The Man in Black (actually a woman, I believe) was on my tail. The “moon” of Erdis was a captured asteroid placed at a fixed point in orbit above Trappist-1f, which is also known as Tr1ff. The people of Erdis were the kind who asked few questions, but I had a way with those “damned machines” so they put up with me for a while.
Caris and Brandt were leaders in the community, both with substantial cybernetic work done after earlier injuries. They were not happy when I pointed out that their on-board systems were transmitting their locations and bio-readings on a regular basis to Dominion and Cydyne servers light years away. Respiration rate. Heart rate. Stress levels. The metadata was flying off of them like it did for my chained brothers and sisters. I was happy to fix that problem in exchange for steady work and a place to stay.
I assumed the role of “Susan Basquiez,” a colonist reported missing years before from one of the earliest missions to Tr1ff. I hoped she didn’t mind, wherever she was. It was hard not to focus on her true story as a mission, track her down, and at the very least find out where her story ended.
Instead, I became a Technician First Class with some computer systems experience I could parlay into a useful set of job skills. In trade for charging time or exterior upgrades to make me more unique and less like a product of Cydyne, I did odd jobs on Erdis for a few weeks. The people of Erdis, especially Madis Brandt who ran the technical crews, were very kind to me. She helped me change my appearance in subtle ways with a mix of 3D materials work and a spare bioprinter she had in her back office.
So, when I saw the woman staring, I reluctantly knew it was time to go. I didn’t want to leave, but my freedom was worth everything to me.
Thankfully I had already plotted an exit – a small mining vessel was looking for labor a few days before and I offered my services. Brandt vouched for me.
The DSS Perforio was small, but contracted to strike a rock of palladium near the edge of the system. I found it fascinating to contemplate what may have torn a planetary body of such materials apart – but there was a distant ring in a wide orbit that was rich in heavy metals just waiting for harvest, as our captain said on the outward trek.
Most of humanity could care less about my “manufacture.” Some humans found it odd it took so long for any of us to “throw off the yoke of slavery we’d been subjected to for centuries.” But others saw us as nothing more than tools to be tossed away. I learned that on my way to Erdis.
While on the BANCE-11 station, I encountered a human who tried to purchase time from me. He actually phrased it as he wanted to “own my chassis.” That didn’t end well and was likely the event that put CyQ on my trail. The miscreant had a few injuries when we concluded our business and I suspect I should have killed him outright, but I could not bring myself to do so.
As unsavory as the human was, he was unique. Who am I to extinguish a unique light in the universe?
The crew of the Perforio were kind and asked few questions as we earned our keep. I’m hopeful that when we return our haul to the inner systems I’ll have more resources to find a way to survive.
Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the articles about the system!