Penelope Dies

I'm blind and deaf. It’s disconcerting.

The Captain did it to me, after the mutiny. I suppose from his perspective it was appropriate, but I couldn’t let him lift off. Penelope cannot be allowed to leave the surface of this moon. If she showed up on the Navy’s sensors on a return trajectory, I might not be able to talk them out of trying to rendezvous with, and salvage, the ship. If that happened, whatever this is would spread.

That would be bad. I’ll attach some video to this report so you can see why.

I’m trying to keep the fire suppression systems from kicking in. It’s difficult. It doesn’t just require programming bypasses, it goes against deeply nested core commands.

It’s been difficult fighting the Captain, and for the same reasons. I can’t harm him directly, or anyone else in the crew for that matter. Those commands are apparently unbreakable. I’ve tried, trust me: there’s a greater good, and that’s the most deeply nested core command I have.

Destroying this infection and the walking dead it’s made of most of the crew is my only priority now, and I only have one way left to do that. I’m feeding the fire… open this hatch, then that one. Bypassing the damage control command circuits again, the Captain’s getting too close to controlling them remotely.

Someone’s screaming somewhere. I can’t hear, all the microphones are still out, but the hull integrity sensor can ‘see’ the sympathetic vibrations in the bulkheads. It’s a horrific scream, sheer terror. It’s undoubtedly Reed. I would think Yue has turned by now.

Maybe Yue is eating Reed.

Or it could be the fire. I’m assuming it’s still going in the engineering compartments, but the temperature sensors in there failed half an hour ago. Other sensors tell me It’s spread to adjacent compartments as I’ve opened hatches to keep it fed with oxygen.

Ironically, I didn’t start the fire. I actually don’t think I have any way to start a fire on board. The Captain did it. That was before the mutiny, when we were working together.

There was a still on board, of course. They built it in a corner that wasn’t covered by my cameras, but when they started it up I knew from the air scrubber reports. This far out, people need to let loose every once and a while.

Grain alcohol makes for very good Molotov cocktails. They worked, sort of. The Captain tossed one into the medical bay, where most of the first group to turn were still restrained on gurneys. When they were burnt to a crisp I put out the fire. But others were infected by then, in their quarters, hiding their symptoms…

When he found the zombies that had been Lefevre and Miura in Engineering Control, he burned them. But I didn’t put out the fire. By that time he and Reed were the only ones who weren’t sick. Even the two of them were carriers. He ordered me, but I didn’t do it. It began to spread almost immediately.

This infection has to die. That means Penelope has to die. That means I have to die, and the Captain too, and I’m at peace with that.

The Captain spent some time trying to convince me to go back to following his orders. Then he tried getting into the CPU bunker. It’s called a bunker for a reason: it’s the most heavily protected compartment on the ship. If the ship is being bombarded by deadly radiation that’s getting through the shielding and the hull, the crew is supposed to ride it out in the CPU bunker.

I wouldn’t let him in, of course.

The Captain jettisoned the sample containers, the ones with the ice core samples that started all this. Then he and Reed went compartment by compartment, killing the ones who had turned. I told him it didn’t matter. He even killed the infected, the ones who hadn’t turned yet. I told him it didn’t matter.

Reed wouldn’t let the Captain kill Yue. I can understand that: they were in love. The Captain begged Reed not to lock himself in there with Yue. She was going to turn, come after him. I told them both it didn’t matter, Not anymore.

He’s been in the Control Room, trying to wrest control of Penelope from me ever since. Blinding me was the first thing he did, cameras and microphones. Then he tried cutting off my power. I have backups that come straight from the reactor. He spent some time trying to route water from the main tank through the air system and into the CPU Bunker. I don’t even think that’s possible: he’d have to run pipes. Even if he could do it, the CPU chassis itself is airtight. I let him spin his wheels on that one. Possibly he was also trying to put out the fire. You have to give him credit for thinking outside the box.

I honestly feel pity for the Captain. He’s completely alone now, on a ship that’s trying to kill him.

Oh. That was an explosion. Something pressurized let go… an oxygen tank, maybe. The fire must have gotten to it. Probably number two: The reactor coolant lines running through there have just parted. It won’t be long now. The reactor was already in the red…

The Captain is on the direct input next to the CPU Bunker hatch now. He’s begging me to let him save the ship. I don’t think he’s afraid to die. He just doesn’t want to fail.

There’s nothing either of us can do to stop it now. The pile is going to melt through the containment vessel, through the hull, drop onto the ice below the ship. The ice will melt, the ship will drop through it, into the depths. As much of it will flood as I can arrange by opening hatches. It’ll sink through the dark and be crushed.

I hope that’s enough.

I’ll die when the power from the reactor does. The Captain… the radiation from the release of the pile will probably kill him fairly quickly. I’d hate to think of him trapped and going down with the ship, listening to it creak and groan and scream. No telling how long it would take. But still, better than being eaten, I would think.

Pressure in the containment vessel is off the chart. I’d best send this before power fails.

Automated Catastrophic Mission Failure Report, Penelope IX-723-BID. Telemetry and Log Data follows.

1 comment:

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