Star Guardian
Chapter 4: Pirates Attack

Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7

In space, distances between inhabited systems are huge. Travelling at hyperdrive can take weeks to get there. This was my first long trip, and as the trip continued the freighter seemed to get smaller. A fellow crewmate had explained to me that it often happens on a first voyage. The confines of being in a vessel for an extended period in deep space is quite different than living on a planet surface where you can step out for a breath of fresh air. You have to come to terms with the claustrophobia or it can drive you crazy. It is possible to get anti-anxiety meds, but I found what I needed from breathing and meditation techniques.

Another new experience for me was the Ori culture, or at least what I experienced as a part of the crew. It was normal to openly express feelings, and to communicate about all sorts of subjects that Tians would never openly discuss. It took me some mental effort to open up with my crewmates. This was my special assignment. Fortunately everyone was keen to help me. I think because I was shorter in comparison to the average Ori, they saw me as a young orphan male - one who needed help overcoming shyness.

On Tian Prime, I’d grown up without a father figure in my life, and my mother had passed when I was young. It was the Tian culture to not show emotion and keep to yourself. Although I wanted to distance myself from my Tian heritage, it was not that easy. If I did not have my special assignment in my mind, I would have struggled with anxiety over the closeness with my crewmates.

For a long trip in space, you need activities to keep you from going crazy, and from letting your mind and body atrophy. There are assigned duties to keep the freighter working, and then you have learning or fitness activities. I studied many of the various online training programs, and I spent time in the gym as well. I was determined to do well on my first voyage. For a while I was successful.

About 12 days since we left the Trading Post, I heard a loud alarm sound. After days of smooth running, and only the hum of the hyperdrive engines, this was quite disturbing! Soon after, I heard the captain over the communications system.

“All crew, we are being pursued by multiple hostile vessels. They have picked the most remote area to come after us, there being no nearby inhabited systems. The hostiles are not responding to our communications hails, and it looks likely they intend to board us. This is not a training drill.”

Soon after, I felt the explosions from the aft direction. We were being fired upon. At the time I was in the cargo hold, performing an inventory check. Each hit shook everything around me. So I moved into an open area so that nothing overhead could fall on me. Where can I go? Where would the safest place be?

Of course I was unarmed, untrained and inexperienced in dealing with pirates. I figured it was pirates. It had to be. Who else would be out here attacking an unarmed freighter? Even if I had found the online training for dealing with pirate attacks, I don’t think the pirates would have watched them.

Just then, the hum of the hyperdrive engines stopped, and I knew we were slowing to sub-light speed. This far out in deep space without propulsion was already a death sentence. Definitely time to panic!

It had been some minutes since that announcement from the captain. Perhaps the communications system was down in this area. My mind was not prepared for this! The cargo bay had no windows, so I had no clue what was happening.

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