The Ghosts of Eden

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Diary 8

The very, very private diary of Dr Robert Mbutu, Part 2.

November 29th

I think Dr Jones is psychic or something. I mean I wasn't doing
anything suspicious but she forced me to admit that I'd got a sample
off the Cortez. Fortunately she didn't seem to mind too much. After
all it might have been a clue. I still think this may be evidence of
the sort of advanced ceramic cybertechnology that Felix Holsten
reported. Anyway she did let Ms Moran and myself back onto the Cortez
to have another look around.

It was much more exciting knowing there were probably millions of
microbots teeming throughout the ship but I think Ms Moran was a bit
nervous. We found plenty of evidence of activity. The main CPU core
was full of some sort of ceramic string. I thought it looked like a
collection of eggs but Ms Moran thought that it might be some sort of
invasive hardware device to access the computer. Whatever it seemed to
be fairly inert.

We went back to the remaining viable life pod to see if we could do
anything to help whoever was inside. Once we pulled it out of the
alcove we got a shock. It certainly wasn't inert! We found what could
only be described as a 'nest' around the PSU. It was full of several
distinct types of ceramic microbot. They were very reminiscent of
colonies of social insects. This might explain their apparent
intelligence since each simple unit could handle a portion of any
cognitive task. If they really evolved rather than being built it is
an amazing example of convergence. I wonder how far the similarities
extend. Wouldn't it be really exciting if there was a queen
somewhere. Certainly some of the microbots were noticeably bigger than
the others - soldiers perhaps? I managed to get a sample although I
had to cut it in half with a laser scalpel. It's not going
anywhere. There was something that looked very much like a big egg
sack too but we didn't cut it open to have a look.

Everyone got very worked up about the microbots. I was in favour of
trying to get the pod into vacuum to see if that would decontaminate
it, but no one else was prepared to trust that it would be 100%
successful. We couldn't resuscitate its occupant in the Cortez since
there was no power - or air or heat - so reluctantly we were forced to
leave it in situ. We've plotted the course of the ship but I doubt
we'll be back here in time to help. I suppose it would be risky but I
can't get over the feeling that I would hate to be left to die in
conditions like this. Perhaps we should tell someone?

Once we got back to the ship we checked over the vac suits. We didn't
seem to have any unexpected passengers. I've only got the one
specimen, the chewed ceramic, and the imager recording. Not enough for
proof, but as Antonio says maybe it's just the result of some Corp
weapons division and nothing to do with the Ancients at all.

Time to jump into hyperspace. Dr Takamuri is looking green already.

December 1st

I've managed to get a bit more done on the genetic analysis. No
conclusions yet though. And the microbot is fascinating but we don't
really have the facilities to analyse it properly. We're just about to
come out of hyperspace at Heifeng. This is where we expect to have our
first real brush with Kurita. I hope someone has a plan.

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