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Self Configuring Modular Robot (Chapter Cover)

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Chapter 12 - Self Configuring Modular Robot[]

Callison System, Lyran Commonwealth

"Was it some kind of contagion? Why didn't anyone...

...send out a call for help?" Cranston Snord's questions were logical, rational even. The presence of lights on the night side of the planet where those lights should be...but aside from large amounts of deeply encrypted radio traffic, Callison was silent.

No entertainment, no news programs, no HAM Radio even.

just gigaquads of random pulses across a broad variety of signals.

Constant chatter that made zero sense.

"We're not landing there without backup." He decided. "Rhonda, I'll be in my office. Have the crew keep monitoring the airwaves, see if you can figure out what we're missing."

"I need to get a closer look...

...if we're going to figure this out." Cranston's rest-period had clearly shifted his mind a bit.

"How close?" Rhonda asked.

"Real close. I'm taking a shuttle down, and I'm going to be keeping a hot mic, if I give the bug-out signal, I want you and the rest of the command burning hard for the jump-point."


"I mean it." he said, "if it's an outbreak down there, we might not have the medical to deal with it, if it's an occupation we need to know who, and how they managed it."

The former capital site looked like a bombed crater. If you swarmed it with industrial earth-movers and recovery vehicles.

At least, from the air. Cranston Snord wasn't sure he wanted to get closer to that. A low pass using a recon package on one of the shuttlecraft gives enough fuel for more than a few quick passes.

Turns out, having that extra fuel's worth it-thermal showed plenty of heat sources, but the computer also showed not a single one that was people shaped down there.

"I'm not seeing any human heat signatures on infrared, plenty of EM scatter though...and plenty of activity."

"Sir, there's activity at the jump points, and our Jumpships threatening to leave without us."

Cranston snorted, "Really?"

"Yeah, really. Their radar's picked up cold bodies falling in orbit toward them, and the bodies are in formation, maybe mines."

"Shit! Okay, I'm on my way up, when I dock, we get the hell out." He said, "Tell the Jumpship it's worth double the transits if he waits for our DropShip, and tell him to drop a quarantine marker. We're going to need to return in force."

It was the right decision, but maybe made a little late.

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