"We were in Dead Faster-Than-Light Travel. I had to expend some of the remaining fuel to stop us. If I were to hit something at this speed, there would be no Aurora. Please take a moment to exit the Zero-Gravity environment, your Personal Shield Systems are all running below optimal levels, and must be recharged. Please find a newly activated Shield system, and place your PSS module on the magnetic contact surface to charge it. Emergency protocol "Bastion" enabled. Please navigate to Mess Hall 4, and await further instruction."
"How can the same shit happen again?" Ace asked, once again recovering from a sudden loss in gravity. The first time had been a shock but the second had been a bigger one. He had expected to stay in a gravity-sustained environment for more than a few minutes. Now being a little more used to Zero-G conditions, Ace simply pushed himself forwards using the floor and the walls instead of clinging onto something. I'm going to be ready the next time it happens I swear...
He began to charge his PSS, placing it on the magnetic contact surface. While it was charging he checked his PDA, which he now remembered he had in his case, to find where Mess Hall 4 was. He had rarely used it as he usually followed his quartet and decided not to try. "Fuck it I'll follow the Dr," Ace said as he pulled his PSS module off and continued to push off the walls.
After getting his PSS charged David returned to the fork in the road.
With that he advanced though the dark hallway, weapon drawn.
Marcus slowly rose to his feet with a slight groan, not exactly the response he wanted after restoring the A.I but at this point he'll take anything other than total A.I failure, he walked over to the PSS charging station and put his down looking at the ceiling while he waited until he was interrupted by Johann handing something to him.
"Mr. Law, please fix this for me. I imagine we will be able to navigate the ship easier if we all have a working headset."
Marcus nodded in agreement as he took the HUD-gear and looked it over.
"hmm I'll see what I can do, might be able to fix it completely right here or I might not be able to do anything without replacement parts, but we'll see how we go, you could always try asking it nicely that might work" Marcus replied as he walked over to an empty space on the terminal and placed the HUD down his helmets scanning systems indicating that it was still operational just with some systems out of order and a few broken hardware components. He opened it up and scanned it again. Finding that nothing important was broken which would mean it was beyond repair until he had some dedicated replacement parts, but only a few components were shook loose and needed to be secured back down again along with a cracked screen and a few frayed wires. He set about securing down each component with the soldering iron he got from Ellie's toolbox, to fix the wires he moved over to one of the non functional servers hunting around for some wires that were still useable, after about five minutes of searching he managed to find some and pull them out, replacing the broken wires with the new ones before closing it back up and switching it back on, the system now slightly more functional than it was before.
"I touched it up as well as I could ,it should work just fine except for the screen, can't find a replacement for that until later but it shouldn't matter" Marcus said handing the HUD back to Johann and grabbing his PSS from the charging station. "alright I'll be heading off now, I'm going to have a talk with Eli about what we should do next, Aurora could I get that same updated Map you gave Dr.Gallows and also I'd what's the status of our supplies" Marcus said walking out of the server room and towards the mess hall moving as quickly as he could.
"Thank you." Johann took the PSS, pocketing it with a nod in Markus' direction. "The rst of us will head to the mess hall."
The AI blinked on her screen for a moment as she appeared to look toward Jake. "I apologize, your ID card was corrupt, and did not initially match up with the ship manifest. I have corrected the mistake, Jake."
Mess Hall 4 would appear to be fairly clean. It was around the middle of the ship, thankfully, where the other group was as well. Everyone would have an easy time finding their way to the 2.2 G environment that was the Mess-Hall.
It would probably one of the cleaner areas of the ship. Silver trim, white tables. The place would instill a sense of calmness somehow. Regardless, it was easy to see why the AI had chosen the place. All of the chairs and tables were bolted to the floor, preventing the previous shenanagins from moving them around, and all of the tables were clean. There were no bodies to be seen, that and excluding the kitchen, there were three easily defend-able exits.
David entered the Mess Hall followed by Capek and Ace.
He scanned the Area and made note of the defend-able exits and a few other things.
He then holstered his gun and went to a vending machine and got a 7-Coke.
"Ahhhhh...that's the one..." He belched after taking a nice long drink.
Johann turned to Gallows. "Well? are you coming?"
"This place looks fine to me..." Ace said, scanning the room. He was wondering why the seats and tables weren't floating around when he noticed they were bolted down. Genius. He really meant it, it was a brilliant idea in Ace's mind. He chose not to drink anything, he wasn't particularly quenched and he knew that drinking a soda would only make him thirstier. He pushed himself onto a seat and sat down, wondering what would happen next. Will we all make it out? Or will we all die... No that's not possible. I'm going to make it out, and so are the others. Or will they? The game can't change...
"The game can't change, the game can't change, the game can't change..." Ace muttered over and over again.
"I apologize, Eli. But I am unable to answer that inquiry without specific parameters. My scans indicate the possibility of jamming, false information, or severe damage. As Engineering staff, I am permitted to notify that External Scanning Efficiency, or ESE, is at approximately 42%. 33% below the threshold where I am permitted to 'guess' at will. Please request my attention if you wish to ask any more inquiries, or to inquire about the 7 additional unread warning notices."
"Huh? Oh sorry...I was just thinking out loud." Eli responded. Floating up the weightless lift shaft, he drifted until he saw a door marking the correct floor. Using an emergency override he opened the door, causing an amber light to start flashing in the corridor. "Well at least there's gravity here." He muttered. Pushing off the back of the shaft he transitioned into the positive g environment about as gracefully as you would expect for a man with a stiff prosthetic leg.
As he approached the Mess a thought came to him. "Codex, do you know the status of the Nav. Array airlock? I'd like to do an E.V.A. at some point to check the array." Stepping in to the hall he looked around, taking stock of the people there. "So which one of you is Marcus Law?"
"Scanning..." The AI started. She would switch monitors, following Eli around. "The maintenance airlocks around the Navigation Array Subsystems appear to be functioning. Notice: Please use the Tertiary Auxiliary Navigation room to program emergency navigational protocols with the assistance of Command staff if possible. Extreme Danger: No Command staff found in active state on board the ship. I will allow those who seek it temporary access to all ship controls. All actions will be logged."
Once a good chunk of the group, as well as Eli was in the Mess Hall, the AI would display herself on one of the bigger monitors, normally reserved for propaganda about how great Earth is, and how well the war is going along with typical news highlights.
"Please wait, and remain comfortable in the Mess Hall. The Bastion protocol is designed to allow you to set up your own 'home base' and personal Bastion in the mid-point of the ship. I will answer all inquiries once the rest of the Active crew has entered the Mess Hall."
Marcus and Johann began moving towards the exit of the AI server chamber, Gallows stood for a moment.
it's 10:30pm back home, that means Stacy has probably put the girls down to bed by now. Jake's heart sank, thinking about them brought all the emotion he'd been too busy to have to the surface. He and the crew could be anywhere, in a majorly damaged ship, he'd heard this scenario before on documentaries and the sort, they almost never ended well.
He thought about the surprise attack that had brought them here, what if the Martians weren't just crippling the flagship? What if they had enough power to attack the fleet? What if they were actually attempting to attack the Earth as a whole? It didn't seem possible but the thought still nagged at him. How much money have we sank into this ship to have it fail? How much of our offensive capabilities were sacrificed so we could have this flashy ship? It was a modern day Titanic.
Jake just wanted to get home, maybe to fight back, maybe they'd have to rescue the fleet, he didn't care, forget the obstacles, fuck the odds, he just wanted to hold his family again.
It wasn't much but it was the only bond he shared with his wife at the moment, he shared it across any distance.
"Well? are you coming?" Johann's voice tore Jake out of his daydream. "Yeah, yeah...I'm right behind you guys." With that Jake trotted towards the door.
Johann walked in slience next to Markus and Gallows. He could feel a the tension wraping itself around his spine. It was an unerving experience, being in the bowels of an almost-dead ship, with just a damaged hull seperating you him from the void outside. He didnt bother trying to start a conversation; he didnt see the point of it, and one of the others would doubtless start talking soon. He fished his hip flask out of his pocket, flicked open the clasp, and took a quick draught of its contents. The alcohol burned his throat on the way down, and a slight ache started in his temples. He removed the packet of medication from his pocket, and swallowed one. The ache receded, but he knew it would be back soon.
Marcus remained silent as he continued walking, his mind focusing entirely on what he should be doing next.
"okay first things first, meet with the rest of the crew in the mess hall, talk with Eli about what to do about the ship and then find out just exactly where in space we are, the possibility of us still being in the local solar system are all but out the window but hopefully we're not too far out"
Marcus had to keep himself distracted with his work for if he allowed his mind to wander towards thinking about the gravity of his current situation he might start to lose his mind which at this time was something he couldn't allow, so to distract himself further he selected some of his favorite music from his HUD-gear and started playing it, as always at an obscenely loud volume.
He reached the Mess hall without much trouble, stepping through the doorway quickly and sitting down at one of the tables. The fact that there were no bodies to be seen anywhere weirded him out a little but he chose not to focus on that as he waited.
"Alright, which one of you is Eli?, I need to have a chat with him about navigation" Markus inquired looking from person to person for anyone who was wearing the standard issue jumpsuit eventually spotting Eli himself.
"Oi, Eli over here, good job with the reactor, real nice of you to make sure we don't all die" Markus smiled as he waved him over, an expression that was completely hidden under his helmet.
David leaned against the wall and began to count the number of incoming survivors.
Is this it? where there no more?... he thought to himself as he took another drink of his 7-Coke.
Iskierka saw David's face, involuntarily scrunched in a combination of disappointment and fear. It wasn't hard to see why: the mess hall was barely occupied. Still, maybe the rest were far from the hall.
"Codex: Can you give me a count of known survivors?" she inquired of the ship, dreading the answer.
"Ask the A.I. if it can set up a Radio link with HQ, We need Evac and Bombs to finish this ship off, Lest the Martians get their hands on the Specs." David said to Capek as he finished his Drink and kicked the can across the floor.
"If's it's General Weapons Inc. that Answers, Tell them David West wants to talk to them..."
"Oi, Eli over here, good job with the reactor, real nice of you to make sure we don't all die"
"Ah, you must be Markus." He said, shaking the suited hand. "How's your E.V.A. training? I want to go outside and have a look at our Nav. Array, and hopefully get it online so we can tell where the fuck we are." Standing there Eli ran through what he knew about Mr. Law...which was unfortunately not much.
When he had started with the Aurora Project, Eli was one of the leads on the design of the ship, and Marcus would've been just another body there to help the project along. And now he's probably got a higher security clearance than me. He though bitterly. After his brothers attack on the Capeks and the subsequent investigation, he'd found that while he had been kept on board because of his knowledge of the ship he was pretty much at the bottom of the pile now.
"Ask the A.I. if it can set up a Radio link with HQ, We need Evac. and bombs to finish this ship off, lest the Martians get their hands on the Specs. If's it's General Weapons Inc. that Answers, Tell them David West wants to talk to them..."
Eli sighed, and smiled ruefully. "I wouldn't get your hopes up David. I'm not the best with astro navigation, but I know enough to know that we are probably well outside our own system with how long we where in FTL. We're just lucky that blind jump didn't slam us into a star or something."
"I wouldn't get your hopes up David. I'm not the best with astro navigation, but I know enough to know that we are probably well outside our own system with how long we where in FTL. We're just lucky that blind jump didn't slam us into a star or something."
"I know, I know, just we have to try and reach Command, not only to save ourselves but to prevent the reverse engineering of this ship." David answered as he checked his Magnum out of habit.
"I know, I know, just we have to try and reach Command, not only to save ourselves but to prevent the reverse engineering of this ship." David said, Coke-7 still in hand
"He's right" Iskierka added. "Even if the odds of successful connection are slim, we do need to try and make contact with home." she finished saying to Eli before turning her attention to David. "However, I do think we should wait until the external sensors are repaired first. I'd rather not broadcast our location if we are too close to an enemy ship or base." she concluded, before going to one of the vending machines and grabbing herself a coffee.
"However, I do think we should wait until the external sensors are repaired first. I'd rather not broadcast our location if we are too close to an enemy ship or base."
"That shouldn't be a problem, As Eli said, we are well out of Martian Range, the question is are we still in Earth Range..."
Then David remembered something.
"Wait...did anyone pass by the Wreak Room on their way here?" He asked the group.
Marcus shrugged in response "eh it was alright, not too hard, not too easy, just right" Marcus knew all about Eli, more specifically he knew all about his family, he hated the Martians for putting him through what happened on the Melody but honestly he knew Eli wasn't associated with the Martians, or at least not to the point where any evidence could be turned up and even if he was Marcus had a gut feeling that Eli wouldn't have assisted with attacking the Aurora, it was his ship, he designed it, he put his heart and soul into it, there's no way he would want it destroyed.
"Right probably just a busted relay or something and then after that we have to sort out our supplies, although that might be a job better suited for somebody else. The closest Mooring station could be a long ways away so we have to start devising a system for rationing supplies as soon as we can" Marcus replied. "oh and if we're going outside I'm going to need to grab a new oxygen tank mine nearly ran out when I woke up to find the room I was in had just been transformed into a balcony, good view though" Marcus chuckled softly at his own joke trying his best to make light of the situation.
The AI appeared to look around from her large monitor, ensuring that everyone was in the room before she spoke. "I have detected that all surviving crew has found their way to the Mess Hall. Iskierka, I believe an approximate of 7 members of crew are alive, as well as one non-human life form in personnel." She stated. Her face and voice was still cold and expressionless, but there was a hint of sadness. "It appears to be trapped in Security officer Torelli's room."
"Emergency Protocol 'Bastion' has been activated. This protocol was entered in by Acclimate with a 0.0032 per cent chance of use. Emergency Protocol 'Bastion' is only be used if I have detected that there is a 88% chance or higher that we have left the Sol Solar System. You may override my conclusion if you wish after I have explained how I have come to this conclusion. At approximately 4:15:28, The Aurora engaged in evasive maneuvers after detecting a StarKiller Class Torpedo Signal Lock. StarKillers are typically designed with enough payload to destroy the old Ceres Station."
"At approximately 4:15:37 I advised Command that we should consider FTL flight as an attempt of escape. Due to data corruption, I am unable to explain my stance. At approximately 4:16:42, Command engaged FTL flight. At approximately 4:16:42, The SS Aurora lost power, and I was shut down."
The AI looked down, as if she had done something wrong. "I do not know how long FTL Flight was engaged. Please be aware that in order to get to the Outreach Space Station orbiting Neptune, it takes approximately 0.8 seconds. My scans indicate that we are in the solar system, but the time difference and inconsistencies I have detected indicates that it is not Sol."
The AI then looked up. It was now time for user input. "That is my reasoning for activating the Emergency Protocol 'Bastion.' You may all have level Zero access to override me activating Emergency Protocol 'Bastion,' as well as to ask me inquiries and for advice. It will also ultimately be your decision wither or not to place the ship in S.O.S. Mode, and place ourselves in a state of distress to ask for assistance. West, I am unable to find any signals in known encrypted channels, but so far, I have found one message on a non-standard channel. May I also take a moment to request that you do not litter in the Mess Hall."
Finally, the AI had completed her long rant. She took a mute deep breath. "Please take a moment an ask any inquiries. I have a total of 8 Ship-wide danger notices."
Heh, Half the Ship is a wreak and she worries about litter...
"A.I.: 2 questions, 1. What is in Torelli's Room, 2. Can you play the Message?" David asked as he picked up the can and lobbed it into a nearby bin.
"A.I.: 2 questions, 1. What is in Torelli's Room, 2. Can you play the Message?" David asked, already taking the initiative. Of course, Iskierka had her own questions. "Codex: after answering David's questions, could you please list the 8 ship-wide danger notices and any associated recommendations to rectify them." she added.
Ace listened to the A.I. and the others. He wasn't needed and frankly Ace liked it that way. He would let the others do the work while he watched and followed. He was a musician anyway, what could he do? Play a tune to make the others feel better? Even though most of their chatter went through one ear and came out the other, one thing that interested him was the 'life form' trapped in Torelli's room. The chance of an alien intruder that slipped through while they were travelling FTL was slim but possible. Of course this was just Ace running wild with his imagination; he really knew that it was going to be some kind animal. It could even be a plant.
Ace was glad he wasn't dwelling on his survival anymore. He was regaining his confidence that he would make it out, even if they weren't in Sol. Faith in strangers Ace...faith in strangers.
" The way I see it, there is no chance of rescue. It took us years to build one working FTL drive, and even if they did manage to build another before we all die, Earth has no idea where we are. Our best chance of survivaal is to cease our pointless floating and get the ship moving. It is possible we will encounter a friendly alien race who will offer us shelter. Or maybe we'll kill each other within a week." Johann sighed, again taking out his hip flask. "False hope of contacting 'Command' will get us nowhere, Law"
The AI looked down toward David. "My scans are not operating at optimal capacity in personnel. The creature is approximately 1 foot tall." She replied to the first question. Her face moved aside to display a small waveform window for the upcoming message. "This, is what I was able to Decipher, West. Please remain quiet while the audio is playing."
The signal seemed to have a lot of static, and was barely understandable, even if it was in the English language. "Ssorresrs... Woscr uis... Umdmuvm..." was all that could be made out. The voice was low, almost harsh sounding. "The signal is audio only and analogue. There is no meta-data stored in an analogue signal."
The AI appeared to step forward, but the 'window' containing the audio file remained opened behind her, showing that she would keep it open in case anyone had any more questions about it. Her attention turned to Iskierka.
"The 8 Ship-Wide emergency protocols are as follows, Iskierka. Extreme Danger: Carbon Scrubber Damage. An Estimated 834 hours of clean oxygen remaining until it is repaired. Engineering should be able to remove, and replace the damaged components. If the components are not found, then it is possible to replace the filters until assistance has arrived. Extreme Danger: Reactor vents severely damaged. While Scans indicate that some Radiation leaks has been repaired, We are still leaking some radiation into open space. I have adjusted the Vents after disengaging FTL Flight so that radiation is vented away from the ship. As of right now, there are no known recommendations for repairs. I will closely monitor cooling of the Reactor to ensure that they remain in optimal levels."
"Extreme Danger: Shield System Damaged. Shield Maximum Capacity is now at 5%. Shields must remain in a lower level until the radiation leaks are repaired, however, Half of Shields sub-systems has been destroyed in the attack. Mooring required. Extreme Danger: Water Systems are damaged. Please conserve water. Hydrophonics will continue to get enough water to keep plants alive. Please repair all damaged piped and moor to resupply on fresh, clean water. Danger: Endurium fuel levels at 12%. We may not have enough for another FTL jump. Mooring and refueling is required."
"Danger: Engines are not running at optimal levels. Minor on-ship repairs required, as Engines appear to be operating at 84%. Caution: Ammunition levels at 8%. Mooring and resupply required. Caution: Ship Sensors are severly damaged. I am only able to scan in parts of the ship at an optimal level, but I am unable to scan outside the ship below optimal levels. I cannot automatically provide my findings. Spot-repairs required throughout the entirety of the functioning ship. End log, Iskierka."
David listened to the message.
"That...doesn't sound human..." He mumbled, while it was most likely a cat or something in Torelli's room, but now the uncertainly wouldn't go away.
They're coming out of the god-damn walls...
Extreme Danger: Carbon Scrubber Damage. An Estimated 834 hours of clean oxygen remaining until it is repaired.
"834 hours?... that's...around...34 Days..." He grimly said after.
He slowly grabbed his head and started to silently curse to himself.
As Codex gave a more detailed damage report, Eli closed his eyes to listen. All in all that's not as bad as I'd initially feared. He thought. Now we're just fucked, instead of totally fucked. Opening his eyes, he looked to the nearest monitor.
"Okay, Codex send the repair droids to fix the water systems, and could you highlight the locations of known engine faults on my HUD? I'll get to them ASAP. Once the droids have patched the water, have them start on the battle damage. I know we lack supplies for full repairs so concentrate on anything structurally compromising, and if necessary cannibalize non-structural components from the Planetary Assault bays...not like we need'em now."
Rubbing the heel of his hand into his tired eyes, he let out a groan. "Well Marcus my plans've changed a bit. How 'bout you go fix our air supply so we don't choke, and I'll see about the array? After that, we'll see what we can do with the engines."
Iskierka considered the problems and frowned. Most of the problems were only major in the long-term or to military effectiveness. Given how they didn't seem to be under attack, the later of these seemed poised to be relegated to the end of the end of the list.
Of greater concern were the problems related to air supply, water supply, radiation, and to a lesser extent fuel. They currently had a month's supply of air - but a bit of bad luck and a hole to vacuum could cut that in half. People could only survive so long without water, and their ability to grow food was likewise at risk. They would need more fuel at some point, if only to keep the air-filters, water pumps, heaters, and lights on. All of these systems were easy enough to fix however - only requiring the parts and resources to maintain - nothing much she could do aside from the grunt work.
The radiation however, she might be able to help with. Drawing on her knowledge base from her failed anti-matter experiments, she knew of a few simple tools she might be able to make that would come in handy. "I'll see what I can do about the radiation. I might be able to jury-rig a radiation sponge - maybe get us close enough to the radiation leaks to patch them. I'll need to find some super-dense materials though." she offered, ready to do something productive. she turned to the A.I. and made her next inquiry. "Codex: any ideas where we can get the parts we need to fix the air systems or heavy metals for a radioactive material filter?"
Johann observed his crewmates. He knew he wouldn't be any use to the scientist, and the engineers didnt need an extra pair of hands. There was only one thing left for him to do. "You" he said, pointing at David and Ace, "What are your names?"
Jake got up from the table and looked towards the AI "Can you scan for organics if they are dead? Or at least a list of how many people were on the ship before the jump? It's something I don't really want to think about but we will need to gather our dead at some point, hopefully get them in somewhere for cold storage." Jake walked towards the door of the Mess Hall. "And if we are done here, I'm heading to my room momentarily."
David eye'd up a Map on the Wall and traced it from the Mess Hall to the Wreak Room.
"What are your names?"
"David West, Security Detail...Right...Well, I need to get something from the Arcade, I'll be back in a while..." He said before spinning his Revolver and heading out of the hall.
"Eli," The AI started with the engineer. "I have received the command, however, I am having difficulty accessing the relevant personality data for Fabrication. I will attempt to replace the pipes to the best of my ability. However, I must leave the re-purposing of non-functional hardware to you, or allow you to assess a component's usefulness before I am able to break it down. I cannot take anything apart that could be vital to your survival. I have successfully usurped control of 36 Repair robots throughout the ship."
She would pause for a moment before Eli received an email on his PDA. "Map schematics sent for minor spot-welding jobs. Mooring required for major repairs."
Iskierka was next in line. "Science officer Iskierka. In the planetary Drop bays, there are some components for shielding, as part of the new base was to use a small nuclear reactor. You may be able to use some shielding. Danger! Please use a full anti-radiation suit before entering the Reactor Vent subsystem. Our Reactor has been downgraded to a Mark-3 ED reactor. Our goal is to ensure that it becomes a Mark 2 EB once again. I will be the operator to ensure that the Reactor does not overload."
The AI's attention now turned toward Jake as he was heading for the exit. "Due to the condition of my scanners, I am unable to effectively find all who may be Killed In Action. Before the jump, we have a skeleton crew of approximately 250 crew. I have reason to believe that 182 members are Missing in Action. I will continue to work to the best of my ability to locate crew who have been Killed in Action."
"What are your names?" Johann said, but Ace didn't pay any attention to him at first. He was too busy thinking about his escape and since no one seemed to pay any attention to him up until now the last thing he expected was someone talking to him. It was only when he noticed that David was introducing himself that he realized that the question had been aimed at him too. He tried not to look too confused, "Ace Jefferson, musician." While a part of him didn't want to be used for labour, another part told him that it would make his escape faster. He liked the sound of that. "If you need me for anything, hit me."