SEASON 2 EPISODE 3 TRANSCRIPT
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Also, a reminder that Among the Stars and Bones features characters in a hostile environment and is intended for a mature audience. As such it contains material that may be upsetting or triggering for some people. In particular this episode contains scenes in which characters lose autonomy over their bodies, and the use of restraints in a medical and custodial context. Specific content warnings with timecodes can be found in the show notes for this episode. Please make use of them if you need to.
CONTENT WARNINGS (From show notes)
Delusional State/Panic Attack/Use of Restraints/Medical Sedation – A character experiencing a break from reality becomes agitated due to the handcuffs placed upon him and is sedated to prevent injury (12:12 – 14:01)
Loss of Bodily Autonomy – A scene in which a group of people lose personal control of their bodies and are moved against their will by unknown means. The scene is both described and accompanied by sound effects (36:03 – 39:53)
[Theme Music Plays]
COMPUTER: Among the Stars and Bones
[Theme Music Ends]
[Computer Chime: Open Status Report]
COMPUTER: For attention of Jennifer Connolly, Eudoxus Initiative. Herodotus Task Force Status Report. Mission: Planet Angitia. Status Report 3. Five Entries Included. Entry 1. Comptroller’s Report.
[Computer Chime: Open Entry]
SCENE 1 – COMPTROLLER’S TEMPORARY OFFICE
[Inside an office in the control building of the mine that the Herodotus Task Force are currently working out of. Regular computer chirps are present, updates from her teams, though this time there is only one type of sound. There is no ticking clock, suggesting she left that back in her regular office in the Herodotus pods. There’s also the sound of faint chatter from the other side of a wall.]
ADRIENNE: Commence report: Adrienne Barnes, Day 8 of Nabonidus relief mission, March 23rd 2211.
Since you asked about it most fervently, I’ll begin with the Stephanie Somerset situation. Though to be honest, there’s not much to tell. You have all the same information we have. Everything points to her using Vickery as a proxy to steal the artefact in question, though whether the artefact was being stolen to order so she could sell it to fund her crusade or something she needed to further it is impossible to tell without more analysis to determine what it is. And yes, I will begin assigning a few spare hands to look into it as they become available, but we have been rather busy over here in case you hadn’t noticed, so I will not be giving it top priority.
So while I’m sure you’d love to get your hands on a lead to bring her down and put another feather in your cap, you’re just going to have to be patient.
You know, it occurs to me that when you first began working for me and I told you the story of a rebel xenotechnologist who stole an exploration vessel and set off on a one-woman crusade to keep the worst of Proximan technology from falling into human hands you actually said, “Good for her.”
How times have changed, eh?
Now onto things more relevant to our current situation.
There have been a number of developments since the last report, but since most of them contradict each other I am going to leave the interpretation to others.
Largest of course is the recovery…or capture? of Nabonidus xenotechnologist Johann Mueller, who was found hiding out in one of the storage hangars of the Nabonidus compound where he had been living like a rabbit in a burrow, somewhere in the walls if you can believe it. Recordings and other files he had created were found with him, which have been added to Kathy’s workload. Mueller’s evaluation is ongoing, and Celia and Dr Chang have informed me that he is not especially lucid and seems very frightened.
His sudden appearance without any sign of the others has set more than a few tongues wagging, most asking the same question: Is he in some way responsible for the deaths of all the others? Did he create this situation and doom the mission? Could he be their Gordon? I’d write it off as paranoia, but with everything that’s happened, paranoia seems a more than fair response. And the same thoughts are certainly crossing my mind. Even Captain Francis is entertaining the notion. He’s had two of his marines outside the medbay door the whole time. Celia has been very vocal, as only they can, about their presence.
Speaking of crew rumours and the general mood, people have been both elated and frustrated that Francis and I took the decision to halt surface searching for now. On the one hand I think everyone’s glad not to be spending shift after shift in the crawlers covering endless white ground, but at the same time it leaves people with less work to occupy their time, and that’s not good for a bunch of workaholics who’ve spent far too much time in danger over the course of this year and know they’re still in it.
However, it has seemed like busy work the longer we’ve been here and the further we’ve searched, especially as more and more of what we’re seeing suggests they never left the site. And as the weather outlook for the next few days suggests a further worsening of what are already very cold and windy conditions, it seems prudent.
I’ve assigned a few more people to help Kathy’s team, delegated some others to help Ben down in Chamber A and support attempts to get beyond the doors. The rest are in their pods in our compound, back at the work they would’ve been completing on the journey home if we hadn’t been diverted. So you can expect some resumption of data and follow up reports from our efforts on Tefen.
The availability of extra personnel made it easier to manage our excursion beyond the door, which occurred late afternoon yesterday. Due to concerns over the broken container in the video of Hollister, Duong and Meisner’s own excursion we set up a full biological containment protocol as a precaution. Suits, seals, screening, the works.
But that’s not what I remember most from that moment when the doors were opened the first time. The lifters engaged and the door opened. And we saw that the area beyond was devoid of anything and all of us, every one let out a sigh. And it wasn’t relief. That’s the damn thing. It was disappointment. All of us, subconsciously in deep dark places we wouldn’t acknowledge to anyone else, were secretly hoping to see bodies beyond that door. To have an answer. To know this ordeal was over. To not have to do this anymore. That’s a hell of a thing to say, that we’d rather 87 people be dead than have to carry on like this, but that’s where we’re at.
But there were no bodies there, and none in the chambers beyond, and people are still walking on mental eggshells and waiting for something to jump out at them. When I say that this crew is fragile, when I say that we’re not in a place to deal with this, this is what I’m talking about. We want the other shoe to drop. Are they outside? Inside? Alive? Dead? Is Mueller a victim? A murderer? A survivor? Is this site a church? Tomb? Military base? And what do all the warnings mean?
And does our employer actually care whether any of us live or die? That one’s starting to crop up more and more, especially since you overruled Ben’s original judgement to hold off on opening up the site until more study had been made of the antechamber.
Yes, it was necessary, but was it safe?
Are we safe?
[Computer Chime: End Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 2. Xenobiology and xenoanthropology report.
[Computer Chime: Open Entry]
SCENE 2 – MEDBAY
[The medical bay of the Herodotus Task Force. Ambient equipment hums and the occasional beeps of medical monitors can be heard]
CELIA: Commence report: Dr Celia Pennella reporting, Day 8 of the Nabonidus relief mission.
This is now officially the pinball report as I bounce around from playing xenoarchaelogist to forensic detective to babysitting and witness evaluation. I know my resume pegs me as a bit of a dilettante but I ultimately settled on xenobiology for a reason.
But this is fine. Someone needs to take on the responsibility of determining exactly what kind of development in this whole rescue mission saga Johann Mueller represents, and Ben is best equipped to handle developments at the site, while Kathy has gotten into a good groove working through the information from the Nabonidus mission.
So now here I am – the same medical bay where I recovered from my unfortunate near death from dehydration – working to understand what’s happening now, while also remembering that Johann is a person and not a puzzle first and foremost. It seems someone should.
But this is also fine. Because I have never held strong associations between places and past events and I’ve always enjoyed Dr Chang’s company.
CHANG: Thank you.
CELIA: What is not fine is that he and I are forced to do this while having armed guards stationed at the door, with strict orders from Captain Francis that that door remains open at all times.
TRINH: (From out in the corridor) We’re just doing our job, Dr Pennella.
CELIA: And you couldn’t do it from the other side of a lockable door secure enough to prevent loss of oxygen should this pod be breached while in a semi-hostile atmosphere? You’ve already handcuffed him to the bed, and violated his right to private treatment. Is that not enough for you?
TRINH: I’m afraid you’ll have to take that up with Captain Francis
CELIA: I shall, Private. Rest assured.
(Resuming report) The problem, Jennifer, is that whatever Mueller may have said or done, it has been extremely hard to get him to cooperate or open up when he sees himself as a prisoner. Actually I’m not entirely sure that he sees himself as anything at this moment. He is not always lucid when he is conscious, and tends to panic at the restraints, meaning that Chang has to sedate him before he can harm himself, and thus the cycle has continued for the better part of two days.
We did finally have a little luck earlier this morning, and I recorded our brief conversation.
[Computer Chime: Begin Inserted Recording]
SCENE 2A – THE MEDBAY (EARLIER)
[The Medbay, several hours earlier. Johann is conscious and shifting in the bed, his sheets and restraints audible.]
JOHANN: (Agitated) Stay back. You can’t touch me. Stay back. You’re one of them, aren’t you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Are you what they became? What the others became? Why are you here? Leave me alone! Stay away!
CHANG: Please Johann, my name is Dr Chang. I would like to examine you.
CELIA: Do you know where you are? This is the medbay of The Herodotus Task Force. We were sent to find out what happened to you and the rest of your crew. What do you mean by what the others became? What happened?
JOHANN: (Confused, but momentarily focused) Herodotus? But you’re already on mission. You aren’t due to be off planet until April. What date is it?
CELIA: March 23rd. You see we were evacuated–
JOHANN: (Agitated again) No this is a trick. You’re lying! You’re not who you say you are. Stay back. You can’t touch me. Don’t you dare touch me!
CHANG: Johann, I just want to look at your eyes.
[SFX – Johann twisting away and pulling on the restraints]
JOHANN: Why am I chained to this bed? I see how it is, it didn’t work last time, so you’re trying again.
[SFX – Johann strains harder at the restraints, beginning to thump at the bar they are attached to in order to get loose]
JANOWICZ: (Calling from corridor) You need help in there?
[SFX – An alarm sounds on a medical monitor as Johann exerts himself]
CHANG: Dammit. Hand me the hypo.
[SFX – Chang deploys a hypospray sedative]
JOHANN: (Sliding into unconsciousness) It won’t work…It. Won’t. Work.
[SFX – Johann collapses onto the bed]
CHANG: (With a sigh) I thought he was actually with us there for a second that time.
[Computer Chime: End of Inserted Recording]
SCENE 2 (PART 2) – MEDBAY
[Returning to the present]
CELIA: We’ve been through some version of that cycle four times now I think. That was one of the better conversations. Generally when he regains consciousness he seems to have forgotten what happened the previous time. It is possible that he’s had some sort of psychotic break as a result of what happened, but then I’m not that kind of doctor. Dr Chang?
CHANG: I’m not that kind of doctor either, but yes, some sort of break or PTSD is certainly a possibility, though of course we cannot yet be sure what he has experienced or witnessed that might have caused it.
CELIA: What about his physical health?
CHANG: Apart from exhaustion and other indicators of high stress, he is in good overall health. Given your concerns about the containers found at the site, I’ve done scans and blood tests and found no foreign bodies, viruses or other unknown biological contaminants in his system. He’s doing well, though would be, I suspect, better if he were treated with greater decency. Oh, also I want to mention that there are a number of redacted sections in his personnel file and medical history. I’ve put in a request to get the complete file sent through.
CELIA: Yes, that brings me to the other point I wanted to…actually wait a moment. Excuse me doctor. I shall return momentarily. I’m suddenly overtaken by the urge to take a walk.
CHANG: Of course.
[SFX – Celia gets up and walks out into the corridor past Trinh and Janowicz]
TRINH: Enjoy your walk doctor.
[SFX – Celia stops walking and draws a sharp breath, before sighing and continuing]
JANOWICZ: (Voice fading into distance) Man, I’d rather take on a whole separatist colony solo than go up against them in a mood.
TRINH: (Voice fading into distance) You said it.
[SFX – Celia continues on walking around the next corner then comes to a stop]
CELIA I didn’t want this last part getting back to Francis, who has already stopped by several times asking when he might be able to interrogate the prisoner, and I do not feel that it is in anyone’s best interests that this be allowed until Mueller has been given more time to recover himself. He is not a suspect yet and when I pointed this out to Francis he said that “one of you eggheads going rogue is hardly without precedent” which, even knowing it was a poor attempt at humour on his part, I did not take well.
I am not suggesting Mueller shouldn’t be interviewed. I’m pragmatic about that. I just feel that a) more time is required, and b) some oversight of the process is needed, with Chang or at the very least someone else present. Aphorisms about flies, honey and vinegar come to mind, and Mueller is genuinely fragile. And a man who would invoke Gordon as a way of getting a rise out of me is not a man I feel should be heading up any interview.
And for that matter I genuinely don’t believe that Mueller had anything to do with this, but as I bounce from one side of this investigation to the other I keep being left with more questions and every answer contradicts something we’re seeing somewhere else.
And to top it all off, Jennifer. You keep persisting with your little questions. It’s hardly professional to be repeating the same personal questions over and over, and frankly on top of everything else that’s taken place over the last few months – near death, broken wrist, people I care about dying, being dragooned into a rescue mission – I don’t have the time to consider, let along dignify, their sheer inanity.
CELIA: You know what, actually I will. If only to stop you asking: Why have I been so reluctant to be in touch? Why do I not want to do reports to you specifically? Here it is: It’s not about taking sides. It’s not even really about the fact that these reports are condescendingly pointless. It is actually about you.
Yes, we are friends. I have known you for twenty years, and I’ve known you in ways that Ben and Adrienne never did. I know your ambition, I know that you know as well as anyone how going corporate changes a person, and I can already see that you’re breezing straight past human into full-blown corporate overlord at record speed.
We both saw what happened to Tyra when she made the jump, and when we both vowed that we would never let that happen to us, I know you meant you thought you could do it and not be swayed, not that you would never climb the ladder. And then you did, stepping over Adrienne, someone who has every reason to want to get out of the field, including a husband who suffers a chronic illness and needs support from a partner who spends more time on planet than off, and the extra care that can only come from either a comptroller’s salary or a corporate level position.
Even then I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Then you went and selected my number two without including me in the process. And I got stuck with Kathy, and I gave that girl hell for weeks because I was sure she was some sort of plant on your part. A newly-minted doctorate, getting a core staff job in the best team in Eudoxus? She had to be a handpicked piece you placed on the board to keep an eye on us, on me specifically. Someone you could mould as you wished, to what end I had no idea.
But then it turned out that she was nothing more than the brilliant and knowledgeable and resilient woman that she appeared, and I doubted my judgement again, thinking maybe you had seen talent and promise and rewarded it accordingly.
But then I worked out the real reason. It took me a while, but I finally put it together. And then I knew I had been right all along.
You are my friend Jen. I love you. And you know me well enough to know that I do not love easily nor give up on love easily. But right now I don’t trust you.
Does Kathy even know what you know?
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER VOICE: Entry 3. Military Search and Rescue Report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 3 – LT RIGGS’ OLD OFFICE IN THE MILITARY TEAM POD
[The wind is stronger today. There are no updates coming through on Francis’s computer. There is occasional radio chatter, but much less than before]
FRANCIS: Commence report: Captain Edward Francis, 23rd Alliance Marines reporting. Day 8, Nabonidus Relief Mission.
We sent two drones through the vault door at 0900 on Day 7. Every precaution was taken. All decontamination procedures followed to the letter. Thankful to say there were no alien monsters lying in wait for us, as surprised as some people seem to be about that. There was no sign of any members of the Nabonidus crew either. The video and scan data compared favourably to that obtained by the Nabonidus crew. The only changes were that some of the Nabonidus equipment had been moved to the other side of the door, indicating that they must have gone beyond the door a third time and put some equipment in place, I imagine in preparation for further work in the chambers beyond.
I don’t know what other kinds of things the scientists were expecting. Re-activated weapon systems or power hazards or leaks or whatnot, but as near as I could tell, the place was exactly as it had been.
As a result we followed up with a manned excursion this morning. A small team, comprising myself, two of my squad, Ben Kelleher, Sgt Harris of military science and a rep from xenobiology, Xerxies Elrin. We wore full environment suits and went through complete decontamination at either end. We supported the civilians while they collected samples, scanned for DNA, biological contamination and the like. I’ll leave it to them to analyse any findings, but all I noted was that there was no evidence of additional human activity in the three chambers beyond the door.
My mission is simple – finding the missing people. Which means that from my point of view the last point is the only salient one.
I saw from the video of Hollister’s trip that they struggled to get a scan of the opposite side of the second door at the end of Chamber D, and so I decided to bring through a military-grade probe and placed it against the door set to max to see if that gave a better reading. You will find the image from the scan attached to my report. You will note that we get most of the layout of the chamber beyond, even though some of that “reflection” issue one of the Nabonidus people noted was a factor. But take careful note of those two shapes on the floor not far inside the door. The scan isn’t that precise, but to my mind they do give the general impression and outline of bodies.
Kathy Winters was kind enough to dig up the scan taken from the Nabonidus equipment on their trip through. There are fewer details, but in the Nabonidus scan the floor is bare in that section. Given it is close to the door, I have to assume that if those objects had been present previously, something of them would have shown up in the scan.
I respect the need for caution, but this additional development makes me eager to push forward as fast as possible. I will take what precautions I can, but hesitation could cost more lives than it might feasibly save. One survivor appearing indicates the possibility of more.
Assuming that Johann Mueller is even a survivor. I know he is being difficult, and assuming that his current condition is not an act put on to deflect us away from considering him a suspect, I can only assume that he is in the state he is because he has pertinent information. Now Dr Pennella is getting between me and all attempts to question him. They seem to think that my placing restraints and guards on him is an indication of heavy-handedness, when to my mind it is a reasonable precaution, given the sheer number of unknown factors in all of this.
And certainly, in the military we can be known for asking direct and probing questions, but I believe my record speaks for itself that I can use a certain amount of tact when the situation requires. All I’m asking for is an opportunity to speak with Mueller. Perhaps under a light sedative so that he is calmer and can be reasoned with, rather than the constant refrain of “Don’t touch me” and all the rest he’s been spouting ever since we found him in that hangar.
Perhaps it will amount to nothing. In which case I can only hope that the devices and data we recovered along with Mueller provide us with something. If not, I will waste no further time.
I’ll give it 24 hours for someone to give me a reason why we should not go beyond the second door and investigate the two probable bodies. The delays have gone on for long enough, and I still feel that the most recent ordeal suffered by the Herodotus people is having an effect on their collective judgement. I would even go as far as to say that Barnes herself is showing signs of breaking under the strain, and it is making her overly cautious. Caution is all well and good, but time is now of the essence.
In the event of Barnes breaking down, I will go on record now as saying that I will take on command responsibility for the rescue and recovery efforts and get the job done. I do not think anyone in a position of authority in the Herodotus hierarchy
would be up to the task of replacing her. They are certainly not up to making calls that calculate risk objectively rather than jumping at mere shadows.
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 4. Xenoarchaeology report.
[Computer Chime: Begin Entry]
SCENE 4 – THE ANTECHAMBER
[There is work going on around Ben as he reports. More voices than usual too, and a large number of bots moving through dropping new equipment off.]
BEN: (Wound up and speaking quickly) Alright so I’ve got two main things to report but I’ve got to keep this brief because I am trying to manage an abundance of different ideas in my head. And Kathy just called me to come check out something she turned up and frankly I’m pretty sure that’ll be one idea too many for right now so…
(Ben takes a deep breath)
BEN: Okay, so you remember Hollister’s comment when that hand thing happened in the vid Kathy showed us? There’s a sentence. Hollister mentioned that the barrels, cylinders–whatever– were represented on the second column in the antechamber? He said it pointed to their significance in worship or something. I don’t know. Maybe he thought they were like burial urns or canopic jars. Who knows.
All I know is that he is wrong. I just spent half a day on that column. There is reference to the barrels there, yes. But that series of symbols are clearly…you guessed it, another warning. It’s clear. The Proximans say that under no circumstances should the barrels be opened. If you look at the attached file you’ll see it yourself. That second image shows what I think is an open barrel followed by the third where it seems to be showing a representation of the threat they unleash.
I’m not sure what it’s trying to say exactly. It appears to be something happening to some sort of representation of a bipedal lifeform. Not a Proximan per se, but I think it stands for, you know…any sentient creature. Um…the figure doesn’t appear to be dead, but it’s…trapped Covered? Something. All the implications are that it’s bad.
Now look, I know that the readings say those barrels are empty. I know. But what if they weren’t when Nabonidus showed up? Or had emptied before they were scanned or something. None of the data from the scans was detailed enough to be sure one way or another. What if they somehow emptied in response to the drones coming and the contents were already gone by the time the humans showed up…okay that…that one’s clutching at straws. I mean, if the Proximans were all about them not being opened, then I think it’s safe to say that they’d make them pretty stable. They’re not pottery. And if you fill a bottle with poison you’d make damn sure it’s got warning labels and a child safety seal on it.
Yeah, it sounds like mountains out of molehills, but I’ve got a missing crew and an open jar that the Proximans built this whole damn chamber on top of to make sure they weren’t open, and it’s open.
Alright, moving on to the second thing before my head explodes. I was part of the team that went in this morning. I don’t know that I have any impressions beyond what I already got from Hollister’s video footage. It’s eerie and empty and close. Footsteps don’t echo the way you expect in there, though maybe that was just because we were suited. I don’t know. But the black walls and the emptiness and all the rest… well.
Anyway, we applied every test we could find to try to determine if there was anything in there, biological or otherwise, and came up with nothing. So maybe those damn barrels are empty after all. Maybe the full ones are beyond door 2 and these were empties waiting on refills. Who the hell knows. But nothing jumped out. Nothing was different, no new data emerged. In particular, no new DNA. Not just Proximan DNA, no human DNA either. We took swabs far and wide. If there had been 80 people pass through those chambers then we would have seen it. Skin cells, eyelashes, hairs, all that stuff. But all that turned up were the DNA of three people. And you can probably guess who. Hollister, Duong, and Meisner. Which means that unless they all suddenly decided to wear their own suits before entering en masse, the whole crew did not pass through those chambers.
And yeah, I know about the scans and those outlines behind door number 2. And they do give the impression of bodies. I…I agree with that. It was my first thought when I saw the scan too. But if that’s true the next question I have to ask is how the hell was door 2 raised? There are no lifters on that side, and no evidence of live power. So here we are again. A host of contradictions. Events not making sense. Warnings and signs and portents and clues and half-truths. I don’t know if any of it is true or none of it is.
I agreed with the decision yesterday to abandon the search topside, because it was becoming clearer that beyond the door was where we should be looking. And now I’ve been beyond that door and I am less sure.
Look, I know what Captain Frantastic thinks of us. That we’re incapacitated by indecision and caution because we’ve been through too much after Tefen. And he might even be right. But at this moment, I’m not full of indecision because of caution, I’m full of indecision because everything I find makes complete sense on its own and no sense when put against anything else. And frankly I–
[SFX – Incoming coms beep]
BEN: Urrrrgghh. Yeah?
KATHY: (on coms) Ben are you coming?
BEN: Yeah, sorry, just wrapping up my report. I’ll take the elevator up and be with you in ten.
KATHY: (on coms) Alright. Celia’s on their way too. You are not going to believe this.
BEN: I don’t doubt it.
[SFX – Coms out]
BEN: Well, now I have no idea what I was going to say. But, it would seem that she is either going to give me the one piece of information that makes all of this make sense, or add another completely contradictory layer of bullshit. Bets on it being the latter?
Stay tuned to find out.
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: Entry 5. Data Investigation report.
[Computer Chime: Being Entry]
SCENE 5 – A CONFERENCE ROOM IN THE XENOTECHNOLOGY POD
[Kathy and Indira are using the same conference room from the last episode in order to have a little privacy for this report]
KATHY: Commence report: Kathy Winters, Day 8, March 23. So our primary focus has been the files that Johann Mueller had on his devices. There were quite a number, but he had enacted some sort of personal security on them, which took the techs a little while to crack.
INDIRA: It wasn’t standard encryption. Some sort of homebrewed program of his own devising.
KATHY: We really could’ve used Harry on this one.
KATHY: While the encryption did slow things up, it also inadvertently answered at least one question we had. One of the techs noted that some of the code had a few distinct traits akin to the file scrambling code which has been the bane of our existence since we started sifting through the Nabonidus data. So it would seem we now know how that happened.
INDIRA: Just not why.
KATHY: Lotta that going around. My first instinct was that Mueller was covering his tracks, that maybe he was the reason everyone was missing or dead. But now we’ve been through most of his files that makes far less sense to me. I assume he must have his reasons, even if, given his general state, they aren’t entirely rational. But covering up mass murder doesn’t appear to be one of them.
Some of his files were standard stuff. He’d been working to determine whether or not any live technology existed in the antechamber, scanning to understand what mechanisms were used in the door, that kind of thing. But that changed the day after Hollister and his crew went through the door. Mueller seemed to have noticed what was going on around him, all the strange things we noticed. And what’s more, he started surreptitiously documenting them. He got footage of at least fifteen? I think?
INDIRA: I counted 19.
KATHY: Right. The same sorts of little things. People’s limbs acting when their owners weren’t paying attention. People absent-mindedly walking a few steps then stopping, unsure what they were doing. Oh, and that thing with Hollister and the blue light? He did catch that too. I’ve attached the file.
[SFX – Kathy presses play and we hear the audio from Episode 1 Scene 5A. Kathy continues to speak over the top, pointing out what can be seen from the perspective of Mueller’s camera’s version]
KATHY: He had his camera on that wall Hollister was talking about at the time. I think he was trying to observe that pair of personnel in front of it, but you can see the spot Hollister was referring to. Mueller even zooms in on it. And at that point I think he knew that something else was coming. No idea how. Because, as we already know, he got out of there very soon afterwards. He must have headed up the access tunnel a ways and then doubled back into the old tunnel. The one that marks the miners’ original penetration into the antechamber from above. It seems he placed his camera there, and after that I think he left it running and got the hell out.
[SFX – Kathy pauses playback]
KATHY: I still don’t know how or why he knew to go, but somehow he knew and he just…
INDIRA: You’re dancing around it.
KATHY: I know, because I feel like if I put it in a report it’s real and I’m really not ready to deal with that.
INDIRA: I can hold your hand if you like.
KATHY: Ha, thanks. I…Ms Connolly, Please make sure that you have a screen available because you need to see this recording. I can describe it, but even I don’t believe it and I’ve seen it. The file is tagged MUEL0282 and will begin from timestamp 9:40, now.
[SFX – Kathy begins playback. On a recording we can hear far away sounds of people from Nabonidus working in the antechamber]
HOLLISTER: (on recording) Alright, gather up people, I need everyone’s attention a moment.
[SFX – On the recording the sounds of chatter trail off. People move over to where Hollister is. Some whispers continue even as he speaks]
HOLLISTER: (on recording) Now our next task is going to be moving operations beyond that first door and beginning the work of detailed analysis and documentation of Chambers B, C and D while also beginning the process of opening the second door. To that end I will need everyone to begin–
[SFX – On the recording Hollister and all other ambient whispers cease. After a pause they turn and march as Kathy describes it as she speaks over the top of the recording]
KATHY: And there it is. As one they stop. Hollister stops talking. All whispers cease. Then together they turn, just like a bunch of bots given a new command set at exactly the same time. And yeah I can’t believe I said that either. But that’s what they do. They walk to the door. One hits the access button for the lifters, and nothing happens.
INDIRA: Which means Mueller did sabotage them.
KATHY: And then they just stop. Still. Like they’re considering. And now they’re walking. Not towards the door. Not down. Up. Out into the mine. Up, and out into the world and out into the cold. I…
[SFX – Kathy stops the recording]
INDIRA: Knowing what to look for now, we went back through the access logs to the mine entrance. There’s been tampering there too. Mueller again, for whatever reason, which among other things had messed with the exact times of access log entries. We were able to restore it, but there was something else we had missed before. That day, all access was from the outer side of the mine entrance.
KATHY: Except for Mueller, but his exit must’ve been deleted.
INDIRA: Right, but the access coming from only the outside was why we didn’t think anyone had left.
KATHY: From the wide view on Mueller’s camera we were able to identify everyone in that chamber. They’d all been down there for hours. But there was one additional access of the site made from the outside, that comes ten minutes after this footage was taken. One Constance O’Shaughnessy, a logistics tech, opened the door. And the door remained open for six minutes.
She must have opened the door for them. I assume she was waiting up there with the remaining Nabonidus members. And then she and the rest left. Maybe they took the crawler, but I think given how far we’ve searched, how far we’ve scanned, that perhaps that’s the end of this story. They walked off into the ice and the snow, like robots.
[SFX – Indira takes the recording back a little and restarts it at the point where the Nabonidus people had begun to march out. As she mentions you can hear a few indistinct frightened voices, though what they say is hard to discern]
INDIRA: It sounds like they’re talking as they walk away too, but the mic doesn’t really pick up what they’re saying.
KATHY: Yeah, but that’s not what gets me. The thing is, the thing that really kills me, is that if you zoom in, you can see their faces and eyes.
[SFX – Kathy pauses playback then hits a button several times to zoom in]
KATHY: I expected them to be blank. Dead-eyed like a robot. Dead-eyed like a zombie.
But they look…surprised.
[Computer Chime: End of Entry]
COMPUTER: End Status Report 3.
[Computer Chime: End of Status Report]
[Theme music begins]
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode of Among the Stars and Bones featured the voices of:
JULIA: Julia Eve as Adrienne Barnes.
SHAKIRA: Shakira Searle as Dr Celia Pennella.
ALEX: Alex Chew as Dr Chang.
BRANDON: Brandon Nguyen as Private Trinh.
JERRON: Jerron Bacat as Johann Mueller
MAIA: Maia Harlap as Sergeant Janowicz.
OLIVER: Oliver Smith as Captain Francis.
CHRIS: Chris Magilton as Ben Kelleher.
JORDAN: Jordan Cobb as Kathy Winters.
ASHA: Asha Lloyd as Indira Raju.
KARIM: Karim Kronfli as Victor Hollister.
DEVIN: Devin Madson as The Computer.
COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: The work of the Eudoxus Initiative is made possible by generous research grants from our patrons. Thank you to our most recent patron Alex Krajkowski. If you too would like to support humanity’s understanding of alien technology, culture and history, go to Patreon.com/Amongthestarsandbones. For a transcript of this report or additional information go to amongthestarsandbones.com. We can also be found on twitter, Facebook and merchandise is available through TeePublic, including T-shirts, mugs, hoodies, notebooks and stickers. Thank you for listening.
[Theme music continues until it fades out]