Umbra Luna

Pulling the Trigger

Sun Runner fast-orbited over the doomed planet. Her inertial systems needed tuning, but she held course and altitude each pass.

‘Morgor A 3’, Harlan supposed it would be called. The shining white planet deserved a better name.

‘Harlanville’ … no.

‘Harlantopia’ … no.

It didn’t really matter. He was stalling anyway, trying to postpone the sin of firing on a terraforming Pylon – a relic of the lost Republics. Sun Runner’s neutron projector swung silently though its locked arc, the triple triangular barrels compensating for the orbital movement of weapon over target. The end of the Pylon and its green oasis of life awaited only the pull of a trigger.

There wasn’t really a way around it. The Pylon maintaining the dent in the clouds had to go.

He waited for another orbit to finish. Sun Runner’s vector brought her back on target in only a few minutes. Targeting information in the holographic Tactical display held a tight lock, with very little variance. Harlan’s strong hand couldn’t quite pull the trigger, yet.

Was there any way, he wondered, that somebody might find this place? Might recover it? The Pylons of the Confederation kept living worlds living.

‘Dentworld’ …. no.

‘The Hole’ … He’d heard worse, but no.

Another orbit swung by. Tragan’s voice was on the comms, insisting on a status. Harlan brushed it off, mumbling about a check of the gunnery subsystems.

Had one of the Saints visited this place, long ago, before history destroyed itself? It was unlikely, but not impossible. Miraculous footsteps might have graced the paths of the tiny spot of green.

‘New Cloneberg’ … was fun to say, but no.

Harlan took a breath and rolled his shoulders. Tasks must be done, even if they are abhorrent.

“A 3” Harlan sighed.

“What was that? Repeat, Harlan.” Tragan sounded annoyed. Harlan had left the comms open.

Harlan didn’t reply. Sun Runner’s orbit reached perfect aphelion, and he finally pulled the trigger.

Time to Suit Up

Vorox space suits, built on the Standard Template, had 223 field-removable parts.  Most of them were articulations for the multiple limbs and double-jointed torso.  Some few were connectors and relays.  The remainder were reinforcements and load-bearing adaptations.

A comparable humanoid space suit had 41 field-removable parts.  Most of the articulations very ably handled by a bodysuit built for four limbs and a typically flexible torso.

Harlan was no soft-clawed rookie.  Though he was low of rank, he'd dealt with the peculiars of space travel, and combat, almost since he could stand on all sixes.

He dumped out the contents of his big, well-worn spacer's duffel into his g-hammock.  The parts of each suit assembly were separate, contained in colored nyloprene mesh bags.

He picked up the orange mesh bag.  It was still tied with a double-bow knot – his mnemonic that he had inspected all the parts.  Untying it, he pulled out the parts of his midleft glove.  Each had one orange spot of paint near where it attached to something.  A few of the parts had two spots, showing that they were wearing out but servicable.

The midleft glove went together quickly, passing inspection, needing only a few drops of slick – from the white mesh bag of tools and lube – to be just right.  He put the glove back into the orange mesh bag, for now, untied but magna-clipping the bag to the bulkhead – assembled and ready to go.

Harlan quickly got into the swing of his routine: more untied, colorful bags magna-clipped to the bulkhead; ready time checked against the ship's mission timer and alarm set; hit the refresher after all the limb pieces were assembled and before inspecting the bodysuit segments.

At five minutes to suit-up time, he bagged all his loose possessions, mementos, and money in his g-hammock, tied around with straps left and right of the bundle to keep it from spilling.

Four minutes: stretch, blow nose, stretch again.

Three minutes: strip from his downtime tunic and Bermudas; clean underwear.

Until alarm: stretch and review.

Harlan tapped the button on his communicator, stopping the alarm on the first beep.  It was a needless habit, but a harmless superstition for good luck.  Fifteen minutes remained until he expected himself to be ready for anything.

Bodysuit went on, segment by segment.  Inner seals set, smoothed, checked.  Secondary and final seals each in turn.  Fraal tape over the seal below his left ass cheek, where the final seal was buckled from wear.

Ten minutes:  Limb segments went on, working outward from the body and upward from lower limbs.  Each one pressure checked.

Five minutes:  Torso reinforcements and adapters went on, locking down the limb segments and engaging power.  Plates, pouches, webbing all hung in place.  Helmet at standby.  Check-lights all green.

Ready time:  Harlan carabiner-clipped his big duffel, filled with empty mesh bags and his suit repair kits, to the wall alongside his hammock.

Harlan stepped out of his cabin, exactly on time for deceleration on approach to Aldebaran XI.

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The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

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