We were able to construct the smallest vessel available in the preloaded blueprints the Corporation provided us with. As I practiced piloting the craft, I located a large supply station. The place was guarded by a single drone that I shot down before it could get a lock on me. “Way to go, Baby!” Timo cheered with me over the communicator.
I replied, “I can’t believe I pulled that off!” I’ve had flight training in a simulator, but that only gave me the concept; flying a real vessel is a lot different. I told him, “I’ll RTB now, but there’s a lot of cargo containers and a few small buildings. Let’s come back here together.”
“I think that’s for the best,” he said. “If it was guarded, they’ll come back, and there could be hostiles inside already.”
I returned to base and prepared for combat, then we rode our motorbikes for hours to reach the area. When we were 800 meters from the station, we left our bikes and proceeded the rest of the way on foot. Timo was right about our enemies sending another drone, and after we took it down I said, “There’s just no shortage of these things, it seems.”
Timo chuckled. “Let’s loot this place and get the hell out,” he suggested.
The supply station was unoccupied, which makes me wonder if the aliens are even on the planet–they could be deploying the drones from orbit, or this could even be an automated security system. There was no time to ponder though, so I hurried and checked the contents of the large cargo containers stacked near the perimeter of the station. We found electronics, computers, and valuable equipment. Among the equipment was a teleporter chamber similar to the one we had at home, except it can heal injuries as well as repair our suits!
To top it all off, we also found a huge stockpile of rare metals. Timo was thrilled as he counted ingots and told me, “There’s enough erestrum and zascosium here for us to build a spaceship. We can get ourselves out of here in a few months.”
We entered the central building and were stunned by the sight of a computer console. I pointed out the obvious, “They’ve got a holographic projection of Earth! Why? It’s not even like that anymore.” Timo just shook his head and I started trying to access files.
I was shocked even more to discover some English filenames. “Look at this,” I called him over to my side. The only file we could open was a shipping order that also referenced a trade agreement between Zirax and Dreschner Corporation. I gasped, “What the hell is going on?”
Timo responded, “It looks like Dreschner’s back in business. I’ve never heard of Zirax, but I’d bet they’re the ones trying to kill us.”
“So the Corporation made some secret deal with an alien race that double crossed us?” I wondered out loud.
“Maybe, but Dreschner sent us here to prepare for colonizing the planet. What if they allowed their new trading partners to strip resources before we arrive?” he suggested.
“Yeah, and they ran into problems with those horrific Nightmares,” I concluded. “They’re behind schedule, and attacked us when we arrived–”
“To protect the secret arrangement,” Timo finished my sentence.
I looked closely at the items on the shipping order and some products sounded amazing. “Advanced weapons and spacesuits,” I said, “this is stuff they never provided to their own citizens.” I thought for a moment, then added, “What if the return to commerce means they’re planning to sell things to us?”
Thankfully there were no more drones in the area, and we were able to take everything we found back to our base. Right now, Timo went into orbit to mine sathium from an asteroid in the ring around Akua, and I’m trying to extract data from the chips I found the other day. I hope I can find some answers about the Corporation’s dealings. Were they betrayed, or have they betrayed us?
© 2017, Starwing. All rights reserved.