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Chapter 32 (Original Archive)

Elizabeth 11/14/2005

Irsa

Irsa will take room 12B(as marked on map).


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 11/15/2005

Caleb

Caleb walks up and down the hallway twice before settling on room 12I. He stows his axe under the bed and then sits down for a minute. Deciding to make the room "his", he uses the toilet. After that he heads up to the cockpit....


Elizabeth 11/15/2005

Irsa

Irsa, after claiming her room and putting her weapons under the bed, heads for the cockpit. Wow, she thinks this place is great. I wonder what's for our next meal?


gglassdr 11/15/2005

THX-1492

THX-1492 follows the crew into the ship. It notices Arkady ordering the engineering bot Hephaestus to dismantle the pod and decides to assist the little bot.

Assuming the Arkady is in command from his "commanding" presence, THX-1492 turns to Arkady as it passes and asks him, "Commander Arkady, what is the status of communications from the Warden?"


katrinalieff 11/16/2005

Amanda

Amanda, relieved, follows the rest of the group in to the vessel. noticing that her aquientances are all staking out rooms, she does the same. when going to the bridge to 'brief' the situation, she does not put her rifle away, carrying it with her the whole time.


Lisa (mogwai) 11/20/2005

Becka

Becka follows the others on board, rambling on to no one in particular, "You people are all talking crazy talk... of course we're all from Warden. Where the hell else would we be from?"

"Speaking of which, does anyone know how I can get back to my village? I'm pretty sure the lift we took down here is broken... oh, food?!"

The mention of food finally shuts here up. After scarfing down a portion of the bread and dried fruit, she follows the others' example and claims a cabin (12b).

Before long she's grown restless again, and begins wondering about the ship with any eye for any small pieces of loose technology. She eventually finds her way to the ships storage room.

(OOC - Apologies for being slow in responding to the game posts)


supreme_arbiter 11/20/2005

I've updated the Lifeboat map. I've added locked (yellow) doors where characters have chosen rooms and added room inventories for those characters that have left items in their locked rooms:

Irsa took room 12B. Becka also chose 12B. Did she intend to share a room with Irsa?

Caleb chose 12I, but that room is locked: it's Arkady's :) And BTW, in whichever room he chooses, does he 'mark his territory'?! lol Feeling a bit feral?

Although Amanda chose a room, she didn't choose a room letter.

And how about Packrat Percy? Where's he going to store his stuff? ;)


supreme_arbiter 11/20/2005

OOC: This conversation took place at the gangplank just before everyone entered the ship...
Becka: "You people are all talking crazy talk. Of course we're all from Warden. Where the hell else would we be from? Speaking of which, does anyone know how I can get back to my village? I'm pretty sure the lift we took down here is broken."
The crew looked at each other nervously. "We're not on Warden anymore!" Percy replied. He looked up. "Warden is up there, in orbit!"
OOC: *now* Percy could've said that, thanks :)

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OOC: ...THX followed Arkady on his errand...

Arkady noticed THX had followed him. "You want to help? It's nice to finally meet a robot that still functions properly after all these years."

----------------------------------------

OOC: outside at the escape pod...

"I will assist," THX extended its grappling claws and prepared to carry pieces back to the ship.

"Thank you, THX."

"Commander Arkady, what is the status of communications from the Warden?"

"Commander, huh? Hmm, I like the sound of that," Arkady grinned. "Communications to and from the Warden seem to be completely down. We have personal comm devices, but we haven't been able to made contact with the Warden yet."


gammaben 11/21/2005

Percy

OOC: I can't believe no one commented on my obvious Star Wars joke!
THX-1492, and pointed out the obvious. "Look, sir, droid!" he said to Nike. **
** No Stormtroopers were harmed or plaigairized (much) in the making of this post.
Oh well! Life, and the game, go on. :)

---

Earlier, on the ship...
"Inconclusive," Shlitzee responded incredulously. "I knew I was smart, but I didn't realize I was smarter than Pandora! For a small fraction of a second before the feedback occurs there is an unobscured signal with enough samples to make a limited analysis. I can tell you the signal was encrypted, but that's about all.
[[Percy]] "Encrypted. Why would someone encrypt this signal? Piggybacking?" Percy thought to himself. He vowed to revisit the signal and perhaps do his own analysis later. For a second, he got the heebie-jeebies all over again, as if he were being watched. "Damn that Watcher," he said aloud. "Now I'm paranoid for life!"
"Here comes one of our friends right now." Arkady introduced them to Bud Asuda. He carried a plaser rifle over his shoulder.
OOC: No kidding, I was just reading Peter David's _Star Trek: New Frontier: Excalibur: Restoration_ novel the other day, and in the book, someone pulls out a plaser. Hot diggity! You go thirty-something years not even hearing about a plaser, then all of a sudden there's plasers to the left of you, plasers to the right of you! :)
"Hello Percyjenkins of the warden. It's good to meet you. My name is Irsa." Irsa the winged hamster says.
Percy mentally filed a question for later. "Winged hamsters?" He returned the compliment. "Likewise, it is good to meet you! All of you."
The crew looked at each other nervously. "We're not on Warden anymore!" Percy replied. He looked up. "Warden is up there, in orbit!"
"I'm sorry if this comes as a shock to you, but this isn't just another realistic environment deck. I'm assuming you know about the environment decks, since you know about Warden." Percy spoke to her as he might his own daughter. He paused mid-thought, and mid-explanation. He wondered for the first time, if he had a daughter, or a wife, for that matter. From within his gloves, he rubbed his fingers together as if he were searching for a wedding band. Then he realized he probably looked really silly walking around in armor. He pulled off his helmet, and apologized for no good reason really than to explain that he wasn't the muscles of the operation, despite the armor and laser pistol. "Sorry about the combat get-up!"

"Tell you what, Becka," he said reassuringly. "We're all survivors of sorts of Warden. How about I dump this silly get up and we take in a cup of coffee in the Dining room? We can compare notes about what we've seen and heard both on and off the mothership."

After their conversation, Percy swung by the bridge and picked up his bag of stuff from Warden. Then it was down the hallway to the crew quarters where he thought he'd dump his bag and suit. It naturally occured to him to just pick the first one he came upon, so he tried to gain access to the first room on the right. It had a passcard panel. He swiped his card after fishing it out of his fanny pack.

A readout activated: 'Access denied'

He figured the room was already claimed. He turned about face and tried its passcard panel. [[ Room 12h ]] The panel lit and the door opened. Satisfied with is brute force linear search of rooms, he walked in and saw a triple bunk on the right, desk with a computer terminal on the left and some shelves and cabinets. "This'll do nicely," he said to himself as he walked in. The door closed behind him. Percy Jenkins, the junk collector, threw his bag and suit helmet onto the middle bunk.

Looking at himself in the mirror on the backside of the door, he saw how silly he really looked. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" he laughed as he spoke.

On the suit there were scorch marks from the firefight he'd survived on Warden before the escaped into the hangar bay. Some of the burn marks were too close for comfort. It had served its purpose and he was glad to have picked it up. But honestly, he felt more human, more himself, in his loose fitting crew uniform. He stripped off the duralloy light suit and threw it on the middle bunk, too.

From his cloth bag o' stuff, he retrieved the Post-It Notes and stuffed them in his pants pocket. He was about to close it up when he noticed again the black silk boxer shorts (2 pocket variety) that Zhaxier had thrown at him before disappearing. It wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last time that he wondered what had become of the invisible propulsion engineer. He stuffed everything back in the bag and tucked the laser pistol half way into his pants' standard issue stretchy-waist. He walked to the computer terminal. His first thought was to pull up the ShipNet and check his mail. So that's what he did, just for the heck of it. It wasn't as if he had any important crew communications he needed to read before getting on shift, but the routine comforted him somewhat. He wondered if the ship had a copy of the Warden mail files or not. Communications being down between the ship and Warden might make his efforts at a comforting routine turn frustrating, but he tried anyway.

[[What happens? The computers of Pandora obviously downloaded personnel information since they recognize thumbprints. So maybe all this time Pandora had been on Warden, it was downloading ship information, too?]]

Before leaving the desk, he wrote a note for himself on a Post-It: "Encrypted signal."

Percy knew he had a coffee and a green haired girl and her hamster friend to meet in the dining hall, so he wasted no more time and headed to the door. There was another passcard panel on the inside. He swiped his card against it and put it back in his fanny pouch. 'Jenkins, Percy' was printed on the passcard panel's readout. The next memory came to him unbidden and he was pleasantly surprised. (He still hadn't remembered everything, but he guessed this was one of the cheese parts and not the hole parts of his Swiss Memory.) He put his thumb against the panel.

'Thumbprint unknown. Please swipe passcard.'

"Didn't you just get that information you senseless piece of junk?" Percy the computer tech said accusingly as he fished his card from his fanny pack again, and swiped his card again. 'Jenkins, Percy. Thumbprint saved. Door locked. You may now use your passcard or thumbprint to lock or unlock this door.'

"Well as I'm trying to LEAVE the FREAKING ROOM..." Percy grumbled. He pressed his thumb against the door again. 'Jenkins, Percy. Door unlocked.' He opened the sliding door and walked out. Turning around, he pushed his thumb against the panel again. 'Jenkins, Percy. Door locked.' Sighing at the technology--he'd have to hack it later and make it more efficient, he headed to the dining hall to meet the Warden refugees they'd just picked up.


Lisa (mogwai) 11/21/2005

Becka

Ooops, my mistake. Becka will take 12a instead, just next door.


stacinator 11/21/2005

Nike

Nike took a moment to go to her quarters. She had been under tremendous pressure for so long, that her body was starting to require some sort of release... Should she? Could she?

She could have assigned anyone to get the recyclables. But she wanted Arkady alone, in case...

"Dammit, get ahold of yourself soldier!" She said to herself sternly. And with that, she marched back out of her room in search of the BAR. [B-ig A-ss R-obot]


Elizabeth 11/23/2005

Irsa

OOC: Irsa already claimed 12b


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 11/25/2005

Caleb

Caleb chose 12I, but that room is locked: it's Arkady's :)
In that case, Caleb takes one of the empty rooms; it doesn't matter which one.
And BTW, in whichever room he chooses, does he 'mark his territory'?!
Of course! :)
lol Feeling a bit feral?
Nope, just feeling sorta "coyoteish"..... :)


gglassdr 11/26/2005

THX-1492

THX responds: "Commander Arkady, if communications with Warden have not been established, what is the plan for rendezvousing with the Warden?"


gglassdr 11/26/2005

THX-1492

THX-1492, and pointed out the obvious. "Look, sir, droid!" he said to Nike.
THX would be insulted at the term "Droid"!


supreme_arbiter 11/28/2005

I hope everybody had a good weekend! I've got a lot of issues here. Sorry if this message is a little disjointed.

First order of business: the plaser that Bud fired earlier should have done much more damage than I gave it credit for. I rerolled the damage and it did over 70 points: more than enough to melt it into a puddle of sandy goo!
How about [...] we take in a cup of coffee in the Dining room?
OOC: There's no coffee in the kitchen, Muwahaha! Maybe the matter compiler makes food too...
Percy wondered if the ship had a copy of the Warden mail files or not. [[What happens? The computers of Pandora obviously downloaded personnel information since they recognize thumbprints. So maybe all this time Pandora had been on Warden, it was downloading ship information, too?]]
There were no inbound or outbound messages. The 'sent messages' directory was empty. He browsed the ship's personnel database. There were over a million names listed. He looked up his own record and discovered a page of data on himself, the former Percy that is.

OOC: Have fun with Percy's background if you wish. The ship has lots of unclassified personnel data.

OOC: I confirmed this with the archive (mostly ;) Perhaps Z can contribute an opinion if I strayed from consistency?) None of the crew's fingerprints were on record. Only a few are now: those who scanned their fingerprints then swiped their passcards. All the keypads of unlocked doors in quarters will open at the touch of any finger. Once opened, the door will henceforth remember that fingerprint and prevent other prints from opening it (the ID of the owner of the print is not needed).

OOC: A note on finger prints in general - they're not genetic. Neither are retinas. They both form randomly. That is to say, the computer has Percy's finger and retina prints in its database but they don't match 'our' Percy's prints. Well, Ok they do now because he scanned and then swiped his passcard, but that means there are now *two* sets of fingerprints for Percy in the database.
Nike marched back out of her room in search of the BAR. [B-ig A-ss R-obot]
She finally found the robot outside with Arkady. They were examining the red vehicle that the big ass robot had flown. As she approched them, she heard Arkady say, "Why don't we park it in the lifeboat's garage?"
Becka: finds her way to the ships storage room
OOC: Here are the items she finds in that room:
OOC: Irsa already claimed 12b.
OOC: Becka occupied room 'A' and Irsa occupied room 'B'. I've updated the locked doors and room assignments as well as inventories in the lifeboat map. I selected 'K' for Caleb because it's in the middle of the hallway, and for Katkin Kalvin ;)
THX: what is the plan for rendezvousing with the Warden?"
"We don't really have one right now. Do you think this lifeboat could be capable of entering orbit?"

"It could with booster rockets and a launch platform."

"If it comes to that, we might. We'll be stuck here for a while if we do."

Finally, I'm sorry if anyone tried to use the IAS archive this weekend and it was down :( There was a problem over the weekend that I was unable to resolve until this morning. The site is back up and running again :)


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 11/28/2005

Caleb

I selected 'K' for Caleb because it's in the middle of the hallway, and for Katkin Kalvin ;)
Sounds good to me :)


gammaben 11/30/2005

Percy

For some reason I never got around to reading Paul's review even though it was brief. I guess I saved it for later thinking the review was much longer. Ah well. Anyway, I'd read the very beginning of Heinlein's Orphans book years ago, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder; I'll have to go back and pick it up (i.e. steal it from my parents' house next time we visit).

A neat addition to your MA website might be a Reading List. You could list these books and others that have to do with the genre. You could even get crafty and make links to Amazon and get referral fees if folks bought them after clicking through your link to Amazon. Hey, you might make a few bucks over the course of a year, or two. After all, everyone has to have their own get-rich-slow scheme, eh? No? Just me? Oh well.

Thanks for taking the time to review. I have a lot of time to read now a days as I'm switched my commute to mass transit and these seem a couple good candidates for my bus/train ride.

I could have written this reply just to our esteemed reviewer and Supreme Arbiter, may his electrons never orbit mutated nuclei, since I didn't really add much to the group with my mass transit rambles. I could have... but I didn't.


mikejohnson_lordofdance 12/3/2005

Bud

Bud walks through the ship, feeling somewhat better about things since he fired a weapon or two. He finds the first unclaimed cabin and claims it (with requisite key/prints).

Gently laying the plaser on one of the bunks, he can't help be drawn to the power of the weapon: he looks around, fully aware that no one is watching, then bends over to sniff the barrel of the recently discharged deathstick.

Realizing that the conference is likely to start soon, he washes his face, straightens his centuries-old attire and heads to meet his companions. Along the way he whistles a jaunty nautical tune and wonders if the decompiled sandcreatures could be turned into beer...


Lisa (mogwai) 12/11/2005

Becka

The following items find their way into the dufflebag, and the dufflebag finds its way into Becka's quarters. After her raid on the storage rooms, Becka joins Percy in the kitchen for whatever beverage is available. The revelation of the nature of the Warden comes as a surprise to her, she has not trouble comprehending what he relates. Percy does begin to catch that things might not be entirely right with the young girl. During their conversation she seems distracted at times. Almost as if she's hearing sounds or voices that only she can hear.

[O.O.C. - Arbiter, did we ever decide exactly when Becka's precog powers would work? Do I initiate them in my posts, or will you introduce her "episodes" at certain times, since you would have to provide the info on what exactly she sees.]


gammaben 12/11/2005

Percy

On his way to the dining hall, Percy remembered there was not a scrap to eat or drink. So he made a quick detour back to the garage and the matter compiler. Focusing on his quest, while only supplying polite but brief hellos to the folks loading carcasses and spare parts into the compiler, he puts in a high priority order for some coffee. He didn't remember if he'd seen the kitchen's dispensing system. Would he need beans to grind? Grains to filter? He decided on just a couple of gallons of black liquid coffee and some sugar. "Emergency situation," he explained to Arkady and Nike who were loading in the garage. The air was full of tension. He didn't know if it was because of something in the air of the garage, or that he'd just realized it'd been several days since he'd awakened to his new life as a clone, and hadn't had any coffee since then. The memories of his coffee tastes came rushing to him and the words "coffee addict" percolated (pun intended) to his thoughts. "Must have coffee!!!" He waited patiently for the order to register and then marched back to the kitchen to meet with the new Warden arrivals.


supreme_arbiter 12/12/2005

1 small device (just out of curiosity)
nice! I should hope so :D ;)
OOC - Arbiter, did we ever decide exactly when Becka's precog powers would work? Do I initiate them in my posts[...]?
In a word, yes. You decide when to use her precog power. Once Becka uses precog, that half of her Poor Dual Brain will be operative for the rest of that numbered turn, meaning she won't be able to use Heightened Tough or Heightened Brain Talent until the beginning of the next turn number.

Of course, even when her normal, present tense brain in operative she can still behave like she's loopy without actually having a precog moment :)

How's that?


supreme_arbiter 12/14/2005

Percy looked through the Emergency Equipment directory and found instant coffee and granulated sugar. He put in a high priority order for both and read the coffee instructions while he waited: 'Add hot water'.

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Before long Becka grew restless again and began wandering about the ship with any eye for small pieces of loose technology. She eventually found her way to the ship's storage room. The room was filled with so much good stuff, she almost couldn't believe it! She took the duffle bag and filled it with two medkits, a solar cell, three hydrogen cells, a blanket, a water bottle, a jacket, the hand radio, the binoculars, a hardbound book with a cloth cover and a small device which she didn't recognize but was curious about.

She carried the bag back to her room without being seen and went to find Percy in the kitchen. As she walked she imagined this vehicle in the air again, with her in it. The revelation of the Warden's nature had come as a surprise to her. Could the Warden be like this vehicle only unimaginably larger? She comprehended the possibility.

----------------------------------------

When Nike finally found THX-1492, the robot was with Arkady examining the aircar the big ass robot had flown in. As she approached them, she heard Arkady say, "Why don't we park it in the lifeboat's garage?" THX turned at Nike's approach. Arkady looked up and smiled, "Oh, hi."

Nike forgot why she'd come looking for the robot. The smell of the night air suddenly made her think of Thom again. She remembered another moment they had shared together. Her cheeks colored. Arkady wondered at her far away look. He followed her gaze into the cabin of the aircar. "What do you think of the jet?"

"Huh?" she asked. "Oh, well I..." She shook off her daze. "I've never seen anything like it."

"Me neither, but that doesn't mean much. Do you think we should bring it on board?"

"Yeah, that's a good idea."

THX climbed into the torn cabin chair and Nike directed it onto the cargo door. They rode the lift into the garage. It was a tight fit, but it closed all the way without scratching anything. Hephaestus continued hauling the recycling up the gangplank.

"Emergency situation," Percy explained as the lift stopped. Arkady and Nike jumped. Percy sensed tension. He'd been awakened as a clone a few days ago and he hadn't had coffee but once! Memories of coffee came rushing to him and the words 'coffee addict' percolated into his thoughts. "Must have coffee!" he exclaimed as the compiler beeped. He removed two small containers and left the garage.

"We should make extra headsets and blank passcards," Arkady suggested. Nike nodded in agreement. Arkady punched up six of each and shut the security door while the devices started compiling. He went next to the armory to show Nike the weapons they had on hand. He returned the Sturmkarabiner to its place in the rack.

Nike struggled with her urges and her sense of duty. Everyone else was waiting for them in the cockpit. Instead she was idly counting the hydrogen cells and the number of boxes of 9mm armor piercing, high explosive rounds to cool her emotions.

"What d'ya think?" Arkady asked.

"I don't know. I'd like to think we won't need any of it, but I've grown kind of cynical. I wasn't just born yesterday, you know."

Arkady returned her smile. "Weren't you?"

"Yeah, actually I was."

"Hey, I've been around for nearly four days. I guess that makes me twice as old as you!" They laughed and the tension between them melted. They shut the armory and headed for the cockpit.

----------------------------------------

"You're just in time for coffee," Percy said as Becka entered the kitchen. "It's not exactly Kona, but it'll do." Percy poured a black coffee powder from a small container into a cup. He took a larger container out of the microwave oven, poured hot water from it, stirred it with a spoon and offered it to Becka. "Careful, it's hot. There's sugar if you like it sweet," Percy indicated a third container which contained a granulated white substance. Percy watched her as she took the hot beverage. She seemed distracted, as if she heard sounds or voices that only she could hear.

OOC: I've almost completed the next turn. I'll post it in the next few days.


supreme_arbiter 12/16/2005

IAS turn 1: The Demon Haunted World

OOC: I've rolled back the turn counter because this turn is the beginning of a new segment of the story.

"Well we'd, uh, better get to the cockpit," Percy said to Becka. He wondered just how sane she was. Becka silently warmed her hands with the hot beverage and followed him.

Percy and Becka arrived in the cockpit and saw everyone was there already. Amanda cradled her rifle. She seemed to be fondling it. Bailey was working at Percy's computer. Nike stood beside him. She was talking to him about something on the monitor. She looked up and noticed Percy. "Ah, we're all here," she said. "Let's get started. We have a map to show you, but let's get better acquainted first. My name is Nike. My friends Percy, Chelydra, Amanda, Arkady and I are all Alpha Sequence clones. The Warden's computers cloned us in response to what it considered an emergency, although it's a mystery to us why we weren't cloned hundreds of years ago when radiation killed most of the Warden's passengers and crew. Percy, Chelydra and I woke up on the Warden a few days ago and have been trying to reestablish control of the ship. Our friend Zhaxier also woke up with us but we haven't seen him since shortly before we boarded this ship. His whereabouts are unknown. We met Amanda and Arkady while exploring the Warden. We also met Rufus who's no longer with us."

"His body's in the medbay awaiting a proper burial," Percy added.

"We've been running for our lives until now. The section of the Warden that we passed through seemed to be under the control of an android that calls itself the Watcher. It sent robots to kills us. We managed to secure this lifeboat but we were shot and damaged when we left the Warden. We crashed on this planet. We've repaired the ship and it is now fully operational."

"Except for the ship's higher AI functions," Percy noted. "The ship's computers are functioning, but not the ship's AI, Pandora."

"Right, thanks Percy. Percy's our computer specialist. Arkady is our pilot. Chelydra is security. I'm a marine and Captain of this here lifeboat. In a former life Bud was an acquaintance of mine, and possibly Percy also. Memories of our previous lives are coming back to us slowly. Bud and his friend Bailey are not clones. We found them here, frozen in the medbay. Speaking of which, I'm still unclear as to how you came to be on this lifeboat."

Bud shifted nervously in the awkward silence. Bailey looked at him. "Oh, well we... You know there was a mutiny, right?" Bud asked.

"Yeah, I remember something about it," Percy replied. "Captain Margulis scrambled the Command and Navigation systems to prevent them from taking control of the ship. It happened long after the radiation disaster, I think."

"That's right. The mutiny happened just after the Warden arrived at 82 Eridani."

"And?" Nike said after another awkward silence.

"...and Bailey and I were both in the Warden Delta Corps security forces." Bailey nodded.

"That doesn't explain why you were frozen in this ship."

"We were sent into S-Tower in the City with orders to neutralize a group of mutineers that had occupied the officer's quarters. We were captured, but we had a spy among them that managed to get us frozen instead of murdered. We have no idea why we woke up hundreds of years after that instead of just a few hours. Those are the facts," Bud grinned charmingly.

Nike smiled back and continued with the introductions, "Shlitzee's the robot with the mohawk. There are four other robots still functioning on this ship: two general purpose robots, a propulsion engineering robot named Terminus and a general engineering robot named Hephaestus."

"Waaaaitaminute! How do you know about Hephaestus and Terminus?"

"While you guys were still embarking, Pandora helped me configure the ship for our use," she smiled. "Finally, this gentleman here is Horatio and the five men with him are his students. Horatio's a priest of, uh... Excuse me, what do you call your religion Horatio?"

Horatio looked puzzled. "We do not call it anything. We worship God, the Holy Spirit and his Son, John Galt, like everyone else. Why should it have a name? There is no other religion."

"Right," Nike replied sarcastically. "Good point. Anyway, they're our guests for the time being. That's about all there is to know about us. What's the story with you guys?" she said to THX-1492, Caleb, Becka and Irsa.

OOC: THX-1492, Becka, Caleb & Irsa - feel free to elaborate on your character's origins here.

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"If we're not on the Warden anymore," Irsa said, "how do we get back?"

"Sadly, this ship wasn't designed to escape an earth-like planet's gravity," Nike responded.

A grave moment of silence followed. Horatio chanted a verse of scripture from memory, "The force of gravity between two bodies shall be proportional to the product of their masses and weaken with the distance squared. And the force shall be attractive and directed along a straight line between the bodies. And this shall be Newton’s law of gravity."

Percy nearly choked on his coffee. "What was that?"

"The words of Prophet Benalidino."

"Oh man! Where have we landed?" Arkady wondered out loud.

"Show us the map, Bailey." He punched a few keys on the computer and the machinery in front of Nike's command console projected a three dimensional hologram depicting the surrounding landscape. A model of the lifeboat hovered in the center, high above the terrain. Bailey had combined the data from the radar, infrared and visual light sensors to create a composite map.

"The yellow areas," Bailey explained, "are areas of heat and visible light. The red areas are emitting heat only."

"What can you tell us about this place, Horatio?" Nike asked.

Horatio unfastened himself from his seat and approached the projection. He stared at it in bewilderment. Nike explained to him that it was a map of the surrounding desert and mountains and that they had flown into the sky to get a better view. "I see. We are seeing through the bird's eyes? This is the dune sea. These are the mountains in which we live." He pointed at the model in the middle, "The bird can see itself? Galt's blood! Did we really fly that high?"

Nike nodded, "Yes. It can fly even higher than that, too. What are these lights? Are they cities?"

Horatio pointed to the yellow lights in the far north, "This is where Eden is." He pointed to the other lights, "This is where Sigai is, and Amann, Lachish, Gexer, Farra, Gerax, Bethany, Gabath, Mirsai, Gibeon, Gadara, Debir, Geba, Adaxa, Bodeda, Qumran, Taanack, Abraxa, Migai, Endor, Megiddo, Chorazin and Gibbon. There are more cities in this direction," he said pointing north. "But, something is wrong." Horatio pointed at the yellow light at Sigai. "There should never be any light outdoors after sundown."

"Why is that?" Chelydra asked.

"The Spragni do not want to be seen at night by the creatures that roam the dunes."

"Do the sandstars, I mean Sikalas, attack your people at night?" Arkady asked.

"The Sikalas rarely ever leave the sand. No, there are much worse things to fear in the desert. Demons dwell there. Monsters that can take any shape they wish. They can swallow a man whole or rob him of his sanity."

"Then why are all these other cities lit up?" Nike asked.

"My tribe, the Hithari, are well defended at Eden. The demons are powerless against them. These cities, however, are Rota colonies." Horatio indicated the cities on the eastern side of the mountains: Endor, Megiddo, Chorazin and Gibbon. "They are blasphemers. They are tempted by the demons. They seek them out, hoping to steal their power."

end transmission




Elizabeth 12/16/2005

Irsa

Irsa looks thoughtful. "I was being chased by a Chomper beast down a corridor. I'd gotten ahead of it and met Becka who showed me an escape hatch we could use to ditch the Chomper. Then we pressed something and ended up on the planet's surface." Irsa says.


supreme_arbiter 12/16/2005

I'd like to change a paragraph in my last post. In response to Nike's question, "What do you call your religion?" Horatio responded thusly:
Horatio looked puzzled. "We do not call it anything. We worship John Galt like everyone else. Why should it have a name? There is no other religion."
To clarify, no one complained or anything like that. I just don't want to 'go there'. Any similarity between Horatio's religion (it really doesn't have a name, feel free to make one up 8) and Christianity is purely coincidental :)

A further clarification: Pandora helped Nike to configure the ship for its new crew while the rest of the party was otherwise occupied in chapter 16. It stopped functioning at the end of chapter 17.


gglassdr 12/21/2005

THX-1492

THX-1492 examines the motley crew assembled around the cockpit. It had assumed that Arkady was the leader of the group, but unfortunately, there seemed to be no one of command rank to divulge its information. Perhaps an officer was here but in camouflage?

"This unit requires command level authentication to divulge information concerning origins and purpose. Do any crew present aboard ship possess such authority?"


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 12/21/2005

Caleb

With a puzzled look on his face, Caleb says to the robot, "Ship's Security Officer Caleb Latrans, Command Authorization Code C89055555A674543345 requests you divulge information concerning origins and purpose."

"Now where did that information come from?" Caleb wonders to himself.......


gglassdr 12/24/2005

THX-1492

Merry Christmas Met Alpha Clones! I've been trying to collect Metamorphosis Alpha or "Generation Ship" type novels science fiction novels. I've got the following: Does anyone have other suggestions for MetAlpha reading?


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 12/24/2005

Caleb

"Non-Stop" --Brian Aldiss
Is the same book as "Starship"; also by Brian Aldiss?


gglassdr 12/24/2005

THX-1492

Yes, it was published with a different title across the atlantic.


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 12/27/2005

Caleb

Thanks, I thought it might be. They have recently re-released the book over here with the orginal British title and text restored. I saw it in a store recently and thought about picking it up...


supreme_arbiter 12/28/2005

I greatly enjoyed "Non-Stop" (aka "Starship") by Brian Aldiss. Besides the obvious, "OMG they're actually living on a ship!" this book manages to pack a *bunch* of surprises! I've read there is another version besides the British/American versions. He reworked the text many years after it was first published (in the 1960s I think.) I think the ending was modified but essentially remained the same. He also added computers to the ship: there's no mention of them in the original text.

Does anyone have other suggestions for MetAlpha reading?
This book is on my list to read:

"Litany of the Long Sun: Nightside, the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun"

It was written by Gene Wolfe. He wrote a whole series of books about a generation ship, but I'm going to start with this one. I've heard fantastic things about it!


gglassdr 12/31/2005

THX-1492

Hearing the proper command authorization code, THX-1492 divulges its summary:

"This unit is THX mark III engineering Veribot numerical designation one four nine two constructed year 2284 & assigned Warden. Colony ship exits Sol System 2290. Colonization ship Warden arrived 82 Eridani year 2336. Partial telemetry decoded by mainframe Eridani core systems computers verify fatal system corruption of Warden main systems due to radiation destruction year 2303. Warden senior officers Captain Jamar, First Lieutenant Matahachi landed on 82 Eridani in dropship to acquire rescue technology. This unit accompained Warden officers aboard dropship and taken to Eridani central planetary core system where it received download of programming to repair/reboot Warden central core programming. While officers Jamar and Matahachi on planet's surface, Warden left orbit on course Rho Cancri. Captain Jamar, First Lt Matahachi, this unit THX-1492, several Warden crew, & Eridani volunteers retrofitted UWSC colony ship Alexandria with priority emergency orders to rescue colony ship Warden. Crew placed in cryogenic suspension.

"Upon arrival 52 light years Rho Cancri, colony ship Warden not present. Whereabouts unknown. Alexandria crew landed Rho Cancri for resupply to continue Warden search. Crew found and explored ancient ruins. This unit successfully installed programming of archaeology bot processors to explore ruins. This unit then returned to dropship for energization of batteries and deactivated.

"Upon reactivation, this unit experienced extreme distortions in space-time continuum causing damage to internal chronometer. All other internal systems nominal. Current year unknown. Alexandria dropship demonstrated severe aging with evidence crew death and battle scarring of dropship. Explainations unknown. This unit took skycar from dropship to Warden dropship to meet current crew.

"This unit's priority programming mandates immediate transportation to Warden colonization ship. Upon arrival, this unit will identify and repair corrupted robotic, computer, and cybernetic mainframe installation programming aboard Warden. Resistance from corrupted biologic, mechanical, or cybernetic units aboard Warden will not be allowed to compromise Priority Mission.

"Status Addendum:

"In year 2342, en route to planet Rho Cancri, Alexandria receives Priority One orders in narrow band frequency from Sol System routed through 82 Eridani. Captain Jamar acknowledges message upon awakening from cryogenic suspension in year 2603 upon arrival at Rho Cancri:

[At this point, THX-1492's robotic modulated voice is replaced by a recorded female voice from the distant past.]

"Priority Code Alpha-Omega: Gold Channel signal origin --000 Earth system-- destination--**All Terran Colonies***-- ............Repeat...........Priority Code Alpha-Omega: Gold Channel.................All Units.............All ships...........All colonies..........Home planet Earth and all Sol System Colonies decimated by massive asteroid strikes during year 2322. Earth and Sol colony survivors have been unable to prevent the Great Dying in succeeding eleven years. Priority ONE order from UWSC Premier Toranaga: All Terran colony ships are to be retrieved for purpose of ensuring survival of human race. All military units to defend colony ships at all costs. All colonies to put maximum efforts into population breeding. All robotic and cybernetic units to prioritize protection of reproducing human females and offspring at all costs. All other considerations deemed irrelevant by order of surviving UWSC authorities."

[Up until this time, the female voice was strong and determined. Now her voice wavers and breaks into despair.]

"To anyone who is out there listening..................This will be the last message from Earth................ We've used the last of our power to transmit this message. There's no more food. Not much can grow here anymore, not through the clouds and the cold. Asteroid's Winter has made sure of that. The few of us that are left are too weak and tired to fight anymore. At least that's a good thing. After the asteroids hit, the UWSC government fairly fell apart and then the Food Wars started. Yeah, that helped things a lot! (laughs hysterically)...................

"Then Toranaga took over three years ago. He said the human race was dying and drastic action was necessary. The food that was left was given to childbearing women and the children. The elderly, the sickly, the disabled, and those carrying genetic mutations were starved. Anyone who disagreed or who refused to allow impregnation was shot. As horrible as that was, none of the rest of us cared. We let him do it. At least we weren't so hungry anymore. But then the babies started dying. They think something was put in the water. RumorNet said some starving scientist bent on revenge did it. Who knows? It doesn't matter anymore. Then all the miscarriages began. I lost my baby last month (uncontrollable sobbing.......................

"(she pulls herself together)............Please take care of yourselves........... Save who you can................. Please.................... for the babies..............the babies............................the babies...................

-----------------(a gunshot is heard then radio static)--------------- -----------------------

[THX-1492 voice returns]. "No further transmissions were received by Alexandria crew or this unit from Sol colonies since that date."

End Status Report


gammaben 1/1/2006

Percy

[[OOC: HOLY CRAP!!! Dang, George, that was awesome! How long you been holding that secret? ]] [[Percy]] Percy was at a loss for coherent words as he stared at THX-1492, his hands gripping the coffee mug tightly. He tried to process all the information and blurted out several things to reply chronologically to each of the "whoa-points" the robot had reported.

"You guys tried to save us. You launched the Alex to rescue Warden but you arrived at this planet hundreds of years before we did. Whoa."

Percy let that sink in a for just a microsecond and spoke again: "You experienced distortions in the space-time continuum? Whoa." He didn't pause at all (if one could consider a microsecond a pause) for his next reaction.

"The Sol system is destroyed?! Frak!!" He sank into a chair and said blankly, "Pardon my French, captain." [[Nike]] Nike spoke slowly, as if staring into a black hole from which her thoughts would not escape. Her tightly controlled emotions betrayed no sign yet of her reaction. "Apology accepted, and permission granted to further vituperate as needed, Mister Jenkins."

[[Percy]] "Thanks." " FRAK!!" Percy thought he only had the Warden to save. No small task, but he had almost fooled himself into thinking he could do it. With the others' help, of course. And assuming they could get Pandora back to Warden. And avoid, or defeat the Watcher and his crazy bots. And restore command and navigation access. And fire up the engines without the help of a second class propulsion engineer. All trivialities he had pondered silently, encapsulating them into a "burn that bridge when we get to it" box. But saving the human race from extinction was going to be hard for this computer programming technical trainer. "If only I could remember more, I might be of more use." Percy said later after everyone had a chance to react to the news. He remembered the mutiny, somehow. He must have updated his original cloning profile with a new memory engram if he remembered it. What else did the original him try to download into the clone banks on the off chance he would actually be cloned, and make use of it? He started to get paranoid that he might actually hold some secret to the Warden's survival--nevermind that THX-1492 seemed to have all the programs needed to save her--but he couldn't remember it.


gammaben 1/1/2006

Percy

I'd like to stay up and make the first post of 2006 (at least as far as this club's timezone is concerned) but that would just be antisocial. Captain Nike and our oldest clone (of sorts) are downstairs probably wondering what I'm doing up here. Gotta go catch the Atlanta peach and NYC apple drop (split screen as they usually do here in Atlanta)!

I'm still reeling from that last post by THX-1492. Wow! Happy new year!


supreme_arbiter 1/1/2006

[GammaBen] Dang, George, that was awesome!
Truly :D
How long you been holding that secret?
If I may, since the beginning... but it was never really necessary during the whole 'Down the Rabbit Hole' chapter. 'Whispers From the Past' was purely George's invention, and truly well done G! :)

Nice Nike touch too, GB.
[Percy] The Sol system is destroyed?! Frak!!
From Horatio, the crew had already learned the Earth was destroyed "by fire". Now they also know the Earth's entire star system has been wiped out, or there was no longer any life there capable of interstellar communication.

Reactions to this news aside, the next task for our heros is a decision on what route to take next. There's a world out there to explore, or not :)


Lisa (mogwai) 1/2/2006

Becka

[OOC - Apologies once again for my tardiness. Happy New year everyone. Perhaps my resolution this year should be to be better at keeping up on my PBP posts!]

Becka listens to the group's stories, following as best she can inspite numerous unfamiliar words and the other voices that only she can hear. When Irsa finishes her introduction, Becka nervously describes her own story.

"It was that Watcher thing that was attacking my home on Warden! I was just coming back from some lower decks, and everything was going crazy. People were screaming and there was fire in the dwellings. And then there was that machine-monsters. That's what I was running from when I met Irsa. Or ran into Irsa. Nearly knocked me down. But you know, I'm bigger than her. Then we hid in a lift. Well... I thought it was a lift... guess I was wrong about that."

She finishes with a shy shrug, "So here I am."

After that she falls quiet. The report by THX-1492 proves to be more than she can follow and she is soon distracted by the flashing consoles surrounding her. "Auxiliary Power Units"

She curiously runs her hand over buttons and indicators on the nearest panel. Unconciously, her mind begins to process the information, deciphering the meaning and purpose of the instruments. The flow of information rushes faster and faster, and before she can think to do anything, the damn breaks and the flow becomes a raging torrent. Images, voices, and emotions from past, present and future overwelm her until eventually it becomes too much for her to handle and her conciousness fails.

Just as the discussion among the other crew members is drawing to a close, Percy is taken by surprise as the small figure of the girl next to him suddenly slumps limply into his side.

[Arbiter, i may need some assistance on what exactly may come from her precog episode]

OOC - I came across this article and thought I would share it. Its about some real-life freakish mutations. One in which the genes from a cactus were transfered into the cells of a Russian girl's hand by a thorn pricks!


gglassdr 1/2/2006

THX-1492

Seeing the stunned reactions to its information, THX-1492 slowly looked at all those present in the control cabin. Then it looks at Caleb.

"Security Officer Caleb Latrans, as you know, Gold Channel Priority Alpha-Omega orders cannot be countermanded or altered in any way. This ship and all aboard must make all efforts to reacquire the Warden, reboot central core systems, and begin repopulation of the human species."

Then it looked at Nike, Amanda, and Becka specifically.

"Gold Channel Priority Alpha-Omega orders mandate repopulation of human species and protection of reproductive females at all costs. What are your plans for impregnation?"

(OOC: thanks for the nice comments! the story basically wrote itself. My sons and I were watching the season one DVD of the new Battlestar Galactica that I got for christmas (an excellent show btw!), and was struck when they were talking about how they lost the war and had to escape extermination to start making babies. That gave me the idea. Plus post-apocalyptic fiction is my favorite genre of sci fi!

There could still be people left alive on the Earth!


Katkin_Kalvin (John) 1/2/2006

Caleb

"Security Officer Caleb Latrans, as you know, Gold Channel Priority Alpha-Omega orders cannot be countermanded or altered in any way. This ship and all aboard must make all efforts to reacquire the Warden, reboot central core systems, and begin repopulation of the human species."
Caleb nods and says "True, we must do everything in our power to repair the Warden. Do we know how to get back to the ship?"
"Gold Channel Priority Alpha-Omega orders mandate repopulation of human species and protection of reproductive females at all costs. What are your plans for impregnation?"
Caleb grins at the three women. "Yes, what are your plans for impregnation, ladies?"
(OOC: thanks for the nice comments! the story basically wrote itself. My sons and I were watching the season one DVD of the new Battlestar Galactica that I got for christmas (an excellent show btw!)
Yes, it is! I just recently got into it myself. A friend gave me a copy of Season 1 in early Dec. and I ran out and bought Season 2 for myself for Christmas :)

BTW, for those of you who haven't checked Paul's website lately, there is now a great picture of Security Officer Caleb La Trans posted there.


publius1024 1/2/2006

Arkady

"Do we know how to get back to the ship?" Caleb asked.
"Presuming we have access to the necessary compiler schemas, it would take about 9 months to mine, construct and assemble a launch platform and boosters," Arkady replied.

"If we had control of a ship already in orbit with a beanstalk, an elevator base would take only a few weeks," Bailey suggested.
Caleb grinned, "Yes, what are your plans for impregnation, ladies?"
"Whoa," Arkady laughed! "Maybe we can find 'A Boy and His Dog' on the Omega Box over breakfast?"


Elizabeth 1/3/2006

Irsa

Irsa looks stunned. This starship Warden is the human's last chance at survival, thinks Irsa. What about the rest of us? Were we just accidents that happened or was there a reason for our existance, like maybe to help the humans? Irsa looks at the others and realizes she's not the only one to find this report both incredible and very scary. She needs to think about this news which turns simple survival into a quest to restore the Warden.


Elizabeth 1/3/2006

Irsa

"Any ideas on what we do now?" Irsa asks a little shakily.


publius1024 1/4/2006

Arkady

Chapter 31 - Fabric Eating Monsters

Three new characters are introduced: Caleb, Becka and Irsa. They encounter tentacled monsters and the robot THX-1492. The crew of the lifeboat return from their test flight ...and have a little target practice with their new weapons!

BTW editing these narratives is a lot of fun for me and good practice. I've tried wherever possible to leave dialog untouched to retain each character's distinctive voice. However, I cut a lot of narration for the sake of flow. I also add text where I think things might have been unclear. All of this applies to Chapter 31, plus I added a few new images.


supreme_arbiter 1/4/2006

While he spoke, THX transmitted data to the ship's computer. Another map appeared in the holoprojector:



OOC: Here's a map of THX's journey from the excavation to the lifeboat. It's a rather long map so you'll probably have to use the expand button if you're using IE to be able to read the text on the map.

Becka - I'm still thinking about the content of her vision. I'll post something this weekend.


supreme_arbiter 1/4/2006

I came across this article and thought I would share it. Its about some real-life freakish mutations. One in which the genes from a cactus were transfered into the cells of a Russian girl's hand by a thorn pricks!
This was so bizarre I thought it might be a hoax. A google search revealed the exact same text has appeared in several other regional newspapers. Armenia isn't too far from Chernobyl in Belarus...


mikejohnson_lordofdance 1/4/2006

Bud

Bud listens and ponders, sucking down coffee if available.

-Humanity was pretty well spread in the home system...ALL of Sol system was taken out by asteroids?...mmm.

His life of counterinsurgency predisposes thought toward conspiracy; the scope of this disaster lends itself to directed action.

-His thoughts immediately switch to Terra's colonies: Tau Ceti, Ophiuchi & Eridani... multiple efforts had been launched even before Warden. If someone/thing has it out for homosapiens, they might have struck again...conversely, we might have already struck back, our intel seems a little out of date.

"THX-1492, orders concerning human reproduction capabilities are incomplete. Functional cloning technology aboard Warden has greatly enhanced reproductive capabilities of local gene pool." His mind racing, "Ruins? What did your archaelogy turn up regarding previous inhabitants?" questions racing- "Where is the Alexandria now? And what's up with time/space distortions?"

[To all] "I think we should have a little look at the other dropship, salvage what we can and see where that gets us. As for connecting with the Warden...I don't think we've seen much of this planet yet, and somebody probably has a few toys that could speed our overall agenda(s)."

In the back of his mind, Bud also has a queezy feeling about how easily he's accepting the whole mutant menagerie... Triton & Earth are gone, he's been frozen for centuries, Warden is whacko and this colony has gone wild, so be it. But hampsters have always given him the willies.


Elizabeth 1/4/2006

Irsa

The original name of Irsa's species is hamster. And rats are much scarier looking.


gglassdr 1/4/2006

THX-1492

This was so bizarre I thought it might be a hoax. A google search revealed the exact same text has appeared in several other regional newspapers. Armenia isn't too far from Chernobyl in Belarus...
The really odd "twilight zone" part about this story is that my character in the Gamma World yahoo rpg's is a mutated plantman named "Kaktuss"!

mauriciopeal 1/5/2006

Hi! I joined the group months ago and finally decided to roll a character. I just need to know if there's something I need to go before creating its background.


supreme_arbiter 1/5/2006

Here are the new character guidelines.

Email me off list with the type of character you want to play and I'll give you a better idea of how he/she/it can fit into the current situation/background.


supreme_arbiter 1/8/2006

Becka listened to THX's story, following as best she could despite numerous unfamiliar words and the other voices that only she could hear. She was distracted by the flashing consoles surrounding her: 'Auxiliary Power Units'. She curiously ran her hand over buttons and indicators on the nearest panel. Unconsciously, her mind began processing the information, deciphering the purpose of the instruments and the meaning of the robot's words.

The flow of information rushed faster and faster. Before she could think to do anything, the dam broke and the flow became a raging torrent. Images, voices, and emotions from the past, present and future overwelmed her. She surprised Percy when she suddenly slumped limply into his side.

Becka saw a jungle. Many strange creatures she'd never seen before flew through the sky, leapt between branches and crawled along the dark jungle floor. In a clearing suurounded by the dense, sprawling jungle, there were pits and trenches exposing stony ruins. A red movement machine hovered out of one of the ruins and up into the clearing. It sped off into the sky and vanished over the horizon.

At the edge of the clearing a movement machine lay beneath the weight of several trees. It looked like the lifeboat, but was even bigger. It was very old and overgrown.

Becka's vision faded. When it returned she was in a dark hall filled with dust and broken pipes. Somehow she knew she was close to the place she had just been. Among the pipes and detritus, a long dead corpse laid still. It was wearing some sort of machinery on its chest, arms and legs.

She bent closer to the dead body. The patch on his chest was faded, but she could still read the word 'Matahachi'.



OOC: I won't necessarily do this for each precog vision, but you can 'ask one question' of this vision, i.e. examine one thing closer.


supreme_arbiter 1/11/2006

In case I haven't mentioned this before, there's now an official MA website with a lively Forum. Forum discussions cover the new fourth edition, MA related books, movies and TV shows, MA adventures, etc. James Ward himself is a frequent contributer! The site is:

http://metamorphosisalpha.net/

In IAS news, I've been thinking about Bud's recent post. I think it requires a response, one which I'll hopefully write over this weekend.


supreme_arbiter 1/11/2006

RE-ESTABLISH SURVEILLANCE-LINK
The first IAS campaign post was made five years ago today! Happy Fifth B'Day IAS!

(no periods were harmed in the making of this post)


mikejohnson_lordofdance 1/11/2006

Bud

5 Years, YEEHAW!

(happy birthday IAS)


supreme_arbiter 1/15/2006

IAS Turn 1.9
[BUD] "Ruins? What did your archaelogy turn up regarding previous inhabitants?"
[THX-1492] "I do not know. I was activated on the expedition after the general purpose robots exposed three large, rectangular buildings made of basalt. After I reprogrammed them for archeological work, I shutdown. I rebooted again and everything had changed. I never saw the artifacts that were retrieved."
[BUD] "Where is the Alexandria now? And what's up with time/space distortions?"
[THX-1492] "I do not know where the Alexandria is. I do not know how long I have been shutdown. Perhaps the Alexandria is still in orbit. The time/space distortions are also unknown. These are images of what I saw in and around the dropship at the excavation."

Images began to play on the holoprojector. First they saw a half naked man wielding a metal pipe like a club. He swung it toward the camera in slow motion. The pipe struck THX's tentacle and broke apart like a gas or a cloud. A fraction of a second later, the point of contact burst into bright white light. The light spread quickly to the rest of the human's body. The transformation continued from his feet to the ground and soon eclipsed everything except the sky. Then the light gradually faded to reveal an overgrown excavation, jungle and a decrepit dropship. Next they saw a broken door, permanently open, in a corridor inside the dropship. Suddenly, the corridor burst into bright white light. The camera switched to infrared and displayed the door now closed; the entire corridor was evenly heated slightly above room temperature. The camera switched back to visible light. The corridor was now spotless. The door opened and a man stepped through. On his chest was a patch that read 'Matahachi'.

"Hello THX, is everything ok?" Matahachi asked. "We don't have any scheduled software updates, or much of anything else for you to do here for the time being."

"Lt. Matahachi, this unit has just experienced spatial-time disorientation. Can you describe current status of ship and crew?"

"Time disorientation? That's curious, isn't it?" Matahachi asked in return, but there was no reply. "The engines are not working," he continued. "The dropship is grounded and the crew are all gone. There's a new mission. I am here to supply you with new software and a new piece of hardware."

"This unit is ready to access new orders and instrumentation, Lieutenant."

"Ok," Matahachi replied. "I need you to shutdown. Do you have any final questions?"

"Negative, Officer Matahachi."

"Very well. THX-1492, Please shutdown. I hope to see you again very soon. Until then, pleasant dreams," Matahachi smiled affectionately.

The image faded. "These are the orders I received from Lieutenant Matahachi." THX transmitted the readme file to the ship's computer. It displayed on the monitor in front of Nike. She sat down to read it.

The UWSC CS Warden has arrived in orbit. Some of her crew are landing and require your assistance. I will transmit their location to you on a frequency bookmarked in your radio as 'Warden Crew'. I will continuously transmit their location until you make contact. If their location changes, my transmission will be updated. Their projected landing site is significantly far from your current position, so you will need a vehicle. Nearby you will find several aircars in fine working order and sufficiently fueled. Their location is marked on your GPS.

Trust your instincts and good luck.

am
[BUD] "I think we should have a little look at the other dropship, salvage what we can and see where that gets us. As for connecting with the Warden...
"We could reach the excavation in THX's map with this ship," Amanda suggested, "but we'd have to make at least two stops on the way there for refueling. Hopefully we can make our own fuel."

"I saw an HE3 miner in the engineering room," Bailey said. "We can use that to get fuel from water, but it'll take maybe two or three days to fill up."

"Or we could refuel THX's aircar and take that to the dropship. How long did it take you to get here," Arkady asked.

"Four hours and 25 minutes."

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