Tales of Deepspace

A webserial set in a lost sector of space.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

S1E3: Mission Details

Zeke stared into his right computer monitor. His mind flooded with questions to ask about this new information that Tali had given him, but only one managed to move from his thoughts to his mouth:

"What the hell?" he asked. "Missing? How the hell does he go missing?"

"They're not sure yet, Zeke," said Tali. "They tried to keep a close eye on him, as standard Imperial procedure dictates for those who call alarms, but he disappeared nonetheless. A ship is missing too."

"What sort?"

"S-12, a fighter craft. Again, standard Imperial stuff. I recommend you just drop by Station 7 and find out what's going on."

"Sounds like a good idea. I should be getting there soon anyways."

The right screen flicked off, and Zeke leaned back relaxingly in his chair. He never enjoyed his conversations with Tali, she was too dangerous of a person. She was usually worse when giving him bad news, and, in his mind at least, a subject going missing was very bad news.

Zeke flipped a switch on the control panel of his ship, and the right screen came up again, welcoming him to DeepNet. DeepNet, so the stories went, was modeled after an old communications network back on Earth called the Internet. Its functioning was very similar, but the technology had gotten much better. With the addition of speech recognition software and content valuing software, his computer could now look up information that he simply told it he needed, and it would find all of the relevant facts. Computers, and DeepNet, are good things.

"Computer, look up the S-12, Imperial strike craft. I only need specifications."

"Sure thing, Zeke," said the computer, in its classic too-nice voice. Bloody computer.


The right screen flickered again, displaying a clever little graphic to show that it was loading. A few seconds later, it was replaced with a rotating 3D model of a fairly standard-looking strike craft, and detailed specifications.

Zeke looked over the specifications, until he came to one in particular:


After some quick calculations on the computer, he came to the realization that the simple strike craft was capable of traveling at nearly 4.2 times the speed of light, meaning that already Kiah could already be millions of miles away. Damn him.

"Approaching Station 7," chimed the computer. Zeke looked at the central screen, and already the ship was taking him in for a landing. He heard the retroburners flare as the ship slowed down for a descent into the hangar. After guiding the ship safely into the entrance area, he slowed it to a halt, and lowered the entrance ramp.

Zeke grabbed a few things, then walked down the ramp. He was greeted by three Imperial guards, each carrying fully automatic machine guns. Laser guns were not used for multiple reasons, such as the fact that they could destroy a space station's hull too easily, killing everyone in the process. Also, scientists just couldn't seem to figure out how the hell to get them to work.

"Name and purpose of business," recited the first guard.

"I am Zeke Rath'u, bounty hunter of the Empire. I am here to investigate this call." With a cinematic flick of the wrist, he produced a piece of paper with the bounty call written on it, as well as his bounty hunting license. The guard took the paper, then motioned.

"This way."

Zeke followed the three guards down innumerable hallways, going deeper and deeper into the complex. He couldn't understand why he had ever thought that he would be able to handle the boring monotony of being part of the Imperial military. They never seemed to do anything exciting. Well, the exception to that would be the ones actually fighting, but that seemed too exciting.

They reached a large set of metal doors, inscribed with the Imperial seal. The second guard produced a red card key, and swiped it in a slot next to the door. He then punched in a series of four numbers, which Zeke identified as 3, 7, 2, and 5, in that order. It was a curse, not a gift really, but Zeke had always been good at identifying what numbers were being hit on a keypad based solely on the hand's movement. Finally, the doors opened, revealing a large room dominated by walls of computer screens, each with a single solid green line across them.


Zeke followed the guards into the room, until they met a fourth soldier, much more decorated than the guards. He reached his hand out to Zeke, who shook it.

"Sir, this man is an Imperial bounty hunter investigating Station Mnemosyne."

"Thank you, you three may leave." The man spoke in a nasal voice, which was only amplified by the curious configuration of chairs, screens, and the sort. "My name is Meku Tras'i. And you are?"

"I am called Zeke Rath'u, sir."

"Pleased to meet you, Zeke. The distress signal came in late for our time, when most of the crew was asleep. My alarm went off at approximately 0023 local hours. I, too, was asleep. I ran down to this room to see what was going on, as did a number of other crew members. Kiah claimed that something was happening at Station Mnemosyne, and sure enough, the screen was giving a warning read-out. Then he showed us this."

Meku leaned over a keyboard and began pressing a few buttons. A larger screen than the rest flicked on, and then began playing the distress signal sent by the scientists aboard Station Mnemosyne. Zeke, who knew that it was what Tali had sent him but hadn't actually gotten around to watching it, stared at the screen for the minute or so that it played.

"Attempts to make contact with the station after this point failed. Our first message was received, but the later ones were not, suggesting power failure throughout the craft. I recommend that you check out the station to see if you can find any signs of what happened there." He bent over, pressed some more keys, and a disk shot out of a slot. "This disk has the coordinates of the station to help you find your way there. Need anything else?"

"I should be fine, thank you very much, sir. May the Veil part for you."

"And may it for you as well."

Zeke followed the signs back to the hangar where his ship was parked. He boarded it again, and inserted the disk with the coordinates. The computer processed them for a moment, then began filling the right screen with a star map and distances.

"Distance from Station 7 to Mnemosyne is approximately 3.7 parsecs," said the computer. Again, it spoke in that sickeningly nice tone of voice.

"Thank you. Engage overdrive engines, set course for Station Mnemosyne." Zeke sat back, and switched the right screen to return to DeepNet. He idly tapped a few keys to see whether or not there were any calls. Four came up, more than he had seen in the last few months. Didn't it figure that now that he finally had a job, and a hard one at that, all these other ones came in. Damn Imperials. Most of them looked like standard stuff, until he saw the last one. He pulled it up onto his screen.

Just like he expected, it followed standard Imperial formatting, complete with the watermark at the bottom. But he didn't care about the formatting, only what it said. What it said was this:


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