Lieutenant Governor Sabine reclined back in one of the plush seats of the lounge of his custom-built Constellation Phoenix, Diamond of Larcom. Technically, it had belonged to the previous governor of Larcom II, but with him dead, Sabine felt that it was a waste to let such a well-appointed craft sit in the docking bay. With the arrival of Captain Ray on Larcom II, and the start of his pacification campaign against the undesirable element of Larcom in revolt, Sabine felt it was the perfect time to get away from it all for a while and let the situation resolve itself. Captain Ray seemed competent enough.
Sabine shifted in his chair, reaching for his beverage and letting his eyes wander onto the screen in front of him, eyeing the pornographic holovid with appreciation. Clearing his throat, he tapped the communication panel on his personal mobi-glass, opening a channel to the bridge. “Captain Gilbert, how much longer until we undock with the station? I’d like to get my pleasure cruise underway. The girls at Merin IV don’t like to be kept waiting, or so I hear,” he slurred, a lascivious chuckle escaping his lips at the mention of the fourth planet of the Merin system.
“Sit tight, Governor, we’ll be undocking shortly. Wouldn’t do to run out of snacks on the way, would it?” replied Gilbert in his calm and professional voice.
Captain Gilbert keyed off the communication and added, “You obese waste of air…” at a quiet mutter.
Gilbert’s co-pilot, Suli, grimaced. “I swear, as much as I’m happy to be away from all the rioting on Larcom, if I have to serve that idiot one more drink, I’ll put my boot so far up his stern that he won’t be able to sit right in his faux-leather recliner for a week.”
“Speak for yourself,” stated Clara, the navigator, with a smirk and a flip of her dark hair, “I can manage another month or two of his heavy breathing at the pay he’s offering.”
Gilbert snorted, glancing up at his readouts. “Station crew is giving us the green light, we’re loaded. Decouple the fuel lines and get ready to head out, Suli.”
“Roger, decoupling,” Suli said, tapping at his screen.
With a quiet hiss, the Constellation-class ship shifted away from the dock, decoupling from the extended fuel lines and disengaging from the airlock. Its engines flared gently as they powered up, and they eased out of the docking ring of the station. “We’re cleared for— wait,” halted Clara, tapping her screens as yellow and red warnings suddenly filled her station.
“What’s up, Clara?” asked Gilbert.
“Our flight plan was just denied. We’re being told to return to the station immediately?”
“What the hell,” groused Suli, tapping at his console and pulling up a communication line with the space station control room. “Station SV-109, this is Diamond of Larcom, why have you rescinded our flight plan?”
There was a longer-than-average pause from the control room, and a stern female voice responded. “Diamond of Larcom, this is SV-109 Control, you are instructed to re-dock with the station immediately. Prepare to be boarded by station security.”
Gilbert rolled his eyes, tapping the maneuvering thrusters and sending the ship back towards the station airlock. “Damn Imperial customs. They probably want to double-check our manifests or something. Clara, head back and tell Governor Sabine that we’re being forced to return to the station, pending a search.”
Clara stood and sighed, before sauntering back towards the suite. “I’m sure our good Governor won’t mind a delay,” she muttered.
Gilbert busied himself with the docking, working in tandem with Suli to complete the procedure quickly and efficiently. They re-aligned with the airlock and had just finished the primary docking procedure when they heard the door to the suite hiss open. Suli spared Clara a glance. “We just docked. How’d the Governor take it?”
“N-not well,” Clara said softly.
Gilbert and Suli turned in their seats at the normally professional Clara’s stammering voice. Clara stood at the doorway, hands in the air. Behind her, Governor Sabine stood with two high-caliber pistols in hand, one aimed at her head and the other aimed over her shoulder at the two pilots. “Gentlemen, stay seated,” snapped Sabine.
Gilbert scowled, “You bastard, what’s the meaning of this?”
“I will not be delayed in my journey to Maren IV. You will undock with this station and take me to my intended destination immediately, or I will shoot one of your crew members,” Sabine said loudly, his voice leaving no question that he was serious in his threat.
Gilbert glanced at Suli, who slowly untensed in his seat, a look of defeat on his face. Gilbert put his hands up in a placating gesture. “Sure, no problem, Governor. Let’s get underway.”
As Gilbert reached for the controls, the ship shifted in its berth, rocking heavily. Glancing down at the readouts, Gilbert cursed quietly. “The station just extended docking clamps onto our ship. We’re not going anywhere until they remove those.”
“Damn it!” Governor Sabine screamed suddenly, spittle flying from his mouth. “Call the station and tell them that if they don’t release those clamps, I’ll have their heads on silver platters! I am the Governor of Larcom II!”
“Easy, sir,” Suli said placatingly, subtly opening a communication line with Station SV-109’s Command Center, “No need to get upset.”
“Upset? I’m not upset, I’m fucking murderous, and if you don’t get this ship underway soon, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! Murder every last fucking one of you! So get those clamps released and get us moving!” yelled Sabine.
The room was silent for a moment. “SV-109, do you copy?” asked Suli, hoping that the governor’s insane roaring had been picked up.
“Loud and clear, Diamond of Larcom. Station security is en-route,” replied the woman’s voice.
Governor Sabine’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he stared at Suli. “What the fuck are you doing?”
Suli glared back at Governor Sabine. “My duty, sir. Put down the guns before station security gets here, and nobody will get hurt.”
“Nobody will get hurt?” Governor Sabine said incredulously, staring at Suli.
Suli glared back at him. “The comms are still open, sir.”
“I should fucking hope so,” Governor Sabine spat, and shot Suli through the gut twice, splattering the console with blood. Suli sprawled backwards, slumping to the deck and screaming.
Governor Sabine thrust his other pistol forward, whipping Clara in the back of the head with the bulk of the weapon as she screamed, sending her to her knees in a daze. He strode forward to the console and yelled over the two injured crewmen, “I hope that drives home how serious I am! You will release this ship, or you’ll have the blood of two more crew on your hands! Now, call back your security teams and release these docking clamps!”
“Remain calm, we’re halting our security teams!” replied the woman’s voice from the station, a hint of panic creeping into her formerly calm demeanor.
Captain Ray sat on the bridge of the UEE Raptor Wing, monitoring the crew as they worked around him. “Captain, we’re approaching SV-109 now,” Lieutenant Makeno said.
“The last known location of Governor Sabine. Hopefully our message got through in time, or we’ll have a chase on our hands,” said Captain Ray, leaning forward in his seat as he watched the small spec of light that was the space station grow in size.
“Sir, SV-109 is requesting assistance. It seems they have a hostage situation aboard one of the ships docked with the station,” said Lieutenant Makeno.
“Open communications with SV-109 station control,” said Captain Ray, “and order all hands to condition yellow. Standby shields and weapons.”
“Aye, sir. Condition yellow, opening comms with station control,” Lieutenant Makeno said quickly.
The lights throughout the UEE Raptor Wing dimmed and yellow alarm-lights went on around the bridge. After a moment, a woman’s voice was piped through to the bridge. “UEE Raptor Wing, this is SV-109 station control. We have a situation on our hands.”
“How can we be of assistance, ma’am?” asked Captain Ray.
“A man claiming to be Governor Sabine of Larcom II has taken hostages aboard a constellation-class ship docked with our station. He’s injured one hostage already.”
Captain Ray scowled. “Looks like our message went through. Keep that ship there, we’ll be docking in a few minutes.”
Captain Ray closed the comms and glanced around the bridge. “Order the marines to lock and load, and prepare for a boarding action. Our criminal has gotten himself cornered.”