The Ithrian Gambit
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World – Round 3, Turn 1
Use AD – Locale, Incidental / Release / Messages
The researchers at the seismic outpost have left behind an ominous message.
Proteus walked quickly on his way to the cockpit with Eliza and Jericho not far behind. The ship continued to slow down, finally dropping out of the pocket of warped space generated by the hyper drive with a shudder that shook the entire ship. The star field outside the front viewport swirled and condensed, finally snapping into place as the ship dropped back to sub-light speeds.
Light from a nearby star flooded into the cockpit, silhouetting the dark form of a planet directly in front of the ship. Proteus slipped into the worn pilot's seat as several of the ship's display panels flickered and suddenly displayed new data. Over a dozen warning indications illuminated all at once as Dare's computers struggled to process the new situation.
Proteus' augmented eyes scanned the data. "Confirmed, captain. We have arrived at Rama, just beyond orbital distance of the planet. An incredibly accurate jump."
"But to the wrong planet," Jericho said, looking at the darkened planet with concern. "What happened to Azraa?"
"Apologies," Proteus said, still trying to wrap his head around the data. "Moments ago we were en route to Azraa as planned."
"Or at least the ship thought we were," Eliza glanced over her shoulder back toward the galley.
Jericho followed her gaze, quietly unholstering his plasma pistol. "What do we do?"
Eliza sighed deeply as she considered their situation. They were out of food, out of fuel, in orbit around an uninhabitable alien world, a ruthless warlord on their tail, and carrying an apparently-psychic enemy of mankind who could kill them all at any moment.
She looked back at the other two. "We trust."
# # #
A strong dust storm blew through the abandoned seismic research camp on the surface of Rama as the Virgina Dare descended from the rust-colored sky and touched down with a thud among the corroded buildings. The ruined domes had once housed a planetary research team and their equipment but were now rusted and collapsed, victims of the highly toxic and volatile atmosphere of Rama. The small camp held maybe a half dozen such buildings along with piles of unrecognizable scientific equipment and a decomposing wreck that used to be a small rover.
In the Dare's cargo bay, Eliza peered out through the airlock viewport at the hostile environment beyond. "We have arrived on the surface, captain." Proteus' voice crackled through the comm of her environmental suit. "The atmosphere of this planet is highly toxic and corrosive. Please use caution."
"The scrubbers should be good for a few minutes at least." Jericho walked up beside her in his own suit, holding a pair of white cylindrical tubes. "Bring a spare."
Eliza took one of the tubes and attached it to her belt. "Copy that, Proteus. We'll be careful."
"What are we doing again?" Jericho asked, somewhat skeptically.
Eliza shrugged slightly. "What's the area look like, Proteus. Life signs?"
"Negative, captain. Long range sensors detected residual signs from orbit, but nothing in the immediate area."
"What's Click want with an old research camp, anyway?" Jericho asked, motioning at the Ithrian standing next to them.
Eliza shrugged again. "I just hope they left some fuel in one of those buildings or this is going to be home for awhile."
"Captain," Proteus cut in. "I'm picking up a distress signal coming from the ruins, very low powered. I am unable to isolate the message."
Eliza double-checked her gear as the three moved into the airlock tube and sealed the door behind them. Click apparently didn't need an environmental suit. "Copy. We'll check it out if we can. Keep an eye out up there."
The outer airlock door slowly opened and the three stepped out into the harsh environment of the alien world.
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