Engagement part 3 by Ronald Faltus

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SUMMARY: Lieutenant Myers leads a strike team against a terrorist cell. Sorry for the length, couldn’t find a good place for a break. Let me know what you think.

"Helm, plot a course for sector five nine six and engage the distortion drives when ready."

Captain Aswaud's voice crackled weakly through the communication speaker, causing Saline Myers to once again to try to clear up the secure link between them and the Azorean Grey. It had been the forth such adjustment that she had made, and like the rest, this one only managed to partially clear up the signal. Secure and clear communications were essential during any military operation, or so that's what her instructors at the academy had drilled into her. It didn't matter that the bridge chatter on the GPS cruiser had nothing to do with her; she still felt that it was her duty to try.

"Alright people, we have another transport under attack, the Gerald Dean. Let's get out there and do some good, happy hunting to all."

The last part of the captain's words caught Saline's attention, wondering if he was directing that to the crew or her and the six heavily armed GPS commandos that were sitting in the shuttles cramped cabin with her. The soldier's bulky armor clanked against the bulkhead with them pressed so tightly in the enclosed space. Turning she saw the bright electrostatic field envelope the Azorean Grey as she accelerated away, quickly disappearing into the darkness of space. Just like that she was alone, cut of form her commander and about to lead her first mission into an unknown situation.

Returning her focus to the controls, she set the sensors to passive scans. "Ok, let's see what we can see."

She was speaking more for herself than the commandos that were crowded around her; they knew their role in the mission. A combat drop ship would have been more suited to accommodate the troopers, but the captain was worried that a military vessel would jeopardize the operation, instead deciding to use a small covert ops shuttle. Saline agreed with his decision, but silent wished that they could have upgraded the temperature control unit before departing the Azorean Grey. They had been in parallel orbit with the cruiser for hours now, waiting for a distress call to come in. The ships air handlers were straining to keep up, ineffective against the rising temperature in the cabin, creating a pungent moist atmosphere.

The plan was relatively simple. She was to take the shuttle and circle Eifrinti, waiting for the Azorean Grey to leave in response to another distress call. Then it was up to Myers to scan for the communication bust that was warning the terrorists about the cruiser's departure. It would be impossible to directly intercept the transmission, to decode and decipher. It was probably a compressed stream, tightly focused on the location in space were the terrorists had ambushed their prey. What was possible was to monitor the planet below, hoping to catch the power spike that would accompany the transmission. Communication burst equipment drew a tremendous amount of power, hopefully enough to register on the shuttles sensitive scanning equipment.

Myers had agreed with Captain Aswaud with the first phase of the plane, but when he explained that once the equipment was pinpointed, she would lead the commando team to neutralize the site, the plan became more overwhelming for her.

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