Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
[Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
I've made some changes to part III of the intro. These are pretty minor, but help to make the reading experience more fluid. Otherwise I intend to leave it at that.
Some other stuff I forgot to mention:
HLS - heavy laser turret. Standard large laser turret.
HMD - heavy missile emplacement.
TWE - test weapons emplacement. The facility they use to test-fire all manner of weapons, from small fast moving point-defence lasers, to large spinal mounted guns. Because it is immobile (a large, truss-like structure similar to what you would find in a modern space telescope), the orbital test target moves in it's way, which means OTT must have some measure of maneuverability.


Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:14 am
Profile

Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:37 am
Posts: 8
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Mr.Tucker wrote:
I've made some changes to part III of the intro. These are pretty minor, but help to make the reading experience more fluid. Otherwise I intend to leave it at that.
Some other stuff I forgot to mention:
HLS - heavy laser turret. Standard large laser turret.
HMD - heavy missile emplacement.
TWE - test weapons emplacement. The facility they use to test-fire all manner of weapons, from small fast moving point-defence lasers, to large spinal mounted guns. Because it is immobile (a large, truss-like structure similar to what you would find in a modern space telescope), the orbital test target moves in it's way, which means OTT must have some measure of maneuverability.

Eh, the introduction so far is interesting (one of the big projects I'm working on is a GATE: ...and thus the JSDF Fought There fic that is already almost 34150 words and it's not even the 6th chapter (including prologue) yet!), and is a good start for either a beginner fanfic writer or someone who only does fanfics for fun IMHO.

From the sounds of it, it looks like that you're going for a more transhuman route for humanity.


Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:58 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
GrandAdmiralFox wrote:
Eh, the introduction so far is interesting (one of the big projects I'm working on is a GATE: ...and thus the JSDF Fought There fic that is already almost 34150 words and it's not even the 6th chapter (including prologue) yet!), and is a good start for either a beginner fanfic writer or someone who only does fanfics for fun IMHO.

From the sounds of it, it looks like that you're going for a more transhuman route for humanity.


Thank you, and apologies, it took me a while to see your reply. I happen to like Gate (though I tend to cringe at some of the more nationalistic scenes :D ).
As for the future of humanity...well, I don't intend to reach that far (yet). It just seems natural to me that there would be something of a blending between man and machine. The in-universe characteristics of the Historians also seem to suggest that this would be the route. But, as I said, until I see what comes next in the comic itself, I probably won't venture :) .
Thank you again!


Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:20 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Well, after a computer crash, the next part had to be delayed (cos it got lost...shame on me for not saving :( ). Luckily, I managed to rewrite it, so here it is.

Introduction - Part IV

Spoiler: show
"Jump signature."

"As expected. They've been chasing us this long, why would they give up now?"


"Perhaps, now would be the time to turn around and fight. "

Torrai Torret Razorleaf contemplated the option. The tense atmosphere around them was palpable,and their collective Sanzai radiated anxiousness, fear...and above all anger.

"We must engage them now. Or else we stand no hope of either delivering a report or even returning to Loroi space. We are already running on reserves."

"Your tactical analysis is always welcome, Soroin Nedeil Swifttalon, but in strategic matters, the call on how to act remains mine." The telepathic chatter suddenly grew silent. A bit of authority never hurts. "Is the enemy on an intercept vector, Seinen Eclipse?"

"Close pass, Captain. Not a propper intercept, but a glancing attack", replied the blue haired young warrior sitting in front of the command seat.

"Which means they'd stay for longer in our weapon range. "

"Yes, Swifttalon, but they can easily change vectors. A close, broadside pass can turn into a head-on charge in several solon. Navigator, have they kicked loose their gunboats?"

"Negative captain. Still anchored. "

"So they expect us to fight at some point, and when it becomes inevitable, they release their smallcraft to present us with multiple incoming targets. "

"Those gunboats are easy prey,
Captain, replied Swifttalon.

"But they demand resources of time to eliminate. Even one can cripple us if it gets close enough. "

Razorleaf activated a console.

"Bastobar Cloudpeak, how are repairs to the starboard nacelle coming? "

A moment of silence followed the verbal exchange. The longer it is, the more trouble the chief engineer has on his plate to deal with.

"Situation unchanged, captain", replied a tired voice over the intercom. "Until we make drydock, there's no repairing this engine. We've contained the fuel leaks before our last jump, and the reserves should last us...about another three days at current consumption. "

"Three days? That's not nearly enough to get us back to Loroi space", interjected Tenoin Narrat Sandstone from her console.

"It is, if we limit our change in speed while traversing a system, and choosing routes that require few maneuvers. So far, it has served us well."

"If we do that, we need to be safe. We need to turn and face them head-on.
"With half our thrust gone, and nearly empty tanks? Don't be foolish . In such a large system, all they'd have to do is wait us out from outside our weapon range. It's what they're doing now, only against a static target. That's why we're performing this jump. So we can finally shake them."


The weapons officer's mood turned considerably darker.

"Captain, we've been running for so long we've emptied our reserves. Face it, you've let them drive us into the dirt. Jumping would only prolong the inevitable fight. "

Razorleaf felt a bubble of anger swell up from inside her chest.

"Watch your thoughts, officer Swifttalon. They are likely to get you injured, she fluttered in a cold manner. ''The next system is a small red dwarf. It will take considerably less time to traverse from one jump point to another. By the time they'll make their jump, we will have already left. They won't know were we've gone. It's just one ship, they can't comb every system in time to catch us. We'll have shaken them."

She felt proud of her plan. It had taken time, patience and sacrifice but was promising. She hid her other thoughts though, before they made their way up. Her plan of action. To sacrifice members of the crew, to make it so their water and food supplies last them until they made it back into Loroi space.It may take months, but that would help stretch the fuel reserves, and there would be someone to report back...If it wasn't too late. Winning this game would be the easy part.

The decision made her angry, horrified and fearful at the same time. Someone like Swifttalon or the Teidar onboard would not like being told they need to be euthanized. How she'd force them to accept...not now. Avoiding battle and shaking the enemy is the priority right now.

"If I may interject", spoke the Mizol at the right-had console,"

Swifttalon has a point: jumping would not make our tactical situation any better. Your plan carries a big risk. What if the other system has only two jump zones? Having just jumped from one like we have, the shells will know there's only a single other escape path. And the systems beyond may be too large to attempt another disappearance strategy. What if it has NO other jump points? This is uncharted territory."


"Then we join battle, Losat Moonshadow.Either way our flight stops. The smaller system will make maneuvers more difficult for them.I doubt they would offer us the chance for a head-on confrontation. This commander is being...unusually careful."

"That's what I'd noticed myself, captain" replied the white-haired Mizol.

"It's likely he knows our condition. He knows we are desperate. That's...not a good way to engage them."

"We can't keep running either.Insubordinate as she may be, Swifttalon has a point. We're dangerously low on reserves." Maybe if I show some leniency to her opinion, it would dull her aggression." And yes, everyone has noticed the cunning of the shell. We all bore witness to our entire strike group getting wiped out. "

She could feel anger and rage swelling. Try not to poke at their hatred. Or their fear."We need to let high command know what happened. How the Umiak can bypass our Farseer network. How we jumped into a system that was meant to be empty and found an entire division waiting for us."

"More fleeing is all I see ", concluded Swifttalon with an edge of desperation. "Like a pack of miros scurrying from a hunter. Where is our honor?"

"We were ORDERED to escape. No one else was CLOSE enough to make the jump. We MUST report back. Those are our orders, given to us by our commanding officer.They stand even when she is dead. ARE WE CLEAR?"
The telepathic shout caught Swifttalon off guard. She experienced a pulse of hostility before settling down.

I should really be more careful. Having a powerful Lotai is no defence against a telekinetically projected chair. Especially if she allies herself with the Mizol. Though that ones seems content to give out advice and merely suggest new orders. You never know with them...

"We have more to report than just the ambush, captain", said Moonshadow in a calm manner. ''That ship followed us all the way into the Great Wasteland with no end in sight. It's escorts dropped away, but it perseveres. And to tow those gunboats along...it's fuel reserves are unusually large. It doesn't fear not having enough to return. Or perhaps it does not care. "

"I'm aware, officer Moonshadow. Generally shell ships have larger reserves, and follow no fixed building standard. But this one is unusual. Has your analysis on it changed?"

"No, I have not been able to determine it's exact model, if it even has one. It's the size of a proper cruiser, but it's armament is more indicative of a destroyer. I retain my opinion that it was meant to follow upon deep strikes and chasing stragglers.We may be playing to its' advantage, captain, with this endless pursuit..."

"That may be, but such endurance comes at the price of fire power and durability.We have used a great deal of fuel getting here. Our ship is lighter, more nimble than it was. We've evened the playing field in terms of acceleration. I'll take my chances with a direct engagement in a region of smaller size, if it comes to that."


"Of course, captain, as you command", offered the Mizol. Swifttalon prefered to stay silent, though still seething with impatience and anger. She feels her honor being denied...

"I know you want revenge. And I know you feel betrayed and powerless... powerless to controll your fate, and powerless to fight back against opponents such as these. We all feel this way. We all want to fight, none more so than myself. But we need to CHOOSE our battles. The shells will jump into the next system, but by that time, we will have already fled. This is not a fight we can win. We need to accept that, and take the option that gives more benefits to the Union. How much longer until we make the jump, Eclipse?"

"Less than three digel, captain. The enemy will not catch up to us until then."

Razorleaf gave a slight telepathic confirmation, then turned to her console.
"Engineer Cloudpeak, be advised we are preparing for another jump. Make sure the dampeners are functioning normally, and the generator is up to the job. And secure your personnel. I want you ready as soon as we jump, in case we experience any malfunctions. Damage control teams nearby and ready to act."

"Affirmative, captain. It will be done", answered the engineer in her control room.
''Senein Swiftalon, make sure all personnel are ready. I want the ones in the medical bay secured and monitored, and the Teidar ready for action. Any action, even if that means assisting with damage control."

"Un...derstood, captain", replied the weapons officer." I just hope...we don't die alone, in the middle of this blasted wasteland."
"We won't die at all, Swifttalon. Not without taking them with us'' reassured the captain." Unless we get really unlucky.

"Should I continue to monitor the enemy ship and inform of any changes?" asked the pale Mizol.

"Indeed, Mizol Moonshadow. Carry on as you have done so far. We want no more surprises."

"Roger, captain. "

"Navigator Eclipse, I want the stars beyond the next system logged if possible. We won't know what we have in terms of escape routes until we enter the system, but we may be able to make a more precise assumption. Try and reduce our margin of uncertainty."

"I will do my best",
replied the cerulean haired Seinen.

This MUST work. I will not allow the disgrace of losing half my band a second time. Not again. Razorleaf sighed, remembering all the members of her group that had entrusted their lives to her at the beginning of their initiation. And their slow deaths, their faces, all implanted into her memory. The psychologist might to able to make me functional, but I will never truly be whole. The cruel irony of the universe, that I should find myself in the same spot.

She glanced up over the command deck. New crew, same situation. She felt her heart suddenly race, her tears welling up. Struggling to retain her Lotai, the Lotai that she could always maintain with such efficiency, she raised herself off her chair. A wave of crushing fatigue suddenly fell over her body. It felt like every bone and organ was made of granite. She hoped no one could notice her condition, her pain, her...exhaustion.

"Captain'', said Moonshadow, ''you should get some rest. We can take it from here. A commanding officer needs his judgement."

Of course you'd be the one to notice. Razorleaf eyed the blue bottle of pills on her command console. She hesitated, then turned away. Loroi are warriors. We can go without rest for long, but even we have limits. And stimulants can only take one so far.

She knew that even if they kept her awake, the longer the period without rest, the more pronounced conditions such as hallucinations and psychosis could become. I'm not there yet...but I'm not far either.

"I will withdraw to my quarters. Officer Moonshadow, the deck is yours. "
Swifttalon looked at her with an expression of surprise and disgust.The Mizol had been eyeing her since she had gotten up, but, apart from inviting her to take a break, had said nothing.

"Roger, captain. I will wake you when the jump commences or if there are changes to the tactical situation. "

Slowly, purposefully, Razorleaf walked to the bridge door. If they're gonna kill me in my sleep, at least they might, hopefully, make it painless... May the gods hear me...and may they make us wake from this nightmare. And with that concealed thought, exited the bridge.


Last edited by Mr.Tucker on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:07 am, edited 4 times in total.



Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:04 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:06 pm
Posts: 84
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Split it in two, with a better spacing.

Introduction - Part IV.a
Spoiler: show
"Jump signature."

"As expected. They've been chasing us this long, why would they give up now?"


"Perhaps, now would be the time to turn around and fight. "

Torrai Torret Razorleaf contemplated the option. The tense atmosphere around them was palpable,and their collective Sanzai radiated anxiousness, fear...and above all anger.

"We must engage them now. Or else we stand no hope of either delivering a report or even returning to Loroi space. We are already running on reserves."

"Your tactical analysis is always welcome, Soroin Nedeil Swifttalon, but in strategic matters, the call on how to act remains mine." The telepathic chatter suddenly grew silent. A bit of authority never hurts. "Is the enemy on an intercept vector, Seinen Eclipse?"

"Close pass, Captain. Not a propper intercept, but a glancing attack", replied the blue haired young warrior sitting in front of the command seat.

"Which means they'd stay for longer in our weapon range. "

"Yes, Swifttalon, but they can easily change vectors. A close, broadside pass can turn into a head-on charge in several solon. Navigator, have they kicked loose their gunboats?"

"Negative captain. Still anchored. "

"So they expect us to fight at some point, and when it becomes inevitable, they release their smallcraft to present us with multiple incoming targets. "

"Those gunboats are easy prey,
Captain, replied Swifttalon.

"But they demand resources of time to eliminate. Even one can cripple us if it gets close enough." Razorleaf activated a console. "Bastobar Cloudpeak, how are repairs to the starboard nacelle coming? "

A moment of silence followed the verbal exchange. The longer it is, the more trouble the chief engineer has on his plate to deal with.

"Situation unchanged, captain", replied a tired voice over the intercom. "Until we make drydock, there's no repairing this engine. We've contained the fuel leaks before our last jump, and the reserves should last us... about another three days at current consumption."

"Three days? That's not nearly enough to get us back to Loroi space", interjected Tenoin Narrat Sandstone from her console.

"It is, if we limit our change in speed while traversing a system, and choosing routes that require few maneuvers. So far, it has served us well."

"If we do that, we need to be safe. We need to turn and face them head-on.

"With half our thrust gone, and nearly empty tanks? Don't be foolish . In such a large system, all they'd have to do is wait us out from outside our weapon range. It's what they're doing now, only against a static target. That's why we're performing this jump. So we can finally shake them."


The weapons officer's mood turned considerably darker.

"Captain, we've been running for so long we've emptied our reserves. Face it, you've let them drive us into the dirt. Jumping would only prolong the inevitable fight. "

Razorleaf felt a bubble of anger swell up from inside her chest.

"Watch your thoughts, officer Swifttalon. They are likely to get you injured. She fluttered in a cold manner. ''The next system is a small red dwarf. It will take considerably less time to traverse from one jump point to another. By the time they'll make their jump, we will have already left. They won't know were we've gone. It's just one ship, they can't comb every system in time to catch us. We'll have shaken them."

She felt proud of her plan. It had taken time, patience and sacrifice but was promising. She hid her other thoughts though, before they made their way up. Her plan of action. To sacrifice members of the crew, to make it so their water and foodsupplies last them until they made it back into Loroi space. It may take months, but that would help stretch the fuel reserves, and there would be someone to report back... If it wasn't too late. Winning this game would be the easy part.

The decision made her angry, horrified and fearful at the same time. Someone like Swifttalon or the Teidar onboard would not like being told they need to be euthanized. How she'd force them to accept...not now. Avoiding battle and shaking the enemy is the priority right now.

"If I may interject", spoke the Mizol at the right-had console," Swifttalon has a point: jumping would not make our tactical situation any better. Your plan carries a big risk. What if the other system has only two jump zones? Having just jumped from one like we have, the shells will know there's only a single other escape path. And the systems beyond may be too large to attempt another disappearance strategy. What if it has NO other jump points? This is uncharted territory."

"Then we join battle, Losat Moonshadow.Either way our flight stops. The smaller system will make maneuvers more difficult for them.I doubt they would offer us the chance for a head-on confrontation. This commander is being... unusually careful."

"That's what I'd noticed myself, captain." replied the white-haired Mizol. "It's likely it knows our condition. It knows we are desperate. That's... not a good way to engage them."

"We can't keep running either.Insubordinate as she may be, Swifttalon has a point. We're dangerously low on reserves." Maybe if I show some leniency to her opinion, it would dull her aggression. "And yes, everyone has noticed the cunning of the shell. We all bore witness to our entire strike group getting wiped out. "

She could feel anger and rage swelling. Try not to poke at their hatred. Or their fear. "We need to let high command know what happened. How the Umiak can bypass our Farseer network. How we jumped into a system that was meant to be empty and found an entire division waiting for us."

"More fleeing is all I see !", concluded Swifttalon with an edge of desperation. "Like a pack of miros scurrying from a hunter ! Where is our honor?"

"We were ORDERED to escape. No one else was CLOSE enough to make the jump. We MUST report back. Those are our orders, given to us by our commanding officer. They stand even when she is dead. ARE WE CLEAR?"

The telepathic shout caught Swifttalon offguard. She experienced a pulse of hostility before settling down.

I should really be more carefull. Having a powerfull Lotai is no defence against a telekinetically projected chair. Especially if she allies herself with the Mizol. Though that ones seems content to give out advice and merely suggest new orders. You never know with them...

"We have more to report than just the ambush, captain", said Moonshadow in a calm manner. "That ship followed us all the way into the Great Wasteland with no end in sight. It's escorts dropped away, but it perseveres. And to tow those gunboats along... it's fuel reserves are unusually large. It doesn't fear not having enough to return. Or perhaps it does not care."


Last edited by Onaiom on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:55 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:06 pm
Posts: 84
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Introduction - Part IV.b
Spoiler: show
"I'm aware, officer Moonshadow. Generally shell ships have larger reserves, and follow no fixed building standard. But this one is unusual. Has your analysis on it changed?"

"No, I have not been able to determine it's exact model, if it even has one. It's the size of a propper cruiser, but it's armament is more indicative of a destroyer. I retain my opinion that it was meant to follow upon deep strikes and chasing stragglers. We may be playing to its' advantage, captain, with this endless pursuit..."

"That may be, but such endurance comes at the price of fire power and durability. We have used a great deal of fuel getting here. Our ship is lighter, more nimble than it was. We've evened the playing field in terms of acceleration. I'll take my chances with a direct engagement in a region of smaller size, if it comes to that."

"Of course, captain, as you command." Offered the Mizol. Swifttalon prefered to stay silent, though still seething with impatience and anger. She feels her honor being denied...

"I know you want revenge. And I know you feel betrayed and powerless... powerless to controll your fate, and powerless to fight back against opponents such as these. We all feel this way. We all want to fight, none more so than myself. But we need to CHOOSE our battles. The shells will jump into the next system, but by that time, we will have already fled. This is not a fight we can win. We need to accept that, and take the option that gives more benefits to the Union. How much longer until we make the jump, Eclipse?"

"Less than three digel, captain. The enemy will not catch up to us until then."

Razorleaf gave a slight telepathic confirmation, then turned to her console.

"Engineer Cloudpeak, be advised we are preparing for another jump. Make sure the dampeners are functioning normally, and the generator is up to the job. And secure your personnel. I want you ready as soon as we jump, in case we experience any malfunctions. Damage control teams nearby and ready to act."

"Affirmative, captain. It will be done", answered the engineer in her control room.

''Senein Swiftalon, make sure all personnel are ready. I want the ones in the medical bay secured and monitored, and the Teidar ready for action. Any action, even if that means assisting with damage control."

"Un...derstood, captain." Replied the weapons officer. "I just hope... we don't die alone, in the middle of this blasted wasteland."

"We won't die at all, Swifttalon. Not without taking them with us reassured the captain." Unless we get really unlucky.

"Should I continue to monitor the enemy ship and inform of any changes?" Asked the pale Mizol.

"Indeed, Mizol Moonshadow. Carry on as you have done so far. We want no more surprises."

"Roger, captain."

"Navigator Eclipse, I want the stars beyond the next system logged if possible. We won't know what we have in terms of escape routes until we enter the system, but we may be able to make a more precise assumption. Try and reduce our margin of uncertainty."

"I will do my best",
replied the cerulean haired Seinen.

This MUST work. I will not allow the disgrace of losing half my band a second time. Not again. Razorleaf sighed, remembering all the members of her group that had entrusted their lives to her at the beginning of their initiation. And their slow deaths, their faces, all implanted into her memory. The psychologist might to able to make me functional, but I will never truly be whole. The cruel irony of the universe, that I should find myself in the same spot.

She glanced up over the command deck. New crew, same situation. She felt her heart suddenly race, her tears welling up. Struggling to retain her Lotai, the Lotai that she could always maintain with such efficiency, she raised herself off her chair. A wave of crushing fatigue suddenly fell over her body. It felt like every bone and organ was made of granite. She hoped no one could notice her condition, her pain, her... exhaustion.

"Captain'', said Moonshadow, ''you should get some rest. We can take it from here. A commanding officer needs her judgement."

Of course you'd be the one to notice. Razorleaf eyed the blue bottle of pills on her command console. She hesitated, then turned away. Loroi are warriors. We can go without rest for long, but even we have limits. And stimulants can only take one so far. She knew that even if they kept her awake, the longer the period without rest, the more pronounced conditions such as hallucinations and psychosis could become. I'm not there yet... but I'm not far either.

"I will withdraw to my quarters. Officer Moonshadow, the deck is yours. "

Swifttalon looked at her with an expression of surprise and disgust. The Mizol had been eyeing her since she had gotten up, but, apart from inviting her to take a break, had said nothing.

"Roger, captain. I will wake you when the jump commences or if there are changes to the tactical situation."

Slowly, purposefully, Razorleaf walked to the bridge door. If they're gonna kill me in my sleep, at least they might, hopefully, make it painless... May the gods hear me... and may they make us wake from this nightmare. And with that concealed thought, exited the bridge.


Last edited by Onaiom on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:13 pm
Profile

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 am
Posts: 262
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Very good, Mr. Tucker, I like where this is going.

One comment about consistency though. What doesn't add up in my opinion is the engineer reporting that they have fuel for three days at current consumption and the captain contemplating having the crew draw straws in order to conserve water and food for a months long journey back. This doesn't make sense. They will run out of fuel sooner than starve to death and without fuel (which also means no electricity, gravity or life support) they aren't going anywhere, anyway.

Unless I'm dead wrong, the reactor's energy output goes into, in decreasing proportion, jump drive, propulsion, weapon systems, shields, life support (HVAC, water recycling and gravity) and auxiliaries like lighting, computers, controls, etc. I don't see how killing, say, even 95% of the crew could stretch a three day fuel supply into months.


Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:31 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
@Onaiom Thank you, I was so sleepy at the time this went up, I completely neglected to put any spacing in it as I'd done before.
The part number (it's IV, not III) has also been revised, along with some spelling and italic codes (working through those while being half asleep is...challenging).

@entity2636 Thing is, in space, once you start moving in a direction, you don't stop. A spaceship is rated in two things:
1) how fast it can accelerate.
2) how much total change in speed (delta-v) it can produce with a full tank.
When Cloudspeak is reporting available fuel, she's reporting as they are at that time (constant acceleration of about 2G). Since she doesn't know what the brass intends to do in terms of maneuvers, she can only give instantaneous values of consumption, rather than average ones.
Now, since fuel is directly proportional to delta-v, it means that a ship can lengthen its reserves by a substantial margin (remember, Loroi ships use tamat/antimatter reactors, and floater drives; they have crazy high delta-v for their fuel fraction), PROVIDED it doesn't bother you that your trip times will now be measured in...1-2 years, rather than a month. Since Loroi ships don't have nearly enough supplies of life-support essentials, the limit then becomes said consumables. From what we can tell, Loroi ships mostly get resupplied rather than running elaborate closed-cycle ecological loops (which makes sense; CCEL-s tend to be fragile, heavy, complex to build and maintain and disproportionately large for their size; this is an escort destroyer, not a battleship).
To sum up, even a minute amount of acceleration and delta-v can help one cross vast distances (hell, nothing stops you from coasting most of the way), the problem becomes one of entering jump zones (modifying your vector requires some of those precious km/s of delta-v) and time. Even the Dawn spacecraft of today can achieve a delta-v of 10km/sec, but it does so with a force smaller than the weight of a piece of paper, and thus minute acceleration. Off the top of my head, I'd say the Loroi destroyer has about 500 km/sec of delta-v left (not much considering a ballpark of it's full-tank delta-v is about 30.000 km/sec; everything's relative).
Is it a crazy plan? You bet. But Razorleaf is not in a good mental state right now right now (and neither is her crew).

Hopefully, my wall of text doesn't discourage you from asking further questions or providing feedback whenever you want :P . I revel in the chance to speak of my nerdier passions.


Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:29 pm
Profile

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 am
Posts: 262
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Mr.Tucker wrote:
When Cloudspeak is reporting available fuel, she's reporting as they are at that time (constant acceleration of about 2G). Since she doesn't know what the brass intends to do in terms of maneuvers, she can only give instantaneous values of consumption, rather than average ones.


:lol: Alright, this reminds me about a Russian anecdote about two famous fictional WW1-era soldiers. It goes something like this. They are flying a plane in zero visibility. The pilot asks his second: "Pete! Gages!" Pete answers: "Three!" Pilot asks back: "Three what?!" Pete, in return: "Gages what?!"

Your engineer sounds quite tired and overworked if she without thinking spits out the instantaneous fuel usage rather than "average until empty" :D *not nitpicking, just observing here*

Mr.Tucker wrote:
Since Loroi ships don't have nearly enough supplies of life-support essentials, the limit then becomes said consumables. From what we can tell, Loroi ships mostly get resupplied rather than running elaborate closed-cycle ecological loops (which makes sense; CCEL-s tend to be fragile, heavy, complex to build and maintain and disproportionately large for their size; this is an escort destroyer, not a battleship).


While they do get resupplied on a regular basis, one would assume each deep space vessel carries enough supplies (as in food, water, spare parts) to last them at least a couple of months and that they most certainly do recycle their air and water. That being said, of course you could in theory use only RCS thrusters for propulsion, kill everyone except a handful of officers and shut down life support and gravity for most of the ship and take months to years to traverse each system, but that sounds like a very bad idea.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
Is it a crazy plan? You bet. But Razorleaf is not in a good mental state right now right now (and neither is her crew).


It is indeed, better not let that thought slip or the captain may, knowing loroi mentality, find herself dead or in the brig in the blink of an eye, being deemed crazy and unfit for duty. The loroi would rather kill themselves against the enemy than draw straws.


Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:30 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
entity2636 wrote:
Your engineer sounds quite tired and overworked if she without thinking spits out the instantaneous fuel usage rather than "average until empty" *not nitpicking, just observing here*

Average until empty is problematic in my mind, because the route they've take so far has had everything from hard burns (as hard as they can manage), to coasting. She could average it out, but without knowing what is ahead, she might be off by quite a margin. And we engineers HATE being off :P .
In hindsight (though I'm not going to modify it or anything), I guess a chief engineer would report what she has in terms of remaining delta-v. But I needed to frame it in a time interval, and it seemed better that way. Plus, converting m/s into mannal/solon is...unfun :P .Especially since I don't know what the multiples of mannal are; I doubt they'd report their speed in hundreds of thousands of mannal per solon.
I still loathe imperial for those sleepless nights in college...

entity2636 wrote:
While they do get resupplied on a regular basis, one would assume each deep space vessel carries enough supplies (as in food, water, spare parts) to last them at least a couple of months and that they most certainly do recycle their air and water. That being said, of course you could in theory use only RCS thrusters for propulsion, kill everyone except a handful of officers and shut down life support and gravity for most of the ship and take months to years to traverse each system, but that sounds like a very bad idea.

I would assume air and water get recycled. They're easy to recycle if you have enough energy. Food, doubtful. And yes, I would ballpark their supplies at, say, about 1-2 months (incursions into the charred steppes don't last that long). Problems appear when you relate that with their remaining fuel (which they've been burning like crazy running in the opposite direction to where Loroi space is). Given the 500 km/sec delta-v they have left, it would take about 500 days (a ballpark of about 150 AU, with a speed of 500 km/sec; doesn't assume vector changes, or time to reach full speed, so it's a very rough estimate on my part, but any of the above would eat into your speed budget, and thus only prolong the trip) to get back to Loroi space. Not nearly enough supplies for that.
Razorleaf has made some decisions that'll have an impact, but she's not entirely wrong about not having enough supplies to return.

RCS thrusters are generally simple things, with crappy ISP (and thus delta-v) but sharp, powerful acceleration to rapidly point the ship in different directions with precision in battle.


Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:56 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:00 pm
Posts: 392
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
As this story is goimg I think we can assume that nthere will be some contact with humans eventually. If this takes place after the Orgus contact, chances are that at least someone on that base speak trade. I can see a number of ways that they could solve their problems with a bit of help considering the resources present at that research base. Time will tell.


Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:45 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Final part of the introduction. If palatable to you, then enjoy! :P

Introduction - Part V

Spoiler: show
With deliberate, rehearsed motions, he jutted his armored hand forwards, grasping a rock in the dim,pale, shadowy desert that surrounded him from all sides.

You got this... Remember the rules. Grasp, don't push. Keep the direction parallel. Don't push outwards. Inhale....right hand...exhale...left hand.

Glancing around, he saw the other members of the fireteam scurrying above the surface, with the same deliberate gestures, like spiders crawling up a curtain in the night.

We made it so far. Just a little more to go.

"Half a click left to the summit, boys" said sergeant Walker with a tone of authority. "Stay frosty, let's not screw up just as we're about to hit home base. Anyone drops the ball, and he'll be doing double shifts down on the reactor level."

"Honestly, sir? Eight hours of watching grass grow and hydrogen fuse might be preferable" said private Ortega to the far right.

"Can it, Ortega. The universe is on the other side of this suit, and I'd like to do it a favor."

"What happens if one of us slips up, sir? I mean, we got thrusters to get us back if we over-jump."

Really tempting fate with that one, rookie.

"Thrusters won't get you far enough from me if you screw up." barked the sergeant. "Our little field trip is monitored, private Jensen. No one goes out an airlock without permission. Our performance is weighed and measured. We're the best and we ought to show it."

"Rest of the platoon should already be up there, sarge" he reported.

"They contacted earlier, corporal Hammond" replied the NCO. "They made it a couple of hours ago, and headed back in before the test firing commenced."

Right...the Mjolnir. A stab of worry raced through his body. Are they done with it?

"Is the test completed, sir?" he asked, trying to mask his concern.

"Of course, corporal" replied Walker. "How the hell could I bring us here if it wasn't? I checked in with command on the way here."

"Understood, sir" he mouthed relieved.

"Sir, I don't understand" said the rookie that made up the left-hand part of the group. "Why are those things dangerous to us if we're the ones firing it?"

"If we'd be on a ship, we'd be safe. But out here, in these suits, we're vulnerable to backscattering from the firing. The target is pretty close by, after all. Even if they angle the thing, some radiation is bound to come our way."

"Sounds risky, sir" said private Jensen.

The sargeant gruffed.
"We didn't sign up for kindergarten class, son. Everything we do is dangerous."

"But why these strolls under the stars, outside our base? We got drill rooms, VR, the whole shebang down there."

"VR",said the NCO with disdain,"is different from real life. VR's for fleeters and wannabes. Ain't no better training that experiencing the real thing. Tell me, private Jensen, what's the most difficult part of a boarding action?"

Quizzing and spacewalking at the same time, I see.

"Boarding, sir. You need to know how to set up the charges, guesstimate firing solutions once you're..."

"WRONG!" barked the sergeant. "It's landing dammit! Ship hulls aren't magnetic, so your mag-boots are of no use. What the hell do those trained chimps teach you, there, at Luna? Didn't they show you the lobes?"

"I....uhmmm... wasn't the best in the techier classes" replied private Jensen with humbleness.

"Told ya these new dudes are glorified security guards" chuckled private First class O'Neill. "Got their heads filled with all that fleeter propaganda."

"When we board" interrupted corporal Hammond, "we land at significant speed. We need to find any purchase we can, and hold on to dear life while locating a grav line."

"Grav lines are a side effect of grav plating" continued the sergeant. " Any grav plate has lobes of influence, just like an antenna. You have a big lobe on one side, where you stroll in the morning while sipping your coffee. But there are also smaller sidelobes to the side. "

"These are long, pointy zone of influence. If the corridor in question happens to be close to the hull, the ends of said sidelobes can jut out from it's surface. And since grav plates go from end to end, these lobes form up into something like gravitational handrails. But they're invisible, so locating them is the tricky part. Once you find them, THEN you start setting up charges."

"Corporal's got it right. It's the bread and butter of any boarding action. We're out here to rehearse grabbing onto stuff while moving in low-G. Ain't no PT gonna teach you that!"

"Understood, sir..." said Jensen. "But, if the ships's accelerating, won't it shove us off it's hull?"

Good question: "No. The grav plates change vector and strength to compensate for movement. And that changes the vector and size of the sidelobes as well."

"Which is why you have gecko skin on you boots and gloves" picked up the sergeant , "and heavy weights in them. To give you a firmer grip once you make contact. And once inside, your scuba has been generously provided with servos, courtesy of the taxpayer, to move your heavy-ass suit, ammo, weapons and boots around. Got it?"

"Got it" said Jensen.

"One last thing: getting to know the lay of the land is proper. Alpine force back on dirtside often take long camping marches through the mountains to get to know the terrain, it's hiding spots and geography. Comes in handy if your maps are down. A monograph of the region. In our case, the region is this roid."

"See, kid? Use big words, and it'll get ya far" said the sergeant, glancing upwards."We're entering the terminus. Everyone Slide their visors."

The entire fireteam proceeded as instructed. The world became darker for a few minutes, and all the corporal had to go by was the sensation of dirt under his gloved fingers. Then...brilliant white. He squinted as he passed the boundary between light and dark, the light grey color of the sand and rocks that made up the summit of the mountain suddenly visible in sharp contrast. The terrain also became flatter, as they entered the summit of the mountain. The sergeant raised his hand, and the entire fireteam crept up to him.

"We made it. Fifty-one clicks, and not a single ape falling from the tree", he said with a martial air of pride. "Good lads! Longest spacewalk we've taken so far. Drinks are on me tonight."

"Drinks are for the youth, sarge. Once we get back in, I'm grabbing some Z's" said private O'Neill, scanning the small plateau.

While the men started bantering, the corporal spun around, taking in the view of the valley they had just clambered out of. It was dark, filled with silhouettes, but not a sign of human activity. He knew a spiderweb of magnetic tracks was located just under the surface, suspended in the eternal cold of the shadows of the surrounding cliffs.

If this is a peak of eternal light, that must be a valley of eternal darkness. In the middle, just barely visible, was a dark aperture, small in comparison to the peaks around it, but huge in relation to the surrounding terrain.

The Iris...the giant aperture that made up one end of the roughly cylindrical stalk which comprised most of the base. The place where new ships were built and launched from. He'd seen it a few times, a cavern of epic proportions that was nearly two hundred meters in diameter and a mile long, covered in long robotic arms, with smelters, cable machines, and automated electronics factories embedded along it's axis. A giant assembly line.

To the right, he knew there were the hangars, where the frigate assigned to this base, along with the tugs and shuttles were housed. Itself massive, it was invisible, the sliding metal doors covered in layers of cooling pipes, radar absorbent material, and natural dirt sintered together.

The left side of the base had a smaller aperture, though still about a hundred meters in diameter. Inside was the giant truss structure that, for the moment, housed the particle beam weapon of the future, the Mjolnir. Bet even opening that thing up takes as much power as an average sized village.

And all was invisible to everything but the most detailed radar scans. Even heat was collected and piped away. The defense turrets, the hangars, the airlocks, all were covered. Guess building in near zero-G is cheap, but God damn, this must've cost a fortune. He suspected heavy automation had done most of the work, but that still left massive amounts of internal fixtures that needed human hands to place.

"Hammond, switch to channel 2. I wanna have a word."

Turning, the corporal did as instructed. So...we're having that talk,eh? Guess it's as good a time as any.

"Heard you signed up for officer, kid. About dammed time. Congrats, I know you'll make us proud" said the sergeant standing not nearly five feet from him.

"Thank you, sir. I won't let you down" he mouthed unconfortably.

""Thank you, Sir?" You kidding?" said the sergeant with authority. "You didn't even mention this before we set off. I've been trying to get you to enlist in the Academy for the better part of a year. What the hell finally made ya come to your senses?"

"I... realised it was time to move one, sir. There's...nothing left for me where I'm at now."

"Then why are you still scared like a highschooler on her first date?"

"It's just...I picked a bad time sir, what with all this hush-hush talk of impending war and first contact maddness. "

"It'll never be a good time, son. Waiting is gonna get ya old real fast" gruffed the sergeant. "You're right, we live in... interesting times, as the chinese proverb goes... but it's a good a time as any. We NEED good officers like air."

He knew the sergeant was right. Back when everyone knew they were the only intelligent species in this Universe, the colonial marines could afford to be picky, and skim the best of the recruits to build up a force that was just as elite as any dirtside. But now that war was rumored to be imminent training centres were barely able to keep up with the corps' swelling numbers. But worse off, they needed far more officers to command the newly enlisted men. Officers were costly in terms of time to produce.

"I've wondered...whether I'm not already doing enough...Maybe I'd better serve here, as an NCO."

"Don't be a gibbon, corporal. You'd make a hella fine officer. You got more brains than the rest of the platoon put together. And you got leadership to go with that sharp wit."

"It's just...I never thought about my future before this whole first contact thing gave me kick in the nuts. I didn't join the TCM because I was out for glory. I just wanted to get away from Hamburg". As fast as possible.

"Your reasons are irrelevant. Long as you wanna serve, I suggest you serve with all your capacity. If you're worried about leaving us behind, don't be. If you haven't noticed, I've got enough trained apes to lug around big bits of metal."

"And... I don't like the idea of sitting in the back and sending people out to do the fighting. What if I screw up? People get killed.They ain't saying it, but war seems like a very real possibility."

"Regardless of what pony and dog show the brass and politicians put up, we got a job to do. You're a good leader, and you got actual field experience. Academy could use you. If it makes you feel any better, I'd follow your orders with confidence. I trust your judgement."

The corporal smiled. "Gonna miss you, sir."

"So are we, corporal" said the sergeant, with a more fatherly tone."When are you shipping out?"

"About three months time. Academy classes start in November. "

"Send us a wave from time to time. Guess O'Neill's gonna get his promotion after all" chuckled the sergeant.

"Just don't let him use my bed."

"No promises, son" grinned the NCO. He then operated the pannel on his wrist, changing his frequency. "Command, this is sergeant Walker. We've completed our exercise, and are heading back in.ETA is 25 minutes. Please advise."

"Roger, sergeant. Proceed to airlock 4."

"Airlock 4 confirmed. Walker out". Switching to general comms, he boomed into the team's earpieces. "Break time's over. We're heading back in. Check weapons, and prepare to march".

"Just I was getting comfy", mouthed Ortega while precariously perched on a large boulder.

As the team proceeded back into the valley, they were engulfed by shadows as they made their way down the peal. Corporal Hammond trailed behind, taking one long breath while still in the sun. Turning towards the other side of the peak, and staring at the starfield beyond, he felt a form of anxiety,but also...happiness.

Time to find my fate in the world. Fortune favors the brave.


Last edited by Mr.Tucker on Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:22 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
You'll notice I've taken some liberties with how grav plating works. Honestly, trying to picture the way directed gravity works is tough. So I came up with the ideea that the field of influence would be more similar to a radio field rather than a spacetime distorsion, like normal gravity is. This will be touched on in the future. And that said field is not perfect, but would "leak".
Moving on an asteroid, even a larger one, is more similar to docking to a space station than walking on a planet.


Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:08 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Chapter I - Stella praecipitans

Part I

Spoiler: show
Right, keep it together. Don't let these military types put you off.

Disembarking from the elevator, she entered the corridor on level 13 of the administrative quarters. Two soldiers were flanking a door. They weren't wearing any armor, and their weapons were tucked by their side.

What's with these guards? It's not like that door isn't ID keyed. She remembered her first debriefing, where she had forgotten her ID bracelet in her lab, resulting in her being half an hour late. Perfect first impression.

Approaching, she saw the soldiers glance at her as she pressed her bracelet over the sensor that was present to the right of the door. Different people every time. Just how many soldiers are there in this place?

"Identity confirmed: Diane Batra, level III. Access approved" chimed the familiar voice of the intercom.

Diane entered the large room where the debriefing usually took place. Already seated inside were the different heads of the the research teams. Anxious faces, tired faces, bored faces... people I don't know, but who are much more involved in this base and what it does. She took her place at the head of the large oval table that stood in the middle of the room, and started counting.

Twelve people in all, no strangers. She had gotten to know some of them by now. Most of them about her age , all but one male. At the other end of the table, there sat a single empty seat. Looks like the commander hasn't arrived. A bit more time to prepare my plea.

Asking for more allocation of resources was the most logical choice, but also the one that had a low probability of success. This isn't a bio-research outpost. I'm not the star of this show. She glanced at the other people. They are.

The door openned once again, and the furtive figure of the station commander entered, his dark grey uniform in tone with the walls of the chamber. Everyone sat up.

"Good day, gentlemen and women. Please be seated" he said rushing to his chair and sitting down. "We have a lot of ground to cover, especially from you, mister Sanderson."

"I...had a feeling I'd be the main attraction today" said the small, moustached man to the commander's immediate left. "Team's pretty eager to show their work. We've got promising results!"

"It's not every day they get to blow stuff up" chuckled another more elderly man. He was familiar to Diane, though their interactions were limited to these meetings. A scholastic type, with balding features and two tuffs of grey hair just behind his temples. Unlike most of the people at the these meetings he'd always seemed the more friendly type. He'd even speak up at times and ask one or more questions, though she could tell his expertise was pretty far removed from exo-biology.

"They'll get their chance to show us what they've done, mister Ibaka" said the commander with a faint smile. "But, as per ussual, miss Batra will go first."

Everyone turned to her. Right, show time.

"Thank you. As you know, we've been doing work on the strains of yeast which are in use at the moment for direct food production. We've managed to isolate several strains, designated WZX-24, 38 and 117, and are currently investigating their energy paths to see what we can determine with regards to their ability to metabolise carbon from the atmosphere. WZX-117 seems to be somewhat sensitive to the currents we've been using, with lower yield when compared to the other two, but we're investigating to see if we can apply different voltages and intensities to help the strain. WZX-24, on the other hand, is extremely prolific and efficient, but also sensitive to radiation."

"I guess it's devoting too many resources to multiplying it's biomass" said the commander while parsing through the report on his holo-screen. "Less resources to devote to repairing it's genome."

Not a bad guess. "Actually, the organism itself is pretty resistant, but the pathways it uses are easily disrupted by ionizing radiation."

"Which means we can't use the water tanks as shielding in any long-range design" said a man to Diane's right while looking over the diagrams on the report. What's with engineers and diagrams? "Hmph, unfortunate"

"I'm assuming you can tweak these things, right?" asked Ibaka".

"It's...not that simple. Splicing genes needs to be done in such a way that it doesn't affect the organism negatively. Best way we can figure out how to mold them is trough incremental steps. Right now, we're working on improving the current parameters in WZX-117, and while concurrently seeing if we can introduce genes from more radiation resistant strains of yeast into 24. If both fail, we'll try and graft their genes onto one another, and if that fails, graft their desired characteristics onto 38. 38 is middle of the road, good growth but not the best, good resistance but not the best, and relatively unfussy to what we feed it."

"How long will this entire process take?" asked the commander.

"Eight weeks at minimum."

"Do as needed" replied the commander. "Carry on".

"Right, next up is the work we've been doing on perchlorate reducing bacteria. It's still preliminary, but the results have been encouraging. We've managed to show that when introduced in a perchlorate-rich environment, these bacteria grow and thrive due to lack of competition, and manage to both metabolise the compounds, as well as store them in their bodies. We've so far identified four possible pathways, each belonging to a different species of microbe."

"So, they're no related?" asked another man seated at the middle of the table.

"No, they belong to Alpha, Beta,Delta and Epsilonproteobacteria". She glanced at their faces. No reaction, just confused faces. "They're different genera."

"How can we use them?" insisted the man, with a slight frown. "What are they good for?"

"Cleaning up worlds that have perchlorate salts in the soil due to past water levels. Mars and Esperanza. Grow them, let them leach the salts from the soil, then collect and burn them"answered the commander still looking in his screen. " Let them do the work. Those salts mean that we have to purify every ounce of soil we use. Takes time and energy".

"Sounds good then" relented the older man. Diane 1. Wiseguy 0.

"Can you give a timeframe on progress?" asked the commander.

"No, I'm afraid. We're just beginning, and it's too early to find out much of their internal workings. Could take years." She knew that was hardly encouraging news, but better to be honest. Sooner or later someone will ask how they're doing.

"Understood. Take your time" answered the commander. "Esperanza wants this. Badly. And a little return on their investment here would do us wonders" he said. "I believe we're done here. Thank you, miss Batra. You may attend..."

"Not quite" she interrupted. Let's roll. "I've been doing some... unofficial work on some of the bacteria collected from our Orgus visitors."

"That wasn't in the programm" said the sole other female in the room, a young woman with a slasher smile.

Screw off. "No, but I feel it's important. We're...at risk. Now's the time to step up".

Everyone in the room stared at her, with a mixture of unapproval or worry. Except the commander. Is he smiling?

"Is that why you've asked this...Stephansson person to dig you up reports on alien microorganisms found on the Orgus refugees?".

Crap, he knows. "Indeed. He's... well connected."

"He is indeed" said the commander tapping his holloscreen. An image of Stephansson appeared inverted from her viewpoint on said screen. "Chairman of genetic engineering at the Mars Institute of Biological Sciences." He looked at her, still smiling. "Friends in high places?".

"I wouldn't call him a friend" she said with disgust. "But... he got me what I needed. The secrecy isn't helping." Shouldn't have said that...

"And tried to locate you" said the commander averting his gaze. "He has friends too. Only mine are bigger. Next time you want something off the books, ask me, miss Batra. I can get you small things like this through our channels, with less risk. Naval intelligence is a thing, you know" he concluded.

"I'll... keep that in mind."

"Please do so. I'm assuming that the work on that end, off the books as it is, it still preliminary?"

"It is."

"Then continue."

"Commander, why are doing this?" asked the woman again. Harpy.

"Because, doctor Wu, we can tell a lot from these bugs. The Orgus got around, even made it into the territory of these warring empires. The microbes can help us paint a picture of the worlds they've visited".

Is he taking MY side? That's a first...

"Doctor Batra, right now, we're doing this unofficially, but once you start publishing reports, we're gonna have to bring it into the loop, name it, give it a budget... you know the deal. Right now it's only my scrutiny, but once this gets out, it's gonna be on the higher up's radar as well. Are we clear?"

"Crystal". Talk about a dose of humility. "I'll see that we have everything compiled once we reach that stage."

"Good. Now, if you're done..."

"Not quite". "I want to ask for some time on Apollo to pursue a lead I've got on one of these Orgus bugs". There. I said it.

"For an unofficial study? A personal curiosity?" asked another member of the audience.

"Let me make it clear: right now the only budget you have, both in terms of time and resources allocated are your own, personal ones" said the commander harshly.

"We think some of the bugs, specifically the ones belonging to an Orgus refugee that visited Loroi space shortly before the war started, are engineered."

"So? We engineer things like this every day. Splicing genes has been done for more than a century" he retorted.

"It's different. These organisms...some sort of yeast... are different". How the hell do I explain this? "They're... not natural. At least, we don't think they are".

"How so?"

"The chemistry...doesn't make sense. There's no way it could have evolved. It's artificial bio-chemistry."

The commander seemed puzzled. "I don't follow. Bio-chemistry is very flexible. That's why have everything from extremophiles to vegemite fodder".

"Yes, but grafting genes is different. Those genes evolved somewhere. These microbes...they look like someone transplanted nano-level chemical factories into their structure. They look...almost part machine".

"Isn't that what germs are? Chemical factories?..."

"Imagine someone grafting together Frankenstein's Monster. He's build from existing biological parts grafted together. Those bits were BORN, they come from other organisms that had ancestors and an evolutionary history. Now compare him to a humanoid robot. They share a common structure, but the robot is different. He couldn't have evolved naturally...been BORN. He was built. This is what we're seeing".

A moment of silence followed. I do pick the worst analogies, don't I?

"If nothing else doctor" chuckled Ibaka,"referencing Mary Shelley was not something I expected. But, you DID manage to get your point across. Sounds like these little buggers are pretty dammed interesting."

The commander was only one not looking at her. He suddenly seemed more serious and...more worried?

"I take it this isn't something the Orgus could have... "made", is it?" he finally said.

"No. The Orgus are barely more advanced than we are. This microbe apparently cause some measure of discomfort to said refugee, and had something to do with a foodstuffs specific to Loroi inhabited regions. That's why I needed the report". That's why I needed the discretion.

"They are aliens, doctor" he said looking up with tired eyes. "Why are we assuming they're not some exotic flavor of off-world bugs?"

"If I find a robot on a planet, with cams and wires and motors, do I assume he's naturally evolved?"

The commander looked at her for a moment, then sat back.

"How much?"

"24 hours at least. A complete evolutionary simulation, head-to-tail".

"That's too much" said another man, the one identified as Sanderson. "We've got particle flux patterns to simulate, a metric ton of data to reconstruct, impact points to analyze.You can't expect us to give you Apollo's full resources for an entire day?!"

"You're asking for a lot, Diane" said the commander. "And I'm not sure if..."

"Commander, this is Hauser. Acknowledge" blurped the speaker mounted on one corner of the room. The voice seemed harsh, tense, and male.

"Yes, mister Hauser, I read you" responded the commander with a look of sudden concentration.

"Sir, you're needed in control". The voice hesitated."We have a situation".

"What kind of situation?"

"A code III, sir."

The commander expression turned to one of worry. "I'm on my way." Turning he addressed his surprised audience. "I'm sorry to have wasted your time, but we need to cut this one short. Report back to your teams."

"A code III hasn't happened before" inquired Ibaka while avoiding eye contact.

"We can deal with it. It was bound to happen, mister Ibaka". Looking through the room, he seemed to remember Diane. "Doctor Batra, we'll pick up this discussion at another time. I'll consider your request. Until then return to your facilities. We'll take care of this matter soon enough. Dismissed."

As she watched the commander storm out through the door, she saw the other project leaders take their leave as well. Most had an anxious look on them, except for mister Ibaka, who seemed deep in thought as he left the chamber. Just what the hell is going on here?


Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:43 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part II

Spoiler: show
"So, how'd the briefing go, boss?" asked Greg as she entered the lab.

"Better than expected" she said sighing. And still lousy.

"I take it the other honchos didn't like you trying to steal the spotlight?"

"No, but that was expected. Spilling the beans on our little side project was still the best step, I'd say."

"I take it my work on the yeast strains was not enough to sweeten the deal?" asked the blonde, boyish looking young man that sat on the other side of the room, punching a virtual keyboard that hovered in front of him.

"Not exactly, Mattheo. Try adding more saccharose next time."

"Whatever your palette demands" he chuckled.

"I still don't think revealing our...uhmm...pastime was the best choice, Diane" said the young lady sitting next to Mattheo as she swivelled her chair. "At least not until we have more data. I don't like to go in front of the class without my homework done."

I'm the one going in front of the class "This isn't college, Mirry. We hit a dead end. There's nothing more we could tell without a full evolutionary simulation. And I'm not about to give up. We have the resources to look into it right here, if only we'd be brave enough to ask for them." Or stupid enough.

Miriam and Mattheo were their labs assistants. Though they were young, at least compared to herself and Greg, Diane knew they didn't lack in curiosity or intelligence. Mattheo was skilled in gene theory and virtual manipulation, while Mirry was an expert in evolutionary biology. She hadn't picked either of them, and her people skills were not the best, but they were smart enough to keep up and she found them pleasant company, if somewhat naive.

What can I expect? They're desk scientists. They don't know what it's like to venture out into the unknown, hitching a ride on some tramp freighter to visit some backwater world harbouring an exotic microbe. A place where your very lifeline depended on the results you brought back.
Between them, Greg and herself, this comprised her entire research team. Good quality, but not enough manpower.

She ventured across the small room that had a series of instruments and papers laid out on the small table in the center. She grabbed the mug of synthetic coffee off her workstation.

"Either way, it seems the commander knew what we were up to. Or, at least, that we were up to something." In hindsight, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Mattheo twitched, even as he was focused on the screen in front of him, while Mirry took on a worried look.

"Crap...so, are we in trouble?" she asked.

"Don't think so". Not yet anyway.

Greg didn't look at all surprised.

"Did Stephansson's message tip him off?" he asked.

"I think it only confirmed his suspicions that we were cooking something up. At least it looked that way."

"Figures" he said, turning away.

"Does that mean he's...monitoring us?" asked the young lady, with a look of worry.

"I'd be surprised if he wasn't" said Greg, offhandedly. "We like to pretend we're too small to matter, but everything in here is connected to Apollo. All he needs to do is ask the tin man to access our workstations."

"Probably" agreed Diane. "Though to tell you the truth, he seemed pretty satisfied with what we were studying". Or else, he probably would've pulled the plug a lot earlier. "I think I managed to get my point across to him". Thank you, 19th century horror literature.

"So...are we gonna get the time?" asked Greg.

"Remains to be seen. He cut the meeting short. Something about an emergency."

Greg turned and eyed her. "Is it bad?"

She had thought about how the commander had stormed out of the room. Whatever this was, is seemed pretty important. The other researchers didn't seem too happy either. But, this wasn't her business. In a facility like this, it's best not to ask too many questions.

"Dunno" she retorted. "Doesn't seem to concern us. Let them do their jobs.It's why they're here." No reason to worry...I hope.

No sooner had she finished the thought, that a loud alarm suddenly started, coming from the ceiling mounted speakers. An automated message played during a short interlude:

Attention! This is a code red alarm. All military personnel are ordered to report to their stations. All civilian personnel report to the nearest emergency shelters. This is not a drill.

Everyone suddenly sat at attention.

"What the HELL is going on here?" asked Mattheo as he suddenly rose from the chair he'd been glued to.

Diane was at a loss. Her survival instinct had kicked in for a split second, but she'd managed to tame it. Stay calm.No need to panic. She looked at Greg, who sat up slowly and nervously.

"That's not good" he mouthed. "Looks like we need to move."

Diane composed herself after her initial shock. "Right, we need to get a...."

The door suddenly opened, and a huge figure entered the room, his heavy steps clearly audible even with the infernal humm of the alarm.

Now's the time to panic. It was a marine, but rather than having a normal uniform, he was garbed from head to toes in heavy, blackish armor. An exoskeleton?. The figure gleamed in the bright, white lights of the laboratory, a mass of metal and shiny carbon-steel webs and plates. A large firearm was laid across his chest, suspended from a third arm that jutted from the side of the heavy backpack attached to his back. His yes were obscured by a narrow, gold-tinted visor. On his helmet were mounted small lights, sensors and a host of other things Diane could not immediately identify. Diane could make out a serial number and a name on his left shoulder. Ortega.

He paused for a split second. "Doctor Diane Batra?" he said, his voice carried forth by small speakers directly to the sides of his chin.

"Ye..yes?" retorted Diane, with a shaky voice.

"I've been dispatched to escort you to the command center. Please come with me" he said with a manner of factly intonation.

"What's this about?".

"Don't know ma'am. Those are the orders." His head shifted toward the other people in the room."The rest need to report to the nearest shelter. It's a code red."

Mirry looked horrified and scared at the same time, while Mattheo seemed surprised, but only betrayed fear through his sudden paleness. Greg looked worried.

"Why am I needed?" Diane suddenly felt an urge of protective anger. These are my people. "I can't just leave my team! I don't have anything to do with whatever's...."

"Ma'am" said the marine in a serious fashion, "I don't KNOW what's happening. All I know is we've been told to gear up, and that I need to take you up to the bridge, on the double, gagged if need be."

The doctor had the urge to tell him where he could shove his orders, but Greg interjected.

"Diane, go. If they're asking for you, that means they NEED you." His expression had changed to one of urgency. "That means you're likely to do a lot more good out there, then couped up with us in some bunker."

Diane locked eyes with him. He's urging me. Alright then.

"Get to the shelter as fast as you can" she said heavily. "We'll see each other when this damned mess is cleared up." She paused. "Take care of yourself, and the juniors."

Greg nodded as she exited the room. IF we see each other again


Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:22 pm
Profile

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 am
Posts: 262
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Hmm, seems like a dull day at the lab just took an unexpected turn :) Do continue, and, if I may say so, your writing style has improved greatly, I can smell the scrubbed air and feel the tension.


Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:38 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
entity2636 wrote:
Hmm, seems like a dull day at the lab just took an unexpected turn :) Do continue, and, if I may say so, your writing style has improved greatly, I can smell the scrubbed air and feel the tension.


Thank you, though I realise I still have much work to do to improve it further. Still, it's good to know I'm on the right track.
Hope you enjoy it! :)


Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:35 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part III

Spoiler: show
Walking through the long corridor towards the transport ring took a lot less time than she'd thought it would. Though he's running me ragged. Jesus, does he intend to slow down?

Diane looked at the hallway ahead of them. It was darker than usual, as the bright white lights were dimmed to allow the rows of red LED's to be more visible. The hallway was much wider than what would be found on a ship, and she felt thankful for that given the humdrum of people frantically pacing along it.They're scared. And they're right.

The marine in his powered armor was akin to a bulldozer, moving dead straight at a fast power walk rate, with no apparent intent to slow down, regardless of who got in his way. He attracted long panicked stares as he went, occasionally looking behind to make sure Diane was still close and keeping up. Can't blame them for being this scared. He looks about as friendly as a spiked cudgel. Her limited knowledge and experience told her than exoskeletons were generally relegated to logistics tasks planetside, like loading cargo. They were deemed impractical for general military use, especially on board spaceships, where tight spaces and mass meant a lot. She gulped an acrid taste. I wonder what the hell kind of surprises I'm gonna have next.

Her lab was part of a straight corridor that radiated like a spoke from the large central cylindrical structure that made up the core of the base. At the base of the spoke, were it met the cylinder, there were large, high-speed elevators that moved along its' height all the way from the surface to the base. The entryways formed a half-ring that Diane knew would now be jammed with people.

Fast and efficient as the elevators were, it'd still take time to board one, and go to a higher level, especially since the shelters were in the opposite direction, at the bottom of the cylinder, tucked below nearly a mile of rock.

Her prediction proved accurate. As they reached the end of the hallway, there was a small crowd of people waiting anxiously to board. To her surprise, Ortega turned right, ignoring their shocked faces, and approached the only elevator that didn't have anyone standing in front. It's bright red, industrial looking heavy doors bore the message MILITARY USE ONLY. With swift gestures, the soldier passed his forearm above the access control, causing the doors to abruptly open. He reached behind and ushered Diane forward, while keeping an eye on the rest of the crowd that seemed ready to jump in alongside them. He immediately dispelled any notion of that happening with a raised hand, and boarded the elevator as well.

As the doors closed, Diane saw their sad, angry and frightened faces and felt a tinge of guilt, that nearly instantly turned into fear. I'm sorry, but it's probably safer down there either way. Her thoughts jumped to her team, who'd be joining the rest of the civilian staff in the shelters. God, what the hell is happening?

The marine chose their destination, and the elevator jerked and started accelerating upwards. Diane leaned against the wall, suddenly feeling tired and out of breath. It's either the jogging, the fear. Probably both . As she raised her eyes, she saw Ortega sitting as stiff as as a piece of furniture awaiting the opening of the doors. He wasn't kidding then he said on the double. Still, the ride would take a few minutes, and she hoped to coax some useful info out of him.

"So what's a code red?" she ventured.

The marine turned slightly. She could guess his somewhat exasperated face. Still, he answered.

"It means civilians report to the safe rooms, and we gear up and take positions."

"Positions where?"

He gestured: "Everywhere. Our job is to guard sensitive areas."

"From what?"

"Anything...bad trying to come in from outside" he said after a momentary hesitation. He's tense too.

"Has this happened before?"

"No, ma'am. Not once." He paused. "We drill for it every once in a while, but it's considered a low probability scenario."

"So...are we being boarded?". The mere thought of a ship somehow attacking a mammoth base such as this seemed preposterous to her.

"We haven't received any indication or information of that being the case. Otherwise some of us would be sent to secure the breach.I don't know what the other staff and the brass does in a code red, but as for us, right now, we're just glorified guards".

So, nothing spectacular yet. Diane let a sight of relief. The elevator was no longer accelerating. Peering behind her, she took notice of the large glass wall that made up the side that was opposite the doors. It peered inside to a huge cylindrical space.It was black, with little lighting, but she could still make out the massive scaffolds and robotic arms that lined the walls, as well as the large unfinished construct in the middle. She knew the base was big, but the scale of it suddenly became evident. Jesus, they built a goddamned city in here.

Ortega noticed her staring. "Never seen it before?"

"No" she said hesitantly. "Most of the base is off limits to me and my team. Not enough clearance".

"Right now, I'd say it probably doesn't matter" he said in a serious tone. "We're here."

Diane felt the elevator accelerating and coming to a stop. The door swung open Ortage resumed his march, gesturing for the scientist to follow him. The lighting here was even worse, with nothing but a dark tinge of red that reminded her of submarines and stricken starships. The walk was much shorter, before they came upon a door flanked by another pair of armored marines, who proceeded to wave them through.

The chamber they entered reminder her of a control tower. Large screens lined the forward walls. Numerous consoles and workstations were strewn just below those screen, each manned by a person in military attire. Just in front of the screens, there was a raised platform that had a larger console in the middle and was flanked by two smaller ones to the sides.

The commander was sitting at this central console, with a large, serious looking, older man to his left. They both took notice of her arrival.

"Doctor Batra" said the commander tensely. "Glad to have you here. Sorry for the escort, but we knew you didn't have clearance so we sent someone out to fetch you for expediency". He turned to the marine, who sat in expectation. "Good work Ortega. Report to your post. Dismissed."

As he clicked his heels and exited, Diane noticed the small crowd of people that were to her right. She immediately recognised the heads of the other research projects for the briefings. The skeptical woman, the engineer that was supposed to deliver an ample report on the test firing, and mister Ibaka, who sat with his bushy chin in his hand, deep in thought.

"I'll have to bring you up to speed with our situation" continued the commander. "But, first things first. Apollo?"

"Yes, commandant" replied the mechanical voice.

"What level clearance does doctor Batra have?"

"Diane Batra. Level III clearance. Civilian restrictions".

"I'm changing that. Raise her level to eight. Authorisation code: November Tango."

"Code accepted. Identity confirmed. Action performed: security clearance for Diane Batra set to level eight."

The commander then turned to the scientist, who sat stunned: "Now you have access to everywhere the military personnel has, and access to every file in our database from your workstation. Use it at your leisure, it may prove useful."

"Useful for what?!" Diane burst. "No one knows what the hell a code red is and what I'm supposed to be doing here."

"I asked for every team leader to be here, since they're experts in their fields" replied the commander. "A code red is a response code which means battle stations. We gear up for a fight."

"So, are we being attacked? What good could I be for that?"

"Not exactly. We had a code III about half an hour ago. That's a condition that translates to an unscheduled ship jumping into the system."

"So what?" said Diane. She knew they weren't anywhere near Esperanza, though she didn't know the exact system they were in.

As if reading her mind, the commander answered: "We're about three jumps from Alpha Centauri, and two jumps from the nearest trade lane. In theory, this system is in the extreme end of human space, with two jump links to it. One goes towards Alpha Centauri, and the other leads to outside TCA space. The only ship that regularly makes this trip is the fast transport Shiraki, that functions as our tender. And it isn't scheduled to arrive for another two weeks."

Diane thought for a moment. "So, did someone sniff you out? Some corporate ship or tramp miner that's looking for unclaimed roids to exploit?"

"Not the case here" said the commander wearily. "Usually, for a situation in which a civilian ship stumbled upon this system, response is to go to code black. Basically, cease all transmissions, close all apertures, withdraw any ships, and hide. "

Diane seemed incredulous. "How do you expect to hide in space? Even with those mammoth factories down there shut off, something this size gives off a mountain of heat."

"We have heat pipes running straight through the roid. Instead of a hot patch where the base is , the entire asteroid heats up by a few degrees. Unless someone does an albedo analysis on it, or brings along ground penetrating radar, he'd have a hard time spotting us. The system has no ID buoys, or markers, nothing that transmits via radio. Just some passive listening stations that use laser transmission. Jumping in, a civilian ship would see nothing but a poor, small, empty red dwarf system" responded the large man, who Diane guessed was the First Officer.

"So then, why do you need me?" asked the doctor, with a confused look on her face."What with all the battle preparations if you're so sure you're invisible?..."

"Because, Diane", said the commander,"the ship that jumped in didn't come from the direction of Alpha Centauri. It came in via the OTHER jump point. The one that leads OUTSIDE human space."

Diane hesitated for a moment, before a shock of realisation hit her harder than a lightning bolt. "Are you saying?!..."

"Yes" said the commander. "We think it's alien."

Oh my God... OH MY GOD!


Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm
Profile

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:53 am
Posts: 262
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Did you say aliens? :shock:

Very good, please continue, I am very curious about what happens next and who'll shoot first :roll:


Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:43 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:45 am
Posts: 215
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part IV

Spoiler: show
The shock of the what she had just heard had hit her like a thunderbolt. Her mind blanked with a combination of panic as well as a heavy dose of fear of the unknown. She stared at the commander blankly, but her suddenly frozen expression did not go unnoticed.

"Doctor Batra" said the commander with a look of focused concern, "keep your wits about you. Panic won't help."

"I..." she said, trying to gather her thoughts. Like a light shining through thick fog, her reasoning started to return. Calm down, Diane. Only when every other explanation is exhausted do we jump to such radical conclusions. "I... are you sure? What...if they're a ship that simply went around the adjacent systems systems, and came through the other jump point?".

The commander leaned back, averting his gaze.

"A ship that first strays outside the commercial lanes by two jumps, then jumps another three systems to come back basically to where it started off?" he said with a tone of neutral skepticism.

"Perhaps a survey ship?"

"Diane, miners and corporations don't lack in roids. There are literally billions of them. Right now, the price for their exploitation is ships, people and distance. There's little reason for anyone, even an independent explorer, to come this far. It means extra pay for jump insurance, loads of fuel and time taken to move the resources to the busy systems and a whole host of costs. Unlikely in the extreme."

"Fair enough" admitted Diane with a heavy heart. "Then perhaps one of the corporations has gotten wind of this place and came looking for it. Happened to find this place in a list of potential spots."

"Doctor" said mister Ibaka,"The problem isn't just where it appeared". He pointed to the central screen. "It's the ship itself."

Diane came to realise that what most of the research heads were staring at was the picture on said screen. It was a collage of stills in what looked to be infrared, an object that was half-bright blob and half sharp structure.

"What about it?" asked Diane with a growing sense of unease.

"That image is just one of many, but we've been monitoring it" responded the first officer. "It's maintaining a constant acceleration ever since jumping in..."

"So?" interrupted the scientist. "Is it coming towa...."

"An constant acceleration of 12G's apparently" finished the large military man with authority.

Diane searched her knowledge base for a moment. She'd been on many starships before, during tours and scientific investigations, from fast, sleek, top of the line corporation vessels, to retrofitted per-starflight miners, to ships that looked assembled together with gum and duct tape. But her knowledge on the matter was not as deep as she'd liked. "12G's?"

"Yup" said one of the research team heads in a heavy australian accent, "more than double what a TCA ship this size can do."

Diane didn't give up. "A missle perhaps? Or some kind of automated spy ship?"

The commander huffed. "Hard to do a sneaky peek into a system when you're giving off the energy of a small nuke by merely jumping. And besides, it's too large to be some kind of experimental, purpose built ship."

Diane felt a shiver. "How big are talking about?"

"About 240 meters. Jump signature analysis determined a rough mass of about eighty kilotons." He paused. "The size of a large destroyer."

The exobiologist could feel a stone drop into her stomach. Suddenly, the entire universe seemed concentrated into a weight that hung on her shoulders. "A destroyer?...". her mind immediately raced to more favorable scenarios. "Another Orgus ship? Maybe military this time?"

Ibaka chuckled. "If the Orgus had shown up in something like this, the first thing they would've heard from Esperanza would've been a surrender plea.... It's too big to be some sort of skiff, and too fast to be a Crusher or some other type of civilian fast transport." He paused, and Diane noticed that while most of the researchers were looking at the image, he was studying a smaller plot diagram in an adjacent screen. "And this drive signature...it doesn't look like anything I've seen before."

The commander turned his attention.

"Anything familiar?".

"Somewhat" said the older African man. "I'm not seeing any particle radiation, just electromagnetic. There are some weird components in this spectrum..."

"What is that chart, exactly?" inquired the doctor.

"It's a breakdown of the emissions given off by that ship's exhaust. I'm seeing a big chunk of hard gamma, along with a lot of infrared and, most intriguingly, a large dose of UV."

"And what does this mean?" asked the commander."I can't remember an engine that gives off UV radiation."

"Hard to say at the moment. That UV component looks familiar from somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it."

"Where are we getting this data?" inquired Diane.

"One of the lookouts nearer the jump zone" answered the first officer. "It doesn't broadcast except to this very asteroid using a laser tight beam. Helps us keep a silent watch without disclosing our location."

"Sir" asked one of the engineers. Sanderson was it? . "do we have any enhanced images of the craft?"

"Apollo, show us a timelapse of the craft before it fired it's engines" responded the commander.

The image on the screen shifted to one of the craft emerging from a bright instant of light and radiation. The moment of jump. . The ship then proceeded to coast some distance before a bright glare and a massive blob of light appeared on it's dorsal area.

"Rewind five seconds" said the engineer, as the image shifted backwards in time. "Stop. There it is."

The picture in question was of the craft from an above and frontal aspect. It looked like some type of sea creature, not unlike the ones in the abyss on Earth or Europa. It's sharp, thin features and wings gave it a decidedly menacing look in Diane's eyes. That doesn't look like a Vulcan science vessel.

"Green paint? That's definitely not common for our military ships" remarked Ibaka.

"Could be some kind of camouflage in an ambient deep space environment" responded Sanderson. "But that's not what's got me worried. See those shapes on it's surface? The ones that have a different hue to them?"

The commander slowly got out of his chair, squinting suspiciously at the image. "Those look like..."

"Weapons emplacements" finished Sanderson. "Pretty large and decently numerous. With engines like those, they probably have enough power to glass this roid."

Crap. So it's armed. "Are we sure those are weapons?" she asked cautiously.

"I've been building them for twenty years, doctor" he mouthed with a slightly indignant tone. "You don't put radiators in turrets."

"Any idea what KIND of weapons?" asked the commander.

"Not until I see one fire and get some readings from it".

"Hopefully that doesn't happen too soon" replied another member of the research staff.

"Where are they headed now?" asked the commander.

"Course unchanged sir" replied one of the people at the forward workstations. "They're accelerating towards the star. Currently calculated trajectory is on screen."

The image that appeared on the third large monitor showed the system they were in, with the star in the center, their roid underneath it, and the mystery ship following a line that brought it very close to the primary, then curved off towards the other jump point.

"Looks like they want to leave the system" responded the commander occupying his seat once again.

"They're using a gravity assist" said the only female member of the research team. "Why would they use a gravity assist ? Why don't they just point their ship towards the next jump zone and change vectors with their engines?"

"Because they're saving fuel" responded Ibaka once more. "Take a look at the infrared image" he said pointing a long finger towards one of the images on the center screen. "One of those...nacelles...is colder than the other. The engines are firing, but I'm guessing only one of their reactors is operational. "

"And I'm seeing what looks like....damage?.... on its surface" replied the australian voice once more. "Fuel might have leaked into space."

"So they're mostly out of fuel?" asked the exobiologist.

"It's a hunch" shrugged Ibaka, "but a decent one. We'd still need to..."

"Commandant!" interrupted one of the military operators from the work stations in an urgent tone.

"Yes, ensign Daniels?"

"We...we have another jump signature" he said, his face a mask of fear. "Same jump zone. Bearing 3-8-1. Seems to be coasting. Initial velocity is four hundred kps ."

"On screen" demanded the commander as all the chatter from the science heads suddenly grew silent.

The image from before was changed to that of a live video feed. It showed another object surrounded in a rapidly dissipating afterglow. Despite the lousy resolution, Diane could make out that this ship was different. It had a stockier build, with large, bulbous features. The image shifted from infrared to visible, and the object appeared in sharper detail, it's surface painted in what looked to be hues of yellow and brown. If the last one looked like an elegant sword, this one reminded her of a lobster. As she watched the feed, the image suddenly was inundated with light, as a bright plume appeared behind the vessel.

"Sir, it's accelerating. Bearing 3-9-2". The young man paused. "Seems to be following the first ship. Acceleration is....15 G, sir" he said, turning towards the commander.

"Another monster?" replied Ibaka.

"Do we have a mass estimate for the second contact?"

"Just coming in" replied the officer."Seems about...170 kilotons, sir."

Jesus Christ, it's twice the size of the last one. Her gaze shifted towards the commander, who sat motionless observing the screen, as if in deep thought.

"We'll have to monitor the situation" he said, finally. "This may sound rather bold, but it looks to me like the second contact is of an entirely different design."

"I'd concur" said Sanderson with caution. "But until we get a closer look, we can't say for sure.Could be different ship classes"

"We're gonna get our chance. Their trajectories should take them relatively close to us, about twice moon distance. How long until the second contact intercepts the first?"

"At current acceleration and vectors, roughly four hours."

"And how long until they enter the star's shadow?"

"First contact in about 95 minutes. Second in about two hours and four minutes. "

"Star's shadow?" inquired Diane.

"I means we have the star between us and them. They'll have no line of sight with this asteroid" replied the XO.

"So far, we seem to be safe. There's no indication they've noticed us here.... " said the commander. "Mister Ibaka, get some of your team up in the lab and take a look at their exhaust plume readings. It's a long shot, but at least try and make your best guess with regards to what type of propulsion they're using. It may give us a clue on how advanced they are."

"Understood, commander" replied the older man, already flicking his wrist-com as he exited the room.

"Mister Sanderson, try and give me a guess as to what kind of weaponry we're dealing with here. I'd like to know what I'm up against."

"I'll try, but without seeing any battle damage, there's almost nothing to go by."

"Use the damage pattern observed on the first ship. I'm willing to bet it came from something like the second contact."

The engineer frowned but left, nonetheless.

"Apollo, retrieve the Orgus reports and debriefings on the war and send them to my workstation."

War?....

"File transfer complete" replied the machine after a few seconds.

"We'll maintain code black, mister Hauser" he said turning towards the officer. "I want no surprises."

"Aye, sir."

"What can I do?" asked Diane meekly.

"For the moment, just observe" responded the commander. "I always try to get into my opponents' heads, but in this case, I first need to know what they can do, and who my opponents are, but.... We deal in heavy metal and things that go boom. You're the only one on this base who actually knows a thing or two about alien life."

Yeah, but my alien life tends to give you colds and sores, not fly stuff into your system. On the one hand, she'd always dreamed of studying one of the alien species, but imagining a specimen on an autopsy table was one thing; SEEING one pilot a military ship right into your backyard is quite another.


Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:42 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:31 am
Posts: 642
Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
entity2636 wrote:
Did you say aliens? :shock:

Very good, please continue, I am very curious about what happens next and who'll shoot first :roll:

Hannelore of course! :mrgreen:

_________________
Image


Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:08 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 46 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


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

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.