When I finally get up the other scouts are moving around. With the missing scanner still on my mind I make a point of tracking down the scout who was Osc, unless that one was recycled like I suspect. As I walk around the room, moving in and out among the other scouts, getting nutrient and finding a chair at the table, I tap the tips of my fingers together, repeatedly sending out the message, “We need to talk.” None of the other scouts respond or even show any interest in my hand movements.
As the other scouts start telling their stories, I decide on another tactic. I will find the scout who was Soven. But, losing a scanner on a mission is not a good thing. It doesn’t ever happen. I don’t need that fact to be shared with everyone. So, I can’t stop each scout and question it individually, nor do I want to alert everyone that I’m looking for one scout in particular because I have questions. I must be subtle in how I approach this.
Soon enough, the conversation drifts toward means of transportation on our recent mission and how traders crossed the wasteland.
“I had a team of nasidors drive a craft I designed,” I interject as casually as possible.
“What kind of craft?”
“What was it like?”
The other scouts ask their questions so quickly I can’t keep up with answering them. Instead, I purposefully steer my response in a new direction. “It was a bumpy ride actually. I would rather have been out on top — which I did briefly — driving the team.”
“I did that!” one of the scouts exclaims.
The other scouts quickly turn their attention to this one, hoping for a detailed story.
“You were the Necco?” I ask, my gaze affixed on this one’s position at the table.
It nods. “You were the Bormea?”
“Yes,” I reply. “What was it like?”
While this scout describes its experiences driving the nasidors, I quickly finish my nutrient, ready to move when I need to. After finishing its story, the scout gets up and walks over to the counter. I wait briefly before following it.
“You were Soven then?” I ask, coming up behind it.
The scout turns to me, “Yes. I wondered what became of you.”
I lean in, “What happened? I can’t find the one who was Osc.”
The other scout glances around the room.
“I think it was recycled,” I continue. “The new one, the one who showed up after the mission and became the chair, I think that one replaced our missing companion.”
The scout’s eyes widen all the more.
“The scanner’s missing,” I inform the other scout. “What happened?” I ask again, trying not to let the urgency of the situation enter into the tone of my voice.
“We got separated,” it tells me. “The Neccos came crashing through the city in search of all of us, you in particular.”
“Did they find the other one?”
“I don’t know.”
“Was it otherwise in bad shape? Weakened somehow?” I ask, trying to understand why it was recycled.
“It got abused a lot by that other Bormea, Carnesol.”
I nod, knowing Carnesol’s nasty nature. “Why didn’t he say anything?” I ask, now envisioning the other scout as Osc.
“You were in a precarious situation. He just kept repairing himself,” the other scout replies, picking up on the reference to the missing scout’s alternate form. “He didn’t get much rest either. Whenever he had a chance, he investigated the compound. I warned him that he would wear himself out. He had the scanner and was going to try to scan the Neccos’ apartments while they were ransacking the city after your departure. I didn’t see him again. I thought he came back with everyone else.”
“I knew I should have taken the scanner with me,” I murmur, more to myself than to the other.
“The Commander never got it?”
I shake my head. “The Nosram have no idea what happened to it. By all accounts, we’ve lost all of the data on it too — except for what I sent in on my initial scouting.” I glance behind me at the other scouts before turning my gaze back to the one in front of me. “Seems like our helper sacrificed himself for nothing. For all we know he never made it back undamaged, if he made it back at all. As for the scanner, it’s either lost or broken somewhere out there.”
As I stare at our room’s screens, showing me some view of a random galaxy, I can’t help but wonder about this missing (or recycled) scout. Did it see something that it wasn’t supposed to and was recycled because of it or was it simply punished for losing the scanner? If either is the case, then why did the Commander ask me about the scanner?
All of this means that most of what we know of the Bormeas comes from my reports, samples and initial scans. The scans of the Bormeas that I sent back to the ship were only from a distance, enough for me to replicate their physical appearance. The closer scans that I obtained once I gained admittance into the compound I have to assume were never sent. No wonder the Commander was drilling me about the lack of Bormean samples. This part of the mission appears to be a failure.
It also means that what I learned of the Bormeas from my time with the Caysas (which I’ve held back, along with my own findings) would be unknown to the Nosram. With a start I realize I am currently the only living expert on the Bormeas and their behavior.