" William, I found the service history of the Mycologica," Kirie announced as she came in.

" It took you quite a while. Were there complications?" he asked, expecting a flustered and noncommittal response.

Kirie sat down, and looked across the desk at him with a sense of seriousness that seemed almost unbefitting of her.

" There is definitely something odd going on, William," she said.

" Like what?" His curiosity was now severely piqued.

" The Mycologica wasn't formally military. It was a military sciences and research vessel. Not only that, though it's listed as a vessel under jurisdiction of what was the Fleet 27, every single passenger name on manifest that wasn't struck out was either born in or a resident of Sector 5."

William stared for a moment, then spun his chair around.

" Sector Five," he repeated. " Sector Five. Why, Kirie, is it just me, or isn't that the place General Dawson hails from? Isn't that where the GWC convened during our most major operations? Where our peace treaty negotiations took place? Isn't it, Kirie?" he asked, thinking out loud.

" Yes, William, it indeed is. And I believe that First Officer Sivira's family originally hails from the same place," Kirie replied, tacking on crucial information.

His eyes lit up.

" It's more than garbage," he said. " It's more than garbage, isn't it? There's something in there that's dangerous that they can't sacrifice their rank and file on. We've been troublesome lately, haven't we? Too nice to the cats. If we live, we live. If we sustain casualties, they can cut off as big a chunk of the fleet as they please, and they get their little research wreck back."

Kirie sighed a little, laughed.

" William, you always look like a kid with candy when somebody gives you an enemy to fight against," she said, somewhere between a compliment and gentle chastisement.

" But I'm right, aren't I," he said.

" Mm, probably," she concurred. " I think the wildcard here is probably Sivira. I thought before that they were fairly loyal, but now the question comes down to whether they respect you or Dawson more..."

They both thought on that for a while.