The J Team

It was the morning after Jade was rescued, and the threesome sat around the mid-sections scanner table picking at what passed for a breakfast put together from what little food Jay and Jamie had managed to salvage on their supply mission. Food hadn’t been a priority for their supply run, not since a fragile peace had been brokered between the humans, huzards and rodent populations of the Blue Dwarf and the three factions had worked together – to an extent – to cultivate a decent area of what used to be the arboretum into a small farm, growing fruit, vegetables and grain.
In return for the land, the Huzards would be allowed into the promenade and be given access to some of the humans more advanced technology, and the rodents commerce. While all working together to defend the ship and its diverse population.
This had meant that the mission had focused on spare parts, tools and medical supplies, and less so on food, something Jay was now regretting as he spooned a helping of non-descript ration-pack into his mouth and made a face that suitably demonstrated his disgust and washed it down with what was, at least, a half-decent coffee.
“What I don’t understand” he said, as he swilled the coffee in his mug. “Is how pirates managed this”
“What do you mean?” Jade asked, leaning forward, her elbows on the table, head in hands rubbing her temple, not sure whether her headache was from the stress of the situation or from being around Jay.
“Well…it’s just it takes a lot of firepower to breach the hull of a dwarfstar class ship. Most space-corp ships of our era would have struggled. Even getting on board they’d have to get past not just our people but the Huzards too. And Jamie and I encountered pirates just before we got your distress signal and picked them off without any trouble.”
“I don’t know what to tell you Jay” huffed Jade. “It was pirates, they came aboard, they ransacked the ship and they killed more than I could count. I know what I saw”
“I’m not saying you didn’t see that. But – my point is if they have that kind of firepower, not to mention man-power – where did they get it from? Who’s helping them? – and more to the point, what chance do we have of taking back the ship and rescuing our people?”
Neither Jamie nor Jade said much to this. It was unlike Jay to express doubts about their chances. The fact that he was now meant that the situation was all but hopeless.
“We have to at least try” Jamie said, slowly dipping a tea bag in and out of his mug.
“Yes. We do” said Jay. “I’ve already tracked multiple vapour trails. One is the ‘Dwarf, the rest is several escape pods and utility craft. We just need to decide which lead to follow first…”
“Might I suggest, we find a source of food first” Jade cut in. “None of us are any good to anyone if we’re starved. That includes you, Jay”

It was hard for Jay to disagree, as he spooned another mouthful of what could only be described as sludge into his mouth and fought the urge to gag.

“That narrows down our choices” Jay said, sweeping aside empty food containers from the centre of the scanner table and tracing a colured line on the display with a finger.

“This first path, seems to be the Dwarf itself, it’s trail passes a derelict, but my guess is it won’t contain much more than basic rations, and if it turns up nothing, we won’t catch up to the ship before we’ve run out of food – and even if we did, we’re not yet ready to launch any kind of operation against whoever’s in command at the moment. But, there could be some useful weapon upgrades”
“We’ve got what looks like Blue Midget on this vector here, it takes us back to the pirates Jamie and I disabled. There’s probably some decent food, but we’ll have a fight on our hands.”
“Lastly, this vector, following an escape pod heads into unknown space, but long-range scans have picked up a habitable world with signs of civilisation about a parsec from here. It’s likely the best chance we have to find food – but we have no idea what we’ll find when we get there, and for all we know, the pod is empty. This vector will take us further from the Dwarf than either of the other paths, but who knows, maybe we’ll find some allies…”

“So what’s it gonna be?”

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