Chapter 15 - More Questions Than Answers

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Immediately before and in parallel with USS Hiroshima’s arrival in-system…
<IRW Lioraennhe’le {Luminescence}>
Nearly two dierha had passed without anything from the planet, which unnerved erei’riov Mahan ir-Elehu tr’Keirianh. Lioraennhe’le was no tactical or strategic asset, and was very limited in any capabilities that exceeded data gathering, analysis, and stealth. They lacked a marine contingent, as well as firepower, so the options became very limited when things went wrong. As such, he was just about to call for reinforcements, when the interference lifted, and the voice of his away party leader and Science Officer, erei’arrain Lannar i-Baratan t’Vora, came across the narrow communications channel. “Lioraennhe’le, we have come under attack from drones of unknown origin.”
“Starfleet?” If so, then what were the lloann’na doing here, and what were the long, and short, term ramifications? Mahan wished he knew.
“We were not able to ascertain that information, Lieh,” Lannar replied. “We found a shelter, of sorts – indigineous. The drones ceased the attack when we arrived, albeit after losing four. Apologies.”
A third of the team lost? That was a disaster from any perspective. “Perhaps we should recover your team, and return in force.”
“The lloann’na would be here by then,” Lannar advised, as the mission was to find out what they were doing here, prior to the arrival of any ships of the line.
“Agreed,” Mahan replied. “Yet that is preferable to unnecessary losses. An arrival in force could fall under the auspices of rendering aid, yet ensure adequate forces on hand to counter any threat…” Which still didn’t quite feel right.
While Lannar was loth to abandon his mission, he did see the merit in his Captain’s words. “It will be as you say,” he began.
Without any preamble, the sensors on Lioraennhe’le were overwhelmed by noise, as an enormous Federation war cruiser materialized a mere hundred aeuhht from the ship. “Evade,” Mahan ordered, before sending a covert signal for his team to remain silent and hidden.
aeh’lla-ifv?” This question came from the Tactical Station, and Mahan did not know the answer. Had the lloann’na secretly tossed the Treaty of Algernon aside, and equipped their vessels with cloaking technology? If so, then this situation had become quite precarious and troubling.
“It is not,” the Sensor Operator stated. “They arrived too quickly for our sensors to display the approach vector.”
Mahan did not much like the sound of that. A ship so fast that sensors would not detect its approach was a major threat to the safety and security of the Rihannsu Stelam Shi’ar. “Send a tight-beam request for support in force.” Whatever this turned out to be, he felt that the interests of the Star Empire would be better served with more resources with which to respond…