2.19: Edge of the Galaxy – The Rock

DS Day 207 – 245

Where:Shantuun & Nah’Malis

Moyato was assigned to form the team to scout out the asteroid situations. The asteroid still had a long trip to make before it actually was any danger to the planet, but trips back and forth had to be minimized. Moyato promised one trip, one team. It would be close, but the asteroid shouldn’t be a problem in a few days.

Wilkes would head up that group while Moyato was on diplomatic escort. “You always get the fun jobs, Zeb.” Wilkes ribbed sarcastically. Little did he know they would both see action this week.

Wilkes was assigned the Night Terrors demo-team, Loh’khar supplied the team with the best demo-charges his contacts could find in the area. Hasslock was assigned to the team as science advisor. They loaded everything up on the Sentinel shuttle, the team readied and prepped. Just before they left, the Xeenarch came running across the flight deck screaming.

“Sensors picked up some ruins of an artificial structure on that asteroid. Cap wants me to see what they are before we blow it to pieces.” She looked like her hyperdrive just got new coils. She was extremely excited, hoping that this might be a further clue to route of the ferry.

Hasslock was slightly excited as well,to spend time with a fellow scholar but noticed from the control room, a jealous look from Genna Seedar. It didn’t help her that the fellow scholar was a beautiful blond.

The Shuttle launched with all aboard, and aligned with a intercept course with the asteroid.

*****

“Red Squad, D-Team deploy!!!”

In true military fashion that would make most New Republic generals proud, the team suited up in low-G gear, hopped out of the shuttle, and on to the turbulent surface of the asteroid. Gas flumes could be soon over the horizon, and slight tremors could be felt through the surface. The low gravity made things seem slow and cumbersome, but allowed the to carry a lot more fire power.

The surface was jagged and treacherous. Their radiation-meters on their suits were reading extremely high levels of radiation, but nothing their suits couldn’t handle. Sensors picked up a strong energy reading to the west, which was exactly where the ruins were. They also picked up strange readings in orbit around the asteroid. The landing was so rough, that ships sensors couldn’t be used to spot this. However, land-based sensors picked up anomalous readings of large masses in orbit, caught in the asteroid’s gravity well.

“Dark Matter… ” Hasslock said over the comlink channel “It only makes sense. The Rift must be full of it. This things came from the Rift. It must be dragging a ton of it… figuratively speaking, of course… It’s probably a lot more than a ton.”

“Thanks for the good news. Now how about telling us how that will effect our job.” Wilkes ordered.

“Now way to tell. We’ll probably have to place the explosives deep inside the asteroid, and hope the explosion will knock the rest of it out of the path of the planet.”

Well, let’s stop hanging around here, and get to it!!” Hasslock hated when he yelled into the comlink.

*****

Their journey brought them to the top of a small mountain, over looking a grand sight of an immense temple at the bottom of the hill. The energy readings were coming from there. The temple was surrounding by a circle of pylons or monoliths, all equal in height; about 80 meters tall. They were metallic, and had alien markings written all over them. Sensors picked up only moderate energy readings from them.

The temple was a tall tower of black stone. It was open at the top, with a light resonating from within. At the top, the light past over irregular four spires. There were no windows, but the bottom had four arches, one at each point of the compass. It was huge, at least 300 meters tall. Inside was even more impressive.

Inside, the walls were crystalline, refracting the light in bizarre patterns. The light emanated from huge opening in the floor; an opening to a deep well that seem to endless. The light pulsated rhythmically. Along the lip of the opening was a bank of what only could be alien controls and glyphs. The opening into the pit was at least 50 meters wide. Hasslock became fascinated by it.

The rest fanned out, to establish a security perimeter. No telling what could be here. Once everything was secure, the explosives were assembled into a large block, with detonators attached. The well looked deep enough for their purposes.

Dansun was in bliss, attempting to translate all that she could, and record the rest.

Hasslock was dragging his fingers across the dust covered panels, across the raised glyphs and controls. Submit to my will, underling. You are mine. The voice thundered in his mind. You have the essence of Darkstryder with in you. Bring it to us. You are the key we have waited for.

He watched as his hands went from dragging across the panels to tapping and twisting specific controls. He could not stop himself. Release us, the Lords of the Daga’nede.

Wilkes finally noticed Hasslock’s movements, and noticed that whatever he was doing was increasing the power output of this temple. The pillar of light pulsated with more and more intensity with every control the scientist touched. Wilkes didn’t see this as a good sign. Neither did the scanners, which were signaling dangerous levels of radiation coming from the well.

The stun blast struck the scientist hard in the back, causing him to loose balance, and topple over the edge of the well. Wilkes, with his lightning fast, war-hardened reflexes, grabbed the end of a grapple-line. He tossed one end to one of his men, and leaped over the edge of the well. The low-G would allow them enough time to secure the end of the line while he went after Hasslock’s body.

Hasslock’s unconscious body was floating downward, making faster progress than Wilkes had anticipated, as if something was pulling him down. Wilkes was forced to use his rocket-jets on his Vac-Suit. The deeper the went, the more of the well the got to see. The Xeenarch would be amazed. Wilkes took the time to start up his helmet-mounted vid-recorder. She would appreciate it. Deep with the well, along the walls, it looked like it was set up as some kind of tomb. Rotted bodies of humanoid figures, suited in armor, holding an assortment of weapons, sat staring at him as he fell. He could have sworn he saw one of them move.

“Gotchya! Coming back up!” He re-angled himself, and with Hasslock over his shoulder, headed back up to the surface. The energy readings had leveled off, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

Upon return, he felt for the first time the severe tremors. Portions of the tower was falling from the ceiling; a spire broke of and fell slowly down the well.

“Sensors tell us a chunk of dark matter is ‘bouncing’ towards us. It’s destroying everything in its path. It’s time to leave.”

“Drop those explosive in the hole…better yet, slap few rocket-packs on that block send it on it’s way.”

The Night Terrors obeyed, and they were soon on their way. They couldn’t see the Dark matter coming, but could feel it through the tremors. They reached their shuttle, and quickly ran through pre-flight.

This was not going to be a neat and clean evac, but what one was? Wilkes thought.

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