A shadow moved over the stolen ship. A harsh voice on the STS channel startled Shwartz. “Attention, Necrogorgon tender. This is USNE cruiser Finite State Machine. You are under arrest for piracy. Assume orbit now and await our boarding.”
The pursuing shuttles were between the tender and Juno, making a descent inadvisable. Ishikawa looked back from the helm. “Shwartz, there’s a warp manifold in the cradle. Check the log and see whether it was being brought in for service or ready to use.”
Shwartz found the log and opened it, only to get a blank screen with a current date-time stamp. “The log was reinitialized, sir.” A shuttle tried a ranging shot; the spent shell glanced off the hull.
“Okay, let’s say it’s ready. Take power and control cables out to it and hook it up.”
Power up a possibly-defective, alien warp manifold deep in Jupiter’s gravity well, while under fire? No time for discussion; Shwartz suited up. He saw Pitcher rubbing his jaw and fidgeting with his gun. Well, who wouldn’t be nervous?