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Voldamar Books
S.F. Swem
S.F. Swem
S.F. Swem
Demesne New Beginnings
Demesne Challenge
Take a look inside the Cassiopeia
In his cabin on the star cruiser Galaxy, Plackard picks up the cologne bottle with the coding encrypted in the batch number. Setting it on top of the touch pad of his computer console, the sensors detect the unique elements coded into the liquid's formula, and it doesn't take it long for the system to decrypt the formula and activate the hidden data. The reaction initiates a holographic video that appears above the dark blue bottle. Plackard sits back and watches as the silhouette of his mission commander appears, along with the rotating image of ERS Cassiopeia.
"This ship will be arriving at the diplo corps station to transport a diplomat to the outer rim conference. You've been assigned as a senior security chief for diplomat Amanda Spikes. She has specifically requested you, and your background lends well to your 'role' in this operation. This will also allow you more freedom onboard the target."
"This is going to be a tough assignment, Plackard. The ship was designed and constructed at Research One, and very little is known about its makeup. The scans we've been able to capture have revealed nothing about the vessel or its abilities. We've been suspicious that the Junk Yard 'Dog' has been involved in its construction but have been unable to prove it."
The ship's image is replaced by a head and shoulders image of Frank Walker. "The designer is an ex-fighter pilot named Frank Walker, and his last military assignment was at Mil-1 research."
Frank's image is replaced by North's face. "This man, North Givenway, has aided Walker with the ship's structural components and materials. Between them, they've come up with a ship unlike anything we've ever seen before, and it has some unique abilities that have yet to be explained."
"The ship's AI was developed by Dr. Cassandra Cassiopeia." An image of the beautiful doctor's face appears. "She fabricated the AI specifically for this ship, and the AI core was finished just before the doctor was killed in a freak accident. We surmise that there may be some problems with the AI, and since the doctor is obviously no longer available to fix those problems, that may present an opportunity for you."
"All we know about the ship is that it's a one-off design, and it has a drive system that leaves absolutely no trails. The primary objective of this mission … is its ability to perform what is known in classified circles as the 'Cassie Maneuver' … the ship's ability to jump within a gravity well to the surface of a planetary body." Plackard huffs as he hears that revelation.
"Our first real scanning opportunity will be when the ship arrives to pick up its diplomatic passengers. After that, it will be up to you to collect the intel. At the end of the conference, Ambassador Spikes will bring aboard our elite boarding team, and you will coordinate the takeover of the vessel."
"Proceed immediately to the diplo corps station at that point, where you will receive further instructions from the Ambassador. We estimate that the target will be arriving within seven solar days." The silhouette finally fades as the transmission ends, and as Plackard looks down at the cologne, the fluids turn cloudy as the link ends.
He sits for awhile thinking about his next move, and then he signals for his steward. James' calm features appear on the cabin's private monitor.
"Yes, Mr. Plackard, how may I help you today?"
Plackard rubs his face as he stares into the monitor. "Change of plans, James. I need a transport to the Magellan cluster immediately."
"Yes sir. There's a resupply ship scheduled for docking tomorrow. Its next scheduled stop is the Magellan cluster. Would that be sufficient?"
"Yes thanks, that'll do nicely."
"Very good, sir," the steward replies, smiling politely. "I'll see to the arrangements immediately."
"Thanks, James. You've been very helpful."
"Will you be needing any supplies from stores for the transfer?"
"No, I think I have everything I need," Plackard answers. He cuts the connection and sits quietly, leaning back in the soft leather recliner as he contemplates his assignment.

Long before Plackard has received his assignment, Captain Frank Walker has been working in his civilian office at Research One, a neutral science station surrounded by the swirling debris of the Junk Yard. The Junk Yard and Research One have had many claims to fame, foremost is the disastrous black hole research that created the Junk Yard. Research One is also the leader in the areas of artificial intelligence, androids and robotics, medical advances, drive systems, and many others.
For Walker, it's the home of his baby, the ERS Cassiopeia, the only ship designed and constructed at Research One and registered to the RSC.
He's wearing a dark blue casual shirt that sports a logo of the silver ship, some shirt order that North insisted on and that Cassie enthusiastically endorsed. Frank thought it was frivolous but he admits that the shirt is comfortable.