A predator hunted silently in the black void. Starlight gleamed
off its metallic skin as it drifted hastily through the Vega
The Icarus, an Order frigate, had a human crew. Assigned to
patrol Vega and provide security to the Guild of Science asteroid
station studying the young system. Onboard Icarus, the crew had
just began their morning shifts. Captain Reynolds, a firm,
gray-haired man in his early sixties, sat in his chair on the
bridge. He had read through the night-shift report, and then
trained his eyes on the projected image of space in front of the
"Captain," the perplexxed voice called from behind Reynolds, "I'm
detecting a blue-shift in the Vega star."
Reynold snapped his head around at the young officer. "A
blue-shift?" He would have to see it for himself. Rising from
his chair, he walked around the bridge to the station. Leaning
over the officer's shoulder, he eyed the curious readings their
sensors had picked up.
"The blue-shift appears to be localized in the star's northern
hemisphere," the officer continued, pointing at the projected
image of Vega where a dark blue rash steadily grew on the
otherwise turquoise star.
Confounded, the Captain examined the readings but only caught a
glimpse before the image cut out and the readings went blank.
"Something's deflecting our scans," the officer reported, trying
to get the image back.
"What the hell," Reynolds mumbled.
"I can't get through, Sir."
"Keep at it." Reynolds walked back to his chair.
"Communications," he called, "signal the station. Let them know
we're moving to investigate the anomaly."
"Aye, Captain," replied the female officer from the opposite side
of the bridge. "Message away."
"Conn, set a course for Vega, all sub-light engines."
"Aye, Captain. Course plotted."
"All ahead full."
"Aye, Captain All ahead full. ETA - zero three six-six hours."
Reynolds sat back in his chair, brows furrowed, staring out again
at the projected void before him. He tried to wrap his head
around what had just occurred but found himself at a loss. At
least something exciting had finally happened.
Four days had passed since they began patrolling Vega - four very
uneventful days - and Reynolds grew tiresome of it. However, he
couldn't help feeling uneasy toward their current situation.
After eighteen years of command, he had almost developed a sixth
sense for spotting trouble. Since the moment he woke up that
morning, he felt anxious. The air around him seemed cold. As
the time passed, and they moved closer to Vega, his uneasiness
gripped him tighter. He usually enjoyed a good puzzle, but he
had a feeling he would have rather avoided this one.