Communications Trouble

January 1, 2184 EC // 7.3.5 SW
11:30/21 SW-CP-Local Time
Wombwood > Sotillo > A Deck > Bridge

The Captain was going crazy and Cham wasn't sticking around to get eaten by some damned parasite. He headed straight to the bridge, checked the tuning on the comms transceiver and picked up the microphone.

~tzzt~ Yo, skinny, come in. This is the Sotillo. Over ~tzzt~ Cham waited for a response while the receiver hissed with static... Nothing.

~tzzt~ Lodi? Laddie? Pick up. Requesting immediate fuckin' assistance. ~tzzt~

Again, nothing but static. He was sure that the Captain hadn't changed the tuning before leaving the bridge. Must be something wrong with the damned antenna. He put the message on a 5 minute repeating cycle and set the transceiver to record any incoming broadcasts. Cham sighed and headed aftward to the ventral egress ramp.

The ramp came down and Cham stepped out into midday sun of the clearing in Wombwood forest. He walked under the ship to the area beneath the bridge wear some of the ventral comms antenna were located. They looked fine. He would have to check topside as well so he made his way back inside and up to the dorsal access airlock.

When he opened the hatch, he immediately heard the short bursts of fluttering wings. A gathering of cicada-sized insects had collected nearby and were fighting over spots on a parabolic comms dish.

"Fuckin' figures." Cham climbed out on top of the ship with a sack of tools that he had collected on the way up. He walked over to the dish. The little pests seemed to be latched on like barnacles or leeches. Bits of the metal were mottled with corrosion. He took his arm and made a wide sweeping motion, shooing them away for the briefest of moments before they made their way right back. He swatted at them, trying to make them go away. Some of them squashed under his hand leaving a creamy-blue mess behind. The insects were becoming agitated and more of them flew in a swarm from the starboard side of the ship, landing in the same area.

So far, the bugs seemed like no more than a harmless nuisance so Cham lit the cutting torch he had brought along. The insects popped and squelched under the focused flame, but the others just seemed to ignore it. There was no way he could kill them all with a cutting torch so he tried shooing them away again, this time he made loud noises and swung his arms wildly at them.

Desperate, the Squall of Storm Flies was now in survival mode and turned on Cham, covering his body. Cham flailed about, swinging at the bugs and activating the cutting torch to fry the suckers to no avail.

Severely agitated, the Squall focused in on him, flitting and flashing blue light out of their thoraxes and, unbeknownst to Cham, emitting radiation. They were all over him now, slipping into his jacket and biting through his pants trying to climb into his mouth. Panicking, he tried to run for the hatch but went ass over tea kettle down the side of the Sotillo, bashing his head and falling over thirty feet to the ground.

Cham lay dead on the ground, his face to the sky, his cool shades only slightly cracked. His eyes never closed.


*January 1, 2184 EC = Earth's Calendar date.
**7.3.5 SW = 7 days, 3 months, 5 years since founding of Sutter's World colony
***11:30/21 SW-CP-Local Time = local time of Crowning Point settlement, there are 21 hours in a Sutter's World day
****Sotillo = an unregistered privateer vessel under employ of Seegson

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