The conference room aboard the Fallen Angel was a spartan affair, as would be expected for a military vessel. A long thin table was the main feature of the room. The table had four chairs along each side, and a larger chair at one end. On the wall at the other end was a display screen and the doorway to the corridor outside. A closed in set of bookshelves filled with logs, manuals and other miscellanea lined one of the long walls.
"So where is the ship?'' Captain Votan asked the assembled officers. "This is where it was meant to be. We got the signal. It said this sector on this course at this time. We are here and it is not. Now I know it's not a very big ship compared to us, but still it's hard to lose a whole spaceship. Tenalp, was the message correct?''
"Captain the message was faint but clear until it stopped approximately 3 hours ago,'' Tenalp answered. "The accompanying data stream confirmed the ships position and course and included the appropriate confirmation codes. The Triptych confirms that it also received the distress signal from the Wanderlust, and triangulation matches this sector.'' he continued.
"So the message was genuine,'' Votan summarised. "Any idea why it stopped?''
This time Chief Engineer Caledon responded. "The signal stopped at the end of the message, so it looks like the transmitter was manually shut down. They could have shut it down to conserve power or they may have needed to perform repairs to the transmitter. The signal was weaker than it should have been at this distance.''
"Is there any sign as to where the Wanderlust might be?'' the captain asked.
"Sir, we've found only one trace of the Wanderlust,'' said the Astrometrics officer, Lieutenant Amelie Fea. "We've detected radiation consistent with an explosion of the main reactor of a Nomad class scout. The location of the radiation matches the coordinates from the distress signal.''
"So the Wanderlust was where it said it was. What about her course?'' Votan enquired.
Tenalp responded first. "Tracking of the signal's source shows it was following a course close to the one in stated in the distress signal,'' he said. Lieutenant Yon Gates, the astrometrics officer quickly followed. "And we have detected some signs of minor debris, vented gas and other such things strewn along the given course. The trail of debris does however end at about the position the Wanderlust would have been a little over three hours ago,'' she said.
"So the signal and the debris trail stopped at the same time?'' Votan asked.
"Sir, we don't know yet,'' replied the first officer.
"Then we shall have to find out. Richter, plot a standard fractal search pattern focused on where the Wanderlust was three hours ago. The rest of you, look for answers. I want to know where the Wanderlust was, what happened to her, and, this is the big one, where is she now?'' Votan ordered.
"Yes Sir,'' the assembled officer intoned in unison.
"We'll meet again in twelve hours to see what progress has been made. If anything major is found, notify me immediately. Dismissed.''