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Naval Officer's Residence Compound
Home and Office of Rear Admiral Makis Ao'Hallas
Imperial Naval Command General Staff Senior Officer

The horned rim glasses were pulled free for a moment from the grumpy rear admiral, so he could gingerly blink away the droll boredom that came from bureaucracy meetings and all that had just happened. An uneasy sigh escaped thin lips, and then he noted the one aide standing very stiffly, having observed all of this. 

Tala, I do believe our empress plans to give me a heart attack.

Tala for her part, only smirked, however green eyes wandered over the minister, just to make sure.

Knowing her Minister, she probably didn't even think about the repercussions of such a thing, given what is going on in the wurld.

She leaned forward and down, plucking up the seal bound tube and popped it free. The contents came out, rolled finely, upon ancient parchment. The script was in the old tongue, Haru-Dakat, older than the current language used by most these days, and many more she suspected. 

The Empress asks that you be both the throne and the admiralty council's representation to the Ministry of Science. 

She browsed a bit more. Speed reading through the contents of the official paperwork.

Further she requests that you put together the vessels mentioned in the recent foreign press briefing, science vessels and escorts to the Marenesia Minor island chain.

Makis absently rubbed his temples a bit, then glanced over a few dossiers. 

I think I will send your bother Zyriel and his newly acquired command. He's been doing quite well within the navy, and has recently only returned from a patrol along the sea route to Ateenia. His current flotilla should work well for this, I do believe that he has three frigates and a heavy cruiser at his command. This will be a proper escort for the rocketry tracking vessel and several cargo vessels.

Tala smiled a bit, her brother was a tall, striking man, dedicated to the way of life his people lived. Truthful, charismatic, and a class act when it came to dealing with the strange and the foreign. She replied even as setting down some fresh files, a cup of coffee and a fresh stamp pad. 

He's a good choice, and his command has an excellent support staff. He also will not be quick to action, his calm nature is a good choice for this endeavor.

A groan nearly erupted out of Makis's mouth as he watched a fresh load of paperwork, a brand-new stamp pad, and more be set before him. If it wasn't for the coffee and possibly a Danish to come forth out of the nearby tray, he'd have possibly been grumpy. 

I swear Tala, you're going to be a fierce wife one of these days. 

A bit of a nursing sip to the coffee, noting its dry taste sensation mostly at the back of the tongue. He sat within the rolling office chair with a slight lean, taking of his glasses for a moment to slightly pinch the upper portion of his nose and then rub the forehead a bit as muttering a bit more to himself. Adjusting the desk lamp, and a momentary glance at the Rolodex beside the landline phone, he found the number he wanted and then pressed the numbered buttons to get whom he wanted to speak with.

Yes, Siet Khan Virit, I realize it's a bit late, but do me a favor and arrange transport to the aerodome later today, seven in the morning please. Yes, alert the security ministry and the naval foreign affairs services that I will be leaving the greater territories of the Fatherland for a research mission.

A few short pauses, checks on where, when, and etc made more of. Paperwork upon paperwork, signed, dated, triplicate in nature for the bureaucracy. 

Yes, that's correct, thank you, Siet Khan Virit.

Having finally managed to hang the phone up after some pleasantries with Tala, of whom was also a member of the security services, and so on. If Virit was informed through proper channels as was the case just now, then all in the ministry would know everything by the time he left, checked his watch, in four hours. Setting spectacles upon the surface of his desk, he dozed off a bit.

Two hours later…

Brought back to life by the rather fierce nature of Tala, Makis managed to groggily get out of his chair and stumble out of the office and out of her way. The vacuum really woke him up though, and it was only a bit of orange tea that softened those still gathering nerves as he stretched and popped his back a bit. 

Ugh… Briefly uttered complaint as he found a box of wafers and munched on them in the kitchen.

After some wafers and tea, he found himself getting cleaned up. Showered, shaved, suit adjusted, clothes packed, and trip accessories loaded into a boarding satchel. At precisely ten minutes till the transport would arrive, he said goodbye to Tala, and headed out of the small, but modest two level home, down the driveway and to the end of the road to wait for his vehicle. It arrived early, by a few minutes.

At the head was that of an officer. A young Liet (roughly Lieutenant) was driving, in the front seat was another officer of the same rank. As he climbed into the rear seat of the indigenous made sedan, a third officer of the same rank was also present. He noted they were all military, specifically of the navy, which wasn't surprising, seeing as he was an admiral after all. 

Probably on leave, and the security services probably thought this was a way to both broaden their horizons and keep them out of trouble. He made small talk as they went to the nearest aerodome, which was that of the Yaris International Aero.

It would seem that his three escorts to be were from some families with a bit of push to them. Toph of House Vek Zun, Verr of House Ilya Olath, and Kanov of House Vek Elemmiire. He nodded his head as each gave their names, he would remember them for introductory purposes and the like. Especially the latter, that must have been the real plant, a retainer of the Elemmiire was an obvious and direct pointing of a sword to one's throat for something like this. 

Politics were never his favourite, and he generally went to great lengths to avoid anything to do with the house rompings and the imperial court. The landscape of the Yaris hinterlands flowing by as the staff car headed towards the waiting aerodome and aerocraft waiting patiently.

Yaris International

The ride to Yaris International wasn't to far away from the officers compound. The slow swing of the staff car into a parking position, the rear door opened and held so by a saluting junior officer. The aircraft that rested before Makis and he noted its details, the aerocraft being a HAD 235A (Based on the Beechcraft Starship). The HAD 235A is notable for its composite airframe, canard design, lack of centrally located vertical tail, and pusher engine/propeller configuration.

The boarding ramp unfolded to allow himself and his military entourage aboard, with Makis ascending the stairs, eventually settling himself in the middle, with the others taking seats here and there. From his point of view, one small downside of the 235A is her couldn't watch the blades start up and really, he was somewhat annoyed he couldn't hear them either. 

Turning about Makis glanced towards the cockpit, wondering when the pilot was going to start the engines and the flight attendant told him they were already going. Sure enough; he checked the instruments and they were running. The air coming out of the dash board was louder than the engines he noted.

Makis had dreamed of being a pilot when younger, but didn't have the eyesight necessary to qualify. As they taxied out, he noticed the pilot was testing the all the control services which made the canards start moving. Makis knew from reading about the aerocraft that they could sweep out to thirty-five degrees depending on the flap settings. 

It was a decent flight in a small craft, nearly four hours to the city-state Perya. The flight stewardess pulled up the ramp, locked the hatch and made small comments about inflight snacks, meals, and such before excusing herself as the craft hurtled down the runway and into the air.

The pressurized cabin provided a very comfortable climb to a rather high ceiling height of ninety-seven hundred metres. He groaned a bit as he was hoping to avoid turbulence, but it got a little bumpy after they reached the cruising altitude. Although most people do not enjoy bumps, this provided him with the opportunity to see how the 235A handles turbulence. It’s like riding a wave, not as much of the jerky bouncing and due to the flexing of the carbon fiber main wing, the high wing loading of the forward wing and the fact that he was seated between the two wings. Definitely an experience.

Edited by Haruspex
spelling, and updating finished post (see edit history)
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Escort Duty
4th Cetan Patrol Squadron, Flagship Draushum (Dragon)
Verlucio Naval Port

Sengar d'isto Zyriel stood before the navigator helm of the 212 Cfunt (Sword) Class Guided Missile Frigate, flagship of the 4th Cetan Patrol Squadron. He stood apart from the others, his uniform denoted his status as commanding officer of the vessel and denoting a noble status. His service uniform constituted of a double-breasted naval coat with sleeve stripes worn with ribbons, medals, badges, and a white dress belt. A raised collar white shirt with black neck-tie was worn underneath. 

About him, the bridge a flurry of activity from the junior ranked and enlisted sailors, while somber senior officers stood still amidst the flow of traffic. Information passing into headsets and screens, orders were incoming from Naval High Command and Control. 

My lord-commander; Prata Khan Elyis took to a spot near his senior. We have orders. We are to escort the ikn (Spy, N3 RTSV Class vessel) and her support escorts the Jivi (Horse, Uddan B1-class fleet replenishment vessel), and the Syla (Mace, Nyjah (Raven) Class fast combat support vessel). 

He glanced down the teletype a bit further, flexing the paper. We are to be joined by the Tykkan (Dagger) and Clesedyn (Scimitar). They appear to be 214 Olath Vlos (Dark Blood) Class destroyers. The Tykkan will be arriving with Rear-Admiral Makis, of whom has further orders and cassettes for orders to sensitive for communications.

Zyriel nodded a bit, hands behind his back clasping one another. Good work. Inform high command that we have received their transmission. Elyis nodded, stepping away afterwards. Yes, M'lord, it will be done. He pivoted about to the right and headed over to the communiqué station, gesturing and ordering a series of messages to be sent.

Port of Perya
Jurisdiction of the 13th Mzil Velven, Imperial Naval Legion

The 13th existed under the command of Sulis Vek Velven, a High-Lord and, in his youth, professional soldier who'd proved his worth through the rise of three residents of the throne. Soldiers in the blue, grey and black splash hued uniforms were at key areas within the port, as were armored vehicles, checkpoints, and defensive structures. As a helicopter thundered by overhead, an officer stepped out of the nearby armored personnel carrier that had slid to a stop nearest his position. Quick footsteps created a path that was obviously heading towards Sulis with a quick stride.

He was somewhat lanky, reddish-brown hair trimmed short, and with a pair of wire rimmed glasses adorning his face. He appeared to be in his late thirties, perhaps, adorned in a uniform much the same as those legionnaires already about. Once revealed, Sulis relaxed, it was his own son, Nazre.

My son, it is good to see you. 

Father. I bring news. High command is sending someone rather grumpy to your command. 

Sulis glanced at the paper handed over. He read it briefly, sliding his reading glasses into place. A bit of a grump, then a sigh. Make sure the captains of the destroyers understand who they are ferrying to North Korinon.

Of course. I thought Makis wouldn't leave Yaris. Wasn't he set to retire?

He was. But the throne wills it. So he goes. Sulis slid the paper into his inner coat pocket. It was a bit chilly, winter never really left, it felt like. When will he arrive?

Two hours or so. Direct flight from Yaris International, maybe thirty minutes to arrive via the aeroport facilities. Is that enough time to get the officers of these vessels ready?

Sulis chuckled a bit. It's no worry. The ships to be sent were waiting for orders anyway. It'll be good for them. Their commanders are young, eager, this is a good chance to test them.

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Perya International Aerodome
Naval Terminal Point

The HAD 235A's pilots began to converse with the control tower as the flight personnel made sure they were all strapped in and there wasn't any loose items to flung about and so on. Makis grumped as he had just gotten into the groove of the turbulence and all that and started napping, only to be gently rubbed on the shoulder by of the other officers that they were about to land.

Old age really was for the birds, he thought as the plane began its descent. Eventually, the sound of rubber meeting tarmac could be vaguely heard but overwhelmingly felt as there was a slight bob or bounce of the whole airframe before the smooth transition began.

The taxing procedure from runway to offload point didn't take all that long. The door swung open, the landing steps unfolded slowly with the hiss of hydraulics, and then he slowly rose from his seat. Sunglasses in place, the cool air already making his bones cold, the wind knifing through his coat even as he clutched at it, and the sudden brightness made him glad for those shades across the eyes. 

Scarf about the neck, tightened a bit as she shambled down the steps towards the waiting car. A waiting naval legionnaire held open the rear door with one hand, while the other saluted with fingertips towards the forehead just below the beret.

Easing inside with his attaché case, he was greeted by Vice-Admiral Yanis. A begrudgingly bemused smile given to Yanis as the door was closed with a soft click. I see they roused quite the collection of old brass for this.

Hah. Yanis began. I was bored. When the admiralty approached, I was only too eager. One can only remember the old days for so long. I was not meant for a desk. 

I remember when they had to pry you out of the bridge of your command. A rough day for the council then. Still, are you going to observe?

I will be on the Clesedyn (Scimitar), to offer advice and authorization to its relatively new captain. A Sengar d'isto by name of Gaius. Non-house career navy. 

Hmm. I will be on the Draushum (Dragon), flagship of this endeavor. Though the Tykkan at first until the first leg of our destination.

Draushum, isn't that Zyriel's command? 

The same.

I see your housekeeper is more than she lets on, as usual. You ever figure out which service she calls home?

Makis leaned back into the leather seats and relaxed a bit. He was sure that it was safe in this vehicle. I've never asked you know, but if I had to guess. I'd say Tala was of the RISK (Royal Intelligence Services Korps). She seems to proper for the dogs of HISS, and as far as I'm aware, she's never served in the navy, so HINSD seems unlikely.

Yanis tugged upon the dark red chin hair for a moment with his right hand. Makes a bit of sense. The Elemmiire have long roots, regardless of actual family line apart from it. Splinter or not.

Lucky you though. I think my house services are from HINSD. Dreary and depressing lot that they are, makes me want to be at sea. Probably apart from their dastardly plotting. A chuckle from him to show he was in jest. He glanced at the screen of the teleview monitor and noted the car full of junior officers behind them. I see you've acquired some young faces.

Well, I would wager they are HINSD, or some other branch of SD that the admiralty council saw fit to send with us. Hopefully they have actually served aboard a vessel, or they shall just be in the way. I think I will have the extra 'help' put aboard the Jivi (Horse).

Yanis chuckled. That will get you some hate from them and love from its captain at the free labor. His tone changed. Why are we going to Marenesia Minor though?

Makis sighed a bit. I will tell you, old friend, when we arrive at Verlucio Port in North Korinon. My orders come from not only the admiralty but also the nine.

Yanis whistled low. Fun times ahead.

Indeed, old friend.

Perya Naval Yard
Dock #12/2/A

Makis had removed his overcoat briefly to get proper. Once his uniform was fit and finish, he slid the overcoat back on but left the scarf behind as he stepped free of the naval command building within the yard. 

Following just behind was that of Yanis, and behind the Vice-Admiral were the three Liet's. As they approached the vessel they would all be apart of until reaching Verlucio, Makis came to a stop before the commander of the Perya naval yards in their totality, High-Lord Sulis Vek Velven.

A crisp salute given to the much higher ranked noble and essentially equal to the title of Grand-Admiral. M'lord, good to see you on such a crisp day. Sulis stood with little to no support staff, just a lanky red-haired Prata-Khan of whom he realized was Nazre. You've grown since last I saw you, Nazre, a picture of your father from the old days.

Nazre was the first to reply. Thank you Rear-Admiral, I wish we could offer more of a sendoff, but we've been told to keep things quiet. Makis saw his father Sulis nodding quietly to this, before the gravely tone of the older man became known.

Whatever game they are playing at, be careful, Makis. A powder keg has a lit fuse in the southern territories, won't take much to set it off.

I will keep such in mind, M'lord. If you'll excuse me, I don't want to keep the commander of the ship waiting. He saluted again and then headed up the gangplank towards a pair of sailors. One stood by a chain link passage blocker, the other next to a teleview security monitor.

Welcome, Admiral Makis. May I have your identity card?

Of course. He slid it over and the sailor placed it against a reader. Please look straight ahead while we verify you. A ding sounded. Verified. Welcome aboard Admiral. The commander is waiting for you in command and control.

Makis grumbled a thank you and noted each of those travelling with him was given the same treatment. Many called the Haru paranoid, but it had served them well thus far. Was it annoying? Sure. It was what it was, however.

He slowly made it into the passageway towards the CnC and after a slight descent down some stairs, through a hatch, arrived at said command and control. Next to the navigator table, standing just behind it, was that of Commodore Ghelt, of Mercantile House Aier Duathe. 

A slightly perplexing choice, but he assumed that the trader house knew all sorts of sea-lane routes and so on. Beside the vessel's commander, senior officers of Prata-Khan, Siet-Khan, and Khan. The second in command arrived just a few moments after Yanis made his arrival, and the rank of Vice-Commodore meant that this crew probably not a noble backed assignment. Many ships were routinely assigned retainers from noble houses, it provided an odd atmosphere amongst the many crews etc.

The hatch closed, Makis began. Commodore Ghelt, what I am about to show you is considered code green (second-highest security rating) by the Admiralty Council and the Council of the Nine. 

He gestured and one of the Liet's accompanying wheeled a cassette reader and teleview monitor into view. He retrieved a cassette, about the size of a VHS tape, from the attaché bag and gently inserted it into the socket for it. There was a clicking sound, some lights lit up along one side of the boxy reader, and then an image of the council of admirals appeared upon the teleview screen.

Officers of this chosen taskforce. You are to proceed to Marenesia Minor, the southernmost island archipelago, and perform reconnaissance of it. You will scout the waters, the islands, and determine if they are capable of hosting a 305 m (ca. 1,001 ft) spherical reflector dish and the facilities to go with such. Such will include a small radio telescope, a LIDAR facility, and several transmitters that will allow for radar astronomy.

Makis held up his hands to quell questions for the moment. The Ministry of Science and Research put a request to the Nine, who then pushed it to the Admiralty. I am unsure at the moment what the real purpose of this facility is, hence the force arrayed for such, but I ask that you be mindful.

In Verlucio where we pick up the rest of the flotilla, be mindful that HINSD, HISS, and RISK will be present. They have their own technicians and potentially vessels we do not know about either heading with us, or already there.

I simply say, remember your training, listen to your commander, and stand true to the Fatherland.

@Seylos (Ties into recent North Korinon post)

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Verlucio Naval Port
Paired Berthing Docks #2/#3
Yard #4

North Korinon naval officers and sailors stood in parade formation as the small flotilla of HIN warships escorting transports arrived. A pair of destroyers nestled into the waiting berthing docks, followed by the large transport that dwarfed the size of the combat vessels that was directed towards another that was also shared with another ship being added to this operation.

Several others were already waiting within the confines of the Cetan Sea, in a holding pattern. The ikn (Spy, N3 RTSV Class vessel) and her support escorts the Jivi (Horse, Uddan B1-class fleet replenishment vessel), and the Syla (Mace, Nyjah (Raven) Class fast combat support vessel) were currently waiting for the rest of the vessels.

Makis sighed some as he had transferred his office and limited staff to the Draushum (Dragon), a 212 Cfunt (Sword) Class Guided Missile Frigate, flagship of the 4th Cetan Patrol Squadron. Further joining was a N1 Support Class (Logistics Support Ship), and a single Type 43 Felgat-class fleet submarine.

He grumped a bit. The N1 was not bearing a HIN IFF, but rather an SD IFF. Which meant that it did not fall directly under his purview, nor the admiralty council. A black ship amongst the flotilla did not inspire confidence about what this operation was supposed to be.

There was a knock upon his stateroom door, and he let his welcome be known. Footfalls heralded the arrival of two individuals. One being the commander of the frigate, Sengar d'isto Zyriel. He was every bit imperial navy officer, to the tee was his uniform, and his presence exuded. The other he was unfamiliar with, but seemed to do the same. Recognizing the emblem upon the shoulder, a Protectorate officer.

Pardon me… Vice-Commander, I am unaware of your name.

It's quite alright, Admiral. It is a last minute deployment of myself and my command. I am Vice-Commander Muller. I will be joining this operation as M'lord Zyriel's second in command on the flagship.

He continued on after a moment.

My own second will be commanding the Adamaris (Translated: Noble of the sea. Vessel: N6 Caagan (Seeker) Class MS/PV) with a recently graduated class of NKPN sailors and junior officers etc.

A bit of an eyebrow raise. Fresh sailors heading into a potentially serious situation. He glanced towards Zyriel. The young man nodded before speaking. I tried to protest Admiral, but the Imperator overruled, such as it is.

Ah. Politics. Well, Vice-Commander Muller, let us hope things go the way they should. Also, gentlemen, as soon as we collect those in the holding pattern, all command and senior officers are to gather here, and we shall review our final orders before sailing. Understood?

Yes Admiral. The voices were quick to respond.

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  • 3 weeks later...

En route

A knock on the stateroom door allowed for an enlisted sailor to deliver several cups of coffee and snacks to the small cadre of naval affair officers, and their senior, Siet Khan Fel.

A nod of thanks to the young sailor before taking the tray from him, setting it down upon the table of which could be folded to fit against the wall.

A slow seat upon a stool that could be folded and placed near the beds that were a part of the bulkhead. Spreading out the cups of tea, Aroman tea was the preferred drink of choice for many officers of the various services.

Slowly stirring in a bit of milk, Fel glanced at his copy of their 'orders', but there was a bit of hesitation because of the black ship in their midst. A glance paid to his subordinates, and the general staff enlisted that were currently clustered in the two lead officers quarters.

Sias, what do you think thus far? Question poised towards his recently acquired subordinate and second in command, Liet Khan Sias Yagarith.

The other man was somewhat older, maybe a year or so. A recent transfer from the 111th Vek Hallam legionary. A motorized rifles regiment, he had the trillium pin for special operations within Kaldana. A thin, almost gaunt like frame, red hair, and a stubble to match it of the same hue. Glasses framed his face, of which betrayed a Black Augustine heritage from the sharper angles of the Cussian-Haru bloodline.

Ah, well… I am surprised by the rather almost jovial nature of the sailors themselves, but also the presence of the command staff. That aside, I do wonder about the security services, it does not bode well that they have a ship in this taskforce.

He glanced towards Fel. I was not aware that the SD forces were allowed vessels, that any ship was to be of the HIN.

Fel nodded a bit. Almost with a sigh, he responded. Typically, by decree of the Admiralty Council, they are not allowed serving naval vessels of any class, nor aerocraft that are operated in military fashion.

Yet, here they are, operating a fast support vessel and with what I understand, it does not show a HIN IFF, but rather an SD IFF. Which means, there are more of these ships, and they are not under the purview of the naval command, which is worrying.

Indeed, sir, indeed.

Draushum (Dragon) Flagship
Command & Control

Vice-Commander Muller realized he was being influenced by Sengar d'isto Zyriel. The Draushum's commanding officer was both charismatic and attentive to detail, knowing his vessel like the back of his hand, and the crew that operated it.

His own nature was to be stern, but fair. Still, he was warming to the crew, and they to him. As he stood near the navigation display table, the icons on the flat tele-view showing the taskforce and their current path, the conditions of the sea, and the general weather.

Sonar station reports a brief contact twenty-degrees to our starboard. 

Muller replied after a moment. Does it match our escort?

Sound signature confirmed, Sir. Based on acoustic signature and cavitation of propellers, it is identified as a Type 43 Felgat.

Muller nodded as he spoke. Good work. Maintain vigilance. 

Yes Sir.

Sound signature was a reliable and often used method by a ship to identify what kind of contact was confirmed. One could actually get a lot of information from a ship’s noise. How many propellers it has and how many blades each propeller has, for example, can be heard by sonar techs, and that can help tremendously. Add in the speed that a ship is moving based on the prop information, and a well-trained sonar technician or crypto tech can really tell quite a bit.

Admiral present!

The crew stat up straight at their stations, and Muller turned and offered a salute as the form of Rear Admiral Makis enter the C&C. He seemed to greatly enjoy having shed the cold weather coat and the desk to once more be aboard a ship of the line.

At ease, back to your tasks. Vice-Commander, how goes the mission thus far?

Muller turned about some, moving to the left a bit to make more room for Makis. Well Admiral, we have left North Korinon's protective harbors, and are en route at the moment into the main shipping lane route to Kaldana. 

The normal sea-lane patrols have been notified of our presence and will continue on with their escort duties as normal. We will be passing by the horn of Anglia within the hour, and while we won't be close to their territory, we will still maintain combat readiness for the duration.

Good, good. Makis spoke. Of the other vessels? 

No issues thus far, save the one that is not of imperial navy rule. I must say I am discomforted by the security directorate vessel.

You and I both, then Vice-Commander, you and I both. Makis grumped a bit as he watched the overlay. Have there been any non HIN contacts?

No Admiral. Our only unscheduled contact was an overflight by an aerocraft, however it was a protectorate sea-lane ASW on patrol. Otherwise, there have been no surface or submarine contacts as yet.

However, the other powers may not realize that we are not a troop and or goods transport force to Kaldana. Only when we leave the sea-path to the colony, and are indeed heading elsewhere, shall it surely be interesting.

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On the behest of a drunken night out, the Seylosian submarine HMS Sturgeon had been sent to do something they had never expected. Follow a Haru expedition on its voyage to Marenesia Minor. Supposedly, a group of exceptionally drunk Haru sailors had let spill that the group was heading out to the island chain and was overheard by one Seylosian spy. Luckily, the bars along the strip of the border of between Korinon and Corinium were very popular with military folk from both sides, and it was inevitable something like this would happen. Several military vessels, a science ship and some cargo ships were on an expedition that for many reasons made no sense. Though the Haru had issues a foreign press release on the matter, what they heard from the unlikely informant had appeared to raise a few eyebrows amongst the NAUDC. Not enough to respond in any meaningful manner, but enough to assign the Sturgeon to dutifully watch the group as it sailed along.

Commander Young sat in her cramped office aboard the submarine looking over reports on the Haru ships when he first officer poked his head in.

“Captain, hoping a talk?” Lieutenant Commander Lucas Foss said, “We were all just hoping that you'd shed some light on what was going on?”

“We?” Young asked, “You mean you, yes?”

Foss laughed, “Yes, ma'am, I suppose I don't really understand what we are doing out here. Intelligence said the Haru were heading to Marenesia Minor, correct? That's well outside Seylosian or even NAU's influence.”

“Well I would say it's top secret, but sadly it's not,” Young replied, wishing she had more information, “From what I know… We just want to keep tabs.”

Foss looked confused, “Don't we have… satellites… in space for that?”

“Yes, we do. And with most of our major military operations over with you'd think we'd have one to spare to watch the Haru take a vacation, but regardless, NAUDC wants a ship watching them, and we are it.”

“Well I suppose that does it,” Foss replied, “Rumor is though… the Haru has a ship quite literally painted all black, please tell me that's true.”

Young stared at him for a moment, “No Foss, I don't think it's literally painted black, I'm sure it's just black ops or something.”

Young looked closer at her laptop and swiveled it, so Foss could see, “I suppose the hull is a bit dark though…”

For some time, Sturgeon had been taking pictures of the far away group of Haru vessels. For the most part Sturgeon kept quite close to the surface, and for much of the voyage had occasionally popped its periscope out, now armed with higher resolution cameras with excellent optical zoom. Regardless, though, all it really seemed to yield were just… pictures of ships. Doing their thing.

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