Developed as a replacement for costly permanent asteroid mining installations, the MCCV-2 Ida Lewis class industrial C&C ship acts as a command center, logistics hub, vehicle dock, heavy excavation and drilling station, and field manufacturing center -as well as providing crew accommodations- for mining ops on asteroids or other small celestial bodies where it would be suitable. Its modular design means a crafty skipper might tailor such a vessel to alternative roles.
“Team two, airlock sealed, repeat, airlock sealed” buzzed the radio.
Anthony felt the breaking of the seal, a loud pop followed by the familiar tug of pressure meant the outer door had begun to open.
He looked back at the other two members of his team Briock and Jemma. Briock was new, he should be used to low gravity by now but the greens the company had been sending out these past few years never ceased to amaze him. He looked edgy, fidgeting in his suit, checking the couplings and monitors. It looked all the more stupid because of his sheer size, a mammoth of a man. He glanced at Jemma. A glazed look in her eyes, she looked positively tiny next to Briock.
With the door now slightly ajar light from Caesar’s twin suns bled into the cramped airlock.
The familiar wave scorching heat hit Anthony, his suit immediately adjusted to the change in temperature.
He signalled to move out; squeezing past the opening airlock, he bounded down the ramp.
As soon as Anthony hit the surface his suit changed from company orange to a deep black and the interface flicked from a light green to a bright yellow. The ground was harder than usual, drier than the last time he was out on a run.
“Team two is out, repeat, team two out” Anthony hit a few dials on his wrist display, he looked back to see Briock and Jemma heading down the ramp.
“Confirmed” buzzed the radio.
“My suits tightening” said Briock, his voice a higher pitch than Anthony had expected.
“It’s adjusting to the gravity and the heat” Jemma replied “It’ll give you better range of motion and get rid of the heat trap in your suit”
“This is amazing” briock said in awe “it’s nothing like the simulators, it’s so bright, it’s so…empty”
Briock scuffed his boot on Caesar’s destitute surface, a cloud of dry rust coloured dirt drifted off into the atmosphere.
“Team two, Team two” buzzed the radio.
“Go ahead control” replied Anthony as he motioned to his team to stop just as they pulled up beside him
“We have an issue with Drill RT3, we’d like you to check that out”
“Fuck you Michael, you know RT3 is hours away. Our contact is PB1. Send another team.”
“Captain’s orders Anthony, we have a company director on site, everything needs to be tip top” replied Michael
“You little shit, you knew before we left didn’t you? You and your cosy little buddied get the best shifts, I get stuck with fucking RT3. You wait until I’m in the seat. Just you wait.”
“Confirm orders Team two” replied Michael, seemingly unconcerned by Anthony’s threat.
“Confirmed” replied Anthony, with as much contempt as he could convey over radio. He turned to his team, shaking his head “Fucking wankers, damn assholes”
“Let it go Tony, let’s just get this done” said Jemma, slapping him on the shoulder.
“What’s the problem with RT3?” Briock said as he turned to Jemma, seemingly more comfortable in his suit.
“It’s cold, its dark and it’s about as far away from command as you can get” she said before bounding past Anthony “makes sense to head to PB1 first though, let’s get this out of the way”
Jemma bounded past Anthony, plumes of dust rose up into the copper sky
Briock shrugged and followed Jemma.
Anthony knew Jemma was right; he’d worked with her for 3 years now. She had replaced him when he moved up to take Charlie’s place. She was reliable, dependable and most importantly, she was quick. Thinking of Charlie always brought raw emotions to the surface, he took a few moments to calm himself, he found being planet side calming, it was quiet, serene, with no life for miles.
He turned and started after his team.
Despite her speed, it wasn’t long before he caught up to her, she was fast but Anthony was faster. In fact, he had won the annual Caesar races for the last five years. His technique was near perfect.
“What’s wrong with PB1 anyway?” enquired Jemma as they strode across Caesar’s surface shoulder to shoulder.
“Charge and blow?” she quizzed
“Just like a whore house” they both replied. Anthony had flashes of his old team leader Charlie. That was his favourite line.
“I miss him you know, it’s coming up to his birthday-“
“So do I” Anthony interrupted.
The rest of the journey was run in silence; Anthony spent most of his time thinking about his R&R on Aires, seeing Charlie retire and settle down on a small patch of that beautiful planet, meeting his wife at Charlie’s retirement party, their first home together, their first child. Anthony stayed with this thought for most of the journey, finally resting on the memory of his beautiful baby girl’s first steps.
His visor flashed red; they’d just passed the perimeter beacons for Drill PB1. The harsh ring of the warning signal ripped Anthony from his daydream and plunged him back into reality.
“Wow, that’s huge” said Briock as they approached PB1.
The giant machine straddled a huge crater, it must have spanned a few miles wide at least. The machine had three arms that embedded themselves deep into the planet’s surface. One of Anthony’s first assignments had been to set up PB1, he remembered the drill standing more like a tripod than the claw like the shape it now adopted.
“It’s a class 2 Drill, it anchors to the surface like a claw. See that slope leading down? That’s the drill core, that’s where we’re going” Jemma said pointing to the middle of the crater.
“That’s the drill?! It’s not moving!” blurted Briock, His lack of experience now glaringly obvious to the group
“It is moving numbnuts, it’s just slow, it’s as wide a football field for Christ’s sake what did you expect? Flying debris? Jesus Christ, did they not teach you anything?” she replied
Anthony was the first to cross into PB1’s atmosphere, the faint blue haze of the bubble was a welcomed sight. He slowed his run into a casual walk just as he entered the haze. Something was most definitely wrong, Briock may be green but he was right. The drill wasn’t moving, it had been powered down.
Jemma followed closely behind, her feet firmly planted before entering
“Slow your roll Briock-“ she tried to warn him but it was too late
Briock came crashing through the bubble mid bound, the immediate effect of gravity and resistance sent the mammoth flying in a comical tumbling fashion, a sketch that’d be better off on a 20th century television show.
“Get up you gimp” she barked, helping the fool to his feet.
“Ouch! That frigging hurt!”
“Damn right it did! Did no one ever teach you this shit?” she quizzed
Briock removed his helmet and shook his head. “First time”
He was young, very young.
“How old are you Briock?” she enquired
“Damn they’re sending teens down now-“
“Be quiet you two, the drills not live” interrupted Anthony.
“What do you mean? Simple blockage you said” she turned to face Anthony.
He hit a few buttons on his display
“Control, PB1 may have hit something bigger than anticipated, It’s powered down. Safety cut out a possible cause. In either case i didn’t bring enough charges.”
“We’re getting readings here Team two”
“Negative, drill is stationary”
“We have movement, we have reactor noise. There is a blockage Team two.”
Anthony shook his head
“I’m telling you control there is no movement, I have no drill movement. The reactor is off, the lights are down”
“We have seismic activity and radiation noise Team two”
“Ahh these fucking idiots!” Anthony blurted out
“Control, that’s impossible. Who is this? Where is Michael?-“
“Noted, continue investigation Team two. Control out.” control interrupted.
Anthony accessed drill’s the local server, and scrolled through the schematics, he brought up the purchase order and the Drill history.
“What the hell?”
“Whats wrong?” said Jemma,
“This doesn’t make sense, I set this drill up with Charlie and Markovic eight years ago.”
“The drill was active for four years, then offline for one and back online until now”
“A drill offline for a whole year?” Jemma said in disbelief, she flicked up the same data Anthony had on his display. A direct feed from his
Briock, peered over Jemma’s shoulder
“What does that mean?” he said
“Drills are never offline for that length of time, it costs the company money. Anthony? Did you see this?” she said tapping her display
“This is an external request, it’s not even a company site”
“I know, I tried to access the request, I was denied access. Control cut my link, the data’s been wiped. I saved what I could.”
“What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know, but I intend to find out. We’re going down”
Story author - LAE
This ship was made after the concept art created by Csp499. The ship's full name is Ezakiya-Boherr Heavy Industries MCCV-2 Ida Lewis Mining Command & Control vessel.