Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Tritsteel, Dec 2, 2013.

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  1. Space, a quite huge place... Not something new, anyways. Even with all this years of space career and exploration, all we found is new planets, entire sectors presumably empty all filled with stars and places to discover. Everything just seems to get bigger and bigger instead of smaller. Space, peaceful in its own magnificent way, awaiting to be discovered by anyone daring enough to venture past the edge of the know, a always moving line, thin enough to be broken by simply looking towards it.

    But as humans we are all, we carve for chaos, we rejoice in destruction, and everything we touch declines into our corruption and thirst for dominance. It will never matter how many years, decades or even centuries pass, men will always desire and thus, will always battle each other, cheat, trade and swindle. But that is the way things have always gone, from men being just a bunch of dots in Earth to being dots in space.

    Welcome to the Diamondblack

    Contraband has always existed, and even in this endless space, some people keeps providing those kinds of services under the radar of the law. But to be honest, the Diamondblack is not that bad of a ship to be in; it has all kinds of services, is not too small, neither too big, has a pretty decent commander and the best of all: is armed enough to keep both pirates and enforcers away, and even those who could put a fight don't. Wouldn't be profitable.

    Nice little ecosystem has the Diamondblack set up: Travels all around the known systems, trades with suspicious goods, not all of them legal, but not strictly illegal neither. Sees some action every now and then and its crew even gets to see amazing things such a sun set in systems with two or even more suns or space clouds and formations showing colours never before imagined.

    Ah, the Diamondblack crew... Is not as numerous as it could be, that's why the ship feels so wide sometimes, but they are a nice bunch of mercenaries and hired muscle, all of them with their own motivations and loyal to the commander. As long as they are kept busy, fed, entertained and of course paid. But what will this be without main characters?

    Vasily 'Klondike Bear' Kovalyev.

    That guy... Even after all this years speaking English, his accent is so thick sometimes you can't understand what is he saying, that plus his habit to mix languages when excited makes it up for dangerously fun moments. Also a mechanic, Vasily is known for being able to drive pretty much anything. If it can be driven, of course. As for personality, inopportune and cynical would be two words that would fit and describe him quite easily.

    "I hate this place!" Exclaimed one of the soldiers, kicking the sand of that forgotten desert planet on the outskirts of the mapped universe. "I bet this place hate you too, friend." Replied Vasily with a chuckle. "Shut up you two! Damn... I got sand even in my underpants..." Said another mercenary, all of them resting in cheap beach chairs under the shadow the Diamonblack cast.

    "I guess we should be thankful this place have breathable atmosphere." Added Vasily, who was wearing just some pants and a shirt, showing his 'Mother-Russia' features, and hiding his eyes behind dark glasses. "Meh... Just stop complaining... I heard we should be set and ready to go in a couple of hours." Said the first soldier.
  2. Footsteps echoed throughout the quiet corridor of the Diamondblack. A young woman dressed in full body suit armor walked with determination, carrying a silver suitcase in her right hand. Her expression solemn as she continued to walk through the vast spaceship.
    "Hey Aurora!" A male voice called out from behind her. She stopped for a moment and turned to look at the soldier who had called out to her. Her expression still solemn as she asked, "Yes?"

    "Where ya headed? Need company?" the soldier asked in a suggestive manner.
    "No thanks." with that Aurora turned and left the soldier.
    "Damn...she's hot, but a total bitch." the soldier muttered under his breath.
    "It's cos she's not interested in other guys." a female voice spoke from behind the soldier.
    He turned to see another female member of the Diamondblack crew, one of the researchers.
    "Oh, hey Merle." the soldier greeted her nonchalantly before asking, "What do you mean 'other guys'? Does she like someone already?"
    "Yeah. The lead researcher." Merle grinned.
    "Wha-?!" the soldier took a step back, "That dork? C'mon he's not even good-looking."
    "She doesn't care about looks. She likes him for who he is and his intelligence." Merle chuckled at the soldier's reaction, "So I suggest you give up."

    Aurora Horace...


    She was a member of the Diamondblack's research team, notoriously known for being bitchy to most but normal to a select few. Despite her cold exterior she was a dependable person but always kept herself busy in the labs, tinkering with her numerous inventions. She liked building things, from scratch or upgrading stuff just for the fun of it. Today she just completed the modifications on her experimental photon blades and was excited to test it out. It was dangerous to test an experimental weapon on board of the ship, so since they've landed on a seemingly deserted planet, she might as well give it a whirl.

    "Aurora?" a soft-spoken male voice called out to her.
    Aurora turned immediately, she knew this voice. It was the voice of the lead researcher and her crush, Manfred Sohma.
    "Hello Professor Sohma." Aurora bowed slightly, she would always address him with respect even though they were just 5 years apart.
    "Geez, you make me sound old." Manfred chuckled as he scratched his cheek hesitantly, "Please, just call me Manfred, or Fred."
    "I couldn't possibly..." Aurora's voice trailed off as she looked away, her cheeks blushing slightly.
    "A-anyway...where are you going fully decked out like that?" Manfred asked raising an eyebrow.
    Aurora raised the silver suitcase to her chest and grinned, "Hee hee, I'm gonna test this out."
    "You completed it?" Manfred's voice and expression couldn't hide his surprise.
    "Yep." Aurora nodded, "I'm going to test it outside since it's still experimental, don't want to damage the ship by accident. You know how much the Commander loves his 'baby'."
    "Alright. Just be careful out there ok? Do you need someone to accompany you? Well...not that you really need anyone watching over you." Manfred scratched the back of his head, feeling slightly embarrassed, "Despite being on the research team, your combat prowess is up to par with the soldiers...perhaps even better than some of them."
    "Nah." Aurora shook her head, "I'm just lucky I guess."
    "Alright. Take care then." Manfred waved at Aurora and left, his face still a little flustered.

    Aurora sighed and continued to walk to the docking bay. When she was there she noticed that one of the docking bay platforms were open. Guess there were people outside of the ship. When she walked down the platform she was surprised to see some of the soldiers sitting in the shade of the ship, one of them in just a shirt and pants. She shook her head, she knew who that was. It was Vasily.
    "I don't think the Commander pays you guys to loiter around." Aurora said as she walked past Vasily and the other mercenaries.
  3. The soldiers were just enjoying their peace, trying not to get too annoyed by the thin sand and the heat that warmed the whole damn planet. "You guys tried the new Spas shoguns?" Wondered one of the soldiers, naming a recent acquisition / gift that was given in bulk to the commander. Weapon dealers can get really grateful, as surprising as it may sound. "Wha... Against what? It's been months since the last time we got in a skirmish against someone!" Exclaimed another mercenary, obviously paid for his eagerness and energy.

    The men kept chatting about their mercenary stuff when the woman appeared, quarrelling them for procrastinating. "Well, we are paid to protect the ship... Doesn't look like 'she' needs to be protected against anything right now." Said one of the mercenaries. "That's because there is fucking nothing in here!!!" Exclaimed another one into the air, making his voice echo a little bit in the endless emptiness of that planet. The other soldiers chuckled, but Vasily became curious upon seeing that briefcase the woman had in her hands.

    "Lady! извините, lady..." Said Vasily as he got up and picked the same pace the woman had, walking next to her as she stepped out of the shadows. "Hmmm... леди, it may be dangerous to go out there alone!" Said him exclaiming in a mocking / fun way. "Klondike! You ain't getting her!" Exclaimed cheerfully one of the mercenaries. But Vasily didn't really wanted to flirt with her. It felt more like he was trying to be sarcastically gentle, but genuinely curious about that briefcase. "So... Tell me, chica... What's in box?" Wondered Vasily with a teasing smile, looking at the briefcase, always keeping the distances. "Does it explode?" Wondered him with a chuckle.
  4. Aurora ignored the men as they chided. She did her best to ignore Vasily, although he seemed quite persistent.
    She kept on walking not decreasing her pace as the casually dressed mercenary followed her.
    "Dangerous?" She smirked, "That would be a lot better. It means I've got something to test my new 'toy' on."
    She started to walk briskly when the man beside her started asking about the briefcase.
    "It's none of your business." she replied, her grip on the briefcase tightening.
    "As for exploding..." she paused for a moment and looked at Vasily straight in the eye. She tilted her head and smirked, "There is a possibility."
    She then turned on her heels and walked away, "Although it's nothing of your concern."

    "Hey...who's that?" one of the research team members asked as he pointed out the ship's window.
    "Who?" Merle asked as she looked at where the researcher was pointing.
    "That guy that's following Aurora. He's got balls following her when she's about to test one of her new weapons."
    Merle looked at the distancing figure of Aurora and a man in what seemed like vacation clothes trailing behind her.
    "Wow, and he's following her in such clothing too." Merle shook her head, "It's pretty hot outside, he'll get dehydrated if he walks around in that."
    "I'm more worried about what Aurora would do to him if he doesn't leave her alone." the researcher crossed his arms and nodded, "You know she dislikes being bothered when testing new equipment."
    Merle and the researcher were quiet for a moment before they turned to look at each other.
    "100 credits on that guy getting his ass kicked by Aurora", the researcher grinned.
    "Deal!" Merle chuckled.
    "You're suppose to give an opposing bet you know..."
  5. Vasily stopped for a second and put his hands in his hips as he looked at the girl being all rude with all that secrecy around that briefcase. "Come on, красавица, don't be so rude with poor Vasily!" Said him jokingly once more, getting her pace again and walking not too close to her. He may not be sure what her name was, but he had heard about this woman who invented stuff and kicked serious ass. Even if the idea was quite tempting, he wasn't feeling like being beaten up by a woman that day. But secrecy and the chance for explosions? Never a better time to be inappropriate and stick his nose in the matter.

    "I won't be a bother, I promise..." Said him, as another incentive for the woman to let him watch what she had in store to try that... Morning, I guess, since thanks to a binary-sun system the light was always present in the surface of the planet. Suns that were only stopped by the atmosphere, which helped the whole place to have a half-bearable temperature on the surface. "Oh! Just remember your name! Aurora was, right?" Wondered Vasily.
  6. Aurora was now getting annoyed at this man that was pestering her. And what is with his accent?
    Then again she heard the rumors about Vasily and how persistent he can be so there shouldn't be anything wrong if she just let him watch right?
    Aurora left a sigh when she heard her name. She stopped and turned to face the man again, this time with an irritated look on her face.
    "Alright, I'll let you watch." She said monotonously, "But get in my way and I promise you, you will get hurt."
    With that she started down the path again and continued walking until they were about a mile away from the Diamondblack.

    "This should be a good place as any..." she said as she set down the briefcase and opened it. Inside there were a few objects, two of them looked like the hilt of a light saber, although slightly wide and more rectangular than round. There were also a few circular disk-like objects and a jet black box the size of your typical 9x9 puzzle cube. She took out the light saber hilts, one in each hand and looked at it. Her stare on the object was intense as she observed it from every angle. Once satisfied she took a few steps away from Vasily and clicked on the pressure buttons on the hilts.
    The sound of sliding metal can be heard as metal blades slid out of the hilt seamlessly, forming a blade. She did this a few times, making the blade retract and slide out of the hilt until she was satisfied that it was working smoothly. She looked around her for something to cut. She found a small boulder, about the size of a human head on the ground. She approached it and with one smooth swing, she cut the boulder in half. She retracted the blade and crouched next to the boulder, observing the cut.

    "Hmm...seems like there some jagged edges. Meaning on its own this blade can only cut through certain things of certain thickness..." she muttered to herself as she picked up the cut boulder and ran her fingers on the jagged edges. "Now for the main event." she grinned to herself as she stood up and looked for an even bigger boulder. The boulder she found was a few feet away and it was just twice the size of the first boulder she cut. Holding the sword hilts to her side, she extended its blade once again to form a full sword. But this time, she clicked on something and the sword started to pulse and glow a light purple.
    "I guess I should try 20% power output..." Aurora clicked on something with her thumbs and the sword glowed a little brighter. She raised both pulsing blades above her head and in one swing brought it down onto the boulder. There was the sound of something clashing with the boulder and a little bit of smoke. She retracted the blade and looked at the boulder. The place where she cut it was still smoldering, but did she cut right through it?

    As if to answer her question the boulder split in half and the cut inside the boulder was a lot smoother than the previous one, without the extra oomph. Aurora's face brightened and she fist pumped a hand to the air.
    "Yes it worked!" she cried happily. She was so focused on her new weapon that she had forgotten that she wasn't alone.
  7. Vasily didn't got too much in her way, he was just happy being able to see a lady do potentially awesome stuff while looking pretty. Of course, what happened was quite far from what he was expecting. In the end nothing really exploded. "Yay..." Cheered him, probably breaking the Sarcasm-machine with it. "So you made sword..." Wondered him scratching his chin as if he was thoughtful about the item the girl had invented. "It's cool, it's cool... Must say is not one of your most impressive invention." Said Vasily, just teasing at this point.

    Luckily for him, the radio he carried on him saved him from being shook by the woman. "'Klondike'! Get moving! We are leaving this place!" Exclaimed a voice over the little transmission device. "Alright, в порядке..." Replied Vasily. "Come on, pretty lady. I bet rocks have learned their lesson!" Exclaimed the man laughing, enjoying once more this time he was working with the Diamondblack and its crew.
  8. Aurora snapped back to reality and realized that Vasily was there. His sarcastic cheer and comment seemed to make her blood boil.
    "It's not just a sword..." Aurora said through gritted teeth, "It's-"
    Before she could continue, the voice from the man's transmission device interrupted. Maybe it was for the best, there's no point for her to explain just how awesome it was for her prototype weapon to work. At least she felt satisfied knowing that it works and she was the only one, with it. Aurora didn't mind the blasters and photon guns but sometimes when those run out of juice they're nothing but dead weight. Sides, she's been trained in close combat so might as well have a close combat weapon at the ready.

    "Finally we're leaving this place." Aurora muttered under her breath as she packed up her items back into the silver briefcase. She shook her head at Vasily's remark.
    "How I'd wish you were a rock." She snorted and stormed off back towards the Diamondblack. But despite her bitchy attitude, she was actually getting excited over the fact that they were going to head off somewhere again. What kind of mission will it be this time? Will she get new parts to modify her equipment and weapons? A small smile played on her lips as she thought about all the sorts of devices and technology she'll get her hands on in the next job the Commander had planned.

    Merle and the other researcher had been staring out the window of the ship, looking for any signs of Aurora and Vasily to return. What they saw surprised them. Aurora had a slight smile on her face while Vasily was just not too far away from her. Did something happen? Did that man do the job that everyone in the research team thought only Manfred, the lead researcher could do? Did he manage to melt the ice queen's heart?
    "Well...this is a surprise..." Merle said as she looked at the returning figures, "What do you make of it?"
    "Her prototype must've worked." the researcher said nodding, "She usually smiles like that when something she made was a success."
    "True," Merle nodded, "But the guy didn't get beat so..."
    The researcher shook his head and sighed, "We both lost this bet, Merle."
  9. For when the two of them got back to the Diamondblack, the crew had already picked up most of their equipment and where heating up the orbital drives to get off the planet. Yeah, even under the heat of that forsaken planet, the orbital drives required to generate such amount of energy that if not properly prepared they could cleave when the Tantalus core sent ludicrous amounts of energy to the drives. It was a sight to see, tho. The core lit like a Christmas tree of black and dark blue hazes jumping all around the core room.

    "I think I'm gonna' need an extra decontamination shower to get rid of all this sand!" Exclaimed happily one of the crew members. "Oh, look who got here! Was about time! Half of the hard work is already done!" Exclaimed one of the soldiers when he saw Vasily. "Come on, 'Klondike'! Help me move this stuff." Asked one of the other mercenaries. "леди!" Exclaimed Vasily calling for Aurora's attention. "See you around!" Added him as he waved his hand in the air.

    In matter of minutes, and after a thorough count of the crew, courtesy of the commander, the ship was set to go, and under the soothing murmur of millions of Joules of energy generated by the core to lift the Diamondblack into space, the ship finally got rid of that desert place. "Hey, Hey! Remember to check the Thanix cannons after the jump, they need some calibrations." The chatter on board was quite lively, people talking about everything and nothing at the same time.

    According to those white-coat, smarty-pants back in the technology complexes in Sol-System, a Relay jump-drive is capable to catapult a space-ship to pretty much anywhere by almost nullifying its mass and virtually making its light-speed limit almost infinite. It's obvious there is much more scientific mumbo-jumbo to it, but the basic idea is quite simple. Of course, this system has its regulations, limitations and it's rules of use and it takes into account many details. Believe me, you don't want to run into a planet at those kinds of velocities.

    "Attention everyone, we are set, Relay jump in ten." Announced the deep voice of the commander though the comms of the ship. But the crew kept doing its stuff, as if alien to the fact they were about to reach unbelievable speeds. That was because a Relay jump takes less than a second and is not even felt by the crew. Not even a tingle in the spine. You blink and Blam! You just crossed half known universe without even realizing it.

    But this story would be nothing else but the half-interesting life of some mercenaries smuggling moral goods across the universe without a plot twist. Quite boring to be honest. "Hmmm... I know I always say the same... But this water tastes..." Wondered one of the maintenance guys, leaned on the wall of some hallway. "Yeah, yeah... Metallic." Replied his friend.

    And it was just as the man placed the dot in his sentence, as his breath formed his last letter, the whole world in everyone's on board became pain. Pitch black even with your eyes wide open, endless darkness, a pressure that not only crushed your body but also your very soul. The air seemed to became hot as a thousand suns, but the temperature felt as zero absolute. You could feel yourself burn, even if your skin felt frozen. What it could probably lasted for five seconds maximum felt like a million year torture for anyone unlucky enough to be part of the Diamonblack crew that day.

    But finally there was light. Light and a unexpected deceleration that sent everyone flying into the nearest wall with painful results. The extremely acute and painful sound of the gravity brakes trying to absorb part of the brutal deceleration was added to the stun effect of the sudden light, putting the cherry on the tip of that bitter nightmare.

    'What did just happened!' That and pain moans were the most appealed sentences those first seconds of returning to normal. Of course normal was far from the actual status of the ship. "There's fire on sections 12 to 18, hull breaches; 25, 26, 32 to 42, 56, 59..." And so it began the artificial voice of the built-in ship systems to announce a almost endless list of broken things. "The oxygen levels! I... I can't hear the hydrogen batteries!" Exclaimed a engineer dude who happened to be nearby Aurora. The man tried to get up, but failed, finding out he had a broken leg.

    "Hmmm.. Damn..." Muttered the man. "Hey! Y-you!" Exclaimed the engineer. "You must go to 80... Diamondblack's belly... If there have been breaches we sure are loosing pressure... And oxygen..." Said the engineer, finding out how much a broken leg hurt. "The life support ain't fast enough to... Just reach the hydrogen batteries and... Just ignite 1 to 4... That should be enough..." Said the engineer, trying to keep explanations to a minimum since the matter at hand seemed quite serious. "I would go myself but..." Said the man letting out a pained chuckle. "Come on, just hurry..."
  10. By the time Aurora reached the Diamondblack it was ready to take off. With a final farewell or whatever it was that he was saying to her, from Vasily, she went off to report her results in the labs.
    "Hey guys!" Aurora walked in with a smile as the automatic door slid open, "It worked! My photon blade worked!"
    "Congratulations!" Merle said and gave Aurora a hug, "We'd better start doing preparations for the next job."
    "Do we have any idea what it is?" Aurora asked as she took her lab coat and put it on over her body suit.
    "Not yet. But I heard it's going to be a big one." another researcher grinned.
    Just then Manfred walked into the lab and looked at his team, "Hey guys, let's continue from where we left off."
    "Yes sir!" everyone nodded.

    "Um...Aurora could you come here for a second and help me with these figures?" Manfred called out to Aurora as he walked to another room with some documents in hand.
    "Alright." Aurora replied as she followed him into the room.
    Inside the room Manfred started to hesitate and his face was slightly red as he addressed the woman before him.
    "Actually I didn't call you in here for help..." he started slowly, scratching his cheek hesitantly.
    "Oh?" Aurora was surprised but at the same time she was elated but did her best to not show it on her face.
    "I have something I want to give you." Manfred produced a box about the width of his palm and gave it to Aurora, "I hope you'll like it."
    "What is it?" Aurora's face brightened as she took the box in hand and looked at Manfred.
    The man just smiled and urged her softly, "Open it."

    Aurora slowly opened the box and inside it was a beautiful ornamental hair accessory in the shape of a butterfly.
    "Wow...this is..." Aurora was speechless. She knew that despite it looking like a hair accessory, it was more than that.
    "I was playing around with some old tech and thought I'd make you a little mechanized helper for research." Manfred said as he started to go over the specifications of the mechanized hair accessory. "It comes with a special scanner that can help detect levels of toxicity in just about anything. It's also handy when wanting to scout areas but it can't travel too far away from the user though. You'll need to calibrate it into your tech gauntlet to access some of its other features. Oh and you can also calibrate it to respond to your body suit, it's not that difficult and-"
    Before Manfred could finish explaining, he felt a soft peck on his cheek as Aurora gave him a soft kiss.
    Manfred held onto his kissed cheek and blushed. Aurora was blushing too and she giggled, "Thank you Manfred. I'll treasure this."
    "Aurora..." Manfred swallowed and was about to lean in to kiss the girl of his dreams when Merle came in through the door with a tablet in hand and a worried look on her face.

    "Hey guys there's some weird readings coming from..." she looked up in time to see Manfred jump away fro a blushing Aurora, "Um...was I interrupting something?"
    "N-n-no, not at all!" Manfred coughed hesitantly and nodded at Aurora, "Right thanks for the help Aurora, you may return to your post."
    "Alright." Aurora smiled and left the room heading back into the common area for the lab.
    Aurora clutched onto the box she had in her hand against her chest and smiled.

    "Attention everyone, we are set, Relay jump in ten."

    The researchers in the lab looked up when they heard the sound of the commander through the comm. Aurora placed the gift that Manfred gave her into her silver briefcase. She then pressed some buttons on the control panel of the briefcase and it locked and produced straps from its sides. Aurora strapped the briefcase, which now looked like a metal backpack on her back as she prepared to leave for her quarters.
    "Hey guys I'm gonna head back to change for a bit." Aurora said to her fellow researchers.
    "Ok!" they replied as they continued doing whatever they were doing. The automatic door slid open and Aurora made her way out.
    Her mind were filled with thoughts of Manfred, if Merle didn't come in when she did would they have...
    Aurora placed both her hands on her cheeks and shook her head. She was blushing furiously. But that moment of bliss was suddenly replaced with sudden darkness, loud crackling noises and the feeling of her own body being torn to pieces but still intact.

    The ship shook violently and Aurora lost her footing. She didn't know where she was, she felt disorientated, the sound was deafening and the temperature was suddenly so hot but so cold at the same time.
    "What's going on?!" Aurora screamed but her voice didn't come out. It seemed like an eternity but after a few moments light returned and she found herself on the ground, her surroundings in a mess as there were debris and sparks everywhere.
    Aurora was still trying to take everything in when she heard the computerized voice announce that there was a fire on board the ship.
    "W-what?" Aurora's eyes widened with fear. "What was going on?"
    But before she could fall into a state of panic, she heard the voice of a man nearby and saw that it was one of the Diamondblack's engineers.
    "Hey you okay?!" Aurora ran to his side and saw that the man was injured, she wanted to call for help but was stopped by him. Apparently the hydrogen batteries weren't working and oxygen levels in the ship were going down fast.
    "You want me to go to 80? The Diamondblack's belly?" Aurora was surprised for a moment but after hearing the engineer's ragged voice her face turned determined and she nodded.

    "Right. I'll go." Aurora stood up and prepared to make a dash to the Diamondblack's belly. As she ran she kept repeating what the engineer said in her mind, 'Hydrogen batteries, ignite 1 to 4!'
    She ran as fast as she could, the ship shook violently again and threw her off her feet.
    "Agh!" Aurora screamed as she slammed into the wall. But she shook it off and continued to run towards her destination.
    'Please...let me make it in time!'
  11. Everyone in the crew of the Diamondblack was quick to put on their suits, or at least in re-breathing masks, after the ship's system voice said the oxygen percentages. They were low. Coffin-level low. At the belly of the Diamondblack rested the life-support systems and other emergency devices and engines. But there was a reason why people call it 80, and it wasn't because it was in section 80 or because a number. It was because the place seemed like taken out of a bad sci-fy movie from the 80`s.

    In the past century, the ancient movies back from the 1950 to 2020 had been on rise, like a fashion thing or something everyone seemed to like. Guess seeing how they saw the future and how wrong they happened to be was amusing to watch nowadays. So, the room, all filled up with blipping lights, dimmed neons and 'chripping' little sounds happened to be out of the artificial gravity grid, which caused the place to be filled with broken things and other devices floating all over.

    But in the middle of all that 'cyber-punk' chaos, it could be heard a voice singing cheerfully from behind one of the server-like racks. On hearing the sound of Aurora making her appearance, the song ended, and who other would pop out from behind the server? "Oh, HAI! I see you didn't forgot Vasily birthday party!" Exclaimed the Russian man as he floated out of cover, wearing on him nothing else but his regular clothes from before, a regular re-breathing mask and what it looked like a small tool-kit gravitating around him.

    The man chuckled. "Just kidding, pretty lady." Said the man as he propelled himself to another server. "I imagine you here for hydrogen cells, yes?" Said the man. "Well, good news: you found them." Said Vasily. "Bad news; only 7 and 8 are operational, and those are for water-recycling systems." Explained the man. "Meaning they are only good for making water, not air." Added him looking at her from behind another server-like thing. "Why don't you take a look at them?" Said him pointing at cells 1 to 4 next to him.
  12. Aurora was quite surprised when she was greeted with some singing and a cheerful hello.
    "V-vasily?!" She exclaimed in surprise when she saw him float about in between the server like things of the Diamondblack's belly.
    But all jokes aside, she had to commend the guy for being the first to reach 80 and despite looking like some vacationer, he was already looking around to see if he could fix anything.

    Aurora then floated towards Vasily, her face serious as she listened to him about the hydrogen cells. She looked at 7 and 8 for a moment and what the cheerful Russian man said was true, they were operational but not for creating oxygen. She then turned to the servers housing the hydrogen cells the injured engineer was talking about.
    "Hmm...." Aurora looked at the control panels for the hydrogen cells, "This doesn't look very good...they seemed pretty damaged and I'm not sure just how much they can be fixed."
    Her hands started to work around the control panel, pressing buttons and pulling switches as the display started to display various data components on the status of the hydrogen cells.

    She then turned to Vasily, "If we're lucky I think hydrogen cells 1 and 3 can be repaired to normal function but 2 might be already damaged beyond repair while 4 we can probably fix it to 50%."
    A small grin then played on her lips as she addressed the cheerful Russian, "Can I leave you to fix the hydrogen cells with your tools while I try to stabilize the cells and slow the oxygen leakage?"
  13. The Russian man, floating upside down next to Aurora, nodded and jokingly saluted her. "Yes ma'am! Vasily fix, Vasily fix!" Said the man as he headed to the damaged hydrogen cells. The noise of tools being used quickly rose above the little sounds on the room, but never above the man singing the Russian anthem. "... Хранимая Богом родная земля! ..." And so he kept singing.

    "I knew I was hearing a crazy Rusky singing!" Exclaimed a man who came floating with another man. "Klondike! We came as soon as we heard about the oxygen!" The other man wasn't a man, was a woman! A quite manly one. "And people always says mercenaries are trouble people!" Replied Vasily, happy to see them. Well, to be honest, Vasily was almost always happy to see pretty much anyone.

    In a blink of an eye, all four crew members were either trying to fix the cells or cleaning the place a little bit so it was easier to sail around the room. "Pretty lady! Cells 1 and 3 are fix!" Said the man with his usual English and smile. "How are things over there?" Asked him as he made the final 'duct-taping' to the servers.
  14. Aurora's fingers were busy typing away at the control panel for the hydrogen cells, the screen before her blinking into various images from data status to charts to percentages. She was so focused on her work that she didn't notice Vasily was singing again. But what she did realize was that the oxygen leakage was getting contained, albeit there is still some leakage happening but the rate of oxygen levels dropping is decreasing gradually.

    Aurora snapped out of focus and heard the Russian man singing in his native language. She peeked at him from behind the control panel and wondered how could he be so cheerfully calm at such a dire circumstance. Then again, it was probably for the better than having a panicky, screaming engineer here as the helper. When the door slid open and revealed two more crew members, Aurora couldn't help but smile slightly. They could use all the help they could get and immediately after exchanging some short pleasantries with Vasily the other two got to working.

    The screen blipped and showed images of hydrogen cells 1 and 3 in green condition, but she only believed it when Vasily shouted out that the two cells were fixed. Aurora let out a sigh of relief, the oxygen levels were slowly starting to go up again, but they weren't out of trouble yet.
    "Good job Vasily!" She gave him a thumbs up with one hand while the other continued to work the control panel, "now that 1 and 3 are working, oxygen levels are starting to rise. If all goes well, it might be back to normal in an hour or so."

    Her face then grimaced as she focused on the control panel again.
    "The only problem now is 2 and 4." She said as she pulled the status for hydrogen cells 2 and 4 onto the display, "I'm going to shut down cell 2, to avoid any complications while you guys fix cell 4. Cell 2 is beyond repair but with 4, I think we can salvage it to at least function at 50%. 60 if we're lucky."
    Aurora's hands moved gracefully on the control panel, shifting one display to another, her eyes scanning for any anomaly in the system as she prepared to shut down the cell 2. But then a warning sign popped up in the control panel's display followed by tons of error messages.

    "What?!" Aurora exclaimed in shock. It was as if the system had locked her out of access and she couldn't access the control for cell 2.
    "This isn't good..." Aurora gritted her teeth as she continued to work on stabilizing the oxygen levels and switching off cell 2.
    "Guys!" Aurora shouted as she slowly drifted upwards, "I can't access automatic control on cell 2. I'm going to have to disconnect it manually. Can I leave the fixing of cell 4 to you?"
    Without waiting for an answer she drifted towards the server housing hydrogen cell two and opened up its manual over ride terminal. Sparks were flying out of the cell's connectors to the oxygen generator and Aurora knew that if she didn't disconnect it now, all the fixing they've done up till now will be useless.
  15. "конечно!" Exclaimed Vasily, pirouetting his way to 4. Now, Vasily knowledge on engineering was no more than what a ship's engine had in it, so the complex systems of that hydrogen battery was a little bit out of his reach. It was just too broken for him to be able to perform his task properly. The other two, on the other side, where having a nice time placing the debris away from the place and recovering some of the parts Vasily happened to need during his work at hydrogen cell 4.

    "Hmmm... нет, that doesn't fit in there...." Muttered him as his mind attempted to reverse-engineer a device that probably took ten of the best scientists and engineers back on Earth. "Hmmm... Neither does it here... Oh, yes it does!" Cheered Vasily as he kind of put all the things together. In the end, only a 33 % performance could be salvaged off that battery. Enough for now, but now the breached sections on the ship will have to be sealed and it would take twice as long to repair them since it will have to be done from the outside.

    In the end, the mercenaries in there had managed to save the day! "Mercenary team: 1! Karma: Zer..." And just as he was about to fail Karma, the gravity grid came back to life and Vasily fell to the floor butt first. "проклятия! Alright alright.... Karma: 1 too..." Said Vasily, letting out a chuckle.
  16. While Vasily was busy fixing up cell 4 with whatever parts he could find, Aurora was messing around with the manual over drive terminal for cell 2. Quickly pressed various buttons, inputing codes hoping that the cable would detach itself from the main oxygen tanks. After several button pressing, she heard the clicking sound of the lock on the cables opening and a soft hissing sound. But just before she could rejoice at the fact that cell 2 was disconnected the cable didn't detach itself from the main tanks.

    “Crap it's stuck.” She grumbled. She had to pull it apart then, since the locks were already released. She floated up towards plug where the cell cable meets the tank socket and tugged at it with all her strength. The cable came loose but not before giving a short burst of pressure towards Aurora which sent her flying to the other end of the room, crashing onto the ship's wall.

    “Agh!” She cried as her body hit the wall with a jolt. And as if to make matters worse, gravity just kicked in and sent her crashing into the ground with a thud. Aurora gave a soft moan before everything around her went black.
  17. "What are we going to do now?" The voice of the doctors and the moans of some other patients could be heard on the med-bay, working as usual, healing those in pain and arguing about a subject that seemed to be concern of everyone on board the Diamondblack. "I--- I don't know. I'm sure the commander is working on it... The other scientists too..." Said the other doctor, a woman. "But... But I heard its serious..." Said the other.

    But was cut by the second doctor who noticed Aurora returning to her senses. "Look, she's waking up!" Said her, making both of them approach to attend her. "Hey, welcome back." Said the woman. "You were out for a while." Said the other. "Well, just for a few hours. You took quite a hit to the head." Said the female doctor. "But we patched you real nice. You should be good as new." Said her with a smile a little bit forced to feel natural. "There's some other patients who also require our attention." Said one doctor to the other. "Yes... Look, you've been out for a while. There's been some issues... You should go talk to the commander." Advised the woman before the both doctors went to attend other medical issues.

    Commander Solt Abner

    Finding the commander won't be a hard thing to do, he was usually at the bridge managing comms and energy levels, on the CIC looking at maps and charts of the known galaxy, or the cockpit with the pilot and the navigation systems. "There must be something we can do." Insisted Abner, standing next to one of the navigation holograms on the cockpit. The device showed nothing else but nonsense and an awful lot of synchronization errors and triangulation mistakes. In there a couple of technicians and a odd, crazy-scientist like kind of scientist, also attempted to solve the issue at hand.

    "I've been looking at the stars, Commander." Stated the crazy-looking scientist. "They... Aren't the same as usual... Those are not our stars." Said the man. "Yes, Achilles, that much we know. There was a peak of energy on the Tantalus core and it overpowered the jump. Yes, we know we are lost, but how do we go back?" Asked one of the technicians. "You have not been listening to me, right?" Wondered the old man. "This system, the stars surrounding it, even the ones ten or even a hundred light years distant aren't the ones we know of." At the words of the old scientist all of them went silent, letting just the gentle humming of the ship systems sound for a second. "We ain't anywhere near home. We are lost. And we can't just turn around and jump towards the direction we came from, taking in consideration the drift, the relative position of the planets in time and space... We don't even know the amount power sent to the jump drives..."

    "Enough." Said Abner.
  18. Aurora awoke to the sound of chattering. She couldn't make out what they were saying but she did whatever it was it didn't sound very good. The people talking about it had a hint of worry in their voices. She moaned slightly and opened her eyes. She was greeted by a female doctor who put her up to speed. She blinked for a moment before everything came back to her.
    "Oh!" she immediately sat up from the bed and looked around. She was in the med-bay,but how did she get there? No this wasn't the time to think about it. The events that happened before she blacked out, what were they? What had happened to the ship that it was in such turmoil and chaos? She thanked the doctors and rushed out of the med-bay, running towards the direction of the lab to see if the others were alright. On her way she met up with Manfred.

    "Aurora! You're alright!" Manfred looked relieved when he saw her running down the corridor.
    "Manfred, what happened? Is everything okay now? Is the ship stable?" Aurora started asking questions but Manfred just shook his head and gestured for her to calm down.
    "I'm not sure...something happened, it seemed like there was an incident with the relay jump but we're not entirely sure." Manfred said as he gestured Aurora to follow him.
    "Where are we going?" Aurora asked as she followed his quick pace.
    "The bridge." Manfred's tone was serious, "We need to see the commander."

    When Manfred and Aurora arrived at the bridge, they were just in time to see the other scientists panicking over something on the holographic displays and the commander telling them to stop.
    "Commander Abner," Manfred greeted the commander with a salute, "You called for me sir?"
    While Manfred was busy with the commander, she looked up at the displays and her eyes widened in surprise. The constellations were different, they weren't the stars of the galaxies that they've explored, no these were...these were new formations. Were they in a part of space that hasn't been explored yet? But how would that be possible? Relay jumps only sent vessels to places that have already been discovered...but this...
    "Where are we?" she muttered under her breath as she stared at the displays.
  19. There was some silence Aurora and Manfred appeared. It seemed like no one wanted to talk about the issue at hand now. "That's the issue. We don't know." Replied the Commander who, in so much silence, had overheard Aurora wonder their location. Walking closer to the display and motioned Manfred, showing all the information that was going in, slowly generating a small stellar map of their surrounding as it reset. "The Tantalus core sent a peak of energy at the same time the jump drives required the energy to make a jump." Explained one of the technicians. "We think the drives soaked up all that excess of energy and.... Well, left us in the middle of nowhere." Added the technician.

    The navigation hologram was done with its reset and was finally showing what it was meant to show; a map of where the ship was. "Hmmm... the long range image is broken... The long range scanners must be damaged..." Said Achilles as he toyed with the holographic device. "The images here are a sector's distance from our position... Maybe two, can't be entirely sure." Said the man, showing the usual view of the map. There were a couple of systems shown in the map catalogued as 'Unidentified', but besides that there was nothing else.

    There was someone who said the usual 'But there must be something we can do' and then they all started to argue. "With the system off the grid we can't triangulate our position, even if you picked a telescope and looked at the start it wouldn't be of any use neither. This aren't our stars! For all we know we could be a thousand galaxies away from ours!" Said Achilles. "That can't be done! Even state-of-the-art jump drives have limitations! There isn't a capacitor big enough to do that kind of jump!" Replied the technician. "But what if a Tantalus core was able to send energy for more than a split second to the jump drives? A capacitor wouldn't be necessary to store the energy, it would only require the constant feeding of the core." Replied Achilles. "That's crazy! The energy sent should be completely constant! A single joule up or down and the fail-safe systems would stop the jump!" Said the technician.

    "Then it's not impossible?" Wondered Achilles. "N... No, on paper it isn't." Said the technician, falling into the realization of what may have happened. "But the chances are... ridiculous. A Tantalus core is unstable by nature, that's why the drives require capacitors; they store energy and send it to the drives in the exact amount they require and for as long as they require. Most of the time is just a few milliseconds...." Explained the technician. "But if the peak of the core was high enough, it could have bypassed the resistances of the capacitors... And if it was constant enough, it could have feed the drives for long enough to put us in the other side of the universe." Added the technician.

    "Wait, there must be some kind of record! We must have the readings of the energy output of the core at the time of the jump!" Exclaimed in hope the other technician. "No, something in the process caused a soft-EMP. All systems got reset." Said Achilles in devastating hopelessness. His happiness for being right had vanished. "Even if we had those records, it would be of no use. As he had said, there is no capacitors big enough, and the chances the core give us the exact amount of energy it gave us, the same amount of time it did and at the same time we ignite the jump-drives.... Well, it's impossible." Said Achilles.
  20. Aurora and Manfred watched the holographic map for a moment while listening to the argument of the technicians in the background.
    "We're definitely, no where near home." Manfred said as he looked at the display. He then turned to look at Aurora, whose face was in deep concentration. Manfred knew that look. It was a look that both excited and worried him. Aurora was thinking of something, perhaps one of her inventions, to see if it can be modified to help the current situation. Manfred knew of one such invention but it was still experimental and it hadn't even cleared its prototype stage. If she were considering to use that device...it would be similar to suicide.

    Aurora turned to look at Manfred, her eyes showing determination and he knew what she was planning to do.
    "No..." he shook his head, "No. No. No! It's experimental we can't risk using it!"
    "I know." Aurora nodded, "That's why I need to test it first."
    "Where? You can't test it here. The energy conversion and output of that device is too strong and will damage the ship if tested in closed quarters!" Manfred objected.

    "Who said anything about testing it here?" Aurora tilted her head slightly, a small smile playing on her lips.
    "Aurora...what are you thinking?" Manfred asked, his face clearly shocked.
    Aurora walked over to the technicians and asked,"So as long as we have a capacitor or something like it that can generate its own energy and feed the energy to the Tantalus Core, we could get it to do a Relay Jump back to the normal paths of the known jump streams?"
    She then crossed her arms and said, "I have a device that is sort of like a capacitor but it has the ability to generate its own energy provided we find a suitable element to fuse it with. It's still in it's developing stages and it is quite dangerous to use therefore..."
    Aurora turned to look at Commander Abner and said, "I would like permission to leave the ship and look for a proper element to fuse with the device and test it. I can't test it here as it might make matters worse but I think it's possible to test it at one of the various unidentified systems in this star cluster. I would bet there would be a planet or two that might be hospitable enough for me to do my testing."

    "Are you crazy?!" Manfred raised his voice in objection, "Even if you succeeded in finding the element and testing it, it's still dangerous. There is still a chance that you could get killed testing the damn thing!"
    "I know..." Aurora spoke softly, but continued in a more determined voice, "But I have faith in it. Sides, we both worked on it together. I think there is a chance it will work, no matter how slim."
    She then turned back to the commander, "The question is, do we have the resources to do this? I'll need a ship to traverse this system while the Diamondblack can stay here and act as main base. What do you think, commander?"
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