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Source Melchizedek.0294
β Hyi, 4th Planet
Ascension 00h 25m 45.07037s
Declination –77° 15′ 15.2860″
Distance 24.37ly
Equinox J2000.0 SOL
Year 3782, QEC adjusted

[Autotranslator enabled...]
[Voice recording initialize...ON]
[Crew autodetection...ON]
[Narrative mode...ON]
[Autodisconnect after 5 minute silence...ON]
:::
[Voice detected: Maureen Hendrix, Staff Sergeant]

Hendrix:

  This is Maureen on day one hundred twenty three, ER [translation
  note: Earth Relative]. Let's see what we have on the agenda
  today, shall we? Hmm, yes, it looks like we'll be working with
  human waste again. Lovely. Queen of the shits, reporting in.

  Before Bern gets on my case, lets run through the basics:

  I am now inspecting ship-board waste reclamation unit number
  four, called aft-commode by our ship designation, and "shit
  house" by our colorful crew. Unit four is a favorite of our
  botany team because, of course. Being the most isolated on the
  ship and furthest from sleeping quarters it tends to gather the
  most solid waste. Why might a botanist like solid human waste?
  Microbes, my dears!

  We've got all these little sorts of critters in here crawling
  around doing their funny little business. Their little antics
  are the building blocks of life. (Or at least a nice low part of
  it.) Today I will be separating them from their cultures. I'll
  bet Bernie never thought of calling her business "culture"
  before, have ya Bernie?

  How much culture do we have today, lets see. It looks like we've
  collected just over 253 litres in volume. It looks like everyone
  has transitioned nicely off ship rations and into the food
  stores. Hmm, a strong ratio of fibrous material; everybody's
  getting their roughage. The docs will be happy to hear that.
  Liquid matter ratio is a bit low, as is to be expected from
  number four. Nothing abnormal showing on the readouts: pH is
  about 6.6. No blood, mucus, pus, undigested meat fibres. What we
  have here is some grade-A healthy poo, my friends. Yessir,
  botany is going to love us.

  Our lovely Melchy has the transfer equipment built in, which is
  more than I can say for our portable waste units. Here on the
  mother-ship with one press… of a… button

[Melchizedek waste processing transfer started for reclamation
unit 04. Unit 04 temporarily out of order. Maintenance schedule
updated. Cleaning systems initialized. Flushing tanks.]

  We will get started on the transfer. And listen to that sound.
  Pure music. The slopping, squelching you can't hear on the log
  is the pressurization phase as stool matter is hydraulically
  pressed through a sieve of various sizes to break down any solid
  bits. You know what I'm talking about, loves.

  [sotto voce] the corn.

  Next up we introduce some liquids to lower the mixture to the
  proper consistency for secondary straining and temperature
  isolation. Then, my favorite part, the centrifuge. Look at that
  baby spin! She's a variable centrifuge and will take our mixture
  up to 20,000RPM [translation note: Rotations per minute] first,
  and later to 40,000 to force cell membrane separation. We're
  going to be concentrating cells in our suspension first to find
  the valuable bits that we'll reproduce in the labs and then feed
  into the soil. The rest will be torn apart for the raw genetic
  material. That's the fun bit!

[Humming detected, song identified: "She'll be coming round the
mountain", traditional]

  Now while this runs we have a little bit of time, so I like to
  double check the levels on the ballast tanks while were here on
  the port flange. Melchy tends to use liquid hydrogen for ballast
  while in flight, but here in atmosphere we use the surrounding
  air mixture, just in high concentrations. It's easy to let these
  slip while we're parked and yep, look at that. We're a bit low,
  so I'll kick that into gear and…

[Port ballast balancing initialized. Locking port maintenance
crawlspace during heat transfer. Warning, foreign object detected.
Aborting port ballast balance. This issue has been reported.]

  We should be all go--huh? That's not… Hmm. Okay, I see what
  I did there. Nothing to worry about Bernie. Probably a squirrel
  or somethin'. [sotto voce] friggin thing [unintelligible]

  There we go. That should--

[Port ballast balancing initialized. Locking port maintenance
crawlspace during heat transfer. Warning, foreign object detected.
Aborting port ballast balance. This issue has been reported.]

  --do it! DAMNIT. What is going on in there.

  Melchy, dear, scan port-side assembly for foreign objects,
  please. Command init.

[Beginning port scan for port-side assembly.]

Melchizedek:

  Foreign object detected in access hatch JE14, port. Unable to
  secure hatchway.

Hendrix:

  Something's in, oh damn. Melchy, who is assigned watch in
  Melchizedek presently? Command init.

Melchizedek:

  Current duty assignment belongs to Doctor Reed. Doctor Reed is
  currently on watch in fore control.

Hendrix:

  Who the hell is in--

[Voice detected: Eva Hämäläinen, Navigator]

Hämäläinen:

  --op stop stop! It's me, Maureen.

Hendrix:

  Evee? What are you doing monkeyin' around in there? I almost
  flushed the ballast on--

Hämäläinen:

  Oh, that would be a bad look for me. Can you imagine?

[Laughter detected]

  Sorry Em. Didn't mean to get in your w--are you mixing-out shit
  house? I'm glad THAT didn't get on me.

Hendrix:

  Oh, yep, shit queen today!

Hämäläinen:

  My leige!

Hendrix:

  Ooh, a curtsy. I'm honored. You are just covered in grease,
  though. That's not coming out.

Hämäläinen:

  No matter. I like the engine smell.

Hendrix:

  Easier ways to go about that, dear. What were you up--what? Why
  are you shushing me? Well I never--

[Retroactive transmission of work-log enabled. System encryption
enabled. Relaying audio transcription to Melchizedek.0294 base
station.]

  What did you just do? Are we on the QEC now? I don't want to
  talk about shit on the QEC, Evee. What is this?

Hämäläinen:

  Sorry, Em. You can't encrypt a work log and I can't have record
  of my being here. I only know how to encrypt QEC traffic. We're
  covered now. Nobody can read this.

Hendrix:

  Except the whole damn universe you mean! What is going on?

Hämäläinen:

  Um.

Hendrix:

  Um?

Hämäläinen:

  It's complicated. So Stephanie--

Hendrix:

  I told you Janssen was trouble! You should have kept away after
  we got planetside, but does anyone ever listen to Miss Maur-een?
  No. Of course not. She's her own brand of trouble, they say.
  Can't go listening to that one. Best not--

Hämäläinen:

  Oh stop it. You know I trust you Em. It's not like that. I just…
  Things just happened.

Hendrix:

  Don't I know it. That's how things happen. Juuust.

  Sorry, Evee. I don't mean to be harsh. I'm the last one should
  be throwin' rocks around.

Hämäläinen:

  None of that either. You're not some castoff. Any of us could
  have--

Hendrix:

  Yeah, but I did. I should have known it, or said something.

Hämäläinen:

  They'd have pulled you off. Then where would we be?

Hendrix:

  Without a shit queen?

Hämäläinen:

  Hah, yes. That's right. And poor Hove would cry himself to sleep
  at night. "My microbes, my lovely microbes"

[Laughter detected.]

  That's why I wanted to talk to you.

Hendrix:

  The microbes? Or the waste?

Hämäläinen:

  Your baby, Em.

[Silence recorded for 0:22]

Hendrix:

  It's not a baby. Just--

Hämäläinen:

  an embryo. Yes. Your embryo.

Hendrix:

  Not anymore. She'll--It'll wake up with the first settlement.
  You know that. It's better this--

Hämäläinen:

  Bullshit.

[Silence recorded for 0:37]

Hendrix:

  I can't do anything. It's done.

Hämäläinen:

  Maybe.

Hendrix:

  Don't. Don't you do that. Don't you get my hope's up, Eva
  Hämäläinen. I can't do-- I can't be like you. You can do-- Just
  don't.

Hämäläinen:

  Em, I'm so--

[Silence recorded for 0:11]
[Crying detected]

  I'm sorry, I really am. But we can do something. Stephanie--

Hendrix:

  Fucking Stephanie! You have to stop listening to her shit. Evee,
  she's dragging you into her crazy. Don't you see that?

Hämäläinen:

  No, Em. She's opening my eyes.

[Sigh detected]

  Look, I won't push. I've just been thinking a lot recently.
  We're 24 light years from home and we're never going back.
  There's no other future for us. We came here on mission and we
  will do that. We will make life be here on all these worlds and
  one day others will come and live in it. They will write our
  names in their books and maybe Prezzi or Jerome will get
  a statue. We won't see it.

Hendrix:

  We all signed up knowing--

Hämäläinen:

  I know. I am willing. My heart is willing. I will do this thing
  and I will bring life… If.

[Silence recorded for 0:08]

  Maureen, we haven't heard from Earth.

Hendrix:

  What? Did our comms go down?

Hämäläinen:

  No. I mean at all. Since cryo. We--

Hendrix:

  No way. I don't believe it. Adeyemi's been in contact--

Hämäläinen:

  She hasn't. She's been trying to raise them on the QEC but no
  one answers us. No one on Earth at least. We hear from other
  ships.

Hendrix:

  Other ships? Who?

Hämäläinen:

  All over. Hundreds of them. Colonies too. Deep ones.

Hendrix:

  But that doesn't mak--

Hämäläinen:

  Doesn't make sense? Yeah. I know. We were one of the first away.
  But we've been asleep a long time.

Hendrix:

  You think they went out that much faster? Time dilation changes?
  But why--But Earth?

Hämäläinen:

  I don't know. I don't have answers, but neither does Prezzi.
  Jerome kept it a secret at first because he thought the grav
  sheer had something to do with it.

Hendrix:

  But we were in grav sheer by Earth without a problem before
  cryo. It wouldn't--

Hämäläinen:

  I know, I'm just saying what he told me, Em. I don't know if he
  believed it either. But then Moussa… and then he didn't want to
  talk about it. Prezzi started taking over more and she wanted to
  keep the information a secret. She said she didn't want it to
  distract the crew. "The mission comes first," you know?

  Well, we still have no idea what's going on at home. We have no
  idea whether the Ecclesia is still in power. We don't even know
  if the colony ships left Earth. We don't know that there's still
  an Earth out there.

Hendrix:

  My God.

[Silence recorded for 1:20]

  What can we do?

Hämäläinen:

  Prezzi wants to continue. What else can we do, right?

Hendrix:

  And you?

Hämäläinen:

  I don't know. If we spend our lives creating life here for
  someone else, what if they don't come? What have we done then?
  We've made a land for the butterflies and the bees, but no
  people. Maybe that's good enough. Maybe.

  But Em, what about your baby?

Hendrix:

  She--It wouldn't be brought out of stasis. No one--

Hämäläinen:

  And all of us will sit in our graves as martyrs to nothing.

[Silence recorded for 2:01]

Hendrix:

  You are talking about a mutiny.

Hämäläinen:

  Ahh, hush. Not that word. No. I am just not so quick to throw
  away my life as I once was. I have something to care about now,
  something I didn't before.

Hendrix:

  And so do I, you think. Is that why me? One daughter won't
  remake humanity, Evee. We can't just start having babies. 41
  isn't enough. The genetic diversity--

Hämäläinen:

  We have other options. Like we do with the plants.

Hendrix:

  You want to… That's illegal, Eva. Genetic dispersal on humans
  could create--

Hämäläinen:

  It could save humanity, yes? It could give us all another
  generation, tens of generations. We could fill the stars, yes?

Hendrix:

  It's insane. When the colonists come--

Hämäläinen:

  If! If they come, we have so many worlds. Thirteen in range for
  us. How many more are reachable by children, or their children.
  The colony ships aren't due to arrive for a thousand years, Em.
  We could have settled everything by then. They'll arrive to
  a space dock instead of pasture lands.

Hendrix:

  But it's illegal. We'd be--

Hämäläinen:

  Nothing. There's no law here. There are 41 of us. How many do we
  need to make a decision.

[Silence recorded for 0:18]

Hendrix:

  No, I wont. I can't talk about this. It's mutiny. I should
  report you. I want to get back to my shit now. Just leave me be,
  Evee. Go. Just go.

Hämäläinen:

  Please, Em. Just think on it. There's hope for us still. A hope
  we never know about when we signed up. We can love.

Hendrix:

  Just go.

Hämäläinen:

  Think on it?

Hendrix:

[Sigh detected.]

  Fine.

[Silence recorded for 0:58]

  I could have my baby?

Hämäläinen:

  A daughter of Eden.

Hendrix:

  I'll think on it.

[Voice recording terminated]

[End of encrypted envelope.]