Characters in this post
View character profile for: Cassandra Jones
View character profile for: Jay Chrysler
View character profile for: Dr Jade Black
View character profile for: Jamie Eastlick
View character profile for: Dr. Artemis K. Pritchard VI
View character profile for: Jason Tanaka
View character profile for: Thomas Plisken
View character profile for: Fergus O'Malley
View character profile for: Pickman
Thomas stared up at the ceiling of his single bed berth. It was a tiny room, only as wide as the bed meaning you had to climb onto the bed from its end and crawl up to get to the pillows. A single shelf narrow shelf hung over one edge. A potted plant might be nice there, Thomas thought. In fact, any greenery might be nice.
The ship was cramped and utilitarian. No space was wasted, which meant a surprising number of rooms could be found on board. Much of the second floor had been converted into rooms for the Dwarfers. Ore sampling and processing rooms had been torn out and makeshift beds fashioned from sheets to make hammocks. All in all, there was now a bank of 14 berths were on what was the top floor, along with a single large shared shower and two wasteless toilets. Safe to say, it was not comfortable. The rooms were small, and dark, and divided only by thin walls and a curtain at the front.
On the ground floor was a tiny medical room (which Jade had claimed as her own), a tiny kitchenette (thankfully stocked with rations), and one ore sampling room turned into a makeshift lab was squeezed in under the stairs. And at the front was the cockpit, already decorated with some furry dice that someone had found.
There were two other floors: the small maintenance deck above that wasn’t really tall enough for someone to stand in, and the engineering basement which also doubled as ore and mineral collection, as well as storage.
Thomas pushed himself up to sit on his bed. He padded at the many pockets of his jacket. Inside the right breast pocket was a tiny packet of seeds. Thomas had no idea what kind of seeded they were, and no idea how to even grow them, but he thought it might be nice to try. He made a mental note to find some gardening supplies the next time they landed, if they ever landed.
Thomas rubbed the itch under his eyepatch and stretched out his metal arm and, putting on his gardening hat, made his way downstairs.
There was some commotion. Artie and Pritchard and O’Malley were arguing over use of the new science room, with Jay trying to defuse the situation by organising a rota. Cass and Jade were leaning against the counters of the kitchenette, tea in hand, discussing what to do next. Jamie was nowhere to be seen, although the hatch to the engine room was open and his jacket was folded neatly next to it. Tanaka was a rooster.
Thomas went into the cockpit, away from the noise and bustle. He could have stayed in his room, but there was only so long you can count the rivets in your ceiling. Instead, Thomas sat behind the operations desk in the cockpit and looked out of the only window on the ship into the empty vastness of space. For a moment, Thomas felt very, very alone.
Several hours later
‘You ever get the feeling you are being watched?’ asked Thomas, as the Dwarfers carefully explored the wreck of the giant ship. They moved slowly and deliberately, sweeping the torches into every corner.
‘Don’t get spooked,’ said Cass, ‘We know what we are looking for so let’s find it and leave.’
‘Stealing from the dead,’ muttered Thomas, ‘Risky business.’
‘I’d rather steal from the dead than be dead,’ Cass snapped back.
‘Aye, that’s a fair point,’ said Thomas, ‘Although this isn’t something I’ve ever done before.’
‘What are you talking about? We’ve done this loads of ti-,‘ and Cass stopped herself,
‘Well, a version of you did, anyway. Some other reality Plisken - our reality.’ The last few words almost had a tinge of sadness to them.
‘Yeah, I know,’ said Thomas, ‘Another me, another world. The strange thing is, I remember it.’
‘You do?’ said Cass, and she shone her light up into Thomas’s helmet.
‘Well, kind of. It comes and goes. I remember being in deserts I have never seen, and travelling through time, and playing an AR game in a dress? And so many other things. And I don’t think they are all from the same ‘other me’. Your me.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘The memories of a hundred different versions of me, all at once. It’s not a nice feeling. And then it can go as quickly as it comes.’
‘Still, at least it keeps you occupied.’
‘Ladies and Gentlemen! There’s a terminal there,’ called Artie from the front of the marching procession of Dwarfers, and he gently hovered over to the computer terminal he pointed to.
‘Hey, guys?’ called Jamie, ‘Think we found something too. A stasis booth of some kind?’
Cass and Thomas split up, Cass going to Artie and Thomas going to Jamie.
‘What is it?’ asked Thomas.
‘Some kind of stasis booth, but look,’ said Jamie, shining his torch into the viewing window of the booth, ‘It’s empty.’
‘So?’ asked Thomas with a shrug.
‘If it’s empty,’ said Jamie, ‘Then why is it on?’
‘The same over here!’ called O’Malley, ‘An empty stasis booth but with no-one in it.’
‘Uh, guys?’ clucked Tanaka, ‘I think there might be more than a couple here.’
Thomas jogged over to where Tanaka was standing, outside the room they had all assembled in. The small rooster body was perched on the railing of a gantry that overlooked a colossal hall of faintly glowing stasis booths. They were on countless levels and stretched far into the dark.
‘How much do you want to bet they are all empty too?’ said Thomas as he stepped back into the other room.
‘Finally!’ said Artemis triumphantly, ‘Pesky little jumped up Speak & Spell!’
‘What did you find?’ asked Cass.
‘I think this is a colony ship?’ said Artie as he scanned the information on the screen, ‘The stasis booths are to keep the crew and passengers alive until planetfall.’
‘I don’t think this is just a colony ship,’ said Thomas, ‘You don’t need these many people for a colony.’
‘What do you suppose it is then?’
‘This isn’t just the population of a colony here, this is the population of a small planet.'
'Could be a big colony?'
'No, think about how much time and energy would be used to build this ship. They must have been running from something. And they thought they might be running for a while.’
‘It looks like whatever they were running from caught up with them,’ said Cass.
‘Wait! I’ve got something. Captain’s log, final entry.’
A small light next to the terminal fizzled into life and projected out a hologram of a stocky middle-aged man.
‘This is Captain Hardy of the S.S. Eliro. They’ve finally caught up with us. I’m enacting the Back-Up, but I hope to god we manage to lose them. We are entering a nearby asteroid field, hopefully we can hide until the FTL engines come back online.’
The hologrammatic message ended and closed, leaving the room in a still silence.
‘Great,’ said Jay, ‘Okay, let’s get what we need and get out of here before whatever killed the crew kills us.’
‘Just one other thing,’ said Artemis, ‘These readouts are showing massive power drains.’
‘Surely that’s just the stasis booths?’
‘The drains are coming from the batteries. The batteries that power holograms.’
‘Listen,’ said Jay, ‘We came for a fuel-link and that’s all. Let’s get to the engines and get the hell out of here.’
‘What about food and water?’ asked O’Malley.
‘This ship is old, really old,’ said Artemis, ‘I doubt any food survived, if they even managed to stock any. It looks like the crew are short on everything. They must have boarded this ship in a hurry.’
'Right, get us a map to engineering and let's get that fuel link, and any fuel if we can find it.'
‘Just another fun day, isn’t?'
<<OOC - Formatted!
Also, I was thinking the holograms would be like Ghosts and not thinking they are dead? But beyond that, anyone pile in with ideas of what happens.>>