I Heard It Through the Galactic Vine

Juub shifted easily in her chair. As a Kerrlu, all her shifting was easy, her sole limb rotating smoothly around the perfect circumference of her body as required. Her chair was less of a chair than a stool with a bowl seat which her round body locked into snuggly and allowed her to swing her limb without the impediment of an armrest getting in the way. She had been grateful for the chair when she first joined the crew of Opaque 1 but that sense of gratitude had been eroded in the years since and she saw the chair as hers in every regard, no longer something given to her as a gift but something undeniable hers by inalienable right. It tends to happen when you sit in the same chair no one else can for years. Some of that initial gratitude would not have gone amiss at the moment. The current mood in the Neuzuan fleet was a bit tense to say the least. They were having some trouble tracking the Zeppulian following its impossible escape from their clutches. They knew the general direction it went in since they could follow the slight ion trail left behind in its wake. but they weren’t able to pinpoint its precise destination or current location. The Zeppulian moved faster than anything ship they had ever encountered which meant its trail was dissipating quicker than normal, making it difficult to track. This difficulty had particularly irked Captain Dar’leth. While his tone was measured and eerily calm, he always seemed on the edge of snapping and his irritable nature had permeated throughout the crew. First mate Pir seemed the most affected. Her lovingly barbed insults had lost some of their bite while she was icily cordial to Juub as always,  she began second guessing her every action and continually asking her if she had performed this task or another which were regularly parts of her day-to-day. Juub’s eyes, full cream toned and saucer-like, lazily surveyed the monitoring equipment and internal communication material in front of her. 

A Bachelor's in Communication, 3 years of experience, and still sending out memos like an intern, she thought to herself with mild bitterness. If she was being truly honest with herself, which she wasn’t, Juub would have to acknowledged she actually had no issue sending out a memo to the four other ships in the fleet that hologrammie night had been postponed yet again. No, what had irked Juub so that she felt such work was beneath her was Pir’s curt instructions and micromanagement. She couldn’t care less what Pir thought of her personally but this professional questioning of her abilities to perform her job effectively made her feel particularly undervalued. It was perhaps no surprise in this working environment that one of her tabs was open on Spacepage, scrolling through her news feed, silently chuckling at the occasional meme and frowning at the photos of friends on holiday, apparently more successful and happy than her. Just then she noticed something and stopped scrolling with a gasp. She got off her chair with a bounce.

This will show Pir, she grinned to herself. On her Spacepage was a post, “Look what my little cousin on Tholosphaerium saw! It’s massive 😮” Underneath, shot in a very tasteful retro filter, was a photo of a ship which was too large yet somehow proportionally so, with a pancake shaped hull on top of gigantic secondary hull.

 

The Genvangelion made its way through the death of space, menacingly and with purpose. An Infiltrator spaceship, it was one of the few hunter-fighter class ships in the Ulion Galactic Fleet. Its exterior was a dark charcoal grey which fooled the eye into thinking it was black. Able to be manned by a small crew, like its designation suggested it was built for infiltration and pinpoint attack. Its wings were crescent moon shaped that thinned to a sharp point at the ends and cupped its single circular hull on other side, giving the effect of an eye bearing down on its prey if viewed at the right angle. Inside that eye, Commander Titus stood upright, his posture perfect, his hands clasped behind his back authoritatively. Only people supremely confident in their authority and command stood like that. His eyes pierced forward with singular purpose and an intensity matched only by the blinding light of the white flames adorning his head. He would be never be mistaken for anything less than what he was, a military commander used to his orders being followed immediately and without question. His bearing marked him so. Following the crumbling bread trail the Zeppulian had left behind had not yet been particularly fruitful. However, they had determined it had engaged some ships, possibly a space pirate fleet, on its way through the Arbeth sector. The minuscule traces of time-space residue left in the area indicated that they had use momentary displacement torpedoes to make their escape. Resources which rightly belonged to the Intergalactic Ulion Council. He clasped his hands more tightly behind his back at the thought. He disapproved of wasted resources, especially ones which could have been used for the expansion of the Council. He would have some stern words with the thieves once he caught up with them. And catch up with them he would. It was only a matter of time.

A hint of movement behind him caused him to turn his left ear ever so slightly back to acknowledge the presence of his communications manager, Ensign Lig, an Autotaun who was standing to attention the way soldiers do when they have news to report.

“It’s been sighted,” she stated with stiff directness. As usual Lig’s words emerged from… somewhere… clear and crisp with a rich full-bodiedness that few other species could match.

“Where?” Titus replied calmly, not moving his head to face his subordinate. He could feel her slight hesitation although he had yet to face her and if he did, she had no face to betray any emotion.

“The Tholospharium, sir. Confirmed on the docks.”

The corner of Titus’ mouth tightened into the hint of a sardonic smile. The Tholospharium was neutral space which offered full asylum for those within its dome and didn’t recognise the jurisdiction of the Ulion Council. Their leaders would not take it kindly if it was discovered that an Ulion commander had breached their asylum. Furthermore, any action there could conceivably disrupt the, as yet unfruitful, negotiations for expansion into the Novoc sector. No doubt this was what had caused Lig’s hesitation.
“Very well. Thank you, Lieutenant,” he dismissed Lig. He turned his head fully forward, the expanse of space ahead of them once again caught in his piercing gaze.

“Set course for The Tholospharium.”