Legacy of Pandora had a series of log files that were in the original version that gave insight into Jeph’s thinking (and Rocky’s in at least one case). I think they deepened the back story a bit but they were removed in the final version. I think they might still be interesting to some readers.
Be aware there are some spoilers here so unless you’ve already Legacy of Pandora, read at your own risk.
This entry precedes Chapter One. This log entry is a bit heavy in exposition and so didn't make the final revision of the story, but it gives a bit more background on the character of Jephora Cochrane and what they are doing at the point the story starts.
Sometimes as I have looked over these logfiles I have had to remove dates because the sequence of events changed a bit in the final revision.
Jakob Waltz: Neptune L-4 Trojan Cluster:
Personal Log: 2243.104: Jephora Cochrane, CMDR
“Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of our launch. We’ve been out here in the Neptunian L-4 Trojan cluster for over three, and we’ve probably got at least three more before we can head home.
"Nothing ever changes. We’re six days from having pulled up stakes on Payload Four. That puts us about eight million klick from the chunk of frozen crap that was our last target, and maybe twenty-six million to the chunk of frozen crap that’s our next one.
“At this point I have to say, I don’t know why I took this charter. Wait, yes I do. It’s because, even after twenty years spent working my way through FleetCom postings, this was the only command seat they offered me. The command board would deny it, but I know it’s my light-world ectomorph physiology that kept me off the command list for a Multicruiser.
“There’s no place in the big chair for weak bones and muscles, but by now I’m surely qualified to at least captain a hospital ship. And because I always wear my Pressure Support Exosuit I am at least as strong as a Mesomorph, when I’m suited. It’s simple prejudice. Bureaucratic bastages.
“I shouldn’t bitch though, we’re doing a good job. Because we’re the first to ever try ice harvesting this way maybe we’ll end up recorded somewhere in a footnote of history. SourceCartel wants us to succeed and they invested a lot more into the Jakbo Waltz than they do into most ice harvesters, but still six to eight years in the deep is a tough run. It’s good that this is a cushy rig.
“We may have only boosted four icebergs so far, but that means we’ve already moved more water than the last three years of ice hauling from Saturn combined so I am sure the bottom line of the charter will be deep in the black. Twenty years from now, when these icebergs finally make it back to the belt, some fat old flatches down-system will be trying to figure out how to make a swimming pool on an asteroid.
“What we do is bone-numbingly simple work. There’s a little science when we pick a target, but once that’s done it’s all grunt labor from there. We mount a set of thermonuclear steam engines to a cometary iceberg, and then using the ice itself as reaction mass, we slow it down just enough that it falls inward toward the asteroid belt and the receiving station at 107 Camilla in the Cybele Cluster.
"You’d think somebody’d have come up with a better way to find water that was closer to home, but I guess not. At least we didn’t get all the way out here only to find there wasn’t enough to be worth the trip.
“Fortunately they also staffed the charter with a good crew, although I have to wonder how they talked most of them into taking a long run so far from home. We’re a good fit most days and it’s a bit more like being the head of a family than the commander of a crew. Once in a while I have to spank the kids, but most of the time it’s just trying to keep them entertained and out of each other’s hair.
“The problem is, now that we’re almost half way through the mission, we’re in the doldrums. In the mariner days of old-Earth, naval vessels would sometimes find themselves becalmed. Trapped in the middle of nowhere with no air to fill their sails and no hope of getting home unless the waves of wind moved favorably for them. We’re no longer at the whims of nature, so we never face the risk of becoming lost at sea, but the becalming of the soul can be just as terrifying as the fear of never being blown back to land was for them. Out here, there is only monotony, the endless black, and each other.
“It would be nice if something did change once in a while, but maybe I should just be thankful that everything’s still swinging in spec.
“End log. Annotate. Zip and link.”
This log would actually fall somewhere between Chapter Two and Three. There are some minor inconsistencies between this version and the final. (Anybody catch them?)
Jakob Waltz Command Log:
Attrib: Jephora Cochrane, CMDR
“Be careful what you wish for, eh? Was only a few hours ago that I was yammering about the doldrums, and now I’m hoping that we can get back to that monotony, and that we’re caught in a spacefaring version of dead air.
“At this point, we’re facing one of two possibilities, either some strange astronomical phenomena has gotten hold of us, or a dozen navigational systems that our lives depend on, have all gone insane simultaneously.
“Remote as that second possibility is, odds are that’s what it is. Nothing else adds up since you cannot make a high G burn for five minutes, and not change trajectory. But that’s exactly what the instruments are saying happened.
“Based on the assumption that it's an instrument malfunction, I ordered a ship wide test and recalibration of the NavCom system. We’re looking at twelve to sixteen hours before we know anything. In the meantime I‘ve cancelled further engine cycles until we can be sure that we know exactly where we are.
“The big issue is that the chances of all the systems failing at the same time are impossibly slim and there isn’t a critical failure point where all the systems link. Rocky pointed out that even if there was, why would we get erroneous information rather than no data at all?
“I also have to note in the log that Shona is adamant that this is not a NavCom error. She did point out that the beacons in the belt provide a manual backup to the computerized systems. She says she confirmed everything after the burn to be sure, but I don’t see how she can be right.
“If it turns out it’s not sensors, then we’re going to have to start looking beyond the ship for other possibilities, no matter how improbable. This brings me to the other issue I have. There are only two certified hard science types on the ship; a geophysicist and a medical doctor. Danel is easily the most educated member of the crew, so I set him to the task of figuring out what other possibilities exist.
“When I pressed him about the black hole idea he backed off. He tried to explain something about temporo-spatial contraction around a singularity and how it might affect our perception of location and velocity in a relativistic framework, but he admitted that he was fishing blind and hoping to scare up an idea.
“Until we know for sure what’s going on, I‘ve instructed Dutch to archive and link all shipwide activity back to SourceCartel command. I don’t want to focus on downside potential, but since it’s possible, however remotely, that this is some unexplained astronomical phenomena, I want to make sure there’s a record. I hope that’s just a waste of bandwidth, but at least if there is some future post-mortem investigation, they’ll have a starting point.
“So far we’ve got a lot more questions than answers. I’m hoping that when we get a reply from Galileo Operations they’ll at least be able to give us a clue as to where we should start looking. We’re on our own for another six hours. Minimum.
“End log. Annotate. Zip and link”More
This Log Entry falls somewhere near Chapter Three. Things were different in the first revision as Chei's backstory changed a bit and how they discovered his education was much more convoluted. Also the sensor/navcom diagnostic was a lot more complex process, so there was a lot more time for friction to develop with the crew members. You might also catch that it was Rocky and Shona that were at odds (They were in the final version too ... but it became more interesting to focus some of Rocky's friction on Alyx by giving her a more important role on the ship as a sensor specialist.
Jakob Waltz Command Log:
Attrib: Jephora Cochrane, CMDR
“After Danel Cross recommended a field commission for Technical Specialist Chei Lu, I ended up having a soul searching dialog with our chief engineer. She made it very clear that while she thinks Chei is a first class brain, she doesn’t think he has the necessary chops for an officer commission. I did point out to her that it will only be an acting position until we get back to Ceres, but she seemed to be more than a little distressed by his potential position. Regardless of her concerns as Executive Officer, Dr. Danel Cross and Dr. Anju Soresh both concur that he is satisfactorily qualified for the position.
“Therefore by the authority of my position as Fleet Ship Commander, effective today, I commission Chei Roderic Lu to the position of Acting Science Officer of the Jakob Waltz. I have instructed Dutch to provide Science Officer Lu with all ship command codes as appropriate to his new duties and responsibilities.
“Four years and suddenly we’re no longer an ice prospecting mission. What exactly we are is still unknown, as is our exact status. We received a substantial data transfer from the Core this morning and Danel and Chei have been talking math ever since. Have no clue what they are thinking on, but it is so far over the rest of our heads that we‘ve all decided to leave them to their own reality. Maybe when they get done chewing it up, they can translate to English for the rest of us?
“Hopefully Chei and Daniel will come up with something because I feel an undercurrent of something… maybe fear … in the crew. We’re not tooled to face this kind of problem and it won’t take long before it rips at us around the edges. I can already see it between Rocky and Shona, and I know that Seva has a light trigger even when things are within spec. Must keep them working as far from each other as possible given we’re stuck in a bottle together.
“For the sake of everyone, I ordered a rest period last third, and so when they all hit the deck this morning, they were a bit more like normal. I don’t think Kiro left the ComDeck all night though, so I may have to sit on him to make sure he does some offline today.
“End log, Annotate, Zip and link.”More
BIG SPOILER POTENTIAL HERE
This entry would fall around Chapter 7(ish). This entry is made by Rocky since things have REALLY changed on the Jakob Waltz. At this event in the original version we were closer to the middle of the story. There will be some notable differences in what she reports from this version and you will notice that she refers to a time and ship day rather than a date... Like I said earlier I tried not to put dates in the story because days can seem confusing in space anyway. (Remember Rocky speaks with an accent.)
Jakob Waltz Command Log:
Attrib: Petra Rocovicz, Engineer. Acting Mission Commander
“Not sure what is shift currently. Have not slept in over a day. Have been negligent in recording official log entry, however practical aspects of restoring and maintaining ship operations have dominated activities.
“On day 1483 at 1657 hours ship time, Jacob Waltz suffered substantial impact. Although initial indication was that cause was object, subsequent events have proven to be indicative of some other type of event. Ship has sustained moderate to severe damage.
“Do not know if mission should be aborted ,and in fact do not know if possible to return home even after completion of repairs. Have also not issued distress declaration due to risk of bringing another ship into proximity with unknown phenomena.
“All crew members have sustained some form of injury, however those with ectomorph physiology were most affected. Commander, navigator and sensor specialist are all currently unconscious and recovering from critical injuries.
“Doctor advises that Commander has severe concussion and facial fractures and will be confined to med bay for two shifts or more.
“Navigator MacKeigh is in induced coma while doctor prints skeletal components to replace shattered pelvis and legs. Is also undergoing regenerative treatment for damage to spinal cord. Doctor estimates will remain in coma for week or more before is safe to consider reviving. Thus far she has undergone multiple reconstruction procedures.
“Technical Crewmember Donegal is in worst shape. According to doctor, is miracle she lives. Injuries include neck, spine, and multiple cranial fractures. In total, she has fifty-seven broken bones, but doctor did not list these to me. She is also in induced coma and on intensive organ support, but neuro and tissue regeneration cannot begin until skeletal components are manufactured by medical printer. As doctor said, is pointless to repair nervous system if bones cannot protect. It may be extended period before she can return to duty.
“Doctor also has broken shoulder, and is using surgical augmentation arm in place of flesh arm. Controller interface is designed for maximum use of ten hours, and is starting to show indication of buffer-feedback issues to her controller implant. Other crewmembers are assisting her as they can, but as she is only qualified surgeon on board, we may have problem if her implant fails. Considering status of her other patients she has elected to continue duties as long as possible. I may have to order her to stand down.
“Ship has several systems that have been affected by impacts:
“AI processor is damaged or destroyed. Collateral systems to the AI Processor are not functional.
“High Definition Sensor Array is offline and potentially beyond repair. Without Technician Donegal to advise I am unable to further assess this system.
“Standard Long-Range Com is offline, although as of this shift we have restored limited bandwidth capability through secondary datanet.
“Main Power couplers have been restored. Engine and all HCF Reactors are undamaged.
“Minor structural damage to several external storage racks.
“All other systems are functional on secondary datanets.
“Pilot Kamoto volunteered to remain at station on ConDeck until Commander Cochrane is recovered sufficiently to resume duty. For moment, he is sleeping in seat at console. Until Doctor releases Commander, he is only one on ship who can effectively pilot. As skillset is essential to safety of ship, his presence on station at all times is sensible.
“What hit us is still unknown. Only possible explanation is gravitational shockwave of some type. Acting Science Officer Lu suggested idea as best explanation. Later impacts did follow a predictable pattern of decay in intensity as they progressed. He is theorizing potential co-rotating planetary mass singularities as possible source of waves, but to me this sounds fanciful at best. He is doing further research to see if possible to expand and verify his hypothesis.
“End log entry, and transmit.”More