No, I mean seriously, holy shit.
Okay, here’s what happened.
After the crew of the Canvas returned to their ship, I went to sleep for a few hours. I made sure Flint stayed awake so we had at least one of us ready to respond to any communication from the Tika ship. Approximately six hours after the Tika left, the captain of the Canvas contacted me.
He insisted that we allow one of their transport crafts to land on our launch pad outside of the cargo bay, so that they could send a group out to collect the supplies all in one batch. I was pretty wary about this, but the captain of their ship really helped to calm me down. He expressed that he understood that we had a destination to get to, but also claimed that their generational ship had a very similar goal. They needed to resupply and move on to make up for lost time. I could really empathize with that argument. After weighing the options, I allowed their transport shuttle to land on our ship so we could make the transfer as quickly as possible. Veronica and I had already loaded the supplies into some transport pods, but we weren’t about to unload them all over again without the help of the Canvas crew, so we waited for them to show up.
Eventually, we received a call from the Canvas, declaring that they had launched their transport shuttle, which was now circling around our ship. As they were about 500 meters from our landing pad, alarms rang across the bridge. An emergency beacon was detected, coming from a second ship on the aft side of the Canvas ship.
I shouted over the radio for the transport shuttle to wave off, only to be interrupted by the emergency craft. They were begging for asylum and requested permission to land in our cargo bay. Initially I was going to deny the request, concerned that this was some sort of trick, until the voice claimed to be that of the Tika who sent me the hidden message.
Immediately, I rotated the Tailspin to make it easier for them to maneuver towards the cargo bay, realizing that the transport shuttle was now firing low-energy laser weapons at the escape pod.
I ordered them to stop, as they were firing on an unarmed emergency escape vehicle, but they ignored me.
The voice coming from the escape craft shouted, “I need help!” and in the background, I could hear signs of another passenger struggling. I wasn’t sure if someone snuck onto the ship with them, or who knows what. I called over the radio, ordering Veronica and Flint to arm themselves in cargo bay, while I stayed ready at the helm, waiting for them to inform me of the status of the shuttle craft.
Meanwhile, the Canvas ship was alerting me to the situation, telling me they had it under control, and we should just allow their shuttle craft to intercept their loose passengers in the cargo bay so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I denied their request, instead, telling Flint and Veronica to dump the cargo as soon as the escape pod landed. 30 seconds felt like 20 minutes as I finally heard a call that the escape pod had landed, but the shuttle craft was repositioning to intercept.
I ordered the food cargo dumped, immediately to be followed by the closing of the cargo bay. Thankfully, my crew was able to follow my orders without any issue.
I shouted to Flint that I was accelerating the pace of our ship, which he agreed with under the circumstances, as we took off. The Canvas began a pursuit course, before suddenly powering down. I wouldn’t find out until later that our asylum-seeking Tika had sabotaged their ship into shutting down. The shuttle craft attempted to follow us, until they saw the food cargo scattering into space, and they chose to prioritize that instead.
Once I felt that we were at a safe escape speed, I rushed down to the cargo bay.
I called over the radio, asking what the situation was with our passenger(s). I was informed that there were two passengers in the small ship, and that there seemed to be signs of a struggle.
As I arrived, I ordered Flint to open the escape pod hatch, at which point the two Tika (who looked very similar, one white, one a very dark grey) spilled out. Veronica inspected the rest of the escape pod while Flint and I separated the two Tika and locked them into different quarters, so that we could sort this mess out.
The grey Tika was angry and refused to answer any questions. The white Tika was much more amenable to communication. She explained that her name was Sarah, and she abandoned her ship to prevent them from boarding and commandeering ours. She explained that the Canvas was overpopulated, and that they felt hijacking our ship was a final option before they would have to resort to more barbaric methods of reducing the number of passengers on her ship. She insisted that she, her sister, and many others on her ship would have certainly been killed.
She required medical treatment, as her hand had apparently been bitten by her sister, Ginger, while on the escape pod. Apparently, her sister was not happy with being taken aboard our ship. Sarah insists that she is not yet aware of the severity of the situation on the Canvas, and will need to be shown evidence of the situation regarding their (now former) captain.
I am keeping them confined to their (separate) quarters until I can review the evidence and confer with the rest of my crew. We will make our decision tomorrow.