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 What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Vulo

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PostSubject: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sat May 04, 2013 7:34 pm

(GSY 1.2)

The frigate CSTP Volzhen was the Coalition's first scouting vessel. It had been dispatched to the distant star Rozo in the hopes of finding a new, life sustaining planet for Vulojalon to inhabit. As a scouting vessel it was lightly armed, only a handful of point defense turrets and a squadron of fighter's in its hangar bays. Its crew, numbering eighty souls, was mostly composed of scientist and engineers with a small compliment of marines. In its hold were enough prefabricated materials to set up a research station on any habitable planets encountered. The Volzhen was captained by a male named Eruchol of the Tarass tribe. Eruchol had been chosen for his qualifications as a diplomat and scientist; however, he was not a particularly effective leader and was not exactly respected amongst the crew.

After nearly two months of travel the Volzhen had arrived at its goal, and reached The Rozo system. They found the system was composed of four rocky planets and one gas giant, all orbiting a binary yellow star. Rozo had been chosen because it had a particularly large habitable zone, containing both Rozo-III and Rozo-IV. Having reached the system, the Volzhen found that Rozo-IV seemed to be a water world with few large landmasses, it would be easily colonizable. Unfortunately, Rozo-III had a thick green atmosphere, likely of chlorine. It would take terraforming technology beyond the current scope of the Coalition's abilities, but may prove useful as a mining outpost. Both planets were rather small by Vulojalon standards; Rozo-IV having a diameter of roughly 9000km, while Rozo-III measured in at around 13,000km across.

The rocky planets closer to their stars showed more variance. Rozo-I couldn't have a diameter of more than 2000km, barely a planet really. On the other hand, Rozo-II was huge, its diameter must've measured well over 30,000km. Rozo-V was a mottled brown and blue gas giant composed mostly of hydrogen with a significant amount of nitrogen and helium as well. It was orbited by innumerable moons, asteroids, and other debris that would be perfect for a mining facility.

The CSTP Volzhen oriented itself towards Rozo-IV and began to burn its engines. Marines and scientist were assembling in the ship's hold to prepare the prefab buildings for assembly and deployment. The scanners were largely unmanned, and the crew were celebrating a successful journey to another stay system with copious amounts of intoxicating beverages and happy music.


Last edited by Vulo on Wed May 29, 2013 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sat May 04, 2013 8:35 pm

The TRS Roadrunner was the third Ripper class ship to be built, created for the Terrans burgeoning Offices of Interstellar Infrstructure. Its crew of 60 had been tasked with drilling a Rip Lane to a nearby star system to allow for a science team to come in and scan the system for possible locations for colonies and outposts. Fredrick Colt sat slouched over in front of a console, face resting on his hand that was resting on the keyboard in front of him, his other hand tapping restlessly on the metal surface. Fredrick glanced up at bridge’s viewport, which was covered by a blast shield to protect the bridge crew from the impossibly bright and chaotic lights created when drilling a hole through space-time. Fredrick’s mind wandered, as he imagined all the things he would rather be doing. When he had signed up for the job, he had imagined that he would travel the stars, see exotic new places, touch places that had been left untouched for millennia, and he had done that. The problem was that traveling the stars took a long time. They were scheduled to enter realspace in several minutes, a four month long journey would soon be over, but then it would be another two to get back to Aries. It took longer to arrive when digging a hole through the fabric of reality, then it did just to travel through a tunnel. The science vessel was supposed to leave about three days after they entered realspace, though the last he had heard of it, there was trouble with the engine or something, and it may have been delayed further.

“You mind stopping with the tapping?” Kyle Zhang’s voice broke Fredrick from his stupor.

“Huh?” Fredrick responded dumbly, getting his wits back together as he turned towards the direction of the voice, directly to his right.

“Mind stopping with the tapping? You’ve been doing it for the last half-hour.”

“Can’t help it that I’m bored.” Fredrick retorted a little hotly. “We’ve been stuck on this tin can for four months already, and all I’ve ever done is stare at the sensor console screen the entire damned trip. There’s nothing to sense out here!”

“Come on, it isn’t that bad.” Kyle replied optimistically. “You’re serving onboard one of the government’s most advanced piece of technology, a ship that literally tears holes in time and space, and you’re bored?” There was an almost incredulous tone to Kyle’s voice. Fredrick rolled his eyes. Kyle had always been optimistic. He didn’t know how he hadn’t driven himself insane from boredom onboard the Roadrunner. Hell, Kyle had served onboard about a year longer than Fredrick had.

Another voice suddenly cut into their conversation. “Entering realspace in ten seconds sir!”

“Excellent,” a gruff voice responded from behind them. It was the captain, Rosewater. “We’ll be on our way home in no time.” Every head on the bridge turned to face forwards as the Roadrunner seemed to rock, exiting its newly created Rip Lane. The blast shield rose to reveal a yellow star in the distance, a second one orbiting around it, an angry red hole behind them, that almost looked like a swollen wound. “I never get bored of it.” Fredrick turned towards Rosewater as he said it, and he saw a small smile on the man’s lips. “Fredie, power up the sensor arrays, we’ll get a preliminary scan, then we’ll be heading home, and I know how much you’ve been looking forward to that.”

“Yes, sir.” Fredrick groaned, turning back towards his console to begin the scans. It took a little while for them to warm up, but soon enough Fredrick was getting a simple picture of the system in front of them. “Looks all clear capt-” Fredrick cut himself off as he noticed something ping on screen. It was small, the size of a ship, and it was moving. “Uhhh… Sir, I think I’ve found something. Might be a glitch, but, I dunno.”

He could almost feel Rosewater frown behind him. “Bring it on screen.” Fredrick complied, sending the image to one of the screens the captain had in front of him. Rosewater was silent for a bit. “Bring up the sensors to full power, and get us closer, I want a better picture of this.”

“You sure about this sir? It could just be an asteroid or a piece of debris.” The voice came from someone else on the bridge.

“Call it a hunch,” Rosewater responded. “Or maybe the boredom’s getting to me. It won’t take too much time, and there’s nothing lost if it is just an asteroid.” The bridge crew complied.


Last edited by Dragonruby on Sun May 05, 2013 12:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 12:00 am

While the Volzhen sailed towards Rozo-IV two young engineers were engaged in a pitched battle on the bridge. Thirteen rations of tuuvak* were wagered on this game of poz** alone, and Engineer Sechol has already lost seven of his eight rations. He was NOT willing to make the return trip to Pavonir sober. Just as he was about to deploy an infantry division from his hand, an alarm went off on the bridge. A quick glance showed it was from the sensor station.

"Looks like that's for you, Sechol. You're the one Eruchol left in charge of sensors." Engineer Yarchol, his opponent, commented, exuding smugness. "Don't worry, I'll make sure nobody swipes the tuuvak."

The assurance was less comforting when he was already cracking open one of the wagered containers. "Your father must have been a Khrel***, don't think just because you drink all your rations now I won't still find a way to collect." Sechol reeked of annoyance as he stood up and moved to check the sensors. Hmm, that's odd. Sensors are picking a huge stationary energy signature, coming from somewhere on the other side of the system.

"Yarchol, get over here." Sechol was worried, that was clear from his smell.

"Can't you see I'm drinking?" Yarchol responded, irritated.

"Sensors are picking up enormous energy readings, this is not the time for drinking."

Yarchol stood, he smelled hesitant or maybe even fearful as he approached the sensor screen. It only took a glance at the readings for him to understand the seriousness of the issue. "Sechol, go sound the alarm. I'll keep an eye on the read out."

Sechol made a dash for the Captain's console and pushed down the broadcast button. "Attention all crew, attention all crew. We are at an elevated state of alert. Return to your stations. I repeat, we are at an elevated state of alert, return to your stations."

Captain Eruchol was in the ship's hold when he heard the announcement over the intercom. He made a sweeping gesture towards the scientist. “Keep assembling the prefabs.” He pointed to two marines. “Stay here, the rest of you with me.” With that, he set off at a run towards the bridge. It would take a few minutes for Eruchol to get back to the bridge, and in the meantime Engineer Sechol put the Volzhen on course for a stable orbit around Rozo-IV before cutting the engines.

____________
*Tuuvak: An alcoholic beverage not dissimilar to beer, with a markedly higher alcohol content and a grainy texture.
**Poz: A card game played by no more than four people at any one time. Players build their own decks of cards called 'Tribes' and attempt to defeat other player's 'Tribes'.
***Khrel: A species of non-sentient arthropods with bony breast-plates. Infamous for stealing shiny objects
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 12:48 am

Fredrick chewed on his thumb nervously as he switched his gaze between his console and the viewport. The Roadrunner was now approaching towards the second planet from the sun, as the image on his console slowly grew clearer and clearer. “How’s the picture looking like?” Captain Rosewater asked.

“It’s getting better. Looks to be about… Half a kilometer long maybe? It’s settled in orbit above the planet. Doesn’t look like any rock I’ve ever seen either.” Fredrick turned to look at Captain Rosewater. “You sure we should be getting this close? This is definitely alien. If we can sense it from this range, who’s to say they haven’t found us?”

Rosewater seemed to think for a minute. “Set us in orbit above the planet we’re near right now. We’ll continue observation for a little longer. Afterwards, we’ll head back and alert command.”

“This is way above my pay grade sir, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but we aren’t kitted out for First Contact situations, were just meant lay the way for things. I really think we should head back now.” This was from Kyle. He sounded… apprehensive, something that surprised Fredrick. He’d always known Kyle to be the happy-go-lucky one.

Rosewater nodded. “I understand your feelings, but it’s going to take two months for us to get back home. During those two months, a science vessel’s going to be arriving, one that has no idea about the situation, and we can’t send a report back without possibly alerting that ship. There’s also no way to tell how long it’ll stay here. We’ll stick around for a bit longer, observe it. If it leaves, we send a report and head back home for debrief. If it stays, we’ll head back to the Rip Lane, send a report, and run on home.”

“And if it’s hostile?” Kyle asked.

Rosewater took a breath before responding. “We’re about twice its size, hopefully that’ll dissuade it enough to keep from firing on us, but if it does, well, I suppose we’ll just have to run home with our tail between our legs, now won’t we.”

Kyle grunted his assent. He didn't look too happy though. Fredrick merely turned his attention back towards the screen, looking for any sign of movement towards them.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 1:22 am

Captain Eruchol arrived on the bridge of the Volzhen flanked by two marines. He snapped his fingers and pointed at Engineer Sechol, who retreated from the Captain's chair quickly and returned to his seat in front of the sensor screens. Yarchol, meanwhile, took his place as the weapon's officer.

"Report, what caused you to sound the alarm?" It was clear that Captain Eruchol was annoyed, worried, and slightly angry.

Sechol spoke up first. "We picked up a large energy signature near Rozo-II, our sensors are having trouble detecting anything else sir."

Captain Eruchol pressed a button on the command console and a screen in front of him lit up, displaying the read outs from the sensors. Between the radiation from the sun and the unknown energy signature their sensors were overloaded, they could barely detect anything on Rozo-IV let alone two planets away. As things were, the Volzhen was flying blind. "Yarchol, do we have any drones on board?"

Doubt, hesitation. "Yes... however, the drone we have on board is designed for gathering atmospheric data from low orbit. It only has small thrusters designed to maintain its orbit."

Captain Eruchol strapped himself into his seat, and flicked a poz card drifting through zero g away from his face. "Scramble one of the fighters, lock the drone into its bomb bays. We can deploy it near the energy source and let it drift. Tell the pilot if he sees or experiences anything odd near the energy source he is to turn around and return to the ship."

Sechol turns to face the captain. His carapace was flushed blue in anger. "You're going to send a pilot into an unidentified phenomena? For all we know its some kind of wormhole, or a gravity well! We should either carry on with the mission, or engage the drive and a return home!"

Eurchol pressed the broadcast button on his command console and spoke slowly. "Pilot Yalbrun, report to your fighter. Your orders will be broadcast to you after you take off. Engineers, load Pilot Yalbrun's fighter with the atmospheric drone in the hold." He removed his finger from the broadcast button and turned the Sechol. "We have no time to waste arguing. Focus on your readouts and we will discuss this later."

Sechol barred his teeth and hissed at the Captain, but relented. Several minutes went by and a ten meter long fighter variant craft flew out of the Volzhen's hangar bays and set a course for the Rip Lane. It was moving slowly, cautiously, and constantly sending a stream of data back to the Volzhen. At this rate it would reach the rip lane in an hour.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 1:53 am

Fredrick blinked as he saw something small exit the ship. “Sir! We have something leaving from the unknown vessel. Small, looks like almost like a fighter craft.”

“What’s its heading?” Rosewater called back.

“Give me a second…” Fredrick mumbled as he tried to trace the small ship’s trajectory. “It looks like… It’s headed straight for the Rip Lane! It’ll arrive in approximately an hour!”

Captain Rosewater furrowed his brows in thought for a moment. “Stay in front of the fighter craft. We’ll try to beat it back to the Rip Lane. Once we reach it, we’ll send a message back home and jump in.” Fredrick rocked in his chair slightly as he felt the engines turn on, bringing them back towards the tear in space they had created earlier. The sensors were mostly focused on the fighter craft now. He wondered just what these things were doing here.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 2:34 am

Pilot Yalbrun tapped her screen, she was getting some interference. She was under a thousand kilometers from the energy signature and closing fast. She would be well within visual range, if her blast shields had not been lowered. "CSTP Volzhen, I have got some strange, odd readings on my screen, scanner."

Aboard the Volzhen, Sechol responded. "Send us a read out of what you are getting, seeing. We will analyze it here, onboard." The bridge was dead silent, and had been for the past half hour while the ship closed on the energy signature. The sensor console flashed yellow as new information streamed to the Volzhen. "Pilot Yalbrun I am not seeing, detecting anything... well... wait, stop. Yes. It is barely detectable, visible over the other energy signature but there is something moving."

Captain Eruchol leaned forward, he smelled of excitement and curiosity. "Tell Yalburn to lower her blast shields. She should be able to see the energy signature from her cockpit at the least."

Sechol had smelled angry ever since Eruchol had given the order to dispatch a pilot, but now the smell seemed particularly strong. "You are putting her in unnecessary danger, the blast shields are down to prevent any harmful radiation the energy signature might give off." Eruchol snapped his fingers several times and pounded a fist against the armrest of his chair. Sechol relented, patching the orders through to Yalburn. "Drop, lower your screens, shields. We want, desire visual confirmation of the object, target."

Aboard the fighter, Yalburn lowered her blast shields, and gasped. "Confirmation of the energy, power signature as a large, powerful yellow... if I was forced, coerced to describe it I would call, name it a hole." She paused, slowing her ship down. She could see the ship, she was just having difficulty believing their sensors had been unable to detect it until now. It was easily double the size of the Volzhen. "Additional energy, power signature seems, is a... ship, vehicle. Approximately one, singular kilometer long. Orders?"

Eruchol clapped his hands together, he'd have sailed out of his seat if he weren't strapped down. "First contact! A ship! Just think of what we could learn! We finally have proof that other intelligent life can exist! Tell her to stop her fighter, and ping the ship."

The fighter stopped abruptly, thrusters being employed to stabilize the craft. Not long the fighter started broadcasting focused radio waves towards the much, much larger ship in three second intervals. The fighter was only a few hundred kilometers from the rip lane.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 2:53 am

Fredrick glanced nervously around the bridge as the Roadrunner made it back to the Rip Lane. He saw Gil, over in the corner, sending a detailed message back to Aries that contained everything that had happened upon entering the system. Out of the corner of the viewport, Fredrick could see the fighter craft slowly approaching. Blast shields seemed to cover the cock pit, and the craft hadn’t done anything yet, other than slowly drift closer. They must really be blind, Fredrick thought to himself. Just as Fredrick turned back towards his console, he noticed movement from the corner of his eye. It was the fighter craft. The blast shields were rising. Fredrick’s eyes strained as he tried to make out the figure behind the cockpit. Suddenly, Kyle’s voice roared from next to him. “Sir! The fighter craft is pinging us!”

“What!” Rosewater shouted back.

“They’re pinging in three second intervals! Seems like they want to talk?”

Captain Rosewater looked shocked for a moment, then apprehensive. The bridge was silent. “Alright…” Rosewater finally said. “Ping them back. Three second intervals. We’ve already sent our message. We’ll try and see what they want.”
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 3:15 am

Yalbrun grinned beneath her pressurized helmet. "Volzhen they responded, replied to the ping. Orders?"

On the bridge, Yarchol spoke after hearing the transmission from Yalbrun. "How do you expect to communicate with them? There is no chance of them being able to decode our file formatting. If we can't send them any data we can't communicate. We don't share a language..." He was hesitant and displeased by this turn of events.

Eruchol waved a hand dismissively. "What we communicate isn't important, all we need to do is make a gesture, something of significance. Do we have any old, archived radio transmissions? Music, a talk show, an official address, anything?"

Sechol briefly scanned through their own systems. "It seems we have a few radio transmissions archived; however, I agree with Yarchol. This seems unwise. We weren't properly prepared for this. I would advise we tell Yalbrun to return to the ship and leave it at that."

Eruchol slammed his fist against the armrest of his chair. "Cowards! Both of you! This is going to be recorded as the most important event since the Vulojalon banded together as tribes and you want to back out now? Send one of the archived transmissions to Yalbrun and tell her to transmit it to them twice, only then will she be allowed to return to the hangar."

Sechol starts planning a mutiny against the Captain while sending the archived transmission, a sample of a female Vulojalon reciting the alphabet and speaking several key phrases, to Yalbrun. Yalbrun, in turn, sends the radio transmission to the large ship twice before setting a return course to the Volzhen, traveling almost three times its previous speed.

To the untrained ear, the transmission would sound like a serious of hard K sounds in various tones, from high pitched to guttural, broken by occasional hissing or a soft Ch sounds. Later on in the transmission it turned into series of the previous heard sounds put together, seemingly the same series repeated with only very slight variance in pitch.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 3:31 am

Fear, excitement, the feeling of discovery. All these things and more rushed through Captain Rosewater’s head as ordered his bridge crew to ping the aliens back. Rosewater waited with bated breath for the alien’s response. He didn’t have to wait long. Daniel Freeman, the communications officer, was the one who broke the tense silence that had settled over the ship. “Captain, they’re sending something. Seems like a voice recording of some kind.”

Rosewater nodded. “Play it.” The bridge was filled with the noise of… something… It sounded like... ‘K’ sounds, with different pitches, along with ‘ch’ sounds. It was hard to differentiate.

“Is this… Their language?” Officer Zhang guessed out loud.

“Shhh…” Rosewater silenced him, straining his ear to hear more of it. Suddenly the recording changed. It was a series of the previous sounds put together. Words. “It was an alphabet… These are words…” The bridge burst into murmurs at this revelation. So the aliens could talk.

Fredrick broke Rosewater from his reverie. “The fighter craft is leaving, sir. It seems to be headed back towards the unknown craft.”

“Send them back something similar.” Rosewater ordered. “Send them our alphabet, then several words.”

“Uhhh… Sir, we don’t have any recordings of that.” It was Freeman again.

“Well, guess what you’re going to be doing then Daniel. Start talking into that microphone. Record and transmit it. Afterwards, we’re jumping home. We’ll leave the rest to the scientists. We’ve sent our message; they should be able to get it. There’s nothing more we can do.” Once Daniel was done, the Roadrunner disappeared into the Rip Lane.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 7:14 pm

Yalbrun listened to the transmission, closely, before sending it onwards to the Volzhen. They used so many different sounds, their mouths must look so strange. When she had set her fighter down in the hangar bay and the engineers had secured it in place, the cockpit slid open and she climbed out to the cheering of the engineering team.

On the bridge, Captain Eruchol was handing out orders to the crew. The scientist were loading a transport with the prefab buildings in preparation for setting up a research outpost on Rozo-IV. After the outpost had been established and the scientist and marines were planet side, the Volzhen would be returning home to make a report. In the mean time, Engineer Sechol was pointing the communications array towards Pavonir and composing a message encoded in a ray of tachyonic particles.

Over the next several days, a team of fifteen scientist, four engineers, and ten marines had touched down on one of the larger islands on Rozo-IV. They had more than enough housing, several laser turrets to defend against wildlife, and a large radio tower erected in the center of camp, transmitting music occasionally interspersed with announcements to the camp. Originally it had just been a small radio for the use of the camp, but a tower had been rigged together from left over materials so the transmissions would be easily detectable from orbit.

After the outpost had been built, the Volzhen made its way to the edge of the system, oriented itself towards home, and activated its inertialess drives. It would take two months, roughly, to get back home. The transmission sent by Engineer Sechol would probably arrive half a month before the ship itself.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 8:32 pm

Approximately three months later…

--------------------------------------

Corporal Calvin Woodstock was woken from his sleep as the ship entered realspace, the shaking of the ship nearly rocking him from his bunk. The TRS Rosalind was a 1.5 kilometer long vessel that carried approximately 180 people onboard. The message sent by the Roadrunner was received by the communications buoy that had been moved in front of the newly made Rip Lane nearly immediately after the Roadrunner had left. Messages could be sent through Rip Lanes, and they would arrive about as comparatively fast the ships that traveled between them, though messages could only be sent while near the Rip Lane, and you were out of luck if you needed to send a message while in one too. Calvin groaned as he rolled out of his bunk. He and the rest of his squad had been ordered to report to the port side hangar once the Rosalind entered realspace, in full gear too. They were to act as the away team when they first met the aliens. The entire ship had been told about the situation. They had found life, alien life, and it was intelligent! It was lucky that the Rosalind had had problems with the engine that forced their delay; otherwise they would have left before the message had reached them. Still, this exciting fact didn’t exactly change Calvin’s current mood, as the fact that they had found alien life didn’t quite make up for the fact that Calvin’s precious sleep had been taken from him.

Several hours later, Calvin found himself and the other five members of his squad, along with two others, all sitting around on crates in the hangar, and all dressed in pressurized suits, helmets in hand, Calvin’s mood being heavily improved after finding himself a cup of coffee. First was Sergeant Fortesque, rough, gruff, and a rather generic military man, someone who planned on serving with the military until retirement. He was nicknamed Fort, as Fortesque was a bit unwieldy to yell when being shot at. Next was Corporal Georgina Harvey, the only girl of the squad, not like it mattered to her. Harvey was a bit of a tomboy, though you probably had to be to serve in the military, Calvin thought to himself. Third was Corporal David Davidson. He got a bit of flak for his name, but he was good nature enough to take it. David also went through basic training with Calvin, so he was a close friend. The last two members of the squad were Private Crusoe and Jackson. Calvin didn’t know much about the two of them, they were last minute replacements after an old squad member had finished his four years of service. The seventh member of the away team was a spook. The spook was a TAI operative, Terran Agency of Intelligence. Rather aloof, and distant from everyone, Operative Randall was a stereotypical secret agent type. The last member of the group was a scientist, a xenobiologist to be exact. Most of her work was theoretical, stuff on intelligent life, and how they might have evolved. It wasn’t about to be theoretical anymore. She went by the name of Rosalind Grey, some of the people serving aboard the ship thought that her name being the same as the ship’s was a sign of good luck. Calvin didn’t put much stock in it. Rosalind looked ecstatic and nervous at the same time. The datapad in her hand was shaking nonstop. She was listening to a recording of what was supposed to be the alien language. Calvin cracked his neck as he leaned back against the wall of the hangar. All he had to do was wait. The Rosalind was supposed to fly out near Gemini IV, where the alien ship had last been orbiting. Last he had heard, the thing was gone now, but the ship was supposed to head over there and check if the aliens had left anything behind, as well as send out a radio signal every ten minutes until they reached the planet. Calvin sighed as he watched the rest of the away team. Randall was leaning against a wall nearby, keeping an eye on the rest of them, while Crusoe and Jackson looked around nervously. Fortesque had a cigarette in his mouth, while Harvey and David were busy talking to each other about sports. Nothing to do but wait, Calvin thought to himself.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 9:28 pm

It took two months for the Volzhen to make the journey, but when it had returned to the Kachzo system, and by extension Pavonir, the Captain and crew were almost immediately swept up in controversy. A tribal moot was called to determine a course of action, and it quickly turned into a thousand different voices shouting at the same time. Some tribes wanted to subjugate the aliens, others wanted to peacefully coexist, a significant portion desired to see some kind of cultural exchange, but by far the largest faction just wanted to open up trade and leave these strange aliens well enough alone.

However, as the days ticked by and the tribal leaders argued on without coming to any sort of agreement or proposal, the research station on Rozo-IV worked towards preparing itself for what they believed was the inevitable return of the aliens. They'd set up a water filtration system to convert the seawater into fresh water, assembled a sea going vessel to gather information on the sea life and catch food, warded off several attacks from local predators, and generally thrived on the water world of Rozo-IV.

The outpost, which had dubbed itself "Khrelov" had selected a scientist named Kelbrun of the Tauxer tribe as their leader, a middle aged female scientist who made a name for herself with her invention of a new, more efficient process for creating the heavy alloys used in ship hulls. Currently, she and one of the marines that had been left to defend the outpost were a few hundred yards from shore in the water craft, fishing and listening to the radio. At the moment it was playing some old song, meant to evoke contentedness and let the mind wander. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, everyone was a little tense. It had been three months without contact, surely the aliens would be returning soon.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 9:51 pm

Captain Casemore was not a happy man. He understood the importance of the situation, but that didn’t mean that he liked the fact that he had TAI agents breathing over his shoulders on his ship. Casemore glanced over his shoulder to see a TAI agent, Jacobson, looking over the shoulder of one his officers, staring pointedly at the console screen. Casemore sighed as he turned his attention back towards the matter at hand. They had now entered orbit of Gemini IV, and scans had discovered an outpost of some kind down below. He had already ordered the away team to board the drop ship, which should be on its way down now, and he also just ordered the communications officer to send a radio burst down towards the outpost, as a way of announcing their arrival. Casemore scratched his chin as he watched the planet below. He wondered how these aliens would react to them.

Calvin Woodstock rocked as the drop ship entered the atmosphere of the planet below. He and the seven others, not counting the pilot, onboard the drop ship were all wearing their helmets, with Calvin and his squadmember’s helmet visors being polarized, and thus hiding their faces, while Rosalind and Randall’s helmets being clear, allowing their faces to be seen. Calvin noted that Rosalind looked a little green as their ride down shook, and gave a small smile under his helmet. He felt sorry for her, and her face made him remember his first atmospheric drop. Calvin closed his eyes and counted. It would be five more minutes until they reached the outpost.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 10:43 pm

The radio on Kelbrun's ship was temporarily interrupted by a burst of static. Considering how close they were to the broadcast tower, something must have interfered with the signal. She looked up to the sky just in time to see a streak slowly burning through the atmosphere. "Seems our guest have arrived, Kechol."

The marine nodded his head. "I will radio it in to the outpost." He picked up the transceiver and depressed the transmit button. "This is Marine Kechol, we have, are receiving guest. Deactivate, remove the laser turrets, weapons. Marines, equip yourselves for combat. Scientist Gorbrun, Deschol, and Greuchol are to report, arrive to the radio tower, the rest, remaining scientist are to stay in the barracks."

While Kechol was making the announcement, Kelbrun had been steering the ship back into dock. As they approached she jumped onto the dock and quickly tied the ship to a waiting pylon, while Kechol hurried to the armory to suit up. After the ship was secured and the catch of fish set out on the dock, Kelbrun made her way to the radio tower and met with the waiting scientist to prepare for the coming aliens, which basically meant collecting various items they could use to communicate, including a large drawing board, a bimir*, various lights in various colors and frequencies, and a large collection of glass beads.

Kochol and the marines, on the other hand, were preparing for the possibility of conflict. They suited up in ablative alloy body armor, slid on triangular combat helmets that completely encased their heads and displayed a video feed of the outside world, and grabbed gunpowder-based assault rifles that fired a heavy alloy round coated in a frictionless material.
____________
*Bimir: A musical instrument similar to a very wide flute, tends to produce lower octave sounds than a flute typically would.


Last edited by Vulo on Thu May 09, 2013 12:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Sun May 05, 2013 11:46 pm

As the drop ship touched down, Calvin and his squad members immediately jumped to their feet, and began checking their weapons. Calvin and most of the squad held assault rifles, slug throwers with some fancy tech strapped on, such as an ammunition counter, though each gun was personalized to some degree by its owner. The only exceptions to this were Crusoe, who instead carried a shotgun, and Harvey who carried a Laser Marksmen Rifle, the weapon’s barrel giving a soft red glow as it warmed up, though David carried a railgun on his back, generally used for anti-armor, or for getting rid of someone in a very messy way. Calvin gave a quick glance back towards the other two occupants of the ship, Randall simply stood up calmly, while Rosalind was bust straightening various wrinkles of her suit, and looked rather nervous as she tucked her datapad into her shoulder.

The door of the drop ship hissed slightly as it opened, and Calvin made sure to keep his finger off if the trigger as he and Sergeant Fortesque led the rest of the squad out. They marched in two lines, the soldiers leading, followed by Rosalind and Randall. Stepping out into the open field, they turned to face the facility before them before spreading out and letting Randall step forward, followed by Rosalind. Calvin glanced nervously around, looking for a possible ambush.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Mon May 06, 2013 12:15 am

From the landing pad, there were two laser turrets in sight. They were large things, roughly eight feet tall and five feet wide, with a swiveling head and a single, long barrel, the tip of which was painted yellow. At the moment however they were deactivated, their barrels hanging limply towards the ground. A clear cut path, about four feet wide, lead from the landing pad to the outpost's elevated walkways.

Kelbrun was helping Gorbrun wheel the drawing board across the walkways towards where they'd seen the ship touch down. The marines met up with them in transit, about halfway to the landing pad. They were holding their rifles casually, pointed towards the ground and their hands away from the forward grip, where the trigger was. In total, the greeting party totaled to fourteen people, ten marines in combat armor and four scientist in dark green jumpsuits.

The greeting party stopped out of sight of the landing pad, and the scientist set about collecting all their gear together next to the drawing board in the central plaza of the outpost. The marines took up defensive positions on the walkways, all of them behind the scientist and outside of the central plaza. Kelbrun stood, waiting, at the edge of the plaza closest to the stairwell that led to the landing pad. She, unlike the other scientist, was wearing a long white coat over her jumpsuit with a silver symbol of office pinned to the left side.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Mon May 06, 2013 7:50 pm

Corporal Woodstock and Sergeant Fortesque led the rest of the group up the walkway, keeping a close watch for any signs of life, but it was completely empty. He felt a little on edge. There hadn’t been anyone to meet them down by the landing site, and there had been no sign of life other than the structures around them. Calvin shoved those thoughts from his head as he looked up and saw, what he assumed was, the alien they were looking for.

It unnerved him. It looked human, yet not. It had two arms, two legs, a head, a torso, everything a human had, but it was quite obviously not human. It was uncanny. Fortesque, meanwhile, turned his head back behind him, and called out to Rosalind. “Hey! Professor! We found one! Get up here, it’s your job to talk to these guys!”

Rosalind replied with a startled “Oh!”, and quickly rushed up the stairs, the others trying their best to make way for her. After shoving her way past Woodstock, he could audibly hear her gasp. One hand was on the mouthpiece of her helmet, while her other hand clutched her datapad close to her chest.

“Umm… Professor, you okay?” Calvin heard David ask from behind him.

That seemed to bring her back down, as she quickly straightened herself out and walked up the stairs, face to face with the alien. She nervously put her hand to her chest, and said “Human…” before waving to the others below, and repeating, “Human.” She then tilted her head inquisitively and pointed at the alien. “What are you?” she asked.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Tue May 07, 2013 3:41 pm

Kelbrun smiled, as much as a Vulojalon could smile. It looked more like she was barring her teeth while the plates on her head turned slightly blue. These aliens were smaller than she'd expected, Kelbrun was considered on the short and slim side and she was seven foot four inches tall, two hundred thirty pounds. She spoke, her voice rather androgynous, though very scratchy. It was again the collection of guttural, hard sounds. "Welcome! We've been expecting you."

Kelbrun mouthed the word Rosalind had spoken several times. "Hoovan? Van... van..." Frustration. She gestured to her lips, which were drawn close to the mouth and not very flexible, making it difficult to truly make an 'M' sound, and shook her head. "Hoovan." She gestured to herself and said carefully. "Vuh-lo-cha-lon. Vuhlo-chalon. Vulojalon." She motioned to herself again, and then pointed towards the center of camp. She made a gesture with her hands, like she was drawing on a piece of paper.

Meanwhile, in the central plaza of camp, the other scientist had finished their preparations. On the drawing board were a collection of symbols, most of them composed of a line or squiggle with several dashes drawn underneath. It was their alphabet. There were also technical drawings of muscle and bone structure, along with a diagram of where organs were in their bodies. A drawing of the visual spectrum from yellow to blue. A drawing of a solar system with a blue sun, and seven planets orbiting it, the second planet being circled. All of this took up about half of the drawing board, the other half left blank.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Tue May 07, 2013 8:06 pm

Rosalind muttered the word, Vulojalon, several times, before giving a soft smile as she waved for the others to head into the plaza with her. Upon sighting the board, and the contents, she quickly walked up to it, and examined it with an almost hawk like intensity, focusing mainly on the diagram of what she assumed to be the Vulojalon’s internal organs. She seemed to think to herself for a moment, before pulling out her datapad, and pulled up a file that held information on the human body, handing it to one of the scientists, before turning back towards the board to begin drawing. She drew a yellow star, then five planets, one very much larger than the rest, a gas giant, then circling the second planet from the sun, Terra Nova. Stepping back, as if to admire her artwork for a moment, she then pointed at lines and squiggles that made up the Vulojalon alphabet, and tilted her head in could be described as in an inquisitive manner.

Calvin, meanwhile, was still in the process of being very much unnerved. He had thought that, perhaps, the one that had greeted them was just large for the alien species, but upon entering the plaza, he found that his was not the case. All of these aliens towered over him and the rest of the group too. The way the greeter smiled didn’t exactly comfort him either. His finger twitched. He did his best to calm himself. They hadn’t done anything to offend yet, though the way the alien’s face had flushed blue had been a little creepy.

---------------------
Meanwhile, up onboard the TRS Rosalind, Captain Casemore, and the rest of the bridge crew, all were staring at one of several screens, each one linked to a camera imbedded in the armor of the soldiers that were planetside. The bridge had broken out into not-so-quiet murmurs upon the sighting of the first alien. A Vulojalon, they called themselves. Jacobson stood a fair bit away from the rest of the crew, but still watched, nonetheless.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Tue May 07, 2013 10:45 pm

The heart was closer to the throat in Vulojalon though, and much larger. The kidneys were in the very center of their back, and their stomach was in the same cavity as their lungs and heart. The brain was also slightly larger, though most of the head seemed to be taken up by the jaw muscles. A throw back to their evolutionary roots no doubt. Overall they had a very human body structure, just slightly different positioning.

The scientist that she had handed the datapad to took started examining it, motioning the other scientist over to take a look. They talked amongst themselves. "Must've evolved on a low gravity planet." "They're primates, I can tell by their brain structure and that vestigial bit at the end of their spine." "Does this thing have wireless? We need to copy this data."

Kelbrun nodded her head, and pointed to each symbol in turn. She went down the line, making various sounds. Vulojalon used most of the familiar sounds, but certain sounds were missing and both "K" and "Ch" seemed to appear at least three times each. Rosalind would likely notice it was slightly different from the archived radio transmission she'd been listening to, there was greater variety in this version of the alphabet. Towards the end of the line of symbols Kelbrun paused. She pointed to the first symbol, a single vertical line, and held up one finger. "Kun." The rest of the symbols followed suit. "Duch, thech, fok, chak, sech, kich, vunty, vunty-kun, vunty-duch." They used an octal decimal system, likely because they only had four digits on each hand.

To his credit, Kechol was keeping his cool. "Hey, Remchol, go get a case of tuuvak from storage and tell some of the scientist to start grilling up the fish from today's catch. This is a bit tenser than I'd like." One of the marines, made faceless by his body armor, stepped away from the plaza, heading towards one of the outlying buildings. The doorway slid open as he approached, a light briefly flashing blue. He returned not long after with two cases, each with ten, cylindrical containers made of a dull silvery metal. The side of the case was emblazoned with a cartoonish depiction of a Vulojalon holding one of the silvery containers and giving a thumbs up. He approached the human marines carefully, stopping about five feet away, and offered one of the cases to Calvin.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Wed May 08, 2013 12:26 am

Rosalind mumbled each letter and number as Kelbrun went over them, doing her best to memorize them. After making Kelbrun go over a few of the symbols again, she once again picked up the pen and began to write. She started with the alphabet then moved on to the numbers, going over it the same way Kelbrun had showed her.

Meanwhile, Calvin stiffened as the Vulojalon marine approached, carrying a case of some kind. He watched cautiously as the alien offered a case of… something. It looked almost like a case of soda, or beer. Calvin glanced at Fortesque, looking for confirmation, who merely just shrugged. Calvin turned back, dropping his rifle and letting it hand by its strap, and cautiously took the case, turning it to looks at the image on the side, which elicited a small chuckle from him. Turning back towards Fortesque, he yelled, “Hey! Is the air safe to breathe here?”

“Yea,” Fortesque responded, “But you’ll be risking your ass on catching some alien plague!”

Calvin seemed to think it over for a bit, before yelling back. “I’ll risk it!” Opening up the case, he pulled out one of the silver canisters. Putting the box on the floor, Calvin popped off his helmet, the pressure seals giving a soft hiss as they gave way, and tucking it under his shoulder as he open the canister. He gave the Vulojalon marine one last dubious glance before taking a sip. When he started coughing, that snapped the other marines into attention, as they quickly went for their guns, but Calvin was quick to try and wave them down. “cough, I’m fine, cough. It just tastes like the bastard child of beer and whiskey, is all. Burns on the way down too… Cough, god damn.”

The others looked at each other questioningly for a moment, before they all slowly relaxed, and eventually they all went for the case on the ground to grab their own canisters. Randall looked at them with some displeasure, as he watched them, probably disapproving of them drinking on the job.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Wed May 08, 2013 10:44 am

After he was sure everything was going to be okay with the humans Remchol returned to the other Vulojalon marines, Kechol clapping him on the shoulder and taking a canister as he passed, as did the rest of the marines. They had shouldered their rifles when the humans went for theirs but Kechol shouted them down over the radio. Kelbrun was glaring daggers at him, but for now wasn't chewing him out for endangering the entire species.

To remove their helmets enough to actually drink from the canisters, the marines had to unplug their camera feeds, unplug the radio uplink, and finally undo three pins that kept the helmet secured. After that the helmet split into three pieces, a top plate and two side shutters, which all slid back. They all opened their cans started to chat amongst themselves, a few raising their cans to the human marines. Their rifles were slung over their shoulders for now. "Man, not sharing a language really sucks. How are we supposed to exaggerate old war stories?" "Bet you ten daen Clubrun will be the first jalon to have sex with an alien, she's always been a pervert." "Hey asshole, that was ONE TIME!"

It wasn't long before the smell of grilled fish started to waft through the camp. Kelbrun rubbed chest, where her stomach would be according to the diagram, and pointed towards the sky with an inquisitive look. Somewhat frustrated, she grabbed the marker and went to the drawing board. She drew a rough depiction of the human drop ship, with a stick figure inside it, then a straight line separating that picture from a stick figure holding a fish.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Wed May 08, 2013 7:37 pm

While Rosalind was trying to puzzle out the meaning of Kelbrun’s drawing, the marines were talking among themselves. “Man, the aliens get these fancy helmets that fold out and shit,” Crusoe complained in between sips of his drink, “and all we get are these boring ones that we pop on and off?”

“Ahh, quit your whining Crusoe, it doesn’t look that fancy. Just kinda like a triangular box.” Jackson replied. “Hey, Woodstock, I’m taking a liking to this stuff. What’s it called?”

Calvin chuckled, “I dunno, let’s find out.” Leaning down to get a look at the box, Calvin attempted to read it. “Ermmm… Squiggly line, squiggly line… vertical squiggly line… I have no idea.”

The others started to crowd around, trying to get a look at the case, until Harvey broke in. “Hey, anyone else smell cooking fish?”

At that, Rosalind suddenly cried out. “Oh! I think they’re asking us if we want to eat with them! I know of a couple of other scientists aboard that’d love to be a part of this!”

“I know a couple of mechanics and engineers that’d probably wet themselves just to get a look at some of this alien tech.” Crusoe joined in.

“If we’re really going to bring down more people, the commander’ll probably want to send down another squad to be safe.” Fortesque added.

While the marines talked, Rosalind turned back towards the board, and drew a rough rendition of a spaceship, then drew an arrow with a stick figure next to it pointing down at the little stick figures Kelbrun had just drawn, then looked at her questioningly.
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PostSubject: Re: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?   Wed May 08, 2013 10:17 pm

Kechol leaned against the railing of the walkway, sipping his can of tuuvak. "Remchol, you told the scientist we had guest, right?" Remchol gave a thumbs up, whilst crushing his own empty can. "Yeah, I told them. I would think they'd have figured it out anyway, what with us keeping them locked in the barracks in case the aliens went full vruff* and we didn't have the firepower to kill them." Kechol started laughing, a loud, booming laugh. "Have they been in there the whole time? I completely forgot."

Kelbrun looked at Rosalind's drawing and shook her head a few times before holding up her hand, palm towards Rosalind. She started drawing on the board, doing her best rendition of the landing pad and their drop ship sitting on it. She circled this drawing. Then she drew a second landing pad with two drop ships on it, she crossed this drawing out. Finally, she drew an arrow from the circled image of the human drop ship sitting on the landing pad, too the spaceship Rosalind drew, then an arrow from the spaceship, back to the image of a dropship on the landing pad.

Satisfied that her point had been made, hopefully, she waved one of the other scientist over. Gelbrun tore herself away from Rosalind's datapad, the scientist had apparently figured out how to operate it and where the stored pictures were kept, long enough to approach. "What do you need?" Kelbrun pointed skyward. "I want you to return with the humans to the ship, we'll keep one of them down here to ensure they don't try to pull anything. I think it would give us better insight into what their technology is like." Gelbrun starred at her like a small child told they had free reign of a candy shop.

Turning back to Rosalind, Kelbrun pointed to Gelbrun, then pointed to Rosalind, then pointed to the picture of the human drop ship she'd drawn, before finally pointing to the arrows to and from the space ship. Then she pointed to one of the marines, Calvin it so happens, and pointed to the ground, before cocking her head to one side in an attempt to mimic one of Rosalind's previous gestures. This communication without language was really starting to get tiresome.

____________
*Vruff: A large predatory land mammal native to Pavonir. They're infamous for their tendency to go into a berserk, suicidal rage if angered.
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