Once we’d all come down from our Reaver encounter, we got back to business. As Miss V pointed out, our time here is limited and we shouldn’t dilly-dally. That’s a word I’ve seen in books, but I never thought I’d live to hear it spoken. It sound pretty coming from her.
So we set our sights on the newest looking cargo ship. It’s a standard Y-class cargo. A little old fashioned for my taste. If I’ve been on one, I’ve been on a hundred. We used to see ’em all the time on Verbena. But that was a long time ago and navigatin’ on a dark ship is a mite different than stomping through a livin’ breathin’ ship for repairs. I left my databook accidentally in my bunk so I commed Maggie for directions.First I got the lights and the air goin’.
She lead us right to the helm. One computer was just humming along. Surprised the hell outta me. How long has it been sitting here waiting input? Taped to the vid display was a Posty with a bumble of letters and numbers.
“Huh. Could it be that easy?” Prudence held up the Posty. I smiled. “Let’s us just take a look.” I keyed up the display and entered the code. The screen glowed and the words “First passcode accepted” appeared.
“First? First passcode?!” I felt a hand on my shoulder. “It”s OK, Swei. Why don’t you see about grabbing the hard drives from these other machines and we’ll worry about the passcode, OK?”
“Yes ‘um, Miss V.”
I got done with the drives lickety fast so I check in with Maggie. Everything was fine on her end so I went to the engine room. The Y-class is a good ship and this one, in particular, well it is a fine ship. There ain’t a scratch on her. Nary. And that got me to thinking. There’s a some fine stores on this vessel. I guess no one ever got to this one ‘fore the Reavers got to them, maybe. And instead of the mountain going to Mohammed, as they say, old Mohammed needs to go to the mountain. I palmed my comm. “Miss V. I got an idea. Got a minute?” Her voice came back quickly. “Not now, Swei. I’m getting your second passcode.”
Unbeknownst to my knowledge, those guys had gone all over the ship. Like me they found a ship almost preserved in time. A full sick bay, a full kitchen. It’s like something from a story Earth That Was story. Like the Flying Dutchman or somethin’. To add to the spookiness, they found the captain. Well, what was left of him. Miss V, braver than me by a long shot, went right up to his dessicated body and yep, there at his right hand was another Posty. This one said “NoitaR0pr0C”.
Roark commed from the cargo area. “Y’all gotta come here. I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this.” As i walked down to the bay, I looked at the Posty in my hand. “Nu53ulB”…. I suddenly groaned. “BlueSun!” Of course. I couldn’t wait to impress Miss V with my code breaking acumen.
Down in the cargo area, which on a Y-class is, oh, as big as D-VA herself, there was a monstrous huge cage. It glowed with current. And inside it was a little black box, maybe the size of a personal trunk.
Prudence reached her hand towards the bars. At the same me and the Doc both said, “Don’t do that.” We looked at each other and smiled. She’s kinda pretty when she smiles. You don’t notice the scars as much.
There was a terminal attached to the cage and the cursor was blinking. “First passcode accepted.” Miss V handed me the second Posty. And when I saw the second passcode, it was “Corporation”. Only backwards and all numbery. I wasn’t trying to show off, I was just surprised. “BlueSun Corporation? Well, I’ll be.”
Miss V looked sharply at me. “What are you talking about, Swei?” I pointed to the Posty. “The passcodes. ‘BlueSun Corporation.’ That’s what they say.” Her mouth dropped open. “Get that cage open. Now.”
Sure enough, the passcode turned off the power to the cage. We entered it and up close you could see that the trunk had a combination lock on it. “Can you crack it?” Prudence looked at me. I shrugged. “I can for sure blow it up, but I ain’t no criminal mastermind.”
The Doc came forward. “I can do it.” Everyone turned to look at her. “I’ve seen it in the vids hundreds of times. I got my stethoscope and I can listen for the tumblers.” She crouched down beside the trunk and put the scope to the door. “Um, Doc. You’ll want to listen here.” I tapped the other side from where she was.
Soon enough, she had that door swinging open. Handy little skill the Doc has. Miss V reached inside and pulled out a microscope and a little box. “It’s a prepared specimen.” She looked up questioningly at the rest of us. “Why is it under lock and key?”
ixty-two hours in a close, sweaty cargo ship gives you lots of time to think. Time to follow all the pathways that got you on the trek you’re currently on. Enumerate the right choices that led to good things, the wrong choices that led to bad things, and, well, the right choices that led to bad things. Let’s hope this turns out to be a right choice that leads to bad things that make us stronger.