By Doug Johnson
“It’s hot. It’s sooo hot, man.”
Sweat covers the barely clad Kelli Kodo as he sits in the pilot seat, keeping his torso as still as possible to avoid generating any body heat whatsoever. As he swivels around to draw up a draft and a prayer of release from the oppressive heat of the bridge, his majestic golden locks shuffle past his broad shoulders. He knew going on a bender with Hishira and Daiamar back at Absalom Station was going to get them into trouble, but their cred account was poppin’, and everything else was a tomorrow Kelli problem. Now the climate control is busted and they barely have enough creds to buy their next meal, so laying low and waiting for Hishira’s hardcore fans to send her more creds through Galactreon is the best course of action.
Strewn across the bridge are the rest of the inhabitants of the starship Winnie…
Meet the Crew
- Splayed out in her chair, the ship’s science officer Daiamar cools herself with half a dozen electric hand fans positioned on the console of her scanners and shield controls. Dressed in second skin, Daia’s magenta skin tone is complemented by a stylish bob cut that transitions from a deep brown to teal. Her antenna reveal her connection to the mystic arts and her Lashunta heritage. Many a being has found her beauty to be otherworldly (while unwittingly having their minds probed). Daia is not a malicious soul, but structured morals are for those who don’t wield the gift to bend the minds of others to achieve their own ends.
- “Hard” at work, Hishira is glued to her HoloCom unit, live streaming to her dwindling fan base. Effortlessly chic and en mode, she shouts out the makers of her luminous purple tunic over teal and mint liquid leggings, perfectly matched to the streaks in her sheared shoulder-length hair. Not long ago, she was the It-Lashunta of all the pact worlds, but fame is a fickle mistress and a new/younger act came along and stole her flame! Now, she and her “production team” hop from gig to gig, riding the slowly dissipating wave that catapulted her to her former status of grandeur. Her role as Envoy allows her to bypass the minutiae of space travel, and she employs it only when tact and diplomacy are needed.
- Navigating their control console at 240 wpm, Coruska couldn’t be bothered by the muggy heat of the bridge. Their Shirren carapace and cold blood ignores most of the discomfort of their flesh-bound compatriots. As Mechanic of the Winnie, Coruska is a master of all things electronic. This is evidenced by their companion, Yaas, a larger-than-life robotic queen bee. Yaas, currently jacked into a data port alongside the Engineer’s console, assists Coruska in trying to shore up the system failures that pepper the ship like a drunken fireworks display.
- Bored out of his mind, Kelli fights to stay conscious amid the oppressive heat surrounding the cockpit. The self-styled “Driver to the Stars!” and a near-constant fount of sly witticisms, Kelli Kodo acts as the ship’s Operative, seamlessly moving in and out of any situation, be it high-falutin’ or as base as they come. His skills in the cockpit and espionage have proven quite a boon to the crew of the Winnie.
- Standing at attention, as he is wont to do, Captain Raylor surveys his crew with a calm, clinical coolness. Unfettered by the heat of the ship, Raylor remains comfortable in his climate-controlled Enforcer Armor. In fact, not one soul has ever seen him without his armor donned. Having joined the crew of the Winnie under contract by Hishira, Raylor provides his expertise gained from a life as a Soldier. The ship’s captain remains ever stoic and stalwart whilst dispatching hostiles with his trusty Flamethrower, or creating new passageways with his Grenade Launcher.
The familiar sound of the ship’s AI chime startles the crew to attention.
“Hey, y’all! We have a faint distress signal comin’ from an unknown holler! Seems the ship is as lonely as a pine tree in a parking lot!” (The AI’s Southern Belle charm makes it easy to forget it’s just a program.)
Daiamar takes to the scanners and manages to pinpoint the source of the signal. All she can discern is that the signal has the markings of a Heavy Freighter class Starship. The crew decides to intervene, if only to salvage a control unit for their haywire climate control. After a brief stellar interlude, the Winnie arrives within scanning distance of the mystery star ship. A quick scan reveals breathable atmosphere but no life forms in the front 3/4 of the ship, although the entire engine/thrusters have become the home of a terrifying Solar Tardigrade! In broken lettering, the word “NOSTROMO” is observed on the hull of the ship. With great care, Kelli maneuvers the Winnie into position so that a boarding tube can be latched onto the ship. With the crew staged in the airlock, Winnie pressurizes the boarding tube and the crew floats over to the Nostromo.