Distraction. Part 1
Small Hive cluster, Lumen system
Miranda del Arte was walking to the bridge of the “Shining”, a Holy Empire cruiser. It was a deeply modified version of the “Proud” ship, which left the repair docks in 4619. After the last operation, she didn’t even have time to put things in the cabin, but orders are orders. After all, she needs enough time to figure out the routes of the Aliens to the peak of the Signal in order to neutralize the threat that was coming from them.
The commander, Lord Levia, was waiting for her on the bridge. When the young woman approached him, the inquisitor slowly tore his gaze from the screen and looked sharply into Miranda’s eyes. She was used to this, so she pretended not to pay attention, although her head was slightly cracked near the attachment point of the neuroimplant.
“I know you that you usually act as a broker and coordinate operations, but I have a special order for you,” Levia said in his somewhat high-pitched voice, “you’ll have to penetrate the Federation territory, the biomorph-infeсted sector near the center of the Atlantic Alliance. There you'll obtain special data. Then you will transfer it personally to me.”
Usually the lord used to send these orders by internal mail or directly to her implant, but especially important things deserve, in his opinion, more serious treatment, namely paper, because sometimes paper turns out to be more durable than electronic form. The lord handed Miranda a folder with documents and said: “As soon as you get acquainted with the material, tell your partner for this operation, Thomas, that you would like to see the ancient spire. Not a word about the order to anyone. Any questions?”
“How do I get into the quarantine zone? — Miranda asked.
“A new Hadrian ship was developed and tested for such operations. The one that you will use in this operation will be equipped with the signature masking module. Thomas already knows how to control it, but the delicacy of the operation requires the participation of not only a good pilot, but also a special agent.”
“Will I have a couple of days to prepare?” — the young woman asked.
“Of course,” — Levia said, — “the task has no exact dates, and even though it is urgent, it will be more important to complete it effectively, so that no one has any questions. Now go on and read smart books, Miranda. I’m counting on you.”
The young woman left, hid the papers in a stash inside her cabin, and then went into the dining room of the cruiser. Unlike Legion cruisers, the ships of the Inquisition were in some cases equipped not only with a food synthesizer, but also with kitchens for cooking ordinary food, which noticeably lifted the morale of the crew. After having her meal, Miranda began to study the papers.
Everything turned out to be not so simple, although it still seemed possible: the top of the Atlantic Alliance, who were running the Federation, didn’t forget about their interests. Among other things, they created hidden access codes for strategically important objects and networks, as well as special storages and things that don’t officially exist. An Alliance senator stayed in one of these residences when the nearest systems were attacked by biomorphs, and the place itself was cut off from communications by a warp storm. Soon the biomorphs also reached the senator's ship, while he was trying to escape from the system at sublight speed.
How and where the senator stored the data was unknown, but there were clues - a number of objects that could be used as a data storage. Statuettes of the Frontier fall era and personal jewelry had to be checked first. The main difficulty of the mission was to perform everything unnoticed and not get infected, although the ship was specifically modified for this purpose.
The young woman carefully studied the map of the system where she will perform her mission. She even learned the coordinates of the routes that she could use to get there, just in case. This kind of mission required Miranda to remove even her outward recklessness. The full study of the case materials took two days. On the third day, the young woman took a transport ship to the Lumen-4 orbital station, reasonably assuming that it would be better for her not to be seen in the passenger lists.
Miranda jumped out of the maintenance bay before the inspection of the vessel was completed, escaped the officers conducting the inspection and walked calmly to Thomas’ apartment. She knocked on the door, and as soon as it was opened, she immediately entered, pushing the short-statured man inside, and then blocked the door.
— Hey, Thomas, I want to see an ancient spire. At least its photos. But it can wait. Where’s the tea?