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 Border Colony Crathon

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REDSHEILD

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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Thu May 16, 2013 8:15 pm

Ring? Olaron didn't remember a ring... He thought back to the incident of the crash, and recalled a shape separating from the falling ship. He reviewed the footage in his head, and sure enough, it was a ring. He had just barely caught it in his peripheral vision as it splashed down, too.

"This ring?" He asked, holding his hand up. His holoprojector showed the footage of it splitting off and crashing into the ocean.

"I could ask the Fabricators if they could find it. There's enough data from my recordings to estimate it's position."
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Thu May 16, 2013 8:52 pm

"We need the ring to get home. Uh... It opens the other end of a wormhole we use for travelling between stars. Have I explained wormholes? No. It's like... a shortcut through space. Surely you have a similar concept." Llorem explained while Gyem was typing away on the tablet.

"Please do that."
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Thu May 16, 2013 8:59 pm

He processed Llorem's explanation as Gyem typed.
"Yes, we have such a concept. The high minds have been investing into a method of creating them for some time, to ease civilian travel throughout our space."

When Gyem responded via the tablet, Olaron sent his records to Thiril, who set about organizing a search and retrieval operation.

"Thiril has started looking for the ring, Captain. Is there anything else you or your crew require?"
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Thu May 16, 2013 9:05 pm

"Rest."

There were nods all around the bridge. Oran had left and re-entered the room a few minutes before to fetch thermal blankets, which he began distributing with the captain's last message. Several crew members took them and left to find the cramped bunks of the staterooms and dorms, while others simply curled up on the floor and in chairs. Llorem and Oran stayed up until Olaron had departed, but no longer than that, with Llorem dropping to the floor where he stood, and Oran barely taking the time to cross the room to his chair at the sensors console, where he propped up his feet and closed his eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Thu May 16, 2013 9:52 pm

Olaron felt the wet air and rain pelt his chassis as he opened the airlock's outer hatch and clambered back outside the ship. He spent a few moments to acquire a more robust connection to the Communate's communications network, and sent a report back to Vathar which read as follows:

Valmar, Olaron
Log
Current location: Crathon, border outpost

Duel between Fabricator Thiril and Fabricators Quaya, Rethul halted due to first contact with alien species. Alien craft crash-landed on Crathon after strange anomaly detected in atmosphere. Initiated first contact using mathematical methods of communication, learned aliens' language and arranged with Fabricators repair of the ship. New species is designated 'Gyraci', physical descriptors and visual recordings attached, along with language information. Have shared knowledge with 'Gyraci' to show good intentions, hope for similar gifts in return. Will attempt to initiate more diplomatic involvement on the local morning.


With the message sent, he realized that he needed rest of his own. His body was tireless, but he was not. He magnetized his feet, and activated his chassis' maintenance programs. His eyes dimmed as he fell into the peace of sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Fri May 17, 2013 10:18 pm

Over the next week and a half, Llorem and Oran led Olaron around the ship and showed various ASC technology to him, with the walks between destinations filled with brief and simple history of the Adherent States' Congruency and the occasional explanation of their politics, including but not limited to the First and Second Reforms, the administrator organizing the latest expansion, and ancient Gyrakarrian myth.

Occasionally, other Gyraci joined them, either to listen or help explain a confusing point. However, the others grew tired of the near constant exposure from time to time, and spent some days in the staterooms playing cards or watching personal media to pass the time.

When the generators had been brought back online a few days before, the skeleton crew celebrated by cramming themselves in the conference room to watch a recent movie one of the engineers brought with them. There were some idioms and figures of speech that had to be explained to Olaron by Oran, but he expected Olaron understood everything else.

In his downtime, Llorem could be found writing away on his tablet, a different subject each day. Oran happily chatted away with Olaron, talking about life on Triani VI and covering ASC history in more detail. Finally, it seemed, the crew had run out of things to tell Olaron. That was when Oran began asking about the Vathari, and Llorem about the Fabricators. It wasn't long before a small crowd had gathered to listen as Olaron spoke.
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Fri May 17, 2013 11:19 pm

"We Vathari are a very old race, having been space faring for approximately three-thousand-sixty-six-point-nine of your years. We were created by the Old Minds about one-hundred-ninety-eight years prior. Since the invention of the warp drive we colonized four more systems and most worlds in our home system. We led a peaceful existence for a few centuries, until we encountered a hostile species. The Old Minds, not wanting their people to know the horrors of war, created machines called Oncari, after the world Oncar. The Oncari were autonomous war machines, initially little more than smart weapons to be pointed at our enemies to keep them at bay. During the course of the war the Oncari became more sophisticated, more cunning, and more violent. The Old Minds believe that at some point they became self aware, but were incomplete. They lacked true sapience, and this upset them, driving them to both crave and hate it. In breach of the law, they secretly copied early templates of the Vathari, shaping them into creations of war and death, and letting them loose upon the enemy. Doing this they made sapient beings, just to spite the Old Minds."

He noticed some Gyraci taking notes, so he paused to allow them to catch up.

"Eventually the Oncari creations reached the enemy homeworld, devastating it. However, shortly after breaking through the last line of defense over the world, they lost contact with Oncar. They became confused, panicked, unsure how to proceed, discovering that their supply of reinforcements had stopped, as well. The Oncari had planned to abandon them on the enemy homeworld, and to strike at Vathar using the bulk of their forces. The reason for this was simple: The Old Minds knew of the Oncari's crimes, and sought justice. It would be an alpha strike, cutting out the center of Vathari civilization before any could react. In those times, the other worlds would have been unable to respond until it was already too late, as our fleets were slower, limited by the many constraints of pushing warp drive past the speed of light."

"However, the Oncari did not account for everything. On the enemy homeworld one of their creations realized it had a kinship with the creatures it fought. As it felt pain, they could, too. They could dream, their minds could create. Yet they had something the creation did not. Freedom, not just of movement or society, but of mind and identity. This creation took a name, calling herself Almaya. She rallied others, among the first to join her were Thiril, Waersia, and Lidthel. This group fought in both body and mind with their former brethren, slaying those who would not share in this enlightenment, those who chose to remain violent. At the end of this, they took the name Fabricator. To this day, it is their core belief that life is meant to create, and that is what they do."

"They set a course back to Oncar, arriving in the thick of the battle. The Old Minds feared they were Oncari reinforcements, but those fears proved false as the Fabricators began to invade the world, converting the creations assigned to defend its surface. The Oncari were destroyed, and peace was restored again."

He paused; there was more he could say, but he decided it was best for now to see if the gathered crew had any specific questions.
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 am

The Gyraci waited in anticipation, wanting the story to go on. With so little media aboard the ship, the crew had nearly exhausted all mediums of entertainment, with their card games growing predictable and their music dull. The alien history was perhaps the most riveting tale some of them had heard in a while, amplified by their deprivation.

Several of the group gathered around Olaron were taking this moment to try and pronounce the words he used time and time again, their lips struggling with some of the labial sounds.

"Is that all?"
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Sat May 18, 2013 12:25 pm

"No, just wanted to make sure you could all keep up. I have some reservations about the following histories, but I suppose I've already broken from traditional first contact rules."

"Before the creation of my race, the inhabitants of Vathar were organic. They were called humans. I have an image of one."

He held out his hand, and projected a full-scale color hologram of the Old Mind Adrianna's organic avatar. She was tall, about six feet, with shoulder-length blond hair, and green eyes. Tattooed on her were the same markings painted on Olaron, a pair of green lines originating at the right eye, running down the face, neck, shoulder and arm to the right palm, with the Communate's emblem above her heart visible through the fabric of her shirt. She was well muscled, and there were clear signs of cybernetics in the form of thin faint scars.

"The Old Minds were the last generation of humans to live on Vathar. Once, they had a great civilization." He projected another image, one of a large information-age city. "In time, though, Vathar's biosphere began to collapse, and they had to adapt." The city's image changed, buildings decaying and being torn down, great domes rising in the distance to take their place. "They tried to use technology to supplement their meager existence, but in the end it was not enough. The last generation of humans transferred their minds into machines as a way to survive the death of their world. In later ages they used what they had learned about human minds from studying their own to make the Vathari."

"Does anyone want me to go into more detail on any point?"
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Sat May 18, 2013 10:57 pm

"So, these 'humans' turned themselves into cyborgs, and then made sapient robots to replace their species?"

"Do the Vathari have parents?"

"The Fabricators are your sibling species' creations, so does that make them your nephew species?"

"Do you have any weapons on you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Sat May 18, 2013 11:44 pm

"No. They transferred their minds into machines directly, through the use of cybernetics. The way human brains work, they grow over time, naturally new pathways are created, old ones removed or rerouted. The mind stays intact throughout this process, alive and continuous. The Old Minds took advantage of this, allowing their minds to expand into their implants. From there they expanded into proper self-sufficient machines, and over time they slowly deactivated their organic brains, moving their essence entirely."

Olaron felt warm with the second question, it brought back good memories of his childhood.
"Yes, we do. Vathari may reproduce pending approval of the local government, and then create their young. Due to residual instincts left in our mental templates we due usually reproduce when we are in a relationship with another individual whom we care for. My parents are quite well, my mother is the dock management mind on one of Vathar's shipyards, and my father runs a scrapyard on the planet Irrial."

The third question conjured darker feelings, perhaps a bit of offense.
"The Oncari were never siblings on the Vathari. They were not life, but monsters. Abominations. The Fabricators are our sibling race in the way all life is."

For the fourth, he decided for a demonstration.
"Yes, this chassis is armed. Observe."
He held out his right arm, and the forearm split open at the top. Two tubes emerged, one simple metal, the other more complicated, covered in coolant lines and tipped with glass. On the lower side a blade slid out, extending to about two feet in length past his hand.

"I am equipped with a combination combat and general maintenance laser, a rifle, and a blade. However, other combat upgrades are available for this chassis, such as rocket pods and heavier weapons."

He felt a ping in his head, signalling he had received a message:
We are ready.

"Good news." He said to the assembled Gyraci.
"The Fabricators have repaired the ring, and await permission to activate it."
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Mon May 20, 2013 6:12 am

* * * * *

The Gyraci were expecting the Vathari ships any day now, but while the supplies held out, none asked when their salvation would arrive.

A few days prior, the Fabricators had repaired the gate-ring the ASC ship had deployed with, though the success of their endeavors remained to be tested. The engineers present when Olaron made the announcement had explained the dangers of activating the gate planetside, and so testing would be carried out later, most likely at the original target point.

Llorem had withdrawn more and more from studying the Vathari and Fabricators, slowly returning to his duties as chief engineer. His subordinates joked about their vacation being cut off so suddenly, but seemed to enjoy working again. Oran had recruited the help of his Vathari friend to repair the external sensors array to a usable point, often using roundabout explanations of the various equipment and procedures in a manner not unlike a child trying to impress an adult with their classroom duties.

The mission recorder was passed between idle crew members, either to keep logs of the ship's status, record the Fabricators, or simply turn their card games into history.
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Mon May 20, 2013 7:19 am

A roar, greater than the crashing waves or constant storms, split the skies. Two pillars of flame grew larger and larger as they descended through the clouds, leaving holes in the thick masses of vapor. Winds whipped across the beach as the flames approached, atop them each a mile-long cylinder, topped with dull cones. The objects landed beside each other in bays constructed in the past days to accommodate them, the space between just large enough for the Gyraci ship and its reattached ring to fit. The tugs had arrived.

No time was wasted attaching the payload to the two haulers, hundreds of cables and fairings were mounted to corresponding attachment points on the alien craft, both original structures and ones added by the Fabricators. The ship had been titled upright onto its engines earlier in the morning, placed atop a large crawler and had the ring placed around it. Olaron briefly pondered the idea that perhaps, with this miniature spaceport here, Crathon might become more than just an outpost. It wasn't an ideal site for colonization, but it was a good world, if one didn't mind the rain.

In less than an hour the ship had been fully attached, another hour was spent checking each cable and beam to ensure they were secured, and to balance loads. Olaron boarded one of the tugs, mingling with its small crew and explaining his time with the aliens to them. With all checks complete, it was time. The two massive flames appeared again as the tugs' fusion engines came to life, scorching the beach and turning sand to glass for the second time.

Ten minutes of fire and the Gyraci ship breached the bulk of Crathon's atmosphere, and a second burn brought it to a stable orbit in the thermosphere.

From the tug he was aboard, Olaron radioed the Gyraci:
"We're set in a stable orbit. Everything alright over there?"
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Mon May 20, 2013 9:01 pm

"I can confirm, Captain, we're in a stable orbit," Llaga said from the helm. "Llorem, how are things in the reactor room?"

"Great. It's running great."

"I'm not seeing any atmospherics alarms. What about you?"

"Clear here as well. They did a damn fine job."

It was all well and good for Oran and Llorem to play at being the captains when the crew was stranded on a foreign world, but now that the ship was operational and no longer planetside, Llaga had taken over captain duties under Gyem's orders.

"Everything seems fine," Llaga transmitted. With a quick glance to Oran, he added, "Do you plan on coming with us?"



Last edited by MissingAxis on Sat May 25, 2013 11:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Mon May 20, 2013 10:43 pm

Olaron weighed the idea in his head, he had already sent a report out, and the three Fabricators knew fully what had occurred. It couldn't hurt to learn more about these Gyraci.

"I had not, but now that you have offered, I find it appealing. I'll board from the tug on your ship's left, and I will wait in your airlock."

((Just guide him wherever aboard the ship. I don't feel like posting him boarding, since it would just be filler.))
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PostSubject: Re: Border Colony Crathon   Sat May 25, 2013 3:05 pm

They arrived at the target point several hours later. With Llaga at the helm personally, the bridge was, for the most part, quiet as he maneuvered the ship into a stable orbit around the system's star. With that taken care of, Llaga began taking the bridge crew through the pre-deployment procedure. Llorem was ordered to take a few engineers on an EVA run to confirm the ring separation, while Oran was getting the Vathari up to speed on what was about to happen.

When everyone was in position, with the engineers magnetically secured to the hull of the ship both with boots and cables, and the Vathari ships giving the ASC ship plenty of room to move, Llaga took his place as the helm once again.

"Ring separation initiated. Magnetic locks disengaged, RCS thrusters firing. Can you confirm?"

"Confirmed. Ring is clear of mag-locks."

"Retracting mag-locks. Oran, update the scanner to read the ring as a separate entity."

"Already done."

"Good. Llorem, you and your team may return to the ship."

The engineers understandably took their time to move to the airlock, and it was nearly fifteen minutes before they radioed in confirmation that they had entered the ship safely.

With the RCS thrusters firing so briefly, it had yet to clear the length of the ship. After confirming once more that everyone was secure on the ship, Llaga began a slow burn along the orbit path, stopping just before the ring passed behind the ship. After the ring clear, he performed another retrothrust, closely matching the ring's speed.

"Are we ready then," Llorem asked over the radio.

"I suppose so. Oret, transmit the ring activation signal. Everyone else... You better be laughing at hell."1

* * * * *

The Fabricators had done it, amazingly enough. Llorem sat at his desk, watching the computer screen as it displayed a steady stream of information. The wormhole was functioning, and from all appearances, functioning just as perfectly as it would have been if the ring didn't break at all. While the damage to the ring may not have been anything more than structural, Llorem liked to think the Fabricators managed an extraordinary feat of engineering.

Procedure dictated that the crew wait half an hour before proceeding through the ring, lest any small instabilities complicate transit. On the other end of the wormhole, a construction team would be waiting, or -- most likely, in this case -- start being gathered. What bothered Llorem, however, was the lack of a wormhole already constructed in this system. Their ship had been stranded planetside for two weeks. During that time, another ship would likely have been sent, under normal conditions.

The prerequisite half-hour passed, and Llaga, with the ship already turned around, began accelerating. Because the wormhole was now stabilized with a gate-ring on both ends, they didn't have any particular requirements to pass through. At the last possible moment, blastshields dropped around the bridge,

The trademark silence and shaking soon followed, and when the blastshields raised, the crew was greeted with the familiar sight of ASC ships. The array that launched them through the wormhole two weeks ago was still there, as well as its frigate escort of three, though it was oriented in a manner that kept it from being in the way of any ship passing through the wormhole.

Llorem relaxed, suddenly aware of the fatigue of being on an alien world with dwindling supplies and no immediate means of leaving. It was only when that feeling of longing for home and familiarity left his body that he realized it wasn't over.

* * * * *

The Vathari ships hadn't followed through yet, as advised by the crew on the bridge. Multiple, large, alien ships suddenly appearing when you're only expecting a familiar frigate is not a pleasant way to be woken up. There was also the issue of the main Vathari ships fitting through the temporary ring that had been deployed, though the Gyraci suspected they had smaller ships docked.

Llaga nodded to Oran when they had made it through, allowing him the first message. With renewed excitement, knowing vaguely of the chain of events that would follow, Oran spoke without thinking, transmitting directly to all ships in visual range.

"We've done it. We've made contact. They're... They're friendly."

And soon they found themselves on a course to Triani VI, escorted by two of the array's own frigates and preceded by a courier shuttle. It would be nearly half a day before they reached the planet, and they wouldn't likely find a better chance to sleep over the next few days. The crew lounged about, sleeping for the most part, but some continued playing their card games even when a bigger storm of excitement was about to go over them.

Oran once again found himself in the company of Olaron, chatting quietly in a corner of the bridge.

-----
1: "Laugh at hell" is an expression often used to encourage positive thinking and the belief that one can defy all odds.
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