Postby Clarion » Tue May 14, 2013 10:34 pm



Chapter 1: Setting Up the Pieces

So distant from the warmth of stars
untouched by light or sound
we stretched so far across this void
not wanting to be found

our sons will do the very same
that we have done before
there are no stories told
of those who came, and fought and fell
we came out farther still and fought
to own the dark, possess the cold

time can only move so far
across the planes of space
our history was left behind
in an unfamiliar place

we lack the very impetus
no spirit to renew
our gods gave us momentum
the spark from which we grew

but if we can regain that drive
the thirst for exploration
not only of the boundless stars
but of our hearts and minds
imagine all the wonder
and the life that we could find

Remnants, author unknown

I laid the data pad down on the table where I was sitting at the back of my ship’s cabin. The autopilot was alerting me that we were reaching our destination and about to leave hyperspace. When I say “we” I suppose I mean the ship and I. Companions didn’t make a lot of sense in my line of work, although one would be nice to have. I double-checked the program I had laid out to guide the ship through the system and into dock, although I was going to fly it myself. It’s natural to have contingency plans at every turn, especially when you’re crossing the void alone. I took the controls just as we returned to normal space and plotted a scenic route, boosting power to my deflector matrix. I took a low pass over the first planet, enjoying the muted grays and the landscape of massive impact craters, the edges of which had been softened by millennia of accumulated dust. It was about an hour and a half to the next planet, so I had a beverage and reviewed my mission notes. I could have simply left hyperspace closer to the station of course. Something seemed wrong about ignoring any world, even an ordinary one, so the short delay felt worthwhile. It’s an obsessive impulse in me, but I’ve rationalized it with the idea that it’s ludicrous to be jaded to something like another planet. My people may have gone countless ages living across the far reaches of space, but I’m sure there was a time when we dreamed of visiting even one other planet. Even a plain, dry rock. The next planet I reached was more curious, with swirling patterns of stark white dust and few other features. From there it was only a matter of minutes to Arcolus, a well-known giant planet that stands as the sole reason anyone comes to this system, due to its value for gas harvesting. Manufacturing processes requiring a great deal of fuel for fusion power are confined almost exclusively to outposts like these. Transporting them simply isn’t practical. Because of this the orbital station, known as Kel Arcol, is a bustling city and center of culture and commerce. I decided to pass through the surface of Arcolus as the finale of my approach. As I descended, my deflector arrays distorted the uniform pattern of the dust layer ahead of the ship. The combination of the way the light refracted through the gases and the rich composition of the dust elements caused an array of teals, bright purples and aqua blues to emerge. They shimmered and sparkled around my field of view in the forward window. I marveled at it, and reflected on how much I had anticipated my arrival here during the long voyage.

If you think that space itself is beautiful, you don’t live here. Space is just, well, the space between. It’s the void between the things you want to see and experience. The aesthetic pleasure of watching the stars from the ground, watching the ocean stretch out from the coast… open space is nothing like that. It isn’t magnificent. It’s dark and empty and cold and quiet. But it’s excellent for the soul. Because as intensely bleak as space becomes, it’s that much more incredible when you return to something real and stimulating and truly beautiful. One of the greatest failings of man is how easily we become accustomed to something and take it for granted. Space is humbling. It takes everything away from you and keeps it until you’ve learned your lesson. Of course, some people never do. They’ll keep reaching out into that void again and again for one more jewel, one more plunder. Until they reach too far and lose themselves.

Soon the dust cleared and Kel Arcol stood massive before me. I activated my heads-up display to locate the docking port being assigned to me, and slowly maneuvered my way in. It took a few minutes to make a seal with my airlock and connect the umbilicals. Stations like this required an interface with your ship’s systems in order to monitor any conditions that might present a threat or hazard. I took this short time to collect my bags and put on my jacket – I wouldn’t be staying aboard my ship during the visit. The airlock cycled and the outer door opened with a cheerful announcement. “Welcome to Kel Arcol. Prepare to submit your party for security inspection.”
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Re: Remnants

Postby MissM00gle » Wed May 15, 2013 12:35 am

It was another slow day at the Star Slammer bar. Mcdonagh, the bartender, idly used a clean white cloth to wipe invisible spots off a perfectly clean highball glass. He stared at his blurry reflection in the glass, imagining that he was in his apartment, sipping a pint of his private brew and watching some xeno skin flicks on his 3d projector. He sighed and shook himself out of his daydreaming as he heard the short series of beeps that accompanied the arrival of a new customer. He set the glass down and looked up to observe his newest patron.
It was a mechanezzening, a technologically advanced humanoid race known for their cyber-suits and various cybernetic and biomechanical implants. This one was clearly a full grown adult, a towering, hulking figure about 9 imperial feet tall, his suit gleaming with copper-toned high-grade alloys and bright blue LEDs. Mcdonagh frowned to himself, noting that the suit this mechanezzening was wearing did not appear to be standard issue. In fact, he had never seen one like it before...
He gave a start and made a small noise of dismay as what appeared to be a completely mechanical bird of prey alighted silently on the bar in front of him. The curious mechanical bird, which seemed to follow the same color-scheme as the mechanezzening's suit, fixed its bright blue gaze on Mcdonagh, and much to Mcdonagh's surprise, giggled.
"Hee hee, surprise you, did I, human? Ix, come look, a human. Look at its funny red hair. I have never seen a human with red hair, have you?"
The mechanezzening approached the bar and sat on a stool, which groaned under the massive creature's weight. "I have seen many things, Mel. A human with red hair is rather....insipid."
The mechanezzening's voice was cold and mechanical, and Mcdonagh was not entirely sure that was because of the suit that encased Ix's entire body, including some rather nasty looking spiked armor on his long tail. Mel, the strange mechanical bird, clacked his beak in annoyance, then fluttered over to land on Ix's shoulder. He pecked at the facemask covering Ix's eyes. "You're insipid, you droll creature. Order a drink before our bartender's eyes fall out of his head."
Ix brushed Mel off his shoulder casually, then fixed his gaze on the bartender. Mcdonagh could just make out the mechanezzening's eyes behind his face mask, and was surprised to see that they seemed to be pure white, so bright they almost seemed to glow. Very peculiar indeed. Clearing his throat, Mcdonagh bobbed his head and said "ah, uh, you're welcome here, friend. Pardon my staring...please...I have never seen a mechanezzening like you before. Your suit is...quite unique, might I say--"
Suddenly, faster than he could follow with his eyes, Ix's hand flashed out and grabbed Mcdonagh by the throat. He could feel the mechanezzening's arm trembling, could see the white eyes huge and glaring...Ix leaned forward, pressing his face mask against Mcdonagh's nose. "ARE YOU GOING TO TELL THEM YOU SAW ME?!" Ix roared.
Mcdonagh's mouth worked as he struggled to take in enough air to answer Ix's question, his eyes bulging, his face starting to turn purple. "YOU'RE GOING TO TELL THEM" Ix roared again, shaking Mcdonagh violently.
Mcdonagh grabbed at Ix's hand, tearing at the mechanezzening's fingers, trying to free himself from the iron grasp. Suddenly, Ix let go. He sat down again on the barstool heavily and held his head in his hands. "Must not tell them...they'll know...they'll know...must not say a word...will have to kill now...kill again....they must never know." Ix whispered madly to himself, his voice quavering and sing-song.
"Ix!" the strange mechanical bird abruptly appeared next to Ix, its blue eyes glowing fierce and bright. Ix turned to it, reaching out a shaking hand.
"Mellllll.....he...said....he said..."
"Calm down Ix, he's just a bartender. He sees all kinds in a place like this. Just a bartender. Order a drink, Ix."
Ix seemed to snap out of it, straightening up in his seat and squaring his shoulders. He turned back to Mcdonagh. "Yes sir, my suit is quite unique. As is my AI companion here. We're quite special, indeed!"
Ix chuckled amiably, and Mel nodded in approval. "I am Ixionachunezzexior, Ix for short. This is my AI companion, Melamkurkurra, called Mel. I've only recently arrived in this lovely port, and I would appreciate if you poured me a glass of your local favorite!"
Mcdonagh was taken aback. This crazy mechanezzening was acting like he didn't just try and choke him to death! He briefly considered pressing the alarm button under the bar he used for emergencies, but he took a long look at Mel and his formidable companion, and thought better of it. He forced himself to smile. "Why, sure thing. I have some excellent Dshin, let me pour you some..."
A few hours later, one very tipsy Ix casually strolled out of the Star Slammer Bar, the heady effect of the Dshin making him feel giddy. Mel flew lazy circles around his head, crooning some song he heard playing in the bar. Analyzing the surrounding area, Mel sent Ix a route to follow that led him far away from the bar, towards the docking bays. "You know, we're gonna have to get the hell out of here in a hurry now, Ix. I told you to keep it cool."
Ix lashed his tail in annoyance as he proceeded along Mel's chosen path. "He had to have been one of them, Mel. I didn't like how he stared at me. He was one of them."
Mel landed on Ix's shoulder and pecked Ix's face mask--a habit of Mel's when he was annoyed with Ix. "It's possible, Ix. They are everywhere."
Ix nodded in agreement as he strolled off deeper into the port of Kel Arcol, his mind lost in the fog of intoxication.
Back at the Star Slammer Bar, a bottle of Dshin lay on its side, its contents spilled across the floor. The headless body of Mcdonagh the bartender lay on the bar, bloodied hands dangling off the sides. His head sat where the bottle of overturned Dshin used to be, behind the bar, his dead eyes seeming to stare in horror and shock at his headless body, his face frozen in a rictus of terror. Scrawled across the bar in Mcdonagh's blood were the words "I AM NOT THEIR PAWN. THEY WILL NEVER KNOW MY SECRET."
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Re: Remnants

Postby Clarion » Wed May 15, 2013 10:46 pm

I stepped out of my airlock into a hallway with an assortment of other travelers. This was the public dock. There was a separate ring for the military vessels in port here (of which I counted two or three, none belonging to my people). There were plenty of Dantar entering the security checkpoint with me, however. Putting aside the complicated mix of ownership by other companies and states that operate factories here, this station was built by Dantar and is run by Dantar. Which means, in most places at least, that my authority is likely to carry weight. As I approached, I unzipped a pocket on the front of my jacket and discreetly presented my badge to one of the security officers. He barely said a word, leading me to a nearby elevator. His retinal scan granted us access and we ascended several levels to a local command center that monitored activity on the docking rings. Here there was another checkpoint of sorts, a small entryway encased in transparent aluminum. I waited a few minutes with my escort until an important looking man entered the room, an older, dark-skinned Dantar with a white mustache coming down past his chin. "Greetings, will you identify yourself?" I presented my badge again and replied "Commander Domar Draykus, Eskalon Aegis."

The lines between government and business and military had been blurred long ago. In this time, or at least in this part of the universe, it was vital to be all three in order to survive. And if you wanted to be a viable loner, the same applied. You had to be someone official, someone employable, and someone lethal. Two out of three could get real dicey before you knew it. The organization I worked for, the Eskalon Aegis, is charged with providing protection and governance to a wide array of companies operating all over this part of space. We facilitate trade and good relations. We manage the system through which private individuals can invest in businesses and commodities. We provide health care, insurance, impartial inspections, modes of currency, communication networks... all sorts of things that make a body of government useful. And we do it for a whole hell of a lot of money. Then we loan that money out for interest, buy our own shares in the companies that we represent, and keep ourselves in a position of power. That's the short version anyway.

This station is a client like any other and they depend on our sanction in order to operate, so I wasn't worried about being given full jurisdiction here. Sure enough, the man reviewed my credentials and answered "Of course Commander, whatever you need. I'm Chief Laric, I run security operations here. If you pass across the control room you'll find another secure elevator. You can reach the habitat area from there using this." He handed me a reticular key card and I went on my way. Just as I was leaving I overheard one of the operators hurriedly dispatching some officers and a medical response team to a call somewhere across the station. The Chief held his earpiece intently and barked orders that I couldn't make out. I suppose Kel Arcol is not without some excitement, and danger.
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:51 pm

Re: Remnants

Postby Jteezyweezy » Fri May 24, 2013 1:26 pm

With a sudden jolt, I awoke. We had been traveling at light speed for so long that the sudden decent to cruising speed sent a tremor through the ship. I was aboard a small traveling class star ship with 4 other men. I could tell immediately that we were all headed to Kel Arcol for different reasons. The man across from me was wearing a loose fitting button-up T-shirt, cargo shorts and sandals. Many were like him, traveling to Kel Arcol for a relaxing getaway. It's easy to get lost in all of the amenities that the vast station has to offer. The famous Star Slammer Bar for example, which brings me to why I am on this trip. Far from a trip of pleasure like my fellow comrades aboard, I am here on much more official business.

Let me introduce myself, I am Detective Kraaus of the Interstellar Investigation Agency. (IIA as we are often called) Myself and other members of the IIA are often called to stations around the galaxy to aid in crime investigations. This murder investigation is one of the most brutal and graphic I have ever personally seen. A severed head on a bar and the body seemingly used like a huge crayon to scribble a cryptic message on the front of the bar. After going through my files on the case a second time I looked out the window and saw the massive planet, Arcolus in the distance. Shortly after, I heard the pilot of our small vessel announce that we were about 5 hours away from Kel Arcol. It was always slightly annoying to me that you couldn't jump any closer to a destination planet. I mean you travel lightyears through space in a matter of a few hours only to have to wait at the very end. We had learned in the academy years ago why this was the case, coming out of lightspeed causes a massive ripple effect, if we were to come in too close to a planet, we could actually disrupt it's orbit not to mention totally destroy the space station. So for now I wait and once again plunge through my files.

Since this is my first time visiting the Kel Arcol space station I have many files on their detainment facilities for criminals, there is a jail onsite that holds at this point approximately 257 prisoners. The onsite jail is for small offenses such as petty theft and unpaid warrants. These prisoners generally don't stay in jail for more than one month. They are not considered a real genuine risk to the safety of the Dantarian people. However I feel that I must discuss the containment facilities for the more hardened prisoners, the rapists, the murders, the drug dealers. Kel Arcol has a maximum security containment center like no other that I have ever heard of. First of all they don't keep these prisoners on the station itself. These prisoners, 57 in all are placed in containment pods and launched into an artificial orbit 100 miles away from the station. The police force doesn't want there to be any chance of escape. Each of these isolation pods as they are called are outfitted with everything that a prisoner would need to survive. Each pod is about 10 feet by 8 feet. They are equipped with a shower, a bed, and a small porting station that is just big enough to port in food and drink 2 times a day. These prisoners also have a small holographic device which they can communicate back to the station for any requests that they may have. Once a year they are allowed to talk to a family member or friend via the hologram device. One side of the pod is a massive whiteboard where the prisoners are allowed to write down their thoughts and/or keep a diary. Pencils and pens were removed long ago after many instances of suicide.

Suddenly my concentration on the file was broken by my fellow passengers, As I peered out the window I suddenly realized what the commotion was all about. For the first time since we had entered the system, Kel Arcol was visible to us. It truly was a magnificent site. The station had a central hub that was cylindrical and much longer that it was wide. Attached to this were three gigantic rings that resembled massive bicycle tires with spokes. Two smaller rings were located at the top and bottom of the station with a massive ring in the center. Unlike the massive planet, Arcolus that was not visibly rotating, there was a definite rotation visible from Kel Arcol, I must admit staring at the station doing its rotations must have put me in a trance-like state for a moment because the next thing I could remember was the pilot saying that we were requesting clearance to by-pass the isolation pod ring. I was very interested in looking at these pods because it was my goal to soon send a murderous fiend out into one of these things. As we passed through the ring I spotted a pod about 600 yards away on our left side. It was sort of an egg-shaped vessel with one very small window that I could see. The light that was spilling out the window was every so often interrupted and I could only assume that the prisoner inside was pacing. It must be a horrid existence living in an isolation pod but I can't say that I feel sorry for the poor beasts. After we flew clear of the pod ring I gazed back on my files again. Before I knew it the pilot of our small vessel was asking us to prepare for soft dock with the station. We were going to be docking with the massive center ring, which was where most of the residents of Kel Arcol lived. Soon enough I felt a gentle shake and the release of gasses that meant that we had successfully docked with the station. The pilot came on soon enough and confirmed this.

As we exited the small ship I was greeted by a very official looking man. "Hello Detective, I'm Chief Laric I run security operations on Kel Arcol. We are sorry that you had to visit us under such unfortunate circumstances." "It's alright Chief, quite a lovely station you have here, I have really never seen anything like it." Chief Laric took my bag that I had brought along and escorted me to a very curious large platform. "We have to wait here for the Darter." he said. What exactly is a Darter?" Before he had a chance to answer me the ground in front of the platform suddenly lit up in a magnificent glowing blue color. As I looked down a ways from the platform I saw an amazing sight. A train-like vehicle was traveling towards us at a very rapid pace. It was hovering about 2 feet off of the ground and was running completely silently. "This is the Darter" Laric said with a smile. It is our transportation here on the station. As the Darter pulled into the station the blue lights on the ground dimmed and the train slowly came to rest on the ground. With a gentle nudge, Laric said "Get on and we will head to the Star Slammer Bar." Without a word I stepped on the train, with in a few moments the blue lights on the ground appeared again and we rose off and were on our way.
Last edited by Jteezyweezy on Fri May 31, 2013 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remnants

Postby Clarion » Fri May 24, 2013 3:13 pm

I had spent the rest of my evening acquainting myself with the station and its security systems. I did take the time to tour in person at least one small section of the habitat zone. The station's massive central column was like a layered cake of great cityscapes, each with an outer 'crust' so to speak covered in homes and offices and attractions lined with terraces and balconies and walkways. The train they call the Darter spirals around the interior, entering an airlock of sorts as it passes down into the floor of one skyline to pierce the heavens of another. Even without Kel Arcol's famous nightlife (which lasts all day in the lowest level nicknamed the Cavern), simply taking in the architectural beauty of the station could keep one entertained for weeks. When I returned to my quarters, I pulled the computer pad from my bag and interfaced with the station's hardline network. After convincing the operator of the security server to look for my name on the law enforcer log and grant me access, I programmed a subroutine to send any information pertaining to my target or his ship to my handheld unit. I also perused the recent bulletins of criminal activity in case one of his crew members had slipped up and left me a clue as to their business on the station, but found nothing conclusive. I was however surprised to learn that the commotion as I was leaving the command center matched the timestamp of a homicide call, the first one the station had experienced in several months. Having no other leads, I guessed that the timing might not be a coincidence and planned to investigate discreetly in the morning. The files indicated that the crime scene, along with a considerable portion of the Star Slammer facility as a whole, had been locked down for the night. They had requested a specialist from the IIA, a body of investigators and lawyers contracted on countless planets to prosecute capital crimes.

Before I retired for the night, I recorded a message to my client. "Begin transmission from Aegis Commander Draykus to Ovaley Lowarin, Chief Administrator of Lowarin Extraction on Velarushia. Sir, it is my honor to serve you. I have arrived on Kel Arcol and begun preparations to observe the movements of your suspect, trader Gular Alik Serood. Serood's ship is present and he has been logged repeatedly moving between ship and station. I do not yet have information about his activities here, and I cannot confirm the presence of your stolen property. It is however my conclusion after tracking Serood to this location that he has not yet had an opportunity to transfer the stolen materials and that they must still be in his possession. Given the value of the materials and their volatile nature, I am expecting Serood to find a buyer here on Kel Arcol. I intend to apprehend him when an attempt at sale is made and recover the property as ordered. I will update you at the next designated time. Draykus out."

I would need the help of Chief Laric's security force to carry out my plan when the time came, but I considered it imperative not to inform them of my mission until then. As trustworthy as they might very well be, I could not risk that Serood would be tipped off, or worse, that word might get to local thieves who would try to plunder him and cause him to depart. He might not find another place to sell his goods within dozens of light years, and I was lucky to track him even this relatively short distance. Having Laric's people try to impound Serood's ship was not an option either, as it would simply be a disaster probably ending in his blasting a gaping hole in the side of the station. I would need to proceed delicately in order to pull this off.
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:51 pm

Re: Remnants

Postby Tamzarian » Fri May 24, 2013 5:51 pm

Leshander paced back and forth in his isolation chamber, occasionally stopping to gaze out of the window. Normally, time spent alone would not have bothered him as he cared more for his formulas than for contact with others. This, however, was different. For three months he has been trapped here, helpless, and in the meanwhile so much was in the balance and all out of his control. "Idiots", Leshander thought. His captors were trapped in a senseless limbo between enlightenment and savagery. Fearful of their own mortality, they did not know how to respond decisively to Leshander's actions so they imprisoned him instead. He had killed two people, a security officer and a bystander. They had seen too much. Leshander was not happy about this, neither victim deserved their fate, but he had no other choice. Neither was he happy that the stereotypical "end vs. means" debate now cycled perpetually through his mind at any time he was not preoccupied with mathematical matters. Still, Leshander resolved not to be hindered by such plebeian things as guilt.

The walls of the chamber, excluding the window, were a white board. By now Leshander had used most of a year's supply of markers. One half of the chamber had been devoted to event probabilities and decision trees. Ovals with names connected by labelled arrows and surrounded by matrices of labels and numbers. The values and relationships between the subjects of Leshander's computations were not time invariant, of course. Having nothing better to do he kept a detailed running journal of the expected state of things.
"Status as of day 85:
Probability Serood is alive, and the artifact remains in his possession: 33.9%
Probability of artifact capture by agency: 33.6%
Probability artifact is retrieved by friendly party: 32.5%
Probability of Agency involvement: 99.76%
Eskalon Aegis: 89.33%
Hyperion Security and Control: 56.02%
Interstellar Investigation Agency: 43.95%
Universal Directive: 15.6%
Probability of rescue: 4.2%"

The other half of whiteboard walls were devoted to more esoteric things: formulas and symbols lined the walls which would baffle the most educated. Leshander had not cracked the artifact's secrets, but he was close. Closer than anyone in the universe. Could anyone else figure it out, and if they did, would they misuse it horribly? What would be the implications? Leshander didn't know, and that's why he made sure it all remained a secret. Serood was a fool, a simple mind but one that could be trusted to preserve itself and to act in an opportunistic manner. He would remain quiet as long as he perceived it as profitable, but as time wore on pressure would mount. By now an agent would likely be investigating the case, probably (and unfortunately) from Eskalon. If the artifact wasn't captured already it would be soon, and Leshander had no means of knowing if anyone had yet arrived to stop this (not that communication could be expected, any means of getting information into his chamber would draw too much attention).
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Re: Remnants

Postby MissM00gle » Sat May 25, 2013 3:49 pm

Mel's sense of urgency was growing. Scanning the security comms of the space station, he had known immediately when they had discovered the body at the Star Slammer. The chatter on the comms became frantic. This was not the first time Ix had randomly murdered someone, he did it often, and Mel was used to helping Ix get out of the harrowing situations he put himself in. Performing some quick probability calculations, Mel reached an unfortunate conclusion. It seemed that this particular situation had more to it than what lay on the surface. He required more data before he could formulate a hypothesis on how to get out of Kel Arcol in one piece.
Mel found a wireless signal he could access, and from there found his way to the archives of the space station. It took only a moment for him to begin compiling data on the Star Slammer bar, it's owner, employees, tax records, food distribution invoices...any and all data he could access. He met a number of security firewalls and software, but this posed no problem to a highly advanced Mechan-built mobile artificial intelligence.
The planet Mecha resided in the Jotnar Solar System of the Jotunheimr Galaxy, the only habitable planet that orbited the K3V class star. The inhabitants of Mecha, the Mechan, are one of the most technologically advanced races in the known universe. The Mechan, unconcerned with religion or politics and not particularly bothered by morals, have staked a very large and formidable claim on nearly all branches of science and technology. The planet is a vast conglomerate of corporations, constantly vying for power. All of these corporations sub-contract their services to millions of off-world governments, corporations, empires, security forces, even whole planets!
Mecha's 5 moons were each owned by a different corporation and had been turned into giant laboratories and factories. Orbiting the planet itself were giant space stations that consisted of offices and warehouses, the main hub of a number of corporations. These stations also offered docking for the thousands of ships used to gather all the raw material the Mechan used in production. These included amongst them giant mining Ships, "Planet Crackers", that could rip apart entire planets to gather the commodities within. Huge "Slag Beasts," giant smelters and smithies, constantly belching fumes into the endless void of space. Massive "Jacko's," sprawling ships that processed and assembled everything from polymers and wooden furniture to biochemicals and radioactive material. There were numerous other vessels, each with special purposes, creating a vast network that stretched far beyond the planet Mecha itself. The corporation that had created Mel and Ix happened to own 65% of this massive Mechan planetary conglomerate.
The Mechan monopoly on science and technology was very fortunate for Mel (and Ix). Nine times out of ten, the technology in use in a space station like Kel Arcol was Mechan, or based on Mechan design. Mel and Ix's corporation had spent billions of credits on Mel to make sure he was a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line mobile AI for Ix, who himself was enhanced with breakthrough and experimental new Infiltrator Class modifications. This made Mel capable of accessing any and all technology of Mechan design, and also made him capable of hacking into non-Mechan technology. Taking down a few firewalls and bypassing some security lockouts was child's play to Mel's advanced artificial brain.
Mel finished compiling data on the Star Slammer bar and moved his attentions to the security force files of Kel Arcol. He noted that it was a Dantar run station, which meant with 100% probability that he would be encountering Mechan technology, and a 41% probability that he could use corporate influences to aid in his and Ix's escape from Kel Arcol. He decided to analyze the criminal case files the Dantar had of Kel Arcol, knowing the corporation had many criminal ties which could further aid him and Ix. Anything to aid him in formulating a plan with a high probability of success. Suddenly, an alarm signal sent a jolt through him. An IIA agent was being sent to investigate Ix's recent indulgence. The situation had gotten even more complicated. Accessing the interface in one of Ix's cerebral implants, Mel created a direct line of communication between them. "Ix, we have a serious problem."
Ix, down below in an alley, was bent over and staring intently at a stain on the side of a waste barrel. He straightened and looked up to where Mel was perched on the crenelation of an old building. "Mel, can't you see I'm trying to read the message. There's a message...a message I must read." He pointed at the stain.
"IX! Pay attention to me. -They- know about the bartender. Apparently, red headed humans are the rarest human in the known universe....and we killed one. He was famous. So they know, and they're going to ask questions, and they're going to come looking for you." Mel was annoyed with himself. He had become so focused on the security force files and the archives, that he had placed Mel's real-time vital statistics in the background. He could see now that Ix's brain chemistry was completely erratic, as was his breathing and heart rate, and the electric impulses in his brain were going haywire. Mel immediately accessed Ix's cerebral interface again and began a treatment to normalize his brain function and stabilize his body chemistry and breathing. Mel often had to alter Ix's body chemistry. No matter what Mel did to treat Ix's..."condition"...the "condition" always seemed to fight back. It was troubling, and posed questions about the long-term physical health of Ix's brain...but that was not important right now. He gauged Ix's body reactions to his treatment, then calculated it would take about half an hour for Ix's cognitive function to return to a normal state. He decided to let Ix continue to stare at the stain while he normalized, though he did activate Ix's shadowskin, for the sake of safety. The shadowskin took the light that hit it and reflected it back at an opposite, negative wavelength, making Ix a shadow nearly impossible to see. Only swift movements cancel the effect, and Ix was fixated on the stain. He would not move for a while.
While Mel waited for Ix to normalize, a flag popped up on one of the files he was analyzing. A man with connections to the corporation...a possible way to get out of Kel Arcol quickly and safely. The man was a smuggler, and a scoundrel, but the corporation owned a piece of him...and that was enough. The man's name was Gular Alik Serood. Mel ran facial recognition software on Serood's and methodically began searching Kel Arcol for him. Serood offered the highest probability of successfully escaping, and it was only a matter of time before Mel found him. He and Ix would be free and safe, soon.
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Joined: Thu May 02, 2013 2:41 pm

Re: Remnants

Postby brieboo » Sun May 26, 2013 9:58 am

My name is Zoreia. I am of the Harisshzai, a race of cold-blooded, scaly-skinned beings that stand approximately two Imperial feet tall; a humble pilgrim in the New Galactic Light church, although some prefer to call us a "cult" or even "terrorists"; and I can say with pride that I personally am wanted by at least 17 planetary governments, and two of the three main interplanetary commercial partnerships--the glorified mobsters, cartels, and protection rackets that strongarm their way into power and money by whatever means they can--of this sector of the galaxy. The Eskalon Aegis alone has a price of over half a million credits on my head.

I was born on Da-Harassh, my race's home planet, and genetically altered to be a telepath by my well-meaning but critically stupid parents. I killed them with their own minds when I was a mere child of four cycles, and the Light took me in. Since then, I have been put to use by the Holy Nine (great is their wisdom) as a spy and assassin, to atone for my parents' sin in creating me the way I am.

This time, I was headed to Kel Arcol station, and had stowed away in a small cargo ship to do so. My small size, cold-blooded nature, and, as a last resort, telepathic manipulation (although I have to be careful, as some beings, notably the hateful, unholy mechanezzenings, are immune to my effects, and overuse gives me a wicked headache and temporary sensory distortion), allowed me to avoid detection in nearly any space. A shudder that ran through the ship told me that we had just exited hyperspace, and it would be only a matter of minutes before we arrived.

I adjusted the settings on my thermsuit, a high-tech second skin which I must wear in any area that is not as warm and dry as my lovely Da-Harassh, said a quick prayer, and set out on my mission to find the Artifact, a mysterious item of great power said to drive mad anyone who touches it. Tagul Yupanith says that the Holy Nine (great is their wisdom) have declared that my gifts will allow me to avoid that fate, and High Tagul Niriza herself hand-selected me from among all the telepaths in our ranks for the job. Complicating the matter was a mechanezzening called Ix who was, they said, driven mad by the Artifact and is hunting down any member of the Light who tries to locate it. I was armed with a small EMP device that would disable, or, hopefully, kill him, but also likely disable my thermsuit, leaving me at the mercy of the station's climate settings, and potentially leading to my capture, so my orders were to avoid engaging if at all possible. One of our missionaries, I was told, had already been imprisoned in his pursuit of the Artifact, and may have been driven mad himself.

Bypassing security was no more difficult than it ever was, and I easily slid out of the docking area and into the chill, wet air of the Central Ring of Kel Arcol.
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Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 3:37 pm

Re: Remnants

Postby Jteezyweezy » Sun May 26, 2013 1:19 pm

"Well Kraaus, we have about a 20 minute ride to the Star Slammer Bar, if you have any questions or concerns now would be the time to address them." "To tell you the truth Chief, I am hugely curious about a few things that I have seen here on the station. For one thing, what is the purpose of the blue light that leads the Darter?" "Very good question Kraaus, one I get quite often from new visitors. The Darter, as you can see has no track that is visible to the naked eye, the light is a saftey feature of the train so that the residents and visitors of the station know when it is comming. If you will notice, the light follows the exact path of the train and is only glowing when the train is in motion. The light constantly leads the train by 200 yards, it's quite simple really, when you see the light, you had better not be standing in it for long!" "Very interesting, very interesting indeed." The two men continued talking about various details of the train as they went along their route. Every so often Kraaus would break away from the converstation to get a look at the spectacular beauty that the station had to offer.

"We are about half-way there now, we are heading to an area of Kel Arcol known as The Cavern. If you are into late-night partying, this is definately the place that you want to end up. The Cavern features 24-7 nightlife and features some of the nicest bars and casinos that the space station has to offer. If you come down here on your own tome though I must warn you, if you must go to the lower levels of The Cavern I wouldn't take much in the way of valuables, I'll just leave it at that." Naturally, the more that Laric talked about places that I shouldn't go on the station, the more curious I became. Why didn't Laric just sent his security force on the station down here to take care of the problem? Oh well, I figure i'll ask him at a more approperiate time, right now we had much more pressing issues to deal with. As I was in mid thought I glanced out the window of the train and noticed that the blue light that shown on the ground was leading us straight to a large tunnel. "The tunnel ahead leads into the area known as The Cavern, I'm sure that you've noticed that the habitation center of the station is equiped with artifical sunlight. You will eventually notice that we do our best to simulate all phases of life for our residents. There is artifical day, night, even artifical rain, everything that you could possibly think of, this station has been equiped with. The area that we are about to enter is a little different, you'll see what I mean momentarily."

With a sudden gust of air we silently entered the tunnel. "Notice anything different?" Laric said inquisitively. As I looked ahead, I was very suprised to see very little light at the end of the long tunnel. "Why is there hardly any light on the other side of the tunnel?" "Well Kraaus, as I said earlier, The Cavern features 24-7 nightlife and we mean that literally." "But why would you want to make an area of habitat zone constantly night?" "You'll see in a few moments Kraaus, be patient." After a moment the train neared the end of the tunnel, as we glided through the tunnel opening, I was greeted by an amazing sight. As Laric had said, it was night in this area of the station, but each building and street corner was ablaze with flashing neon lights of every color imaginable. It was almost as if they were dancing and it seemed that each building we passed was more colorful than the next. "As you can see, we like to keep this area darkened so that we can give the visitor, and resident an authentic nightlife experience, no matter what time of day it is."

I was so entranced that Laric had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention back on the matter at hand. "Snap out of it Kraaus! We need to discuss some details of the case at the Star Slammer before we arrive, we only have about 5 minutes left until we reach the station." "Sorry Laric, what details do you have for me that I may have not found in my case files." To tell you the truth, I was slightly annoyed that I was expected to be official at this moment, all I wanted to do was take in the amazing lightshow that was happening all around me, but I didn't get into this line of work to go sight seeing so I reluctantly gave my attention to Laric and let him proceed. "The Star Slammer Bar was once the hottest spot to visit in The Cavern, however in the last few months criminal activity in the lower areas of The Cavern have picked up significantly. People are starting to become weary about traveling too far into the Cavern and the Star Slammer has lost a lot of business." Once again the question crossed my mind and I couldn't supress it any longer so I had to ask Laric. "Why haven't you just sent your forces down here to take care of the problem?" "Well, to tell you the truth Kraaus, the file that you got on the station may have been just a tad... misleading"

"What exactly does that mean Laric?" I was beginning to wonder just how much of the information about the station I had received was accurate. "GO ON" I was really getting angry now, why would Laric have kept this from me, did he think that I would not have come otherwise? "Well you know how the files said that we currently have 257 prisoners in the onsite facility?" "Yes, I remember that from the files... why don't you just tell me what's really going on and quit playing this little game!?" "Well the truth is we are currently at our maximum capacity of 500 prisoners so we have to... uh... how do I say this... pardon some criminal activity." "WHAT!? You can't be serious!" "I'm afraid so... If you will remember when you flew into the station you saw the central column with three rings?" "Yes I remember that well." "The lower ring, which is connected to the lower section of the Cavern is where the onsite jail is located. We are currently working on expanding the size of the ring, but the project won't be completed for several more months, during that time we have to keep the prisoners in jail for shortened sentences and then release them to make room for others. That is why the criminal activity is so rampant in the lower section of The Cavern, it is basically a revolving door for petty thieves and other miscreants."

Just when I didn't think I could handle hearing anymore I looked outside and saw our destination station ahead. As we stopped at the station the blue light from the Darter faded and we stepped off of the train. "I don't suppose you have any other little suprises for me do you Laric?" "No, I'm sorry I didn't tell you but we try to present a positive image of the station at all times, if word got out that there was trouble we may loose our tourist industry which would be catastrophic for the well being of the station as a whole." As Laric continued giving me tired excuses as to why he had lied to me in my reports we began walking down a street that was quite darker than the rest. The lights here were not as vibrant and many of them had burnt out. At the end of this street sat the Star Slammer Bar, once a majestic jewel in the heart of The Cavern, now just a fossil of what it once was. Many of it's once colorful lights were now burnt out or flickering and hissing loudly, even the sign which once hung out proudly from the building was now missing several of it's letters. S__r Sla____r B__ was all that was visible from the street. "It really only took a few months time for the area to become rundown like this?" "Yep, and the further you go into The Cavern, the more rundown it looks, like I told you watch your pockets down here and never go anywhere alone. The top section of The Cavern is quite safe still and that is where most of the tourists hang out, Unless you are investigating the crime scene, I suggest that you stick with the upper section of The Cavern for your entertainment." "Dualy noted."

As we approached the bar with it's still relatively fresh crime scene (the murder had occured about 12 hours earlier) all of the pictures from the files came crashing back into my mind. The head sitting behind the bar, the body lazily draped across the bar, and the cryptic message. As we swung open the front door of the bar we were passed hurriedly by an official looking gentleman, He was wearing some sort of service uniform that I had not come into contact with before, he passed us so quickly that all I could catch was his name tag "Commander Draykus, Eskalon Aegis" I will have to remember to find this Commander Draykus later on and ask him of his envolvement with the station, but for now back to business. Looking across the room, the first thing that was visible was a counter with a register and other various small items, there were a couple of other agents that were walking around talking and taping off different areas with crime scene tape. One of the gentleman at the scene came up to Laric and me and introduced himself. "I am officer Donaley, I am a member of the security force here on the station." I soon realized that this introduction was more for me that it was for Laric, as this was one of his men. "Any other clues of importance found so far Donaley?" Laric asked. Without letting Donaley answer, he continued on. "From now on you will answer to Detective Kraaus, he is from the IIA and will be leading the investigation of this case." "Yes sir!" Donaley said with a hearty salute. "I am very happy that you are here, we have found some very curious clues, maybe you could help us put the pieces together." "I'll do what I can Donaley, lead the way." With Donaley in the lead we turned a corner from the entrance of the bar and there in front of us was the scene that I had become so familiar with in the photos from the file.

The first thing that I did was go straight to the bar area. "Was anyone else here that would have seen what happened?" "The only other person here was the waitress, at the time of the murder she was in the front room of the bar that we just left. She told us that she remembered seeing a giant Mechan walk in who looked very disturbed, apparently he had an augment with him, some sort of robotic bird." Donaley looked very proud to be sharing this information, kind of like a child that brings home an "A" on a test to show their parents, I found it quite amusing. "Well done Donaley, why would a Mechan want to all of a sudden murder an unassuming bartender? There must be more to this case than meets the eye, and according to the message on the bar I would say undoubtedly that this is more than just a random killing. Donaley, why don't you leave me here for a moment to look around." "Sure thing boss!" Donaley said with a stupid smile. "I'll go back up front and look over some of the evidence that we have found so far!" As Donaley left I put my concentration back on the bar. I AM NOT THEIR PAWN, THEY WILL NEVER KNOW MY SECRET. What could it mean, and why kill a seemingly random bartender? There had to be more, there had to be a connection. Were the bartender and the Mechan somehow connected? Who else was involved? What was this secret and why was it worth killing for? Suddenly Donaley ran up to me in a panic. "It's gone! It's gone!" "Easy Donaley, what's gone?" "The evidence bags! They were laying on the counter close to the entrance earlier and I don't think anyone has left the scene!" "Oh someone has definitely left my friend, I think we might need to track down a certain Commander Draykus."
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Re: Remnants

Postby Clarion » Tue May 28, 2013 7:46 pm

I arrived early at the crime scene, eager to learn if this incident could be related to Serood. Due to the activity in the surrounding parts of the Star Slammer, all access to the vicinity was still under careful scrutiny by the security personnel. I shuffled through the crowd and as I approached the perimeter, I was surprised to see someone I had already met. The screening officer who I first encountered upon arriving at the station was seemingly in charge of the guard detail, so I decided to approach him. "Hey there, remember me?" The officer stopped and looked hard at me for a moment before making the connection. "Yes sir, can I help you with anything?" "Well, I was hoping to be incognito but I realize with all your people here that probably won't work." I hesitated, looking around for a moment and thinking. Even if Serood's men were involved with this and they were watching, they wouldn't get close enough to tell me apart from anyone else, and at worst would probably mistake me for the IIA detective. "What's your name friend?" I asked. "I'm Lieutenant Luganis sir." "Lieutenant, if you have the authority I would appreciate you letting me in on this investigation. I'll follow whatever regular protocols you have in place." Luganis was eager to comply and prepared me a clearance badge at a nearby kiosk that he described as the 'Forward Command Unit'. It looked like a mailbox that had gotten a bit too ripe and grown several antennae from one corner. As I affixed the ID badge to my vest pocket I wished that 'Eskalon Aegis' had been printed a bit smaller (or better yet, not at all). I had a few second thoughts but put my paranoia aside and begrudgingly carried on. There were certainly more murderous thieves than just Serood, and worse, who would like to have a piece of an Eskalon agent just for being an Eskalon agent.

As soon as I passed through the front room and into the bar area, I was taken aback by the sight. I couldn't blame Laric's department for taking this so seriously. The victim's head had clearly been torn from his body with a tremendous force. There was no evidence of laceration or cleaving like you would expect with a decapitation. This was done without the assistance of any weapon. I put Serood out of my mind, no longer suspecting him, or even suspecting an ordinary humanoid. Instead, my enforcer training took over and I became intent on finding the perpetrator before there could be any further incidents. A technician was painstakingly collecting material evidence from the scene with a variety of tools. We exchanged nods when he looked up at me and then promptly returned to his work. I looked around for a while at the surrounding rooms, but everything of relevance seemed to have taken place directly at the bar. There was no sign of a struggle -- a bottle was laid on the floor, intact, with some of its contents spilled out. There was a clean glass as well as an empty glass with some of the substance coating it. Most likely one patron, which is consistent with the lack of witnesses or additional victims.

When I stepped back into the front room, another officer was questioning a waitress that must have just arrived. I learned that she had been cleaning the dining room the previous evening and left before anything out of the ordinary happened, save for the arrival of a Mechan and his robotic companion. I began to think that the evidence would be useless, given that we already had reliable information about the suspects. Nonetheless I waited patiently, observing the technician and assisting him by retrieving the empty sample bags and returning them one by one to the staging area in the front room, next to his tool case. Eventually he spoke up. "I'm about done here, but I still have to give the room another once-over for fingerprints." He gave a slight shrug. "Just in case. Would you take the evidence to my Lieutenant out at the perimeter?" I agreed and rushed the bags out the front door just as Chief Laric entered. It was only when I returned that I realized he was accompanied by the IIA agent, who I found speaking with a panicked junior officer about the evidence items. "There's no problem, I've turned the evidence over to Lieutenant Luganis. It's going to have to be scrutinized and tested before we can learn anything useful from it. Chief, forgive me for overstepping my bounds in this matter." "Not at all Commander, we're grateful for the assistance. After all that's why we invited Mr. Kraaus here," Chief Laric promptly replied, motioning to Kraaus. "Ah yes, Detective. It's good to meet you." Kraaus and I both raised fists and bumped them in a customary inter-agency greeting. "Maybe together we can make some sense of this. Have you had a chance to go over what Laric's men have learned here?" Kraaus answered in the affirmative, observing as I had that the Mechan was a very likely culprit and that there were probably very few aboard who had been logged by security. "None in fact," Laric interjected, "but that isn't so unusual given their ability to bypass detection. Our sensors are not advanced and many of the systems on the station are made of similar materials and components as Mechan suits, so I can already tell you that they will be unable to isolate this individual." I noticed an expression of disapproval on Kraaus's face as he listened to the Chief. This was the first clue of what I would realize later -- that Kraaus was no ordinary IIA detective. His standards were set much higher, as if he was accustomed to the kind of facilities that had very advanced sensors and security systems indeed.

"Detective, I have an idea. This Mechan will know what detection measures to expect, and will adjust his tactics to avoid those to which he is not already immune. I suggest we go low-tech and turn the entire station's infrastructure into a field disruption detector. Chief Laric, could you create a high-energy neutrino field across the Mechan components lining the station's infrastructure?" The Chief thought for a moment and answered, "We'd have to divert and reconfigure at least two of the fusion reactors. I'm not by any means sure, but I believe that it could be done." "Very good," I continued, "once the field is established we can map it, and any other Mechan technology passing through it, such as from one habitat to another or from the core to one of the outer rings, will be a detectable disruption. We can't waste any time on this Chief. If you concur you should get your people on it right away." Laric nodded and stepped aside to consult with his engineers over the radio. I turned to Kraaus. "Well Detective, what do you make of all this?"

Meanwhile, an unusual vessel entered the system and proceeded rapidly toward Kel Arcol. It would arrive in the vicinity of the station within three hours. The ship was a small cruiser manned by the Silvar, an advanced race not often seen in this part of space. Their intentions were as yet unknown.
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