Randolph Lalonde - Spinward Fringe Broadcast 08 - Renegades
he captured Captain Terka on Modun for our British
friends.”
    “He captured
someone?” Singe asked.
    “Oh, yeah, I forgot
you didn’t know about that. A little side operation. We got word
that the captain of the Resplendent was going to be visiting an old
friend on Modun and Jake negotiated a bounty with the British
Alliance. You remember when Stephanie was in command for three days?”
    “That’s when he
snuck off and got ‘im,” Singe said. “As broody as the man is,
he still impresses, I’ll give him that.”
    “Just don’t ask for
details,” Minh-Chu said, aware that the bounty brought back some
old demons for his friend, the captain.
    “Time for final prep.
Verify your settings, sync your autopilots and control interfaces,”
Singe reminded the small fighter wing as Minh-Chu was just starting
to think it was about time he did so. “Mission counter is under
sixty seconds, we should start seeing fireworks soon.”
    “It’s about time,”
Joyboy said as his ready indicator turned green in Minh-Chu’s
peripheral vision.
    Minh-Chu watched the
counter drop, second by second, as he verified that the fighter’s
control systems were synced up properly. They were finally using the
augmented interface built into the Earth Defence Force designed
fighters. They still had their hands on manual controls, but more
than half of the fighters’ responses were keyed by readings taken
straight from the pilots’ brain functions. Samurai Squadron was the
first to fully utilize the deadly quick systems after their software
was restored and locked, so it couldn’t be hacked unless someone
was sitting inside the cockpit.
    The mission counter
descended down to ten seconds, and Minh-Chu noticed that the
Warlord’s main engines still weren’t powered up, and the Torano
wasn’t on scanners. “Everyone check your tactical,” Minh-Chu
said. “The Torano hasn’t departed the station on time.”
    He deactivated the
mission counter. It was up to them to watch for the emergence of the
Torano or its escort. Minh-Chu performed a focused scan in the
direction of the space station, so far away it couldn’t be seen by
the naked eye. The quality of his results was a reflection of a
focused scan at long distance – they were incomplete and difficult
to read.
    “I’ve got it,”
Singe said. “Sent it to your screens.”
    The profile of the
Torano appeared on Minh-Chu’s tactical scanner, just on the other
side of the sprawling Zalor drift station. A second later, the
transponder information appeared with it. “They timed their
departure with a solar radiation spike,” Joyboy said. “This is
one smart freighter captain.”
    “Watch for those
modified shuttles,” Minh-Chu said. “Spread out and close on the
Torano, full burn. Singe, stay back far enough to cover us with
Joyboy and Uppity.”
    “Aye, watching for
the uglies.”
    “Torano, this is the
Warlord,” Minh-Chu overheard. Jake was handling the communications
with the Torano himself. “I have your crewman, and will execute him
as a Regent Galactic conspirator unless you surrender your ship and
cargo. You have ten seconds to respond.”
    “Warlord, this is
Torano Command,” replied someone aboard the Torano. “My duty to
the Regent Galactic Corporation supersedes my obligation to my
daughter’s idiot husband. You picked a lemon for a hostage,
Captain, and I’ll be on my way.”
    “Coming up on the
station,” Dent said from where he covered Minh-Chu’s right side
in a Ramiel Fighter.
    Zalor station seemed
endless, stretching off into the distance in a seemingly haphazard
shape. Large panels collecting light and accumulating energy from
gravity reached out from a jagged centre that housed hundreds of
docking bays, thousands of mooring points, and thousands of interior
compartments. The magnetic field surrounding the station forced
Minh-Chu’s shields to auto-adjust. “Wait, go around,” he said
as he realized what the Turano was doing by leading them

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