A reptile dysfunction

Vagabond Tim

It all started in December of 1922.

The USSR has had, since its inception, a rather unique outlook on the world as well as somewhat inventive methodologies. While the western world was planting spies with the intention of one day activating them against their enemies, the USSR went a few steps further.

Generational agents were seeded around the world, the intention being that their children or perhaps grandchildren would one day be called to action. With the fall of the USSR in 1991 many of these agents were simply forgotten. While their homeland failed to remember their goals and mission, the agents themselves did not.

Joel McLaren was one such agent. He also happened to be a gecko. I believe I mentioned that the USSR had, to put it politely, unique methods.

On June 19th 2014 a mission was launched to determine the feasibility of generational ships in space, specifically to determine the effects of microgravity on reproduction and fetal development. Of course Russia, being the primary ideological descendant of the USSR, declared this mission to be a frivolity and named it the gecko sex satellite. This was a fairly obvious attempt to divert world attention from their actual goals.

In the years prior, despite vastly increased funding to the space agency, the world at large had effectively dismissed Russia as a player in the space exploration game, which was Russia’s intention when it staged two colossal and very well publicised failures. This mission was given almost no attention by the media, it’s findings would belong exclusively to Russia.

The crew of this most important of missions consisted of four women and one man. It was the choice of this particular man that would bring about one of the most disastrous outcomes in the history of space exploration.

The crew consisted of  Alexandra Rabinovitch, Maya Sarnychev, Oksana Lesnichy, Emma Bolshov, and the only non-Russian one Captain Joel McLaren. Joel was recruited for both genetic compatibility and the rather powerful yet covert support of some of Russia’s old guard, specifically those who still owed allegiance to the USSR.

The ordinarily tight lipped the russian government buried any scant shred of evidence they uncovered. The entire mission was treated as another in a long line of Russian follies in space. The truth, were it made public, could devastate the hard won reputation of ineptitude Russia has cultivated. Worse still if it were to become public knowledge that not only was the Soviet Union still very much alive, countless long term plans could be compromised.  

June 1 2014

In a small roadside pub outside moscow, one Captain Joel of the satellite of love sits drinking. They would have cut him off hours ago but the combination of national hero and gecko drinking from a thimble was to strange to respond to. Eventually after one to many remarks to one to many waitresses the owner was forced to call the Main Directorate.

Within minutes a group of military police arrived to retrieve him. Apparently they had been searching the base for quite some time  as he has not received clearance to be off base.

When asked why he went AWOL his drunken response was essentially that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission, followed by some ethnic slurs and claims that he was in fact the lizard king.

Belligerent and cocky Joel was determined to make it as difficult as possible for these MP’s to bring him in. A brief physical altercation took place, it might have resulted in quite a bit of damage to the furniture if it were not for the fact that he stood about 4 inches tall and was attempting to combat several well trained human adversaries. The reality of the altercation was that he ran up a wall and onto the roof and drunkenly hurled insults about their parentage until someone grabbed a broom and shooed him back into his plexiglass enclosure.

A series of unexplained and minor setbacks that all pointed at Joel but could not be proven caused the mission to be delayed by three weeks, russia publically blamed electrical problems. If there had been a suitable alternate they most certainly would have tried to have Joel replaced, fortunately for him his alternate had met with a highly unlikely accident that could in no way be traced back to him.

The delays allowed for a few small replacements to be made onboard. On a shuttle every microgram is accounted for, sneaking a weapon onboard is simply not an option. The result being that several canisters of food were left on earth, in their place was a taser and sedatives. The majority of ground control knew nothing of the changes, those who did vehemently deny that this ever took place.

July 19 2014

The mission launched according to its new schedule from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. As soon as the flight doors were closed Joel exited his safety harness and removed his flightsuit calling it annoying and pointless, if there was a malfunction a small layer of plastic wasn’t going to make any difference. His crew objected, not entirely to the logic but to the fact that their captain was now strutting around the cabin naked and doing impressions of the ground crew doing the countdown.

His only response to the suggestion that he sit down was to intimate that they would need to ‘become familiar with all shipboard equipment’ while thrusting his pelvis. The crew responded by calling him unprofessional and a pig. Prior to launch he made his way back to his seat and strapped in, still naked.

July 24 2014

Maya Sarnychev, communications officer, discovers an anomolous reading in the system, within minutes all communication goes dark. They are unable to contact anyone on the ground. Unbeknownst to her the satellite is still sending its trajectory and internal status reports to those at mission control. The crew then spends the next 24 hours forgoing sleep and working constantly to determine the source of the error and reestablish comminications.

July 25 2014

Exausted and alone in space the crew begins their mission, this of course includes copulation with their captain, Most of the crew would rather send him out an airlock, but loyalty to mother Russia stays their hands. The crew retires to the enclosure for the night, trusting in its isolated internal life support systems in spite of the malfunction of the satellite itself.

July 26 2014

Joel McLaren slips out in the middle of the night and enters a series of commands that seals the enclosure and ensures he will be unimpeded in the rest of his covert mission. When he returns to the enclosure to confirm success he notes the absence of the crews medical technicians Alexandra Rabinovitch and Emma Bolshov.

Jul 28 2014

Joel fixes the errors he caused in the communication system but refuses to respond to any messages from command. Command reports to the world that communications have been reestablished, neglecting to mention that although technically the system functions they are unable to raise the crew. Still unable to locate the missing crew Joel manually severs any means of direct verbal communication with command. He informs his illicit superiours of the qualified success thus far and establishes a link between their servers and the satellite allowing them to retrieve any and all information gathered without mission command being aware.

July 30 2014

Since food is only dispensed within the enclosure Emma Bolshov begins searching for whatever cache of food Joel has reasoning that if he planned to survive outside the enclosure with them locked inside he must have a stash somewhere. She encounters Joel while searching, not expecting him to be armed she is caught unaware by the taser, her bound unconcious body is thrown into the enclosure as the crew within sleeps. The door again locked. Those within had no chance to make a move to escape when the door was opened.

July 31 2014

Alexandra Rabinovitch still evading Joel attempts to open the enclosure and free the rest of the crew, Joel renders her unconcious with the taser and as the rest of the crew watches she is placed in an airlock and exposed to the freezing effects of space. Hers will later be the body used to support the rumours of a system failure resulting in mummification. Her death is relatively quick.

August 20 2014

The female crew, those still alive, begin to lay clutches of eggs. The enclosure begins flooding with sedatives.

Aug 21 2014

For the next week the eggs are measured and undergo various scientific tests, Joel wears his flightsuit and uses an oxygen tank to avoid the effects of the sedatives.

Aug 28 2014

Tests completed Joel removes his flight suit and external oxygen tank and turns off the life support system before carrying Alexandra’s corpse into the enclosure. The entire crew is dead within a few hours.

Sep 1 2014

The satellite, controlled remotely by mission control, lands near Orenburg in southern russia. Conflicting reports about the outcome are issued to the public. Mummification due to freezing being the most cited by the western press. The Russian space agency quickly discovers that the internal logs indicate the crew has been dead for over six weeks. The logs are clearly falsified. Any and all actual data that may have been stored in the computers was  destroyed prior to the satellite landing.

Sep 6 2014

Sergei Savelyev, a russian scientist and whistleblower releases a statement to the effect that the crew did not die of freezing, and were alive until two days prior to landing.

This statement is largely ignored due to the public mockery of the project. Those responsible evade all blame. Public record states that the tragedy was just another example of russian incompetence.

Sep 10 2014

The missing data that was covertly sent to Joel’s commanders is analyzed at a secret facility in Moscow. The USSR space program begins planning the next phase of their experiment. The agency quietly allows the americans to do all the legwork in getting to mars. Using the american intel they begin planning a mammalian test, the results of which will facilitate a long term generational voyage.

July 15 2016

The scheduled launch date for the USSR’s own version of manifest destiny.

The Russian colonization of the red planet.

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