Pete e-mailed this to me and asked me to post it for him -
In deep space, somewhere between Earth and the planet Mercury, our adventure begins. The following is an excerpt from the Journal of Medical Vatling Unit # 6279A:
We were four days away from arriving at our destination, the planet Mercury. Details of our mission, deemed top-secret by the military, were still being kept from the crew, and the secrecy was starting to take its toll. The ship's chaplain, no longer offered wine only at Sunday service, but at each and every confessional. I have to suppose it was an attempt to loosen tongues, and if so, then it had the desired effect. Some crew members, like Tom the pilot, began using confessional as a means to obtain liquor, while other crew members, such as Surak the medic, became increasingly worried about the mission's true purpose. Rumors circulated that the ship's true mission was to colonize Mercury, and to the faithful on board, this was very troubling. They interpreted the Good Book as stating clearly that the creator had made the earth for mankind, and the earth alone. For Man to dwell elsewhere, was nothing less than blasphemy. The Chaplain and Surak, lifelong friends and both men of deep faith and conviction, sought to find out the truth the captain's plans.
This I believe, was the beginning of the end. The chaplain learned that his worst fears were confirmed. Although the captain never said it outright, he all but admitted the colonization with the goal. The chaplain, a man of faith, became convinced that there was only one course of action: the captain must die.
Around this time, Tom the pilot, drunk and disoriented, made an ill-advised trade with the medic, Surak. In exchange 3 tons of geological explosives for some medicine; medicine that while it cured his intoxication, and prevent a hangover, did so only by inducing rather violent and lengthy bout of vomiting. When Tom later tried to reacquire the explosives from the medic, sir acclaimed that he had already traded the merchandise to another. In fact, the zealous and somewhat unstable Surak, did in fact still have the explosives stowed under his bunk.
Surak was convinced that if need be he would destroy the entire ship rather than let the blasphemy of colonization take place. However, the medic had no experience with explosives. He sought the counsel and advice of the ship's engineer, Welshy. Welshy was a genius at his craft. He worked alone in Engineering, save for the many Engineering Vatlings that he programmed himself. Welshy feigned ignorance regarding how to use explosives, when Surak asked, yet upon learning there were some on board, he seemed to develop a keen interest in learning their location.
Meanwhile, a love triangle existed between Welshy, Tom the pilot, and Tom's wife, the Robot Operator, Samantha. Samantha learned that at some time in the not so distant past her husband Tom had an affair with the ship's engineer. She didn't know when it happened, or how long it had gone on, but she was bereft with feelings of sadness and betrayal. She turned to the chaplain, at first for his patient ear, but then soon afterward for his loving arms and warm bed. In mere minutes, using his authority as ship's chaplain, he dissolved the marriage between Tom and Samantha, and then reaped the spoils of that dissolution.
Surak, the medic, having been tasked with the chaplain to eliminate the captain, wasted no time. Sneaking into the kitchen, he craftily slipped a high dose of poison into the captains dish of penne pasta. Just as he was replacing the lid over the captain's meal, he was interrupted by Samantha. Samantha was dining with the captain that evening, and so she thought nothing of bringing the captain's meal to them, as a favor to Surak. It was less than an hour later Samantha watched as the captain began to choke on his food, and froth at the mouth. Samantha ran for the medic, and after sending him off to help the captain, Samantha broke down in tears and lay down on the medic's bunk. It was then that she found to her surprise the vast supply of explosives beneath it. Acting quickly, she pulled the explosives beneath the bed and fled the sick bay.
When she learned the captain had not survived, it didn't take long for Samantha's connect what she'd seen in the kitchen with what happened to the dear captain. As if in a trance, she loaded a fair portion of the explosives into a service robot, set a timer, and sent the robot to sick bay.
At the same time, the engineer Welshy, was bringing his own plans to fruition. Having reached a critical point in the programming of his Vatlings, Welshy set them to attack and wipe out the rest of the crew. The Church's position on vatlings was quite clear, the intelligent humanoid replicas were entirely devoid of souls and considered to be subhuman. So it may not come as a surprise that the Chaplain himself, recently declared interim ship's captain, found himself with a pistol in each hand, slaying a barrage of vatlings, one after the other, as they came at him in an endless wave.
Amidst the chaos, Surak, being visited by the explosive-laden robot, inspected it closely. As he did so, he suddenly became aware of a rhythmic beep being emitted from the robot. Discovering a display screen which showed a countdown presently with just 5 seconds remaining, Surak resignedly embraced the small robot, and with it, his own fate. The explosion obliterated Surak, all of Sick Bay, and left a gaping hole in the ship.
Meanwhile, amidst the chaos, as crew members departed in escape pods, Welshy used his vatlings to redirect the ship directly toward the Sun. Struggling to redirect the ship, his efforts ended up costing him his life. For when he had finished in re-routing the ship, he found that not one of the escape pods remained, or remained intact. The ship he had sought to destroy, would in fact serve as his own funeral pyre.