1.01.2016

Entry 14

January 1st, 2164 - Sector Q247 - MSR2 Nora Greene

I don't have a lot of time.

But, because I'm the paranoid sort, I wanted to get this out before I go. In case we don't come back. Happy New Year, first off. I have to tell you about Lin and Masaru.

They're cousins through marriage. Knew each other from before, but briefly when they were kids. They discovered their connection at the Halloween Party and became fast friends quickly. I thought automatically of course that they had decided to become a couple, but as it turns out, I was again, wrong. When Lin attempted to get me involved, I interpreted it as naïve and sort of like she was rubbing it in my face - because n hind sight, who DIDN'T know that I had a thing for 'Rex' Masaru, the mysterious violinist?

Which brings me to the next bit. There was no real party, no craft event that Lin was running. She and Julia walked with me towards the general direction of the crafty rec room, and then they told me to wait in the hall because the forgot something. As I waited there, I heard Masaru playing. I thought about waiting, but honestly, it wasn't like they wouldn't be able to find me, so I meandered to where I heard the violin.

When I turned the corner, the rec room was pretty dark except for a few glow-sticks dangling from the corners of the room, and the craft table was covered and laid out for a dinner for two. When he saw me, Masaru stopped playing, smiled and bowed. He actually bowed. And then he held the chair out for me. I think I muttered something about how the girls were waiting for me, and he just sort of laughed.

"I asked them to help me bring you here."

I think I was staring because he continued. "After you got angry with Lin, she and Julia told me that you... well that you had feelings for me."

I know, at this time, I was red, and still did not respond. He poured me a glass of wine. Opened the trays of food to present me with some beautifully prepared food. Sushi I think and some other little delectables. He served them out. At that point  blurted out an awkward (yet sincere) apology for my behavior.

He sat down opposite me, raised a glass. "Happy American New Year, Nora. May we both prosper and grow." He smiled. I smiled. We had dinner. And at Midnight he walked me back to my room (Among an eerily vacant part of the ship, not even CRAVE said anything) and he gave me my first real New Years Kiss. (that I actually enjoyed anyway.)

I pulled out of the kiss light as a feather, dizzy and smiling, sort of delirious, and on the verge of manic excitement. I couldn't hear anything except the cliche hammering of my heart, and I was watching his hand come up in slow motion to press against my cheek in that old movie romantic kind of way, and then the red lights of the emergency proximity alarm started flashing, and the alarm system kicked on and blared, a box resting just above out heads.

Both of jumped back and our heads whipped around and Julia and Gilda flew out of our room, one throwing on her nurse coat and the other strapping on military grade plate armor panels for light infantry. (She told me all about it drunkenly after the Christmas party. Regardless of me being in a foul mood I listened and remembered rather well.)

CRAVE said over the intercom:

"Unidentified Vessel approaching port side. Emitting mid to high levels of radiation. Broadcasting mid-range communication. Consulting with Xilin Cthi Linzdar on linguistic translation."

Masaru and I exchanged looks. Capain Peterson came onto the intercom as we all rushed to our respective stations.

"This is Captain Peterson. All crew report to your main operating stations. Sargent Wesley Hadley, MSR3 Pearson, MSR3 Horne,  FER2 Callucci and MSR2 Nora Green please report to the bridge."

I felt like I was under water. We haven't been out here very long, but we found something! It was both exciting and absolutely terrifying.

After a mind-numbing twenty minutes of jargon and a blaring broadcast of some sort of snarling, angry demonic growls and barks, like hissing dogs, Captain Peterson and Zee determined that it was a breed of alien called (in Human translation) Gryflin. Except this ship was sending out a distress broadcast.

Masaru went to work guiding the ship to a docking sequence with the drifting vessel, everyone seemed very serious - and the reason I was there?

(Along with Zee, Sargent Hadley, Gilda and Horne were the muscle, and Flight Engineer Anthony Callucci. His specialty is living conditions and atmospheric adjustments. He's a biologist and ecologist of genius level. He's quick witted, sharp tongued, and about 5'3" and built like a dumpy barrel. Zee was coming because he knew their language relatively well, and would be familiar with their technology, which was mainly what our system was fabricated after)

I am going with them onto the ship so I can run analysis on their systems. Because I'm the only analyst we have on board. I could hypothetically read their system and figure out where the problem is.

SO yeah. In case I don't come back - Masaru is the bestest thing on the planet, I have great friends, and I miss rain. Wish me luck.

------- End Trans. ------

12.29.2015

Entry 13

December 29th - Sector Q247 - MSR2 Nora Greene

The Zephyr IV has been chaos. Because of the fluctuating morale of the crew, CRAVE and the Captain have taken it upon themselves to create all sorts of activities for us. At one point just before Christmas Morning, we had a cultural holiday breakfast, with a kosher dinner served in the mess hall that evening. (I am constantly amazed by the calibrations of our food processor.)

After that, a couple of the crew got together and meandered around the ship singing every carol they could remember (Including not-carols, like Dreidel, Dreidel.) The Marines tipped them in cigarettes. The nurses tipped them in colorful band-aids and we techies tipped them in origami analysis printouts made from scrap paper.

Mickey was singing, and surprise, he was pretty good! The greatest voice of all however, was Sargent of Communications, Wesley Hadley. He had that sort of deep, booming voice that demanded silence and awe. I haven't hung out with him really, but he is a little intimidating. His dark skin is perfect, his eyes are mysterious and piercing, and he's also about 6'6". So he's flipping tall.  Zee trailed around with them too, and by the end he was humming along too. Very harmonious.

Masaru played the Violin.

The Marines are hosting a weekly poker night, bargaining and betting on chores and cigarettes. (We can apparently smoke in one of the airlocks. They have atmo-cleansers in it so the smoke is flushed out when they're done.)

Christmas itself was nice. CRAVE changed the font and color of the analysis displays to red and green and There was always some sort of minty, festive dessert in the mess hall. And cookies. SO many cookies I could die. I think the sugar content alone made people feel better. Gift giving was sparse, obviously because where were we going to shop for anything? But... I did get hand made cards from people, and I sent out some CoreComm e-mails filled with cheer.

Lin is hosting a craft night. Julia wants me to go with her this week.I told her no originally, then Lin came up and asked me too. I'm thinking about it. Besides. I can't be in this crappy mood forever. I have to get over myself (and them) sooner rather then later. I'm going to be on this ship FOREVER so I may as well start now, right?

Apparently there is some fancy New Years Craft Thing they're doing. Julia is super excited, and she's contagious when she gets that way. (Except to Junpin. Junpin is immune.)

------- End Trans. -------

12.17.2015

Entry 12

December 17th - Sector Q247 - MSR2 Nora Greene

I really messed up.

I just got back from my first ever hour-long session with Doctor Hynes. Other then the monthly psyche evaluations he gives out of course. You see, I had a bit of an incident yesterday.

No, no, don't worry it wasn't anything like Royce. I didn't try to, you know.... But I shouted my head off in the mess hall for everyone to hear. It was the strangest thing. First thing was I was collecting my processed food in line like everyone else and as I was headed over to sit with Julia, Lin comes bouncing up to me.

"Hey Nora! I have a question."
I'm pretty sure I shrugged in a noncommittal manner.
"I was going to make something for Rex for his birthday and I need your help."
I think straight off when she called him 'Rex' I could feel the twitch at the corner of my left eye. And then when she decided she apparently needed my help with something for him It got my blood sizzling a bit. So I said something along the likes of, "Why do you need MY help? I don't know 'Rex' half as well as you do."
And Lin smiled at me with that chipper, happy, genuine nice-ness and said something like, "Well I know how well you two get along and thought you might want to help me make him something nice."
At least I think that last bit was what she said. I really only remember 'well I know how you two get along-'
Then I think I dropped my tray of food.

It was the weirdest sensation, like my fingertips went numb, and my face was hot and I felt like everything was blurry and moving in slow motion, and then words just started pouring out of my mouth. I can't even remember half of it, something along the lines of 'how can I get along with him if I never see him because you're always with him, and do you think anyone on this ship actually knows one another? Do you think we're all happy here like you and 'Rex'?'

When I snapped out of it, the world sort of pitched and I fell over and then I remember waking up and Julia was hovering next to me like a nervous hummingbird.

Dr. Hynes diagnosed me with mild C.D.A; or Compact Dwelling Anxiety. He told me not to worry that there's at least a dozen of us that have light symptoms. He told me to take it easy and try not to get stressed out and I won't have an 'episode' again. Julia suggested that I go talk to Lin and Masaru to straighten things out. Mainly so I don't worry about it anymore. Gatta be honest - terrified to do so.

In light of these events, CRAVE has seen fit to remind us what season we're in. All the screens are showing pretty Winter scenes and the temperature dropped a bit so we're all wearing sweaters and drinking hot coffee and cocoa. I think Lin and the others have been making garlands, because there are paper-ring strings hung everywhere.

I haven't really been to see anyone yet, I've been sticking to my basic duties, my bunk with Junpin, Gilda and Julia and the medical facility. This morning, when I was in the Server IV chamber, CRAVE spoke to me. Got me thinking.
"MSR2 Greene. May I ask you a question?"
"Sure."
"I understand the symptoms and qualities of space-born illness, but i cannot compute the emotional triggers behind them. Why did you shout at Flight Engineer R3 Yang?"
"Well... I happen to like Pilot Hamatsu. She was spending a lot of time with him and I was not. So I got angry."
"Please explain."
"Well when people like someone they want to spend time with them. But if someone else is, I guess people feel awkward about being around them if they are a couple."
"So you feel awkward around them because they are a couple and because of this you yelled at Flight Engineer R3 Yang?"
Sigh. "Yeah. I guess."
"When you say couple I assume that you mean mated pair."
"Geez, CRAVE I don't know if they're mating."
"Do you believe Flight Engineer R3 Yang to be unsuitable for Pilot Hamatsu?"
"....No."
"Do you believe that Flight Engineer R3 Yang is inferior to yourself or someone else aboard the Zephyr IV?"
"No, CRAVE."
"Is there a more feasible reason for you to be angry with Flight Engineer R3 Yang?"
"No."
CRAVE was quiet for a moment. I was too. I wasn't sure how to explain jealousy to an AI, but I didn't have to. I was working it all out in my head.
I'm such a jerk.
"I do not understand certain nuances of human culture."
"I don't either CRAVE, its all right."

You know, the fact that I'm out in space and not on an inhabitable planet doesn't really bother me.  At least, not that I'm aware of. I think maybe it's the emptiness of outside that does.

------- End Trans. -------

12.08.2015

Entry 11

December 8th - Sector Q247 - MSR2 Nora Greene

I know. I know. It has been over a month. Everyone has been telling me to update my stupid CoreComm entries like its going to help. I'm only doing it now because Junpin, Mickey, Julia, Royce and all the other cook staff threw me an intervention. Even Archie was there. They sat me down so I couldn't escape and tried to get me to talk to them, but I didn't want to, so they demanded that I update my CoreComm.

I only agreed because they said they would leave me alone. I was probably being a little hard on them but... I just haven't felt like it.

Anyway... so we made it out of Border Space last week. With the mapping program we have, apparently we are in Q247. In layman's terms, its takes into account the infinite span of space and lays out segments of it like chunks of a sphere, bubbling out from our known space. We are in Q247.

Ok, so I've been in a really crappy mood. Remember that nonsense at the Halloween thing? How I was too embarrassed to talk to Masaru, and how I may have sort of gotten drunk to the point of no-memory? Well, I finally got over myself enough to go talk to him. I have Junpin and her critical snarkiness to thank for that one. I hunted him down after dinner only to find him holding hands with Lin watching some sappy movie as she cried into his shoulder. They were all snuggled up and everything, so I left.

Man I haven't felt so crappy since high school drama. I guess.... I just got really upset, you know? Here I am, crushing on this super talented, nice guy, out in space, alone with a small crew and nothing but stars and processed food, and there he goes picking Lin: the happiest, most upbeat and kind and pretty and talented and smart and -

Whatever.

So yeah. I should have known after seeing them dance on Halloween. She knows about classical music and opera and stuff like that and so does he and frankly they belong together and I wish them the best of luck.

I have analysis to run.

------- End Trans. -------

11.03.2015

Entry 10

November 3rd, 2163 - Border Space - MSR2 Nora Greene

What a Weekend.
I know that weekends in space are different, and that we all kind of work all the time, but this counts as a bonafide weekend.

It started with me and Julia trying to figure out a costume. We weren't the only ones, either. We ended up spending a lot of time with Lin Yang, an engineer who works with Archie. She's sort of the total opposite of Junpin, is always happy, and loves, loves, loves her work. She was hot-gluing scrap metal and broken bits of spare machinery together and said she was making herself into an android. (She was a lot of fun at the party too.)

Julia and I thought up all sorts of really dumb costume ideas. We were going to turn our jump suits inside out and make paper name tags to pretend to be garage attendants.  Another idea was to put medical tubing in our hair and being a pair of gorgons. The final decision was using our bed sheets as togas and going as a pair of muses. We did each others hair (or rather, Julia did mine, and I valiantly attempted to do hers. Junpin fixed it.)

Saturday started out like a normal day; we all did our work, I checked the systems and found no out-of-place anomalies. When it approached 1900 hours Julia and I got ready and we all piled into the hanger. They did a pretty good job for last minute, like the Space Prom. People had made little cut-out pumpkins and skulls and things, and there was more punch and snack foods, and we even had a bobbing for apples. (They were totally fabricated - no stems, cores or pits!) The Captain didn't want us wasting our real fruit on a game, but I think the fake ones were actually MORE challenging.

Masaru was there, of course. He had on a Phantom of the Opera mask. (I don't watch or listen to musicals, so I had to have Lin explain it to me because she seemed to be the only other one who knew other then Archie.) His dress uniform ins in black, so he just had some artfully cut and pinned bits of paper to hide his name tag and serial number.

I remember that he asked me to dance once. It was very nice until I tripped on the end of my toga and almost flashed the rest of the crew. Julia helped me flee to fix my garment, but when I returned, Masaru was dancing with Lin and then had to leave.

I managed to pass off my disappointment with some more fermented/processed/ punch stuff. It was fun I think, until that point I can't remember.

Ugh.
Sunday was a total loss. I woke up in our bunk, told CRAVE to do a system scan and to let me know if anything goes wrong. Nothing did. Julia came in from time to time and fed me. CRAVE fabricated some vitamin juice for me (as well as several other people, mainly marines I was told.)

Monday was the I'm-going-to-do-my-job-so-that-no-one sees me. Julia was convinced I should go talk to him. But c'mon. I don't THINK I made a scene, but how can I be sure? Julia says I was fine bur... If you haven't figure it out yet, I'm a bit self conscious.

Today was a lot of the same... Man I am so gutless. I'm out in space with all of these people, and I can't even muster up the courage to laugh at myself.

Oh God I hope I didn't say anything TOO humiliating.

------- End Trans.-------

10.28.2015

Entry 9

October 22nd, 2163 - Border Space - MSR2 Nora Greene

Good news on many fronts, today. Firstly, I am no longer sick with Space Flu, which is nice. I don't have to wear a face mask, and I am no longer contagious! I'm still a bit congested, but Julia says it should pass in a day or two. Good thing, too! This brings me to Part Two of my Good News Bulletin:

 The morale aboard the Zephyr IV has improved at least tenfold since the party, so much so that Dr. Hynes has been able to get ANOTHER party approved! Considering the time of year (Earth time, anyway) It is a Halloween Party! There was a brief announcement from Captain Peterson about it this morning. She also went on to say that we have extra free hours this week so that we can use the recreation rooms to do crafts or make things for our costumes. (Don't ask me, I have no idea. I didn't bring trick- or- treating gear with me into space. I'll have to wing it just like everyone else.)

CRAVE has assured us that she will be able to handle all the minor subroutines, and that if she comes across any issues she will immediately alert us. Not much danger out here in Border Space, except of getting lost. Luckily, our Prime OS and CoreComm connections are still a-ok, so no risk of that happening any time soon.

But, even though I'm not horribly creative, I can fill you in on some ideas that he others have had. Mickey is going to go as a Mexican. He brought one of those great colorful ponchos with him, and apparently he plays the guitar. He's going to borrow the Sombrero that one of the Marines has hanging in his room if he can. (The fact that he's Samoan seems to make it funnier for him. Funny guy.) Junpin said she's going to go as a nurse. (Ok, that's not creative, but we all joked around that she would be a HAPPY nurse. Even she laughed.)

Lets see, Royce and Maria said they're going to try to make chef hats in the rec room out of paper and an old pillow case, and they'll wear the aprons. (They were going to be covered in red food coloring goop, but they had yet to clear violent costumes with the Captain. I mean, we're all adults here, should be fine, right?) Archie is going to paint his face like an owl and be the grumpy owl from the Disney Sword in the Stone. Julia and me are going to try and come up with something to do together. Three days to go and no effing clue.

On another note, I had a great discussion with Zee the other day. We were walking towards the Mess hall to eat dinner, and he asked me what Halloween was. It surprised me, because he's really up-to-date on a lot of our culture and history. At least, historical figures, and politics and (most) social nuances.

Anyway, I told him that it was a holiday that started off about the spirits of the dead, and turned into pretending to be something you aren't and getting candy.

He was quiet for a second then said, "I do not understand where the costumes come from."

This was hard for me to answer because well, I'd been raised in the 'wear-costume-get-candy' age, and a lot of the earlier stuff was lost on me. So I told him that, "I think that people used to dress up to scare off evil spirits, because back when it was All Hallows Eve, it was supposed to be the day that the dead could come back to life or something. Now, since we aren't as superstitious as we used to be, it just turns into dressing up and running around. Although, a lot of it is trying to be scary, too."

He looked at me sidways - which was his eye stalks rotating 90 degrees to look at me - and said, "We believe that he spirits of those passed are always nearby. You just need to be skilled enough to speak with them."

That got me thinking about it for a bit, slightly creeped out by his intensity. I was going to joke that he's already gotten into the Halloween Spirit, but I could tell he was being serious. When we got to the mess hall, everyone else contributed in describing the nuances of Halloween. And then HE came by.

Masaru Hamatsu.

He said that kids dressed up in Scotland in the 1800s and called it 'Guising' for the disguises they wore. They carried carved out turnips to scare away spirits, and trick-or-treating came from these same kinds memorizing jokes or riddles or songs to perform door to door, which is how they would get their sweets. Something also about getting all the goodies to bring home for their soul party where they would set sxtra seats for the dead.

That helped Zee a lot, he liked that. Then Masaru smiled at me. I'm pretty sure I smiled back, but I was a bit dazed at the time and now I can't remember. Oh God I hope I smiled back. I'll ask Julia later.

Julia asked Masaru what he was going to be for Halloween and he just kept smiling and shook his head. I guess that means it will be a surprise. He seemed excited about the idea. He asked what I was going to be, and I think I made the face of a fish gasping for water, so Julia rescued me with some obscure comment about it being a secret.

I've decided that I'm going to ask CRAVE to fabricate some pumpkins for us in the food processor. We'll see if they don't come out like pumpkin pie filling.

And now for Rec Room Time - C'mon Julia, lets come up with something good!!!!!

------- End Trans. -------

10.22.2015

Entry 8

October 22nd, 2163 - Border Space - MSR2 Nora Greene

 Border Space is such a drag. Its so bland out here. You would think, with how impossibly fast we're actually traveling, that we would pass something, like an interesting space-landmark I could tell you about, or an alien spacecraft, or even a meteor. Hell, I would have been thrilled to jot ANYTHING down. My normal journal is even worse, filled with eating habits and meal schedules, and a list of 'socially acclimatizing activities' for our doctors to review once a week.

But something interesting HAS happened recently. This past weekend (If you can call it that.) A whole bunch of fun stuff happened.

Well... I suppose I should record the not-so-fun stuff. Our friend Royce had... well an incident. He hasn't really spoken about it, but they had to restrain and treat him several weeks ago. From what Julia is allowed to say, he was depressed and felt anxiety and well... he tried to hurt himself. Zee has been spending a lot of time with him, the Zed are super spiritual. Julia says its doing Royce a lot of good.

He's doing much better, by the way. But the incident spurned the whole medical team into a sort of frenzy. They met a whole lot with the Captain, and planned things. They started utilizing the food processors in fun ways, trying to incorporate some of our limited additive supply to spice up the food. They have music available in all the major lounge areas 24-7 now, and they gave us extra social time. And on top of that - they planned a party.

At first everyone was kind of grumpy about it (for whatever reason) but naturally, we girls got all excited to gussy ourselves up, and wear our dress uniforms. The main launch bay was decked out in streamers and the lights were all flashy and spiny, and there was a bowl of punch and well... it was surprisingly festive. Like space-prom. CRAVE was our DJ and I'm pleased to say she did an excellent job.

I got to meet all the crew again, refresh on some names, and I even danced. Junpin and Mickey danced a lot (adorable) and even Julia got to dance with Royce. (Cute kid, looks so sad, but I swear he is doing so much better. Julia spends a lot of time with him, and I've never seen him smile so much as when he danced with her at this thing!)

Regardless of Archie's marital status, we did dance a few times, but it was very friendly. Besides - I got asked to dance by someone else. Masaru Hamatsu, the Pilot of the Zephyr IV. THE pilot.

I was by the punch bowl, chatting with Julia about Royce. I tried to put my hair up, and Julia had helped me, doing some sort of bobby-pin encrusted french braid to contain my short-ish hair. She had just asked me if I thought Junpin and Mickey would make it official when I got a tap on my shoulder.

He's probably as tall as me, a pretty average 5'6", kind of willowy with a kind and shy sort of smile. He bowed his head, and asked me to dance in a sweet Japanese accent. He is very soft spoken, and has this pony tail of downy soft black hair that makes me shiver in envy. His skin is this flawless, sunkissed tan, and even his teeth are perfect. He has a narrow, pointed chin with a razor's edge of a jawline, and almost  Elven cheekbones. (Dorky, I know. I read Tolkien, all right?) I mean when I looked at him, up close and not just a wave from across the room at assembly, my knees got all jello-y...

...How many people read this, anyway? Guess it doesn't matter.

Anyway, Masaru Hamatsu is gorgeous. And he asked me to dance. And he was very very good at it. As is my custom when talking to attractive people, I promptly clam up and nervously titter, and answer whatever questions. He asked if I liked the music - I said, "Sure, yeah it's all right."

He asked if I preferred other music. (His English is impeccable.)

I shrugged and said something like, "Oh I like all kinds of music, mostly the wordless stuff, things that help me focus on work and that I won't get distracted by with singing along OH MY GOD I'm sorry, was that your foot?"

He smiled and made polite conversation while we danced and then he excused himself, and Julia rushed over to give me the Interrogation. I downed a glass of fabricated red wine (not bad for processed beverage) and mumbled something about his face while she giggled about how delightfully red I was.

Then Captain Peterson got up and made the announcement that a member of the crew would like to perform for the rest of us. Julia and I exchanged furtive glances, knowing that it HAD to be our elusive violin player. And sure enough it was.

Masaru Hamatsu, the gorgeous virtuoso, got up in front of everyone and played us a breathtaking Sonata by heart. And when he finished, he gave a shy little bow, smiled over at us, and then vanished.

Julia and I retired shortly after, breathless from wowing and sighing. She determined that I HAD to ask him to sit with us at lunch, at LEAST so we could return the page of music we found. She also chastised me for not following him after he fled the impromptu dance hall. (I told her I was tired and surprised, and it happened so fast, blah blah. Honestly, I don't know what I could have said. What do you say, 'Oh hi, I've been stalking you without knowing that it was you for the past two months or so. You're so very hard to catch!'? Nah.)

And then the next morning I got sick.

Julia said it was Space Flu, common for long space voyages, and now I have to wear a crappy doctor's mask until I stop coughing. And of course, NOW is when I see Masaru EVERYWHERE, so I have to avoid him so he doesn't see me all gross and sickly.

GOD I hate Border Space.

------- End Trans. -------