PRE-SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT: 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 of people losing bodily autonomy and control, and the use of non-lethal weapons in a context that bears some resemblance to the deployment of riot police against a crowd of civilians. Specific content warnings with time stamps can be found in the show notes. Please, make use of them if you need to.

Loss of Bodily Autonomy – Two scenes in which a group of people are controlled and moved against their will by unknown means (4:54 – 10:40) & (18:31 – 24:45)
Strangulation – Depiction of a moment when a character attempts to strangle another (6:01 – 6:15)
Riot Police/Gun Violence/Tasering – A scene in which less-lethal weapons are deployed against civilians in a situation akin to riot police engaging with protestors (20:28 – 24:45)
Delusional State/Sedatives/Medical Restraints – A scene with a character in a state of delusion and medically restrained being questioned (40:15 – 45:37)
Cannibalism – The possibility of cannibalism to explain missing people is discussed (52:10 – 53:57)

[Theme Music Plays]

COMPUTER: Among the Stars and Bones

[Theme Music Ends]

[Computer Chime: Open Status Report]

COMPUTER VOICE: For attention of Jennifer Connolly, Eudoxus Initiative. Herodotus Task Force Status Report. Mission: Planet Angitia. Status Report 4. Five entries included. Entry 1. Comptroller’s Report.

[Computer Chime: Open Entry]



[Inside an office in the control building of the mine that the Herodotus Task Force are currently working out of. There are fewer computer updates that can be heard, as less work is currently being done in light of recent events. There’s also the sound of faint chatter from the other side of a wall.]

ADRIENNE: There’s no good way to build up to this, so I’ll just say it. The Nabonidus crew have…reappeared. That should be good news. It is not. Allow me to explain. Eight hours ago, I was out amongst the containers in the Nabonidus compound conducting your requested audit of their stores and equipment. Did I mention it’s been 30 below the last four days? Must have forgotten, but I digress.

We were between containers, Janine and I finalising notes from the one we were about to close while Kareem and Dana were opening the next one. Klymenko and Hudson were there too, sniffing around to see if Nabonidus have any of “the good stuff” in their food stores. No idea what they were referring to, but then they mostly seemed to be looking for an excuse to talk to Janine anyway.

Suddenly the wind died. And the sun was out and it was one of those rare moments where you don’t feel like your fingers are going to fall off and you can actually see without frozen water of one kind of another pounding your goggles. Now the area around the mine, where Nabonidus deployed, has turned into a giant bowl. Snow and ice had piled up on what once were walls. It keeps the worst wind out–most of the time–but it also creates a ridgeline. And that’s where I see them. Standing still as can be, the light from the sun behind them, picking them out in silhouette.

I do a doubletake because they’re just so still. And I wasn’t sure who it was at that point. Could’ve been a bunch of people coming down from our pods or a new search party going out, because of course we restarted searching after what Kathy discovered in Johann Mueller’s files two days ago. But there are just too many people for that–at least fifty–and it has to be the Nabonidus crew. I wave. And almost like they’re responding to my gesture, they start down the slope, wading through the snow towards us.

They’re walking slowly, deliberately. Most are in perfect lock step, but a few are lagging, limping. They look haggard, thin. Weak. Frostbitten, despite the thermal regulation of our gear. I was about to call out to them when they began to talk, but their voices are rusty, like they haven’t spoken in days and…

Like I said, Janine and I had been making our final notes on the container we’d just finished, which meant Hattersley’s recorder was running. So…well you can hear them for yourself.

[Computer Chime: Begin Insert Recording]



[An outdoor space just outside the mine. There is distant howling wind. There is also the sound of many feet marching through snow. Some voices can be heard, mostly calling for help.]

KONSTANTINIDIS: (Distant) Please, you have to keep away from us.

JANINE: What the..?

KLYMENKO: Is that…the Nabonidus people?

HUDSON: (Calling out) Hey, it’s okay, you’re safe.

[SFX – Hudson starts walking towards the approaching people]

ADRIENNE: Hudson…maybe don’t…

KONSTANTINIDIS: You have to stay away from us please.

[SFX – Konstantinidis stumbles in the snow. Hudson hurries to her.]

HUDSON: Here, let me help you uh–

[SFX: His line is cut off by choking as Konstantinidis grabs him]

KONSTANTINIDIS: (Through tears) I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t–I can’t stop.

JANINE: Get off of him!

[SFX – Janine runs and slams into Konstantinidis, knocking her away]

KLYMENKO: What the fuck?

HUDSON: I was just…

JANINE: Come. On.

[SFX – The four of them run for it. The sounds of marching and calling out from the Nabonidus team fade]

ADRIENNE: Get to the mine!

KLYMENKO: What about the others?

ADRIENNE: (Calling out) Kareem, Dana! Follow us, quick!

[SFX – They continue to run, Janine and Hudson outpacing the others. Janine reaches the mine door first and puts the code in. The door begins to open]

JANINE: Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on, come on.

[SFX – The door opens and all six people pile in]

ADRIENNE: (Breathing heavily) Is everyone okay?

[SFX – Janine hits the control and the door closes]


[SFX – Hudson coughs. Janine walks over to him]

JANINE: Give me a look…he’ll be okay, I don’t think she could get too good a grip with those gloves on.

ADRIENNE: (To Klymenko) What can you see?

KLYMENKO: (Peering out) They’re coming toward the door.

ADRIENNE: I’d better change the passcode.

[SFX – Adrienne moves to console and begins punching keys]

JANINE: Anyone want to explain to me why the people we came here to rescue just tried to kill us?

ADRIENNE: Dammit, that’s the wrong…

HUDSON: Your guess is as good as…

ADRIENNE: Authorisation…Reset…bollocks

[SFX – Adrienne continues hitting keys. Meanwhile the sound of marching feet in the snow grows louder and stops]

ADRIENNE: It’s…that’s it. Okay…

KLYMENKO: One of them is going for the keypad.

[SFX – Sound of keys being pressed on the other side of the door]

ADRIENNE: Just need one more…there.

[SFX – An acknowledgement tone plays. A moment later the sounds of keys from the other side of the door end and an access denied tone is heard]

(Adrienne sighs with relief)

[SFX – A thump on the door. Then two together. Then three at the same time. This continues under with almost perfect regularity]

HUDSON: Are they…

KLYMENKO: Yeah, with their fists.

JANINE: They…they have to know they can’t get the door open, right?


JANINE: They can’t get that door open, right?

KLYMENKO: Nah, it ain’t much, but it was built to seal against atmosphere and keep out some pretty hairy weather.

ADRIENNE: They’re acting like…zombies. I don’t like this. They’re likely to break their knuckles, but they’re not stopping.

JANINE: And the others behind them, they’re just standing there. There is something very wrong about all of this. All of them.

[SFX – Adrienne hits some buttons on her device. When she speaks her voice can be heard over the mine PA system as well as she makes her announcement.

ADRIENNE: This is Comptroller Barnes with a priority one message to all members of the relief mission. We have an emergency situation. Do not leave the mine or the dig site. Data analysis team, access mine controls and lockdown the main entrance and rear access. Those in the Herodotus compound, secure all entrances to the pod or hangar you are in and remain where you are. If anyone approaches who is not clearly a member of Herodotus or Captain Francis’s squad do not allow them access. I don’t care how cold it is. And radio it in immediately. If you are currently part of the search efforts do not return to base until instructed unless there is an emergency. Sit tight. More instructions will follow shortly.

[SFX – Adrienne switches off the coms connections]

ADRIENNE: (to the others) Right, you lot. Get transponder locations and start organising check-ins. We need to know exactly where everyone is.

KLYMENKO: But why? If that’s the Nabonidus crew out there…

JANINE: It’s not all of them. What if the rest are already in our compound?

ADRIENNE: Exactly. Get on it.

[SFX – Janine working on her datapad]

JANINE: Alright, uh…here’s the transponder map. Hudson, why don’t you and Klymenko start with the mine and the site?

HUDSON: Right.

KLYMENKO: I’ll run across to the control building and talk to Winters and her group, it’ll be quicker.

[SFX – Klymenko walks to the interior door, opens it and heads into the mine proper]

JANINE: Okay, Dana, Kareem, We’ll concentrate on people in the pods and then check in with the search teams.

(Dana and Kareem both indicate agreement)

ADRIENNE: Sounds good.

[SFX – Adrienne opening coms again]

ADRIENNE: Captain Francis, come in Francis.

FRANCIS: (on coms) Barnes, what the hell is going on?

ADRIENNE: What’s your current location?

FRANCIS: (on coms) In a crawler about 35 miles north, north west of the mine.

ADRIENNE: You are not going to believe this.

[Computer Chime: End of Inserted Recording]



[Continuing on from Part 1]

ADRIENNE: Francis and I came up with a plan, which he’ll tell you about in his report. In short, we’re safe for the moment. But while Janine was organising check-ins, I kept watching the Nabonidus people. After a while they moved away from the door. I found some binoculars somewhere and kept watching. I told myself it was to relay intel to Francis, but really, I couldn’t look away.

They returned to the container we were working in, and they started tearing into the food. Gorging themselves like they hadn’t eaten in days. A little while later, they came back to the mine door and started pounding on it again. Two or three at a time with the rest standing and watching. Then they rotated, all taking turns at the door.

I don’t…I don’t understand what we’re facing here. Maybe it has something to do with what we discovered when we went beyond the second door. Maybe it’s all connected. Ben and Celia and Kathy and the rest might come up with something between them that can explain all this, but I have to be honest–it’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen the sky on fire on Altair, you know?

[Computer Chime: End of Entry]

COMPUTER: Entry 2. Military Search and Rescue Report.

[Computer Chime: Open Entry]



[The wind from outside is more muted than in previous episodes. There are no computer updates as all searching has been abandoned, but there is more military coms chatter in the background]

FRANCIS: Commence report: Captain Edward Francis, 23rd Alliance Marines reporting. Day 10, Nabonidus Relief Mission. We have had a busy day. As you may already be aware, we went beyond the second door down into the alien vault. I’m not entirely sure what to make of what we found there, but equally, I have no idea what to make of the 56 people from the Nabonidus mission who suddenly showed up on our doorstep out of nowhere.

So to take events in…some kind of order. I’ll start with going beyond the door. I was against the idea of sending in a preliminary drone incursion. Ben Kelleher wanted to argue the toss, but I considered it a waste of time. If the outlines our scanners had picked up were in fact bodies, then first verifying that with a drone then organising a second expedition seemed excessively slow. I was all for letting the drones go ahead of us, but I wanted to be right behind.

In the end we compromised. Immediate incursion into the room beyond Door 2. Drones only for whatever lay beyond. This time the personnel involved were myself, two of my team, Ben Kelleher and Dr Pennella, plus Sergeant Harris and Corporal Jensen to run the drones. Full hazmat precautions as we did previously.

We had bots on standby ready to open the door, but Kelleher placed his hand to a…rectangle next to it which opened up and he and Jensen and Harris conferred and a minute later the door was up and the drones were in. I had Kelleher show Hubert the controls and left him posted at the entrance once the drones confirmed what I was already sure of. There were indeed two bodies beyond that door.

Now on first glance they looked like they’d been dead a week, which makes no sense whatsoever, but I’ll leave commentary on that to the science brigade. Jensen and Harris got the drones up and running while Pennella got to work on the bodies. That left Kelleher, myself and Asaad to take in the room itself. Which wasn’t much. Bigger than the other three chambers, but nothing but walls and an exit descending down into the dark. I…expected more. Buried underground and locked behind two doors, this
has to be the point of the place, right? But what do I know, I’m not a xenoarchaeologist. All I know is that it’s weird. And hot. A lot hotter than the side we came from. Jensen and Harris talked about thermal vents but I didn’t follow.

Anyway, before long, Dr Pennella gives a shout. I turn just in time to watch one of the bodies just…crumple? Dissolve? Somewhere between those two. It’s basically a pile of dust inside a jumpsuit now. One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. Pennella is just staring at me like they’re worried they’ll get the blame or something. It was like the body went from one whole person to cremation without passing through the combustion part. I don’t know if that gets it across, but that’s all I’ve got.

Given what just happened, Pennella took their time on the visual examination of the second body. Harris and Jensen get back to monitoring the drones. Apparently everything below us is one huge chamber. No sign of any people or remains. But a lot of stacked cylinders, like the ones found in Chamber C.

Eventually there’s nothing left for Pennella to do, so they try to get a tissue sample and the second body goes the way of the first. Just like that. Instead of the bodybags we brought with us we ended up taking those poor souls out in jars.

I exit and leave the scientists to their work. I have to admit, I was disappointed. I was really hoping to get answers. No survivors. No bodies. Only one so far confirmed alive. Two confirmed not. An answer, but hardly a good one. Course I didn’t think I’d be getting an even wilder answer a few hours later.

I was out on search when I get the call from Barnes. Members of the Nabonidus crew have returned and are acting like a bunch of zombies or something. Sounded crazy but…I know better now.

The obvious question I have is how they’ve evaded a cordon of crawlers out in the snow for so long, but having done the calculations I can see it. There was a 2 day gap in our grid search, and given how wide our search area has become we’ve had less coverage in the west quadrant since resuming, and that’s the direction we think they came.

Not that that was our immediate problem. I had fifteen of my squad out on crawlers, and after a bit of coordination we rendezvoused four clicks from the mine, and all 15 on search came back on one crawler with me. We came in slow and quiet. Barnes had counted 50, which left something like 35 Nabonidus crew unaccounted for and we didn’t have our full ordinance.

Thankfully we sighted no additional personnel and nothing appeared on the scanners or monitors. The members of my team still within the Herodotus compound verified that as we arrived. Having consolidated my team, we stopped by our armoury to pick up stunners and shock sticks before entering the mine exterior area. As described, we found the Nabonidus crew at the side door to the mine, pounding on it like they expected it to do any good. A quick exchange with Barnes and we decided to try to herd them to one of the Nabonidus storage hangars. Get them out of the elements and under control and somewhere we could observe them from behind plexiglass.

It didn’t go quite as well as planned. Here is the coms recording of us engaging them…

[Computer Chime: Begin Inserted Recording]



[The sounds of the troops running up and taking cover near the mine entrance where the Nabonidus group can be heard hitting the door and calling out. There is wind in the background, but it is comparatively quiet]

FRANCIS: Come in Harris and Jensen. Any movement on the monitors?

HARRIS: (On coms) No sir, All clear on the Nabonidus cameras.

JENSEN: (On coms) Nothing on ours either sir.

FRANCIS: Keep me posted. Looks like…50 or so, which means there could be another 30 out there. I don’t want any surprises.

HARRIS: (On coms) Understood sir.

FRANCIS: They still haven’t seen us. Trinh, take your group left behind that container. Janowicz, you get yours behind that digger on the right. Don’t step out til I do. Between us and the mine entrance I want them boxed in on three sides, leaving the only way out the direction we want them moving. Don’t get too close. We don’t want to spook ’em.

JANOWICZ: (On coms) Got it.

TRINH: (On coms) Yes sir.

[SFX – Some of the marines run off in both directions]

HUBERT: God, they’re really just punching that door.

FRANCIS: Yeah. Remember everyone, they’re civilians. Keep the stunners and shock sticks in plain sight, but don’t point anything at anyone. Hopefully we’ll just take ’em for a walk to that hangar on the west side there. But be ready for anything.

TRINH: (On coms) In position.

JANOWICZ: (On coms) Ready here, sir.

FRANCIS: Okay, on my lead, break cover, move slow and fan out. Non-threatening, but create a cordon.

[SFX – Francis first, the marines begin approaching the Nabonidus team members at a walking pace, the three groups converging into a broad line. The sounds of the Nabonidus people hitting the door and calling for help grow louder and closer. The marines halt. Francis takes a few more steps forward]

FRANCIS: [Calling out] Nabonidus team members, do not be alarmed. My name is Captain Francis, Alliance Marines. I am here as part of a rescue team. I need you to cease and desist your attempts to break down that door and allow us to escort you to Hangar 8 for medical evaluation and debrief.

[SFX – The talk from Nabonidus died after Francis started speaking. There is silence as he finishes, then the sound of fifty people taking two steps in order to turn and face the marines. The pleas and shouts begin again, more directed now]

KONSTANTINIDIS: Don’t come any closer. Please for your sake, don’t let us get closer.

[SFX – Two members of the Nabonidus team start to walk towards Francis]

SWANSON: (On coms) Sir, there’s movement. Two coming toward you.

FRANCIS: Do not approach. We just want to get you out of the cold and get you food and shelter. But I need you to keep your distance.

KONSTANTINIDIS: They can’t help it! They’re not in control.

TRINH: (On coms) Sir, more of them are moving!

FRANCIS: (To Trinh) Hold position. (To the two approaching him)  Ma’am, sir, I need you to stop.

[SFX – Francis primes his shock stick]

FRANCIS: I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a jolt from a shock stick but–

KONSTANTINIDIS: (Simultaneous with Francis) Please, don’t hurt them they–

[SFX – The two Nabonidus people suddenly charge the remaining steps, one of them pleading and screaming as she does so. Francis ducks away and downs first one then the other with his shock stick. The Nabonidus people react to this, concerned their friends may be dead, others pleading to be left alone and not hurt]

HUBERT: (On coms) Respectfully sir, I suggest you return to the line.

FRANCIS: Agreed.

[SFX – Francis moves back]

FRANCIS: Stop your advance at once.

KONSTANTINIDIS: Don’t you think we would if could?

(The other voices agree with Konstantinidis)

[SFX – It is clear most if not all are marching towards the marines now]

JANOWICZ: (On coms) Orders?

FRANCIS: Any of them get close to 15 feet, hit them with stunners. (Calling out) If you come any closer we will be forced to respond.

[SFX – A series of stunners being charged and shock sticks activated. The crowd becomes more agitated. A moment. Then the first stunner fires and a person goes down. A second. A third.]

HUBERT: They’re not stopping.

FRANCIS: No they are not. (Calling out) Prepare to advance from the right flank — drive them where we want them to go. Janowicz, take point.

JANOWICZ: (On coms) Copy that.

FRANCIS: Everyone to my right prepare to shift the line to follow. If they don’t back away and you get close enough, stun ’em.

[SFX – Stunners and shock sticks continue to go off, Nabonidus team members falling]

FRANCIS: (Calling out) Those to the left, keep them boxed. If they do as ordered you stay on their flank. Don’t advance but put them down if they come at you. (Calling out) Nabonidus. Disengage or we will advance.

(The Nabonidus people plead for understanding)

KONSTANTINIDIS: God, don’t you understand? It’s not up to us.

FRANCIS: (Calling out) Right side advance.

[SFX – The marines march forward. Stunners go off with increasing frequency, especially on the right side. The Nabonidus people are more frantic]

FRANCIS: Keep the line together.

HUBERT: Swanson, your two!

[SFX – Several running steps and a body check as Swanson is barrelled over]

FRANCIS: Get her off him!

[SFX – Francis fires twice. Hubert dashes to Swanson, kicking the assailant away and then stunning her]

FRANCIS: Swanson, you right?

SWANSON: Yeah, just let her get too close.

HUBERT: At this rate we’re going to have to put them all out.

FRANCIS: Yeah, this isn’t going to plan. We might need to–

TRINH: (On coms) Sir, look. There’s half dozen hanging back. What are they carrying? Is that alien?

FRANCIS: They look like the cannisters from the site. Maybe…

[SFX – Francis levels his stunner and fires. He hits one of the people at the back. Almost immediately the Nabonidus people stop moving and yelling. Everything stops. A few marines and Nabonidus people voice their surprise and disbelief]

JANOWICZ: (On coms) What the hell?

HUBERT: The second you hit one of that group at the back…


TRINH: (On coms) They stopped. All at the same time. What is going on?

FRANCIS: That’s a problem for later. (Calling out) Let’s try this again. I need you all to head to Hangar 8.

[SFX – The Nabonidus people begin to march. There’s the sound of dragging through snow too as they move those that were stunned]

FRANCIS: (Calling out) You five at the back, place those containers on the ground and step away.

TRINH: (On coms) I didn’t expect them to comply.

FRANCIS: Me either.

[SFX – A stunner being charged to the right]

FRANCIS: Janowicz, hold off, give them some space. Looks like they’re just picking up the ones we put out.

JANOWICZ: (On coms) Yes sir. If they’re gonna save me the effort of carrying dead weight, they’re welcome to it.

FRANCIS: Alright, marines, move with them. Keep your distance.

[Computer Chime: End of Inserted Recording]



[Continuing on from where Part 1 left off.]

FRANCIS: And without any further fuss they go into the hangar, behind that plexiglass shielding. Probably has some sort of contamination-prevention role or something normally, but it makes for pretty effective cells. The cannisters we locked up separately.

After that, we organise food and get the internal monitors on, and I put together a guard rotation because I do not want to turn my back on these people.

Thing is, the whole time we were herding them in there, they were warning us not to get too close. Apologising for their actions. This one woman said I should keep my eye on Swanson. She said something like she thinks it’s “run out of juice” but isn’t sure. He took a couple of bruises, but it’s not exactly a mortal wound, you know? I got my medic to check him over anyway, since the woman wouldn’t explain herself. Or couldn’t really – she seemed to have faded out of consciousness, which makes no sense since her arms and legs were still doing their job, but her eyes weren’t open anymore. Yes, you heard that right.

At this point in time, all I can say is I’m glad they’re sealed up. You can have your scientists work out what’s going on, but I’m just gonna focus on guarding the animals in this zoo. Apart from that, and accounting for the 29 crew still missing, that’s the end of my mission. My objectives are almost complete, and I’d sooner be off this rock ASAP thank you very much. This is all getting too weird for my pay grade.

Speaking of weird, one other thing I noticed when we were herding them along. They walked entirely in step. Didn’t matter how big the stride was, they managed it. Some were limping, but it didn’t seem relevant. They walked as fast as the slowest could manage. Marines learn to keep in step by having someone call out a cadence or hit a drum, but they’re doing it without any external coordination. Like they know exactly how slow the slowest one is, without turning around.

[Computer Chime: End of Report]

COMPUTER: Entry 3. Xenoarchaeology report.

[Computer Chime: Begin Report]



[It’s quiet in the background. Only one or two other people working can be heard. Most are taking care of other duties in light of the arrival of the Nabonidus people]

BEN: I’m sure at this point you’re only interested in the returned Nabonidus crew. But I haven’t been around any of that really, only enough to know that something extremely hinky is going on. So me being me, I’ve been studying the site to see if there’s anything from the past that might explain what the hell’s going on in the present. Seems I’ve been doing that kind of thing a lot lately.

This morning, I went beyond the second door with Celia and Captain Frantastic. The situation with the bodies was…intense, but that’s more Celia’s area than mine so…

The chamber beyond the door, I guess we’ll call it E to stay consistent, was much the same as the other three on that level. For the most part featureless, though not as bare as the others, which I’m unsure how to interpret. Perhaps a preparation room of some sort. A transitional space. And sure, that makes it sound like a spiritual journey as you descend down into the “temple”, which we keep running up against, but bear with me.

I do think there might actually have been some active tech there, especially since the door is still operational, but we didn’t have much time to really get stuck in. Not in hazmat suits and with the focus being the dead bodies. The main thing we noticed beyond them was the heat. That room was considerably warmer than anywhere else in the mine or the site in general. And then the exit that led down, just like the one between the antechamber and B at the other end. Jensen and Harris took charge of scanning what lies below. I’ve got them with me now and have attached their scan data to my folder.

So…everything below Chamber’s B through E is just one large room correct?

HARRIS: Yeah. About three times the size of Chamber A, though to clarify, I mean more like three Chamber As stuck on top of each other.

BEN: So tall rather long?

JENSEN: Yeah. If you look at the complete photogrammetric model, you’ll see that Chamber A sits on top of it like a hat, then two floors below. Kind of like an acorn now I look at it.

BEN: Huh, yeah. Okay, can you run me through what you found there?

HARRIS: There’s no stairs or ramp. We think there must be some sort of elevator, but no sign it’s operational. It’s like a warren of space there, towers of shelving and walkways and so forth. And they’re all loaded up with cylinders similar in size and shape to the ones we found in Chamber C.

BEN: How many are we talking here?

HARRIS: I haven’t crunched the exact numbers, but a rough estimate, given how many fit into each section, how many sections in how many stacks…if they’re all full you’ll be looking at easily over a hundred thousand.

BEN: Jesus Christ.

HARRIS: Yeah. Whatever they’re for, apparently they needed a lot.

BEN: Jensen, you were saying there was something else you noticed about the way the chamber was set up?

JENSEN: Yeah okay…Yeah, you see the structures here? At the bottom corners? They look like ventilators, but if I switch to the heat map you can see what they’re doing. They’re a passive heating system. Redirecting heat from some sort of geothermal source below, I assume, but I think also regulating it too. Blocking additional output.

BEN: So the net result is they’re keeping these things at a consistent temperature.

JENSEN: Yeah, looks like. About 58 Centigrade, give or take.

BEN: That’s a lot hotter than the rest of the site and the mine.

HARRIS: Still less hot than it should be.

BEN: What do you mean?

HARRIS: If we were on Earth we’d be cooked at this depth. Even with the mine’s ventilation and cooling system, thermal regulators and the environmental tolerance of our clothing, it still would be more uncomfortable than it is. But this planet’s different. Older. Less active core, less radioactivity.

BEN: And so less heat.

HARRIS: Exactly.

BEN: So they intentionally chose a cold planet but then went to the trouble of heating this deepest chamber to a specific temperature.

JENSEN: So it would seem.

BEN: Hmm…Anything else you noticed?

JENSEN: No, we’ve been a little busy the last few hours.

BEN: Yeah, of course.

JENSEN: Was that all you wanted?

BEN: I think so. Just needed that extra bit of insight from people with a tech background.

HARRIS: Alright, I’ve got to go check in with the captain. He wanted me in the guard rotation for the Nabonidus team.

JENSEN: Lucky you. Me? I’m hitting the shower. Harris’s bit about the benefits of a cold planet not withstanding, our little excursion today felt like a sauna.

[SFX – Harris and Jensen begin to walk out]

JENSEN: I’m sweating from places I didn’t even know existed.

BEN: Thanks.

HARRIS: Anytime.

JENSEN: Seeya.

BEN: So if we follow Hollister’s logic from the drop, that this site has a spiritual significance then yeah…I can see it. This could be the equivalent of a tomb. Catacombs. With burial urns. Or maybe something else is in there, or believed to be in there. Like…Proximan souls? I don’t mean literally, that would be something else, but there’s more than enough religions and spiritual traditions from our world that take on the idea of souls residing in the body and passing beyond or into sacred objects and…I don’t know.

Cos then why the whole bit with the temperature? And the cannisters seem connected to what’s happening now somehow, even though the ones we found have nothing in them, but then I heard about other ones that just got carried in by the…

(Ben gives a frustrated sigh)

Sorry, I’m just so scattered at the moment. You know I got lost twice between the mine’s elevator platform and here today. Not entirely my fault – once you’re past the main dig areas there’s over a kilometre of haphazard, narrower tunnels that go every which way. A maze made by a giant, drunk worm. But still you’d think our lighting woulda given me a clue.


Maybe I’m struggling because I know he’s up there. Somewhere. Hollister. Back with all the other Nabonidus team. That’s…I mean he’s as responsible for Gloria as…okay I don’t have to tell you. (Under breath) Christ, focus Ben.

I was talking with Dr Chang earlier. About his patient…Mueller, the one that Francis found. And he asked me about my work and I was saying something about how this place didn’t make sense. That the architects must have been out of their minds or something. And Chang reminds me that his wife is an architect and that she always mentions a Frank Lloyd Wright quote, uh…that the difference between the job of doctor and an architect is that a doctor can bury their mistakes. An architect can only advise the client to plant vines.

Sat with that for a bit, until it hit me. Burying mistakes. I think that’s why this place is so far underground. Why all the warning labels in the antechamber, why there’s so few amenities and so little tech. Hell, stumbling on this place was the biggest accident of all. It wouldn’t show up on a scan, not with all the raw ore on top. It’s a miracle they dug down this far. Didn’t the report say they were just trying to find out how deep the seam went when they hit this place? Complete accident. There’s nothing for a scan to hone in on. Most of the material reads as regular boring ass rock. Even that black, oily, shiny looking glass stuff on the walls? Scans seem to bounce off it in funny ways. I’m guessing from the other side it wouldn’t even appear to be there. Heh, like…stealth rock.

They didn’t want this found. 12 miles underground on an iceball of a planet.

So when is a church not a church, or a tomb not a tomb. I think we have the answer. When it’s a dump. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. And the worst part is, if the something that was so damn bad they went to this much trouble to hide it is the reason why the Nabonidus people disappeared and reappeared, then dammit, we need to know what it is.

Everyone else is tied up with how all these people just showed up. Tied up with Hollister. I feel like I’m the only person really working on this. I know that’s not literally true, but I worry that if we put all our eggs in that basket we’re going to fall into the same trap they did.


I never wanted to be in the same system as him ever again. And now? I’m probably going to have to go talk to the bastard.

[Computer Chime: End of Entry]

COMPUTER: Entry 4. Data Investigation report.



[Kathy is back at the small, tucked away workspace she used in Season 1. The one with the RIS Scanner, which can be heard in the background, along with the wind]

KATHY: Commence report: Kathy Winters reporting. Day 10, Nabonidus relief mission. And after all that effort to get the header changed it seems like I’m not working with the Data Investigation team anymore. That work is still ongoing, but there hasn’t been anything significant come up in the last day or so. I had wanted to follow up on the situation with Johann Mueller. Celia has been focused on monitoring him in the hope of getting answers as to what he did and why, and more importantly how he seemed to have some inkling of what was about to happen to Nabonidus before they all walked out of here. But unfortunately, they’ve been tied up, especially having been part of the team that went beyond the door to find two people dead and… not just dead but…

And I’m sure you know about the sudden return of most of the people we’ve been looking for, which is a whole thing. Anyway, so with all that I figured I would get involved with the Mueller situation, since it directly affects what I’ve been working on. Chang also seemed to feel that a fresh face might actually do some good at this point. Much and all as it pains him, Dr Chang has had Mueller on a milder, slow release sedative in the hope of keeping him calm enough to interact with. That’s been tricky, though. Chang said Johann seems to have unusual interactions with certain medications and it’s taken a while to find something that’ll actually keep him calm enough. I don’t know if that’s relevant to why he is here and the rest of the Nabonidus crew are…the way they are, but I thought it was worth adding. Dr Chang said he was still waiting on that personnel file, so…if you have the ability to speed that along, we’d appreciate it. I mean I’m staying calm, but shit’s getting real weird out here. I think on balance given the choice between reprogrammed bots marching at me and people doing so while apologising, to be honest I’d almost take the bots.

And that’s not…it’s not exactly a game of “Would You Rather” for me. It’s just Tuesday.

Sorry, where was I. Right, yes. I took it slow with Johann. He seems so frail. Just kind of lost. And I felt so sorry for him. When I first appeared he mumbled meekly about how I should stay away from him. I promised I would, that I wasn’t there to hurt him. And then I just talked. Told him a little about myself, a funny story from my childhood, that kind of thing. Almost like I was telling a bedtime story. It seemed to soothe him. He stopped protesting. I then brought him back to the present, switching back to the idea that he was safe and that we were there to help and…well I recorded the conversation.

[Computer Chime: Begin Inserted Recording]



[Back in Johann’s room. Occasional beeps from medical equipment can be heard. Johann is still unfortunately chained to the bed. Johann is sounds tired and under sedation]

KATHY: Do you mind if I record us talking? Would that be okay?


KATHY: You’re safe, Johann, but I need your help. Do you think you could help me. To keep me–to keep all of us–safe?

JOHANN: I uh…I think, yes.

KATHY: Alright, what I’m going to do, is I want to show you a vid. One that you recorded. And then I’m going to ask you some questions, okay?

[Computer Chime: End of Inserted Recording]



[Resuming from the end of Part 1]

KATHY: I know how it sounds, me talking to him like a child, but it was what worked. And I don’t know if it’s the combination of the sedative and what he’s been through or something else, but there is something childlike about him right now.

I showed him the vid from when he left the camera in place above the antechamber before the members of Nabonidus all marched out. He flinched and his heart rate spiked when he saw them go full robot, but he stayed calm enough. So I asked him a few questions:

[Computer Chime: Begin Insert Recording]



[Some 10  minutes after Scene 4A]

KATHY: So you put this in place and left it running before they all walked out. Why did you leave? How did you know something was about to happen?

JOHANN: I don’t know, but I knew something was about to go wrong.

KATHY: How? How did you know?

JOHANN: Because…because something like that happened to me.

KATHY: You saw lights that weren’t there? Like Victor Hollister?


KATHY: Anything else?

JOHANN: I couldn’t. I couldn’t control my…my hands.

KATHY: But you can control them now, right?

JOHANN: (Beginning to panic) No…no. No, no, no I can’t. I can’t lift them up. They’re–

KATHY: Look down Johann. See you hands? The doctor had to do that so you didn’t hurt yourself. But, wiggle your fingers for me. Yeah, see? You have control of them.

JOHANN: (Relieved) Yes.

KATHY: Alright, now stay with me Johann. What happened before, when you did lose control of your hands?

JOHANN: I broke something. Someone got hurt. I said it wasn’t my fault but no one believed me.

KATHY: I believe you. Now, the video, why did you think of leaving the camera where you did?

JOHANN: Did I? I don’t…remember doing that.

KATHY: Do you remember walking away?


KATHY: Do you remember being in control? Having control of your body then?


KATHY: And after?

JOHANN: Yes. I remember…I remember it was like being on a desert island. I was alone. I didn’t like being alone. I kept waking up…dreams where my hands would try and grab me and hurt me. Hurt other people. The others, are they back? Did they come back? I don’t see anyone around.

KATHY: They are back, but they’re not here. You’re s–

JOHANN: You need to stay away from them. Don’t touch them. I think that’s how…I think that’s how they get your hands to stop working.

KATHY: What does? Who are they?

JOHANN: The Proximans. Must be The Proximans. They’ve been talking to me. Telling me.

KATHY: You talk to aliens?

JOHANN: Yes. You’re one, you must be. You’re an alien right?

KATHY: No I’m human.

JOHANN: Then I must be. The alien. If I wasn’t an alien I would have gone with the rest of them. I’d have gone to that place.

KATHY: What place?

JOHANN: The place they went. Can I have some ice cream?

KATHY: Focus, Johann. What place?

JOHANN: The place they all went to. The other place. Ice cream please.

KATHY: I’ll get you some ice cream. But first tell me what you mean by ’other place.’

JOHANN: They must have gone somewhere. Everything goes somewhere. That’s what Mel used to say. Everything goes somewhere. Can I please have some ice cream?

[Computer Chime: End of Inserted Recording]



KATHY: It kind of petered out after that. He just kept asking for ice cream. I don’t know how much consideration to give anything he said–how much of it is knowledge that Johann has versus what his mind is doing to process an overwhelming experience. But it’s possible that whatever has affected the rest got hold of him but not enough to fully…convert him, I guess. Or maybe he just got lucky or… I don’t know. I asked Dr Chang to take some additional blood samples once Mueller was asleep. I think it’s worth comparing his blood to some of the Nabonidus crew. Maybe there’s something to be learned from playing spot the difference.

Johann does raise a good point though, and one that in the surprise of their sudden reappearance I think we forgot. The Nabonidus people are back, but…where were they? They went out into the frozen wastes for weeks, but where did they go? The questions are endless.

Something I did learn, however, is that the boysenberry ripple from the Nabonidus stores is surprisingly good. I’m going to have to put in a request to Adrienne for future expeditions. I figured Johann earned that ice cream. And me too.

[SFX – Clink of a spoon in an ice cream bowl]

KATHY: Mmm. (Through a mouthful of ice cream) End report.

[Computer Chime: End of Report]

COMPUTER: Entry 5. Xenobiology and xenoanthropology report.



[Back in biopod, Celia’s old haunt]

CELIA: Commence report. I am sure you have come to my report expecting answers. I don’t have them. What I have is an abundance of data, various observations, fifteen minutes until the stellarcast deadline and 18000 questions. And also no time to respond to what you said in reply to some…home truths I put into the last report. There is too much going on right now.

And this isn’t even my area of expertise. I am a xenobiologist. Humans have always been outside my purview.

CHANG: Ha, you’re right. You’ve never been a people person.


CHANG: I’ve known you for far too long for that death glare to have any effect on me.

CELIA: As you can hear, I’ve brought Dr Chang in on this. So, to start with what we do know: There were indeed two people dead beyond the second door. They looked for the world like two intact bodies that had been dead what? Ten days or less?

CHANG: Based on the images you showed me, yes.

CELIA: But they dissolved on contact into powder. Despite giving the appearance of cremated remains it seems to be another substance entirely. This worked in our favour, as it meant we were able to extract DNA. I can extract usable DNA under many less than ideal conditions, but DNA post-cremation is a dicey prospect.

CHANG: You definitely need luck on your side for that.

CELIA: We have positively identified the bodies as Vinh Duong and Genevieve Meisner. They were among several people who weren’t visible in Johann’s footage of the Nabonidus team leaving the site, so that much is consistent. Why or what that means and why they died is not something for which I have a ready explanation. Though I am certainly glad we used full Hazmat protocol when we went down there ourselves.

However, having said that, whatever happened to their bodies…there is currently no evidence of a biological element. Nothing like a virus or bacteria to be seen. And we have enough data on viruses and other germ-like organisms that the Proximans lived alongside that we know what to look for.

CHANG: Yes, and we have expanded our search to include samples of blood taken, with some difficulty, from several of the returned 56 members of the Nabonidus task force. Results are preliminary given the timeframe, but we’re not seeing any anomalies, and nothing to suggest triggered immune responses, even with all the boosters we get loaded up with.

CELIA: Indeed. I had some time to observe them while waiting for the blood tests to come through, and certainly something is making them act strangely. Most are injured, some frostbitten where their jumpsuits haven’t protected them, yet they don’t seem aware of it. Most of them make comments to the effect of stay away or stay back, but as they say that they’re trying to get at you, even though we’re all on the other side of plexiglass. Some have tried to punch their way out. And I don’t mean a polite rapping on the window. I mean punching it. The walls. They have to know that a human fist cannot achieve the required force to break through. Not with one blow. Not with a million. Yet they’re doing it anyway. I actually heard bones give way as they did it. And there’s blood on the walls. Still they don’t stop.

In the end Francis got tired of it and hit them with stunners, just so they would stop hurting themselves. I don’t completely agree with his choice there, but I can understand it.

CHANG: The weirdest part to my mind is that when they act, they act as one.

CELIA: Yes. That too. Which brings me to one other noteworthy moment. I hesitate to share it because there is a lot of speculation on my part. But at one point during my observations I noticed one woman crying. Just standing there, unmoving, but whimpering all the same. I recognised her. Joan…something. I know her slightly, So I asked her what was wrong. And she said something like, “I still see him. It made me. We ate Emil.”

For a moment I thought she said “ate a meal” but then I realised what she’d really said and checked the list of the unaccounted for crewmembers. Sure enough there’s a xenotech named Emil Baramov on the list. There were 88 on the mission. Johann Mueller remained behind. Vinh and Genevieve were likely dead already.

That means 85 left this place and went off to wherever it was they went. 56 came back. Two thirds, or near enough. Now it’s possible that they’re still out there, but if they left without food, travelled for days in the cold and returned now, even if we assume they spent a lot of time in a crawler, they would have needed high calorie food intake to survive the walk back.

CHANG: (Shocked) You’re saying…

CELIA: Yes. Half a person, per person. I don’t know if it was calculated. I don’t know if it was out of necessity. But something seems to move these people independently of their own wills. If you ask me, we will not find the rest of the Nabonidus crew. Except perhaps in stool samples.

And no, I do not believe that I just said that either.

[Computer Chime: End of Report]

COMPUTER: End Status Report 4.

[Computer Chime: End of Status Report]

[Theme music plays]

COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode of Among the Stars and Bones featured the voices of:

JULIA: Julia Eve as Adrienne Barnes.

MAIA: Maia Harlap as Alexis Konstantinidis and Sergeant Janowicz.

LUCILLE: Lucille Valentine as Janine Hattersley.

ANDREY: Andrey Dragovich as Klymenko.

TAREK: Tarek Esaw as Hudson.

OLIVER: Oliver Smith as Captain Francis.

ANTHONY: Anthony Morales…Harris

WHITNEY: Whitney Johnson as Jensen

BRANDON: Brandon Nguyen as Private Trinh.

REBECCA: Rebecca Owen as Private Hubert.

CHRIS: Chris Magilton as Ben Kelleher.

JORDAN: Jordan Cobb as Kathy Winters.

JERRON: Jerron Bacat as Johann Mueller.

SHAKIRA: Shakira Searle as Dr Celia Pennella.

ALEX: Alex Chew as Dr Chang.

DEVIN: Devin Madson as The Computer.

CHRIS: Special sound design assistance was provided by Alice Magilton.

COMPUTER ANNOUNCEMENT: The work of the Eudoxus Initiative is made possible by generous research grants from our patrons. Thank you to our most recent patrons: Michael R and Kassandra. If you too would like to support humanity’s understanding of alien technology, culture and history, go to For a transcript of this report or additional information go to If you enjoyed this report please consider supporting us by rating, reviewing and recommending us. Thank you for listening.

[Theme music continues until the end. The last few bars are reminiscent of one of the Season 1 themes.]