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SSG01 - Succession Story Game Holland to Hydrae

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by anaxagoras, May 22, 2008.

  1. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    I am attempting to start a succession story game. The details are posted in this thread.

    The idea is that we play a regular succession game (space race) but in addition to posting a turn log and game save in the succession game thread, we will also post a story with each set in this thread. We will take plenty of time for playing and will allow extra time for posting the story line, so we hope we don't rush anyone.

    All you aspiring Civ authors should sign up in the succession game thread at the link above. I hope to see you there.
  2. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    The rain had stopped that morning.

    The rain could sometimes be good for the hunt. The noise of it suppressed some of the sounds they made that might have alerted their quarry. It made many animals miserable, which in turn tended to make them less wary and alert. It suppressed odors, making it easier to get close enough for a solid hit from a sling shot or axe throw. But the rain also always meant cold, and that could send the animals into their burrows and sheltered spaces, making them harder to find and harder to root out and kill. And, of course, if the animals wanted shelter, then so did the hunting party.

    Not that Amstel's men were quitters. They knew the tribe needed food, and they worked tirelessly to find it. Digging roots and picking berries were activities that the women and children could do, so Amstel organized the men into foraging groups. These groups would look to find meat that was already dead and drive away whatever had killed or claimed it if they could. Wolves were easy to run off with lots of noise and the occasional rock. Cougars were more difficult and prone to fighting back, and they often tried to take their kill with them as they ran. But usually persistence would convince them, too, and the vanquished couger would slink away with a hiss and a growl while Amstel and his men carried off the prize.

    But injuries and even deaths could and did occur in these confrontations, so Amstel and his men also practiced hunting on their own with sling and axe, or setting deadfalls and pit traps. Humans are not natural hunters, though, and these methods were generally much more difficult than the scavenging which came more naturally. Hunting required a great deal of energy, and more importantly, a great deal of thought and planning.

    Amstel excelled at the hunt. His men sometimes thought of him as part animal, so canny was he about predicting the travels of rabbits or the flight patterns of birds. He seemed to know just when the cougar was about to give up, and where to apply the next rush that would drive him off his catch...and where and when not to antagonize a cougar that could not be convinced.

    He was also an expert fisherman, seeming to know just where and when the fish were running and what snares and baits would work best to catch them. He had once taken their fleet of small boats to the mouth of the great river to try to catch the salt fish of the sea. That trip had almost ended in disaster, as Amstel's boat had been far from land when an unexpected offshore breeze blew the flimsy craft over the horizon just as the rain and darkness had set in. The men had spent a miserable, near-freezing night on the beach nursing a sputtering driftwood fire against the wind and rain. Their hope was nearly at an end by morning. As the breeze subsided and the sun finally rose, they despaired. But suddenly, there was Amstel rowing toward them round the north point of the river's mouth. When he showed them his full catch, they had been astonished.

    From that moment, the young men had named the river "The Amstel", and had virtually worshipped Amstel as their leader.

    Two years ago, however, the scarcity of the game had made both cougar and wolf fight more persistently for their kills, and the fish had become harder to find.

    Amstel had predicted this would happen. "The tribe is too big, and no longer mobile," Amstel had said to the tribal elders at the summer solstice council. "Other animals breed in the autumn, and give birth only in the spring when the earth is full and bountiful. They leave their sick and elderly as offerings to the predators. Our tribe reproduces at all times of year, and we fight for our young, our sick and our eldest. We constantly have members too young or too old or too sick to travel. We can no longer migrate from year to year as we did in the old days."

    "We must find another way," he urged.

    The elders were not impressed. They refused to change the traditional ways and as Amstel had said, the tribe was not able to move when the fall season had come. Finally, that winter, it had happened: famine. Not just a day or two without food, but months. All through the winter, barely anything could be found. A disease had ravaged the rabbit population, an exceptionally cold autumn had killed the deer and forced birds who normally winter on the north shore to migrate elsewhere, and an especially dry spell before first frost had caused the berries to shrivel on the vine. The tribal elders were the ones who suffered. All six had been severely afflicted. Four of the elders had died, one had been consumed by fever and completely lost the ability to speak, and the sixth and last elder had become so weak he could not leave his lean-to. He had called the tribe together and admitted publicly that the elders had been wrong. "Follow Amstel's counsels," the elder had whispered. "He will lead us to a new era of hope." Then the sixth elder, too, had died.

    So now Amstel was the undisputed leader of the tribe, recognized by all as their sovereign and ruler.

    He was well-suited to the task, and immediately set to building permanent houses, not mere lean-tos or tents, with built-in fire pits and covered roofs that were completely proof against rain. He built pens to hold animals, and hutches for rabbits that could keep them penned but also protect them from predators. Most ingenious of all, he had designed and built a great earthworks diverting "his" river into a sheltered, broad valley to create a place to grow crops and protect them from deer, wild boar, and other herbivores. These earthworks became known as "Amstel's Dam" and had lent their name to the tribe's first permanent settlement.

    Amstel leaned back at the top of the shallow rise overlooking the earthworks and smiled.

    This morning it had rained. But the clouds had blown out to sea, and a warm spring sun had taken their place. The hunt had been successful, and Amstel was sure it would be the last one for a long while. The winter had been hard, but there had been no more famine. The last of the roots and grains were still safely stored above the flood waters and out of reach of marauding animals, and the rabbits had bred like...well, like rabbits. He was organizing an expedition to find the source of the river, and another to harvest the grain of the Westland. Someday, he was sure, they would even explore the Alleen Heuval, which, even at this distance, he could see from where he now was sitting. Amstel was sure this was the beginning of new era of plenty for his people.

    He leaned back into the soft grasses and listened as the evening breeze stirred them. The moonrise was some hours away, but the stars were shining brightly, and the shallow rise hid Amstel from the light of the fires below.

    "I wonder," Amstel thought, "if there is a way to reach the paradise of those beautiful lights. That must truly be the road to heaven."

    He smiled again, and fell into a light sleep, dreaming of his tribe rising on a column of fire to explore the twinkling lights above.


    Here's the turn set that inspired the story.
  3. choxorn

    choxorn Watermelon Headcrab

    Feb 28, 2006
    [spammysubscriptionpost] Nice story. I forsee that this story/SG combination will work well. But is there anything on the turnset itself, rather than what precluded the turnset? [/spammysubscriptionpost]
  4. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    I guess I'm not sure what you are asking. The turn log and game screenies is in the other thread. Or are you saying you just don't think I followed the sequence closely enough? (In truth, I didn't try to stick right with the set.)
  5. choxorn

    choxorn Watermelon Headcrab

    Feb 28, 2006
    Well, nevermind, I just thought something in the story would refer to events in the turnset, not before the turnset.
  6. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    Well, they sort of did. The naming of the settlement is a major point of the story, and I very briefly implied the part about building a granary. Granted, it was a passing reference and not a chronological match with the turns. So, I took some artistic license. In 6000 years, who will know the difference? ;)

    One problem is that there really weren't a whole lot of events in this turn set. The most significant thing by far (other than founding the town) was meeting the Japanese. Perhaps I'll write about that if I have time while the next set is still in progress. I doubt anyone will complain if we write an extra plot line or two!
  7. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

    Jan 25, 2006
    Medford, MA
    Amsterdam had grown - over 110,000 citizens made it a large town and it was crowded. The citzenry were restless, so over 1/3 of them, 40,000, went on a trip upriver, to find a spot to found a new city. To lead the group, Amstel convinced his brother Rottel to find the best spot possible. Rottel, who dreamt of huge animals at night, happily agreed, and they went.

    Years passed, and they traveled towards land that citizens on the edges of explored lands near Amsterdam thought were good lands, when they found Japanese hunters in the area, and they knew that the lands along the river where they were heading had been settled.

    Rottel held conference with the rest of the leaders of his people:

    "It has been a hard road so far - we have several choices as to where to go. I believe we should cross the great river, and continue east and south - settle far enough away from the Japanese that we can keep ourselves separate, but near the river. And I hear tell of a wondrous weed, tobacco,
    that can help make our town rich. Some of you wish to go west, to the shores of the sea, to harvest the wild wheat growing there, but I think to do so will be hard, so far from the river. I am Rottel, brother of Amstel, our beloved despot, and I say we cross the great river."

    As they did, the people saw, far in the distance, bands of wild warriors, but fortunately, the wild warriors did not see them. The warriors would have made mincemeat of the settlers, burdened by children. Rottel led his people to a place along the river and settled a town, which they called Rotterdam. Nearby, Rottel's dreams were fulfilled, as the forests were filled
    with huge beasts who could eat with their nose and who had long tusks.

    Many of his people had died on the journey, however, or had settled small farms along the way - of the 40,000 who had left Amsterdam, only 10,000 survived to found Rotterdam.

    Back in Amsterdam, Amstel had ordered built several fishing boats to explore the coast. They explored west, down past the wheat fields, until they came upon a forest. Landing, they found many fur-covered creatures - minks, otters and, most impressive, the beaver. They found the beaver most impressive.

    "Damn, Astel would love to see the way these creatures build their dams. They are nearly a dam long, and dam up the stream very effectively. I wish I could think of a word
    I could use to describe my feelings on seeing them - it's like the word mad, but backwards, I dunno.

    You know, we could grow sheep here - all we needs are some rams and dams."

    The intrepid explorers sent word back to Amstel and continued on their way.

    The turnset for this story can be found here.
  8. Rodent

    Rodent Carnage

    Mar 18, 2008
    The Emperor Amstel Was Resting in his Palace Cave after yet another Fruitful Meeting with the Portuguese. As he Relaxed he reflected on what had happened in the last few years.

    Scouts had met other kinds of people besides the Treacherous Japanese. Reports first came in of a new Civilization Known as Persia. The Band of Warriors they had met were much different in appearance than either the Dutch or the Japanese. Their Leader Cercces ( no one could pronounce it) Was an Arrogant man and William did not like that.
    He also had a peculiar beard which made everyone laugh.

    Then Came Reports of another meeting with a civilization known as the Portugeese .
    William Wondered if they were a relation to the real geese. The Ruler was cordial and they were more similar to the dutch than either the japanese or Persians . William thought it would be good to make and maintain cordial relations with then.

    Soon after, met wandering in Portugeese Territory were the Grotesque People known which called themselves Zulu. The Sailors were amazed to see them. Their Leader, Known as Shaka was Spectacularly Ugly, and a BloodThirsty Warmonger to go with it. William thought it would be best to stay away from them.

    Then the Greeks were met. They were a spectacularly Disciplined People and the Divisions of Spears Defending them, Called Hoplites were the best trained and best equipped in the land. Their Leader Alexander was a nerdy character. 'Dangerous People', Thought William, 'Better to remain Peaceful with them or my People would suffer'
  9. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    [Ed: This story hearkens back to early tribal days.]

    Rikkert hated his job. He was already 15, but had taken his Rights just a half season ago, and his co-workers didn't ever let him forget that he was a full year behind his peers. That it wasn't his fault didn't seem to deter anyone, nor did it make Rikkert feel any better. The boring, physical routine of clearing trees didn't help, either. Rikkert hated his job. Thoroughly.

    He had been raised by his grandparents for the two years before he had taken the Rights, and they had been overly protective. This was understandable since the reason they were raising Rikkert is that they had lost their last surviving son. Rikkert's father, Martijn, had been one of the stalwart figures in the community. Perhaps the most athletic member of the tribe, Martijn was second as a hunter only to the tribal leader, Amstel, and he even exceeded Amstel in pure physical ability. Amstel had leaned on him heavily for some of the most demanding tasks in the hunt, and had pushed him very hard especially during the famine. Martijn had risen to every occasion.

    Until just before spring just over two years ago, that is.

    It was the height of the famine, when times were at their worst. Thaw was in the air, but the new buds had not yet formed, and the ground was still mostly covered in snow and ice. Food was at its scarcest, and several members of the tribe were ill with malnutrition, including most of the elders. The hunt had been on for three days, but they had found barely enough to sustain themselves, let alone return anything to the tribal camp.

    At last, they had run across the trail of a cougar kill. Tracking carefully, they had followed the spoor to a hillside tree, where the cougar had hung her kill in a stunted oak. The kill hung exposed and tantalizingly close in the barren branches. Here was food enough to carry the tribe through several days, at least. But beneath the tree was the cougar. She was emaciated, and she had given birth to her lone cub much too early in the season. Although the cub had died as much as much as a full day before, she was passionate in defense of his little body and the hunters had no chance of driving her away.

    Amstel had devised a simple plan. An outcropping was close to the top reach of the oak, but the cub's body was tucked up underneath the rocky overhang. Martijn was to circle along the ridge, and while the tribe feinted at the mother, Martijn was to leap into the tree and recover the carcass. The task would require great dexterity and strength, but everyone knew Martijn could handle the job. Indeed, he had volunteered, joking that for once, his was the easy job.

    It almost worked.

    The feint had been successful in inducing the cougaress to hunch up under the outcrop to protect her cub's body. Although fiercely hissing and spitting at her apparent attackers, she was unwilling to charge and leave her cub. Martin had deftly leaped into the tree and had gotten the carcass over his back, ready to take it to safety. No one in the hunting party was quite sure what had happened next. Was there a patch of ice on the tree? Did the carcass shift or catch on a branch? Or had Martijn just missed his leap? Whatever the reason, one moment he had been in the tree, and the next he was flat on his back, dazed and prone in front of the she-cougar.

    She destroyed him. The other tribe members had killed the cougar as quickly as they could, and a second tribesman had been so severely injured that he had to be carried home, but there was no help for Martijn that day. He died within minutes of the cougar, leaving Rikkert an orphan with grandparents too afraid to let him continue to pursue his hunting passion. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Rikkert was convinced that it had been Amstel's way of getting rid of his chief rival in the tribe.

    For Rikkert had worshipped Martijn, and wanted to emulate him in every way. Although Martijn was tall and lithe, and Rikkert relatively short and stocky, Rikkert tried to live his life just as Martijn did. Martijn had tried to get Rikkert to play to his own strengths. "Rikkert," he had said for the fourth time one morning, "you don't have to use speed for everything. You have a talent for animal calls and for camouflage. Use your skills to lure them to you. Then you don't have to try to be fast." His entreaties fell on deaf ears.

    But deaf ears they clearly were not. Rikkert's exceptional hearing and ability to imitate were fast becoming the subject of entertainment around the village. Rikkert could hear a bird call and tell you not only which kind of bird, but how far away it was and whether or not it was in flight. Rikkert could listen to the coyotes howl and could tell whether their hunt was successful, whether they were greeting a friend, or whether they were simply searching for one another. And he could imitate that last call well enough to summon the coyotes, as well. He had listened to and mentally catalogued the sounds of dozens of the forest's denizens, and he was thinking about that now, even as he chopped at the tree in front of him.

    "Chop straight, Rikkertje!" shouted Karel, the foreman, using one of Rikkert's least favorite nicknames. "Don't muck up this trunk with your stray hacks. We need to use this tree, ya know!"

    Karel was a huge man, perfect for leading the work-party but not known for his charm. Their job was to find the tallest, straightest trees, and then figure out the best way to get them back to the village. Rumor had it that Amstel's next project was to assemble a building on stilts to keep their food above the spring floodwaters and out of reach of marauding animals. The granary had already been designed, or so the rumors said (Rikkert had his doubts), and their job was to find the trees that would be the anchoring stilts for the building. Truly, though, finding and chopping the stilt trees was only a small part of the job. Much harder was the task of clearing the way to get them back to the village. They were working on clearing the intervening growth now, but these smaller trees had their uses, as well, and Karel wanted each one treated carefully.

    "Step back, BOY!" Karel rasped, stressing the last word. "We need a man who will concentrate on his work, not some addle-brained kid who thinks about everything but his job. Joost, take his place!"

    "Rikkert, you go get us some lunch."

    By which he meant go hunting for rabbits, birds, or whatever was handy. Rikkert was relieved. He expected punishment, but instead Karel was giving him exactly what he wanted: the chance to head out on the hunt! Eagerly, he grabbed his axe and sling and ran into the forest before Karel could change his mind.

    After an hour, Rikkert was beginning to fear coming back empty-handed. Several times he had unsuccessfully tried to run down a rabbit, or had missed a grab for a leaping squirrel. He was thinking he should head back to camp, despite the ridicule, when he heard it: a bird call. But not a call like any he had ever heard before. This call had the cadence of a warbler, but the lower pitch of a cardinal. Frankly, he wasn't even sure it was a bird at all, but if it was, it was something new. Curiosity piqued, he set out cautiously to investigate.

    Hiding in the rhododendrons near a clearing, Rikkert was sure his "bird" was on the other side of the open space. One more time he heard the soft chirruping. He made sure he was properly concealed, and waited.

    His doubts about the "bird" had been well-founded. A man came to the edge of the clearing and pursed his lips to form the bird-like call. Rikkert gulped with astonishment.

    If Rikkert has been surprised to hear a bird call he didn't know, he was even more surprised to see the man. He was unlike any other man Rikkert had seen before. This man had dark skin the color of river mud, in contrast to the pasty look of Rikkert's own tribe. He had oval, drawn eyes and wispy dark hair, in contrast to the rounded eyes and bushy, blond locks of Rikkert's tribe. He was also very small, almost child-size. Rikkert would have confronted him immediately, except the man was armed and quite obviously had a companion near by, as the man's call was answered.

    Eventually, Rikkert counted eight men gathering at the edge of the clearing. They were evidently trying to figure out which way to go next. Although he could not hear their conversation clearly, it was apparent they were not using any words that Rikkert knew. Rikkert had long pondered the "speech" of animals, but for the first time in his life, he wondered what it might be like for humans to speak a different language.

    He didn't have long to wonder, though. The debate was over quickly, and the strangers had decided to come straight toward Rikkert and the unarmed work camp. He knew even his father could not have taken on eight armed men, and without question he could not. Instantly, Rikkert decided on a bluff. He called out in a voice of authority to companions he didn't have, and moments later broke cover and strode confidently to face the surprised warrior party. Though he suspected his words would not be understood, Rikkert hoped his tone of command would be.

    He noted with satisfaction that, although the men immediately reached for their weapons, the strangers looked intimidated by his size and powerful build. Although short for a Dutchman, Rikkert was at least a half head taller than any of the men he faced. Still, he wanted to take no chances of an armed conflict.

    Rikkert held up his hands. "I mean you no harm," he stated calmly. "My friends and I," and he gestured at the unoccupied woods behind him, "will not hurt you if you leave your weapons here." At this Rikkert carefully removed the axe from his belt and set his sling on the boulder in front of him. He gestured for the other men to do the same, and to his great relief, they all complied.

    Although he knew that the men at the work camp were not armed and for the most part were not fighters, Rikkert was banking that superior numbers and being close to home would keep things peaceful. Besides, perhaps Karel would know what to do next. He gestured for the strangers to follow him as he again gave orders to his shadow-companions, and led the strange party back to the work camp.

    The men at the work camp were as stunned as Rikkert had been by the strangers, and even more amazed when they learned how Rikkert had handled the situation. Grudgingly, they admitted that he had done well. Unfortunately, once it became clear that they had been duped by Rikkert's ruse, the strangers became extremely annoyed. Nevertheless, they were obviously also intrigued, and through signs indicated they wished to see the Dutch settlement. Karel gave the job of guiding the strangers to Rikkert, and along the three-day journey, Rikkert tried to learn the strangers' habits and some of their language.

    At this he was quite successful, and the translation he gave to Amstel and his council was very impressive. So impressive, in fact, that Amstel asked Rikkert to stay and be his interpreter for as long as the visitors stayed in town, which evidently would be for some weeks. Rikkert was reluctant, but agreed. He knew that by staying, he would be first to know anything having to do with the strangers. He had already noted that they used curiously smooth knives to cut their food, knives that his people could not make. Perhaps there were other secrets they knew.

    Once the visitors were settled, Amstel pulled Rikkert aside. "You have a very important job," Amstel said. "Not only must you help us speak to these men, you know them the best and must help us figure out what they know, and just as importantly, what things they would like to learn from us. Our future depends on your skill."

    Rikkert took Amstel's words to heart and worked hard to learn the new language. In a few short weeks he had discovered not only that the strangers called themselves "Japanese", but also had confirmed that they had learned how to heat rocks to make something they called "metal" that made very smooth blades. Rikkert would not have believed them except he could already see their knives. They also spoke of making houses from stone. Rikkert's people had tried that, but the stones would not stay in place. The secret was in something called mortar that was put between the stones. But try as he might, Rikkert could not get them to tell him how it was made.

    They also told outlandish tales of elaborate rituals they performed to honor their dead. Rikkert hardly believed them and couldn't think how such a practice might be useful. But one tale they told intrigued him: They told of a very easy way to move large, heavy objects from place to place. Rikkert thought that would be very much worth knowing. They said they could teach it to the tribe in exchange for learning how to make clay pots and label them. After consulting with Amstel, Rikkert agreed that this would not be fair, but then the emissaries offered to pay with all the gold they had with them, and the deal was made.

    Weeks later, as the strangers finally left for parts unknown, Rikkert thought of how good his life was. The tribe now respected him. He had been the only member of the tribe who truly understood the new language, and the tribe had depended on him completely to strike the final deal.

    "And what a great deal," thought Rikkert, as he put on his harness to haul the cart they had made with the help of the Japanese visitors. "I have been paid in gold for my efforts, yes, but now we can haul this infernal tree all the way to the village in one afternoon." The granary was completed that very day.

    Rikkert thought maybe his job wasn't so bad after all.
  10. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

    May 18, 2005
    Too near The Temple of Jerry Jones
    The sudden bright light in the sky caught everyone's attention, including the watcher's. Safely isolated from human interference and contact, their task of observing the dwellers of mud villages and the dirtier village inhabitants brought them closer to them than they wished. The winds did not help, either. Fortunately, the emergency message was sent directly to their implants and produced no audible sound.

    Each member of the team, all four of them, received the same message at the same time. No one wanted to believe it was true.

    Arrigo was the first to repsond.

    'Kuro, take us to defensive status 3. Arm the weapons, track whatever is out there, but don't fire without my permission.

    'Pratibha, confirm that message anyway you can, even if we have to break cover to do so. I don't need to tell you why.

    'Ya, get into camoflague gear and confirm that we are still invisible to the locals. Arm yourself, but be smart and don't be too long.'

    'I'll make sure we save today's data,' he finished. 'Like it will still matter,' he muttered to himself.

    As quickly as he could Arrigo saved what had been observed so far in the day. It was morning, local time, and the day was still fresh. But that bright light had spooked their target village. They were out of their huts and pointing to the light, which even now was fading. He turned up the focus and microphones to get as much data as he could. Bad news or not, the academics would treasure these tapes. He set the data to be stored every 15 minutes for the next hour.

    'Sir, we are at defensive status 3. Ya confirms that we are invisible at 10 meters. We have local animals in the area but no bipedal creatures are inside our perimeter,' reported Kuro.

    'Can you tell me where those bipedal creatures are right now, Kuro?'

    'Not without satellite capacity and that's probably pretty busy right now.

    'Yeah, I'm sure you're right about that. Pratibha, what can you tell me?'

    'We were contact until just a few minutes ago. Sending and recieving. Then it just stopped, all of it. No warning messages, no system alerts. I can confirm that we no longer have contact with the ship, but I cannot tell you why.'

    'Good enough. How are the satellites doing?'

    'They're all still operational as far as I can tell. We are still being copied on messages. I'm looking at them now, and, most of them are inquiries about various systems statuses. All the systems appear to be fine, with no damage.'

    'Now what?' asked Ya. 'If the ship is destroyed...'

    'We don't know that,' interrupted Arrigo. 'It could be a software glitch. Maybe they had to restart the onboard computer system and something went wrong. We don't have the resources here to determine what happened. They do at Camp Wisdom. They will let us know what they find out.'


    'Until then, we still have our normal duties to do. Yes, I'm worried about the big picture, just like you are, but I can't do anything about that. I'm also worried about Duringo. Even if the planet blew up, he would still want to know how many times the lights blinked on the back-up console to the open-air latrine. Let's keep him happy and off our backs while we panic quietly, shall we?'

    A series of red lights flashed on Ya's duty console.

    'Well, speak of the devil, it's Duringo, audio and visual. Ready?'

    'Yeah, turn him on,' said Arringo as he moved to stand in front of the pickups.

    'Ah, Arringo, there you are. How many people are in their envirnomental suits?'


    'How many times have you tried to reach us in the last half-hour?'


    'What is your status?'

    'Defensive status 3, weapons armed and ready, to be fired at my word only. Interior and exterior systems are fine, nothing is down for repair or maintenance. We are still monitoring Tribe 15. We stored everything immediately after the alert and every 15 minutes thereafter for the first hour. We have no injuries.'

    'Good. Any questions?'

    'Lots of them, but they can wait.'

    'That's nice because we don't have any answers. We're attempting to find out what exactly happened. What we do know is that the Anaxagoras is gone. We lost communication about an hour ago, the same time everybody else did. We have not been able to establish contact with her since then. In just a few hours we will send up a probe that will give us more information than our satellite system can provide.'

    'Then you suspect -'

    'The worst,' finished Duringo. 'The absolute worst. Annie is damaged beyond repair or totally destroyed. And we are stranded in the wrong place at the wrong time, far from any reasonble chance of rescue. We'll know for sure in a few hours.'

    'Yes, sir. How many people can we account for?'

    Duringo sighed. 'Don't know. We had a flitter of shore leave in transit back to the ship but no word from them yet. If I had to guess,' which Arrigo knew that Duringo didn't want to think about it, 'I'd say between 30 and 100. But that's just a guess.'

    'Yes, sir. We'll maintain our current defensive status until the next shift change, in about six hours. We'll continue to observe and monitor Tribe 15 and stay covert.'

    'Fine; do that. Duringo out.'

    Arrigo slumped into his chair and let out a long breath. The others sat in stunned silence, trying to absorb what they had just heard. Arrigo heard a muted curse that sounded like it came from Ya. Pratibha worked at her console and finally broke the silence.

    'We have enough rations to last 30 days. Our water supply is fine and not a problem. We can breathe the air here, but microbes are an unresolved issue.'

    Quietly Arrigo stood up and walked over to where she was seated.

    'Thank you, Pratibha. Thirty days. Ya and Kuro, find out what we have in the way of basic survival gear and what can be adapted to that. Pratibha and I are going to investigate what how we can live off this mudball.'
  11. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

    May 18, 2005
    Too near The Temple of Jerry Jones
    It was a week before Camp Wisdom got back in touch with them. They had speculated for hours on end about what had happened, what could have caused it and what that would mean for them. Their low-level and unoffical contacts at the camp revealed that no one knew much of anything. Shock was slowly wearing off and the unpleaseant reality of their situation was slowly beginning to sink into everyone's minds. The dead were being slowly forgotten as the needs of the now become known.

    It was mid-morning when the call came in and Arrigo was on duty,

    'Camp Frugal, this is Sheela at Camp Wisdom. How are things going?'

    'Widsom, this Arrigo at Frugal. Things are going great, just great, never better. What can we do for you?'

    'Is your visual pickup on? I can't see you.'

    'Yeah, it's off right now,' said Arrigo as he stood up and leaned into the next room, the makeshift kitchen. 'We turned it off to save power,' he said, talking not only into the microphone but also to his teammates eating their morning meal. 'Here, let me turn it back on.'

    'Thank you, that is so much better. And I see the rest of the team has joined you, even better. Here is Brasa Sasumo,' said Sheela as she moved out of the way to make for someone else.

    'Camp Frugal, we haven't met, but I'm Sasumo, the camp leader or commander. I want to commend you on how all of you handled yourselves the other day. The other two camps, well, let's just say both of them have been brought back here for observation and reappraisal.

    'I'm sure you are wondering what happened. Well, we have consistent data that the Anaxagoras is destroyed. As best we can tell, the technical guys were reinstalling some core software and had the main systems down for a while. They told us that this would happen and how long they planned it would take to do all this. We were in the loop and things looked fine. However, the reinstall did not go properly; they were still working on it the next day. Most of the back up systems worked fine; in fact it did serve as a good drill to test those systems. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell, some of the backup engineering equipment had issues, we think, and the supervisory software could not talk to the ship because the brain itself was offline. Something went critcal, something broke and the left engine blew up. That explosion destroyed the rest of the ship immediately. We sent probes out three light-days to record what happened. The explosion had an initial fireball five miles across. It completely pulverized the ship. Death was instanteous; no one knew what hit them. We didn't get good readings on the debris field due to the fact that we were on the wrong side of the planet. From what we could see, no singel piece was the Anaxagoras was larger than 3 meters. We think most of it fell into the seas.'

    Stunned silence followed. Sasumo waited for them to speak. He had had some time to digest the news.

    'I kept hoping it was just a drill,' said Kuro. 'A real sick drill, but that was it.'

    'Me, too,' said Ya, 'Just another stupid drill.'

    'Okay, okay, okay,' said Pratibha, 'It was not a drill. It was the real thing. What do we do next?'

    'We do whatever we can,' said Arrigo, talking but saying nothing. He looked at the video pick-up. 'What do we have to work with? How many people and what equipment do we have?'

    Sasumo frowned before he answered.

    'We have about 30 people that are willing to work towards a solution. We have another 20 that are sedated. They could not face the facts so we put them down to get them out of the way. Their hysteria was wearing everyone down. I understand grieving, but not living in grief. So we, well, I, actually, decided that they had to be sedated so that the rest of us could focus on the problem at hand.'

    'You decided? Wasn't it their decision to make? You violated their rights -' raged Kuro.

    'And I would do it again,' broke in Sasumo.

    'Look,' he continued, 'the Annie is gone, destroyed. We have nothing to salvage from her. No food, no weapons, no supplies. All of that is in atoms expanding across this solar system.

    'That means we are cut off from civilizaton as we know it. We do not have the resources to build another ship. We are, we were, on a exploratory misson to observe and monitor new intelligent species. We found one here, and have just begun our work. We are nowhere near the area we started to explore. We have not yet told anyone about this planet, since we just got started here. The Annie was a long range vessel; no one is expecting us back anytime soon. No one knows we're missing. In short, there will be no rescue, unless we rescue ourselves.

    'I don't like the facts but I can't change them. The ones that were sedated would not face the facts. Anytime we started to discuss our situation they insisted that everything would be fine and that the rescue boats were on their way and why worry?'

    'So you say,' snarled Kuro.

    'Yes, so I say. What would you have done?'

    'I don't know, but not that!'

    'Well, I didn't see a better answer at the time and they weren't helping the situation any. I'm sure I will live to regret it.'

    'Besides,' piped in Ya, 'someone had to be boss.'

    'That, too. I am responsible for the camp and the people connected to the camp, not just the ones I like. And that brings us back to you four.'

    'Oh, so now you don't like us,' said Kuro.

    'What? Oh, no, that's not it. It is just that you are now my responsibility now.'

    'And?' promted Pratibha.

    'Do you have a plan?' Arrigo interjected.

    'Yes, we do. For the short term we'll finish setting up the camp. We have equpiment that hasn't been unpacked yet. That equipment is quite sturdy and will help us to use the natural resources to keep us from becoming too backwards. Annie was always a big help; we'll have to see what we can do with all the stuff.

    'Long term, that is not good enough. We don't have the right experts to build another ship and we don't have enough of them. So what we are going to do is help the people of this planet reach the stars, so that we can leave here.'

    'That's impossible! These natives barely know enough to walk and grunt at the same time. Build a space ship? No way.' said Kuro.

    'You have a better idea? If so, I would love to hear it. If not, have the good sense to listen with an open mind.'

    'No I don't, not right now. Even so, what you are saying is preposterous.'

    'Kuro,' said Arrigo, 'let's here the details and then decide, okay? He's not the only person I know that has had preposterous ideas.'

    'Your location is closest to the people that call themselves Ditch or Dotch, we can't be sure which. They have four major cities but haven't been real smart about where they built them. There are other major tribes, Gippon and Percy near them. They are not my first selection of people to invest in, but they are the closest.'

    'Invest in? What does that mean?' questioned Pratibha.

    'The Ditch are slowly becoming philosophic, but not many of them. We want you to meet them, live with them and help them to become philosophic.'

    'Live with them? Ugh.'

    'Pratibha, dirty does not always mean uncultured or unruly. They need your help to get into space. Heck, they need your help to install basic stone plumbing!'

    'How will stay in touch?' asked Ya.

    'For now, the internal recievers will have to do, but we'll use those sparingly. Beyond that, we don't know yet. Duringo thinks we can program the recievers to send as well. Good theory, we'll see if it actually works.'

    'Any idea on how long this will take?'

    'Overall, the best guess we can come up with is between 100 and 120 million standard seconds. In planet terms, it would be about 3200 to 3800 years.'

    'Just 100 million standard seconds? Will you be able to retire by then?' asked Arrigo.

    'Don't I wish,' said Sasumo. 'Don't I wish.'
  12. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

    Jun 1, 2003
    Durham, NC
    "Hold the line, there!" shouted Captain Marieus. "We don't want to leave just yet."

    The four dockhands were already hauling away, just trying to keep from being dragged into the water. The last wave had pulled hard at the small vessel, indicating that this was the perfect time for departure.

    "Where is Kruschen?" the captain muttered, to nobody in particular. "I knew he'd be late again, even for this. Doesn't he understand that the tide doesn't wait?"

    Otto overheard him. "I'm sure he's trying to finish another...what does he call them, again? Ekwaishen? I'm not sure what he thinks is so important about a few scratches on parchment, but he sure seems more interested in those than in heading out to sea."

    Marieus chuckled. "Very true," he agreed. "Well, sailing must be hard for him. He is getting old, you know. Nobody is even sure how old, anymore. He must be well over 60, maybe even over 70, but nobody can remember back that far. I remember him from when I was a kid, and I'm no spring chicken."

    Marieus was 47, and he was beginning to experience some of the aches and pains of age. He was glad he had command of the Ocean Explorer, since that meant he didn't have to raise the sails or pull an oar for hours. Even so, the boat was small enough and sparse enough that he had to do plenty of manual labor, and it was getting a lot harder than it used to be. Secretly, he marveled that Kruschen was able to come on the trip at all. And yet, Kruschen still seemed able to pull steadily, was relatively agile, and clearly still had one of the sharpest minds in the land. As a child, Marieus had known Kruschen when the latter was already a trusted advisor to Renatus III. Now he was in his sixth year as advisor to Renatus V and still one of the most respected members of the inner circles.

    "Where the hell is he?" Marieus groused a full half hour later, still thinking about the ebb tide.

    "I think that's him now," said Otto, pointing up the hill.

    Sure enough, Kruschen was coming down the road, still giving directions to his assistant and stopping every now and then to make a note on one of the six or seven scrolls they were carrying between them. Or were trying to carry. Kruschen dropped one of them as Marieus looked on, causing the captain to mutter again about the time.

    They finally made it to the dock.

    "Tide still there, Marieus?" Kruschen asked rhetorically.

    "Barely," snorted the captain.

    "I know a little something about tides, too, you know."

    "Yes, but you never remember the time."

    "I remember more than you might think," Kruschen shot back. Then he softened. "I wouldn't miss this, you know, Marieus. You're the captain, but I still think of her as mine. I'm pretty pleased with the job you've done assembling my design. I've been looking forward to this."

    "Get aboard, then," said Marieus, holding out his hand to give the older man support. "The design work is great, but it won't mean a thing if we can't get her sailing. We've got to get moving."

    "Worry wort," Kruschen mumbled, ignoring the proffered hand.

    "I heard that."

    The dockhands, having long since tied the vessel to the dock after their earlier adventures, now scrambled to loosen the lines again. Timing his order with precision, Marieus shouted, "Cast off!" just as a large wave came to drag the Ocean Explorer away from the dock, with barely a need for the last perfunctory shove from the oarsmen. Now clear of the end of the dock, the head oarsman asked for a cadence.

    "No need for that," said Marieus. "We have a nice breeze from the northwest. Hoist the masts! We'll ride with the wind."

    Two sailors on each side hurried to bring out the masts, which were stored along each gunwale, sails neatly folded and tied to each. The masts were nothing more than small saplings, of course, and had to be fitted into special joists across the midsection of the small vessel. The yards were rotated into position, and squared before the masts were raised. Once set, the sails dipped nearly onto the gunwale, and movement aboard the vessel was difficult. The crew didn't mind sitting still, though, and happily shipped their oars. Otto pulled out his ocarina and the leisurely cruise began with a bawdy sea shanty.

    Two weeks later, the crew was less concerned with the trials and tribulations of the lovesick sailor in the shanty and much more concerned with just staying afloat.

    They had rounded the Zeehoorn, and instead of heading south along the coast, as had been the custom, they headed straight east and out to sea. The Ocean Explorer had not been named by accident. Her mission was to sail straight out to sea and find out if anything lay beyond the safety of the continental shores. Although she was flexible in construction and even flimsy in appearance, with hide-covered sides and rawhide wrappings holding her together, she was a remarkably seaworthy vessel. Even with her crew of 24 and supplies to last a month, the Ocean Explorer drew just over two feet of water. Her flexibility and light weight were, in fact, her greatest strengths: she rode over the waves, instead of through them.

    But the unusual spring storm had blown up quickly and with much greater ferocity than they had expected this far from the protection of the bays and estuaries that would normally have sheltered them. As usual, Marieus was fully aware that this storm was going to be nasty and had given the crew plenty of warning as they tied down the masts, oars, barrels of precious fresh water, and crates of dried fruits and meats that were to sustain them across the seas.

    Warning or no, however, nothing could truly prepare them for the extent of this storm. Driving waves were nearly as high as the Explorer was long, and the wind threatened to literally tear through the sides of the vessel. But still, the Explorer was holding her own.

    It was the misstep of a single crewman that proved to be the Explorer's undoing. As he shifted his weight to compensate for the Explorer's ascent up the side of a particularly mountainous wave, the crewman's foot slipped and dislodged a single package from underneath his bench. It could have been any one of a dozen such packages, but this particular package just happened to be the one holding the stout fishing knives they used for cutting their daily catch of fresh protein. As the crewman's weight shifted, one of those knives slipped loose of its careful bindings, poked through the sodden bag that still held it, and drove deep into the gunwale. Here again, luck was against them: the blade just happened to slide into one of the many large rawhide joints which held the vessel's framing together, severing the crucial connection between the two lightweight framing beams.

    As the Explorer crested the wave, her bow protruded over the crest by nearly ten feet, causing the frame to bend up and back with maximum strain. The small vessel literally unraveled at the seams, and in thirty short seconds had turned from an ingenious conveyance into a jumble of sticks and rawhide.

    "We never had a chance," thought Marieus, as he grasped in vain for something large enough to hold his head above the angry waters. Finding nothing, another huge wave crashed over his head as he struggled to take one more breath.

    Marieus, aging captain of the Ocean Explorer, slipped beneath the waves and disappeared without a trace.


    "What do you mean, 'we lost him'?! How can he have just disappeared?"

    "We're working on that now, sir. But since we aren't getting any response at all, we obviously can't be sure. All we know is that one minute he was there, and the next minute, he wasn't."

    "He can't have just fallen off the face of the planet! Find him!"

    "I'm trying to do that now, sir."

    Ten minutes later, they were sure. Or at least they were sure that they weren't sure.

    "Sorry, sir," said Ya. "I've checked every possible frequency the unit uses, and a few possibles under known malfunction conditions. He is simply not transmitting at the moment, or the transmission is blocked. Our receiver is definitely working."

    "Blast it," said Arrigo. "I hate these primitive conditions." Most of them thought that at least several times per day.

    "So what are the options?" Pratibha asked.

    "Well, there's obviously not much we can do from here, at any rate," answered Ya. "If the transmitter is blocked, we'll have to move to try to get into an unmasked position. If it isn't working, we'd have to actually go out and find him."

    "Are you kidding?" snorted Arrigo. "We're not even 100% sure where he was to begin with."

    "Yes, I guess that's true," sighed Ya. "We did have a good DF, and we can estimate range, but since one of the geosynchs went down, we can't truly be sure. Why did we have to lose THAT one?"

    "He had his breather with him, right?" asked Arrigo.

    "He should have. He said he was planning to bring it, and he would have been frankly stupid not to."

    "So what are the chances we really lost him?"

    "You mean that he survived? How am I supposed to know that? We're not even sure anything really happened. It could just be a transmitter short."

    "Across quadruple redundant systems?"

    "Well, it could happen."

    "Maybe, but I'm guessing it is about 10 times more likely that his damn boat sank."

    "Yeah, probably."

    "So, assume that's what happened. What are his chances?"

    "Well," mused Ya. "That depends on the breather, as you said. Without it, his chances aren't so good. He would absolutely need a flotation device, although I imagine even in the worst case there would be at least some wood left of the boat. The problem is, that would eventually become waterlogged and nearly useless. Without the breather, I'd say his chances are not so good. Less than 50-50, certainly. Maybe 30%.

    "If he has his breather with him, his chances are pretty good...very good actually. Call it 80% or better. It would be higher, but there's always the possibility of a freak accident, of course. He can survive down to the maximum depth we have ever recorded, and I'm pretty sure they weren't even out beyond the continental shelf, yet. Yeah, at least eighty percent, probably more like ninety. And I'd say it is a near certainty that he has the breather. I would have."

    "Yeah, but you aren't Kuro. He's a free spirit, and likes to take risks. That's why he's out there interacting. He's better at it."

    "OK," Arrigo continued, "so we figure he's about 80% likely to still be out there, somewhere, and we just don't know where. How long for him to get back?"

    "A long time, sir. He'll have to walk it. Or swim, without the breather." Ya shuddered involuntarily. Ya didn't like swimming. Their dense bodies were very hard to keep afloat. He'd only be doing that if he had to, and Ya didn't want to think about that. Ya thought Kuro had been nuts to go on this trip. But that was Kuro.

    "He'll have to walk? Blast it, that'll take forever! He won't even be able to see down there. Dammit!" Arrigo momentarily lost the calm he had regained earlier. "What is that idiot doing out in the middle of the friggin' ocean?!"

    Pratibha reminded him: "You said it was a good idea, sir. The Dutch needed to make contact with the other land mass, and they sure as heck couldn't have designed that boat on their own."

    "Yeah, great, I let him design the boat. But he didn't have to go along on this harebrained voyage!"

    "You approved it, sir. So we'd make contact as soon as they did. And so he could help in just such an emergency, remember?"

    Arrigo sighed. He knew when he was beaten, but he didn't have to like it.

    "I know, I know. OK, so he walks home. That's going to take at least a couple of months, isn't it?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "OK, then we need a new volunteer."

    "I'll go," said Pratibha.

    "I was hoping you would," said Arrigo. "OK, start working on your changes. Folks, this is high-priority. The rest of us take all of Pratibha's shifts until Kuro gets back. If he isn't back in a year, we will redivide the workload. Yes, even Tuesday afternoons. Pratibha will be much too busy to give you your precious afternoon off."

    The control room collectively groaned, but they knew it was necessary. And who knows? Kuro was resourceful. He'd be back long before a year was out.

    Wouldn't he?

    Here's the log from the game.
  13. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

    May 18, 2005
    Too near The Temple of Jerry Jones
    It was just about over. The big work was done, at least for now. All that remained was to spread the news.

    Arrigo sipped on his drink. He was sitting at the communications console, tired and ready to go to bed. But first some small celebrating, before it got too dark. He powered up console and listened for the comforting clicks, whirs and hums as the individual components received power and began to warm up. The orange glow of the power amps on the floor cast shadows on the walls. He pulled open a drawer and removed the call sign book. It wasn't that everyone had their own call sign. But for some reason Satsumo had insisted that they have a different call sign for each person. He could never keep his name's straight, so he and the others had written them down in a small black book that stayed in the drawer of the communications console.

    As always, the first call was the hardest.

    'Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Come in, Danny Boy.'

    No reply. Just as it had been the last times they had tried to contact Kuro. Nothing. Even though this time the chance for communication was much better than it had been, still nothing.

    Which wasn't that surprising, as Arrigo kept telling himself. Even if Kuro heard the call, he might not be able to assume The Position, especially if he were swimming or trying to sail a small boat. The call, and everything sent from the communications console, was connected directly to the aural nerve, by some manner that Arrigo did not know, and the reciever actually heard the words. To reply, the reciever-now-sender, had to be in the proper position: hands slightly curved together with all the fingertips touching, pinkys in full contact along most of their length and with the index fingers resting on the tip of the nose. It made them look like they were praying, or else trying to warm their hands on a very cold day. It also kept them from appearing like idiots, just talking to air. The acoustic pickups were in the pads of the third and fourth fingers of both hands, so the shape gave excellent sound quality and privacy. Touching the nose gave better reception and transmission, since it acted as an antenna. The Position gave the best response, but variations could be used, too.

    After several fruitless attempts, the slightly saddened Arrigo went to the next person on short list.

    'Pinky calling Perky. Pinky calling Perky. Come in, Perky.'


    'Perky here. Come in Pinky.' Arrigo grinned; Pratibha's voice was soft and quiet. He hadn't talked to her in over a week.

    'This is Pinky. Where are you?'

    'Right now I'm in the field answering a call of nature. Fortunately, I'm alone right now, all the men have moved off to give me some privacy.'

    'When do they plan to attack the city?'

    'Soon, like in the next day or so. We're just west of Osaka, less than a days march. We can move at anytime, and we're ready to fight.'

    'Have the men figured you out yet?'

    'Well, they know I'm a woman, that was hard to disguise, but since I can shoot as well as any of them, they don't say a lot. They said even less after three of them tried to attack me.'

    'Three? I didn't know about that.'

    'They were drunk, so it wasn't too hard to fend them off. They were sore, but nothing was broken. The next time the guy was sober and I broke his arm. That was a public manner. He lost, I fixed the break, so now he is my servant. Sorta nice, actually,' she chortled.

    'I bet.

    'Ya is inside Osaka, so be careful. She's doing something at the temple or shrine or whatever it is. Our new base is on the mountain east of Osaka, right where we wanted it to be. We've got a nice dry bed, clean sheets and running water. Hot running water, I might add.'

    'Yeah, rub it in. I'll see you soon and use all that hot water to get clean. Perky out.'

    'Pinky out.'

    Now to talk to Ya.

    'Rosencrantz calling Guildenstern. Rosencrantz calling Guildenstern. Come in Guildenstern.'

    'Rosencrantz calling Guildenstern. Rosencrantz calling Guildenstern. Come in Guildenstern.'

    'Rosencrantz calling Guildenstern.'

    'This is Guilder-stom or -strum or Goldensnatch, whatever. Is that you Arrigo?' The voice sounded a bit tense.

    'Yeah, it's me.'

    'Well, be quick. We're in the middle of a ceremony and talking to you could spoil the mood for others.'

    'Okay. I just spoke with Pratibha; they could attack at anytime. I told her where you were. She is on the west side of the city, but I don't know who she fights under. Most of the units are west of the city. She has a man-servant, too.'

    He paused and then went on.

    'I am at the new base. It is up and running. You and Pratibha should have no problem finding it. I've picked up that this mountain has a bad reputation, which is good for us. We have clean clothes and lots of hot water, if Pratibha leaves you any. Got that?'

    'Attack anytime; from the west; you're to the east on the mountain; hot water. Got it. Bye.'

    'Bye,' said Arrigo to the quiet.

    Local stuff done, Arrigo got ready for the big one. He flipped through his notes; the first camp location being discovered, sending out Pratibha and Ya while he stayed behind to do grunt work; getting the camp ready to be moved; the arrival of the Flying Brick (actually the Model 62 Monk Aerospace Transport, but it was shaped like a brick); getting reacquainted with Lisia and Lindo, the piloting team; rigging the camp to fly; the four days of flying; landing the camp and making it serviceable again; Lisio and Lindo leaving for Camp Wisdom. A lot to cover and no telling what else Satsumo might want to know. Before he looked up the callsign for Camp Wisdom he made sure all of the equipment was powered up. Satisfied it was all operating normally, he checked the black book before changing frequencies.

    'Houston calling Odyssey. Houston calling Odyessey. Come in Odyssey.'

    'Houston, be advised that this is Aquarius.' Wow, Satsumo himself, not the watch officer.

    'Roger that, Aquarius. I wish to inform you that the relocation operation has been successful and that the three known members of Camp Frugal will soon be reunited. Further, it appears that the Ditch will soon be attacking the city known as Osaka.'

    'Houston, we confirm your successful relocation...' Arrigo's mind wandered a bit. Satsumo could be so dull at times, especially when repeating stuff.

    'Houston, we've had a problem.' That got Arrigo's attention.


    'We've had some defections. About 10 people left us a few weeks ago and went out on their own. They also messed with our mapping software and mapping data.'


    'Yeah, ouch. They erased all of our maps of the world and all of our early survey results. All we have are some maps that got clogged up in orbit of what Kuro had mapped before he disappeared. They didn't add much.'

    'We've got our local maps.'

    'Keep them safe. We'll send over what we got from Kuro and you can add it in to what you know, and then send it back here.'

    'Not a problem. Who left?'

    'Looks like Tamara, Rachella, Katrina, Eva and Cecila. And then Ernesto, Kawamoto, Sando, Ivano and Bruce.'


    'Used to be, uh, what was it, Bacho, that's right, but he's been calling himself Bruce for a long time now.'

    'Do you know where they went?'

    'No, not really. From what we've been able to piece together, they thought that they could get another one of these tribes into space before we could. But we don't know where they went.'

    'I may have it. Ya mentioned something earlier, like before we moved, about a city making some great thing called The Oracle. She couldn't tell what was so great about it but it was a hot topic for some time.'

    'Check into it. The Ten Little Idiots may have had a hand in that thing. Anyway, I've got to go; we'll talk more tomorrow.'

    'Aye. Houston out.'

    'Aquaris out.'

    Arrigo leaned back in his chair. This Oracle thing was bad news, if it had help. He had not heard of the people and that meant they weren't on this land mass. This rather small land mass. Which must mean that they had a lot of land to use, based on the general parameters of the world.

    Two different factions trying to get to space. This world could get really nasty, real soon.
  14. Rodent

    Rodent Carnage

    Mar 18, 2008
    WARNING- Long, Boring and Gory.

    Spoiler :
    Source- The Autobiography of a Soldier

    We were Marching for 15 days now. By 'We' I mean the 3rd Archer Divison of which I am a Part. The Order had come not long back and It had Startled me. I would'nt think that our King had the Guts to Take on the 'Japs' as we call them.

    The 'Japs' in my eyes were Stupid, But Fiercely Loyal to their 'Shogun' . Their armed Forces were Small In Number, partly because of the Japs' Difficulty to Raise a lot of Children, but Well-Trained and Fearsome in Battle.

    And Now we were going to attack their Capital, Known as 'Knoto' . Marsch, The leader of our Archer Divison kept Goading us on, Like cattle to the Slaughter. On the Way we were met by the 2nd and 4th Archer Divisons. We got to know from
    Marsch that 5th and 6th Divisons were Delayed but would join us soon in the Attack.

    As we passed Utrecht, Where most of my Friends Proceeded to the Nearest Brothel or Bar, A number of Untrained Peasants carrying anything from Pithforks to Sticks to Stones joined us, Probably the Unemployed with nothing to do were lured by the Possibility of loot in the Capital

    And Now we had Reached the Doorstep of the Jap Capital. It was like nothing I had ever seen. The City was Dotted with Beautiful Buildings and the Houses were Designed in a rather Peculiar way but were Appealing to the Eye. It Seemed almost a Waste that we had to Ruin it. We could even see Spearmen from that Distance because of their Shining Shields

    Marsch Barked Orders in that Booming Voice of his, Ordering us to get Ready for battle. I readied my bow. I was Proud of that Bow. I had Made it Myself and It could probably shoot Arrows farther and more accurately than any other Bow. We then Proceeded to Move into Firing Range and Started Firing, It was a Spectacular Sight to see the Sky Darkened with Arrows, But I Reckon it was not so fun for the Defending Spearmen.

    Most of them saved themselves by virtue of their Shields but we still managed to kill a good number of them.

    Then came the Charge, The Spearmen started Charging towards us, Knowing that sitting in the City was of no use. The Local Peasant Mob Charged towards them in a Disorganised Fashion while we proceeded to Stuff Arrows into them. Most of us, Including myself Concentrated on shooting at their heads as our Trainer Borsche had told us. I managed to shoot one through th e head, the guy immediately collapsed.

    In Spite of all the Archers' Best efforts, The Spearmen Managed to get close, Mowing their way through the Peasants as if They Were'nt Even there. Their Reputation was not Ill-earned then. We now had to resort to hand to hand combat while our Rear Ranks Continued to fire Arrows.

    I took out my Short-Sword and Proceeded on the Nearest Guy, a Small Guy whose Shield Dwarfed Him. I feinted to attack him on the head and slashed him in the Belly, The Person Gushed Blood from the Gash as well as from his Mouth and Collapsed. I took his Spear and Shield as they were better than my Short Sword.

    I took a Chance to look around and saw that We were Winning, the Spearmen were just too few and our Barrage of Arrows and weakened them Severely. I Turned just in time to avoid getting a Spear in my Head. I then Threw my shield at him, while he was trying to get the shield off him i put the Spear in his Chest, The Spear Broke there and the Point was left in his Body.

    I Readied myself for any more Enemies, But they were all dead or fleeing. We had won! The Sense of Euphoria that overtook me cannot be described. We then Proceeded to take the City apart, I kept myself to looting but all Soldiers were not restrained as such. There was a huge amount of killing and Raping as well. I Managed to enter a Big house and took several Ornaments, Including Crockery Made of Gold, I knew these were good enough to make the rest of my days easy, But first I had to Survive, The Japanese were not finished yet, and a lof of war was to come.........

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