We all fall down

The Space Arks have left Earth, but only a few years into their journey, the personnel aboard the Sagittarius have made an unsettling discovery.

5 months ago

Latest Post Infoslate #8 - April update by Kirk Bushell public
Compiler’s note: Captain, these are the data log transcripts you requested pertaining to the transmissions we received from the ark Sagittarius. As you suggested, I have removed messages of little interest to the present situation. The remainder may prove instructive.

Transmission #475, date: January 7th, 2045:

[A confident female voice is heard over the speaker]

"Captain Bollard reporting from Space Ark Sagittarius. All systems nominal, ship at 99% personnel capacity, all equipment in good order, nothing to report. Launch from orbital dock Harima II occurred on schedule. Long-range drive now operating. Estimated time to arrival in destination system: twenty years. This project is among the greatest endeavours mankind has ever attempted, and it is an honour to be a part of it."

Compiler’s note: Transmissions 2-4 are broadly uninteresting status updates and have been removed from this report.

Transmission #481, date: February 3rd, 2045:

"Captain Bollard reporting from Space Ark Sagittarius. All systems nominal, ship at 98% personnel readiness, all equipment in good order. The word from Earth is quite bad. We had hoped another ship or two would follow up on our course to this system and we’d perhaps have a chance to reunite with some of those still on Earth. That looks unlikely now – they’ll be lucky to make it to ships at all, and even if they do, those ships probably won’t be headed our way. We’ll have to keep a stiff upper lip and prepare for the worst. Best of luck to all receiving this message."

Transmission #487, date: February 21st, 2045:

"Captain Bollard reporting from the Space Ark, Sagittarius. All systems nominal, ship at 98% personnel readiness.  One unusual item to report: a new illness unknown to Earth science seems to have sprung up amongst those working in food synthesis. As a precautionary measure, I’ve ordered all biological synthesis experiments halted until this disease is contained and we’ve a better sense of what created it."

Transmission #488, date: February 23rd, 2045:

"Captain Bollard reporting from the Space Ark, Sagittarius. All systems nominal, ship at 83% personnel readiness, all equipment in good order. The sickness is spreading at a disturbing rate. I've ordered a quarantine of multiple compartments to try and prevent it from infecting the entire ship. Nobody questioned me directly, but I can tell some are uncomfortable with this directive. Morale will suffer, but if we need to isolate some crew for a time in order to keep this mission functioning smoothly, then it must be done."

Transmission #490, date: February 25th, 2045:

[Male voice speaking]

"Executive Officer Gauthier reporting from the Space Ark, Sagittarius. Ship at 74% personnel readiness. Captain Bollard has fallen ill and has been quarantined with the others. The quarantines appear to be helping. Hopefully this will buy the doctors enough time to find a cure."

Transmission #491, date: February 28th, 2045:

[Male voice speaking, voiceprint analysis indicates substantial distress]

"Executive Officer Gauthier reporting from Space Ark Sagittarius. Ship at 72% personnel readiness. The first infected crew member died today. The doctors say the disease appears mild at first, then takes a sudden turn for the worse where one feels great fatigue. Delirium sets in afterwards, and now there’s been a death. We’re hoping the casualty was a fluke but it’s hard to know. Following this message I am transmitting detailed technical information with respect to the disease – if any other vessel has encountered this sickness, please transmit treatment instructions etc. at your earliest possible convenience. I know it’s a long shot given the time delay, but we’re desperate here."

Compiler’s note: Data transmission follows. Records do not match any known disease in our databanks

Transmission #492, date: March 1st, 2045:

"Executive Officer Gauthier reporting from Space Ark Sagittarius. Ship at 60% personnel readiness. There have been more deaths and no full recoveries. To make matters worse, somehow the disease broke into more compartments. We’ve…"

[There's a long pause in the transmission]

"We… we’ve had to quarantine more of the ship, almost half of it is cut off now – we’re intensifying the isolation procedures and posting guards to make sure nobody tries to sneak in or out of the quarantined sections. Most of our doctors and clergy have now entered the quarantined compartments by choice in order to better tend to the sick and dying.

I hope I’ll get to see some of them again."

Transmission #494, date: March 15th, 2045:

[A new male voice speaking, voice is stressed but determined]

"Third Officer Serrano reporting from the Sagittarius. I am now the senior-most officer who remains alive and unquarantined. Captain Bollard died five days ago. The command compartment reported several cases at once yesterday and Gauthier put the whole team, including himself, into quarantine. I’m trying to keep this crew together but the strain is growing. At this point more of the ship is quarantined than not. I have several of the crew under my command reading digitised medical textbooks and undergoing a crash course in medicine via the simulators. If anyone gets hurt we’re going to try to treat them here rather than risk infection from going to one of the doctors. Besides, the medical team has its hands full caring for the infected and trying to find a cure as it stands."

Transmission #495, date: March 21st, 2045:

[Male voice speaking, fatigue evident]

"Third Officer Serrano from... from Sagittarius. Bad news from quarantine yesterday – the doctors are all dead or sick and there’s no meaningful progress on a cure, it sounds like they might try to put people into hibernation instead. I haven’t told the crew here for fear that hope will die off along with the medical staff. Last night... someone pretending to be Gauthier tried to bluff me into reopening access to one of the quarantined compartments, saying that everyone there was either dead or recovered – thankfully I checked the video feed first. I suppose it’s some consolation that he was probably delirious."

Transmission #497, date: March 22nd, 2045:

[Male voice speaking, clearly exhausted]

Serrano... Serrano reporting from the uh.. the Sagittarius. Yesterday... yesterday I ordered communication be cut off with all quarantined sections, listening to the pleas was too painful. I.. I gave this order, and a few personnel voluntarily transferred into quarantined compartments to be with friends or loved ones. The rest of the crew under my command are in near-total isolation now. If.. sigh... if repairs need to be done to systems outside of the safe compartments, we’re um... we're sending technicians and armed guards wearing full spacesuits. Anything nonessential has to wait."

Transmission #499, date: March 24th, 2045:

[Hoarse female voice speaking]

"This is Asch. Of the Sagittarius ship. Serrano is sick... really sick. We’re all sick. Not sure how it got in – maybe someone didn’t decontaminate their suit properly after that electrical fault repair, maybe it was something else, but at this point it doesn’t really matter...

[A series of coughs follow]

"We lifted the quarantines since there’s no point to maintaining containment anymore. We were expecting an influx of people from the formerly quarantined sections, but they didn’t respond to our announcement. A few of us went to see what was happening – it’s worse than we’d thought, everyone is either dead or so sick they can barely move."

[The transmission is interrupted by screams and someone coughing to the point of passing out]

"I... I don't know how much longer we've got."

[Repeated coughing, transmission ends]

Transmission #500, date: March 27th, 2045:

[Hoarse female voice speaking, interrupted repeatedly by coughing outbursts]

Asch again. Serrano’s dead. We uh... found the doctors’ logs from the... from the quarantine, and they say the disease is a death sentence... How? How did this happen!?"

[Mechanical clanging in the background, source unknown]

[More coughing from the speaker]

"It looks like... once they realised there wasn’t going to be a cure... some of the quarantined crew, they... they tried to build improvised hibernation units using the medical and engineering equipment, though they only finished two before too many of the technicians succumbed to this disease..."

[A long, wordless scream is heard in the background, source unknown. Speaker pauses, then continues]

"There are a few people... all infected, of course, but at an earlier stage of the disease. They're in those pods now... as well as some partially-built pods that might work if we complete their construction..."

[Speaker coughs repeatedly, inhales and exhales heavily, then continues, with laboured breath]

"I... suppose we... should try to finish building the pods using any remaining equipment, and anything else we can scrape together... but it all seems hopeless."

[More coughing. speaker seems to start saying something else, then stops. Dead air for a few seconds whilst the haunting sound of heavy wheezing continues, then the transmission ends.]

Transmission 504, date: March 30th, 2045:

Compiler’s note. This message arrived heavily corrupted. Transcript of intelligible component is as follows:

[Faint singing, interrupted by occasional fits of coughing and clear fights for air]

Ring-a-ring o’roses
Pocket full of posies
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all... fall... down.

Compiler’s note: No further transmissions from the Sagittarius received. Recommend restricting this information from our crew and prohibiting all experimental biological synthesis.
Kirk Bushell

Published 5 months ago