Logbook entry

James Barrett / 31 Dec 3304
Through the inferno (30/12/3304)

Cavalieri Rescue Ship
Administrator Office
Electra System, Independent




"No, commander. I will not do that" - Pilot's Federation Administrator shook her head - "I have thousands of people that still needs to get out from that station. I will not dedicate any resources to helping one person, especially one that is already in a safe place and under medical supervision".

"I am willing to go out there and help you and your people out, lass. All I ask for is some time of your lab personnel. We can..." - James was cut short in the middle of the sentence.

"My decision stands. I said no." - she folded her arms on her chest and added - "Now if you excuse me, I have a station to rescue."

Barrett clenched his fists, trying to control his anger. Finally, he said:

"Ya know what is the difference between us? Ye - " he pointed his finger at the woman - "are just doing yer job, being paid for what ye do and deep inside don't really care about those poor bastards out there. Me... I have someone I really care about and will go light years to help her. Goodbye"

Cavalieri Rescue Ship
Landing Pad 1
Electra System, Independent


"How did it go?" - asked Marleny when he got back onboard the ship.

"It didn't. Find us another rescue operation and take us there, will ya?"

"Right away, commander. Give me a moment..." - she jumped into the galaxy map and browsed it for maybe a minute - "Werapana, 270 ly from here".

"Fine. Set the course" - James slumped in his command chair and thumped his fingers on the console, lost in thoughts.

Berthke Ring Rescue Ship
Landing Pad 7
Werapana System, Independent




"Alright, lass. We'll do it differently this time. Go and get us as many passenger cabins as this ship can carry. Strip down everything but shields, dismount all the utilities and replace them with heat sinks. Oh, and get us a small cargo bay just in case. We will first get those poor people out from the station and only then talk to the authorities".

"OK, on it, commander" - Marleny hesitated - "Have you done this before?"

"Nay, but I've met people who did. As long as we don't stay inside for too long and get rid of excess heat we'll be fine".

Berthke Ring
Outside the station
Werapana System, Independent




"Ye're ballhopping me... what could have done such damage to a station like this?" - James knew what to expect, but still was shocked with the view.

"Yes.. it's hard to believe..."

"OK, we're going in, have those heat sinks ready."

"You can begin anytime, commander".

He turned towards the station entrance that looked like a fiery mouth of a dragon. Inside, the reddish glow and smoke completely blocked their view for a moment. Something hit the ship hard, pushing it to the side.

"Woah! Easy now" - quick glance on the shields. Everything OK. - "Turn on the search light, Marleny. Where is that damn pad?"

"There, on the right, 2 o'clock, low"

"Tally - ho. Hey, I am picking some occupied escape pods, can you see them?"

"Yes, all over the place. Heat level reaching 98% and rising"

"Vent it"

"Roger"



"OK, let's pick up those poor bastards.. we have space for two pods. Easy now..." - he manoeuvred Lepricon in position and opened the cargo scoop. The operation was much more difficult than he expected, with the small container being pushed around the bay by explosions and large chunks of station floating around. Took them about a minute and two more heat sinks to pick up the escape pods.

"Got them. Put her down, I'll go to the hatch and let the people in."

"Roger" - said Marleny and turned the ship towards the platform.



It was a real hell down there. The temperature easily reached 45-50 degrees Celsius. People were already waiting in the hanger - some of them in orderly lines, others were pushing to get to the front. A dozen or so security officers did what they could to keep it under control. A man in full body armor and helmet met James half way through the ramp.

"How many can you get onboard, commander?"

"82"

He nodded and transmitted the number on the radio. Soon survivors started to flock towards the ship. Some were carrying bags with their belongings, other didn't have anything. James noticed that there were almost no women and no children among the people - they probably have been evacuated first, a testament to good organisation of the station security services. He helped the rescues get onboard, counting them as they went. Sure, he could have cramped many more in the cabins, but for entering the FSD they needed to be securely strapped in - which meant taking strictly the number allowed by the rules. Once they were all in, he pressed the intercom button.

"Marleny, we're full, dust off".

"Roger that, commander".

He felt the ground shake as Lepricon lifted off the pad. After making sure that everyone is safely seated, he made his way towards the bridge. Suddenly, whole vessel shook and James went flying towards one of the bulkheads. No alarms - shields must have stopped any damage.

"We had a series of explosions outside" - Marlene announced as he was attaching his belts in Helm position.

"OK, I have control. Let's get out of here. Vent it and I'll hit the throttles. Three, two, one... now!"



They sped towards the station entrance, leaving the fiery inferno behind. Once they were clear of the perimeter, James looked back at his co-pilot.

"Ready to go back there? We will have to do it a few more times..."

"Ready as hell, commander" - she grinned.

Berthke Ring Rescue Ship
Administrator Office
Werapana System, Independent




They made six more runs in the next 14 hours, spending time in between for resupplying the heat sinks and repairing external damage taken during the operation. James counted that they rescued around 550 people plus four in the escape pods, that were floating inside the station. There were many more waiting to be ferried off, but he had to think about Sib. Presently, he was sitting in the office of one of the representatives of the faction controlling the Berthke Ring station, the Warapana Republic Party.

"We are most grateful for what you did, commander Barrett" - advisor Natalya Greene was a tall, dark skinned girl with short blond hair. She was the liaison officer on the Rescue Ship and had her hands full since the attack started - "now if there is anything we can do for you apart from the normal payment..."

"Aye, lass, there is" - James put a small container on the desk and slid it towards Ms Greene - "A dear friend of mine has contracted something doctors believe is of alien origin.. some kind of disease. I'd be grateful if ye could have these samples ran through the lab on this ship. That's all I am asking for".

The girl looked at the box and nodded - "I think we can do that for you. Give me a week, I will send you the results of the scan. Would that be fine?"

"Aye. That would be brilliant. Thank you!"

"No, thank you Commander. On behalf of all those people you saved".

James nodded. He did it for Sib. Probably if it weren't for her we would have never turned up here. Those people would be saved by someone else, anyway. Or maybe not? One thing was certain. For him Thargoids stopped just being rings on the scanner saying "non human signal source". After what he has seen in Berthke Ring, those horrified people who realised that the largest stations built by mankind offer no protection from the alien attack, thousands of tonnes of metal and titanium bent or molten like lead... Thargoids now were his enemies.
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