quick heat-cleanse of the ship, please?”
“Of course, but why?” Retvik asked. “Did we hit a lump of-”
“We may or may not have been hit with a tracking oil as we approached that sector. Need to burn it off before we go any further.”
Retvik nodded, then stepped back out of the cockpit. He opened a hatch just above the cockpit’s entrance and climbed into the void outside, closing the hatch behind him. As he did so, Arkay muttered to himself, summoning a shield of protection around himself, Galyn and Litvir.
After a few moments of silence, a brilliant white flash blasted across the entire ship, followed by a warmth that slowly faded away. Several more flashes followed, each one more intense than the last, heating the air further and further. After ten flashes, the heat began to simmer down and dissipate, before returning to a more comfortable and liveable temperature.
Feeling somewhat satisfied, Galyn nudged Arkay.
“Can you still smell them?”
“Uh… no… not any more.”
Galyn pushed himself out of Arkay’s protective shield, and stepped into the main hallway. He opened the hatch, letting Retvik back inside.
“Did you see anything out there?”
“No, just standard ship stuff, I guess…” Retvik shrugged. “Fried it all good though.”
Galyn seemed satisfied with both Retvik’s and Arkay’s answers. “Alright then. In case we were being tracked, we will loop around for a bit, to cover our own trail.”
“I can completely understand why you want to update these maps now!” Litvir exclaimed, scanning Galyn’s calculations and various writing. “That inhabited area must be huge.”
Galyn nodded. “Huge and potentially aggressive. I will send a message back to Deathven, requesting that a much larger group deal with it. In the mean time, let us get out of here. There are plenty of safer places we can re-map.”
“Thank fuck…” Arkay muttered, finally relaxing a little. “I was sensing some really awful vibes from that ship…”