Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Signals in the Void 11

("Signals in the Void" is a character fan fiction story revolving around my adventures in exploration.)

While we have been docked with the trade hub now for a few hours, I've spent the time trying to decipher this distress signal we received a few days ago and it's driving me nuts.  It seems so bizarre that I can't pin down the type of encryption method.  What I am hearing sounds like some sort of human language but it doesn't follow any consistency.  The signal also fails to have any of the similarities of the major factions.  The station this signal came from is quite old but there should be something similar with all the encryption methods we know about.  Even with the information pulled from the old station's data banks, I can't seem to get areas to match up.  I didn't want to but it seems I'm going to need to hire someone more knowledgeable in archaic languages and encryptions.  Unfortunately there are no reputable members of that profession available, but I'll have Captain Erhan find me someone who won't gouge my wallet too badly considering we need this information before the rest of our preparations are finished tomorrow.  After all that has happened I think I'll go take a nap.

I'm startled out of my nap a few hours later with an urgent message from Erhan.  It appears our salvage teams we left at the old station have run into a problem.  Erhan reports that he has no idea what the problem is.  All he knows is they tried sending us a transmission but most of it was garbled, he sends me a copy of the transmission and listening to it I can only make out Frank's urgent voice saying, "Ro...dro...need assita....".  Well whatever it says, it can't be good if they bothered to try and contact us.   I give Erhan orders to gather the crew because we're leaving now. 

Hurrying out of my room to my hanger floor I see my crew rushing around the hanger preparing the Arbitrator class cruiser to leave.  Moving over to my capsule, I hop in and begin transfer over to my ship.  Pondering what the issue might be with the salvage teams I decide to play it safe and inform Erhan to load up a few more flights of combat drones into the Arbitrator's drone bay.  While a decent ship overall the Arbitrator really shines in its ability to control and enhance drone capabilities.  It then hits me as to what the salvage team's problem was and their need to send me an emergency transmission. 

I inform Erhan and the crew to stop all other preparations and to get the extra flight of combat drones loaded and to board ship because I'm leaving as soon as the ship is ready to move.  Getting in touch with station control it appears they are having some trouble with their computer systems and are having trouble processing my request to be put ahead in the queue of ships wanting to leave the station.

Though this sets my timeframe back a bit, it gives the crew the chance to finish loading my combat drones and get on board.  Having the ship lift off, station control informs me of emergency lockdown procedures of the entire station.  Finding this curious I look up the current news on the station to find mass equipment malfunctions and areas of the station shutting down over the last few hours.  Locating the central location where all the malfunctions intersect appears to be in the research section of the station.  Getting confirmation from Erhan it appears he hired a fellow in that area to take a look at our distress signal.

While information on rogue drone AI is next to non-existent I have a hunch we may have introduced one to the station.  This explains why I couldn't crack the encryption, the distress signal wasn't encrypted; it was the drone AI thinking!  Station control seems to be shutting down the AI and will probably have control of the station again in a few hours.  Unfortunately my salvage crews may not have that long, looks like we'll be leaving this station the hard way.

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