Should be a beautiful night but there are ships out there battling even now.
It's only recently that Alliance species other than human-descendant have been allowed into Warp Squad. Two of them, in the current squad.
Heard it used to be a real paradise. Now it's only good for mining rock and reminiscing over wine.
Is it the weed that makes it move backwards or is it something else entirely?
It reads: For a good time, join Bounty Hunters on Discord.
I have no clue what that means but I've always appreciated a good bounty hunter.
It reads: Thank you mods, memers, and space invaders.
Is it a ridddle?
Reads like gibberish: NWMSAZA WNLM YB MRW VGFS MRYNZHJS EAMAA AHJ SAMXNNP
I can't make anything out of these papers... Space weed is too strong these days.
Stinger as long as a needle. Better not get in my drink.
Looks like whiskey, tastes like wine. Hmm.
Her name is Ellie. Hell, I don't know whether she remembers it, not after the shit she must have gone through in the Reformatory. But that's her name. Ellie.
We used to be real close. After Dad died in the ice-mine collapse on Pyf I was all she had. I was ten years older and it sometimes felt like she was my daughter, not my sister. She was smart - way smarter than me - and I was proud.
When she was little she'd snuggle up to me as we watched a holo. She'd say she missed Dad. She'd say I was to never leave. Made me promise. I never figured she'd be the one to go instead.
They glorify Warp Squad. The posters, the propaganda. And it's easy to glorify something with such rich history. Glorious, glamorous, all those kinds of words. How could life here, with me, compete? A cramped apartment so high up in the dust-clouds that you maybe saw the city below once a cycle. And I was rarely home, barely there for her. Two jobs'll do that to you.
They recruited Ellie when she was fourteen and I couldn't say no because only a parent could reject them - and we didn't have any parent left by then. Besides, she wanted to go.
She spent six years in the reformatory. I got one letter a year, but I sent about fifty. I don't know if they stopped her posting more to me or if she just wanted to erase her past.
They didn't even tell me she'd passed the final test, joined, become a pilot in the squad. Left me behind for good. I had to find all that out for myself.
And now I've got to find out what happened to her. To them, Warp Squad. I know I'm getting close.
Vesna Orba - Second Interview
Broken glass and an allergic reaction is as much proof of murder as a scream in the dark. It's pure speculation. Go ahead, report me, tell them a spiteful hag engineered a bee with a taste for men named Erickson. See how far that gets you. Maybe it'll kick-start a new career for you in comedy.
I will tell you this though: I'm not sad he is dead. He would have destroyed Warp Squad if he'd truly had evidence. Fool. His mind had become so one-track that he'd failed to consider the consequences of his actions.
If someone murdered him, perhaps they were justified.
We live within an alliance as fragile as a fallen leaf. To so much as touch it would turn it to dust, its remains to be stolen by the wind. Later, but not all that much later, that dust would settle as dirt upon our graves.
What I mean to say is: not everyone likes us. They hear of what we did to our first planet and their hearts freeze. They would turn on us, if we did not have a gun in our hand. If we did not have Warp Squad.
And even if they did not betray us, races outside of the Alliance, who even now only bide their time, would look upon us, mouths salivating, teeth sharpened for war.
Don't you see? Warp Squad is everything. We must all do our part to ensure its continued existence.
Yes, the Reformatory could be difficult, crushing, even. But that was the point! They tore the flowers from the ground and those left standing were as resilient as weeds.
What is this?
This doesn't prove anything, except that I ran into Caliope that day. Which I must have forgotten to tell you about. I suppose that I forgot myself.
Wait! Please. Just keep him out of this.
It was not his idea.
I needed someone to help me. To lift Erickson into the noose.
And you. You were meant to find those within the Council trying to close Warp Squad down. Not to investigate me.
We did it for Warp Squad. Or I did, at least. Caliope did it for me.
What is it you want? To arrest me? Have me sent to obliteration?
Oh, the photos? Very well, I will erase them before you go. You can watch me login and do so.
Ah, and Warp Squad, of course.
Look, I honestly don't know what is going on. But the stars are dying and Warp Squad are missing, and everything I have lived for, worked for, it is all starting to seem like a waste, right now.
I dont know what is happening.
But there was something, back when I was part of Warp Squad. Something I can not help believing is related. We told the Council about it, of course, but they suppressed all news of the event. Which always makes you wonder.
Have you ever heard of a jackal?
It was an animal, back on the old planet. I hadn't heard of them either, not until the discovery.
The jackal's digestive system was unique. It preferred to eat other animals, when possible. But it couldn't eat them until their bodies had rotted. Wasn't able to digest them until a certain level of decomposition had set in and softened them.
In ancient times, people would visit the graves of their recently buried relatives, flowers in hand, only to find the body of their parent or child had been dug up by a jackal, their remains devoured.
Thirteen, that is she was Pilot Thirteen at the time, discovered the dwarf planet. It was as far out as any of us had ever been. Nothing habitable near to it. No star, no system. Just, this dwarf planet, spinning lonely through the darkness of space.
She landed on the planet's surface near a raised anomaly she had detected. Curiosity and all that, I suppose.
The surface was covered in a light dust or a fine sand. Beneath it, the ground was hard as rock. Harder, even. The beams of her ship's lights cut through the darkness in front of her, spreading like fire over this anomaly.
She walked towards it and saw that it was a great statue, crafted from an unknown black material.
She did not know it, but the animal statue looming above her was a jackal.
At the statue's base was a plinth with a half-covered inscription carved into it. She ran her hand over it, clearing away the dirt, revealing a language we still don't understand.
We all saw this much later, you understand. When these final transmissions reached our ships. There was no chance to tell her to run.
We saw it through her helmet's camera. Watched as she gazed up at the head of the jackal, where the ship's light fell dim.
The jackal's eyes reddened, gleamed like burning rubies in the darkness.
Thirteen fell back in the dust, gloves, and boots scrabbling for purchase.
She kicked up enough dust for us to glimpse the bone-white metal beneath the ground that made up the planet's surface.
Not that it was truly a planet.
Then a scream as the transmission cut out, as our connection to her ship was severed.
The nearest member of Warp Squad made his way to Thirteen's last known coordinates. By the time he reached them, this fake planet had moved itself into the long shadow of space.
Whatever that planet was, I believe it had been sleeping, waiting for us.
And Thirteen awoke it.