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Integrated Combat Information System: Page 11


My squadron (Second Long-Range Patrol Squadron, “Hugyn”, 71st air-defence battalion, Tal’q) scrambled when the base got the alert at 1900, and in the briefing we were told that First Squadron had already lost five recon pilots and we were taking over the duty. Lieutenant (Katrina) Shea volunteered for the first pass, and left just before 2000. When she didn’t report back, I pulled rank on a couple of other volunteer pilots to get the 2100 attempt. I left at 2058 in an Excalibur refitted for trans-system surveillance. I wasn’t carrying any armament except lasers – if I was spotted trouble my orders were to bug out and report, not fight.

The plan was to make a series of jumps towards Kilrah. On my first jump, into the inner Oort cloud of the system, I was too far out to see anything. My first in-system jump took me about 5 million kilometres outside the orbit of the 7th and outer planet of the system, a small gas giant with a minimal ring and 6 significant satellites. I was still too far away from the Kilrah belt to pick up anything, and since 7 was on my side of the sun (about 9.3 million kilometres from my position) I decided to give it a scan. I picked up enough complex alloys for a small fleet on the spectrograph, and high and localised hard radiation. Accuracy was rated at 35% for the spectrograph and 60% for the radiation count, so I decided to move in at 2120.

I found another in-system jump point to within about 200 000 kilometres of the planet, and began an elliptical trans-polar orbit. By 2132 I pinpointed the source of my reading as 7.4, a dead rock moon about 21 kilometres in diameter. I went all-stop except for sensors. There were no active signals anywhere in the spectrum, and background radiation was starting to fade, so I started to move in cloaked. I had visual with 7.4 by 2140. When I had reached 200 kilometres out from 7.4 (optimum sensor range for my package) I went all-stop again. At that point I determined that my spectrographics weren’t from a fleet, but from an enclosed base on the moon. Previously, the base had been concealed by about five metres of rock, but the rock had been scoured off, exposing the upper bays and corridors to my spectrograph.

Still with nothing on the bio-sensors and no active EM, I came in low and slow for my first pass. I estimate about 250 000 square metres of working and living space in the levels of the base exposed to view. The main area was a hangar space about 100 × 60 × 25 metres, that had been laid open to space. I could see the remains of at least two cargo shuttles, and enough miscellaneous wreckage to account for several more. I couldn’t see how the hangar had accessed the surface before the attack,


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