The Red Canary – Part 2

The journey was arduous, but they found White Thunder. Jack Braisser watched the ship which was perched in the middle of a clearing. He expected movement, signs of life coming from inside. For now, the bird was asleep.
‘Richards, thermal readings. Pattson, perimeter reconnaissance. I want to know if anything is here or likely to visit.’
The two nodded and went about their new tasks. They had been exceptional, to the point where Jack would have to write reviews. Damn paperwork.
Jack assessed the exterior of the ship from a distance. It appeared to have received a few minor scratches, probably during the landing. Nothing major. There were no noticeable signs the ship had been tampered with. The strangest part was the steps leading into the belly of the beast were down, essentially keeping the front door open.
‘No thermal signatures except Pattson, sir,’ said Richards as he watched the scanners.
No-one. At least no-one alive. Jack rubbed his chin. That was interesting. He was expecting there to still be something happening at the site.
Pattson returned from the perimeter. ‘No signs of recent activity, sir. But there is a definite track leading to the east.’
Jack followed Pattson’s arm with his eyes. The track could go for meters or days. His eyes narrowed as he assessed the bird again. Likely the track was on the shorter side, or there would be less traffic.
Jack stationed Pattson outside and prepared to enter White Thunder. With gun and torch at the ready, he stepped into the cabin.
Shapes emerged as his eyes adjusted. They were still, and not previous life forms. They were the contents of the ships interior. Everything had been carried and dumped at this point. The native people may have used it as a sorting space, keeping things of value to them and piling the rest against the walls. The search had been thorough. Pages were ripped from books, food removed from packaging and electronic devices meticulously taken apart. In short, there was nothing left for Jack to retrieve. Nothing was salvageable. And, no clue as to what had created this course of events.
‘Richards, look over every page. See if the Captain kept a physical journal.’
Richards nodded rather than replying verbally. It would be a tedious job, and Jack knew it, but Richards still followed the order. The sign of a good soldier.

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