15: Asteroid, Base, Money, Surveillance, Flight

23:55 Sat 16 Sep 2006. Updated: 01:55 17 Sep 2006
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Near the middle of the asteroid belt, I directed Shara to approach a large hunk of rock. I broadcast a code to it, and a section slid sideways, revealing a docking bay. Shara was clearly impressed, and I was gratified by this.

We docked and entered the base, Shara still holding me at gunpoint. We would set up payment, and then she would be free to go. I would be free to figure out what was going on, what had happened while I’d been away.

Everything was still running. No bombs went off when we arrived, no army of Redmane operatives emerged when we went in.

The control room was the same as when I’d left it. I called up the financial data first, and pointed it out to Shara, saying, “I easily have enough to pay you, we need set up an anonymous account—”
“How am I supposed to trust that?”
“Well, we can give you a new identity, with all the documents.”
“And how can I trust those? Forget it. Put it into one of my real accounts.” I shrugged. This way she would have to pay tax, and it would be harder to explain. But she could deal with it, just claim she’d had a massive find. She wouldn’t be lying.

As I did this, I saw the warning systems for the base were clamoring for attention. These were old proximity alerts, which I opened.

What I saw changed the plan. It was a Redmane ship, three years back, roaming the system, looking for the base. They didn’t find, it, but they did seed the system with surveillance drones. Drones that would now be talking to Redmane. I destroyed them remotely, but that didn’t solve the problem.

“We have to go, right now. In a different ship.”

(300 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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