Star Blitzers, Episode 4: “The Appeal”

The Appeal

The message was pretty scratchy, but out of the scramble came a woman’s voice saying, “When the stars threw down their spears.”

“That’s pretty weird,” I told Firth. “And not much to go on.”

He was unmoved. “It’s enough for intel. They got a Citherian voice print from it.”

I stared at the file name as if it would give me more info. “”What is it? Code?”

“Not that we know of,” Firth said. “It’s part of a poem.” In a flat voice, he began reading. “When the stars threw down their spears and watered heaven with their tears, did he smile his work to see and so on.”

I shrugged. “Sounds like somebody has a sense of humor at least. The stars are certainly throwing down their spears.”

Firth was uninterested. “If you say so.”

I gave up. “All right. So what’s the drill?”

Now he came to life “We fly to a landing zone at the edge of the Sagitid field, one that’s never been hit.”

“That’s nice.”

“From there we take an intel field buggy with the best rabbit ears in the fleet and make a sweep around the sector with a seeker beam.”

“In the meteor shower? For how long?”

“For how long?”

“Yeah. How long are we supposed to look?”

He talked as if I was supposed to know the answer. ”The cells in the buggy will last only so long, Bowman. Seven hundred kilometers tops.”

I thought he was crazy. “Three hundred and fifty kilometers each way—in a meteor shower?”

“Oh, no.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear—”

Seven hundred each way.”

“What! That’s all the way to the Fabrini Arches There’s not a field buggy ever built that can go fourteen hundred kilometers on a cell.”

“That’s what intel wants—”

Everybody to think.”

“You’re starting to catch on, Lieutenant Bowman”

Next: Episode 5–”Only Fifty More Kilometers”

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