Anomalous Readings

((Colony Abraham, Mira System))

The away team proceeded slowly down the dusty street, the only missing prop being tumbleweed idly rolling by. The marines looked about with alertness, much to the commander's satisfaction. Mendez went to roll her eyes, until she heard Lily whisper, "So if I stay behind the commander, he can't read my mind?” she said giggling at the implementation if that were in fact true.

Mendez herself snorted a bit, knowing she had the right idea. But secretly she knew better. His ability to Mind Link was well practiced. Usually, once seen, the commander had the poor bastard in that instant. Though, strong wills were strong. Maybe even Lily could shrug them off.

She glanced at Kyle, his back to them as they had fell back while scanning. She snorted again, prompting him to turn slightly. She knew he was staring at her from the corner of his eyes and she was correct. He was silently growing furious at the frivolous attitude that the Chief Medical Officer was showing in the company of Lily. He wished she would be more perceptive in such a scenario, yet here she was, laughing at a whispered joke that he guessed was about him.

He sighed silently, though irritated. He had experienced that far too much in his life, the sting of people's true words always louder than they thought they were. Luckily, he had respected the two women's wishes.

Lily's scanner bleeped! and showed a pulsing light. Mendez peered closer even as Lily called out the reading. She looked down at hers, curious for a second before it too showed the signature. It was certainly something, but what it was she couldn't make it.

"It appears to be shielded, whatever it is," she said after a moment.

"Possibly lifeforms?" The XO asked.

"Maybe," Mendez answered, giving him a wary raised eyebrow.

"Sergeant," Commander Kyle began, "lock on to that signature and move out. Standard five metre spread."

"Yes, sir!" The marines silently, almost robotically, began to assume different positions. It was fluid enough that it happened with a blink of an eye, followed only by those who openly observed. Now only one or two were visible, the marines carefully approaching the signal.

As she passed by a shadowed alley between the general goods store and the barbershop, Mendez suddenly felt a weight hit her from the left. She gave a start, everyone turning. The marines trained their void carbines at the source.

A dead body lay, skin taunt and skull cracked. The good doctor heaved a sigh and was thankful it was that. She looked to her scanner. "Cranial fracture... Hmm, this was post-mortem. And so are a lot of these rib fractures. Cause... Strangulation?"

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