House Comp Jan 2007
Ok, Archean and myself have decided to open the new year with a little competition to get all your juices flowing. Below will be the inital storyline to it, I will post the events nearer the time and from now on all my Tridens emails will be in character.
The shuttle reverted from hyperspace for a routine nav check a few dozen parsecs away from the Imperial capital of Bastion, sensors probing away at the dark, foreboding void for any possible dangers and to acquire their location fix. It was half way through this scan that the navigator realised that there was something out of place…
“Castle Tarentum, this is supply shuttle Yridia 789-A. Come in Castle Tarentum.” Crackled the adrenaline spiked voice of Captain Idama over the Holo-net comm.
“This is Watch Officer Derralk to shuttle Yridia 789-A. We are receiving your communication. Status report?”
“We’ve discovered a derelict cruiser, an old Dreadnaught Class Cruiser. It’s showing heavy combat damage and undeterminable life signs. Power and gravity are however reading normal and the transponder paints it as a local sector defence ship from the Dalonbian sector. Permission to investigate?”
“Granted. At the first sniff of a Republic investigation team you are to retreat. I’ll keep this channel open and await a constant commentary and if possible data packets.”
“Understood Castle Tarentum. Idama out.”
The shrill, keening howl of the emergency alarm pierced through the fog of Archean’s meditations dragging him towards consciousness and the challenges of the day, obviously much more challenging then usual courtesy of whichever event had triggered the alarm. Reaching out with the Force Archean summoned a communicator and flicked it on.
“This is the Quaestor of Tridens. Sit rep?”
“Archean, this is Bloodfyre. Mobilise Tridens, we have a situation. Drag Welshman out of whichever hole he’s hiding and meet us in the command centre for a full briefing.” The commline clicked dead and Archean frowned. If there was such a danger to Tarentum space why hadn’t he picked up on it in his meditations. Determining that those kinds of questions would only hinder him he tuned his comm. to Welshman’s frequency and opened a channel.
“Aedile, we’re wanted in the c&c. Sounds somewhat urgent from the looks of things.”
“Nice to know that you can be counted on for ready wit and humour in trying times Archean. Anyway I’m en route to the command nucleus as we speak. I’ll see you there.”
His footfalls echoed through the stone corridors accompanied by the rhythmic clattering of his lightsabre hilts against side, it had been many months since he had last walked down the rough hewed stone corridors of Castle Tarentum, back during his tenure as Consul and before his pilgrimage to various Force powerful sites which had taken over the intervening months, educating himself in a wide variety of Sith and other Force disciplines. Rounding the corner Welshman’s sensor goggles detected two of the hulking undead knights which had been bequeathed by the Keepers to Clan Tarentum to protect its leaders standing guard outside the command centre, ever vigilant, ever ready and as intimidating as a battlefield of Dark Jedi they served in their role excellently. As he drew nearer to the guards Welshman could feel their intense scrutiny through the Force, even though these two creatures had once guarded him they would take no chances. The warrior on the right of the door palmed the entrance switch and admitted him into the nerve centre of Clan Tarentum.
“This is the last data packet we received from the crew; it’s a holo from the first officer’s helmet so the quality isn’t the best but it will suffice.” Bloodfyre announced to the assembled group of high ranking members and leaders.
“Shouldn’t we wait for Gladius to arrive?” Queried Welshman.
“They are dealing with their own troubles at the moment Aedile and as such won’t be able to offer any assistance. “ As he finished speaking the room plunged into darkness and a hologram flickered to life in the middle of the assemblage.
The camera descended from the ramp of the shuttle onto the main hanger of the Dreadnaught to be confronted with a scene of chaos, debris littered the area with carbon scoring covering every bulkhead. After a few tentative steps the cameraman joined a group of three other shuttle crewers and made for the main entrance/exit to explore the rest of the ship. It was then the real horror became evident. Bodies littered the corridor and pools and rivers of blood meandered around the feet of the explorers, a few intakes of breath were audible in the holo but still they drove on. From initial examinations of the bodies it seemed that none had been killed by a blaster bolt or other energy weapon, instead they had been hacked to pieces or bludgeoned to death, a fact most evident when the gravity failed in one section and numerous heads floated towards the “ceiling” minus their bodies.
“Did you see that?” Asked one of the freighter’s crew.
“What?” Asked the cameraman.
“I swear I saw something move behind us…”
“It’s your imagination Glyn, now be quiet and… Force be damned!!!!” Shouted the Captain
At this expletive the cameraman turned to face the rear of the group and there sinking to his knees with a long, slender, snake like object erupting out of his cranium. Behind it was a pair of aliens nearly two meters tall with heavily disfigured, scarred faces and wearing a set of all over ruddy brown armour. Removing its weapon from the skull of poor Glyn the alien immediately slashed the “blade” again this time eviscerating the person next to him. By now the team had gotten over their initial shock and opened fire with their blasters only to their horror to see the bolts harmlessly splatter or ricocheted off the armour. The second alien removed a small ball from a pouch and what appeared like wings sprouted out of its side, this object was then hurled towards the cameraman who was a fraction too late in ducking, the projectile impacting him in the head cutting of the transmission and presumably the man’s life.
The lights returned to the command centre and Bloodfyre looked worried, his Shaevalian face appearing drawn and concerned.
“Archean, Welshman. Take Tridens to their location and find out what the hell those things were. We’re counting on you.”
Standing at the dais in the Great Hall of Castle Tarentum Welshman viewed the assembled masses of House Tridens, over four dozen Jedi along with the support staff and military attaches that ensured the smooth running of the most august and illustrious of Houses.
"Friends…" Begun Welshman as he pondered how to broach his message, Force senses probing to attempt to garner the general feeling in the room.
"Friends, I come before you today with a mission. Recently news has reached us of some strange activity far beyond our borders around the Tingel arm, whilst normally such news would not concern us it has this time due to it involving some of our assets. Whilst on a routine trading mission one of our shuttles investigated an anomaly only to be promptly destroyed by an unknown force. This naked aggression has caused concern within the Clan Summit and due to Tridens being the only uncommitted force in Tarentum has been tasked with discovering the identity of these aggressors and then exacting revenge for our asset." Pausing to let his words sink in Welshman took a breath before continuing.
"Our Quaestor has gone up to the Aegis to make the Acheron ready for our transport and protection. To complement our force we'll be taking a squadron and a half of Yridian militia in X-wings along with a squadron of the Clan's own fighters. This we hope will be sufficient to deal with any force in the area. Brothers, sisters. Hone your sabre skills, steady your aim and make ready for war. We leave within the hour. Force be with you." Turning on his heels Welshman left the room the Force reeling from his announcement.
As shuttle after shuttle docked with the platform Aegis Archean and Welshman viewed loading of the Belarus cruiser Acheron. Crate after crate and an almost continuous snaking of Jedi and troops traversed the corridor and entered the hold of the newest addition to Tarentum's warfleet.
"Will this be enough?" Asked Archean.
"It better be, a capital ship full of Dark Jedi is a different kettle of Mon Cal to a small shuttle of traders. We will prevail and perhaps we'll get a new Dreadnaught to play with. When will the ship be ready to leave?"
"Twenty minutes, the last load of Tridens soldiers have just shipped up along with some Euthenatos from the Clan summit. We have slightly over a hundred marines on board and our fighter squads fully stocked, it's just us and the last two or three Tarenti and we're ready to leave drydock."
The thirty-one ships of Tarentum leaped into hyperspace and on began the great galactic journey that would take them to the opposite end of the Galaxy and onwards to a great adventure, glory and possibly death…
OCC: If I use your character in the fiction it doesn’t mean you have to say you are where I put you in your event submissions.
The squadron reverted to real space after 36 hours in a flash of cherenkov radiation. Sensor booms deployed and began sampling local space for any stray particle or echo that may have given a hint as to what awaited the forces of Tridens.
“Sire, sensors report the sector is clear. No other ships in the area. The Dreadnaught is holding steady relative to us 250 kilometres to our port.” Informed the sensor officer.
“Take us within 20 kilometres of the hulk, inform the strike teams to make ready. Form up the Jedi squadron to form a screen in front of us, order the mercenary miltia to advance forward and scout the location, I want the commander of the militia to inform me once they are within weapons range of the Dreadnaught.” Barked Quaestor Archean.
“Aye Sir, orders relayed to Captain Ban of the militia, all the Jedi also report formation attained.”
“Good, if one of them so much as deviates a meter of course I want their heads. Where’s Welshman vanished to?”
“He’s down in the armoury briefing the strike team commanders as per your request.”
“Our objectives are simple, scout out the vessel and destroy anything or anyone who looks at us strangely. To do this we need to secure key areas of the ship, to this end I’ll be splitting the more adept warriors into teams accompanied by our own marines the rest of you can hold the hanger bay and other key areas once they are secured. Melkor, take your men and secure the corridor leading from the engine room to the hanger and Zekk, you can go on to take the engine room. Korras, Troutrooper and I will each take a team and assault the bridge from each of the ring corridors…”
“This is Ban to squad, our paymasters wish us to take a closer look. Lock X-wings into attack positions and be on your toes, something disabled this ship.”
An hour later
“Quaesator, Welshman has gone aboard with the first consignment of troops. He reports no enemy contacts. He reports that main computer seems to be down and that its safe to bring aboard the rest of our troops.”
“Give the order Commander. I shall be in my ready room.”
Karel prowled down the dark, abandoned corridor linking the central corridor with the port turbolaser blister. So far all he had encountered were the dead bodies of the original crew uniforms slashed and torn and lathered with blood, all of them either missing appendages or cradling their exposed guts and entrails. The whole Dreadnaught reeked with despair and fear, it was truly one with the Dark Side. Holding out his hand Karel signalled to the ten stealth suited commandos following him to stop. He’d seen something that he hadn’t seen since coming on board, an operational computer screen.
“I’m going to slice my way into this computer and see if I can find some interesting logs or even camera footage about what happened. Form a perimeter in the corridor whilst I work.”
Setting down his blaster carbine he reached under his robes and pulled out a datapad and got to work.
Korras led his assault team around the starboard ring corridor slowly making his way to the bridge. Carnage and destruction lay everywhere, blaster burns splattered all over the bulkheads and discarded blaster packs proving that the crew had tried at least once to repel the boarders. Looking around Korras noticed a door welded together, behind which Korras could detect the faint flicker of life, human life.
“Inform command we have a possible survivor.”
Igniting both of his lightsabres Korras slashed through the bulkhead and began carving an entry hole. Within seconds Korras had an entry hole and stepped through the smoke and ozone into a butcher’s yard. Rivers of blood and lakes of gore pooled around his ankles, further review showed the room to be a first aid station. The last survivor must have fused the door shut and hidden to avoid whatever sensors the invaders had. No sensors were a touch on the Force however.
Walking towards the rear of the room and a storage cupboard Korras was vaguely aware of the sloshing noise made my the fluid, within a few feet of the cupboard Korras extended his hand and used the Force to open the doors, a flurry of bolts escaped from the room and streaked towards the Adept who promptly absorbed the energy with the same hand.
“Monsters! Foul creatures of the Abyss!!!” Howled a voice before being followed by one final shot, the life sign vanished from Korras’ senses.
“Troop, belay that last order. There’s nothing for us here.”
Bending over to examine the crazed crewer Korras frisked the uniformed individual and removed a still working data pad from his pockets. It seemed to contain log entries from the past few weeks.
This phase lasts from the 11th of Jan to the 21st.
Archean stared at the sensor display of the Cruiser Acheron and frowned at the object that his engineers had just pinged for him, apparently an asteroid but the dimensions and mass didn’t add up not to mention the fact that it was holding steady at a constant relative distance to the Dreadnaught.
“I want another sensor focus done on that asteroid and this time the answer better not be `inconclusive`”
“Sire I pre-empted your request but I’m afraid the results are the same, 200 meter long chunk of unidentifiable material, density is different to what one would expect of an asteroid that size but within accepted levels.”
“Send over a team if we have the men spare. Any reports from the Aedile yet?”
Entering the bridge at the head of his strike squad Welshman stared in dismay at the broken monitors and computers scattered over the bridge, it would seem that whoever had disabled this ship had intended on doing a thorough job of it. Sparks arced from still live wires and the occasional line of text briefly flickered to life on a still functioning screen.
“I want this bridge repaired and fully operational ASAP. Let’s see if we can salvage something from this ship. Sit rep on the other teams?” Commanded Welshman to his second in command.
“We’ve lost contact with the team patrolling sector G-67 Sir. Shall we despatch our reserves?” Lieutenant Voresh called to Welshman from across the bridge.
“What are our numbers like?”
“120 troopers and a dozen Jedi of various ranks spread throughout the ship.”
“I could go.” Volunteered Korras who at that moment entered the bridge swathed in blood.
Cocking his head to study the new arrival Welshman smirked, trust the old Obelisk High Commander to find the action on what was fast beginning to look like a ghost ship.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this. I need to swing by the shuttle bay later to use the ship to ship communicator to file a report to the Clan Summit.”
Korras merely shrugged and began ordering his troops to begin repairing the electricals.
Cloak swirling behind him Welshman left the shattered bridge and made for the engineering deck.
“Knight Corsair we’re having trouble with our sensors. They keep picking up these echoes. It’s playing havoc with our readings.”
“Just remember why we’re here Private. Those ghosts could be the scum we’ve come to hunt. Ready weapons and prepare for any combat. Inform the Summits of our location and ask them to send reinforcements”
Tightening his grip on his sabre pommel Melkor Corsair stretched out into the corridor ahead with his Force senses in an effort to attain if the sensor ghosts were what they were or perhaps something more sinister…
“There…were…two…of….them… “ Gasped the dying Guardian air rattling from a punctured lung and blood frothing on his lips.
“Two of them destroyed your unit?” Asked Welshman dismayed, so far his Force senses had been only able to pick up on the anxiety and fear of his own men nothing from the cold hearted killers which had now cost him eleven men.
“I...couldn’t feel…them…through…the Force…alien’s blanks in…my Force senses..”
That would at least explain his earlier failure.
“Unfortunate. Now die young Sith and serve the Clan better in death then you managed in life.” Sneered Welshman as he felt the life essence of the Guardian leave its body.
“And now my alien friends it just you and me.” Spoke Welshman to the shadows at the far end of the corridor focusing on the two patches of vaguely shimmering air that had been ‘watching’ the proceedings for a while. Stretching out his hand he beckoned for the two creatures to come forward and fight and this they did. The cloak they possessed seemed to peel off them like a second skin and pool on the floor in two amorphous blobs leaving two tall, highly muscled, ferocious looking and down right ugly alien males equipped with a lighter version of the armour he had witnessed in the holo. Their weapons seemed to be almost alive as they removed a undulating coil from their forearms and straightened it out into a serrated snake-like blade. Igniting both of his sabres and adding their suffuse glow to the dim embers of emergency lighting Welshman tapped into the Force for guidance and strength and was indeed surprised to see the aliens exist as holes in the fabric of the Force, almost as if they were non-entities for indeed even the Dead that Tarentum used for her armies had a Force imprint.
“Looks like this is going to get interesting…” Mumbled Welshman as the two aliens broke into a sprint and headed straight towards him.
“Quaestor! The asteroid is accelerating and changing course! It’s heading straight for us!” Shouted a tactical officer from the bridge of the Acheron in highly accented Basic.
“Shields up and power up the turbolasers. Tell me what the hell is going on!”
“No idea Sir, it had the acceleration profile of a Corvette. It just swung onto its new vector and came straight for us. Ummm now it seems to be loosing debris Sir… twelve fragments all together, all strangely uniform.”
“That’s no asteroid it’s a capital ship and those are its fighters. At least we know what happened to this dreadnaught now. Order the squads onboard to dump the memory core to the Acheron and prepare for battle. Flank speed Lt Greeda.”
“Shields at one hundred per cent. Fire control teams standing bye and all crew reports action stations.”
Archean felt all this occurring through the Force, the eddies and currents of life and death that surrounded him informing him to the actions occurring on his ship the blur of minds that made up the crew of the ship and the adrenaline and fear that drove them to their stations, he could even feel the boarding parties on the Dreadnaught anxious and tense, awaiting whatever evil that lurked aboard the stricken cruiser. He could sense all of space around him, from the vortex of Dark Side energy that heralded his Aedile in combat to the mynocks that drifted along aimlessly kilometres away all except for the enemy ships that even now hurtled towards his force.
“Acknowledged Commander. Order Ban’s squadron to move out to engage their fighter defences, keep the Tarentum forces close to us as a picket screen. Second that vessel is in range, open fire. Are we picking up any technology or weapons on that ship?”
“Negative Sir, it’s just a big hunk of rock to our sensors. Wait… we’re picking up approximately thirty sections on the hull heating up… reaching four thousand degrees… Sir thirty globules of plasma have been ejected from the vessel from the side of the vessel facing us and the far side, those globules are arcing over the ship to head in our direction.”
“Prepare for impact, order all weapons to fire as they bare, both ion cannon and turbolasers. Target those plasma projectors.”
“Understood. Relaying orders.”
The thirty balls of golden plasma hurtled through the void of space, silent and purposeful. Scything through the tenuous medium of space energy bled from the ammunition, warming the space around them for a fraction of a second, this loss however did little to detract from the destructive power of the shells as they impacted the hazy energy barrier protecting the Acheron. Each sphere crashed against the shield and detonated in a shower of energy, the shield glowed blue with the strain of dissipating the energy before returning to its natural state.
Tarentum’s counter-barrage was somewhat less effective. Spears of coherent light carved through the vacuum ready to devastate the foe that dared open fire on a Tarentum vessel but any hopes that the crew of the under siege Tarenti vessel had was short lived as what sensors perceived to be micro-singularities leapt into existence to intercept the blasts.
“Shavist…” Swore Archean on the bridge of the Acheron.
Welshman’s dual blades were a cyclone of ferocity as he fought desperately for survival. The two alien warriors were good Welsh had to admit that, attacking as a team one going high one low pressing Welshman almost to the brink. Relying on only his combat skills and a healthy does of luck, for every step forward he gained against the enemy he was forced to take two back.
Taking a swipe with his left blade aimed at the knee of the nearest alien Welshman grunted as the serpent-like weapon of the alien moved down to intercept the blade, his exertions soon turned to surprise as the once solid staff like weapon transformed into an organic, moving creature which wrapped itself around the blade. To prevent the sword being yanked away he deactivated the violet blade and flicked the power switch to once more send power coursing through the circuits.
Hearing the voice screaming from behind him Welshman threw himself sideways into a nearby alcove just as a barrage of heavy laser bolts filled the corridor with their scarlet death. Activating filters on his optical goggles Welshman risked a glance back in the direction of the armed Tarenti. There standing amongst a group of Euthanatos armed with anti-vehicle was Dark Adept Korras and his squad of marines a dark look on his face as he studied the bolts impact the almost impervious armour of the aliens.
“Focus your firepower on one spot” Ordered Korras, the staccato roar of weapons fire slackened and then picked up again as the undead warriors focused all their firepower. Within seconds a fissure appeared in the armour and all of a sudden the warrior began convulsing violently, shattering noises could be heard from within the armour as the twitching armour crushed the life out of the alien.
“Take the body to the shuttle Korras we can analyse it and see where the hell they come from. I’m going to talk with Archean.”
“You might have a problem with that Aedile…”
“This is Ban to squad… Looks like even the fighters have those nifty shields. Switch over to torpedoes and see how they fare. My astromech is issuing targets, lock one and fire when ready.”
Within seconds twelve projectiles leapt from the fighters and angled towards the asteroid-fighters only to be swallowed by the same black holes causing no damage to the vessels.
“Squad, flick them over to proximity setting. We might get lucky with the detonations. Break by pairs and engage.”
“Commander, how many more impacts can we sustain?” Queried Archean coughing as the dense smoke present in the bridge infiltrated his lungs.
“At current depletion and recharge rates we can slug this out for another twenty minutes, that is of course unless they get lucky and hit something vital.”
“Get me Welshman, I want our teams off that ship and I want us on the way back to Yridia. Can we initiate a data dump of the Dreadnaught’s main computer from here?”
“No Sir, direct access only”
“Damn. Fine… order a team to go access it and open the link. I’m not leaving here empty handed.”
Golden fire blossomed on the hull of the Acheron as round after round of plasma breached the shield perimeter and splashed onto the quadminum hull. The superheated silica rapidly cooling as it gnawed its way into the delicate innards of the mighty vessel.
The bridge of the flagship of Tarentum in the sector was a cacophony of sound and the acrid smell of melting electrical equipment. Whole sections of the ship registered as dead on the few remaining monitors and more weaponry turrets were silent and damaged then there were throwing back beams of electromagnetic death towards the rocky ovoid that was punishing the vessel of metal and circuits.
“Are we causing any damage to those blasted creatures?” Archean bit out impatiently.
“We’ve blasted a few holes in their outer hull but no noticeable drop in their performance. We on the other hand are down to minimal everything, we stay here for any longer and we’ll be ions before meal time.”
“I happen to concur Commander, order the contingent on the ship to evacuate we have as much of the memory banks as we’re going to get.”
Welshman stalked into the hanger bay and witnessed the scene, the sight of carnage and blood which had so far been confined to the rest of ship had spread into the hanger bays. The pitted and dented hull plating was now soaked in blood and gore, it was here that the survivors of encounters with the invaders were collected in a makeshift triage. Moans and curses escaped the lips of the bedraggled marines as they awaited medevac through the perilous space between the Dreadnaught and the Acheron.
“Begin bringing all surviving troops to this location, we’re going to defend this place whilst we evacuate the ship. We’re going to have to brave that storm before we loose the Acheron. I can feel the destruction and death out there… it’s intoxicating.” Murmured Welshman to the highest ranking military commander standing guard over the communication equipment.
“Aye Sir, Quaestor Archean sent a communiqué to that affect. We instigated the retreat as soon as the order came through.”
Celahir and Dock stood back to back as they cautiously made their way back to the hanger, cut off from their respective teams they had stumbled upon each other in the gloom of the corridors. Armed with the latest heavy rifles that Tridens could equip them with the two Journeymen of Tarentum had discovered that even these items of death would barely dent the armour of the aliens, only the sacrifice of one of the Euthanatos servants.
“How far to the hanger bay?” Asked Celahir, voice rising in panic.
“Not far to go, we should be bumping into the perimeter anytime soon.” Responded Dock.
“Let’s hope we don’t bump into something on the way there, those things are damned invincible.”
“Seconded, now quiet down or we’ll attract some unwanted attention.”
“This is Phoenix 2 to squad. I have two bogies on my tail, assist required!”
“Two this is lead. Negative on the assist we’re all committed. Best bet is to run the gauntlet of the Acheron let her pick them off.”
Looking down at his sensor screen Squadron Commander Dyl’Jo’Ban saw that his command of 15 ships had been reduced to 6 with the enemy losses numbering 2, and those had been lucky kills after they drifted into a turbolaser barrage.
“Acheron this is Phoenix Lead. Requesting permission to bug out, we aint getting nowhere with these bastards.”
“Negative on that, form up on the Dreadnaught, you’re escorting our shuttles home. You’ll have the Jedi squadron in support”
“Time before the shuttles start leaving the dreadnaught, we can’t be surviving much longer out here.”
“Ten minutes before their all home, the first medevac shuttle are leaving now. Do try and keep casualties to a minimum, we can’t resurrect atom clouds to serve in our armies.”
“Understood.” Sighed Ban before clicking his subspace radio off.
Karel grimaced in disgust at what he conceived as the sheer weakness of the soldiers whining in pain. They knew nothing about suffering in his book but here he was in the midst of the pathetic rabble on his way back to the mothership and hopefully some modicum of safety. Glancing out the viewport Karel noticed the two battle scarred X-wings slide into escort positions beside the shuttle ready, he hoped, to die to protect the contents of this shuttle.
Korras stood in the midst of the last defensive cordon twin sabres a continuous blur as he deflected the droning thud-bugs and flaming plasma eels, his surviving marines popped up occasionally from their limited cover to throw a barrage of laser fire down both sides of the corridor, the situation he reflected was hopeless.
“Commandos, prep all your thermal detonators and get ready to throw them on my command.”
“But Sir, that’ll cut through the hull into space!”
“That’s the idea, I shall use the Force to seal us in a bubble so we can retreat. Prime and throw gentlemen.”
The roar of detonating baradium drowned out the ululating roar of the approaching alien horde and blaster repeats only to be replaced by the loud howling of atmosphere venting through the serrated gash that had replaced the ceiling. Korras’ ears popped as the pressure dipped suddenly but before they could be completely robbed of oxygen Korras had the force shield erected around his station a look of immense satisfaction as he watched the creatures writhe in oxygen deprived agony, their blood boiling and lungs embolysing. Laughing to himself he palmed the hanger doors open and led his squad onto the last remaining shuttle.
Welshman descended the ramp off the shuttle and into the airlock tube ruing the ships lack of an internal hanger. Opening the air lock of the cruiser he entered a scene resembling the ship he just left, debris and bodies scattered everywhere but even in the midst of all this destruction he felt safe a few minutes after the retraction of the airlock he felt the battered hull of the Acheron thrum and rumble as the engines propelled the ship to lightspeed and onwards to home.