“Rimworlds, despite being mostly identified as plentiful, resource-rich planets; its occupants tend to not be prosperous but downright miserable, usually. Common knowledge claims that its circumstances made it nearly impossible to form planetary governments, united colonies and whatnot. Anyone and their mothers know that its peculiar state would also know that they are located at god-knows-where and that nobody would spare any effort to colonize it in proper scale. But, my question is: What kind of idiotic humans did that millenniums ago? They think they can terraform these planets, but had they ever stopped and think if they should?”
- R.W. Herodotus, Grand Historian of Ordo Historia, Terra
Judging by the sudden deceleration after atmospheric reentry, and that her spine remained intact and her bones were not shattered into dust, the drop pod worked flawlessly and she made her way into her destination.
"Wow!" Aria exclaimed.
Behind a layer of reinforced glass and its heavy stain of soot lies an attractive visage.
Barely able to contain herself, seconds felt like hours as she waited for the pod to disengage.
Instantly, the panels dislodged and Aria was freed from her tiny prison. What greeted her was an overbearing stench of burnt metal. But that dissipated quick, just as quickly as her sense of dread turned into a sense of awe and wonder.
What she saw was a scene of lush greenery—although veiled under the covers of darkness and only illuminated by faint moonlight, she could take in every single bit of charm provided by the visage just fine. Tufts of shrubbery swaying along the blowing winds, with the occasional patch of trees scattered around her field of vision. This feeling she comprehended felt like a reward that one would be gifted with once they have overcame their insurmountable odds.
Lush greenery run amok along these plains, and the subsequent terrain as far as her eyes could see. Aside from select few spots that had little to no dense vegetation growth, including hers, everywhere else could be considered a forest as far as she is concerned.
Looking elsewhere, especially the terrain surrounding her, she concluded that she had landed in the plains. It had quite the variety of plants and shrubbery, growing all over the place, while the trees are greatly outnumbered in quanity, in comparison to the former variants of vegetaion.
Flowing in a natural curve, a cascade of lights under the moonlight indicated the existence of a river that flows along the plains. If she listened hard, she could hear the sound of water flowing rapidly; beautiful flickers of light rose high up in the air as the flowing water impacted the large river rocks jutting out of the water surface.
A plume of dust rose as quickly as the wind that carried it away. Snapping to attention, Aria located the source of the noise as she could clearly see it. Another drop pod landed nearby, judging by the fluorescent stripes on its outer panels. The orderly fashion of the stripes soon broke apart, some lay buried under the dirt, others remain glowing while laying disorderly around the vicinity.
Aria muttered to herself, "Looks like another one escaped unharmed... phew."
She continued, "Let's go find... Wait! The storage compartment!"
Reminding herself of the resources each of these drop pods carried, Aria changed her priorities momentarily and now she is looking to recover the precious little amounts of cargo that accompanied her escape.
"There it is." Aria recovered her prize.
From an unassuming metal crate, half buried in dirt embedded into one of the panels, she managed to secure the precious cargo.
It included a standard kit for emergency use. A small satchel containing a dyno torch—also known as a squeeze flashlight that utilized a mini rotary crank and dynamo that allows its users to hand charge the torch. However, it's pitiful energy capacity means that it's batteries must be topped up and constantly replenished before and during usage.
Stealth mission operators and handless operators need not apply.
Also, the satchel included 3 packs of packaged rations, a water flask, a standard med-kit and a multipurpose knife.
"Medkit?" Aria groaned. "You call bandages and antibiotics in a tin-can a medkit?"
Despite showing great dissatisfaction, she still pocketed the ‘tin-can’ greedily.
Scrounging further, she only recovered a sealed bottle and a straight saw. Her eyes sparkled as she inspected both items in great detail. Undoubtedly, she knew those were what she needed.
Both items were covered with a plastic film, presumably airtight. Despite its glossy and transparent appearance, she knew that she could never warp its shape or even break it using her hands only. Made from algae extract bred for this exact purpose, the material is strong and rigid, only the sharp edge of a blade could slice through the plastic.
“Nice!” Aria muttered as she finished her inspection.
The bottle is filled with an industrial water-based adhesive, or water soluble glue, that is nothing short of a godsend for any survivors. They are to mix with water following a 1/1000 ratio, resulting in a finished product of viscous glue that solidifies instantly when exposed to high temperature. Moreover, they blend well with any surface, and the binding will be as hard as concrete when applied properly.
Such a reliable adhesive that comes in a 1 litre bottle will result in 1000 litres of ultra-glue, creating roughly a metric ton of unbreakable, versatile binding for any products.
On the other hand, the straight saw was fitted with a vibro-blade, as well as a fully charged battery. At the very least, it would slice through wood and stone effortlessly, as smooth as slicing warm butter, when charged. The fine, serrated, plasteel edge gives it superior durability that could even sustain grinding through lesser metals when the batteries are depleted, when push comes to shove.
All-in-all, the cargo Aria recovered will prove to be a great boon and a powerful asset to Aria, or to anyone else that gets to own it.
Ah... The wonders of technology.
Back to her duties at hand, she cranked her flashlight and waved it around the other crashed pod. Sending pulses of light towards that direction, she was signaling to the recipient of her existence.
Satchel carried on her back, she slowly navigated through the terrain while steadily broadcasting her position through her flashlight.
“If not for the moonlight… God forbid.” She muttered under her breath.
If not for the generous moonlight that illuminated the contours of the landscape in various shades of dark green and grey, she would have plunged into various shrubs or trees. One does not have many options if they had to cope with a true darkness that made them to not even visually track their fingers.
Soon, her visual hails were responded with flashes of light. Obviously from the other landing site, Aria could assume that the survivor had recovered their cargo and was most likely in good health.
“Hey! You’re that girl! Aria!” Someone shouted across a short distance.
"Let's look around first... I guess." Aria said.
Navigating through the terrain with three seperate origins of light—from the all-encompassing moonlight and two flashlight beams, Aria continued exploring the plains with another companion in tow.
"Good thing you're doing fine!" He said.
"Yeah... Thank goodness we didn't die up there." Aria replied.
"Yup. Also—" He continued.
"What have you got there?" She pointed to the bag he's carrying.
Unlike the small satchel that Aria was carrying, the burden on his back was noticebly bulkier. Strapped between his shoulders, as tall as half of his height, was a bulky backpack of some sort.
"Oh! Aside from the standard kit that I threw in there..." he gestured to the backpack, "There's a small crate of rations wrapped in the bag."
"Rations?" Aria responded.
"Rations!" He exclaimed in response. "20 packs of travel rations!"
"Holy ss—Awesome!" She spoke joyously.
"Heh... They're heavy as hell though." He replied with a bittersweet expression.
Aria could only chuckle in reply. She also approved, however, that the entire predicament she encountered until now is quite the bittersweet experience. She's off to a new life - she almost died - she escaped - she now finds advantage.
Before her train of thought could continue, she was interrupted.
"Also... thanks for saving me back there." He spoke meekly.
"Hey! No problem." She replied sincerely.
"Also... I'm Joshua. Nice to meet you!" Joshua continued, albeit in an unnecessarily hushed tone.
"Ah, Joshua." Aria affirmed with a melancholic tone. "Not very nice to meet under these circumstances... but okay."
"..." God knows what Joshua felt judging by his stoic expression. But it's definitely not a pleasant one.