As the first wisps of atmosphere touched the badly damaged explorer ship, the craft was on it’s own AI–the pilot and nine of the ten occupants were already dead.
The only alive human lay in the robo-doc tank in the rear of the ship where he’d been for almost a full week. He had been injured during an asteroid incursion and had been placed in the robo-doc then. Now he lay half awake, half in a stupor, knowing that the rest of the Drake’s crew were probably dead.
Boathi sphere ships had come upon the Drake twenty light years out-wards, and had so severely damaged the ship, that even as the pilot lay dying and he kicked it into AI and called on full FTL, their fate looked sealed.
Now, those twenty lights gone, the AI had found a planet capable of life around this G-class star was trying to get the Drake down in one piece. While it knew that there was no one left alive on the ship—other than the barely conscious human locked up n the robo-doc, that knowledge itself was ignored by the algorithms it ran on—landing was the next thing.
As the AI had been under full battle stations settings when they were attacked, those settings were still enabled. The Drake came straight down at more than Mach3—screams of wind pierced the interior as the ship’s hull had been holed by the Boathi. At less than a thousand feet, the AI tried to pull the Drake out of the dive, and was only marginally successful as she plowed through a mile of some kind of light tree foliage as she came level.
The AI was also set to find civilization; so as it swept across this large forest, ahead it detected a small set of foothills, and on the other side some kind of infrastructure. Buildings and roads and highways appeared to lie there and it rose to soar above those hills and then on a rough bank on the other side, AI cut power to the rear thrusters and tried to land on it tripod landing gear.
The fact that all of that was missing meant that the ship simply fell the last twenty feet and lay canted off to one side, but safely aground.
AI chimed waiting for a human to acknowledge the landing. And chimed again. And again but no one answered the chime.
In the pilots seat and the co-pilots seats, two corpses lay, as did the other five scientists and the couple of marines too. All had been killed by the Boathi sphere ship as it had caught them coming up from an asteroid they’d just explored for the Empire.
Nothing to report on that one, one marine had said just as the Boathi appeared suddenly off to port and the strafing projectile weapons riddled the Drake with holes. Not a big ship, the explorer class held less than a dozen crew, small sections were devoted to labs and some cargo space too. The robo-doc lay in the rear however, out of the normal ebb and flow of the ship’s traffic which in this case, protected the tank.
Inside the tank, the surviving human lay in the liquid bath surrounding him, and he was still in that stupor of drugged medical aid. While he couldn’t read it, on the interior visor, lay the dashboard with information for the patient—and it appeared he had still another two and a half days in here.
Defenseless and in a sealed tank, as the AI would try to keep the robo-doc up and running to enable his recovery…at least that was it’s next task…