After we arrived in the Apollo system, and detected an unidentified ship in orbit around the ninth planet, we slowly moved in towards our target. For three point seven one hours we approached the gas giant – the settlements, it turned out, were actually research facilities on two of Apollo Nine's larger moons, Yamma Yamma and Ding Ding. (The Murgatroid's computer cannot tell us which of the Federation's races established these stations, and was therefore responsible for the naming of the satellites.) For the entire 222.6 minutes of transit, navigator Ditzbrain was humming the theme to an old Terran movie called Jaws under her breath. I must assume that she forgot about my sensitive Vulcan hearing, and did not realize that I could hear her entire … "performance."
We continued to monitor the freighter with passive systems only; and as we got closer, we were able to receive far more data about our target. The freighter appeared to be of a standard (if outdated) Federation civilian design, and the power readings we received from her engines, deflector screens, and life support systems were all within the expected ranges. We could not detect the power signatures of any weapons systems; but this could mean that she either had no weapons, or that she had simply not powered them up. In any event, it did not appear as if her offensive capabilities (if any), defensive capabilities, or drive systems posed any threat of her being able to fight or flee against the Murgatroid.
We waited in close proximity, knowing that the Ankh would have to approach the freighter in order to get within transporter range to transfer their prisoners – and that would put them in our range as well. It does not bear reminding that both ships would have to drop shields in order to effect a transportation. If it turned out that the Ankh did not approach the freighter, but merely came in-system to communicate with her, our superior speed would allow us to easily overtake—
"Captain," Lieutenant Heavens announced, "the Ankh has just come out of warp and is approaching our position!" Lieutenant Ditzbrain switched to another tune; one which I did not recognize, but which would surely have been no less of an annoyance had I not been a Vulcan … with earplugs. I made a mental note to have those on-hand (or in-ear) next time we were in similar straits.
"Storvik to engineering," I said to the computer. When I heard the chief engineer's grunt, I continued, "prepare the special attack. Both ships as soon as the shields come down; the Ankh is the higher priority if you cannot hit them both simultaneously."
"I can," said Ifix.
"Storvik to quartermaster," I said to the computer next, in a lower tone of voice. When the quartermaster responded, I uttered a prearranged code phrase: "Shift it."