Feather Tierney marched into the room with a plan, stepping up to the cubicle of tracing analyst, Stellan Clancy. He was a pale, wiry man with round glasses and bad posture. The man looked up from his computer screens the moment Tierney approached, pushing up his glasses with a sniff.
“May I help you?” He asked in a nasally voice.
“Mr. Clancy,” Tierney began. “I am here to inquire about the whereabouts of a vessel.” The man raised an eyebrow.
“I’m not Stellan Clancy,” he replied blankly.
Tierney raised her chin. “Then, where might I find him?” The man went back to his computers, casually pointing in a vague direction. Tierney huffed, rotating around to face a tall, burly man that outmatched her already elevated height. She immediately noticed whispy white tattoos, starting at his neck and disappearing beneath his collared shirt. Paired with his shaved head and build, she presumed he was in the military.
“I am Stellan Clancy, ma’am,” he said in a low voice. He took a step back, motioning for her. “If you’ll follow me, this way.” Tierney nodded curtly, trailing him through the forest of cubicles and computers to the back wall. He opened the cheap door.
Inside was an vacant room, with nothing but a black plastic chair, and a wall panel doubling as a computer screen.
“You are looking for the Lark spacecraft, correct?” He closed the door behind the two of them.
“Mr. Clancy, how did you know I would be looking for the Lark sisters?” Tierney spun around to face the man. He stored past her, to the other side of the room, to the panel, where he typed in a series of passcodes.
He paused his work, staring at the screen. “May I speak frankly with you ma’am?”
“Of course, “ she replied.
“You are great leader in combat,” he continued. “I have seen your record. It is rivals many generals from times of old, and even until now.”
“And how do you know that?” Tierney scoffed, crossing her arms.
“I am an information specialist, ma’am,” he replied, looking back at her. “My specialties don’t begin and end at locating spacecrafts.” He continued to type coordinates. “I also know that the reason for this, is that you are not willing to settle for anything less than flawless execution. I also know this, because you are not as unknown as you might believe.” He pressed his screen twice, signaling the lights in the room to shut off.
Green holograms illuminated the darkness, spreading out across the room to depict a general map of the solar system.
“I presume this means you have some information for me?” Tierney looked around at the map.
“Some information?” Clancy laughed, a bellow that shorted the circuits of the holograms for a millisecond. “Oh, no.” He pressed another button on the panel, lighting up the map with thousands of golden dots. The bent around Clancy and Tierney ominously. “Each dot,” he began, pointing to a single speck on the outskirts of the solar system, “represents one ship in the air.”
Tierney sighed. There were at least one hundred specks clustering around Earth alone, appearing as one, solid cloud of light.
“So,” she mused, “You think it’s a hopeless case.” The corners of her lips tugged up into a suppressed smile.
“I know it’s practically impossible,” Clancy continued. “It is very difficult to even make this collective cartography- tracking in space is not as accurate as it should be. This map took four hours, alone, to program the locations from external radar of each space port, planet, and colony I had access to.”
“Have you check the port’s entry logs?” She asked. “The ship hasn’t docked to refuel anywhere?”
“I have checked and doubled checked,” he answered. “Even with my advanced systems, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint a single ship based on its serial number. I already debriefed Commander Destry, and he had the same response.”
After a moment of silence, Tierney snapped her fingers in revelation. “Could you track it if you have a signal to pinpoint? Like an emergency frequency?”
“Of course,” Clancy replied. “But it would have to be sent by someone on the ship, and I do not believe the Lark sisters in pushing ahead their arrest.”
“Arnold Hawkins was manning the ship with me during our transport to the ISS Barca,” she countered. “He would have been manning the vessel during the launch.”
“Arnold Hawkins has been branded a traitor for his involvement in the Lark sisters’ escape,” Clancy said. “Even if he was willing to send a distress signal, he is outnumbered. With Dione and Adira on that ship together…” He shook his head. “May the universe have mercy on his soul.”
Tierney didn’t hear him. She was pacing through the illuminated map. “How could I be such an idiot,” she mumbled. Suddenly remembering she was a military officier, she cleared her throat, and straightened her stance to a more professional look. “Do you have a communicator?”
“No,” he replied, “But the monitor can send messages.” He pointed to the computerized wall panel, which Tierney immediately gravitated towards. She began typing furiously on the board.
“This is his number,” she said quietly. “There’s an 80% chance that he will receive this message.”
“You know his number by heart?” Clancy added with a smile. Tierney paused, looking back at him with bright eyes.
“Hawkins is an old friend,” she said, then returning her focus to the message. “We went to school together.”
“Did you not hear what I said?” Clancy countered, standing next to her to read the message. “Those girls are animals, and that Dione Lark knows exactly what she is doing. There is no way he could overpower them to reach the controls.
Tierney laughed. “Didn’t you hear, Clancy?” She looked to him from the side with a cold smile. “Dione Lark is in Alliance custody. The only thing standing between Hawkins and success, is her lesser. A sister, merely sixteen years old, and terrified.”