The ship had been drifting out-system for over a week after the initial mayday. It was one of those messages. The kind that ends in a scream, which itself ends in a gurgle. Our ship, a Sweeper class lovingly called Blood ’N Guts, was deployed. Even outfitted with the new drive, it took us several days.
When we reached it (its ID tag proclaimed it the Accretion), we hailed the crew, got no answer. We hadn’t expected one. Scans showed no life-signs. There were no heat sources, aside from the computer on the bridge. Life-support had automatically shut down when the computer registered its crew was dead. Before hibernating, it changed the distress signal to a warning signal.
The ship still contained atmosphere, so we popped it.
Now we wait. Standard policy is twenty-four hours. We have to let it get nice and cool in there.