"Excellent," Pell replied, taking a few steps towards the airlock. "So, shall we board? As well - are there schematics of the craft aboard, or would a tour of the ship be preferable?"
"This is worrying." "What? Oh. They want... samples. Do they think this is a buffet or something?" "This is kind of a serious matter. "Okay, sorry. Well, how many Thunderbirds are stationed here?" "Say three. Fortunately, we also have a Firebringer - one of the older ones from before the belt revolt. It's sitting a couple hundred kilometers away, more-or-less mothballed. We still have its munitions sitting around though. I want you to put together a crew for it and have it join our other escorts." "Yeah, sure. Tanker already on the way, I hope; I'll have a roster ready in ten minutes."
"I do not need a chair, although your offer is appreciated," said Inera. "This... Pioneer Republic, they have developed faster-than-light travel, yes? And now they are sending out explorers, of which you represent but a minority?"
The retrieval ship, the derelict, and the lone Thunderbird escort began their deceleration burn into low Getrie orbit.
Post by Wrangler Civil Corpsman on Aug 22, 2014 17:48:20 GMT -6
"Us? No, no... So as I am told, us Pioneers were part of a grand empire that had developed FTL, yes. But, the records say that one large caravan of colony ships went off-course by a plotting error, and ran into some sort of... I dunno what it's called." The man shrugs, crossing his arms as he looks up at the ceiling in thought. "At any rate, we lost contact with our ancestors. Now we are alone in a place we have yet to explore. And that was our job, so I was told." He shrugs again. "I'm no history buff. Maybe when we get back home, someone can tell you. As it is, we're the only scout the Republic had... fast and expendable enough for it, at least."
"Both. I'll take you to see the schematics, and then you can see the rooms themselves." Hulhor led Pell through a series of hallways, ending up in engineering. On the wall there was a cross section and top-down view of the Contractor, showing it's various rooms. "Look at it as long as you want, but a tour will help you learn to navigate the ship," said Hulhor.
"There is no advanced organic life in our system. Several moons still have plant life remain, and they are used for agriculture. Many plant products are useful in industry," said KT-11. She did not trust the Celae with knowing about the Luvos in cryogenic storage.
Pell took some time to memorize what he could of it, before turning to Hulhor. "Ready. Also, the engine; is it a meta-stable helium or ion drive?"
"Ah..." "Yes, I saw the transcript." "Well... should we just go ahead and ask what they intend to do with them?" "That's... yeah, just go with that."
WHAT DO CELAE WANT WITH UNDESIRABLES QUERY, came the reply.
A thoughtful pause while Inera thought up his next response. "Do you have drive schematics for our engineers to peruse? We have to get that repaired before your return, after all." A crackling noise came from his helmet, as well as a faint sequence of beeps. Pulling the reciever out of the helmet and holding it near one of his ears, Inera listened before saying to the human crew arrayed before him "Apparently, another newcomer species is interested in contacting your people. However, caution in their presence is advised as they've... asked some rather strange questions."
The remains of the Great Expectations, the retrieval craft, and the three thunderbird escorts establish orbit around Getrie. Several short-lived lights flickered from the surface as maintenance craft took off and set intercept courses for the group.
"Neither," started Hulhor. He led Pell out engineering, and began to walk down a hall. "It's an Inertial Confinement Fusion drive. A few lasers run the length of the ship, puts heat on a deuterium-tritium fuel capsule, the outer layer of the capsule explodes, puts pressure on the two gasses inside, and creates a fusion reaction. The reaction is deflected away from the ship using electromagnets, propelling us forwards. Not sure the exact rate, but when we're accelerating we burn through a couple of those capsules a second." By the end of Hulhor's explanation, they were both in the bridge. Four other Luvos stood around, and snapped to attention. They gave a nearly synchronized "Hello, Captain!"
KT-11 flashed the Cphea back. UNKNOWN STOP I SUSPECT EXPERIMENTATION FULLSTOP.
"Ah, hello crew! I'm Pell, your captain. We're going to be searching potentially inhabited systems for sapient life. What are your names and positions aboard this ship?"
"Ah. Quite odd. Well, if you have or can obtain a hard copy of the designs that would be nice. Unless by 'transmit' he meant 'dictate every single detail in Association code,' but that's wildly unlikely so I think we can safely rule that out," Inera said. "Or at least allow our engineers access to the terminal so they can copy them down. Anything like that, mister... Thornley." After a pause, Inera continued: "I'm sorry. I'm Investigator Inera, representative of the Getrie Outpost of the Orbital Safety Association of the Bureau of Extraplanetary Acquisitions."
A group of engineers emerged from the airlock of one the maintenance vehicles, joining Rezani in prodding around in the engine section. Some of them took cutting tools to the mangled remains of the ship's aft, doing their best to remove what was effectively scrap metal.
"If it's experimentation, I'm sure we can go ahead and..." "And allow them to land? No, we need to send over a shuttle." "Yes. Avoid any chance of them smuggling one of their weapons onto the planet surface." "Perhaps we can make a trade with them."
INFORM CELAE THAT WILLING TO SEND TRANSPORTS TO BRING SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT ONTO PLANET SURFACE STOP CAN STAY AND SET UP PERMANENT LABORATORY NEAR UNINHABITED JUNGLE STOP REQUIRE PAYMENT OF ONE OF THEIR SHIPS IN FULL FUNCTIONING CONDITION FULLSTOP
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2014 23:37:34 GMT -6 by aumnivers
Hulhor's uniform was colored yellow. "I run engineering." The other Luvos began to give their names and positions. The first one, with a red uniform, spoke first. "My name is Tolos, and I run the weapons systems." A crewmember with a green uniform spoke next. "My name is Kirbali, and I manage sensors." Then, one with an orange uniform. "Luhur, and I'm the atmospheric technician." Finally, a crewmember with a blue uniform, spoke. "I'm Sayot, and I'm your communications officer."
KT-11 spoke to the shiplord. "The Cphea say you can bring scientists to an uninhabited jungle and set up a permanent lab there for research, but you would need to pay them with one of your ships in full functioning condition."
Post by Commander Of Games on Aug 22, 2014 23:59:39 GMT -6
Organic Life Research (Basic): 16/25
The Shiplord makes an amused, high pitched hum. Basically the Celae version of laughter. "Our ships are not for sale, we will not allow military secrets to fall into the hands of Carbonforms. Besides, they could not interface with them anyway." He says. "We would be willing to pay them with raw materials or perhaps some small examples of technology. We would also like to be allowed to take some samples back to our world for study in our established carbonform research laboratories. We will be dealing with biological compounds that will be harmful to carbon life, and do not wish to accidentally contaminate the planet."
An environmental tech approached Aaron, and he noticed something odd about the other's uniform. As the tech approached, he realised that the shoulder patch was different - it read 'TDS Canyon', which kicked the Fury's captain's memory. He's a noncom senior chief we picked up to replace Warren before our last mission. Aaron recalled, then waited for the man to arrive in front of him. When he did, the tech gave a weak salute as he breathed heavily. "Sir." Aaron nodded. "Senior Chief." he replied, gesturing for the tech to go on. "Sir, I thought you should know. We found peat in a nearby mire. We've run tests, and we can definitely burn it. Even better, it seems the moss that forms the peat has some interesting properties. The end result... the peat if formed in only a few years, rather than the thousands it took back on Earth. Which will be excellent if we want to remain undetected by not scarring the landscape too badly." Aaron nodded. "See if you can modify this moss further. It could make a good alternative to coal, for us at least." He considered it further for a few moments, but thought of nothing more. "Alright, you're dismissed. Go rest for a few hours."
Several minutes later, Aaron reached the unnatural cave opening in the side of the rocky outcrop. He ran a hand over the smooth stone that the boring lasers had left in their wake. Ahead, electric torches had been placed into holes in the floor at rough intervals, where they made an interesting light pattern on the ceiling. Like walking upside down... he thought to himself. He reached the end of the corridor, finding some steps leading downward, and over the sound of dripping water was the soft hum of the mining lasers. The sound of someone walking came up from behind, and he turned around. The Swift Drive engineer came to him and smiled. "It's coming along well, eh?" Aaron nodded silently, waiting for his subordinate to elaborate. "You asked for a base, we're building a base. It's slow going without a proper mining barge, but the work won't be noticable from orbit. At the bottom of those stairs is a small atrium, which will lead off to other areas. We'll be digging out habitation first, including the pumps to get clean air in and used air out. When this place is finished, We're going to try to have air going all around it in a sort of circle."
The engineer lead the way down the steps. "We're going to add fortifications later, all surface ones camoflaged of course. It might include a damaged mining laser we have. It can only produce an intermittent beam at the moment, which is bad for mining if it can't be fixed, but fine for anti-personell or fending off wildlife." Aaron nodded his understanding, but then asked "Are we planning to keep any of the uplifts here?" The engineer grinned. "That won't be a problem. That lieutenant you have working on them told me they'll be mostly in the wild to find and interact with others of their species to spread the nanodrones around. They won't need to come to us until well after we have their artificial environment set up." As the pair reached the atrium and looked around, Aaron found himself grinning back. "You know, I'm actually feeling good about this."
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.
Post by Wrangler Civil Corpsman on Aug 23, 2014 7:23:03 GMT -6
"It's very nice to meet you, Inera." Thornley did the customary half-bow that has become standard among the pioneers.
-"Transmission failed. They're not receiving."
-"Yeah, the... er, Inera just told me that they don't receive it like that."
-"They need a physical copy off the terminal, dunno how to get that though..."
-"Easy, talk to Maryon and confiscate his booze stash, then get the captain drunk on it."
-"...Never thought of that. Thanks."
Turning to glance at one of the crewmen, the quartermaster gestured down the corridor with his head. "Vasily, go to it, will you? If Maryon resists, just threaten him with the brig. And don't drink any of it." The crewmember saluted quickly, the Pioneer salute of a fist against the heart and a short bow, before he exits quickly.
Hulhor, thought Pell. Tolos, Kirbali, Luhur, and Sayot. Seems like I've got their names memorized well enough. "Alright," he said, before turning to Hulhor and asking "Are we ready to embark? If so, who manages navigation?"
"Your people are rather strange," Inera would say after Vasily's departure. "Allowing the mentally unfit as well as... alcohol aboard ships. Do you have a psychologist among your crew?" Some more beeps came out of the receiver, and Inera continued: "Transport is here. They're asking for the navigator and the captain, if possible."
"Hazardous waste," Rezani said to the wireless operator. "Radioactives. Best bury them. Tell them to send up one of the spare engine modules with a full tank of triprop, we need to weld it to the aft; we've just about cut away all of the extraneous materials."
KT-11 sent a message to the Cphea. CELAE WILL NOT GIVE UP A SHIP STOP WILLING TO PAY IN RESOURCES OR TECHNOLOGY STOP WISH TO TAKE SAMPLES BACK TO THEIR HOMEWORLD STOP THEY ARE EMPLOYING SUBSTANCES THAT COULD DAMAGE THE BIOSPHERE FULLSTOP
"We're ready to set off whenever you are. As for navigation," Hulhor began, "we have an advanced shipboard computer. It's not on the level of the Insar, but it does it's job so well that we're really just here to give it instructions. Sayot and Kirbali are the best trained to use the computer's navigation module. I'm sure that they'll have plenty of time to teach you how to use it too," he concluded.
CELAE MUST DEFINE TECHNOLOGY SAMPLES FULLSTOP, came the reply.
"Right. Tolos and Luhur, make sure your respective subsystems are in perfect operating condition. Hulhor, warm up the drive. Kirbali, I need you to take me to navigation; first we need to locate a star that's 10.2 lightyears from here; my home. After that, one 12.7 from there; our destination. Sayot, inform the Latesi of our destination."
Last Edit: Aug 23, 2014 21:52:28 GMT -6 by aumnivers
KT-11 spoke to the shiplord. "The Cphea want to know what sorts of technology you would offer, and what your definition of samples is."
Sayot, Kirbali, and Tolos all stayed in the bridge. Hulhor and Luhur left, as their duties lay in other parts of the ship. Sayot and Tolos moved to stations in the bridge marked with the colors of their uniforms, and Kirbali led Pell to a terminal with black markings. On it, he pulled up a three dimensional starmap. "10.2 and 12.7 lightyears?" he asked, tapping keys on a keyboard. A star 10.2 lightyears away from their current position was highlighted yellow, and a star 12.7 lightyears away from that one was highlighted blue. "Those are the two stars those distances away from our current system. I hope they're the ones you're looking for," he said. Sayot spoke into a microphone at his station. "Contractor under command of Pell is preparing for a journey of 22.9 lightyears to another system."
Post by Commander Of Games on Aug 23, 2014 23:08:00 GMT -6
Organic Life Research (Basic): 17/25
"Technology as in subspace radio communications, subspace sensors, that type of thing. As for samples. We require adult specimens, in average, pristine, and failing health. Specimens with severe defects such as lack of mental capacity would also be useful. Earlier growth stages than adult are optional but preferred. Living and developing pre-conscious stage embryonic life, in addition to the other requested specimens, is not required but is preferred. We request 10,000 samples, no fewer than 5,000, at this time, but we ask that if we require more, we be provided with them at a later date." The shiplord explained.
"It's like they're biology nuts or something." "You know, that gives me an idea. Hand me the 'graph." INFORM CELAE MUTUAL EXCHANGE OF 5000 NON-SAPIENT SAMPLES IS PREFERABLE FULLSTOP
"Yes, I believe they are," said Pell, dropping his pack next to the terminal and pulling out The Paper Planetarium whilst turning towards Sayot. "This ship has subspace communications, right? How about a linguistics computer?" He hunted about for a surface onto which to deposit the aging, leather-bound codex.
"The Cphea are willing to give you 5,000 samples of non-sapient life," said KT-11 to the shiplord.
"It's outfitted with both. Translation is pretty good, but the Insar can do it better themselves. And for that.. book, you can put it somewhere at your station." Sayot gestured towards a chair and curved desk overlooking the bridge, with the same black markings as on the navigation computer.
Post by Wrangler Civil Corpsman on Aug 24, 2014 7:57:28 GMT -6
"I'll save them the trouble of dealing with our captain. Tell them he's not available, please." Turning back to the intercom, Thornley clicked it on.
-"Hey navigator, you got a sec? They want to talk with you."
-"If it helps, sure. Give me a minute, lemme go bust into the captain's terminal for them."
Leaning once again against the wall, Thornley shrugs. "As for a psychologist? Nah, this ship was originally civilian, we never had the time to be properly outfitted with a crew. There are not very many of us, you see, so we have to use everything and anything."
Post by Commander Of Games on Aug 24, 2014 10:01:10 GMT -6
Organic Life Research (Basic): 18/25
"Worthless. We are already in possession of non-sapient samples. We require sapient samples for further study." The shiplord says. "Our translation of the Cphea's primitive code language is nearly complete." He adds.
Post by RedDwarfIV on Aug 24, 2014 10:49:35 GMT -6
Lieutenant Sheena was lying back in her comfortable chair, watching a holographic screen display video from a camera that she'd hung around one of the uplifts' neck. Its transmitter was too short ranged to be noticed from orbit, but perfect for someone in a communications centre nearby. The uplift was apparently muttering to itself as it got the hang of walking on two legs - a little awkward when its skeletal structure wasn't quite designed for it, but apparently the creature's increased intelligence had put its curiosity to work trying to figure out the strangers who had given it that gift. After a few moments the uplift started panting, before collapsing back to walking on all four of its limbs. Good try though. she thought.
If every cloud had a silver lining, there would be a lot more plane crashes.
"That should do." Pell strode over to his desk, gently placing the book onto it and taking a seat. Noticing what looked like an intercom embedded into his workspace, he flicked the yellow switch and asked "Hulhor, is the drive prepped for transit?"
"Alright," responded Inera as he flicked the transmission switch and tapped out a response. Once he finished, he scoffed and continued "So your people sent an understaffed ship with a faulty power system out to explore the stars? Is interstellar travel some method of ritual sacrifice to them?"
After some time, Port Sahran returned to the Latesi intermediary: SUPPLY OF 5000 SAPIENT SAMPLES IMPOSSIBLE AT THIS TIME FULLSTOP