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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 7 - The Armada[]

Fleet Scout, FSPS Ranger
In between Inner Sphere & Clan Space
Deep Periphery
3167 CE



[FSPS Ranger, Wave zero scout mission...]

Tommy Gordon accepted the consumables report from Chief Warrant Leeson, and continued to study the astronomical chart.  The Ranger is a third-generation ship of the Federated Suns Patrol Force.  Twenty-four-thousand tons and equipped with one of the most expensive jump-cores possible, a subcompact unit pushed to the edge of its envelope. Ranger was a hard march ahead of the Lyran cutter program, with a baseline 30 light year drive in a hull even smaller than a old Sampan II, packed with the best electronics and surveillance gear that could be rammed into her hull. The Ranger would never be mistaken for a combat ship, but instead, they were a fleet scout with a secondary capacitor would only power a 15LY jump. That was fine, because the main core didn't take forever and a day to recharge. With the stealth tech from Taussen's shipyards made up for a lot, the automation of functions did more.

Right now, they were taking pictures at 90 light minutes out of a supernova where there was no reason for there to be one. The shockwave bent light at this distance and it had been expanding for over a decade.

He finished his calculations.  "We can use the route, this wavefront won't reach the main trunk for another decade."  he finally said with satisfaction.

"Sir, should we try making contact with the Pentagon Worlds while we're this far forward?"

He actually considered it.

"No." he said, "Not yet.  The Clanners were cagey, but according to Vanh's report, they almost admitted to keeping the people they were leaving behind in the dark, we stick to the plan-KCGS Tranh Truk Ngo III will handle first contact. They're an older ship and the Coasties kind of treat this sort of mission as their personal fiefdom."

"You just gave the best reasons for it to be us?"

"No, I gave the best reasons why we're going to stick to the orders outline." he grumped, "Kowloon's got a special place in their history. If the Clanners that fled were freaked at a Kowloonese squadron meeting them at Idrmach, that means they remember."

"The Elbar Impalers?"

"Among other things." he said, "High Command thinks letting 'loonies make first contact with the locals will prevent some stupidity, I'm good with that."

He finished his course-plot for the next jump.  "Stand by, guys, we've got some pics of the past to take."

"Sir?"

"Ten years, right? we can get better images than the ones those Clanner bastards brought to Idrmach. Maybe figure out where the starkillers came from..."



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