“Endeavor 101 to Oasis 8, permission to dock in station five?”
Static and silence.
“Endeavor 101 to Oasis 8, do you copy?”
“Are you connected?”
“Uh,” he checked the line again, and his frown deepened. “No. No, I’m not getting through at all.”
“Is something blocking it? Do they have shields up for some reason?” Audrey asked, leaning over Jared’s shoulder. She’d come up from her navigation setup, and the book she’d been pretending unsuccessfully to read. Her eyes flicked between Jared’s screens and the window panels. “Like, are we too far from the station still?”
“No, of course we’re not, we’re in docking distance,” I said sharply, adjusting our trajectory. We were driving closer, but I hadn’t actively pulled in yet. I didn’t want to arrive unannounced, but something in my gut was also warning me to stay back. “We should have been able to reach them half an hour ago.”
“I thought the lines were busy,” Jared said, checking his connection and refreshing it again. “That’s happened before, usually it isn’t a big deal.”
“The lines might be down? Maybe they’re doing maintenance?” No one seemed to believe this, not even Audrey, who couldn’t help but look worried even as she said it. Her eyes were still focused out on the station, and in the emptiness surrounding it. “Is it just me, or does it just look really…still?”
Jared tried again, fiddling with his settings. “Oasis 8, do you read? Hello? Anyone on?”
Audrey tore her eyes away from the shields and looked back at me. “What’re you thinking, Cap?”
I was really hoping neither of them would ask me that. “I’m thinking…that Jared should shoot a message back to control if he can. Tell them what we see.”
The crew of the Endeavor 101 is shocked to find the biggest interstellar waypoint, space station Oasis 8, is completely deserted when they stop for fuel. They never expected to be dragged into a cautionary tale of corruption and scientific discovery gone wrong.