Log #216 – Jeff Goldstein

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I followed the only trail to the origin of the settlers in the Moreland Hills.

The settlers in the Moreland Hills shrouded their past in a cloak of silence. I knew from a diary that they were refugees. On their escape, they had first been on the planet Hurston. There they were hunted and imprisoned and finally came to the planet Microtech. I was fascinated by their simple and free life. And I was equally fascinated by their mysterious history. Where did they come from? Why were they on the run? Brubacker was of the opinion that it was pointless to dig into the settlers’ past. But I couldn’t let go. I had to know more. And I had a lead, a name: Jeff Goldstein. I had gotten it from Richard. The arms dealer and leader of the group that had split off from the settlers in the Moreland Hills.

I had put my friends from Marsden Analytics on the name. And they had found something, an article in the Frosty Gazette. Jeff Goldstein had been a UEE Navy logistics officer on the INS Jericho space station. He had been dishonorably discharged for corruption and illegal arms trading. Now I realized why Richard knew Jeff Goldstein.


The White Rabbit glided silently through the darkness of space. The greenish gas clouds of Lagrange Point could be seen in the distance. In front of us, the Jericho space station slowly emerged from the black. A flat construction with buildings in the middle. To the left and right were crab-like pincers between which capital ships could dock.

I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to fly unannounced to a military space station and ask questions about a dishonorably discharged officer. The fact that Hermieoth and Brubacker were there reassured me a little. Nevertheless, a feeling of uncertainty remained. Hermieoth had offered to use his good position with the Civilian Defense Force. I could pose as a special investigator from Crusader Industries. So we had options, but would that be enough?

The White Rabbit’s engines fell silent after I touched down on a landing pad. Accompanied by a metallic scraping sound, the rear ramp opened. Together we disembarked and entered the space station. We entered a storage room where several soldiers were busy with cargo crates. An officer was supervising the work. With a hand signal, I told Hermieoth and Brubacker to stand back. I walked straight up to the officer and briefly held my Crusader Industries ID card under his nose.

“Excuse me. I’m a special investigator from Crusader Industries. I’m investigating a case concerning illegal arms trafficking. At the center of the investigation is a Jeff Goldstein. According to my information, he worked here.”

The officer replied without delay.

“Yes, Jeff Goldstein worked here.”

“And what can you tell me about Jeff Goldstein?” I asked.

“He was never really happy with his position and really wanted to join the UEE Marine Corps. But as they say, ‘No one applies to be a Marine’. Recruits are selected. Jeff probably didn’t meet the criteria. Guess that offended him.”

“Why did he want to be a Marine?” I asked.

“Jeff had an obsession with covert operations,” the officer continued somewhat snidely. “He always talked about it and read lots of reports. But it remained a dream for him.”

“And where can I find Jeff Goldstein now?”

“After his discharge, he remained loyal to logistics, so to speak,” the officer said with a laugh. “The last I heard of him was that he was working on the Covalex Hub Gundo. I don’t know what happened to him after the accident there. It’s a shame that an officer can fall so low.”

I thanked the officer, signaled Hermieoth and Brubacker to follow me and went back aboard the White Rabbit with both of them.


The abandoned Covalex Gundo Hub space station shone in the White Rabbit’s headlights. Large fragments and debris floated around it like satellites. The brown desert moon Daymar could be seen in the background.

Memories popped into my head.

“Hey Bru. Do you remember. This is where we had our first encounter.”

“Yes. I have even more memories of this space station,” Brubacker replied with little enthusiasm.

“So, guys, here’s the plan,” I explained the next steps. “Pirates often hang around here. So I’d better stay in the cockpit. Go into the space station and look for clues about Jeff Goldstein. There should be a terminal with an occupancy plan right at the entrance. Maybe that will help.”

“You mean fly into the destroyed space station in the EVA?”

Brubacker didn’t give the impression that he was particularly motivated. Hermieoth seemed to be trying to cheer him up.

“I’ll look after you. Just follow me. We’ll manage.”

Shortly afterwards, Brubacker and Hermieoth disappeared inside the old space station. I was able to overhear what they found over the radio.

“According to the occupancy plan, Jeff lived in Pod 8,” Hermieoth reported.

For a few minutes, I heard Brubacker having trouble floating through the station. He seemed to keep bumping into things and losing his bearings. The hack simply didn’t belong in space. While I listened to the radio, I didn’t take my eyes off the radar. I had encountered pirates here too often. My tension grew. Every minute we stayed longer increased the risk. Then I noticed something on the scanners. Right at that moment, Hermieoth got back on the radio.

“We’ve found a box of personal belongings in Jeff Goldstein’s pod.”

“Bring them on board right away,” I replied. “I want to get out of here as soon as possible. Ah, and when you get back; the sensors have indicated a cargo container. Bring that on board too. Who knows, there might be something valuable in there.”

Hermieoth and Brubacker grumbled something about ‘I can’t leave it alone’ or something. I couldn’t really understand, they were speaking too quietly.

After Hermieoth and Brubacker had recovered the crate and the container with some difficulty, I brought the White Rabbit to a safe distance from the space station.

“And what have we got,” I asked as I entered the cargo hold where Hermieoth and Brubacker were examining the contents of the crate.

“Some kind of medal or medal of the 6th Platoon,” Brubacker replied. “Looks old and worn.”

“And a datapad. There are several files on it. Including Jeff Goldstein’s diary,” Hermieoth added.

“I’m sure that will help us. What’s in it?” I asked excitedly.

Hermieoth tapped around on the data pad, then said disappointedly.

“I have no idea. It’s password protected. Can’t open it.”

“Crap!” I couldn’t hide my disappointment either. “Any clues on the data pad? Some people are really careless with passwords. They often choose something that’s important to them. Cat’s name, wife, date of birth or something.”

Brubacker stood next to Hermieoth and asked: “What else is on the data pad?”

The three of us looked at the file list:

Brubacker looked at the 6th Platoon medal in his hand, then back at the data pad and said thoughtfully, “Open the 6th Platoon portfolio.”

We read through the portfolio with interest. The 6th Platoon was part of the special forces of the UEE Marines and was also entrusted with secret operations. They were called “Phantoms”.

“What did the officer at Jericho Station say?” pondered Hermieoth. “Jeff Goldstein wanted to join the Marines and was obsessed with covert operations? I’ll try ‘phantoms’ as a password.”

Hermieoth tapped the datapad. The screen flickered briefly, then we saw the entries from the diary.

+++ Older entries archived and deleted from local storage +++

Entry 85
Another weapons deal with the Dusters went off without a hitch.
I always find it scary to land on the old rusty oil platform. At some point the landing pad collapses under the spaceship. The Dusters could really look for a better location.

Entry 86
I didn’t fly over the sea this time, but over the island. I saw a farm on the other side. Looks cozy. Must pay it a visit.

Entry 87
No new order from the Dusters yet. I’ll still fly to the island on Hurston and have a look at the farm.

Entry 88
It’s amazing what they’ve built there. Virtually from nothing and with nothing. Some independent people live on the farm. Won’t say where they’re from. But they don’t seem to be here officially. Will stay overnight.

Entry 89
Over a leisurely beer in the evening, some people got chatty. Not about the past, but about the future. Richard was his name. He wants to leave Hurston with a group. They must be in trouble with Hurston Dynamics. Who doesn’t? I made a deal with him. I take the group to Microtech and he joins me in the illegal weapons business. Could really use an assistant.

Entry 90
Back to Gundo. Must organize the transport of the group of independents to Microtech. I already have an idea.

Entry 91
We’ve organized a surprise party for Scott. Will go over there now. Mel has organized a bottle of Esquire. That could be fun.

“After or during the party, Gundo exploded,” Brubacker said thoughtfully.

“In any case, we now know where the Moreland Hills settlers were on Hurston before and that Jeff had taken them to Microtech. The only question is where exactly the farm on Hurston is.”

“I think I know where it is,” Brubacker said. “I was in a settlement on an island. I saw an oil platform on the other side of the island.”

“Then let’s fly there,” said Hermieoth.

“Absolutely,” I said. “But first we have to sell the drugs in the cargo container we recovered. We can’t fly around the Stanton system with that stuff. It’s too risky.”

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)