Author Topic: Symbiosis  (Read 1832 times)

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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2021, 08:07:43 PM »
September 14, Shahrewar, 09:34 local time

Farshad lay prone in the flattened rubble of what in a previous age had been called Indar.  The seal of his envirosuit was slightly askew, fogging his vision.  Fortunately, his objective was close enough that he did not need to see particularly well to gauge his timing.  Unfortunately, it was also so close that he did not want to move to clear the seal, lest he give away his position.

Around him, laying in other piles of rubble and pressed up against ruined fragments of former walls which still held more verticality than most, were the other five members of his hand picked squad.  Ahead of him, it’s bulk still slightly settling into the rubble as wisps of steam rose from its recently superheated surface, lay his objective.

He surveyed the scene again, once again impressed by the scale of the thing.  The largest Indar asset to reach orbit of Shahrewar had been perhaps the size of a small personal vehicle - small satellites, primarily for surveilling the activities of other clans.  The massive vessel before him had already disgorged two massive lorries while he watched, and he suspected that those were just the stragglers.

So far, everything about the vessel was lining up with the accounts from their scouting team.  Now, everything hinged on two observed behaviors of these mysterious vehicles, and their interplay.

Firstly, it had been observed that the doors of the lift vessel would open when a cargo lorry approached, just wide enough to allow it’s entry.

Secondly, it had been verified that the lumbering lorry would stop when a large object (or being) interposed itself in its path.     

What was unknown was if the vessel doors would shut if unauthorized motion was detected.  Or if the lorry would still slow in such a case.  His team was about to find out.

And with any luck (and copious shaped charges) they would find out whatever was piloting this craft as well.  He was not confident he had enough charges to breach the exterior airlock, but any interior doors should be a cinch.  They would then detain whatever beings were inside for interrogation and secure the craft for more detailed inspection and disassembly. 

September 14, Shahrewar Troposphere, 09:54 local time

There were no interior doors.  The whole craft appeared to be automated, just like the lorries.

And indeed, the blasting charges were inadequate to re-open the airlock doors.

The shaking began to stop as the craft exited the troposphere.  The first Perugians to orbit Shahrewar glanced at each other nervously and double checked their stocks of canned air for their (unpressurized) enviro-suits. 

September 14, Cargo Hold of the Aphrodite, in transit from Gaia to PIII

Iatragoras reviewed his message blat once more before flicking his spines and squirting the relay command at the controller. 

It was unfortunate that the minute or so light speed delay prevented a real time communication with Automedon of Zancle, Captain of the Asmara.  He was clearly shaken up by the events of the last days, and Iatragoras regretted not being able to console him in person.

It was understandable that he was shaken, given the unexpected situation.  Stowaways!  And, worse, stowaways which could not breath methane!  It was fortunate that there had only been one casualty. 

As much as Iatragoras would have liked to try to speak with the neighbors daring enough (or mad enough) to sneak onto the Asmara via cargo shuttle, he agreed with Automedon’s decision to send them back down via shuttle as soon as they could be corralled back aboard, along with their fallen comrade.  To extend their abduction may have exacerbated the incident.

Nobody had expected Neighbors to burst forth from the shuttle upon its arrival, certainly not the maintenance tech standing in the bay to check the odd fault messages being thrown by the shuttles airlock and it’s lorries.  Thankfully, the tech had kept his head - and that gesticulation seemed somewhat universal.  When the neighbors surrounded him and gestured for him to move, he had moved.  He had led them into the airlock they had directed him to. 

Then he had sealed it and called for orders from Automedon. 

Automedon had elected to simply close the blast doors leading to the lock, disconnect the airlock module, and pack the whole lock into another shuttle for return to the surface, maintenance tech, neighbors and all.  Then a volunteer crew had suited up in the available powered exosuits (typically used for heavy lifting), entered the shuttle, opened the lock, and escorted the tech out.  A focused microwave blast from the crew’s elected peace officer had discouraged any further scuffle from the somewhat terrified neighbors, who had seemed a bit more concerned with the seals on their environmental suits than any further kidnapping attempts - a small glimmer of sanity in an otherwise crazy incident. 

It was only after the tech was secured and the first shuttle was swept that they found the corpse. 

October 25, Shahrewar, Bunker 3:

Abbaseh sat alone in the dimly lit room, his back to the door.  He knelt and ran his fingers through the urn in front of him, feeling the roughness of the fragments of chiten inside and listening to their crinkle.

The tiny fragments under his fingers were the final memorial of Abbaseh’s ancestors - a tiny fragment from each of his forefathers, the oldest ones ground to dust and settled to the bottom by generations of stirring. 

Abbaseh’s father had told him, on the day he exited the creche, that within this urn was a scale from Jaleh Spuzgar himself, founder of the clan.  But then, every member of the clan would claim thus, but only a few dozens of his scales would have been collected, by his direct sons, and placed in each of their urns with the evenly divided portion of Jaleh’s own urn.  Abbaseh’s father had been a braggart - odds are not even a speck of dust from Spuzgar lay in this urn - his genealogy was certainly not so great as to have been traced back so far. 

Abbaseh’s thoughts drifted to the generations before them and the struggles they must have overcome, and weighed them against his own.  Perhaps some few of them had faced such trials, but he found himself doubtful.  Why seek aid from ancestors who had never had to face such a time?  Still, the ritual itself was calming. 
From behind him, Jaleh asked “Something on your mind?”

Some Perugians claimed that during their commune with their ancestors, they would converse with them, being granted advice for the future, lessons from the past, or even blessings and mana.  Abbaseh firmly believed that such claims were made entirely by two types of Perugian - charlatans and madmen. 

Of the two types, unfortunately he was the latter, Abbaseh thought to himself. 

“Still angry at me for telling you to volunteer for that first survey patrol I take it?  We both know that if you hadn’t volunteered for that patrol, you would have volunteered for the soup pot soon enough.”

Abbaseh turned to face Jaleh, looking him in the eyes, unable to ignore his goads any longer “Would that have been any worse?”

“Oh please, enough with the fatalism.  It’s ever so dreary.  What are you planning to do about the news from Bahraman and his pet hedgehog?”

“Oh please yourself, we both know it is Bahraman who is the pet, and the hedgehog who is the master.”

“Aha, so you are thinking about it!”

“Of course.  And the implications.  If Bahraman’s interpretation of their silly wiggle dance is correct, the hedgehog’s aid drop protocols have changed due to some incident elsewhere on Shahrewar.  Just “some incident”!  He doesn't even know what happened!”

Abbaseh stood and paced back and forth across the room perpendicular to Jaleh, glancing at him occasionally and seeing his infuriating smirk.

“Our very lives depend on aid from the hedgehogs arriving like clockwork, each time those great ships make a circuit.  Some idiotic Xeshm or Sawar clansman taking a potshot at a hedgehog could jeaporize the lives of every Perugian on the planet!  Sure, the hedgehogs treat us as pets now, but if we bite the hand that feeds...” Abbaseh’s outburst slowly faded as he followed that thought to its logical conclusion, his eyes unfocused, facing the closed door in front of him.

“And what can you do about that?” Jaleh asked with an eyeridge quirk.

“Nothing!” Abbaseh yelled, his voice reverberating in the empty room.

“Nothing… yet.”  Abbaseh muttered to himself.  His expression subtly shifted, a hardness coming to his features, as his eyes came back into focus. 

“Now you are thinking, oh Great leader of the Spuzgar'' said the greatest Clanleader in the history of Spuzgar, his voice dripping with sarcasm as a grin split his maw in an uncomfortably predatory expression.  An expression which seemed familiar to Abbaseh. 

Ahh, yes.  He had seen it in the mirror occasionally of late.

Nov 18, Deep Space:

A strangeness in the warp, the medium through which the weft is conducted, is detected just beyond the orbit of Semichi VII - what Kapetyn scientists theorize could be a gap in the warp itself, and if some further energy was input, perhaps a bridge to... elsewhere.  As a pure science project, this was potentially world changing.  In any other time, this would be incredible news and make headlines across Gaia, but in the context of the current catastrophic death toll on the third planet, it hardly made the news.

OOC: I actually had my geo and grav survey orders flipped this whole time :|
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 03:44:05 PM by Potat999 »
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2021, 02:19:20 PM »
Nice little story about the stowaways, their antics gave me a little chuckle and it's always nice to mix a bit of lighter humor into such a bleak setting.

I do wonder what effect this has in-game, are supply shipments slowed or otherwise hampered or is this purely fluff for now?

Thus far the story has been mostly about the Kapetyn saving the Perugi, however as the story is titled "Symbiosis" I wonder what the Kapetyn get out of this besides warm feelings of moral superiority? Do they need the Perugi for reasons yet to become clear?

Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2021, 02:51:17 PM »
Thus far the story has been mostly about the Kapetyn saving the Perugi, however as the story is titled "Symbiosis" I wonder what the Kapetyn get out of this besides warm feelings of moral superiority? Do they need the Perugi for reasons yet to become clear?

Well, one thing they have gotten already is a break out of the stable but stagnant state of their society, which had been stuck at early TN tech on a single world for a very, very long time.  It's unclear if this is actually a benefit tho.

As for other benefits, well, without saying too much you may need to wait for the second plot arc 😆. 
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 03:19:21 PM by Potat999 »
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Offline Zap0

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2021, 04:02:59 PM »
As for other benefits, well, without saying too much you may need to wait for the second plot arc 😆.

Consider me teased!
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Offline kingflute

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2021, 06:19:36 AM »
Consider us all very teased.   8)
In fact, consider me hooked.
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2021, 11:31:08 PM »
November 24, Gaia High Orbit:

Cronos was not much of one for ceremony, so the formal launching of the Aphrodite 3 from Agros Yard consisted of a short sending - almost a simple blat - honoring the dockyard workers, both present and lost in the accident a year prior.  Then, with a few swings of the ceremonial mallet held in his forelimbs, he struck the bronze prow into place, where it was quickly laser welded.  And that was that. 

Still, to the viewers receiving the sending on Gaia below, this was more than enough cause for elation.

For Cronos, most of his elation stemmed from the fact that, at least, they had managed to push one of their two charges off the slips before the Assus Yard launched their second vessel, to considerably more fanfare, later in the week.  Amythaeon always had been one to showboat, and letting him get two hulls ahead would have been infuriating.   

November 30, High Orbit of Planet III

Polyas of Olbia, captain of the Aphrodite and leader of the first cargo task group, again noted in his log that more and more time is being spent using cargo shuttles to unload goods on Semichi III than actually in transit as the two planets aproach conjunction, especially after the doctrine changes to emphasis airdrop and limited surface touch downs to avoid touchy situations with the neighbors. 

Spaceport facilities on Gaia support a relatively fast load process, and have already been scheduled for expansion, but Semichi III is another issue.  There are no native cargo shuttle services or spaceports, and the single shuttle bay of the Aphrodite class is proving to be the gating factor on entire aid lift operation, rather than the actual speed of his craft.

The chain of command notes that there is nothing to be done about this at this time, as without orbital facilities about Semichi III to house workers, no spaceport or cargo shuttle facility there could be supported. 

Polyas protests in following missives that he didn’t ask if a spaceport could be supported - he just needs more, faster shuttles for his craft, but his complaints wash over overworked and overstressed spines and are dismissed as simple grumbling, lost in the chaff and jamming of all of the other stressed and grumbling Kapetyn during this trying time. 

OOC: Polyas here has realized a fundamental issue with my cargo designs but I haven’t yet :S.

December 1-4, Semichi System, Interplanetary Space:

Aphrodite 003 & 004 meet with 002 and 001 in orbit of Semichi III and begin unloading added infrastructure before merging fleets.  This represents one of the longest continuous Kapetyn presences on Semichi III to date.

Teacher Iatragoras of Heraclea is excited that this extended fleet merger gives him a few extra days on the surface, despite the terrible toll the gravity takes on him even in his powered exosuit.  Not only is the pressure crushing, he feels shorn from the warp by the insulative effects of the metal shell.  The pitiful relay from the suit sensor on his drooping dorsal spines leaves him half blind, but oh - the fuzzy contrast is still a wonder.

Despite the fact that the neighbors all wear some manner of suits themselves to strain the poisoned air, Iatragoras has become able to identify several of them by their weave and pulse - their mannerisms and presentations, as well as their varied sizes. 

One individual in particular has not only been able to isolate and reproduce via means of an electronic gadget a passible imitation of the Weave of Affirmation and the Wave of Negation, but also managed to partially replicate the emphatic gesture through the waving of his fore-limbs as though they were spine bundles. 

He does not envy the individual he has come to refer to as ‘Gestures Wildly’ the task of deciphering Kapetyn warp song with only instrumentation and gesture.

There is a reason that old Kapetyn gather their loved ones and walk to their gravesite when their warpsense begins to crack and sputter.  No viable prosthetic warp-sense exists on Gaia, and not for lack of research or funding.  For an alien without even a concept of the warp, well… he didn’t fancy his prospects.

At least the pidgin gesture language was continuing to gain nuance, and both parties now had a fairly good understanding of the various non-verbal and unconscious movements of the other. 

Also, Gestures Wildly had been able to create a sort of vodor, which allowed for some simple and fairly well understood phrases in the neighbor tongue to be replicated via the means of a vibrating membrane.  This device had been quickly snatched away by Iatragoras for inspection and replication for use by Kapetyn landing parties - assuming such were to be allowed again at some point in the future.

In retrospect, Gestures Wildly’s body posturing after Iatragoras snatched the device had been a little out of normal.  Odd. 

Dec 4, Surface of Shahrewar, Kapetyn Terraforming Facilities near Bunker III:

When he exited technical school with an emphasis on power systems and reactor containment, Bahraman Afsarzadeh had not imagined that a decade later he would find himself huddling in an alien facility, perched on the ruins of a destroyed city, contemplating how to explain to a looming alien that outmassed him by three times and wore an exosuit forged from an alloy which would turn aside an anti-material round the concepts of ‘personal space’ and ‘personal property’. 

The fact that he had to attempt to convey this through what was essentially a game of charades added an extra layer of the absurd and surreal to the whole affair.   

Still, while he was massively unqualified for his new role of interstellar ambassador (and lead researcher on all alien alloys, tech, etc. etc.), it was certainly an effective distraction from the other aspects of his life which were not as he had imagined a decade ago.  The main downside was his boss.

On balance, we found the massive being looming over him and waving the vodor he had created in front of it’s vast array of spines less frightening than Abbaseh.  At least he could sort of tell what the Hedgehog was thinking.

Dec 29, Semichi System, Interplanetary Space:

After much waiting, the Patroclus diplomatic vessel is launched, and immediately transits to Semichi III to meet with the Aprodite in orbit, where the diplomatic crew lead by Teacher Iatragoras of Heraclea transfers his command over from their cramped makeshift quarters on the cargo deck of the Aprodite.  Perhaps now with a permanent orbital home above Semichi III they can make faster progress in understanding the Neighbor's pressure-wave based communications.
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Offline Potat999 (OP)

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Re: Symbiosis
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2021, 11:41:35 PM »
Year 2 Round Up:

Perugian Status

Population : 8684m -> 7565m
Death tolls continue to mount.
Infra: 22486 (supports 576m)  ->28657 (supports 735m). 

The initial burst of infrastructure production by civilians across the planet in YR1 has slowed precipitously as readily available scrap and salvage dry up -the majority of Perugians are still left without adequate food or shelter and are only becoming more desperate.

Almost all remaining buildings and materials which could be salvaged or converted to survival shelters have been.  Billions are still struggling in inadequately sealed and insulated buildings, or simply starving trying to eek out a harvest in the very short growing season.

Infrastructure drops have accelerated in the last months of the year, now spreading beyond just Spruzgar, and some other lucky clans are starting to see some hope as prefab shelter for millions will fall from the sky in a matter of days.  Spuruzgar remains the central hub for aid, the one region of the planet where cannibalism is now rare. 

A total of 1152 infra was delivered by the Kapetyn this year - sufficient to house 29 million.  In the same time period, more than a billion souls are estimated to have perished.  This is not a sustainable model - terraforming must commence immediately if there is to be any hope of saving the majority of the Neighbors.

To that end, 1.2 terraformers have been delivered, but no Kapetyns are present to operate them and the Perugia have not puzzled out the TN tech necessary to operate them either.  Bahraman Afsarzadeh briefly managed to power on the Terraformers after much gesticulation back and forth with Iatragoras, however a scrubber failed within three days and he was unable to decipher the debug messages relayed at microwave frequencies.  While the Perugians are vaguely aware of the intent of the facility, they have no way to support the trained manpower required to maintain and operate it. 

Stability 52.38% -> 6.58%   

OOC: The unanticipated (by me) stability hit to the Perugia due to inadequate infrastructure has basically taken them out of the game at this point, unable to build ground forces to better police the planet without years of build time, and unable to research TN tech.  They did start training some militia units, but none of them actually finished before unrest maxed out - I started too late and the units I queued were too large to complete.  This is going to end up putting a bigger tech and progress differential between the two races than I had expected when conceptualizing this playthrough.  Oops.

Kapetyn Status:

3x geosurveryors, 3x grav surveorys
3x Caracks
2x Cargo Ships
3x Orbital Platforms (sans tugs) - this lack of tugs is starting to become a boondoggle. 

Started retool for a tug platform and an orbital terraformer, started construction on a terraformer habitat.   

Increased construction factory and mining count, started laying down a new naval yard as well as adding Carrack and Cargo slipways.

Wealth is starting to be a little strained by the current maintenance and orbital building demands.  Maintenance stocks are very high, as are fuel, so temporarily putting a halt to their production/refining.

Stockpiles OK for now - most minerals (save duranium) are in sufficient stock for 5-10 yrs.  However, many deposits will mine out in the next 2-5 yrs, starting with Mercassium. 

Current plans call for one or more of the new platforms to be towed to VI-M7 to support duranium mining efforts, as well as (hopefully) to any new found Mercassium sources. 

Some also advocate for the emplacement of mines on Semichi III to mine and produce infrastructure in-situ.  This may be doable if production is focused in the orbitals above the crushing grav well, and mines are mostly teleoperatred.  This plan of directly tearing into the neighbor’s planet is met with some trepidation, but it may be the most efficient way of delivering added infrastructure.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 02:38:57 AM by Potat999 »
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