Friday, February 20, 2009

Among the Forgotten

The Fleeting Thought decelerates and stops next to the slowly drifting derelict. The spotlights sweep the hull and focus on the airlock.
"Time to earn your pay, gentlemen."
I stay inside while my crew makes their way towards the airlock.
"How does it look?"
"The door is offline. We'll get it open manually."
"Notify me when you're done."
"Will do."


"We're entering the bridge, there seems to be no obvious signs of damage. We'll know for sure when you get here, sir."
"How's the pod cradle?"
"Turning it on now.. seems to be working just fine."
"On my way."
My pod disentangles from the shuttle, leaving a dry husk of metal behind. I fly around the ship, towards the pod entry hatch. I've always found the Mammoth-class industrials to be unnecessarily ominous in low lighting conditions, and open cargo bay doors only amplify the effect. With all of the debris floating around, the ship looks like it was gutted, proverbially and literally. I circle around to the lit side. The pod locks into the guiding beacon and slides into position above the hatch.
The camera drones slide back into the pod, and I'm blind and deaf for a moment. As the pod makes contact with the ship, I hear the familiar series of clicks and rumblings as the series of hatches and armor plates close above me. The pod stops and gives the ship a proverbial breath of life.
"Running startup sequence.. self-diagnostics okay.. outer hull is sealed.. Firing up air recyclers.. it's safe to take off your suits now."
"Roger that."
As the sensor systems go online, I feel more and more like the ship. I can hear the crew walking inside me. The camera drones activate, and I can see again.
"Make your way to the engine room, I'm not getting any readings from there."
"Will do."

As the crew advances, I activate and unseal the sections to carve them a path through the ship. It feels like having blood course through a numb limb.

"It looks like whatever crew that was here left in a hurry. The powergrid cables were left hanging, and the afterburner is not secured properly."
"Get on it, then. The sooner we have working engines, the sooner we can get back to friendly space."
"Way ahead of you, sir."

While the crew works, I keep reactivating sections of the ship and explore my latest acquisition. Most of the ship is in a decent shape, but I make a mental note to get some drones and fedos to sanitize the crew quarters and get rid of the scratch marks before I let anyone in there. 

"We're done here, sir."
"Onlining the engines in 5.. 4.. 3.. "

With a rumble, I can feel the ship stabilize.

"Good work. Now, off to our real objective.."

I set an approach course to the crates floating nearby and begin transporting the ore into the cargo bay. Bistot, Crokite, Arkonor.. even Mercoxit. The ship alone is worth millions, but this cargo is a whole different matter altogether. There's quite a bit of veldspar and scordite as well, but those aren't worth hauling back. I align towards the gate and leave the rest behind.


Leumas said...

Quite a find.
One man's trash is another's treasure, right?

Shirrath said...

Indeed. As long as the opportunity cost is minimal, there's no reason not to pick up scraps.