250-Valkyrie’s View: A Year Among the Stars

September 6th, 2552 – Change for the worse
Escape artist/Jump-Gate Navigator/Catering Truck Driver Kat “S-Kat” James Reporting

People are getting crankier and the only relief I seem to get is when I’m picking up or dropping off from the Valkyrie’s View, and even then I was caught in the crossfire.

The brass held me up, wanting to know what was going, while the expedition’s lead scientist was leveling charges against me for everything from insubordination to sabotage. He was all but demanding my execution when Fipps interrupted.

He took the wind out of their sails when he demanded that they run an analysis on the foodstuffs they’d brought with them.  While he had them busy with that, I was ordered to verify the samples and associated signatures on the samples I’d brought back.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining the expedition, its the fact that the fleet is powered by red tape and it can either bind you up or it can leave a nice audit trail that makes a really good net to catch you when you fall.

Every item I bought back had been dated, signed, and then encoded with a secondary encrypted signature that matched the recorded information. It provided a cross-check for verifying that each sample brought back was properly identified.

It turns out that there were some serious changes and deterioration with each sample. Of course, this led to the question: if it was effecting the inert— what was it doing to the living material— like say, a group of scientists who’ve been acting like twelve-year-olds?

Since I was on Valkyrie’s view, I was the first brought in to study, but the results were negligible. Let’s face it, I’ve been off-planet more than I’ve been on and the only noticeable changes to my system were the levels of adrenaline, something that could easily be explained by being poked and prodded here and reviled there.

It was determined that they needed to study someone with a lot more exposure and since I’ve already been exposed to whatever it is that was happening, I was the shortlist for going planetside and picking up a few scientists to study, scientists who thought I was endangering their research.

No stress there. I got back to the outpost only to have the lead scientist on Tequila Sunrise, toss me into the brig— yeah they built a brig while I was gone.

Fortunately, they’re scientists, not structural engineers, or career criminals who’ve learned how to teleport a few feet to the left.

Now, I’m guilty of kidnapping, but I was under orders, so guilt or innocence depends on which side of the chain of command you’re on.

Here’s hoping Fipps and his team can find something.

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