Those were some of the hardest months of my life. The waiting. There’s a reason we don’t jump out into the deep dark – the same reason we balked at sailing far from shore. Oh, the doubt! All I had was a pile of math and a shadow against the backdrop of eternity.
And even if everything was going according to plan – the cat was out of the proverbial bag. And we knew there were enough breadcrumbs in our wake for the enterprising to follow.
The Memoirs of “Gentleman” Jack Cartwright
24 June – 1 July, WY602 – Dive Space – Deep Space: San Orestes Recovery Site
After getting over the initial shock of Jack’s message, the crew takes stock of the supplies on Peach, finding the hold stuffed with the necessary supplies to make repairs, as well as forty-two Navy body-bags pre-labelled with the names of the San Orestes crew presumed lost in the battle. They spend the remainder of the dive studying the specifics of San Orestes specifically and Murphy-class destroyers in general.
Peach surfaces around six light-months away from Whistler and accelerates for fifteen hours to get up to speed and finally approaches San Orestes, cold and quiet in the dark. The destroyer is hurtling at her combat speed with a slight axial spin. A small debris cloud surrounds the ship, likely the result of burst conduits as the ship froze. A visual inspection of the ship reveals a hull veritably riddled with projectile holes. Three of the four Korolev drives are completely destroyed and the fourth severely damaged. After some maneuvering, Peach manages to dock successfully and the crew goes aboard.
San Orestes was evacuated in combat and frozen in the void for thirty years and looks like it. Damaged systems, debris, and bodies are strewn across every deck as the crew slowly takes stock. After an hour, the ship’s batteries have warmed enough to provide emergency power. They find that the main reactor is relatively unscathed, and after a day of hard work on repairs and safety checks, Aiden, Din, and Roland light the main reactor successfully.
The exhausted crew returns to Peach for the night.