Thursday, September 17, 2015


Ashima Gone Babylon
By Matthew Lee

     As a close personal friend of Luke Serapis, one of the crew currently at the Osiris Mining Base on Ganymede, I am writing to you regarding information I have which could aid your rescue mission. According to CNN this morning, NASA have lost communication with the base, and I fear my misgivings about the situation were correct. I have been advised to contact you first.
     Luke and I have been exchanging emails almost on a daily basis since he left Earth, in which he has described to me in some detail the events that have taken place, and in particular the condition he refers to as “Going Babylon”--information which will hopefully prove extremely valuable. On a professional level, I am electrified by the prospect of samples being obtained from the subterranean sea, and as Luke’s close friend, concerned. Understandably. Also, with luck, by revealing these snippets of our compelling correspondence to you, I will pave the way to clearing NASA’s somewhat tarnished name.
     As time is clearly of the essence to everyone involved, I have collated the email samples into five parts.
     Part 1 (Touchdown to In a While, Kocourdile) - In one email, Luke says that Engineer Pavel Kocourek “had the mind of another” when he destroyed that mining equipment. He details the declining atmosphere in the base until the shuttle Peto arrived with the replacement parts and to haul the crazed Czech back to Earth.
     Part 2 (Ashima Gone Babylon to Drillin’ Tonite) - I was intrigued by his reports of Ashima drinking “half the water supply in one morning” and then moved when I read that her eyes had gone “filmy and milky”. He said the change that came over her was more abrupt and more complete than that which had come over Kocourek. As you may know, Ashima’s relationship with Luke was intimate, (I have discreetly omitted some of the more sensitive details he gave me, but, naturally, these could be provided) and he suffered immensely after Commander Meredith unlawfully decided to put her in isolation. Then he goes into considerable detail about the altercations that took place when they realised Ashima had actually welded herself into that room. This would be of help should the Commander’s various misdemeanours be investigated.
     Part 3 (Non Compost Mentis to Got any Chapstick?) - Personally, when the plants in the hydroponics section yellowed, I didn’t blame the Commander for accusing Luke of having poisoned the soil. But I do have Luke’s comprehensive version of events - that Ashima had somehow tapped into the water reclaimer so that moisture would enter her room but not come out. The seal was hermetic even before she welded it shut. It would be interesting to know how this compares to your official version.
     Part 4 (Personas non gratas to Hot Water) - His queer ideas that you insisted on going ahead with the drilling project “only to get samples before the Chinese did” and that “you were disregarding his warnings” possibly illustrates how the dehydration was affecting him. He also describes the strange noises that came from behind Ashima’s door. These he describes as “sloshings” and “gurglings” and “like a pack of angry killer whales mating”. Admittedly, at this point, I was was actually starting to worry.
     Part 5 - (I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff...) In the last email I received from Luke, he talks about the Commander’s decision to force his way through her door with cutting tools. (Can’t say I blame him. I learned how terrible dehydration is during a heatwave in Anguilla.) And as you lost contact with the base at this point, we can only speculate on the way things progressed from there.
     I believe my information would help the prepare the rescue team for their findings on arrival at the base. It will not be pretty.
     Although some of Luke’s claims are quite far-fetched, let us not forget that he witnessed the events first-hand and his testimony should not be disregarded. I agree with Luke and urge that a serious study on “the Babylon Effect” is carried out before any further mining operation is planned. You may be right in speculating that the crew were affected by gas from the mines, or there was some other environmental factor that affected them so. In want of another explanation, it may just be that Luke was right when he felt “something or someone down there was telling them not to drill into the subterranean sea”.
     I pray for the success of the mop-up operation. And should you desire complete versions of the emails, please do not hesitate to contact my agent. Naturally, exclusivity can also be offered.

Dr. Jeremy Shiga, Associate Professor of Marine Biology, Oslo University

PS. Personally, I don’t believe that Kocourek and Ashima were actually working for the Chinese. But, you never know, do you?

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Matthew Lee is currently teaching English in Zaragoza, Spain, and sometimes feels like he spends more time correcting writing than producing it. One of his goals is to tip that balance. Occasionally he thinks about his native England.

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