The young woman sat in her favorite spot in the domed base. A great window was before her, gazing out on a brownish landscape. A scummy lake gelled in the distance, its surface broken by gusts, and dust swirled. She stretched out her long legs and presently she reached out with elegant, slender fingers. A glowing hologram appeared. Schematics. Plans. Diagrams. Her fingers danced across the hologram's surface.

Above her, a green and brown and blue globe hung in the clear dark sky, its clouds slowly moving across its surface. The planet Kusai. She half watched it, half watched the glowing hologram.

There was a chime behind her and a message window appeared in her hologram. She activated it. "Yes?"

The man on the other end said, "A Federated Nations starship has entered the system, Lady Spider."

"And?" the woman said.

"We thought you would like to know. Telemetry and its transponder indicate it is the FNS Ahmad ibn Fadlan."

"Thank you, Commandant Authement. That will be all for now, but begin Case Black, please." She closed the window.

The young woman fiddled with a strand of her blonde hair, and then bought up the telemetry on the starship in her holographic window. It was still four standard days from reaching Kusai orbit. That was still four days she had to plan for its arrival, and hide. All of that was easy. This wasn't the first Federated Nations ship to arrive in the system, and it wouldn't be the last, especially with the war ongoing.

But this arrival was personal. "Ello, mummy," she said out loud to the telemetry, and she smiled an incredibly gruesome smile.