Beeps alerted somewhere in the distance, a strange sound against the quiet hum of a ship’s engines and the flow of recycled air pumping through the ship’s body like life made gaseous. Others move throughout the ship, but none disturb the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Commenor Systems Alliance. They had their jobs, she had hers. And currently, she was oblivious to anything but the treaty before her. Laser focused on two provisions she found troublesome, Silfe didn’t notice as the ship’s engines changed pitch and the atmosphere grew charged. She simply scrunched her brows together in an effort to figure out what was troubling her about the provisions.
“Update Minister.” said a voice from the doorway of her private office. Silfe looked up, her frustrated look vanishing as she smiled softly to one of the pilots who had been charged to take her on yet another trip to yet another system to negotiate foreign matters on behalf of the Commenor Systems Alliance. She liked the job and it suited her in a lot of ways. She may not be as analytical as some, but she had a good head for business and getting people to accede to CSA’s demands.
The pilot nodded. “We should be at our destination within the next hour. We are coming out of hyperspace now and they are notorious for making dignitaries wait on the outskirts of their system for permission to enter. Once we have it, I will let you know.”
Silfe nodded. “Thank you Gyn.” The woman nodded curtly once more and left the Minister to her work. It was substantial. There were hundreds of systems and all of them were complex. Still, if she could continue doing the job to help Kay, it would be worth the time and energy. For a moment, she let her mind wander from her meticulous and sometimes monotonous task. She owed the Queen of Commenor for believing in her, protecting her from her father and giving her a chance at a new life. Thanks to Lady Kay, Silfe had a home. Granted, she had barely seen the queen or her home in the last months. The job itself meant very little time on Commenor these days, but the Queen was busy with two newly born children. She missed the queen though. Perhaps when she returned home, she could make sure to carve out time t…..BOOM!!
Suddenly, the ship rocked wildly and within seconds there was screaming, barking of orders and Silfe was on the floor of her comfortable office where detritus from her desk had fallen atop her in the commotion. She lifted herself and only had a moment to register the tear in her dress and the state of her office when Gyn was back.
“Lady Silfe!” She shouted, moving swiftly to the Minister’s side. With her aid, Silfe was able to gain her feet. “Come quickly and secure yourself in. We are being attacked!!”
“What?!” Silfe asked in shock and confusion but before they could get more than a few steps closer to the door, both were tossed around like ragdolls as another...
BOOM!! rocked their ship. Smoke filled the room and chocked her, the pungent smell of burning electical wire, plastic and metal was thicker than any air filtering system could handle. Hair had fallen from her intricate braids, now haphazard and covered in dust. It felt like eternity before Silfe could get her wits to catch up with her. Darlyn had taught her better. She swore in a very unladylike and distinctly undiplomatic way as she rushed to her feet, strapped herself in and braced herself. Gyn came in shortly after and also strapped herself in.
“We weren’t out of hyperspace 5 minutes before a large ship came out of hyperspace nearly on top of us. They didn’t even warn us… just started shooting. Tally is the pilot but I don’t think he...”
BOOM!! Another wild ride as both women held on for dear life. The ship suddenly grew eerily quiet. Some smoke had cleared, but lights were flickering intermittently and debris was everywhere.
Both women jumped as the intercom squawked. “Crew Announcement. Damage is severe. Engines are offline. Life support is working but I am not sure how long it will last. Long Range communications are out. Rescue beacon is on but I don’t think it is transmitting.”
Silfe held her breath without knowing it as she stared at the comm unit beside them. It was so strange listening to such silence. Why were they being attacked? She could not guess. CSA was neutral. That wasn’t to say there weren’t people out there stupid enough to attack a CSA ship on a diplomatic mission, but she couldn’t fathom it. All she did feel at this moment was fear for the safety of her people.
The intercom cracked again and Silfe was glad to realize she had not jumped this time. Darlyn would have been proud. “Lady Silfe, we have been given an ultimatum. This ship has informed us that it will dock with us. Any resistance will prove fatal. All crew must stand down….” Tally paused for a moment causing Silfe to frown in confusion. It didn’t take long before he finally said the last of the information. “They say they have come for you.”
At that moment, the ship jostled a bit as the distinct thump of docking could be heard. Silfe shook her head and pushed the intercom button. “All crew stand down. Repeat. Stand down. Lay down weapons and do not resist.” The last thing she wanted was their blood on her hands. If they left with her, the ship could be rescued. Though this was a fairly remote system, it wasn’t a dead one. Other delegates were due to arrive for the negotiation. At least she could save the crew.
It didn’t take long before men, dressed in generic black uniforms without insignia or ranks, came into the antechamber of her office and found her waiting. Gyn stood behind her, scared and worried. Silfe, in contrast, looked rather calm and official. Whereas some people might have blurted out “Who are you? How dare you?” and a multitude of other demands, she remained calm and quiet. The men were not important. Whoever they were prefacing was important.
In due time, that person also arrived. Though it might have seemed like an inordinate wait, in truth, the fight and boarding took less than ten minutes. Little did she know that as soon as they were docked, the bigger ship had begun moving out of the edge of the system and into the deep dark of space. The sneer that greeted her was one she knew. Silfe’s jaw tightened. “Rackhort. This is thick headed even for you. My father cannot possibly take on all of CSA.”
The man simply smiled and shrugged. He was Chiss and always a source of supremacy and condescension in her life. Her father rarely had done anything on planet without him. “Well, your father thought it was about time you came back home and even sent me,” He grimaced disdainfully and spit at her feet before approaching her, “out into this hell to fetch you.” He was taller than her by a few inches but his face was close enough to her that it didn’t matter and his breath was vomit inducing. “I hate being someone’s dog. It really isn’t my style.”
She turned her head to avoid the worst of the stench. “Well, I told my father I wasn’t ever coming home.”
“Too bad.” He said though he didn’t sound like he was sorry. "Your father isn't going to take no for an answer this time sweetheart. The price for your defiance is going to be more than you can bear. I can promise you that. No one can save you now." She could feel him moving away and another presence coming closer. Before she had time to react, her head was seized and a cloth applied to her face. Her struggle was brief, but the hands that held her were like iron. All she could see as the darkness overcame her were dark eyes without irises.
No one knew what came of the ship, its crew or the Minister of Foreign Affairs…. Some mysteries are easily solved, others bite you in the ass.