His thoughts were interrupted by Specialist Rosen, whose constant bright and perky attitude always made him wonder what was in her morning coffee, and could he get some of whatever that was.
        "Norris reports on schedule, should be here within the hour.
        All sensors ready to go, Sir. Think we'll find any Jindarians hiding in the nearby asteroids?" she asked archly.
        Tombaugh groaned internally. His illustrious Earth ancestor, for whom he'd been named, discoverer of the dwarf planet Pluto hundreds of years ago, would have believed Clyde's claim to have seen something moving under its own power in the field he'd often scanned in his last assignment. No one else did, and he had never been able to confirm his belief that he'd seen one of the ancient space-faring asteroid ships. "Let's hope for the same old boring negative results, Dawn. Boring is safe!" He wondered how exciting Giles's life was.

Bridge, Federation Police Frigate Norris, en Route to Xanadu

        Giles sighed. The excitability of youth always annoyed him. To see Captain Harris and the crew celebrate the mere driving off of a Romulan Snipe that was threatening a nearby convoy, one would think they'd won a major battle. Action was always a good surge to one's adrenaline, but such a small and inconclusive skirmish hardly rated "party exuberance" in his view. Still, it was probably good for crew morale, and as XO, that was one of his major responsibilities, so he suffered in silence.
        Alexander Harris saw his friend and fellow officer sigh, and signaled the nearby crew to tone things down a bit. Wouldn't want to disturb proper British sensibilities, would we. "Ruben, the convoy is safe, that Snipe won't be back for a long while, and we took only minor shield damage. Of course, it helped that plasma bolt missed, but the Romulans are usually more than willing to shoot and run, hiding behind cloaks like cowards."
        "Understood, Sir. And considering it was on the way to Xanadu, we won't even be late for our delivery. But don't you want to be a part of bigger things, more important battles?"
        Harris cocked a sardonic eye at his XO. "You know police ships see more action than the big cruiser boys, of course. I'm happy to be leading this ship, with a good crew, a solid record, and excellent morale. I don't suffer from ambition, I'm happy where I am. If you'd like me to recommend you for promotion somewhere else, a larger assignment, you only have to ask!"
"Sir, you know I am content to serve. Sometimes I do get the urge to be a bigger part of the game, so to speak, but I am happy to be a necessary cog in the Federation. We can't all be rock-star heavy-cruiser captains and first officers."
        Harris smiled. "We enforce the laws and protocols of the Federation, and we do a good job of it. This design is outstanding; Solar TurboMecha did a great job giving us more guns and power than a standard police cutter. That's why we have been seconded to Star Fleet to reinforce the combat patrols in this sector of the front. Time to Xanadu, Helm?" as he turned away, the matter forgotten.
        "Estimate 30 minutes, Captain," replied "By the Book" Pryce, the only officer on board who had a stiffer spine than Giles.
        "Excellent, carry on. Be sure that the phaser parts and other cargo are ready for transport. And let the cargo boys know that any Orion slave girl holos will be immediately confiscated if found, ok?"
        Giles rolled his eyes at his captain's infantile sense of humor.

Ground Warning Station, Xanadu

        "3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Engage!"
        Rosen's countdown to the activation of the sensor array seemed needlessly dramatic to Clyde, but Dawn tried to make even the most mundane duties fun for herself and her crewmates. He looked at the main console array as the image came into better focus.
        "The usual rock collection, heavy dust clouds all over this area of space, what looks like an old comet trail ionizing to fade. Nothing unusual, no cloak residue or warp trails, no active sensors detected, and probably no Jindos, Sir," as she winked at him.
        "Considering all the ore around us, Dawn, aren't you afraid of running something into the ground there?" he riposted. "Well, good first test, switch over to passive, and let me know when Norris calls again. I'm going to take a break; ping me in the lounge at need."
        "Yes, Sir!"
        Neither of them noticed in the nearby asteroid field, shortly after the sensor wave had passed over, something twitched, and began to turn.

Bridge, Norris, about Fifteen Minutes Later

        "Captain, I'm picking up a badly garbled signal from Xanadu; I think it's an emergency call!" blurted out Miriam DeBey, the newest crewmember on Norris.
        Harris loved a joking and relaxed atmosphere on his ship, but when trouble came, it was like a switch clicked, and an entirely different man emerged. "Garbled? Is it being jammed? Helm, be ready for maximum speed to the colony. What does it say, Miriam?"
         "The signal doesn't read as jammed, Sir, but some kind of area interference is there. It wasn't last time I called them. They say something is closing on the colony, something about an 'asteroid'?"
        "Start arming photons, best speed to Xanadu. Red alert, people, let's get ready to do our job!" barked out Captain Harris.