Astraeus Event

FLIPSPACE Missions 4-6

by John Steiner

Flipspace 4

During a deep space rescue, the Mockingbird receives emergency dispatch orders for the Fortuna asteroid. Colonel Rama is warned of Russian Federate and Remote Space Conglomerated Industries vessels. The Fortuna Foreign Relations Office invites Mockingbird's senior officers and Federation command officers to an embassy dinner. The two Earth powers are asked to defend Fortuna from RSCI clandestine ops. Lt. Cipactli Arroyo-Diaz, and his team are invited to a "friendly" game of soccer with Russian security. Stanley Goddard runs into an old nemesis in the form of a Federation Logician.

Flipspace 5

The freeze on FTL exploration is over. Mockingbird is dispatched to the exo-planet, XJ-372495E to relieve an outpost team established by the Astraeus. They discover no response from the base, and fear the same fate befell the station as the FTLV. Col. Rama and crew land to investigate the small wind-blown base. Todd Nathanial Ash, Mockingbird's genetic specialist and Seti team member draws animosity from the science team leader. He and Cpt. O'Connell uncover signs of extinct civilizations, found by the first team, and learn what happened to outpost crew. That's when things get dicey.

Flipspace 6

Only 42 light-years away, the exo-solar planet, Henry Draper 40307G has yet to be visited by humanity. That changes, when the Mockingbird arrives with an astronomical survey team. Deploying probes and deep space telescopes, the science team stumbles upon intelligent aliens on sixth planet. Colonel Rama orders the crew onto alert. Captain O'Connell and his Seti team, clash with ISO scientists while studying the surface life. The crew is shocked again, when a derelict spacecraft is found in a Lagrangian Point beyond the planet's moon. How many S.E.T.I. encounters they face is uncertain.



Chapter 1: Between a Rock and a Cold Place

In what could barely be called an orbit, ISS Mockingbird made slow circles around the asteroid, Themis. It measured almost two-hundred kilometer in diameter. Named for the god of natural law and order, Themis proved to be a natural, albeit coincidental choice for raw materials to be used for spacecraft. Among them was the ill-fated Astraeus. When one of the asteroid’s remote operating bases declared an emergency it gave Sumitra Ramachandra a momentary chill.

But Colonel Rama hid that away, as she floated in Mockingbird’s small Combat Information Center next to Major Fitch. She listened to comms of suited crew members deployed to render aid. Two of the Ghostwalker Security Force operators were among them. The Mockingbird was several kilometers above the station, which served as an outlier base of operations to the asteroid’s main complex. Maggie, the ship’s AI had been quick to detect the point of decompression. It was a rupture in the facility’s operations compartment, possibly from a micrometeorite impact.

“It looks like zey’ve secured ze breach with emergency patches,” Lieutenant Sveindottir, the ship’s senior engineering officer reported from the top of the dome.

“Can you assess the conditions inside?” the colonel asked, having not yet taken the Operations Command Station. “We’re still having trouble connecting to their network.”

Through Mockingbird’s external cams and sensors, Rama watched, as Tech Sergeant Wei Jin used a technical assist glove worn over his suit. He placed his palm on the surface to get readings through the dome. A secondary view inside Kevin Wei Jin’s helmet let Sumitra see his subtle head shake.

“It’s not good, Colonel,” Wei Jin reported. “Pressure’s down below half an atmosphere. We’re going to need the flight surgeon and a couple med-rigged Hummers down here.”

“Copy that,” Sumitra acknowledged, and turned to operations. “Tell Captain O’Connell to suit up and deploy, and get Sup-Dep to config two Hummers for medevac EVA.”

"FLIPSPACE: Astraeus Event" by John Steiner


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