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In his office, Draig Claymore received a call over a particular dedicated line. He picked up and listened without saying anything. The caller spoke: “I saw something. And then it was gone.” It was the private investigator Derringer on the other end. Claymore appreciated the succinct summary delivered in nugget order of importance. As though this fellow had experience receiving important yet patchy calls.

Claymore responded, “It is also reported gone by my alerting sources.”

Though uncomfortable on many levels, Derringer told it straight. “It looked very much like the Princess in some kind of planet atmosphere cruiser.”

The General masked his reaction with nonchalance. “That’s weird.” His desk was very clean, so there was nothing nearby to grab. Instead he just stroked the surface of his totally clean desktop.

“The target slipped me either on purpose or by accident, after I declared myself. I got one scan and a series of images.”

“Okay,” replied the General. “I need you to send those to me before leaving the ship in its home, with logs intact. Then, go back to doing what you do. Continue as you were.”

“Thanks. I will.” Draig found Derringer’s dry candor refreshing. He ended the call. Swiping his hand over the clear surface again, he got out from behind the desk, heading toward his armoire. He donned a lightweight cover, and went to go have a look.

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