previous | narration | home | next

Chapter 21 (Original Archive)

supreme_arbiter 2/26/2003

Group II: Arkady and Nike, Chelydra and Percy

Wolf-Percy froze, door in front of him cracked and still in his furry paws. He heard *voices*. He nodded his head to and fro from the door toward Chleydra and Arkady, his eyes bright with warning.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group III: Asuda, Bailey and Shlitzee

"How in the hell did a robot like you end up on a dropship like this, Shlitzee?" Bud said, a smile on his face.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group IV: Janus

He awoke during the cool hours of early morning, just before the dawn, when the streaks of the first star were just beginning to show in the Southern sky. He knew that daylight would be fully upon them before they could depart, and watched as the contrast between his compound under the palms and the edges of the sand dunes grew more distinct.

The journey to the sigai was not a topographically difficult one. A small dune sea separated Janus's own region from that of the sigai, and it was bordered by a series of ridges and plateaus. This was the precursor to the siganna mountain range, an area of more fertile landscapes and valleys, around which was the sigai. No, it was the predators that lived in those areas that he must choose between: to go straight through the dune sea and risk the sand sikalas:

or go around along the ridges and risk aggravating the mating of the Zinhala. When they were in heat, they were a fierce warrior like race of creatures, unlike their normally docile, friendly state. He eyed his company, his burdens, and mulled his decision for a few final moments before all were ready to depart.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group V: MX2000

He passed by the gates again, on his usual route. The carvings glimmered as if made of an otherworldly substance, and the arched gateway rose as if to greet the heavens. Tendrils of succulents dangled from the ironwork like little hands grasping at the light. One would think that guarding the same area for hundreds of years, no matter how enchanting, would bore even a robot, but MX2000 was a particularly dedicated breed. He took pride in the fact that after hundreds of years; he was still oiled, vigilant, and successful. In the beginning, a few adventurers had attempted to enter the gates, but they had all been unsuccessful. Either they had arrived, realized their peril, and departed, or they had been killed in successive attempts. No matter. No one would get past MX2000. No one.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Welcome to the new PC, MX2000!!

**What do you do?**


lwmarti 2/26/2003

Stewart

"How in the hell did a robot like you end up on a dropship like this, Shlitzee?" Bud said, a smile on his face.

"You know this robot?" says the surprised Bailey. "I suppose that's good, though."

And then to the the newly-arrived robot: "Shlitzee, Bud and I have been out of touch for a while. Maybe quite a while. What can you tell us about what's happened to the ship and the people on it? Have you been on-line the whole time? We have no idea of what's what, and would appreciate any information that you can give us."


aeraxbob 2/26/2003

shlitzfarl

(I'd forgotten how slowly Organics think)

"Don't play coy with me, Sailor!!" Shlitzee whips her head around to address Bailey, "I haven't forgetten that metal press 'accident' at the factory!!"

'Her' neck tube snakes out to the remnants of 'frothy liquid bliss' in her left hand, sucks it down.

"I've been 'on-line and out-of-my-mind' for 500 years!!"

left photoreceptor rotates to focus on the empty beaker, begins to deepen in glow.

"If I hadn't had some 'friends' (glow deepens further) I'm sure I'd have lost it!!" both eyes steady on Bailey, "Does that give you an idea of 'What's-What!?!"


Mike Johnson 2/26/2003

Bud

"Unholy Plastibrained Visage of Doom!" Bud lowers, but does not holster, his pistol. "What are you ... Bartender on this Loveboat?"

"Metal Press? Hell that wasn't Bailey!" groping in his hazey mind, "That was Jenkins, 'ol sumbitch!!" smiles, somewhat mischievously "Bailey tried to throw you in a chemical vat ... 'member?" looking up and to the left.


aeraxbob 2/26/2003

shlitzfarl

"CHEMICAL VAT!!" (refocuses on Bailey)


lwmarti 2/27/2003

Stewart

"CHEMICAL VAT!!" (refocuses on Bailey)

"Testing his memory, are you, Bud?" says Bailey. If you're referring to that beer or two that might have been spilled on him, that's one thing, but that's about the limit of it for chemicals. And I don't recall any vats, although I do remember one brawl that you started with a few people being thrown through windows. Beer, chemicals; vat, window. It's close enough."

"Maybe your memory is the one that's not recovered. Come to think of it, maybe none of our memories are really working that well."

"Anyway, Robot, you're probably still our best bet for reliable data right now, since your systems probably kept functioning just fine while we were away."


aeraxbob 2/27/2003

shlitzfarl

Flash image of barrels; 50,000 liter variety. Chemical sensors indicate 'beer' on breath of several inebriated humans. Some with plastibonders, others with mohawk wigs in free hands. One that looks like "Bailey," then fuzzy (bubbly) images from the bottom of barrel. "yeah, my systems are working just fine ..."

In a blur: moves closer to the med table, gives once over of equipment, plugs something into wall-o-beeps "Everything's fine here! This bimbo a 'pal' of yours?" unplugs, unbolts, replaces component in hyperfluid motion ... "the first hundred years, those were the worst. the second hundred," incessant beeping in head "those were the worst too. I'mnaa call for some help, this is riduculous. When I jack in, I'll get some answers to your questions, sailor." pulls tube from med wall, connects it and purges 1.3432223 liters from her storage tanks. (still purging) "what I'll tell now is that a little 'cosmic death' zapped most of the Organics during the worst hundred years, and that big tub just kept cruising," pulls a canister, reaches into kaftan and begins spraying under arm, "a few jokers like you were stuck in 'sleepy-time' and a few crops of 'tubies' kept squirting out as well ..."


Mike Johnson 2/27/2003

Bud

{Checking her lifesigns}

"looks like the mystery lady is stable. What did you say the captains' name is ... 'Thomason?' this isn't the same woman I sparred 'Dim Mak-style' with. So ah, Shlitzee ... looks like you've been keeping appearances up,"

{is that armor plating?}

"and Bailey ... beer, fights, windows ... my memory problems lie in narrowing down *which* drunken fight with broken windows ..."

{turning to face 'mystery door,' crouching while raising gun and nodding head in same direction}

"Speaking of memory ... don't I remember you mentioning something interesting in the storage room, Shlitzee?"

{begins a slow, angled creep forward towards door that Bailey warned him of, careful not to step on his ration-spat}


Baron Greystone 2/27/2003

Janus

He eyed his company, his burdens, and mulled his decision for a few final moments before all were ready to depart.

Thinking it over, Janus decides that it would be difficult to avoid encountering the Zinhala should he journey via the ridges. Therefore, he settles upon a journey through the dune sea. With luck, the journey would be sikala-free.

Last-minute preparations completed, it is time to move. With a final, long look at his home, Janus begins a journey that he's been dreaming of his whole life.


soullessone20 2/28/2003

MX2000

He (simply because it had a male voice program) was still on patrol. It had been sometime since anyone or anything came to challenge his guard and it had been even longer since he had new orders. Following this routine was all he knew to do, aside from the vicious combat skills he had. His metal alloys reflected the blue tint to his exoarmor in the sun light as he passed through the ruined arches, the black parts however seemed to absorb the light. Red eyes (optical cameras) scanned his surroundings as he continued on large feet the only noise over his well oiled joints. It seemed this day would pass without much to do, this was nothing new.


gammaben 2/28/2003

Percy

Percy held the door tightly. He sensed more than anything that freezing in his tracks was too late an auto-response. Surely the voices he heard coming from the room beyond belonged to people who had noticed the door start to open, but maybe not.

Emboldened by his adapted and adopted canine instincts, Percy pressed on, after catching glances from his Warden crewmates, and suddenly opened the door all the way, crouching low and aiming his laser pistol at the first person he saw--assuming it wasn't Amanda.

He dared to speak for the quartet of Wardeners, if they could still be called that, having abandoned the ship.

"My name is Percthe Jenkins, we'r-r-o-w-r-r-r'e from Warden, and thisth isth our drop-sthip! Sthep away from the woman and nobody getsth hurt!"

Percy had the fleeting thought that he was an adaptoid in wolfoid's clothing. Then, amused with the thought chain, he realized instead that he actually was a wolfoid in Percy the human's clothing. Then a third thought: did he recognize one of those intruders?


Mike Johnson 2/28/2003

Bud

[staring into the barrel of a pistol held by a talking wolfman, returning the threat]

"I'm not sure if you'd call this a 'Mexican Standoff,' since I'm from Triton ..." pauses "but we're from Warden too." looking into wolf eyes "I knew Percy Jenkins ... Percy Jenkins was a friend of mine ... you 'sir,' are no Percy Jenkins ..."


aeraxbob 2/28/2003

shlitzfarl

Observing the 2 Organics crouched with pistols drawn, a robotic chuckle pulses deep in Shlitzee's processors ... at the same time its laser trains on the one claiming to be Jenkins.

Eyes glowing deep red "What can you tell me about metal presses, hairy-sack-of-mostly-water?"


Mike Johnson 3/2/2003

Bud

[Bud thinks to himself: Jenkins--Thomason--Bailey ... weren't we all at some formal gala? What was it ... 'Hardy Spacer's Ball?' nah ... 'Special Order of the Astral Shine?' nope, I don't think that even happened ... 'CAPTAIN'S BALL FOR THE ELECT!!' ... a shin-dig for those chosen to be mem/gen recorded ... yeah ... I went as 'Earl Kai-Chek,' of course ...]


publius1024 3/5/2003

Arkady

OOC: I'm a little confused. When Bud and Bailey were waking up ...

[Bud's] search had taken him to a single door with a window. Looking through the window, he could see a room with only medibeds

... Bailey stayed behind and Bud moved into a room that ...

[...] didn't have any other obvious exits to the hallway, though there was one door that looked like it went to storage [the storage room from which Shlitzee entered?].

Just then, the doors to the bay behind Bailey began to open.

So, either Percy opened a door into the room where Bud & Bailey awoke [in which case - why didn't Bud make a note of their exposed, um ... rear]; or into the medical bay where Amanda lay [in which case why did Bailey see Percy opening the door while Bud with the Kung-Fu grip didn't (sorry I couldn't resist ;)]

If the former is true, then Percy et. al. are not in same room as B&B but are staring at them through the door that B&B left open.

Sorry for being so anal-retentive.

Arkady nodded in response to Percy's grave look. He too heard the voices, but they were too low in pitch to be heard through the ship's walls. Men, a couple of them. Then he heard a higher pitched, feminine voice, but he couldn't quite make out what she was saying either. Amanda?

Arkady watched as Percy, Chelydra and Nike poured into the room beyond. He stole a glance at the hallway of closed berths behind him. He steadied his head and reluctantly followed Nike through the door.


supreme_arbiter 3/22/2003

                             storage
                               room
_______________________________+ +_____
|                           |          |
|                           |          |
|                           |          |
|                           | 2ndary   |
|          main             + room     |
|         medibay           +          |
|                           |          |
|                           |          |
|                           |          |
___________+ +________________________
          hall
           way

In this very crude schematic, there are double doors from the hallway into the main medibay, then a door into the secondary mediroom with a window. (the plus signs indicate doors) In this scenario, Bud and Bailey would have woken up in the main medibay, seen Amanda (located in the secondary mediroom) through the door with the window. This secondary room has the storage room from which Shlitzee entered.

This is the point at which I think I may have made a mistake. I had assumed that Bud had rejoined Bailey in the main medibay after checking out Amanda, right inside of the doorway, and it was in this room that they encountered Shlitzee.

So, a few questions for the PC's. Will this work with the posts as- is, is this what you guys as PC's had in mind, and will we need to do some "fixing", so-to-speak?


supreme_arbiter 3/22/2003

The Sand Dune - 14

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group II: Arkady, Nike, Chelydra, Percy, Asuda, Bailey and Shlitzee

The wolfoid eyed the newcomers warily. Arkady looked relieved that it wasn't something that would eat them first, talk later, and then realized that if these newcomers were bad news then he was in some serious danger. He looked sideways at Nike. Her body language suggested that she was relaxed, which surprised him. He shot her a puzzled look, and she smiled in return before she addressed one of the men in the other group. "Well well! Care for a little match to settle this argument, gentlemen?" She smiled engagingly, with a hint of competitive menace. Or are you ready to concede that you are stowaways on our ship and play nicely?" Arkady noticed that she did not tell Percy to lower his weapon. "What's she up to?" He wondered silently.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group III: Janus

The caravan moved out, scouts in the front, Janus and his men behind them and in the rear, supply camels in between. As they entered the dunes, he could hear the occasional blood-curdling scream coming from the ridges. "Sounds like the Zinhala are successfully mating this year." Zofun said, looking grim. Janus immediately felt validated about his decision to take the dune sea. It sounded like the Zinhala were in the height of their heat.

The dunes seemed to stretch forever, though the well-travelled Janus knew better. Ironically, any sign of a blade of grass or a little tree gave cause for alarm, not relief. The sikala left such traps for unsuspecting, weary travelers. With that thought, Janus moved to the rear to check the supply camels and make his presence known. Most people got jittery out here, and the screams of the Zinhala weren't helping. His leadership, even if only his presence, would help calm nerves.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group IV: MX2000

A crash sounded from 103.5 meters above. MX2000 could feel his excitement, if that were possible for a robot. He had never had to make the choice to evaluate something from so far off, and yet the crash had been loud and strong enough to be the result of something large enough to be a real threat.

----*----*----*----*----*----

**What do you do?**


gpfarm 3/22/2003

Chelydra

Before I write my next post can Chelydra see Schlitzee from where he is standing? Who is in which room, and who can see whom? I got a bit lost here. I assume the main medibay is where we initially saw Amanda.


Baron Greystone 3/23/2003

Janus

Janus' stride was that of a man in his element. His gaze touched everything, including the eyes of his people. His slight smile, his nod of recognition or approval, carried his meaning. We are a unit, we move as a team, we are the best at what we do. They all knew that Janus was fair and even-handed. None need feel neglected or less than his fellow.

And this gave Janus a feeling of peace. Everything as it should be. It even allowed him to entirely forget the ultimate goal of this trip. For a few minutes at a time. While the caravan would be profitable, he would see to that, he was tracking down his life's goal. It was only through determination that he slept each night. But even in sleep, his mind ticked through all the possibilities he could imagine.


supreme_arbiter 3/25/2003

Group II: Arkady, Nike, Chelydra, Percy, Asuda, Bailey and Shlitzee

At this point, everyone is in the main medibay, except for Amanda, who is just inside the other room, in her medibed.


soullessone20 3/25/2003

MX2000

It had been so long since the last event that everything in him said to run and go investigate. Leg joints began to bend then suddenly he shot into the air his large metallic hands grasping and pulling. He began to climb toward the noise.


Mike Johnson 3/29/2003

Bud

[Still looking at the Hairy-man-thing, seeing his weapon still raised he continues the standoff]

smiles while speaking-

"Always curious about matches...and since I don't remember wolfmen or Turtleguys on the crew roster, I'm fairly confident that this isn't your dropship."

[trying to see if he recognizes any of the newcomers in the doorway]

"I'm Officer Asuda of the Starship Warden...these are my friends Bailey and Shlitzee." pauses "I don't know the woman on the table" gestures slightly with head, "is she a friend of yours?"


publius1024 3/31/2003

Arkady

He was glad to see that Nike had returned to her former self. He glanced at the two men and the robot who had just entered the door at the far end of the medi-room and introduced themselves. A tense decision hung in the air. "Did Percy really know the guy who said his name was Bud?" he wondered. He looked around the rest of the room. Most of the robot chambers contained the remains of shattered bots. Three were empty. He presumed that Shlitzee had come from one of them. He wondered where the other two were ...

The room was immaculately clean. Two black backpacks sat on the floor beside a medi-bed. [OOC: presuming that Bud only removed his pistol and didn't don the pack and that Bailey didn't do anything with his pack.]

Arkady saw an illuminated computer monitor behind them. He backed away from the door and hastily read the output:

PILOT: Captain Nike Thomason/marine corps

"Hey Nike," he called, "they've got some info from the computer about you ..."


gpfarm 4/1/2003

Chelydra

Chelydra's shotgun twitches at once to cover Schlitzee. "All right bolt-bucket, just freeze it right there," he drawls. Turning to "Officer Asuda" he continues "Well, seeing as we came down in it, I recon that gives us as good a claim as anyone to her, ... sir. How about some explaining as to just who you are and how you came to be here. Then we'll see about answering some questions for you."


aeraxbob 3/3/2003

shlitzfarl

(noticing the turtle train a shotgun, Shlitzee puts on an a husky feminine tone)

"I think I'll get a few answers for us all,"

snaking a data interface from the left thigh towards the nearest interface, putting the builtin laser on a slow rove between the organic shelled creature and the female known as Nike.

OOC: I could be mistaken, but I thought Bud had donned the pack and gear.


gammaben 3/3/2003

Percy

Shlitzee: "I think I'll get a few answers for us all ..."

Percy growled at the movements of the robot, but it was a grunt of "so be it" rather than "don't take another step or I rip your nanotubes right outta yer armor plating" kind of grunt. There was something about that robot, and he recalled what it had said earlier: "What can you tell me about metal presses, hairy-sack-of-mostly-water?"

"Waaaaaaaaitaminute!!!"

It finally dawned on him. He did know this robot. He realized a change in appearance was in order. "Wolf-off!" he said, recovering from his crouch and de-adapting to his human form, even as the robot tried to access the computer. "I got all your answers right here!" he said, pointing to his head. "At least the ones I can remember," he thought to himself.

He looked at "Officers Asuda and Baily" and grinned, as their eyes grew wide and mouths hung agape.

[Bud] "'Captain RAM,' is that you?" he said in disbelief.

"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! It's me! I think, anyway. Zhaxier called me that once, but I didn't realize at the time that was my nickname."

[Nike] "Who died and made you Captain?" Marine Corps Captain Nike said mockingly.

Shaking his head, Percy grinned. "No, 'Captain RAM' is some kind of joke, I think. Let me explain. I'm not Percy."

[Bud] "I thought you just said--"

"I'm a CLONE of Percy. And a scrambled egg one at that. I think I'm a werewolf now." He stepped sideways to reveal the others. "This here is Lieutenant Cheyldra, at least a clone of him. His DNA got mixed up, too. Nike turned out ok, so did Arkady, I think." Percy said, finishing the introductions. "We're all clones. Warden got frakked in space a few hundred years ago. Chelydra, Nike, Zhaxier and me popped out of the cloning banks yesterday, I think, anyway, got chased by some crazed security robots under the control of some Watcher maniac, hooked up with fellow clone Amanda--next door," he said, waving his laser pistol haphazardly toward the secondary medibay room as if he were holding a laser pointer instead, "got chased around some more, met a couple of talking felines, a talking dog, a wacked-out robot named Tinker, Arkady here, and some other clone named Gregory." He paused for the first time to breathe.

[Bud] Bud cupped his hand toward Stewart and whispered, "That's why we called him RAM--Random Access Memory."

[Stewart] Whispering back to Bud, Stewart muttered, "Who's Zacksheer?" behind a cupped hand.

Continuing as if he were delivering a soliloquy in a production by the WArden Thespian TROupe (WATTRO), Percy waved his laser gun around some more. "Let's see, Zhaxier disappeared, literally, since he could turn inivisble, Tinker blew up, the bots blew up the felines, we ran to the dropship / lifeboat / whatever we're on now, except for Gregory who didn't make it, and Rufus croaked when we crashed. We've been looking for Amanda who apparently got dragged to the medibay, maybe by some medbots."

[Stewart] "Rufus?"

"Yeah, Rufus the talking dog. I don't think he was a clone, I think he evolved from the original dog population on Warden." He turned his attention back to 'Officer Asuda of the Starship Warden.' "Anyway, so now we've escaped Warden and landed somewhere, but I have no idea where, and is that robot mixing Johnny Walker Black on the rocks over there? Damn, I could use one of those right now!" Percy shoved the laser gun into his pants, whipped out the handkerchief from his shirt pocket and wiped his forehead. Is it hot in here or is it just me?"

[Arkady] "The computer said it was a hundred and seven outside, hull temperature was over one-fifty. It's not just you."

[Chelydra] "I like it hot," the shirtless turtle-officer offered.

Turning to Shlitzee, Percy spoke up sheepishly. "By the way, sorry about the metal press incident. I thought you had been downloaded into a different frame, had you sent to the press room. Guess I got the requisition orders mixed up with the recycling orders! Waaaaaaitaminute, how'd you guys get on board again?"


Mike Johnson 3/7/2003

Bud

taking this all in, Bud assumes a more relaxed posture and adjusts his pack straps with his free hand. He continues to hold the pistol, but in a non-threatening manner

"Clones!!" looks first at the transformed RAM and then Lt. Jackson "looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smokin!!"

pauses to feel the trickle of sweat that has found its way down the small of his back

"It does seem a little warm in here ... were you in process of damage control?"

shoots look to Shlitzee and Bailey

"Shlitzee, Bailey: I want a full damage report on the dropship and uplink with Warden ASAP."

gestures welcome into medbay to RAM, Arkady, Chel and Nike

"I'm not a doctor, but if that's Amanda (gestures with head in direction of the prone woman) all the instruments showed 'green' a minute ago."

"Do any of you know the status of your ... 'originals?' " pauses, "As for Bailey and myself, we've been taking a little nap since before the disaster."


publius1024 3/7/2003

Arkady

[...] Bud assumes a more relaxed posture and adjusts his pack straps with his free hand.

OOC: LoL yoinks - how 'bout you Bailey? ;)

Arkady eyed Shlitzee's laser. "Did it just target us," he wondered. He knew very little about robots, but he knew that the security robots back on the Warden could have been reprogrammed to kill humans. Was this one controlled by someone with hostile intent, or was it an Autonomous Intelligence? He made a mental note to ask Percy if robots could rid themselves of ... something. Arkady struggled with the word. He vaguely remembered that robot intelligence was almost universally limited by some kind of control device ... an Independence Governor?

OOC: Just a little excursion beyond science fantasy---I don't mean to detract from the fun of playing a robot. Giving robots human traits and foibles is part of the flavor of MA. My intention is to provide a context for how robots could have 'mutated' into something completely different just as the Warden's carbon-based crew and livestock have.


stacinator 4/28/2003

The Sand Dune - 15

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group II: Arkady, Nike, Chelydra, Percy, Asuda, Bailey and Shlitzee

Nike moved off, with Arkady, to check out the computer screen with her name on it, while Percy and Chelydra kept a friendly but watchful eye as the newcomers interacted. Percy overheard Asuda's command to try the uplink. He felt odd jumping in, but... it was driving him crazy not to say anything.

"Uh, there won't be any need to try to uplink to Warden's systems." Percy interjected. The newcomers looked at him with intrigue, but also with suspicion. "You are welcome to try, of course, but you'll be wasting your time. Warden's systems have been down ever since the second accident." A flood of memories were racing through his head-- he was at a terminal, typing, alarms and klaxons began to sound, people started running about, screaming commands... nothing was working anymore... the party that had gone to the surface couldn't be reached... all systems scrambled... He felt a little disoriented with all of the information overpowering his already exhausted mind. "I suppose I just remembered something. Whaddyaknow."

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group III: Janus

He and his group had settled in for the night, amid a particularly high cluster of dunes. It provided them shelter from the high winds that so often plagued the desert sands, as well as some sense of cover from attack. Not that he expected an attack, of course, but one could never be too careful when one was leading a valuable caravan and people depended on one.

Janus laughed to himself as he recalled his mentor and friend referring to himself in the third person. He lay on his mat, comfortable now that the heat of the sun had dissipated and the night sky had sucked the heat from the sand.

He awakened some time later with a start. He sat upright, armed himself, and listened intently, adrenaline pouring through his system. A shadow approached his tent--one without a hat. All of his guards, when on shift, wore their traditional hats, so as to blend with the landscape more fully. He nudged his companion, hand over his mouth, and motioned to the shadow. Malik nodded, looking to Janus for orders.

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group IV: MX2000

Climbing to the source of the sound meant leaving the antechamber, exiting, and leaving the entrance to the enclave unguarded, at least momentarily. The bot scaled the outer wall of his "fortress", wanting to get a clear view of the landscape above as well as below. As his helmet crested the summit, he saw two medium-sized beings that appeared to be fighting with one another. Another being, from behind a rock, lobbed an explosive device at what looked like the male of the two others present. The more diminuitive figure appeared to be female, and ran for cover.

----*----*----*----*----*----

**What do you do?**


Zhaxier 4/28/2003

"Uh, there won't be any need to try to uplink to Warden's systems. You are welcome to try, of course, but you'll be wasting your time. Warden's systems have been down ever since the second accident." A flood of memories were racing through his head--he was at a terminal, typing, alarms and klaxons began to sound, people started running about, screaming commands... nothing was working anymore... the party that had gone to the surface couldn't be reached... all systems scrambled...

OOC: The Guardian of Continuity speaks:

Of course, Percy is right about the link to Warden from the lifeboat being down. However, Warden's lines of exterior communication went down irreparably in the Cloud, not in the mutiny. This is implied in the MA Rulebook (Earth lost communication with Warden after the Cloud) and is stated in Chapter 4 of the ML archives:

"Faced with such a crisis, Margulis gave Warden's AI (nicknamed Murphy) direct orders to exit the system and then proceeded to Engineering to help the sparse crew there circumvent disaster. But it was a trap. And a perfect one. Most of her allies were on that away mission, they were incommunicado due to Warden's loss of Comm in the Cloud, and the blast doors in Engineering were sealed beyond hope of opening---even by command ring---by emergency containment protocol."

Futhermore, Command and Navigation were the only systems whose access codes were scrambled by Captain Margulis (see Murphy's log later in the same chapter). But given all the confusion during the mutiny and given the chaos of the aftermath with no chain of command, Percy could have easily had cause to generalize.

These are minor points that can be easily corrected (or explained in footnote, if at all) without consequence in the archives.

There is another, more interesting conclusion to be made from the revelation that the original Percy was one of the lucky few to survive both the Cloud (2303) and the mutiny (2332). Since the Percy clone recalls the mutiny, his memogenetic snapshot for the clone banks had to have been taken *after* the mutiny. Since the Percy clone is 49, the original Percy could not have been more than 7 at Warden's 2290 launch.

This analysis assumes that the memogenetic transcription machinery was not adversely affected by the Cloud (this is somewhat of a stretch, given Lynn's words at the clone banks in Chapter 3: "This is where many of the villagers came from, even if they don't know that. These vats have been stuck in overdrive for centuries, attempting to churn out clones from the officer database, but the entire system took considerable damage in the Cloud ...") and if so, that memory updates to an existing memogenetic record are not possible in the game (to assume otherwise may be inconsistent with the game so far in my gut opinion, but I don't have an example yet).

Validity of these two assumptions aside, the implication that Percy could be a child prodigy is appealing to me.


GammaBen 4/29/2003

OOC: All I can say is, "Wow! What a fascinating turn of events!"

The Guardian of Continuity speaks:

Is he the brother of the Guardian of Forever? (Ba dum dum!)

However, Warden's lines of exterior communication went down irreparably in the Cloud, not in the mutiny. [...] But given all the confusion during the mutiny and given the chaos of the aftermath with no chain of command, Percy could have easily had cause to generalize.

Technically, all systems _have_ been down since the second accident. Some of them were also down before that, too. (Doh!) [smirk] Maybe Percy is just speaking like a Vulcan ("Damn green blooded [adaptoids]!") and is being minimally logical. Or it could also be that this Percy clone, who has already been demonstrated to have Swiss-cheese memory, hasn't correctly or completely remembered the events, even as the flasbacks surface. This might explain why he lumps all systems together as having been down since the second accident.

There is another, more interesting conclusion to be made [...] (to assume otherwise may be inconsistent with the game so far in my gut opinion, but I don't have an example yet).

Assumption 0: Percy was at most age 7 in 2290 at Warden's launch, lived through Cloud accident (2303) and mutiny (2332), and had snapshot taken at age 49 somewhere between 2332 and 2339.

I was thinking about this, and although it sounds cool, it is not necessarily a true assumption. His memory has already been demonstrated to be scrambled eggs. So what if him remembering about the systems being down aren't his memories? Maybe he was 49 at Warden's launch, and had his memogram recorded at that time. After all he's a technical trainier, and he perhaps was part of a corps of trainers that trained the original Warden and went with them on their trip, too. As such maybe they figured it would be valuable to have him "on file" so to speak. Who knows what is in the mind of the SA? (I sure don't, she won't tell me. I even tried bribing her with chocolate!)

When Percy popped out of the cloning bay in 2290, his DNA had been scrambled to make him an adaptoid. Maybe his memorgram had also been scrambled with one of the survivors of the mutiny. Of course, this would then assume that after the mutiny, the survivors tried to transcribe their memories such that they would have been on record somewhere in 2290 to get scrambled with Percy's memories. Given the fact that the transcription machines were messed up, it might exaplain the cross-person scrambling. OOOh, what if his memories were mixed with Captain Lynn's memories? (Sorry, I couldn't help it, just had to add to the confusion!)

If we assume that the memories are his, then I believe Assumption 0 works fine.

Assumption 1: transcription & cloning machinery _not_ adversely affected by the Cloud.

I don't think this has to be the case across the board. Sometime between 2332 and 2339, the survivors could have fixed a (assuming multiple) recorder well enough such that they were able to get a good transcription. Perhaps some recorders were damaged but not all. Apparently they were not able to fix all the cloning pods, at least the one Percy was grown in, as his sample got garbled. (Obviously Nike's, Arkady's, Amanda's, etc. were working just fine.)

Assumption 2: memory updates to an existing memogenetic record are not possible in the game (to assume otherwise may be inconsistent with the game so far in my gut opinion, but I don't have an example yet).

I can see a way out of this one, too, that might avoid possible future inconsistencies. Maybe some of those who lived through both the Radiation Cloud accident as well as the Warden Mutiny used the machinery for a 2nd round of transcriptions of their genetics and memories, once they realized that they would all be dead by the time Warden reached its next destination of Rho Cancri. If Percy wasn't originally memogenetically transcribed at or close to Warden's launch (at age 49, such that he had others' memories mixed in later in 2290), he could have been transcribed for the first time at age 49 in 2232.

I don't see that it's inconsistent with the game, however, if the technology to record genetics could be used more than once per person. The computer could just store the snapshot in a different file than the earlier taken snapshot. Or there could be an option to overwrite. I can see it now:

[user clicks Save As ... and types "Percy clone.dat"]
[machine] "Percy clone.dat already exists. Are you SURE you want to overwrite it? (Y/N)"
[user clicks the Y button]
[machine] "Access denied"
[user curses, right clicks on "Percy clone.dat" file, clicks Properties, unchecks the read-only box]
[user clicks Save As ... and types "Percy clone.dat"]
[machine] "Percy clone.dat already exists. Are you SURE you want to overwrite it? (Y/N)"
[user clicks the Y button]

(Gosh, let's hope that Warden didn't have Microsoft Windows 2290 installed on it!)

Validity of these two assumptions aside, the implication that Percy could be a child prodigy is appealing to me.

That is interesting to me, too, but how did you come to this implication? If he was 7 when Warden launched, maybe his parents were crewmembers, and over time, he was schooled in the computer sciences and grew to be a technical trainer, and was subsequently memogrammed as above. Or are you saying that the only reason a 7 year old would be on Warden at time of launch was that he was a part of the crew (and hence a prodigy?). I imagined Warden having families on it. A generation ship on a long journey ought to have them, IMO.

That written, of course he's a child prodigy. He's modeled after my own life, and I'm a supra-genius. :D

Here are the possible conclusions I can think of. Percy was either:

a) age 0-7 when Warden launched in 2290, survived cloud and mutiny, had memogram in 2332-9 at age 49. Cloned in 2790 in IAS with only his own memories, but genes scrambled to adaptoidism.

b) age 49 when had memogram just prior to launch of Warden, which was scrambled in with other memories of someone who survived the mutiny, when he was cloned in 2790 in the IAS storyline.

I'm sure there are other possibilites, but these are the only two that I can think of based on the clues we have so far. In any case, this is really cool. I like the mystery. (Perhaps the SA will give guidance on what Percy can recall, and if he can distinguish his memories from any possible alien ones? Hint! Hint! Maybe I should try bribing with jelly beans?!)

Now if we can just figure out the airspeed velocity of an unladen dropship, we'd be in great ship, er, I mean shape.


Zhaxier 4/29/2003

OOC: I've thought more on this, but first I'll comment on Ben's thoughts.

I said Percy *could* be a prodigy. If he stepped aboard Warden as a child, then it is indeed more likely that he was NOT a prodigy and just learned his craft en route. I just thought the possibility, however remote, was intriguing. Now, IMHO, it is next to impossible (read on). Sorry, dude!

Here's my current thinking. I will try to be succinct.

IMHO it is consistent that memogenetic transcript machinery was working soon after the Cloud. In my last post, I incorrectly equated operational status of the cloning vats (which only started churning out viable clones around ML's time) with operational status of transcription machinery. The former were certainly FUBAR (and indeed ML has established that viable clones only just started popping out around the time of ML). But the latter had to have been operational for Lynn's record to have been recorded. This makes it possible for Percy's transcript to have been made at any time (when he is 49).

IMHO it is INconsistent to assume that memory update technology existed at the time of Zhaxier's memogenetic transcript (2301). Example of an inconsistency that would be introduced: the existence and content of Zhaxier's note to his clone precludes the availability of memory updates. Why take the trouble to tell your clone that he is a clone, if you could just tack that extra bit of memory onto your clone record?

However, I cannot find an inconsistency in assuming that this technology was introduced AFTER the Cloud or the mutiny, as Ben optimistically proposes. There indeed would've been ample reason to make this a development priority as PSH stock dwindled. This makes it possible for Percy's memogenetic transcript to have been "updated," either by himself or another actor after his transcript was recorded when he was 49.

Indeed, update technology is almost necessary for consistency given the connections that other characters, cryo-frozen before the Cloud, have asserted in IAS to Percy's character, if I remember recent IAS posts correctly. These connections---shared events which had to have happened between 2290 and 2303---imply that Percy was not much more different than he is now, for how else would they immediately recognize him? IMHO, this gives significant evidence to support Percy's being 49 before or around the time of the Cloud (certainly before the mutiny), and thus necessitates the memory update technology to make his memory of the mutiny consistent.

These explanations are more satisfactory to me than the loathsome blunt-edged Sword of the Scrambled Egg which Ben invoked several times in his musings. With all apologies to Capt. Janeway, this ain't Starfleet; "weird" ain't part of the job. At least in ML, we try to keep invocations of this catch-all bludgeon to a minimum. Making things consistent is extra work, but worth it IMHO to make the story richer and more robust. Even the process of making things consistent brings more things to light than would otherwise be noticed. Think of the Guardian of Continuity as your own QA department!

P.S.: This process theoretically should also prevent minor inconsistencies from ballooning into crises such as the like that precipitated the recent PC exodus from ML (caused in part by an uncaught inconsistent interpretation of the word, "crumples"). Just shows to go ya that it ain't perfect. ;)


mikejohnson_lordofdance 4/30/2003

OOC: Perhaps "Earth lost contact with the Warden after the cloud" could mean several things?

Maybe it means the cloud causes interference between Earth and the Warden, not that the systems are irreperable ... or even down?


baron_greystone 4/30/2003

Janus

Janus holds up one, two, three fingers, then mimes peering out. He intends for Malik to wait a little while he sneaks out of the tent. After a short while, Malik is to peer out, and if nothing has developed yet, quietly wake the others.

Motioning for Malik to stay back, Janus carefully peers out, listening for telltale sounds. Having checked to make certain that his blade is snug in his boot, he slips silently out to see what can be seen.


soullessone20 4/30/2003

MX 2000

His program allowed for minor deviations from his post, it allowed him not only to take out threats but scout for any possible ones. The scene before him left him with a bit of confusion. It had been so long since his last encounter that it took a moment to realize what was going on. He watched as the small battle went on, he did not know who would win but whoever did would certainly be heading this way shortly there after. Plans formed as he finished climbing out. Whoever was left standing would be in bad shape and an easy target, then he could go back to his duties as he had been doing them for so long.


Zhaxier 4/30/2003

Perhaps "Earth lost contact with the Warden after the cloud" could mean several things?

OOC: It's open to interpretation in any MA universe, Mike.

In our shared universe (IAS, ML and Paul's MA timeline), these facts have been established:

1. Some onboard systems went down in the Cloud. Lynn lists Cloning in ML.3. Comm is listed in ML.4 (Lynn) and ML.7 (Zhaxier). The MA Rulebook states "some of the vessel's systems were affected."

2. Some onboard systems were locked out in the mutiny. ML Ch.4 establishes Command and Navigation are hopelessly encrypted. Automated navigation programs still steer Warden clear of observable obstacles, but an overall vector that will take Warden past Rho-1 Cancri is maintained.

3. Some systems were eventually partially repaired. Cloning started consistently churning out viable clones in ML's timeframe when radiation levels had subsided enough (ML.3, Lynn). Murphy says he will likely get Environment and Emergency back to limited operational (ML.4); the MA Rulebook says "ship's systems were maintained in a minimum operative state."

4. Some systems have not been determined to be (partially) repaired yet. Murphy says Security is "FUBAR" after the mutiny and gives no indication that it is repairable (ML.4). The intraship wireless link from data pad to core computer is down in ML (ML.1, Zhaxier); Murphy gives no indication in his mutiny log that Comm is repairable (ML.4).

Conclusion: Though it hasn't been established yet, a repaired extraship Comm in ML/IAS timeframe may be consistent IMHO, but not an extra/intraship link to the core computer. In fact, the link is most likely down by order of Murphy for security purposes; after all, it is potentially what enabled Lynn's enemies to initiate their denial of service attack that effectively blinded Murphy during the mutiny.

To be consistent with Paul's timeline, repair of extraship Comm would have to have occurred (if at all) after no one on Earth is available to receive the signal (b/c Earth never heard intelligible reports back from Warden). This repair would also have to have occurred after Lynn's allies, who left for the colony planet in 82 Eridani and then later raced after Warden's mysterious departure in one of the 4 other generation ships orbiting the planet, had stopped pinging the heavens hoping to establish contact with Warden. As of ML, contact between Warden and the descendants of her away team hasn't occurred (indeed, Murphy is not even aware of the attempted rescue mission).

It is entirely likely, however, that a dozen or so generations after the rescue mission landed on the planet in Rho-1 Cancri, and presumably mixed with the existing inhabitants (another colony not listed in Paul's timeline, or a nonhuman population!), infusing the local legends with the mysterious disappearance of the newcomers' mothership, it is conceivable that the population would not waste resources to power a SETI-like search for a legend.

So even if Warden's extraship Comm were restored in ML/IAS timeframe, to whom would she talk?


publius1024 4/30/2003

OOC: Regarding Warden extra-ship communications.

There is a precedent set in the Gamma World timeline written by James Ward and Roger Moore and published in the Dragon Magazine in August 1984 (which served as the inspiration and template for the timeline that I wrote):

http://www.metamorphosisalpha.com/ias/timeline2.html

The Warden related entries on this site are bolded, but here are the relevant items:

2321 Fragmentary transmissions from the Warden received; ship apparently entered radiation cloud and crew was lost

2336-2340 Occasional reports from space communications systems of transmissions from the Warden; status unknown (presumably picked up by AI's)

2420 Strange transmissions picked up from Warden's last known position (presumably picked up by AI's)

If the IAS or ML campaigns contradict this I'm not adverse to modifying the timeline.

Three things to consider: these intermittant transmissions may have been sent by malfunctioning equipment and their periodic nature may have been due to civil wars or looting that terminated the life of those that were trying to repair and/or maintain existing systems.

Also, while the Warden may have been able to transmit messages, they may not have been able to receive messages. I'm no radio astronomer ("but I play one on television" 8), but I suspect that transmitting a message would be far easier than building or repairing a radio telescope that could discern messages from may light years away from the rest of the interstellar noise, not to mention the noise of other local signals.

A third thing to consider about extra-ship comm. is local transmissions from only a few kilometers away (or a few hundred.) I suspect that the equipment required to receive such local messages would be easier to repair/maintain than more sensitive radio telescopes so I see no reason why local extra-ship comm. should be impossible (Although Arkady kind of hopes that they have escaped the watcher's perception ...)

I think Zhaxier is correct in two very important aspects: 1) remote data-pad access is sketchy at best, and 2) The Warden has not been able to receive messages from vast distances.

let's hope that Warden didn't have Microsoft Windows 2290 installed on it

LoL! Judging by the landing that the dropship made, I'm guessing that some systems are using MS Windows!


publius1024 4/30/2003

Arkady

[gazing at the monitor] "So, you're a Marine, Nike? Those guys are tough!"

As for Bailey and myself, we've been taking a little nap since before the disaster."

Arkady noted the open door of two stasis chambers and pointed at them. "So you must have woken up in here, eh? Sorry about the bumpy landing," he smiled. "At least you walked away from it, eh?"

Percy: Is it hot in here or is it just me?

"It's likely to get a lot more uncomfortable soon. There's a storm brewing; Afrimus clouds, or some such. Is there an astro-meteorologist in the house? This monitor says that the life support is still working. I wonder if we can believe that?"

Arkady continued scanning the output on the monitor and commented, "Only one injury? I'm afraid the ship doesn't know everything! Which reminds me: we'll have to bury our canine companion. I never even learned what his name was ..."

Arkady continued reading and noticed two secondary hull-breeches as well as the primary one. "Man, this ship now has three holes in it, and we still haven't discovered who our mystery guest is!" He looked up from the screen at Bud and Stewart. "I'm guessing it wasn't either of you two. We heard something that sounded like a wild animal, and Chelydra saw something moving outside the galley window."

Arkady turned away from the monitor to face Bud and Stewart. He studied the look on Nike's face and said, "We don't really have time to play Wild Kingdom for party leadership ... We still need to secure the rest of the ship. Right now we're partially submerged in a sand dune. If there's a sand storm coming, there won't be anything 'partial' about it! Have you fully explored the ship past that door?" Arkady pointed at the doorway leading to the secondary medibay. "If you haven't, I suggest we do it quickly and then head for the galley and the forward cabins."


mikejohnson_lordofdance 5/1/2003

OOC: Glad we're in the spirit of sharing ideas.

I see no necessary condition presented that the Warden-Auxillary Vessel communications were ever rendered inoperative.

Nor do I see any compelling reason that if they were inoperetive up to the point of ML, that they (like other systems that began working, such as the emergency clone protocols) would not have started working by the time IAS takes place.

Furthermore, no reason to think that the fragmentary memories of the clones and/or of a dying AI would prove definitive (or vested with valid information to begin with). Actually, I see no reason that a ship the size of Warden wouldn't have backup AI's, perhaps working without each other's knowledge.

Even further, I see no reason to think the 'brute force' anti- encryption (which is tirelessly attempting to open the locked systems) could not have succeeded.

Essentially, I think it is up to SA.


Zhaxier 5/1/2003

OOC: Good points, Mike!

I see no necessary condition presented that the Warden-Auxillary Vessel communications were ever rendered inoperative.

It has already been established that Comm went down in the Cloud; Comm, at least in the ML sense, includes *all* external communication to/from Warden. But even if Comm were restored in time for IAS, it is very likely that a crash landing that caused multiple hull breaches in a lifeboat would render many systems aboard the craft inoperable.

Nor do I see any compelling reason that if they were inoperetive up to the point of ML, that they (like other systems that began working, such as the emergency clone protocols) would not have started working by the time IAS takes place.

Consistent, and even likely, given the steady progress of the ML characters toward their goal. But given the (admittedly highly localized) events in IAS, the security situation aboard Warden may not have progressed far enough in the preceding decade for Murphy (and/or his successors or assigns) to have relaxed any extant clamp down on the core computer wireless link.

Furthermore, no reason to think that the fragmentary memories of the clones and/or of a dying AI would prove definitive (or vested with valid information to begin with).

Ah, the dreaded Sword of the Scrambled Egg, a supreme arbiter's most feared weapon! ;) You assume Murphy's memory is fragmentary, but he has so far not shown any sign of this, AFAIK.

Actually, I see no reason that a ship the size of Warden wouldn't have backup AI's, perhaps working without each others knowledge.

Here are three:

* The MA Rulebook only states one "fully aware" central computer, and this is what we've assumed in ML.

* The existence of multiple shell persons would be cost-prohibitive IMHO, *especially* if they were unaware of each other: in the space shuttle, and in science fiction (e.g., P.K.Dick's "Minority Report"), many a redundant system is more effective *precisely because* its peer components communicate to reach a consensus.

* Murphy has recently shown interest in procuring a replacement for himself, so if there are backups of which he is aware, they are likely less functional (for precedent, cf. "deep" space probes like Galileo) or damaged.

Even further, I see no reason to think the 'brute force' anti- ecryption (which is tireslessly attempting to open the locked systems) could not have succeeded.

Here's one: Probability. It is extremely improbable that Command and/or Navigation will be decrypted. Murphy gives 2.91 billion years as a rough estimate (MA.4). He hasn't decrypted it yet in ML.

P.S. Paul, I see nothing in your 2nd timeline that is inconsistent with the ML/IAS plot. It is even consistent if one assumes that Warden has no faster-than-light communication, which is what we are assuming in ML. My dad's a HAM---so am I, but he knows vastly more--- so I'll ask him about the relative ease of maintaining a receiver vs. a transmitter. At least in his equipment, these components are often lumped together in the same box, thus my assumption that "send" and "receive" are inseparable. Both receiver and transmitter would logically make use of the same external antenna.

P.P.S. No Eggspace pun was intended above by my use of Ben's term "scrambled egg." Also, an MA GM is called a "supreme arbiter," so no personal reference was intended by my use of the term.

P.P.P.S. No operating systems were attacked, slandered or otherwise belittled in the writing of this post. ;)


mikejohnson_lordofdance 5/5/2003

OOC: One Example

Let's say that the AI projects 2.91 billion years to try every encryption combination to unlock the ship's system.

Does that mean that only the last combination attempted will work?

Does that mean that there are a vast number of combinations which can be tried?

If the latter is true, then any one of the combinations could work, hence the correct combination could have been found.

We could debate the validity of the ML interpretations endlessly.

My point is: What is assumed and/or interpreted for ML should be just that, for ML.

As to whether those assumptions and/or interpretations are (or remain) valid for IAS is completely at the discretion of Supreme_Arbiter.


mikejohnson_lordofdance 5/5/2003

Bud

"Afrimus Cloud?" Bud wears a frown for a split second, "Yeah, so how big is this storm headed our way?" pauses, "We're half covered in sand, how long did that take? Do we have any idea how far or fast or in what direction we need to move to be safe?"

{scratches his increasingly sweat-covered head}

"Do we have any indications that a dropship with hull breaches can't limp outta the storm's path?" looks around the room. "If this 'Afrimus Cloud' is something we need to worry about, I'd feel safer in the ship than open desert, especially if that ship were moving us away from it."

{turns to Arkady}

"I hear you about not having any time for 'wild kingdom' shit, although Marlon Perkins is a personal hero of mine," turns to Shlitzee, observes the cable's progress toward the infolink, "But just for 'shit's-n-gigs,' let's see if we can get that uplink hummin,'"

"Shlitzee, I want as much Intel on the location and disposition of the Warden, the storm and this dropship, and I want it last thursday!" pauses, "and don't skimp on the 'juicing this turkey outta the storm's path' part, preferably towards a friendly destination with power and repair facilities."

"While Shlitzee is TCOB, let's get on that 'creepy-creep' last seen outside the galley," takes another look at Chel, "Most guys couldn't pull that off, but it works with you."

{pauses on his way out of the medbay} "The next room has your friend taking a nap, the room beyond is a closet where my metal cohort stashes 'WD-45,' which way was your canine chum? It'd be a damn shame if some critter had'em for dinner, I'm down with this 'sweep and clear' project." while waiting for a direction to be indicated, gestures vaguely with pistol and tests his radio, "Bailey, if you're with me, don't forget your pack."

{turns to Percy, gestures beard and long hair} "You gotta show me how to do that!"

{glances to Nike, thinks of Dim-Mak training} "That WAS you...very nice."


mikejohnson_lordofdance 5/5/2003

Bud

{inexplicably feeling like he's just ingested a double esspresso, looks around the assembled crew}

"Shlitzee, RAM, Bailey," looks to each, "aren't you all techies? This seems like an appropriate time to start hotwiring systems for our benefit. Don't ship's have foam for emergency hull repairs and backup systems for nav and flight control?"

{looks to Marine Cpt Thomason and the Turtle-man who seems comfortable with a shotgun, affects his best 'Leatherneck' posture and elocution}

"And aren't all good Marines 'Ass-Kickers and Drop-Shippers?"


Zhaxier 5/5/2003

As to whether those assumptions and/or interpretations are (or remain) valid for IAS is completely at the discretion of Supreme_Arbiter.

OOC: Bomp!

If they are invalid, then they are inconsistent, in which case the GMs will work together for a compromise as per their agreement to pursue a consistent timeline. So far, the two games are succeeding in this goal swimmingly---and with minimal compromise necessary! The IAS team has done a commendable job in incorporating stuff from ML, and the ML team has incorporated elements of Paul's "Story of Man" timeline and gone to great lengths at the IAS team's request not to "box them in."

I don't think there is anything seriously inconsistent in the plots as posted so far, regardless of the content of this thread. The two minor inaccuracies I posted on 4/28 can be corrected/annotated in the archive without consequence, or can be implicitly explained away, if you like, by the Bludgeon of the Scrambled Egg applied to Percy's brain ("This is your brain ... This is your brain after cloning in IAS.").

For other issues (e.g., Percy's remembering the mutiny), I think that satisfactory explanations have been introduced that obviate inconsistency. BTW, whether or not Murphy succeeds in cracking Command/Nav by IAS' time is NOT a question *in and of itself*, whose answer introduces an inconsistency in IAS, IMHO.

All other conversation in this thread is purely speculative, as no occurrence (IMHO) of the other issues discussed has yet arisen as an inconsistency in GM posts. I'm sure our discussion will be relevant if a related inconsistency *does* arise, so this thread may have value yet.


mikejohnson_lordofdance 5/6/2003

OOC: EXAMPLE TWO

A savant awakens in IAS. It takes her 2.91 Minutes to crack the security encryption.

ML asserts it will take 2.91 Billion Years.

IAS is not bound by ML


gammaben 5/6/2003

OOC: Would that savant be named Percy Jenkins, the child prodigy? (Heh heh just kidding!)

Well while IAS would not like to be boxed in by ML plots that the IAS SA does not agree to, I think the SAs have agreed that IAS and ML are bound to each other. For example, in IAS, we could not look up in some computer database and find that Captain Lynn's ring was shot out the airlock 11 years ago, as that would obviously mean that she could not possibly be wearing it in ML. On the same hand, in ML, the cloning bay where Chel, Zhaxier, Nike, and Percy wake up cannot be destroyed, b/c then obviously IAS could not happen (at least not without some major renovations).

I think it is possible that the security encryption COULD be cracked in less time than 2.91 billion years, but that make's Murphy's estimate no less valid. Maybe something happens between ML and IAS that makes communications possible, that bypasses the locked down standard lines of communication. At any rate I think we can all agree that I need to post for IAS before procrastinating any longer. :D


Zhaxier 5/6/2003

OOC: I agree with gammaben. It is theoretically possible for the decryption to be cracked in 10 years, albeit highly unlikely with a brute force attack.

As for savants: someone with extensive knowledge of codebreaking AND extensive knowledge of the algorithm with which the codes were encrypted AND access to examples of cleartext and associated ciphertext encoded by the cipher could theoretically come along and (through experimentation) develop a smarter algorithm to uncover Captain Margulis' key than brute force. The last item (clear and ciphertext) is going to be the hardest to find; without such example text, even a savant will have no idea where to start.

Is it not also a reasonable assumption that a codebreaker would need to assert or crack Command access first to even gain access to the interface that accepts a code for verification? I think so, at least.

Decryption of Command is the least of your worries, Mike.

Now for your entertainment, we present the following list of questions which Bud must answer before ascending to the throne of King of Warden!

Does the lifeboat's Comm work after a crash which knocked the PCs silly and poked at least 2 holes in the hull?

All jesting aside, I have enjoyed the exchange of ideas in this thread, but as of late IMHO, it is running a high risk of irrelevancy (or of becoming little better than "noise in the signal", if not already so) barring more SA posts. These are my final thoughts on the topic until then. Let the dead horse lie, man, and let the SAs do their work.


aeraxbob 5/6/2003

Shlitzee

(finishes attaching link to ship's computer)

initiates search for 1) position and status of Warden. 2) location and status of dropship, including flight and repair procedures. 3) minimum safe distance from approaching meteoroligical conditions (from dropship sensors, Warden and flight logs).

slows processing speeds to 'Organics' level

(burps) eyes turn blue-green, affects feminine-husky tone, "Aye-aye, skipper." (winks)

rotates eyes towards Percy, adding a slight yellow hue. "Are you sure you want one of these 'Johnny on the rocks?'" hand on hip

produces a small, pressurized cannister, quickly attaches it to a port on head.

('Whooshes' as its contents are emptied, slight flutter in Shlitzee's frame).

Reverts to 'machine speed' to process information and affect repairs.

OOC: True story about machine's exceeding damage tolerance estimates

I've seen a 'totalled' subaru (grill and windows smashed, frame bent) run for 5 years as a 'farm use' vehicle without any repairs.

I would think a dropship is pretty tough and do at least as well. But, as has been alluded to, the decision regarding the condition of any aspect of IAS is the province of the IAS SA.


supreme_arbiter 5/7/2003

OOC: I think my subject line says it all. While I'm glad that you all want the things in IAS and ML to be technically superior and all according to the MA manual and descriptions, as that can make it fun, sometimes it can also take away the fun by bogging everyone down in so many details that they can't enjoy just playing their character. I encourage all of you to relax, shoot off your ideas in the spirit of sharing imaginative genius (after all, we're all pretty damn smart) and then just sit back and be. I, as the IAS SA, will handle the final decisions for IAS, and if the SA's can't agree on something, then they just won't agree. It won't be the end of the world, I promise. ;) Thankfully, Murphy and I have had nothing (so far) that we can't agree on, except for the period of time between the colonization and the re-arrival of Warden. Am I losing sleep over it? Nope. Neither should any of you ... just enjoy the ride.


publius1024 5/7/2003

Arkady

Bud wears a frown for a split second, "Yeah, so how big is this storm headed our way?"

"Dunno," Arkady shrugged.

"Do we have any indications that a dropship with hull breaches can't limp outta the storm's path?" looks around the room.

"That's a good idea," Arkady nodded. I used to be a pilot, but I don't know if I can remember enough about it to do that. Maybe. Nike brought us down as safely as she could. Maybe this here robot can tell us if the ship is flyable when it accesses the main computer. The secondary computers have malfunctioned."

Arkady turned to Nike. "We should see if Amanda can be revived first before we sweep the rest of the ship. Otherwise if she's out cold, maybe we can secure the room and leave her on ice for the time being, as long as none of the hull breaches lead into there."

He looked at Shlitzee uncomfortably. He didn't know how to treat a truly autonomous robot. "Do you, uh, have a name, robot? How did our friend Amanda come to be in there? Did you bring her? What's her condition?" Arkady walked respectfully toward the secondary med lab, not wishing to disturb Bud or Stewart. "There's another room beyond here," he said, checking for hull damage.

"My name's Arkady, by the way."

OOC: What does TCOB mean?

Editor's Note: TCOB = Taking Care Of Business


Zhaxier 5/7/2003

Murphy and I have had nothing (so far) that we can't agree on, except for the period of time between the colonization and the re-arrival of Warden.

OOC: There is no contradiction that has been revealed so far, IMHO. ML has only placed broad constraints, easily refinable at your whim, on when those Wardeneers not on Warden could have first arrived at Rho-1 Cancri. Did I miss something in the posts, Stacy?


stacinator 5/7/2003

OOC: No, you missed something in some private e-mails between Murphy and myself. ;)

The time period between colonization and the Warden's arrival in the present is about 400 years, for IAS to work well, for those inquiring minds who want to know.

(David, I sent you an e-mail on the matter this morning.)


Zhaxier 5/7/2003

OOC: For completeness' sake, here's an e-mail I sent to Stacy a while back right after she declared there was about 400 years for the legend of Warden to spread on Rho-1 Cancri (this was in agreement with my initial estimate). In actuality, such news would have had absolutely no more than 356 years to spread, as I prove in the forwarded e-mail below. This might make for a good footnote to her post in your archive.

Arguably, the legend would've had much less time to spread. The rescue mission had to leave 82 Eridani immediately, and the fastest, longest range vessel would've been a mothballed, presumably gutted old generation ship in orbit around 82 Eridani. It is highly doubtful---even if Kaminsky himself were a member of the away team---that this old ship could have been retrofitted to match Warden's top speed of c/2.

forwarded message (5/7/2003)

Stacy, On the chance that you have actually penned out a history with hard dates, here is a quickie proof that the legend of Warden has 356 years MAX to spread. This is a slightly greater restriction than I previously estimated.

Rho-1 Cancri is 50ly from 82 Eridani. Warden is the fastest ship at 0.5c, so no ship could get there in less than 100yr, +2 yr for accel/decel. Thus, if the rescue mission left in 2332 (same year as Warden arrived in 82 Eridani), then it would arrive in Rho-1 Cancri no sooner than 2434. Given IAS' date of 2790, this is 356 years MAX.

Forty-four years is no big deal, but if you indeed had dates set (in Terran years), then they might need adjustment.


gpfarm 5/7/2003

OOC: David me? or David someone else?

I personally am not overly concerned about continuity between the two stories. If any one really wants some fun find a way to bring my now likely abandon-ware MA Pbem on the other list into continuity ...


gammaben 5/21/2003

Percy

As Arkady and Bud played question and answer about the status of the drop ship, Percy relaxed and secured his laser pistol in a strap on the duralloy plated suit he wore. Wandering near the secondary medical bay, he gazed at the prone Amanda through the door's window. He was glad to hear from the robot that she was in stable condition, and wondered if she would wake up any time soon. Every survivor from the Watcher's crazed attempts at harvesting them, or simply blasting them into smithereens, meant a great deal to Percy. He again felt regret that Sharneste, Gregory, and Rufus had perished in that senseless struggle, as well as who knows how many other beings he did not know about.

Bud: {turns to Percy, gestures beard and long hair} "You gotta show me how to do that!"

"Wha?" Percy said. He put his hands to his face and hair. "Argh!" he exclaimed. He concentrated and reverted back to his clean-shaven, conservative-length hair style. "Must've forgotten to unadapt my head hair. As for showing you, sorry, but I think you need the 'DNA scrambled beyond all hope of being normal' gene before you can do that neat party trick."

Bud: "Shlitzee, RAM, Bailey," looks to each, "aren't you all techies? This seems like an appropriate time to start hotwiring systems for our benefit. Don't ship's [sic] have foam for emergency hull repairs and backup systems for nav and flight control?"

At the mention of his recently recognized nickname, Percy looked back to Officer Asuda. "I don't know about foam on dropships, but I can definitely fix any damaged computer systems we find," he said confidently, patting his belt pouch tool kit. Even if he couldn't fix them, he wasn't about to let these recently thawed Warden officers think of him as a nearly over-the-hill liability. "It's not like we haf' ta re-align the dilithium crystals or change the laws o' physics or anything complicated like that," he said in his best impersonation of a Scottish engineering officer from the original Star Trek series. "Well I hope not anyway!" he joked in his normal voice.

Shlitzee: rotates eyes towards Percy, adding a slight yellow hue. "Are you sure you want one of these 'Johnny on the rocks?'"

"On second thought," Percy said with a smirk, "that mix looks a little too strong for me, especially on my mostly empty stomach. I could use a cup of coffee, but somehow I don't think you have one in your... stock." Percy thought about what he'd drunk and eaten, and realized the one apple and one cup of coffee he had consumed since awakening as a clone was probably not going to carry him very far. So, he pulled the candy bar out of his fanny pouch that Zhaxier had tossed him in the Warden cafeteria. He held it up to his nose and sniffed deeply, as if he could smell the chocolate through the wrapper. Percy opened it meticulously, not ripping the plastic but rather separating the seams, as if there were an instant win message on the inside one did not want to rip through, and started munching on it.

Bud: "Which way was your canine chum? It'd be a damn shame if some critter had 'em for dinner, I'm down with this 'sweep and clear' project."

Through bites of his candy bar, Percy explained to Officer Asuda where he and Rufus had strapped themselves in for the landing, and where the caninoid had perished, giving directions such as "out the medical bay," "take a left," "cross the main hall," and "last door at the end of the hallway." He warned, "but you should prepare yourself, the sight of a dead man's best friend, albeit a mutated one, is very sad." "At least to me," Percy thought.

OOC: A tour of the archives reminded me that Percy had in his stash a home-made loaf of bread from Amanda, as well as a candy-bar that Zhaxier tossed him back at the cafeteria on Warden. Paul, could you please update Percy's character sheet? I assume he would have put the bread in his bag, and the candy bar is/was in his fanny pouch.


supreme_arbiter 7/6/2003

The Sand Dune -- 16

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group II: Arkady, Nike, Chelydra, Percy, Asuda, Bailey and Shlitzee

"Yep, Marine through and through." Nike replied to Arkady as she finished scanning the computer screen.

She looked up as Arkady finished chatting with Asuda and the others. " At least you walked away from it, eh?" Arkady was saying.

"Is it hot in here or is it just me?" Percy asked.

"The more the merrier," she said, referring to the two that `walked away' from the stasis pods. Then, nodding at Percy and Arkady, she said "You're right, it's going to get rather nastily hot soon. I wonder if that storm will cool it off some."

"Afrimus Cloud?" Bud wears a frown for a split second, "Yeah, so how big is this storm headed our way?" pauses, "We're half covered in sand, how long did that take? Do we have any idea how far or fast or in what direction we need to move to be safe?"

"Being half-covered in sand took the 0.004 seconds that it took for our ship to bury itself upon impact." Nike said, a touch of irritation in her voice.

"The storm covers a 150 square mile area, and we're in the left leading quadrant of that," Arkady said, eyeing the monitor as Shlitzee's appendages flew across the keys.

Percy recognized what the bot was doing, yet had no clue how he remembered how to bring up that information. "You know, self?" he said to himself, "this is really starting to creep me out."

"Do we have any indications that a dropship with hull breaches can't limp outta the storm's path?" Bud said, looking around the room. "If this 'Afrimus Cloud' is something we need to worry about, I'd feel safer in the ship than open desert, especially if that ship were moving us away from it."

"I don't think sitting in the open desert waiting on a storm to hit is an idea any of us think is wise." Chelydra grumbled.

"We don't really have time to play Wild Kingdom for party leadership ... We still need to secure the rest of the ship. Right now we're partially submerged in a sand dune. If there's a sand storm coming, there won't be anything 'partial' about it! Have you fully explored the ship past that door?" Arkady pointed at the doorway leading to the secondary medibay. "If you haven't, I suggest we do it quickly and then head for the galley and the forward cabins."

"It looks like the storm has high electromagnetic readings, and a large amount of wind. There are large amounts of precipitation in the upper levels, but there is no way to tell how much of that will actually accomplish lower-level saturation and therefore, rainfall." Arkady said, as Percy continued searching for information.

"The ship is too damaged to move anywhere." Nike said. "And our bodies may be no match for the storm in the open desert. We have no choice but to weather out the storm here, and form a cohesive plan of action."

"The computer concurs." Shiltzee said. "The damage is extensive, and is not limited to impact. We have sustained weapons fire."

"That explains why we lost control in the lower atmosphere." Nike said, a brief look of relief on her face. "Thank God I'm not responsible," she thought. She had confidence in her abilities, but the blow to the head had caused a memory lapse, and she could not recall why they had had such a rough landing.

Arkady turned to Nike. "We should see if Amanda can be revived first before we sweep the rest of the ship. Otherwise if she's out cold, maybe we can secure the room and leave her on ice for the time being, as long as none of the hull breaches lead into there."

While Arkady and Bud talked about where Rufus was last seen and the possibility of securing Amanda's location, Nike lost herself in thought.

"Hey, Nike? You still with us?" Asuda asked quizzically.

"Um, yeah. Hey Arkady, will you get with Percy and Shlitzee about repairing the computer systems while we figure out what to do about securing the ship before the storm? And then report back to us. Asuda, a word before you head out."

With that, Nike moved over to Bud's side and the two of them walked off a bit from the group. "Asuda, you realize that we're a sitting target here, if there are hostiles in the area. Given that we don't know if this planet is inhabited, what level of technology the inhabitants might have, and whether or not they have the military capability to penetrate the ship or blow us to smithereens, we need to establish a camp off-site, secure the ship against would-be looters, assess ship damage more specifically (other than the facts that we cannot move and we have three breeches that we know about), assess repair time, and do some intelligence gathering. And we need to do it fast. I suggest we send a two-pronged search group to assess the ship and find the dog. You and Bailey, perhaps, take one side, Chelydra and I, the other. We find the dog, scan for other physical damage, and scavenge for some food. In the meantime, I suggest we leave the bot and Percy under Arkady's leadership to do the technical assessments from here, where it seems relatively secure and they can keep an eye on Amanda."

----*----*----*----*----*----

Group IV: MX2000

The female was not coming out, and she was chunking large enough rocks at the male that he was hesitant to try to follow her into the narrow cleft between large boulders into which she had fled. He roared in fury. And then something caught his eye in his peripheral vision-MX2000. The male turned, gave a haunting echoing and pulsing cry, and was answered by at least one hundred more. The rocks shook, and the sounds of heavy rocks banging together increased in volume and frequency as if an army of boulders was marching in his direction.

----*----*----*----*----*----

OOC: 1. Our friend Baron Greystone has need of a hiatus, and hopes to rejoin our merry band shortly. In the meantime, I will be halting his storyline for a while to give him some off time.
2. Horatio? Where are you, dude?
3. I'm still quite sleep-deprived, so if I left anything out or overlooked anything in this GM post, please let me know.


aeraxbob 7/10/2003

Shlitzee

Devoting a small (but annoying) portion of it's capabilites, Shlitzee slows to organic-speed and observes the emerging dynamic among the crew. Blue-shifting an eye, it winks at Asuda.

At the same time, establishes links to the bots under its direction and queries them for reports; continues with repair/diagnostics/intel gathering with the humans nearby.

(absentmindedly) activates the 'gelbeads' at the base of its mohawk, producing a glistening, slightly odiferous effect.


mikejohnson_lordofdance 7/13/2003

Bud

{listening to the Marine, does a glance over the group}

"Roger that, ell-tee." turns and looks to the android, "Shlitzee, can you monitor our transmissions?" gestures with radio, looks back to Nike, "This seems like our operational c-n-c."

(turning to Bailey) "I'll flip you," gestures with his lucky domar, "one of us should hand over a radio to Chel and Nike before the sweep."

(flips coin, puts his hand over it) "Your call Bailey."

(begins a slow, subtle variation of the 'Footloose Forever' dance-of- discovery, incorporating the beads of sweat on his forehead)


soullessone20 7/17/2003

MX 2000

He was brave, as in his programing, but certainly not foolish. He took a stance, planting his heavy feet into the ground, and began scanning the area around him. He looked to the hill, his processer gathering the data for what was about to happen. His armor plating, well oiled and clean, might soon become the total opposite if things began to get any worse.


gammaben 7/20/2003

Percy

Percy turned to watch Officer Asuda as he flipped the coin and moved his feet to some unknown tune. He shook his head, laughing despite the circumstances. "Alright, robot, er, that is, Shlitzee," he said to the robot whose mannerisms were quite odd, "let's see what we can figure out in the 'can-be-fixed' department. He pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket and lamented he had nothing on which to write. "Waaiiiiitaminute ..." he said, trying to remember something. Having remembered, he got the attention of the soon-to-depart sweep teams.

"Guys, when you get to Rufus, see if you can find a cloth bag of stuff. It should have some spear tips poking out the top. Sort of a junk drawer of stuff I've picked up since waking up as a clone." Seeing their blank stares as to why he should bring this up now, he offered, "It's got some Post-It notes in it and I need something to write on! Bring the whole bag if you don't mind!"

Turning to Arkady who'd approached them under Nike's advisement to assist in the computer repair triaging, he nodded to the space pilot. "Welcome to the madness. Shlitzee seems to know a lot about the computer system's query navigation, which is great since I'm drawing a blank."

Arkady: "That's about the only thing you'll be drawing without paper, eh?"

"You are one funny guy. Glad the clone banks didn't scramble that trait of yours, we're gonna need it to keep the edge off our complete terror and rampant feeling of suffocation and claustrophobia!" Percy unbuttoned his shirt a few buttons and wiped his forehead. "Maybe we should make sure the enrivonmental controls are working first, boost the air conditioning power or something?" Slighly guffawing to himself, he tried to recognize anything in the computer screen that he could use to assist in the diagnostic effort. He certainly hoped he could still fix the systems he used to be in charge of on Warden, as far as they mapped to this relatively tiny ship.


publius1024 7/20/2003

Arkady

OOC: Portions of this post are based on information from SA Stacy.

"It looks like the storm has high electromagnetic readings, and a large amount of wind. There are large amounts of precipitation in the upper levels, but there is no way to tell how much of that will actually accomplish lower-level saturation and therefore, rainfall." Arkady said, as Percy continued searching for information.

Arkady stared at the computer as Percy typed. The desk on which it sat reminded him of another desk at which he had sat during his second year of college at the University of New Eden. He could suddenly remember arriving early for the first meeting of his meteorology class vividly. He remembered that some idle hand had etched 'Gruber is Hell!' into the arm of his chair with some sort of laser device. He had thought the vandalism odd, until professor Gruber arrived. He spoke with an excruciatingly s_l_o_w monotonal voice that had a trancelike quality. He had spent the entire semester in Gruber's class, a requirement for his major. Although he had found it difficult to stay awake for most of it, Gruber's lethargic lessons had had an hypnotic effect. It had planted information so deeply in his brain that he found himself suddenly recalling it centuries later.

He recalled terms of art and concepts that directly pertained to piloting: coriolis effect, advection, planetary boundary layer ... and he thought that he could remember Gruber mentioning an 'afrimus' formation as well, but he couldn't quite recall the concept related to it. Perhaps the pleasure of remembering his former life so vividly had made him overconfident in his memory. He shrugged. He didn't want to fabricate a false memory.

"Hey Arkady," Nike asked, "will you get with Percy and Shlitzee about repairing the computer systems while we figure out what to do about securing the ship before the storm? And then report back to us."

"Sure," Arkady replied. He turned to Percy, attentively at home with the computer system. "I'm gonna go check out the medlab's inner sanctum, I'll be back before Nike leaves.

He walked past the robot Shlitzee and through the open door into the neighboring medbay. It was smaller than the main medbay and contained several medibeds adorned with computer equipment, monitors and medical devices of various shapes and sizes. A storage locker lie at the end of each medibed with a little drawer above each locker's main compartment. Arkady briefly considered what might be inside them, but he was more concerned with finding a breach in the bulkhead. Looting would have to wait.

He walked around the room glancing at the ceiling, walls and floor for any sign of damage. Nothing seemed out of place. Nursing 'bots remained safely locked into their dormant state on the wall. Blue lights were dimly lit above each 'bot, except for one by the open doorway which was lit a bright green.

Amanda lie still on her medibed. Her chest expanded slightly with an easy, unlabored breath. Arkady examined the computer monitor at the foot of her bed. He recognized 'PULSE: 62' as a relaxed heart rate, but the rest of the statistics meant nothing to him. However, the words 'PATIENT CONDITION: STABLE' meant something as did the fact that all the fields were glowing green. He walked around the medibed examining the tube that was connected to her lower leg. He heard a faint beeping sound from machinery below the bed from which another tube snaked it's way into her arm. Her face was partially obscured by a mask to which a third tube was connected.

Arkady briefly admired her pretty face before he strode toward the door on the aft side of the chamber. He reached into his back pocket for his card and waved it across the locking mechanism beside it. To his surprise, the door opened. He placed the card back in his pocket. Inside was a small supply room. To his left, simple shelves covered the wall from top to bottom. Each shelf was full of labeled boxes of various sizes. The wall in front of Arkady was similar to the one on his left except that two sets of doors of a transparent material enclosed the shelves, one set for the top shelves and another for the bottom. Inside more labeled boxes of various sizes were stacked alongside numerous jars and spare robot parts. To his right the entire wall was dominated by an enormous refrigerator. The doors to the refrigerator were also transparent and inside Arkady saw various vials, bottles, hypos, and bags filled with pills and fluids. Remarkably, the inertial dampeners in the room had prevented any of the fragile contents from breaking.

He circled the room looking behind the boxes for any signs of damage to the bulkhead. The upper half of the enclosed shelves was locked but he could see inside well enough to see that there was no damage behind its contents. Finally he squeezed behind the refrigerator and saw that there was no damage there either. He suspected that the computer lab was behind that wall.

Confident that the hull had not been breached anywhere in the medlab, Arkady closed the door to the supply room and rushed back to join the others.

Percy: "It's got some Post-It notes in it and I need something to write on!"

"There's no hull damage in the other medbay," Arkady said to Nike and Bud as he entered the room. He approached Percy and Shlitzee and asked, "What can I help with?"

Percy: "[...] Maybe we should make sure the enrivonmental controls are working first, boost the air conditioning power or something?"

"Right, hopefully we can do that from here. Are there any systems that we need immediately that aren't functioning? Maybe I can repair them. What about our power supply? I hope we have enough power without draining our reserves."

Arkady paused and turned to face the robot. "Shlitzee," he began humbly, "will you please activate a nursing 'bot to revive our friend Amanda? We may need to move her soon." He suspected that he had nothing to fear from the robot, but his prejudices were such that he had difficulty trusting an autonomous robot with a deadly weapon.

Shlitzee activates the 'gelbeads' at the base of its mohawk, producing a glistening, slightly odiferous effect.

Arkady sniffed the air. "Do you guys smell something? What is that?"

previous | narration | home | next