Ajay's Story 2.0: Armed Trust

Ajay's Story: Armed Trust


Mirtrak Battle Station, Weth.
Stagnation does people no good. But fighter craft suffer it even worse. If "Stranger" had a sentient AI, you could've asked it. But if my ship had a sentient AI, it would have vented me into open space soon after I got addicted to Inner Core fighting, for putting the poor old heavy fighter's hull through hell several times - or for sitting at one base for weeks straight.
Of course, since I did not want my ship failing me, I needed to do maintenance more often than usual. So when Flyagin's message flashed up on my personal console, I was running diagnostics of the ship's engine block. Since it's a zone close to a ship's fusion reactor and a zone that regularly is in contact with high levels of space radiation - among other things - I was wearing an exoprotection space suit. When I was done with checking out the engines, removed the suit and took a decontamination shower (just in case), Canteen was busy trying to melt my console down under a stream of phone calls. Note to self, change the ringtone. If Flyagin learns that I've got "The Price Of A Mile" starting up when he calls, I'm not sure how he'll react.
Taking up the console, I activated the link.
-Ajay, where the hell have you been? - Canteen asked, without greeting me. I didn't mind that. Even with the rank gap the size of a Nomad Strike Carrier, one does not feel compelled to partially put away subordination after so many missions. To be fair, it was him who took first steps forward. I just followed suit.
-Engines maintenance - I replied. - What's the matter?
-You sound like you've had quite a drinking yesterday. You tried to quit, remember?
-I did - I said. - Had nothing to do yesterday, sat in the cargo bay for all day long.
-Ajay, you need to get a girlfriend - Flyagin said with a laugh, and before I could snark back, continued - And before you say it, "Stranger" doesn't count!
I laughed too.
-Okay, Canteen, it's obvious you've called me not to fix up my non-existent personal life. What do you need me to do?
-Ajay, we have heard that Dom'Kavash have some sort of a naval construction factory in Whyr system. I need you to scan it.
-What if Dom'Kavash don't like it?
-Remember that mission in Gurm when that pack of sensors was installed?
-Yep. It's still there.
-Launch your ship and open a connection port for my console. I'll launch a scrambler and try to scan whatever that is.


-So, here we are, Whyr system. Do you know where that facility is?
-Negative, Ajay - my CO said. - Fly around the system.
-Clockwise or counterclockwise?
-Your choice.
I reached for my pocket and produced a six-sided dice.
-4+ is for clockwise - I said and threw it on the console table. - Just dare to do that next time my Leman Russ Executioner rolls to-hit[1] - I said, when the dice stopped rolling to display a single point, then picked it back and called a navmap, placing a set of waypoints counterclockwise around the center of the system.
I did not have to wait for long.
-Here they are... What? - Canteen said. By the stars, I don't remember the last time I've seen him shocked.
I could understand. Until that moment I didn't know there were Nomads in the Inner Core.

-It appears to be station and two battleships of some strange class. Possibly 'Reapers' - Flyagin said. - Oh, and they're locking you as target.
-Yeah... Launched your scans? - I asked.
-Yep. The station is... "growing" the Nomad ships. Now... why are they here? Why are Dom'Kavash building them?
-Well, the most obvious theory. Dom'Kavash are thinking to betray us. Reasons unknown, as I said, just a theory.
Canteen smiled through the video link. This time I've finally repaired my own camera, so he was witnessing me taking another sip of tea.
-I don't need reasons. I just want to know all those theories you have in mind.
-Well, here they are - I said, putting tea cup down. - Another theory: contingency plan, for the fall of Weth or our treachery they can be possibly expecting from us. I'll stay out from the battleships' turret range so you could scan them.

-Scans complete - Flyagin finally said after some time. - You can head away. Some other time you'll be in this sector, scout other systems. For now, head to Sirius, Nephele system.
-Hmm? What's the matter? CNS Stalin's wreck?
-You'll know, in due time. But for now, I'll leave a cryptic hint - he said. - Lost, forgotten and wayward our brothers may be, they're still our brothers.[2]


Footnotes:
1) Refrence to Warhammer 40k "Gets Hot" mechanic.
2) Referencing another recently released story.


"Across the savage skies and through the fissures in the fields,
The rumble of the engines and the trundle of the wheels,
Through hell and horror trudge and yet their spirits never yield.
Will they sing of these forsaken pawns of war?"
-Miracle Of Sound, "Pawns of War".