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 Communate Border Space

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REDSHEILD

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PostSubject: Communate Border Space   Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:44 pm

Patrol Ship Rellon

The patrol ship idled through space a few light years beyond the Communate's borders, looking for signals both near and far, going near the occasional star system just to see what was there. It wasn't a particularly exciting assignment, sure, but it had its ups and downs, and the crew all seemed to think it worked for them. Most of the "action" it ever saw was reprimanding various merchant ships and private cruisers that thought it would be fun to drag an Enari space probe dozens of light years away from where it should have been. It was bad enough for the poor pre-spaceflight civilization that space was big, and making confusing didn't help.

And so, the crew of the Rellon waited, day by day, scan by scan, report by report, for something unusual to happen. And, hopefully, that thing wouldn't turn out to destroy them all. Recently, they'd been snooping around a nice binary system, debating on whether or not to actually enter it.
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LawnmowerJoe



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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:55 am

Lurking in the outskirts of a binary star system was a lone Anun'a exploration ship, its metallic hull as white as snow and painted with black symbols. To say that it was unusual to find Anun'a outside their home system was an understatement; this was the first official expedition they'd organised in decades. The ship had sent probes to every inhabitable planet it had detected in the system, and so far the information they were receiving was not promising. The coldest planet they'd found so far had a "green belt" along its equator, with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to -35. The brilliantly green vegetation and strange creatures that dwelled there were quite fascinating, however. None of the crew had ever seen such vibrant shades of green.

As they finished navigating through a field of rocky debris, the ship's scanners suddenly detected something, something that was not natural.

An alien ship.

The Anun'a exploration craft seemed to freeze like an animal caught in a predator's hungry gaze. Nobody on board knew how the alien ship would react. Would it attack? Would it hail them in some incomprehensible language? The exploration ship drifted uncertainly, its scanners fixed on the mysterious form of the other spacecraft.

And it waited.
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REDSHEILD

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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:22 pm

Patrol Ship Rellon; Command Sector

Skiih's six limbs were almost twitching with excitement. He'd only been on this ship for just under a hectohour, but he already loved it. The Rellon wasn't impressive to look at -indeed, most ships weren't- but it could move. It had clearly once been some sort of merchant freighter, but where there should've been a cargo bay door there was instead a massive array of engines, and packed into what had been a cargo container were fuel tanks that could last years. It was a scouting powerhouse. Oh, it had its drawbacks: they'd sacrificed super-light speed to make room for the massive sublight capacity, so while it took longer to move between systems, inside them it had the acceleration to actually take advantage of its lightdrive, able to jump from orbit to orbit and need only a short burn to stabilize.
Extending his mind into the ship's sensor suite, he took his time scouting out a nice transfer orbit. He could use the lightdrive for a quick jump, but that icy little world wasn't going anywhere he couldn't, and the batteries were plenty full. No need to light up the reactor for what a simple transfer orbit and gravity capture would do.

At about half-way through their transfer orbit, the sensors sent Skiih a little feedback. During their approach, he'd set them to keep scanning the planet so he could fine-tune the transfer to get them in the ideal orbit to observe the most interesting parts. Weirdly, the sensors told him that there were radio signals coming from it that shouldn't be there. Sure enough, out in a debris field there was a contact. "Well well well" he thought to himself, "Ship, what do you say we light them up before they light us up?" Of course, the ship didn't respond; objects had an annoying tendency to not think, so he warmed up the active scanners and sent out a few pulses. Just a few simple laser bursts from the distance sensor, which would tell him what the passive suite already had. And a quick burn moved their orbit to pass near the debris field. All he had to do now is wait.

((Is the other ship crewed?))
((Also, Skiih's name is pronounced "Skeh"))
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El_Nazgir

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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:15 pm

The Grasp of Light popped into existence. No fancy flash or energy crackle, it just appeared. Right inside the debris field. "What the hell? EVASIVE MANOEUVRES!"
Auni barely had the time to hold onto her seat before something scraped the outside of the ship, throwing her first officer off his balance and onto the ground. "Damage report?"
"No hull breach, but I think one of our stabilisers got damaged." One of the men sitting at a console near her responded. "Right, " she redirected her attention to her helmsman who was doing everything he could not to crash into more debris flying around, "Nico, get us out of here."

Auni held her breath while her pilot manoeuvred as best he could with a damaged stabiliser and potentially lethal objects every few dozen meters. Miraculously, they managed to get out of the field mostly intact, mostly due to their shields bouncing off some of the more dangerous objects which thankfully held enough ferromagnetic metal in them. Praising her pilot's skill, she opened a comm line directly to her chief engineer. "Simman, what the hell was that? You almost got us killed!"
"I'm sorry commander, but we simply can't achieve sufficient precision on the long distance jumps to rule out incidents like this." Disappointed not to be able to vent her anger at Simman justly, she backed off. "Right, just... Get that stabiliser repaired, will you?" "Yes ma'am."
Now that they were safe, they had some time to look around. It seemed that they had teleported right into the most dense part of the debris field, a few kilometres further and they could have safely hung there for almost an hour. Their scanners were fairly primitive though, relatively speaking, so it took them a few minutes to realise there was another ship next to the debris field. They didn't even detect the one hanging much further away.

Auni hadn't expected first contact so soon. It had only been the fourth star system they visited on the course the Council had plotted before they even left, and now she was staring at energy signatures that were very definitely not natural. Soon she'd get a visual lock from her intel officer. "Err, Diplomat Tarahi? Could you come to the bridge please? We've... got contact. Sort of."
The Bahnu had a large problem when it came to alien encounters. They hardly had any way of attempting to communicate with extra-thaunians, and the scientists had even theorised that it would be very well possible that their speech pattern was too low of a frequency to be heard by aliens. A crude language based on mathematics had been devised, but it was far from perfect, and not sure to actually be understandable to beings whose minds functioned differently than theirs. Still, it was the only thing they had, so a message in the Math language was sent on all possible frequencies: "We are explorers for the Clanless of Thua, of the Bahnu race. We come in peace and would like to have diplomatic relations."
Auni nervously waited, but next to her Diplomat Tarahi was even more nervous, despite being trained for situations like these. Understandable though, since the poor man would be the one doing the talking, if there would be any.


Last edited by El_Nazgir on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:24 pm

Unfortunately, waiting wasn't one of Skiih's strong points, so to keep occupied he started scanning the asteroids and bits of stellar debris that made up the field. Looking at rocks wasn't too interesting, even with the high resolution instruments. Still it beat boredom. He was turning the visual focus to start looking at an interesting iron-silica asteroid when the flash appeared. It wasn't very bright, but the instruments magnified it hundreds of times larger than it was, and he was blinded for a moment.
"Come on, refocus." he though bitterly towards the sensors as they sought to find the source of the light.
Soon enough, they'd found it. Some sort of ship, definitely an explorer, and it also seemed a tad primitive. He made sure to log the various readings the sensors got from its entrance to the system, and kept watching as it weaved and dodged its way out of the field. It was hard to tell at the distance, but the way it moved made him think that one of its maneuvering systems had been damaged somehow in the field.
Setting the engines for a few burns, he adjusted the Rellon's course so they'd enter the field's boundary about equidistant from the two alien ships.

A few minutes after the new ship had arrived the ship told Skiih that it had just received a transmission. He sent it off to the research crew; no need getting himself tangled up in that linguistics mess. Seeing as he had little else to do at this point, he figured he'd tell the captain what was going on.

------

((I'm using ------ as a scene transition sort of thing, where the post changes to another character's perspective. Also, on Vathari ships the command ranks are very linear, 1st Officer is the captain, 2nd is the first mate, 3rd is usually the primary pilot but can be whoever the 1st Officer feels is suited for a command position. Most ships only have the three, but some can have up to twenty.))

First Officer Valera appeared to be waiting quietly in her quarters. Her duties for the shift had been fulfilled, reports sent to Command, and the crew socialized with. So now she was taking the Vathari equivalent of a nap. Vathari minds needed rest, after all, but their bodies could be at rest in almost any position, depending only on personal preference. She found sitting at a desk most practical, it allowed the comfort and stability of a chair and surface to lay the arms of her bipedal command chassis on, and it was easy to transition from work and rest.
A quiet beep alerted her that the Third Officer, a fine young pilot name Skiih, was trying to contact her. She quickly slipped out of her rest-state and accepted the communication. A small hologram of the hexapedal Skiih appeared on her desk, simulated of course, as he was currently wired into the ship's command sphere on the bridge.
"Captain." he said.
"Go ahead, Skiih."
"We've received a transmission. I had the research crew figure it out, and I'm copying their work to you now. There are two alien ships in the system, one that has been here and one that just showed up now. The transmission is from the new one, and I think the ships are from different species."
"Thank you, Skiih. I will be at the command sector momentarily. Dismissed."
The hologram's spherical core made a nodding movement, and it disappeared. Valera wished that this ship had been given a full refit when it launched, but she couldn't get it done in time. Had it been given modern equipment, she could do everything from anywhere on the ship. Unfortunately, the command sector was the only area on the ship with sufficient interface capabilities, whether manual or networked. The command sector wasn't far away, just a quick elevator trip, but it was a bit of an inconvenience compared to her last ship.

Less than a minute had passed when Valera walked out from the elevator and into the small room that was the command sector. She could see Skiih covered in a mass of wires on a raised dais in the center of the room. A proper command hookup was on the list of things she was going to get installed when the next refit happened. It had been a bit difficult to make the existing one accept a non-biped form, but they'd got it working shortly after Skiih had come aboard.

"Skiih, send them the linguistics package that research whipped up. It has information on our language, how we deciphered the one their transmission was in, and a request for data on their non-mathematical languages, since they're likely organic. Preface it with standard hail for xeno vessels."
"Done. They'll probably want to talk at some point, so I've prepared our comms systems to work more efficiently on their frequencies. We'll be in visual distance of their vessel in ten minutes."

Transmission to the Bahnu vessel:
This is the Vathari Communate vessel Rellon. With this message is a linguistics software package. Please use it to facilitate communication.

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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:32 pm

"Ma'am, we got a transmission, but er, there's something weird about it. It's not from the ship we hailed." Auni threw a puzzled look at her communications officer. "It seems there was another alien ship further away which our scanners didn't pick up in the initial sweep."
"You're telling me we got two different alien ships out there?" She said, and after a short pause she added: "Are they from the same race?"
"I doubt it ma'am, their readings are very different. They replied to our message in our own math language. I'll put it on your console."

------

Chief engineer Simman had been working on getting the language pack to work for half an hour now. It was a nightmare getting their systems compatible to the much more advanced technology of the aliens, even if it was just data. They had sent a short message back which basically said "wait a second while we get this thing working", but in more diplomatic terms. Commander Thelora had ordered to forgo the usual security protocols on foreign data packages reasoning that if they had been hostile they could have blasted the ship into oblivion before they had even been detected, so at least that sped up his work.
It took another fifteen minutes before the linguistic software they had received had been integrated into their system. It would take even longer to fully get the translator prototype sufficient understanding of the language before it could do its job in real time. Meanwhile, his assistant had prepared their own linguistic pack to be sent off to the aliens. At least that would keep them busy while Simman could finish his job.

------

Diplomat Tarahi had requested that his message was to be translated to the Vathari Communate language from the moment the translator had sufficient data to do so and before the rest of the linguistics pack was integrated. Keeping guests waiting was dishonourable to the Bahnu, and he had already been bothering the chief engineer every five minutes until Auni had put a stop to that. But 50 minutes after they had sent the message asking the aliens to wait, still in the mathematical language, Tarahi finally got his translated message, along with their own Linguistics pack. Annoyingly, this only worsened the man's nervousness, and Auni was seriously starting to consider requesting another diplomat for their next mission. It wasn't that he didn't do his job properly, but he irritated and bothered everyone around him at every step of the protocol. At least their message was going out in the alien's own language:

"Greetings vessel Rellon of the Vathari Communate. This is Diplomat Tarahi of the Clanless, under command of Commander Thelora of the Clanless of the vessel Grasp of Light. Please excuse the delay, for our technology is primitive compared to yours, and we are not fully finished integrating your linguistics pack yet. Once it is, please bear in mind that our translators are but prototypes and may be prone to glitching.
With this message is our own linguistics pack. Is it possible for us to have audio and if possible video communication once it has been installed?"

Or at least, that was what both Auni and the diplomat were hoping the message said. Tarahi spoke the truth, the translator wasn't optimised yet, and there could very well be errors in whatever it sent.


Last edited by El_Nazgir on Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Communate Border Space   Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:18 am

"Hey, Captain, we're getting another transmission. This one's weird though, a lot more powerful than their first one..."
"Explain, Skiih."
"Uh, wait, no. This one's actually aimed at us. I think their last one was meant for the other alien vessel."
"Which means that their scanners didn't see us until we scanned them and responded to their transmission."
"Yeah, I parsed their message. They're working on figuring out our transmission, although I think that our own translation of their communications so far have been the bare minimum required to understand them."
"Well, I give the research crews credit for figuring out the basic meaning as fast as they did. It's not like we have a Mind on board."
"Of course, Captain, sorry."
"Skiih, run a diagnostic on the comms system as we wait. They may want direct audio or even visual communication, and we didn't get the set looked at before we left the refit station."

In the time spent waiting for the alien's to respond, Valera made it a point to make sure that the area of the bridge visible to the camera would be neat, and more importantly, there would be no crew wired to the ship in view of it. In both organic species the Vathari had ever encountered, it was noticed that they were... unnerved by the sight of machine lifeforms. Judging by the readings on the ship they were a species that was relatively young, compared to the Vathari. Subtle things like material composition and engine efficiency, and more obvious ones such as power output as compared to size, pointed that they had achieved space travel in the past few centuries, at most. Of course, it was always hard to judge such things, as nothing stopped a fully mature civilization from using obsolete ships.
She also took a quick moment to make herself appear less artificial: cleaning visible joints of oils, activating a little algorithm that made her chest and torso flex as if she were breathing, and so on. The command chassis was little different in appearance from standard humanoid chassis -though it had a more official touch to its design- as its primary difference was internal equipment such as extra memory banks, auxiliary processors, and communications equipment. It also possessed a manner of different data ports spread throughout it to allow various station hookups or integration with exoskeletons or vehicles. Fortunately, the ports were barely visible, even up close, and the extra armor plates also helped cover up the more mechanical aspects of its joints, resulting in a form less likely to trigger fear in an unfamiliar organic species.

Nearly an hour went by before they received the full response from the alien vessel. Skiih wasted no time in handing off the data to the research crew, and displayed the message on one of the view screens. It was a bit broken up and awkward at first, clearly an error of the alien's translation, but the ship's auto translate fixed the grammatical and structural errors within a moment or two.

"Skiih, how long did research say it would take to translate their language?"
"Eh, an hour or two, maybe four for the entire received vocabulary. That's including making a learning package for it."
"Well, they have a grasp of our language. I'll send them an audio transmission with text transcript, they should be able to figure it out by the time we've got something on their language."

Valera stood near the comms station, and thought for it to begin recording:
"Vessel Grasp of Light, I am First Officer Valera Cillin of the Machine Communate of Vathar, alternatively the Vathari Communate. Your delay is of no concern, and is expected in first contact scenarios. We have received your linguistics data and are working on processing it now, your translation efforts have proved adequate to facilitate communication between our species, therefore this message has been transmitted in my language, as we do not have sufficient understanding of yours at the moment to allow for fluency. To achieve audio-visual communications, I have sent this message with data on our audio and video transmission formats. This message is both a written transcript and the original audio message."

((If you're wondering what Valera's voice will sound like, it should sound somewhat like a young woman's voice with a medium pitch, though with a slight artificial tone to it.))
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