Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turn 9: The Garden of Death

Tense moments pass on the shuttle. As Dr. Mors prepares a tranquilizer hypo from his med-kit, Harv scrutinizes the sensor readings on the holographic instrument display before him.  The two life-forms, a Pé Chói and a human, are still moving slowing toward the ship, now just over 400 feet away.  Little data concerning the station is clear. Fragments of duranium are littered across the crater, apparently the remnants of the base.
Perhaps with an alien look of frustration, Harv turns from the display and attempts to open his mind to the psionic vibrations inherent in all life, focusing on the image of two beings on the cold blasted plain.
The image quickly fades and other scenes fill his mind’s eye.  Darkness, a distant blue star, ice crystals exploding, primeval forest, the Garden…The Pe Choi Garden of Death.
Disoriented, Harv stumbles, gripping an acceleration couch for support.  Although he cannot reach the minds of the beings on the ice, Harv knows with absolute certainty that the female Pé Chói researcher is dead.  Her atoms are scattered across the wastes, her consciousness dissolved.
On the shuttle intercom, Commander Nek reports that the warbots are prepared.

Meanwhile, back on the starship orbiting the icy world… Falyai’s fingers dance across the controls at her station.  Two words appear on the screen.
Flashing, text and images flow, in rapid succession, across the display; library data pages on the identified species…
the Mihálli of Dorsum.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Special Announcement

Rob Leduc is joining the game.  He will be taking over the role of Executive Officer Krútai Málakal.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Turn 8: Above and Below

The shuttle sets down in the ice at the northeastern edge of the blast crater.  The crater extends 1000 feet toward the rift and the former location of the research station.
Deeds speaks:
“We are within the intensively radiated zone.  Your vehicles and spacesuits will provide complete protection from the radiation; however exposure due to a damaged suit would likely prove more hazardous than the extreme cold.”
Lalei unbuckles from her seat. She pulls an air tablet from a pouch on her utility belt and places it into a holder on the inside of her bubble hood. "Prepare the crawler for departure. Sub-Lieutenant, load your warbots on board."
“By your command,” returns the thin Marine officer, already moving toward the rear of the ship.
Commander Nek rises, “Captain, there are two disintegrator rifles, our most powerful weapons, on the Crawler. I will bear one and arm the Mk 2 Warbot with the second.”
On the view screen, through the spray of ice and darkness, is that a shadowy moving figure in the distance?
In the shuttle, Deeds again:
“The sensors are no longer registering three anomalous life forms at this location; however I have a lock on the location of two identifiable life-forms at 500 feet to the southwest and slowly moving toward our location.  One is a Pe Choi, the other a human…Captain…an intruder…an anomalous life form has been detected in the shuttle bay on the Deeds of Glory.”

In a distant orbit around Psi Tauri 9, aboard the starship a klaxon sounds and the voice of Deeds is heard throughout the ship: “DANGER DANGER INTRUDER ALERT. UNKNOWN LIFEFORM DETECTED IN SHUTTLE BAY.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turn 7: Upon Arrival

After a difficult 10 minute flight, the shuttle stabilizes, cruising low above the icy surface of the planet.  A planetary map of Psi Tauri 9 fills the view screen. Deeds speaks:
“Indicated on the display are the location of the destroyed research station, our current destination, and the location of the apparent source of the gravitic disturbance. Both lie in the North Polar Region of Psi Tauri 9. The station was located in the foothills of a range of low mountains near the pole; however the terrain between the two points is dominated by low relief ice fields pocked by impact craters of variable size. A high walled impact crater with a diameter of approximately 40 miles is located east of the source of the disturbance.  Both locations lie upon the Chir’un Rift, a great chasm measuring over 1, 700 miles in length and between 75 feet and approximately one mile in width. The station is on the west side of the rift at its northern terminus. The disturbance source is located on the east side of the rift, 180 miles to the south.
Also note, the area of intense subatomic radiation surrounding the location of the former station and the sensor detected life forms and anomalous life form like readings at the two points.”
The map image fades to overlay a real time view of the world’s surface. First the rift, a black crack in the blindingly white ice and snow, then a shallow crater along the rift at the former location of the Imperial research station.

[The previously viewed library data concerning the station and station personnel may be accessed here.]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Turn 6: To Ice Planet Nine

Away Team:
Captain L. Kardáma
Dr. T. Mors
Mr. Harv
Mr. Payákár
Sub-Lieutenant T. Tchépetl
Spaceman D. Pchorvu
1 Mk1 GUbot
Commander L. Nek
Sub-Commander E. Ekkub
1 Mk2 Warbot
5 Mk 1 Warbots

The Away Team meets in the shuttle bay as the Crawler is loaded aboard the small ship. System checks completed, the bay door opens to the void, the twin white ice worlds, Psi Tauri 8 and 9 clearly visible, reflecting light from the distant star.

Sub-Lieutenant T. Tchépetl at the controls the contra-gravitic drive is engaged and the small ship glides through the bay and into space. As the shuttle turns toward the near planet and blkasts away from the Deeds, the effects of the anti-gravity field surrounding the planet are felt. The ship is rocked and the wiry Martian is clearly struggling in the pilot’s seat.

Through the shuttle link with the ship AI, Deeds speaks:

"I have taken the liberty of projecting Lieutenant hiSsanmiren’s wave filter sequence, which appears to have had some positive results in diminishing the effects of the disturbance on the ship, on a vector between the shuttle and the location of the no longer extant research station.

I suggest following this course and landing near the base in order to avoid the more intense areas of gravity disturbance. If you desire, I can refocus the projection on the location 180 miles to the south where sensor readings detect the humanoid lifeforms and the source of the disturbance; however, even with the use of the filter, I have little confidence in the survivability of the shuttle if the latter option is chosen.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Turn 5: Fear of Flying

As icy Psi Tauri 9 spins below, Málakal turns to the captain. 

“After launching the shuttle I will need to take the Deeds out of close orbit.  This anti-gravity field is playing havoc with the controls.  Piloting the shuttle in will be quite difficult as well.”

Over the bridge intercom:

“Marine Sub-Commander Ekkub here.  Commander Nek has asked me to inform the Captain that the warbots are prepared for the away mission.  The crawler has been supplied and loaded on the shuttle.”

“Sub-Lieutenant Tcéptl, Captain.  I would like to volunteer for this mission. I am a capable pilot.”

The Avatar of Deeds, the ship AI, materializes on the bridge.

“Captain,” it says, “It is my opinion that Lieutenant hiSsanmiren underestimates her potential value on this mission.  No offense to Mr. Harv, but Lieutenant hiSsanmiren is more experienced with inter-planar physics.  The disruptive conta-gravitic field that is being broadcast from the planet is certainly inter-planar in nature.

Further, I am continuing to monitor sensor data from Psi Tauri 9.  I have detected three additional anomalous lifeform like readings in the vicinity of the research station in addition to the four humanoids and 24  anomalies at the location from which the conta-gravitic field appears to emanate.

I agree with Mr. Málakal about the hazards of flying the shuttle within this field and I advise that attempting to fly directly into the source of the disruption would be…suicidal. Also, it is highly probable that conta-gravitic devices will not function properly at that location and difficulties with radio communication and remote control of the warbbots should be expected.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Special Announcement

Brett has informed me that he needs to bow out so Krútai Málakal will be run as an NPC unless someone is interested in adopting the character. I'd actually prefer that the XO be a PC...

Turn 5 will be posted tomorrow evening...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Turn 4: Waves

Falyai immediately transmits the message to fleet command and receives a standard “message received” notification with no additional details.

Chompy plots the course and Málakal engages the three-light drive.  The ship hurtles toward Psi Tauri 9, eight minutes away at maximum acceleration.

Seven minutes later, warning lights are blinking at every station.  The ship has encountered an undetected field of conta-gravitic waves emanating from the planet.  Málakal struggles with the controls; Falyai sees the ansible go off-line and notes interference on standard light speed communication channels.  In Engineering, Payákár watches as Wavium Pod 2 cracks under the strain and is automatically shut down and sealed.

At the Science station, Harv is dismayed at the sudden appearance of the field.  Sensors are impaired but functional.  The field appears to be emanating from a location on the Chir’un Rift approximately 180 miles south of the research station.  Sensors detect four humans and 24 anomalous lifeform-like readings near that location.

The station itself is not found; however high levels of sub-atomic radiation and indications of a recent massive explosion at the station’s coordinates are detected.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Turn 3: Translated

[I’m assuming that the crew was notified, the officers returned to the bridge and the order was given to activate the interfogulator and jump to Psi Tauri 9. This Turn will be rather short in case I assumed too much.] 
The interfogulator in the Drives Room hums to life. Lights blink and gauges spin, a web of blue energy, a visible grid of the planes, surrounds the device.
Instantaneously, the Deeds of Glory vanishes and reappears, motionless, in normal space, 500,000 miles from Psi Tauri 9.   At a vast distance, the star Psi Tauri is visible as a gold pinhead. 
On the bridge, the voice of Deeds, “All systems appear stable. Sensors detect no spacecraft in range and no inter-planar lifeforms aboard ship.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

TURN 2/Last Call

[I will delay posting Turn 3 until tomorrow evening in order to give Malakal and any others a chance to contribute prior to jumping out system.  The ship has reached optimum speed for translation to the Psi Tauri system.  As Psi Tauri 9 lies far from the star, it would be possible to safely emerge from inter-planar space within 500,000 miles (and less than eight minutes travel time) of  the world. 

It is SOP to raise definsive screens prior to activating the inter-planar drive.  Also remember, unless somewhat risky navigational adjustments are made the ship will arrive in system motionless and the jump is instantaneous.]

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Throughout the ship, the voice of Captain Lálei Kardáma over the intercom, echoes:
"Mr. Nek, Dr. Mors. please report to the meeting room, immediately.
 In the red lit Marine Robotics bay in the bowels of the ship:
Marine NCO and Roboticist Ekkub: The robotic claws on Mk I #2 are sticking on extension again. You should be off to the meeting Commander Nek.  I am quite capable of finishing the inspection.
In Engineering:
Jiná Surék Uná, the Áylgibrán Enginner’s assistant leans into the open compartment of Wavium Pod Array 4 making slight adjustments with a molecular spanner. Wiping sweat from her brow with one hand she smears her face with black magnetic dust.
Táz Tchépetl practices fencing behind her, pauses to admire her posterior…
“Jina,” he says, “you can’t spend your life down here with your wide eyed alien boss and his little space monster. How about a break? Come up to my quarters for a glass of Aldeberan brandy.  Tomorrow we may die…”

In the Sick Bay:

The avatar of Deeds, huge and shimmering, reaches out to the android Halé, his hand, like a massive but delicate ruddy brown pot sherd, passes though her cheek.  She stands motionless, her deep black eyes wide open…
On the bridge:
Payákár remains lost in thought, looking for the nebula in the view screen…then, an optical illusion in the starry void, like sad human eyes looking back from the depths of space..the sad eyes of an astronaut that have seen too much death and other horrors beyond fear, pain, space, death, and time.  A soft voice whispers inside the alien's skull…”the astronaut needs time…”
The Nininyal navigator has prepared and finalized the n-dimensional instructions that will translate the Deeds of Glory across approximately 9, 7899564333354333111 light years of void space to its destination; soon the ship will abruptly vanish and arrive…..
Falyai settles into the plush Captain’s chair. Half her mind dreams of glory beyond the stars, the other half continues the complex calculations that could provide a formula for determining the precise date and time that the garbled distress call was sent and ultimately might clear up certain troubling irregularities in trans-temporal contra-gravitic waveform theory…

In the Meeting Room:

Lálei Kardáma , Krútai Málakal, Portents of the Harvest Dawn, and  Dr. Turjan Mors gather.

Captain Kardáma flashes the ship's chief medical officer her best professional smile.
"Greeting's Doctor. Have a seat. We only await Mr. Nek, then we can begin. I hope I didn't pull you away from anything important."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turn 1/Expositions

Falyai quickly acknowledges receipt of the commuiqué to Fleet Command and runs the standard decoding algorithms on the encoded transmission. While doing so, thanks to her strong background in interplanar physics, she realizes that the contra-gravitic waveforms of the two messages had been attracted to one another and became entangled in n-dimensional space, thus explaining the simultaneous reception.  She also knows that, statistically, contra-temporal ansible signals are about 90% likely to have originated in the past rather than the future.  Attempts to clarify the distress call appear hopeless.

She decodes the extant portion of the orders from Fleet Command and the AI, in response to the captain's order, automatically routes them to her screen.

Meanwhile, Harv, at the Science station, searches library data for information on the distressed ship.  He finds one record of an Imperial Scout ship reported lost in the nebula just over 5 years ago. Past efforts to locate the ship were unsuccessful.  Intense Z-ray storms are common in the nebula, travel there is very dangerous and disruptions to communication and sensors should be expected.


[Protocol question: who's allowed to talk to Deeds and/or give Deeds instructions or requests for activity? Do all such things have to go through the chain of command? Is Deeds a "person" or a service portal? Where does /Deeds/ fit within the chain of command?]

Ultimately up to the CO, but as the crew is all new...on most ships any officer may communicate with the AI particularly regarding information requests relevant to their post or specialty.

The AI is a personality and in case anyone is familiar with the ship AIs from Banks' Culture novels, Humanspace AIs are less advanced.  Their intelligence is typically at maximum human level (Deeds Int is 18) supplemented by eiditic memory and access to vast amounts of data, but they tend to struggle with original thinking, creative problem solving and such.  AIs and androids are essentially below all officers in the chain of command (their purpose is to serve...) but they often tend to act as if they are only answerable to command officers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Turn 1: Read Only Memories

Six Imperial Naval officers, human and alien, a lithe and pretty slave girl, and a male android with jet black eyes and paper white skin climbed aboard the shuttle at Yézudus Port on Miza 6 . In the ensuing hours aboard the newly refitted ship, they performed their duties, checked systems, and made varyingly sincere, inept, successful and half-hearted attempts to get to know one another. These social rituals and professional tasks continued in the days that followed as the Deeds of Glory set course, as ordered, out-system and rimward, awaiting further instructions.

Captain Lálei Kardáma a small attractive woman with a dark complication, deep-brown slanted eyes, and long black hair; daughter of retired Fleet Admiral and a member of the Order of the Verdant Sphere--an exclusive cult of wealthy and powerful sybarists. She is said to be a powerful mentalik and keeps an android lover.

Executive officer and pilot Krútai Málakal, his father a powerful administrator in the Tau Ceti Debris Disk and his mother a noble of the Great Ket Vriddu and Captain of the Imperial dreadnought Red Devastation killed in a Mihalli raid several years ago. He is rumored to be hard and cruel but an excellent officer and pilot. His young concubine Zira brightens the corridors of the ship when she passes.

Pé Chói Science Officer Portents of the Harvest Dawn, called Harv, a specialist in xeno-biology and robotics. A true seeker after knowledge and experience.

Medical Officer Dr. Turjan Mors, a bearded scientist, said to have been a brilliant researcher that accepted a commission in the navy to avoid the wrath of a jealous noble after an ill considered affair with the Space Lord’s favorite concubine.

Navigator, author, and adventurer, Khompskpsk, a Niniyal nicknamed “Lil' Chompy” by fans of its series of trashy vid-novellas.

Engineering Officer Payákár, a friendly Páchi Léi, often found working long hours in the drives room with his pet Chozá, a small creature, all wings, eyestalks and tentacles.

Marine Commander Led'ur Nek and his haughty sub-commander and roboticist Ek Ekkub arrived hours later and have been busy with their armored robots since. They have done little socializing with the officers and crew.

The remainder of the crew came aboard soon after, most have yet unremembered names and faces. Táz Tchépetl , the Gunnery/Security NCO, is certainly memorable; a lanky Martian with a handsome face marked with a terrible scar obtained in the Death Arena as is Jiná Surék Uná, the voluptuous Áylgibrán who spends far too much time in Engineering.

Ferried to the ship as it headed out-system was a last minute addition to the crew, Lieutenant Science Officer Falyai hiSsanmiren. She mentioned that her orders involved monitoring the ship AI and the Ansible communications system, necessary due to some irregularities noticed in final diagnostic tests performed on the ship AI.

The ship AI is known as Deeds and its holographic avatar is occasionally seen about the ship. It has been somewhat aloof and perfunctory in the first days of the voyage. The lovely Health and Joy Android Halé, on the other hand, has been extremely sociable, when not busy in the sickbay with Dr. Turjan Mors.

Rumors have also spread that the last crew of the Deeds of Glory succumbed to space madness beyond Canopus last year and the only survivor of the doomed mission is locked in a naval asylum on Sirius 7.

In deep space, billions of miles beyond Miza, as the Deeds of Glory gradually reached a speed incrementally below that of light, the officers gathered on the bridge.

Lieutenant Science Officer Falyai hiSsanmiren, monitoring the ansible station, was shocked by the sudden flashing of numerous muti-colored lights on the communication panel. Two messages were being received simultaneously, the first encoded, a transmission from Imperial Fleet Command, presumably with the awaited instructions.

The second message, garbled, a voice, ”Mayday, this is Captain ----- Imperial Extreme Survey vessel -----nebula----remote planet….contact mission…now under attack…unknown weapon…planet’s surface…coordinates…sending coordinates…Mayday…”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Technical Manual v1.0 UPDATED

No Turn Zero but Turn 1 shoud be up tomorrow night.

In the interim, I prepared a preliminary version of the Ship's Technical Manual that includes ship stats, ship's vehicles, stats for all NPC crew members, robots, and androids, and inventory of the ship's locker.

Access Version 1.01 here.