Duskers: The Deadly Art of Space Salvaging

Scott Tortorice

Senior Member
Nov 18, 2003
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The shadows
llUnited States

Day 6

Salvaging ancient space hulks is not the fun and games you think it would be. I mean, I never did - I've known plenty of old spacers who have lost a limb or two from the profession - but I really don't have a choice about it now, fun or not. This is what happens when your cryosleep tube malfunctions and you awaken to a dark future seemingly populated by dead ships and little more. Well, dead ships and those...things that live in them Now, it is truly a matter of salvage or die. Or maybe salvage and die.

With that in mind....

Target of the day: Jersey Tiger

Looks like a relatively young commercial hauler with one confirmed infestation of those creatures. Okay. I can deal. I can deal.

Time to dock and awaken my four drone pals: John, Jeff, Sarah and Mouse. Once more into the breach, team! Stay safe.

I execute my boarding script and away they go into the dark unknown:

Interesting layout. Jeff immediately detects a inactive generator, which it quickly brings to life, something that gives me more control. I ask for a scan, and it finds some extra scrap that my go-fer John has missed. Speaking of, John found a second generator in Room 5.

Time to see if there are any creatures lurking in the dark passageways. I tell John to do a motion analysis. It is a reasonably effective module as it cues off of micro changes in air density.

Looks like we have a customer in Room 4 (and a false positive in Room 5). Don't know what it is. Okay. Let's leave it in there for now. Nearby Room 3 seems clear, so let's go loot it. I type the command to open hatch D9 and send John to take a look.

I call up his sonoscan as he searches. Bingo! He comes across a valuable ship upgrade: a remote power interface. He also discovers a deactivated defense turret. That could come in handy.

Okay. Time to call out Mouse. He has the tow that I need to drag that heavy piece of equipment back to my ship's airlock. On your way, Mouse! He quickly has it and sets back for home:

So far, so good. But I still need to deal with the xenomorph in Room 4. Well, in my limited experience these things seem rather dumb. Open a door for them and they'll usually waltz through it to investigate. With that in mind, I decide to seal hatch D9 behind Mouse, open D11, do a motion scan and hope the critter moves out of the way into Room 3. Heck, if I find an interface terminal that is still working, I could even hack the defense turret and kill it in there. We'll see. Here's goes:

> close D9
>open D11
> 1 motion

And I wait. The red line sweeps back and forth. The thing doesn't budge. Then...bleep! It moves into Room 3. In my haste to trap it, I accidentally shut the hatch on it as it is passing through. LOL! Fortunately, it didn't scare but forced its way into R3. Locked behind the hatch, I send John into Room 4. Anything good?

Darn it! Just as John begins its survey, I begin to loose the video feed. Rubbish telemetry!

Fortunately, it quickly clears up. Whew. Don't need a blind drone just now!

John found some fuel! I give it the command to begin guzzling while I ponder our next move. John also uncovered a working terminal in there, so I send my protocol droid, Sarah, to interface and request a ship scan from the vessel's Mother.

Sarah's scan request reveals a bigger ship than I suspected. Looks like three more rooms to go. Menacingly, it looks like one of the hatches, D4, is open, allowing who knows what to patrol some of the rooms.

Okay, I recall from the previous motion scan that Room 7 is clear, so I will loot that next. In fact, I decide to shift my ops from the north airlock to Airlock A3 in the south as it adjoins Room 7. I open hatch D14 and send John in to take a look while I have Jeff activate the generator in Room 5. Meanwhile, Mouse and my ship detach and reattach at Airlock A3.

After John finishes scavenging some scrap he found in Room 7, I tell him to do another motion analysis. The results are inconclusive about adjoining Room 8. Wonderful. Micro changes to air density, my ass!

Well, this is what we will have to do: I don't want to use my my motion scanner again for a second check as it has been getting a lot of use on this run, something that increases wear and tear, risking a breakdown, not to mention reducing is stockpile of charges. Instead, I decide to use a probe to check out scary Room 8. Probes are dumb: they just move mindless through open hatches reporting on what they find. Dumb but useful.

Okay, I safely lock Mouse in the ship's airlock while I evacuate everyone else to Room 5. Before I seal the hatch, I have Sarah drop an automated probe in Room 5. I seal hatch D14 and open hatch D6 and wait to see what happens in Room R8. Is it empty or...occupied?

Oh. It is definitely occupied. :eek: As my probe entered Room 8, it comes under attack from something and is damaged! As it makes a return loop to Room 7, I try to seal the hatch behind it but whatever it stumbled across is following it and blocks the hatch from closing. The drone, oblivious to its own danger, returns back to Room 8 where it is attacked again. This time it is destroyed. Ironically, it is only then the hatch accepts my command to close, sealing itself after the space horse has bolted. Darn it. Well, we now know Room 8 was harboring something, but on the other hand I now am not sure where the creature is. Did it remain in Room 8 after destroying the probe? Or did it slip back into Room 7 while I was trying to close the door? Or is there more than one alien? I bite the bullet and do another motion analysis.

Just great. It looks like it slipped back into Room 7, effectively cutting the drones off from my airlock. And I am unsure as to whether or not there is another creature in Room 8 as I cannot get a reading. However, it now looks like Room 6 is clear! I send John in via hatch D7, but being sure to close D4 first!

Score! We found a new playmate in the longish room! Vinnie, the damaged and deactivated drone with a valuable transporter module!

Screw the rest of the ship! The loot I got off of Jersey Tiger has already paid for the costs involved. I redock my ship at Airlock A1 now that A3 is cut off, and send Mouse out to tow Vinnie back to the ship. When all my drones are back aboard, I detach and finally exhale that breath I've been holding since we first went aboard.

Good mission, girls and boys! That was a positive balance sheet. Now...to do it again.
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