Francesca Wolfe of the Wallglass Investigations Agency examines the Hesperus megaship and the Dredger Clan that caused its recent discovery.
“When the Adamastor derelict received a strange signal, smart money was on it originating from its sister ship, the Hesperus. Both were owned by Azimuth Biochemicals and had vanished 200 years ago.”
“After a united effort to decode and trace the signal, independent pilots located the Hesperus in an asteroid belt around the second star of the Perseus Dark Region KC-V C2-2 system. Like the Adamastor, it was devoid of life – but not alone.”
“Alongside it was a dredger, whose proximity had triggered the Hesperus’s mayday. This was a rare sighting of a Dredger Clan, one of the nomadic tribes that Gunnarson recently discussed.”
“The Scriveners Clan was originally a fleet of research vessels for a long-forgotten academic consortium. Over centuries they became a self-sufficient society, constantly acquiring materials and information. They’re not aggressive, but shun outsiders and jealously guard their ‘Knowledge Core’. I’m fascinated by mentions of research-sergeants and lector-generals, suggesting their culture is a merger of scholastic and military.”
“With the Hesperus claimed as salvage by the Scriveners and its drives stripped, all chance of learning more was lost. Luckily, four encoded data files had resisted upload, and a gap in the dredger’s antiquated firewalls allowed pilots to hack them.”
“The decrypted logs have now been preserved for posterity in a nearby tourist beacon. They tell a disturbing story of corporate rivalry, murder and revenge, but also leave many unanswered questions…”
“We know that survivors abandoned ship to continue searching for ‘alien artefacts’. Did they all die in space or did they find something? What did Azimuth’s probes detect back in 3113? And who the hell is ‘Salvation’, the shadowy figure who contacted pilots to find the Hesperus?”