PILGRIM: Travels in Space
Mysteries and Obscure Knowledge
Huxley 73777899 & Baxter 12120099
Two large Martian Freighters by the names of Huxley and Baxter, shipping large amount of hydrogen gas from Galilea Prime, suffered some form of engine failure whilst in the middle of the Trojan Asteroid Group just outside of Jupiter. Both sent forth distress calls promptly, requesting a tow back to Jupiter for repairs. Ships were dispatched, but upon arriving at the coordinates relayed to them, both ships were gone. Scans of the surrounding area revealed small shards of scrap matching the hull compositions of each ship. However, no significant portions of either ship were revealed.
Whilst this may seem rather cut-and-dry for a mystery, considering the number of pirates living in the Belt Territories, everything deepened when two weeks after the distress call, another transmission from the two ships reached Jupiter dispatchers, entirely out of the blue. The transmission itself was garbled beyond comprehension, but strange things would happen when the audio was processed. Some people would hear fragments of Captain Margalis, the Baxter’s captain, claim that ships of unknown design were attacking and boarding the vessel, prompting him to engage a self-destruct. Other people would hear from Captain Dalia of the Huxley, in the exact same audio file, claiming that the Baxter being bathed in a red energy field, before organic material grew across her hull and took over the ship.
The ships were lost in 2178, and no trace of either has been found since. Nevertheless, periodically over the years, short radio transmissions can be picked up from their frequency, usually once every two or three years. The transmissions are either static, or garbled noises. Attempts to trace the location of the signals have failed, leading many to believe that the vessels are still traveling through the Belt Territories.
It’s common knowledge that before terraforming projects were underway on Europa, the moon had an ocean underneath its ice shell. Scientists postulated for decades that life could exist in that ocean. Thorough biological screenings and exploration within that sea revealed no life. However, many people hold to the idea that the vehicles and instruments those scientists used were unable to accurately detect lifeforms that might exist in the seas.
Strings of strange maritime disappearances over the years have left numerous members of Europa’s boating and submarine community convinced that massive ‘Leviathans’ exist in deep caves and chasms under the sea, where the conditions keeps most people out. No major losses have occurred, but a higher-then-usual amount of ships and trawlers have disappeared without a trace. Not only that, but several animal species imported from Earth to populate Europan oceans, especially whales, are steadily dying out, requiring cloning and breeding programs to sustain their populations.
ESDF Hammerhead’s Early Jump Gate Experiments
One of the most famous ghost stories in the Solar System is the loss of the Hammerhead, an Earth military vessel which was assigned by the fleet to work with commercial interests in 2090, developing the first jump gates which would eventually connect most planets in the system.
Despite unusual readings and concerns from the various officers running the gate and the vessel, tests went forward. The prep sequence and launch all occurred within expected parameters, but vessels stationed in orbit around Jupiter, the output location, received no word from the Hammerhead. Two weeks after the event, a radio communique apparently from the middle of the Kuiper Belt was received by stations around Jupiter, identifying that the vessel in question had survived the jump, but that a miscalculation in the gate itself had flung the vessel far further before the crew could engage an emergency reversal and stop transit.
Infrequent communications would come back from the crew, which had decided to try to begin traveling towards Earth on conventional drives, a trip which would take years, considering the power of early starship engines and their extreme distance. Cryosleep was being prepared (a process taking a month), but before that could be achieved, dissension amongst the crew broke out, along with paranoia, psychotic behavior, and a variety of other mental dangers. Transmissions became infrequent, until one final brief message, where the second-in-command declared in frenzied tones that she would be venting the crew out into space.
No knowledge of what fate befell the Hammerhead exists, since the vessel hasn’t yet been found, despite many expeditions over the years. Nevertheless, numerous ghost stories have sprouted, suggesting alien diseases, government interference, and even supernatural involvement as possible culprits for the breakdown in the crew.