Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-22.6: The boarding party has returned, but a remote probe has been left on board
the Photon Rider to conduct further exploration. The sample of alien material has been placed in a secure lab and is
being investigated. Preliminary analysis of the Photon Rider's log indicates that she was supplying young colonies in
this galaxy, which became isolated when the galaxy-gate was closed. However, it appears that her crops failed when a
contaminant entered the cell culture of one of her biopods. The biopods were processing micro-organisms for protein.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-22.9: Biotech reports that the sample of silk-like material has sprung to life upon the
addition of water and light. It appears to be a fragment of a single-celled organism and is exhibited liquid-like flowing
movements. Could this be the contaminant that ruined the Photon Rider's crops?

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-23.5: The alien sample escaped from confinement overnight and is somewhere on
board the Starstrider! The ship is on orange alert. Remarkably, it dissolved its way out of its plexiglass container. The
sample should have been under constant surveillance! The ship's sensors cannot locate the material. Technicians
have continued analysis of the retrieved and damaged ship's log and report that the Photon Rider was overcome by
an alien infestation. The ship's computer was able to evacuate a handful of surviving crew members onto a nearby
planet and then proceeded to jettison its port biopods as these were the only part of the ship that was not
contaminated and contained useful protein. The computer planned to isolate the infection in the starboard biopods
and jettison them into a star's atmosphere for destruction, but it failed to isolate the invasive organisms. It appears that
something went drastically wrong with the ship's computer at this point and so it isolated its central kernel and set the
ship adrift with all non-essential systems powered down. It seems curious that a distress beacon should be activated
that did not warn that the ship was infested.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-23.7: The Starstrider's hull sensors have detected damage to one of the aft solar
panels. Maintenance robots have detected an area of corrosion in the solar panel which bears the hallmarks of being
the work of our unwanted guest. The creature has moved on undetected to some other part of the ship. It is clearly a
danger if it can damage equipment to this extent and a full scan of the ship is underway to locate the invader.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-23.9: Red alert! Engineering report that they are under attack!  An alien life-form has
gained access to the engine controls after a vicious battle. Security Officer Yan Ulos sustained critical wounds to the
head and chest and died before he could be taken to medical. One of the security bots has also been disabled. We
have the alien surrounded, but it is in command of the main engineering control room. Laser pistols had very little
effect on the creature whose silvery skin merely reflected them. The crew have been issued with kinetic energy rifles. I
cannot believe how it could grow so quickly. Chief Science Tech Dr Hovan believes that the creature drained electrical
energy from the solar panel whilst consuming parts of the ship's hull for nutrients. It may also have absorbed light or
cosmic rays directly from the nearby nebula. The creature must be stopped immediately. I do not wish to lose another
crew member!

Click here to see a picture of the alien.
Another amazing fact about the alien - it is intelligent. It has accessed the ship's computer and sealed  the entrance to
the engineering control room with a force wall, to protect itself, it is tying to override the navigation comm. The ship's
computer is shielding its central core and life-support systems from unauthorised access, but the alien may find a way
through, and it has already done better than most of our computer techs could have, at bypassing the computer's
security. Remarkably, it appears that somehow the creature inherited its intelligence from the dormant cobweb like
material by some sort of genetic inheritance. We have also discovered a few things about its physiology - it's muscles
do not shorten and relax in the same way as ours, but appear to work like coiled springs that shorten or lengthen and
its limbs look like coiled ropes. It is certainly immensely strong and is about three metres tall. It appears to be feeding
itself directly from the ship's photon optical energy systems. It uses both the hands of its four arms and its eight
cephalic tentacles to manipulate the ship's controls. The tentacles are capable of enormous extension, to ten or more
metres in length.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-23.10: We attempted to disable the intruder by blasting through the bulkheads and
depressurising the engineering deck. However, it held on against the force of rushing air and escaped being sucked
out into space and does not seem particularly bothered by the cold nor by the airless environment! We are preparing
an assault team equipped with armoured spacesuits, kinetic energy rifles and  explosives. Several armed bots will
also form part of the team. Dr Hovan as appealed to me not to destroy this intelligent creature whilst we know so little
about it. However, the safety of the ship and crew must come first. I have decided to grant Dr Hovan twenty minutes to
come up with a solution, by which time the assault squad will be assembled and ready.

Cronodon is awaiting an update from UGA Starstrider and will relay it as soon as possible...

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-24: Dr Hovan noticed something unusual about the creature's behaviour. The
magnetic explosives used to punch a hole in the hull appeared to disturb the creature's orientation, prior to their
detonation, once they were in place. It appears that the intense magnetic field, though much weakened by the
intervening hull, caused the creature to fumble about as if momentarily blinded. It seemed to use its sense of touch
more during those moments. It would appear that the creature senses magnetic fields as its main sensory modality
and that its vision is secondary. It seems to derive energy from magnetic fields and so is receptive to them, however,
the strong magnetic field that we imposed seemed to cause temporary 'blindness' or disorientation of its sensors,
much like a bright light shining on dark adapted eyes. Dr Hovan formulated a plan with our security chief, to use a
magnetic field generator to momentarily disorient the creature and so facilitating its immobilisation with
tangler-grenades (grenades that release sticky threads that eventually dissolve) and subsequent confinement in an
energy barrier.

The plan was successfully implemented! However, damage to a computer terminal caused an electric short circuit,
resulting in loss of communications with Cronodon for one cycle. All systems are now repaired.

Dr Hovan is now studying the creature in safe confinement. I feel as if ejecting it into outer space might be safer, but
this is a golden opportunity to study a new species. It appears that the creature not only perceives magnetic fields,
but emits them. Dr Hovan believes that it may be trying to communicate by using magnetic signals! Our linguistics
specialist is assisting the ship's computer to analyses and decode these signals in the hope that we can communicate
with the creature.

Technicians are making progress with their analysis of the Photon-Rider's log. It appears that the alien arrived on
board in contaminated cell cultures that were incubated in one of the biopods. The ship appears to have been on its
way to supply a colony planet, but we do not yet have the location of this planet. Nor do we yet know the source of the
contaminated culture. In the end, the ship's computer, Miranda, shut down all non-essential systems to starve the
aliens of the electrical / magnetic energy that they require, which presumably caused them to enter the dormant state
we found them in - namely the silky sort of material from which our alien rapidly developed. The computer was also
considering a suicide run, driving the ship into the atmosphere of a nearby star, for total destruction, but the aliens
disabled its navigation systems. What should we do with the Photon-Rider? Should we destroy it? We shall at least
place an automated plague beacon nearby, warning future travellers of what the ship contains. Even if we destroy the
Photon-Rider, with explosives or with our laser batteries, it appears that the dormant alien spores will survive in outer
space for a very long time and so they may pose an even greater risk when liberated from their 'prison ship'. The
Photon-rider's computer had a better plan to utterly destroy the ship and everything on board.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-25: Astronav have computed a new course through hyperspace for the mysterious
life-bearing planet. We have been partially successful in communicating with our alien prisoner, it really has inherited
a wealth of knowledge from its predecessors! It appears that its aim was to gain control of the Photon-Rider and use it
as an ark to support its own kind. It was planning to take the Photon-Rider closer to the nebula where the biopods
could utilise the intense radiation to nourish its dormant kin. It apparently wants our help to ensure the survival of its
species. It claims that it acted as it did out of desperation and distrust of our kind - after all there was a clear
communication barrier between us. Now we have a dilemma - do we help this sentient creature ensure the survival of
its own species, or do we destroy them, bearing in mind how rapidly they can develop (both physically and culturally
through inheritance) and potentially endanger other life-forms? What would you do?

I have decided that we do not have the right to destroy the aliens. If we save their lives, then how can we be held
responsible for their future actions? We have dispatched a launch to the Photon-Rider carrying our alien friend and a
team of bots. The bots will reboot Miranda and unlock her security with the codes that we have obtained from
Cronodon's data banks. (Such codes are only released in emergency or salvage operations). The bots will remain on
board the Photon-Rider, so as to avoid contaminating Starstrider on their return. We have programmed them,
however, to send us periodic progress reports and to monitor and help regulate the development of the aliens. They
will also be able to enlist what remains of the bots on Photon-Rider (which were discovered by the remote probe that
we left on board, all apparently 'awaiting further instructions') and together they should be able to restore all of her
systems. They have strict instructions not to allow the aliens to blatantly breach intergalactic laws regarding the rights
of all species to survive. They are also instructed to protect Miranda's core programming. Maybe they can become a
force for the common good? Let us hope that they remain our allies.

The mystery of the origin of the alien contamination remains, however. The remote probe did discover a missing
crewman's log in which he blamed the Zanzuntech Corp and accused them of sabotage. However, we have no record
of such a corporation.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.1-26: We have resumed course for the life-bearing mystery planet. Our chief
Astronavigator reports that life is unlikely to survive on this planet for more than another two or three million years,
since it is too close to the nebula which houses the
blue hypergiant Of star that we surveyed. Even if this star does
not hit the planet with a jet from its eventual
hypernova fate, the energy released could irradiate the planet, unless
the nebula is still sufficiently dense to contain it, however, the intense radiation from this growing star is rapidly
dispersing the nebula. I find it remarkable that this planet has life on it at all, considering its precarious position next to
this star-forming region of space.

Ship's log galactic date 10340.2-16: The Starstrider has arrived in the star system of the mystery planet. The Star is a
yellow dwarf star and the mystery planet is in the habitable zone and its spectra indicate that it has an active
biosphere. We have launched a probe to the planet's surface and await its signal. Long range scans indicate an
energy source located near to the planet's equator.
Alien