Meanwhile, on the Agamemnon, Becker examines surveillance video of her quarters from the previous night and finds nothing unusual except a strange flickering in the lights in her quarters. She also finally inquires of Summerville of the curiosity in the CIC – which he explains is a screen at the signal intelligence station that no one can seem to remember. It is simply a text input prompt named R.A.S.P.U.T.I.N. – the most they can discover is that it’s a piece of Ares Arms software seemingly designed to aid in tactical analysis.
Back at Persephone 2 – Captain Montenegro gives the order to transmit the wake-up call to the hidden Star League facility. After several moments, the facility responds with its location, and Colonel Vail along with a fighter escort drop from orbit to secure the area. When the Thermopylae finally makes it to the ground, the strike team takes an APC into a series of canyons with light battlemech escort to find the facility. A number of combattants arrive from around the planet to attempt to secure the facility as well, but Vail’s mechwarriors easily keep them at bay.
The find the entrance to the underground facility and with a bit of larceny manage to open the door to the long ramp down to a motor pool. Some computer legerdemain by Mitch gains the team access to the facility proper. They quickly discover that there seemed to be a mutiny within the facility several hundred years ago, followed shortly thereafter by a biological contamination. After gaining access to the facility administrator’s logs, they discover the following:
- The facility was a secret League laboratory dedicated to advancing military biotechnology – the main lines of research involved biological computing and storage as well as advanced myomer materials for battlemech applications.
- Shortly before the Agamemnon made her fateful jump from Bernard, Tokugawa sent a message to the facility informing them of his imminent arrival. He encouraged all of the facility’s personnel to join the Agamemnon in the Exodus.
- Some of the personel of the facility mutinied – likely in a loyalist attempt to stop the rest of the League personnel there from giving Tokugawa access to the research data and the holocaust archive stored there. At some point in the mutiny, the biological compound was released and the computer locked down the facility until the contagion was no longer detected.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020-07-13
I cannot find any mention of this RASPUTIN in my earlier logs. Nor in those of Tokugawa’s files that I have access to. When I get the time, I really need to sit down and try to figure that system out.
But too much is happening now. At least the Strontium-7 is on its way back, and with luck, whoever attacked my men on Persephone 2 have not noticed the Leopards heading towards us. But it also means that the second the Leopards arrive, we need to start working on the engine and get it up and running. I want her ready to fight, as it seems we might really need fighting power soon enough.
Who the hell are they? Not something from this time, no more than we are. These are trained, disciplined, and have tech that matches ours. Or, in fact, might surpass ours. And there is nothing, _nothing_ in the information we got from either Cooter’s men nor McTavish’s men that explains these attackers. And had Black had access to this kind of power, I very much doubt his men would have surrendered. And their equipment would have been a lot more advanced as well.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020-07-18
I would have thought it impossible, but the engineers got the engines up and running in the matter of hours. Buying us just enough time to meet the Thermopylae before the enemies caught up with them. Well, at least the Agamemnon can still send these people running.
And we lost none. Mechs, yes. And those cannot be replaced. But neither can the people. Oh, we can recruit and hire new people, but those who woke up on the Agamemnon a few weeks ago are all that remains from the past. The last that remains of the Star League Defense Force.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020-10-21
The K-F drive is now, I hope, working as it should. Time to test it.
Two of the crew have chosen to join McTavish’s Hope. Less than I feared, and we’ve gained quite a lot of recruits as well. Including Flannery McTavish. Her father was not too happy about that. Still, the girl is clever, and I think she will make an excellent addition to the crew.
Colonel Becker’s log, 3020-10-29
And suddenly the galaxy became slightly smaller. Communications is back up, though most of the messages are old, most of them two centuries old in fact. Some of them were quite persistent, even decades after the Exodus, some kept sending the occasional message. I am not sure how the crew is going to handle receiving mail from familiy and friends they might not even remember, but they have to choose whether they wish to read them or not.
The new messages indicate that someone at least got word out somehow. Most of _them_ are addressed to Agamemnon or Tokugawa. Quite an interesting collection. One, in particular, seems to know more about us than I had expected.
This is not good. Not at all. It seems Kerensky’s Exodus failed. Failed in establishing a new Star League, to form a new society. And Tokugawa knew. Or guessed. A flash of memory; it must have been after the drive failed and obviously before we went to sleep. He told me that the Exodus was doomed.
“Did you do this?” “No.” If I were to guess, I would think that we were talking about the drive failure. Then: “Did you let this happen?” “There was no choice.” “No choice?” “The Exodus is doomed to fail, Kim. It’s doomed.” And suddenly a lot of things make a bit more sense.
It seems “All of the warriors and none of the poets” was Tokugawa’s words. About Kerensky. And I suppose that was why it failed. I wonder if I saw then what I see now. Maybe not. Probably not. There is this memory, a memory that suggests that I might have been the one to kill him. And he might have been right all along.
If I piece this together correctly, Tokugawa sabotaged the jump. Either himself, had someone do it, or he knew about it and did nothing to stop it. He did not plan to join Kerensky after all. His plan was for us to stay behind, to try to hold together, or piece together, what was left after the Exodus.
He was right. And suddenly “All of the warriors and none of the poets” makes perfect, and terrifying, sense. Because if that was what Kerensky did, if what Natasha Kerensky is saying is true, then we have a problem, the _galaxy_ has a problem. _This_, then, was our mission. To protect what’s left of civilisation. And our enemies, it seems, will be the descendants of those we were supposed to leave together with.