The dials rolled slowly under Starkov’s fingers, alternating static and dead air. It’d been two weeks with no contact. Shut away in their dimly-lit listening post, reports from HQ were the only indication that the outside world still existed at all. Manning his station had become reflexive: turn two degrees; stop; two degrees; static; pause; nothing; continue two degrees. Day after day, it’d become easy to convince himself that the enemy might be gone for good, but he kept his ear to the air. There was no telling when a signal might pop up again.

Entropy this is Maker. Come in, over.

Starkov jerked upright and scrambled for his notebook. Maker – the enemy command unit – was a handle they’d all become familiar with. Entropy was new, and that couldn’t mean anything good.

This is Entropy, over.

Entropy, crack call for firskree these coordinates. Standby…

The line went quiet and he held his breath. A cold sweat broke across his palms. He started as the voice of Maker returned, relaying a half dozen sets of coordinates. He scrawled them across a page then handed it off to the team leader. He calculated quickly, then marked the positions of six radio compounds on a map on the wall, one of them theirs. The team leader swore and snatched up the handset to ring Command.

“Cosmos, this is Satellite 1. We have a recorded strike order on six collection points. I say again, Lucy has called in a strike on six Satellites. Please advise, over.” In the distance, they heard the drone of airborne engines.

Satellite 1, all Satellites are advised hold their positions, over. Counter measures are being– screeee

The team leader tried in vain to raise HQ again, then turned to face them. His sudden twitchiness told them he wanted to flee, but they knew it would be pointless now. As the sounds of bombardment began, Starkov couldn’t help but wonder if the callsign “Entropy” had been a cruel attempt at humor.