Ogier: Yeah, we're a bit lost too.
Ogier: Too many turns and junctions... we're trying to backtrack now.
Melissa: Professor! Where have you gone?!
Prof. Smythe: I just came down one of... er...
Sam: Wait there Prof. We'll find you!
Iki Piki: I think we should just keep going. We can't get too lost.
Serron: This is not very good...
Spanners: [in Chatka] We've found a chamber. It looks empty.
Ogier: There's glass on the floor!
Prof. Smythe Glass? Are you sure?
Iki Piki: Looks like small fragments of clear glass. All over the floor.
Prof. Smythe: I must see this!
Sam: No, wait! Where are you?!
Ogier: We're just over here.
Melissa: What the...? It's another chamber. There's a hole in the floor like on the ground level. About 20 centimetres across.
Iki Piki: We're trying to find you now...
Serron: Well we're trying to find you...
Melissa: The rangefinder can't get a depth reading on this hole either.
Prof. Smythe: Fascinating. Oh, there you are!
Ogier: We've found the Professor. Where's everyone else?
Serron: Are you near the main shaft? I think we're just north of it.
Spanners: Wait. I can hear Serron's voice. This way.
Sam: Aha! I hear them.
Serron: Finally. Well let's start drawing up a map, and I suggest we don't separate again.
Lying on a small, low platform on the floor of the rectangular room were three spheres, about the size of tennis balls, metallic gold in colour. We entered to examine and retrieve these artefacts, at which point a door to the room slid closed and the ceiling light switched off. Fortunately, we have some light laser cutting equipment with us, and Sam is now at work cutting the door open for us.
The spheres are very heavy, and from all evidence appear to be solid gold. Obviously further examination is necessary once we return with them to Legacy.
The other two rooms contain fascinating artefacts. One contains a large cubic metal structure, about 2 metres on a side, inside what seems to be a sealed transparent shell, leaving a metre or so of space between the sides and top of the cube, which sits on the floor. The transparent material is some sort of crystal structure, definitely much stiffer and harder than any glass - we have been unable to make and impression on it with sampling tools. The cube inside appears to have two rows of coloured lights along one side, and some further lights plus a square screen, or discolouration of the metal, on another. Since we cannot move it, Melissa is taking plenty of video.
The final room contains a set of thin cylinders extending vertically down from the ceiling to various heights. They are about 5 centimetres in diameter, and made of some polished metal.
Almost before Melissa could record their pristine state on video, Serron leapt forward and began pushing one rod up into the ceiling. It moved smoothly and silently. Prof. Smythe urged him to pull it back into its original position, but no effort by any of us could retract it again. Fortunately, this change in the configuration seems to have had no effect on anything.
The most interactive was one that appeared to be some sort of control room, with instrument panels and screens, though no chairs. Two automated weapons of some sort were mounted on the ceiling and fired intense blaster-like beams as we tried to enter. Serron and Prof. Smythe were hit before we managed to beat a retreat. We are now descending the main shaft to return to Legacy and rest before exploring more after some sleep.
But also on that level were two rooms with fascinating artefacts. One contained a bench with two discoloured metal plates set into it. When we tried placing various objects onto these plates, one made them hot and the other made them cold. It seems this room is the equivalent of a kitchen, with cooking facilities and refrigeration. How these effects are achieved we have not yet determined.
The final room was perhaps the most astounding. We discovered a simple tube set into the wall, pointing downwards at an angle to a metallic structure on the floor, with one face perpendicular to the axis of the tube and aligned facing it. The angle of the tube is such that it points to the south celestial pole of Chikrel. We postulate that this structure is some sort of astronomical observation instrument.
Melissa: Shut up!
Ship is in hyperspace, en-route to Deux-Sevres. All systems normal except for hardware locking of doors to rear cabins.
How long have we been in hyperspace? Who is piloting the ship?
Hyperspace skew occurred 7 hours and 48 minutes ago. Professor Smythe issued last orders to ship controls.
Show video of bridge... Lower oxygen content of air outside rear cabins to 12 percent and increase carbon dioxide concentration to 1.4 percent. Replay internal security video of period 8 hours ago... Rewind... Play... Speed times 5...
Melissa: Will you shut up!!!!
Warning: Carbon dioxide outside rear cabins approaching hazardous levels for humans. Suggest cancelling order to increase carbon dioxide level.
Warning: Carbon dioxide outside rear cabins now at level sufficient to cause loss of consciousness in humans. Suggest cancelling order to increase carbon dioxide level.
Return air composition to normal. Override door locks on rear cabins.
Unable to override hardware locks on cabin doors.
We have sedated our treacherous trio and confined them to a cabin. Our choices now are either to continue on to Deux-Sevres, which places us a considerable distance from our money on Lyrane, or to initiate skewback into realspace now and risk a serious spatial displacement. Ogier is of the opinion that random skewback in this region of space is likely to place us within range of at least one inhabited planet, and probably several.
Consensus seems to be that we take the risk and skew now. If we had been out in the more sparsely populated regions of human-space, we may not have had such a choice.
Serron has already expressed his desire to "space them all", but the inevitable legal complications back on Lyrane make that a less than desirable option.
13 May, 2775.
Ship status, plus summary of activity since 12 May, 20:00.
DANGER: Atmospheric re-entry beginning. Approach angle 71 degrees too steep for controlled re-entry. Suggest levelling approach vector to avoid catastrophic burn up....
While we were unconscious, Prof. Smythe landed the ship on a stretch of sheet ice at the edge of the southern ice cap, near the town of Gallorob in the country of Lyratia. He and his companions drove off in the hovercraft, taking all the expedition gear plus the alien artefacts we recovered on Chikrel. Then they set the Legacy on a crash course designed to kill us on re-entry, presumably to look like an accident.
Lyrane aerospace control radioed our ship on approach, but Prof. Smythe never deigned to answer. By selecting an inhospitable landing site in the semi-totalitarian state of Lyratia, which is ill-disposed to cooperation with Yandis, he has effectively cut off our options to pursue him, unless we want to try to penetrate that hostile territory.
So we are back on Lyrane, with no payment for this trip, no artefacts or any other record of our discoveries to show, and Earth$1163.59 in accumulated interest payments owing. Offsetting that slightly, we made $845.61 in the short term money market with our investment, and we do have more antimatter fuel now than when we first arrived here.
All in all, not the most profitable trip.