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Atlas

20 days ago
Commended by BerkaZerka on 5/5/2018 9:15:21 PM
Atlas




Prologue


“We have a problem.”

Officer Jack Stone yawned as he stumbled out of his cryo-chamber, squinting as his eyes adjusted to the light. “Don’t tell me they forgot to pack the coffee. If they did, just shoot me now.”

“This is serious.”

“It can probably wait until after coffee,” said Jack, massaging life back into his muscles. He focused on the man in front of him. “Oh fuck, not you again! I had enough of your gloom and doom the last time you woke me up. And I didn’t get any fucking coffee then either.”

“Just follow me. You need to see this for yourself.”

Jack shrugged and followed the project coordinator to the Space Whale’s command center on the upper deck. As the sliding doors opened, Jack caught his first glimpse of the future home of mankind, Atlas. The mountain planet loomed ahead in the imminent distance of space.

“As I said,” said the project coordinator, “we have a problem.”

“I recommend you keep everyone who’s not important in cryo-sleep for as long as possible.” Jack spoke in a tone of utter seriousness. And then he smirked. “But that would have been my recommendation even before I saw the planet. Looks pretty. Now, about that coffee.”



Jack sipped a steaming cup of coffee as he sat at the head of the conference table. No less than 423 years had passed since he last had a cup of coffee, and he savored every sip. He prayed Atlas would be able to support the growth and farming of coffee trees. Time would tell.

The sliding doors slid open, and the project coordinator ushered in a small throng of people. They took their seats and looked about in varying states of confusion.

“I am Daniel Olivert,” said the project coordinator, after clearing his throat several times. “Bald Eagle Enterprises and Space Powered Aeronautics have appointed me to oversee the initial logistical activities of our community while in transit to our new home and throughout the construction of our founding settlement. The Space Whale will soon commence landing procedures, and all of you have been selected to be part of the preliminary exploration team. The other colonists will remain in cryo-sleep until we establish certain benchmark goals on the ground. You should all feel incredibly honored and proud.”

“That is both fantastic and utter bullshit!” A young man with wild eyes in the vein of Gary Busey pounded both his fists on the table. “Fantastic in the sense that we get the opportunity to claim all the best shit. Bullshit in the sense that we have to shoulder the brunt of the danger. I demand we all get choice property lots, preferential treatment in establishing government, three concubines of choice from the rest of the colonists, and full access to the liquor stores.”

Daniel cocked his head and stared in a state of stupor.

Jack drained the rest of his coffee and stood up. “No concubines from the colonists, but otherwise agreed. We’ll talk later about alien concubines if the situation arises. Now, please, sit down Mr. Kelly. We have a lot of ground to cover before landing procedures commence.”

The young man nodded and returned to his seat. “Good bargain.”

“Since we’re doing the whole bullshit introduction thing again - I mean, I guess it’s been several hundred years since you were last out of cryo-sleep - I’m Officer Jack Stone. I’m in charge of maintaining civil order among the colonists until the founding settlement has been fully established.”

The young man raised his hand.

“Yes, Mr. Kelly?”

“Do you have a set of guidelines for us to follow since we don’t have codified laws yet?” The young man put on a charming smile. “I would like to exploit any and all loopholes in the system.”

“Yeah,” said Jack, “don’t be a fucking unrepentant asshole. Now, moving on. I’ve personally selected the group of you to be part of the preliminary exploration team. That doesn’t mean you’re all special snowflakes. It just means that you have a diverse set of skills that correlate well together for information gathering purposes. And we’re going to need some solid reconnaissance and planning to get this settlement up and running. The information we got from our scanners on Atlas when we set course were accurate, but they didn’t quite capture the full picture.”

“You can hardly expect flawless intelligence from a distance spanning multiple light years,” said a middle-aged man with a German accent. “Life adapts to its environment. And so shall we.”

“Thank you, Dr. Metzger. My sentiments exactly.” Jack shot a mocking wink in Daniel’s direction. “Now, since you’re going to be the main core of folks on the ground until we gather some local intelligence, you may as well do the introductions now. Yes, I know, it sounds like faggotry, but you should probably at least pretend to know who you’re working with, even if you’re going to forget everyone’s name before we break the atmosphere. Just go around in fucking circle and get this over with. I assume you know the drill.”

A rough looking man with a weathered face and three jagged scars running along his right cheek stood up. “Jerome Johnson. I’m a former mercenary. Fought in several wars between warlords in the heart of Africa. So I’m pretty good with weapons. Strong. Not afraid to work.”

“Steve Kelly,” said the young man with the Gary Busey eyes. “I’m an expert sailor and fisherman. Also a lady’s man.”

“Hi, I’m Frederick,” said a plain and boring looking man. “I like pickles and wine. And uh, I’m a gynecologist.”

A tall young woman with raven hair and emerald eyes went next. “Tina Boehm. My mother died when I was only three. And I grew up on the farm with my dad. So I have plenty of experience raising crops.” She turned to glare at Steve Kelly. “And even more experience butchering pigs.”

Steve nodded. “I like you already.”

“Akari Alvarez,” said the next girl. “I’m also a butcher. My mother was Japanese and my father was Mexican, so I guess that’s something different.”

“That’s a fucking weird combo.” Steve scratched his head. “What do you think of the Irish?”

Akari took her seat without answering the question.

“Mark James,” said a strong, but tired looking man. “If you have a broken tool or machine, bring it to me. I can probably fix it.

A man with a thick black beard, in desperate need of some grooming, stood up. “I’m Dr. Calvin Hunt. I have over two decades of experience as a surgeon.”

“Landon Walker,” said a sprightly young man with a daunting widow’s peak. “I’m a rancher and avid outdoorsman.”

“Lily Sugar,” said a young woman with a pornstar’s body. “I’m an experienced survivalist and mountaineer. I’ve led hikes up the Matterhorn in the Alps and have completed five of the seven summits. Before that, I fought in the Swiss army as a sniper and have 18 confirmed kills in the Third War of the Alps.”

A short greasy looking man jumped from his seat with far too much enthusiasm. “Hi! I’m Dom. I have experience as a mechanic and an electrician! This is going to be great. I can’t wait until we land and set foot on Atlas. Do you guys think I could step off the Space Whale first? That would be so cool!”

Steve shook his head. “Who invited this faggot? Oh wait, I take that back. You can step off the Space Whale before me, but you go down the list for who gets first dibs on prime real estate.”

“Thanks, Steve!” Dom looked so happy, he appeared on the brink of tears as he sat back down.

“Arturo Metzger,” said the German. “Geneticist, biologist, and doctor.”

Everyone stared at the final woman at the table, who appeared to be scribbling something on a piece of paper. The woman had dark black skin and a tall, slender build with bountiful breasts.

After several moments of silence, Steve finally spoke up. “The bitch ain’t talking.”

The woman handed the piece of paper to Dr. Metzger. He looked at the paper and laughed. “She’s mute,” he said. “It says her name is Alexandria Hayes. She’s an architectural engineer and a mountain climber. She has several first responder and emergency treatment certificates. And she’s an excellent cook and has a personal affinity for carpets.”

Jack rapped his knuckles on the table to get everyone’s attention. “Well, that was painful, and I’m glad it’s over with. Now then, when we get down on the ground, I’m going to put you all into teams. Steve is going to head the waterways navigation team with Jerome and Mark. Our landing course has us aiming for a large freshwater lake approximately 8,000 feet in elevation. You’re initial task will be to secure a vessel and to map any navigable waters entering or exiting the lake. Landon will head the land reconnaissance team with Tina and Akari. You’re initial task will be to scout the immediate area and draw up a map.”

The sliding doors slid open and two women walked into the room, a tall red-head with a commander’s insignia and a smile that could melt butter, and a tall brunette with aviation goggles on her head.

“The landing sequence will begin in ten minutes, Jackie,” said the red-head.

Jack pointed at the red-head. “This is Commander Sarah Rose. She’s top dog on all accounts until we get this settlement operational. Fuck with her, and I’ll personally cave your skull in with a rock.”

Commander Rose gave the double thumbs up.

“Hi, I’m Anna Mutt,” said the Brunette, waving. “I’m the head of the BEE-SPA engineering unit.”

“Anna will head the engineering team,” said Jack. “Alexandria and Dom, you’re with her. You’re initial task will be to establish a defense and warning system then to prepare the construction module for operation. Dr. Metzger will head the bio team with Dr. Hunt and . . . Fred. Your initial task will be to determine what plants can grow in the Atlas soil, and to determine what native plants and animals are edible for consumption. Lily will perform clerical and messenger duties in a support role with Dan. Commander Rose and I will assist where needed. You may meet a small number of other personnel in the coming days. These men and women are all BEE-SPA appointees and are tasked with ensuring a smooth flow transition to our new home.”

“Alright, Jackie, time’s up,” said Commander Rose. “We need to strap in before the landing process commences.”



“Landing procedure initiating in 60 seconds,” announced the Space Whale’s computer.

Jack took his seat and strapped himself in after double checking that everyone was securely fastened to their landing chairs.

“Hey, Officer Stone, can I ask you something quick?” asked Landon.

“Sure, fire-away, kid.”

“You said that the scanner readings were accurate but that they didn’t tell the full story. So what’s the part we’re missing?”

“I was wondering when someone would ask. The scanners only relayed information on a specific zone on Atlas, a thin strip, kind of like a ring I guess, that circles the planet.”

“So the planet might be more diverse?” asked Landon.

Daniel sighed. “The planet is tidally locked.”

“Landing procedure initiated,” announced the Space Whale. “Prepare to enter Atlas’s atmosphere.”



...




Group policy choice:

A: If the opportunity to make contact with sentient alien lifeforms arises during the preliminary exploration period, they will be engaged in a friendly but cautious manner.

B: Contact with sentient alien lifeforms will be avoided if possible.

C: Sentient alien lifeforms will be met with violence.

Atlas

20 days ago

Group Policy Choice A

Atlas

20 days ago
I've gotta go with B (Prime Directive and all that). Plus, it just feels like the smart thing to do.

Atlas

20 days ago

Wow, that's a lot of characters to juggle, impressive. At the same time, my Game Of Thrones experience tells me many of them are going to get bumped off as the story goes along, so it's nice we have reserves.

Group Option B

Avoid contact as far as possible, while building a foothold on the planet and gaining recon intel on the aliens. Once we do go to meet them, engage in generous tit for tat diplomacy

Atlas

20 days ago

B. We should try to hold off on making contact until we've established a permanent foothold on the planet, so that we may be able to negotiate from a position of some strength if the need for diplomacy arises. 

Atlas

20 days ago
Option B until we know what they're capable of. Assuming they're inclined to be friendly if they're not could get us all killed, and so could attacking them obviously.

Although honestly I'd extend this to all alien life, can we really make assumptions about the kinds of dangers animals or even plants might pose just based on what we were used to on Earth?

Atlas

20 days ago

Let's go with B.

Atlas

20 days ago
A, as it says that It would still be cautious contact

Atlas

20 days ago

Artist's Rendition: The Space Whale after 423 years and an asteroid hit

Obligatory Org Chart to make sense of the crew

(Right mouse click > View as image for full resolution)

Atlas

20 days ago
B

Don't trust aliens.

Atlas

20 days ago

Gonna go with B as well.

Atlas

20 days ago
B.

Atlas

20 days ago

Conquering the alien lifeforms can come later. For now we should just play it safe and avoid them, until we have more knowledge of them, the world, and the beasts that inhabit it. Therefore, B.

Atlas

20 days ago

B. Acting without knowledge is suicide.

Atlas

20 days ago
B. Even though I'd like to meet the "aliens", I think first contact with such a small group has very few positive outcomes for our merry band of soon-to-be dead people.

Atlas

20 days ago
B. Let's leave them alone for now. Then we can plan our next move depending on how they react to us.

Atlas

19 days ago

A because we'll need help surviving and they could help us if they're friendly. Also, ignoring them might be considered rude and could be met with violence.

Atlas

19 days ago
This Steve is a lot nicer than our Steve, isn't he?

I'll go with B because that sounds nice. But I do want to know why the little buzzing bees get a spa and I don't.

Atlas

19 days ago
The planet being tidally locked seems like kind of a big deal. Bucky clearly put too many words in this so that no one read down that far.



Atlas

19 days ago
Well, full sun all the time means no one has to be scared of the dark at night (because there is none!)

Atlas

19 days ago

Which means the planet may be uninhabitable if this source is correct: https://www.astrobio.net/news-exclusive/tidal-locking-could-render-habitable-planets-inhospitable/

Unless, I'm guessing that small strip of the planet that was analyzed got lucky somehow and the rest is perpetually doomed.

Atlas

19 days ago
That's the old model of thought. More recent models believe that upper atmospheric wind currents could more evenly distribute heat.

Atlas

19 days ago

Yeah, nvm my comment.  Didn't really notice the year until after I posted and saw that other stuff you said.

Atlas

19 days ago

@Bucky First off, this is fucking amazing! 

Brainstorming:

Immediate-Term:

Quarantines for those who go on-planet? Might want to have a separate "on-planet" section of the ship so they can be comfortable?

Medium-Term:

The atmosphere is thin, but all we need is electricity (from the ship’s powerhouse) to liberate oxygen from the water. I'm sure there is a way to generate electricity using Roman-era tech, just don't know what it is yet.

Longer-Term:

We can eventually use the universal edibility test on local flora.

We can also test soil samples to see what grows here (will need to be a high altitude edible plant from earth?).

Even Longer-Term: 

Thank god we have a GYN on board! Would suck to go back to the old childbirth mortality rates. :-/

Atlas

19 days ago

A.

Atlas

16 days ago

B seems to be the best choice.

Atlas

15 days ago
If CYS doesn't maintain some form of stability soon, I'll probably wind up taking this over to @BerkaZerka 's site and putting it in the forum games section. If I do, I'll post a link here. My account has the same name on both sites, so you can send me a PM there if we do end up transferring over.

The other option is InfiniteStory, but that thought is just a little depressing.

Atlas

15 days ago
Have we crossed the Godzilla Threshold? If we have, it may well be time to summon 3J (I hear you had his email)

Worst case, Berka's place would be the better choice

Atlas

15 days ago

Testing.

Weird, Stryker's post didn't update on the forums.

Atlas

15 days ago
I've seen some VERY odd things with forums date and last posts. Really strange stuff where I thought posts were getting eaten, but they were actually there.

Atlas

15 days ago
Atlas




Chapter 1: Part 1


“That went better than expected,” said Daniel, as he wrung his sweaty hands together. Only Daniel Olivert could express a condescending attitude with his own trepidation. He shook his head and sighed. “But I don’t think any of you are treating the matter as seriously as the situation demands.”

Jack poured himself a cup of coffee, drained it, filled it up again, and then filled a travel thermos. “You can’t change the past, Danny Boy. The Space Whale is on Atlas. And us with it. Nothing is going to be changing that, so we may as well cowboy up and deal with problems as they come along. I’m not one to shit myself over issues that may not even exist.”

“You think you’re being pragmatic, but you’re just playing the Cavalier.”

“Someone has to. Would you rather I walk around sulking?”

The sliding door to the lounge opened, and Commander Sarah Rose poked her head inside. “Would you two stop making out and get on the bridge? Boots are about to hit the ground.”

Jack killed his coffee and exited the lounge, thermos in hand. “What are the odds that Dom pisses himself in glee?”

“Between us,” said Sarah, lowering her voice, “I ordered him to wear a diaper to avoid embarrassment.”

After triple checking the contents, Daniel slung his satchel over his shoulder and followed the two officers toward the bridge, jogging to catch up. “I don’t suppose I can convince either of you to help the land reconnaissance team, at least for the first few days? Knowing the local terrain is of the highest priority.”

“Nope,” said Sarah, all smiles. “Divide and conquer.”

“I already told Dr. Metzger that I’d help him recover some plant and soil samples for testing,” said Jack. “And I wouldn’t trust Dr. Hunt or . . . Fred to cover his six.”

Daniel wrung his hands and sighed.

The trio found the rest of the crew already geared up and waiting on the bridge. Steve and Landon had their respective teams grouped up, running through last minute briefings. Dr. Metzger and Dr. Hunt chatted idly at a distance from the rest of the crew, discussing the nutritional value of various types of apples. Meanwhile, a few feet away, Fred stared into empty space, miming an imbecile with perfection. Dom danced from foot to foot in front of the hatch, eyes wide with enthusiasm. Lily giggled, and Anna watched with a look of mild bemusement. Naturally, Alexandria stood in silence.

Sarah stepped up front and center, clapping her hands together to gather everyone’s attention. “Before we impregnate this planet with our humanity, I just want to rehash a few things. One, keep your radios on and report any findings of dire import immediately. Two, respond to the hourly radio check in promptly. Three, avoid contact with sentient alien lifeforms if reasonably possible. And uh . . . four, don’t die. Any questions? No! Great. Anna, open the Space Whale’s vagina, we’re about to get intimate with Atlas!”

Fred, with his hand raised high in the air, looked crestfallen as everyone ignored him.

The Space Whale’s vagina granted planetary access, and a platform extended down to Atlas’s surface. Dom plunged forward, wiggling through the gap as it spread wide. Without hesitation, he raced toward the soil. The rest of the crew walked at a reasonable pace down onto the planet’s surface.

“You know, honestly, I seriously considered a running past him and ruining the moment,” said Landon. “But I don’t know if he ever would have stopped crying.”

“I’m glad you didn’t,” said Anna. “He’s not on your team. You don’t have to deal with him.”

“I think he’s cute,” said Lily.

Anna laughed. “He’s all yours, sister. I don’t think you’ll be finding any competition.”

As Jack took his first sip of coffee on Atlas, Dr. Metzger grabbed his shoulder and led him away from the rest of the crew. “I have a proposition for you, Officer Stone.”



“Well, this is interesting,” said Steve, taking a healthy swig from a bottle of rum. “I’m not sure this is what I expected.”

Jerome looked at the thermometer. “83 Fahrenheit.”

“It’s kind of warm for 8,000 feet above sea level,” said Mark. “I guess I just don’t really understand this tidal locking thing.”

“High elevations can be hot,” said Steve, adjusting the rudder. “Sounds comparable to Addis Ababa on Earth.”

Commander Rose stuck her hand into the lake and twirled her wrist, splashing the alien water. “Basically, Atlas’s day is just as long as its year, so the same side of the planet always faces the sun. Any given point on the planet will have consistent temperatures and daylight. The side facing the sun is naturally very hot, and the side facing away is very cold. Wind currents in the upper atmosphere help spread the heat by moving warm air to the cold side of the planet, which supposedly melts glacial ice that form large rivers that move toward the hot side, which eventually evaporate and then precipitate elsewhere. Meanwhile cool air moves to the hot side, helping to disperse the heat more evenly. Theoretically, with the right conditions the entire planet could have relatively even temperatures, but here the conditions are just sufficient enough to create a habitable zone in a ring going north and south around the middle of the planet. We landed closer to the hot side of that ring.”

Mark grimaced. “When you say theoretically…”

“Well, our data from the initial scanner only attached to the habitable ring, and we misinterpreted some of it because of that.” Commander Rose shrugged. “For now, we’re only speculating about what lies beyond.”

“That’s a simpler way of putting it than what the egghead told us.” Mark continued to grimace. “I don’t trust him.”

“He means well,” said Commander Rose. “He’s just . . . special?”

Steve spit. “He was probably bottle fed. I blame his mother.”

The small powerboat motored across the lake with Steve in expert command. The Space Whale only had a limited amount of fuel for the tiny craft, so the team would have to transition to a more rustic mode of travel in the near future. But problems for tomorrow could wait.

The Space Whale had landed in a freshwater lake and powered to the shore of the only visible beach. Two sides of lake hugged sheer walls of rock that raced several thousand feet high before they leveled off into more reasonable slopes. The far side of the lake necked back in a bend, which the team could not see around from the landing site. As head of the waterways navigation team, Steve elected to see if he could determine the source of the headwaters before scoping out any outlets further down the beach.

After an hour, Commander Rose checked in with the rest of the groups, and so far, no one had managed to die. Soon after, the powerboat rounded the bend, which snaked back in an “S” curve. At long last, the powerboat rounded the final curve of the “S.” The rock walls ringed the entirety of the back end of the lake, and nine waterfalls cascaded down from the heights, stirring up foam and mist.

"Second hour check in," said Commander Rose into the radio. "The lake follows an "S" curve back into walls of steep rock. It's fed by waterfalls from above."

“Hey, I think I can see a cave behind the one waterfall,” said Steve. “Third one to the right. Maybe ten feet above the waterline.”

Mark peered through his eyeglass. “Behind one? Try all nine. Same height above the water, each one.”

Jerome clutched his harpoon gun. “That seems a bit too uniform to be a coincidence.”

Something slammed the powerboat from underneath, rocking the tiny craft. Mark managed to grab Steve before he flopped over the edge like a drunken seal. Commander Rose lunged for the radio, but it fumbled through her outstretched fingers as the powerboat took another blow. The radio toppled over the side and plunked into the water. And the brave commander dove in after it!

As the powerboat took a third walloping from below, Jerome fired the harpoon gun straight through the bottom of the boat. A tremendous scream bellied from the depths, as water burst through the hole.

Mark grabbed a bucket and started bailing water. “Sounds like a great shot, but I don’t think you thought that one through.”

“You fucking idiot!” Steve plugged the empty bottle of rum into the hole, to marginal effect. “Wait, where’s Rose?”



Meanwhile, Dr. Hunt and Fred listened to classical rock music as they set up the infirmary in the Space Whale’s medical unit.

“Do you think there is such a thing as pickle wine?” asked Fred. “Maybe I could be the first to brew some.”

Dr. Hunt rolled his eyes. “Don’t be disgusting.”



Alexandria seethed in silence. What a waste of wood. We should have put up a chain-link fence. It’s not like we carried a forest with us from Earth.

Dom frowned as he sunk his shovel into the Atlas soil. “This is dumb. I’m supposed to be an electrician, not a common laborer.”

Anna had ordered the engineering team to dig a trench around the camp while she constructed an outward projecting ring of spiked logs for a quick form of rustic defense. After that, they would build a series of watchtowers together. The team did not approve of the decision to utilize manual labor for the task. Nor did they approve of Anna shirking ditch digging responsibilities.

“Anyone can dig a hole,” Anna had said. “But the logs need positioned at just the right angle for optimum protection.”

Alexandria shoveled in silence, almost shaking with rage.

“I think you look pretty sexy working up a sweat over there, Muscles.” Lily winked. “Maybe I’ll give you some personal rock climbing lessons in the coming days, yeah?”

Alexandria snorted.

Dom raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Well, I didn’t volunteer to dig a ditch for the fun of it, Handsome.”

“How’s that ditch coming guys?” asked Anna, as she positioned a log.

Alexandria stabbed at the dirt with violent abandon.



Tina really wished that Daniel had went to help another team, for she had an underlying desire to stab her pen into his eye.

Landon, Akari, Tina, and Daniel circled the Space Whale in outward arcs. Landon measured the distances. Akari scribbled notes on the topography. Tina kept a record of the flora. And Daniel . . . told everyone how to do their jobs better. To be fair, Daniel’s observations were on point. But the man just had a certain aura about him that made him utterly insufferable.

“Keep an eye out for plants that are missing the flowers like this one,” said Daniel, pointing. “I haven’t seen any alien fauna, but that’s a good indication that some are in the area. If we record the disturbances, we may be able to get an early idea on their diets and travel patterns.”

“All the plants seem to be black or dark red,” said Landon. “I wonder why?”

“Atlas receives more infrared light than Earth,” said Daniel. “The flora has adapted to better absorb those wavelengths of light. Human eyes cannot see infrared, so many of the plants appear black.”

Tina gazed out over the landscape. From the beach, most of the land rose in a steady slope. However, a small section of the lake cut through the rock in a narrow, fast moving channel that disappeared into an underground cavern.

The lake kind of looks like a potbellied man sticking his needle dick into a vagina, Tina thought. And the Space Whale . . . looks like a beached whale.

“Tina, are you paying attention?” asked Daniel. “Make sure to note this plant’s unusual star shaped leaves and the purple swirls on its petals. I think this is the only purple I’ve seen on any of the flora so far.”

“Huh? Oh, yes, of course.” Tina closed her eyes and counted to three. I will not kill this man today. I will not kill this man today. I will not kill this man today.

Landon walked up to a tall tree with bark black as pitch. He tapped his knuckles against the wood. “Wow, that thing feels solid as brick!”

“Please don’t touch things unnecessarily,” said Daniel. “You have no idea what it’s composed of.”

Landon rubbed at his knuckles. “Oh shit! It burns like hell!”

Daniel dug into his satchel, rummaging for his emergency kit.

“Calm down, Dan, I’m just joking around,” said Landon, beaming a mighty grin. “I’m fine. It’s just a tree. A big black alien tree. But still, just a tree.”

Akari walked up to the tree and swung an axe into it. The axehead bounced off the bark without leaving a dent.

“What are you doing!?” Daniel stared in disbelief.

“I wanted to see how solid the tree was,” said Akari. “It’s pretty solid.”

Tina jotted down a description of the tree in her notes. Solid.



“You’ve got yourself a bargain, Dr. Metzger,” said Jack.

“Please, call me, Arturo.”

The officer and doctor shook hands and headed off to collect plant samples near the beach, both in healthy spirits at their newfound partnership.



...




Group policy choice:

The Waterways Team has missed the third hour check in. The fourth hour is closing in, and the teams are returning to the Space Whale.

A: Mount a search and rescue mission immediately.

B: Wait 3 hours before launching a rescue mission.

C: Wait 6 hours before launching a rescue mission.

D: Do not launch a search and rescue mission.

Atlas

15 days ago
A. Damn it, we already have so few people there'll no doubt be inbreeding, we don't need to lose even more to some underwater tentacle monsters.

Atlas

14 days ago
There are thousands of colonists in reserve on the Whale, still in cryo-sleep. Getting a foothold on the planet will be a problem but inbreeding shouldn't be a worry.

Atlas

14 days ago
Hmm, wasn't it only 2300 something? Maybe I'm mixing it up with Seedship's 2000. I'll check.
Edit: Yes, it's 2,223. I might be wrong, but that doesn't seem like a lot, especially because most likely some of those people can't have children (either because of age or other problems) and we'll no doubt lose some of them to aliens or because they'll be too weak to survive. So it is in our best interest to keep as many alive as possible.

Atlas

14 days ago
Well this article claims that you only need 160 to 80 for a viable colony. That said, I'm not for throwing any lives away on this expedition on principle, just saying that inbreeding won't be one of the problems we face any time soon. (Unless Bucky nukes the ship, in which case our future is screwed)(unintentional pun). Oh and before someone asks, polygamy doesn't help (there's a separate article somewhere addressing that).

Atlas

14 days ago
Ms. Garrison: In the beginning, we were all fish. Okay? Swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So Retard Fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day, a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its...

[she waves her left hand limply]

Ms. Garrison: ...mutant fish hands... and it had butt sex with a squirrel or something and made this.

[she points to a prehistoric mammal rodent]

Ms. Garrison: Retard frog-sqirrel, and then *that* had a retard baby which was a... monkey-fish-frog... And then this monkey-fish-frog had butt sex with that monkey, and that monkey had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey... and that made you!

[she faces the class, with the new girl among them looking around]

Ms. Garrison: So there you go! You're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish-squirrel! Congratulations!

Atlas

14 days ago
She casually omitted millions of years between those two shags, aka a lot of mutant intermediaries getting it on. Seems like a sad omission. It's like saying one day an immigrant was born, and then someone became the president. Misses out a lot of the spicy in-between. Also, I'm really not sure that teacher should ever take sex ed, her knowledge seems to be... inaccurate.

Atlas

14 days ago
Wow.

Atlas

14 days ago
Levity and sarcasm, in case you didn't get the memo.

Atlas

13 days ago
You're not very good at either.

Atlas

14 days ago

I'm probably as surprised by this as anyone, but the founding population of Native Americans was just calculated to be 250, and the estimates for space colonization are anywhere from 50-500 people (there are larger estimates, but they are based on the hazards of the space travel itself). That being said, my pickle is available for re-population.  

Atlas

15 days ago

C.

Obviously we’ll need to send a heavily armed search party eventually if they don’t return at all, but if they got killed by some tentacle monster its probably too late already. Besides, Steve’s supposed to be a great sailor, pretty sure he’ll get them out of whatever trouble they might have gotten into. (And Jerome's supposed to be a bad ass and Mark can fix anything, so they're pretty well prepared for danger)

Exploration isn’t an exact process and shit takes time. I imagine they’ll probably be back before the need to send out a search party.

We need people at the colony doing more important tasks rather than jumping to conclusion and possibly putting even more people in danger.

Atlas

15 days ago

C as well

I'm sure they're fine.

Atlas

15 days ago
Jerome and Steve are experienced enough to be alone

I’ve watched enough scooby doo to know not to split up

Option D

Atlas

15 days ago
B.

We do need some time to prepare, but the sooner we know they're okay, the better.

Atlas

15 days ago

B. 

It might be nothing and the group might just be delayed, but we can't afford to lose such a large proportion of the group right now- it hasn't even been a day since we landed. The best option is to wait a little until we can know for sure something serious happened and it's not just them goofing off. 

Atlas

15 days ago

Uh... you do realize that it's clearly not nothing, as we can read the scene where they're brutally murdered by the mer people, right?

Atlas

15 days ago

I'm looking at it from the perspective of my character, which is what I thought you were supposed to do. 

Atlas

15 days ago
On one hand, Jerome is a complete idiot, Rose is kind of an idiot (jumping INTO the water right on top of what may be some angry alien lake monster after a soggy and probably already ruined radio? And Jerome is a trigger happy moron and I'm going to laugh if he fucking harpooned her in addition to fucking up what could be our only boat...)

Meanwhile Steve is Steve, and the other guy is completely forgettable. As players I can see wanting to just say fuck it, but since the other characters have no idea what happened the only thing that makes sense from a roleplay standpoint is Option A. There was no sense in having the radio check ins if it was going to be ignored when they suddenly went silent.

The sooner everyone is aware of the caves and what their deal is the better anyhow.

Atlas

15 days ago

Going by the roleplay system we're apparently doing, it seems the correct procedure would be A.

Atlas

15 days ago

A. Send the land team back out to retrieve the corpses. Arm them and whatnot. I’d rather not lose one of our tool guys and mercenaries.

Atlas

15 days ago
They lost an irreplaceable radio, if they're not dead or in grievous danger there better be a LOT of calamari to show for it.

E: weird, this was supposed to be a reply to IAP's post. Not sure what happened but I blame the tiny goblins in my phone that have been making the site not load.

Atlas

15 days ago
A)

I don't think we should set a precedent this early in the game (no pun intended) of not having each other's backs if we intend to actually survive on this planet.

Edit: And kick their butts up one side and down the other if they're just goofing around like Spartacus suspects.

Atlas

15 days ago
I've got to go with A because I'm assuming that was the plan when we set up the check-in process.

Atlas

14 days ago
Alright, this was a downright fantastic follow up, a bit of everything. Solid sci-fi, exploration, humor, and human elements taking place here, even an alliance. The attention to detail on the plants and trees was solid, loved reading that part.

It'd be hilarious if down the road, when everything's going to all hell, the cuckoolander Fred turned out to somehow reveal himself as an incredibly capable scientist or something when everyone's pretty much lost hope (the aliens turn out to be allergic to his illegal pickle-wine experiments - that he's going to be doing no matter what anyone tells him to - perhaps?).

It'd been nice if you'd told us how long it'd take for the watchtowers to come up, that'd influence my decision of time to rescue. Also, I'm surprised no one thought of (and shared) contingency protocols in case anyone didn't report back, or something like an alien sighting happened.

My recommendation:

B: Wait three hours.

A lot of critical prep work has to happen right now, and foundational groundwork has to be laid. Perhaps something will be discovered that'll help the rescue team (super solid wood seemed promising). Furthermore, the waterways team has some of the best combat/survival candidates from the expedition, I have faith that they'll be able to hold out for a little bit (otherwise we're all doomed), but we shouldn't wait too long either. My logic is that if we can get fortifications up and running within three hours, before sending out the search party, there's a fallback location from where we can defend, in case it becomes a shooting war. Six hours seems a bit too long, considering they were already two hours travel away from camp, with a powered boat mind you, when it all started.

e: Also wouldn't mind a bit of an update on our resource situation, sounds like wood logs from Earth are rare already.

Atlas

14 days ago
Just a reminder that a wait of three hours is more like a wait of an additional six hours for the people who may be stranded or in danger. A team has to be organized and then actually travel to where they are.

If it's just assumed to be a case of their radio randomly being jammed while everyone else's is fine, then great, they'll have realized their radio isn't functioning by now and be headed back so as not to worry anyone. A rescue team setting out now would meet them halfway as they returned and no harm done. They'd have to be incredibly neglectful and unprofessional to just shrug and not investigate at all though. (And there is no reason besides basic precaution to assume at this point that they were attacked by aliens as opposed to any other sort of boating mishap, just pointing out. Even if this were Earth, three hours of lost contact would be a cause for concern.)

I'd also like an update on the amount of weird and other basic resources we have. Using wood seems incredibly inefficient as it is, so if it's scarce this defense system they're building is doubly bullshit.

Atlas

14 days ago
I get that setting up a rescue team will take time, then they have to find a way to travel (I didn't hear of a second powered boat) and then actually travel. But dropping everything we're doing at the first sign of a radio call being missed seems a little feisty, in absence of contingency protocols stating that. If Bucky'd given smaller intervals, such as two hours, I'd have taken that instead, basically give the team a little bit more time to report back in (say in the off chance they were in a region where High Frequency Radio waves weren't working) before we go into emergency mode. Again, a lot of groundwork needs to be done right now. E.g. if we pull off the med team from setting up their station, in case one of the survivors needs attention those facilities won't be up and running in time to help them.

(Side note, radio technology and how it works is really fun. Since we haven't heard anything about relays yet I'm wondering which version we're using - modern earth analogues or space-walky talkies which don't get affected by the mountains' presence/interference).

Atlas

14 days ago
It's not dropping everything at the first sign of a missed call, we're coming up on the fourth hour now and presumably the rescue team will be canceled if they check in for that one. Otherwise, they're in a completely unknown situation with no reason for anyone involved to lightly disregard the protocol set up to ensure everyone is safe. And honestly, regardless of the shape they turn out to be in, I hope the characters on the lake are later made aware of exactly which people decided to just shrug off any idea that they may have needed help and go eat sandwiches or whatever.

Also, while you're voting like there's no need for hurry, all of your language suggests you're expecting the worst. 'The survivors' and the need to have a defense set up to fall back to, etc. Like, yes, there's a reason for the characters back at base to exercise caution and not take chances, but all of that seems specifically based on the meta knowledge of the lake caves and the attack on the boat.

Atlas

14 days ago
Hmm. Fair point, @Bucky, Mizal raises an interesting question. Who's taking this vote? Is everyone on their own side just talking to their group, or is someone like Lily calling everyone for their opinions since the commander is in the field? Who's assigned for Communications/Command/Control (C3)? As of the third hour, everyone is in their own place, so I have no idea how this choice is being done in the narrative, and from Mizal's OUT THE TRAITORZ train of thought, the votes and voting appear to carry narrative weight.

If you're being serious that every time something goes wrong, particularly with the forward teams expected to see something go wrong, then there's no expedition here. In that case, we're just burning matches, waiting for one to go out before throwing the rest out to find them. Unfortunately no one was kept on standby from the settler group for contingencies, or this would have been an easy decision, to send them out. The waterways survey team knows the job they took (they also took the best people for that task), and rushing out after them in the earliest stages of the expedition isn't giving them credit for their abilities. Rushing out to them would only make sense if you do indeed have meta-knowledge or have strong reason to doubt their ability, as of now the story from our characters' eyes offers neither.

Also, sure, let's drop everything we're doing every second a radio fails to report in, I'm sure that'll get a lot done. Let's also immediately shout out that THIS PERSON WANTED YOU DEAD! for the drama on their arrival, because that's clearly the best way to run a trusting community, with generous helpings of drama and lots of intentional mistrust and doubt. A drama sitcom or a web forum, surely. An off-earth lone settler colony, not so much. @Bucky, if Mizal's character seriously goes for this approach in narrative, and the idea isn't shot down/called out on it, I wouldn't you sending mind my character walking off into the horizon alone in protest and disgust. Good luck making honest decisions in an extreme situation if you have to factor your survival based on the politics of your answer (linking back to my point last post, this is why the Soviets were brutally honest in their conversations, they had no other choice, no luxury to stroke other peoples egos or in making critical decisions).

Oh no, on the contrary, I'm acutely aware of the need to hurry, and that's informing my choice. From the previous stage, we already suspect there are aliens on the planet who may be competent enough to have jammed the probe's signals, and in that light making early defenses becomes a no-brainer, no meta-knowledge of the attack on the boat needed there. There is a very clear and present hurry to get things set up, and in that choices with trade-offs have to be made.

If you land on an island with a possibility of a (alien) storm hitting soon, you bunker down and fortify as soon as you can. Right now the colony is in it's absolute most vulnerable state, with the ship out of juice, no defenses, and no knowledge about the nearby area. If you honestly recommend sending a search party immediately from the existing crew, pulling the existing teams off their current tasks, and without giving the the waterways team the benefit of the doubt, you're trading off on long term security heavily if the worst comes to pass. The only team not doing immediately time critical work is the bio-medical team, and knowing their importance to the colony, I'd never send them out alone for the rescue operation, given the difficulty to replace their skill set means we probably don't have many even among the colonists still on the ship.

If say this was day 3, I'd have gone with A in a heartbeat, since we'd already have most basic facilities and systems up and running, so we aren't vulnerable and can easily afford to reassign the teams. This is Hour 3, and we don't even know what we don't know, such as are the radios just faulty in general. With that context, at this stage in the colony, the right choice is for everyone to do what they're doing while waiting for updates.

Atlas

14 days ago
The group choice falls into the time frame between that part of the story and the next. But that doesn't mean it's a choice that happens immediately after the section ends.

I mean, the last POV happened maybe 10 minutes after the first, but hours passed in other POVs.

Atlas

14 days ago
My query was more of, in the story, who's asking for this vote and how are they doing that? Since Mizal proposed 'outing' people who didn't vote for an immediate rescue party, someone in the story has to know everyone's votes / there's probably be a method of voting, otherwise outing wouldn't be an option to consider. And if everyone's telepathically voting (technically including Steve and the members of the away team who if we're being 'in the story' here technically wouldn't be able to vote), then that's weird. I guess this is an art vs author issue unique to the format, but since Mizal's brought up exploiting the information, it's an important question.

Atlas

14 days ago
@Bucky, please make sure our characters never, ever have normal conversations or communicate about anything that happens to them or react in a realistic manner to any of the group discussions.

And if you do, please make sure to carry out any player requests re: turning their characters into ridiculous emo faggots.

Atlas

14 days ago

If I may use one of my favorite terms in the hopes that I don't fuck it up, this is a false dichotomy.

When I see the missing members again I will say the same thing to their face that I will say behind their back: I am making decisions based on what is best for our mission. Which is to colonize this planet... an apt verb seeing as how we are probably sitting in a shitter (based on the geography).

Atlas

13 days ago
That still implies the characters will have a normal conversation at some point so you're essentially on my side here.

My post was in reply to Stryker's, in reply to the thing he was getting yelling-in-all-caps angry about; the idea that a group of people living and working closely together are going to be communicating among each other and that things people do and say in public will become known.

Not really a shocker to anyone who even occasionally interacts with other humans, which is why the scandalized overreaction was so funny in the first place.

Of course I'm coming to it from a place of expecting realistic human behavior from these characters, and what I can gather between all these outraged fist-shaking and the fellating of Soviet whatever is that he seems to want a pure simulation minus any human element aka 'politics'.

But since people are already breaking off into alliances and forming likes and dislikes of each other (because Bucky is a good writer and knows not to hate and fear these things), 'politics' already exist just like they have in any group of humans since humans existed.

And on the meta level, I mean the game is literally based on the idea of putting forth arguments to sway others and voting...

Atlas

14 days ago
Finally got around to this text wall. Lol, good to know that not choosing the ocean planet in no way endangered our salt supply.

Atlas

14 days ago
A. Despite what I want to do (B or C especially considering we know there's some weird crap going on), my character would chose A in a heartbeat for a pretty petty reason. :)

Atlas

14 days ago

Just as a non-pickle-related aside: The entire geography of this place (high walls, intake pipes, drainage pipe) reminds me of a giant toilet bowl. I hope nobody flushes; and, in the meantime, I'm gonna wear a floatation device.

Atlas

13 days ago
Running out of time to get those votes in people. Just a reminder that you don't have to have a personal character to be able to participate. (And remember it's also possible to change a vote.)

Atlas

13 days ago

Briefly reiterating my points in support of Option A:

1.) A team of valuable people and their irreplaceable equipment have been completely out of touch for two hours. The radio check in policy was made for a reason and all characters would have been made aware of its importance, and thus we know they'd make staying in contact the highest priority short of actual survival, precisely to prevent situations like this.

2.) There's absolutely no downside to erring on the side of caution and no reason to expect anything but a bit of time to be lost even if the lake crew turns out to be completely fine. The colony is not put in danger or set back in any way. Looking at plants and taking notes isn't a priority, and spiked logs can handle a few hours delay when they all have the ship for a safe shelter.

3.) A boating mishap or medical emergency of any sort (both incredibly common even on Earth) would need as immediate attention as possible. It's already been two hours since something went wrong, and even if a team leaves now it will likely take just as long to find them. (Assuming they don't run into them returning to base on the way, which would be ideal.)

4.) Rose is the commander. Additionally, the teams at the ship don't realize yet that these idiots lost their radio and Jerome killed Rose all over being nudged around a little by a playful lake dolphin, thus they'd still consider confirming their safety of major importance, regardless of the feelings of the players.

Meanwhile, the basis for other options given so far :

1.) Meh

2.) Whatever

3.) They're probably fine.

4.) Scooby-Doo

5.) Abuse of meta knowledge

6.) Blatant lies and emotional manipulation hinging entirely on the assumption that no one else can read. (Not the worst assumption to make around here tbf...)

7.) Some retarded faggot going on about pickles.

Anyway the server has been behaving itself so far this morning, hopefully it continues that way. I forsee participation dropping somewhat if this has to be taken offsite.

Atlas

13 days ago

To be fair, I think some people are hoping Steve is going to get killed by dragging their feet and while that’s a worthy goal, I don’t see him dying that easily, especially not on the water. In fact, the only person I really see dying in the scenario (regardless of the choice picked) is the commander.

Really though, I don’t care enough about my choice to argue for it (not that it would matter anyway at this point) I’m more enjoying how Stryker is seemingly pissing off everyone with his posts and the retorts back at him.

Atlas

13 days ago
True it's not an especially interesting choice on the surface, but I'd expect consequences for not acting with common sense and right now the characters have very little info to go by except the normal sort of concerns you'd have in this situation amped up to eleven given there's little room for carelessness. (Sure is a good thing we let the drunk steer the boat...)

Even the players don't know much. It's been interesting to see people assuming the boat was attacked with absolutely no evidence of though.

The Class A meltdown definitely is giving the thread the spice it needed though, I wasn't paying a lot of attention until my name staryed getting used a bunch.

Atlas

10 days ago
Waiting on Stryker's personal character choice so I can begin writing the next segment. Hope everyone had an enjoyable Mother's Day.

Atlas

7 days ago
Did...did he ragequit the site over a pretend space story?

Might be best he sticks to single player games I guess.

Atlas

7 days ago

If he did, would have at least been nice if he had said something along the lines of "Fuck you guys, I'm going home!" or something similar instead of holding the story up by quietly disappearing.

Atlas

7 days ago
Well, he hasn’t been back since the 11th, so I’m going to proceed regardless with writing tonight.

Atlas

15 days ago

C.

Atlas

15 days ago

Our cucumbers need time to pickle. 

From our perspective, it is possible that their radios are just jammed (by the same natural phenomenon or alien-made technology that jammed our scanners before). 

They are roughly a few hours away (based on where we knew they were headed), so we should wait a few hours to make sure they don't come back. 

Once we know they are missing, we don't then rush in willy-nilly. Sending the same size force will give us the same result. We need a few hours to organize so we can secure the base and go out in force.

Atlas

14 days ago
Since this thread will be going awhile just a reminder it will help keep things organized if you always reply to the story segment you're directly voting on.

Atlas

4 days ago
Atlas




Chapter I: Part 2 A


Alexandria scribbled furiously on her pad.

“You’re being foolhardy and reckless!” Daniel threw his arms in the air in exasperation. “There are plenty of reasons why they may not have responded to the hourly check-in call! It’s a mountain planet! They’re probably in a dead-zone. We have too many important things to do at camp. We can’t just run off wild and half-cocked at phantom emergencies!”

“What’s the point of regular radio check-ins if we’re not going to act when an entire group misses a call?” asked Akari.

“I didn’t say we wouldn’t act!” Daniel stomped the ground. “But we must do so rationally. If they aren’t back in three hours, we can launch a search mission then. But until then, we have nothing but an ill advised and speculative hunch as to why they haven’t replied.”

“Well,” said Anna, “that’s not exactly true. These are BEE-SPA HighBounce SAT Radios. They’re not really prone to dead-zone signal loss. All of the signals beam up to a satellite the Space Whale launched before we entered the atmosphere. I guess there’s a chance that the upper atmospheric winds could scramble the signal, but typically, you’d need a really powerful storm to cause interference.”

Alexandria shoved her pad in front of Daniel’s face. It’s okay. You stay here and pretend to be important. No one is asking you to go on any search and rescue missions. But word travels fast. After we find them, I’m sure Commander Rose, Mark, Jerome, and especially Steve will be VERY thrilled to learn that out of the few people opposed to launching an immediate search and rescue, you were the ONLY one that adamantly protested volunteers exercising their freewill and attempting to look out for the wellbeing of their fellow colonists.

“Are you threatening to tattle on me?” Daniel’s jaw dropped. “That’s barbaric and uncouth. I will not allow this . . . this outrage! Officer Stone, I demand you warn this miscreant of the consequences of her conduct!”

As Alexandria scribbled away on her pad, Daniel knocked it from her hands.

“Hey, what’s your fucking problem?” Landon abandoned his current task, packing supplies into the spare powerboat, and stormed toward Daniel with balled fists.

But Landon was too slow. Tina waltzed up to Daniel and slugged him right in the nose. A line of blood trickled from his right nostril. “Shut up.”

“Officer Stone! I’ve been assaulted! Arrest this criminal!”

Tina stabbed a pen into Daniel’s eye. “I said shut up.”

Daniel dropped to his knees and screamed.

“Jesus fucking Christ.” Officer Stone picked up Tina and carried her away before she could maim the project coordinator further. “Dr. Metzger, can you lend a fucking hand?”

“Of course. Landon, hold him down for a moment.”

Dr. Metzger stuck a needle into Daniel’s arm as Landon held the squirming man to the ground.

Dr. Hunt rushed over and helped Dr. Metzger carry the sedated man toward the Space Whale. “I’ll do what I can for his eye, Officer Stone. Do you want me to keep him strapped down and locked away until you get back? Perhaps for his own safety?”

“Please.”

“Am . . . am I going to go to jail?” asked Tina.

Officer Stone put the girl down and shook his head. “I’ll deal with you later.” He turned to the rest of the crew. “Those of you who are coming, get in the fucking boat.”

Tina, Landon, Akari, Anna, and Alexandria climbed into the spare powerboat with Officer Stone.

Anna called out to the rest of her team. “Dom, Lily, keep working on the defenses until I get back. Wish us luck.”

Officer Stone fired up the powerboat’s engine.

“Wait!” Fred hurried towards the waterline, carrying a wooden crate in his arms. “Take these floaties and extra life jackets!”



Dom and Lily shoveled dirt together in the ditch.

“Hey, stud muffin,” said Lilly, “how would you like a special private mountain climbing lesson from me after everything calms down? We’ll need some kind of fun to replace all of the drama.” Lily winked.

Dom swallowed. Oh, my gosh. An attractive woman is talking to me. Is this a date offer? Oh man, that’s awesome! But wait, what if it’s not? What if she’s just being really friendly. Holy cow, that would be so embarrassing if I mistake a nice gesture for a date proposal. It’d be like that time my cousin invited me to play putt-putt all over again! What do I do? I mean, it’s a practical offer. The safe route is to . . . oh crap! I don’t even know what the safe route is! If I decline, she may hate me! If I accept and it treat like a friendly outing, I might miss out on something awesome, and she may be dejected! If I treat it as a date, and it’s not, I’ll be humiliated! Oh, what do I do!?

“Well, what do you say, Tiger?” Lily gave a little roar, rolling her R’s.

Dom made a mess in his trousers. He blurted out, “It’s a date!”



Dr. Metzger assisted Dr. Hunt in extracting the pen from Daniel’s eye. The ultimate remedy would be entirely cosmetic of course, the man would no doubt be blind in that eye for life. Honestly, Dr. Metzger found the entire outcome rather amusing. But the situation gave him some time to proffer another proposal.

“How do you feel about experimental procedures?”

Dr. Hunt raised an eyebrow. He paused before speaking, choosing his words with care. “Science only advances by traversing untraveled grounds, but all endeavors require due caution and planning. Risk is not always worth the reward.”

“Fair enough. I’m asking because I believe with the technology aboard the Space Whale, I can remedy Alexandria’s muteness through gene splicing technology. But the procedure is entirely experimental and theoretical in basis, never before being tested on a living subject. By all accounts, I am a geneticist and biologist first, not a surgeon. I estimate a 70% chance of a positive outcome working alone. With your help, I believe the odds of a positive outcome would be approximately 90%.”

Dr. Hunt frowned. “I’ve never heard of such a procedure.”

“Well, like I said, it’s theoretical in nature.” Dr. Metzger shrugged. “I was going to publish an article on the topic, but with the state of Earth, plans changed. I’m sure you can understand.”

“What does the other 10% entail?” Dr. Hunt removed the pen from Daniel’s eye with deft care and a large pair of pliers. “Wow, that was in their pretty deep. Tina’s . . . very strong for such a small girl.”

“Never underestimate a midget, Doctor.”

“I don’t know about that, but I’ll be sure not to underestimate her. But about that other 10% . . .”

“If we fail, Alexandria will experience a significant and possibly permanent sensation of burning in her throat.”

Dr. Hunt groaned, mulling the proposition over. “I will . . . reluctantly assist. So long as Alexandria consents and is fully informed of the risks.”

“Excellent,” said Dr. Metzger, with perhaps a bit too much enthusiasm.





“Alright, lads! Hang tight, I’ll get us out of here!” Steve had no doubts that Jerome had succeeded in harpooning the boat, the commander, and the unseen alien lake monster all in one brilliant act of stupidity. Of course, Steve knew what he had to do: run away like a grand coward and claim the part of the hero by virtue of saving Jerome and Mark from the alien squid demon thing in a glorious escape across the lake. But before the charming Irish prick could spur the engine and bring the powerboat around, the loose cannon fired again.

“I’ll save you, Rose!” Jerome slammed another harpoon into the gun and plunged into the lake.

“You dumb fuck!” Steve nearly shit himself in anger. “How am I supposed to save you if you kill yourself?”

Meanwhile, Mark dropped his trousers and popped a squat. Gritting his teeth, Mark forced out a firm turd.

“Has everyone lost their fucking mind?” asked Steve.

“Just trust me.” Mark kicked off his trousers and drawers, not bothering to wipe. Without a moment’s hesitation, he whipped out his knife and cut the trousers into square strips. As Steve stared in bewilderment, Mark proceeded to rub his own excrement all over the fabric. The old man tossed the soiled rags to Steve. “When I dive under the boat, yank out that rum bottle and shove the rags through the hole. I’ll spread them out underneath. The water pressure will force them up against the hull, and the dung will keep them in place.”

“The Captain Cook method?”

Mark nodded and hopped over the edge of the boat with a splash.

Despite a strong desire to gun the engine and abandon everyone, Steve’s sailor spirit persevered. He just had to know if the dung cloth patch method actually worked. He unplugged the rum bottle from the hole and started jamming crap covered cloth through in its place. Seconds slipped by at an agonizing crawl. But as Mark spread the shit rags out beneath the hole, the flow of water seemed to slow until only a mere trickle crept into the boat.

The crazy old coot popped back up above the surface of the water, and Steve hauled the pants-less old timer back into the boat. Mark sprung into action without uttering a word. He grabbed his pail and bailed out what water remained in the boat.

“Holy shit, I think the shit worked!” Steve swelled with an overwhelming sense of pride for his part in such a marvelous maritime repair. “Did you see either of those other two idiots when you were down there, or should we just assume they’re dead?”

“I saw some jumbled mass on the bottom of the lake, but I only kind of caught a glance. I was more concerned about patching the hole and scrambling back in before whatever it was grabbed hold of me too.”

Another horrifying scream bellied from the depths.

“Fuck this, we’re done here.” Steve spun the powerboat around, but just before he could gun the throttle, a ripple formed in the lake before him. He hesitated just enough for Jerome to poke his head above the water’s surface just in front of the boat. “Fuck it all, reel the retard in. Quick!”

Commander Rose’s fiery red hair floated on top of the water just behind Jerome. A dark grimace lined her face, and her eyes winced in pain. “He’s out . . . cold.” The commander spluttered the words as she tried to keep her head above the water.

Mark and Steve grabbed Jerome beneath the shoulders and heaved him into the boat. The mercenary flopped to the deck like a fish. The Commander came next, half-drowned and seeping blood from a deep gash in her lower left calf. Steve thought he could see the contours of very large teeth marks.

The water around the powerboat began to churn.

“There’s fishing line and a first aid kit in that box, Mark. Sew them up if you can, but be careful. I’m about to let this bitch rip.”

At long last, Steve finally managed to gun the engine and commence with a glorious escape attempt.



...




Author's note:

No group choice this edition, splitting Chapter I: Part 2 into two parts due to its size.

Atlas

4 days ago
Nice job, Tina, Dom, and Mark stole the show with this one, I cracked up three separate times.

I will wait and see if anyone else notices that thing Maya and I noticed.

Atlas

4 days ago
It's called foreshadowing.

Atlas

4 days ago

Woohoo! Nice update!

Safety first when it comes to floaties.

I have not noticed whatever it is the smart people have noticed. :-(

 

Atlas

4 days ago

Awesome read, hilarious too what with the shit strip fix and Daniel's eye for quality pens.

Atlas

4 days ago
Atlas




Chapter I: Part 2 B


“Ahoy, to the right!” Landon spotted the Waterways Team’s vessel first, and the young landlubber raised the cry.

“Starboard,” said Akari.

“Whatever.” Landon rolled his eyes. “I didn’t realize I was talking to Steve.”

Officer Stone altered course, and the crew intercepted the other powerboat near the middle of the main body of the lake. A distinct stink seemed to emanate from the hull of the vessel. Commander Rose propped herself up and gave a weak grin as the two powerboats pulled up beside each other. A bloody bandage adorned her calf. Jerome grovelled on the deck as Mark leaned over him. And Steve beamed a look of triumph.

“I saved everyone!” said Steve.

Tina shook her head. “Why do I doubt that?”

Landon stared at Mark. “Where the hell are your pants?”

Mark chuckled. “Long story.”

“That fucking idiot Jerome shot a harpoon through the bottom of the boat.” Steve hopped onto the rescue vessel and started to rummage through the supplies. “I need a fucking drink. Where’s the booze?”

“Some kind of . . . lake alien started ramming the bottom of the boat right after we made the second radio check-in,” said Mark. “The radio plunked over the side, and Rose dove in after it.”

“Why did he shoot through the boat?” asked Akari. “That’s stupid.”

Mark shrugged. “He panicked. I guess he hit it though. It screamed something awful. Then he loaded up a second harpoon and dove in after Rose.”

“Who wound up saving his dumb ass,” said Steve, as he debated the merits of drinking the pure grain alcohol in the medical kit.

“What’d this alien look like?” asked Landon.

“Uhm . . . I don’t know how to describe it,” said Commander Rose. “It was like a cross between a horse, a seal, a duck, and a squid. And it was big.”

“It violated me!” Jerome struggled to sit up, wincing and clutching his buttocks and groin. “I jumped in after Rose, and swam toward the bottom of the lake. It had its tentacles wrapped around her ankle, dragging her down. I slashed at them with my knife but couldn’t muster enough force swinging the blade under the water. It pulled Rose toward its mouth. Rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth! More tentacles burst out of its back, beelining toward me. They pierced my rectum! Another tentacle opened up and split into several more! One of them . . . jabbed into my urethra! I fired the harpoon, and Rose got free. I swallowed a lot of water, and now my dick and ass really hurt.”

Alexandria scribbled on her pad. Are you sure it was water?

Anna pulled out a bio-scanner from her pack and waved the wand around Jerome. The device emitted a series of high pitched beeps. “Oh,” said Anna.

“Oh?” Jerome’s eyes flashed wide with fright. “I don’t like oh’s!”

Anna moved toward Rose next. “Guys, get these boats back to the Space Whale. NOW!”



Fred hummed happily to himself as he perused the Space Whale Operations Manual. To protect the pretty purple cover, he had fashioned a makeshift cover protector out of a coloring book. Although, now he could no longer see the pretty purple cover.

Dr. Metzger approached. “Have you been slipping Dr. Hunt your pickle wine without his knowledge?”

Fred turned bright red. “Well . . . I was thinking about it to be honest. He just seems so gruff and like he needs to have a good time! But, I haven’t yet. I swear! I’ve been too busy trying to find all of the flotation devices that we have in storage!”

“Okay, I just needed to make sure. I believe an alien parasite has latched onto him. During the procedure to remove the pen from Dan’s eye, Dr. Hunt struggled with his depth and size perception. He nearly gouged out the poor bastards good eye with the pliers.”

“That’s horrible!”

“No one seems to like Dan anyway, but I stopped Dr. Hunt from pulling out his good eye. But make sure you don’t let Dr. Hunt onto the fact that you know he has a parasite. I’m not sure yet if it’s only affecting his physical capacities or if it has some type of cognitive control over him. He kept going on about how he was surprised that a ‘small’ girl like Tina could throw such a punch. The girl has to be nearly six foot tall! I played it off, so if the parasite has cognitive control of him, it doesn’t know I’m wise to the bugger.”

“Possibly a Freudian slip, eh?” Fred scratched his head. “Do you think the parasite could be a proxy for a greater being?”

“Possibly. I need to talk to Officer Stone. In the meantime . . . proceed as normal I suppose.”

“You can count on me!” Fred tucked the Space Whale Operation Manual under his arm, grabbed his orange soda off the table, and headed to the Command Center to release the remaining 2,000 some colonists from Cryo-sleep.



In deep sedation, Daniel dreamed of riding a horse into a setting sun while deer and antelope frolicked in the periphery of his vision.



Dr. Hunt attempted to open a can of grape soda. But he could not seem to place his hand on the tab. After several failed attempts, he sat down to recollect himself and assess the situation, only to miss the chair and fall to the floor.

“This . . . is not good.” Dr. Hunt closed his eyes and began to analyze and self-diagnose, all while lamenting his lack of grape soda.

The Space Whale’s computer droned through the ship. “Colonization Program activated. Unsealing cryo-sleep chambers in T-minus 60 seconds.”

Dr. Hunt groaned. “This . . . is worse.”



Dom tossed his shovel into ditch. “Why are we the only ones digging?”

Lily’s lips slipped into a coy smirk. “Well, we could always start doing something else.”

“Can I have my mountain climbing lesson now?”

“The full lesson? Right now?” Lily asked in genuine surprise. “Don’t you think that is completely and utterly foolish and irresponsible?”

Dom’s skin resembled a tomato. “I’m sorry. I -”

Lily grabbed him by the arm and tugged him out of the ditch. “If you’re not being stupid and reckless, you’re not having fun! Let’s go!”

The two marched off toward one of the rock cliffs. Lily had already packed a pair of bags with mountain climbing gear before anyone had disembarked the Space Whale. Normally, Dom may have thought this odd, but he had no doubts at this point that Lily truly loved him and was just thoroughly prepared for the great honor of going on a date with him. She even packed a lunch and wine. Thankfully, not pickle wine though.

Together they sat in the shade of a tall tree with bark as black as pitch, eating turkey sandwiches and holding hands with intense fiery passion. Lily even laced her fingers around his hand! They decided to save the wine for after the climbing lesson, for even reckless star-crossed lovers know the boundary line between flirtatious fun and damning debauchery.

Lily showed Dom the proper way to put on his harness. She knelt before him, taking her sweet time attaching the safety apparatus to him as her eyes lingered on his trousers. Dom wiggled in giddy glee when her hand grazed his inner thigh.

Next, Lily instructed Dom on several knots and how to check a rope for frays.

“You’re such a fast learner!” Lily planted a delicate kiss on Dom’s cheek. “You’re going to be a great mountain climber, I can tell!”

Finally, Lily tutored Dom on how to set his pins into the rock walls.

“Let’s do this!” Dom literally jumped up and down in his excitement.

“Hold on there, Tiger,” said Lily. “Let’s do a few safety runs first. Then maybe I’ll let you try a short climb on your own. But only if you think you’re ready.”

Truth be told, Dom proved to be an excellent fledgling mountaineer. He soaked in every word that Lily spoke and soon convinced her that he could handle a short solo climb. Dom could certainly use the confidence boost.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” Lily asked.

Dom nodded.

“Alright, keep your focus and remember what I taught you.”

Together they climbed up the rock face, side-by-side, up to a height of twenty feet.

“I can go higher!” said Dom. “Another ten feet, please? No, twenty more feet!”

Lily shook her head. “Not twenty. We can do another ten. But that’s it.”

And so they climbed once more. When they covered another ten feet, Dom turned to Lily and beamed a brilliant grin of pure joy.

“This has been the best day of my life!”

And then Lily leaned over and unclipped Dom’s carabiner.



...


Group policy choice:

As the 2,000 some colonists awake from cryo-sleep, they generally feel . . .



A: Indifferent to the Preliminary Exploration crew and work cooperatively with them.

B: Angry with the Preliminary Exploration crew for not waking them up upon landing.

C: Outraged with the Preliminary Exploration crew for not waking them up and for being generally incompetent.

Atlas

4 days ago

Honestly, the most logical one in my opinion would be C.  While our characters can see the reasoning I suspect the colonists would be pretty peeved about being kept in the dark about landing and important choices.

Atlas

4 days ago

Are you fucking kidding me?! We are the preliminary exploration team. We literally just finished “preliminarily exploring” and then we woke them right the fuck up. Mission a-fucking-complished! If anything, they should be thankful for all the fucking floaties and the potential for horse-octopus fucking. Burp. (There is pickle wine in my orange soda tee hee) 

Atlas

4 days ago
Gee, what would we do without Fred?

And I'll go with Option B. I'll admit Option C makes the most sense, but maybe we can play ourselves off as semi-competent if we lie and stuff.

Other thoughts:

Not sure what that was for, but lol, poor Dom.

Glad to have the answer as to Tina's apparent dramatic height loss + incredibly jumping ability, although Officer Stone was still picking her up and carrying her around so maybe there's more to that?

Hunt is losing his mind but is it JUST Hunt? 'Alien parasite' seems like a weird conclusion to jump to when there could be other stuff going on there.

Jerome on the other hand is full of squid eggs now I guess....even if I'm not ruling out a fake out. The bio scanner could be picking up all the suddenly awakened colonists instead, maybe?

At least Daniel's having a pleasant time this update.

Atlas

4 days ago
A. I want to survive.

Hey, my character hasn't been raped or killed by a rock climber, so I want this to turn out well. Also, I watched Alien. Parasites aren't good.

Atlas

4 days ago
I think I'll go with C. I mean, we're on an alien world without the slightest idea what we're up against. They're lucky that any of us made it back to wake them at all. Plus, it looks like it has the most potential for even more laughs.

Atlas

4 days ago

A.

There’s 2000 people, I doubt if all of them are going to be angry. It’s starting a colony on an alien planet, it’s not going to be nice and neat and shit happens. They knew that signing up. 

And I imagine some of them are going to be slackers and glad they didn’t get woken up on time and happy some scouting was done. Better that just Jerome got tentacle raped than one of them who might have stumbled into that lake.

So taking all that into consideration, you’ll get an average feeling of indifference by the crowd. Some just thankful they arrived safe, others bitching about everything, and others genuinely not giving a shit one way or another.

Atlas

4 days ago
I figure they'd mainly be upset they didn't get to vote on a planet.

Atlas

4 days ago

Clearly we have two different kinds of people here. A group and C group. A group is clearly the most logical choice if we’re picking based on what the events would likely be. Most people, I imagine, wouldn’t care a lick if we were awaken early. They’d likely even be happy that there is somewhat of a base camp and cursory reconnaissance already underway. That makes sense. 

What doesn’t make sense is them being outraged, or even angry at our being taken out of cryo-sleep early. Now there might be those that are jealous that they didn’t get woken up instead, but I think you’ll find that most people would agree that a preliminary group is absolutely necessary. 

Also, the only group that was incompetent was the sailing group. Blame them for that. Everyone else did their jobs just fine. Except Dom. Dom is dumb. 

Anyhow is clearly the best, most obvious choice. That’s where my vote  goes.

Atlas

3 days ago
A. Yes, some of them will surely be angry that they weren't woken up earlier, some will complain that we're all idiots (and they won't be far from the truth), some might even complain that they weren't woken up later, after humanity already reinvented the internet. But I think most of them will either understand that it would've been an awful idea to risk all their lives by waking them all up before exploring the planet, or just won't care.

Atlas

3 days ago
Just curious, what would have happened to the cryosleep people if we'd managed a TPK?

Atlas

3 days ago

Obviously I WANT A, but it'd so definitely be C. I'd hate us too.

Atlas

3 days ago

I don’t see how C is a realistic choice at all. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m my experience most people aren’t unreasonably angry for people doing their job.

Atlas

3 days ago
People in charge doing their job badly leads to disgruntlement.

Aside from being left out of the planet choice, which is a big one, there's already been one attempted murder, arguably two, and nothing around the base is set up to accommodate 2000 people. We have a ditch and vague plans of sticking some spiky logs up, that's it. It's not a job to be taken lightly even getting organized enough to hand out food to that many people. They're going to be cranky and uncomfortable and questioning what gives us the right to make all the decisions when we've done nothing for them so far but waste supplies and equipment.

Although I guess they can shit in the ditch, so there's that.

I don't mind if A wins, cooperative minions will be useful, but I'll laugh my ass off if our merry band of fuckups get exiled or something.

Atlas

3 days ago

Everyone picking C is being a fucktard.

Doesn’t even make sense for a majority of the colonists to be that outraged especially since they wouldn’t even know if we were “incompetent” seeing as we didn’t fuck up anything major. The ship didn't blow up, the water supply wasn't contaminated, etc.

The only two major things that could be considered “fuck ups” is Daniel getting stabbed in the eye and he obviously acted in a threatening manner so the stabbing Tina did was justified. In fact I suggest if he even pulls through, he should be kept in a cell for everyone’s safety.

Given that nobody liked Daniel, I doubt if there were any other colonists on board that are going to give a shit about him.

The other one would be Jerome who definitely should be quarantined and kept under observation until we can determine if he’s infected with alien eggs or not.

And even THAT had an up side. Again, the colonists are going to be happy a potential threat was discovered before any of them got raped.

Even choice B makes more sense and that’s still retarded.

And I propose that if C wins, the retarded faggots who voted for it suffer the most consequences for their idiocy.

If you don’t want to be a retarded faggot, pick A because once again as usual I’m correct.

Atlas

3 days ago
A is playing on easy mode like a baby, B is normal difficulty like Jesus intended.

Agreed that C is retarded and the people voting for everyone to hate them deserved to be stoned by the angry populace.

Atlas

3 days ago
Okay but fine, since we're obviously splitting between the extremes I'll change my vote to A on the grounds our characters are exactly the type to make up a bunch of lies to make ourselves look better.

I say we blame everything that's gone wrong on Daniel and Fred. That's believable enough to make the rest easier to swallow.

Atlas

3 days ago
@Bucky

Atlas

3 days ago

A. It’s actually “Fredrick”.

B. Apparently, Jerome’s the one who believably easily swallows. (+1 alien charisma?)

D. Since I’m waking the fuckers up, let’s give them each a floaty and a pickle to smooth things over. They’re gonna freakin' love us! :D

Atlas

3 days ago

A. Why would they be mad that they got to sleep in while we did all the heavy lifting?

Atlas

3 days ago
They should be mad at Fred, specifically, for waking them up before the camp was livable. They can be cool with everybody else though, that's fine.

Atlas

3 days ago

We've had sex with the natives. That's the intergalactic thumbs-up signs for defrosting. Boxes checked. Protocols followed. Go team! ;D

Atlas

3 days ago
I'd be willing to change my vote if @Bucky would kindly explain that the 2,000 are in fact Amish and haven't seen the Alien movies and what happens to defenseless people in cryosleep. It's not a matter of them wanting to pull their own weight as much as it is that they wouldn't want to be left to take it up the wazoo while just a skeleton crew was out doing whatever it is they were doing.

Atlas

3 days ago
A seems the most logical to me. I just really don't think that many people would care and instead would be excited that this cryo thing actually worked and they're not all dead.

Atlas

yesterday
You can assume A will be the group choice.

Personal character choice this week is an open choice. PM me - in the same message chain you've been getting character choices - an action, plan, plot, etc. that your character intends to try to set in motion.

Atlas

yesterday
You can't see it but I'm rubbing my hands together evilly right now.

Atlas

yesterday

I feel like I can see it! #evilgenius :'(

Atlas

21 hours ago
I'm amazed more people didn't vote on this. Any random forum goer had the ability to screw our characters over consequence free and for some reason they didn't do it.

Atlas

20 hours ago

Fairly certain only people with characters get any say in the vote. I dunno, maybe that changes now that some of the colonist are awake (CYS masses now representing the colonists or something)

That's why I don't know why you didn't think I had a character especially when I had repeatedly said in the lair that I did and Bucky said in the lair he was PMing me personal choices.

Atlas

19 hours ago
Personal choices are for people with characters, group choices are for everyone. It's been mentioned a few times but not specifically in the OP of this thread. (Which might be why it's suddenly getting less participation than the others.)

Atlas

19 hours ago

Hey I got an idea for Bucky to implement in the story/game if he so desires.

Since choice A was voted for and the colonists were indifferent and compliant, I suggest that anyone without an actual character (unwashed CYS masses) in the story that votes from now on only has their votes count for half as much for future group votes.

Atlas

14 hours ago

But... But... You're the one who rallied the troops to vote for Atlas! #HopelesslyGaslighted

Atlas

14 hours ago

Ah... Characters hadn't been selected back then. #Ungaslighted