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The Devil Comes To Röt Hafen
Röt Hafen Saga, Chapter 1-1

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RotHafen Title Graphic

Aboard the KRS Moltke flagship of KS II/14
Röt Hafen (LTT 1583) system
6 July, 2184

The dark compartment that passed as the bridge for the NSL Battlecruiser Moltke was abnormally quiet. The overhead lighting was dimmed, which accentuated the eerie green and red lights projecting onto the faces of the bridge crew as they peered intently into their screens. There was only the barely perceptible hum of the ships main drive.

Kapitän-zur-Raum Julius Markmann wriggled against his seat frame in a futile attempt to scratch an itch in the small of his back. Verdammte Vacc suits, he thought. They weren’t really necessary for fleet exercises such as this one, but you train as you fight, and he had no one to blame but himself. Markmann was commander of Kampfstaffel II/14. They were part of the famous KriegsRaumflotte Kampfgruppe 14. His ships were currently assisting in a test of the new Mk IX cloaking system enhancement developed by Spiegel Industries. One of his destroyers, the Köhl, was out there in the darkness, cloaked with the new technology, and Markmann was having a damned hard time finding it. His staffel of 5 ships were spread out in a combat search pattern, looking for the Köhl, which they knew to be somewhere in the general vicinity. Out in between the Köhl and II/14 sat the Spiegel-owned scientific vessel Gussman. Its ultra-sophisticated sensors monitored the exercise. For four hours, they had searched, but found nothing.

“You see Herr Kapitän, Spiegel Industries once again demonstrates its superiority in electronics design.” Markmann cringed at the voice behind him. Damn Ross. The civilian technical liaison from Spiegel, stood gloating around the bridge. That arrogant bastard had been annoying the hell out of everyone on the ship for the past week. OKRF (OberkommadoKriegsRaumFlotte) had put a top priority into testing and rushing this system into service. Why they had to come all the way out to Röt Hafen to do the test as opposed to closer to Nue Salzburg was beyond him. Markmann had been ordered to give full cooperation to Ross and his cronies, and Ross had misconstrued that mandate in his head to convince himself that he was running this staffel. They had butted heads a number of times over the past week. Despite the great potential the Mark IX cloaker had, at times Markmann found himself wishing Spiegel would fail. He guessed that what it came down to was that Markmann didn't like anyone infringing upon his command.

“Herr Kapitän! Von Zeiten is picking up vague disturbances bearing 075 mark 30, range estimated at 2 light seconds.” The Comm chief held his hand to his headset as if to better hear the incoming transmission from the destroyer. “Contact is designated as Delta 01.”

“Post it.” An amber blip appeared in the holotank. Beside it was the scant available tragetting information. The blip was well outside the exercise area, in fact behind the Gussman. What the hell was Hauser doing out there? "Reorient the staffel along a heading that will intercept the bogie.”

Ross, grinned and checked his personal datapad. He knew that the Köhl was nowhere in that area. These fools were so frustrated at their inability to uncover the hidden destroyer that they were grasping at straws. Well, he wouldn’t say anything yet. He was enjoying Markmann’s frustration too much to intercede now.

On to Chapter 1, Page 2.

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