Veska System, jumping to Simbayka
Stardate 849 ABY ish
Distress signals again. They would be the death of her sooner than later. Last one she'd responded to had been Polis Massa and had involved two galactic fleets and an ancient battlecruiser. Now here was, deep in the Outback, responding to distress signals after a One Sith battlecrusier had punched its way through the region, leaving a trail of devastation in her wake.
Now Aeshi and Eru were here in the Veska system to pursue. Which, as she just discovered, not only did it include a giant Sith warship fleeing from something, or to somewhere, the cluster was riddled with pirates. Pirates didn't bother her. The StarDream would outrun just about anything pirates could afford, unless they managed to hit the engines first. Interdiction field? No both. The hyperdrive bubble would slide right through that. Tractor beam? That's why she had a tractor shroud. Ion cannons? Well, she'd paid for a cap-drain for a reason.
A few larger ships dropped out of hyperspace. Aeshi checked the scanners- frigates, Outback registered now. Results of the recent Sucker Punch operation, no doubt, unless they were One Sith infiltrators, which was certainly possible. Weirder things had happened in this part of space.
Aeshi hopped on the comm.
"This is Captain Aeshi Tillian of the StarDream. Responding to distress signals in conjunction with Underground and Outback response teams. Any updates on our mystery ship?"
She pulled a chart of the cluster, marking out the distances and locations of the known hyper-routes. It wasn't particiularly large, and with the Zephyr drive, she could get pretty much anywhere in the cluster within one jump. Some of the distant, smaller systems would be a tad trickier, but she could manage them.
The question was where to go. Sounded like one ship was en route to Adekka. No point leading a task force around the cluster without knowing where the target was. That was something her ship was uniquely situated for. Sensors that track ships half a star system away? Check. Fast hyperdrive? Check. The ship was a beauty alright, but if she ran into a fight, she'd be in trouble.
"Eru, what do you think?" Aeshi asked, leaning back in her captain's chair, studying the charted display. Her co-pilot studied the charts.
"The ship's probably not at the capital," he mused, pointing to the center of the cluster, "I'd run to the far edges..." His voice trailed off suddenly. "Or somewhere between systems if I didn't want to be found."
Aeshi nodded slowly.
"Agreed. Adekka's covered. Need to go somewhere else. Send as many ships to as many systems as possible. Find the target and call reinforcements." She sat upright in her chair, resting her chin on her fingers. "Let's jump to the far side. Catch them off guard with ships on both sides." Aeshi grinned and began typing into the navcomputer, addressing the commander of the two vessels, @Kimiko.
"Jumping to Simbayka. I can run scouting operations and report back to you from hyperspace. We'll need back up in case we hit a firefight, so don't stray too far behind." She reached up to the roof of the cockpit and flipped a couple switches, preparing the shield and sensors. "Might want to check the Tarka systems when you go through."
"Coordinates and route set, cap'n," Eru noted. Aeshi smiled. It was a wild smile, fey even.
"Roger that, prepare to jump in three...two...one.."
She punched the hyperdrive and the ship bolted forward, sending stars to blue streaks and then to blue clouds.
"Response teams," Aeshi added through the hyperwave comm, "StarDream on a nonstop scout mission Simbayka." She unstrapped herself from the seat and stood, walking into her quarters. They were sparse, just a bunk and a small chest for clean clothes. Her gun-belt hung draped over the edge of the chest and she grabbed it, buckling it around her waist. There would be shots fired before the end.
Of that, she was sure.