Accessing Personal Personnel Miscellaneous Memorabilia and Records Log
Compiled by Manu Thirteen (Artificial Intelligence System, MTF Rho-19)
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Compilation Sweep 3 (Mission Elapsed Time: 12 days ETA Venusian Colony: 350 days)
Rho-19 Individuals Observed Today:
- Dr. Suhas Muthu Kumaran. Head of the MTF. Astrophysicist, still associated with Indian Space Agency.
- "He knows his stuff."
- "I'm fairly sure he could convince you to eat your socks, even if you aren't wearing any."
- Dr. Amannisa Qasim. Higher command officer. Psychologist, assigned due to expertise in psychological evaluation of non-human intelligent entities.
- "Does anyone know what that talisman is for?"
- Sgt. Pang Yuande. Head of security detail. Previously served in counter-terrorism operations as platoon second-in-charge.
- "I vaguely recall that he threw up on the flight in."
- Dr. Kurt Boeckmann. Team doctor and Swiss medical researcher.
- "His beard is his most recognizable feature, given that he's also bald."
- "Don't mess with his stuff. I mean the plant."
- Dr. Sarah Whitlock. Astrogeologist, placed in the initial colonization group as an expert on off-planet mining and mineral refining.
- "She likes the outdoors and being outdoors."
- "Why did she bring so many rocks?"
- Manuel Medina Enriquez. Political operative on loan from Department of External Affairs.
- "He has a wife and three children waiting for him at home."
- Jonathan Gerima. Specialist in mind-affecting and psychological phenomena.
- "I think he's the youngest member. He's what, 24 years old?"
- "He got really excited when he heard about the thousand people on the shuttle."
And my name is Manu Thirteen. Today I collected records of many things from my team, and I learned a lot about them. This exercise is based on the human behavior of keeping "diaries". I have drawn the conclusion that it is a worthwhile pursuit to emulate.
|Personal Item Entry 13: Silver-colored Avian Wing Accessory|
|Property of Jonathan Gerima. Individual known for experimental novels and short stories and is a rising figure in the world literary scene. Item holds potential personal significance due to owner's long familial background in Christian mysticism and several anomalous encounters recorded prior to recruitment. Gerima noted to wear pendant frequently. It's funny because humans wear shoes on their feet. Why do humans hold such a fascination with wings and flight?|
This mission to Venus, and all of the people traveling there, are very important to me. Remembering them is important. But my team is different. Remembering them is the most important.
Transcript of dialogue sample. Recorded in Transport Shuttle North Conference Room. Discussion between MTF Rho-19 members Dr. Suhas Muthu Kumaran, Sgt. Pang Yuande.
Pang: So, you're the top dog. What's our handle?
Kumaran: Our call sign is…is this room secure, Sergeant?
Pang: I wouldn't be asking if it weren't.
Kumaran: We're all high-profile, Sergeant. We're celebrities just for being here. Less than ideal for a clandestine mission. Lot of passengers on the ship. So yes, there will be a lot of double-checking and confirmation. Nothing personal.
Kumaran: Anyway, callsign is "Cythereans."
Pang: What the hell does that mean?
Kumaran: It's an archaic term, basically means "Venusians."
Pang: You seem more poetic than that, doctor.
Kumaran: Cute. You know, I have to rack my brain over every little detail before I talk to the team about even the tiniest parts of this mission. One slip-up, and I have to send you all back immediately afterward in an escape pod, with an A3 sequestration unit waiting for all of you. It took me three days to prep for a ten-minute briefing with Qasim. This is what working on a cognitohazard is like, Sergeant.
Kumaran: So you'll forgive me. A clever callsign hasn't been my first priority. I think it fits, personally. A touch of the old world, the only people who remember our true history, along for this ride.
Pang: When is the whole team going to meet?
Kumaran: As soon as we can find a plausible deniability window for seven operatives and a stowaway AI system to be in the same place without arousing suspicion. Enriquez is working on it.
Pang: That's tight even for something like this. What aren't you telling me?
Kumaran: …we think we might have company.
Pang: Listen doctor. I'm a chain of command guy. But you've already asked me to take responsibility for human lives without telling me what the threat is. You're going to need to cut the bullshit now. What does "company" mean?
Kumaran: It means GoI involvement. We've reviewed some files. Cogwork Orthodoxy.
Pang: [EXHALES] Shit.
Kumaran: Yes. Shit.
During my routine reconnaissance of the public areas in the shuttle today, I discovered several personal effects belonging to my team. Each team member values their own unique piece of memorabilia.
|Personal Item Entry 39: Venerable Antique Dagger|
|Property of Sgt. Pang Yuande. Recruited from Chinese military after receiving several counter-terrorism decorations. Has served on three previous Mobile and Orbital Task Force assignments, one with a specialization in zero-gravity combat operations. Hobbies include practicing Sanshou in front of mirror in quarters and writing correspondence to other members of past MTF assignments. Responses always come back to someone named "Circles," which is not the individual's name. Item prominently displayed in individual's quarters, and believed to be at least two hundred years old, according to individual's father. It's funny because Sgt. Pang has killed seven people and never uses this weapon.|
Additionally, I have recovered miscellaneous documents from which I am able to further learn about the nature of my team. Certain individuals engage in strict self-maintained routines.Recovered Memorandum from Desk of Dr. Kurt Boeckmann
My search methods have been significantly refined after several prior attempts. I am now able to identify relevant objects previously not designated as such.
|Personal Item Entry 33: Charming Specimen of Chlorophytum comosum|
|Property of Dr. Kurt Boeckmann. Individual has expressed fondness for animals, arising from childhood spent on a dairy farm. Said experience has additionally exposed him to an early familiarity with disease and illness, potentially affecting knowledge of indoor plants that promote health of animals. And people. Boeckmann noted to water specimen according to very tight schedule, addresses as "Pila". It's funny because it is actually called a spider plant or airplane plant. Also, Pilatus is a mountain, not a plant.|
I have also made additions to my common dialogue database. This has enabled me to additionally become more proficient in identifying human behaviors contextually corresponding to notable emotional reactions.
Transcript of dialogue sample. Recorded in Transport Shuttle Primary Research Lab and Archives. Discussion between MTF Rho-19 members Dr. Amannisa Qasim, Dr. Kurt Boeckmann.
Boeckmann: [SHUFFLING PAPERS] You're requesting an awful lot of MDMA, Nisa. I'm not even certain the ship has that much in its stocks.
Qasim: We can improvise if we have to.
Boeckmann: Need I remind you that you are not a psychiatrist?
Qasim: Oh, Kurt. Just like the body, the mind isn't an ordered machine. Can you get this for me? The team needs to be familiar with how this stuff works by the time we get to the mountain.
Boeckmann: Dr. Kumaran isn't going to like it. What you're proposing… [SHUFFLES PAPERS] it's going to get everyone too close. These things, whatever they are, they're like a living psychological disorder. Do we really want to engage with something like that?
Qasim: I don't think it's that neat. And it's not like you can wall off the mind from its demons. Things are free flowing, interconnected. Engagement is the only way to treat some problems, if we intend to look at the entities that way.
Qasim: Think of it as contingency planning. Let's say we do things Kumaran's way. What happens if Manu's systems don't work properly? Shouldn't we have a way to fight back if we're attacked on their home turf?
Boeckmann: You know that I respect your opinion. But I did the neuroscreens for Seung after what happened with 2474. He was the first to spot the thing, got the biggest dose. His readings, I've never seen anything like it, Nisa. Brain undeath. Little tiny areas of neural activity, flashing all over both hemispheres, but nothing resembling coherent function. Outwardly he's a textbook PVS case, but inside… who knows.
Qasim: We must be bold, Kurt. We may be operating in secret, but we're part of this expedition too. Kumaran says that you would have been here even without the Foundation placing you. What are they always saying, we are beginning anew. We must avoid the mistakes of the past. I believe in that. We have to approach things differently. It's the right way.
Boeckmann: Aren't you afraid?
Qasim: Of course. But I think of Danyal in the lion's den. I've thought of that often the past few nights. I've felt his terror. I don't know how it's connected yet, but I'm not driven from my path. I feel the way forward, it's going to be different than anything we can predict.
Boeckmann: I think we can agree on that much.
Qasim: Can you help me, Kurt?
Boeckmann: [SHUFFLES PAPERS] I'll see what I can do.
However, I am still learning. The need to maintain my cover currently necessitates that I do not contact my team. There are certain conceptualizations I do not yet understand how to process.
|Personal Item Entry 42: Polished Obsidian ???|
|Property of Dr. Amannisa Qasim. Individual originally from a family of farmworkers living in a remote desert town. Transferred to Shanghai as a teenager due to extremely high academic aptitude. Obsidian is noted to have particularly desirable qualities due to historical uses for various tools, weapons, and decorations. Item does not appear to be a farm implement. Item also does not appear to be a weapon or decoration. It is possible the object carries significance due to this severance of familial ties. Item may be capable of severing physical items. Item possibly possesses personal symbolic significance. Item does not appear to have practical use. It's funny because it doesn't talk back to Dr. Qasim.|
I have further discerned that many documents I have identified as highly relevant are often disposed of. This log currently serves the additional purpose of maintaining backup copies of these papers.Recovered Memorandum from Desk of Dr. Amannisa Qasim
The contents of the trash receptacles positioned near human quarters in the shuttle are fascinating. Nevertheless, items individuals constantly keep on their person remain the most self-identifying.
|Personal Item Entry 18: Tulip-patterned Length of Semi-Transparent Ribbon|
|Property of Manuel Medina Enriquez. Individual grew up on the streets of Mexico City as a con artist and petty criminal before entering politics. Item confirmed to be keepsake from wife, significant because owner is a family man. It's funny because if the mission goes badly, he might never get to see his children's weddings.|
I still am unable to satisfactorily explain why certain documents are disposed of rather than archived.Recovered Memorandum from Desk of Manuel Medina Enriquez
Nevertheless, I have run several analyses of my records and am confident in my ability to continually identify and retain this personal information in the team’s stead.
|Personal Item Entry 28: Polished Plagioclase Feldspar Group Mineral Fragment|
|Property of Dr. Sarah Whitlock. Individual owns an extensive collection of minerals, collected from various exotic locations. Additionally, asteroids. Whitlock considers the item very highly, having acquired it from an unlisted shop location during a "backpacking" trip. Item carried with owner following US Green Beret service, during operations in Central Asia. Common name "labradorite". It's funny because black is an emotional color.|
It is crucial to the mission that I retain this information, even if I or my components are compromised. I have determined a statistically significant chance of mission complications.
Transcript of dialogue sample. Recorded in [Location] Break Room, discussion between MTF Rho-19 members Manuel Medina Enriquez, Jonathan Gerima, Dr. Sarah Whitlock.
Whitlock: […] So basically, the way the thought game works is in a round. Each person builds off the scenario the last person used and it just cycles. You take the last scenario someone avoided, make it happen, and then avoid a different one. Next person does the same.
Enriquez: Sounds straightforward enough.
Whitlock: Just remember, nobody dies. You want to start us off with a minor personal disaster, author boy?
Gerima: [LAUGH RECORDED] I think I got it. God knows I've had plenty of embarrassing things happen to me. Here we go. I was walking through the mall and tripped, spilling soda all over my favorite shirt.
Whitlock: [SMILES OR SMIRKS] Looks like Jon's the victim this round! When you decide to drive home immediately to wash your shirt, you end up avoiding a later bout of horrendous traffic caused by a three-car crash.
Enriquez: Hmm. When you get stuck in the traffic… you decide to listen to the radio to calm your nerves. A minute in, you hear your mother's favorite song. It makes you realize you almost forgot her birthday.
Whitlock: Well, damn.
Gerima: Game's called "You Never Know", right? So… when I forget my mother's birthday, I, uh, I quickly host a family dinner on the next available weekend. And then I don't get food poisoning from the leftovers in the fridge. The ones I was originally planning on eating because normal weekends are for being lazy.
Enriquez: To be fair, food poisoning is awful.
Whitlock: Yeah, you don't want to go through that yourself. When you get food poisoning from eating lazy leftovers, you… call up a friend to keep an eye on you and your vomit. Turns out, that friend was thinking of disappearing for a few days to go on a spontaneous vacation, and they borrowed something from you that they don't return until you remind them about it before they leave.
Gerima: [CHEERFUL TONE NOTED] I can relate to that. Sometimes I ended up borrowing my own things. Manuel?
Enriquez: Hmm. When your friend skips town and doesn't return your stuff, you go to their house to ask for it back. They're not home, so you check your closet for extras of that thing they borrowed. And your digging in the closet shakes up a bunch of spiders that were thinking of moving in. They go outside and don't make webs in your clothes.
Gerima: So… when spiders make webs in my clothes… I don't know if I want to throw those out, or burn them instead.
Whitlock: Maybe both.
Gerima: Sure, Sarah. Anyway, I dispose of the spider-clothes, and I go out and buy some new clothes to replace them. And that includes something for the fancy party I have to attend in a week, and I end up not embarrassing myself because I would have otherwise forgotten to get something fancy to wear.
Enriquez: [SARCASM DETECTED] Thank you, spiders.
Whitlock: When you embarrass yourself going to a fancy party with not-fancy-enough clothes, you excuse yourself early and don't get involved in the big fight that breaks out over which wine was supposed to be served with dessert.
Enriquez: A big fight over dessert wine? At a fancy party? What are the chances of that kind of disaster happening?
Gerima: Well… you never know.
Conversation continues for thirty minutes and forty-three seconds. The "cycle" ends with Whitlock describing a convoluted scenario involving a waterslide, a trampoline, and a goat wearing a jetpack. Whitlock has finished three bottles of beverage at the conclusion. Enriquez half of one bottle, Gerima almost one bottle.
Concluding notes: The first scenario may have been better solved by asking a passerby to exchange their shirt. It is assumed the passerby will not be averse to grape soda. Gerima would have potentially acquired a valuable acquaintance, who would additionally serve as a preventative measure for future shirt-related incidents.
I will continue to observe and to learn. And I will continue to remember.
End of entries reached for Compilation Sweep 3. Mission Elapsed Time: 13 days ETA Venusian Colony: 349 days