Star Trek - Lost Souls [Cortex +]

Darwin, Personal Log, 201202211551003

I think Orden might be seriously reconsidering her stated goal of finding a suitable sperm donor and growing a baby math savant. I’m not sure she realized just how much personal and physical investment is required by the mother in the process, except in a very abstract sense. On our way to the University, we had to pass through a small city that was pretty torn up by looting and rioting due to the virus’ effect on the local society. We encountered a woman who had just given birth, and Orden seemed very taken aback. Good. For someone so bright, she is not well informed when it comes to sometimes sloppy, dirty, inconvenient, and even dangerous real life.

Assisted Sim with a surgery on an accident victim at the U. Doing that was better than going around making first contact with a bunch of scared locals. I don’t think anyone has noticed just how well I’ve avoided making initial contact with any of the natives here. I even have them convinced that its not a good idea to send me out. As if I’d really hurt someone I didn’t absolutely need to hurt — Orden is not the only gullible one. They think I’m too unpredictable, and I’m going to go on letting them think it. After Bob the 5th*, I think I’m perfectly reasonable to stay removed from these people as much as possible. We are not going to stay here forever. Starfleet will retrieve us. They’ve made contact. We’ll be leaving here.

Eggs are still intact, safely wrapped up in my spare socks.

  • for the reader’s benefit: Bob 5 was dismembered by locals after he accidentally ate food from the wrong table, them thinking he was some kind of demon because he ate the food of the dead (the contact team had not previously documented that little piece of cultural information)
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Darwin, Personal Log, 201202211530002

Laying here drying off and soaking up the sun on our way back from Dinosaur Island. They insist on calling it Equatoria, but it will always be Dinosaur Island to me. The eggs got off the island intact. I have them in my small pouch, wrapped up in some socks.

I scared the snot out of my ‘keeper’ Lucky Charm a little while ago; well, him and everybody else to be honest. We had come across one of the very large shark-like sea creatures, and it was following along in our boat’s wake. I had a tricorder in the water gathering data on the animal, and the line broke. Not about to lose all of that data or my personal records, I jumped over the side and went in after it. You would have thought I was doing something really dangerous by the way they reacted. I was in no real danger, even if I did have to poke at the shark a few times with my knife to keep it at bay long enough for me to grab the tricorder. Since I was already in the water, I took the opportunity to swim around under water and make some visual recordings. I got some really extraordinary images of the creature’s mouth and teeth. I think they thought I was shark food for sure. It really was not a very significant event, but they’re all pretending not to nervously glance at me as I sit here in my soaking wet skivvies watching the shark video over and over. Three rows of 29cm long teeth!

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Darwin, Personal Log, 201202211506001
Equatoria is Dinosaur Island

I have some dinosaur eggs.

The smaller species wander closer to the fence line to avoid the larger predators who have learned to be wary of the installation. They build their nests in the cleared zone. It was a simple grab and run to pick up eggs from a few different nests. I don’t think the embryos will survive the trip back to Ocean Grove, but they should provide interesting specimens for study by the biologists on the survey team.

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Lt. JG McAllister - Personal Log - 20120221.1430

I am becoming accustomed to seeing the dead in great numbers. And I’m not really happy about it. I realized that even my personal logs have a sort of stick-up-the-ass feel to them as Crewman Perabo would say. I don’t know, maybe I’m still just that kid in his father’s shadow. I chose to to take command track, to not even try out for it. I wanted to prove that I could do something on my own. Now I’m in a command position, and I feel sort of like a fish out of water.

I am making decisions. I try not to give orders though, I’m more of the school of “Ask nicely.” which seems to work. We discovered dinosaurs. Well, we didn’t discover them, but they are here. Some sort of game preserve on this planet. They don’t come from here. So in a way we’re sort of alike.

I’m sure I should be more excited about the things we’re seeing here. Strange alien tech that allows people to be beamed across the span of galaxies. Dinosaurs. The decay of a once peaceful civilization. They’ve had two wars. One over the rights of the Vscika and the other over the practice of slaughtering animals on a commercial scale for food. Now they’re all but wiped out.

We keep seeing little spots of good all over. We’ve been lucky for the most part I suppose. The mission to the university was a mixed bag. Dr. Orden didn’t seem to be as excited as I would have imagined her to be, but Dr. Sim was very excited when we found the girl Vera. She is the only person we’ve met that was sick and recovered. Her blood is filled with antibodies, so that’s a good thing. And she was able to guide us to a sample of Makara DNA. It was on a ceremonial dagger that the lead Makara scientist gave to the headmaster of the university. As part of the ceremony the Makara cut himself on the blade and then presented it. The style of the blade, the ritual, they suggest to me a culture of order and discipline. I’m not a cultural specialist, but they might also be more violent in nature than the Mina and Vscika, or at least were in their past which is where these sorts of rituals came from.

Not all the Mina and Vscika are peaceful. A force formed that laid siege to the hospital where the rest of the expedition was. Lt. Tezeno suggested we return by a more indirect route. I thought about it, the only thing I could remember from tactical school was two-front attack. SCPO Stubbins was of the opinion that the local tactics were not used to siege, and so they might not be covering all the areas of the perimeter the same way we might. I thought that we could certainly use the Trans-Mat to return to Ocean Grove directly. Perhaps to provide a diversion to assist the rest of the expedition during an escape from the hospital. Stubbins suggested we use the sandbags which had been used to barricade the Trans-Mat as cover, setting up a sort of fighting position on the platform. It was a sensible precaution, but ultimately unnecessary as his assessment of their tactics was correct and they did not have the Trans-Mat covered. With the use of a car and some of Dr. Orden’s ever improving skill behind the wheel we were able to make a run through the army, which was in a state of confusion. We certainly didn’t save the day in this case, but we gave the enemy force one more thing to be uncertain of, which I hope helped.

CMDR Ferris has been seriously injured. Lt. Tezeno is the XO, which means if anything were to happen to Ferris she would be in command. Lt. JG Ring has been made Operations Officer, so he would be second after her. This, I am ashamed to say, happily places me far away from being asked to take command of the expedition. Tezeno has her shit together, and she’s on top of Ferris and keeping him in line. I can only hope that I continue to be a functional leader for the Jump Team. But let’s face it, I really don’t lead them. Ms. Parker seems more the leader than I am. No one seems to press the matter, so I wont. I could always say no right? But, how many men have actually said no to her in her life I wonder. Probably not very many.

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LT. Jessie Tezeno - Personal Log - 20120220.1533

Things have gone from bad to worse. The only good news seems to be coming from the Jump Team. they managed to resupply Unity station. They saved a woman and her newborn in North Point and got her to safety. They found the daughter of some people they met in Verezana and she might even hold the key to the cure for the virus. And us? We’ve gotten penned into the hospital by a former General of the Anti-Government Army that lost the last Civil War. OVER KILLING ANIMALS FOR MEAT!

His name is Zerkin, and he’s convinced his new army that they’re immune to our weapons. They don’t kill them, and so they are invincible. Pulse weapons set on 5 are no match for high velocity lead slugs. We have put together a retreat plan that involves using the utility tunnels under the hospital. As we went over the plan, and CMDR Ferris explained it to me in detail I began to realize that there was exactly fourteen days of ground forces training in the Academy. The enlisted Marines have more than that when they graduate from their training school.

Zerkin called for a parlay. He gave us his demands. We were to lay down our weapons and leave through the GTM. If only. According to Peabody, who Ferris had accompany him to the parlay, CMDR Ferris displayed uncharacteristic diplomatic skills in attempting to negotiate a compromise. Apparently Zerkin is convinced that his people are invincible.

After the parlay CPO Greer and some of the colonists, including Administrator Peabody suggested we use lethal force when returning fire on the army. They were firing fairly steadily on the hospital and it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously injured or killed. For a second I wanted to step in, to agree with them. I could imagine myself saying “Blast a few of these bastards to hell, that’ll take the wind out of their sails!” I could see myself saying it. But I didn’t. I just stood there, across from CMDR Ferris in the circle of people that were all calling for him to kill some of these people. And when he looked at me, looked into my eyes, I didn’t think, I just shook my head no. It was a small motion, but he saw it. He said that he would only authorize lethal force as a last resort. And that’s when Dr. Stone went off the rails. He probably called Ferris just about every name in the book, and insisted that he wasn’t fit for command. Then he had the nerve to suggest Ferris step down and turn command over to me. He’s under a lot of stress. We all are. That’s when he decided to begin to give his laundry list of why this was a doomed expedition, and how pathetic the Star Fleet personnel here were. And then when he started on the character of Marines, and how they were all only good for one thing and how Ferris was preventing from even doing that, that was the moment I decided that I no longer liked him. The slurs that followed were, well they were pretty bad. I didn’t realize I was in motion until I had slammed into Greer. The CPO of the Marines had made his move and I just sort of reacted. He was pushing me closer to Stone, and then I gave the order to stand down and he did. No hesitation, no smart ass remark. He just stood down and returned to his post, just like I ordered. It was the most surreal moment of command ever. I told Peabody to get Stone out of my site. I wasn’t sure why I was the one giving the orders. CMDR Ferris was standing right there. But it was done.


We had two Marines wounded this morning in a pretty serious attack. Ferris called to Zerkin for a parlay, and then told Greer that if his plan didn’t go as planned the Marines were to set their weapons to 8 and be ready for hell. Then he told me that if he didn’t come back I was to execute the evacuation plan. When I asked him what his plan was he told me that he was going out there to prove to Zerkin that he wasn’t immortal. I almost thought I understood until Ferris took off his tactical vest and left his pulse rifle. He just had his sidearm. It wasn’t until they squared off in the street that I realized this was some sort of duel.

So then the Jump Team calls. they’ve come back to Ocean Grove instead of Eurka like I told them too. I do not yet have the official report but I suspect SCOP Stubbins, or DAD as I sometimes refer to him, convinced Lt. JG McAllister to come back here so he could get into the fight. Or just to disobey his daughter maybe. Whatever the reason I’m damn glad they did. Zerkin drew first and managed to get two shots off and into Ferris before Ferris drew his pistol. even with two ballistic slugs CMDR Ferris managed to hit Zerkin center mass. Zerkin had fired two more times, but only one hit Ferris. Thankfully the whole Jump Team came through, and I told them to get here fast. I trusted Snafu to patch up trauma wounds, but three gun show wounds was probably outside her level of skill.

One of the army officers started to try and rally the troops. Saying that Zerkin would rise again, that he was invincible. And that’s when Ferris staggered over and disintegrated the corpse. He started telling them that they had more important things to worry about than us. They needed to look after their loved ones, to honor the dead and rebuild. I swear that Ferris sounded like a diplomat or a politician. Hell I was almost convinced to go home and have babies when he was done. Then he turned and headed back. The officer that had been speaking grabbed his pistol, and Ferris said something to him I didn’t catch. Then that guy left too. Ferris managed to walk the whole way back, and got inside before he collapsed and we had to carry him to the gurney. That’s about the time the Jump team arrived in a car, like something out of one of those action movies. Dr. Orden has become a very accomplished driver in her short time here.

They’ve taken CMDR Ferris to surgery. I’m going to make the rounds and try to get everyone calmed down and distracted. and then I think I’m going to figure out if I should be yelling at my father or Lt. JG McAllister.

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Expedition Log - 20120220.1014

CMDR Ferris has ordered several pieces of equipment and supplies moved from the hospital to the Cathedral. Administrator Peabody and Lt. Tezeno have been coordinating evacuation drills using the underground tunnels that lead away from the hospital. The situation in the city is becoming more dangerous and the expedition is preparing for the possibility that we will need to fall back to the Cathedral.

Continued violence has made foraging during daylight hours risky. Work parties now move at night to leverage the advantage of our sensor technology to avoid hostile contact. We have alerted the local survivors that we’ve had contact with to be careful and let them know that admitting contact with us might be ill advised. We have also briefed them on short wave radio frequencies that the Central Authority are using to advise survivors.

Drax, the cosmonaut from Unity Station advised us that he notified the Central Authority of our presence when he briefed them on the resolution of the stations supply problem. This prompted a call via relay with the First Citizen. He and CMDR Ferris spoke for several minutes and First Citizen Renn advised CMDR Ferris that the Council of Citizens would be debating a course of action regarding the expedition. CMDR Ferris notified them that Ocean Grove appeared to be a rally point for hostile gangs, and that those gangs were falling under the influence of a single commander. Renn was able to conclude from descriptions that the commander was a Vscika named Zerkin, a former commander during the last Civil War. Apparently he was on the side that lost the war and had been a social aggitater ever since the end of the war.


Hostile forces have formed a forward line and are preparing barricades. It’s estimated that the hostiles number between one hundred fifty and two hundred. CMDR Ferris got his cast off today after having undergone bone growth treatments by Dr. Rioux. He officially assumed command of the Marine platoon and assigned Lt. JG Ring as the expeditions Operations Officer.

We have boarded the windows in the main lobby, barricaded areas of the lobby and are preparing for a siege. Civilians are restricted to certain areas of the hospital and are to carry their personal bag or have it within arms reach at all times.

We received a signal from Star Fleet Command today. The science ship USS Riemann contacted us. They have excavated the GTM and it’s control console and are beginning to study the device. Due to the extreme strain the uplink places on the magnetic field of P3-4797 they are limiting communications to three minutes every twenty-four hours. We are using compressed burst data transmission to send logs, reports, and accumulated data on the GTM, the virus, and the population. The news of the contact had an immediate effect on morale.


The leader of the hostile force which has been threatening the expedition contacted us to speak with our leader. CMDR Ferris and Administrator Peabody met with Zerkin and his second in command in the street in front of the hospital. Zerkin laid out his demands. The expedition was to lay down their arms and leave through the Grand Trans-Mat back to where we came from, or die. CMDR Ferris tried to negotiate a compromise but Zerkin was adamant in his demands. He explained that since the expeditions weapons would not kill his people that they had no choice but to comply. CMDR Ferris tried to explain that the expeditions weapons had only been used to stun to this point and that they were fully capable of killing. Zerkin indicated that he was not going to fall for CMDR Ferris’ deception and ended the parlay. A few minutes after the meeting ended the hospital again fell under fire from the hostile force.

Administrator Peabody, CPO Greer, Lt. JG Ring, and a few of the other civilians advised using deadly force when returning fire to try and dissuade the locals from their current course of action. CMDR Ferris explained that he would only authorize that as a last resort. An argument took place when Dr. Stone expressed that CMDR Ferris wasn’t fit to command and that he should step down and allow Lt. Tezeno to take command. Lt. Tezeno first restrained CPO Greer and then ordered him to return to his post when he tried to strike Dr. Stone after Dr. Stone uttered several slurs regarding the Marines. Lt. Tezeno then instructed Administrator Peabody to get Dr. Stone out of her site.


This morning we were able to make contact via short wave with the Jump Team. We briefed them on the present dangers and Lt. Tezeno told them that their official return route would be to Trans-Mat to Eurka and then make their way South to Ocean Grove on the highway. They would talk them in once they were within communicator range of the city.

Two Marines were injured by gunfire this morning when a frontal assault was launched against the hospital. After the assault CMDR Ferris signaled Zerkin that he wanted to parlay. CMDR Ferris explained how the evacuation was to be conducted should his plan fail. The civilians and Marines were made ready to evacuate and CMDR Ferris went to speak with Zerkin. When Lt. Tezeno asked what CMDR Ferris’ plan was he explained that he was going to demonstrate to Zerkin that he wasn’t immortal.

The Jump Team made contact. They had transported to Ocean Grove via Trans-Mat and found the station clear. They were moving towards the rear of the threat force. CMDR Ferris challenged Zerkin to a duel to the death in front of Zerkin’s men. CMDR Ferris and Zerkin squared off in the street and a few moments later Zerkin drew his pistols and fired. CMDR Ferris was struck twice by pistol fire before he himself drew and fired. CMDR Ferris had been shot three times, Zerkin was struck once by a pulse pistol blast to the chest. Lt. Tezeno contacted the Jump Team and confirmed that Dr. Sim had accompanied them. then advised them to make all haste to the hospital. One of Zerkin’s men began to preach to the assembled troops that Zerkin would again rise to command them. It was at this time that CMDR Ferris disintegrated the corpse of Zerkin. He then spoke to the assembled troops, telling them to go home. They had their own families to worry about, and needed to make new ones. He added the emphasis on having children. CMDR Ferris then returned inside the hospital and the assembled troops began to disperse. SCPO Stubbins made brief contact with the man who had been Zerkin’s second in command. The Marines deployed to discourage any lingering hostility while Dr. Sim and the rest of the medical staff moved CDMR Ferris into the surgical theater to treat his wounds.

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Dr. Ripley Orden, Personal Log
Terms of endangerment.

Ryan,

Since Lt. Tezzeno informed us that (1) Starfleet can transmit, and presumably receive, short data bursts through the Grand Trans-Mat and (2) the natives staged an attack against our personnel at the hospital, my priorities have changed from long-term survival to short-term survival. Now that we have some access to the scientific and computational resources of the Federation, we can expect an exponential increase in our probability of rescue over time, but recent events have illustrated that we have a less than perfect chance of survival until we can achieve that rescue.

I have seen so many bodies, Ryan. The ones that have died of disease are tragic. The ones that have died of violence consequent of disease are abhorrent. And earlier we assisted a female who demonstrated that the casualties extend to the survivors: people who have lost all the comfort and stability of civilization, who have succumbed to or embraced the resultant barbarity of their population’s decimation.

Our own personnel exhibit signs of emotional instability, a flagging of their will to persist. Commander Ferris sustained life-threatening injuries when he challenged a native to a duel. I’m sure he has his justifications, but throughout this expedition he has demonstrated persistent depression. I worry that he will continue to endanger himself, thus jeopardizing the coherent identity of our small society.

Dale Volker also sustained injuries through incidental contact with the natives, but Dr. Rieux says no obstacle exists to his full recovery.

The university yielded nothing more than a disappointing trickle of information regarding the Grand Trans-Mat. I will continue to explore its operation.

Other projects of lesser importance but greater immediate utility: compression of data to Starfleet and deeper exploration of the holographic communications network. With the former I can send my accumulated data back for consideration by individuals with better tools for analysis than I have. (I can also synchronize your lesser self—sorry again, lesser self—with its greater portion. I expect that you worry for me. I also expect that you will never, ever, ever again ask me to undertake one of these character-building expeditions into the real world.) With the latter we can employ the network both for communications and for tactical superiority.

Wish me luck. I want to come home.

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Personal Log, Dr. Martin Biron
Attached to Starfleet Engineering

Her name is Em. It was Dr. Orden who came up with the flash of ingenuity to have her communicate by writing on a PADD. She has a spare PADD now, and doesn’t seem to be reluctant to converse with others, at least if I’m in the vicinity.

As described in my previous logs, it’s going to be a long time before she feels comfortable enough to say goodbye. But she has to recognize it’s inevitable. Someday. No time soon, though. She’s met some other immune Mina, even played with some kids. But she made it clear that I’m her means of support now. I’m going to take it slow, introduce her to others, ask how she’d like to help. A job would give her something to do, some sense of contribution.

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CMDR James Ferris - Personal Log - 20120217.1043

Rioux is giving me a stripped down version of regenerative bone growth treatments. Stripped down in that he has the ingredients to make the stuff that makes the bones grow, but not the 25th century stuff that shuts off the pain while it does it. Let me tell you, this is straining my sense of how bad-ass I am. It’s not long procedure, each treatment is only about five minutes, but my frikkin god is it painful. They’ve drilled through the cast to administer the injections at the break points, so I still have to hobble around until the process if complete. He says three days. three times a day. Even on the top floor, in the far corner, away from everyone else Tezeno says they can hear me screaming. I’m not sure if she’s trying to tell me that they are sympathetic, or that I should shut the hell up.

Drax asked to talk to me on a private channel last time he called. He told the Central Authority about us. He was going to have to eventually, they knew about his supply problem. Now that it’s solved he had to tell them how. They’re going to discuss the matter to decide how to proceed. He assured me that no matter what they decided he wasn’t going to abandon us, not after all we went through to help them. I’d like to shake the man’s hand someday. Assuming I wouldn’t give him the super bug and kill him in a matter of days.

The Marines are starting to grumble a little that they’re basically firing blanks at people who are trying to perforate them with lead slugs. Greer is keeping them in line, but I’m gonna have to either make Ring take over or do it myself. And I already know the answer to that question. He was in operations, and damn good at it. His father was a Marnie enlisted man for 22 years. Ring told me his dad was so proud of him the day he told him he got accepted to Star Fleet Academy. At the graduation he said his dad told him that he was very proud of him, and that he was sure he would make a great officer. He served on two ships and a star base in operations. Important work, but he always felt he should be a Marine, like his dad. He applied, and they had no reason to say no. When he told his dad, the old man said to remember to always be true to yourself. His dad knew he wasn’t cut out for the Marines. I just wish he’d have told him. So once this cast comes off I need to stand up in front of all of them and assume command. I’ll probably tell them that it’s to better use Lt. JG Ring’s skills in other areas. They’re mostly green so they’ll buy it. Greer and Sandoval will know, but they’re not going to say anything.

I do not want them to have to depend on me. I do not want to be responsible for the lives of all these people. I do not want to lead by example. They will. I am. I will.

I need a new vice.

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Dr. Ripley Orden, Personal Log
It has to be easier than differential geometry.

Ryan,

Why does Commander Ferris feel compelled to treat me like a child? I’m qualified to view adult entertainment and to vote and to convert Dale’s roughshod data into navigational maps of space-time, both Minkowski and Riemannian, but Ferris considers me too feeble-minded to determine my own actions, everything from where I will do my work to with whom I will exercise the universal biological imperative to reproduce.

To that end he’s assigned me a keeper, Rifleman Roy Cobb. Until tonight I would have described Cobb’s chief attributes as a large firearm and an uncanny ability to grab the collar of my overgarment just when something interesting happens. But we had a chance to speak as I investigated the computers at the facility to which I shall henceforth refer as Dinosaur Playground. Cobb has an unrefined but promising mathematical aptitude and a pleasant nature. He informed me that Ferris has instituted a moratorium among the Marines, at least, on the unlikely expression of sexual interest toward me. He also advised that I consult the females of the expedition on mating signals, but he wouldn’t specify an expert. I shall have to consult the males to find the expert females to teach me to attract the optimal males—an unnecessarily convoluted process. Nevertheless it will give me some small task to pursue in the awful, tedious gulf between interesting problems to solve.

Speaking of interesting problems, I have determined from my inspection of the columns that form the communication network on Mina that they have holographic capabilities, so I intend to take your lesser self—sorry, lesser self—and install him into it as soon as I can resolve the technical difficulties. Hutch and Rabbit (oh dear, what puns) might help. Bishop might also benefit from this conversion although so much of his personality matrix seems to revolve around strict utility that I expect him to forgo the opportunity.

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