The Ship of the Unforgotten - Chapter 10

Camp NaNoWriMo

Biome Bay 6 - Rain Forest

UTS Rose Dawn

Jun. 6, 2565 A.C.E.

 

The remainder of the journey took them several days, thanks to uncooperative river paths and greater than expected numbers of piranha, other potentially dangerous fish, shockingly large snakes, and an aggressive hunting cat that Dann didn’t recognize on sight. Thankfully the trip did have benefits, as well. The rain forest biome contained a lot of vegetation chosen for edibility, and water was, of course, no problem to acquire.

When at last they did reach the cryo-bay, they had to take Rose’s word for it. The entrance was completely overgrown, layered so thick with roots and vines that only Rose’s internal coordinate mapping of the bay locations confirmed the location.

She stared at the place where the entrance was supposed to be in apparent confusion. “It looks like I haven’t been here in a while.”

“Y’think?” Jackson grunted, looking for any sign of a door.

“Nothing’s been here in a while,” Dann said. “Not just you.”

“True. There are other maintenance bots that should have been around.” Rose studied the overgrown vegetation. “The vines are thick and firmly attached. That isn’t a surprise, I’ve been around to the pods in this biome many times to clear them away. They grow fast and are very strong.”

She knelt down and ripped several away, getting a better look at some of the roots intermingled in the mass. “These though, they’re relatively new. And more importantly, there aren’t any old roots among them.” She stood back up and surveyed the area of the entrance. It was just possible to see the painted metal of the bay entrance in the shadows beyond the vines she’d torn free. “Based purely on the growth of these vines and roots, I’d say it’s been roughly 18 to 20 years since I or any other maintenance bot cleared this.”

The four of them exchanged looks among themselves. “20 years?” Dann said, voicing what they were all thinking. “About the same time the pods malfunctioned and the crew died.”

“Exactly,” Rose agreed. “I am tempted to check other bays within this biome, but it’s too dangerous to leave you alone and it would take too long. There is an armory near here I should be able to check. We should go there after we’re done here.” With that she set to clearing the entrance, cutting and ripping out roots and vines alike with little difficulty.

“You weren’t scheduled to check on this place?” Cobb looked like he wanted nothing so much as to help with the clearing, but Rose had the whole thing covered and didn’t need the help.

“No. Maintenance for this and several other biomes looks to have been removed from my internal calendar.” She stripped out the last of the vines, leaving a scored and dirty but functional-looking hatch exposed for the first time in decades. “Something more for Pvt. Pixton to check into when you revive her, assuming she can be revived.”

Lt. Cobb nodded. “Right. Let’s move in then and see what’s what.”

They gathered around the door as Rose set herself to open it. Jackson stood watch behind them, their many encounters with the wildlife fresh in mind.