The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 1: Introduction

Chief Warrant Officer Edward Michelsson February the 27th 1253 CNS Blind Hercules En-Route from Autumn Breeze My name is Edward Michelsson, Chief Warrant Officer assigned as supporting investigator to the loss—possible scuttling—of the heavy transport Blind Hercules bound for Wolf Tertius from home-port of Autumn Breeze bearing a cargo largely consisting of vacuum-sealed rations, machining parts, and commercial-grade prosthetics.  Of the five-man crew, only a single corpse was discovered, drifting within the armored fuselage of the artillery-class panoply Plume surreptitiously secreted aboard the Hercules for transport with the knowledge of one Gregory Samuels, the corpse discovered within her largely unscarred auspices.  Cause of death was asphyxiation with the consumption of the several days worth of available oxygen.  The remaining crew are missing, presumed dead, their bodies perhaps obliterated in the explosion that was evident in the skies of Lacrimae Dearum on Sunday morning January 7, 1253 CNS.  What is known—in the investigation of the debris, the corpse, and from the Plume’s library, is that the remaining crew failed to compose routine logs—any logs in actuality—of their status and activities altogether as of September 13th, 1252 CNS, and that the only written and video records we have of the incident are recorded Read More …

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 2

Midshipman’s Log Part 92 Gregory Samuels September 9, 1252 CNS I can’t reiterate enough how lucky I was to get this job.  I can’t say it enough, and I’m not trying to kiss anyone’s ass.  But these opportunities don’t just swing around once in a lifetime; they don’t swing around at all.  I really need the money, and this job is a fair sight more meaningful than stacking shelves.  My head is clear, head is empty, which is no better or worse than any man could have asked for, circumstances being what they are.  Trying not to think about family.  Of course, they were the whole reason. So, the monthly record of the mental wherewithal of my crewmates.     Lieutenant Whatley, I think, has always thought very highly of himself despite being relegated to the command of military civilians.  He still carries around his sidearm, trying to spin it about like some hinterland sheriff.  I wonder if it even works anymore, how often he drops it.  Maybe he thinks we’ll be intimidated, but it’s not like the four of us have never seen a gun before; hell, we’ve all gone through at least superficial firearms training—on the off chance of Read More …

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 3

Midshipman’s Log Part 93 Gregory Samuels September 11, 1252 CNS I’ll skip the usual pleasantries.  I’m unhappy, more than a little unhappy, and that’s enough; you’ll find out why very shortly.  We were making for the XV2308B transit buoy when—surprise surprise—something showed up on the sensor suite difficult in appearance and producing—what they said—a regular monotonous series of what sounded like key-strokes.  At the time I was again taking inventory in the seventh starboard storage module when Lieutenant Whatley sounded on the PA firstly that potential salvage had been located and secondly that he intended to alter course to retrieve this for what he termed an “unbelievable salvage bonus.”  Space detritus—salvage bonus.  Man must be out of his mind.  I have this dark impression that Donnelly put him up to this, which was ultimately his decision, and I can’t imagine Matheson, who most assuredly would have been present, would have put up much in the way of protest.  That thing, whatever it is, they placed it in the largely empty starboard storage module number 23.  Things haven’t been the same since. Anomalous Object’s Container in Cargo Bay 23 Call it the ecstasy of gold, or call it space madness if Read More …

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 4

Midshipman’s Log Part 94 Gregory Samuels September 14, 1252 CNS I can’t believe this!  I can’t believe this!  I must be out of my head!  I mean!  I mean!  I mean, come on!  How!  What what what?!  Shoot shoot.  I should calm down.  Really must calm down.  For posterity, right?  What else am I to do?  Command isn’t going to believe this.  I can’t rightly blame them.  But it’s real!  It happened!  And you’re mad if you take all this exclamation for child-like excitement.  Of all the places one could be in the universe, I would choose any—just not here. I’ll start from the beginning.  In my previous log entry, I discussed the acquisition of an anomalous object and the subsequent bizarre behavior of my fellow crew members.  Well, I don’t know how to say it; they’re gone—all of them; they’re gone—flung to the far winds.  It began as if a maintenance accident.  I couldn’t get hold of Donnelly or O’Leary.  I got on the PA and called for the lieutenant, who replied as if I’d caught him masturbating, with the vile vitriol of which only the commissioned are capable.  But mid-sentence, without a word, a sound, or even a Read More …

The Recovered Logs of Midshipman Gregory Samuels Part 5

Midshipman’s Log Part 95 Gregory Samuels September 20, 1252 CNS I can’t really deny it.  It’s getting to me.  It’s been a some time since everything’s gone quiet.  I spent the first few days stalking through the corridors painstakingly in search of unwanted passengers and some sign or signal of the whereabouts or final destination of my comrades, but it’s all just empty; there’s nothing there, not the rattling call of a hoarse throat down a long steel corridor or the paddling reverberation of fleeing or pursuing footfalls, but it’s just empty, as vacuous as the murderer that surrounds these stalwart six walls. I spent the first day huddled up within the crew quarters; I don’t think I even blinked the whole time, fixated upon the solid-steel door encapsulated within the auspices of Hercules’s ponderous bulkheads.  But eventually I grew hungry, hungry enough to risk murder—or worse things only imagined.  The mess was immaculate.  Not a scratch and certainly not a boom interrupted the seemingly slow preparation of my freeze-dried rations.  Biscuits and gravy—filthy stuff—I don’t know what alligator-besotted backwater concocted it, but hunger, you see, is the finest sauce, even if it is hard to eat with your left hand Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Introduction

“Arius the Vagrant, Arius the Despoiler, Arius the Terrible, even Arius the Rake,” a villainous man certain to deserve such a variety of condemnation hurled from high and low, a pirate of no small notoriety with a fleet massive enough to more than worry coastal settlements both great and small.  On the other hand, elsewhere, in other climes chattering from the tongues of distant throngs he’s whispered heroic “Arius the Great, Arius the Magnificent, even Arius the Conqueror,” a long-time veteran, bitter exponent, and even savior of the Perihelion.  A complicated man, no doubt, and a man enveloped in a quagmire of myth and wild mistestimony, absent as he is an honest biographer.  To that end I will stick to the facts and dispel wild rumor, whether through the testimony of my own eyes or from the words of the man himself or his many lieutenants and companions.  What happened and what didn’t, these are objective experiences, facts blindingly clear under the great auspices of everlasting Brassos, high in the sky.  What follows is the accidental saga of Arius, the feller of the seven cities, the pirate lord of the Vorago Intervention, the endless seas that separate the sacred space Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter One

It was the sickly rollicking back and forth amidst a medium sea that sent men, land-lovers all, bound hand and foot hither and thither to expel the contents of their tenuous viscera upon the blood-stained planks laid below quivering feet.  Blood, vomit, and shit—it was everywhere, crossed every boundary, and found port-of-call between unsuspecting knees and unwilling digits.  His head, throbbing, pulsating, was braided with more than the mere consequence of a night’s heavy drinking, gift to those that can’t stand the light of day. “Wha-wha-wha,” he began, a creature damaged, but he couldn’t finish, as the poison’s garden delights had only begun to ebb from their magnificent apex.  “Who who who?” he rejoined, blearily looking out from between the pin-points of his bascinet into a wandering basement realm of meandering skylight. “It smells like shit in here,” he muttered to which a hoarse repeating cough was his only rejoinder.  “Who the hell?  What the hell?” His vision, with the painful lack of urgency given to living flesh, connected upon a singular focus, and he looked this way and that amidst his new close compatriots, slavishly garbed sun-scarred  men altogether unified in chorus of miserable groaning punctuated with the throaty Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Two

The irregular plod of bored seamen, their eyes virtually blind against the unmitigated glare of a lackadaisical sea absent a cloud in the sky, came suddenly and screeching to a halt with the unmistakable clink of the armor in the hold below struggling in vain against the iron yokes of the sturdy bonds.  A windowed door creaked open succeeded by the heavy plodding of an overweight sailor pounding his hard wooden soles in some facsimile of eager glee across the main deck while the clinking of the struggling man cloistered in the hold below grew ever louder in apparent growing panic and developing terror only coming to a faux-friendship cessation when the footfalls began to reverberate down and down the half-rotted staircase whither hailed the stinking and feces polluted hold perverted with the broken dreams of countless stolen men. “Arius!  Arius!  So good to sea you again, my old friend!  How has life treated you these last ten years?” Against the wobbling of his vision and the throbbing of his skull, the cavalier in struggle met the gaze of the mustachioed wassailer, visible only in silhouette in the virtual darkness of the hull punctuated with the day-star’s glory just rounding Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Three

“I knew you were stupid, Macheda,” the tawny-bearded cavalier rejoined, his voice wavering as if the words unusual.  “But there’s nothing I can do for you now.  No more cheap whores and expensive swords.  You’ve already stepped into your grave.  Your crew will arrive insufficiently.  My apologies, in advance.” With the experience of decades, the captain’s hand flashed to the golden-engraved ivory handle of his cavalry saber, bitten and struck with indelible marks of edge upon edge blows, a survivor—if not always a victor—of a lifetime’s worth of battles, what had once been an excellent prize robbed from the stiffening corpse of an overcome privateer. “Comrades,” the captain announced with a concluding whistle, “the cargo’s escaping!” “Fool,” the cavalier mumbled, as he stepped into the elegant crescent of the falling saber, which clattered helplessly against his pauldrons.  Grasping the captain firmly by the offending wrist, he launched his gauntleted fist with the force of an angry god into his low cheek-bones, which yielded into the air the sanguine spray of uprooted teeth which danced upon the shit-soaked deck like dice. Having liberated the long-lived saber from his tumbling opponent, with a single motion handed down in the scope of long Read More …

Sword of the Saints: Sinner Chapter Four

Like the seven winged bearer of light rising from the deepest throes of endless Erebus, he shined in the undifferentiated dark like sparkling starlight, tawny mane fluttering in an imaginary wind reflected upon only his unblemished features.  Time seemed to slow, time seemed to crawl, and time seemed to cease as slowly he ascended the ashen and grimy staircase at the head of the starving and insatiate damned, doomed to live evermore—according to the firmament’s canon—eking out a miserable existence underneath the unfeeling tread of the living, persecuted for merely being on the wrong side of fate while the common man and the abbot both call it “justice.”  The sailors were dumbstruck, weapons held only limply in their crinkled hands, having already long forgotten the miserable death of their leader and employer, whose head even now tumbled back and forth upon the shit-riddled deck, reverberating through the timbers as its fractured fence of the mouth rolled to and fro.  His smile was remarkable, his teeth shining white, his cheeks a-glow with genuine crimson; they nearly threw down their weapons then and there.  But he wouldn’t stop, climbing at a resting rate ever closer, step-by-step, as all and one were universally Read More …