The Shepherd’s Path: Wonder, Chapter 2

“There’s a new Administrator coming.”

“Really. How did SAHQ find out about Dunley?”

“I don’t know, it wasn’t through me. You know I didn’t say anything!”

“I didn’t suggest—“

“I’ve seen every transmission, too, and that wasn’t one of them.”

“Send in a cancel for the transfer. Tell them there was a mistake, and everything’s fine.”

“I tried. The new administrator’s already on the next the transport, and the transport isn’t responding.”

“The next transport? Interesting. The transport’s due soon, if I’m not mistaken. When did SAHQ issue the transfer?”

“I can’t tell for sure, but I think it was was only three days ago.”

“Three days? Dunley’s replacement must have been nearby. How soon until the transport arrives?”

“Twenty hours, according to the schedule.”

“Hmm. What do you know of our new addition?”

“I’m still going into the records. Here’s the short version: Thirty-seven, divorced, one child. Engineering background, but hasn’t really done any actual engineering work in the last decade. Assignments have been short, menial mid-level, arranged through Commodore Perez’s office for the last decade. Prior to that, two years with the Constabulary on Earth, during the Sao Paõlo Riots. No commendations, no awards. There’s a note of a court martial, which was dropped.”

“Another washout, perhaps…”

“Should I alter the records?”

“No, there’s no value in that. We’ll have to deal with the complication. Anything you do will be undone in conversation, and could raise suspicion.”

“Do you think there’ll be trouble?”

“It’s possible. Any new face will require questions, questions require answers, and answers can spark action. If we’re lucky, the answers will be routine, and not interfere with our efforts. We’re too close for a minor thing like a crew change to get in our way. Our last supplies should be on this transport. Just keep things simple and no-one will be the wiser know until we’re ready. Who knows, this may even work to our advantage!”

“If there’s an investigation into Dunley, there might be some awkward questions.”

“Good. And we’ll answer them. Better that no-one suspects a deception.”

“I’ll make sure Dunley’s quarters are scrubbed clean, just in case.”

“A wise thought. I’d hate for our new guest to find an unkempt home.”

“Is there anything else we should do?”

“Watch and learn any habits.”

“And fears?”

“Especially fears.”

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