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Ray Nothnagel

Junior Telemetry Officer Ensign Cherami Misra, October 5, 2071

I can only imagine what the Bactarans are thinking. Here we are, a hundred billion miles from home, right on their front doorstop. No one had called ahead—warp bridges don't work that way, we're learning. You can't call ahead—you just dropped into the bridge on one side, and popped out on the other. Nevertheless, here we were, unannounced. This will be my first encounter with Bactarans, but even I can guess at what they're thinking.

They're thinking, "They don't belong here."

If they are, they'd be right. But then, no one had told us we shouldn't be out there. Only common sense told us not to, and no one on this crew was about to listen to that dictator. I already lost several friends when one of our little fleet of prototype ships was destroyed, and to make matters worse, the Captain's not even letting us talk about it. We weren't going to come back empty handed.

Our primary mission was to obtain advanced technology, especially the Junardms that allowed ships to cross the event horizon of a wormhole and come out in one piece on the other side. We only had the three we were able to scavenge and rebuild from the wreckage above Earth. I, for one, am more interested in our secondary mission: Finding out what happened to the colony ship. Just before the occupation ended, they sent a colony ship. It was supposed to go through the wormhole and find someplace to settle. Shortly after it left Earth orbit, though, we lost track of it. Some people think the Bactarans got to it; some think they simply went dark for secrecy. I happen to think they're out here, somewhere. It's time for us to bring them back home.

They don't belong here.

Commander Cherami Misra, February 12, 2079

To be honest, I really don't know who we're supposed to be defending.

The first Bactarans in the asteroid belt started construction on their mine three weeks ago. It didn't take long for privateers to get wind of it, and a ship is on its way. It'll be here in two days, and their captain has sent a thinly veiled threat—something about the butchers of the occupation. We were sent here to watch the Bactarans and protect Earth from them; and we might be forced into a position to defend the Bactarans instead. Now the Machete is all that's standing in between them and the miners. And one phrase is stuck in my mind, something I kept thinking about years ago.

If the privateers decide to attack, we have to destroy them. Humanity needs what the Bactarans are offering, and a delegation of Bactarans is watching remotely from Hyperion Station. They have to see the Machete putting herself between the two sides, and if the miners are killed, the only possible hope for continued relations is to blow the privateer ship out of the sky. What the hell are they doing here?

But what's worse is, what happens if the Bactaran miners take matters into their own hands? Their shuttle isn't a warship by any stretch, but any ship with an engine is a weapon, and their engines are better than ours—they could fly circles around the privateers and melt their hull in the process. And what then—do we shoot them down? Do we risk war over these privateers? Do we risk not getting the engines and Junardms the Bactarans are promising? To say nothing of what we do if the Bactarans decide they don't trust their escort and decide to attack us.

They don't belong here. None of them do.

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