Doctor Harker's Journal PART I: The Red Planet

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 12, 2198 - The Red Planet

Bromdian, Bro-Mid-Ee-Uhn, the very name conjures in me a sense of regret and sadness. How blind, how foolish were we? How could it have come to this, this catastrophe? And all for what? The abundance question was nearly solved, more than enough energy for all the earth, for 100 times the earth's need! So wherefore then did the greed come in? The lusting for control, what drives us to be our own worst enemy? Are we truly a mad race? A species with one foot in the animal world of impulse and one firmly planted in the mind of god? How can creatures such as we, so frail and yet so full of imagination create the vastness of an empire that could span the stars, only to snuff it out for the mere collation of power?

We set down on this red planet because our scouts told us of great reserves of the ore that we sought to further our expansion. Bromidian is that strange silvery metal that was discovered on Earth in the 21st century. It's true, the damned thing pulled our knowledge of engineering and energy in new directions, indeed, it furthered our technology in a few short years into the stuff of a fever dream. We believed, as men of science and peace that the petty squabbles over resources like oil and food would end once there was enough energy abundance to move beyond our need for daily bread, except whereas we did advance, our appetite for destruction advanced with us. A need for food was replaced by a need for control. When the hungry bellies gave way to full ones, then the true motive for mankind reared its head, beyond our primitive needs of the body were the primitive needs of our social order. Our technology grew from the advancement of the Bromidian, but our humanity remained the same. You can take the hunter-gatherer out of the stone age, but you cannot take the stone age out of the hunter-gatherer. God help us, I fear that our advancing skills will bring less peace and more death in time to our kind. Where once we thought of abundance I now see the inauspicious dawdling of idle contempt, And the envious eyes of men divvying up the reigns of power between the hands of the few. If ever a time of revolution was required it would be now, except that the common man, is too fat and content in their abundance, with their robotic servants and systems of comfort. Where once the dwindling inalienable rights were a thing to fight and die for, they're now replaced by product conferences for the latest upgrades to their devices. Pitiful creatures, unable to rise from their corpulent dependence on the big 3. It is as I fear a slow circle about the drain for my species, perhaps it's for the best.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 15, 2198 - The Red Planet

A most auspicious finding today. The new Robromide units we requested from Earth arrived, my unit “Hunter” was assigned and I am most pleased with her skillset. She was imbued with a talent for exploration, stealth, and study. Perfect for my purposes. I immediately assigned her to the task of scouting the northern rim of the cliffs beyond the vast desert our compound sits within. I have a feeling that the erosion of the cliff face in the north will be greater on account of the star rise there generating intense sandstorms, in order to create a requisition for more units and hopefully to establish satellite compounds we will have to show GP some results. They expect us to find the ore, and unfortunately, until we do just that, and in quantity, they will send us only the bare minimum of our requests. We must produce, and if my sources are reliable it was said that the Bromidian found in the nearest planetary cluster turned out to be a false alarm. They're so close to us, we could request their unused resources now that we know their mine to be quite shallow of Bromidian resources.
Once Hunter was set to the task I was able to resume my studies on the indigenous life in this strange world. We discovered a little creature, not much larger than a small dog, its color was a pale green, it had yellow eyes and walks upright on powerful hind legs, with no arms, or at least none that could be detected, its body is short with a stubby tail and round like a grub worm, it has small horns and protrusions sticking out from its body. We nicknamed it a “Gogga”. A playful joke from one of the children of my colleagues, NEarly 2 when we were studying the creature she pointed and called it “Gogga gogga!”. So Gogga we named it.
Several days passed, when Hunter returned with an initial report from the North rim was more eroded and she did detect higher levels of Bromidian residue there, but that was not the important discovery. She also came upon a new species of life.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 16, 2198 - The Red Planet

My dear Robromide Hunter, how I could kiss her. In addition to finding what could be a tremendous amount of ore, she returned to me with news of the most astounding discovery, appealing to the biologist in me. She claims to have discovered a new species of life. She produced the high-resolution images into the computer panel and upon first glance, I thought, this couldn't be right, they appear to be human. Exceptionally large humans, nearly 7 feet tall in total, and with green skin. But there is no way they can be human outside of the safety of the compound, especially unprotected as these creatures were, exposed to the atmosphere. This was something different, they were intelligent too, carrying around stone tools and spears which appeared to be made from Gogga bones, wearing Gogga hydes. Whatever these enigmatic creatures were, they were unique, they were not us. I requested motion footage, and video, from Hunter and she played through her encounter for me. She started high in the cliffs before quietly and stealthily creeping down to their camp, the large green creatures seemed anthropomorphic, lizard-like, but humanoid in their way, some had tails, others did not. There were large males and what looked to be females with children. They had tents made of Gogga skin, and they appeared to live within a tribal arrangement, must like stone age humans once did. My thoughts were racing, not only for the discovery of a lifetime but from the dawning realization that these creatures lived nearly on top of the reserves of Bromidian that we sought. In over 100 surveyed worlds, never had the big 3 discovered sentient life, and what life they did find, be it animal or plant they did not treat it well. Less the loving study of a scientist's curiosity, and more the exploitative venture capitalist looking to produce a new product. Whatever the case may be I would be hard-pressed to give this discovery away, I need to speak to my colleagues about how we could protect these creatures.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 17, 2198 - The Red Planet

I set Hunter to promise not to reveal what she learned regarding my new green friends, bless her, she is still new and had many questions. These Robromides are autonomous and intelligent, but they have not been imbued with a sense of experience, especially experience in humanities proclivities. I explained to her that while the discovery was a good thing, we must proceed slowly and carefully lest the overzealous nature of my race runs over these creatures and injures them. I requested her to research the interactions of modern nations with lost tribal nations on Earth from the 19th and 20th centuries and how these lost civilizations were often destroyed quickly after being discovered. I entreated her to understand that my place as a scientist is not to destroy, but to study and do no harm.
Later in the evening, I spoke to my sector captain, Doctor Seward, his background being predominantly geology. He was excited about the discovery of the ore, but a little startled when I explained what else Hunter had found.

“I’m telling you Jack, these things are the real deal, intelligent, structured, not just animals. They can think, I am not sure to what extent, but they're not just dumb animals we must give them space and security. We cannot let GP know about them.” I said.
“Let's say for a minute, I was willing to do that, I was willing to misreport our findings to the company, and I am not saying that, but let's suppose I was, we need to have something to show the company. Because as you know, this isn’t a scientific expedition, we're here to find more resources. This isn’t a humanitarian mission.” He said.
“Yes, I’ve thought about that, and if my calculations are not totally off, and based on what Hunter brought back I think we can mine that ridge from the south of their camp and still find plenty of resources, look, Jack, I am not asking for a lot, just, we need time to observe them and figure them out.”
“OK John, I have to report a discovery to GP, I won't mention your friends, but I will tell them to expect an update on the quantity of Bromidian. Because they can shut us down. You saw what they did to Arthurs colony on V2? He said he was in the middle of a deep core probe and they shut them down and pulled all resources from their project. These are not nice people, they’re businessmen first and foremost.” Jack Said.
“Thanks, Jack, I will move quickly,” I said.

Tomorrow I will set Hunter to discover a suitable place to set up sediment analysis and to scout a location for the mining bots at the station, and once that is accomplished I shall set her to spying on these green creatures.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 22, 2198 - The Red Planet

Terrible news, I feel sick to report, but there has been a miscalculation. Hunter set down south of the greens campsite to scout the location for our sediment and mining bots to prepare. Hunter as always was reliable and efficient, she achieved her goals, but to my shock, as she learned when she began to observe them, they packed their camp and began to move south along the ridge, it would appear they are not sedentary, they migrate, and apparently they follow the Goggas who also migrate along the mountain range based on what I could only assume is the path the suns take. The Gogga likes to hide within the craggy wall outcroppings in the shaded areas, as this planet's orbit proceeds these shaded areas move. From what Hunter observed, the mining Bots landed right on the outskirts of their camp as they were setting up their tents. The robots, designed only for work have no defense programming and as such began their mining and sediment analysis. The green ones noticed them right away, the females and children began hissing and snapping their jaws and fleeing to the safety of the cliffs, and the larger males began to muster their strength for an attack on the robots. They began shouting, first one then the others which sounded like “Gorgun! Gorgun! Gorgun!” Then they set upon the bots and tore them to pieces. There is no way I can keep this from the rest of the colony, my green friends, my “Gorgons” will soon be discovered. Hunter completed her mission and returned with the unhappy news. And I am left to my sorrow to explain it to Jack.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 23, 2198 - The Red Planet

Jack, my dearest friend nearly turned white and fainted when I explained what Hunter had happened, he fumbled for a cigarette and with a quivering hand lit it with his device. He took a deep drag and held it in, looked up and exhaled, and then looked at me with all the worry of the world in his weary eyes.

“We’re undone, truly undone. You know there is no failure for me John, this mission must be a success, I am on my last chance, and I have people back on earth depending on me for this money. You wanted to protect these “Gorgons” but instead we've lost our miners. Those were our only miners John! This is a shoestring operation, we only had enough for those miners, and in this facility, we needed them to prove the reserves here so we could requisition more from the company, now they will pull the plug on us and I will be ruined! My whole family will be tossed out of our home, ruined! Jack said.

I put my hand gently on his shoulder and told him that it was never my intention, that it was a miscalculation, I didn't know the Gorgons would move, least of all into the place where the Miners were going.
“Jack, there is still a chance. We have our Robromides, true they won't be as efficient as our miners, but they can pick up the slack until we can requisition more from the company.” I said.
“And what if your friends move again? We only have 3 units, it will be a slow process. If only there was a way to move our facility closer or..” I Cut him off.
“Closer? Yes, let us move closer, we can't do anything about the miner bots, but since they are gone, we can use the remains of their storage unit to build a makeshift camp near the mining area, the Robromides can build it and they can stand guard around it and we can put some men, good men into the area and do the testing and some of the preliminary mining manually, at least until the company is satisfied with what we’ve found and they can send us more robots.

Jack's eyes lifted and met mine, they seemed to bristle with electrical current when a grim smile crept across his mouth.

“Yes, we can do that, but this time John, if these gorgons get hostile, the Robromides will use force to repel them, we cannot fail here, not in the name of science or humanity, I cannot allow a failure of this project.”

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Jan 31, 2198 - The Red Planet

With a little effort, we were able to salvage a pretty significant quantity of material from the Miner Bots storage station connected to our facility. With the aid of our 3 trusted Robromides we were able to transport the materials to the location we had chosen that foretold the most promise of Bromidian. Hunter reported to me that when they arrived the Gorgons had apparently left the area, leaving behind only traces of their existence. The Robromides worked tirelessly and were able to establish a basic shelter for a few of our workmen to perform some manual duties, including sediment analysis, and testing to see if a mine shaft can be established. Poor Jack, the man is under such pressure to succeed, I understand, his last venture was a terrible failure and cost the company much in resources and worse, many of his men were killed when a mine they were preparing collapsed and trapped them. Ultimately the company blamed Jack for his role as the project supervisor, citing faulty research in the tensile load-bearing struts his team put in place to hold the mine up. Of course, the rest of us know that it was not Jack's fault, that the company ever seeking to save on cost had merely sent him the remnants of another colony that failed to produce anything, including their rusted warped struts. Jack had complained to GP about the quality of the equipment they received, but as with any central bureaucracy, the messages were lost in a sea of computers and never fell upon the right ears.
All that aside, I am positive that the readings that Hunter took initially will show that this location is ripe with the ore we need to get the company to fully fund our colony. Once we have the materials and equipment we need I fully intend to do a full battery of tests on this planet, including the Gorgonites, I wish to send more Robromide scouts to study them and to learn all we can about them, to Jacks credit he still hasn’t said anything about them to the company and we blamed the setback on operational hazard, but I can tell his patience is running thin with me regarding my need to protect these creatures. Although I can see his position, he has a wife and children back on Earth relying on him, I for myself, never saw the need for a family, and wish to devote myself entirely to my studies.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Feb 10, 2198 - The Red Planet

It's been nearly two weeks since our materials arrived at the selected location, Hunter returned to me last night and reported that the installation of the rudimentary facility is complete, the atmospheric compressor has been enacted and the small location is now fit for human habitation. She reports that based on its size, a team of about 5 men will be sustained there, possibly up to 7 depending on certain atmospheric pressures on the planet. So tomorrow we will dispatch our team of 5 men to the site to begin their work, tonight I will sit down with them and I will explain to them the true fate of our mining bots, and attempt to swear them to secrecy. Hunter also said that there had been no trace in that time of the Gorgons, and that she had scouted for some miles north and south of the ridge looking for them, but that she could not locate them, not even a trail. It was as if they had vanished into thin air. The circumstances are risky, and I feel uneasy sending these men to this location without knowing exactly where these creatures are, but Jack insists that we send the Robromides there full time to stand guard, being as they are autonomous, and designed to fight if need be. We should also send weapons with the men as a precaution.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Feb 11, 2198 - The Red Planet

Our men have been dispatched. It should take them some hours to reach their destination, but they seemed fairly unconcerned about the Gorgons, which took me by surprise. I thought that they would have some rudimentary fear for their safety, but I suppose it works that the men who volunteered for the job are what we call back on earth “rough men” they don't feel things quite as acutely as some of us do. Rough men of course are lesser in intelligence and from the company's work farms, one of the only places left in the system where human hands are made to do labor. Our rough men will have a tight cramped spot to work, but also a chance to prove themselves, as it was Jack who promised them promotions and a share of the Bromidian mining contracts if they could pull this off. And if the Bromidian is there, that would be one hell of a payout, these men would be transformed into rich men overnight. Of our 3 Robromides, Hunter will take the first watch, her job will be to continually scout the land looking for threats, and the other 2 will stand guard at the makeshift facility to assist in any heavy lifting or if the Gorgons should return. I pray they do not return, they may have surprised the mining bots who are just mindless automatons, they would find in the Robromides nothing but death, as their function was designed initially for warfare.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Feb 18, 2198 - The Red Planet

We have hit the motherlode! The reports from our Rough Men have returned and they swear that after some testing and initial mining, they have found a crevice that when mined upon opened into a huge cavern under the mountain range! And even more, there is what appears to be a lake of water located there, with all manner of life growing within the darkness of the cave system, mosses, vines, molds, spores, and fungi! Another mystery solved, I had wondered why the Gogga creatures will often just follow this ridge specifically and not venture far from it, apparently they are feeding upon the moss or spores that ultimately crow out from the rock to the outside world, we never knew because they eat it and we never see it. How fascinating! And the best part of the discovery is that inside the cave system are absolutely massive quantities of Bromidian, naked and exposed from the bare matrix, even the most astonishing prismatic crystals which formed from the ore, if these crystals are formed of the same mineral basis as the metal itself, then whatever they are they are something new, and we have all that we require to get what we need from GawglePear, they will be required to fund us indefinitely! I am so excited! Our entire colony broke out into a celebration last night upon the news, were all going to be well rewarded, our rough men really pulled it off! Jack was so elated he began to cry when the transmission came through. Tomorrow Jack and I and several others will set off to witness this apparent cave of wonders, I doubt I will sleep a single moment tonight.

Doctor Harkers Journal Part I - Feb 19, 2198 - The Red Planet

I’ve never seen anything like this before… amazing. I could live to be 1000 and never see anything this beautiful ever again.