The survey continued and we found more and more precious metals. Eventually we came to discover the borders of this particular asteroid belt find and I marked it on the maps . There was a lot of gold and silver here and it would definitely be worth prospecting for. How much it would be worth was up in the air because asteroid mining can get expensive if things prove difficult to get to. Our role right now though was to map things and the mining operation would come back later. Quincy Frost st down at a terminal and filed a claim for the area of the belt. It would be transferred instantly the moment we got in range of any Republic communications relay. I informed everyone we seemed to have found the boundary and we were running low on fuel so we need to head to one of the Gas Giants before we continued our survey. I set course after everyone was tucked back in and took off for the nearest gas giant.
It took a few days to refuel and turn around. We still had other belts to look at and scan. I was getting a little suspicious of my guests and so I took some extra precautions with the computer security. I even took the added precaution of a security word that could be spoken to typed and it would activate the knockout gas defenses. The three of them were definitely spending more and more time in the Marine Captain’s room and so I set Suvan to be a little more snoopy while they were out prospecting. While working on the next belt.
She reported back to me two nights later as we slipped into bed that night.
“I don’t think the Captain is up to anything. If it is anybody it is the twins.”
“How do you know?”
“Girl keeps a journal, an old fashioned paper journal. She thought she hid it well but I found it.”
She slipped in behind me and began to spoon cuddle.
“She speaks of trying to get things so only her and her brother can profit from this journey. I think they just needed you to be a pilot and ship and the Captain as someone who could finance them. Their real aim is to gain control of the whole thing. They are weighing theer options as they don’t think there is quite enough profit yet to jump claim on this survey.”
“If we find only a little more, it will be. They are idiots, even if they could gain control the ship the Captain’s claim will be…”
I sat up quickly.
“Damn it, there must be another ship in the system. One that is capable of destroying this one. Son of a bitch. They intend to let us do all the work and then jump ship and jump the claim. Destroy the Sabine Hawker and Frost’s claim will never be filed.”
“What can we do?”
“Nothing. I only have suspicions. I tell you what though, I plan on doing some scanning around me while they are out tomorrow. If there is another ship in the system, I want to know what and where it is.”
“I should prepare for trouble then?”
“Yes, and be ready for anything.”
“I could probe one of them.”
“Yes, we both could but I would rather keep our powers secret for as long as possible. We might need them to defend ourselves.”
“True, but I could probe one of them as they left tomorrow, by the time they got back I would be fully recovered.”
“OK, but can you do that without being noticed?”
“Hmm. You might be right. Probes and attacks are often noticed.”
“OK. Then that is out. What we need to know is where the Captain actually stands.”
I decided to be subtitle but not too subtitle.
That morning the twins took off to do some more work. I asked the Captain to stay behind for a ‘planning session’ of the order of where we going to look next. We sat down in the living area and I pulled my gun on him. How’s that for subtitle?
I told him what I had discovered and had a simply question for him if he knew about this and where exactly he stood on the possibility?
“Actually, I have known about it for a while. The girl talks in her sleep.”
I laughed. My Marine friend had been getting lucky after all. Probably explains why she was always smiles and her brother always seemed pent-up. I holstered my gun.
We talked for a little while and Captain Frost explained he had his misgivings about the twins a few weeks ago. He found out that they were planning a double cross but he did not consider them all that bright. They were not the masterminds of the operation but someone else. There was something bigger afoot than just a simple claim jump. Someone wanted to control who visited the system and the claim wasn’t the only reason.
I came away trusting Captain Frost a little but not completely. He could be the mastermind and this was a clever ruse. If it was though now he knew we knew and that would make him pretty cautious or make him quickly aggressive. I figured cautious, you don’t become a middle-aged Marine by being rash. He went out and joined the twins in the prospecting. I guess it was then that it hit me that I could end this nonsense at any time I chose to do so. I mean all it would take is me leaving them to rot in their Vacc Suits but then again that is not my style. Nope. I was just going to have to ride this out.