Seven sisters star cluster

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (2006)

This is another story which I originally wrote when I was at university, initially as part of a creative writing assignment to engage with the uncanny. Being the guy I was, I opted to do so in a science fictional manner. Several years later I had entirely rewritten the story and tried to get it published, but didn’t have much success.

It is rather a shame as I put a lot of effort into this story and it remains to this day the only one of my stories to be both praised and analysed to an extraordinary degree by one of its early readers. Of course, hindsight allows me to see its flaws more clearly (such as the utterly tin-eared opening paragraph and the way it appears to abruptly halt).

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

Ellen Yeovil beamed with pleasure as she pressed her face against the porthole, gazing raptly out into space through the thick glass. Even with the naked eye, she could just make out Earth. It gleams like sapphire and emerald embraced by diamond, she thought, too taken with the image to discard it as fanciful. Unconsciously, she rubbed her thumb around the base of her ring finger.

Off to one side, she could see the space station that had been constructed for the Shiva tests. It was so far from any planetary body that it appeared free-floating, although of course it occupied an elliptical orbit around the Sun. Within a few years the abandoned facility would pass close by the Earth as it tumbled toward the inner planets, at which point it would be recovered and recycled. When it came to space construction, United Earth Government planned ahead. Even with the advent of commercial asteroid mining in the belt, the refined metals and electronics of the space station were valuable enough to recover rather than discard.

The spacecraft Shiva, however, would not be recycled. She was the first of an anticipated series of experimental vessels that would utilise the newly developed quantum waveform wormhole drive; an esoteric piece of equipment based on recent theoretical research that baffled all but the most brilliant physicists. For most of those on the project, the drive was understood thus: the ship would cease to exist, converted instead to quantum probabilities, which would be transmitted down a temporarily induced Planck wormhole alongside some sort of carrier signal that would reconstruct the ship at its predetermined exit point.

Ellen preferred not to think about the theory too much, particularly as her skill in advanced mathematics allowed her to understand small parts of the reams of formulae shown to her by the drive engineers. She had spent several long hours trying to comprehend the ideas underpinning the theory, and all that she had had to show for it was a splitting headache and a depressing sense of futility.

But we’re not here to understand, she told herself. We’re here to observe, record and report. For the first time in her distinguished career as an astronaut and aeronautical expert, Ellen felt utterly redundant. She frowned at far-away Earth, its romantic image now spoiled. We wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for those damnable energy demands.

But much as she resented feeling superfluous, she was proud to a part of the first manned test–the first ever test, in fact–of the technology that could revolutionise human civilization, driving it to the stars.

Behind Ellen, Shiva’s two other crewmembers were checking and double-checking the pre-programmed computer systems that would pilot them safely through the experiment. Morarji Aziz, nervously running his fingers over the stubble that marked the demise of his beard, looked up as she turned.

“Ellen, you should perhaps stop stargazing now,” he said, his voice reedy but warm. “It’s not long until initiation.”

Beside him, Tony Weis glanced up from his screen to grunt assent, then returned to his work.

Ellen sighed, but made a conscious effort to clear her mind of doubt and distraction. “Fine,” she replied, affecting a grumble. She stepped over to her console, the Velcro strips on her boots making a loud ripping noise. “Shall I belt myself in as well?”

She stuck her tongue out at Morarji. He grinned widely, exposing rows of narrow teeth, and winked at her.

“You could try belting up,” said Tony, without looking up from his work. Ellen rolled her eyes theatrically, for Aziz’s benefit. She knew the half-Irish, half-German engineer well enough to recognise one of his jokes when she heard it, but the Bangladeshi astrophysicist had more difficulty interpreting their gruff crewmate. Without bothering to reply to Weis, she flipped a switch on the communications set.

“Parvati station, this is Captain Yeovil of the UEG spacecraft Shiva. Do you copy, over?”

#

To the eyes of stationmaster Michael MacArthur, the bridge of Parvati station was a scene of chaos. To any outside observer it might have seemed a calm and disciplined operation, but MacArthur had high standards. He narrowed his eyes, preparing to snap at two errant and over-excited chattering techs, when his headset chimed in one ear and Ellen Yeovil’s voice rang out over the public address system.

“Parvati station, this is Captain Yeovil of the UEG spacecraft Shiva. Do you copy, over?”

MacArthur’s demeanour warmed as he switched to an open channel on his headset. “Shiva, this is Parvati command. We read you loud and clear. How’re the three of you doing, over?”

“Just fine, command. Thanks for asking. We’re ready to initiate the test whenever you are. It’s just a shame I forgot to give you my camera; you could have gotten me some fine photos. Over.”

MacArthur cracked a smile. His eyes were fixed on the bridge’s main screen, which at that moment was displaying the underside of the experimental vessel.

“Not to worry, Shiva. We’ve got dozens of remote drones watching you. UEG and your relatives will have plenty of slides to pick through. Can you confirm full readiness? All of our systems checks have been cleared five times over and we’re ready to activate the device, over.”

MacArthur refused to name the technology installed in Shiva; it was a habit developed over years of participation in classified and top secret research programs.

“Wilco, we can beat that with six,” replied Ellen. “We confirm full mission readiness, over.”

MacArthur looked to his aide, an anonymous-looking young man whose key features were a radio headset and a clipboard. “How much longer until the synchronisation signal reaches Ceres Base?” he asked. The aide glanced down at a timer on his clipboard.

“Seventy-three seconds remaining, sir.”

Turning, MacArthur nodded to the woman who sat at a console on a nearby podium. She was the eminent physicist Grace Elezeke, head of the team that had developed the practical application of the quantum waveform theories. It was unthinkable that anyone else would activate the drive. Although the test was being carried out in absolute secrecy, MacArthur was aware that everything was being recorded. When the time came to go public UEG wanted public relations-friendly footage to accompany official statements, lending the project names, faces and heroes. The rest of Elezeke’s team of scientists and engineers were looking down at the control centre from an observation deck circling it. Their role in this was now over, and all that remained was to put the fruit of their labour to the test.

Elezeke returned MacArthur’s nod, her long neck bowing gracefully, and without ceremony opened a small plastic case in the console before her. Her hand hovered over the toggle this revealed, and she returned her attention to the stationmaster.

“Synchronisation period elapsing on my mark, sir,” said MacArthur’s aide. “Three, two, one–mark!”

“Initiate the test,” MacArthur ordered. Elezeke twisted the toggle and pushed it into the console.

A klaxon emitted a low and mournful wail, capturing the attention of everyone on the bridge. In the top right corner of every computer screen a timer appeared and began to tick down. A soft voice replaced the klaxon, accompanying the visual countdown over the public address system. The control centre personnel had fallen silent by now and were watching the huge central screen. It now showed footage of Shiva from a dozen angles.

“T-MINUS FIFTEEN… T-MINUS FOURTEEN… T-MINUS THIRTEEN… T-MINUS TWELVE…”

#

Shiva floated in space, seemingly motionless, as the countdown checked off second after second.

No nimbus of glowing light surrounded her; there were no fireworks of rainbow hue; no Hollywood special effects presented themselves. The transition of Shiva from spaceship to quantum waveform was as visually unimpressive as had been expected. At the same instant as the countdown hit zero, Shiva disappeared.

Later analysis of footage with extremely rapid framerates, slowed down to a massive degree, would reveal a sudden anomaly in perceptions, as though the ship were collapsing from three dimensions to two, and then from two to one, all the while with a ghost of solidity about it. Then the sliver of spacecraft vanished into an invisible wormhole.

At Ceres Base, approximately one point eight astronomical units from Parvati station, the synchronisation signal had been received and another countdown was underway. The fifteen light-minutes that separated the two facilities meant that Ceres had little time to prepare for the imminent arrival of the test craft, but its personnel had been in a constant state of readiness for the past six hours. The crew in its control centre were silent, focused on their monitors. The level of professionalism on display would have impressed even MacArthur: Ceres Base had a small military contingent on board, there to ensure that UEG’s vested interest in the asteroid mining operations was protected. On top of the presence of the UEG Peacekeepers, the dangerous and isolated living environment encouraged iron self-discipline. Laxity was a cardinal sin when only a thin supply line and a thinner hull ensured your survival.

Test Controller Brian Wilder felt his heart racing as he watched the countdown. He felt out of his depth here on Ceres. He had been shuttled in from Earth several months prior to the experiment, and was still adjusting to the slow and careful movement required in Ceres’ negligible gravity. He hated the sensation of weightlessness, he hated the exercise routines, and he hated the diet. But he was a professional, and the Shiva experiment was of revolutionary importance to his career. The advancement of mankind was another potential bonus.

The control room was silent, everyone in it intent on the work at hand. Wilder switched his headset over to the public address channel and confirmed Shiva’s imminent appearance. “We expect arrival in a matter of seconds. All crew prepare for translation and subsequent docking of Shiva.”

They knew to the millimetre where the vessel would arrive; the calculations prepared for the experiment were absolutely exact, and had been scrutinised time and again. Thus, Ceres Base’s cameras and sensory equipment were trained on the empty space where Shiva was to appear.

At the precise moment that Ceres Base’s countdown hit zero, Shiva appeared.

And appeared again.

And again.

And again.

“Oh my God,” murmured Wilder, eyes wide. No one else spoke.

#

Dozens of copies of Shiva had appeared in the vicinity of Ceres Base, fanning out in all directions from the initial translation point. They were tightly packed in a dense sphere, and at points the ships seemed to overlap. Certainly there was something ethereal about them; they varied in substance, appearing sparser but more solid at the extremities of the loose sphere of duplicates. Further in, the copies were so tight that observers found it difficult to determine just how many of them there were.

They had continued to appear for one hundred and eight seconds after the zero count, appearing in waves around the first. Towards the end of that initial period, the ships had seemed to become less substantial, evading the eye. They appeared completely opaque when regarded directly, but the eye seemed to slide around the wider masses, and when forced to focus on the sphere of spacecraft as a whole the eyes and brain began to throb painfully. Radar scans returned data so variable as to be effectively useless.

Worst of all, there had been no signal from any of the duplicate Shivas, no message from its crew to indicate that they were well.

A shuttle, two small asteroid-hopper one-man craft, and countless remote drones circled the mass of spacecraft warily, not daring to move in too close. They had been launched minutes after the realisation and acceptance that something had gone wrong with the experiment, but were now hovering uselessly. No one was quite sure how to proceed. Test Controller Wilder had sent an encoded distress signal to Parvati station, informing its commander of what had occurred, and was now nervously awaiting word from anyone who could either suggest a course of action or absolve him of responsibility.

He was still sat on the bridge, picking at his fingernails while a nervous tic played at the corner of his eye, when his concentration was broken by two sudden shouts.

“Sir! Look at this!”

“Wilder, look–!”

He turned to face the main screen, and was confronted with the image of the sphere of spacecraft collapsing in on itself. His eyes widened as he realised the disparate Shivas were beginning to coalesce into one. Sure enough, in just under two minutes there was only one, apparently unscathed Shiva, located exactly at the translation point.

A female technician coughed to get his attention. Wilder blinked several times to moisten his eyes, dry from staring, and turned his attention to her.

“The drones are getting consistent data back from radar scans,” she told him. Her voice was flat and she averted her eyes. “We can now confirm that that is the Shiva, and it appears undamaged. We’re still not getting any response to any hails on any frequency.”

“Send in the first boarding party,” Wilder ordered. This, he told himself, is the time for quick, decisive action. “We can learn nothing from here.”

#

The boarding party-–composed of two of the project’s own engineers, plus a small detail of UEG Peacekeepers who had insisted on boarding the spacecraft armed–-found that Shiva was in perfect working order. It seemed utterly unscathed, as though it had not been recently recomposed from multitudinous copies. Of its crew, however, there was no sign.

Once the soldiers had been assured that there was nothing on the vessel that would endanger their lives–-at least, nothing dangerous that they could shoot at-–they assisted the engineers in a methodical search of the ship. They checked every storage locker, cubicle, and electronics cabinet aboard the craft. No trace could be found of the crew, not even a stray hair.

Once this mysterious absence had been reported to Wilder, he ordered the ship’s black box examined, to determine whether or not the ship’s own sensors and surveillance systems had recorded anything. Wilder knew it to be an outside possibility, as his project notes stated it was theoretically impossible to record anything during the waveform transmission, but nobody could suggest a better option. And it wasn’t as though the experiment had stuck to the rules so far, anyway.

#

A shout of indeterminate content rang through Shiva’s bridge, and Senior Engineer Albert Morgan started. Wiping a slick of sweat from his upper lip, he looked over at the Peacekeeper who was standing by the bridge entrance, lowering his sidearm. “What was that, Konrad?”

The soldier had the decency to look vaguely embarrassed. “Sorry, Morgan. Could’ve sworn I saw something. Nothing now, though.”

“Well, don’t interrupt me then. This is delicate work; I have to pay very close attention. Have you ever attempted to retrieve a black box recording of a wormhole transition?”

The Peacekeeper did not reply but shrugged as if in apology. Shaking his head, Morgan returned to the task in hand. He swore softly under his breath and continued his assaults on the ship’s computer’s programming. There was a picosecond-spanning gap in the black box’s recording and he was determined to try and retrieve something from that fracture.

Morgan was rapidly reabsorbed by his work, and so failed to notice when Konrad turned around and peered back down the corridor leading away from the bridge. He didn’t even notice the Peacekeeper shaking his head as if to clear it, and then heading off down the corridor, Velcro’d boots tearing at the floor.

Almost ten minutes passed before Morgan was distracted again, by a sudden movement that he caught in the corner of his field of vision. He blinked and glanced over at the door.

“Konrad–oh, where’d you go?” he finished, stupidly. The soldier was nowhere to be seen. Morgan creased his brow and turned back to the computer.

Mere seconds passed before another rapid flicker of something almost outside his sight snared his attention. This time he turned around quickly, hoping to catch sight of whatever it was. Again, there was nothing there, and his rapid turn only served to unbalance him, sending his arms flailing out. He steadied himself and glared around the bridge, but could see nothing out of place.

Morgan was beginning to feel a little nervous. He had already witnessed one of the strangest events in the history of the human race today, and had no desire to witness another. He was even more concerned about becoming the subject of one. He bit at a fingernail nervously, then carefully returned to his work. He could only half-focus on it as he waited for another hint of movement. “Probably just a flashing light on a console, right?” he murmured to himself. For some reason he did not feel reassured.

When something almost imperceptible again caught at his peripheral vision, he jumped up and turned, but there was still nothing there. Feeling an irrational rising panic, he leapt over to the door and screamed to the rest of the ship, “Stop fucking around! This isn’t funny!”

He reached out and took hold of the doorframe, and forced himself to take a deep breath. I’m losing it, he told himself. And I don’t want to snap on a ghost ship. Let’s just get the job done and get the hell out of here.

He turned back to the bridge. Then his jaw dropped and his eyes widened in shock. He babbled a few words that even he couldn’t comprehend, and his knees began to tremble beneath him.

Before him stood the unmistakeable form of Ellen Yeovil. Morgan saw that it had tears in its eyes, and it was looking at him pleadingly. When he met its gaze, however, he could see the bridge consoles behind it, straight through its head.

They stared at each for a few seconds, neither of them moving. Morgan failed to notice the questioning shouts coming from behind him. Then he felt a hand fall onto his shoulder and a warm body move alongside his; Konrad had returned. The soldier’s mouth, open and ready to ask Morgan what he was yelling about, froze, locked into an ‘O’ of astonishment as he caught sight of the apparition.

After several more seconds of stunned silence, Morgan found his ability to speak. “M-message Wilder,” he stuttered. “Tell him… we found Yeovil.”

Konrad nodded stiffly, his head jerking like a marionette. Neither of them moved to the radio.

The ghostly figure of Ellen Yeovil finally moved, passing a hand over its moist eyes and flicking tears onto the ground. They disappeared as they struck the deck, or passed through it, but the figure did not seem to notice. It opened its mouth and began to talk, but no sound could be heard.

“I can’t hear her,” Konrad told Morgan, his voice betraying tightly controlled fear. “We can’t hear you,” he said, this time addressing the spectre with unnecessary volume.
The ghost-Yeovil stopped trying to talk, and tilted its head to one side before moving its mouth again. It pointed at an ear.

“Can anyone on Ceres Base lip-read?” asked Konrad. Morgan twitched his shoulders in a faint shrug, his gaze locked on the ghost.

#

Wilder came aboard Shiva on the next shuttle, and brought with him a young Peacekeeper ensign who had volunteered her rudimentary lip-reading skills. The young woman, barely out of her teens, was now stood trembling beside Wilder on the vessel’s bridge, a laptop computer clutched to her chest.

The ghost-Yeovil was still in the centre of the bridge. Its feet did not seem to touch the deck, though nor did they appear to be above or below it. From the look on its face it was clearly distressed, but there was a small, hopeful smile now that Wilder and the lip-reader had arrived.

Morgan had curled up in one corner of the bridge and was staring at the insubstantial figure. Konrad and one of his Peacekeeper comrades were stood nervously at the door. They were ostensibly keeping other personnel off the bridge, but in actuality spent more time glancing back over their shoulders.

The young ensign recovered shortly before Wilder. She opened out her laptop, seating herself at what had been Ellen’s console. She bit her lip and waved at the ghost-Yeovil before pointing at the laptop’s screen. The apparition looked at it blankly for a moment before realisation dawned. It moved its lips again.

“We can talk now,” translated the lip-reader. She looked over at Wilder. “That was a question.”

Wilder nodded, indicating that she should proceed.

The ensign typed “Yes. I can lip-read,” and her words appeared on the screen in a large font. The ghost nodded and its smile broadened. Then its mouth began to move again. The ensign watched intently. Finally, she spoke.

“It says that it wants to speak to you, sir, not me.”

Wilder took over at the laptop, watching the spectre nervously as he did.

“Tell me what happened,” he typed.

The ghost-Yeovil moved its mouth for some time in response. There was silence as everyone watched it and the translator. Eventually the younger woman nodded, and looked over her corporeal audience.

“To summarise, she doesn’t know,” said the ensign. “She took a long time to say anything because she’s pretty scared.”

The translator paused. Wilder scrutinised her carefully, his fear forgotten as he slipped into a managerial mindset. The soldier had switched pronouns; Wilder believed that what had once been Ellen had spent some time expressing her fears to the only person who could comprehend her. He said nothing, and waited for the ensign to continue.

“Actually, she was hoping you could tell her what happened. All she remembers is an odd feeling as the Q.W.W. drive activated, and then an odd sensation like waking from a pleasant dream. Then she was here, and she saw the Senior Engineer on the bridge.”

The ensign was interrupted as the ghost began to move its lips again. Its silent speech was brief this time.

“Um,” said the lip-reader. “She asks if Elezeke knows what happened. And she also says that Elezeke should be fired, preferably from a cannon.”

Wilder laughed out loud. It wasn’t that funny, and was wholly inappropriate, but the tension he had been feeling had just shattered like glass. “Now I know that that’s Ellen, alright,” he said. He saw the translator relax as well. Morgan, though, was not roused from his stupor.

Offering Ellen what he imagined was a supportive smile, Wilder reached for the laptop and began to type. “I think she might fire herself. It’s good to see you still have a sense of humour. How do you feel? Right now?”

“I can’t touch, smell, taste or hear anything,” said the translator, warming to the job. “I’m scared.”

“We’ll do whatever we can to help you,” typed Wilder. His brief good humour was already evaporating. He had no idea what they could do to help a person who was, tragically and literally, a ghost of her former self.

A shout came from the Peacekeepers at the door. Wilder and the lip-reader looked over, the latter particularly alert as her combat instincts kicked in. They walked over to the door, and even Morgan shifted his gaze from the transparent former captain.

“I think it’s Aziz,” said Konrad’s companion.

A second spectre stood a little way down the corridor, before a closed door that led to a toilet. As they watched, it put out a hand and twisted it at the wrist, as if manipulating the door handle, then pushed and stepped forwards. It passed straight through the still-closed door. Several seconds later it reappeared through the same door, smoothly emerging as though from water. The ghost turned and began to repeat its initial motion. They watched it go through the entire process several times; it did not deviate from the routine on any iteration.

“He’s stuck in a loop,” murmured Wilder. He looked at Konrad. “Ensign… go and get his attention.”

The Peacekeeper met his gaze, a little resentment mixing with the fear in his eyes, but he obeyed. The ghost-Morarji was emerging from the door again. Konrad stepped up to the apparition and waved a hand in front of its face. The spectre’s eyes did not focus on him even momentarily, looking straight through him as though he were not present, and instead came to rest on the door. Again, it reached for the handle, seized and twisted, and walked through the solid surface. At one point its head passed through Konrad’s hand, and the ensign leapt back as though stung.

“Hey!” said Konrad. And then, as Aziz re-emerged: “It looks like he’s saying something.”

The lip-reader squeezed between Wilder and the third Peacekeeper, and walked cautiously towards the spectral figure. She watched Aziz move through several repetitions.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “It’s like he’s mumbling. All I can make out is ‘man’. It doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

Wilder was suddenly aware that Yeovil was peering over his shoulder, a transparent hand over her mouth. Her vision was fixed on the figure of Aziz, passing again and again through the closed door. Wilder caught her attention and pointed back at the laptop, but Yeovil shook her head. Then she pointed at Aziz, or the translator, and spoke.

“Ensign,” said Wilder. “I need a translation.”

The lip-reader hurried back over, leaving Aziz to his insane ritual.

“Sir, Ellen can hear what Aziz is saying,” she said, her eyes on the former captain’s ethereal lips. “He is mumbling, so she doesn’t really understand either, but she says it sounds like ‘brother man’.”

Wilder felt a hot rush of blood flow through him, making his face prickle and his uniform feel clammy. “It’s nonsense,” he said, unsure why he suddenly felt so angry. He decided it was probably just because he understood nothing here. “Whatever happened to Aziz has obviously driven him out of his mind.”

He pointed back at the laptop. Yeovil nodded and moved back onto the bridge. A shiver ran up Wilder’s spine as he realised that he could probably have passed straight through her. He put the idea from his mind and returned his attention to Konrad.

“Keep trying, ensign,” he ordered. “You, assist him,” he added, looking at Konrad’s companion. He left the two of them attempting to capture Morarji’s attention, waving at the spectre and opening and closing the toilet door as it passed through. The lip-reader returned with Wilder to the laptop. Its screen still displayed the promise of help, which now appeared even more sad and forlorn.

Morgan had his head in his hands. Every so often a gentle sob came from the Senior Engineer, partially muffled by his chubby hands. Wilder had no idea just what had affected him so deeply, but right now it was low on his list of priorities. He ignored the man’s distress and took a deep breath.

“Okay,” he said, to no one in particular. “Let’s try and find some answers.”

#

TO: [ultra top secret], Geneva
FROM: [ultra top secret], Parvati Station
DATE: 16-08-2067
SUBJECT: FAO UEG QWF/W PROJ. DIRS.

Ma’am, gentlemen,

By now you will all be aware of the results of the first quantum waveform test. I am sure you have acquainted yourselves with the early transcripts of the conversations with the one sane subject located aboard the prototype craft, and with initial reports and recordings from both source and destination. However, with the official mission report still several days away, it has been deemed necessary to provide a brief overview of the latter period prior to the cessation of anomalous events.

Morarji Aziz remained locked into his repetitive motions until he eventually vanished without trace. No observers reported even the slightest deviation in his routine, and estimated that he repeated the process of passing through the doorway over twenty thousand times. He disappeared some hours before Ellen Yeovil, passing through the closed door and not re-emerging.

In the hours before Ellen Yeovil’s slow fading, she and the interviewer continued to converse. They determined nothing of any use. However, Yeovil did confide to the interviewer that she feared she would soon follow Morarji Aziz in disappearing. She described an intense hunger, a “burning within her entire body”, to quote, that she did not understand how to sate. Experiments were made with organic food products and various gases, but the subject had no way of consuming or otherwise interacting with them. Eventually she faded away, possibly as a result of an absence of sustenance. The interviewer reported one additional fact that he considered significant: before her final disappearance, he claimed an expression of “serenity” spread over the subject’s face. He was quite emphatic regarding this fanciful notion.

No trace was ever discovered of Tony Weis, and attempts to extract any information from the small break in the black box recording have not been successful. It will be shipped back to Earth for more stringent analysis.

This unfortunately leaves us with few answers as to what occurred to the human crew of the prototype craft during its waveform conversion and wormhole transition, and it is unlikely that the official report will shed further light on the matter. However, despite these events and because of our lack of information, I recommend green-lighting further tests with quantum waveform technology. The prototype craft itself is undamaged and in perfect condition. It is my opinion that this technology will offer us gains that outweigh the potential risks involved in further testing. I do, however, recommend to the Board that future tests are performed near our own deep space operations and away from the eyes of those who might be familiar with these recent tragic events. I also recommend that, where possible, we use voluntary or unofficial personnel.

If the board does not share this opinion, I will tender my immediate resignation from the project.

-G

[‘Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt’, Shaun Green, 2006. Cover image taken from Google Image Search.]

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