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Log Entry 20:16:31 – 12.27.2185

It was eleven days ago. Data from the six sensor remotes came pouring in and for a second, Spegg was there. One small ping. A blip in space. Then, the data began to crash the systems. All of it, collapsing, sending each redundancy into subsequent failure. For a time, I stared at the scrambled data on the screen before me, trying to remember the location, as it related to the ship. Then, lines of corrupt code obscured all that I could see. I stabbed at the screen with a finger, hoping to make a permanent mark where I saw the blip. Once again, the damage was done. I was alone again.

In my mind, Spegg is a vile and devious creature. If I can bring him back to the SM5 and lock him down, hopefully I can eventually get him back to the JAXA labs for dissection and analysis. This is my every intention.

[Communication sent: 27DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 09:51:14 – 12.25.2185

Spegg was noticeably nervous and confused, shaking uncontrollably and clumsily dropping pieces of equipment. Spegg asked me if an unplanned jump with no programmed exit vector could possibly take the ship to whatever system his home planet and his people came from. As a Living Modified Organism, grown in a tank, Spegg has no home. Spegg’s earliest origins are in a lab, a cell culture dish. Frustrated with his incessant questioning and his lack of concentration, I carelessly replied “If we pop free at this point, we could appear anywhere and everywhere in the Universe. At these energy levels, anything is possible, Spegg.”

If Spegg had any kind of reaction to this statement, I didn’t notice. The Hyperdrive Assist had now passed max levels. The data from the communications feed splice began to pour in and I steadied my attention on the monitoring equipment. Over all the noise and confusion, Spegg babbled on about his people. I heard him say that they were out there somewhere. Consumed by this fantasy of his, Spegg wasn’t even looking at the equipment or the controls anymore. I shouted at him over all the noise. Oblivious, Spegg continued to flail around the equipment in the control room.

At this level, the Hyperdrive Assist generates a dangerous amount of energy to hold for even a short period. We had little time to finish our work and then reduce power levels to a safe volume. To be honest, I was indifferent to Spegg’s situation. As the interference data began to register with the monitoring equipment, I turned my back on Spegg and focused my attention on tuning the signal conditioner. When I looked back, Spegg was hunched over the hyperdrive, switching off the safeties and struggling to unlock the jump drive release lever. At first, I was stunned, frozen. I then shouted and lurched at Spegg. In a rage, Spegg rushed at me and drove both of his fists into my chest, knocking me backwards against the bulkhead.

In a daze, I saw Spegg throw the lever. The noise was terrible. I covered my ears, screaming. The Hyperdrive Assist Station exploded around the SM5. In an instant, we were gone. The experience is a lot like having your mind spun into a swirling sea of nothingness and then the blackness consumes you. When I recovered, I was alone on the ship. Spegg had done his damages, loaded the survival pod and left.

Let this serve as the Official Incident Report regarding the sabotage and subsequent marooning of the Shinkai Maru 5 in unknown space on 12.01.2185 by the Living Modified Organism, Transgenic Fish/Humanoid known as Spegg. Incident report by Acting Captain Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Communications Satellite Continuance Managing Project Officer L2, JAXA Japan.

[Communication sent: 25DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 09:38:13 – 12.23.2185

Everything was about to come apart.

We had to work the problem with speed and caution. Although Living Modified Organisms supposedly have no concept of life or death, Spegg became exceedingly nervous and distracted after I informed him about the dangers involved in over-spooling a Hyperdrive Assist Station. As the Drive Assist neared maximum levels, the noise and vibration became considerable. This was a time to work quickly and with great attention to detail. Most of the monitoring equipment was in place and we would soon have data pouring in from the communications feed splice. Shivering uncontrollably and babbling on about something I couldn’t hear over the din, Spegg began to have serious difficulty in helping me set up the last of the equipment and making the final adjustments. At one point, I shouted at Spegg and commanded him to pay attention. Undeterred, Spegg was relentless in asking me about the jump procedure and where an open event might send us without a programmed exit vector. Under pressure, I scolded him viciously. It was at that time that Spegg asked me the one question that should have stopped me in my tracks. Spegg simply asked “Could an unplanned jump possibly take us to my home system… where my people come from?”

In reply – without thinking – I gave him the answer he was looking for and condemned us both.

[Communication sent: 23DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 19:44:02 – 12.22.2185

The Hyperdrive Assist Station is a vacant and lifeless structure. It operates only when a ship is docked, locked and cleared for passage. During the spool-up and jump procedure, all controls can be operated either manually or from the Tanegashima COMS center. Most all ships that pass through the Hyperdrive Assist Station are manned by twelve or more crew persons and one Living Modified Organism.

On the day that Spegg and I were to sort out the wave interference problem with communications, we were alone on the ship and cut off from Tanegashima. To put an explanation to what may have gone wrong that day, it bears mentioning in advance that an LMO like Spegg has no family, no history, and no home. Unlike humans and higher-functioning animals, most LMOs have no concept of life, death or otherwise interest in the subject matter. During my mission brief, I told Spegg that some part of the HD Assist drive “spool up” process is causing interference with the guest-ship communications arrays and that we were instructed to over-spool the drive and record data that would lead to the development of a signal conditioner to fix any future interference. Spegg became visibly nervous. Until that time, I had never seen an LMO exhibit any emotional response to any sort of situation. This change in behavior should have been my signal that something bad was about to happen. But when a massive deep-space Hyperdrive is rapidly spooling up to maximum levels, you focus on the task at hand.

This was my mistake.

[Communication sent: 22DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 16:41:24 – 12.21.2185

A Transgenic Fish/Humanoid is half-human and half-fish, with a gigantic mouth and large, round, black eyes [image attached]. They look moist and they smell artificial. They have very little hair. You could call their skin tone “greenish-gray” and you would be fairly correct. The absence of a pronounced nose makes their facial structure all the more bizarre. Although they are normally an extremely quiet and docile asset, working with LMOs on a ship of any size can be a challenge. As part of their ship integration, they are given basic training and instruction. Some recent integrations, especially on deep-space explorers, come with an amount of implanted memories in the form of simple chemical caps at the DNA level. Normally, these memories never surface enough to create emotional responses, but you begin to wonder what’s going on in their heads when a Living Modified Organism asks you about the dangerous nature of your mission. Most individuals assigned to a project with an LMO would at least obscure the truth a bit.

I don’t much care for LMOs, so when Spegg asked me about over-spooling the Hyperdrive Assist Station and the potential for a massive explosion, I simply told him the truth. I also told him that without a pre-set exit vector, we could find ourselves in any point in space imaginable. This is where Spegg’s line of questioning became very strange indeed.

[Communication sent: 21DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

spegg-image

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Journal Entry 18:07:06 – 12.18.2185

When you get a chance to test your courage and your skill and earn a place in the promotions queue at JAXA, you don’t turn it down. That is, unless, you have no courage or skill to speak of. In October, I accepted a mission to sort out an unacceptable amount of wave interference between the Hyperdrive Assist Station and Tanegashima COMS. Part of the thrill in a job like this came from six weeks of training to navigate the SM5 to the Hyperdrive Assist Station by myself. The SM5 is an extraordinary vessel, one of the newest ships in the International Deep-Space Administration’s fleet. The other thrill in the mission, if you could call it that, was in over-spooling an energy source powerful enough to punch a hole in the fabric of space. That was eighteen days ago. Courage and skill were the order of the day then, for what it was worth. At 1300 hours, Spegg and I docked the SM5 at Hyperdrive Assist Station, set all the ship functions to a warm-inactive status, set the safeties on the SM5’s hyperdrive controls, and began setting up signal and interference monitoring equipment in the SM5’s communications tech center. I can easily say that I was anxious. If only I knew then… what I know now.

[Communication sent: 18DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 07:22:35 – 12.18.2185

Although society has grown to accept all naturally-born life as having full rights and equalities, LMOs are grown like plants with organic parts and don’t fall into that privileged category. LMOs have been entirely docile and subservient in the past but a few cases of violent dissociative identity disorder (DID) events have very recently surfaced. Some say that these recent DID events have been caused by new behavior modification treatments, in which the LMOs are given subtle, placating memories. In a very public battle against the practices of the Deep-Space Administration, in regard to LMOs, one researcher with an anti-LMO group stated that these memory implants are causing unexplainable phobias, sudden anger without a justified cause, frequent panic/anxiety attacks, distortion or loss of identity. Personally, I’m not sure what I believe. But at the moment, I don’t much care for them.

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 18DEC2185 Shinkai Maru 5]

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Journal Entry 18:04:27 – 12.17.2185

Like every other ship in the International Deep-Space Administration Fleet, the Shinkai Maru 5 comes with a Living Modified Organism that cares for basic on-board operations. On the SM5, it is a Transgenic Fish/Humanoid known as Spegg. These LMOs are hatchery grown and they are given basic training and instruction as part of an implanted intelligence. Outside of basic duty instruction and training, they are kept fairly ignorant. These LMOs are bred to be tough and resilient, capable but not particularly strong, intelligent enough to do the job but not clever. Some anti-LMO groups have called them “dangerously unintelligent.”

Maxim Akihiko Broussad, Personal Journal Entry

[Communication sent: 17DEC2185 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]

SM5_corridor

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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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Communication 11:14:52 – 12.16.2185

I KNOW YOU ARE OUT THERE, SPEGG! I SAW YOU!

[Communication sent: 16DEC2185 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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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 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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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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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]

remote_sensor_data

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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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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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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]

probe_6_away

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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]

SM5_central_data_core

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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.