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 Post subject: Episode 10: Off the Beaten Path
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:55 pm 
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Episode 10: Off the Beaten Path

Colonial Outpost 29
Mission: Discover, study, and seek to explain celestial phenomena.
Vision: To expand our knowledge about the universe.

Staff:
David Westin Dedrick, PhD, Computer Systems Specialist
Kevin Kelviksen, PhD, Metallurgical Engineer
Tamra Kelviksen, MD, PhD Biochemist
Erica Kyriakos, PhD, Phyicist
David William “Trap” Moreland IV, PhD, Mathematician
Andrew "Andy" Peterson, PhD, Astronomer
Lucinda Janet “Lucy” Tremayne, PhD, Microbiologist


Last edited by GoldWolf on Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:55 pm 
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The chances of anyone reading this are one in—well, even I can’t calculate that. Not enough data. Call it a long shot. But we all decided it needed to be documented, and I was elected. Kind of ironic, that; I’m the numbers guy. We voted, though, and I ‘won’.

So you’re stuck reading what the numbers guy can write.

At the beginning: before the beginning, I suppose, you’ll find--well, me, because I was the one elected to write. David William Moreland IV, but everyone calls me ‘Trap’. Short for trapezoid. Because I’m too weird to be just a plain square. I used to hate the nickname, when I was a kid, but it grew on me. At least they didn’t call me “Zoid”! So, me, Trap, age 27 years 122 days, tall and skinny, mathematician. I’ll spare you the formula I use to classify people… just a personal quirk, something hardwired in my brain. Math, but my real ‘talent’, if you want to call it that, is hearing things. I can hear order in the most random static, pick up the faintest trace of purpose from the vast chaos of space. I am even better than the computers at this—and I say it not as a boast, but so you’ll understand why I do what I do. Although I can’t myself understand how or why I have this talent.

I’ll get the others to introduce themselves, if they want. It’s always interesting to see how someone’s internal formula of themselves deviates from how others see them.

Hi, I’m Tamra Kelviksen. (I feel very strange writing this. I’m glad we elected Trap as our writer.) I’m 48 (really). I started training to be a medical doctor, but got sidetracked into biochemistry. I’m the one who looks at the data and tries to determine if any of the objects our probes discover can support biological ‘life’, even if it’s just on the molecular level. –I just asked Trap what else I should write, and he said, “whatever you want.” So I will say this, about him: he is very quiet, but I don’t think he is weird.

Trap here again, and because fair is fair, I will say this about Tamra: she is really pretty and it’s a damn shame she’s totally devoted to Kevin. –She is reading over my shoulder, and told me I have to type this: “The girls say he is a thoughtful and thorough lover.” Now I know my face is red so we’ll move on…

Kevin didn’t want to write anything about himself, so I will fill you in: he’s a metallurgist. He analyzes and categorizes the different kinds of minerals and ores our scans find. I don’t know crap about ore, so that’s about all I can say on that. I will say that he kind of resembles ore. He’s big and craggy and mean looking—the kind of guy you’d like on your side in a fight, but he’s not really mean. (Added later, when he read this: “I don’t need to fight. People just avoid fighting me.” I can see that.)

Hi. I’m Andy, Andy Peterson. I’ve always loved space and spent much of my childhood looking at the stars with cheap, everyday kid’s telescopes. When I entered college I studied hard and eventually had the opportunity to intern at the Misha Observatory on Caprica. It was a truly fascinating experience, and I’ve been watching stellar objects ever since. It’s boring to most people really. I can’t get dates and can’t really chat at social functions. So I guess you could say I’m perfect for this assignment… two years with just six other human beings around? Let’s just say I brought a lot of reading material, made sure there would be telescopes to look through, and leave it at that. I don’t quite know what else to say, unless you want to hear about gaseous nebulae, dark matter, or spiral ringed galaxies. I like looking at stars… that’s me.

Trap has asked that I introduce myself. Here it is. My name is Lucinda Janet Tremayne. I hold a PhD in microbiology and bio-chemistry from the Canceron Institute of Applied Sciences. My thesis dealt with the characterization of K domain amino-acids and their interaction with molecular chaperones. I volunteered for Outpost 29 to study the development, mutation and adaptation of micro-organisms to deep-space conditions. I am 37. I'm inordinately fond of chocolate, especially chocolate-dipped pretzels. Some say I am not unattractive. At least I can get laid when the need strikes. I don't speak unless I have something to say. That's it.

My name is David Westin Dedrick, and I was assigned to Outpost 29 as a Computer Systems Specialist. I am 38, and a native of Scorpia. I received my PhD in Computer Engineering from Delphi University on Caprica when I was 26. Shortly after graduation I began working for a defense contractor. After a little more than two years, I decided to quit my job, and I returned home and enlisted in the Scorpia Federal Army as a rifleman. I served one four-year tour of duty, and saw action a handful of times throughout Scorpia Colony. Toward the end of my tour I was gassed, during the Melendi Uprising. Afterward I accepted an Honorable Discharge and retired to my parent‘s home. While at home, I engaged in several personal research projects related to my field of expertise, and established several Colonial patents in my name. The outcome of a couple of these projects resulted in a request that I accept employment with the Colonial government. That, of course, led to my assignment here.

Erica Kyriakos. Age 31. I talk quantum theory with Andy and numbers with Trap… actually, I’m probably the most outgoing of all of us. When I tell people I’m a physicist, they’re always surprised… ‘but you seem so normal!’ Medium height, medium build, but I have big enough boobs to keep Trap happy. I know when Trap reads this, his face will get red; he gets embarrassed very easily! He can tell you that’s a hobby of mine: embarrassing him. I suppose I should tell you a little about my education. I barely made it through my undergrad degree (nursing, isn’t that a laugh!), but managed because I discovered physics when I was nearly done, and then I was hooked. I went on to get my PhD in Physics from the Caprica Institute of Technology, also Trap’s alma mater. Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:55 pm 
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All right, that’s the “who”. Now for the “what” and “where”:

Outpost 29. I liked it from the first time I heard it; a lovely prime number. Seven of us altogether, another prime number, on Outpost 29. The symmetry of it pleased me. Outpost 29 was… is… a scientific deep-space station; our mission is to search outward and record anything we find. We have all the leading-edge technology; radio telescopes, remote unmanned probes, receivers, computers, data-crunching and data-storing. People have said it’s an ugly station, unless you like antennas sticking out every which way, receiving dishes, sensors, all stuck on an asymmetrical, lumpy looking body. Me, I kind of like it… but as I said, I’m weird (don’t listen to Tamra). An odd conglomeration of high tech suspended far from our home worlds in the middle of nothing. Not even near any asteroids or other space junk… far off the beaten path.

It’s a two-year tour of duty, although we’re not military, but we all had to sign the agreement: two years. Two years with only wireless contact back to the colonies. Two years looking at the same four walls (actually more than four, but you get what I mean), with only six other people to interact with. We were all tested and measured, physically and psychologically, to make sure we’d work well together, to make sure none of us would flip out, to make sure we could handle the unique stresses that Outpost 29 would impose on us.

I don’t think the psychological testing took into account the annihilation of our civilization.


Last edited by GoldWolf on Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:56 pm 
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Okay, here I am again. Hours after I first started for me, but for you, if you kept reading, just the leap of a few milliseconds to the next line. Rather like FTL travel.

The site where a nuclear (new-clee-er, please, NOT nuke-u-lar… sorry, one of my quirks…) –anyhow, the site where a nuclear detonation occurs is called ‘ground zero’. So now that the introductions are done, I will start with ‘day zero’.

I’ll be brief, if you’re reading this you probably already know about day zero. Or maybe not, but the details aren’t important. The chances that you’ll already know about day zero are—oh, sorry. The others made me promise I wouldn’t bore you with numbers. I don’t find numbers boring, but a lot of people do.

Day Zero. The day the cylons destroyed the colonies. I won’t use the word ‘decimate’ because that means to kill one of every ten. They killed a hell of a lot more than that… but hopefully not everyone. We will probably never know if any survived; but there’s always a chance, even if I can’t calculate it. Other outposts like ours, ships that jumped away, industrial settlements on trivial asteroids… sometimes the gods operate outside probability.

I was the first one who heard, because that’s what I do: listen. I was monitoring the frequencies, the scanner scrolling fast, the sound in my earpiece gibberish to the others, but like music to me. Most of it, 99.9732% (okay, sorry, couldn’t help but get ONE number in here), was random noise, which made the military broadcast stand out even more. I stopped the scanner, tuned the signal in, and put it over the loudspeaker.

For the next three days, we all lived in the 9.43 square feet around my workstation. I missed some of the broadcasts, but I got the important ones. The colonies, all of them, nuked by the cylons. Our military defenses, all taken by surprise. Civilian broadcasts, calling for help, reporting… death and destruction. By the third day, all that was left was automated repeating distress signals, with no one to respond to them.

We, Outpost 29, were remote, out of reach of the ruin of our home worlds, undiscovered by the cylons, forgotten by the gods.

Isolated.


Last edited by GoldWolf on Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:56 pm 
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Day 4

I’m going to skip over the everyday things and just tell you about the out-liers, the events that occurred outside the curve.

On day four, we had a meeting: what should we do? We had no weapons, even though a couple of us wanted to go back and fight. We didn’t even have a way to ‘go back’. The station itself has sub-light station-keeping engines, which can move us at a stately pace of 1,263.7 miles a day. That’s nothing compared to the vastness that surrounds us. We have a standard colonial ten-passenger shuttle; sorry, no FTL drive. And a maintenance hopper, with enough room for a pilot and two others, to do repairs on the outside of the station if any were needed. We were designed to be completely self-supporting: four and a half years of supplies for a two-year tour (just in case), the ship that would take us home scheduled to arrive in 554 days. That ship would never arrive, now.

So going back was out.

There weren’t any other real options. We could keep doing our jobs, or not do them. We decided to keep doing our jobs, on the long shot that the data we collected might someday be useful to someone.

In the meeting we also decided that we needed to keep a record of this, and I was elected as the writer. But you already knew that.

I listened to the frequencies with both hope and dread. Hope that… maybe we would be found. Dread that it would be the cylons who found us. Chances that anyone would find us were small, and no, I won’t even try to calculate it. The outpost was designed to be invisible, to restrict all emanations so that nothing would interfere with the data we were collecting.

Suspended in space, literally the middle of nowhere.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:56 pm 
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Day 7

I was the one who brought it up; we were virtually invisible. What if there was a chance there were any other survivors, anyone else out there?

And of course, what if it was the cylons who found us?

Well, the cylons probably wouldn’t find us, and neither would any surviving colonists, not unless we announced ourselves.

We analyzed it to pieces, in about 23 minutes. That’s how it works when you have seven scientific minds concentrating on a single problem. The end result was, we prepared a narrow-frequency directional transmission. If I—or anyone else, but it would probably be me—detected friendly signals, we’d send our identification and location in a burst transmission, unlikely to be detected by anyone other than who we sent it to.

That problem solved, another arose.

We’d started with four and a half years of supplies, and had four years worth left. (I put the actual amounts in here, but then the others read it and told me to edit… so you get the approximations. I apologize if you’re like me and prefer precise numbers!)

Should we ration, or shouldn’t we? Logic prevailed: we’d ration. Tamra, our main medical person, forbid me from calculating how much longer that would give us. There was no way to accurately predict future food consumption, she’d argued, and she had a point. Each of us had different metabolic rates, different activity levels, and that varied over time, even within one person. I’m the fidgety, forget-to-eat type, hence why I’m skinny, and when I do finally realize I’m hungry, I’ll bolt down whatever. Kevin liked food, liked to eat, and he was the one who grumbled the most about rationing, even though he agreed with it.

Tamra came up with a rationing chart, how much for each of us every day. We each had our own fitness program, too, and she changed that, but she insisted that we had to maintain a baseline level of fitness. No matter how much we rationed, there was still a limit to our supplies, and if we stayed fit we’d stay healthy.

And, theoretically, enjoy our remaining time left in good health.

Another problem solved.

It was interesting how hope could be high one moment, and plummet the next.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:57 pm 
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Day 9

The only thing of interest to note on this day was that Kevin decided to try and figure out if we could raise our own food. On our rationing plan, we had over six years to come up with viable crops; the main problem was lack of space. The outpost was crammed with equipment, most of it vital to our mission.

I looked at some data for him, and crunched the numbers; using the best possible scenario, it would take .736 of an acre of crops to support one person. We didn’t have enough square footage in our current configuration for even that, let alone seven times that.

He was still determined to work on the problem, though.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:57 pm 
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Days 12-16

Day 12 was our lowest day so far. As usually happens with a small group of people who live so closely together, the mood of one or two infects all the others.

The finality of what had happened had finally sunk in. For all practical purposes, we seven were ‘it’, all that was left of humanity, and we were living on limited time anyway.

Kevin had been trying to think of a way, any way, to find or build the space to grow crops. None of his ideas were even close to being feasible. He sat at his workstation and kept on scrolling through the same data, over and over.

We were all depressed.

By day 16, though, we seem to have averaged out, normalized our moods. The atmosphere was still gloomy—even a numbers person like me could sense that—but it was a determined kind of gloom. We were going to die, dammit, and we had a pretty good idea of when, but we were going to do what we could in the meantime.

And hope that someone would benefit from our efforts.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:57 pm 
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Day 25

What Tamra and Kevin did shocked us more than what the cylons did, I think. Or maybe what they did really brought home what the cylons had done…

It was on day 21, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about it until now. Even now… even now, it’s hard.

Pardon me.




The Note:

Please don’t feel badly about what Kevin and I have decided. We, Kev and I, discussed this for hours—days. Since nearly that first day. Think of it as our gift to you all. With two fewer people for the station to support, it will significantly extend the amount of time the rest of you have. Others of you have medial and chemical and mineralogical knowledge, so our absence will not deter the mission.

We thank you all for your love and companionship. You know we both believe in the afterlife. That’s where we are now.

Farewell, friends.





Sorry. I have been sitting here at the computer for 34 minutes 27 seconds, not sure what else to write.

Tamra took a massive amount of narcotics and injected herself and Kevin, probably at the beginning of their sleep shift. We found their bodies with their arms around each other. They looked like they were peacefully asleep.

I sure as hell hope there’s an afterlife.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Day 29

I never realized how incredibly boring and repetitive our daily lives were, until I was given the task of keeping this record.

We ‘buried’ Tamra’s and Kevin’s bodies. We all suited up and got in the shuttle and… well, pushed them out into space, on a vector in the direction of the nearest solar system that had any probably of supporting life. It would take more lifetimes than I could calculate for them to get there, but I suppose it didn’t matter to them.

Maybe it sounds stupid, but as their bodies drifted out of our sight, I recited: “3.14159265358979323846.” Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, a number that never changes. A full circle, for Tamra and Kevin; from nothing, to nothing.

Erica said a few normal kinds of things. Leave it to her.

Five of us left. Another prime number. I wasn’t that fond of it.

I was angry. How dare they take their lives and leave the rest of us behind?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:58 pm 
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D31 T1006

I heard it, and didn’t believe my ears. I tuned it in, but it was still faint and nearly indecipherable. It was clearly colonial, though.

I put it on the loudspeaker. Everyone gathered around.

I transmitted our prepared message.

[“This is Colonial Outpost 29, coordinates 3478.2 x19.0x882.2 mark 7623.4; repeat, this is Colonial Outpost 29, coordinates 3478.2 x19.0x882.2 mark 7623.4. Authentication beta7 chi3. This is not an automated signal. Please respond on this frequency.”]

We waited for an answer.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:07 am 
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Commander Benito Rodrigues
Battlestar Libra Actual
-CIC-

D31 T1017

The authentication code was genuine. Cmdr Rodrigues consulted with Col Vansen, and they decided to send the Perseus, accompanied by Kalrk in the Mercurius. The Griffyn needed repairs from their recent tangle with cylons, and her crew needed to rest.

Hastings found an entry in the databanks on Colonial Outpost 29. It was designed for a small staff to conduct deep-space exploration, and had no defenses and only sublight engines. Rodrigues waited for Kalrk’s report before he would make any decision on what action to take.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:45 am 
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(Cowritten with Sil)

Day 31,
1020 CUT
Perseus

"Get me Captain Kalrk from the Mercurius on the line Specialist!"

Just a moment before, Cole had received Orders from Commander Rodriguez, Mercurius and Perseus would be ones to investigate the transmision they had received, from someone claiming to be a colonial outpost.
But before they jumped, Cole wanted to have a little chat with Captain Karlk...

"Mercurius, this is Perseus Actual...do you read me?"

["This is mercurius, go ahead, Persues, I read you."]

"I suggest you dock with us Mercurius, we will take you along. Should there be any sign of trouble, you will have your FTL ready and can jump back to warn the fleet...."

["You want Mercurius to dock inside Perseus, so that in the envent of trouble, I can launch and report back to Libra? Is this correct?"]

"That was the idea, yes."

["Sounds good, Perseus. Open the door and I'll wipe my feet before i come inside."]

Cole turned towards yet another too young Lieutenant and ordered him to make the hangar deck ready for Mercurius before responding to Kalrk.

"Preparations are already being made Captain....step in."

['Thank you, Perseus. Mercurius is entering. Captain Kalrk, out."]

With mercurius docked inside Perseus, the destroyer made the jump to the coordiantes. Hoping to find a colonial outpost, but ready if it were a cylon trap.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:53 am 
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1022, Day 31
Mercurius docked inside Perseus

Kalrk waited at the controls of his ship, ready to launch if the destroyer found herself surrounded by cylon vessels.

Nicely played, Rodrigues. You send me away AGAIN, and then you have Cole hold Merc inside his ship. Why don't you just cut my balls off?

Kalrk had done what Rodrigues had asked; he had gone to find Harvest Moon, and now he had agreed to go with Perseus, and he had even agreed to Cole's "request" that Merc sit inside Perseus like some caged bird.

And there might be wolves outside.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:28 am 
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D31
T1023
Perseus

With a flash of light, Perseus reappared, several kilometers from the little outpost, but still dwarfing it considerably.

His eyes glued to an almost empty DRADIS screen, Cole listened to the various reports being made.


"Jump completed successfully Sir."

"DRADIS detects Outpost 29 right where it should be...no sign of cylons around here!"

With a small sigh, Cole turned away from the DRADIS and towards the Communications Specialist.

"Open me a line to the Outpost please.And tell Captain Karlk that he is free to take a look around if he wants to..."

"Yes Sir."

Code:
"Outpost 29, this is Colonel Richard Cole from the Colonial Destroyer Perseus, good to see you. Be advised, we'll be sending a shuttle over shortly.

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