Chapter 2. Unfamiliar Space

Log Entry 07:47:23 – 12.4.2185

A long night. I made an inspection of the ship, looking for damages and potential systems failures throughout. The ship is nearly 70,000 cubic meters in total and it can take quite a while to crawl every centimeter. These deep space ships are tough and equipped with redundant electronic and mechanical systems. I didn’t expect to find any problems. It’s the potential for problems that I couldn’t find that bothers me. I also inventoried the ship’s consumables and ran life support systems tests. All appear in good order. If a person enjoyed eating nutrition packs, drinking reclaimed water and breathing scrubbed air, they might be very comfortable here. I’ve opened communications to all possible channels and frequencies, searching for assistance. Without nav data, the system can’t locate our position in space. For some time, the nav system was spinning dangerously high, trying to resolve available external data against its charts. Nothing out here is familiar. One thing remains certain. We are far outside our known space. Getting help, getting back in familiar space may take time. Spegg, I hope you are having an enjoyable excursion in my survival pod.

- Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Shinkai Maru 5

[Communication sent: 04DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Log Entry 18:06:24 – 12.4.2185

Red lights and sirens all day. Nav systems final gave up and began to escalate any and every external anomaly that didn’t resolve against installed data systems and charts. It took all of my strength not to bust open the navicomputer housing and the power trunk and wreck the entire system.

- Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Shinkai Maru 5

[Communication sent: 04DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Log Entry 14:11:38 – 12.6.2185

After two days, navigations systems appear to have reached a state of normalcy. I can now see the supermassive on-screen, without too much additional interference. Still, the data is skewed enough that the nav systems want to place the ship in numerous locations with numerous entry points [image attached]. This interference may be due, in part, to the incredible amount of electron-positron pair production in its core. Amid all the confusion, one thing may be clear: messages may not be getting out of the vicinity of this supermassive and all distress calls might be going unheard. Although we don’t actually know the space we’re in, it may be time to move the ship.

[Communication sent: 06DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

nav_system_screen

Alert 14:40:21 – 12.6.2185

All COMS: This is Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Communications Satellite Continuance Managing Project Officer L2 onboard the Shinkai Maru 5. Recent attempts to make contact with any available traffic or stations for communication and navigational information appear to have failed. It is our belief that interference from the region’s supermassive black hole may be negatively impacting our ability to transmit with any success. If no contact is received in 24 hours of time stamp on this communication, we will move to re-position our vessel in new space. All details will precede any such maneuvering.

[Communication sent: 06DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Log Entry 14:00:17 – 12.7.2185

Counting down the last minutes before we move the ship. It has been just over 23 hours since our last outgoing communication alert to any receiving ships or stations. All channels. No reply. No static. Silence is disturbing. In just under 40 minutes, I’m going to try to use the ships nav system to pick a point in space on another side/region of the supermassive, spool up the hyperdrive and throw the lever [image attached]. I can easily say that I felt a great deal of panic when I saw Spegg kill the safety switch and throttle the hyperdrive assist all the way past redline. This current feeling may be worse.

[Communication sent: 07DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

hyperdrive_control

Alert 14:41:06 – 12.7.2185

All COMS: This is Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Communications Satellite Continuance Managing Project Officer L2 onboard the Shinkai Maru 5. Without any returning communication in the last 24-hour period, we are going forward with our plan to move the ship to a location 5.20 ± 0.05 Astronomical Units from the present location. As our nav system is currently struggling with interference from the supermassive, our present location data is, unfortunately, unreliable. Upon successful arrival at our planned new position, we will begin communication attempts again. Stand by for present and future coordinates data transfer:

»»unrecognized data transmission format««

[Communication sent: 07DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Log Entry 14:55:32 – 12.7.2185

As a communications officer, I didn’t get a chance to study exotic matter, negative energy or zero-point energy, quantum fluctuations, inertia dampeners, gravity pumps and all those engineering marvels that safely move ships from one location to another in short time, but I always appreciated the visual effect of a hyperdrive burst. I captured a quick view from a forward porthole [image attached].

[Communication sent: 07DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

hyper_space_jump

Alert 09:15:21 – 12.9.2185

As expected, the nav systems plotted an exit vector that did not materialize. The ship did indeed reposition at 5.0+ A.U. but the actual exit point was just outside the event horizon. Fortunately, the tidal forces in the vicinity of the event horizon are significantly weaker than initially expected. Since the central singularity is so far away from the horizon, the ship did not experience significant tidal forces and was able to move at standard power to the periphery. Stand by for new coordinates data transfer:

»»unrecognized data transmission format««

[Communication sent: 09DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Journal Entry 13:30:16 – 12.10.2185

I once spent six weeks in Low Earth Orbit, working on an extended satellite repair project. It was the most time I’d ever spent off planet, living in microgravity. It’s a strange feeling, going for an extended period of time without natural gravity. You very quickly begin to lose track of which way is up or down. I found myself constantly looking down at Earth and trying to reorient myself with feet toward the planet. I suppose, after a while, you don’t care much anymore. Here in the SM5, like any other decent ship, there is an artificial gravity generator that creates an environment that is equal to natural gravity. Still, after everything that has happened in recent days, I can’t help wondering if this is going to be a very long excursion.

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 10DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

Next Chapter: 3. Data Corruption

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transmission details:

A communications specialist in the year 2185 is abandoned in deep space by a deranged Living Modified Organism, setting up a series of events that lead him back in time to a ruined home world ruled by a wealthy eccentric, a scientist playing God, and the very creature that first stranded him in space.
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