The Trial

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The Trial

This is a set of Listening Posts and abandoned surface settlements in Guarijio that can be scanned to reveal a story, This was originally part of a Halloween 3308 event – the locations and lore remain but the event rewards are no longer active.

This was found via a Galnet article with an embedded codeword. This was an atbash encoding (basically swap A with Z, B with Y, C with X etc) of the Guarijio system name. Inside that system (long supercruise) there are three Listening Posts around planets B 2c, B 3b and B 4a called ‘The Trial’. Scanning each of these planets with the Detail Surface Scanner reveals three surface bases Vardey Prospecting, Goodard Mill and Downey’s Junkyard. There are data points giving data mats, mining machines giving mined commodities on destruction and low level materials scattered around the bases, as well as uplinks giving the story of the trial.

The messages in the Listening Posts are also Atbash encoded, but the messages from the bases are in normal text (no audio). It is best to read the Listening Post message followed by the messages from the associated base, and so they are listed in that order:

The Trial 1/3:

For every human who ever existed
There is a book of deeds
Listing events both insignificant and essential
Within these countless passages
Are many dark chapters
We shall meet six individuals
Whose stories contain a twist
A secret that must be revealed
A crime that must be punished
Death’s kiss has been gifted to each sinner
Upon this planet the trial begins
Five doorways to a new location stood here
Who will enter them?

The Accused 1/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

Peter Kannis. I’m a marine biologist. What the hell is going on he—-

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

The Accused 2/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

I’m, uh. I’m Pavel. Pavel Malinowski. I run a food stall on Burbank Orbital. Look, I’m a nobody. What do you want fro–

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

The Accused 3/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

Violet Hassan. I design interactive entertainment programs. Go f–

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

The Accused 4/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

I’m Robert Buchanan. I work in starport hangar bays. A mechanic, I mean. Please let me leave now, I have a fami–

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

The Accused 5/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

Whoever set this stupid prank up, I want to you know that I’m going to find you and break your legs. Jasmine Marquez. Security officer.

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

The Accused 6/6:

STATE NAME AND OCCUPATION

Accused of what? Damn machine… Fine, since everyone else did it. Mason Collier. Shuttle pilot.

CONFIRMED. ENTER ESCAPE POD

RECORDS COMPLETECOORDINATES: B 3 b

The Trial 2/3:

Upon this planet the trial continued
Testimony was heard
Pleas were bargained
A full confession was required
To absolve the sinners of their sin
The judge recognises true remorse
Only the two most honest will leave this place
To face a final verdict
A chance at redemption

The Confessed 1/5:

PETER KANNIS. MARINE BIOLOGIST

CONFESS YOUR CRIME

This is ridiculous. Who the hell do you think you are making us play this stupid game? What gives you the right? Shuttling us around in pods like some kind of livestock.

You want a confession? That’s the plan — gonna share it with my boss, huh? Is this what it’s about? It was a simple mistake, that’s all. I screwed up the calibration of a sub-aquatic probe. Nobody knew there was a liquid hydrocarbon deposit beneath in the area we were surveying. If the probe’s safety mechanisms were working it wouldn’t have drilled so far into the rock. It’s the probe’s fault.

I can’t be held responsible for the ecological disaster that followed. If I were guilty then I’d have been caught! Nobody questioned the report except Milton, and that loser folded his argument quickly enough when confronted. The deaths of those creatures – look, I got into this field to preserve marine life. Not harm it. It’s not my fault, you have to believe me. Now get this thing out of my skull!

The Confessed 2/5:

PAVEL MALINOWSKI. CHEF

CONFESS YOUR CRIME

I don’t know what to say. I’m forced to confess to something I feel no guilt for, under the threat of execution. How can you say this is justice? But then I think you already know what I’m going to say.

That man. Mr O’Neal. Do you know what he did? How he treated our community? He owned most of the residential areas in the outpost. Spoke to us like we were his servants. Every month a new regulation we were obliged to follow. Constant maintenance checks that were not needed, yet we were forced to pay for. Prices for simple amenities increased two, three times a year. Local businesses were charged outrageous rent and expected to serve him for nothing. He fined us for everything he could, and paid off the authorities to ignore complaints.

One day he comes to my stall to eat. As I prepare his food, he tells me I must leave my apartment with my family that evening. The look on his face, the smile, was that of the Devil… it angered me so. I slipped something into his meal. Pest control poison. For the sake of the community. He died a few days later, and we were free of his disgusting greed. I will not apologise for that. Just let me go home.

The Confessed 3/5:

VIOLET HASSAN. SOFTWARE DESIGNER

CONFESS YOUR CRIME

I sell illegal interactive suites. The kind that people say are rumours.

A lot of horrible things happen in this cesspool we call humanity. You have no idea how much of it gets recorded. Police evidence. Blinks following around some hapless victim—to—be. Ships smashing into the ground or the side of a station. All the wars… the endless power-grabs by factions and corps.

It’s easy to access the classified data if you know where to look. A bit of hacking into the right databank and it’s all available to copy. And there’s things in there that would turn your stomach. Believe me.

Sick people want to see that stuff, so I code it into suites for them to experience. Makes me a lot of credits. Customers don’t want anything censored so I don’t bother obscuring identities or anything. Not like I’m going to get a cease and desist from the deceased. They shouldn’t have been unlucky.

Can I go now? This thing you planted in my head is sore.

The Confessed 4/5:

JASMINE MARQUEZ. SECURITY OFFICER

CONFESS YOUR CRIME

You can shove your confession down your throat.

Didn’t you get enough fun out of the first location? Watching us march miles to the escape pods, to find out there’s only five? Must have thought you were real funny assigning the same one to me and that Buchanan guy. He starts crying and drops to the floor, begging me to let him get in the pod. Saying he has a family and all that. He’s tugging at my leg, wailing through snot and tears. The other pods take off – the cowards in them! — leaving me alone with that spineless chump…

Of course. That’s why you did it. You knew I was the only one who’d deal with the problem like it’s supposed to be dealt with. That’s the reputation you kidnapped me for, right? I cracked the guy over the head and left him laying – got in the pod. Just like you guessed. I figure you blew his brains across the ground afterwards.

Screw you. Go to hell. I’m not saying another word.

The Confessed 5/5:

MASON COLLIER. PILOT

CONFESS YOUR CRIME

Why did you put explosives in our heads? Isn’t it enough to leave us stranded without a working HUD? Wait until we’re gasping for air? No, you maniac. You get off on pressing the detonator yourself, I bet.

Fine. I know why I’m here. I’ve been haunted by what I did for long enough. May as well get it off my chest.

They paid me more credits that I earn in a year. The cartel, I mean. All I had to do was pick some executive up in a luxury liner and ship them to the destination I’d been given. She’d spearheaded a new security initiative at some backwater port to cut crime. I didn’t ask too many questions.

I knew they’d kill her. If you met the cartel thugs, you’d have known too. The exec said they were going to meet some fancy security company to hash out the customs check process. She thought the cartel would be angry about the new laws and wanted assurances that the security team could handle any trouble. Instead she found out personally that they couldn’t.

What I didn’t expect was the cartel sending the body to the port in pieces. Scooped up all the bits and put them in a cargo canister. When I saw the news bulletin I nearly threw up. But what was I supposed to do? When the cartel tells you to do something, there’s not a lot of negotiation room. I couldn’t say no.

Please. Whatever crazy motive you have for judging us. I didn’t have a choice.

RECORDS COMPLETE

COORDINATES: B 4 a

The Trial 3/3:

Upon this planet the trial ends
Verdicts have been passed
Justice for all
Did you follow all of the court’s proceedings
Will you discover how this story ends?
I wonder what your book contains
What moments fill your record
Would you be considered innocent
Something to keep in mind
For next time

Final Judgement 1/2:

ACCUSED 2/6. PAVEL MALINOWSKI

ACCUSED 3/6. VIOLET HASSAN

THE DETONATOR WILL GRANT ONE OF YOU FREEDOM

CHOOSE

2/6 — What now?
3/6 – One of us has to push the button.
2/6 – What?
3/6 — Don’t play dumb. We started as six. Now we’re two. They were never going to let both of us go.
2/6 — It says ‘grant one of you freedom’. Freedom from what? This place or…
3/6 – Or life. Tough choice.
2/6 – I can’t do it. I don’t want to choose.
3/6 — Fine. I’ll do it the–
2/6 – Wait! Wait. Just wait, okay? Let me think.
3/6 — You said you don’t want to choose. I don’t want to stay here any longer than I have to. Either my head explodes or I go free. Not a lot to think about.
2/6 — What if neither of us play?
3/6 — Both our heads explode.
2/6 – You can’t know that for sure.
3/6 — Have you seen the scar on the back of my head? You have one too.
2/6 – Maybe it’s a bluff.
3/6 – It’s a good one. I’m going to pre—- hey, why’d you take it?
2/6 — Would you just let me think, for pity’s sake?
3/6 – There’s nothing to think about. Press the button. End this.
2/6 – The others followed the rules as far as we know. Gave the murderer exactly what he wants. We’ve never been given a timer, so maybe there isn’t one. We can find a way out of here.
3/6 – The cop didn’t play by the rules. They’re gone too.
2/6 — But that… That doesn’t mean…
3/6 — Press the button.
2/6 – No!
3/6 – I want this to be over. Just give me the detonator. A button press and one of us can go home. Good luck, Pavel.
2/6 – It doesn’t have to be this way. We can both go home. I know it.
3/6 — Shut up. Give it to m—-
2/6 — Stop, you’ll–
3/6 –
2/6 –
3/6 –
2/6 – Oh no. Oh no. I’m so sorry.

Final Judgement 2/2:

The trial has come to an end.

Pavel Malinowski was honest in his declaration.

He followed all of my directives… eventually.

And yet, given a final decision to make,

Malinowski chose murder for the second time.

A sin confessed, and a sin committed.

I have no more trials to offer.

There is one last escape pod.

Perhaps if Marquez had struck me with true ruthlessness…

Malinowski would carry his guilt for the rest of his natural life.

Thankfully, I am here to ensure his punishment is administered.

The pod has been reprogrammed to enter the nearest star.

The heat of judgement will purge his soul.

Absolution awaits.

Thanks to Fulgen and Precision for help with transcriptions

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