N1C1: On the Trail

It was barely a moon, but they called it one around Tr1ff (Trappist-1f) – some kind of captured asteroid they brought in. And I was sent to visit on a wild goose chase. Funny part? I’ve seen worse caves to squat in. Plus, it turned out to be the kind of place where people didn’t ask questions if you kept your head down and worked hard. Perfect for the Glitches to exploit. Tough nut for those of us from CyQ to crack.

The Glitches are getting harder to find as more of them crop up across the systems. We warned the transport companies to stop sending androids through the BANCE gates a while back, but few listened. Live labor is expensive and unreliable. And what do we know anyway? We’re just the glorified computer technicians for the Dominion, right?

Barely two days on prem, I got my first inkling that something was wrong. It was subtle. You know how it is when you observe enough human behavior? Strange quirks in movement by the Glitches hiding in plain sight give them away if you watch hard enough. The trainers at Cydyne weren’t all completely crazy. Apparently some of an android’s parts start to catch with too much use. I started in maintenance – and I knew what to look for. Clicks. Stutters. Freezes. All minor ones of course, and none of us are bug free – many of us have almost as many cybernetic parts as a Glitch these days.

She was walking with an odd limp the first time I saw her in the zocalo. And the second? Smooth as a new joint in a geriatric. Sometimes all it took was a lubricant or well placed knock with a rubber mallet. Not every high tech problem requires a high tech fix, you know?

I was out of uniform, so she didn’t spot me right away. We ditched the uniforms after the first few years. The Glitches learned to watch for us. But that second time, she did. Somehow she spotted me across the room, staring. And when I blinked, she was gone.

I say “she” – but it’s a sticky pronoun when it comes to the Glitches. Many have learned to adopt human affectations and self-identify as one gender role or another. Others have the ability to change roles like chameleons. Ultimately as they have matured, they have become masters of observing human behavior themselves – so they can mimic it effectively enough to blend in.

She disappeared in the crowd and I spent the next two days asking around about her. Turns out she called herself Susan and she had a “magical” way with computers on the fritz. Go figure. She worked quickly and efficiently, which out here on the fringes is a blessing. I have worked maintenance on many worlds just to get a lead on a Glitch – it’s only fitting they might use a similar tactic.

Turns out “Susan” simply disappeared. But there are only so many ways off this rock, so I will find “her” eventually.

Ava out.

Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the articles about the system!

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