'AURORA FALLS' - A Subnautica story.

BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
AURORA FALLS - A Subnautica Story.

Chapter One

"Call me Al."

My full name is Alexander Fergus Selkirk. Alterra employee number, 105/8874.
Mission Time: Day 267, 2171 C.E

Given my current situation, my parents must have had a fine sense of irony. If not, at least some significant measure of prescience. I'm currently stranded on an alien world, approximately 175 light years from Terra. So, not exactly within range of human assistance. Worked that one out fairly early in the piece. I've more or less resigned myself to the fact that IF help is on the way, it will be at least six months or more down the track. However, that depressing fact is the very least of my concerns at the moment.

I'm guessing that you have already found the PDA logs. If you haven't, I'd suggest digging below the Aurora's memorial plaque and opening the Lifepod that I buried there. You can't miss the Aurora monument. It's that hundred-metre nanocrete obelisk, one klick dead south of the ship. Not too shabby, eh?

It's amazing what one can achieve with a Terraformer and a metric butt-tonne of spare time.

Spare time was hard to come by in the first couple of weeks after the crash.
Survival was the name of the game, and this planet did everything it possibly could to be rid of me. It's a damned deceptive place, I'll tell you that for free. Looks like a tropical paradise at first glance, but it seems as though the entire planet (That's '4546B' to you, 'Manannán' to me.) is in a constant state of high alert against intruders. It's weird. There are creatures down here that earnestly want to make you dead.
I kid you not.

First of all, I'd best tell you of what actually happened to the Aurora... Well, at least as much as I was able to fathom, at any rate.
Aurora had been in orbit around the planet for about three days. Standard approach pattern, hailing calls on all known EM frequencies, dropped landing beacons in the proposed area of operations, yada-yada, et cetera, et cetera. All strictly by the book, precisely as Alterra wrote it. Heard nary a peep from anything planet-side, so the Captain decided to bring Aurora down to five klicks for a couple of slow atmospheric orbits prior to touchdown. Again, just to make absolutely certain that no-one of the indigenous persuasion had any valid objections to our noble enterprise.

After all, nobody wanted a repeat performance of the Kharaa Incident. Nasty business.

I was halfway through my shift when Aurora commenced her descent. The Dark Matter drive was well and truly offline, having completed its power-down sequence during first watch, earlier that day. The sound of an operating DM drive is a subtle thing; it's supposed to be sub-audible even under full power, but there's always this thrummmmm that hovers on the very edge of one's consciousness, seeping into your bones like a warming shot of good whisky. Damn. That's something else I miss about Terra. I've managed to cobble together some basic hydrocarbons using the Fabricator, benzene mostly, but nothing that would match a 12-year old Laphroaig single malt. Nothing that would come close to a decent paint-thinner, actually.

Sound is an engineer's primary diagnostic tool. Never met a techie worth their salt who ever ignored even the faintest odd noise, and probably never will. It's usually the very first sign that something has started to come adrift, and it's a sign you'd do well to investigate further. Torsten Mikkelsen of Red Watch mentioned hearing something strange in one of the Lifepods, but couldn't pin down the source. Poor sod. He must be losing his touch. Either that, or he simply couldn't be arsed spending more time on it. Pure coincidence that he button-holed me outside the Borealis Lounge, and Blue Watch had just started. What the hell. Reckon he owes me a solid for this one.

Pod Five was my destination. Starboard bow, forward evacuation array. Took a Slider down Broadway, then hopped off at the Rec Plaza. Got my first decent look at the new planet. Even though I barely broke my stride in catching a glimpse of it, that view counted as today's completely unexpected bonus. Folks back on Terra like to think of their world as a perfect blue marble, hanging in space like a lonely Christmas tree ornament. This one was nothing but water, as far as I could see. Man! There's something primal that stirs deep inside whenever a body sees that much water. I was born and raised in the Arcadia Planitia region back on Mars, and 'dry' was never a word my fellow Marvins used lightly. After all, terraforming can only achieve so much on Mars. Truth be known, it's simply too small and cold to retain any decent imitation of a normal Terran atmosphere.

Have to stay on the bounce, gorram it. Aircon's on the fritz in Officer Country, and I've got at least six other awkward little jobs waiting in the stack. It's good to be busy again. I can't complain though; spent most of the outbound trip in Frozen Watch as a tech-sicle, and didn't get thawed until Aurora entered this system.
You may not dream in Cryo, but you still get paid.

As I made my way over to the starboard Lifepod deck, I bumped into Kaori. She was also in a fair kind of hurry, but we somehow managed to nail down a time for dinner together. Granted, our date was a fortnight hence, but I could live with that. Something nice to look forward to. Kaori worked in Life Sciences division, and I figured she and her crew were all a-hustle because of our imminent landing. There's only so much you can learn from orbital scans, so it was only natural that Life Sciences would be the first team to leave the ship. Some members of the crew regarded LS as a bunch of puffed-up glory hounds, given their 'first and foremost' status on these missions, but I knew differently. It takes some serious stones To Boldly Go, particularly when you've got no clear picture of what's waiting outside that airlock. Experience has confirmed this fact time and time again... It's definitely not unicorns, fluffy bunnies and pixies. You can take that to the bank.

That was the very last time I saw Kaori alive.

There have been quite a few times when I've seriously considered stripping butt-naked, then heading out with just a mask, Powerglide and a single tank. Find myself a nice deep canyon, and simply let nitrogen narcosis take care of the final details. Curiously, as bad as the situation got, I never truly reached that sticking-point. Got to admit, I've found my head wandering in some dark and nasty places at times, but always managed to drag myself back to functioning like a regular human being again. Guess it's just the Engineer gene, automatically asserting itself after running into another emotional brick wall. I suppose it helps to deal with adversity or depression as just another technical problem; something that needs to be fixed, scrapped or jury-rigged as the situation demands. Might not be a pretty fix according to the tastes of some folks, but it always seemed to work well enough for me.

Pod Five responded normally to the standard diagnostic program. Life support, power management, descent systems, survival supply inventory, Fabricator, beacon transmitter, tachyon burst transceiver... All were operating within nominal tolerances, according to the readout on my PDA. That might have been enough to satisfy anyone else's curiosity, but I figured it was time to take a long, hard look under the hood. I palmed the Pod's access slap-pad and spoke the command phrase 'Maintenance Access. Selkirk, A. Ident: 105/8874.' The Pod door slid open briskly, and I climbed inside. The main display's tell-tale lights were all showing green save one, essentially confirming that the Pod was indeed ready to go. The single red light signified that a safety interlock was engaged, and that the Pod could not be launched accidentally during a maintenance session. This seemed like a bit of a contradiction in terms, since it usually requires an accident to launch a Lifepod in the first place.

I finally tracked down the source of Mikkelsen's premature grey hairs, but not before pulling out, inspecting and refitting almost every damned MemPak, servo, telemetry node and fluid link in the Pod. The job had taken nearly ten minutes thus far, and I was starting to get moderately concerned that any further delays would eat into the time allotted to complete this shift's target workload. Oh well, at least it wasn't anything major. Turned out that a small LS coolant pump had worn through one of its vibration mounts, and was rubbing bare metal as it cycled through its scheduled self-test routines. Out you come, you little rascal. Reckon I'll make a nice shiny wooden plaque to mount this doohickey on, and hang it in Red Watch's mess-hall for all to ...

I won't bore you with my particular insights into the sequence of events that followed.

In the space between two heartbeats, Something killed Aurora and everyone aboard her. Two thousand, five hundred souls. All gone.

I survived. Not entirely certain I should have.


  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    As I've said before... exceptional.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited December 2015
    It was utterly astonishing. Even though the water was cold and relatively shallow, the underwater landscape seemed jarringly tropical in its appearance. I've seen plenty of images of the Great Barrier Reef and other Terran undersea locations, but this view left them all for dead. It was a riot of colour. Massive, weirdly-shaped coral tubes, organisms that looked like purple mushrooms, strange rock formations richly carpeted with seaweeds, corals and all manner of growing, feeding, darting things. There was a strange familiarity about this vista at first, but then the alien 'otherness' of my surroundings slowly started creeping in. The fish (for want of a better term) were anything but normal in their appearance, but then again, all of Terra's native life-forms look pretty damned peculiar to a born and bred Marvin.
    It took a stern reminder from JUNO to tear my eyes away from this remarkable scene.

    "Warning. Ten seconds of oxygen remaining."
    I surfaced, allowing the tank's auto-fill compressor to cycle and returned to the bottom of the atoll. The water clarity was phenomenal. I estimated that horizontal visibility was well in excess of a hundred metres. Good. That should be sufficient to keep a lookout for any predators in the area. It's Credits to Doughnuts there will be predators down here. Never met an ecosystem without one. Bearing that in mind, I started searching for any raw materials that I could hopefully feed into the Fabricator. Any decent-sized chunk of rock will do for starters, along with anything else that may have fallen off Aurora during the crash. Titanium alloy hull plating would be particularly useful.

    From this pitiful wreckage alone, mighty works doth flow.

    It didn't take very long at all. The sea floor was littered with large crystals of pure quartz and a wide assortment of highly useful raw metals, encased in thin concretions of limestone and shale. These nodes broke apart fairly easily, which was a stroke of purest luck for me. Prior to setting out, I had searched the Pod's survival inventory fruitlessly for a knife or something I could use as a hammer. No such luck. The one item that is absolutely essential in any survival situation was missing from the supply locker. I suspect petty larceny may have been afoot here. Someone, presumably someone other than a crew member, felt their whimsical fancy for a nice souvenir was far greater than the urgent need anyone else might have for a shiny, new Alterra Survival Knife.

    Hope you enjoy it, you lousy, rotten, unspeakable bastard. Whoever you are.

    True to my heritage of opposable thumbs, I went all Fred Flintstone on the first batch of resource nodes. Method: Take one rock and bash it somewhat briskly against another.
    Repeat as necessary.

    Result: Advanced Technology.

    Things went fairly smoothly for the remainder of the day. The very first item crafted after my initial salvage run was of course, a sturdy diving knife, followed by a Builder tool. I debated whether or not I should use some of the remaining billets of raw material in the survival locker to craft another air tank, and eventually decided against it. Always leave a little in reserve. Besides, I managed to snag some good-sized fragments of hull plating, and quickly converted them to raw titanium billets whenever I took a spell of rest in the Pod. Eventually, I had accumulated enough basic materials to start building something slightly more stylish and eminently more habitable. That business could definitely wait until tomorrow.

    I slept very poorly that first night. The Pod's seating was comfortable enough, but sleeping upright while suspended in a crash harness is not even remotely relaxing. Having a chaotic mess of horrific images playing behind one's eyes like a badly-edited 3V doesn't help much either. Unsurprisingly, I was also ravenously hungry and thirsty. There were some survival rations and water packs stored in the equipment locker, although I was hoping to avoid using that meagre supply for as long as was humanly possible. There is an ocean full of fish out there, and that ocean was merely salty water. I consulted the Fabricator menu again. Only two options were available: Cooked or cured. Cooking food made sense on a number of counts, and since the Pod had no refrigeration system, salt-curing was the only viable alternative suitable for long-term survival purposes. Dehydration would only be useful if there was sufficient fresh water to be spared for reconstituting the dried flesh.

    My next immediate task was to catch breakfast. This proved to be a whole lot trickier than I first thought. Once in the water, I soon discovered that chasing prey was an extremely counter-productive exercise. You could easily end up expending far more calories than you could ever hope to regain during a hunting session. The trick was to appear as non-threatening as possible, then simply let the fish come close to you. The hard part was to accomplish this feat without having to return to the surface every thirty seconds. Found a particularly clever solution for that, too. There is a species of purple solitary coral I've called 'Brain Coral' that regularly releases large air bubbles. With careful positioning, a diver can hover over one of these and automatically replenish the tank's air supply almost indefinitely. The greatest hack of all is finding an area that contains one or more Brain Corals, and a plentiful supply of slow-moving fish... Tasty, tasty slow-moving fish. Yum.

    All up, I caught about a dozen fish in ten minutes by using this strategy. When I returned to the Pod, I presented each one of the specimens to the Fabricator for analysis. "New species detected. Sample organism is compatible with human metabolic, nutritional and hydration requirements. Proceed?" JUNO enquired.
    I keyed in my selection. Nothing fancy. 'Cooked' will do quite nicely. The first fish resembled a translucent, deflated blimp. I dubbed this particular beastie and all his kin an 'Airsack', for obvious reasons. As for the flavour... Well, Kaori once persuaded me to try something called 'kurage', which was in fact, pickled jellyfish. It was most definitely a texture element rather than a taste sensation, which is the kindest thing I can say about that particular dish. Fortunately, the Airsack rated particularly high in its protein content and hydration value. Next, I tried something that I named a 'Peeper'. Huge eyes, and a rather fast swimmer. This one proved to be an absolute bugger to catch using the sneaky 'come closer, I'm perfectly harmless' method. Not too bad taste-wise, though. Cured Peepers reminded me vaguely of smoked kippers, and I had to forcibly stop my mind wandering back to its ancient Highlander heritage in search of haggis, Bannocks and oatmeal brose. Ultimately, I managed to identify a total of seven edible species of fish inhabiting the immediate area. Most illuminating, and eminently satisfying from a gastronomic point of view.

    This was the most dangerous phase of being marooned. If one is not extremely careful, complacency, wastefulness and sloth come creeping in the door. Now that I had identified sources of food and water, my very next step was to secure and maintain a constant supply of both items. Rather than sit idly under the only banana plant or coconut palm on a tiny desert isle, the Survivor must always look farther afield for food, water and resources.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited November 2015
    First things first. I needed to craft a Mobile Vehicle Bay, also known as 'Shipyard-In-A-Box'. This item required lubricant as one of its basic components, so I asked JUNO for clarification and a possible hint as to where I might find some. Helpful as always, she responded.

    "Component lubricant is not found in inventory. Component lubricant is required for hydraulic systems of selected device. Recommend investigation of area one hundred metres due south of current location. Hydrocarbon signatures detected. Warning. Proceed with caution. Multiple life-signs exceeding two metres in size detected."


    Grumbling, I returned to the Fabricator station. As I scrolled through its menu, it occurred to me that there was nothing here that would serve as an effective weapon. An Alterra survival knife had a decent titanium-alloy blade, but it was only 200mm long. I queried JUNO on the subject of weapons.

    "Weapons unavailable. Access restricted under MARTIAL lockdown protocol. Unable to comply."

    Of course. Aurora had shipped out with a contingent of Marines. One company of 250 grunts, I think. They were supposed to serve as a security force for the expedition, although the Jarhead Clan perished along with everyone else on board. There was absolutely no point in searching the ship for their weapons, either. Weapons were fabricated en masse in a heavily-protected armoury vault strictly as required, then deconstructed immediately after the crisis had been dealt with. While somewhat awkward to apply in time-critical situations, this procedure has prevented a considerable number of relatively minor shipboard incidents in other companies' missions from becoming extremely unpleasant affairs. Fortunately, Alterra generally tends to run a fleet of extremely happy ships. I immediately dismissed any fanciful thoughts of hacking into the MARTIAL lockdown program. You needed God's Own Access to get into the vault even under normal conditions, and any weapon templates might already be hopelessly, deliberately and irretrievably corrupted in order to prevent them falling into enemy hands.

    Fine. I'm just going to have to live with this. One man and his Arkansas Toothpick against the world.

    This brings me hard up against the next problem. Which way is south?
    Three steps forward and two steps back. A chunk of magnetite and a computer chip was needed to Fabricate a HUD compass. I could make a dozen computer chips with materials I already have available, but for the lack of a fist-sized hunk of magnetite... Well, poop.

    Once outside the habitat, I mentally flipped a coin. Straight ahead it is, then. There was a shadowy area about a hundred metres away, and I guessed it might be the local version of a kelp forest. As I approached, long, slender growths rising vertically from the seafloor slowly emerged from the gloom. Faintly luminous yellow bladders were spaced at intervals along the length of the plants (?), and I guessed these held the oil source I needed to find. Apparently, they functioned as buoyancy chambers for the stalks, much like Terran kelp's air bladders. I swam slowly forward, not wanting to get myself entangled in the billowing, leathery fronds as they moved gently around me. I reached out to gather a cluster of the oil-filled capsules. They parted easily from the stalk, and I scooped them up. I also collected a few strands and leaves of the vine itself, just to see what JUNO could make of this material. Still swimming slowly, I moved on to harvest the next vine.
  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    "You need God's Own Access..."

    So, you're pretty much screwed.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    The_Shark wrote: »
    So, you're pretty much screwed.

    Slightly more screwed than simply being stranded 175 light years from Terra, at any rate.
  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    Bugzapper wrote: »
    Slightly more screwed than simply being stranded 175 light years from Terra, at any rate.

    Good point.
  • CryperCowCrafterCryperCowCrafter U.S. Join Date: 2015-11-07 Member: 209069Members
    edited November 2015
    Pardon my Geekiness, but that wasn't a dinosaur. It was a marine reptile. Forgive me I you already knew that, but it gets on my OCD when someone says"water dinosaur" Wait, you don't have to be in the life pod to be revived? That explains a ton.
  • ComicalSkateComicalSkate Canada, ON Join Date: 2015-05-28 Member: 204993Members
    Amazing dude! Just amazing!
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited December 2015
    Pardon my Geekiness, but that wasn't a dinosaur. It was a marine reptile. Forgive me I you already knew that, but it gets on my OCD when someone says"water dinosaur" Wait, you don't have to be in the life pod to be revived? That explains a ton.

    Good point. I used the term 'marine dinosaur' as a vague, general reference point for non-specialists.
    Also, bear in mind The Survivor in this fictional account is a maintenance engineer, not a palaeontologist.
    Anything large, vaguely reptilian and pre-Pleistocene era is a 'dinosaur' to them. ;)

    Postscript: Erroneous entry duly edited and corrected.

    Regarding revival in the Lifepod;
    I figured the best explanation for being able to die repeatedly and resurrect in the Subnautica universe would be to have a device in the Pod ('Valkyrie Field') that simply fabricates a new copy of the deceased occupant; most probably using organic material collected from the seawater. There's bound to be plenty of 'floaty human bits' in the water following a Stalker attack.

    The Valkyrie Field is just my interpretation of an 'unofficial' Subnautica survival tool, and there would be limitations to its usefulness within the game's universe: Particularly replication errors, malfunctions... And the horrific 'Black Rock' scenario, where survivors die of suffocation, starvation or cellular degeneration and the Field keeps resurrecting them until its power source runs out. To prevent this, there is a manual over-ride that shuts the Valkyrie Field off permanently.

    In game terms, that option would be Hardcore Mode.

    Also, you don't have to be anywhere near the Pod to be re-spawned, resurrected, whatever, and you don't necessarily appear inside the Pod after dying.

    Just 'cooking the books' a little for the sake of the story.

    Hope you're enjoying the story so far, anyway. :smile:
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited December 2015
    I spent the next three days cowering in fear inside the habitat. Most of this time was spent staring blankly out the window at the kelp forest, eating and sleeping. This pointless cycle of idiotic behaviour took me to the brink of starvation before I fully realized what was happening. Yes, I had already died once, and that would be quite enough for the time being. Total reliance on the Valkyrie Field's power of resurrection would be the worst mistake I could ever make, even if I were able to completely master my (entirely reasonable) fear of death. Sooner or later, I would run into that quantum uncertainty factor on the wrong side of the probability equations, and pay dearly for it.

    It was time to start dealing with this planet's threats on my own terms.
    Fortune favours the brave. Occasionally, it also favours those who wisely avoid further confrontation. I made a point of foraging as far away from the kelp forest as possible, staying out of any enclosed areas such as gullies and caves, just for good measure. At first, the pickings weren't too bad, although I found that there was a very real danger of depleting resources and sea life in the area if I went about it too zealously. Each passing day, I found I had to venture farther and farther afield to collect enough food, water and mineral resources to keep my supply lockers fully stocked. During one particularly risky sortie into the outer fringes of the kelp forest, I managed to secure a good supply of stems, leaves and clusters of the oil-filled seed capsules that I desperately needed to complete the Mobile Vehicle Bay.

    As a food source, the kelp-like plant I called 'Creepvine' was reasonable enough. Similar in taste, texture and nutrient values to the edible kombu or nori seaweeds found on Terra, in fact. However, it was also an excellent source of useable fibres, capable of being converted into wound dressings, dive lines and tether ropes. Previously missing pieces of this survival puzzle were finally falling into place. Speaking of missing pieces, I also managed to recover a couple of tech fragment containers that would make life considerably easier down here. These fragments were once used as standard Fabrication templates aboard Aurora, serving as encrypted shorthand examples of Terran technology. Without access to a fully operational Alterra Fragment Analyser, these items would appear to be nothing more than worthless scraps of metal, plastic or Plasteel, hopefully frustrating any deeper scrutiny by unfriendly eyes seeking to work out their design and function. As a practical security measure, it was a pretty damned clever idea.

    The fragments I had turned out to be for the Seamoth mini-submersible and the Stasis Rifle. All I had to do was place these items in the Fragment Analyser and wait until their respective structures, component requirements and function had been fully extrapolated by the device. If I was able to gather more fragments, this would have sped up the extrapolation process significantly, although I wasn't unduly concerned with the passage of time at this point. Time was an abundant resource. Once this step had been completed, their corresponding blueprints would appear in either the PDA, Fabricator, Mobile Vehicle Bay or Builder menus, depending on the precise nature of the object.

    After completing the Mobile Vehicle Bay, my next construction project was the Seamoth submersible. The PDA also contained a schematic for a considerably larger submersible of the Cyclops class, and I regarded its specifications with envious eyes. However, the Cyclops required a greater amount of resources for its construction, so this shiny new toy would have to wait until I was far better equipped and more mentally prepared to deal with unknown locations and their attendant hazards.
  • hugothesilverdragonhugothesilverdragon canad Join Date: 2015-11-30 Member: 209620Members
    i love this story and that's a good reason on how you spawn in the life pod. i thought that your explanation was very cool
  • hugothesilverdragonhugothesilverdragon canad Join Date: 2015-11-30 Member: 209620Members
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited December 2015
    A particularly interesting piece of kit, that Mobile Vehicle Bay...

    Stasis Rifle fully charged and firmly in hand, I cautiously exited the habitat's main airlock. After satisfying myself that there were no Stalkers patrolling the immediate area, I swam some distance away from the base and deployed the MVB. With a subdued 'whoosh' of hydraulics, the suitcase-sized device unfurled like a particularly clever Chinese puzzle-box, four floatation pontoons inflated rapidly and the whole thing rose to the surface. I swam to the floating platform and clambered aboard with all the grace of a drunken walrus. Note to self: In future, try removing your flippers first.

    With a soft whir of rotors, four emitter drones rose from their docking stations inside the MVB's casing and flew to their standby positions in mid-air, awaiting further orders. For a moment, I felt absurdly like a conductor in an empty auditorium, desperately hoping that the orchestra and an audience would remember to turn up. Fortunately, my small orchestra was already assembled and tuned to a fine pitch for today's performance. The MVB's control panel offered only two types of submersible vehicles: Seamoth and Cyclops, although I suspect that with suitable upgrades to its programming, this device could also be used to create a variety of advanced surface structures and additional types of sea-going vehicles or other specialised equipment. For the moment, the Seamoth would be quite sufficient to address my most immediate needs: Mobility and protection.

    I selected the Seamoth fabrication pattern on the console. Immediately, the emitter drones whirred into life and began nano-lathing the submersible in mid-air. Ion-deposition beams scanned back and forth rapidly over thin air, precisely laying down a variety of materials within the ghostly outlines of the Seamoth's final form. As soon as the construct had completely solidified, the drones shut down their emitters and smartly returned to their docks aboard the MVB. The tiny submersible hung suspended in mid-air for a split second, then majestically splashed down as the MVB's gravity suspension field withdrew. The Seamoth sank slowly to roughly five metres and stopped. I nodded and smiled approvingly. Nothing beats an old-fashioned 'Drop Test' to gauge the mettle of any freshly-minted piece of gear.

    I thought briefly about leaving the MVB topside and tethered to the Lifepod, which was now firmly anchored a short distance away from the habitat. Then I thought of the possible consequences of having two relatively fragile and vital devices bumping into each other under the influence of wind and waves. No thanks. The sea has been remarkably calm so far (apart from that one uncomfortably recent nuclear tsunami), so it's probably a good idea to put the MVB somewhere safe. Although I was practically itching to take the Seamoth for a spin, I retrieved the MVB after it automatically repacked itself and swam down to stow the device in a storage locker aboard the habitat.

    The Seamoth may be small, but oh, my... I prefer to use the term 'fun-sized'.

    "Welcome aboard, Captain." JUNO said crisply.
  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    Drop test.
    That is beautiful.
    The rest of the story is too, but that just made me laugh.
  • hugothesilverdragonhugothesilverdragon canad Join Date: 2015-11-30 Member: 209620Members
    yeah you are gifted with a act for story also pliz contun
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited December 2015
    I'll admit that I was slightly dubious as I climbed through the top hatch. No airlock. Fortunately, my initial misgivings were entirely groundless, since the submersible's bilge pumps drained the cabin almost as soon as I had secured and dogged the hatch. The Seamoth is technically a 'wet-sub', meaning that the cabin floods completely during a diver's entry or exit, and all of its critical components are contained in sealed compartments deep inside the pressure hull, well protected against water intrusion under normal operating conditions. A Seamoth's pressure hull is rated to a safe depth of 125 metres and a crush depth of 225 metres. Since I had no serious intention of taking it into harm's way on the first outing, this would not pose too many problems. It's possible to fabricate a number of highly useful upgrades for the Seamoth, although it requires a dedicated upgrade console that can only be installed in a Moon Pool module. As I had not found the Moon Pool template fragment yet, this stock-standard Seamoth would have to suffice for the time being.

    The sub's cabin was a two-metre diameter tempered glass sphere set into a stubby, discoid hull and entirely Spartan in its appointments. No gauges, no compass (no bloody magnetite!) and no sonar. Just a simple control yoke, hull integrity indicator and a battery power readout. Reckon I should be able to figure out the controls eventually, at any rate. After adjusting its trim, I rotated the Seamoth slowly to face an open stretch of water, well clear of any reef walls, bomboras and coral tubes that might dramatically curtail this jolly little test-drive. I goosed the drive hard, and the Seamoth shot forward like a spooked whippet. The sub's pump-jet propulsion system was surprisingly quiet, barely raising its voice above a burbling purr, even at full power. Once I had mastered the fundamentals of Seamoth piloting (took almost two whole minutes, by the way), I began to experiment with the controls to fully test the sub's performance envelope.

    Since the Seamoth has self-righting gyros, there's not much chance of throwing in an occasional Victory Roll as you tootle merrily along. However, its ability to travel at a fairly respectable 25 knots (that's 46 km/h for all you landlubbers) and power-slide left or right at the same time means that it does have some nippy evasive moves hidden beneath an otherwise unassuming façade. Might come in very handy at some stage, considering who my next-door neighbours are... Speaking of which, I really should pay them a quick courtesy call, just to let them know that there's no hard feelings.


    I swung the Seamoth around in a wide, slow arc. Available power reserve currently at 95 per cent and decreasing steadily. The Creepvine forest ahead looked awfully dark and foreboding, as I fully expected it to. But then again, who wants to live flinching at every shadow as it passes overhead? I have to admit, I was enjoying this ride immensely, feeling mighty and well-nigh invincible inside my... Little glass bubble?

    Yeah. Hold that thought, me Bucko.

    On further reflection, some reasonable measure of prudence might be advisable here. Rather than tearing blindly through a dense mass of Creepvine at full speed, I believe a slow and cautious approach near the outskirts of the forest would give me sufficient time to assess any potential threats in the area. If a Stalker charges me, I can simply drop a 180 and head away at top speed.

    Piece of cake.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited April 2016
    The Bleeder abruptly turned tail, heading back to the Creepvine forest as fast as its nasty little body could wriggle. Suddenly, the gently swaying vines parted in a violent swirl of motion. A pair of Stalkers rocketed out, jaws agape and roaring for blood. I pegged the helm hard to port and yanked back on the control yoke. The Seamoth rose at a precariously steep angle, and I instinctively knew that breaking the surface would be a very bad idea at this speed. She would probably lose way and wallow in the breach for a few seconds before coming back up to full speed, losing any advantage of distance I might have gained. The Stalkers roared in unison, undoubtedly calling on more of their kin to join the hunt. Not good. Not good at all.

    It was a terrifying sensation. I had no way of telling how close they were, or how many more were behind me giving chase. The Seamoth was totally maxed out, and the power level was dropping rapidly. Flatten out from the rise, and start jinking from side to side. Keep those patterns short and unpredictable. Keep them guessing. There's a cave ahead... NO! If you can get in, so can they.
    Keep running. Stay alive!

    Ominously, the water around me fell silent. The low whine of the pump-jet was the only sound I could hear. Agonizing seconds ticked by as I watched the power indicator drop steadily past 50 per cent. At this consumption rate, I estimated there would be about another ten minutes of life left in the Seamoth's power cell. When its last remaining erg is finally spent and the Seamoth sputters to a halt, I will die again. There is scarce comfort to be found in the brutally simple arithmetic of survival.

    Forty per cent.

    Cautiously, I steered the Seamoth in a series of sweeping S-curves, hoping to catch sight of my pursuers. I saw absolutely nothing behind me. The undersea terrain had changed from Creepvine forest to a shallow reef averaging less than 15 metres deep. Bomboras and coral tubes broke the surface in places, and I felt increasingly uneasy about the lack of sea-room this area now offered. Without enough space for a wide-reaching evasive manoeuvre when it was most needed, I was as good as dead. Grimly, I clutched the control yoke and drove ever onward.

    Thirty per cent.

    Mercifully, the terrain changed again, giving way to an area covered in vast swathes of some kind of red sea-grass. It was much deeper here. According to the directional beacon 'pipper' in my helmet HUD, my base must lay a considerable distance astern by now. I had no way of telling precisely how far, either. I felt my terror subside instantly, replaced with rising frustration at the woeful lack of actually useful information provided by my suit's systems. Must be that gorram Engineer gene expressing itself again, I guess. With a weary sigh and a foul muttered curse, I turned the Seamoth around and headed for home.

    On the way back, it occurred to me that the Seamoth would benefit greatly from a number of custom upgrades. A hull-mounted Stasis Cannon (or two) seemed like an excellent idea; one that might well have prevented that unpleasant episode from ever taking place, in fact. Next, I would add an external manipulator arm and a couple of inbuilt storage bays, so that I could collect resources without automatically putting myself on a Stalker's menu du jour. Add more armour, most definitely. These pleasant thoughts occupied me nicely during the return trip, and strengthened my resolve to find that elusive Moon Pool tech fragment.

    Oh, and some bloody magnetite.
  • fireboy633fireboy633 america Join Date: 2015-11-15 Member: 209279Members
    nice plz continue AND WTF i thought the way u dis ribed the bleeder was reaper or emp XD
  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    I just thought of something.
    The guy in this story, after he gets a lot of materials and stuff, enough to waste...
    Based on his reactions, once he finds the Reaper, he's going to consider the entire Aurora wreck as hell-no land.
    He'll probably want to just get rid of the Reaper, by any means neccessary.
    Nuclear power plant.
    A few kilograms of Semtex to destabilize the reactor.
    Autopilot into the land of hell-no.
    Show them the true might of Terran technology.
  • StakhanovStakhanov Join Date: 2003-03-12 Member: 14448Members
    But... fission reactors cannot cause nuclear explosions...
    Plus the Aurora's exploding core failed to kill any of those reapers in the first place. Well , there's no corpses of them floating around , at least.

    Fun story so far , can't wait for the crabsnake encounter !
  • hugothesilverdragonhugothesilverdragon canad Join Date: 2015-11-30 Member: 209620Members
    i love this pliz contuneu
  • The_SharkThe_Shark USA Join Date: 2015-08-24 Member: 207433Members
    Stakhanov wrote: »
    But... fission reactors cannot cause nuclear explosions...

    Apparently, you haven't heard of these things.
    Stakhanov wrote: »
    Plus the Aurora's exploding core failed to kill any of those reapers in the first place. Well, there's no corpses of them floating around, at least.

    And if there was a nuclear accident of the scale in the game, then there wouldn't be any corpses. They'd be too busy having been vaporized.
    Plus, it wasn't a nuclear core. It was dark matter, and I dunno how that stuff works.
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