Aug 6 2011, 09:42 PM
Nate grabbed a few of the flares he took with him. He looked them over, trying to figure out how many he would need. He lit two or three, then threw them in approximately the opposite direction the Surveyor would be heading as soon as Turk got it going. He turned away from the bright flashes and, with Turk's permission, entered the Surveyor.
As he entered it for the first time, the first thing he noticed was Aiko asleep in one of the seats. He sighed, his lack of sleep beginning to wear on him as well. He wished she were awake at the moment, but didn't want to wake her. She probably needed the sleep a lot more than he did.
Taking a seat next to Arel, he looked at Turk.
"We should be all set to go."
Aug 7 2011, 01:00 PM
"Right then. Be prepared for an execution when we get back." Turk pointed at the vehicle's new passenger. "That's definitely not a hunted enoch. Well, at least not yet." He worked with some switches, turning off the air recycling systems, and began driving the Surveyor back towards the shuttle. Dammit. I can't believe I didn't account for the possibility of that girl becoming one of the infected. Dividing his attention between the vehicle and the crew, he added, "Don't touch any of the compartments. They're all air tight- We have sterile equipment in there that doesn't need to be exposed to the local atmosphere."
Captain isn't going to like this. Not one bit. Turk grabbed one of the knife sets that he had stuck under the controls using adhesive strip. If worse comes to worse, survival is the first priority. No need to stay on a sinking ship.
Aug 7 2011, 07:58 PM
Some time later, they arrived safely back at camp, where the captain was waiting, sitting in front of the campfire with a rifle drawn. "Where the hell have you been?" she demands once the Surveyor arrived. "Commandeering Oraph property and running off with it... You ought to be locked up in the shuttle for the rest of our stay here. What the hell were you thinking?"
Aug 7 2011, 09:21 PM
As expected, she's not pleased at all. "Captain, I acted the rational to preserve my ability to survive on this planet. Nate and Arel attempted to get me away from the Surveyor, with Arel attempting to assassinate me after I rigged the vehicle to not be usable to others." Turk shifted uncomfortably. "It would've been likely that the two would've gone out anyway. I took the action that I felt was best to improve their chance of survival." He glanced back at the other two, who did not appear too pleased with his explanation.
"While I would suggest confining the girl to the shuttle, she has been exposed to the virus and should be kept out of any location that has not been exposed to the virus." Turk added, pointing in Aiko's direction.
Aug 7 2011, 10:59 PM
Because she had been roused the moment the Surveyor had returned to camp, Aiko was still groggy, but she knew Catalina expected answers.
"I was on watch when Frank and Al approached me. They said they couldn't sleep because of problems with the enochs, so I suggested that they stay here when they realized they'd dropped supplies on their way over. They asked me for help, so I went to wake up Arel so she could take over, and then . . . they threatened me with a gun . . . forced me to go back to their apartment . . . it's my fault that Arel, Nate, and Mr. Liu left camp . . . I'm sorry!"
Her knees quaked, but she did not cry. I have to explain what happened, Aiko thought. She told Catalina everything---about their plans to eat her, their infection by the enochs, and Frank's death at Al's hands due to the latter's change of heart.
"After he killed Frank," she finished, "he told me to hide in the closet and ran off with his shotgun. I heard a shot a short time later. I tried to look for him, but there were too many enochs. We have to find him! Please!"
Aug 8 2011, 01:46 PM
Lars waltzed in just then, his hands behind his head as he chuckled some once Aiko was finished. "Gee, you're really a nice and naive person, aren't you?" He asked, smiling some as he walked closer a bit, still all casual, while the others were busy blasting enochs he simply went back to sleep, by now he felt refreshed. "I see little point in going after someone who likes pointing their gun around and shooting their 'friends'." He sighed, looking around for a bit and then shrugging. "Bah, why do I even bother stating my opinion, it's not like it's my call anyways. You guys go ahead and choose what you want to do, i'm just a weird teacher with a fake arm." He said, laughing a bit again.
Aug 10 2011, 01:29 PM
Catalina listened to the explanation and shook her head. "Get to bed. All of you. You could have all died and doomed this mission. There are billions of lives hanging on the line with this mission. If you run off and get yourselves killed, you're throwing them into the fire to suffer the same fate as the people of this planet. No, you're not off the hook, Mathis. I want a word with you in private."
The captain insisted on personally holding watch for the rest of the night. The sun had barely begun to peek up over the horizon when she began walking from tent to tent, waking everyone up.
"Pack up," she said. "Get everything ready to go. Shaomei--er, Jun--You're in charge of making sure everything gets loaded into the shuttle. We're heading back to the Lucent within the hour and we're not coming back. If anyone forgets a love letter from shnookums on the surface, then it's staying behind for the enochs to find, so double check that you've got everything."
Aug 10 2011, 02:19 PM
Nate listened to Catalina's reprimand, and while he could understand that billions of lives were on the line, he couldn't agree on the sacrifices of others for the sake of their survival. It wasn't enough of a reason to speak up against her, however. It's not like she would even consider his words and feelings.
Instead, he mostly started to tune her out, retracting his thoughts inward. His stomach felt queasy, like there was something obvious he was forgetting about the mission.
Is it because we couldn't save Al? No... Their inability to save him did weigh down on him, but it was more a feel of guilt instead of uneasiness. What's causing this feeling? Or maybe...
He thought back, recalling the mission they had just returned from. Everything about it seemed perfectly fine, except for one thing. One thing was missing. It wasn't anything about his actions or his friends'. It was more a feeling, something that should've been present but wasn't. As soon as he realized it, he let out a sharp breath.
There... there wasn't any buzzing! I wasn't picking up NSA static!
Catalina stopped talking, and with everyone else walking away to their tents, he followed suit and headed towards his own. He hoped to talk to Arel in the morning.
If the enochs aren't the ones who are releasing NSA static, then something on this planet is. But what?
Aug 10 2011, 03:49 PM
That night, Turk slept in one of the tents for the first time.
The next morning, he woke up before everyone else, and got to work completely decontaminating all parts of the Surveyor's interior that were exposed to Nate and Aiko. He vented out all the air, creating a vacuum, and proceded to decrease the internal temperature. Still a little unsure of the conditions inside, Turk vented a canister of the airlock decontamination spray into the vehicle, and repeated the procedure. Finally satisfied with his work, he opened up a few cansisters of oxygen, and started the Surveyor's air recycling systems again. Clean. Never again will I allow this to be tainted.
It was then that Turk heard knocking on the vehicle's door. Outside, he found the Captain. "Pack up..." He heard her say, "...We're heading to the Lucent within the hour, and we're not coming back..." Finally. Turk went outside, and to the back of the Surveyor, and checked on the 'samples' in the cargo hold. They looked as disgusting as when he collected them after landing on the planet. "Captain, do you want anything special done with our samples?"
Aug 10 2011, 04:00 PM
It had been another rough night for Aiko. Consequently, she was already awake and prepared for the group's coming departure when Catalina came to check up on her, but the fate of her captor-turned-savior still weighed heavily on the baker's mind.
"Captain, please tell me . . . can't we look for Al before we go? Even if it's not ultimately for his sake to anyone but me, let's at least find him for the sake of a cure. He must know something! He and his friend should have been enochs fifteen years ago, but their diet, um, prevented that. Don't you want to know why?"
Aiko's eyes filled with fresh tears, and her lower lip trembled. Why do things have to keep happening this way? Why can't I do right by everyone? Why am I even here?
"If we can do nothing else," she concluded, "let's find his body---and go back to their apartment for his friend's---so we can learn from them. Please!"
Aug 10 2011, 04:07 PM
"We'll put them on ice when we get back in orbit so we can serve up popsicles for the folks at R&D," Catalina replied to Turk before going to wake up Aiko. Her objection was expected.
"No, we can't," she said firmly. "It's too dangerous. We don't know where he is and we don't know that he won't try to kill us if we find him. Once we find a cure, then we can come back for him."
Aug 11 2011, 08:47 PM
When he woke up in the morning, Nate didn't feel like getting out of his tent. He had been up most of the night, thinking about the ramifications of enochs not emitting NSA static. The conclusions he came to, although not very strong, were definitely unsettling. After he heard that they were leaving, and Catalina's denial of Aiko's objection, Nate took a deep breath and spoke up. He probably wouldn't be doing himself any more favors in her eyes, but he thought what he was thinking needed to be said.
"Uh, Captain, I... I don't think we can quite leave Persephone just yet. And it's not because of a manhunt for Al. Do... do you remember the first day, when you picked up NSA static? Well, after that, and what Turk and the others ran into on the first day, I thought it was the enochs who were emitting it. But then Frank and Al said that enochs weren't smart enough to use weaponry like grenades. And then last night, when we went out to save Aiko, we had to fight enochs, and..."
He paused. If he continued, he would have to reveal his secret power to everyone. He would have to tell them he thought he was able to detect NSA static in the air. He started to shake, his voice trembling under fear of the reaction.
"...And I didn't detect any NSA static in the air. I didn't hear a buzzing in my ears like the first day when you were picking up NSA static. T-This means that the enochs... They aren't the one who are emitting NSA static. But then, i-if they aren't the ones who are doing it, then who is? Remember in the library? You told me that there wasn't a way for the people of this planet to generate NSA static, but yet it was still there, and whoever attacked us was giving it off. Either the people were able to make it somehow, or there's a natural source for it, and it's probably underground, where the people who attacked us are.
"The problem is, I don't know whether or not it made the people more hostile. On one hand, when we ran into Frank and Al, they didn't respond by attacking us, whereas those who attacked us did. That could indicate that they were more hostile. But, when you consider the planet's current state, it's also possible they just thought we were enochs and attacked us off of that assumption.
"Either way, I'm sure of one thing: There are other things on this planet, things that aren't enochs, but yet could show a significant difference between regular humans, just because of their emission of NSA static. A-And because of that, I don't think we should leave Persephone just yet..."
His voice began trailing off at the end, almost to the point where he was mumbling. By the time he had finished his speech, his face instinctively turned away from Catalina, not wanting to see her reaction to what he thought he had figured out. When he realized it, he turned back to look at her.
"S-So... What do you think...?"
Aug 11 2011, 08:50 PM
The captain listened to Nate's explanation and looked increasingly worried as he went on. "Look," she said to him, taking him aside so that the others couldn't overhear. "There might be something else down there that we don't know about. But whatever it is, it's probably not friendly. I'll have it filed with Oraph when we get back to Erza. More importantly, don't talk about this with anyone. Especially not anyone at Oraph. If you start talking about magic powers, someone's going to accuse you of being a Sin-user. That kind of thing follows you."
She clapped Nate on the shoulder. "Help clean up the campsite. Let's get off this dump."
Once everything was packed up into the shuttle, Catalina took her seat in the cockpit and the craft took off. The silent landscape of Persephone retreated beneath them. It wasn't long before Relto city was visible off in the distance.
Higher and higher the shuttle climbed into the atmosphere as the details of the surface shrunk away into obscurity. The ride through the atmosphere to the Lucent, which was still waiting obediently in orbit, was relatively smooth. The captain guided the shuttle back into the docking bay and at last, they were able to disembark.
"Don't get comfortable just yet. We're all going through decontamination before we can take these damned suits off." As she led the entourage to the decontamination chamber, she continued. "Those of you who were exposed to the infected air, I hate to say it, but I'm going to have to quarantine you. There are two main decks to the Lucent. You guys are staying on the bottom deck and it'll be kept sealed off by an airtight locking mechanism. I'll have enough supplies to keep you guys afloat sent down there before I seal it off. You'll be able to contact us by radio if you get lonely."
In the decontamination chamber, they were assaulted by a series of chemical showers and a couple different flavors of radiation. "All right. Before anyone takes off their helmet, it's time to split up. Those going into quarantine should go below deck now. I'll seal you off and we'll be good to go. You might want to take a shower when you get down there. God knows some of you could use one. That means you too, Mathis. And no, the showers are sex segregated, so don't get any bright ideas."
Catalina lay on her back on a sofa in the lounge on the second deck, sighing in relief after a long, satisfying shower. She was finally able to breathe without that damned helmet fogging up and she finally had the chance to fix the unkempt mess that her long scarlet hair had become. "Well, what do you think, guys?" she asked, staring up at the roof. "We made it off that dead rock alive. We've got four days to go before we head back to Erza. What did we find?"
Aug 12 2011, 11:18 AM
After going through decontamination, Turk took a moment to get used to being back in the Lucent. He reached for his helmet, stopping short of removing it to take a look at everyone else. I guess this is staying on. Who knows when this new age technology will break? Better safe than sorry. Instead of heading to the showers, Turk went to the equipment storage to refill his oxygen, and change the suits air recycling systems.
Heading down to the second deck after completing the maintenance on his suit, he spotted the captain on the sofa. "Well, what do you think, guys? We made it off that dead rock alive. We've got four days to go before we head back to Erza. What did we find?"
"What happened there wasn't natural. You don't get a virus specialized to invade and rewrite humans popping up like that in nature. If it was naturally possible, we wouldn't be here. Humanity would've predicted it's own fall a long time ago in a 'zombie apocalypse'." Turk handed a device to Catalina. "It's a few centuries old, but it's valuable. Contains all sorts of literature, from fiction to non-fiction. Rigged it up to a new power source. People didn't make very good batteries that long ago." Turk leaned against a wall. "What do you think happened down there?"
Aug 12 2011, 05:26 PM
In the lower deck, Nate took off his suit and found a random closet he could store it in. As soon as he had finished, he moved towards a shower, one that wasn't made of chemicals that burned and irritated his skin. It felt nice to have a running shower, and wondered what it would be like to live on Persephone now. It was probably a little obvious they didn't quite have running water, and if they did it couldn't have been very consistent. And, of course, there were the enochs. The only apparently safe place was away from the cities, but he couldn't verify that himself.
After finishing, Nate immediately took a seat he could find that also happened to be in a far off corner. Although he would've liked to talk with the others, he needed time to think. He had gotten off Persephone, but at the same time he felt upset. There were so many mysteries that hadn't been solved, the least of which was what happened to Al. Judging from Aiko's story, however, it was likely he was already dead by the time she had been found.
"At least Aiko's blood isn't on my hands..." he said aloud, looking out a nearby window.
His thoughts drifted back to everything he said to the captain, and in addition, her words to him.
"A Sin-user... Something that'll follow me around..." His voice lowered to a murmur, taking her advice and not letting the others hear it.
He sighed, wishing he had answers to all the questions that were stirring up in his mind. Persephone was the key to the virus, and whoever attacked them, could they have been the key to the cure? Even if he had his laptop, he doubted that he could find answers. What he did wish for, however, was the ability to write it all down in a journal somewhere. But his bag was elsewhere on the ship, in his original room, and he doubted he would find a pen and paper to write with down in the lower deck.
Resigning himself to his thoughts, he continued staring out the window. There wasn't much else he could do for the four days it took them to get back. He could possibly talk to the other infected with him, but after everything that happened, he wondered whether or not either of them even would want to talk to him.
I'll just have to see how things pan out, I suppose...
Aug 12 2011, 07:24 PM
After giving herself a good scrubbing and donning a simple pink cotton dress, Aiko felt a little better, but she was still very shaken by what had happened on Persephone. The trauma of it all had her locking her bedroom door even when she was awake. She spoke to no one but Excelsior, the little toy robot Rena had given her---and even though she longed to rid herself of Frank's gun, it still rested on her bedside table, a constant reminder of the promise she had made and then broken.
"Hey, Excelsior . . . do you think I'm a bad person?" Aiko asked hesitantly. She sat on the bed, swinging her long legs back and forth in expectation.
Excelsior did not answer.
"You can tell me the truth. I promise!"
He smiled at her the way he always did, but said nothing, and she wept.
Aug 13 2011, 11:58 AM
Arel came back from her shower feeling refreshed. As she walked by Catalina in the lounge, Arel could only think of the horrors they had seen. They had come close to death a multiple number of times while down there. Meeting Al and Frank was...interesting to say the least. But it still puzzled her as to why conflict broke out between them. But more importantly, she was relieved that all of them had managed to get back to the Lucent alive.
Back in her room, Arel donned her trenchcoat once again and immediately felt at ease. The worn fabric of that coat would never change, despite the fact it had been through so much trauma the past few months. Unfortunately it still smelled like oil no matter how much she put it through a washing cycle. As she sat on her bed, she absentmindedly fingered the dogtags that hung around her neck.
"We really couldn't save Frank...I wonder...if given the chance, would we have been able to?" Sighing, Arel flopped backwards onto her bed and stared at the small window that gave her a glimpse of the starry fields beyond. Persephone was far behind them now.
Aug 13 2011, 03:17 PM
"What do you think happened down there?" Turk asked.
To be honest, Catalina didn't feel particularly safe with Turk being the only other person in the lounge, but he seemed to be stable for the moment. And they needed to start piecing together their findings. "You're right," she replied. "Whatever it was, it wasn't natural. I don't believe it was Oraph-made, since they would already have a cure for it. If it was manmade, I have a hard time believing that no one was able to find protection against it.
"But what bothers me the most is how it got off Persephone in the first place. Even if the fastest ship in the universe left Persephone as soon as the infection broke out, it would still be another 10 years before it could make it to Morgan without the Nexus."
Aug 13 2011, 05:09 PM
"Got off of Persephone?" Turk questioned, looking at Catalina with a skeptical expression. "We just brought it off planet, Captain. This is the only time that it's leaving Persephone. As for how a similar virus popped up elsewhere- When developing weapons, the best option is to test them first." Turk chuckled. I can't believe I didn't consider this. "Biological warfare was common in the early history of humanity. We wiped out entire colonies due to conflicting opinions, ideologies, or for the possession of scientific research." Turk pulled out a knife, and looked at it. "Whenever I get a new knife, I make sure it works."
Turk glanced back at the woman. "Who says that the entities who unleashed the virus was on Persephone when Oraph closed the gate?" Turk looked around the room, confirming that it was empty. Leaning in closer to Catalina, he added, "Look, I don't like you. But you've kept the others from killing me, so I'll give you some advice. Don't tell anyone of what we discussed. Oraph is a big organization- There are plenty of groups within Oraph that are operating independently, and controlling information. Ever heard the phrase 'Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing'? Makes you wonder how Oraph closed the gate so quickly after the outbreak, especially considering that it shows nothing obvious at the beginning."
Aug 14 2011, 01:17 PM
"...Ow...ow." Arel almost fell asleep looking at the stars but was awakened by a pain in her right eye. She got up from her bed and went towards a small mirror that she had in the room. Lifting up her bangs, she noticed that her right eye was twitching, stinging, and bloodshot. "And here I was thinking I could last the whole way without triggering another attack....Maybe I should carry pain pills on me from now on." She wiped away a few tears with the cuff of her jacket sleeve and flattened down her bangs. It was then that she remembered that the captain wanted to exchange information.
"Oops. I guess I forgot about that part."
Arel quickly rushed outside towards the lounge. Settling herself on a posh couch a bit away from where Turk and Catalina sat. It seemed that she was barging in on the end of a conversation as she only heard Turk say, "Ever heard the phrase 'Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing'? Makes you wonder how Oraph closed the gate so quickly after the outbreak, especially considering that it shows nothing obvious at the beginning."
Aug 17 2011, 01:40 PM
The captain listened to Turk's explanation and sighed. "If Oraph was behind it, then why bother with the charade of sending us to Persephone? They'd have nothing to gain by potentially letting people in on their conspiracy. As much fun as it is coming up with conspiracy theories, we need to prepare a real response for Oraph. If we just hand the data over to them, it'll take them too long to disseminate it. They're going to want a plan of action immediately."
Catalina tried to round up the others to have a discussion on the information they had gathered on the surface, but was unable to motivate them into coming out of their rooms.
The second day aboard the Lucent came. This time, the captain didn't come to distribute rations for breakfast. Lunchtime came and there was still no word from her. A concerned Zhi decided to investigate the strange deviation from routine and was unable to locate the captain, a fact which she announced on the ship's PA system.
Aug 17 2011, 01:55 PM
After failing to come up with explanations for all the holes in his deductions, Nate went to bed a bit depressed. When he woke up, he immediately went for the sack he brought with him to Persephone. He didn't have his laptop, but he did have plenty of pamphlets and research notes from the planet. After spreading a good amount of them around, Zhi's voice came over the intercom.
"The captain's missing? But, how?"
He looked at his notes, wondering if he should look them over first. With a sigh, the threw his empty sack over them and walked over to the door.
If something happened to the captain, she needs to be found. But where could she go on the Lucent and not be found, unless... She wouldn't be crazy enough to expose herself to the infection down here, would she?
With a gulp, he ran out of his room and began looking through the lower deck. If she was down here, he was going to find her.
His search concluded with the engine room. The door shut behind him, he sighed. He was trembling, hoping the captain would be alright. He turned on the radio, using an open channel to contact everyone in the crew.
"This is Nate. I just finished searching the entirety of the lower deck, and she's not down here. That is all."
He returned to his room, his part done in the search. Now, he needed to focus on what he was doing before his search began: Learning about the virus. Sitting at the table with his notes, he began to read over them. Hopefully they would tell him something he didn't know.
Aug 18 2011, 12:32 PM
"The captain's missing? That's impossible." Arel had deduced that there was no way that the captain could have simply disappeared on the ship. It seemed Nate had searched the lower deck and the captain was nowhere to be found there either. "Alright, I'm heading to the living quarters first. Just to double check."
It's possible she had an accident somewhere perhaps? A ship is still as ship no matter how advanced the technology is. Accidents can happen...
Unfortunately, she doesn't find the captain lounging around in her nightgown. However, Arel does find several empty ration boxes lying around. She kneels down towards the empty ration boxes. "....Do we have a stowaway on here? It would possibly explain why the captain's missing? Perhaps she tried to apprehend them and got caught up?"
"There's no sign of the captain in the living quarters," Arel reported via radio, "However, there are some empty ration boxes lying around. I suspect we may have an intruder onboard...or someone has been getting the munchies and didn't bother to inform the crew."
I wonder where I should search next? Probably the storage areas.
Aug 18 2011, 01:02 PM
Turk was undoing the his customizations in the Surveyor when he heard the news that the captain was missing. Stepping out to look around the hanger, he didn't locate anything of note. "No sign of the captain in the hanger." Glancing at the shuttle, Turk decided to take a look.
Entering the vessel, he checked the cockpit, and the cargo bay. "Nothing in the shuttle." Feeling that he had reasonably contributed to the search, Turk returned to the Surveyor.
Aug 23 2011, 06:52 PM
Finishing up his work, Turk felt somewhat restless. He left the Surveyor, and headed through decontamination. Not having the Captain could lead to serious problems for me. He reached for the communication controls on his environmental suit, but then abruptly stopped, remembering that the Lucent's crew would hear him too. Dammit.
Turk silently tracked down the other members of the landing party, and pulled them together in one of the ship's armories. "We have a few options left to us. We need to locate the Captain, or we need to take control of the life support systems and the bridge." Turk laid some tasers and batons out in front of the group. "If we have an intruder abroad, take care to not get overpowered. If possible, disable it, and we can figure out what happened from interrogation. On the other hand, we cannot make it back unless we have control of the ship. There is a possibility that the intruder will go after the crew or the life support system, if its objective is to prevent us from return through the gate. There is also a possibility that a member of the ship's crew might do the same, probably in an act of fear and desperation." Turk grabbed a few knives, and moved away from the group. "I'll inform Aiko and Nate. You've all been through the Persephonian Hell, and made it back. No point in stopping now."
Sep 3 2011, 06:29 PM
(Please note that although this post is late, it does not move time forward from our last stopping point at all. It's also very poorly written. I realize this, and may edit it later when my thoughts are more composed.)
Aiko woke the next morning feeling empty, her eyes red and puffy from a night of crying. At breakfast she said nothing and, strangely, ate little, though the captain's absence was unusual. I guess she must be busy.
Her appetite remained diminished at lunchtime.
"I'm so tired," Aiko muttered. "I'd better take a nap."
About twenty minutes later, she heard Zhi's voice blare in her ears. Something about the captain . . . what's going on?
Sep 4 2011, 12:31 AM
[Alright, this is pulling from some pretty old posts. Plus it's past 4 in the morning so I'm fairly tired. I'm pretty sure I didn't screw anything up and say something that I shouldn't know or did something that wasn't possible. If I did, please let me know~]
After skimming his notes, there wasn't anything additional that he found out that he didn't already know and was useful. With a sigh, he put down the last paper he was reading and looked at the ceiling of his room.
"There's only one lead we've been given... NSA radiation as the cure to the virus. But it doesn't explain how a source of NSA radiation got on that planet in the first place. The captain said Persephone wasn't advanced enough to create it, meaning either it was already on the planet before the gate was shut down, or someone managed to get there after the outbreak.
"And then there's that group that attacked us that were emitting NSA radiation... Who were they? They were smarter than enochs, meaning the virus didn't seem to be affecting them. Could they have been working for Andrew? If that's true, it could provide credit to the theory that NSA static is the cure, and they were sent to gather information from the planet. I doubt he would willingly send men down to the planet for information if he didn't expect them to come back perfectly fine.
"Lastly, there's also our immunity to the virus... If these sheets are accurate, the only known immunity is Utrecht Syndrome. But it's a disease that only occurs in trueborns. Could everyone here really be a trueborn with Utrecht Syndrome? It seems so unlikely... Plus, if that is the source of our immunity..."
He shuddered at the thought. He'd read up on many of the eventual symptoms of Utrecht Syndrome, and it most certainly was not the way he wanted to die.
"Dammit! Why can't these tell use everything we need to know? Days of searching, and all we have is nothing more than the possibility of a cure!"
A fist slammed down on the desk, scattering some of the papers on it across the nearby floor. It was soon followed by his head,
"How am I supposed to save everyone if we can't find a cure...? I wish I knew more about NSA static, but I doubt I could find more about that while we're still in transit. ...I should've known it was impossible. Scientists were researching this virus for some time, were we really supposed to expect a cure be handed to us?"
In his head, he was slowly losing the battle against his depression. Not only did they not have a guaranteed cure, but it also indicated he and the others would likely kill themselves. With a sigh, he turned on the radio he was given. Depressed or not, he had an obligation to tell them. Perhaps they knew something he didn't, and could even strengthen his theories. He set his radio to public, so that all the members of the ship could hear him, and began.
"H-Hello, everyone. This is Nate. I... I understand why you all might want to keep searching for the captain, but I think there are more important things we should discuss... We were sent on Persephone to discover a cure, weren't we? But if all we have are these notes... well, I certainly didn't find anything that said what a for-sure cure was."
With that, he transitioned into the conclusions he stated not even a few minutes prior. Starting with the possibility of NSA static being the cure, the possibility of Andrew's involvement on the planet, and ending with a direct question if anyone among them who was on the Venerate wasn't a trueborn. The most he could do, after finishing his ramblings, was wait for a response.
Sep 4 2011, 10:37 PM
Arel walked over to the cargo hold, with a flashlight in hand, and her trusted rifle slung across her back. After retreating to her room to retrieve the weapon, she had the idea to search the stuffy room.
The light from the tool traced wide arcs around the large area as the pilot quietly searched around. The captain didn't seem to be here either. Flicking off her flashlight, Arel steps out of the cargo hold.
Thump, thump, thump. Footsteps could be heard below her. Having memorized the layout of the ship, the young pilot deduced that the engine room was right below her. She quickly accessed her intercom unit.
"Hey, I think there might be someone in the engine room. Someone in the lower deck, please check it out."
Sep 17 2011, 01:27 AM
Quarantine. It wasn't like Jun was surprised or anything by the decision, but it didn't make the official act of being locked up any more pleasant. While he was glad that no one made a particularly big scene out of it, it still felt like Catalina was telling the group of them to start losing hope. As if any of them had any more.
The other two potential infected, Aiko and whoever that quiet guy was, took off to their own corners of their plague deck once they got the opportunity. They didn't give any words of comfort or false smiles. Of course not. He wasn't exactly locked up with the life of the party.
Unfortunately, no matter how much he wanted to appreciate being left alone, for once solitude felt borderline pointless. He'd spent the entire trip detached from everyone else, and in the past couple days, all I could bring himself to think about was shit like mortality. His head wasn't exactly being the nicest place right now.
On top of that, the lower deck was the deck of absolutely nothing interesting. He had nothing to do, and his mind was something of a hell right now. People actually seemed like the lesser of two evils.
He couldn't even believe he was thinking that.
Hell to it, though. Maybe he could get something out stalking the other two. Maybe they had different ideas about how to deal with their situation. Sure, it was creepy of him, but did any of that really matter any more when he could wind up a rabid beast within the month? It was classier than attacking people in the nude, at least.
Whatever-His-Name-Was was more boring to watch than a brick wall. He just wandered around, thinking to himself. Even compared to the nothing he was doing before, it was a waste of time.
Aiko, on the other hand, was talking to a toy robot and crying her eyes out. Nothing out of the ordinary for her. Of course, it didn't exactly make him any less annoyed by it.
"Jesus, calm down. You're probably not even infected." He found himself speaking up from around the corner, not particularly caring that doing so blew his cover. "You're trueborn, right? You're the ones with the chance of getting out alive."
As the second in command, it was Zhi's responsibility to take control of the situation upon Catalina's disappearance. The entire thing was a concern, but it was slightly more vital to reorganize everyone. The ship was only so large, and the captain had gone missing in the past. It was much more important to start working on a plan for a cure. For the sake of Jun, and everyone else in danger. While the group of them were simply placed in quarantine on the ship, Oraph's ideas of plague control might not be as civil. This could very well be their only chance.
After calling up the upper deck crew, the group of them met up to discuss what matters they considered to be most pressing.
Unfortunately, the conglomeration of their findings didn't reveal all that much more. Something felt like it was missing. Something that had been bugging her since Nate commented on the NSA static.
"There have been a couple of hints that Uetrecht's Syndrome might be somehow related. Is any more known about it than our plague?"
"Hey, I think there might be someone in the engine room. Someone in the lower deck, please check it out."
Someone upstairs called to the lower deck crew over the radio again, this time with an actual order. While not normally the sort to take on responsibility in the face of danger, at this point, he was feeling bored enough to take on the job.
Plus, he kind of wanted to see what kind of idiot would break a quarantine.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm checking." He reported back, before peeling himself off the floor and meandering toward the engine room.
Sep 17 2011, 09:28 PM
As soon as Jun opened the door to the engine room, he was assaulted by the strong odor of chemicals and something else. Something unpleasant. A thick, orange-colored fluid seeped out from under the door. The source of the fluid was a large metal capsule sitting on the center of the floor, which had been torn open. Copious amounts of the chemical leaked out from the capsule, as well as something else.
The capsule was covered with grotesque blood spatters. From the angle Jun is standing, he can't get a clear view of its contents, but something organic and shredded is visible, along with what he's sure are exposed ribs.
In the corner of the room, a figure dressed in a well-stained jacket is huddling. The captain is pale and covered in blood--especially her front and her face. Her gaunt face looks up as Jun appears in the doorway and her bloodshot eyes gaze at him listlessly.
"Please, leave me alone..."
Sep 17 2011, 09:46 PM
With how much he had been looking through his notes, Nate hadn't even noticed Jun heading towards the engine room door until it was too late. Throwing whatever he had among the pile of half-read papers, he made a frantic dash at Jun. He had opened the door, and was about to see what Nate wanted to keep secret.
"Wait, stop!" he shouted, but it was too late. If Jun's expression was anything to go by, he had already seen the captain. When he looked in as well, the sight was somehow worse. She, naturally, had continued to consume the corpse he had seen before. He shook himself from the sight and moved to stand between Jun and the captain.
"Jun, please... Don't tell the others about this! She... She doesn't want the others to know, so we have to keep it a secret!" His voice was shaky. Being caught in an obvious lie was not what he wanted to do. Swallowing some saliva, he nervously continued. "We need to find a cure, so we can save her. Save us."
His eyes desperately pleaded with Jun, hoping that he would comply.
Sep 20 2011, 10:12 PM
Arel had been pacing around on the top floor of the ship. Something gnawed at her mind... The pilot had the sinking feeling that something did happen down there. A pilot's intuition, she remembered hearing, was usually always right. If there was an intruder...they could easily wreck the room and cause
"Shit, should I just go down there? If something happened down in the engine room...well frankly I don't want to be on a sinking ship again." After a moments deliberation, she went back to one of the rooms on the ship and donned one of the environmental suits.
It wasn't long before she found that the situation in the engine room was larger than what she imagined...
"Oh holy hell." She immediately noticed the orange liquid seeping out into the hallway. Running full speed into the room, Arel couldn't imagine what she saw next. Remnants of a corpse, the captain standing there, the capsule in the middle of the room, and then Nate and Jun standing off.
"W-what...." Arel was too shocked to form a coherent sentence. The captain...had blood stains all over her front...and that could only mean.
What did I do? Is this because i ignored the captain's sickness?...Is it really all my fault?
It was only when she noticed a slight hissing noise from the capsule that she sprang into action. "ALL OF YOU OUT." She walked forward and grabbed Jun and Nate before shoving them out of the room. She then strode over and stood over the captain, trying to help her up to get her out.
"That capsule in the middle is an ER core. Step in any of the liquid, hell get anywhere close to it and you'll get contaminated. The orange stuff is toxic. What the hell were you guys thinking, not calling me immediately?! DO YOU ALL WANT TO TRAPPED ON ANOTHER F***ING SHIP?!" Arel wanted to scream inside.
Arel noticed that the captain simply curled up in a corner, screaming for everyone to leave her alone. "If you want to be a cannibal, do it in some other goddamn place!" With adreneline and anger coursing through her veins, she simply picks the captain up and deposits her outside the doors of the engine room. As she did so Arel looked at the pale face of the captain, and felt a sharp pang of regret and guilt for what she said. After setting the captain down between Nate and Jun, she switched on the suit's internal communicator.
"Reporting from the engine room, there's an ER leak. Do not come down here." Once she was done broadcasting to the whole station, she punched a wall before attempting to clean up the mess. Looking into the metal core...she noticed remnants of a corpse. Arel fought the urge to vomit as she poked it with a tool, attempting to find any traces of identification.
"Dammit. There's nothing I can see....What the hell was this doing in there?"
Quickly checking all of the equipment in the room, she was very relieved to find that all the functioning ER cores were still in place. The one that had spilled was the cracked ER core from earlier.
Sep 24 2011, 10:21 PM
(Note: This post covers two time periods---directly after Aiko hears about the missing captain, and a short time later when the current action is going on.)
Aiko rubbed her eyes wearily. "The captain's missing . . . ? I should help everyone look for her. Or maybe not. I'll just get in the way," she muttered, "or get in trouble like before." Suddenly, she gasped, recalling what he had said during her crying spell.
"Jesus, calm down. You're probably not even infected. You're trueborn, right? You're the ones with the chance of getting out alive." She hadn't noticed him standing outside her door until he'd spoken. His altered voice had been unusually harsh on her ears then, hard and cold like butter that needed warming. She'd replied with silence, not wanting him to say anything else.
I'm so selfish . . . so selfish! He and Nate were infected and I never even thought to console them. I've only been wrapped up in my own trauma. Jun must think I'm only worried about myself . . .
Like the many souffles she'd ruined, Aiko deflated, sinking back into semi-consciousness.
She woke to darkness and couldn't breathe. It pushed ruthlessly against her until she bolted upright, clawing at the air in terror. Another nightmare had come to an end. Each of her closest companions had been viciously maimed in a different way. Turk's nose was no more. Arel's eyes were missing. Lars' ears were bleeding and bruised. Nate lost his hands and feet. Zhi had been gutted, and Jun had had his lips cut off. The captain . . . was headless.
Gee, I'm nuttier than Dad's favorite cookies . . .
As the baker considered how she might do just that, she heard a voice, gruff and feminine and familiar.
"Arel . . .?"
Sep 29 2011, 05:20 AM
Oh, what he saw was just lovely. Not the blood and the gore splattered across the room; That looked like nothing more than a paint job at this point. No, the beauty was in his captain. The amount of worthlessness, hypocrisy, dishonesty and selfishness she personified was almost magical. It was like someone put together all the worst things about this trip and shaped them into a person.
None of them even had a reason to be in this quarantine zone anymore. The most contagious of them all was in charge. Their exposure to that planet didn't even mean anything. They were probably all screwed from the moment they set eyes on their piece of shit leader.
Jun attempted to resist when Arel cleared the room, but common sense kicked in the moment she mentioned the ER core leak.
Cruel anticipation, on the other hand, kicked in as soon as the crazed captain was deposited by his feet moments later.
He didn't care if Arel was here. He didn't care that Catalina was confirmed infected and contagious. It was effectively guaranteed that, out of everyone, he was the only one with no chance to get out unscathed.
His hands wrapped around the collar of the captain's shirt, and pinned her to the nearest wall. The still warm blood from her meal soaked through to his palms, and the iron scent that came alongside only drove him further into fury.
"I bet finding out that all these trueborns 'trechies here are the only ones getting out alive if your disease starts spreading came as quite the hit, huh? They're the ones you hate most, and you can't just infect them. No. It's us. The "Real ones"? We're all dead because of you." As his hands shook in anger, he reflexively slammed her head against the wall. The sound was satisfying. "So what was it? Did you bring us all here to make us suffer alongside you, or did you just think you could sacrifice us to save yourself? How the hell do you bring a disease from a closed off planet to Oraph Headquarters, anyways!? You going to try to pin that on an accident!? I'd like to see you try!"
Sep 29 2011, 11:51 AM
Nate could only hang his head in shame as within minutes of trying to protect the captain, his lie was revealed to more and more people. He walked within some distance of the engine room, he spoke out inside.
"I'm sorry, Arel..."
She was probably going to hate him now. She was the only one who really knew him, and he had just lied to her.
He felt like returning to his room, only to hear the sound of Catalina being slammed up against the wall. When he turned, he saw Jun, holding her by the collar, yelling at her.
"So what was it? Did you bring us all here to make us suffer alongside you, or did you just think you could sacrifice us to save yourself? How the hell do you bring a disease from a closed off planet to Oraph Headquarters, anyways!? You going to try to pin that on an accident!? I'd like to see you try!"
The words made him freeze. It was similar to what he concluded in his discussion with her, but the way he phrased it, a sudden other conclusion came to him.
If Catalina's infected, and we're not...
He ran towards Jun, forcefully grabbing his arm he was using to pin Catalina and trying to shake it off her.
"Stop it, Jun! Don't you get it? She's been infected before she came to Persephone, but there are aren't many ways she could've gotten infected: Either by leaving Persephone before the outbreak sealed off the gate, by leaving Morgan under similar circumstances, or because we infected her in the first place! And considering how strict Oraph is, I find it impossible they'd let an oversight like the first two get through.
"We infected her, Jun. But if she's showing signs that she's infected and we're not, that means we can't get infected, regardless of our status! So just stop it already! We need to find a cure!"
He was closing his eyes, trying to fight back some tears. He didn't want to have to fight with someone else, but if his words went unheard, he was afraid of what he might have to do.
Sep 29 2011, 04:56 PM
Arel had finally cleaned up most of the orange goo that had been spreading along the floor. The cracked ER core was off to a side, body still floating in the remnants. At least the thing was in a container now.
Giving one final check around the engine room, she walked towards the entrance, where it seemed Nate and Jun had been arguing.
We infected her, Jun. But if she's showing signs that she's infected and we're not, that means we can't get infected, regardless of our status! So just stop it already! We need to find a cure!" Nate had said this shortly before she reached the pair.
"We don't' exactly know if we infected her or not." Arel grew silent as she picked her words carefully... "....It could've been my fault afterall. During the mission, she complained about stomach pains or something. I was so focused on rescuing Aiko, I ....I completely ignored it."
Sep 30 2011, 12:10 PM
Turk ventured down into the lower decks, seeking out Aiko and Nate to get them to join in on his plan. What he encountered there was far beyond what he could ever expect. Glancing at the Captain's pale bloodied form, with Jun, Arel, and Nate nearby, he drew a knife from one of the environmental suit's external compartments. "Arel. Get away from them." Throwing his plan out the window, Turk reached for his communicator and sent a ship-wide broadcast. "We need four cryogenic containers in the engine room- There's been an accident involving one of the cores. Leave it near the decontamination airlock- We don't need any more injuries." They better cooperate.
Looking around, Turk barked another command at Arel. "Once those containers get here, we need to place all our enoch-to-be's in them. Especially the captain. Don't give me any shit- You can get angry all you want once we get through that gate, but until then, we need everyone to remain as human as possible. As far as we know, the enochification process is irreversible once we become enochs." I might have to do this alone...
Oct 7 2011, 02:13 AM
Jun's grip on the captain's shirt loosened at Nate and Arel's arguments, followed by a gradual softening in his expression as their words sank in.
The Morgan ship. They were right. It all started on that ship, and there were still so many unanswered questions about what happened there. If anything could connect every absurd event they'd gone through together, it had to be that ship. So many people were dead, and by such violent means. It almost seemed as if the entire crew had suddenly become possessed. It wasn't much unlike what happened on the planet.
Most sickeningly, however, Nate was right. After all, the truth had already been nailed in by the doctors at Oraph: They were all immune, Catalina aside. It just so happened that it was only now that the reasoning behind that assumption began to become clear.
Along with it came the realization that he had been beating up the only person on the ship who had arguably been innocent this entire time.
He let her drop from his hands. He looked away. Looking at her bloodied face was borderline embarrassing.
It was the only response he could muster. There wasn't much else to say to the woman he took part in tearing apart.
He let Arel tend to the captain as soon as he stepped aside, and headed back to the far wall, no longer wanting to be directly involved in what was going on. It was difficult putting his thoughts together, but with each passing moment it only became clear that he, frankly, made a pretty dumbass mistake. Not just in the past few minutes, but in the past couple days.
As he was mulling in his thoughts, however, Turk's voice, the same overconfident voice that had threatened to kill him the other day, blared from the group.
"Once those containers get here, we need to place all our enoch-to-be's in them. Especially the captain. Don't give me any shit- You can get angry all you want once we get through that gate, but until then, we need everyone to remain as human as possible. As far as we know, the enochification process is irreversible once we become enochs."
It was kind of funny, really. The moment he decided to brood over his own stupid faults, a guy in possession of far more of them was dancing around again, spitting out the same kind of over-dramatic nonsense as before. Don't give him shit, his ass. There's only one time to say that phrase, and that's when you're openly doing something that no one will agree with. Of course, Turk was about as capable of realizing that as he was to bake a cake for the group of them. A un-poisoned one, at least.
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes."
Oct 9 2011, 12:55 PM
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes." Hmm... I guess the enochification is beginning to start in him. The process seems to vary in time for each individual, probably based on the immune system. The Captain has had quite a bit of stress, having to lead the team, so...
Turk glanced around the room, looking for a blunt object. Despite the Captain having progressed further into the cannibalistic stage, she seemed to retain some form of self-control, explaining why Nate, Arel, and Jun hadn't had their guts spilled. Alternatively, the virus was giving off some sort of signal that marked Jun and Nate as infected. Arel, on the other hand was wearing an environmental suit, which probably gives off the same feeling as the rest of the inorganic material that made up the ship. More importantly... Turk's eyes returned to Jun. This guy is a little more agressive than the Captain. I can't say that he will be able to control himself once more of his body is compromised.
"The Captain is not in a state where she can make sound decisions. We need to rally together, or else we'll fall into chaos. Besides, no one asked for input from a sub-human. It'll be alright though- We'll have you sealed up, and the scientists can make you human again. Maybe."
Oct 9 2011, 05:22 PM
With Jun's apology, Nate sighed in relief. He wasn't so far gone with his anger that he wouldn't listen to reason, and that alone was a good sign. His mood took a quick downturn with Turk's arrival, as well as his suggestion to lock them all away where they wouldn't be considered a threat to him. As expected, Jun objected to the treatment.
"Shut up. No one went and appointed you captain in the past five minutes."
Nate winced at the words, and Turk's response made him feel like crawling back farther and trying to avoid conflict. He gulped, trying to maintain some confidence, but this time to fight a stronger foe.
"Turk, you weren't here when I said it, s-so I'm not surprised you'd want us to be put in containers. But right now, t-there's only one person who's at risk of infection here, and that's you."
He paused, knowing he'd probably already said enough to make Turk angry at him, but he had to continue.
"L-Like I told Jun, the Captain been infected and feeling the stirrings of an enoch before we landed on Persephone, w-which means we've been exposed to the virus before this mission even began. And yet, the Captain the only one who's shown signs of becoming an enoch. Remember back before we left? The doctors said that we... we were immune. And the Captain just proven that to us. By being infected before we went to Persephone, that implies we've all been in contact with the virus as well, with no effects.
"W-We don't need to be locked away, Turk. I... I guarantee it."
His voice shook, but hopefully not enough to conceal his argument.
I may not know the exact timeframe from infection to turning into an enoch, but considering how short it took the Captain, I doubt it would be too long under the best of circumstances... Please, I hope you can understand, Turk...
Oct 9 2011, 10:57 PM
"Before Persephone?" Turk glanced over at Nate. "I doubt that the virus on Persephone is the same as whatever was on Morgan." Turk twirled a knife. "Let's say, for a moment, that we were indeed immune to the virus. If that was the case, the ship's crew would've already turned into beasts." Turk pointed at Nate's lungs. "Your lungs are pockets of air, and when you breath in air that contains viruses, you give them a place where they can escape decontamination systems. Short of putting us in a vacuum, or spraying decontamination agent into our respiratory and digestive systems, there is no way to completely eliminate the virus from your body." Turk looked back at Jun. "I'll accept that we're immune to the Morgan virus. However, the Persephone virus is a lot less believable, considering that we have a bonafide enoch forming right before our eyes..." Shit.
Turk looked at everyone in the cargo hold. "If the Captain was infected, she must have damaged her suit without realizing. That means that the ship's crew is infected."
Oct 13 2011, 05:28 PM
Nate was unfazed by Turk's statement. The fact that everyone was infected on the ship made no difference to him. After all, even without the Captain's infection, he would still be infected. Still, his shock gave him a bit of courage. His voice more resolute, he continued to explain.
"Turk, when I said the Captain was infected before we landed on Persephone, we were able to understand this because she felt the stirrings of an enoch inside of her. We didn't even need to land on Persephone, and we would still have an enoch on board. But, if your assumption that the two viruses are different is true, then yes, everyone on board should be infected. Still, there's a bigger problem..."
He paused, his second conclusion not one he enjoyed thinking about.
"If the Captain was infected before Persephone with the Morgan virus, that means that it was possible to spread it. At the time, the only people who should have been infected with the virus would be us. If we were able to infect the Captain with the virus from Morgan, then why couldn't we infect other people? It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Oraph was a walking hive of enochs right now."
He leaned up against a wall, thoughts retreating inward. He didn't have time to deal with this. He needed to find a cure as soon as possible.
If NSA static really is the cure, then that means we must've been hit by it at some point, otherwise we wouldn't be immune. Although, if we did get hit, when was it? It had to have been sometime after we got on the Venerate, otherwise it wouldn't make sense as to why we're all immune to it. Come on... What could it be!?
His mind played back almost everything that happened ever since he woke up on that ship. He would have already been immune at that point, and nothing about the ship triggered a time when he would be hit by NSA static. Then, a certain memory popped up. It was at one of the meetings, where they were talking about the mech they called the Seraph.
The Seraph's weapons were NSA static based! If it was found in shambles on the Venerate, that could mean...
"That's it!" He exclaimed. "NSA static has to be the cure to the virus! It's the only way everything makes sense!"
Oct 15 2011, 08:37 PM
"Since you say that the Captain was infected before Persephone, I hope you've considered the possibility that the Morgan virus may not turn one into an enoch, at least, the ones we found on Persephone. However, it is just as likely that the two viruses may be able to work in unison, infecting the same cells and mixing genetic code. That is to say, the Captain may be turning into a new form of enoch." Don't be so quick to assume that you've found a cure, Nate. "NSA static might have worked on one virus, but there's no saying that it will work on a hybrid virus." Turk added.
"More importantly, let's get this ship under control." Turk changed the subject. "Anyone who thinks they're immune, or is in a environmental suit, get up to the bridge. You too, Nate- You seem sane, compared to Jun at least." Turk glanced at Arel: "You're the only one of us that knows how to fly this rig. You up to it?"
Oct 15 2011, 09:18 PM
Arel's head was spinning with the new ideas thrown around. The young pilot was still suffering from the shock of the events that just transpired before her eyes.
"U-uh, of course." She could only give that simple response. "I'll report up to the bridge immediately...but what should we do with the captain's position? If we inform the rest of the crew, there is sure to be a panic. And as for the captain herself..." Arel looked away.
"Try not to kill her if you can't help it. I...I'm hoping that there is a cure."
Oct 24 2011, 04:05 PM
"A hybrid virus... That's a possibility I hadn't thought of." Nate ran the idea through his head. It was a worrisome one, although it also relied on the assumption that the viruses were different. Then again, if both viruses were cured by NSA Static, then couldn't it also imply that any hybrids would be cured as well?
I wish I actually knew more about viruses than high school biology. Not like I even remember much from that class anyway, I suppose.
He shook his head, moving to put on a decontamination suit that hadn't already been ripped open. As long as his mind was still intact, he was going to use it to find a cure. As he waited for Turk to head up, he started formalizing his theories in his head. The more he thought about things, certain little details were adding up to explain mysteries that had been bothering him.
There's so many mysteries going on here... The two viruses, our own immunity to the virus, Frank and Al, the materials at the library, my ability to detect NSA static, and those people who were emitting it on Persephone... but I think I'm finally getting a grasp on things. If NSA static isn't the cure, then I don't know what is.
Once he finished putting on the suit, he looked over in Turk's direction. "I figure I should share my theories once we get up onto the upper deck. While the hybrid virus immunity is a possibility, I'm still certain NSA static is our most likely candidate as a cure."
He turned to Arel.
"As for the captain, she should probably be locked up somewhere she can't get out of. If there's any place that hasn't been searched yet, we can just say that her leg pain has gotten worse, and she needed to recuperate in a place where she wouldn't be disturbed. ...I don't like lying to the rest of the crew, but I think in this case... in this case, it's probably the best option."
After giving his suggestion, he waited for someone else to head up first. Preferably Turk. Even if they weren't getting along too poorly, he didn't want to do anything that would be stepping on his toes and make their relations go south.
Oct 24 2011, 05:23 PM
At last, the time came to bring their mission to an end.
At the appointed time, the Lucent was brought to the inactive Nexus Node near Persephone and, as promised, the gate came to life and a dazzling golden portal opened to allow them entrance. They traveled through the Nexus, hurtling through the depths of space and coming closer and closer to civilization. As soon as they emerged from the other side, they would at last be in contact with Oraph again.
Not a minute passed after emerging from the other side of the Nexus tunnel before a message from Oraph arrived. It was the Major.
"We don't have much time," she began. "We don't even have enough time to wait until you return for your debriefing. Report your findings immediately."
"The UF has already begun making their move," she began after the group filed their report. "They've given us an ultimatum of 72 hours to contain the situation at Morgan, or they'll take their own measures - they have already put into motion plans to permanently destroy Morgan's Nexus Node and leave it to rot as they did Persephone. If you have a better idea, we'd all love to hear it."
Oct 25 2011, 09:13 AM
Completely oblivious to the recent occurences at the ship, Lars found himself now at wherever the others were, briefing his findings to the Major as he was requested. His happy and uncaring presence still pretty much the same as ever, that was until he heard that the UF might destroy Morgan's Nexus Node. Lars's eyes widened a bit, and he frowned heavily. "What? Destroying another Nexus Node? That's unnaceptable, those things are priceless works of technological art." He fixed his glasses slightly before crossing his arms, looking up and trying to think of something.
Oct 27 2011, 11:06 AM
Turk listened in on Nate, and added a single phrase before leaving: "If there's a crew to lie to."
Reaching the bridge, Turk glanced at the crew. For the most part, they seemed human.
"We don't have much time, We don't even have enough time to wait until you return for your debriefing. Report your findings immediately."
Turk relayed everything that he knew, save for the detailed relating to the infection of the other team members, and the status of the Captain.
"The UF has already begun making their move, They've given us an ultimatum of 72 hours to contain the situation at Morgan, or they'll take their own measures - they have already put into motion plans to permanently destroy Morgan's Nexus Node and leave it to rot as they did Persephone. If you have a better idea, we'd all love to hear it."
I don't like the sound of those. Without that gate, we're pretty much stuck in this region of space. "Blast the planet with NSA static based weaponry. Nate seems to think that it functions as a cure. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we can at least clean out the world."
Oct 27 2011, 06:21 PM
At the meeting, Turk was the first to give his thoughts on the matter.
"Blast the planet with NSA static based weaponry. Nate seems to think that it functions as a cure. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we can at least clean out the world."
Nate coughed a bit, his eyes dropping to the floor out of nervousness. The way he put it, he didn't seem to have much faith in his plan at all. As he looked back up to the eyes of the Major staring at him. He shifted in his chair uncomfortably, trying to find his voice.
"W-Well, yes. T-There's a lot of evidence that we f-found on Persephone to suggest that NSA static is the cure..."
As he continued, his voice slowly began to stop trembling, going over what he had pondered and rehearsed in his head.
"To begin, the people of Persephone already considered the possibility of NSA static as a cure, but were unable to verify it due to the shutting down of the node there. It went so far that people seemed rather fanatical about using it as a cure, but that could have just been desperation to find the cure.
"Then there was the encounter we had on the first day of Persephone. As I stated in my report, we were attacked by people who seemed to be emitting NSA static. Considering the relative intelligence levels of people who have been enochs, compared to the people who attacked us, it seems highly likely that the latter were protected from the virus. Considering the planet had been shut down for how long was it? 10 years? That means they spent that long on the planet, yet didn't seem to show any ill advised effects from the virus on them, mentally at least.
"The fact that they were emitting NSA static is also odd. According to our Captain, Persephone's level of technology isn't high enough to be able to produce NSA static, which would indicate the people weren't naturally from Persephone. If you consider this, it should also point to NSA static being the cure, as it seems strange: Of all the things to bring to the planet, why would you bring something that produces NSA static? It's almost like they knew using it would cause no ill effects."
Nate took a deep breath, pausing. Next came the part he didn't want to explain, as it was founded on shakier logic. It also provided evidence for a rather unsettling truth. Still, it was important information to know, as even if he was wrong, it could possibly lead to an alternative cure.
"The main problem I see in finding the cure, however, is that we're likely dealing with two separate viruses. The two are highly similar, but the virus on Morgan appears to be more potent than the one on Persephone. While we were on the planet, we met two locals, whose names were Frank and Al. Our initial meeting with them showed that they seemed to be in perfect mental health, at least initially. Later, they ended up becoming enochs, and are both likely dead as a result.
"The key point here is that the two seemed to be immune to the virus when we first met them. Again, similar to the people who attacked us, they had to have been on the planet for 10 years, and they certainly didn't have anything that could protect them from exposure to the virus. This meant that they had to have some sort of immunity, as simply not catching the virus is impossible."
Nate pulled out some of the pieces of paper they found on the library. He turned a few pages, then slid it in front of the Major for her to read.
"As you can see, the Persephone virus has one known immunity: Utrecht Syndrome. Considering they showed little to no effects until after meeting us, this would indicate that they had Utrecht Syndrome, and thus couldn't get infected. But then we met them, and they ended up infected. Considering the only new elements on that planet were our bodies for 10 years, this would imply that the only way they became infected would be because we brought the virus to them. Since the Persephone virus didn't affect them, but ours did, this would imply the two are different, but result in similar symptoms.
"Now, the question is, if the two viruses really are different, then how can I be certain NSA static is also the cure to the Morgan virus? The answer is because of our immunity, and how I believe we obtained it. Naturally, this sort of virus wouldn't naturally be in the air for people to catch, so I doubt any of us were infected until we ended up on the Venerate. On the Venerate, we found a room filled with eaten corpses, much akin to what having enochs around would result in. This would imply that the virus was indeed on that ship. There was also something else on that ship too: The Seraph, in ruins.
"It makes you wonder, 'Why was the Seraph in such a beaten up shape, on the Venerate no less?' The obvious answer is that the Seraph fought the Venerate, as it's unlikely to have encountered damage elsewhere and the Venerate happened to cross paths with it. Now, if you remember, the Seraph had a special type of weaponry on it: NSA static-based, to be precise. If the Seraph fought the Venerate, that would mean it got hit with a heavy dosage of radiation, which is likely what provided the cure, and our immunity, to the virus we were infected with.
"Unfortunately, there are some errors in my logic, as you no doubt see. Despite the ship being hit with a high dosage of NSA static, there were people still suffering from its effects. And considering the location of these corpses, it seems rather unlikely that they died before fighting the Seraph. Perhaps the weapons' range did not cover the entire ship, and we were just lucky enough to be caught in the blast zone. Or perhaps the battle truly didn't require anyone where we found the corpses, and thus could easily have been discovered after the fact. I can't say for certain.
"Still, as you can see, there's quite a lot of evidence to point to NSA static being the cure, so if possible, please do try and determine whether or not it can be used as such. Thank you..."
As he was finishing, his voice started to trail off. His eyes followed suit, returning down to the floor. He didn't want to see the Major's face if he screwed up somewhere, as all it would do was earn him her scorn, or the role of a laughingstock for the rest of his life. He could only wait for her response, nervously fidgeting with his fingers.
Oct 27 2011, 07:45 PM
"It's as you say," the major began once Nate finished speaking. "The only tool we have in our arsenal which is capable of weaponizing NSA radiation is the Seraph, which is presently in no condition to be sent out. I suppose our only option is to expedite repairs on the Seraph and analyze the specimens you found when you return to Erza. I fear that Morgan is beyond our help, but maybe we'll be able to destroy the infection at its source and prevent this from happening again. Well then, I'll see you on Erza. Dismissed."
The major turned from the communication screen and nodded at the commander, who was seated on the other end of the room.
"Relay their findings to the UF," the commander instructed. "Maybe now they'll start taking us seriously. If they had allowed us to handle the situation from day one, maybe this could have been prevented."
"So, Victoria was right after all. What are you planning to do with them when they come back?"
"There are trueborn among them, right? They might make good fresh blood for the Seraph once Rex burns out."
At long last, the Lucent descended into the hazy atmosphere of Erza and was escorted to the Oraph headquarters, the Eure-et-Loir Base. The crew members of the Lucent were required to undergo another round of decontamination before being allowed to depart onto the floating landmass upon which the main complex was built.
At long last, there were other people around. At long last, there was working electricity. At long last, they were back at civilization.
Those who had been exposed to infection were seized by Oraph members in environmental suits. Catalina fought tooth and nail, screaming for help as she was dragged away into the basement to be isolated.
The others were allowed to return to their rooms to recuperate and were told that they would be permitted to leave Erza once the situation on Morgan had stabilized.