I floated in my ship before the lost artifact. It was a massive space station, floating in space, light years from any celestial bodies. It was as close as I thought I would ever get, as a mysterious ship attacked me. I sent out an SOS and powered down, just as my ship suffered a catastrophic hull breach.
But to my surprise I was awoken aboard the Archon, a private vessel in the command of an enterprising young captain named Yolanda Starsword*. I told her of my research into the Bright Ones: The aliens who first created the Galateans. And I told her that the mysterious space station they now orbited had been eluding me for the better part of four centuries. Her ship had taken serious damage fighting off my attackers, so she docked at the station, left behind some crew to repair the ship, and then she, her engineer, and another officer joined me in a quick expedition of the ship. Or… at least I thought it would be quick.
A few things that should be noted. Yolanda’s engineer was a Galatean like me, although newer, and of odd design (he claimed Trox though I don’t believe him). His name was Falon. The other officer was a Kaldreth, a rare sight indeed. Their name was Tick-Tock Wollybog.
Aboard the station we encountered two creatures, surrounded by warm yellow bioluminescent fog, mouthless and smooth skinned, much like a Kaldreth actually. They approached us and made shapes in the fog. Spheres with bumps and indents. These shapes were their language, and they did not make any sounds. We took some time to try and communicate, to little avail. But we learned that Tick-Tock, the Kaldreth could create with prestidigitation a small orb much like theirs and they could shape her illusion like the fog. It was delightful to watch. It began to sink in that these were the Bright Ones at long last.
Then, my day grew quite strange and quite long.
After exactly 15 minutes, we suddenly stood at the airlock once again. Falon, the Galatean, and I had a full recollection of the last 15 minutes, but not Tick-Tock nor the captain. We met the Bright Ones again and again tried to communicate. I explained that we had jumped back in time for the first of many, many times, and the captain decided we should explore the station. We found one locked door with a great many spectral purple fingers on the other side, and decided to go the other way. In another room we met more Bright Ones and were assailed by a large construct of some sort. Possibly Galatean, but massive in size and fury. It quite nearly killed us.
Then we were back at the airlock again as 15 minutes had passed.
I will not bore you with the details here, but suffice it to say that we repeated this loop many many times and discovered the following: This station was housing a prisoner, identified as “The Great Old One” and the machines attacking it were attempting to free said prisoner. The Bright Ones had invented a strange emergency security measure. They used a short range time-hiccup device in case nothing could be done to stop the Old One escaping. Then they floated through space in the hopes that one day someone would find them and repair the prison for them.
Another thing that happened. Tick-Tock, the Kaldreth aided me in an experiment where the two Dreth evacuated the Kal host and let the host spend time with the Bright Ones. I had intended this only as a means of calming the panicked Kaldreth but it had an unexpected consequence. The host, Wollybog, was remembering. And she was learning the Bright One language. At this point, we had been repeating the loop for ten straight hours.
But with a proper translator at our side we managed to talk to the Bright Ones who were manning the time repeater and they gave us a password to get in the contained part of the ship, to repair it.
Then in the Purple Finger door we went and soon discovered that the floating fingers were more deadly than they appeared. Our first attempt lead to my death as well as Falons, but our second attempt was more tactical and we managed to find a console very close to the spinning purple orb that was The Great Old One and reconstructed the prison.
Doing so freed us from the 15 minute loop.
Yolanda Starsword decided that they best escort the station to Galatea and I concurred.
*For security reasons, the crew’s names have all been changed.