“They’re trying to pursue us,” Lucy noted.
“I’ll prep a jamming bomb,” Grace stated.
“I’ll be ready to get us hidden when it goes off,” Lucy said. “Our big advantages are that we’re still too far away for visual confirmation, and we’re near an asteroid belt.”
“Are you going to seriously go in there with the Cerberus?” Grace asked.
“We have to find a hiding spot,” Lucy said. “Just get the bomb ready. I’ll tell you when to launch it.”
The androids went about their tasks, ignoring Ophelia, Leon, Kat & Farah.
Leon rose and stretched his muscles. “We should at least look around, right?”
Ophelia glanced at Kat. “If they aren’t programmed to come after us when we actually loot, they probably won’t react if we walk around a bit,” Kat advised. “Or, at the very least, it’s equally risky to loitering in one spot.”
“All right, we’ll look around,” Ophelia agreed. “But don’t even try to open any closed doors yet.”
The four of them examined the area. There were five structures in total. Each one had a plaque with some pacifican writing they couldn’t read.
“Can we translate it?” Ophelia asked.
“It’s an old script,” Kat answered. “It’s like comparing the original Middle English of the Canterbury Tales to modern English. It’s different enough that our translation program doesn’t recognise it.”
“Maybe whatever her name is can read it,” Leon said.
“It might be too different,” Kat said. “Unless she’s studied the evolution of the pacifican language.”
“It might be worth a try,” Ophelia said. “But it could also be too risky since she is a prisoner.”
“Would she really try to escape with all of us here?” Farah wondered. “I mean, she hasn’t tried anything with just Yuri watching her.”
“She very well might,” Leon said. “She doesn’t seem the type to continue sitting idly.”
“There are also more potential escape routes here,” Kat pointed out. “If she managed to get away from Yuri for a brief moment, she’d be alone on a hostile ship with very limited places to hide or run and no knowledge of the layout. If she gets away here, it’s still unfamiliar territory, but that goes for us too.”
“Yeah, but she has no way to contact her ship,” Farah said. “We could just leave her behind.”
“That may be a bargaining chip we can use,” Ophelia said. “But I have a better idea. When the Cerberus returns, I’ll take the shuttle back along with Kat and we’ll have a chat with her. We’ll take pictures of all the plaques and show them to her. If she can translate them, we’ll negotiate with her to get the translations and then we’ll return.”
“How will you know if she’s telling the truth?” Leon asked. “She could easily feed us a bunch of nonsense.”
“We plug her translations into the universal translator,” Kat answered. “If she’s making it up, there should be some inconsistencies among the five plaques that’ll cause an error in the program.”
“Well, with that decided we just have to wait for the Cerberus,” Ophelia said.
“Detonate it now,” Lucy ordered.
The jamming bomb operated under a simple concept, fill the area with a cloud of charged particles to temporarily mask the signal of the ship from sensors.
Lucy piloted them into the asteroid field. She didn’t want to go far, lest they be severely damaged.
She went far enough to find a good sized asteroid and she magnetically locked the Cerberus to it before cutting the power to everything but the vital systems.
“Now, the important question, will they follow us?” Grace wondered.
“They’ll enter the field if they recognised the Cerberus,” Lucy predicted. “Or at least start bombarding it. The Alliance would love to bring us down.”
“One of the downsides of being popular, I suppose,” Grace said.
She winced as something loudly collided with the hull. That was going to be a dent she’d have to fix later.
They watched through the main viewer as the Alliance ships stopped, scanned the remains of the jamming bomb and left in short order.
“Good, they just think we’re ordinary smugglers or something,” Grace said.
“We’ll wait until they’ve been out of sensor range for a while and then we’ll return to our position,”Lucy said. “I just hope Ophelia and the others aren’t having any problems.”