Deep in space Arden encounters a wondrous entity.
- 📖 As the scans stopped, the colors of the cloud returned to the myriad colors it was before. Gone were the waves and ripples of singular color when the scans moved across it. After a period of time, in which Arden wasn't sure if it still was active, he could see movement in the particles. It looked as the cloud wanted him to follow it. Arden engaged minimal thrust on the engines and followed the cloud slowly into the unknown.
- 📖 The cloud led Arden to a debris field. From the size he gathered it must have been a single ship, not bigger than his, maybe even smaller. Strange electrical bolts, lashed between the pieces, making it appear that they were holding all this scrap together. A bigger piece of metal floated into view. Parts of the outer hull. Letters long worn by time, may have once been part of a name or designation of this vessel. But now there were only pieces of it left, spelling out one single word.
- 📖 Carefully Arden maneuvered the Cerelis around in the debris field. Bolts of energy dancing besides the ship, guiding him further inward. A beautiful display, but dangerous nonetheless. All the while guided by a strange cloud, untouched by the strokes of lightning.
- 📖 The lightning bolts converged into the middle of the field, to a construct similar to what he had seen on the Trithia Six, but smaller. A stack of computer hardware, strikes converging to it. Or did they originate there? Arden could not tell. Blue energy danced all around the box.
The cloud stopped in front of it and so did Arden, frightful of one of the bolts hitting his spaceship. But none of them did. All taking a wide berth around it.
Then the ship went dark.
- 📖 Arden took a deep breath. Life support systems were still working. The light flashes illuminated his cockpit for an instant before it went dark again. A single screen of his onboard systems flickered into life. Instead of the normal diagnostic data the screen remained empty, before a single word appeared.
Arden was confused. His ship was not moving, he killed the engines way before. He was drifting in space. Another flash illuminated his space. Another word was written on the screen. And then again and again, endlessly scrolling over it.
- 📖 A second screen turned on, booting up to the weapons control system. The system locked on to the computer stack in front of him. The weapons didn't fire. Arden didn't trust these systems to begin with, so he rigged them to be only fired when he unlocked them with a fingerprint scan.
He could read the words and understand what to do. But at the same time he would not understand they meant. He was conflicted.
- 📖 Arden could barely see the cloud that brought him here amidst the energy discharges. It remained close to the stack, pulsing vehemently, synchronized with the words appearing on his screen. They began to speed up, more frequent came the command.
Arden finally complied. A single shot from his energy weapon found its mark. The rest of the energy exploding in all directions hitting Cerelis Nine and shacking its occupants. Arden fell from his seat, hitting his head.
Everything faded to black.