Casual Play Astrogation

Lambda Tulloch Calav 17g (Lycaeus)

Space parts, opens. You pop out of the between and back into the void, the darkness lit only with the glittering points of a billion stars. A binary is the first thing you see– a red giant turning slow, sluggishly while a hot little white dwarf sucks a streamer of fire from its surface. It's a deadly dance, one all too common in the universe. You turn your eyes away, turn them to the nearest world, the airless chunk of rock your ship's integrated intelligence is already guiding you into the orbit of.

Initial scans turn up little. It's an unremarkable world, minimal potential for mining or colonization. The surface is ragged, butchered as if it's been scoured by orbital weaponry, but it's hard to tell with all the meteor craters pockmarking its surface. You can't think of a reason why anyone would bombard this world anyway. If there was ever anything here, you can't imagine it would be anything important.

A blip and a feed from your ship's integrated intelligence tugs at the edge of your mind. Curious, you accept it, expand it, immediately see the geometric lines, the shapes of something that isn't natural, isn't native to this meteor-beaten ball of rock.

It's an outpost, you realize after a moment. Small, composed entirely of light-duty buildings broken open and scarred with time and fire. No bodies, nothing but a few shards of metal jutting from the stony surface. When you send a mote-probe down, you find high levels of radiation in the soil, in the stone, in everything, but there's nothing else. Nothing but those bare ruins.

Just as you're about to leave, pack in the probe and make a note in your ship's database, you catch a glint of something out of the corner of your eye. Curious, you drift over to it, float in front of it. It's a door, or part of a door. Most of it is slagged, buried, but the peeling paint you can see still spells out the words PROJECT CRIMSON in brilliant red letters. The name means nothing to you, but you log it anyway, just in case it means something to someone else in the network.

Once the mote-probe is safely aboard, you give the rocky world one last look, then spin up your ship's phasedrive, prepare for a jump to the next point of interest waiting to be seen, to be discovered.


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