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As the satellites align and lock on for firing, the operator calls up the data from the computer, which indicates that the ship had suddenly appeared out of thin air, which meant only two options.

"Impossible!" he mutters, rubbing his bloodshot eyes. The only way it could have gotten this close was if it had used an electronic masking system. The only other way would be to use a star drive, but that doesn't make any sense either. No commander would dare use a star drive this close to a planetary system! He frowns at the readings. Use it within a system, and you had a good chance of ending up inside a planet!

Whatever method the pilot of this ship had used to get this far does not matter to the disgruntled operator, but he is relishing the opportunity to destroy something. He locks four satellites onto the intruder's location and knows with certainty that it will not be in orbit much longer. That is what he thought before too.



“Sir!” the exclamation comes from the floor. “Detecting surface launch, identification just came in, its Scout Craft Zebra 9.”

“They are probably repositioning.” He comments. “Nothing …”

“No sir,” Interrupts the operator, “trajectory has them heading orbital.”

He makes a note to admonish the operator for interrupting later, as he switches on the comms.

“Scout Zebra 9. Satellite Command. You are violating landing protocols, return to the surface immediately or be destroyed. Acknowledge.”

“Sir. Craft is leaving the atmosphere and continues accelerating.”

“Lock on!” He barks before returning to the comms. “Zebra 9 you are to be destroyed. Reverse course immediately. Do you copy!”

“ENERGY BUILD UP!” someone yells.

“FIRE!” He commands getting to his feet, watching the main screen.




The widely spaced weapons array fires at the same time, targeting the unknown vessel. The destructive power collides, and then a shockwave expands outwards, revealing nothing left behind. The operator conducts a thorough sensor sweep, which indicates that no trace of the intruder remains. Satisfied and smug, he records the incident in his logbook. Should make him look like promotion material. One medium-sized spaceship, origin unknown, destroyed, with no detection of escape craft or probes. The fact that there is no debris at all eludes his attention.

He sets the weapons systems back on diagnostics mode and leans back in his chair, pondering the nonsense with this campaign. If only it had gone this well the last time.





“PIPE DOWN!” He yells. “Tracking, bring the next satellite to fire intercept!”

There is silence for a long time as he looks at his crew.

“Sir.” An operator says quietly. “The scout has jumped … out-system. We … we lost it.”

He looks blankly at his crew a moment more, then plops down heavily into his chair.




With the destruction, this time, of the unknown craft, and satisfied that the defense systems panel is functioning perfectly, the operator leans back in his chair and thinks about his crappy assignment. Yes, he knew the truth about the rumor

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