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  1. #1
    Salomé's Shadow
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    Hiwa Pa'a - The logbook of CMDR Satsuma

    Eve suggested I start keeping a journal. Something more than just a ship's log. She said that she used to read everything that came out of Distant Worlds, and it was the personal stories that really struck her. I could never refuse her.

    Introductions

    My name is Mateo Kapena. I'm from Comana, part of the sprawling Kapena family that seems to make up about 10% of Gaspar de Portola Dock. I'm older than I look - my first brush with space left me in suspended animation in an old-style escape pod for two decades. That's a story for another time, though. I'm a former member of the FGE and the CCN, though I'm unaffiliated now. I'm the captain of Strix, an Asp II fitted out for long distance exploration, and go by the handle Satsuma. My crew are Pandora and Eve Hiwa Pa'a. They're refugees from the Empire, former property of a well-funded group that created them, purpose-built clones for reasons we've never really sussed out. We've been traveling together for almost two years, and collectively we're only really happy when we're out in the black.
    Last edited by Satsuma; 12-30-2017 at 07:55.

  2. #2
    Salomé's Shadow
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    28 Dec 3303

    It was Pandora that put me on the trail of the Children of Raxxla. We were having breakfast and she mentioned something about Senator Loren, about the massacre of the Loren family. I'd forgotten about that, but I remember reading about it after Salome spoke to us at Beagle Point. She said that Loren had gone out into the black looking for answers and found one of the old megaships. Eve added that they had both been working on a project involving them, back before their Master's ship was lost. Eve said it had to do with biology, and with signals.

    I remembered the Thetis. One of the generation ships, it had been lost out in the black. The entire crew had fallen on each other and killed each other. But I remembered seeing something about that, once. A holo program on the mysteries of early spaceflight had talked about it. They reported some sort of signal before the end. It made me wonder if they were connected in some way. There's always been jokes about brown notes, and the like. Stories about Jericho and audio warfare. It made me wonder if we could find something that we could use to keep Pan and Eve safe. Something we could trade, perhaps.

    Thetis

    The Thetis, turns out, is deep in the bubble. Yesterday's frontier is today's center, I suppose. It didn't take long to find it, and the logs are still there. I listened to the captain talk about the signal. Listened to her slowly going mad. Listened to her descending into the same senseless violence that killed off the rest of the crew. Eve, especially, was affected by the logs. We don't know if what killed the Thetis had anything in common with what Pandora and Eve were working on, but we do know there's more to this than they were told.

    Hyperion

    You could say religious fervor killed the Hyperion. There was a boy, Zachariah, who developed a following among the crew. They said he could perform miracles. There was one incident at least documented in the log where he influenced a security force loyal to the commander of the ship to kill the commander, so there may be more to this than simply fervor. He ended up opening up all the airlocks on the ship, venting the entire ship to space. I keep thinking of the Thetis. Was this another incident of mind control? It sure looks like it.

    The Zurara

    How does this relate to the Zurara? The ship that was found out in the Formidine Rift? I don't know. It probably doesn't. That ship was sent out there about ten years before I went into stasis on a mission to find earth like worlds, and it was sabotage that killed it. The logs mention two other areas that got similar treatment: The Scutum-Sagittarii Conflux, and Hawking's Gap. I know the CoR have been all over those areas, along with Canonn.

    After visiting all the known lost generation ships, I did some research. I combed the IGER archives, GalNet, and I even went to the Canonn megaship Gnosis with an offering of data in an attempt to learn more. The Canonn people are very tight lipped about what they know, aside from what they're willing to publish. But I did find a CoR report of the Zurara hinting at it being part of a contingency plan against the Thargoids, which I could understand. But why destroy it? That's what I can't really figure out. There's more here than meets the eye.

    Strix has finished her fourth refitting and is ready for a shakedown cruise again. The Zurara is about 12 kly away. Perhaps it's time to go pay her a visit.

    Strix

    Pandora agreed that it was time to leave the bubble again. She gets nervous when we're back - and I can't really blame her. Eve is as cheerful as always, but I can tell she's uncomfortable, as well. Some of it might just be Eve picking up on Pandora's tension. Within ten jumps of leaving the bubble, Pandora was almost chatty, and Eve looked as if a weight had lifted from her shoulders. I'd been out to the Heart and Soul nebulas in Holy Fire back in 3301, but things have changed since then. There's a mining base out there, strangely enough. I can't imagine what they mine out there that they can't mine in the bubble, but there's something strange about the way some of these extra-bubble outposts have been popping up. Like the Zurara, it doesn't make a great deal of sense. The plan is to visit the outpost in the Heart nebula, and from there strike out into the Formidine Rift to Syreadiae JX-F c0, where the Zurara was found. I doubt I'll find anything that hasn't already been found, but… the question in my mind is: has everything there been reported?

    Children of Raxxla

    Pandora's right, though. We can't simply continue to count on Strix having longer legs than her old master. We need a better solution to the problem posed. Erimus has been long associated with the Children, and I remember Crystoph from the FGE was involved. Some of the other pilots I remember from Distant Worlds are members, as well. They've always claimed to be more than they're made out to be - more than the terrorists they're cast as in the news. Maybe they know something. Maybe they can help. I'll contact them.
    Last edited by Satsuma; 12-30-2017 at 11:36.

  3. #3
    Salomé's Shadow
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    29 Dec 3303

    The new sensors began to fail before I was 2 kly away from the bubble. It's always this way on a shakedown cruise, but this is the worst post-refit mechanical failure that Strix has suffered. Pandora dug into it and pronounced that the sensors would last until we got to Farsight Expedition Base in the Heart Nebula. They did, but by the time we arrived it was obvious that they weren't happy. Once we arrived, Pandora sent me off with a shopping list. She is a Godsend. If I would have been on my own, I might have had to turn back. As it was, we stayed at the outpost for four hours and then departed with fully functional sensors and a dirty-but-happy Pandora.

    "I've been across that direction and hit a wall. My 30LY jump range may not be enough, but I pretty much followed the line, but unless I sidetrack round to the New arm, I don't think I can make it across what I think could be the rift."
    - CMDR Poseidal


    There isn't a direct route to the Zurara from here. We're making our way along the Perseus arm to Myoideau, to take the Heisenberg Bridge past the Poseidal Wall. We've reached the Rift. I've been here before, just grazing through. This is the first time I've come to take a really detailed look at the place. I remember at the end of Distant Worlds being tempted to link up with a bunch of explorers who were going to go from Beagle Point to the rift. I took the western legs of the Sagittarius-Carina mission back, but got distracted by Jaques Station. That's for the best, honestly. If I hadn't had gotten wrapped up in that, I'd never have agreed to take a pair of escape pods there.

    Zurara



    I've dug into GalNet and found a bunch of public information about the Formidine Rift, and the search that led to the Zurara. It's strange, seeing the megaship. The logs are still available, but something doesn't really jibe. The logs talk about the ship being sabotaged, and the life support failing, yet the ship has power. Did someone board her and repair the damage?

    Why was Zurara sent out here, to the Formidine Rift? From what I've read so far, there were accounts of explorers who came out here and found… something dangerous. One pilot spoke of ranks of Thargoid ships. If Zurara's mission was to identify boltholes for humanity in the event of a Thargoid attack, why come here?

    The only answers that make sense are either Zurara was sent out here to look for Thargoids. That they wanted to find a route we could use to take a Thargoid war to them.

    The only other possibility I can think of is that the people who sent her were more afraid of something else. If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, what could be so dangerous that we'd run to the Thargoids for help?

  4. #4
    Salomé's Shadow
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    5 Jan 3304

    EAFOTS EU-R C4-1
    EAFOTS LZ-H B10-0


    We visited the Dynasty Project alpha and beta sites today. Here are more pieces to the puzzle, answers to the riddle. These were sites left over from the survivors of the Anacondas that accompanied the Zurara. Thirty years on uninhabitable planets, though, with whatever they could salvage from ships not intended to stay out for more than a year and a half. They died in these structures, never knowing why.

    At the alpha site we saw an Orca and an Adder circling the site, bringing adventure tourists out to gawk. For a minute it made me angry, that people were making a vacation out of visiting these tombs. But isn't that what we're doing?

    Tomorrow we'll visit the gamma and delta sites. After that, I don't know. I still think there's something more related to all this, something that hasn't been found. But I'm starting to think that it's not actually out here.

  5. #5
    Salomé's Shadow
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    6 Jan 3304

    EAFOTS RA-G B11-0
    EAFOTS GL-Y E2



    The mystery ships at these sites is getting strange. I could understand the Orca at the alpha site, but we've been sitting at the delta site watching ship after ship come in. They come in only for a few minutes, circle the place, and then leave. It's almost like a pilgrimage. We've watched a number of ships do this. They circle and then leave, never landing. They never stay long - one Cobra Mk III we saw stayed for only 30 seconds. A brief stay after such a long journey.

    We managed to get fairly good scans of quite a few of these ships. They bear transponders, Pilots Federation ranks, ship IDs, etc.

    The strange thing that occurs to me: Are these ships from the bubble? Or are there settlements out here that we don't know about? I don't see anything in the map, but stranger things have been hidden.
    Last edited by Satsuma; 01-06-2018 at 10:05.

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