One More Star

Purgatory

Concerning the events on UX343-IV, known to the local population as Purgatory:

A distress beacon matching patterns known to be in use at the time of the Great Exodus was noted in the unexplored star system designated UX343. Upon consulting with Flight Lieutenant Ghost regarding the star system, it was resolved to send a scouting party to investigate the source of the signal.

Lieutenant Aldous Monroe and his squad were selected for forward scouting. Monroe’s team performed a perfunctory flyover, and discovered a derelict battlecruiser of obviously human origin, crashed in the midst of the grassland of UX343-IV’s northwestern continent. Surrounding the wreckage were twelve radial settlements, each positioned roughly seven kilometers from the crash site, and each home to several hundred individuals.

Monroe’s team elected to land near the northernmost settlement and initiate first contact. One of our civilian contractors, Kyle Morgan, took point on the ground, putting to use an encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure history and folklore surrounding the Great Arks as well as Andromeda’s native life. The inhabitants of UX343-IV proved to be human-offshoots, adapted to nocturnal life but likely still genetically viable with other strains of humanity. Doctor Jean Libertad returned with limited biological samples, which may shed further light on the evolutionary trajectory of the strain.

Communication with the locals, effectively facilitated by Morgan, revealed actionable information. They are castaways of the Palomecia fleet, many generations removed from the crash-landing of their vessel. The locals have assumed a religious reverence of the Arks, treating Palomecia as the foremost goddess of their pantheon. They were suitably impressed with the revelation that Monroe’s team came from Diana, and grew far more cooperative with that knowledge.

Specialist Elyse Clancy detected an unusual psychic presence almost immediately upon landing, and that presence made itself felt on several occasions during the brief contact mission. During the course of the night on UX343-IV, the village, and our scouting party, came under attack by “Pantheres”, weaponized megafauna engineered by the Palomecia fleet. The apparent hive-mind of the creatures, in addition to a potent psychoactive venom and formidable physical capabilities, rendered them a significant threat, which Monroe’s squad dispatched admirably. Reports indicate that Kyle Morgan may have experienced substantial psychological trauma in the conflict, and he should be kept under observation for the time being.

Following the skirmish, the locals brought Monroe’s squad to meet with the “Prefect”, the individual the locals purport to take orders from, inside the derelict. The “Prefect” proved to be the damaged remnants of the Artificial Intelligence from the battlecruiser Asella. The Asella AI revealed that it maintained a defensive perimeter and provided guidance to the survivors of the wreckage so as to keep them alive in the hopes of eventual rescue.

However, through extensive questioning of the Asella AI, Monroe and his squad were able to discern that the AI had suffered extensive damage, and was likely compromised. Its apparent ability to psychically interface with certain members of the UX343-IV population also suggests the influence of outside forces. Clancy reports a powerful psychic presence within the derelict, and evidence suggests that the Asella has either somehow developed psychic phenomenon of its own, or was possessed or otherwise compromised by an existing psychic entity.

The evidence currently available to us suggests that the Asella AI is both protecting the people of UX343-IV from the large population of Pantheres, and also creating and directing the Pantheres that torment them. It is possible it is unaware of the duality of its actions.

Monroe managed to retrieve extensive astrogation data and ship’s logs from the Asella, which are currently being decrypted.

My recommendation is the full extraction of the population of UX343-IV, followed by orbital bombardment of the Asella wreckage.

Commander Beatrice de la Cruz
Hypatia

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