The Stand off.

“Chancellor,” Captain Locke urged, “I don’t think they mean to answer!” she pointed a finger at the alien vessel on the view-screen.
Chancellor Raymond Courtney was a delegate from Earth’s Syndicate; clueless of the way things operated beyond the boundaries of the Sol System, in the Outer-Reaches.
He said, “Do not think that you will force me to choose a military solution, Captain,” his sharp nose wrinkled, “A fight is all you marine types think about!” he sniffed.
“Need I remind you, Chancellor, that the Amethyst is a civilian cruiser, not an Syndicate Warship. And that we have logged more than 30 systems explored, and benefit from the experience of 4 first-contact situations, 2 of which ended in conflict,” Locke smiled patiently,“Forgive me for saying so, sir, but we’ve written the book on this kind of situation, and if you ask me, you haven’t a damned clue what you’re doing!”
“They will reply,” the chancellor was smug.
The Ion arc of weapons fire struck the Amethyst!
“Return fire,” Locke grit her teeth.

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