Chapter 1 Crash Course
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Alarms blared as I grabbed my head in pain. Looking around I see the artifact shattered into a dozen pieces as the ship screams at me that systems are in the red. Checking the jump computer I can’t tell what the instruments are saying as I try to get systems back in control.

“BT what the hell just happened to us?”

I go back to messing with systems until I notice BT isn’t responding.

“BT?”

I groan as I fall out of the cockpit and make my way to the ship’s AI core. Navigating the ducts I see the reactor core is still humming steadily which is good news for me. I might be good at fixing stuff but a frigate core was out of my expertise. Tapping the console trying to get some facts on our situation I give up and plug myself into the ship’s neural link and find that BT is offline and currently running a full diagnosis. Checking sensors though I notice something strange. It was saying we were stuck in a space-time warp bubble. What that was or what it meant I had no idea as I had never come across such an event in-game or on the wikis. For now, though the ship was intact, I didn’t know for how long as the hull’s integrity was declining slowly but steadily. I divert all power to the ship’s repair systems but find them offline.

“Dammit! What the hell is going on!”

The ship lurches and I’m thrown across the room as my neural link is forcibly disconnected as the cord yanks apart by my momentum. I scream in agony as I try to get my head back in order. I needed to get the drones and start them on a repair program. In the meantime, I need to check on my own health as my adrenaline fades and pain starts entering my nerves.

Finally getting to the medbay I use the terminal to start the drones and take a look at myself in the mirror. There are shards of the artifact stuck in the side of my arm and face. Trying to start the autodoc I find that it is also offline and slam my hand into it in frustration. As I gather the tools I’ll need to patch myself up I see that the shards are sinking into my flesh as my head pain gets worse and worse. I can barely stay awake, but I have to stay awake, have to sta- a-w-a-...

 

Waking up again I find myself on the medbay bed and look around frantically. Something pushes me back to the bed and I turn to the autodoc online.

“BT?”

‘I am back online after a full diagnostic reset. The ship is operating at 20% efficiency and multiple systems are offline. The navigational computer also can’t find our current location right now. I estimate it should be able to within the hour though.’

“What happened to me though, I made it to the medbay and then I saw, pieces, of the artifact, sinking into me?”

‘I am unable to find much wrong in my preliminary diagnostic. You sustained minor injuries from the ship’s turbulence and from the destruction of the artifact. But they have been treated and should heal relatively quickly.’

I lean forward and try to sit up as I try to get my head back in order.

“What about the cargo?”

‘The interior of the ship has taken only minor damages. Other than the mess from turbulence, all items still seem to be in good condition. I am having some of the drones working on cleaning up the mess.’

“Are there any vessels nearby?”

‘No, we are the only craft we can see on sensors.’

That was odd, usually there was some kind of craft when you went through those things. We should still see at least something on long-range sensors I would think.

“Are the long-range sensors offline?”

‘No, they are operating at acceptable levels.’

What the hell was going on?

‘Unfortunately we have a problem with our propulsion drive and have been caught in the gravity well of the planet in front of us.’

“What planet?”

I make my way to the cockpit and see a large planet in front of me. Covered in liquid water and land that looks populated with vegetation. It looks habitable which is much nicer than being stuck in a gas giant. But I must be really lucky. If what I think is true, that would make this a class M planet. They are supposed to be super rare. I think the number of such planets found right now is about a dozen or so. If that artifact really led me here then it was well worth the price people were buying it at. But, now I need to figure out how to get back and report this.

“Plot me somewhere where I can land the ship if we need to make planetfall, and in the meantime, I want an ecological and atmospheric scan of the planet.”

‘A full report should be available in a few minutes. In the meantime, I recommend cleaning yourself up. I’ll have the reports delivered to you shortly.’

I make my way to my cabin and notice that something doesn’t feel right. I make my way back to the medbay to check up on something.

“BT I want you to run a full medical diagnosis, something doesn’t feel right.”

The autodoc comes over to me and proceeds to run me through a physical.

‘Nothing appears to be wrong from what I can tell.’

“It feels like my back is burning though.”

‘You will need to take off your shirt then so I can take a look then.’

“Sure?”

Why did I need to take off my shirt? Shouldn’t the medical scans have found anything wrong with me? 

Taking my shirt off I wait for the autodoc to tell me what was wrong. It prods at my back and I start to notice that it’s feeling awfully realistic. I shrug it off and wait for the news.

‘Please look at your datapad.’

Looking at my wrist I see the visual feed from the autodoc and see a glowing tattoo on my back.

“WHAT THE HELL!”

I jump up and go over to the mirror and try to touch it. It feels normal but the tattoo looks to be alive and growing.

“What the hell is this BT!”

‘I am unable to answer that question. I have no references to anything like this. Right now your body is perfectly fine and I am unable to find anything wrong physically with you. I recommend you clean up and take a break while I try to compile more information.’

I nod my head and walk to my room trying to calm my nerves. What was happening? I sit on my bed and look at my wrist pad and try to pull up an ingame menu. But, it’s not working?

Looking through my wrist pads’ functions I'm not finding anything. What the hell?

“BT? Where the hell is the menu interface?”

‘Menu? Isn’t everything you need on your wrist pad?’

“But where is the logout button? It's not there?”

‘What is this logout button you are talking about?’

Something wasn’t right, was my AI going all Space Odyssey on me? 

“BT! Log me out I want to wake up in the nursing home. That nurse will be back soon to take me to dinner.”

‘What nursing home? What nurse? I have no recollection of such things in my data banks.’

“BT! It’s me, John. It’s January 5th, 2040. I have two daughters Mary and Tana. My son Andrew. My grandchildren? MY?!”

My head explodes in pain as my back heats up more and more. I start screaming in pain as I can’t keep my thoughts straight. Then everything starts to fade as I see one of the drones entering the room and BT talking to me over the coms but everything begins to fade away as I fall asleep. 

 

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