Jun 14, 2017
I’m afraid I have some bad news, friends. For the first time in almost a week, Proteus is not in the top three. We had a long and trying battle with the book that had been in fourth place today, jumping back and forth between being one order ahead and one order behind. Then today, that book blasted right past us straight into the second place spot with more than a dozen orders in rapid succession. Quite an impressive feat, I must say.
The good news is that the book that was in second place that is now in third is now only three orders ahead of us, so we can retake our rightful place in the top three soon enough. But only with your help! I need a real outpouring of support, guys. The danger of not making it to the top three by the end of the contest is very real. Something like what happened today could happen at any moment, and there’s no way to see it coming.
Unless, that is, you’re the Crone of the Lower Decks, Marion Krieg: one of our story’s antagonists. She sees everything coming....
Marion Krieg was one of the most brilliant minds to come out of Crisium University. At the age of 18, Krieg graduated with twin PHDs in quantum computing and AI engineering, with minor focuses in cybernetic engineering and cyberneural integration.
Despite having a broad variety of career paths to choose from, young Marion Krieg opted to accept an invitation from the Expansionary Coalition to serve as head scientist aboard the newly built colony ship Somnambule. Not being a naturally social person, Krieg felt no particular qualms about spending the rest of her life aboard a starship thousands of light years from settled space. The opportunity to conduct unlimited scientific experiments with no government oversight or restriction was, to her, its own reward.
On The Somnambule, Marion spent the first several years developing technologies to assist future generations of the crew, including an exceptionally adaptive level-five AI designed as a universal tutor in any field of study on record. In spite of this invaluable educational resource, Marion also took to training her scientists personally.
Marion’s career on The Somnambule’s science staff spanned more than seven decades, and she taught and worked alongside four generations of scientists. She never considered retirement, nor did her impressive intellect dull with age. In fact, it was in the later years of her life that Krieg developed her most impressive, and most divisive, scientific breakthrough yet.
Krieg developed a quantum cortical implant so sophisticated, it could allow its user to literally see future events. Or at least, this is the claim Krieg made. The handful of initial volunteers who underwent the procedure to receive the new implant did demonstrate an uncanny ability to predict events several moments before they occurred, lending credence to her claim, incredible though it may have been.
Krieg was not satisfied with the implants’ performance, however. As impressive as they were, she believed she could enhance them to project even farther into the future. Following several waves of improved versions of the implant, she finally implanted one into herself, granting her the ability to see so far into the future that she could witness The Somnambule’s arrival on Bella Rosa.
The future she claimed to see was dire. She had witnessed a vague and terrible catastrophe at the journey’s end; some threat unknown and imperceptible, but utterly devastating to the mission and the lives of crew and colonists alike. Having witnessed this disaster, Marion insisted that the mission, already 70 years underway, must be aborted.
The captain refused to alter course for any reason, but Marion persisted. By this time she had amassed scores of followers among the scientific and civilian communities aboard The Somnambule and, after multiple fruitless attempts to convince the rest of the crew of the danger at mission’s end, Krieg declared outright mutiny.
She led her followers in an ill-fated attempt to seize control of the ship, but were ultimately repelled and temporarily subdued by The Somnambule’s loyalist security team. They managed to push Krieg and her rebels back to the lower decks of the ship. A stalemate was reached: Krieg’s forces had the advantage of precognitive enhancements, making them all but impossible to capture or kill, while the security team was far better armed for combat. Neither side would relent, and so began a long and bloody civil war for control of The Somnambule….