Prallan woke with a start from a horrid nightmare. Fleets of the insect ships had just appeared around the Jinar and had ripped the smaller ship apart in moments. It took him a few minutes before he realized what had awakened him. An alarm was sounding on the console next to him. Not the alarm he had set to wake him, which should be in four hours, but a summons to the bridge. He rose out of the empty bed quickly, pulling on his uniform.
Prallan stepped onto the bridge, where Rickler and Itran were already waiting. Through the forward viewport, another ship sat in space facing the Hermus. It was much larger than the exploration vessel, and looked like a double helix of metal, joined at the front by a metal cone.
"XO" Rickler said. "I have a mission for you." He nodded to the front viewport. "We've made peaceful contact with these beings. They call themselves the Ixillin, and have claims on several nearby systems. We need their permission to continue in this direction, and their maps and trade are invaluable."
"Yes, sir." Prallan said. "What is the mission?"
"I'm sending you over to their ship to negotiate."
"Yes, sir. How am I going over there? We don't have shuttles."
"The Ixillin have provided a shuttlecraft. It is docked at airlock two."
"Aye, sir." Prallan said, heading to the door.