MTO S1E2 – “Nineteen” – Transcript

by D.J. Sylvis

Broadcasting. This is Roger Bragado-Fischer, Communications, Moonbase Theta. The date is August 11, 2098; the time is 22:43.

Base shutdown is at nineteen weeks and counting; all tasks are moving forward on schedule, though with … minor variations. There has been some dispute among the extant crew members over who holds responsibility for quality assurance and final task approval. Our management team, of course, went into stasis on your instructions, which left a certain … vacuum. Perhaps in space, you believed that was unavoidable. But it is becoming an issue, particularly in the monitoring of the telescopic arrays. Clarification is requested.

With the reduction in active personnel, we’ve all been taking shifts in the observatory. Dr. Ray – Ashwini – is immersed in data analysis, particularly as deadlines loom in our schedule. They’ve even taken to sleeping in the chamber. We assist by monitoring the flow in real-time, both from the radio antenna array and the multi-wavelength optical telescopes. Optical monitoring is, of course, only useful when observing closer and more erratic cosmic phenomena. We log variations for review, and if they are marked for follow-up, we alter our focus in that direction. In theory, these decisions come from Ashwini as well, but a lot of it has been passed on to bots they’ve written into the network. Direct feedback or signoff on our labour is nonexistent.

It has been intriguing, being brought up to speed on the radio array, learning to read the data. To be sitting hundreds of meters underground, the array spanning the breadth of the Daedalus Crater above us … All of space filtered down in streams of numbers, in correlations and profiles that spiral like the galaxies they reflect …quasars, nebulae, the unbelievable mass of a black hole, invisible but radiant gas clouds … wavelengths too massive to measure through mirrors and glass. It’s a magnificence unimaginable to the naked eye.

Of course, it’s my responsibility as Communications to capture it all, both for reports and to use in crafting outgoing messages. But there have been issues. Michell keeps inserting themselves into the process as if we all report to them, as if Security in the natural order of things trumps science or necessity or … beauty. Certainly, if we find evidence of an incipient alien invasion, or encroaching development by a rival corporate entity, they’ll be the first we alert. But otherwise … you see the issue. If you could provide a memo, perhaps outline a reporting structure for these situations –

I am not suggesting that I be put in charge. I believe Dr. Ray is still capable, given proper motivation and reminders, to manage their area.

Base operations remain within acceptable levels. Helium-3 stores are at 90% and are being converted and stored for transfer on the returning supply rocket. Water is at 60%; a slight decrease due to an accident caused when the sewage tanks were vented directly to the surface. Please note the attached map and adjust your landing locations appropriately.

Two final notes, both referring back to my previous transmission. First, we requested copies of the near-side Bases’ shutdown logs for review. So far, our stasis pods have remained stable, but these would assist in reducing some significant safety concerns. Second, regarding my request for vehicle access to inspect and repair the microwave transmission towers. Michell has informed me that this is now pending with Security for approval. I’d ask you to reconsider and respond directly.

Personal message follows from this point. Alexandre, I’m missing you terribly today. Pets to Cas and Pol; have you been watching what they eat? You know how they get during squirrel season. You’ve been on my mind so often through the days, wishing I could share all this with you. Should we ever need to escape the strife on Earth, I’ve claimed a nebula in your name. The mathematics are absolutely lovely.

Moonbase Theta, out.

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