Commander’s Log 3

The Commander’s Log. Part 3

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Chapter 21

Сommander's log. Chapter 21I have seen my fair share of fantastic sights on Utopia, and no longer expected any other surprises. No such luck! The executioner that we saw in the ranks of marauders who had gathered to loot the wreckage of our ship was like a god of anger, descended from heaven to punish the wicked. This was a two-meter tall giant encased in armor from head to foot brandishing a huge energy ax like it was a toy. And helping him operate that ax were these exoskeletal elbow enhancers. But it turned out that he was just as mortal as everyone else, though his sins were probably greater.

Later, the captured bandits said that executioners often accompany troops on long marches. Their primary function is to provide protection from spiders. They’re in a class of their own when it comes to the spiders. The armor permits them to fight in close combat and the electric arc generators on their shoulders imbue the metal casing with lethal voltage that finishes off the creatures that manage to escape the energy ax. By the way, this is an excellent technology for close combat – I need to ask the guys to come up with something similar for me.

Chapter 22

Сommander's log. Chapter 22

Before our flight we studied photographs of the planet that was our destination. The images depicted a perfect Utopia: visible through the lush vegetation were the graceful buildings of Green City and otherworldly animals wandering along neat avenues…

Also visible in those pictures were mysterious obelisks – terraformers enveloped by the emerald green forests. These were the devices that created such a hospitable planet constantly maintaining its ecological balance. By examining their construction, people can repeat the design of the terraformers and use it for their own ends. This was a genuine scientific revolution. But where did these obelisks come from, who created them, and why did they place them here on this planet? Whose intellect far exceeding our own, was responsible for the terraforming? These questions could not be answered by our scientists. Today, our expedition stopped at the foot or one of the obelisks. The tsunami did not spare the majestic creation, but also did not succeed in completely decimating it Anderson believes that the obelisk’s internal terraformer is irreparably damaged, but that the skeletal structure is so strong that it could withstand more than one such catastrophe.

Chapter 23

Сommander's log. Chapter 23

“Do not resist Him and you shall warrant His forgiveness. Fight for Him and you shall warrant His mercy. Sacrifice yourself to Him and you shall be reunited with Him.”

This was the note we found on one of the followers of the mysterious cult that worships the deity XI. It seems that the belief professed by these fanatics has a uniquely local origin. Well, it’s not hard to imagine that the people, led to desperation by the brutal realities of life on Utopia, came up with this imaginary patron and denounced all others as its enemies. They pray to it and carry its emblems. You can find plenty of the same on Earth. But in this story there is something inexplicable and sinister. We have seen with our own eyes how the cultists fight alongside the spiders, and the predatory creatures don’t touch them!

The fact that the followers of Xi fight with Kingpin’s people and try to destroy the obelisk terraformers can ultimately be explained by the sad state of their reason. But how can we explain that spiders, which we are accustomed to regarding as primitive beings that are incapable of collective forms of activity, mount organized attacks on the very same targets, acting in tandem with the cultists?! Elizabeth doesn’t have a single coherent explanation for this. It can momentarily seem as if all of them, both the people and the monsters, are really driven by some kind of mysterious invisible force… Damn it it’s like this cursed planet is out to drive even us stark raving mad!.

Chapter 24

Сommander's log. Chapter 24When we saw the altar, topped with an open-mouthed three-eyed horned idol, we knew at once that it was the spot where the followers of XI performed their rituals. And, judging by ruddy brown blots on the stones, their deity had no reason to complain of the shortage of offerings! Unfortunately, there is no possibility for us to examine this macabre place in detail. The shrine generates a powerful disturbance that scrambles all our sensors. Studying it is like rushing head first Into a black hole equipped with nothing more than a compass and a ruler. I’ve never been inclined to mysticism, but this thing definitely pushes all scientific limits I am aware of.

In truth, you don’t even need gear to sense an enigmatic sombre force emanating from the altar. Even I experienced some discomfort to say nothing of others. Margaret still can’t stop thinking of the black shadows she saw creeping forth from the shrine; and Fldo time and again glues out a peculiar little whine that I’ve never heard him make before… What in the heaven’s name possessed the developers who thought of adding this depressing effect to his sound list? or is it just some kind of malfunction?

The ground around the idol is covered with a thick carpet of fast-growing violet corals. It makes the entire spot look like a festering sore. Or a wormhole in Utopia’s weary body, a source of some mysterious deadly disease spreading around the planet.

Chapter 25

Сommander's log. Chapter 25It was hard to identify this creature as a human being. Or a former one, for that matter. The cultists of Xi revered this thing as a prophet the punishing hand of their god. When we arrived. The Hand made it his priority to convey to us the will of his master -I nearly went deaf listening to him roar about Xi’s wrath.

He did more than just shower us with curses – dozens of spiders, coming out of nowhere, rushed at us. How did he do it? Did he release them from some inconspicuous hole in the ground or from a hidden compartment on his own ugly blob of a body? Created them through Xi’s will? Made them out of thin air and a prayer? I think I am ready to believe even the latter…

There is no doubt that the cults beliefs are stemming from something grave. Some dark force, poisoning Utopia from inside, gnawing at its core like a worm gnawing at an apple… It is this very force that tears through the ground with fiendish corals; that makes spiders obey the Hand of Xi and a force that is being worshipped by all those lunatics. If such are Xi’s prophets, what then must he himself be… Perhaps we just lack imagination to see the true scale of the disaster? May it be that we are threatening the devil while dancing at the tip of his tongue, as our ancestors would have said? I should stop it right there. Another step in this direction, and I will start worshipping the almighty Xi myself…

A little gun cleaning should clear my head.

Chapter 26

Сommander's log. Chapter 26Previously, we assumed that the civilization that we were accustomed to on Earth had completely ceased to exist on Utopia. The boundless desert desperate gangs of vagrants, ubiquitous predatory creatures… But at the Citadel, we clearly saw that the human desire for a comfortable life is in itself very powerful and asserts itself even in unbearable conditions, like a slender blade of grass breaking through the asphalt Beyond the walls of the Citadel there is every comfort to help Kingpin’s battle-weary fighters relax: a flophouse, bar. shops and even a club with X-rated shows “for adults only”! There are few places on Utopia where a person can feel completely secure. The Citadel happens to be one of them. The high fence with barbed wire on top. Towers with sentinels, even crucified spiders at the gates to intimidate others – all this, no doubt is what permitted the outlaw guests of the Citadel to sleep in peace. That is, until our expedition dropped in at the Citadel.

Chapter 27

Сommander's log. Chapter 27

They say that in Russian, “Matryoshka” is what they call a kind of doll which contains a few copies of itself nested inside. It turns out that a matryoshka has a few lives: you open her up and see another one, only smaller, and then you open that one up, and again there’s another, and so on… So it was no coincidence that Kingpin’s faithful companion was named Matryoshka. The legends about her “immortality” spread among the bandits. We were able to confirm for ourselves – firsthand – that this talk wasn’t just drunken babble. Matryoshka would die before our very eyes, the bullets would pierce her slender body, the enormous rifle that she handled with ease, like a toy gun. would drop to the ground. But what followed after this was something bizarre. Again, we would encounter this woman in combat healthy and, apparently, not even wounded!

When analyzing the foregoing, Margaret constructs theories about some ultramodern body armor and stimulants, and Elizabeth earnestly argues that Matryoshka may be a cyborg, not a human. I happened to look into Matryoshka’s cold gray eyes. I am sure that she is human, but in her glance there is something inexplicable, unfathomable, even mystical. There is no hint of fear; however, there is a great deal of anguish. When we succeeded, we thought in definitively defeating Matryoshka, we searched her and found among her belongings the map with the coordinates to Kingpin’s hideout But just as we turned away, the body mysteriously disappeared. Could Matryoshka be alive even now? Strange, but for some reason I want to think so.

Chapter 28

Сommander's log. Chapter 28In Mechanarium we stumbled upon a machine that looked like a fossil from long-gone days. Judging by the faded “Kronos” symbol on its hull, this giant was crushing rock in the times when Adam Cruise, not the bandit scum, was in control of the planet I looked into the drill pit but saw nothing but darkness. Fido, on the other hand, having sniffed the tip of the drill froze for a moment and then uttered a quizzical sound. I spotted a familiar glitter in the rock residue covering the drill. I scraped off a small amount of sintered bluish dust and rubbed it between the fingers. My fingertips responded with a vague tingling sensation – as if a gentle breeze touched the nerve endings. It was a hundred times less intensive than the squall that had buffeted my body when Elizabeth had injected me with the serum to activate psi-abilities, but it certainly was the same sort of feeling. Crystallite! This shiver could not be mistaken for anything else.

Psionics again… So this is where Cruise procured raw materials for his psi-project. In this case we should he glad that the machine is covered with rust – it means that the deposit which came into the possession of bandits has been long depleted. Or perhaps, local settlers do not know what these crystals are good for? Hardly so. Judging by the complexity of the projects the engineers have been working on, there must be at least a few among them that once worked under Cruise. And then again, every time we come across the traces of “Kronos”, we get in the way of Kingpin. Why is this goon all of a sudden so keen on high-tech science? May it be that he was somehow involved with Cronos’s military projects? I’d hate to get into a heated debate with a bunch of high-strung psionics! Especially it they are still having something similar to Phoenix at their disposal.

Chapter 29

Сommander's log. Chapter 29I wish l could talk to the Engineer more. Our brief conversation was like peeking through a door with some dark mystery dwelling behind it. Unfortunately, the militant mechanic didn’t give out much information, only a few vague hints. Instead of answers, he chose to attack me and nearly succeeded in finishing me off with his steel hand claw. The mystery remained a mystery; all we got was just a few new pieces which do not Quite fit into the puzzle yet Our findings on the Psi power have already proved that civil engineering was not the only line of work for “Kronos” on Utopia. And then here goes our Engineer, evidently a former employee, providing a first-hand confirmation of his participation in military projects of much larger scale than his current work in Mechanarium. It seems that “Kronos” was handling both military and civil contracts on a systematic and regular basis. And what if even this presumption is too optimistic? What if military tech was the main thing, with spa and resort construction being just a cover? It is hard to believe, though – and, besides, who was Cruise going to fight? We still have more questions than answers.

Chapter 30

Сommander's log. Chapter 30A JET-1000 ship is for transporting VlPs. It’s on this very ship that Vincent Gold, now more well known as Kingpin, at one time took an urgent flight to Utopia after hearing that crowds of refugees, driven mad by fear and hunger, were laying siege to Green City. Could he imagine then that in just a few hours the city would perish in the flames of an infernal explosion? That a terrible cataclysm would transform the entire planet into a wasteland, and not spare even this extremely reliable, expensive ship? No, the JET-1000 will never again ascend into the heavens. But its walls, fashioned from a strong alloy, continue to serve its master. Inside the ship Kingpin established headquarters for himself and his entourage. Here, the self-proclaimed ruler of these regions does his decision-making, and, just for fun, promotes some while condemning others to death.

Chapter 31

Commander’s Log. Chapter 31Vincent Gold on Earth. Kingpin on Utopia. The massive body of this man, covered in smoking bullet wounds, lies at our feet. Is he at all human?

Margaret counted more than 30 hits, he should have fallen long ago, but he continued to fight! Physical vitality – it’s like a metaphor for his inner strength, iron will, leonine courage. In life he always sought the very best and even then it was never enough. After climbing to the top of the criminal hierarchy on Earth and fabulously enriching himself, he and Adam Cruise developed a plan for the complete subjugation of human civilization. The stakes were set and they were tremendous: on Utopia, under cover of projects to develop infrastructure, they began to create a horrific weapon. Gold sunk his entire vast fortune into military technologies. What if he had finished building these missiles? I never thought that I would say such a thing, but could it be that the Red Plague was, in fact Earth’s salvation? After all, that’s what threw a wrench into Gold’s plan. Hurtling millions of refugees at quiet Utopia. And then, the catastrophe, turning the planet into a wasteland. Along with the blossoming landscapes, the tsunami boldly swept away the great villain’s fantastic dreams. But even then he did not give up! Driven by a desire for power, he erected a new world on the ruins. His own bleak world, a world of violence and cruelty.

Kingpin was the absolute epitome of evil, a dark genius. I am proud that it was my expedition that had the honor of putting a stop to him.

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One Response to Commander’s Log 3

  1. avatar cultism ( Private Private Player's Rank 1 )

    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – IMDb

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