04+: How did we end up… here?
That point where the sky and the ground kiss, that’s where he was staring. ‘The horizon line stare’ and if you’ve been here long enough, seen enough, it’s something you develop. When trouble comes in this place, it usually comes from over the horizon.
“How the rip did we end up here?” That was the thought of the moment. Probably a thought most had after something went wrong, or they ended up in a scrap, or the ‘natives’ gave them a dose, or…..
Too many or’s to list.
‘Scamander.’ That’s the name they gave this desolate rock. Was that a joke? Scamander, the river god that wove his way outside the walls of Troy. Did anyone have a good look around before they named it? But most places here have a romantic name dug out of a millennia’s worth of myth and lore. And what a mash. Soil side was colloquially called ‘Midguard’, and the subsurface, Hades; which was as big a farce as calling the rock ‘Scamander’ – Hades was the one place people wanted to go.
Back whenever, when they popped out the other side of the Rip, they hit the now romantically named system ’02’. 12 planets orbiting a class 1 sized sun, all habitable; well ‘habitable’ in one form or another. And N332, Scamander, the most friendly. A breathable atmosphere, water, and surface temps that would not kill you without a suit. It also just happened to be the most mineral rich and the closest to the Rip. So good in fact, someone should have realised it was too good.
The old stories his dad used to tell him still linger. Tales of the mining rush and how the System went from being a vast, cold, empty place, to one filled with cols and outposts; filled with as many cowboys and personalities as there were stars.
But that was nothing compared to what went on here.
They came after the ore at first and then discovered the vast deposits of what every company wanted. M90 was the thing up until then, the wonder ore discovered in System’s belt but what they found here proved to be a whole lot more special. And that’s when shit started to turn really weird. The ‘natives’, the storms, the currents. The whole planet seemed to go apeshit when they started to dig it up.
But that did not stop them.
Corporate exploration as they liked to call it, exploitation by any other name. It should never have been allowed to happen at the speed it did, or at all. But money speaks and there was oh so much money to be had.
Corporate greed is how the collective ‘we’ got here and that gave him no joy at all.
Looking up, the clouds were shifting colour again. Blue, orange, purple, like giant glowing airships… a storm was coming.
Looking for Gods in Maschines:
Spans of the known:
A collection of hard science fiction tales written and illustrated by Gerard Thomas.