Next course challenge is to share something from the project. Here is the intro teaser…
The scavengers were way off the normal shipping lanes. It was near the edge of the solar system where they found the derelict. It was old, real old, and cold as space. But, any scrap from the time of the Dawn War might fetch some good trade. And this derelict, no bigger than a shuttle, appeared to be mostly intact regardless of the scorch marks on the hull. The crew expertly matched the shuttle’s tumble and extended a docking clamp to join the two ships.
The clang of the docking adapter sounded loud but was drowned out by the warning alarms that went off. Lights flickered and dimmed, and the Pilot shouted to the Engineer, “What the hell?” The Engineer checked read-outs and flipped switches. “The derelict is pulling a lot of juice through the aux connectors. That’s rude.” “Well, cut the connection!” “Working on it…” The Engineer furiously typed commands, frowned, and then started flipping circuit breakers. After several long seconds, the alarms stopped, some warning indicators still angrily blinked.
The Engineer smiled after regaining control of the docking connection, “Wow, that was spooky.” The Pilot looked nervously at the air lock, “We should undock and blow it to scrap.” The Engineer gave an uneasy laugh, “And throw away a small fortune?” Suit up, we got work to do.
Within the derelict, the long dormant ship brain woke up. Unauthorized connection detected. Emergency power tap activated. Command response required. Initiating life support protocols. Reviving the Captain.
A sharp intake and a slower exhale that fogged the glass of the coffin-sized space. Something wasn’t right, well besides the massive headache, there was some intense dizziness. The cover slid back on the stasis chamber. The Captain noticed that gravity control was out. “Ship?” “Yes, Captain?” “Status, please.” “Main power, gravity, communications, and phase systems are offline. Repair nanites are depleted. Life support systems are critical. Reserve power is at two percent.” “Ouch.” “Very. We almost did not survive the destruction of the Avia Tempest.” “Any distress signals from the others?” The ship brain paused. That in of itself was very unusual. “Ship?”, the Captain repeated. “Nothing for the last four hundred years… Also, we have company.”
The scavengers worked on the outer door of the derelict. The Engineer popped an access panel, “Ah! Looks like I can hook up a drive head and get this open.” “You do that.”, the Pilot hefted a shotgun. “A little paranoid?” “It’s insurance. There might be booby traps or something.” A power tool whined, and the airlock door slid open. A figure stood there, built of armor plating and living metal. The Engineer blinked, “Is that a…” The Pilot screamed, “It’s a Phoenix!” The shotgun barrel came up, but the Pilot was too slow in the suit. A chrome hand snatched the gun from clumsy gloves. With almost casual disregard for the two scavengers, the creature casually examined the firearm. “Primitive”, it uttered in a mechanical voice. The scavengers froze, expecting to be butchered on the spot. The creature of legend looked at the two and cocked its head, “Let’s talk.”
Sword and Gun, Song of the Phoenix - logo
I want to use a printer-friendly grayscale minimalist art style for the interior