Neptune Recovery

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Garthra slipped the memory card into its slot and then closed the lid on the player.

"Hey Vilky, what' our ETA?" He asked.

"About fifty six minutes, chief." Vilky replied from the cockpit.

Fifty six minutes is plenty of time, Garthra thought. He could listen to it once more, what could it hurt... maybe he'd hear something he missed.

LAST KNOWN AUDIO RECORDING FROM SCORPION ONE:

 

Roster
S1 - "King Dimitrius"
S2 - "Hummel"
S3 - "HotDog"
S4 - "Dustrega"
Pilot - "SCARAB"

Radio log begins playing

S1(King D): "Scarab, we're moving our gear onboard now, standby...

One minute of silence

S1(King D): "Rear ramp is closing now, I will meet you up in the cockpit in a moment"

SCARAB: "Roger, I'll start the jump sequence while you make your way up here."

S1(King D): "I'm headed up to the cockpit guys, unpack and dig out your coms. We've got about half an hour in quantum."

Several minutes of silence

S1(King D): "Hey"

SCARAB: "Heeey!"

S1(King D): "Thanks for picking us up on such short notice. We really appreciate it."

SCARAB: "No problem. Man it's been a while."

S1(King D): "Yeah, it has."

SCARAB: "When was the last time we saw each other?"

S1(King D): "Two years ago, Daymar."

SCARAB: "The contract over that remote settlement?"

S1(King D): "That's right."

SCARAB: "God that seems like forever. Did those families end up okay, the ones we were able to save at least?"

S1(King D): "I'm pretty sure."

SCARAB: "Good, I wish we could have killed a few more of those bastards who kept them there like that. I can't believe those kinds of people still exist in the 30th century..."

S1(King D): "Looks like we're not that far out from Omicron 9, if I'm reading that scope right."

SCARAB: "Yeah, man. Okay so what are we doing here? I don't mind getting paid up front for a day's worth of transport work like this and Cornerstone always treats me right, but what's the deal? You mentioned it was time-sensitive?"

S1(King D): "One of Cornerstone's industrial mining teams has gone silent. Their flight report indicated that they intended to survey an asteroid in this system, but there haven't been any communications from them in over twenty four hours. A complete blackout like this is rare so we were asked to check on them as quickly as possible."

SCARAB: "Okay, makes sense, but why not take your own ship?"

S1(King D): "Don't have time to retrieve one considering the circumstances. I just linked up with my guys about ten minutes before you picked us up at dock and we got here in our single seats. Your ship is faster and you're also the best crash pilot I know in the sector."

SCARAB: "Yeah-Yeah, thanks for that, I'm also fond of credits so the job is worth it regardless. What are you thinking is going on here? Pretty much all of the Omicron cluster is empty and a lot of the local space is mostly worthless rocks. Nobody around, not even the damn pirates or scavs see any reason to waste time up there."

S1(King D): "We're hoping it's a technical problem of some kind considering there's no distress signal, but it is very unusual for this particular team to go silent like this. These guys set a pretty good example of what it means to be "punctual", they're not often late or held up by excuses so we have to assume some kind of power failure and since my team is multiskilled, we've been asked to investigate."

SCARAB: "So no hope of a hot landing? Turrets firing, guns blazing like the old days?"

S1(King D): "This will likely be much less exciting."

SCARAB: "Ope, I'm getting a faint reading here about fifty million out. Looks like a transponder signal on the civilian frequency. Uh, ...Neptune?"

S1(King D): "Yup that's their ship, where'd it coming from?"

SCARAB: "Large body directly in front of us. I'm guessing it's your asteroid. Should see it here soon once we get through this helium cloud."

S1(King D): "That must be it."

SCARAB: "Jesus Christ, that's a big sucker. It could be a moon, shit I'm amazed the rest of the asteroids aren't orbiting around it."

S1(King D): "Are we within local coms range yet?"

SCARAB: "Uh, we're getting mild interference but we should be."

External radio crackle heard

S1(King D): "Neptune from Scorpion…"

Thirty seconds of silence

External radio crackle heard

S1(King D): "Neptune, this is scorpion one on civilian band. Glumm, Trin, copy back."

One minute of silence

SCARAB: "Nothing."

S1(King D): "What's our ETA to their transponder signal location?"

SCARAB: "About fifteen minutes at impulse, looks like it's on the lit side of the asteroid too, thankfully."

S1(King D): "D, do you copy?"

S4(Dustrega): "LLLL-ima Charlie, send it, boss."

S1(King D): "We might have to help repair a comms array like we expected. Get kitted for a basic support deployment, tell Hummel to pack the small scanner and I'll be down in a few minutes to brief. We're touching down in about fifteen."

S4(Dustrega): "Roger!"

SCARAB: "Okay, but just to be clear, I'm not expected to leave my ship on this gig, right?"

S1(King D): "Don't worry, I'm sure this'll be quick. Okay, I'm headed down to the hold, let me know once we're on final approach."

SCARAB: "Will do."

Two minutes of silence.

S4(Dustrega): "Hey Boss!"

S1(King D): "Hey D."

S4(Dustrega): "We're almost ready."

S1(King D): "Okay."

S4(Dustrega): "Hey, how do you know this guy again?"

S1(King D): "We served in the same frontier unit 20 years ago. He left before I did but we've always stayed in contact."

S4(Dustrega): "Ah, I see."

S1(King D): "Where are they?"

S4(Dustrega): "Hummel's tuning his tools in the shop and HD's in the head."

S1(King D): "OK"

S4(Dustrega): "So what's the word, is gonna be a stand up operation, or another ghost hunt?"

S1(King D): "We don't know anything yet, just that they're not responding despite our hails."

S4(Dustrega): "Is this the same Neptune as before? Glumm's mining ship right?"

S1(King D): "Yes"

S4(Dustrega): "Now I see why it might be hardware failure, that thing's a piece of junk!"

S2(Hummel): "Hello Dimitrius."

S1(King D): "Hummel. Is your pack fully charged? We're assuming Neptune is likely damaged and we need to be prepared to repair both their power feeds and the communication wave-guides themselves. Worst case, we'll need to cut through the ships interior to get them out if they're experiencing unexpected critical failure."

S2(Hummel): "I'm ready."

S1(King D): "Good. Where's Hot Dog?"

S4(Dustrega): "What's that smell?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Hey sorry, I'm here. That took longer than expected. Let me get my suit on, I have to synthesize a few bags of blood before we head out. Gimme two minutes and I'll be ready."

S4(Dustrega): "Dude, what did you eat? Christ, it smells like something died in your stomach!"

S3(Hot Dog): "Hey those burritos were delicious, I regret nothing. Hehe."

S1(King D): "Settle down. We'll be landing near the transponder location in a few minutes and then making our way to Neptune. It'll probably turn out to be nothing, but the fact that they aren't communicating is concerning. Weapons slung, pockets full of parts, and heads in the game. I know you guys had little time to prepare but start thinking about the situation and be ready for anything no matter how exciting or boring.

S1(King D): "Scarab, how's our approach?"

SCARAB: "Hey King, we're about 20,000 out. Say… this thing is putting off some bizarre readings though. I'm picking up about 1G of gravity which is three times what it should be for a rocky asteroid of that size. Also, it's got an atmosphere, there's a nasty boron-particulate storm happening near your transponder's location too.

S1(King D): "Can we land?

SCARAB: "Uh, I can get you on the ground, but I can't stay on the surface, those boron particles will eventually destroy my intakes and maneuvering thrusters. It'll likely limit visibility to a few meters for you guys as well."

S1(King D): "That's good enough, once we're down you can cover the the area from above and we'll call you when we need you."

SCARAB: "Just like old times."

S1(King D): "Helmets on scorpion, then sound off, are you ready?."

S2(Hummel): "Ready"

S3(Hot Dog): "Ready"

S4(Dustrega): "I'm Ready"

SCARAB: "I'm on final approach, be down in two. Lowering ramp."

S1(King D): "This storm is likely going to affect our communications. Scarab are you recording our audio?"

SCARAB: "Have been since you set foot on my ship."

S1(King D): "Okay good."

SCARAB: "Touching down..."

S1(King D): "Scorpion… Go!"

S3(Hot Dog): "Three on the ground!"

S4(Dustrega): "Four on the ground!"

S2(Hummel): "Two down!"

S1(King D): "Scarab we are off the ship and braced on the surface, you are clear to dust."

SCARAB: "Lifting off, I'll orbit and try to keep an eye on you from above the storm. Check in on this frequency every so often okay?"

S1(King D): "Scorpion 1, out."

Windy sounds can be heard

S3(Hot Dog): "Which way do we go?"

S4(Dustrega): "Can't see shit. This dust storm is thick as hell."

S2(Hummel): "I've got it, Neptune is 152 from our position, six hundred meters, equal elevation."

S1(King D): "Neptune, this is Scorpion, we are six hundred meters to your 330 and approaching. Glumm, Trin, do you copy?"

S2(Hummel): "I'm not reading any movement in front of us for several thousand meters."

S1(King D): "Okay let's make our way out there. Hummel, take point with that scanner"

S2(Hummel): "Alright."

S3(Hot Dog): "Do you think this storm has something to do with their coms failure?"

S4(Dustrega): "Possibly."

S3(Hot Dog): "Did this dust cause damage to the wave-guides?"

S4(Dustrega): "Maybe, maybe their main drive completely crapped out."

S3(Hot Dog): "That's certainly possible, I mean, this is the Neptune we're talking about. Didn't Trin used to own it before Glumm?"

S4(Dustrega): "Yes, then he lost it to Glumm in a game of cards if I recall correctly. Or something like that."

S3(Hot Dog): "But what would stop them from communicating for so long. I mean they've got batteries, right? And the emergency coms in the escape pods. Why not use those?"

S2(Hummel): "That's a good point"

S4(Dustrega): "I dunno dude. I'm hoping it's nothing."

S1(King D): "Hummel will all these boron particles affect our armor?"

S2(Hummel): "Technically yes, but it'd take several days of constant exposure to cause any significant damage. We should be fine."

S3(Hot Dog): "Hey I think I see it."

S4(Dustrega): "Yeah, there it is. That's definitely Glumm's ship."

S3(Hot Dog): "Looks like the ramp is up."

S2(Hummel): "The exterior lights are on and... and the wave-guide appears to be physically intact, that's a good sign."

S1(King D): "Scarab, we've found Neptune, we're going aboard now."

SCARAB: "Roger."

S1(King D): "Hummel, on the panel. Can you lower the ramp?"

S2(Hummel): "On it."

S3(Hot Dog): "I'm not picking up any heartbeats other than our own, even on the ship, but the storm could be affecting my sensor here. Hmm."

S4(Dustrega): "Didn't that thing once think the coffee machine had a heartbeat? It doesn't seem very reliable."

S3(Hot Dog): "Yeah, but that's only because I didn't yet know how to properly tune it.

S1(King D): "How's it look Hummel?"

S2(Hummel): "This is a Sentry 3 security panel. I can get us through it, but it'll set off the emergency alarms inside the ship."

S1(King D): "Do it."

S4(Dustrega): "Well at least Glumm didn't spent good money on access security, the rest of the hull however…"

S3(Hot Dog): "I've got a bad feeling about this."

S4(Dustrega): "Really dude?"

S2(Hummel): "I'm through, ramp's opening."

S1(King D): "Trin, Glumm if you can hear us, we're coming on board now throught the fore airlock."

S4(Dustrega): "Should we have our weapons out?"

S1(King D): "No, there's no threat of anything."

S3(Hot Dog): "Those flashing lights are giving me a headache already."

S4(Dustrega): "The ship is depressurized?"

S1(King D): "That appears to be the case."

S3(Hot Dog): "Why is the ship depressurized? Hey I can treat extreme exposure to cold, hypothermia, even severe frostbite, but a zero oxygen environment? I don't know any treaments for people who are sick with that."

S4(Dustrega): "I hope they're in their EVA suits..."

S1(King D): "I'm sure they are. Lets split up and search each deck, I'm headed to the cockpit to turn off the alarm. Hummel, get to engineering and see if you can get life support back online. Dustin, Hot Dog, search crew quarters and medical. No weapons, I want no accidents."

S2(Hummel): "Roger."

S3(Hot Dog): "Understood.

S4(Dustrega): "Roger that."

S3(Hot Dog): "This is really weird, I wasn't expecting the ship to be depressurized."

S4(Dustrega): "Yeah seriously dude, as if the corrosive metal droplet storm outside wasn't bad enough, we very well might be searching a death ship here. Where the hell are Trin and Glumm?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Well, we know they're not sleeping. One, this is three, I'm outside their bunks but there's no sign of either of them."

S1(King D): "Copy, I just got to the cockpit, turning off the alarm now."

S4(Dustrega): "Food's in the fridge, there's no signs of struggle anywhere in the galley that I can see. I do notice Glumm has an affinity for durians however, yuck!"

S3(Hot Dog): "I'm in the infirmary, nothing here either. All of their medical supplies are still behind the glass.

S1(King D): "What about their medlog?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Hang on I see it, let me access it ...I'm not finding any recent entries. Last one was two weeks ago when they left fleet and had to go through routine quarantine. Nothing unusual about that."

S4(Dustrega): "Heh, maybe they faked their own deaths to collect the-OH SHIT!"

S2(Hummel): "Life support systems are back online, ship is pressurising."

S4(Dustrega): "Warn us next time Hummel, I almost crapped myself!"

S3(Hot Dog): "I love the way that feels. It's like a hug and plunging feeling at the same time."

S1(King D): "Hummel, anything out of the ordinary in engineering?

S2(Hummel): "Not that I can see so far. Coolers are active, power cells are charged, communications array is integral and there are no incomplete repairs pending."

S1(King D): "So there's nothing wrong with their communications system?"

S2(Hummel): "No."

S1(King D): "That leaves one set of possibilities then."

S2(Hummel): "They were able to respond, but were unwilling or prevented by some other means?"

S1(King D): "That's what I am thinking. Meet me on the bridge, I need help accessing the ship's global logs. I dont recognize this interface."

S2(Hummel): "Roger."

S1(King D): "Hot Dog, Dustin, get to the cargo hold, see if anything has been brought on board."

S3(Hot Dog): "Okay on my way."

S4(Dustrega): "Meet ya there."

Several minutes of silence

S1(King D): "The console is over there."

S2(Hummel): "Aha, this is an old neutron system."

S1(King D): "You know it?"

S2(Hummel): "Not this particular version but I'd recognize that monotonous green text from a mile away. We used to use neutron on the colony mining ships when I was earning my citizenship. Okay here is the directory, lets see what the records say. Looks like they scanned this section of the asteroid and located something. Mmmm… it… it looks like they then set several waypoints around this area and finally landed here."

S1(King D): "Did they make any video logs or anything? Any indication as to what they were doing or why the ship was depressurized?"

S2(Hummel): "No, I only have access to their ship's event logs, they didn't document any supplemental recordings or concerns. My guess is they thought they were on a routine mission."

S1(King D): "Okay, so they searched for something and found something they expected to find. Can you tell what it is they found?"

S2(Hummel): "Negative, their mineral scanner identified a general area, but there's no detailed analysis on what's actually there."

S4(Dustrega): "One, four."

S1(King D): "Send it Dustin."

S4(Dustrega): "Hey boss I think we may have found something, but you're going to want to see it for yourself."

S1(King D): "Where are you? The hold?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Affirmative."

S1(King D): "We'll be right there."

2 minutes of silence

S1(King D): "What's in those cargo containers?"

S3(Hot Dog): "They're sealed, but we can't figure out what's inside them. There is a, uh, like an infopanel on the container, but I have no idea what this information means. It ain't medical surplus I can at least confirm that."

S2(Hummel): "It looks like normnal ore containment."

S1(King D): "Strange that its not marked with the usual mineral tags, they're usually pretty methodical with this stuff and I've heard Trin complain about how strict Glumm can be about compliance."

S4(Dustrega): "We can check the cameras right? Let me try."

S2(Hummel): "Let me know if you need help."

S4(Dustrega): "I may not be able to read fleet code by just looking at it like you can but my eyes work well enough to hit play on a security recording."

S3(Hot Dog): "He he, you're so sensitive."

S4(Dustrega): "Shut up Hot Dog! Man, medics and nerds, can't shoot to save their lives..."

S1(King D): "What do you see, Dustin?"

S4(Dustrega): "Just a moment I think I saw them. There they are, let me skip the video back a bit. Okay this is about 30 hours ago."

S3(Hot Dog): "Is that them?"

S4(Dustrega): "Yup that's Trin and Glumm returning in the rover."

S3(Hot Dog): "They have something with them."

S4(Dustrega): "Looks like a single container. Small enough to fit on the seat next to Trin."

S1(King D): "They dropped it directly into the ore containment and now they're getting back into the rover and off they go down the ramp. The rest of the footage does not show them returning."

S3(Hot Dog): "Didn't look like they were in a hurry when they left."

S1(King D): "Okay so they took one of the rovers out and they found something, then they brought it back, put it in this container and then went back out? Why wouldn't they process whatever it was immediately. They don't normally waste time on science runs, doesn't pay well enough. Usually the only time they skip processing is when a mineral is volatile, but Hummel, your scanner would be passively detecting that by now right?"

S2(Hummel): "That's right, as a matter of fact it looks like the rover is still within Neptune's scanner range now that I actually look. I can see her parked two clicks out. Do you want me to send you the coordinates?"

S1(King D): "Yeah."

S3(Hot Dog): "I want to know what's in this container. Hummel can you make sense out of this panel?"

S4(Dustrega): "Yeah, I kind of don't want to know at this point."

S2(Hummel): "I can tell you that whatever it is, it's very small and very heavy assuming I'm reading this meter correctly. This container has a weight limit, and apparently whatever's inside it is almost maxing it out, but it's only taking up 1/1000th the volume. That means whatever's actually inside this container is approximately the size of a watermelon but it's heavier than it should be, even for a volatile mineral."

S3(Hot Dog): "That's one heavy fruit."

S4(Dustrega): "None of what you just said made any sense to me."

S3(Hot Dog): "Maybe it's not a mineral?"

S1(King D): "Scarab, Scorpion, we need transport from our position. Can you pick us up at Neptune? LZ is clear within 100 meters."

SCARAB: "Hey King, I've got ya. But we have to be quick, this storm is angry and getting angrier. If it gets much worse you may be stuck down there for a while until it lets up."

S1(King D): "Understood."

S1(King D): "Alright lets meet SCARAB outside, time to move."

S2,S3,S4(Dustrega): "Moving!"

S1(King D): "Scarab, we're onboard, we need to check out the cords I just transmitted to you."

SCARAB: "Okay, we're on our way, should just be about forty seconds."

SCARAB: "It's a cave it looks like. I'll set you down just to the left of the entrance, sixty meters."

S1(King D): "Copy, we're ready."

SCARAB: "We're down and stable."

S1(King D): "Lets go!"

S4(Dustrega): "4 Down!

S2(Hummel): "2 Down!"

S3(Hot Dog): "3 Down!"

S1(King D): "Scarab we're on the ground, you can lift!"

SCARAB: "Lifting off... I'm up."

S1(King D): "You're on point Dustin, take us forward to the entrance."

S4(Dustrega): "If I can find it, I can barely see in front of my face."

S2(Hummel): "I can see the rover, it's parked just ahead of us."

S3(Hot Dog): "Okay this time I'm sure this thing is working correctly, the heartbeat scanner detects nothing aside from us."

S1(King D): "You two check it anyway."

S3, S4(Dustrega): "Roger"

S3(Hot Dog): "I'll cover, you get the door."

S4(Dustrega): "Ready? Opening. ...nothing inside, no damage or anything."

S2(Hummel): "They just parked it and went inside the cave. It's been here a while, powercell is completely drained and the boron storm is starting to wear at the frame."

S1(King D): "Dustin, back on point, take us into the cave."

S2(Hummel): "Dimitrius hold on, there's, uh… I'm picking up concentrations of lead in the ground around us, we'll likely lose coms with Scarab if we go more than a few meters in there."

S1(King D): "Can you leave your pack at the entrance so we can use it as a relay with Scarab?"

S2(Hummel): "Yes with limited range, but if it's not connected to my suit's power source it will only last about half an hour."

S1(King D): "Hopefully we won't need that long."

S1(King D): "Scarab"

SCARAB: "I've got you five by five, Dimitrius."

S1(King D): "We'll be relaying coms to you through Hummel's compack. Can you confirm the signal relay on his frequency?"

SCARAB: "Confirmed, I will use this frequency."

S4(Dustrega): "What's it look like in there?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Pitch black."

S4(Dustrega): "This is all kinds of nope, miners are crazy man, what the hell were they thinking, what did Trin and Glumm find in here. Super quantanium? Why not tell us right away so we could come help them mine it?"

S1(King D): "Switch to infrared."

S3(Hot Dog): "I hate infrared."

S1(King D): "Keep a few meters between us and lets move in. We're on tac guys, weapon's out and ready-low, keep it easy and quiet, Dustin double check anything remotely resembling a contact, Trin and Glumm could still simply be having communications issues."

S4(Dustrega): "I've seen this movie before, I'm sure there's a good explanation for everything, and it includes monsters with tentacles that have lasers attached to them or something like that."

S1(King D): "Focus."

S2 Whispering: "Did you hear that?"

S1 Whispering: "Hear what?"

S2 Whispering: "...nothing, nevermind."

S4 Whispering: "Up ahead, you see that?"

S1 Whispering: "What do you see?"

S3 Whispering: "There's light up ahead."

S1 Whispering: "Hummel"

S2 Whispering: "Nothing, scanners clear."

S1 Whispering: "Hot Dog"

S3 Whispering: "No heartbeats other than our own. Not sure if the lead is affecting the sensor or not."

Smacking sounds heard

S3(Hot Dog): "Yeah it's working, but I can't scan more than about 150 meters in any direction. We're alone. Thank god, I'm turning off this stupid infrared."

S4(Dustrega): "I see.... tripods. They have lights on them."

S1(King D): "I recognize those flood lights. They're used for mineral surveys Trin and I used them on Aberdeen years ago during the platinum rush. Okay spread out and search the area, but stay within line of sight."

S3(Hot Dog): "Wow there's a lot of them. What were they trying to illuminate? What's that on the wall?"

S4(Dustrega): "Is that… no."

S2(Hummel): "It looks like a mineral vein, except I've never seen one that looks like that before."

S3(Hot Dog): "There's another one over here, it goes all the way into the ground."

S1(King D): "Hummel, I've been thinking about the storm outside. What can you tell me about boron?"

S2(Hummel): "Uhm, it's uh low on the periodic table and I know it to be a common strengthener in ultralight structural materials, but I can't think of anything else immediately."

S3(Hot Dog): "Well, from a nutrional standpoint it's what's known as a non-essential nutrient, meaning it's something that we can ingest, but it is unneseccary for survival while also being non-harmful to our biology. It's been a while since med school but I think our bodies piss most of it out."

S1(King D): "More of these strange mineral veins over this way as well. Keep looking."

S3(Hot Dog): "Did you hear that?"

S4(Dustrega): "You know now that I think about it, I have heard of another use for boron."

S2(Hummel): "What's that"

S4(Dustrega): "Uhhh, it's an insecticide."

S2(Hummel): "What did you say?"

S3(Hot Dog): "No he's right, boron is toxic to arthropods."

S2(Hummel): "How did you know that Dustin?"

S4(Dustrega): "When I was in the marines back on Hurston we used that stuff to kill viper scorpions in the outposts around gate 4. It was the cheapest way to deal with the problem so they had us spreading it around with a shovel."

S1(King D): "Hey, there are footprints in the sand over here, two pairs. Collapse on me, guys."

S2(Hummel): "On my way."

S1(King D): "They lead deeper into the cave. Hummel, look at these. I think this might be Trin's bootprint. Can you scan it?"

S2(Hummel): "It'll take a minute for the scanner to process, my suit is slower without my power pack. Notice the footprints are not very deep though, that means they weren't carrying anything."

S3(Hot Dog): "They wanted to be light so they could move faster, look at the stride, they're practically running."

S4(Dustrega): "Yeah but running from what? ...did you hear that?"

S1(King D): "I did."

S2(Hummel): "I did too."

S4(Dustrega): "What the fuck is that sound?"

S1(King D): "Safeties off, guys, weapons yellow."

S4(Dustrega): "It's coming from the direction we just came from."

S2(Hummel): "Towards the front of the cave."

S4(Dustrega): "Covering, I'm ready."

S1(King D): "Scarab, scorpion, we're picking up a strange enviornmental sound. Like a ticking or a scratching. Is there anything around us that we should know about? Any geological activity?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Wait there's something else. Out past those footprints. What is that?"

S4(Dustrega): "Is that the storm?"

S2(Hummel): "I don't think so. It sounds like it's coming from inside."

S1(King D): "Scarab do you read me through the signal relay?"

Audio begins to get choppy from signal loss

SCARAB: ".....arely coming throu… repeat…"

S4(Dustrega): "It's gotta be the storm, we didn't pass anything when we entered. Look up there's dust starting to fall from the ceiling. Is that more boron?"

S1(King D): "Scarab do you read me?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Did you see that? Just beyond the light. The dust is starting to coat it..."

SCARAB: ".....ultiple signals… ...s be carefu…"

S4(Dustrega): "Hot Dog, where are you, it's hard to see beyond all of these flood lights."

S1(King D): "Scarab resend last, multiple what, over?"

S4(Dustrega): "Boss, sounds like there's something behind us. It's coming from the cave entrance! Hummel, anything on the scanner?"

S2(Hummel): "Motion detected, directly behind and in front of us within two hundred meters. Multiple signals."

S3(Hot Dog): "Standby, there's something moving here..."

S1(King D): "Dustin, Hummel on me we're moving deeper into the cave, three, I've lost sight of you, what do you see, where are you?"

S3(Hot Dog): "Yeah, right there… is that. Who's over there?"

S2(Hummel): "Dimitrius, something's closing on us awfully fast."

S4(Dustrega): "Boss…"

S1(King D): "Hotdog, what's your 20 dammit, I said sound off!"

S3(Hot Dog): "FREEZE! Stay where you are and identify yourself, ...do not come any closer, I am a security operator with... authorized by the UEE to use deadly force to protect myself and my …, I said stay where you ...are!"

S1(King D): "Who... you talking to?!"

S2(Hummel): "I can't see him!"

S3(Hot Dog): "I said... don't come any closer!"

S1(King D): "Hot... Dog Where Are You?!"

S3(Hot Dog): "Stop! ....DON'T!"

S1(King D): "Hotdooog!"

Several gunshots can be heard through choppy audio

S4(Dustrega): "I see his muzzle... flash, further down ...past ...the footprints!"

S2(Hummel): "w....the f ...is that?!"

S1(King D): "Stay togeth-! ...mooove!"

More gunshots can be heard.

Several minutes of silence

SCARAB: "Scorpion I'm losing you. You're too far into the cave."

SCARAB: "Scorpion, I'm losing connection with your relay. I think it's power is low. Scorpion? Dimitrius are you there? Dimi?!"

 

END TRANSMISSION

 

 

It rolled around in his fingers quite easily, much like a coin would. Cold, sleek and almost slippery, Garthra felt its contours and then set the round down on the table next to his revolver. He preferred the simplicity of a this particular weapon, the ballistics and mechanical reliability felt more visceral to him than an energy weapon.

Dimitrius and his team could take care of themselves despite what he had heard on the recording, he knew this with a conviction, It's just, he didn't want to have to think about it too much. But… if scorpion one couldn't handle whatever it was, then what chance did scorpion two have? What was he about to put his own team up against. What happened to Dimitrius, Dustin, Hummel and Hot Dog, who or what were they engaging in that cave? Were Trin and Glumm still alive? Were any of them?

 

It had already been 36 hours since Neptune had gone missing and 9 hours since Cornerstone received the recording from Scarab, they'd mobilized immediately and had been in transit for four hours at this point.

All he could do was wait.

Inside his chest he felt a momentary rush of intense indignation that someone or some thing would dare threaten or cause harm to his outfit, ...to his friends.

Only 22 minutes left until they reach Omicron 9.

Outside the window stars sped by in streaks and the ship stretched further towards a distant, unknown horizon.

 

Comments (1)

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Great read Dimi, thanks for sharing!

Meepowski
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