Freya's Tears

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Message to Lafayette

Mission: Book Two - Ginnungagap
Location: New Pacifica - Freya's Tears

“Commander Folsum, Lafayette: Eyes Only.”

Els leaned back at her tiny desk, staring into the recording device. Her workstation monitor above and to one side showed the ship’s current status and spacial location as well as an inset image of her message as she recorded it.

“Commander, you were right to worry about lack of contact from this system. We arrived at New Pacifica in good time to discover that…the planet has been destroyed. There’s literally nothing left. The entire planet is simply gone.” She sighed. “I didn’t want to run into a shooting war so we translated into the system at these coordinates.” She added the data string to the visual record. “That saved our butts. The worst of the damage is located right where normal shipping lanes terminate. Anybody entering the system on the standard flight path will arrive in the middle of a meteor field. Without knowledge or preparation, their ships would be demolished before they had time to react.”

She closed her eyes, rubbing them a moment. “We’ve been here for most of a modular day, running diagnostics on our sensors and checking the debris field for survivors.” Dropping her hand, she looked at the recording unit. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone survived this catastrophe.” Mental images of the disaster played across her vision and she paused, staring off into space. Twenty-nine million people.
Els shook herself, eyes darting to her recorded image before returning to the recording unit. “I’m attaching images and the sensor data of our initial search. We’re skirting the damage to reach the translation point out of system and on to Bliss. It should take us a few days. I’ll dispatch a warning buoy, but I don’t have many nor do they have the strength to transmit across the entire system. Please alert the appropriate authorities and I’d suggest sending someone with better equipment to cordon off the area.”

Leaning close, Els saw her image grow on the monitor out of the corner of her eye. “The orbits of the other planets will be in fluctuation for some time and what’s left of New Pacifica—” She swallowed. “The force of what happened to New Pacifica is going to take years to dissipate. I’d advise a full quarantine of the system until an inquiry can discover what caused this.” She straightened, huffing a laugh she didn’t really feel. “But take that bit of advice with a grain of salt. I’m just a mid-range hauler captain, not military brass or a scientific genius.”

A green light blinked on her monitor, distracting Els from her message as she pulled up the information. The shuttle was refueled and ready to go. Time to get a move on. She returned her attention to the recording device. “Sorry for the world of shit I’m dumping on you, Commander. I think I’ll owe you a case of wine next time we cross paths, eh? Freya’s Tears out.”

She shut down the recording and bundled it together with her ship and shuttle sensor data as well as images and navigational information. Once everything was neatly packaged, she accessed the tachcomm and sent it to Lafayette.

Four days. Not just four days before the ship would reach the other side of the system, but Els had a minimum of four days before the military would arrive, providing Folsum immediately sent a contingent of his own troops upon receipt of her communique. She doubted he’d just pass the message on to his superiors and ignore the situation. Folsum was a gung ho officer who didn’t enjoy sitting on his laurels if there was something else happening. He’d come and, though he technically didn’t have jurisdiction in this system, he’d claim that emergency protocols gave him the legal authority to control the area until representatives of the Siler Republic Space Navy arrived. And the military disliked salvage operations with a passion. They thought spacers who engaged in scavenging ships and disasters such as this one were nothing more than scum, greedy lowlifes benefitting from and sometimes causing the misfortune of others.

Els understood the sentiment, having been military herself. Since leaving her system’s naval force, she’d come to understand that not all salvage ops were conducted by criminals. Though she found the action distasteful upon occasion, it all boiled down to a matter of survival. If something horrible happened in the blackness of space, there was no where to go, no one to call for help. Resources were finite and could make the difference between life and death. An abandoned wreck floating in the middle of nowhere was a treasure trove.

She stood and stretched. It had been a long day and was only going to get longer. The shuttle was ready and the search was on.

 

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