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Chapter 42 (Original Archive)

supreme_arbiter 4/7/2007

Shlitzee handed Nike a Margarita in a beaker as she passed her in the hall. Nike looked at the beaker and tasted its contents. It was delicious. It tasted like Shlitzee had used a real lime! She downed the rest of the margarita and handed the empty beaker to Shlitzee. "Thanks," she said, winking at the robot. Shlitzee's eyes turned a bright shade of green as she winked back.

Nike stepped down the gangplank and into the sand. She met Bud, Amanda and THX outside. Tymbal, Horatio's other students and the villagers were all gone. Nike took one look at Bud's heavy weapon and said, "This aircar isn't big enough to haul the three of us and your plaser. Stow it in the ship and bring something more manageable." Amanda smiled and patted her beautiful Sturmkarabiner.

Bud frowned. He looked at the aircar and tried to imagine how he could make it fit, but realized it was just too big and bulky. He ran back into the Pandora, left the plaser in his room and took a ___ from the weapons locker.

OOC: Mike, please let me know what weapon Bud takes from the armory. Stacy too, let me know what weapon Nike took.

Nike examined the aircar while Bud was away. It took her a while to figure out how to open the door. She climbed in and took a look at the controls. She was still trying to understand them when Bud returned. "This vehicle makes no sense to me," she told him. "If you're familiar with it, you should drive."

Bud took a look, and whistled. "Bailey was right. This is some weird looking stuff! I've never seen anything like it. I wonder who made it." He looked up at Nike and Amanda. He smiled an impish grin and said, "You're the captain. THX should show you how to pilot it. The robot showed Irsa how to do it, how difficult could it be?"

THX-1498 stood at the edge of the ship acting as security. Nike called the robot over and asked it to explain the aircar's operation. Several minutes later, Nike had mastered the skills, refueled the aircar with two fresh power cells and was rocketing away from the Pandora.

Bud and Amanda shared the seat next to her. Amanda's Sturmkarabiner sat between their legs. The look on Bud's face indicated his pleasure with the seating arrangements. Amanda was clearly unhappy. She slapped his wandering hands whenever they got too close. She looked pleadingly at Nike to fly faster.

Nike was eager to arrive, too, but she wanted a good look first. She flew high over the mountain range. In the bright sun, she got a good look at the surrounding landscape. It looked barren and rocky. Tiny villages clung to the mountainside. The only sign of life visible from the air were thin lines of green trees in tiny canyons that cut into the mountains. Far to the north and south, the mountains vanished into the desert sands. The small range of mountains north of the Pandora extended west of the larger mountains before they vanished into the desert. The only other feature besides sand around them was a solitary mountain in the middle of the desert southeast of the main mountain range.

They flew north until the GPS indicated they were close to the location of Eden. Nike switched on a camera so they could see the terrain below them. A monitor on the dashboard lit up. Nike, Bud and Amanda soon saw what they were looking for. Even from their high elevation, Eden was unmistakable. It was situated in a broad valley protected by the mountains on three sides. A long wall surrounded the entire city. Inside the wall, there were enormous glens and wild fields.

Nike switched on the aircar's ladar. The monitor switched to a grainy, black-and-white image. She zoomed in for a closer look at the city's wall. The entire length consisted of an inner and an outer wall. A narrow rampart ran along the outer edge of the inner wall. The two walls were separated by 10 meters of exotic-looking trees. They looked nothing like the scrubby plants living outside the walls or the lush landscape inside.

The entire perimeter of Eden was uniformly surrounded except where a single gate pierced the western wall. A building made of stone and wood sat near the gate. A couple of people stood nearby. They wore simple tunics. One of the men carried a wood staff.

Nike saw a dirt road leading away from the gate into the interior of Eden. She followed it with the ladar through a vast area of wilderness. The aircar's occupants saw dozens of strange, docile- looking animals but only a few humans. A few children played with the animals in the tall grass. Men and women walked leisurely and talked.

Nike zoomed in and out until she finally found a sign of civilization. Through the trees, she spotted the top of a black, circular roof. There was a two-story building beneath the roof. The lower storey was smaller than the upper. A colonnade of columns supported the upper storey. It looked like a vacation home. Through the large windows, they saw rough, handmade furniture made of wood.

Nike scanned the area around the building and soon found others. There were at least a dozen buildings among the trees below, all of them identical. Wide, dirt lanes connected them. Their borders were marked by lines of low, rectangular boxes with tiny holes. Nike zoomed in to discover what they were. They were metal lanterns. Wax dripped from the bottom of some of them.

supreme_arbiter 4/7/2007

[THX:] "Captain Nike, this unit would estimate the odds of completing our mission at...
...caught runtime error: NaN, restoring... ok." OOC: Sorry THX too many unknown variables :) Human nurseries? WAY too many variables even for your not-so-humble GM.

Returning to the Warden? The crew could start methodically building a launch vehicle, but where's the fun in that? Too long, boring, and I'm sure something nasty might happen in the meantime... Someone has already implied two other solutions, the possibility of which none of the characters know yet. The answer to one of them will soon be revealed...

animefanzeth 4/7/2007


What's this Devon being Sedated? He didn't consent to that.

supreme_arbiter 4/7/2007

OOC: Sorry... If Devon wants to resist, the GM sees no problem with that. The turn on Mar 28 ended like this...

Bud said, "Ok, Shlitzee, finish getting... I mean greeting our friends here. Don't forget us and the leviathan over there." Shlitzee stepped up to Horatio and his students. They welcomed the robot as the villagers had before them. She sampled and sedated them, took DNA samples from Bud, Arkady and Chelydra and was greeted by Janus and Tymbal as a friend. Shlitzee approached Devon, Malik and the leviathan with her arms outstretched in greeting.

OOC: What will Devon do?

animefanzeth 4/7/2007


Devon saw a creepy ass device in her hand and a sinister gleam in Shlitzee's eyes. Maybe he was imagining it. In any case he back away a few feet and took a defensive stance. "Don't touch me!" he said to this outlander.

supreme_arbiter 4/15/2007

"We're all friends here," Arkady said. "As long as no one tries to 'sieze' anyone else," Arkady looked at Horatio, "we're going to get along."

"Shlitzee," Nike said quietly over the comm, "get a sample from that beast Horatio calls a Leviathan and find some other way to get a DNA sample from Devon. Don't bother trying to sedate him. He's the only one of 'em who isn't already sedated. I think security can handle him if he's a trouble maker."

Shlitzee stepped away from Devon. "I mean you no harm," she said. Her eyes changed to a light shade of blue. "We can only be friends if we can trust each other. My companions only want to get to know you better." She took a good look at him. He wore sandles, pants and a long sleeved cape but his head and chest were bare. His head was hairless. "May I have a piece of hair from your, um... arm?"

stacinator 4/15/2007


OOC: Actually, Devon wouldn't know that he was being sedated. None of them would, so he couldn't actually object to being sedated. He could object to being sampled, but it seems that his leader or superior (if there is one, I can't remember) would make it mandatory unless he wants to leave and not board Warden....

I do not believe Nike would want a suspicious guy who freaks out at the approach of a droid wandering on the ship without her full complement there; not unless Chelydra was going to stay on him "like white on rice" as we say here in the South! LOL

supreme_arbiter 4/15/2007

OOC: Actually, Devon wouldn't know that he was being sedated.
Aeraxbob said Shlitzee was taking a "humanachem partypack dispensor" from the medbay. He didn't specify details (nor did I) so the sedative could very well be an external device that might cause Devon to freak out ~OR~ the humanachem partypack dispensor could be operated internally as part of her Pharmaceutical Nano-Factory, in which case there would be no external device to cause Devon alarm.
his leader would make it mandatory unless he wants to leave and not board Warden....
True. Janus is placing his faith in the crew and complying with their wishes. I was trying to be nice and missed that obvious motivation.
I do not believe Nike would want a suspicious guy who freaks out at the approach of a droid wandering on the ship without her full complement there; not unless Chelydra was going to stay on him "like white on rice"
Nike's made it clear she wants a tight ship until she returns. After the business with the sedative and/or the DNA sample is resolved, Devon, Malik and Janus will be in the crew quarters described in post #2186

Chelydra and Caleb will be with them. While Nike, Bud and Amanda are visiting Eden, I envision a meet and greet in the crew quarters. Devon and Janus have much to tell the crew that they don't already know and they are sure to have questions for the crew of the Warden. Horatio and his trouble makers will be kept in a separate room and won't be able to hear Devon, Malik and Janus.

BTW the sedative is a mild one and won't last long. I may have overplayed the effects.

animefanzeth 4/16/2007


OOC: Actually, Devon wouldn't know that he was being sedated.
OOC: Correct me if I'm wrong but, When you sedate someone you stick them with a needle and or some other medical device. Devon (or anybody with common sense) wouldn't let a complete stranger use an unknown device on him without a decent explination and some convincing. I'm surprised Janus would let you use a weird device on him without explination either.

IC "My hair? why would you want that?" He asked the man. He looked to Janus who gave him a nod in reply. Devon took his knife and trimmed cut away a few arm hairs. He then presented them to the man.

supreme_arbiter 4/17/2007

OOC: Shlitzee is a robot who looks like a woman :)

IC: Shlitzee took the hair, added it to her database and started processing its DNA. "It's a custom with my people. It's how the crew tribe gets to know someone." Shlitzee smiled cryptically and moved on to the leviathan.

Arkady eyed Devon's knife. He approached him cautiously. Arkady still held his pistol, but he pointed it harmlessly at the ground. "May I please have that knife? You can't bring any weapons into our bird. Do you or your friends have any other weapons? We'll take good care of them and return them to you."

stacinator 4/18/2007


OOC: I suppose everyone thinks of things differently in their minds' eye... I had thought of the DNA sampler/sedative giver as something like a hypospray on Star Trek, which would not seem threatening nor harmful or alarming... SA, I'm fine with you writing it anyway you see fit at this point.

supreme_arbiter 4/19/2007

OOC: Stacy, I envisioned the same sort of sedative delivery device. The recipient might or might not feel a slight pinch. But I've learned not to provide specifics unless they're important or involve mapping the physical environment. I'm OK with Devon being freaked out by the robot's advance and not being sedated.

I'm not OK with Devon bringing a weapon on board the Pandora. There should be a standard weapon check at the pub door, if you will. To become a trusted part of the crew he'll have to make a leap of faith like Janus has.

If Devon hands over his weapon(s), when he enters the ship he'll see...

IC: Arkady opened a door in the first corridor. Through the door Devon saw a stock room with racks full of stuff.

OOC: I'm waiting to hear from Bud and/or Nike before I post another turn for the away team at Eden. Will they return to the Pandora? Will they land? Where?

After I hear from Devon regarding the weapon check, the next crew turn will take place in the crew quarters with Chelydra, Caleb, Devon, Janus and Malik. Janus will have a great deal of exposition to reveal...

animefanzeth 4/20/2007


OOC:Well the weapon thing wasn't me thinking. Devon is a tribal and to him a knife isn't a weapon. It is a tool used for skinning animals, prying open stuff like clams, and other mundane things. If Janus said give them up he would. From my understanding the 'Tribes' are in a tool age like existance. The concepts of War and Human on Human violence has fully donned on them yet.

mikejohnson_lordofdance 4/20/2007


-thinking over what he's seen, hopefully transmitting the images back to Pandora-

"Okay, seems like some have it a little better than others on this dirtball. I think we should send the Pandora towards the jungle with the ruins, i.e. plentiful organic matter for the compilers. I'd definitely like to find out as much about our new friends as possible, both from this planet and the Warden. We might also find it useful to bring some of them along to ease the introductions with the Eden crowd. I vote we should do a few more minutes of remote surveillance and then rendezvous with the Pandora."

Elizabeth 4/20/2007


OOC: The people of this area haven't yet discovered religious war yet.(YAY!) And if they are the descendants of the lost starship, they lost all knowledge of how they got here.

supreme_arbiter 4/24/2007

I had hoped to get the next turn finished today, but this one will be revealing so I'm going to take another couple of days to work on it. In the meantime...

Nice reason for Devon's knife! Yes, the tribes are not familiar with war, not because they're primitive but because they're too terrified to fight.

And yes, 99.9% of the natives have lost all knowledge of how they got here. That will be the subject of the next turn...

gammaben 4/25/2007


Forget Rho Cancri! How about we go to 581 c instead? Check it out:

And it's only 20.5 light years away!

publius1024 4/25/2007


A 13 day orbit, no planetary rotation and 1.6 x the gravity! :(

The results are getting better, but when are we gonna build an enormous interferometer telescope in space. We could resolve the actual planets instead of just inferring their presence by 'wobble'. If only someone had the resources and the political will! Maybe the Chinese will build one when they establish their moon base...

Elizabeth 4/26/2007


Why long range sensors get developed is to find planets like this or better.

supreme_arbiter 4/30/2007

IAS turn 2 - Who Is John Galt?
Arkady and Chelydra opened the doors and ushered their passengers into their separate rooms. The chambers within amazed them. They saw comfortable chairs attached to the floor, three beds built on top of one another, shelves, drawers and a desk. Colored lights on devices built into the walls, shelves and beds flashed around them. On top of the desk was the most unusual device. Janus and his men were familiar with it. It resembled something they'd all seen during their initiation into a secret society of the Rota. Although the computer's monitor was off, they recognized the flat, glassy 'window' on which images might soon display and from which voices might speak.
Chelydra stood in a corner and waited for Janus and his friends to sit. Moments later, Bailey entered the room and stood in the opposite corner.

Janus sat in one of the chairs in front of the desk. He felt very tired. The speech he had prepared eluded him. The words his teacher had made him memorize seemed forgotten. He silently wondered at this strange sensation.

"So," Bailey said, trying to break the ice, "I'm sure you have a lot of questions. So do we. What I think we're most curious about is... Who is John Galt?"

"John Galt was a passenger," Janus answered, suddenly coming to life, "on the Alexandria."

Chelydra and Bailey looked at each other with surprise. Devon and Malik stared at Janus. This was news to them. They wondered what else Janus had never told them.

"He was a charismatic cult leader. Dwayne Spragni was his accomplice. Galt convinced the captain to awaken Spragni and waited for a chance to seize control. Mike Benalidino and Ken Matahachi flew a bird to a ruined city with Spragni. There Matahachi discovered he could no longer talk to his captain. Matahachi was suspicious and put on his armor for battle. Spragni knocked out Benalidino and killed Matahachi. Galt arrived at the ruined city with a second bird. He brought with him all the women from the Alexandria. Captain Jamar, Amrit Singh and all the male passengers remained on the Alexandria but Benalidino never saw them again."

"Then what happened?" Bailey asked.

"Galt destroyed the first bird and took everyone away. He taught several mechanical men to act as his guards. The guards kept everyone prisoner, except for Galt and Spragni. They lived like kings. Galt married his pick of the women and gave the rest to Spragni. Some of the guards built houses for them to live in then Galt took the bird away. He was gone for many weeks. When he returned, Benalidino said he had changed. He no longer seemed to be entirely human. Benalidino feared for his life, but Galt kept him alive. He knew things about the birds that Galt didn't. Galt tried to get Benalidino to teach him, but he resisted." Janus suddenly yawned and rubbed his eyes with his hands.

"What about the demons?" Chelydra asked.

"They arrived three years later. They looked like men. The demons approached Galt's camp and said they wanted to be friends, but Galt attacked them. He struck them but they melted away like they were made of sand. That night everyone fell asleep at the same time like a spell had been cast on them. When they awoke, they were in Eden. There were crops growing in neatly planted rows and enough metal houses for everyone. The birds and the mechanical men were gone. Everything changed after that night. Galt knew he'd been tricked somehow by the demons. Benalidino was still a prisoner but now he had power. Galt no longer had his mechanical guards, his bird or the Alexandria. He kept Benalidino alive and gave him his own wives in return for sharing his knowledge. Galt led expeditions beyond the desert and built boats to journey across a great water, but storms always arose and prevented him from going any further. Eventually Galt gave up and fathered many children. Benalidino taught his children the skills they would need to reclaim the Alexandria and the Warden when she returned. To the students he trusted, he told this story."

-end transmission-

publius1024 4/30/2007


Chapter 39 - End Transmission

The crew of the Pandora discuss what they found at the excavation half a world away.

BTW I added something to the narration that I should have mentioned during play. In this chapter Bud asked about the Alexandria's transmission monitoring logs. At the time I interpreted that as the Alexandria's log from the local array that was looking for the Warden. What I said at the time (through Percy) was, "Three years of data from 2555 to 2557, no local transmissions detected then the logs end abruptly."

What I should have added, and now have, was this...

"Laser broadcasts from Eridani, however, have continued without interruption since the Alexandria left Eridani in 2336. By the way, in case no one's looked at a calendar recently, the year now is 2790."

"So there's 400 years of transmissions from Eridani to sort through?" Bailey asked.

"454, to be exact," Amanda added.

"Yup," Percy replied, scanning through the list of files. "There are a lot of news reports, software updates and who knows what else here."

stacinator 4/30/2007


[BUD] -thinking over what he's seen, hopefully transmitting the images back to Pandora-

"Okay, seems like some have it a little better than others on this dirtball. I think we should send the Pandora towards the jungle with the ruins, i.e. plentiful organic matter for the compilers. I'd definitely like to find out as much about our new friends as possible, both from this planet and the Warden. We might also find it useful to bring some of them along to ease the introductions with the Eden crowd. I vote we should do a few more minutes of remote surveillance and then rendezvous with the Pandora."
Nike nodded. "I agree, and I think we have to be very careful. I'm still a little hesitant to bring Pandora too close to this "eden" that looks a little too sculpted and perfect... Nothing completely natural is that perfect."

"What do you think about the remote edge of this jungle for a landing site for Pandora?"

supreme_arbiter 5/7/2007

Alexei entered the crew quarters behind Bailey. He listened to Janus tell his tale. While he listened, Alexei felt a strange sensation. He couldn't explain it but he somehow was certain Janus was telling the truth.

OOC: Does anyone have any questions for Janus? If you haven't got time for a lengthy email, I'll post the details, just ask your question. For instance, Amanda, Bud and Nike could be listening to his tale over the comm. Devon knows somethings about this world, but Janus knows more.

OOC: Nike and Bud, I hear you. The next turn will return them to the Pandora and soon they'll be on their way back to the jungle. BTW they circled around Eden but couldn't find anything besides the things I've already described. The ladar resolves distant objects clearly.

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