New Empire, A hint of trouble

The N.M.S. Mustang Sally was the closest of the three ships to Vega that was dropping the new sensor satellites. It was a simple job. They just deployed a satellite, activated it, and then tested it in concert with the existing deployed satellites before moving on to the next spot. The job only took about a half an hour plus the day journey (by slipstream) to the next drop point. Most of the time for this job was passed with the crew “twiddling their thumbs”.

The Mustang Sally was currently 5 days away from Vega. They had started by dropping the first satellite there and then traveling away. Another ship started at Takara (which was located in the center of colony space), and the third ship had started at Draconis. It was planned that all the ships would finish deploying this first string within a day of each other.

The captain of the Mustang Sally hoped this job would never end. It was easily the simplest contract she had ever signed. After they met the N.M.S. Headway they were to return to Novoya Mir and pick up a new load of satellites and a new route to start deploying. Everybody on board had tons of personal time lately. Parts of the ship that hadn’t been maintained for years were now seeing attention and care. Instead of just “locking down” problems the engineering crew actually had the time to investigate and fix them.

It truly was a mellow time.

Currently they were completing a satellite deployment. This only took about twenty minutes on average and once the Mustang Sally was clear they began activating it and running their tests.

The activation was easy. A simple wireless command was sent and a backup battery started up the small nuclear reactor. Then the shields were engaged and disengaged. These shields were not strong enough to fend off a determined attacker, but they protected the satellite from naturally occurring phenomenon. Then the satellite began sending out signals to its nearest neighbors and became part of the network.

Once the Mustang Sally could see their entire portion of the network they would call it a success and move on to the next drop point, but this time when they logged onto the network they saw something that they didn’t expect.

At first they thought it was a software glitch. There was a large blip nearly two days away from Vega on the edge of the current sensor range. The technicians tried restarting the system but the blip remained. It appeared to be heading toward the colony at slipstream mark 4.

The captain decided to contact the DEDF and alert them to the situation. She’d ask them to verify what they were seeing visually. She now doubted that this was a system glitch, but there could still be a hundred explanations as to what was going on.

******

When the Admirals at the DEDF received word of what the Mustang Sally was seeing they gave it serious merit. After the incident a few months ago with the two Russian ships at Vega they were worried as to what might occur in the future.

Although Vega wasn’t a member of the empire and hadn’t officially made a call for assistance two ships were dispatched anyway. The D.S.S. Freedom was a day away and the D.S.S. Excalibur was only a day and a half farther out.

The D.S.S. Freedom would be there to meet the mystery blip and report back. But if they required assistance the other ship wouldn’t be there for nearly 12 hours.

Everybody, including the two battleships rushing to Vega, was watching the new sensor network closely. When the mystery blip got closer to the sensor satellites the resolution would increase and everybody would know what they were dealing with.

 

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