The Body

Roberts signals to move forward towards the body, still watching the other areas, then he stops about ten feet away to see if he can tell how he died. He signals for Vera to stay beside him.

There, in the dark corridor outside the Cryosleep chambers, lies the remains of a headless person in a spacesuit; a dark splatter stains the wall behind it. A Model 37A2 shotgun lies on the floor next to the body.

Roberts looks at where the body lay and the dark spot on the wall. It isn’t hard to tell that this person ended themselves quite gruesomely. The body is slumped to the right, back against the wall. There is no helmet in sight... Something else isn't quite right about the corpse. The arms seem to be a little too long and have stretched the compression suit until it has torn at the forearms. One of the zipper pockets on the compression suit is open and contains a full reload for the shotgun.

"Well this is not good," he says. Roberts slowly steps closer and picks up the Shotgun.

“What... the fuck?”, exclaims Jensen, disgusted.

Roku rushes over and kneels down beside the corpse, clearly distraught. She inspects the corpse.

"Slow down everyone! Let's do this by the book. Jensen, watch down the corridor, that direction.", Roberts says pointing. "You guys, watch the other direction.

Roberts kneels next to the doc. "Look at his arms, his arms grew longer... like a gorilla" Doc what do you make of that?"

“Oh god...”, Roku chokes as she searches the body for identity. ‘Collins’ is the name she discovers and she sits down with a long exhale.

Capt. Kenny puts in a request to MUTHUR to identify Collins.

"We are looking for an Android.", he specifies.

He relays the information to the crew, “Collins, Jeffrey D, security officer”, according to MUTHUR. The USCSS Cronus was also assigned an Android, Ava. Be on the look out.”

Roku looks around after that last remark. She checks the Motion Tracker... ... nothing.

Breathing heavily, Roku puts down the device and calms herself, then continues to inspect the body.

“Sorry, Marshal...uh, subject seems to have osteo-hyperplasia of the humerus, radius, ulna,... ...his arms are too long for his body, more like an ape. From the tears of his compression suit, it would seem like rapid growth occurred quite suddenly and severely.”

Leaning the body forward, she inspects the back. There are no visible injuries anywhere else, no entrance or exit wounds. On the floor behind the body are frozen fragments of brain and bone.

Ogai stands behind, watching the body. This shit was too weird. He says quietly, "So, what? He was stretched out? Well his arms. Like, ancient torture technique stretching."

He comes forward and looks at Roku, kneeling beside her and saying quietly, "You good? Like I know this is horrifying, but just remember to breath."

Capt. Kenny sips his coffee and ponders his thoughts for a moment before he speaks to MU/TH/UR and says, "MU/TH/UR I need you to record everything the crew finds and cross reference the data they find with known references. We need to know if the last crew of the Cronos was affected by any biologicals, experimental drugs, technology, gas, a rogue android or any other possibility that can be determined. When you find anything please report it to us ASAP. We can't afford to loose anyone on this ships since we are understaffed and have limited resources as it is. That is an order."

MUTHUR responds to the Captain's order.

“The USCSS Cronus mainframe must be paired to allow syncing and real-time autonomous feedback...”

Roberts looked around the whole area for clues. He wondered about the shotgun and started to look for casings and damage near the blood on the wall. He stops at the wall then stands turning to different angels then lets out a sigh.

"This person shot himself in the face, completely obliterating it. The question is why?"

He looks at Jensen, "This is now a company issue. With this guy. You can put me on the record as calling this a suicide. We should move on.", said Roberts.

He looked over the shotgun doing a function check and some quick maintenance. He looks at everyone.

"Who wants to carry this shotgun?, he asks. "It is operational."

When Ogai tries to calm down Roku, she looks him in the eyes and nods... but there is something in her gaze that makes him nervous. She's scared and it's not just because of some corpse. A frown appears on his face. Something was wrong. He grips her shoulder and he looks around. He glances at the corpse, "Well, what should we do?..." He sounded slightly shaky.

Suddenly the lights flicker dimly and there comes a glitchy electronic voice over the Cronus comms. “...arn..., ryo... ambers deact..., ife supp... ..line...”

A haze of vapor begins to fill the corridor.

Capt. Kenny says, "MU/TH/UR decipher whatever you can for us."

“Your presence has activated the Cronus life support systems. Cryo-chambers are being deactivated. Crew will soon wake. ET 45 minutes.”

Monitoring the vitals on the crew compressions suits, the Captain can tell that the air is slowly getting warmer, hence the fog, and the air is being turned on with little change in CO2 levels. The crew will have to clean or change the air scrubbers if they plan on removing their helmets. Also, if any of the Cronus crew happens to wake, they will not live for long without proper air supply.

MUTHUR rattles off the priorities list again.
- Recover any scientific data / samples from the USCSS Cronus.
- Escort the salvaged Cronus to Anchorpoint Station or another W-Y facility.
- Save crew members on the Cronus.

Proceed with the mission directive.”

"What a mess."

Vera shows signs of disgust and concern, but no apparent stress.

"Getting the air breathable in here enables us as a team to work on all the other tasks, regardless of order. Want me to go work on that?"

Capt. Kenny says, "Roku... Be they dead or survivors, try to keep them in their space suits or cryo chambers since we still have to worry about foreign contamination. If they were exposed to something we don't want it spreading on this ship. Vera, be careful since we may have a missing android and a pile of questions to ask any survivors."

“Yes, Captain. That worries me.”, Roku replies.

Capt. Kenny, "Jensen, stay with the crew. We don't know the cause of this situation and we don't need to touch or open any containers right now."

"Anyone coming with me for the air system? I'm probably ok on my own.", Vera asks.

Ogai claps Roku on the shoulder and looks over at Vera, "I'll come with you." He still seemed uneasy.

"Lead the way."

Jensen looks at Asahi Ogai.

"Splitting up? Woah woah. Company policy says only in dire emergencies should a salvage company split up. And in my opinion, though nobody ever asks it, maybe this wasn't even a suicide. Not like it matters now."

Ogai glances at Jensen and smiles a little, however, it looked more like a grimace in the dark light. He says gently, "Listen Jensen, I like you. I do. But company policy has never gotten me anywhere before. And I have Vera. We'll be good."

"Well as you know, the company won't be liable, for this or anything else that's happening.", Jensen reminded him.

Capt. Kenny, replied on the coms,"Of course it won't. In their eyes we are all expendable unless we can bring in profits. However if we don't do this right we won't be able to reap any rewards much less survive. This is why I don't want you to rush this Jensen."

Kenny sipped his coffee again before he replied, "Our concern for the scrubbers is a real issue right now. Vera, Ogai and Jensen put your heads together and look for options to get them running like, resetting them, changing them out, cleaning them, bypassing the AI on the Cronos and doing a manual reset. Since it is possible the AI has been compromised and AVA the android may very well be compromised as well, its best to switch to manual. Sorry MUTHUR, but I don't want to introduce a virus on this ship be it biological or digital. Stay together and work safe. Since we woke up early we still have time to do this right."

Roku gets to her feet and walks to the door. She presses her visor against the window trying to see into the entrance to the Cryochambers. She can barely make out the three doors in soft blue light. Somewhere in there was the possibility of sleeping crew... and her sister. She lets out a heavy sigh.

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