Project #24: The Vaporous Chemical Dispenser for the Standard Starship’s Air Recycling and Purification Systems, by Galaxy Ranger Buzzwang.

5/1/2087 1305hrs

    This project was inspired by an offhand comment made by Ranger Walter Hartford while in hyperspace to Earth, aboard the starship Ranger 1, from Bisty Fenokee (see mission logs; file #463889). To quote Ranger Hartford’s remark, "This place sure does stink. I wish we had some way of making this recycled air smell better." (Refer also to audio logs; file #98667321.)

    After the success of my Buzzbot experiment, I had decided to take Ranger Hartford up on his suggestion. Although I, myself, lack the appropriate sensors to analyse and comment upon the odour or apparent lack of quality to the starship’s air, I nonetheless felt it wise that I attempt to create a better working environment for the Series 5 Rangers.

Entry 1:
9/1/2087 0930hrs

    Having ascertained that my own mission roster was relatively free for the next week or two, I requested and received the appropriate clearance to make use of a small section of Longshot’s chemical laboratories. Q-Ball has been most helpful in securing the necessary clearance. My complaints about how much the bureaucratic procedures appear to have become more complicated (see Form 32a #3760) when it comes to applying for permission to use the research facilities seem to have slipped through the cracks once again.

Entry 2:
13/1/1087 1849hrs

    Spent my first two days sorting through and analysing the 854,981 references to "olfactory pleasures" that could be found in the research facility’s library. (Actually, more than 67,983,921 references were found, but most were of the type that cannot, unfortunately, be printed in a report of this kind. Personally, I found it to be a pity; a great number of these texts provide for some fascinating reading.)

    My true experiments began on the morning of the third day. By combining the knowledge I obtained from several hundred detailed books on the manufacture of perfumes, I first began to create my control sample. I had decided to compose a chemical that would give off a subtle fragrance. I used a recipe I had pieced together from fractured documents to recreate a popular women’s perfume of the early 21st century. Though some small setbacks happened (see forms 54 and RE0021 #4693 and #99081 respectively) I successfully recreated the perfume. The perfume now sits in Longshot’s cool storage (sample BP#028).

Entry 3:
19/1/2087 2200

    This is most unsatisfactory.

    It has been close to a week since my last entry. I have not yet managed to synthesise a modified version of my control sample. What I aim for is to create a new smell; something like the control sample, but unlike it at the same time. Something that will be appealing to both the men and women who will almost constantly be crewing the starships throughout their long interplanetary journeys.

    Unfortunately, no real breakthroughs have come about. I have so far obtained five samples – two of which turned out to be illegal substances, another two proved to be extremely flammable and the last one, as I am told by the lab techs, "smells like a dead skunk factory". These samples (and the remains of two of them) are in cool storage (samples BP#029 - #033).

    Perhaps I will have better luck tomorrow.

Entry 4:
23/1/2087 1753hrs

    I think I’ve done it! After twelve days of ceaseless experimenting, I have finally managed to synthesise the perfect fragrance. Tests on its flammability, viscosity and acidity have yielded results that are extremely encouraging to the purpose of my experiment. Also, since I am no real authority on how good or bad a smell is, I employed the lab techs’ expertise to test the ‘goodness’ of the sample’s fragrance. As before, the results are extremely encouraging. The recipe for the perfume has been stored into the databanks (file #4426).

    I will send this sample and a quick report to Q-Ball, then get to work manufacturing more of it. I will also ask if Q-Ball may help me in obtaining permission to field test this fragrance in its intended environment (in a starship).

Entry 5:
27/1/2087 1030hrs

    After a further three days of wheeling and dealing, and a lot of earnest appeals on the parts of both Q-Ball and myself, Commander Walsh finally relented and gave me permission to test my fragrance. Also during those three days, Q-Ball and I have built a small dispensary unit (the specs of this unit can be found in Longshot’s databanks) to be attached to a starship’s air circulatory system. Now the question of which ship to test it on becomes paramount.

    Fortunately, Ambassador Waldo and Ranger Hartford were both quite eager to find out about the sample. With their support, we managed to convince Captain Zachary Foxx to allow me to use Ranger 1 as the starship for my field test. The techs installed the sample dispensary unit into Ranger 1’s circulatory systems and it will be ready for testing when we blast off for our next mission.

Entry 6:
6/2/2087 1400hrs (Earth Standard)
Starship Ranger 1

    We are now just leaving Earth orbit. I’m told that this will be a routine mission to the Jade-Wokev borders (see mission logs; file #470011), and that our journey will be a relatively short one. Still, I am pleased to have been given this chance to test my sample.

    The unit has just activated and so far the responses have been good. Ranger Niko herself has expressed surprise at the change. Ranger Hartford and Ambassadors Waldo and Zozo also seem very pleased. Only Captain Foxx and Ranger Shane Gooseman have deigned to comment.

    The ship is readying to enter hyperspace once we are out of the path of lunar traffic, and we should arrive at the Jade-Wokev border in a matter of hours.

Entry 7:
6/2/2087 1920hrs (Earth Standard)
Space Station Luther, Jade-Wokev System

    We have arrived at the Jade-Wokev border. Everything has gone well, although the sample is indicated to be more than halfway finished already. I’m afraid I had not made enough. Still, it serves its purpose. Perhaps next, I shall work on some way of manually adjusting the amount of fragrance released into the air.

Entry 8:
8/2/2087 0930hrs (Earth Standard)
Starship Ranger 1

    Our mission at Jade-Wokev is done. We are now leaving Space Station Luther and are inbound for Earth.

    I am very happy with the results of the field test so far. Once we are back home, I shall certainly apply to have the dispensary units and the fragrance to be tested some more. If all the field tests are this encouraging, then I think I may be able to get the perfume and the dispensary unit to become a standard addition to all our starships.

Entry 9:
8/2/2087 1055hrs (Earth Standard)
Starship Ranger 1

    Oh, dear! Things have taken a sudden turn for the strange aboard Ranger 1.

    It started just thirty minutes after we had entered hyperspace. Ambassador Zozo, who had not exhibited any signs of illness or exhaustion, suddenly curled himself into what can be described as a fetal position and fell asleep. He gave no response of any kind to Rangers Hartford’s and Gooseman’s attempts to stir him.

    Ten minutes later, Ambassador Waldo began to fidget in his seat. It is in my opinion that his continued movement served to irritate Ranger Gooseman, who asked the Ambassador what was wrong. The Ambassador’s reply was quite perplexing in that he said, and I quote: "My dress has no lace!" again and again. Then, the Ambassador rose from his seat and, after observing us for several long moments, said, "You three need a good bath and shampoo." Looking down upon the slumbering Ambassador Zozo even as I thought to tell him that I did not ever need to bathe, Ambassador Waldo then said, "The poor baby is obviously in need of his nap. I shall have to bathe him later." So saying, he picked up the hem of his robes and made his way to the cockpit somewhat imperiously.

    Ranger Hartford attempted to communicate his distress to the Captain only to receive a rather terse and clipped reply indicating that the Ambassador had already made his presence known in the cockpit. I could plainly hear, in the background, Ranger Niko trying to placate the Ambassador by telling him where the sewing kits were stored.

    Ranger Hartford turned to me and told me to watch over Ambassador Zozo whilst he and Ranger Gooseman make their way to the cockpit. However, his suggestion seemed to be lost on the other man. Ranger Gooseman growled and began a series of what I can only call ‘stalking maneouvres’. At Ranger Hartford’s query, he only gave the reply that he was "hunting Hyrean field rats". Both Ranger Hartford and I thought this very strange, especially since we were nowhere near the Hyrean system to pick up any of their rats in the first place.

    Ranger Hartford then dashed off by himself towards the cockpit, leaving me to monitor both Ranger Gooseman and Ambassador Zozo. After a long wait, however, Ranger Hartford still had not returned. By that time, Ranger Gooseman had stalked off into the cargo hold of the starship, shouting that he would "destroy the evil fiends’ nesting grounds with his bare hands" and left his weapons behind on his seat. Knowing that Ranger Hartford had instructed me to watch over the sleeping Ambassador, I nonetheless decided to head off to the cockpit myself, intending to seek advice from Captain Foxx.

    Along the way, I almost collided with Ambassador Waldo, who now seemed to be intent on sewing himself a new article of clothing from his robes that he had previously worn. He studiously ignored my observations that he had neglected to put on his spare set of robes. Not knowing the proper way to address an Ambassador who was in the nude, I continued on to my task of speaking to the Captain.

    The doors to the cockpit were sealed. Nobody answered my communications, although GV assured me that Captain Foxx and Ranger Niko were in there. At my insistence, GV requested that they allow me in, but reported back to me a moment later, saying that the Captain had ordered that he should not be disturbed. I then asked that GV request permission from Ranger Niko. After another moment, I learnt that she, too, had given orders very similar in content to Captain Foxx’s. Helpless, I could only leave.

    I thought to find Ranger Hartford and enlist his help. I found him near in the main corridor. He had pried open one of the panels that covered one of the ship’s many data nodes and was accessing his CDU. At my query, he only stated that he was to become "one with the machine". No amount of discussion would change his mind.

    What am I to do?

Entry 10:
8/2/2087 1140hrs (Earth Standard)
Starship Ranger 1

    Ambassador Zozo still sleeps. Occasionally, he mumbles things in his sleep that I have not been able to catch. Ambassador Waldo seems to have finished his dress (for want of a better word) and is moving briskly along the entire lengths of the ship (or what areas that are accessible) commenting on how dusty the whole place is and lamenting on not being able to find a good mop.

    Ranger Hartford has not moved from his place. He carries on some interesting arguments with his programs, and seems to be trying to jury rig a set of data input plugs that would be able to fit into his badge socket. I can only guess that he is attempting some kind of information transfer, though whether it be from his CDU to the ship or vice versa, I cannot be sure. He has so far refused to comply with my request that he leave the data nodes alone. He has pulled rank on me twice and threatened to switch me off three times unless I leave him be.

    Ranger Gooseman has sealed the cargo hold off to any outsiders. I can faintly hear sounds of activity behind the doors, and video logs (file #66529300) confirm this to be a form of intense shadow-boxing. From time to time, Ranger Gooseman shouts something that sounds like a "Hoo-yah!" but I cannot be absolutely sure.

    The cockpit remains sealed. For some reason, I cannot access the video logs to find out what happened in there. Neither Captain Foxx nor Ranger Niko will answer my pleas to open the doors and I have no way of assuring myself that they are all right. GV tells me that they are indisposed and cannot be disturbed for any reason at all.

Entry 11:
8/2/2087 1216hrs (Earth Standard)
Starship Ranger 1

    The ship is still moving in hyperspace, so we should arrive at Earth in about two hours from now.

    I have been contemplating everyone’s odd behaviour and the possible causes for it. I have ruled out xenoviruses as everyone here had undergone decontamination procedures prior to our leaving Space Station Luther. I have also ruled out concussions, prior psychological trauma, and hyperspace fever. The only thing left to consider is the sample I had installed.

    It pains me to think that my sample could be the reason why things have become so unruly, but I have no other explanations. I shall have to gain access into the air circulatory systems and unplug the unit, or better yet, remove the sample from the thing entirely. Also, I shall probably have to replace the air that remains in the ship with something untainted. I hope that the air purification system has not been damaged in any way.

    I write this now before I go into the bowels of the ship because I am concerned that I may not be able to return to end this report. Ranger Gooseman still has the cargo hold to himself and has taken my suggestions that he open the door quite badly. Perhaps I may be able to trick him into opening the doors.

Entry 12:
8/2/2087 1600hrs

    My plan to remove the dispensary unit while in hyperspace was unnecessary, as it turned out. Even as I arrived at the cargo hold, Ranger Gooseman opened the doors out of his own volition. He looked quite puzzled and dishevelled. His clothes were torn in some places and, when I asked him how it came to be that way, he told me that he vaguely remembered something about seven-foot tall Hyrean rats armed with retractable claws in the hold. He seemed distressed when we could not find any evidence of such a creature.

    His mood alleviated when we met up with Ambassador Waldo in the corridors. The Ambassador was still dressed in his new cut of clothes and Ranger Gooseman was quite frank in his critique, after which the Ambassador demonstrated a heretofore unsuspected proficiency in the use of certain words within the English vocabulary.

    Ambassador Zozo was still asleep in his seat, and remained so until we touched down in BETA Mountain.

    Ranger Hartford was unconscious in front of the open data node. Obviously, his attempt at a direct data transfer did not go as well as he had hoped. Once he regained consciousness, he was determined to accompany us to the cockpit despite his complaints about having a "killer" headache.

    The doors to the cockpit were unsealed, to my relief. Entering, we found both Captain Foxx and Ranger Niko in their seats. Both insisted that they had not seen or heard anything while everything else was going on. We found no evidence to the contrary, aside from their slightly dishevelled look. For some odd reason, though, their faces would turn an alarming shade of red whenever they caught sight of each other.

    The only explanation I have for the sudden return to normality is that the sample of perfume has finished and the purifying systems have managed to purge any trace of the chemical from the air. (Later inspection of the ship’s circulatory systems and the unit itself confirm this.)

    We are now back in BETA Mountain. The dispensary unit has been removed as per everyone’s request and the sample sent to Longshot’s Chemical Testing Laboratories. Commander Walsh has ordered everyone to write a report explaining why Ranger 1 is in shambles. I have already completed and sent in mine.

Entry 13:
9/2/2087 1532hrs

    Commander Walsh called me to his office not more than two hours ago. He demanded a personal explanation of what had happened, since I was the only known sane and conscious observer. I only told him what I had written in my earlier report. He found it unsatisfactory, but let me off after a long grilling session.

    I almost bumped into Captain Foxx on my way out. He had schooled his face into an expression of intense stoicity (if there is such a word) and only nodded back in response to my greeting. Evidently, the Commander has demanded a personal explanation of the events from everyone who had been in the ship.

    I can only surmise what the Commander will decide to do with my precious sample. I hope that the results from the Chemical Testing Lab show nothing untoward about it.

Entry 14:
11/2/2087 1203hrs

    I have finally received word from Q-Ball. The results are in: my sample will be turned over to the Weapons Development Section in Longshot for a more indepth study into its applications. I have no idea what kind of applications a perfume could have in the field of warfare, but I can only comply with the decision. Q-Ball seems to be most interested in the developments of this project. While I am flattered that he finds it a subject of fascination, I cannot help but feel unhappy that it took an unfortunate incident to gain his attention.

Entry 15:
22/2/2087 1930hrs

    This will be my final entry for this project.

    It has been two weeks since the incidents aboard Ranger 1. There has been little to no mention of what happened outside of the odd rumour or two, and a limited edition of the video logs copied off the main databases that give unedited footage of Rangers Hartford, Gooseman and Ambassador Waldo during the aforementioned incident (files #66529299, #66529300 and #66529298). Commander Walsh had stepped in quickly and virtually eliminated all demand for such tapes with a well-delivered speech during an unofficial assembly. However, I’m told that the video footage for Ambassador Waldo’s brief romp in fashion land can still be found if one were to ask the right people.

    Of course, no one has yet been able to secure any kind of footage from the cockpit’s cameras, or even any audio logs. Not even Ranger Hartford can dig up anything, which is a very odd thing in itself. It is as if the whole cockpit had fallen into Antrope’s Edge during the entire incident. Both Captain Foxx and Ranger Niko maintain that nothing happened. GV remains tightlipped and will not tell us anything, either.

    On an odd note, Ranger Niko had come up to me yesterday and discreetly made inquiries about getting her hands on another batch of my perfume. She was disappointed, but understanding, when I explained that Commander Walsh had ordered me not to make any more of the perfume. Two hours later, Captain Foxx came up to me with the same request. He, too, left empty-handed. And just this morning, I spied the two of them together in Longshot’s library, apparently trying to locate my lab files (the one with the recipe I used to concoct my perfume). I wish them luck, as I certainly am not able to access my own lab file now.

    No one in the Weapons Development Section will answer my questions regarding my sample. The Commander himself has told me to stop asking around about this. I feel bad having to abandon a project in this way, but what can I do? The order comes from Commander Walsh himself, after all.

    Perhaps I may one day be able to find out what the real status on my perfume is. For now, though, I suppose I should satisfy myself with my new project.

End of Report.

 Starting point