Deep space missions were the loneliest. The only company that you got were the nine other crew members of your scout team and the sexy sounding computer informing you of any changes to your flight pattern during auto pilot. After a while it got so annoying hearing a woman's voice this far out in space that the captain "shut it down" permanently and they had one less voice to listen to. The computer's female voice sounded more like a taunt to the crew having not seen a woman in four capitol years. But for Keith it wasn't so bad. He was a fresh recruit after all. Straight from the academy on Rendon 4.
They had been patrolling for almost a capitol week and all they saw was space dust as far as the eye could see with the miraculously interesting asteroid a meter in diameter. Fontar was one of the most boring systems in the galaxy. A colony would improve the naturally uninteresting space that was cataloged as a potential mining system. Civilians were always more interesting than red cosmic dust masking everything in a redish orange haze.
"Private. Brief overview of our current position." the captain ordered. Keith checked his monitors.
"We've just entered the Fontar astroid belt. We are currently fifteen carsens from the rendezvous point with the Flaming Eagle." Keith replied obediently.
"Finally " grumbled Fosten.
"Just focus on the mission Fosten." the captain moaned.
"Who are we kidding?" Jace asked."There's no point scouting this corner of space. We would be much more useful reporting Imperial convoys along the galactic boarder. There's nothing out here!"
"For the love of the emperor's downfall, Focus! Keep looking for anything of interest. We need this place thoroughly cleared by Federation code before they can deploy mining units to harvest the quadsteel from these rocks. Once we're done here we can get reassigned. Until then, get back to work!"the captain said strumming his fingers on one of the arms of his command chair trying to maintain a patient attitude.
"Come on, you think we buy that after the last eight times you said that?"asked another.
"It was worth a shot." The captain growled.
Seriously, we might as well be scouting the out bound moons!" Jace shrugged.
"Sir, Jace is right. There's no point-" began one of others on the bridge.
"Captain! I've found something!" Keith called over his shoulder.
"Do you have a visual?" the captain asked excitedly, happy to change the subject to something of interest.
"Yes sir, but it doesn't make sense. Nothing like this should even exist this far out."Keith replied looking back at the monitor.
"Well, what is it?" the captain asked confused.
"A a ring of some sort sir." Keith responded.
"What?" Fosten asked enthralled that they had found something.
"It's a ring. Exactly like I said. A large stone-like ring. Diameter around twelve appear to be runes spaced out every three feet. It Doesn't make sense." Keith said shaking his head.
"Do you think we can retrieve it by towing it with magnetic tow nodes?"the captain asked leaning forward in his command chair. Keith shrugged.
"Maybe "Keith murmured watching the ring's graphic dimensions revolving on his monitor. The ring was half way submerged in a small asteroid. The asteroid in general appeared foreign in composition. He checked it quickly for any quadsteel deposits and the results were shocking.
None. Not even a hint of residue. The composition of the rock enveloping half of the ring consisted of foreign space dust and carbon. The asteroid was definitely not from this belt or even this entire galaxy.
"Sir! This asteroid is completely foreign to this entire belt! The readings are completely off the charts in unrecognizable areas! High concentrations of oxygen residue, extreme levels of carbon scaring, and unrecognizable elements concentrated in the ring." Keith announced. The captain nodded and pressed a command on the touch screen fixed into one of the arms of his seat.
"Flaming Eagle, this is scout team 41522. We have discovered a large foreign ring that appears to have originated from a foreign galaxy based on it's atomic composition. Request for escort retrieval." the captain said stroking his chin.
"Roger scout team 41522. Retrieval escort on approach." one of the communications officers responded.
"Roger Flaming Eagle. Over and out,"the captain acknowledged before smiling to Keith"This could get you a promotion. I wonder if I could get you registered into fighter patrol for a Flag ship."
That made Keith smile. The best thing that a scout could hear for a promotion was enlistment into a flagship patrol squad pilot. They got their own private fighters, patrolled high combat areas along the heavily populated boarder and had any number of a hundred other people on inter com. Sure there was the risk of getting killed but from there was the of promotion. And that always led to higher places, or at least anything better than this lonely little job patrolling outer rim systems and discovering unknown nooks and crannies of oddly shaped asteroids. If this fell through then he would be one step closer in this galaxy to being somebody. What he didn't know was that he would be more than just somebody in his galaxy. He would be known in yet another galaxy as well.