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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 012 – The Mystery

USS Daedalus
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“That’s certainly a way to spread a story.”  Captain Wren Walton sat across from her Deputy Squadron Commander, the latest report scrolling through the PADD in her hand.  They’d decided to meet in Stellar Cartography to understand better what the New Maquis were up to in the sector.  She continued to read, sipping at a fresh cup of coffee, “The Cardassians originally didn’t want the old Galor back until I mentioned the modifications that had been made and who had probably done it.”

Dread chuckled darkly, “Their tone changed, did it?”

Wren finished the report and returned it.  “They did share there’s been some odd traffic and reports coming from both Starfleet patrols and civilian operators.  Whatever the New Maqui are up to, they’ve learned a few new things since the last time they were around.”  She tossed back the dregs of her cup and smiled at the kick of flavor, “You all make some damn good coffee over here.”

Helena tapped at the console for the room, “There are a few things in this world I work hard at, Wren.  Good coffee is one of them.”  The screens around them faded to show the current system, “There’s been activity at various colonies…most of them have sent in reports or at least sent us something that indicates they know what we’re looking for out here.  There are a few exceptions – 42285PR2 has always been hostile to the Federation, so that’s not a surprise.  Calgoah’s evacuating after the climate took a severe turn for the worst – Fowler’s flagged it for further investigation.  3232RR isn’t responding to our long range hails, Atega’s working on that one. Which leaves us with…K8675.”

Walton sat up, pulling up the colony’s profile on her PADD, “They are pretty far out there…how long have they been out here?” As she read, her concerns and confusion grew.

Dread shrugged, “That’s the problem.  We don’t know.”

Wren asked, “What do you mean…we don’t know?”

“We pulled up the historical records as far back as the Federation has…Hasara poked around with the friends who are still talking to him.  Nobody has a record of a colony on R8675.  They are out there – and there’s nobody near them to ask – the closest colony is days away…and most of the transport ships are rated pretty slow.”  Helana tapped at the console again, “The only way we knew someone was out there was we picked up an odd signal a couple of days ago.”  A resonance frequency appeared.

Walton stood and examined the data momentarily, her eyes searching for familiar peaks, valleys, or anything she might recognize.  “That’s…an unusual signal.”

Dread tapped at the console, “Between Mack’s and Dad’s sensor arrays; we picked it up—Thasaz and Fowler followed a trail. Turns out this signal is from an old  Erewon-class transport.”  She pulled up an image and showed the captain, “They were in operation in the 2300s as colony ships.  It’s a faint signal – fading in and out every few hours.”

Wren shook her head in disbelief, “Why haven’t we detected this until now?  We’ve been in and around this part of space for a while.”

“Fowler pulled the sensor logs from both ships.  This is the first time it’s been detected.  Something or someone flicked a switch or pushed a button…but something’s on that planet…and if we’ve found it….”

Walton groaned, “Then you can bet the New Maquis, The True Way, or whoever else will find them.  Damnit.”  She glanced at Dread, “You want this one?”

Helena grimaced, “It’s a weird one, and we’ve got the equipment to kick a hornet’s nest of weird.  You’ve got your hands full, winning hearts and minds.”

“And yet…”

“Still not used to sitting in that chair and giving the orders.”  She sat down in a huff and leaned back, “You and I are very different people, Wren.  You flew around space, getting people to be better at their jobs, sitting in the chair, and giving orders.  If anything…I should be studying under you!”

Walton rolled her eyes, “Helena – they didn’t give you the Daedalus because you were a screw-up.  They don’t hand out Rhode Island classes to failures.  Ravens, maybe.”  She smiled at the joke, and Dread sighed, a defeated smile crossing her lips.  “You’ve held that chair since July – they’d have told me to take it away from you long before now if you weren’t capable.”

It was Dread’s turn to roll her eyes, “So, just capable, eh?”

“Keep talking like that, and you might make ‘approaching.’  The Daedalus is yours, Captain Dread.  Believe that, and they’ll never let you out of that chair.”

Helena stood at attention, “I’ll do my best, Captain Walton.”

Wren chuckled, “Get the hell out of here, Helena.  Find some answers for us.”  The door closed behind her deputy squadron commander, and she turned her eyes back to the information they had been able to gather.  What was out there?  And who?