Back on Earth, Admiral Smith silently summoned his secretary and put her en rapport with himself and Homsar. Sitting down in his chair, he sent the telepathic equivalent of a nod.
"Okay, get this down and out the door right away once I'm done. Under Seal- to whom will be apparently presently."
The secretary complied.
"I've not been here more than a couple of hours, and already I've figured out the deal with these raiders. I've talked with the master and mistress of a local population of lizardmen, themselves near-human and self-admittedly not from this planet. These two, and I suspect others like them, are human to near-exact degrees; their appearance is all that separates them from us. They call themselves 'Dragonsworn', and there is an actual dragon of some authority--and, I expect, power--playing patron to them. These are the responsible parties for your raids out here."
"That's ridiculously fast work, Homsar!" Admiral Smith said, telepathically, "These operators never encountered anyone like you before, apparently."
"But they have encountered Republic operatives, likely Patrol officers. Several are in their custody, and they possess command of biological science sufficient to make possible wholesale regeneration of the body as well as recreating it into a new form and cloning. Furthermore, I infer that these 'Dragonsworn' are themselves a group of criminals in recreated bodies; that they can do this to others implies that they do it to themselves. Their florid titles are nothing more than pseudonyms, just like all those arrogant fools we took down during the war."
"Splendid. Anything on the other mission?"
"Yes. I have reason to believe that the core of this group consists of deserters and traitors. The master and mistress have a son, whom they are convinced must be kept from my view lest they be exposed."
"The boy must be natural and obviously human then."
"The only real thing amongst a cult of delusional fakers who think that they can get around being what they are. It's a horrible fate. If I can, I'll fix the boy. If I can't, I'll put him down with the rest."
"And the others of the Sixth Hospital?"
"They intend to hand me those remains and send me away. I'll let them think that they did just that for now. That will give me the time to figure out a plan while I weigh my options. This now brings me to my first request: where is my favorite unit of marines?"
Admiral Smith smiled.
"Your penchant for action is famous, Homsar. After we last talked, I had a word with the Dark Spears's commanding officer. They're on stand-by, awaiting the word, and I'm coming with them; I need space time, and I doubt that the Republic President will complain."
"You're seriously bored, aren't you old man?" Homsar said, chuckling.
"Galactic mop-ups are, at this perspective, a lot like spot-cleaning a giant-sized pane of glass. If I'm going to sit in a chair, I'd rather it be on the command deck of the Kinneson than in my office at port."
"All right then. I'll let my hosts hand me the door prize and see me out. You tell that secretary where to send that sealed report, and I'll meet you in orbit here."
With that, Homsar--still drugged--ended his telepathic link back home. Admiral Smith, in turn, looked over to his secretary.
"Seal that and send it to the general of the Dark Spears." Smith said, aloud, "Then tell the general to ready the troops and get aboard ship. We're taking off."