The rim. When work is hard to find anywhere else, you'll always find it out
A collection of mining worlds and human colonies struggling to survive.
Every month, me or someone like me becomes the interstellar equivalent of
Santa Claus and brings much needed parts and supplies to the poor families
stuck out here.
Six months here, six months back, most of it spent in cryo sleep ... not much of
a life is it?! But at least I'm in control.
It's my final trip for a few years. Five years running I've done this and now its time for
some much needed R&R. I've got five years worth of pay burning a hole in my pocket
and I am in the mood to have some fun - maybe even update the engines on the ship,
cut future travel time down by half, or maybe just blow it all on a hundred bimbos.
The trip back was the usual one, floating straight through the core systems avoiding all
shipping and military lanes, having the usual dreams of blue skies, sandy beaches and
forests. Boy, do I miss earth. I've only got one more stop to make on the way
then it's home sweet home.
The panels began to flicker with life. One by one the computer systems came back on-line and
within the cryo chamber of the Talon, I (Captain John Havoc) began to stir, just as my
dream was getting good.
Six months of cryo sleep takes its toll on a man and I hated being woken up.
Slowly my eyes came into focus then, with a loud
clank and hiss, the door to the cryo tube swung open and I was thrown to the floor.
I hoped the food I was about to eat would wake me up - food heh, a lump of brown stuff
that tastes just how it looks and a clear liquid to quaff it down - urk, time I checked
out my location and status on the computer.
"Gema, Location and status please."
The computer system then answered back in a fairly sexy voice, of my choosing of
"Welcome back Captain. It's good to talk to you again. We are on course
for re-fuelling station X1 in Mars orbit, ETA 30 minutes. Status: Crystal One
drive is at 2%, life support is at 10%."
"That's too close. You've got to remind me to refuel next time we leave the outer
rim worlds, Gema."
"Can we link in yet?"
"Yes Captain, you are online."
"Thanks, Gema. This is Captain John Havoc of the U.P.S. Talon requesting
permission to dock for refuelling and supplies. Code DARMA69."
"Permission granted, Talon. Proceed to bay 6."
"Roger, station X1. Am on my way."
"There will be a delay in re-fuelling your drive, Captain. The blue crystal
ore delivery from the Martian Surface is a few days late."
"Oh? No trouble, I hope."
"Unknown, Captain. We lost communication 36 hours ago. Possibly the weather.
Ever since those damned terrorformers started, communication has been ropey
"Understood, station X1. On my way to bay 6."
Waiting around has never been my strong point and two days without a word really
gets on my nerves.
Something strange is going on, it's not the weather, I can feel it, I never liked Mars, something about it sends a chill down my spine.
It's a feeling I've never been able to explain but ever since I was young it's filled me with fear.
On the other hand all this waiting is beginning to annoy me.
"Station control, this waiting is getting crazy. Request permission to take a shuttle
down to the Martian base to find out what the hell's happened to my supplies?"
"That would be a great help, Captain. We'll prepare Shuttle Delta in bay 2 for you.
What on earth was I doing? I have this planet yet here I am on my way to the surface.
Maybe all this cryo sleep has finally sent me mad...
The Martian base looms out of the orange glow like an ominous giant. Quiet and
lifeless, there is something strange, nothing is moving, the planet was terraformed
ten years ago, life was scarce but was there in many forms.
Birds and lizards lived on the surface yet none could be seen .... it's all wrong.
An alarm sounds on the control panel, radiation, high radiation. This must have
something to do with the lack of communication.
Slowly I approach the Martian base, no one is there to greet me, no contact is made.
I put on a jetpack and grab my trusty blaster.
A mystery is waiting to be solved.
Mars, I hate this planet. I always have.