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[Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark 
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
I like it too. Definitely worth the read and wait.

Just two things. They aren't even really critiques.

1. You've introduced a lot of characters already.

2. This is a permutation of first contact. As such you are repeating what a lot of readers of Outsider already have read a hundred times. Maybe concentrate really strongly on what unique perspective your take on it offers?


Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:04 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Werra wrote:
I like it too. Definitely worth the read and wait.

Just two things. They aren't even really critiques.

1. You've introduced a lot of characters already.

2. This is a permutation of first contact. As such you are repeating what a lot of readers of Outsider already have read a hundred times. Maybe concentrate really strongly on what unique perspective your take on it offers?


Thank you for your words :) . I feared that might be the case but I don't intend to loiter on it. I felt it neccessary to underline that most of the human public doesn't know exactly how dwarfed the TCA is in this conflict. If I were them I would not limit myself to a mere contact mission. Since the story takes place in the Loroi Union, we don't know the full extent of mankind's answer, so I let my imagination run wild :D .


Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:39 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Alright, suppose you could argue that First Contact is an often used trope/plot device in Outsiderverse and Outsider Extended universe created by fans, but that is what all this is about. I don't think it's a problem in itself as long as scenarios don't get outright copy-pasted.

Since there is no FTL communication in Outsiderverse, the war is happening rather close to Terran territory and all three sides are quite active in terms of exploring/scouting/intel gathering, I find it pretty much inevitable that "first contacts" will happen and on more than one occasion, and will remain isolated from each other for a substantial amount of time. Knowing how different people are and how differently they react to similar situations, all those first contacts can each have vastly different scenarios and outcomes both on a local as well as global scale.


Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:09 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
entity2636 wrote:
Alright, suppose you could argue that First Contact is an often used trope/plot device in Outsiderverse and Outsider Extended universe created by fans, but that is what all this is about. I don't think it's a problem in itself as long as scenarios don't get outright copy-pasted.

Since there is no FTL communication in Outsiderverse, the war is happening rather close to Terran territory and all three sides are quite active in terms of exploring/scouting/intel gathering, I find it pretty much inevitable that "first contacts" will happen and on more than one occasion, and will remain isolated from each other for a substantial amount of time. Knowing how different people are and how differently they react to similar situations, all those first contacts can each have vastly different scenarios and outcomes both on a local as well as global scale.


In addtition, there is little else to work with - the starting setting is that both species don't know of each other - yet - but live close to each other that it would happen anytime soon. So some sort of First Contact - where the setting could vary and could put either humans or Loroi at an advantage or disadvantage (shipwreck, in pursuit/being pursued, stranded, found in the Enemy's prison or enslaved...), but the main storyline would remain similar.

To move away from a First Contact scenario we would either have to forward or backward in the timeline - or sideways, but creating vastly different AU's would be a wholly new matter. Backward, that'd result in stories like Werra's "Shade and Honour," and forward, one famous example would be "What To Do With Jardin", but I myself have another idea in the works.

Though, even moving forward may not completely exclude First Contact scenarios. Before Loroi and human could work together, less to say without friction, that would be a rather arduous process.


Last edited by novius on Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:01 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Well, it wasn't meant as a critique. An example of what I mean is the reaction of the Loroi once they realise humans are immune to telepathy. It will be earth shattering for them, but a knowledgeable reader already knows, so won't be able to naturally emphatize.

There are ways around it. The author doesn't have to show the immediate aftermath of first contact actually happening. A first-person narrator could for example handwave most of what's found in history books. With a third-person narrator, the busywork of first contact could be skipped or treated as a minor thing happening on the sidelines, instead focusing on the characters.


Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:17 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Werra wrote:
Well, it wasn't meant as a critique. An example of what I mean is the reaction of the Loroi once they realise humans are immune to telepathy. It will be earth shattering for them, but a knowledgeable reader already knows, so won't be able to naturally emphatize.

There are ways around it. The author doesn't have to show the immediate aftermath of first contact actually happening. A first-person narrator could for example handwave most of what's found in history books. With a third-person narrator, the busywork of first contact could be skipped or treated as a minor thing happening on the sidelines, instead focusing on the characters.


There is also the possibility events forgotten or events so obscure that few know about them. The Trojan war was long considered a myth until the city's ruins was actually found. Apparently it survived the conflict and was some kind of tourist attraction for the later Romans. Still, it was later forgotten.

A contact that are not followed up on may also fall into myth. I learned of Christopher Columbus discovering america before I learned abut Leif Ericsson. But then again, the colony that Leif founded didn't last so it fell into obscurity. Some people may of some reason choose NOT to report a contact because doing so may lead to unwanted implications. So, you saw something odd when you where out transporting some contraband, maybe not mention this would be a good idea. Or maybe you risk loosing your job for reporting fantasies since you only met the aliens, they didn't leave you with any evidence.


Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:52 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part VI

Spoiler: show
He might be thinking of some way out of this, but unless he's some kind of miracle worker, I'm not seeing any that would lead to a good outcome.

The infusion of information she'd received made her wish she'd taken up an academic position. At least there, my input doesn't weigh on the survival of the human species. The conversation had ceased, as if the commander was giving her some more time to digest the implications of what she'd heard.

So we have to make a blind choice between two galactic superpowers. And make sure that choice doesn't rob us of our sovereignty or end up whipping us off the face of the universe. It was difficult to comprehend, but suddenly, the only option that she'd vehemently ruled out in her mind beforehand, that of opening hostilities, had remained the logical one. Which was scary, considering the fact that they were outgunned and outmatched.

Still, the breadth and scope of the TCA's plans to ensure their survival was an encouraging sign. Politics tended to leave her tired and apathetic, but in this case, the powers that be seemed to have a decently solid plan of action.

Well, decently solid if one considers that we're pretty much operating blind.

The trajectories of the two objects were not changing, and soon they would enter the star's shadow. She was torn between trying to contact at least one of the parties, and trying to hide, but her indecision seemed unnoticed by all around her.

The commander had resumed his plotting, calculating trajectories, discussing availability of weaponry, figuring out hit probabilities and potential counterfire.

Oddly calm when the fate of everyone you know rests on your shoulders, she thought eyeing him. But I still can't figure out what he hopes to...

Just then, the doors to the control center entered. Ibaka and Sanderson walked in at a brisk pace, still discussing some holographic image the older man was projecting in front of them.

The commander spun around in his chair.

"Mister Ibaka, I'd like some good news if that's possible" he said with a perfect poker face.

The older man gave a faded smile.

"News is news. It's good to some and lousy to others", he said in a tired, amused tone. "We've made some progress along with the team. No reports, but I can tell you what we've figured out so far. In the allotted time frame, it's all we could do."

"It'll have to do. So, what've we got?"

"The ships both use the same systems for propulsion. The percentages of different types of radiation coming from the engines is different, so we suspect that they have different makes, but the working principle seems to be identical". He paused. "And more advanced."

"Specifically?"

"The main component of the exhaust plume is irradiated hydrogen. In terms of emissions, we're seeing mostly hard gamma radiation, alongside electron and positron production in roughly equal amounts. We don't have neutrino detectors on board out watch satellites, but all clues indicate some type of antimatter engine."

The commander's face gave the slightest twitch.

"Well, at least we can estimate a minimum level of technological advancement" he said. "You and me both know that's the logical answer. Though, if I recall, antimatter engines in pure form are low thrust high Isp."

"Indeed, though one wishes such confirmation came at a more opportune time."

"Best time we have is NOW. What do you make of that strange UV component in the radiation spectrum?"

Ibaka's eyes glinted.

"It was the hardest to nail down, honestly. There's no drive that produces that kind of radiation. Then it hit us: what if what we're seeing can be explained by something other than a drive?"

"And?"

"We did a little brainstorming, and came up with the most interesting aspect. It matches Cherenkov radiation", he said with a look of pride.

The commander seemed nonplussed. Diane didn't even know what that kind of radiation was.

"Cherenkov radiation? The blue glow that nuclear FISSION reactors produce?"

"The same...and not the same. CR was discovered in old-school uranium boilers, but that was a long time ago, and was of a different source. The ship is obviously not powered by fission, so we had to think of some other mechanism. Then it hit us: Cherenkov radiation has two other sources. One is ships completing their jump exit, as a side component of the initial high-energy explosion.The other is artificial gravity."

Andrews blinked.

"It's coming from their grav plating?"

"No, rather they have grav plating INSIDE their engine. Or something related to inertial dampening, or in this case, amplification."

"Apologies, mister Ibaka, but you're not making much sense."

"Well, any object moving through an artificial gravity field gives off CR. It's the universe's way of letting us know something is breaking rules it shouldn't, like FTL speeds or gravity gradients with no mass-energy. The higher the speed of the object moving through the field, the higher the frequency of the radiation given off."

"But, mister Ibaka", interrupted Diane, "we're in a gravity field right now, and we're not glowing blue."

"Because we don't move too fast inside of it. At normal human speeds, the energy of the photons given off is very low. It's basically undetectable. Crank up the speed, and you crank up the intensity and wavelength."

"So, what is the gradient inside those engines acting on?"

"On the plume itself!" said Ibaka with glee. "We suspect they're using inertial technology to increase the mass of their plume.They're cheating!It should be a low thrust engine, but they've increased the reaction mass without cutting into their exhaust speed. "

The commander's face lit up.

"They're using inertio-grav technology to turn their high efficiency but snailish engines into torchships."

"Indeed! And because the plume is moving at relativistic speeds, the photons gain massive energy, and thus it churns out UV." He paused. "I'd kill my dog for a chance to get a look at that engine."

"How close would we be to making something like that?"

"Well, the principles are well known, but it's a daunting engineering challenge. Inertial technology is still new, and the energy required to run an engine like this is huge. Hell, they're basically FORCED to use antimatter. "

"And we still have trouble making and containing it", continued the commander stroking his chin. "One tech level ahead of us?"

"At the least. A safer approximation would be two", replied the older researcher. "Well ahead of the Orgus as well."

"Understood", said Andrews, pausing for several seconds. "How would such an engine present itself?"

Ibaka seemed confused.

"Well, it would have magnetic rings and other assorted systems. Probably a plumbing nightmare. The fuel for an antimatter engine would be a massive concern, at least from our point of view. Even a slight leak and they turn into a blip in the cosmic microwave background."

"So battle damage would be catastrophic?"

"Indeed, though I'd expect there to be numerous contingencies in place. It's probably not as simple as shooting a slug into the nozzles."

"But doable", mouthed the commander, before turning to the other scientist. "What about you, mister Sanderson?"

"Well", said the head of the armaments division, "not much to go on. The marks we're seeing seem consistent with some kind of particle cannon."

He tapped the PDU on his wrist and an still image showing the hull of the first ship materialised before him. The metal had a bright large patch, as if paint had been swept aside, and what looked to be a large opening in the centre.

"the central area looks like it was hit pretty hard by some kind of highly energetic particle beam. But these radial patterns are odd."

"How so?"

"They'd indicate, to the beast of our knowledge, some kind of complex...how should I put it...structure to the beam. "

Diane could tell what he was trying to say."Are you saying they shape their beams?"

"We suspect that to be the case. The exact mechanism is unknown to us, but the purpose is to probably increase the range of the weapon....somehow. " He shrugged, with a mix of despondency and frustration. "Without actually seeing one in action, there's not much to go on. "

"And I assume such a weapon system is also one to two tech levels in advance of us? "

"Yes, THIS specific type of mark is. "

The commander frowned, but before he could ask the question, Sanderson interrupted.

"THIS damage, however, seems to be from a different source. " The image being projected from his wrist shifted to reveal another part of the hull. This time, the mark appeared like a shallow crater, with a large gaping orifice .

Diane could feel a chill. Looks like a cosmic jackhammer had a go at it.

"It's and odd pattern. Looks like something both melted and blasted it's way inside the ship. Like some kind of relativistic jet of metal. "

"This damage is in the area of their starboard nacelle", interrupted Ibaka. "The one that's running at a cooler temperature than the other."

"So....this is the hit that's making them move slowly?"

"We think so", said Sanderson, peering at the image. "Whatever hit them, hit them with the force of one of our experimental nukes. That's about the only thing I can think of that can result in this type of damage."

"What about the second ship? All the damage you've shown so far seems to be from the first."

Sanderson frowned.

"The second ship has no visible damage from what we can tell. At least, if it's there, it isn't nearly as substantial as the one on the first vessel."

"So... a heavily damaged Loroi ship, operating at half thrust is making a mad dash from one jump point to another, running away from a second, Umiak ship that seems undamaged and on the chase. "

What?

"How can we be sure it's not the other way around? We can't identify Loroi and umiak ships" asked Diane fearfully. "We've never SEEN one."

"We can't be absolutely sure", admitted the commander. "The Orgus could not give us any descriptions of Loroi ships, but quite a few had at least a vague impression of what Umiak ships looked like and what colour schemes their prefered. The second ship matches those schemes and patterns", he said tapping his console.

So that's what you were looking at. But still.

"None of the refugees had a military background", retorted Diane.

"No, but they had access to media channels." He looked her dead in the eye. "It's sketchy but it's all we have."

Ibaka and Sanderson seemed to concur. "That was our impression as well," said the older male," but we give it only a 60 percent chance."

"The first ship could belong to one of the client races, or be non-affiliated, like the Orgus were", offered Sanderson.

Having reclined, commander Anderson sat silently for a few seconds, his hands clasped in front of him, elbows resting on his armrests.

He's drinking it all in , Diane realised. No wonder. If what they're saying is true, then this confirms our fears: that the combatants have vastly superior technologies.

Finally, Anderson looked at the two researchers standing in front of him. "Thank you gentlemen for your efforts."

Ibaka raised an eyebrow.

"So...what do we do?"

"Apollo, ETA till the first alien ship enters the star's shadow?"

"ETA 10 minutes, commander", responded the disembodied voice. Jesus even IT sounds worried.

"Thank you", he said turning. "I've been mulling over a plan of action, and I think I'm going to put it in motion as soon as the Loroi ship is in the right position. "

"Position?", said Diane, trying to hold back the tsunami of emotions.

"Don't worry, I'm not ordering an attack just yet. But we can't hide for much longer. "

"But if we can't hide and we won't fight, what are going to do?", asked the exobiologist.

"We still have the option of trickery, doctor", said the commander turning towards his console with a half smile.


Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:27 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
No, I'm not dead, just kept by real life problems from continuing right now... Too tired to write. Will carry on at the first opportunity.


Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:43 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part VII

Spoiler: show
"We MUST confront them, captain. How long are we to suffer this injustice? How long are we to run with the stench of their breaths breathing down our necks?"

"They haven't loosened their gunboats yet, Swiftalon", replied Razorleaf.

"They seem to be trying more to intimidate us, than to attack." And it's working. The warriors under her command were getting ever more difficult to control. The tenseness and sleep deprivation were doing their number.

Swiftalon fumed.
"They'll be able to do just that once they are out of visual contact. We need to prepare."

"Only as a final measure. We might yet evade them." I just don't know how.

There had been several occasions during their long chase when the shell ship had accelerated menacingly towards them, only to then ease off. Are they hesitating? Are they trying to intimidate us? Do they decide to attack only to change their minds, or are they unsure of what might happen?

She herself was unsure. With half their acceleration gone, they had no way to keep themselves out of range of the enemy plasma foci. The shells would dictate engagement opportunities.
Even so, her gamble had failed. The system had only one entrance and one exit. Even if they could have jumped before the shell ship came into the system, there would be no doubt in the enemy's mind where they had fled to. The enemy, however, had not taken that chance and apparently waited for them to jump before commencing a hard burn, and gaining significant distance on them. That burn was now continuing.

She swiveled her gaze to scan the control room.The smell of burning circuitry was still pungent most likely, though they had all been it it for so long the ends of their neural pathways were probably fried. The starboard control panels were being monitored by only one Gallen. No need to keep more people posted monitoring something that was by all accounts, unusable.

Swiftalon was not averting her eyes from her weapons console. Her mind and visage radiated hatred. She knew, if there was one thing warriors hated more than losing, it was being taunted. And, no doubt, what the enemy ship was doing, doggedly chasing them all the way into the vast unknown, testing their resolve, was nothing short of an insulting taunt. They might break us mentally, before even firing the first shot.

Moonshadow was still monitoring the situation from her console, though she occasionally would scan the room as well. A mizol is a mizol, she thought to herself. Here to ensure both diplomacy, and enforce loyalty if need be. The only question is: loyalty to whom?. She didn't like intelligence operatives, and seeing as many of them now, in the wake of the Emperors' purges, fighting in frontline ships, made her uneasy.

Either way, it doesn't mater. My enemy is behind me, not to my side she thought, glancing at her screen. The Umiak ship was disappearing behind the red glow of the stellar corona, as her vessel was performing it's swing towards the next jump point.

"Any changes before we lost line of sight?", asked Razorleaf as she felt the atmosphere lose some of its' tenseness. Enemies are less intimidating when you can't see them.

"None", replied Swiftalon. "No gunboats, or changes in vector"

"Tactical appraisal, Moonshadow?"

"Given our fuel consumption, the acceleration we're capable of should allow us to keep pace with them to some extent. Though, we'd surely lose any range advantage quickly", answered the mizol. "Our weapon systems are 85 percent operational, but we can only use roughly 60 percent, or risk cutting even more into our acceleration budget." She paused, before continuing. "Most likely we would lose a direct engagement."

As expected.

"Hold course and prepare to swivel. We can't be sure they want to engage now of all times."

"For how long?..." Swiftalon's tone was surprisingly weak. "If we do not decelerate soon, there will be no fuel left to do so. Even after the jump, we'd be left coasting in space....".

She paused, but the thought gave everyone shivers. Razorleaf knew what they feared.

Lost in space, adrift for the rest of our short lives... warriors do not die like that.

"At least let us keep our honor", said Swiftalon. There was no aggression this time, only a plea. "We cannot run. The blood of our comrades demands justice. Even if we die, the shells will pay for their monstrosities."

Razorleaf could feel the anxiety in the room. Everyone was scared. The entire ship is scared... Has my insistence on fleeing really affected them to such an extent that they wish for a swift death?

She herself did not wish to die. It was unexpected. The tension of the chase had been more crushing than the adrenaline of any battle. And, for once, the weapons officer was right. There would be little chance to flee, and even less to maneuver. This was it for them.

So be it.

"Battle stations. Charge the banks, Swiftalon" she said in a commanding tone. A wave of emotions charged the room. Anxiety was replaced with relief and determination. And cold fury.

"Bastobar Cloupeak?"

"Yes, sir" sounded the voice of the chief engineer.

"Prep for damage control. We're joining battle. "

"Understood" replied the technician. Razorleaf could guess her mouthing a "'Bout time" comment, but ignored it.

Swiftalon seemed imbued with energy. Her deft fingers were already issuing commands to the ships' systems. Moonshadow seemed just as impenetrable and eerily stoic as usual. The rest of the crew jostled in their seats, making preparations, both technical and mental.

Such a cruel fate. To die alone in the black, so far from our people. In the eyes of her crew, their flight had been a mistake. Even if ordered to do so, even if they stood no chance, they were willing to die. That's what warriors do best, they used to joke in her diral.

"It's possible the shells expect us to flee a further distance yet. Coming out from behind the star, they might not have kicked loose their gunboats or pre-launched any missiles. Which means the ship itself would be our only target. Prep for burn. We'll try to do a close pass by them."

"Understood" answered the bridge officers.

"Once we are in range of their foci, we can expect..."

"Captain...I'm receiving a transmission" said Senein Eclipse.

A wave of panic flooded over Razorleaf with such fury, she had a difficult time maintaining any sense of Lotai. Could they be capable of burning so hard that they've already caught up to us?

As if guessing her thoughts, Eclipse added: "It's not coming from behind us. It's coming from a close stellar orbit in front of us."

Everything froze. Scenarios raced through Razorleaf's head. A missile on an orbital trajectory from the other side? No... we would have seen the launch... The gunboats were still in tow earlier. Another enemy contact could not have had time time to reach their position...

"What are we dealing with here, Eclipse?"

"I can't say for certain, Captain... looks to be not just a signal, but an actual transmission."

The image on the screen flicked open, revealing an extremely faint object glimmering in the red light of the star. It seemed fragile and packed with communication arrays, light-based power generators, optics...

"A monitoring station of some sort?" said Moonshadow with a glint of interest.

"Out here? In the middle of god-smacked nowhere? How would that even be possible?"

"It does not appear to be one of our models" said Eclipse. "And the signal is amplitude-modulated."

"An AM signal?" said Razorleaf. "That's antiquated technology. Who the hell uses that?"

"Unknown" said Eclipse tensely. "But it seems very simple to decode. There is a data feed and an accompanying audio signal." She paused. "The data feed is gibberish for now, but the audio is playable in our hearing range." Eclipse gave an expectative look.

Still astonished, Razorleaf shook her head, as her officer started the transmission.

The transmission was barely intelligible. The sounds seemed mechanical, as if passed through a translator. The articulations of the language were strangely familiar, however, as if whatever was communicating was trying to imitate something that definitely had a mouth and fleshy lips.

Only...the speech was gibberish. The language was different. Nothing even vaguely familiar. Razorleaf turned towards Moonshadow, who was listening with a look of utmost concentration.

"What language is that?"

"Nothing I've encountered so far. " She paused. "A Listel with a great knowledge of languages would perhaps be of better use."

"Nothing at all?"

"Well, the speech patterns change... as if the language changes. I'm not exactly sure if it..."

She stopped, as did everyone else. The language had changed again... only this time it was transmitting in Trade.

"This is an automated message" wrang the speakers. "This bouy is meant for traffic and solar activity monitoring. If you have any message you wish to relay, please do so by contacting the transmission and relay station currently in position-3-8-1 on this frequency or standard traffic frequency. If you are experiencing potentially threatening conditions, such as loss of power, failing life-support or propulsion, you are encouraged to utilise the facilities on-board the transmission station, which, as a category two automated dock, can facilitate repairs and replenishment activities. Your stay will be taxed according to length of time spent and consumables utilised. Current occupancy rate is zero. System traffic reads two contacts. Thank you, and welcome to colonial space!"

Everyone was close in attent when the transmission ended. The flight, the decision to fight, the preps...this was all too much.

"What...the HELL... is that?" spoke Swiftalon.

"All the indications point towards it being some kind of automated relay" said Eclipse. "A very unusual one... we don't put anything other than telemetry on board our buoys."

"It's not one of ours. Nor our allies" said the mizol. "Or any known species for that matter, judging by the make of it and it's quirks. "

"Is it armed?"

"Doesn't seem like it" said Swiftalon. "Perhaps the shells are playing at some sort of game?"

"Unlikely" said Moonshadow. "What would they be trying to achieve? They know we'll never surrender. And that we'd rather blow ourselves up than be captured or let this vessel be commandeered. "

"Seems like some sort of systems traffic relay. We're passing by it right now" The image on the screen showed the small installation silhouetted against the star.

"How did we miss it?" asked Razorleaf.

"It's quite close to the star. And it seems to not be emitting anything else other than that signal. It's possible it became active when we approached it and started transmitting."

"Could we have stumbled onto... a new species?". The prospect was...incredulous to say the least. The Loroi were a starfaring people, but contact with new species was a rare opportunity.

"In the middle of the Great Wastelands?" said Moonshadow. "It's... possible, I guess, but there have been no indication of habitation in region of space ever since we reached its' borders. Not even ruins. By all accounts, this is a desert."

"And yet, here it is...". Razorleaf paused. "The message said something about a station nearby?"

"Yes," replied Eclipse. "The telemetry from that message indicates there is some sort of larger installation in the system. For now, the decoding is incomplete, since we have no clue how they navigate inside a system, but the coordinates given indicate a region of space that should be coming into line of sight right now. "

"Do a widebeam scan. See what comes up."
"Understood. Initiating radar scan."

The captain watched as Eclipse's fingers danced on her controls. As the waves propagated through space, their reflection would give them a rough estimate of what was out there. Still, there was a lot of space to cover... And it seemed to change nothing regarding their current predicament.

"Found something" said Eclipse.

That fast?

"There is a nearly perfect circular object in the indicated quadrant. Preliminary scans indicate s metallic composition. It's also warmer than background."

The image on the screen shifted again. This time, a large circular object, with a beige surface appeared on screen. It seemed to have no large distinctive features, and near-zero rotation relative to the star.

"Is it moving?"

"Aye. Seems to be doing a very slow burn to change orbits."

"Send a transmission. Use the frequency from the buoy."

"Is that wise, captain?" asked Moonshadow.

"Right now we have nothing to lose. It there IS anything that we can use to repair our vessel there, than that may be our best chance."

"I see nothing that looks like a docking facility" said Swiftalon. "Even if there is one, that structure does not seem large enough to house our ship."
"It might have scaffolds hidden behind that circular section. We won't know unless we take a look"

Swiftalon seemed non-plused. "Take a look, while the shell ship is bearing down on us?"

"We'll still have to fight captain" added the mizol.

"I'm well aware, but this changes our tactical outlook. Perhaps this... installation can offer us some kind of aid."

"I see no indication of armaments. Or much power for that matter" said the weapons officer. Either way, it's unlikely we'd reach it before the Umiak come into range. We'll be joined before we get there."[/i]

"Let's see what it has to say first. Eclipse, record a message then transmit it using the same frequency as used by the buoy."

"What do we transmit captain?" asked Eclipse.

With a hard swallow, Razorleaf spoke : "Attention, unknown installation. This is the Loroi Union vessel ED-295, assigned to strike group 83. We are being chased by an enemy ship, and have suffered damage. Any assistance would be beneficial. Please advise."

"Are YOU INSANE?!" shouted Swiftalon, as the recording ended. "Letting the enemy know our condition?"

"I gave no details. Apart from that, the enemy already knows we are limping and damaged. "

"We have no line of sight to the Umiak ship yet" said Eclipse. "A low power tightbeam might make our message harder to detect. "

"Do it."

As the message was sent, there was bit of time to gouge the situation. Is this an Umiak installation? They were know for being industrious and setting up some kind of depot here was not impossible, even if it was a daunting logistics challenge. Somewhere to launch an assault from? She frowned. No, this is not enough for a full scale invasion. And if this were a secret the shells have kept, why are there no shell ships around?

The possibility that was truly a new species was getting more and more plausible, even as far-fetched as that seemed. That did raise the question of how friendly they would be or how advanced for that matter.
But perhaps...fate has finally given us the faintest of smiles.
.


Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:02 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Nice chapter! I wonder how the message will sound like in the other end. Something like this:

Quote:
"Attention, unknown installation
This is the Loroi Union vessel ED-295
assigned to strike group 83.
We are being chased by an enemy ship
and have suffered damage
Any assistance would be beneficial
Please advise
Are YOU INSANE?!"


Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:39 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Yes! Progress! :mrgreen:

Onaiom wrote:
Nice chapter! I wonder how the message will sound like in the other end. Something like this:

Quote:
"Attention, unknown installation
This is the Loroi Union vessel ED-295
assigned to strike group 83.
We are being chased by an enemy ship
and have suffered damage
Any assistance would be beneficial
Please advise
Are YOU INSANE?!"


I think the connection was already cut before the yelling came into play. ;)

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Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:02 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
They just recorded the message. It was then send via tightbeam. I pressume that Mizol knows how to cut off that last part.


Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:28 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Happy to see you're back and continuing the story.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
..Thank you, and welcome to colonial space!


Just a small comment here - perhaps it should be Terran space? Just referring to it as "colonial space" doesn't sound right in my ears... colonial? Colony of what?


Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:53 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
entity2636 wrote:
Happy to see you're back and continuing the story.

Mr.Tucker wrote:
..Thank you, and welcome to colonial space!


Just a small comment here - perhaps it should be Terran space? Just referring to it as "colonial space" doesn't sound right in my ears... colonial? Colony of what?


Humanity have intill recently been alone in space and the Orgus refugees are already cared for. Other Orgus refugees went elsewhere after all. Such specialities will come over time thou and the fact that they are already transmitting in trade ss well is an indication of this.


Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:55 am
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Part VIII

Spoiler: show
"Attention, unknown installation. This is the Loroi Union vessel ED-295, assigned to strike group 83. We are being chased by an enemy ship, and have suffered damage. Any assistance would be beneficial. Please advise."

The message rung out loud and clear from the speakers. The soft humm of the electronics and the dim red lights of the command center only seemed to make the words more pointed than before.

"Whelp, cat's out of the bag now", offered Ibaka, breaking the silence.

More like Bengalese Tiger...

"At the very least we know they're not ignoring it", said the comondore.

"How likely would that have been?" asked Diane.

"Given that they're running for their lives, more likely than you think. They could've just made a note of it and kept on going."

"But isn't it too good to be true? They've been running for God-knows how long, and suddenly they come across a repair station?"

Maybe."It's obvious to us,since we're doing the tricking but to them? I doubt they feel they have much choice. Fatigue, fear, fight-or-flight..."

"All of which are HUMAN factors" interrupted Diane. "How safe is it to apply it to them? For all we know they might have the instincts of jellyfish, or the endurance of sloths. Or some totally wacky combination of traits that pushes them to think and feel in a totally different manner."

"They don't sound very...inhuman, if you ask me" said Sanderson rubbing his chin. "My trade is about as dim as the emergency lights on a tramp freighter, but they're saying they're a military ship in distress, right?"

"Indeed, as we suspected" he agreed."We already knew from the Orgus that they at the very least are humanoid in shape, though no one has actually seen one in person. Which means we're not dealing with the potential motivation of starfish aliens."

"Hopefully not" said the exobiologist.

Never pegged YOU as a pessimist: "I take it you don't approve?" he said pointedly.

"It makes sense, but... the first contact we have with an alien species, and we're already lying and scheming."

Yes. "We're confronted with a potentially species-wide threat. I'm neither outright lying nor scheming. Just using terrain to my advantage."

"It's odd to talk about terrain out here in the black" she retorted.

"I know, but you'll have to trust me. The entire essence of using geography to our advantage is getting your opponents in the right position."

She gulped but said nothing. You're not military, but you've been around our types long enough to know that second guessing everything is a dangerous situation during times of crisis. His choice of picking her for this installation seemed all the more wise.

Well, that's unless we don't live to tell anyone about it. So far the plan seemed to have an effect. The Loroi vessel was doing the slight change in vector that would bring it very close to the now ever-distancing OTT. He was used to getting into his opponent's minds. It was what set him apart at the academy, why he got all the recognition he had.

But it's difficult. Getting people to do things exactly the way you want is like balancing jelly on rubber strings. And these are not people. The thought of that made him internally shudder.

"A destroyer, huh?" said Ibaka with contemplation. "Guess their ship classes are similar in size to ours."

"Indeed". I know what you're thinking, old man. Similar body size, similar requirements... all the surface details that might seem insignificant, but hide a treasure trove of potential data.We've got more info in that one message than all the intel from the Orgus.

"It's not named" offered Sanderson. "They must have a lot of them..."

So you noticed that too, didn't you? In truth, he loved being around people used to flexing their minds to solve puzzles. Even moreso than the trainers and professors at the academy. They were good, but too rigid and set in their thinking.

"Nothing we didn't expect" he tried to sound confident.

"Still... colonial space? That's spacer jargon...", said the exobiologist.

"I wanted to be deliberately vague in that regard. Not telling them who they're talking to, what we're capable of, where we're from or what we can do." Hopefully. Communicating without saying too much was more challenging than it looked.

"Sounds like you're welcoming them to some kind of grand party, honestly" she said with an air of irony.

Exactly. "We need to seem bigger than we are. To make it look like trade ships pass through here all the time. Like there isn't even a need to mention who we are or what this is. We get cues like that all the time from our subconscious. It would make sense that they would too."

"Isn't it a bit... simplistic?" said Ibaka.

"It is, but I want them to think that they're talking to a dumb-as-rocks computer on-board an orbital dock. Something designed to optimise repair and resupply, not to have enough sense to customise it's message to a first contact situation."

"Sounds...risky" she conceded.

The word you're looking for is far-fetched. "Everything we do is risky. The entire universe is a risky affair." You don't have to like it, and it doesn't care if you do.

"Ok,...so what now?" asked Sanderson in a calm tone.

For a person with such a difficult reputation, you seem to have made your peace quite quickly.

"The OTT has our pre-programmed response already uploaded. It'll respond 30 seconds after receiving a signal on that frequency. So far, we keep course."

"And if it doesn't work out..." said Diane.

I know you want reassurance, but there's honestly very little of that going on around here.

"We'll see from there." He said. "Ensign Daniels, hopefully, you've programmed that stellar observatory to delete it's message and stop broadcasting after 3 minutes."

"I did, but it doesn't matter now" said the young officer. "It's gone."

Come again?

"What's gone?" he asked, as his mind caught up and already gave him his answer.

"The star-probe. It's gone. They've destroyed it."

A graph popped up, showing and energy spike, followed by a sudden stop. Overlaid on top of it was a grainy film, showing the Loroi ship discharging a long, thin, beam.

"It took place nearly 30 seconds ago" reported the young pilot. "Loroi ship is changing vector."

The map of the system that contained the ship's direction was changing. The path of the ship now took them within 100 km of the OTT... and less than 10 Mm from the roid as it would pass by.

"Looks like they took the bait" said Ibaka. "And ate it too."

Am I wrong? Maybe they don't like to be talked to. Maybe they're likely to consider anything that crosses their path to be hostile. Hell, maybe they'll shoot the OTT, fight that other ship, and won't stop shooting until everything in this system is dust.

He inhaled a deep breath. No he thought exhaling, They seem too similar. We can't be all that different.

"They might be trying to make sure the observatory doesn't talk to the other ship. Remember, this hinges on the Umiak ship not being line-of-sight to receive the transmission. If they'd waited for too long, the umiak might have gained on them, and seen them shoot something. They did our job for us. Stick to the plan."

He hoped his quick, sharp, forceful response would alleviate any potential panic from rising up in the control room. Shock the system to remove panic.He looked around to gauge how the others were reacting to this new development.

Ibaka and Sanderson were glued to the screen, with stoic, thoughtful expressions. Not much more they can do, and they know it. Ibaka always seemed to cope with difficult situations by making light of them. Seems to work most of the time. And I'm starting to like it. I was somewhat worried about Sanderson, but it looks like your presence is doing him a world of good right now.

Diane Batra, for her part, seemed the most worried. He guessed she wanted to say something, but her post-adrenaline state, tiredness, and dread were making it difficult to say anything intelligible.

You're not wrong to be scared.

"Could be it doesn't turn out the way we want it. Remember, we have contingencies. I live for them" he said, with a slight smile. If I can barely convince myself...

Diane looked at him with a almost despondent expression.

"Let's hope that carries on, then."


Last edited by Mr.Tucker on Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:07 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Well, I wanted to write this next part before answering some of those points, since they're kinda linked.

Essentially, Andrews is using the term colonial instead of terran on purpose. It's his very first transmission, he doesn't want to give ANYTHING away for free. In his mind, information is power, and you can gleam a lot from a simple expression.

Colonial is an unofficial term for any space that isn't the inner Sol system (which is the most heavily regulated, guarded, and monitored sector in human space. After all, humanity has both the homeworld and it's oldest and most important colony there). The rules and regulations that govern navigation there limit speeds based on distances and trajectories. All worlds have these to some degree, but the Sol system has them in spades due to the above reasons, so it makes sense that people would name this more...sensitive region. And name it's counterpart. Essentially, colonial is space that belongs to humanity, or has a human presence, but isn't planetary. The Loroi, of course, would not know this.

As for the Mizol barging in: remember, it's written in italic. That means it's mental (and also makes writing Loroi chapters horrendous). She shouted, but she didn't speak :D . Being on the bridge, the officers are in Sanzai range, and they mostly talk in telepathy. Whenever she addresses the probe, or talks to engineering, the style changes.

Humans also talk in their heads, but no one else hears them :P .


Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:33 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
Well, the Loroi didn't disclose their vessel's name either...

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Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:17 pm
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Post Re: [Fanfiction] A Shout in the Dark
GeoModder wrote:
Well, the Loroi didn't disclose their vessel's name either...


Given the size of the Loroi Navy (estimated at 2-3 thousand), I'd say there should be several hundred destroyer-sized ships out there. I'd make more sense I think for them to identify using some kind of hull number, rather the the ship name.


Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:07 am
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