Chapter 1: Return of the Obelisk
STAR SWEEPER VESSEL PHALANX
..... Radiation levels, nominal..... Threat to human life, non existent..... Element salvage operation committed to sweeping service.....
Automatic systems initiate the process. Graviton tractors draw the smaller metallic debris into waiting chutes, leading to the irradiating scrubbers.
External robotic arms with laser cutting attachments, carve the larger pieces of metallic waste into smaller, more manageable sizes.
The necessary destruction of the star ship Seraphium, it stands in permanent records; as being a tragedy that has taken place four years passed.
Time and the vacuum of space, draining the radiation from the remaining debris; for safety in the processing of salvageable materials.
The processed materials are instantly compacted and welded together as strips of recycled metal. The useful ore needed for processing separated into sealed compartments for storage. The refined metals, quickly crated and stored in the star ship's cargo bay.
In less than two hours time, the compliment of the star ship Seraphium's debris has been gathered. The void surrounding the star ship Phalanx, it was now clean of any and of all F.R.O (Floating Recyclable Objects).
..... Processing completed..... This automated vessel designated, Phalanx; is now committed to preprogrammed return transit.....
Circuits now began to surge. The robotic vessel began to falter. Images of an unknown object, blurred by remote programmed destination proximity; flashed slowly upon the on-board ship's monitor screens.
The object, a large black monolithic artifact; with a tapered pyramid atop the four-cornered smooth black surface of stone.
..... Not logical..... Sensory data scans indicate, the object cannot be..... Circuits..... Circuits..... The Obelisk..... Interfacing..... Relaying call, automated distress..... This sweeper vessel now compromised.....
The sweeper vessel coded Phalanx fell silent. The auto-robotic operation star ship was now drawn to a different destination, its programming altered by the alien device.
Initiating a Singularity Fold, the Phalanx is quickly pulled into the event horizon of a space transit anomaly. One launched buoy, the last and only reminder the robotic operation star ship was ever there.