Gater eased into the docking chamber and floated down onto one of the pads. The alien probe had left during the night and was out imitating a comet again.
Jown suited up and went out. There was essentially no gravity so moving about was quite easy. He made his way first to the repair shop. Once inside he took his time examining each tool. The complex tools might tell him a lot about the parts they fitted. He was surprised when he found a lot of duplication, not just different sizes of the same tool, but apparently exactly the same tool. There really weren’t many different types of tools. This hinted to Jown that the machinery must be somewhat simple.
Next he made his way into the corridors (he always saved the best (which would be the store room) for last). The probes had shown almost everything to be seen. There were some cabinets he was able to open, but almost all were empty, except in the control type rooms and those contained thin translucent rectangular blocks a little bigger than both his hands together. There didn’t seem to be any way to activate them, but he took one back to the ship as a sample.
Jown paused to eat a bite (he wanted to really enjoy this last room without getting hungry before he was done). Finally he drifted into the supply room. The racks had many bins of various sizes on them and all the bins were fully enclosed including a clear door. He began down the nearest rack, picking up each item in turn and examining it. These first parts were all rectangular solids, some with translucent bodies, some flat black, some large and some small, but all made of something like a cross between plastic and ceramic. Jown theorized that at least some must be a type of information or control modules, but they had no visible connection points. Apparently the data transmission wasn’t through fiber, but rather broadcast and received. This would make arrangements and replacements quite simple. That technology wasn’t in itself new. It was in limited use in more expensive human ships, but the problem was bandwidth, too much data to pass. Also these modules also had no visible source of power. Perhaps that was broadcast too. That would be new. Next came a long rack of blocks all the same size and shape, about the size of one of his hands, but each had a single small stem protruding from the center of one size. That side, unlike the others, was slightly concave. Next after a row with a dizzying array of just one or two of each part, boxes?, pipes?, light sticks?, pointers?, etc, Jown came to a whole bunch of strange pieces. They looked kind of like bent forks. A thick stem with a hole in it and three or four prongs on the end, each bend to a different right angle with the stem. These came in all sizes from a couple of centimeters to about 25 centimeters, but were made of the same strange ceramic like material that was flat black in color. On a hunch Jown retrieved one of the blocks with a stem and tried to fit it into the hole on one of the forks. It didn’t fit. But when he went back and looked at more of the blocks he notices that the blocks were all the same size, but he stems weren’t all the same thickness. He took one back again to the forks and began trying them all. It didn’t take long to find one where it was a perfect fit. The stem slid softly into the hole, but bottomed out about an inch before the block hit the base of the fork. Seemed they were designed to fit together, but with something else between. One the next row Jown saw what looked like sensor dishes, transmitters and receivers. They seemed much smaller than what he was used to and seemed to be a solid mesh differing materials, all fused together, but not in some crude way. The patterns and thickness and edges of different materials were far too regular and fine to be simple squashed together. Then came some pieces of the same meshed material as the dishes, but these weren’t dish shaped. Jown was at a loss to figure out what they were for and began to doubt that what he had initially taken to be transmitters and receivers were really that.
There were many other rows of enigmatic stuff, but at last Jown then rounded the last row and came to the open area with larger assemblies sitting on the floor. Each piece or assembly had a short light tether attached to the floor nearby. First he came to structural pieces like hatches, curved plates and even chairs. In his suit in zero g Jown couldn’t really try and sit in one, but just judging from the size and shape he guessed that they were smaller and slimmer than humans. There was no sign on any of these pieces of tapered edges prepared for welding of or of welds in the assembled equipment. And he recalled that he hadn’t seen any welding machines in the repair shop. They must have something better method than welding. Then he came to a field of assemblies built around spheres. Again a whole variety of sizes from about 10 centimeters up to about a meter. Each sphere was studded with blocks and stood on a kind of three legged pipe stand. Attached in the legs of each stand was a block. Jown recognized the blocks studding the spheres. They were the same as the ones in the racks that had the stems. That meant the bent forks were probably inside the spheres. Jown was getting the crude picture. But what were they for? Some kind of shield generator? Jown drifted to the end of the space and saw nothing different. But at the end he noticed a door. It seemed to be more solid than the other doors he had encountered and there didn’t seem to be any mechanism to open it.
Posted by strailon Thursday, December 06, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC