Space Dust (Peregrine Falcon)

Peregrine

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As soon as Aeva noticed Asher had grabbed the cards she stopped her pointless rummaging, re-securing the door to the little maintenance hatch. Instead, she strolled over to the couch, plunking herself down before staring at Asher, palm supporting her chin.

"I\m sorry you ended up having to give her away," Aeva said softly, her eyes dropping slightly and a sad smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "There's a lot to love about being an Explorer. You're going to see and do things that no other person in the entire universe ever will. It's remarkable. But it comes with its costs, and they can be just as pronounced as the benefits. Outside of the danger, one of the biggest costs are personal connections back home. It can be hard to make and maintain meaningful relationships when you're out in the wider universe for months at a time, with no form of contact."

Seeming to realize what should have been a simple comment had turned into a long ramble instead, Aeva lifted her eyes again and let out a slightly forced but still cheerful chuckle.

"But I'm sure that First Men's inundated you with all the horror stories already. No need for me to repeat them." She paused, glancing at the stack of cards. "Come. Show me a game. As I said, I'm a complete novice to card games, other than Go Fish. I know poker exists, but don't think gambling would be my strong suit. I'll leave it up to you to pick something fun."
 
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It took a little thought, but Asher eventually settled into teaching her how to play rummy. Interesting enough to entertain two people without being so complicated it was difficult to learn.

"I think that's been the biggest change for me," he offered after a moment's thought as he felt the cards. "In the military we might not have been able to keep the connections to our friends at home very well, but we still always had the rest of the unit. I imagine now the best connections will be with the other explorers?" He offered a smile as he reminds the awkward dinner when her former partner dropped by. "Because they'll already know what to expect when one goes off on a mission? I admit. I didn't really get a chance to socialize."

He took a break from the questions to explain the rules of the game, also letting her use the excuse of listening in case she didn't want to give an answer.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Other explorers," Aeva agreed casually. "But that's still only when you're back planetside. Out in the wilds, your only true social connection is going to be your partner."

She paused for a second, letting out a short laugh. "That's why it's important you make sure you get along well enough before you leave. Although I'm afraid I took that decision solely into my hands. The mentorship program doesn't really give mentees much say in who they work with."

Aeva took to cards fairly quickly, and even though she only occasionally won against Asher's experience, some luck, a few good bluffs, and quick application of strategy saw several rounds going in her favor. She called off the games a few hours later, starting up a slow-cooking pot roast that would be ready in a bit, before she began to propose a few potential movies they could watch with dinner.

Fortunately, considering her earlier statement about getting along, Aeva felt that she and Asher rather comfortably settled into each other's presence. A day and a half wasn't a long period of time, but a shift into such tight quarters would always make things feel a bit different.

After dinner and a movie it was time to sleep, and the night past smoothly. The Sunrunner—Starlight—was an advanced piece of equipment that was capable of handling all but the most unexpected spatial disruptions completely autonomously. Therefore, it wasn't until mid-morning the next day that Starlight's console chirped, drawing Aeva back into the bridge.

Outside, the streaks of blue and orange light began to fade away, darkness once more resolving into a star-studded heaven. In front of them, one of the stars glowed with a particularly brilliant touch of light.

Like many planets habitable by humanity, Novon was the third planet out from the sun. Larger than humanity's cradle planet, Earth, it nonetheless rotated at about the same rate, creating longer day and night cycles, and setting up the cycle of the water coming in over the tidal plains.

Aeva glanced back towards the room as Asher appeared, before focusing on the console in front of her once more. "Are you familiar with planetary approaches?" she asked. It was necessary military training, but unlike explorers, the military saw a much more focused range of specializations. There was no need for everyone to know how to pilot a ship when one pilot could carry a thousand soldiers along for the ride.
 
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Asher was contentedly sipping on a mug of coffee and playing solitaire at the dining table when the console chirped. Not really knowing what it meant he only looked up when Aeva went to check, taking a moment to register the fact that it probably indicated something important. The mug was still in his hand as he followed her to the entrance of the cockpit and watched as she analyzed the situation. It was obvious though, by the way the viewscreen showed the drive light fading into star studded sky, that the ship was slowing down.

"I should hope so," Asher states, a slight smile quirking at the corker of his mouth when she asked that question. "First job was learning the pilot one of Cronos 5's delivery shuttles before I joined the military's flight academy. There's been some shuffling around over the years, but some skills they don't let you lose once they know you have them." He took a second to drain the last of his coffee out of his mug as he thought about what her question might mean.

"There's not a problem is there? Starlight's a bit different from what I'm used to, but they tend to keep the controls standard across the industry."

He found a safe place for the now empty mug, set it down, and then moved to where he could see the console as well.
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Nah, nothing's wrong," Aeva replied. Her response came out slightly hurried, because she didn't want Asher to worry, but still with minimal fluster. "However, it's essential for all explorers to know how to coordinate locating and approaching a planet in a new solar system. In part because there's only two of us here, but mostly because the planet orbits haven't been sufficiently studied that we can fully trust it to the ship's AI."

Aeva leaned over slightly, allowing Asher to see the console over her shoulder. Unfortunately, they'd come at the time of year that meant Novon was located on the far side of the sun from their own approach. They'd have to successfully circumnavigate the celestial body if they wanted to reach their landing location. She'd already begun inputting the coordinates for approach, while the ship continued to slow down, ensuring they wouldn't end up on too fast of an approach to the solar system.

"If you're already familiar, it means I can skip the training lecture, and you can skip the training exercises when we get home again. Just make sure to submit your license for verification and they'll waive the practical test."

Aeva sat upright again, before gesturing towards the co-pilot's chair for Asher to take a seat.

"Instead, go ahead and pull up the projection map of Novon. While we're on the approach I'd like you to pick out a few potential landing locations, and analyze their pros and cons. The map should show selected landing locations of other teams that have made it here before us, so make sure to take that into consideration. We'll go over it together and make a final selection once we're safely in stable orbit."
 
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"One step ahead of you," Asher grinned as he slipped into the co-pilot's seat, "My license was due for review about six moths ago. The academy let recertify through them. I think it saved a number of people a paperwork headache to do it that way."

He settled in and pulled up the map, although it took a lot of effort on his part to not glance over to check the approach Aeva was programming for them. He had never really been able to trust that AI could follow more complicated instruction, and part of him wanted to double check that the inputs had been confirmed and they wouldn't need to handle it manually.

He made himself focus on the map, discounting two possible locations due to uncertain land stability, and another based on weather patterns that could make take off difficult when they were ready to leave. Three others he flagged for Aeva to look at. One inland on on of the larger islands where there were many possibilities for geologic and plant based testing, another in a stable area not far from one of the tide shelves, and a third on a smaller land mass that had the potential to over them access to both types of ecosystem but was more open to problematic weather phenomenon. None of them were close enough to another explorer for them to be in danger of overlap.

"I'm liking these three areas the best," He offered when Aeva was ready to look, "unless you want to find out if the Starlight can function as a submersible, because this area of the ocean is putting off some very interesting energy readings." And here he pointed to a fourth spot about equal distant between the first and third island he had been considering.
 

Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
As Asher focused on reviewing Novon's map, Aeva continued to monitor the ship's approach towards the planet. As they circled around the sun, a pinprick of light in the distance gradually began to resolve into a pale grey sphere slowly drifting through the void.

Out here it looked delicate and beautiful, like some sort of cloudy white opal. However, Aeva couldn't help but twist her lips in a slightly rueful expression. The heat that permeated the oceans, causing them to steam, meant that Novon was always surrounded by a thick layer of clouds, which created a persistent drizzle planet-wide.

Rain was not Aeva's favorite weather. She liked it well enough when she was near home, and a warm shower and dry clothes would follow after the soaking. She disliked it quite a bit when she was out on an exploration, and it meant that everything she pulled out of storage would never maintain a dry state for long. Fortunately the exosuits were almost entirely water-resistant, or Aeva's complaints would grow a lot greater if it meant she could never have dry socks or underwear, either.

Still keeping a careful eye on the navigation, Aeva began to put in more instructions to settle the ship in orbit around Novon, without letting the gravity draw the ship in too close to the planet. Only a couple of minutes later did she sigh, leaning back from the console and rolling her shoulders, before glancing in Asher's direction.

His quip brought out a laugh from her, and she shook her head, pale blonde hair bouncing in response. "Fortunately, that one is not our job. We'll leave it to the military to figure out exactly what's putting out that reading, lest we get ourselves swallowed by some mysterious deep-sea creature." She quickly reviewed his choices, before leaning back.

"I'm going to play teacher here for a minute, rather than actually being helpful. You've selected a good variety of locations, each with their own plusses and minuses. Why don't you go ahead and list those for me."
 

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"Sorry, sometimes I forget that I'm not military anymore," Asher offered sheepishly with a half smile. "As for the pros an cons...

"Alpha is on the island the survey techs have flagged as A0010. It's one of the larger landmasses so there as good possibility of having a large variety of matter to test. However, the best landing spot is quite a ways inland on one of the few areas of high ground which takes us away from the shoreline. That means there's a higher probability of dry land based predators, and we won't have easy access to any aquatic material we might want to work with, or fishing if we get tired of rations. There is lots of heavy vegetation for camouflage, but that can work both for and against us."

He tried to read her face as he spoke, looking for any indication that he had picked up on the things he was supposed to be looking for.

"What I've marked Beta site is on one of the larger rocky areas in the plain marked C0238 giving us access to a large variety of fish, shells, algae, mineral deposits, and other aquatic materials. We'll have better sighting if one of the giants is in range, as well as of the horizon line if anything unexpected occurs. Down side is we don't yet have any idea what lives in these waters really. If this planet has any similarity to some of the other water heavy world we've discovered there's a high probability of shoreline dwelling carnivores. Think the Razorback crocodile of Athos 3. Easily half the length of the sunrunner and capable of swallowing a man whole if you're lucky. It would make since for them to hide out in the water and and pull anything coming out of cover for a drink. Additionally, There's not really a good wind wall, so we'd be in a direct line of any storms coming in over the plain.

"I'm thinking Gamma might also be a good prospect. It's on the 'island'," Here Asher made air quotes as he used the term loosely, not having a better word for the small pockets of more stable land that managed to avoid the worst of the flooding. "marked A1090. The ground area is stable and it's small enough to give us access to both the land based ecosystem and the water. If we put down in the clearing you can barely see just there, we've have a tree line between us and any oncoming storms. It's not really big enough to host multiple large predictors, and the surrounding plain seems more shallow than some of the others spaces which means the aquatic life might be a bit more friendly. That's a positive if you want the safety, but a negative if we want to be testing monster parts. The problem is it's also in what the meteorologists have marked as the red line. That strip that has the most predictable path for the larger storms to follow. Might be why the stable ground space is so small compared to some of the others.

"All three are in areas the other teams haven't chosen yet, though, and I think there's reasons any of them might prove promising. ... Regardless of what we choose though that humidity is not going to be fun to deal with," Asher murmured taking a look at the fog that covered the planet. when he was finished explaining "But I bet at least the rain will be warm. I'll take warm rain any day over a freezing shower."
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
As Asher finished his analysis of the various landing spots, Aeva smiled slightly. However, the gesture was accompanied by a small shake of her head. Compared to the satisfied smile she'd given him after his analysis of the planets a few days ago, this one was more patient and indulgent.

"You're slightly off the mark on your criteria this time," Aeva began, quickly keying in a couple of strokes into the console so that the planet's information would be projected over the planet itself in front of them. Asher's selected sites glowed on the screen, although only one of them was currently visible due to the rotation of the planet itself.

"Of the three locations you selected, only one is really suitable as a landing site for us. The Academies all have their preferred list of criteria for evaluating landing sites, and each team's preferences will vary to some degree. I'll list the four I've selected as non-negotiable, and see if you can pick out the workable one from your proposed sites.

"One, personal safety. This is one the Academies emphasize to some degree, but don't push enough for my personal tastes. As soon as we land, we have nothing to rely on but each other, and a relatively limited supply of dust to forcibly correct the situation if things start going wrong. We don't have advanced technology to support us either. Of course, what safety means varies from team to team, but in this case it's mostly a matter of knowing your own capabilities."

Aeva paused for a second, seeming to mull over something. She'd only just realized that starting with that one could come across as demeaning Asher's capabilities. In the end, she simply sighed, chalking it up to her lack of practice as a teacher. She hoped he'd only take it as her trying to impart information, and continued with the list.

"Two, ensuring the landing site will allow us to complete any required objectives for evaluating the planet. In this case, that means ensuring we can reach at least one of the hibernating giants, since analyzing its heart is necessary for us to be considered as fully analyzing the region.

"Three, access to as wide of a variety of resources as possible. While there will often be multiple explorer teams reviewing a planet, we'll all be spread out enough that the natural changes in plant an animal life simply based on region and clime mean we'll be looking at wildly different resources. If the location is too homogenous, it won't be an efficient use of our time.

"Four, make sure the landing location does not require us to burn dust to survive. While each ship comes with an emergency supply, it really is for emergencies. We can never guarantee that a location will provide us with enough catalysts to make up for our dust expenditure."

Nodding slightly to herself, Aeva glanced over at Asher, gesturing back towards the planet. "Your thoughts?"
 
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Asher felt his heart drop a little bit as Aeva told him he'd missed an important piece of the puzzle. She was right. he was far too used to looking at things from a military perspective, of choosing like he had a whole team with him instead of just a pair. Though for a moment he bristled at the idea that he might not be capable, or trying, to keep them safe. A second later he realized that that was probably not how she intended the comment to be taken. She was probably used to people who had no experience at all...

Asher kept his moth shut and did his best to listen to the lesson, trying to reason out his second attempt at a answer that would satisfy their goals.

"With those factors taken into account I think perhaps.... and I'm probably wrong here... but the spot I marked Gamma has the most resources both for survival and testing, and from a personal safety standpoint has the least amount of potential for large predators." he took a deep breath for a moment thinking hard, "If we had a full team instead of the two of us I'd be more inclined to go for Beta though. There's a lot of potential for unexpected finds with that one, but the unexpected element makes me think it might not align with the safety measures... the landing on alpha would just be plain difficult if we want to conserve dust."

He watched her for a long moment, trying to read her expressions and hoping his answers weren't too disappointing.
 
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Peregrine

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High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Aeva didn't leave Asher hanging long from his analysis before bobbing her head a few times. "Correct. Of the three you selected, Gamma is the only one of the three that I would consider a valid landing site for this mission.

"You're reasoning is also pretty close, too. Beta is indeed not an option because of safety concerns. But even more than a matter of large predators or unexpected elements, it's a matter of the flooding. Although Novon rotates pretty slowly, and its tides come and go over what we'd normally consider about a three day period, our exploration is unquestionably going to be longer than that. It either means we need to waste half our time waiting inside the ship for the water to retreat, or we're going to be spending notable time with restricted access to our only escape from the planet, since it will be a dozen feet underwater.

"As for Alpha, it is an interesting site, and would absolutely need to be evaluated once headquarters begins planning for full military occupation. A site like that is ideal for building a long-term outpost, because it's on stable land. However, when it comes to harvesting resources for dust, the vast majority of Novon's land-masses are in the flood plains. Even if Alpha had an incredible dust catalyst, the limited amount of equivalent land across the planet means that it could work for supplying a base, but not for cultivating and exporting en masse back to civilized hubs like Khepri. Simply because of this ratio, it means we need to search flood plains, and being outside of reasonable walking distance makes it a no-go."

Aeva paused for a moment, briefly wetting her lips after the extended steam of words. Faintly clearing her throat, she gestured through the air to rotate the mock globe over to the Gamma landing site.

"Gamma has the advantages of both Alpha and Beta without its downsides. We'll be landing on permanent ground, which means no need to worry about the tide. However, we still have easy access to the flood plains, with the bonus of still getting to review the permanent land plants. That satisfies the diversity criteria. As for the fact that it is unlikely to have more unique or interesting things, that isn't exactly a downside. The more of the world that is equivalent, the better."

Aeva paused for a second, glancing around at the landing sites other explorer teams had chosen. "This is a question that's only halfway related to what we're discussing, but were the way winds, tides, currents, and latitude affect climate a part of your studies at the academy? It wasn't a required course back when I was in school, since normally the analysts handle that kind of work, but things change constantly."
 
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Asher listened and nodded along taking in every word of the continued explanation of the landing spot evaluation. He knew it was only his first trip and it would take many more to build up the real world experience that would let him answer correctly with any proficiency, and he found himself grateful that Aeva was willing to play teacher. He had the training of the military true, and of the academy, but some knowledge could only be acquired by doing.

"It wasn't a required course, no, although some of the basics were covered. They do offer it as an elective I believe, But Where there were options I focused my studies more on botonny and wildlife identification. Uh... tracking, identifying indicators of poisonous plant life, that sort of thing, " He offered a half shrug in apology.

"I'm happy to study any subject in which you feel I might be lacking though. And I do have some knowledge of atmospheric conditions where it pertains to piloting. .." Asher trailed off uncertain if he should keep going and eventually decided not to bore her with the details. He felt certain that if Aeva thought he should have a particular skill set or knowledge base she would let him know.

In the moment of quiet that followed he glanced over at the navigation screen trying to ascertain how far out from the planet they were, and well as run through a mental check list of the tasks they might need to complete before entering the atmosphere of this new world.
 

Peregrine

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"It's not critical, no," Aeva replied with a slight laugh. "Like most things you can learn, it has its places and applications. Familiarity with weather patterns, ocean currents, and its connections to biomes is mostly useful in the selection of a landing site. Some of that information is included in the briefing, such as how it will impact storms and weather, but since explorers are paid on our successful discovery of Catalyst, HQ doesn't really care whether or not we pick an appropriate landing site. Therefore, knowing which kind of biome you're going into rests on your shoulders."

She paused for half a second, then laughed. "Or mine, in this case. One of the electives I took was map making, and it included a section on predicting regional behavior based on planetary specifications. You won't need to worry much about it in the next year, but it's worth making sure that either you or your future partners have a superficial knowledge of it, if just to make sure you aren't landing in the wrong place."

Outside, their ship had continued to orbit the planet, spinning slowly. Without the holographic projection, it would be almost impossible to tell where the islands were under the mass of clouds. Fortunately, that aspect had been taken care of by the analysts at HQ, and they wouldn't have to go pond-skipping until they found land.

"Are you ready to descend? We'll be heading out pretty quickly after landing to survey the area, so if there's any last-minute preparations you'd like to make, now's the best time to do them."
 
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"Nope, I've kept things together so I'd be good to go any time," Asher answered as settled in to check the screens and look at the projected globe.

He was feeling a bit relieved that his lack of weather knowledge was going to be a problem. He could always attempt to brush up on it when they got back if it seemed like Aeva really wanted him to know that stuff. But at the time when they had been choosing elective courses the survivalist in his had genuinely felt that the botonny and animal life courses were a solid choice.

Asher hope he was right. He genuinely wanted to be useful to Aeva, He knew she was his teacher, but he was also fully aware of how much they had to rely on each other out here. Asher still wanted to prove that she had made the right choice when she had selected him out of all the other candidates.

"Do we fly it down or is that automated as well?"
 

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  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"Excellent," Aeva agreed, quickly turning to face her own console. The projected globe vanished with a few strokes, leaving the mist-white Novon to fill their view. They were orbiting close enough that its white pearlescence filled almost the entire window, leaving nothing but the faintest fringes of ozone and the darkness of space at one edge. The planet looked like a mysterious white void, ready to swallow them up.

As she stared at Novon, Aeva couldn't help but feel her heart momentarily pounding with excitement. What waited before them was literally a whole new world. And even though she'd now visited dozens of new worlds, some of them places that no one other than her and her various partners had—or would ever—step on, the excitement and novelty of it still felt like a flood.

"Let's go. Starlight will handle the initial approach and the final descent, I'll pilot in the middle portion to reach our landing site. Unless you'd like to, of course."

As though in response to her words, blue flecks of dust began to drift in front of them, before Novon began to grow larger in their view. Any minute now, they'd be swallowed up by the endless fields of white clouds.

And then blue and green ocean appeared in their view, muffled by the faint grey light of the sun filtered through layers of clouds. Aeva couldn't help but let out a small, appreciative breath. This moment, this rush of the unexplored, was the main reason she had become an explorer. When she'd been nothing but a little girl, living in a steel-built city with tens of millions of other people, dreaming of the stars. She'd poured her heart and soul into her passion, and had never regretted it.

Not once.
 
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Falcon

Adventure Finder
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
Online Availability
I have a shifting work schedule, so My online times will be random.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
  3. Prestige
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, scifi, futuristic modern, fantasy modern, Action/adventure, Mystery, Fan-based,
"If you don't mind letting me pilot?" Asher confirmed immediately taking advantage of the opportunity. "It's been a awhile and I admit I miss it."

He settled into the Main control station and surveyed the panel while the ship made its approach. The moment they were clear of the atmosphere a few taps brought the controls into manual mode. It was his first time flying a ship of this type and he appreciated the chance to get to know her. but to an outside observer it might appear as though he's had more than a few sessions at the helm previously. It probably helped that the IFA had insisted on standardized flight controls back when his father had been a young man.

The starlight was a dream to control. Smooth and responsive. the readings quick to display the tiniest change in case of a needed course correction. The blue flecks of dust danced across her hull like spark flies on the lake back home. That was a good sign. Sometimes you could tell if there was a problem based on the way the dust looked as it burned off. Everything seemed to bee in order. for Asher that was a huge relief. This ship was, after all, going to be their way home.

His eyes tracked the readings even as his fingers made the slight adjustments needed to get them to their destination. Puffs of cloud sailed past them and the water of the tidal plains glittered below. Soon enough the pocket of stable, solid ground they were aiming for was in sight. He lined the Starlight up to make it's decent and landing in the clearing they had discussed earlier, and with a sigh of regret, turned control back over to the autopilot system.

"Well here we are," Asher announced with a small smile, "Home sweet home for the foreseeable future."
 
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Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
Original poster
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
Aeva's brows moved up slightly at Asher's enthusiastic reply. She hadn't actually expected him to agree. All the same, she immediately pushed herself back from the controls at his word, transitioning primary pilotship to his seat.

A small smile played its way across her face. A vast majority of the Vanguards she'd worked with weren't interested in anything that fell outside their job description. And considering a Vanguard's entire purpose was to fight against monsters, that meant a vast majority of day-to-day aspects fell on the back of the Support. That didn't mean they didn't know how to be gentlemen at times, but it was rare for them to volunteer for anything that didn't involve combat. The process of getting to and from the planet very much fell in that category.

Of course, you'd have to be at least a bit of a combat maniac to have an interest in sending yourself to an unknown planet to fight unknown monsters blade against claw, but perhaps the breadth of military training was going to show its advantage in an unexpected place. Explorer training was highly specialized. It produced very competent people, but it only further supported a general culture of strict task allocation that was not as mandatory as their education often made it seem.

Leaning back in her seat, Aeva watched as Novon swallowed up their window, before the whole ship was consumed by white mist. They were luckily landing on the sunlit side of the planet, which, considering Novon's slow rotation speed, meant they'd have plenty of time to get used to the planet before they would start having to worry about exploring during the long night.

Starlight settled with only the faintest bump as they landed on the ground. Aeva promptly unbuckled, standing up from her seat.

"Home sweet home," she replied, voice filled with enough snark and mirth to make it clear she thought nothing of the kind. They were about to face dangerous unknowns on a wet planet with limited supplies. Nothing that seemed particularly home-y to her.

"Well, my vanguard, how daring do you feel like being?" she asked. "We can spend a few days starting off nice and slow, doing basic surveys of the surrounding area and scans of the nearby flora if you're confident in defending the ship if anything decides it looks tasty. But we're gonna need to go on more than a couple multi-day expeditions. There's nothing stopping us from putting Starlight into cloaking mode and starting one of those right now, either. It all depends on what you'd like to do."
 
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Falcon

Adventure Finder
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
Online Availability
I have a shifting work schedule, so My online times will be random.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
  3. Prestige
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, scifi, futuristic modern, fantasy modern, Action/adventure, Mystery, Fan-based,
"Why not alternate them? Asher asked with curiosity. "Spend a short time familiarizing ourselves with our parking spot. Take a long track out, and come back for the shorter survey's in between. that'll give us time to plan for the next trek while still being productive."

His eyes watched her face, searching for approval. If the ship was base camp it made sense to him to know where they were first before making progressively wider sweeps out and about. "That way we'll al least know what we're coming back to if we have to make a strategic retreat."

He tapped a few buttons on the control screen instructing the Starlight to bring up the current view outside. The excitement on his face was as evident as the sunlight that bathed the clearing in a warm glow. the wind ruffled the leaves of the trees they had landed beside to used as a wind wall, and Asther could just made out the shadow of something moving in the branches.

"Think that a bird, lizard, mammal, or something else?'
 

Peregrine

Waiting for Wit
Original poster
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. Multiple posts per week
  3. One post per week
  4. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
On fairly regularly, every day. I'll notice a PM almost immediately. Replies come randomly.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
  2. No Preferences
Genres
High fantasy is my personal favorite, followed closely by modern fantasy and post-apocalyptic, but I can happily play in any genre if the plot is good enough.
"That absolutely works too," Aeva agreed with a nod. "It's not that any method is particularly right or wrong. They each have clear advantages and purposes. A mix is a good way to familiarize yourself with them, until you have reason to decide another one is better."

She turned away to glance out the window, eyes almost immediately tracking to the motion that caused the trees to rustle. "Whatever it is, it's bold," she commented with a frown. "Most animals avoid new things. And there's nothing more new than a dust-powered ship stirring up a whole bunch of air as it breaks through the atmosphere and lands on an untouched island. Most things would run."

Novon had been evaluated for bronze badge explorers, but that was only because of the giant lifeforms. But, until an explorer touched down, there was no way of guaranteeing the evaluation was correct.

"Shall we go out and see if that thing wants to take a bite out of us?" Aeva finally asked with a laugh.
 
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Falcon

Adventure Finder
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
Online Availability
I have a shifting work schedule, so My online times will be random.
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Advanced
  3. Prestige
  4. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, scifi, futuristic modern, fantasy modern, Action/adventure, Mystery, Fan-based,
"Or if there's something it thinks is worth guarding," Asher answered matching her smile.

It took they a few minutes to confirm that everything was stable, and go through the shut down procedure for non essential systems after landing. No need to leave extra lights running, boosters on, or wear out the dust drive for example.

After that it was time to grab the environmental suits. Not the big bulky things space station technicians were required to wear. No exploration environmental suits were much less cumbersome. They fit more like a standard uniform. They did still help regulate body temperature and take other necessary readings, and there was a piece that could be placed over the nose and mouth to filter the atmosphere if needed (separate goggles too) but one could actually move in them, run in them if needed. They fit, required minimal dust usage, and still provided the basic functions without getting in the way.

So practiced were they at getting in and out of the things that it took no more time than changing cloths.

By the time they opened the Starlight's hatch things had quieted considerably, or perhaps they had settled was the better phrase. There wasn't any panicked animal or insect chatter, but neither had it come back to what Asher supposed might be normal. They had, after all just landed a ship in area.

His eyes tracked the tree line looking for the movement he had seen from the viewscreen. It took a moment before he found it again, but eventually did.

Asher didn't speak, he didn't want to frighten the thing, but he raised a hand and motioned with a two fingered point towards the creature. From his angle he could make out a bushy tail a color halfway between the trunk and leaves of the tree it was on. He watched for a moment and then the face appeared and Asher had to do a double take.

The thing was ugly. Maybe the size of a small dog with a tail similar on form to a squirrel, the paws matching more the grabby hands of a racoon, but the eyes... the eyes were huge! Big and round, looking like they wanted to pop out of the face above the tiny snout. And they were framed by large bat like ears.

There was a moment where Asher didn't know if he was looking at a rodent or a mammal or something else entirely. He glanced over at Aeva to see her reaction.
 
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