While investigating an derelict settlement, I found unexpected things. Stories from the past came back to the present.
I was surrounded by derelict walls and buildings. They were fragments of a forgotten history. Witnesses from a bygone era. A wall stretched up like a warning finger. What did it want to point out? What had it witnessed?
The derelict settlement by the river must once have been a beautiful place to live. Fresh water, green trees and lush vegetation. Buildings made of stone and no metal boxes like nowadays. But the ravages of time had mercilessly gnawed away at the settlement. It was no longer a place to live. But a place to discover stories. And that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to find out what secrets this place would reveal. After the trip with F.R.O.S., I had returned alone, without the slobs.
The wind was blowing hard. It made towels flutter and rusty metal plates tremble. Now and then the clattering of the plates could be heard. Otherwise it was quiet and peaceful. I poked around in a construction of poles and metal plates. It had probably been a greenhouse or a warehouse. Only the skeleton was still standing. The roof and walls were gone. Old crates and shelves stood where the walls had once been. In one box I found an object that looked almost like a bottle opener. It was rusty. But the writing on the object was still clearly visible.
Was this a memento? Or an award? Had veterans of the Tevarin War lived here? And when had they lived here? The second Tevarin War was in 2603, 57 years after the first Tevarin War. The Stanton system was discovered in 2851. So it was unlikely that veterans had lived here. Still, the item seemed very old.
Then I found something that wasn’t so old. Sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and boots. They were lying next to the remains of a campfire. Someone must have spent the night here recently. Nervously, I looked around. Whoever it was. Were they still around? Would they come back? Probably. No one would leave their sleeping bag behind. But why were the boots still there? It was too cold to walk around barefoot. Even if one only wanted to go to the river for a short time to wash.
From the top of a container, I had a good view of the settlement, all the way to the river. There was no one to be seen far and wide. Only now I noticed that the container was relatively modern. It was also old and run down. But it was definitely not from the time when the settlement was built. Someone had used the old settlement as a warehouse. Then I discovered a box on top of the container and a lot of Dolivine inside.
After putting the dolivine in my backpack, I kept searching. At some point, the flash of a metal object caught my attention. The object was right next to a mound of dirt. It looked as if it had been piled up only recently. Intrigued, I knelt in front of the object and ran my hand over the surface of reinforced fabric. It was a brown suit of armor. A belt of some sort went across the chest. At the top was a metal buckle. It was an Atzalan armor made by the manufacturer Tehachapi. It was a very special manufacturer that originated in my homeland. On Ashana in the Nul system.
At the time, a smuggler named Gadkarii bought a suit of armor at the bazaar in the crashed Olympus. A unique custom-made piece that combined reused ship armor with reinforced polymesh fabric. It had a cool, distinctive look that embodied the individualistic spirit of the frontier. Based on this armor, Gadkarii developed the Atzalan armor and founded the Tehachapi company. Today, Tehachapi armor was still worn primarily by those who had internalized the spirit of the Borderlands. I would also have liked to have had one. But they were not available for purchase in Stanton.
But why was all the equipment still here and no one else? Slowly I became a little nervous. Had miners taken up quarters here and were just on their way? Or pirates? But then why had they left the equipment behind? Something was not right. I kept searching.
Finally I found a note.
We had to abandon the base in our crashed Reclaimer. The attack of the Nine Tails was too strong. Now they are on our ass. Must move on quickly. We leave the dead crew member and his equipment behind. We’re faster with less weight.
And then I found another note.
Oliver didn’t make it. The captain wants to move on quickly. But we have to give Oliver a rudimentary burial. I’ll place his armor at his grave. At least he’ll have something from home with him. I hope we find a new home soon. The long marches across this cold planet get on my nerves.
Like a wet sack I slumped down. I sat on the floor in the dust and stared at the note. It was surreal. It seemed like a dream. I had worked on a Reclaimer as a young boy in the Nul system back then. There was an Oliver on board. He had reached out to me and helped me get on the right track. Oliver had an Atzalan armor at that time. Could it be possible that the Oliver of that time was buried here? No, I could not imagine that. The captain of the Reclaimer had been a decent guy. He was like a father to his crew. He wouldn’t have simply spoken about a crew member in a note. He would have given a deceased a proper burial and taken his belongings with him.
Lost in thought, I went back to the armor. Doubts gnawed in me. What if it was the Oliver from back then? I had to find out more about the crew and the crashed Reclaimer. Suddenly, another thought jerked through my body like a painful lightning bolt. The Nine Tails. They had attacked and hunted the crew. Would they show up here at any moment? I had to get out of here as quickly as possible. But I still wanted to pack the Atzalan armor. It fit me perfectly, as if it had been a part of my own history. It was a souvenir of my homeland. An expression of freedom. A freedom that only existed in the borderland. The borderland where I had grown up, outside the UEE territory. And if it really belonged to the Oliver of that time, I wanted to cherish it.
After packing everything up, I returned to New Babbage. There I was going to investigate and find out more about the crashed Reclaimer. With any luck, I would even find the crash site. And with a lot of luck, I would find the salvage crew from the Reclaimer. And with the crew, the truth about what happened here. This story would not be forgotten.