Amanpreet took a breath to steady herself. “Can you call our escort and Promise, please, Niobe? We need to discuss what to do.”
“You know the spy is probably on our escort don’t you?” Niobe said. “The captain was the one who picked our route to try and avoid just this.”
“I know,” Amanpreet said. “And hopefully he does as well and has locked down communication.” She frowned to herself. “But let’s check our own communications, just in case. I trust all of you but we do have guests aboard.”
“That’s a good point,” Niobe said. “I’ll check but I don’t think they know our route.”
“Better safe than sorry,” Amanpreet said. “Please put them on screen and translate for Promise will you.”
“Of course,” Niobe said. “Though I’ve been teaching Promise several languages and it’s very quick so it may understand anyway. Storm says the original Fish were designed to learn fast.”
“Yes, I suppose they would need to,” Amanpreet said then straightened as the captain of her escort appeared on one half of the viewscreen and an external shot of Promise on the other.
“Ah, Captain Amanpreet,” the escort captain said. “I guess you’ve seen the message then. I’m trying to pin down who betrayed us but our logs show no outbound messages from any of my ships after I decided which route to take.” His eyes narrowed. “Of course I know there were legitimate outbound messages after that so it seems our spy is clumsy. I’m taking this communication privately â€“ so if the Vaians act on it I’ll now we’ve been bugged.â€
“I see,” Amanpreet said. “I’ve got Niobe checking our outbound messages as well.”
“Good,” he said. “But I’m sure the problem is on our end. But now we have a major problem – what do we do now? They’re obviously waiting for us.”
“I actually have a suggestion,” Amanpreet said. “We’re not far from the Transit so let’s cut through the Spaghetti. I doubt they’ll dare follow us in there.” She hesitated. “Assuming Promise doesn’t mind. The Spaghetti is Fish territory.”
“You’ll be welcome.” The soft musical voice made Amanpreet jump. “And once we re-enter hyperspace I will call my fellows to make sure your enemies stay out.”
“Uh…” Amanpreet realised her mouth was open. “Promise?”
“Yes,” it replied. “Niobe has been teaching me your languages so I don’t need a translator.”
“It certainly makes things easier,” the escort captain said. “And going through the Spaghetti Transit is a good idea-” He paused and laughed. “My navigator will not agree when I tell her, I’m afraid. But I’ve been thinking I would like to put up some more interesting challenges soon for her. She’s way too cocky sometimes.”
“Tell them not to worry,” Promise said. “I’ll make a path for you.”
â€œThank you,â€ he said. â€œI’ll tell her. And we’ll do that… no one will follow us in there…â€ He hesitated. â€œBut if they realise where we have gone they’ll be waiting when we emerge. We can probably win a fight but I’d rather not have one.â€
â€œI’ll get some of my fellows to escort us,â€ Promise said. â€œThey’ll surely not attack us then.â€
â€œAn excellent idea,â€ the escort captain said. â€œBut we’ll have to discuss our next move as well because they surely know we’re heading to Corona.â€
â€œYes, that is a problem,â€ Amanpreet agreed. â€œBut let’s get to Talis safely first.â€
â€œOf course,â€ he said.
They had only been back in hyperspace for half an hour when Kane’s voice came over the intercom.
“Hell! They found us!” He exclaimed. “They must have been waiting for us. Our escort are blocking them so I’m running for the Spaghetti-” He gave a startled exclamation. “Promise just ate one of the Vaian ships! What’s it thinking?”
“That we should capture them if we can, I imagine,” Kayla said. “I think it’s right. How many are there?”
“Just one now,” he said. “And we’ll be in the Spaghetti in the next few minutes.” There was a long pause then he said. “The remaining ship has broken off – must have realised where we are going. Our escort is joining us.” He gave a sigh. “This job isn’t supposed to be this exciting, Am.”
“Tell me about it,” Amanpreet muttered. “But at least we are safe for now. I’ll be glad to get to Talis.”
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