View Full Version : The Steep and Thorny Path - Eclipse Phase
2012-11-04, 11:55 PM
The colony of Isra is busy, friendly, and total chaos. A half-dozen inflatable domes are clustered on a promontory with a nice view of the ice fields to the south, and more synth-only communities are built in a rough ring where only the most hardy can survive. Gatecrashers from all over the system rub elbows in the taverns and clubs of the colony, offering all the luxuries of home with few of the hang-ups. For professional crashers, this is not a home away from home; it's a home full stop.
And now six crashers are leaving it, perhaps never to return. After leaving an updated ego on file with the local storage bank, they board the light rail which stretches off across the frozen dunes to Mi'raj. Two kilometers away, this large dome encloses the ring of six gates comparmentalized for safety. In the lounge area outside of one of these, the team will meet before connecting to the exoplanet Honegger and starting on their journey. Far more questions are before them than answers, but such is the life of a gatecrasher.
2012-11-05, 07:02 PM
Eduard spent little time with couch settings, before it become apparent, that it indeed lacked Neo-Avian setting. It had one for Octopi and of course the couch would form-fit for any human, with a simple command. Still it was comfortable enough and the atmosphere in the lounge was cosy.
[Our adventure is about to begin] spoke Vrungel. The muse looked like a medium height sea captain. He was a bit plump, but with strong, hairy arms. Vrungel appeared to wear sleeveless, white-striped undershirt, and an unbuttoned uniform.
[That’s true. This would be the first time, team is meeting each other in person. If we can work together, then it has really begun.] Eduard retrieved a small green ball from a pouch, and put it into his beak. The ball popped releasing the sweet fruit wine.
[The crew will come together.] Vrungel spoke warmly with a smile, beneath his thick moustache.
A screen in the lounge displayed opening of one of the Gates, catching Eduard’s attention. Three men were leaving, traveling light, with just a backpack each. They paused before passing through, discussing something. This causal atmosphere and lack of strict schedules in Mi’Raj felt very odd, contrasted with the Pathfinder’s procedures. That was to be expected, considering Portal was held by Anarchists, who wouldn't know the value of Gate time. Eduard was planning to take advantage of that. The report about Honegger made it out to be a relatively safe location, but one shouldn't expect consistency or for information to always be accurate. His team would check the conditions on the other side, just to be safe.
2012-11-05, 09:03 PM
The rail car arrived at the lounge, Dr. Livingstone slung his heavy smartpack over his shoulder and picked up his imposing plasma rifle. He quickly scanned the lounge, lingering on the monitors showing the gate approaches. He stepped into the lounge, finding an empty couch and dropping his pack down, started rummaging through it. "Good, I remembered the thermite gel" he assured himself. He secured the latch on the pack, counting to himself "One, two, three." Then he patted his weapons holstered on his vacsuit, "Pistol, baton, armband, plasma." Finally, he looks to Eduard. "Greetings. How long till we depart?" he asked. He stood shifting his weight from foot to foot, wringing his hands over and over.
2012-11-05, 09:52 PM
Dr. Albert Carlsson
Albert was as always in his shining Savant morph, wearing only his backpack, containing smart manipulators. It was only of basic tools in his work and Albert never ever left it behind, not caring about „Doctor Octopus” jokes – which was fortunately rarely spoken. Beyond his backpack was his Crasher Truck, boxing up all his equipment.
- Alright people, we know each other by RNA, Fame or whatever else you like to use, but there is no Mesh on the surface of exoplanets. Our journey will be hard, dangerous and in completely isolation from Transhumanity. It will be demand an absolutely trustful attitude and unity. On Ishra, we can play our little, political games, but in cold, far space, we are brothers and sisters – the only family. If somebody suffer from stress or other psychological disorder, do not hide your problems and talk to us. If somebody think that can be „infected”, talk to us. If somebody want to return to Ishra – talk to us. TALK, there is no Mesh, no social network and no neurosurgeon's clinic!
- Second, put on your Faraday suit if you have any. Personally, I don't believe in theory of „TITANs - creators of gates”, but I must consider the situation. I like to „cut off” objects of my research in Faraday containers, there is no reason, why I should care more about Iktomi technology than about my own survival. I told my Muse to put on Faraday whenever I pass the gates, you should do so. But... do not be afraid if you don't have any, TITAN is only a possibility and a nightmare of resleeved into synthmorphs – doctor apparently wanted to cheer his peers.
[Ehkem... Sir, you forgot something] – Eric whispered to his ego.
[Again?!] - asked Carlsson, irritated. [What it is this time?]
[Your name, Sir] – said Eric.
- Oh, forgive me. Everlasting distraction is one of many illnesses of scientists. My name is Albert Carlsson and I am a doctor at TAU. As I said, we will be out of Mesh, so we should know our names personally, as demand tradition. If you prefer, we can do in my Truck.
2012-11-06, 04:35 AM
Being late was something Aiden hated the most, but atleast he was only a few minutes off schedule. He finally arrived at the lounge, his ever so spherical form of a reaper morph, along with a color pattern that screamed 'I'M HERE!', made it almost impossible to spot him... and that's not counting in the two mounted machineguns and particle beam bolters, which are locked and loaded.
He Landed on the floor, his four limbs was shooting out and taking over for the use of mobility. [Look Vicky, I know you meant well by it all, but when I'm in the middle of talking, an XP is not something that i would need right then and there.]
[I'm sorry Aiden, i just sensed that you felt a little gloomy and needed some cheering up].
[*sigh*.... well, no harm done.]
He then made it over to the others, the lack of facial features made it impossible to know what he was thinking.
''Greetings to you all, I am Aiden, your security for this here expedition.'' And that was all he said, not feeling the need to say more.
2012-11-06, 07:14 AM
The fact that anybody was allowed to wear weapons in the open was another thing that rattled Eduard. In his habitat, only security forces had such permission. Things were more secure that way. He was half expecting, that Isra ‘’authorities’’ would demand that weapons on his Security Bot be disabled. They didn’t. It probably shouldn’t have surprised him.
''Ah, Doctor. My greetings to you as well. The schedule here is rather flexible. We need to gather the rest of our team first. I haven’t got any messages that indicate, others would want to postpone our departure. Mr. Aiden. Dr. Carlsson.''
The tradition of oral introductions has always seemed a bit odd to Eduard. It’s not like it was required, as Muse always informed him of the person’s identity, well before one could vocalize it. But here in the frontier, it did have a certain charm to it.
''I don’ think I can add much to what Dr. Carlsson said on danger of TITANS, although I expect Mr. Wilder can. We’ll follow the standard procedure for Gate exploration, including Honegger Gate. I know we have data on the conditions on the other side, but at this point that’s old news. Gate probe first. Exploranout next. We don’t have many scout missiles, so they would be used on case to case basis. I have a fleet of Robomules, so you can place more bulky gear on them. I encourage spreading equipment, so we don’t lose every single ration or nuclear battery we have, if one of them is destroyed.''
2012-11-06, 11:22 AM
The waiting area for Gate 4 is comfortable and busy, but the group is able to meet and talk among themselves in a corner of the area. The smaller dome for this gate, reinforced and isolated from the larger Mi'raj dome, has an airlock which is busy constantly cycling and a large AR screen which lists the gate queue. The "Popovsky Party" is about forty minutes from launching as the explorers arrive: Dr. Livingstone by rail, Dr. Carlsson in his crasher truck, and Aiden jetting through the atmosphere of Portal on his ionic thrusters.
The couches are in a comfortable circle with some bots for maintenance and others for distributing glasses of water and small plates of almond-flavored fabber-cookies. It has an old-fashioned, mid-twentieth century look with plenty of room for assembling crews and resources, even discounting the small paved area where Aiden Wilder's crasher truck is parked. Eduard's set of robomules are sitting in the cleared area by the team's couches, in idling mode but ready to respond with a signaled command.
Other groups have their own equipment out, including one group nearby with an armored and armed tank on the paved area and all of their group in body armor.
2012-11-07, 02:38 PM
Eduard gave the departing teams a look, while Vrungel pulled a list of the recent departures. The chance of his team meeting any of them was miniscule, but coincidences sometimes defied the odds.
''As we wait for the rest of our team, do you mind if I ask you for the reasons, you’ve agreed to join this mission? I’m especially curious about you, Dr. Carlsson. I’ve read a few things on you and your past activites seem to center on expanding the horizons of transhuman knowledge. But Gatehopping is a rather high-risk enterprise. Whatever research you conduct out there, won’t make much difference, if you never come back. Why not join a single world exploration mission. With your reputation, I’m certain you could easily find one that would take you in.''
2012-11-07, 11:39 PM
Dr. Albert Carlsson
Doctor listened carefully to the Popovsky. The Uplift was right, Gatehopping wasn't an approved form of xenoresearch and if students would ask him, Albert would discourage they, no doubt. Still, he wanted to participate in some kind of interstellar marathon.
- Yes, single mission would be most wise, looking at my work, experience and combat abilities (or rather lask of thereof). I have two main reasons. First of them, I believe in great discoveries achieved by great acts. Columbus, Marie Currie and Marco Polo expanded our knowledge, even if it was "stupid" by standards of their times. Marie sacrificed her own life in order to analize radioizotops and find two new chemical elements. Columbus and the crew almost died out of starvation. Also, travel to Asia in times of Marco was dangerous. Yet, great people were able to risk life for science and reaching new horizonts. And there is a beauty in the deeds - claimed romatically.
- Second reason, I don't like Gatehoppers. They can die or return with memories of many alien worlds, but without any scientific documentations about them. If I die, Gatecrashers will restore me thanks to my copy. But if I survive, I will add my own dots to the star map. The papers of mine will become a booster of civilization, such as Polon and Rad. If I can bring new theories and facts to Transhumanity, it is my duty.
[There is also a third reason, my friend - whatever other members of party find in the universe, they will carry it to me. You can get it, but you won't hide from me the fact of excistence of these wonders. I will die rather than let Hypercorps patent a DNA of Iktomi.] - added to Eric.
2012-11-09, 02:53 PM
''Mr. Aiden. I was wondering, if you could take stock of our firepower?'' Eduard glanced at the monitor, showing the heavily armed group, readying themselves to pass through the Gate. ''I doubt we’d actually run into a situation, where it’ll be required, but it would probably be useful to you as our security expert, to know how we can back you up, if things go unexpected. I’ve got a Sentry Bot as you can see as well as a crate of grenades, I feel comfortable throwing, if needs be.''
[It's pretty easy to determine that Eduard Popovsky is a Corporate parrot. Upon arrival to Isra he registered as per advice, indicating, that he worked in bank, that was part of the Solaris Hypercorp structure, though his current visit is on personal time and resources.
2012-11-09, 03:13 PM
Aiden was quick to respond, professionally and to the point.
''Just call me Aiden, no need for honourifics. As for firepower, the better trained you are the more lethal you get.... No matter what kind of armaments you carry.
Since we are going gatehopping, and not gatecrashing, the need for ammunition can be extremely important. I wish i could have brought along a fabber or a hive that would be able to create more ammo from whatever resources is available on the planets we go to. But this is why energy weapons are important; you can recharge them via sunlight or a nuclear batteries.
So it all sums up to: how well can you all fire a weapon, what weaponry are you all bringing along and how much ammunition do you have?''
2012-11-10, 11:55 AM
- Weaponry? - doctor was startled – I am resleeved into special model of Savant, lead shell, stronger hydraulic muscles, protection against extremely cold and radiation... I think the morph is good to gatehopping, but I am not a warrior. The only one „fight” system I possess is an eelware. But fear not, I have both nanoguardians and biodefense unit, even fixers in case of damaged machinery. If anything will be according to my plan, we will reduce meetings with violent local fauna and ancient nanids to necessary minimum.
2012-11-10, 01:56 PM
''Well, I don’t expect to fire guns myself. I doubt I’d be able to hit anything anyway. That’s what our security specialist is for. Should we start preparing to move through the gate? I see our time of departure is approaching. Doctor Carlsson, you have the Blue Box?''
2012-11-10, 02:44 PM
Yes, I got one in my Truck. Bad thing, I don't have any Gateprobe or other "pre-hop" equipment. Do you have a particular destination in mind, or we will start our exploration by a blind date?
2012-11-10, 03:13 PM
''I have purchased coordinates to a place with atmosphere, though no life. The original explorers didn’t find it too interesting. It should be a safer start, a kiddy pool, before we go to the unexplored depths. I figure, we need to get used to working together under stressful conditions and perhaps the place would prove to be more interesting, then a cursory examination indicated.''
Type: Terrestrial (Barren)
Primary Star: G8 V
Gravity: 1.02 g
Atmospheric Pressure: 1.02 atm
Atmospheric Composition: Nitrogen (60%), Oxygen (23%), Carbon Dioxide (5%), Methane (3%)
Surface Temperature: 13C (first-link average)
Day Length: Unknown
Orbital Period: Unknown
Satellites: None observed
Gate Access: Isra Gate IV
[Vrungel] Eduard thought.
[Aye Aye.] came Captain's reply. One of the Robomules and a smaller Explorenaut whirred into motion. The Robomule carried a Gate Probe, that he quickly checked through mesh. The Probe was in operating condition. Eduard disabled the mesh connectivity with a flip of a switch. There was always risk, that whatever was on the other side of the Gate could reach back through the probe. It would be better, that it didn't have instant access to the local Mesh.
''We confirm that planetary parameters in the original report haven't changed radically. Then send Explorenaut, to check, if the area we are entering hasn't changed and that there are no hostiles present. Then we go through. Should we follow some special order of entry?'' Eduard addressed the last question both to Mist... to Aiden and to Dr. Carlsson.
''Dr. Carlsson. I was wondering. Honegger appears to have atmosphere, yet no plant life or bacteria. Now how could it be explained?''
[Alien terraforming machines?]
[Ha. Right. That's what it's going to be.]
2012-11-10, 03:30 PM
They are scientific explanations. My estimation is just radiolysis. If the planet doesn't possess magnetosphere, radiation of local star can affect water and decompose particles to oxygen and hydrogen. Or there was life in ancient past and atmospheric oxygen is the last reminder of formelry green planet? The last possibility is related to genesis of local star. Depending on generation and evolution stage, stars provide systems with different chemical elements. I must do some research on Honegger to create more complex theory.
2012-11-10, 03:39 PM
''I go first, if i deem the immidiate area safe, then you can all come through.''
Aiden did overhear the question to the dear doctor and a question fell upon his cyber-mind.
''Dr. Carlsson, If i remember correctly, then one of the few basic elements that can carry biological data besides cárbon-based life, could be silicone right? would the basic molecular structure of a being affect what conditions it require to function and could it be something that would sound illogical to a transhuman? Let's say, maybe an organism could be purely living off solar energy, thermal energy... or maybe no kind of sustenance is required for it to continue living.'' He began to voice out all egghead-like. Clearly he wasn't allways a 'drop and give me 50 hooah' kind of Gatecrasher.
2012-11-10, 04:05 PM
Dr. Albert listened gently to Aiden, smiling lightly to him by his Mesh inserts (since he don't have real face in actual morph).
- I am afraid the theory have no scientific coverage. Of course, we know many extrasolar lifeforms and some of them are silicon-based, being something between computer and living organism in traditional sense of the phrase. Still, every known organism, even the most exotic one, must have an access to both an energy and a matter. Yes, we know exobionts and Gates just made the term wider, but the basic principle is right.
But, looking at modern Transhuman's society, you can easily find creatures you are searching for. Infomorphs (especially born in the state) are good example of your dreamed lifeforms. They are independed on matter and need only energy and software, which we can perceive as a form of energy. If we think about them apart of computers they are running on, they are pure energetic lifeforms.
Of course, we are now on borders of biological sciences and if we will find some exo-infomorphs deep in space, we would certainly find them under "xenotechnology" paragraph, not in "xenobiology" section in scientific periodics. I wish I would know cognitive sciences better to participate in this discourse, but the only knowledge I have in the topic is taken from my portable SolArchive. If you fancy, you can use it, or my other of my archives. I would be really grateful.
2012-11-11, 11:25 AM
''Well. I believe the time of our departure is upon us. Let us start our journey and let it be a great one.''
[If you were a smart parrot, you’d wish for a safe one.]
[You prefer greatness as much as I do.]
[Beda and Pobeda.]
Eduard sent a message to the gate operators, confirming they were prepared to start. Once they had a connection, gate probe was going in first.
2012-11-11, 02:21 PM
The gate operators send back a confirmation and all at once the lounge area occupied by the team is in motion. The remaining team members arrive on the delayed monorail car just in time to hustle over to Gate IV for the launch. Robomules lift up and scurry about like ants before lining up in as regular a grid as the space around Gate IV will allow. Aiden in his crashtruck rumbles forward and prepares to enter first.
~It's a 120-second window, the synth-sleeved operator tells the group as he accepts the N-dimensional coordinates from Eduard. ~Make sure your 'mules don't trip over each other, alright?
There is a warming-up period as the coordinates are entered and negotiated and the gate realigns subtly and nauseatingly. The concentration evident in the operator's posture and the brief glimpses of the operational ARs remind everyone that gate ops is still more of an art than a science. As soon as the link is opened and tested, the crashtruck rumbles forward and passes through the gate just a moment after the opening widens sufficiently.
The other side of the gate is as the XP attached to Eduard's details revealed: a bluish grey landscape devoid of signs of life. Aiden flicks commands on the truck's sensor suite automatically as he scans for any dangers but, aside from the high oxygen levels noted by the first-link team, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Knowing he is on the clock, Aiden sends back an all-clear signal within ten seconds and the rest of the crew shuffles through just as quickly. All six experience the same gut-twisting numbness as they step through the gate and the disorientation realization on the other side as it hits home that a single step has taken them hundreds if not thousands of light-years away.
In the end, it takes longer than two minutes but not by much. Unlike hypercorp schedules, no one cuts the team off midway through and the extra ten seconds merely gets reflected in annoyed pings to the team's rep scores. Not that it matters much. The miniscule effect on the reputation score becomes not important in the least as the gate closes again and society is once more inaccessibly distant.
I decided to forego Aiden's scanning rolls in order to get everyone there. Like I said in the OOC thread too, we'll have the characters who haven't checked in yet set up camp, plug in to the Honegger gate, etc. Oh, and as Thelonius noted, my wiki (http://mephitjames.wikidot.com/the-steep-and-thorny-way) will get updated with campaign details as well so if you ever feel lost check in there first.
2012-11-11, 03:21 PM
Despite it being not the first Gatecrashing, Eduard still felt a bit disoriented at the lack of mesh, automatically going through the motions and receiving no replies to requests of data. Honegger wasn’t a world, designed to evoke a feeling of awe and excitement. The first team to find it, discarded it, without even taking a step in.
[Even if we find nothing here. It’s still the first step in our journey.] He told Vrungel.
Eduard took a measure of the surrounding area, while unlocking Sentry Bot’s weapons. It was set to act only in case of definite threat, otherwise requesting confirmation to engage. It could cause a dangerous delay in response, but that was preferable to gunning down somebody by mistake. ''We need to do a quick reconnaissance and set up base camp.'' The area near the Gate would probably be the best location, unless there were some problems. He activated mission recorder and flapped his wings, preparing to take flight. ''I’ll take a measure of the area from above.''
2012-11-11, 05:10 PM
Dr. Livingstone grew more and more agitated as he approached the gate. Upon being expelled on the other side, he stumbled to the ground and began to writhe. Over the comm, the group hears him groan in delight, "UGH, yes. **** that feels good. Oh, yeeaaaaaah!" After he composes himself a bit, he asks "Is there time to do it again?"
2012-11-11, 08:53 PM
- Doctor Livingstone! I know that being in possession of stomach can cause „rollercoaster syndrom” while entering Gates, but please, Gatecrashing is not a kind of amusement park. We do science there! - reprimanded Carlsson.
- Now I and my mobile lab must go for a short walk. Nothing big, just chemical testing of air, earth and water. More importanty, I would like to get access to Gatecrashing Probe in night. The planet is not „interesting” for majority of Gatecrashers, so we don't know where in space are we. Joining astro-protocols of Probe, my knowledge and SolArchive, we should know the fact. Also, can we camp there for one full day-and-night cycle? Nobody know if the solar day of „H” last ten hours, thirty or whole Earth's week. Shame!- stated, seemingly disgusted.
2012-11-12, 10:37 AM
''I'll take to the air and scout out the area a little further. Should anything happen, then Radio me and I will be here as fast as i can. When you set up camp, you may use my 4 Defense Beacon set for the perimeter.'' He told the others as he indicated the Beacons and then switched from Ionic, to Vectored thrust.
Aiden went out a little further than earlier, circling the gate's position as the centre.
2012-11-12, 06:56 PM
Dr. Livingstone recovers from his episode and sets up the TacNet software, issuing keys and invitations. He also unpacks his plasma rifle and starts his routine diagnostics. "Jump on the TacNet so I can monitor your vitals and we can communicate quickly."
2012-11-12, 09:06 PM
As Bea and Juliette take a look at setting up a communications relay in camp and the swarm of robomules erects tents and support areas, the other crashers head off to scout. Aiden lifts off and sees a wide area of mostly the same. The gate is on a wide mesa which ends somewhere off to the "east" (in the impromptu reference grid set up by Bea; this planet lacks a magnetic field). To the "north," the landscape becomes rougher and Aiden can see hollows and small valleys forming while the "southwest" holds a rugged boulder field. The reaper morph pauses for a moment, considering options.
Meanwhile, Carlsson heads out to take some readings with his mobile lab device, holding it around him to take atmospheric samples and soil scans at various intervals. Livingstone connects with him directly through mesh inserts, but the good doctor know they'll need a mote network or aimed laser comm set up to maintain the TacNet if he goes much farther.
Aiden can make some Perception checks to assess the likelihood of something interesting in each terrain area. He can get a +20 from using Profession (Gatecrasher) as a complementary skill in this case (normally, I'll rely on you to suggest complementary skills).
Carlsson will need to make some Academics checks to know what he even should be looking for: I suggest Geology and Chemistry at a minimum. He can also use Profession (Lab Tech) and Interfacing as complementary skills for a +20 and +10 bonus respectively. I'm going to say that each check he makes, though, and each complementary skill pulled in for those checks will limit how quickly he can move. You decide your coverage/throughness ratio.
Livingstone will need to set up a mote network like I said (Carlsson has one to use) or laser comms (Carlsson has one and Eduard, but Aiden does not) to stay in touch with distant team members. The mote network is easiest but the laser comms have better range; Aiden, for instance, is nearly too far for a mesh network covering the campsite.
What's Eduard up to?
2012-11-12, 09:59 PM
- Tralalalala – hummed Carlsson, holding his mobile lab and finding quiet space for himself. He would stand a hipercapitalistic parrot (not that he is prejusdiced, but... why he is not a mercurial parrot?!), unprofessional behavior of „Dr” Livingstone and „Silent Ladies” if only he would do some research... and yes, the time is NOW!
First of all, he „breatched” fully the air of „H”. Atmosphere was the easiest to find out, especially, if own's morph has chemical sniffers. Maybe there is some kind of clue about history of the planet?
Secondly, he used his lab and examined the chemistry of earth and water. Glebe of Honegger would provide priceless data not only of history of the planet, but of whole solar system. Water was also very important – as the first environment of lifeforms and as potential explanation of athmospheric oxygen.
At the very end, doctor gathered all scientific data and tried to claim thesis about geochemical cycle of „H”. He doubt if there would be life, but perhaps he would find something interesting?
Geology/Chemistry + bonus from the second science (?) + chemical sniffers to determine accurate content of atmosphere
Geology + bonus from chemistry to determine the most basic facts about glebe of „H”
Chemistry + bonus from astronomy + radiation sense to prove/disprove radiolysis as a source of oxygen (Carlsson will use Physics SolArchive if necessary)
Geology + bonus from chemistry/biology/biochemistry (?) to say something about geobiochemistry/geochemistry of „H” (just formality)
Yeah, Albert can spend all day doing research.
2012-11-13, 08:18 PM
Eduard's mesh revealed a certain interest in the uplift affairs, yet he didn't belong to the movement itself.
Eduard followed Aidan to the skies. The landscape to the southwest appeared to be of most interest to him. Or rather it was less likely to hide hostiles, which Aiden could handle better (though Eduard did carry several grenades with him), while requiring a good vision.
He ordered one of the Robomules (without equipment) to follow his course on the ground.
Can Radio Booster be used for TacNet? Probably not, but it can be used for communication. I organize Laser Link, so my vitals could be monitored. [I think Reaper Morph is more capable of surviving solo.]
Perception (Specality: Visual) Check *: [roll0] to check the southwest boulder field.
*Enhanced Vision (5x Mag, extra spectrum, +20 Vision Check)
2012-11-14, 01:24 PM
Aiden was very undecided at what to do so he choose to do what would be tactically and most interesting.
Perception 55+20(Gatecrasher profession)+20(Enhanced senses)= 95 vs. [roll0]
Got a lot of visual augmentations, so i have no idea what bonuses they grant.
2012-11-15, 02:55 PM
Carlsson busies himself with the his scans to piece together a picture of Honegger. The chemical scans show a lot of oxides in the soil, indicating that the oxygen levels are not something new, and significant sulfates. The soil scans are not conclusive so the life of the landscape is still a mystery, although Carlsson can discern that this planet is not a great candidate for life. He finds no microbes in the soil samples, nothing that would naturally emit oxygen, and no evidence of any synthetic tech. The academic's best guess is some strange byproduct of hydrothermal activity (the likely cause of the sulfates) which is producing oxygen, though whatever that is must be large and unique to produce pure O-2 instead of oxide gases.
Scanning atmosphere with Chemistry (with complementary Geolog) 60 (40 +20) vs. [roll0].
Scanning soil (glebe) with Geology (and complementary Chemistry) 75 (55 + 20) vs. [roll1]
Assembling theory for possibility of life with Astrobiology (and complementary Biochemistry) 100 (80 + 20) vs. [roll2]
Up in the sky, two figures scan the horizon to decide what to do. Eduard zooms in on the different terrains as his muse, Vrungel, directs the robomule on the ground below. He can see some low-hanging mist in the valleys to the north, the first sign of water he's come across, and the boulder fields to the southwest look like they could have some mineral resources in them. The land below the mesa's edge is still a featureless plain at this range, even fully enhanced.
Aiden sees the same with his own enhanced vision but he does a radar sweep as well. In the mist-filled valleys, the reaper morph gets a few sharp pings of metallic shapes hidden within. Successive sweeps show that they aren't moving and he counts at least five in the first wrinkle of land.
Radio Booster and TacNet
The radio booster doesn't have the bandwidth for digital signals so it's only for audio communication (maybe jury-rigged to send back a still image) and won't work for the TacNet. Right now Eduard and Aiden are within TacNet range so they could have a net of two while they're exploring together, though if they split up by more than, say, ten meters that will not work. It's the wilderness, folks!
2012-11-15, 04:17 PM
- Hi team, what's up? - asked kindly Albert by his radio inserts– I just did some basic tests. I have „good” news, „bad” news and „I-don't-know” news, but for you it all is probably an oestrum of geek. First, the source of oxygen is not radiolysis, but it is still natural. I should dig deep in planet to know better what kind of phenomena produced the oxygen, but now it is unimportant. That was „good” news. „Bad” news – for ninety nine percents there is no life, so I won't be so usefull, I'm afraid. And the last piece of information – I did not find any water. Ice, lake, stream, whatever. I really, really, really would like to find out something about local hydrosphere, so if you have found any water, tell me. I don't have complete picture of „H”, you know – giggled. His problems were sometimes just abstractful.
Carlsson whistled, sending simultaneously a radio-signal to his Crasher Truck and one of his Zephyrs flied out, circling above his head – Until I won't find water, I will participate in more traditional way of exploration. Do anybody wants my help?
2012-11-15, 07:05 PM
''Dr. Carlsson. We have found some water, in form of mist. Though it's location is conspicuous. If I read data from Mr. Aiden's observations right, there are some metallic shapes there. I'm establishing a Laser Link with you to upload the images.''
''Aiden, should we take a closer look?''
Do we know approximate size and shape? Its metallic objects as something artificial or it could be something natural?
Since both Carlsson and Eduard have Laser Link devices, we can establish line-of-sight communication.
2012-11-17, 01:50 PM
''I agree in checking out the pings, however we should proceed with caution.'' Aiden said over his radio and began to move towards the metal objects that was detected on his radar.
2012-11-17, 02:04 PM
''Right behind you, Mr...'' Eduard caught himself, ''Right behind you Aidan.''
[Vrungel. Keep the Robomule at some distance from the metalic shapes. If it's a threat, we don't want to trigger it.]
2012-11-18, 11:25 PM
There are a half-dozen or so metallic pings in the foggy areas, most of them a few meters tall and relatively narrow. One, however, is nearly three meters and even broader across. It is in the middle of the second-closest valley and in the center of the roughly-spaced pings.
The robomule trails behind the pair of flyers as they head for the nearest valley. The fog is fairly low to the ground but thick enough that there are only vague shapes visible from this height.
Back at camp, Albert Carlsson and Dr. Livingstone see that one of the mules has set up a blue box connected to the gate. There is a re-check-in with the Isra gate in fifteen minutes: a 120 second micro-link with the original gate to make sure the party can get back through if they need to.
This is going to take an Interfacing check to make sure that everything is in working order. You can ask Juliette or Bea to do it, of course, but I want to make sure that you have something to do while the flying people are doing their thing..
2012-11-19, 06:28 AM
''I dislike the location. This fog forces us to come just close enough to the cage to get pecked. Should I call in Sentry Bot, just in case?''
Eduard radioed back to the base camp: ''Dr. Carlsson, based on temperature and humidity, are we dealing with an all-natural valley fog or an artificial fog here?''
So, half a dozen monoliths, surrounding a bigger monolith in the center. Eduard checked the location of each metalic object. Was there a pattern to their placement, like a circle or hexagon?
[Keep the raido link to Dr. Carlsson open. If something goes bad, they should prep for evacuation, right away. Curses. Grenades aren’t exactly the best weapon to lay covering fire.]
[I take it you want Aiden to investigate closer, while you hang back.]
[He has the Reaper Morph. I’m squishy.]
[Doctor Carlsson said something about the faraday suit.]
[I doubt this is something alien or TITAN. Transhuman most likely, which doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.]
2012-11-20, 01:56 AM
- Some water? In a form of myst? Shapes? - Albert was really excited – Yes, yes, let's establish a laserlink – said, while light's beam falled into his receiver. The data was SO interesting.
- Gentlemen, please, do not anything right now, ok? The formation won't move and we should open a gate and check if we have a connection to Isra. When we are done there, we all can just jump into my truck and explore the... monoliths? Anyway, it can be potencially dangerous and if something's gone bad, you are on your own until we reach the location. I will send one of my bots to do basic invigilation, your personal entrance is not demanded – Doctor recommended to his fellows.
Mechanics:One Zephyr is flying to the coordinates to take some photos and gather basic data.
2012-11-20, 10:57 AM
Dr.Livingstone chimes in, "I'll establish the link to check in.".
Can I use terraforming or exo-planetology to analyze the mist?
Interfacing [roll0] vs 55 to make sure we are good to link up.
2012-11-21, 12:37 AM
Without a mesh to have a TacNet over, you'll have to wait until Dr. Livingstone is on site himself. Those are good skills for the job when he gets the chance.
Aiden does another radar sweep to map the hard shapes. They are in an irregular elipse around the larger shape and make no indication as the two grow closer. The robomule pauses just outside of the valley while the reaper and Eduard circle above. Dr. Carlsson's zephyr swoops in with sensors sweeping, just as a faint breeze pulls the mist back slightly. From their vantage point above the gatecrashers catch a glimpse of something familiar: black naked branches in a spiderweb design. They've seen these recently, travelling from Isra to Mi'raj before travelling here. These are mist trees, a strange artifial creation seen on some planets.
As they look, the zephyr sends them its findings. This is a normal water mist below, although with a metal signature from the trees. It's also slightly charged, like the air before a thunderstorm, although the readouts indicate nothing threatening.
2012-11-28, 06:09 AM
Eduard swooped down to the Robomule, waiting near the misty valleys and perched on it.
''Dr. Carlsson, We are waiting for you to arrive. We’ve found''
''Mist Trees. My own information is a little lacking on them. What can we expect here?''
2012-11-28, 06:51 AM
- Mist Trees? And some kind of a circle architecture? This cannot be just a coinsidence. Basically, Trees are some kind of a nanoswarm HD, left by an unknown alien civilization. We don't know anything for sure, but there are rumors about bloodthirsty nanids, devouring unwary transhumans. We should take only wise and thoughtful actions, with a full respect for security procedures. I strongly discourage you both to land in the location. Talents of Aiden are precious, but in other kind of situations. You are sleeved in a biomorph, sensitive and delicate. If the rumors are true, you will feel indescribable pain. As a synth, I can go into the sphere and do some scans, using my own nanoswarms as a basic defense system. If I will be certain about lack of perilous factors, I will let you down. You can help me at the place before the moment only if you have an access to Guardians nanoswarm … and maybe Biodefense. Now wait for me, please, I will just hop in my Truck and I will arrive. - said Doctor, returning to Gates.
- Hey, team, Aiden and Eduard have found a probably-Stonehenge and nanomyst. I am going to take a look. Anybody want to come with me?
2012-11-28, 12:00 PM
Dr. Livingstone perked up at the mention of nanomyst. "I'll join you. I have yet to see these trees."
Livingstone packs his plasma rifle and heads toward the truck.
2012-11-28, 02:37 PM
After stepping through the gate and taking a moment to take in the panorama (He was disappointed it was daytime, seeing the stars of a new world was his favorite part.) Lucas busies himself setting up camp.
By the time the news about Mist Trees comes in he has finished unloading his fabrication equipment and weapons.
Mist Trees? Fascinating, i read a paper on them once, poorly researched but interesting all the same. I would very much like to see them.
He checks the clips on both of his pistols, Hollow points in one, Capsule rounds in the second. He takes one of his plasmabursts as well, you can never be too careful.
2012-11-29, 12:32 AM
Akilah sits halfway up the improvised communications relay, four synthetic arms wrapped around the struts as she uses the other four to weld a pair of subantennae onto the tower.
"'Probably-Stonehenge' sounds very interesting. The connection to Isra should definitely work - I'm pretty much just gilding the lily at this point. Dr. Carlsson, if nothing eats you I'd like to follow you down and X-ray the objects."
Her hand lasers flicker off. She shakes the antennae to make sure they're firmly attached, then activates her thrusters and jets off towards the valley, leaving the still-glowing welding seams to cool.
2012-11-29, 07:25 AM
''Excuse me, Dr. Carlsson. Would my presence be required at the site as well? I do possess Guardian nanobots and my armament is hopefully adequate enough for a recon of these monoliths.'' Aiden said to the good doctor via his radio.
2012-11-29, 09:57 AM
- Hmmmm... yes, you can- Albert answered carefully - My intention was to protect others. As a teacher, scientist and Titanian, I feel responsible for you all. If I would be damaged during the reconnaissance, it would be only my pain and only my problem. But I could not forgive myself, if any of you could be put in dangerous situation in my behalf. Please, don't take it wrong, you are really valuable as a part of the crew and as an individual. If it is your wish, you can go with me. Sorry again for being overprotective. Sometimes I forget that you are my fellows, not my students.
2012-11-29, 12:21 PM
''I've got bot bio-defense and nanoswarm protection, if it'll be required. Should I launch mapping missile? This world seems to be more interesting, then we originally anticipated.''
2012-11-29, 12:51 PM
- It depends. Now, we should check the ruins. Only big structures are visible on map, and I am not sure if the "Stonehenge" is big enought. There is also a possibility that Myst Trees are just here accidentally, and the signals we have received are just signs of Stone Age buildings. I also would remind that we are on gatehopping mission and we should use our resources carefully. The ruins are nearby the Gates, so we can save mapping missile for now. Alternatively, we can do a nice map of "H", perform archeological dig, mix the date witm my own gate acquired by my mobile lab and return to Isra with full scientific publication signed by our names. Then, we could use our hightened X-rep to get some more mapping missiles. It's hard to tell, after all it's your equipment, right? - Carlsson explained, sitting in the seat of driver and turning on an engine and Truck's systems.
- Ladies and gentlemen, you are welcomed.
2012-11-30, 11:52 AM
Behind Akilah, the autmoated equipment flickers to life and goes through the motions of connecting to Isra. The gate opens to a microscopic connection for less than a second, long enough for an "all-clear" signal to go through, and then snaps shut again. This time, the team is on it's own unless they retreat back through the gate complex.
The robomules at camp finish their preparation of tents and support areas, then settle on the ground in a square grid to await further instructions. There is a hole in the formation, however, for the one sitting fifty yards from the valley lip as Eduard and Aiden circling above with the scanning zephyr microlight aircraft. They can see the dust cloud from Albert Carlsson's truck approaching and the growing dot of Akilah's tako morph. Confirming Albert's suspicion of the myst trees, the robomule on the ground sends up a message that it's detected an electromagnetic signal which might be a weak mesh network. Should it connect?
2012-12-01, 02:12 PM
''Weak Mesh signal detected'' Eduard radioed. He sent a signal to the Mule not to attempt connection. Somebody with proper knowledge and tools should verify it first. ''Perhaps somebody was there here us.'' Gatecrashers... or TITANS appeared to be the only options, though it was possible, that an alien network would resemble Mesh. ''Did we detect any signs at the Gate, that anybody entered through before us?''
2012-12-01, 11:49 PM
Lucas climbs rather awkwardly into the truck, he hasn't use a personal vehicle in several years. Let us conserve our mapping missile until we can make certain that its use will be of net benefit to us. I could attempt to interface with the unknown mesh, though i will be the first to admit i have little experience in xeno-programming.
2012-12-02, 12:54 AM
- There is a little need to exposing anybody on the "mesh". We still have gateprobe, right? They have a manual switch related to mesh inserts. We can connect the probe to the network and, if it is a trap, just push a button and disconnect - Carlsson was carefully, as always.
2012-12-02, 06:27 PM
''Makes sense.'' In the time it would take to physically push button a lot of things could happen. Something scrambling Gate Probe's programming can cause him to display erroneous data about condition on the other side of the Gate. Then again, they would send an Explorenout first anyway, so perhaps he was over thinking it.
2012-12-02, 09:35 PM
Lucas shrugs, almost relieved. Good thought, it should keep my brain nice and safe.
2012-12-03, 12:34 AM
"Sounds good. Just don't turn your back on the probe until you're sure it's clear."
2012-12-03, 08:49 AM
''safety is very important, we have just begun our exploration after all. so remain vigilant and go ahead. anything bad happens and you can't or won't shut the probe down, I'll shoot it down. I have seen what can happen if caution is forgotten.''
2012-12-14, 11:42 AM
Alright, forming a backup for the gate probe into the trucks systems...
Re-configuring gate probe sensors...
Backing up gate probe Programming 65 [roll0]
Re configuring sensors to interface with mesh Programming 65 [roll1]
Lucas then pauses to double check his work, he will not proceed until he is satisfied with the reprogramming (ie passes both checks)
EDIT: Damn, who in seven hells wrote this code? Let me try again.
2012-12-14, 01:28 PM
Lucas, alright? I can send you Eric to help if you want, he is skilled in computer science.
2012-12-15, 11:00 AM
Lucas carefully keeps himself off the strange EM signal while he reprograms the gate probe. He transfers code around here and there but the alien environment is throwing him off. As the foreign sun begins to set, he makes another try.
OOC: No penalties (yet) for failed rolls so give it another go, DM.
2012-12-15, 12:51 PM
Let me give it another shot... He mutters to himself as he works To think we still have geniuses like this who write their whole program out of spaghetti code...
Creating backup program: Programming 65 [roll0]
Reprogramming probe: Programming 65 [roll1]
EDIT: oh come on!
2012-12-16, 12:05 PM
''Is there some sort of problem, Mr. Lucas?'' messaged Eduard. He fly down to the Robomule and was now perched on it, resting his wings. He tried to calculate the time to sun down. Darkness wasn't such a problem with his enhanced vision, but it called to some primitive part of his brain.
2012-12-17, 11:48 AM
The probe program transfers smoothly this time to Lucas's mesh inserts, but when he tries to reprogram it he finds that some parameters have been reset and he has to clear the security codes again. This is taking a while, and meanwhile Eduard calculates it will be dark in another hour or so. Below him, the robomule AI renews its notice that there is a mesh for it to connect to.
2012-12-17, 05:15 PM
Lucas's muse Joseph pipes up Its been a long time since you programmed in C cubed, let me give you some help. Joseph patches into Lucas's radio Any other muses feel free to help.
Thanks Joseph, that's what i get for spending 3 years coding in Python 5000. He flexes his gauntlet covered hands and delves into the mass of code once more. It wouldn't be so bad if this programmer didn't feel the need to make his program of one giant file. Its much easier to work with discreet functions.
Programming 75+10 from joseph+anyone else who pitches in= 85 or so: [roll0] EDIT: Finally, with at least 2 MoS and a maximum of 4
2012-12-18, 04:48 PM
I think you mean an MoS of 20, DM (65 vs. 85). Keep in mind, though, that I'm using the Blackjack System (http://mephitjames.wikidot.com/eclipse-house-rules#the-blackjack-system) so your MoS is your roll as long as it's a success (and 100 minus your roll for MoF).
The programming of the gateprobe calms down with Joseph's help and after ten more minutes of programming Lucas has the probe ready to go. As soon as Joseph reports that the diagnostics are done, Eduard gets a radio ping from the group AI of the robomules back in camp.
~Sensors show an increase in sulfate particles and carbon dioxide. Levels of CO2 are twelve percent higher in the past half hour and sulfate levels are up by two percent. Please advise, sir.
2012-12-18, 05:34 PM
''Dr Carlsson. There’s been a change in CO2 and sulfure levels in the atmosphere.'' Eduard transmitted the message he got from the Mulebots. ''Do you have records on these trees on other worlds? Is this their regular process, or some reaction to our arrival?''
2012-12-18, 08:24 PM
Yah, the MoS 2 would be if i was playing Dark Heresy :smalltongue:
Thats what i get for playing so may game systems.
Good, that should do it.
Lucas looks up sharply as the robomule reports the change in atmosphere. A 12% increase in atmospheric CO2 in half an hour? Thats absurd! No plant can cause an increase that large so quickly. Lucas racks his brains about what could cause such an increase. CO2 means organic life or combustion reaction, precipitous increase rules out organics... Fire? Nothing to burn. Volcanic Eruption? Possible.
What could cause these phenomena? Academics: Climatology [roll0] Academics: Organic Chemistry [roll1]
2012-12-18, 08:28 PM
Hard to tell, I do not have enought data. Nonetheless, I doubt if it's "reaction" of nanids. We are around for long period, why they react now? It would means that the Trees are able to know our actions, even if we are not connected to "mesh". Creepy idea... but wait, I'm just sending a order to my robot, I'll check concentration of O2 and sulfate in air outside the ruins.
2012-12-19, 08:26 PM
"Something geological definitely sounds more likely than a synthetic process. Does anyone have the sensors to check whether this is distributed, not just localized to the camp?"
Are the trees capable of changing the atmospheric composition this rapidly?
Academics (Xeno-archeology) 40: [roll]1d100/roll]
Is any known nanotech?
Academics (Nanotechnology) 60: [roll]1d100/roll]
2012-12-22, 12:02 AM
A quick ping of the robomules by Eduard shows that the ones back at camp are the only ones registering a spike in carbon dioxide and sulfates. The robomule that the neo-parrot is perching on by the mist trees shows a slight elevation of both in the last few minutes but nothing like the levels at camp. Carlsson's zephyr doesn't pick up any significant increases above the trees either.
All of the robomules pick up the series of microtremors, though.
Alarms flash not just in Eduard's AR sensorium, but in all the team's visions. ~Warning, microtremors detected. Possible signs of tectonic instability. Consult mission commander for emergency procedures. Despite the warning, none of the people on the ground feels anything that isn't plausibly a phantom from expecting trouble. The read-out from the mulebot closest to the trees, the only one close enough for full mesh contact, shows that the tremors are all low level but they are sustained like a cluster of microquakes.
Aloft and with his enhanced vision, Aiden has another theory. About a mile and a half to the east, where the ground ends in the lip of the mesa, a shape is lifting itself upwards. Zooming in with his reaper vision, Aiden can see a long, insectile limb reaching up and over the rim of the mesa to pull a heavy grey body with green splotches on it up and onto the team's level. It looks like some cross between a spider, an octopus, and a panther as the creature gets fully up and over and sways right and left as if sensing or smelling. Aiden estimates the thing stands four meters tall and doesn't seem to have anything like a head or torso, just one or two body segments in the middle. Panning back, he spots a second shape cresting the mesa lip.
Alright, that's a WILLx3 check from Aiden (failure 1d10/2 stress; no stress on a success). Arguably this is really freaky, but you guys were already expecting alien whatsits out here and you're seasoned explorers. Still, they're big...
2012-12-23, 05:33 PM
The sight of those huge alien lifeforms shocks Aiden rather a big deal, but he still manages to forward his infomation to the others.
''Holy hell, Everyone! Unknown Alien lifeforms approaching from the east, about 1.5 miles out. Crap.... they are huge. not very hard to miss.'' His robotic voice doesn't contain any shock or awe, but it's easy to discern it from his words.
45 vs. [roll0]
2012-12-23, 06:40 PM
"Confirmed. How fast are they moving? Do Eduard and I have time to check out the circle before they get here?" There's a hint of anxiety in Akilah's voice.
2012-12-24, 02:07 PM
Eduard took flight joining Aiden in the sky, simultaneously ordering the Mules to keep distance from the creatures. He looked at their massive forms, searching for the signs of eyes – if they were burrowers, what senses were they using. Then again, was it a natural alien predator… hunting what? Considering that Gatecrashers didn’t come here everyday, the creatures had to subsist on something. The planet was proving to be less and less barren by the minute. Of course if they were some sort of bio-weapon.
''I think we need to check that Mesh, especially if it’s sending out a warning about these beasties.'' Eduard established connection to Security Bot, ordering it to get ready and feeding data on the size and apparent capabilities of the creature.
''Mr. Aiden. Are we safe in the sky – does this creature looks like leaper or spitter? If we can take them out from they skies and they aren't fast enough to catch up to our comrades on the ground, we can consider capturing. I suspect Dr. Carlsson would want a live specimen.'' The parrot paused. ''That sounded like famous last words. Then again, if those are intelligent or controlled by some intelligence, we may need to think through out strategy.''
''Oh. And Mr. Aiden. As the discoverer, how should we call them?'' Panther-Octopus-Spider is a bit too long to shout as a warning.'' The Parrot squawked in good humor.
Perception (Visual): [roll0] to determine how the creature sees, it’s speed and any offensive capabilities it has, that aren’t apparent right way.
Also use Nanodetectors, since it’s something I should have done from the start. [roll1]
2012-12-30, 02:35 PM
''Huh name them... What about for now, they can be a class 5 Insectoid? Even though that strange thing resembles a giant insect. doesn't mean that it IS an insect.'' He halfhearted replied, with his scanners, mechanical eyes and every other sensors directed towards those creepy, hugeass, bugs.
2013-01-13, 11:14 AM
''I think we should consider taking the creatures out, before they damage our equipment. I'm prepared to toss a few grenades, what's our battle plan?''
2013-01-13, 12:53 PM
Lucas laughs Absurd! We cant go around obliterating alien life because it rubs us the wrong way. According to my research, most fauna will simply leave us alone unless provoked.
2013-01-13, 02:53 PM
''Have anyone of you ever been swallowed up whole by a giant freakish creature? No? But i have and it's not pleasant. Anyways, the 'Thing' appears to not move towards us, but rather the gate, if I'm not mistaking my Optical sensors and internal programs.'' Aiden said over the radio.
2013-01-13, 02:54 PM
''I believe this fauna is highly aggressive, as we did very little to disturb it's habitat and it's currently coming to get us. If we are to use the resources of this world, it'll need to be dealt with, so we might as well start finding ways how to do it.''
2013-01-13, 07:21 PM
Do you have stones in your ears Eduard? It isn't coming for us, but moving to the gate. It is entirely possible that it was merely disturbed by the opening of the gate.
2013-01-13, 07:48 PM
Akilah's voice is clipped, quick fragments of speech as she tries to hold it together. "Yes. Probably safe. Sure it's not a problem. You go deal with that."
There's a brief flare as Akilah's thrusters ignite. She dives straight down towards the mist around the "Stonehenge" structures, before pulling up and swooping into the only cover in the area. She doesn't switch her comms off, and there's a faint muttering of "going to be fine. going to be fine. going to be fine," in everyone's earpieces as their engineer flees and hides.
I'll take a look around the monoliths with my Enhanced Vision, making sure there's nothing waiting there and looking for an optimal spot to cower in until the aliens are dealt with.
Perception 55 (Visual specialty +5, Enhanced Vision +20): [roll0]
In case there's anything waiting there:
Infiltration 65 (Sneaking specialty +5, Chameleon Coating +30) [roll1]
If nothing comes out to murder me, I'll start taking a closer look at the monoliths:
Academics (Xeno-archeology) 40 [roll2]
Art (architecture) 55 [roll3]
(Would either of those give a synergy bonus to the other?)
2013-01-14, 08:58 AM
''I find the idea of some dangerous critters, that we know very little about, making their way to our only way off this world rather unnerving, Doctor. This is a lovely place for research and mining operations, but not one I wish to be stranded at, if something goes wrong. I feel we should make certain the wildlife knows to stay away the Gate. I don’t mind if we use non-lethal ways to do it, but if takes our full firepower, that’s what we should be prepared to use, rather than take risks.''
''Dr. Carlsson, any way we can chase those creatures away?''
''Mr. Aiden, you are our security expert, I feel we should make certain those creatures know not to come close to the Gate. Can we manage it with non-lethal force, without endangering our lives and equipment?''
What’s with that Mesh signal? Any data from it?
Flying to the creatures and trying to estimate how soon they’ll get to the camp. Sending orders to Security Bot to prepare for action (though not to fire, unless it comes under threat, until I give orders) and making sure Mulebots are ready to retreat, so our equipment isn’t lost.
And the roll: [roll0], Stress [roll]1d10[/roll
2013-01-14, 12:34 PM
I sincerely doubt these animals are bulletproof Eduard. We could take them out any time we want, but there is no reason to do so.
Lucas looks disdainfully at Akilah's flight path into the mist trees. Coward.
Anyway, i will continue my attempts to interface with this mesh, if some monster is about to leap on me, please shout.
Interfacing [roll0] Target: 75
2013-01-16, 10:33 AM
''I can do warningshots but I would prefer not to waste ammunition if i can avoid it. Shoot-to-kill also seems fairly easy considering the massive size of the creature, but the size of the thing and the resemblance to an insect could also mean that it's body is covered in some kind of exoskeleton carapace or chitin.''
2013-01-16, 07:27 PM
With her enhanced vision, Akilah is pretty certain that the area around the monoliths is clear. She won't be able to see anything else without getting closer, thanks to the swirling mist, but she can tell that the mist is not behaving like normal suspended water. It drifts about convincinly, but there is a boundary at which a tendril of mist will pull back. It's not a barrier or field, just a limit which the mist just seems to... not want to move past.
If Akilah wants to get closer she can use the other skill rolls to investigate but I think they're after too different things so no synergy.
The class fives continue to move towards the basecamp at something like a light jogging speed. They don't seem to be exerting themselves, but their destination is unmistakable. Eduard wings back towards basecamp as well, sending a radio pulse ahead to instruct the mulebots. He gets confirmation that they are powering up and moving into position to grab essential materials and beat a hasty retreat. As he gets closer, Eduard also begins to hear a fluting noise ahead, probably coming from the class fives. It sound like someone playing random notes on a pan flute, intermixed with rattling sounds and the creatures seem to be unnervingly passing the noises back and forth. Just then the wind shifts and the noises because a fraction louder, accompanied by the gagging smell of rotten eggs.
As Eduard passes out of mesh range, Lucas realigns all the programming with the help of his muse and moves the modified probe forward into position. "I am recording," Dr. Carlsson announces, clearly determined to ignore the creatures unless instructed not to. "The signal is getting stronger." The Titanian frowns in concentration and then his eyes go wide. Lucas can see the reason easily on the ecto-interface of the probe: the sudden image of some abstract shape which pops up on the screen. It looks like a terrifically complicated not with strands of blue swirled together into a ball. Slowly but steadily it pulls apart into a circle and then disappears only to be replaced by English words: Enter Node.
2013-01-17, 02:09 PM
Lucas curses in German. English, no language is more frustrating than written English.
How do we proceed from here?
2013-01-17, 06:09 PM
Akilah crawls further inward, the pneumatics of her tentacles telescoping in and out. Her voice is shaky. "The, the mist's acting weird - I'm guessing either maglev or or it's full of nanomachines."
Still safer here than where those things can find me. Safer. Definitely safer.
@Mephit: Investigating. Is the mist blocking with IR, UV, and X-Ray as well as visible light? Because I've got enhanced vision plus an X-Ray emitter to look through it with, which I'll be using here.
Also, I've got Academics (Physics) and Academics (nanotechnology) each at 60; can I roll one of them with a bonus from the other to figure out which explanation I came up with is more consistent with the mist's behavior?
@Darius: Look for a help function? Try typing in "Honegger," or a description of it, or its gate coordinates?
2013-01-22, 01:15 PM
With the translation from the bot-program in his inserts, Lucas is no less confused. "Eintragen Knoten?" What node? Is this just an advanced AI or is this not the first team to get to this planet?
Creeping a little closer, Akilah probes a bit deeper into the field. Infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays... they all fade much sooner than expected as if the mist is absorbing them. She zooms in and sees fine structure in the field, definitely nanotech. She guesses this is a distributed computer network through a whole field of nanobots, an utterly massive amount of computing power if the technology is anything like humans'. She must have been walking closer to the hollow than she thought because a sudden signal pushes past the firewalls on her mesh inserts. A message in Arabic pops up in the central part of her vision:
~I can't stop it! her muse says in a panicked voice, ~It doesn't seem to be doing anything but I don't like this at all!
If you don't speak Arabic, try Google Translate. This one, though, says (not unexpectedly) "Enter Node."
Also, what's your muse's name and personality?
2013-01-22, 01:35 PM
Well, lets give this a shot, for the record; whoever made this has a fantastically poor sense of grammer. Does it want me to input coordinates or physically enter the mist? He sends out a careful signal. Honegger, the node is Honegger
2013-01-22, 05:02 PM
Akilah would grit her teeth if she had any. ~If you can't stop the wind, may as well go along with it.
She radios the others: "The mist's nanomachines. Looks like distributed processing, so the good news is it's probably not going to eat me. The obelisks must be broadcasting the mesh signal."
Her voice is wavering, but there's a hint of excitement in it. If they really aren't the first people here, this tech might be something useful.
While it's a useless precaution against anything likely to step out of this fog, Akilah draws herself up for combat. Four of her arms snake into pouches on her sides to pull out batons as she stands on the other four. The lasers on the tips of her two innermost arms swivel in the air between steps.
On a hunch, Akilah walks towards the center of the mist and whispers "I am entering the node."
Muse's name is Alim. Having been programmed in her home community he's paranoid and religiously conservative, and generally pro-censorship.
2013-01-25, 02:54 PM
The party tries two approaches simultaneously. Lucas sends back "Honneger" to the message prompt and is rewarded with a second message.
Node Created: Honneger
The others can see the mist slowly start to shift as if stirred by a wind while Akilah walks inside. She receives her own message:
"regennoH" مرحبا بكم في
~I think it's reading off of our operating system, Alim sends in a hushed tone. She can almost feel the studied muse thinking through the situation and fretting like an old man. ~Everything's innocuous now, but if it goes bad we can't really stop it. He doesn't outright say not to enter the mist, and anyways Akilah is already commited.
The feeling inside the mist is strange, like a layer of skin is added to the takko morph complete with nerve endings. Her hard metallic surface suddenly feels cool, like a bath of holy water washing over her. She also feels new sensations on the edge of perception, ready to be accessed if she wishes. At the probe, the visual AR reconfigures to be what first seems like a sphere but on further inspection is a million-faceted shapw which slowly spins in place. ~It's a terminal, Lucas' muse Joseph supplies with a his usual tone of academic curiosity, ~It's a nexus for accessing different subsystems. There, that one is 'chemical analysisizing'.... Odd. And that one is 'remote units bridge.' For such a complicated system they could spare some time for proofreading. Take responsibility.
As the others ponder, Eduard watches the onward march of the class fives and Adrian's muse uploads its best-guess map (http://mephitjames.wikidot.com/local--files/the-steep-and-thorny-way/Honneger%20Map%200.jpg) of the area with position data.
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