Logbook entry

Openflanker / 11 Sep 3305
Guardians

For days now we had been exploring the galaxy. The stars around us were thicker now that we were getting closer to the core, like a giant, yellow plasma soup. It made sleeping harder, we had to find a planet or body to land on in the shade, land and then head to the rack. I was getting really worried about Linka not sleeping, it was taking its toll on her. Her eyes looked aged and she looked ragged. Her body was aching and her joints were taking the brunt of the constant gravitational changes that she was experiencing.

I made a decision. After we'd landed on a rocky body that I wanted to collect materials for an FSD boost from I suggested that she get some decent rack time. She clambered out of the cockpit more lethargically than I had seen before. She'd been complaining that she'd started having the most vivid dreams, things that she didn't understand. She'd seen monsters in her dreams, massive scaly creatures, that had been in this cave. They spoke to her in a language that she didn't understand. She'd felt restrained, felt locked in.

I went to the grocery section of the ship and retrieved some Hibsco tea bags. Hibsco is a small, white flower that grows like a weed in more systems than humans have been able to count. It has a neat narcotic element that relaxes the mind and helps people sleep. It's a bit like camomile in the old Earth books, but Hibsco makes you feel like you are flying. It's like a warm blanket around the brain. I placed the bag into a cup and added water, the sweet smell of the Hibsco wafting out. Then I added a single flu pill, something designed to beat a cold in space as quick as possible. Basically it knocks you out cold, suppressing your dreams and allowing you to sleep the cold away, while perspiring buckets. The very sweet taste of the Hibsco would mask it. I offered her the cup. She took it, sipping it slowly. When she was finished I said I was heading out in the SRV. She nodded as best she could with her eyes closing and soon she was snoring again. This time it was a snore that told me: the girl is asleep.

I clambered into the SRV, pulling the door closed and activated the deploy. The familiar mechanical clanking started and soon I was deposited onto the surface, COVAS reminding me that it was low gravity, something I needed to be warned of. 0.07G to be exact. I hate low gravity worlds, the chance of blowing up your SRV is high. I drove around for about an hour, luckily the resources I needed were plentiful, and soon I had enough to head back to the ship. On the way I climbed up a small hill and just sat looking out over the surface, my AspX below me, as the belt of the Milky Way stretched across the sky in front of me. I imagined what it must have been like to see this from old Earth and not be able to explore it, to get closer to it. How frustrating that must have been.

I returned to the ship, docked and then headed back to the living area. Linka was still asleep, and hour and a half was a new record for her. I knew that she'd be out for a while and I wanted to let her sleep. So I sat in the seat in the cockpit looking at the galaxy map for more places to visit. Ardgraft had contacted me a few days before, he had no news about who could help us. I had expected as much, but on the plus side we hadn't seen another ship since we'd left.

I scrolled through the pages of a digital book that I'd bought before leaving. It was about the Guardians, a race of technologically advanced beings that had existed out in the galaxy for centuries. Humans had come across ruins that had been left behind by the Guardians and a famous engineer, Ram Tah, had even been studying them. It was his book that I was reading. I noted that one of the sites was nearby at Skaudai AM-B d14-138. It was a couple of hundred light years away, about 4 jumps. I had been to a Guardian site before when I had gone to collect what I needed for the Guardian FSD booster that I had. The site at Skaudai AM-B d14-138 was special in that there were three sites there and all looked amazing. I decided to go.

Linka slept for 9 hours and woke up needing a large drink. I heard her waking as she squeaks when she yawns. She looked shattered, what little hair she had was messy and she looked like she could sleep for a week. "What did you give me?" she asked, rubbing her face.

"Flu meds. Sorry. I should have told you but I was worried that you'd refuse." I looked at the floor sheepishly, worried that I'd crossed a line.

She swung her legs of the bed and sat there, feet on the floor. "Yep, you should have." Then she suddenly looked terrified, as if speaking to me like this was going to result in punishment. I smiled, "Lesson learned. I apologise."

She smiled. "Accepted," she said.

She stood up and headed to the shower area. On exploration vessels the showers use a dry shower solution that forms a mist when you step into the cubicle. Then it hits you with a short burst of water that is automatically flushed into a filter that extracts the dry cleaning solution and recycles the water. The Asp X is designed for 2 and there is a modicum of privacy when using the shower area. You essentially walk around it to get in and this more or less hides you from the other occupant. I still caught a glimpse of her lower leg and foot as she stepped out of the suit and my physiological reaction reminded me that I definitely had feelings for her. I heard the shower do its thing and almost as soon as she exited her space suit she'd re-entered and and was back, looking visibly better.

"I fancy checking out the Guardian ruins close by," I said.

She frowned, "Who are the Guardians." I told her what I knew, showed her the book and, for the first time in ages, she looked very excited.

"You won't be able to come with me, I don't think. The SRV is built for one." She looked utterly crushed by this. "Well, let's give it a go. I am sure that it'll be fun."

With that she raced to the SRV bay, giggling as she went. I followed on behind her, entering the SRV bay with her bouncing up and down like a five-year old. "Alright," I chuckled and opened the SRV door. I climbed in, got seated, and then let her climb in on top of me sitting on my lap. This was a little more intimate than I imagined it would be and being able to smell her, feel her so close to my body, was driving me nuts. We lowered out of the bay and I heard her gasp in amazement. I'd forgotten that this was a first for her. I grabbed the control column and throttle levers and off we went.

I drove slowly, getting used to looking at the world past Linka's shoulder. She had adjusted her position a few times, each time doing new and more interesting things to my already over-stretched libido. In the end she was rested against me with her left side, her legs straddling mine, as we drove around the Asp X. I took it slow as we went, then drove up the hill I had driven up before. I deployed the camera drone and took some great pictures, Linka pulling faces into the camera. I hadn't felt this happy in... For as long as I could remember. We drove around some more and I blasted a few outcrops to gather materials. Linka didn't like the sound of the blasters and jumped when I fired them.

"At the Guardian sites there are these automated sentinels that will try to attack us when we are there. Are you sure that you want to go?" She thought about it for a while then said, "Yes. I do. Time to stop being a massive ninny." She laughed at the word, I wondered whether the flu meds were still doing their thing. What a difference sleep makes.

After a while we headed back to the ship and docked. We returned to our cockpit seats, me receiving a kiss on the cheek first, then we blasted off and headed for the Guardian site.

We broke out of supercruise above planet AB 7 A and I decelerated out over the Guardian site. The gravity was 0.25G and I held the ship way over the site, looking it over. It was absolutely magnificent, far larger than the one I had been at before. I looked for a spot to land and headed over to a nice, flat section of land just off to the side. The ship settled into a massive cloud of dust that settled slowly as the engines cooled. I met Linka at the SRV bay and we did our newly perfected contortionist act. We dropped down and I drove slowly and carefully, avoiding the rocks I would have ignored before, descending to the site. We passed through ancient columns and amazed at the sites around us. So far no sentinels came our way and I was beginning to think that maybe they weren't around. What a result that would be, they are a tough fight. We drove on and I scanned a few columns. As I collected data I became aware that we weren't alone. Spikes of light were moving on the other side of the columns. I stopped, checked that the guns were loaded and made Linka aware. Slowly I eased the SRV forward, the spikes of light tracking me. Suddenly it was there, triangular in shape and menacing in its approach. Its lights started to glow and a high energy noise emitted before I heard Linka shout "NO!" as she touched her hand to the glass of the SRV. The lights on the sentinel flickered, then died and it smashed into the surface.

{More will follow soon. I hope you are enjoying this}
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CMDR's logbook

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The Plan
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