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The Adjudicator Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 32 - The Adjudicator[]

The Cutter, FSS Lancet III
Acoma Star system
Federated Suns
February 19, 3160

Captain Tera Lukassi watched the planet.  The scavenger bird in orbit was here legally. Their transponders were clean, she'd sent a marine inspection team across yesterday, and everything was copacetic.  The Salvagers were legit, a small outfit out of Markesan working an honest contract for Federated Industries, one of the new reconstruction companies. They were digging up damaged terraforming equipment for shipment back to their sponsors. As well as looking for repairable industrial tooling, art objects, and anything that might've been passed over or missed by other salvage crews.

Their survey gear wasn't as good as the gear on the Lancet III, and they'd missed a couple of real prizes by focusing on the planet.  Ninety percent of an SLDF recharge station. In fixable condition, provided someone with a portable yard could be bothered to come out this way.

When she'd been a pirate, she would've gone after it herself, but as one of the 'Class One' Captains, she changed her direction in life.  The salvage crew, as a result, were packing up their survey early, and going home to a bigger payday courtesy of the AFFS, which would also involve having their contract expanded to need more than one two-collar Merchant JumpShip with a pair of clapped out Mules Cargo DropShips.

In the meantime it got the civilians out of the way so she could do her real mission in these parts.

"What've we got, Skopa?" she asked.

"Matches existing survey data, Mum.  Planet's quiet, and been quiet for quite a long time...but there is something interesting."

"Show me."

Petty Officer Nilles Skopa brought up an image, and enhanced it.  "Residual alpha and magnetics off this, looks like a relay sat, but get this-"

He pinged it with deep radar.  "Germanium echo, and there's a small neutrino emitter buried in it, the solar panels are either a backup, or the fusion bottle is." Skopa reported

She chewed her lip for a moment, "Send an EVA squad with one of our sappers. Check it for booby traps. If it's safe, bring it aboard-if it's nothing we'll give it to the salvage crew if it's what it looks like..."
"What does it look like?"

"Relay beacon, see how the dishes are configured? that's laid out for the wideband frequencies used by HPG systems, and with germanium on a non-ship..?"

"HPG relay beacon." he said.

"That's only a guess, but it wouldn't be out of place in a former SLDF naval installation."

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