While waiting for the crew members to wake, the party loads Bernie’s Twat (which they find out from Cottle is officially named “Wild Card” despite it’s current paint job) with an air bottle and compressor from Agamemnon’s forward bay. They also load some small arms and two long range remote aerial surveillance drones.
During the loading process, Mitch has a flashback.
The new crewmen wake and and spend the remainder of the day and night being briefed and adjusting to their situation. The next morning, Major Summerville visits Becker to get instructions for her plans for the ship and crew, and appears to have an intimate flashback about his previous relationship with the Colonel.
The crew departs on the Wild Card, leaving the Agamemnon in the hands of Major Summerville and Captain Millet and heads to Persephone 3. After a forty-hour burn, they arrive and find that the planet has become home to a small agricultural community in the time since they’ve been asleep. The community appears to be producing an exces of foodstuffs, and the crew lands to negotiate with the people of McTavish’s Hope.
They meet Jonah McTavish, the great-great-grandson of the settlement’s original founder, and his daughter Flannery. A very strange and uncomfortable conversation occurs over a meal of rich foods, including:
- Jonah is immediately suspicious of the group’s motives – notably because they call each other by rank and they have appeared at the very edge of human space with a thousand hungry people.
- McTavish’s Hope produces and preserves more than enough food food for twice their number, but all of their reserves (and more) are negotiated to a seedy fellow named Cooter who arrived in system a few years ago with a few hundred men, mechs, and assorted equipment to find some specific artifact on Persephone 2. Cooter is in the employ of Gentleman Roderick Black – a pirate price who rules this area of the Periphery. His men are also beginning to suffer from radiation sickness. It’s unclear why Persephone 2 is irradiated (it was uninhabited during the sleepers’ time).
- Jonah calls out the gas bottle in the Wild Card’s hold specifically – noting that it must go in an immensely large ship or station, the likes of which simply “aren’t around anymore”.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020, May 21st
Five of the marines died. And without major Cottle, major Summerville would have died as well, most likely. I’m afraid our crew will be severely reduced by the time we have everyone back on their feet. Not that we can do that just yet, of course. We’ve awakened just a handful, and our resources will be strained to the breaking point.
Major Summerville didn’t remember anything either, except one thing that had him blushing like a young boy. I have a rather good idea what he remembered, at least in general terms. I have no idea what to do about it, though. No matter what I do, it is probably going to come back and bite me in the ass.
I’m not sure I want to know what he remembered. From the way he blushed, it might be… embarrassing, for both of us.
Still, I hope the ship is in good hands. And that he has sense enough to listen to what I said, and follow us with anyone still awake, should we fail to return. At least on the planet, they have a chance of surviving. I hope. So if everything else fails, we could get everyone down there, and build something here.
We could do that. If this place proves habitable and hospitable enough, we could go back, wake the rest and bring them here. We could probably scavenge enough of the ship to build something here. But that is a last resort; I would rather keep flying. While I wouldn’t mind a hot meal made from fresh ingredients, fresh water, not recycled or stored for centuries, not to mention fresh air; while I don’t remember anything from my past, space is where I belong. That much, I know.
I had not expected to find a colony at Persephone 3. There are people here. Obviously growing food, and hopefully far more than they need. And what’s more, there’s information here. It looks small enough and primitive enough that I doubt we will meet open hostility. Suspicion, yes, so caution is warranted. Fear, possibly. But not violence, unless we provoke it, I think. If we can even understand each other, of course. But languages don’t change that fast, usually, so as long as they’re human, we should be able to communicate.
So, I’ll remove the League markings and the Agamemnon badge for now, but keep the uniform. It might give me an opening. Not too obvious, but since I don’t know what happened in the past two centuries, I need to play this right.
So a uniform that will, to the ones who know what to look for, identify me as League. No markings, and if they seem hostile to the League, I can tell them the truth, that we broke away. If they tell me the League is long gone, well, I can still tell them the truth. I want to be identified as military, rather than pirate; that might help reassure the people here. I don’t see any obvious signs of a recent war, though I may be wrong, of course. That might be the very reason this place looks so plain. Still, it doesn’t look like a pirate’s base, so hopefully they’ll be more comfortable with soldiers.