Ularia1 pronunciation ( Ularia Prime) The year is... hahaha, do you actually think anyone cares? Every sovereign dominion world has its own time-keeping system, because the duration of days is different per each planet. Space time also flows differently from regular time, not to mention hyperspace time, which is completely different, and the discovery of different areas in space, where time also flows differently. Perhaps some book worms still try to keep the old Earth timekeeping scale, but even the most zealous of them would admit that's a pretty wild guess they're making. In Ularia, it's year 117, as counted from the first colonisation of this atmosphereless, barren rock, with acidic rain and meteorite shower, there the average temperature is -50oC (Ye, the regular temperature grading system remained the same. Weird, right?). Ularia1 was never a very important world, the main reason for this planet's colonisation in the first place, was how rich it was in minerals. Just like many other words in the galaxy, the grasshoppers of some human renegade faction would settle there, drain this world completely dry off anything useful, and leave it, never to return to the toxic wasteland that they've left behind. Well, this was the plan at least, but alas, it's not meant to be. [BCOLOR=#666699]" Now Ularia1 is the richest planet out of all the known dominions "[/BCOLOR] Two years ago, Ossium was discovered for the first time, in laboratory conditions, and one year ago it was found to be abundant on this world, in a stable, natural state. Now Ularia1 is the richest planet out of all the known dominions, protected as the highest asset by a coalition of other dominions' militarises, without it paying a dime. Everything the rest of humanity required was the Ossium. Anyone would pay anything for Ossium, ever since its properties were discovered. A psi-active mineral that affected human on some scale of consciousness that even with all the modern technology, we still don't understand. But soon nobody cared about that, when they realised what it could provide: it was the pharmacists' wet dream, a mineral which, with only very simple manipulations and in minimal qualities, could change a human being's emotional state, thought pattern and so on and so forth, in a blink of an eye. Someone with crippling depression could switch to being a joyful and self-fulfilling individual, with just an O-pill every few months! Just that would be enough to sky-rocket the price, but the implications of the Ossium were much more varied: it was the ultimate fuel. Nobody has yet, officially at least, tried to develop an Ossium bomb, but the common consensus is, that of someone does, then humanity will know how mega black holes are really made. As a fuel source, large blocks of Ossium could sustain a ship for... well... shit... eternity? Well, not eternity, but more than several thousands of space years, at least. AT LEAST! Not only that, but Ossium-powered engines would have little problem sustaining light speed for extended periods of time, or maintaining wormholes through hyperspace for just as long. Some psychopaths are already developing plans for Ossium-powered wayside space stations in hyperspace. Hell, worlds could be powered and, even theoretically, transported by huge Ossium-powered generators. Oh, have I mentioned that Ossium could be used to extend human life, way past the natural bounds? Yes, 300 years were too not enough for the viscerally yearning people of the universe, they wanted more, and they would pay more. So what, if the rejuvenating Ossium injections actually influenced the psyche? So what, if the Ossium gradually started to replace blood, and constant blood transfusions had to be done? It was all worth it, as doctors assured the wealthy tycoons to whom they sold the new drug, that they could live, with new advances in science, maybe forever! [BCOLOR=#666699]" And so the thin river of Ossium flowed from Ularia1 into the hungry maw of the rest of humanity, feeding its delirious appetites. "[/BCOLOR] How could the Ularian Collective - the government of the piss-poor renegade piracy/trade/mining brigade, which had setted on this world to make some quick buck, that they would strike the biggest treasure in the known universe? How could they be ready for all the fame, fortune, resources, power, influence and everything else that they would get? And how could this group of simple humans trying to make ends meet in the world, ever account for the true nature of their find, or have the prudence and discretion, to actually do some research in what they were feeding the rest of their race? [BCOLOR=#666699]" They banned excavation of any kind, claiming it could damage volatile Ossium production. Nobody was thereto object. "[/BCOLOR] When the thermal scans of the planet, used to discover more Ossium veins, revealed the presence of ancient ruins, of starkly different origins, the Ularian Collective didn't even bother to look at them, and when rumours about the nature of these places started to circulate, they just blew them up, to make space for more interplanetary trade centres, taking care of the problem. Oh, and just in case, they banned excavation of any kind, in their world, claiming it could damage volatile Ossium production. Can't have some meddling vermin plague their profitable business with half-baked stupid conclusions! So what, if some of them claimed this world had been mined before, my distinctly different cultures, over distinctly different periods, sometimes separated by millions of years? It didn't fucking matter, they were not here now, and they had left the most precious booty! ================================ Hello, this is a RP that I had started sometime ago with someone on this side, but she just stopped replying, after the first post, so I would like to find a partner to continue it with. I have included my first post following this text, so that you can get some better idea of the power structures of the world, as well as my character. If you are interested, please PM me or let me know here, and tell me what kind of character you would like to play. My previous partner player a journalist, who had started investigating some disturbances with the initial miners, and wanted to follow up with my characters, but you can be anything, really. Just, if you are not native to Ularia, you'd need a pretty good justification for being allowed in. You can have complete world building freedom for that :) Oh, the main concept for our characters is that the proximity to Ossium had caused them to be, well, haunted and otherwise tormented. Mine would mostly ignore it, thinking it's his weak mind playing tricks, and that would help him somewhat, but yours is the one who doesn't and tries to find others who may know something about it. When you read the next part, you will know exactly why they'd look for my character of all people. Just click on the slide below. Slide 1 Rain. More specifically – acidic rain, one which would be swift in reducing a human being to less than rabble and making for quite the agonising death, was now harmlessly pouring over the large windows of the Apexis tower. “Gaius Chernev, there are forty seven minutes up until your next shift. Your journey will take up less than five given the usage of the corporate priority line. Would you like to receive complementary mental stimulants to increase your work performance?” “Mental stimulants” – Gaius snorted in a repressed anger, as the AI pronounced the word. Mental stimulants was such a meek way to give to the corporate mind control drug which a third of the population and probably 90% of the mining workers were readily consuming in vast quantities. The substance did indeed elevate one’s mental capacities quite above their usual values, but it did so at the expense of their critical faculties, and while the first effect was always only temporary, with prolonged usage, the latter became permanent. It was so much easier to keep a population in check, if the majority of it readily allowed third parties to mess with their minds. Gaius would even go as far as to question whether the Ularian Collective even needed to further erode the critical faculties of a populace so eager and ready to consume pop mind-modifiers like candy. But the real perversion was, that he ought to actually consider himself quite lucky – while everyone else paid a hefty buck for the so called stimulants, he could receive them for free – one of the many privileges of being in the extraction and mining business. “What is my current work performance?” his quiet, albeit imposing voice permeated the silence that had overtaken the room after the AI had ceased communication. “Accessing data. Individual key code: 0-9-8-3-6-G-C; security extension: 7; high security extension: G. Individual Gaius Chernev, planet of origin: Zvezda 6 – Independent dominion. Age: 32. Psychical status: troubled. Ossium mining worker for eleven Ularian months. Accessing recent mining sessions performance stat values in percentiles, as follows: 76; 82; 98; 65; 90; 43; 83; 79; 74. Positive correlation found. Average performance score: 76,6 period. Final evaluation: highly successful.” “So what do you think, do I need to stimulants to enhance my work efficiency?” Gaius slowly walked up to his small apartment’s kitchen complex and poured himself a glass of milk, which he proceeded to take to his comfortable, leather armchair in front of the window, where a bag of cookies already waited from, half-emptied since last night. He carefully took one and dipped it in the milk, watching as the surface begun to drink in the fluid to a point of saturation. He took it out in less than split second before its substance became too unstable, and placed it in his mouth, where it began to break apart. This habit of his was not a mere gastronomical idiosyncrasy, it was also a practice for his work – the Ossium. OSS593 was originally liquid or plasma, depending on the purity of the ore and it had to be converted into a semi-solid state until it became good for extraction – all an incredibly precise work which, which involved “catching” the perfect moment for the application of the various chemicals of the solidification process. Gaius did that on instinctual basis – popping in the various elements more on the basis of when he felt it was the right time, rather than by closely monitoring all the data streams, as they changed by the second and were almost impossible to follow. That’s why there was no standardised method of mining and extraction was kind of an individual art rather than a layman’s work and as such, it paid top money, as well as a fat 7% commission on each extraction session that exceeded 60% success rate. For over 90%, that was doubled. With such an incremental amount of money involved, it was no surprise that people readily accepted stimulants to boost their performance in hopes of catching those amazing bonuses. “I am not equipped to make my own opinions.” If the AI had any form of self-awareness it would probably cringe at the cynicism of its own answer. It didn’t, however, and so its voice remained unchanged, just fading into silence in the empty space of the apartment. “Yet you are equipped to make offer me drugs at every turn”, he thought, but said nothing. It was evident that the AI would make no proper response, and all he would accomplish by saying that, was to further worsen his psycho status – those conversations were all being recorded, after all, just like any other sound that came off his apartment. “There has been a change of schedule. Miner Song has extended her session by three more hours. Miner Chernev is not to be disturbed for the duration of the period.” The AI’s cold voice suddenly announced, making Gaius’ muscle stiffen, at the unrequested sound. The AI had been instructed to not speak, unless explicitly spoken to, but these were so-called emergency messages. “You’re killing yourself, Song…” Gaius thought to himself, as he threw a semi-liquid cookie in the air and swallowed it with the excellence and grace of a circus artist. Xuaxuan Song was one of the new mining recruits – after the Ularian Cooperative had decided to extend its mining activities it required new people to do the job and it was senior miners, such as Gaius, who did the training. Each one would be pulled off mining activities for a certain amount of time and be paid better than five university professors together, for the task of instructing three new miners. The senior had the final say on whether or not their trainees should be allowed to actually work, regardless of their performance on the tests. Song was one of Gaius’s three and so he felt slightly responsible for what she was doing to herself. “Pull out Miner Song’s performance statistics. Access code – minus one.” As a senior minor, Gaius had an array of privileges in this mockery of a society, even above other miners. One of those was to be able to view all of their basic information. While many of his peers often used this system to scout their competition, or for the purposes of gossip, Gaius had only opened it when he was rather bored. “Information encrypted as private. Inputting code: minus one. Superseding order. Executing. Individual Xuaxuan Song, planet of -” “Stats only” he commanded as the rest of the information was painfully known to him “Executing. Accessing recent mining sessions performance stat values in percentiles: 81, 93, 13, 27, 87, 95, 69, 79, 89. Positive correlation found. Average performance score: 70,5 period. Final evaluation: successful.” Gaius sighed in the mild darkness of the room – those crazily small numbers were when she had been off of the drug. The effects of prolonged usage extended far beyond the physical – when one was operating in their heightened sense for a long time, they were so much faster and their ability to comprehend continuous data streams and perform complex problem solving by heart were so enhanced, that they inevitably gained a confidence boost. When they got used to working in such a mode, it became second nature to them – something that became an integral part of their work. Changing from normal, everyday state into a heightened state became something they expected to happen with the start of their shift and so much so, that wouldn’t even feel the change anymore after some time had elapsed. So, if they decided to work in their “everyday mode”, the lack of heightened sensitivity would make them panic, even lose control over their machines. They would no longer be able to make judgements, their confidence would be 0 and even if they managed to try and snap out of it, they would still try to mine by using the machines and the data streams as they would with heightened sensitivity, rather than use it differently and rely on different factors, such as intuition, jumping average, long-term process shits, etc., rather than a brute force number crunch – in other words, a regular human would have to use the equipment differently than a heightened one and as such – all tries to work without the drug were miserable failures – just as Song’s tries. It was mainly because of that, that people who initially decided to take the stimulants only once or twice so as to pull better numbers, wold start taking them all the time and eventually – be unable to perform without them. Gaius was one of the very few exceptions and those exceptions were mostly amidst his peers – the seniors, because when they had originally begun extraction, they had begun working without stimulants in the first place, and with far inferior equipment – after all no one even knew what the Ossium even was back then, much less how to extract it. Gaius smiled as he reminiscened about these times. He and his peers therefore all too wee, that it was possible to mine without stimulant, moreover, they had all earned a tremendous amount of money already, so their drive to perform wasn’t as strong as that of the “youngsters”. The latter just started with stimulants literally from day 1, because they each had a trial period and adjusting to the work without stimulants took longer time. With stimulants, one could start producing good numbers from day 1 and become better with each passing session, as they adjusted to the heightened state. On the other hand, without stimulants, it would take much longer time to get used to using all the fancy equipment and even longer to start pulling good numbers. And while Gaius and the other seniors had tenure and were literally indispensable – not only as workers and teachers, but also as supervisors and evaluators, the youngsters would be fired in doves after their trial period, to allow only the best and the toughest – in other words – those would pull high numbers without breaking down mentally – to get permanent positions. That created a cut-throat competition, and a working climate of constant competition, which really troubled him. He drunk the milk with bits of cookie in it in one gulp and allowed for the memories to flood his mind, just as the rain outside flooded the window. ***His office was a basic room – small and black, with a desk, a computer and a massive holo screen, that would replace the window. The window itself covered the wall behind him and took place behind a massive cactus plant, which was the only kind of plant that Gaius had managed to keep alive. As such, he had bought three of those from the bio domes – incredibly expensive, as they were specifically designed by the genesis scientist to resemble unaltered strands of their home worlds, without any additional biological make-up to make them more resistant or efficient. Those plants were durable and adaptive, even in their rough, primal form, producing little value for the world, but also requiring very little from it. Perhaps it was the reason he felt somewhat of a bond, based on resemblance, with them. Two of the cactuses remained in his apartment, the third being the one in the office. It had been three minutes before the arranged time, but he already heard a knock on the door. Following an affirmation, a young, relatively tall woman in a strict business suit and a knee-long black skirt entered the room, her small heels echoing on the metallic floor, as she hesitated on whether or not to step on the carpet that covered most of the floor inside. “It’s fine to step with shoes, the building is automatically cleaning itself anyways, so I don’t really care.” He smiled, offering her a seat and a cup of tea, the latter being produced by the room’s AI automatically, as soon as he mentioned the word. As the woman thanked him and begun taking a sip, he looked into her features more – short, black hair, small black eyes, laced with yellow – a sure sign of some genetic altering, small nose and lips. She was of what the inhabitants of the old Earth would call Asian descent. Her file had said she came from Kami Prime, member of the Rising Sun Alliance. “Song, your efforts have been commendable… actually, if I have to be frank – you are pulling same numbers as a worker with a few months of experience. You’re the best performing member of your generation and by far the most consistent. Your psycho status is also within… - he hesitated –the acceptable limits.” He stopped talking and looked at her for some time, without saying anything, as he wondered how to break the new. “So have you called me to congratulate me, sir?” she asked, a certain bitter coldness in her voice “No.” He made another small pause, as what he had to say was quite hurtful, especially to the best trainee he had ever had “As this is the end of the training period, I have called to… end your employment with this company.” “What?!” for the first time ever, Song raised her voice at him “You can’t do that! You said it yourself, I am the best performing member of this generation!” She had stood up, looking angrily at him from higher up, her chest pulsating with anger “Song, I have access to your medications list. You are taking hormonal medication, basic reflex-enhancing drugs, sigh-enhancing medicine, mood alternating drugs, antidepressants, birth control and mental stimulants all in the same time, every day. Honestly, Song, if I’d say you take more pills each day than food! It’s my responsibility to stop you from killing yourself.” He had failed to anticipate this during her training, because the company didn’t have legal rights to access the data from her medical records before she became an employee, or he would have laid her off back then. It would have been so much simpler and less soul-shattering – for both of them. It was weird, how the Ossium ore somehow influenced everyone. It took something from each person, or it just gave them a bitter mark – that’s why the company was forced to track each employee’s mood and psycho status. “Everything is within manageable borders – I take nothing that us not permitted by the company. I am going to be quite fine. Please…” her voice went from angry to sad and by the end of her sentence, he could see tear begin to appear in her eyes. “I’m very sorry.” He spoke quietly, as he could imagine what she was going through “I… I will appeal this decision.” She removed the tears with her hand and spoke more calmly, after a short pause “You are welcome to do so… but, Song, we both know you can’t possibly win against my word. I mean, you are a valuable employee, but ultimately, there will always be a thousand to take your place and the company trusts the seniors’ judgement above all else.” “WHY! Why are you going to do this to me, Mr. Chernev?” she asked, falling back into the chair with voice so quiet it was barely audible “I told you. You are literally killing yourself. So much meds at such a fragile young age – Song, you are 23… when I was 23 I didn’t even have my vaccines on, because my family was too poor to afford them on Zvezda. This… ” “No! As a citizen I am taking care of myself. I know what I am doing. Please, believe me! I will get healthy, I will even lay off the stimulants. I’ll prove it to you! I will do anything.” He could hear the desperation in her voice. Gaius knew nothing of the motivation this woman had and, somehow, he didn’t want to know, as he was afraid whatever it was, it would have far too grave an impact for him to neglect, should he learn it “It’s not about that…” he spoke quietly again, looking away from her for the first time “Oh!” she suddenly sounded hopeful and even pleasantly surprised, which made Gaius avert his gaze back to her “It’s about that…” she said in a tone that could have been awkwardly flirtatious, as she undid her coat’s buttons and revealed her white, body-tight shirt. He stood there in complete and utter shock, unable to even speak out in surprise. “Wha-”it was now his turn to stand up. He didn’t know what was more terrifying – how willing she was to trade her body for a supposed pass, and the implications of this, or how happy she was about the prospective of making such a trade in exchange for his job. He tried to speak up, but she cut him off “It’s quite alright…” she whispered, while starting to unbutton her shirt, revealing pale, silky skin, and leaning towards him “Stop it!” Gaius was so shocked, he didn’t even consider how much force he put in pushing the woman away and as a result almost threw her back into her chair. “That’s absolutely NOT what I meant!” he yelled out angrily, while beginning to regain his composure after the initial shock Song just sat there, her shirt still mildly open, quiet in her shell not saying a word. Gaius couldn’t even begin to imagine how she might have felt at this moment – humiliated, decried, and denied of her pursuits… he had also had some defeats in his lifetime, but never to such an extent. And since he felt that trying to consolidate her would be like adding an insult to the injury, he just sank back quietly into his chair. For the next few moments nobody spoke and the only sound in the room was the sound of the acidic rain over the glass window. “Why…” Gaius finally broke the silence “Why do you want to do this job so badly? Why are you ready to go any line for it?” at this point it, he just had to know. Ignorance was a luxury he could no longer morally afford. As trainer he had seen his fair share of rage and tears when trainees got dismissed, but never had anyone gone that far. “If I had any other miner as a teacher… I would have been hired. Anyone else… Why… why did I have to be paired with you of all people…” she wasn’t looking at him, her head hadn’t moved from her transfixed position of staring at the empty wall. It was not a question, she merely made a statement, one full of bitterness and defeat “Answer me.” Gaius insisted, trying to sound authoritative, even if inside he was as terrified as her, at the current situation “I am a single mother – I have two young kids to take care of. I need this money – not for me, but for them. For them… I would do anything.” She didn’t look at him now either “No. Tell me the truth.” His gaze did not move from her, however “I am telling you the truth.” Her voice was like a whisper – quiet and distant, as if she wasn’t even talking to him anymore “Ever since you came here, you’ve done nothing but try to appeal to me – appeal to me as a trainer, as an authority figure… as a man and now – as a victim. For once, let me hear you speak with your real voice.” “There is no reason!” she looked at him for the first time in a while – there were no tears, no anger, only despair in her eyes “I don’t have anyone to take care of, okay? I have no noble goal or worthy ambition. All I have, are my parents and they’re both dead. They gave up their lives to help me grow and bring me to this planet. And so far, I have done nothing important with this life I’m given. NOTHING! I want to do something that matters, but so far I have been a complete failure at anything I’ve tried. But this… this settlement, this operation, this mineral – it’s calling me! It’s my destiny, I can feel it, I know it, I have to cease it!” she kept on screaming in his face, tears appearing in her eyes as she did, for a bit more, but Gaius no longer listened. He didn’t need to listen. This person wouldn’t be any better if he had fired her – the same way she was destroying herself with pharmaceuticals to resist the pressure of mining a psi-effective mineral, she would destroy herself in a feeling of guilt and failure, if left on her own devices. In the same time, she would be too proud to accept any help, especially after what they’ve both just shared. No, this was the last time they would meet each other, regardless of his decision. This was, apparently, this woman’s final stand, she had convinced herself that it was her final try, and she wouldn’t have the power to do any more. Gaius sighed deeply and took hold of his pen. “Go on, then. Fulfil your destiny.” He spoke grimly, while putting his signature on the employment contract. These were the last words he ever said to her, and this was the last time she ever looked him in the eyes. ***“Somehow, every time I am alone here I get those dark memories reoccurring again and again, it must be the Ossium. Perhaps I need to start taking those mood modifiers the company psychiatrist delegates me extra cash for, instead of flushing them down the drain.” This ridiculous thought was the last straw – he had decided – he would stay inside as a prisoner of his own conscience no longer! He had more than three hours to his next shift and it was technically midday, even if it didn’t seem like it, so he put on a sweater over his long-sleeved shirt and headed out.