Characters in this post
View character profile for: MU/TH/UR 6500
View character profile for: Glenn Roberts
View character profile for: Hikari Roku
View character profile for: Vera Kirby
View character profile for: Asahi Ogai (critically injured, recovering)
View character profile for: Captain Kenneth McCormick (deceased)
View character profile for: Bruce Jensen
JP with Omni, Jaxx, redsword_7, Kudzu, and CS
Roberts signaled to move forward towards the body, still watching the other areas, then he stopped about ten feet away to see if he could tell how the figure had died. He signaled for Vera to stay beside him.
There, in the dark corridor outside the Cryosleep chambers, lay the remains of a headless person in a spacesuit; a dark splatter stained the wall behind it. A Model 37A2 shotgun lay on the floor next to the body.
Roberts looked at where the body lay and the dark spot on the wall. It wasn’t hard to tell that this person ended themselves quite gruesomely. The body was slumped to the right, back against the wall. There was no helmet in sight... Something else wasn’t quite right about the corpse. The arms seemed to be a little too long and had stretched the compression suit until it had torn at the forearms. One of the zipper pockets on the compression suit was open and contained a full reload for the shotgun.
"Well this is not good," he said. Roberts slowly stepped closer and picked up the old shotgun.
“What... the fuck?”, exclaimed Jensen, disgusted.
Roku rushed over and knelt down beside the corpse, clearly distraught. She inspected the corpse.
"Slow down everyone! Let's do this by the book. Jensen, watch down the corridor, that direction.", Roberts said, pointing. "You guys, watch the other direction.
Roberts knelt 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 choked as she searched the body for identity. ‘Collins’ is the name she discovers and she sat down with a long exhale.
Capt. Kenny put in a request to MUTHUR to identify Collins. "We are looking for an Android.", he specified.
He relayed 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 lookout.”
Roku looked around after that last remark. She checked the Motion Tracker... ... nothing.
Breathing heavily, Roku put down the device and calmed herself, then continued to inspect the body.
“Sorry, Marshal...uh, the 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 inspected the back. There were no visible injuries anywhere else, no entrance or exit wounds. On the floor behind the body were frozen fragments of brain and bone.
Ogai stood behind, watching the body. This shit was too weird. He said quietly, "So, what? He was stretched out? Well his arms. Like, ancient torture technique stretching?"
He came forward and looked at Roku, kneeling beside her and saying quietly, "You good? Like I know this is horrifying, but just remember to breathe."
Capt. Kenny sipped his coffee and pondered his thoughts for a moment before he spoke to MU/TH/UR and said, "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 lose anyone on this ship 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 stopped at the wall then stood turning to different angels then let out a sigh.
"This person shot himself in the face, completely obliterating it. The question is why?"
He looked 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 looked at everyone.
"Who wants to carry this shotgun?, he asked. "It is operational."
When Ogai tried to calm down Roku, she looked him in the eyes and nodded... but there was something in her gaze that made him nervous. She was scared and it was not just because of some corpse. A frown appeared on his face. Something was wrong. He gripped her shoulder and he looked around. He glanced at the corpse, "Well, what should we do?..." He sounded slightly shaky.
Suddenly, the lights flickered dimly and there came a glitchy electronic voice over the Cronus comms. “...arn..., ryo... ambers deact..., ife supp... ..line...”
A haze of vapor began to fill the corridor.
Capt. Kenny said, "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 could tell that the air was slowly getting warmer, hence the fog, and the air was being turned on with little change in CO2 levels. The crew would have to clean or change the air scrubbers if they planned on removing their helmets. Also, if any of the Cronus crew happened to wake, they would not live for long without proper air supply.
MUTHUR rattled 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 showed 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 said, "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 replied.
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 asked.
Ogai clapped Roku on the shoulder and looked over at Vera, "I'll come with you." He still seemed uneasy. "Lead the way."
Jensen looked 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 glanced at Jensen and smiled 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 comms,"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 got to her feet and walked to the door. She pressed her visor against the window trying to see into the entrance to the Cryochambers. She could barely make out the three doors in soft blue light. Somewhere in there was the possibility of sleeping crew... and her sister. She let out a heavy sigh.