“The engine will not become operational like this,” Yuri stated, pulling away. “You require more parts.”
“Unfortunately,” Ussie hissed. “I ussed all of our ssparesss for repairsss a couple dayss ago and Elijah hassn’t taken uss for replacementsss.”
Yuri considered the situation. There was only one real option.
“I will salvage the parts from my shuttle,” she said. “In exchange, you will bring the shuttle aboard until suitable replacements can be located and installed.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Ussie agreed. “I can even arrange temporary quarterss for you.”
Yuri nodded. She hurried to the airlock and back onto the surface. She had to get the parts quickly, before the Blazer’s crew started showing the effects of planetary exposure.
The weriloits regarded the akumillian party with less a lack of curiosity and more a very blunt resignation.
their questions were answered as quickly and directly as possible.
Still, Lucy caught some glances being thrown their way. She wondered if the scouting party had been less than diligent.
They made their way to the capital city’s government office to meet with the ambassador.
The weriloit looked considerably older than most of the ones they’d seen. He glanced at his visitors. Lucy got the impression that they had been scrutinised very quickly.
She stepped forward. If these people had no use for small talk or niceties then it made things simple.
“Our people desire a treaty of friendship with yours,” Lucy said.
The old ambassador glanced at her, closed his eyes and sat back. “What do you offer and what must we grant in exchange?”
Lucy could sense that her fellows were taken aback but they wouldn’t stop her. Not when everything about his body language showed a favourable response. She decided to press her luck. She outlined everything, leaving them with no real room to negotiate. If she was mistaken, it would make things difficult. But she didn’t believe the weriloits were the type to haggle.
The ambassador listened to the terms with out moving. Finally, he responded. “Agreeable. We will sign.”
“They aren’t answering,” Farah said. “I’ll have to send the message on an open channel.”
She cleared her throat before starting the transmission. “Unidentified vessel, this is Farah Jilani of the Cerberus. We insist that you identify yourselves and your purpose.” She turned to Paul. “Think I should’ve been more aggressive? Maybe it would’ve gotten their attention more quickly.”
“I think your message was just what it needed to be,” Paul said. “It won’t provoke them but it also demands an answer.”
The armed ship continued to move in. Farah was about ready to transmit another message, this one more forceful, when they got a response.
“Cerberus. I am Darna of the Nefrit.” Her voice sounded like she was barely suppressing a giggle. “You have entered private air space. You will surrender your ship, its goods and crew to us. Failure to comply will result in them being taken by force.” The transmission cut.
Farah grabbed her communicator. “Captain,” she reported. “We have a serious problem.”
“Two problems,” Paul corrected. “The Nefrit has increased speed. They’ll be here before everyone else boards.”