PERSONAL ENTRIES FOR SUNDAY, CAL AND IGGY FROM 14TH WAXING CRESCENT TO 26TH FIRST QUARTER, 3020AD, EUROPA, SOL
PERSONAL LOG: SUNDAY GALILEO
[Date and time verified. Author verified.]
I intended to use this log to track the progress of our assignment, or more specifically my own progress. I wanted to reflect on the learning experience and see where I could have improved or worked more quickly, as frustrating as that may have been for my future self. But Dr. Aloysius thinks it would be healthy for me to express myself more, and because she is a qualified and experienced professional I’m inclined to listen to her. At least for the sake of this job. I find expressing myself around others quite uncomfortable and unnecessary, and Dr. Aloysius must have noticed that in our first weekly video session, because she suggested a private log for the things I don’t want to share with her. So here I am, writing my very first diary entry. It makes sense. I can get my difficult and distracting thoughts out and return to work with clarity and focus.
I’ve been here just over a month now and it is very, very different from being at home. It isn’t the constantly being surrounded by strange faces that I’m struggling with. The number of scientists, academics and experts who have cycled through my home since I was small, the conferences, meetings and workshops, I’m used to all that. It’s the fact that here I’m actually expected to live with them and get to know them, rather than just listening to their ideas or presenting my own research on a topic. I can work well with others, that isn’t an issue. I understand the importance of sharing ideas, considering alternative perspectives, speaking to people knowledgeable in fields that I don’t understand. Watching the work all come together. But the others here are spending their down time together, laughing or having silly little spats over chores and perceived slights, like they’ve known each other forever. I don’t fit. At home it’s all work, all the time. I like it that way.
I’m going to make more of an effort though. At least with Cal and Iggy. I know that strong relationships are essential to the progress of my career, and I can’t rely on my parents’ connections forever. I have spent too long in the antisocial work bubble of my home on Callisto. And I don’t mind my little team. We fit together nicely. We complement one another. Cal is strong and straightforward, and I respect that. Iggy needs to tone herself down more than a little, but she’s passionate and enthusiastic and skilled with mapmaking. Still, our assignment isn’t advancing as quickly as it should be, as my parents would be quick to point out if they knew. I’m glad our work is strictly confidential. I don’t need their evaluations or criticisms right now. I’m sure they’d have all the answers if they knew what we were working on.
I’m not homesick, not at all. I feel more at home working for the GCSE than I did working on Callisto. Although I loved working with spaceships and their wide range of navigation systems, smoothing out the kinks, fiddling with the cogs and improving the programs, it never felt like my own thing. It was never an adventure. In fact, I didn’t even think I wanted adventure. Maybe being away from home is revealing parts of me I never knew existed. Not knowing what will happen next, thinking of how I could fail, it scares me... but maybe it thrills me a little too.
PERSONAL RECOUNT PROVIDED BY FAMILY OF CALDER THEODRED
[Unknown date, information matches time-frame of category]
[Unknown origin, could not be verified]
Months had passed and I grew tired of going nowhere. I crouched at the turning point of my run, hunched over, panting in the middle of an ice tunnel. My knuckles flexed red then white as I clenched, remembering the last decent fight I was in.
The first collision always surprised them, their fancy footwork was nothing against an old-fashioned uppercut to the jaw.
I readjusted my gloves, it was fucking freezing. But I reminded myself again that the cold was good for my glucose levels - and my mental health, so Iggy said.
It still burned in my mind, the frustration of not knowing what was happening during those damn puzzles. And as much as I had completed an application assessment once before, it annoyed me beyond belief that A did not lead to B. The others wouldn’t understand because they were skilled in their own highly desirable ways, clearly needed for this mission. What did I do, run? There was nothing to fight, nothing to protect them from, nothing for me to do other than stay fit and ready. What a pointless use of my skills. Why did I even apply?
I shook my head from the negativity, Iggy had been trying to draw me away from my own mind in times like this, which I was grateful for. She had attempted to create a navigation system of her own for the mission, one that Sunday did not wholly agree with. I did not want to take sides, as sides are fantasized creations of right and wrong in which I have no vote on. But I wore Sunday’s GPS anyway, figured that if Iggy asked I could say that I simply didn’t want to get lost, she had not ventured into the tunnels like I had, but neither had Sunday - they didn’t know the true intensity and extent of them.
I wanted to trust, to be open, to be myself. Iggy was bright and welcoming and brilliant. It seemed to shock me into silence most days. Sunday was so silent and determined that I felt the need to observe her every move, ensure she was willingly on task and on our side - not that there are sides to this exploration.
I let my legs slip out from under me, my fingers reached for my toes. I groaned from the cold against my jumpsuit and the resistance of my muscles struggling to give way.
I had become accustomed to running these large tunnels, their glistening rings circling me, pushing me further. They made me feel faster than usual as if they spiraled around me creating a vortex of ice propelling me somewhere, anywhere. But in truth, I went nowhere just hoping to find something of importance while Iggy and Sunday attempted to create a mapping system.
Though I suppose it was nice being around people other than ‘Mooners’ as Sunday called them. Mooners were so extreme with their behaviour, but man did I miss my structure.
“What was I thinking?” I asked aloud, again “Why did I apply for this job?” Maybe I did want a change, or maybe I had been in another argument with my mum and my defiance was, as usual, uncompromisable.
The GPS tracker beeped insistently every few meters I ran. Instead of turning to head back I decided to delve deeper, feeling the need to explore for the first time in months. Following my feet further into the tunnels as they twisted and turned I found myself taking mental notes of changes in the rings. They appeared warped and manipulated the further I went, spiraling into corners and points before it loomed before me. A Nexus. A gathering of tunnels.
Finally, something to report.
[End of excerpt]
PERSONAL LOG: IGNACIA VILLENQUINN
[Unable to verify exact date and time origin of the personal log due a strange discrepency in the communications data log processing files]
Stalagmites and crystals and creatures, oh my! Our adventuring continued today with a further exploration of the cave environment. I barely know where to begin! I can’t gather my thoughts.
Normally I would ask my trusted sciencey pal, Jake, where he thinks it’s best to begin. He isn’t here right now, but I think he’d tell me that the beginning is the very best place to start. This is why he is my most trusted of all my trusted sciencey pals. When my mind is an excited jumble of ideas, he always steers me back to his land of sense and logic. What a pal. And what a doozy of an ADVENTURE we had today!
When we first entered the cavern today, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The space was grand and cavernous, and so high that we wouldn’t have been able to reach it even with my ingenious idea for a human pyramid. I really thought that might work, and I did try to climb up on Sunday, but for some reason she wasn’t into that. In the end, it would have been futile - the ceiling was over a hundred feet high, how about that?! We might have made it there if we’d stacked one on top of the other with me on top, and I might have been able to jump to reach the ceiling, but I admit that would be quite a feat and perhaps one too daring for my trusted companions.
I am still working on my mapping, which is - I hope - more suited to Sunday’s logistical sensibilities. I wouldn’t want to be the cause of further frustration. This is such an exciting environment that I must make sure I am covering everything - so far I have the moat, some of the tunnels, and that awe-inspiring stalagmite. The STALAGMITE! What a treat! What a mystery! I was so eager to explore it and its wonders, I took a running leap towards it, only to belly-flop into the moat. Luckily, it wasn’t as cold as one might think. A bit salty, if you can call it that, but it has given my braids an interesting texture. Actually, the taste reminded me of the saltwater taffies my auntie always loved. I was never a big fan of those. I’d much prefer a moat that tastes like butterscotch, or perhaps marshmallow. God, what I wouldn’t give for a s’more right now.
Sunday has just looked over my shoulder and has kindly suggested that I need to layer in more precise detail. My mind is still a’cracklin’ away with excitement, like a marshmallow over a campfire. Like I told you before, Log, I really need a s’more right now. Anyway, let’s see what I can recall. There were unrecognisable minerals in the water, and an unknown language on the surface of the crystal, and a pearlescent floor like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are things in this space that we don’t know or understand, at least not yet.
And the creatures! We weren’t expecting creatures, especially not ones like these. They were luminous, almost blindingly so, and they filled the space with strange sounds. Sunday claims they were saying things, but Cal and I didn’t understand a single word of it. But even when we watched the footage, we couldn’t discern any recognisable language. Admittedly, I was disoriented and rather vexed by a nosebleed that came on. And I was frightened, since Jake and Rake had vanished, with none of us having any clue as to where they might have gone. It isn’t like them to just abandon our team. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but we are close-knit in our own unique way, and none of us would simply abandon any of the others.
If that weren’t all confounding enough, we were then surrounded by the most vicious roaring noise, and not much later, the waves came. This was worse than face-planting in the moat. I truly thought I might drown, and though I tried reaching for Sunday and Cal, I couldn’t locate them amidst the rushing water that tossed us all about like ragdolls. It did occur to me then, amidst the swirling waves, that for all our differences I do care for Sunday and Cal greatly. I wonder if they care for me, too.
I don’t completely understand what happened next, but we ended up in a small and dark space that was totally unfamiliar. Cal climbed up to the top of the space, and Sunday and I followed - or, to be more accurate, I tried to follow. I did better on my second attempt than on my first. That’s often the way with me. I ended up with a few scuffs, but what adventure is worth having without a few scuffs?
Have I mentioned the strange crystalline technology yet? This is the mysterious beast that was hurtling us through time, space, environments… we can’t really tell what it was (and is, still!) doing to us, or why, or how. Sunday was full of terrific questions, and she reminded me of my pal Jake, for although she hasn’t warmed to me in the same way, she is similar in her inquisitive and logical nature. I do hope she will warm to me soon. I could use a pal right now, to give me some sense of grounding when we are so unsure of where or when we are. The crystalline technology refuses to supply any answers, not even when I so kindly tried to speak to it in its own language. It is a stubborn little beastie, but I must admit I am as well, so at least we have that in common.
I am not sure, Log, if I am making much sense. It is warm where we are right now, uncomfortably so, and my scuffs are proving quite painful. I think I’d best leave you with Sunday and ask for her constructive criticism, which she tends to give so liberally when I share my work with her. While she reads through you, I think I shall work on my mappings and musings. There is much to discover and so many mysteries to unravel. Like where our pals and companions, Jake and Rake, have disappeared to. And what on Callisto those light beings are! Or when they are, or why they are. And why we keep being hurtled from place to place, all with different temperaments and mineral compositions. How curious! I shall leave you here, dear Log, but I shall return to you soon - hopefully, with answers, and with Jake returned to us.
Oh, and Rake. Sorry to play favourites. Now, onwards!
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