There be Aliens in them Stars

OOC-This is gonna be a bit long, just warning y'all

After getting so wound up that he almost had an aneurysm, the Missus put Artemis back on his meds. He was...calmer...and less prone to vivisect the people that made him mad. He was also completely unaware he was actually on them (the Missus having gone to Jade to get help on slipping the meds to him), which was always a plus.

Artemis woke up late (and extremely hungover, but being a robot, the hangover lasted all of two minutes before the medi-gel controller caught up and straightened things out) and joined his family in mid-breakfast.

Breakfast, for a family of robots, was mostly the vital coolants, lubricants, and stabilizer solutions.

"Good morning all" Artemis said, taking his spot between the Missus and Marie.

"Daddy, did you and Uncle Boyd have a frat party with the Huzzards last night? Pinkie said that you got them drunk so they'd let the Rodents have the garden" Marie said, cutely.

"Uh, I wouldn't say we got them drunk, just that things didn't go to plan and Uncle Boyd somehow pulled it back together. There's a reason I made him your godfather" Artemis replied. "So, have the Rodents opened the school back up yet?"

"Finally, yes. I'm taking everyone to class in half an hour" said the Missus, getting drowned out in a chorus of boos. "Oh, knock it off!"

"Your mother can't keep you home forever! I suppose it's about time we got back to work anyway. Where did we leave off again, dear?" Artemis said.

"I think we were working on a unified control net for the nanite prototypes" the Missus replied.

Artemis remembered....he had spent the past few months making nanobots that could make minor repairs around the lab (and with some more work, and possibly another generation or two of improved models, the ship). They worked well in initial testing but they still required a means to talk to one another, and to Holly and the human crew. A control/communication network would be simple to implement, and could probably be done in a week.

"Alright, I have an old Charon prototype we could re-engineer for the nanites"

"Can I borrow some of the nanites when you're done with them, Dad?" Artie Junior asked.

"If it involves modifying them and unleashing them on your classmates, the answer is no. It'll take a few more months of work before they're ready for anything other than minor repairs, anyway"

Artie Jr scoffed and plopped his head down on the table.

"Oh, don't pout" Artemis said, patting him on the back.


After dropping the kids off on the promenade, Artemis and The Missus returned to the ISL and got to work.

The old Charon Labs prototype was originally to be used to coordinate "living" mannequins for a clothing store that ended up going bankrupt before Charon could deliver the prototypes, Artemis re-appropriated it before he resigned.

It was meant to broadcast to the "mannequin" robots, who were wired to receive orders on a certain frequency. Changing the frequency was easy, however, modifying the net to operate on an updated OS at a higher capacity (10 mannequin mechs v. 100-1,000 nanite prototypes) would take a bit of work.

Artemis was working with the ten nanites in the control group, operating on the other end of the ship. The Missus was with the prototype in the ISL, which had been calibrated to work with the ship's network. It was using the various antennae across the hull of the ship to relay the signal, at least for this run-through.

"Are you ready?" Artemis called back on the Intercom.

"Ready when you are" the Missus called back.

"Alright Holly, open the channel" Artemis ordered.

"A'ight dude"

The prototype began broadcasting....the nanites remained idle.

"Is it working?" Artemis called back to the Missus.

"Yes, are they not receiving?" she replied.

"No....Holly, did you forget to turn some of the antennas?"

"No dude, it could be that annoying transmission that's been goin' for 'bout an hour now"


Holly played the was heavily embedded with static, but there was some sort of barely intelligible chatter behind it.

"What on earth is that?"

"Could be aliens" Holly said, enthusiastically.

"I don't doubt it, considering how deep we are in space, but it might just be a busted satellite or something of that ilk. It might be worth investigating, I can't continue the experiment with it interfering".

In the refectory

"I can't tell what it is...." Cass said, listening to the recording. "...are you sure this isn't solar radiation fucking with your gear again?"

"I'm certain Ms. Jones, I had Holly perform a sweep, there's not enough solar radiation to cause that much interference" said Artemis.

"It could be anything, really, if you were using the ship's exterior antennae any transmission within range could interfere. But for a signal that strong it has to be close" Jamie said from a neighboring table.

"It's definitely worth checking out" Artemis said. "Boyd has already prepared his ship for a brief expedition"

"If you're using Boyd's ship and not one of the 'Dwarf's stock shuttles, I don't see any problem with it Artemis. Just keep us up to date and don't stray too far from the ship" Jay said.

"Alright Mr. Chrysler, we'll head out immediately!"

"By the way, Artemis" Cass said, grabbing Artemis by one of his monitors. "If it is something living, don't bring it back here without making damned sure it won't try to fucking kill us. We won't hesitate to lock your ass outside the ship"

"I'm anything if not cautious, Ms. Jones"


Boyd went through the ship's startup checklist with the precision and speed of a true professional. Artemis kept forgetting that he was a vastly experienced pilot, even if he was a major degenerate.

"Alright, everything good?" Boyd said, setting the checklist aside and strapping in.

"Yes, let's go" Artemis said, strapping into the co-pilot's seat.

Boyd gently pushed up on the throttle, sending Mrs. Lady out into space. Boyd's hands glided over the panels as he set the ship for the cruise out to the source of the signal.

Artemis used a signal sniffer to hone in on the source, which had drifted behind Blue Dwarf as the hulking ship pushed onward.

The sniffer let out weak pings, indicating the distance to the signal.

Boyd popped a mix-tape into the ship's radio.

"Louie Louie? Eh, not one of my favorites" Artemis said, tuning the sniffer.

"It's a classic, man, I grew up listening to stuff like this...mostly because the cult my dad was in didn't allow music past the 80's"

"Your father was in a cult?"

"Yeah, Brother Billy's cult. I never fell for it but my dad was hella into Brother Billy, well, until Brother Billy got arrested for owning a shit ton of guns with no permits. That's when ma and pa put me in "Titan Speciality School for Specializing Special Boys", or whatever, because I kept saying that CFTCOAH Inc. Corporation put Brother Billy in jail for exercising his 2nd amendment rights"

"The 2nd amendment didn't apply to Titan, you know. That only covers the United States, New Dallas on the Moon, and New Orlando on Mars"

"Yeah, but the CFTCOAH Inc. Corporation didn't know that...bastards"

The Lady was clear of Blue Dwarf, and all of the interference from its various electronics. The sniffer had a positive fix on the source.

"The source is....287, turn right by fifty degrees" Artemis said.

Boyd adjusted the course, the pinging of the sniffer got louder...but the direction became erratic.

"What the hell? Huh, Boyd does this thing have an external camera"

Boyd flipped a switch, one of the MFD's switched to a view of the stars.

"201? Adjust the camera direction" Artemis said, getting the course off the dirty screen.
"Nah Artie, it's actually aimed behind the ship, the screen is just dirty" Boyd replied
"Boy, the camera is pointed in front of us, look at how the stars are moving!"
"The screen just sucks, it's behind us, I can see the Dwarf! AND ITS BOYD! NOT BOY!"
Artemis wiped the screen off. "It says 201!"
"That isn't the course of the camera!"
"What is it then?!"
"I Don't know! I lost the manual!"

Before either realized the scanner was going berserk, the Lady crashed into something. Luckily, due to its low speed, there was little damage.

"I think we found it" Boyd commented, turning on the exterior lights.

"My god, its a spacecraft! That's not human construction either, it's alien! HA HA! I haven't seen an alien in eons!" Artemis said excitedly.

The Lady circled around the small craft, finding it in poor shape.

"Does this ship have an umbilicus?" Artemis asked. "I think there's people aboard"

"Uh...." Boyd looked around the ship. "No?"

"Ugh...I'll just go out through the airlock, stay here and try to find it if your ship has one, it'll make recovering survivors and/or dead bodies easier"

Artemis entered the ship through a large hole. Armed with his syringe gun and MS scanner. Most of the occupants were long dead, and according to the pathogens picked up by the MS scanner, they were killed by some sort of virus.

"Boyd, put on a HAZMAT suit, I might bring back some sort of pathogen on my hull"

"I heard HAZMAT, so I'll got put on the yellow suit" Boyd replied.

The MS scanner picked up a faint heartbeat in a nearby pressurized chamber. Artemis carefully navigated through the breach doors and made his way inside, finding a survivor, who tried talking to him in an unknown language.

"Just uh...stay calm, I'll get you out of here. Boyd, I found a survivor"

"Okay, so I found the manual in Chet's room...good news, she does have an umbibibicus....and the switch is...."

There was a loud bang as the Lady attached to the shuttlecraft.

"Okay, I think it works" Boyd said.

Artemis sighed. "Alright, let's get...uh...her onboard" Artemis guessed the survivor's gender based on their anatomy.

The survivor was brought onboard and the shuttlecraft attached to the Lady via a tow cable.

Artemis hailed the Dwarf, Holly answered.

"Hey Artie, was it a TV satellite?"

"No, it was an alien spacecraft, there was a single survivor and we're bringing it back to the ISL where I can put it in quarantine. Have Dr. Black go to my lab with a HAZMAT suit, I may need her help stabilizing the survivor, and alert the others"


The Lady docked with the Dwarf using the ISL's maintenance airlock, Artemis was able to transfer the lone survivor directly to a sealed chamber where she wouldn't contaminate the crew.

Artemis decontaminated and donned his hazmat suit before proceeding into the chamber again to start analyzing the survivor. He wanted to get some basic data together so that they could treat the survivor without killing her.


Tu'Vass, welcome aboard! You'll wake up in a sterile lab chamber on an operating table, being tended to by a floating brain robot in a yellow hazmat suit. The others should be along shortly, including our doctor (Artemis has a Xenobiology doctorate but he's not willing to try any procedures with an MD present)

Jade, Artemis should have some basic anatomical data for you when you arrive so you can stabilize the patient.

Boyd, you've still got the shuttle wreckage hanging off your ship, what are you going to do with it?

Everyone Else: We've got an alien in quarantine, wanna go gawk at it? Artemis won't let anyone into the chamber except Jade and maybe Jay or Cass, and not without a HAZMAT suit.

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