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[Story][Season 2]The gas station (finished)
Cobalt Greywalker Wrote:Cryogenics - There are systems which would do something approaching suspended animation, but the main problem is that you would need specialist chemicals to prevent the No.1 problem of 'freezing' a person which is ice crystal formation in bodily tissues rupturing cells. So no, full on suspended animation is not something A.C. has. And what she does have wouldn't be transportable.

Quote:I would have thought the Jenga girls would have had an Automed Pod or two. While it wouldn't have solved the problem, they are remote controllable, so with the Interwave system Jenga has a fully trained doctor would heve been available for treatment. However, given the state Sarah was in it would have probably have been used to trigger a biomod anyway. If she'd been luckier, maybe an amputation would have worked, and she could have got a cybernetic replacement.
Call it a "psychological blind spot" the crew of Jenga had. ALL of them are catgirls, which have a strong homeostasis effect. So the typical way to deal with a minor or major injury is to calm down the patient, make sure she is eating enough and relaxing a bit and wait a few hours.

Jenga had no "doctor" before Taja traveled to Kandor to learn more about medicine. Thats also the reason they don't have the necessary equipment in 2018.

Rakhasa Wrote:It's worth nothing that even if no one else is looking (unlikely), cryogenics -to be exact, "freezing in carbonite"- is something that quite a few Warsie Mads will have spent quite a lot of effort researching -it does not mean that is will be easy, or easily available once (if) they discover the way, or even that is can be done in normal humans without accidental biomods, but the research will be there
I assume they will. And if there had been enough time to bring Sarah to Coruscant, there might have been other ways to deal with her injuries (both on the leg and internal in the torso).
Meanwhile on Earth...


“... we cannot say what happened with the Aurora Mission, but rumors among the Fen suggest there has been an accident or an attack on the construction site. According to our sources, the moon Pan has been damaged badly by the attack, the fate of the astronauts is still unknown.”

Duree switched off his radio and sighed. The international and local news had been going crazy for hours, but reliable news reports were still unavailable. Something has happened on the moon and it had not be nice. He just wanted to turn on a different radio station as his private phone began to ring.

“Duree” he said, only to hear a very familiar voice.

“Good afternoon Mr. Duree” Allan Bossert, the ESA Director General replied. “I hope you had a pleasant day.”

“Mr. Bossert” Duree said, “I am not sure why you are even calling me. Don’t you have a crisis to manage?”

“Yes, of course, the crisis on Pan. I am very busy with it at the moment” Bossert continued, “but I thought it would be a good thing to remind you about our Press conference tomorrow morning. Would be a pity if you miss it.”

Duree laughed loudly. “Mr. Bossert, I don’t know if you consider this some kind of joke or not. I do not see any reason why I should suddenly change my schedule and go to a Press conference with YOU!”

“Oh, thats very easy Mr Duree, you owe me.”

It took Duree a moment to be able to talk again. “Mr. Bossert, the day when I owe YOU is the day when Hell will freeze over!”

“You think so Mr. Duree? Maybe you should look for your winter clothing, because I am the one who could have flushed down your career and all your little political favors down the drain. I hope you still remember.”

“Mr. Bossert... you cannot think that anyone will believe you, can you?”

“Oh, I think that will really depend on the kind of evidence I might have, don’t you think so, Mr. Duree? If the most important European project done in the last decade goes down the drain, why should I protect you?”

Duree suddenly felt a shiver going down his spine. Bossert had surely not recorded the meeting with him. Or maybe he had?

“What do you want?” Duree shot back, suddenly feeling a little bit ill.

“Oh, nothing outstanding. As you already know, everyone is nervous about the Aurora Mission at the moment and I think we need to calm them down a bit.” Bossert answered. “We will give the press a good show how committed ESA and the industry are to the project. If we manage the press, I will take care of the EU Commission.”

Durees thoughts were racing at the speed of a bullet while he tried to think through the idea. If they would get the press on their side and Bossert managed to keep the Commission quiet, maybe Aurora still had a chance.

“I have already some hard facts on what happened on Pan” Bossert continued, “and it is looking not that bad for the mission. We will have to improvise, but I think we can do it.”

Duree had always been a man of quick decisions. “Expect me at ESA in three hours, I want to see your facts before I meet the reporters” he said and ended the phone call.

‘To the hell with ESA and the Fen, this is also about my fortune’ he thought and called his secretary.

“Cancel all meetings the next two day, I have to personally handle something important!”


ESA’s press room was full of journalists, not a single seat was empty. Camera Flashlights were illuminating the ESA Director General Bossert and the French tycoon Duree as they entered the room.

“Thank you for coming to this Press Conference” Bossert began after both of them had sat down. “I am sure all of you heard the rumors about what happened on Pan, we are here to tell you what we know about it and how we see the future of Aurora.”

A few journalists raised their hands, but Bossert shook his head.

“There will be time for questions later, let me first summarize the situation on Pan.

Yesterday morning at 10am Middle European Time the construction site on Pan was attacked by an unknown force. They tried to hit the place a military grade kinetic weapon from many million kilometers away. Luckily for the astronauts and ESA the only projectile was detected by the Fen seconds before impact. It was deflected partly.”

“You mean the catgirls?” one of the journalists shouted and Bossert nodded.

“Yes. That are the Fen I was talking about.

Parts of the projectile still hit its target, doing a lot of damage and injured many of the astronauts. All of them were rescued and brought to the space station within minutes after the attack. The damage to the equipment was widespread but failed to penetrate the ice of the moon to reach the parts of the new station that were already burrowed.”

“When will the astronauts come home?” a voice from the back of the room demanded to know.

Bossert looked over to Mr. Duree, who rolled his eyes.

“This was a terror attack, pure and simple” Duree said. “it might have been the first time terrorists hit a space asset of the European Union, but that is not the point. Europa’s industry has spent a lot of time and resources in this project and we will not demand anyone will come home just because of a setback. We do not give in to terrorists.”

“Exactly,” Bossert agreed, “and more important than the setback is a simple fact. The terrorists had a state of the art weapon with an incredible range. They achieved a nearly total surprise.

They still FAILED.

Whoever they are, whatever they want, they will learn to accept this. They had their chance with a surprise attack, they will not get another one.

ESA has been in contact with Europol about this incident and according to my sources they and the Japanese National Police Agency will send a pair of investigators to Saturn. They will work together with the Fen police to find this terrorists and bring them to justice.”

“We also have a supply of spare materials that were meant for Aurora before the plan of the station was finalized” Mr. Duree added, “They are in the process of being shipped to Nouveau Paris at the moment. With these materials our specialists at Pan should be able to finish their mission.”

“Okay, now might be the time for a few questions” Bossert said with a smile and dozens of arms shot up to get the first one.
Not sure if the last parts on Earth should be one huge chapter, two medium sized (as I posted them) or four small ones.


“Welcome to Bruessel Mr Bossert, we are curious what ESA can tell us about the status of the Aurora project.”

Meeting the EU Commission was always a headache in Bossert’s opinion, too many national interests without voter oversight in the same room. But they were also the group he had to convince that Aurora wasn’t wrecked beyond hope.

“Thank you for the invitation Commissioners. I have prepared a short presentation about the facts known about the attack on the Aurora mission and the current status of crew and material. My staff has also worked out a preliminary strategy how we can get out of the current current crisis and bring the project back on track within the projected timeline.”

“Spare us the details for the beginning, just tell us where we are and what we can expect from the future,” one of the Commissioners said, “we can only do a preliminary decision at the moment anyways. The rest will have to be decided when we get more facts about the incident.”

Bossert took a deep breath and put the small remote control for his notebook away.

“You know all the basics about the attack from the data sheet I sent you yesterday. Our astronauts got attacked by the Fenspace variant of a long range precision weapon. At the current time nobody knows what kind of group did this terror attack. Our astronauts survived the attack, Mrs Sarah Brown barely and only because she was rescued by Fen bio-technology.

Like most other terror attacks, nobody did predict this to happen, we have no knowledge who did it and what kind of damage they did. But certain facts allow us some speculation about the criminals.

Up to this point no group has taken responsibility for the attack. I also received the news that the Fen found the wreckage of the weapon system which fired on Pan. This suggests the weapon malfunctioned shortly after the shot or was a one-shot design. The terrorists also did only fire a single shot at the moon, which suggests a limit of their resources.”

“What if they do it again?”

“According to the Fen on board of the stations, this should be close to impossible. They are currently setting up an early warning system, and they promised to keep their stations defenses on hot standby until a permanent solution is available.

In addition to this the yearly political meeting of the Fen will be in three weeks on Mimas, which means the amount of security after the attack will be quite high. I am confident that no further attack will be successful in the next months. This gives us time to plan for the necessary defenses of the station.”

“Defenses? Did you forget that this is a civil project, not some military adventure Mr. Bossert!”

“I am sorry, maybe defenses was the wrong word.” Bossert replied carefully, “I was not thinking about weapon systems. But we are already doing a simulation at ESA if we can put the station deeper into the ice of the moon. Together with an Early Warning System this would help against any kind of attack and give the Fen at Mimas time to react.”

Bossert opened his briefcase and took out two folders, a thin one and a really thick one. He hold up the thin one.

“But the important point is that we cannot do this anymore just by following the plan. This here is the Aurora Mission Goal I presented you a few years ago. I can promise you we will still reach these goals, maybe with a few months delay. The whole station as ESA and JAXA described it, without any kind of Handwavium.”

He waited a few seconds, then he hold up the thick folder for a moment.

“This is the full plan how to do the Aurora mission, with all the details and pre-planned steps. Forget about it!”

This brought quite a bit concern into the faces of the Commissioners, Bossert could hear a few of them whispering to each other.

“We cannot do this mission as we planned it anymore, we have to improvise and adapt our planning if we want to reach the original goal. We have been dealt a huge blow, but we have the personal and resources at Pan to compensate for it if we let them do it. Trying to directly control this from Earth will only end in a disaster.

I propose to give our team on Pan the freedom to change plans if necessary to reach the defined goal. We might also need to ship them more materials than necessary, but I already got the confirmation that we still have reserves available. We still can make Aurora a success for all of us.”

“Thank you Mr. Bossert for this facts and proposal. We will have to talk about this but we will let you know about our decision this evening. But please keep in mind that this will only be a preliminary one, long term plans will depend on the progress made for Aurora.”


“Connecting, please wait...”

Kurt Coller waited impatiently for the connection to be established.

‘Radio to Nouveau Paris, radio to the Moon, Interwave to the catgirls space station, at least two of those connections should be unnecessary’ he thought, ‘time that we finally push against a few of those stupid rules. We could drop nearly 2 seconds round trip time’.

The screen in front of him changed and the face of Eric Hunt appeared, his arm still bandaged.

“Good morning Mr. Hunt.”

“Good morning Mr. Coller, what can I do for you? I had not expected a call like this.”

“Mr. Hunt, could you please get the stick I gave you before you left to Nouveau Paris?”

Hunt blinked for a moment and nodded. Every communication between the Aurora crew and the ESA control center in Darmstadt was encrypted by some ‘unbreakable’ security code. Still, just before he left for the ESA depot in orbit the mission director had given him a small flash-drive with onetime-pad data. ‘Just in case’ Koller had told him.

A few minutes later he appeared on Kurt Coller’s screen again. The image flickered for a few moments as the new encoding activated and a clock began to run backwards on the screen.

“Thank you Mr. Hunt. You should know this is NOT an official ESA call, this is just a message Mr. Allan Bossert asked me to relay to you.” Coller explained, “There will be no recordings on our side and I would like to ask you to delete any recording of the call on your side later.”

Eric nodded again, ‘This is getting stranger by the minute’ he thought.

“The ESA Director General has talked with the EU Commission and managed to get a few concessions, but we both know that the whole Aurora mission is vulnerable at the moment.

You will have to improvise for the rest of the mission. Our goal is still the same, the EU and Japan want the station and everything inside has to be as it is specified in the mission statement. Forget about the original instructions how to get there, you will have to make your own plans now.

We are preparing a third supply run for Pan at the moment, which contains all kind of spare materials we have available, but it might not be enough or parts might arrive too late. If you need to repair or replace things just do it, with or without help.

This became a fail-pass mission for ESA and JAXA in the last days. If we succeed, nobody will care if we played strictly by the rules. If we fail, there are more than enough people looking for our scalps. Enough that we won’t get a second chance in the next decade or more.

I know I can count on you. Get your crew together and draw up a new plan how to get out of this catastrophe. Nobody here on Earth needs to know the details, you have more things to do than to write up a new 1000 pages mission plan.

Good luck Eric...”

The video conference had ended minutes ago, but Eric Hunt was still staring on the screen, trying to make his mind up what he should think about the message. He listened to the message a second time, then a third time. Finally he suddenly grinned, pressed the ‘delete’ button and stood up.

There was a lot of work to do.
Looks good.

I think you are handling the political sides of this really well.
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" - Hawkwind
Damned, this whole "magic in Fenspace" discussion derailed my progress with this story completely. Hope you enjoy the new chapter.


“... so thats our status at the moment.” Eric Hunt ended his small presentation. “We got kicked hard, but the big book of rules has been burned too. Oh... and we might be the ones who define the fate of ESA and JAXA for the next decades.”

21 astronauts were sitting around the large table together with Hunt, six of them were still in their beds because of their injuries. The only member of the Aurora expedition that had been injured badly and was at the table was Sarah Meier. Eric was still a bit dazed about how fast she had healed.

“Max, you organize everyone who is not hurt at all. You will get back to the moon and make a first survey which parts got damaged and what survived the attack intact.” Eric continued. “Everything that might be damaged must be checked before we can continue.”

Mac Raffa, one of the engineers that had arrived with the Ferdinand Magellan nodded, but Masuna Soetsu complained.

“What? I have to go out on the moon again right now?” he said with a wide grin, “can you not assign me a job together with our new cute one?”

He smiled at Sarah Meier and tried to pat her on her furred arm, but Sarah drew her arm away with lightning speed and hissed angrily. Masuno suddenly saw a series of sharp looking claws right above his hand.

“Oh damned” he shouted and drew his hand back carefully. “Why do the cute ones always get sharp claws!”

That made everyone at the table snicker, including Sarah Meier.

“Sarah, they said you should stay on the space station for a few more days to get used to... to everything. But you are not injured anymore, so get in contact with our host.” Eric said, “we will need some additional support to plan our next steps. You can also ask them if they can help us checking the equipment on the moon later, or what other ideas they have.”

Sarah wasn’t in a good mood, but she nodded. At least Eric wasn’t keeping her out of the mission.

“Okay Eric, I will do so.”

Before Eric Hunt could continue, someone knocked at the door.

“Yes?” he shouted and a catgirl entered the room.

“Mr. Hunt, the police will arrive in a few minutes, we thought you wanted to be there.”


Cathy and Eric Hunt were looking at a control monitor while the large Camping Car slowly moved into Jengas airlock for trucks. It was the first time that an investigator from Space Patrol was coming to Jenga, normally the catgirls liked their privacy.

“Couldn’t you just close the airlock with one of these ‘atmospheric forcefields’ you see in Scifi” Eric asked, “It would allow us to watch our visitors from the Hangar itself!”

“We tried, we really tried” Cathy answered and chuckled. “But the forcefield sometimes failed when a car with gravity drive moved through. We decided to keep the normal airlock procedures until we can fix it.”

The car finally stopped moving and the airlock closed behind it. A few moments later the light on the inner door changed from red to green and the door opened.

“Lets greet our visitors” Cathy said and both of them entered the large airlock. The doors of the car were already opening and three people stepped out of the car.

“Hello,” Cathy said with a smile, “welcome to Catgirl Industries. My name is Cathy and this is Eric Hunt, the leader of the expedition from Earth.”

“Thank you Cathy” one of the three men answered, “my name is Arthur Nkomo. Great Justice sent me out here when we got the news what has happened.”

Cathy blinked a few times, she had expected someone from Space Patrol.

“And these two gentlemen” Arthur continued and looked left and right “are Mr. Juergen Schmidt of Europol and Mr. Ichikawa Zenigata of the Japanese National Police Agency.”

“Good to see you here” Cathy said as she looked over the group. All three of them looked a little bit tired. “I can show you your rooms, we can give you a short summary what happened here on Pan afterwards. And we already brought some parts of the attack weapon to Jenga, I am sure you want to see them.”

Arthur looked at his two associates from Earth.

“I think we will start talking with some of the astronauts who remember the attack. And maybe a few of the catgirls who were in the control room at this time.” Arthur said flatly. “Oh, and we would like to see all the parts of the weapon system tomorrow!”

“I am not sure we will have all parts today” Cathy disagreed, “it might take us a few days to assemble them all.”

Arthur sighed.

“Cathy, can I just talk to you alone for a momen?”

Cathy looked a bit puzzled but led Arthur into a small utility room.

“Cathy, you have been doing work with Great Justice before and you might be pretty happy that everything has been going well since the terror strike... let me just tell you this will not continue for long.”

“What do you mean?” Cathy asked.

“While this joined investigation is great, the pressure is increasing. Just look up ‘Boskonian war, second round’ on the Interwave. And lets not forget that there are already politicians in the EU and Japan who talk about ‘these Fen terrorists’ and ‘protect the peaceful interests of Earth in space’. We are all working on borrowed time.”

Cathy looked unhappy, but did not interrupted Arthur.

“We might have only a few days until we have to show them something... and only a few weeks until this whole thing turns into a major crisis.” Arthur said flatly. “Or war.”

Cathy gulped.

“So please do me a favor and hurry up, we need a look at this weapon system,” Arthur added quietly, “we still have a chance to prevent a disaster.”
HRogge Wrote:“And these two gentlemen” Arthur continued and looked left and right “are Mr. Juergen Schmidt of Europol and Mr. Ichikawa Zenigata of the Japanese National Police Agency.”
I hope they didn't decorate their guests' rooms with flowers... or if they did, they didn't use lupins.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
robkelk Wrote:
HRogge Wrote:“And these two gentlemen” Arthur continued and looked left and right “are Mr. Juergen Schmidt of Europol and Mr. Ichikawa Zenigata of the Japanese National Police Agency.”
I hope they didn't decorate their guests' rooms with flowers... or if they did, they didn't use lupins.
not my suggestion for the name, but at least I changed one part.


would you suggest changing both?
It's your story - use the names you want to use.

(And I thought the inspector picked the name because he was going to be working with Fen...)
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
robkelk Wrote:(And I thought the inspector picked the name because he was going to be working with Fen...)

I like this idea...

but I might need some help/hints... because I do NOT know the manga/anime the characters name comes from. *G*
*raises eyebrows*

Lupin III is almost as old as I am - the first story was published in 1967. Zenigata's writeup on that site is a bit sparse, but it gets the feel across.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
“Good morning,” Jürgen Schmidt said as he sat down at the breakfast table in the Cafeteria. Both Arthur Nkomo and Ichikawa Zenigata were already there, looking up from their breakfast. “I am sorry that I am late, but the shower controls were... unusual.”

“Just sit down with us,” Arthur said with a grin, “things like this happen to everyone up in orbit for the first time.” He already knew that the cats from Jenga were a bit mad about their showers.

They had started interviewing some of the astronauts yesterday, but had to pause because everyone had becoming too tired.

“So how do we continue today, there are still quite a few astronauts left we have not talked to.” their japanese co-worker asked, “And we also need to talk with the catgirls who were in the control room during the attack.”

Arthur nodded.

“Maybe we should split up” Arthur suggested, “this way we get all the interviews done this morning and can focus on the technical evidence afterwards. I know they want us to interview all of them, but we should hurry up.”

“Good idea” Jürgen Schmidt replied, “we split up for the Astronauts and catgirls, but do the interview with the two AIs of the station together. I bet they will have more facts for us.”


“And then the alarm hit me, moments before the projectile impacted. I didn’t even had time to warn anyone, I am just happy that the shot hit. Unfortunately the other turrets were not in the right position.”

Arthur nodded and made a few additional nodes.

“Thank you Serina,” he said, “if you recognize something that might be important, contact us immediately. Cortana, do you want to add anything more?”

“No, I think you got everything we experienced during the attack” Cortana answered. “And you also have the full video of it for later analysis. If you have any questions about details just ask, we are both present all over the station.”

“We will do so” Arthur assured, “but lets have a look at the physical evidence now. I hope you have some news for us!”

Serina’s Avatar smiled and the door of the room opened to let in an Exocomp.

“Follow him to the main hall, I think the catgirls have assembled all the evidence there. Its not far.”

The main hall was just a few corridors away, a huge room separated into two areas by a large glasslike wall. As the group entered, a catgirl approached them.

“Hello, Cortana told me you would come. I am Vivio, I can show you the current status of our investigation.”

“Thank you” Jürgen Schmidt replied, “we are curious what you got. Will Cathy join us too?”

“Oh, Cathy is still sleeping. She organized the team that brought most of the fragments into this hall” Vivio explained.

“But let me give you an overview what we have found.

The origin of the attack is far outside the ecliptics, it took the projectile hours to arrive at Pan.”

The room darkened and a holographic projection of Saturn and its moons appeared, marking Pan with a bright yellow ring. A tiny red dot floated far away of the planet.

“The red dot marks the place where the weapon had been placed” Vivio continued and the a small dot separated from the existing one and raced towards Saturn. Moments later the original marker began to expand into a red sphere.

“As you can see, only moments after the shot the weapon platform exploded. When we found it, it had had been scattered over an area of more than a lightsecond diameter!”

The projection zoomed onto the spherical area to show a widely distributed debris field.

“We placed reference buoys around the field and began to collect the parts, after recording their vector and spin. At the moment we have at least 78% of the original weapon system and all parts larger than a centimeter!”

“What’s about the other 20%” Ichikawa Zenigata asked.

“We are still looking for tiny splinters” Vivio admitted. “You could put Earth and Moon into this area without changing the Moons orbit, I think you can understand the problem to get them all. But we already have a rough image of the weapon system.”

The projection changed again, the particles raced back to the center until the frame of some kind of machine appeared. There were quite a few holes in the machine, marking places where the reconstruction wasn’t complete.

“This is the best reconstruction we have been able to come up with over the last day. As you can see our weapon system would barely fit into the trailer of a large truck or shipping container The structure suggests its some kind of mixed rail- and coilgun system, with some unidentified support infrastructure.

Still, we have a few parts we are not sure how they fit into the whole picture. There are quite a few metal loops and even some thick metal ropes, but no place to use the rope in the weapon.

The most interesting parts are splitters that might have been part of the rails for the projectile. They are made of a complicated mixture of elements, Cortana thinks they might be a hardtech superconductor. But as many parts of the weapon, they have been waved!”

Arthur nodded slowly.

“Thank you Vivio for this introduction. We will have to look at some of the parts ourselves, to get a feeling what might be important. Please run more parts through an analysis in your labs, maybe you will find something important.”

“We are just preparing the particle accelerator in the labs” Vivio agreed. “If you want to get a special part out of the room just call an Exocomp. But maybe it might be better you suit up and examine everything in vacuum, we don’t want to contaminate the parts.”

Arthur Nkomo looked at his two colleagues from Earth.

“Okay Gentlemen, lets find the needle in the haystack!”
“The solution is here, somewhere... I feel it!” Zenigata murmured as he twisted the controls of the holographic projection system again. “I just need to find it.”

When the catgirl had shown him and his colleagues the ‘reconstruction’, they had forgotten to mention that it was just one of the reconstructions they did together with their AI Cortana. One of dozens, each of them with an assigned probability value... and all of them with quite some guessing involved.

While the central mechanism was easy to recognize, the outer support structure was a mess. Too many tiny pieces that could be assembled into different configurations and none of them fitting perfectly.

They had all looked at the pieces for the last three days, giving small samples to the catgirls who provided an analysis of the material. The only big discovery was still the waved but hardtech superconductor.

A mixture of seven elements in a complex three dimensional lattice. Waved for some unknown additional effect. The catgirls never had seen something like this in Fenspace, it was just too difficult to make in large quantities. Superconductivity was easier to achieve with Handwavium.

They had sent a sample of it to Prometheus Forge with a Warsie courier, maybe they would be able to learn more about it this way.

“Just a few more combinations... I should really go to bed like Arthur and Jürgen” he said as he assembled the larger pieces of the support structure of the weapon into a new pattern. “No, thats still wrong, something is missing.”

A door behind him opened and a catgirl he didn’t recognized entered and sat down on the bank next to him.

“Hi, I am Mizuki” she introduced herself, “are you Ichikawa Zenigata?”

“Just a moment” he murmured and quickly finished his latest reconstruction attempt. “Damned, its wrong again... oh, hello Mizuki... yes, I am Ichikawa Zenigata from the Japanese National Police Agency.”

“Its already very late, ” she asked, looking curiously at him. “you are still working on your puzzle here?”

“Yes, it is late” Zenigata replied and nodded, “but someone has to get this job done. And I am pretty sure I saw something in this data... I just have to grab it!”

He smiled at the catgirl at his right and grabbed the controls in front of him again, starting another variation of his reconstruction attempts.

“May I ask you a question?” the catgirl asked and Zenigata sighed mentally.

“Another one? Okay.” he said, maybe getting a short break wasn’t that bad.

“Have you ever tried to throw handcuffs?”

Zenigata stared at Mizuki for a moment, then he started laughing loudly.

“No, I definitely have not” he said after he managed to stop laughing, “I think they are not good for hitting something at range.”

“Yes, I think you are right” the catgirl said and nodded, “a few of us tested it yesterday. They don’t fly well at all, but I thought you would know a trick!”

“Oh, you should not forget I am from Earth” he explained. “I had never any contact with Handwavium before this mission. I cannot throw handcuffs in any useful way, it just cannot be done.”

The catgirl looked thoughtful for a moment and nodded. Zenigata went back to work.

“Oh look there, this fits right into that hole” Mizuki suddenly said and pointed at the small holographic panel. The gesture based interface reacted instantly, shooting a few objects through the rest of the holographic image and scattering it all over the screen.


“I am trying to work here” Zenigata said and rolled with his eyes. “I am happy for some company, but please do not touch the console.”

Just as he wanted to continue his work, the catgirl jumped up. “I will get myself a coffee. Do you want one too?”

She didn’t even waited for a response and raced out of the room.

‘Strange girl... but maybe I can now get my work done.’ he thought.

But just after a minute the catgirl was back with two large mugs of hot coffee.

“Here, I brought you a coffee too!” she said and put one of the mugs in front of him, directly into his holographic console. The catgirl grinned and sniffed at her coffee, purring loudly.

Zenigata took a few deep breaths to stay calm while looking at Mizuki who was squirrelly moving back and forth.

‘This one drank too much coffee’ he thought and put his coffee mug to the side, trying to salvage his current work while keeping an eye on his guest.

The catgirl suddenly began to giggle.

“Hey, I know where this part belongs to” she said and tried to reach for the control console again, but Zenigata quickly grabbed her wrist.

“What did I say about the console” he asked with a smirk, but Mizuki just giggled and instantly reached out with her other hand. It took a short brawl until he finally managed to hold her.

“You are a really naughty cat” he said, carefully trying not to begin laughing. Mizuki smiled happily and began to purr.

‘I am doomed’ he thought, ‘cat is on coffee overload and is enjoying this game. I need a creative solution to this, otherwise I will be always the Spoilsport from Earth here.’

He looked around and suddenly he began to grin himself. Carefully he twisted her arms on the back of the bench.

“So you think you have already won our little brawl” he asked and Mizuki grinned widely, visibly enjoying the attention she got.

*click* *click*

“Maybe then you shouldn’t have brought the cop your handcuffs” Zenigata continued as he locked her hands together behind a beam that was holding the back of the bench.

“Hee... cheater!” Mizuki protested as she failed to free her hands again.

“You see, now we can both work on our big puzzle without constantly fighting for the controls” Zenigata said, putting his left arm around the shoulders of the catgirl. “If you have a good idea you just have to say it. Sometimes two hands are one hand too much.”

Too much...

He blinked a few times as he looked at the holo screen in front of him.

“YES... too much! Thats it! Too much!” he shouted. Mizuki just gave him a puzzled look.

“You see, I have been trying to find the right place in the machine for a group of metal loops, but it always looks strange” he tried to explain excitedly. “One of them is not from the machine, thats why!”

He waved to an Exocomp who was sitting on a chair close to him. “Hey you... get me this seven loops and put them into a small box each” he said and marked them on the holoscreen, “I have to get them to your labs!”

The Exocomp beeped happily and rushed through the airlock into the room with the weapon system parts.

“Ahh, that was the key” Zenigata said and smiled at the catgirl. “Thank you very much.”

The Exocomp was quickly back with a stack of boxes. Zenigata took the boxes and rushed towards the door.

“I have to bring this to the labs, I will be back in a moment!” he said and left.

“Hey!” Mizuki shouted and looked around. “Our coffee will get cold.”

She tried to get her hands free again, then looked at the Exocomp.

“Do something, help me!”

The Exocomp beeped an acknowledgement and rushed out of the room, only to bring back two small hot plates. It snickered and put them below the coffee pots, then sat down on Mizuki’s lap.

“Traitor” the catgirl murmured.
First part of the next chapter... you will soon meet the PINBALL OF DOOM! Wink


“So what do you got?” Zenigata asked impatiently and the catgirl in front of him snickered.

“Hey, I just finished a first preliminary analysis... don’t expect all the details, I will have to run your samples through more test, maybe we will even put them into the accelerator later” she answered. “But I can tell you a few things about them.”

Zenigata nodded quickly.

“These six loops are made from the same high quality steel” the catgirl started explaining, “or at least from a very similar batch of steel. I have not identified all components of the alloy, but its high quality metal. Oh, and they are have been waved with some kind of stealth strain.

This seventh Loop is different, very different. The steel is simpler and contains mostly alloy components you can easily get in Fenspace. There is also some unidentified particles in the mixture... and its wavium looks like a typical space-proof steel wave.”

“Yes, YES!” Zenigata cried out. “I got it, I got it!”

“I hope its not contagious” the catgirl joked, “do you want to share what you got?”

“This might be our most important evidence at the moment!” Zenigata stated. “Its a part that does NOT belong to the weapon system we found. It might be a hint about who or what deployed that weapon system!”

Zenigata began to quickly walk up and down the room.

“We need a more specific analysis of this as soon as possible. Everything could be important, everything! And we need it very quickly before the trail gets even colder!”

“I will get together a team and start working on it at once, we should have more evidence tomorrow morning” the catgirl promised and Zenigata nodded.

“Good, very good... I have to call my co workers, they have learn about this right now!”

“It late in the night for you three, try to calm down a bit” the catgirl suggested, “you are behaving like someone on an overdose of coffee!”

“Coffee...” Zenigata blinked a few times. “Coffee? Oh dear, I forgot about Mizuki! I will have to go, continue with your analysis! And call my co-workers to meet me!”
Oh, dear - it's never a good idea to be late for a coffee date.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
Second and third (last) part of the current chapter... expect a writeup of the POD too. Wink


Two sleepy looking men and a catgirl entered the room where Zenigata were again sitting in front of the holo-controls, the head of the dozing Mizuki on his lap.

“Ahh, good that you are here” he said excited and activate the holo emitters. “You really have to see what I found!”

Arthur Nkomo and Jürgen Schmidt looked to each and then at the sleeping catgirl.

“Maybe you want to sent her away first?” Jürgen suggested, but Ichikawa Zenigata shook his head.

“I owe her a little bit, just let her sleep.” he said with a grin, then he pointed to the projector.

Cathy just grinned about his comment.

“Mizuki also gave me the hint I needed to spot an important piece of our puzzle.”

The projection of the weapon system rotated and a number of metal loops were highlighted.

“As you know the reconstruction of the central weapon is pretty good, but we have some uncertainty in the support structure below it. Our last guess was that we were missing a few parts, but we were wrong!”

The highlighted loops suddenly moved, most of them distributing themselves in a new regular pattern and one of them moving away from the weapon.

“Thats because this” Zenigata said and hold up a small plastic box, “this loop is not from the weapon system, its from the vehicle that transported the weapon system!”

Suddenly the two other inspectors were not looking sleepy anymore.

“Do you already have a preliminary analysis of it?” Arthur asked.

“Yes, I have. Its most likely steel that has been created here in space from asteroid ore. Its quality is much lower than the materials of the weapon system. It has been waved to be vacuum resistant with a common strain of handwavium. And...”

“And what?” Jürgen Schmidt asked, rolling his eyes about Zenigata’s show.

“And it has been contaminated during the waving. With some tiny amounts of red dust, dust from a planetary surface not far from here!”

“Mars... you want to tell us the transporter has been waved on Mars!” Arthur finally said. “This is really an interesting piece of evidence, the first one that might be useful for us.”

Zenigata nodded again.

“Yes. The catgirls from the lab told me a few minutes ago that they don’t think the steel has been used for a larger purpose built spaceship, but it could be from a waved vehicle.”

“Must be a pretty large waved vehicle, even most trucks are smaller than the weapon system.” Jürgen noted. “A truck or maybe a boat. Or a large plane.”

“Thats what I am hoping too,” Zenigata replied, “maybe someone who sells vehicles like this will recognize this part!”

“Sounds like looking for a needle in the haystack again” Jürgen joked, “don’t you think we should first uncover more evidence now that we got a hint what we are looking for?”

“No, we should move to Mars NOW... before the trail goes cold” Zenigata opposed Jürgens plan, “we cannot wait here.”

“We have to restock our Camping Car before we can think about flying back” Arthur said flatly. “And we would not be able to start anyways until we all got a good night of sleep. You know, nearly 17 hours of flying is more than a short trip.”

“I would like to help you” Cathy interrupted them for the first time, “we could easily borrow you one of our cars with a catgirl driving it... but even for a car its more than 11 hours to reach Mars. Thats a lot of travel time.”

Mizuki suddenly lounged and grinned.

“He could use the pinball,” she suggested, “it can cover the distance in seven hours.”

“You cannot seriously suggesting using that thing” Cathy said and rolled with her eyes. “Its tiny!”

“Excuse me,” Zenigata interrupted the two catgirls, “but what is the Pinball?”

Mizuki sat up and smiled.

“The Pinball of Doom is a prototype vehicle I have built with a few friends last year” she explained. “Its large enough for two persons and its incredible fast!”

“That sounds just perfect” Zenigata agreed, but Cathy was still skeptic.

“Wait until you have seen the beast” she suggested and stood up.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present the PINBALL OF DOOM!”

Both catgirls and the three inspectors were standing around an unremarkable sphere of two and a half meter diameter. Smooth metal everywhere, no windows and not even small bumps.

“This is the spaceship you were talking about?” Arthur asked. “You are kidding us, right? This thing might be a nice toy or a drone, but an interplanetary spaceship?”

Mizuki hissed angrily at Arthur and stroke the surface of the metal sphere.

“You should not say something like this, vehicles have feelings too!” she spat out.

“Mizuki, I know you don’t build AI-equipped ships.” Arthur said and sighed.

“This is a personal built prototype! How do you know it has no AI?”

“Does it have an AI?”

Mizuki mumbled.

“No, it has not... but they still got feelings. And its the fastest craft on the whole station!”

She knocked on the surface of the sphere and half of it slowly clapped back to reveal the interior with the two seats. There wasn’t much more free space in the sphere except for the seats and their controls.

“Okay, I can see that this is a tight solution” Zenigata said with a grin. “At least the hatch is transparent from the inside. Why didn’t you built it a bit larger?”

“We cannot do so without an AI” Cathy quickly answered. “This is even a bit larger than we normally can do, it still has a few quirks we got rid of later. But Mizuki is right, its a damned fast vehicle. And in theory it could bring you to Mars.”

“In theory?” Zenigata asked carefully.

“Look at it” Arthur said, “its not even a car, its a tin can. Do you think anyone would want to sit inside this for eight hours?”

“Hey, the prewave space capsules of US and and Russia were smaller” Mizuki complained. She looked at Zenigata. “And you are not that large, it should work out fine.”

Cathy looked at Mizuki.

“If you are that excited about the craft, YOU will pilot it for our guest until you are back on the station.”

Mizuki blinked a few times.

“But... but... but we had to take out the coffee machine to get space for the fuel tanks!”

“It's your idea, you are responsible for it,” Cathy said and shook her head. “I am sure you will be able to find a thermos jug before you leave.”
*sigh* this story is difficult to get done.


The hatch of the POD was slowly closing, hiding its two passengers behind a chromed wall of steel until not even a seam was visible anymore. But from the inside the space around the small spacecraft was still visible.

Mizukis hands were flying over the console in front of her, running through a final check of the craft. A few lights became green and with a smile she hit the ‘power up’ button. The karaoke machine in the middle console activated, the two microphones lit up, one with blue and one with orange lining and a text appeared on the main viewscreen.

‘Loading music, please wait...’

“Get the mike, this will be fun” Mizuki said to inspector Zenigata as the grabbed her microphone. “Have you ever done some Karaoke singing?”


Zenigata looked at the catgirl for a few moments, not sure if she just made a joke.

“Hey, its one of the quirks of the POD. Without the Karaoke singing, it will not go fast!” Mizuki said defensively. “It will play the song once, then again with the text on screen. Hey, its not that difficult.”

Zenigata rolled with his eyes, but he grabbed the microphone in front of him as the music started to play. “For the mission,” he murmured. “at least the music could have been much worse.”

Quickly the ‘Pinball Wizard’ song ended for a first time and the music started again.

Zenigata sighed shortly and tried to follow the flow of the music. He could hear that Mizuki was definitely more practiced in singing.

‘Your team-score: 153 Advice: ask the catgirl for lessons.’ was on the display as the music finally ended.

“Wow” Mizuki said excited, “I was never able to get it above 89 alone... maybe teams get better scores?”

With a light vibration the engines of the POD came to life and a wave of bright blue energy raced through the cockpit and outward to the hull of the vehicle.

“Ohh... thats much brighter than during my tests” Mizuki said with a grin, grabbing the control stick.

“Next station, Mars!” she cried and the POD raced out of the open airlock.


“So they both left for Mars this night” Arthur Nkomo asked and Cortanas avatar nodded.

“Yes, they two hours after you and Mr. Schmidt went back to your rooms. They will be entering the Mars orbit any minute and will land soon after.”

“Wait a moment” Arthur replied, “I remember Mizumi said something about eight hours to Mars, shouldn’t they still be hours away?”

Cortana chuckled.

“We are not sure, but the POD made a new speed record on the voyage to Mars, its running close to 19% lightspeed at the moment. Nobody expected this speed boost, so they have nearly finished their journey.”

Jürgen Schmidt gave Arthur a pat on the back.

“You see, it was a good idea to send the message to Mars yesterday” he said with a nod, “at least they got a warning about their visitors. So what is on OUR timetable for today?”

“We will hopefully get today a full analysis of the handwavium probe Zenigata found. And we have to look over all the pieces if we missed another important puzzle” Arthur said. “Cortana, can you make sure that our car is refueled and ready for a trip back to the inner system? If we find a good trail, I want to get there as soon as possible.”

“Should only take a few hours” Cortana said and nodded, “a little bit more if you want us to get some goods from the Warsies before you leave.”


“So what are you looking for Inspector Ichikawa Zenigata?”

Zenigata smiled while he tried to remember what Arthur had told him about Natsuko Aki before he left Jenga.

“Thanks that you have time to spare for me Inspector Aki, I am on an important trail of evidence at the moment and need help and advice” he answered. “We are looking for a large truck, most likely built here on Mars.”

“A truck... built on Mars” Natsuko Aki repeated, “I hope you have some more evidence.”

“Yes, I have... I have the minimum dimensions of the vehicle and I also know it has been built by cheap steel coming from the belt. It has been waved on Mars, most likely on the surface because it was contaminated with Mars dust during the process.”

He gave Inspector Aki a small data pad with a number of size estimates.

“The catgirls on Jenga said that its already a pretty large vehicle but made from cheap materials, so I hope its a really large truck and not a custom built vehicle.”

He was aware that most of the evidence was still shaky.

“And we have this” he finally said and put a small box on the desk. “Its a waved part of the vehicle, so we hope the manufacturer recognizes it and we can verify the whole thing by comparing the Handwavium strain and material.”

Inspector Aki nodded slowly.

“Okay, that limits the number of manufacturers a little bit... but I will be honest, it still will be a pretty long list. But at least you got something to identify the craft when you find it.”

Zenigata shrugged.

“I have to try it, just sitting and waiting for the case to solve itself will not help. I also have a catgirl from Jenga with me that could handle the Handwavium measurements I think.”

“Good. I will work out a list of people you should ask here at Helium and close to the town.” Inspector Aki answered. “This will be the shortest list and maybe you get lucky. In the meantime I will try to get in contacts with a few friends on Mars, maybe we can pinpoint where your dust particles were coming from. I hope you are prepared to spend a lot of time visiting a lot of people.”

“Yes, I am” Zenigate just said. He had to find Mizuki to start their tour through Helium.
First part of the next chapter.


“Damned... another one who sold a few trucks but nothing that fits our evidence. Is every second Fen a car salesmen?”

Zenigata was sitting on a bench, looking to the police officer to his left.

“Fenspace is a little bit more personal and distributed than Earth” the officer chuckled, “but I think it would be much worse to visit all car salesmen in Tokyo, right?”

“Yes of course” Zenigata said and rolled with his eyes, “but thats something different. I think we are really close to make progress with the investigation, but now we are bogged down by looking for our car dealer.”

It was their second day in Helium and all of their visits at several known and semi-known car salesmen and truck-loving Fen had come up with nothing at all. This evening Arthur Nkomo and Jürgen Schmidt would arrive on Mars.

“Where is your catgirl anyways? I heard she arrived with you here on Mars, why isn’t she helping you with the legwork?”

“She isn’t my catgirl, she just brought me here to Mars” Zenigata answered, “and I think she got bored after the first day. She said that Marsbase Sara was more fun I think.”

The officer nodded.

“Yes, some catgirls just lack the ability to concentrate on one thing for a long time... especially when they become distracted. A few weeks ago we had someone here with a waved laserpointer, it was hilarious to watch the local catgirls reactions.”
Finally found the mood to start writing again. Smile


“A few more days dealing only with car salesmen and I will become insane” Zenigata murmured as he arrived at his room in the evening. “This whole search feels like a huge waste of time, but we are so close... I sometimes think I just have to grab the evidence.”

Unfortunately he was still not a single step closer to solving the case. But at least he had learned that it was unlikely the truck had been waved and sold at Helium.

‘I will just look what Mizuki is doing and then get a shower’ he decided and knocked at the door of the apartment next to his own. The camera in the door light up for a moment and he heard a click as the door unlocked immediately.

“Mizuki, are you here” he asked carefully as he opened the door and took a look into the badly lit room. “The door just opened!”

The room behind the door was in a state of chaos.

Zenigata nearly stumbled about a strand of cables growing out of an opened panel next to the door. A stream of blue blinking lights ran over the ground through the cables between a number of electric circuit boards and a group of household devices. A trash can filled with empty fast food boxes and tin cans were standing next to an open microwave.

In an edge of the room he could see a pile of printouts with Catgirl Industries logos, on the right a large holographic display with piles of numbers running through was glowing in a dim red color. In the background he could hear a quiet humming.

In the middle of the small apartment room, in the only free space on the floor, Mizuki was sleeping on a thick blanket, her arms tightly wrapped around a large pillow.

Just as Zenigata decided to come back later, a small bell rang out in the room and Mizuki began to stir.

“Just a few more minutes Nina” she whispered and yawned, turning over and got instantly tangled up in the cables next to her sleeping place. Finally she opened her eyes and sat up. “Oh, its you... hope I didn’t overslept the breakfast. What time is it?” She took a look through the room and to the closed windows. “What day is it?”

“Its evening, third day we spent on Mars” Zenigata said and chuckled. “I was getting worried when you didn’t showed up for three days... what has happened here, I had hoped that you would help me finding the maker of the truck!”

“Oh, at first I had planned to go with you through Helium... but then I had a crazy idea I wanted to try out first” Mizuki said and looked left and right. “So I bought a little bit of hardware in the local shops and started... hmm... well, I needed a bit more computer power. And I had to record a bit holo-tv.”

“Why didn’t you just asked, the local police could have supplied you with access to all the computer power you needed?” he asked while carefully stepping over the cables to the window. The red light of sunset finally lightened the room. “You remember that we are on an official mission, right?”

“Bah, borrowed equipment. That stuff never works right, it is no fun to use.” Mizuki replied, blinking a few times to get used to the light. “Its just not compatible with the way I like to do things.”

“So what DID you do in the last days?”

“Wait, I will show you” Mizuki replied and grabbed a VR helmet that was laying next to her sleeping place.

The holoscreen suddenly flashed bright and filled the room with all kinds of holographic objects. Zenigata could see numerous clusters of machine code floating in the room, receiving data from outside sources, filtering them and putting some of it in some kind of data storage. On the blanket besides Mizuki he could see the holographic images of six Exocomps.

“Welcome to my part of the Grid” Mizuki said with a smile. “Took me some time to download the necessary data from Jenga through the PODs comlink, but as I said I like to work in a familiar environment.” Mizuki stood up and a wave of her hand she activated her holographic overlay.

“Wake up my friends, we have more work to do!” she said and the six Exocomps came alive and began to float around the shape of her avatar. “Lets show our guest what we have done!”

Holographic code and data moved aside to make place for a video playback. Zenigata watched the video presentation of the ‘Catgirl Industries promotional Marsbase Sara competition’, then he looked back to Mizuki.

“You released the information about our evidence to the public? What did you really told them for this competition?” he asked slowly. “If the bad guys learn we are on their trail, they might vanish even more!”

“Calm down and listen, I didn’t released the evidence” Mizuki said annoyed, swiping the video away from the holographic screen. “The competition is about finding someone who owns a sample of Handwavium as close as possible to a randomly selected batch we collected a year ago. Oh, and you also get a price if you are the one who found the person with the right Handwavium.”

For more than a minute Zenigata remained quiet while he thought through Mizuki’s plan.

“Yes, I think it could work... the method is a bit strange, but you might have just saved us from days and days of walking through Marsbase Sara, looking for the right cars salesman” he finally said and smiled. “Do you already got results?”

Mizuki called up screen with statistics and images from persons.

“These three are our best hit, one of them entered the database last night... ehh, this morning” she explained. “One of them is very close to the data I provided, the other twos seem to be nearly exact matches to our probe. Maybe they use the same batch of Handwavium or got it from the same source. Or maybe its just the same Handwavium breed with different materials. We have to ask them and run their wavium through our taster.”

“So what are we waiting for, lets get to Marsbase Sara and talk to this people!” he finally said.
The lottery idea was clever

If you get lucky, you may even have Fenspace' Dumbest Criminal rock up to claim the prize. Unfortunately, that's a little too ridiculous for fiction... but it's happened IRL many times.
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
A short look back to Jenga...


“A week lost, but at least we are starting to make progress.”

Eric Hunt sighed as he looked through the results of the latest survey. They had spend a couple of days checking their personal equipment and working on ‘evacuation plan’ in case of further attacks while the catgirls had set up a defense perimeter around Pan. Eric wasn’t sure what it was, but the catgirls didn’t want to give the attackers a second chance.

Yesterday the catgirls had finally declared Pan safe again and both astronauts from Earth and inhabitants of Jenga had descended onto the moon’s surface like a bee swarm exploring a picnic site.

They spent two days until they were sure they had got a complete picture of the situation. And now they had to decide what to do about it.

“We can help you making up the lost time” Cathy said, “but quite a bit of the material you already had on the moon has been damaged. I know you will get an additional supply run, but how much redundancy do you had in your plans?”

“Not enough Cathy, not enough” Eric answered and looked up from the survey data. “Even with the additional supplies a lot of structural parts for the station have been damaged. Luckily the more delicate equipment was still in containers. I have thought about my call from ESA in the last days and we will need even more help from you.”

Cathy’s ears twitched and she gave Eric a smile. “That sounds interesting, why don’t you explain what you have in mind? I mean your project has been planned with one foot nailed on the ground the whole time and the attack didn’t improved the situation.”

“Nailed to the ground?”

“Yes, nailed to the ground. I can understand that you wanted to stay away from the really quirky stuff, but you didn’t even had artificial gravity on your spacecraft.” Cathy said calmly. “I tell you, in all the years I have been up here I didn’t got a single report on a life support system that got quirky and unreliable. You spent years to develop the technology to get here instead of focusing on the extraction tech you needed for the Helium-3.”

“Cathy... do you think we don’t know this? Since the first waved spaceships there has been a hidden battle about using Handwavium at ESA. But ESA lost the battle every single times... and for a year or two we thought the EU would cancel the program completely.” Eric sighed, the Fen picture how Earth worked was always a bit limited. “So someone decided to become clever and flank the enemy, which brought us here to Saturn.”

“Okay, I can see that you would have got ... but how does this help you in the current situation. Its not that the situation will get better if you cannot provide Helium-3 for Earth.”

“Less thinking about breaking rules Cathy, more thinking about flanking” Eric said with a grin. He could see that Cathy was more thoughtful. “But there is something else we need to discuss. I need you to get us enough materials to repair the damage and finish the station. And I have been informed that we cannot expect more money from Earth for this.”

Cathy did not looked that happy about the last part.

“But I have a different proposal for you” Eric continued, “one that you might find interesting.”

Cathy listened carefully to his proposal and her eyes became wide.
Writer block has definitely ended...


“Are you sure they are living in the same flat?” Mizuki asked.

“Yes, the Space Patrol officer for Marsbase Sara was sure about this.” Zenigata said and nodded. “It might spare us a lot of time being able to talk with both of them simultaneously.”

“I wonder if they are related to each other” Mizuki mused, “they look quite similar. Ahh, here we are!”

Zenigata knocked at the door. A few moments later the door was opened from the inside by a man.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” the man asked and looked at Zenigata and then at Mizuki. Suddenly he began to grin. “Wait, you are the one from Catgirl Industries who announced the competition a few days ago, right?”

Mizuki nodded with a smile.

“Yes... YES... YEEEEES!” he shouted and looked over his shoulder. “Did you hear it, I won! Now I will easily beat you!”

Zenigata waited a moment until the man calmed down.

“So you are Mr. Mark Thompson?” Zenigata finally asked. “We would like to talk with you.”

Mark Thompson instantly cooled down a bit. “And who are you?”

“This is Ms. Mizuki from Catgirl Industries” Zenigata replied, “and I am Ichikawa Zenigata from the Japanese National Police Agency, currently working together with Space Patrol... and we need your help.”

“Japanese police?” Mark Thompson said surprised, “does this mean the whole competition was a fake? What do you want?”

“No, no... the competition is real, I promise!” Mizuki quickly said, “But we really would like to talk with you... and with a Mr. Ronald White.”

Mark stared at her for a moment.

“No... just tell me that was a joke... please... no...” he said, looking very unhappy. “My first moment of triumph and you tell me... tell me that I have to share it?”

Mizuki and Zenigata looked at each other, unsure what to reply to this.

Mark shrugged finally and waved them into his flat. “Just come in, I will call him and you can explain why you want to talk to us.”

He brought them into the small living room of the flat.

“Just sit down, I will be back in a moment” he said and vanished through another door. A moment later he came back with a similar looking man.

“Ronald, these are Ms. Mizuki from Catgirl Industries and Mr. Ichikawa Zenigata from the Japanese police” he introduced both of the visitors. “And this here is Ronald, my brother.”

“Maybe you can explain this” Zenigata said, “we were surprised both winners working at different places but living at the same address... but we had no clue you were related to each other.”

Both of them grinned.

“That is simple... we both changed our Surname when we moved to Mars a few years ago, we wanted to make it harder to connect us to our families back on Earth.” Mark explained. “And because we had a heated discussion at that time, we choose different names.”

“Heated discussion?” Zenigata asked.

“I hope you understand,” Ronald replied, “we are both Gearheads... but I am a Robotech fan and my brother Mark is a Macross fan.”

“Ouch!” Zenigata said and made a face. “I understand your trouble, that can really hurt.”

Both brothers grinned again.

“So we finally know how you could enter two strains of Handwavium that similar” Mizuki said, “I fear you will have to share the price, you entered the same strain twice.”

“But maybe we should focus a bit more about why I am here” Zenigata interrupted Mizuki. “We are looking for a vehicle, a waved large truck capable of long range flight. We know how large it was and we have a fragment of it waved with the handwavium strain you seem to own.”

“A truck you say? We have sold a few waved trucks over the year.” Mark answered thoughtful. “We import them on demand through a friend on Earth and wave them, it helps to make enough money to pay for our work here.”

“Good... we are looking for a truck with at least this dimensions for cargo” Zenigata continued and showed them a diagram, “which most likely used this loops to fix the cargo to the floor.”

“The birthday present?” The two brothers looked at each other for some time and nodded. “Yes, thats it.”

“As I said before, we have not waved that many trucks since we arrived on Mars. Only one of them was as large as the one you describe.” Mark said, “We got a contract from someone from the US, he wanted a waved truck for a friend. Was exported back to Earth over Luna a few months ago.”

“Are you sure about this,” Zenigata asked, “do you have met your business partner?”

“No, we have not... but it was an US email address, and the bank was coming from a US bank account!” Mark said defensively. “I hope his friend did not wrecked something important in Japan with the truck.”

“Thats not your concern at the moment” Zenigata pushed forward, “but we need everything you still know about the truck. Photos, plans, color, engine... everything could help!”

“I think we should call up the local Patrol office to confirm there is an investigation” Ronald interrupted Mark. “I am sorry Mr., but you are out of your jurisdiction and I would like to confirm your story.”
Things begin to move...


“Please wait, link is being established... authentication in progress.”

Ichikawa Zenigata was sitting in a shielded communication room of Space Patrol at Marsbase Sara, waiting for the link to Arthur Nkomo’s vehicle at Jenga being established. Small status lights of the encryption module were switching from red to green one by one until the screen finally lit up.

“Good morning Arthur, good morning Jürgen.”

“Hello Zenigata,” Arthur Nkomo replied. “I hope you have good news for us.”

“Yes, I have... Mizuki and me managed to find the Fen who imported and waved the truck we were looking for” Zenigata replied. “We don’t have a hard link who bought the vehicle, but we have everything else. Pictures, model, performance parameters. And we know that it was sent to the Moon to be collected by the customer.”

Arthur thought about this for a moment and nodded.

“Yes, that is really good news. I think we need to involve specialists from the White Tower right now” he decided and pushed a few buttons on his console to activate a conference call. “Great work Zenigata, now its time the Patrol earns their pay.”

The screen on both ends split in the middle, making space for a third communication partner.

“Jeff Patson, Data Mining... what can I do for you Mr. Nkomo?”

“Hello Mr. Parson, I hope you got the memo about my current case?”

“Yes i got it” Patson acknowledged. “So tell me what we need to dig up for you.”

“I need your group to find a vehicle involved in my case” Arthur answered. “The vehicle has only been in Fenspace for a few month so I hope you can find it quickly.”

“I am transmitting you everything we know about the vehicle” Zenigata continued, “the last known position of the vehicle was the Moon, two months ago. It was parked there on a public parking lot to be collected by the contractor.”

“I just got your data package, that should be enough to start hunting for the vehicle. I assume this is a priority request?” he asked back and Arthur instantly nodded.

“Yes, it is. We need to find the people who use this truck at the moment, as fast as we can” Arthur replied, “you don’t need to call me back when you found it, we will come to the White Tower in the next 24 hours.”

After the connection to the White Tower had been shut down Arthur looked at Zenigata again.

“We will be leaving Jenga in the next hour, I expect to meet you at the Tower tomorrow. Hopefully Section 7 will already have found some data when I arrive” Arthur said. “I will also send a request to Section 6 to keep one of their FESWAT teams on standby, as soon as we know where to strike I want to be able to do so.”

“See you at the White Tower” Zenigata replied.


Jeff Patson sighed as he turned off the external link and switched over to the White Towers cyberspace.

“I don’t know why people always think its easy to find data quickly” he murmured, “without us they wouldn’t even know where to start.”

The Data Mining group was officially part of Space Patrols technical support section, the little brother of Space Patrols hacker and codebreaker teams. While their job involved no exciting cyber combat or hacking, most people had just no idea about the scope of Data Mining’s job.

Fenspace produced an incredible amount of data each day, most of it totally boring and useless for everyone. Until someone came up with a request that redefined ‘useful’ for the last couple of months... or years.

“Okay my friends, we have a new job... priority request from Great Justice.” he said after he logged in to White Towers cyberspace. “I am uploading you the description of a vehicle... we have to find it and its owners. We have to look both through our own recordings and external sources.”

“That sounds like some fun” one of the AI’s replied, “what are our parameters? Any loops to jump through?”

“None this time. Cameras, traffic sensors, video blogs, look at everything that stores sensor data which could be useful for us” Jeff said. “If a Fen put something on the web that is useful for us, take a look at it. I don’t think you can move a vehicle to the Moon and back without hitting a dozen recording devices.”

“What is about external databases? Shall we ask the Hackers to take a look at them?”

“Only if it is necessary, we have pretty good official backing for this. Contact the Supers, we need to access their recordings too.” Jeff answered after a moment. “If they give you access or coordinate with you we are happy with it.”

He could see that the AIs were already looking forward to the challenge.

“Oh, one more thing... if you uncover something keep me informed. Section 6 already told me they are on standby to kick in someones door. So if you need some active surveillance, they might be willing to organize it for us.”
“Our target is the main belt asteroid called 2685 Masursky.”

The planning room of FESWAT Unit 2 was filled to the last place as the Sergeant explained the mission.

“A stealthed recon flight confirms that the asteroid is primarily made from stone and has been mined to some extent, which left it with a series of tunnels and caves. According to the intel data there is no atmosphere inside.

We have only limited data about what to find inside.

First, we identified three persons which are involved.”

The picture of the holoprojector changed and three infosheets appeared.

“Alexander Ward, Miriam Fisher and Norman Fox. We think that all of them are originally US citizens. No known biomods, no known combat abilities, no known connections to major Factions or organizations. They are active in the ‘Red Mars’ movement and are vocal opponents of any kind of terraforming. Up to this point Patrol had them classified as insane but harmless.”

A hand in the room went up. “Commander, we are taking the whole team to grab these three jokers?”

“Yes we are. Yesterday I would have told my boss the same. I will come back to your comment later.

The only living space in the asteroid we know about is a Whistler Container type B. A few rooms, a parking lot for a compact car and an airlock. The weapon system they used to attack Pan doesn’t even fit into this container.”

The commander looked through the room.

“I am pretty sure we are missing more than a few facts, but that is all we got. Maybe there are more people on the asteroid, maybe these three sniffed too much Wavium last year and became full Mads.

We cannot afford to wait, we have to strike quickly. We go in with the whole team, the Clipper as as external backup and a Roughrider squadron to make sure no one gets out. If we see that its too much for us, we bail out and call the cavalry.

One last thing, we need these terrorists alive. We need answers, not dead bodies... any questions?”


Arthur Nkomo was sitting together with his two Earth co-workers in a different meeting room.

“I still would have liked to be there when we arrest this terrorists” Zenigata said and sighed. “Somehow its annoying to know that the grand final will happen without us.”

Arthur rolled with his eyes.

“You know the drill... this is a job for specialists, there is no way we would let someone without zero-g combat experience on this mission” he replied. “Calm down, we will get all the data they acquired during the raid. And they will bring back all prisoners directly to the White Tower, so we can interrogate them.”

“Do Japanese SWAT teams allow other personnel to accompany them on a mission” Jürgen Schmidt asked with a smirk on his face.

“No, they do not... yeah okay, I will shut up. But still, it would have been nice to see your people doing it.” Zenigate said. “Any news about this other men who used the truck?”

It had taken Data Mining only a few hours to gather all data about the truck standing on its parking slot. It had been taken away twice by different people.

The second one had been Norman Fox. His picture and the data from Kandors traffic control system had been the first evidence that had given the Patrol a clue where to find their current targets.

But the first person who had taken the truck and brought it back a few days later was a mystery. He had arrived in a small compact car and had left with the same car again. Neither the car nor the person had been found in any other data source Space Patrol had been looking into.

“I hope the interrogation will give us some insight what is going on” Arthur said. “This smells a lot like someone making sure there is no connection between him and this group. But who knows, maybe we'll get lucky.”
I am not sure an "action" scene next will make much sense... because there is not real opposition.

If someone is interested writing a scene with a FESWAT Unit kicking the door of our group of Ecoterrorists and grabbing them, I would happily accept it for the story.
Dartz suggested a scene similar to in in "Patriot Games". I think it worked out quite well Smile


“Tactical links coming online, Unit 2 disembarking.”

The Tactical Support room of Unit 2 in the belly of the Roger Murtaugh was dimly lit by the monitors on the consoles, displaying the asteroid 2685 Masursky and the members of Unit 2. Twelve points of light leaving the safety of the stealthed hull and floating over to the surface of the asteroid towards a tunnel entry into the interior.

“Minimal surface gravity, no sensors detected... going in!”

Tunnels walls appear on the screen as the first members of Unit 2 enter the asteroid. Naked dark stone, nothing that suggests someone had been in this tunnel in the last years. Slowly Unit 2 moves forward, constantly safeguarding against any kind of surprise attack.

“Smaller tunnel branching off from the main tunnel.”

The operators quickly check the data of the secondary tunnel. ‘Too small for the Whistler Container, wrong angle to get a truck into’ they decide and advise Unit 2 to advance along the main tunnel.

“We have reached a former mining area, completely empty. Multiple tunnels visible.”

The operators watch as Unit 2 spread out and begin to examine the other tunnel entrances. One by one the tunnels are visited by four green dots, checked out for any kind of evidence and equipped with a small sensor.

“Operation, this is Team 3. We found a small device, looks like a waved Nav-Beacon!”

Pictures of devices begin to run over the screen until a match appears. Moon built reactive navigation beacon, waved wifi interface and battery cell. Civil technology, sold in large quantities at Kandor.

“Team 3, place it in a Faraday Box. All Unit 2, proceed through this tunnel!”

Unit 2’s position markers move forward again, following the curved tunnel deeper into the asteroid. Slowly the infrared levels begin to increase. The tunnel finally opens into another cave, but this one dimly lit by a group of light bulbs.

“Operation, we found the truck and the Whistler Module. Still no enemy activity!”

One team begins moving to secure the truck but the rest of Unit 2 carefully surround the Module and check its only airlock. One by one all members of Unit 2 signal that they are ready as a plastic airlock inflates and the hacker box connects to the doors lock.

“Operation to Unit 2, you are cleared to go!”

The outer door flashes open as its control system is overridden and Unit 2 storms through the airlock into the main room of the Module. Target 2, Miriam Fisher, appears on the screen, working on a computer terminal. She open her mouth, staring with wide eyes at the intruders.

“Space Patrol! You are under arrest!”

A taser dart hits Target 2 before she can even scream.

“Shit, its the cops!”

Target 1, Norman Fox, shouts and ducks behind a desk. He tries to grab a device on his desk but before anyone can recognize if it is a weapon or not, two taser darts hit and paralyze him instantly. Unit 2 races through the room to the doors at the back and forces them open. More taser fire can be heard.

“Operation, this is Leader. All targets are down, area secured.”

“Mission accomplished.”

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