The TCS Astrid’s Chief (and only) Engineer finished packing the arms locker and reorganizing the contents. With quick darting motions each piece of gear was back in place, fully checked and prepared for whatever contingency might arise. “Thatss ssshould do it” Skeeter said to himself or to no one in particular as he closed the arms locker door and headed back to the engineering spaces.
Washing his hands Skeeter walked over to his homemade still and poured himself a Taurean Brandy. “Mmmmm, is not better ssss I thinkss in the Vergess.” Skeeter half sat and half squatted on the engineer’s chair at his work bench and said aloud in his peculiar T’sa accent, “Computer, queryss Mansstebron systemssss.”
After a brief pause for translation the computer whirled into action, “Results: Mantebron System – centered by a G2 star that is nearing the end of it’s main sequence. Within 20,000 to 50,000 years the system will enter a red-giant phase obliterating the inner planets. In approximately one million years Mantebron will nova. Eight planets orbit Mantebron including the once Earth like world of High Mojave but that planet has aged, the atmosphere thinned, rotation slowed, and tectonic activity has near stopped. The atmosphere is unbreathable.”
Skeeter, piquing at the unbreathable atmosphere chimed in, “Ssso, no life on the planet?” The Computer whirled briefly as if indignant at the interruption and replied, “Humans inhabit the world still, a hardy and independent group of Orions.” Considering for a moment the attractiveness of inhabiting a world where one must rely on artificial breathing apparatus, Skeeter asked “whatss on the planet isss worth putting up with that?” The Computer buzzed a bit, whirled, and said “The Orion League surveyed and quickly claimed the system in 2328”, pausing for a moment, “there were other suitors when precursor ruins were discovered to be on the planet” Skeeter jumped up, downed the rest of his drink, and asked “What precurssssor ruins?”
The Computer hissed and bubbled, “Locally, the precursors are known as the Glassmakers.”
With feet firmly planted, Skeeter began slightly bouncing up and down, half at the knees and half at the neck as he was want to do when considering a problem. Considering the computers revelation, Skeeter barked, “Computer, new node in my Glassmaker research files – name Montebron Glassmakers. Dump all you have on them into that file and of course fully index and link all the data with what I already have.” The Computer buzzed and chirped briefly and said, “Done, anything else Skeeter?”
But Skeeter was already out the door to double check the e-suits and power armor. Bouncing down the corridor one could barely hear the tune Skeeter was singing:
As I was going over the far famed Kerry mountains I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was counting I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier Saying stand and deliver for I am your bold deceiver with your . . .
Whack fol the diddy-oh Whack fol the diddy-oh Whack fol the diddy oh There’s whiskey in the jar!