Also previously...

“Attention all hands” Plisken’s voice echoed across the PA system “You might want to come and see this...”

Whether it was down to luck, good management or the fact that the rest of the crew were enjoying themselves somewhere else and hadn’t invited Cass to the party, even after stopping to shower and freshen up, she found she was the first to make it to the Drive Room.

“Alright?” she greeted Plisken.

“Ah, you’re back with us”

“Apparently so”

Bathed in the glow of the monitors, the old man pointed towards the main display “Since you’re here: What do you make of that?”

Cass cocked her head and frowned “What the hell have you got there?”

“I’m not sure. It’s blueshifted, so whatever it is, is heading his way fast, but I can’t make head nor tail of these readings. It’s like they’re not even part of spacetime”

“Have you got all the projections loaded and running?” Cass paused, her frown deepening as she regarded him. Was this guy actually from somewhere, way back in time, or was that the AR game screwing with her head?

Plisken just shrugged and gestured towards the screens “Sounds like you know best, missy. Perhaps you’d like to show this old timer how it’s done?”

“That wasn’t quite what I meant; but look…” Cass moved over towards where he was sat and leaned past him to swipe at the monitor controls “You’re missing the graviton filters for one. You can use those to extrapolate a temporal overlay. Simple relativity, right?”

The screens bloomed with new data.

“After that, it’s a bit of intuition based on what you’ve got” she pointed “See the ghost trace there?

“What on Earth...?” Plisken leaned forward to scrutinise the warped object on the display “It’s – That’s bloody massive, isn’t it?”

“Either that or very dense. I’ll bet you it’s a drive signature of some sort” Cass pointed at the area slightly behind whatever was generating the mass “That looks like some sort of a tunnelling dislocation, which says drive signature to me.” she said, thoughtfully “See how it’s being pulled along? Or is it pushing it? Either way, you’d need something like a brown hole for something like that”

“A brown hole?”

“Yeah, they’re theoretical as far I know, but there’s nothing to say that they’re not possible. They’re like an accelerated singularity that light can escape from - But what you’ve got there looks hideously distended”

“A distended brown hole?” Plisken murmured in disbelief “What could do such a thing?”

“Some large, external force?”

Plisken frowned, trying to visualise the concept for a moment and not liking the results. Thankfully, the console interrupted him by chiming to alert him to an incoming message “Heads up. We’re being hailed”

“Told you it was artificial” Cass grinned “Punch it up”

Pressing a couple of buttons, the old man routed the transmission to the main display, which flickered with the grainy image of a powerfully built and deeply tanned man. He had long, slicked back hair and piercing eyes. Rather startlingly, he appeared to be wearing nothing but a cloak, a heavy pair of boots and a bulging studded leather posing pouch. Other, similarly attired men lounged in chairs on the command deck around him.

“Would you get a load of that?” Cass gasped, her voice high with mirth.

“Ha, yeah” Plisken cackled “Reminds me of my old army days”

“Wait – What?”

“Inferior lifeforms” the transmission boomed “I am Lord Sweatpad [[Translation error?]], Messiah elect of the almighty Fazon and commander of the Holy Warship Cheesewobbler [[Translation error?]].”

Not caring whether the mic was on or not, Cass snorted “Is this for real?” She had a sneaking suspicion that she had forgotten she was still in AR again.

If he heard her, Lord Sweatpad gave no sign “You have trespassed in the Sacred Dominion” he continued, threateningly “We’ll emerge from Subspace to board you in less than two minutes. Needless to say, you’ll be subjected to a long series of horrific and humiliating tortures before your ultimate demise”

Plisken cleared his throat “Come again? Sacred Dominion? I’m afraid we don’t know what you mean”

“Ignorance is no excuse!” Sweatpad bellowed, surging to his feet “Assume the position and prepare to be boarded in the most brutal way imaginable!”

The transmission cut, leaving Cass to lean past Plisken to tap the control panel a few times.

Surprised, he looked up at her “The garbage pods?”

“Watch – Well, it might work...”

The sensors showed a small cloud of pods scoot away from the Dwarf over the next couple of minutes, and into the path of the Cheesewobbler, or whatever it was really called, as it emerged from Subspace.

Even decelerating, it hit them at almost three times the speed of light.

The warships shields weren’t designed to withstand that sort of punishment, and quickly withered beneath the resulting explosions. In the end, the Cheesewobbler was torn apart by a container full of empties from Parrotts Bar, which smashed through the ship, reducing it to a cloud of debris and a single severed engine nacelle.

“Ha!” Cass punched the air “Suck it, bitch!”

Plisken wearily shook his head and opened the intercom “Engineering?” he said “You might want a look at the salvage floating off the starboard bow. It looks like there might be some drive technology out there that we could appropriate”

So, that's where the subspace drive came from and what we did to annoy the Fazons, who it seems are a strapping bunch of chaps with a penchant for studded leather ;-)

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