As you stand upon your dirt you must realize the truth of passing sun.
An hour cannot decide a day, nor a day for its week.
You see an inch and try to presume a mile.
Can you explore the ocean in a puddle?
Does the secret of your mountains remain only in their peaks?
You think too small because you cannot look further.
You lay in your cradle and, looking at your mobile, declare it the stars.
Where are you?
Where are you?
Where are you?”
The IC Aphelion was a transport ship, though what it transported was obviously something that changed frequently. It’s three floors in its primary pod mainly consisting of easily recognizable compartments that could shift and change to accommodate any good deal of cargo. The cargo of the day was, due to the hunt for the signal, a number of people. Barracks were neatly collected near the front of the ship, along with the showers and toiletries. The chow hall sat near the middle, and their gear lockers sat against the large cargo bay that boasted a large, heavy ramp that was held in place by numerous clamps and mechanical arms.
The engines jutted out the back on two sides, causing the overall shape of the ship to mimic some bottom-heavy ‘V’, with an even more lopsided side view. The ship was sparse on windows, instead using cameras paired with shifting screens on the inside of the hull to allow for its inhabitants to look outside when they felt the need. They were still in the shifting winds of space, little else but fading stars in sight, their destination a good distance away still.
The crew of the ship was small and mostly kept to themselves. As it stood, they were being paid by the pilot to operate the largely custom ship, which otherwise lacked a more permanent crew during such expeditions. The captain of the ship was an odd human woman, standing no more than 5’5 with a fit frame, light brown skin, and purely mechanical, advanced cybernetic legs that connected to flesh just above her knees. Her skin, of what was visible, seemed to be heavily adorned and patterned with far too many neat and proper surgery scars.
She stood in the cargo bay, looking at a slurry of digital information on a thin tablet fastened to the wall. The radio signal played idly in the background as it changed from odd metaphors and ramblings of uncertain topics to music, that seemed to be an odd mixture of randomly generated and pulled from ancient radio waves of the past. Her clothes were warm, durable, a dark base with bright color that flashed in darkness. “Planetfall in twenty.” She called out, her voice amplified from her suit to ring through the ship.
“Planet is a long string of scientific nonsense on the maps, so we’re calling it Aker. Heavy rainfall on roughly seventy-percent of the surface in our scans, with an ambient temperature sitting at about negative-five degrees celsius” They had shot a probe near their landing sight to get a good idea of what they were running into as soon as they had a decent shot several hours ago. “Planet’s going to be dark, rocky, but there’s definitely some artificial structures.” The scans couldn’t tell her much about them, but scanning buildings wasn’t what they were designed to do.
The image that stared back at her was slanted up at the grim sky of the planet. A thick smothering sheet of rainclouds blocked out the horizon, keeping stars a distant memory from the dark red grass that covered the dirt and rocks around the probes impact site. Though the plants seemed to be greedy in their drinking, the lack of plantlife around the small impact crater had already half-submerged the probe in the scarce hours of runoff it had been down there.
“Assemble in cargo bay when ready, final gear check approaching, and let’s go ahead and get introductions out the way.” For a majority of the crew, they had not been picked up at the same time or place. The ship had practically played hopscotch across borders and planets to find its crew, and the briefs and gear checks of those who natively worked the vessel had done more than their part in keeping the team from saying much to each other. “I’m your Captain, you can just call me Chance.”
Part of the boarding procedure in getting everyone up to speed was not only running them through what the NovaLine signal was and why people wanted it dug out, but to equip them with anything they would have been lacking. A radio set, for example, was handed out to everyone, all tuned to one another in private channels as well as a group function, and then a team function that included everyone present. Provisions and food were provided as well.
Prying her eyes from the shuttered camera image from the probe, she turned to the staging area of her cargo bay, amber eyes staring out from surgical scarred eyelids.