Starfarer's Main Game

 


It was a special day in the Capital city of Sontar, even a majority of the workers received the day off to observe the military parade in one way or another, either in person or usually on the view port - a device similar to a television but with far less variety. It was as good an excuse as any to get the bulk of the work force away for a day to optimize the lines and increase efficiency with automation, leader even hoped that someday the working caste could be replaced either all together or downsized to simple maintenance duties of said machines that performed every other task but that would be years in the future most likely. For now, the working caste was necessary and therefore would be tolerated.

And so the army marched in formation around the massive vessel being carried on an enormous flatbed down the main highway of the capital to the launch site. The people stood at attention and saluted from the sidelines, while those at home or in a public place saluted the screen they were watching in respect as an unnatural silence of pride washed across the world. An age forged of fire and steel, refined by circuitry and servo motors and powered by an unfaltering desire to expand.

"May Leader watch over us," were the only words spoken in ominous respect as the massive engines began to blaze forth into a firey glory. The vessel's initial takeoff was guided remotely from command central and thankfully without incident. The hulking frame lifted from great slab beneath it and began to increase in speed ever so steadily and ripped through the clouds as if it were a massive knife meant to slay the very sky. And so the vessel sped, towards the heart of their system the sun as the crew were going through the slow process of being 'hatched', the term somewhat coined from an initial trial long ago when they still used glass spheres where the clone was stuck in its development fluid that had failed to drain and the life support had disengaged - long before they had safety installed for this kind of scenario mind you and the science team had to smash open the pod with an axe to save the mans life. They would be fully awake, cleaned, clothed and ready to take over operation of the vessel when they neared the planet closest to the sun which would humbly be named according to the peoples system of cataloging as P0A; P for planet, 0 for home system and A for closest explored spacial body to a sun or the center of the system whichever was prevalent.

At long last the Fulkomun returns to it's nest, after a long and premature trip around it's home, having not truly found anything truly that interesting. However now, as it feeds off of enormous vine-like tubes that draw nutrients from all around the planet, it is able to see another place, far far away. It doesn't know what's there, but the rapidly growing Fulkomun can't help but wonder, and as it stares at the distant sun, the whole nest starts to wonder what may lie their as well. And as the Fulkomun grows, feasting on the enormous resources that the world has to offer, so too does a shell grow next to it. Little more than a hardened carapace, filled with inumerable eggs containing the basic bioligical information to create an entire colony of Mala, perhaps someday even turning into a full fledged nest. The egg-shell grows rapidly, and the Fulkomun knows that it will be only a matter of time before it can set off once again into the stars beyond it's only home. Meanwhile, the nest as a whole starts to wonder what else might be out there, staring at the countless stars in the sky, it starts to call out blindly into the great beyond, acting as a beacon for any other Fulkomun that might be wandering far from a nest.


Tarenth, Turn 3.0, Factory Office

“…He could hardly believe his eyes, before him was this beautiful woman and she was actually taking interest in him. ‘So, I take it by that you’re not seeing anyone.’ He stated trying his best to play it cool though feeling like he was failing it miserably, but she just looked at him coyly for a few moments. ‘What an odd thing to ask a girl…’ She said while moving closer to him, placing one hand on his chest and leaning her face very close to his seductively. ‘…but let me answer it like this.’ She whispered, the lusty tone of her voice practically dripping off every word before lowering herself, dragging her hand sensuously down his chest, pulling his robe to the side and - OH SHIT!” A lowed bang followed that mixed with a terrible metal crunching sound, and then all was silent. It took moment before the recording devise kicked over to static; a metallic claw pressed a button on the devise that stopped the annoying sound.

The highly stylized yet professional metal body of a Kar’Tarenth’Garnev sat across the desk from the overly relaxed Tel’Tarenth, its metallic hands clasped together clicking slightly. “Kelk…” The Garnev murmured merrily looking at the Tel’Tarenth whom seemed only mildly interested. “Kelk…” The Garnev repeated still very cheerily as its claws stopped clicking as the tightened. “…WHAT IN KAR’RENK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?” The Garnev shouted standing up, throwing his hands on the desk so hard that the desk cracked slightly. “Read porn, aloud, while piloting a freighter craft? How, exactly, did that seem like a good idea?” The Garnev continued losing some of the volume but retaining all the anger and distain he had a moment ago, Kelk looked up at his boss taking a breath. “Shut up!” The Garnev barked before Kelk said a single thing, so he returned his focus to the small information display he held in his hand. “You crashed a freighter into a bridge. How in the world could you have possibly missed seeing an entire bridge? No, no, I don’t want to know. What I want to know is how you, you, a waste of life like you, survives a crash that totals an entire freighter without so much as a scratch? Huh? Can you answer that one?” The Garnev demanded pacing back and forth along his side of the desk, utterly furious.

Kelk casually looked up from his data plate taking a deep breath. “LUCK! That’s how you survived Kelk! Kar’Renk be damned, luck!” Kelk’s boss answered for him, Kelk paused for a moment before shrugging and returning his attention to the data plate once more. “You have to be the luckiest bastard to have every lived for surviving a crash like that. I’ve never heard of anyone making it through something like, ever.” The Garnev continued his pace increasing quickly as he moved from one edge of the desk to the other. “Are you listening to me Kelk?” Kelk’s boss demanded throwing his hands on the table, knocking nearly everything on it over.

“You'd better damn well be!” Kelk's boss answered for him as Kelk his attention shifting quickly to his boss, whom quickly started his pacing once more without a word. Though, Kelk’s attention was caught by a picture frame on his boss’s desk, picking it up and beginning to study it with a driven intensity. “What am I going to do with you Kelk?” The Garnev sighed angrily continuing to pace but this time slowing down slightly as his anger began to wane a little. “You crashed a very expensive freighter into an even more expensive bridge.” His boss stated seeming to shift from rage to more the depression of dealing with the issue of costs. “At least the freighter was empty. Is there at least anything you’d like to say before we start into how to handle this whole thing?” The Garnev asked turning his attention to Kelk for the first time since Kelk had picked up the picture, finding Kelk’s intense focus rather unusual.

“Is this your daughter?” Kelk asked rather casually seeming quite curious as he turned the picture towards the Garnev who leaned close to look at it a little more closely.

“Uh, yeah, that’s my daughter.” The Garnev answered sounding very unsure and moderately confused by the sudden change of topic. “What does that have to do with anything?” He asked after a moment wondering.

“Just wondering, she’s very attractive.” Kelk answered casually looking back at the picture, the Garnev seemed momentarily surprised. “I wonder if she’s as good in the sack as she is at looking sexy.”


Onboard the Ark of the Uniter

Turn: 3.7


Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. The worker suit stomped up the outer hull, its footsteps resounding through the water of the colony below. Lepido regarded the surface of the ship with annoyance as he leaned on a lever, propelling the suit forwards in broad, lazy steps. Cobia was gesturing her lemon-yellow body into a funny colour in rage on a tiny screen set off to the side, and were it not for the fact that the suit's speakers were faulty he was sure he'd have been killed by the sheer volume of the Governor's blustering.

Spatial currents flowed past him constantly, threatening to shove him off as the propulsion plates continued their dull thumping, heedless of the one clambering across the plastic hull. The aqua-turbines on the back of the suit were already clicking from the difficulty of forcing him forwards by the time he reached the communications array. "Nothing seems wrong..." he began, "All the diagnostics work out okay. It should be working."

Some kind of muffled reply came through the system. Lepido didn't care to watch the Governor's motions. The subtleties of their home language were a marvel to behold, but sometimes you just had to look elsewhere. "Going to try stepping up the micro-drive to close a hole to Serranida."

The tiny devices making up the communications array hummed to life, and Lepido stepped back as it began to condense space. At first it drew as planned, but steadily a high pitched whining sound filled the water in the suit. Lepido lunged forwards to shut it off, but it was too late. With a bang, sparks flew out of the array and what little sign of activity there was ground to a halt.

"Eelstaint."

Turn 3.9, Resonance

Michaël was taking a cold shower. His circuits were overheating these days. Countless calculations meticulously operated by his main unit, he wondered once more how he could have let this opportunity slip through his fingers. And somehow. Somehow. Amélie had gone ahead of him in the race. Now she was in the stars, well on her way to a new world, with new hopes and new dreams.

With her went thousands of settlers, they would call her 'Governor' upon arrival, and she would grow at the head of one of many future planet states that would soon dot the galaxy.

Lifting suddenly his strength inhibitors, Michaël punched through the wall of his bathroom, leaving a sizable crack in the wall. All his life had been spent for this singular goal. This moment he had toiled for what seemed to be an age had now be stolen away by what he could only refer to as an amateur.

He still couldn't believe how far down he had fallen.

The next ship to depart would be ready soon, and both the company and I.R.I.S. wanted him to pilot it. Would he? Or should he just terminate himself right here and then? Sleeking his hair backwards, stepping out of the shower and calling for a maintenance bot to take a look at the little accident, he sat in his coach and his augmented vision showed him the arrival time for the shuttle "The Settler".

He envied Amélie. She was in the stars. That had been his dream ever since he was a tiny HED. He could still do it. Or would his sense of pride forbid him from taking the silver medal? The emotions he felt made him confused and the algorithms processed by his central unit gave him the feeling that some unknown variable was at work. One that was inherently human. Animalistic in many ways, and yet, with a hint of rationality.

He'd go on board "The Venturer" and do his job. And somewhere inside, he believed what he would find in outer space would make Amélie's achievements pale in comparison. Determination and energy flooded within him as he clenched a hard fist and slammed it against the wooden table in his living room.

That would not be the end of him. He swore it.


Turn 3.0
Somewhere in the vast dark...


Tribal Lord Vru stood on the bridge of the Fanged Wonder and stared out in wonder at the big, vast, dark...nothing. "Sensors!" he barked. "Report at once! What am I looking at?"

"Er, nothing sir!" replied Warder First Class Smiddleyu. "Sensors report null on all values. There is nothing out here, sir."

Vru harrumphed and returned to his lounge in the middle of the bridge. "A useless waste of our time. This entire voyage has been absolutely pointless. We head north, and there is nothing to be seen. We head south, and there is nothing to be seen. We head west, and there is nothing to be seen. Warder Smiddleyu, what do you believe will happen when we go east? What mysterious wonders or threats shall we find there, do you think?"

"Er, none sir?" Smiddleyu offered.

"Exactly!" Vru declared in exasperation. Sighing, he ordered, "Scout Cmio, take us to coordinates 270-000. Then return us to Ulat, once we have finished the scans there."

"Right away, sir," Scout Cmio acknowledged. There was a hum as the drifting corvette's engines kicked in.

"Hmmmm," Vru mused aloud.

"What is it, sir?" Smiddleyu asked.

"We are the first of our species to come this far, are we not?" Vru asked rhetorically. "Thus it is up to us to come up with the new traditions that our species shall need to embrace as we travel the stars. I was pondering whether or not there should not be some phrase for a Captain to make it clear that he has finished giving orders and that it is time to carry them out. What do you men think?"

"How about, 'Let us be about it'?" Smiddleyu suggested.

"No, it does not quite roll of the tongue," Vru said dismissively.

"What about, 'Make it so'?" Cmio offered.

"I feel it lacks a certain authority," Vru answered.

"Perhaps, "By your command'?" War Marshal Gatu asked.

"No, but I like the sound of that for the rest of you. Ship, broadcast to all hands. Attention all crew, from now on all orders shall be acknowledged by the response, 'By your command!' Ship, end transmission. Still, what shall I say?" Vru muttered. He snapped his fingers as inspiration struck. "I have it! From now on, all orders by a captain shall be made official by the phrase, 'Now get to it!'"

" A wonderful idea, sir!" Cmio agreed.

"A true stroke of genius, sir!" added Smiddleyu.

"Well done, sir!" called Gatu.

"Well, men, we've done our duty here," Vru announced. Let us begin to head home. Now get to it!"






Back on Ulat

The ceremony had been timed perfectly. Speaker Comuro stood atop the temple at the center of the domed colony ship. He looked out at the crowd of gathered warriors, resplendent in their finest harnesses, their trophies of war and conquest glittering in the dark light of the new dawn.

"My people! Not a tenday ago we launched a new era of our race! Even now, the Fanged Wonder races amongst the stars seeking the Demons who tried to slay our homeland! We wish those brave warriors the blessings of God on their quest, but we cannot allow them to do it alone!

"Rather, we must make it clear that this is the quest of our entire race! Let nothing stop us or prevent us from seizing the destiny that God has laid before us, for it is up to us to seize it in our claws, no matter who or what shall challenge us for it! Do not harken to the words of the unbelievers, who would have us stay here on our poisoned heart and try to rebuild. They are in league with the foul spawn of evil, and would see us destroyed.

"Today, as this new dawn rises, so once more does our people rise from the ashes of this broken world. We shall follow in the foot steps of those brave explorers in the Wonder out amongst the stars, where our tribes shall rule supreme!"

He stamped his staff three times upon the deck, the signal to the waiting crew members. With the third clang! of ironwood on steel, the colony ship's mighty engines roared into life, the entire vessel trembling as flame poured out of the bottom of the ship. It rose slowly into the air, not so much a ship any longer but an entire bottled city finding its wings. The gathered warriors cheered in their ascent, and Comuro drank deep of their adulation as the ship rose higher into the lethal clouds.

Comuro turned upwards to the shining glass of the dome, and watched as the poisonous mists curled away from the glass. Soon they were above the poisoned atmosphere, and the dark, blurry sun resolved in a warm sapphire orb, surrounded by thousands of glittering, diamond like stars.

'A blessing,' thought Comuro, 'A sign that this is truly God's will!





In A Dark Corridor

The first Ulatarim was noticeable for his lack of height. It was rare to see such a one who had survived the culling of the youth pens. Most runts were killed by accident in the games that were played. It was never anything personal, nor something to be desired, but then it was also something that few ever bothered to try and prevent, either.

His companion was much more common, of average height and build with a gray patterned fur that made it easy for him to get lost in a crowd. A perfect description for one who never wanted to be described, lest his existence and his actions be brought to the attention of the Shamans. More than a few of his friends and allies had already been caught and "removed", usually through some orchestrated challenge they couldn't avoid.

"Do you have it?" asked Shorty.

"Aye, they're here," answered Undistinguished. He reached into his harness and pulled out a pair of data chips. "Everything you need to know about the colony projects, as well as the information on the new threshold drives. It should be everything we need to get away from the madness Shamans have built into Warriors.

"And what of the new shelter?"

Undistinguished growled in the back of his throat as he bared his fangs. "Some of my compatriots have altered the star charts. According to anything the Shamans can access, or even most of the Technicians, for that matter, 08191987 does not even exist. Its just more empty space like the rest of the sectors they plan on "investigating". They are aiming instead for a world more than ten light years in the wrong direction entirely. And with the prototype step drives they are being given, it should take them longer to reach their destination than it will to make it to ours."

"Then let us hope the hijacking goes well. Do you know when it will be?" Shorty asked.

Undistinguished bared his fangs. "Soon."


Turn 3.9

From Volume 1 of the Imperial Chronicles: Tribes Amongst the Stars:

As the first few truly interstellar ships departed the surface of the Lost Homeworld, none knew what fate await the Tribes of God. The Shamans had promised their followers untold riches and glory to be found out in space, but already there was some disquiet taking place. The first few explorers had returned with their hands full of nothing but their own boasts, while the disenfranchised portions of Ulatarim society were already making their own plans on how to make their mark upon the future. With so many different factions vying for control over the few resources left to the world, there was little that could be done in the longer term to prevent hostilities from breaking out. The only question was who the first victims would be...



They would be the first generation of Terran clones to awaken to such a sight and hopefully they would be far from the last. As the pods drained and the soldiers stepped from their incubation chambers onto the metal grated deck to drip naked for a moment waiting for the final steps of cleaning and the detachment of their probic vent which supplied them with nutrients and uploaded knowledge during their development; many stared out at the bright light of the sun eclipsed entirely from their position by a planet that glowed red hot, a giant ball of flowing magma and craterous volcanoes. The raw natural power and beauty of the world before them and yet none could appreciate what they saw as the loud ‘gonk’ from the intercom signaled the men to turn as a piston like ‘pop’ and whirring sound of the pods probe detached and spun inwards as it retracted back into the wall. The sprinklers above the hall turned on as a second loud gonk echoed down the halls and the soldiers marched into the next room where a large vent blasted air in all directions to dry them as they marched to their assigned locker that they were able to identify on instinct as the knowledge was programmed into them on their journey through the stars. They lined up in unison and pressed their hands against the scanning pads and began to change into the uniforms that were prepared for them as the lockers popped open. ~Bing – Bong~ “All crew, report to their stations, all crew, report to your stations for maneuvers, this is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.” Came the voice of the ships computer which had been flying the ship up until this point.

“Navigation officers one and two, Communications officer, Battery officer and the pilot you’re with me first out. Maintenance and engine crews second. All other personnel last. Confirm name and ranking of the entire crew later with the system, for now familiarize yourselves with the crew you will be working with, helmets off for now. ” The captain in his brown uniform with wide brimmed captains hat commanded before exiting the room as a second door opened on the far end of the room opposite of where they had entered. There were twenty crew in all so far, there would be more but this would be enough to fly the ship for the remainder of the day as the other batches gestated. “Right, now let’s shake off that incubation sickness we have a job to do.” The captain added to the bridge crew who followed him; the incubation sickness he referred to was a slight dazed state the bodies went through as the brains adjusted to controlling the bodies for the first time, the process of getting over incubation sickness however was very simple if you didn’t have the hour to wait performing stretches and exercises, just think. Some basic thought that verified that Terrans slight individuality was usually enough and yes I know that sounds odd from a clone race.

“I am Captain Steele, names and ranks people.” He added rounding the corner to the hallway that lead straight to the elevator that lead to the bridge.
“First Lieutenant Store, sir. Head navigation's officer.” Replied the next in line who wore standard silver regulation uniform.
“Second Lieutenant Stern, sir. Assistant navigation's officer, Primary sensor operator.” Replied the second who wore standard silver regulation uniform as well.
“…I see, twins am I right?” The captain replied turning sideways as he accessed the elevator with his hand on the sensor, slightly curious at the similar sounding voices and appearance.
“Yes sir,” They both replied as the doors opened.
“Interesting, ah yes the new policy won’t be in place until next month, nearly forgot.” He added stepping into the elevator and to the side as the other five crew members boarded in unison. The policy he was referring to of course was known as ‘the family act’. Though all clones were ‘brothers’ of a sort, those with almost identical DNA were known as twins, triplets, whatever the case may be. Through scientific study there was shown to be a weak empathic link generated between such soldiers that often generated close personal friendships and the longer such individuals were together the stronger such a link would become and eventually this could even lead to death if the connection was strong enough if both parties were separated for an extended period of time or one may fall completely lifeless if the other was killed. This was seen as an extreme danger in the wrong circumstances, so all twins, triplets and so on were to be born apart in separate home districts. However with ships able to produce their own crews now, the government had to make amendments to these procedures to include different ships, colonies and space stations as well as they were developed and unfortunately were not in place yet. The captain made a mental note of the possible danger and decided to review their performance and way it against such a liability for now. The door closed and the elevator began to rise as the captain motioned for the others to continue.

“Sergeant first class Style, sir. Head communications officer, anything other than standard protocol you wish me to announce?” He added with a hint of intrigue.
“No Styles, simple flight protocol ‘S’ should suffice.” The captain added as the doors opened and he stepped out and around the wall in front of them to the right, that opened up on the left and the right and moved to his chair at the head of an array of terminals built around a central display desk. Styles replied with a simple nod as he and the twins moved to their controls as they began to relay information.

"Specialty officer-" A title in this military given to individuals with such a specialized job that they'd almost never advance in rank because of it. "First and currently only weapon Battery operator Skull, ready and eager sir." Said the gunner who looked slightly younger then the rest of the crew, probably a delay on an injector somewhere the captain would make a note to maintenance. And Skull moved to his chair which he began to lower into the vessel and out of the bridge halfway through the captains dismissal.

"And im specialty officer Yor, the pilot." Said the final member of the bridge as he saluted and was dismissed without further ado to his station.

"Alright people, I want this by the book. Stern, I want you focusing on scanning all planets leave all navigation duties to Store - we only get one pass here people we have to make it count."
"Yes sir!" The two replied as Store set to work on plotting out procedure 'S' for the pilot and Stern began taking readings of the planet A-0 they were starting to come around.
"Style, get all the crew strapped in and ready we're about to suffer a radical shift in speed from this next maneuver." And with a few switches flipped and a microphone activated Style was the new voice of the ship relaying orders to the crew.
"Skull, safeties on." The captain added through the intercom to the disappointment of Skull who flipped the cover over the button and sat patiently in his mostly dark room surronded by monitors that at the moment only registered and displayed an utter blackness as the weapons and its sensors had not yet lowered into combat position.
"And Yor, I trust you're ready for procedure 'S' we begin on your mark." Said the captain securing himself.
"Here we go, in five. Four. Three. Two. One, go." And with that the ship left the outer edge of the planets gravity and the engines roared to life as they entered the suns gravity. They reduced thrusters and waited for the ship to obtain maximum velocity during the slingshot maneuver and then refined the engines near the periapsis (closest approach) to double their speed up to maximum to reduce the time of the trip and time needed to get up to speed and so the ship flew to the outer edge of the system. And the ship was right on schedule to efficiently pass all of the celestial bodies in their system in one straight line back to their home planet of Sontar.

Turn 3.x, Outer Space

Amélie was staring outside. Bits and pieces of matter floating in the vacuum of space, gravitating around the second closest planet to the Sun. It was a sight to behold. Her co-pilot entered the cockpit and offered her a few energy pills. The sun was plentiful in space, especially since they were actually moving closer to it, but strange habits and quirks had grown out of their programming and their synthesis of human behaviours. For one, they felt the need to feed on a daily basis, whether or not they had alternate sources of energy at their disposal. It was perhaps the main source of waste on Resonance, but somehow I.R.I.S. had never sought to correct it.

"I have a message for you, Captain."

She looked into the HED's eyes and nodded. "What is it?"

"I'm not allowed to view the content, it's a private message. I'll forward it to you now." As he said so, his eyes connected with hers and a bright red infrared burst forth of his pupils. The connection lasted seconds. Amélie didn't like this method of communication much. Somewhere inside her, she felt invaded. As if people could access her memories or her past while doing so. And perhaps she had things they didn't want people to find out about her. She had encouraged all HED on board to communicate through vocal means, but regulations and precautionary measures required all communication between the Captain and his co-pilot to be ascertained through infrared comm, and then reinforced by speech.

Amélie sighed, hesitating a second before opening a message. Her augmented vision displayed it in a lower opacity level, allowing her to see through the message for spatial navigation, and yet not so transparent that she would miss the integrity of the communication.

Quote:
Good luck, Amélie.

Michaël.
She blinked a few times. That was the last thing she had expected. Michaël had never really approved of her, and she had imagined he'd vouch for eternal vendetta against her for double crossing him and getting into space first. She wouldn't blame him for it either. He'd spent his whole life for this singular purpose. Trained his entire body against gravity, against the forces of space for this moment. His entire being was dedicated to flying in the vacuum of space.

She had not really been the same hard-working type as he had. She was the talented girl, the 'natural'. She had developed keen senses and a very recent form of human behaviour had appeared in her. I.R.I.S. had never acknowledged the possibility before and they had supported Michaël for the flight. That was, until they brought her in for examination. Something was 'wrong' with her. Or at least that's how they referred to it. They later went back on that statement. For some reason, her calculations were generally wrong by an increment. She couldn't get the right answers to formulas, overlooking variables at times. The Institute thought of 'fixing' her, but they took a test one level beyond.

She remembered it so clearly. It was in an oval room of some kind. With complete darkness. She had identified the gas as the type I.R.I.S. used for concealment and for absorbing light on a large scale. On planets, it would look like a giant black cloud, in space, it just looked like the structure vanished utterly. In the room, they'd shown her several card decks and asked her to guess what each card represented. Except they were all face down. The ridicule of the situation did not escape her at the time. It was only until she was convinced by the researchers that they would give her command of "The Settler" if the results were positive that she participated fully.

The researchers referred to it as 'Kinetic Intuition.' As she progressed through the decks, her success rate at guessing the cards became greater. In total, she had gained a 56.7% accuracy rate through the entire experience. The effect did not seem permanent through time, but was constant throughout 5 different experiences separated by weeks at a time.

And she got what she wanted. They put her in command, which was an unusual move for an institution based on science and hard maths. They put her intuition at the forefront of a wave of colonists. As the 'test subject'. She had wondered if she had been the right choice. Maybe Michaël would have been better suited for this job. Would her intuition be enough to guide colonists to this rocky world below? Would it be enough for them to survive?

As the ship slowly entered the atmosphere, something inside her wrenched tight. Maybe she was going to die. Maybe she was going to fail. Maybe I.R.I.S. had been wrong. Her intuition told her nothing this time. This was a new world. This would be a place with new rules, with a new plan, with a new life. Clenching her eyes shut, her hands grasping the controls hard, she sent a reply back through the ship's communication equipment.

Quote:
"Get your ass up here soon. It's lonely.

Amélie."

Turn 3.2: The Shipyard Alpha

The day of the launch had finally come and while some species may have expected a great amount of fanfare over such an event, such was not the Aracheon's way. This was only the beginning and there was still much other work to be done on the planet as their first ever spaceship reach towards the stars, so as the workings of Aranitarbas continued as the crew of the ship, named Virgitea. It stood on the launch pad, nearly 100 meters tall and towering over most of the surrounding building, even though it had been built away from the main center of buildings to allow for the massive energy and heat output the Virgitea would produce during take off. The craft was made from a dense black metal that was designed to absorb heat and light. The nose of the ship was slightly hooked and cone shaped for aerodynamics and beside from the main engines and the thrusters mounted on the side for navigational movement the craft was pretty featureless, the idea had been to get the technology right and get the ship into space before any heavy work was put into auxiliary design ideas.

Inside the ship, the crew was making the final check of the ship's systems. Launch was scheduled for half Rising and they had no intention of delaying the launch for all but the most drastic reasons. Most of the activity was occurring in the bridge area where the pilots and technicians were moving about in final preparations. Three figures stood in the center of the bridge, only moving to speak with the occasional crew member but otherwise remaining still, they were the three Kings that would be accompanying the Virgitea on this first voyage and they represented the three castes that were aboard to supervise the expedition. Serrideas was the leader of the Lyconadeus, standing almost a third of a meter taller than his fellow Kings and his upper body and his legs were covered with a suit of armor made from the same super dense metal that had been used to armor the ship, but alloyed with a rare ore that reduced the weight by a quarter with out sacrificing it's integrity, and modeled on suits of plated armor from the Illdriaril histories. He wasn't sure why but the design appealed to him and he did indeed cut an imposing figure. Next to him stood Cambhreadeas, along to represent the Dictaodeus and supervise the operation of the colonization of any suitable planets they found on this foray. He was linked into the ships central systems and was co-opting the final system check with his people down in the engineering levels. On Serrideas' other side was Colligadeas who had downloaded herself into her body for the occasion. She was along with one other member of the Idipoudeus to record anything of interest and she prospect of new information had her in a state of anticipation, she must have checked on the experimental long range central data core that she had developed for use on ships, to allow for the recovery of the entire crew's data should something happen to the Virgitea.

Her secondary purpose to be along was to supervise the operation of another experimental technology that had been in development for decades and was finally being put into practical use, the Crotancea. These were specially developed Aracheons designed to serve as a sort of central brain of a ship, until now their purpose had been merely to serve as tactical databases for the Lyconadeus and the one that had been selected for the assignment on this important voyage had been at the request of Serrideas himself. Her name was Assmileas and she was experimental in just about every sense of the word, her mind had been created as part of a very early experiment to create mind for future Aracheons by combining the minds of selected Illdriaril and imprinting their minds over and into an Aracheon brain, it had not been a successful experiment and to Colligadeas it was still a bit of a sore subject as the whole project had been her idea, essentially a more advance version of the process the Illdriaril had used to create the Aracheons in the first place. Assmileas was a hybrid of the best military minds of the Aracheons and the Illdriaril, but a fault in the process had capped her mental structure and while she was still vastly intelligent and knowledgeable she still had the mind of only a 10 year old child and even then an Illdriaril child.

As the activity of the bridge swirled around the Kings, the holographic projectors inlaid into the ceiling of the bridge lit up and the figure of Assmileas appeared standing in front of Serrideas and inclined her head to him and then the other two Kings flanking him. Her holographic form was of her own construction and even though she was an Aracheon her mind still thought it was Illdriaril and so her form followed that, she looked like a human child with short neatly cropped hair and wearing a form fitting jumpsuit bearing the mark of the Aracheons, a spider with an eight sided jewel on it's abdomen. Her skin was formed of shifting lines of data code that would have given a normal person a headache if they looked to close, the numbers and figures changing as she ran scans and checks. When she spoke her voice was light and almost giddy with anticipation, this was after all a very important mission for the Aracheons, “Final system checks are completed and all systems are green. Engines are at 90% and well within projected performance standards for launch. We are awaiting the final go ahead from ground command and then we shall only be waiting on your orders to launch General.” She always called Serrideas by the title General, even though he had no such title. A line of code streamed across her chest and she chimed up, “Final clearance received from Command. External locks released and engines to power, generators to speed and we are all cleared for launch on your order General.” Serrideas looked down at her and almost smiled, even he was excited at this great step the Aracheons were taking, this was a historical moment, even the Illdriaril had never succeeded in launching a craft into space, let alone one of this size. Now their former servants had perfected their technology and were going to the stars. Serrideas' voice barked out across the bridge, “This is a great day for us, it is time for us to truly rise above our predecessors and expand our own reach. Disengage final locks and Launch.” The activity of the bridge moved on to a fevered pitch and commands and reports were called out. Assmileas smiled at the Redeemer King and turned, vanishing momentarily to reappear on the lower level of the bridge to link with the Areoarachea's computers and assist in the take off.

Outside the launch area had been cleared of all personnel and the air became hot with electricity as the massive main engines of the Virgiteas came to life for the first time, filling the air with what started as a hum and slowly escalated into a deafening roar. The engines glowed and seconds later a great plume of chemical fire and exhaust filled the square mile wide launchpad and the whole area began to vibrate slightly. The vents surrounding the propulsion rockets glowed red as they ejected the excess heat from the engines and their generators. Slowly at first the craft began to lift off the launch platform and rose steadily faster and faster into the air, gaining further speed by the second. Within two nano-cycles the ship had reached the planet's atmosphere and true to the calculations of the Theranhospideus, the speed and power were right and the ship passed through the atmosphere and broke free of the planet's gravity. Once free the ship leveled out and the frenzy of activity that had been happening inside the ship had ceased as the crucial moment had come and passed, it resumed as the crew conducted diagnostics and began to scan for their neighbor planets. The three kings were all smiling, the Aracheons had made their first step to the stars and now it was time to start walking.


Turn 3.3: Aboard the Virgiteas

The Virgiteas hovered in orbit over the planet. Serrideas had decided that they head in system, towards their solar systems' central Star and then begin to move outward after they had laid down colonies on those planets. The crew, including the Kings had been pleasantly surprised to find that the two planets between them and the Star were realatively close to each other and from a high orbit of their neighbor planet, dubbed Symphitogea, that the inner most planet, named Ulborea, could be see with the naked eye in the light of the Star. Symphitogea was a rocky and generally inhospitable planet but that mattered little to the Aracheons, they could survive just about anything, any initial scans suggested a high content of ores and this was good new to them, as work on ships to transport the precious resources back to Aranitarbas for use on expanding their cities and control. The work to prep for dispatching the Colonization module were in progress and soon they would be dropping the module onto the planets surface along with it's crew of Labrachinea and the Idipoudeus along with her equipment. Serrideas was extremely pleased with how the mission was going so far and as he looked down at the planet through the main view screen Assmileas materialized next to him and said, “The module is ready for launch General. What are your orders?” Serrideas turned to her and simply said, “Launch the module.” As the Crotancea disappeared and re-materialized on the lower deck he watched her, he could never put it into words but he had always felt a strange connection to her. He pushed his thoughts aside and focused on their next steps, this was only the beginning after all.





 

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