The idiosyncratic protocol droid worked solemnly on accessing the ancient computer system on board the dreadnought Shadow Hawk. As it worked, the rest of the crew pretended not to notice, all the while surreptitiously looking over its shoulder.
“Anything?” Grek asked after several moments of awkward silence, punctuated by the whirring of the droid’s servos and the rasp of the spinning access point.
“Yes, Master Grek, I have obtained access to the ship’s main computer, however there are still several section of it which are encrypted and to which I do not yet have access.”
The droid’s head tilted slightly to the side, as if in curiosity or sudden interest. “I have managed to download and reconstruct some partial fragments of the ship’s log that were deleted. Apparently each duty section’s chief kept his or her own personal log, and then the ship’s command staff kept their own separate logs. It would seem that someone or some_thing_ did not wish for these logs to be found.”
“Play the log entries.” Grek instructed the droid. It responded affirmatively and bent to its task. In a moment, a holographic projection filled the space in front of the droid.
The log showed the haggard face of what was presumably one of the ship’s medical staff. The audio and video skipped and stuttered, and it was filled with slight static, however it was viewable.
“Medical log … hell, I don’t even know the date anymore. The condition of the crew has continued to deteriorate, to the point that I can no longer keep up with the spread of the illness. Crew members have all exhibited substantially similar symptoms, with the early stages marked by vivid and disturbing dreams to increased irritability and occasional random bouts of non-responsiveness. As the condition worsens, the dreams become waking hallucinations, ranging from hearing random noises or seeing flashes of color to, as the condition becomes more advanced, full audio-visual hallucinations of people, places and things. Ultimately, as the patient’s madness deepens, follows paranoia and violence.”
The doctor wipes his hand across his face in weariness and continues:
“I have thus far been unable to determine the cause of the affliction, and at this point am not optimistic as to my chances of uncovering it before it begins to affect too many of us to continue the research. I have ruled out bacteriological or viral etiology, however the brain scans all exhibit physiological changes consistent with some sort of external stimulus. I just don’t know…I’ve never seen anything like this. Perhaps it’s related to the mishap with the ship’s drive system that occurred recently. There is an incidental correlation between the time this condition began to be reported, at least generally speaking, and when the “incident” took place in the engineering section. With the Captain apparently content to take his orders from that strange old Jedi, I have been completely cut out of the loop and can only speculate as to what happens next, but some of this may be related to the artifact we discovered…………………………………………………………………………"
The image dissolved into white noise and static and the droid turned to face the group.
“This is all I was able to reconstruct at this time, I will continue to attempt to decrypt and restore more of the log entries.”
Eldritch frowned for a moment and then schooled his expression to its usual confidence. “Well, I think we need to find whatever is running on this crate and get it shut down so we can get the hell out of here. This thing gives me the serious heebie jeebies. Let’s move people.”
The group filed out of the chamber and continued down the eerily flickering corridor.