"Give me our location," Wojtek ordered from the captain's chair on the Muramasa.
"Workin' on it." Zahra's eyes fixed on the sensor readout of the star system.
"We are near the Triumph colony," Zoojin said. The blue alien prince stood.
"We'll see in a minute." Zahra kept her eyes on the console.
"He's got two for two so far." Wojtek looked over to Zahra. They'd been traveling for three days since escaping the Mangeroma in the Nagan system. Their journey included two jumps through uncharted wormholes, both of them revealed by Zoojin's powers of divination.
Wojtek glanced over his shoulder at the crew. Lujain stood rigidly in front of her station, mechanical hands at work on the console. Razz leaned back in his massive chair, calmly watching the data scroll past on his viewscreen. The pilotting system beeped as it churned through the information, comparing the sensor scans to their ship's stellar map database.
"We're in charted space now -" Zahra turned to Wojtek "- Barnard's Galaxy, B-seven-four. We're in thruster range of Triumph."
"That's three for three." Wojtek grinned and looked towards Zoojin.
"Then we can return to Blue Sky," Razz said to Wojtek. The monstrous orange alien leaned forward in his seat. "We no longer need his assistance."
"We have an agreement," Zoojin said. "You are to take me to the colony."
"Haven't we risked enough, helping outsiders?" Razz snarled. "First those lizards, and now this scrawny creature? He nearly had us all killed. We should not take orders from him."
"I am not giving an order," Zoojin squared himself with Razz. "I am reminding you of our agreement. I have done what was agreed upon. Now it is your turn."
"I'm taking us to Triumph," Wojtek said. "He's right. We have an agreement."
Razz grunted and settled back into his seat. The engine hummed as the thrusters drove them towards Triumph.
"Scanners picking up something ahead." Zahra tapped her console. "Lots of activity."
"What is that?" Anwar's eyes darted across the data popping onto his console. "I've never seen signature like that."
"Let's see find out." Zahra's fingers danced across the console. "We got fusion spectrals. High energy particle emissions. Quantum aberrations. Multi-channel interference and gluon packet signature disruption."
"It's all centered on the planet." Anwar looked up. "I thought the colony was destroyed?"
"It was destroyed." Nigel stepped forward. He stared into to the familiar stars of his former home on the viewscreen. This was the closest he'd been since fleeing from the invasion.
"Well someone's over there." Zahra motioned to the readout. "And whatever is generating that signature is at least the size of a city."
"Maybe they rebuilt the colony?" Anwar glanced to Zahra.
"Could also be a star fleet," she answered.
"I'm takin' us closer," Wojtek announced. "Increase the resolution on those scans. We need a better idea 'bout what we're lookin' at."
"If we move any closer -" Razz leaned towards Wojtek "- there is a high chance of our detection. We should not approach the planet."
"For a warrior -" Zoojin took a step to Razz "- you are very preocuppied in avoiding danger."
"Who are you to tell me what it means to be a warrior?" Razz growled. "I face danger when it suits my purposes."
"A warrior faces danger when they are called to by duty."
"And what duty do I have to you?" Razz snarled.
"We have an agreement. Your duty is to honour it."
"He's right." Wojtek interjected, turning to Razz. "If we don't have our honour what do we have?"
"A ship," Razz grumbled. "And our lives."
"Don't worry," Wojtek replied. "I plan on keeping it that way. If things get dicey, we're out of here."
"They've spotted us," Lujain announced, eyes focussed at her station. "Whoever they are. We've got a ship on intercept heading."
"What kind of ship?" Wojtek turned to Lujain.
"Can't say," Lujain answered. "Doesn't match any known profile. But it's big."
"They're tryin' to contact us." Zahra turned to Wojtek. "It's an audio transmission: an old Earth dialect. We can translate it."
"Put it through," Wojtek ordered. "And get a tactical scan on that ship."
Zahra and Lujain entered the commands.
A musical female voice spoke calmly through the ship's speakers. "Foreigners: we welcome you to our land." The voice was overlaid with an otherworldly sound: a harmonious tone that accompanied each musical syllable spoken by the unseen stranger. "I pray you, come to your servant's house. You may stay the night, and wash your feet, and go your own way in the morning."