USS Nostromo lost over Flemish Cap: search and rescue efforts suspended after devastating air marshall incident. [Part one in a three-part series.]

Flight deck of the Nostromo (Syria, 2079).

The legendary commercial fishing vessel/ore and droid-hauler, Nostromo, went missing this weekend somewhere over the North Atlantic’s Flemish Cap.  She had gone out late in the season for one last try at the Cap, a hallowed, almost mythical site amongst swordfishermen and ore & droid-haulers alike.

The Flemish Cap, east of which Nostromo appears to have strayed on her recent junket to 'win back the fish' for the good and hardworking people of this country. (The Cap, it will be recalled, is itself already well east of most U.N.-sanctioned fish extraction sites.)

Recovered ship’s logs suggest that the Nostromo may have veered east off the Cap after receiving a distress signal.  This would have put the ship directly over the North Atlantic’s mid-ocean canyon, which forms one of the longest submerged mountain ranges in the world.

Last known whereabouts of the Nostromo: the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. "From whose bourn / no traveller returns."

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is a divergent tectonic plate boundary located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. It separates the Eurasian Plate and North American Plate in the North Atlantic, and the African Plate from the South American Plate in the South Atlantic. The Ridge extends from a junction with the Gakkel Ridge (Mid-Arctic Ridge) northeast of Greenland southward to the Bouvet Triple Junction in the South Atlantic.  Few commercial boats attempt to work the ridge because of its wildly divergent and erratic currents.

Last known photograph to be taken over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, circa 2047. (While the photographer remains unknown, several film canisters were discovered floating over the Cap by a droid-trawler that happened to be steaming by on its mission to Portugal in the late 60s.)

The fact that the Nostromo ever found itself east of the Cap has raised suspicions amongst the Flemish constabulary.  Investigators with Dutch Marine Safety say that, while their investigation is still ongoing, they are now looking into Speculative Environmental Plunder and Corporate Mischief as ‘people of serious interest.’

Texas-Governor, Richard 'Speck' Plunder, in a popular artisinal campaign poster from his triumphant 2041 world gubernatorial trials.

Richard ‘Speck’ Plunder and ‘Corporal’ Karl Mischief (a senior officer in the Toe-Cutter’s elite naval division) have refused to give interviews with the press, citing several previous and still-unresolved cases in which they remain defendants.  Plunder’s attorney, Frank Rich, issued a brief statement on behalf of both men: “My client (and his associate) are unable to speak with the press at this time as it might compromise other cases which are still in the courts.”  (Rich, a defense-attorney who has become a celebrity in his own right, is famous for his record of defending high-profile, ‘A-list’ clients like the Virginia-based magic collective, WMD; alcoholic idiot and cocaine spokesperson for hire, Charlie Rose; Regis Philbin (the person, not the hologram); and of course, Jerusalem’s most hardline gangster-rapper, MC Binny ‘Netty’ Nelly Yahoo (who, along with Philbin, is said to have just signed a lucrative endorsement deal with the New Jersey Sun Devils.)

“Let me be perfectly clear here,” Rich went on to say, “these men are cooperating with the courts and law enforcement and want — more than anyone else here, goddamn it — for this issue to be resolved.”   That said, the case for Perry seems to be dwindling amidst a perfect storm system of no fish, a beleaguered middle class, and the failure of Jesus to be finally cool again.   (Jesus is currently charting somewhere behind Vampire Weekend as one of Texas’s ‘most failed states.’  Spokespeople for Paul Simon’s “Yale Graceland Project” could say only that they were “stoked” and “couldn’t see why people were all about fighting with so much war and stuff going on.”)

A look at Texas’s court records show the current charges against Plunder to be myriad.  (In July 2039, for instance, he was caught having forged and cashed a co-worker’s $44 paycheck and having burglarized a grocery store, stealing cigarettes, beer and $3 in cash. The 21-year-old Speck was convicted of forgery and burglary and sentenced to three years in prison. He was paroled after serving 16 months in the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.[2])

But Speck has also managed, by using minimum-wage positions and eviscerated benefits packages, to create a ‘jobs surplus’ in his native state of Texas, which may earn him public sympathy and some leniency in the courts.

Headquarters of The Company in downtown Gloucester, Mass.: "We are shocked and saddened."

Plunder and Mischief are also shareholders and unofficial advisors to The Company, a multi-billion dollar, hydra-like freight contractor based in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Company spokesperson Tim Gasterman expressed surprise on behalf of the corporation.  “We are as surprised as anyone that one of our best contractors should spiral out of orbit, and are doing everything we can to discover the reasons for this tragic misadventure.”

Bob Brown, a sub-contractor in Gloucester and owner of the Nostromo, appeared ashen and taciturn at Monday’s inquiry.  “She’s a great vessel,” he said, “and while it looks as though this may have been her final voyage, if anyone can turn this thing around it’s that high-flying, hell-for-leather bastard, Dallas!”  (Brown was referring to the Nostromo’s charismatic – some say reckless – captain, Dallas Wells.)

Dallas Wells, acting captain of the USS Nostromo at the time of her disappearance. Wells was famous for his ability to 'finesse' liaisons between The Company and his crew. (Readers will recall Wells' deft handling of what came to be known as 'the bonus situation' back in '48.)

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