Mission: The Sun


 Matthew J Croutch

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

This Report was completed by Chief Investigator Matthew Croutch of the Serpent Corporation regarding the demise of the crew of the Icarus V. All observations are based on the video recordings from security cameras and video logs by the crew. No audio was available from the security cameras due to a system failure.

On January 23rd, 2201, the North American Federation launched their first manned mission to the sun. The Icarus V was designed to hold five researchers and supplies. Built by the Serpent Corporation, the hope was to get the shuttle past Mercury. The ship is currently the fastest and was to get to its destination by November 30th, 2201. However, on September 20th, 2201, the ship returned to earth early. All five of the crew members were found dead. Four of them appeared to be murdered and the other one showed signs of possible suicide. The following are the details of my year-long investigation.

On May 13th, 2201, at 1300 hours, as the ship passed Venus, Dr. Oscar Hyde and Dr. Samuel Langford were on the bridge watching a video message. Transmission records show it to be a message to Dr. Hyde. Dr. Hyde was visibly upset and Dr. Langford appeared to be comforting him. A copy of this message revealed the University of Alberta was calling into question Dr. Hyde’s credibility. In an interview two days before the mission, Dr. Hyde claimed his real reason for participating in the mission was to find evidence of God. Video logs obtained from the ship revealed that the crew supported Dr. Hyde’s right to his beliefs despite their own opinions.

On May 13th, 2201 at 1600 hours, Dr. Rajdeep Jha relieves Dr. Hyde from monitoring the ship’s automated system. As noted in his log, Dr. Hyde asked Dr. Jha and Langford if they could hear a dog barking. Dr. Hyde noted that he appeared to be the only one who heard the sound on the bridge. He once again heard the sound of a dog barking upon reaching the living quarters. The sound did not wake Dr. Chase Angert and Dr. Andrea Grayson. The doctor speculates that the sleeping pods blocked out any sounds as they are designed for personal privacy and comfort. He also noted that he was experiencing symptoms of anxiety but does not enter this information into the medical log.

During the time Dr. Hyde was supposed to be sleeping and sometime before Dr. Grayson woke up for her shift, Dr. Hyde appears to be sleepwalking in the living quarters. We surmise this because he walks into the kitchen, bumping into furniture, grabs a knife and returns to his pod, stumbling and staggering as he goes. This item would later be found with blood on the blade. Please refer to Dr. Linda McDougall’s report in relation to all items tested for DNA, as more than one DNA sample was found.

The next twelve hours include many instances of odd behaviour by all members of the crew. It is believed that these events were a precursor to what finally occurred. During this time, the crew members appeared to have brief experiences of auditory and ocular illusions. Dr. Grayson wrote in her log that she thought she saw her husband on the ship. From the video, we see that Dr. Grayson has a five-minute conversation with no one. She wrote in her log that she felt embarrassed and confused by this incident. Another time, Dr. Langford can be seen yelling at someone. There is no one near him at the time of his outburst. Dr. Langford has had a history of outbursts in the past with his colleagues. The argument got to a point where Dr. Langford threw an object out into the hallway as he appeared to scream at the invisible opponent.

Dr. Jha is seen working on the maintenance of the ship’s bathroom facilities. What is strange about this event is that he completed the repair job only to undo it seconds later, then repeated this simple procedure over and over for an hour. I discussed this behaviour with some mental health experts and none of them could agree on a conclusion based on his medical records and pre-mission psychological evaluation. At the same time, Dr. Angert is seen searching the ship for an unknown object. The footage we received from the security cameras provides evidence that Dr. Angert looks over every inch of the ship three times. As he searches, he showed signs of frustration, anger and then agitation. Examples include pulling his hair and biting his fist. He makes no mention in his log regarding what he had been searching for.

A couple of hours later things seemed to be normal. For just over five hours, there are no incidents to be reported and everyone is at their stations or asleep. On May 14th, 2201 at 1600 hours, Dr. Hyde calls the daily meeting, as per protocol. From the written logs we received of that meeting, the crew discussed the aforementioned unusual behaviour around the ship. The video of that meeting still haunts me. The entire crew argues about the events and tempers visibly flare. Dr. Langford becomes physically aggressive, pounding the table with his fists, shaking a fist at Dr. Grayson and finally lunging at her, breaking her nose with a single punch (refer to medical log for details). He attempts to hit Dr. Grayson again but the others are already trying to restrain him. Dr. Angert is seen using a chokehold to restrain Dr. Langford until he falls unconscious (refer to medical log).

Per protocol, the crew locks Dr. Langford away in one of the small supply rooms. It’s important to note that Dr. Langford is found dead in this closet when the ship returns to Earth. His throat is cut and yet there is no evidence of a struggle and the knife is found at a different location. After the crew locks Dr. Langford away, another argument ensues. For this dispute, we have no idea what was said at all. It is at this point, the crew quits writing any logs, personal or otherwise. Dr. Hyde appears agitated, throwing things at the others and storming off to the living quarters. Dr. Angert follows Dr. Hyde, speaking to him only briefly, but heatedly, until Dr. Hyde storms off again.

Dr. Hyde then walks to another maintenance closet where he grabs a wrench. Due to the video surveillance failing, the last thing that the camera shows is Dr. Hyde walking casually towards Dr. Angert, swinging the wrench back and forth in one hand. Less than an hour later, the computer takes control of the ship and begins the journey back to Earth. We hypothesize that between the video cutting out and the computer taking control, Dr. Hyde kills the rest of the crew and then himself.

Dr. Grayson was found in Dr. Hyde’s pod with a broken neck. Dr. Jha was found drowned by the toilet he had been fixing; there were signs of struggle such as bruising on Dr. Jha’s throat and arms. Dr. Hyde was found with the knife, that we believe killed Dr. Langford, on the bridge; his throat slit by apparent suicide.

Since the ship requires manual input to move closer to the sun, it is programmed to automatically return to Earth when the input is missing. This is a safety feature in case the crew becomes incapacitated.

After receiving the toxicology report, the DNA report, the psychology report and my own findings, we can only conclude that the bizarre behaviour from the crew must have been due to radiation poisoning from the sun.

As Chief Investigator, I recommend we hold off on the launch of the Icarus VI until modifications can be made. I recommend that we invest in better radiation shielding for the next ship and include a medical doctor and psychiatrist on the next mission. and would have benefitted from these specialists.

3 thoughts on “Mission: The Sun

  1. Shane Turner

    I quite enjoyed this short story, so many possibilities. WAS it radiation? Did they stumble onto something, or something stumble onto them?
    Choosing to have no audio opens a multitude of possible storylines. I hope that you decide to revisit this story and flesh it out sometime, if you haven’t already.

  2. Christopher

    Good story. Fly too close to the sun you will be burned. Love the motif, and scfi aspect to it. Reminds me of a Star Trek episode where the crew goes crazy and tries to kill each other. Well done.

  3. Zak

    This reminds me very much of Event Horizon. My dad took me to the premier when I was 12 (yeah, lol) and it remains the most influential horror movie for me to this day. Thank you for sharing your talents. The lack of audio really helped sell the unsettling tone. A+

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