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Chapter 2: Once Around a Star.

Started by Senkusha,

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"Enforcer Harlaown, Enforcer Fate T. Harlaown, please report to the Bridge immediately."  The P.A. speakers gently echoed throughout the halls of the Arthra.

Fate glanced up toward the ceiling of her quarters and then back at the blond haired reflection staring back at her.  She gave her black uniform a look over one more time and smoothed out the front for the nineteenth time.  She squared her shoulders and rose her chin just slightly more, and flashed one of her world-class smiles.  Ultimate-Cute!!  She opened her door and stepped out into the hallway, then set off toward the bridge.  A few minutes later Fate stepped onto the Bridge.

"Fate-chan!", Lindy said with a smile and stood up.

"You wished to see me, Miss Lindy?"  Fate asked.  Lindy sighed quietly with a touch of disappointment.

"Yes.", Lindy replied, then glanced over to Amy.  "Miss Amy, please activate the briefing."

"Yes ma'am."

The lights dimmed slightly as the master view screen came to life.  A single star glowed in a field of black.  Fate slightly cocked her head to the left with curiosity.

"Fate, this is Alpha Centari.  It is Earth's closest star next to the Sun, of course.  Over the last few days, this star has been emitting a peculiar pattern to regular to be natural-forming.  Your mission is to explore the star's temerity and energy output readings, and upon the conclusion of the current pattern emission, to engage in a time-jump for exactly 72 hours ago.  Discover what started this unusual phenomenon."  Lindy said.

"Me?"  Fate replied.  "Why me?  I don't know anything about star energies let along time-jumping and --"

Lindy smiled and calmly walked over to Fate, then she knelt down in front of the young blond so that she was eye level.

"Because, I know that you'll get the job done."  Lindy paused, "And this is a simple enough task for a first mission, to get you used to some of the more standard operating procedures."  After Lindy was finished, she reached out and gently hugged her daughter.  Fate gasped and tensed up.  "Relax, Fate-chan.  Sweetheart.  It's okay."  Lindy whispered into Fate's ear.

Chrono chuckled a bit and walked over toward Fate.

"She did that to me for my first mission too, Fate."

"Miss... Lindy...?"  Fate choked out, although she wasn't being tightly held.  Lindy released her and held her at her shoulders, smiling gently.

"Be safe, Fate."  Lindy said and let go, standing back up.

"Fate, you'll use a slightly modified fighter craft with enhanced shields to protect you from the solar radiation, and of course a level seven pulsar-time dilation generator."  Amy said.

"Everything you need is already loaded up for you in the fighter.  You're cleared to launch immediately."  Chrono said.

"We'll keep an open transmission with you... just so you don't fall asleep out there."  Amy said, half jokingly.

"Th-thank you."  Fate said, not really sure what the appropriate response should have been, and then blushed assuming she answered the wrong way.  "I -- I'll be on my way then."  She finally said, bowed and turned on her heel.  The skirt she wore twirled around her slightly.

"Okay.  Life support, check.  Recording instrumentation, check.  Pulsar generator, check. ..."  Fate verbally went through the pre-flight checklist the same as she had studied with under Chrono.  The only difference is, this time, she'll be alone in the cockpit.  Well, not really alone.  Miss Lindy, and Miss Amy, and Chrono will all be there with her over the transceiver.  She forced herself to smile and forced the little bit of nervousness away.  "All system green."  she finally reported.  "Ready for launch."

"Launch granted."  Miss Amy's voice came over the radio, and a light changed from red to yellow.  A door opened in front of her.  Once it was fully retracted, the light in her cockpit turned green.  Fate flipped open the cover and took a breath.  Just like before. she thought to herself and pushed the button.

For a moment, a great inertia pushed her body into the seat back before the openness of space reset her gravitational field to zero.  She was weightless now, and force no longer affected her.

"Stand by for point-to-point jump.  In ten... nine... eight... seven..."  Amy's voice counted down.

Fate read the coordinates on her view screen.  Alpha Centari was about 57 light-years away from her current position.  Ordinarily, using a Dimension Drive, it would take her a week to reach her destination, but using the newer Pulsar generator technology, she'll be there in a little under 30 minutes.  She wondered why the fleet hasn't been upgraded to these new drive systems yet anyway.

"...two... one... Execute."  Amy concluded, and Fate pushed another button.  The stars all around her elongated into strands of straight spaghetti and then vanished.

Five minutes into the journey.  Lindy's voice came over the radio.  "Fate-chan, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Miss Lindy.  All systems are normal.  Although, it's strange not seeing anything out the window but blackness."

"That's because you're moving much faster than the speed of light."  Miss Amy's voice echoed over the speaker.

"I understand that."  Fate said, somewhat annoyed.  The Japanese language was her weakness not mathematics or science.

"Speaking of studying..."  Lindy said, "Did you --"

After waiting for about five seconds, Fate assumed that Lindy had asked a question.

"Of course I did.  I study every night.  It's just those Particles elude me.  I just don't understand how wa could be ga, and for that matter why it's spelled like ha is."

Ten seconds went by.

"Miss Lindy?"  Fate spoke calmly.  And then again.  "Miss Lindy??"

Fate checked over the instrumentation and noticed that she was still transmitting and receiving in duplex mode.

"Miss Lindy?  Come in?"

At not receiving a response after thirty seconds, Fate hit the emergency abort button, causing the engines to decelerate out of Space-Time.  A large blueish-green planet with two small crossed rings came into view.

Favored Class:  Magical Girl


Meanwhile aboard the Yagami...

"What the hell?!"  Kiyone blurted out as a flash of light erupted in front of the ship.  An instant later an alarm sounded.

"Collision alert!"  Mihoshi said and back on the controls.  Yagami responded with instant precision and just missed the new object that was floating in front of them.

"All engines stop!"  Kiyone shouted.  Without missing a beat, Mihoshi pushed some buttons and the engines shut down.

"Whaaaa!"  Kim shouted as the harness crushed her into her seat.

"Mihoshi!"  Kiyone yelled angrily.

"Bu-- But Kiyooooone!!"

"Great job!"  Kiyone said expectantly.

"I couldn't help it, that thing just app---- wha?"  Mihoshi said, blinking.  Then smiled.

"I hope that's not an Imperial probe...", Kim muttered, finally regaining her breath.

"Let's find out what that is."  Kiyone said.  "Mihoshi, let's turn the ship around, very slowly and use the forward scanners to find out what that thing is."

"Right!"  Mihoshi replied.

Mihoshi tapped on a few buttons and activated the thrusters only, slowly turning the ship around along the Z-axis.  Slowly the object came into view.

"Well, that's a relief.  The Empire doesn't have any ships with that configuration at all!", Kim said.

"I've never seen a ship with that configuration either."  Kiyone said.  Just then Washu walked into the cockpit.

"That ship shouldn't be here.  In fact, it shouldn't exist."  Washu commented, as she typed on her holotop computer.

"We can't even hail the other ship.  All the communications networks are flooded with that SPAM."  Kiyone said.

"Yes, it is quite distasteful."  Ayeka said.

Ryoko snickered with a smile.

"I don't think the ship is disabled.  All power outputs appear to be normal."  Washu said.

"How do you know that?"  Mihoshi asked.

"Because it says so right here!"  Washu said, pointing at her holotop, spinning it around in midair.  "Seeeee?"

"Uh... huh!"  Mihoshi nodded, although she was clueless.

"We have to do something!"  Sasami said.

"Miyaaaaa meowwww meah myea!!"  Ryo-ooki added.

"What could we possibly do, Sasami?"  Ayeka asked.  "We can't communicate with that ship, and even if we could, we'd be giving away our position to those Star Destroyers that are chasing us."

"We can't just sit here though.  Those destroyers are coming, and will be here very soon."  Kiyone said.

"Maybe we could dock with it?"  Kim suggested.

"We can't.  You're ship is still docked with Yagami, and that's even assuming the person inside that ship WANTS to dock with us."  Kiyone said.

The girls all shared a unanimous "Hmmmm" and stared silently out the window.
"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


Not more than a second after Fate's ship exited hyper-dimensional space, an alarm went off signalling a collision alert. Unfortunately, there was nothing that Fate could do while the ship was decelerating.  If it weren't for the expert handling of the pilot of the other ship, surely Fate would have rammed right into the other ship, and possibly create an Level Five temporal distortion.  She watched the red ship as it maneuvered around in a spin until its front was pointing directly at Fate's ship.

Fate pressed a button that activated the scanning array.

No weapons power-up detected.  In fact, there was nothing but silence.  After a moment of nothing happening, she pressed another button, activating the communications system.

"Attention, unidentified craft."  Fate tried her best to sound official, despite having a small girlish voice.  "I am Enforcer Fate T. Harlaown with the Space Time Administration Bureau, Temporal Division...."  Fate's mind scrambled about on what to say next.  She was coming up with a blank.  After what seemed to be an eternity (five seconds), she continued.  "I am requesting escort to your home-world for a routine inspection."

There, that sounded good, right? she thought to herself.  She sat back and waited for a reply.

Favored Class:  Magical Girl


Kim unbuckled her restraints and stood up.

"Okay, then how about I detach from your ship and then that ship could dock with you... "

"You're forgetting one thing."  Washu said.  "That ship doesn't appear to have any sort of docking mechanism, therefore, it would be impossible for him to dock with the Yagami."

"Oh."  Kim replied.  "So... then what do we do?"

"Washu?  Couldn't you like create one of those dimensional door things and...", Mihoshi asked.

"Nope."  Washu replied.  "I don't have the materials."

"Oh.  Well, we have to do something!"  Mihoshi exclaimed.

"My ship can access different radio bands, maybe I can transmit a message using my comm system."  Kim said.

"It's more than we can do from here."  Kiyone replied.

"Alright, then that's the plan!"  Kim said, and snapped her fingers.  She slid through the cockpit door and made her way to the docking area.  Carefully, she maneuvered down the tunnel and hopped back into her cockpit seat.  With the flip of a few switches, the engines powered up and most of the instruments gave a green light indicator, stating they were ready.  Kim switched on the radio, and quickly changed the broadcast frequency to something not used on either the Imperial or Jurain networks.  She cleared her throat.

"This is Major Kam-- um...", Kim began but then realizing that he was still in this awkward form, didn't sound like himself at all.  "... Kim uh...Tashi... of the um... well, Um... we mean you no harm, if you can hear me um... Can you hear me?"  She let go of her mic and punched the console in front of her.

"I really need a beer!"  She screamed. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGG!"
"You create the world in which you live." --Somebody much smarter than me!


Just as Fate laid her head against the headrest, her computer displayed a message.

Radio transmission detected:  Zeta band.  Modulation 543 gigahertz, duration 15 seconds. Range 498 meters. Origin:  289x15 degrees (absolute).  0x2 degrees (relative).

Fate tapped on the touch screen display and configured the system to replay the message.  After listening to the message, she took a moment to collect her thoughts.  She was delighted to hear a friendly voice on the other end.  Then she pressed the transmit button.

"This is Enforcer Fate T. Harlaown with the Time and Space Administration Bureau.", she repeated,  "I am reque---"

An alarm chimed as a barrage of green energy bolts flew past the widow. Two hit the red ship in front of Fate, another smacked into Fate's ship.

Status:  Dimension Shields holding at 99.93%.  Target is of an unknown configuration.

Fate jerked the control stick and rotated her ship around to the offending craft. Although, Fate had never seen the triangular shaped capital ship before, she instinctively knew that she was out-classed.  Doing some rough math in her head, she knew that she'd only have a matter of minutes to escape a direct confrontation with this new unknown foe.  She tapped a few more buttons on her display and brought up a detailed scanner readout of the red ship she was attempting to contact.

Target:  Shields 27%, Engine output 53%, Hull integrity:  95.3%  Life signs:  Indeterminate.

"Hmm, they're not going to last very much longer.  But, I can't just turn my back."  Fate reached for the golden jewel dangling around her neck.  "Bardiche, site to site teleport."

"Yes sir."

"Let's go!"

A brilliant flash of golden light erupted from where Fate sat. One moment she was sitting in her chair, the next she was standing in the cockpit of the Yagami.

Favored Class:  Magical Girl