Something Weird in Wombwood

It’s was Al Saygin's day off, but the Crowning Point Colonial Security called him in to work. A lot of weird stuff has been happening the last two days since right before the USCSS Montero arrived.

The new team leader, Marshal Glenn Roberts just arrived yesterday and already there are two missing persons (a teenager and an aerospace controller). Saygin has been called in to look into the rumor that a spacecraft landed out north in the Wombwood. Turns out that the missing teen, James Lombard, and his girlfriend Poppy were out there a couple days before he disappeared and they saw a ship land. Poppy said that some guy picked up a couple of crates and they followed him out to Ghost Forest beach to peek, but ended up going home.

The security team was sure the boy wasn’t out in Wombwood, but the mysterious ship might still be.

"...can't remember the last time I got a whole day off anyway..." Saygin grumbled bitterly as he ambled onto the launch platform and took a look at the dented rust-runner that passed for adequate and air-worthy out here in the settlements. Then he moved on to the new Lotus Flying Espirit they recently purchased as a patrol and rapid response vehicle.

He finished chewing the pharma-grade uppers he preferred to breakfast when he's sent out to the bush to look for clues to a horny teen's whereabouts, jerked the handle on the entry panel twice out of habit, (the old one never worked!) and climbed into the cockpit as the panel slid open. It closed a little faster than he liked, he made a mental note to check the hydraulics when he got back. The Lotus was only two years old but colony weather and cheap hardware were always a concern. He started flipping switches on the center panel. As the Lotus rumbled to life, he thought "Her guts are pretty good!" The VTOL engines were old but well maintained. He pushed her up to aerial inspection altitude (above the trees, below line of sight for any lookouts), pointed her nose east, and gunned the throttle.

Minutes later, the VTOL was passing over the giant trees of the Wombwood, scanning the ground. It wasn't hard to find. Hard to miss a ship larger than a football field standing in the middle of a forest clearing, and Saygin knew the ship was unmistakably a Hawker Systems Model V-10A113 Mantis.

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