30 JUN 3305, Hamilton Gateway, system Wolf 406 (Headquarters of the Alliance Elite Diplomatic Corps)
This is Jav Marlo, on board the Electra, landed at Hamilton Gateway, the headquarters of the Alliance Elite Diplomatic Corps, in system Wolf 406. Hours ago I received a very intriguing message
sent by someone who says he is my brother. My father was Cisco Marlo, an explorer for the Alliance given for dead in 3300 while exploring an unidentified signal source in the Merope system. I never got to knew my mother, Cia. As far as I know I do not have any family. This alleged brother of mine, Zal Marlo, must be an impostor. He wants to talk to me. I need to know what is he up to. I have decided to keep a log of my inquiries in this matter. I must get to the bottom of it.
I have responded to the message of Zal Marlo:
This is Jav Marlo. Let’s talk.
And he has answered:
Not like this. Let’s meet at system Hoff. I will light a beacon.
He wants to meet in space. Where is this system Hoff?... It is Federation territory. And there is more. That system was recently attacked by the Thargoids. The whole place must be a mess. The local security force will be probably overwhelmed. It seems too risky.
Who this Zal Marlo might be? Let’s see if I can find anything in the GalNet. I cannot believe it. He has a public profile file
at the Inara database. Zal Marlo: Trader and miner. Competent in combat. Elite in trade. A wealthy man with a vast number of ships in propriety, including some very dangerous ones. I do not like this.
Let’s find if I can trace the origin of his message. Good. That was easy. He is not concealing his signal. It clearly originates at Herbert Dock, a Coriolis starport in system Wolf 906. Federation Territory. He wanted me to find it, or he did not care. Or could it be a trap?
I am agreeing to his terms:
Ok. System Hoff then. In eight hours.
He replied immediately:
Roger that. Bring some limpets.
Limpets? What for? Ok. I will play your game, for the moment. I will take the Electra. Like this, I am sure I will be able to run away if things get nasty. Not many ships can outrun this beauty. That eight hours window gives me time to pay a visit to Herbert Dock. Let’s see if I can spot him before he sees me.
I have arrived to system Wolf 906 and I am outside Herbert Dock. Lights off. All non-essential systems switched off. I am keeping a reasonable distance to the starport entrance and I am scanning every ship that leaves the station looking for commander Zal Marlo. Despite my efforts to be discreet, the local authorities have scanned me and asked about my business four times in the last two hours.
Wait. Here is the man. Commander Zav Marlo is approaching the entrance. And he is flying… What! A Type 7 transport. And it is unarmed. I feel somehow disappointed. I was expecting something more… more threatening. The man has a Mamba and he is coming in that flying brick. I could outrun him in my Type 6.
Zal Marlo on his Type 7 transport, the Emergency, leaving Herbert Dock (Wolf 906)
He is charging his FSD. He has jumped. I better hurry to Hoff system. I think he poses no threat for me at the moment. But better keep my eyes open. He may have friends. This still could be a trap.
I have arrived to the Hoff system. I can see the beacon of Zal Marlo. Dropping to normal space. There he is. And he is alone. Approaching.
The Electra and the Emergency meeting at system Hoff
Here I am. What do you want from me?
I just wanted to meet you. I am your brother. Well, your half-brother.
You must be mistaken. I don’t have brothers. Neither half-brothers.
Your father was Cisco Marlo. He was my father too.
That’s not possible. How can this be?
I don’t know yet. But I’m sure we are family. I was hoping that you would help me to figure it out.
I don’t believe you.
I’ve brought you a present, brother. Consider it a good will token.
Don’t move. I’m getting closer. I want to see you.
The Electra recognizing the Emergency at Hoff system
You don’t have to worry brother. I’ll stay still.
If I see any movement, I’ll obliterate you. I mean it. And don’t call me brother again.
I know you’ll do. Keep calm.
Zal Marlo in the cockpit of his Type 7 transport, the Emergency, at Hoff system
I’ve never seen you in my life. I don’t know you. What do you want from me? Why did you bring me here?
I mean no harm to you. I already told you. I just wanted to know you, brother.
Stop calling me that.
Don’t you want to see what I brought to you? I hope you have some limpets in this Cobra of yours. Let me show you.
Zal Marlo and Jav Marlo meeting for the first time in Hoff system
Don’t do anything. Don’t open your cargo hatch. What are you doing?
Relax. See what is in it.
Painite? You… you brought me Painite? Why?
I just want to help you. You’re going to need Painite. I am a miner. I had Painite, so I brought it to you.
For what do I need Painite?
You need Painite to get to Selene Jean. I know Selene. She is really good reinforcing hulls and armours. I know that she has invited you to her installations. And she charges 10 tons of Painite to access her services. Are you taking it or not? This is not easy to get.
Ok. I am deploying my limpets. If this is some kind of trap…
I know, I know, you’ll obliterate me.
Zal Marlo releasing some Painite for Jav Marlo (Hoff)
So, what now? I take the Painite. What do you want in exchange for it? I have credits.
I have credits too. You can take the Painite. It’s free. I just would like you to accompany me to some place. Don’t worry. It’s within the system.
And what if I don’t want to. I could collect the Painite and leave. You cannot catch me in that ship.
Yes, you could. But you wouldn’t know why this was for. Relax, please. I know this is odd, but I just want you to see something. You can run away in this superfast Cobra of yours whenever you want. I just want you to come with me… Are you taking the damn Painite or not?
Ok. Ok. But don’t do anything or…
I know, I know… just relax bro… I mean… sorry.
Jav Marlo collecting the Painite released by Zal Marlo (Hoff)
If I should buy this story of yours. How did you get to know about me? I have passed a lot of time in deep space.
I know. Distant Worlds 2. And I got to know about your existence because of that expedition. You may not know, but you were famous for a couple of days. You appeared on the news. It seems that you have discovered the hottest icy body of the galaxy. Imagine my surprise when I read that a commander by the name Jav Marlo was returning from Beagle Point and had discovered a superhot ice rock. Ours ain’t a common family name, did you know?
That was by chance. Totally unintended. I just explored that system because I detected three water worlds in it, and they are worth a lot of credits. I even didn’t know about that until I returned and saw that the Galactic Mapping Project database has awarded me with a badge for discovering a galactic record. Did that appear in the news? Are you serious?
That is true. You can check it. While you were flying back, your telemetry data was received by the Galactic Mapping Project and they published the breaking of the record. Dryaa Byio SZ-X d1-32 7, the hottest icy body. You were famous, at least for a while. I am afraid someone broke your record soon after. I am sorry bro… ahem, I mean I am sorry.
Jav Marlo collecting Painite released by Zal Marlo (Hoff)
I am done. I have the Painite. What happens now?
Now you decide if want to follow me.
Follow you where?
To Lecrerc Terminal. An Orbis starport just a few light seconds away.
Ok. You first. Jav Marlo signing out.
I do not buy this story, but I want to know where it leads. The Painite is good and it will become useful. And I have seen no threats yet. So, I am going to play Zal Marlo’s game just a little bit more. I am arriving to Leclerc Terminal. Disengaging Frame Shift Drive. What the...! This place is in flames. The Thargoids! It must have been them. Leclerc Terminal is burning.
Leclerc Terminal in Hoff system after a Thargoid attack
Zal. What is this? This place is doomed. Did you know about this? Is this some kind of trick?
That’s what I wanted you to see. A lot has happened here in the Bubble since you departed on your sightseeing trip along the galaxy.
Ok. I know. Mankind is at war with an alien race. So what?
So mankind could use a little help. Maybe from someone with credits, resources and ships. Did you know that most of the opposition to the Thargoids is coming from independent pilots? Of course there is the Aegis initiative, but most of the fight is being held by pilots like you and me. And most of the rescue and repair efforts too.
And what do you want me to do?
Nothing. Just watch.
Leclerc Terminal in Hoff system burning
There is people still inside the station. Probably thousands.
They are going to die. How can this be?
The local security force is probably overwhelmed. They cannot do more.
But this people need evac. Now.
The habitat ring of Leclerc Terminal destroyed
Exactly. That’s the point. This isn’t about Feds, Alliance or even the damn Empire, this is about survival. Allegiances apart, there is just people burning in a station that’s tearing apart. Are we going to let them burn? Are you?
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to help them. We must do something.
Leclerc Terminal in Hoff system devastated
You’re right. The pilot’s Federation has sent to the system one of their rescue mega ships, the Oluwafemi Terminal, and are asking anyone with a ship to please help in the evacuation of Leclerc Terminal. Now watch me, but don’t attempt to follow me. You won’t survive inside.
What do you mean inside? What do you attempt to do?
Zal Marlo approaching Leclerc Terminal in flames (Hoff)
Are you crazy? Don’t go inside. You'll roast.
Don’t worry. I do this all the time. And don’t attempt to follow me. You're not equipped for this task.
Zal. Zal. Don’t. Zal.
Zal Marlo entering Leclerc Terminal in flames (Hoff)
Damn! Communications have failed. I cannot see him inside. The whole place is a hell. I only see fire, smoke, explosions and a lot of debris floating around. How can anybody fly into that? The man is crazy. He is committing suicide. He is going to toast inside his ship. The whole station is a gigantic oven. Why did he wanted me to see this?
The interior of Leclerc Terminal in flames
How much time have passed? Ten minutes? More?... WAIT! I can see him. That flying brick of him is coming to the entrance. He is going to make it. But how?
Zal Marlo leaving Leclerc Terminal after rescuing some refugees
Thirty two refugees safe on board.
How did you survive there?
Heat sinks. Lots of heat sinks.
Please, come with me to Oluwafemi Terminal, the rescue megaship. We can talk further there.
I follow you.
There it is. Oluwafemi Terminal. A rescue mega ship commissioned by the Pilots Federation.
Oluwafemi Terminal rescue megaship in Hoff system
And there he is too. Commander Zal Marlo, on his flying brick, landed on the surface of the mega ship. Today’s hero. I am landing too.
Zal Marlo’s rescue ship landed on the Oluwafemi Terminal rescue megaship in Hoff system
That was very impressive. So, what now, you big damn hero?
I am glad you decided to come along. I just hope we could talk a little further.
I have an idea. There’s this new telepresence technology. I have never tried it before, but I think I could bring you to the cockpit of the Electra. What do you say?
Let’s try it.
Zal Marlo appearing at the Electra cockpit to meet Jav Marlo thanks to telepresence technology
Damn it! I mean… that was creepy. It… I mean… you look so real.
I am glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
So, I’ll ask one last time. What do you want from me?
Nothing, I told you. I am sorry for all the mystery, and the rescue show. You know, about a month ago I knew about your existence through the news, as I’ve told you. I did some research and dig some information about you. I was shocked. Dad never told us about you.
Mom and me. I’ve not talked her about you. Who could imagine that Dad had another family. In the Alliance, nothing less.
Where is she now? Does she live?
She is fine, thanks. She lives in Mars.
And… our father? Do you know what happened to him?
He disappeared while conducting a cover operation in Alliance territory. At least, that’s what they told me. Right now, I don’t know what to think about that, but I loved him.
And what about us?
Zal Marlo and Jav Marlo talking inside the cockpit of the Electra (Hoff)
That is up to you. I just was curious about what kind of man you are. See, this is a cutthroat galaxy. And it is becoming even more dangerous by the days. I am a man with resources. You are a man with resources. I just hoped that, maybe, we could watch each other backs from time to time. After all, we are family.
That’s all. You want me to watch your back?
Little by little. I realize how weird this is. It is very strange for me too, believe me. Let’s consider this encounter a first step.
A first step towards what?
We’ll see. Look, I have business to attend somewhere else, but I thank you for coming. This was important for me. I’ll try to keep in touch.
See you around, Zal.
See you around… BROTHER.