A call for help and mysterious messages kept me on my toes.
I was on my way to deliver my load of Bexalite to the corrupt businessman in Lorville when I received a message from Hermieoth. He was in the Aaron Halo asteroid belt and desperately needed my help to optimize the scanner on his Terrapin. He was going to pay me for my help. Irritated I looked at the message. It was out of the question that he paid me. Hermieoth had helped me many times before.
It took not long until I reached the position of Hermieoth’s signal. With a loud bang I left the Quantum tunnel. A sea of asteroids surrounded me, but no Hermieoth, no Terrapin. There was a yawning void on the radar. A ping from my White Rabbit plowed through the asteroid belt. Nothing. Then a crackle on the radio. It was Hermieoth.
“Glad you’re here, Zero.”
Astonished, I looked out of the cockpit window. The radar still showed no contact.
“Where are you? I can’ t see you.”
“Right next to you. I’m afraid you can’t join me on board. My spacesuit is defective and I can’t open the door to space. Can you manage it like this?”
“No problem. I can install the software remotely. I also brought a small device from Grim Hex that can be used to better detect hidden ships. I can attach that to the outside of your scanner dish.”
It was highly mysterious what Hermieoth was up to in the Aaron Halo asteroid belt. He wouldn’t tell, though. And why was his Terrapin acting like a stealth ship? Well, it was none of my business. No questions asked, just get the job done.
The tweaks to the Terrapin’s scanner were quickly made. Hermieoth was satisfied. We said goodbye and I set off again for Hurston.
But my curiosity would not let me go. I scoured the intercom. Perhaps there was a message that one of the relay stations had recorded that would give clues. To my surprise, I actually found something. A somewhat choppy radio message that was a few days old. The voice sounded familiar.
“Since almost t.. ..ys we are here now and have so fa. ….d. ….ing. .o you ….ly think we are reading the data correctly? You know I pa. .ir.. when I found w… w. ..e looking f.. .
We mi… want t. ….ider recalibrating the ..anne… I have to go back on the fourt…… Then we’d have to go back ..xt .ear to look again.“
On the fourteenth, a meeting of F.R.O.S. was scheduled, and Hermieoth was going to attend. This was an indication that it was Hermieoth’s voice, but not proof.
An unknown voice answered the radio message. The message was completely garbled. There was talk of operating costs, that they would already find something and that they had to fly again.
Finally I found another message, which was only one day old.
“I have been ..le to rea.. a ….nd.
He bri… me w… I ..ed.“
Was that really Hermieoth? Was I the friend the voice spoke of? At least I had brought him something that helped in a search.
There were a few more choppy messages between these two people that I was unable to make sense of.
Exhausted, I slumped into the backrest of the chair. This was getting me nowhere. Absently, I stared at the screen. Just as I was about to get up, my scanner dish intercepted a message. In real time, it was live. It was the familiar voice again. I listened spellbound.
Sorry I’m ..ep …o scan…. ..re and for… the .ime.
The new calibration .orks in…….. wel. . I’ll send you the …….. up to 3 mil…. km yo. …uld also ……. …capture it.
…ck it .ut. While not a ……..or yet, ..t a Reclaimer.“
Ha. I knew it. It had to be Hermieoth. I had optimized the scanner of his Terrapin to 3 million kilometers. But what was he looking for out there? It sounded like he was looking for a Prospector and had found a Reclaimer.
I continued to search the intercom, but found nothing more that pointed to Hermieoth. But I did find other, highly mysterious messages.
“You are despicable and disgusting, my brother worked as a technician in one of these bunkers, you murdered him bloodthirstily just to get data at this security post of Hurston Dynamics. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, he didn’t have access to the data terminal, so instead of letting him go, since you’re hiding behind your masks anyway, you murder him bloodthirstily.
If you want to catch someone from HD or formerly from HD! Come! I am waiting for you….but I have you in my sights and I will bring each and every one of you to justice.
This is also directed to pirates and murderers, who prefer to earn money on bloody paths than to work reasonably.
I am Archangel and I will hunt you down!
Remember the name!
Oh, God. Someone was very upset and out for revenge. As if there wasn’t enough violence in Stanton already. She had probably found her brother in one of the bunkers on Hurston. Those were dangerous places. I, too, had experienced that. And I, too, had recovered dead technicians from a bunker. Well, recovered was maybe not quite the right term. I wanted the clothes for my smuggling operation to Lorville.
In any case, I was under the impression that I should remember the name Archangel.
The next message I found was from a Lexa Anoya. She cursed the Nine Tails in the message and called on everyone to join the Civilian Defense Force to fight the Nine Tails. The good lady probably did not know that the Civilian Defence Force was just another expression of exploitation by the megacorporations. Instead of dealing with the security problems in Stanton with their own security forces, the megacorporations sent civilians to fight. Just to increase their own profits.
Shortly after this message, another was sent. Another advertisement for the Civilian Defense Force. This time signed by Archangel. It seemed that Lexa Anoya was Archangel. So then Lexa had lost her brother.
I took a deep breath in and out. I could well feel the pain. I had lost a friend. Kylo. He had been a victim in Stanton’s drug war. But revenge did not bring back the dead. Revenge didn’t ease the pain either.
And then there was another message.
“Inhabitants of Stanto, sisters and brothers, you who have suffered too long under the exploitative corporations, do not believe the lies about the Nine Tales! Your enemies sit in the glass palaces and gorge themselves on what they extort from you. And yet they do not get full. They send mercenaries and murderers who show no mercy and have only their own profit in mind to take the rest.
But we, who provide food and medicine to the poorest of the poor, will not allow this to continue. And I say to you: Let us take up arms!!! Let us repay like with like and take back what is ours!!!
A warning to those who throw stones and are themselves in glass houses and a call to all who no longer want to stand idly by:
We offer a reward to anyone who brings us the helmets of dead PMCs who raid our camps and murder our brothers!!!!
With one exception:
Archangel we want alive and in one piece…. Yet!
Perish shall those who murder the fathers of our children!
He who sows the wind shall reap the storm!!!“
Something seemed to escalate. This Archangel had probably stung into a hornet’s nest. But who was the sender of this message? It seemed to be someone who had a problem with those in the glass palaces. Did they mean the megacorporations? Certainly. And the sender seemed to support and provide for the oppressed. So did I. I liked the sender, except for the guns thing. I didn’t like that. Or was the sender from the Nine Tails? It almost seemed that way. But the Nine Tails didn’t support the poor with food and medicine. They had attacked Orison and blockaded space stations. People like me had to break the blockade and supply the stations with medical supplies. I was confused. It was all very strange and mysterious.
There were a number of other messages in which sentiments were made against the Nine Tails and other gangs. And that Archangel would bring the purifying fire.
It all seemed a bit exaggerated. The spiral of violence was turning faster and faster. Where would it lead? For me it was clear, I had to stay under the radar. Quietly help the people who needed help. The oppressed and the free peoples. Let the others knock each other’s heads in. In the smoke clouds of their fight I could accomplish my work unnoticed.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Thanks to Hermieoth and Lexa Anoya for the creative messages in the Roleplay Universe Discord intercom.