To the genehacks left in Humanity's wake, Laika is the closest thing to a Saint they'll ever have. She was the first dog who stayed in space. Ruthless physics told her to Stay, and she was a Good Girl. For Humanity's sake and theirs, Laika stayed.
But churches and prayer circles on Earth and in orbit are a long, long way from the howling void of deep space. While the prayers of rescue and salvation are whispered to Laika, it's Molly and her Hive that do the heavy lifting. Padua Station's no stranger to salvation and resurrection.
But with Laika's ashes scattered around the solar system, everywhere Rocco smells, he's running into her scent. Is it her voice they hear howling in the darkness? Or is something as old as the stars masquerading, and why?
There's a voice howling out past Jupiter, and it's hard to tell if its lonely or hungry. Laika burned up on re-entry almost nine hundred years ago. But her death might have been martyrdom, or it might have been monstrous.
In the twenty-ninth century, she's the modern Charon of Spacer culture. Body bags come prepackaged with dog biscuits, and Spacers carry their own in their suits, or tape them down in escape pods and life rafts.
Так лайка приносит вам домой. So Laika brings you home.
It's tough to argue against ghosts on a space station that specializes in bringing you back from the dead. But what the Hive can't argue is that Rocco keeps catching Laika's scent during their rescues.
Something is trying to warn the Hive. Something is out there, waiting in the dark, and it won't be long until someone goes out on a rescue and brings back the truth.
Because if Humanity thought The Spongey was bad, just wait until we get out past the Oort cloud. It's going to take a lot more than one or two good dogs to get to the stars.
Out halfway between Jupiter and the Oort drifts the wreckage of the good ship UN #9401, The Duke of Milan. She's an old ship, old enough to remember what the atmosphere of Earth felt like before the quarantine satellites were activated.
Laika's scent is in the Hive's nose. But is it an invitation, or a warning? As the player, you decide your Hive's relationship to Laika. Is she the saintly savior, fairy dogmother, alien metastization, or horror from beyond the void? Your choices decide how the Hive, and the world, reacts to what it finds.
A ghost story that hinges on faith? Or a hard science-fiction story that demands facts from the dead? That's in your hands.
Just remember: Not everybody gets out alive.