Thursday, November 12, 2009



((60 - Greyscale))

May 14th, 802 AT

"Kasby?" Owl paused in the doorway to his room, looking at her feet awkwardly, before opening her mouth and spilling. "I don't mean to bother you, but um, I was reading through one of the books, the one about the history of Sector Thirty-Four, and um, it had all this stuff about the families, and I realized I don't know anything about, you know, how marriage works, so I was wondering..."

The rememorist trailed off, and after a moment of silence, looked up. Kasby's room was quite empty, which explained the lack of a response. In the two weeks they'd been falling towards Sector Four, she hadn't actually been inside Kasby's room. She glanced around, taking in the bare bed, the small workbench lined with tools, the low bookshelf of journals, her mind cataloguing and permanently storing everything she saw. The room was very tidy and organized, everything slotted into what Owl assumed was its proper place.

One item stood out, though. A book, lying open atop Kasby's bed. Owl walked the rest of the way into the room, feeling somewhat self-conscious, but figuring that Kasby wouldn't mind. She sat down on the bed and started to read from the opened page, not daring to possibly lose Kasby's place in his reading.

Oct 12, 801 AT, nine days since leaving the Corkscrew.
Encountered our first demon this trip out, today. Of course little Max Barrett was all manner of overeager to get his hands on it. We let him, of course, and he opened right up on it with the HAVOC. It was his first kill, actually. Julia was all manner of thrilled for him. You'd think she'd just seen her son save the world or something. Still, though, did good for crew morale. Having an extremely happy ten-year-old tends to be infectious.
Lenny sketched the demon, as usual. Full report can be found in his logs, as well as the Dyson's official logs.
Other than that, uneventful day. Tomorrow we'll swing by Sensor Buoy 07.195, and make sure it's running fine.

Oct 13, 801 AT, ten days since leaving the Corkscrew.
Sensor Buoy 07.195 in pristine operating condition. Tested it across all frequencies, checked batteries, and looked for residual signatures. Nothing out of the expected areas.
Did take the opportunity to patch the Dyson's sensors into the buoy's, give us some additional range, see if we could find anything of interest. Picked up some strange readings out along roughly vector 17.534/125. We'll head out that way and investigate.
Andrew and Mickey had another fight. I swear, if Andrew weren't such a good doctor, and Mickey weren't such a good cook... It's getting to be rather problematic. Lenny sat them both down and yelled at them for a good hour, and that seemed to straighten them out for the moment. We'll see how long it lasts, though.

Oct 15, 801 AT, twelve days since leaving the Corkscrew.
Found the source of the strange signals. A ship adrift, the Dawkins, heavily damaged. The ship is large, almost the size of the Dyson, and clearly not out of Sector Seven. The Dyson's the biggest ship in the Sector, so... based on the trajectory, the crew is guessing it came from Sector Eight.
We sent a search party aboard, comprised of myself, Julia, Lenny, and Andrew. We left Mickey behind to take care of Max, and of course Hara refused to come. Ever since that incident with the derelict last year... can't really blame her, to be honest. There are some things you just shouldn't have to see...
Anyway, we found one survivor, and five dead. We brought the survivor aboard, and Andrew put to work patching him up, but he's still unconscious. Hopefully we'll be able to bring him around and find out what happened. Julia and I went belowdecks and found all of the crews' journals. I'll set to reading them tonight.

Oct 16, 801 AT, thirteen days since leaving the Corkscrew.
Andrew managed to stabilize the survivor, whose name I'm fairly certain is Calis Hunt. Just by process of elimination of the journals. He hasn't woken up yet, but hopefully he will soon. Have been reading through the journals, have yet to find anything particularly relevant to how they died. All the journals I've read just end, six days before we found the Dawkins. Hunt's journal is the last one I've got to read.
We've decided to head back to the Corkscrew early, report in and see if we can't help Hunt, not to mention send a message to Sector Eight about what we found.

Oct 17, 801 AT, seven days until arrival at the Corkscrew.
Read through Hunt's journals. Some really interesting ideas about morality, and some fascinating commentary on his crew's habits, but nothing about their deaths. Hopefully he'll wake up soon. I would love to discuss his ideas with him.
His condition continues to improve. Andrew really is a fantastic doctor.

Oct 18, 801 AT, six days until arrival at the Corkscrew.
Hunt finally woke up this morning, though Andrew wouldn't let me see him for most of the day. Said he needed to rest. When I finally got in to talk with him, still wouldn't talk about what killed his crew. Seemed very traumatized by the ordeal, so Andrew and I both decided not to press the issue. He'll talk when he's ready, no need to worsen the trauma.
Did manage to talk to him about his big idea, though. He was quite eager to talk about it, at great length. Has me quite convinced, I must say. Explained the idea to Andrew, who immediately went in to get more on it from Hunt. As of this writing, they're still in there talking. Andrew seems even more taken with it than I am.
Hara was being rather unpleasant today, though. Will have to give the girl a stern talking to.

Oct 19, 801 AT, five days until arrival at the Corkscrew.
Mickey's dead.
We found him in his room this morning. Looked like he'd been beaten to death with his own wrench.
The crew's very on edge. We spent the day scouring the ship for any sort of demon, and running extensive tests on each other to make sure none of us is a shapeshifter.
The obvious suspect is Hunt, so we've locked the infirmary, and now have a round-the-clock guard watching him at all times.
I did sit down with him and Andrew to discuss his idea some more, though. Regardless of how suspicious we are, he's more than willing to continue to talk about it. Apparently it's a fairly new idea--had just occurred to him when whatever tragedy befell the Dawkins hit them.
We held a brief remembrance for Mickey this evening after dinner. Max cried. I think he'd started to see Mickey as something of a father figure, what with his real father long gone. I felt bad for Julia, but wasn't sure what to say. Hara, of course, was completely out of line, and said all manner of unpleasant things. She was also no help during the proceedings today. I don't know how she expects to stay on this ship if she keeps this up.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Oct 22, 801 AT, two days until arrival at the Corkscrew.
I haven't been able to write in a few days. Things have been rather hectic aboard the Dyson, and not in a good way. Andrew and Hunt seem to have gone mad, and barricaded themselves belowdecks. They killed Julia and Max both. Lenny and I chased them down to the storage room this morning, but now they're holed up with heavy weapons. On the bright side, we've got access to the food and our rooms again, which is how I'm writing.
I don't understand how this could've happened... perhaps some sort of demonic virus?
Whatever the case, Lenny and I are going to have to stop them, and fast. What they have could be contagious, and there's no way I'm going to let this get back to the Corkscrew.
Oh, and Hara's gone as well. Went over the edge. Terrible way to die, but... well, seems fitting in a way, doesn't it? I always wondered how she was managing to stay on the ship...

Oct 23, 801 AT, one day until arrival at the Corkscrew.
This morning, Lenny and I decided to make a final push to take out the two madmen in the hold... seems they'd done it for us. Far as we could tell, Hunt had killed Andrew, and then died from a combination of existing wounds from our fight yesterday.
Things didn't get better, though. Lenny and I started arguing whether or not we had been right in fighting them, whether it was the demon's fault or theirs. I brought up Hunt's idea, because it seemed relevant, and Lenny wasn't happy. We got to yelling, and he attacked me. I... I had no choice but to kill him, in self defense.
Tomorrow I return to the Corkscrew alone.

Oct 24, 801 AT.
Unsurprisingly, my arrival at the Corkscrew was not exactly greeted with open arms. I went straight to quarantine, at my own request, and debriefed Coordinator Daniels as to the fate of the Dyson.
I've... been in quarantine ever since. I'm not really sure what to say or do.
At least I've got Carver here. She's working hard to figure out what the hell caused all of this... Has Hunt halfway dissected, from what I can see.
She was nice enough to stay down here and talk with me, tonight. Could tell I needed the company, I think. We talked for a long while, about what happened to my crew. Morality, the nature of human life... We don't think about it much, out here in the Void, but our lives are... ah, nevermind. I've never been much of one for deep thought. We also discussed Hunt's ideas on morality for a while. At first she was pretty offended by them, but eventually she started to seem a bit intrigued. Maybe we'll talk about it more tomorrow.
Expect to be in quarantine for a while. Certainly until Carver figures out what drove my crew mad, and that I'm not contagious...

Oct 25, 801 AT.
Amanda visited me this morning. She's doing better, it seems. She says she misses the leg, but is learning to live without it. I... I don't know if she's forgiven me yet. Or if she ever will. I told her I still loved her, but she didn't answer.
I was glad our son wasn't there to see it. Amanda says he's out on patrol right now, and should be out for another few weeks. He... I haven't talked to him since it happened. I know Amanda's always been closer to him, but...
There I go again, trying to get philosophical or emotional. Not my forte.
Carver still hasn't found anything.

Oct 26, 801 AT.
Carver tells me that Hunt's crazy ideas are spreading like wildfire through the Corkscrew. All anyone seems to do at dinner is debate the merits of his moralities and ethics, and how it applies to every aspect of life. It's fascinating stuff, really. Though I admit, after a week of thinking about it, I'm starting to have second thoughts, really. At first I was completely convinced of it, but now... eh. It's a lot less straightforward than it looked at first.
Carver's given me a clean bill of non-contagion, but still wants to keep me for observation for another night. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be free to wander the Corkscrew again.

Oct 27, 801 AT.
Let out of quarantine. Got in some pretty intense arguments in the mess hall over what I'd done. Wound up getting punched by Wadins. Kid needs to learn to watch his tongue and his fists around his elders... I made that quite clear to him, a little later in the afternoon.
I think Amanda's avoiding me. I wish she wouldn't.

Oct 30, 801 AT.
I... I don't understand.
I don't understand what went wrong.
Whatever I had, whatever happened to them... it happened to everyone else. They went mad. The whole Corkscrew is coming apart. Hundreds have died. It's... it all comes down to morality, though. I don't regret what I've done. The people I've killed in the last few days... it was me or them. And that's life. That's how things go. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and in this case it meant killing a lot of people to stay alive.
I don't regret it, but I think I might hate myself for it.

Oct 31, 801 AT.
Some idiot sent out a mass recall by radio. All the pilots in the area are starting to work their way back here, not realizing that they're coming to their deaths. It's not their fault, though, not really. It's the fault of everyone else on this goddamn base.
I led a group to the comm center, and we killed everyone in it. Especially the radio operators. They were idiots, goddamn idiots. Didn't deserve to live.
I hope to hell my son didn't hear the call, or comes back late, or something. This would be a terrible way to go, for him.
I can't find Amanda. I hope she's alright.

Nov 1, 801 AT.
Amanda has holed herself up in what used to be our apartment. Now I guess it's just her apartment. I tried to go in and talk to her, but she shot at me. With my own damn shotgun.
That bitch.
I guess I just need to give her some space.
There aren't many survivors left, now. Not since the demons arrived this morning. A few dozen of them. Didn't seem to be working in tandem, just an unlucky coincidence, I guess. Those that are left seem to be siding with me, for the most part. Coordinator Daniels still has a dozen or so followers, but they won't last long, I don't think.

Nov 3, 801 AT.
Funny, really. I was the only survivor of the Dyson, and now it's looking like I'll be the only survivor of of the Corkscrew. I killed Daniels this morning. Shot down a few of the incoming pilots, as well. I think that's all of them, save for my son. He still hasn't come back from patrol. At this point it'd be better if he just stayed out, really.
The only one left now is Amanda.
I'm going for her in a few hours.
Time to die, love.

The rest of the page was blank. Owl flipped through the remaining pages, blinking with worry and confusion and fear. All were blank. Slowly, she sat up, and closed the book. The leather cover read, in inset letters, The Journal of Daniel Bellwood.

She sat there for a while, mouth slightly open, as the implications of what she'd just read sank in. Then she reopened the book to the page it had been on when she'd arrived, and tried to put it back on the bed just as she remembered it. She got up, and turned to the door, only to find Kasby standing there, leaning in the doorframe.

"You should've asked," the pilot said quietly.

Owl's eyes went wide. "I--I--I'm sorry! I just saw it lying there, and then I thought..." Her stammered apology trailed off, unsure of where it was trying to go.

He let out a small sigh. "It's alright, I suppose." He walked into the room, and picked up his father's journal, looking it over for a minute, then pushed it gently into the open slot on the shelf.

After a moment's silence, Owl spoke up. "What... what happened to them? Can... can I ask that?"

Kasby nodded slowly. "It took me a while to figure out, myself. It was a memetic demon."

"A what?"

"A... a demonic idea. The demon had no physical form. Just an idea, that wanted to be spread, that forced its way from mind to mind, driving its hosts to kill anyone they disagreed with. And then it fed on the energy of that death." He sat on the bed, looking at the floor. "It drove the entire Corkscrew mad."

"... oh. How... how did you escape?"

"I got lucky." He smiled a little, bitterly. "My radio was broken when the call went out that carried the meme with it, so I missed that. And by the time I got back to the Corkscrew, everyone else was dead." He paused, swallowing. "My mother was the last to go. She killed my father, and then herself."

Owl just looked at him sadly, not sure of what to say.

"Of course," he continued. "I got the meme too. I found it written in someone's journal, while trying to figure out what had killed everyone I had ever loved. But without anyone for me to kill, the meme burned itself out, and starved to death, and I eventually fell back into sanity."

"I'm... I'm sorry..."

He cut her off, his voice taking on a much harder edge. "I had to burn it all. Every journal that had the idea. Every scrap of paper. I just took it down to the Core and threw it in." Kasby was trembling, just enough to be noticeable.

Owl bit her lip. "I... you did the right thing, Captain."

He looked up at her, that same bitter smile on his face. "Thank you, Owl. If... if you don't mind, I think I need to be alone for a little while."

The rememorist nodded, and turned and walked out of the room, trying not to hear her captain's quiet crying behind her.

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