Bonus feature, not really meant to undo the story conclusion, but you've hit the right buttons at the bottom at the page often enough, that now this little Easter egg is your reward. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the feedback, all those favs and alerts, but especially the wonderful reviews! :D


Extract of data burst[1] 18TNHE3W09: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Received 27xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized[2].

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Dearest Ecila,

WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? I just had a weird encounter with my base commander, who in turn has had a nice chat with his old friend Max, who seems to be, and I quote, "favorably impressed by a Lt. Malan stationed on the Big Ship. Any relation?" I told the commander that we are siblings and he said, the aforementioned friend had asked for his impression on the Malan under his – the commander's – command. Then he said, "No promises, Malan, but your career might have just become interesting."

We both know, what he would have thought, if I had said sister instead of sibling, but while I know you better than that, you are scaring me, sister mine, you are scaring me! Are you even aware the man has written the definite book on walker warfare? While you are supposed to fill a non-combat position! Try as I might, I can't come up with a reasonable scenario that involves the two of you and leaves an old warhorse like him impressed enough to come looking for more of the same. So it's the unreasonable ones that worry me. We would have heard if the Big Ship had been involved in the sort of action that might get even you under fire – which the law prohibits you to, I distinctively remember you telling Mom that!

Sign of life, please. NOW!

Hug


Extract of data burst 63KGFR8F39: Messages transmitted by SSD Executor; Sent 27xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204; To: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914]

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for the vote of confidence, bro! You may rest assured, that the only thing, I share with the general, is the old-fashioned notion that your own troops are not to be squandered. I also didn't get shot at. Details when we meet at Winter Fete (hopefully?), but you might like to keep half an eye on IC court news – especially should they mention food.

So he's the leading expert on boys and their toys? I had no idea. Decent commander, though, and Tall, Dark and Scary cares a lot more for the rank and file under his command than rumor would have it, too – not that anything I said would stop you anyway, should… an opportunity arise, would it? Tell you what, if I meet you on the Lady before I meet Mom, I tell her we're on the same ship and you get to tell her which one – you dragged her into this, not me!

Stay safe (I mean it, hotshot!)

Cila


Extract of data burst 38OLZG5J64: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 28xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Dear Cila,

Not good enough. One, you did not get shot at? Suspiciously specific denial!

Two, today I heard – secondhand, mind you! – that some idiot was spreading the idea that 'Mal's sister must be a really spectacular lay, even the troops talk about her'. Before I could find the guy and express my opinion about his big mouth, someone – or rather several someones – pulled him into the shady gap between two hangars and broke almost every bone in his body. I was lucky to be 500 km away from base at that point and have my commanding officer plus almost half of the company along to provide me with an alibi! So, let me repeat myself: WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO?

Hug


Extract of data burst 41LSDH5F30: Messages transmitted by SSD Executor; Sent 28xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204; To: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914]

Hugh,

Please! You know how it works. It's too complicated to explain in a quick write. Let's just say the old warhorse was impressed because I think even a trooper's life is worth something, and the boys in white appreciate the sentiment, too.

Cila


Extract of data burst 57ZGQW0P77: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 28xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Cila,

If you write about tens of thousands of men (aboard your ship alone!) that they appreciate your sentiments, your brother gets scared. Really, really scared! Especially, since I am getting funny looks from the boys in white now, too – odd because We Who Walk try not to step on them, but otherwise we ignore each other, usually. So, since their grapevine obviously spread from your side of the galaxy to mine, already, why can't you give me the facts, sis?

Hug


Extract of data burst 61ORDX6Y09: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 29xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Talk to me, sis!


Extract of data burst 04BVLA1I82: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 29xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Cila!


Data burst 73LEJH3J11: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 29xxxxxxxxx; Irregularity detected, Transmission on hold.

[Unusual increase in transmissions between Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914 and Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]


Investigation concerning Lieutenant E. A. Malan stopped – Authorization: V


Extract of data burst 88PBTH2X45: Messages transmitted by SSD Executor; Sent 30xxxxxxxxx; Transmission authorized.

[From: Major General M.J. Veers, CIN 482C718P633; To: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; CC: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204]

Lieutenant,

It has been brought to my attention that lately your communications with your sister have increased in frequency far beyond the norm. Your concerns about her wellbeing do you credit, young man, your attempts to induce her to ignore the rules of Com security, however, do not! You will cease to do so, immediately.

Since the latter behaviour seems to be motivated mostly by the former, I will let it slide, this once, but know that I expect better from any officer serving under my command. I will leave it at your commanding officer's discretion, if he sees fit to introduce you to the contents of a certain report that was included in the latest GenInfo update.

Gen. Veers


Extract of data burst 57FGIL7L38: Incoming messages for SSD Executor; Sent 30xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914; To: Major General M.J. Veers, CIN 482C718P633]

Sir,

My apologies, sir. It won't happen again, sir!

Lt. Malan


Internal message 974HGF8 aboard SSD Executor; Sent 30xxxxxxxxx.

[From: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204; To: Major General M.J. Veers, CIN 482C718P633]

Sir,

Thank you, sir!

Lt. Malan


Extract of data burst 93PQAB5K42: Messages transmitted by SSD Executor; Sent 30xxxxxxxxx; Scan unsuspicious, Transmission authorized.

[From: Lieutenant E. A. Malan, CIN 104M659E204; To: Lieutenant H. N. Malan, CIN 985K718A914]

Told you so!


[1] Real-time holographic communication across galactic distances is state-of-the-art. It's also prohibitively consumptive in energy and specialized equipment and therefore reserved for high officials and most urgent reports. Enlisted personnel, trying to keep connected with a family half a galaxy away, composes a written message, transferred in data bursts of much lower energy.

[2] Excerpt of Imperial Forces Handbook, Chapter 09: Communications, Section 14: Communications Security Precautions.

"For security reasons, each member of the Imperial Forces is assigned a unique, random identification number that serves as address for any communication to or from said member. […] Any mention of assigned unit, current station or any other information of possible strategic value is strictly prohibited, to ensure operational secrecy. All communications will be scanned by specialized programs for violations – further scans may be conducted by the ISB; or on orders of the commanding officers, subject to the requirements of the service."