The Unity Chronicles


Crackdown

Unity Standard Time: 13:05, 8th of May U56. Second moon of fourth planet, NGC-1306. No official system designation.

"Well how in the name of the Creator did the fucking Trides find us at all?"

"I told you the UNet hyperdrones carried scanners didn't I? Must have caught us as we were leaving Thanatos."

"We're still shielded here though, and there's no mistaking its coming straight towards us."

Lamnett did not have an answer for that. It was possible that Unity had just made a best-guess judgement on where the wildcat colony had been set up, but he could not rule out someone selling them out at some stage of the preparations.

The door to Haskins' accomopod hissed open and her daughter's pale face peered out at the two adults having their heated discussion. Haskins turned from haranguing Lamnett and told her to go back inside, her voice suddenly soft and kind after the harsh tones of a moment ago.

"Is something happening?" the girl asked. Her mother shook her head.

"No, honey. Just a little problem I'm going to sort out with Mr Lamnett."

Slowly the little face receded back into the pod, leaving the two adults alone again under the scudding clouds of the moon they had named Petris. The dome protected them from the harsh conditions outside, which in turn protected the occupants from detection from space - or so it was thought.

"I don't know what we can do to sort this out, Haskins."

Lamnett's friend - and the leader of the young Petris colony - turned from her doorway to face him, and he was startled to see tears in her imperturbable eyes.

"Of course there's nothing we can do," she said, voice thick and laboured. "But Mae's six. You can't tell her that."

Lamnett turned his face to the turbulent sky, as if his gaze could pierce the cloud and see a way to stop the destruction bearing implacably down upon the four hundred people of Petris. He found himself wishing he did not know exactly how long they had before Unity demonstrated its zero-tolerance policy towards unauthorised colonies.

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