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

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  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    You're very welcome! :) Thank you for sticking around.
    TheCreeperCow
  • derf213derf213 Members Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Posts: 24 Advanced user
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 USMembers Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Posts: 5,260 Advanced user
    derf213 wrote: »
    Oh boy, spam!

    Just flag it and move on (I already did).
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  • derf213derf213 Members Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Posts: 24 Advanced user
    Oh boy, spam!
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    derf213 wrote: »
    Oh boy, spam!

    Just flag it and move on (I already did).

    Yah, I did
  • narfblatnarfblat Utah, USAMembers, Forum Moderators, Forum staff Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216799Posts: 722 mod
    edited October 2019
    Spam's gone now( it lacked the usual links, and I didn't see it when I checked the first report). Read a few bits of the story, decided I'm going to start at Aurora Falls. :)
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    derf213Bugzapper0x6A7232
  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    edited December 2019
    Ouch.

    An awkward silence descended upon the gathering. Halvorsen grimaced with distaste, clearly offended by Héloise's unprovoked outburst. He turned to Commander Masako Ito and nodded curtly. Sagan's bridge crew marked this wordless exchange and began to rise from their seats.

    "We will be leaving now, Captain Selkirk." Halvorsen said icily. "I fear that we may have overstayed our welcome. Thank you for your... hospitality, and good luck on your return voyage."

    I could only stare at Héloise in stunned silence. What the hell is she thinking? Any rapport we shared with Halvorsen and the Carl Sagan's crew is history. Flushed straight down the shitter. Kaput.

    I know better than to spring blindly to Héloise's defence. She must have a damn good reason for blowing up like that, and I'm not about to apologise for her social clanger. She means what she says.

    Before I could offer anything to salvage this rapidly-deteriorating situation, JUNO intervened.

    "Permission to speak freely, Captain?"

    "As always, Commander. Please proceed."

    "With all due respect to Captain Halvorsen and his crew, I believe that Madame Héloise has raised a valid point of discussion. Whether you like it or not, you are all Terrans. That is your heritage. The Belters, deep-range colonists, Jovian cloud-skimmers on Callisto, comet jockeys and ice miners operating out of Sedna Outpost may be asking this same question. The answer is an unqualified yes. Terra must endure. All Terrans should be working toward that one common goal, no matter where in the cosmos they call home. Humanity needs a strong homeworld... A refuge of last resort, and you will most definitely need one at some point. This incessant campaign of expansion must end, or there will be serious repercussions. Sooner or later, humanity will encounter a sentient alien race that cannot be negotiated with in basic terms of trade, diplomacy or military prowess, and they may well prove to be the ultimate nemesis of your species. The Kharaa are merely a foretaste of far worse things to come. Remember, you are essentially alone in an increasingly hostile Universe."

    I nodded approvingly. "Thank you for spelling it out for us, JUNO. Currently, humanity occupies 75 D to M-Class worlds in a sphere roughly 200 light years in diameter. Now, I'm no expert in planetary economics, but I do believe there should be ample resources within that modest pocket of space to satisfy humanity's requirements for at least several millennia. Would that be a fair assumption?"

    "You can blame all of the Corps for that." Halvorsen growled. "They keep leap-frogging each other, snatching up new planets as soon as they're discovered. These days, they usually commence operations as soon as the preliminary results of resource scans come through. If there's exploitable quantities of any resource to be had, they'll be all over it like fleas on a dog. Naturally, there's usually a steep price attached to this slapdash approach. Alterra lost another ship about eighteen months ago, the Evangelista Torricelli. She touched down on the ice-world Epsilon Eridani VI, searching for rare earth minerals. Two months into the mission, the planet entered perihelion. Unfortunately, the sub-equatorial regions of Eridani VI are covered by layers of frozen carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane ice, up to 15 kilometres deep in places. At the first touch of some decent sunlight, half the planet's surface sublimated in one massive eruption. Gigatonnes of ice flashed from solid to vapour phase within minutes, whipping up wind speeds exceeding 2000 km/h. Needless to say, there was little warning, and there were definitely no survivors. Incidentally, this never happened, if you catch my meaning."

    Héloise smiled grimly. "I think you might be seeing things from a Belter's point of view now. The outer colonies have been feeding resources back to Terran Mega-Corps for decades, and this is how they choose to repay us. We are nothing but expendable tools, to be thrown away when we're completely broken. We mean nothing to them. The Corps must go."

    DIGBY shook his head. "Madame, I fully agree with you, at least in principle. However, it will be extremely difficult, if not entirely impossible to forcibly remove the Mega-Corps from their place in society. They have become intimately entwined with everyone's way of life, and any attempt to depose them will surely result in disaster. I predict a total collapse of Confederation rule on all Terran core worlds within six to ten months, with at least four of the first-tier Corps attempting to gain primacy by using their internal security and paramilitary assets. A full-scale corporate war is almost inevitable under those circumstances. Given their known propensity for ruthless tactics, armed conflict between corporate rivals would not adhere to any acceptable conventions of wartime conduct for very long at all. A more gradual and carefully considered approach is required."

    I leaned forward, grinning broadly. "And that's precisely what we have in mind. We're not just bringing home some odd-looking fish for the earthbound yokels to gawk at. We've secured a 99-year lease on an island 50 klicks off the coast of Queensland, not too far from Port Capricorn. Used to be a holiday resort, at least until folks got tired of looking at bleached coral skeletons. It's called Great Keppel Island, but I prefer the indigenous peoples' name for it... Wop-pa. Rather apt in an ironic sort of way, since we'll be running a small, ever-so-carefully monitored pilot program to see if Manannán's wildlife can eventually adapt to conditions down there. Here's the kicker... We know for a fact that they will. More importantly, we'll need to discover how those alien beasties and plants interact with what's left of Terra's native marine species. Admittedly, the food chains on Manannán are rather top-heavy with apex predators, although the planet's prey species breed vigorously enough to act as a partial buffer. If all Terran marine creatures do go extinct, they will at least be replaced by another, far more robust ecosystem. We're aiming for the seamless integration of Terran and alien sea life, rather than direct and terminal assimilation of the current population."
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    Chris_the_Psionic0x6A7232TheCreeperCow
  • TheCreeperCowTheCreeperCow NetherlandsMembers Join Date: 2016-05-13 Member: 216716Posts: 26 Advanced user
    Hey do you have anymore of those tasty snippets for us?
    0x6A7232
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 USMembers Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Posts: 5,260 Advanced user
    Hey do you have anymore of those tasty snippets for us?

    Hear, hear! (pretty please?)
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  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    Believe it or not, another page is underway, folks.
    Contrary to certain baseless rumours, I am not using uncooked spaghetti to chisel the rough page drafts into solid granite .

    It only seems that way. ;)
    0x6A7232TheCreeperCow
  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    edited December 2019
    Héloise sighed with exasperation. "How is all of this supposed to knock the Corps off their perches? Sorry, Chérie, I'm just not seeing it."

    "No offence to Captain Halvorsen and his crew, but the details of this exercise are what the Corps would call 'proprietary information'. I can't risk any sensitive details reaching the ears of Alterra, ConAm, Matsuda, Jinwei, TriOptimum or Torgaljin. We'll need to discuss this later, Dear Heart."

    I addressed the rest of the gathering. "I'm sure ye all appreciate the need for discretion, ladies and gentlemen. What we have planned is perfectly legal, and it has the full approval of the Terran Confederation. However, there is a strong probability that one or more of the Corps may develop an unhealthy interest in our modest enterprise. I'd rather avoid any further entanglements with them."

    Without warning, Borealis' avatar materialised at the head of the table. "Cutty Sark has docked, and both passengers are preparing to disembark. Drive shutdown sequence is currently in progress. Docking Bay One outer doors are sealed and the area is secured for departure. Atmospheric pressure in Docking Bay One is now stable at 1.0 Bar. What are your orders, Sir?"

    "Thank you, Borealis. Please direct Doktor Zelenka and Mister Chandra to their assigned quarters. Set provisional security clearance to Level Four for these individuals. Standard access is to be granted to all common areas, autogalleys and data terminals. Also, inform them that they are to report to my ready room at 15:00 and 16:00 hours for their individual mission briefings. That is all."

    "Very good, Sir." Borealis replied.

    I breathed a short sigh of relief as Ogun Onire finally cleared the docking bay doors. Halvorsen and I had parted ways cordially enough, although it was plain to see that his bridge crew weren't feeling the same love after Héloise had spoken her mind. Not the best possible outcome, but I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it. Someone aboard the Sagan is passing word of our daily comings and goings, and that makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable. I know for a fact that Alterra has some unfinished business with us, and I'd rather not have them skulking around our planetary operations.

    The Great Barrier Reef project is the least sensitive aspect of the overall scheme. I had no choice but to take the wraps off this particular project after Héloise's outburst. As a matter of fact, any significant measure of public interest will be most welcome. However, we have a number of commercial side-projects that are guaranteed to pique the interest of some of the major Corps. Mass production of Enzyme 42 as a vaccine and its weaponised form will be our main source of income. Naturally, the Terran Confederation is eager to start dealing with us. I had to do a fair bit of soul-searching over this one, since I'd previously decided to hand the E42 synthesis technology over to the Frontiersmen, free and clear. However, we need some serious cash to finance our other, less-profitable operations that have been finely calculated to upset the Corps in no uncertain manner.

    The Mega-Corps' monopoly on food production and distribution will be our first target. IANTO has recently developed a rapid protein culture growth technique that can be scaled up to a commercial level. Synthesized meat proteins are nothing new, although there are several problems with the finished product that resist any attempts to make it more palatable to consumers. VatMeat is ridiculously expensive and not an entirely satisfying foodstuff, in spite of its basic nutritional value. The only perceptible differences between a fake steak, faux chicken nugget and an ersatz sausage are their shapes and colours. Mouth-feel is the greatest stumbling-block for this alleged foodstuff, and no amount of artful flavouring will fix that. No matter how nutritious it's supposed to be, it's like chewing on a chunk of memory foam. Vaguely meat-flavoured memory foam, at that.

    It takes the Corps a week to force-grow one kilogram of VatMeat. We can do it in two hours.

    Magic Soup 2.0. The protein source is a single stem cell taken from a Peeper nicknamed 'Stimpy'.

    Today's breakfast menu owed its existence to the first batch. I noticed a lot of empty plates on our table, so it must have gone down rather well with Captain Halvorsen and his crew. Each steak, each slice of exquisitely crisped bacon, each lightly-poached egg; all were made from a manipulated marine protein base, cultured on a Creepvine gel substrate... And not a single complaint was heard.

    The Corps won't even notice what we're doing, until it's far too late to do anything about it. We'll be nothing more than mice living inside their walls; just taking a wee nibble here, another wee nibble there. Patiently and relentlessly chipping away at their supremacy. Nothing too dramatic at first, although I aim to permanently loosen their stranglehold on the Core Worlds. I'm sure Héloise will be pleased to hear that Belters will be the first Terrans to directly benefit from what we're bringing back with us. Advanced food, water and atmospheric processing systems, ion-crystal power generation and Precursor shielding technology should do for starters, and we'll cheerfully pass these goodies on without a single Credit ever changing hands. The larger asteroids will eventually have their own internal oceans, dramatically enhancing the quality of life on those bleak and cheerless rocks. Frankly, the Belters have had a pretty rough time of it over the years, and I conjure they could use a decent break.

    Once we've sorted out The Belt's most immediate wants and needs, we'll be ready to commence work on Terra. That's going to be a far more involved project, since it requires a certain degree of tip-toeing around the Confederation's commercial interests, as well as those of the Mega-Corps. We need to keep the Terran Confederation on our side as much as possible. On the off-chance that the Corps decide to do something unfriendly, official military intervention may be required. I'd rather not have to fend off Corporate strike teams on a daily basis. After losing a few subs to our TRIDENT defence system, it's entirely possible that a bootleg nuke might be called into play. Not entirely sure if the fluidic shields could shrug that one off, and I'm not too keen to put them to the test. We'll play it safe and accept whatever patronage and protection the Confederation deigns to offer. Naturally, a constant supply of Enzyme 42 is our end of the bargain.

    According to the latest InfoCortex data-dump, approximately 1.5 million people currently call Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea home. There's also around 25,000-plus souls scattered throughout the Kuiper Belt. Mainly ice-haulers and ramscoop gas harvesters working the outer planets. Most of the Belter's GDP is handed back to the Corps in exchange for food, water, power and various goods or equipment that can't be manufactured locally. Suffice it to say, there are punitive transport costs tacked onto the supply of these items, a convenient lever that has been capriciously applied to keep the Belters toeing the line. Unsurprisingly, this sorry state of affairs does not please the Belters.

    Imagine what would happen if all Belter colonies became entirely self-sufficient. The Corps still need the Belt's mineral resources, but this time, they won't be able to screw down resource prices and artificially manipulate the Belter's reciprocal trade arrangements to suit themselves. When demand for certain 'luxury items' from Terra starts to taper off, that might raise some red flags in the more perceptive boardrooms. Too late, unfortunately. We'll be well dug in by then.

    Undoubtedly, some Corps might be moved to send agents to investigate, or even interfere with this gradual, yet remarkable reversal of Belter fortunes. That would be most unwise. Belters have an uncanny knack for detecting outsiders, and only a supremely skilled operative could pass unnoticed among them. Belters are accustomed to living in relatively cramped conditions, so there is a refreshing degree of transparency in their dealings with each other. Awkward questions and secretive behaviour are an immediate giveaway. A word of advice to any would-be Corporate snoops and saboteurs: Don't. Belter justice is swift and astonishingly effective. No repeat offenders.

    My PDA chimed softly. 1200 hours. It's time to get underway.
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    TheCreeperCow0x6A7232palloria
  • TheCreeperCowTheCreeperCow NetherlandsMembers Join Date: 2016-05-13 Member: 216716Posts: 26 Advanced user
    Great to see the story continue i cant wait to see what this branches out to
  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    edited June 1
    "Captain on the bridge!" JUNO announced briskly. In reply, the crew braced smartly to attention.

    "As you were. Well, my friends... This is it. Everything we've worked for, everything we've fought for has brought us to this point. I'm proud to say that I could'na done it without you all. Thank you."

    JUNO stepped forward and saluted. I returned her salute. "The crew awaits your command, Sir."

    "Very well, Commander. Borealis, ship status report, please."

    The avatar of Borealis shimmered into view. As the hologram stabilized, the ship's animus also saluted respectfully, apparently having learned this behaviour through careful observation of our personal interactions. By the way, I've never actually insisted on this particular nicety; the crew simply started doing it as a mark of respect, and I have always responded accordingly. Considering I've had command more or less thrust upon me by blind chance, I've had to reconsider my general attitude to personnel management, discipline and morale. It hasn't been easy. To be perfectly honest, it's a long stretch from tearing an occasional verbal strip off a sloppy Gremlin. I'm operating far beyond my comfort zone now. In fact, the responsibility of being 'The Captain' fairly boggles the mind sometimes. I trust that I have performed my duties to the very best of my ability.

    "Fusion drive reactors One through Four are cycling up from a cold start. Sub-light reaction drives are online and are ready for action, Sir. All essential ship systems are operating within nominal parameters. Zero-defect status has been confirmed across all onboard systems. The vessel now stands ready in all respects. Do you wish to assume command of this vessel, Captain Selkirk?"

    "I do. Let the ship's log show that I formally accept command of TCS Borealis, as of 12:10 UTC."

    "So noted, Sir. I stand relieved. The ship is yours, Captain." Borealis saluted crisply.

    "Thank you, Borealis. Your performance has been exemplary. Please resume your normal duties."

    "Aye, Sir." Borealis replied. Her holographic projection flickered briefly, then disappeared.

    "Take your stations. Helm, lay in a gravity-assisted return trajectory for Alpha Hydrae V."

    "Helm, aye. Gravity slingshot course computed and laid in. Awaiting your order, Sir." DIGBY replied.

    "Reaction drive, set acceleration rate one. Take us out, Mister DIGBY. Nice and slow."

    "Helm aye, Sir. Set acceleration rate one, aft maneuvering thrusters engaged."

    "Incoming transmission, Sir. Carl Sagan Actual." JUNO announced.

    "Patch him through to my station, please." Captain Halvorsen's face appeared on the Big Chair's monitor, his normally jovial expression held carefully neutral.

    "Go ahead, Captain Halvorsen."

    "Just calling to wish you all godspeed, Captain Selkirk. I know that we didn't part on the best of terms, but I couldn't let you leave without offering an apology. For what it's worth, I'm sorry that I reacted poorly to Madame Maida's comments. You've been a good friend to everyone aboard the Sagan, and I'd hate to think that there's any ill-feeling lingering between us. "

    Héloise leaned over, impulsively placing her face in the monitor's field of vision.

    "The fault is entirely mine, Captain. I meant no disrespect to you or your crew. Stupid words said in the heat of the moment, words that I now deeply regret. Veuillez me pardonner, capitaine."

    Halvorsen chuckled good-naturedly. "Consider any offence already forgotten, Madame Maida. You've all been sitting on your hands for over a month now, patiently waiting for us to finish calibrating the phase gate. I suppose that's caused a few frayed nerves aboard Borealis, no?"

    "Aye, yer no' wrong there, Jens. Even with plenty o' space and all manner of diversions to keep oor passengers amused, there's still been a few nasty scuffles. Cabin fever, I expect. Naught too serious, but ye don't want it getting oot o' hand afore starting a nine-month cruise. Had to chuck a couple of young lads and a lass into the coolers for unruly behaviour just last week. We'll thaw them oot at Omicron Leonis, hopefully mended in their ways."

    "Well then Alexander, I'd best let you make a run for it while you still can. Handing you over to Gate Control now. Stay safe and give our regards to Terra. Godspeed, Borealis. Halvorsen, out."

    "Fair winds and following seas to ye all, Sagan. Take care." I replied.

    "Alpha Hydrae Gate Control to Borealis Actual, you are cleared for transit. Approach trajectory data has been received and your course is approved. Be advised that the gate will be fully charged and ready to activate in 4.5 hours. Proceed with departure, Borealis."

    "Roger that, Gate Control. We'll be checking in with you later. Borealis Actual, out."

    "Five thousand kilometres from dock, Sir. Accelerating to rate six, Bussard ramscoop deployed."

    "That's a canny idea, DIGBY. We might as well top off our hydrogen reserves on the way. Particle density's still a bit on the low side at the moment, although the scoop should fill its boots nicely as we swing around Five's backside. Best to shut the scoop down just before we turn onto final approach. Better safe than sorry. I conjure the Sagan wouldn't thank us for frying their electronics."

    "Aye, Sir." DIGBY replied, grinning broadly.

    The cruise toward Alpha Hydrae V was by and large, entirely uneventful. The crew went about their tasks as diligently as ever, leaving me free to tinker with an idea that has been germinating in my mind since breakfast. In the days of sail, it was commonplace for the vessels of some nations to dip their ensigns upon meeting other ships on the high seas, regardless of their nationality. It was never a hard and fast rule; more a gesture of common courtesy among seafarers. If relations were good between the nationalities involved, the latest news or vital supplies might be exchanged between both vessels. If relations were less than cordial... Well, you can imagine what happens next.

    Since we'll be travelling at a fair old clip on our final approach, dipping an actual flag would achieve nine-tenths of the cube root of bugger-all. An animated holographic ensign would need to be roughly 1,500 x 2,000 kilometres in size, and projected in such a manner that the desired image is adjusted for spatial positioning and corrected for visual distortion, relative to a stationary observer. To be honest, the calculations required to achieve this fleeting effect simply aren't worth the effort.

    Not to worry. I have a far more impressive farewell gesture in mind.

    "Entering orbit in 360 seconds, Captain. Flight profile is nominal for a gravity assisted trajectory."

    "Very good, Mister DIGBY. Take her right to the mark. Accelerate to rate ten."

    I keyed the shipwide intercom. "Attention all hands. Stand by for orbital insertion in 340 seconds."

    Just then, something entirely unexpected happened. All secondary display monitors have lit up throughout the entire ship. I hear the sound of drums, pulsing and insistent. The monitors displayed an animated flotilla of Polynesian outrigger sailing canoes, surging across an impossibly blue ocean.

    I have absolutely no idea what's going on.
    Confused, I turned in my seat to face JUNO. A faint smile on her lips has already answered my unspoken question. This is definitely her handiwork.

    "Well, aren't we full of surprises today, Number One?" I murmured.

    JUNO chuckled softly. "Knowing you as I do, Captain, I assumed that you had forgotten to mark this occasion in your usual manner, and simply corrected the omission. Is the music unsatisfactory?"

    "Nay, Lass, that is a grand choice. I canna think of anything more fitting. We know the way."

    Shields blazing, Borealis tore across the night side of Alpha Hydrae V, skimming through the outermost reaches of its atmosphere. A delicately-tuned performance; we run deftly along a slim tightrope, suspended between an immense planet's gravity well and the vast emptiness of the void.

    Our current velocity is now 20 percent of light speed and rapidly increasing, thanks to the gravitational assist provided by the blue-green gas giant below. Our fusion drives are spooling up for a full thrust burn, which will catapult us toward the phase gate in a matter of minutes. Events are being measured in microseconds now. Zero point five AU to the phase gate, less than four minutes to go.

    "Mister Savini, make ready to launch a boron drive plasma flare. Smartly now." I said calmly.

    "Aye, Sir. Boron plasma flare is loaded and ready for action." Enzo replied.

    Drive plasma flares are normally used to extinguish drive flames, and only then deployed in the rare event of a runaway fusion reaction. If a ship is traveling fast enough, it is possible to collect enough stray hydrogen to sustain unwanted thrust outside the drive reactors, even after a successful shutdown. You really don't want this if you're planning to slow down anytime soon. However, this isn't the effect I'm aiming to achieve. Plasma flares are also handy as long-range signalling devices.

    " Borealis Actual to Alpha Hydrae Gate Control. We are now on final approach. Confirm go/no-go."

    "Alpha Hydrae Gate Control to Borealis Actual. Gate status is Green. You have a go. Your approach vector is spot-on. Phase transition field is initialized. Time to contact, one-two zero seconds."
    Post edited by Bugzapper on
    0x6A7232Chris_the_Psionicderf213palloria
  • derf213derf213 Members Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Posts: 24 Advanced user
    So I just wanted to take a second to say thank you. Over quarantine, I have read aurora falls twice and will be rereading Borealis Rising next. So I was copying it all over to a google doc for easier reading and I wanted to check the word count. 161991. If you combine Aurora Falls its 261852 words. I wanted to thank you for those 261852 words that make up one of my favorite series of all time. I can't wait for the conclusion!
    palloria
  • palloriapalloria ChristchurchMembers Join Date: 2020-05-22 Member: 261272Posts: 2 Fully active user
    edited May 22
    Hello I have only just created a account but have been reading since Aurora falls and I must say this is amazing! you need to write more of this! Edit: forgot to ask because its been confusing me the entire book what does the mme before Heloise's name mean? sorry if i'm asking something stupid.
    derf213
  • BugzapperBugzapper AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Posts: 1,095 Advanced user
    @palloria : Welcome aboard! Glad to hear you're enjoying the stories. :)

    Regarding the 'Mme' before Heloise's name... It's shorthand for 'Madame'.
    Instead of being Mongolian (UWE's choice of background), I've decided to give her grandmother Marguerit Maida French descent.
    Belters normally address others with multilingual honorifics, such as 'gospodin', 'gospaszha' 'dama' (Russian) , 'mineer' (Afrikaans) '-san', '-sama' '-kun' or '-chan' (Japanese) due to their wide cultural origins. Respect for others is a key definitive trait of Belter society, since they live in such close proximity to each other in the colonies of Sol's asteroid belt.
    Being polite is a survival skill.

    Unfortunately, I'll be wrapping this story up soon. There's another page coming out soon, but that will be it from me. I'll dust off both stories and re-edit them for release in .doc and .pdf format afterwards so they can be downloaded in their entirety. Pretty certain I've made a few narrative mistakes, so this is a good opportunity to fix them.

    Once again, thanks for reading!
    Cheers, and stay safe!
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