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Part of USS Resolute: Second Contact

4 – Twists and Turns

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“So what have you got for us?” Raan swept into the small briefing room like a galleon in full sail and only just remembered at the last minute to duck his head to avoid the crossbeam to the left of his chair at the end of the table. That was the problem with small ships like the Resolute. They were not designed for large people in any way, shape or form.

“Some unusual readings, sir,” Allen said from the opposite side of the table. “Callahan here spotted them and investigated.”

Raan frowned, exchanging a quick glance with Burton seated next to him. “Are you sure you should be back on duty yet, Allen?”

The science officer speared him with a look. Raan did his best not to shiver, remembering the way Allen’s eyes had glowed when they pulled him off the surface of that Devore prison planet.

“Cleared by both the doc and the counselor sir. Whatever was in my head… it’s not there anymore. Scout’s honour,” Allen quipped, giving a little mock salute.

Raan chuckled.

“Good. No matter that it actually helped us in that situation, the idea of an all-powerful entity like that controlling one of our own? Not a place I want to go. Now,” he looked between the two of them. “Unusual readings? What kind of unusual readings?”

Allen looked over at Callahan, who flushed to the roots of her red hair. Given she had pale skin, it meant she went beet-red. “Well, it might sound a little silly, sir…” she began.

“Ensign, we’re flying around in what amounts to a tin can powered by rockets,” he reminded her. “On my planet even three hundred years ago that would have been the stuff of fantasy or the raving of madmen. So lay it on me.”

She nodded. Took a breath.

“Okay, I think we have a ghost ship.”

Raan blinked. “Come again?”

“A ghost ship, sir. There are reports throughout history,” Callahan said, her features alive with animation as she slid a tablet across the table toward him. There was a crease between his brows that deepened as he read.

“Most of these can be explained away as relay ghosts,” he said when he looked up. “What about this particular one has you so concerned?”

Allen sat back, letting his subordinate take the lead, but Raan wasn’t fooled. There was a sharpness there behind the tall science officer’s eyes. It had been there before, but had been more… muted. Now it was as sharp as a tack. Which meant Allen would bear watching. Carefully.

“I dug a little deeper into the ghost ship reports and yes,” Callahan nibbled her lip. “Most of them are just sensor or relay ghosts. Some of the mysticism comes from the few occasions where the ghost have been from ships that have been destroyed in battle or long since decommissioned. Kind of like one last voyage, if that makes sense?”

He nodded. There were such stories around sailing ships on his home planet as well. It made sense similar myths would have made their way into space as well.

“But this one… We… I,” she corrected at Allen’s sharp look. “I isolated it and cleaned it up. The signature isn’t from a destroyed ship. It’s from a missing ship. One that disappeared over fourteen years ago.”

Rann grunted, scrolling further down the report. Sure enough, there it was. “The USS Pendragon? The captain was a…” He couldn’t find any more information, the report ended there.

“Kassian Shade, sir,” Burton said suddenly. “The CO was called Shade.”



  • Ghost story! Yes! We need to haunt the Thomar Expanse up a bit! I want to know more and frankly I want to know more now! Who doesn't look a good ghost ship story? So many possibilities and directions to go in and I can't wait to see which direction you pick. I love the little touch at the start about Rann and small ships. And his caring for his crew. I definitely get the close-knit crew vibe shoved into a small box. Those little touches really sell it.

    February 8, 2023