11: Milk Run (1/3)

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April 7, 2180 (New Era Calendar) / 
Valiant
-class Frigate, Delphinus, Hyperspace

Senator Kendrix Vincent stirred from her nap -- of what couldn't have been more than an hour. Despite the few moments of rest, she still felt nothing but exhaustion as she rose from the small bed in her quarters. As much as she appreciated every chance she could to steal a quick moment of sleep, nothing would replenish her more than a good night's sleep in her bed, far, far away on Io.

In a smooth motion, she drew her blonde hair into a bun and tied it tightly. A glance at her wrist chrono told her the ETA to Antilla Prime was just shy of four hours and she had a lot of work to do between now and then.

She approached the space efficient desk that rested along the furthest wall of her quarters, a computer terminal its only ornamentation. With a thumb on the screen, the computer came to life, requesting a retinal scan and verbal authorization.

"Secure. Vincent. One-One-Bravo."

Her fingers danced across the terminal's touchscreen interface as she brought up a program that would encrypt any communication sent from her terminal. She fired up the comm unit and dialed in her frequency.

There were a handful of seconds of silence until a male voice spoke.

"Kendrix, is that you?"

"Yeah, dad. It's me."

"I thought I told you not to contact me while you were in Sol, it's too dangerous."

"The Delphinus is in hyperspace. We are fine. I don't know if you're aware of what's going on in this side of the galaxy, but this couldn't wait..."

Before she could say another word, her father's voice cut her off. "...Antilla's made a formal request to join the Alliance."

"And I'm negotiating their terms."

There was a brief hesitation on the other end and Kendrix couldn't fight the little self-satisfied smirk at the corner of her mouth. She'd caught him by surprise with that and if she hoped to receive even the slightest hint of pride, appreciation or any other parental sentiment, Kendrix would have been sorely disappointed.

"That's good then. As long as you remain in play, then it's safe to assume your cover is still in tact."

Kendrix rolled her eyes. She started to swallow her thoughts deep into the well where she compartmentalized everything, but this time, something gave way.

"You know, just once, father. Put your war on hold and take stock of what's around you, of who's around you, before everything you're working for is lost."

The stunned silence on the other end caught Kendrix off guard. In her exhaustion it took her a moment to realize the connection had been dropped. No sooner did she realize this, did she feel the sudden deceleration of the Delphinus being yanked from hyperspace.

---

April 7, 2180 (New Era Calendar) / 
Valiant-
class Frigate Delphinus, Hyperspace

Sometimes there were just feelings that couldn't be ignored. That gnawing sensation bubbling up from inside -- the one that said something was wrong. That feeling sat with Captain Ric Olsen even as the Delphinus rocketed through hyperspace at superluminal velocity. The knot tightened in his gut.

Usually, the wily Captain could dismiss the feeling as nerves. But every once in a while, when that warning signal did actually mean something, it ended up being some sort of technical malfunction, a bad nav course, or an --

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