Log #191 – Salvage misery

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With Salvage, I wanted to buy into the world of scrappers.

A deep canyon lay at my feet. It was narrow, perhaps 50 meters wide. A river rushed through the deep crack in the landscape. Foaming white, the water broke in half on one side of rocks, then rejoined on the other. A single tree stood on the bank of the river, somewhat elevated on a small hill with grass.

The scenery was picturesque, almost idyllic. It radiated peace and quiet. But suddenly a bright white light disturbed the peace. It drowned out everything, became stronger and stronger, until only white could be seen.

I opened my eyes. The lamp above the Vulture’s bed was shining directly in my face. The on-board computer had turned on the lights. It was time to get up. Rudi, the ball was at my feet. He didn’t move. He hadn’t even made breakfast. A great companion he was.

Still a little sleepy, I sat down on the edge of the bed. Was I getting space fever? Or why was I dreaming of green river landscapes? OK, I had seen nothing but sand for a long time. The desert on the moon Daymar had been my home since my escape from prison. And now I had been traveling in space for days.

In the cockpit, I looked out at the greenish gas clouds of the Lagrange Point where I was. It wasn’t grass, but it was still somewhat green. Grinning, I sat down in the pilot’s seat, which was illuminated by the central star. The rays from Stanton’s star warmed my face, but they failed to exorcise the fatigue.

I needed one more wreck, and then my cargo hold would be full. Full of RMC, the material that the Vulture stripped from the hull of the wrecks with the two lasers. RMC, my ticket to the trust of the wreckers. From them I hoped for clues about the seller of the computer core, which was probably from my White Rabbit.

Slowly, I approached a wreck. Dark and quiet it floated against the greenish background of space. Still tired, I rubbed my eyes. Suddenly there was a loud thud. A jolt went through the whole ship. The wreckage in front of me lurched uncontrollably around several axes. One of my lasers moved away from my Vulture and disappeared into the depths of space.

Out of sheer fatigue, I had misjudged the distance and rammed the wreck. In the process, one of my lasers was torn off. Oh great. With only one laser, it would take much longer to remove the hull. But that wasn’t my only problem. It was nearly impossible to remove the hull from a wreck that was in constant uncontrolled motion. After several unsuccessful minutes, I gave up, annoyed.

After finding another wreck, I set about the tedious task of removing the hull with only one laser. The advantage was, it took me longer to get up and climb down the ladder into the cargo hold to move the crates there. If you could see that as an advantage.

As relaxing as the work of removing the hull was, the Vulture did keep you on your toes. As soon as a container was full of RMC, it was ejected from the dispenser in the cargo hold. It would then stand directly in front of the dispenser and block the output of the next container. Then you had to turn off the lasers, stand up, climb down the ladder into the cargo hold, and clear the container in front of the dispenser. Then you could manually eject the blocked container and put it away so the ejector was clear. Then it was back up the ladder, back into the cockpit, laser on and on with the removal of the hull. Until two containers were full again and the dispenser was blocked. In the long run, this was quite a heavy workout.
I wouldn’t have thought that constantly climbing up and down a ladder could be so strenuous.

At some point, the last free space in the cargo hold was filled with containers. Nothing was possible anymore. There were far more containers stacked in the hold than had been officially planned. The situation was not entirely without danger. Only the containers on the cargo grid were secured. All the others were standing around unsecured, and some of them were wobbling alarmingly. It seemed as if the containers had a life of their own. I didn’t even want to imagine what would happen if a container fell on me or broke through the outer wall.

“Don’t paint the devil on the wall”, I said to myself and headed back to the cockpit.

On the way, I passed the bed. Rudi was lying in the corner, looking at me critically.

“Don’t look at me like that. It’s going to be all right. We need as much RMC as possible. How else are we going to win the trust of the wreckers?”

With a dismissive wave of my hand, I walked into the cockpit and set course for the junkyard on the moon Daymar.

The tension in me grew the closer I got to the junkyard. Would the scrappers recognize me as one of their own if I brought enough RMC with me? And would they give me clues that led me to the seller of the computer core? I was pretty sure this was the computer core from my White Rabbit. And deep inside me there was a small glimmer of hope that believed my spaceship was not destroyed. But I could not be sure. I needed to contact the seller. Only he could tell me where he got the computer core and if my White Rabbit was still intact.

All seemed quiet in the junkyard. A Caterpillar with a pirate badge was parked on the edge. Even when I went to the main building, I couldn’t see anyone. As I entered the building, two guys suddenly stood in front of me. One had a helmet on that looked like the skull of a cow. There were even two horns on the skull. Puzzled, I stopped and looked at the two. The next thing I saw was a fist approaching my face with incredible speed. Then it went dark around me. Blackness enveloped me.


When I regained consciousness, I was lying in the cargo hold of my Vulture. The cargo hold was empty. All the containers with the RMC were gone. I looked at bare walls and at my bare skin. The armor I had been wearing was gone, too. All I had on was a pair of underpants. All the equipment I had in the Vulture was gone, too. This couldn’t be true. The idiots had knocked me down and robbed me. At least they had left my spare spacesuit and Rudi the ball.

But it wasn’t just my equipment that was gone. Also the hope for clues about my White-Rabbit were gone. And my ego was terribly bruised. What was the next step? Continuing to rely on the scrappers was a crappy idea. Should I contact the crew? Had I overestimated the possibilities of getting along on my own?

My headache made it impossible to think clearly. A new plan was needed. Back on the go, so to speak. Back to the Wolf Point Aid Shelter. My starting point after my escape from Klescher. My base on Daymar. I had some equipment stored there and hopefully there was something for a headache.