Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Operation Mollusc: The Heikegani Incident (pt V)

18th February 3303: Merope 5c (-28.24,-109.52)

The Federation's Farragut cruiser was an unexpected complication.

Hovering above the alien barnacle, and not present during an earlier visit in the heady days of discovery, it showed how far the long arm of the military had reached into this backwater system. A patrol wing of fighters banked slowly overhead, opening displaying their boredom through their lazy and uncoordinated manoeuvres. The warship itself looked to be asleep. The barnacle conveyed a studied indifference, and lack of intimidation, to the show of human force and might overhead.

Charybdis tried to stifle a yawn, the lack of apparent threat was certainly taking its toll. With his ship parked on the edge of the canyon around 7km away, the SRV journey down between the dark shadows of the canyon walls was a dangerous one, and needed full concentration. Licking a mild stim tab inside his helmet brought full awareness back, as the destination barnacle finally came into view.

The barnacle was in bloom and regularly grew harvestable meta-alloy pods, with two more currently visible on stalks near the shell like central structure. Carrying them back to the ship was hard work while traversing the terrain, but there were always more pods to pick up on the return.

Detatching and collecting the pods had become routine now and, with a full cargo hold of meta-alloy, Charybdis returned back along the canyon floor to his ship, and a cargo hold that was almost full.

The sleeping giant continued its slumber high above, caught in daydreams of conquest.