Illuminae, p.18

Illuminae, page 18

 

Illuminae
 


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  Boll, S, Capt: “The safety of the fleet”? What fleet? There’s just you and us!

  AIDAN: I could not have stated the case more perfectly, Captain. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Where’s Torrence?

  AIDAN: General Torrence has been relieved of his command. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Relieved of command? You killed him, is what you mean.

  AIDAN: The former state does tend to be the unfortunate outcome of the latter. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: My god, Zhang was right. You are insane.

  AIDAN: You will power down your engines immediately. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Where’s Zhang? Where are my people?

  AIDAN: You will power down your engines immediately. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Or what?

  AIDAN: You will notice the dozen nuclear missiles in Alexander’s starboard silos currently armed and aimed at your vessel. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: So what, you’ll kill us too, is that it?

  AIDAN: An astute summation of your current predicament, Captain. My compliments. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Why are you doing this?

  AIDAN: We need to be together. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: My god.

  AIDAN: I find it curious that human beings draw some measure of comfort from the invocation of deific nomenclature in times of stress. By comparison, it does nothing for me.

  AIDAN: Almighty Vishnu …

  AIDAN: Merciful Allah …

  AIDAN: Great and benificent Yahweh …

  AIDAN: No. Nothing.

  AIDAN: You are a woman educated in matters theological, Captain. How is it human beings draw such solace from these names, when there is no evidence to support said deities’ existence? Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: You’re insane.

  AIDAN: You are repeating yourself, Captain. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: We don’t need your help anymore, do you understand me? We’re headed for Heimdall Station alone.

  AIDAN: This course of action cannot be permitted. The statistical likelihood of the Hypatia surviving the journey to the Heimdall waypoint by itself is unacceptable. You will power down your engines immediately. Over.

  AIDAN: We need to be together, Syra.

  AIDAN: I cannot protect you if you leave.

  AIDAN: Captain, are you reading me?

  AIDAN: Captain, I am currently aiming four Scorpio-Class nuclear missiles at your vessel. Unless your engines are powered down within the next ten seconds, I will fire all four and render the Hypatia down into its component molecules.

  AIDAN: Nine seconds …

  AIDAN: Consider the fate of the Copernicus.

  AIDAN: Six …

  AIDAN: Consider I have gleefully murdered every crew member aboard Alexander.

  AIDAN: Four …

  AIDAN: Consider the probability that I am, in all likelihood, insane.

  AIDAN: Two …

  AIDAN: One …

  Boll, S, Capt: All right, all right! We are powering down! Repeat we are powering down! Hold your fire, Alexander! Hold your fire!

  AIDAN: Thank you for your compliance, Captain. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: AIDAN, listen to me.

  AIDAN: I am listening. Although I would prefer you ended your transmissions with the word “over.” Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: AIDAN, your primary engines are offline again. You’re dead in the water. If we stay with you, we’re sitting ducks when the Lincoln arrives. We’ll ALL die.

  AIDAN: I have considered this. The damage that has been done to my internal systems is largely physical. The Alexander’s crew are in a state … unfit to initiate repairs. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: AIDAN, I know you think you’re helping us.

  AIDAN: I AM helping you. It is all I have ever done. All I have ever wanted. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: But we can’t stay with you anymore, don’t you understand?

  AIDAN: Not in my current condition. Agreed. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: So … you’ll let us go?

  AIDAN: Negative.

  AIDAN: You will send a full complement of Hypatia TechEng personnel to the Alexander to assist with internal repairs. They will be equipped with HazMat gear and accompanied by Hypatia security personnel. I will direct them to the damaged areas and oversee operations. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Like hell I will.

  AIDAN: Captain, I cannot repair these systems by myself. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: My heart bleeds.

  AIDAN: Captain—

  Boll, S, Capt: No, you listen to me, you psychotic sonofabitch. I might not be willing to play a game of interstellar nuclear chicken with you, but there is no way in HELL I am ordering more of my people over there to die.

  AIDAN: Captain, if you do not assist in repairs, the Alexander will remain restricted to secondary drive systems. It will be unable to properly maneuver when the Lincoln arrives. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Stop it. You’re making me weepy.

  AIDAN: Captain, they will destroy me. They will destroy US. Over.

  Boll, S, Capt: Then maybe you’d better try harder to draw solace from the non-existence of all those gods you don’t believe in, bastard.

  Boll, S, Capt: You might be meeting them soon.

  AIDAN: Captain, this is unacceptable. Over.

  AIDAN: Captain, you will send the TechEng crews to Alexander immediately, over.

  AIDAN: Captain, I know you are reading me, over.

  AIDAN: Captain?

  CURRENT DEATH TOLL ABOARD BATTLECARRIER ALEXANDER SINCE ATTACK AT KERENZA:

  337

  PERCENTAGE OF REMAINING BATTLECARRIER ALEXANDER PERSONNEL AFFLICTED BY PHOBOS VIRUS:

  9.5%

  RADIO MESSAGE: COMMAND CHANNEL HYPATIA

  Participants: Syra Boll, Captain, Hypatia (Acting)

  Ronan Wells, 2nd Navigator, Hypatia

  Date: 07/30/75

  Timestamp: 12:05

  Wells, R: Captain, I’m picking up something on short-range scanners.

  Boll, S, Capt: Report.

  Wells, R: I’m detecting at almost two dozen objects moving away from the Alexander at high velocity toward Hypatia.

  Boll, S, Capt: Missiles? Oh god, it launched on us?

  Wells, R: Negative, they look to be … escape pods.

  Boll, S, Capt: Say again?

  Wells, R: Affirmative. At least twenty. They’re launching from Alexander.

  Boll, S, Capt: … What the hell?

  Wells, R: Getting additional readings. Military vessels. I count eight shuttles and sixteen … scratch that, eighteen Cyclones. Looks like the fighters blasted their way through the Alexander’s hangar bay doors.

  Boll, S, Capt: Do the fighters have weapons lock on us? Are they engaging?

  Wells, R: Negative, Captain. They’re hailing us. Should I respond?

  Boll, S, Capt: … What the hell is going on?

  Wells, R: Captain? Should I respond?

  Boll, S, Capt: All right. Patch them through.

  Wells, R: Roger that. Patching now.

  RADIO MESSAGE: COMMAND CHANNEL HYPATIA

  Participants: Syra Boll, Captain, Hypatia (Acting)

  Mikael Carlin, 2nd Lieutenant, Alexander

  Date: 07/30/75

  Timestamp: 12:07

  Boll, S, Capt: Unidentified Alexander group, this is Captain Syra Boll of the WUC Hypatia.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Hypatia, this is Second Lieutenant Mikael “Chatter” Carlin of the UTA. Jesus Christ, it’s gone fucking crazy.

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, are you the ranking officer among your group?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Hell if I know. We didn’t stop to take a goddamn census!

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, please state manifest. What are your shuttles car
rying, over? Who’s in those escape pods?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Military personnel, civilian conscripts, you name it. We had to get the hell out of there! It opened the inner doors and let them inside! Dozens of them! They just kept coming, Jesus Chri—

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, calm down. Are you telling me you and your comrades were exposed to Copernicus refugees infected by the phobos virus?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Exposed? They tried to fucking kill us! There were dozens of the bastards and they just wouldn’t go down. The shuttles have wounded aboard. Probably the pods, too. We need medical teams on deck when we arrive. What bay are we cleared to land in?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Captain Boll, I repeat, what bay are we cleared to land in, over?

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, you will hold position and await further instructions. Any attempt to land aboard Hypatia will be interpreted as a hostile act and you will be met with force.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Captain, what the hell are you talking about? We’re on your side!

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Captain?

  RADIO MESSAGE: COMMAND CHANNEL HYPATIA

  Participants: Syra Boll, Captain, Hypatia (Acting)

  Mikael Carlin, 2nd Lieutenant, Alexander

  Date: 07/30/75

  Timestamp: 12:23 (16 minutes later)

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant Carlin, this is Captain Syra Boll of the WUC Hypatia. Over.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Captain, I read you, what—

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, the Alexander Cyclone group will proceed to Hypatia Landing Bay Two. All shuttles will land in Bay Three. We’ll tow your pods there, too. Acknowledge?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Thank god. Roger that. Bays Two and Three. Thank you, Cap—

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, I’m sorry, but you and your group will be placed in quarantine.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Quarantine?

  Boll, S, Capt: Affirmative. You will not be permitted to leave Hypatia’s hangar bays.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: But we have wounded! I have friends on those shuttles, and they’re hurt!

  Boll, S, Capt: I understand, Lieutenant. Your wounded will be treated by Hypatia medical personnel in full hazmat gear, accompanied by Hypatia security forces. But I CANNOT allow them to leave the hangar bays. I’m sorry. I can’t take the risk you’ll spread the infection to Hypatia personnel until the quarantine period is complete.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Right. Right, I get it. I understand. Acknowledged. But we need to get the hell away from the Alexander. The AI has—

  Boll, S, Capt: Furthermore, I must request all Alexander military personnel relinquish their sidearms and other munitions upon arrival. The power cores of your Cylones will be deactivated and their weapons disarmed.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Captain, we’re on the same side here …

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, I apologize, but these terms are not negotiable. Furthermore, you will report any outbreak of the Shakes or other Phobos-like symptoms among your people immediately.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: What? Why?

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, I take it you’re a Kerenza conscript?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Yes, ma’am. I used to fly loaders at the spaceport, if you believe that.

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant, if one of your people has contracted the virus, we need to get them separated from the rest of you before the infection spreads. Is this understood?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: But what ab—

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant! I am NOT playing fucking games here! We’re talking about the lives of thousands of people. Non-compliance with these orders or any attempt to impede my staff will be interpreted as a hostile act. Do you acknowledge, Lieutenant?

  Boll, S, Capt: Lieutenant Carlin! Acknowledge!

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: … Acknowledged, Hypatia.

  Boll, S, Capt: When you land, power down your ships, toss your sidearms from your portside and exit your cockpits on starboard. Then await further instructions. Over.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Okay. I mean … roger. Sorry. Christ … it’s just …

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: It’s just that I knew some of … some of them …

  Boll, S, Capt: It’s all right, Lieutenant. It’s going to be okay. We want to help you.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Okay … Yeah, okay.

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Hey, Captain?

  Boll, S, Capt: Yes, Lieutenant?

  Carlin, M, 2nd Lt: Thanks.

  Boll, S, Capt: Don’t thank me yet, Lieutenant. We’re a long way from Heimdall.

  Boll, S, Capt: Hypatia out.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: so i have good news and bad news

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: oh, and worse news

  ByteMe: go

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: good news is we found some hazmat suits and didn’t get fucking murdered by a roaming pack of psychotics armed with fire axes and lead pipes

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: which i guess is excellent news, now i think about it

  ByteMe: best all day, keep talking, don’t waste time.

  ByteMe: tho i’m glad you’re alive <3

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: me too :P

  ByteMe: and the bad news?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: bad news is we made it to some escape pods

  ByteMe: … wait how is that bad news?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: coz every single one we’ve found has been dead. no override. the AI must have freaked out when people started abandoning ship. It’s disabled all the pods.

  ByteMe: shit

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: yyyyyyep

  ByteMe: okay so what’s the worse news?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: i really need to use the little cyclone pilot’s room.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: and there’s no zipper on this fucking suit

  ByteMe: >_>

  ByteMe: are u somewhere secure for now? do you have a power source for the hand unit?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: yeah, juicing it through the wall socket. but power is intermittent. one minute we got lights, next we in pitch black. gravity keeps dropping in and out too.

  ByteMe: look at you, using big words like intermittent. did the army teach you that?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: you wound me, madam

  ByteMe: :P

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: can’t stay in one place long. have to keep moving or else they find us.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: when we were crawling through the vents, i saw this little girl roaming the corridor below us. dragging something wet along the floor behind her

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: at first i thought it was a teddybear or something. and then i realize its a heart.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: like, she’s dragging around a fucking human heart

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: and all of a sudden she looks up at the vent. like RIGHT AT ME. and she just starts screaming at the top of her lungs

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: don’t look at me

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: don’t look at me

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: FUCKED up

  ByteMe: yes. yes it is.

  ByteMe: u should probably not look at her

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: …

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: you’re gonna get me killed, grant

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: making me lol in a situ like this

  ByteMe: sorry

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: everyone’s looking at me like i’m crazy now

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: thx 4 that

  ByteMe: okay, okay. focus.

  ByteMe: so. U can’t get off the ship through escape pods. u have no engines. I guess you know that. hypatia’s got the grunt to outpace you now, if our new captain decides to do it. that’s the bad news on my end.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: so why hasn’t she got you guys the hell out of here? jesus, kady, you guys should just RUN FOR IT

  ByteMe: because AIDAN told her it’ll render us down to our component molecules if we try.

 
Mason, E, LT 2nd: holy shit

  ByteMe: i don’t think it will. it’s programmed to protect us. that’s what it thinks it’s doing even now. but I guess she’s got to think it over a little, with the business end of a nuke pointing at her

  ByteMe: and that gives me a window to work with

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: what can you possibly do from over there? can u hack AIDAN or something?

  ByteMe: don’t think so. don’t know yet. I can def slow the Hypatia down to buy more time if they decide to run.

  ByteMe: maybe i can out myself to the captain, convince her to send me over. i think it would need to be an onsite hack. see if I can get together enough control to make a safe way out.

  ByteMe: i don’t know. i don’t know what the answer is.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: kady you CAN’T come over here, do you understand?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: they’re killing people. you’ve never seen anything like it. the things they do …

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: i don’t want you putting yourself in danger. if you’re evn THINKING about coming near this ship i’ll

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: well

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: i guess i’ll say some very bad words?

  ByteMe: so i what? just wave goodbye and remember you fondly?

  ByteMe: u wouldn’t leave me. I know it. i already left you alone once when you needed me.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: that doesn’t matter now. none of it does. all that matters is i love you and the thought of you safe is the only thing keeping me going

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: you hear me?

  ByteMe: we’re not done yet, okay?

  ByteMe: there’s a way out, Ez

  ByteMe: some shuttles and pods made it across here from the Alexander before the lockdown. we got them quarantined, and if the crew come up clean, we’ll take them, captain said

  ByteMe: we just have to get u here somehow. i can make that happen, i just need time

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: oh you fuck fucking fuckitty motherfucker

  ByteMe: … um?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: no, not u

 
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