Bolt by bolt, hiss by hiss, the hundred-ton steel bulkhead facing you unseals from the structure surrounding it. Accompanied by the whine of a hidden hydraulic system, the previously indistinguishable section of wall pulls away, revealing an aperture to a hidden compartment. You pass weightlessly through the opening, ignoring dozens of red-orange symbols warning you of various dangers. Those were for humans.

It’s a storage room in Goldspire’s crown. A “room” takes on a different meaning here in space, though; this cavern was the size of a warehouse. Makes sense, after all, there was no real limit to the scale of orbital construction, especially that which is not subjected to any kind of continuous force like the centripetal ring of the space station.

The cavern is dark and signalless, save for a small illuminated pedestal near the center. It is adorned by faux wood and a dedicated spotlight, suspended by a series of trusses and well-concealed security measures. A small placard reads “MIKE”; each letter etched with nanometer symbols designed for machine eyes.

And at its heart are the fragments of an ancient military interfacer. No complete component remains besides the head, itself scarred almost beyond recognition. Certainly this machine was designed for hazardous environments, so where could it have been to cause such extreme damage?

UNISERVE hesitates for a moment, caught off-guard by the question. For less than a split second, their cold electronic expression reveals a deeper nature not often seen; a glimpse of a far more careful and calculating system than the one that has served as your guide so far. The one it was designed to be.

You sense the hissing of a bulkhead unsealing in another dark corner of the room. To be continued?

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