Humanity's Greatest Mecha Warrior System - Chapter 1159
Max watched carefully as the drone progressed through the ship toward the spot where he recalled his dorm having been during his past life. It was an officer's dorm, for junior Mecha Pilots of Heavy Mecha, but that didn't buy them an individual room in a battleground as expansive and deadly as that one had been.
Even the World Ships were considered moderately expendable, and hundreds of them were thrown at the Great Enemy every year, just to keep things stable.
In a way, it was very similar to the state of the Kepler Empire during the early years of Max's current life, but not in a good way.
The drone found the location without issues, and it was just as Max had remembered it. A large open door faced the common area, with the cafeteria to the right of the doorway to the bunks.
So far, so good.
Then, Max guided the drone into the bunks, where he could see that the footlockers still stood, intact and undamaged. They should contain the personal effects that the Pilots didn't want to bring into combat with them, like formal uniforms, civilian clothing, and non-sentimental belongings.
"Ooh, what did you find?" One of the Innu asked as she noticed what Max was doing with the drone.
"A dorm room. From the looks of it, the occupants were close to three metres tall, as the beds are a uniform 320 centimetres long. There are locked storage boxes, upright hanging lockers and bedding still intact. There has been some damage, likely due to the decompression and the volatile organic compounds in the fabrics, but other than that, it looks very well-preserved.
Next I am going to have it search the room to see if there are any signs of photography, drawings, writing or other cultural items." Max explained.
That brought most of the others over, while only a few stayed with Nico to oversee the main project, and watch the wayward drone on a smaller screen.
The room looked fairly clear, but that was somewhat expected. Most soldiers didn't leave personal effects out in the open when they were around, much less when they were deployed away from the vessel. But there should be some stuff in the lockers.
They had storage devices, similar to the flat space devices that Max was using now, but they wouldn't fill them up with all sorts of unnecessary stuff when there might be a need for essential supplies.
"Let's try the first footlocker." Max announced, as he tried to recall the Pilot's name.
Only a vague impression of golden skin and white hair came to mind, and the gruesome death the very first day, when an enemy artillery shell had pierced their shielding and vaporized the cockpit of the Mecha. That part he remembered very well.
The drone moved forward to inspect the lock, which had both a combination and a key function to it. One for the user, one for the Commander with his master key.
That would be the easiest way in. The numeric locks would likely be frozen and seized at this point, but the proper application of a bit of heat and a screwdriver would pop the lock open from the keyway in half a second.
And pop open it did. The lock yielded to the drone in under a second without destroying it, and it was carefully set aside in the minimal gravity of the inactive World Ship. The drone carefully pulled open the lid of the locker, and examined the contents inside.
There was a pile of cloth that looked like uniforms, a pair of very shiny boots that the scanner determined were a polymer that was designed to look like animal hide, and then there was a single picture inside the lid of the chest, a golden-skinned woman with white hair standing under the arm of a similar looking but much larger male of the same species.
Max had forgotten that the Pilot had been female. They were all Mecha Pilots, and rarely saw each other outside their units, but it did make him wonder if he had always been so oblivious to the opposite gender.
"Jackpot. We hit the mother load. Not only do we have a uniform, we have an actual picture of the owner in that uniform to go by. All that we could ask for now was a DNA sample, and we would know all about their genome." The researchers cheered.
Max smiled. "Don't give up yet. There is a tradition that almost all species follow before they go into battle in such large numbers."
The others looked at him in confusion, but Nico answered from the other room.
"They cut off a bit of themselves to leave behind in case their body can't be recovered. Hair, fingernails, a single feather. Just enough that there is something for their family to bury." She reminded the group.
That meant that this room would most likely have a small box with something similar in it, assuming that the species followed the practice.
The drone carefully removed the items from the chest one at a time, until all that was left in the bottom was a small wooden box, unmarked, but carefully made in an interlocking fashion that required no fasteners.
The lid was not hinged, only pressed in place, and with a bit of gentle persuasion, the drone had it open, revealing a coiled lock of white hair inside.
"Scan the hair for DNA and seal the contents of the chest back up, at least until we can begin the sorting process. That should give everyone enough excitement for one day, and it will tell us who this species of golden Giants were, or at least who their closest relatives are." Max announced.
The search of the other open rooms continued, and dozens of similar dorms had been found, all in nearly identical condition. A few still had pictured tucked into the underside of the top bunks, but there was no sign of the previous occupants, or of any other attempts to damage or loot the ship.
All that was left were kilometres of empty corridors, and a few forgotten relics of a lost civilization. One that Max recognized very well.