Erin Locke

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Ever since her dinner on the Avalon, Erin felt uneasy about the mission to Clarion. The request to escort the Avalon into the region was already a bit suspicious -now there was an Alliance Dragoon on board. There were too many unknowns. Sitting in her guest cabin on the Excalibur, her eyes drifted as she pondered the situation.

The space was small, providing barely enough room to move around. There was a desk, a cot, a chair, and a computer console packed into the tiny rectangle. Erin swivelled to face the computer, and typed in a series of commands. The face of Ambassador Primakov appeared on the viewscreen.

"Ambassador Locke," Primakov smiled, "how can I help you?"

"I was just thinking back to our meeting. Something's been bothering me."

"What's that?"

"The Dragoon."

"-Jovan Leeper-"

"Yea. It's a little suspicious, isn't it -him showing up now?"

"I was thinking the same thing. Unfortunately, we don't really have a say in the matter. The Dragoons do have authority to enter Alliance vessels to carry out their orders."

"And his orders are-"

"-security assessment-"

"So he said."

"You're not convinced?"

"I'm concerned," Erin clarified. "A Dragoon is posted on the Avalon -just before we head off to another galaxy to meet for the first time with a potentially dangerous faction. It just seems like something's up."

"I had the same thought. But the Dragoons don't get their orders from us."

"So where did his orders come from?"

"Impossible to say -Dragoon directives are typically secret."

"Well in general then -how does the Dragoon command structure work? Where could his orders be coming from?"

"Well in general..." Primakov paused for a moment. "Dragoon commanders can internally give orders pursuant to their broader directives. Orders and new directives can also be issued to the Dragoons by the President, or by the security council. Or by a quorum in the Senate. Or by special order of active duty captains. In any case, the orders are usually secret -sealed. So there is no way of us knowing who sent him here, or why -assuming there is something he's hiding"

"Can you tell me anything about him?"

"I'll tell you what I know -I did some of my own research after I found out he was on board. He's got large gaps in his service record. Could mean he was deployed on secret operations, or he was in training. He came here on a long-range scout ship -the Invictus. It's got a stealthing system, jammers, T-drive."

"What kind of payload?"

"It's not a combat ship -doesn't have shields or defensive arrays. It doesn't look like he's planning on picking any fights. Still, he could've just taken a shuttle if he's only here for a security assessment."

"Right. Okay, anything else you can tell me?"

"No, that's it. If anything jumps out at me I'll let you know."

"Please do. I think it's in our mutual interest to be aware of what this guy is doing -to make sure he's not up to anything reckless while we're out there."

"Absolutely, I agree."

"Great. Thanks so much."

Primakov nodded, and Erin switched off the console. She took a deep breath, leaned back, and cupped her hands over the back of her head. Talking with Primakov hadn't alleviated her concerns at all. Erin was now even more worried that the Dragoon Jovan was operating on secret orders -and he had a specialized ship docked in the Avalon bay. He was an unknown factor. That made him a diplomatic risk. Who sent him? What are his orders? Why have him accompany the Avalon, instead of just sending him solo? Too many questions.

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