FRONTIER Expedition On Sri

Discussion in 'Open Roleplay' started by Melanie P. Burleson, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Melanie P. Burleson

    Melanie P. Burleson Dr. Burleson

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    The straps tighten tightly on her chest while the shuttle undergoes a strong jolt as it begins its descent into the atmosphere. The cabin lights are switched off as they are in the models of this series. The front screen flashes for a moment with the general input information of atmo, then turns off. If there is one thing that the MCRN must improve as soon as possible, it is the ability of its shuttles to land easily on planets similar to the earth....


    About twenty minutes later she stumbles in a landing air that strongly smells like fresh asphalt, and fresh paint too. She may have already explored other worlds, but she remains a Martian who has lived her life in tunnels and ships, having nothing else above her than an open sky over her head, stays for her pretty scary and destabilizating. The runway is not very large and is satisfied with a flat asphalt space with paint lines to indicate landing areas and indications. Helped by Carson, she climbed into the rover waiting for them and fastened her seatbelt, her head still dizzy from the ride offered by the shuttle as she entered the atmosphere.

    The rover leaves the track quickly enough to head for a huge dome that looks like a white balloon inflated to the point of being about to burst. The base was built under a sealed dome to avoid contamination with the outside world, and this in both sides. Unlike a bunch of settlers just across the bay. A majestic forest extends its arms all around them and in doubt she asks the pilot the question.

    - Did we cut off a part of the forest so we could build our base?

    - No, we're pretty lucky, the whole area was an empty and desert clearing, nothing alive on the whole perimeter, unless we exclude the grass of course.

    She doubted it was really grass, but she didn't feel the strength to think about it. The entrance to the base happens to be a good old airlock as found on the Martian dome at the surface. She can't help but smile as she passes through the airlock. The rover parks in a designated parking space just outside the entrance. The inside of the dome is this time different from those of Mars, in the place of the sky is the white and plastic material that makes up this dome. Even though teams are harnessed to the installation of the screen on the surface of the latter. The base is made in ~ 1km diameter, although most of the modules will usually be underground. For the moment the biggest part of the space is totally empty, except for buildings there and there.

    - Hello I am Captain Guillaume Travers, said the officer who comes to her when she gets off the rover.

    She shakes his hand in a rather clumsy way.

    - Melanie Bulerson, Science Officer. It's nice to meet you.

    - Yes, I know, I've read some of your writings. Not for nothing that I'm rather happy to have you at our side...or i have to say on the same planet!

    The remark makes her smile. Helping Carson she gets into Travers' cart towards her apartments. In the distance on a training track, the troops seem to do their morning jogging. In the distance a restaurant of the "Max&Trevor" chain is under construction.

    - Tell me, is it morning or not? I'm a little unsettled by the trip.

    - It's complex, Sri has a 26-hour day which shifts our biological clocks a little. The base committee has not yet decided on the procedure to be taken, but for the moment we keep the Earth hours.

    - "Max&Trevor" hm... I never really enjoyed their food., say Carson

    She gives him a pat on the shoulder.

    - Hey I love their synthetic meat, there was no better in all Mare Sirenium.

    - Pff, it remains that the bread is horrible. Not to mention their crap they call "SoGreatDa", it should be banned by the Ministry of Health.

    - Wow, if you only go to their house for their sandwich and soda (although it's true it leaves something to be desired), you miss everything.

    - She's not wrong! ,said the captain, and then there won't just be them, soon other stores and restaurants will open.

    Carson rubs his tongue against his palate with resignation and looks away. The trip is short and ends straight in front of a small prefabricated building.

    - Here are your apartments, ma'am, I'll see you later after you rest from your trip. And for you soldier, we're on our way to the barracks!

    She descends from the rover and climbs the three steps that lead to the door of the small building. The door opens with a little magnetic noise when it pushes it. Too tired to understand, she just comes in.
     
  2. Carson Boussaa

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    Okay, well, they make a nice coffee. A small smoke emerges from his "Max&Trevor" cup, while Carson watches the screen in the presentation room. A man in civilian clothes had tried to explain the particularities of this world, and Carson understood half of it. For the moment, it seems to have entered into a long monologue about the archaeological sites discovered.

    - [...] That is why we have ruled out the possibility of a natural origin in the network of caves and underground passages.

    The scientists around him were busy writing notes on their tablets, except for Melanie. If Carson's memory is good, she spent the whole trip to come here to read everything there is to read about Sri, so probably what this man says is nothing new to her.

    - What about the moon in quarantine?, She ask.

    - What do you mean, the moon?

    - Archaeological expeditions, my ears were filled with this before I came here and suddenly when I finally arrived here, no one wants to talk about it anymore. Fortunately, it is visible in the sky all the time, otherwise I would have thought it never existed.

    - I'm sorry, but following an accident a few weeks before your arrival all expeditions were suspended and surveillance increased.


    - Did anyone manage to land there and take anything? Or did the aliens wake up from their graves?, ask Carson

    - I can't confirm or deny anything, I'm sorry.

    He takes a look at Melanie who looks back at him. On his tablet that he left carelessly on the side poster shows a message on his screen.


    Private chat

    [Melanie] > So the rumors are true?!

    [Carson] > Which one?

    [Melanie] > Said a team of pillards managed to go on the moon a few weeks ago and stole artifacts just under the nose of the MCRN. The superiors is completely furious at what I hear.

    [Carson] > Artefacts? But what kind of artifacts?

    [Melanie] > Go figure, but it's definitely not good.

    - But don't worry, the archaeological expeditions will soon be restarted and as promised we will send you there!

    Melanie simply raises her eyebrows as a sign of resignation. The man clearly desiring to keep the audience's attention, claps his hands and then changes the slides to show the image of a strange lizard with wings under his front arms.

    - I present to you the target of your first expedition here on this world. The dragons of Lakshmi!

    - oh nice!, say Carson
     
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  3. Melanie P. Burleson

    Melanie P. Burleson Dr. Burleson

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    [​IMG]


    The aerocraft flies over a huge forest that never ends. They left the base several hours ago and headed for the dragon habitat area. For one of the few times in his life, a Martian vehicle has a comfortable seat. In addition, its seat is next to the window and therefore allows you to enjoy a very special feature. All he has to do is draw a square or rectangle on the glass with his finger so that it becomes an application window and allows him to zoom in and get information on what is happening. It's fun at first, then she got tired of it pretty quickly. She only uses it to zoom in on something far away when she prefers to read it on her tablet.

    Carson in the seat next to her seems to be on the verge of dozing off and thus become like almost all the passengers in the cabin. With one elbow she wakes him up to whisper to him:

    - You wanna know something fun?

    - I guess

    She points to the forest that extends under their feet. The latter does not seem to be envied by those present on earth, because of their colour and majesty.

    - Do you know Pando on Earth?

    - Vaguely, I heard about it in biology class centuries ago. I think it was a forest that was actually composed of a single tree because all the trees on site were actually the same genetic makeup and it was all linked like a mushroom.

    - Almost that! Here in Sri , our scientists made a strange discovery with the trees on site. A single forest is a complex system where all trees share the same genetic makeup with minor variations for some.

    It draws a rectangle on the window and zooms in on a particular tree in the distance.

    - Here is the father of the forest, recognizable by its size and width which dominates all others. The way it works here is that a tree like it grows a carbon copy of itself through its roots. Then the latter grows up and creates a copy of himself and so on. We still do not know how or why, but the further away from the "original parent", the more the genetic baggage is modified and the tree is different rather than being a true copy. Except that it means that all the trees in the forest are connected to each other by a powerful network of roots. From there, information is exchanged through pheromones and nutrients as well as water.

    Carson turns to her troubled. Her two eyebrows touching each other almost by his concentration.

    - But I thought that trees on Earth also exchanged nutrients and water. Now it's the same thing except it's a clone army.

    - Not really, as I said, they have genetic variations. And yes, it looks like what we already have on Earth. Except this is much more advanced. For example, one of the trees has more water than expected. It will send it through the network to another tree that has evolved to contain in and under it "pockets" of water that can store them indefinitely. If a tree needs water vitally, it will send distress pheromones to the original parent (or to the oldest tree if the latter is dead) who will determine whether or not water will be sent. If so, it sends a pheromone to the trees to store water which will then send the water to the trees in distress. Better yet, if an intruder begins to exploit water in the soil or resources in the forest or begins to parasitize a tree. The tree will send an alert into the network and the trees could respond by asking trees capable of secreting poison to produce massive amounts and send it into the network. From there the poison will be transported to the "attacked" area to spread into the ground and kill intruders!

    Carson's eyes are squinting like he's not sure what he just heard.

    - So it kills the "intruders". Why does the forest seem to be full of life if trees spend their time trying to poison intruders?

    The question puts a smile on Melanie's face.

    - And here we go, we get to the heart of the matter! Trees seem to coexist with thousands of different species! It is still difficult to understand why some of them more than others, but the species that live in the forests are not the same depending on the forest. Each forest is a different genetic baggage, they can have forests of the same species that resemble those on earth or sometimes unique forests that mix trees that are not of the same species but that are part of the same network. Anyway, whatever the forest, just because a forest with trees of species A accepts specific creatures does not mean that another forest with trees of the same species will accept them!

    Carson looks at her with fish eyes, completely lost.

    - Sooo, each forest does what it wants?

    - Kind of! On the other hand, we have succeeded in determining that sometimes trees leave plants live in the same soil as them because they owe them in exchange nutrients! It was discovered that local plants inject some of the nutrients it generated during the day directly into the root system! And like a heartless mafia, if the plant too often forgets to give its share, the nearest tree injects poison into the ground to kill it!

    She said the sentence in an enthusiastic burst that Carson had to step back to avoid hitting her.

    - What about animals and insects?

    - I don't know, it doesn't seem to bother them as long as they don't steal the nutrients in the soil, and then what will they do against them? Some insect species live in and under trees. As with a large part of the plants, the hives seem to have concluded "contracts" with them. Hive insects deposit on the leaves of the trees in which they live a substance that seems rich in different resources that the tree can then "eat" through its leaves. They also defend the tree if it is attacked by an animal. Hives that live in or under a tree have many advantages. They can have access to a supply of water and moisture inside the latter and can protect themselves during storms. Because, during storms, the original parent secretes hormones capable of fortifying the tree's bark to make it 10 to 50 times stronger. And will distribute it to particular trees according to their importance and then randomly since its stocks are limited.

    Carson doesn't seem to share the same enthusiasm as Melanie, he seems more anxious about this news than anything else. Probably to find the sleep he repositions himself on his seat and then turns back to her again.

    - Do the forests communicate with each other? What happens if we cut one of them off?

    - Does it communicate with each other? Yes and no. Between each forest there is always an empty space of all trees and the strip is sometimes several kilometers wide and long. The two forets do not touch each other. When several forests are side by side, none of them touch each other, they have a strip of no-man's-land between them. Then comes the big question, do they like each other or not? If the answer is no, the strip will be liveable for no life form (except the local version of the grass) since both forests will dump all their excess poisons secreted. If the answer is yes, only one and only one root will cross the band to connect to the network of the other forest. And from there, by very rare occasion. Water, nutrients or pheromones will be exchanged. And on very rare occasions, the seeds for a new tree will be exchanged one edge and the other so that it can be planted elsewhere and create a new forest one day (like in a thousand years). Sometimes trees can decide to rebel! We are still trying to see how it works, but if I have understood correctly that the tree that no longer wants to be part of the network stops sending resources, its access will be cut off and it will be isolated. But sometimes he's bombarded with poison by his old friends until he dies. Or a group of trees can (it is not known how) started to withdraw from the network and thus create their own forest where the oldest of them takes control of the forest which will be treated by their old forest as a different forest and will be treated as such. We have examples of forests where only 4 individuals cut off their access to the network, which was enough for a large part of the area to become a new independent forest. And to your question about what happens when a tree is cut down.

    She pianos on her tablet and displays a video. On the latter what seems to be loggers equipped with gas masks is struggling to cut a tree with the help of huge tools. When they finally succeed in doing so, the leaves of the tree suddenly change colour and dry out while a huge green and grey cloud escapes from the tree.

    - When the tree dies, its leaves dry out and release a cloud of vapour that carries inside a pile of different things ranging from pheromones to toxins. We don't know if it was a deliberate behaviour of the tree before it died or a simple coincidence of nature, but this cloud is one of the most toxic things there is. That's why loggers have gas masks. But this does not prevent the creation of an economic niche for a forest industry in Sri. Their wood is of excellent quality and hardness which can be very strong depending on how it is cut. And sometimes if we are lucky, there are even precious stones in the trees!

    - They are scary the trees on Sri.

    - Well, it's more of a network of pheromones and reagents-reaction complex than anything else. They only constantly react to something, nothing intelligent underneath. But it is true that this makes them the ones who make the rain and sunshine in most of the ecosystems of this planet.

    He answers that with a face that is not very reassuring and tries again to find a comfortable position on his seat. She leaves Carson to his thoughts and returns to her contemplation of the landscape.
     
    #3 Melanie P. Burleson, Jul 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  4. Carson Boussaa

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    From all sides of the horizon only a landscape of pebbles and grey and cold rock extends for miles. The camp is somewhere far behind them. A camp composed of their aerocraft and some tents set up on site. A strong wind rises and brings with it a gust of snow that blinds the team Carson is escorting for a while. His combat armor automatically regulates the temperature to warm him up, but Melanie behind him is forced to simply pull up the collar of his coat. They continue to advance several meters, and at every step Carson tells himself that it was a really bad idea to have left the rover behind them at the campsite. Exhausting, he stops and signals to the others that he wants to take a breath. He takes the visor off his helmet, and takes a sip of water from the gourd integrated in the forearm.

    - Are we sure what we're looking for is around here?

    - Certainly, the animals that live here know how to be discreet, so we will wait for them at a water point that we have located further away.

    The man who answered him is one of the zoologists who initiated the mission. A man with a salty beard who seems to be fulfilling the dream of his academic life. Mumbling a "and when it's time to go, let's go," Carson resumes walking towards the water source. The distance is long, but the scenery around him is breathtaking enough to keep him interested throughout the walk.

    - "You know, it reminds me of my visit to Iceland on Earth at the beginning of my academic career. It looks a lot like it, there's just a little more life here.", Declared the zoologist to him

    - "And alien remnant", Say by pointing at a black and grey monolith that stands on the horizon.

    - "Yaa, just details they are mostly and before pieces of stones and without any important on the local environment. I think people exaggerate their importance too much. By the way, my name is Pierre."

    - "Carson, sir. Happy to meet you!"

    - "Do you have any idea about the usefulness of the monoliths that are scattered throughout the region?" Ask a Melanie who gets into the conversation

    The zoologist responds with a shrug that makes him lift his brown-haired hood. He tells Melanie that it may have been landmarks for the previous civilization. Melanie recalls the important network of tunnels and caves in the region. What both agree on is the possibility that the monoliths may have been part of a larger network that could possibly be used to indicate something. Carson cuts short the conversation/debate by pointing his fingers at the desired objective.

    Rushing to the source to see what it looks like. He became upset when he discovered it frozen and nestled in a black rock crater. The environment giving shape and colour to the ice that makes it look like a frozen black liquid rather than the vital element for life. Melanie joins him laughing, probably because she guessed her disappointment hidden under her helmet. She takes out of her water bag a series of scientific tools that she places on rocks around the spring. The latter begin to reveal a series of lights and lasers of different colors on the ice and surroundings while different data are recorded. The latter appear in a flow on Melanie's hand terminal, he doesn't know what appears means, but she seems satisfied.

    Acute screams attract his attention and everywhere around him appears small and of multiple sizes, bird / manchot-ish. Their furs are black and silky and their eyes adorably golden and what seems to be their two fins is large enough for them to use them to move forward with as they propel themselves forward like with crutches. Each time one of them succeeds in climbing the crater, he shouts what appears to be a victory cry before using his fins to propel himself directly onto the ice. Contrary to what Carson fears, the animal's beak first crashes into the ice and pierces it as if it were paper, which allows it to sink into the water. Once in the water, he stayed there for a while before sticking his head out and shouting a victory cry different from the previous one. At least fifty of them do this and quickly the ice is dissipated and the crater becomes a source of water filled with small animals much too happy to soak. Laughing in front of the show, he takes off his visor again and bends down to try to see them closer.

    - "If I were you, I wouldn't do that, my little one. They have the bad habit of using their beaks to pierce the eyes of those who come too close to them.", Warned him Pierre.

    He quickly recovers before suffering an "accident". Melanie, who seems to find the situation increasingly hilarious since just now, borrows from a colleague's bag a pair of protective glasses that she passes to Pierre and others. Then, equipped with safety glasses, she bends down to insert a tube into the water to extract a sample for future analysis. She takes her hand off just in time, while the head of one of these bird/manchot-ish comes out of the water to try to tickle her hand in a furious surge of territorialism. She seems to take the attempted attack as a good joke.

    - "They're cute, aren't they?"

    - "Cute, but paranoid!", say Pierre

    Turning away from their conversation, Carson looked around and looked at the landscape. The latter is still as beautiful and empty as ever. What he hates is that the ground is made of a frozen stone that constantly snakes and creates a lot of shadowy and blind areas that make monitoring complex, but easy to hide. He has his instinct that seems to scream at him that he has to be careful with the shadows. Shade... wait a minute, that shadow!

    It pushes Pierre on his side in time while the reptilian creature pushes his claws forward directly into the water. Melanie takes refuge under a rock, while the Dragon "spits" a huge cloud of flame where Peter was. He drags the poor zoologist under the same rock as Melanie and pulls out his gun. A glance at it shows that the other members of the team are also safe. He took a look out of his hiding place and discovers the creature pawing to catch some poor, unfortunate, creature. He managed to catch at least four of them and then threw them into the air before swallowing them alive in his mouth. One of the four tries to escape by flying away with his pathetic fin, but a tailstroke from the dragon knocks him down enough to be eaten. Then suddenly turning away from his meal, the natural victims hiding at the bottom of the water, he approached the rock under which the trios was hiding.

    - "I think he wants us dead!", say Pierre

    Melanie answers him with a facial expression that seems to say, "No! Swear it!".

    - "Except he'll soon discover that our meat is poison to him.", she say

    - "Oh great, except it'll be too late for us when he finds out!", Carson replies bitterly

    - "Except that his gas tank seems to be almost empty if you based on the bumps on his sides.", say Pierre

    Not wanting to risk his own skin, or that of anyone else to verify his statements, he decided to trust the scientists. Grinding his teeth, he waited for the creature to attack, his gun ready and the grenades to his belts too. His attack came in the form of another cloud of fire that put the rock under which they were sheltered to the test. He felt the heat rising in their small hole and the temperature of his suit falling while above him the stone was subjected to record temperatures for its recent history. Then the attack suddenly stops as it began. The creature makes a horrible scream that looks like a strangled lizard before reproducing the horrible sound of fire that forms in the air. Except that the sound of the flames is short and quickly replaced by that of a screaming human. Propelled by adrenaline, he comes out of a good hiding place and shoots the creature.

    The shot was missing, but the noise seemed to frighten him seriously. He turns around and seems terrier and fearful now that his gas reserves seem empty. Taking his chance, he throws a smoked grenade at his feet and looks at the panicked reptilian creature and flies off in a panic towards the place he came. The scientist touched by the flames, throws his coat on fire in the water filled with innocent creature. It seems completely intact, but shaken by the event. Melanie also comes out of hiding, but with a gun she took out of one of the bags. Without telling anyone, she shoots the creature in the distance and touches it. The latter seems to have felt nothing and continues his journey back to his lair. Probably the tracer gun.

    Team members come out of hiding one after the other, as do the animals that pull their heads out of the water. One of them observes the scattered and destroyed scientific material.

    - "Fuck, our equipment! That was the most important thing!", he say

    - "Oh, rejoice to be alive, we got her hot this time! Usually these "dragons" are not very aggressive animals.", say a another one

    Carson gives them a black gaze to each of them....
     
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  5. Melanie P. Burleson

    Melanie P. Burleson Dr. Burleson

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    The tents are shaped like igloos and work a little differently. They all link to a hot air generator in the centre of the camp, which allows the igloos to be inflated and at the same time ensures that the interior is pleasantly warm.

    Her igloo is full of screens and boxes of various materials with her sofa bed in the middle. On the left side, opposite the exit, is her office where she forces herself to understand the data that is scrolling in front of her. While at the other end of the igloo is a pecker locked in a glass cage. That's the name of the cute animal that was chased away by the dragon. Nicknamed this way because of their sharp and powerful beak, as well as their constant use of it. For the moment he is having fun in his waterhole without being aware of the instruments that are scanning him from all sides.

    Carson stands in a corner of the room, watching one of the screen, his arms straight in the back. Its uniform is slightly different from the standard, it has the same designation except that it is made of a fabric that looks thicker to the eye while it also has a turtleneck. Of course, the MCRN logo marks his right shoulder and the Simurgh logo his left shoulder.

    "Relations with the world of Nautilus seem to have been normalized and the Sol Coalition does not seem to want to make a statement about it. At this time our sources indicate that Martian patrol vessels will be sent into Jules Vernes' system to help control local pirates and terrorists. The question is: Is this a form of recognition of an independent colony? Or will Mars soon make something else official?"

    The voice comes from a local news channel, Anceling public radio & News, or some shit like that. What amazes her most is how far the waves of this radio go. A global coverage for a mainly concentrated clientele a few kilometers from his studio. If it's not stupid, she doesn't know what it is.

    "[..]That's why the new store in Anceling will be finished sooner than expected! Because yes, you have understood correctly my dear subscribers, the Lakshmi door is one of the most used doors in the whole Hub, we are talking about at least the top 20 or top 5. And all this work is thanks to you and your corporation to love! Take at least a moment to thank the wonderful work of "Eldorado's gates" who has..."

    - "I'm going to shut down this propaganda before we get crazy." say Carson

    She can only agree with him, this inconvenience will soon be resolved when Mars helps to deploy a complete satellite network around Sri. We will have access to other information flows than this propagandist radio. The Command has talked about setting up a flow of news, and by just on Sri, but on all the worlds concerned. A noise makes her turn her head, Picky (the name she gave to this cute animal) slams it beak furiously on the window. It's his way of getting attention. Guessing her problem, she takes out of the drawer of her desk a white cylindrical container and pours into the cork what seems to be a fragile Belgian-orange flake.

    - "Could you please, Carson, give Picky those flakes? They are food created in the laboratory to be chemically accepted by members of its species."

    Carson approaches her and takes the lid and makes a face.

    - "It doesn't seem like a very nutritious meal."

    She sighs and takes her tablet back to work. Seeing that Carson is still waiting for an answer.

    -"Look, give our team of chemists and nutritionists time to create something better! For the moment it's largely fine and Picky seems not to complain about it and loves it. Oh, you have to put him in his water, he loves to take his food in the water."

    He rolls his eyes and approaches the living space of the little creature. He lifts the lid and pours the fragile flakes into the water. The latter seem to soften and become horribly pasty. Picky, on the other hand, jumps into the water and happily swallows the floating pieces. Then a moment later, his eyes narrowed and he let go of a scream that seemed unhappy as his wings rose in the air as if he was saying "WTF, that's all?

    She stops her work to turn back to Carson and the animal. Expiring in defeat, she adds to her personal list "Improve and/or create better food for Picky."

    She goes back to her notes again, then she understands what she was trying to understand. She shows on the screen in front of Carson the video of his combat armor. She puts the moment when the dragon tries to kill Pierre, then the one where a cloud of flames appears. Then, she starts the sequence over several times. And every time she repeats the sequence, she zooms in a little more on the beast's mouth. The angle and quality of the camera is terrible, but it's enough to prove what she's thinking.

    - "Tell me you see the same thing I do?"

    - "No, I only see an unhappy beast trying to tear Pierre apart, then the dragon spitting fire to try to burn him."

    - Look again at how the cloud of flames is formed.

    She plays the sequence again, zooming in again on the dragon. She repeats it several times in a row, several times in a row we see Pierre almost dying.

    - "Is it just me or do I get the feeling his flames don't come out of his mouth? It reminds me of how the flame thrower can spit fire. Except it seems to be out of line."

    - "Exactly!"

    She plays the sequence again, except that she pauses on image and passes them one by one, this time zooming in on an area near the jaw. Now that the image shows only this area, Carson is able to see that there is indeed a moment of delay from the moment the mouth is open and it's close, and the flame(s) appears. Then with the help of a double blow on her tablet she makes a final zoom on a hole on the side of the jaw (between the neck and the mouth), which still only appears a few seconds before the flames. She repeats the sequence, except that this time everything seems to make more sense. The hole appears again and seems to be "spitting" something. Then even a second after the latter has disappeared, a second one appears for a shorter time than the previous one but also seems to "spit" something.

    - "Am I dreaming, or does this reptile have a natural flame thrower? A more rudimentary version, that's for sure. But I didn't think of that."

    - "Exactly! Exactly! It is clear that the first hole has access to its internal gas reserve that it spits into the air. While the second one seems to be a liquid that his body keeps compressing inside, and when he "spits it out" he decompresses and causes a natural warming reaction. Except that the reptile makes it spit where its gas cloud was, which ignites it and gives the impression that it is breathing fire!"

    Picky pushes a hoot that Melanie interprets as encouragement for her work.

    - "So I guess now that we know how he does that, we can find another way to neutralize him than wait for him to empty his stock?"

    - "Honestly, waiting for him to empty his reserve and then put him to sleep is really not a bad plan. But yes, to reassure you, I have an idea on how to counter it. Just need to locate the damn lizard!"

    The screen next to it shows the orbit of the planet and a small red dot running around. Melanie has managed to put a location chip on the dragon, but the problem is that it takes a satellite to locate it and the only one that Mars makes available is overused for several projects. Currently they are fifth on the list, which uses them first seems to be a forestry team that wants satellite images of a strange big cloud. Then the next ones are a team of oceanologists who want to locate things related to the marine world (and they don't care what).

    She tried hard to get one of the ships in orbit to do this tiny and easy job. But she was told that locating a fire-spitting dragon is not that important and that the reason they made the satellite available to them was to avoid using the military ships that needed to do their patrols. Oh, because yes, she's the one who makes the requests and manages the science team now.

    The previous chief turned out to be the one who had his coat burned and came out with psychological trauma. No physical damage, but I suppose seeing his coat burn because of an animal from an alien world and light years away from you is causing damage. As Pierre declined the offer, she found herself managing all the expedition.

    In theories, she is supposed to jump for joy to finally be able to lead a team and see her talent recognized. But the opportunity tastes bitter. A considerable amount of paperwork fell on his head and stuff as stupid as homework waiting another 3 hours to use the satellite doesn't help. Wanting to pass the time, she spends her work again on a microbe recently discovered in the water.

    The microbe appears to have evolved in a chlorine-rich environment from certain sources in Sri and has the amazing ability to exploit resources directly as a miner. It does not seem to be able to parasitize a body as would any (or almost) microbe on earth. A rather simple microbe by nature, simple is obviously to be put in context. The DNA of most living beings in this world seems to be based not on four nucleotide bases but on six nucleotide bases. This makes their genetic background extremely complex and also more complete than those on Earth.

    It starts the numerical simulation which will show in a fast way the evolution of the microbe in an environment rich in iron resources. Except that before she could turn to Carson, the door of her igloo opened in a flight of freezing winds. The ambient temperature drops drastically and even Picky coos with anger. An officer enters the house with a MCRN coat on his back. His eyes landed first on Carson, who stood with his arms behind his back. Then take a suspicious look at Picky before greeting her.

    - "May I ask what you're doing in my igloo?"

    He seems to be lost for a moment, his square jaw not moving a single millimetre.

    - "I have come to warn you, ma'am, that the curfew is in place and that we will soon start the guard shifts"

    - "Did you know that it could be the subject of a simple message through our network? Especially since what I prefer to know is whether or not the equipment for tomorrow is ready."

    - "Not yet, ma'am, we're still taking them on the rover. However, can I ask what Lieutenant Carson is doing here?"

    Of course, that's what Melanie suspected from the beginning. She sighs and puts down her tablet to get up and face this little prick.

    - "I don't know, it's definitely not the man who's going to have to take care of my team tomorrow when we're tracking a fucking dragon! I have a feeling it's natural for him to come up with the plan for tomorrow with me, don't you think?"

    It suddenly becomes uncomfortable to be in the same room than her.

    - "I understand your point of view... I mean, yes, it's natural. Um, I guess Carson won't make the first shift?"

    - "Do I look like I know that? I'm a scientist not a fucking military officer."

    - "Well, he'll only have to go around the second round to save himself some sleep for tomorrow?"

    - "I'm fine with it.", say Carson

    She points at Carson and nods her shoulders in "See, it's not complex" mode.

    - "All right, great, we're all agreed? Are you planning on taking a seat to set up the plan with us? Are you planning to be part of the mission tomorrow?"

    - "Not at all, ma'am."

    - "So what are you doing here? Go back immediately to check that the camp is fine otherwise I swear to you that I will write a report on your total lack of respect!"

    His eyes were hard and he kept staring at Carson, filling up with fury and then the officer muttered something before greeting and then coming out again outside. Outside the machine of air restarted while the walls of its igloos wobble while hot air is being inserted. Picky seems to be fascinated by the waves of undulation that pass through the plastic surface of the igloo. Several times he hits the glass surface ,strongly, believing that he could touch the waves.

    Carson sighs before crashing into Melanie's sofa bed.

    - "This asshole was clearly trying to check if we were sleeping together."

    - "I know, Carson, I know."

    Previously their relationship was tolerated by the superiors, but now that Melanie was the one leading the mission, sleeping with Carson is fully considered an ethical mistake. This jerk was trying to catch them doing something forbidden so he could report it. Except this night is not his night.

    She takes up her tablet again to discover the results of her simulation. She takes up her tablet again to discover the results of her simulation. She had in front of her a real digital colony, microbes that created subbranches of themselves and a small ecosystem where the secretions of one feed another that creates another type of waste that feeds another and so on, all around a modified version of the original microbe to feed on iron. She must send a note to a lab to test and verify that this simulation is possible. In the meantime, she is the first to make her discovery. Which means she can choose it's name.

    - "Carson, do you want to have a microbe that might be useful to something in your name?"

    - "hugh?"

    - "Is that a yes or a no?"

    - "Am I going to say yes? Wait a minute, what's the point of this thing?"

    - "Too late I just clicked on sent! Let's see if you can give your name to something useful? Deadly or completely shitty? Anyway, you have to celebrate that with alcohol!"

    - "Where do you want me to find some?"

    - "What! You didn't bring any alcohol with you?"

    - "No, you told me the expedition banned it!"

    - "Except I thought you were going to break the rules as usual. Fuck, I guess we'll just have a drink in the village tomorrow."

    - "Well, it's a lost opportunity to have a drink!"

    - "It would have helped me to pass the time until the satellite was available. On the bright side, since Sri has two more hours in his day. I can catch up on my sleep. Right, Picky?"

    The person concerned does not lift a single feather, then turns away and goes to sleep in a ball. Carson mumbles a "he doesn't waste time.". Knowing that he has a long day ahead of him and a shift to do, he decides to take a nap in the meantime. Melanie watches him sleep as she decides to close her work and let only the window open for the satellite. Tomorrow promises to be big...
     
  6. Carson Boussaa

    Messages:
    29
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The rover has been driving for hours in the same icy and rocky landscape as always. Happily for them, the rover mechanism was designated for the rough road on Mars. The trip is therefore less uncomfortable than expected. Carson is behind the wheel, his eyes passing to the left and right of the landscape that is running in front of them. On his left the same cold and rocky landscape, to his right is a black and icy sea

    From time to time an unknown form is drawn in and projects water everywhere. A completely close to that of whales, but Carson doubts that they are close to whales. The shape of their silhouette is too irregular and their "skin", which he has already seen, is too gelatinous. He would have liked to ask Melanie in the back, but she is asleep with her fists closed.

    At that very moment a cloud of what Carson calls the marine pelicans, passes over the sea and dives into the water. They are larger than a pelican and have the same strange wings as the other birds on this world. Their "beak" looks more like a woven basket than a beak and from a distance Carson is able to see what looks like strange tracheas of bronchial tubes on their necks. They will certainly come out of the water in an hour or two, a few hundred metres away.

    The only person Carson is talking to, is his colleague right next to him. A marine was also dispatched to protect the team during the mission. The latter has his arms on his knees and seems to concentrate his gaze on anything but the landscape.

    -"You know what made me think of all this? The planet Mann in an old movie owned by my father, Interstellar, which is called."

    -"I know, a 21st century film classic. I prefer his sequel made a few decades later."

    His voice lacks firmness and leaves signs of disorientation escaped.

    -"I saw it, I think it's digging a little too deep into the subject. They should have left only the first one. Oh, there' s another cloud!"

    A little further to their left, white smoke escapes from the ground and rises to the sky as if to form a cloud. The way the steam comes out of the ground really gives the impression that rocks sweat. It's quite impressive to see for Carson, but not his comrade who is content to take a quick look. Understanding what is happening, he asks the question.

    -"Did you take your medication?"

    -"No, they are not mandatory. Why I should take medication for whatever any Earther is capable of doing. I dont need help to walk in a gravity well too."

    Before he could respond to the danger of his actions, another cloud of steam came out of the ground but this time directly under their position. The white smoke temporarily blinds Carson. Its HUD indicates a decrease in ambient temperature from -19.5 to -27.3 while an odour of alcohol and methanol fills the air. He quickly regains control of the vehicle and gets it out of the long trail of white smoke that comes out of the ground. At the back of the vehicle screams indicate that his passengers did not appreciate receiving steam in the face. Especially this one, which must certainly tingle their eyes.

    -"Sorry, at the same time I can't predict when these things will come out of the ground."

    He stops the vehicle and exits to make sure everyone is fine. The scientists came out of the back seat, rubbing their eyes while swearing something Carson had trouble catching. His colleague stepped out of the vehicle slowly and avoiding raising his head to the sky properly. Avoiding crushing a local shell animal that looks too much like a local rock, he went to meet the marine who had moved away from the vehicle.

    The latter looks at the ground, shoulders down. He approaches him and puts his hand on his shoulder.

    -" Look, it doesn't matter. This is not weakness at all. It is by no means your fault that you have lived your whole life in a dome or underground. You must turn this weakness into strength. My father always told me that the true weak is the one who knows his weakness but does nothing to correct it or accepted it."

    He doesn't answer Carson, preferring to keep looking at the ground.

    -" Look, if the drugs have some form of cheating. So listen to my idea, as you can see from time to time, smoke comes out of the ground. Slowly follow it from the ground to the sky. Follow him with your eyes and think that the sky is a dome and that's why there are clouds. The ceiling prevents them from going higher."

    He gives him two reassuring patches on the shoulder and joins the vehicle. Before getting into the vehicle he makes sure that everyone is fine and has returned to his place. Of course Pierre has picked up one of the rock animals and seems quite happy.

    -"Dude, I'm the driver and I don't want this thing on board with us."

    -"Your reason, they have a bad habit of sneaking around discreetly in narrow places and then cutting threads thinking it's grass."

    He opens his eyes wide in front of the zoologist's answer and watches him put down the animal that hastened to slip into one of the small crevices. Suddenly feeling very anxious, he wants to get out of here as soon as possible before one of these bugs starts getting into the wrong place. Hopefully, that's when his colleague arrives and sits in his seat. Accelerating strongly at the start, he hopes to put as much distance between himself and these bugs as possible. The last thing he wants is a breakdown miles from the camp. Hopefully, the village is not too far from here.

    During the journey, he is happy to discover that he has followed his advice. From time to time he sees from the corner of his eye that he follows with his head volutes flying towards the sky. Or the movement of being a local flyer. He felt very proud that his words had an impact. After an hour's drive, in the distance appears the village.

    Located in a darkly shaded cliff environment with a tormented sea, the village is reminiscent of a small fishing village in a horror film that can only go wrong. It consists of about ten buildings, mainly located around the village generator and the communication antenna. A few hundred meters from there, a small metal platform supports the weight of an orbital shuttle. They made the decision to rest here while the vehicle is being recharged.

    The arrival in the village was less "special" than expected. He would have thought that having a human being visit a place thousands of miles from the nearest human outpost would attract villagers outdoors. No, it took a good 5 minutes for an old man to come out of his cabin and approach them.

    -"What do you want?"

    Human stupidity will always surprise him.

    -"We are the scientific expedition that have contacted you. As agreed, we filled up the vehicle with energy and we paid for it.", say Melanie

    The man looks at them as if she had just said they were demons and that they are there to take their souls and rape their children. It was a very, very long time. Very, very, very long, much too long. For God's sake, how is it possible to stretch so much a moment?!

    -"The house behind you is the inn, connect to the generator and go pay the boss. She will also take care of your stay."

    Then he enters his house as if nothing had happened. Melanie releases a well felt "wtf", while Carson gets out of the vehicle and plugs the charging cable into one of the generator's free sockets. They enter the hostel and discover that at least half of the village is there.

    -" To whom do we pay for the expenses?", say Carson as if everything was normal

    -"Me!", Says a woman with darker skin and what appears to be a scar above her left eye.

    The marine sits at a table just like the other scientists except Melanie and Carson who follow the lady to an office in the back. She pianos on a tablet left abandoned on a "desk" of recycled materials.

    -"Do you have enough to pay the bill?"

    -"Yes, a part in Martian dollars and the rest in gold platelets as agreed.", say Melanie

    She takes out of her backpack a plastic bag that contains an ECE (Electronic Currency Exchange) chip and gold rectangular plates. She puts the bag on the desk while the woman takes it and takes the chip out to pass it in front of the sensor of her hand terminal. Then she bites into one of the gold platelets. Satisfied, she writes something on her tablet and then leaves it lying around on the desk again.

    -"Excellent, you can stay here for the night. If you have any questions about accommodation or meals it is my wife you should ask my wife."

    They went back to the common room to sit at a table waiting for them to give a sign that their room was ready.

    -"Wtf, why did people settle so far away? What do they live on? Clearly not the hotel business, we are the only ones who have visited this place in at least 6 months."

    -"Mining and sometimes they captures marine specimens for resale. As you could see on the way here, they use their orbital shuttle to go to Anceling to sell their goods and buy their needs. The communication antenna keeps them in contact with the rest of the civilization and a small greenhouse away keeps them fed for several weeks before sending the shuttle back to shop."

    A child walks by them to show his mother the insect he found outside, or rather his corpse. People around him talk, drink and eat, but from time to time one of them takes a look at his group. He is convinced that he heard a "even in the depths of the galaxy Martians are following us".

    -"You're from New-Tsukuyomi, aren't you?", asks a man sitting at the same table

    Carson simply nods in response.

    -"Where are you going? I mean, your base is very far south where it's hotter. I assume you're here to freeze your balls off for a reason"

    -"A purely scientific expedition, we head for the mountains in the distance."

    -"Oh, the dragon mountain! You hunt down sacred creatures?"

    -"Wait what?!"

    Melanie lifts her head from her hand terminal, an expression of surprise and disorientation passes through her eyes.

    -"Wait, what's this whole sacred creature thing?", she say

    -"You're a scientist, I thought people like you know everything. The truth is simple, the new worlds, the gates, the protomolecule are all divine signs! It's even easier when you observe the signs that the gods have left behind for us! Do you really believe that an alien civilization would only choose worlds habitable for humanity and nothing else? I believe it is a divine act and nothing else. The monoliths found throughout the region are nothing more than additional divine signs waiting to be deciphered."

    -"Oh well, I was sure they were just stone monoliths. So enlighten me on the divine power.", say Melanie with a ironic ton

    -"These are indications! We just need to know how to decipher them. They can indicate a gold vein as much as the place where the next rain will fall. Personally, I don't take any risks, I leave an offering to the nearest monolith to attract divine favours."

    Neither Carson nor Melanie answers the man. Suddenly, he feels concerned for the integrity of the children who live here. With this kind of belief, a "sacrifice" quickly happened. This is the time chosen by the "manager" of the hostel to let them know that their rooms are ready.

    This means a single piece that the members of the expedition share. Good thing they brought their sleeping bag. While unpacking his things, Carson tries to regain his mind on the current situation. He sometimes has a little trouble thinking that he is on another (habitable) world in another solar system. Especially the fact that he may be in what seems to be a remote corner of this planet, he finds a human village in the area. Wanting to change his mind and refresh himself a little, he goes outside to admire the sky.

    He finds Melanie outside, her nose pointed towards the stars and the belt that cuts the sky in half. He stands next to her and watches the beautiful sky. The stars seem to sparkle more brightly than on Mars, his eyes try several times to find this spotted in the sky and find known constellations. This is stupid since almost no stars in this area are the same as in the Sol system. The sky of Sri is full, there is its belt that cuts it in two and then its third moon, the stars that seem to be more numerous than in the Sol system without forgetting the color task that indicates the close position of a nebula. His eye seems constantly attracted by something in this heap of beauty, a star that sparkles strangely, details on the belt, the colors of the nebula, its moon that presents shimmering crevasses...
     
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  7. Melanie P. Burleson

    Melanie P. Burleson Dr. Burleson

    Messages:
    5
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Climbing the mountains are more fun than she thought. Holding tight the straps of her backpack, she whistles an old earthly song as they climb a rough path. What is disappointing is that they do not borrow the soutterains. The GPS indicates that the repair of the beast is all near and does not impose the necessity of having to borrow the soutterain passages. Which is disappointing.

    For some strange reason, the sun's rays have more effect in these mountainous areas than elsewhere. Which does not improve the ride for anyone. Strangely, she, Pierre and Shelda seem very well adapted to the trip. Unlike the marine he accompanies them. Several times he had to take a break to catch his breath at what seems to be Carson's biggest disappointment. She does not know what's going on between the two, but is not her problem.

    Her problem was she caught an animal spitting fire. From time to time, also marvel at the local life. Which is limited for the moment to an animal that would have the goat as the nearest Earth counterpart. Each time the specimens (he only seems to live in group these guys), are too far away from her so that she can better see them and named them other than goats. How would you name something that seems to have 6 goat-looking paws, fur, and the bad habit of swallowing rocks before running away every time she sees them?

    The group took a break on a clear plateau and admired the view. In the distance, far away, we can see the tormented water of the seas and the shore until they reach the enormous glacial desert they have crossed. Shelda, who observes with the help of a pair of binoculars, points out somewhere far away.

    -"Wait, There is not a mountain missing at this location?", she say

    She snatches her binoculars and zooms to the place. In the middle of the mountain range is a big square hole that sinks into the ground. The scene is strange, it's as if a mountain was there and someone had torn it ... or dug and exploited to the maximum.

    -"There are interesting minerals in the area?", she say

    -"Magnetites, gold and iron as well as a pile of alkaline metals. Why?", say Pierre

    -"I think we have our answer.", she answer

    -"Wait what?!", say Carson

    -"We'll just add that to the very long list of stuff without explanation on this planet.", she say after patting Carson's chest

    She does not really want to develop her point, and she will do it later. For the moment a very long journey is waiting for them, the creature lives very very high in the mountains. A deliberately chosen spot for its height that 1) protects it from problems 2) allows it to have an ideal height for hovering almost everywhere.

    The further they go, the more the road becomes small and snowy. A sticky and cold snow that forces her several times cleared pieces that snuck into her boot. They finally arrived for what they were looking for. The suspect and dark entrance of a cave.

    -"Well Carson, you know what you have to do."

    She gets out of her bag what looks like a spray.

    -"If all goes well this product is supposed to be able to help you neutralized its "power". Even if it does not work, your armor is largely able to withstand the flames it will launch on you."

    Carson takes the spray and puts it on his belt and then prepares the rifle. She hears that he takes a deep breath under his helmet. She puts her hand on the shoulder.

    -"Please avoid to die."

    He answers only by a simple nod of the head and then accompanied by his comrade enters the cave. Remaining very far from him and the marine, she approaches the entrance to observe the scene that will be played. The creature has its back turned, its mouth directed towards what appears to be a pile of frozen bodies.

    The beast suddenly turns towards intruders. He seems to recognize (will know how) Carson and all his attention is turned on him. He gets up on his hind legs to dominate in size Carson, launches a scream of challenges that resembles that of a strangled lizard then comes the fateful moment. Carson releases the contents of the spray in the air a little before the dragon drops his magic cloud. His grand widens strongly when he realizes that nothing has appeared.

    Nothing but a horrible smell of sulfur and a flaming spit lying pathetically on the floor. Enraged, he gives a blow to Carson but the latter has already changed places to dodge and gives another shot of spray around him. The creature who does not seem to have understood why and how, tries again to spit fire. Without success again. Become literally crazy to see his ability to make appear flames be canceled, he continues to tried to burn Carson without success. With the same screaming lizard strangled between each attempt, and Carson who just used the spray every time. What must happen eventually happen, bumps located on its two blanks eventually disappear by dint of being reduced to each attempt on the part of the dragon. This is the opportunity that takes the other marine to shoot the dragon with his weapon.

    The first shot does not do anything to him, he tries to hurt his assailant with his queu. Without success, Carson took the opportunity to shoot him too. This is where a game begins where the dragon tries to hurt one but is touched by the other. This game lasts a moment. A long time actually. She would not have thought that her scalp armor was so thick that her immune system was better than she thought. Which would be in contradiction with their theory that it would be under development because it has a scale armor that protects it very well. No matter, they will be fixed very soon because it has just collapsed before their eyes.

    She and the other two pulled out their gear while Carson took a weapon more deadly than the previous one...just in case.

    A few minutes later, the creature has at least a dozen sensors on it or inserted into it. What to take valuable information and ensure that it does not wake up. Reassured, she takes the time to dig the bottom of the cave while the others help Carson put security locks on some of the dragon ... like his claws. The bottom of the cave seems to be made of a rock that keeps much more heat than the skier, while more than a small corner of last seems to store the creature's priests. Their corpse is piled one on top of the other, as frozen as an iceberg. A strange mucous (and frozen) substance coats them. Which confirms her idea that when he swallows it it is not for consomer but help him to frozen and be kept for later. So just use after his special ability and the meal is ready. Interressant, this animal knows the concept of chilled food for later.

    Deep in the cave, she was surprised to discover what seems to be a passage to the underground. It will be a story for another time, for the moment she is exhausted and would like a glass of coffee! And the results of the analyzes on the dragon scrolling on his tablet would be good too.

    -"Hey!'

    It's Carson screaming, his fingers are raised in the air in an authoritarian way and seems to be talking to the sleeping creature. The latter just had the misfortune to lift his nostrils while sleeping, which made Carson believe that he wakes up.

    -"Do not worry, we gave it for something like 5-10 hours of sedatives. It is largely necessary to reach our camp and put it under cages."

    Seeming not very reassured, he climbs as even the guard in front of him while the scientific team begins to read the data that arrives on their handheld terminal. She takes out one last object from her bag, a small drone no bigger than her hand. Equipped with a camera and a GPS, it will have the mission to explore for her who is on the other side of the opening.

    It was an hour later that they arrive. The camp at the present time must be in the process of denial and his aircraft ready to leave again. Except that with all the material they captured along the way, the base sent extra flying gear for a helping hand. The latter has finally arrive at them. They will attach the animal to the machine and get in it, the latter will take them back to the camp where wait the aerocraft. Thank's God, they are looking forward to being back around a nice hot spot.

    They attach it to the designated place and climb into the flying vehicle. If only they had access to this kind of transport vehicle rather than the whole trip. A few hours later they were back at the camp. Most tents are already disassembled and a team that has just arrived from the base are busy placing the animal in a cage created for the occasion.

    -"A problem?"

    -"No, we have a new commandant at the base and he want everyone back there. He thinks that our teams are scattered and risky and want to resume this expedition later ... and better prepared."

    Then the officer disappeared as quickly as he appeared, running to settle I do not know what situation. Her business is already packed, she just has to take her suitcase and embarked on the aircraft. Strangely an officer is at his entrance, searching each bag and merchandise.

    -"Why all this?"

    -"New commander, new procedure. I have to confiscate any unauthorized material."

    She answers only with a tense smile, Carson is before her in the queue. Before her turn, she whispered in his ear.

    -"When you're done searching, I'll need you to pass an object."

    -"What kind of object?"

    -"You will see"

    The officer snapped Carson's bag open and began his search. He found nothing but calecons and socks. He gives the bag back to Carson, who keeps it open while advancing. She holds the vial well hidden in her palm, she waited until he lowered his head to take his bag for the thrown in the air. The flask flies slightly in the air and then lands safely on a pile of socks in Carson's bag. The latter hastens to close the bag. She sits in the seat next to him and he gives back her vial.

    -"What's this?"

    -"The microbe to whom I gave your name!"

    -"Wait why do you need to have a vial of the latter?"

    -"I do not know, I have the feeling that it will serve me one day."

    Seeing hi look she answers with an encouraging smile.

    -"Trust me! If it is, I will never have used it."

    She understood that it was not because of that.

    -"What is the problem then?"

    -"I do not know, we were hunting a dragon in the middle of nowhere and suddenly civilization strikes again and here we are in a plane with a heating and seat worthy of the name. Why did not we deploy all these resources sooner?"

    -"Bad management, assuredly. They can say what they want, but from the beginning they manage no matter how our interests on this planet. They take interest over other things, things that should be used more often and get in the way of other situations. To believe that they do not know what is most important between "studying this planet" and "defend our political and economic interests on this pebble". But you know what is the bright light of that?"

    -"A good coffee awaits us and climates more lenient?"

    -"Exactly!"
     
  8. Carson Boussaa

    Messages:
    29
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Carson's vehicle esceeds a group of soldiers in training as it makes its way to lab number 3. The grey-white ceiling of the base was finally changed by the blue sky of Sri, reproduced by inlaid screens. The labs are a group of prefabricated buildings linked together by underground corridors in the Martian style. Carson's magnetic card gives him access and he enters it.

    The interior is made of the same white and metallic grey typical of labs decorated without imagination. He whistles as he walks down the path to Melanie's workshop. The place is at the end of a sloping corridor to a large oval room.

    Melanie stands with her back to him, leaning over a machine whose name he cannot put on it. The back wall is made of double glass overlooking a strange confinement room. As for Picky, he seems to be quietly waiting for Carson's return in his tiny little universe. Melanie's co-worker only raises an eyebrow in front of his presence, then returns to the number on her tablet.

    -"Of course, we give you days off and you don't even use them!"

    She turns towards him destabilized. She seems to have swallowed an answer.

    -"Sorry, but this all has a stronger appeal than you think.", she say

    He rolls his eyes and approaches the window. The containment room has the "dragon" captured during the expedition. The latter turns his terrible eyes in his direction. He lives in a room large enough for him, the ventilation ducts on the walls seem to indicate that a sufficient level of neutralizing gas is released to prevent him from being dangerous. His gaze falls on one of the windows that appears on the glass.

    The first window seems to confirm that its environment is strictly controlled. Ice temperature and air composition strictly controlled. The second and third windows display information that Carson must guess to be of nature about the animal's biology.

    -"Need help deciphering Carson?", say Melanie in his back

    He nods and watches her explain the data being collected. The second window analyzes his brain and brain activities. His brain is strangely different from those of other animals in Sri and has very interesting structures and associations.

    Its internal organs seem to be disposed in a different sense than that of the other forms of life in this world. Just like its "blood" (if we can call it that) which has a very strange characteristic. Started with the very high level of radioactive metals that are found in it! Not to mention that instead of having a counterpart with a white and red blood cell, a whole army of cells just as different from each other is walking around in it.

    -"He seems depressed to me, our dragon."

    -"We're still trying to understand, we put exactly the environment of his den, but he still reacts strangely. My theory is that he has a sense of orientation based on the planet's magnetic field, which allows him to understand that he is very far from home."

    This is the time the animal chooses to make a strangled lizard cry. He opens his mouth wide to a size not suspected by Carson. The corpse of his meal came out of there, as if nothing had happened, wrapped in a cocoon made of a viscous and transparent substance. Then with snout blows, he pushes him into a corner of the room. He looks away from the show and approaches his dear little Picky.

    The latter looks him directly in the eye, a defiant glance in the iris. "KWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAORC!",he shouts the two fins up in the air. Seeing Carson's lack of reaction, he backed away, keeping his eyes fixed on him, then threw himself back into his little bath.

    -"Why did his color change from black to white?"

    -"Oh, we think it's just an adaptation on his part to the temperature of the region. Peckers are a much more adaptive animal than expected.", say Melanie's colleague

    The animal's living space is of a respectable size. Most of the space is occupied by a swimming pool that Picky seems to enjoy a lot and the rest by an artificial grass-like artificial grass and a bowl of food. The only scientific instrument visible is a camera linked to a laser sensor that emerges from the ceiling.

    -"What are you going to do with him when you finish your tests, Mel?"

    -"Honestly, the Republic has just put in place a new procedure. You have to fill out forms to prove he's not dangerous and you register him....and then.."

    Her sentences are interrupted by pauses, while her head is leaning towards the data that is scrolling before her eyes. He doesn't know what she's looking at, but it seems to totally capture her attention.

    -"And then what?"

    She lifts her surprised head up, then makes an "oh" with her mouth.

    -"I'm sorry, I was saying that if the procedures are followed, we may officially adopt him."

    -"Wait what?!"

    -"Yeah just enough to prove that it does not represent any form of danger to anyone and any environment and has no economic, scientific or military interest and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! You know the song, dear."

    -"Wow, i mean hum...oh boy. I mean, do you want that thing in our apartment on Mars?"

    She looks at him with a very meaningful look. Then go back to her tablet.

    -"You know you work on your days off?"

    -"Yes but.."

    -"There is no but! There are limits, okay? You take your leave, especially if you are in the current situation. You can afford to keep overworking like this!"

    -"You don't understand, his DNA is radically different than expected! Nothing works in what our machines decode! And..."

    -"If you take the time to put down this tablet, go out for some fresh air and then some good coffee...the situation could get out of hand?"

    -"No, i mean...*sighs* i guess not."

    Defeated, she puts down her tablet and then walks up to Picky's window to say hello and follows Carson outside the lab. She gets into the vehicle with him and Carson directs him to the road.

    -"You finally know Picky would be fine, it will make life in our apartment on Mars. You always said that you absolutely wanted to have an animal to change your mind, right?"

    She sighs in a very morrous tone.

    -"Yes, it will be good to have it. But I think you know, like me, that it's no use hiding your eyes about... Wait, This is not the direction of the cafeteria?!"

    -"I said go outside to get some fresh air and maybe some good coffee. That's what I intend to do! It will not hurt you in my opinion, especially since it is high time to visit our neighbors!"

    She seems to want to reply, but she gives up and just shrugs....
     
  9. Melanie P. Burleson

    Melanie P. Burleson Dr. Burleson

    Messages:
    5
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The base is now far behind them as the vehicle drives on a thin piece of land trapped between the forest and the bay. She reads a text on her handheld terminal while Carson makes sure that the vehicle arrives at its destination without any problem. The region's air has begun to cool down as they enter one of the transitional seasons. Here on Sri there are four seasons as on Earth, but here spring and autumn are a little different. Some of these are seasons that allow the transition to two different forms of climate, cold and hot. But it is also the seasons that have the most activities of the year. It is at this time that most of the ecosystem seems to be waking up and being the most active, preparing to take resources and next season.

    Life forms that have known how to stolen resources directly from trees, migrate to a another tree. Mammals come out of their dens to fill up with food, Insects plunder stocks and fill their reserves while birds barricade (or break up) their nests. Then when winter (or summer) begins, all these people return to hiding in their nest / way / colony / territory and rarely leaving it, relying largely on the stocks accumulated. This makes the transition seasons the times of year when there are the most activities.

    The wheels of the vehicle crush a plant that spits out a cloud of pollen that rises very low in the air before crashing to the ground. This is where a local analogy of ants comes out of nowhere and begins to collect pollen by rolling it to form balls easier to transport. Carson diverted the vehicle a little further to the left towards the shore to move away from a pack of Breubons. Local mammals on two legs, equipped with a pair of small arms similar to that of a T-rex, who live in packs and seem immune to chemical attacks from certain local plants. They too seem to be preparing for winter, their kangaroo-like bags are full of leaves and grass straps that they have methodically pulled out with their teeth. Two members of the group point their bulging eyes at them, a black X on a golden background, then leap forward, towards them, and start running in their directions.

    Carson looks worried when he sees them and then accelerates considerably. The two creatures make a strange scream and two other congenarians stop grazing the ground and also start chasing them.

    "Carson, stop! Can you slowing down?"

    "Wait, they're chasing us!"

    "I read somewhere that suddenly stops and offers itself to them destabilizes them so much that they stop considering us a threat. Either way, you have a gun with you."

    He brakes suddenly and immediately pulls out his gun, a drop of sweat spraying his left eye while he really seems unsure with Melanie's idea. The four creatures suddenly stopped running and slowly approached them. Arms bent over their breasts and mouth wide open in a process of intense breathing. They don’t really look dangerous or deadly. Their fur pull in the hazel brown and the white and their arms seem ill-formed with its absence of fur and their funny positioning. Carson wipes his forehead and slowly restarts the vehicle in front of the stupid eyes of the Breubons. The group just stares at them, stupidly, with their mouths wide open. A tongue-less mouth and a nose-less maw.
    All their respiratory system passes through their mouth, mouth composed not of teeth but of a single palette that goes around the jaw. As if their entire tooth is fused and growing at the same time. Instead of a respiratory system similar to most Earth life forms, narrow and vertical openings are located on the sides of the jaw to allow breathing when the mouth is closed. They manage to get away from them while the group twists the three fingers of their hands in a weird way. Finally, they don’t follow them and stay there. Then they go down and start grazing the grass again. Melanie continues reading her document as they head towards Anceling

    "What are you reading?", ask Carson

    " "Analysis of an empire, its creation, its rise, its management and fall". I wanted to read it for a moment."

    "My father's book..."

    "In addition, rather interesting as an analysis. It carries an interesting point of view on how a state is managed. I will classify this, personally, as a form of benevolent dictatorship."

    "You know something about politics?"

    "I took classes at the university, nothing very concrete just out of curiosity. One of my courses was cancelled and the university offered to replace it for free. From time to time I listen to Congressional debates. And you?"

    He shrugs his shoulders, an angry and indecisive expression on his face.

    "Go find out, i avoid that kind of thing. I think...I think they’re all morons. The Republic...Congress...all manipulator or manipulative idiots. The battle of Io and the scandal of Protogen amply prove that there is nothing to save. It’s true, look we are heading into a catastrophic recession, our plans fall apart, the same morons govern and the Republic is not able to do its job. "Justice for All", my fucking ass!"

    "So why are you in the millitary?"

    "Because they’re the only ones who still do their jobs right. All decisions are made by competent people who are there for their competence and not their charisma. I honestly think that we are the last pillar of the Republic, the one that makes the Nation start again. What remains of it at least...."

    "Oh, i see. *moment of silence* I guesse you will vote for Admiral Shaver for Prime Minister if you can?"

    The point is made a joke. But Carson takes it seriously. From a hand movement in, he hunts a mosquito that disturbs him.

    "Wright, I would have voted for him if he was still alive. Shaver is always an interesting solution."

    "For Mars?"

    "Anyway, In fact create a state without election, but led by dignified and competent people who possesses all the powers seems to me more right than our Republic. His sound may be like totalitarianism, but technically all those who work for our army live in this system and without harm. In fact, I think they ,we, live better than the others."

    "So you want Mars elect Shaver as Supreme Master in a totalitarian regime ... sorry a benevolent dictatorship? Do you really believe that will improved the life on Mars and saved us from all our current problems? Because I think this is the kind of problem that will not be solved by a change of regime, rather the kind of inevitable thing."

    "I don’t think I’ll return on Mars. I know exactly what you meant when we were on the base. You're right, I do not think that changing the regime will save Mars. Mars will die no matter who rules it."

    "I did not think you had such a developed political sense. So where? You prefer to live where? Sri? You want to live here?"

    "No, I mean yes hurh, maybe. This world is not bad, except some time for the trees."

    "Maybe Nautilus? They are from the MCRN."

    "Maybe, but they are too close of the Republique for me. I will see, we will see."

    Melanie reaches out her hand to him and he take it. Then he smile and kiss it.

    "I know it sounds like a kitsch phrase except that it works rather well with our current situation. Do you want to accompany me across the galaxy, until we found what could be our new home?"

    She laughs at the question, a laugh that is not mocking.

    "Of course, Carson...of course!"
     
  10. Anicarn

    Messages:
    39
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The small light creeps between the debris and uses its thrusters to calibrate itself against the target. The small tool arms come out of the drone and start collecting samples for future analysis. Once done, it reactivates its reactor and moves towards Sri's blue orbit. Its sensors detect the arrival of three mining drones heading towards the belt it has just left. According to its safety protocols on the minimum distances to keep with other entities, it recalculates a new trajectory. The on-board computer begins to recalculate a trajectory that brings the drone a little closer to Sri's first two moons. The great naval activity in the area pushed this poor kid to take a slightly bigger turn than expected. In the distance to the right of the drone, the second moon of Sri is visible. The smallest of the three, a small sphere of iron and a little nickel.

    A popular theory in the local scientific community is that this ball is the rest of the real Sri moon! The Builder was destroying the original moon in small pieces leaving, strangely enough, only an iron ball that might be what remains of his heart. The pieces of the moon could have been used to help create the Sri Belt and its first moon. When the third moon comes, the rare public Martian report speaks of the soil samples as nothing like what is in the area. Thickener even more the mystery of this moon.

    The little one finally reached his destination, which turned out to be an orbital platform. The light from his lamps was visible to the workers at the construction site of the Sri orbital station. A huge station, one part of which is visible while the other end is still only alloys assembled in a vacuum. A myriad of small torch lights are visible throughout the site. Many workers from the belt, baiting by the salary and promise of opportunity that the Lakshmi system sells.

    "As usual, the belters build while the Inners benefit."

    His voice crashes on his comrade's radio. The latter drops his grip and lets himself be carried by the gravity force of the orbit to propel himself towards a second grip further away.

    "You know there are also belters on Sri. A lot of villages made of pure and hard belter."

    The visor of his helmet has trouble properly reducing the brightness from his torch. Another component that it will soon have to change.

    "Gonya deya ye bi belta sili imalowda continue fo live ere xidawang inyalowda rock? asilik lowng asilik mi'm concerned, mi'd natim live ere wa rock lik deting. Mi ta na kang stand im, mi beliefs unte mi physique prevent mi. Mi real belta bones won't withstand wa sepíng fo 1.11."

    His visor takes time to reduce the darkness and finally allow him to see his work. He has been mastering vacuum welding for decades and is convinced that this section will never fail during his lifetime.

    "Your conviction, huh? I've heard this one several times. So tell me, what's driving you to come work here?"

    He is about to release his support when he sees a tiny detail when he jumps. A clear sign that the material is of poor quality. The latter could release under the force of excessive external pressure. He carries his hand on his belt to look for extra metal wire, but the reel is empty. He drops a swearword, he knows from memory that this precise material is sent from the Anceling foundries. The next delivery should be for next week at the latest. He should not forget to do it at that time.

    "Deting damn blessed money! da belte im na longer da same since da gate. Mi tenye da impression deting da inyalowda are mo numerous than fore unte deting milowda stations are emptying. These kinds fo jobs offer wa decent salary unte wa wowk environment deting reminds mi fo da golden age fo da belte. Mi plan fo ge kuku fo xiya efa probably fo wang fo da new belts. Asilik soon asilik mi tenye da money, mi'll ge wa rockhopper unte go vedi ere fosh da lakshbelt."

    His list is over. In theory all the stations to be soldered are soldered, all that remains is to wait quietly for the return shuttle. She should be here soon.

    "I heard a lot of stories about Lakshmi's belt. I'll go for a walk there sometime. For the moment my only concerns are of a more immediate nature. Like eating, finishing my contact, moving back to New-Tycho and finding a new job."

    With a pressure of the glove of his right hand he cuts off the radio to have peace. He makes sure that his harness is properly attached to the structure and then drifts into the void. With his body in a star shape, he admires the landscape before him. Sri's belt in the distance, so close but so far at the same time. A white, grey and brown ribbon that spreads and twists all around its horizon. Light points leading from reactors also make up the colour band. As if they were already naturally integrated into the whole. The largest moon of Sri and its strangest, coldly staring him. Somewhere in its orbit, a Martian crew coldly imposes forty around it. Some say it's an Inner trick to prevent the Belters from settling on this moon. One way of anothers to limit the future of this people. The force of gravity makes it turn towards the gravity well. His gaze glides over the myriad of stars presented by emptiness. Then gets stuck on the color spot of the visible nebula even light years away. Not resisting the orbit force that drives him, he finds himself face to face with Sri. It is at night and the continent he is observing is plunged into darkness. Very weak isolated small lights indicate the location of human habitation. But the biggest is Anceling, a cluster of light that proves the birth of a great metropolis. Just a little further to the northwest, another group of lights indicates the location of mining and industrial sites that drive the local economy. He'd like to see the Martian camp, but it's the last one to live under a stupid dome. So no light. On the other hand, their ships do! To be present they are. As he is being carried away with the station on the other side of this world he sees clearly visible in the sunlight that appears the silhouette of a Martian warship. Speaking of ships, his alarm alerted him to the arrival of the return shuttle. Now he's going to miss the sunrise...getting better and better.

    He pulls his harness to get closer to the surface of the station and then activates his mag-bot. His tools floating around him, by the fact that they are hanging on to him, he moves forward on the hull towards the rendezvous point. The A6 team begin to gather around the meeting point, exhausted and excited to finally finish their shift of work. The shuttle begins to slow down until it reaches a distance so that they can then propel themself towards it. At the moment the shuttle arrives at the planned distance, its reactor reactivates again and burns part of the team. Before he can escape, the shuttle explodes and hits him hard. His magnetic boots did not hold up and he found himself wandered in the void with no possibility of navigation. Then the horror seizes him, too shocked to become aware of the situation. His boots held the shock, they are staying on the spot! Not his legs of flesh. He begins to gasp in horror as he finally feels the loss of his limbs and the burning of his right arm. Burn by the explosion. He tries to scream, to swim in the cold void, nothing to do anyone can help him or hear him scream. The landscape he admired before, now looks at him with disgust and disinterest. A red liquid hits his visor at high speed. His blood? The blood of another? This only adds fuel to the fire that is his current panic attack. He screams, cries and struggles with his space suit, nothing to do. He does not even have the strength to remove his helmet to put an quicly end to his endless torture. His attempt to move his left arm makes him start aching while his scream sticks in his helmet. Pieces of metals are driven deep into his flesh and up to his bone. It drifts into orbit towards certain death, but it is noticeable until only the waves of pain reach it. The light of the sunrise reaches him in all its power, alas it is not able to profit it.
     
  11. Jacem Jackson

    Messages:
    5
    He gets up from his inclined position. His back meets the gel seat of his chair and sinks less comfortably than he would have liked. He rubs his left eye and remains closed throughout his observation. In front of him, on the work table, is a quantum microscope. He shivers something about what he has just seen and takes with his left hand his tablet where his research is confined. The gesture is sudden and dry, for a moment he thinks he will drop it and send it waltzing against the walls of the room. It shows in hologramme the 4D projection of the quantum composition of the object he was analyzing. Is computer of course work on it on is 12 dimensions, but 4D is the maximum he can watch and still understand and don't have a headache. With the new data, he start to remodel it. The arrangement of protons and neutrons was bad, not to mention that he underestimated the role of virtual and fundamental particles in the final set. Something is missing in the final set, as if pieces of the puzzle remain hidden and refuse to appear. Parts that are not supposed to be there. He clicks on one of the buttons that launches his simulation number 3 and observes the results. In front of him, human nanotechnology is integrated into the object and begins to modify it to allow to pass from the first form to the second form then to the first and second,as it assumes that the structures were doing. He smiles at what he sees, it looks like what alien technology would do if he were active. Except no, there he gave it clumsy crutches. But it works, that's something. It doesn't really tempt him to go back to his analysis, nor to stop work.

    "FHI mode On!"Its user interface appears as a hologram and is ready to follow it wherever it goes, within the limits of its perimeter of course. Its work laboratory is square with black walls and a smooth, glazed appearance without windows. It's neither too small nor too big. Just enough to have his research desk, his equipment and enough space to walk and run around in circles without hindrance. The gel of his chair swells under the absence of his weight. He puts his hand around his neck and takes the magnetic badge. His photo is printed on top of the "Eldorado's Gates Advance & Innovation" logo. A part of the partition, under the presence of his badge, slips and reveals a corridor. "Reading waiting messages", A beep indicates the beginning of playback.

    "Hi Jacem!", Without looking at the hologram, he knows it's Shannon. "I hope everything is fine on your side, in fact everything is fine because otherwise I would have received a report!" He recognizes the little laugh she makes every time she does a remark like that. "Anyway, I went through your drafts for your ideas. It's very interesting, but.... I don't want to be a pain in the ass except that I think we're short of drinking water. Well, I know you told me it would take time... even a lot and I'm aware of that. But, you said to me that you will have pretty soon some "good elements"! I mean I invest a lot in this shit and..."


    He rolls his eyes and passes the door frame to conservation room number 14. Her corporate blabla has always been the same, he ears exactly the same when he was working for Protogen. He told her over and over again, the material he is working on is excellent, but it takes time. And the last time I heard, what he did as drafts, many factions would be willing to kill to get it. He tightens his work stove in front of the cold room. With a nonchalant gesture he begins recording a message.

    "Hi Shannon! I am fully aware of the financial costs and investments as well as the returns on investments that rest on me and my team. To begin with, the documents sent are totally in line with my promises. Especially given the current state of progress of the project. No, I don't have a prototype ship ready, no magic laser cannon, no cheater combat robots. This. Take. Time! And since we are talking about money and investisement returns, I remember you who the fuck help you to find the formula for synthesize the Carbon-Silicate! So unless you are able to get your hands on the research data from the "Celestial Birds" project, the deadline remains the same! Especially since I would be surprised if Mars or even Admiral Shaver would agree to share his research on Gamma rays, nano-technologies, proton guns and a wide range of such shit." He takes a break to think." I know the fact that William is now back and in the area makes you nervous..." Wait, saying that is not a good idea. He close the recording and delete the answers. He will try later, with his head cold.

    Out of curiosity, he brings up data from other research labs. He is one of the guiding heads of projects related directly or indirectly to technologies and remnants left behind by the "previous" ones". They have excavation and extraction sites (all secret) present in many systems. Honestly, the Predecessors didn't leave much thing for their projects. But the little crumbs put together make it possible to create a bread! Or some kind of bread, anyway.

    The third moon of Sri is the most interesting of all the sites so far. The little "expeditions" he led to allow him to tear out some very interesting elements, maybe even the most interesting ones we will find forever.
    Except that the fact that they had met another team of looters on the way still bothered him. He have like the vague fear that they survived and stole something important. Maybe even a piece of the puzzle he's doing right now and he'll understand the importance of this too late. Another detail that bothers him and keeps "proving" to him that they were there for something important. How did they get here? How did they know which way to go?

    He ruminates about it in his head and finally pushes it back as usual. He turns his heels and falls face to face with a big red and black eye that stares at him icyly. His face reflects in the glass between him and the inanimate "spider". Each of the "golems" are arranged in boxes aligned along the length of the room. Of all ones, it was the one with the appearance of a spider (or something close) that interested him the most. Many tubes and arms equipped with sensors and lasers rotate around it. Trying to unlock the secrets of this "creature" from another age. "Soon you won't be hiding much from me anymore, sweetheart.", he mumbles to the attention of the inanimate beast.

    "Next message!"

    "A message from Clevor Flamant, your lawyer in your brother's case."

    Ah! Maybe some good news. His brother James, was captured during the Io incident and convicted for working with Protogen. Normally, he would have let her rot in prison. But he needs his intelligence. He will certainly be more useful to society by working on projects resulting from the protomolecule and alien remains rather than in prison. He has made much progress in defending his case, at the last news Mars say that they will maybe agreed to tell him the location of his prison and may be allowed visits.

    " No, I'll listen to it later."

    He doesn't want to listen to it now, maybe later when he'll be head to rest. With hands in his pockets, he take a look at the other specimens in custody. From the corner of his eye he watches the collected data as it passes by. Yeah... it's really time for him to leave Sri.

    "...And you are coming with me, lady!", he say toward the alien-spider-probably-killer-bot.
     
    #11 Jacem Jackson, Sep 11, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019

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