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Source Melchizedek.0294
Approach β Hyi
Ascension 00h 25m 45.07036s
Declination –77° 15′ 15.2860″
Distance 24.33ly
Equinox J2000.0 SOL
Year 3781, QEC adjusted

[Autotranslator enabled...]

Jerome Somerset Pasani, Warrant Master
I can report with some satisfaction that all conscious crew have
regained enough muscle mass to return to full duty. This is no
small feat so soon after abbreviated cryo and it reflects the
excellent personal character of each of our officers. Adeyemi, in
particular, deserves special acknowledgement. I previously
remarked that her own specialty does not provide appropriate
experience for our present circumstance; which, as it seems, only
belies my own ignorance of her training. Prezzi Adeyemi is an
accomplished chef--a byproduct of her training for the Rhetorical
Ecclesia--which has helped us to identify our fungal infestation
in the cryo bay. Having a fully trained exo-mycologist could not
have helped us any more.

The stow-away is a form of acrasidae, a slime mold. Our best guess
is that a few spores found their way through decontamination
procedures at launch. The lengthy darkness, ambient heat, and
condensation on the surface of the pods created a fertile
environment for it to flourish. The best news of all is that the
slime is harmless and should be easily cleaned away in short
order. Adeyemi is consulting our database to see if there's any
use for the biomass before we eject it. Perhaps we can salvage it
for nutrient use in our hydroponics.

Speaking of hydroponics, here Dr. Idjani has more concerning news.
Our systems are automated and the harvesting of organic matter
from the botany systems should be relatively straight forward.
These systems have been used commercially planet-side and in
long-distance relativistic travel for centuries even prior to our
own launch. What we're experiencing is, to use the doctor's words,

Of our dominant crops, arabidopsis and radishles (a fruiting
hybrid) have both shown unexpected mutation. There is an abundance
of nitrogen in our atmosphere as a result of whatever processes
they have undergone; we haven't pinned down exactly what that is
yet. The ventilation systems need to be purged and oxygen recycled
back in a more appropriate mix. I had failed to mention the crew's
experience of headaches in my last message having assumed it
related to early thawing from cryo, but now it seems suspect.
We're all taking in extra oxygen during rest to avoid additional
issues. The doctor says it's good that the full crew were not
brought out at once. The oxygen levels would have been dangerous
for that many conscious crew at once. We got lucky.

The food that arabidopsis and radishles would normally produce is
suspect as well. We're on rations already since we shouldn't be
awake yet, but this will be an added complication and something to
address. Finally, the mutation was not caused by replication error
as in normal mutation. It seems that several specific protein
readers were adjusted in similar ways across the genome of both
plants. We've also found similar markers affecting four other
species which did not result in a visible mutation. Whatever
happened to our greens was done en mass and with precision. We
haven't ruled out human interference, possibly by some saboteur
before launch. Honestly, I hope that's the cause. I don't want to
think of what it could mean otherwise.

In terms of navigation, Hämäläinen and Janssen have plotted
a gentle course correction that will have us back on track over
the next three weeks with only minimal impact on our energy
reserves. The reserves are precise; however, and the energy must
be balanced elsewhere. As much as it pains me, I've placed orders
across the ship that habitat lighting and heating be kept to
a minimum. We will have to use personal heating and lighting
equipment for the next three weeks. Solar lamp time is mandatory
for all five of us to avoid psychological impact, and Idjani has
distributed a vitamin mix to help augment our diet.

The cold and dark are nothing new, but such an extended period may
cause feelings of isolation and depression. The crew is paired up
for the duration at my order: Hämäläinen & Janssen, Idjani
& Adeyemi. As warrant officer, I'll be treating the QEC as my own
confidant. May the stars see us through this safely.