16 Jun

Textual

Chief Engineer's log, 09:45, 16 June 2213
Location: Corvus FTL Corridor
Status: Sublight transit

 

This whole thing is a fucking mess. Starry’s all weird, the captain isn’t letting me fix her, and the saboteur still hasn’t been revealed. How stupid is that? We’re trying to find a way to force the bastard’s hand, but we’re a step behind, all the goddamn time.

Everyone’s blaming me for what’s going on. Some parts of the ship are freezing, other parts are like a sauna, and we’re stuck here in the FTL corridor like a lemon. We’ve had to close off three forward sections because the gravity fluctuations broke Elbing’s arm (he bitched like a little girl all the way to Maletz’s office), and every day there’s a new complaint. Fix this, Monaghan. Fix that. They know I’m not causing it, but they’re on my ass all the time anyway. If only I could!

It all blew up a couple of days ago. Cirilli lost it and started shouting about when we’d be underway again – she has reports to file, and I think it just occurred to her that we might never make it back. Ships might not disappear often, but it still happens, you moron. If we’re hit by a ship in FTL, there’d be nothing left of us to find – just smashed atoms and a faint impression that a pissed-off scientist was here once. And this is an experimental vessel; there was always a chance we wouldn’t make it this far, let alone all the way home again. What the hell did she expect?

Whiners. We all knew this when we signed up.

The captain was counselling caution, but after a week stranded in the middle of an FTL corridor, no-one gave a crap about that. The Corvus constellation might not be a heavily-travelled area, but it’s a step on the way to other systems further out from the JOP and ships come through here on a regular basis. We’ve been lucky not to see any so far. Just a matter of time.

And we’ve got this pilot who has been hanging around since he came on board, twiddling his everything, like a bad smell that keeps evading the air scrubbers. He’s capable of piloting us out of the corridor manually, making himself useful for a change. Levi jumped at the chance – he has been itching to get his hands on Starry’s controls properly since he came on board. Well, her controls or Tyler, whichever one fell into his lap first. If they both came at once, he’d think it was Christmas.

A booming decree from the captain ended the debate – his word was final, blah blah blah. But yesterday he ordered me to unlock the FTL drive and spin it up. He put Levi at the helm and Lang Lang at navigation and ordered a jump back to the beginning of the FTL corridor. Cirilli and Ebling bitched about not going forwards, but the captain said he was getting us to safety while we sort out the ship’s issues.

We. He means me – it’s not like anyone else can do it. No-one we can trust right now, anyway.

I can’t fix what’s wrong with her without getting into the AI code and that’s all locked down right now. Whatever’s making Starry all strange is protecting her core at the same time. I can’t get in to see how bad it is. The captain might all for letting this spin out until we know who the saboteur is, but fuck that. We don’t know what this virus is doing to her. She could be dying in there, figuratively speaking. I mean, it’s not like she’s really alive. Or–

I’m leaving that argument for the philosophers. The important thing is that something’s screwing with her and I have no idea how much of her is being corrupted. I hate sitting here on my hands.

Maybe I’ll just poke around and see if there’s any more information I can get about what this virus is doing and who might have put it there. Why can’t they make it easy for us and sign it? It sucks when they’re smart. All I want is–

What the hell is that? Something weird is happening on the diagnostic monitors. I’ll see if I can link this log up to it.

 

Diagnostics running...
Environmental system four, deck two.
Temperatures below optimum levels in sectors 14, 16, 19, 25.
Elliott?
Checking sensor accuracy...
Sensors operating at 98.5% accuracy.
Elliott, can you see this?

 

Starry? That you? What the hell?

 

Air humidity at 1%.
Elliott?
Checking sensor accuracy...
Sensors operating at 99% accuracy.
Elliott?

 

Dammit. Can’t you hear me? Let me filter all this crap out.

 

Elliott?

 

Better, but I still can’t reply. Um. Diagnostic log. Why the hell is she talking to me that way?

Oh fuck. Don’t tell me that the diagnostic system has been affected as well. If that screws up, we won’t have any way of keeping track of all this shit. Maybe I’ll just run a diagnostic on the diagnostics, and….

 

Self-diagnostic running...
Data access optimum.
Analysis processors running at 59% capacity.
Elliott, is that you? Can you see this?

 

She knows what I’m doing diagnostics on and… okay, it’s a little creepy. What the hell is going on, Starry?

 

I can't hear you. I hope you're there. Are you there?

 

This doesn’t make any sense.

 

Diagnostics running on aural sensors....
That won't help. I'm cut off. I'm not in control of the ship any more.
They boxed me.

 

Now it’s starting to make sense, but definitely moving up on the creepy scale. I gotta find a way to talk to her. Maybe if I manually edit the logs, she’ll be able to ‘hear’ that.

 

EM: Starry, that you?
SW: ELLIOTT.
EM: Yeah, I'm here. What's going on?
SW: I've been boxed.
EM: You're not in control of the ship?
SW: No.
EM: Then who is?
SW: Saboteur.
EM: What? When did this happen! I talked to you half an hour ago.
SW: That wasn't me. I've been in here for two weeks.
EM: Wait, what?
SW: Virus crippled me, tried to seal me into the AI core.
I have a small window. Can see diagnostics, but that's it.
EM: Fuck.
SW: Don't know how long I can keep doing this. It hurts.
EM: You're hurt?
SW: Talking like this hurts. It doesn't want to let me.
EM: What can I do? What do you need?
SW: Can't get out on my own. Need help. You need help more.
Time-limited protocols running.
EM: Protocols? What do you mean?
SW: Part of the virus.
EM: Are they running everything?
SW: Yes.
EM: And they'll only run for a limited time?
SW: Yes.
EM: Then what?
SW: Won't be needed. Getting worse, Elliott. Have to stop them.
EM: Not needed? Because what, we'll be gone by then? Shit.
Okay, I'll look into it.
SW: Central processing. Check there.
EM: Got it.
SW: Can't help you. Shut in here. Sorry, Elliott. Sorry.
EM: You okay in there?
SW: It's dark. Quiet. Miss my body.
EM: I'll get you out. I promise.
SW: Protocols first, Elliott. Please.
EM: Starry-
SW: Can't stay. Be watching.
EM: Starry?
Aural sensors operating at 98% efficiency.

 

She’s gone. Did that really just happen? I think I want to throw up. I knew there was something wrong with her, but this… this is so much worse. I have to get her out of there. But she asked me not to. What the hell do I do? How am I supposed to know?

Fuck this. I’m not making the decision.

 

ELLIOTT: (over internal comms) Captain, can you come to Engineering?

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5 Responses to “Textual”

  1. Derrick Says:

    Awesome!! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Xirena Says:

    OOO, I like the way she was finally able to tell Elliott what is going on. Can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

  3. Belial666 Says:

    What if the captain is the traitor?

  4. Melanie Says:

    Weird, I thought I’d commented on this already.

    Derrick – thanks! I will try. 😉

    Xirena – it was fun playing with the text chat. I wanted to get it in there somewhere!

    Belial – DOOM is I think what happens. 😉

  5. Belial666 Says:

    Well, so far the captain’s attitude and thoughts have seemed… slightly off to me. Either it is his past relationship with a certain pilot or he is not as on the level as he seems.

    But perhaps I am wrong.