Ballistic Logistics Saga - Part IV

August 2941

Saskia and Gedion floated away from the BLG Course Correction in their EVA suits towards the mysterious metal door on the asteroid.

"I wish you hadn't parked so far away," Gedion complained, his distaste for EVA bubbling to the surface.

"We have no idea what that door is, or what it might lead to. It's all fun and games till it explodes and destroys my ship," Saskia replied. Gedion knew she was right, so he didn't protest any further.

Thirty seconds later Saskia and Gedion retro-burned to a halt ten meters or so in front of the door. They both flicked their chest-mounted light into narrow-beam mode and scanned the door and the perimeter around it.

The door was large, large enough to fly a Freelancer or maybe even a Constellation through. It was definitely made of metal, some kind of alloy, pale, smooth and grey. It was the same as the image Saskia had shown him: circular with a seam in the middle, and a ring around the outside edge with strange markings. Gedion was studied it silently for as long as Saskia's patience could take.

"Well?" She asked impatiently.

Gedion stayed silent for a few more seconds.

"Well, it's certainly like nothing I've ever seen. Elements feel Tevarin, and then... Xi'an... but not quite..." He processed aloud. "I'm going to go in for a closer look."

"I wouldn't do that just yet," Saskia tried to argue, but it was too late. Gedion fired a short burst of thrust and drifted closer to the door. "The Course Correction still isn't done with its scan of the door, could be trapped or rigged..." she warned him in vain.

"It's ok, I won't touch anything yet," Gedion replied, stopping 2 meters in front of the base of the door. "I just need to get a closer look at these markings."

Gedion directed his mobi-glass towards the ring and began taking images of the characters and symbols. Sharp series of slashes mixed with smooth curves and lines always intersecting perpendicularly filled the rim around the door.

"Fascinating, I've never seen anything quite like it..." Gedion said to himself as he studying.

A red warning light suddenly began flashing in Saskia's suit. She pulled up her mobiglass display to view the incoming scanning report from her ship.

"Uhm... Gedion... I think we should get back to the ship..." Saskia said, audibly shaken. Gedion remained somewhat oblivious. "Gedion... did you hear me?"

"What, is it booby trapped? I told you I wasn't going to touch it," Gedion answered dismissively.

"Not... exactly. But the scanner shows a large build-up of energy coming from the door." Saskia warned, interpreting the scan from her ship. Gedion, still entranced by the markings on the door, ignored Saskia and inched closer to the markings, almost within an arms length.

"But what do they mean?" Gedion wondered aloud. He reached his hand out and began to trace the edges of one of the markings. "They are actually quite crudely etched into the metal, almost primitively. But the door looks brand new..."

No sooner than Gedion's hand finished moving along the groove of one of the symbols, a low rumble came from the door. A bright red light shot out from the inside rim of the lip around the door, and gas began to vent from the seam.

Suddenly, another sound got his attention. Two spacecraft shot overhead, coming from behind the large asteroid with the door on it. They went so fast he couldn't get a good look at them. Gedion fired his right thruster and spun his suit around. The two ships were too far in the distance to i.d., but more concerning, the Course Correction, and Saskia, were gone.

"What the hell!!!" Gedion exclaimed aloud, beginning to panic. Behind him, the door continued to rumble and smoke. He turned around, took a few more images, then started to look for cover. It was a pretty safe bet that those two ships were coming back, and that they weren't friendly.

His options were scarce. It was at least a minute burn to the nearest asteroid that might provide some cover, and behind him a mysterious alien door seemed to be opening. With no good options in sight, Gedion went for a full burn on his suit towards a craggy asteroid just in the distance from where he was. He was about halfway there when he noticed the two unidentified ships coming back towards him. He wasn't going to make it to cover in time...