Blackstar was unusual, at least when compared to a human. Blackstar was a Chakat, which is to say a creature that looked like someone had taken a cat, cut off its head, and spliced in a humanoid torso to create something like a feline centaur. Shi had an almost completely white fur pattern, except for a black star shaped patch on hir back and a black crescent moon on hir right cheek. Shi often wore a vest that covered the star patch, as well as a utility belt. Shi was also unusually tall for a Chakat at a relatively large 5í10".
Blackstar was bored as shi walked around the mall of the town shi sometimes considered a home. Hir crew hadnít had a job in weeks. Shi hadnít even had a chance to take hir newly refitted ship out for a test run. The new ship, the Mystic KT-422 was acquired after hir last one was destroyed in a Star Fleet incident several months earlier. It was designed by Starlight and was originally a prototype for Star Fleet, though they chose to back a more conventional design. Blackstar used part of hir rather large inheritance to acquire the ship for hir business. Blackstar was the head of a small security firm which shi had been building up slowly for over two years. Hir crew would provide escort for many freighter captains traveling through dangerous territory. The new ship was designed with this in mind and was capable of outrunning almost any civilian ship, or catching any pirate ship. The only exception Blackstar knew of was the Folly, an unusual cargo ship, but if the rumors were true Blackstar wouldnít need to escort it anyway. In fact shi was certain Sky, hir chief of engineering, had tried to steal some of hys ideas from the Follyís captain, with limited success. Sky was still angry about hys failed attempts at recreating something called a Zulu.
Out of boredom, Blackstar decided to visit the closest thing to what shi considered to be hir hometown on Earth, a town averaging between 50 to 60 thousand people. Shi was eating lunch at the mallís poor excuse for a food court, which was little more than a pair of restaurants near the main entrance. Blackstarís excellent hearing overheard a group of college students talking. "What are we going to do?" asked a vixen.
"I donít know", replied a female wolf. "Thereís no way we can raise up enough money. Where are we going to find a captain willing to go through pirate-infested space on this kind of budget?" Blackstar looked around, thinking it was too good to be true. Sure it probably wouldn't be profitable, but Blackstar was going stir-crazy from sitting on hir tail for almost a month. The wolf continued, "I mean it isnít like any captain is going to come up and ask, ĎWould you like a cheap ride to Quenxel?í"
Blackstar raised an eyebrow. It was an incredible coincidence, since hir sister lived on Quenxel and was one of the Blitz team's usual base of operations when they weren't on the move. Shi walked up to the table and asked, "Would you like a cheap ride to Quenxel?" The two canines looked at hir as if this was not something to be joked about. "Iím serious. Iíve needed a chance to give the engines on my ship a stretch. And I can do it cheaper then just about anyone. And we can carry a reasonable amount of cargo. Now, mind filling me in on the details?"
The vixen replied, "Our professor wants to run an experiment involving the quantum enhancer device, but our university has a limited budget and canít send us to the only facility that can help us. Itís on a backwater planet called..."
"I admit Quenxel is out of the way but I wouldnít call it a backwater planet," interrupted Blackstar. "And Iíve been looking for a decent excuse to visit my sister without my partner having a cow. Which would be impressive considering shiís a Caitian." After the looks shi got, shi added, "I believe the word weíre looking for is, anyway. Now who do I talk to at the university?"
"Our professor is Doctor Oliver," answered the wolf. The name sounded familiar but Blackstar shrugged it off. Shi thanked the two canines and went on hir way. Shi knew that shiíd get an earful from Nightrose when shi got back about not discussing jobs with her before accepting it, but shi could actually excuse this one as a reason for a test flight of the new engines.
Blackstar walked over to the local university to take full advantage of the nice weather. It was rare weather in Sheboygan. It wasnít long before shi found the facility. Shi asked around till shi ran into a human. "Excuse me sir. Do you know where I can find Professor Oliver?"
The young man, who shi assumed was one of the older students said, "Sure. If you follow me Iíll take you right to him" After a few moments of silent walking the young man asked, "Why are you looking for him anyway?"
"Well I overheard some of his students talking about him wanting to perform an experiment with them on Quenxel, but didnít have the budget. So I offered my services," said Blackstar. "So what do you do?"
"You teach?" asked a surprised Blackstar.
"I teach the latest in cybernetic technology, but my students would rather watch vids. It's difficult to find a student around here who still likes learning. Ah, here we are. This is Professor Oliverís office." They entered the dark office and looked around.
"Looks like he isn't here," said Blackstar.
"Hang on," said the young man. He sat down on the chair behind the desk, and turned around in it three times. Just as Blackstar was about to ask him what he was doing he said, "Hello. I am Professor Oliver, what can I do for you?"
"Youíre just a little weird," said Blackstar.
"Blackstar, Iíve heard about you and you crew, and of all people you should not be calling anyone weird." Blackstar had to admit that was true about most of the people that shi worked with. "And considering youíre not a normal Chakat, youíre the one people should be calling weird."
"How do you know so much about me? And what makes you think Iím not a normal Chakat?" asked Blackstar.
"I know that your "grandfather" was Starfox and that you carry many of hir genetic traits." Blackstar was becoming more suspicious by the second.
"Oh? And what do you mean by that," asked Blackstar. Shi knew hir grandfather was unusual, but Blackstar didn't know of any unusual genetic traits, other than their height.
"You don't know? Hmm...perhaps I'm mistaken then," said the Doctor. "You're also related to Professor Indiana of the Dexter University out east right?"
"Shi's my mother," said Blackstar. "If you want to continue talking about my family history we can do it on the trip. If you don't mind, I'd like for us to get down to business."
Two days later...
The Blitz teamís newest ship, the Mystic, was fully outfitted and ready to go by the time that Blackstar and Nightrose boarded her. Nightrose grinned, "I still canít believe what you tried to name the ship."
Blackstar innocently asked, "Whatís the problem with a patrol cruiser named Bob?" Nightrose shook her head in resignation. Blackstar was a good partner but shi could be such a silly Chakat. "Star Fleet let me name a planet George."
"Thatís because you discovered it. Besides, Star Fleet wouldnít have to live on a ship named the Bob like we would," explained Nightrose.
The Mysticís forward section was a long shaft with a saucer shape at the forward section that served as the command module. The farther back and down the shaft went the wider it was, the top being a flat surface, with several custom designed phaser cannon emplacements along it positioned so that as many as half the emplacements could target ships almost anyplace. At the end of the shaft was the engineering section. The engineering section contained fuel, the main warp core, living space, cargo holds, and a hanger. The hanger had launch catapults for five one-man fighters called Blades and held Blackstarís personal ship, the Midnight Star, when the occasion called for it. Extending from the engineering section were four adjustable "wings". These wings each held an additional mini-warp core and a warp nacelle. They all extended out to a point where the engines were. They were also adjustable for maximum warp travel efficiency. The only real complaint Blackstar had about the Mystic was that it was not the most energy-efficient ship. In full combat mode, the Mystic was underpowered and had to rely on batteries for additional power. Sky estimated that the Mystic would last about a half-day in full scale combat, before relying on reserve batteries.
"Well Nightrose, as punishment for disagreeing with your commanding officer, you get to handle launching and all the paperwork," said Blackstar before shi ran off to the observation lounge. Nightrose was impressed and dismayed. Blackstar was getting better with new ways of giving her the horrible assignments and make it sound like it had legitimate reasons.
She reached the bridge and took a seat in the first officerís chair. The Captainís chair was taur-shaped and Nightrose still had bad memories of landing on her rump when using those. As with most bridges, the command seats were at the center of the bridge; in this case they were on a raised platform giving their occupants a view of all stations on the bridge. The three forward stations were normally used for, going from left to right, main sensor monitor, tactical, and helm. There were also stations behind the command seats but those were auxiliary stations, environmental controls, engineering, etcetera. At sensors was the new kid, a human named Neal Serge, about 17 years old. At helm was Chakat Firefox a.k.a. Trip, Blackstarís kid sister who, despite being the youngest crew member at a young seven Earth years old, was actually one of the more mature ones. After an uneventful launch and jump to warp speed, the bridge crew joined the other crew members and some of the passengers in the observation lounge.
Blackstar was watching several of the crew and passengers playing a game of poker when shi noticed that Serge was just looking out a window. Shi walked over to where Serge was sitting and put hir head on his shoulder. He asked, "What are you doing, sir?"
"Donít call me sir. We arenít in the military", said Blackstar. "I was looking for what was so interesting that youíre sitting over here instead of playing poker or talking to someone, or not sitting here doing nothing."
Serge looked uncomfortable with the Chakat being so forward. "Well, I donít know any of them that well, so I tend to avoid them. And I donít know how to play poker."
"Well how are you going to get to know any of them if you donít talk to them?" asked Blackstar. "If you really want to get to know people, Iíve got the perfect game: TWISTER!"
Less then half an hour later, Blackstar, Nightrose, Serge, and Trip were a tangled mess. Sasha was caller and was amused at where Blackstarís nose had gotten. Nightrose simply said, "Oh, oh" before she made a very recognizable sound. Blackstar said, "I'm going to guess chili. Hey, Serge, what do you think of this crew now!"
"I think Star Fleet should adapt your methods for interrogation techniques," said Serge who was bent over backward, arching over Nightrose. "This was not mentioned when I signed on!"
"It could be worse," said Sasha, "Blackstar could have you playing strip poker like shi did when I signed up." The Rakshani did complain about that night, but she had actually enjoyed it. That was when she began to like Blackstar as more than just a friend. She sometimes wished that she could give birth to Blackstarís child, or just carrying a child, period. Sasha had briefly been in Star Fleet until she had been injured in a training accident, the same accident that had cost her any future children. After that, she had left Star Fleet and had been an independent mercenary until she ran into Blackstar who instantly saw her potential. Sasha was now the Blitz teamís platoon commander. Of course under normal circumstances, the platoon consisted of her and Blackstar, which was usually more than enough to defeat most pirates and slavers. "Okay, Serge, Left foot red."
The young human twisted his hip to move his leg to a red circle and touched it briefly before falling on top of Nightrose and they quickly degraded into a giant pile of limbs and fur. "Well that was fun," said Serge.
"Not if you were on the bottom," said Trip, who was unfortunate enough to be at the bottom.
Dr. Oliver, who had watched the whole ordeal, shook his head. Is this really the Blitz Team Iíve heard so much about? How can anyone consider them a real threat? "Why donít you tell us why such a lovely Chakat like you became a pirate fighter?"
Blackstar took a seat in hir favorite taur-sized bean bag chair. "Itís actually because of my father. He was a pirate fighter since he was a kid. He started out as a crew member aboard a ship called the FSS Angel Grove. He eventually began his own organization with his own ship, the FSS Eagle. Later on shi sold the Eagle to hir second in command, after acquiring the FSS Falcon. I bounced around a lot doing odd jobs until I was 15. Then at age 16 I tried entering the academy without my fatherís permission. When shi found out shi got me kicked out. Shi hated the military and didn't want me to have to fight for something I might not believe in. Then by sheer dumb luck I landed up saving the life of a planetary dignitary who helped me out. Then for about a year I worked as a defense force pilot on and off for Tortuga Station. After I got enough money, I started up the Blitz team. At first we only had the Midnight Star, but we soon expanded our operations. Our last ship, the Venture, was destroyed because Star Fleet intelligence screwed up, or at least that's the story. Mercenaries like us are disposable to the guys in charge of the military. Anyway, Star Fleet paid us and with some extra money, IÖ um... acquired the Mystic."
"So have you done anything, but fight pirates in your entire life?" asked Serge, who was now seated in a beanbag.
Blackstar thought about it. "Yes, actually. When I lived in Sheboygan, I did illegal street racing for a while. Itís difficult to avoid the police since all PTVís are equipped with an AI, but we figured out how to bypass it. And then I was at Star Fleet academy for a while before my father screwed my life up."
"Wow, I didnít know you did anything illegal," said Serge.
Trip added, "Shi also smuggled when shi worked on Tortuga." Blackstar gave hir a dirty look. "And soon shi might also murder me for not knowing when to shut my mouth."
Blackstar tried to downplay it, "it was only a few times, and it wasnít technically illegal since the Federation had no authority in the sector at that time. And it wasn't any really bad stuff. Just some hard liquor."
"Hard liquor? Like what? Moonshine?" said the Doctor.
Blackstar laughed, but slowly stopped laughing as shi realized he wasn't joking. "Well, more like stuff capable of getting a Chakat drunk. Of course it's pretty dangerous, since it at near lethal levels of toxicity. That's why it's banned. And it makes a traditional Molotov cocktail look like a firecracker in comparison."
"Right," said Oliver, not totally believing Blackstar's story. "So have you ever been caught doing this illegal stuff?"
"No," said Blackstar. "Okay once. I called in a few favors, made a few deals so I got away with nothing on my official record."
Nightrose snorted. "Shi's making that up. Doesn't want people to know shi was such a goodie-goodie. Thinks it's bad for hir 'rep' or something." Blackstar frowned, being reminded how being a Chakat made other captains think shi wasn't as good because shi was a pacifist or something. While Blackstar didn't like fighting, shi was good at it, and if shi had to take out a few low-life scum bags to protect people for the greater good, so be it.
"Youíre not a normal Chakat, are you?" asked Sasha.
Blackstar gave Sasha a skeptical look. "Youíve worked with me for two years and youíre just figuring this out?"
"Well youíre the only Chakat Iíve known other thaen Trip," pointed out Sasha.
"I think itís because of my parents," said Blackstar. "My father didnít want me to join any military service because shi didnít want me to be Ďa dog of the militaryí. Since I was raised on combat, I naturally wanted to follow in my fatherís footsteps. I decided that Star Fleet would be the best way, but things didnít turn out that way."
"Well it could be worse," said Serge. "You could have been stuck with my parents." Blackstar gestured for him to continue, "My mother is a nymphomaniac/writer who hasn't paid for a delivery in the 17 years I've known her, and my father stars in a gay strip show in Vegas. I donít want to talk about it," said Serge, "How about you, Trip. Seen any good movies?"
The next morning, Blackstar stopped on the bridge during hir rounds and noticed that Trip and Sky were arguing with Sasha. "Iím telling you there is no way thatĎll ever happen."
"Youíll never know until you run the tactical simulator," said Trip.
Blackstarís curiosity got the best of hir again. "What are you guys discussing?"
Sky answered, "Weíre discussing the question as to which ship would win a fight, the Mystic or the FSS Phoenix."
Blackstar tried to recall what shi knew about the ship. "That would be Keyís ship, correct?" Several nods confirmed this. "Then them hands down. Keys has several family members on board making him all that more determined to protect them. Including at least two wives that I know of and the child he had with each of them. Not to mention they almost double the weapons we have. Our only real advantage would be our small size and maneuverability. Not to mention we have limited battery power when in combat mode."
"A human with two wives?" asked Sky. Few humans hy knew would take multiple mates for some weird human reason.
Blackstar nodded, "And the second was human female too. Quite unusual too since they grew up in an area with a largely human population who disapprove of that sort of thing." And the question of who would win in that battle was quickly decided, especially when a Captain bet against hir own ship. "Anyway...has anything interesting appeared on sensors?"
"No," said Sasha. "Some denser then average nebulas, some stars with nothing noticeable about them. Oh, but there was another pirate attack on the frontier by a currently unidentified group. 15 fatalities, 7 serious injuries, and about 200,000 credits worth of cargo stolen."
"Great," said a sarcastic Blackstar. "Anything along our course?"
"Nothing worthÖ" Sasha was interrupted by an alarm. "Weíre being pulled out of warp! A massive gravity field has forced us to drop to sublight." She checked her console at tactical. "Three ships are closing from 10 oíclock, 12 oíclock, and 2 oíclock. Three modified cargo ships."
"Pirates," spat Blackstar. "All hands to battle stations!" An alarm sounded and Blackstar took hir seat in the center of the bridge. The deck shuddered as the energy blasts were negated by the shields. "Sasha, return fire!"
The Rakshani began firing all the ships cannons towards the enemy ships. She then reported a problem, "We're low on power. The main reactor is offline. We're on battery power only. We got ten minutes at our current power levels."
"I'm trying to shut down non-essentials to conserve energy," said Trip, "but we can't win without the cores."
"It'll take a few minutes to restart the main core," said Sky. "I'll see if I can speed it up." The Chakat-kin took the lift down to main engineering. Even if hy could cut a few corners, hy knew that the main core would take at least ten minutes to restart, and the batteries would never last that long in a three-on-one fight.
Blackstar knew how bad the situation was as well. The amount of time shi had studied the ship's current design was second only to Sky's. "We can't win with brute force. Layla, are you monitoring?"
"Of course captain. What do you need me to do?" asked a female voice emitted from the PA system.
Dr. Oliver interrupted Blackstar before shi could explain hir plan. He came on the bridge in a panic. "We're under attack!"
The bridge crew all looked at him for a moment before Trip said, "No shit."
"Watch your mouth, Trip," said Blackstar. Blackstar shook hir head. "Layla, I need you to make some PB & J."
Dr. Oliver's jaw dropped. "You're going to have a sandwich at a time like this? And who's Layla? Your cook?"
Blackstar ignored him. "Open a channel to the lead enemy ship. Tell them we're willing to negotiate."
"Negotiate?! They're pirates. They'll slit our throats and rape the women," said a hysterical Dr. Oliver.
Blackstar glared at him. "First of all, even pirates have rules about this kind of thing. And second we're not surrendering. We're going to be trying a gambit in order to get checkmate. All it takes is for the enemy to make one mistake." The deck stopped its shuddering as the enemy fire stopped. Sasha ceased fire, having a good idea that Blackstar was planning to order that next. Blackstar nodded in approval. "And that will be their mistake-in-progress. Layla, PB & J. Put the enemy on-screen. This is Captain Blackstar of the Mystic. To whom am I speaking?"
The human who appeared on the main screen grinned. "You can call me Captain Jack Daniel. So you are the infamous Captain Blackstar. I wasn't expecting someone so young."
"Infamous? That's a new one," said Blackstar. "Usually it's more along the lines of 'annoying' or 'pain in the ass'."
The enemy captain laughed. "Yes, many pirates who escaped your wrath have called you that as well. However it seems that the tables have been turned for a change. I offer you special one time opportunity to join me. With the power of your ship and my fleet, we will be able to take over entire sectors, entire production facilities, and maybe even the whole federation! Join me and together we can rule the Federation. Reject my offer, and you will all die."
Blackstar looked at hir private monitor. Shi needed more time. "I see. And what political power would I have in this new order?"
Daniel smiled. "Why, you'd be among the leaders of our new order. Wealth and power beyond your wildest dreams, and it can all be yours." Blackstar couldn't help but snort at his little sales pitch. "What's so funny?"
"Are you going to throw in a toaster too," teased Blackstar. "You may be more ambitious than the average pirate, but you have even less intelligence. Do you really think that I could be so easily swayed by a second-rate moron like you?"
Daniel's face turned red with rage. "You're a sitting duck you fool. You fail to realize that my ship can tear through yours as though it was tissue paper!"
"Can it," asked Blackstar.
Daniel's face twisted in his anger. "All ships, destroy the Mystic! Tear her apart!"
"We can't sir!"
"Why not!?" Daniel looked at the viewscreen where the image of a very smug Chakat remained. "YOU! What did you do?"
Blackstar laughed at Daniel's expense. "While we've been talking, one of my more unique crew members has been using the transmissions as cover for hacking into your ship's computer and, by extension, the computers of your two sidekick ships. The idea of linking all your ship's computers for improved response time is a good concept; however I just happen to have a crew member who can use it against you. Now I believe it's time for you to sleep. Good night."
"Wha..." Daniel's voice trailed off as he realized it was getting harder to catch his breath. The Blitz team crew member who had taken control of the pirate ships, named Vega, had adjusted the ship's environmental controls. She had reduced the oxygen levels to a point that would render the crew's unconscious but not dead. The pirate captain and his crew slowly slumped into their chairs, or collapsed where they stood.
Blackstar smiled in approval. "All without a single casualty. Just how I like it."
"So what did PB & J stand for?" asked Doctor Oliver.
Blackstar stumbled a bit. "Well...it stands for Piggy Back & Jack. We piggy back a comm signal and then 'Jack' their computer. At least I think that's what it stands for."
"How can you not remember what your own acronyms are for?" Doctor Oliver shook his head in dismay.
Blackstar and several of the crew members put on environmental suits that, while not rated for the vacuum of space, did provide enough oxygen to prevent boarding crews from passing out, and put the enemy in temporary holding cells or rather unused cargo bays that had all their auxiliary exits sealed, and the enemy kept under constant guard.
Since the Mystic was limited in her carrying abilities, Blackstar called in Star Fleet, but was surprised when an old friend showed up. Blackstar was shocked and happy when shi found an older Caitian in the observation lounge. "Well, I must say that Iím surprised to see you on my ship. I thought you had other officers handle public relations," teased Blackstar.
"Well, I made an exception for you," replied the old Caitian. This Caitian was the Captain of the FSS Pathfinder, which was one of the first ships to respond to Blackstarís call, as well as a Fleet Admiral. Fleet Admiral VíLes has been quoted saying, "The pay for this rank barely compensates for the paper work." Despite VíLes being a Caitian she was the lifemate of Blackstarís grandfather, Starfox, and Blackstar occasionally called her Grandma despite the fact that she would be barely old enough to have a grandchild, and that she was currently childless, in the sense that she had never actually borne a child of her own. Although she did consider Blackstar as a granddaughter and often treated hir as such when not doing business with hir. "I thought you might be interested in what your call for help sounded like backwards."
Blackstar rolled hir eyes. VíLes claimed that she was up to her eyeballs in paperwork, yet she still had time to make these jokes. She hit a button on her PADD and Blackstar recognized hir voice calling Star Fleet for help followed by a much deeper voice saying, "you will give me the blood of 50 young men and serve Satan for all time." Blackstar shook hir head at the stupid joke. "Nice try, but that sounds nothing like me."
"Forgive me Blackstar, I couldnít resist," said VíLes. "But in all seriousness, what are you going to do with your new little fleet." VíLes was referring to the pirate ships which now belonged to Blackstar.
Blackstar shrugged, "I havenít really thought about it. I could sell them for money, start my own transport company, or even convert them for combat duty." Blackstar honestly didnít know what shi was going to do with hir new fleet. "You know if Star Fleet hadnít kicked me out of the academy. I would be in my fourth year, or at best serving as an ensign on a starship. But instead Iím the captain of my own pirate fighting ship, and a small fleet of cargo ships."
"Thatís because you have a problem with authority. Youíd be spending a lot of your off duty time in the brig," said VíLes. Blackstar let it go because shi knew it was true.
VíLes said, "Could you send Nightrose to see me."
"Sure, no problem. But why?" asked Blackstar
"Oh, I just need to discuss a few things with her," explained VíLes.
"Did she find your spy cam?"
"Now, Blackstar, weíve discussed the moral repercussions of this before." Blackstar stared at VíLes for a full minute. "She actually hasnít found it yet. I want to know why sheís off her game so far on this trip." Blackstar shook hir head at yet another one of VíLesís pathetic jokes. Or at least what shi hoped was a joke.
On hir way to the transporter room, Blackstar stopped by Nightroseís quarters to tell her that VíLes was looking for her. Nightrose sighed. She knew that this was going to happen sooner or later. Nightrose walked down to the observation lounge. Before she could even say anything, VíLes said, "You still havenít told hir, have you?"
"No. Why do you care?" asked Nightrose.
"Because shi deserves to know," said VíLes, "You guys are a team and you shouldnít be keeping secrets from each other."
"Iíll tell her when Iím ready. Now leave me alone!" And with that, Nightrose stormed out.
"Do I have to do everything myself?" VíLes asked out loud.
Somewhere in deep space...
Faera groaned as she picked herself up of the deck of the Torrin. The injured felitaur turned her attention to what was left of the control console. "Computer, damage report." She recognized that her voice was dry, probably from the smoke being emitted from what was left of the sensor display console. The computer reported that all weapons were either disabled or out of ammunition and shields were no longer operational. "Computer, prepare to engage slipstream drive."
"Warning, enemy vessels are attached to the hull. Engaging warp drive will risk severe hull damage."
"Really? No kidding. Thanks," said Faera, "if I stay Iím dead, if I go Iím dead. Well, everyone has to die someday, and Iíd rather go down fighting. Engage slipstream drive!"
Sky was shaking hys head in dismay. This was the third time hy tried to explain the Skimmer drive to Dr. Oliverís students. "Okay. Think of it this way. Subspace and Hyperspace are like water and air respectively. Although travel in only hyperspace would be faster, it would also be more dangerous because it would be almost impossible to navigate. But weíve created a skimmer like warp drive. Like a skimmer vehicle, this new drive will skip along subspace, relatively speaking of course. There is a lot more to it than that, but thatís the essential concept behind it."
One of the students, a Voxxan tod, asked, "But if your analogy is correct, then a disruption in subspace could result in serious trouble."
Sky smiled. "A good observation. To prevent that problem, we launch a modified probe to smooth out subspace in front of us. And if necessary, we can modify our own deflector array to smooth out subspace. Despite the increased energy, we can reach much higher speeds than with normal current warp drive technology with much less energy. However, Star Fleet is concerned that this Ďexperimentalí drive is too dangerous to use on their ships, and too expensive. But it is easier than trying to figure out how to replicate the Midnight Starís slipstream drive or making it able to work on larger ships like the Mystic."
"Slipstream drive? What is that?" asked the Voxxan
Sky sighed, "I wish I knew. The only one who has any real idea about it is Blackstar, but shi has refused to reveal its secrets." Sky wanted to be the first engineer to replicate the Slipstream drive, the fastest known FTL drive in the Federation. The Star could go from Quenxel to Earth in only a few days if necessary, but Blackstar had only done that once. To Skyís knowledge, the drive was only limited by fuel. Due to its unique piloting system and its variable speed systems, it was difficult to obtain a true top speed that would be equivalent of a warp factor. When asked about top speed, the answer was simply that it had two speeds: fast and "whoa what was that?"
"Now if you could please follow me, weíll take you down to Quenxel," Sky led the group of students to the runabout. Blackstar had a tendency to name Blitz team ships after rivers, especially ones in Wisconsin. The current runabouts were named the Mullet after the Mullet River that flowed through Plymouth, and the Sheboygan. The Sheboygan was originally called the Kickapoo, but Serge kept laughing every time someone said it. As the runabout descended to the spaceport, Sky noticed a familiar ship. Despite the extensive damage to the ship, Sky recognized it as the Torrin. Hy didnít expect Faera to be in the area. Last hy heard was that Faera was running a route near Starbase 3. Oh, well. At least things would be interesting for a while if she was around.
Blackstar took the rest of the students to the surface in the Runabout Sheboygan and was walking through the spaceport when shi saw a familiar wolftaur. ĎWhat is she doing here?í Blackstar signaled to Nightrose and Serge to come over. "Do you see what I see?" Nightrose nodded. "What do you say to introducing ourselves?"
Nightrose shook her head. "Must you say lines that sound like theyíre from Sergeís 20th century cartoon shows?"
"Well I do have a utility belt like those lame superheroes of his," said Blackstar, indicating the multi-purpose belt around hir waist.
"Why are you two always bashing my cartoons?" asked Serge.
"I find his cartoons quite interesting actually", said a fourth voice. Nightrose and Serge whirled around to see who had spoken. "And it helps to prove that Serge is still immature."
"Are you saying that Iím immature, Faera? After all, I enjoy those cartoons as well," asked Blackstar who still had hir back turned to the young felitaur. "And here I thought I had earned your respect. You know, after saving your life?"
"Why, I meant nothing of the sort," said Faera. "You know the bitch is going to run the instant she sees us. You and I can keep up with her, but Iím afraid your biped teammates wonít be able to keep up. I recommend that they provide assistance from your runabout."
Nightrose glared at the felitaur. She didnít like the idea of leaving her partner alone, but had to admit that Faera had a point. She got close to Faera so that only she could hear."You had better bring hir back alive, or not come back at all. Got it?" Faera nodded. "Good. Because if you donít, Iíll hunt you down, kill you, and use you as a throw rug."
Faera nodded again. As Nightrose began returning to the Star, Faera shook her head. That Caitian was scary sometimes, even to a mercenary as experienced as her, when it came to her partner. Faera returned her attention to the old wolftaur bitch that she and Blackstar were about to take on. She noticed another taur talking to the old wolftaur for a minute before handing her something and leaving. From this angle, and the clothing of the taur, Faera couldnít tell who it was. Faera shrugged it off.
Blackstar noticed it as well, and figured they would find out soon enough who it was, once they captured her. She was the only criminal that had evaded Blackstar more then five times. This wolftaur was Parishka, the mother of Snowfall, Blackstarís sister and Denmate. Parishka was also a wanted criminal, charged with, kidnapping, assault on officers of the law, assault on civilian and Star Fleet ships, and attempted piracy, among other things. It had all started two years ago when the old wolftaurís daughter ran away from home, and sought help from a team of mercenaries. It wasnít long before Blackstar began working on finding Snowfallís closest relative through a DNA test, only to learn that the two closest relatives were Stareye, their shared father, and by extension hirself. After attempting to negotiate some sort of solution with Parishka, she tried to kidnap her own daughter. After she was arrested, Parishka broke out of prison and began trying to get revenge on Blackstar for embarrassing her and for kidnapping her daughter, or so she claimed. It was after the first battle between the two that Star Fleet authorized Blackstar to apprehend Parishka by any means necessary.
Faera noticed that Blackstar was deep in thought. "Are we going to sit on our tails all day, or are we going to take that bitch down?"
Blackstar grinned. "So, we split the bounty fifty-fifty?" Faera nodded. "Then letís do it! You should take her from the opposite side. Sheíll be less likely to notice you, whereas sheíll be on the lookout for me." Faera agreed and began maneuvering to the opposite side of Parishka. While Parishka was deep in thought, Faera and Blackstar approached her. "Parishka, you are under arrest on multiple charges of assault, kidnapping, arrest, and do I really need to tell you everything you already know about? Now surrender!"
The old wolftaur laughed. "Do you really think that you will succeed after you failed so many times that Iíve actually lost count. Although I must admit you have avoided my traps on many occasions. In fact you even seem to come out stronger than before. Perhaps I should finish this today. But to be honest, I canít wait to show you what I have in store for you. Once youíre dead, Snowfall will return to me."
Blackstar shook hir head, "Listen to yourself Parishka! You need help. Youíre mentally unstable. If anything, you causing my death would actually push hir farther away, assuming thatís possible of course. I donít know what you did to make Snowfall so angry with you that shi would run away, but all youíre doing is pushing hir farther away. If you really want hir to come back ,you should surrender."
Parishka shook her head. "No, no, no. Youíre lying. Those are all lies! You may have turned my daughter against me, but Iím not the only one whoís been betrayed. You are foolish to trust a crew of mercenaries thatíll do anything for money."
Blackstar could hardly hold hir temper in check. Hir crew would do a lot of things for money, but they would never do any illegal jobs. They might occasionally break laws but, usually there was a good reason behind it. "It doesnít matter. Iím still taking you down."
"No, I think not," said Parishka. "One, I have complete technical readouts for all the ships in your little fleet, and I will soon exploit their weaknesses. Two, youíll have to catch me first." Parishka ran away at full speed, and Blackstar and Faera gave chase.
The old wolftaur was just out of reach of the mercenaryís reach, so Blackstar pulled out hir stunner, but Parishka took a potshot and Blackstar lost hir grip, dropping the weapon. Dammit, thought Blackstar, I should have brought more fire power. Blackstar may not have had any weapons with hir anymore but there was more to hir then met the eye. Shi put on an extra burst of speed and got ahead of Parishka and quickly cut hir off as Parishka slammed into an energy barrier. The barrier was much like the energy shield used by starships, except it was miniaturized and fit into hir left arm, an artificial replacement, as the original had been severed several years earlier. Before the old wolftaur could recover from the shock of hitting a shield, another grey blur was on her back with an arm around her neck. "Itís over Parishka."
Parishka just laughed, "Youíre right. It is over, for you. Look where weíre standing." Blackstar looked down and saw nothing but the people on the bottom level, several floors down. This entire section of flooring was made out of some type of glass. Parishka, struggling for breath, pulled out an odd-looking device. "Good-bye, Blackstar."
"Oh...fuck! Who the hell makes a floor out of glass this high up?! This is poor building planning."
She pressed the one button on the device, and it created a loud screeching sound. As a reflex, Blackstar covered hir ears, but it did little good as the floor literally fell out from underneath hir. Time seemed to slow down as the two felines and the old wolftaur began to fall through the shattered floor. Blackstar was able to reach out and grab a girder with hir artificial limb. Shi yelled out in pain as hir tail was yanked as Faera grabbed it out of desperation. Blackstar wrapped hir tail around Faera's arm to prevent her from slipping. The only reason why Blackstar didn't slip and fall was because shi locked hir arm into place. Of course that didn't stop hir from tearing up in pain. "We sure were lucky that this support beam was here."
"Actually, it's decoration for aesthetic reasons," said Faera.
"I'm not complaining," said Blackstar. "Where's the bitch?"
Faera looked down and saw Parishka's body was at an odd angle with her head, and she was surrounded by a pool of blood. "Uh...she ain't coming back for part two."
Blackstar's eyes opened wide as shi heard a crack. Looking at the girder, shi saw the cracks forming. "Oh...damn." The decorative girder broke from their combined weight. With one loud final crack, the girder broke in half, letting the two felines fall. As Blackstar saw the ground rushing up to hir, thousands of scenarios ran through hir head try to try to find a solution. Then shi remembered something, and with that shi and Faera disappeared into thin air.
Authorís Notes: This story basically covers the basic background of the main characters, and introduces some secondary characters. My alter-ego is Blackstar, a white furred Chakat with a black star-shaped fur patch on hir back, hence the name. Nightrose, is Blackstarís partner, the reason will be explained later. After all I canít explain everything now, then what reason would you have to read the rest of the story? Will Blackstar survive? Will the Blitz team capture Parishka? Find out next time on Blackstarís Adventureís!
Continued in Episode 2
Story and Characters are copyright of Alex Wiegerling unless otherwise stated.
Chakat universe is copyright of Bernard Doove.
Boyce Garald Kline Jr, Rosepetal, Zhane and family are copyright Boyce Garald Kline Jr.
The Folly and her captain are copyright of Allen Fesler.
Skunktaurs are copyright Bob Reijns.
If Iíve managed to step on anyone elseís toes (or paws, claws, tails, or other various appendages) let me know and Iíll either give you credit or change my Ďtaleí.
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