A Ghost Story
Sterilized by war, a rocky planet's bounty and dark terrors have remained safely hidden--until a Kel-Morian Combine crew catches wind of it hoping to strike big. There's just one problem: The planet seems to be haunted by a "ghost."
They came across the compound of the Church of Besainted Pelagius, displaying Confederacy-era propaganda posters. Entering, Luke Keegan turned on the old generator while the rest of the crew headed to ops, where they watched recordings from the Besainted Church, which turned out to be a kind of cult. Something had been stalking and killing their membership.
The door to ops closed and wouldn't open, and Keegan cried that there was something out there with him. When the doors opened, Keegan had vanished.
The recordings continued as Macy Clift hacked the system. The cultists felt they were being "haunted" by something that made noises such as the laughter of children. Chuck Tyrosine heard the same noises and freaked out, saying they should leave. Commander Uriah Cyris would have none of that, but as soon he left the room, he was violently but mysteriously killed.
Tyrosine locked ops until Clift could extract the rest of the data. Clift and Tyrosine tried to calm each other as the recording showed that the remaining cultists had finally captured the being with a device built by Brother Pelagius. However, Tyrosine had also died silently but violently.
Clift, seeing the door to ops ajar, ran for it. She thought she saw someone on the way out, but they didn't interfere with her. Outside the complex, she saw The Generous Profit flying away.
She was confronted by Pelagius himself. He admitted to "converting" the ghost who had haunted his cult, using said ghost to steal her vessel, in order to keep the Kel-Morian Combine from finding them. His cult was large and it was they who had made the laughter of children.
The ghost had been sent to kill Cyris and Tyrosine as they were both warriors, but Pelagius would convert her ... just the way he'd converted Luke Keegan. He'd used some of the neural inhibitor technology found in the ghost to create a kind of "unbreakable mechanical faith", implanting similar devices in other cultists including Keegan. The cultists surrounded Clift, making her into Brother 652.
|Macy Clift (information officer)||Uriah Cyris (commander)||Luke Keegan (engineer)||Chuck Tyrosine (combat specialist)|