19th February 3303: Unnamed system, secured location near HeikeganiThe small cloud of precious cargo quickly diminished in size as limpets tirelessly transferred the meta-alloy to the hold of a Python floating nearby.
Three Asp's manoeuvered past an escort corvette, their cargo racks recently emptied, and set navigation over 500Ly back to Merope before jumping clear of the mass lock.
"Charybdis is on the station now, overseeing the last few deliveries and counting the cargo. Let him know we have another run inbound."
19th February 3303: Heikegani system, Bartlett GatewayThe bridge operations room in Bartlett Gateway was crowded and in an upbeat mood, one that hadn't been seen in the station for a while. The Ops Officer leant forward, trying not to break out into a smile, and said "We're nearly there. The replacement parts are being manufactured, and the tech crews are now well trained and very experienced in removing the alien investation."
She continued warmly, "Your friends are patrolling nearby systems and looking for signs of incursion. The inbound couriers carrying the meta-alloy are escorted as they leave Merope, and transfer cargo to a single ship only one jump out from Heikegani. The remainder of the run is escorted by a combat wing, and then we can bring that single ship into one designated pad. Our security around that pad is as tight as we can make it, and the cargo is unloaded and handed over to Sirius Corp tech crews. It's been a smooth operation, Charybdis. Our thanks go out to your NULL friends in the Pilot's Federation."
Charybdis acknowledged the gratitude with a nod, breaking eye contact as his attention was drawn to an incoming message from another NULL commander. He turned to the bridge crew to issue instuctions: "The transfer has been completed. Flight control. Priority docking for HT-583, now inbound. Landing pad. Prep your crews please. This should now take us over 800 tonnes of meta-alloy delivered."
That smile of the Ops Officer that had threated to emerge now faded away as darker thoughts crossed her mind. "Have we made any progress in finding out who did this?"
Charybdis didn't answer the question immediately, instead looking out through the bridge viewport and towards the array of landing pads below. A Python slide in through the station entrance, and then twisted away from the central axis towards the secured docking bay. Landing struts flexed under the ship's heavy momentum as the ship settled to a rest. A swarm of figures rushed towards the ship bringing with them the equipment to unload the meta-alloy from the ship. The barnacle pods emerged one at a time from the cargo bay, still glowing an eerily green luminesence. The Sirius Corp tech crews in their bright overalls carried out their quality control processes on the meta-alloy in a manner than could only be described as... reverent. Charybdis brow furrowed, more so than usual.
"No, we haven't." he said. "But it is only a matter of time now."