Challenge #01459-C364: Dangerous Encounters
A [Human science ship] is basically a prickly little echidna going through space wearing a mortarboard. It just wants to science. If you stop it sciencing, it can survive you kicking it, hurt the foot that you were foolish enough to use to kick it, and call for help from the other, decidedly LESS peaceful ships Humanity has to offer. -- RecklessPrudence
Humans are dangerous. Everyone knows this. The preferred method of interacting with humans, for the longest time, was simply two words. "Run away."
But there are always a few who believe that chasing their chosen employment is more important than long-term survival. Other Galactics referred to them as 'Edge-clippers'. Those who made their fortunes by skating along the very cusp of safety.
Gorqax didn't bother the human vessels he spied. He just insisted on doing his mining and salvage work where he could keep an eye on them as they went about their business. When he scanned them, or read their emissions, it seemed like they were doing science. They made no efforts to communicate with him, so he made no efforts to communicate with them.
He also took pains to avoid working where the humans were doing science.
And then the Vraxx entered the system. Gorqax hid his vessel inside a larger, vacant hulk, and could only watch what followed through viewports. He had had to shut most of his system down in order to avoid detection.
The Vraxx went for their typical attack. Straight in with all guns blazing. The human ship reeled under the assault, but it reeled briefly. Weapons returned fire as the human science vessel retreated. Gorqax gaped in astonishment as the Vraxx vessel was not only hit, but crippled as well. As it slowly drifted away, leaking atmosphere and debris, there was not a long wait for new developments. It was barely more than five minutes before three more vessels emerged from a wormhole and reduced the Vraxx vessel to flack.
Gorqax waited until the humans had been gone for as long as possible before he re-activated his systems. And then he got out of the area as quickly as he could manage.
When he returned to the Sargasso, months later, he found a neat bundle of valuable metals in his usual working area. It was only once he towed it on board that he realised that it was made of Vraxx vessel debris. A gift of thanks, he believed, for the warning he gave them by hiding.
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