Alien Relations: Part XI

October 2942
Idris Frigate 'Celestial Unity'
Horus System

Matthius stood on the bridge looking over the latest sensor readings from the 'Scry'. It was right there, but the Idris couldn't spot it despite its best efforts. The XSO fleet had been scouting and exploring Horus and the UEE side of the Perry line for just over two months now and it wasn't until last week that the 'Scry' reported finding the jump point. Matthius immediately reshaped the XSO fleet to bring additional ships to Horus, including the Unity.

"Damn" He muttered to himself a bit too loud.

"Preceptor?" Communications officer Breckage responded.

"Initiate Sampson and I have been over these reports from the Scry and it's just not possible for the Unity to see the jump point." He frowned. Initiate Breckage stood unsure how to respond. "This means the Unity isn't going to be able to jump through without an advanced scout." Matthius could see the light bulb finally go off in Breckage's eyes. To make matters worse The Seer was still off in Xi'an space.

"Ok, signal the Scry. I am heading over. I want Deep Curiosity set up within six hours. I'll lead the Initiative via the Scry." Matthius strode off before Breckage could respond. The Initiate kicked into overdrive as he started shooting signals across the fleet to setup the Expedition.

Four Hours Later...

Matthius stood at the command station on board the Carrack explorer 'Scry'. Content to let Disciple Tatiana Valentino command the Scry, he focused on the fleet. The team had beaten his request by a full two hours and appeared ready to enter the jump point.

"One last check, Disciple." He addressed Tatiana.

Matthius sent one last ready check to the small task force and one by one they responded. "Constellation Aquila Haruspex, Reporting in." One voice led off, followed by another.

"Herald Soothsayer, Reporting all systems 'go' Preceptor." The familiar voice of Noviate Chambers rang in.

"Death's Custodian and Alpha Wing Ready Sir," Karen Shoemake confirmed from the cockpit of her Super Hornet.

"Unity, we'll report in upon our arrival and establish communications asap. Initiative Deep Curiosity is a go." He motioned to Tatiana. The fiery Italian began barking orders to her staff. With one last communique, "Saskia, keep her in one peace," he joked and gripped the console tighter. Matthius held himself up using the sturdy console as the ship began to shake and jerk slightly. The space in front of the Carrack distorted into a smear of light as a bubble of space opened up revealing a system beyond. Jumping multiple ships simultaneously was risky, but Matthius felt the need for numbers.

Tatiana, in full control of the fleet, began moving forward into the bubble. Matthius watched as the distortion revealed a window into another realm. Asteroids and a few stars could be seen through the aperture, but only to those looking from this side. Almost instantly the light ceased and the blackness of space returned to fill the glass cockpit as the Carrack slide through the portal.

"All units report in." Matthius barked over the primary command channel. One by one each ship reported in, minimal to no damage. This was a good start, he thought to himself.

"Alpha Wing, short range patrol route. Soothsayer, initiate masking procedures and establish communications with the Unity. Haruspex and Scry, begin system scanning." He laid out the plan. Now all he could do was wait.

Immediately, sensors told of the system's details: a giant asteroid field with no planets. If ever there was a pirate hideout, this was the place, Matthius mused. Twenty minutes later, that suspicion was confirmed. The Haruspex, attempting to get a better reading on the asteroid field, closed within 100 meters. As soon as the ship broke 100 meters, three Drake cutlass and two gladiator bombers emerged from the system. The Haruspex was in serious trouble.