Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The lost outpost

      In dead space time ceases to have meaning, they don’t call the area dead space for nothing; no beacons to guide you and no signs of life save for Forgestriker endlessly struggling her way, somewhere, her destination unknown as charts of the area are not known, that had been one of the main reasons for this trip, the other being to enable a relay station to be set up in the quadrant to guide ships home.

            Their mission had been to chart this area, avoid conflict and report back; how do you avoid conflict when you get attacked and forced into a battle between two psychic powers plus three platoons of Orgman guards?

            The gentle hum of the engines and the dimmed lighting were the only things which signified she had not become a space hulk, left to rot in space for no reason other than she became too expensive to run; this lady had seen her glory days and deserved a far better memorial than to be forgotten until some space “scrappy” – a being who buys and sells scrapped ships – came across her and stripped her for a few sections of Perolinium and a ride to the next hulk. The silence would have been deafening, if anybody had been around to notice the lack of noise but even the ship laboured to keep moving with no fuel cells and limited reserves on board, then as if the silence wasn’t bad enough; all the systems shut down and the power was cut as the lady began her free drift, the only momentum being her former speed which had been minimal to preserve fuel for as long as possible.

            The ensuing darkness crept along the passageways, lurking in the corners and shooting from area to area as if scared a light beam may escape and find it; the only thing which could be heard in the dark was a mysterious rattling as if something had been trying to get in Forgestriker but had no idea of her superstructure and had to locate a hole large enough to enter.

        Without motive power the lady soon drew to a halt and drifted; pushed this way and that by the stellar forces on her hull, lost to all and alone in space she drifted. There was no sign of contact for so many eons her memory banks lost track of directions of her route and then something weird happened.

        On the edge of a radar screen far below her, on the station of Deheranian 2; a monitor clicked into action after eons asleep, D2 sent a signal to Forgestriker and the ladies systems slowly came back on line with the energy charge sent from D2.

       The beams from the derelict station traced the outlines of her hull onto the sky plan, in an attempt to bring Forgestriker to her docking port, a pointless exercise in futility as nobody had used the station in memory, but remote systems do what you tell them.

      High above the station, the star ship Forgestriker prepared to dock in her designated bay at landing bay 5. Life systems turned on and air started to circulate as the battered and beleaguered men of the 7th Baalite Guard came back from deep hibernation, first to as Timmy Johns, looking out at the black wilderness sprinkled with the glowing lights of the aroused station, he said “Where are we? This isn’t how I remember home.”

       The silence around Forgestriker echoed as the station replied, “Welcome to D2, we hope your stay is pleasant.”

       He was about to swear an oath, when he heard a moan from the bed next to him, “Uuuuuuuhhh, are we home, Timmy?” Frank Charles, the head of the heavy mortar team asked.

“Sorry, Frank, this isn’t home; this is D2.”

“Listen, as much as I love your wicked sense of humour this isn’t the time, Timmy. We’re beaten to fuck and barely alive down here, so please so corny jokes. Where are we?”

Timmy gained his balance once again and stumbled to the windows, “I ain’t riling ya, man, look for yourself.”

Frank raised himself up; using his rifle for a crutch he went to join Timmy at the window, “How the fuck did we end up at this godforsaken hell hole, Timmy? Nobody is sure the station is here, the last reports were from scientists over forty years ago, and they closed it down, saying it as too dangerous to run.”

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