Chapter 3: The Moon
As the ship arrived at its destination in a far off solar system, Rick turned in his chair and said to the black haired guard behind him, “So, I put in the coordinates, and I feel I owe you an apology. We didn’t explode, even though you wouldn’t let me verify the trajectories or even look at the map and in fact, wouldn’t even let me near my own desk until you had finished doing what you were doing. I for one am glad you got lucky.” With that, Rick spun around back to his keyboard while the guard replied with indignation, “Lucky? I have been working on-board vessels as a navigator for years! I know how to plot a jump, and this is a secret location!” Dan grinned slightly as he looked at his screen and muttered, “Not anymore.” Just then he felt a large, rough hand on his shoulder and heard the blonde guard saying, “The device we put on your ship also deletes all files the moment it is removed, so all those numbers will be gone whether this ship explodes or whether you somehow actually manage to pull this off.” Dan slumped in his chair for a moment before suddenly staring at the screen, muttering numbers to himself. Kaleb wandered over and asked, “Is he actually trying to memorize the coordinates?” Karl blinked a moment before yanking Dan from his chair and answering, “He was.” He then drew his pistol and said, “Alright. Make for the small moon. The blue one, dead ahead. That is our objective.” Rob steered the ship straight where Karl had directed while replying, “Alright, but only because I want to see what’s so important myself.” Jess added, “And perhaps we WILL get rich on this? Wouldn’t that be a great turn of things? From death sentence to filthy rich, just like that!” Karl Shook his head and motioned to Kaleb, saying, “Come on, let’s get our gear ready for the landing.” With that, they left the bridge. The moment the door closed behind them, Rob jumped up from his chair and said, “Alright guys, I need a plan to get rid of our trackers, the ship tracker, and the two goons which also lets us become rich. Any ideas? After a short pause with all the crew racking their brains, Jess let out a small grunt as she threw her hand in the air and said, “What if we hold the goons hostage until they get the trackers out? I’ve always wanted to tie someone to a chair!” Dan shook his head and replied, “They can just push a button and boom, tracker explodes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also had a voice command or a timer or some other back up for the trackers.” Rob stroked his chin and replied, “ok, what if we just remove our own trackers first, throw the goons out the airlock, then hop on the top of the ship with a crowbar and wedge the ship tracker off?” Rick replied, “Yeaaah, if these things get tampered with too much, they go off even if they didn’t get a signal to, so I’d say no. The ship tracker should be the least annoying one to do though, so we just have to focus on the goons and the trackers in our arms” Michael shrugged and said, “What if we cut our arms off?” The rest of the crew looked at him, stunned, causing him to raise his hands defensively in front of himself and add, “It was a joke! It was a joke! Although, let’s be honest, it would remove the tracker.” Dan replied, “True, but it just adds a whole bunch of new problems.” Jess let out an exasperated sigh and replied, “Ok, we can figure it out eventually, it’s not like we need them out now or anything.” Rick rubbed his arm where it had been put in and replied, “Easy for you to say.” Right then, Kaleb and Karl reentered the bridge, each one carrying a surprisingly large blaster rifle that, in all honesty, was only a few small steps beneath being a handheld cannon. Rob took one look, blinked rapidly for a moment, and asked, “Where did you get those, and where’s mine?” Kaleb pressed a button, causing his gun to make a slight buzzing sound and replied, “This is mine, that is Karls, you don’t get one.” The crestfallen look on Rob’s face would have made a small puppy cry, but neither of the soldiers were small puppies, so it had no effect on them other than making Karl raise an eyebrow in mild amusement before replying, “Get your gear and meet us on the exit ramp. Be ready to fight.” As they turned to leave, Rick let out a small moan and asked, “Fight? Fight what?” But the only reply he got was the door closing behind the two. A few minutes later, at the exit ramp, Karl and Kaleb looked over the crew in shock for a moment before asking the entire crew, “This is a joke, right? Please tell me you’re joking.” One could understand his distress because other than basic outdoor survival gear, none of the crew was especially well armed, each one having just a single pistol at their side and each with something unusual. Rick was wearing a electronic monocle, Jess was wearing a device on her wrist that looked like a mix of a watch, phone, mechanical pencil, tape measurer, pedometer, and a stapler, none of which seemed to be working. Rob was wearing a belt with more flashing lights and spinning gears than any device had any right to have and Dan was carrying a staff. Not a fancy, electronic staff or one made out of glued swords or something, just an ordinary wooden staff which he was busy sliding a smoking pipe into as he entered the cargo hold. Michael had slightly better looking armor on and a sheathed Katana on his back, making him look the most prepared to Karl and Kaleb, but only in comparison to the rest. As the crew looked at the guards, then at each other, Rob smacked his forehead and replied, “Of course! What were we thinking!” With that he ran to the side and grabbed a small cooler, saying, “Almost forgot lunch.” Kaleb looked at Rob for a moment, speechless, before replying, “Well, if nothing else, you’ll make an adequate meat shield when the creatures attack.” With that, he hit the button to open the door while the entire crew in unison asked, “Wait, creatures?” As the ramp reached the ground, Karl and Kaleb moved out, sweeping the area and giving shouts of, “Clear right! Nothing on scanners. Thermals clear” And other military jargon while the rest of the crew timidly stepped out quietly muttering among each other;
Creatures? What kind of creatures?
Maybe they’re just trying to scare us.
Well, it’s working! I wanna go back on the ship! I’ve always wanted to escape guaranteed death, you know, add it to my resume.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Hey, I can talk to judges, I can’t talk to creatures that want to eviscerate me.
Don’t worry, most creatures just want food. Give them that and they’ll leave you alone.
And if they decide I’M the food?
Then I can get away safely.
Har har. You’re hilarious.
With that, Rob yelled out to the two guards, “So what exactly are we looking for?” He bent down and grabbed a rock off the ground, held it aloft and asked, “Is this it? Can we go home now?” Kaleb pulled out a small scanner, scanned the rock and replied, “No. That’s Andesite mixed with Dunite. We’re looking for pure Leonium. Rick straightened up at that and replied, “Leonium? I’ve heard of that stuff.” Michael looked at him and asked, “What is it?” Rick replied, “Well, for starters, it’s supposed to be the stuff of legends, but according to the legends it’s virtually indestructible. Stories talk about a famous ship that could survive a direct hit from a Mark 5 Hull Breacher missile unscathed.” Rob whistled and said, “Wow, our ship couldn’t survive even a Mark 1 version of those things. So is this moon supposed to be where it comes from?” Karl looked at his scanner and replied, “Yes. Now let’s get moving, we should be able to get more supplies about 5 clicks in that direction.” Jess angled her head quizzically and asked, “Why? Is there a store over there?” Kaleb grinned and replied, “No. It’s where the last ship we sent here should be. They landed, started searching, and then were never heard from again.” Dan jerked his head around to look at Kaleb and said, “You know, this mission is sounding less and less fun the more you talk.” Jess added, “Maybe he shouldn’t talk, it feels like he’s causing all the bad stuff just by saying it exists.” Michael silently nodded his agreement as the whole group made their way in the direction Karl had indicated. Rob made his way over to Rick and quietly asked, “Anything?” Rick tapped his monocle and replied, I’m not getting anything unusual on thermal, backscatter, motion, sonic, UV, or Pheromone scans. For now it seems safe enough other than the two goons we’re stuck with.” Rob nodded and turned to Jess and said, “Be ready to deploy the moment Rick gives the word. Dan, be ready if she fails and Michael…” Michael interrupted, “No worries, I’ll take care of it if everything else fails.” With that, they made their way towards where the ship was supposed to be with Karl and Kaleb leading the way and everyone else chattering absent-mindedly in the back.
Hey, maybe there will be Military food supplies on the ship! Our supplies are running a bit low.
Military food? I think I’d rather die, or eat the cables from the engine room.
Don’t you dare! I finally got most of those fixed and in more or less the right place!
It was a joke. Don’t panic Jess
I’m more interested in seeing their weapon reserves.
If they disappeared without a trace, they probably used up their weapons.
Hey, you never know, maybe they disappeared very suddenly?
Yeah, not boosting my moral here.
The chatter continued until Karl turned around and glared at the group, shushing them into silence for the remainder of the Trek across the rocky terrain.