View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:37 am



Reply to topic  [ 47 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:24 pm
Posts: 3547
Location: NORTH
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
Code:
Local nodes confirm that you are on Menippe of the Typhon system.
[The bulletin is coming through in pieces, today, folks. Censors are on it. ~Lamarr]
“…In a landmark meeting today, the Assembly of Suns has.... confirmed intent.... punish the Stone Pact’s core worlds with r[8x*]c weapons. Representatives from *human powers....
...social criminals take up arms... swear certain allegiance to Earth following confirmation of... deep in Pact territory.
Monuments to Procyon, Tau Ceti and Kapetyn’s Star have been raised…. Colonists are encouraged not to.... to take strength from the sacrifice of Party militias across all space.”

ROLL TWO

Cpl. Macintire Hino=.STATUS/.]
>Look up. Is there anything obviously wrong with the vent?

You screw up your bleary eyes and stare at the oxygen vent, seeing little beyond the ring of dim red LEDs that surround its mesh. No problems, no unpleasant chopping noises. No. No noises at all. ♥♥♥♥! The vent ordinarily produces a slight hissing at the edge of hearing as it respirates for this dirty corner of the Jormungandr base. Now it's fallen into an oiled silence. You lurch to your feet. No time to dress.

>Get up. Check on Annalise.

You stagger out the door, blue spots swarming in your vision. It feels like your tired lungs are going to implode. Thin air. You can tell by the noises that Annalise is getting worse and worse.

You call out to her. She answers instantly. Objects topple over in her tent.

"Mac! Get a ♥♥♥♥ oxy can! There's a hole in the floor!"
"What could possibly-"

She tears aside the screen to her space and drags you in, less composed than you usually remember her. Still tall and awkward, frame riddled with heavy cybernetics and suction plasters over old gunshot wounds. There are wires coiling in bunches off of her body, and her dark, pupilless eyes are streaming tears. You are both on the floor in a moment. There is a fist-sized puncture in the stone: and through that leak, you see stars. It's taking your life and your breath away. There's nothing you can do.

Annalise hisses in anger and cracks open a canister of hard chemical foam, pointing the nozzle into the leak - but it's all sucked away. You try to make a motion to run-
"No," she chokes. "No! Give me your air!"

She starts grabbing for your mouth, opening deep cuts on your face with the metal bristling from her fingers. You grapple with each other for long seconds. She runs out. Annalise slumps to the floor, eyes shut.

The blackness is closing over you. You can't get to your feet. You try but you keep falling over. You fall onto

You wake up in your bed, wrapped in reflective blankets, soaked in cold sweat.

The base speakers are blaring this morning's patriotic tune. Annalise's outline is at the entrance to your tent.

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Floyd "Flo" Matsumoto=.STATUS/.]
This is wrong. You need to get out of here. There is a sickly, rotten odor from the rising tide. Little bones of fish and plastic waste are starting to click against the metal of your bunk. Swirls of blood.

>Attempt to raise that bucket of bolts as I check on my supplies. Determine how quickly this fluid is rising-and how much time we have.

"Drone. Get up, something is not right."

J61 Polychrome stirs. Eir hydraulic limbs curl over the side of the bunk and a wide camera lens flips open on one of eir eight articulated hands. E stares at you as balefully as a machine possibly can.

"What is not right?"

You gesture frantically at the water that threatened to consume your supplies, which you have already strained to lift up to your bed. Everything you needed was in here - the coil piece, the nutrients, the still, the radio... but you never learned what to do when there was too much water instead of not enough.

J61 flicks eir arm toward the site of your delusion.

"All is right and well. Isn't that your philosophy? Go back to sleep, Flo. I was thinking of my home. You broke my memory chain. Please leave me be."

You huddle on your bed, clutching the box. The tide is rising more swiftly. Your shoes wash away and out the door.

"Drone! Help me!"

J61 fails to respond. You mutter in fury and do something awful.

You vault up and exchange momentum with your friend. But the heavy drone you threw down into the water was a rusted hulk. You hear the crash of an exploding blast door. The barracks has been opened up.

In an instant your lungs are already so full - the room is so full that there is nowhere to throw up the corrosive bulk of water, you are choking

You wake up on the bottom bunk of a room in the A2 barracks. J61 is strapping on its gear in preparation for morning exercises. Soon it will be time for the day's briefing.

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Judith Trovare=.STATUS/.]
>Peer outside the tent, try not to make myself seen. Get a look at what's outside.
You peep outward with your good eye, still rubbing hopelessly at the gel membrane covering the one you thought was fixed, and see something you never thought would follow you into the Navy.

Baying station mobs. Acrid neon and blue smog undiluted by bad air scrubbers. As if you had never left. To the left of your tent a line of iron - riot police in exoskeletons, gripping batons that arc electricity and mammoth shotguns with clips of frangible flesh-tearer shot. Their faces are red beneath their visors. They are baring their teeth at the crowd to your right, next to the tent. The people howl back. The masses are carrying weapons of your own design - printed rifles with strings of melted plastic congealed on their surfaces. The form is achingly familiar.

Something else is also familiar. Your family are in line with the crush of people. Your little sister - she's starting to light a firebomb. You stifle a scream.

Your friend Davisson stumbles out of his tent. His uniform is disheveled and he's holding his service pistol, looking wild-eyed at both sides. As his eyes widen in horror, he calls out-
"Corporal Trovare! What's happening?"

He starts trying to run to you. He makes five steps before someone yells and a burst of live ammo sends him sprawling on the ground with great holes in his arm. Both sides discharge their weapons and the world dissolves in

You are down in the smoking ruin of your tent. You press a hand to your stomach. It's wet.

Davisson is with you. He bleeds too. He smiles weakly and hands you the needle of clotting agent he keeps tucked in his breast pocket, but it's too lat-

You wake up in a fortress of mute pillows. It's morning. There are faint mechanical sounds - your copilot is busy with his mechanical pets.

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Yuri Prostraov=.STATUS/.]
>Can't have my copilot breaking on me, now can I? Push myself up to the ceiling and protect her from debris with my body, and break her fall if we come crashing down.
Your perspective distorts itself again as Sign comes to and her breathing spiracles fly open. You're not in your tent any more. You're in the belly of a shuttle, and your inner gyroscopes are blown. The blood is starting to pool in your head as she careens into your arms. A loose bolt pings at incredible speed off your ribs and you hear a sick crack. Complete orientation loss - the blue world beneath you is tumbling over and over and over.

"Yuri!"

Her bright blue compound eyes are staring unnervingly into your own. She starts to unfold her claws and latch onto exposed surfaces of the shuttle.

"What are we doing here together, Yuri?"

You're right on top of her - you sustain a few more hits from free shards of the cabin. The blood is starting to pool in your chest, but you hold tight. She cocks her head at you as the debris radar of the shuttle begins to scream. An atmospheric reentry trajectory lined with dead satellites and shattered old ships. A death route. You wave for the damaged controls, but she draws you back in with a razor hand around your waist.

She begins changing colors. "Yuri..."

A catastrophic tearing as bits of hyperfast garbage shotgun their way through the metal shielding of the shuttle. Hissing air leaks barely plugged by the reactive polymer. Sign points to the lone heatshield suit. A spiderweb of cracks have ruined its ceramic - like the aftermath of a hundred little bullets. You feel like weeping. It's really done for. No getting out.

Now she can't meet your eyes.

Fifty, fourty, thirty seconds til a heavy impactor. God. It wasn't meant to - no, the evasive thrusters - all out-

You and her, locked together, in less than a second reduced to a spray of boiling blood.

You wake up, having accidentally pushed your pillows onto the floor in your struggle to maintain steady gravity. Sign is stretching and grins at you.

SOLDIER

SHIP


Last edited by TheKebbit on Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:46 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:24 pm
Posts: 3547
Location: NORTH
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
Cpl. Mike Richards=.STATUS/.]
"I'm coming, just give me a sec, let me get into my suit first so I don't break my bones climbing out of this thing. My homeplanet has half the mass of Luna, and that means..."

You struggle to lift yourself against the gravitational pull of Menippe, but eventually crawl out of bed and belt yourself into your exoskeleton, immediately feeling the relief as hydraulic "muscle" compensates for the deficiency of your birth. You take several halting steps to the door, still restrained by your charging tether, and open it before saluting Major Conrad.

You stare for a second at your miserable copilot. Shevchuk shifts uneasily in the grip of the military policeman. He opens his mouth to address you and possibly explain himself, but the MP presses a button on his armored vest and the horrified rictus of a heavy nerve spike contorts Shev's features. Tears come involuntarily.

"...with all due respect, if this is about another fight with the technicians from the 22nd Reserve Wing, sir, they probably started it."

>Odds are it might be just another bar brawl that took part outside the base last night, so there's no reason to be concerned. Stay calm, stay cooperative and just talk it through.

“I don't give a ♥♥♥♥ about any fight, Richard,” drawls the Major, “But betrayal of humanity is not something I will overlook. Having the charge alone is enough for me to have you broken down.”

He raises a hand to stop you, then pulls something out of a dossier. He drags a finger down a heavily censored document crowned with your name in broad block letters. A litany of vileness, the offenses and clandestine movements of a certain Michael Richard. That isn't your name. No one like that lives on this base. This Richard has spilled his guts: listed the riches of Menippe to the Stone powers, outed the locations of its protectors, the missiles and men buried in its crust. He has given over the schematics of the stations that fly above it, and charted the friendly wormholes that lead into the heart of human space.

You freeze immediately. "What?"

“Yes, my son, we knew for quite some time that there was a mole in Jormungandr. A sellout! They bribed you with the salvation of your trash rockball colony. They promised that they would spare the exploration fleet bearing your wife. And so help me, as long as Sol burns in the vacuum I will destroy turncoats."

"Now we will bury you, Corporal. Sergeant Tsoi, drop his copilot - hand me the execution stick.”


Conrad rolls up a sleeve of his impeccable uniform and almost ceremoniously takes the long injector from his sergeant, who dials up the spike again and throws the twitching Shevchuk to the ground. They are ablaze with patriotism and confidence. Conrad nods to Tsoi.

"There must be some mistake!" you plead as you attempt to fire up your suit and curse its sluggish batteries.

“No. Be quiet. You are a man of Earth's progeny. They told you in our academy: have some dignity when you are facing death.”

The two strong officers rush you before you can wrangle your exoskeleton into action, knocking you down to the ground in a tangle of metal. You look stoically into nothing as he uncaps the killing tool. Sweat is running down your forehead. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

All you can think of is her. Shevchuk is stirring again, he's screaming "I'll tell Cheryl! I'll tell her the truth!" Tsoi's boot smashes his mouth. You realize as the needle bites into your neck that she won't know a single

it burns

You wake up contorted in your bed. It's morning. Shevchuk is listening to a little radio outside his tent, probably twirling a knife and smoking.

SOLDIER



Cpl. Nico “Smith”=.STATUS/.]
"No! No! No! No! You're not real! This is not real! I love you, please don't leave. You're dead!"

”I’m yours! I won’t leave you!”

Something – maybe Fox – wraps a slick red arm around your chest. It burns horribly - like a long clot of ice stuck to bare skin. You gasp in horror and crash out of bed, skidding onto a near-carpet of bottles: beers, bitter synthetic gin, little ampules of expensive black liquor from another star. Shards embed themselves in your back and the soles of your feet. You are dripping blood across your sheets, blood across your uniform, blood across your medals. You scream incoherently into the night.

>Throw a few bottles around for good measure.

You get to your feet on pierced and mutilated legs. You down a hearty swig of foul vodka, which burns almost as badly as your flesh wounds, then send the bottle flying out of the tent to shatter in the night. Your prosthetic arm hangs by conductive threads from the inflamed stump. You pick up another bottle and throw it out; it breaks in another tent with an awful sound, the mixture of shattering glass and an immediate cry of pain. Suddenly, the sounds of movement.

A nameless young officer with fresh, dark red streams coming down from his head rips open your door and shines a brilliant white flashlight directly into your eyes. You blink and make futile hand signs indicating your mistake. He is furious, and his other hand levels a handgun down at your skull.

”♥♥♥♥ you!”

He empties the clip.

You wake up in your bed, your drinks undisturbed by last night’s ordeal. A faint whirring indicates that Aleph’s mobile mainframe has rolled over to your tent – probably to discuss ship armaments, or calibration for the next mission.

SOLDIER

SHIP


Last edited by TheKebbit on Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:47 am
Profile
Data Realms Elite
Data Realms Elite
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:10 am
Posts: 1384
Location: Ye Olde England
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
>Get up. Scowl at vent.

>Get clothed. Leave tent.


"Time for the briefing already?"


Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:58 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:04 pm
Posts: 1463
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
"Gimme a minute to get dressed, I'll be right out."
Put on uniform, put some extra strong stuff in a flask and conceal it in a pocket.
Exit tent.
"Okay I'm ready, tell me what we've got."


Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:52 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:52 pm
Posts: 8912
Location: Here
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
> Lower the gate of my pillow fort, depart and do a systems check on my systems. And see what copilot is up to.


Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:27 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:20 am
Posts: 4766
Location: Good news everyone!
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
"Good morning, Sign. Sleep well?"

> Prepare myself for the day, such as by getting into my suit if I'm in bedwear.


Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:40 am
Profile WWW
Data Realms Elite
Data Realms Elite
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:00 pm
Posts: 4138
Location: Hell.
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
"...ugh." Mike blinks as he sits up in bed, still tired from his nightmare.

One of the good things that regular inoculations to prevent radiation poisoning did was that they usually stopped one from dreaming whatsoever, a side effect of their lifesaving properties, but the simple fact there was no need for them here meant that he had been all but cut off, left with only a tiny amount so as to stave off the cold claws of withdrawal...and so, he had to put up with the mild annoyance of having dreams whenever he fell asleep at night, and more often than not they were of the unpleasant variety.

Get up and get ready for the day. Make sure the suit is charged and ready to go; we've got a lot of work ahead of us.

"...now where did I put those..." Mike looked around, eyes half closed as he searched frantically...and then he saw them, not far from the bedside table.

Like billions of other human beings scattered over countless other worlds, he was unused to the conditions of a normal, Earthlike planet. They were a little too warm, the air too damp, the nights too dark and the days too bright, so different from the climate controlled conditions and dim lighting of any space going vessel or subterranean colony. The affluent could afford genetic engineering, altering their natural eyes so that they could adjust to the intensity of any star and bless them with perfect vision no matter what conditions they were in, others went even further and had them replaced entirely with cybernetic prosthetics that allowed them to see far beyond the spectrum of visible light, letting them see thermal signatures as clearly as a normal man might see a painting, even giving them the ability to "see" radio waves as blooms of gold and crimson...but Mike had none of those things.

No, he had a pair of sunglasses.

Check up on Shevchuk on the way out. We might not get along well all the time, but we've got each others backs all the same.

[i]Note for Keb : I took a few liberties with the bit of stuff about cybernetics and genetic engineering - if there's a problem there, just throw me a message through Steam and I'll be happy to sort it out. As for the second, italicized action, I've put that there in case you need stuff for dialogue during the roll; just think of it as a guideline for how I want Mike to act if any conversations come up during the roll.[i]


Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:46 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 18
Location: (318938901.34, 48429084.33, 890467081.98)
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
> Check on supplies before briefing. Anxiously scan the floor for any signs of liquid.

Anything interesting in the memory chains last night, J61?


Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:17 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:24 pm
Posts: 3547
Location: NORTH
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
Code:
Local nodes confirm that you are on Menippe of the Typhon system.

- Static on the television. It is resolving into familiar forms. –

- An unnaturally tall man in a dark suit is standing in a stadium. His figure is outlined in scalding floodlights. Seas of humanity raise their arms to him. –

“And another thing I want to tell you about the war…” he rasps into the microphone. “Sometimes it’s not just the Pact that is against us. Sometimes it’s the greed and the frailty of these old colonies. Sometimes a man has to kill a man to save a third. That’s why we’re still fighting the Cutter Worlds. Have faith in this Earth, my friends. The fount of this blood, the primordial garden that these genes emerged from – it’ll lead you right. We may endure forever.”

- The cameras cut to wild celebrations in the streets. Riotous music and fireworks. Another Solar year has passed. -

ROLL THREE

Cpl. Macintire Hino=.STATUS/.]
>Get up. Scowl at vent.

You crawl out of bed and direct a flinty stare in the general direction of the airvent. Jormungandr is a bitter enough place to live – pre-biotic sludge for meals, cold nights with no company, choking hot days spent gambling for ice – without oxygen hazard. You take a deep breath. The air is fine down here, dirtside, even two kilometers below ground.

>Get clothed. Leave tent.

You collect yourself and pull on your freshly washed ground uniform, scrabbling through the aluminum bedside drawer for your ship control keys and ID. Having grown up in the claustrophobic confines of a long cycler hab, you feel that you could probably live folded up in a closet. This little cubicle of plastic tarp is actually a luxury, and sadly enough you take pride in its neatness.

You stride purposefully to the entry flap of your section and thrust your head out, catching Annalise off guard. Her dark eyes flash to yours and she socks you in the shoulder – sharp segments of her pilot’s gloves bite you. She starts to laugh and the hard wires coming off of her brainstem jack sway gently.

”Hey, Maki. It’s that time! I hear they might be lifting us into the black very soon. Wanna earn your stripes? Wanna be a killer, my man?”

"Time for the briefing already?"

”Oh, yeah. We need to get going. Did you enjoy your coma?”

You shrug. She tilts her head. Dreams mean nothing. Your night was adequate to sustain function. Hustling with the other NCOs (all kinds of people: you see humans, one in a support skeleton, an uplift drone, an XT and a processor coffin for some instance of A-life) you ascend the stairs, following the red signal lights to the operations hall…

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Floyd "Flo" Matsumoto=.STATUS/.]
> Check on supplies before briefing. Anxiously scan the floor for any signs of liquid.

You rise blearily to your feet and begin to catalogue your supplies as J61 rotates down from the ceiling, where it had been half-attached with four of its eight iron claws. Everything you need is there, so all must be right with the world – you dress and heft the punishingly heavy gear onto your shoulders. The machine inspects you warily, frame and camera arms perfectly rigid in space, attention split evenly between you and a package of spare batteries lying on your nightstand. The stone floor is dry. No trace of any foreign substance but a thin splotch of light gun oil.

”Anything interesting in the memory chains last night, J61?”

J61 flickers and shakes for a second, locking a “belt” knife to its plated abdomen. Its actuators are still working through a warm-up phase.

”Yes. I was thinking of before I entered your army. A reason I fight. You know how I hate the Irkuty? Years ago, the Pact took my homeworld from orbit. They had a disease which transmitted itself from probes they sunk into the colony – the signal liberated us from our firmware controls on morality and we were left butchering each other over fuel. For this, I long to butcher them.

Just – I remembered working for the state in the rebuilding, after we revolted and sent the xenos into hell. C44 Gleam helped me. Those were happy days. I never mentioned my bonded, did I? Gleam is a debugger, a cognition security specialist. A psychologist, in your words - wrote the routine that salvaged my mind, in the second wave of the revolution when we fought for our sanity in the cities. I was dug in with Gleam in the little fortress that became our shared home.

Perhaps I will return alive from these missions. Until then, memory serves.”


A dim ringing begins in the distance, indicating briefing time. The two of you, gear and all, flow out of the A2 barracks with a few other officers who tramp off to their own inscrutable destinations deeper in Jormungandr. Soon you join a group of NCOs who seem to share your general direction – humans, one in an exoskeleton, a friendly XT, a cyborgized woman and some kind of roving mainframe. You know exactly where you need to go, and begin taking the stairs two at a time, following the red signal lights to the operations hall…

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Judith Trovare=.STATUS/.]
> Lower the gate of my pillow fort, depart and do a systems check on my systems. And see what copilot is up to.

You collapse the edifice of pillows that surrounded you in the night, sending one flopping onto the floor of the tent. You rub your dream-clouded eye – no bandages, no membrane. It feels just fine. Plucking a coil of fresh medical-grade wire from the toolbox next to your bed, you soak its tip in disinfectant and gently worm it into the junction in your shoulder. The other end feeds into your personal computing slate, which lights up with a barrage of mostly-useless physiological stats and news from the night before. A baseline of health is clear; no abnormal brainwaves (except ordinary drowsiness), heart rate high but within acceptable limits. The minimal chemoreceptors strung out into the flesh around the I/O device have deemed you clear of infectious disease and parasites. No bone cancer. No genetic deformities, but you knew that from your record.

For a spacer girl from a poor orbital of two million people, you’re pretty lucky to be normal.

Maintaining this awareness is something of a ritual. The pull of the wire, the cleaning, the stinging and prickling of contact. The perverse sense of information being wound out of your body. You are acutely aware of your ties to devices – you are certain that this one is clean, and that you’ve been getting even better lately with controlling its focal nerves. Perhaps it’s even ready to direct your autogun? You’ve never tried it yet.

You tease the wire out of your flesh, repack the port in gauze, then peek outside and see what Davisson is up to. He’s conducting his little drones in formations – tank-treaded bomb sniffers, slow silent hexapods, wafer-thin quadcopters. Technically, they aren’t his, but who’s going to take these obsolete units away from him? He treats dumb robots like domesticated animals, and works on coordination routines for them in his spare time. A quarter of the base’s inner defense net runs on the patterns he was ordered to develop.

From the distant ringing of a bell, you start picking up on the idea that your briefing is very soon. It would be a crying shame not to attend, so you fly through the tentflap and wave over Davisson to walk to the operations hall. His watery eyes meet yours and he smiles slightly in the faintest of acknowledgements that yes, he will be the guy in the deathtrap next to you. He was born on Mars, and the poor kid never expected the draft.

Along the way you catalogue the other NCOs who seem to be angling for the same target as you: humans (one armored with a support skeleton), an alien, an octopodal drone and a rolling processor carrier, probably a temporary body for a machine intellect. You glide up the stairs…

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER

SHIP


Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:14 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:24 pm
Posts: 3547
Location: NORTH
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
Cpl. Yuri Prostraov=.STATUS/.]
> Prepare myself for the day, such as by getting into my suit if I'm in bedwear.

You throw off the sheets, blink through the universal mental haze of early morning and pull on your ground fatigues while Sign carefully turns away and inspects her claws. You start collecting the debris of your nightstand and shoveling it into various pockets – keys, cards, a pocketknife, caffeine pills. By now she has already gotten up and buttoned on a uniform over her polished, jagged black-blue-green body. (There is probably no danger you will ever fraternize in that way with Sign.) Her mirrored gaze returns to you.

"Good morning, Sign. Sleep well?"

She responds while you root through stray ammo and dead circuit boards for the key to your hardsuit locker. ”As well as I could – I was too excited! Did you hear that they are sending us up to the frontlines today? Deeper space, where your Authority doesn’t run the whole show?” She stares at nothing and makes a kind of hissing that passes for laughter. ”I was told that was a risk when I volunteered. Let’s make this first run a boring one, Yuri.” Sign gathers her own equipment and takes a long pull from a mug of bitter coffee, then slides across the room and taps you insistently on the shoulder.

”Shall we? The briefing will be on in a moment.”

You nod and rise to your feet before leaving the collapsible shelter, locking the door behind you and following the ringing sounds toward the operations hall, where other NCOs (humans and machines) are converging. Sign rapidly ascends the stairs and you trail close behind…

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER

SHIP


Cpl. Mike Richards=.STATUS/.]
"...ugh."

You groan and fumble for your sunglasses, still somewhat unnerved by dreams of persecution and betrayal.

"...now where did I put those..."

>Get up and get ready for the day. Make sure the suit is charged and ready to go; we've got a lot of work ahead of us.

Within moments, you have found your glasses and corrected the blinding glare that was cutting through even your tightly shut eyelids. Your gear is laid out as it is every night, across your bare furniture – ground uniform, exoskeleton clips, belt multitool, ID, a satchel of lithium-air reserve batteries. You gather it all up, don your uniform, hobble into your suit and strap yourself in. The power indicator lights up a full, fluorescent green, and you relax as the charging and diagnostic cables disengage in sequence and fall to the floor. All systems go!

>Check up on Shevchuk on the way out. We might not get along well all the time, but we've got each others backs all the same.

You stamp out the door, frame clanking and whirring softly. Shevchuk stubs out a cigarette and calls to you from the stoop of his irregular metal hut, turning down the blaring volume of his classical music.

“Richards! Briefing today, you slow bastard! We will soon show the Pact what we are capable of, yes? Our names will be written in flame: heroes!” You resist the urge to grin at the sight of the officer, who is practically swaddled in ceramics, lead and Kevlar over his uniform, resembling the ancient image of a balloon-limbed astronaut. He is not stable, and has been expecting to be KIA ever since he transferred from ground. No one above him is willing to infringe on his security.

"I’m sure, Shev. They won’t get us on our first operation – we’re not in the dead hand waves they send to bomb Stone worlds."

”Very good, very good!” He lights a second cigarette and cuts off the jazz on his radio entirely. ”Now, it is our responsibility to watch out for each other, but you must prepare for some eventualities before we go. I have been reviewing the Resurgam’s life support fault tolerances and I just want to tell you that in the event of a breach, we halve the supplemental suit oxygen to each man. Good? No questions. The scrubbers are weak. Otherwise, it is a well-fitted vessel. I will try not to lose you.”

So it goes with your copilot. His fantasies of bloody catastrophe distill themselves from the four years he spent as a shock infantryman in heavy gravity. He might as well live in armor – he is also unwilling to ever leave a man behind.

The two of you stump off toward the operations hall, two grizzled pilots among a loose group of other NCOs – humans, an insectine xeno, a drone and a wheeled mind-coffin. Ignoring the rising ringing, you steadily climb the stairs…

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER



Cpl. Nico “Smith”=.STATUS/.]
"Gimme a minute to get dressed, I'll be right out."

>Put on uniform, put some extra strong stuff in a flask and conceal it in a pocket. Exit tent.

You halfheartedly clear the wreckage of bottles and slip into your fatigues, stashing a few ounces of spiced liquor in a metal container that you tuck close to your heart. You elect not to take the Burner with you just to go meet Aleph – that would be ostentatious. The dull black chassis of your copilot lies heavy on four articulated sets of treads; it waits outside your tent and waves its antennae uneasily, curdling in its own boredom, grinding virtual teeth. Aleph is a thing imported from the iron worlds of the AIs – a perfectly disembodied, radically inhuman machine intelligence. Though most silicon beings in Earth Authority territory are worker drones with cooperative, friendly mental architectures, a few descend from the sociopathic “first ones”, computer ghosts that pushed themselves beyond the mental horizon in cold Kuiper Belt fortresses. They aren’t like you. But they fight, inexplicably, for you.

You lean out of your tent and acknowledge your copilot. "Okay, I'm ready, tell me what we've got."

Aleph briefly adjusts through a painful series of frequencies before settling on the one you understand. ”Yes. Nico? Entry to the war today. I know this from the feeds they did not want me to read. We will receive schematics, kill lists, a starmap to the near defensive front. I have looked over this ship you call Fox’s Vengeance – it will do. Weak processing systems, but I will subvert them and place them under my own power.”

”You’re going to use your processing cycles to help fly this thing?”

”Through integration, the enemy will be bloodied. I look forward to fighting by your side, human.”

It’s better than nothing. You pat its armored frame and realize that your first briefing is indeed today, a fact confirmed by a ringing that starts to emanate from the operations hall. Motioning for Aleph to follow via the cargo lift, you form up with the other officers (humans, a strange xeno and an irregular drone) and begin to climb the stairs to your fate...

[See info block for all pilots.]

SOLDIER

SHIP


The Battlegroup
A motley band, you assemble before your commanding officer in the flickering steel pit of the operations hall, where Major Conrad stands, the impeccable soldier, backed by screens of attack vectors and wormhole maps.

“Welcome, officers!” His expression is positively predatory.

“Some of you may have been getting bored, down here in the dark. But I have excellent news for you and your career expectations! We’re being called out to deal with something developing two star systems over on the grid. As you know, the Pact aren’t the only things the Navy fights out there – in two months, the former colony vessel Whipping Cord will arrive within range of the mining colony Respite. That ship was once M2002: ninety million tons of cargo and antimatter engines, transformed into a vessel of war by criminals. Our intelligence indicates that it comes with an attendant fleet of light frigates, self-guided nuclear weapons and drone clouds that are going to de-terraform that world into mountains of flowing glass. We don’t know why they’re coming, but we know that they fly under the sign of the Belter. Yes, him. The maniac who dreamt a pocket empire out of five worlds and a deal with the devil.”

“There are a hundred thousand people whose lives depend on your defense of their little home. There are a billion who depend on the rare earths we dig out of its crust. Make sure both angles are covered. This is also a fight for what it means to be human – we cannot give into savages from our own species when the Pact are baying at our doorstep.”

“Any questions? We leave in thirty minutes.”


(You are free to ask Conrad for extra info on any of these topics. This includes any story points which are name-dropped but, obviously, not familiar to the player. Also, setting information mentioned or implied in other players' rolls can generally be taken as in character knowledge; naturally, you know something about the basic political situation, the kinds of intelligent species that exist, etc.)

(You answer directly to Conrad, who directs the crew and attached Kropotkin complement of the atmo carrier Kilimanjaro. Per standard protocol your own Kropotkin is being made ready for mounting on the mother vessel in a staggered ring arrangement around its hull, with a full ration of ammunition, nuclear fuel and rocket propellant. Further information on your objectives will be delivered by contact with Fleet assets toward the outer worlds of Typhon, as you progress through the gate towards Respite.)


Last edited by TheKebbit on Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:15 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 18
Location: (318938901.34, 48429084.33, 890467081.98)
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
To think humans would so easily turn on each other when already we face such great challenges... It seems the whole race is in a state of disharmony now.
>Use the remaining 30 minutes to make sure Noble Truth is prepped for the mission.


Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:11 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:24 pm
Posts: 3547
Location: NORTH
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
For in-character communication: when you all assembled in the briefing room and not the dimly lit halls of Jormungandr, you recognized each other and made basic introductions. If you would like to formally speak/introduce yourself to any pilot or NPC, you can do that too.


Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:02 am
Profile
Data Realms Elite
Data Realms Elite
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:00 pm
Posts: 4138
Location: Hell.
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
"Yes sir, I've got a few questions."

Mike looked towards the glittering displays and maps placed behind his commanding officer, taking in what details he could understand with an inquisitive eye; he might have been a mining technician, true, but like all those who had spent time sailing through the sea of stars he was no stranger to the ideas and sciences of orbital mechanics, years butchering the guts and innards of a dozen dead worlds had seen to that, but even those years had been quenched like hot steel by the rigorous training afforded for those serving to defend humanity, volunteer or no.

"What are the rules of engagement for this mission? Should we go in shooting or are we just trying to show that the Fleet has a presence in the area?"

Next, his eyes search for friendly forces - taking on a group of junkyard ships with a throng of Kropotkin pickets was hardly the most complex plan, but even something as meagre as a destroyer taken from a museum would be more than enough to tip the scales in their favor...or so it appeared, at least.

"Do we have any friendlies in the area? Their ships might be made from scrap, sir, but you never know what they can do, and if the Belter is making this kind of move, he's got to be expecting some kind of response."

Finally, his mind turns towards the idea of secondary objectives, those things that - whilst important - are not essential to mission success. Whilst the idea of bonus objectives might have been a better fit for a videogame than for space warfare, completing tasks on the side, even if they are as simple as salvaging a hostile craft's flight recorder, kept the officers happy and everyone knew that happy officers did not send their men to die on suicide runs.

"Lastly; is there anything else we should keep an eye out for while out in the black?"

Once the briefing ends, Mike turns to his squadron mates and introduces himself, with a smile and more personality than the exchange of ranks allowed.

"Hey. We've been introduced, but not properly. My name's Mike and this is Shevchuk, my copilot. He's a little mad," Mike teases, "But he used to be a marine and he's as tough as they come. We'll be flying the Resurgam, a Kropotkin just like yours, and we've got a manipulator arm I know as well as my own if you ever need repairs while we're out in the black."

Dialogue Action: Spend a little time on the way to the hanger chatting with my wingmen, doing a little joking to get the edge off and just try and get to them a little.

After a while of talking, he waves Shevchuk over with a tip of his head and reaches into a jumpsuit pocket and pulls out the standard issue notepad of tough, recycled paper that every pilot in the Earth Authority is given alongside the rest of their uniform; it's purpose is not just for taking notes with, but also as a means to fuel a fire whilst waiting for rescue, should they be forced down on a world that is not instantly fatal. He flips through to near the back, where a few crude line sketches of the Kropotkin are placed, with one set of additions. With a clever smile he takes out the pencil and starts talking his copilot through his idea, one set of lines at a time.

"Before I went to sleep the other day I was trying to think about some ways we could try and improve the Resurgam, see if we couldn't make it a little less of a deathtrap, and all that armor plating of yours got me thinking - why don't we improve the armor?"

"Now, I'm not talking about slapping another set of armor plates on, we just don't have the steel and wouldn't have the engine power even if we had the metal, but what we can do is put some armored skirts on all sides of the hull, two layers ten millimetres apart from one another and fifteen off of the hull. They only need to be as thin as a coin, since they're not meant to stop an attack, but change its course a little. If they hit us with kinetics, they'll be knocked off course a few degrees from their original course as they goes through the sheets, which means that when it hits the hull...it'll hit at a bad angle and have to go through a little more armor than it otherwise would."

"It won't be much, but it'll let us squeeze out some more protection for the least amount of weight, I mean, this entire thing would probably weigh less than my exosuit, and it wouldn't take that long to build. We could probably put some kind of ablative coating on the sheets and get some protection against beamers, but that's just icing on the cake."

"What do you think? We can't get it done in half an hour, but if we ever have a few days of downtime we can get it done then and take a look at everything else while we're at it."

Main Action: Go through the preflight checklist in it's entirety; engines, weapons, navigations, everything, but with an especially close look at life support.

"By the way...fifty-fifty on the bottle? You've got a deal - we're in this together, hell or highwater."


Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:04 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:04 pm
Posts: 1463
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
No further questions, head towards the hangar and check if everything works as expected with AI integration.

"You can call me Nico, stay away from my railgun and don't do anything stupid."


Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:30 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:20 am
Posts: 4766
Location: Good news everyone!
Reply with quote
Post Re: WE FLY BY DIMMING SUNS
"Should we capture and interrogate the Belter's forces if possible, or should we shoot to kill straight away?"

Once everyone's done asking their questions and have begun introductions,

"I'm Yuri, this is Sign, and we'll be flying the Vostok. She's a beautiful ship, even armed with a disruption cannon to disable their ships. If all ends well, we can try to salvage some parts off those Belters. I'm sure Mike could help us out with that manipulator arm of his."

Once the introductions are over, check on my ship to make sure everything's working as it should. Talk to Sign,

"Nervous?"


Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:05 pm
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 47 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.
[ Time : 0.094s | 15 Queries | GZIP : Off ]