Log #220 – Going separate ways

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Sometimes you leave your past behind, go new ways, make new friends and then go your separate ways again.

It was a long night of drinking. Was it really one night? After the party in the Moreland Hills, it felt like I’d slept for two days. It had been a great party. I hadn’t learned anything about the residents’ mysterious past, but we had become closer and made friends.

Drowsy, I stepped outside the hut. A stiff, cool wind blew in my face. The plants on the plantation rustled and swayed. I rubbed the tiredness out of my eyes with my fingers. Then I looked to my left at my Vulture and froze. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My Vulture was no longer yellow, but olive-colored and covered in graffiti.

Outraged, I stormed back into the hut. No one was there. I went through the back exit into the greenhouse. Maria was busy with a few plants. Without a word of greeting, I rumbled off.

“What happened to my spaceship?”

“Good morning Zero,” she whispered in a gentle tone.

“Uh yes, good morning,” I stuttered out.

Maria knew how to make any anger disappear with her calmness. It was her manner and the lifestyle of the people in the Moreland Hills that I liked so much. She had given me so much strength over the last few weeks and reminded me of what was really important. Life here had changed me, and not just on the outside. The skin on my face was tanned by the sun and the harsh wind. And a small beard had grown around my mouth.

“You wanted to know more about us,” Maria explained. “The new look of your ship is our message to you.”

Maria turned her eyes away from me and returned to her plants. As so often, she spoke in riddles. With a bemused smile, I left the greenhouse and went to my Vulture. I actually liked the graffiti look. It looked rebellious, lively, somehow cheerful. Was this the message Maria wanted to give me? As I got closer, I spotted a logo and lettering on the side.


What did that mean? Did it have something to do with the Pyro RYT multitool from Greycat Industrial? What was Maria trying to tell me? A loud beeping and a vibration on my wrist interrupted my thoughts. It was a message from Brubacker. He needed my help. Groaning, I climbed up the ladder to the cockpit and flew off.


I met Brubacker, Hermieoth and Husky on the space station in orbit around the planet Hurston. Brubacker looked at me and laughed.

“Zero, what’s happened to you? You look like your own grandfather.”

“Very funny,” I replied. “Have you ever looked in the mirror?”

Not only Brubacker, but also Husky and Hermieoth had beards. My God, how long had I been away and not seen the others? Or had the others been like me? Had they finally found peace after ENOS was over and just let things go?

“And yes,” I added. “That shit with ENOS, Aruhso the janitor and all that stuff made me feel old. What’s next? Oh yeah, I’ve got one of the new Medivac Rovers with me. You know how clumsy you are Bru”.

“We haven’t searched all the settlements yet to solve the mystery of Aruhso. It looks like he wants us to get to Pyro. But we still need the last letters to find out exactly where,” explained Brubacker.

We got into my White-Rabbit and flew together to the planet Hurston to a settlement called Zephyr. It was situated on a hill in a brown landscape, surrounded by trees and rocks. Dirty brown clouds hung over the settlement, which, like the others, was made up of pieces of scrap metal. I flew a few circles over the hill, but couldn’t find a suitable place to land. Eventually I landed a little further away in a valley. Brubacker, Husky and Hermieoth went on foot, I drove the rover to the settlement.

It was a typical scrap metal settlement with shacks, towers and windmills. However, there was one special feature. A store under the bare skeleton of a spaceship. It was only covered with cloth. The goods were laid out on tables in the open air. There were weapons, multitools and armor. Crates and boxes stood on rusty shelves. While the other letters searched the settlement, I went to the store.

“You have a cool store,” I greeted the seller.

“Thank you. Feel free to look around. I’ve got some great goods here. If you’re looking for something special, we’ll find it too,” he said with a wink.

Interested, I strolled past the displays. The upper body and head of a doll protruded from a barrel filled with stones. At least I hoped it was a doll. It was wearing black armor, which was also available in the store on the Grim Hex pirate station. The TYR mercenaries wore this armor. Then I found a metal badge on a shelf. It was olive-colored. It had a logo on it and the words “PYROTECHNIC AMALGAMATED”. It was the same logo and the same inscription as on my Vulture. Had Maria really painted a reference to her past on my Vulture? Was there a connection with this plaque? Curious, I showed the seller the badge and asked:

“What kind of plaque is that?”

“That? Boring stuff from the pyro system. Pyrotechnic Amalgamated was a mining and terraforming company that was best known for discovering the Pyro System. They’ve since gone bust and gangs have taken over their space stations in Pyro.”

“How did you get the badge?”

“Fugitives from Pyro come through here from time to time.”

All at once, I was wide awake. Adrenaline coursed through my body. Had I found another clue to the past of the refugees in the Moreland Hills?

“Refugees, you say? Did a group once pass by, led by a Richard and a Maria? They used to live in Weeping Cove.”

The sales clerk looked at me critically.

“You ask a lot of questions. You don’t exactly look like an investigator or bounty hunter. You’re wearing the outfit of the people in the junk settlements. What are you up to? Has your wife run off with someone else?”

Without saying a word, I looked the salesman in the eye and shrugged my shoulders.

“All right,” he continued. “But it will cost you. I want all the equipment you’re wearing on your body.”

At first I wanted to protest, but then I let it go and stripped down to my underpants. The salesman had a big grin on his face. Finally he started to tell me.

“Yes, a group did indeed come from Pyro, led by a Maria and a Richard. The Forgotten15 had smuggled them out of Pyro into the Stanton system. I don’t know why it had to be so secretive. But I got the impression that they didn’t want anyone to know they were here. At first they had settled here and joined our group. But at some point they got into trouble. People from Lorville sometimes come by here. Maria and Richard didn’t want that. Don’t ask me why. In any case, we went our separate ways at some point. Maria and Richard’s group moved on to Weeping Cove. From what I heard, things didn’t last long there either. But that’s all I know.”

I thanked the sales clerk and went into the bar in my underpants. I had to have a drink. It all fell into place. The settlers of Moreland Hills were refugees from Pyro. That’s why Maria had painted the reference to Pyro on my Vulture. The drug cartel Forgotten15 used to smuggle people from Stanton to Pyro for ENOS experiments. They were also able to smuggle people on the way back. Why Maria and Richard didn’t want anyone to know that they had come to Stanton from Pyro remained a mystery to me. All I knew was that they were in trouble with Hurston Dynamics. That’s probably why they didn’t want anyone from Lorville in the settlement. It didn’t surprise me. Any right-thinking person rejected Hurston Dynamics’ methods and was in trouble with Hurston Security if he opened his mouth too wide. Well and how they had gotten from Weeping Cove to Microtech, I knew from Jeff Goldstein’s diary. Satisfied that I had solved the mystery, I opened a bottle of beer and took a deep swig.

Suddenly Brubacker, Hermieoth and Husky burst into the bar.

“Hey, what’s this wild party going on? Why aren’t you wearing anything?” asked Husky.

Brubacker looked at me lecherously and said:

“Man, you’re well-trained. When I look at you like that, da…..”

I didn’t let Brubacker finish and interrupted him.

“Shut up Bru. I’m going back to the store to buy some clothes.”

After I had some clothes on me again, we walked together to a hermit’s house some distance from Zephyr. There we found the last letter. All the letters together made up the word “Pyro Adir”. Adir was a small moon orbiting Pyro V. Way out there, on the edge of Pyro. So Aruhso wanted us to go there. None of us were enthusiastic.

Brubacker seemed particularly lost in thought. On the way back to White-Rabbit, he fell into a crevice. The rescue operation was difficult and luckily I had the Medivac Rover with me. Once we had freed Brubacker from the crevasse, we were able to give him medical treatment. As soon as he was back on his feet, he started babbling.

“Have you heard that there are supposed to be volcanoes on Hurston now? Rap…or something like that.”

We shook our heads and Brubacker looked at his Mobiglas.

“Rappel. Let’s have a look at this. It’s something different. And maybe a nice way to end the day.”

We agreed and flew to Rappel with the White-Rabbit. Another scrap settlement, but a pretty big one. While the others dealt with the lava, I started collecting ship weapons that were scattered everywhere. Treasures that I could sell for a lot of money. Eventually the others returned to the White-Rabbit with a badly injured and limping Brubacker. The facilities in the Medivac Rover were not sufficient, we took him to the hospital on Everus Harbor.


A few days later, I received an irritating message from Brubacker. He was going to quit his job as a reporter and take care of his foster son Killer. Aruhso also wanted him and Husky to come to Pyro alone. I wrote back angrily asking what he was thinking. He couldn’t just stop, there were still so many oppressed people whose fate needed to be made public. But it didn’t help. He replied succinctly that it probably wasn’t forever and that he had to concentrate on killers now. Then the signal cut out. Brubacker had switched his Mobiglas offline.

Perplexed, I looked at the display of my Mobiglas. The blankness of the screen was almost overwhelming. In a fit of melancholy, I remembered my first encounter with Brubacker in the Covalex Hub Gundo. Together we had uncovered and published the killer satellite scandal and ENOS. Brubacker was an annoying klutz, but he had also become a good friend.

It seemed as if a new chapter was opening. Brubacker made off with his foster son Killer. Hermieoth took care of his company Pentragon. Husky did his laps on the racetrack and wanted nothing more to do with all the conspiracies.

Our community disbanded and we went our separate ways.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)