Music by Connor Dylan
Welcome to the future. The year is 3022 and this is the crew of the starship Jupiter’s Ghost. What follows are stories reconstructed from the mission briefings, personal logs, and intership communications recorded by the starship. Join the crew on their mission of mutual aid and solidarity in deep space.
This is a response to your data request from the Exo-Cryptozoology Department. Enclosed is six Teraquads about the extinct Terran species, Mus Musculus.
Additionally, 745 Terraquads about the mythological creature, Michael Mouse. I briefly reviewed this material. Please be cautious: mice can carry diseases such as Salmonella, Hantavirus, and Copyright Infringement.
I’ve included replicator formula for cures for all of these in the databurst. I find the prospect of a living mouse very exciting. Please keep us apprised if you do capture this creature.
Per the captain’s request, I’ve been conducting onboarding interviews with the crew of the Generation Ship that we found floating in space. Eh, “floating.” I mean, they were propelled.
They were, technically, traveling under their own power.
It’s just that that power was solar sails, a technology that we abandoned 780 years ago. This has been one of those mundane kind of routine things that we occasionally do on the ship. We’re introducing the crew to new technologies, helping them get up to speed with the advancements that humanity has made in the last 800 years, introducing them to some aliens, so on and so forth. Normally, this is fine. Sometimes it’s even a little fun. People really freak out when they realize how far we have come. But, um, this one’s been weird. I’m not sure these people are human. I mean, they look human, but they don’t act human.
Also beginning to strongly suspect that whatever mouse or mouse-like creature we have picked up on the ship came from the Generation Ship. Not really sure how that would happen as we started experiencing these odd symptoms a day or two before we docked with the Generation Ship, but I got no other explanation for it. We docked with the Generation Ship, and now everything’s broken all the time. I mean, everything was broken all the time already, but it’s like a 40-year-old ship we’re flying here.
Honestly, their Generation Ship works better than ours does because they actually understand how it works. According to the internal computer on the Generation Ship–I should really find out what that ship is called, I’ve just been calling it “the Generation Ship” as if it’s the only one, we sent out like 10,000 of these things back in the early days of spaceflight. Let me start over. According to the internal logs on the Generation ship, this Generation Ship, it’s not THE Generation Ship, come on.
But according to the internal logs on this Generation Ship, they’ve been in flight for about 110, 120 years. Basically everybody who had seen Earth is dead. But most of the people on the ship knew somebody who had seen Earth, you know? Their parents, their aunts and uncles. They haven’t been flying for that long, comparatively speaking. It’s a Generation Ship, but it’s really only been one generation.
There’s lots of kids. It’s weird to see kids on an old, rickety spaceship. It’s not old and rickety. I gotta be nicer to them. Their spaceship’s really nice, it’s just an antique. But it’s weird to see kids in this environment, you know? And old people. I mean, I guess we’ve got some old people on the Jupiter’s Ghost, but like, they’re like, you know, modern old people, biologically enhanced, and they’re gonna live to be 300. These people, like, they’re in their 70s and they look like they’re 300. It’s gross.
It’s gross. And I told them that, and now they won’t talk to me. Crewperson Trilo has been leading these interviews, because I really just couldn’t care at all. And they’re very eager to help, but I can’t figure out what their job is, or what they’re good at. It seems to be everything, but also absolutely nothing. And I really don’t know what to make of that.
The crew of the Generation Ship got really excited when they met Trilo, though. Just… it was like, not only did they know Trilo, but… like they were some kind of celebrity? Like Trilo had been… a star of a holo-novel, or something. It was very bizarre. I got no explanation for it. But Trilo’s been living it up. I’m concerned for what this is doing to their ego, I’m concerned for what this is doing to the crew of the Generation Ship.
Nah, who am I kidding? I’m not concerned. It’s kind of funny. I’m gonna let them have this moment.
I have concocted a new plan to make myself a tremendous amount of credits. You see, the new people, the people on the Generation Ship, they don’t have the same concept of post-scarcity that we do. Because on the Jupiter’s Ghost, we really don’t have scarcity? The things that we need to live on the ship, we kind of just all have. We just have access to them. And it’s really hard to make any money off of anybody that way.
But as it just so happens, two things have coincided that I think are very promising for me. One is that these new folks don’t really understand that our ship’s leadership would just distribute something if it was available and it was needed by the members of the ship. And our ship is also being hit with a sort of crisis related to the mouse or mice or whatever they are. It’s possible there’s some kind of other creature, which that could be its own problem in and of itself. But we have a great opportunity here to solve a problem by selling everybody on the ship mousetraps. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go over to the Generation Ship and I’m going to promise all of them lots of money if they help me make and sell a bunch of mousetraps. See, we got all this scrap metal on the ship, on both ships really, that we can use to fashion some good old-fashioned mousetraps. I’ve never actually made one or seen one before, but I did a great deal of research in the library, looking into some old encyclopedias and stuff like that. It’s just kind of this clamp that you leave hanging open and then when the mouse comes in to get some kind of cheese or some kind of treat that you leave in there to trick the mouse, the clamp just (claps hands) right down on the mouse and kills it.
But since everyone is so paranoid on the ship today about the mouse, I think this is a great opportunity for me. So I’ve already gone around and started hoarding a whole bunch of supplies in my room and I’m going to have a meeting with the folks on the Generation Ship tomorrow. And I’m going to kind of try to Tom Sawyer them into making some mousetraps for me. And then everybody, everybody on both ships is going to want one of those mousetraps. And I have so many credits, I’m not going to know what to do with them all. No, really, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all. It’s the same problem that I had with my illegal gambling. You can have all the credits in the world that you want, but you can still only eat so much food in one day. So I don’t really know what purpose it serves yet, but I will find a way to accumulate a very large number of credits. And I’m going to use them for something. And I’m probably going to have fun. I’m going to have fun doing it. If nothing else, it’s good for the excitement, of the action of just pulling one over on people. So, yeah, we’ll see how that goes.
Dr. Leopold Muscles Hatfield, signing out.
Ey’bal Gowjr found out about our boxing group, and he’s been sulking. He’s decided to legitimize it which means I probably won’t be able to participate anymore. Unless I want to start boxing the senior staff? It would look untoward. Come to think of it, I might want to schedule some fistfights with the senior staff? Hm. Or maybe I’ll just start a second, even more underground mixed martial arts club, so I can keep beating up the cadets.
Yeah, I think I’ll let everyone heal up for a bit and then start something new.
I was finally able to crack into the Generation Ship’s logs. It seems my signal transmogrifier couldn’t make heads or tails of their data because it wasn’t in chronological order, or at least not a chronology that my equipment could recognize. Once I adjusted for variable timelines, however, the logs were mine.
But based on the computer logs and outgoing message records, it seems that it’s not just that the ship’s computer was recording data out of order. If I read between the lines, I think what could be happening is the inhabitants themselves are experiencing time out of order.
Take this children’s writing assignment I pulled from the educational records, for example, quote:
Today, Grandpa Joe and I had lunch to celebrate his birthday. We had ice cream and then toast for dessert. Today, he is 71. Yesterday, he was 74. He invited us to have breakfast with him later that day or week, depending on the coffee. We had lasagna.
End quote. First of all, who has ice cream as a meal and then toast for dessert? Absolutely absurd. Lasagna, for breakfast, after lunch? What does “day or week, depending on the coffee” even mean?
My only explanation is that time on the ship is wacky… or maybe mice are now eating my brain, instead of my equipment, and I’m wacky. Anyway, just talking about it gives me a headache. I heard the ship’s doctor has mouse traps. Maybe he can prescribe one for my potential mouse headache. I just don’t know anymore.
Taros Kadathran out.
I was just talking to Birmingham in engineering and… you know what it’s like trying to decipher a Verbenubi technobabble, but I think the Generation Ship is using some kind of time compression drive? I don’t really know what that means. Mr. Irish insisted that it was “leaking time” and “opening time holes” and he was, well, he was excited. He seemed to think that this was a good thing.
The Generation Ship crew won’t talk to me anymore ever since Trilo told them that I’m not very nice. So I’m going to ask Trilo if they will ask the crew about it. Maybe the crew will be able to explain it in galactic standard instead of nerd Verbenubi sci-fi.
Okay, so there is a mouse. I do not know what a mouse is, exactly, but I want to know what it tastes like.
I have eaten several things:
- teriyaki… stuff,
and I want to know what mouse tastes like.
Now, I think it might taste like pizza, because I do know from talking to Trilo that mice like cheese, and pizza is made of cheese. So I think it’s probable that a mouse is cheesy? I don’t know. But if I were to eat a mouse, I think I would cook it? I would cook it. And I would cook it maybe like you cook popcorn, in the microwave. So I would take the microwave and I would put the mouse inside of it, in a bowl, with some butter.
The only problem is I’m not really supposed to use the kitchen. I tried to eat a comms unit, because I wanted to know what a comms unit tastes like. It does not taste good. But I bet a mouse would taste good.
Okay, goodbye. I mean, um, personal log out. Crewperson Lady Moonbeam out. Oh, how do I stop this thing?
So everything is going quite well, according to plan, I would say. I’ve currently got the Generation Ship crew working tirelessly manufacturing my own brand of Muscles Mouse Traps. Have a little assembly line kind of a thing going on. I’ve got one group of them breaking down and smelting some of the raw metal and reforming it into the pieces for the mouse traps. I’ve got some others taking those raw pieces and then assembling those into mouse traps. I have another group that has some little stamps that say “Muscles Mouse Traps” on them and they’re stamping them at the end of the assembly line. And then we’re stacking them up and then I’ve got one other crew going around with large, I guess, trench coats is what you would call them, with a bunch of the mouse traps inside the trench coat, you know, hanging out in certain thoroughfares in the ship. And selling them to other crew members in exchange for their credits. And so far they’re selling pretty well. Got maybe… like 50 sold so far.
The only problem is we’re making them at a pace of about a thousand a day. So I don’t really know how much longer I can continue with this production process for several reasons. One being that there aren’t even that many people on the ship. So we’re going to have more mouse traps than people pretty soon. But that’s not necessarily a problem because people could put multiple mouse traps in their own quarters, if they want to feel extra secure and protected from the mice, mouse, however many there are. I don’t know. I’ve been saying there’s a lot. It really helps with sales to just kind of drive through a sale with someone who’s a little bit skeptical or only wants to buy one. Telling them that the mice are probably breeding and that there could be tens of thousands of mice aboard the ship imminently. That seems to that seems to land pretty well. But I don’t actually know how mouse breeding works, what if they like lay eggs or how many children they have at a time. So at this point, I really probably need to go find some of the mice and and like deliberately breed them to make as many mice as possible. But then that would mean I would have to catch a mouse and the only mouse traps that I have are kill traps. I don’t have any kill-less traps, little pens to get them stuck in.
So, yeah, really don’t know what the next move is here. The Generation Ship people are going to expect to be paid something, but they also don’t really know how the credit system works yet. So maybe I could just create some kind of other currency of IOUs and get them to start trying to pay other people in the IOUs that I’ve given them. And then have the people who they pay come to collect those IOUs from me at a later date. Yeah, that’d buy me some time at least. Yeah. But altogether, I would say going pretty well. We’ve made a lot of mouse traps. We’ve made not as much money. Oh, also, we’re running out of metal, scrap metal, I mean. Obviously the ship is made of metal, but I’ve I’ve sent my little wrecking crew around both ships and basically everything that’s not useful,or particularly useful, or that I at least didn’t think anyone would miss, we’ve pretty much melted down and turned into scraps for the mouse traps. So that could be a problem. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. I’m going to be OK. I’m going to be fine.
Doctor Leopold “Muscles” Hatfield signing off.
The captain just asked me to convert one of the supply closets into something she called a brig. This is a space for incarceration. We don’t usually have spaces like that on any Space Corps vessel but especially not on the Jupiter’s ghost. I’m not sure what’s going on but it can’t be good. The captain was confined to a hover chair? I think she’s been hurt.
I’m not saying there for sure is a mouse. All I’m saying is that it might be possible. Space is weird. The further you get from civilization the weirder it gets. Back when I was living out way in the middle of nowhere on Minerva Station we thought we had a mouse infestation too. Well, it did turn out to be a particularly fast-growing slime mold. My point still stands. Strange things happen when you’re out in the deep. In the grand scheme of things, is a mouse showing up on a ship–despite mice being extinct–really that odd? Is it weirder than finding a centuries old ship full of clones who don’t want to talk about being clones? Is it weirder than a robot running around with oven mitts and a salad bowl? I don’t know.
What I do know is that there is a distinct lack of chewed wires, missing food stores, or crewpeople with strange bite marks and a taste for human blood, despite claims to the contrary. So if there is a mouse, it doesn’t seem to be doing any harm. I say live and let live. Unless it’s living in engineering. Then we should probably do something about it. This has everything to do with concerns about keeping foreign substances out of fuel lines and nothing to do with me being afraid of the mouse. Absolutely nothing.
I suspect our ship’s doctor has been infected with capitalist brainworms. He had some kind of scheme to… I can’t believe I’m saying this. He set up some kind of business, trying to turn scrap metal on the ship into mouse traps, which he was selling for replicator credits. This is very strange for several reasons, but the biggest of which is that the replicator can replicate his mouse trap for less than a single credit. But he has been selling them, or trying to sell them, for four credits.
I can’t think of any explanation for it, other than brainworms. I sent a message out to several other captains to see if they’ve dealt with this before and they told me just to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone. And to let them run their course. I just… I don’t know. It’s too late for that. Someone’s gotten hurt.
Okay, I’ll admit it: It’s me, I’m someone. I’m covered in bruises all over, top to bottom. I went to see how far things had progressed and I made two shocking discoveries: first, he had converted all the scrap metal and it started making actual useful tools into those ridiculous useless mouse traps; second, he had absolutely filled one of the supply rooms with the silly things and left them all set.
I stepped in, fumbled, and was quickly beset by mouse traps. They snapped my feet. I fell over. They snapped my back. They snapped my feet. I fell over. They snapped my arms and my legs. It took several minutes to remove them all. My nose, my ears, oh my gosh. I haven’t been this angry or this embarrassed in years. I’m stuck in a hover chair until the bruises heal. Try to explain that to everyone. I’m following up with the Space Corps leadership to see what other action we can take. I’m not sure how much more capitalism my crew can handle.
Captain Jones, signing off.
I’m recording this from the brig. You see, my plan, as it were, really, really, really backfired. Um, yeah. I made too many mouse traps. I see that now. So many that not only could I not sell them all, but I owe the Generation crew millions more in credits than all of these mouse traps that I now have are even worth. I don’t even know how that’s possible. I thought I was taking advantage of them, but I must have overpaid them. Or I guess I also just overestimated the price that I could actually get for the mouse traps because hardly anybody wanted one.
Andrews was was wroth. He still doesn’t believe that the mice even exist, so he thought it was a stupid thing for somebody to pay for a trap for a thing that’s not even real. But yeah, no, that’s um, that did not go well. But that’s not the worst part. That’s not why I’m in the brig. My own failures as an entrepreneur are bad enough. But, uh, you see, the captain found out about my giant supply closet that I was using to store all the mouse traps in. She went in there looking for the mouse traps, but the lights were off.
And then she came stumbling out of the dark supply closet, covered in mouse traps, screaming, “where is Dr. Hatfield?”, both so that I could give her medical attention for all of the really painful bruises and contusions all over her body from the mouse traps, but also to send me to the brig for six weeks while I smelt all the metal back down into scraps to put back in the supply closet to use as they were intended, as scrap metal in case we need to replace any pieces of equipment or machinery on the ship.
So I’m going to be here disassembling mouse traps and melting them back into little bricks of metal. So that’s Dr. Leopold Muscles Hatfield. Please help me. I’m so, so, so, so bored. Signing off. Thank you.
Jupiter’s Ghost is a podcast set in the collaborative, crowd-sourced, Creative Commons licensed universe of the Solar Federation. This episode is brought to you under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. You can find more information at Intergalactic.computer.
The Voice of Nyx Cane was Cerulian.
The voice of the databurst from Luna station was Sam.
The voice of James Andrews was Andrew Roach.
The voice of Taros Kadathran was Dan Wilson.
The voice of Leopold Muscles Hatfield was Connor Dylan.
The voice of Lady Moonbeam was Violet Hunter.
The voice of Captain Jackie Jones was Amber Kirkpatrick.
The theme music was Sounds From The Void by Connor Dylan.
You can hear more music by Connor Dillon on the TV show Drivin’ on New Ellijay TV, and literally nowhere else because he refuses to finish his album.
For a full list of credits or to participate in the Jupiter’s Ghost podcast, please visit intergalactic.computer.
I ate a mouse or a mouse-like object. It was not bad. Lady Moonbeam out.