Ray Nothnagel

Ship Logs for Lemuria Expedition officer Tech José Incento

April 7, 2115

Ma's got something to be proud of now. I'm officially the first Human to set foot on this planet.

Okay, sure, it's mostly because nobody else wanted the job, but I'm countin' it. And it's only a technicality, of course. There's half a dozen aliens on board, and me and the Lieutenant are the only Humans on it. And the Lieutenant pretty much has to stay on the ship, seeing as she's in command. So, by default, I'm the first Human to set foot on Lemuria.

Just stepped over that root... first Human to do that. Nevermind that the ship's doc Gray Courage warned me not to trip over it. He... or they, I guess would be the right word... they're a Voran drone... not Human. So, I still get credit.

We've got samples to collect today. Gray is a research scientist with a biology background, and they're pulling double duty as the mission's medic. So we're all following their lead. And I... well, I'm mostly carrying stuff. My background is useful in the sense that the captain needs to cover their ass. I'm an archaeologist by training, but there's not actually gonna be any archaeology done on these worlds unless the biologist finds something really weird. So, I'm just lifting.

April 21, 2115

Well, how about that. The biologist found something really weird.

We were exploring a crevasse in our search area when Gray called me over. They had found some fossilized bones that looked suspiciously humanoid. We all explored the area a little more and found some fossils that appeared to be not just humanoid, but actually technological. We’ve got our chemist dating some samples now. For all the extant aliens we’ve met in the last 70 years, this looks like it may be the first planet discovered with evidence of an extinct sentient species.

The sun was getting high in the sky, and it was getting too hot to work, so we had to return to the ship for now. We almost got back too late because we were so enthralled by the discoveries that we starting losing track of time. Gray had to carry me the last few meters; I guess it would be rude to complain about the bumps on my head, since I’d be dying of heat exhaustion if they hadn’t. Vorans just aren’t used to carrying people without exoskeletons I guess.

I’m recovered from my exhaustion now, and Lt. Blake just called us to come check out some readings. Something about Whisker 3, one of the five satellites we dropped in orbit before coming down here.

April 25, 2115

Let's give this another shot.

Turns out Whisker 3 had found a sudden massive storm front from the south, rolling in hard and fast. We’re talking over 400 kph wind speeds, not to mention the risks of not actually knowing what kinds of particulates or flesh eating microbes might be carried by rain on an alien planet. We launched to orbit to avoid being caught in it, so we decided to spend a little time up here. The storm didn’t match any known predicted patterns, and it seemed to go straight to our landing site and just sort of battered that area for a day and a half before dissipating.

That got Blake all paranoid about triggering some sort of weather controlling device down there. She has an overactive imagination.

So, we’re on our way down to the surface again. Let’s see what we can find this time.

Recovered Data Unit logs

April 27, 2115

Maybe the storm has a mind of its own after all. After we landed yesterday, we returned to the site right away, and then got another signal from Whisker 3 just a few hours later—we got more advance warning this time, knowing what to look for. Gray called off the mission and we started heading back to the surface, but then we got separated by a cave in. One of the other Vorans, a male named Beam of Red, was caught underneath—looks like he died instantly. Gray themself had one of their four walking legs caught and broken. They took the remaining crew back to the ship, since they weren’t going to have time to dig me out before the storm hit. The crew is lifting off again, but will come back with heavy equipment in another 4 days to dig me out, after the storm has come and gone.

So all I gotta do is wait out the storm for four days with no supplies. I’ve got one canteen of water on this planet that is 31 C even this deep in a cave. But at least I’ve got my archaeology tools. And my data recorder. So pretty much all I can do is record journal entries until I dehydrate sometime tomorrow.

April 28, 2115

I got an idea! Even better, it worked!

Lucky for me, the Voran that got crushed was closer to my end of the cavein that the outside. More luckily for me, he was carrying the supplies—food and water for the dig crew of five, with redundant supplies for three days, a water recycler, and best of all, a thermal unit designed for the atmosphere on this world. I don’t know any Voran customs for the dead, so after I dug the supplies out, I said a few words over his body. He may or may not get recovered along with me and get a proper funeral, but it seemed right to play it safe.

I set up camp in an adjacent chamber. The food is meant for five people to survive for the three day window for the ship to return; with just me, that means they get five times as long to save me. Water and air shouldn’t be an issue.

I’m going to start moving some of the rocks on my end. I’ve got nothing better to do, and it’ll save them a little time in the rescue.

May 1, 2115

The word “Mayday” seems pretty appropriate.

First of all, the expected rescue time has come and gone. No radio contact. I was angry for a few hours.

I kept digging though. In the last few days I’ve made good progress, and today I managed to clear a tiny hole, enough to toss a small camera drone through. About 30 feet past the cavein, I found a curve that didn’t look right to me—archaeologist, so, pretty good at underground layouts—so I rechecked the vid logs from our trip in. The cave’s layout changed at some point in the last three days. If this isn’t the only spot that’s happened, it’s no wonder I haven’t heard from them. They’re probably lost as hell.

I don’t think I can stay here waiting to be rescued. I’m going to explore the caverns. I left the camera drone out there to monitor and alert me for changes in the cave layout, and have another dozen drones I can leave along my path as relay points—digital bread crumbs. I’m going to try and map out this place, at least, how it is now, and see if I can find a way out.

I have two log recorders—this one is mine, and I also have the dead Voran’s. I’m going to leave this data unit with my initial logs in the cave here where I’ve been stuck while I go explore and try to find a way out. If you find this log, you hopefully know where to look to find me. Follow the trail of camera drones, I guess.

Hope you find me. Or I find you.

Captain’s Log

June 12, 2115

We had to call off the search for Tech Incento today. Two crew of the expedition are declared missing and presumed dead. We will be returning to Parella to deliver the news to their families and to get more experts who might be able to figure out what exactly is going on in that cave. Though we’ve lost people, the small bits of technology we’ve found are too incredible to ignore.

We will be back.

© 2019 by Afterverse Inc

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