Officer corps of the Leviathan-12
Mendoza aka “Signals” aka “all man baby” – computers, electronic warfare, signal intelligence
“Wrench” – mechanics , engineering
“Beaker” – high energy physics, hard sciences
“Doc” – medicine, surgery, biology, soft sciences
Stoma aka “Ex” – command, combat
New Mumbai, Luna
A bustling city of domes and spires. International center of commerce and trade, the crew of the Leviathan-12 enjoys surface-leave while their Captain leverages his government connections to secure a military contract to deliver a cargo shipment to a secret listening outpost in the Kuiper Belt.
Before clearing outbound customs, North Atlantic Space Command instructs Mendoza to install new military authentication software for safe transit and FoF identification. The system should be standard across all North Atlantic Treaty Space Command enforcement areas by the time the Leviathan reaches the next leg of its journey.
While still transition out of the Earth/Luna system, the ship is hit by automated weapon system left over from an old conflict. The incident is reported, and the journey continues despite the ill omen. Stoma and Beaker work on repairing the damage while Wrench operates a remote drone to assist. The ship is patched up, and it is discovered that one of the three cargo containers is filled with superconducting monomolecular wire which is somewhat (but not terribly) dangerous when unwound.
The computer plots course for a gravity assist at Jupiter. It takes the Leviathan-12 a little over a year to get there, and upon defrosting the crew receives the belated news of a global cyber-war on Earth. The war had spread to the colonies and is in the process of rapidly escalating to a hot-war. In response to the cyber threat, Jovian command refuses to accept automated authentication attempts from the NASC software agent, and Leviathan-12 falls back on manual codes. Troublingly, Signals discovers that the computer system had attempted to authenticate on its own before waking the crew.
Solid fuel cylindars are launched from one of the Jovian shipyards to top-off the Leviathan-12 without slowing it down, and the gravity assist occurs without further incident.
It is a couple of years later that Leviathan-12 arrives near its final destination, the Kuiper Belt object 58534 Logos. The crew is defrosted once again and awakes to grim news. Most of the crew is dead in their cryo-chambers, including the captain. More troublingly, some are missing. Perhaps worse, are the innumerable messages that have come in over the radio during the past two years in space.
They are facing a flood of events, and it takes some time to determine the best way to sort (Priority? They are all the highest. Ascending chronology? Too many threads to follow. Descending? The most recent events are too profound and chaotic to parse.) before the magnitude of what has happened can be parsed.
The war has escalated out of control. Earth has been entirely depopulated. Most of the colonies are either destroyed or isolated from communications. There seems to be an ongoing fall of transhumanity at large, and an uncertainty to wither the conflict is still occurring. Days pass drifting in space parsing the news that has found its way to the Leviathan-12 via radio.
There still seems to be a functioning outpost at Logos, however. The commander there says that they have ridden out the catastrophe in secrecy and intend to preserve their safety through continued radio silence until some sort of order emerges. Stoma mercifully neglects to mention that Mendoza has just rendered this a moot point for him.
The outpost still needs their cargo, and can offer air and fuel to the Leviathan. There is not enough capacity on the outpost to house the crew permanently, but after some frustrating negotiations Stoma manages to convince the outpost commander to meet in person on the surface.
Suspicions turn out to be justified when Stoma arrives at the main colony. The commander can not physically meet him, as he claims that he and the rest of the staff no longer have physical bodies – a result of a secret military program to place long-term staff at a small outpost so far from any supply lines. Where would they get food, or air? The program demanded that their minds be disembodied, and they paid a high price in service to their nation.
Stoma reports back to the surviving members of the crew, and after some discussion they are not entirely sure if they buy the story. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew has been battling a nasty computer virus on the ship. There are strong indicators that they are afflicted with some kind of Information Warfare program or virus, possibly picked up over the radio or possibly something to do with the program that NASC had them install before leaving Luna.
It seems like the program may have killed the rest of the crew, and is attempting to bring the ship down to the surface. Doc and Beaker decide that the best thing to do is make sure that they have a few clean, working and electronically isolated cryo-chambers so they can survive the journey back to one of the outer planets.
The Logos commander agrees to help them sterilize some of their cryo-units and re-wire them to be free of any potential viral infection. But when they bring them down to be worked on, they are ambushed by the very machines doing the work. The entire station turns against them.
Mendoza and Stoma lose their heads to maintenance bots and arc-welders that seem intent on harvesting their brains. Doc fights here way to a command and control center, and finds a computer system supporting a number of small tanks filled with human brains – supposedly the brains of the station crew but who can be sure? Doc smashes it all and escapes to the surface.
Back on the Leviathan-12, Wrench and Beaker repel more machines crawling up the docking tower towards their ship. The docking couplings and cargo rails are cut off the Leviathan in the battle, though it’s noting they’ll miss. Wrench is torn apart by drones.
Doc and Beaker are able to meet back aboard the ship, and the two survivors contact a pocket of anarchists with functioning habitats around Saturn. They set course for there, freeze up with the safest cryo tanks they can rig together, and hope for the best.