“To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.”
― C.G. Jung
Jake Pink, stardate 135.2341, Entry 1:
Indeed, it has been a very rough landing. Fortunately, no one is dead. And the Hull Integrity systems are all green, meaning no one is dying…yet. The comm. system however, is severely damaged. All our SOS signals are traveling at subluminal speeds. It will take years before they reach any allied forces.
My life as a soldier has been marked primarily with fear. First there was the fear of being drafted to the vanguard. This was before I realized that the attack from the enemy was so devastating that even the rearguard was not safe. Then, there was the fear of being slain in battle. This was before our ship was knocked off course in the heat of battle, by an asteroid, and away from our unit. I realized then that there were far worse things than death in battle. Finally, there came the fear of dying slowly in space. This was before we crash landed on the third moon of the seventh planet of a star system no one had bothered to name. A moon full of creatures and hostiles which can’t be described in any other way than as abominations of evolution.
After the crash, we had all been relieved, temporarily. In time, the existential question, of if this fate was better than any of the previous three, had begun to plague us.
I always assumed that soldiers felt no fear. That the camaraderie, the bravery and the selflessness all acted synergistically to dispel fear. But this is not the case. Fear is omnipresent, even among those who pretend otherwise. In the first human world war, as soldiers marched through trenches and sang at the top of their voices, there was always the fear, deep within, that the homes they had left to protect, would be visited by death, would be visited by dark angels in the form of hydrogen bombs, in their absence.
Four centuries later, not much has changed. Light-years away from my home, I wonder if the place has been overrun by the enemy. If their pestilence has destroyed my family, the cornfields, and the man I love.
Sometimes I read stories of the first world war, stories about soldiers who accidentally wander into minefields. Sometimes I am beleaguered with the idea, that there is nothing accidental about it. Sometimes I wonder what the twenty fourth century equivalent of walking into a minefield is.
Jake Pink, stardate 137.2341, Entry 2:
We are all finding ways of coping with our predicament. Very different ways. The captain has retreated into silence. Words between her and us are always at a bare minimum. I think she blames herself for everything that has happened, but she never apologizes. Perhaps due to some masochistic notion that to apologize is an admission of weakness. Hence, she keeps silent and spends her time alone.
Glory, the systems engineer, has much to do. She is always tinkering with some part of the ship, trying to get things working. It seems she barely has time to contemplate our predicament. Of the five other crew members, Glory appears to be coping the best.
The first officer and botanist, Hawa, has given up altogether on sobriety and its complications. Her alcoholism and recreational drug use is unlike anything I have ever seen. I wonder what happens once her stash runs out. I wonder how large of a stash it is. I wonder what other self destructive tendencies she is likely to indulge in.
Hernandez, the astrobiologist, has perhaps the most regular response to our situation. He cries, almost all the time. He is the only one who seems actively to be panicking.
As for me, my form of escapism usually manifests itself in an obsessive compulsive addiction to high strategy video games. However, this is not the case now. I am quite preoccupied with something else: My great great great grandfather’s journal. Howard Leonard Pink had been a scientist for the American army during world war 2. His team was responsible for developing “unconventional” weapons and strategies for the war effort. Some of the experiments he performed have me absolutely astonished. Being halfway through, I cannot, for the life of me, put down the book until I have read it all.
It seems that no crew member is in the right state of mind. Since the mental assessment and evaluation programs are being ignored, someone has to take on the role of a therapist. That person can’t be me. Though I may be aware of the emotional nuances of my crewmates, I have absolutely no desire to address them.
Jake Pink, stardate 142.2341, Entry 3:
The preliminary scouting reports are in. The drones have brought back useful information. This moon, for the most part has tolerable atmospheric levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The natural atmosphere is not going to kill us; nonetheless, there is still danger. Danger manifested in the form of numerous fauna, flora and microbes.
All the samples collected seem to contain a particularly potent neurotoxin. A chemical capable of altering the human mind in strange ways, seemingly omnipresent in every single species. Initial tests have shown that the neurotoxin is capable of inducing schizophrenia, multiple personality disorders, mania and even death. The atmosphere isn’t going to kill us alright, but virtually every other thing might.
This is useful information, considering the fact that we will have to go out soon. Hernandez is absolutely terrified at this prospect and has made it a point to make himself scarce in order not to be chosen. This strategy is never going to work, considering the fact that as an astrobiologist, he is the only one qualified enough for such a mission. We will have to go out of the ship, in order to collect samples from various plants and prepare fuel. This excites no one.
Excerpt from the journal of Dr.Howard Leonard Pink, February 4, 1943.
Desperation is at an all time high, considering the fact that we seem to be losing the war, and losing quickly. The higher ups have certainly put the pressure on, and many of our most controversial projects are now being given the green light. This means that I will inevitably have the funding to work on the project that has intrigued me since my days as a young undergraduate at Harvard College.
Though the prospects are bleak, I cannot help myself from feeling excited. The only uncertainty I have about the future, manifests itself in the words of my old biology professor, “In the pursuit of scientific achievement, a conscience is as essential as a lab coat.”
These words have echoed in my consciousness, ever since I heard them. These words have made me contemplate if indeed my research is ethical. Most of the scientific community will undoubtedly frown upon my work, but I cannot be timid. Especially not now. The enemy cannot be allowed to have the upper hand, the war must be won.
If I must lose my conscience, my spirit and my morality that the ideals of my motherland may survive, then so be it. Like the moon, the Prussian Capricorn will eclipse the land of our enemies and cast their future in darkness. So help me God.
Jake Pink, stardate 145.2341, Entry 3:
I don’t know exactly why I did it, but I doubt it was out of compassion. Perhaps I was just fed up of hearing Hernandez whimpering like a beaten dog. I offered to take his place on the field during the mission. I would be his hands, and he would be my eyes and ears.
I don’t know exactly why I did it, but I really shouldn’t have. As far as the captain and crew knew, the mission was a success. We are already in the process of extracting the organic compounds from the plant samples I brought back for our fuel.
What they do not know is that during the mission, my leg was entangled in a vine, and in trying to free myself, a small tear was created in the suit. What they do not know is that my body has been compromised by a neurotoxin and I might be dead in a few hours. They do not know, and they might never find out. I want to tell Glory about it, but I have no guarantee that she won’t tell the captain. I do not know how the captain will respond to such information. Marooning me on this moon is certainly not outside the scope of her imagination.
I have incinerated the hazmat suit, destroying the evidence. For now, I will keep silent, as the neurotoxin alters my brain chemistry. For now, I will keep silent and hope that I do not die. For now, I will keep silent and read about my great great great grandfather’s exploits.
Excerpt from the journal of Dr.Howard Leonard Pink, May 18, 1943
I suppose one could say that my project was a success. The outcome was exactly what I expected, but, was it worth the cost?
My lab partner, Dr.Walter Grey, has said that it is for the greater good. But these words just sound hollow to me. A bland justification of unspeakable horrors.
In my eagerness to save the world, I may have transformed into the very beasts I want to destroy. No matter how hard I try, I can see no significant difference between myself and the enemy.
These soldiers, would undoubtedly give their very lives, in order to win the war. But what I subjected them to, is a fate worse than death.
The five of them are locked up beneath the lab and are kept heavily sedated. The dose of the sedative is five times stronger than what would be given to a regular adult male, yet I wonder if it will be enough. We absolutely cannot risk them gaining consciousness before they are delivered to the frontlines, for the sake of everyone in the lab.
Excerpt from the journal of Dr.Howard Leonard Pink, May 23, 1943
I have become possessed by the notion, that my creations should never see the light of day. No enemy, no matter how hated, should be left at the hands of my creations. Perhaps, I should destroy them before the General has the opportunity to use them.
I have not been able to sleep in weeks. I lie awake at night in fear of the abominations I have created. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see, is the image of my lab assistant, Florence, being ripped to shreds by the creatures.
This must be the same caliber of regret experienced by Alfred Nobel on invention of dynamite, only, this time, amplified by a thousand fold.
Yes, these abominations must be destroyed. Not for my peace of mind, but in respect to the soldiers who sacrificed their bodies that they may came to life.
I will slip a poison inside the sedative. If that fails to work, I pray for the life of me and my children, that their skin is not too hard for bullets. So help me God.
Jake Pink, stardate 147.2341, Entry 4:
It has been 48 hours since exposure. I am not dead yet, but I may be soon. My body, in an attempt to expel the neurotoxin, has subjected me to several bouts of nausea and diarrhea. The crew are starting to notice that I am growing thin. And I know Hernandez is suspicious.
I am changing in other ways too. Lately, I have been experiencing lapses in consciousness. It is as if I become an observer in someone else’s life. It is as if I am here, yet I am not. Like I am alternating between two time frames. Past and present, coalescing into one.
Sometimes I don’t know who I am. Am I a soldier trapped on a hostile moon? Am I a scientist, performing experiments for the war effort?
I know the toxin has potent effects on the brain, but I never expected the effects to be this surreal. Sometimes it seems like I am regressing, to a state ten years younger than I am now. Other times, It seems that my consciousness, is being invaded by a mind which is not mine. By an intelligence which is not mine. By concerns which are not mine. By fears which are not mine.
How much longer will I continue to remain Jake Pink? Moments of clarity are so rare, and I hold tightly onto them, for fear that I am lost in a space which is not.
Howard Leonard Pink, stardate 148.2341, Entry 5:
I have managed to kill 4 of the beasts. The fifth one realized what was happening and fled out of the ship and into the forest before I had my chance. I am preparing now to chase it. As my pulse rifle charges, I think it is prudent to document the exterminations.
I caught two of them unawares. Shots to the head while they slumbered in a drunken stupor. I knocked the third unconscious with the butt of my rifle, and administered a potent poison intravenously. The fourth tried to hide, but his audible whimpers gave away his position. One shot to the head and two to the chest did the job. It is interesting to note his last words: “It’s doing this to you, this place. It’s corrupted your mind.”
I do not know what those words mean. They can be mere nonsense, or they can be useful. But nevertheless, they did not save his life.
My will to complete my mission is even stronger now. Not even a single one of these abominations must not be allowed to escape. I must destroy my creations.
My pulse rifle is ready, my conscience is clearing. The Prussian Capricorn must never see the light of day.
Emergency Transmission #78, Dr.Glory Stewart.
The story of our experiences here on this moon may never reach anyone. They may linger on in the fabric of space time as electromagnetic waves, never reaching an antenna. Never reaching any recipients. But I record now in the hopes that this message reaches someone. This is because I have nothing but hope to hold on to.
I am not recording in the hope of being rescued. I am only recording in order for people to know our names, and to remember us. All six of us, especially Jake Pink.
Though it may seem like there is no logical explanation to Jake’s actions, the Jake I know would never betray his own comrades like this. He was a kind and compassionate man and I loved him deeply.
Even now, I feel nothing but love for Jake. All my anger is instead directed to the governments that ordered us to fight and to die for their interests.
I may be dead before sunrise. It is only a matter of time until he catches me.
To any who receive this message, this moon must be avoided at all costs. Everything about this place breeds death.
To any who receive this message, know that we were committed to the cause and remained loyal to the very last second.
To any who receive this message, remember our names and our legacy.
End of transmission.
Howard Leonard Pink, stardate 149.2341, Entry 6:
My work is complete. All five of the creatures are now dead. Before I shot the last creature, something odd happened. As I looked into her face, it was as if I lost consciousness for an instant. It was as of my consciousness had been overtaken by another. Just for a short while, I questioned my identity.
Though all five of the creatures are now dead, my conscience is still not clear. It seems it will take more than destroying my work to atone for my sins.
Perhaps one more life needs to be taken. It seems only fair, considering the fact that I destroyed so many lives in order to make this project a reality. Perhaps this is the price I must pay for being overly ambitious. For neglecting to be as moral as I was scientific. For neglecting to be as ethical as I was driven. Why should I continue to live, as others died?
What do I have to live for? I have failed my unit, I have failed my country and I have failed my friends.
I may go down in history as an evil man, but, let it not be said that I did not try my utmost to atone for my sins.
This will be my final entry in this journal. My pulse rifle still has one charge.