Woke from cryosleep to alarms and stupid ship shaking itself apart. It had gotten hooked on a priority distress signal and followed it into a planets atmosphere before it woke anyone. I am going to need to do something about that damn programming, fucking thing almost got us all dead.
The captain aint good for much but he is a pretty good pilot then he concentrates. Good in a firefight too, I seen him gun down three guys one time they tried to hijack the ship. That was right after he offered to let me travel on his ship as long as I kept it running. Guess that was only a few months ago, but is seems a lot longer. After I patched him up he managed to fly us to another station where he got proper medical help and we picked up a smuggler with a cargo and a lady looking for a ride. Brook and Todd have been useful since I guess though I don’t see any of them much.
So anyway the captain managed to keep us from crashing into the ocean of the planet. Seems like an out of the way ball of rock and water (mostly water on the surface) called Cassius 4. A little watery drip of a planet on the edge of the inner frontier, with iron rich blood red oceans and a secret Fleet facility sucking in ships from deep space with it’s damnable distress signal. We landed on a metal platform sticking out of the water.
The whole planet is wet, water is even falling through the air, blech. But everyone says we should all go check it out. So I put on an ENVI-suit, cause well that is an environment so duh! We all go out and go down the elevator to the lobby. Some beat up old security bots come out and I take cover by the computer terminals, trying to tap into the security program. Everyone else blows the bots to scrap. Too bad too, if I had been given a chance to reprogram one then we would have had an escort around the facility, and that would have made our day a lot easier.
It turns out that it was a Fleet facility and the signal was originating from somewhere deep below the surface. The consoles in the lobby had limited functionality, seems someone had shut down the main computer. All the info I could get indicated most of the building was flooded but a few sealed chambers still held air on level e-9. The codding indicated it was supposed to be some sort of secret level in the hidden facility. Damn Fleet trying to keep everything top secret and above top secret and super extra top secret, bunch of dickbags.
We used the elevator to get to E-9, it seemed to be about 60 meters below the surface. The main hall had water about up to my knees, filled with seaweed and briny critters and gunk. Most of the doors were sealed and holding back an ocean of water. We managed to get to some sort of science room. Only one of the computers still worked but it had a live floor plan and we noticed two other rooms were free of water, the comm room and some sort of tool room. We assumed the signal was likely coming from the comm room.
While I scaved for scientific data, parts and portable scientific apparatus The others checked the door. Todd blasted the lock with his gun, ya sure I said he should but I can’t believe he actually did it. I managed to repair it enough to figure out it was coded to a specific key card authentication. We looked for a card but didn’t find one. The science computer contained records of the tool room containing a fabricator that could make key cards. The problem was that the only way into the tool room was through flooded chambers or from outside by means of a moon pool in the room.
Water rushing through the security doors forced us to move to other alternatives. We were left with trying to make a hole in the door or getting to the fabricator from the outside. We went back to the ship to regroup and gather equipment. Todd grabbed a cutting torch and I grabbed a heavy piece of scrap. As Todd went to the elevator I jumped off the platform into the water.
The metal weight carried me down quickly, the pressure really hurt but I managed to keep my head and let go of the weight at the right time. I saw the ruins of some of the rest of the facility on the bottom a few dozen meters away. I also saw a huge tentacled armored fish creature disappearing around the far side of the structure. I didn’t waste any time entering the fabrication room from through the moon pool.
The building shook while I was programming the computer to manufacture the key card. Later I found out it was an escape pod hitting the ship platform. It carried a human woman I later found out, she is called she … weird but whatever. I got the key and got out of the room and back into the unflooded part of E-9 where Todd was pretending to use the cutting torch to heat the security door. With the proper credentials we opened the door.
The room was a massive hollow sphere with a radius of at least 12 meters. A metal walkway, obviously not of the same construction as the sphere, went out to the center and around some sort of sealed object with many sensors and devices built on it.
As we approached the center we noticed the blinking light of the distress beacon and the object opened. A strange alien figure emerged, that of a humanoid alien head and torso. The eyes opened and it informed us we were unauthorized personnel and were to be eliminated. Automated gun turrets came out of the ceiling and began tracking us. The others ran but I stayed and plugged into the nearest cyber data port. This was an alien system being studied by Fleet. I managed to turn off the blasted beacon but was only able to convince the alien system to allow us to leave in peace. Then I left.
The captain found some kind of female fish creature to bring with him. He can be a bit creepy sometimes. But we went back to the surface and loaded the escape pod and left.
I am not sure how much data or stuff I got from the science room, I still have to go through it. Maybe someday we will return with diving equipment to Cassius 4. The computer has been shut down so much of its data may be recoverable even after prolonged submersion. And the alien room is unlikely to suffer any damage. It will likely take many years for the facility to degrade enough to collapse, though it will likely be completely flooded if we go back.
If any of the data is good I should be able to study the logs of my interaction with the alien device and the material I salvaged from the scientists to generate a program to clear me as authorized personnel. Yes, some day we may return. But right now, I am getting some sleep.