by Renee Gunn and John Medkeff

            Lt. Katyana walked down the hall, wondering what orders she
would be given this time.  She pushed her hair back, today with its blue and
black highlights and stopped in the hallway observing one of the workmen.
She watched as he removed one sign from the door and replaced it with a new
one reading, Capt. Sir Dominik Flandry, Director of Imperial Intelligence.
Katyana cleared her throat and looked at the workman with piercing green
eyes.  The workman swallowed and quickened his pace then opened the door for
her.  Katyana walked in and headed for the guard sitting at a desk in the
middle of the room.

            "My papers."

            The guard looked up and then looked over the papers.  The guard
pushed an intercom button, "Lt. Katyana is here to see the Captain."
Katyana waited still observing her surroundings.  The office felt different,
not yet organized.  "The Captain will be with you momentarily."

            Katyana took the papers from the guard as he handed them to her.
She looked up as a door behind the guard's desk slid open.  "You may go in

            Katyana ignored the guard; she was already heading for the door
as he spoke.  She walked over to one of the three secretaries that sat in
this middle office.  The secretary nodded, "You may go into the inner

            Katyana moved toward the door pointed out to her and walked in
as it opened.  She looked at the barren walls of the office that was
cluttered with half unpacked and unpacked boxes.   She finally noticed the
middle aged man behind the desk, dressed in a Navy Captain's uniform.

            "Good morning Lieutenant.  Have a seat."

            Katyana nodded, "Sir."

            "Welcome to Intel.  I apologize for the mess, but I've only just
moved in here at headquarters myself."

            "Understandable Sir.  Congratulations on the position."

            "Thank you, I think.  I'm not certain how long I'm going to be
able to stand being stuck behind this desk."

            "It can be rather tedious.  I was told you wished to speak with
me Sir."

            "Yes.  We have a serious crisis out on the rim.  I want you to
look into it and figure out what's going on."

            "And what exactly is the crisis?"

            "A few months ago several Imperial planets on the outer rim
simply stopped answering the phone so to speak."

            "They just ceased all forms of contact?"  Katyana frowned as she
spoke.  This was not a good sign.

            "Yes.  We received no warnings or distress calls. They just went
off the air in an instant."

            "Do we have any leads?  The Rebels?"

            "No leads at this time.  Some nearby Rebel worlds have also
stopped talking.  My predecessor was busy making the mistakes that led his
Majesty to drop me into this chair at the time and it fell through the

            Katyana nodded, "Understood."

            The Captain nodded, "There are three things I need to know.
One, What caused these planets to stop functioning?  Two, Are the Rebels
behind this? And Three, Will it happen again and if so, where and when?"

            "Is there anything else sir?"

            Those are my basic concerns.  If you think of anything else,
feel free to take the initiative."

            "I trust any and all equipment I may need is at my disposal?"

            The Captain nodded, "Of course.  I'd start with the Rebels.  If
they have lost planets too, that should be easily confirmed."

            Katyana nodded, trying to sort all this out in her head.  It was
quite the mystery.

            "I hope it is the Rebels who are behind this.  The alternative
is someone completely unknown.  Frankly, I prefer enemies I know.  However,
I don't think it is the Rebels.  It feels wrong."

            "Perhaps we may be able to turn this unknown enemy into an

            "Perhaps.  But we need to know who or what it is first.  I spent
25 years in the field.  Every time I ignored my instincts, I regretted it."

            "And what do you instincts say now Sir?"

            "That its new, something we've never encountered before."

            "And that it is extremely powerful."

            "It may be, but it could just be thorough.  In any case, we need
to know."

            "I will find out."

            "And if you can figure out its course, stay out of its way."

            Katyana nodded, "From what you've told me sir, I think I will
follow that advice."

            The Captain pulled out a data cube and handed it to her, "Here's
what we have so far."

            Katyana takes the cube from him.

            "Keep in touch."

            "Yes Sir."

            "If you can find out what the Rebels know."

            "I will inform you."

            "That's all for now.  You had better go study that cube."

            Katyana stood and nodded, "Yes Sir."

            "Good luck Lieutenant."

            "Thank you Sir."


            Katyana turned and headed to leave.  Turning the cube in her
hands and wondering what she was getting into this time.

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