Chapter 2

It had been four days since Elan's reassignment and the gods had apparently decided to toy with him. Ever since he had started worker duty, not a single report of pirate activity was made. All was quiet in the Osiris belt.

Despite being denied a chance to see the pirates for himself, Elan was happy. No pirates meant that mining activities could proceed at maximum efficiency. Elan himself had managed to adjust to flying a Worker in place of an Acolyte. He was just starting to become as content as possible with his current reality when the last thing anyone was expecting to happen, happened.

Elan and Zerik were going about their now-normal business of harvesting asteroids. They had just pulled away from one of the resource dropoff pads on the Feng-Yuun when a burst of static suddenly came over the radio. Elan heard garbled speech before the transmission suddenly cut off. He turned to look at Zerik. Both men stared at each other with curious looks on their faces when another transmission came through. The contents of this one were as obvious as an Imperial Taiidani headshot asteroid.

"This is Commander Rediv to all ships. The Kuun-Lan has just made an emergency call for all ships within communication range to return to her side immediately. A large-scale battle is occurring within Karos. The flagship Sajuuk has just made a call for reinforcements, and we are to answer it."

Zerik stared at his captain in shock as the transmission continued.

"We are to regroup with the Kuun-Lan over the Angel Moon. All ships, prepare for emergency hyperspace. Set course for the Homeworld."

Neither men wasted any time in getting back to the carrier. Zerik immediately disengaged the PDA and retracted the arm as Elan quickly brought the Worker back inside the Feng-Yuun's central docking bay. The moment the craft had settled on it's landing gear, yet another transmission came in.

"This is Commander Rediv to Worker 4. Elan and Zerik Somtaaw, the both of you are to report to the bridge immediately."

Both men shot curious glances at each other before quickly but calmly making their way to an elevator to go bridgeside.

On the way up, Elan wondered aloud, "I wonder what exactly he wants with us. We can't be demoted much further than where we are right now."

"Perhaps he's come to his senses?"

"I doubt it... We'll find out soon enough anyways. We're here."

They stepped out of the elevator and into the bridge. It was a large circular room, the front of which was dominated by the semi-circle bridge viewport and the rest of which was dominated by consoles and equipment. Crewmen sat at their stations, busy with their assigned tasks. In the center of the room was a large semi-circle console reserved for the ship's captain, in this case Makiir Somtaaw, Rediv's XO. Behind that console was a raised platform from which Commander Rediv gave his orders.

Both men made their way up the steps to the top of the platform to find Rediv waiting for them. Both men stood at attention and saluted.

"At ease. I'll keep this short and to the point gentlemen. We were filled with rookies right before we were redirected to Osiris. Right now, we're going into battle and I need people of the same caliber as yourselves."

He reached into his pocket and pulled a small black velvet box and clicked it open. Inside were two gleaming black and crimson Beastslayer logos encased in a circle with crimson wings protruding from it's sides. A pair of fighter wings, one for each pilot.

"Zerik and Elan Somtaaw, you are both being reassigned to Acolyte duty."

Both men took a set of wings and pinned them back where they belonged.

"You heard my broadcast. Once we hit hyper, you are to remain on cockpit standby. I suggest you get some rest now, while you still can."

The two quickly saluted to their commander as he dismissed them and made their way out of the bridge.

As soon as the bridge doors closed behind them, Zerik smiled broadly. "I knew it."

Elan laughed as he said, "Don't get ahead of yourself. This means we'll be in the thick of it."

"True, but we both know that neither of us would want it any other way."

Elan laughed again. "Indeed. Inform the squad of our return and tell them what Rediv told us: 'get some rest while you can.'"

"Yes, sir!" Zerik saluted and left.

Elan stretched, pressing a fist to his lower back as he did so. A series of cracks filled the air as Elan cracked his back.

Workers are NOT the most comfortable things to fly...

He didn't have time to think of his back, however. He quickly went off to exchange his worker's flight suit for the suit of an Acolyte pilot's.