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Old Mistakes


Fanfiction by Zindaras

To a world of science. To a life of the mind.

Preliminary scans of Planet's surface indicate its mass to be much larger than originally supposed, with an overall climate that curiously mixes dense cloud cover with relatively sparse oceans. Interference from indigenous species will undoubtedly hinder our research, and yet Planet seems to be a welcoming and fertile new home—one which my enlightened experiments will no doubt only improve as time progresses. One can only hope that other faction leaders surviving the Unity will not be so dense as to attempt to interfere with my research...

I wonder how many of their landing pods survived to reach the surface. Perhaps I will even see her again...

—Academician Prokhor Zakharov, Mission Log

Old Mistakes
Mission Year 09.

Researchers at Ivory Tower have made our first significant research breakthrough since Planetfall. While this data on Planetary Networks unlocks many potential areas of intriguing research, a dark cloud hangs over me. Infiltrators report that, despite the brilliance and dedication of my research scientists, another faction is rumored to have completed the landmark “First breakthrough since Planetfall” a full year ahead of my department! This is most disturbing news... what mind on Planet could possibly compete with my own? That dabbler in algorithms, Aki Luttinen? Preposterous! There is no intellect on this world comparable to mine! Unless...

No. It could not be... it cannot be...

Personal Note: instruct the research and development teams assigned to synthetic vodka production to accelerate their timetables. I must steady my nerves, and the last bottle of vodka produced on Earth was the one I shared with Raymond back on the Unity. I must remain precise. Purity of focus. If I have made errors in the past, I will now correct them... by whatever means necessary.

—Academician Prokhor Zakharov, Personal Log, Encryption Level Delta-XV.

Like a Scalpel
Mission Year 20.

Initial establishment and expansion has been proceeding within expected parameters. Several of my exploratory teams have reported contact with the local lifeforms I have dubbed Annellid Cerebrum Terriblis—“Mind Worms”, in layman's terms,—due to their apparent ability to overwhelm their victims through an induced psychic assault, allowing them to devour the victim at their leisure. No doubt due to the superior intelligence of even my most humble citizenry, however, Scout Patrols have managed to acquit themselves well in battle with these Mind Worms, proving once again my old maxim that 'a mind is a terrible thing to have consumed by parasites'. I have directed base expansion from my landing site at Ivory Tower, founding a promising new base I call Buran Prospect on a coastal site with adequate irrigation from nearby rivers and which is additionally enhanced by one of the mysterious “Monoliths” that appear in several places in the nearby landscape. Additional research on these structures is—obviously—already underway. Several lost Unity Rovers and even a Unity Foil naval vessel were recovered by my Scout Patrols, allowing for much-needed long range reconnaissance, which in turn revealed several artifacts of unknown origin, one of which I have had linked to our Network Node at Buran Prospect, leading to some very intriguing research breakthroughs in weapons technology.

Another such artifact was discovered by a Scout Rover traveling farther afield, and is currently being escorted towards the site where I hope to establish another new base. As much as these discoveries please me, however, reports have also come in of several large “Xenofungal Blooms” to the north. Xenofungus, the crimson, fantastically shaped fungus which covers vast tracts of Planet's thus-far-discovered surface, provides an impediment to the mobility of my own forces as well as a breeding ground for Mind Worms, and as such its extreme density in the northwestern sector of my territory is a cause for lasting concern. Fortunately the “Former” terraformer units we have recently brought online report that they are able, given time, to remove this Xenofungus entirely from a given area. My Formers will cut the fungus away from Planet like a surgeon's scalpel slicing away necrotic tissue, and my people will flourish in the new territories that are uncovered.

—Academician Prokhor Zakharov, Mission Log

Mission Year 22.

Nwabudike Morgan. Of course. How could the experience of Planet be complete without everyone's favorite philosopher-hedonist? A powerful mind, a force of personality that took him from a containment cell to full Council membership almost before anyone noticed. At least he had the good sense to vote with me on the decision to abandon the Unity in landing pods rather than attempt to save it—a man not bound by petty morality. But still, his eyes cannot truly see. The flow of currency, the laws of supply and demand, these are the forces that absorb his attention. I look beyond, only the laws of physics and thermodynamics, the fundamental elements of the universe, concern me. And even they cannot bar my path forever...

Of course this unwarranted intrusion into my Network has been investigated and dealt with. My head Network Advisor at Ivory Tower informs me that nearly fifty of his datatechs are possible suspects in allowing Morgan access to my files. In related news, although my Psych Advisor claims that her prototype Nerve Stapler device still has long-lasting effects much too extreme to allow it to be used on the general population, she now has an additional 47 test subjects on which to conduct her experiments. For some reason she protested at this magnanimous gesture on my part, something about "unnecessary casualties" and "innocent people". Why can they not see as I see? Only hard science, pure science can be allowed on this new world. I have instructed her of the virtues of scientific rigor, noting that an experiment that fails to produce suitable results forty-seven times may well succeed on the forty-eighth, reminding her of Edison's efforts with the lightbulb filament. For some reason the woman became quite pale.

Personal Note: Instruct Nutrient Advisor to increase Vitamin D supplements for all lab personnel, as some seem to be suffering from a mild melanin deficiency.

—Academician Prokhor Zakharov, Personal Log, Encryption Level Alpha-Minimum


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