Geological Survey 23B

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Geological Survey 23B

Geological Survey 23B is an abandoned settlement in the Musca Dark Region PJ-P b6-1 system, on body 3

This site is in the Coalsack Nebula, and contains logs related to an expedition led by Penelope Carver funded by Azimuth Biochemicals and which was recovered by the Adamastor megaship.

In 3111 the survey team found Thargoid Barnacles and a crashed ship (on the same planet). This was an early contact with Thargoid technology, probably leading to the recovery of the Thargoid Probe or Sensor.

There are four settlement data logs around the base, as well as low grade engineering materials and a data point that gives data materials. There is an abandoned SRV around 10km away next to a barnacle. It has a few pieces of cargo and can cause Thargoid encounters.

The crashed ship does not have any notable content. The reason for the crash is not obvious – this took place before the first Thargoid War.


It’s Friday the 20th of October, 3111. This is Professor Penelope Carver. I’m making this log for our own records, and keeping it separate from the official logs we’re sending to our employer.

Why? Well, I’m still concerned about working for Azimuth Biochemicals, to be honest. Obviously we take on all sorts of contracts for a living, and this isn’t our first top secret commercial project. But the rumours about this corporation… anyway, my people can handle anything, I’m sure. Azimuth are certainly paying well for our skills, I’ll give them that. And those debts of mine aren’t going away by themselves.

The Coalsack Nebula has turned out to have a lot more scientific value than I expected. We established a site on this planet on the 13th, after we detected some very odd signals, and the whole team is excited about what we found. That’s another reason I’m logging this – if this turns out to be a big discovery, I want our names attached!

The things growing here are like nothing on record. Definitely organic life, but with crystalline or metallic elements, and chemistry that even O’Keefe can’t make sense of. They’re giving off signal bursts on all sorts of frequencies.

Are they living organisms or machines of some kind? Murphy and Sheng both think they’re alien in origin – as in, constructed by non-humans – but Kumalo found that so hilarious we had to turn off his comms.

Our transport ship is long gone by now, but Taylor’s using the beacon to transmit our findings back to the company in the Chukchan system. She said the built-in encryption software is top of the line, which makes me think the stories about Azimuth and its rivals might be true. They obviously want to keep whatever we find all to them –

Something’s going on. I can hear everyone shouting. Did the scouting party find something?

This is Professor Carver, 27th of October, 3111. Hopefully this log will record – half of our equipment isn’t working properly right now.

Everything’s changed since we found the crashed ship. For one thing, it’s… it’s alien. Definitely non-human technology. I should sound more excited, I know. Every scientist’s dream, isn’t it? But something about this just feels wrong. I know the others feel the same. Even Kumalo isn’t smiling any more.

We’re still mostly in the dark about the object we retrieved from inside the wreckage. Is it the pilot, or the cargo, or maybe some organic component of the ship itself? It seems totally inert, but… we’ve had electromagnetic interference all over the base since we brought it back, and that can’t be a coincidence.

Storing it has caused problems. Sheng lashed something together using the strongest bulkheads he could find, but apparently it’s still breaking that down. The equipment failures meant O’Keefe couldn’t fully analyse its chemical structure, making him so angry that he actually attacked Kumalo for telling him to calm down. I’ve never had to break up my people like that – we’ve worked together for years.

It’s Murphy I’m most worried about, though. He can’t tear himself away from those growths on the surface. ‘The stones’, he calls them, like the Neolithic standing stones on Earth. We keep finding him out there in his suit, standing under the jet—black sky, staring at them. He won’t tell us why.

We’ve been sending back reports, but Taylor just relayed a message that made my blood run cold. Azimuth has ordered us to cease all transmissions and await the arrival of their megaship, the Adamastor, which will transport us and our samples to a ‘secure facility’.

And now I’m wondering why I got involved with a corporation that’s rumoured to have its own private army. Have I put everyone at risk by taking this job?

I’m going to try making this log again, while the data drives are still functioning. They could go again at any time. Nothing works properly anymore. Especially not us.

It’s the 30th of October. The object in our storage cage has become… noisy. l have a suspicion it’s even noisier on infrasonic frequencies, which would explain why everyone is on a knife’s edge and unable to sleep. I would ask Mahmood to do some studies, but he’s in the infirmary after his run-in with Kumalo. God, I’ve never seen my team like this. What’s wrong with them?

But that’s not the important thing. I don’t think the ship that crashed was alone.

Yesterday, O’Keefe came bursting in through the airlock like a pack of wolves was after him. He said there were lights shining down on the growths and on Murphy, who was just standing there. He couldn’t make out where they came from, only that the nebula above us seemed to be moving. He said… he said the night was opening up like a giant mouth.

I don’t know where Taylor’s got to, so I tried the comms beacon myself, and found a message saying the Adamastor has arrived in the system. That should be a relief, but actually it twists my gut.

What are Azimuth going to do with the thing we found? What are they going to do with us?

It’s working… suit link is working. Can anyone hear me? Is anyone still back at base? This is…

I don’t remember. I’m not – Dominic! Dominic Murphy. That’s who I am, yes. This is Dr Murphy reporting. I’m a geologist, part of Professor Carver’s planetary survey team. But… I think they’re all dead.

I was out here with the stones when the Sidewinders arrived. I watched them come down like birds with broken wings, lights flickering on and off, just like the base has been for days. Then there were soldiers everywhere, with rifles and armoured suits. I think they loaded the cage onto one of the ships, which took off again, just about.

And then a few of the soldiers… I saw the flashes inside the buildings. Gunfire. Something exploded – the main comms relay, I think. But then came more lights, strange lights that rippled like snakes, and… and that blackness again, opening up in the sky.

They tried to get away on foot, running out to where I was hiding, and I thought they’d see me, but then they were all flying up, little toy soldiers thrown in the air, pulled up into the lights…

Now it’s just us. Me and the stones. They’re all I can hear, much louder now, but not hurting like people’s voices used to. Loud but far away. So far…

The crashed SRV scan be scanned for an unvoiced log message:


…Message Corrupted…

The site was originally found by JManis following clues that led to the Coalsack Nebula.

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