BONUS

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    Lucien looked down at his report:
    BIOLOGICAL THREAT LEVEL: HIGH
    BIOLOGICAL SUITABILITY FOR HUMANS: MEDIUM
    RAW RESOURCE LEVELS: EXTREMELY HIGH
    It was the reason he was here; the French-owned mining corporation Maison was wanting to settle a mining colony on the planet. He frowned thinking back to the conversation he just had with the director for fringe-world surveying in Maison. Two million universal credits; that was what they were offering. That and a new ship. It was an extremely attractive offer, he could go anywhere with it, live a life of luxury. Perhaps he could go settle down in the Asian conglomerate, No too crowded.
    Steeling himself, he dove into the metadata of the report, changing values and editing where necessary.
     it's worth it. Besides I've been screwed so many times, I'm owed this.
    Below him the world slowly spun on its axis, lit by the twin binary stars in this system, it was a brilliant green marble floating in the cosmos. The stars' light was filtered by Lucien's ships windows, its watered down rays drifting onto the newly compiled report.
    BIOLOGICAL THREAT LEVEL: LOW


***

Six Months later.



    Lucien was halfway through his beer when the bartender upped the volume on the TV. A holographic representation of a career woman spoke with a grave voice.
    "We are coming live from the orbit of New Lyon. Reports are unclear, but it seems as though the Colony is under attack... information is conflicting but one thing is clear, there have been fatalities."


    Shit.

    A stern military type in the traditional Reds, Whites, and Blues of the old French Navy flickered into focus. The woman continued, "I've just been told that Contre-Amiral Gaël is about to give a brief. We go now to HMS Temeraire."

    "We do not yet know the full details; there may be survivors, but New Lyon will be abandoned. We have brave men and woman on the ground now searching for our people, we wi-" The uniformed man cut off suddenly as alarms blared on the deck of the Temeraire. A loud announcement voice sounded over the alarm.
    "GROUND TROOPS UNDER ATTACK, PLEASE REPORT TO STATIONS, THIS IS NOT A DRILL... GROUND TROOPS UND-" The feed from the ship cut off with the news reporter coming back into view, visibly shaken she pulled herself together before launching back into the report.
Lucien stopped listening, what if they analysed the report? Had he done enough to hide his tampering? Did Maison keep attribution towards him for a scapegoat? A million thoughts rushed through his mind.
    He stood up abruptly, stool screeching its protest; he was still in French-controlled space. No one in the bar paid him any heed as he rushed to the exit.
    It was a thirty-minute cab ride to the docks, it felt like a lifetime. Soon enough, the sprawling docks came into view. Paying the cabby, he strode to the docking elevator and punched in his docking number and keycard.
    DENIED.
    Sirens wailed in the distance.

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