By: Jack Carrigan
“A year ago when you asked me what I thought about legally being able to work on the planets for resources I would have told you it was brilliant. Today, not so much.”The holoreel would have depicted a carbon-scored Proteus-class Strategic Cruiser sitting at an awkward angle, nose pointing at almost a forty-five degree angle into the lush canopy of the jungle. It was obvious the entry was less than planned, but a lot softer than it could have been. The Comms antenna appeared to have been welded back onto the hull with much effort after being sheered off by the trees. Splintered wood surrounded the disabled war machine, and green foliage served as a natural camouflage. The plating over the cargo bay doors was retracted, revealing a ladder hanging down into the jungle below, with a rope-ladder tied at the bottom of it to facilitate access to the ground. A disheveled appearing man turned the camera to face him, “This is Commander Jack Carrigan. I am documenting the fate of a stranded capsuleer. It has been two months since I crashed on this rock while pursuing pirates. I was interceding on behalf of a mining corp. This has made me realize something. If you can’t help yourself, you deserve whatever fate befalls you.” The camera turned and swung wildly as it was pulled up the ladder. Upon arrival at the top, it could be seen that the Proteus had been turned into a survival outpost. A rack of small arms was sitting along side the door recently marked “COLD STORES.”A voice could be heard as the door opened, revealing a large quantity of spilled blood, and several containers filled with various meats of unknown origin. “The animals on this planet have a lot of meat on them, but taste very bland, and there are a lot of venomous creatures that take to the hunt long after dark. Numerous encounters have been made, but to be perfectly honest, they’re not all that tough when facing rifle fire.” The camera panned around, showing hides hanging to cure on hooks in great sheets, one appearing to be that of a large feline animal which bore a resemblance to the mythological “Tiger”.
“The predatory animals on this planet are strong-willed animals, and even when wounded, continue to fight to their last breath. Capsuleers could learn a lot from them.”
The camera moved forward as the hiss of the cold stores door closed behind the holder, showing the rest of the cargo bay. Camouflage made from cargo netting and localized foliage could be seen hanging over the large opening where the bay doors were. A small coiled heater was resting on the deck plating, beside a pile of blankets, and a stuffed flight suit which appeared to be utilized as a pillow. “You think you know what Hell is? Well allow me to re-educate you on Hell.” Laughter escaped the speaker as the camera was placed onto a crate and the speaker took a seat, the emblazoned seal of the Order of the Shadow and a Jolly Roger visible hanging from the camouflaged netting in the bay in the background. “Hell is being trapped on some terrestrial rock, with a ship that you know is capable of getting you out, but not being able to free it from a fucking tree, because said tree constricts around it like a predatory snake. Hell is looking at the sky at night, and watching flashes in the sky which you know are some poor miner getting slagged, or some pirate getting his just reward, and knowing that you could have altered the outcome of the battle, but simply have to watch it from below. Hell is knowing that freedom is only outside of an expanse of gasses surrounding the rock your sitting on, but you still haven’t figured out how to get clear.”
Reaching out and turning the camera, Jack smirked before shutting down the recording, “Hey Roc, if you get this, try not to laugh too hard. Doing time planet-side is like being in prison. Now that I’ve got the Comms antenna reattached, expect to hear more from me. So to you I say, Planetary Interaction… …HA!”
The recording device shut off, and the recording was uploaded via NeoCom.
When I had finished laughing I gave serious thought as to why Jack felt compelled to send me these tales of woe. Then it dawned on me, like attracts like, and Jack and I had swapped several stories of our misadventures. It helped to keep the spirits up. To that end, I deleted the trace route Aura had setup. Let Jack figure out how to get off of his own damn planet.
It was good for building character. I laughed some more.
CONTINUED IN: The Continuing Adventures of Captain Jack