Marie (right) runs her own deep space recovery operation. Not an easy task, but she’d been fortunate: she had made a small chunk of money from a fortunately-timed sale of the rights to an FTL front-end application she’d developed. Having sunk the whole of it into a pretty well-kitted-out purpose-built recovery ship, Lapine Recovery has been doing okay since. Not turning a huge profit, but more or less breaking even.

The thing with deep space, though, is that you often bump into total weirdos. Shaking and strung-out, looking like he’d not slept in days and repeatedly counting and recounting a fistful of discount coupons, Thom Manson had been behind her in the line for a Bugrito stand in one of the sector’s grubbier rest stops.

If she’d not been so dumb as to ask him what was up–it was curiosity more than any inclination to help, really — she wouldn’t have been drawn into a garbled, circular conversation about the things that Thom believed were crawling around the storage bay of his vessel. This vessel, it turned out, was Angel Fish, a vast dilapidated cargo ship, bought and (poorly) repurposed by REZQ, a deep space recovery operation that had been nowhere before, but which seemed to be everywhere these days.

While she wouldn’t normally be lending help to a huge corporate rival like REZQ, Marie had a couple hours to kill while her vessel had its O2 system cleansed, so she agreed to help Thom take a look. When she got aboard Angel Fish, realised that Thom was running the place alone, and saw how many Speed Coffee cups were rolling around, it didn’t take long to figure out that the source of his paranoia was more likely to be the side-effect of amphetamine-fuelled sleep deprivation than any extra-terrestrial creepy-crawlies.

Still, Marie let Thom shove a heavy-duty nailgun into her arms to back him up while he combed the cargo bay with a flashlight. When she’d reassured him as far as she possibly could, she gently untangled herself from the situation, and was relieved when she was back on her own ship, Lapine One. Before she set the hop primer and jumped her ship away, though, she bookmarked the transponder details of Angel Fish. There was more going on there, she thought, and it would be interesting to keep an eye on things.