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The open French doors of the CO’s office let in a warm Summer breeze coming up from up off the Lake. Outside, on the Captain’s patio, Outpost Phoenix’s Commanding Officer stood hunched over a hefty optical telescope. Without the light from either moon, it was a perfect night for astronomy. Almost perfect. The massive pile of paperwork on his desk had conspired to keep him away from the hobby he enjoyed. Every thirty minutes or so, however, he’d allow himself this distracting reward.

Through the eyepiece, Captain Arzie spied Tahnna’Whanna IX. The blue-green gas giant loomed large in his field of vision. As interesting as Tahnna’Whanna IX was, what really interested him tonight was the significantly smaller structure orbiting the planet.

Much larger than a drydock, the artificial structure that he and Ishae had had towed back from the Wierlee System hung above Tahnna’Whanna IX in high orbit; dark except for the tiny flicker of electric and plasma sparks and the pulsing cyan light from the tetryon reactor.

It was really quite fascinating. Engineering crews had been working on the object for a couple weeks before apparently triggering some sort of ‘self-repair’ system. Engineering estimated that whatever it was, it ought to be fully repaired by the end of the week. He was already planning a trip up there to examine it when it was finished repairing itself.

Setting the auto-tracker, Arzie returned to his desk and heaved a heavy sigh as he waded through the paper work.

First he read the report from the Infirmary. Commander Masterson, Lieutenant Neko, and Chief MacArdry seemed to be healing just fine from their misadventure in the ruins. From what Dr. Reese had been able to ascertain, some sort of ‘recorded psyche’ which had been, for lack of a better term, ‘stored’ in the crystals that now lay in the Science Tower being analyzed. Not an unknown phenomena. Vulcans stored katras in similar vessels. The Captain was looking forward to reading through the reports from those still in the Infirmary, as well the imagery taken of the paintings on the walls of the ruins and the analysis of the crystals they retrieved.

There was another distressing report in his inbox. Both the Aldrin and the Ares had apparently recently been destroyed near the Maelstrom Expanse. He remembered that a few of his previous officers had been transferred to the Aldrin, but that their transport had been reported overdue. It had been revised to lost just this past week as debris matching it’s material composition had been located a few light-years from Starbase 561. He made a note to have Masterson announce the loss of their former crewmates.

Arzie turned his head and looked back out onto the patio, into the night sky. After pausing for a few minutes, he turned back to his PADDs and his desktop terminal and heaved a heavy sigh.