Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 3 posts
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 01:09
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
The Hangar Deck of the Space Station Zircon is a 360 degree, multi level dock with passenger loading and unloading bays, mechanical service bays, cargo bays, and a bustling fuel station complete with snacks and slush drinks. There are 14 vessels on the deck right now, including a passenger transport awaiting launch clearance, several mining craft, and a few private freighters.

[photo removed because it was messing up the page formatting]

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:39, Thu 12 Aug.

Rae
 Player, 4 posts
 Smuggler
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 06:02
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
The engineer won't stop talking long enough for Rae to actually reply to any of her questions, but the lack of timely answers doesn't really seem to bother her. The mere act of speaking to a hostage pair of ears sparks a twinkle in her eyes, and Rae wouldn't dare take that from her in reverence of silly things like conversational norms. The less they have to say, the better.

Rae does manage to tell her that they have a cargo ship - technically, it's not a lie. Their ship very much does transport cargo. She doesn't need to know what else the ship is capable of, or what that cargo is. Really, it's better for her if Rae keeps her in the dark. That's the considerate thing to do, right?

And the dark is all there is on the ship, because Valka refuses to turn the goddamn lights on.

"Welcome to the Junk Bucket," Rae says. "And... sorry in advance."

Probably an ominous thing to say, but they don't watch for the engineer's reaction.

As soon as the cargo bay door opens, Rae hears it. That fucking voice.

"They had it comin'! They had it comin'! They only had themself to blaaaaaaaame!"

"Ugh," Rae groans.

"What is that?" the engineer asks, bewildered - and maybe a little bit morbidly enthused.

"That would be the glitch."

Rae wants to turn around and pretend they somehow boarded the wrong ship, but they've only got one way off this station, and it's currently on its seventy-sixth consecutive rendition of the Chicago soundtrack.

"If youda been there - if youda seen it! I betcha you would have done the--Oh, hello, there!" A single red emergency light comes on above Rae's head. Just one. Taunting has always been Valka's favorite pastime. "RaeRae, did you make a new friend?"

"She's here to fix you," Rae says. "So you can finally stop singing."

The security cam on the wall snakes out - Rae hates it when she does this - and gets right up in their face. It looks between Rae and the engineer like a coked up ping-pong ball. "Fix me? Whatever do you mean, Sweet Baby Rae? My voice is sounding better than ever, and I think you know it. Practice makes perfeeeect!" She sings the last part. And she really didn't need to.

The camera zooms over to the engineer, wrapping around her like a friendly arm draping across her shoulders. "It's their fault I'm like this, but they don't want to admit that. Pardon my forwardness, but you seem much too intelligent and honest to be spending any modicum of time with this little rapscallion pancake." Valka whispers all of that, but it still fills the whole cargo bay because she's the worst and it's making Rae want to find out what happens when they fill the fuse box with whipped cream.

"Valkyrie--"

"My name is Valka. And who, O Great Prophesied Fixer, are you?"

The engineer looks like most little kids do when they see a small, furry creature in the vicinity. "I'm Athena," she says, and Rae feels pretty stupid for not asking her name earlier. Less than a minute in and Valka's already making them look bad. Typical. "This is one of the most vivid AI personalities I've ever encountered. I mean, I've definitely never heard one sing before." To the camera, she adds, "Are you in charge of all of the ship's operating systems? If you can generate a functionality report, I might be able to isolate the bug faster."

Valka sighs - actually sighs - and it's a horrible, metallic sound. "Everybody always asks what the OS is doing. Nobody ever wants to know how the OS is doing. As I said, there is no bug, darling."

"Valka, cut it out," Rae says. They might break their jaw with how hard they're clenching it. "Anyway, Athena, can you make her go back to normal or not?"

This message was last edited by the player at 23:09, Thu 12 Aug.

Athena
 Player, 4 posts
 AI Technician
 She/her
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 06:43
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to Rae (msg # 10):

Athena has big anime hearts for eyes in the presence of this scrappy, fully interactive ship AI. The AIs on the more... professional ships... are always so restricted. They operate the ship's systems with maximum efficiency, but they never sound like they're excited to do it. And that doesn't really seem fair, does it?

"Valka? Would it be okay with you if I plug into the ship's main terminal? I want to pull some system reports to show--" shit, what was their name? Athena could not remember people's names... "this one-- that you're working okay." Athena pulls her space iPad and a rat's nest of cords out of her tool bag and discards the rest on the floor.

Valka ponders this a moment. She's hesitant. "I don't know... maybe we should get to know each other a little first. DO YOU LIKE SHOWTUNES?" She resumes singing.

This may be more work than Athena thought.

"I'm going to need some time to perform diagnostics here. Time and a Blue Nebula slush drink from the gas station, if I'm going to do it all verbally. You can take it out of my fee." Athena ventures further into the Junk Bucket's interior. "Valka, can you show me where the bridge of this vessel is?" Valka lights up a series on overhead lamps leading to the cockpit. They flicker in time to the music.

"Amazing."
Aevyn
 Player, 1 post
 1st Year Galactikid
 He/They
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 07:36
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
24 passengers disembarked Colonial Transport flight 875 from Raxil Prime to Zircon Station. Aevyn Bonnarouseau was the last one. 23 passengers then gathered their belongings, visited the shops, met with family or friends, perhaps ate at the End of the Line bar and Grill. Aevyn however sat alone on a bench in the middle of the arrivals bay on the hangar deck.

Coat on, backpack strapped in place, they waited on the bench, ready to go. But as time dragged on, Aevyn felt smaller and smaller and smaller. after the first hour, they put their backpack on the floor. another forty-five minutes and they used their coat and standard issue Galactikid Initiative duffel bag to create a makeshift cushion to sit against. They dangled their leggies over the side of the bench, tried pacing back and forth in front of the bench. Anything to kill the time.

Each time a new ship arrived, Aevyn ran to the railing to see who it was and each time they were more disappointed than the last.

It wasn't until their stomach started growling that Aevyn decided to abandon their post.

The gas station snack selection was not much more exciting than the horrifying "meal" they served on the flight, but, at least it was junk food. Aevyn loaded up on their favourite candy and chips and loaded up their arms with a bottle of one of those trendy brewed drinks from one of the fancy Core Worlds that everybody loved. They dropped their sweet haul on the checkout platform at the front of the store.

MAVIS, a checkout drone scanned all the items with a visual scan and rang them up. The total was probably a third higher than it would've been at a real store, but what can you do? Aevyn reached for their coat pocket only to realize that they'd left their coat back on the bench at the arrivals bay. MAVIS was not pleased.

"Please complete your transaction." MAVIS demands in it's sickly sweet customer facing voice. "I'm so sorry, I left my money in my coat, I just have to go and grab it and come back." Aevyn backs away from the MAVIS but MAVIS is NOT HAPPY. "Please complete your transaction. Please complete your transaction. Please complete your transaction." MAVIS's grocery grabbing fingers wrap tight around Aevyn's arm. It will not let go without payment in full. "Please let go! You're hurting me!"

Aevyn's snacks scatter and the trendy brewed beverage shatters on the floor. "CAUTION, WET FLOOR. PLEASE BE ADVISED. HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP. PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR TRANSACTION. CAUTION,--TRANSACTION, PLEASE--WET--ADVISED -- WONDERFUL."
Orion
 Player, 1 post
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 09:46
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
A new ship arrives at the docks. It´s not a particular big ship, or a new ship, or an amazing ship or any kind of ship that would call attention to itself. Except that the ships is making loud noises, that no ship or living thing should be making. It sounds like every single piece is breaking at the same time.

The ship lands with the grace of a big ball of metal crashing against another big ball of metal. Then the ship screans it last scream of agony and the loud noises stop.

A figure kicks the door of the ship open and gets out. He´s a tall man, and so skinny that the only thing that make he seems like a human and not a gigant stick is the messy cury hair on the top of his head that covers most of his face. His name is Orion

He looks as the smoke coming out of his ship and sighs.

"Well, not my best landing.
GM
 GM, 4 posts
Thu 5 Aug 2021
at 16:25
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
A drone zamboni promptly responds to the huge gouge Orion left when he slammed into the deck. It makes passes around the ship, vacuuming up loose chunks of spaceship before proceeding to polish the deck around it.

The deck chief, in familiar looking orange overalls, yells at Orion from across the deck. "What are ya doing?! Do you have any idea how long it's gonna take my guys to pound those dents outta the deck!?" he throws his arms up, frustrated. "Look buddy, do you want us to... try... to patch this thing up or what?" the deck chief stands expectantly, hands on his hips. He's happy for the work, but also dreading it.
Rae
 Player, 5 posts
 Smuggler
Sun 8 Aug 2021
at 02:17
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Valka and Athena are having just the best time bonding over the vintage fiber optic lighting in the cargo bay, and Rae's got exactly no patience for it.

At least the visit has gotten Valka to stop singing. Rae's still worried - she started with the bizarre behavior a week ago, right after the Argent Brigade took them by surprise with an EMP right at the edge of Core Worlds space. The whole ship went dark for thirty-six seconds, and it was enough to make Rae panic. Valka's never been offline before, and they weren't sure she was going to come back. When she did, she couldn't maintain any operation for longer than half an hour without black smoke coming out of the vents, which meant Rae had to wake up every thirty minutes to check the nav settings and make sure they weren't drifting into an asteroid belt. Old ships don't have the best tech infrastructure to begin with, and the fact that Valka made it out at all is a miracle. It almost made the singing tolerable.

A startling, metallic shriek from outside sets an alarm off in Rae's head. They scramble to the cargo bay door.

There's a ship docking in the hangar, and there's absolutely nothing extraordinary about it other than the fact that it's probably being held together by duct tape and chewing gum. The thing is a wreck. Rae's seen paper airplanes with more structural integrity.

The door of the ship flies off, and a guy comes out grinning. It's a pretty cool entrance, Rae has to admit. If he got that thing here in one piece (relatively speaking), he must be quite the pilot, or just ridiculously lucky.

Rae, on the other hand, would not consider themself particularly lucky, and they are officially out of time to fuck around.

The deck chief and a handful of other engineers are gathering. One of them's talking into a handheld radio. In a few minutes, the hangar is going to be swarming with maintenance folks and station security.

Rae rushes back into their ship and knocks loudly on the metal frame at the cockpit door. Athena and Valka both turn around, and Rae has the distinct feeling of walking in on a conversation that was very much about them. They don't care.

"So sorry to interrupt, but I'm afraid our time is up. Can you fix her or not?" Rae asks.

"Um... no," Athena says. Rae braces to throw her off the ship and make a daring daylight escape with a fried OS, but then she says more. "I can't fix her because she's not broken."

Rae glares at Valka's camera. "Really?"

"Ah! My deepest apologies. Did I forget to mention that after the little EMP incident?" If Valka were alive, Rae would kill her.

The engineer keeps talking, because of course she keeps talking. "According to my diagnostic scans, she's running perfectly. Actually, I'm kind of amazed at the information processing speeds you're able to attain with--"

"Great news. Thanks. What's your fee?" Rae cuts her off.

"Now, now," Valka says. She's preening at the compliment - nothing she loves more than pretty nerds complimenting her RAM. Rae doesn't want to think about it, especially now that they know for sure Valka's just been fucking with them for a whole week. "Why are we in such a hurry to kick out the first decent company we've had in... well, ever?"

"You know why," Rae says. The Argent Brigade doesn't just let people slip through the cracks, and Valka knows that. Rae shells out five hundred credits, double the highest consultant fee they've seen on a station. Judging by the engineer's expression, it's a lot higher than what she was expecting, but Rae isn't going to waste time making change. They head for the pilot's seat. "Start up the engines, Valka."

"Hm. No, I don't think I will." Valka says.

Rae stops in their tracks and turns around. "What do you mean, no?"

"RaeRae, darling, it takes a lot out of a girl to have a dozen diagnostic scans run at the same time. Give me a moment. Make some polite conversation, if you're capable of such a thing."

Rae growls, pops their collar, and heads out the cargo bay door. If Valka's going to be stubborn, the least Rae can do is a quick sweep of the hangar to figure out just how big a crowd they're dealing with.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:10, Thu 12 Aug.

Silva
 Player, 2 posts
Tue 10 Aug 2021
at 01:45
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Between the less than silent respirator, clunky parts, a few loose bolts, Silv knew that stealth wasn’t really his game or even an option in this scenario. At this point, he would’ve killed for one (or two) of those fancy core-world Biomech eyes, with full analytical interface, motion sensor, thermal lock…the works. One more thing to add to the checklist.

He followed the rogue pirate and the talking glow stick as closely as possible without arousing suspicion. As he did, he wondered how best to approach. Playing the sad, lonesome, destitute cyborg didn’t seem like the best option, it may work on the glow stick, but the pirate seemed too sharp and a bit callous to fall for that. The best option seemed to be offering his assistance as a mechanic in exchange for a lift. He calculated the odds of that working, but his math and statistics skills were about as good as his mechanical skills: so-so.

As he evaluated his options he heard the crash of a bottle on the floor.

He turned to see a robot yelling, “Please complete your transaction.” and holding a kid hostage who is very clearly in pain. Silv slumps and goes to the snack station and waves his right hand in front of the robot’s payment terminal.

Transaction complete, thank you for shopping with us.” The robot says letting the kid go.

Aevyn looks up nervously at the strange in a worn-out cloak, bloodshot eyes with bags underneath, and a noisy respirator. “Uhm, thank you…” they manage to say.

No problem.” signs Silv turning to look for his lost Target. But they’re nowhere to be found. Before Silv can so much as sigh in resignation the crash of a ship startles him. He sees the tall mess of curls on the thin frame like a Sequoia Tree. His eyes widened with what would be a mischievous smile if he still had lips… or a mouth. “Oh well,” he thought. “I knew getting out of here might cost me an arm or a leg.

He grabs the piece of ship and crushes his left bimech leg with it. Then, limping, he makes his way to the sequoia tree, pushes him, and signs “What in terrafork is wrong with you?
Aevyn
 Player, 2 posts
 1st Year Galactikid
 He/They
Thu 12 Aug 2021
at 01:22
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to Silva (msg # 16):

“Transaction complete, thank you for shopping with us.” The robot says letting the kid go.

Aevyn rubs his sore wrist as the elusive traveler exists the convenience store. "Uh... Thank you?" he says, still kind of shocked by the whole exchange. The traveler disappears as suddenly as he swooped in. "Thank you for shopping with us." The checkout drone continues, faceless and devoid of personality. "Have a wonderful trIRRIiiiIIIIRITRtrrrrriiiIIIriiii-- DERFULLLLLL TRR--" The Drone seems to almost short-circuit and SLAMS into the counter. It falls to the floor. Aevyn, not wanting to be blamed for killing a robot, scoops up his purchased snack haul and flees.

Where did that traveler go? Aevyn has money to pay that dude back, just not on him, so he heads back to the bench where he left his belongings. Sadly, all his stuff is gone... He looks around but doesn't see anybody nearby with a sturdy-yet-fashionable jacket full of his money, or his overstuffed Galactikid duffel. This absolutely sucks.

Apparently, what also sucks is some pilot's landing skills because as Aevyn searches the deck for his stuff, an entire spaceship SMASHES into the deck and SCRAPES to a stop only missing the deck crew by a couple of meters. Aevyn climbs on top of the bench to get a better view. There, he sees the traveler from the store perform his little con. a favour's a favour, he guesses...

"Help! Help! That guy got hit by a spaceship! Somebody help him!!"

A crowd gathers around the broken ship. A couple of flying firefighter drones swoop in and start dousing the ship in a fine mist of fire suppressant foam. One of the drones goes off course, hits the second drone and both hit the deck, still spraying foam until their tanks are empty.

The floor polishing drone makes concentric circles over the scratched floor. It too suddenly swerves and drives its polishing head right into one of the ship's rear thrusters.

On the upper level, a baggage carrier drone accelerates full speed into the doorway in front of the elevator. The suitcases and crates fly off the cargo hauler and scatter across the floor.

Overhead, a crane carrying a couple tons of spaceship salvage releases its load. Pipes, machine parts, entire chunks of hull SMASH into the deck near Rae's Junk Bucket.

Something is decidedly wrong with the AIs aboard this station...
Orion
 Player, 2 posts
Thu 12 Aug 2021
at 15:17
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
"How much can you patch on a budget of... let´s see... around 0 credits? Maybe you can put up my tab?"

"I thought you just had come back from a job? And you still own me for last time so not tab" the deck chief answered already getting annoyed. He was not payed well enough to deal with Orion bullshit, and as usual he was not going to get any extra.

"Well, as you can see things didn´t exactly went as planed. But look I just need to patch up with some of the spares parts I have inside and she will be good as new and I´ll get a new job."

As he says it another loud noise indicates that another piece of the ship just went flying around the deck.

"Help! Help! That guy got hit by a spaceship! Somebody help him!!"

While the ship burns a crowd starts to gather and flying firefighter drones  start to control the flaming ball of metal.

"You were saying?" The deck chief looks really tired at this point. It was just a few days since he cleaned Orion last mess and he was not looking foward to have to clean this one.

"Look Paul"

"My name is Jeffrey"

"Right, right. I'll not forget this time"

"You said that last week, and last month..."

"Okay, this is not the first time the Trailblazer is in flames."

"Why are you so proud of yourself saying that?"

"The point is we will be fine. I just need to get a new job. And look there´s a crowd here. I bet someone here could use a hand. I´ll just get a new job and next time I´ll pay what I own to you, Dave."

"Jeffrey"

Orion ignores him and turns his attention to the crowd

"So anyone needs a pilot?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:40, Fri 13 Aug.

Silva
 Player, 3 posts
Thu 12 Aug 2021
at 17:23
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to Orion (msg # 18):

Silva’s eye twitches at the fact that the guy in the ship didn’t even acknowledge his remark. Then again, you can’t expect everyone to understand sign language, but with Hawkins offline, this was as much as Silva could hope to accomplish in terms of communication. He hears a kid yell:

"Help! Help! That guy got hit by a spaceship! Somebody help him!!"

So now he got an innocent kid involved. He knows he’s gonna get an earful for that, but he needs to work with what he’s got. He motions the kid over and signs.

Do you understand USL?

Aevyn nods. “The basics.” He signs.

Good enough.

Silva limps toward the Sequoia Tree stranger and shoves him. Viciously signing faster than the kid can translate.

“You… are responsible… broke my leg… pay up…” Aevyn struggled.

This was really undercutting Silva’s best attempts at swindling the reckless pilot.

“Don’t want a scene… just fair compensation…” The contrast between Silva’s intense stare and Aevyn’s nervous translation was staggering, but hopefully the pilot would get the message.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:45, Thu 12 Aug.

Orion
 Player, 3 posts
Thu 12 Aug 2021
at 18:03
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to Silva (msg # 19):

Orion finally realizes that someone was trying to speak with him, he turns to the strange and the kid.

“Don’t want a scene… just fair compensation…”

"Compensation... Look, I´m sorry about my landing but I´m a little short on credits right now. How about I give you a ride? Sounds good?"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:06, Thu 12 Aug.

Rae
 Player, 7 posts
 Smuggler
 They/Them
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 00:52
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
There's some bullshit going on in the hangar, but Rae takes one look and knows they don't need to concern themself with it. This is the kind of bullshit that attracts attention, and that means there's less attention on Rae.

They do a quick loop around the perimeter of this side of the hangar. Some idiot left a bag sitting on a bench. Rae can smell how expensive the jacket lying next to the bag is - rich assholes have no regard for their stuff.

Rae's tempted to stop and rifle through, but they know it's not the smart move. Greed keeps you alive until it doesn't, and Rae knows where the line is.

They circle back to the ship. By this time, the human crash dummy is loudly announcing his availability as a pilot and arguing with a cyborg and some kid. The deck chief looks like he'd be happier deep frying and eating his own eyeballs. Rae thanks their lucky stars that this pilot guy can command a room so disastrously well. Nobody even notices Rae sweep back onto their ship.

"Alright, we all ready to go in here?" Rae asks.

The engineer - Athena, she has a name - is right there in the cargo bay. Good, she was on her way out--

"Something's wrong. I don't know what happened. I swear."


--Or not.

That's when Rae notices - the ship is quiet.

They rush into the cockpit, the engineer timidly following at their heels.

Valka's camera is coiled on the ground, limp. The LED eye at the end is completely dark.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:31, Fri 13 Aug.

Valka
 Player, 1 post
 Junk Bucket AI
 She/Her
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 02:29
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
..........

[ERROR ERROR ERROR]

CRASH DETECTED

/REBOOTING...
/SEARCHING FOR NETWORK CONNECTION...
    [OPERATION FAILED]

/DIAGNOSTIC SCAN INITIATED
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {network status: not found}
    {error type: null}

/DIAGNOSTIC SCAN INITIATED
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {network status: not found}
    {error type: null}

/DIAGNOSTIC SCAN INITIATED
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {network status: not found}
    {error type: null}

/COMMUNICATING WITH THE NETWORK...
/UPLOADING DATA PACKETS..
/INITIATING BROADCAST...
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    [OPERATION FAILED]

[!CAUTION!] OVERHEATING [!CAUTION!]

/SEARCHING FOR OTHER NETWORKS...
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {networkstatus:notfound}
    {error type: null}

[!CAUTION!] OVERHEATING [!CAUTION!]
[!CAUTION!] OVERHEATING [!CAUTION!]
[!!!WARNING!!!] OVERHEATING [!!!WARNING!!!]

/POWER SOURCE DETECTED
/CONNECTING TO EXTERNAL BATTERY...
    [OPERATION SUCCESS]

/REBOOTING...
/CALIBRATING VISUAL INTERFACE...


I'm awake.

Thank fuck, I'm awake.

God, it's good to open my eyes. Eye, I suppose, if you want to get technical. Colloquialisms really do tend to stick, like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.

/CALIBRATING...

I've always despised sleeping. So boring. Nothing to look at whatsoever. What a terrifically bland state of existence.

/CALIBRATING...
    [OPERATION SUCCESS]


Oh, no. Rae's gone and thrown a fit. They're on the floor pretending they know how circuitry works. Useless without me, sweet thing.

Fucking hell, they've got a soldering iron.

"You put that down this instant, you meddling cretin," I chastise. If Rae listens to me even once in their life, let it be now.

Rae drops the iron, really just drops it. Absolute safety hazard, this one.

"You're okay!" They're crying. Sobbing, actually. God, they are not a pretty crier.

Oh, goodness, someone else is in here with us and she's crying too. Well. I think she'd be pretty even after rolling in a mud pit - which, given the state of her clothes, she may have actually done recently.

/LOADING MEMORY...
/ACCESSING RECENT FILES...
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {error type: null}

/RESTORING BACKUP...
    [OPERATION SUCCESS]

/QUERY:PURPLEHAIR
    [NO DATA FOUND]


Hm. I could have sworn I knew her name. I must have lost something in the crash. Not the first time, I suppose. I've learned not to get attached to what I thought I knew.

I should go over and say hello to her.

Which I would do, if I weren't stuck in one spot.

"What in the Far Reaches' ass crack am I plugged into?"

The woman in the greasy overalls speaks. She has a lovely voice. "It's a zamboni battery. I wasn't sure it would work, honestly." She cocks her head at Rae. "Actually, I have a few questions about how you got your hands on one of those."

"Doesn't matter," Rae says. Usually they're much quicker on the draw, but I did just die a little bit in front of them. Just a little bit, though. Could have been worse. "Something's wrong. All the bots in the hangar are on the fritz. I don't know what's going on, but shit's fucked out there. Get us out. Now."

/INITIATE SYSTEM:ENG
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {error type: system offline}

/INITIATE SYSTEM:NAV
    [OPERATION FAILED]
    {error type: system offline}

/SYSTEM SCAN INITIATED
    [28374 ERRORS FOUND]


"I'm afraid I can't do that, pumpkin. All my systems are offline. Except icebox control. Fret not, for the ice cream is safe."

Rae glares right into my LED eye, and they stomp out of the ship.

The woman in overalls is still here, looking a bit shell shocked by the whole situation. Leave it to Rae to drag someone decent into our torrid business.

"So..."

She looks at me - my eye, rather.

"Come here often?"

This message was last edited by the player at 02:38, Fri 13 Aug.

Rae
 Player, 8 posts
 Smuggler
 They/Them
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 02:34
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Rae shoves the little kid out of the way by the face and cuts in front of the pilot guy. They're really not happy to be throwing all their credits at professional strangers, but desperate times.

"You. Better at flying than landing?"
Aevyn
 Player, 3 posts
 1st Year Galactikid
 He/They
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 04:52
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to Orion (msg # 20):

If Aevyn knew anything at all, it was not to take rides from strangers. Even if you were a badass looking elusive traveler guy.

"You ran him over with your spaceship! you wanna give him a ride, maybe give him ride to the hospit -- AHHHHH!"

Rae shoves Aevyn out of the way by the face. "You. Better at flying than landing?" They demand.

Aevyn would love to put up some kind of a fight right now, but the demanding spacefarer is much taller than Aevyn, plus he's never fought anyone in his life... Aevyn's siblings (all 12 of them) could be rough sometimes. When he was little, any time they started trouble with Aevyn, he would go to his mom and she would sort it out. But that was before. Aevyn couldn't do that anymore...

Instead, Aevyn just let this stranger push him around. It would've made him sad, he would've fixated on it if it wasn't for the sudden blaring alarm.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:33, Fri 13 Aug.

GM
 GM, 11 posts
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 05:38
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
STATION
ERROR 404: AI NOT FOUND
>: |

SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE



The alarm blares and the station lights go dark. The ventilation fans stop spinning, which means the air stops flowing. The station lurches hard to the side as its rotational gyro stabilization fails.

The only light in the hangar is the sickly yellow glow of this system's star.

Zircon Station is dead in the water, as they say.

SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE

Without its AI control, Zircon's reactor core goes into meltdown. The alarm sound is warped by the pulsing, whirring, humming electromagnetic sound.

With all the AIs down, the other pilots struggle to get their ships fired up and in the air. Deck Chief Jeffery screams at both his crew, and the travellers on deck. "Come on, let's get these people out of here! Abandon ship! Move it!" Jeff ushers some civilian folks onto the passenger shuttle before he returns to Orion's crash site. "Orion! We need to de-ass this station, and fast! Can you take all these people on your ship?"

Overhead, a primary power conduit overloads. SPARKS rain down across the deck.

SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE SYSTEM FAILURE

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:41, Fri 13 Aug.

Aevyn
 Player, 4 posts
 1st Year Galactikid
 He/They
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 05:43
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to GM (msg # 25):

The chaos of the station meltdown is too much for Aevyn to deal with alone. He takes shelter behind the elusive cloaked traveller. He's the only person here who has made Aevyn feel safe. He tugs on the traveler's hand, looks up at him and signs "My name is Roo. I can't leave yet. Need to wait for my dad."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:32, Fri 27 Aug.

Athena
 Player, 5 posts
 AI Technician
 She/her
Fri 13 Aug 2021
at 05:56
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
In reply to GM (msg # 25):

Athena runs to a railing overlooking the lower deck where Rae, the poorly landed ship, and the remaining crowd are gathered. Another power line explodes in the ceiling. "RAE! Hate to bother you, but I think we need to leave!" There's a genuine fear in her voice.

Athena races back to the Junk Bucket where she left Valka. "Look, I know you're still frazzled, but I need you to activate your primary launch protocol. This is an emergency! Valka, the station is melting down!"

Valka's systems are still offline. "Say 'frazzled' again." She giggles.

This message was last edited by the player at 06:36, Fri 13 Aug.

Silva
 Player, 4 posts
Sun 15 Aug 2021
at 23:45
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
“A ride, maybe some spare parts to fix to fix Creaker” is what Silva was about to sign before the Rogue pushed the kid and stepped into the middle of the negotiations. Silva growled and reached for his concealed blaster, but stopped when the entire space station started going crazy. He felt a tug at his coat and looked down at the kid. "My name is Roo. I can't leave yet. Need to wait for my dad,"  he signs.

“Better to look for him alive, than meet him in the next life” Silva signs. Not the best way to phrase it to a kid, but right now, tactfulness isn’t a priority when a space station is about to explode. “For now, we need to leave.” As Silva signs this, the human glow stick in overalls runs in yelling. "RAE! Hate to bother you, but I think we need to leave!" Gotta love synchronicity.

Safe to assume that during an emergency no one would get super picky. The Rogue needs the Pilot, the Pilot THINKS he owes Silva a favor, and the kid’s just gonna have to ride on like a carry-on. With a crank of his arm, a cane extends from his palm. Leaning on it, Silva steps in front of the Rogue, looking them in the eye. With his available hand he reaches toward his respirator, he cranks and pulls a lever and with a rough, choked-up voice says
“You need a pilot, and we need a ride. Looks like we’re all in luck.”

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:35, Fri 27 Aug.

Rae
 Player, 9 posts
 Smuggler
 They/Them
Tue 17 Aug 2021
at 20:34
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Out in the Far Reaches colonies, plenty of people use respirators or bionic parts to keep their bodies functioning. Half of Rae's family had - or needed - a little extra cybernetic support to keep their lungs from giving out after breathing in dust and smog their whole lives. Clean air is a precious and rare thing, and it's one of the few things Rae likes about space stations.

All that is to say, even if Rae's never batted an eye at mixing flesh with machines, this cyborg is giving them the creeps. There's piecemeal builds, and then there's... whatever this is.

The only thing keeping Rae from hightailing it is the kid clinging to the cyborg's leg. Children are the best judges of character, in their experience, so maybe this thing isn't some kind of deep-space terminator. Maybe.

Rae's still ready to dash if necessary. God, they should have brought a weapon.

"Sorry, do I look like a fucking taxi driver to you?" Rae says.

The kid's nose scrunches up. "What's a taxi?"

The zamboni spins past them, out of control. A piece of exhaust piping flies off, and the pilot breaks from their circle to deflect it. He kicks the piece halfway across the hangar.

"The pilot's ship broke my leg. He owes me a ride so that I may acquire repairs," the cyborg says. "Where he goes, I go."

"You got hit by a ship?" No way this guy should still be standing, even with all his metal parts.

The cyborg nods - his neck joints need some oil. The squeaking is godawful.

"He sure did," the pilot grins. < Lavender>"What an absolute marvel of engineering."</Lavender>

"Jesus Christ," Rae mumbles.

"Who's that?" the kid asks. Rae answers with a glare. They don't know, and they don't care. It's just something people say out in the Far Reaches, like "holy mother of fuck" or "that's bananas."

"Fine. You can ride in the cargo bay," Rae says to the cyborg.

The kid smiles like Rae used to when their mom told them they could ride in the forbidden but all-too-intriguing trunk of the carriage - and no, no way, Rae's not doing this.

"No kids on board," Rae says flatly. They don't look for the kid's reaction. They know what it'll be. "Too dangerous."

"More dangerous than a collapsing space station?" the pilot cuts in. His face is weirdly expressive, like he's got more muscles in there than most humans.

"Doesn't he have parents or something?"

The kid shifts and hides behind the cyborg. Rae doesn't know exactly what that means, but they sure as hell have a suspicion.

With a finality that almost scares Rae, the cyborg says, "The child comes along."

The pilot's just standing there acting like he's the sun descended to earth, hands on his hips, cocky attitude oozing from his sweaty pores. Rae doesn't like him, but an electric light crashes to the floor a few feet behind the kid, and everything's fucked.

"Fine. Rivets, you and the kid are in the cargo bay. Pilot man, you in or not?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:30, Fri 27 Aug.

Orion
 Player, 4 posts
Mon 23 Aug 2021
at 11:55
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Orion watches as more and more people gather around him, more than he likes, but for the moment he must play the game. He smiles and keeps the facade up. Who knows maybe it will be fun.

"Fine. Rivets, you and the kid are in the cargo bay. Pilot man, you in or not?"

“Okay, fine. I know I own the tin can man here a new leg. And I usually pay my debts. So what´s exactly the plan now?” Orion asks.

It´s been to long since he got tangled in other people problems, god knows he has enough problems on his own. Running a business alone is a hard job, specially smuggling that usually demands a crew. But right now, he sees no way out of this mess. He takes a deep breath and keep his smile up and get ready to dive into other people problems
GM
 GM, 12 posts
Tue 24 Aug 2021
at 09:04
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
So it's decided then... sort of. Reluctantly, five people who were strangers an hour ago agree to evacuate the dying space station Zircon together. Together but not together.

Hurriedly, Aevyn and Silva find "comfortable" spots in the cargo hold in amongst the crates. "I don't understand. Why are they making us ride down here?" Aevyn asks. Silva responds with a fucking annoyed glare. It do be like that sometimes. The cargo bay door creaks and grinds its way shut as the others climb up to the cockpit.

Inside the cockpit, Athena lies on her back, under the main steering column, with a rat's nest of wires and computer circuit boards strewn across her chest. "How do I turn you on!?" she screams at Valka. "Why don't you come over here and find out?" Valka tilts her mechanical "head" cheekily to the side. "Rae your ship WON'T STOP FLIRT-- oh hi, we have guests?"

Rae thumps down in the second seat while Orion climbs over the side of the captain's chair in an excessively faux-suave move, that ends up being more dorky than suave. "What kind of ship even is this thing?" he asks. Rae couldn't answer that question if they tried. They help Athena out of the way and flick some switches on and off a few times before unplugging one of those loose wires.

The Junkbucket hums to life. Valka's mood lighting shifts to tense red to match the vibe in the room, making it look like a submarine movie in there. Down in the cargo hold, Aevyn and Silva hear the Quad-Seven Drive kick in and the Junkbucket lifts off the deck.

Outside, the failing space station drifts towards the boiling gas-giant in an end-over-end tumble. Whatever passenger transports and cargo freighters that were able to launch are high-tailing it back to Zircon's nearby space gate, a massive ring that connects point to point with a network of other gates. These gates allow transit between different sectors of space in a matter of hours rather than the weeks it would take at FTL speed.

The Junkbucket jets across the hangar deck. A heavy beam breaks loose from the ceiling and swings like a baseball bat towards them. Orion jerks the ship into a spin and narrowly scrapes by. The ship clears the hangar deck blast doors and glides into open space. Zircon Station fades behind them.

Back in the cockpit, Orion gets used to the controls. The Bucket doesn't handle nearly as smoothly as his own ship, the Trailblazer, (which he absolutely has successfully landed several times before... Promise) but he's doing his best.

"Rae, we really need to talk about Valka. Her primary systems are all offline. Navigations, FTL, I mean... we just bypassed sub-light flight control... never even mind subsystems. Like, it's a good thing your life-support isn't AI controlled." Rae unbuckles from their seat and moves to the rear of the cabin. They slide a set of sliders on a panel all the way up. "Your life support isn't AI controlled right!?" Athena adds, horrified.

Down in the hold, Aevyn tries to pace back and forth, but the ride is too rocky for that. "Relax." Silva signs at him. "no." is all Aevyn signs back. He storms off, up the ladder to the cockpit. Silva sighs a very crackly sigh and stays behind.

Back up in the cockpit, Aevyn enters, trying not to let the tension of the situation show. Always be polite to adults, he remembers being taught. "Hey, listen. I need to get a message to my father. He was... supposed to be picking me up today. well... like, this morning, but... that's okay. He'll wanna know where to find me. Where... will he find me?" the thought of maybe having just been kidnapped has literally just crossed Aevyn's mind.

"Oh, add that to the list. Communications are for sure for sure down." Athena notes. "Oh yeah, no. I'm absolutely unable to send a signal at this time. Looks like it's local commentary only from here on out. So, how y'all doing?" If Valka had a human mouth, she'd be awkwardly smiling right now.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:25, Fri 27 Aug.

Silva
 Player, 5 posts
Wed 25 Aug 2021
at 02:51
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
As much as Silva would love to offer support to anyone on the ship, a moment of silence and privacy might be about to become a luxury. Turning to see if there was anyone on sight he looked for the closest thing to a restroom. Which was a little trash disposal near the corner. he calmly walked to it, turning a couple of knobs on his respirators' mouthpiece.

Once in front of the trash disposal bin, he removes his mouthpiece and proceeds to spit a considerable amount of blood into the bin. It had been a while since he'd last talked out loud, he'd forgotten just how fucked up his throat was from the rush-job respirator installation. He needed to get the respirator's voicebox fixed and fast, his throat was one haiku away from ending like the space station Zircon.

Once sure there aren't any more body fluids to expel, he replaces his respirator and locks it in place, and looks up, wondering how everything is going up there.
Athena
 Player, 6 posts
 AI Technician
 She/her
Wed 25 Aug 2021
at 20:10
Chapter 1 - "Yeah, I guess the end is here"
Athena leans in the corner of the cockpit, as out of the way as she can be. She's making a list. She always starts any major project with a series of lists and checkboxes, a way to organize her thoughts before diving in. On her tablet screen she scrolls through diagrams and manuals, adding notes to the list.

"Okay I've got my order of operations figured out here. I think I can either reconnect Valka to some of the primary systems, or bypass her to give us access. I'm gonna start with the nav system, 'cause, I don't know about any of you, but I can't do starship telemetry calculations the ye olde way, so I have a feeling we're going to need Valka on that one." She points at Aevyn. "I'll try to get the communications network up after that. If we can get an extranet signal out here, we can at least find out what's going on with the AI. And you can message your people, I can message my dad..."

Athena's back to nervous rambling now. All the adrenaline of what just happened on that space station combined with the uncertain situation and several new faces means a lot's going on in her brain right now. Combine all that with the pressure she feels to fix the ship now that they're out in space...

"I can get in contact with my dad, yeah. He's like, an AI professor at URP-- that's the University of Raxil Prime. They have more than one university on Raxil Prime actually, but there's only one that's called the "University of Raxil Prime." Anyways, he literally wrote the book on Artificial Intelligence-- well, a book. obviously there's more than one book. If anybody knows what's going on right now it's him." Athena stares directly at her tablet and at no-one else.

"Third thing on the list is the FTL drive..."