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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 133 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

The Tortuga Dominions...

...are located in an astrophysically complex cluster of stars and other bodies, relatively well insulated from their targets by a mixture of navigational complexity, and distance.

This established the first stage of Arthur's War-twelve jump-capable Cutters and three support tenders can cover quite a bit of territory, but it's risky business and not nearly as easy at it might first appear. The first steps being to isolate likely jump routes and establish surveillance, while scouting systems in passive mode.

Maps, you see, are everything in military movement, especially in counterinsurgency missions.

There were a few resources that could be tapped for this-testimony from trials and questioning of captured pirates going back decades set the stage-details consistent across multiple witness accounts are kept, individual details and claims made by any single suspect or witness are set aside.

Arthur's learning from his time in training mixes with his natural inclination to be thorough, methodical, careful in planning, and detail oriented in execution.

Aboard the FGS Feather, staff officers compile shared records from the Taurians, and from systems and worlds in the Davion outback that they've visited, to construct a partial picture of the targeted region, a partial picture useful mainly for deploying the Patrols on their reconnaissance mission-sifting likely candidates for Pirate held worlds from places that are less likely, telescopic imagery and astronomy at long distance marks likely stars for recharging, stars with no vibrational frequency to indicate orbiting bodies, stars with significant deviations and activity to mark likely planetary objects.

Map, study, examine. A few ships are sent to varying distances based on raid timing over the last few decades, until the light-echo of time reveals one, or two, or more.

When the light from the past shows a ship, you move to a position where you can watch where it went...where it goes. Like having a scope set up to study the past through the lens of a time-machine, only this is no time-machine, it is simply the speed of light through interstellar space and this methodology costs megatons of fuel to carry out.

Once you catch one, you learn what to look for, and more records and history are brought to the rally point, more orders issued, both to the FedCom Coast Guard units, and to TDF owned vessels.

The Bandits, do not yet know their hunter is close, because vessels not on direct-mission objectives, are busy doing commerce patrol along the Davion Outback region, or conducting similar patrol operations along the Taurian border-a useful fiction for passing messages and hiding coordination.

Everything is compartmentalized, including mobilization and drills by the TDF.

Seven routes are identified, to suspect systems in the cluster itself.

Movement orders are cut, and Cutters, with their light-absorbing black jumpsails, are dispatched for a closer look, arriving outside the jump limit to monitor, observe, and lay detection bouys as part of the process.

They also map uninhabited, uninhabitable, systems and confirm likely routes for recharging.

The concept is to establish the intelligence needed, the maps, the routes, the methods, to isolate the Tortugan pirates when the go-order is given.

The main danger at this stage, would be for the intended targets to become aware of what is coming.

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