The mission to retrieve the mated pair of big lugs of course included the “Lady in Chains” and was co-signed by Alice based on the reports of the metal she reportedly contained, plus the lugs were highly valued for moving cargo and the unique lighting system on the “lady” would mean that the one of a kind solar flares that had triggered there mating could be reproduced and triggered in a regular cycle to increase the birth rate.
The service labour union rep. asked for permission to approve lugs for import as soon as feasible. The union represents all dock labour at central planets and she was informed all mated pairs would be transferred forthwith. The jumpgate entered orbit and Alice parked it in a lagrange point aft of Alec in orbit. Alec’s pinger sounded. The Outsiders called “All clear” as the pingers reported known I.d.’s in bound.
The Outsiders came in fast and hot with the debis of battle caught in there warp wake.The two ships out front were dragging the spacestation that had orbited mudball and three more were behind it still spitting weapons fire down there back trail.
Alice suddenly folded space and jumped without warning behind the last Outsiders ship danger close and a hundred plus enemy ships that was following the small fleet hit three layers of full shields in a display that really, truly, brightened her day.
Then the last ship somehow cut though her shields like nothing was there. The ship pulled up and was flying below her defense grid sixty feet off the deck and hauling ass. They opened fire. Then the dust on the surface rose up and grabbed it, after just one shot the ship was grabbed shaken around a bit and then the dust rose up in a mighty wave that carried the ship to the slaver cradle and placed it gently in the recycling only zone.
Alec had thought that Tiamat was special but that display had no doubt topped it. The ship sat were it was gently set down and Alec could see the splattered remains of the pilot smeared on the windows from here. Alice used her tractor beams to fix orbits as her proxy took bids on the ship as is.
“I don’t know how long I was in n-space but I do know it was a very long time.”she then admitted.”I had no idea they could do that you know. But without that dust the pressure of time would have crushed me long ago. I have long suspected they shared a hive mind but was that fucking awesome or what”.
Ships on the surface reported that the dust did not enter there ships passed the airlock but a few people on one ship reported that attempts to communicate by sign language were promising. Alice told the ship that they had already made more progress than she ever had and was encouraged to continue.
Angel finally woke and found Bert and Erne posted on guard at Filis’s door she was groggy still but the sound of ethel slinging her juice made her thirsty. And berts possession of a molecular disruption device on a spacestation made the by-standers flee at one nod of his head.
Ethel held the first cup as Angel slowly drank clearing her mind of the coma induced fog. No one would bother her until her recent memory returned. And even though Tiamat appeared in biped form she said nothing and took a seat. She pointed at the two guards passed out on the floor and used a sign to order two of whatever they had had.
Notch saw Angel and wandered over to the kiosk. Suddenly a dark biped stoodup and asked in oddly accented English “How on earth did you get here human”.
Notch was taken aback as this was the first time Filis was not required as a go between to translate “I got abducted by that thing” Captain Stubby was being escorted by Dan-no and Paatay to the cafe for lunch because the brig was already packed with drunk pissed off rockjacks and they don’t play well with others to began with.
They were mad because Tiamat had appeared in the bar suddenly and told Barnum he was to pay for tie up because he had still been captain at the time it happened. Somebody said something stupid and the only reason they all whern’t in the brig is no more would fit. For the last six years she had been acting port authority and in that time no one had skipped out on a slip fee.
“Hay”she pointed at stubby and then pointed to the deck in front of her. Dan-no and Paatay had a hell of a fight on there hands as Stubby tried to get free again. Then smiley pounced on stubby from a cat walk stuffed stubby headfirst into ethel’s trashcan and plonked it down in front of Tiamat. He then spotted the two passed out guards looked at ethel and indicated he wanted one of whatever they had had.
Tiamat said to smiley “how did you change your time scale little skrayling” smiley had stopped smiling. Panic crossed his face he realized “She” was talking to him. He was saved from answering because Filis interrupted and told Tiamat about the redbull side effect.
Notch heard tiamats name and said “Tiamat is a dragon were I come from.”
Tiamat looked at notch and smiled for the first time on record and said “they remember me on earth still?”
Notch was joking when he asked “do you change into a dragon?”
Tiamat’s shape shifted right there for Notch and Alec got the closeups he had been pining for.
Notch just stared for a minute and then signaled ethel to send down one of whatever smiley and the two guards had had.