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Of Stone and Metal Hearts

Of Stone and Metal Hearts

Cptn Ramson, Cdr Cayne, Cptn Chirakis


Lieutenant Grun, Xenolinguistics Specialist for SI-6, appeared on the main screen of Aegis’s security complex, his expression stoic as he played the recording gathered from a seldom used subspace frequency. Faint voices became artificially magnified. The universal translator struggled for a moment, then interpreted the conversation, mimicking the inflection, cadence, and nuances of the original as best it could.


"The siege is proceeding well. We have removed the last orbital threats and eliminated all known launch sites. They will come to terms before any orbital bombardments are necessary. The Tsuramera and a few escorts can maintain the blockade."


"Negotiations with the Kuromites are concluded. The 8 ships left in their fleet will now join us at Maravon."


"What of the Metal Hearts?"


"We have spotted operatives of theirs on An­Ward and we believe some have moved past the old border in search of the Children of Stone."


"And our own search?"


"No change since our last report."


"With our forces free of the siege and our new allies we can begin the coreward expansion."


"With care. Those beyond the border are still unknown to us. If they kept the Breen at bay, then we will find no small task in bringing them into our alliance."


A voice, broad and with authority, raised itself above the others. "The fleet will ready itself at Maravon. Send the fastest ship of the Kuromites to follow the Metal Heart operatives. We will await their results before proceeding."


The echoes became a unified chorus, "As you command."*


The transmission ended. Chirakis’ left elbow balanced on the armrest and a finger pressed against her chin in thought as she leaned back in the chair and inhaled deeply, eventually swiveling to shift her focus from Ltn Grun to Commander Cayne, next to her.


“AnWard I am familiar with, but Kuromites? Metal Heart operatives? Children of Stone?” she queried, calling for his input.


"There's a lot of information in that communique...let's see." Cayne leaned against the nearest structure. "I think we, at least Aegis or our alliance, are the unknown they speak of that kept the Breen at bay. Children of Stone could be the Horta, which I have mistaken for a large rock some time ago." Cayne watched the now paused audio track display. "If what they say they did, then they are building a possibly massive force, perhaps on par with the Dominion, but how did they keep off our intelligence circles for so long?" He did not expect a response, only pausing to consider the message further.


“How did they, indeed,” considered Chirakis, glancing to Grun.


“The subspace channel was efficiently buried under several layers. Our only indication was one section that poked out enough to raise a red flag and force us to investigate,” Grun responded.


“Then, if we are the unknown,” Chirakis continued, “they could mean Aegis, the Allied Powers, or even more? Should we consider the possibility that massive allied fleet of alien powers is ready to invade, Commander?”


"I think they may mean our station in the short term and more the further you look. I don't believe they mean to ask for Federation membership. I'd guess they'd break us until we relent to joining them. Who are the other players and Metal Hearts? That sounds vaguely non-biological to me. Killer space androids..." Cayne was simply thinking out loud without the aid of a nip of whiskey. In his universe not the best conduit of ideas.


“Hm,” she mused. “The androids: another chink in the armor. Then considering siege, orbital bombardments, blockade, ships left in their fleet? It certainly does not sound like a friendly encounter.” She turned to Grun. “Is this the only transmission?”


The only one so far. We’re monitoring that frequency constantly now, but the chatter seems to have stopped, at least for a while.”


“Monitor frequencies close to it, if you would, Lieutenant, and forward all you find. If nothing else, then carry on.”


Grun nodded, the connection terminated, and Captain Chirakis stood. “I believe it’s time to see the Captain, Commander,” she said, clipping her slate to her belt. “We have had enough surprises in the last few days. We do not need another.”


*Taken from The Breeze From Foreign Shores by Kallah Ramson

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