Jupiter Mission – Mystery
From the Captain’s log USS Discovery, Sun May 19 2013 01:57:41 GMT
Over the last several months life aboard Discovery has been very much routine, predictable in almost every respect. This may not sound very good to most people, even boring. However in space you want things to be predictable because the unexpected is usually something that can kill you. Often before you even realize there’s a problem.
This is why I have become very concerned in the past few days. After months of a nice safe routine where you know everything that’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen several unexpected, unusual, things have been happening.
Things have started to turn up missing. For example I put a writing pad on a console a few days ago and when I went back for it ten minutes later it was nowhere to be found.
Because Hal is capable of completing the mission on his own in the event the crew is incapacitated or killed and also because we need to be able to call for his assistance at any time there are visual and audio inputs all over the ship and Hal monitors them constantly. Hal had no record of anyone else in the area at the time, as he shouldn’t have because this was during Ralph’s sleep period and Hal was able to confirm that’s where he was.
The obvious problem is that somebody or something had to move that pad. It was attached to a Velcro strip on one of the command consoles. Things do not simply “fall off” of Velcro strips even under gravity and the command deck, like the rest of the ship outside of the centrifuge, is in weightlessness.
What was perhaps even more disturbing is that when I went to the dining area of the centrifuge for lunch I found the pad. It was sitting right at my usual place at the table just like I had put it there. The problem is that I didn’t do it.
Again, Hal can confirm that I didn’t do it. His records indicate that five minutes before I entered the centrifuge there was nothing on the table. I had not been in that area since shortly after breakfast and while Ralph was, he was asleep the entire time. Hal’s records confirm all of this.
Ralph seemed to find the situation funny, making jokes about the ship being haunted. He continued to joke about it later when something of his went missing only to be found in an unexpected and completely unlikely location when neither of us were anywhere near.
This has continued to happen more and more often. Ralph continues to joke about Discovery being haunted. Yesterday morning it happened again. My pad was nowhere to be found. I made it a point to search as much of the ship as I could and didn’t find it. Then an hour ago I found it. Sitting on a console, right in front of one of Hal’s “eyes”. Hal has no record of anyone putting it there. One minute it wasn’t there, the next it was.
This time something had been written on it.
“My God, it’s full of stars.”
The infamous line from the end of the first 2001 novel which was also significant in the 2010 movie.
Ralph immediately said that it was because the ship was haunted. This in itself is bad enough, astronauts don’t believe in things like that, we cannot afford to. However his next statement worries me even more. Ralph claimed that not only was the ship haunted but that it was haunted by David Bowman.
Of course this is ridiculous. David Bowman never existed except as a character in three science fiction novels and a couple of movies.
When I pointed this out to Ralph he agreed, however in his opinion that has nothing to do with Bowman haunting the ship. I have come to the conclusion that Ralph is dead serious about this haunting business. Hal has done a psychological analysis and agrees, Ralph is not joking. Even though he laughs about it a lot the fact is that he seriously believes the ship to be haunted by David Bowman.
I am very worried. Something is horribly wrong and I cannot dare trust Ralph anymore for anything. It is obvious to me that Ralph is insane. This means that it is now impossible to predict what he is liable to do or what actions, words or situations will set him off.
Ralph is laughing again. Hal says he is in the pod bay, challenging Bowman to “come and get me”.
Filed under: Short Stories
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