The Taianese Horse woman was still chewin' on a carrot (as the rest of the meal was a lost cause for now) as she declared to the captain, "That was a real barn burner alright... wonder how we could've been off by a mile there? Don't suppose the station went a little walkabout?" Josie straightened her leather cowboy hat a minute, making sure everything was ready on her end just incase there was more to this mystery that a simple number being off.
"I suppose we'll have to prepare to greet them. Might want to ask them if this is a common occurence."
Or if our pilot had simply screwed up that jump, he mentally mused to himself. After seeing Eydis' absurd over-reaction, his hopes weren't too high.
Exterior, Holding Position
"We're fine?" Eydis began to cautiously peek up from under her console. She almost looked angry at the thought thanks to the aggressive angle of her bangs, but given her attitude thus far, that was very unlikely. "O-okay. I'll take it then." Sitting back up her chair, she breathed a sigh of relief. "And you guys are already on the ball, ok." Looking at her screen, she added, "It's all sorts of weird, but at least the station didn't move," the blonde commander answered Josie. "Getting ready to head over isn't a bad idea either Trevor," she replied to the giant insectoid crew-member as well. "This isn't supposed to happen, period." Already, the results of the teams efforts were streaming in, and they were nothing short of remarkable, if not outright worrying. Jenna quickly found that their jump calculations were correct. However, it was everything else that wasn't. It wasn't anything huge or major, but the numbers coming back were all slightly off. Small, tiny, impossibly small, but there were so many things that were wrong outside of them that the ship had ended up being brought so much closer than it should have.
At the same time, Yali's attempts at hailing the station weren't getting anywhere - it was just silence from them now. However, the moment she tried contacting them over personal comms and the like, she got a response.
"Someone came? Finally!" A voice spoke over the bridge's speakers. Immediately, the half-elf's hands danced over her controls, and the view-screen closed in on a space suited man on the station's exterior, hard at work on the communications system. "At first we thought it was nothing, but then, everything just started coming apart!" Turning to face them, the man waved. "I'm glad you're all here. Everyone on the station was too scared to try a spacewalk and - wait," Voice trailing off, the crew of The Donkey could see the station crew member turn about in his hardsuit, but the moment he did so, the mag-boots seemed to come off at the seams. "OH SHIT! SHIT-SHIT-SHI - " Static coursed across the bridge comms as they watched the man tumble off the station surface, his maneuvering system firing to try to re-orientate, only to come loose and send him flying into space like a spinning bottle rocket.
"Um. He'll be fine, right? We can just get him?" Eydis pointed at the man as she looked at the crew. Fortunately, the blonde only looked concerned for now.
On the main screen, the spiraling crew member took on an yellow hue before the main screen zoomed back to the station. A little yellow arrow pointed to the crew member, with a number calculating his increasing distance from the ship.
"I'll keep a ping on him," Yali said as she went back to her screens. C'mon, spacesuit, respond to my request for vitals data ... can't have the guy suffocate like this ...
Yali also hit the active sensors with a slap of a switch, offering the commander and other officers a more complete view of what was outside.
"Just like lassoing a steer back home," grinned Ensign Windrustler, as she controlled the rope-like beam to begin to haul her prize carefully back towards the safety of the gunship's airlock, though it was ultimately up to the Captain to decide if he was cleared to enter.
He'd discretely grabbed one of the rifles and attached it to his back, making sure its barrel wouldn't peek over his shoulders.
It dawned on her that the only reason she probably picked up the man in the space suit is because he was outside the station. She flared her nose as she moved a few status panels off her screen with strong swipes of her hand. She dragged her fingers up another one, then looked back at the main screen. "Boosted our comm array power 25 percent; it's about the limit for this boat. We might catch some personal units on the station."
Jenna frowned at the data scrolling down her screens. "What the fu...." she mumbled and trailed off as she listened to what was going on, her attention pulled away from the strange and off readings.
"Captain, I will help greet our guest at the airlock" Jenna said as she slipped out of the nav station seat and started aft towards the main airlocks. "Which side is he coming too?" she asked Josie as she passed the gunner manipulating the tractor beam projector and switched her wrist comm unit to the bridge frequency so she could hear the response as she jogged the short distance aft to the ladder up to A deck.
The Donkey had two airlocks on A deck, a few dozen feet aft and up one level from the bridge. It took just moments for her to climb the ladder and make her way to the central lock area where space suits and other EVA gear were stored. As she arrived she saw that Ztreviek was already there.
"Nice to see you here, Mr. Grezscau" she said to the chief of security as she opened one of the space suit storage bays and started climbing into the white and blue suit as quick as possible. "Gonna need to be in the decompressed airlock to grab the EVA station crewman" she said as she began sealing up the compact and light weight space suit used by the alliance for general duty EVA work.
"Go ahead and bring him in Ensign, and you can go ahead and greet him Lieutenant," Eydis addressed Yali and Jenna. Her attention was cleanly fixated on something else entirely, her words were more cold and distant than they normally were. As the XO made her way over, followed by Ztreviek, the Commander replayed the scene, over and over. With the man safe and her crew competent, she glued her eyes to the screen as the man's suit started coming apart, over and over again. Josie easily wrangled the man over to the starboard side of the main airlocks, but even as she did so, Yali finally managed to get her hands on something. The man's suit telemetry was sporadic, like a piece of his transmitter had come loose and was still occasionally making contact with its wires to work. But only briefly. Elevated pulse, a fast breath, but otherwise an ok oxygenation and temperature.
The man was terrified, but he'd live.
" - r Point Fiv - copy? Garret, are you alright?" the comms squawked, the half-elf's efforts getting hold of personal communicators. Telemetry on several individual EVA suits in use came through as well - all crew members accounted for - but as the Donkey's sensors pinged the station, the woman quickly she understood why she only got that much. It was literally falling apart. Maneuvering thrusters to keep it stationary were non-functional, the comms were in disarray and completely offline, and the same went for their sensors, a good portion of the pieces for everything slowly floating away in space.
"Tell them we have their man and they're fine. And that we'll be coming over to assist," Eydis steepled her hands, deep in thought as she continued to watch the replay. It was as clear as day that something about this unsettled her. "Thanks for going with Jenna to keep her safe Trevor, but the both of you? Don't get into the airlock," she steepled her hands in thoughts. "The man can come in on his own. I want a quick scan first, then you two can go in. But keep your suit on," she ordered Jenna and Ztreviek. "Ensign Starkicker, what does this all look like to you? What we're seeing here in the footage, and the base's condition? Something bothers me," she cued the comms with Rebeeka.
For Jenna and perhaps Ztreviek though, it was difficult to watch him flounder and land on all fours, panting inside his suit, but the moment the scan came in clear, the two were able to enter.
"Oh thank God," the suited man replied with the old colloquialism. Unable to make eye contact at first thanks to his suit's helmet blocking his view, he began to unfasten the latches before looking up at Jenna and Ztreviek. "Everything was fine, but just two weeks ago everyth - AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Screaming at the top of his lungs, the black haired man feverishly pointed a finger at Ztreviek. He stopped the moment he saw the symbol of The Alliance on what uniforming the alien insectoid wore however. "O-oh, s-so sorry!" Still monitoring the feeds from his suit, Yali could have sworn the man's pulse monitor went flat for a moment, but it was probably just a glitch. Meanwhile, medical got a notice.
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Moving around the power core and the rest of the engineering, Rebeeka had at least two holographic interfaces floating around her as she worked different control stations. One of the screens at all times were the power read out of her own ship, and possibly a small graphic on the timing of her still. The other interface was on the scanned data coming in from the station. As the bridge boosted power, Beeks sighed and lowered power else where so the power core wasn't over heated. These bridge folk never seem to remember that the power core isn't a infinite power source at any given second. So she dropped power to the waste disposal system and lowered the lighting in the cargo bay.
As she paused at her power diversion control station, Beeks' eyes looked back over at the interface with the read outs on the station. opening a third window she brought up the bridge.
"Hey El captain. Have your sensor witch scan their power core. I sure would love to see if it is stable or looking at all wibbly wobbly."
"This whole situation reminds me of the time my little sister dun stole a screwdriver from the shed and started loosening and stealing all the bolts around the ranch. Everything looked all right nice at first, but as soon as you up'n used it, it fell apart faster than momma's cornbread." The recollection made Josie laugh once, but she still looked concerned. "Now what do ya reckon could do that to a whole space station?"
"Captain," He said, muting his audio output outside of his suit so the terrified human wouldn't hear. "We should figure out what he knows. Discretely, nonviolently. If we have any drones we can deploy to the station, I suggest sending those in advance of any crew entering it. In the meantime, have him on constant watch in medical. If the station is clear for our entry, I would like to be part of the group that investigates."
"It's okay, you're safe now" Jenna said soothingly, trying to calm the man as she helped him through the starboard airlock door into the central passage. "This is Ensign Grezscau, our chief of security. I am Lieutenant Jenna Peel, executive officer of this gunboat" she said and helped him along as she eyed the monitor dials on his space suit.
"We're going to get you down to sickbay and get you all checked out and then see if we can't help everyone else on your station" she went on as they moved towards the companionway to B deck. "What's your name?" she asked
"Yes ma'am," Yali replied. She untucked a button on her console from under its clear plastic cover and pushed it. The active sensor "ping" blanketed the station near the core and returned a new set of data after a few seconds.
"Station's power plant is intact and functional; output estimated at 28 percent." She reached for a holographic panel labeled "current targets" and tapped the station's icon. Basic schematics in green presented themselves to her. "Systems with full power include life support. Stabilizers are questionable; rotation is enough for gravity. ... No other systems are fully functional; some are inactive. Sending you the list, ma'am." That done, she craned her head to Eydis. "I see no obvious scoring or battle marks on the station's surface, Captain."
"I would have thought the reactor would have had the same problem." As Yali stated her findings, Eydis couldn't help but rub her temples as she watched the footage of the man's suit coming apart again and again. Something about it bothered her to no end, and she thought that maybe Rebeeka would know, but if the engineer didn't want to look or didn't have time to look herself too, there was no point on pushing the matter further. "Well, at least we don't have to worry about scrambling to stabilize a reactor or something," she finally sighed, slumping her shoulders. Despite the dark, serious look she always had though thanks to her hair, Eydis couldn't help but giggle a little bit at Josie's fond recollection. "Geeze, I can't help imagining a bunch of your little sisters swarming over the guy and taking his suit apart now!" She took in another breath, but this time, one of relief.
"Thanks, I needed that," she added, listening intently on what was happening in the airlock.
"I-I see," the man stammered at first. "Well, the name is Garret Jameson, the Commander of the station. I'm glad to have met you both, but wish it were under better circumstances," he replied after gulping to regain his composure. As the man spoke though, Eydis listened to Ztreviek as well, and found she agreed with a lot that the alien insect-thing was suggesting.
"Good thinking. Besides just bringing him to medical, could you two start trying to coax some more details of what happened out of him?" Jenna and Ztreviek heard their commander address them in their ear pieces. "I'd like more details before we commit to getting over there." Looking over to the other bridge crew members, she began giving out her orders. "Also, can you find a working hatch for us Yali? We'll need to launch a probe drone. Once she does, pitch it right into that station for us Josie?"
"I might have gotten shaken up by what just happened, but I don't think I need a visit to sickbay. In fact, what I really need is a repair crew," the station member continued. Taking off his helmet, the man examined it before clicking and screwing the external components back into place. By some miracle, nothing was damaged, and thanks to the way it was integrated, didn't simply 'fly apart' in space so easily. "Right now, it's practically a powder keg waiting to happen. It's only a matter of time before - "
"Mayday! Mayday!" the radio in his hands squawked. "Life support has failed! It's no longer operational, and we got a good amount of air, but it's gonna get cold quick without it!" the woman from earlier transmitted. "We've already got hands giving the reactor the stink eye, so we could use some extra help here!"
"So much for taking our time," Eydis grumbled, her aggressive cut of hair making her look all the more displeased. "Rebeeka, interested in taking some Red Shirts over to look at what's going on?" the Commander asked with the traditional term of endearment regarding extra crew members. "The probe bot is probably gonna be only a few minutes ahead of you, but it's better than nothing."
Something about this made her uneasy, but there was no helping it. They had to go over and help, right?
"I understand your need to get back to your station" Jenna said. "But we will take care of things, right now the Captain wants you checked out in sickbay. We need to make sure you were not injured when your suit started to come apart in vacuum" she explained as she guided Garret down to B deck and aft to the Donkey's small sickbay.
The compartment was small, brightly lit and sterile white with a few monitor beds and an examination area that could all be separated by extendable partitions. It was nothing like what one would find aboard the big cruisers or even a frigate, in comparison this medical compartment was downright cramped and spartan, but it still had some of the best medical gear in the quadrant packed in.
Jenna helped Garret to the examination bed and glanced over at the medical robot docked in it's station. It hummed to life and detached it's self, floating over to the exam area. The MD-0c medical robot, often referred to as "Doc", were the common medical support robot used by the Alliance military, it was a tall cylindrical robot that floated on repulsor fields. It's round head and large blue eye focused on Garret as it extended out one of it's many arms, this one with a medical scanner.
"What seems to be the problem?" the robot asked in it's slightly mechanical voice as it began scanning Garret .
"Possible vacuum exposure, his suit started to come apart while he was in space" Jenna replied. "Full checkup please, Doc"
From what he had heard, it sounded as if there were severe mechanical problems on board the station. Lethal; life support system failure, temperamental reactor. In the worst case scenario, they would need to take survivors and this vessel did not appear suited to mass transport. In an even worse one, the reactor going off destroyed both.
Though, what had caused this? These were not green personnel and the Alliance as far as he knew had a reputation for strong training and reliable technology. Sheer incompetence wasn't out of the question but its likelihood was marginal. An accident during repairs? A freak solar event? Improper maintenance? Covert sabotage?
If incompetence was out of the question, then the second and fourth options meant that they were vulnerable.
Sitting outside as he waited for his time to enter, thinking about what dreadful forces could be lurking out there, made him quietly anxious.
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"Ok boys and girls, grab your tool bags and scanneratrons! We are going on a field-trip! Fritz! Hey! don't forget your damned helmet! what the poo! come on! This can't be your guy's first field-trip. Don't for get your permission slips! no slip no go!" Rebeeka was busy yelling at her crew to get a team ready to cross over to the station. Now that the power core was scanned and seemed stable she was willing to let the young Captain send Beek's techies into possible danger.
Gathering up her gear she, ordered one of her droids to bring along her full away kit, tools scanners, sonic spanners and the like, before heading out the door on her way to the airlock.
"Heloos..." Beeks called out as she poked her head into the Starboard airlock. "What do we have here?" She started poking about with the rescued person's suit. It was pretty strange. She was thinking that once they got the biological out of the suit and off to sick bay she would have one of her techs make a full scan of the suit. Ignoring the wearer and even the first officer her eyes were only for the suit along. "What have you sick huh..?" She whispered to herself and the suit.
"Yeah, yeah, we hear you! I just need to get our lunch-boxes first, so go ahead of us," 'Fritz' shouted back up at Rebeeka. The gruff Gartagen always wore his Edjia Armor, and as a result, looked just like his nickname given the integral gas mask and helmet. "I still don't know why you keep calling me 'Fritz' though," he grumbled again. Rousing the other engineers, they eventually followed with their toolkits in tow.
Airlock -> Medbay
"Alright, alright," Garret finally relented. "I'll come along, but I'm pretty sure it's nothing," he remarked, following along in his out-of-order space suit. Halfway there, they ran into Rebeeka as well. "The head engineer? You're a sight for sore eyes! Hope you'll lend us a hand or two, we really need it," the station's commander waved to her with a smile. However, that was before hurriedly stepping into the medbay, the charm he showed faltering as Ztreviek brought up the rear. Though the fellow was part of the Alliance like the rest of t hem, he was still a hulking insectoid alien. As the man sat down and the medical droid fired up though, Rebeeka's eyes quickly caught something.
The suit wasn't actually damaged at all. Pieces were simply missing, lost in space, or in the case of the latches and so forth, loose. Even the ones that required special tools to disassemble for more specialized maintenance. There attention was quickly grabbed by someone else however.
"Really, is that it?" the medical robot quipped, its synthesized voice sounding less than pleased. "Hypochondriacs, I swear," the machine seemed to mutter under its breath. A line of light worked its way up and down Garret, and moments later, the medical robot began floating right back over to its charging port. "The poorly dressed chap is fine! Seriously, bothering me for nothing..." With a clack, it locked back in place and went back to charging in its port.
"Something tells me that medical robot is second hand," Garret remarked, running a hand through his hair.
As Josie launched the probe robot and guided it in, Yali was quick on the sensors. So far, everything looked fine save for the life-support readings starting to drop off, and entry through the air-lock was easy enough. However, as Eydis watched with them, the camera footage soon happened upon the interior, the commander's jaw dropped. "The hell is this, a ghetto?" she gawked in surprise. The interior was a mess, with wall panels having fallen to the floor, exposing the now-messy wiring. Lighting fixtures were bare as well, and assuming they were even working, intermittently shined light. They could even see cleaning drones that seemed to have broken down and were disassembled for parts, and worse still, was the budding dirt and grime. Standing up with a sigh, Eydis straightened out her skirt. "Looks like we have a lot of work cut out for us. Command Team Butter, take over for Command Team Apple," she summoned one of the other bridge teams. "Let's make our first outing as an away team nice and smooth." Looking at the two with her on the bridge, she asked,
"Is everyone ready?"
The door slid open and the huge creature moved in though at a slow, shuffling pace. He stood not to his full height, half crouched. While still immense in size, he knew that the less one loomed over another, the less fear with which one was viewed and a lesser sense of power one portrayed. He was careful to diminish his height, all but crawling against the ground in a manner that was more befitting of his segmented features - a slow creep more akin to some domesticated animal than a sentient being. Moving to a corner, he would sit back, his body language almost relaxed as his shoulders slumped, his multiple arms slacked forth, and his head slowly drooping forward. One could think he was almost asleep save for the lack of eyelids or motion.
It was time to see what stories Garret would tell and Ztreviek watched him very closely.
"Roger security," she said, then tapped an image panel to cordon off Ztreviek's channel from the others. Routing it through the ship's internal network meant he no longer as broadcasting an omnidirectoinal signal, but was routing his vocals straight into the ship's C3 through shortwave digital radio. She picked out one more command before she left the console -- "route to mobile comm unit."
Yali got up from her console, mentally ticking off what they'd need from the armory. The MoCU was hers to begin with; a solid-wall backpack affair weighing about seven kilos. It would give the team portable communication with the ship and between the crew, while also feeding messages and alerts back to Yali through her helmet. She respected the Legion's HL18 helmet, but was satisfied with the Navy's lighter, old-school Adrian helm, which could be paired with microphones and earcups. A set of light armor, and Yali guessed she would have a good 12 extra kilos.
Hazmat suits sounded like a good idea, or at least breather masks. But Yali wasn't about to dictate to the captain how to outfit her away team. It wasn't like they were wearing spacesuits.
Yali knew there were LP2966s on the ship, assigned and otherwise. She wasn't sure about A3017s to go with them, but she could work a pistol well enough.
"You think we're gonna see trouble, Captain?" Yali asked.
When the Captain then tellingly called for an away team to form up, Josie was quick to hop to her hooved-feet as a furry brown ear twitched unconsciously at the mention of an 'apple'. The Ensign checked her own sidearm in case of trouble, before folding her arms and speaking confidently to Yali and Eydis. "Y'all don't suppose there could be some critter the crew can't lay eyeballs on runnin' round over yonder? Now, I'd wager there's got to be a good reason nobody has caught them yet... maybe just takes the right frequency, like picking up an old planetary radio station."
Jenna frowned as she examined the man's space suit. "How come parts are missing from your suit?" she asked. "What caused them to be missing?" she glanced at the medical robot as it listed out Garret's condition in a less than ideal manner.
"Full detail examination, Doc" she said to the robot.
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She watched the poor injured spacesuit and the ocupent get dragged off to the med bay. "Hey make sure the space suit is delivered to my techs in the engineroom!" Rebeeka called out before turning back to the rest of her gathering team, which apparently included security and the like. "So is this an military raid or will I be in charge this time?" she asked who ever was there.
"Flawed? Did you just call me flawed?" the medical robot suddenly rose from its charging port. "I'll have you know, I'm a veteran!" it angrily sputtered at Ztreviek. "Flawed! Hmph!" Despite the robot's protests though, Eydis heard Ztreviek and Jenna's proposal and quickly acknowledged with a tap of her comms. The Commander was expecting to hear Garret begin talking, but before he could even open his mouth though, the medical robot angrily cut in. "Full examination? You're doubting me? The Medical Robot? Why, I'll give you a Full Examination," it ominously complained. Floating over to the station commander, its arms deployed as a much more intense scan began. "Strip to your skivvies and bend over the examination table!" it ordered the man.
"Huh. Um, well. This is new," Garret began awkwardly, face growing a little red. Discarding his space suit , he added, "Sorry I'm an eyesore to look at," he ashamedly admitted, his station-bound body just barely within regs. The robot shined a light into his eyes before using a special tool to look up his nose, in his ears, and down his throat when prompted. "Anyways, I did a full check of the suit, up and down with our engineer before heading out," the Station Commander began, a table full of medical equipment rolling over from behind as he spoke. "It was good to go, so the components must have come loose and such while I was doing my spacewalk. Everything's been falling apart, but this is the first time it's ever happened like th - AAAAAAAUGHH!" the man suddenly cried, his pants pulled down and a thermometer stuck into him in the same instant.
Chances were, none of them had ever witnessed this in their lives before.
Far Point Station,
Eydis winced at the scream that she heard over the comms.
"I've only read about...taking temperatures that way," she then shook her head, sighing before turning her attention to Yali. "Anyways. We could find trouble, but I don't think it's gonna be the 'shoot first and ask questions later' type," the ship's Commander replied, brushing a few stray strands of hair aside. "Still, better safe than sorry," she began, buckling on a chestplate, greaves and kneepads before plopping an Adrian on her head. "Little critters though?" she then thought about what Josie said. "Sounds like Gremlins, but I doubt that. So far, all the rare magic The Alliance has run into was Lord of the Rings level. Swords and sorcery, right Yali?" she turned to look at the resident Half-Elf for confirmation. "Gremlins didn't appear until World War One back on Earth with all the fly-boys in their airplanes." Eydis awkwardly coughed as her cheeks blushed.
She looked fuming and angry like she always did thanks to her hair cut, but it was clear that she was embarrassed instead.
"I, uh, read a lot of books. Back home. Anyways!" she waved a hand around to dismiss the thought. "I'm more worried if it's actually the crew that's gone mental and is doing this to themselves when asleep or something. This guy checks out so far, though, maybe we should have just plopped him in quarantine," Eydis pulled out a disposable hazmat suit shaped to Josie's semi-equine form before helping to dress her, Yali and Rebeeka before herself. "You're in charge of fixing the station how you see fit Miss Starkicker," the wispy woman replied. "The rest of us are gonna try and get to the bottom of this, which includes that suit being sent to the other engineers." Taking a deep breath, she made sure everyone was ready. "Here we go."
With a hiss, the airlock opened, the once welcoming interior of an Alliance Station before them rendered dark and foreboding. And dead ahead, was their probe robot, disassembled and in pieces on the floor.
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"Ma'am With all do respect, And I mean that... Please hush your mouth about the Wee' Buggers'. And again all respect due... but those lil's shits are the bane of the eastern rim. And I don't want to run into them." She shivered, not knowing if the rumors of the Gremlin were true or not, but if they were... And other shiver ran through her at the thought. Her beautiful new engine... She was still beating it into compliance to how she expected it to run.
Grabbing her tool bag and flicking her face plate down on her helmet, and checking the seal on her technician uniform, Beeks took off waving for her tech crew to follow her. "Hey Fritz take a look at the probe, and send me any interesting bits you might find, then load her up in a hazmat box until we figure this all out." She ordered the Gart before disappearing around a dark corner following the station's map on her display screen.
Jenna frowned as the medical robot went to some strange lengths to conduct the examination. She was going to have to check on that machines record some time soon....
"Okay Doc, keep me posted on the results and file your report to the Captain when done" she said and turned to Ztreviek, saying; "Let's get back to the airlock and join the away team"
With that she exited the medical bay and made her way back to A deck where the group was just finishing their prep and donning hazmat gear. Jenna was already clad in a standard space suit, having expected to go EVA to recover the station commander, so she was mostly set, just grabbing a light armor chestplate to slide on over the suit and her space helmet, which she slid on, and sealed, then checked the monitor telltales on her suits computer, noting them all green. She stood out from the others who were in more normal protective gear, but it was quicker this way and might come in useful to have someone capable of going into vacuum.
Lastly, she grabbed a portable scanner, a laser pistol and a small tool kit, affixing them to her belt as she fell into step with the others as they started their way through the airlock into the station beyond.
Jenna frowned as she stepped through the threshold into the darkened station, her helmet lamps helping to light the area ahead. She saw the robot in pieces and frowned. "Has something been disassembling everything mechanical on this station?" she mused
With the hazmat suit on, Yali wasn't able to use a shoulder-mounted light. She held onto a large handtorch instead, balanced in her left hand with the butt on her left shoulder, as she walked down the pathway behind Rebeeka. She shined her light on the destroyed droid, noted the damage and what might have caused it, then kept up with the human engineer.
Swords and sorcery, she thought as she kept her other hand on the grip of her holstered pistol.
"Moku," she said into her helm mic. Her backpack comm unit chirped in her headset. "Run active sweep again for any nearby comm units not tied to the L'Anesse. Overlay location on waypoint system."
Over the audio system, the sound of aggressive, gaseous sucking like mud clinging to soggy boots could be heard from Ztreviek as he retrieved both his service rifle, a handgun, and various biological modifications from the armoury.
"We are entering unknown territory. In the case of an emergency, I prefer to have something familiar and comfortable to fall back on. A minor request."
A dark shape nearly radiating blackness could be seen, nearly taking up the entirety of its slot on the racks. It was lengthy and jagged, undeniably shaped as a hefty weapon almost like some large cannon forcefully cursed into the form a rifle. Jagged rims and a mottled dark red and grey marked it almost as if made of the dried cadavers of of small chitinous creatures. A barrel protruded out from behind a square exit hole, slightly tapering towards its tip like the stinger of an enormous wasp.
"It will be no problem for me to carry additional weaponry or equipment. My carapace has most of what I need to survive."
His fingers tapped against the metal of the walls, awaiting the response.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll take a look at 'er," older Gartagen lazily waved a hand at Rebeeka. As the head engineer went deeper into the station, he squatted down next to the disabled scout drone and looked it over. "Huh. If I didn't know better, it was just taken apart. All the parts are still here - if it had rimz, they'd probably be lying around too," he added, hazmat suit crinkling as he moved about.
"It pretty much looks like that all the time," Garret's voice suddenly chimed over their comms to answer Jenna. "Also, the medical droid wants me out," the Station Commander added. "Can I head over, or do I just stay here?" he asked. Hearing that, Eydis pulled her arms into her suit so she could mess around with the comm settings.
"Stand by, we're having a look around," the Commander replied before deafening the man's comm. Looking to Jenna, she asked, "What do you think? Should we leave him there or stick him in quarantine? He seems to check out, so the extra hand could help," she realized. "I don't like that for some reason," the woman added, not quite able to put her finger on why. Sighing, she quickly cued the comms and replied to Ztreviek, "I don't see why, but if it makes you more comfortable Trevor." The giant bug didn't seem comfortable without his massive armaments, though she could sort of understand why. Then, she paused, narrowing her eyes. "Wait, did we leave Trevor back on the ship?" Eydis realized.
Back across the umbilical, the giant insect was indeed back on the ship, rummaging around in the locker room for its guns.
"Copy that," Moku replied to Yali. As she said that though, another set of sensor sweeps quickly found several more transponders. Immediately, they could see that many were moving about, some more subtle than others as the station crew members went about their tasks. However, most were congregated near one important thing or another. Several were milling around the matter synthesizers, both the industrial units, as well as the food ones. Meanwhile, several more were located in the command center, reactor room, and the life support systems, where Reebeka was heading.
One inside a station crew member's room however, winked off.
Farpoint Station 5,
Darkness seemed to close in around Rebeeka and her engineers, but despite that, she could see glimpses of flash-lights in the distance. In some cases, red emergency lights occasionally operational in some parts, dying the halls red. It wasn't all foreboding though, as she could hear the faint sounds of various crew members rummaging around, their speech easily overheard as they went about their business.
"Forget about fixing the station lights. Just get this thing working here, It's more important!"
"God, I hate having to keep watch over this."
"Keep making rations, just in case the food synthesizers fail!"
Up ahead though, the doors to life support were completely open as another pair of station members tried getting the oxygen scrubbers operational again.
"I swear Lieutenant, I just fell asleep for just a few minutes!" a big, brawny, red skinned Kishargal man replied, wringing his hands in distress before going back to fixing something. In this red and black darkness, his blue spots provided a welcome additional source of light on top of the flashlights.
"I don't care, just help me put everything back together!" the same woman's voice from over the radio replied. Dark skinned, she brushed back stray strands of snowy white hair before her pointed ears suddenly twitched. Spinning around, reaching for her pistol, the dark elf stopped short of drawing. "Ugh, I swear, I thought I was hearing things again," she sighed, looking at Rebeeka and her engineers. "Lieutenant Lirotess," the woman introduced herself. "Grab a tool and help us reassemble life support, would you?"
To the engineer's eyes, the place was a mess of loose parts and wires, but judging by the looks of it, everything was there. They just needed to get to putting it all together
One could almost think he was an entirely new alien that had entered the scene but the large rifle across his back, juxtaposing a far smaller one, made it clear it was the same old giant bug monster.
"A toast to a loyal friend." He muttered over the coms to the now defunct drone. Multiple eyes scanned the remains; it didn't appear to have been destroyed as much as picked apart. "They were careful with it. Perhaps they wanted something from it and are aware of our presence."
Whatever was on the transponders however wasn't giving them any answers as to the mystery of the vessel.
"Can we establish communications with any of them?"
Jenna frowned and replied to her Captain, "Sir, I don't care what mood the Doc is in, I think Garret needs to stay there under observation for the time being" she said, and inwardly made note to have some words with the medical robot upon her return, that or issue orders for it to have an adjustment to it's programming.
The lieutenant had her portable scanner open in her left hand, her right resting on the comforting grip of her LP2966 laser pistol in it's holster on her hip. Jenna's eyes darted between it's display screen and the dark station that now enveloped the away team. She noted the registering of life forms, crew location transponders and all that sort of stuff as she awaited the Captain's decision on Garret.
"Skipper," she said, switching to her private channel with Eydis, "Do you want me to go with the engineering team, or remain with you?" she asked.
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"First get me some industrial lubricant, a ration pack, and all the bells you can get your hands on" Rebeeka Starkicker replied pulling a flask out of her tool bag. "Put the lub, in the ration pack with bit of this and let it next to life support systems." She tossed the flask of her moonshine to LT. "Once we get some bells we will hang them next to every important system."
Once she got her orders out Beeks pulled her tools out and started banging away at putting parts back in place.