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Thread: [M] The Andromeda Federation (IC)

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    Default [M] The Andromeda Federation (IC)

    This thread is rated M for violence and space drugs

    It was a quiet “night” on the CS Falcor. Most of the crew were asleep, the lights were dimmed, the diagnostic and navigation read outs that normally beeped loudly were quiet. They weren’t even using the FTL Drive, simply powering through the vacuum without the risk of accidentally phasing through a planet in their sleep. In their bunks, some of the crew snored, others dreamed of home planets, and one listened to Valhyxxian Rain Sounds. All in all, it was calm, dark, and mostly silent. Until now.

    An alarm rang through the entire ship. Lights flashed on, doors automatically opened, and rain sounds were interrupted. A slightly robotic voice permeated the ship.

    “Mayday beacon detected. 1.27 lightyears from current position. Pilot’s BioSign required for FTL jump.” After 5 minutes, it repeated the message. It continued to repeat the message every 5 minutes until the BioSign was entered.

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    All she felt was the cold, lifeless air in the compartment as she floated. There was only darkness. The reserve power in the fraction of a ship she was in had died long ago, and she had shut her eyes shortly after that.
    The respirator connected to the oxygen tanks was all she had to live on.
    She wanted freedom, to be away from what seemed like an endless chase. And now here she was. Floating in this endless void.
    The cold was only a distant thought now, she could barely feel a thing, let alone move. How long had it been? Time seemed irrelevant now. Curled up in her little ball, she floats in the middle of the compartment, waiting for this to end.
    The one who will save you, the one who will stick by you, the one that will never back down,
    or maybe the one that finally brings you to your knees and makes you realize what kind of person you are.
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    Spoiler: I'm an Ajin! 

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    It was hard to get bored of gazing through the bridge windows of the Falcor. The ship itself was unremarkable - a long spar of grey metal splashed with running lights, cargo pods budding off to either side, the half-moon shape of the living quarters up front. Hanging above it though, was the whole universe. A scatter of white and blue pinpricks, the pale streak of the milky way cutting obliquely across, the reddish flowers of nebulae blooming along its route.

    Pedro Askilon had been the Falcor’s pilot for a year, and he had yet to tire of the view. He probably should have been back in his bunk like the rest of the crew, but the pilot’s oversized grav-couch was almost as comfortable, and the gentle thrum of the power generators below the bridge was a far better lullaby than Tink’s snoring. He had been half-dozing for the past hour, nudged back to life by the occasional prickle in his cranial implant as the auto-nav fired a thruster to correct for random gravimetric distortions. Nothing that needed manual input - they were still way out in the Kuiper belt, cruising the edge of an empty system while the crew rested and the FTL recharged for the next leg of the cargo run.

    Pedro blinked, and doing so made him aware that his eyes were tired and itching. He rubbed at them with stubby fingers. His eyes were a warm brown, like his curly hair and thick eyebrows. His face was olive from growing up in the sun-baked mining clusters on Pelion, and darkened around the jaw by a shadow of beard. He scratched at it, yawned, and twisted off the interface puck that had been attached to the implant on one side of his broad forehead. As the gentle buzzing of the ship’s systems receded from his brain, he pressed a touch-panel on the side of the grav-couch and waited for it to lower until he could swing down his shortened legs and slide to the floor. Captain Zyausk-jecant was a decent sort, and they hadn’t baulked at making a few alterations to their ship to cater to Pedro's genetic limitations.

    He patted the brushed steel of the control console, and had just started towards the door, the spinal corridor, and bed, when an alarm tone began to shrill from the sensor dashboard.

    Pedro groaned. “Really?”

    The alarm continued to buzz stubbornly, flashing a yellow light at him for emphasis.

    Pedro stretched his four-foot frame to reach the subspace monitor and pulled the spar-mounted screen down so he could see what the alarm was beeping at. A green diamond had boxed in around a new contact near the edge of the Falcor’s sensor sphere. Blocky text written in galactic Trade screeded down the screen, right to left. Something out in the void was transmitting a simple sequence of subspace pulses, on a loop.

    Life had evolved in a million different places across the Andromeda Federation, and all of them had developed pretty much the same procedure for signalling for attention. Even the Falcor’s rudimentary systems were capable of parsing such a signal out of the background radiation and identifying it for what it was.

    A cry for help. One in no language Pedro recognised, certainly, but a cry for help nonetheless.

    Pedro scratched his jaw again. “Who the hell got into trouble all the way out here?” he asked the ship.

    His reply was more of the same from the alarm.

    “Great.”

    Galactic maritime laws were unequivocal - a mayday beacon had to be responded to by any vessel that received it. Pedro had to clear the course change with captain Zya, but he already knew what the answer would be.

    He climbed back into the pilot’s chair, primed the FTL drives to start spinning up for the jump, and keyed an alarm into the ship’s tannoy.

    Oh, they’re all going to hate me for this.

    Five seconds later, a grating robotic voice started blaring through the living section.
    Spoiler: My RP links 

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    Doctor Brz'tek Sirc jerked awake at the sound of the alarms. The queen was in danger! She needed to protect the queen....!

    <My queen! I am coming!> she yelled. In her panic, she inhaled deeply through her nose - and smelled nothing. She froze, and the unwanted memories came flowing back. Her queen was dead these long months, stolen away and doubtless dissected for her organs, while she was left behind as dead. No, worse than dead. Damaged and thrown away, working on this alien ship as its doctor.

    "... Pilot’s BioSign required for FTL jump,” finished up the speaker. Jump? Why were they jumping?

    Instinctively, she checked her suit, making sure the bioplastic was intact and tightly sealed where her hands and neck. The battery was still fresh, the heating coils embedded in the living plastic keeping it and her warm. Her quarters were across from the sick bay, she was going to need more than what was on her belt for this - whever this was.
    Spoiler: ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ √Ăłł Єѵďł ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 

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    Racked out in her bunk, Tink rested easy in the knowledge that her most recent project was completed along with all outstanding repairs. The mechanic had even decided to fold down the sleeves of her coverall and sling her lanky form up onto her bed for a bit of shuteye instead of falling asleep with her toys as usual. She was out like a light before her head touched the pillow.

    Gangly arms and legs dangling from all available sides, Tink slept with her mouth yawning wide and a trickle of drool running up her cheek as her head flopped off the bunk. One dirty sock twitched occasionally as she dreamed. Pale fingers stained dark with grime and mechanical fluids reached listlessly towards nothing. When the alarm blared, she bolted upright and slammed her forehead into the bulkhead. Sucking in air through clenched teeth, she coughed her annoyance and groggily tried to get her bearings while rubbing the tender spot where her face had impacted with the ship. She glanced around through slitted eyes for half a moment before flopping back and pulling the pillow over her face. Maybe if they just pretended not to hear it, it would g-

    “Mayday beacon detected. 1.27 lightyears from current position. Pilot’s BioSign required for FTL jump.”

    "Fraaaaaack!" Tink wailed plaintively into the underside of her pillow before slinging it at the opposite wall of the cabin and lowering her head to look at the bunk below her own. Confirming the absence of the pilot, she tucked her arms and flipped clear. Padding around, she quickly found one heavy work boot and began tugging it on while hopping on her other foot and scanning the deck for the companion she had kicked off haphazardly. One tatty lace peeked out at her and she sat to fish it out and wriggle into it before snatching up her workbag and stamping into the corridor to begin her pre-jump checks. Her first stop was the engine room. As she passed into it, she hammered a small fist against an access panel and snagged a tube from the multicoloured assortment that hid behind it. Kicking the panel closed, she bit the end of the tube and let it dissolve in her mouth before enjoying the spicy herbal nutritional paste the biodegradable packaging contained.

    Pulling her coveralls back on properly, she sniffed and combed dirty fingers through her hair. Scrubbing the back of her hand along her cheek to rid herself of the evidence of her unruly sleep habits, she crouched and set about her tasks. She might have bothered to argue about going after strangers adrift in space if she hadn't already known that Pedro and Zya would be in agreement about it. It wasn't that she wished anyone harm, just that borrowing trouble was a good way to get yourself turned into backfill back home.

    Spoiler: Completely Unsolicited, Contextual Praise Definitely not Acquired via Torture 

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    Zyaust-jecant stood straight in the middle of a buzzing room, their four arms at work and their three heads pointed in three different directions. One head and a single arm monitored four screens placed on a metal framed shelf stack that reached just below Zyaust-jecant's standing height of 12 feet. The screens were placed so two of them rested side by side on the top shelf whilst the other two were on the shelf below it. Each screen displayed a progress bar with words and numbers crackling behind immobile box that guarded the slowly creeping bar. On the four shelves below the screens were the computers the screens attached to, bulky towers laid on their sides with their fans screaming. Below those were racks full of a variety of hard-drives hooked up to the computers above. To the left of the stacked shelf were three sets of metal filing cabinets, two of which were loaded with more hard drives.

    Sorting history was an endless task, even with the help of technology. But Zyaust-jecant was just one person with four computers trying to document and organise the history of entire planets, so of course it'd be slow. More computers would probably help. But they had to return to Zykdrik space if they wanted to cash in on the documents they collected, and returning to Zykdrik space meant finding less history to cash in on. Bah, they'd do it once they'd ran out of rooms for hard-drives.

    Another head observed two arms operating a photo copier on a desk, doing the monotonous task of scanning the pages of physical documents. Each finger wore an attached cap with a protruding stick that gave their blocky metal fingers levels of finesse adequate for page manipulation. The hands took a page from the current folder of focus on the right, placed it in the photo-copier, then let it run. After the pages image was copied it was passed over the second-hand computer to the left of the copier and placed in another folder. Beyond the folder on the left were two stacks of three folders. A sign that smelt and marked the word for 'Done' was on the wall behind the folders. To the folder on the right were also more folders, about ten in total arranged in a haphazard fashion formed out of momentary spite and persisted due to apathy. On the wall behind the folders to the right was another sign, reading and smelling as 'To Do.'

    Hard documents were all some cultures had to offer. Which was a right annoyance when it was, because Zyaust- jecant didn't have the space to keep physical history in bulk. So they had to personally and manually translate it into a far more conveniently storale digital medium. And sometimes they had to translate hard recordings into hard documents; they certainly stopped putting too much effort into that. Wasn't worth it, trying to put information written on shapes with too many surfaces onto a flat simple surface. Regardless, the labour was monotonous, but easy enough to mess up that it demanded concentration. More work to do, another machine that needed maintaining.

    The 4th and last hand held up a tablet that displayed a graphic novel the final head was reading. They had picked it up on the last planet they were on. Couldn't understand a damn word of the thing, but the art style was interesting. It was highly structured, yet such attention to specifics was applied to beings and environments with exaggerated forms. Reminded them of the joke contraptions people made in Engineering programs, extravagant machines that could only work in a simulation.

    This lay of events would have continued for the next week, perhaps longer (excluding the entertainment and maintenance breaks) if the alarm hadn't sounded. The hand lowering the tablet lowered as the associated head rose up. The other heads maintained positioned, and the hands slowed, though they still continued to work.

    'Mayday beacon detected. 1.27 lightyears from current position. Pilot’s BioSign required for FTL jump.'
    It told the distance but not the direction? What good was that? That was a thought for later. Mayday beacon. And one that apparently didn't say what it needed help with? This alarm system didn't tell you anything. Every distress signal told you what was causing the distress! Or at least they should. The alarm system being useless better be the cause. Zyaust-jecant wasn't keen on people who didn't even know to do that flying in space. They wouldn't be able to stop themselves worrying about such incompetent souls.

    Two hands opened filing cabinets and stored the hard documents within them before securing their locks. One hand saved the sorting progress of each computer before shutting down their organisation programs and then the computers themselves. The hand holding the tablet placed it in the photo-copier desk draw that contained the various other tools of enjoyment, and then reached for the intercom set into the wall next to the door. They turned the communication device on, punched in the captain's passcode, and navigated to the 'transmit to all quarters' button.

    Throughout the ship sounded another artificial voice, speaking in the hallmark awkwardness of text-to-speech. It's pitch was high, and designed to be pleasant to the ears. Zyaust-jecant had actually chosen a voice set used for a virtual singer – Ekbuav was the name given to the entirely artificial singer, if they remembered correctly. They trusted people who made music for a living to know how to make something that sounded good.

    '[CALM]. Attention crew of the Falcor. Zyaust-jecant speaking. Prepare for FTL jump. Report when you are ready. When we all are, engage the FTL drive, pilot. [DISMISSAL]. The beacon is most probably for a ship that has run low on fuel or suffered engine damage. [ASSURANCE]. All we will need to do is tow their ship to our destination.'

    Zyaust-jecant began to withdrew their hand from the intercom, but hesitated. They hadn't heard anyone walk nearby or talk in their most recent entertainment breaks. When was their next maintenance break? A hand putting away the hard documents stopped and pulled the tablet out of the desk draw again. The screen came alive, and the head looking in that direction quickly glanced down to check the time on the tablet. It clearly marked that it was sleeping hours for the rest of the crew. How unfortunate for them.
    The tablet was slid back into its draw and the hand proceeded with its earlier work. They activated the intercom once again.

    '[ASSURANCE] This will not take long. You can return to slumber after the FTL jump is completed. Negotiations will be settled quickly and the auto-pilot can handle ship towing. I can monitor the ship on my own.'

    The hand redrew from the intercom, but hung close, a head still looking in its direction, both awaiting a response to respond to.

    This whole thing could actually be a somewhat pleasant experience. For Zyaust-jecant, at least, not everyone else who had their sleep interrupted. That's what you get when you- no, none of that, thought and talked about that enough. Anyway, managing the ship on their own would be interesting. A nice change of work from document organisation.

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    The robotic arms of the terrarium gently brought an insect over to a plant that appeared harmless. It was a simple flower blooming with four red petals. At its center the stigma was large and opened into a dark black hole falling endlessly where the pollen tube should be. The robotic arm was finally in place as the fly writhed against its contrampment. As it struggled the flower sensed its vibrations and came to life. A long tongue lined with hooks darted out from the style and encased the fly, fighting the arm for its meal. The robotic arm easily let go as the flower successfully dragged the fly down into its abyss, happy with its secured meal.

    Ayo had been the one steering the robotic arms within this terrarium fitted to house this plant. The environment was dry and kept at the perfect temperature of 28 degrees celsius. The soil mixture was rich with nutrients and set up for easy drainage after watering and aeration. It was part moss and perlite mixture. Her purple tendrils twitched as they frantically took notes for Ayo. These were her appendges, another part of her. They absent mindedly worked just like an arm or leg would for humanoid. Another tendril adjusted the UV lamp to spotlight the plant and give it more nutrients. "So fascinating! Plant 45x92 can sense lifeform through vibrations and is also carniverous! Its pollenated tubule seemed to have hooks attached to easily catch prey! This is exciting indeed!"

    Ayo was one to not sleep much. Usually when others went to the bunk she was awake running expirments on her plants and soil collected from planets. Her job was to create and sustain life for all plant life she encountered. She was always busy mixing soil and running expirments on her captured specimens from planetary travel. Another part of her job was to save seeds and house them for when a planet was to be colonized. She was also in charge of food supply in case things went bad for the ship and rations ran out. Right now she was working on a fast producing algae that can grow in almost any environment and was rich in nutrients.

    Ayo let go of the robotic arms and was about to head to the algae tank when the alarm started to buzz. Over the buzzed intercom she just caught the tail end of the transmission. "...Pilot’s BioSign required for FTL jump." She let her tendrils drop their items and let them clatter as she had become startled. In the same moment her skin had come to life and changed color patterns to match the plants behind her in a mixture of greens and yellows. She sighed as she regained her composure and her skin went back to its hues of dark blues to light purple. It was not easy being a prety species. She was easily spooked especially when she was caught up in her work. Her instincts kicked in for her flight respnse and need to hide. "Ayo you need to get a hold of yourself...", she reprimanded herself as she exited her work area of the ship and made her way out into the hall.

    She crept along slowly within the winding hallways waiting to bump into another crew member to find out what was going on. Most of them however were sleeping and she wondered if they would even respond. Ayo was one of the older members of the crew, but she was not particularly close to anyone. She always had a hard time connecting to others because she was not good with social cues and was usually absorbed into her work. That did not mean she didn't like them or get along with any of them, she just never forged a close bond with anyone. Companionship was a hard thing for her to comprehend...

    Ayo made her way to the pilot's deck and addressed the one she figured would know what was going on. "Hey Pedro..sorry to bother you, but what's going on?" That was when a familair vocie came over the intercom Zyaust-jecant who clarified there was to be a FTL jump.

    "Right nevermind that is my question answered..." Ayo then slinked back awkwardly and made her way to one of the side seats in the corridor. She strapped herself in and then over her suit's intercom paged Zyaust-jecant. "Ayo reporting in. I am ready for FTL jump."
    Last edited by Moonlit_Fae; 12-29-2020 at 02:37 AM.

  8. #8
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    Skylar hadn't slept yet. He was in his pink bunny PJs, but he was still awake, working on editing his last recording. He took a sip of his Brawndo can next to him and kept tweaking the audio. It wasn't perfect yet, but he would make it so. He spent quite a few nights like this, since he went out on this expedition. Truthfully, he didn't need to sleep much, or rather, couldn't. The surgeries to change his appearance made sleep next to impossible, but he manages to get by with the aid of meditation and technology.

    He was just finishing up with the final edits and saving them when the alarm klaxon blared followed by the automated message and the assurances by the captain. "Oh dear, well at least tonight will be fun." He finishes the Brawndo, crushes it, and with a shout of "Kobe!" Tosses it through the air through a basketball hoop at the other end of his room and into a garbage can. With that he gets up and leaves his room.

    He would look quite a sight in his pink pajamas and bunny slippers as he walked along the corridors, but he had to make it look like he slept like a normal person as he sat in his crew seat in the corridor and strapped himself in. "Good evening, Ayo. Looking pretty as always I see." He said with a wink, as he also pinged his com-link signaling he was ready.

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    "Sickbay ready and standing by," Doctor Brz'tek Sirc reported, then released the ship intercom button. While she didn't wish harm on anyone, having something productive to do would make for a nice change.

    Before, she had the others, trainees, soldiers, others of her rank... Now she was stuck among a group of aliens! And she was only there because they needed a doctor or medic on board to tend to the group!
    Spoiler: ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ √Ăłł Єѵďł ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 

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    With everyone signalling the OK, Zyaust-jecant did a final check on their workshop. The computers and the photo-copier had both been turned off, and the physical documents stored. The in-use hard drives had been unplugged and stored in their foam padded draws. It'd probably take an hour to properly sort everything with how haphazardly they'd put everything away, but an emergency demanded time now.

    Zyaust-jecant's three heads receded into their collar, locking together as a glass visor slid down from their metal hood. Their legs took a wide, braced stance, and the four arms reached for four metal bar hand holds they had welded onto the ceiling. They were suddenly struck with the worry that they couldn't remember if simulacrum was properly secured, by they waved it off. They kept the other body in a secured preserving case when not in use. It'd be fine. They hadn't used it in a while and they've made jumps before the last use. A thought which then made Zyaust-jecant worry more, as it meant the simulacrum might be really banged up.

    Emergency. Warp jump. They could theorise the simulacrum's fate during the jump. A hand scrapped out of its hand hold and fumbled for the intercom. In the end, they just span their torso round to look at the thing. They knew this thing didn't have a sense of touch, that was the point, they shouldn't have even bothered trying to use the intercom without sight. A metal finger pressed the transmit button, and once again the captains synthetic voice spoke through the ships speakers.

    '[CALM] Pilot, we all appear to be ready. Engage the jump when ready.'

    The hand withdrew from the intercom and secured itself. Now they just had to wait until it was over. Then they'd talk to some captain who'd run out of fuel for their ship, they'd agree to tow them, they'd check on that simulacrum, and they'd get to pilot the ship for a bit, then they'd probably get back to work. Though all this not-work was making them consider doing a bit more not-work.

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