Survivor's Lament

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Lord Radec al'Shain, Jul 16, 2015.

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  1. The year is 2437. Earth has seen the rise and fall of nations and empires, and a third World War. The population hovers around 3 billion. The United States and China no longer exist. The United States and China split into several smaller nations after the War. Much of Europe is fractured. The Middle East finally stopped burning less than a century ago. But all is not dark in the world. Medical technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. Cybernetic surgery has become almost commonplace. Everyone, even the lowliest beggar, usually has a comm setup, consisting of an implanted earpiece, and a microphone implanted in the vocal cords. Many diseases have been wiped out. Slowly, life has improved for the survivors. But all is not well. Water and air are in short supply. Most of the population live in domes, or underground. A joint venture between the Sino-Indian Commonwealth (the eastern portion of what was once India, Korea, and parts of mainland China) and the Federated Conclaves of North America (formerly the states of Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and the western provinces of Canada) has come together, and through pooling of resources were able to build four starships. These craft were outfitted with an advanced ion pulse drive, (hopefully) drastically reducing travel time to distant stars. Each ship was outfitted with a crew of 1,000, as well as sufficient tool and equipment to establish a colony should habitable planets be found. The Essex departed on October 15th in the direction of Betelgeuse, the Nova departed a week later with coordinates for Alpha Centauri, the Phoenix for the stars of the constellation Orion, and the last ship, the Pharaoh, departed on December 1st, with coordinates locked in for Kepler 22b. This story is of the Pharaoh, and what happened when it reached the end of its 5 year trip.
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  2. Lieutenant Commander Gavin 'Gav' Morris is a member of the Pharaoh's crew. He is one of the 'touchdown' officers, tasked with establishing a secure and safe piece of real estate for the colony, should the ship find a habitable planet. In his late 20s now, he spent much of his youth exploring the limited wilderness that Earth had left. Scoring a near perfect in the survival and stress testing, he was accepted into the crew of the ship with no reservations. Throughout the journey, he was assigned to the 'General Crew' pool, as his actual mission would only commence under certain conditions. Popular in the mess hall, though not for his cooking, he made friends easily, and in his spare time, did a lot of reading, but also spent a lot of time in the Recreation Holds, practicing mountain climbing, swimming, and teaching classes on basic survival skills. At the start of our story, he is excited, knowing that the journey might be coming to an end.

    He stand at roughly 6'1" tall (6'2" in his boots). Like all of the crew, he wears a Sino-Conclave uniform, consisting of a dark blue single-piece flight suit, with numerous pockets. The legs are tucked into his non-regulation black hiking boots. On his collar, which he always keeps buttoned according to regulations, he wears the steel falcon of the Alliance on the left, and the titanium bars of rank on his right. He fits the uniform well, his time spent in the Rec Holds leaving him with a lean muscled frame. Clean shaven, he keeps his hair short, usually little more than a high fade, his blue eyes peering out of a face that seems tanned in spite of five years in space.
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  3. Gavin Morris crashed to the floor as he was violently thrown out of his bunk. Alarms began sounding, and emergency lighting came on as the Pharaoh shuddered and groaned.

    "This is the Captain speaking," came a voice over the loudspeaker, "This is not a drill. We have struck an unknown object, and the ship is venting atmo at an uncontrollable rate. All personnel are to report to the escape pods, and evacuate. I repeat, all personnel report to the escape pods, and evacuate the ship. And may God go with you all."

    Gav stood hurriedly, and slapped a button on the wall, lowering the volume of the alarms in his room. He quickly threw on a uniform, and shoved his feet into his boots. On his way out the door, he grabbed the rucksack kept under his bunk since the start of the journey five years prior. He stepped out of his quarters, and into Hell. The corridor was filled with flames, and the sounds of the alarms.
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  4. Home.
    That was a very distant word for Riven Vereen. It was a meaningless, idiotic phrase. The girl never acknowledged anywhere with the term. She had spent a greater deal of life travelling the broken and shameful world. Every place she had traveled was worse off than before. Deep down, she knew that this five year trip had to be worth it, there had to be somewhere in this universe that was untainted and whole.

    Riven had been accepted into the crew list of the Pharaoh after much hesitation. Many of her flight siblings remarked that it was due to understaffing issues. She, herself, thought it was due to her captain having enough brains to see her as valuable.

    The physical test was a breeze for her, she excelled with pride. As for the stress testing, she wasn't as lucky. Seeing as she was a roamer, she had pretty much nonexistent experience and no real education other than her basics. Most of her intelligence was purely survival and basic defense tactics. Ideally Laborers was the only thing she actually qualified for, but it was enough to get her off Earth. From there on out, she was known as Flight Crew Airwoman, Vereen.

    Knowing that physical limitations would never be an issue, she spent her five year flight in the small, but educational library. Here she studied mostly medical journals and histories. On the night her flight went down, Riven was locked up in the library. She had just finished her powdered. vitamin-enhanced eggs and leaned back in her armchair to crack open a college textbook on herbal medicine and the histories of it over the years. Her mechanical wyvern, Rengar, was "sleeping" in the masses of her wavy hair that rested heavily on her neck.

    Rengar had been the only tricky part of this journey. Convincing them that her small mech pet could be an asset proved a challenge each and every day. Probably the biggest issue was because of this creature, Riven had to have her own quarters, which was displeasing to the crew in the higher ranks.

    She had dozed off when the sirens began to wail and filled the vacant room with bright red lights and echoing screeches. Her bright eyes snapped open as she listened to the intercom announcement. Rengar, who had moved from his previous spot and had perched on the table beside her to keep watch, looked at her with bright glassy eyes and flapped his wings in protest. Shhhh....She cooed through her com system, which had a special link that whenever she spoke he could hear her on his own radio system. The girl rose to her full height, a whole 5'8", she straightened her uniform, which she rarely cared enough to keep pressed and completely buttoned and stuffed the textbook into her duffel bag at her feet. She swung the huge blue sack over her shoulder, and held out her arm, forearm bent before her as she let her mech wrap around her arm.

    Before the system was finished relaying the message, she was locked, airtight inside the evacuation pod, buckled down, and detached from the starship. Looking around, she saw no other pods as she spiraled down towards the planet at a distorted and broken speed. "If anyone is out there, this is General Crew Vereen. Coordinates unknown, approaching a planet at-" There was a brief scream and her pod crashed into something large and sharp against the floor of this strange planet. The glass shards struck her face and her head bounced off the metal pod frame as her vision went black and the blissful universe of unconsciousness took her away.
  5. Racing down the corridors, and trying (usually successfully) to avoid the flames, Gav made it to the nearest escape pod and tossed in his pack ahead of him. Glancing up and down the hall, he was surprised to see nobody else approaching. The Pharaoh had a crew of 1000, with enough escape pods for all of them half over again, so it was not -impossible- that he wouldn't see anyone else; just unlikely.

    As he waited, a violent shudder ran through the ship's structure, followed by a bass crashing sound that was felt more than heard.

    'Hull breach! Hull breach! All crew are required to evacuate ship. Atmosphere is currently at 62% and falling. Hull breach!' came the voice of the ship's computer over the speakers.

    'Shit!' exclaimed Gav as he dove into the pod and slammed the hatch behind him. He didn't want to leave anyone, but if he waited any longer, he wouldn't be leaving either. He strapped himself into one of the 10 seats, which were arrayed in a circle around a central table that held the controls for the pod. Essentially, it was just a reinforced sphere, weighted and reinforced at the bottom for when it broke through the atmosphere. Two small chemical rockets on the sides allowed for attitude adjustments and brief burns to carry the pod away from the ship. It did not require a skilled pilot, and so, thankfully, all the young man had to do was lift a cover and press the button underneath.


    The pod separated from the ship, its simple autopilot engaging and setting course for a nearby planet.

    Gav looked at the monitor, surprised. He hadn't known that they had made it so close. The command crew had been holding information about the planet close and there had been much speculation, but no information had been made available outside the highest officers. He looked through the limited scans available.

    Size: Three times the size and mass of planet Earth.

    He whistled softly. It was a LARGE planet.

    Atmosphere: 68% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 2% non-toxic trace gasses.

    It was breathable. Not too much different from Earth. Cloud cover looks almost complete, and the distance from the star is a bit more than expected, so it would definitely be cooler. It was too bad that the pods didn't have video screens. He couldn't see where he was headed. The computer would pick the best location to touch down based on what it could gather. That really only meant he wouldn't have to worry about landing in a volcano, or in the middle of the ocean (assuming the planet had any).

    The pod began to shudder as it entered the atmosphere, and began to tear through the cloud cover. In a minute or two, he would need to hit the emergency chute release, to begin the process of slowing down. If not, the rockets would only slow him down marginally. Without those or the chute, all that would mark his landing would be a huge crater with scraps of metal at the bottom.

    He pushed the button, the chute releasing, and jerking the pod up violently. He was staring at the screen, which showed only that he would be coming down near a blip. A blip could be another pod.

    Suddenly, a crash shook the pod, and the screen went out, followed by the rest of the power. Something must have hit the pod. He could hear the rockets kick on, and so he knew he was close to the ground.

    Another crash came, and the pod tilted violently, then seemed to hit something else before finally coming to rest with a violent thud.

    Gav blacked out only momentarily, quickly shrugging off his restraints and peering through the small viewport in the hatch. The pod seemed to have come down in what appeared to be a forest. Or at least that was the closest approximation he could come up with. The 'trees' just looked... off. Perhaps it was the overcast sky, or the time of day, or even a lack of light through the canopy. He could just spy what appeared to be another pod several meters away. Slinging his pack over his shoulder, grabbing a medkit from under one of the seats, and a sidearm from the small weapons locker, he pushed the hatch open and looked around before clambering down and rushing toward the other pod.

    Grimacing at the strange new smells that surrounded him, he tried to keep an eye out for any wildlife as he moved. He set down the medkit and his pack, and moved to the hatch of the second pod. Opening a small cover by the hatch, he depressed a switch there, which ignited a series of small charges around the door, and blew it right off the pod. There was no light inside the pod, so he watched and waited, the small implants in his ocular nerves cycling slowly through to low-light mode. He could make out what appeared to be a person, and she seemed to be breathing, but he couldn't make out much else.

    "Hello?" he asked softly, hoping for an answer.
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  6. Riven had just regained consciousness as the door to her pod swung open and blinding light filled the dark pod. Blinking hard against the silhouette standing above her, she sucked in a quiet breath and silently slipped away from the light that pooled at her boots. It's an alien. The girl kept her breathing soft, knowing that she had no forms of defense against whatever was looking down on her. Whatever it was, they seemed to have not been able to tell it was her. Maybe just as she could not see them in the light, they could not see her in the dark. I'm trapped. If they don't go away, I'm done for.

    As if reading her thoughts, Rengar detached himself from her arm and glided to the creature's face, letting out a defensive screech. That's my boy! The girl used the distraction as a chance to tackle the creature to the forest floor, and straddle them to the ground. She swung for a punch and then screamed as her bright eyes came into focus. She quickly jumped off her commander and cleared her throat.
    "Commander, I'm so sorry. I thought you were...." Her voice trailed off as her champagne colored eyes scanned the area around them. Everything was so lush and green. Distantly you could hear the sounds of the forest around them and the air smelled fresh and crisp, but also very humid. This place must have a lot of water then, to have such humidity.

    Rengar circled his master defensively, holding a tuft of dark hair in his mouth that he must have pulled somewhere from her commanding officer. Riven settled her gaze back on him, bowing her head and waiting for the chewing that was about to come. Normally, she would jump at the chance to boast about settling a punch in her authority's face, but honestly, she had no clue what normal was anymore. They were in a whole new world.

    A drop of blood dripped down into her eye socket and rubbed her face quickly with the back of her hand, only for it to come back smeared with blood. She had about twenty slivers of glass dotted along her face, chest, and neck from where the glass had shattered in her face, some of which still having the glass shards embedded in her skin. What had she crashed into that had destroyed her pod?
  7. He peered into the dimness, the shapes slowly taking shape. He swatted at the creature flapping around his face, and then let out a yelp as the mechanical creature ripped out a small amount of hair. His eyes widened as a slight form launched out of the pod, and landed atop him on the ground.

    As he hit the ground, and the girl came down on top of him, he was not surprised at the incoming punch. He easily brushed it aside, his reflexes heightened by adrenaline.

    As the young woman jumped up, he clambered to his feet, a look of aggravation on his face. He reaches up, rubbing at his scalp, where the mechanical creature had ripped out a small amount of hair.

    "Are you quite finished?" he asked quietly, glaring at Rengar before glancing to the young woman, "And relax, Crewman... Vereen, isn't it? But I swear if that crazy chicken pulls out any more of my hair, I'll clip his wings myself."

    He gestures to Riven's face, "I can take care of that, if you'd like. I have a medkit with me. But I suggest we retreat into one of the pods." He points behind him, "I recommend mine. Yours looks to have seen better days."

    The young woman's escape pod looks absolutely destroyed, the sides smashed in. Nearby, a 'tree' looks to have been bent in half.

    "What the..." he walks over to the tree, "How did the tree not get smashed to splinters when you hit it?? It -bent- instead. What is this tree made of??"
  8. Riven unsuccessfully stifled the urge to roll her eyes. Crazy Chicken. She clamped her lips shut, hissing on the inside at the unwelcomed name for her mech pet. Her face grew pink and she wrapped her arms around the squirming dragon, hugging him to her chest and stalking off to the other pod.

    She stopped at the next remark and turned to look at the bent tree. "I wonder what it is made of. This whole place is just bizarre," She said softly.

    The wind blew through the thick waves of her dark hair and she shivered, a chill running down her spine. The girl disappeared inside the pod, which was still lit and temperate-controlled.She moved to the table and sat on the edge, settling the mechanical creature on her lap. He was chewing the small tuft of hair happily and Riven absent-mindedly stroked his smooth wings as she waited on the commander.
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