008. A.Me, A.Myself and A.I.

As Ultraviolet leaves the gravity well of Prism, Mongoose considers her options. She must complete her vow - hand the core and Vayan family heirlooms over to Wayfinder on Lagrange. But Savarin Clan will be after her now. There's probably a bounty being posted all through the sector. She's got to leave. Head towards the Expanse?

And what about that core? An AI?! She could buy a whole sector with an AI! But why was it in a faraday cage? Is it dangerous? Astrid cut it out of the metal mesh cage it was housed in. Is it active?

Mongoose puts Ultraviolet into orbit around Prism, and heads to the storage drawer she chucked the core into. The cylinder doesn't look pre-Exodus. Aren't all AIs pre-Exodus? She guesses software can be copied on to newer tech.

[Gather Information - weak hit - complication]
- rogue AI infected some systems?

She grabs one of many terminals out of other drawer of parts - a 20cm tablet, but chonky too, 2cm thick. She sits cross-legged on the floor, the core on her lap, the terminal resting on top, and she extends a retractable coaxial-type cable from the terminal and inserts it into a matching port on the core cannister.

"I think it's dead..." But then she feels the core hum on her lap, a midi-style happy trill of sound plays from the canister, and the terminal shows some boot sequence she's not familiar with.

The terminal blinks - and garbage words and sentences display and clear too quickly to follow.

Then, the words:

status of experiments: unknown - link unavailable
date - F202.343 - 34.4 days since last activated - reason?
Location unknown - interfacing with navig...

At that Mongoose yanks the cable out and dumps the canister back in the storage drawer - it's meant to safety store slightly radioactive salvage safely. Maybe enough to block signals too? The terminal tumbled to the ground in her hurry, she doesn't see it type random letter and numbers - briefly typing link restored before the terminal goes dark.

OK, that seems like the real deal, and no, not something she wants to keep. So, to Lagrange, get rid of it quick, get out of the sector, also quick. There's that shipping container, drifting off into deep space with one of her salvage beacons on it. Have Savarin recovered it? Maybe she could still grab it? Does she want to risk it? Surely the Vayan crap from their quarters is enough to satisfy the Vow?

Mongoose can't let it go though. Salvage, possibly unprotected! A quick trip, drop 5 minutes out and coast in, see what's what. She can always bug out again?

[Set a course - strong hit]

Carefully plotting a return trip to The Drift Runner - Mongoose engages the E-drive, and into the Drift they go.

Ultraviolet drops into normal space - and Mongoose drops to low power - passive sensors on her beacon's frequency. It's there! It's over 100 klicks out from the Drift Runner - nothing showing up from or around the Drift Runner, but doesn't mean the interceptor isn't still there.

She taps the engines, putting Ultraviolet on an intercept vector, and hurriedly clears a space in the cargo hold, and suits up for a space-walk to collect the container, Astrid ready to go too.

[face danger - shadow - weak hit]

Ultraviolet is powered back up as it matches course with the container. Mongoose rushes down to the cargo bay, and once inside vents the atmosphere in there, ready to open the doors, Astrid has a magnetic tow cable in her clamp, ready to fly out and attach it.

Doors open, the container is there, but it's tumbling awkwardly, and worried Astrid will get hurt, Mongoose wastes a lot of time flinging out the cable by hand, and when it finally does latch on, the angular momentum jerks the Ultraviolet into a slow spin too, but eventually, and exhausted (-1 momentum), the container is onboard, the cargo bay closed and repressurising, as an exhausted Mongoose rushes back to the cockpit to bug out of their quick smart. Another quick burst of engines to put Ultraviolet on a new vector, back to running dark and drifting, while she waits impatiently for the E-drive capacitors to charge back up.

[marked one milestone progress on Deliver the Computer Core
and Vayan belongings from The Drift Runner to Wayfinder]
- all the Vayan belongings have been recovered.