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The Great E[m]ptiness--Commanderori x Firesblood

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Offline Firesblood

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”Warning!  Environmental life support is at 7%.  Please return to the charging station immediately.”

Oela stared at the vast emptiness, resigned to the persistent voice projecting in her ears.  The alarm had been going off for hours, gently reminding her in a pleasant, feminine voice that her time was running out.  The charging station it was demanding to be re-linked to was onboard a vessel that was long gone, stolen by renegades who had plenty need for the ship and its cargo, but less need for the crew that lived on board.

”Warning!  Environmental life support is at 6%.  Please return to the charging station immediately.” 

Oela closed her eyes and willed her body to move outside of the violent shakes the cold inspired, fumbling for the button that would open a channel with the others. “W-with me?  Are you with m-me?”

Silence.  Unbearable, terrible silence. 

“Nils?  Vana?” she tried, attempting to twist around and catch sight of them, but this turned out to be harder even than opening a channel.  “Tris?  Can you hear me?  Sym?”
 
Nothing.

“Tell me the location of the other suits synced with mine,” she ordered.

”…There are no synced suits within range, Captain,” the pleasant voice replied. “Warning!  Environmental life support is at 6%.  Please return to the charging station immediately.”

Oela grimaced, relinquishing the communications unit on her forearm.  20 hours should not have been enough time for their trajectories to diverge so much as to be out of range.  She could not see anyone, but she had been closest to the hatch when those bastards opened the airlock on them.  She did not want to believe that the likeliest of reasons her suit couldn’t track the others was because theirs had already lost power. 

It had been two hours since the last time she had heard from any of them.  No one had mentioned their charge was running low.  Maybe they had not seen the point any more than she had.  They were on a back road, a lesser known shipping lane that few used.  It was unlikely that anyone would pass by close enough to catch the distress signal beaming from their suits.  Why the renegades had bothered with the suits at all, she could never guess.  Perhaps for the added torment of hope lost to impending doom?  Perhaps to assuage their sense of guilt? 

Oela was inclined to believe the first reason more than the second.

”Warning!  Environmental life support is at 5%.  Please return to the charging station immediately.”     

The deposed Captain’s eyes closed.  It was already getting hard to breathe, and the cold was getting worse. 

This was it.  The end. 

Oela was less than impressed.   


Offline Commanderori

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As far as the end goes, a gentle tapping on her visor was probably not the one she was expecting. Of course, on the same not Lak hadn't been expecting to pick up a faint transmission with one of his relay drones either. It had been too faint for him to make out what was being said from the distorted signal, but he had been able to determine what direction it was coming from at least.

It took twelve interlink hops for him to find the point of origin, the vagueity of the beacon and apparent small size of whatever was transmitting it making precisely locating it more difficult than he had expected. Previous experience had taught him not to jump the ship directly on top of random alien beacons, fail-safe to prevent it from jumping inside another object or not that didn't stop things from running into it after it arrived.

Instead, he had elected to pull up one of his space-worthy seconds and send that in instead, popping up a couple of kilometers away from the signal source. The lack of ship or other vessel was a bit of a surprise, the resolution on his drone having been too low to determine exactly what he was getting into. It wasn't hard to find the source once he was in the area, a quick jaunt over to the suit's position giving him his first good look at what was going on. He hadn't expected some sort of alien envirosuit, scanners telling him the beacon was coming from the computer on its arm.

Looking into the helmet of the suit, he frowns lightly. The xeno inside was still moving slightly, but had its eyes closed, and while he didn't recognize the language of the machine inside the suit it was clearly some kind of warning. Reaching one of his arms forwards he taps gently on the faceplate, wondering if they were still conscious.

glancing off into the distance after tapping on the helmet, silently setting an interlink point and spooling up the medical systems on his ship in case they were needed, he floats himself back a bit so as to hopefully not startle the xeno too much if they were still awake. They looked nothing like him after all, Lak's form similar to that of a mythological Naga. This particular second was about four meters long from the top of it's head to the tip of its tail, a wide, cobra like hood at the top of its body just above his four arms. One hand on each arm, each with six long fingers, covered in the same armored scales as the rest of his body. At the center of what would be his chest standing on the ground is a faint bluegreen glow from the reactor core powering the Second and its thrusters, which are arranged under the scales of his body and glowing gently with the same color to keep him stable in space.

Waving his right two hands at the xeno in front of him after backing off, he points over its shoulder where a slight distortion in space is rippling, followed only a moment later by his ship blossoming out of nowhere over half a second. slightly over a kilometer long, much of the internal volume is taken up by a massive telescope and assorted sensor suites, growing somewhat larger towards the rear of the ship where the engine pack sits. Just above that is the bulkier section of the ship, cargo bays, fabricators, and living sections alike. Arranged around the forwards part of the telescope are four large turrets, currently sitting silently in their cradles, and a number of smaller cradles and opening dotted around the ships as you look towards the back.
Bullets might have someone’s name on them, but 20 kilos of high explosives is more “To whom it may concern”.


Offline Firesblood

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Oela drifted in and out of consciousness.  It was easy to imagine that she was floating in water, perhaps one of the many vast lakes of her homeworld; only the suit’s alarm disrupted the imagery, but soon she was able to tune that out as well.  She was dreaming of violet clouds, unbroken as far as the eye could see.  Trees several millennia old, with their true-black leaves and their trunks so big around that two-dozen of her kind could live comfortably within if they so chose.  She heard the Matriarch’s voice rise in a ritual of the old ways, something she remembered from her childhood long ago.  She would have liked to have died at home, with the perpetual scent of fresh rain surrounding her and the solid link to the Great Mother thrumming in her veins, but those who left Taanwi all understood the inherent risks.  This would be her final life, for there was no matriarch to induce the revival in the void of space.  Oela had chosen this.   

The sound of distant tapping confused her and at first she ignored it, assuming it was some sort of glitch or another figment of her imagination.  But the tapping came again, and with a grimace, Oela opened her eyes.

The sight of something floating in front of her just out of reach brought her more fully to consciousness.  She blinked rapidly, wondering if it was just another figment of her imagination.  She could see no ship, couldn’t tell if the creature was organic or something technological.  She had not come across its like in the scant years she had been a captain, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything.  Her world did trade with a scant handful of other worlds.  Outside of those worlds, her familiarity with much of anything lessened a great deal. 

”Warning!  Environmental life support is at 2%.  Internal shielding will begin shutting down in approximately five minutes.  Temperature regulation will begin shutting down in approximately five minutes.  Native atmosphere reserves will be depleted in approximately ten minutes.  Please return to the charging station immediately.”

It gestured with two hands at something further away, something that she couldn’t really see through the condensation inside her visor.  With the appearance of the unfamiliar and rather massive ship, however, Oela’s eyes widened and she began to realize not only was she not hallucinating, but that death may not be so close as she feared.  Realizing that she had given no indication that she understood what the creature was trying to convey, Oela’s made a sign in Silent-Trade 5, hoping that whatever had come to her rescue would understand.


Offline Commanderori

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As he was watching the creature slowly realize they weren't alone anymore, Lak tries to put a friendly smile on his face. Most people say smiling ear to ear as a joke but in this case it's pretty literal, lack of actual ears notwithstanding. That does go away a bit when his sensors pick up the vibrations from the voice inside her suit again, and after a quick inspection of said suit shows its thrusters are offline he floats himself forwards again. He didn't recognize the gesture from the creature, but assuming it to be some sort of greeting he does his best to mimic it back to her. "{I don't think your thursters are working so I'm going to pick you up now, please don't freak out on me.}" Its not like she could hear him even if he did have an atmosphere for the sound to carry in, the second not requiring it to function, but he figured she could at least get the gist of it.

Carefully slipping around her he grabs her under the arms, placing his other two hands at the small of her back and supporting her helmet at the neck so that she doesn't get banged around, he kicks his thrusters up again and zips them over to the ship. As they approach one of the airlocks opens of its own accord, the internal lock already open to a depressurized entry point that he drops into before flipping them over to align with the ships' gravity field.

Letting go of her arms Lak points to a hologram that has popped up next to them as the airlocks are sliding closed. Its a small cartoonish illistration of the two of them, the Oela figure taking her helmet off then falling over with their tongue stuck out as a picture of her atmosphere tank and a blue X superimposed over it flashing over the image. After a moment, it switches again to show a far more detailed diagram of her suit, and a picture of her tank again with the gas levels inside it represented by colors linked to photographic representations of the molecules that make it up. Theres also text on this screen, but its a weird, cirlqueue kind of script arranged in blocks of icons instead of strings. Next to the gas breakdown is another image, of a different tank hooked up to air vents blowing air into the room.

Stepping around her Lak does his best to mimic a breathing action for something with no lungs, then points at the different bands of molecules with one hand and her with the other. "{I don't know what part of this atmosphere you need to breath, I don't want to fill this place with waste gasses but your suit is in the way of scanning your respiration. Which one of these is the main one?}" He knew she still couldn't hear him, but given that he had no idea how long she had been floating out in space didn't want to waste time getting an atmosphere filled in for her and it was just habit to ask questions.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 04:05:23 PM by Commanderori »
Bullets might have someone’s name on them, but 20 kilos of high explosives is more “To whom it may concern”.


Offline Firesblood

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Oela could understand nothing that the creature was trying to express to her; language barriers were as common a trouble as any other.  Barriers notwithstanding, she wasn’t going to reject a rescue simply because she couldn’t make sense of what it was saying.  She watched as it moved around her and allowed it to grab her beneath the arms, trusting that it was working to pull her out of the void.  Sure enough, once it had a hold of her, it powered up its thrusters and they began moving.

Oela tried to look behind her, searching for the rest of her crew, but there was nothing but empty space where the others should have been.  She resisted the urge to grieve; she would make time for that later.

It brought her to an airlock on board the vast ship, and Oela ignored the alarms blaring in her ears as the figures popped up before them.  The imagery was simple enough, indicating herself and what she assumed was the level of natural atmosphere left in her tanks.  However, it took her longer to puzzle out the strange scripts and blocks of icons.  Her eyes widened in understanding as it pointed out different molecules.  Quickly, Oela pointed out the appropriate molecular structures for her native atmosphere, as well as the proper concentration of each one. 

”Warning!  Internal shielding has begun shut down procedure and will be offline in approximately thirty seconds.  Temperature regulation has begun shut down procedure and will be offline in approximately forty-five seconds.  Native atmosphere reserves will be depleted in approximately five minutes.  Please return to the charging station immediately.”


Offline Commanderori

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Lak noticed her glancing around them as they moved, noting it for after he had gotten her set up. Whatever she was looking for hadn't been transmitting, and he hadn't seen it since linking in.

Once she points to what atmosphere she needed there is a sudden rumbling from deeper in the ship and the vents in the room click open, dumping visible plumes of atmosphere into the room as they do so. Its precisely the mix she had given him, warmed to within a few degrees of the temperature inside her suit. The hull is probably warmer than the air is, his people not liking the cold much so the previous atmosphere having been warmer, but not painfully so. It only takes a few moments to fill the room, having clearly been designed to do exactly this sort of thing. Once its filled he mimes taking off a helmet to her, waving one of his other hands through the holograms.

Once they're gone he taps on the air a couple times and two new windows pop up. One is a local stellar map with a stylized cobra hood in the middle clearly representing his ship. Around it a bunch of cones start sweeping around, the ship scanning the nearby area. "{Not sure what you were looking for out there. I'm not detecting any major Emitters, just a couple of small unpowered objects floating around.}" As he speaks a couple of tiny deltas pop up on the map and he frowns slightly at them, coming to the conclusion that it might be other people floating in space.  For a few moments the second goes still as a statue, the ship jerking gently as a soft humming suffuses the ship. On the Tac screen the icons positions start to change, the ship approaching the unidentified deltas.

Once its started moving the second suddenly animates again, turning to the other screen and pointing at it. More pictograms of the two of them appear, with little speech clouds next to them. The words from one cloud go through a cartoon holoscreen and wibble, turning into his script and landing in the speech cloud over his head. Then they go back the other way, changing from his script into wiggly lines. "{I've got a translator program here, but It'll take a bit for it to queue up your language enough for us to make sense to each other.}"
Bullets might have someone’s name on them, but 20 kilos of high explosives is more “To whom it may concern”.


Offline Firesblood

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Once the Second indicated that she could take her helmet off, Oela pressed the release at the base of the helmet and pulled it off, tucking it beneath her arm.  She was average for her kind, with a short shock of dark hair shaved to the scalp on either side, skin of a true black shade and patterns of deep blue striping.  Eyes were narrow and tilted at the corners, the same shade of blue as her stripes and with no discernible iris or pupil.  Her features were angled, hard, and thin, and lacking any of the common traits that would help to estimate age. 

She stared at the Second for a moment, then keyed a code into the apparatus on her wrist, powering down her suit manually before it could scream another warning at her.  From there, her gaze drifted to the hologram currently on display.  She could make out the symbol for the ship easily enough, and she suspected that the deltas may represent her crew—only two of them out of the four.  She couldn’t make sense of what it was saying to her, but her brow furrowed and she leaned forward a touch when the ship began moving towards the deltas in question. 

When the second pointed at the screen, Oela started and directed her attention at it, mouth thinning slightly as she pieced together the images.  It was straightforward; speech bubbles translating from one language to another.  Did it want her to speak?  Frowning, Oela gave it a short nod.

“I am Oela, Captain of Kashka’s Pride.  We are…were a trading vessel based out of Taanwi, of the Gaeiki star system,” she murmured.  To one who was unfamiliar with her native tongue, the language was harsh and blunt to the ears, almost painful in the sharpness of its consonants intermingled with its rambling vowels.  “We were overtaken by thieves approximately twenty hours ago.  They initially planned to just steal our cargo, but their leader decided he wanted our ship as well.  He put my crew and me through the airlock and left us to die.”

She paused then, looking between the stellar map and the other hologram it had used to indicate translation.  It was uncomfortable, talking about what had happened.  As Captain, her cargo, ship, and the lives of her crew had been dependent on her abilities and skills.  There was no greater failure than losing all three.

Oela was not accustomed to failure.  In all the lifetimes she had lived so far, never had it been so complete.

“I am grateful for the rescue.  It was…unexpected,” she added, eying the translation hologram for a moment before she returned her attention to the stellar map.  Her posture was stiff and her features tight while she watched.  She was not a talkative person on her best day, and today was as far from her best as one could get.  “Shall I continue speaking, or has your translation program caught up?” 


Offline Commanderori

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Eyeing her for a moment after she takes her helmet off, Lak makes a small 'hmm' noise. Must be something about this part of space, he'd met a lot of humanoid creatures out here. Convergent evolution or something, biology had never been his strong suit. That black skin gave him a good guess that she might be from a desert planet, which was nice. Might be comfortable in the same sort of temperatures he was.

Waiting as she speaks, the hologram records what she has to say and then starts to flicker, parsing it over the course of a few seconds before making a soft ping. Above the waveform a new bar pops up, filling over a few seconds before making another ping. From the screen a soft voice mumbles something to Lak's second, and it goes stiff as the bar drains on the hologram again.

Shaking his head, Lak rolls his shoulders and says, in a slightly lisped but perfectly understandable version of her language "Ugh. Those transslation downloads alwayss taste like uranium to me." shaking his head slightly, he waves the translation screen away and continues. "Anywayss. One of my probess found your language in a nearby ssystem'ss network. Let me know if there are any disscrepancies and I'll touch the transslation up."

Holding his hand out, Lak tilts his head slightly. "I'm Lak. Currently inhabiting this type E EVA ssecond. Ssquisshy me is in the sshipss ArmorCore, we can have a chat in person later once my cyber has adapted to your atmosphere. This..." He points to yet another of the ship's holoscreens, which a digital variant of one of his seconds pops up on and waves. "Is Sine, the ships SGI. Nice to meet you captain Oela. Wissh it had been under better circumsstancess."

Gesturing back to the tactical screen with one of his hands, Lak indicates the ship in the center as the radar suddenly blooms out, showing an overview of the system they are in. "I'm afraid that your crew are dead. My AGI have found two them and are recovering their bodiess but theress nothing I can do for them. Similarly, a cursory sweep of the system isn't showing any more ships or suits in range. Does your ship have any kind of cloaking system I should be aware of? If not, I suspect they have already entered whatever variant of faster-than-light your ship possessed and they're out of reach. That is, unless you know where they are going to exit. Interlink is good for getting around, less so for chasing people."
« Last Edit: August 26, 2020, 12:32:56 AM by Commanderori »
Bullets might have someone’s name on them, but 20 kilos of high explosives is more “To whom it may concern”.