Encrypted Report, Sentinel Ricky Thompson, Auto-transmit Code 00X04
Recipient ID: Proxy code-name Eagle
"Kioroshi" and I are in. She used her pull in Oversight to get me on the "recruitment" short list. Everything else was out of my hands. It seems whatever strings Das Frettchen and the other Firewall Proxies pulled were enough. Here I am, one of three "Oversight Auditors" attached to The Facade Corporation Extrasolar Initiative. And, of course, our good old friend Hamza Al Quraini is here. Fortunately, this version of him was apparently restored from a backup that doesn't remember how we got him killed, or at least he hasn't let on that he recognizes me. I can't say it's particularly comfortable, but his presence does confirm the involvement of certain shadowy people and organizations behind the facade of Facade.
We assembled at the Martian Gate, and after a lot of logistical wrangling, were ready to send the tactical squad through to secure the base camp site on Olaf abandoned more than a year ago by the previous science expedition. There were some complications with the gate that took some of the wind out of our sails, but eventually we all got through and secured the site without issue. There are just shy of a hundred of us, mostly science and technology staff to get our base camp infrastructure established and our laboratories running. There are two "Gatecrasher Teams" which double as security teams. The head of security, Ji Su Khim, has apparently made the best of a bad situation and put all of the insubordinate or otherwise eccentric personnel in Team One, notably a small group (cult?) of ex-Ultimates extremists led by Kiyoshi “Noah” Kitano. They clearly follow Kitano and barely even acknowledge Khim as a superior officer. Of particular note to me, though, was Ansel Ness, a corporate security guy from Ecologene who is apparently on the outs with his company and on "extended leave" to go gatecrashing. Whatever his problems back home, he's been nothing but extremely competent here, putting together a tactical topography of the base camp and surroundings complete with strategic notation. He seems a bit wary of me, though. Dunno if it's the "Oversight" thing or if I came on too strong.
Our infosec guy is an infomorph AGI named Kvasir. He's apparently from the Titanian Commonwealth. In fact, I'm very surprised at the diversity of the personnel on an ostensibly corporate mission out of Mars. The team leaders of both gatecrashing teams are uplift corvids, Team One's exogeneticist is a neo-bonobo. We have an AGI infosec head… none of these people are even legally people on Mars yet here they are in positions of authority and nobody is batting an eye. Whoever is pulling Facade's strings doesn't care who they get so long as they have the necessary talents.
Which brings me to Ivan Kuro. Yeah, the fashion designer out of Extropia. Nobody explained to me what a CEO and fashion designer was doing on this mission, but he seems to have an… unusual facility with exotic materials and alien specimens. We'll get to that in a moment.
So Base Camp got established pretty much as expected. Days here are 50 earth-hours long, but considering a Venus day is 243 earth-DAYS long, it still seems pretty short to me. Still, people used to Earth-Standard Time were taking some time to get used to things. Initial scouting showed various plant and small animal life until Kitano and two of his cultists stumbled on a primitive pit trap, complete with sharpened stakes in the bottom. This caused quite a hubbub. The prevailing theory was that this was a sign of the scientists of the previous expedition who were left behind more than a year ago, that maybe their tech broke and they were resorting to stone-age tech. Others claimed aliens. Most everyone was siding with the "primitive humans" theory until Kitano and Ness were attacked at the trap site by what was apparently a Factor.
Yeah. That caused a stir, especially when bits of Factor corpse were brought back for study. Fresh biological Factor samples are… well… priceless, and a bunch just jumped into our lap. The scientists all got quite busy plumbing the secrets of Factor biology, insofar as our equipment to go, until Ivan managed, somehow, to bring a sample to life. It seems Kitano had given him a handful-sized sample of Factor goo and Ivan managed to… enliven it somehow. So now we have a live Factor specimen (albeit a really really small one that doesn't seem particularly intelligent). After some passive scanning and trying to feed it various insects and whatnot, we let it out into a large basin to try to observe behavior. So far it's not really doing anything other than oozing around exploring its surroundings, reacting to movement and light and spritzes of chemical scent. This isn't really my area of expertise. I'll make sure to gather a copy of all the data being gathered for you.
Huh. What's that?
Log file ends