― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
Faster than light travel was a huge achievement for mankind, turning dreams of exploring distant galaxies into reality. The only problem with faster than light travel is the the term doesn’t specify exactly how much faster than light it is. Space is unimaginably vast, with distances being often being measured in light-years, though technically, parsec is the official unit for distance used for space travel. At very least, parsec sounds a bit less lonely. A few mega- or giga-parsecs distance between galaxies sounds better than thousands or millions of lightyears, where civilizations can rise and fall, new species can evolve, and planets can be rendered uninhabitable, before the light from them reaches you.
The journey to Plato-12898c, or, as it’s more commonly known, the Silent Planet, underscores the vastness of space, and makes it clear why most corps opt to build self-contained facilities or terraform nearby planets instead of building on habitable planets, instead selling off plots to self-sufficient colonies. Even started the journey near the fringes of what is commonly referred to the inhabited or ‘civilized’ universe, the cluster of planets and space stations where most commerce is conducted, it takes multiple jaunts on starships and interplanetary shuttles, moving between endless planets and space stations, before finally boarding the freighter that will take the remnants of the Mallory family to the planet that claimed their parents’ lives.
The freighter, a bulky starship nicknamed the Goshawk by its captain, perhaps ironically, is not normally designed for passengers, containing quarters only for the captain and crew. However, most of the essentially functions on this particular ship have been automated, leaving only its captain and one SV-3T utility droid. Freighters travelling to distant and sparsely populated corners of the universe have to cut every expense possible to turn a profit, though not everyone is equipped to handle the solitude of deep space travel, with only a droid to keep you company. Renting out the crew quarters to passengers is a common practice aboard deep space freighters, providing a few extra credits and a bit of company. The Goshawk travels frequently to this part of the universe, making supply runs to distant colonies, including those on the Silent Planet, and, considering how few freighters work this route, it’s captain is most likely the one who stumbled across the ransacked colony and reported their parent’s disappearance.
As the aspiring colonists settle in to their cabins or relax in the lounge, the ship’s droid emerges from the floor hatch near the lounge and floats through the corridor leading to the cockpit, to greet them.
“Greetings. I hope the accommodations are to your satisfaction. We are currently on route to… Plato one two eight nine eight cee.” The droid has a robotic and vaguely feminine voice. Though more sophisticated vocal synthesizers are available, most customers still prefer their robots to sound, well, like robots. “Can I offer you a refreshment? We have… water… available for your consumption.”
The droid pauses for a moment, scanning those present, a blue beam appearing from its ‘eye’. “My apologies. I do not wish to sound impolite, but you are not who we were expecting. It appears as if Rostec-Aldori has provided incorrect, or inadequate, information. Recalculating…” The droid pauses for a moment, motionless. “My condolences for your loss.”
- Goshawk Map | Show
1. Loading Bay
2. Cargo Hold
3. Storage Room
4. Secret Cargo Hold
5. Aft Cargo Hold
6. Portside Corridor
7. Escape Pod
9. Crew Cabins (Rented to passengers)
10. First Mate's Cabin (Occupied by captain)
12. Captain's Cabin (Rented to passengers)
16. Drive Chamber