Chapter 1: Calm
Boreas Research Log #00023
Head of Research
Oxygen tanks have been installed and are working fine. Oxygen
link from the Prometheus has yet to be severed though; we need at
least a week to test the tanks to prevent any leak. Kilbourn says
that the pipes may crack under the cold if we are not careful, so
we need to see about some heavy duty insulating.
Water processing is going well. The local ice found on Triton is
being melted and converted into a drinkable water supply. The
abundance of ice on the surface means that we can stay here for
as long as we need. We have ceased the water supply from the
Prometheus because of this. Food supplies are stocking up as
well; we are getting more than we need. We have asked the
Prometheus not to send any more down for at least three weeks, as
our stores are becoming too full. Blake jokingly says that we
will all be fat before this research is finished, which is
probably not far from the truth.
Preliminary studies of the moon aren't telling us much, apart
from what the ice is made from. Halbard thinks that
The research log ended here as the writer, Alexander Brooke, had
long since fallen asleep. His head lay to one side of the
keyboard indicating that he had fallen asleep in the process of
writing. His hair, which always seemed too long for him however
many times he cut it, was sprawled across his face. An empty cup
of coffee, that had clearly failed to keep him awake, was lying
next to his head. Next to it was a framed picture of Brooke and
another man, seemingly a friend of his, standing by a lake
desperately trying to keep hold of a large fish. The room itself
was pretty bare apart from this, with only a bed in the corner to
break up the dull steel walls.
For a while there was silence in the room apart from the deep
breathing of Brooke. This was soon broken by a loud knocking on
his door. Brooke started awake and knocked the coffee cup off his
desk. Thankfully there was no coffee in but even so Brooke
quickly dived for it. "Come in" he said, brushing his hair out of
his eyes. The door opened slowly and head poked around the door.
It was Matthias, his junior research assistant. He was the newest
member of the research team and as such was rather shy. "Yes,
Perl?" Brooke asked. He always addressed the team by their last
names, however much they complained. He knew he probably
shouldn't be so formal but it was an old habit he couldn't shake
off. Matthias summoned his courage and said, "Breakfast". He
withdrew his head and quickly closed the door. Brooke stared at
the closed door for a few seconds before getting up and
stretching. It wasn't surprising he had fallen asleep, he'd been
up for Seventy-Two hours straight and had only survived thanks to
He exchanged his clothes for some that were cleaner and made his
way to the dining hall. As he entered he looked around. It was a
fairly large hall considering that the research term was rather
small at the moment. He spotted Matthias alone in a corner, his
mousy hair completely covering his face, slowly eating a bowl of
cornflakes. His attention was mostly drawn to the large argument
that was happening in the middle of the hall. It seemed to be
between Theia Kilbourn, the Head Engineer, and Frederick Halbard,
the Geologist. Halbard kept taking off his glasses and polishing
them every time Kilbourn started shouting at him. Jason Blake,
the team's Medic, was sitting on the sidelines, evidently
enjoying himself. Brooke got closer so that he could hear what
each was saying.
"How am I supposed to concentrate with you hammering and sawing
every day and night?" Halbard said, glasses now firmly back in
place. He took his job as a Geologist extremely seriously and was
prone to snap at anyone who disturbed him during his work.
Everyone on the team, apart from Matthias, had asked Brooke why
Halbard was on the team. Brooke gave them all the same answer:
'This moon is a recently formed moon and its geology may yield
useful clues as to how moons and planets are fully created'. Not
a very interesting answer, granted, but it seemed to stop the
complaining. Kilbourn was now ready with a counter-argument,
which she delivered at the top of her voice. "It's my hammering
and sawing that ensures everyone stays alive in this place! Shall
we see how well you concentrate without any Oxygen?!" Off came
Halbard's glasses again and he nervously began to polish them. He
did this for some time, seemingly unable to think of a suitable
argument to throw back. "Yes… Well… Just try to keep the noise
down", he said before storming out of dining hall. Kilbourn, now
with an air of triumph, returned to her breakfast. "Your third
argument this week" Brooke commented, "You're on a winning
streak". Kilbourn looked up from her toast and grinned, "I know.
I may be able to beat my record set, oh, the week before last."
Half laughing Brooke got up and get his breakfast.
After a few rounds of toast Brooke went to his office. In
actuality it was a main research centre as well as a small
control centre for the entire facility but he spent more time in
there than anyone else, so the team just called it his office.
The first thing he did was pour himself a cup of coffee from the
pot nearby and then sat down on his favourite swivel chair. He
stuck his feet up on a desk and glanced over at the monitors.
These monitors recorded everything from the oxygen supply, the
food stores as well as the ever important temperature. The oxygen
monitor revealed that they had full oxygen supplies with no
leakages: Kilbourn had seen to that. The food supply monitor had
a flashing light that indicated it was full. Blake was the only
member of the team that could cook and not burn everything, so he
was forced to cook most of the time. It was him that had
indicated the overcrowded food stores. Brooke turned his
attention to the temperature monitor. The temperature inside was
recorded as a pleasant 25°C but outside the conditions were much
less favourable. Right now the temperature was
-249°C. Thank Heavens for the Prometheus up above, which kept the
temperature stable. There were plans to try and heat the base
from down here, but these were far away from being completed.
Next, he checked on their water supplies. These were also full,
mostly thanks to the water purification system Kilbourn had
built. While around 15 - 35% of Triton was speculated to be
frozen water, no one was prepared to drink it straight out of the
ground. Nothing bad had happened yet though, so hopes were high.
Brooke sat at his desk for a few more hours with nothing really
to do. He was waiting for orders to come through from the captain
in the ship above and until then he didn't really have anything
more to do. He played a few games of Solitaire on his computer
while he waited. After quite a while someone pushed open the door
to his office and called him. It was Thane Stanton, the Junior
Engineer, who insisted that most rules didn't apply this far from
Earth. As such he referred to the team by their first names only.
"Alex", he said spotting Brooke at his desk, "They're ready for
you in the briefing room." Brooke took his legs off the desk and
got up from his chair. He finished off his coffee before
replying. "Thank you, Stanton. I'll be there right away."
Stanton smirked and left the room. Brooke tried his best to sort
his hair out before making his way to the briefing room. He spoke
to the Captain three times a week and they were practically on
first name terms these days, but still he felt the need to sort
his hair out.
Brooke entered the briefing room to find it deserted. Instead a
computer screen crackled on the right hand side. The starkness of
this room made him realise how bland this base really was. It was
made out of steel and that's really all you could see. He was no
interior designer, but a carpet might have been nice. He walked
over to the computer and tapped in a password that only he knew.
He felt it was rather over the top to have a password for
communications as it was a video link. If someone appeared who
wasn't the right person, they could just terminate the link.
There were a few seconds of static before the Captain of the
Prometheus' face appeared. It looked nothing like the
stereotypical view of the captain of a spaceship. When many
people say 'Space Captain' they think of some grizzled war
veteran barking orders. Instead, what appeared was the face of a
woman in her early twenties, with short blonde hair and striking
blue eyes. Many people thought she seemed more like an air
hostess. Those people clearly hadn't seen Captain Chloe Nyx fly a
"Anything new to report?" She asked, foregoing a greeting. These
reports had become so common that neither of them bothered with a
'Hello' anymore. Mentally stopping his hand from jumping to his
hair, Brooke replied "No Ma'am. Oxygen, food and water supplies
are stable. There has been no change in temperature inside or
outside the base." This was pretty much the same answer he had
given last time, except the request to stop sending food. Nyx, on
the other hand, seemed to have some news of her own. She tapped
out a few commands on her computer and pulled up a stream of
data. "This is the analysis we have on the various ice samples
you have sent us. It seems you landed in the perfect spot. You're
right on top of a large quantity of frozen water. Anywhere else
and you'd have probably set up shop right on top of a load of
frozen nitrogen." She tapped a few more keys, "Our scans show
that the mantle of Triton is made up of the frozen water, which
you have now tapped in to. However underneath this is a layer of
rock and metal. We are compiling plans for the future where we
will try to drill down to this layer, which is where your
geologist will be put to his best use. There may even be a layer
of liquid water there, which could even mean the presence of
life." More tapping of keys and the data disappeared, "Until then
try to keep everything together. See you at the next briefing.
Nyx out." That was it, the screen died down and Brooke was left
They were already stretched thin as it was with Kilbourn and
Stanton working hard to keep the place stable. The prospect of
drilling was not a pleasant one and would almost certainly mean
more sleepless nights. Brooke sighed and made his way towards his
bedroom. He felt that he should really finish the research log he
had fallen asleep completing. He entered his room, sat down at
his desk and after a moment's hesitation, set to work. Meanwhile,
in the Base's Medical Laboratory Jason Blake was also hard at
work. He was pretty relaxed most of the time but when his studies
presented a problem he could not simply ignore it. This was,
therefore, why he had been hard at work for the past several
hours. His problem was that water that the rest of the team were
content to drink. He had seen far too many poisonous compounds in
his life to simply drink something that he had not fully studied.
His first tests had shown that the majority of the water was just
that: water. Hydrogen, Oxygen and a few harmless waste products.
However there was one problem that kept resurfacing. There was
something in the water that he couldn't identify. He had run
through all his computer data but couldn't find anything remotely
like it. Part of him knew that he shouldn't worry so much as they
had all been drinking the water for a long time now and nothing
had happened, but as a scientist he couldn't ignore an anomaly
He got up off his chair and rubbed his eyes, they were sore from
staring down the lens of the microscope for too long. He looked
around at his lab and realised how messy it had become. He had
been engrossed in his work that he tended to leave things strewn
around the place. He ran his fingers through his hair and decided
he might as well go and get a cup of coffee. He walked towards
the dining hall, checking his watch. He had an appointment with
Matthias in a few minutes. It wasn't anything serious, just a
regular check-up, but he didn't want to be late. On the way he
passed by Kilbourn, who was hard at work insulating an oxygen
pipe. She nodded to him as he passed and he gave her a wave in
return. He entered the dining hall, which was deserted for the
time being, and made his way over to the coffee pot in the
corner. He poured himself a cup of coffee and rubbed his eyes.
He'd been awake for over Forty-Eight hours now and sleep
deprivation was starting to kick in. He knew he probably wouldn't
be able to sleep for another day though: he was far too engrossed
in his work. His watch started beeping to indicate that it was
time for Matthias' appointment. Hastily scooping up his cup of
coffee he made his way back to his lab.
Sure enough Matthias was already there, sitting on the chair
reserved for his patients. "Good Afternoon", Matthias said as he
noticed Blake entering the room. He was still noticeably shy as
he was never able to maintain eye contact for more than a few
seconds. "Afternoon", Blake said in return and walked over to his
computer. He tapped a few keys and brought up Matthias' medical
details. His last check-up showed him to be in almost perfect
health. Matthias suffered from Asthma, though, but it had been
kept mainly under control. Blake glanced once more over the
details of the last check before performing the current check-up.
Opening a drawer he took out a stethoscope and began to measure
Matthias' heart rate. Matthias flinched at little as the cold
stethoscope touched his skin, but remained silent.
"Well, that all seems fine", Blake said, after a pause, "How has
your breathing been?"
"Not for some time"
Blake nodded and put the stethoscope back in his drawer. He then
took a reading of Matthias' blood pressure, which was also fine.
Lastly he took a sample of Matthias' blood, which he would
analyse for any foreign compounds. This was a requirement for any
interplanetary missions as no one had any idea what could be
lurking in the air. Or in the water, Blake thought, glancing over
at the samples on his desk. Matthias got up and thanked Blake.
Appointments were made every fortnight so there was no need to
hang around to book another one. As Matthias was leaving, Blake
inserted the vial of his blood into a machine that would analyse
it completely. This took a while though so Blake decided to go
and start cooking dinner.
On his way out of Blake's lab, Matthias bumped into Halbard,
almost knocking him over. "Watch it!" Halbard snapped, once he
had righted himself. Halbard then bustled off in the direction of
his office. Matthias stared after him for a while before making
his way to his own office. His office was more of a small
bedroom, with a tiny desk crammed into one end. He had tried his
best to make it seem homely, however, with posters covering the
walls. Still, it still didn't feel like home to him. He was
treated by an outsider by most of the team. He supposed it was
only natural, as he was the newest member, but it was hard to
work like this. It probably didn't help matters that he didn't
have the confidence needed to take his research to anyone to see
what they thought. He had been enormously excited by the thought
of coming to another planet, as he wanted to research the
possibility of life. Once he had got here though, and found
himself on a planet made out of mostly Ice, he had lost a lot of
that excitement. He had still poured over every sample he could
get his hands on, hoping to find a glimmer of life. No luck so
far though, but he wasn't giving up hope.
He had just begun to work when Kilbourn stuck her head around his
"Matt, can you give me a hand with something?"
Kilbourn was a very good engineer but she was all but hopeless
with computers. She usually got someone else to handle it, but
this was the first time she had called on Matthias. Feeling
secretly pleased, he followed her to a computer bank. This was
the central computer bank that controlled the oxygen flow
throughout the base.
"I've finished installing all the pipes now", she explained, "I
just need to do a test to make sure there are no leakages
anywhere. Do you mind?" She asked, indicating the computer.
"No problem", Matthias replied. He was quite handy with computers
and after a few key taps initiated the test. A map of all the
pipes was brought up on all of the screens. Areas began to fill
up with a red glow to indicate that oxygen was running through
them. An area of lower pressure would indicate a leak and not
glow red. The entire pipe network flooded with red except…
"There", Matthias said, pointing to the screen, "Section 3C's
oxygen pipe has a leak."
"Damn. I better get on that", Kilbourn replied, staring at the
screen. She clapped Matthias on the shoulder as a gesture of
thanks and ran off towards the leaking pipe. Feeling considerably
happier, Matthias returned to his work.
In the office next to his, Brooke got up out of his chair and
stretched. He had finally completed the pesky Research Log, which
would be sent off to the Prometheus for studying, and then stored
to be sent back to Earth at a later date. Most of the Research
Logs were pretty similar, as it was still early days and they
hadn't found all that much yet. His coffee cup was once again
empty and, as it was almost time for dinner, he decided to call
it a day and get something to eat. The footsteps walking past his
door indicated that at least three other people felt the same
way. The smell of something cooking indicated that Blake had
started cooking dinner, so Brooke made his way to the Dining
Hall. Halbard, Stanton and Matthias were all there, waiting for
the food to be finished cooking. Brooke walked over to where
Blake was busying himself in the kitchen.
"What's on the menu tonight?" Brooke asked, a smile on his
"Lasagne", Blake replied, over his shoulder, "An old favourite of
"I love Lasagne!" Stanton called from his table.
"Good to know", Blake said, turning round with the completed
Lasagne in a dish. "Get it while it's burning hot."
He dished up the first portion to Brooke who thanked him and sat
down at a table. Next, Halbard and Stanton sat down on the same
table, opposite him. However, for the first time, Matthias chose
to sit next to Brooke. Usually he ate by himself at a table in
the corner. He must be in a good mood, thought Brooke, but
decided not to question Matthias about it. The lasagne was
delicious, like most of Blake's cooking, and Blake had to refuse
Stanton a second helping, reminding him that he and Kilbourn
still had to eat. Kilbourn was rarely on time for Dinner, so
Brooke asked what she was doing.
"She's fixing a leaking oxygen pipe", Matthias said, which again
was strange as he barely ever said anything.
"Well, she'll be a while then", said Blake who had caught
Matthias' answer. He sat down next to Brooke and began to eat his
helping. "If she turns up late, she gets cold lasagne, fair's
fair." Brooke laughed and finished off his serving.
"Good work as always", he said, indicating the clean plate.
"I know, they should be paying me extra for this", Blake
remarked. Grinning Brooke took his plate over to the sink and
began to wash up.
After Dinner was finished, those that had been up for a long time
decided to turn in for the night. Brooke was feeling pretty tired
himself, having only had a few hours of sleep on a computer
keyboard. Deciding that it would probably do him good to get some
more sleep, he said goodnight and went to his room. There he got
changed into cloths more suited for sleeping in and got into bed.
He lay there for a while, thinking about what the others were
doing right now. Blake never seemed to sleep; he was probably
back at work in his lab. Halbard slept every day, the only member
of the team that did, as he said it was unhealthy to stay awake
for long periods of time. Matthias was probably hard at work as
well, as he took his research seriously. He was a good researcher
and it made Brooke annoyed when other members of the team picked
on him, especially Halbard. Stanton was probably tinkering with
something in his workshop; he enjoyed making things even if they
had no purpose. Kilbourn was still probably hard at work fixing
the leaking pipe. For some reason that image stayed in his head.
The image of her short dark hair and welder's goggles over her
deep brown eyes. It was to that image that he fell slowly asleep.