“Chief,” Flynn whispered by the communications station. “We’re receiving an open broadcast on all channels. The computer has flagged it with a code of FX, but that’s not a standard operation code.”
“First time on the Hierarchy frontier, right?” Chief Petty Officer Hargrave whispered back.
The blocky chief pulled up the waveform of the transmission, showing a repeating pattern.
“Go ahead, give a listen,” the Chief passed him a headset.
Flynn quirked his head sideways, then pulled the headset on, hearing what sounded like waves . . . no, wind. A howling wind, but it was clearly produced digitally.
“What the flaring sun is that?” Flynn asked.
“A PsyOp,” said a new voice.
Flynn snapped to attention as he recognized Lt. Commander Tollensen. The petite woman scared him. She seemed pleasant until you did something wrong, at which point the celestial furies were easier to face than her dressing down.
“At ease,” she said. “The Hierarchy believes their forces are more fearsome when accompanied by a soundtrack.”
“Sir? I—well, that’s just dumb. We don’t have to open the channel and listen to it.”
“But we do have to coordinate with other ships and communicate. Not only have they blanketed all of local space in this flaring noise, they figured out a way to piggyback the waveform onto encrypted transmissions. Any time we need to communicate, this will be in the background. Fortunately, we have a protocol to deal with it. Use communications protocol Golden,” she said, walking away.
“Golden?” Flynn whispered to the Chief.
“As in ‘Silence is golden,’” the chief whispered back.