Jump to content

Aberrant: Children of Quantum Fire - [Interlude] You can't take the sky from me ... {FIN}

Recommended Posts

Starseed Number 3 ...

... reveled in the harsh beauty of Sol. The sun was still powerful, bright ... but not as bright as most know it. This was the belt, where Starseed had been hunting nickel-irons for some months now. She would form her massive servitors with their incredible strength, their amazing precision, and the quantum sharp talons - or teeth - that were the key to mining the rock.

She herself floated like a ghost, unperturbed by the chaotic conditions that breaking up the huge space rocks had caused in this tiny part of the vast belt. The belt was a space borne sea of rock with nearly any non-aqueous mineral you could imagine. Even then, some 'aqueous' formations could be found from variant chemistry ... they'd discovered that geology often found a way since the early mars missions. Where the place really excelled was metals ... nickel iron asteroids were a gift. Some of them were almost nickel steel to begin with, and they were found to contain all sorts of heavy elements, rare earths, and crystal formations too.

Starseed had been focusing on the steel, moving chunks of the stuff through her gates into trajectories off the ecliptic. Motion was preserved, and when she needed them back simple physics told her exactly where to go. Their distribution along the various paths had been logged, samples organized in a little cave cache on the moon ... and the steel had been solar-spin smelted into ingots. Those rough ingots had been shaped, cut, and pressure welded by her incredible servitors - flawlessly forming the simple but sturdy shell of her ship the Far Star. Before deciding that she really did need to bring baselines along as 'enlisted' crew that simplicity had been enough.

Yet now, with no money, she found it very difficult to actually outfit the ship - to complete the build out. A baseline crew would require extensive life support. The shell itself with a little bit of water and air added in had provided more than enough support for her. Pressure was almost earth normal, temperature was easy to regulate based on hull albeido and internal activity, light was provided by her servitors, and radiation was no concern inside ... but baselines needed so much more. Fresh air, clean water, waste processing, food stocks, cooking and hygiene facilities, oh my! She'd started by steeling the LNG truck trailers, but even after they were stripped and welded in place they made her feel guilty. There was no sense in returning them, they'd been welded in as the core and were totally unsuited to their original purpose ... but she wouldn't do that again. It had been easy to take the trailers through a warp at night from the unguarded lot ... but it didn't feel right.

'So', she thought, 'This is all going to take some money, or people with money being involved'. Her mind whirled as she had her servitors shift rock that had such a high gold content it literally glittered in the soft sunlight - occasional veins of native metal even catching bright flashes of sunlight when the angels were right. No one had mined here on any scale, and everything was open ... a world had fragmented here, breaking into billions of wonderfully exposed treasure troves. Though it would take some time, this was money in the bank ... or at least some serious barter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WHEN: 3 days after Jungle Den ...

Starseed Prime ...

... sat, or rather floated, in the command chamber of the Far Star. In most places, the walls were bare metal or lined with rock wool and smooth dark ceramic tiles. The glass of the view-ports was two layers and a foot thick ... tinted aqua-green from a lack of additives - simple, strong, and easy to cast. Almost made to the ancient roman recipe, with a few modern shortcuts. Classically annealed wire made good chain-mesh too, which had an interesting visual effect as a building material. With the indescribable strength and dexterity her servitors could be made to possess, plus a knowledge of science and engineering, she had been able to produce quite a bit of the Far Star herself. In places it even looked a little steam punk, with the cold-rivets showing on joints that couldn't be pressure welded. Though it was going to end up looking more BSG than now - when there was more equipment - it sort of had a Classic Trek look. Very spartan, but on the upside it would be very spacious in most places.

She was proud of the craftsmanship, but as all of her had been thinking ... there is much more work to do. Right now, even though things looked good in here ... only Novas with her sort of constitution could live here comfortably. Despite earth normal temperature, pressure, radiation levels, even humidity there was no fresh air. The oxygen content was comparable to standing on the summit of Everest - fine for her, death for baselines.

Starseed prime was not thinking so much about plans, or specs, or procedure ... no, she was quietly meditating. The soft blue-violet glow of the inner energy hull cast no shadows in this spot - her nexus. Her meditation chamber, most days, because keeping all of her clones active took quite a bit of meditation. She slowly and carefully refreshed her quantum pool once a day during these periods to stretch out the combined activity cycle of all her other selves ...

... meeting all the people from the Den had really kicked her into high gear. Kami was great, and so dedicated to her causes. There was still work to make her comfortable here though ... she was a bit paranoid. Maybe its the Japanese culture ... safety training? Star was pretty sure that Kami wore a parachute. Maybe she had trouble with controlling her flight? No matter, by the time Star extended the invitation Kami would be amazed by the ship.

... as rarefied thoughts slowly flowed her meditating mind considered: What would Shaman make of a ship with no nature on it? ... maybe he'd be content with the use of rock ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hours later, she'd refreshed her internal energies in a long trance state. In the classic lotus of sitting meditation she had opened herself to quantum reality - in microgravity, in the quiet of the command chamber under the violet-blue glow of the inner hull she had become one with the flow of the universe.

This was the legacy of her father, a great man wise in the these ways. Though she hadn't yet acquired his level of awareness, she had learned many of his lessons ... and now her clones could continue to draw on her internal reserves without fear.

She was out of chocolate. Damn, after that she really would have loved a candy bar.

node recovery roll
First is mega - varroxx@yahoo.com *rolls* 23d10: 6+1+4+7+10+9+9+2+6+3+10+9+4+7+3+8+4+1+9+6+4+2+1: 125 , success ... no extra recovery desired ... roll was to enable normal recovery for the meditation period while her clones were active.

Pushing off the bukhead with one hand, she drifted to the hatch and undogged it. On the other side she struggled a bit with footing and leverage but she managed to get it closed again. "Data band, note entry. Make sure to add some friction strips near all the hatches, and look into stirrup style foot holds. Maybe loops for feet and hands ... but placement must not be a tripping hazard or obstacle in normal gravity situations. Rough surface tile will do, and maybe we'll use some of the wire rope that we made last week for the loop holds. Save note entry - chronological"

The team at the library had been working for the better part of the day - a full shift for sure. In fact, checking her watch, they should be arriving back any time now. Starseed prime made her way through the spartan shell compartments, through the unfurnished lounge, to the docking compartment. Also the best place to manage azure gates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sharing a portal formed from a back alley the library team had returned. Stepping through the softly glowing azure vortex one by one the three came bearing gifts. Sure, it was mostly reams of paper notes, xerox copies of books, pencils and scrap paper taken from the old library because they were free ... but taken all together it was a mostly formed business plan. Her other selves had put in a productive day, and were still carrying on with light hearted conversation that told Starseed prime it had been quite a bit of fun.

One by one, they stowed their bundles and stripped off the clothes that had helped them pass for high-school kids. One by one star they merged back into her original form with the rush of collected memories taking root in her mind. It was interesting, seeing the process of developing the plan from three perspective. Especially because there had been frequent debate as one team member had advocated points in favour of say, financial budgets which conflicted with the wants of the copy that had been working on marketing. A collaborative process was often competitive ... in the same way that a productive academic debate is adversarial. Each individual had developed a unique perspective and taken together this gave Star an incredible insight. Even though the idea was beautiful in its simplicity, a business had some complexities ... non-linear factors that she could now model with considerable finesse and fidelity.

Looking at her data band, five hours plus until the next scheduled return ... well that was enough time for a nice walk. Where would she, or rather another she, go ... Mars. People loved Mars, not that she didn't but the planet held a special attraction for many. It was also a rich resource in terms of geological samples. This would be perfect ... a short trip, invite Kamiko along. Kami would be a great rock hound ...

... but where? Should have an old file on here somewhere ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


"Okay Kamiko, the oxygen supply seems connected properly... you've read the manual."

"Mother, reading is my business."

"Now... this is your first time in space but I'm sure you don't get space sickness. Just if you start getting ill, just remember you'll acclimate."

"Hopefully I don't vomit in my helmet."

"True... that takes forever to get out. How does the helmet feel anyways?"

"Comfortable. The life support system makes the cushions properly soft... of course I'll have it switched on Nova mode."

"Oh... right... I'd recommend at lead keeping yourself in an atmosphere with that suit for communication purposes. The rebreather itself has a life span of 1 month but the power supply will only last 2 days with the fuel cell I put in."

"Okay... so don't waste time."

"Right. I would rather you wore that suit at all times as well... and trust me, I'll know if you take it off."

Kamiko sighs.

"AND BRING IT BACK IN ONE PIECE! JAXA needs that prototype for their testing purposes."

Kamiko nods. "I can't guarantee that if I'm on a mission."

"I know... just be careful with it."

As Kamiko gets the pressure adjusted just right, her comlink in her helmet rings. It's Starseed.

"Speaking of which..."

Kamiko answers. "Hey Star guess what... I'm in the suit now! Pretty comfortable design. Wanna see?"

Doryoku walks over bespoke in her Nippontai uniform and lab coat close enough to be heard by Kamiko's comlink.

"Hello Starseed!"

"Oh, and Mom says hello."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Star had sent number ... 7, yes this one would be number 7 today down to Kinshasa where she could hook into the network. She'd taken her home made prospecting kit plus a few extra - sample containers, rock hammers, and chain-mesh woven shoulder bags. All handy crafted by her servitors. One for Star and one for Kami. Hope she had time today ...

Getting a link with Kami, waiting, waiting ...

Star: "Hello Kamiko?"

Kami: "Hello Starseed!"

Star: "Yes! I know its sort of last minute but I wondered if you were up for a bit of a day trip?"

Kami: "What were you thinking? More wilderness adventure?"

Star: "In a way ... I was thinking we'd do a day trip to Mars. Rock-hounding! If you can ... I'll be in that little square in Kinshasa - the one from the other day."

Kami: "With the great bookstore?"

Star: "Thats the one. I'll be there and we'll gate in about 45. I brought all the geology gear you'll need. Don't worry - Mars is nice. Not too different from the top of Everest in places."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well Mom... I gotta go. Geology trip on mars."

"Oh! Bring me a rock... just use something to have it properly sealed. So it doesn't get contaminated."

"Right!" Kamiko says with a salute before opening a portal to the square Star mentioned.

"Oh did you remember the suit patches?"

"Of course." She says before stepping through and closing the portal behind her. One thing she forgot though... she's in a body-fitting space suit in the middle of a city square... in broad daylight...

"oops..." Kamiko awkwardly waves.

"Star... I hope you get here soon... I'm wearing the suit now... full dress."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She'd gated number 7 to the square with a minimum of fuss. Seems people arrive this way in Kinshasa often enough that it still raises eyebrows ... but thats all.

She'd come early and ... wow, Kami was there. In a space suit! Nice model too, quite slim and form fitting.

"Kami-chan! Hi hi. Looks like you are all ready to go ... brought you a bag." she said, hugging her friend warmly and then holding out one of the large, heavy geology bags.

They bag was packed with all sorts of numbered sample containers - solid steel with copper gaskets. There was some thick copper alloy foil in the bag too, for wrapping larger rocks maybe? A fair sized rock hammer was in there, along with good old pencil and scrap paper for notes.

"Not to seem like its a rush, but we only have about four and a half hours." Star said, as she formed the gate and focused the azure portal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Oh... a rush job? Fair enough... Although I was hoping we could hang out afterward." She smiles after Star's hug. "She's really taken to me..."

She smooths out a couple wrinkles on her white suit, the only other colors were some red striping and the bluish internal cushioning of the helmet.

"Lead on, captain!"

She grabs her bag and follows Star through. The sudden change of pressure was apparent as the suit strained for a moment, but still kept it's comfortable flexibility.

"Bloody hell... I'm... Actually on MARS!"

The stark vista of a dusty sky and rust color ground lays before her, many types of rock all around. "So... time for geology. I know a few things... what am I looking for?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Sure we can hang out, but after this it has to be in the UK ... or maybe Europe. Need to do some shopping but not sure what kind of money I'll have." Star said, unsure of what her other self might be able to secure with the meeting Professor Andrews.

"But thats hours from now!" she said, making some adjustments to he physiology with her liminal form ... and then they were through ... standing on Martian soil.

She let Kamiko savour the moment, smiling at the thought of how good it must be for the first time. Its not that she'd forgotten the wonder of it all, but it had become her routine. The solar system had become her home, though of course she'd only seen a tiny fraction of the sights in all her time 'in the sky'.

Once Kami had time to soak it in, Star took an pencil and paper and wrote a note large:

I have no raido. Can't hear you. Can you lip read?

I have a list here, you can have the paper.

Do you know mineral types? Look for inclusions, or nice strata.

Liminal Form
Using body shift to get an extra level of adaptability, even though its not really needed. As per other Mars threads, adaptability should be enough - and speech is possible once adapted to the thin air

Starseed gave the servitor who had come with them an extra bag and her own bag - freeing her hands. The servitor would follow the group, a Martian caddy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meanwhile, back on the Far Star - Starseed prime is bored. Already having spent most of the day in meditation, and letting the multiple tracks of memory from business planning come together she wanted to do neither.

So it was time for something she'd been putting off - something interesting but bound to be unpleasant ...

Forming a servitor from her base energies she wove a graceful thing with tremendous strength and sharp needle like energy claws. She wove the claws dense, she wove them sharp, and she wove them incredibly fine ... as much ideal needles as she could. Needles of glowing, bright blue white radiance ... brighter than anything she'd woven before.

The servitor, in its semblance of life, followed her commands automatically and with great precision. The two seated themselves near the inner energy hull where Star could place her hand on its knee. This she did, and the servitor used a hand to steady it there like a vice.

Star had also woven her azure aura - her protective field - and wove it as tight as she could ... which wasn't very tight in some ways. Wasn't that the point?, she thought quizzically ...

Then, the servitor began to press its needles into the field. Harder, and harder by tiny measures ... harder and harder ...

Out loud, unconsciously, she said "This is going to hurt ..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kamiko pulls up a large OLED display from a arm-based keyboard on her left forearm and types.

If only I had Mom's ability to interact with machines this would be much quicker.
Do you perfer English or Japanese, by the way?
Wait a second...
[/CODE] She hits a couple of buttons.
There, I set the translator for english, and am using the voice interface, more efficient.
You know... this would be all the more easier if you used a helmet with some air in it...
Your body should adapt to the rest easily. I can hear fine through the microphones too. I'm just testing this suit.
She smiles, then blushes.

I'm familiar with Geology, but it's not a chosen field... so I'll need a little help on that front, Star.
We should be using the buddy system anyways until I can use the speaker with you.
The MARS mode on this suit should be pretty suitable for actual physical speech.
Wait I can speak now... derp

"Star? If you can hear me just give a thumbs up." She says over her speaker system. "I had Mom include this for terrestrial operation. On Mars we have less atmosphere so the sound will carry closer to origin. So... as stated the buddy system will work out."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Star gives the thumbs up on being able to hear Kami. If she weren't a Nova she doubted the tiny voice would be audible ... but her physiology had adapted and she was very perceptive ...

Star: "Can you hear me too?"

Kami: "Roger, loud and clear."

Star: "Definitely the buddy system rules. We'll never leave each other's line of sight. Every new site we go to, we can collect samples centrally. That will let me show you what to look for in terms of actual specimines ... in fact, for that we'll just lay out some of the heavy foil as a ground sheet - weigh it down, and then when we move sites we pack containers then".

She walked over to a nearby ridge "This is a good place to start. Sometime long ago this was a crater side, and there are some interesting things going on here. Here, you can see some of the impact effect ... see the crust?"

... waiting for Kamiko's nod and confirmation with a point of the hammer ...

Kami: "Gotcha. What about the cracks over there?"

Star: "Thats also good - good eye. Its where shifting and erosion has broken the crate ridge. See the strata there? Maybe see what you find there as a start. Nice samples of that will have nice clear layers, or lots of layers, of just interesting patterns ..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Or instance, looking for water evidence and evidence of weather patterns over time, right Professor?"

Kamiko knows a few things about science and in particular Geology, but it is unpracticed and raw compared to what Starseed knows. "I was actually tasked as 'payment' for my gear to find some rocks that might be near a potential waterline. Mom's looking for microbial remnants."

She kneels down, mindful of the sharp stones and shiste laying about and starts carefully chiseling. "Is this the right method?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hmm, water and microbes. Well, in that case we need to dig down. What we should really bring back for her is water ice and the minerals from underneath it. There's always some sublimation of exposed ice, but on the underside we might find slightly damp minerals ... not liquid damp, but saturated with water vapour over the long haul."

"First thing is that your suit has been in a terrestrial environment. This copy of me, and most of this gear hasn't - and I don't tend to do atmospheres that are conducive to microbial life. So it means I should get those samples to avoid cross contamination. Okay, lets see ...." she roots around in her bag, searching ... for a roll of thinner metal foil

"This foil has only ever been in hard vacume or packed away. Its sterile, and it will be great for wrapping the sample cores with. ... the only thing is I'd like a favour from you. We'll need to be in a much more polar area. I have a bunch of copies of myself out and about right now, and we - I - have a strict rule to budget how much energy I use in order to maintain an emergency reserve."

Star indicates the fancy looking electronics on the suit "If you have a map of Mars on there and can use that for your style of gate, you could take us. Otherwise, if you take us to low orbit directly up from here oh about 200 kilometers ... I can just point to where we need to go."

She waits to see what Kamiko wants to do ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kamiko smiles and brings a map up on the OLED screen showing a map of Mars.

"Hmm... one problem. I have to know where we are warping to before I warp. I can fly us but I will be unable to do re-entry... Unless I can fly up, get to where we need to be and warp down to the surface... wait then we'd have conservation of energy to worry about... we'd still slam into the surface at the speed we were at..."

"Hmm... but I could fly us at a safe high altitude, still in atmo at about 30 miles up, get to where we need to be and do a line-of-sight warp. Sound good?"

"Wait... I'm not that fast..."

Kamiko gets scared when she realizes her only option is a blind warp. "Umm... Ideas?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Kamiko, you are over-thinking this. Energy isn't conserved ... if it was, even a minor change in altitude on earth would result in sizable changes in radial velocity - especially because it's ovoid. It would be like stepping out onto the the freeway from the back of a moving truck ... portals adjust ... if yours didn't then when we all went through for the river trip we'd have been stepping out over a kilometer long line. Portals would be forming and then zipping by at thousands of kilometers per hour. Also, if energy was conserved thermally, say if our velocity was adjusted but the difference altered out potential energy then you'd experience large temperature changes in anything transiting. Even a one degree instant change in a baselines brain temperature is instant death ... and they make it through portals fine all the time. No falling over, no shiftiing portals, no frying alive ...it adjusts."

Star was trying to calm Kamiko rationally, she was a science girl after her own heart ... "Science can inform your powers, shape them, guide them ... but you have to trust yourself. Plus, even if you put a protal in solid rock there won't be any space to step through into. Just trust yourself ... you can do it."

Star put her hand, her bare flesh, on the Kami's shoulder - though she wouldn't feel much with that suit on, it was the gesture that Star was after. Star would leave the issue of the suit for now, one thing at a time ... so long as Kami was comfortable.

"But I don't want to force you. We can take a shuttle if you like."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I... I'm sorry this... this is just a new way of thinking things."

She adjusts her suit. "There are times I forget who I am."

"Star... I'm sorry I got lost in the minutae... some times I have to remember it's me who is in control." She stomps her right foot lightly, kicking up some dust. "Just let me know when it's time to move and I'll do so. I got a plan."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well, we didn't unpack yet - so we might as well go and get some cores. I'm not after any samples in particular - so long as we come away with something. Another me is meeting with this Professor in the UK who has some money, and funds the astronomy and astrophysics departments there with his own money. I read online that he's a really serious collector, so I got together some of my belt samples from weeks back and went to trade him for some gear ... and I hope a little money. Even second hand telescope optics from a campus observatory are all I need, plus he'll have other bits and pieces. These samples are a follow up for him - but we'll get the best ones for your Mom."

Star looked a little sheepish "When I left Mother I didn't really think about money, or ID or bank accounts. I mean, I just live ... and explore, and lots of things are so easy to make if you think about it. Electronics and high end optics are not easy to make. I mean sure, lenses and tubes are easy peasy - but layered chip fab and high quality holographic diffraction gratings are pretty tricky without the right equipment. Plus, I am out of pocket money ... and I need chocolate."

She smiled again "But enough of that. No gloomy allowed for both of us ... We're on Mars! Then we get to follow up with a shopping trip! Lets go!"

Star suggests a few spots on Kami's map display.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Right... I gotta stand on my own feet to figure this out. We can make mistakes too... we're Novas. We can handle it."

She smacks the side of her helmet, accidentally opening the switch lifting the visor... she has to take a second to catch an adapted breath. "Dammit... Okay, design flaw... the... helmet opens on that sort of shock..."

She closes it again and re-pressurizes. "...huh... huh... phew... okay... important to remember and include in my notes to mother. That was... sorta cool..."

She walks over and sets some rocks to the side as she starts helping to unpack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Star watches Kami unpack for a minute, then shrugs ... thinking 'OK, lets get some samples here - she's not ready just yet'.

"We can start with this over here. If we both dig down a bit - this might have been sea shore at some point. It will be a good contrast to the cores we get at the poles later."

Star smiles, thinking to herself 'this strange blonde Japanese girl is all right'.

Minutes later, samples were already gathering on the thick foil ground sheet. A nice variety, though some sorting and tossing would certainly be necessary in short order. Star saved the thin foil for later - gotta get those cores.

"Oh, Kami - I have a trick that might get us the exact samples your Mom wants. Remind me later, when we get to the poles."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Cool... if it requires heavy lifting I got just the thing."

She smiles. Her grin showing that her uncertainty is washing away. "Just let me know if it requires anything like that. I'll need to get my paper out if we do anything here anyways like flying or warping and such."

"This space stuff is alright." Kamiko muses to herself. "Not as scary as I thought it would be."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Sure, if you want to fold up a creature to do the core samples. Really all it needs is a really sturdy hollow probiscous or drill and enough strength to push it down to get the core sample ... and the ability to eject the cores so we can wrap them. If you are able, I think it would be clever to have the creature with some sort of seal-able sack or pouch ... to store the samples in when you get them back to your Mom. She's not going to want the samples contaminated, but also she's going to want to avoid contaminating her facility and lab with the samples. So it might be a pretty interesting creature if you can manage?" says Star ...

Kami and Star talk away an hour, chatting and carrying on like classmates on a field trip while the samples steadily come in. As Kami is labeling the last of the 'keeper' samples from this site Star says "You know what? Its funny, a few decades ago this afternoon would have been a fifty billion dollar space mission that took a year round trip ... for about the same sample return ..."

... looking at her databand chronometer Star then exclaimed "Oh, its time to go. I'll finish packing and you can get ready for those gates."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Okay... Showtime then."

Kamiko interweaves her fingers and cracks them. The red soil of Mars permeating her suit turning the white a slight tint of pink. "So... here's what I think I can do... I can do a quick gate opening in orbit to see where we need to be then modify the exit point back down to ground level. It'd avoid most of the falling risks right there when we pop out. It should take no more than... 5, ten minutes tops."

She pulls out a few cubes of paper, more like hyper compressed. They pop out into normal size and fold and twist into the form of one of Kamiko's paper tesseract gates. It opens it's aperture at 300 miles up looking down at the surface below. She sees the location described and modify the exit point.

"I really worry too much. I'm ready when you are!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Site cleaned up, check. Its fine leaving these samples in a pile - we can always come back and maybe sift through them again. Everything accounted for, check. ... alright, here goes" said Star as she stepped into the first tesseract ... as she waited for Kami to open the way back down to the planet surface she gave her the 'double thumbs up' sign for everything is great.

Once they were down again, in the atmosphere and able to talk Star said "Good. This spot will do. Really, the cap extends so far and there are lots of mineral layers. We'd be really lucky if we found a soil layer sandwiched in water ice. That might actually have living extremophiles! At this time of year we won't have to watch for places that have a top layer of frozen carbon dioxide, its too bright and warm."

Starseed begins setting up again, laying things out a little differently - for handling and wrapping meter long cores.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kamiko kneels down and feels the cold of martian ice through the suit.

"Wow... true martian Ice." She says, a safe distance from the coring site.

"So Star, someday... we should come here to just... relax. Once we get situated."

She adjusts the warming elements of her suit and increases the pressure slightly, turning on the standard life support and getting re-aquainted with a earth standard atmosphere. While she was a Nova that could just as easily walk on the surface in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt... Kamiko liked being comfy. Having normal air in her lungs and encapsulating her was of quite a comfort.

She steps over, but keeps a distance where she won't contaminate Star's samples. "Until then, what is it you need?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Star smiled. "I do relax, actually I meditate. I like to do it in beautiful and majestic places. .... Oh, just keep on brining up cores from different places, you don't have to stand so far away ... just don't handle them. Just like before, there are going to be good cores and not so good cores. We'll only take the best ones ... allowing of course, for a decent distribution too. You can help me catalouge, just take note of strata, inclusions, and most importantly colouration before sublimation changes it too much. Actually, high-res photos of each one would be great."

As she was working, she asked "Kami - do you meditate, work exercises with your node?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"No... I never have the time." She says, taking a bit of sterile foil wrapping and picking up a sample like a person avoids doggie-doo in the park when they pick up after their dog. She organizes the samples in piles based on potential quality, taking snapshots and verbal notes on her recorder. "Most of my enrichment comes from books and experiences like this." She says. "I'm a bookworm. Although Dan-Sensei has been trying to encourage me to find some sort of spiritual focus."

She smiles. "Maybe... you could teach me a few things, Star? When you have time."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'd be happy too Kami. I think it would make my Dad proud if he were still around. Its also how I relax, so that will work out ... really helps recharge the internal reserves." Star says as she works,

"Out of more than curiosity, what is your node structure like? What instar? Also how much mas can you attune? And can you attune from range yet?" She asks, thinking to guage Kami's current levels...

after she and Kamiko talked training and meditation for a while .... Star added suddenly

"Oh yes, almost forgot ... we're going to shape fate a little bit today. Lets, see ... how best to explain? We're taking a whole bunch of core samples, along a more or less random distribution, in an optimal area to look for what your Mom wants. ... BUT we're generating ten times the number of core samples we can take home, so today we're going to be fortunate ... I'm going to choose the best of the cores ... the ones that feel lucky based on the shape of fate. Of course, doing so changes the shape of fate as you feel it ... which is why it's a skill that has to be learned."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"So... let me get this straight... you alter probability to the point you alter actual geological process that was laid without your observation to fit your optimal paradigm? You should have been named Miss Schrodinger. The cat is dead and alive..."

Kamiko looks over the piles. "My Doctor said I have a second stage instar... if that really means anything. I can't attune from range, if it's possible at all... and... what do you mean node structure?"

Starseed is now covering things Kamiko has no clue of or has even knew. "Never mind that... we got a job to do at the moment." She says, interweaving her fingers and cracking them. "Let's start saving cats."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"No worries, lets just get the best cores selected. We've got another two hours or so ... it should be enough to collect at least fifty more, catalog, and then select the best twenty - taking the best one in five-ish."

"Oh I'm not altering geology, I'm just altering the odds of us making the right choice in the cores we pick, in not missing something key when we document, in where we take cores, how we wrap them ... fate is a smooth curve. Dad called this a classic Daoist concept, and he said doing this was the key to 'Effortless Power'. Thing is, its effects are hard to see, very subtle".

"Second instar is a good start, though node structure doesn't begin to significantly vary until ... seventh instar? Yes, seventh, if I recall correctly. Then the body begins to distribute the node through the brain and eventually through the body in a nodal network. Its really really hard to get past sixth instar. Took me like two months to get to seventh ... ugh. As your node grows it will be easier for you to do alot of things but the exercises still really help. If you've done a bit of meditation already, and visualization then I can show you for sure. Exercises to channel energy, well my Dad called that 'wellspring'. The attunment exercises are not nearly as important, but handy ... Dad called that 'soft-binding'."

As they worked away, talk drifted from anime to TV shows "You know what I watched five whole episodes of in a row just the other day? Kikjak - Public Defender. Loved that show ... not as good now that I watch it again, but still good."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ever seen 'Naginata'? It was a 6 episode miniseries about Naginata of Nippontai. It was a bit of a biography, and a bit of a over-dramatization at points... a Naginata doesn't function like the series portrayed. I should know. I'm well trained in the art."

She collects more samples until she's out of foil. "Now while the character was fictional, there was a anime...a movie actually...of a Nova who took on the name 'Aviatrix'. I was 9 at the time... just a couple years after my birth-parents died... I think it was... a little influential to me."

She sets her samples down in a sorted method based on location sampled. "There... all organized."

"Then again, there is this old anime series... it's in it's 30's now almost, long forgotten outside of true otaku circles... I think it influences me more. Read or Die... look it up. Not a nova among the characters and one of the few series to buck the Nova-craze of the early 2000s."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Haven't seen Naginata ... but Read or Die seems a familiar title. Mother always loved all sorts of obscure anime, even if it wasn't SF. Though she shied away from fantasy a bit, it was always on everywhere. I'll look it up when construction is finished on the Far Star ... " oops, let that slip ...

"Ignore you heard that last bit please, it's supposed to be a surprise." she grins, going back to the old topic ...

"I've always liked good sentai series. Doesn't necessarily super-sentai either, as I like the level of detail and strategy that non-Nova sentai often brings in. Especially with newer technologies and the very gifted writers at some of the major production houses. I am months, even years behind on some shows though."

... and the work was drawing to a close, she'd already started to pull the curves of fate into different a different shape. "Now we review out data by the numbers, and inspect the top thirty cores. Then we use retrograde selection and eliminate the ten least likely to meet our selection criteria."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[Kamiko] 4:08 am: Okay.... making a CoQF Roll.
[Kamiko] 4:08 am: Science + Intelligence + MIntelligence
[Kamiko] 4:08 am: Rolling megas seperately.
Kamiko *rolls* 10d10: 6+6+5+7+3+1+6+4+7+3: 48
Kamiko *rolls* 3d10: 7+4+4: 15
[Kamiko] 4:11 am: 4 sux.

Kamiko starts going over her samples, not really knowing what would be a "best" selection, so she went after what looked promising and hoped Starseed could narrow it down with her seemingly more trained talents.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hours of work between the two talented young martian field geologists comes to a conclusion, and they have twenty carefully wrapped martian core samples from a climate (and micro-climates) that stand the best chance to house microbial life on the otherwise dusty world. Plus bags of nice 'display' specimines from the first site.

"Well, what do you say Kami ... a good way to kill a little time?" Star said, adding "Oh, you think it would be OK if I met your Mom. It'll have to be quick if you want to do shopping with the other me though ...".

Astro-Geology Roll
INT 10 + Science 5 + Help 4 + Luck 5 + Mega INT 1

varroxx@yahoo.com *rolls* 25d10: 1+4+7+5+10+6+1+8+8+2+8+10+4+8+10+10+9+5+3+10+8+2+10+3+9: 161

Last die is Mega, for 15 successes.

Quality is brilliant. If "Brilliant Scientist" is appropriate for martian field geology then apply the following:

varroxx@yahoo.com *rolls* 6d10: 5+6+3+5+10+7: 36

For a possible 17 successes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Easily arranged. Are we done here?"

Kamiko smiles, brushing some red dirt off of her spacesuit. "Can't wait to hand over the data."

She takes a mesh bag and starts loading the carefully wrapped and sequestered samples into the bag. "Just one thing... My mom is a bit... eccentric. I'm not sure how you two will hit it off."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Its OK, I'll be very respectful. Just let me know what to do when we come to that. I will follow your lead." Once the samples were secured Star summoned up a shuttle.

Sleek, luminous, organic ... it was twenty plus feet of alien-esque wonder. The small ship sat down into the Martian terrain and began to scrape down to the ice layers - flexing and slowly pulsing as it processed it full atmospheric and water reserves.

Kamikos eye were wide with wonder.

"Kami-chan, our ride is here." Star said as she made a subtle hand gesture that opened the rear 'hatch' of the ship - more stretched out an aperture and extended a swooping embarkation ramp for the two young Novas and Kami's paper golem.

For a lengthy description of the shuttles ...
See the "Burn No Bridges" thread.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ah! Clever. So we get this back home on this shuttle? You know a journey like that could take... quite a while... wait... you warp as well. Can you open a warp aperture large enough?"

Kamiko marvels at the design as she steps in. "Outstanding, none the less. How is she piloted?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The interface is dynamic, gesture - even very subtle gesture will do. Tt watches, listens, feels and even smells so there are other options, like verbal. It may sometimes look like a mental link but in reality the servitors are simply very observant and configured for control means of my choice. She will pilot herself mostly, but fine control is entirely possible - like a horse and rider." Star says as they board, stow the samples and get webbed into their seats.

"Actually, we'll be warping to my place first. Have to drop off my samples and touch base with my other self before we head back to earth." With the hatch closed the cabin pressurized, and warmed to a comfortable level. "You can take your helmet off. We're in earth normal pressure, non-volatile atmospherics, normal temperature ... standard humidity. Gas mix isn't earth norm, but you'll be fine."


"When I call up the next shuttle, I could even rig up a piloting or video game style interface. If you're good at that sort of thing you could even pilot these. I'm no pilot, so I command instead, but maybe you'd enjoy it?"

The shuttle lifted off and sped into the sky, pushing the girls back into the acceleration seats and the stars came into sharp focus - they went from the ambers and gold of the Martian sky to diamond studded black struck through with the ribbon of the milky way galaxy. Star just smiled, let Kami take in the sights for a minute and then the ship suddenly broke through the azure gate - star fields shifting in a flash and revealing the majesty of the asteroid belt far below them. They were high above the ecliptic, able to survey the belt expanse ... even the largest planetoids looking like tiny pebbles in the distance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before the jump, Kamiko opens the visor of her helmet and allows the memory polymers that keep pressure in the suit to slacken. The suit almost looking like a classic space suit by now. Her adaptation starts kicking in. It wasn't normal earth environment, but it was survivable. It even felt like a waste of quantum.

"Well... I prefer a control scheme similar to a fighter jet. Since this has some sort of bio-feedback system that would make controls very reflexive."

As the last words leave her mouth they hit warp and in moments they were at the asteroid belt... well... over it. "Well... never looks like the textbooks in school. Then again I had the advantage of using Celestia on my OpPad so everything is to scale.... but still... nothing beats being there."

She takes more pictures from her helmet-based camera then she spots something. "That... doesn't look like an asteroid..."

She looks closer. "Star... have a look."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...