"Humanity can survive, my friends. But it will take effort and it will take sacrifice. But first, we must rebuild the wheel to study these assailants from beyond. Any piece, any fragment of the Deus Pinnae that rears its head will be ours. Yamata 16 can no longer afford to linger in the shadows. If we must, we will take all of Bastion space in our grasps and ravage it until every metal sliver of the Pinnae is revealed... By any means necessary."
"You'd think they'd realize hiding in the outskirts just makes them easier to track down, in the long run."
The sky was the color of dead air, the snowy white haze over an imperfect connection painting a picture of a world not well connected to the hyper-technological mainstream that the innermost Federated planets were accustomed to. Hrimpursar had no glamorous beaches, it had no scenic sunlit vistas. It's sun was far, far beyond any Goldilocks zone, and its outer atmosphere was harsh, only just suitable enough to allow colonization, but likely never settlement, at least not in the fathomable scope of human society.
The nearby star's weak rays did little to puncture the cloud cover, but even what little light blanketed the planet's daytime in dull gray sheets of eternal gloom mattered little where the planet's few inhabitants lived. Deep beneath the glacial crust, Neuros' light would never truly penetrate. But down here in the deeper parts of the world, they were closer to the real reason Hrimpursar mattered at all - ore.
Osmium, Titanium, Palladium, precious metals in deep running veins; it was theorized that the planet's core was a solid ball of some of the most precious minerals in the galaxy, but the planet's relative remoteness made it impractical to move a planet cracker out so far, and furthermore, many believed the planet a potential golden goose, and to split it open would only reveal stone and magma, and every shell fired from a planet cracker had to be worth it's weight in gold, to use an archaic expression.
But Hrimpursar tended to attract a certain brand of people - those who needed to disappear, or restart their lives. There was no official police element on Hrimpursar, only disparate mining corporations and their respective security branches, steeped in a red-tape maze of jurisdiction and litigative posturing.
Extradition and Execution Warrants meant little when the nearest authorization office was light-years away, but as little as they meant to the populace, they were still good to be collected on.
That was why Clynes was here.
Ude's face flickered over the holographic HUD in the cockpit of the Kyoto.
"You're sure he's there? Hrimpursar seems like a stupid place to hide out. Sure it's remote, but your options are limited, especially if you're trying to lay low. You can't exactly just go buy a farm out in the countryside."
"Every bread-crumb traces back here. Likely at Johto or Niven, they have research outposts here so that they can skirt the Ethics and Morality Concordance. Black Science and the like, the kind of outfits that want Yamata secrets for themselves."
"Well, you find him, props. Cut's as usualy, 40-60 your way, remember though, they want him alive and they want whatever he's carrying, if he's already sold it off, particularly to Johto or Niven, Yamata's lawyers won't pay for the warrant and the bounty will be nulled."
"I'll get him." She said.
============= <--Present--> =============
The sky hadn't changed.
Sensory data was strange to Clynes, it was a data feedback, something her brain could break down into numbers and code if she thought about it hard enough. It made it easy to forget the cold and the frost coating the body sleeve that covered her being, that kept the frost from icing up joints and control surfaces.
She reckoned that, if she could feel, she'd be dead already, her teeth shattered from clacking together. But she couldn't, so she wasn't, and she wouldn't.
You didn't rely on eyesight to navigate Hrimpursar's surface. Drift Maps updated via satellite every hour painted a picture of moving mountains of snow. The planet only received between three and four centimeters of snow each stellar cycle, but as it rarely, if ever, melted, it added up over the millenia creating a frigid and arid desert of nothing but shifting hills and valleys of crystallized water.
The treader moved towards a latitude and longitude fed into it before she'd left Joraya Station in Ferrum.
Normally one would transit between Hrimpursar's settlements by rail. Beneath the ice was a giant network of tramlines and tunnels that interlinked most of the settlements beneath the surface, but Johto Annex and the Niven Research Complex were both black book establishments, private entry and exit only, and she wouldn't be announcing her presence at either.
Her gut pointed her to Niven, an upstart megacorp born together out of an alliance of blackmarket bio-engineering outfits gone quasi-legit. Johto were questionable in ethics but ultimately not big or ballsy enough to try to pull one over on Yamata, and Niven already had ties to the the Redshift Company, so it wasn't like they were even trying to seem clean.
The treader neared its destination, and, just outside Niven's radar tracking range, it stopped.