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The Arrival


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The ship trembles beneath you, its vibrations resonating through the deck and up into the precarious mountain of crates you've chosen as your perch. But despite the ship's best efforts to send you sprawling, you exhibit a surprising level of acrobatic finesse for a ferret. Your tail acts as a counterbalance, swishing this way and that, as you effortlessly hop from one crate to the next, dancing between tumbling boxes. At one point, a crate comes crashing down just inches away from you, but with a cheeky grin and a flick of your tail, you somersault onto a more stable surface.

There you stand, a ferret atop his kingdom of crates, having proven once again that no shuddering ship can thwart your endeavors. The ship's internal systems hum invitingly below you, waiting for your expert touch.

Having maintained your balance and composure, you're perfectly poised to delve back into the ship's data. But, Stix, given your expertise and unique perspective, what exactly are you aiming to achieve or uncover in this labyrinth of information? Remember, every byte of data could be a stepping stone to a grand discovery—or a quirky ferret's next misadventure!

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Ian's eyebrows rose at the thought of anomalies in the core systems. If the crew didn't manage to get that under control, or if they panicked and overreacted to something that wasn't that serious, everyone on board might die. It wasn't like Ian could even hope to get lucky in a crash landing, since the ship was almost three hours away from the planet.

Although, if something goes wrong but doesn't kill me outright... and that is an if, but...

Ian closed his eyes, and felt around inside himself for a sort of warmth that had been there as long as he could remember.

How did that meditation chant I wrote go? I could look it up on my palmtop, and actually I'm pretty sure I can do this without the chant... no, I think I've got it now...

Ian murmured a rhyming chant he'd written in Ancient Common Greek, which had apparently been the usual commoner language around Greece and Palestine about two and a half thousand years ago. The chant was a short poem about a warm force of life enshrouding the speaker... and ironically enough, when Ian finished he felt a bubble of air slightly cooler than the ambient temperature of the room form around him.

Ian's past experiments with his psionic abilities suggested that the bubble would last for exactly twenty-four hours. While it was up, he would be able to breathe even if he was completely immersed in water; Ian suspected (and hoped) that it would also work in a vacuum, or in air contaminated with toxic gas, but he'd had no way of testing either guess before. The bubble would also protect him if the air became superheated or superchilled, but it wouldn't protect him if he touched a super-heated solid object. (He'd tested that by lightly brushing against hot metal once. His burn hadn't been serious, since he hadn't been confident enough that the bubble would protect him to risk a serious burn. And he'd been right to be careful.)

If things went as wrong as they could possibly go, Ian was definitely going to die. But if they went almost as wrong as they could go, the bubble might be the difference between dying in space, and living to reach an escape craft. Or, in a relatively minor but still potentially fatal incident, it might let him reach a safe area of the ship... or make it safe to stay in his room and carry on as if nothing was happening.

But enough about things going wrong. It's bringing the room down.

Ian went back to the cupboard, opened it quickly, and hastily pulled one of the larger fruits out of the bowl he's placed in the cupboard. He shut the door just as hastily, as there was a reason he'd shut the fruit bowl into the cupboard. He walked back to his bed and sat back down, and looked out the window as he took a bite of the fruit.

Should I turn on one of those entertainment files I keep in my palmtop?... No. I can watch those whenever I want. I'm probably only ever going to see this once.

He finished chewing, swallowed, and went for another bite.

I wonder if it'll be safe to try working on that gizmo on the table, after I'm done eating? I meant to be done with that a while ago. I know I'll want it ready when we land... but if it isn't safe to tinker with it, it isn't safe to tinker with it.

Does anything happen to interrupt Ian as he's eating? And if he manages to finish his snack, where would he dispose of any inedible bits, like the stem or core of the fruit?

Edited by wwaugh (see edit history)
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The dark brown anthropomorphic ferret teeters almost hypnotically on the stack of crates. He looks around quickly, a smile on his face hoping that someone witnessed the theatrics but quickly frowned as the crowd was still too consumed with getting to safety. "Rude," he says out loud to no one in particular, "Talk about selfish. They should have been paying attention to me."

The situation passed however Stix looked back to the monitor in front of him. He follows the data thread to the suspicious U24 and types out a message ||Hey. Whatcha doing? I don't think you are supposed to be in here.||


The inquisitive Stix was also not supposed to be there but that obviously didn't occur to him. He knew that things were not as smooth as they should be and it was up to him to solve this problem.


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Just as Ian pondered over the gizmo and took another bite of his fruit, a sudden calmness washed over him. The hum of the ship, the distant sounds of other crew members, the feel of the bed beneath him — everything momentarily faded into the background.

Without a conscious thought, Ian found himself drawn into a meditative state. The walls of his room dissolved, giving way to an infinite expanse illuminated by a soft, radiant light. The very essence of this place seemed to exude peace and serenity.

A silhouette, familiar yet indistinct, emerged from the brilliance, emanating an aura of wisdom and compassion. The figure spoke with a voice that resonated deep within Ian's soul, "You have journeyed far, both in spirit and in space. Yet, the farther you travel, the more essential it becomes to remember where you came from and the principles that guide your path."

Pausing, allowing the weight of the words to be felt, the figure continued, "Consider carefully the company you keep and the paths you tread, for not all that glitters in the cosmos is gold. Trust your heart, and it will guide you to the truth. It's not the external affiliations that define you but the choices you make and the beliefs you uphold."

As the ethereal space started to wane, the figure added, "In your moments of doubt and despair, remember this encounter, and know that you're never truly alone."

The serenity of the space started to fade, drawing Ian back to reality. He found himself back in his room, the remnants of the fruit in his hand, the familiar hum of the ship surrounding him. The mysterious encounter left him with a sense of awe and a cascade of thoughts. The words of the enigmatic figure echoed in his mind, a beacon of guidance and a hint of caution.

And as for the remnants of his fruit? Perhaps he'd find a small disintegration bin in his room, designed for such purposes (Turning waste back to energy for the ship). After all, spaceships are built for efficiency. But for now, the weight of the encounter took precedence over mundane matters.



Regarding the gizmo Ian's considering working on, he's definitely free to proceed. The calming presence and guidance he just experienced seem to have given him a moment of clarity and a sense of purpose. However, considering the ship's recent shudders and shakes, it might be wise for him to ensure his workspace is stable. It'd be quite a situation if another unexpected tremor sends him tumbling out of his loft this time... (Yeah the doors are closed but hey...)

Also, a note about the ship's ambient light. While the ship tries to cater to the diverse races and preferences of its inhabitants, there might be occasional spikes in brightness as the ship maneuvers or adjusts. Ian, being accustomed to the dim light of a brown dwarf, should be mindful of these fluctuations. Maybe he could find or create a mechanism to further dim his immediate surroundings or wear protective eyewear to ensure his comfort?

Can't wait to see how Ian navigates these challenges and what he's aiming to achieve with the gizmo! The narrative tapestry we're weaving together here is truly enthralling.


So, how would you like to proceed?


As promised, Ian's second reward! 😁

To Draconic (Ian):

First and foremost, I want to commend you for embracing the roleplaying challenge I laid out. Ian's recent moments of introspection and reflection on the ship truly elevated the narrative. It's these types of detailed and immersive contributions that enhance our shared storytelling experience.

As promised, when players go above and beyond, I believe in recognizing that effort. In light of Ian's deep dive into his character's psyche and spiritual connection, I'm awarding him a "+1Up" – a boon that can prove to be a lifesaver in critical moments. Whether you view it as a stroke of divine luck, a manifestation of his unwavering faith, or sheer willpower, this "+1Up" will come to Ian's aid in a time of dire need. It's not just a gameplay mechanic, but a nod to the depth and richness of his character's journey.

Remember, this boon integrates seamlessly into our narrative, so its activation will always feel organic to the story we're co-creating. Continue this fantastic roleplaying, and let's see where Ian's journey takes us next!

(Yeah basically that spiritual encounter was me scenically waving in this reward for you heh! 😁)


To All Players:

Hey everyone!

Just a quick note to say that, as your GM, I'm always on the lookout for those standout moments of roleplay, engagement, and character development. I love to reward these moments with unique boons, tailored challenges, or unexpected twists. Sometimes, these rewards might be traditional, while at other times, they might be, well, a tad outlandish. Why? Because I care deeply about the story we're crafting together and the growth of your characters. Every decision, every action, and every interaction shapes this universe we're building. Keep those creative juices flowing, and let's continue this stellar journey together!

Remember, expect the unexpected. And have fun!


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To Whitehart (Stix)

Ah, Stix, the anthropomorphic ferret whose audacity knows no bounds! Your little stunt atop the crates and your oblivious intrusion into the digital realm, all while lamenting not being the center of attention, gave me quite the chuckle. It's precisely this kind of unexpected and entertaining roleplaying that makes the game world come alive!

For making me laugh and truly embodying the whimsical and comedic spirit of your character, you earn:

  • 200 XP as a salute to your creativity.
  • A Fate Point (dice re-roll) to nudge destiny in your favor at a crucial moment, because every mischievous ferret needs a get-out-of-trouble card every once in a while.

Keep up the fantastic roleplaying and never lose that unique touch you bring to the story!

As Stix, engrossed in his digital endeavors, fires off the message to the mysterious U24, something unforeseen happens. The screen he's working on begins to ripple and distort, like a pool of water disturbed by a stone. From the depths of the monitor, one of those haunting glyphs - much like the ones U24 is currently combating in the virtual realm - begins to manifest. It pulses, shimmering with a ghostly light, its edges sharp and intricate.

The glyph grows brighter, vibrating at a frequency that sends a tangible chill through the air. Suddenly, with a deafening crack, it bursts forth from the screen, materializing into the real world and hovering in the space in front of Stix. Its very presence feels menacing, as if it carries with it an otherworldly malevolence.

The glyph slowly rotates, casting eerie shadows around. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it dissipates into a cloud of dark mist, leaving an uneasy stillness in its wake.

Stix, having witnessed something that defies all logic and understanding, is left with a decision: What caused this glyph to manifest outside the digital realm? Is it related to the ship's anomalies? And more urgently, should he inform the crew or continue on his merry way, chalking it up to just another bizarre event in a day that's rapidly spiraling out of the ordinary?

So how do you proceed ma guy? 👀👀

Edited by Odeoron (see edit history)
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Leonardo_Diffusion_A_tiny_sleek_metallic_carapace_robotic_spid_0.jpg.cf6aec9e559d5a4eafc7750cdec20812.jpgUnit 24

Lv. 1 SRO Cyberborn Technomancer

HP: 7/7 | Stam: 3/5

The final, painful, arc that the glyph had sent rocketing through U24's nervous system subsided and gave him a chance to think. Unfortunately they weren't productive thoughts. Series one, batch three, unit twenty-four... Out of a total sample group that comprised sixty units, just how many times had he witnessed his siblings melt into nothingness? Or rip themselves apart? Or just come to a stop moving altogether? What kind of capricious quirk allowed his survival to this moment, only for him to start reliving it all again?


An answer to questions like that weren't just going to will themselves into being. Whatever the entity was that had gained access, it skipped three of the five essential steps to properly hack a system. Reconnaissance, scanning, and gaining access were out of the question. It was too random, quick, and dirty. The fifth step, clearing tracks, was dubious as well. If it was the forth, maintaining access, then the connection still had to be live somehow. He had to find the entry point, he had to return to the task. As he brought up the interface and examined some of the corruption before him, U24 was pinged. As more of the true problem became known to him, the ping became a message.


||Hey. Whatcha doing? I don't think you are supposed to be in here.||


I'm currently making repairs to the data architectures within the ship's systems. I'm a member of the crew and I have been granted access in accordance with my position. I don't recognize your credentials. Still, if you can connect with this layer of the interface, then I'm officially drafting you to aid in my efforts.


What followed was a smorgasbord of impressions, notes, and theoretical propositions on the nature of the attack and the strange relationship the glyphs seemed to have with objective reality. Included were also the positions and relative corruption level of the spaces he'd managed to firewall. Stix wasn't the only to receive this intel though. Using the directory he fired it off to every member of the crew with the baseline credentials to help deal with this.


Unaware of the trouble heading towards Stix, U24 continued to probe deeper.

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Theme --> Space-Wave Cyberpunk Ambient

The engineering bay, typically filled with the rhythmic hum of machines and the buzz of busy technicians, was a testament to the Pioneer's Hope's technological prowess. Amidst this hive of activity, Kaden Levitt, deeply engrossed next to the main android assembly plant, was jolted from his concentration by an unexpected alert on his terminal.


"What in the...." His eyes scanned the message from U24, his features reflecting a growing sense of alarm. The data points, glyphs, and notes in the message painted a dire picture.

"Uh, guys!" He shouted, his voice rising above the ambient noise of the engineering bay. The urgency in his tone caused a few nearby technicians to look up in concern. He spun around, his augmented reality glasses reflecting the eerie symbols from the message. "We seem to be dealing with a serious intrusion in our AI mainframe, and as of now, only ONE pal is out there battling it alone!"

He thrust his pad towards them, the screen displaying U24's distress message, its urgency palpable. "Anyone? We need hands on this! C'mon, we need to send backup!"

Without waiting for a collective response, Kaden pinged a swift message back to U24, fingers dancing on his pad. ||Hang on buddy, help is on its way||.

As his message transmitted, Kaden was already gearing up, sliding on his interface gloves and rallying his team. He knew that every second counted, and the Pioneer's Hope's very essence was at stake.



Pioneer's Hope Central Artificial Park

The lush greenery and ambient lighting of the Pioneer's Hope's central park, which once thrived with laughter, conversations, and the soft strumming of music, now stood eerily silent. As the last light from the artificial dusk set over the horizon, an unsettling pall took over the park.

At first, it was a faint crackling, a static that seemed out of place. Then, like a cacophonous orchestra building to a crescendo, came the chilling whispers, sounding almost ethereal and not of this realm. The whispers intermingled, overlapping, echoing each other until they were indistinguishable from one another. Some seemed to be pleading, while others laughed maniacally. Each sound bite seemed to pull from the very darkest corners of the universe.

But then, rising above the whispers came the screeches — agonizing, guttural, and otherworldly. They pierced through the whispers, dominating the audioscape with their torment.

The speakers, normally designed for pleasant melodies and announcements, distorted the sounds, making them even more grotesque. The various artificial water bodies — streams, fountains, and ponds — reflected the eerie luminescence from the speakers, creating a surreal dance of shadows on their surfaces.

Every once in a while, amidst the chaos of sounds, one could almost make out a coherent word or phrase, but it was gone before one could truly discern its meaning. It was as if these entities, these glyphs, were trying to communicate, to relay a message, or perhaps a warning.

The entities seemed aware that their covert incursions into the ship's systems were now being combated. Their change in tactic, from subtle digital interference to this blatant auditory assault, was clear evidence of their adaptability and sentience.

As the sounds continued to echo throughout the park, one thing became evident: these weren't mere data corruptions or system glitches. They were manifestations of a conscious, malevolent force that was attempting to gain a foothold within the Pioneer's Hope.

A Disturbance in the Loft

In the relative comfort of his loft, Ian sat contemplating the celestial wonder that unfolded outside his panoramic window. The hues of space painted a tapestry of colors that always captivated him. His living space, with its mix of high-tech gadgets and cozy furniture, offered a sanctuary amidst the vastness of space.

The loft's ambiance was a delicate balance of serenity and curiosity, amplified by the muted sounds of the ship and the gentle hum of life support systems. But that peace was suddenly shattered.

A distant, unsettling noise permeated the space. At first, it was almost imperceptible, a mere distortion in the ambient soundscape. But as seconds turned to minutes, the sound became more pronounced — chilling whispers punctuated by agonizing screeches that seemed to come from all directions.

Ian's first instinct was to check his internal communication system, thinking it was perhaps a malfunction. But the source wasn't from within his loft. It was external.

Drawn to the sound, he approached his window. The usually placid view of the central park was now obscured by an unnatural luminosity emanating from its speakers. He could barely make out the movement of drones as they zipped around, capturing the unfolding anomaly.

The very fibers of his being told him this was more than just a technical glitch. The sounds seemed to reverberate with intent, with purpose. Curiosity, mixed with a touch of apprehension, tugged at Ian.

Ian paused, contemplating his next move. The relative safety of his loft was tempting, but his very nature, that innate drive for understanding and knowledge, wouldn't allow him to ignore this bizarre set of events.


A Disturbance Beyond the Codes

Amidst the neon glow of screens and holo-displays in the main engineering bay, Kaden Levitt was deep in his element. His fingers danced across the controls with a deft elegance, orchestrating streams of data and intricate lines of code like a conductor leading a grand symphony.

"Oookay... antivirus network primed, aaaand..." He articulated his every move, though it was less for the benefit of those around him and more to keep himself centered. "Shipping this message to the second in command..."

His screen pulsed with light as he composed his message, a hint of hesitation in his typing. It was apparent in the way he addressed Anya — the familiarity, overlaid with a formal tone as he recognized their professional roles. ||Hey Anya... erm, apologies, ma'am! (He took a slight pause, reflecting on their past interactions that went beyond rank and duty.) Something has begun corrupting the AI systems. I don't know how we overlooked it, but we're on it. The bridge needs to be made aware that our exit from warped hyperspace isn't the sole culprit for the ongoing instabilities. Vega's plan isn't going as smoothly as we'd hoped.||

With the message sent, Kaden quickly dove back into his diagnostics, his brow furrowing deeper with each discovery. "This... this is not right..." he murmured. The data revealed a timeline that drew his attention — the second warped hyperspace lightning. His eyes widened as he pieced together the puzzle. The external cosmic fury hadn't just threatened the ship's exterior; it had, against all odds, seeped into the very digital fabric of the Pioneer's Hope.

Kaden's heart raced. The implications were enormous. It wasn't just a system glitch or an AI anomaly. This was an external force, something beyond their current understanding, challenging the safety and mission of every soul aboard the ship.

Gathering his composure, Kaden pivoted in his chair, looking out at the crew in the bay. "Team, this isn't just a software issue," he announced, his voice steady despite the weight of his discovery. "We're up against something that managed to defy our shield protocols. We need to get ahead of this, and fast."



Venturing into the Digital Depths


With barriers erected and portions of the threat contained, U24 felt a surge of confidence. But in the vastness of the digital realm, dangers often lurk in the least expected places. The spider-like android could sense the looming presence of the malevolent glyphs, like digital vultures circling an ever-constricting perimeter.

As U24 proceeded deeper into the matrix, he came across a dense cluster of data, like a forgotten enclave, pulsating with an odd rhythm. It seemed untouched by the corruption, but U24 felt an unmistakable pull, a siren call emanating from its core.

Cautiously, he approached, sending out probing algorithms to gauge the cluster's intent. To his surprise, the data threads here were incredibly old, predating the ship's most recent systems. It was like stumbling upon an ancient relic in the midst of a futuristic metropolis.

As he attempted to interface with this archaic subsystem, a surge of raw, unfiltered information flooded his circuits. Ancient logs, memories of the ship's early voyages, forgotten protocols, and... an echo. This echo carried a soft, melancholic tune, completely out of place in the current chaos. It was a song, a lullaby perhaps, from ages past.

U24 realized this cluster was the ship's original memory core, an old brain overshadowed by the newer, advanced systems. And this core, though antiquated, held an advantage: it was immune to the current corruption. Its age and unique coding structure rendered it impenetrable to the glyphs.

But with opportunity came challenge. U24 faced a critical decision. He could harness this old core to create a secure base, a fortress of sorts, to launch a counter-offensive against the glyphs. Or, he could continue his current path of containment and defense.

Both choices had merits. Using the old core might offer a stronger offense but risked exposing a crucial piece of the ship's history. On the other hand, staying the course and defending would protect the ship's memories but might prolong the conflict, draining resources and stamina.

With the weight of Pioneer's Hope on his shoulders, U24 paused, considering his next move. The soft lullaby from the ancient core played in the background, offering a momentary solace amid the storm.



The Unsettling Revelations

As LCpl. Deirdre "Dee" Morrigan sat focused at her terminal, pouring over the data streams and deciphering the rhythmic sequences, an unexpected message pinged onto her screen, overlaying her work. It was from Kaden Levitt, the ship's chief engineer.

||Urgent. AI systems compromised. We're dealing with it, but prepare for possible contingencies. If you're close to Central Park, be on high alert. Something's off.||

Startled, Dee's ears pricked up, attuned to the sounds of the ship. From a distance, she could faintly hear the unsettling cacophony emanating from the Central Park: a mix of eerie whispers, chilling static, and agonized screeches. The haunting soundscape painted a stark contrast to the usual serene ambiance of the park.

It clicked. Central Park's location was just a few decks above the military headquarters, where she currently resided. It was intended as such for strategic planning, allowing rapid response to emergencies in the ship's primary social hub. The proximity to such a disturbance would explain the strange interference she was picking up on her systems.

Processing the information, Dee realized that Pioneer's Hope wasn't just facing a digital threat. This was a crisis of a whole other pay grade, intertwining technology with possibly something beyond their comprehension.

However, the revelation of 'U24's' presence in the compromised mainframe remained at the forefront of her mind. With the ship's AI systems under threat and mysterious disturbances arising, could this entity be a potential ally or another layer to the unfolding enigma?

The answers weren't clear, but Dee knew one thing for sure - she had to act swiftly, decisively, and prepare for any eventuality. The safety of Pioneer's Hope and its thousands of inhabitants depended on it.


Edited by Odeoron (see edit history)
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Ian slowly raised his snack back up to his mouth as he pondered what had just happened.

Did... I just have a religious experience? Huh. I... thought that was something that happened to... well, not me.

He took another bite.

Then again... I've read enough of the Old Texts to know He's supposed to have made some... seemingly odd choices as to who should be his mortal agents...

The vision... it mentioned "the principles that brought me here"... Did principles bring me here? Really, I just wanted to see something new. I guess that can be described as "curiosity?"

Ian looked at the table, and the gizmo on it, as he chewed. He wondered, not for the first time, what the little gadget he'd found at the salvage dump had been destroyed to hide. (Ian was reasonably sure he wouldn't have had to dig a bullet out to fix normal wear and tear.) He regretted that its storage card had been destroyed so successfully. He had a new storage card he was sure would cause it to function again (once he was done removing and replacing everything else the slug had ruined) but the data that had been on the old one was gone for good.

Although maybe if my powers get strong enough, I can learn to see into the past, and then watch what that gizmo was destroyed to hide? I have no idea if my powers can work like that, but if they can, that's the least of what I could do with that skill... Yeah, curiosity. Worth remembering.

"Remember where I came from..." I'll never forget. There were some good times, but really, I won't regret being able to forget "gravity discipline" entirely. (Though I will miss being able to go out in daylight without hurting my eyes.)

And the company I keep... well, they haven't been that bad, right? I mean, some of the old entertainment files MisterBadExample's shown me... really all of them... feature truly amoral, even evil people. But is that so wrong? It's not like he's asking me to go out and do any of the messed up stuff in those old media files, like overthrowing the sector's government and becoming a cruel space dictator, or becoming a brutal cop to take down out-of-control drug dealers, or stealing a hundred land vehicles over the course of a year while shooting hundreds of gangsters...

But it is kinda weird that everything he showed me either had amoral heroes, or a messed up government, or often both... that's far from all there was to ancient popular culture, so why is it all he's interested in? Or if it's not all he's interested in, why is it all he ever shows me? And he's the guy who suggested I could try learning how to change my appearance using psionic illusions, and send untraceable telepathic messages... Come to think of it, he was the guy who was most excited when I said I was going to consider moving here... does he have some kind of plan?

Questions for later. Right now, I should finish eating and get back to that...

There was a faint crackling, like the everpresent music in the park was being disrupted. Ian suddenly realized that it hadn't been playing during his seeming religious experience, and that he wasn't sure when it had stopped.

Well, it's not like I don't have my own, if I start to miss it. Which... I guess I have.

Ian started to mentally review his (rather large) music collection. Maybe the old songs MisterBadExample had shown him weren't the most appropriate after a religious experience, but MisterBadExample wasn't his only source of songs. Do I listen to one of the other old songs? The ones I got from other people? Or maybe something that came out within my lifetime...

Ian pulled his earphones out of his pocket, plugged them into his palmtop, and turned on a centuries-old song about a long-gone beer company's products. (I've read enough of the more recent Old Texts to know He won't mind that too much.) Then, he sat back down to finish his snack.

The disruption to the outside audio got loud enough that for a second he thought the glitch had spread to his own system. But when he paused his music, the whispers and shrieks (for he was starting to realize that's what he was hearing) didn't pause with it.

Ian tossed the core of his fruit into the disintegrator bin as he chewed. He looked out the window into the park, and... saw that the speakers appeared to be glowing? He went to the door, opened it... and said "light too bright to bear" in Chronar, using a word for it that would have drawn stares back home. He closed the door and turned back around to the wardrobe and its materializer. He ordered a pair of heavily tinted sunglasses... and as an afterthought, requests that the lenses be dark burgundy.

He waited for the nanotech in the wardrobe to complete his order, and put the shades on as he headed to the door; once the sunglasses were properly in place, he opened it. His eyebrows rose as the sounds grow louder, and he started to hear what sounds like actual words coming from the strange voices. He repeated the unpleasant word as another shriek sounded.

Logic tells me that this is just a glitch. My gut tells me that logic is living in the past.

There was yet another shriek.

And logic is kinda curious what kind of glitch does that. No, best case scenario: cyberattack. Worst case scenario: psychic cyberattack.

Ian steps out of the loft, with a hand in his inside jacket pocket. Does he see any hint as to what's causing this? Is anyone else coming out to investigate? And... how good a job are the sunglasses doing keeping his eyes comfortable? Does he need another solution, or is this enough?

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As Ian stepped out, the surroundings presented a stark contrast to the usually bustling walkways. The once humming atrium was silent save for the unnerving shrieks and whispers emanating from the park's speakers. A stark reminder of the unnaturalness of this event was the fact that the safety protocols of the ship had been initiated; barriers were slowly lowering around the park, a shimmering translucent field meant to contain whatever disturbance was occurring.

Down the corridor, about a dozen meters away, one of the emergency areas was illuminated, revealing a small group of colonists, their faces a mix of confusion and concern. They too seemed to be attempting to process what they were witnessing. A couple of them were fervently discussing amongst themselves, their voices not quite discernible over the eerie sounds, but their gestures indicating they were speculating about the origin of the anomaly.

As the sunglasses shaded his eyes from the uncomfortable brightness, Ian could see the park's central tree, usually a symbol of serenity and life, had its leaves fluttering in an odd pattern, almost in rhythm with the sounds. There was an uncanny feeling in the air, something beyond just a technological glitch. It was as if the atmosphere itself was charged with a strange energy.

Reflecting on the earlier encounter, a thought started to form in Ian's mind: Could there be a connection between the divine presence he felt earlier and this event? The juxtaposition of a heavenly experience followed by these almost hellish sounds couldn't be mere coincidence, could it? If the divine being he encountered had a message or a mission for him, maybe this was the first test, or perhaps a sign of what's to come?

He was snapped back to reality when he saw one of the colonists from the emergency area waving at him, signaling him to join them, perhaps seeking the comfort of numbers in such an odd situation.

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Stix stands there atop his crate dias. His big brown eyes blinking at what he had witnessed. His mind churning, trying to make any sense of it that he could. The feeling, the noise, the hum, everything about what just happened was wrong and Stix had only one thing he could think of...

He pulls his baton from his belt and flicks it open. He hefts it once, his eyes never leaving the console from where that Glyph came. In a flash Stix began bashing the monitor with the baton. He wails the rod against the machinery as he chants, "May the power of carbon steel compel you! May the power of carbon steel compel you!!"

After a few moments he stops, the tech broken, hissing and sputtering. He bends at the waist, free hand on a knee as he catches his breath. Now that the exorcism was complete, he needed to get back into contact with that U24 person. Something told Stix that one knew more than they were letting on.

He jumped down from the crates and began running through the market, his goal was Engineering. Someone there had to know something.


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Stix, having composed himself, darted through the market corridors, dodging the occasional bystander or merchant stall that blocked his way. His senses were sharp, ears pricked to the sounds around him. He knew that the quickest way to get to Engineering was through one of the teleport hubs, and he aimed to find the nearest one.

However, as he ran, a disturbing sensation took root in the back of his mind. The sound of his own hurried footsteps seemed to echo, but not in the way they should have. Instead of a simple rebounding sound, they seemed to trail him by just a half-second. To make matters worse, he heard a faint, sinister snicker that was eerily reminiscent of his own voice, albeit far more menacing.

The whispering began, its tone a dark parody of seductive temptation. "Why did you not seek power?" "Look at us... we are so pathetic."

Suddenly, to his left, running beside him with an unnatural speed and gait, was a grotesque doppelganger of himself. This twisted version of Stix had eyes that burned with malice, and the edges of its mouth were cracked, stretching into a grotesque smile that revealed rows of long, needle-like teeth.

Panicking, Stix's heart raced as he made a sharp turn, trying to lose the entity in the ship's winding corridors. He chanced a glance back and saw the figure halt, still wearing that spine-chilling smile. Then, to Stix's horror, the dark version of him dissolved into the very same Glyph that had haunted the console.

Panting heavily, Stix realized the stakes had been raised. Whatever force was behind the Glyph was far more than just code; it had power and presence in the real world. He needed answers, and he needed them quickly.

Stix, as you're darting through the winding corridors with the haunting visage of your own twisted reflection fresh in your mind, the overwhelming dread attempts to ensnare your willpower. I'll need you to make a Will save to see if you can resist the paralyzing fright of the encounter and continue on with determination. You're aiming to beat a DC of 15...

Edited by Odeoron (see edit history)
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DeeMorriganv1.jpg.174f868e50361dfefb05f35a5216e690.jpgLCpl. Deirdre "Dee" Morrigan

Human Mercenary Technomancer [Serial No. 09272-023-1556MPC]

Upon receiving the alarming message from the ship’s Chief Engineer, the tall redhead has no choice. This was definitely above her pay grade now, but there was no time to get GySgt. Apone’s permission or ask anyone else for advice. So, it was up to LCpl. Deirdre Llewellyn Morrigan, TUSM, to do what she could do.

Dee was a technomancer, true, but what was happening now seems to be something that was taxing her current level of mystical and technological expertise. Perhaps she might be better able to help defend the digital systems of the Pioneer’s Hope if she could deduce what these “invaders” were trying to do and why. Perhaps if she analyzed the data with a more scientific mindset and then try to reason with the entities to stop their “attack”, she might be able to put a stop to the chaos.

So, she re-examines the transmissions.

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Ian looked down at his right arm, and saw that he was starting to get goosebumps.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. I might have actually met... Him, or at least one of his servants... and now someone's doing a really good impression of The Other Guy. Or... I hope it's just an impression. Anyway, this is a goosebumps situation.

Seeing that the only people around him were scared civilians, Ian decided it would be best to take his hand out of his jacket, before someone guessed what was in it and drew the wrong conclusions. And then he walked towards them, since he didn't think there was much reason not to.

Let's see... how much of what I can do and what I know do I want to share with these civilians?... Probably not much.

"Hey," Ian said in Common, directing his voice mostly towards the people who seemed to be debating. "Does... anyone know what's going on? This looks like it should be a computer problem, but... something's off. The speakers are glowing for some reason, and did... did anyone see the central tree? It seems to be effected by this, and... I don't see how a computer glitch would do that."

So, most of the civilians would be terrified. Is anyone keeping it together better than the others? That one might be worth watching, either as a potential ally or as a potential suspect.

Edited by wwaugh
going to let someone else say "cyber-attack" (see edit history)
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As Ian voiced his observations and concerns, the group of terrified onlookers exchanged uneasy glances, some murmuring to each other while others just stared into the eerie spectacle of the glowing park.

Amidst the crowd, one individual, distinguishable from his more utilitarian attire and the fact he wasn't as outwardly panicked as the others, was intently peering at a palmtop computer. The screen glowed brightly, illuminating his face, marked by signs of stress and concentration.

He glanced up as Ian approached and finished speaking, holding up the palmtop slightly so that Ian could see. "No," he began, "but here..." The displayed message was from Head Engineer Kaden Levitt, and it spoke of the unfolding crisis and mentioned a Unit 24 currently addressing the problem at its suspected root in the virtual field.

The engineer looked back at Ian, a mixture of worry and determination in his eyes. "This isn't just a simple glitch. And if Unit 24 is involved, it means the ship's core systems are potentially compromised."

He then took a deep breath, seemingly trying to muster some semblance of calm. "We should stick together. More eyes and brains might give us a better chance at figuring out what's going on, and, more importantly, how to stop it."

The engineer, a middle-aged human with a touch of gray in his beard, wipes the sweat off his forehead with a grease-streaked hand. He squints at the small display of his palmtop, which radiates a soft blue hue against the eerie ambient lights. His fingers work quickly, tapping and scrolling.

Finally, he looks up at Ian, meeting his eyes with a mixture of determination and concern. "Listen," he starts, his voice carrying a gravitas that draws the attention of the few around them. "U24 seems to be on the front lines of whatever this glitch or...or madness is. He's just one person, though. Maybe if we had a couple of hands on deck, we could back him up in the virtual space. Assist from the outside, if you will. Are you in? besides..." and he brings up Kaden's message again "Kaden himself requested that more people would look into this and any civilian volunteers would join in..." he looked around at the rest of the bunch.

He pauses, glancing towards the distant signs leading to the engineering decks. "Alternatively, we could make our way to engineering directly. Speak with Kaden Levitt. Though, from what I know of him, in a crisis like this, he's not the easiest person to reach, especially not for unknown colony members like us."

The engineer's eyes then dart to a nearby communication terminal. "Or, you could try sending a direct message to engineering. But I'd advise against it. Given the circumstances, it's doubtful they're just waiting around to answer calls."

He offers a hand towards Ian. "So, what do you think? Which path should we tread?"

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