6 - Dr. Kenner's Journal

Day 187
Johnson’s really starting to get on my nerves. I know it’s inevitable, given that we’re alone together in the Antarctic studying ice samples, but I really am beginning to find him quite tiresome. He keeps making the same jokes over and over again. If I hear him say one more time that he’s just popping out to the shops for a pint of milk, I think I might snap.

Day 188
I find it difficult to maintain my calm when Johnson insists on acting like a child. He seems to be under the impression that we’re in primary school and keeps playing pranks of the most juvenile order. I was pulling on my coat to go over to the supply station when I found that my hood was full of snow. I’ve got as good a sense of humour as anyone, but we are in a dangerous, unforgiving environment and cannot afford to take risks. I made this very clear to Johnson as I was scooping snow out of my hair and hood. He had the temerity to tell me to keep a cool head.

Day 192
Making good progress with Specimens 18-24, although it’s too soon to say whether the results we’re seeing are due to seasonal aberration or are part of a larger trend. Still, I’m pleased that the results are so consistent and it bodes well for further funding. I know that some of my peers thought it a mistake to begin with only a two man team, but I honestly believe I had no choice.

Day 193
Things got very tense in the lab this morning. Johnson thinks it’s hilarious to make farting noises while I’m recording notes on my dictaphone. Needless to say, I do not. Eventually, I had to tell him to stop it and he accused me of being a killjoy. No matter how many times I try to remind him that we have a serious purpose for being here, he always says that he’s just trying to lighten the mood. I suppose I shouldn’t blame him for that. I’ll try to be more tolerant.

Day 194
Johnson has been feeding the huskies chocolate again. I’ll have to take it up with him, because our lives depend on those dogs, but I’m not looking forward to another round of accusations and recriminations.

Day 195
As I feared, my casual enquiry as to the diet of the livestock caused Johnson to lose his temper and make all sorts of unnecessary and inappropriate comments. I was as calm as could be and stated once again that the huskies were not pets and in any case, chocolate was not good for canines, to which Johnson first stated that he was well aware of the facts and hadn’t been feeding them anyway. His story changes from minute to minute, but pointing that out to him only makes things worse. I decided not to press the matter any further.

Day 197
Things have been tense ever since Johnson and I argued about the huskies and Johnson has been sulking like a teenager. What’s worse is that he seems to be trying to deliberately act out. It’s happening in very small ways, but it makes for a very tense atmosphere.

Day 198
After seven hours of research, I decided to relax this evening by watching a DVD. Somehow, the player’s language settings have been compromised and it will only play discs with a Hindi soundtrack and Greek subtitles. I suspect this is Johnson’s work, but I can’t prove it. I decided to stick it out anyway and defiantly watched “Wallander” without understanding a word.

Day 200
Johnson still sulking, which means he isn’t talking much. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that he’s being quiet, as his lack of speech is offset by the incredible amount of noise he makes as he walks around the compound, crashing into everything in his path. It’s most distracting. When I try to talk to him about it, he says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. To be honest, I deeply regret assigning him to this expedition. While his professional credentials are impeccable, I now see that he is a deeply flawed human being and not the sort of person one should spend any amount of time with.

Day 201
I have been laid low with the most dreadful case of stomach flu I have ever encountered. Horrible D&V. Unable to move more than ten feet away from the latrine and have had to station myself in there with a laptop. I’ve not experienced anything it since I volunteered as a student in Nepal and drank some contaminated water. Truth be told, I haven’t experienced anything like this in any of the six other polar expeditions I have made (if anything, the opposite has been true and things have been rather difficult to accomplish). Anyway, I’ve been put into quarantine as a precaution. It’s giving me lots of time to think.

Day 202
Johnson made dinner that night.

Day 203
I keep turning it over in my mind and the more I think about it, the more suspicious I grow about Johnson’s actions on the night I got sick. He was peculiarly insistent about preparing the food, even though it wasn’t his turn. He’s usually rather truculent about about doing anything for anyone else, whether it’s expected of him or not, and yet he insisted on making dinner. At the time, I thought it was a peace offering, but now…

Day 204
Am I crazy for thinking like this? For all his faults, Johnson is a scientist who has dedicated himself to the betterment of humanity. Is it possible for someone like that to act in such a wilfully dangerous manner to a fellow scholar? I wish I could say no, but I’ve seen many a learned fellow act like a spoilt child when their carefully-constructed world views are challenged. Does that mean Johnson would endanger my health, just because of a few petty disagreements? A person would have to be severely unbalanced to even consider such a thing, wouldn’t they?

Day 205
Johnson moved a TV in front of the small window in the quarantine area and has been playing “Ever Decreasing Circles” through the porthole. No sound, of course, and the subtitle track is still all Cyrillic, but it’s a distraction from the dark matters at the heart of the Johnson situation. I’m feeling rather faint at the moment. I lost a lot of body fluid through my various expulsions and I’m finding it difficult to keep anything down.

Day 206
A face keeps appearing at the window, staring at me and doing a slit-throat mime. Sometimes it looks like Johnson and sometimes it looks like Richard Briers. They both have the same bobble hat. I want to get out of this room.

Day 207
I asked Johnson when I could come out of quarantine. He said it would be a couple of days yet. I don’t see what can be taking so long. It was just a case of stomach flu / food poisoning. Why would he insist on keeping me in isolation? Is it that the disease is worse than first thought, or is there another reason for not letting me out?

Day 208
I keep hearing strange sounds coming from outside the quarantine room. I don’t know what Johnson is doing out there. I don’t trust Johnson, but I need to earn his trust if I’m ever to get out of here. Although… maybe I’m safer in here, by myself. I’m not sure I’ll feel secure if I’m out there, where Johnson can get to me at any time.

Day 209
Quarantine over! I’ve never been so happy. Johnson said that the danger had passed, although by what means he determined this, I couldn’t say. Still, it felt good to be able to return to my quarters. It felt strange, being in the rest of the building, however. Things have been moved around and changed. All the photographs have been taken down from the communal areas and Johnson has moved the stereo system into his quarters. I thought it best not to ask why, as I would like to keep things cordial. Johnson is trying to act friendly and he even opened one of his precious bottle of scotch in order to celebrate my freedom. I politely refused, as I will not eat or drink anything that he has touched. I cannot risk being poisoned again. I’m out of quarantine, but that doesn’t mean I can relax. While I was in isolation, I only had one door to watch. Now, danger could some from anywhere.

Day 211
Johnson has become rather taciturn, whereas I find myself being more verbose than ever. Perhaps it’s a reaction to being in isolation, but I seem to have developed a serious case of logghorrea. It’s as if our roles have reversed - I’m full of blithe jocularity, whereas he is the very model of quiet suspicion. It’s frustrating, because I know there’s no real way to allay his fears without stoking them further. Such is the paranoid mindset. I’m grateful not to be in that frame of mind any more and it’s frustrating to see in manifesting in someone else. Of course, the question remains - why is Johnson so paranoid? What does he have to hide?

Day 212
Smothered Johnson in his sleep last night. I didn’t have a choice. He was acting so strangely that it was just a matter of time until he killed me. He struggled underneath the pillow, but the process was surprisingly easy. I realise that writing it down here is an admission of guilt, but when read amongst the other entries I’m sure it will all make sense. Surely anyone can see that I had to do it. Johnson was not only an impediment to the scientific progress of the project, but he was also mentally unstable and had proved on several occasions that he had homicidal intentions. I wish I hadn’t had to do it, but now that I don’t have to put up with his idiotic jokes any more I can finally get some real work done.

Day 213
Today was fantastically productive. I was not only able to analyse the latest data sets, but I also programmed an algorithm that will highlight anomalous trends and automatically correct the data. It’s wonderful to be able to work in peace and quiet. Johnson’s body is still in his bunk, but I don’t have time to deal with it now. I’ve got to catch up with work.

Day 214
Looking back over the research for the past six weeks, I’m shocked at what a bad state it’s in. Much of this is Johnson’s fault, of course, but I have to bear some responsibility for it as well. As I review the materials, I can see fundamental errors which never should have been allowed to slip through. Of course, The Johnson situation accounts for a lot of these mistakes and now that has been resolved I can go back and amend the original research data so that it is more supportive of my hypothesis. My only concern is that it may not be entirely ethical.

Day 215
Have decided to go ahead with the revisions. Presenting a coherent proof is more important than any fusty notions of empirical propriety. I rewrote the sample logs for the entire expedition and burned the originals. Wondered whether to burn this journal as well, but then realised that it is the only company I have nowadays. Without it, I might turn peculiar.

Day 216
Now that I’m free from the shackles of provability, I am doing some truly remarkable work. It seems that every hour I am making extraordinary discoveries which will revolutionise science. New theories present themselves in quick succession and my only problem is keeping up with them all. I originally came to Antarctica to do some piddling research on the deterioration of permafrost, but now I have stumbled on the great truth at the heart of the universe. I thought I needed a laboratory and funding to conduct my work. Now I see that all really needed was isolation. Great work can only take place away from the chatter of modern society and the tedious business of other people. I just need to keep working. No time for sleep. No time to eat.

Day 218
Frustrating day. Am on the verge of discovery, but nothing seems to be fitting together properly. Johnson mocks me from beyond, not with jokes and false flatulence, but with a noxious stench that distracts me from my work. The odour of his corpse really is most unpleasant, but I cannot allow myself to become distracted. I am on the verge of greatness. I haven’t studied physics since secondary school, but I am drawing up plans for a perpetual motion machine.

Day 219
Work on the PMM has hit a wall and for that I blame Johnson.

Day 220
Johnson’s body has disappeared. I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t think I moved it, but I can’t say for sure. I’ve been so busy that it’s difficult to keep track of everything. Maybe I took him out of his bunk and buried him in the snow. I don’t remember. Whatever happened, it means there’s less of a stink in the sleeping quarters, which is good. Back to work.

Day 221
The perpetual motion machine was folly. Madness. I can’t afford to get sidetracked with these distractions. I have no business dabbling in physics and must limit myself to my field of expertise. With that in mind, I am refocusing on practical, rational science - the transmutation of lead into gold.

Day 223
Stripped all the lead out of the Support Centre. It affects the insulation and I had to pull out a lot of wiring to get to it. As a result, half of the electrical systems have gone down. Am wondering now if I have the necessary reagents to perfect the alchemical process. I was going to check the stocks in the supply centre when I felt snow in the hood of my coat. I don’t know what this means.

Day 224
It occurred to me today that I couldn’t remember the last time I fed the huskies. When I went out there, only three of them had died. Only three? Surely more should have perished through starvation? Unless… has someone else been feeding them? Is it possible that Johnson was only pretending to be dead and has in fact been hiding in the facility this whole time? His sabotage has been subtle, but effective. It would explain why none of my experiments are working as they should.

Day 226
Spent the day hunting for Johnson, but still he eludes me. It’s difficult to stop looking, but I realised that by making me chase him, he’s doing exactly what he wanted - stopping me from working. It’s difficult to see a solution. If I leave him alone, he wins. If I chase him, he wins. It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Day 227
I think I’m hearing voices. Not Johnson’s voice, though. These are new. Strange. They keep repeating the same phrases over and over, asking if there is anyone there. Of course there’s someone there. Me. I’m here.

Day 228
Turns out the voices were just the radio. Had a good laugh about that. The relief team will be coming in 3 days. I have just 72 to hours to find Johnson and beat the truth out of him.

Day 229
Doing everything I can to bring Johnson out of hiding. Sometimes I try to act friendly and other times I threaten him, but nothing seems to work. I’ve tried using blasting Mantovani through the PA system because I know how much he hates it. Still, he refuses to come out from wherever it is he’s hiding.

Day 230
I killed all the remaining huskies today. I know how fond Johnson is of them and hoped to provoke some reaction from him, but to no avail. I’ve searched everywhere on the base, but he’s nowhere to be found.

Day 240
Well, this is confusing. The relief team came this morning and quickly asked what happened here. The strange thing is that they keep calling me Johnson and asking what happened to Dr Kenner is. The leader of the relief team is a man called Peters, who says he’s met me before, but if that’s the case, why won’t he use my proper name? I’ve stated time and time again that I am Kenner, but they won’t listen. It’s all so strange. They’re talking about taking me somewhere, but I don’t know what they mean. They’ve asked to see my journal and I’m happy to give it to them, as I think it will explain everything. With that in mind, I think this will be my last entry, at least for a while. Hopefully, this misunderstanding will be cleared up and I can return to my studies.

I think I’m on the verge of something important.