'BOREALIS RISING' - A Subnautica Story V2.0.

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  • ThunderShock27ThunderShock27 America Join Date: 2017-02-13 Member: 227880Members Posts: 114 Advanced user
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited August 2017
    By the time we returned to the colony's surface facilities, Taranis had surfaced and looked to be off-loading the robotic cleanup crew I'd summoned earlier. During our absence, Héloise and Enzo rounded up a few dozen willing hands and started clearing debris from the surrounding area. Hand-held Fabricators flared and hummed, deleting damaged exterior components from The Last Resort and Café Krakatoa, then replacing them with new versions reconstructed at the molecular level. I noted with satisfaction that the majority of repairs were being made on viewport storm shutters, rather than the habitat modules themselves. Some of the shutters bore impressive dents, while others had simply jammed in their tracks after being slammed by the storm's playthings last night. The main thing is that those shutters worked exactly as they were supposed to.

    It's great to see everyone pitching in like this. The Carl Sagan party were at the forefront, carving up fallen celery trees, lantern trees and bulbos with laser cutters, stacking the trimmed sections in neat piles for later removal. Others carried away bag-loads of storm-flayed undergrowth, slowly but surely increasing the cleared space forming around the colony's surface buildings. I signalled the crew to dismount and continue on foot. ExoSuits and pedestrians are generally an unhealthy mix of traffic, and that goes double for Ripleys. It looks like matters are nicely in hand here anyway.

    The general mood here seems surprisingly light-hearted. It feels more like a working-bee on a neighbour's farm than the aftermath of a natural disaster. I guess that a bit of honest physical labour sits well with our guests. Some pragmatic folks might even consider this effort more mentally stimulating than cranking dead weights and pounding away on treadmills to nowhere. That's fine by me, although I can't see storm cleanup being a hot ticket item as one of The Last Resort's regular recreational activities. Even so, with roughly nine months of severe weather still ahead of us, it might be worth up-selling this idea to our future guests. I'm kidding, of course.

    All things considered, we've been extremely fortunate after the first serious blow of the cyclone season. No deaths, no reported casualties and an acceptable level of damage inflicted on the facilities here. This is the best possible outcome, at least as far as I'm concerned.

    I found Héloise standing ankle-deep in a swampy hollow, carving up a fallen stand of celery trees. She appeared to be enjoying herself immensely, if the saucy ditty she sang was any indication. Héloise waved cheerfully as I approached, then carried on hurling metre-long sections of trunk aside without giving too much of a damn where they landed.

    Hmm. This might not be an ideal time to lecture her on physical exercises more suited to her 'delicate condition'.

    "Bonjour, mam'selle. I must say ye're looking particularly radiant today." I said, bowing gallantly.

    "Kiss-arse." Héloise snorted, wiping her mud-speckled face with a sweat rag. "Hoy, got any water?"

    "Sure, catch." I under-armed a litre of purified water to her. She caught it effortlessly, unscrewed the stopper, and took a long drink. "Can't stay for too long, Love. We're heading out to fix the west quadrant hab domes soon, and I wanted to catch up with ye first."

    "I see." Héloise said quietly. "Is there something about this job you're not telling me?"

    "Nothing particularly ominous, at any rate." I grinned. "We haven't had much time to ourselves lately, and I just wanted to see you again, that's all."
    I waded into the shallow pool and wrapped my arms gently about her for a long-overdue cuddle. "It's going to get better, Lass. I swear it."

    Héloise smiled ruefully. "I really hope so. I want to leave this planet so much, it's almost madness... Why is it taking so long?" Her fists pounded my chest in frustration.

    "Merde!... J'ai envie de crier!"
    CalvinTheDiver0x6A7232Quantum_Anomalybaronvonsatan
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members Posts: 19 Advanced user
  • Chris_the_mageChris_the_mage Join Date: 2017-06-26 Member: 231383Members Posts: 11 Fully active user
    The cliff-hanger is killing me!(P.s we need more references and easter eggs. )
    0x6A7232
  • Chris_the_mageChris_the_mage Join Date: 2017-06-26 Member: 231383Members Posts: 11 Fully active user
    By thor, we have timey wimey stuff.(lel)
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 1,179 Advanced user
    Happy thousandth post, @Bugzapper!
    I've been skulking around here for almost four years.

    Yet I still have no idea what's going on.
    0x6A7232Bugzapper
  • KelliseKellise UK Join Date: 2016-07-23 Member: 220582Members Posts: 81 Advanced user
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    The Lava Lizards are becoming bolder. One of them darts in, jinking and weaving to avoid our wall of repulsion cannon fire, while its mates attempt a flanking attack. Classic pack hunting behaviour. We're holding them back for the moment, although we can't do this forever. There's a finite limit to how much damage an ExoSuit can sustain before it gives up the ghost. It's all feints and posturing right now, their snapping jaws and glancing claw strikes can't do much damage in a single hit, but their effect is cumulative. Occasionally, one of the creatures breaks through our firing pattern and gets in among us, making them almost impossible to attack. One stray blast would be enough to send an ExoSuit reeling into the lava, or cause its cockpit canopy to implode. I'd like to avoid that.

    Stasis fields worked for a while, but the Lava Lizards caught on in fairly short order. It only took them a couple of failed attempts to figure out what was happening, and then they kept their distance accordingly. Worse still, the field seems to attract Lava Larvae like a dinner-bell. We're having to divide our efforts between dispatching those nasty Joule-sucking grubs and fending off Lava Lizards in the meantime, and that strikes me as a definite no-win situation. In effect, we have blundered into a Mexican standoff, and there isn't a gorram thing any of us can do about it.

    "Got one!" Héloise whooped. "Smashed it straight into the lava!"

    Sure enough, there's a slightly darker patch about forty metres out. That's one less to deal with. We might be able to win this one after all. Suddenly, something surged out of the lava, heading straight for Héloise. I swivelled Gawain's torso, bringing both repulsion cannons to bear on the object. The suit's targeting system flashed up 'Organic: Lava Lizard'.

    What the hell?

    "Héloise! Look out!" I yelled, opening fire. The graviton pulses hit, hurling the creature sideways. Instead of hanging limply, stunned by the concussion, the Lava Lizard cart-wheeled through the water, its limbs flailing wildly. By all rights, that shot should have knocked the stuffing out of it.

    This one is all too obviously compos mentis, and from what I can gather, it's extremely pissed off. With a shrieking roar, it dived straight into the inferno below and almost instantly, emerged sheathed in a shell of rapidly cooling lava. No wonder it survived after Héloise shot it down. Extreme heat tolerance, and then some. Maybe IANTO has some ideas how...

    "BLOODY HELL!"

    I barely had time to register the lava projectiles it spat at me, deflecting them at the very last second. The Lava Lizard shrieked again, a curiously clipped sound, unlike any vocalization I've heard so far. Some sort of command? To my horror, the others reacted instantly, diving into the lava and emerging clad in similar shells of basalt armour. The entire pack charged at us from all sides, spitting balls of partially-cooled lava as they came. They now have body armour and projectile weapons.

    Yes, it was an insanely bad idea to come down here. Thanks for reminding me, Captain Obvious.

    After fifteen minutes of sheer pandemonium, the Lava Lizards backed off and resumed circling us. We got lucky with a couple that we were able to trap in our graviton beams. These careless ones were quickly slammed into the deck at point-blank range. I'm pleased to say they won't be bothering us anymore. However, we aren't entirely unscathed. DIGBY's suit Percival caught a couple of solid hits. Lava fragments have seized up its left leg and hip actuators, and we're in no position to repair the damage. The water temperature around this rock is 437 Celsius, and that's enough to turn any one of us into a crispy critter. JUNO says it will be an hour before Taranis and Aegis can reach us for fire support and a very hot extraction. We're rapidly running out of options here, and I'm beginning to suspect that we've finally bitten off more than we can comfortably chew.
    CalvinTheDiver0x6A7232the_marinerbaronvonsatan
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 5,242 Advanced user
    Oh dear.
    tumblr_nkjzauTfdD1qgwefso1_250.gif
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    CalvinTheDiver
  • Chris_the_mageChris_the_mage Join Date: 2017-06-26 Member: 231383Members Posts: 11 Fully active user
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    CHAPTER THIRTEEN

    Three broad rivers of lava flow around this tiny outcrop of rock, falling slowly into the depths below. I've named this natural feature 'Falls of Phlegethon', with a definite tip of the hat to Dante Alighieri. It's a scene straight out of The Divine Comedy, save that there's no legions of Hell or souls of the damned to contend with down here. Instead of the infernal City of Dis, the brooding ebony spires of the Lava Castle rise abruptly from the centre of an immense lava lake that formed a hundred or so metres below the Falls. I've never held to any notion that there's a Heaven and Hell, although this awe-inspiring vista is a fair replica of what it takes to keep some folks on the straight and narrow. Having blundered through The Veil on several occasions, I assure you that there's nothing like this waiting for you on the other side. Absolutely nothing, in fact. Once through that final door, sinners and saints are served alike in equal measure, and this strikes me as a reasonable conclusion to one's life. It would take some mighty persuasive speech from any Shepherd to convince me otherwise.

    Same tactics as before. There's an abundance of Lava Lizards and Lava Larvae in this area, so we're going to play one species against another once more. As we made repairs earlier, IANTO suggested recalibrating our ExoSuit EM sensors to detect tiny 'dead zones' moving around in the overwhelming thermal background noise of the lava zones, allowing us to intercept and repel any approaching Lava Larvae before they could work any mischief. With the Lava Lizards thus occupied, our transit of the area proceeded more or less uneventfully. Running point 20 metres ahead of the main formation, Guinevere suddenly extended its right arm overhead, silently signalling an immediate halt.

    "Captain, acoustic transient detected ahead. Dragon Leviathan, subject coded as Nánfēng." JUNO said. "Range, three hundred metres. Its motion pattern remains unchanged. Your orders, Sir?"

    "If she's down here, Father of Tides probably won't be too far away." I mused. "Likewise, her sisters will also be somewhere close by. Mind now, these Dragons might not take kindly to us turning up here uninvited, so we'll have to be on our very best behaviour. A stealthy retreat may be required."

    I'm seriously considering pulling the plug on this safari. Dragon Leviathans are touchy at the best of times, and I suspect that Nánfēng would become openly aggressive to our presence, particularly without the moderating influence of Father of Tides at hand. Rather than presume on any slim acquaintance that we might share, we'll have to give this area a wide berth and avoid approaching the Lava Castle, at least from this side. We should be able to slip past Nánfēng and make our exit through the eastern ILZ corridor unchallenged, but that's basically all she wrote for this expedition. Not a great deal to show for our efforts so far, either. A bitterly disappointing outcome.

    Nánfēng certainly knows we're here. She's following our every move now. Her message is clear. Come no closer.

    At least we've finally found where Father of Tides takes his ease, although this discovery is entirely unintentional. We'll slip away discreetly, although I'm not entirely certain how one does this without looking suspicious. As soon as we have a firm nav solution for the entrance to the eastern ILZ corridor, we are most definitely leaving.

    A sudden energy spike on the HUD overlay. There's a vortex forming 10 metres ahead. Warper.

    The creature materialised abruptly, barring our way. "Lost Ones not come (to) This Place." It signed emphatically. "Father of Tides break Lost Ones shell. All die. Go now."
    0x6A7232CalvinTheDiverFalsonePlaysbaronvonsatan
  • FalsonePlaysFalsonePlays Nauxes Join Date: 2017-05-27 Member: 230791Members Posts: 90 Advanced user
    Bugzapper wrote: »

    A sudden energy spike on the HUD overlay. There's a vortex forming 10 metres ahead. Warper.

    The creature materialised abruptly, barring our way. "Lost Ones not come (to) This Place." It signed emphatically. "Father of Tides break Lost Ones shell. All die. Go now."

    *Ahem*
    gyrw0uxn5alt.gif

    Quantum_Anomaly
  • AkuMasterofMastersAkuMasterofMasters Join Date: 2017-09-10 Member: 232934Members Posts: 185 Advanced user
    [looks at thread] "290 new comments"

    Holy crap this story is famous
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 5,242 Advanced user
    [looks at thread] "290 new comments"

    Holy crap this story is famous

    Ever read the prequel?
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  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited October 2017
    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Morrigan shift its stance minutely. Centurion tensed ominously.

    "Héloise, Enzo... Stand down." I murmured. "That's nae a statement of fact. A warning, is all."

    Gawain stepped forward, its holo-emitters flaring into life. My Warper avatar materialised, its outline rippling in the thermal convection currents swirling in the water around us.

    "Warm seas, friend. These ones mean no harm." My hologram gestured.

    My response seemed to confuse the Warper momentarily.
    The colouring of its mantle strobed for a few seconds, an obvious sign of its uncertainty. Its talons lowered, then waved in respectful reply.

    "You are Father of Shells." It signed gracefully. "Forgive. This one not know."

    "Lost Ones swim with Father of Tides. Father of Shells swims with Father of Tides."

    "This is known now. Forgive. This one is made new. Still things to know. " The Warper admitted.

    Ah. We're dealing with a new recruit. Having never seen the like of us before, it probably had to check our credentials with the Orderly Room, or something like that. Simplest explanation, no-one Upstairs forwarded the memo regarding our status as trusted allies. However, I'd have to say it's more a case of this Warper encountering a pair of increasingly spooked human minds and reacting accordingly. Warpers can't read androids, although this doesn't seem to be an issue for them. As long as our actions precisely reflect what we say to them, we give the Warpers no cause to distrust our psychically opaque minds.

    Conversely, the average human psyche has all manner of disturbing stuff lurking in the subconscious mind, making it difficult for Readers to reconcile any face-to-face communication with the turmoil of suppressed emotions just beyond the grasp of rational thought. Héloise and Enzo must have been broadcasting their collective fears at full power without realising it. Given our current circumstances, I blame neither of them. No human mind could pass though this nightmare realm entirely unscathed. With any luck, we'll be treading on far safer ground from here onward.

    Under the watchful eyes of the Dragon Leviathan Nánfēng, we approached the shattered rear wall of the Lava Castle. A lifetime ago, I watched this same wall crumble away under the onslaught of massed Rock Punchers summoned by Father of Tides. Apparently, we have also been summoned.

    As we entered the Sea Emperor's former prison, I was immediately struck by how radically this area has changed since our last fateful visit. The chamber's lava floor had solidified sometime over the last century, its fires no longer sustained by a constant upwelling of magma. The baleful red glare that illuminated the Emperor's personal Tartarus is long gone, replaced with a vibrant, peaceful environment full of light and colour more befitting that remarkable creature. I can only guess how this change was brought about, although I'm certain that his Warpers figured prominently in its creation. There are Bonesharks and Stalkers here, along with many food species normally found in shallow biomes. Remarkably, those predators have shown no interest in us, almost as if their instincts have been subdued by the presence of Father of Tides.
    An undersea garden of Eden.

    "Warm seas, Father of Tides." I signed respectfully. "It feeds These Ones to see you again."

    "Warm seas, Father of Shells. You swim far. No Enemy here. All burn." The Emperor gestured.

    "These ones come This Place for more knowing of Old Ones. We make sky-shell strong, we leave."

    "This is good. Old Ones strong in knowing. Old Ones words weak in truth. Old Ones all die."

    If I've interpreted this correctly, it sounds like yet another case of terminal hubris.

    Nothing changes.
    0x6A7232CalvinTheDiverFalsonePlaysbaronvonsatan
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    While conversing with Father of Tides, I realised that his gestures seemed noticeably slower and significantly less fluid than usual. Rather than skip lightly around the question foremost in my mind, I addressed my concerns as bluntly as possible. His shockingly blunt reply nearly floored me.

    "Sick? No." Father of Tides signed, his slow-moving forelimbs seemed to whisper. "This One is ending. Many, many tides This One has swam. This One die soon."

    "These Ones help Father of Tides? Make healing life-stuff for Father of Tides?"

    "No. Too many tides too long gone. This One will die. New life sleeps in This Place." Father of Tides replied calmly, indicating a Precursor structure below us.

    I see a low platform attached to some sort of mechanism. The platform carries five Sea Emperor eggs; all dormant, but apparently still viable.

    "Old Ones not have knowing to wake these ones. Lost Ones from beyond-sky not wake these ones. You must wake them. This One cannot. Too many tides are gone."

    Hell. We've grown extremely fond of Father of Tides over the years. Alien behemoth or no, this news hit us all like a solid punch to the guts. Héloise is openly sobbing her heart out. If I had the appropriate equipment installed, I would certainly be joining her. I can still experience grief, but find myself unable to express it.

    There's only a hollow, aching void where my real feelings used to be.

    Our grief is of little concern to Father of Tides. A closer examination of the Precursor machine has confirmed that it's an incubator of some kind. Like many Precursor devices, it's equipped with a standard ion power crystal receptacle. Powering it up poses no problem, although we're running a bit low on the wherewithal. Presumably, there might be more crystals to be found deeper inside this complex, but I'm reluctant to squander the couple we have left. I have no qualms about using one on this device, although it appears to need something more than a simple jolt of energy in order to function. A cylindrical flask is attached to the operating console, and I'm assuming that a chemical component is also required. Unfortunately, accessing the Precursor data terminal sheds no further light on the Sea Emperor incubation process, or exactly what chemical compounds are involved.

    "New life sleeps. Life-stuff from This One gone. You make, Father of Shells. This One show. Look."

    We watched in amazement as Father of Tides reached out with his mind, summoning various creatures into his presence. Each one arrived carrying a single fragment of plant material, unerringly homed in on the incubator platform, dropped its offering and swam away. When a lone Crabsquid entered the chamber, my internal HUD targeting system reflexively acquired it, at least until I noticed that it also carried a frond of deep-water growth. It dropped the plant matter onto the platform without even glancing in my direction, and then slowly swam away.

    Father of Tides descended slowly, his immense form coming to rest barely two metres away from Gawain. I exited the ExoSuit cockpit, swimming over to him so that we can converse face to face. One last time. It seems most befitting to do him this courtesy of honour while he still draws breath.

    "You have many knowings, Father of Shells. You have knowing to make bad waters clean, yes?"

    "Yes. This One can." I admitted. "Waters of First Home above-sky gone bad. Nothing swims."

    "You take many life from This Place. Make waters of First Home clean. Make new seeds of life."

    At this point, you might be wondering precisely what species of plant those creatures were carrying. I can only tell you this... Keep wondering.

    There are some secrets that can never be revealed.
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    0x6A7232Chris_the_mageCalvinTheDiverbaronvonsatan
  • Chris_the_mageChris_the_mage Join Date: 2017-06-26 Member: 231383Members Posts: 11 Fully active user
    edited November 2017
    Rest in peace Father of Tides, may you live on into our minds for many years after you have gone.Literally crying, this is so sad.
    Post edited by Chris_the_mage on
    0x6A7232Quantum_AnomalyTenebrousNovaTigerTom
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Fabricating the hatching enzymes proved to be a fairly long-winded process. However, we are adequately prepared for almost every possible contingency that might arise during this mission. Our ExoSuits routinely carry sufficient raw materials and components to construct a temporary shelter base, and this wee bit of foresight has finally paid off. One multi-purpose room, a thermal power plant and a Fabricator later, I was able to produce a canister of enzymes on site. We're not ideally placed to bring in a Cyclops to use its onboard facilities, and I'll be damned if I have to slog all the way back to The Broch. More to the point, Father of Tides is rapidly running out of time.

    "Good. Now you make Old One far-swim thing live."

    Father of Tides gestured toward an inactive Precursor portal, almost entirely buried under a small mountain of sand. I groaned inwardly. That will take hours to clear, although we might be able to speed up the job by using our suit thrusters. Just as I was about to swim down and size up this daunting task, Father of Tides swung his ponderous head around and exhaled a powerful jet of water at the mound, completely scouring the portal platform clear in a matter of seconds. An elegant solution. An engineer's solution.

    I wasted no time installing the ion power crystal. The portal flared, and I was pulled forward by a sudden inward surge as the water pressure equalised between both spatial connection points. Its exit is somewhere relatively shallow, judging by the strength and duration of that surge. I'd like to jump through and take a quick gander where this portal leads, but that side-trip is best left for later.

    "New life swim free. Too far, too many talon hungry for new life. Far-swim thing keep them safe."

    The way is now clear for Manannán's new Emperors. It's time for me to play my part as midwife.

    The incubator accepted the enzyme canister's contents immediately. A holographic display flickered into life above the console, providing real-time data on each of the embryos as they stirred from centuries of dormancy. As this final gestation phase is an entirely automatic process, there's nothing else for me to do but wait and absorb a dizzying torrent of information. As it's safe enough in this chamber for Héloise and Enzo to leave their ExoSuits, everyone has gathered on the incubation platform to welcome the newborns.

    It's a cold, hard 'Verse out there, and god-parents are a shoulder to lean on when the journey turns hard. Guess we'll do, at a pinch.

    As the egg casings began to split, IANTO warned us to move well away from them. Fair comment. There's a possibility that the baby Emperors might accidentally 'imprint' on us, rather than Father of Tides. He should be the first thing they see, not us. Our new vantage point twenty metres away provided an excellent view of the platform, and effectively concealed us from the infant Emperors.

    A few minutes later, all of the Emperors had struggled free of their egg cases. Each one experienced a brief moment of disorientation before swimming over to Father of Tides, so it turns out that IANTO was right on the money with his timely warning. Fine, strapping lads all, five metres in length.

    The infants clustered around Father of Tides' face, their forelimbs and tentacles waving in silent communion. This touching scene only lasted a moment or two, then they all turned and headed straight for the portal. As the last one disappeared, we swam over to where Father of Tides lay. The gentle thunder of his respiration now fading with each passing breath. He gestured slowly as we approached.

    "New life swims free. All is good. Father of Shells words swim true. New life takes my knowing. This One ends now. You go to place above now, take only knowings of Old Ones. Leave talons of Old Ones in This Place."

    His face suddenly loomed closer. An unmistakable warning.

    "Take only knowing of things, Father of Shells. Not take Old One talons. All will die."
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    0x6A7232CalvinTheDiverQuantum_Anomalybaronvonsatan
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited November 2017
    Father of Tides passed away soon after those final words, peacefully surrendering himself to the way of all things. We floated in silent vigil before his dimming eyes, lest this noble Titan die alone and his final moments pass entirely unmarked by an otherwise indifferent Universe. A good death.

    Whatever thoughts the others may have dwelt upon in his final moments, none seemed willing to share. For my part, the sadness that I feel will be impassively analysed, error-checked and filed away for future reference. There is nothing more to be done with it. I feel strangely helpless and incomplete. Aware of the pain, yet unable to speak of it plainly. The phantom ache of a long-gone amputated limb.

    At this precise moment, I realised that I have become a half-finished, mechanical parody of humanity. Lip-service has been paid to all outward display of emotional expression, but I need far more than this shining body can offer. I desperately feel a need to cry again. Now, more than ever. All I ask is a pure, primal reflex-arc of sorrow or joy. Cold algorithms and precision capillary tubing will not be enough. I have no need of further camouflage. I still consider myself human, and I want... No. Need to remain as such, in spite of the elegant mechanisms that manifest this increasingly vague imitation of life.

    When all is said and done, we are but ghosts in the shell.

    Before our departure, I swam over to Father of Tides and gently laid my hand on his rugged forehead. In life, I would never dare show such impertinence, although it seemed a fitting gesture at this time.

    "Your watch is over, Father of Tides. Go below and rest easy. Warm seas, old friend." I murmured.

    We ascended in silence. Above us, an immense viewing platform hung suspended over the Sea Emperor's former prison. Beyond this structure, there is an even more immense moon pool. The Precursors must have observed their captive from this platform, somehow subduing his enormous body and winching it into the moon pool for closer study in a more confined space. As these pieces of information clicked together, I realised that Precursors may have shared at least one of humanity's defining traits other than insatiable curiosity. Cruelty appears to be a Universal constant.

    Our ExoSuits jetted out of the water, landing on an elevated platform overlooking the moon pool. No apparent instrumentation or mechanisms anywhere in here, so it's a fair assumption that this part of the facility was designed purely for visual observation. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to the presence of any obvious surgical equipment in here, although its absence made me revise my estimation of Precursors slightly. If they were inclined to dabble in vivisection here, that would have torn it for me. The way I'm feeling right now, I would erase this place in a heartbeat. Still, it's best that we search the entire complex before I pronounce judgement on an extinct race.

    A short corridor lay beyond the moon pool's sole doorway. As we advanced, concealed lighting panels lit up as we entered their detection field, illuminating the way ahead with their familiar green glow. As we stepped into the vast space beyond, Héloise gasped at the overwhelming immensity before her eyes. Without the slightest word of exaggeration, the sight we beheld was sufficiently impressive to stop everyone dead in their tracks. This place was fashioned on a truly Olympian scale. To give you a better idea of what we're looking at right now, one of the lesser Pyramids would fit quite comfortably inside this gigantic room... As a rather ostentatious designer accent piece.

    Ironically, we can't tell another living soul about this discovery. Humanity must never know it exists.

    Pandora's Box is real. We're currently standing inside it.
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    0x6A7232CalvinTheDiverbaronvonsatan
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 5,242 Advanced user
    Don't look too closely, Selkirk. I've a feeling you're going to overload some emotion emulation circuits if you do.. :/
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  • CalvinTheDiverCalvinTheDiver A place Join Date: 2016-10-08 Member: 222971Members Posts: 87 Advanced user
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members Posts: 1,084 Advanced user
    edited December 2017
    From the look of it, this open space also served the Precursors as a museum of sorts. However, there is something infinitely more enticing in here. Ion power crystals. An immense mechanism dominated the centre of this octagonal chamber, and at its heart lay a large neon-green crystalline matrix, pulsing with stored power. Just a few spare chunks would make this trip worthwhile. Every once in a while, one of the Precursor drones skittered up to the pedestal and carved off a cube with its particle-beam cutter, then scurried away with its cargo. Eventually, the crystal was completely mined out, and the device cycled to fabricate another chunk in its place. Rather than swoop in and grab as much as possible before one of the drones reacted to our presence, I observed this procedure until a regular pattern could be determined. Probably not the best idea to antagonise those drones unnecessarily. Their cutter beams can do a fair bit of damage, and I'd rather not activate any hidden security systems that this place might have.

    Patience, laddie. Wait and observe.

    "There's a five-minute interval between each drone's shift. Just enough time for each of us to mine two cubes and have the system replicate a new crystal core." I said. "Stand ready to move in."

    Our snatch-and-bolt operation proceeded smoothly. As soon as the worker drone clattered out of sight, we moved in quickly and harvested the ion crystals. The replication process dutifully cycled about halfway through our retreat, but we were already well in the clear. As long as we are nowhere near their work site when they return, the drones will probably continue to ignore us.

    "Captain, are you sure only twelve cubes is enough?" Enzo asked. "I've still got plenty of spare cargo space in my suit. I could go back and mine some more, if you want."

    "Nay, lad." I grinned. "It's plain you've never heard the yarn of the Golden Goose. We've got more than enough for our purposes. Some will be of immediate use in here, but more importantly, we'll have a few spares to tinker with. I aim to figure out the go of them, with an eye to making more."

    Next, we turned our attention to the first row of display cases. Two rows of six Precursor stasis boxes lined the room, flanking the facility's ion crystal fabricator. A fond memory of school excursions surfaces, undoubtedly triggered by the cavernous space surrounding us. Time for Teacher's Speech.

    "Before we start, I want to make one thing perfectly clear... Touch nothing. If there's anything in here that warranted a final warning from Father of Tides, there's probably a good reason why. Furthermore, as far as humanity is concerned, this facility does not exist. All mission data beyond this point is to be partitioned under MAXSEC protocol, Borealis command crew eyes only. Base point for recursive event data encryption, the Lava Corridor entrance." I took a deep breath, already dreading what we might find in here. "All personnel, execute MAXSEC protocol."

    The display cases are made of an unknown transparent material. Spectroscopic analysis reveals that this substance has metallic properties, although its optical clarity far surpasses anything that we can currently manufacture. Transparent aluminium doesn't even come close to it. One thing is certain, the Precursors took considerable pains to prevent any further access to these items. These items have been physically encapsulated, locked away for eternity. Reliquaries of forbidden knowledge; fully visible, but eternally inaccessible. Somewhere in here, we may even find the secret that toppled the Precursors from their lofty perch.

    It's an eclectic selection in here. There is no common theme that binds these disparate elements together. Some items are entirely functional and comfortingly mundane in their uses, others are strikingly beautiful for their artistic simplicity. The remainder were shaped to a far darker purpose.

    Precursors turned their ploughshares into swords.
    0x6A7232Quantum_AnomalyCalvinTheDiverbaronvonsatan
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