The Assholes Shot My Hamster and Now I Can’t Breathe
Unfortunately, our little venture was off to a rough start. A crew needs time to gel, to catch their stride, to understand each other’s strengths, and to realize it’s very, very hard to properly prepare Korolev Sandworm. Sometimes they’re not offered the chance before people start shooting.
I mean, a lot of things can go wrong in an off-the-grid arms trade, but this was on a new level of batshit, even for me.
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
15 February, WY602 – Myrr, Roberts
The crew slowly regains consciousness. Their g-couches had all swiveled to absorb some of the impact of the crash, leaving everyone facing up against gravity, the ship having come to rest on its side. Large gashes in the hull joined the cannon damage in letting in the eerie pinkish glow of the gas giant Crichton dominating the sky outside. Everyone’s suits were intact, but the Hamster’s systems were completely shut down, running on battery.
The crew pulls themselves together. Aidan and Julian work on understanding the state of the ship while the rest distribute what meager stores survived the crash – a majority of the ship was completely crushed, leaving them little but some basic survival and smuggling gear, assault rifles and ammunition courtesy of the Marines, no food, and barely enough air for 24 hours.
Angelica connects to the planetary net and pulls a list of settlements and shelters, the nearest is an emergency survival shelter 200km from the crash site. Aidan finds enough of the Korolev is still operational to ignite it and make it explode violently, so he rigs it to do so on remote command. After downloading all the sensor and log data possible from the computer and wiping the core, Julian gets the Hamster’s sensors working enough to run a sweep and detects a very faint power reading only 10km away. Cara says a few brief words over the body of Sergeant Major Stackhouse and the crew packs up their meager supplies, cuts up an anti-radiation blanket into ponchos to mask them from aerial search, and heads out into the swampy alien jungle.
With Daniel taking the lead, the crew makes excellent time travelling the first 7km towards the signal, as painstaking as the slog through the swamp is. They observe a military landing craft descending on the location of the Hamster and trigger the detonation, which is catastrophic in its destructive force, knocking the crew down even at this distance and undeniably destroying the landing craft. As their O2 cartridges dwindle, they press on.
The source of the power reading is a small pre-manufactured homestead and farm bearing a UTex corporate logo, having been retaken by the local flora centuries past. However, the small household reactor and a machine capable of extracting O2 from the oxygen-rich streams underground are still functional. In the main hab the crew finds the remains of a family of three and evidence of a very preventable environmental system failure. While Aidan works to make the unit habitable, Roland and Dirk examine a large cross-country crawler and find it can be made operational in a day or two of work. Julian finds a corrupted stock of CO2 filtration media, but finds enough materials to refresh it and make it usable within a few hours. Angelica pulls a Myrr survival database and begins looking for any information on local flora with compatible aminos or sugars that the crew can use for calories.
The crew blankets the reactor and brings it up, giving everyone a place to get a reprieve from their suits. Tomoe climbs to the top of the main hab with a rifle to keep watch. As Crichton passes beyond the horizon, the crew begins to hear the sound of low-flying aircraft.