Star Trek - Lost Souls [Cortex +]

Dr. Ripley Orden, Personal Log
Scanning for iambic pentameter, captain.

Ryan,

I know this is a question fraught with the fallacy inherent in subjectivity, but what draws you to Sarah? Do you feel love for Sarah? Do you feel some visceral sense of attraction toward her?

Michaela presented me with an axiom—that an individual cannot perceive the mating signals of another unless he feels some attraction toward the other. And he cannot project those mating signals unless he feels some attraction toward the other. (There’s a noteworthy exception to this axiom: some professionals learn to simulate attractive qualities as a means of social lubrication.)

My questions are: do you agree with the axiom? Does the axiom apply to artificial intelligences?

We had a party, you see, and Michaela helped me to don the appropriate ritual dress. Someone taught me to dance, and I think, though I hadn’t noticed it until the party, he exudes a degree of physical attractiveness. This means, of course, that I am attracted which, following the axiom, would mean that he in turn feels attraction toward me. Unless, of course, he’s simulating those signals. He would be an expert simulator.

I think he might have left me a sonnet. I returned to my bed after the party, a bit impaired due to thorough testing of Buckman’s commissioned gelatin-alcohol mixtures, and found the sonnet under my pillow.

As I inspect it now, I can observe that it is, more precisely, a sonnet in Shakespearean form: fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, A-B-A-B-et-cetera rhyming scheme. I’ve searched the database so I might understand it in context, but it would seem to be either an original composition or an extremely obscure piece.

Thematically, it describes yearning: a fragile hothouse flower yearns past the confines of its enclosure toward the stars, while the poet yearns toward the flower. It concludes: “To grasp the rose would mar its silken flesh. // Forsake the sun and bloom to my caress.” I grant that the slant rhyme disturbs its mechanical symmetry, but on the whole I find it lovely.

How do I discover its author? If only we had brought some investigative professionals on the expedition. I think the most qualified individual might be Michaela who knows, at least, how to make people talk.

Em, Martin Biron’s little ward, has learned how to calculate small matters of probability: black and white stones in a bag, socks in a drawer, whether to choose door number one or to exchange her initial selection for door number two. (I haven’t yet convinced her, though, that the vehicle is the optimal outcome; she would rather have the goat.)

I think, since she responds well to learning in the context of games, that I should teach her a more complex scenario of analysis involving playing cards. Bridge is an option, although that requires at least two other players already conversant in the rules.

Perhaps poker. Yes, I think she would do quite well with that, and I’ve seen the Marines playing. She would have no shortage of experimental subjects.

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CMDR James Ferris - Personal Log - 20120227.0922

I’ve been shot. The plan was simple, challenge Zerkin to a duel. I ordered the Marines to go to a lethal force posture for the retreat if my plan didn’t work out. They were only being held together by Zerkin. He had a couple of men that were anxious for a fight, but the vast majority of them were just there because they had no idea what else to do.

Charismatic leaders. I could see it in his eyes, that desire to be done. To be able to lay down and die and stop being in pain. I could see it, because it’s the same thing I see in my eyes. Well, I used to. He got off four shots and managed to put three of them home. I had to let him draw first. Had to let him shoot first. His men had to see it. My men had to see it. Then I killed him. He needed an enemy, and we were it. Thankfully none of us was seriously hurt. Well, except for me. But that’s the price you pay for being in charge.

They dug the bullets out, closed up the bleeders, sewed up the holes. Now I’m waiting to get the okay to get out of bed. Couple of days is all I can spare to be down.

The still is producing. Buckman is giving away secret samples. They’re trying to stockpile enough to be ahead of the consumption curve. I got a taste.

Sim apparently prescribed a party. Tezeno being the good XO she is put people to task. It was held downstairs in the cafeteria. I could hear the music and I got to watch some video. They offered to wheel me down but I passed. They need to relax, and seeing me isn’t going to help with that.

Tezeno tells me she recommended to Star Fleet Command that we help the Mina Central Authority with their request for assistance in setting Ocean Grove up to receive refugees. It’s a task that the majority of the fleet personnel can handle. It’ll be hard work though, ass busting work. It’ll foster good will and a closeness to the Mina, which is why I would have recommended against it. But I’m an asshole.

They dug out the GTM on P3-4797 and are trying to figure it out enough to get us home. We could go tomorrow. And SFC wouldn’t let anyone stay if we could be recalled. So helping these people, getting to know them and get close to them is just going to make it hurt if we get recalled. But if we don’t, then it’s going to be hard for them to watch us die out as they rebuild their civilization.

I could really go for a drink.

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Personal Message from Darwin, B.N. to Hobbes, C.

Mom and everybody

Here I go getting lost again! Sorry about that, it wasn’t in my plans, that I can promise you! I am well, and as safe as can reasonably be expected under the current circumstances. The ability to communicate with the Federation gives me hope that I may someday be able to return to Federation space. I am keeping myself productively occupied while I wait for the engineers to come up with a way around the problem. They are saying it could be a while, and that usually means they are already far down the path to a solution. The good news is that they’re not making many “impossible” noises. You may know more about the rescue effort than I do. I don’t know if any information is being withheld from us for morale purposes.

I am only having another adventure, same as always. Your concern should be reserved for the “new” Bob. I will do my best to keep this one – and myself – alive. I’ve started by not ever calling him “Bob”. “Lucky Charm” was assigned to be my keeper since he made the mistake of accidentally saving me one time from some potential grievous injury. I didn’t get a scratch on me, and neither did he.

Before you ask again, I don’t know if the ceremony is on or off or what. Things were up in the air when I got caught up in this mess here. Given the circumstances, I think the question might be moot for the near future anyway, and who knows beyond that. Things might be forced to change. If he contacts you, let him know I am safe and well and am keeping myself busy until I can come home. I plan to send a separate message to him.

All my love,

Bindi

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Dr. Sim Kalev - Personal Log 20120222

I may have made a grievous error.
Immediately after completing surgery on the young male native we encountered at the University I was approached by Ripley who, in her indomitable fashion, asked me which of the female members of our party I found the most attractive.
And I told her. It’s Muriel, the marine’s medic.
In the moment I was too worn out to give much thought to any repercussions my answer might bring about but once I had a little time to decompress my mind wandered back to the question -and the fact that it was Ripley Orden asking.
I am not ashamed of my answer. It’s the truth. Muriel, as I’ve gleaned from our admittedly short acquaintance, seems to have many of the qualities I would look for in a mate, were I looking for one. Which led me to another question -why aren’t I looking for one?
The loss of Kanala looms large in my reasoning but it’s been years since her death and I believe that even the strictest among us would agree that honor is long past satisfied as far as mourning goes. Kanala herself would want me to find someone, of this I’m sure. So why do I continue to hold back?
Consider our hosts on this world. They’ve all lost loved ones, some of them everyone they held dear. They’re in shock right now, as one might expect, but they will go on, rebuild their lives. There’s strength in them to live. Can I say the same of myself?

If I know Ripley at all she’s already gone and told Muriel what I said. Once, not long ago, I’d be very angry. Unreasonably so. But now? After what I see before me on this world? I feel… liberated. If Muriel does approach me I’ll be open and honest with her.
I’m a fool for wasting my thoughts on this sort of thing while we are still in such dire circumstances but I cannot help myself.

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Darwin, Personal Log, 201202211705004

Ferris is brilliantly insane.

I should let him view the shark images. He’ll probably want one fried up for lunch.

The biologists have the dinosaur eggs now. They are very excited. If we can’t leave here soon, we really should all go back to Dinosaur Island. I don’t think any natives would be storming that fortress, not with all the predatory reptiles roaming around. If we push the fence line out a little, and cleared some more trees, we’d be very safe.

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Michaela - Personal Log

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.”

It’s probably a very good thing I left Starfleet Academy. I’m not doing so well at following rules and knowing my place. It’s just not in me to sit back and wait for someone else to tell me what has been decided when it impacts my future. It’s not that I need to be the one to decide, but I want to be a part of it all, not just a bystander, even if it means I get shot in the ass sometimes. I can’t just wait for someone else to do what needs to be done.

I’ve gotten adept at keeping my eyes and mind away from the death and destruction all around us. Maybe I’m too good at it, but the best way for me to cope is by focusing on the living, figuring out what they need, doing what I can to help them, listening and truly hearing their stories, trying to find ways to give them hope.

I’m not just talking about the natives of this planet when I say that either. The Starfleet Officers, the marines, the colonists, all of the people with us need to hear that things Will get better. We’ve got good people with brilliant minds working on getting us home, and we have the skills and knowledge to survive here for as long as we have to until we get home. Even if we don’t make it, even if Ripley is right and we have to somehow make lives for ourselves and our descendants in this place, we’ll find a way to do that, too. I’m not ready to look for someone “genetically compatible” and make babies, but there are far worse places to be (as long as I don’t get stuck on Dinosaur Island).

I do miss my family. Here in the quiet of the night I can open my grief box just long enough to hold each of them in my heart. I picture mom up to her elbows in bread dough, singing at the kitchen window. I see Luke and Jude heading in from the fields, dirty, sweaty and tired, but holding flowers for the evening table. Maggie is at the piano, of course, long dark hair hiding her face, lost to everything but the magic her fingers produce. Trixie is in the garage and working on that old clunker she’s got. She’s covered in grease, scowling and swearing up a blue streak, but I know she’s happier there than anywhere else right now. Robin would be out by the gate, the chores he should be doing long forgotten, his eyes staring into the distance at visions only he can see. And Patrick……… Patrick will have to stay in the box for now. I’ll close it up and open it again when I am stronger. Goodnight and love to you all. There is much to do tomorrow.

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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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