It should have just been an ordinary patrol. In, out, perhaps stop a smuggler. It wasn't. The Perseverance system, home of the Ungstiri and the former world of Youngster. A shattered planet that is no stranger to blood shed and destruction. Home of the infamous asteriod U-999... Which is where our story starts.
The unmarked Ungstiri militia vessel, a local made job that appears to have seen its fair share of trouble and choas sits upon the landing cavern's floor. Several of the crew, all Ungstiri nationals, loiter around her, small talk. Dressed in clothing that is more practical than fashionable. Spacers to say the less.
A rather short Ungstiri female currently rests back against the ramp, her dark hair allowed to hang loose for once. Drinking in the atmosphere, it could be said.
"Tasya," says Lejtenant Bykosk, a man about two years the woman's junior and may of been an Old English Bulldog during one of his past lives. "Are things ready?" He's always vague, and usually cryptic. Though he appears to be the odd one out, wearing something that is rather attrocious. A bright red floral shirt and blue board shorts.
The short ebon haired woman slowly turns her eyes and looks towards the man who's addressing her. She sits up, and lets her shoulders slouch a little bit. "Ready?" she parrots, giving a rather vague look. "For?" She slowly rotates one hand, a universal sign for carry on.
"The job," the Officer replies.
A moment of silence passes, before Tasya finally clicks and stands. "Da." Though the look she's giving him, would be along the lines in which one would give to someone with a new limb growing right in the middle of their foreheads. "We were ready before we left."
Without anything else to say, Bykosk heads up the ramp and boards the ship. 'What an idiot,' Tasya thinks to herself, as she slowly gets to her feet. 'Long walk, short airlock. Should be his next career move.' She slowly cranes her head from side to side, and then stretches out before giving a shrill whistle to the plain clothed troops gathered nearby.
A variety of groans and grumbles come from the group, before they too, head inside of the ship. With nothing else to be done, Tasya heads in herself.
Space can be a rather boring place at times. Well, apart from dodging the asteroids and such. It can be even more boring when you're waiting for a ship to turn up, and it doesn't. Those two could be the most dangerous of obstacles, too. The Ungstiri, they're use to it. A people raised in a harsh environment and conditions. The void lurking at their door steps, waiting for a shield to fail and suck several million souls into its gaping maw.
The same fate await the crews of ships if something goes wrong in space. Death by decompression, that's something that the Ungstiri personnel were familiar with, to an extent, personally.
Several hours had passed since the Ungstiri Militia members boarded the ship and departed from Ungstir and headed in towards the inner orbit. Several long, dull boring hours with nothing but sensors and idle chatter to keep them company. Until they picked up a distress call from a ship.
A single garbled, electronic scrambling from the sun no doubt. Or even external damage to the sensors. One thing was certain, there were lives on the line and the unknown ship needed help. The unmarked Militia ship quickly engaged her main engines, giving away their position if anyone was actively looking for them. About 20 minutes pass, until they notice a ship drifting dead in space. A white calliope class freighter with the words, "IND Hyena" emblazoned down the side. For 10 minutes Ungstiri Militia ship continued to survey the other ship for damage, and as well as attempting to hail the other ship.
Nothing. No damage or reply from the ship. Even the scans read out as it being all clear, life support, engines... But no crew. Well, except for a minor thing with the spin drive, the ship's alright. But the crew? Vanished, completely gone.
A rather puzzled Bykosk makes his way down into the crew compartment of the ship, his hands tucked behind his back. It has always been a habit for him. His gruff voice, marking the presence of a heavy smoker, rings out, "Right... We got a ship out there... But we don't know why it's out here. There are no crew alive on board. We don't know why."
One of the crewmen, a young man, just coming out of his teens and judging by the pimpled look of him, just reaching puberty. "Sir... So... Ghost ship?"
To which, Tasya promptly speaks up, giving the young man a rather 'are you serious?' look. "Ghosts..." she flat out states, before taking a breath and shaking her head. "You honestly don't believe that, do you? It is the thing of old wives tails." An exhasperated sigh follow, and then looks to the crew that are gathered, her thoughts, if readable by the rest, would be along the lines of; 'Idiots, all of you.'
The young crew member glances back to the ebonny haired woman, and stumbles over his words. "Ye... No... I don't believe in that!" he quickly retorts, quickly shaking his head. "It is the things of old wives tales, with no proof what so ever.... They say that the Boromov place is haunted."
A roar of laughter erupts from the rest of the crew, mocking the youngest crew man on the ship. He drops into an uncharacteristic silence after this.
The Lejtenant shakes his head, his manner unchanged from the possible bastardisation. "This nyi the time to be joking around," he states, as he looks from crew member to crew member, eyes stopping on Tasya. "If you want to remain a starshina, then you'll pick up your game and stop picking on your underlings. He might believe in Santa, but do you hear the rest of us mocking him about that." He takes a deep breath, and the continues. "Right, we're going in to check that ship out, like it or not."
A rather unsettle silence then sets over the rest of the crew. The calm before the storms on Earth, something some what preternatural.
It didn't take long for the two ships to be joined. A dangerous dance at the best of times, an extremely hard one with only one ship. Many things can go wrong, from the seals being worn, micro-asteroids puncturing the tubing, to... Well, the unknown. A variety of matters could make a good day turn bad. These Ungstiri, sure they were trained and professional, but even people like that die easily in the void.
The crew from the ship, the board party, outfitted with their sunday best. Or in other words, a work suit and a BKMS pulse assault pistol, head across to the freighter. Sure, life support on the Calliope might be working, but who's to say that something more sinister lurks within.
Tasya was the first across out of a five man team, the Lejtenant staying behind with the rest of the crew to help guide and lead the second if needed. Bykosk was known for leading from the back lines, and didn't appear to be changing it. Pity thee who called this man a cowards and cur.
Through the unpolarised face shield of the suits, the men and women of the Militia breaths catch upon the glass. Leaving the airlock, they push further in. Some with their hands gingerly touching their pistols, others opening lockers and access vents to get readings. Yet, nothing.
Nothing alive that is. The boarding party cautiously enters into the cabin. The crew's pretty much how they would have been if they were still alive and lacking deep throat wounds. Laid up in their bunks. If Tasya's boarding party had of been on board with their helmuts off, then they would have been able to smell the stench of dead. The sickly smell of bodily fluids as the corpses, just as they lost grip of that slender thread, passed away.
"Komerad Lejtenant," a rather unnerved Tasya says over the interla comes of the suit. "They're all dead. Throats have been..."
At the time that she trails off, a dark figure scuttles past the door. Small, black and fast.
A familiar voice crackles across the comes, Bykosk, the Lejtenant speaks. His voice low and calm, unphased by the circumstances. "Starshina, what is happening? We have lost contact. You can still hear us, da?"
A single hand single, that's all it takes for Tasya to motion to her squad to withdraw their weapons and stow their tech scanners. "Komerade," the short Starshina replies. "I think.... I think we have got something in here with us." Her own hand slips down towards the weapon, before the scuttling can be heard coming from the venting. A single "hoop" follows.
In a fluid motion, the UM members move forward, cutting the pie as they go. "Come out," comes the challenge from one. "We're not going to hurt you," another says, backing up the first. By now, the weapons are completely charged.
The skittering continues, and the members move their sights up to the venting above them.
The skittering stops, silence. Nothing there. Completely quiet without any signs that something's amiss.
"Just a rockrat," states the youngest member of the crew. He didn't say this for the benefit of the crew, just himself.
"It was just a rockrat," Tasya agrees, murmuring to herself. But she wasn't sure, a moment or so ago, she could have sworn she felt someone toying with her raven black hair and that hand seemed to have done that from inside of the suit.
The group seems to let out a collective sigh of relief, before falling into search the rest of the hulk. Before a loud bang shake themselves to their sense, some jump, others would look wide eyed down through the aft hatch and towards the way they came and engineering.
Two split off and head towards engineering, BKMS pistols humming merrily in the zero gravity environment.
Tasya had nominated herself to go in with the engineer the ship had at all times. Sure, she didn't know the first thing about reactors, couplings and all of that other technical stuff, but she could place a shot into the crowd, if needed.
Heavy footsteps mark the way; Not from unseen chain rattling spirit that is jealous at the world of the living, but their own. It doesn't take the duo long before they reach the engineering section of the ship.
The maze of pipes, wires and machinary is all that's there. The life support merely shows that it was turned off, nothing more to it. A little red light blinking on and off innocently.
To Tasya it means nothing; just a light, nothing more, nothing less. A moment later, a voice seems to speak from her from no where. "Tasya," it starts off, low and spooky like. She turns her head towards the source of the noise, and swallows.
"Tasya... What the hoop are you guys playing at? Is there anything in there Starshina?" It was the Lejtenant playing around and bravely asking about the situation on board the ship.
"Nothing to report, Komerad Lejtenant; Life support has been switched off," Tasya informs the officer. She rolls her eyes and lets out a brief laugh.
"How could she be so foolish and be worried about something that wasn't there? Ghost ships, bah! No such things as ghosts," she thought to herself. But the continued paranoia, the fear of the unknown continues to gnaw at the back of her head, almost like a burning sensation. Or that could simply be a heating unit of the suit.