C:/(computer database: battle cruiser/ curiosity- 2182/1/2

Officer’s personal log, 1st Class Telemetry CWO5, Officer: Smithfield, James (subject to official inquiry)

Log, start listening...
Well, I’ve officially been relieved of duty pending what the Scalpers are calling further investigations, and on top of it all I’ve also been confined to my quarters. As far as I can tell, after three days of repetitive questioning and barrage of accusations; we’re probably about an hour out from Monroe Space Station… maybe even closer... The one thing I do know for sure is that the Scalpers don’t have a clue what they’ve got on their hands… and for thatmatter, neither do I. (audible sound/clicking)
Damn scalpers, they kept asking me over and over again, What happened? Where were you?, all I could tell them was I didn’t know... (audible sound/sigh) How could I?
Needless to say, it’s been very difficult to make sense of things lately; especially since I don’t even know how to begin explaining what happened to us, or even where it happened.(audible shuffling)
Where to begin? Where, to, begin? (audible sound/tapping). Ha! The whole damn thing’s so crazy I’m not even sure if I know when it all began. Did I say when?... I meant where. Yes… definitely where. (audible sound/sigh)
This is Chief Warrant Officer Smithfield, star date…(audible sound/shuffling) something….
For what it’s worth…If, and when this log has been through an official review, I want it noted that Petty Officer Row and Petty Officer Marks performed admirably in an….. (audible sound/sigh) unnatural situation, that none of us could have foreseen, and I want their records to reflect their dedication to not only the mission, but also to their fellow officers…. I also want it noted that their loyalty to the Temspire Galactic Web never faltered (audible sound/sigh)
Of course if the captain had been on the bridge instead of holed up in his quarters, things may have turned out differently …Ha!
Anyway…(audible sound/sigh) we were slated to ride the cable at 2100 hours from Jump Port thirteen, one of hundread or more junction ports spread across space in a network of multi-stations that the Web considered the quickest way to travel in deep space...Ha!(audible sound/sigh)
According to what I got from the mission brief a week before our mission; Jump Port thirteen thats located somewhere in the back waters of the Virgo Super Cluster,and a stones throw from sector 7 in the farthest most point of the spiral arm of Scutum-Centarus was supposed to be our missions staring point; and on top of that we were also being given the privilege of flying one of the Temspires newest editions to the galactic fleet, a scout ship named “Curiosity”, a prototype, of course... Ha!
“Curiosity” was the wave of the future... or at least she was according to Captain Prekless... and the Web...(audible sound unknown)Ha!
She was definitely a beauty, that’s for sure, and she came equipped with the latest and the greatest, something that was called a, “cable line HS drive”, that was specially designed for the quick and easy transport of reconnaissance personnel for routine scouting missions, but I know a scouting ship when I see one and she was definitely no scouting ship... she was a warship if I ever saw one.
Anyway;according to officials, she was designed to circumnavigate weeks of travel in Hyperspace by consentraring the power from two or more jump ports in the network of pre-existing multi-ports into her HS-drive...
(audible sound unknown)
What would have normally taken weeks for any other ship would only be hours for Curiosity... Or so it was said.

(audible sound unknown) Ahhh! That’s better; Never thought I was gonna be able to do that again… Ha!

Now, where was I?(audible sound/tapping). Ha! That’s right, Jump Port 13. (audible sound/shuffling) We were set and on our way to ride the cable across the expanse over to Jump Port 22; near this scarcely manned outpost named NGC 3109, also known as Orion’s taint by some, Ha!
You know, I think mostly the older folks call it that though… probably because it sits out their all alone on the outer most spiral arm of the Andromeda galaxy but hell, what do I know...not enough apparently, ha!
(audible sound/shuffling) Some say if you’ve been ordered to be stationed way out there in the sticks, then you must have pissed off the wrong person at least thats what I've heard. Ha!
Anyway, we were supposedly on our way to conduct some broad analysis scans and to map the planetary systems in the area. I was up in telemetry, running preliminary tests on the scanners and prepping the diametric holography for the jump while Marks was down on the bridge manning communications and giving Row some of your run of the mill bullshit about deep space monsters… Row was at the helm eating up Marks’ nonesense hook line and sinker doing her best to focus on her duties with Marks blabbing on, when the captain’s voice came down from the overhead speakers from his private quarters proclaiming that we had green across the board, all systems were nominal and that we had a go from mission control.
So Row sat up, punched the ticket and off we went, to ride the cable...
Now listen closely (audible sound/ “Log is operating within parameters, five by five… you may continue”) Shut up!...(audible sound/sigh)
There are very few things in life that are more beautiful and at the same time life changing than riding the cable. I mean, it’s truly unlike anything you could possibly imagine.
The first thing you notice is this strange popping sound, and at first... it sounds as if the ship is coming apart; which I can tell you will send your heart into overdrive, but then; you realize that the popping sound your hearing is actually in your ears. It sort of feels the same way it does when you leave the atmosphere of your home planet for the first time, or maybe the way it does if you come up too fast from a deep sea dive; only the pops are quicker sounding, in an almost soothing sort of way. Then…. come the lights. (audible sound unknown)
You see, when I joined the Web I was like every other ins-lander in the galaxy; I rarely left my own sector and almost never got a chance to leave my own solar system, which requires you to travel in hyperspace. So when I rode the cable, I quickly learned that it was nothing like going through hyperspace, not even in one of those big ass galaxy class ships that can push upwards of WP 10 or faster; (audible sound unknown)of course; that’s all depending on who you have running the engines...Ha!
Anyway, in hyperspace what you mostly get when you look outside of the ship is blackness. Well; not completely black, but damn near close. There are stars in the distance and more when you pass a cluster, but when you’re in hyperspace, it’s like you’re not even moving... You don’t even know where you’re going, not until about two days before you get there, and then you’ll only know you’re getting closer because that star off in the distance that’s been slowly migrating from one side of the view screen to the other has finally started getting bigger.
It’s the same with the stars and systems you pass; they seem motionless until a day or so later when you look out the window and you’re like...
hey, where did that star go? It was just there yesterday.
That’s, what hyperspace is like, (audible sound unknown) but when you ride the cable (audible sound/whistle), man that’s a sight you will never forget. (audible sound WP-deceleration)
Ah, well. From the sound of things, I think my journey is coming to an end right quick and in a hurry. (audible sound unknown) I think we just dropped out of hyperspace, and that; can only mean one of two things. Either we have a saboteur on board, Ha! Or…. and I’m guessing this is probably the case; we’re on final approach to the dock and I’m in for more of the same from the scalpers back on home world. Well, since my time has been drawn short a hell of a lot sooner than I thought it would have, I suppose I should wrap this up and stick a bow on it, as they say. (audible sound/sigh)Now, there was this guy on our prelaunch prep team who tried to tell us what we could expect when we rode the cable for the first time, so since I was a bit scared about the mission I listened.
He said that it would feel like you were being shot from a plasma rifle and straight through a rainbow… He also said that at first, your mind wouldn’t be able to understand what your eyes were seeing because of the, how did he put it?... The altered states of perception we would experience. Well, he was damn close on that one; because after the initial shock of jumping the cable passed, I spent what felt like an eternity trying to understand what my eyes were seeing on the view screens and sensors up in Telemetry. It’s kind of funny…it sort of was, and at the same time wasn’t like being in a rainbow. We were surrounded on all sides by a kind of, swirling tunnel of undulating colors, which seemed to come to a fine point of light in the distance, which could be seen from the aft and bow ends of the ship. (audible sound unknown) So I guess that’s why they call it riding the cable, because that’s sort of what it looked like to me, a long colorful cable. And to be honest, I don’t think that most of the colors I saw actually even existed; at least not in our reality they didn’t. Of course I’m no artist, so I don’t know every color that may or may not exist.(audible sound/sigh) They just seemed to have no place in nature is all I’m saying. (audible sound unknown)
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what it was like. I’m sure there’s more than enough scientific data, and professionals with opinions on what the cable is like; so I don’t need to keep yammering on about it, because it’s besides the point; and my thoughts on what the cable is like aren’t what the scalpers are after, or even what I’ve been after since we got back. (audible sigh) The thing is; we weren’t even on the cable but for maybe a few minutes, so I can’t really describe it well enough to do it justice. But I can at least remember that part of it; and clearly enough to say what it was like. Now, for what came after the jump? I’m more than a bit….what do you call it.... perplexed, (audible sound unknown) I think the best way to put it is that we were sort of... lost; because that’s what happened to the time after the jump. It was… well, sort of lost (audible sound/sigh) to all of us I guess.
At some point just before we…. (audible sound unknown) lost the cable; Marks noticed this sound coming off the hull of the ship that sounded to him like some type of harmonic vibration. Marks flipped the audio over so we could all have a listen and I can tell you one thing, to me; it sounded like the devil was warming up an orchestra of violins. (audible sound unknown) Well, after that; all hell broke loose. We went from riding the cable, to nothing. Not like hyperspace nothing, where you can see stars here and there, I mean we went into nothing... (audible sound unknown)
At first I thought the engines had just sort of died on us somehow, and that we had slipped the cable and that we were now drifting in the expanse between our galaxy and Andromeda, but after a few minutes of checking that all the systems were still 5 by 5 I started to worry…
(audible sound/sigh)
Well, from what I remember, the first few hours went by smoothly enough considering we had stepped out of…well out of anywhere. (audible sound/sigh) And we all noticed right away that everything on the ship; other than her equipment and censors, had stopped doing pretty much anything, and I mean anything, including us.
Ha!...We didn’t have to eat, sleep, shit, or shower; none of the thing’s nature intended us to do, and at first it was great. But after the third week or so, things started getting bad, really bad.
Row and Marks started talking to themselves constantly... They said that they heard voices...(audible sound/sigh) crazy shit…
In a crying fit one day, Poor Row pulled out two hands full of hair; nearly peeling the flesh off her scalp, so we had to strap her down and sedate her for a while so she couldn’t hurt herself anymore...which she didn’t, thankfully.
(audible sound unknown) Marks held up pretty well even after Row lost her shit and tried to scalp herself without so much as a knife to help her out. But me...shit, I almost followed the captain out into the nothing after hearing the shit that I heard in my head over and over again. (audible sound unknown)
The creaky hinges of a door closing...over and over again. That’s what I heard. Never opening, or even latching shut; only closing... over and over again. Ha!
By the third week of that shit I was fit to split with laughter, because I didn’t know what else to do. It was either laugh or cry, and I had seen what crying had done to Row, and I didn’t want any part of that shit. So one day while staring at the ceiling of my quarters I just started, you know... laughing. I swear, I laughed so hard that if I could have pissed myself in that place we were in, I would have. Ha!
Instead though; I passed out, right then and there, and I’m guessing I was out for a quite a while because when I came to, the sound in my head was gone, and it had been replaced by an even louder, more ominous one. (audible sound/sigh) the cabin pressure alarm.
Apparently when I finally came around to the sound of the alarms, it was midmorning of the next day, or at least that’s what the chronometer said when I checked it later. And there had been some kind of incident in the Mess Hall between the captain and something he was arguing with in his head; because he fired three shots from a plasma pistol through his imaginary friend that then went through the ship’s hull. (audible sound/sigh) After that, he went screaming like a loon through the halls of the ship while trying to tear his face off... screaming something about; God’s eyes… or maybe it was pot pies; I’m not sure which.
Anyway, while we were trying to find the captain in the maze of halls of that damn ship, he must have gotten it in his head to escape, because he climbed into the only escape pod we had, and jettisoned himself into oblivion...
We watched the escape pod as it slowly disappeared into the deep blackness of the nothing, but eventually over time the captain and his... I guess you could call it his episode; became a faded memory in time. (audible sound/sigh)
The days started stretching into weeks and eventually the weeks started turning into months. We all did our best to keep busy after the captain went AWOL, but sitting in nothingness day after day with nothing changing on the inside or out, except time according to the ship’s instruments of course; can drive a person insane. Ha! So, after what seemed like months of the same shit different day, something finally happened to the nothing...
It cracked, or quaked or something, I don’t know. But what I do know is; one minute it’s nothing as usual. Then, bang! The loudest sound I have ever heard followed by the mother of all shit storms was on top of us. The ship was tossed from its bulkhead to its floor, and in all the chaos I managed to hit my head on something and I was knocked out cold. When I came to, it looked like nothing in our situation had changed all that much, so I thought to myself. Well James, if that happens every once in a while, it’ll definitely break up the monotony here in purgatory. Ha! (audible sound/Docking)
Then, three hours later I notice that I’m actually hungry for the first time in months and that according to my sensors in telemetry there are stars off in the distance. (audible sound unknown)
Four hours after that bit of exciting news; the scalpers arrive, hook us in and start towing us home.
Now, after having a slimy bowl of re-hydrated rations, 22 hours of interrogations and the worst headache of my life, all thanks to my fine hosts, I think I’ve finally decided that it’s time to turn in my commission, go back home, and get back into the family business mining the Kyper belt like I did before setting out to join the Temspire Galactic Web. I’ll tell you this(audible sound unknown) working the mines may be dangerous and dirty,(audible shuffle) but at least there’s no crazy talk about pot pies...or maybe it was dog eyes, I’m not sure which. (audible sound/sigh) Log...Stop listening.

C :/( Computer analyses complete: Temspire Galactic Web/ S.C.A.L.P.R. Division: 6
C :/( audible sounds still unidentified: Temspire Galactic Web/ S.C.A.L.P.R.
Division: 6
C :/( end


Text: Aton Newcombe
Images: Alton Newcombe
Editing/Proofreading: Alton Newcombe
Publication Date: 10-09-2012

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