The Depths of Space

Saidruck and his crew stumble across and ancient wreck in the depths of space. As they begin to investigate it and try to find out who it belongs to, things start to go wrong and Saidruck realises there is more to himself and this wrecked spaceship than first meets the eye...

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3. Strange Findings

            The bridge was dead, just like the rest of the ship. It was in a similar mess; consoles blown to scrap, dead knights, some in lighter armour, deck hands of some form. The main window was cracked but not broken and emergency shutters had closed over a few sections. Over everything lay the silence of death and the sadness of a ship never to fly again. It was pitch black save for their lights, only serving to intensify the feeling they weren’t supposed to be there.

            Carefully Saidruck clambered over to the command throne, similar to his own back on their ship, just theirs wasn’t quite as fancy. Two of the screens next to it were smashed, the other two intact.

            B103 joined him and gingerly tapped the screen with the glove of his suit, nothing happened. “Dead, all dead. Come on boss, let’s get out of here,” he urged spinning round and tracing his light across the bridge.

            The other three had taken up positions in the middle, guns unslung and at the ready; something about the ship unnerved them.

            Saidruck tapped the screen, purely by habit of doing so when at his command throne. Ping! They all jumped in alarm! “What was that?!” B758 demanded in surprise, the screen lit up a deep blue but did nothing more. Saidruck calmed his maddened heart and moved forwards again, having taken an involuntary step back at the sudden noise.

            “The computer isn’t dead,” Saidruck said very quietly.

            “What is it?” B103 asked his voice taking on a hysterical edge.

            B78 joined Saidruck by the throne and tried pressing the other screen, nothing happened. Tentatively Saidruck gave it a prod. Ping! It lit it too.

            “Cut it out! That ain’t funny!” B103 exclaimed his pistol drawn.

            “Relax it’s just an old computer,” Saidruck soothed pressing the screen again, this time it flickered to a red display.

            =Ship critical, power systems offline, weapon systems offline, life support systems offline, lighting...= lines of text scrolled across the pulsing red screen, lighting the bridge with a sinister red glow.

            “That’s odd,” B78 remarked pressing the screen, still nothing. “Doesn’t seem to respond to me,” he said trying again.

            Saidruck prodded it and the text disappeared to be replaced by an outline of the ship, almost every section was highlighted in red. The background was back to the deep blue, white text gave more information on the ship. “Yet works for you,” B78 continued as Saidruck tapped the bridge icon.

            =Bridge systems offline, damage to main window at 13%, temperature -30  ̊C, air pressure 1 bar, friendlies 1, life forms 5= Saidruck frowned. “Friendlies one?” he queried.

            “I don’t like the sound of that,” B78 said drawing his own energy sword.

            “Is there something here with us?” B103 asked nervously backing towards B758 and B759.

            Saidruck tapped the line of text. =1 ICE, 4 unknown= it expanded.

            “...No, it’s saying one ICE, four unknown,” Saidruck said very slowly.

            “What’s ICE?” B78 asked. B759 grunted and pointed his light up to above the throne where the emblem of the pincer crossed with the capital ‘I’ adorned the wall. Under it were the words ‘Iron Claw Empire’.

            “Iron Claw Empire?” B78 read out.

            “Clearly whoever this ship belonged to,” B758 added.

            “So what does it mean one ICE four other?” There are five of us?” B103 asked clearly starting to calm his nerves.

            “I don’t know...” Saidruck answered. Carefully he took a seat in the command throne, the two working screens within arm’s reach on his right.

            “Warning you guys! Barrens! We’re in trouble!” A voice yelled in their ears, transmitted over from their ship. For the second time in minutes they all jumped.

            “What?!” Saidruck exclaimed standing up again sharply. “Exactly what’s happened?” he demanded, his blood running cold.

            “A Barren fleet has arrived in system! They’re sending escort ships after us!” came the reply. Saidruck cursed, they were in trouble. The Barrens were a race of humans, ruled over by a man called Korang. They were sworn enemies of the Dinamitys, for the Dinamity race was part of UCEF, an alliance of creatures who were engaged in a long war with the Barrens. In short, they were stuck in a system with no means of escape and Barren ships were bearing down on them!

            “How many?” Saidruck asked dreading the answer.

            “Four frigates two destroyers!” Far more than they could hope of fighting.

            “And the rest of the fleet?”

            “A cruiser sitting by the portal to stop us escaping!” They were in for it now.

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