The Hesperus is a Lowell Class Science Vessel megaship that was owned and operated by Azimuth Biochemicals in the early 32nd century. It was the sister ship of the Adamastor. It disappeared in 3113 after being hijacked by Pharmasapien sleeper agents among the crew, but was discovered by The Scriveners Clan Dredger on April 8, 3307, causing it to automatically transmit an emergency signal that was picked up by nearby Azimuth comms beacons and relayed to another beacon aboard the Adamastor. With the help of an individual who called himself Salvation, independent pilots traced the source of the signal to the Perseus Dark Region KC-V c2-2 system on April 10, 3307.

History

In its heyday, Azimuth Biochemicals operated two megaships, the Adamastor and the Hesperus. Just as the Adamastor went missing in 3111, the Hesperus disappeared two years later in 3113 after departing for an unknown destination. The existence of the Hesperus was uncovered by the Wallglass Investigations Agency in 3307 during its investigation into the origins of the Adamastor, which was recovered in Chukchan in October 3306, but the ultimate fate of the Hesperus remained a mystery.[1]

According to decrypted logs recovered from the Hesperus, in 3113 the vessel embarked on an expedition in search of non-human artefacts somewhere in the vicinity of the Perseus Dark Region. When the Hesperus arrived in Perseus Dark Region KC-V c2-2, sleeper agents from Azimuth's rival Pharmasapien seized control of the ship, and then confined and massacred the Azimuth crew and scientists; the same tactic had likely been used on the Adamastor two years earlier. Some Azimuth employees avoided the massacre, including Lieutenant Kelemen and Private Velasco from the security team, as well as a number of scientists. They hid in the megaship's depths and then escaped aboard its complement of exploration craft, and from there it is implied that they ventured to one or more nearby systems to continue the search for alien artefacts. Velasco opted to remain behind on the Hesperus and take revenge on the Pharmasapien operatives by releasing toxic gas through the ventilation system. Junior Engineer O'Neill, a Pharmasapien operative who had been on an EVA outing to check the megaship's comms array at the time of the gassing, reentered to find everyone dead, including Velasco. O'Neill likely died aboard the Hesperus sometime later, as there was no means to leave and only a limited supply of breathable air that had not been contaminated by the toxic gas. The Hesperus lay unmanned and idle for the next two centuries.

On April 8, 3307, the Alliance Salvage Guild reported that an undeployed comms beacon on the Adamastor had been automatically activated, and was receiving and rebroadcasting an encoded long-range signal. An individual calling himself "Salvation" contacted commanders in the vicinity of the Adamastor and asked them to investigate, sending them the access code (AZB3648-00) needed to decrypt the signal. Initial analysis of the signal indicated it originated from the Hesperus.[2] The signal pointed to a beacon (H1) in Taurus Dark Region UY-R b4-0, which was connected to two more beacons (H2 and H3) in Perseus Dark Region LN-K b8-0 and California Sector IH-V c2-1. Encrypted location data combined from all three beacons in turn identified the location of the Hesperus in Perseus Dark Region KC-V c2-2. Commanders who reached the site discovered that the Hesperus had been found by The Scriveners Clan Dredger and claimed as salvage; the arrival of the Dredger on April 8 is what had triggered the Hesperus's emergency broadcast to the beacon aboard the Adamastor.

While the Scriveners had already removed any items and data of value from the Hesperus, commanders were able to recover encrypted logs from the Dredger's uplinks. Upon collecting all four logs, commanders were then contacted by Patience Middleton, a representative of the minor faction Taurus Mining Ventures, which had been hired by Salvation to accept delivery of the logs at Hind Mine in T Tauri until May 21, 3307. Investigators were rewarded with their choice of 2 million Credits or 10 units of Void Opals, and the first 10 people to deliver the logs received a bonus of 100 million Credits. The Taurus Mining Ventures message also mentioned that Salvation would reach out again "when the next stage is ready".

The news broke on April 19 that Salvation's decryption key had led to the discovery of the Hesperus, a breakthrough that had eluded authorities who were still analysing the Adamastor's signal. Amid concerns that Salvation appeared to be recruiting commanders for an unknown purpose, the Pilots Federation opened an inquiry.[3] On April 27, a Tourist Beacon containing the full decrypted logs from the Hesperus was placed in Perseus Dark Region KC-V c2-2 for posterity.[4]

Logs

Ship's Log

Log No. Log Text
1/1 Source ID: H002255 [Hesperus]

Emergency upload protocol 01G engaged.
Drive input mode: None
Files: 0
No further data available.
Security notice: This vessel is the property of Azimuth Biochemicals. Any unauthorised interference may result in criminal prosecution.

Salvage Claim

Log No. Log Text
1/1 This is a message from the Scriveners Clan to all ships arriving in this area.

We claim this megaship as legitimate salvage. Our scouts have already inspected its interior and taken any useful cargo that remained. Its data drives have been removed and are being incorporated into the Knowledge Core that our people have sustained for decades.

The remains will be converted into raw materials for our use. The megaship no longer has any value to you or anyone else.

Be warned! The Scriveners Clan does not communicate with outsiders. We will not initiate hostile action, but you are cautioned not to interfere with our procedures.

Scriveners Clan - Upload Log (Encrypted)

Log No. Log Text
1/4 SCRIVENERS CLAN - UPLOAD LOG 1/4
Knowledge Core input VF-77655657
Status: FAIL
Manual intervention required.
Datagrapher Authell's report: Most files from the megaship's computer we uploaded without error, but this defied our archiving process. Upon further inspection, I found it to be encoded with a customised algorithm.

File contents:

Timestamp: 12/07/3113 21:05

oadbedba---Temcnigrgoe-y-.Ensil-ui-etseianhtK-em-leede,nuptu..tc
g-.s-aniceyhtiih--ynocfet-raH-re.sel-psuh-ea-eerrot-t-ophtvbt-hs
-ehah-pi-stynereko-nevatb-e.nes-dmeeiylosr-eoMfohts-e-t-rc-aa-ie
eer-r-htedw-o--nd-rniiih,gdPki.sl-e'tu---slsrapanam-.seiaHhdot-.
eb--yehTah--Isregeenepa-st-ibn,dnaolcri-duow-g-e-osymmfoo-nht-sp
Horwoo-.t-n-h-d--Iehtldiyeesovuocdieh--rkcaeT-m-tehh-ysuva?lebaw
inegn-tia--tt-t-eih-,smiubltott-yadj-yehsu-...ne-o-ifpdeer.ouCwo
m-tsod-n-t-ts-ir-ceifuytsrfoi-dugcnM-Inija,hU-,uhamnert-t-rTb-eg
rirwedc--.er-e-trer-esewamhaehtnt-dehi-oc-cnogdiah--to-sugruiol-
atn-n.-nohpl-,-ynhtrteoclor.-dH-phtreesesuecP-taVirlev-esa--a--l
ndnga-amdeo--oehaagobt-rtutela-fe-fs-ohticheecmaat-dne-,w-n-amti
oedt--t-eh--tfigee-irnengnabvew-hleuosti-tl'niope-g.dsttl-e--eba
didt-selehv-nes-tos-eriuoss-eh-lv'y-elahottnaef--crsuhroi-ssep,n
hsrciow--h-fuoubudl-s--y-ah--wsr-oh'lu-.evepuoP-rhgamtahasf-necr
am-ireneseiafe-.frolienlrtbpoi-se-nriihts-thicytblatui-,t-es-sht
bsigi--eegiyo-tanept-roieht.evreue-llvp-de'enU.s-elams..by--htma
t-eihs-egn--padeoept-nt-ehhsadot-amaMs?rekA'es-.-snhtefiye-ea-kc
-ttieadehtdit-o-ueh-sm-rsurm-gspphsori-,ixnlysnss-w-erouoich-a-
ovaametuitdtllnea-yd-s-tsia-Asegil-st-san-orsmi-hturahP-amz-ipum
-nenk-tswoasobuoptuor--reba-hta--neht,dnta-sehuo-yisfdnngttfohn
an--nomura-taf-.dtct-snAahekemt-ynal'seh-l-elloy-a-otneng-i.t-eh
f-orit-mtstsT-csnehit-eits-wraksg-em-ani-e-stauons'xe--r-thypeah
s-.e-T'tsatB--usiewev-vr-.---tno--lahdt'evu-c-h-.ulH-ewowoaenaas
-l-ht-evsec-ep?elponalB--k-

2/4 SCRIVENERS CLAN - UPLOAD LOG 2/4
Knowledge Core input VF-77655658
Status: FAIL
Manual intervention required.
Datagrapher Authell's report: This is the second file that has resisted automatic processing due to its coded structure. The encryption resembles that of file VF-77655657, suggesting a common source. I am passing both files to Lector-General Calligore's department for further analysis.

File contents:

Timestamp: 13/07/3113 02:32

eadhbbea---eeiaeLnunKmttel-m,nryeg-ecoeel-nn,lrg-far-ei.yn-'ea
dWnvmeoaet-g-omr--ovadduenuneet-sefcd-eotverolarwrs-uoa-h-,nght-
eliohfstule--ilhi-ekthi-e-psed-tTseer--dseh.-raohclgh--dodasenus
ph-dd-poroeft-eidlsirehomt-nwer-dec,eleo-h-ue-rrua-tio-shsthnni-
urtggo-hihgroehrsti-rrbdc-,od-tetunsd-yluehywlani-tleu.--teqPiDa
a-rdhsem-ipam..--nG.y,oo-htdy-ehhsopct-ps!saaeWel---vp-ahna-m-o-
.tsjppehuV-i-saallschot-onuv-reo-e-etepudxesesocelhi-gtav-srac-e
io-rtdraets-ntc-eawi,l-hol-ieaeeelrdvnoy-t-olhtub-nea-sc-yahel-o
e.r'-rhdv-de--re-ejtrn-oosuiodn--ab-tareneh-c-.nfo'laart-of-lt-s
rdeooe----.hhehv-Teyatnn-am'teg-kabdocyl-m-oaocde--mndycm-soo,tl
be'---als-eloelgube--f-ttll-ono-lcotlatfr-l-c-en-hdsoypaexeriron
fl-aoa-ct.tr-f-f-A-eoeitwcshttn--ehiselasipv-itxeopneieegcnrtf-n
y,aoulStr-efemteoh--neoevm-awot--ntnuctnio-t-ineshmosse-,i-iyh
aaent--rgeremsy-iswtshrie-nttgnayatehao--c-m-atlaniia-eentrn.caL
-fet-setses'efigu-e--oatw-t-fvir-lsei-mt-'l.gogtc-oi-np- nyrest--
-tlhes-oenigeehtctr-n-pacmol-etoru-rsasP,amh-ipodanew-e'ntete-t.
-c-tmtiBhzAuwtulnmlhiaa,--d-sl--'ttety-hallewonapktwhan--eph-.ds
nes.aitu.-gmvyerah--en-meegat-oketerahe-eH-tsep-ksbr.n-lu--a

3/4 SCRIVENERS CLAN - UPLOAD LOG 3/4
Knowledge Core input VF-77655770

Status: FAIL
Manual intervention required.
Datagrapher Biblian's report: This file was flagged due to its encrypted nature. Cross-referencing has found two similar instances (ref VF-77655657 and VF-77655658), but their encryption keys do not match. Research-Sergeant Indesh obtained this file from the internal drive of an empty EVA suit.

File contents:

Timestamp: 22/07/3113 09:40

---
bbaadcddmidjbgdfebldbbflnacifdcddndgjdfebbhkgbchbeafddfjebdbggbd
dggbbhnaffcdgicjcbbmcddldeebejjcalbfafchfcfcajdcahnec dcecchbcifc
jcajcdcagiegeabkakagjbhgbchbbgcjbehchgfejagjdhadegbfockibdfeedbe
cgbdgeldcfehcbddfhccmdnleackdebbgoceigdb -cdb
.dsna-ikltuexn.teonot..teyhre'rse-
T.urmerdsnetioheT'rytoh.tollim
e-n'onktheTiwyal-.slhat'stveo,ertockaoptreyhsalteftianao-oserpsp
eruethknHeakoepeonlltgeatbamt-
hyembrhugotonlynsaaiepPh-rmaetmath
lrlhetll'teaemh-l.eltetll'slelhasl.lthTt'aneir,en-angeju.tdsteu'
mlm.arBoreelngownwhiade-kytehlraybeigme.mTh- ratkdclasdunoctmmoyh
muisinso-tpadchtnteeyhnaiasclo-
,tgxteisheneodchosldup?ilt-ireshs
ngithirehaktttsemhs-lhitaro?ndkicnbootgba-
thsyeecH.veascepeadaeo
ptmasagn-chewrziAutmktfenhomsaoeknlwbolye-
l?beiatreeneldishdohwa
t-tsita...e!seWrneoela-semeoetssboreehaeg.nThhloTkioto-go.dhlvea
tei.edisrsuoneeselangonynlusseivl,ieefl-ateoybne-hnlodbtlteumlg
hiaio.hrnsihettisl-labbydlsn'ropenhitaga-
ttsoiponssxiseilftth-so
tf.fyimuiskiaghnisrttkanCt-'..dni.-
fdunockoanseaerlighuthcatkroh
epmacbs.mCasl-lomcosLkatech.nkattlconteoubo-sewlgea,hdetramdysaw
e-reorrarsenseifath-
erdngideeonwstsrtacheefi.hrheTngifoT-leokoy.
eerwaththdatcewendalorotoynratdgtathusi'-
Agimzeu,insgnilsamaubsn
-nrnhongifodeaschrbelnueWeove'huhl.lnsohet-ostdunl.waawa-..sl!lt
lxheteamllidteg'n-ksmeohitodGsS.hioyhml.l.t.thu-asndamoneyis-eth
sireewrthicfeoolonathplysngeiyhre'eds-T..kdasGisoneo..enp.ervoney
unoaedanlbfd-seiphtontheacbhikcote-mejestu.rl'vl'NOileneiraer-on
gEeJsniuhitsiss.i.e.thhsTingi...ecRrdo

4/4 SCRIVENERS CLAN - UPLOAD LOG 4/4
Knowledge Core input VF-77655771
Status: FAIL
Manual intervention required.
Datagrapher Biblian's report: A second file from the same source as VF-77655770 has been encrypted, preventing automatic transcription. Lector-General Calligore has ordered that this and any similar files be transferred to the Strategy College.

File contents:

Timestamp: 22/07/3113 13:08

---
daacbaabdgbebbhaeibbfcdbkeefdcdcbgjacbhifafebhlekfidclfbhjfaefhe
bdgbadkbckehfefgadhddkhdcffoafalkddoedckadfdaeakllaicjabrdadedgd
fdhcjganbcebbicldadgdgjcaigficoaafldgdcgfjbcdefhealgdbjbmebghf
-cdb
o?dT-.dodleroWnathgnow?ooid-dlwhetba-lo...Hodldwheue?raytinonhas
slonl-cgdH?wnoamwnyautbho-nka,tsarpxteavhese.tre-Wonsaiighnowlru
tninuis'st-n.yiM-th..oensugoldubeehstwocabwearpatfesd-nusjreeka,
ervwhyinrnegliagenicmlsaelshecfbohetkecs-tbeepohreell'p.iThtreis
h-eehnteatnrtentomiata'ecdl-eanc,snutblelowdhithasteTR-aco.ldue.
mdlerbetouervonyf.lnEgheiserudlngi.-gncletginhlivinvev-ryeddeuto
.ltipWdiuoidwhohest'ashs.-kThdetnorwtiannoenviltatoe-hdtentigxni
pp.e.eibhitk.nd,llt-geahosis'orttintsshseiecomrtht'ry-fe.n.hetOX
TC.lrkadienka-mscaistleceemheesthcacinpaghi.stwa-krsAnnaldsoss.r
prlceohepicratbosmimrryath-eperohghuhigttteefind--eyrbmettsnomca
rpviiganth-eleostllaegdshaveafeTulo-hdone.cewdoomsseiehdrrlaletr
n.oeolrcengctntoupsorpliie-fneihetbl-md'oabd.relnnuoveeyorllidoe
shhske.-dndAbedinhnlnfteeaveebstuha-Shtxmesca'.oe'selVetgaysD-la
dborf,smyitniuecsriungiath-wsarenS.e'hthorseitle-hkeialsneoeldcp
,isotahownypdigrerhbosg-ntkalonkio.as'mldlihitmaobdnon-ewestu...
t'ihjsacb,tkco-eemidd'tncrrwaegiialnheTor-nee.edshtppateuhawunoh
od'vlTfe

Hesperus Logs (Tourist Beacon)

Log No. Log Text
1/1 The Hesperus was a research vessel that vanished in 3113. It was the sister ship of the Adamastor, a derelict megaship in the Chukchan system. Both were owned by Azimuth Biochemicals and were investigating evidence of alien artefacts.

The wreck of the Hesperus was discovered in April 3307 with its entire crew missing or dead. It had been salvaged by the Scriveners Clan, who removed its cargo and data drives.

Log 1:

Introduction:
This is the first of two encrypted logs they discovered within its main computer but were unable to decode.

File contents:

Timestamp: 12/07/3113 21:05

Emergency log. This is Lieutenant Kelemen, deputy... acting security chief on the Hesperus. I have to report that the ship has been overtaken by enemy soldiers. Most of the crew are either dead or in hiding, like us.

It's Pharmasapien. Has to be. They had sleeper agents onboard, including some of my own troops. How the hell did they avoid our checks? They must have been waiting all this time, but today they just... opened fire. Cut down most of security first, including Major Umaru, then the bridge crew. The rest were marched into the cargo holds at gunpoint. In an hour, they controlled the Hesperus.

Private Velasco and I managed to gather about half of the science team, and we made it to the aft engineering levels without being spotted. I've disabled the sensor suite so they'll have to search for us in person, which should buy us a few hours.

I've fought Pharmasapien mercenaries before. Infiltration is their speciality, but this is the biggest operation they've ever pulled. Unless... maybe the same thing happened to the Adamastor? Makes sense. If they attacked either them or us using ships, proximity sensors would have automatically sent a distress signal to Azimuth.

Pharmasapien must know about our probes then, and that they found signs of nonhuman artefacts. And that means they'll kill anyone to get to them first.

The scientists are asking me what's our next step. That's easy - we survive. But I don't have a clue how. How can I save these people?

Log 2:

Introduction:
This is the second of two encrypted logs found in the Hesperus's data drives. There was no further evidence to explain the fate of the original crew's survivors.

File contents:

Timestamp: 13/07/3113 02:32

Lieutenant Kelemen, emergency log, final entry. We've managed to move around undetected for several hours now, although it feels like the ship is deserted. The cargo holds had hundreds of people imprisoned there, we could hear their shouts ringing through the corridors, but suddenly they all went quiet. Did Pharmasapien... my God, those psychopaths!

We have a plan to jump ship. Velasco has volunteered to use explosive charges to create a distraction, while I lead everyone to the launch bays. I've ordered her to rejoin us and not be a hero. I can't afford to lose her.

They haven't managed to block my command codes yet, so I'll be able to get full control of all the secondary exploration craft. A few of the scientists have piloting experience, fortunately. Some of them even want to continue the mission, saying there are systems within range that may contain alien artefacts. Let's see if we get out alive first.

I'm going to encrypt these logs in the central computer, so Pharmasapien won't detect them. But Azimuth will, and at least they'll know what happened... assuming they ever manage to retake the Hesperus.

Log 3:

Introduction:
This log was found in the internal drive of an empty EVA suit, which was discovered aboard the Hesperus by the Scriveners Clan. As with the previous logs, it defied their efforts to decrypt it.

File contents:

Timestamp: 22/07/3113 09:40

Recording... this is... this is Junior Engineer O'Neill. I've just come back into the ship and found everyone poisoned. Gassed. They're lying on the floor with their eyes and mouths all... oh my God. Something's killed them all!

I was... I was out on the hull. We've been searching for nonhuman signals, using Azimuth's data to try and locate what they were looking for. The chief started wondering if the sensor arrays were damaged, so I went out to check. Lost all comms. Came back through the airlock and found...

Can't risk taking my suit off. If this is poison gas then it's probably still in the air. I might be the only one left alive, unless anyone else is suited. I have to go looking. There has to be someone else!

Wait... was this done deliberately? I know some of the Azimuth crew managed to escape. Have they got back onboard? Is this them retaking their ship? I should encode this log, in case they patch into my suit comms and track me. They might already know where I am.

But I'm just an engineer, that's all. I'll tell them. I'll tell them that Pharmasapien only brought my team along to keep the Hesperus operational after they took over, that's all. They won't kill me too. They're not murderers. They're not... not like us.

Log 4:

Introduction: This is the second of two encrypted logs made using an EVA suit's internal drive. No other logs or data were available aboard the Hesperus.

File contents:

Timestamp: 22/07/3113 13:08

I've found out what's happened. The original crew didn't come back, it's just... one woman did this. I'm looking at her body right now, poisoned like all the others. She's wearing a security uniform, ID badge says 'Velasco'. She must have been left behind. And she killed everyone on board.

I'm in the life support control centre. I realised how someone could have fed gas to all the living compartments - by feeding it through the primary atmospheric processors. And I was right. I can see the chemical tanks marked TOXIC... they're from the scientists' storage hold, I think... being piped into the ventilation network.

That's how she did it. Wiped out every living thing. Including herself.

Everyone but me.

I could tear this all down, but I can't decontaminate the entire ship. There'll be pockets of these chemicals lingering everywhere, and just a few breaths would be enough to...

My suit's running low on air. We have spare tanks, but how many? How long can I stay here? How do I... what do I do now?

What do I do?

Private Beacons

Log No. System Log Text
1/3 (H1) Taurus Dark Region UY-R b4-0 Transmitting encrypted data package

Weak matched signals detected:
Latin alphabet
H2 FBJILYIFUILOMPDYAFRGMKIULIN 1333
H3 ADFFGDKIOOPLFNIHLRFEUOPQJWLSEDM

Source ID: H002255 [Hesperus]
Signal range: REDACTED

A3:-L_,C3:+AF_,G2:*-A

...Transmission Ends..

2/3 (H2) Perseus Dark Region LN-K b8-0 Transmitting encrypted data package

Weak matched signals detected:
Latin alphabet
H1 ACGTYMNGYFUIPLZGHUIWBLUIZOPKMXGTR
H3 ADFFGDKIOOPLFNIHLRFEUOPQJWLSEDM

Source ID: H002255 [Hesperus]
Signal range: REDACTED

A2:/B,C1:+BL_,G1:+DF_

...Transmission Ends..

3/3 (H3) California Sector IH-V c2-1 Transmitting encrypted data package

Weak matched signals detected:
Latin alphabet
H1 ACGTYMNGYFUIPLZGHUIWBLUIZOPKMXGTR
H2 FBJILYIFUILOMPDYAFRGMKIULIN 1333

Source ID: H002255 [Hesperus]
Signal range: REDACTED

A1:-AX_,C2:*-A,G3:+E_

...Transmission Ends..

Timeline

07 MAY 3307

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    The enigmatic 'Salvation' has sent a message to the Commanders he recently recruited to discover the Hesperus megaship. The vessel was found in the Perseus Dark Region KC-V C2-2 system, after 'Salvation' provided an access key to read its automated SOS. Pilots were then encouraged to deliver any surviving logs to Taurus Mining Ventures at the Hind Mine asteroid base in the T Tauri system. Patience Middleton, a representative of the corporation, announced: "'Salvation' has authorised us to offer two million credits or ten units of void opals for delivering the Hesperus's logs. This contract ends on the 21st of May 3307, after which payments will not be available. We have been asked to relay the message below.
    'This is Salvation. I call myself this as I cannot yet reveal my identity, but my scientific breakthroughs will literally save all of humanity. The Adamastor and the Hesperus were just the beginning, as I have always known. For my intrepid agents, there will be further work to come.'"
    Little is known about Taurus Mining Ventures, and 'Salvation' remains anonymous. Commanders are therefore being cautioned against undertaking tasks for a potentially criminal organisation.[5]

27 APR 3307

  • Francesca Wolfe of the Wallglass Investigations Agency examines the Hesperus megaship and the Dredger Clan that caused its recent discovery. "When the Adamastor derelict received a strange signal, smart money was on it originating from its sister ship, the Hesperus. Both were owned by Azimuth Biochemicals and had vanished 200 years ago. After a united effort to decode and trace the signal, independent pilots located the Hesperus in an asteroid belt around the second star of the Perseus Dark Region KC-V C2-2 system. Like the Adamastor, it was devoid of life – but not alone. Alongside it was a dredger, whose proximity had triggered the Hesperus's mayday. This was a rare sighting of a Dredger Clan, one of the nomadic tribes that Gunnarson recently discussed. The Scriveners Clan was originally a fleet of research vessels for a long-forgotten academic consortium. Over centuries they became a self-sufficient society, constantly acquiring materials and information. They're not aggressive, but shun outsiders and jealously guard their 'Knowledge Core'. I'm fascinated by mentions of research-sergeants and lector-generals, suggesting their culture is a merger of scholastic and military. With the Hesperus claimed as salvage by the Scriveners and its drives stripped, all chance of learning more was lost. Luckily, four encoded data files had resisted upload, and a gap in the dredger's antiquated firewalls allowed pilots to hack them. The decrypted logs have now been preserved for posterity in a nearby tourist beacon. They tell a disturbing story of corporate rivalry, murder and revenge, but also leave many unanswered questions... We know that survivors abandoned ship to continue searching for 'alien artefacts'. Did they all die in space or did they find something? What did Azimuth's probes detect back in 3113? And who the hell is 'Salvation', the shadowy figure who contacted pilots to find the Hesperus?"[4]

19 APR 3307

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    Commanders have reported receiving anonymous instructions regarding the 200 year old derelict megaship orbiting Chukchan 5 b. A communications beacon stored onboard the Adamastor began receiving and rebroadcasting an encrypted signal on the 8th of April. Efforts by authorities to trace and decipher the signal proved unsuccessful. However, a number of independent pilots claim to have been contacted by an anonymous source, who provided an access key to decode the Adamastor signal. Commander Rex Trevelyan gave this statement to Vox Galactica: "Not long after arriving in the Chukchan system, my ship received a message from someone calling himself 'Salvation'. He provided a decryption key, and when I downloaded the signal from the Adamastor it became readable. It seems to be an automatic SOS from its sister ship, the Hesperus. I've heard that some Commanders have made sense of the navigational data in the signal. It feels like pilots are being recruited for something, but who exactly are we working for?" The Pilots Federation has begun an inquiry into the situation. The identity of 'Salvation' remains unknown, but there are reports that the Adamastor signal contains data that has led to its sister ship.[3]

08 APR 3307

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    The Adamastor, a 200 year old 'ghost ship' in orbit around Chukchan 5 b, has received a mysterious encrypted signal. The derelict vessel has been undergoing investigation by Alliance Salvage Guild teams since its discovery last October. They released this report: "Months ago, we cut open one of the Adamastor's damaged cargo holds to find an undeployed communications beacon. We managed to power it up, but it contained no data and had never been used. This beacon has now automatically activated, and is receiving and rebroadcasting a long-range signal. The transmission's source cannot be identified, but is definitely of interstellar origin. Its encoded content has yet to be deciphered." The Adamastor vanished in 3111 after an incident that may have involved the first historical encounter with the Thargoids. It reappeared in 3306 when it entered the Chukchan system at sublight speeds on autopilot, with no sign of its crew. It was recently learned that in 3113 the Adamastor's sister ship, the Hesperus, also disappeared. Both were owned by a corporation called Azimuth Biochemicals, which was absorbed by a rival named Pharmasapien. Little is known about either company, but it is believed they were competitors in the field of xenological research.[2]

10 MAR 3307

  • Erik Gunnarson and Francesca Wolfe, two detectives from the Wallglass Investigations Agency, examine the background of the Adamastor megaship.
    Gunnarson: "When Wolfe and I started this project, we knew this case would come first. We're both protégés of Benjamin Chester, creator of the Wallglass Archive. He retired years ago, but that old spark kicked in when a 'ghost ship' turned up on his doorstep! The Adamastor is a 200 year old derelict that drifted into the Chukchan system on autopilot. It's still there, with the Alliance Salvage Guild poking through its guts. Chester investigated its owners, a super-secretive company called Azimuth Biochemicals. We don't know what they were searching for, but what they found was possibly the first recorded Thargoid encounter. I've since tracked down evidence that the Adamastor had a sister ship – the Hesperus – which in 3113 was sent to… somewhere! Neither ship returned, but we only know what happened on the Adamastor mission. Of course, Wolfe had to go see that with her own eyes."
    Wolfe: "Musca Dark Region PJ-P b6-1 is a busy system nowadays, but was unexplored when Professor Carver's survey team were there. Listening to their logs from two centuries ago while examining the research base was chilling… ghost voices from a ghost ship. There was evidence of blast scars, but I've seen enough battlefields to know what exchanged gunfire looks like. Azimuth's mercenaries weren't just firing at Thargoids, but at someone who shot back with laser rifles. Gunnarson tells me Azimuth was swallowed up by a rival called Pharmasapien. Did they infiltrate the Adamastor and try to take over? Or did the thing that Carver captured drive everyone insane? This is a seriously cold case, even for us. But maybe one day, more tantalising clues will emerge. And that’s what we live for."[1]

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