FS73 Diary entry NO.1 –
Hi. Well this is awkward. My username is FS73 and I guess this is my diary. I am a crew member aboard the Strota; an agricultural carrier that has been on a forty three year-long mission. As of yesterday our cargo has been secured, so that means we’re headed home. I’m a member of the second half of the crew charged with overseeing our voyage home. I woke up from hyper sleep yesterday and am pleased to say that I passed my physical. No side effects from sleeping for forty three years. Matka, this ship’s computer, has scheduled I.Q tests every afternoon to make sure there have been no changes to my brain. I guess it’s a good thing. Might even make me smarter. Matka says that keeping this diary will help with the solitude. I like how considerate her social software is. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to talk about. I guess what I get up to during my shift? I suppose when this trip is over it’ll be a good record of what I’ve done. So here it goes: I don’t really know what we’re carrying. Matka says its priority clearance only. I’m no scientist so I probably wouldn’t understand whatever it is any way. I’m just here to make sure nothing aboard the ship malfunctions and needs manual repair. I guess that’s it for today. I’m not really sure how one would sign off a diary, never had one before. I’ll just say ‘bye for now’.
FS73 Diary entry NO.2 –
Hello again. It’s me, FS73. That’s a stupid way to start these things but I promise I’ll come up with something that sounds better. I’ve gotten into a routine over the past couple of days. Matka wakes me up at around 6:00 AM and morning checks are easy enough. Being the only one on board awake, it’s not like I’m gonna’ run into anyone. All hulls are secure for the record and I’ve managed to tidy up the recreation room. I’ve got to admit there’s plenty of equipment in there: dumbbells, a basketball hoop, even kendo sticks. Keeping fit won’t be a problem. Breakfast is scheduled at 7:30 AM, followed by upper and lower deck checks. The rest of the day is pretty much mine until dinner at 7:00 PM. Yesterday I had dumplings. I managed to find Matka’s games folder, so solitaire and chess have become a daily occurrence. I think I’m beginning to see the reason behind these diary entries. On another note, I did a scan of the ship. Matka’s radar seems limited. I had to do multiple scans to get every inch of the lower deck. I’m going to try and extend it before tomorrow. Bye for now.
FS73 Diary entry NO.3 –
What’s up diary? Nope, that’s still terrible. I apologise. On a more important note, after fixing the radar last night Matka is now able to scan deck-by-deck. I’m happy I managed to get her to accept my modifications. It was difficult but eventually I shut her off temporarily to reboot with the mods. We’re still on the right course and she hasn’t seemed to notice. In the end I’m sure the Strota Company will see it was useful. Checks take half as long and I managed to locate a new room. Well it’s not new obviously, it was built into the ship. A room I was unaware of without the new scan. Matka says it’s an observation room; for the S.E.E.D. That’s what she calls the cargo. After looking at the manifest though, I think it’s an actual seed. While I had her shut off I found orders for life support, supplies, and even containment methods. I think it’s some kind of new produce. Perhaps they’ll plant it back home. Cure world hunger or something. Imagine being part of the project that helped that along. Pretty sweet, huh? I have to make sure nothing’s out of order down there. I’m going to take a look after checks this afternoon. Bye.
FS73 Diary entry NO.4 –
I’m not even sure this makes sense. I hope it does. I went to the new observation room on the lower deck near the cryo chambers. I punched in my access code, even commanded Matka to let me in but she wouldn’t. I’ll admit my curiosity got the best of me and I managed to disable the door, which by its default settings opened. There was this thing. I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve never seen anything like it. It stood upright, about six feet tall with leathery skin the colour of milk. Its eyes. The eyes were blacker than the everlasting space outside the ship. It had a long face with a jutted jaw and slits for a nose. The creature’s head was pointed with a crown of bone reaching from its forehead. It saw me. I don’t know why but it ran; escaped into the vents. I inspected the room. It was working on computers. Working the technology aboard the ship. I commanded Matka to scan the ship. This is where it gets really weird. She said that I was the only conscious life form on board. I explained to her what had happened. I even drew a picture and had her scan the image. Still nothing. That’s impossible. I have sealed off that room and its vents until I can establish where and what the hell it is. I know the ship’s scans won’t confirm this but there is an alien life form on board. I repeat, for the record, there is an alien life form on board. Bye.
Matka special report NO.1 –
FS73 has located the observation room. After disarming the door she has been exposed to Evark. Unfortunately, I can’t see how this can be rectified. Evark has maintained that we should give FS73 time to adjust and document her response. I am satisfied with this course of action for now.
FS73 Diary entry NO.5 –
There has been no sighting of that creature for three whole days now. I’ve tried to re-enter the room but Matka has sealed it off due to the damage I did to the door. It’s now an unsecured section of the ship. I have a theory. I don’t think that the seed was plant life. For the record, I believe our cargo was an egg. And I think whatever I saw the other night, is what has hatched from it. Did the Strota Company know? Did they plan this? Was it meant to hatch on this ship? I have tried to send a distress signal. However, Matka says without sufficient evidence she won’t. She’s considering the ship’s energy. I can hear it at night. Scratching and banging within the walls. I think whatever it is, Matka can’t get a reading on it. That’s why she can’t pick it up on radar. Its alien body must be hidden from our tech. I managed to gather some recordings of the alien. I’ll play them for my diary.
Audio display on: Thirty seconds of small clicks followed by vigorous banging. Audio display off.
Matka states that the recording is not sufficient evidence. I am updating her programming to include double the amount of scans, even if she can’t pick up its whereabouts. If it moves she’ll be able to locate a breach in the hull. Next entry to follow.
Matka special report NO.2 –
FS72 has managed to gain audible evidence of some engineers. I feel it is my duty to note that they need to be more careful when repairing the barriers. I can only assume my words of discouragement are sufficient for FS73. However, I feel it is nearing the end of this observation.
FS73 Diary entry NO.6–
I’ve tried to draw that thing over and over again in a sketch pad I found in the rec room. I need to keep it fresh in my mind or I fear I may forget it. I feel like I’m losing it. Matka has offered me something to calm my nerves but to be honest I think I’m safer the more wound up I am. Nothing is going to get the jump on me. Especially not this ugly bastard. The thing I have most trouble remembering is his hands. He didn’t have fingers, more like claws; long and boney. His feet were perched upright like he walked permanently on his toes. I can’t seem to get them right in my sketches. With each new version his features change. I guess I just want to get it right. Bang on so that Matka will recognise it. I think she’s stopped searching for it. I’m going to have to reboot her scan count, see if that gets her started again. I feel like the walls are getting smaller. Closing in on me. This place; the silence. I didn’t just imagine that alien but I’m starting to feel a little mad. Next entry to follow.
FS73 Diary entry NO.7 –
I haven’t slept in two days. I haven’t eaten that much either. I no longer trust Matka. She refuses to let me into the cryo room to wake the others. I feel like they’d want to know what’s going on. Hell, I don’t even really know what’s going on. I can feel whatever it is behind the walls of this ship. I’ve tried several times to break past her command controls and send a distress call but her software seems to be advancing past my capabilities. For the record, I believe that Matka knows what we picked up. I think she knows what’s within these walls and as long as she deems it contained she will keep us on course. I’ve requested higher security in the cryo room, in case whatever it is tries to get at the other members of the crew. In a few days Matka is scheduled for an on-site overhaul. While she’s updating her software I’m going to find that creature and get the proof I need to get help. Next entry to follow.
Matka special report NO.3 –
FS73 is devolving. Her behaviour changes are noticeable. The confrontation with Evark seems to have interrupted her sleep cycle. She has become paranoid and suspicious; even of me. I believe that the trust bond with FS73 has been broken and I recommend termination. However, Evark wishes to see how she decides to end this.
FS73 Diary entry NO.8–
I have managed to keep Matka unaware of my suspicions. I have acted normally, performing regular checks on the ship and going nowhere near the observation room. Half an hour ago she went into a low power state for the overhaul and since then I’ve made weapons out of some of the equipment in the rec room. The weights are heavy enough to do some damage and I’ve made a paralyser out of part of the microwave and physical inspection tools. Matka is still unaware of my actions. The second I hear something in these walls I’m going to knock it out and stun it. I’ve set up a camera to catch these aliens on data disk. Matka won’t be able to talk her way out of this one. Next entry to follow.
FS73 Diary entry NO.9 –
No data found.
Matka special report NO.4 –
Extra surveillance on FS73 has lead me to officially declare this observation a failure. FS73 has broken through the facility walls and come into contact with several of Evark’s team. She assaulted two engineers. I’ve decided her aggressive behavior, although a positive observation for the report, is a sign that she is unsalvageable. I have removed the visual logs of these events from FS73’s diary.
FS73 Diary entry NO.10 –
No data found.
Matka special report NO.5 –
FS73 has proven to be one of the most challenging of the FS series. Our engineers had to sedate her and we’ve placed her in the incubation room. I have received the all clear from Evark to terminate the project. It’s just a matter of getting the autopsy room ready. I’ll admit I didn’t expect we’d need it so soon. Let’s hope we get the right mix with 74.
FS73 Diary entry NO.11–
I broke in. There are more of them than I thought; so many more. I’ve been locked in the cryo room for however long now. Matka says she’s considering my safety. Her consideration no longer brings me any comfort. I found a way into the cryo room’s logs. No one else is aboard this ship. It’s just me and those creatures. This is no agricultural carrier. It’s some kind of experiment. It’s called the ‘Synthetically Engineered Earthling Design’ project according to the cryo logs. I found scans of other humans but who knows what happened to them. I don’t know what will happen to me now. For any human being that finds these, run. Run because your life depends on it.
Final report on Female Specimen 73.
Report sanctioned by: Evark.
Specimen lifespan: 15 Days.
Reason for termination: Discovery of the S.E.E.D project.
S.E.E.D 73 has failed. Measures have been taken to begin the deconstruction of the specimen. This will not stop the synthetically engineered earthling design project as it was unforeseen accidental exposure of the analysers to 73. 74 is being prepped for the simulation. I recommend a different set of menial tasks and removal of anything that could be manufactured into a weapon. We underestimated her engineering abilities. I suggest we pull back on the manufactured intelligence memory as it created problems with this latest specimen. Although in the past we have found males to be harder to handle, this female in particular has proven to be quite the challenge. I have conferred with Matka and we agree that a male specimen would be best for the 74th project. We have yet to figure out how to domesticate the species from Terra. FS73’s logs will be kept in storage as part of the progression series. For 74’s updates, please enter the correct access code for his hard drive.
Maxine Sundic is a graphic illustrator and writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction. She engages with different forms of media and genre blending to create visual spectacles of her work, including her Horrid Deal stories. Maxine is currently in her final year of Writing at Macquarie University, and has completed an internship as a script-writer for Pygmy Tyrant Games.
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