My name is Angel Wraith, and I am the new commander of the Starship Stratalight. This is an excerpt from my official log.
Stratalight Maiden Voyage, Day 209
This may be my final entry as captain of the Starship Stratalight. In fact, it will most likely be the very last thing I ever do. I am injured beyond repair, and I will most likely bleed out before we reach a facility with the tools and the knowledge to save my life. But I’m proud to say that my sacrifice is not in vain, for the Stratalight, and what’s left of her crew, has successfully escaped the monstrous planet we had been trapped on for the past 10 days. Of course, my sacrifice is not the only one of note. And before I die, I want to document the heroic deeds of those who lost it all just so some of us could find our way home.
Doctor Robotica is a cybernetic being with human components. Both sides of her anatomy are fully optimized, giving her a number of enhanced physical attributes, such as speed, strength, durability and healing. She is also extremely intelligent. Additionally, she can mimic the hyper-abilities of others.
Nearly 9 months ago, 10 of us blasted off from Earth. Our crew consisted of Captain Noble; myself, Angel Wraith, first officer; Smolder, engineer; Powerline, mechanic; Chief Two Strike, security and tactical officer; Aphelion; lead pilot; Euphoria, ship’s counselor; Wavelength, science officer; HyperThrust, co-pilot and hyperdrive operator; and Placebo, communications officer.
Our mission was to take the third piece of the triplos asteri, and hide it from the ruthless warlord of the Tromokratesians, Emperor Kako. The star had been stashed on Earth, and if Kako would have gotten his hands on it, he would have combined it with the other two triplos and gained the status of supreme god next to the reigning goddess of the universe, Armonia.
We were pursued by the Tromokratesian fleet, but thanks to the intervention of the immortal Marco Crux (who would become the 11th member of our crew, and the ship’s navigator), we were able to escape the warships, and successfully hide the star in the Stavro Dome with the celestial Everlife called Pathfinder. We then received orders from NASA Central Command to investigate a psionic transmission that had originated from a point in the galaxy which had never been explored. We set our course, but crash landed on the monstrous sentient planet. For 10 days we battled against the planet, and we lost several of our crew members. Then, after learning that our very own communications officer Placebo had, some years ago, actually created the planet with the power of her psionic mind, we finally understood just how much danger we and the rest of the universe were in. With that in mind and all the cards on the table, we were finally able to come up with a way to break free from the planet. But as I mentioned, it was at a great cost.
And one of the greatest costs was the loss of our 12th crew member, Doctor Robotica.
The loss of Doctor Robotica is unique for several reasons. But to fully understand why, you must know her story and the story of her home universe, a place we in NASA refer to as The Cyber Reality. It is an alternate realm of existence, that was once one hundred percent cybernetic. But over thousands of years it became what we humans would consider as more organic; more natural. In the Cyber Reality this transition was seen as a life-saving evolution, as robotic components cannot repair themselves without intervention, while organic body parts have natural restorative and regenerative capabilities. The process became known as Inverse Mechanized Evolution, and for the Cyber Reality it changed everything. Things we take for granted such as hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys, as well as soil, plants and trees were hailed as technological advances. The being we would come to know as Doctor Robotica became one of the foremost experts on Inverse Mechanized Evolution. She developed a wide array of techniques that saved the lives of millions of Cyber Reality inhabitants, including replication of organic materials, and surgical procedures to safely swap out decaying cybernetic components for new, self-repairing natural organs.
She was celebrated throughout the Cyber Reality, and she was proud of her incredible contribution to the evolution of her race. However, what she did not know was that none of what she accomplished could have happened, if not for a decades-old illegal trade agreement between a group of rogue biotech engineers from the Core Reality’s Earth and a team of rogue cybernetics from the Cyber Reality. Both groups were kidnapping inhabitants of their own worlds, and handing them over to the others. In the Core Reality, the bio-technicians would harvest and replicate the cybernetic parts, then sell them to tech companies for billions of dollars. Of course, this was done on the black market and through the dark web. But a large portion of our common technology can be traced back to the now-defunct organ trade.
In the Cyber Reality, the idea was presented to the public, but the methods behind the initial ‘discoveries’ were hidden. The first batch of kidnapped humans were put into deep induced comas (from which they never awoke), and it was reported that these mysterious beings had simply ‘been found’. Hundreds of Cybernetics attempted to make use of the bodies, but it was Doctor Robotica’s method of Inverse Mechanization that proved to be the only effective way to implement organic tissue into mechanical beings. And so, she became the famous lifesaver of the Cyber Reality.
It was nearly 60 years before she found out the truth. She quickly renounced her work, but by that time dozens of other Cybernetics had studied and reproduced her methods. Furthermore, nearly every inhabitant of the Cyber Reality (a population of over 400 billion) was equipped with organic parts. At this point, attempting to take away IM would be the equivalent of trying to take all computers and cellphones away from humans.
Doctor Robotica moved on to diplomatic and missions work, as her vast knowledge of biotechnology, human physiology and hyper-morphology was infinitely useful in helping a wide variety of races and species throughout the universe. Her work also went a long way in healing the deep rifts between the Core Reality and the Cyber Reality. She was eventually recruited by NASA Central Command, where she continued to achieve several great accomplishments. Then, when the Stratalight was commissioned and needed a medical officer, she volunteered and was selected for the position. After receiving her official assignment, Doctor Robotica traveled to Earth and worked closely with Powerline to upgrade and integrate hundreds of new functions into her anatomy. Since her primary function would be ship physician, the vast majority of those new capabilities centered around a set of specific medical procedures, tailored to fit the hyper-morphology of each crew member. Additionally, her own hyper-ability, combined with Powerline’s modifications, allowed her to mimic many of the hyper-abilities of the Stratalight crew.
And finally, Powerline modified her cybernetic components to act as a backup Hyper Modulator Unit, which is the Stratalight’s central device that allows our powers to integrate with and operate the ship. The only catch was that, if for some reason we were forced to use her as a backup HMU, the transformation would cause her to permanently lose her sentience.
Unfortunately, that became the case as we blasted off from the surface of the monstrous world. Without our engineer, Smolder, we had to harvest lava from the planet’s volcanoes; an act that prompted the planet to attack us. As HyperThrust hovered the Stratalight over the volcanoes, Doctor Robotica harvested the lava into our reserve tanks. When the attacks came, Placebo engaged the world in a psionic battle, while I, along with Wavelength and Chief Two Strike, fended off the multitude of creatures and elemental horrors that came at us. Meanwhile, Marco Crux, and Constellation, a powerful little girl we found on the monstrous planet about a week after crashing, began to pull stars toward the planet, in an effort to recreate an atmospheric condition that caused the air to thin out, and would finally allow us to reach escape velocity.
The plan was working beautifully. We had harvested the lava, collected all of the crewmates, and were preparing to go for the stars. And then, the planet’s powerful minion called Ominous reappeared. He unleashed a blast of dark energy that tore through the Stratalight’s hull and destroyed the HMU. Without it, HyperThrust would not be able to engage the hyper-burst we’d ultimately need in order to escape. Without even a second thought, Doctor Robotica asked Powerline to convert into the backup HMU. Of course, he did not want to, but she insisted. He went to work, but it was going to take a few minutes. So Marco Crux, Wavelength, Chief Two Strike, Placebo and I were forced to exit the ship and fend off Ominous and the creature hordes.
It was during that battle that our science officer Wavelength was destroyed. Torn to shreds right before our eyes by the monster planet’s hordes! It was also during that battle that I incurred my fatal injuries. Marco Crux got me back onto the ship, just as Powerline finished the procedure of transforming Doctor Robotica into the HMU. Placebo also made it back onto the ship. But as HyperThrust engaged the hyper-burst, we could only reach ninety percent of the escape velocity needed. It was Chief Two Strike who gave us the extra boost we needed, as he flew up behind the ship, and pushed us out beyond the atmosphere and into space. Unfortunately, we were not able to pull him on board, and he was sucked back down to the surface of the planet.
Seconds later, Placebo informed us that she was able to pick up Chief Two Strike’s thoughts. He was still alive. He didn’t mind sacrificing himself, because it was more important to him that his sister, Euphoria, who is on board but still in and out of a coma induced by Ominous, made it home safely. It also seemed that Ominous, rather than attempting to destroy Chief Two Strike, had offered him a place among the Denizen Supreme – the collective of elite warriors who work on the behalf of the monstrous planet. Placebo’s telepathic connection was severed before she could find out his answer.
Chief Two Strike’s sacrifice, along with Doctor Robotica’s and Wavelength’s, as well as Captain Noble’s and Aphelion’s, should be remembered with the utmost respect and reverence.
Now, I just hope HyperThrust can get those who survive back to Earth…