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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 010 – The Fading Light

Demilitarized Zone
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“Shit.”  Sadie Fowler muttered under her breath.  They’d been given the task of responding to New Maquis attacks.  She’d been working with tactical to track them, but they’d pulled a vanishing act.  There were enough colonies in the area that would have welcomed the ships.  That was just part of the problem.  The other was the lack of intelligence on the return of an old enemy under a refreshed banner.  Nobody had seen it coming.  

Next to her at communications, Presley Atega was struggling as well.  Initially, she had found success tracking their communications signals, but suddenly, they had gone silent as if they had never been there.  She worked every signal and channel spectrum she knew to no avail.  She was researching the history of communication band frequencies.  She hoped to discover their secret.  At the very least, she wanted to get a lead on what was happening in the darkness.  Atega nudged Fowler, “Same here, Lieutenant.  Same here.”

Halsey stood near Calog Tir with Commander Koerner at his side.  They had successfully negotiated a stable peace between the two colonies several days ago.  They had been ordered back to work in the zone to further investigate the New Maquis situation.  He asked Tir as the operations chief finished his report, “You think they’re using systems to block us?”

Tir tapped at his console, his monitors shifting. “There’s enough resistance in how our sensors are reporting on a few of these colonies…it’s limited to three for the moment…but two weeks ago, it wasn’t any.”  He pointed out the irregularities. “Those three colonies were giving us much better data then. Now, our view is slightly more obscured. Normally, the sensors diagnose it as a weather event or a spatial anomaly causing interference.”

Halsey concluded, “But you think it’s something else.”  Tir had proven his acumen not just in operations but in his dabbling with diagnostic science as well.  He was making an impression, and the XO was impressed.

“Yes, sir.  Enough to warrant further investigation.”

Leopold thanked him and walked with his XO trainee to the bridge’s center, “You’ve heard the reports.  How would you proceed?”

Natalya shook her head this is all new to her. “I have to agree that further investigation would be warranted. I will also say this I am so new to all this but I am trying my best here.”

The current XO eyed her, “Something we all had to learn as executive officers – hesitation and doubt have their place in the lower decks…but our positions demand a measure of confidence and trust in the training given to us.  We are all trying our best, Commander…the difference for us as senior staff is that we have to carry the confidence that we are doing our best – and move forward with what needs to be done.”  He glanced at the screen, “I’m going to assign you, Chief Tir, and a small team on a New Atlantic runabout to investigate.  Caution is the name of the game here – don’t take unnecessary chances.”

Natalya nodded. “I understand, Sir. We will observe and report anything that might be of suspicion.”

 

The shuttle returned to the Daedalus, sliding into place.  Tir and Koerner sat in silence.  Finally, the operations chief broke it, “I didn’t expect to find it destroyed.”  His vision had been filled with the small colony destroyed, fires burning out days ago.  Several interference buoys had been set up on the surface, which had explained the odd readings.  Twenty-five bodies had been recovered.  Three were missing.  A shuttle bearing a medical and security team had been dispatched after they had reported their findings.  They’d returned to the Daedalus in silence, unsure of what to say.  He turned to the commander, “I’m sorry you had to see that, sir.”

Natalya had seen worse though she never liked to admit that. The scenes of the area where her parents dies flooded into her memory. “It is ok, in the end it is part of the job and one of those things we have to deal with even if we don’t want to admit such heinous things happen.”

Tir tapped the shuttle offline, “Between myself and Tir – it’s easy and hard to believe in that, Commander.”  He stood, “I’ll send you the completed report for review.  Thanks for coming along.”  He walked out and down into the shuttle bay, his feelings complex and unsure.  It would take time to process the experience.