Posted 26 Jan 2016 - 1709
"Look alive, Ladies... we hit the DZ in two minutes." The pilot states over the comms system. Mareth takes his headset off and heads to the door, Tsarg following suit. All of a sudden, Mareth feels a vibration in his suit, then the plane begins to shake a bit.
"Hey, no cell phones on this flight!" the pilot yells to the back. Mareth quickly reached through his suit and disabled the call, then waved up to the front of the plane. The plane started to ease up and steady out. The pilot looked back and yelled. "One minute to jump!"
Mareth looked back at Tsarg and winked like, "Aww yeah, I live for this shit." then looked to the door and opened it. A yellow light turned on signifying there was thirty seconds to jump. Mareth knew who the phone call was from. He knew Julie knew something was up. She normally didn't call this much while he was on assignment. Mareth took a deep breath to clear his thoughts and to focus on the mission.
Mareth flung himself out of the door and into the sunrise over the New York City skyline, Tsarg following in behind him. The air was cold, freezing to be exact. Mareth continued his freefall until his altometer alarm went off and he pulled his primary rip cord.
Mareth continued in freefall "That hasn't ever happened before." he thought, as he pulled his secondary
A pencil runs across a piece of paper in a flowing fashion. Drawing lines on paper as Sarah MacLachlan plays in the background. Julie needed to take her mind off of being alone for Christmas, so she began to pour herself into her work. Her cell phone rings as she draws, and she places her pencil down to answer it.
"Merry Christmas!" she responds, pretending to be cheery.
"No, Mother. Mareth hasn't called yet," she replies, then pauses and sighs. "I don't know when he's gonna be home."
Julie picks her pencil back up and begins to draw again, "I know Mom, but he makes really good money and this is one of his big..."
Julie fall silent for a moment as her mother speaks. "No, I don't think there's someone else. I just... I want to be able to plan my life and I don't feel I can do that with him just up and leaving in the middle of the night. "
She begins to listen to her mother. "Yes, I know he loves me. I'm just so tired of him leaving without notice and sometimes not coming home for months on end, and having these injuries he won't talk about. Some of them look like gunshots, Mom." Her mother begins to speak again.
"I just... I don't know what to think anymore. He's hiding something, I know it."
"No, I'm going to call him now. I need some answers."
She hangs up with her Mother and begins to dial Mareth.
A man sits in the corner of a barren, semi-lit room. His hands shaking while trying to light a cigarette. Light reflected off of his glasses and balding forehead.
"I knew it, man. I fuckin' knew it. First they poison us all, then they subjugate the living. Next thing you know, we're all slaves and bending to the 'Master's' will. You know what I mean, man?"
He looks over at a doll with a cartoonish smile painted on his face, eyes fixated on a point on the ceiling. The man snerks and takes another drag from his cigarette.
"Not like you give a shit."
He looks away and takes a long drag from the cigarette, holding it in for a moment. As he does, he takes a look around the apartment. He exhales as his eyes gazed upon the barren cupboards in the kitchenette giving no sign of food or supplies. "I've survived longer than all of them, man. Everyone thought I was crazy for stocking up on food, saving here and there, and keeping a gun in the house, man. They all thought I was nuts. I sure showed them! I showed them all! They were all like, 'Look Marcus...you need to lay off of all those barbs and the LSD, man... shit's making you more paranoid than you already are'. Them drugs didn't do anything to me, man. I knew this shit was coming. Saw that shit a MILE. AWAY."
Marcus took a deep breath, then took another drag from his cigarette. "No one thought Marcus LePage would beat them out, man. I did, though. I beat EVERYONE." Marcus began to cackle maniacally, then suddenly stopped.
"But there's others out there, man. Still other people trying to take what WE got." He looks back over to the doll. He begins to point down at the floor. "This is MY domain, man. No one's taking what I've got. Nobody."
Marcus takes one last drag from his cigarette and puts it out in an ashtray. He looks back over to the doll as he exhales.
"Not like you give a shit."
Marcus turns his head and looks out the window as he lights another cigarette.
The biting cold brushed against Mareth's cheek as he took another pull from his cigar. He looked up and saw a small single-engine plane in the distance.
"Looks like our ride is here." Mareth said looking over to Tsarg, pointing to the plane as it was beginning to touch down. Mareth grabbed his rifle from the tree stump it was leaning against and began to walk in the aircraft's direction. He opened the door to the plane where two gruff looking men sat in the pilot and co-pilot's seats.
"Mareth, you ugly bastard! How the hell are ya?" The pilot greeted the two. "We need to make this quick. I have to be home for dinner or else the wife is gonna skin my ass!"
"Hey, fuck you!" Mareth replied. "I'm prettier than your ugly ass! Besides, we needed to hit that LZ thirty mikes ago."
"Well, strap in! This plane doesn't run on your yappin' and we're burning fuel."
Mareth and Tsarg loaded in and closed the door on their way in. They sat down and strapped in, and Mareth put a headset on. "ETA is in thirty." The pilot chirped in. "We have to take a roundabout flight pattern to hit the LZ. There's been a heavy presence in the area. I don't know if it's for support, or for containment... but we really want to avoid them all together."
"Roger that." Mareth responded. "Do you two have any intel on what's going on? We're going in on VERY little information other than someone released a nasty bug and it's killing a lot of people."
"From what I gather, it's exactly that. We've flown in a number of people from all of your Alphabet organizations... FBI, DHS, and the like... and some other people they called "Division Agents". Now I don't know what that means exactly, but I imagine they're a lot like you guys. If I were you, I'd find them, and make some fast friends. Most of everything going on down there is rioting and civilians just trying to survive and the government's doing it's best just to hold their head above water."
The co-pilot looked back at the two and asked, "So, you're gonna LZ in Central Park? That's pretty ballsy, considering everything going on down there."
Tsarg piped up, "I'm not too worried about it. We've been in heavier shit than this."
The co-pilot chuckled a bit. "You should worry, son. This ain't like fighting an army with uniforms and a command structure. These are people, stripped down to their most primal needs. They have families that are sick, hungry, and desperate. Don't think they won't turn on you for a piece of bread, son. I've seen this before. If you think you can go in there with a bleeding heart trying to be a fix-all, I promise it'll be gushing from someone's knife by sundown. I'm gonna say it again that you should worry. You really should."
Tsarg looked over to Mareth, then looked back to the co-pilot. "We've got this." Tsarg held up his fist and Mareth bumped it.
"I hope you do, son... I really hope you do." The co-pilot muttered to himself.
Somewhere in Pennsylvania.... Christmas day, T minus four hours to insert.
"Alright, you all... have a seat. There's a lot to cover, so let's get to it," Cavadus barked out as he entered a GP-Large Tent that had been set up in the middle of a field. Chairs were sitting among some wood stoves and tables. Cavadus made his way up to the front of the tent, passing the body-filled chairs and and tables.
"Got word from the Legate, and needless to say... he's got something for us to do. I apologize for calling you all in on Christmas, but there's work to be done."
Lightfoot sat there holding a lighter up to a cigar, but thought better than to light it just before the briefing. He sat his lighter down and put his cigar away.
"Intel is scarce, so I'll give you what I have. Appears the Goobermint has screwed the pooch on this little project, and so someone has to go in and clean it up. There was a NBC attack in the Metro area of New York City on Black Friday, of all days... imagine that. Most of the affected have either have bought the farm or went batshit insane. Either way, we're going in to secure some key points, normalize basic services, and essentially REBOOT civilization in the city that, up until recently, never slept.
Lightfoot raised his hand. "So, you're telling me that we're going in to normalize an already fucked up city, for some fucked up people, who probably won't fuckin' appreciate what we're doing anyway... am I right?"
"We're going in to make the fucked up city, less fucked up... if that's possible. We're going to reestablish communications, provide first-aid to those we find and set up a med station so people can be treated. If we're going to normalize an entire city, we're going to need more than nine people."
"Roger that, sir." Lightfoot
"We're going to have to set up comms and get a network going out of NYC." Cavadus continued. "Lightfoot, I want you to take a team and get a net set up. If you can, see if you can get some cell towers going. I'm sure that whoever is still here will want to call out."
"Check." Lightfoot responded. "I'll take Tsarg and we'll make it happen. If anyone else wants to tag along, I won't say no."
"I'm in" Jungels piped up. Lightfoot looked up and nodded his head. "Rog, sir. Anyone else? "
"Ehh, what the hell. I'm in." Payton spoke up."
Lightfoot nodded. "Gotcha, Sir. I'm gonna babysit two bosses and a minion. Out-fucking-standing, sir."
"Don't worry about all that, Lightfoot. Jungels and I can find something to get into. You and Tsarg get us a communications grid up and going, and we'll work on something equally important."
"Roger that." Lightfoot quipped, still half writing and typing on his cell phone to do some research on cell phone towers in the area.
"I'll be taking a team on the ground, getting some reconnaissance of the area finding a suitable base of operations." Cavadus continued. "We'll have to wait until dark before we start making our way into the city. Feds are crawling everywhere, and they have the entrance ways locked down. Striker, Bealin, Cable, and Destroy will be with me."
"I can make a few phone calls and get my team in a little sooner." Lightfoot interjected."I know some people in the area with planes. Tsarg and I can parachute in and start work. We should be able to get something small-scale going before you get in. We'll be able to communicate among each other, at least."
"Alright then." Cavadus responded. "We've got a few hours, so let's get our kits up and get ready to move."
People start to get up and leave the tent. Lightfoot and Tsarg head out, Lightfoot pulls out his cigar, and lights it up.
"Time to do work again, ol' buddy." Lightfoot said, holding a fist up.
"Booyah, bro." Tsarg responded, giving a fist bump.
A cell phone rings on a coffee table, amid a large holiday gathering. The vibration isn't loud enough to be heard over the numbers of of people taking. The voice mail picks up.
"Hey, this is Julie. I'm not available right now, so leave a message. Bye!"
A tone beeps
"Jules, it's Mareth."
Lightfoot sat outside the tent, still smoking his cigar. A light snow began to fall with the eastward wind blowing into the back of his ball-capped head. "Listen, I'm sorry for leaving you alone on Christmas morning. I got a page about 3:30, and I didn't have the heart to wake you up. Tell your parents I said hello at the party. I'll make it up to you when I get back."
He pulled a draw from him cigar, and let it go, then followed up with, "I love you.", then disconnected the line.
"You know, you're gonna have to tell her at some point, man." Tsarg piped up, drinking a cup of coffee to keep warm. "Either you tell her, or she's gonna find out when they're sending you home in a pine box."
Lightfoot shook his head. "Yeah, I know. I've just been waiting for the right time to tell her. She kind of knows something's up. Erratic work schedules, getting up in the middle of the night to jet-set to exotic locale and NOT taking her, coming home with weird injuries I can't readily explain without telling her... yeah. Something's gonna give, soon."
"Look, man. I told my girl... and she's fine with it. As long as I get paid, she doesn't care. She knows I'm going to come home regardless. She also knows she's taken care of if I don't come home of my own two feet."
Lightfoot snickered. "Nah. Fuck that, bro... I'm not letting you getting carted off in a pine box. Who else is gonna cover my six and put up with my bullshit?"
Tsarg smiled. "Not many will, bro. Not many are willing to jump out the side of a perfectly good airplane."
"Pussies." Lightfoot quipped.
"Still, man. You gotta tell her." Tsarg continued. "Sooner rather than later."
"Yeah. I'm going to after this Op." Lightfoot replied. "I'm just gonna lay it all out and hope she buys into the idea that I'm not exactly a telecommunications contractor."
Mareth's phone rings, Julie's face pops up on the phone.
"Yeah, I gotta take this." Lightfoot said, answering the phone. "Hello?"
"You mister, have a LOT of explaining to do." A female voice came over the phone. "I had fully planned to make breakfast, and coffee, and we were going to have an awesome morning before going to my parents, and I got you something REALLY nice."
"Would it happen to be you in something very scantily clad?" Lightfoot retorted, smirking.
"Maybe..." Julie replied. "But you'll never know until you come home. I did get your message. Couldn't you have told your client that you would get to it tomorrow? It is Christmas, after all."
"Yeah, I wish... but not with this client. He's one of my bigger money-makers and I had to jump through so many hoops to get this contract. If I didn't show up to fix it, someone else would have... and gotten my contract."
"I guess." Julie answered.
"It's because of this contract, we have that nice apartment and you are able to have that nice, full closet of designer clothes that you love so much." Lightfoot replied.
"I would rather have no clothes at all and have you here." Julie retorted.
"Yeah, I would rather that, too." Lightfoot agreed. "But, I promise that I'm gonna make it up to you when I get back. We actually have quite a bit of stuff to discuss. I just wanted to wait after the holiday to do it."
"What kind of stuff?"
"Us, our future, long term plans. That kind of stuff." Lightfoot said.
"Like, getting married?"
"Fuck. She said the "M" word..." Lightfoot thought.
Lightfoot balked a bit. "Well, there's some stuff we need to talk about before we get into all of that. There's some stuff you need to know, but I don't want to discuss it over the phone."
"Oh..." Julie said.
"Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere." Lightfoot reassured.
"Okay... good. So, where are you?" Julie asked.
"Jules, you know I can't tell you..." Lightfoot responded.
"Are you in some exotic location that I couldn't go to... again?"
"And this is why I can't tell you. You get all upset because you couldn't pack a minimum of five bags and tag along. Listen, darlin'... we've been through all of this before. I'm working the ENTIRE time. Sometimes it's VERY dangerous work. I get these contracts because I'm willing to go places that most others won't... Not to mention, you would be very bored."
"Fine." Julie huffed. "So, I was watching the news this morning. Evidently, there's some form of pandemic in New York. Lots of people have died. You're not in New York, are you?"
"Shit. I can't lie to her. Well, I'm technically not IN New York, yet... That's not a lie, right?"
"No, babe. I'm not in New York."
"Okay, then. Just be careful, okay?" Julie responded.
"You bet, Jules." Lightfoot responded. "I should be home in a few days. A week, tops."
"You better be." Julie snipped. "I can't wait on you forever, you know."
"I know. I love you, Jules."
"And I love you." Jules answered. "Bye."
"Bye." Lightfoot said, ending the call.
"Fuck, what have I gotten myself into?"
To be Continued...
Set Bonus Ideas: http://elderscrollsonline.wiki.fextralife.com/Heavy+Armor+Sets
Alessia's Bulwark Set
LEVEL 50 CHAMPION 160
(2 items) Adds 1935 Physical Resistance
(3 items) Adds 1064 Max Health
(4 items) Adds 1935 Physical Resistance
(5 items) When you take damage from a melee attack, you have a 15% chance to reduce attacker's Weapon Damage by 10% for 5 seconds
Night Mother's Gaze Set
LEVEL 50 CHAMPION 160
(2 items) Adds 688 Weapon Critical
(3 items) Adds 129 Weapon Damage
(4 items) Adds 688 Weapon Critical
(5 items) Critical attacks also reduce the target's Physical Resistance by 2580 for 6 seconds.
Hunding's Rage Set
LEVEL 50 CHAMPION 160
(2 items) Adds 688 Weapon Critical
(3 items) Adds 967 Max Stamina
(4 items) Adds 688 Weapon Critical
(5 items) Increase Weapon Damage by 299.
Ashen Grip Set
LEVEL 50 CHAMPION 160
(2 items) Adds 1064 Max Health
(3 items) Adds 129 Weapon Damage
(4 items) Adds 688 Weapon Critical
(5 items) When you deal diret melee damage, you have a 10% chance to breath fire to all enemies in front of you for 1544 Flame Damage. This effect can occur once every 4 seconds.
As the broken static-y sound laced with a base metallic whoosh that overwhelmed my ears subsides, I'm left with silence. Eerie silence....suddenly I found myself trying to scream, but no sound came that I could hear. I looked around and saw nothing but could tell I was moving. I felt no breeze... heard no sounds...
"So this is what it is like to die," I thought, as the sudden realization hit me. I looked around and relaxed taking in the silence. After I listened for what seemed to be a long time, I began to think back about my life.
"Pretty sad existence I chose to incarnate in it seems. What was it that caused me to die I wonder...." as I closed my eyes. Images of my ship and crew throughout time came flashing into my head,.. all those little events that no one really too much notice of didn't seem so ordinary anymore. I smiled so broad it hurt.
My eyes sprung open, "wait, I thought to myself, I can't hurt if I'm dead" I thought to myself. I saw light coming from behind me and began to actually panic.
A slap of a firm grip took my arm, that jolted me in a terrific scare. just as my head jerked around I saw an odd lighted shape near me in the darkness that said,"I'm here Mother, wherever you go, I go...because I want to. You are family, and I see now." The dark shape pulled me closer and I recognized him in his assassin form.
I wanted to cry at the care I heard in his voice masked by the robotics. I held close to him as he wrapped his body around me wondering if he was going to stop. "If I am do die by a hand, I would rather it be yours" I thought to myself as I slammed my eyes shut tight overwhelmed and confused.
"I will protect you Mother, it will be okay. It's my turn to save you, like you did me so many times."
"So many times..." I thought confused again just as I was starting to sort things out. "I just bought a robot that I saw potential in and gave you the chance to make up your mind"
"It took many ordinary moments do that and more Mother."
"Right! I forgot I can communicate with him with my thoughts for some strange reason and told him, "That's what....
....Family is for," he finished.
Looking through the cracks between the parts that were holding me, "Do you know where....."
<FURTHER REDACTION OVERRIDDEN>
>Sorry Janice. It had to be done. I know you can change it on your end, and it would save you some grief. I wont tell if you wont. This is mostly for this crews sake. I will be sticking to secrecy protocols in this, well as best I can. I like to think I learn from previous mistakes. but we will see.
Where to start. My updates have been, well lets call it delayed, for many reasons. One of which I am still trying to work out. May have to dig into some of my old Psych texts to try to help me work out. always good to have reference material on hand. anyway. travel as usual. minor home coming of departed crew. minor reminiscing, restocking and back out into the black. First blow for me personally, new crew member with fatal illness unknown to them. it was like an echo from the past that damn near knocked me out. but in some ways I think it may of helped me be ready for what followed. While I was tearing apart every scrap of information I had on mechalus, life on this boat continued as normal. I had the puzzle of, what I have been calling electroportation, show up and keep me from obsessing over the same unhelpful facts. minor irritant to ship and crew, helpful balance and light to my mountain of dark. Well he was. First humanitarian mission complete. We dropped a sub-commander off on her home world. Stopped by a system of death that just ended up being an abandoned looking prison planet of some sort. We may want to look into that if we havnt already, by the way.
Then the last humanitarian mission, done while exploring a number of the crews ideas, mine included, went pear-shaped.
Basic summery. I cant yet focus on the numbers. About half of the surviving crew of a forgotten frigate derelict were rescued from said derelict. rest presumably vaporized or collected by the "overseers" of the system. Not before they ripped us a few new orifices. There was, who knows how long, the torturous moments knowing there is absolutely nothing but the rush of air violently trying to equalize with the the entirety of the vacuum of space between you and that same vacuum. And no, it doesnt get any easier with repetition if anyone was wondering. But even that wasnt my tipping point. Nor were the moments I had to walk past those that were obviously outside of my ability to save. Some kind of psychic bondo that I assume was done by the captain is what allowed me to switch between those two moments by the way. A sacrifice for absolute strangers. The smarter move that most I have flown under would of, and yes have taken, was to seal off the effected area and damn those on the wrong side. Having been one of those who have somehow gotten to emerge from the hell that is held back by a few inches of steel, I have to say I approve. The dissidents argument, a few more might of lived if she had sealed the door the moment of breech. Maybe, but what if I again had found my self on the wrong side of the divide from heaven, which even a raging inferno would be compared to the cold black. If only it was once that I have almost died, envious of fire, at least IT can breath. My scars should prove to you my belief on the subject.
Back to the dissidents argument. After the stabilizing of the atmosphere, among the broken and failing forms, I was able to pick out six husks I thought I might be able to revive. looking now at my supplies list, I eased more "last moments" than I realized. Anyway. Five more lives were saved this time, and even one more death easier for the dieing is worth it.
Here I go rambling again. I really need to work on this.
In the chaos of decompression and bodies, I dont remember the exacts of what was said, I said something along the lines of not waiting to see if we can make it to the gate, lets get the hell out of here. We sidestepped, and got sucked in by some psych eating planet. Giant bugs, projections of the captain, and crystals that appear to siphon psy power. Oh yes, and exploding picks. I need to find a sesheyan expert and see if this accident proneness is a racial trait or just one specific to this one, but of the crew he is the one on my table the most, and he isnt the one dieing of a medical condition!
We found enough raw materials to make repairs to the ship and the professor was able to calculate our reverse trajectory to get back to where we came from. Before sidestepping back the captain saved our coordinates to the computer which I have added along with the professors calculations as an attachment to this file. The main reason for this is the fact that once we hit drive space, the captain and her bot both disappeared from the bridge in a flash of static. True they could be atomized and spread in our wake through drive space, but with the pull that planet seemed to have, it is just as likely in my uneducated but experienced opinion, that they were psychically puled back there.
A handful of our survivors as I have been calling them decided to stay behind on the planet. another couple handfuls have joined the crew. It also sounds like some are going to want off when we next make port. we will see what happens there. I gained two assistants. Both appear to be very knowledgeable in the basics. In this case I believe their lack of technological knowledge will actually come in handy with how things end up around here. While I was buried in mechalus blueprints, issues with Thoth came up again. When asked by my assistants, I really should write down their names somewhere, which of them should go I just blurted out "the uglier one". When I next came up for air from my terminal I saw that they had somehow worked out between themselves which one that was. Neither of them is what I would call ugly, specially compared to me. But they way she dealt with Thoth very much was so. I admit. I loved it. I even think she likes her new nickname. we will see how long it is till I get tranqed I guess.
Speaking of the mechalus, Yargblat has command of the ship at moment. I was ready to step into the position if needed, but I would of been lieing if I said I was looking forward to it. He has a ship being built. so I may have to do so in a matter of weeks. Overall crew acceptance with more than was expected touchiness, specially from quarters it was not expected. That will all show up in my continued reports.
chronometer indicates that, if my guess is right, we should be leaving drive space soon. headed for bridge. will report more when I can.<
>Lets see. Sidestep worked. We came out in the debris field of the frigate. The was a chunk of ship left, we couldnt see any signs of life before we detected ships from planet on approach, so we left. only incident on way to El Cancri was us docking without permission. Glad the bay was empty.
I took a chance and invited "the uglier one" with me to see the local doc whom Yargblat had dropped off deceased mechalus he had come across. and to visit a brothel after. Figured if nothing else it would add to the image I am building. We bought everything the coroner was selling, I believe one time even paying more than he asked. So hopefully we have everything, and even more hopefully I can find something in all that data to help. As usual, the "brothel" ended up being a public terminal to upload these encoded reports to the grid. I cant tell if "the uglier ones" grin is relief at the lack of previously mentioned pack animal and mute at the brothel, or if maybe she thinks I am joking about what I do around here.
Now, in summery. I will continue my reports. That is what I agreed to do. But my primary focus, which does align for the most part with what was asked of me, is to keep this crew and this ship as held together as I can for its captains return. As it stands, we can not go back for her, she may not be able to come back to us, and you now know where she would probably be if she is still alive. For the first part, I overheard a good idea and will try to help Augie look into finding a way to manually over ride or control the normally psi activated functions of the ship. For the second thing, I will try to keep the ship and crew whole, and maybe she will find a way back with her link to it. Lastly, the reason for the filter override. If I die in the attempt to help with the first two, and nothing has been done by you, they will know of it.
That is all, back to work I go.<
Laying down with 4 wounds screaming at me while I recover laying in a collapsed position not real condusive to being comfortable, but it felt good to lay there. Then I hear a softer version of Toby's voice near me, "Mother?"
"Yes?" I gently replied noting his different tone.
"Is it okay if I .... change... I think I can help you better. This one wants to help mother better"
I couldn't help but smile in my pain, my heart full that my friend is there with me while so much is going on outside my quarters. I didn't care. Things seemed grim, I was tired, bleeding, and part of me wanted to give up. The death pansie in my mind would be a relief.
"Yes, I would like that Toby, but you have to promise me something."
"Promises, I like to make them to you. I think I understand this biological thing of love a little, because I think of your needs, your wants, and your life all the time mother. And I think I understand why parts of me where taken out. I'm not like other robots am I Mother?"
"No, you are better than robots and biologicals, you are a true mix of both and that can be scary for biologicals because we fear what we don't understand... stupidly. Robots don't feel or fear at all. They might have identity, but they can't go beyond their programming and hardware. You have the strengths of both and no weaknesses of both from what I can tell and have observed. You can grow and I promise you somehow in some way, I will see that you get your potential, in this life or the next. I think that is why parts of you are missing. People feared you because they felt inferior due to ego, rather than try and understand you and love you."
"What is the promise you would like me to keep Mother?"
"That if you ever want to leave my side, that you will just ask with no hesitation. And if my body ceases to function, that you will plug in this headpiece into the ship, so that I can still live in some way through the ship. Though, I don't think this ship is as alive as it once was.. over time it seems to be dying but I'm not sure why. Maybe because no one tries to understand it. I know when people stopped trying to understand me, a part of me started dying too. I will leave that to your discretion though. If worse comes to worse, plug me into you, and I promise I will not harm you. I will just find a place to sit inside and let you live your life. If this head piece works like it's supposed to you should be able to plug it in anywhere and live within it in some way. But you know me pretty well now, you would know if I would wish to live in something or not. Promise me to never give up on me like others have you."
"I cannot give up on you mother, so it's an easy promise to make"
Reaching over with my hand, I softly rub Toby's head near the penecle of his pansie pot and UV lights. Chuckling inside. I can't help but think of the code word "death pansie". Suddenly, Toby changes from the unsuspecting looking wheeled bot form rising up to his tall full assasin form. He didn't look menacing to me, but it certainly was intimidating to everyone else. he didn't take a fighting stance like he normally does, he moved and seemed like someone normal.
"Your voice was different that time mother, are you okay?"
"Wait, you heard me? I just thought it"
"I don't know mother, I heard you but it sounded different"
Looking at him, I thought "What was it you wanted to do to help me now that you have changed?"
Toby retracts his blades and slides out a less menacing more blunt object that eventually splits into fingers. I watched in amazement and can't help but smile at discovering yet more about this new but old friend. As he pulls down the sheet and slides his hands and arms under my body and lifts me like I was crystal, I think to myself, "I can't help but wonder who made you"
"I don't know mother and I can't remember that earlier time before you saved me" he replies as he straightens my body out and properly lays me down on my bed.
Startled at the reply not used to the fact he can hear my thoughts. "you are going to get tired of hearing me now that you can hear my thoughts."
"No, I cannot get tired and I can only hear you, why is that?"
I don't know, how long have you been having this happen?"
"It started a few minutes ago"
"Then how do you know you can't hear others' thoughts?"
"Because I can hear the doc talking outside the doors at the med bay but I can't hear his thoughts, only you mother. But something interesting as you say happened too. Something brought my attention to one of the parts inside me when we were talking. It's very small, but I was listening to you and it seemed to start adjusting and working. I think it helped me listen with parts I don't see, feel, or understand yet. Someone made me with great precision mother."
"They certainly did my dear friend."
I watched Toby turn and go to my desk picking up my journal and pen. "But don't worry mother, I won't do everything you think without confirming. Biologicals have a lot of thoughts they don't really mean"
"Wise and definitely true words. Now we don't need the code name to change now do we. So if you hear it, make sure it's a trusted person with intentions you think I would want if I am not around or can't hear my thoughts. It may or may not last, but I have a feeling it will."
"Me too mother, would you like a distraction now?" as he extends the journal and pen toward me. "And you need water, I will get you some."
Reaching out to take the journal chuckling I say to him, "Yes, I would. I can't tell if this is an inconvenience or a gift this new ability you have tuned into."
As he walks toward the door, he tries to chuckle for the first time, "you will get used to it, don't fear mother, it's a weakness remember"
I burst into a full laugh with groans mixed in due to the wounds. And in peace I begin writing about what just happened.
"Things just got weirder than I ever thought possible and our trials are just beginning my dear friend." I thought.
As I begin to write, my eyes jolt wide as I hear a faint, "yes mother, I think you are correct" Shaking my head, I begin my entry,
"Somehow after I used the dimensional walk for the ship we ended up in some sort of dead space pocket. I guess I shouldn't have used the crystal. The amplification was too much. Lesson learned and it will be productive for the future strategies if we live though this. With 64 more crew members on board, food is going to run out fast. At least we could save that many from that horrible wreck of the ship with those damn seekers shooting at us. The ship is hurting bad and......
The pen starts sliding across the paper like a rebellious child sneaking off as I find sleep.
I can understand why that PL5 never had ships come back, though there is still something odd about that system we discovered going through the nebula. There was a red sun and one rotational terran with a moon. We navigated through the nebula avoiding charged areas that the scanners picked up. The nebula seemed to stop at a circumference a distance away from the red dwarf. The terran had a ring of lifeless dated ships and the only communication we could get out of the area was a recording of an old world phrase meaning death.
Augie was able to bring up a 3d hologram of the moon. A starship had rammed into it. When he tried to bring up one of the planet itself, Augie had one of those zappy-teleporty type episode and ended up as a hologram himself. After I tried to calm him down and gave him the idea to try and reverse the process and concentrate on things that happened just before. Well, it worked... sorta.
He got out of the hologram and ended up on top of the crates in the cargo bay with the automatic arm trying to graph and arrange him. I laughed, I couldn't help it. What a sight that was! He finally relaxed enough with coaxing and let the arm bring him down where it thought he should be.
We decided to land on the moon to see what we could find out. Upon landing, and after a short walk, I saw a long trench. Following it, we discovered a small fighter that had made a semi soft landing with a T'sa gripping a holographic image of a family. He had been there from the looks of things for quite some time. We decided to have Leroy tow the ship back to mine and put it in the cargo bay that was mostly empty. It had some rather interesting guns on the front of that thing that we had never seen before. Then we had a surprise.
The red dwarf was apparently active and a flare started. We raced back to the ship with the fighter in tow and took off as fast as possible. That flare too close behind we barely made it out of the gate in time, but we did. So here I am in drive space, thankful we made it and taking a little time for myself and Toby. I think he enjoys that time alone with me. He's full of questions and actually started a few conversations himself. I feel lucky about everything right now.
One thing bugs me though... why those ships and things on the planets weren't melted or burned in all those flares throughout time. Something isn't right there.
Into the Nebula
<<Toby enters his Captain’s quarters to tidy up. He walks over to the desk that the Captain sits often and picks up his pansies off his head and sits them down by the pansies on her desk in the left upper corner. He leaves a short moment and returns with a water container and waters the two sets of pansies. He notices that the blue flower still is doing well sitting on the opposite corner of the desk. He begins to move over to the other side to water that one when he notices the Captain’s journal open. In the flick of a digital eye he immediately reads the entire page but notices that the entries seem to be written from the center of the page in 4 directions rather than the traditional top to bottom, like they normally are and that they are older entries.
“That’s one of the things I love about you mother, you are rather different... I think this might be what you would call art.”
Taking note of the shapes, rather than caring about the words themselves, the first entry started at the top and tapered off to the center to a point and he wondered about it’s purpose of shape for the written word>>
<Entry> Getting down to business on this entry, I’m strapped for time. When we entered Ross, we had a receiving as a city hero would after rescuing the folks out of that fight/war between Star Mech and Insight. Star Mech treated us well and gave us a large reward of money, bounty licenses, and license to wear concealed weapons. Seamed rather odd they would think to give me an upgraded corporate bounty license that covers my entire crew, but I’m grateful. Though we are not in that type of business, it might just come in handy at some point. I made one decision though, I was going to stop by and talk with Mayor builderbuilt before heading to EL Cancri to see what his side of the story was.<End>
Then his eyes followed a logical pattern according to how language rules went, the second entry went in a different direction. The first line was written all the way across the height of the journal near the spine and tapered off at the center to a point. He noted the size of the entry being larger than the first to fill the space.
<Second Entry> When we arrived, he was not there and they addressed him now as Prime minister Builderbuilt and said he was in EL Cancri. Very odd indeed but somehow didn’t surprise me. I’m going to take the long way around to get there as opposed to going through. I know Sam and I never trusted the man, but something just isn’t right here between the two. Ross didn’t give us any information at all.... it’s all.... CLASSIFIED.
On the up side of things, for some odd reason I’ve taken to reading about ancient civilizations. There are a few that seemed to catch my attention, one being on a planet called earth. I will have to remind myself to ask Thoth to look that one up for me to see if we have any history or present day information on that planet and where it might be or used to be. There was a .. Race, or culture, whatever they called it then, called Egyptians. They had these pyramids made of earth stone of a size and date of time they shouldn’t have been able to.... but they did. Anyway, I’m not sure why they caught my eye but they are interesting. Maybe it’s because they did some things that they shouldn’t have been able to do. They also had an obsession with bodies and sending them to afterlife and their art style never changed over thousands of years because they were obsessed with the afterlife and that is what their art was about. Next time I am in a city of any size I will have to see if they have data that I can put on the ship data that has historical information on as many civilizations as possible. I’m not sure why it matters but it is at least interesting. I love the stories. <End Entry>
“I do too mother! I will try and see if I can look down and left and right to find these records for you mother since Thoth will be ‘looking up’,” he said proudly. He dusts the desk as he notices the third entry in the opposite shape meeting the second entry in the center.
<Third Entry>Well it seems we landed in EL Cancri the same time Yargblat did and he’s having a new ship built. He will be with us for a couple months on the ship. It’s good to have the 12 back with us. And definitely great to have yarg back with us for at least a couple months. Rather funny though, when I went to drop off the jobs we did Yarg went with me. He had some of Izu’s tea and got all slappy happy. It was entertaining, and... and made things rather interesting to see people’s reactions.
We finally got things ready and are going to take some ambassador back to her system (GJ 921) as a favor that Yarg brought here from some place. I don’t know the full details of it all yet other than it was a PL 5 civilization. Rather odd, and also rather suspicious. It will be interesting to see what they are like there. Sounds like one of those almost ancient civilizations, just a bit later. <End Entry>
“PL 5... searching memory... old technology. I have some information but only title entries of PL 5 places and technology, no real information, mother. I’m sorry,” he said to himself as he absently started dusting his head while looking at the page and watering the blue plant with the other hand noticing the entry starting in the center at a point and going down and getting wider at the bottom but a very short entry
<Fourth Entry> I don’t like the PL5 leaders. Something isn’t right. There is something VERY wrong with this place. These people are being FORCED to stay in an old time frame. I was tempted to mind read but I just didn’t feel it that urgent. Out of all the weird things and horrible people we have come across, this one makes my skin do morbid dances. They are a front for something and I can’t put my finger on it. I wish they would get ready to leave already, I’m ready to get out of here. I’ve made the decision to go back around through GJ 380
“Oh mother, I will protect you!” he says as he erects his body just a little proudly. He reached over and picked up his pansie pot and put it back on his head with purpose, then began to dust the journal vigorously to finish his chores. As he moved the duster to the right he caught the edge of the paper and flipped the loose page over. There he found one more entry.
This entry was in a large spiral starting from the outside and written in a continuous circle inward, but the middle section was still empty.
<Entry> Well, I have a few moments.. We are in dead space. And it seems we are on an adventure and I just might have doomed us all, but I’m determined to find out what is going on. The short version of the story is, there was a nebula in the way of the gate I wanted to take to GJ380. Yet it had no EM readings. That meant ships could go through without frying the electronics. Made things even more suspicious.
I made the decision to go through it rather than around it. “Ships went in but never heard from again” Yarg said they told him. Well, The Crit will be heard from again, and we are going to find out what is going on around here.
“ooooo ADVENTURE!! I will sharpen my blades and oil my parts mother,... ADVENTURE!!” holding up the duster in the air like a sword.
Toby jerked up erect and froze, turns slowly to see Captain Arjii standing in the doorway leaning up against the frame. “I’m sorry mother, I just got so excited about the story”
“Toby, those are personal logs, that means no one should ethically read them.”
“oh, I’m sorry mother. But I liked the art and story, ADVENTURE!”
“Toby, I need to have an important talk with you and a question for you. How loyal do you choose to be to me?”
“I will protect you mother, and no matter what I ill do what ever you ask,” as he sits up more erect with his wheels. “And that is my choice! I will deactivate myself if I ever do anything to hurt you or before I ever betray you mother... you gave me value ... and ... life.”
“Then you may read my journals, if you promise to never act on the words in there or ever divulge any information in it or the items contained in the pages. I would like for us to be a close team if that is something you would like to do. You can learn and I can learn from each other.... as well as help each other if the times need of it”
“oh I promise mother! TEAM! ADVENTURE!”
"Shhhhh keep it down, it's a good secret for us both"
"Good enough for now"
This is a thank you for the great experience.
It was the first time Dragon GM'd a game,
First time all of us ever played the pathfinder system,
And the first time I have ever done anything of a true hybrid class,
and the first time for all of us trying to deal with the technicalities of crazy ass systems that don't always fit.
We all learned together and had a blast.
I might put some of our journey's here in the future but for now just wanted to thank the group for a great time and great lesson that there is still hope in this world that people work together to help each other and bend together. Most of my gaming blog time goes to Alternity. But if this type of thing keeps up, I might have to split the time up a bit.
It was an amazing experience and a great life reminder it still exists.
~ ish (Karma Healshot)
A body in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an equal and opposite force. But what if that motion is more of a slow shuffle followed by a hunched lumber? What is equal and opposite of a slow shuffle? How about a deadly disease? YES!!! I am well aware of the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies and psychosomatic aggravation of minor conditions...but I've also melded with a LOT of shady items. In retrospect, my hands are like little dirty whores. Whores who are long overdue for their checkup and now have to pay the fiddler. I don't know how it happened, but it did. This flesh is dying. I've contracted some type of terminal disease and now have just over a year before this flesh fails me. Again? What once may have been a notion, or another random fleeting thought is now solidified. The deal is sealed. I have 15 months to prepare Leroy to be the new me.
He's going to need some serious upgrades in the processing department. I can handle upgrading the mechanical elements once he's me, or I'm him, or we are one...or something. Oooooh!! What about a smaller, detachable entity that may be more ship-friendly that can hook up to Leroy for external operations!!! Yes! Well, I've got a while til my ship is ready and the Walker will be doing some travelling, so this gives me time to draft a plan for my new body and get Leroy calibrated and make the necessary adjustments to his frame.
A tiny part of me hoped this wouldn't be a necessity, but it is what it is. This may not be quite the dramatic conclusion my ancestors came up with, but hey, it's just me out here. There's no Mechalus gestalt taking place anywhere nearby and, if there is, I didn't get the memo. No great racial counsel or scientific thinktank on the Progression of our Proud Race, no bipartisan committee. It's just me. So fuck it. Here "we" go.
<2 days later >
>>We did meet up with subject F. Initial observations seem promising. Was very interested in subject E. I would of loved to seen his reaction to subject E's abilities, but my files are lacking most on subject C and D. I joined them to familiarise myself with what appears to be one of their main stops in the area as an excuse.
We basicaly bee lined to the bounty office like subject D was on a mission. He basicaly only asked about subject Z. He didnt seem to get the information or reaction he was looking for when he shared some of his intel. Basicaly came away with the knowledge that if we could bring that subject in credits would no longer be an issue or some line along those lines.
Upon leaving, subject D seemed to stay angry and confused. after more than a few moments hesitation he decided to head back to the ship. At some point along the way I lost track of subject C. Back at the ship subject D went to work on his "appendage" and I retired to med bay for some actual work.<<
<20 minutes later>
>>I am unsure where they were, but subject A and F returned to the ship a few minutes ago. The reason I know of their arrival is because subject F was loud and seemed... happy? I went to go check in with the captain but stopped when I heard them talking and subject F;s mood seemed to swing the other way. I couldnt see anything, but it sounded like the 12 were at, well subject G's room. I listened as subjects A and F tried to explain yet again about G being gone. then the bots asking them why they hadnt fixed him and then told them how!! It was incredible, and worth study by itself. the 12 are basicaly the cells of a resurection. The possibilities are almost staggering if I can implement this sort of thing into an organic application. It could correct at least a couple of the flaws in reproduction I have ran into. I would of course have to completely change my approach and start over from scratch but.... well one mission at a time, back to the crew.
Subjects C and H. They may be beyond my abilities to successfully assess. Both appear to be trained in subterfuge and concealment to the degree that I may only be able to see what they want me to see. I have a couple of ideas on how to tackle this puzzle, but for now I will continue to observe and let the higher ups decipher my findings however they may. Apparently when I lost track of subject C he went and found, then shadowed subject H back to the ship. All hands were again called to the bridge and we now have another new crew member. I will need to double check all my security protocols and look into a couple of others ideas I have. <<
<4 days 6 hours later>
>>Fascinating couple days of extremity. I need to start looking at the system scans, if I can read them, before disembarking. This place, Ross-614-1, has heat storms bad enough that everyone needs to take shelter for their duration. All other times its only ball blistering hot. I need more clothing. The upside to taking shelter, and the other strange extreme for me is I was included in the crews heros welcome. From what I could gather around food and drinks at the party in the hanger during the storm is "we" saved a bunch of people related to these. While riding out the storm we had an awesome party. On top of this we got paid, gave us discounts everywhere. The captain actually split this between the crew, and me, and I recieved pay for being crew on top of it. Before the storm hit I was able to pick up a science gauntlet, dart pistol and some rose like plants for the alcohol. Also received a star mech bounty hunter, weapon and concealed weapon permits.
After the storm subject A sent her bot, Toby so maybe subject E, down to one of her contacts to figure out what it, or he, is capable of. again, something extreme. we now have a mostly functional assassin cleaning up after ourselves. As great as the last few days have been, I feel there is far worse on the way, other than my current hang over and food coma.<<
<19 days 6 hours later>
>>For a few moments I almost expected the universes balancing swing to hit as extreme the other way and just as fast as it did towards the good back on Ross-614-1. The new computers installed back on Ross allowed subject D to find some damage we must of taken in the scrap belt, but without realy being able to fix it yet. Then, in Luytons Star, the captain called all hands to the bridge. She wanted the crews opinions on what she saw as our choices, and to explain what she would like to do. I truthfully told her I had no frame of reference from which to base a solid opinion on. The history I was given of their previous encounters here were vague and far from promising. We gained some curious intel, but moved on with no conflict.
While in drive space after this I overheard a little of the captain trying to explain an expired bot crew member to her newest one. Analysts of subject A nearing completion. Need to work a little harder on the others.
We flew through rumors of conflicts and discouraging news. Spoke with others along the way to try to get an idea of what we may be flying into. Luckily with no real bad news from them and basically clear skies. We are now docking in El Cancri next to another ship that may be the other crewman listed in my briefing. <<
<10 days 11 hours later>
<Sounds of liquids being pourd and others bubbling over a flame>
>>One of the bonuses, for me, to this job is trying to not only figure out my subjects, but also how much the higher ups are not telling me. As an example, subject B's multiple personalities was mentioned as a possibility, but other pieces of information were much more vague. After her failed attempts to comfort subject A on the trip here to Sirius I thought I would follow her. After I bought my sugar of course. I also found some synthetic tobacco to try out, but forgot papers or a replacement pipe or something. Oh well. maybe next stop. Anyway, after the purchase I headed for the closest bar to the ship. I thought thats where I heard subject B say she was headed, I also figured if I missed her I would look into the excuse I used for going there in the first place. It had the added benefit of confusing subject D, who I believe I heard wandering around asking people what a brothel is.
As I walked in she was at the bar. upon seeing me she ordered me a drink. But as I sat she stood up and started to leave. At the door she was confronted by bounty hunters. I do have to admit, that was a very attractive number attached to her head, even for someone who has no issues with funding. Yes, that is "was". As I was about to stand back up and see if I could assist, she vanished. temporarily scrambling electronics and blowing out bulbs in the process. Now, reading into things that were said at my briefing leads me to believe they knew something of this, but I can not say for sure. At the moment, this is one less subject to observe and evaluate.If I dont count these couple of bubbling pots anyway.
I decided to leave and inform the crew of their members disappearance before anyones focus could go back to the fact that she bought me a drink a few seconds ago. I also got back in time to meet subject A's newest "child" in the hanger. Yet another chance to observe her responsibility issues she likes to pile on herself. The bot does do a good job cleaning tho. <<
<2 days 4 hours later >
>>Subject A just left the med bay. Seems curious about my project. Probably assumes it is all for drinking. I am glad I was able to find so much sugar. I should have no issues sharing enough for that purpose. I will have to find something to add a little more flavor at the next stop.
Oh yes, the reason she was here, I was unable to get a complete scan of her using the gauntlet and requested she stop by when able to use the med bays scanner. I guessed by the gauntlets readings it was probably some kind of dermal plating. Deeper scan proves it is a mutation and not an implant, but I am unable to trace its origins at the moment.I may have to go the social rout and actually talk with her. The upside is, in most situations so far anyway, she does seem open and willing to converse.
Until then I will cross reference all known markers to all known sources, and actually do my job and make sure everyones health is taken care of and documented well enough that another healthcare professional can step in, if and when needed. No other surprises yet in any of the other scans.<<
I have a few interesting and important things to jot down for record's sake.
I'm not sure why I'm so tired, but I am. Maybe because so much is going on and I'm frustrated. My guts feel like we need to get out of this area of space but I have no idea why. We landed in EL Cancri where Yarg was also stationed and there was enough room to dock at the same bay. It was great to see him and the 12 again. They were lent to him temporarily what seems like an eternity ago to help him out of a bind on his solo journey. I'm glad they are back, we have certainly felt their loss.
This ship is so under staffed we can't function almost at all without them.... especially since the loss of Sam and Horatio. Yarg is going to have to manufacture a few to help him along with the professor's help or something. I'm not letting them go again. They belong here....Maybe it's a memory of Horatio, maybe they are just part of my sentimental aspect that keeps peeking out from time to time. SOO un-Fraal like. Maybe i have these tenancies because I've not really been around them much, even when I was on my homeland they kept me isolated. However, tenancies or not, we can't run this ship with 4 people.... actually 3 because the Doc has no ship skills that I know of. He's pure doctor.
I'm going to assign the 12 to posts that fit them best. I have just installed new computer systems for the ship and each one is an aspect/copy of a part of Horatio. If we are to survive, it has to happen. Yarg is building a ship and I hope he takes advantage of the factory while he is with us. The following is a bullet list of important information I need to record but just have not had the time to do so. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.
Interesting though, Augie is a new potential crew member. He's under probation for a few days before we take off again. However, he is a spy, not a viable crew member. I'm not sure why I'm even entertaining even bringing him aboard, but he seemed desperate for a job. I can't help but chuckle at his unfortunate welcoming party as he walked onto the bridge with Tucker coming up behind him and putting a big gun to his head.
Toby has undergone quite the transition. Death pansie brings quite the chuckle and fear at the same time. His transition is quite ..... unsettling. But then you see the pansie on the head.
We had the chance to bring Horatio back through Steve. The genius put a copy of his brains and parts of himself in Steve, and the 12. In order to bring back Horatio, it would have involved sacrificing the 12 and Steve to do it. There has been enough death and disappearing lately.... I didn't think it ethical to make them sacrifice themselves for one person. They have developed way too much. They aren't robots, they are people. Horatio has to start out from scratch and learn all over again. He might end up bad, or he might end up as lovable as he was before or better. It's a gamble.
To do a.s.a.p
1. As hard as it is I need to go through Sam's things as soon as we hit deep space. I have put it off and put it off. Rather than go in that room I'll have Toby bring me the things from her room to my quarters. That will at least take part of that pain away. Things just aren't the same without her around, but there is nothing I can do about it now. I wish I had never tried to keep her from shooting herself the way I did, maybe she wouldn't have broken... and Thoth wouldn't have gotten shot. But there is no use in pondering about it now, there is nothing I can do about it. But the pain... I wonder if this is why Fraal's just don't develop emotion much... it's painful.
2. Yarg seemed extremely distracted by mechanics and ship so I need to see if Thoth might be able to do it. He gets so distracted so easily since Sam has ..... gone away. But I think he needs to feel important and do important things so that he can move on as well. He's suffered quite a bit himself. But I'm not positive he has the skills to do it. Yarg has the professor so busy and I'm not sure I can trust him anyway. I can't take it to Mr. X because I need someone I trust not to duplicate that build. He will duplicate it and sell it all over the galaxy for a buck.
I don't want those things manufactured all over the place or I might as well not even have psi powers. If that got out I would be one dead captain... because I would have no defenses or offense that would work against an opponent with that device with psi powers unless there was just a 1 on 1 battle and they had no combat skills.. then it would be like two slugs trying to cut each other's heads off with a non-existent sword. It would be a slimy mess.
3. I am going to start my meditations again when we hit deep space to try and contact the whisperers again. I jsut can't let them go. They helped me for a reason ... between them and the midians I'm at a loss as to what my purpose is.. yet they think I'm supposed to have one. It's nagging at me to try and follow this path to find out. Maybe I'm not supposed to know.
I love my crew, but I also have to make time to love me in my own path of....
**Her head jerks around as she hears noises and commotion. Raising her finger to her ear and twisting a knob ever so slightly to hear better, she turns it back down again and drops the pen on the journal to take care of business leaving a trail of spots of ink from the pen.**
As I usualy am the GM when I play, I felt a little weird picking a flaw for my character that didnt real impact any of his skills or anything. It also hasnt really come up in game play either. So I thought I would use my very out of practice drawing skills to assist with showing just how ugly this man is. .))
Those are supposed to be old burn scars, patchy hair growth etc etc.
<8 days later>
<sound of something heavy landing on something soft>
>>Normal awkward introductions over. I always hate that part. Initial reactions of the crew to first official contact seemed confused but accepting. I was shown to my quarters and left with free run of the ship. All reactions fell well within my original parameters, probably leaning towards more controlled than expected in all but subject D, who actually reacted closest to predictions. Next step <yawn> familiarize myself with the ship and sickbay. Maybe find something to eat. After a nap.<<
<30 minutes later>
>>Ok. Sickbay has potential. It could use some cleaning. I will have to talk to someone about this. No files on anyone in the computer. I will have to remedy that soon. Stores seem stocked well enough and there is enough room for a couple of projects. I will see what I am missing for those and add that to my shopping list of items i left behind in my excitement. I have no idea of current prices out here, but it is rare that they send me out without more than enough funds.
<sounds of equipment and glass being moved around in background>
Lets see. Situation update. We are in drivespace. Subject A found me in corridor and invited me to a meal for questioning. Seemed genuinely curious and welcoming, as was expected. Well, not just questioning, She also explained her command style and offered me a permanent position on board. Also as expected, subject D hovered around hatch during interaction with subject A, adding a comment I did not catch upon my exit. Potential attempt at menacing or just to let me know I am being watched. Again, both well within expected parameters.
<background noises stop>
So. Sugar or some fruit. Yeast should be ok, but keep my eyes open for whats out there. Add that to my list of items I left behind. That is... A science gauntlet and dart gun. Not bad. I left much more behind last time. hmm... Time to hit the galley again then back to my rack.<<
<4 days 20 hours later>
>>Interesting, the computer shows us as in LP-944-20. Time to head to the bridge for some more observation.
<20 minutes later>
<sound of body hitting rack again>
>>Fascinating to watch. First, it appears they use the gates. Second they are curious. Third, the ship is definitely under crewed. There seemed to be nothing in system but a scrap belt. We came in for a closer look. Didnt find anything and when we came about to leave the belt we took a hit from some debris. No apparent damage, but a copilot or more hands at consoles may of kept that from happening. If I had any ability on the bridge I would offer my services. We then flew up to and through the gate to Kapzeyn's Star. Are they looking for something specific, or just general exploration? Gate usage to maintain an image or some other reason? I have only been here a short time, but they are definitely one of the more interesting assignments I have had. I had almost forgotten how much I love it outside. So many interesting things out here. <<
Something's happened to me . . . even the pen feels foreign in my hand . It's been so long since I've written in this journal but I don't understand why I keep trying or what it might mean in the future just to have these records. Forget grammar and punctuation, this is for me... to sort things out in my head . so much is happening my head and feels like its just spinning with events and emotions that I didn't think that Fraals could have.
if I look at this logically, its not I wonder with all that has happened, the negative is all I know and recognize anymore, and I don't like that. Life is so much more complicated now out of pure survival in the corruption all around me. Parts of it I like and parts I don’t. That is not what I want to recognize in my life just because the world does, though. I like who I was and still am trying to be. I have to somehow turn this way of thinking around so that I don’t go down the same path.
I can't be too hard on myself though; I am flesh and therefore am fallible like anyone else that is flesh, no matter what the race is. I'm afraid my life is without purpose other than this ship and both of us being used by past and present as a means to a selfish end that I don't understand quite yet. I know I was kept alive by my father all these years just so I could be a vessel for him to make his own powers more powerful?? I need a trick up my sleeve, just in case he or anyone blocks my psi powers with something. I need to talk to Yarg, but damn if I know where he is right now. I'm glad my father didn’t get what he wanted last time I saw him, but he sure taught me many powerful lessons from that night... who I don't want to be, who I know I am and glad of it, and opened my eyes to things I need to be aware of in this world. it was weird though, he seemed a bit... different yet the same. Did he have a twin I didn't know about? I know I had an uncle but I don't know if he is dead or alive. Either way, he posed as my father and looked like him. I don't know what is real anymore in some things. But aaah, no sense in fretting over that, I'll just pay attention to what I know is real and the rest will hopefully show itself in time.
I have been doing a lot of research lately on psi powers that I was never taught growing up because I only discovered I had them in that cave. It makes me wonder how my father knew I was supposedly so powerful even though I never was allowed to use them or was given the chance to develop them. I just assumed I didn’t have them. In fact he told me I didn’t have any, yet all those strange things would seem to happen and seemed to use that “undo” power he had a lot. I thought it was something my sisters did. There is so much I don’t know and understand. At least my father is predictable in that I know what he wants. He’s clever, and strategic, but equally arrogant and stupid due to his obsession. But I do know one thing, my father is the least of my worries. There are so many more dangerous things out there with more dangerous motivations. Sam taught me that. Sam.... god I miss her.
**setting the pen down, she reach into one of her bio holsters and pulls out a small piece of cloth matching the missing piece at the waist of her robes that Sam bought her. As she pulls it out of her holster and starts sliding it around her fingers she can’t help but think about the wonder that she found this piece of cloth on her ship before Sam even ordered the robes to give her as a gift. Putting the cloth back into the bio-holster and locking it back into place, she whispers to herself, “I need answers... I’m afraid for the ship...” acutely aware of how loud the whisper she just said was.**
Sam, I don’t have you to talk to anymore, but I do have an idea! I’ll ask the whispers... I can hear them now better than ever... so much has gone on I have not thought to talk to them. I hope they will understand and I know they appreciate all they have done for me. You know what Sam, I’m sitting here smiling, can you believe it? I have several ideas now! Thanks for the inspiration. Now I will ask the old man caesar to help me just in case prying eyes make their way here. No one knows who he is that I know of, but maybe that one piece of information from him can help me with my ship. But I will ask them verbally but will make record of it perhaps for you in the future or past, or whenever you might be. (wouldn’t you all be surprised at me doing encryption! I will do it twice at the same level... I can’t do encryption like you can Sam, no one can top you in my eyes. But laugh though, my head will warp I think.) Well, here goes!
Zwddg vwsj ozakhwjwjk, A vgf'l cfgo ozsl wdkw lg usdd qgm, esqtw qgm usf lwdd ew gfw vsq, gj sl dwskl sk s jwhdq lzsl qgm ygl eq ewkksyw ax R vgf'l zwsj qgm. Qgm sjw owdugew lg mkw eq bgmjfsd ax qgm vgf'l osfl lg khwsc oalz ew. A'nw lmjfwv gxx eq wsj hawuwk lzsl A eayzl zwsj qgm ax qgm vg khwsc kg lzsl A mfvwjklsfv qgm jslzwj lzsf vaklsfl ozakhwjk. A'e vgmtdw wfujqhlafy lzak kg lzsl hjqafy wqwk ogf'l wskadq tw stdw lg mfvwjklsfv oalzgml s dgl gx wxxgjl. Lzsfc qgm xgj sdd qgm zsnw vgfw xgj ew, lzgmyz A vgf'l cfgo ozq qgm vav sdd lzgkw lzafyk, A se yjslwxmd. A xwwd tsv xgj skcafy xgj egjw zwdh tml A vgf'l kww A zsnw emuz gx s uzgauw. A zsnw s jwimwkl, sfv A'e kmjw al akf'l sf wskq gfw, sl dwskl fgl xgj ew lg ugehjwzwfv sk wskq. A xwwd dacw lzwjw sjw tay ljgmtdwv laewk ugeafy szwsv sfv sxjsav oalz sdd lzw lwuzfgdgyq gml lzwjw lzsl Lzw Ujal ogf'l tw stdw lg zgdv mh lg lgg emuz hmfakzewfl. Qgm ksav A emkl danw, tml lzak kzah ak hsjl gx ew kgewzgo A cfgo lzsl. Kg A zsnw s xwo imwklagfk. ....... 1. Sjw lzwjw egjw ujqklsdk? ....... 2. Ak lzwjw s osq lg escw lzak kzah emuz egjw xgjeavstdw af tslldw qwl kladd tw xskl sfv syadw sk al ak? A cfgo lzsl ak s dgl lg skc tml A xwwd ow sjw xsuafy emuz egjw lzsf s dalldw yjgmh usf zsfvdw. ....... 3. Ax lzwjw ak egjw af lzsl usnw lzsf A afsvnwjlwfldq lggc xjge al, ogmdv lzwq zwdh mk? A cfgo skcafy lzak eayzl kwwe kwdxakz sfv hsjldq al ak, tml egkldq A zsnw s ujwo lg lzafc stgml lzsl lzw ogjdv kwwek lg osfl lg wsl mh. A osfl lg hjglwul lzwe sk emuz sk A vg eqkwdx. ....... A kladd zsnw s dgl gx hglwflasd daxw lg danw, A'e qgmfy sfv zsnw s dgl lg dwsjf. Sfv A ljmkl fg gfw glzwj lzsf qgm lg yanw ew lzw sfkowjk sl lzak hgafl af laew. Akf'l lzwjw s uzsfuw lzsl s kesdd yjgmh gx hwghdw usf tw dayzlk af lzw ogjdv lg zwdh glzwj hwghdw kww lzwaj ogjlz af daxw? Al osk zsjv xgj ew lg kww log gx lzgkw lzsl A usjw stgml fgl xwwd lzwq zsv ogjlz. Usf ow lwsuz lzsl ogjlz gj sl dwskl tw sf wpsehdw gx alk hglwflasd? ....... A ymwkk lzsl ak al xgj fgo...fgo lzsl lzak wfujqhlagf ak vgfw, A oadd skc qgm nwjtsddq eqkwdx lg ljq sfv zsnw s jwsd lsdc twlowwf mk. Al vgwkf'l zsnw lg tw fgo, tml esqtw ozwf qgm zsnw laew. ....... Oalz kafuwjw dgqsdlq sfv shhjwuaslagf, Ushlsaf Sjbaa gx lzw ugvw fsew Lzw Ujal
< redacted to security level >
<Sounds of rustling, movement and various computers in back ground>
>>New orders. Observe and support Object of Interest <REDACTED> . Information I am cleared for is <REDACTED> Class ship, Human pilot <REDACTED>, Human Communications officer <REDACTED> with potential <REDACTED> and <REDACTED>,Sesheyan Engineer <REDACTED> tail <REDACTED>, Fraal Captain <REDACTED> who <REDACTED> with special attention to <REDACTED> and <REDACTED> while <REDACTED>.
<30 second of continual background noise>
Ok, thats that. What else? Oh yes. Basic observation and diplomatic protocols are to be observed with goals of....
one. Learn about <REDACTED> and what happened within it during <REDACTED>.
Two. Evaluate crew and ship to determine if they are <REDACTED>.
Three. Establish <REDACTED> in order to further investigation <REDACTED>.
Four. Acquire <REDACTED> that may assist <REDACTED> or <REDACTED>.
Ok. Everything accounted for. Time to report to seer <REDACTED> for last briefing and transport to target.<<
After putting the last of what he could fill his strore with from the cargo of his ship, he stands up, rubbing his lower back mumbling under his breath about not finding Freddie again when he needed him to re-stock the store. “My own damn fault for being anal about stock and not waiting for him to get back from lunch” he thought to himself as he came into the store front counter.
“What the ...”, he says almost stopping in his tracks bringing his gate to a slowed crawl as something very odd catches his eye, he begins a slow walk as he focuses on trying to figure out what is on the counter that would be a mysterious white with whisps of almost non-visible steam coming from it.
Closing his hand in toward the what he recognizes now as rolled up paper, he feels the coolness as if it were ice. Inviting temperature in leu of the heat storm going on outside. Touching it, he realizes the paper is still plyable like paper. Picking it up with curiosity peaked and unrolling it. I recognizes it’s a letter.
“How novel, I’ve heard of these things back from the 20th century when these types of things started to die out... but to see one so finely hand written.....” His voice trails off as he begins to read.
......... _________ ___________________________
...|::::::.\::::::;,,.. Dear Mr. X,
...|:::::::::\:::::;:,,,.. I’m sending Toby as we discussed to have you look him over.
....\:::::::::|:::::;,,,. And yes, I know it’s odd to send this via an archaic thing such as
........``` /::::::;,,,. paper, (or is it?)
............|:::::;,,,,.. Archaic mode of communication I know; however,
.........../::::::;,,... I’m excentric and an exotic relic myself and know it.
........../:::::;,,.. I’ve grown to appreciate that part of myself.
......../::::;,,.. It’s time I have my own signatures in life. I’ve also grown quite fond
....../::;;;,,.. of hand writing. The pen and paper is not only therapeutic, but powerful because
....;;;;,,.. it is thrown out as ancient in the 'new age' of 2340; which reminds me, it’s getting close
.,,,,.... to 2341. Anyway...
;,. Toby will be down as soon as the storm is over, pansies pot and all on the head. Heaven forbid if that plant dies. If the ;.elements wilt the thing can you please buy a new one and replace it without him knowing and put it on my bill? My ;instructions for him are simple, yet the depth of why is not so easy to explain, but will do my best to fill you in.
I’ve had a few conversations with him since I bought him and been watching his behavior. I think I got an accidental gem when I bought him from Sirius thrown off as “junk” robot for a mere 15k. The reason I’m taking the time to give you an extensive set of instructions is a simple matter of realization on my part. As you know by your slick little eyes everywhere (which I most definitely can appreciate, admire, and respect due to how taxing I know it can be to keep all that straight and working smoothly). Our adventures can take us to some pretty interesting situations and places too. What you don’t know is we have our own house interesting situations on my ship as well. After all, can’t help but happen with a psi ridden captain that sees the future in odd and different modalities, sees the past, manipulate elements, and that has mysterious friends on and off her ship right? My crew is made up of odd misfits with unique talents and personalities, and that is how I like it. It makes life worth living, colorful, and warm in a cut-throat age.
I’m getting to the instructions I promise. However, all these odd things bring opportunities to meet good friends, like Sam, Horatio, and Steve. Unfortunately Horatio isn’t with us anymore either due to an accident that also resulted in loosing Steve and eventually Sam (as we spoke about). Horatio was a cold version of a caretaker that was warm and comforting in his own way .. not to mention self-made. He is still with us but just in body, as is Steve. Steve powered himself down when I told him Horatio was no longer with us. I was devastated. Then when I lost Sam, my right arm and best friend, well... you get the picture.
Anyway, after visiting you today, I walked through the ship, checked on Horatio as if it would do any good, still laying in a quarter lifeless, then I went to look at Steve as I put the flowers down that I bought today, who is sitting lifeless on my table, with a blue flower as symbol of a goodbye and a reminder to me that life is still good. I wish I could do something like that for Sam, but it also might be a good thing too that I can't because I’m not taking her absence so well.
As I sat looking at Steve after carefully setting that flower beside him, I realized something I think is very critical...I’m just a mortal captain of a ship of crew and I'm expendable to the world, not a god, and I can’t fix things like that. But their passing, to whatever times or realms they might be now, has given me gifts too because that is what I choose to get out of it. Two things keep singing to me aside from the constant whispers I hear... Choices, choices, choices .. And integrity, integrity, integrity, not to be confused with righteousness. Those are the only things we have in this world worth any value. I refuse to change myself because to world wants to change me, take advantage, betray, or kill me. Consider yourself the first person that receives evidence of who I am in this world.. A simple hand written archaic note with honesty, integrity, and that is powerful whether the world realizes it or not.
This all brings me to Toby; I refuse to be an owner and taskmaster to him to him. He already has the capacity to make choices; it is clear from our conversations. He just doesn’t have the tools to reach his potential. I don’t want him changed in AI/personality. That is who he is. Just like all of us, we have more potential than we can imagine, we just need to develop the tools to grow into it. Or in his case, given the tools to reach his potential. He gets excited, he can reason, he can make choices ... all on his own. I know his casing and components are archaic, but it is who he is right now and who he knows he is...and unless he makes the choice to be put into a new body or make himself one, there is where he will stay...he's actually on a pay scale on my ship, not a slave. He may never appreciate it or what I have tried to do for him, but that is okay.
Please send me a full report of what is needed to cure him of his ailments that keep him from reaching his full potential and any possible opportunities to give him special usage. Depending on what those are, I can ask him when he has grown some what he would like his job to be. And...If he chooses to leave then so be it. It’s his choice. I may not have the credits to do it all right now, but we can do it all in stages if I have to, or my crew do what they can here that isn’t beyond their capability at this point in time.
Realizing my own power to be who I am in this world from the deaths of my friends has been a gift, both to me and Toby. I’m a powerful ally, powerful enemy, and a powerful mortal friend. I'm a simple Fraal trying to live my life...I'm not a god. I make the choice to leave my own personality as a mark on this world and I still have a lot to learn myself. I won’t waste my existence by filling it with egotistical egotistical remorse, pity, whining, or slothful resignation. Because I want that for myself, I want that for Toby too. I don’t want to leave his fate to someone that underestimates him, forgets him, or thinks he is less than them self.
He just has to realize his potential and learn to love himself. Steve didn’t love himself, see how much he meant to others, or see his potential in the world, and as a result, chose to NOT live his life. That is a sick waste. I can’t respect that choice as his, but I do respect his process and him.
.. With all that said, and understanding now of what I'm looking for him,
.... send me a message when you get the estimate of what need to be done
...;,,.. and we can proceed from there. I won’t pass him off as junk because three of my friends
.....:;,,.. are gone, two of them because they didn't see their importance or potential.
./::::::: \::;;........ Captain Arjii
l::::::::: /::::::;;.... P.S. Consider yourself the first person that receives one of Captain Arjii’s little
\:::::::: /::;;....,... signature quirks. Oh, and sorry about the mess.
..\:::::/::;;,..... Next time read this over a basin or trash can.
Reading the last of the note, he can’t help but wonder what that signature is with an intrigued smile and for a split second thinks about where a trash can is and realizes it’s too late. His face transitions as he sees the ink grow tendrils on the paper feeling water crawling into his hands and down his arms, the words becoming un-intelligible swirls as the paper starts melting around his hands into soggy remnant pieces. Chuckling to himself he wonders how she did that without the ink running in the first place, yet....still pliable, in the freezing process. He can’t help but wonder how the ink didn’t stay on the pieces of paper at all, not even a smear.
Moving his hands and fingers slowly to watch the process unfold, “Nice trick, no trace....” he whispers to himself. “I think you might have found a new-found respect for a ‘mortal’ Captain. You are fucking weird.”
Turning his wrist over and letting his fingers be a vessel for the flow of water in his fascinated watch, “....a rare thing Mr X.”
Walking toward an unkempt stained basin watching the pieces of paper naturally stick to his fingers as the water drains away. He picks up a piece of the paper that seems to just disintegrate from the water as if it’s been soaking for months, “Yes... yes, a rare thing for me in my ‘cut-throat’ world.”
Turning on the water, he washes the remnants of paper off before turning the water off again and reaching for a towel to dry them with a smile and shake of his head. “You just never know what might happen in a day....You have me intrigued Captain Arjii, I think we found a rare working relationship in this ‘cutthroat’ world of ours. I don’t like trusting anyone, but I trust you. I don’t like it at all, but you got my trust and attention.”