Hello fellow Citizens, we pick up the story of Zulu and Archer with the second chapter of Dragonflies in the Dark!
Dragonflies in the Dark
by Stormy Winters and Nehkara
\\COMMUNICATION LOG BEGINS 2946.06.29.01.28\\
Archer: Gerard! Dammit, where the fuck are you?!
Gerard: Archer? We’re holding in the same position. Do you need us to rendezvous with you at your position?
Archer: Like yesterday!
Gerard: Trevor! Fire up the engines ASAP, we gotta burn hard to go get Archer and Zulu.
Trevor: Roger, cold-starting engines. Give ‘er.
Gerard: We’re on our way Archer, where’s Zulu?
Archer: Have infirmary standing by!
Gerard: Archer! Is Zulu okay? Are you injured?
Gerard: Beth, can you get ready for incoming casualties?
Beth: *static* Uhm… uh… yes! Of course… just let me… do we know how many?
Archer: Just him!
Gerard: We’re approaching Archer, we’ll pull a hard stop as we close on you.
Archer: Slowing to full stop.
Trevor: Bay doors opening, land at your discretion Archer.
Archer: Roger that.
\\COMMUNICATION LOG ENDS 2946.06.29.01.33\\
Captain Titus sits, eyes heavy with sleep, in a small conference room with Archer after Archer’s arrival back on board with his severely injured mate.
“Archer, you departed the Monarch at 23:40 hours with Zulu on a mission to explore a derelict and evaluate for possible salvage. Correct?”
“Yes sir. We approached the derelict and entered the access point simultaneously before deciding to do separate surveys. Zulu inside, myself scanning the outer hull of the ship.” Archer answered rubbing his hands over his tired eyes, grabbing the steaming coffee sitting in front of him on the table.
“Who made the decision to part ways during the mission?”
“Zulu, figured is we separated might be able to do the survey twice as fast, unfortunately that’s not how it went.”
Frowning, the Captain grumbles, “I see. Can you walk me through the events leading up to the incident?”
“Not much to tell, sir.” Archer continued, “We were bantering back and forth and he wasn’t exactly cataloguing his location as he went. All of the sudden he said he saw a light, I asked if he was by chance seeing the lights from my Dragonfly as the hull was pockmarked with holes everywhere.”
Titus rises slowly out of his chair, taking his coffee with him and begins pacing around the room. “Was that the source of the light? Did anything else happen? Did you discover anything about the wreck?”
“No sir, he reported the light was coming from one of the control panels on a console. He shut down his Dragonfly and EVA’ed to investigate further. At which point he accessed some information that indicated the derelict was none other than the Ponderosa and that’s when his mobiGlas overloaded and I lost communication with him.”
“The Ponderosa? The UEE ship? Fuckin’ hell that’s an old story. No one’s seen her in a couple decades.” Titus takes a long swig of his coffee and sighs, “What did you do after you lost contact? Where did you find Zulu?”
“That’s strange part, sir.” Archer said his tone one of curious confusion. “I decided to backtrack and follow his exact footsteps to look for him except I found him outside the ship, he was floating unconscious along my previous course I had just come from but the last I’d seen him was when we parted ways just inside the mouth of the access point of the derelict.”
The Captain retakes his seat and strokes his beard in deep thought. “How would he have gotten outside? That’s pretty fuckin’ weird. Could he have been blown outside by some kind of explosion? Archer, what were his injuries like from what you could see? Was he awake at any point?”
“No sir, from what I could see he was physically fine but…”
A knock at the door draws the attention of both men as it opens a moment later to reveal Beth standing there, “Apologies Captain for the interruption but I thought you might want to know… he’s awake.”