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The sheaf of papers hit the table and slid, spilling its contents into a fan of color photos and technical readouts. "Gentlemen, and lady," Eichorst began, "we have a mystery on our hands." The half dozen analysts sitting around the table had not waited before grabbing for portions of the contents. Some rapidly scanning items before passing them along, others squinting to make out fine detail on the surveillance photos.
"Installation seven? I thought that there were only supposed to be six of these," Travers said peering past his sharp beak of a nose at a photo.
"That's the mystery. Consolidated Extrasolar Mining was contracted on their bid for six atmospheric transformation stations. Planet Q38MM is halfway through its planned eighty year terraforming cycle. One of our deep survey vessels was caught in a burst from an unmapped quasar, it's was able to limp to Q38 with the hope of making use of the long range comms array on one of the stations. Their records only indicated for six installations on Q38MM but their lander shuttle detected an unknown seventh. These are the logs they were able to send back.
"The crew isn't military, their ship is equipped for stealth and long range sensors so they were ordered to affect what repairs they could without making contact with installation seven and then fall back to the edge of the system and await a cruiser. We dispatched the terra-class Undeterrable to the system, and we expect them to arrive later this week.
"In the meantime you all need to pour over this data and tell me what it is we have here. What is CEM doing at installation seven?"