The very, very private diary of Dr Robert Mbutu, Part 3.
Jump out from DM+6 398 November 29th
Well is seems that someone does have a plan after all. We are going to
come out of hyperspace in the Oort cloud and have a good look around
on passive sensors before we commit ourselves to one of the inner
planets. That way we can locate all the Kurita ships that might be
waiting for us and if we close down all our systems they are very
unlikely to spot us.
Arrive Haifeng December 1st
Well it was a good plan but it relied on some top notch astrogation
and sadly Antonio just didn't quite make it. We actually came out of
hyperspace just near the 3rd planet. It's a gas ball and apparently
its going to take us 10 days to get rid of our gravitron load. Still
it looks like we haven't been spotted yet although they are bound to
have detected us entering the system. Fortunately there aren't any
ships close to this planet and if we can maneuver the ship under
impulse power to just inside the planet's ring system we are going to
be pretty difficult to spot. It's all we can do - if we fire up the
plasma drive they'll spot us for sure.
All we can do now is wait.
But at least that gives me some time to have another look at this
microbot fragment. It has some sort of a metallic internal structure -
almost like some sort of microwave guide. Perhaps that's how it is
powered? It has a repeating basic structure that seems fractal in
nature but it does not look like it could be self-organising. I'm
guessing it was built but possibly by another machine. It reminds me
of the Van Neuman machine theories of the 20th century.
Ms Moran, when she's not losing gambling with Antonio, is still trying
to interface the Bheekhu portacomp. She'll get there eventually. I
suspect she's already got the software sorted out but she's having
trouble with the wiring. Still it keeps her busy. Dr Takamuri's model
steam boat is coming along though. It's beginning to look quite
convincing. I wonder if she'll get a chance to try it out in anything
bigger than a bowl of water? She's making solid progress on all those
papers Dr Jones gave her too.
We've spent the last 3 days barely daring to breath. All the ship's
systems have been on minimal power and it's been really tense. A small
ship did an in-system jump to this planet and has spent 3 days
actively scanning. We were expecting to be spotted at any
moment. However it looks like our hiding place is still secure. The
ship has gone and no alarm seems to have been raised. Dr Jones has
been getting really up tight and Ms Moran has been like a firework
waiting to explode but all of us have been finding it pretty tough.
I've been thinking about the microbots in case we have to deal with
them ever again. It's better than thinking about the Kuritan
ships. Anyway I think this microwave channelling could be a
weakness. It is very efficient at just the right frequency. I reckon
you could overload it with a powerful transmitter and burn the thing
out. A tuned-laser would do the trick nicely. Also the basic material
is ceramic. You could brew up the right sort of Gantz fabrication soup
and the the bacteria would just chew it up. And I was right about
vacuum too. There wouldn't have been very much risk in bringing the
life pod over.
I can't believe it. There is no way that could have happened unless
they had some sort of experimental ship hyperspatial missiles. I can't
believe we escaped unharmed - if not unscathed. We are in real trouble
though. That big ship may have to wait while it unloads its gravitrons
- after all it's only just arrived - but we've only just managed to
jump back to Van Maaanan's star and that's going to be swarming with
Kurita ships. I knew we should have jumped the moment we saw it but
it's still hard to work out how they could have detected us that
quickly. Dr Takamuri came up with a plausible story relying on having
pinpointed our position when the small ship scanned the planet but it
still seems farfetched. That'll be another reason why Kurita won't
want us getting back to Trylon. It's a good job Antonio's e-War skills
are better than an automated missiles defenses or we'd never have made
it. Even then we only just got out before that second wave of missiles
arrived. I suppose I should be thankful we are safe in hyperspace for
a few days.
Anyway there's a nothing like a bit of stress to increase
productivity. With any luck we'll be able to surrender and perhaps we
can buy our lives with some of this information of nothing else. Not
that I like the idea of giving in to Kurita it's just I dislike the
idea of being vaporised rather more. I've been checking up on the
Bheekhu genetic samples we've got. They've got spliced sequences in
them like you find in Earth samples. I'm sure of it. Fairly recent
too. Somewhere under 100,000 years. Might be less than
10,000. Actually I think the different insertions happened at
different times otherwise I'd be able to tie down the date much more
precisely. The Bheekhu sequences are very like the human ones but
what's really surprising is how the millisnake inserts look like the
dogs ones. Without more Bheekhu samples I can't tell whether they have
the same variations that you see in different human racial
groups. There are some unique ones too. I wonder what they are for?
The human ones are all associated with mental function in some form or
another - I imagine these ones are too but I'd need to try some
knockout and transgenic experiments to check and I can't do that
here. Mind you I can get samples from everyone here and do some
experiments. I'll just take a few swabs off items they've used and no
one needs to be any the wiser...
Ms Moran has removed the failsafes from the ships computer so that
Antonio can override the safety cutoffs in an emergency. Dr Takamura
is still reading up on Xenoanthropology. All rather specialist stuff
though but it may come in handy should we survive!
Well we have survived but it was a close thing. There was another ship
refuelling at the OTS. One of the passengers, a chap called Houston,
is obviously interested in what we've been up to and what we've
seen. Dr Takamura and Antonio have started some negotiations to
exchange information. They might know the Cortez flight plan which
could give us some clues of the microbots' origin and he may have some
information on the other places we are planning to go. Anyway he has
offered to jump with us to Tau Ceti and has already interceded with
Kurita on our behalf. Apparently they have agreed not to blow us up
and will allow us to travel to Tau Ceti for a neutral hearing. I wish
they'd do this sort of negotiation without weapons lock on our ship.
And Ms Moran has left a little present in the OTS computer. That'll
slow them down a bit whilst they reboot the system and clean out the
Jump out from Van Maanen December 14th 02:47