Amber Nebula Campaign Log

18. Send in the Clones


04 August, 2775. 10:17 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

After some sleep to recover from the excitement of yesterday, we are now in final approach to the surface of Acropolis. We should reach the ground terminus of the beanstalk in a bit under three hours. Starport traffic control have congratulated us on our efforts to save the beanstalk, and say we will be met by a security team for a debriefing once we reach the ground.

Captain Smith is busy learning the names and contact details of as many of the non-clone citizens who are left here on the car as she can, in case we ever need future contacts on Acropolis. She seems to have recruited Tepi as a friend in this endeavour.

11:02 UTC. Argonaut crew private radio communication log.

Paris: Here, I'll give you a communicator.

Tepi: Thanks.

Paris: I like to help people who have causes, you know. Which is why I'm sympathetic to the plight of these clones, trying to overthrow their oppressors. But killing millions of people with a nuclear bomb isn't the right way to do it. Do you have a cause?

Tepi: Kill all squirrels. And help my family regain their former wealth and influence.

Paris: Well... maybe if you'd told me that without the squirrels...

16:38 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

After some time on the ground to eat and rest, the starport security team debriefed us in a meeting room in the groundport. They asked us questions for a couple of hours, generally praising our actions and congratulating us on taking charge and preventing the disaster. We didn't mention that we deliberately let the rebel clones escape, and maintained a strict anti-clone liberation stance in front of their questioning. It wouldn't pay to express our sympathies against the government!

Now that we are being treated respectfully, we have asked for a new DNA test on Iki and myself, to clarify the issue of us appearing to be clones when tested at the highport station. They have taken blood samples and will get the results to us within a few hours.

For now though, the sun has set a few hours ago and the authorities are suggesting we get some sleep. They are putting us up in a luxury hotel, with all expenses paid for the duration of our stay here on Acropolis. Serron has expressed his desire for a reward by radio from the Argonaut, but since he had little to do with our actions, and the authorities do not seem inclined to offer us any money, I don't think he is going to get one.

We are now about to board a limousine for transfer to our hotel for the night.

17:03 UTC. Acropolis Government Limousine 349 security recording.

Tepi: This is very nice. I remember back before my family's farm was ruined by that squirrel plague, we used to be able to afford things like this....

Spanners: Hey guys, I think that car behind us is following us...

Paris: Where? That one? Hmm... I think you're right.

Iki Piki: Driver! Lose them!

Driver: No. You're safe in this car. Even if it is someone following us, they won't be able to get near you in the hotel once we get there.

Tepi: Are any other security people supposed to be following us?

Driver: I'll check. Base, this is Limo 349, heading from Gamma Groundport to the Thermopylae Hotel in Serifos. Are any security cars assigned to follow us?

Radio voice: Negative 349. You're on your own.

Iki Piki: Stop then! Let's go shopping and see what they do.

Driver: No, that would be dangerous. This car is armoured, so you're safer in here. And once I get you to the hotel there will be guards to look after you.

Spanners: Well, I've got the registration number of that car anyway. We can check it out later.

19:14 UTC. Argonaut crew private radio communication log.

Iki Piki: Serron, you there?

Serron: Yes. What's up?

Iki Piki: I just thought you'd like to know we've just had a very nice four-course dinner at this luxury hotel, all completely paid for by the Acropolis government.

Serron: Well I've eaten too. You wouldn't believe how much food you can get delivered to a docked ship up here.

Spanners: There's other news too. We just got the results back from our second DNA test. It confirms we're not clones.

Serron: I knew it! I knew there was something wrong with those blue jumpsuits besides the horrible colour and styling! So what about me?

Spanners: We've asked the people here to have you re-tested too, since it seems there was obviously some mix-up with the results for all of us. We've just had them in to remove our suits for us. They've taken the radio tags off them and let us keep the suits themselves as souvenirs. We figure they might come in handy when we start looking for Ogier and Sirene, if we ever have a need to disguise ourselves as clones. Anyway, some security people should be there at the Argonaut soon to take another blood sample from you and test it again under tighter security. So don't shoot them!

Serron: Cool. Then I can have the run of this entire space station!

Paris: Heh. As long as my ship is still in one piece when we get back up there! Well, we're going to sleep now while it's dark down here. Talk to you again in nine or ten hours, and we'll work out how we can find your friends.

05 August, 2775. 00:49 UTC. Argonaut crew private radio communication log.

Spanners: nfnngnf... What was that noise? Don't tell me Iki's sleep-walking again...

[thud... thump]

Paris: Hey! What's ...

[thump]

06:34 UTC. Serifos Air Traffic Control radio log.

Paris: Mayday! Mayday! Air traffic control! This is a helicopter, registration, err... Delta Foxtrot 473... on emergency take-off from a Durogen facility somewhere near Serifos city, precise location unknown.

Air Traffic Control: Delta Foxtrot, what is your situation?

Paris: We are escaping an attempted kidnapping by Durogen employees. Request guidance to nearest secure landing site and police help.

Air Traffic Control: Roger Delta Foxtrot, we have you on radar. head bearing 47 degrees if you can and fly directly to Serifos Airport, about 23 kilometres from your current position. We'll clear the airspace for you.

Paris: Copy control. Changing to bearing 47 degrees. We are not being pursued, but expect we might get some attention soon.

Air Traffic Control: Roger that. Stay on this channel. Are you a qualified pilot?

Paris: Yes, interstellar licence class R1. Do you want the number?

Air Traffic Control: That won't be necessary. Stay on course and we'll have airport security meet you when you land. Police have been notified and are heading to that Durogen facility.

07:07 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

We have just landed and been escorted to a safe place at the airport while police conduct a raid on the Durogen facility where we've been held for the past few hours.

The first thing I knew about anything was waking up and finding myself bound and gagged, lying half on top of Captain Smith, in the back of a moving vehicle. My first thought was that I'd been sleepwalking, but I quickly realised we must have been taken captive somehow during the night. I tried to escape from my bonds, but there were two uniformed guards in the truck and they kicked me until I stopped moving. I learned from the others later that our hotel suite had apparently been invaded during the night. When Spanners investigated a noise in the main room, he saw me lying on the floor, and a group of men armed with stunners, who shot him. Paris and Tepi suffered the same fates when they tried to fight off the attackers.

After about twenty minutes of driving, we arrived at a place where the guards pulled us out of the truck and escorted us into a building. They put cloth bags over our heads, but Spanners managed to see that we were at a Durogen facility, from a sign on the building. We were taken up a lift and tied to chairs in a room, then the bags and our gags were taken off. It was a small square room, furnished only with a table and the chairs we were tied to, and one other chair. A video camera was in one ceiling corner, pointed at us, and there were two grilles on one wall, a large ventilation grille and a smaller one.

A thin human man came in and started asking us questions about rabbits and how much we knew and who we'd told. It beame clear he was referring to the rabbit we found in our cargo hold, that eventually died in the fire at the veterinary surgery on Earth. Tepi and Captain Smith naturally had no idea what he was talking about, but he questioned Spanners and myself closely for an hour or more. I'm not sure if he got any information that he was after, but he eventually left the room, leaving us alone.

Trying to get out of the view of the video camera, I tipped my chair over until I fell on the floor, obscured by the table. Then I set to work getting free of the ropes. Tepi apparently had a similar idea and bounced around in his chair until he was in the corner directly under the camera and presumably out of its field of view. We both managed to get free after some struggling. Tepi then pretended still to be tied up and bounced back around until he was back to back with Spanners, and started working on his bonds. I dived out from under the table into the corner where Tepi had been and jumped up to grab the camera. While hanging off it, I noticed that it had not been plugged in, so nobody could have monitored us through it anyway.

Tepi and I quickly got Spanners and Captain Smith untied, then we assessed our situation. The door to the room was sliding metal, with no apparent opening mechanism on our side. Our interrogator had used a remote control device to get the door to open. Spanners investigated the door carefully, while I checked the grilles in the wall and Tepi and Paris smashed up one of the chairs to produce some sharp sticks and heavy pieces of wood to use as weapons.

The large grille covered a ventilation duct, while the smaller appeared to cover a PA system speaker. I didn't have the strength to pull the duct cover off, so Paris helped. She gave me a boost up so I could crawl into it, being the smallest one of us. Unfortunately, I only got my body halfway in when I realised the duct was simply too narrow and I would just get stuck without being able to move. Paris had to pull me back out.

We then considered plugging the video camera in, on the assumption that whoever had captured us and put us here might have disabled it on purpose so that whoever normally monitored it could not see what was happening in this room. Spanners then announced that he could feel magnetic fields from circuitry within the titanium door, and that applying a magnet carefully to some specific locations might trigger the locking mechanism and release the door. So we pulled out the PA speaker and ripped the magnet out of it. Within a minute Spanners had the door opened.

We carefully looked out into a corridor, where we saw a single guard drowsing on a chair by the door. Tepi carefully stepped up and whacked him over the head with a piece of chair, knocking him unconscious. He was armed with a stunner, which we took before tying him up and locking him in the cell we had occupied. I tied a piece of rope to a piece of wood, and tossed the wood into the ventilation duct, leaving the rope dangling out, to give the impression we had taken that route out of the cell.

We were in a dimly lit corridor, with several doors leading off it. After some exporing we determined that we were in an office/lab building. Windows showed it was still night time, and that we were about twenty floors above the ground in a high-rise. There was a perimeter fence, so we were on private land, somewhere outside the city, which we could see in the distance. We explored the floor and found several offices, unfortunately with no clues to why we might have been captured or why our interrogator was interested in rabbits.

Then we opened the door to one of the labs. It was an advanced cloning lab, with several force-growth tanks with clones inside them. There were eight clones in the tanks, four copies each of two different people. Paris recognised one of them as a slightly younger version of Garrett Wilks, the current President of the country of Yandis, on Lyrane. The other person looked familiar, but none of us could recall a name. The second lab next door held more force-gowth tanks, this time with clones the apparent age of children in them. It also had a set of cages with white rabbits in them, and a surgery area.

Spurred on by this find, Spanners went back to the largest office we'd found and hacked into the computer on the desk. It took him half an hour to get through the security layers, but he managed to pull up records of e-mails sent between John Simpson, the head of the Durogen office in Serifos, and a person only mentioned by the name "Redhawk", somewhere on Lyrane. The messages reported the covert collection of cell samples from prominent politicians on Lyrane, the cultivation of cloned embryos, and the subsequent shipment of the embryos inside the wombs of rabbits to Acropolis for forced-growth procedures in the Durogen labs.

There were mails regarding the breakage of a shipping cage containing a collection of rabbits in a warehouse on Lyrane, and the fact that not all the specimens were accounted for. The messages mentioned tracking some rabbits to Earth on the ship Juan Fangio, which was the one we saw blown up after the vet incident, and the subsequent discovery that the Legacy also had a rabbit from Lyrane on board. An order had gone out from Simpson that the Legacy and her crew were to be found and captured at all costs. Then there was a message from an operative on Arawne reporting that Ogier and Sirene had been captured there and were being shipped to Acropolis. The files revealed that Ogier and Sirene are currently being kept in another Durogen facility in the city of Kalumini, some 600km from here.

The last message we found was from a Durogen employee on the Gamma Highport station, dated only a few hours ago, saying that Serron had been captured from the Argonaut, and was being escorted down to the surface for interrogation.

Spanners copied all of this incriminating evidence on to two memory crystals and then we decided we had better get out of there. We didn't want to go out through the main lift lobby, as we could see security surveillance cameras in the reception area of the floor, so we used the freight lift. It didn't go down to the ground floor, so we went up to the roof. There was a helicopter there, guarded by a lone guard in a small watchroom. We stunned him and took off in the helicopter.

09:24 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

We have just been informed by the authorities that a raid is about to be mounted on the Durogen plant in Kalumini, in an effort to rescue Ogier and Sirene. I've given one memory crystal to the police to be used as evidence against the company and John Simpson. They have dispatched an express courier to Lyrane with news about the plot to clone their politicians and leaders. Going by the records it seems we stoped their plans just in time. They had been force growing the clones of Garrett Wilks for almost a year now, and soon they would be the same subjective age as the real President of Yandis. Who knows what plans would have gone into effect then?

Simpson has already been arrested by the police here in Serifos, and investigation teams are going through the labs at the building we were held in. We've also been told that security crew on the beanstalk car on which Serron is coming down have captured his escorts and freed Serron. We just have to wait another 40 hours or so for him to reach the ground. By then hopefully we should also be reunited with Ogier and Sirene.

12:39 UTC. Field log entry by Serron.

With nothing else interesting to do on this ride down to the planet, I have been making enquiries at cargo brokerage services to secure us a profitable cargo for our trip back to Arawne. With almost no capital to buy a hold full of cargo, I have located a contract job to take a shipment of fine bio-engineered wood, useful for luxury furniture.

14:17 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

We have been informed that the raid on the Durogen plant at Kalumini has been successful, and Ogier and Sirene are on their way here by plane. We should see them within an hour or two!

19:40 UTC. Field log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

What a celebration! I've finally met the two other crew members of the Legacy, Ogier Spacebourne and Sirene Song. They were captured by Durogen employees on Arawne about three weeks ago now. Once Serron gets off the beanstalk it will be the first time all the Legacy crew have been together in six weeks.

Ogier and Sirene seem like nice enough people. They have told us, however, that all the action of the past few weeks has been a bit much for them. They are planning to retire from the Legacy's merchant business, at least for a while. They will accompany us back to Arawne and then decide where they want to settle down.

Tepi has also decided he would like passage off Acropolis, and I have offered him a place on board the Argonaut to Arawne. With no money to his name, he is glad to get away from Acropolis where he has been bumming around on the highport station for the past few months.

06 August, 2775. 17:26 UTC. Field log entry by Spanners.

A full day of official functions and congratulations from the people of Acropolis. Not only have we saved their world from a terrible act of terrorism, but it seems we have averted a major plot against the governments of Lyrane by interfering with Durogen's plans. We have met several important officials, and been presented with medals. It's a shame Serron is still on the beanstalk car and couldn't participate in any of this! He will reach the ground in another ten hours or so, and then we will all board a car back up to the space station.

07 August, 2775. 05:52 UTC. Field log entry by Iki Piki.

Well, we are finally on our way off this planet. We are on a beanstalk car heading back up to the space station where the Argonaut is docked. Captain Smith will be flying us all - me, Spanners, Serron, Ogier, Sirene, and Tepi - to Arawne. There we will once again be able to take command of the Legacy, with the brand new engine fully installed. Our only problem then is with Ogier retiring, we will need a new pilot to take over his job. We've already asked Tepi, but he has no piloting skills. Paris of course has her own ship, so we will part company once at Arawne. Serron has some piloting skill, so we may be able to do with him for a while.

At any rate, our beanstalk car is due to arrive at the space station in about 48 hours. Also with us on board the car is our contract cargo of timber, stored in the car's cargo hold.

08 August, 2775. 10:29 UTC. Field log entry by Captain Paris Smith.

A message has just come through that my ship has been stolen from the space station! Starport traffic control just twigged to the fact that we are coming up and expect to board the Argonaut upon our arrival at the highport, and noticed that the ship isn't there. They say that someone on board the Argonaut filed a flight plan to Juqueri and requested clearance to skew into hyperspace three days ago, which would have been very shortly after Serron was captured by the Durogen thugs.

Now it looks like we're stuck here on Acropolis without a ship, and with a cargo of wood which we have to move to Arawne or pay a penalty for breach of contract. I don't know what it is with these guys... trouble just seems to follow them around...

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