Log #219 – Secrets

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Dark places and secrets crossed my path. But I was tired and needed a break.

Space had always been a dark place. But here it was particularly dark. Hardly a ray of light penetrated the black gas clouds. There were eerie, gigantic boulders inside the nebula. And something was out there. It wasn’t a vacuum. Something was slowing my spaceship down when I didn’t give it any thrust. And there were always sparks on the nose of the Star Runner. They flashed when something hit the ship’s hull.

The White Rabbit glided slowly through the soup, past the huge chunks of rock. I had never seen anything like it. Not in the asteroid belt of the moon Yela and not in the Aaron Halo asteroid belt either. Entire space stations could be accommodated in the boulders, they were even bigger than the asteroid in which the Grim Hex pirate station was located. It was a dark and eerie place. I winced as another spark flashed on the nose of the White Rabbit.

An unknown signal had led me here. But so far I hadn’t been able to locate the source. I carefully steered the White Rabbit into a large hole in an asteroid. There was a cave inside, from which there were two more exits. There was more space than in a hangar. Even Brubacker could have navigated here without bumping into the walls. I had to laugh when I thought about how he lost his pilot’s license because he demolished the wall of a hangar during a landing.

I slowly began to doubt whether I would find anything at all here that had to do with the signal. There were too many places to hide. I was flying out of the cave when my breath caught in my throat. In front of me was a particularly large asteroid, or what was left of it. Something had milled through the asteroid. There was a circular, clean cut edge, like a giant tunnel boring machine. There would have been room for several Bengal Carriers in the hole that had been cut out. My Star Runner looked tiny in comparison.

It couldn’t have had a natural origin. But what had such a destructive effect? What could eat its way through an asteroid like that? Could it be a laser of extraterrestrial origin? A cold shiver ran down my spine. I thought of the Hades system and the civilization that had once lived there. It had been wiped out by an interplanetary war. The division of Hades IV into two parts indicated that the Hadesians had a weapon with which they could destroy entire planets.

Did it never end? First we were confronted with killer satellites, then bio-bots and now planet-killing lasers? No, I wanted nothing to do with that. I was tired, I needed a break. Let the place keep the secrets it held. I swiftly steered the White Rabbit out of the dense tangle of asteroids into relatively free space, set a course for the planet Microtech and activated the Quantum Drive. During the flight, I sent Brubacker a message and informed him of my find.


It was dark when I reached Microtech and approached Moreland Hills. When I reached the coordinates of the settlement, I looked out of the cockpit window in amazement. Nothing but darkness surrounded me. There was nothing to be seen in the valley where the settlement was supposed to be. No lights, no buildings, nothing, just darkness. Where was the refugee settlement? Had it disappeared? Or was I in the wrong place? I flew haphazardly through the night, over black mountains and dark valleys. It was maddening, I couldn’t find the settlement. At some point, I looked at my notes and hit my head with the flat of my hand. I was an idiot. I had flown the wrong course.

Some time later, I landed the Vulture next to the settlement. Everything seemed to be in order. In the brightly lit greenhouse, someone was plucking fruit from the plants. A group of people stood in front of the tower in the beam of a lantern. It all seemed so peaceful and calm.

A little stiff from sitting during the long flight, I climbed down the ladder of the Vulture and joined the group. Maria, the leader of the settlement, greeted me warmly.

“Zero, good to see you.”

“Maria, how are you? Would you take me in for a few days? I need some time out.”

“I’d love to. You know we’re here for each other. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re with us for days or weeks. Time doesn’t matter….”

“I know. Only the here and now counts,” I finished her sentence.

Maria laughed.

I was recently in Weeping Cove,” I continued.

Maria reacted very cautiously.

“Weeping Cove, you say.”

She spoke the words slowly. As if she wanted to undo my last sentence. I had hoped to get something out of her. Whether my information was correct, that she had fled with her group from Weeping Cove to Microtech and, above all, why they were on the run in the first place and where they had originally come from. But Maria didn’t respond and deflected.

“You came with a Vulture. Did you join the scrap collectors?”

“Basically, yes. Richard asked me to clean up a bit. Bounty hunters were after him. He wanted me to make the bounty hunters’ spaceship disappear. You know, leave no trace and all that.”


Once again, Maria reacted very cautiously. She didn’t want to talk to Richard either, even though he had originally been part of her group. At least that’s what the diary I found here said. The history of the inhabitants of Moreland Hills remained a secret.

Maria handed me a bottle of beer and said. “Come on, let’s enjoy the mild night and count the stars.”

The glasses clinked as we clinked our bottles. Maria took a deep sip. Then she began to talk about the good harvest and how they had become more efficient at farming. As I listened to her, I got the impression more and more that Maria was not a typical settler. She had a way of speaking and a manner that was more suited to someone from the city. Efficiency, tight organization, these were not the characteristics of someone who settled somewhere in the middle of nowhere. These were characteristics of people who had to hold their own in a hectic city and in business life. What was Maria’s secret? Where did she come from? And why was she hiding her past? I didn’t get any answers to these questions that night.

The next day, I flew with the Vulture to the mountain where Richard’s fortress stood. A damaged Vanguard Sentinel lay upside down on the slope. It was the spaceship of the bounty hunters who had tracked Richard down. Richard had beaten them to it. Now he was calling in the favor I owed him. Without any problems, I recycled the Vanguard’s hull with the Vulture and dismantled the entire ship. Nothing was left but a few crates of valuable raw materials in my hold, which I could sell for a high price.

I didn’t think about selling for the time being. I decided to stay in the Moreland Hills for the next few weeks. I really needed a break after everything that had happened. I needed to catch my breath, recover and recharge my batteries. The estate was just the place for that. It was quiet and peaceful. A place whose inhabitants had secrets, but who were friendly and helpful.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)