Chapter 3. Data Corruption

Log Entry 16:09:59 – 12.10.2185

Red lights and sirens again. Time to do something different. The SM5 is stationary outside the periphery of the supermassive in our new location. Given the data we have, the nav systems have still been unable to resolve our point in space, against its available charts. Fortunately, these Deep Space Explorers come equipped with six medium-range sensor remotes that, when deployed, can search a large area of space and gather volumes more data than the ship’s internal systems are normally capable. Additionally, they can plot points in space related to that data. It just takes time. To aid the onboard nav systems, I plan to set free the remotes and use that wait time to open the ship’s central data core [image attached]. I can back up the current nav systems and attempt to free up some space for what I think will be an incredible volume of new data. In the meantime, I can also get some side work done.

[Communication sent: 10DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]


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Log Entry 14:34:24 – 12.11.2185

After a day of prep and launch, I have all six sensor remotes free and moving into position. I caught a glimpse of one moving past a port-side porthole [image attached]. At this point, there is not much to say. If they all do their job, I may be able to update the nav system with a much larger database. Even if the nav system cannot resolve any connections between the original charts and the new data, we still receive an amazing amount of new information on astronomical objects in this distant region. Given this large amount of new space to catalogue, I estimate that it may take days for the remotes to return. I can watch their progress from any of the ship’s monitors, but this is a lengthy procedure and I have decided to take this time to document how this turn of events has come to pass. In the event that this data is recovered, I hope that my reports will be beneficial in some manner.

[Communication sent: 11DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]


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Journal Entry 19:42:31 – 12.11.2185

As a young man, I found an interest in signal processing and transmission engineering. Our family had some wealth and reasonable political status, so it was my earliest intention to apply to a top-ranked engineering school and then make a bid for post-graduate work in aerospace communications. It was this time that my father gave me serious counsel against a career choice that would take me off-planet regularly. He went so far as to assert that career interests in the voids of space were for “men of irrational intellect or desperate fortunes.” Ignoring this advice, I found a pathway that lead me through good colleges and universities. My first launch came from an internship with JAXA – the agency that would one day become my permanent employer – and I was immediately convinced that I had made the right decision. At the time that I agreed to the offer from JAXA, I overheard my father tell a family friend that if I embarked on a career in space, I would be “the most miserable wretch ever born.” Although my father had a gift for harsh words, I am not convinced that he ever imagined me this far flung from the comforts of Earth.

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 11DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 15:34:16 – 12.12.2185

If you spend enough time with a space agency, growing in experience and knowledge, you soon find yourself irreplaceable. Mid-career men like myself, not wanting to see their job details stagnate, start looking into high-value, short-term assignments that are normally more precarious than not. Space is a treacherous place. Aside from life support concerns, you can freeze, you can boil, you can get perforated by micrometeoroids, and irradiated by galactic cosmic radiation or solar proton events. That’s why high-risk assignments in space pay well and serve to advance a stagnating career. In October of this year, I signed on to perform a failure analysis on the communications link between deep-space ships loaded into the HyperDrive Assist Station and the Tanegashima COMS during the HyperDrive spool-up. Due to the explosive threat level involved with “over-spooling” a ship that was bound for nowhere, it was a one-man job. Of course, I did have Spegg, the LMO on the SM5, to help me out. And if the assignment was supposed to end in complete disaster, Spegg was certainly a lot of help. Although, part of this mission failure may be my fault.

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 12DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Log Entry 20:37:51 – 12.12.2185

After thirty hours, all six sensor remotes are in place and now beginning to capture data [image attached]. It will still be some time – days, maybe – before we have a usable navigation chart for this region. Still, without connectivity to the existing charts, we are able to navigate only in the identified space. With data pouring in from the remotes, I am just now moving nav systems data around in the central data core. Opening this nerve center and moving large volumes of data around, running back-ups and compressing unneeded records is a delicate undertaking. On this topic, I remember the head of the JAXA Space Tracking and Data Acquisition Department once saying “just don’t do it.” Even for someone of my technical background, it’s still not unlike performing neurosurgery with a stone knife.

[Communication sent: 12DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]


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Journal Entry 18:14:31 – 12.14.2185

The Hyperdrive Assist Station, just within Geocentric Orbit, serves long-range and deep-space ships and transports. The idea is simple: when docked, a ship can make use of maximum spool-up and jump to incredibly-distant points in space without expending on-board energy. The Shinkai Maru 5 is an exceptional deep-space explorer built by Lin-Shu Engineering and Spaceworks in China. However, in earliest tests at the Hyperdrive Assist Station, the drive created so much wave interference with the ship’s communications that each launch attempt was aborted during spool-up. It was at that time that I signed on to test the systems during a massive over-spool of the hyperdrive and record data that would lead to the development of a signal conditioner that would be specific to this ship type. The proposed test was dangerous, due to the fact that any complete solution would require us to over-spool a drive at maximum levels and hold that level without allowing “an event” to open or any of the negative energy to flow through. Holding this level of energy creates tremendous inward pressure that becomes very tightly compressed and borders on collapse. Aside from the potential for a very massive explosion, this is also one of the events that may lead to the formation of artificial black holes. You prevent this calamity by engaging a series of safeties that prevent degenerate matter and total collapse. This is where things went wrong for me.

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 14DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Alert 09:03:15 – 12.15.2185

All COMS: this is an emergency communication… the Shinkai Maru 5 is suffering from major data corruption and loss at the central data core level… ship’s systems across the boards are failing or unresponsive… all three sub components in the redundant system may

»»abrupt transmission end««

[Communication sent: 15DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Alert 18:59:08 – 12.15.2185

… again, data may be corrupted and affected all major systems… power feed to hyperdrive system… life support systems… communications sporadic… and navigation systems appear fried. I am working to restore functionality… operating within a full pressure suit and

»»abrupt transmission end««

[Communication sent: 15DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Alert 02:45:32 – 12.16.2185

… damages likely caused by ship’s LMO prior to ejecting… will continue to send updates and data… again, pressure normal… operating lights… life systems functioning… and returning control to main systems

»»abrupt transmission end««

[Communication sent: 16DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Communication 11:14:52 – 12.16.2185


[Communication sent: 16DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Alert 12:17:14 – 12.16.2185

All COMS: Communications are restored and we are reporting a return to normal ship functions. We are also reporting a discovery of further damages to the Shinkai Maru 5 by the Living Modified Organism (LMO), Transgenic Fish/Humanoid known as Spegg. Investigations and repairs show that there was a significant amount of data core sabotage, evidently carried out by the LMO prior to ejecting in the survival pod. The LMO’s intentions appear to stem from a need to mask his departure in the survival pod, as well as prohibit any incoming data from pinpointing his location. Once again, As Acting Captain of his host ship the Shinkai Maru 5, I authorize any authorities, security details, or bounty hunters to incarcerate (or dissolve) the Transgenic Fish/Humanoid known as Spegg on sight.

[Communication sent: 16DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Log Entry 17:34:17 – 12.16.2185

This is what light and warmth looks like [image attached]. A view down the main corridor inside the Shinkai Maru 5, finally off emergency lights and lit normally. Systems are up and running and appear to be unaffected by the data corruption at central data core. When you’re adrift in space, surrounded by nothingness, you rely on the integrity of your ship’s systems and the trustworthiness of your crew. The Shinkai Maru 5 only had one other crew member. That crew member, Spegg, did his best to wreck various aspects of the data core and hardware prior to escaping the ship. These LMOs are trained well enough on ship systems to act in a repair function when needed. Spegg knew exactly which sectors of the data core to wipe, so that any incoming information on the survival pod would cause a complete collapse of the primary system and all sub-components. Clearly he knew we would come after him and he didn’t wish to be caught. Fortunately, he failed. Additionally, his failure allowed me to capture a brief signal from the survival pod. It appears that we have a survival pod to reclaim and a score to settle with our LMO.

[Communication sent: 16DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]


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Next Chapter: 4. Incident Report

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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.