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[Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror (Completed) 
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Post [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror (Completed)
Diclaimer: Outsider and any and all related content is the intellectual property of Jim Francis a.k.a. Arioch

I hereby claim no right to his works, nor any intimate knowledge to the story of Outsider.

Now with that out of the way...

Looking forward to the Mirror is a story idea that sprung into my head while reading the Insider a week or so ago. After some hastily written notes during work and plenty of back and forth in my head in regards to the plot I decided to wet my feet again in Fan Fiction writing, if only to have some fun and get myself back into a writing mood since I haven't written anything for the past month or so.

Normally I rate nearly everything I write as 'Mature audiences only', it gives me a lot of wiggle room since I have a knack for violence but I will keep this story PG-13 as much as possible. I will try to keep a weekly schedule for the story and I hope that I will be able to contain it in approx 50.000 words. When it's done I will publish it in PDF format as well and I will also upload it to my deviantart page later.

So without further ado, I present you:

Looking forward to the Mirror

Prologue

At least they can coordinate in Trade. Captain George Asteios thought as the last section of the ship reported combat ready status. He took a deep breath thinking about what to say next.

“Attention all hands.”

He begun to say in the Trade language, confident that the microphone pinned on his uniform would pass his disappointment to the crew of ECS-175 Matveyev.

“I expected that our time would suffer but not to this extent, instead of the usual two and a half minutes, six whole minutes passed before all stations reported combat ready status and this was a planned drill.”

He let out an involuntary sigh before continuing.

“Most of us don’t have English as our mother language but that doesn’t come in the way of our duty in the same way I witnessed now. Every last one of us has been trained to perform their assigned duties in a quick and precise manner, we have done the same things over and over until we were sick to our stomachs, this alone should have kept our time down to reasonable levels but what I witnessed now is beyond reasonable. So I have to ask, what change occurred on this ship? Did everyone’s posts suddenly change positions? Did someone swap our space suits for a far more complicated design? Was the ship’s layout mysteriously altered?”

He paused for a few moments before continuing with the same calm but disappointed tone.

“This was a drill that we have done dozens of times in the past and the only thing that was different this time was the language we used. A language that we have been taught for years, a language that we will use to communicate with any and all alien species we will come across. In my mind there are only two explanations about what happened just now and I can’t decide which is worse, could it be that not all of us are adept at Trade or could it be that some of us didn’t take this drill seriously? Whatever the case this was not something that I expected from this ship and this crew especially in the middle of this mission…”

He let that hang for a few seconds to enforce the point.

“Stand down from general quarters, all section leaders are to report to the mess hall in 30 minutes, dismissed.”

* * *

“Attention on deck!” Commander Albert Summers barked as the Captain walked in the mess hall, instantly everyone in the room stood at attention and saluted.

“At ease.” Captain Asteios said as he returned the salutes while walking towards the small podium in front of a large screen. It was obvious to everyone that he wasn’t in the mood for pleasantries and he begun the moment he turned and looked at the assembled officers.

“I don’t know what happened earlier and you know that I don’t like excuses, everyone in this ship was selected for their exhibited skills. No one and I mean no one in the TCA threw their weight around, or pulled any strings to put their favorites in this or any other ship. Everyone was selected because they are the best and our mission demands nothing less than that.”

Looking at the sour expressions of everyone present he couldn’t help but remember that some time ago he was told that his way of chewing up people was worse than even the loudest of screamers. Yellers were a dime a dozen and their way of doing things did bring some results, he also had to admit that sometimes he also wanted to yell his lungs out but past experience had showed him that if someone wanted results they had to shame the offending party in doing what’s right.

“Each one of us, by our words and actions, may end up deciding the fate of the entirety of our species. We are ambassadors, sent out to contact two warring galactic superpowers in the vague hopes that they won’t trample us in the midst of their squabbles.”

He looked everyone present deep in the eyes before continuing.

“Our orders are simple and yet nearly impossible; do and say anything in order to turn our species into an ally that is worthy of being protected and aided. We know that we are outmatched in every conceivable way and we know that neutrality is not a path that either of these powers allow others to tread.”

It was something that they all knew but he had to remind them, especially after the latest drill.

“On one hand we have the Umiak, an insectoid race that enslaves even its allies and on the other we have the Loroi, a race of telepaths that have so far wiped out two civilizations. That’s what the Orgus have told us and they weren’t lying when they did so. Both sides attack anyone who remains neutral so decide, do we take this mission seriously or do we jeopardize our future as a species?”

No one seemed to have an answer to that and he smiled.

“We will jump again in three hours, according to our intelligence we are about to enter former Tithric space, one of the species that the Loroi wiped out, chances are that only the dead will call the next few systems home but I want us to be ready for anything every time we jump. Dismissed.”

INDEX
Spoiler: show
Code:
Chapter 1, Part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18213#p18213
Chapter 1, Part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18322#p18322
Chapter 1, Part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18323#p18323
Chapter 2, Part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18392#p18392
Chapter 2, Part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18448#p18448
Chapter 2, Part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18528#p18528
Chapter 3, Part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18578#p18578
Chapter 3, Part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18611#p18611
Chapter 4, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18664#p18664
Chapter 4, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18689#p18689
Chapter 4, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18735#p18735
Chapter 5, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18819#p18819
Chapter 5, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18938#p18938
Chapter 6, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18978#p18978
Chapter 6, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19059#p19059
Chapter 7, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19080#p19080
Chapter 7, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19103#p19103
Chapter 7, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19197#p19197
Chapter 8, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19254#p19254
Chapter 8, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19322#p19322
Chapter 8, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19427#p19427
Chapter 9, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19455#p19455
Chapter 9, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19509#p19509
Chapter 10, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19543#p19543
Chapter 10, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19625#p19625
Chapter 10, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19702#p19702
Chapter 11, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19980#p19980
Chapter 11, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20069#p20069
Chapter 11, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20135#p20135
Chapter 12, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20232#p20232
Chapter 12, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20258#p20258
Chapter 12, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20347#p20347
Chapter 13, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20426#p20426
Chapter 13, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20525#p20525
Chapter 13, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20687#p20687
Chapter 14, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=20905#p20905
Chapter 14, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21023#p21023
Chapter 14, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21151#p21151
Chapter 15, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21350#p21350
Chapter 15, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21614#p21614
Chapter 15, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21714#p21714
Chapter 16, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21843#p21843
Chapter 16, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22134#p22134
Chapter 16, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22176#p22176
Chapter 17, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22337#p22337
Chapter 17, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22517#p22517
Chapter 18, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22613#p22613
Chapter 18, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22692#p22692
Chapter 18, part 3: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22886#p22886
Chapter 18, part 4: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22896#p22896
Chapter 19, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22950#p22950
Chapter 19, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23064#p23064
Chapter 20, part 1: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23081#p23081
Chapter 20, part 2: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23082#p23082
Epilogue: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=23083#p23083


Code:
 Omake, Truth, Lies and Broken things: http://www.well-of-souls.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=24480#p24480

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Last edited by dragoongfa on Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:00 pm, edited 64 times in total.



Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:57 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
It might help with readability if you separated the dialogue and the narration using paragraphs like so:

dragoongfa wrote:

At least they can coordinate in Trade. Captain George Asteios thought as the last section of the ship reported combat ready status.

He took a deep breath thinking about what to say next.

“Attention all hands.” He begun to say in the Trade language, confident that the microphone pinned on his uniform would pass his disappointment to the crew of ECS-175 Matveyev. “I expected that our time would suffer but not to this extent, instead of the usual two and a half minutes, six whole minutes passed before all stations reported combat ready status and this was a planned drill.”

He let out an involuntary sigh before continuing.

“Most of us don’t have English as our mother language but that doesn’t come in the way of our duty in the same way I witnessed now. Every last one of us has been trained to perform their assigned duties in a quick and precise manner, we have done the same things over and over until we were sick to our stomachs, this alone should have kept our time down to reasonable levels but what I witnessed now is beyond reasonable. So I have to ask, what change occurred on this ship? Did everyone’s posts suddenly change positions? Did someone swap our space suits for a far more complicated design? Was the ship’s layout mysteriously altered?”

He paused for a few moments before continuing with the same calm but disappointed tone.

“This was a drill that we have done dozens of times in the past and the only thing that was different this time was the language we used. A language that we have been taught for years, a language that we will use to communicate with any and all alien species we will come across. In my mind there are only two explanations about what happened just now and I can’t decide which is worse, could it be that not all of us are adept at Trade or could it be that some of us didn’t take this drill seriously? Whatever the case this was not something that I expected from this ship and this crew especially in the middle of this mission…”

He let that hang for a few seconds to enforce the point. “Stand down from general quarters, all section leaders are to report to the mess hall in 30 minutes, dismissed.”



Doing this allows the readers eye to focus on a particular chunk of text, instead of being confronted by a hard to read wall of text where it becomes incredibly easy to lose your place. As it stands, I've only read the part above where I broke it up, I refuse to read massive blocks of texts with interspersed dialogue like that unless it's in the form of a physical book because it's so hard on the eyes.

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Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:43 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
@dragoongfa
Your off to a good start; I look forward to reading the story as it unfolds as you have a knack for writing. :D

Razor One might be a little blunt but he does give some good advice about breaking up the text into sections, it does make it more readable.


Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:49 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Razor One wrote:
It might help with readability if you separated the dialogue and the narration using paragraphs like so:

snip

Doing this allows the readers eye to focus on a particular chunk of text, instead of being confronted by a hard to read wall of text where it becomes incredibly easy to lose your place. As it stands, I've only read the part above where I broke it up, I refuse to read massive blocks of texts with interspersed dialogue like that unless it's in the form of a physical book because it's so hard on the eyes.


Thanks, it does make things more readable, in the forum format at least. I will keep it in mind.

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Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:14 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
dragoongfa wrote:
Thanks, it does make things more readable, in the forum format at least. I will keep it in mind.


Definitely much more readable, there's the odd grammatical mistake here and there, but I could only pick out two and that's mostly because I'm a nitpicking pedant who spends a bit too much time editing other people's work. :P

My only major complaint so far is that there isn't more to read. ;)

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Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:32 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
You know what occurred to me?

I haven't really seen a story from the Umiak perspective. It's always the Loroi who end up with humans in this fan-fics (for obvious reasons). ;)


Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:12 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
TrashMan wrote:
You know what occurred to me?

I haven't really seen a story from the Umiak perspective. It's always the Loroi who end up with humans in this fan-fics (for obvious reasons). ;)


From a storytelling perceptive the Umiak are hard to nail down, it's hard to write them in a way to make them 'presentable' without twisting a few corners, because frankly they are an antithesis of human society.

Umiak society is described in the insider as:

Quote:
Umiak philosophy emphasizes duty, toil, modesty, self-sufficiency, patience, frugality, charity and the subordination of the self to the greater whole. Personal honor is a low priority. As individuals, Umiak are said to be exceedingly polite and well-mannered, overflowing with humility and zeal for the common welfare. As a group, the Umiak are paranoid, intolerant, aggressive and despotic.


This sounds well and good on the outside but on the inside in fact it's a nightmare society for humans; humans are from their nature egoistical and look first for theirs and themselves. Human societies were formed because working as a larger group was better than working alone or with a small family unit. In time human societies adopted concepts foreign from their evolutionary path in their societal structures in order not to just best serve the whole but to improve the living conditions of everyone, even the lowest members of society. These adopted concepts are what make the Umiak redeemable in human eyes but humans still are and always will be egotistical; humans want to have a say in politics, they want to have personal wealth and prestige, they want to one up their rivals. In short they want to feed their ego.

Despite the above egoism however, organized and advanced human societies tend to be benevolent in their day to day working and interactions with one an other. We value Justice and Freedom of expression (unless religious zeal gets in the fray), we believe that everyone is equal in their rights and responsibilities to society and we believe in the sanctity of all human lives; all of this because everyone of us wants the society we are living in to safeguard our ego. The Umiak just value the common good and everything that we value goes out of the window if it is for the common good.

The Loroi on the other hand, despite everything they still have a large part that is very human in nature because they too have egos of their own. Their society is different but we can understand nearly everything despite the differences between Loroi and Humans.

TL;DR : It's easier to write Loroi as friendly and Umiaks as baddies because we can immediately understand the Loroi but the Umiak are our antithesis and thus we have a natural dislike for them.

PS: I am going to explore the above in the story...

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:08 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Quote:
Umiak philosophy emphasizes duty, toil, modesty, self-sufficiency, patience, frugality, charity and the subordination of the self to the greater whole.


Now I'm just imagining a Umaik version of JFK speaking proudly to the camera "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country"


Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:35 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
TrashMan wrote:
I haven't really seen a story from the Umiak perspective.

I would like to see that. I could write one myself, but writing stories isn't my stuf.

dragoongfa wrote:
From a storytelling perceptive the Umiak are hard to nail down, it's hard to write them in a way to make them 'presentable' without twisting a few corners, because frankly they are an antithesis of human society.

insider wrote:
Umiak philosophy emphasizes duty, toil, modesty, self-sufficiency, patience, frugality, charity and the subordination of the self to the greater whole. Personal honor is a low priority. As individuals, Umiak are said to be exceedingly polite and well-mannered, overflowing with humility and zeal for the common welfare. As a group, the Umiak are paranoid, intolerant, aggressive and despotic.

Look a bit of asian cultures.

Quote:
This sounds well and good on the outside but on the inside in fact it's a nightmare society for humans

No. For USA and most of europe. Though how Umiak are implement those values, are nightmarish.

Quote:
we believe that everyone is equal in their rights and responsibilities to society and we believe in the sanctity of all human lives

These are new values for humans at race and it still most of humans think that equality and sanctity belong only for their kind of people.

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:33 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
bunnyboy wrote:

Look a bit of asian cultures.


Asian cultures seem to have a lot in common with Umiak, especially the Japanese and Korean propensity of self sacrifice for family and nation.

One needs not to see further than the state sanctioned Kamikaze in WW2 for a very loud example but even behind such acts, propaganda striking at the very essence of human Ego played a pivotal role for such actions to take place. Japanese propaganda directly struck the very delicate chords of Japanese manliness, protection of the family by fighting the enemies of the state 'in order to keep the American rapists away' was the primary 'tool' in the late stages of the war when defeat was certain. Even in the early stages of the war the Japanese internal propaganda portrayed the western powers as 'greedy imperialists sucking Asia dry of resources' and that only 'fair distribution under Japanese guidance would bring an era of prosperity of Japan and Asia'; in short they struck the very delicate nerves of both patriotic 'benevolence' and a exit from the economic deadlock that Japanese society had fallen into because of the limited resources on the Japanese islands.

EDIT: The Chinese on the other hand...

Well, suffice to say that any old Chinese cultural traditions of self sacrifice are NOT followed by even a minority of the Chinese populace.

Quote:
These are new values for humans at race and it still most of humans think that equality and sanctity belong only for their kind of people.


The English Magna Carta is 800 years old by now, not recent by human standards but I get your point.

The U.N. conventions of equality between human beings and the sanctity of life are very recent and still relatively untested but the social pressures that culminated in such ratifications aren't. One has to see as far back as the Renaissance to see the first solid foundations for such ideals. The Protestant reformation was the first big equalizing attempt in order to limit the powers of the Catholic church and a couple of centuries later came the sociopolitical revolutions that ravaged Europe (culminating in the French revolution at the early 1800 hundreds and the Russia Octobrist revolution at WW1). All such reaction had at their core the unrelenting desire to limit the strength of the strong nobility and establish an 'egalitarian' society. The success or failure of these attempts can be questioned but deep down all of them happened because the majority of the population wanted more than being the ones who footed the bills of a overly privileged minority.

Also these ideals are what kept Europe, the place where both World Wars started pacified for 70 years, a lot of people seem to agree about these at least :P

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:12 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
dragoongfa wrote:
bunnyboy wrote:
These are new values for humans at race and it still most of humans think that equality and sanctity belong only for their kind of people.

The English Magna Carta is 800 years old by now, not recent by human standards but I get your point.

Magna Carta didn't consider that poor people or anyone without noble status could be a human.
Even founding fathers of USA thought that human rights are only for themselves, for the white landowning men.

And bit of asian values. I think it is funny that typical
western hero, lone wolf doing whatever he wants, travelling freely around without ties,
is at old asian values the biggest loser, who hasn't courage or skills hold his life or family.

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:28 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
bunnyboy wrote:
Magna Carta didn't consider that poor people or anyone without noble status could be a human.
Even founding fathers of USA thought that human rights are only for themselves, for the white landowning men.


Which also ties with human ego: the powerful human doesn't grant privileges to the weaker until the weaker start pointing guns to the powerful :P

EDIT: Minor correction: White, Anglo Saxon and Protestant landowning men :P

Quote:
And bit of asian values. I think it is funny that typical
western hero, lone wolf doing whatever he wants, travelling freely around without ties,
is at old asian values the biggest loser, who hasn't courage or skills hold his life or family.


The real fun part is that both of the above cultural archetypes are the complete antithesis to the traditional military practices of both cultures.

Western military tradition demands the subjugation of one's self to the unit as a whole. From the era of the Greek phalanx the 'lone wolf' type was always cast out from the unit, if not outright executed for breaking the line. Hell, the early Roman armies were manned by land holding citizen soldiers but 'decimation', the execution of 1 soldier out of 10 was an acceptable form of punishment when a unit showed cowardice.

In contrast Asian military traditions, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, placed a central role to a 'militant nobility' which fought in 'honorable' battle; and the Chinese even had Sun Tzu's art of war to guide them against that path but most of the Chinese nobles chose to ignore it! When the above 'militant nobilities' were met with a properly disciplined and ruthless soldier army in the face of the Mongols they all capitulated quickly (The Japanese were saved by Kamikaze, the divine wind/hurricane that sunk the Mongol fleet, which is the namesake of the Kamikaze of WW2). The Europeans of the late middle ages (also militant nobility centric) would have met the same fate if the Mongols hadn't begun to consume themselves with internal feuds.

It was in the Renaissance were soldier armies begun to appear again in Europe and we all know what happened afterwards.

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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Chapter 1, Part 1

Jumping into an uncharted star system was always a risky endeavor, before even considering to do so, one must previously examine the star system from afar with long range telescopes in order to identify all of the planets that are part of that system. When those planets are identified then one must find out the speed that those planets orbit their star before the navigation computers are able to chart a jump course by calculating the current position of that star and the planets orbiting it. In a perfect universe this approach would be straightforward and foolproof but reality is not perfect; for each and every star is unique and each and every planet that orbits around a star is also unique; no one can predict the very small but real peculiarities of each star and planet from afar, perhaps the orbits are somehow irregular, perhaps their gravity well is stronger or weaker than the estimated one, perhaps it’s something else that no human has ever thought of before.

Taking everything into account, jumping into an uncharted system is like jumping in half blind, there are too many unknowns and sometimes luck plays a bigger role than navigational skill and the time someone spends observing each star system from light years away. ECS-175 Matveyev and the other 4 TCA ships of the contact mission have been jumping into previously uncharted star systems for weeks now, most of those jumps done almost blind, with minimal observance of the target systems.

If they had done such jumps two years ago the odds would be that all ships would have misjumped early in their mission, their crews condemned for all eternity. The arrival of the Orgus refugees and the technology that they brought with them made such jumps much safer. The Orgus’s tech level wasn’t that far ahead from Terran technology and the ship they arrived in was just an ordinary freighter but everyone agreed that the experience from centuries of space travel had given birth to navigational computers and jump calculation programs that made their Terran equivalents seem primitive in comparison.

The TCA quickly adopted the navigational computers, the jump calculation programs and everything else that they could out of the Orgus freighter. The knowledge acquired from disassembling that ship wasn’t much but it was more than what humanity had before the Orgus arrived and were granted Asylum by the TCA.

This didn’t mean that the risk wasn’t there anymore, just that it was far lower that before, low enough that jumps that would previously be considered suicidal without proper preparation were now done almost blind; the small risk factor that remained considered acceptable due to the nature of their mission.
This jump was also one that was done almost blind and despite the experience of the dozens such jumps they had done before the crew of Matveyev still held their breaths before they jumped and exhaled in relief when they arrived safely into the new system.

“Jump successful, all systems Green.” Operations officer, Lieutenant Gina Venica said with a relieved voice.

“Good.” Captain Asteios replied as he wrote something in his console. “Stand down from Jump Stations.”

“What are we naming it sir?” Navigations Officer, Lieutenant Lucas Martel asked.

“The system?”

“Yes sir.”

All star systems had a name in the database held by the TCA, hundreds had proper names, those were the stars easily visible with the naked eye back on Earth, the ones that weren’t easily visible were given a vague numerical name when the first human scientists begun to catalog them. As for the billions of other stars that remained nameless and numberless the database simply archived them with a simple numerical tag. In the age of space exploration however, humans begun visiting such arbitrarily cataloged stars and the quickly established TCA tradition was that the first visitors of such a star system would pick a temporary name until the TCA decided to either keep it as a permanent name or to assign it another, more appropriate name. The star system they had just jumped in was such an arbitrarily named system, like some of the others they had visited before.

“Let’s see…” Captain Asteios looked up something in the database using his console. “It’s not taken…” He commented with a smile. “I hereby name this MI40JT6MGQ.”

“Sir?” Lieutenant Martel asked in disbelief while the other bridge officers looked at each other.

“You heard me lieutenant.”

“But…”

“Also add this explanatory note in the database: ECS-175 Matveyev in its 40th jump during its mission took 6 minutes to complete a general quarters drill.” The Captain interrupted him.

“Yes sir, MI40JT6MGQ and accompanied note entered in the temporary database.” The lieutenant said with a resigned voice, hoping that the captain won’t take this joke further than needed.

“Sir, systems indicate numerous points of interest throughout the system.” Sensor’s officer Lieutenant Richard Grant cried out.

“Just points of interest? No ships?”

“No sir, no ships.” Lieutenant Grant replied as he tried to make heads and tails of what the computer was showing him. “The systems show thousands of points of interest but…”

“Pass me the data.”

“Yes sir.”

After a few moments thousands of alerts flooded Captain Asteios’s screen and thousands more were being added with each passing moment. He selected a few of them at random and all of them were small metallic objects drifting in space.

“Sir, I believe that the system reports each individual piece of metal as a point of interest.” Lieutenant Grant said after a few moments.

“Can you do something about it?”

“I am working on it sir.” Half a minute later thousands of alerts disappeared from his screen, leaving hundreds.

“Much better.” The captain commented.

“It’s a bug in the system sir, I have circumvented it by only showing anything larger than 2x2 meters.” Lieutenant Grant explained. “Smaller debris that may be of value will not be reported however.”

“We have more than a dozen ensigns on board, have them look through the clutter.” The Captain ordered.

“Yes sir.” The lieutenant replied.

Captain Asteios then picked a dozen of the alerts at random and looked through them. Most were drifting hulks of destroyed ships; the others were the remains of destroyed space stations that still drifted in place where they were destroyed and judging by how cold every hulk and destroyed station was then everything happened decades ago.

“They did a number on this system didn’t they?” Captain Asteios commented as he brought up the system map to orient himself.

All things considered it looked like a rich system, the system’s primary was much like Sol, a star of the same age and similar size. Three small planetoids orbited the sun far too close for comfort, their surface a sea of molten lava from the primary's heat. In the system’s habitation zone, right in the middle of it as a matter of fact; was a single red, Mars like, planet a little larger than Earth with two moons orbiting it. Further away, just a little short of the safe jump distance were two moderately sized gas giants with a huge asteroid field caught between their orbits; the field itself was also interesting for the fact that a lot of electromagnetic activity was easily observable there. Feeling curious he checked the nearest stars, seeing that were at least 7 systems in jump range with 3 of them being safe for civilian traffic jumps.

“If that planet could support life this would be an ideal system for colonization.” Captain Asteios said out loud without thinking.

“Sir, I believe that the planet was inhabited and it was bombarded.” Lieutenant Grant commented.

“Show me.” In an instant his console showed a close up picture of the planet that the lieutenant sent him.

“Damn…” The red surface of that particular part of the planet was littered with impact craters, so many that would make the surface of Earth’s moon look pristine smooth in comparison. As he examined the picture the computer quickly identified large metallic debris among the craters.

“That must have been a city…” He mumbled.

“Sir, I am seeing 5 more such sites on the visible side of the planet. With dozens of smaller sites littered around them.” Lieutenant Grant added.

“Lieutenant Martel, you are from Mars, what do you think of all this?” He said as he sent the image to the navigations officer.

“Sir I…” The Lieutenant begun to say but was instantly taken aback from what he saw. “Sir… a lot of the industrial and habitations hubs on Mars are underground; easier to sustain life support that way…” Despite his apprehension the lieutenant examined the picture as best as he could. “I think that whoever was down there thought the same because some of these craters look far deeper than the others.”

“The underground facilities caved in…” The Captain commented.

“Yes sir.”

“How many people would a Martian city of that size hold?” The Captain asked.

“That’s… complicated Sir. It would depend on a lot of factors.” Lieutenant Martel closed his eyes and shook his head. “Depending on the amount and size of the city’s habitats... I would say between 3 and 6 millions Sir.”

“And there are five such cities on the side of the planet that we can see…” Captain Asteios shook his head. “Do you think that anyone made it out alive from down there?”
“Sir that’s… No sir, there are no signs of a rescue attempt, no excavations and not even a small landing pad for anyone that somehow made it on the surface with a suit.” The Lieutenant replied.

“Or no one was allowed to come pick them up…” The Captain commented and sighed. “In accordance with our secondary orders we will record and catalog everything of note and we will investigate some of those drifting hulks up close.” The Captain informed everyone.

No one looked happy about this but everyone knew that this was something that they had to do. Perhaps by doing so they could gain some insights of the weapons that caused such destruction, insights that could save human lives in the future. It was a comforting thought but not enough to drown out the morbid thoughts everyone held within themselves.
Captain Asteios looked at the red planet again and couldn’t help but think of it as the ‘Mars’ of the previous inhabitants of this system, the Tithric if the Orgus estimates were accurate. If that was the Tithric Mars, I don’t want to see what happened to the Tithric Earth.

Chapter 1, Part 2: viewtopic.php?p=18322#p18322

EDIT: I actually FORGOT to correct the typos, I blame my job as an accountant :P

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Last edited by dragoongfa on Sat May 16, 2015 2:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:15 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Author's Random Ramblings:

Naming characters

Usually I don't think much about the name I give to the characters I am writing, I just put a temporary name in and change it to something more fitting or 'catching' when I cleanup the story after the first draft is finished.

In Fan Fiction cases this is rarely the case and I just pick a name at random for secondary characters and something catchy for protagonists and primary characters. In Captain Asteios's case however the name is both a joke and a subtle reminder that not all names are fitting to the people they represent.

The literal translation of George Asteios in Greek is Funny Farmer ('George' from Georgios which literally translates to Farmer and 'Asteios' which means funny guy). A far cry from a warrior sounding name, a far cry from anything respectable sounding actually. Anyone can imagine the hell such a person would go through school and the naval academy but that's beside the point of his name.

The main point of his name, besides a joke that will probably sound stupid later on, will be a main theme of the story; that words, names or intentions mean nothing when compared to actions.

Closing this rambling, I was curious if such a person existed in RL and to my surprise no person with the Asteios surname seems to exist. Which surprised me because Greeks have some really ridiculous names, names that would cause someone to consider suicide every day they went outside. To give you an example 'Akrivi Gourouna' is a real person whose name literally translates to 'Expensive Pig'.

PS: Yes I am Greek and no this is only the second Greek character I have ever written :P

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Last edited by dragoongfa on Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:42 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:34 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
dragoongfa wrote:
From a storytelling perceptive the Umiak are hard to nail down, it's hard to write them in a way to make them 'presentable' without twisting a few corners, because frankly they are an antithesis of human society.

TL;DR : It's easier to write Loroi as friendly and Umiaks as baddies because we can immediately understand the Loroi but the Umiak are our antithesis and thus we have a natural dislike for them.


And they are ugly space bugs while Loroi are smexy, mostly female elves.
Bugs are not shipping materials and fanfic thrives on shipping.


Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:25 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
TrashMan wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
From a storytelling perceptive the Umiak are hard to nail down, it's hard to write them in a way to make them 'presentable' without twisting a few corners, because frankly they are an antithesis of human society.

TL;DR : It's easier to write Loroi as friendly and Umiaks as baddies because we can immediately understand the Loroi but the Umiak are our antithesis and thus we have a natural dislike for them.


And they are ugly space bugs while Loroi are smexy, mostly female elves.
Bugs are not shipping materials and fanfic thrives on shipping.


I have seen enough hentai to know that this isn't 100% accurate :mrgreen:

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Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:51 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
bunnyboy wrote:
Look a bit of asian cultures.


ALL HAIL GLORIOUS NIPPON!

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Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:46 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Quote:
I have seen enough hentai to know that this isn't 100% accurate :mrgreen:


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I said SHIPPING.
Long term relationships are not something space bugs are known for.


Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:28 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
With knowledge of medics and japan perversions, I can say there is many kind of bugs for life.
Gokicha-chan is one of cutest.

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Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:20 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
I'm more partial to Squid Girl

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Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:01 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
She got her own tentacles. :twisted:

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Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:07 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
dragoongfa wrote:
Author's Random Ramblings:

Naming characters



Naming character is personally the hardest thing when writing for me. :ugeek:




Quote:
She got her own tentacles. :twisted:


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Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:08 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
TrashMan wrote:
dragoongfa wrote:
Author's Random Ramblings:

Naming characters



Naming character is personally the hardest thing when writing for me. :ugeek:



It's hard, make no mistake, picking a name is probably the hardest part when you want to build a primary character, since a primary character is there to stay in the spotlight the name must also be such; the problem is that the name really doesn't matter when you think about it.

The name itself is just a label, it doesn't mean anything beyond the vague meaning of each name. Some names are funny in that, others have a deep meaning and some times names may fit a person's personality and life but most of the times humans don't pay much attention to names and instead focus on each character's action and those are what really give a meaning to the name. For this reason the ancient Greeks used to get their permanent name in late adolescence, a name that reflected their personality through their actions.

Some writers give names that 'fit' the actions of each character. I personally choose to give arbirtrary names that gain meaning through each characters actions.

When someone thinks about it, that's how names work in modern real life as well and that's how certain names have gained dominance throughout the years. For example 'George' used to be a very rare name in Greece and elsewhere but once a certain legend of a dragon slayer Christian saint gained prominence then the name really took hold and became one of the most prominent names in the Western world.

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Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:30 am
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Chapter 1, Part 2

From antiquity one facet of military organizations helped innumerable soldiers maintain their discipline, focus and sanity. It was simple to the point of absurdity but the truth was that morale always stayed stable when the routine schedule of a unit remained stable. For some reason and despite human nature, military personnel are most stable when they know that their schedule is kept to the letter. From the lowliest soldier, to the highest ranking generals, everyone preferred the predictability of a tightly kept schedule over the sloppy uncertainty of doing things as they go.
Captain Asteios was no exception to this rule. He would wake up at 5:30am, he would clean and shave himself by 5:45, he would be fully dressed by 5:55, he would have finished eating his breakfast at the mess hall by 6:15 and he would always be at the bridge at 6:25 in order to be briefed by the night shift officer before assuming command at exactly 6:30. Those who haven’t felt the same amount of responsibilities on their shoulders would never understand it but the stability that this scheduled routine offered was one of the reasons he could keep himself focused whenever he felt the sheer weight of the mission at hand.

Matveyev was in the middle of its unscheduled survey of that devastated system. He brought up the system’s map, barely managing to beat back a sigh as he glanced the name he had given it just a day and a half ago. He had done so in order to help motivate his crew but now, after seeing everything that this system had to show, he couldn’t help but feel ashamed at his badly timed and placed motivational prank. Looking at the numerous grey blips throughout the star map, each single blip indicating a dead hulk and gutted space station, he couldn’t help but remember the images of the cratered cities that he had seen yesterday. Deciding that seeing all that was more than enough to motivate everyone he brought up the star system’s temporary records and deleted the name and its explanatory note.

He leaned back on his chair trying to come up with something appropriate but he couldn’t. He let the name field blank and wrote ‘Nothing seems appropriate’ as an explanatory note before saving the altered records. The computer automatically filled the blank name with the initial, computer generated, abstract alpha numerical tag and made a mental note to come up with something appropriate before leaving the system.

The blue blip that marked the returning shuttle drew his attention when he was done with the name and checked the preliminary reports from the first EVA survey of a dead space station that he had ordered yesterday. The first thing that the reports mentioned was that the space station was looted after being destroyed by weapons fire. There were clear signs that the station’s systems had been meticulously dismantled and taken off station, but what was odd was the fact that the machinery of the station was dismantled in a far less meticulous manner and was missing; while whatever couldn’t be moved was destroyed with explosives.

He could understand the computer systems, since they could hold valuable information that could help the war effort but the machinery perplexed him since both the Loroi and the Umiak should have far better tech than what the Tithric used to have.

He brought up the next segment of the report which had up close images of the numerous hits the station received from what looked like an energy weapon. The report written by the engineer in charge of the survey, Lieutenant Francois Litteauer also had disheartening information about the station’s armor. The alloys used in its construction looked similar to the alloys used in the light armor of the Orgus freighter, which were somewhat stronger that the alloys used by TCA warships. More disheartening was the fact that the station’s armor was as thick as a Heavy Cruiser’s and yet it barely provided any protection against the weapons that struck the station. The lieutenant also made an assumption of the nature of the weapons used in the destruction of the station, saying that it should be some short of plasma projector. The report closed with the mention that some alloy samples and some small pieces of electronic equipment were taken for further study above Matveyev.

Good man… The Captain thought and begun to check the reports of the everyday workings of Matveyev before a blinking intercom call message drew his attention. Without thinking he pressed accept and the image of Ensign Andrei Bessonov filled his screen. The ensign offered a hasty salute and waited for the captain to return it.

“What is it ensign?” The Captain asked as he did so.

“Sir, me and my team would like to inform you that we found something interesting while looking through the points of interest reports.” Remembering that he had occupied the off duty ensigns by dumping on them the tens of thousands of seemingly unimportant reports about potential points of interest, he couldn’t help but feel curious about what they found that they would alert him directly.
“Go on.”

“I am sending it to you right now, Sir.” An alert flashed on his screen and he opened the message.

“What I am looking at exactly?” Captain Asteios asked as he glanced through the images of a small cloud of metallic debris near the edge of the star system’s asteroid field.

“Sir, that particular debris is recent.”

“What?”

“Check the infrared spectrum of the images, Sir.” Ensign Bessonov replied and Captain Asteios did so and instantly all of the bits and pieces of debris stood out with a warm yellow color.

“They are still warm.”

“Warmer than anything else in the system, Sir.” Ensign Bessonov replied. “We checked.”

“This means that whatever happened there happened recently. Do you have a timeframe estimate?” The Captain asked.

“I am sorry Sir, but we will need to examine them up close for that.” The ensign replied.

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention ensign.” The Captain said and looked as the ensign closely, noticing for the first time that he was unshaved while looking like he hadn’t slept at all.” How
long have you been going through those reports ensign?”

“I don’t know Sir, what time is it?” The Ensign said as he looked at something off screen. “A little less than 12 hours, Sir.” The ensign replied with embarrassment.

“And I think that your next shift starts in a few minutes…” The Captain shook his head at that. “You and your team can go and hit the rack, your next shift will start in 8 hours.”

“Thank you, Sir.” The ensign’s face immediately lit up with relief at that.

“And ensign, next time make sure you are shaved before addressing a superior officer.”

“Yes, Sir, I am sorry, Sir.”

Closing the call Captain Asteios made a couple of quick calls about the last minute shift changes, feeling regret about disrupting the schedule of others but the ensigns deserved some sleep for their efforts. After closing those calls he opened the system map again.

The debris field that ensign Bessonov and his team had found was nearby, just a couple of hours away if Matveyev turned and maintained its current speed. The returning shuttle was closer, just shy of half an hour away from it. He sent the coordinates to the shuttle, ordering them to proceed and investigate it up close while Matveyev would meet up with them there.
He leaned back on his chair and thought about that debris, it was obvious that it would be something from either the Loroi or the Umiak and all things considered it was a far better prospect for meaningful salvage than the decades old and looted hulks adrift throughout the system.

Chapter 1, Part 3: viewtopic.php?p=18323#p18323

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:25 pm
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Post Re: [Fan Fiction] Looking forward to the Mirror
Chapter 1, part 3

Lieutenant Francois Litteauer was at first annoyed about his new orders since their current sojourn into the system had already lasted more than 14 hours, 5 of which were in EVA, examining that destroyed space station. His mood however changed when the Captain explained the situation.

Debris that was still warm meant that it was recent and that meant that it would certainly come from either a Loroi or Umiak vessel. Even a basic alloy sample would offer amazing insights into the technology of races that were space faring and FTL capable for thousands of years. Examining up close a debris field that could be all that remained of a destroyed ship was something that could not be ignored, even if the surviving pieces were too small to draw some initial attention to them, since even such small pieces could shed some light into the technology of these two superpowers.

Now, as he floated amidst the debris field he was both delighted for the opportunity and resigned as everything that floated around him looked like some short of green painted armor. What he wouldn’t give for even a small fragment of circuitry but at least he got the alloy samples he wanted while the rest of his five man team checked the various bits and pieces that drifted around.

“What do you think Lieutenant?” Captain Asteios’s voice surprised him. Remembering that the Matveyev was still a little distant he accounted for the time lag during their conversation.

“Sir, beyond the various alloy samples we have already taken there is nothing of worth here.” He waited for a few seconds for the reply to come.

“What do you think happened there?”

“Sir, I believe that this is not the result of a battle. We would see a larger and far more varied amount of debris if that was the case, we also haven’t seen anything that looks like weapons scorch marks on anything that we have examined.” He picked up the datapad he had tied to his waist and sent a message to Matveyev. “With some quick calculations taking into account the orientation and speed of the debris, I think that it came from this asteroid at the edge of the asteroid field. It could be that a ship collided with it and bits of its armor ended up drifting away from the asteroid due to its low gravity.” Once again he waited for a few seconds for the reply to come.

“I want you and your team to go have a look at that asteroid, Lieutenant.” The Captain ordered.

“Yes, Sir.”

No one bothered to take off their space suit once they got back into the shuttle, everyone knowing that they would probably have to do another EVA walk if they found something on that asteroid. The lieutenant just sat at the co-pilots seat, next to 2nd Lieutenant Altti Viranko who piloted the shuttle.

“I don’t see anything on the asteroid from where we are.” Viranko commented.

“If my calculations are correct the impact site should be at the other side of the asteroid.” Lieutenant Litteauer replied.

“Ah yes, I forgot that asteroids rotate the same way as planets. Do we have any idea for how long that debris has been adrift?”

“8 days, give or take.”

“8 days? If there is something worth finding we will find it, not enough time for someone else to come and loot anything of worth.” Viranko commented.

“I hope so.” Lieutenant Litteuer replied wishfully.

Flying towards and around the asteroid in order to reach the estimated impact site took them only a couple of minutes and what they found was underwhelming.

“That doesn’t look like the impact site of a ship.” Viranko commented as they both looked to what looked like a grazed off hilltop.

“More like someone got too close and grazed their ship on the asteroid.” Lieutenant Litteauer agreed.

“Only an idiot would go that close to an asteroid on a whim so…” Viranko said outloud.

“They were either hiding or running from something.”

“If they were hiding and hit the asteroid by accident then their pilot is an idiot for going that close but if they were running from something and tried to use the asteroid as cover from someone who was too close then it would make sense to go as close as possible and use the shape of the asteroid as cover.” Virankov commented.

“If that’s the case they had only one alternative to escape.”

“The asteroid field.” Viranko nodded while both of them looked at the dense asteroid field just a couple of dozen kilometers away from them.

Lieutenant Litteauer then opened a channel to Matveyev and waited for a reply.

“What is it lieutenant? You found something?” The Captain asked.

“Almost nothing sir, only what looks like evidence of a ship grazing the asteroid.” The lieutenant replied while sending an image of what they were seeing.

“What do you think?”

“Both 2nd Lieutenant Viranko and I believe that whoever did this was running from something.”

“And if they were running they would go someplace to hide as well.” Viranko commented.

“The asteroid field.” Captain Asteios replied after some thought.

“Yes sir, we are requesting permission to enter the field to investigate such a possibility.” Virankov replied.

“How much fuel do you have left?”

“A little more than a quarter of a tank sir, 5 hours.” Viranko replied.

“You have an hour to go in and investigate but be advised that the electromagnetic interference from the asteroids may disrupt your systems and you may lose contact with Matveyev. If that happens you may proceed on your own but under no circumstances you are to endanger yourselves or the shuttle.”

“Yes, Sir.” Viranko acknowledged and the Captain cut off the connection.

“He seems on edge.” Viranko commented.

“He doesn’t want to return to Earth without coming in contact with someone.” Lieutenant Litteauer replied.

“No one thought that we would find something important enough that we will have to return it to Earth but now…”

“Yeah, no one would like it if that happened but we all know what’s at stake.”

Entering the asteroid field took them only 5 minutes, 10 minutes later they completely lost contact with Matveyev due to the interference and it took them 25 more minutes of fruitless search before running into what they were looking for.

“What in the devil’s name happened here?” Lieutenant Litteauer said out loud as he tried to take in what they were looking at.

“Looks like they found each other but I don’t think that we will find anything that will make us go back to Earth.” Viranko replied.

The signs from battle in front of them were clear as day. Clouds of hot and glistening metal filled the sizable opening between 4 large asteroids in front of the shuttle. The asteroid themselves sporting numerous craters from stray shots; one of them missing a sizable chunk as well.

“Antimatter explosion, big one if it managed to disintegrate that much.” Lieutenant Litteauer commented.

“According to the Orgus both the Loroi and the Umiak have anti matter reactors.”

“Antimatter missiles as well but I don’t want to imagine a missile that can do that much damage.” Lieutenant Litteauer replied.

“A ship’s reactor going critical then?”

“Looks like and antimatter explosions don’t leave a lot of salvage.” Lieutenant Litteauer agreed.

“We still have twenty minutes, let’s see if we can find anything.” Viranko commented.

Twenty minutes passed fruitlessly with only small pieces of charred metal to be found on the two asteroid they circled around. When time was up both 2nd Lieutenant Viranko and Lieutenant Litteauer agreed to at least circle the other two asteroids once before going back to Matveyev. When they were about to finish circling the third asteroid Lieutenant Litteauer saw something and pointed at it.

“Let’s have a look at that canyon before flying around the last asteroid.”

“It looks deep and I doubt that any debris got down there.” Viranko replied.

“We don’t have to go at its bottom, just fly us over it.” The Lieutenant insisted.

“Fine.”

“It looks like you were right…” Lieutenant Litteauer said after a minute.

“Told you…” Something then drew Viranko’s attention. “Wait what’s that?”

“It looks like something big grazed that side of the canyon with a downward…There!” Lieutenant Litteauer cried out in triumph when he saw what was at the bottom of the canyon, partially hidden in a large crevice.

“How the hell did they manage to get it in there?” Viranko asked.

“Desperation, dumb luck, who knows. All I know is that we have to go back to Matveyev to report this.”

Chapter 2, Part 1: viewtopic.php?p=18392#p18392

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