1. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Heart of Star

    Discussion in 'Archive' started by losthawken, Jul 20, 2010.

    Heart of Star​


    In a distant future, the gap between man and the stars has been bridged. The expanse of the galaxy was found to be more alive and more hostile than previously imagined. But the discovery of a new energy source continues to drive human kind deeper and deeper into the depths of the void; and further into the realm of the mysterious Specters that claim it as their own.

    More than an energy source, the crystal shards that brave souls venture into the depths of the galaxy for emit a unique radiation that interacts with the universe at the sub-quantum level. Harnessing these shards and tuning their energies can produce massive amounts of power and generate fields with unique and advantageous properties. These properties make the shards incredibly valuable commodities to governments and to trading organizations.

    It is for the chance at unbelievable wealth that the Shard Seekers risk their lives to harvest shards from the space faring creatures that live on the outer rim of the galaxy. They venture alone or in small groups to trap the more mundane shard baring life forms while avoiding the more dangerous ones and especially the questionably sentient Specters whose raids have become more frequent in recent times.

    The Game:

    This game will be science fiction with a hint of steam-punk in style as the shard seekers tend to use simplistic but reliable shard powered tools and devices. The feel will largely be up to you however.

    The game will begin with a call to rescue a shard seeker stranded out on the Outer Rim. The story is going to be written mostly by YOU, and as such there are positions for a main protagonist and some supporting protagonist available to anyone with experience who wants them. These roles come with a few minimal constraints that shouldn’t effect the development of the character you want to create. Contact me by PM if you are interested.

    My goal is for this game to read like an actual story and to prioritize writing. As such, we will start out with some different rules than other games, but everything will be open to negotiation as the game progresses. As this is my first RPG as GM, I’m trying to keep it relatively short, not more than three months at most depending on how it goes.

    I’m going for a slow and steady pace. It’s about quality over quantity, so a few posts a week will be sufficient. Posting surges are inevitable and OK, just be aware that I may not have as much time as you and need to keep the plot on course. Also, breaks are expected and OK, just let us know and we can work around it.

    To learn about the universe and the feel of the game please read these short story snippets on which this game is loosely based: Shard Seeker, Heart of Star 1, 2, 3.

    The short stories above are meant as a guide to the universe but are not law. They are meant to provide a feel for the game for you to follow.

    You will be starting at a Shard Seeker rendezvous, where they gather to trade in the shards they have collected and to re-stock their supplies. There will be many types of people at the gathering, from dealers and company representatives to, tradesmen and military escorts. You may have your pick of any profession you can imagine, however, we will need at least a couple Shard Seekers on board for the game to work.

    Universe basics

    Below are a few basics concepts in the universe in which we will be playing that you need to know. More will be added in the discussion thread as needed, but much of the interpretation of the world will be left to you.

    Shard Fields

    De-energizing/defensive shield – These fields convert any energy including, laser blasts and kinetic energy, into matter. The efficiency of this transfer is proportional to the strength of the shard, the intensity of the field at the point of impact and the amount of energy to be converted. Middle range energy impacts, such as bullets and energy blasts are stopped easily, while interactions at the farther ends of the spectrum, such as a stealthy knife strike or a nuclear explosion will pass through the field more effectively.

    Energizing/Blast field – Essentially the opposite of a defense shield; this field converts a percentage of matter into a stream of radiation that follows the trajectory of the original object when it contacted the field. Again, the efficiency of the transfer is proportional to the intensity of the field, and the strength of the shard. In general the efficiency is much lower than a defensive field and results in a blast more akin to a pulse laser than an atomic bomb.

    Tachyon field: Sub quantum Tachyon energy was discovered to flow between the stars in celestial winds. Tach-fields harness these currents and translate them into kinetic energy, moving shuttles, skiffs and shard seekers on glowing energy sails across and between the planets.

    Shard fields are shaped and controlled by special carbon fiber rods. Be creative with how you use the shards, feel free to use the short story as a guide but keep your devices relatively simple and not so powerful that they god-mode the game.

    Shard Harnesses

    The shard harnesses are lightweight suits designed to house that the shards used to generate many of the fields used by shard seekers. Typically a single large shard is housed at the front of the body. Shard harnesses also house many of the other devices that are used, protect the wearer from the elements, generate artificial gravity using tachyon winds, and are typically controlled with help from an AI.

    Specters:

    Specters are dangerous space faring creatures that will be developed more in story. They range in size from around a meter to larger than the largest cargo vessel. Characters need to know that they are intelligent and seem to hate humans. Their sentience is questionable, but one thing is certain they, want your shards. A specter cannot be truly killed, but a strong blast at its core will slow it down enough to allow escape.

    AI:

    Most individuals on the frontier have a companion AI to control their shards fields, do menial tasks, and keep them sane. AI’s are not quite self aware, but can develop personalities. However, please avoid turning your AI into a second character as this will become cumbersome. In the game they will be used primarily to develop your characters and expose the plot. As such the GM may take over your AI from time to time to move the plot further.

    Please PM me with any questions you may have about the universe or game until the discussion thread is up. Then feel free to ask there.


    The Discussion Thread is now up, please direct any questions there.

    Character Template:

    Please PM the GM for approval before posting a character. Keep your templates short and sweet, I prefer you to introduce your character by telling in story rather than by posting a detailed profile. The exception being the history and equipment which you should PM ONLY to the GM so that they can be not only approved but also so that the plot can be integrated with your character. I'm looking for 4-6 players to start with.

    Name:

    Gender:

    Occupation:

    Personality:

    Age:

    History & Equipment: (PLEASE PM TO THE GM ONLY)

    The Rules:

    1. GM is law and can break and modify his own rules without notice.

    2. No god moding. Strive for balance among all other players.

    3. No controlling other characters or named Non-Player Characters (NPCs).

    4. You cannot kill other players or named NPCs unless told to do so.

    5. Players can make generic (unnamed) NPCs if necessary so long as they do not obscure the goals or plot and do not persist for more than a couple posts.

    6. No out of character content.

    7. Please use third person perspective to maintain the flow of the story

    8. Write the NEXT part of the story. Avoid re-capping. Use showing in the present to show how the character responds to previous posts; avoid re-telling entire previous posts from your character’s perspective.

    9. First Post: Character Template

    10. Second Post: Introduction in the bar (to be described when the game begins)

    11. All questions should be directed to the GM.

    12. No one-liners or short posts. Let’s shoot for 100 words +

    13. Read all posts

    14. Abandoned characters will be re-assigned or removed by GM.

    15. FLAMING, INSULTING, OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF HARSHNESS THAT IS DELIBERATELY USED TO HURT SOMEONE ELSE’S FEELINGS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AT ALL, NOR ACCEPTED ANYWHERE ELSE AROUND THE FORUM.

    16. Edit before posting.

    17. View the Discussion Thread and short stories for directions in the game and for less formal details.

    18. Dialogue from other posts should be put in BOLD BLUE text
    19. Please feel welcome to make suggestions and negotiate with the GM!

    The goal start date for posting will be the second week of August, so have your profiles in by then!
     
  2. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Approved. :)
     
  3. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Here's am example character template for one of my characters:

    Name: Artemus Syndax

    Gender: Male

    Occupation: Research Scientist

    Personality: Art is a very bright but lacks a certain degree of social skills. He is very excitable, especially when discussing specters, the subject of his life's research.

    Age: 40
     
  4. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Name: Adam Al-Minhar

    Gender: Male

    Occupation: Shard Seeker and Trader

    Personality: Adam prefers to avoid large social groups, not so much because he dislikes people as because of his questionable past. Adam keeps always on the move like a man being pursued by a demon, and never knows when his past will catch up with him.

    Age: 33
     
  5. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Name: Allen P. Rage

    Gender: Male

    Occupation: Recruit Military Medical Aid [Medic]

    Personality: Allen is ridiculous stubborn for being a medic. He tends to choose what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. He isn't exactly the most trustworthy medic either. It isn't because he is a coward simply the fact that he chooses when to live and when to die. If say for example there were large hordes of enemies coming to kill an already injured party and he was healing them, he'd stop immediately and run away. He can be quite grumpy and irritable, easily getting angry, but he can just as well be easily calmed. He really embodies the phrase small packages hold a lot of TNT.

    Age: 24
     
  6. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Name: Diana Persellis

    Gender: Female

    Occupation: Shard Seeker

    Personality: Diana is hard working and dedicated, always very serious about her job. Although, when she's not immediately busy, she does appreciate a company and a good laugh.

    Age: 25
     
  7. Aconite
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    Aconite Senior Member

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    Lev Kapani

    Gender: Male

    Occupation: Shard Engineer

    Personality: Rather than being the typical geek stowed away in a laboratory, Lev genuinely likes people and is interested in them--maybe to a fault. As curious about what makes people tick as about what makes gadgets tick, he's as likely to ask the wrong question as the right one. The only saving grace for that is the fact that, thanks to people's perception of his profession, he can get away with being so forward and have it dismissed as cluelessness. In reality, he knows exactly what he's doing. If he didn't, he wouldn't be half as well-situated as he is.

    Age: 32
     
  8. Forgotten_Memories
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    Forgotten_Memories Active Member

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    Name: Dominic Cody

    Gender: Male

    Occupation: Ex-Bounty Hunter for the large shard collecting company, Charles Gateway; now mercenary.

    Personality: He is intelligent, but likes to show off. He is usually distrusting of people, cold, has very little patience, is short tempered, and feels like he can do what he wants, when he wants.

    Age: 22
     
  9. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Antair Rendezvous

    The rocky red mountains that surrounded the rendezvous gleamed warm light into the open air bar. This planet was always glaring and bright, but that did little to dampen the jovial mood as old friends reunited after months a field in the depths of space. Laughter was common and conversation revolved mostly around exaggerated stories of narrow escapes and massive mogle queens that were nearly captured.

    Outside the plain was littered with shuttles and ships that had come to trade on the frontier. Shard seekers and merchants crowded the spaces between shuttles forming busy streets. It was a busy and noisy place on the red dunes of the planet Antair. Over the past few weeks the gathering had grown from a few small ships to a community of travelers trading their wares and restocking their supplies. A few weeks more and the camp would slowly disband, as the seekers returned to the depths of space to hunt out their prey and harvest more shards.

    Artemus Syndax the renown scientist sat on his stool while leaning heavily on the bar top and gestured wildly with his hands. His thin wispy comb-over swayed with his unsteadiness, and his squeaky voice rose and fell at random.

    “Nooo, no, no, you’ got it all wrong. Nobody listens to me, Jeeze! I’ve been studying specters fer years! I’s know what I’m talking ‘bout. Not all specters are nasty,” gesturing with clawed hands he nearly fell from his stool.

    “I jes don’t un’erstand why no one lis’ens to me,” he mumbled into his tumbler before downing the last of his potent drink. He turned his narrow face abruptly to the woman next to him.

    “But yer nice. You know what I mean right? See? I gotta go WAAY out to prove my theory, they won’t believe me ‘less I come back with PROOF.” Art swept his arm wide toward the sky before pounding the bar with his fist in imitation of the staunch consortium that had rejected his recent discoveries, “You’ll come wi'v me wont ya? I mean I could go myself, but, you know, its too crazy out there fer just one. I need someone with lots’a e’sperience! I gut a ship, an’ I’m willin’ to pay.”

    Art continued to sway as he tried to focus his inebriated eyes on the woman seated next to him.

    Perseus

    Captain Hardigan stood on the bridge of the Perseus and stared out at the stars. It had been three weeks, and they had seen nothing but fleeting glances of specters. They were certainly going to have to push deeper into the depths to find the answers they had been ordered to search out.

    Looking about at the crew with him on the deck, he grimaced. They weren't the best group of soldiers the Protectorate had to offer, but beggars can't be choosers.

    The ship was top of the line and the fastest in the fleet. Its lines were clean and sleek within and without. But the crew of brave souls willing or foolish enough to venture into the depths of the rim was ill befitting of a craft of this quality.

    The mission was two fold, first priority was to gather as much data as possible on the spectors of the outer rim, with special attention to the driving force that causes them to pursue and steal human shards. Secondly, the Perseus was to dispatch any raider vessels on sight to protect the interests of both the government that depended on shards and the corporations who built their economy around them.

    It wasn't just the quality of Protectorate men that bothered Hardigan, it was also the men sent by the collaborators, spindly scientists that had never seen the damage a spector could do, heartless corporate mercenaries, and shard seekers that would likely cut and run at the first opportunity to line their own wallets.

    Everyone had their own reasons for wanting to see the rim, Hardigan knew full well that he had his own purposes that had led him to accept this mission. He couldn't fault them, even if he doubted their readiness for what lay ahead.

    “Captain,” a young ensign stood from his console. “We've intercepted a distress signal from a nearby planetoid, 50 clicks away.”

    Rescue missions were not a part of his mission objective, but it was the duty of any Protectorate craft to aid anyone in distress in the depths of space. Even if they deserved their foolish fate for being out so far unprepared.

    “Set a course,” he replied gruffly. “Raise the shields when we are within 15 clicks, it could be a raider decoy."
     
  10. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Adam sat at a bench hugging the corners of the bar and imagined himself melting into its shadows. He appeared to be a young if slightly exhausted looking young man with exotic, perhaps Arabic features. He pulled the hood of his cloak over his face, remembering that the day would come when someone from his past would recognize him. When that day came his ventures might have been over, but he hoped that such a day was far off. A blast of warm (but not hot) and dry desert air came and brought a mix of aromas from outside, for a moment mingling with the scents inside. For a brief instant their marriage lasted and reminded Adam of something he remembered, long ago…

    Outside, traders and travelers were crowding the plains; hopeful adventurers and eager eyed sojourners. Adam could still remember a time when he was younger, idealistic, and naive. In those good days there was nothing he wanted more badly than an opportunity to leave his small town on the agricultural colony of the Albireo system and see the galaxy. Sadly for him, the wrong people found Adam first. Adam had been keeping his eyes on the habits of the caravans below. They would come, slowly at first, like a few scouts looking for a new colony for a queen bee. In a matter of weeks there were dozens of ships in the areas, hundreds of traders, sometimes too many for Adam to compete with professionally. And then they would leave, without a warning, back out into the depths of space looking for more of their precious shards. Adam had seen them do it many times on many planets, had been one of them, had been both seeker and trader.

    Inside, mirth filled the bar from old friends and shipmates, bursts of laughter, loud boasts. Adam had heard his share, but the best teller of yarns could always fool a novice; a sucker was born every second in the galaxy. An animated middle aged fellow with thin hair was madly waving his hands at someone, possibly one of the bartenders.

    “Nooo, no, no, you’ got it all wrong. Nobody listens to me, Jeeze! I’ve been studying specters fer years! I’s know what I’m talking ‘bout. Not all specters are nasty…”

    More crazy talk, there was no such thing as a Specter that wasn’t a godless killing beast. It was a real shame too because Adam hated Specters and was always looking for someone with the know-how and desire to deal with them. If only they could be reasoned with…it was crazy talk.

    “But yer nice. You know what I mean right? See? I gotta go WAAY out to prove my theory, they won’t believe me ‘less I come back with PROOF. You’ll come wi'v me wont ya? I mean I could go myself, but, you know, its too crazy out there fer just one. I need someone with lots’a e’sperience! I gut a ship, an’ I’m willin’ to pay.”

    Adam heard some of his favorite words in the same sentence. It was almost like the odd man was shouting that he needed a crew. Adam didn’t have long before the caravans left again, leaving him on Antair for another cycle. He didn’t have much to trade for a ferry, he did have that one special shard that he was saving, but he didn’t want to split with it yet. It might have been a piece of cake, a babysitting mission for some crazy…whatever he was. Maybe a scientist. It might have been a dangerous mission too, being stuck on a ship with amateurs while being attacked by packs of angry Specters. It was either that or miss another opportunity to leave the planet. He knew that if he stayed in any one place for too long someone would find him, bounty hunters maybe, or worse. Adam stood up and slowly made his way over to the odd man, he would have preferred talking business with a sober man, but maybe his being drunk could have helped. Making introductions was risky, Adam preferred to stay hidden in case he was being tracked. It was worth the risk.

    “Hello there stranger. My name is Adam, Adam Al-Minhar. I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. It just so happens that I have some experience in traveling and am interested in your…experiment. I know my way around a ship and half the galaxy, I won’t slow you down, and I’m handy with a weapon.” Adam said and tapped on the plasma pistol at his side. He spent years training himself to speak neutrally accented galactic english, but a bit of an Albireo system dialect lingered.

    “So, what do you say I buy you a drink while you consider my offer?”
     
  11. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    “So, what do you say I buy you a drink while you consider my offer?”

    Artemus blinked at the man. He'd been running his mouth again hadn't he, damn bottle never did anything good for him. But perhaps this was the type of man he needed.

    “Al-Minhar ya say? I've been on the frontier a while and know a lot'a names but not yours.” he paused to look down at his glass, “Perhaps I've jess had a few too many.”

    “You know him Diana?” he queried as he gave the shard seeker he had been talking to a nudge with his elbow.

    “What say we take a rain sheck on the drink. As I'm sure you' read in Astrobiology News, I've been able to document conflicts 'tween Specters,” the scientist's slurring speech cleared significantly as he got onto the topic of his life's work. “It nearly cost me my life, but I proved it. My idea is that there's more 'an one type of specter, or clan of specter. I'm going deep-space on a six month journey into the heart of the specter territory to prove it. It'll be the breakthrough of the century!”

    Artemus raised his empty glass as he proclaimed his anticipated victory. Several other inebriated men joined him in raising their own glasses though they had no idea what he was talking about. Art was not aware of this however, in his mind there was no greater goal than discovery. He just hoped that the man wasn't smart enough to push the issue of wages.
     
  12. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Diana raised her glass lightly to Art's toast. Juice of course, alcohol blurred the mind, Art being a prime example. Like Ben, Diana reserved the drink for special occasions. The loss of inhibitions and reactions was extremely dangerous when working. Of course, that didn't mean Diana didn't appreciate a nice glass of wine.

    "I guess you have two for your expedition Art." Diana wasn't so sure about Artemus's theory, but she did know that they would be traveling around the outer rim. Not only would she have the chance to continue her travel without the need for her own ship, she would have extra help against specters. Plus, she was bound to find some shards, and Art probably had plenty of funds from his grants. All in all, the expedition, although likely misguided, could be quite beneficial.

    Art seemed to be gathering good help too. Diana couldn't possibly know all the Shard Seekers, but she knew most of the good ones, or at the least she knew of them. She had recalled hearing of Al-Minhar, although she wasn't familiar with him. She did recall that he was a decent seeker though, he would be a good companion.

    "Al-Minhar, you're a decent Shard Seeker from what I've heard. I'd be glad to have you with us. I'm Diana Persellis." Diana reached a hand across the drunken researcher towards the Arab Seeker.
     
  13. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    “Al-Minhar ya say? I've been on the frontier a while and know a lot'a names but not yours. Perhaps I've jess had a few too many,” the odd fellow slurred, Adam chuckled.

    “You know him Diana?” he asked a young woman next to him.

    “What say we take a rain sheck on the drink. As I'm sure you' read in Astrobiology News, I've been able to document conflicts 'tween Specters. It nearly cost me my life, but I proved it. My idea is that there's more 'an one type of specter, or clan of specter. I'm going deep-space on a six month journey into the heart of the specter territory to prove it. It'll be the breakthrough of the century!”

    The man was a scientist after all, and possibly a mad scientist at that. No matter, if he was paying then the price was right. Six month journey? Six months of three hots and a cot, a warm meal and shelter and no need to sneak and slink around on border towns, eluding town constables. There would be Specters, but if the nutty professor actually knew what he was talking about it might have been routine, boring research. If he needed a gun in a squeeze he could do that, if he needed a shipmate he could do that too.

    "I guess you have two for your expedition Art," the woman said. Adam couldn’t tell what her angle was, but she gave an impression of a serious professional. She was certainly less intoxicated than her comrade.

    "Al-Minhar, you're a decent Shard Seeker from what I've heard. I'd be glad to have you with us. I'm Diana Persellis." The woman said and offered a hand. Adam eagerly took her hand in his and shook it, but had a moment’s pause. Had she truly heard of him? If she knew his past half as good as he knew himself she might have turned him in to the system police.
     
  14. Aconite
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    Aconite Senior Member

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    "Look, Rossum. If I knew how to fix it, I would. I don't. That's why I built you, you waste of circuits. So you could figure things out like that which I don't have time to do. I can't help it if you didn't plan to be out here for this long, can I? I didn't, either. Yes, I know. Yes, I know. Yes... no, you idiot. I don't care. Just fix it. It's not my problem. It's yours."

    Conversation with his AI ended, perhaps mercifully, Lev leaned into the conversation a little more. Something about proof, and Specters. His face brightened, an interested expression tightening his focus and thinning his lips. He took in the crowd, from the wild prophet of a scientist, with his acquaintance Diana, to the cowled fellow about his own age who appeared to have taken an interest in the mission.

    BLEEP BLIP BLEE---

    A twitch of his fingers instantly silenced the angry-sounding incoming message alert, but the blond man's attention didn't divert for an instant from the conversation, even as he stashed the communications device in one of many pockets of his voluminous coat. Instead, he thrust himself right in, all easy affability, his shoulders and smile far too relaxed for sensibility in the midst of the crowded bar, his words directed to the trio.

    "I've seen Specters. Face-to-face, I mean. So to speak. Several times." After a moment's expectant pause, Lev jabbed a finger towards Art and Diana, adding to Adam, "You better ask 'em for a lot of money, chief."
     
  15. Forgotten_Memories
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    Forgotten_Memories Active Member

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    The Captain - whose name he had not yet learned - eyed the crew members of the Perseus apprehensively, and Dominic made to return the glare with his piercingly blue eyes. He had to admit, they all seemed like shady characters, but few sane people would accept a mission in the outer rim. Only the truly insane, adventurous, courageous, and those hoping to find experimental proof navigated the threshold of human and spectre space. Dominic was none of those. His reasons were entirely his own.

    We've intercepted a distress signal from a nearby planetoid, 50 clicks away.”

    “Set a course,”
    the Captain replied sternly. “Raise the shields when we are within 15 clicks, it could be a raider decoy."

    Dominic sighed. Those damned Protectorate regulations - all they did was slow them down. If only he had a ship of his own. But alas, money could not be conjured from thin air, nor be obtained in what he deemed to be a suitable timeframe. Sometimes Dominic cursed his own impatience, but that's exactly what had gotten him so far already. At the exiguous age of twenty-two, he had already graduated top of his class at the military academy and worked as a bounty hunter for Charles Gateway, the prime shard-distributing conglomerate in the galaxy. But that was not enough - he needed more. He needed contact with Spectres. Hopefully that was sometime in the near future. They hadn't seen anything for weeks!

    Dominic sat back in his seat and ran his fingers through his ear-length black hair. He observed as the events of the 'rescue' mission unfolded before him through the giant expanse of a window at the front of the cabin. His expertise wasn't required just yet.
     
  16. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    "You better ask 'em for a lot of money, chief."

    As much as Diana wanted to point out that many Seekers had seen specters, that every expedition ran the risk of facing them, he was right. It would be foolish to go out deep into Specter territory for only a meager sum. Discovery of the century or not.

    "He makes a good point Artemus. How much are you able to pay us? Six months in specter territory? That's not exactly your average expedition. You understand don't you? This is a dangerous trip. We're not hunting Mogles. There's going to be Specters. Probably some of the giants."

    Diana had seen Specters before. Most had been the normal run of the mill. But even those were extremely dangerous. Depending on how far they went, they might be going up against more than just the average size. Specters could get big. Really big.
     
  17. DustinTheWind
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    DustinTheWind Contributing Member

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    BLEEP BLIP BLEE--- and the line went dead.

    Chalice swore to herself and ended the the transmission. Things were just going from bad to worse. First her CO2 scrubber broke in half on the way over -- for good this time, no amount of soldering could get it back to any semblance of functionality. Then Antair, this alleged Mecca of high-level shards at low, low prices turned out to be a total bust: none of the seekers were willing to accept what she was offering, all choosing instead the higher-paying corporate buyers like Gateway. She was only able to get her hands on a couple level threes from a back alley dealer. Next the scrappers were charging her almost double market price for a used PRX-3s8 CO2 scrubber. They claimed "supply and demand," but she knew it was only because the outpost was so isolated that there was virtually no competition to regulate prices. And now Lev, the only person on this whole rock who she knew -- and she knew for a fact he was here, she ran into him an hour previous -- wasn't answering his headset. How the hell was she supposed to pay for this thing without a loan?

    "Well, that didn't work out." She tried flashing the shopkeeper a disarming smile. It didn't work, his scowl just deepened. "Maybe we can barter something?" she volunteered.

    The shopkeeper nodded. "Whaddya got?"

    "Well, I was working on this mining drill that used a blast field to dematerialize soil. I never exactly finished it, and I've already sold the shard powering it, but I was thinking..."

    The shopkeeper pointed at her bag, out of which her newly-acquired shards protruded. "What about those."

    "These?" She clutched her bag almost protectively. "I can't spare any shards. I need them for research!"

    "Well, you can't spare an air scrubber, either. You need it to breathe."

    He had a point. She had used up almost all of her emergency canned air just getting here; there was no way she could get back off this rock without proper life support.

    It was useless to even bother looking for a grant. She was on all the companies' files by now, and while they were willing to buy her research when completed (or partially-completed at a discount price, as was more frequent) they had all learned not to fund any of her projects early on. Her success rate on new projects was too low to guarantee any profit. But then again, perhaps this guy was more generous.

    "Hey listen," she dropped her voice to a whisper, "I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm working on something big. Real big. A teleporter, in fact. It will revolutionize shipping! Well, once I get it working that is. I can't seem to get the scan-pulse regulators to sync with the dematerializing fields quite..." she shook her head, getting back to the point of the conversation, "Anyway, once I finish this, I'm gonna be rich. So how about you take the money I'm offering now, and I'll pay the rest once I have the cash?"

    "Or, how about you keep your little pipe-dream, and I'll keep the scrubber, and we'll both be on our merry way. Or rather," he added, laughing, "I'll be on my merry way, and you'll be stuck here!"

    She glared at him for a moment, then without another word marched angrily away, jamming a finger into her headset's activator.

    "Phaxhad."

    "Yes," her AI responded. His voice sounded human, but held the mechanical emotionlessness that was typical of his make.

    "I spoke to a man about an hour ago, name of Lev."

    "Yes, I have that conversation recorded in my memory banks. Do you wish to recall any particular infor..."

    Chalice cut him off. "You got his AI's serial number, right?"

    "Of course: 6-8-Bravo-3..."

    "Just use the network or whatever and look up where he is now."

    There was a pause, then a click, then a different voice, monotone and vaguely female, began to recite, "feature unavailable. please purchase the full version of the Arphaxhad artificial intelligence interface for full functionality of..."

    "Shut up. Phax, give me the location of the nearest free terminal. I'll look him up myself."

    "feature unavailable. please purchase..."

    "Off."

    She thought for a moment. It seemed her only option was the old-old-fashioned way. "Phaxhad, did he say where he was going?"

    "He did make mention of a bar, but as you know by now I am unable to provide directions."

    "Just give me the name. I'll find it myself."
     
  18. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    "He makes a good point Artemus. How much are you able to pay us? Six months in specter territory? That's not exactly your average expedition. You understand don't you? This is a dangerous trip. We're not hunting Mogles. There's going to be Specters. Probably some of the giants.”

    The damn kid was getting outing him. The alcohol still burned in his stomach, but his head had cleared slightly.

    “Yes, well of course you would want to be paid well... I mean 'erm, when I said that I could pay, I meant that I could pay some, and erm pay you properly once the I receive more funding based on the findings we bring back.”

    Artemus squirmed and seemed to shrink into his bar stool, his fingers began to fidget with the cuffs of his tarnished white duster. In fact he had spent the majority of the grant funds he had left on outfitting his shuttle. He had only enough left to pay half a decent wage for one shard seeker.

    “Times haven't been good to Artemus Syndax as of late, which is why you may have noticed fewer publications from me, assuming that you all read.” At this point he gave a glance toward the over eager newcomer in the conversation, “Its always hard to move the bureaucracy of science in new directions even when you are on the brink of discovery... “

    “But you are more than welcome to harvest and and keep the goods from any mogles, fyers or whatever else we find out there,” his attempt at a weak smile only added to his disadvantaged position.

    Perseus

    Hardigan sat in his captains chair watching the constellations stream by the forward window. He drummed his fingers mindlessly as he scowled.

    “How much further?”

    “We are still 30 clicks out, Captian The beacon is coming from a small planetoid in a dense asteroid field. We-”

    Suddenly the Perseus was rocked violently. Alarms began to sound as the crewmen gathered themselves.

    “Ensign, what the Hell was that!” the captain bellowed.

    “Raider ship sir! Moving in fast from the port side!”

    “Turn us about, give them a taste of Protectorate blast field! TO YOUR STATIONS MEN!”

    The crew felt the ship turn quickly. A second blast lit up the view port of the main deck.

    “Captain, they've got some kind of advanced weaponry!”

    “What are you talking about, Flynn” Hardigan called over his shoulder to the lieutenant at a control panel behind him.

    “Those blasts are powerful enough to tear our ship in half, they must have a level 7 deatomizer or better,” he called out calmly. The lieutenant was one of the few men who could keep his head in this kind of situation.

    “That's impossible, there are no blast shards that big!”

    The ship was rocked again, more sirens blared, and the lights in the interior of the ship dimmed.

    “A near miss Captain, but we've lost our shielding array.”

    “DAMN! You dirty hell hounds better be ready if they knock our accelerators offline.” Hardigan jabbed a finger at Dominic and the other mercenaries.

    “Divert all power to the tach fields, get us the Hell out of here!”
     
  19. Forgotten_Memories
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    Forgotten_Memories Active Member

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    “Turn us about, give them a taste of Protectorate blast field! TO YOUR STATIONS MEN!”

    As their ship suddenly turned, assuming an attack position, Dominic held tightly to the metallic arms of his seat. He kept his eyes on the window as several operators scurried to get to their assigned posts. A second blast made contact as the enemy ship came into view, causing the lights to flicker and the few crew members who were still standing to fall over. It seemed to be slightly larger than the standard Protectorate vessel, and had a much rougher, almost beat-up look to it, as if the ship hadn't docked properly in years. Its filthy granite colour was all too imposing in contrast with the environment, and the ship's weaponry was modified, featuring several novel mechanisms. The most intriguing additions were the two giant tach-rods, extending in opposite directions from its hull, giving the vessel a cross-like shape. It was like nothing Dominic had ever seen before.

    “DAMN! You dirty hell hounds better be ready if they knock our accelerators offline.” The Captain all but threatened the hired men.

    Dominic turned his revolving seat to look at the layout of the Protectorate ship on the screen by his post. His chambers were much closer than the weapons dock. Although the Protectorate issue weapons were probably newer and more reliable, he would have to make do with his own in case of an emergency. Dominic was used to having to fight, but had never really been attacked by a brigade of space pirates. He pulled a silver rectangular medallion, about the size of his thumb, from his pocket; it was drastically chipped in one corner and slightly worn around the edges - a bounty hunter tag. Dominic moved his thumb and index finger in circles along the front and back of the trinket, repeating to himself the importance of staying calm.
     
  20. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Diana sighed and took the last sip of her juice.

    She didn't even need Pallas to do the math. This expedition wasn't worth her time. If she wanted to go deep into specter territory for no more pay than what shards she collected, she could just go by herself. Considering the absurdity of Artemus's idea (Friendly Specters? Come on) there was a slim chance he would receive any funding after the trip. Artemus just couldn't afford her.

    "This trip is too dangerous for that kind of money Artemus. Only a fool would go deep into Specter territory for only the shards they find and the hope for a research grant." Diana sat up from her stool. "I'm afraid I'll have to sit this out."
     
  21. jonathan hernandez13
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    "I've seen Specters. Face-to-face, I mean. So to speak. Several times. You better ask 'em for a lot of money, chief."

    Some stranger came up to them and commented. He wasn't saying anything new, every trader had seen Specters face to face.

    "He makes a good point Artemus. How much are you able to pay us? Six months in specter territory? That's not exactly your average expedition. You understand don't you? This is a dangerous trip. We're not hunting Mogles. There's going to be Specters. Probably some of the giants.” Diana stated plainly.

    “Yes, well of course you would want to be paid well... I mean 'erm, when I said that I could pay, I meant that I could pay some, and erm pay you properly once the I receive more funding based on the findings we bring back.”

    The scientist squirmed in his seat like a weasel that got caught in a hen house. Typical, just like everyone else on Antair, he was trying to be slick. The unspoken rule for all traders everywhere in all times is caveat emptor.

    “Times haven't been good to Artemus Syndax as of late, which is why you may have noticed fewer publications from me, assuming that you all read. Its always hard to move the bureaucracy of science in new directions even when you are on the brink of discovery...But you are more than welcome to harvest and keep the goods from any mogles, fyers or whatever else we find out there.”

    Diana sighed as she took another liberal drink of the liquid in her glass. It couldn’t have been alcoholic, she was too lucid.

    "This trip is too dangerous for that kind of money Artemus. Only a fool would go deep into Specter territory for only the shards they find and the hope for a research grant. I'm afraid I'll have to sit this out."

    ‘Fool? Like a fox,’ Adam thought. Six months of not having to worry about trackers, not having to charter a ship, and no rival seekers if they were going deep in specter space.

    “Fine, just means more shards for me. When are we leaving? Oh, and uh, what’s your name?”
     
  22. Aconite
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    Aconite Senior Member

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    Frustration spread over Lev's face at the lack of any properly amazed reactions to his claim, but a shrug cleared away that disappointment. He slid off the headset he'd just turned off, after a check that no more messages had arrived.

    "Right. How much money do you people need? I'd be willing to fund you, miss--for a small interest fee, of course. Provided the lot of you're willing to put up with a techie or two, that is. I know someone who may want in as well. Matter of fact, hang on a tick..."

    Trailing off, he turned on the communicator again, sending a message to Chalice.

    >> At the bar. Got a line on something interesting. Want in? Hurry up.

    "And I can read," he added to Artemus, without any major pause for breath. "Real good. Or is it 'real well'? One of the two, anyway. Even read a couple of your articles, Mr. Artemus Syndax. Something about mogles recently, wasn't it? I mean, if you're the same guy in the trade magazines. Assuming I can read. At least I know I can pick up on names when they're told me." This last, with a quick glance to Adam, the expression on his face hovering somewhere between pointedness, mockery, and apology.

    "Anyway. I might be able to get your ship up into space, too. Presuming you don't mind someone who learns as he goes. Do you?"
     
  23. jonathan hernandez13
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    "At least I know I can pick up on names when they're told me."

    Adam laughed inside, the stranger had a sardonic demeanor. This was good, Adam learned that people who spoke plainly, even if somewhat caustically, were more trustworthy than those who disguised their true feelings.

    "I usually can as well, although the gentleman which Diana called Art and the one that you identified as Artemus never formally introduced himself to me. I'm something of a stickler for old traditions. Speaking of which, my name is Adam Al-Minhar. And you are?"

    Adam offered his hand. Perhaps they were going to form a crew after all, if the new stranger could back up his claims. It would be good to be a part of a crew again and sail in space once more.
     
  24. DustinTheWind
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    >> At the bar. Got a line on something interesting. Want in? Hurry up.

    "Dismiss message." The green text blinked out of existence, Chalice's goggles once again showing only the world around her. A job, huh? She didn't have time to take on a job right now! She was about to revolutionize the industry!

    But then again, new inventions (and air-scrubbers) took funding, which she clearly didn't have. Jobs, on the other hand, provided cash. Cash that she desperately needed.

    She sighed. "Phaxhad, re-categorize the teleporter schematics under 'Delayed Projects' and prepare a new file."

    Turning a corner, she saw the open-air bar just ahead. A small group was forming there, Lev included. Probably had to do with this job offer.

    "Hey, Lev. What's this employment thing about?"
     
  25. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Artemus was still scrambling to reconcile Diana's rejection and the unexpected offer from Lev. The impetuous newcomer seemed to be full of surprises. There was certainly a catch somewhere, but perhaps it was worth the risk. So far no one at the rendezvous was willing to talk to him.

    "Thank you Mr. .. Uh, well I'm afraid your name escapes me, but as you mentioned I am DOCTOR Artemus Syndax, premier frontier astrobiologist," Artemus nodded at Adam before returning his attention to Lev, "I appreciate your offer, but these things are rarely so simple. I think that we should discuss the matter -"

    Artemus's attention was diverted as large man in a heavy shard harness burst through the saloon doors that stood awkwardly at the end of the roped off patch dirt that comprised the bar. He paused for only a moment as his narrow eyes adjusted to the shade beneath the canopy.

    “We’ve just caught an emergency beacon from out on the rim. I’m forming a rescue team to head out to the Sirrus belt first thing in the morning,” barked James Madison, or Great Bear as he was known to some. Again James eyed the bar patrons watching as the implications of that location caught up with the more sober of the group.

    Few shard seekers had voyaged as far as the Sirrus belt and most of those stood in front of him now. It was a dangerous asteroid field and a hub of Specter activity, but it was also plentiful in mogles and fyers from which to harvest shards. If one survived a trek through that god forsaken place he would be guaranteed to return a very rich man.

    It had been many months since anyone had ventured that far out on the rim, and many months more since that incident that they would all certainly remember. None the least of which would be Diana since she had been there when it happened.

    “We don't know who it is from, but seekers keep together, and I won’t have any beacon left unchecked; no matter the odds.” A legend among shard seekers, Great Bear continued as he adjusted the broad rim on his trademark leather hat. His reddish beard only added to his gruffness as he continued, “I've leased the fastest ship I could find, we’ll be leaving at 0700 hours sharp. Meet me on the west end of the camp by then or not at all."

    Perseus

    Another blast from the bounty hunter ship bolted past the Perseus. It collided with a massive asteroid obliterating it into a million fragments of super heated rock.

    "Dear god," muttered Hardigan, "where did they find that shard?"

    "Incoming transmission."

    "Bonjour, Protectorate trash! It iz by no mistake that your ship has not yet been demolished by ze power of ze Crucifix." the raider captain's voice was shrill and belied no small degree of mania. "I would no sooner destroy a mogle gem flower than such a fine ship as you have."

    "Sick bastard," the captain grumbled.

    "Unless of course you continue your futile attempt to flee, in which I will levy the full power of my blast shard against you. Drrop your fields and prepare to be boarded. Mozique out."

    Damn bastard thinks he can force our hand does he? We'll see who's more crazy steamed Hardigan

    "Cut the fields gentlemen, bring us to a halt."

    "But Captain," Flynn objected, "A protectorate ship has never surrendered to scum like this before!"

    "And none will while I'm still alive," the captain raised his tone, "send the mercs to the air dock to welcome our friends. Get your best gunner ready to take out those field rods on my mark. MOVE IT, NOW!"
     

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