[CANON] [RP Episode] Clearing the Clouds


#1

A ship descends out of the darkness. The twilight of stars against the canvas of space, giving way to the colours of the sky. The heat of the descent cloaks the craft in a glow of reds, oranges and yellows, growing more intense, almost as if in defiance of the encroaching blues of the atmosphere.

It breaks through the layers of water vapour which obscured the view of the planet below, the white pulling back, to reveal a deep, dark blue of surging water beneath. The movement, picturesque, but masking the raw power, the potential it possesses.

In it, a spec starts coming into focus. A co-ordinated confusion of white, orange and other colours begins to sharpen. Signs of movement, the activity can be seen, as other craft observed move about the facility. The shuttle heads towards a clear space, guided with purpose towards its designated resting place.

It comes to rest, gently falling the final few meters. Its movement, almost graceful, is contrasted by the angry roar of its engines as the force of them presses against the landing pad. On the pad, a familiar form begins to approach, cloaked in mesh and metal.

The image begins to fade, receding from conscious, like a twinkling light…

His eyes flick open.

The Apex Expedition Commander brings themselves to their feet, surrounded by the confines of the shuttle. He steps forward, making his way towards the exit. He checks the fitting of his armour, running a quick diagnostic on its systems. He trusted his engineers, but it was always smart to double check.

Satisfied with the readings, he makes his way towards the entrance of the shuttle. He steps into the airlock, the slight hiss as the sounds of depressurising at stepping into the foreign atmosphere. There is a brief moment of a lacklustre resistance to his movement, his armour compensates.

He steps out into the sunlight, the sounds of the sea breaking against the rocks, surrounded by the hum of motions of technology at work. Before him, stands a lone individual. He addresses her.

“Once again, I must congratulate you on your exemplary work. Now tell me, what have you found?”

@Ariovistas


#2

At the edge of the landing platform, scarlet robes flapping in the wind kicked up by the decending shuttle, Ku-Hul-Ah, Expedition Officer for Ax-Com-In Foreign Solutions, awaited her superior. She had come to meet her superior in full armour. While she did not anticipate any threats, it never hurt to be prepared. It was for this reason her trusty hunting blade, a monomolecular-edged falchion almost a full meter in length, hung from its scabbard within the folds of her robes.

The armour, while unadorned, was very functional. Interlocking plates of composite ferrocarbic material offered good protection, akin to an animal’s scales, and it could be fully sealed against environmental and biological threats. The armour had been modeled in resemblance of the great Or-Log-Ho predators of the homeworld, fashioned to intimidate and frighten. It shone a dull grey under the robes. Arms and legs were unprotected - there was little need to protect limbs that were already as hard and well-protected as any armour, and stronger than anything made of natural muscle. Light played up and down their lengths, giving an indication of the augmentations’ functionality, but they were also for cosmetic purposes. Ku-Hul-Ah never did lack for dramatic flair.

Apex Commander Si-Val-Ra strode from the docking ramp, sniffing up the oxygen of a new world for the first time through the atmospheric filters in his helmet.

Ku-Hul-Ah did not wear a helmet. Instead her blue and gray-mottled skin glistened moistly in the afternoon sun. This way her sense of smell, augmented far beyond that of any Ka-Len-Ro, would not be impeded.

She greeted him cordially, proud to show him around the compound that was rapidly being constructed by drone builders all around them. “Sir. Most of Ma-Xim-Ma’s findings have been confirmed. Atmospheric conditions are similar to Ey-Ran-Ie, though with a significantly lesser oxygen content. I would recommend switching the Ma-Gik-Ar’s life support to this new mixture, to let the crew adjust to ground conditions. Macrophagal therapies have been confirmed to be effective against native bacterial infestations, so there’s no real reason for maintaining atmospheric protection.” At this, she gestured towards her own exposed skin. “You can take off the helmet, sir.”.

As they walked on, she continued. "“A point of note, though, is that native flora have a significantly lower energy content. This has left local megafauna distinctly benign and, well, indolent compared to home. Threat level can therefore be considered negligible. Frankly, it’s kind of cute.”


#3

Si-Val-Ra listened intently. It wasn’t surprising that Ku-Hul-Ah had touched upon the fauna situation as one of the first points; she had always shown a keen interest in furthering her list of quite extensive hunts.

“Noted, though considering the fragility of some of our crew still, it’ll be more prudent to have isolated chambers for the adaption at this point. We need not complicate their recovery with the adaption at the same time.”

The duo continued their walk past the facilities in construction. Drones of all forms moving material into place, sealing it without as much as a line to separate the individual pieces once completed. The smoothed forms of the buildings taking shape as the pair soldiered on.

As they walked, Si-Val-Ra’s helmet began to collapse from around him, revealing the reptilian appearance beneath. His four red eyes framed by his charcoal coloured skin. Light grey fur ran along the back of his neck, framed by two ridges of hardened blackened scales. The slight colouration of red creeping in to offset the monochrome figure. Small pieces of metal embedded into their head, dulled, sharpen the edges of some details.

“Now, tell me about the resource situation, how much are we able to source from this position?”


#4

“Simply put? Plenty. We’ve established-” Ku-Hul-Ah paused as a drone soared overhead, the screech of the lithium ion engine drowning out her voice. “- primary mining operations upon arrival. The main offloading facility is in place, with elemenntal processing facilities being worked on as we speak. We’re able to source many heavier metallic elements from nearby islands, which cuts down significantly on costs.”

Their rhythmic footfalls fell on the metallic surface of the walkway. “As for lighter elements, most are sourced from the ocean water. It contains a wealth of trace elements, saline compounds, and alkaline metals, and by processing large quantities of water we can quickly amass substantial reserves. Energy is a concern, though, despite backup generators running. We’re working on constructing a deuterium fusion reactor, but it will take some time before it is in place. Before it is, I see no way to bring an atomic collider online. For now, we’ll have to work with what is available.”


#5

Si-Val-Ra continued to walk alongside Ku-Hul-Ah, keeping pace.

“Hmm. The engineers won’t be thrilled about that, but they will manage the situation. Of that, I am sure. Regardless, your report is good news. It appears the gamble has so far proven worthwhile. Your efforts planet-side has been exemplary.”

“As for our crew and ship, Ma-Xim-Ma and I has been able to bring situation under control. The worst cases have been stabilized and we are unlikely to lose anyone else in the near future. I shall be making a formal announcement on this shortly. It will bolster morale and spur on our further efforts.”

“However, to get where we are, we drained our remaining supplies, leaving us in a state of resource limbo. If we wish to start the recovery process for those injured, we will need to start shipping resources back. Cannibalizing any more of the ship would be unwise at this point.”

Si-Val-Ra pauses and looks out to sea, allowing the wind to brush against him. He watches, looking towards the continents to the north west.

“On that note, expansion options should be considered to increase our production. The presence of Category 4 beings does complicate things. What little data we have been able to acquire so far has some rather interesting findings. I’d recommend you take a look and give it some thought, I will be calling a meeting to discuss this option soon.”


#6

“This is good news. Gives us some leeway in establishing our operations here. Initial plans project our base should achieve Class 2 functionality within two lunar cycles. At this point, we will be secure. For now, however, I must say I have very strong misgivings about the presence of category 4 lifeforms - especially when they are apparently advanced enough to possess radio technology.”

Ku-Hul-Ah joined the Apex Commander in looking northwards. “Any plans for expansion might, and most likely will, encounter armed resistance. Abyss knows it’s a damned miracle this has not happened already. With our current preparedness level, I can make no guarantees as to the outcome, sir.”


#7

“Indeed, the evidence present does raise more questions, though they also present an unprecedented opportunity to us. We must weigh the potential benefits against the potential costs of such interactions.”

Si-Val-Ra pauses. Moments like this, he can feel the weight of worlds on his shoulders. A decision which will affect thousands now, millions more in the future.

He had read the dictates of the GEU on this matter time and time again, yet the key points deferred to the command to make the final call. It was only compounded by the situation they found themselves in.

He summons his thoughts together once more, piecing together the situation from the abstracts and information.

“If our interactions with Category 3 organisms beyond Ey-Ran-Ie are of any guide, then we can expect to be met with both curiosity and fear, in varying degrees. I sincerely hope that it is more the former and less the latter, but I share your concern and will be a one way journey.”

“The future of both our own crew and this planet hanging in the balance. Our technology, philosophy, even our very presence may shatter their reality and destroy civilizations, without so much as lifting a finger on our part. At this point, we can rule out no options for our approach, peaceful or otherwise”


#8

“On the contrary, sir. I am of the opinion that the situation is very clear.”

Ku-Hul-Ah turned towards her commanding officer, pose rigid and formal.

“The natives pose a clear and present threat to our infrastructure, which endangers the viability of all future operations. Before we consider any interactions, sir, we need to make sure there are any of us for them to interact with. Benefits and costs are all nice and good, but ultimately pointless if we will not live to take advantage. It is for this reason that I am preparing a suitable… distraction, to buy us the time we need to establish ourselves. With your permission, sir.”

She gestured to a different walkway, leading towards the chemical factory.