The Ghosts of Eden

Previous Session Next Session
The very secret diary of Dr Robert Smith-M'Butu

25th December 2303

It's very strange having Christmas in space. Do people always give
presents like this? I'm very pleased with my Ganeesha and I hope my
DNA illustrations were appreciated. I'm not sure if anyone really
appreciated the significance of them. I wonder if Ms Jones knew all

We're heading off to Xiuning today and then it's a short pause before
we leave for Delta Pavonis which is our next stop - although from what
I hear there's not much there to get excited about. I've been spending
my time trying to find out more about these microbots. I'm convinced
that under the right conditions they might self organise - there's a
detailed crystalline nanonstructure and with the right medium and
energy conditions it ought to be able to repair itself. However I've
tried all the options I an manage on-board ship. I may have to ask
someone and I'm guessing that Felix Holsten might be just the
person. We should be able to meet up with him when we get to Asterion.

Dr Takamura is busy studying Bheekhu mythology now that Ms Moran has
sorted out the interface to the Bheekhu portacomp. I'm helping with
translation but Ms Moran is also working on a translation program that
should make things a bit quicker. I don't get the impression that Dr
Takamura is all that impressed with xenoanthropology. She keeps
moaning about how it is all speculation and that no one has any real
data. It appears that we have as much real information on the religion
of an alien race as anyone. She also says that the impression she gets
from the commentaries is that the Bheekhu don't actually worship the
Ancients, although they come close to worshipping the heroes who
'acquire' things from them. That doesn't seem to match up with what we
know about how ancient human peoples would react.

Ms Moran spends a lot of time hooked up to her portacomp. She seems
quite fascinated by the primitiveness of the Bheekhu system She keeps
muttering something about source code. I expect it's some sort of
abstraction that doesn't transalte well between species.

Antonio has been made up ever since he got the latest football games
downloaded at the last OTS. He keeps pretending to be practicing
'space weapons' and gives it away by shouting 'goal'
periodically. Still I imagine there isn't much for a pilot to do in
hyperspace and it's better than taking pot-shots.

Ms Jones seems to be keeping herself to herself a lot. I think the
affair with Bernard Singh really upset her. She only seems to come out
of herself when Dr Takamura gets excited about some new Bheekhu legend
about the Ancients. I wonder what she really expects to find?

30th December 2003

Well we've got to Delta Pavonis at last. Apparently we've got 40 hours
to unload gravitrons. Once again I can't get down to the planet's
surface which is a real shame. What's the point of coming all this way
and not having a good look around. There's bound to be all sorts of
really interesting creatures down there. I've heard there are some
quite large, warm-blooded reptiloids. Not as impressive as the Tau
Ceti Dinosaurs but still quite a sight.

I've just come back from a brief visit to the OTS. I found the most
marvelous claw and Ms Moran has agreed to lend me the money to buy
it. We also met a rather strange Jesuit priest named Father Ruez
Sanchez. It seems he wants a lift to Eberhaven. Given Ms Jones
enthusiasm for all things religious I imagine she'll be keen to chat
to him on the trip there. He seems quite harmless otherwise although
it is quite suspicious that he has been hanging around at the OTS for
so long. I suppose there is a fair amount of prejudice about.

Bernard Singh was here too, but it sounds like he behaved much the
same way as he did in Tau Ceti - except that they put him on the next
ship out rather than executing him. Still claiming that the devil is
walking around incarnate.

There are a few ex-Eberhaven settlers around too. It seems that quite
a lot of people find it a very difficult place to settle in. They just
don't like it and get depressed. Odd becasue by all accounts it's
rather a beautiful place and the Eber are friendly. Apparently the
xenobiologists have been looking for some sort of pathogen that might
be causing the problem but with no success. Father Sanchez has a Papal
commission to sort out any spiritual problem but he really doesn't
look like he's keen to be going back. According to Dr Moran's research
he was part of the original survey team and was one of the first
people to realise that the Eber were sentient. I shall have to talk to
him about that when I get the chance. This language faculty of theirs
is very interesting. The other rumours are that there are shamanic
witchdoctors among the Eber who have been causing the colonists to get
depressed. Once you've been out in space for a while you'll obviously
believe anything.

Anyway the crew have had a bit of chat with Father Sanchez and we've
decided to let him come along. He looks harmless, we have the space,
it'll be someone else to talk to, and I can nab a DNA sample off him
and see what his Ancient DNA fingerprint looks like.

We should make it to 82-Eridani on the 12th January 2004.

2nd January 2304

Well we've left Delta Pavonis at long last. Really not a terribly
interesting place when you are stuck up in the OTS all the time. It
looks like we've got quite a lot of travelling to do now though. A
couple of possible Ancients' sites to look at and then on to
Eberhaven. I'm really looking forward to that. I've read all about the
Eber but I never thought I'd actually get to meet them. I must ask
Father Sanchez about his time there when we are in hyperspace. I hope
he's the talkative sort. Most religious people I've met never stop but
he seems a bit quiet especially when you want him to talk about his
time on Eberhaven. I wonder if he's got something to hide or if he's
just suffering from this depression that seems to afflict most of the
people who stay there for any length of time.

Everyone is very busy. Dr Takamura is writing a paper on Bheekhu
religion. I'm not sure she's quite got the gist of it. Her writing is
all very analytical and I think you need someone with a more poetic
soul to really capture the strength of belief felt by most of the
Bheekhu I've ever encountered. I think Ms Jones might do a better job
since she seems oddly spiritual for someone who is supposed to be a
hard-nosed executive

Apparently Father Sanchez - or Ruez as he likes to be called - was the
original xenoanthropologist who surveyed the place. Can you believe
that? he was the first person to seriously study the Eber. Amazing! 
Aparently he's recently written a paper on the Eber from a Jesuit
perspective that caused something of a minor storm. Apparently they
are too happy. Just a religious person to think of that as a
problem. Something about then being a threat to the Catholic church
because they can be happy without god. Just like the rest of
us. Welcome to the 24th century Mr Sanchez.

Anyway I've nabbed a sample of Ruez' DNA for my collection. He's only
got a double insert where the rest of us (barring Sangeev) have a
triple. I've still no idea what that means but it'sinteresting all the
same. He's also become a bit more talkative about his time on
Eberhaven too which I'm sure is therapeutic if nothing else. He's also
offering Catholic mass too.I don't think I've ever seen Antonio look
so guilty. It looks like Ms Jones is going along too. I thought she
was the spiritual type although I don't think there's going to be a
shipboard conversion.

4th January 2304

Well Beta Hydri 6 isn't much to look at. It's an ice ball with twice
earth normal gravity. We wouldn't be going down even if we had a space
plane. However there are clear signs of habitation (and eventual
destruction) even from space. The radiation signature shows silicon
carbide with a possible metalic matrix so it's a good candidate for an
Ancients' site. There are several indications of structures that were
subject to intense radiation in the fairly recent past - in geological
terms. We can't say much more from up here, but it does suggest that
if the Ancients were here they were either physiologically much more
tolerant of high gravity than us, or they had some technological
method for dealing with it: perhaps the 'gravitic technology' that
Felix Holsten mentions. All the signs are of deliberate devistation
but whether this was as a result of warfare or just an extreme
clean-upoperation is impossible to tell. My best guess is some sort of
beam weapon a few thousand years ago but to be honest it could just as
easily be a fusion reactor that went wrong. Anyway no point spending
much more time here.

6th January 2304

So this is Rho Eridani.This is a bit more like it. It's a binary
system with one half-way intersting planet. Not great but at least
there's life down there. Not much above the lichen and proto-amphibian
stage but give it time. I bet they have someinteresting chemical
tricks if nothing else. There's always something to learn from how
different planetarty lifeforms manage the basics of
biochemistry. Still we can't visit without a space plane.

Still we didn't come to see the surface. What'sinteresting to our boss
is the ring system. It's described as an 'Ancients' metor swarm' and
there certainly something odd about it. It was clearly a small moon
that has been blown apart and preliminary analysis suggests it's all
chunks of slicon carbide. The OTS has given us permission to fire some
analysis lasers so we can get a better idea.

That was fun. Rock can't fire back and no one gets hurt! We've taken
lots of pot shots and it looks like about 1 in 1000 samples show
silicon carbide. It's not a natural substance to find on a moon so
that suggests there was an absolutely enormous structure built onto
the moon that somehow came to grief. There are some bigger chunks too
so Ms Moran has bravely volunteered to go out and bring one in for
further analysis. She's certainly the most qualified. I wish Antonio
took it a bit more seriously - I'm sure we didn't need to match
velocities quite so rapidly.

Anyway it's an amazing lump of rock. About 2m across and shows signs
of intense external heat. It's got plenty of shards of silicon carbide
embedded too. These have angular surfaces like broken bricks so that
confirms that it once was part of a structure. I'm keeping a couple of
fist-sized lumps for further analysis. We've also estimated the
overall mass of debris and it seems like this was a 500 mile diameter
moonlet. That was one hell of a bang.

Under the microscope the silicon carbide is similar to the other
samples. It possesses an microstructure that is reminiscent of ganz
Fabrication products. I bet this was laid down with an organic matrix
although there's no trace of that. I can't get a date but it could
have happened quite a long time ago - again I'm guessing thousands of
years. The flat side is far too flat to be natural. It looks
deliberately finsihed just like Holsten'sreports from Asterion. The
isotopic ratio and residual radiation suggests a violent heating
process. It's really quite similar to the Bheekhu samples: the silicon
is mineral based but the carbon is biologically processed. However
it's not as clear as before because of the radiation signal.

It's all very exciting. I can't wait to meet my first Eber. Apparently
they are completely pacifistic. Good for them.  

Previous Session