Ajay's Story 2.0: And Again I Stand.
You are probably used to me starting my entry on me laying on my bed in my ship's cargo hold and reading some sort of Warhammer 40k literature.
This one was NOT the case, for I was sitting in my room aboard K-719 and tuning my simpod. Even though Canteen has taken the "Stranger" away again for some sort of maintenance, so I was left on the ship that served as his HQ, and people from here had to deal with my presence (which usually spelled heavy metal and rock being played in my room for most of my waking time).
And again I stand, with a truth I couldn't bare: I'm grounded AGAIN and instead of being grounded on my home planet (you can call it industrial hell for all I care, it's an industrial heaven for me) I am locked away in rooms and routines of a big freaking battleship.
Flyagin's response to the question "so what the bloody flying rocket propelled wire guided optically tracked tube launched flak am I supposed to do?" was "You'll find something, maybe you'll get along with the others, or find a girlfriend". Mhm. He apparently forgot that I am for the most part unable to get along with things that aren't a Basilisk-class fighter. Yes, that includes him too. Besides, there's also a point of me being hideous as sin, few explosions in the cockpit I have suffered totally NOT helping (Heck, I am lucky to have both my own eyes or any other part of my face intact). The "girlfriend" part was completely ridiculous: the piece of whatever stone that substituted my heart was already occupied, and everyone who knew me well (and Flyagin WAS one of these people) already knew by what.
Usually Canteen uses a communications network to contact me, so I was surprised when he just came up knocking in my door instead. After I opened the door and greeted him, he told me something I was waiting for.
-Ajay, I've got the "Stranger" ready - he said. - And I've got a mission for you.
-The flak took you so long? - I asked back.
-They reported some strange malfunctionings with the comms network and cloaking device. We had it all fixed.
-Glad to hear. So, what's the matter?
-I want you to check out a few places here in Sirius. First is a New London Royal Archive - I've got you a permission and everything, we need to decipher a few files. You have to leave them a copy of the decrypted files, but if it is what I think it is, it will not be an issue.. Then we'll determine where to go.
After arriving on the planet New London and finding the archive building in question, I was greeted by an archive staff member, who opened up to be a gal seemingly my age.
-Coalitioner - she said with what seemed to be a hint of disgust or contempt in her voice. - Follow me - she said and gestured me to proceed inside the building, where she guided me into one of the computer rooms. The room had no windows and seemed to be EM-shielded. Archivist gal locked the door, which only proved that. My own suspicion meter risen by a few points.
-Everything you are granted clearance to is already there. The computer is disconnected from the main data server so you will not be able to access anything outside your clearance - no suspicion, just a precaution you should understand after what you did long ago.
I nodded and took a seat near the computer. The desktop monitor shown several text files.
-These appear to be relic files recovered by our agent on Hessian base in Nephele, Lith Station. They appear to have been deleted, but not completely. And I see a reason why they didn't bother to wipe them. This encryption is weird.
I looked at the strings of unintelligible text with shocked eyes. Then nodded, remembering where the files were recovered from and laughed.
-What are you laughing at, weirdo?
-This is a standart Coalition Space Navy encryption code, Exodus pattern. Ancient as the world and simple as satin underpants. It is long since phased out, so that means this file was created somewhen... Doesn't matter. Wait a second...
Well, "Ancient as the world" was an exagerration. while it was developed on Earth, its details never really left the sleeperships, hence the name.
I grabbed a flash disk from my pocket and plugged it in the computer, then activated a simple decryptor program right from the source code I've written as a training long ago.
-This may take a time. You may leave. - I said to the archivist.
-Gladly - she replied and left. As she left, I cracked an Ajay Pattern Grin.
And again I stand... well, sit, to be more specific, in a room dimly lit by a computer's monitor that's reminding me of my lonely adolescence that then turned into a not much less lonely adulthood, decrypting some files that may be related to some of the craziest theories our people (in some cases me personally) built about the sleeperships. The thermal flask with tea I had with me went from full to halfway full already. I was wearing headphones, so I've learned that I'm not alone in the room when someone put a hand on my right shoulder. My right hand instantly relocated under my jacket to grip the holster as I turned my head to face my sudden companion. It was that archivist. I let go of the grip and took my right headphone off.
-Sorry, I startled you - she said. - Anything good?
-No need to apologize, it's my bad - I replied and pointed at the monitor with a nod. - Will be done soon. Quite an interesting piece of text.
I took another sip from my flask and returned to checking out the files.
-Survivors of the Nephele Sleepership? - she asked. - It's just, old Coalition code and the location, and me putting two and two together.
I nodded. The decryptor shown up the "Done" message and I copied the decrypted files onto the flash disk.
-I'm leaving the decrypted files on the desktop. Thanks for granting the access.
-Oh, thanks to you - she said. - Historians will have a much better understanding of events thanks for that.
Like if I don't know what she really meant. They will probably be able to reverse the encryption code from this, and anything coded with Exodus Pattern is as good as unencrypted. From the other side, it was declared obsolete since Murmansk Mining Operation start, so I doubt Bretonian Intelligence will get any mileage of that.
Well, but first they'll have to pull out RU->EN translation, I thought as I returned into my ship, and smiled again.
As "Stranger" left the New London docking ring, I contacted Flyagin and sent him the files. Soon after throwing a quick glance at them, he smiled.
-Good. Now, head to the Lith Station, Nephele. Upon arriving there, head to the deck 9-T as based on the map I'm sending.
I sent in an "order acknowledged" signal and set on the course.
And again I stand, in the part of the station not even its current owners know about. It appeared to be some sort of data center, with a huge array of various electronic equipment adorning the walls. I came up to one of screens with a keyboard nearby. Following my CO's instructions I entered the password on the keyboard.
Screen came to life and started to display a long list of names, with a status next to them, "Infected", "Clean", "Missing", "Deceased/KIA" or "Suspected" next to each.
-So, what am I looking at? - I asked Canteen.
-A full list of all CNS Stalin passengers. Well, or I think so.
-And those "Infected" mean...
-Yes. Upload it onto the flash disk, then close it up and close the room.
I found the port, uploaded the file using a console command and left, closing both list and room behind me.
-Where now? - I asked.
-Well, upload these files to me and you're free.
As I set the files on upload, I've plotted the course onto the station I've been staying on for quite long. When the upload was already done and Flyagin disconnected, I was already in the Daedalus, heading towards Sea of Shadows jumphole.
And again I stand, on the deck of the Ice Palace. Well, last time I've been there, they paid quite a lot for their outcast trouble, I thought and headed to the bar...
A?N: So, here it is. This chapter has clues towards one certain player's own character, and as such it may be edited and/or deleted by said player's request.
Actually I have a flak ton of doubts about this one, not enough action. Dislikes are expected.
1) Reference to the song "House Of Sorrows" by the Funker Vogt.
2) Metro 2033 videogame reference.