The Log of the Beowulf


After a few further experiments, Dex decides to leave the room with the bodies as is for the moment. Rob can be brought in with body-bags for a second attempt.

The group edges around the walls and enters another corridor, finding what appears to be the door to a lift shaft. Opening it up, they do indeed find a shaft stretching from the inner hull below them to (presumably) the core of the huge vessel. There don’t appear to be any lift carriages, so there is some discussion as to whether this was some kind of zero gravity travel tube or an energy conduit. In the absence of any kind of gravity analogue, using the shaft is simplicity itself, as they walk up the walls, keeping a wary eye open for fast moving carriages.

Once they estimate they have reached about half-way, they take a side corridor towards the nose of the derelict, hoping to encounter the control centre. The chosen corridor ends at a large double-door and, after some fiddling, they manage to open it, revealing a vast open space. They are half-way up one wall, and a large object resembling a bunch of huge grapes, shrink-wrapped in some kind of plastic, floats in the middle of the void. Some discussion follows as to whether it is worth attempting to salvage, before Dex, attached to a safety line, ventures into the microgravity space. As he approaches the structure, he becomes aware that it is incredibly hot, and decides to back off when he’s nearly burnt.

Thus thwarted, the team returns to the shaft and proceeds to the top, where they emerge into a wide, low-ceilinged room, dense with blocks and pipes made of transparent crystal. Seeing a further opening to what appears to be the core of the huge vessel, they proceed further, finding a huge crystal globe hanging in the middle of a spherical room, surrounded by more crystal blocks. They come to the conclusion that this is some kind of power source and, given its size, they decide to leave it and look elsewhere.They press on now to the front of the ship, hitting a blank wall a hundred metres or so short of the nose of the vessel. The space beyond is solid, but not very dense, and appears to be come kind of shield for the rest of the ship.

Their air supplies are running low, so they decide to return to the Beowulf and rest.

The next day, they decide to explore the rear end of the vessel, at least as far as the radiation emitted from the drive system allows. This should be made easier by the damage done by the alien lobsters, which have cleared most of the decayed superstructure out of the way. They opt to take the ship’s new grav sled with them, both to make movement easier and to carry anything valuable that they might find. Rather than risk running into any of the lobsters, they travel along parallel to their main route, but 90 degrees further around the hull. The lobsters seem to be carrying out chunks of pipes and other objects, possibly to assist with the repairs of their own “vessel”.

The crew come up to a corridor wrapping right around the ship with a series of doors in the far wall; there are no visible markings to distinguish them. They locate one well away from the lobsters and break in. The room beyond seems to be some kind of storeroom or warehouse, full of crates, so they start breaking them open. Most seem to contain some kind of gel, seeds or other, possibly food, stores. They then start looking for markings on the crates to distinguish them but, again, there do not appear to be any. They then try looking in ultraviolet light and it’s a success! There are recognisable symbols only visible under UV; evidently the aliens saw outside the human visible light range.

At this point, they become aware of an approaching lobster. They close the door and go quiet, and the lobster stops to tap at the door, then moves on.

They find a door on the far side of the warehouse and press on, arriving in a huge chamber spanning the entire width of the ship, and full of saucer-shaped objects of various sizes. The immediate assumption is that they are some kind of transport vessel. They can see lobsters crawling over several of them and, as they watch, one lobster tries to break into one. Its exploration is terminated by a small, intense explosion. The team wisely decides to move on to another chamber.

They find more warehouses on the other side of the “hangar”, this time containing crates full of crystals of varying sizes. They discover that shining lights into the crystals produces regular patterns and symbols in light on nearby surfaces and, what’s more, that the patterns are predictable. They decide that these may be some kind of tool and decide to collect a few on the way back.

The next room after this is also huge, and appears to be the main drive room. It’s full of equipment and lobsters breaking things apart and carting off the pieces. As the crew watches, there are several small explosions and it becomes clear that things are beginning to escalate. The lobsters appear to be entirely heedless as to the danger.

The team decides to call a halt at this point and begins piling crystals and other interesting items on their sled for the return trip. The return is uneventful and they manage to dodge the lobsters.

Once the sled is unloaded, Rob agrees to go forward to explore and acquire some of the remains of the aliens, which proceeds uneventfully. The stop to take another look at the huge crystal “power source”, then they figure it out. Shining lights of different frequencies into different places in different combinations produces different combinations of symbols, as if it is a giant light-based computer. This would be worth a fortune, but they’re unable to figure out how to extract it.

They grab some more smaller devices, then Charles shines his floodlight into one of the devices on the floor below. It seems it’s some kind of engine control device, as a rumbling reverberates through the floor, followed by a major shock as you might expect from a large explosion. The derelict begins to vibrate quite violently.

The crew decides that’s their cue to depart and rush back to the Beowulf, dodging collapsing walls and ceilings as they go. Arriving at the ship, they notice that the lobsters are still carrying on their business as if nothing is wrong: definitely not intelligent then!

As they leave the vicinity of the wreck, there’s a massive explosion. The hull remains intact, but bright flames shoot out of the stern and the large hole on the side. It’s fairly obvious that anything inside is being fried, and they can see the white blob blackening and shrivelling from the heat…


Astronut Sagitta

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