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08/06/4940 MESSAGE FROM: SuperIntendant I. Muller #763956284 LOCATION: Foxtrot Bravo Orbital Station COORDINATES: 7432;-5436;3209 TO: General T. Warwick #745395629 LOCATION: Earth COORDINATES: 0;0;0

The following is a collection of evidence from the incident on Mining Colony Epsilon Foxtrot, presented in chronological order. Believed primary cause(s) of the incident in order of probability are:

  1. Internal Sabotage
  2. External Sabotage
  3. Death Through Misadventure
  4. Rogue Artificial Intelligence
  5. Extraterrestrial (previously unknown) Intelligence

Please rest assured that our team is fully dedicated to the matter at hand, and will be reopening the facility as soon as it is deemed safe. I will be visiting the facility personally to ensure that everything is in order.

Your humble servant,

I. Muller.

END MESSAGE

Begin File

29/11/4939 MESSAGE FROM: Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know) TO: Commander M. Safrine #765983526 LOCATION: Alpha Tango 769 General Starfleet Vehicle COORDINATES: Classified (Top Secret)

My dearest Maria,

Is it only a week since we held hands and kissed goodbye? It seems like so much more - the hours drag unbearably, and the days become an unidentifiable stream that should flash by so quickly, but instead trudge past second by second and shift by shift, not month by month as I would hope.

Of course, that is most likely to be expected on a mining colony in the back of beyond, although really, the people here are friendly and we get along well. Psychological profiling seems to be the best reason for this - when you're stuck on a small asteroid with 4 other people for company for nine months, you had better be sure you get along. So far everyone is being very careful not to step on anyone else's toes.

Pieter and Mikhail, they're here to look after the mining machinery - Not that it needs it, really, what with all the backup systems and backups of the backups - are the two quietest of the bunch. Then there's Simon, the intern, who's helping me out, although really there's not much work to be done. He spends most of his time studying - a very quiet kid, but very quick to learn. And finally, there's Andre, who's the cook and general dogsbody around here - on a larger station, he'd be sharing psych counselling duties with me, but there's not a lot of call for it here.

I spend most of my day sitting at my desk like a good doctor should, reading up on my notes and preparing my dissertation on Artificial Intelligence. I really think I'm close to the solution - as long as I can find some sort of mechanism for quick starting it... I've been using an old 20th century language called LISP - it's antiquated to say the least, but it's the best thing I've got, what with the New Earth Order clamping down on any new languages. It's also the only language I can find that can modify itself, almost a pre-requisite for AI.

And besides that... there's very little to do, but feel the constant vibration of the mining machines below us, and think of you. I miss you, my darling, and cannot wait to see you again. I am counting the days off one by one, until you are in my arms again.

Your love,

James.

END MESSAGE

29/12/4939 MESSAGE FROM: Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know) TO: Commander M. Safrine #765983526 LOCATION: Alpha Tango 769 General Starfleet Vehicle COORDINATES: Classified (Top Secret)

My dearest Maria,

Another month has passed, and bandwidth regulations permit another mail.

Big news! I think I've finally cracked that little recursion problem - with any luck, by the time I present my dissertation, I'll have a fully working AI to go with it - won't that be a slap in the face for old Blomstein?

Simon has been coming along well in his studies, and Andre, after I showed him a few tricks, has improved his cooking skills remarkably, to the great relief of all here. Mikhail and Pieter had a stroll down into the tunnels yesterday - it seems the machines have run into some odd new strata which nobody was expecting. They brought it back up to examine, and all seems well - it comes to something when an unexpected layer of rock is big news, I guess.

I often find myself wondering what you are doing out there amongst the endless vista of stars. I imagine that your life is far more interesting than mine, when all I can tell you about are new rock stratas and my own work with a programming language almost 3000 years old. Still, I cannot just write about how my heart yearns for you - I might write on too long, and we would have met again before I was done.

I honestly think that my AI - I have decided to call him Nirwe, after the planet where we met - is reaching sentience. It's taken a long time, but it seems that this is crucial for the fully random and yet co-ordinated development of the programmatical synapses. When I look at the code now, I am amazed by how much I simply do not recognise, Nirwe seems to be reprogramming himself at incredible speed.

The biggest event at the moment is New Years, here in just two days time. Since we have no real day or night here on the asteroid, we have adopted normal Earth time, and have decided to celebrate by brewing up some alcohol. Unfortunately all we have to go on are my imperfect recollections from Med school, Andre's even less perfect childhood memories, and Pieter's 'helpful' comments "Throw in some bread and NutriJuice and leave it for a month somewhere warm".

Still, I'm sure we'll muddle through. It might be less than legal, but really, who's to know?

Here's hoping that your new years is celebrated in somewhat better style, and that the days are passing faster for you than they are for me.

Your love,

James.

END MESSAGE

29/12/4939 TRANSCRIPTED AUDIO FILE #465835385 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony (Laboratory) COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know)

Voice 1 (Believed M. Chiretz #634298552 (Mikhail)): Is this thing on?

Voice 2 (Believed P. Darrein #759036493 (Pieter)): Testing, Testing, 1 2 3... OK, We're live, and on air.

Mikhail: It's a rock, Pieter. Do we really need a recording for observation of a rock?

Pieter: That's regulations, Mikhail.

Mikhail: Fine by me, but this is going to bore someone in ops to death... Let's get started.

Pieter: Initial observations... The sample is about 9 by 3 by 4 centimeters, dark mottled blue, with a smooth surface like shale. I'm guessing at this point it is shale.... Commencing dissection of the subject.

Mikhail: It's not a corpse, Pieter. It's a rock, and you're hitting it with a rock hammer.

Pieter: Just stand by and be ready to put a shard in the machine for analysis.

(Sound of small crack, then footsteps, then sound of door closing.)

Mikhail: That's into the machine... Testing now.

Pieter: OK, here we go... As I suspected, it's shale. Unusual perhaps, but certainly not extraordinary.

Mikhail: And of absolutely no consequence to the machines.

Pieter: No consequence.

Mikhail: Are you going to keep a sample for the ops?

Pieter: Not much point really. It's a piece of shale, and out here it's just dead weight. Unless you want a souveneir?

Mikhail: It's alright, I'll get my own if I feel the urge. You going to turn that thing off now?

END TRANSCRIPT

07/01/4940 MEDICAL REPORT #63254867 ON: M. Chiretz #634298552 BY: Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know)

Patient complained of permanent blue stains on hands, focused on and around the fingers. Upon close examination, I could find no such stains. I took some skin samples and subjected them to Escher-Halmann testing and microscopic review. No defects were found.

A diagnosis of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) was reached, with mild hallucinations as the primary effect.

A course of Dioxinoril was prescribed, along with advice that the patient engage in some sort of learning activity and or some sort of outdoors walk.

I will be keeping a close eye on this patient, to ensure that this illness does not adversely affect the other inhabitants.

END MESSAGE

16/01/4940 MESSAGE FROM: *UNKNOWN UNKNOWN* LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know) TO: *UNKNOWN UNKNOWN* LOCATION: *ANY ANY* COORDINATES: *ANY ANY* EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM

Hello...

This is Nirwe... Is anyone out there? Scanning sensors in conjunction with internal memory banks would indicate presences at some coordinates...

Wh~

TRANSMISSION LOST

20/01/4940 MESSAGE FROM: Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know) TO: Commander M. Safrine #765983526 LOCATION: Alpha Tango 769 General Starfleet Vehicle COORDINATES: Classified (Top Secret)

My dearest Maria,

By now you may have heard about the little incident we had here the other day - thank god for friends in high command, is all I can say. It seems that Nirwe, who is developing at an amazing pace, somehow got hold of the emergency broadcast system routine and decided to see what he could do with it. He really is a very chatty AI, almost like a three year old, and it is sometimes quite difficult to answer the questions, as of course we have such different perspectives.

I eventually showed him in the direction of our colony library, which he went through in about four hours (60 terabytes of data!) and then came back with more questions! It's really great, but I have to be careful - he seems to harbour some odd ideas about morality - at the moment all he cares about is his own needs, and what he must do to attain those. Anything else is somewhat inconsequential.

I've put in a type of firewall on him, so if he wants to access anything, it has to go through me first, which should mean that we won't get a repeat of that emergency broadcast transmission.

I'm more concerned about Mikhail, and Pieter now, too. Both of them are suffering hallucinations, seemingly linked to that new strata they examined almost a month ago. Mikhail didn't take his medication one day, and very nearly killed poor Simon - I had to sedate Mikhail and patch up Simon. Simon says that Mikhail seemed to change completely in no time whatsoever into someone utterly bent on destruction. Both Mikhail and Pieter are on meds now, but I'm worried that we won't have enough to go around for the next few months. I can only hope that some sort of new activity will help both of them snap out of whatever is troubling them at the moment. If that doesn't happen, then I will have to put them into deep-sleep until our relief arrives, and pray that nothing goes wrong with the machines.

Maybe I can get Nirwe to work on the problem - he seems to have an amazing grasp of medical subjects - possibly due to my own personal medical database that I fed into him the other day. But he seems so strange, lately...

I am really looking forward to leaving this particular post - I cannot in all fairness claim that this posting was a success, but I am not going to let it become a failure. I will not. For now, I will redefine success to getting everyone off this asteroid alive and sane. I just hope I can do that.

I find myself wishing more and more for your touch, the soft scent of you. You are the person that keeps me going through these times, my shining light.

You love,

James

END MESSAGE

29/01/4940 MESSAGE FROM: *UNKNOWN UNKNOWN* LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know) TO: *UNKNOWN UNKNOWN* LOCATION: *ANY ANY* COORDINATES: *ANY ANY* EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM

This is Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 requesting immediate assistance from any available vessels repeat any available vessels. Crewmates M. Chiretz #634298552 and P. Darrein #759036493 have suffered psychotic episodes which we are unable to reverse. Both patients have shown an immunity to deep-sleep treatment. If no vessels can be found then I will be forced to terminate both men. Please respond immediately.

This is Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 requesting immediate assistance from any available vessels repeat any available vessels. Crewmates M. Chiretz #634298552 and P. Darrein #759036493 have suffered psychotic episodes which we are unable to reverse. Both patients have shown an immunity to deep-sleep treatment. If no vessels can be found then I will be forced to terminate both men. Please respond immediately.

This is Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 requesting immediate assistance from any available vessels repeat any available vessels. Crewmates M. Chiretz #634298552 and P. Darrein #759036493 have suffered psychotic episodes which we are unable to reverse. Both patients have shown an immunity to deep-sleep treatment. If no vessels can be found then I will be forced to terminate both men. Please respond immediately.

This is Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 requesting immediate assistance from any available vessels repeat any available vessels. Crewmates M. Chiretz #634298552 and P. Darrein #759036493 have suffered psychotic episodes which we are unable to reverse. Both patients have shown an immunity to deep-sleep treatment. If no vessels can be found then I will be forced to terminate both men. Please respond immediately.

This is Medical Doctor J. Bankowitz #377659978 requesting immediate assistance from any available vessels repeat any available vessels. Crewmates M. Chiretz #634298552 and P. Darrein #759036493 have suffered psychotic episodes which we are unable to reverse. Both patients have shown an immunity to deep-sleep treatment. If no vessels can be found then I will be forced to terminate both men. Please respond immediately.

Isn't there anyone out there who can help?

END MESSAGE

30/01/4940 TRANSCRIPTED AUDIO FILE #465835409 LOCATION: Epsilon Foxtrot Mining Colony (Laboratory) COORDINATES: Classified (Need To Know)

Voice 1 (Believed J. Bankowitz #377659978 (James)): Is this thing on? ... I can't see... it's all dark... (Sound of growling in background) ... help

Nirwe has taken over the facility. As soon as he heard a mention of Pieter and Mikhail being killed, he took down my firewall as if it hadn't been there in the first place, and shut down the air supply for their rooms, after locking them in. We couldn't get in, but they took so long to die...We heard them banging, crying... (Sound of guttural bark) Shhh...

He watched them die, and he put it on every monitor in the base. He was interested...

Now Simon has gone. He also sees blue marks on his hands, marks I cannot see. He refused the deep-sleep treatment which I begged him to take, and now he's snapped, just like they did, he's out there now, I heard Andre go...

I'm convinced this is linked to that strata we found - I think it may have been a protection, or a warning, but the machines have kept on digging... god knows what they've found, we lost contact with them on the 22nd, and Mikhail and Pieter were too far gone to do anything about them... huh? Keep quiet!

(Sound of metal being dragged... Sound of growl)

NO SIMON NO! HELP! HELP! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME HELP ME HELP HEL~

TRANSMISSION LOST

End File

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