12: Reward, Hunt, Research, Guess, Discovery

23:58 Wed 13 Sep 2006
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Looks Good on Paper was outbound from the Rithvi system when Shara heard about the reward. One hundred million for finding Truder Redmane.

The name didn’t mean much to her, but she quickly determined that he was ex-Board. She was going to ignore the whole thing, but decided that the colossal reward was worth the time. Otherwise she would just struggle with small scores the rest of her life—if even that.

There were already thousands of people looking for Truder, though. And she wasn’t going to beat them with speed, equipment, or numbers. But if she guessed differently, she might have an edge.

While looking into it, she found an academic research paper with a chapter on Truder’s intelligence network. Its authors, clearly in opposition to many other experts, thought his network was centered not on his homeworld, but rather on Lospike, in a relatively sparse part of the sector.

Truder disappeared while leaving Manehome. The assumption was that he was going to his homeworld. But what if, first, he was actually going to Lospike, and second, he never made it? What if he had a drive failure? There was so much empty space there, he might never be found.

She had a ship equipped to find metal at vast distances, and she had some time.

Four weeks and fifty-five short warp hops later, she had a sensor hit in the Lospike Gap. Drifting slowly, still showing light and power, was Truder Redmane’s Left and Left Again.

(250 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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