First Alert

A subtle chime would be the first indicator of the final battle.

“Outfold, sir. Seventeen AUs out, due North.”

The air in the sensor center was chilled and smelled of grease, sweat, and last night’s garlic cheese steaks. The ranking officer stepped to the scope as the computer spat out details.

“One ship, scout class, firing buoys. Solar orbiters, probably. Once they get a targeting grid laid down, they’ll be able to fold in and out like….”

“Phantoms, Commander Jelwin?” The station commander walked in and took his seat. “As opposed to our uncomfortable, clumsy shifts, lucky to drop back within half an AU of our target? They get the Sol system gridded, we’re dead.”

He turned to his communications officer.

“Notify CHQ , and launch the cutters. I want one sitting on that emergence point in three hours. The rest chase down those buoys – let’s make holes in their grid.”

He tapped a control and the closest Fleet elements were highlighted.

“Notify the Bismark – we’re going to need help soon.”

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