Every society has it’s urban legends. On Starkiller, among others, there is a legend about giant evil space rats, creations of some failed military experiment. Whenever some little thing vanishes from the tool box of a technician, or equipment malfunctions without a reason, they say - it’s a rat.
Some legends are scary: rats bite, rats spread viruses among humans and computers. Rats sense the outcomes of battles and fled the ships beforehand. Some legends - in Techy’s opinion - are nice: rats build their nests from stolen wire and thermoinsulation, rats bring gifts to those who leave waste they feed on.
So he starts his own investigation. First he checks data:
- People bitten - zero
- Epidemic outbreaks - zero
- Nests made of wire found - zero
- Lost and misplaced belongings - lots
He checks data and see that amount of lost things exceeds the Gaussian. Things get lost everywhere. Techs, trooper, officers, meds and other stuff make complaints.
He offers an idea of Lost&Found office which can be situated in his room. Now he gets better data, he even allows anonymous applications. Found things are brought to him and he gathers all possible infomation: time, place, material, position…
There are, of course, a margin of error. Some people hesitate to state that they have lost something too personal (some things from his growing collection have never been claimed). And some are blatant liars - like infamous Matt, who breaks things in his giant hands and then states that they are stolen or lost.
But he gets results. First conclusion - there is only one rat on board. Second - it is trying to communicate.
There is a pattern in vanishing and reappearing of things. A code.
Now he comes to the final stage of his experiment - he comes up with an answer. It takes a week to plan and gather (well, steal) the things and a day off to place them precisly. He almost gets caught and in the end of the day he is all sweaty and shaking. No matter if this works out or not, his reputation has probably sunken even lower.
He tried to send two messages with his offer:
1) no danger, you are safe here
2) directions to his room
In the morning he almost steps barefooted on the little screwdriver on the floor. Judging by a piece of blue adhesive tape, it is one of the Matt’s broken tools.
It’s an answer and a gift.