This is just something I'm writing in my spare time, for the purpose of improving my writing. Comments/criticism appreciated.
DATE 4.25.72 3:22:52 EST TYPE DISTRESS LOCATION ARIADNE 18257, 99214 AST201 LEVEL 4-R URGENT
Captain Masters, this distress signal originated from a privately-owned research station near an asteroid field near the Ariadne Arm. According to DevAlloy Corporation, the owner, it's on Fathom, the moon of a planet just behind the field. This mission is extremely sensitive, as DevAlloy is one of our top suppliers, so you'll be given carte blanche to salvage as much research and development as you can -- or, failing that, to stem the tide of the infection.
A TSA capital ship, the Winter's Dawn, slowed to a near stop amidst a small asteroid field. It floated gently between the rocks, gradually coming to a stop in a small clearing. From the outside, the entire ship seemed to go dark for a few moments, before sections lining the hull lit up, scanning the field.
The airlock hissed shut in the Dawn's loading bay as the large doors slid open. A dropship flew out, its thrusters burning dimly as it left the loading bay. Three more dropships followed it out of the Winter's Dawn, maintaining a loose formation. The four dropships gently filed into a line formation, keeping their distance as they moved between the rocks.
The lead dropship slowed to a halt as it reached a tight cluster of asteroids. The pilot looked up at his panel and pressed a button. His voice crackled over the comms system: "Fletch, Mason, I'll start scanning for holes. Alton, move up and see if you can find another way around."
There was a pause as the other dropships started moving. A pilot's voice came up: "Roger, Chase. This is Mason. We'll hold here."
Chase reached up and flipped a small switch to start the dropship's local scanner. His panel's map showed a small icon, representing the dropship, with blue circles radiating out of it. After a few seconds, a detailed map of the field appeared on his screen, showing several asteroids around the four ships.
"I don't see any paths. Alton, do you have anything?" asked Chase.
Alton looked on his map and said, "Yeah, there's one a bit to the north and west. You'll have to squeeze through a pair of rocks single-file."
Chase maneuvered his ship around to Alton's position and said, "I see it. I'll go first. The rest of you follow through, ten seconds in between."
The thrusters on Chase's dropship lit up as he accelerated between the two asteroids, disappearing into the darkness on the other side. Fletch, unsure of himself, hesitated. Mason moved in front, going through the squeeze himself, worrying about Chase.
He emerged on the other side to find Chase's dropship nearby, waiting. Chase's voice came through on the communications: "... in, come in? Ah, is that you, Mason? I think the asteroids were blocking the signal."
Mason said, "I guess. Shouldn't have, though. Our signals are supposed to work through three miles of solid steel."
Soon after, Fletch and Alton flew through the squeeze. Chase said, "I guess the crew's all here. Let's get going," and turned the ship towards Fathom, a blue-green orb veiled by the floating rocks before him.