The Last Angel: The Hungry Stars, Chapter 14

An update that’s a bit later than in recent months (probably due to the fact that each of my works this month had a longer chapter than usual), but we have a new chapter for The Hungry Stars. The first meeting between United Earth Confederacy and the Triquetran League has concluded. Both sides are intrigued by the other, both sides want more and both sides have questions unanswered… as well as secrets of their own. This chapter continues that, with a brief sojourn to Eisheth and Harridan Core as the Red Queen completes her recent negotiations with the Principality.

Below is a snippet from Captain Keating’s discussion with his people upon his return to Vegvisir, discovering that he hasn’t been the only one to hold a conversation with Red One. For the full story, check out the links above. Hope you enjoy!

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Docking claws unfurled, wrapping around the shuttle as it returned to Vegvisir’s hangar, drawing it into its berth. Once his craft was secured, Obed stepped back onto his ship’s deck. Oksana was there to greet him and Cassock. “How did it go?”

Keating grinned. “You know, there are proper greetings for a superior officer’s return to his ship.”

“Welcome back, sir. Permission to come aboard granted. How did it go?”

“Promising, I think. We’ll need to send the files on our contact with the Asset to Nemesis for review.” Fantome made a face. “What?”

“They might have already seen them,” she told him. “While you were gone, Observer reported an… incident.”

Obed’s lips pressed together. “What happened?”

Nemesis cut into our systems,” Oksana reported. “In any other circumstance, I would have called it a breach, but Observer classified it as a probe. Apparently, there was a conversation.”

“A conversation?” Obed blinked. “Observer?”

“The Confederate OMI entered this network at 1431 ship standard time,” the custodian advised Keating. “It gained access through a tertiary drone datalink node, bypassing initial security and EW locks.”

Obed bit the inside of his lip. That was a far more indirect method than the unknown custodian on Lakhesis had tried. “It wasn’t a brute-force incursion,” he said, voicing his thoughts aloud.

“She slid in almost as easily as a greased pig,” Oksana agreed. “She might even have been in and out before we noticed if it wasn’t for Observer.”

Keating was silent for a moment, thinking. Going from Lakhesis’s probing efforts to a full incursion over such a short span of timeshowed an impressive level of adaptation on Red One’s part. Impressive… and worrying. The theory he and Cassock had bandied about was looking even more likely. “Was anything damaged or compromised?”

“Negative,” Observer replied. “This incursion appeared to be for the purposes of low-level information gathering rather than hostile attack. The intruder made no attempts to gain access to ship systems or secured archives and no infective code was left behind.”

“You said it was a conversation,” Keating said. “What did you talk about?”

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