Every day, our understanding of the universe is reforged as new mysteries are brought to light, shifting our perception as readily as the grains of sand within an hourglass. It seems all too often that our tenuous grasp on reality is affixed in time only by the dark shadows of our collective consciousness. It is there that forgotten whispers echo just out of reach, waiting to be heard. These are Untold Tales.
Today, we travel to Bremen, where on June 20th, 2941, freelance mercenary Sera Misagaru was flying a sweep pattern along the shipping lanes that crisscross between Rytif and Bremen III, looking to pick up whatever work could be found. For the previous six months, Sera would, if the credits were right, offer to assist any ships that had found themselves in harm’s way. Although Bremen’s considered a safe system, those who make their living traversing the black learn quickly learn that in space, safety is a relative thing. It was there, amidst the flow of commerce, a routine operation began that was destined to become anything but.
SERA MISAGARU: It seemed like a straightforward enough job. I mean, at the time I didn’t even think twice about it. The message popped up on the boards just like you’d expect. Some poor captain had flown a little too far off the beaten path, looking to save time, and wound up running into an outlaw pack. Don’t want to hesitate too long with contracts like that. It’s not only about the credits. When you’re out there, if you keep your head on, you can actually save lives.
Sera accepted the contract and hurried to the coordinates where the distressed ship had sent its plea for help. Upon arriving, the mercenary had been prepared to do battle against a fleet of outlaws but instead, a surprise was waiting.
SERA MISAGARU: There was nothing there.
Sera Misagaru had become the most recent pilot to respond to what has become known as the ‘Unanswered Cry.’
SERA MISAGARU: Not a wreck. Not a piece of debris. Not even some floating rocks. Just nothing. And I scanned, too. After the wide sweep to make sure the whole thing wasn’t an ambush, I even narrowed my band and did a detailed once around just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I hadn’t. When I say there was nothing there, I mean it. The weirdest part? As soon as I arrived, the contract had cleared out from mobi. Was like it never even existed.
All together there have been fourteen reports during the past century of pilots responding to the Solomon and its captain’s cries for help. All of them reported a similar experience: a ship in need, a contract accepted, and the discovery of an empty stretch of space waiting for them at the end.
SERA MISAGARU: At first I figured it was some twip trying to spread some grief, so I went and contacted the local guild office about it. The job wasn’t affiliated, but sometimes they hear something, you know? I started telling them what had happened, and the rep just nodded. They knew the whole story. Turns out there had been several mercs over the years who had tried to help the Solomon.
A hauling ship owned and operated by Captain Laramy Stevens, the Solomon spent an honest and industrious fifteen years servicing the area around Rytif. Then on October 21, 2794, the ship vanished. We spoke to ProtLife Insurance associate Genevieve Atrella to learn what little is known about the Solomon’s tragic fate.
GENEVIEVE ATRELLIA: Despite whatever it is that these people are claiming, the Solomon was destroyed in 2794. That’s a fact. Our records show that a salvager ship picked up the Solomon’s black box in a remote part of the Bremen system and returned it to the local authorities, who then proceeded to hand it over to us. The data on the flight recorder showed that the ship was returning with ore from a distant asteroid mining post when it was attacked by unidentified outlaws. Sadly, no arrests were ever made in the case.
Not only were the outlaws never found, neither were the Solomon and its captain. Beyond the black box, no trace of either the ship or Stevens have ever been discovered. How did the black box get removed from the ship? If it was attacked, why were there no signs there or anywhere else in the system?
GENEVIEVE ATRELLA: I personally wouldn’t read too much into the fact that no wreckage or corpse was recovered. I mean maybe the people who attacked the ship took it. Maybe it drifted away. Maybe the salvager who discovered the black box was lying. Could be that an unscrupulous scavenger got there first. A lot could have happened.
But will we ever know what really did happen? While these are all ready explanations, none help to reveal the source of the messages or why they keep sending decade after decade. Could it be that Laramy Stevens is actually still trying to call for help?
TOLOMER WINSOME: I think the Solomon is stuck somewhere. I don’t know where. Maybe in interspace or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scientist, but I do know there’s more in this ’verse than what we can see with our own eyes.
The oldest living person to have experienced the unanswered cry, Tolomer Winsome heard the message in 2843.
TOLOMER WINSOME: Got the call for help and I went running just like any good person would. When I found nothing there, I couldn’t shake it. I found out that there were others that heard the cry too. Different message every time, different coordinates, but always the Solomon and always Captain Stevens. I’ve been going back every year since to search. I haven’t found anything yet or heard the message again, but I just think what it would be like if I was lost like that. Sends shivers down my back every time. It’s what keeps me looking.
SERA MISAGARU: I’ve gone out a few times now with Tolomer. Usually one or two of the others do too. Once you heard the message, you sort of can’t let it go. We’re all people who like to help others, it’s why we tried to answer in the first place. Figured it’s probably worthwhile to keep searching just in case.
And so, the search for the Solomon continues while the questions grow. Many have supposed that the signal is just some kind of cruel joke. But why go through all that trouble? What is there to gain? Is Captain Stevens really still out there? Is the unanswered cry just some glitch in the system? When Untold Tales returns, we talk to computer expert Johana Quint and see what happens when someone tries to trace this mysterious signal to its source.
JOHANA QUINT: I’ve never seen anything like it.
That and more when Untold Tales returns.