Upon arrival at Sirius Prime, Homsar went with Sprage to the Patrol base there. Awaiting them sat Admiral Campbell, himself a veteran of the Algol War, and a young Agent--Lieutenant Vance--assigned to his staff.
"Homsar!" Campbell said, "When Vance briefed me on your report, I did a double-take. The last I heard, you were in Alpha-Centauri tracking down a rogue geneticist. What brought you my way?"
Homsar shook the Admiral's hand. "Had I not come across Commander Sprage's distress call, I would have give you a courtesy notice before I arrived. As it is, what I came out this way for turned out to be valid."
"You mean the Dragonsworn?" Vance said, holding up a stick, "I collected all of the intelligence we have on hand, at the Admiral's request."
Homsar smiled. "Good thinking, Lieutenant. First assignment?"
Homsar looked over to Campbell. "The prisoners?"
"Isolated and screened, as requested."
"Then let's get on with it." Homsar said.
Vance secured the room and lowered the lights while Campbell handed tablets to Homsar and Sprage. Vance plugged the stick into a projector unit, and he began a slideshow.
"After Agent Delgana's previous encounter with the Dragonsworn, word spread throughout the Patrol's leadership to review existing files where a known link to the Algolians existed. These files, cross-referenced in real-time by Agents engaged in a wide-open multi-node connection, produced a final list that we found to be immediately actionable. The Republic President and the Patrol Chief Coordinator signed off on that list 24 hours ago, with distribution to begin earlier today- about when Agent Delgana intervened to assist Commander Sprage."
Vance then handed Homsar another stick.
"This list was to be made public 24 hours after all Agents received their copies. Having handed Delgana his copy, that countdown has now begun."
Vance advanced the presentation through a series of slides showing all known ship types, vehicles, armors, weapons, etc. and emphasizing those used by the Patrol's enemies.
"One of our discoveries was that the many pirate groups, crime syndicates, guerilla forces, and other known enemies of the Patrol deploy vessels and other technologies that share common design elements and aesthetic motifs. Given that the species comprising these hostiles are a diverse array of sentient species, with some--like the Dogs of Sirius--being genetically identical to baseline Mankind and others being so different that being barely humanoid is as close as some get, this commonality of technological sophistication cannot be emergent. It points to an unknown benefactor gifting technology to client groups, on the condition that it be used against the Patrol and Civilization."
The Admiral then spoke up. "I assume that the working group then sought other, supporting elements that would support this claim?"
"Correct, sir." Vance said, "Seeing that these diverse groups seemed to share a common backer, and that this backer may be the same sort that Delgana encountered previously, we retrieved and sorted through the autopsies and similar files regarding these groups and their area of operations. We sought signs of deliberate genetic tampering, and we found it. After careful examination, with parties external to the group confirming our suspicions, we put in our report the evidence for our suspicions and recommended that a detection protocol be immediately established and promulgated throughout known space. This too got signed off, and is included in the copies provided."
"Lieutenant," Homsar said, "did your group examine the possibility of infiltrating genetically-altered individuals into places vulnerable to attack by remotely-triggered hostiles?"
"We did." Vance said, "However, without evidence that this possibility could be acted upon in the near term it was not taken seriously by the President and so only an advisory action got sanctioned."
At that point, Homsar looked back at Vance wordlessly, and Vance took up a comlink. "Vance to the brig: situation report on the prisoners."
On the other end, all in the room could faintly hear the sound of things pounding on walls and blaster fire.
"This is the brig! Something happened to the prisoners, sir! They've mutated into giant hulks and are breaking out of their cells!"
Homsar nodded at Vance. "What happened to the mental screens?" Vance said.
"Screens? There were suppossed to be screens? Sir, I- AAAGUH!"
Homsar jumped to his feet and made for the door. "Alarm!" the Admiral said, "Don't let them escape!"