Pangaea Colony Journal, Entry 72
Our arrangement with "Danielle Astra" continues to bear fruit. The colony takes shape and soon we will start receiving the synthmorphs to resleeve our companions who died on our journey to this place. I am reminded, however, of the constant dangers that abound when seeking to establish a colony on an alien world far from the Sol system. I'm a gatecrasher and a scout, not a politician or leader, but these people look to me and I must do what I can. Some challenges, though, tax me greatly.
Astra's team, who were once part of my team back on Carnivale, continue to seek out these challenges. I should be grateful to them for finding them and warning me of them, but sometimes I wonder if they are somehow magnets for this sort of trouble. First, they informed me that Marigold, our resident mad cultist from the Church of Luminous Saints, might be infected with some sort of TITAN STD, and that she and any prior sexual partners she may have received should be quarantined and investigated. They said something about "moon spiders" and mutation. I did the best I could to avoid a panic and mentioned only that they may have picked up something from one of the planets we passed through, and I asked them to consent to some blood tests. Those tests are still being analyzed. Fortunately, Marigold is not a particularly appealing sexual partner (unless you like burn-scarred adolescents), and so any potential vectors were limited at best.
Later, they took a vehicle constructed for them by Astra through the gates back along the route that we took to get here. As they passed through the gate to the icy world we navigated prior to finding this place, they found themselves accompanied by a companion named "Aletheia Thompson", a gatecrasher they all remembered, albeit vaguely, as being a useful and friendly companion. Naomi, however, had cause for suspicion, and as they traveled the icy wastes looking for useful resources, that suspicion spread. Despite clearly remembering Aletheia's prior companionship, they started to doubt their own memories. When Alexi and Aquila noticed signs of data-corruption in their ego-emulations as if their minds had been hacked, they began to fear their new companion.
Sadly, they drove their new vehicle into a crevasse. As they sought to climb out, Marco kneecapped Altheia whereupon she deliquesced into greenish goo. Somehow, some sort of psychic parasite hitched a ride out of the gate with them, implanting memories or co-opting existing ones. They walked back to the gate, wounded and confused, but they did find the corpse of James, along with his frozen supplies. I thought we'd lost him when we came that way. I'm sure Johann will be pleased that his husband was recovered. My concern is the possibility that one or more of these parasites hitched a ride with US when we came through that very gate. How many of my hundred-plus companions are really human? I'll need to come up with some way to implement blood testing for potential xenofloral infection or some such excuse.
In the wake of these unfortunate events, the gatecrashing team opted to spend the last month surveying Pangaea by shuttle. On one of the ocean archipelagoes they discovered a second gate. It was apparently (somehow) inactive, but Alexi managed to power it up whereupon another gatecrashing team stumbled out! It's Andy Westingbrooke! I had feared I'd never see her again. She and her entire team were somehow trapped between worlds for a week and a half before the archipelago gate's activation drew them through. There was some… "gate weirdness" but we may actually have a route back to the Pandora gate now, dangerous though it may be! I should have known I could rely on Andy to find a way though. She's one of the finest I've ever worked with.
Also, having a dozen trained combat-capable exoplanetary explorers will not go amiss in defending the colony from the next weird or alien threat to arise.