It had been two years in the small spacecraft no larger than eight hundred metres called Umbraic Nova, or also known as the Shadow Burst. Yet, their final destination had not reached. The ship had no interstellar travel capability, but Rimdi, their great friend had modified the engine drive.
In space, small is good. You can ramp up the acceleration to impossible speeds. Inertia plays a little role in small things. Large ships however would need to take months to reach interstellar speed. When it comes to interstellar speed, it simply means speed about ninety-nine point nine percent of the speed of light.
But small things have a slight drawback: they could not mount enough power to gallivant around the universe. That's the paradox. You can have a brontosaurus, but it moves in inches, or you can have an ant, but it can only travel short distances.
Sylvina Aluna Celumbus had made a difficult choice. She chose to head towards a spatial void where no stars, planets or nebulae existed because there ahead laid a strange ring structure called the Booster. As its name suggested, the Booster would boost any incoming object very, very close to the speed of light by injecting high energy to space-time.
However, getting through the Booster was a bet. You would never know where the Booster would bring you, unless you had been through before. Even that had a possibility of throwing you too far as the energy density changed. Another risk was the Booster could be used only once in a specific period. Sometimes once in a few millenia. So if you planned to head for the Booster, you wouldn't know whether it was still active till you actually passed through it.
Both risks were Sylvina's concern. She had never been through this Booster before.
She held Vohne's hand when they walked through the hallway. Nervousness was creeping her spine. Besides, the news of a fast approaching ship had worried her as well. It was not the first time they encountered a ship, but usually those ships were of bandits. So far, suicide bombing and hijacking had topped the list.
Most came for a same reason: to obtain the Solar Catapult. A magnificent and yet remained a myth among most pilots weapon. It was said to be capable of tearing stars apart and catapult them away. Those bandits knew Rimdi's allies. They would hunt them down till they found the weapon, althought killing was sometimes necessary.
The communication window opened. A woman having a stern-looking face forced out a warm smile to them. She was wearing a profession short-collared black blazer. She spoke, 'Captains of the starship Umbraic Nova, I am Captain Adema of the starship Lunar River. We are announcing our presence to you at the last hour and now we find no time to speak of our urgency.' She paused, as if she allowed Sylvina to speak. Then she continued, 'We are in dire need of supply. We need a trade. We want more power. Our ship has run its full capacity since its departure on Noxus system. But the Vapidus are still on our tail. We cannot fend them off. We sincerely hope that the captains of Umbraic Nova would consider this seriously.'
Sylvina stood straight and thought for a while for what to say. 'I am sorry, Adema,' she said, at last. 'We don't have much fuel for us as well. We are having a small ship here. We need more power than you do. I am sure you understand the flight dynamics pretty well. We pitied your condition but it is the same for us too.'
'Are you heading to the Nexus?' Adema asked.
'Yes,' Sylvina said. 'Why?' she sensed a trap somewhere.
'Aren't we all? But the difference is there is a pack of Vapidus behind us. Tailing us for months. Your ship is small. They can hardly notice it. But my ship is big...'
'Vapidus is ahead of us, not behind, Adema. Stop lying,' Sylvina said.
'Well, I am not,' Adema said.
'Listen here, Adema, we are on our way to the Nexus and we are applying full thrust. Now you want to communicate with us and our acceleration has dropped by two orders of magnitude. That costs us more fuel than expected. Unless you have something better to let us treasure,' Vohne interrupted. 'We are in no position to negotiate here. Show us what you got and then leave our immediate space volume.'
'I am sensing an "or" behind your sentence, captain,' Adema said.
'Or we will shoot you out of the sky,' Vohne said firmly.
[What will Sylvina do to such offer? Will she trade? Is Adema a bandit like others? Or is she telling the truth? The Vapidus Nexus is where they are heading but how come some elements of the Vapidus are found behind Adema?
What will become of their fate?]