Procurator’s Journal

In-character Subject: A Close Call
Submitted: 2005-7-28 19.33

Good Lord, what an eventful last few days I’ve had. There’s good news, but a far greater helping of bad news, I’m afraid. First of all, I’m happy to announce my promotion to captain of my hovercraft, though the circumstances surrounding this appointment are steeped in sorrow. Shortly after I had submitted my last journal entry on my terminal and it was uploaded into the Matrix and onto this site, our pilot announced he’d uncovered a number of fluctuations in the Mainframe’s hoverpads. We tried to trace the source of the error, but it seemed it must have stemmed from physical damage to the pads. This was impossible, as we hadn’t entered the sewer network for a few days, opting to take the clearer, outside route back to Zero-One. Under normal circumstances we would have simply stopped the craft to take a look, but we were flying over water and had quite a distance to go. Captain Solarcode was jacked into the Matrix at the time on an important mission, so it was left to me to order our flight engineer to climb outside and take a look. That was the last time I saw her.

We shut down the affected hoverpads and switched to the weaker back-ups while she had a look at them, the Mainframe getting closer and closer to the water’s surface with every minute. Suddenly a number of things happened at once. Our operator put Solarcode on the speaker system so we could hear him, while the ship started to rock sideways ever more violently. He was ranting and raving on about an undercover mission for the Cypherites, and was warning us to get to land as soon as possible. The signal cut out and there was an explosion outside the ship. Our pilot started screaming about a crash-landing. My crewmates dashed to their defensive posts, and I started yelling at the operator to pull the captain out.

But it was too late. With a final violent shudder, the Mainframe plunged headfirst into the water, only to crash into the seabed a few meters below. It flung its nose upwards along the ground and I was thrown backwards onto the ship’s core. I clung to the supporting structure for dear life, all sense of time gone, unable to work out how long it was taking for the ship to come to a halt on dry land. Once the shaking finally stopped, I warily got to my feat. Our operator was alive, but unconscious in his seat. I shouted for everyone to answer me, and got a muffled groan from Frotee. He had fallen into one of the jacking-in seats and was fine. I told him to check the pilot, while I ran to the medical bay where all the crew members with abscedosis were being treated. To my horror I found that this was where the explosion had done the most damage. There was a vast hole in the hull spanning not only the floor I was on but the one above as well. Two crew members lay on the floor by their beds, dead – but not everybody was there. Frotee came in and surveyed the scene, telling me with a dumbfounded look on his face how the pilot was dead as well. He had managed activate the distress beacon first, it seemed, as within an hour sentinels arrived with the HvCFT Algorithm.

I went back into the broadcast bay, knowing full well what I would find there. Solarcode was lying serenely in his seat, all impulses to and from his brain lost. Some operatives from the Algorithm entered and helped the operator and myself to their medical bay, while the sentinels scanned the area and the stretch of sea into which we’d initially crashed. Soon Campusanis joined me in the medical bay, and told me how he had been flung out of the ship into the water after the explosion, only to be rescued by sentinels. We were taken back to Zero-One to recuperate a short while later.

On 27.07.05 MCT we were told that the Mainframe had been salvaged and brought to Zero-One as well. It was very heavily damaged, but Machine technicians had managed to repair it. Campusanis, Frotee and myself boarded it as soon as we were all awake, and had a look around it in silence. Our operator joined us shortly afterwards, and I assembled everyone in the broadcast bay. I toasted to our dead comrades, and announced that the ship would be rechristened the HvCFT Aggregator. It couldn’t be the Mainframe without its captain.

Despite the Machines finding no evidence in the wreckage, it is obvious to me that the hoverpads’ instability and subsequent detonation were the direct result of sabotage by the Cypherites. No doubt someone among their ranks had identified Solarcode as a spy, and had tracked down his ship while it was in the sewer system, days before our crash. A remote control would have activated a device causing the hoverpads to become unstable… and you know the rest.

We have lost a fine crew and a fine captain. I shall do my best to serve the Machines and my faction as well as he did.


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