Salvage Operation


Author : Bob Newbell

Ship’s Log, 1330, 24 June 2533. Captain April Green recording. Al-Basri and Sanchez continue to work on the alien ship’s engines. The vessel appears to use an antimatter-enhanced helium-3/deuterium fusion rocket not unlike the interstellar drive on the Odysseus. There’s no telling how long the alien ship sat abandoned in orbit around Barnard’s Star. Finding this spacecraft must rank as one of the greatest discoveries of the millennium.

Ship’s Log, 2308, 24 June. Al-Basri became lightheaded and nauseated while repairing the alien ship’s propulsion system. He has come back aboard the Odysseus and reported to sickbay. Sanchez continues to work and says we will be able to fly the alien vessel back to Earth.

Ship’s Log, 0715, 25 June. Dr. Behringer reports Al-Basri’s condition has deteriorated. His white blood cell count and liver enzymes are elevated and he is running a high fever. Although our biohazard assessment showed no evidence of any pathogens on the alien vessel, the doctor is putting Al-Basri in isolation as a precaution.

Ship’s Log, 1051, 25 June. Behringer reports Sanchez is now running a fever. I’ve canceled all further missions to the alien ship. At this point, one of the robots should be able to pilot it back anyway.

Ship’s Log, 1536, 25 June. The doc reports Al-Basri complained of some abdominal pain so she did an MRI. Dr. Behringer says Al-Basri’s kidneys and pancreas are shrinking and the MRI showed two other organs she can’t identify! Al-Basri’s hair has fallen out and he has developed a severe, extensive rash. Behringer says it may be something called toxic epidermal necrolysis. Sanchez is starting to show similar signs and symptoms. Crewmen Nguyen and McTavish have developed fevers.

Ship’s Log, 2218, 25 June. Al-Basri’s skin has almost completely sloughed off. The doc says a teal-colored, leathery integument was present under his skin. Both Al-Basri and Sanchez are in and out of consciousness and both have expressed a desire to go back to the alien ship.

Ship’s Log, 1200, 26 June. Behringer says she has started running a fever herself and is experiencing dizziness. Al-Basri, Sanchez, Nguyen, and McTavish are no longer recognizably human. The doc has tried everything up to and including somatic cell nanotherapy to stop the mutation or whatever it is.

Ship’s Log, 1645, 26 June. All infected crewmen are now unable to verbally communicate, at least not in any human language. Also, those affected are frantic to get off the Odysseus and to go to the alien vessel. Worse still, I feel feverish myself.

Ship’s Log, 0311, 27 June. I’ve had to lock the entire ship’s crew out of the bridge, engineering, and the shuttle bay. I hear them pounding on the hatches continuously. My vision is blurry and I’ve thrown up twice.

Ship’s Log, 1101, 27 June. Want to go to the alien ship. Can’t. Mustn’t. Going to vent the Odysseus’ atmosphere into space. Have to stop this here. Set computer to send automated warning to any approaching Earth ship.

Ship’s Log, 2119, 27 June. <Please repeat statement. I did not comprehend your entry, order, or request.> <I’m sorry, I still do not understand. Please type your entry, order, or request using the touchscreen.>

* * * *

Vessel Record, 770 Sennib 4115. First Controller documenting. The voidflyer’s crew restoration protocol is complete. We were fortunate that the intruders who happened upon the vehicle had sufficient biomass to replace the lost personnel. Will bring back their vessel for analysis. Setting a course for home.

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