Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Tortoise
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Tortoise Tort

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In the depths of space, ancient machines whir to life. A signal has been received, written in a language of code that only the Gateways know, that says: Come back. And they do. From one end of the Galaxy to the other, overlooking worlds of hostile deserts or sunken marshes, they come back. First with a spark, a wavering in space- and then a flash of blinding light and heat, a storm in the void, a celestial crescendo like a sun being born. And then only a steady light. Billions of lifeforms witness it. They wonder for a moment, perhaps, but then they go back to their lives, not knowing that over their heads now sits a portal to countless other worlds.



~~~~~~~~




A new star is in the sky, and only one person can see it.

She's the only one who was looking up when it happened, you see. She does that sometimes. Everybody else here is always looking down: towards the blinding lights of Neo London, to the speakers blasting out ancient music from Earth's glory days, and at the open-air Holograph Suites that beckon anyone who will listen to come inside, come inside and try for a night of fun. Those holo-programs offered range from vaguely historical to wildly fictional, but all have one thing in common: they're about Earth.

Everything here, on this planet called New Hollywood, is about Earth. Isn't that strange?

Only a few hours ago, she had tried telling people, strangers lingering outside the Suites in wait for a turn, that something feels wrong about a culture that never looks up. About a world that listens to music, but doesn't make it. Nobody listened. Some of them laughed, a few of them looked pretty uncomfortable- but none of them listened. She knows she looked like a madwoman.

And she knows there are supposed to be other people, out there in the ruins, who might have stopped to hear her. The Mixstists. They don't have Holograph Suites. The only music they listen to is the music they make. And they have God. (Whatever that is.) There's not a day that passes without Martina Ward thinking about running off to find them. She's never quite built up the courage.

Tonight, she will be arrested for anti-Earth activities again. The Protectors, the strong and benevolent guardians of culture, will give her a plain choice: "You can keep your head down, Ms. Ward," they'll say, "keep your mouth shut, and enjoy the show," and here one of them will smile that dazzling New Hollywood smile, "or, you know, we can make you."

~~~~~~~~


"Savant?"

He's sitting in a plain gray office chair, 21st century American, wearing a charcoal gray greatcoat, 19th century British, scanning over a steel-gray infopad- his own design. There is not a spot of real color in the room, except for the one that's essentially mandated: an intricate golden globe, carved in the figure of Old Earth, rumored to have been owned by first Savant Zhang himself.

Everything else? Gray.

"Um... Savant Heralds?"

"Oh," the man in the chair looks up, and a broad smile spreads everywhere except his eyes, "Oligarch Tanaka, my youthful friend. I was so engrossed in my studies," the usual Noocratic talk, but maybe true in this case, "that I had not heard you enter! I suppose you must have good reason to disturb?"

Usually, a statement like this is the opening volley in ten minutes of polite apologies, mutual praises, and a subtle competition to out-intellect eachother. But by now, it has become known among the supporters of James Heralds that their Savant does not tolerate the usual Oligarchic games. So Tanaka cuts to the chase: "The Gateway has reopened."

Savant Heralds stares at him for a moment, his smile faded, no expression at all. Is this a joke? At last: "Oh, child... you must have gotten a little too drunk in a Culture party? I'm afraid that Old Ireland will do that to y-"

"No," Tanaka dares to interrupts him, which immediately convinces Heralds he's certain. "I mean that the Gateway. Has. Reopened." His voice wavers between glee and panic.

"Old Earth?" Heralds asks.

"We can get there."

"And... the other colonies?" He doesn't know whether to hope or fear the answer. Tanaka only nods.

The Savant, usually as unshakable as old concrete and twice as stubborn, suddenly can't stay sitting. He's up off the chair, and he's pacing around the desk. "This..." his mouth works in silence for a moment, "this is a significant development." Anyone would have to agree.

Optimistic Tanaka smiles, and his smile does reach the eyes. The young Oligarch had been waiting for this chance to impress Heralds. "I've been listening to reports from the Gateway Listening Post for two hours," he confirms. And it had been his idea to establish it! "We don't know if the others have survived yet, sir. But they may have!"

Possibilities are running through Heralds mind faster than light on steroids. What could be waiting on the other side of those gates? Potential enemies? More problems to contain? ...Space vampires?

He dismisses that last idea.

"Oligarch Tanaka," he says slowly, and with more respect in his voice than he ever has before, "Get me the Listening Post on call." Tanaka beams joy.

~~~~~~~~


In less than three hours, the arrangements have been made.

A shuttle will be sent into the Gateway. Lightly manned, lightly armed. And Oligarch Tanaka, the man responsible for the creation of the Listening Post that observed the Gateway's reopening, has been selected to lead the mission. (This, of course, is so that Heralds is able to take credit for the discovery in Tanaka's absence, but the youth does not realize this.)

Since they have no way of knowing the situation or nature of any other colonies, Tanaka has been given full discretion to select a destination at will. As the little ship approaches, the Gateway links up automatically to their comm system. (Even after three hundred years, Tanaka thinks, it still recognizes us.) A list of options appears on their visual feed, automatically, presented in little bullet-points of Old Earth English. Planet and system names are listed. No description is given- only the name. So that's how Tanaka picks.

"Oria," he says slowly, like the word is magic to him, "uh, here we come."

With it's destination selected, the lone shuttle sails into the Gateway.



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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by ClocktowerEchos
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ClocktowerEchos *Doots Trumpets with Malicious Intent*

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The Midnight Technocracy


It was a cool winter night and the Blood Tithe had just been collected. Now a hundred hands worked to label and sort the hundreds of vials by age, sex, location and health. Each sample was triple checked for purity and illness for quality before being neatly organized into containers and rows. To the Vampires of the Midnight Technocracy, it wasn't just enough to simply drink blood, they had to indulge in it. The blood samples would be later mixed and combined to form vintages, aged like wine and consumed as such as with their heightened senses, the vampires could make out the subtle tastes, the bloody aromas and the notes of life lived. One of several reasons that the Technocracy went out of its way to give its subjects an easy life is that they found over the decades that stress and environmental pollutants sour the blood of men in acrid and bitter ways.

Lord Director Vladimir Karamazov took regular sips of one such vintages from a crystal chalice as he read over reports in his underground chambers. The ceiling was high like an imposing cathedral and its supports were carved of marble, shaped into pillars depicting beautiful women wrapped in silks or clutching great swords. Each one took over a year to carve and most were made by Vladimir himself. Much of the decoration in his chambers were as was befitting a man of his status. Oil paintings, woven tapestries, scrimshaw, inked diagrams, hand carved wooden trinkets and ornate jewelry, all could be counted to have been made by his centuries old hands. Fascinating the amount of things one could accomplish when mundane mortal considerations like sleep went from "survival necessity" to "occasional idle luxury".

"Milord." A hunched man opened the expensive dark wood doors and strode down the fine crimson carpet towards Vlad's desk. He was a Wight, one of Vladimir's own distantly related relatives, sired about a century ago by one of his sister's children. His body was failing but the man refused to die. Years of gene therapy, surgery and cybernetic augmentation had prolonged his life to now where he even at age 120, he barely looked a day over 70. "I bring urgent news."

"What of it?" Vladimir did not look up from his work. A new geological survey discovered that a cavern once thought stable may indeed possibly collapse within the next century. From a mountain of detailed reports, the Lord Director was personally creating new building codes to ensure the stability of the cave system. It was a huge pain to have to unbury the Reanimated post cave in. "I am occupied Jergan, leave the report on my desk, I will attend to it shortly."

"Dear, you will want to see this." Vladimir looked up at the voice of his wife, Isolde, her pale, ethereal youth standing in stark contrast to the age of Jergan, "I took a look for it myself and it says that the the Gateway has reopened."

Vladimir looked up, "The Gateway has reopened? As Old Earth sent forth an envoy?"

"Nay, milord. So far nothing has come out of the Gateway. Adjunct Erend has already begun mobilization of a makeshift fleet to guard it and 300 additional Reanimated are being delivered to the neighboring station to bring it back up to capacity."

Vladimir rose from his plush chair and walked over to a terminal in front of a window that overlooked a vast underground personal archive the size of a stadium and two dozen feet sunken into the ground beneath the floor of the room. Below, unblinking, uniformed undead toiled endlessly to categorize and record all of the incoming data to fill even larger empty shelves. With the press of a few buttons, a DCI floated out of the terminal, its form incorporeal and flickering, and scoured the shelves of the archives for books and ledgers. As he waited, Vladimir combed his white hair with a comb as ancient as he was. It was a simple thing really and practically worthless; just a plastic black comb but with the sigil of the long dead Party emblazed upon one end. Vladimir had been one of the first researchers to imbibe the Void Blood, the comb was an eternal reminder of the masters he had once served in life, and whose power he now surpassed in unlife.

The ledgers that were delivered were some of the oldest in Vladimir's possession as they hadn't been written by himself. In fact, it was the Party's scribes who wrote the books. They were a guideline as for what to do if the Gateway ever reopened while the Party was in power. How to establish legitimacy, form diplomatic connections, first contact protocols, basic safety guidelines and how to make first impressions. Vlad felt that most of what was written was pandering fluff, meant to boost the egos of the Party leaders, but some kernels of value were located within. Isolde and Jergan waited patiently as only those unconcerned with age could as an hour past and Vlad read through volumes of books, constantly searching for another passage or requesting another reference until he had formulated a plan, written down upon several scrolls.

"Jergan, ready one of the Council's Starliner science ships, preferably one with wide panoramic views. Have it be retrofitted for diplomatic purposes, order your Reanimated to decorate it as if it was for a gala. Follow the insturctions outline in this scroll. Deliver this scroll to Adjuncts Remera and Iosph Kerdaal, their expertise in rhetoric and linguistics will prove invaluable in any first contact situation with the lost children of Earth. Have them ensure their Reanimated are well dressed and looking animated, we only have one first impressions."

"Of course milord." Jergan took the scrolls and with the snap of his fingers, a score of zombies appeared in the door way, parting away as he made his way out with his orders.

"Now as for you my dear..." Vladimir turned to his beloved wife and smiled, "I believe as leading citizens of Trifera and the Council, we are obliged to create a message for the Kerdaals to deliver to whoever they meet on their journey."

(If you want to have some opening inter actions, let me know and I will write something up and we can talk OOC).
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Irredeemable
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Irredeemable Longing To Be A Robot

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A spark started in the Collective's processing. It was lit on a small scientific space station, hanging in orbit above Zeta's sandy surface, gazing out at the universe around the small, yellow dot. The spark, once lit, blossomed immediately. It grew from an ember to a conflagration in only a few moments, a flame racing across the minds of the Consciousness. On the moons of Z and 3, workers moved to see through the translucent hab-domes, on the surface of Zeta, they stared upwards, organic and biomechanical eyes adjusting to the brightness, and deep beneath the planet's surface, those that could not afford to rapidly emerge instead stared through the eyes of their friends, out onto a second sun, burning bright in the sky.

The flames said only one thing- just one short sentence. The Gateways are back.




Never before had the group mind acted so single-mindedly. Were they truly the last alive? Had the other ships settled? Founded nations? What did they look like now? What had happened to Earth since they left? Every single individual had their own questions, worries, fears, and for a few precious seconds the group mind found itself seized. Never before had every single person focused on a single thing so intently.

Furious discussions were held in the silence of the mind. Referendums were tabled, votes were tallied, arguments were put forth, debunked, edited and put forth again. The drop in efficiency that day was clearly visible on graphs and charts for years to come, as the mental power of millions was shifted to a centuries-old technological marvel in the sky.

Less than twenty-four hours later, spaceships pierced the atmosphere of Zeta. Aboard each one was a representative of the Consciousness, an individual that was clever, industrious, charismatic and not too heavily augmented, so as to better be identified with by any survivors that might not have taken such an extreme stance on transhumanism. The craft entered the vacuum of space and prepared themselves, the Gateway's systems lighting up in front of their eyes.

Countless systems. Countless habitable planets. Old Earth names- their own system still marked as 'Zeta.' But each craft had a different destination. The first- Sol System, the others flocked out, methodically ticking off boxes. Each one would silently sail into the Gateway, and in an instant find itself pulled across the galaxy, flung about like the colony ships had been so many years ago.




The first ship did not need to investigate further to know that humankind's cradle was uninhabited. The planet was dead and lifeless- no signals came from it, not even the crudest of radio transmissions. The planet, rather than the shades of blue, white and green that the Collective's memory banks had preserved, were instead a sickly greyish ochre, an atmosphere choked with particulates, a ground bereft of humans.

Now, sorrow rippled through the feeds of the Collective. Their first home- the planet they had all sprung from, was gone. Lost to their own foolishness, their inability to get along, their failures to see the train rushing down the tracks and towards them. Yet, still, the craft hung there, outside Earth's Gateway. It had another task now, now that their main method of transportation was open. Sol was the system any still capable of spacefaring would venture to- a chance to meet those who arrived to see their homeworld again.

The ship- unceremoniously named 1-Alpha-One, hung in space, having stopped itself in place. It focused transmissions towards the Gateway, and began to beam out a message.

"Hail, those that still voyage through the stars. We are one of the lost colonies, eager to meet our own kind. Please, we mean no harm."




1-Alpha-Thirty-Nine was confused. This was not Earth. This was definitely the Bezia system. So, why then, were they picking up signals that seemed like they came straight from Earth? Talks of 'Ireland,’ and 'Hollywood,' even 'God.' Confused, they gazed out onto this part of space, and saw below them a system swarming with life. Human life. There was a station near the Gateway, and one they began beaming their message.

"Hail, those that still voyage through the stars. We are one of the lost colonies, eager to meet our own kind. Please, we mean no harm."




1-Alpha-Fifty-Five had cruised through the portal, and emerged onto a system that clearly held spacefaring life. The signals they received were garbled and confusing- talk of 'The Party,' 'Mortology,' 'Trifera,' but it was language. Identifiable language. And there were identifiable nations down on the planet below.

Their message beamed out.

"Hail, those that still voyage through the stars. We are one of the lost colonies, eager to meet our own kind. Please, we mean no harm."


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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Timemaster
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Timemaster Ashevelendar

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And so it happens, first with a spark, a wavering in space- and then a flash of blinding light and heat, a storm in the void, a celestial crescendo like a sun being born. And then only a steady light.

The Chosen witness it and believe it is a sign of the God-Queen. A sign that life will change.
A nation-wide summon is sent out. "Come to the Church. Join in the service. Hear the God-Queen."
For Ashevelen to speak to her flock was something harder to do than not speaking with them, as she, herself never believed in the whole God-spiel. Science, not religion, made the Chosen. Alas, for the betterment of the people, one has to do whatever needs to be done.

The Gateway. The reason everyone is alive. The potential reason for the upcoming death of billions. To think that everyone on the other side, if anyone is still alive, will be friendly would be childish.

~~~~~~~~


In front of the palace, people would always gather and hope that one day, they'll manage to see the God-Queen. Today the day came and millions gathered. More looking from the Churches. A planet looking at one person. A planet stopping to see what it's God wants.

"My children! Look above yourself! Look above me! Look at the stars. Ever since we first arrived here, I always wondered. Has anyone else survived? Now, it's time to find out. Now, it's the time to see if anyone is worthy of receiving the light of your God-Queen.
Who will join me? Who wants to be the first who will find out if we are alone?"

As soon as the last word came out, a chorus of voices boomed. Volunteers from both the Enhanced and the Rejected soon stepped forward.
Priests gathering IDs and spreading the word to everyone around.

In an hour, even in the most desolate place of RADX-001, they will know what the God-Queen said.

~~~~~~~~


A man approached Ashevelen, bowing his head, as soon as she finished her speech, one of the most trusted advisors. Ascended William. The only one of her Ascended who knew how real her divinity actually was. The only unbeliever, carefully chosen from the Rejected and then healed of it's deformities, to keep Ashevelen grounded.

"My Queen, this is a great opportunity. May I be the one that will go? The others will be "unbelievers" and we both know that the Ascended will not take that kindly. We could have a war. "

"I'm aware of that, William. Very well aware. The divinity ruse worked for the Chosen as it was the best way to have a working society at that time but that works for our people only.
I'll accept your request. Go forth and see who's out there. Be diplomatic, offer them formula N0042-313-1 if they wish to trade. Don't take too many Rejected with you. Nothing against your kind but..."

"I know my Queen. I know. We would cause fear and the sorts."

~~~~~~~~


The Churches of the Chosen were working in overdrive after the announcement the priests were preaching to the masses the message of peace, calmness. Faith.

While the Clerics were preparing the soldiers, Enhanced or Rejected, for war. Better safe than sorry.

~~~~~~~~


Hours later, a ship was prepared. 2 dozen Enhanced soldiers, the Hierarch William and 50 of the Rejected - hidden in the cargo hold, a safety measure. Supplies and 10 vials of the N0042-313-1 formula kept under extreme security.
Approaching the Gateway, the outpost that was once created by the ancestors of the Chosen, was long abandoned. Faith that the Gateway will open once more was long ago replaced by faith in the God-Queen.

The controls for the Gateway were written in a long-lost language, old English, that only those within the Church were taught. William chose randomly one.

"Ospa".

| @GreyGoblin |
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by MetalWeight
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-------------

"Everyone just stay calm!"


A long red carpet, outlined in a golden yellow had recently unrolled itself toward a large, ornate and ancient seat, which was the very place in the throne room where the king would be sitting if he had not been late. But the rest of the room was completely packed from wall to wall, they were in a midst of both curiosity and a bit of panic, with those closely connected to the monarch standing high on steps leading to the throne. These men, so recognizable in their appearance, commanded with great authority for the most loudest and unruly to stay calm- giving disapprovingly glares and keeping a firm grip on their hilts. Some carried swords, other carried guns, while a few royal soldiers standing beside them in complete silence, the only non-nobles in the room, obediently listening for any orders to be given by their commanders. The other nobility however were far from as loyal or calm as them, endlessly chattering and talking to each other, if not straight up yelling in an anxious fear that something had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Nobility, which crowded every inch of the room like a sea of strange uniforms all bustling about in their curiosity, dressed in elaborate business suits belonging to the most powerful economists, exotic dresses from the richest families, holy clothes only worn in the most important of cathedrals, and golden armor that was made by the victorious warriors. Some had strange, tight suits with different clothes layered over them, as if a combination of the once sacred past belonging to the old colony, while also combining the new cloth that resembled ancient Earth. Some, coming from warmer climates, just wore elaborately colored togas and tunics.

Everyone was equally as uninformed as to what exactly had transpired. Flashing lights, strange happenings, perhaps ancient or alien technology. This lack of understanding alone would've been enough to cause a stir, but the king's lateness made gossip all the more engrossing and in some cases, fear-inducing.

"You think he died?" One of the men stated, looking towards the closed throne room door, past Miller, Krugel and Julius. The three men were as equally ornately dressed as the next, though Julius wore ancient plated armor and stood at an astounding height compared to everyone else in the room.

The three also all looked towards the man with disgust, confusion and disapproval.

"Oh well, I just, you know, strange things and old age, maybe he had a heart attack or-"

"Be quiet." Julius coldly stated, standing upright with his hands behind his back. The man shrugged in response and then looked elsewhere, all while the three remained quietly waiting for the king's arrival, standing next to each other as if patiently waiting in line.

Just as the room had reached a fever pitch in chatter, with even the royal guards and incredibly notoriously nobility staring at each other in confusion of what to do next, the throne room door would loudly creak open...a silence falling upon the room as all heads turned towards the slowly opening door.

The king stood their, pale skinned and with dark black hair, even in his middling age the man had an astounding figure of youth and strength, yet as well as age to his face. But none of that could be seen beneath his armor and cloth, as well as elaborate cape...strangely dressed more so for battle or an emergency than a meeting. He had a madmans look to his face, eyes staring forth right towards the throne as if speaking directly to no one yet simultaneously everyone before him. People made room, exposing the bright red carpet on the floor that lead to his seat of power, yet...He did not move.

"Its the Gateways." He said, loudly. He did not care for gasps or quiet whispers, few would understand what he meant...but those that did, those standing beside the throne and on the steps to it, those who knew the secrets of the past, incredibly quiet among the crowd, horror taking to their faces as sweat rolled down their foreheads. Augustillia wasn't ready.

"The Gateways have opened."
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by datadogie
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Zelrio Corporation
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It was business as usual for the Zelrio Corporation. On the surface of Oria, despite their monumental size, refineries were nearing capacity yet again and pumping out materials like it was nobody's business. Materials were sent to the Tristam Space Elevator, where they processed further, and sent wherever they were needed. On the edges of the ground colony, gunfire could be heard as defenders held off another wave of Vacuarians which tried to scramble up the walls. They wouldn't get through, however that tended to be a different story for the mines that were further away from the main colony. With less defences than the colony itself, every attack ended in deaths on both sides. Thankfully, few of those deaths were actually human in the case of the defenders - with it being so dangerous outside of the colony walls, infantry drones were the brunt of the defenders out in the sticks. Apart from Combat Controller teams, of course.

In space, shuttles buzzed between stations like traffic on a highway. People going about their business, freighters delivering goods to the numerous stations that dotted space above Oria's atmosphere. Giant stations, far larger than any that had been over Earth in the past, held hundreds of thousands of citizens each, their homes and their businesses. Other stations had a variety of uses, such as hydroponics, storage depots, and military stations. Fully built stations weren't the only ones around, for other stations were in various states of construction in an ever-expanding network.

Jonathan Lawrence stood at his office's window, picking out individual stations by eye. The window wasn't real, of course; That was dangerous for anyone who decided to lop off the head of state. His office was buried so deep into Callihan Station that there was no possibility of a real window. Instead, it was a screen embedded into the wall, a pretend view to space and the planet below. Still, even if it wasn't a real view, it was still one that Jonathan could appreciate. He only had the time to stand and gaze because of his position; He had been told by his predecessor that the position of National Director was a difficult one. Whilst Jonathan had previously believed it would be difficult due to the volume of what he had to accomplish, it was a different story; It was the political side that he was not used to. As the National Director, he had to make a lot more public appearances than he was used to, and had to slog through a list of projects to approve or deny. Thankfully, the other directors beneath him had their own duties, and took most of that job away, but every so often something troublesome would pop up.

For example, the gateway that had stood closed for several centuries suddenly sparking to life.

Minutes passed where Jonathan could do nothing but stare out into space, from where he had seen the spark and the light. He couldn't believe that, in his time as National Director, the gateway was going to reopen. It suddenly put a lot more responsibility on his shoulders. Privately, he had hoped that he was going to be long gone before the gateway opened, just so that he didn't have to deal with it. But here it was, and now, he needed to exploit it. To try and get back to Earth, to locate the remaining colonies. Thankfully, some preparations were already in place; Policy written long ago stated that should the gateway reopen, the Public Relations department would be renamed to the Department of Public Diplomacy and assume new, diplomatic duties alongside their old ones. Jonathan privately wondered if Amelia was actually upkeeping that part of the policy - he hadn't exactly cared for training diplomats, as there was no reason for them. Vacuarians didn't talk.

The National Director allowed his attention to drift to his terminal, which was blinking with many, many unread messages. On the other side of a glass wall was his secretary, his only companion within the office, shooting off as many replies as she could. Aiko was young and new to her role, however she was growing into it well after her father had retired. The Solaria family, from which Aiko hailed, had served the Zelrio Corporation since the beginning. They were loyal, and were known to be hard workers. Aiko was likely proud to be selected as the next Secretary of the National Director.

"Aiko, please open communications with..." Jonathan paused. Shutting his eyes for a few moments, he took in a deep breath, before deciding who he wanted to speak with. "With all of them. Put them all on mute, though."

In most meetings, the people usually trickled in slowly, some even tried to dodge out of the meeting for as long as they could. Not this time. Every Director poured into the meeting, filling Jonathan's screen with faces. Everyone was speaking, gesturing, waving their arms in a silent bid to find Jonathan's attention first, only to grow quiet as they realised that they were, in fact, not being heard. Jonathan looked between all of their faces, making sure that he had their attention, before finally speaking.

"As you all know, the Gateway has opened. I'm certain Director Everett wishes to flood us all with information from Wendegarr Station, and tell us how exciting this is, however I will save you all from that. Director Everett, we can speak about that privately, and distribute documents as needed. Then, if the other directors will hear you out, you can spiel to them all you want." That earned smiles from the others. They knew that they, and their valuable time, had been saved. Even Director Everett was smiling sheepishly.

"For now, nothing changes for the vast majority of you. Operations continue as intended, and everything will continue normally. We'll be attempting communications and outreach to any other colonies, as well as Earth. With hope, we can establish friendly relations, and open up trade. I look forward to making interstellar progress. With that being said, I announce to you all that the Public Relations department will be taking on a new name, and additional roles to go with it; the Department of Public Diplomacy. That being said, Amelia Cellica will now assume the position of director of the new department, and her previous position as manager of Public Relations will be occupied by one of her previous employees, alongside diplomatic positions."

"Finally, before I let you go, I will be designating space around the Gateway as a restricted zone. Only ships that have purpose there should be there. That's military, research vessels, and diplomatic ships. If you have a reason why you should be allowed through, send it, and I'll make the determination. Though, there is a possibility I may have that duty delegated to Director Cellica in the future. With that being said, you're all free to leave, bar Director Cellica and Admiral Sutherland. I'll need to talk to both of you." With that, they all began to disconnect. Jonathan knew that he would receive quite a few more emails soon, but he could bear with it. Soon enough, the only three people were himself and the two that he had beckoned to stay.

"My ships are already moving into position. I had predicted that it was going to turn into a no-fly zone. We've doubled patrols in that area. I have a feeling that if our gate has opened, others have, too. The dockyards have started to change some of their production over to military ships, now that there's going to be an actual need for them," Admiral Sutherland says, once he and Director Cellica's mutes were revoked. "I've doubled the amount of marines that we have stationed at Wendegarr Station, too. We're prepared, just in case. One of my frigates have reported that the gateway is receptive to us, so likely if other colonies are getting theirs back up, they'll be able to come to us."

"I've already started picking out diplomatic personnel from my existing personnel. I've started drafting up person specifications for Human Resources, too, and digging out the old training materials. We're going to have to start recruiting more personnel," Director Cellica explains. "So, my current plans..."

Three hours later, the trio were still discussing all sorts of scenarios. At the top of their list was First Contact, and how they were going to present themselves, as they were unsure how other the other colonies would take seeing that a corporation was running an entire colony, government and all. The conversation stopped when Admiral Sutherland suddenly held up his hand. "Directors, we've just had a ship come through the gateway. A shuttle, all by itself. Captain Lillith will be talking to them, as there are no diplomatic personnel there, yet. She'll be attempting to take them to Featherfall Station," the Admiral states. Both of the directors were alarmed; They hadn't expected anyone to arrive so soon!

"Director Cellica, I want yourself and... Two Combat Controllers to meet the shuttle at Featherfall station, should they wish to land. The Combat Controllers are to serve as escorts for the shuttle's occupants whilst they are within our space. In fact, that'll be rule of thumb. Two Combat Controllers per diplomatic party. I want to avoid any incidents," Jonathan says. He was going to have to look into Captain Lillith's career later, she had good intuition to pick Featherfall station, rather than any of the corporate stations, or even coming straight to Callihan Station to see him like he knew some ship captains would have tried to offer. Featherfall was one of the most beautiful stations they had; it was several kilometers of land within a metal dome, like a gigantic, enclosed park. Stark contrast to the hell that was the land on Oria, which had random fires showing their face every so often amongst muddy and often charred land.

----====----


"Captain to the bridge, Captain to the bridge."

Olivia Lillith was on the bridge and in the captain's chair as fast as she could get there. Her eyes skimmed over reports that were flooding in. No shot, she thought to herself. A vessel had already arrived through the gateway. There went her hope to be the first one in three hundred years to travel through one, but she still had a shot at being the first one of the Zelrio Corporation to fly through. "Kilo, give me an analysis of the ship," she asks.

The ship's artificial intelligence, Kilo, responded quickly to her query. "Barely a ship. The vessel meets the specifications of a shuttle, but for all we know, that could be another colony's version of a battleship." Olivia couldn't help but chuckle at the AI's explanation. "In any case, it's a small ship. Probably an envoy, or some sort of explorer or scout, clearly not a threat to us."

"Comm, send a message to Admirality, high priority, that we're going to be making contact with the shuttle. We'll try and get it to Featherfall Station," Olivia says. "And open a communications link to the shuttle. It's time to make first contact." Olivia waited until her communications officer gave her a thumbs-up, and then sent the first message.

"Unknown Vessel, this is Captain Olivia Lillith of the Zelrio Corporation, the colony of the planet Oria. We welcome you with open arms to our system."
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by GreyGoblin
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Oasis was crowded with military members, the city seemed to swallow all signs of individual life in crowds. For the first time all the members of The Council had been gathered together in one place before, usually calling in from different parts of the planet. Together they sat in an office around a circular table. Gai Sebai was the first one to speak.

“I nominate myself as high general.”

Without a word all of the council raised their hands, all except one. The human supremacist, Mark Delano.

“Why are we agreeing to let a dirty Osparian be high general? We're looking for humans, that means it should be led by humans right? I nominate myself.”

Gai shot back, “Having me as general will not change the mission objective, nor will it have influence on the racial aspects of the crew we send through the gateway. I will carry out my duty efficiently and safely.”

Mark’s face had turned brighter than the sun. “We Are Humans! We are looking for humans. When they see a crew of dirty genetic freaks don’t you think they might shoot on sight?” He asks as an open question for the rest of the council.

A voice rings through the room, “I think I speak on the rest of the council's behalf when I say I give Mr.Sebai my vote.” The council had agreed, the military privileges were given to Gai, and he’d be damned if someone was gonna get in his way.

______________________


Weston Obrak sat in a dim bar that smelled of chemicals. He was in no rush to volunteer like some people were. There would surely be more than enough people to volunteer so people weren't forced to go. Luckily for Obrak he knew he’d go. He had revived a message on his pad from a recruiter an hour before the main message went out over the planetary message system. He was going to be captain of the ship “Hermes”. He was always itching for adventure, now he was finally going to find it. He would be the first person to fly through the gate, this was going to fun. He was already in his latex flight suit.

______________________


All mining outposts and moon bases were now flooded with soldiers and engineers. They were all being turned into makeshift military forts, and the production of ships had been prioritized. Everyone was scrambling to prepare. Soldiers were being loaded onto ships and being transported to other bases, while citizens were being sent back down to the planet. Ships were being prepared to stand guard over the portal. They were the first line of defense, they would stand there and wait, they'd be the first point of contact. Everyone had already adorned their exo-suits and had made their ways onto ships. Soon “Hermes”, their explorer ship, would take flight. Everyone was on their toes, no one was prepared enough. It was almost night time in the Ospa cycle when a loud chime came over all military comms and systems. That was the green light. Billions could view the sight of these ships from live camera feed, everyone hoped and everyone believed. This would be something great.

______________________


“The glorious maker, oh how he cares for his sheep, ain’t that right ya bunch of silent fu-“ The common soldier is forced to be quiet as his commander enters the brig. Obrak was steadily approaching the gate. In all the years he was a kid he never imagined such a thing. The “Hermes” was escorted by 2 other ships to the gate. A large number of ships had been gathering at a small asteroid mining outpost. They were waiting on standby for something to go through. Obrak had no problem with the crew he was given. Along with him he had an Osparian co-pilot, there were 50 human soldiers along with 30 Osparian soldiers and 20 Spars. Along with them they were also given 5 Shadorn priests, he had no idea how a bunch of silent people were supposed to testify, they had nothing other than their small “holy books' ” ', but that wasn’t his concern.

What was concerning was that he had no idea what condition the other side of the gateway was in. If it ended terribly they’d end up in the middle of an alien civil war. But that was a worry for later. He waited as he slowly approached the gateway. The ship was silent, every breath of the crew could be heard. He watched as the two accompanying ships drifted to the sides, staying away from the gate. He slowly started going forward. It wasn’t long before he was flying in. Colors contorted and twisted, he was going through.

Wherever he ended up he hoped for the best. “For the glory of Ospa, For the betterment of The Alliance.”, he quietly mumbled.
Unknowingly a small interface had appeared before him, without knowing he accidentally selected a destination at random.



Approaching: @datadogie
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by GreyGoblin
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The signs of life had everyone on high alert.

All stations had any and all long range weapons pointed to the portal, only moments ago had one of their ships gone through, no one had expected it to return so soon. But after even just a slight scan they could tell it wasn’t them coming through. All military outposts were on high alert, they all went into defense.

As for the 2 ships that had been lingering around the portal they weren't prepared. All had hoped to see life out there other than them, but none really liked the thought of it seeking them out. As the ship came through the portal none were prepared to intercept. But as it slowly came through the 2 ships slowly drifted closer. They waited till the ship was in clear view. Wreaking the nerves of everyone, as the live feed of the ship leaving was still on, it was quickly shut off by the council. Gai Sebai, high general, had taken base at a mining outpost close to the portal. As soon as he saw the ship he had forced his way onto comms. He had the ships set it up so that he was able to send messages from 1 of the 2 ships to the travelers ship.

“This is Gai Sebai of The Alliance, you are an alien vessel coming through our gate. We would like to welcome you in peace, unless that is a choice not available in this situation. We ask first that you state your intentions, for we will not leave our home-world open to risk. Second, we ask that you allow us to board your ship to make contact, and if that is not an available option, that you land at a space dock we will designate so that we can make contact. We hope you will give us your cooperation.” He says in common.

He waited a minute to collect his breath and thoughts before he related the same message 3 more times.

The second in Osparion.

The third in a rough translation of English.

The third in binary.

______________________


On Ospa people were out of control. The live feed had been cut as an object was coming out, there had been multiple theorists already coming up with conspiracies on what it had been. Some people were fearing for their lives, they were going and stocking up on all supplies. Some people who were on planet side domes tried their hardest to get below ground on any flyers that docked. All government worker was having trouble trying to censor the net and stop certain comms from working.

The council were in uproar, they had been trying to get through to the high general but with no reply, all the assistant that picked up the comms could say was that the high general was making contact. The council didn’t like being uninformed, it was the general's job to protect, but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t share information first.

@Timemaster
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The Undefeated


Kelsie was enjoying a long, scalding hot shower, streams of water running down her lean body. She ran her fingers through short dark hair, rinsing the last remains of shampoo off. It was not a regulation to have it that short, more of a recommendation, but in her position she couldn't afford to look too womanly. She took a deep breath and switched the tap to the other side, slowly exhaling as ice-cold drops fell on her skin, feeling like being pinched by thousands of tiny needles.

Wrapped in a small towel she stepped out of the bathroom, quickly glancing over the room. The bed was already perfectly made, with no sign on it being used for the past hour. It was no surprise, every trooper remembered their first year in the military academy and the endless hours of bed making and uniform folding. A young man next to the bed was just putting his pants on, but when she entered, he quickly jumped to attention. Kelsie smirked a bit, she hoped he would be gone by now. “At ease. You are dismissed, captain.”

The man quickly finished dressing and then hesitated for a moment. “Ma’am? About my application…”

“I said I would think about it. Now get lost.” She sighed and started up her terminal. Yes, a promise once given needed to be kept. He wanted to apply for a promotion to a squadron leader and having a higher officer’s recommendation helped smooth the way. Kelsie’s thoughts wandered to the past hour and she smiled a bit. He was good (in more things than just waging war on the Screechers), but was he really good enough to decide the fate of so many men? Her fingers stopped above the keyboard. What the hell was his name? He was a captain, sure, his first name was David, but the last name? Baker? Barker?

A beeping comlink interrupted her thoughts. An urgent meeting was called by the Grand General.




Twenty minutes later she was entering the Tactical room. Several Guardians were already present and quiet but nervous chatter filled the room. Kelsie came closer to a large figure standing in a corner. “Guardian Hamonga,” she greeted the man. Hamonga seemed intimidating to most people, but Kelsie served with him and knew him well. It was in fact him, who suggested her name when a Guardian position opened up, the second-highest rank a person could achieve.

“Guardian Blackwood,” he turned to her. “We are just waiting on Guardian Tai.”

“Tai? Isn’t he on the way north to the front now?”

“He has been recalled, this meeting has the highest priority.”

Kelsie wanted to ask how something could have a higher priority than the ongoing war but didn’t get a chance. Guardian Tai just walked in, followed by Grand General Oscar Pawlowski. The room went silent, everyone standing at attention.

“At ease,” Pawlowski walked to the large table in the middle of the room and sat on one of the chairs. “Sit.” He was not known to waste time with extra words. When all gathered, he swiped on his datapad, sending a data stream to everyone in the room. “The situation is as follows. The Gateway in the system has reopened. So far nothing has come through. We have our sensors locked on that area of space and our small spaceships will take turns patrolling around it.”

The room was silent, everyone scrolling through the data, trying to hide their surprise. “We do not have any means to wage war in space. The spacecraft are for reconnaissance and small transport only, we don't have any bigger spaceships at our disposal. Our missiles can’t travel through space, our troop carriers cannot leave the atmosphere, the personal exoskeletons are not designed to protect from the hard vacuum,” Guardian Tai summed up what everyone else was thinking. “If we get attacked now, we are screwed.”

“Maybe we don’t necessarily have to start a new war with whoever is on the other side of the Gateways?” Coming from a scary figure like Hamonga, words of peace sounded almost ironic. “We could contact other colonies, establish trade routes. We are already at one war that is eating up all our resources. A second conflict, let alone with an advanced civilization, might pose a threat to all we have been building here.”

“It would be wise to gather as much information as possible,” Kelsie added. “We have been at war for 300 years, but others might have been at peace. They could have made huge technological progress in that time.”

“I agree,” Pawlowski interrupted her. “And you are wrong, Guardian Tai. We have one spaceship. The Revenant was originally meant to be the main transport vessel for the intended mining colony on the Donut, but it is being equipped with a small modular fusion reactor and armed with the biggest laser guns we have. It is not much, but at least it will not be going completely unarmed.”

“Going where?”

“Glad that you asked, Guardian Blackwood. The Revenant is going through the Gateway on a diplomatic and recon mission. Since we are a bit short on diplomats,” he grinned, “you will be leading that expedition.”

Kelsie stared at him, stunned by the fact that he actually made a joke. Short on diplomats. What the hell would we need diplomats for? Everyone who ever tried to negotiate with the natives (and there have been some so stupid in the early days of colonization) disappeared. There were findings of human bones with teeth marks, but never any survivors. Then Kelsie’s brain finally caught up with what the Great General actually said. She was supposed to lead this mission?

“The activities on the northern front are suspended until this situation is resolved. We will only keep garrison in the strongholds. The 8th and 9th are recalled back to the Citadel. I expect all of you to start working on ideas on how to deal with this new threat. Guardian Blackwood, you have your orders, all details on a separate data stream. You are dismissed.”

“Yes, sir,” Kelsie saluted and marched out of the room, catching a glimpse of Hamonga giving her thumbs up before the door closed behind her. What just happened?




The Revenant looked way better than Kelsie had expected. There were a lot of workers and technicians running around, welding this and cutting that. She left them to do their business and headed inside, throwing her bag onto one of the bunkbeds. There was no room for comfort, but she was used to this. A good quartermaster could actually cram even more people in there.

The engine room was one big mess, cables and pipes lying and hanging everywhere. Two technicians were tinkering with a huge box that was evidently not in the ship’s original plans. A young girl was directing them and Kelsie headed towards her. “Commander Harding?”

The girl turned to Kelsie but before she could say a word a slender man jumped from the corner. “That would be me, Guardian. Don’t mind this one, that is just my assistant.” He impatiently waved at the girl to get back to work. “Miss Petrova will be coming with us to erm… assist me.”

Kelsie noticed that he didn't use any rank when referring to the girl. So she was Rejected, and an exceptionally smart one to be allowed to work on such an important project. “So, this is your big invention, Commander?” Kelsie pointed towards the box.

Harding swelled with pride. “Yes, yes, my great invention. Portable cold fusion reactor, small enough to fit in here, but it will keep the ship going for years.”

“Weren’t these things only in the experimental phase? Is there any danger?” Kelsie had her doubts about using an untested technology on such a crucial mission.

The scientist scoffed. “I can assure you, that all MY inventions are perfectly safe, Guardian!”

Kelsie watched the assistant’s face and couldn’t miss a sad grin when Harding talked about HIS inventions. It was not uncommon for the scientists to find a very talented low-ranked or Rejected person to do all the work and just claim the credits. Kelsie found it disgusting, but it was officially not illegal. “Fine, fine. Let’s just hope that YOUR invention will at least get us into space without blowing the ship into pieces.”

She left the techies to their inventions and mysterious boxes and headed back to the top deck to greet the new arrivals. Four men and two women were unpacking their bags and chatting, all jumping up to attention when she walked in. A tall dark man made a step forward. “Squad 9-C-17 ‘The Reapers’, reporting as ordered, ma’am.”

“At ease, assholes,” Kelsie grinned.

“Well, well, look at her, how cocky she got with her new ranks and whatnot. Still, she calls us when she needs to have her ass covered,” one of the women laughed and mockingly saluted.

“I will let you cover my ass any time, Janice,” another man replied and winked at her.

“It is First Sergeant Springer to you, stupid tincan,” Janice hissed and threw a shoe at him.

“Some things never change,” Kelsie smiled. “Make sure you have all your gear and weapons safely stored. Did they give you the hard vacuum suit and gun upgrades?”

“Well, they made some tinkering to it, we haven’t tested it yet.”

“Let’s hope we won’t have to. This is supposed to be a diplomatic mission, you guys are here just in case something goes wrong.” Kelsie was no diplomat, so she expected a lot of things to go wrong.

“Aaand we are back to the ass-covering.”

Kelsie laughed and left them to their bickering. She knew she could count on them, they had been in countless missions together and always pulled through, although not always without losses. There was just one crew member missing now.

A young man walked up the ramp to the ship, a standard military bag over his shoulder. “Cap… Major David Parker reporting for duty,” he saluted her.

“Welcome on board,” Kelsie smiled. “I see you are enjoying your promotion.” She did eventually remember his last name and when it came to choosing the person who will be piloting the ship, she picked him. He had a lot of experience flying with shuttles in enemy territories and an impressive number of pterro takedowns. Plus, this could be a long mission and it was always useful to have some ‘entertainment’ at hand.




Everything on the ship was shaking as they were leaving the atmosphere, but it held together, no explosions or other mishaps. The crew gathered on the bridge to take one last glimpse of the planet. “It looks so peaceful from up here,” Kelsie said quietly. “Anyway, we should get going. Major Parker, is everything ready to go?”

“All systems are in green, ma’am. We had a small leak of the cooling agent, but Commander Harding is taking care of it and says it is not a problem.”

Kelsie rolled her eyes. “If he says so. Let’s go then.”

The Revenant passed two small shuttles patrolling the area around the Gateway. As the ship came closer to it, the Gateway interface popped up on their displays, offering a list of available locations. “Well we all know where we need to go first,” Kelsie pointed at one word at the top of the list. Earth.




“Well, this sucks,” Janice summed up what everyone else was thinking as they stared down on the cradle of all mankind. The planet was completely devoid of all life, no water or vegetation visible anywhere, no life detectable. The stations and satellites that once orbited it were either gone or heavily damaged, drifting aimlessly through space.

“I am detecting another ship,” Parker pointed at one of the screens. “It seems to be a small shuttle, and…,” he pressed a few buttons, “it is transmitting a message.”

"Hail, those that still voyage through the stars. We are one of the lost colonies, eager to meet our own kind. Please, we mean no harm."

People on the bridge looked at each other. Shivers ran down Kelsie’s spine, but she was trained not to show any emotions. “Open a channel. The Revenant to the unknown ship. This is Guardian Kelsie Blackwood. We are also representatives of one of the colonies and I have to say we are happy to see we weren’t the only ones to survive. We are looking to establish friendly relations and possible trade routes.” Kelsie ended the transmission and took a deep breath. “Take us closer to that shuttle, but slowly, we don't want to spook them.”

@Irredeemable
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Tortoise
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(Addressing: @Raylah and @Irredeemable)


The dawn breaks slow, because it has all the time in the world. There's no rush here. Already, birds are chirping their sing-songs, and the brook is bubbling along beneath. The ground is soft beneath her feet; it smells like pine. There's only one place in the universe this perfect. It's another beautiful morning on Earth.

But then a tear runs down her cheek, because it is a lie. She has seen Earth, today, and it doesn't have an ounce of beauty left.

At her command, the Holographic Suite flickers off. The birds disappear, not even leaving the echo of a chirp. Without all those tricks of light and sensation, the Suite is a small, dead room, painfully white. It is occupied only by two people: the human woman named Jamila Abadi, and a smiling hologram who has no name.

"Ms. Abadi!" the holographic man says, in the friendly tone all programs use, "I do so hope you enjoyed the show?"

She wipes the tear from her eye, feeling self-conscious even though she knows the man in front of her isn't real- that he's only made of light. "Of course," she says.

"Wonderful!" he cheers. "Shall I help you select another program? A new holo-film was just released today, from the makers of-"

"Suite: Mute."

He stops talking. But does stay smiling, very incapable of being offended. She leaves him there, grinning cheerfully in the general direction of the door. He'll probably stay that way all night.

After all, Student Abadi, daughter of the Oligarchy and soon to be initiated into it, newly-assigned diplomat and first ECU citizen to see Earth in three centuries, has bigger matters to attend to. There are two other ships here. One is broadcasting a (slightly annoying) message on repeat, and the other is trying to talk to it. Hopefully, Abadi thinks, to tell it to shut that broadcast off.

Her thoughts are being unkind right now. It's only been five minutes since her ship was ordered through the Gateway, four minutes since she looked upon Earth, and three minutes since, overwhelmed with emotion, she excused herself to the Holographic Suite. She left the other two crew-members of this little shuttle to stay at helm, themselves torn between watching the foreign ships and watching the sad story that is humanity's old home. She can't help but notice that one of them is crying, too.

Why are you still here? she wants to ask those ships. You can see that Earth is gone. It's over. Why are you here? But she knows the answer.

"Hail, foreign ships," she finally broadcasts outwards, picking her best Old American accent. "We are travelers as well, from the..." the irony suddenly makes her tongue go thick, "...Earth Cultural Union. We greet you."

~~~~~~~~

(Addressing: @datadogie)


"Unknown Vessel," the holographic woman in front of him recites, "this is Captain Olivia Lillith of the Zelrio Corporation, the colony of the planet Oria. We welcome you with open arms to our system."

He waits a moment, and then asks "That's the end of the message?"

"Yes," the hologram secretary confirms.

Tanaka nods at once, looking very unsure of himself. Not that it matters either way, because nobody's looking at him. The other two crewmen are staring diligently out into space, taking in the sheer scale of the threat before them. Being loyal ECU citizens, they were raised on holographic horror stories of aliens, abhumans and invaders just the same as anyone. Tanaka alone is too naive to feel the danger. When he looks at the massive, looming ship through his viewscreen, he only senses curiosity. (And, maybe, the slight tingle of nerves that comes with any new responsibility.)

After some thought, he commands his holo-secretary to send back the following message:

"Captain Olivia Lillith of the Zelrio Corporation, of the planet of Oria, I am Oligarch Tanaka, student of our wise Savant James Heralds, and humble explorer in this world..." Growing up as a Student, his teachers only ever praised him for Eloquence. Luckily, this was also the class they had cared most about. "Our people are dedicated to preserving the knowledge and essence of Earth, humanity's long-lost home. But I now believe there are no words in any of its languages to express the joy I feel at this encounter."

~~~~~~~~

(Addressing: @Irredeemable)


If all goes well, they won't even know they're in a Suite.

James Heralds had been surprised to hear that message which was sent to the Gateway Listening Post. So quickly? In the same moment Tanaka leaves, or near to it, the alien ship appears. It left him with the feeling he had participated in some strange exchange.

Within two minutes, he had already run through every scenario his mind could imagine, weighed the odds, and landed at the following conclusions.

1.) Because it has access to the Gateway, the ship is most likely from an Earth colony.
2.) Because it is an Earth colony, they are most likely human.
3.) Because they are human, they can be manipulated.

The rules of manipulation are so well-known to Heralds, after more practice playing at them than most people would get out of their entire lives, that he does not need to call them to mind. He knows instinctively that one will need to get them in a controlled environment, and that one needs to impress them early on. Very early. Really, he would prefer it was done already, but if you want something done right...

'Invite them onboard,' he hammers the message into his steel-gray infopad. 'Take them straight to the Holographic Suite. Have it already set to a very impressive program, visually speaking.' He considers for a moment, and then decides 'the Royal Court scene. If they do not know what a Holo-Suite is, they may believe they are within an actual room in the station.' This will grant the visitors the impression that the ECU constructs lavish and complex areas within even their research outposts, making them seem far wealthier than they are.

'If they recognize it as being artificial, do not act surprised or offended. Convince them, if you can,' for he knows how often other people struggle with this, 'that you never intended deception. That is, that they were meant to know it was a Holographic Suite, and we are only putting our best foot forward.' He debates whether to tell his citizens to make their guests feel stupid for not knowing what a Suite is, but decides that would be too complicated of a maneuver for them.

Without a moment of hesitation, for hesitating means you are lost, the Savant James Heralds sends his message to the Listening Post.
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Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Timemaster
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Timemaster Ashevelendar

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On RADX-001, everything was chaotic. Hastily constructed troop deployers were being adapted to space travel and sent to guard the Gateway soon after the first ship left the planet. Fighting in space wouldn't be a problem for the Enhanced or even the Rejected, weapons were not needed nor were they ever intended to be used in space conditions.

The Hierarchs gathered in the throne room with courtiers standing in the background whispering between themselves. Church Guards kept the masses at bay.

On the throne, a slender figure stood. Dressed in a lab coat with a simple crown on her head. The God-Queen was listening to the complaints of the Hierarchs. One at a time or at least, that would've been ideal as they all spoke at the same time.

"SILENCE! EVERYONE! One at a time. Speak only when asked to do so. Christina, approach and state your complaint."

The most human of the Enhanced approached, as ordered, Christina. No visible Enhancements, no strange body parts, nothing would discern her from a normal human.

"My Goddess, long may you guide us towards the Light. I wish to know why you've sent Ascended William to see if anyone else survived? I don't wish to question your wisdom but I want to better understand it. " Christina spoke with as much diplomacy as ever, a skill which she honed to perfection.
"He was one of the Rejected, even if Enhanced now. Basically, he is not a human. If our ancestors evolved differently than us, they might think of him as an alien.
And the most important thing. He is not a diplomat, he has no training whatsoever in dealing with others."

"Oh' my dear, that's why I'm the leader and you're not. No foresight at all. That is true, there's a chance that he might be viewed as an alien and destroyed but he's also a golden opportunity to show anyone who's out there, what we're capable of. Thus' bringing my Light to them. As for his skills as a diplomat? You don't have any training whatsoever either. Not real training. Only with Adepts and the sorts. Those mean 0 in front of someone else. "

"M-my Goddess, I-I am sorry for doubting you. I beg your forgiveness"

"Anyone else wanting to doubt my decisions or is it alright if we wait until Ascended William comes back? I've got work to do. "

A complete silence overcame the room and that's the queue Ashevelen was waiting to leave. She's got experiments to do. Work to continue. Enhancements to improve and stabilize.

~~~~~~~~

(Addressing: @GreyGoblin)


"Calm. Keep it straight. Eaaaasy. '' screamed William at his compatriots. Not used to flying, it was hard to teach someone the basics of flying in the first place but to keep it still, that would take a lot more than just a test-fly-by.

As soon as they were out of the Gateway, they were greeted by other spaceships and behind them, a planet. Similar to the beaches of RADX-001 in color.

"Hierarch? We're being hailed. " said the pilot.

"Put it through. Let's see what we're dealing with. Announce the Rejected below to get ready to leap out of the ship and put a few holes into the other ship IF they prove dangerous."

Initially confusion was all that William was experiencing as the voice kept talking. A few recognisable words but nothing more and then, the message was repeated. English and binary.
"Adept, analyze the language and save the audio file. The Goddess has to hear this when we get back."
"Understood, Hierarch."

"Gai Sebai of The Alliance, this is Hierarch William of The Chosen. We come in peace. We wish to see who we're sharing borders with, now that the Gateways have opened. If it's all the same to you. You can board our ship but be careful. Any hostile intent will be answered with extreme prejudice.
You can come yourself and another 5 men or women. We'll allow you to keep any weapons you bring with yourselves but they have to be holstered.
I repeat, any hostile intent will be answered with extreme prejudice. "

Following the example of Gai, he repeated the same message in English and binary.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by datadogie
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datadogie Cloak and Dagger

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Zelrio Corporation


"Captain, a reply has come in," the communications officer says, waving a hand at Olivia, who gave him a single nod of affirmation. Upon playing the message, Olivia found herself curious. This Oligarch Tanaka hadn't addressed himself of an envoy or ambassador of any kind, more-so just one of his teacher's students and an explorer. She wondered if he was just wording it curiously, or if they already had a gateway up for some time, and were now just sending explorers out to ones that opened one by one rather than a diplomatic party. She gave a thumbs up to the communications officer, wishing for another reply to be sent.

"Oligarch Tanaka, I too cannot express how glad I am to see a friendly face come out from the gateway that has remained closed for so long," She says. "As pleasant as it is speaking like this, our diplomatic personnel would much prefer to meet you in person - and are most likely biting their nails that I'm speaking with you for this long. I invite you for a meeting on board one of our stations, and should you accept, will provide escort and navigational data to reach it." She nods to the communication officer, who sends off the message to Tanaka. Immediately, she was signalled by the sensor officer.

"New contact," The sensor officer reported. This time, he seemed a touch more alarmed than he had with the little shuttle. "A large ship just flew in. It looks like a piece of shit with engines, but it's bigger than the shuttle."

"If it isn't shooting at us, then we won't shoot at it," Olivia replies, though she was a little more worried than that. "We'll send the same message was we did before. Open arms and shit." She waved to the communications officer.

"New vessel, this is Captain Olivia Lillith of the Zelrio Corporation, the colony of the planet Oria. We welcome you with open arms to our system. Please respond."
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Irredeemable Longing To Be A Robot

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| In collaboration with @Raylah |


1-Alpha-One pivoted towards the signal as soon as it came in. Another ship. Another spacefaring colony. The Consciousness was not alone. This information sparked another wildfire to race through the Collective’s processing systems... But there was still some doubt. They had yet to meet these other colonists, to see them face to face.

“This is 1-Alpha-One. It is very good to see you there, Guardian Blackwood. Permission to come aboard? And, if so, would you mind awfully showing us a convenient airlock to come aboard on?” As the ship broadcast its message back, it responded with movement, engines firing up to slowly bring it closer to the other vessel.

The bridge was silent as they listened to the response. Alfonso Rodriguez, the Reaper Squadron commander, frowned. “I don’t think it is a good idea to just let potential enemies on board.”

Kelsie wasn’t so sure about it either, but there weren’t many other options. “They seem to be peaceful, at least for now. We need to take advantage of that and get as much information as possible. Plus, this is supposed to be a diplomatic mission. So let’s make some diplomacy, people. Major Parker, open the B-2 airlock and send them the coordinates. Rodriguez and Springer, get your weapons, you two will function as an armed escort. Pick our guests up at the airlock and lead them to the conference room. And try to look friendly.”

The conference room was just a small storage room equipped with some chairs and a table, nothing fancy. Not that the Undefeated would ever make anything look fancy on purpose. Kelsie stood there in her formal uniform, trying not to look nervous. She was unarmed. It originally seemed like a good idea to appear more diplomatic, but now it made her feel almost naked.

1-Alpha-One manouvered itself into position. There was a long pause as crewmembers aboard the vessel strode to the airlock, but then, sure enough, across from B-2, a port opened. Three figures, dressed in sleek white EVA suits stood in the light of their ship.

“Deploying magnetic hook.” One of the figures had retrieved a large, cannon-looking device from the airlock, and was now aiming it just adjacent to B-2. None would hear as the device fired its clamp, but the unspooling metal coil and the flattened shape of the thing made its purpose obvious. It made contact with a dull thunk noise, and then the figure would affix the firing device to the wall again, the three figures hooking themselves onto the line with harnesses.

“Heading across.” Slowly, almost painfully so, the three began to make their way across. Minutes dragged out as they slowly hauled themselves across the gap between the two vessels, inching closer and closer to the B-2 airlock. Finally, they arrived adjacent to it, the first figure swinging themselves back and forward, before slamming both feet down against the foreign ship.

Disconnecting the harness, they took a few steps along the side of the vessel, magnetic clamps in their feet holding them steady, and stood comfortably inside the airlock, the other two performing a similar trick to board. The airlock clamped shut around them and air flooded back in.

Not long after, three figures emerged into the conference room. The first, and the one that seemed to be leading the trio, was a chestnut-skinned woman with a pulled back black bun of hair. Although obviously human, mechanical replacements had crept into their appearance. The front portions of their hands and their neck were both made from black metal, contrasting nicely with the pale blue-and-gold lehenga choli she wore. Behind her was what appeared to be a humanoid android, cables snaking out of their head to mimic dreadlocks, individually articulated limbs and extremities and digitigrade legs, and next to them was a tall, broad-shouldered and pale-skinned man. His only obvious replacements were subtle synth-lines on his left arm and his eyes, which were ringed by metal and blinked a luminescent red.

The first woman raised her hand, palm-first towards Kelsie. Her small and ring finger were held together, parted from her middle and index finger, which were, in turn, parted from her thumb. “Hello.” She said plainly. “I am Sigma-Devi, from the colony that arrived in the Zeta system. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Kelsie had seen a lot of crazy things in her life, but this? This was on a whole new level of craziness. It took all the self-control she had to not stare at her visitors with her mouth open. She remembered their transmission. ‘Eager to meet our own kind.’ But were they still the same kind?

The robotic man, or whatever that thing was, was too disturbing to look at and the other man’s red eyes made shivers run down her spine, so she decided to focus on their leader. The woman was dressed in a beautiful gown that seemed almost inappropriate in the plain room with oil stains on the floor. Kelsie couldn’t help but wonder if Sigma-Devi was hiding more implants under the intricate piece of clothing.

The two Reapers she assigned to guard duty entered the room right after the visitors and now stood silently by the door with their weapons ready. Kelsie was glad she didn’t have to be alone in the room with the creepy strangers and made a mental note to always bring at least one more ‘diplomat’ should any further meeting occur. Her military mind was already playing out what-if scenarios. She was fairly certain that Springer and Rodriguez could take out Sigma-Devi and the red-eyed guy almost immediately, but the third man (if you decide to call that thing a man) was a mystery. One could only guess what surprises the strangers were hiding.

The robotic figure turned towards the two Reapers as they entered the room. Its face was blank- a sheer surface illuminated from behind by a rainbow of lights so that one could tell the direction it was looking in. Its feet clinked softly against the floor of the ship as it turned fully to face them, but Sigma-Devi seemed not to pay it or them any mind, moving forward to stand behind the table.

The robot surely didn’t like being watched by armed people. The question was whether he was just nervous or felt threatened. Fortunately, standing guard was part of a base training, and the Reapers were doing a great job of just standing there, staring aimlessly into the room, still being ready to jump right into combat any second should it become necessary. Kelsie tried not to pay any attention to this silent exchange

Kelsie didn’t even try to mimic Sigma’s gesture: she didn’t want to risk it just in case her messing it up would be considered a deadly insult. She just bowed her head a bit, inviting the visitors to the table. “Welcome to the Revenant. We come from a colony from a planet we call Ellara, although the official system designation was FT-8PO. We have not had an easy start there, but managed to pull through.” Kelsie paused, not wanting to reveal too much information. Saying ‘we are still at war that we are far from winning’ probably wouldn’t be too diplomatic. Or smart for that matter. “This is the first system we have ventured into, hoping other colonists will also want to look at what happened to Earth. Have you managed to contact anyone else yet?”

“I’m afraid we have no records of FT-8PO.” She paused for a moment, as if in thought. “But yes. We have ventured into other systems, and we have received a signal from a third ship here in Sol. One that claims to be from the ‘Earth Cultural Union.’ We have not contacted them yet. The other system has not yet responded to our hails.” She paused. “How about your own efforts? Have you met with others?”

Kelsie paused. How did she get that information? She didn’t appear to have any visible commslink, perhaps it was in one of her implants? And how does she even know what is happening in another system right now? “You are the first ones we have met here. As we have no contact with our home planet, we cannot be certain if someone else didn’t use our Gateway while we were gone. This system surely is busy,” Kelsie smiled. “If you excuse me for a few seconds.” She got up and walked to a corner, reaching for her comlink. “Parker, hail that new ship, and tell them to hold on for a bit, we will get to them as soon as we are done here,” she said quietly, knowing that her guests are listening to every word. “It is good that there are more surviving colonies,” she returned to the table. “After the trouble, we went through and the efforts we have had to make to just survive, we were afraid that others would not have been so lucky.” Of course, luck has had nothing to do with why the Undefeated survived. “I am sure you have run into plenty of problems yourselves.”

Sigma-Devi watched as Kelsie moved over and gave off instructions, remaining politely still. Behind her, the robotic form had turned back around. “Forgive me,” the woman said, slowly. “I did not introduce my fellows. This is Alpha-Newton, and this is Omega-Babbage.” She indicated first to the red-eyed man, and then to the robotic form, each of which would present their palms and split their fingers like Sigma-Devi had.

“Yes, Zeta-5… It was not a very hospitable place. Omega-Babbage here is currently controlling an anti-predator form.” ‘Controlling.’ The Collective had decided it would keep transcendence a secret, at least for now. “Alpha-Newton here has had his eyes replaced so as to better handle the sun.”

“I am pleased to meet you,” Kelsie nodded towards the two men. So there was someone remotely controlling this thing? That would be so useful in combat. But it is probably not a good time to ask if they could send a few dozens of them our way. “Remotely controlled machines to fight off the predators seem like a very good idea. You have made great technological advances. But isn’t having your eyes replaced just for the sake of sun protection a bit extreme? Surely a pair of sunglasses could work just as well.” Kelsie smiled nervously, realizing too late that her dumb attempt at making a joke could be seen as a huge insult to the Zetans. She had no training for this, dammit!

“Thank you.” Sigma-Devi bobbed down into a quick bow, palms pressed together. “We are proud of what we have accomplished on our new world, despite all its hardships.” She paused to look at Alpha-Newton, who looked at Kelsie, humourless.

“If you have sunglasses that stop malignant tumors, I’d love to hear of them.” A long pause hung in the air as the trio looked at one.

“Perhaps we should invite those others to this vessel? A… Three-way negotiation, so to speak?”

Kelsie felt a drop of cold sweat running down her back. This was hell, she had not been a diplomat for even a whole day and she was already causing an interplanetary incident. She remembered being stranded alone in a swamp, Screechers closing in from all sides, the extraction point so far it might as well have been on another planet. But even back then she didn’t feel this level of panic. She was trained to survive in an enemy-filled swamps. No one trained her how to negotiate with half-androids.

“I think that is an excellent idea. If you excuse me for a few moments, I will go to the bridge and invite them myself,” she got up, relieved to get out of the room, even if only for a few minutes.




In the home system of the Earth Cultural Union, a similar scene was occuring. The magnetic lock had been fired across, three figures in EVA suits had hooked onto it, and they made their way across to the station. Shedding their suits, the trio were at once similar, and yet also very different to the ones currently speaking in Sol. An anti-predator form was here too, although instead of the dreadlock-like cables it was instead covered in a glossy black, over which had been detailed intricate gold shapes, each one corrosponding to a specific mathematic formula.

Their companions though were the different aspect. Sigma-Devi was here instead replaced by a tall, lanky man, scalp bereft of hair and instead replaced by chrome. Three light strips instead slowly flickered and changed different colours at seemingly random, but the man's face was open, fleshy, and honest. His legs had also been replaced- much like the anti-predator form his were digitigrade and very clearly metallic even through the lightweight trousers he wore. Beside him was an androgynous figure, much shorter, and with a sense of ethereal elegence to them, enhanced by the feet-concealing gown they wore and the unnaturally pale sheen of their skin. They seemingly floated through the corridoors of the ship, even as their fellows silently stalked, metallic toes making almost no noise when they came into contact with the floor.

Emerging out onto the holographic suite, there was a pause as the trio took in the view. "Incredible. Our early experiments into holographic technology have yet to yield anywhere near as an impressive result." The trio mentally exchanged looks, as did those in the Collective actively tuning in. "It is very good to see you- as we talk, your ship in Sol has been talking to our own vessel. I am Epsilon-Bouchet, this is Gamma-Nine, and this is Beta-Bernas-Lee, from the Zeta system." He indicated to the androdynous figure, and then the defense form in turn, and then all three presented their palms and split their fingers like their fellow had done halfway across the galaxy.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Raylah
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The Undefeated


Kelsie left the room, nodding on the two guards to follow her outside. As soon as the doors closed behind them, stoic expressions disappeared from their faces. “What the hell was that THING?” Janice gritted her teeth, trying to keep her voice low. “And that guy’s eyes?! Jesus fuckin Christ!”

“SSSHH,” Kelsie hissed at her. “We don’t know how good their hearing is,” she whispered. “I know they are creepy, but we need to keep a friendly face on.”

“Creepy? Girl, they aren’t even human anymore.”

“We can think what we want, but we have our orders, Sergeant Springer. You two stay here and make sure they don’t leave the room. We don’t want them wandering around the ship.”

They both saluted her and took positions at each side of the door. Kelsie walked around the corner and then stopped, taking a moment to catch her breath. Leaning her forehead against the cold metallic wall, she closed her eyes and wished to be back home. Or even back on the front. In combat, getting surrounded by enemies. Anywhere but here. But wishes don’t magically come true.

She ran into Harding's assistant on her way to the bridge. “Miss Petrova! Could I ask you a huge favor?”

The girl stopped, looking shocked that someone like Kelsie started talking to her. “S-sure. I mean, yes ma’am,” she stuttered.

“I know it is stupid to ask this of someone with your level of education, but could you possibly go through our supplies, pick out the best bits, arrange it on some plate and bring it to the conference room? I don’t want to send more military personnel there.”

Petrova stared at her for a moment, surprised. “You want me to go in there?”

“If it is a problem…”

“No, no, I’m just surprised that you would want someone like me around our esteemed guests.” A slight bitter tone was noticeable as she spoke.

Kelsie wasn’t surprised that the girl acted this way. Most citizens, especially those with higher ranks, considered the Rejected trash and treated them accordingly. But Kelsie (for private reasons she didn’t want to share with anyone) wasn’t one of those people. “Someone like a brilliant scientist, who perfected the modular fusion reactor design? I know why Harding brought you with him. I don’t care what you are, as long as you do your part and follow orders. So get going. Oh, and don’t be surprised. They are a bit… creepy, to say the least.”

The girl ran off and Kelsie finally made her way to the bridge. Parker was nervously looking at the screens. “The other ship hasn’t moved or responded yet. What about our guests?”

“Creepy half-androids,” Kelsie didn’t have time for more words. Parker seemed like he wanted to ask some more, but she waved him off and activated the comlink. “This is Guardian Blackwood from the Undefeated nation to the Earth Cultural Union vessel. We are happy to see representatives of another surviving colony. We currently have the representatives of the Zeta system on board of The Revenant. Perhaps you would like to send your delegation to join us?” She stopped the transmission. “Let me know what they respond. Send them the airlock coordinates if they agree and get Mesalla and Angstrom to gear up and escort them to the conference room,” she told Parker and then sighed. “I will have to go back into the fray.”

@Tortoise
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Tortoise
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Tortoise Tort

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(Addressing: @Irredeemable)


Andrei is a little bit drunk, and not very happy.

The Gateway Listening Post is supposed to be an easy job, okay? You've got a big, beautiful space station, which is a rare sight in the ECU these days. Then you've got a bunch of scientists who know their careers depend on you, so they won't talk back, and plus you've got as many holographic servants as you could wish for. You've got a whole schedule of off-hours. And you can get drunk.

That last one wasn't in the official description of the position, but being on Oligarch of thirty-five, Andrei assumes it's implied. Or maybe all the wine implied it to him. He can't remember, his head's a little fuzzy right now. He only got this job because he paid some scientist woman to publish all her research in his name. That was years ago, but it's still paying off. The Noocracy thinks he's a "preeminent scholar in Gateway Theory," whatever that is. So they stuck him here.

And then, you know, they invite a bunch of aliens onboard. Because that makes sense.

When he comes into the room (only a few minutes late!) he can't remember where he is for a second. The... Royal Court? Yeah, yeah, that's it. An old Holo-Program. His grandad probably loved it. He tries working his way across the marble floors without tipping over.

"Incredible," a voice was saying, speaking to one of the scientist guys who run this station. "Our early experiments into holographic technology have yet to yield anywhere near as an impressive result."

Yeah, that's right, you alien weirdos, he thinks, give credit where credit is due. But then Andrei's eyes finally focus in, and he nearly jumps backwards.

"It is very good to see you-" the horror keeps going without taking notice- "as we talk, your ship in Sol has been talking to our own vessel. I am Epsilon-Bouchet, this is Gamma-Nine, and this is Beta-Bernas-Lee, from the Zeta system."

Those aren't names. Andrei doesn't know what they are, but they definitely aren't names. Just like those aren't faces, with all the blinking lights and the metal strips and the... the weirdness. He doesn't know what to say. There hasn't been a real diplomat in the ECU for centuries. Just, you know, people who are nice at parties and stuff! How could he be ready for this?

The scientist, a non-Oligarch who's name Andrei never bothered to remember, because he is a non-Oligarch, catches Andrei's eye- which is currently glossy, red and twice as big as it is meant to be- and realizes he will need to take care of this situation.

"Well, we are so gratified you like it," the scientist begins with a forced smile. The cyborgs are not so disconcerting to him as they might be to others. "Our researches have been engrossed in holographic simulations, such as the one before you, for upwards of-" but he does not get to finish his explanation.

"In the name of Earth," Andrei is slurring, leaning against a wall just a little bit, "what are you?"

~~~~~~~~

(Addressing: @Raylah)


“This is Guardian Blackwood," a hologram reads out. "From the Undefeated nation to the Earth Cultural Union vessel. We are happy to see representatives of another surviving colony. We currently have the representatives of the Zeta system on board of..." the holographic man struggles to read out this term, which is not in his Full Dictionary of All Valid and True Earth Tongues,"...The Revenant. Perhaps you would like to send your delegation to join us?”

Unlike a certain other Oligarch countless lightyears away, Student Abadi is not drunk. A little drained? Probably, since she just saw Earth, the manifestation of her people's hopes and dreams, looking like a lump of clay that's been kicked around in the dust for too long. But not drunk.

Which is why she's immediately concerned.

The Undefeated, she thinks. Guardian. Revenant. She considers words a source of special pride for herself, and these are making her nervous. Who call themselves Undefeated? Warmongers, she decides. And people trying to cover up for a defeat.

She turns to the two men in the room with her. Sympathetically, one is still crying about Earth. The other one, less sympathetically but far more wisely, is running scans of the two ships in front of them. And he doesn't need to be asked to interpret them:

"Revenant. Looks like a pretty massive ship: lots of room, tough exterior." But then he smirks. He's been an engineer for ten years.
"Well, Mr. Roberts?" Abadi prompts him.
"Well, ma'am, I'd still have to call it a little thrown together. I'd bet anything those big weapon-y looking bits weren't on there until five minutes ago. Like sticking cannons on a wagon." Then he remembers how most Oligarchs like Abadi think, and suddenly adds: "Oh, oh, but we still shouldn't try to take it on or anything. Compared to them, we're, uh..."
She sighs. "I get the idea. What about the other one? The... Zeta ones?"

Roberts looks at the console in front of him, smashes a few buttons, and stares seriously at some flashing holo-readouts. At last, he concludes: "I have no clue."
One of Abadi's eyebrows goes up. "Is that your professional opinion?"
A few more buttons get smashed. Then: "Yep. Yeah, they're hard to read. Pretty advanced looking. No idea if they have weapons or not." He shoots her a thumbs up. "So, good luck, diplomat!"
Abadi decides she hates engineers.

A short message is bounced back to the so-called Revenant. "Expect a delegation of... two. We shall board with you shortly."

Following the procedure observed by the other vessel, it is only a few moments before the shuttle pilot is able to dock with with the Undefeated ship. (It would have been faster, if he hadn't needed to dry his eyes first.)

"Nice to finally meet you," Student Abadi tells the Undefeated who are there to greet her. She is dressed in her most formal Old Earth clothing: a black, gown-like abaya, a jeweled necklace in a Victorian English style, and an authentic American baseball cap. She looks over her hosts, and decides that despite the Military aesthetic, they look reassuringly normal as well. "Are the Zeta individuals near by, may I ask?"
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by GreyGoblin
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@Timemaster

Everyone was silent on the observation deck, and all life seemed to have frozen for an eternity. The foreign travelers ship had responded, it was the first sign of human survivors other than them.

It took a few minutes before the message came back to him. He had understood their intent, showed peace as an option but was firm and commanding. Gai hadn’t a single clue what could be on the other side but he had admired the way they took command. He had understood that the person talking to him must have been in a rank with authority. This means there must be people to be above and hopefully another civilization was out there.

“Send a message to the council back on Ospa, they should be let known that I’ve made peaceful contact.” He said this without facing anyone in the room, the assistants on standby all hurried out of the room. He sat in his chair facing the observation window looking out towards the gate, he pressed a green button on a console nearby. “Gai Sebai to ship 1, I need you to have your general on board to prepare to board. They’re to take with them 2 humans and 3 Osparians. Make sure any non-human races keep their helmets on.”

“Are you not planning to go yourself high general?” Asked a monitor on the wall. “No, I’m a tactician, not a soldier, I'll leave the ground work to pawns.” Gai says while gently squeezing and I squeezing his hand. “When you took over my spot on the council I never imagined you’d make it this far, your making me proud.” The monitor switched off and with it the voice stopped. He would have a lot to explain to the council, they hated when information was withheld.

_____________


On ship 1 things were in disarray.

General on ship one Maya Hues was unprepared. She had alerted on board foot soldiers to gather at the briefing room. She had selected three of the biggest Osparions on board, she had also selected the two best looking humans she could find. She would have them wear exo-suits except for the humans. She would have them remove their helmets to show that they’re actually colonists. She would keep hers on along with the Osparians, she didn’t want to know how they might react to 3 Osparians and a Spar.

______________


A message was relayed from ship 1 to the gateway ship, “In my place I will be sending a general. They will be taking a small shuttle over to your ship.”

None of the soldiers on board the small shuttle could stand still. They were on edge being the ones to make first contact. The shuttle rattled as it detached from the main ship, after the detach it slowly started its slow drift towards the foreign ship. Maya was getting a live update to her pad, her orders were coming in only minutes before she was supposed to act on them. It was wreaking her nerves. Her orders were that under no circumstances was she to charge her gun. An uncharged gun would be useless for the first minute if a fight were to happen, this means if they were to be ambushed they would be absolutely defenseless.

Everyone was making sure their exo-suits were stored with oxygen and that their guns were left uncharged. As the shuttle finally made contact with the other ship the non-humans put their helmets on, the two humans took place to the right and left of the general.

If worse came to worst, and she failed at making diplomacy, her comms would be taken over by the high general and he could finish the negotiations for her.
And if that went wrong, the high general had the small electric core of the ship attached to a charge. This would cause a tiny explosion where the shuttle was, but act more like an EMP disabling the ship, hopefully allowing them to escape

Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.

1x Thank Thank
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by GreyGoblin
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@datadogie

Weston felt an exhilaration from being the first to speak with aliens.

“This is Flight Captain Weston Obrak of the Ospa Alliance, from the colony Ospa. We would like to make peaceful contact if you would allow us. We would also at this time like to request privileges to dock and speak to a representative.”

Weston bit his lip and let out a sigh, due to procedure he was briefed on before he left, he had to identify that his ship was armed with soldiers. It was going to be a pain if they found out about the armoured giants after they docked. So he sighed begrudgingly before pressing the relay-message button.

“I would also like to inform you on a basis of good faith, and protocol, that our ship is currently manned by soldiers. They make up a large portion of our ship’s crew. We will of course be de-armed and come with intentions of peace, but should we be deceived or harmed in any way, it may not stay that way. We would like to be able to build a foundation of trust between our people.”

“For the betterment of Ospa “ ,he said in a mocking tone after he had let his transmission go through. This protocol bull was going to be the death of him. They might just decide that a ship full of armed soldiers is dangerous and send them away, or they might just simply open fire. The last thought gave Obrak a shiver, to be the first person to talk and die by an alien, what a legend in history he would be.

Obrak started messing with his interface to access the message previously relayed to him, he was going to archive it so that the big, fancy council could have their fun listening to it. He then leaned forward and pressed the button for the ship intercom.

“Contact with the civilization of this gate has been made, all soldiers are to de charge their weapons, we may be docking soon.” He stared out of the window before him. He grew up in a small dome planet side before joining the military as a pilot. After his military service he messed around as an asteroid miner for a bit. Now he was an explorer of the stars. He shook his head as he finally came back to the problem at hand, by now he should be getting a message soon.

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@GreyGoblin

On the Chosen ship, everything was orderly. The priests that came to bless the flight performed the rites to the men, for good luck and if in case of a fight, strength. The ship itself looked like the inside of a church-meets-spaceship style as the Chosen never left anywhere without their Goddess watching over them.

 William was the only one that didn't seem calm. He didn't know what to do. Should he show strength in the upcoming negotiations? Should he be pliable? What if they see his genetic defects? What if they consider it a threat? What if--

"Hierarch?"

His train of thoughts was interrupted by an Adept, a bit annoyed but nonetheless grateful that his moment of weakness passed, he turned around.

"Don't you know it's against the will of the Goddess to interrupt a Hierarch when he is praying?"

"I-I..."

"Yes? Speak, use those vocal cords and tell me why you've interrupted me."

"The other humans agreed to come on board, they're sending a general over to us. "

"A general? Alright, prepare the conference room. Make sure they're brought directly to me. I want them scanned the moment they step on our ship. We need to know everything there is about them. "

"Understood Hierarch."

As the Adept turned to leave, William said "Have the Rejected ready to drop on their ship if they try anything and have ELX-001 and ELX-16 in the conference room with me alongside 4 other Elite Guards."

ELX-001 and ELX-16, named after the serum that created them in the first place, were the most human Rejected they had on board and they all had a very special, albeit rare trait, they could change their skin color to match whatever they would touch. A precaution.

The conference room was soon ready for visitors. A big round table in the middle with a painting of Ashevelen in a more "Godly" form.
As the visitors would enter, they would see the Elite Guards. Fully dressed in black armour, covering all of their skin with only a small slit on their helmet that allowed them to see. Armed with what seemed like a normal metal staff but which could be opened to release lethal toxins.

Standing in the room, on one side of the table, Hierarch William stood. Waiting for his guests to come.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by ClocktowerEchos
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ClocktowerEchos *Doots Trumpets with Malicious Intent*

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The Midnight Technocracy

@MetalWeight@Irredeemable


The first trip through the Gateway was somewhat random, the ambassador starliner came across a suspiciously quiet system. They had expected to see a spaceship or two on their radars, at least satellites in orbit but they found nothing. The system was dead quite but clearly the Gateway was still active. Had the inhabitants of the system wiped themselves out in the Long Night?

After a more through scan was conducted, the Scarlet Gala cruised above the only planet that was giving them any reading. According to the ancient starmaps that were created before the Gateways closed, the planet was called Vystrallia, a lush continental world. The life form scans were saying there was roughly three billion people, give or take the normal inaccuracies of such systems.

The few living crew on board discussed how best to proceed. There was clearly life and human on some level, but the technology level of humanity wasn't there. Concerns were brought up about possible transmission of diseases, difference in language and general culture shock questions. It had been three centuries since humanity was first isolated and there was a legitimate concerned that the planet below them was no longer technologically advanced enough to have realized that humanity came from Earth.

The Scarlet Gala hung above the atmosphere, extending a communications array in an attempt to intercept communication signals to try and uncover language. There was a remarkable lack of electronic communication. One of the Wights joked that maybe they should be looking for smoke signals instead. After some frustrating searching, the crew managed to cobble together enough of the local language to try and make something approximating a friendly greeting.

They dropped out of orbit and hung above the largest urban center they could find, assuming that it was the capital city or at least an important planetary location. Now with a closer view, the crew was only more confused. It looked idyllic, like a mix of rolling hills, romantic fields and smoke clogged factory streets. It looked like some paintings from Old Earth's history, if you ignore the occasional jarring anachronism of clearly futuristic looking constructs. The nearest port had a mix of wooden sail ships and steel cargo haulers. Remera and Isoph looked at each other, then at the Wights and then at their Reanimated. They had been expecting to see the unexpected, but this was entirely baffling to them. Regardless, they continued with first contact.

From the Scarlet Gala, a shuttle dropped out of its hull and headed towards the nearest empty space where it could land. Upon arrival, a pair of beautiful people walked out, one darkly handsome male and one enchantingly ethereal woman. Behind them were masked guards who seemed more statue than person, not even moving to breath out of order. The language they spoke was foreign to the peasants who gathered around them, sounding harsh yet flowing in a sort of elegant way. Then, to their collective surprise, the extraterrestrial aliens spoke their own language, albeit with a heavy accent.

"Hello. We represent Midnight Technocracy, we like speak to leading citizens, officials. We come in no harm."



The arrival of a foreign probe was only slightly unexpected with the reopening of the gateway. When it first arrived, it blasted a message over every single frequency on the planet, much to the annoyance of practically everyone. TV channels and radio networks were stunned silent as it played and Vladimir quickly scrapped together an official press release saying that the Council had assembled a group of linguists, historians and cultural experts to try and discern the message and for everyone to please remain calm. With only its message to go on and little more to give insights as to the language, translating the probe's message was hard enough. Any thoughts of replying in a full message was out the window as there was just too many gaps in vocabulary. Replying in Triferan wasn't likely to net anything of value either as the origins of the probe was still unknown. In the end, it was decided to simply try and send back what words they could make out from the message into their own.

"Hail. We meet own kind? One are lost mean through stars? We voyage our own. No harm."
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General Maya Huges was calm.

She had been prepared for this and was ready for any challenge they may face. As the door to the shuttle finally opened she stepped forward, her suit's sensors went off and she went stiff. It was the sensors for a scan, she had no idea what the scan may have been, but she hoped it was only for weapons. She had made sure her helmet was on tight before she had opened the shuttle door, this had helped to relieve some nerves.

She had a million thoughts going through her head as she was being guided through the ship. She was afraid mostly, this was new, everything she saw was new. When she looked at the people she could see humans, but they weren't quite there. Even though she herself wasn’t human, they were different, they were in the form of humans but slightly off. As she walked through she was sending silent prayers to Dai’feron, she wasn’t religious at all but she hoped it helped. As she was being led through she couldn’t help but pay attention to every little detail she saw. She admired the inside of the ship, mostly because of its peculiarities. As they were being led she made sure to leave her helmet interface recording, she knew that information was an important thing to gain.

She was being led to a conference room, she had been relaxed by three suited up Osparions behind her, she also made sure that the two human colonists were beside her so that they may be seen by everyone, like showing of a prized animal at a fair, although they had relatively few of those on Ospa. As the door to the conference room opened she immediately stepped into, what she could only describe as a weird room with a weird decorative painting.

The first thing she saw the man across from her at the table, he had given her the impression of some kind of government official, which threw her off. The second thing she noticed was the weird cult people with the metal rods. She hadn’t ever seen anything quite like them, they were like some exotic fashion show that no one would attend.

She took her place on the other side of the table, with the two humans to the back of her sides and the three Osparians standing behind them. ‘Hopefully these giants at least look intimidating...’ she thought.

“I am General Maya Huges of The Alliance. I’ve come to make peaceful contact with you on behalf of our high general, who you’ve already spoken with.” She said in her most dignified voice.
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