“Try not to get into too much trouble while I’m gone,” Lucy instructed.
“You make it sound like we’re going to fly the ship right into an asteroid,” Ophelia said.
“Oh, I know you won’t do that,” Lucy said. “But there are plenty of ways you could get into trouble.”
“We won’t do anything we wouldn’t do if you were around,” Ophelia promised.
“Not helping your case there,” Lucy stated.
She disembarked to join the akumillian expedition to the newly discovered world, leaving the rest of the crew to their own devices.
“All right,” Ophelia said. “Are you all ready to salvage some things from the old mines?”
“Sounds dull,” Leon said.
“You might find a gift for Paul,” Farah suggested.
“Fine, I’m in,” Leon said.
“Paul and Farah will stay behind to watch the Cerberus,” Ophelia said. “We’ll need Grace to examine any strange tech.”
Grace playfully jabbed Paul’s shoulder. “Look after my girl and my pup, in that order.”
“Shouldn’t I be the one looking after him?” Farah asked. “No offence, Doctor, but I can fight. You…”
“She knows,” Paul said. “She’s just joking around.”
Ophelia latched onto the airlock of the main facility.
“Atmosphere,?” she asked.
“Stable and breathable for humans,” Kat answered, after a quick sensor check. “There’s a slight variation from Earth’s atmosphere. It’s little more oxygen rich but I would say our species evolved in a similar climate to theirs.”
“All right,” Ophelia said. “Wear your atmosphere suits but leave the helmets off. that way if there’s a problem with the environmental controls we can switch over quickly. Come on, let’s go.”
She led Leon, Kat and Grace over to the facility. The first thing they noticed was that the lighting was on the floor. They proceeded carefully down the corridor, avoiding stepping on the fixtures. When they arrived at the first chamber they noticed that all of the furniture was attached to the ceiling. the station’s builders had used a thick, pasty substance.
“Is the gravity field supposed to be reversed?” Ophelia wondered.
“Maybe they stick to the ceiling like spiders,” Leon stated. “This might be more comfortable for them.”
“Maybe,” Kat suggested. “But we can’t reach anything of value with it like this.” she reached her hand held up to scan the substance. “It is kind of like webbing, but much stronger.”
“Let’s find the controls and I’ll reverse the gravity,” Grace said.
“Will we have to lift you to the ceiling?” Ophelia asked.
“You shouldn’t need to,” Grace said. “If I’m close enough to the computer I should be able to interface with it wirelessly, unless it’s too different from my system for the comparability program to work.”
“And if it is?” Leon asked.
“Then we lift her so that she can reach the controls,” Kat answered. “Although, judging by the height here, I wouldn’t be much use for that.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Ophelia said. “We’ll manage.”
The four hurried onward, looking for the gravity controls.
Lucy looked over the preliminary information on the planet. The natives called it Weriloit. It was roughly sixty percent land with a climate that was quite warm, at least in the major population centres. The scouting party had suggested that the population might migrate to avoid the cold, but hadn’t been able to confirm that theory.
The people themselves were arachnid-like hominids. They had four arms, four legs, eight eyes, spinnerets and fangs but the limbs, torsos and heads were largely humanoid. They had shown the scouting party very basic courtesy, but had seemed mostly uninterested in them.
“That’s strange,” Lucy thought. “I wonder if they lack intellectual curiosity? Or, perhaps they have such a long history of meeting other species that it’s become mundane. In which case, we can expect to find many more inhabited worlds in this area.”
She settled back. They were about to land on Weriloit.
Farah lightly stroked Wolfie’s fur while snacking on a packet of crisps and watching the Cerberus’ scanner.
“No sign of any other ships?” Paul asked.
Farah shook her head. “None yet. Everything is peaceful.”
“I see,” Paul said. He looked over at Farah. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough crisps? They aren’t exactly a healthy snack, you know.”
“It’s fine,” Farah said. “I exercise plenty.”
“Exercising isn’t the issue, Young Lady,” Paul said. “Watching your diet is important for your long term health.”
“Fine, I’ll put them away,” Farah said. “I’m still a bit hungry, though.”
“I’ll make you something,” Paul said. “I have a superb recipe for low calorie blackberry scones.”
“What, are we having a tea party?” Farah asked.
“I’ll bring a fresh pot of Earl Grey too,” Paul said.
Yuri landed on Hietzberg Gamma. There was a familiar ship stranded on a plateau. She landed beside it and took up her communicator.
“Space Blazer, this is Yuri of the Cerberus, I have picked up on your distress beacon. How may I assist you?”
“Yuri, thiss iss Ussie,” the coranus answered. “Our enginess are damaged and our oxygen will not lasst much longer.”
“And this idiot is filling the bridge with smoke,” Antoine added.
“Dude, relax,” Elijah’s voice came in. “We’ll get out of here just fine like we always do. You want a hit?”
“No!” Antoine yelled.
“Pleasse hurry,” Ussie pleaded. “They’re getting worsse.”
“Acknowledged,” Yuri said.