The Unitive Force

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The Unitive Force

Post by Kyrt Malthorn on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:45 am

Three planets circled a yellow dwarf star, enthralled in time-tested orbits. One was little more than a ball of ice, another a gas giant. The closest planet was lucky enough to find its orbit within that narrow band of distance from its star. Lucky enough the infernos of its core still spun strongly enough to create a protective magnetic field. Lucky enough, even, to have just the right mix of gasses in its atmosphere: it could support life.

Barely.

Most of its surface was rocky desert, and the rest was mountains. There wasn't even any surface water - it was all trapped in the ice caps and underground lakes. The most impressive native life forms were lichen and small, burrowing invertebrates. Nevertheless, this lucky planet had visitors.

Three hundred fifty kilometers above its surface hung an utterly foreign object. The upper half of its metallic surfaces gleamed in the sunlight cast around the edge of the planet. A dozen modules trussed together in the shape of a spire, it pointed down at the planet like a cold iron finger. It pointed at the colony being founded by the humans it brought.

The tip of it was crawling with men in cumbersome suits, and a shuttle drifted nearby. Heavy heat shielding, once allowing the forward module to withstand reentry, now drifted on tethers while the innards were being dismantled into portable chunks. It should have been the seed to plant a new civilization - but it would never have survived impact with the surface, and there wasn't a body of water to drop it in safely. Its thrusters, chutes, and floats were useless. The supercomputer and reactor it contained now had to be shuttled down bit by bit.

Above this, a pair of broad rings spun evenly in opposing directions around the vessel's core. In these habitats, humans could enjoy the approximation of the gravity they were used to. Along the spokes supporting the rings, rails ran cars down and passed off their loads to tracks on the stationary core. The cars sped up along its length, beneath the six wedge-shaped modules encircling the next segment: the stasis modules, where hundreds of humans yet lingered in cryogenic, artificial sleep. These were the broadest part of the ship, the largest individual modules. Finally, the cars trundled up to the last trio of modules, the gaping shuttle bays. Beyond these, only a quartet of cylindrical constructs jutted toward the black sky: the engines that had carried humanity so far from home, now powerless and cold.

The last car sealed itself into a slot at the back of shuttle bay module B. The doors opened and an operator in an orange crew shirt drifted inside. The car's interior was arrayed rather like a plane's cabin, only smaller.

"All right, folks," the crewman began, "Your luggage is being secured in the shuttle. In a few moments I'm going to ask you to take off your seat belts - but I don't want to see anyone making any sudden moves. There is no gravity here, people, and we're here to avoid collisions and accidents. If you're not used to zero-G, please remain calm and move slowly; the padded handles on the floor and ceiling are your friends. If you feel like retching, this is why you haven't been allowed to eat for six hours. If you are zero-G competent, please help those around you who may not be. If anyone needs assistance, crew members are here to help. Take your time, the shuttle will not leave without every one of you.

"Everyone clear? Good. Seat belts off. Please make your way out of the car, then follow the blue lighting on the walls."

The occupants made their way out, some easily, others requiring time to adjust to the disorienting lack of forces pulling upon their person. The orange-shirted crew lent helping hands where they could. Outside the car was a terminal where the other cars were likewise emptying. Padded handles on every surface made it as simple as possible for the inexperienced civilians. There were several corridors across from the car ports, and the blue lights marching along the walls indicated the widest of these was to be followed. This led to a pair of doors, side by side, currently shut, where more crew operators asked arrivals to "find a handle and hang out for a minute. We'll move on when we're all gathered."

When the forty-some occupants of the cars had accumulated, the operators began passing out belts.

"Fasten these around your wastes. The strap on the side has a safety hook on the end. These will fasten you to a tether between the other side of this door and the shuttle - because the bay's a big place, and we don't want you drifting off and getting hurt. Here's the drill: you'll come up to a door single file, and we'll tether you. Just pull yourself along the cable, and another crewman will get you unhooked at the shuttle's airlock. There are crewman in the bay who're there to help too; let them know if you have any difficulties. All clear? Doors are open."

The room beyond could have fit half a football field. The walls were lined with heavy, robotic arms with numerous tools and functions. The heaviest of them anchored the main attraction in the center of the bay: the white-paneled, delta-winged shuttle waiting patiently for its payload. A few crewmen were disengaging a fuel hose from its cluster of engines. As promised, there were cables, four in all - one hooked to either side of each door, all running to the four corners of the shuttle's airlock, and waiting operators at the other end.

It took quite a while to get everyone across to the shuttle. Once across, they were guided to their seats. This section was even more airplane-like than the car, overhead compartments included. At the back of the cabin, double doors revealed crew still packing cargo in the aft section. This wasn't their personal luggage, it was materials for the colony: bags of concrete strapped to pallets, I-beams, and sheets of metal and every grade of plastic.

Over twenty minutes later, the crewmen reported all passengers were accounted for and secure.

A hum filled the cabin as the speakers came to life. "Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I'm Captain Ross, I'll be flying y'all from the Aurora Heres to the colony. Welcome aboard the shuttle Orion. I hope y'all are awake enough to enjoy the view; it's a gorgeous sunrise out there, and once we land, you can watch it rise all over again. I'm told there's a big meal waiting for y'all down there, so as soon we're cleared, we'll be on our way."

There wasn't much to see out the narrow portals until the bay was sucked dry of air and the doors opened. Once they did, everyone on the left side of the shuttle was able to peer through their windows for a grand glimpse of the barren rock for which they were bound.

Anchoring arms fell away, freeing the shuttle. The thrusters reorienting them made no sound in the vacuum, but the passengers felt the controlled bursts through the soles of their feet. The shuttle drifted out of the bay, and dipped toward the planet below, affording its occupants a long look at the Aurora, the angles of her trusses and hulls reflecting the golden rays from the sun just peeking around the edge of the world below.

And they flew by the ship's scar. The cryo bay moldule with a jagged gouge ripped across its surface. At the Aurora's best speed, after decades of diligent acceleration, even the glancing blow from a deep-space meteor had left a gaping wound. Cryo bay D was a tomb. Those capsules not sucked into the empty void had been left powerless, and the bodies within were frozen far beyond the point of no return.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by The Wolf Kin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:38 pm

The young boy moved slowly along the corridor towards the shuttle. He had been told, but he wasn't prepared to face the reality. Cryo bay D was gone, demolished by a simple, unexpected collision. It could have been him, he could have been in that bay, and yet he wasn't. He had survived, but they had not, and the knowledge weighed him down like a stone.

He followed the directions given to him, directed to a window seat in the shuttle. He wished he had his computer with him. His computer, his games, his sketchbook, anything to take his mind off of the destruction of the cryo bay. But no, all that was still stowed away, they would receive it later, once they were at the colony. The shuttle jolted forward, free from its bounds, on its way to the planet below, their new home.

Hawke cringed as the shuttle passed by the wreckage of the cryo bay. He knew that somewhere in there, frozen and lifeless, or trailing behind them in the silence of space, or even burnt to cinders in the atmosphere of the planet below, were his parents. The only family he had, gone before he could even say goodbye. Tears streaked his face as he shut the panel on the window, blocking the sight. The woman next to him must have seen the tears, for she patted him on the shoulder comfortingly, and he brushed her off with a grunt, turning towards the closed window. Who was she to know his pain. She didn't know him, she probably didn't even know that his parents were dead. He didn't need her sympathy.

The woman retracted her hand slowly, and Hawke faced forwards once more, arms crossed and head to his chest. As the shuttle broke the atmosphere, the young boy sobbed silently to himself.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Kyrt Malthorn on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:04 pm

The shuttle's descent picked up speed, carrying the Aurora out of sight. A fiery glow engulfed around the shuttle's underside, and the windows' view of sweeping stars was swallowed in a blue haze of atmosphere. In a blaze of red and violet, the sun shrank back behind the new horizon as the shuttle entered the planet's shadow. Gravity was slowly taking hold of the craft and its occupants. The sky kept its navy hue, though all but the brightest stars vanished. When the glow vanished from its underbelly, the shuttle banked.

The colony was now visible, a cluster of shining objects amid the arid plane of orange sand. Dozens of featureless rectangles. Fifteen minutes were spent circling it in two, broad circles while the ground neared. The heavy thuds from underfoot announced to the passengers: the landing gear were down. This was the final approach. Vertigo could be felt each time the atmospheric thrusters kicked in.

A landing strip was roughly indicated by a line painted down a long range of open ground. And at long last, the shuttle touched down with a hardy jolt and gradually lost momentum. As their speed dropped down to a trundle, they were swathed in the storm of dust the landing gears kicked up.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we've arrived in one piece," Captain Ross announced over the speakers. "You'll be pleased to know your personal effects are in the compartments over your assigned seating. Please unbuckle yourselves, take your bags, and make your way to the forward airlock. The crew will help you from there."

Finally the rumble of the engines died, followed by the electrical hum. Two orange-shirted crewmen opened the airlock doors and unfolded the stairs. Stepping off the shuttle, it was hot, and there was no protection from the relentless sun for fifty meters - a two-story concrete square was the nearest building.

When everyone was off, one of the crewman gave instructions.

"Few things you should all know. Number one: if there is a storm, you will want to head for the Community Center - that's the large concrete building near here. The Com Cen is the largest and strongest structure in the colony, and serves as emergency shelter, trading post, and cafeteria. Number two: the rain here is acidic. It's not concentrated so it's not deadly, but it will cause rashes if not immediately washed off, and its not good to get in your eyes. Also don't leave anything out in the rain if its not concrete or metal. Third: we have amenities, water and electricity, but recognize that these are privileges. You will be expected to pull your weight in the colony in whatever fashion you're able. To that end, you must be registered. The Com Cen is also home to Colony Administration, where you'll go to get your registration card. This is a picture ID, and it's how your labor and rationing are tracked. Without it, you don't eat: until the colony's self sufficient, this ain't a free world. So you'll want to register first. They'll set up housing for you, look over your resume, and line up work for you. Then, I imagine you'll want to head over to the cafeteria.

"Any other questions you may have can be answered by the clerks at Colony Admin. You can see the entrance to the Com Cen from here, and the signs should point you in the right direction from there. Have a nice day, folks."

The forty-odd newest arrivals trudged across the dry, cracked dirt to the indicated building. The moment the first men pushed open the doors, the halls inside greeted them with a wave of cool air.

Indeed, the signs were rather self-evident: it seemed half the building was devoted to the cafeteria, and the other half was administration.

The woman behind the desk in the Colony Administration lobby glanced up. "Oh, the new arrivals for registration? Excellent. Just line up for your turn in the offices down this hallway," she pointed, "and we'll be right with you."

Dr. Radic was among the first to step into an office. A mousy woman with graying hair and glasses glanced up from behind a slanted desk with an inlaid screen. "Name?"

"Dravis L. Radic."

The clerk punched this into a keypad. "One moment."

There was a thunk and the desk spat a card out of a slot above the keypad. The clerk handed it to him. "There you are. Your apartment address is on there. And here," she added, handing him a small, neatly folded map of the colony. "That should help you find your way around. Now let's see whats on your resume..."

"That was impressively expediency."

"Register a few hundred colonists and a good office manager will streamline the system. Ah, you have a note on your file."

Dravis blinked. "Excuse me?"

"The Board of Planetary Resource Development has requested you, by name, to work for them."

"What does the Board do?"

"The PRD looks out for the colony's interests in the long-term. Anyone with noted scientific experience in virtually any field is drafted. I'm no scientist but I know they're responsible for the greenhouses that are projected to feed the colony long-term, and there's talk of beginning mining operations for raw materials. I'm sure they'll tell you more - your map will show you where their offices are located. Now if that's all, you're slowing up the 'impressive expediency'."

"Thank you." Dravis nodded and departed.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Dax on Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:46 pm

As soon as the shuttle rumbled to a halt, William Laurier let out a deep breath. It wasn’t that he didn’t like flying, quite the opposite actually because he enjoyed it. No, it was because now the hard work was about to start. He knew he was going to get catapulted into the administration sector, and that he will probably one of the faces that people will be throwing darts at in their rooms if things go wrong. And things will inevitably go wrong. They. Always. Do.


Will unbuckled himself from his seat and retrieved his luggage from the overhead compartment. He then followed the bright hue emanating from one of the crew’s orange shirts. The old politician was listening with only one ear to what the captain had to say. He knew already enough from this planet; it is incredibly hot, it has acid rain and that it is going to be a living hell until the colony was to become self sufficient.


And he was going to do everything he could to help them achieve that, or his name wasn’t William Laurier. They were all in this mess together, regardless of people’s background, and he was going to make sure that not a single drop of bullshit was going to be dropped onto this colony. He just wasn’t sure how he was going to do that just yet…


Before that, though, on the shuttle’s way to the colony, Will gave a good hard to look at the place where he was most probably going to live the rest of his life: a small, concrete speck on a dustbowl. He also looked around the planet, to its moons, distant stars, planets, etc. He tried to do a quick mental calculation of the distances in AU’s of the celestial objects to see if regular transportation for resources was possible. He finally gave up and decided to forget about it. They were alone on this planet.


Coming back to the present, a big gush of warm air blew into his face, giving him a surprised jolt. The doors had been opened. One by one the passengers climbed down the stairs and into the unforgiving sun, all of them making their way to the big concrete square that was going to be their cafeteria and headquarters for foreseeable future. Will followed them, making sure to be the very last one.


The old man was sweating in the heat, but it was bearable. Barely. He looked at his surroundings all while keeping his slow walking pace. The place was just as he would have suspected: new, sparse and fragile. He looked at the greenhouse over in the distance and some big machinery, possibly for mining, in the opposite direction. This was good. Perhaps they were going to be fledgling colonists only for a short while.


William finally arrived to the concrete HQ and was, once more, greeted by a gush of air, this time cool. He waited patiently in line as people, one by one, presented their documents and got their ID card. Other than the occasional heated discussion between colonist and administrator, probably due to missing documents or something, everything went rather smoothly. This was very good. He would have expected more chaos and panic, but then again perhaps everyone was just too tired to argue or be scared. Then again, perhaps they were simply too depressed…


At long last, it was his turn. William picked up his briefcase that contained all of his worldly possessions that he had left and walked up to the desk.


“Name?” asked the old, plump woman with hair tied in a bun and reaching for the sky, absolutely impervious to movement and wind.


“William Laurier, m’aam,” replied Will.


The woman’s eyes focused on him. She seemed like she was thinking where she had heard that name before, but simply could not place it. Will flashed his practiced smile, and the woman smiled back. She then went back to processing his name without further hesitation. The last thing Laurier wanted to do is be shoved aside due to his past mistakes, or be put in the spotlight because of his past achievements.


“There you go sir,” said the woman, handing him his ID. “On that you will find your room number and there is also a little map so you don’t get lost.” Will took the ID with a small nod of his head. “Wonderful, thank you,” he replied. The woman, who was already looking back to her screen, flashed a generic smile to be polite. “Now, sir, let’s have a look at your resume…”


Uh oh, thought Will.


As the woman read the resume, her eyes lighted up as if her memory was coming back to her. “Mr. Minister, it IS you! I knew I had heard that name before! It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Will fought back the urge to swear. He thought about being humble… but then dropped that idea. It was too late. He might as well assume his past life.


Mr. Laurier smiled warmly to the woman. “Yes, thank you, Miss, for those words. However, I terribly tired, and I do not want to hold up the line, so…” said Will, trying to sound more tired than he really was. “Oh of course, Mr. Minister, one moment please,” she replied brightly. The woman went back to the resume, then to her screen, staring at them intently, as if she had an important mission to accomplish, to see where the man who stood before was to be assigned.

“Well, Mr. Minister, it must not surprise you to hear that you have been drafted to Administration. Come back to this building in a couple minutes and someone will show you what needs to be, as they will show you your work place,” finished the lady, smiling triumphantly.


“Of course, thank you kindly,” was all that Will said before taking what was his and departed from the office. The Minister sighed deeply. That was slightly awkward, he thought to himself. But, enough of that. He now had to find his room and he was following the instructions on his ID.


After a couple minutes of wandering about, he finally got to his room number: 73011. As he walked in, he could not help but let out a resounding: HAH! The room was very, very basic. There was a bed, a desk and a window. That’s it. It was cozy, though. Well, if you dig small concrete subs as rooms. But, it suited Laurier just fine. It wasn’t as if he was going to spend his days to mooch around here anyway.


Will quickly put his briefcase down in a corner, and then left the room. He retraced his steps to the Administration Offices and simply looked around; waiting to see if there could be anything useful he could do...
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by The Wolf Kin on Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:26 am

Hawke sighed softly as he was ushered into an office. As he entered, he moved to the side to allow the previous colonist, a pale man in dark clothing. Setting his possessions on the floor, Hawke sat himself in front of the desk, the woman behind it appraising him quickly.

"Name, please?"

Hawke kept his head down, looking at his knees. "Hawke R. Sparrow."

He heard the machine spit something out, and the woman held a card and a folded sheet of paper towards him. Hawke accepted them silently.

"That is your identification, young man. Do not lose it." Her voice was kind, a sternness indicating her seriousness. "It will track your rations and work, and in your case, schooling. Your address is on there as well. The map will be essential for finding your way around, at least to start. I recommend you use it."

Hawke nodded and returned to looking at his knees. The woman returned to the computer screen. "It seems there is a note on your file."

The young man looked up just in time to see the woman's eyes widen slightly. "Oh. I see." She turned back to Hawke. "Your parents were in Cryo Bay D, weren't they? It says here that some of their personal effects were recovered. If you'd like to pick them up, they are being stored at the colony depot. It should be there on your map."

She paused, letting him settle. "Now, you're young enough to still be in school, but our colony is small enough that we require as many people doing work as we can. To accommodate, we ask that you work part time. Now let me see what we have in our records for you." Hawke heard soft clicking before she began speaking again. "It says here you have two choices. First, alongside your schooling, you have the choice of a standard labour job. It doesn't require any training, but it will probably require some heavy lifting and other menial work. Secondly, you have the option of a more advanced position, being an assistant. It will require training, and as such will probably a bit more time consuming, but it would probably be a better choice in the long run."

Hawke nodded again. "I'll . . ." he choked, "I'll be an assistant."

The woman typed in her computer once more. "Thank you. Given the circumstances, you will be given a week's worth of time of only schooling and no work, so you may mourn in whichever way you see most fit. Unfortunately, we will require that you work following that period. Please return to these offices so that you can be assigned at that time. Until your schooling starts, spend your time as you wish."

Hawke nodded and rose from his chair, card in pocket and map in hand. Picking up his belongings, he gave one final nod to the woman, mouthed 'thank you', and walked towards the building's exit. The hot, dry air of the planet hit him like a slap in the face, drying the tears on his cheeks instantly. As quickly as he could, he checked the map and made his way from the administrative office and cafeteria towards the depot.

The building was a concrete blob, just like all the others, distinguishable only by a sign above the door saying 'Depot'. A man stood outside the entrance, and stopped Hawke as he approached.

"What's your business here?"

Hawke fished out his identification and handed it to the man. "The woman at administration said that they had recovered some of my parent's personal effects. I came to collect them."

The man gave a quick nod. "Follow me, then."

Hawke followed as the man led him down a hallway and into a small room, populated only by a chair and a plain desk. Hawke took a seat as the man left the room, only to return a few minutes later with a lockbox. He opened it and left it on the desk.

"Take as much time as you need. When you're done, just come out the way you came in, and let somebody know that you're leaving."

Hawke looked hesitantly into the box as the door clicked shut behind him. It was a small box, and it held only two objects. The first was small, a black faux-leather wallet. It was just as he had seen it last: money left in the back, a reminder of the planet they had left behind, and in front, along with his slew of now useless credit cards, was a photo of his family. Him, his mother, and his father. Hawke hugged it close to his chest, tears welling in his eyes, before he tucked his identification card into one of the empty slots and placed it in his pocket. The second item was much larger: a book. He looked it over. Birds of Planet Earth: Living and Extinct: A Compendium, Volume 4. Hawke had looked through it many times while it had been in his library. It covered birds from G to I. He had a digital copy on his computer, but his father had insisted on bringing the books in physical form.

Hawke tucked the book into the first of his bags and stood to go. A glint caught his eye. Tucked into the back corner of the box was a necklace. A small, steel hummingbird. It had been an anniversary present from his father to his mother, and she treasured it. The fact that she hadn't been wearing it had been dumb luck. Grabbing it, Hawke attempted to fasten it around his neck, but quit after the third slip. Claming, he tried again, managing to make the catches stick. With a sigh, he wiped the tears from his eyes and left the building, back into the blistering heat of his new home.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by quakernuts on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:33 pm

Well, the trip had gone better than his worst possible outcomes. Still, Carlos didn't like to think about what would have happened should he have been in Cryo bay D. He didn't know if the others felt the same way, or if they were blocking it out entirely. Carlos never let his emotions get a hold of him, but he never completely shut out everything either. They were an indicator at the best of times, and fuel at the worst. As he made his way off the rail car to follow the crowd into what would be their transport down, he quickly managed to get used to the feeling of Zero-G, despite the inevitable feeling of moving through quick sand where every motion and action had to be slow and deliberate.

As he tethered himself on, and followed the line of people towards the transport, his eyes drifted over the crowd. He could usually get a general sense as to what the crowd was feeling, years of police work and riot control managed to push that instinct into you. For the most part, it was calm and hesitant. Everyone wanted off, but they had no idea what they were going down to, or what could possibly happen in the near future. No one had anticipated the meteor striking Cryo Bay D, and that made everyone on edge as to the unpredictable nature of space. Carlos kept this in mind as he finally got to the transport, and found himself a seat next to an older gentleman, most likely a hands on worker like a carpenter or welder due to the calluses on his hands and a few minor scars along his arms.

The twenty minute drop down to the planet seemed shorter than he thought. Not having a window seat, Carlos missed out on any sort of view taking there was to be had, but was content to simply sit and listen. Barely anyone talked, and the few that did were doing so in such a hush manner that Carlos had no way of overhearing what they were trying to say. He knew he shouldn't be trying to anyways, but it was an old habit, one that he didn't necessarily want to break. Soon enough though, the sounds of re-entry were heard, and just a bit after that, the captain's voice came over the speakers saying they had landed and where their personal effects were.

Carlos got up to retrieve his bags, thankful that he had placed his shotgun into a carrying bag rather than a sling. His 9mm pistol though, he strapped to his hip and quickly grabbed his badge and pinned it to his shirt. He knew there wasn't any sort of law enforcement here yet, but even the sight of a MP who technically wasn't a MP here would still add a little reassurance that nothing could go wrong. He grabbed his two carry-on bags, and walked with the rest of the crowd towards what he would start dubbing 'The Double C'.

The tips that the crewman had given would be useful later on for the most part, and Carlos thanked him for the heads up on the way out. He managed to follow the crowd into the administration section of the building, but ended up waiting a while as he was near the back of the line. When he eventually got into an office, he waited until the woman pointed at the seat before sitting down. She was of the bigger sort, but just from her posture and current attitude he could tell that she was not a woman to be taken lightly. "Name?" She asked in a polite but curt tone.

"Captain Carlos Hayden ma'am." Old habits died hard.

"Just your name will suffice for now Mr. Hayden." The woman stated, irritation creeping into her voice. He didn't blame her. Putting through an entire colony's worth of people in less than a day was a daunting task, and more than tiring he was sure. Soon, a card popped out and she held the card out pointing to his address. "Apartment number." She quickly reached over, and grabbed something else. "Map, so you know where you're going." Carlos took them without another word, and she continued.

"Looking at you're resume now Captain, and I'm afraid I have some bad news. All of our security, military or otherwise have been filled for the moment. It looks like we'll have to get you another job for your skills until something opens up for you to move to where you're most suited." Carlos didn't show it, but he cringed a little on the inside. He was an MP through and through, and the idea of doing something other than that simply revolted him. He knew though, that he had no choice.

"What do you have?"

"Well, we have a number of labour jobs. Not high paying really, but crucial all the same. We also have some administration positions available, seeing as you've been behind a desk before and seem to know how to handle yourself there. Other than that, I'm not seeing any other openings that would be suited towards your skill set." Carlos thought for a moment. Administration might be more important, but only if he was in it for the long run. He didn't feel like being behind the desk all the time, and he wasn't old enough for him to even consider an option. The labour jobs, while less glamorous some would say, would allow him to keep in shape while managing to get a good feel for the colony.

"Labour? Are we talking construction?" She shrugged.

"Among other things. Construction, janitorial, farming, etc. The basic need jobs." Carlos took a moment to think.

"Sign me up for the construction job."

"Figured a man such as yourself would pick that one." She answered as she typed a few more keys, before asking for the map and picking out a spot that looked like it hadn't really been touched yet. "You're foreman, a Mr. Janus Koal, will already be working with a team here. If that's all, I have more people to attend to."

"That should be good. Thank you." She didn't reply as he grabbed his gear, and walked out of the office. Construction wasn't that great of a job, long hours in this heat were enough to get anyone on the edge of dehydration. Seeing as he didn't have an option though, he set about finding his apartment first to stow his gear before making his first trip to his new job.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Dax on Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:28 am

After a couple minutes of wandering around aimlessly in the administration office, Laurier must have started to seem suspicious or at least worthy of pity, because one of the women behind the front desks spoke up to him. “Sir? May I help you?” The woman’s voice slightly startled Laurier, as she pulled him from deep thought. The old politician walked towards the woman hesitantly.

“Yes, yes you may actually,” Laurier started, shuffling through his coat pockets for his resume. “I was directed here by the lady at the registration offices. I was wondering what it was, exactly, I could do to be of use here.” Laurier extended his arm and gave the receptionist the resume. She gave it a quick look, and then turned her attention to the screen on her desk. Without looking back up at him, she handed Laurier back his resume.

“Actually, you have some rather amazing luck, Mr. Minister Laurier,” the lady had named his title with a sort of unease, suggesting she had not originated from the same country he had back on earth. The old man pondered on what it could be, exactly, that he had been lucky about. The lady was quick to clear that up for him.

“According to your resume and colonial backlogs, you are one of the few colonists who have some sort of competency in astronomy. Because of this, Colonial Administration has decided to postpone your desk job and move you to the Observatory in the nearby mountains temporarily so you can get things started there and settle the new scientists in. Once the administration deems preparations suffice, you will be moved back into office here.”

Laurier wasn’t sure how to feel about this. Although he was happy he could shape the astronomy labs upon his way of working, he also wanted to be here in these crucial, defining moments of molding for the colony’s administration forming to help it along the way and give it a calm, calculated and experienced voice in its matters. In the end, Laurier simply told himself he could do both, except shaping up the colonial administration was just going to be harder, because others will have already started making their mark.

With his picture perfect smile, Laurier thanked the woman at the receptionist, took her directions to the nearest transport to the observatory and was on his way. The newly minted head of the observatory headed for the exit and, just as the lady had promised; saw a huge truck with supplies, crates and boxes waiting for him. He walked up to the truck and sat in the passenger’s seat, next to the driver.

On his way to the observatory, which was a thirty minute ride, Laurier chatted up the driver. From him, he learnt that, in total, 30 scientists were working at the observatory, which tripled as an off-site experimental lab, which dealt with biological, geographical and astronomical observations. Plans were in the works to add more buildings to the complex that would populate the entire mountain to add the areas of new technology development, a rural launch pad for larger ships for deep space when it will be possible and other scientifical operations.

Finally, Laurier arrived at the observatory. The building was still partly under construction, but the main telescope was functional. All around the main observatory building that had the giant telescope; however, the ground was littered with various crates and metal skeletons, alluding to future constructions there.

Within the hour, Laurier was inside the observatory and getting his effects into place. There were alternating time slots on who was to man the telescope to map out surrounding stars and systems to pin point their planet’s location, as the location of other habitable or uninhabitable planets within a couple billion or so AU’s or even a couple dozen light years.

As it turned out, Laurier had arrived just in time to fill in his next shift. To his immense surprise, the telescope worked exactly like the one near the city he used to live in: Ottawa, Canada. It took all but 90 seconds to get himself familiar with the precise numbers and dials to this telescope. It took another couple minutes to get himself on the seat, get the contraption pointing at the correct point in space and start his investigation.

After a couple hours of searching and routine cataloguing, he fell on something that was completely... unique. He found a weird cluster of stars. Well, he wasn’t sure it was stars. It was a big cluster of light, which seemed to be stars. As conformity called, he took a picture of the sector, recording its precise coordinates and brought up a picture of the exact same coordinates taken exactly 6 hours ago.

In the same sector, he saw the two stars, distinctly apart. Then, another picture taken one hour later, the two stars had gotten considerably closer. The next image had them even closer, and etc. That trend continued until they were but a cluster of light. This was very odd. Stars weren’t known to move such great distances at such great speed and Laurier knew that they were not close enough to conceivably move at that speed by conventional methods because he had been able to calculate their relative size and distance from his position by the intensity of the light that they were giving off.

There was not much more that he could do, but mark the sector for special screening for the next guy who happened to check this sector out. Laurier then simply completed his shift then climbed out of the huge telescope. He then walked down to the offices where he did the mundane task of cataloging his finds. He too the liberty of putting a special alert to check out the anomaly he had found. He then made sure to jot down information of his whereabouts’ so he would be contacted with further information gathered about the hot spot if there was an emergency

A couple hours later, Laurier was back in his plain, concrete room, snoozing away after a long day, eager to get to work the next morning...
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Kyrt Malthorn on Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:25 pm

"Hello, I'm Ethan Chang, and good morning from CNR, Colony News Radio!

Weather projections for today are once again: sunny with a high of one hundred, lows in the mid nineties. Low fronts are expected to hit later next week, promising temperatures in the high sixties. Unfortunately we may not be able to enjoy it, with the front also bringing a seventy percent chance of rain, and a forty percent chance of thunderstorms.

"Governor Winchester reports colony progress is ahead of schedule, publicly thanking the Board of Planetary Resource Development for its exceptional botany team. However, Dr. Martha Doyen, the geneticist spearheading agricultural development, has voiced concerns over the long-term initiative: "

"We're just not sure the plants will ever be able to fully acclimatise to the new environment. We may have to rely on greenhouses for the foreseeable future. Although we're cultivating a strain of wheat with a high resistance to the soil's pH level, we're looking at a matter of years, and that's being optimistic."

"In other news, the observatory's night shift was baffled last night at the discovery of a strange sight. Reportedly, a group of stars appears to have moved, crunching together. Astronomers have urged people not to panic, saying that in all likelihood, the cause of this visual anomaly is light-years away.

"Members of the scientific community have been invited to theorize on the nature of the phenomena on a panel discussion. Dr. P. S. Stroebel, head of the Planetary Resource Development Board, says he would like to 'lay fears to rest' with regards to the visual anomaly. The panel will be open to the community, and will be held outside the PRD building at 17:30 hours this afternoon.

"Previously, the PRD Board planned to present geological survey findings at 17:30 to colony administrators, who will be voting on proposed mining projects. This meeting has been pushed back until after the panel discussion, though it will still be open to the public.

"And that will be all for the morning report, CNR. Thank you."
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Kyrt Malthorn on Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:41 pm

Dravis ran his comb through his hair. Not that it improved anything; it was an automatic gesture, while he systematically reviewed his mental notes. He'd been on panels before - on Earth, of course. He knew how to keep his cool, though admittedly he had never discussed quite such an unknown. He guessed the panel would be short.

The newswoman was babbling to him and the other board members - and her voice echoed horribly in the tiny room of corrugated steel. Her assistant was thankfully silent as he pinned inconspicuous mics onto panel members' collars.

Dr. Stroebel was a gaunt man with a hooked, beak-like nose, and he peered over his spectacles at his watch. He would've looked better in a lab coat than his current business casual. Suddenly he lifted his head and swept his glasses off his face. "Time."

Stroebel led them out of the cramped little room, and up the hall to the doors of the PRD building, where they stepped out onto a barren concrete porch, shaded by an awning. There were chairs set up for the panel, and to one side was lectern and a large white cloth square at which a projector shone a blank image. Before this setup was a sizable gathering of colonists. There were rows of folding chairs; every seat was taken and there were still more people standing. The front row was populated with administrators. There were occasional shimmers from the crowd as water bottles were raised and tipped into dry mouths to ward off the lingering late-afternoon heat.

Dr. Stroebel took to the lectern while the panel took their chairs.

"Well you know why you're here." He began in a dry monotone. Fortunately he wasn't one for excessive words. There was a remote on the lectern and he triggered it, displaying on the projector a nondescript starscape, tinted blue. He read off the date that appeared in the lower-right corner. "This was recorded by the Aurora's telescopes four minutes after entering orbit." He triggered the remote again, and the projector's new image was the same starscape, now overlaid with a second version tinted red. Most of the stars, then, appeared purple but for the cluster in the center: a circle of blue stars indicating their original positions, and a knot of red in the circle's exact center. "And this was recorded by the same scopes, mere hours ago. Dr. Radic, if you would...?"

"Of course." Dravis sat forward. "It's important to note these stars we see here are over forty-two light-years away, the majority of them over seventy-nine light years. Given that - yes?" Dravis paused as someone from the audience raised their hand.

"Are we sure these are actually stars?"

Another panel member - one of the astronomers - spoke up. "If not, they're doing a good job of fooling every instrument we have."

Dravis continued. "Now, seeing as how stars are unlikely to spontaneously cross dozens of light-years to line up from our perspective, it's safe to say something is effecting the light from all of these stars as it travels toward us. While we don't know what that is, we can surmise that it occured before we arrived, as the light we see from them now has been traveling for decades. By the same token, the cause was also light-years away."

Someone else from the audience spoke up. "Could this have been caused by some extra-terrestrial technology?"

Dravis shook his head; of course someone had to bring up aliens. Fortunately, another panel member spoke up first - a mathematician. "It's not outside the realm of possibility, because there's nothing to disprove that. But there's nothing to suggest it, either. That has been considered, but it holds about as much water as 'maybe God sneezed'."

But the audience member persisted, gesturing at the projector. "But that is a perfect circle. Couldn't this be the effect of an Alcubierre drive? An alien 'warp drive'?"

There was tension in the mathematician's tone. "The Alcubierre metric is a practical impossibility."

"To our knowledge..." The man in the audience began.

"Please," Dravis interrupted. "Regardless of whether it's possible, there are two problems with this. First, if this were the work of the Alcubierre metric, this kind of effect wouldn't be visible to the outside observer. Secondly, even if it were, the drive would have to be aimed from one of those stars directly at us. Yet a functional Alcubierre drive would travel faster than light - and any effect we might have seen would only be visible after it had arrived or passed us by."


"Dr. Warren, would you care to offer the scientific community's best guesses as to what might naturally be occurring?" Dr. Stroebel interjected before the man in the audience could continue.

The astronomer replied. "Of course. Our best guess would be that one of the nearer of these stars collapsed into a black hole some decades ago. What we're seeing now is the light its gravity refracted before it was strong enough to capture that light. The effect should be relatively brief, and we have nothing to worry about from a black hole forty-two light-years away."

Dravis bit his tongue and refrained from going for the comb in his pocket. The black hole was a lie; the numbers were wrong. But the governor had asked them discreetly to come up with some harmless, feasible explanation, even if there wasn't a provable one to be had. The colony struggled and morale was critical.

"Does anyone have any other questions?" Dr. Stroebel asked.

There were none.

"If that will be all, the panel is dismissed - and I would like to invite Dr. Carlozzi to take the floor. He will be speaking on the geological survey's results and the proposed mining operations. Interested colonists are free to remain and observe Colony Administration's committee's vote on these operations and resources."

Dravis and most of the panel were leaving. He was almost past the back rows of the audience's chairs, which were quickly emptying. The geologist was attempting to begin his presentation, futzing with the remote and an unresponsive projector. An earsplitting crack rang out.

"Everybody down!"

Dravis whirled at the moment of a second report of a handgun. Gasps and screams issued from the formerly dispersing crowd, as most fearfully cowered down; Dravis crouched, not to stand out.

Dr. Carlozzi's legs gave out as he clutched at his chest, red spreading across his shirt and tie. An African man invaded the stage and grappled at the geologist's collar, ripping the mic off. With the mic by his face, his other hand gesturing the barrel of a pistol at the audience, the intruder began to shout, his voice booming and causing crackles in the speakers that had so subtly amplified the soft voices of the professors.

"Nobody moves! There's somethin' here everybody needs to hear!" His next words were lost in the crackle of the speakers. "...It's people like this," he gestured at the geologist, bleeding profusely, "...and people like them," at the pale administrators in the front row, trapped under the armed man's watchful eye. "It's gonna happen all over again! These people are leeches, suckin' everything they can outta a planet, jus' to satisfy our wants... their wants... Just like they killed Earth! They're gonna do it again and get us all killed if we don't do somethin'!"

Extremist. Dravis leered as the irrational declamation continued.
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by quakernuts on Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:23 pm

Carlos had managed to find his apartment easy enough, the blocky constructs not standing apart from each other, but already properly numbered for easy recognition. His apartment was near the edge of the finished buildings, which made sense since he would be helping to build more, which would allow him to get to work in the shortest amount of time possible. He entered his apartment building, and found his room. Quickly sliding the key into the doorknob, something he hadn't done in a long time since the use of key cards had become common place back on Earth, he stepped inside.

It wasn't anything that he didn't expect. It was small, obviously meant for one person. It much resembled a motel room, with everything being in one room, and the only two doors visible being the exit and the bathroom. He stepped inside, and took a quick glance around. Everything was the normal metallic colour, to be associated with the building materials used in the apartment's construction. His bed was set up against one wall, and a small desk with a couple shelves sat in a corner and a simple four drawer metal dresser sat along the wall adjacent to the desk. A nightstand with a few candles was sitting next to his mattress, along with an already functional battery operated radio. Electricity had yet to be set up within the colony, so this would have to do for the moment.

He opened the door to his bathroom, and immediately saw this was going to take some getting used to. Everything was metallic, as it was to be expected. A shower was installed, but testing the tap proved his suspicions that the water pumps had yet to be set up. His toilet looked like it was just one large funnel, most likely leading to a hole in the ground that someone would properly name 'The Sewage System'. Along with this neat little setup, there was also a mirror against the wall, along with a cabinet and sink that, of course, didn't work yet. Carlos didn't expect anything more, although he could just hear the complaints that would arise from this supposed sewage system. They would need to work something out for that quickly in order to keep the colony sanitary.

Carlos went to work putting away his stuff. Laying his picture of his wife on the desk, his clothes in the dresser, and his shotgun and bandolier on top of the dresser. He kept his 9mm attached to his hip though. He felt naked without it. Giving one last glimpse over his apartment to make sure he didn't miss anything, he exited his room and started making his way to his new construction job.

Janus Koal actually happened to be the man that Carlos had been sitting beside on the shuttle ride down. He didn't have the muscle mass to be seen as a construction worker from when he first saw him, but the way he was issuing orders to over fifty workers showed him why he was the foreman of this particular job. As Carlos approached, Janus gave one look at him, and put up a hand to stop him.

"Alright look. Tell your commanding officer or boss or whatever you want to call him that the second floor of the Authority Building will be up soon. Right now, I have to worry about getting the people somewhere to live." Carlos stopped for a second, then realized he still had on his beret and his badge on his chest. He quickly stepped forward to correct the man.

"I'm sorry Mr. Koal, but I'm not with the Authority. My name is Carlos Hayden. I've been assigned to your work group." Janus paused for a second, flipped through a couple pages on his clipboard, and raised his eyebrows slightly as he found the name.

"Ah, so you are. Sorry about that. I was sitting next to you on the trip down, and thought for sure you were going to be part of new law enforcement here in the colony." Carlos scratched the back of his head.

"Yeah, to be honest, so did I. Turns out, it looks like they have their military and law enforcement positions already filled. So, I get to help out around the colony by doing some construction."

"Well, alright then. At least you're physically fit. Tell me, how much do you know about welding, carpentry, or electrical?" Carlos stopped for another second, and hesitated.

"I know how to spell them." Was all he said, hoping the humour would mask his inability to know how to do any of those things within a construction setting. Janus gave a small laugh.

"It's alright Carlos. You're not the first one that doesn't know much about construction. Each group has their team leaders who report to me in their respective field. We'll start you out with carpentry first. Head over to Lisa Nurai, she'll help you out."

"Thank you sir." Carlos stated out of habit, and Janus gave him a wave of the hand.

"Don't call me sir, it makes me sound older than I am." Carlos gave a smile and nodded, thankful his foreman wasn't an asshole. Unfortunately, that was the only one person out of thousands. As he approached Lisa, he could tell she knew her stuff just in the speed she was measuring and cutting the wood to fit into several places. Carlos had known that the apartments were a hybrid of wood and metal, best of both worlds, but the wood seemed to be the base for the apartments while the metal prevented corrosion of the wood from the elements by overlapping it. It was a good strategy.

"Lisa Nurai?" Carlos asked as he approached.

"That be me pretty boy. What do you know about carpentry?" She asked, not taking her eyes off of the two by four she was trying to measure for a section of the wall.

"I'm afraid not much ma'am. I was hoping you could simply point me in the right direction." A voice from above him got his attention.

"Are they going to send us anyone that actually knows how to do any fucking thing?" Carlos looked up and was greeted by a man in a harness standing against the wall welding a section of metal onto the frame.

"Jason. I'm only going to tell you this once more before I cut that fucking harness and watch you fall on your ass so hard you won't be able to sit for a week. We get who we get, and there ain't no sense in bitching about it. Now get back to work, and don't fucking talk unless it has something to do with the building you're working on." Lisa answered him, taking off her goggles to do so. Jason shrugged, flipped her the finger, and continued working on anyways.

"Don't mind Jason there, he's a asshole. We'll start simple. We'll get you started on measuring and applying some of the larger pieces, since those muscles of yours don't seem to be for show army boy."

The next couple of hours were spent with Carlos learning the basics of carpentry, assisting where necessary and putting up with Jason's constant insults from wherever he happened to be stationed, along with a couple of his buddies. It wasn't until he noticed a steady flow of people heading to the PRD building that he stopped for some casual conversation. "What's going on?" Carlos managed to ask one of the other carpenters.

"Some sort of science meeting. I heard about some stars moving in a very different manner, but I wouldn't know any of that crap." He looked up at Carlos, flashing him a small smile. "Don't worry about that kind of crap man, it's boring and the men in there never get the ladies."

"Neither do you Frank!" Lisa yelled from across the building, getting a laugh out of everyone within earshot. Frank looked back, and Lisa undid her ponytail and flipped her long brown hair over her face before flipping it back up and waving her finger at him. The workers burst into laughter, Carlos along with them.

"Aw fuck you Lisa!" Frank yelled back, although he was laughing as well.

"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't yah?" Frank dismissed her with a wave of his hand as the laughing died down and everyone got back to work. A few minutes later, everything got a bit more interesting.

There was a loud pop, and Carlos stopped sawing for a second. A second pop had him throwing off his goggles and drawing his pistol as he ran through the workers. He didn't answer them as they tried to get out of him what he was doing, and what had him so upset. A few of them followed him, and managed to catch sight of an African man waving around a pistol. A man was already shot, and he was yelling something into the mic that was so filled with static from his abuse of it that no one could really make out the message.

Carlos was running towards the panel, until he heard some of the words the man was using. Instantly he stopped running, and ducked inside the crowd. The man was an extremist just by his speech alone, and would most likely shoot Carlos on sight if he saw him. He remove his beret, shoving it into his back pocket as best he could, and slowly moved through the crowd towards the speaker.

"We must stand up to the corrupted officials and professors of the government!" The man continued, managing to get the mic into a decent position to avoid most of the static. "They killed Earth once, we will not, can not allow them to do it a second time! This is a time where we must all stand on our own two feet! A time where we will be judged by those who come after us, and tell us that we made the right move! That we secured their future, by eliminating theirs!" The man pointed his weapon at another scientist on stage, obviously trying to prove his next point. Carlos was at the panel by this time, and he didn't waste anytime. He had anywhere between 5-7 seconds before that man pulled the trigger based on the make shift profile he had managed to construct on the African in his mind.

"His children will not suffer, for he will not have children! Our children will not suffer! For he will not be allowed to make them suffer!" The man yelled. The man looked back down, and Carlos stepped from the crowd.

"Police! Drop the gun!" The man instantly was set ablaze in fury, and lost his head.

"FACIST!" He yelled as he turned to fire on Carlos, who returned the favour by pumping three rounds into his chest. The man dropped without a further sound, most likely dead before he hit the ground, the gun falling from his limp grasp as he hit the floor. Carlos was running up to him before his body connected with the concrete, and kicking the weapon away. He didn't need to check for a pulse to know the man was dead, one of his shots managing to pierce his heart. Carlos secured his weapon, and after making sure that the other scientists were ok, went to check on the one that had been shot.

A quick pulse check later found that the man had indeed bled to death. He closed the man's eyes, a tradition he had set upon himself when dealing with the innocent dead, and stood up as the rest of the law enforcement managed to show up. It was decent timing, but had he not been here, they would be dealing with more bodies than just one. He pulled his beret from his back pocket and replaced it onto his head, and quickly made his way from the stage to the Commanding Officer of the Authority on Prodemia.


Last edited by quakernuts on Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Unitive Force

Post by Kyrt Malthorn on Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:37 pm

Chief Tyler had barely stepped out of the emergency response truck, which was combination ambulance, police, and firefighting. The Chief lifted his cap and swept a head over his shaved scalp and confirmed what he thought he'd seen through his monocular - the situation was, apparently, under control, and the one responsible was approaching.

Two paramedics rushed by the chief with a stretcher, but the chief knew there wasn't much use. Looked like that sad day had arrived; they'd have to break open the first package of body bags.

His brow furrowed: the man who'd dealt with the extremist - he had a badge, but it wasn't Colony Authority's. He examined it as soon as he was close enough. "Ah, U.S.A. military." The Chief greeted with a hint of Brittish accent. "Bloody timely. May I see your..."

"Excuse me," called an older, slightly breathless man coming up from behind the ex-military police. He was decked in a light gray suit and a red tie, and from his slightly ashen face, he'd been in the front row during the impromptu gunpoint speech. "Excuse me. Governor Winchester." The governor offered his hand to Carlos. "Allow me to express my thanks for... that impressive display of bravery."

The chief's eyes were drawn by movement. A reporter with a camera on his shoulder, circling the conversation as the governor spoke.

"Governor, if you please." The chief interjected, "I'll need to see this man's ID."
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Re: The Unitive Force

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