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Scratching the itchy collar of his dull, grey uniform, Enson Crunket waited impatiently outside Commander Tortoller's quarters. He'd made an appointment to see Tortoller three days ago. How the skriv can the boss-man be so busy? They'd been sat in this asteroid belt on silent running for three months with no orders that he knew of. What a waste of time! Three months jammed into every crevice of this fast patrol ship except for the areas that were mysteriously off-limits. That meant no trips to engineering to hang out with his buddy, Lupa. Definitely no trip to the cargo hold which was normally a good vape spot. Three months manning his listening post and hearing nothing. It was space, it was generally pretty flaarving quiet.

Startling Crunket, the intercom to Tortoller's room barked "ENTER" and the door hissed open. Crunket stooped to enter the commander's quarters. They were cramped, yet the designers had still found room to cram a desk in here along with a bed, a bathroom and a lounge. All in dull, official grey. That was the colour of most things around here - official grey. Tortoller was sat in his grey uniform in his grey chair behind a grey desk staring at his computer screen. He made a condescending hand gesture to Crunket to begin talking. Crunket cleared his throat.

"Sir, it's been three months. I was just due some R&R two weeks ago but because we're stuck here I missed the birth of my daughter and I'm thinking-" Tortoller cut him off with a glance. He read from the screen:

"Crunket, Enson Crunket. Two years' service on the force. And here you are marching into my quarters to demand leave. We're on a mission! You don't need to know what that mission is, Enson. But by groggle, we're on it. You signed over your right to a holiday when you took the oath and put on a badge!" Said Tortoller. A rehearsed dressing-down was on its way, Crunket guessed. Tortoller stood up sharply in an attempt to look authoritative. But banged his head on the low ceiling. Pretending this hadn't happened, he continued, lecturing Crunket about duty and the importance of the Morality Police Division out here in the void of space. How beings could lose their sense of direction and decency and needed to know that out here in the blackness there was still an organisation dedicated to routing out wrong and bringing justice to the unjust. "Just because space is cold and uncaring doesn't mean we have to be."

"Sir, I've worked law enforcement before. I've done stakeouts before. This feels like a stakeout but we're staking out an asteroid belt in the arse-end of nowhere. Nobody comes here! Because these rocks are empty. There are no habitable planets, there IS no traffic, there's nothing! If I'd known this was going to be the mission, I never would have signed up for it." Pleaded Crunket. "I thought we were gonna be back in time for my wife's due date."

"This is the S.S. Expectation, Enson!" Said Tortoller gesturing around him. "We're not your usual police cruiser, there's a reason we didn't tell any of you what your mission was. You're getting paid time and a half so you're being compensated appropriately. I'm not gonna ask you to trust me because this is not about trust, this is about duty. Do your job. Get out of my office!" Said Tortoller coldly.

Crunket left. He wasn't angry, the worker man always got screwed over like this. He was resigned to it. He just wanted to make sure his daughter had better. Crunket was in the middle of wondering what he was going to do when the red lighting pulsing in the floor and at every comm station told him that the sound of an alarm had been tripped.

He ran to his post jostling with other members of the crew doing the same. Part of him was nervous. Another part thought "Thank flaarv, something to do!". Tortoller was on the bridge in a heartbeat after everyone else. He addressed the crew.

"Okay, people. It's time to come clean. We've just detected the vessel we were sent to find. We're just one of hundreds of ships just like ours undertaking the same mission all over the galaxy. For three months we've been laying in wait like Tredorian Trap-Crabs. And now finally, we detected the ship. It's docking at a hidden base on an asteroid in the Borkarba Belt. Just a few hundred thousand clicks ahead of us. It is vital that we maintain silent running. Enson Crunket, go to work."

Crunket slid into his seat and rummaged for his headset. The chatter on the bridge was reaching fever pitch. Everyone was thinking the same thing. "Holy shit, something's actually happening". Something's happening. But what?

The listening post was incredibly high-tech. He used an almost undetectable array of ultra-fine beams of varying compositions to scan a huge area of space and detect micro-distortions caused by soundwaves. In space, of course, there was no sound. But the beam array carried enough types and layers that even the most well shielded surface could be probed and you could listen in to anything pressurised - even a space helmet. And once something was detected, the array could narrow down to that point and listen in to anything. The sound of weapons being charged, an ultra-quiet engine, even a conversation.

Or what Crunket heard - a man whistling a jaunty tune. He recognised the tune. It was Ode To The Lazgun, a famous war song from Shrovia, the planet of war. Shrovians? Out here in deep space? They normally stuck to their factories and board rooms, coming up with new and terrible weaponry.

Then he heard talking - someone recording a personal log. And when he heard the voice his blood froze in his veins and he felt tears welling in his eyes. This was the dread fear that consumed all hope in a man. "Sir," he mumbled.

"Crunket! Speak, man!"

"Sir, I...I think it's...Bodega."

Tortoller stood slowly, steeling himself. "Enson, Sivir, send the Whisper." said Tortoller. And the tiny scout vessel of the MPD fired a single sub-space particle from its comms array. That single particle would be lost in the background noise of the universe to anyone listening, impossible to decrypt, impossible to detect. Bodega could not know that the MPD vessel Expectation just sent a one-bit signal that MPD HQ would instantly know meant one thing - Operation Kill Bodega was on.