1125.9.7 - 18:00
The crew are at their posts as the Miishakaal exits jumpspace. Seconds later the collision alarms sound.
"Report!" Shiraamer barks.
Gvarokh answers, "Sensors are picking up a debris field 5,000 clicks dead ahead. Looks like the remains of a ship. Our pre-jump momentum is carrying us right into it."
Shiraamer notes that the ship's velocity is just under 400,000 kph. No time to stop. She'll have to go for a lateral burn to push the ship out of the way until the inbound vector can be taken care of.
"Hold on," she says over the comm, though it isn't really necessary. The inertial dampers will easily compensate for Miishakaal's 1G of thrust. The captain deftly rotates the ship perpendicular to the debris field and fires the thrusters easily maneuvering away from the oncoming debris field.
Meanwhile in the turrets, Simrii and Vincent watch the debris blow past the ship....
Simrii announces over the comm, "I think I saw somebody. Not sure though."
"Well, there's some cargo pods out there. That's for sure." Vincent adds.
Shiraamer smiles at how easily Miishakaal made it through the field. Upon hearing Simrii over the comm she pauses for just a minute thinking things. She decides that she might as well announce this to the whole crew at once. "Ok, everybody, we have around 3 hours of deceleration before we can do much. In the meantime let's get our sensors on that debris field and see if we can pick up anything."
"Already on it captain," Gvarokh interrupts. Indeed, Gvarokh is busy at the sensors.
The captain continues, "Simrii wasn't sure if he spotted something or not, but there are cargo pods out there. While we don't have a lot of room in our bay, perhaps we could pick up something. Let's make sure that whatever we pick up is something we want to pick up. Keep your eyes peeled and report your findings. I'll keep you informed on what our sensors tell us."
Simrii chuckles, "Free cargo's better than anything you have to pay excise tax and duty on any day of the week. If we're going to do a little salvage we should make sure we check the contents of the crates we grab before keeping them."
He continues to scan the wreckage, "God knows the last the we want is a cargo full of drugs or Zhodani weapons we don't know about."
Slade comms in from Engineering, "We should check the relevant salvage laws and see if we have to declare the find legally. Plus, if we don't report what we saw and just start grabbing crap, it's conceivable we could become suspects. Not only that, but I think we owe it to our fellow travellers to do what we can to let them know there's a big speedbump in the jump zone. And finally, whoever did this might still be around and it might be prudent to arrange for backup."
Shiraamer absently nods to Slade's comments, "I had planned on telling SPA about it. It's a hazard that every traveller should know about. We're lucky that we made it through it ok. We'll report it before going to investigate the debris field. But it won't be much of a threat for long. The debris field will disperse and the odds that someone else will jump in at exactly that point are slim. It's kinda strange that we did.
"As for salvage, we won't grab stuff just for the sake of grabbing. Before we do any grabbing we need to see what the sensors tell us. As far as the legal rights go, Imperial salvage law is pretty well defined on this. In order for us to claim cargo salvage, the following conditions must be met: 1) No crew survived. 2) If the crew were just ferrying freight, then the cargo must still be delivered to its buyer, though we can get paid for it at whatever rate the original crew was being paid. 3) The ship can't be insured or mortgaged to the bank. The insurance company will have first dibs on salvage to either pay off the bank or the beneficiaries of the claim.
"Of course, in times of war these rules are hard to enforce. We could just pretend we didn't find anything... but I'll contact them as soon as we start our decel burn."
Gvarokh asks the captain if she wants anyone to get ready to suit up. "We will likely need some floating hands if we want to do anything with any of the debris."
"Good thinking Gvarokh. Get somebody on standby, ready to move depending on what sensors show up."
Gvarokh is quick with a reply, "Since we have no passengers, Lakir and Vlad should be free." He opens the comm and says, "Lakir and Vlad: start getting suited up. If we find anything, we will need hands-on to get it in."
After turning the comm off, he mentions to the captain, "Once we are finally ready to go out, we should probably have Slade, you, or me ready as a backup."
"You and Slade decide between the two of you, I'll stay here and monitor from this end."
Meanwhile in the crew lounge, Lakir mutters to himself..."Somebody wake up Hudson....." as he gets up off of the acceleration couch and heads to the ship's locker to get his vacc suit. Vlad follows.
"Captain," Chuck starts up, "with your permission I'll get my medkit together in case there are any survivors."
"Permission granted Chuck. Never a bad move to be prepared for the worse."
The captain begins the deceleration burn. Once the ship is set, she puts the ship on autopilot. She then tries to hail the Umilikha starport, "Umilikha Down, this is the Miishakaal on inbound vector from jump point. We're reporting a navigation hazard. Looks to be the remains of a small starship. Over."
Although the c-lag is only a few seconds, a minute goes by before there's a reply, "Miishakaal, this is Umilikha Down. We are aware of the nav hazard. It is the remains of the starship Roundhead. She was destroyed by an unknown bogey who has since jumped out. Are there any signs of survivors? Over."
"We have no vessels available right now to effect a rescue party and have been out of radio contact with the naval base for several hours due to the loss of our long range communications relay satellite. We would've maintained radio silence as per protocol, but your transponder listed you as friend. Any chance you can start the search for survivors? Over."
"We have our sensors on it now but can't do it physical until another 7.5 hours go by. We're still in our 3 hour decel and it will take us 4 and a half to rendezvous with the wreckage. We will be glad to assist if we can and we'll keep you informed. I've been told that there is a naval base nearby. Have they been informed yet? Over."
"Negative. I repeat, we have been out of radio contact with the naval base for several hours due to the loss of our long range communications relay satellite. The bogey that took out the Roundhead took out our satellite as well. And now the gas giant where the naval base resides is occluded by our primary, Solis. Over."
Shiraamer takes a quick look at the navigation screen. Indeed, Erian, the gas giant where the naval base is located, is on the opposite side of the rather large K6 III primary, Solis. It may be several hours, or days, before the two planets are in position for a signal to get through.
"Solis is blocking us as well. Over."
Gvarokh whispers to the captain, "Find out when the bogey jumped out."
"Umilikha, do you know when the bogey jumped out?"
"2 hours, 15 minutes. Anything else?"
"If you have any further information on what happened I would appreciate it."
"That's all we've got Miishakaal."
"If we can get a message to the Naval base when we go investigate the debris field, we will. Over."
"Thank you for your help. Umilikha Down out."
Shiraamer does a shipwide announcement so that everybody can hear. "We'll continue with our decel and then go back to investigate the debris field. That will take us approximately 7 hours before we can do that. The Naval base hasn't been told what has happened yet so we'll let them know as soon as we can. Currently Solis is blocking them from us as well as from the planet. Supposedly the attacking ship jumped out. You guys are smart enough to know that the attacker could have done a mini jump. I'd rather not take that chance. Let's keep up our guard and don't be caught without the vacc suits either on or handy. Call me paranoid but I like the crew I got. I don't want them to be part of that debris field."
The deceleration burn is completed. The captain then plots a course back to the debris field.
Even with the c-lag for the later scans, Gvarokh is able to determine that the debris is of various shapes and sizes. The items of interest are those with regular shapes. A couple dozen large cubes would appear to be cargo pods. Smaller blocks could be various ship electronics components, and quite possibly the log recorder. There are a few cylindrical shaped objects which could be bodies, missiles, or pipes. It's hard to tell without a densitometer. There are even a couple small spheres which could be liquid holding tanks or rescue balls.
Shiraamer, once again, talks over the ships system to catch everybody at once, "I'm going to get my vacc suit on and be right back. If one of those containers is actually a missile, I want to be ready. You all have been in space before so I'll leave vacc suits up to you if you wish to wear them or not. I want our scanners to remain on that field in case of variations. We need to check out those small spheres to see if they are rescue balls and also some of the smaller blocks. If their log is one of them it could prove to be useful. Other than that we'll see what we can check out. If anybody else has suggestions or comments either catch me in my quarters or wait until I'm back on the bridge. Shiraamer out."
Simrii nods, "Nothing worse than wearing formal attire to a business casual lunch."
Before she leaves, Gvarokh says, "I think we all should be getting our vacc suits on. We can take turns; I'll get suited up when you get back."
"I agree but they're all adults. They can fend for themselves."
Gvarokh then comms down to Slade suggesting he do the same. He then comms Simrii and Vincent advising that they take turns getting suited up, too.
"Already am," replies Vincent.
Simrii speaks up, "Was there much left out there bigger than the cargo pods or a few scraps of metal? I'd rather not find something hiding in the wreckage just waiting for us."
Gvarokh answers, "Nothing among the regular shapes. Anything bigger than the cargo pods is of irregular shapes, indicative of debris."
Simrii asks, "Did anyone notice if the debris are inbound, outbound or static? Static would indicate to me that something really weird is going on here."
Gvarokh answers him again, "The debris is moving outbound."
Simrii, suited up and sitting quietly in his turret watches the debris field carefully, "We should see if we can find a data recorder, might give us a better idea as to what happened here." He scans the sphere's with the minimal target acquisition sensors built into the turret checking to see if they're cargo or survival.
Next: Searching Through The Debris