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



  • Quantum_AnomalyQuantum_Anomaly Join Date: 2016-06-13 Member: 218496Members
    As always, this is and continues to be, one of the best pieces of fiction I've had the pleasure of reading. Keep up mate, and may your future book deals be regarded highly.
  • TigerTomTigerTom Join Date: 2018-02-27 Member: 238363Members
    As always, this is and continues to be, one of the best pieces of fiction I've had the pleasure of reading. Keep up mate, and may your future book deals be regarded highly.
    I agree, except that this is the best piece of writing that I have ever read.
  • TigerTomTigerTom Join Date: 2018-02-27 Member: 238363Members
    edited December 2018
    Aurora Boreales
    I found the connection. Took me long enough.
  • TheCreeperCowTheCreeperCow Netherlands Join Date: 2016-05-13 Member: 216716Members
    Bugzapper wrote: »
    T-Minus 16 hours.

    Héloise and I managed to slip away from the ceilidh without too much fuss. After all the speeches had been made, the colonists rightly claimed this night as their own. We returned to our quarters and spent a few precious hours together, revelling in each other's company. As she slept, I made my way down to the Seamoth hangar. One final foray into the deep. My final duty to Aurora's crew.

    I have kept vigil here since midnight. In the shadow of the monument raised to my lost shipmates, I have recited the names and callings of each one. I feel that this is the very least that I could do, lest their memory be forgotten among untold others who have also perished alone, so far from their native soil. I do not seek redemption here, beseeching an uncaring Universe to forgive my manifold sins. I speak to naught else but the endless waves. If there is anything resembling a deity Out There, I have seen no signs that even hint at its existence, let alone its infinite love and mercy. No-one has.

    But speak their names aloud, and they shall live forever.

    Dawn's pale light is creeping above the horizon. I rose and faced the obelisk, my head bowed.

    "Mates, ma watch here is nigh endit. By yer leave, I'll head below for a wee spell now. It pains me sorely that ah cannae say who'd stand the next trick in ma stead... But rest assured, ye'll be in verra guid hands. The locals ken too well whit happened here, an' they're powerful sorry aboot it. Maybe they're no' the shape o' men as we conjure 'em, but they still feel as we do, in their ain fashion."

    A minor miracle. Tears trickled down my cheeks, for the first time in a lifetime. Bless you, JUNO.

    I watched my shadow creeping slowly up the obelisk, as it has done every year. As it reached full height, I took a nip from the flask, then solemnly spilled the rest on the deck and saluted. No triumph, no guilt, no gratitude for being the last of so many. Only a numb sensation of echoing grief.

    My voice faltered and broke as I spoke my customary piece for the last time.

    "Journey's done, shipmates. Rest easy."

    I still have an hour or so before I'm definitely needed back onboard. I might as well swing by the Talking Wall to pay my respects there as well. If nothing else, one last swim may do wonders to dispel this growing air of melancholy. To be honest though, it felt astonishingly good to finally unload some of my heavier emotional baggage, although I've no intention of moping around until the next ray of sunshine appears. Just take the rough with the smooth, and keep on going forward.

    The Wall has changed. Another panel has been added to the frieze, and the image it depicts is breathtakingly powerful. It shows the final moments of Father of Tides, his life force all but spent. Apparently, the Warpers have been taking some artistic cues from my own work. Their highly stylised line-work is now more refined, and they have inlaid the Leviathan's body with an intricate mosaic of iridescent shell fragments, held in place with a tenacious resin extracted from Creepvine root holdfasts. Four opened egg cases lay directly in front of the Sea Emperor, and four tiny hatchlings can be seen swimming about his head. To the far right, I can see the unmistakable shapes of six ExoSuits, followed by a stately retinue of Manannán's sea life. Father of Tides' outstretched talon points the way to a new future for our dying world.

    The oceans of Terra shall live again.

    Best segment so far well done a beautiful Christmas gift thank you
  • TigerTomTigerTom Join Date: 2018-02-27 Member: 238363Members
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    Happy New Year to you all! :)

    Yes, I know I'm a total slacker. You can blame the Aussie summer for that.
    Another page is on its way!
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited January 2019

    We are Borealis.

    The transition itself was barely noticeable by the reckoning of a human mind, although I did sense a brief span of discontinuity as my consciousness connected with the ship and my crewmates.

    I reach out with my mind and feel the ocean lapping along my plasteel and titanium flanks. My fusion engines are a quartet of sleeping dragons, growing ever more wakeful with each passing second. By the time you've read this, every system aboard has received my final nod of approval. By tapping into the ship's sensor arrays, I can track the journey of a single speck of phytoplankton or locate the deepest-diving Ghost Leviathan with equal ease. The faintest tendrils of oceanic current can be read as clearly as highways drawn on a roadmap. And then, a passing fancy unveils a stunning panorama of Alpha Hydrae's solar system, courtesy of the Argus satellite constellation.

    Until now, I have viewed the Universe as if through a keyhole; and an extremely tiny one at that. The cyberlink with Borealis has expanded my perception of reality beyond my wildest expectations. Even so, a quiet inner voice reminds me that this heightened state of consciousness comes at a steep price. A human mind could lose itself Out There, ultimately drowning in a seductive ocean of raw and untempered knowledge.

    Thankfully, I am in no danger, my humanity is securely anchored. Héloise and the crew are my lifelines, and I'm never letting go.

    "Attention, all hands. Launch sequence will commence in five minutes. Stand by."

    There is no haste, no mounting sense of urgency here. The colonists are secure aboard Cutty Sark. My first command has been re-purposed into an escape shuttle, ably crewed by Lieutenant Savini and a dedicated JUNO node. This could be seen as an unnecessary precaution by some, although it has been my bitter experience that most things in life don't always go according to plan. Bear in mind, Borealis is a completely untried vessel. We could check, re-check and simulate every possible contingency under the sun, yet something as trivial as one slightly loose coupling or a stray speck of conductive matter in any one of a billion-plus electrical connections could bring us undone. There is one other concern, although the probability of it becoming an issue is statistically insignificant. Even so, that particular non-zero rogue factor still needs to be accounted for in the overall equation.

    Commlink to secure command channel. "Mister Savini, how do you stand?"

    "Cutty Sark stands ready in all respects, Captain. All passengers are secured for launch. Ejection interlocks are now engaged at fail-safe point. Weapon systems are active, tracking and standing by."

    "Permissive action link is enabled. You now have full weapons control. If that Precursor gun emplacement so much as twitches, unload a full Alpha strike on it and launch the shuttle immediately. We'll keep what's left of it entertained until you're out of range. Is that clear, Mister?"

    "Received and understood, Sir." Savini replied soberly. 'Godspeed, Captain.'

    I switched the commlink over to ship-wide broadcast. "Your attention, please. All systems read green for lift-off. Inertial damping field activated. Launch commencing in one-two-zero seconds."

    "Disengage and retract mooring lines. Blow all ballast tanks to minimum safe trim for launch."
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited March 2020
    We're trying to be good tenants here. Our departure will be a wee bit more sedate than your average starship launch. Technically, we could simply crank up the atmospheric drive and take off like a overgrown seaplane, but that's no way to quit a planet that's already seen too much death and destruction at our hands. The ship's wake alone would cause a devastating tsunami in the shallows, and once Borealis finally hits her stride, you can kiss a cubic kilometre of ocean goodbye.

    "All subsurface hull cameras show clear, Sir. The launch area is clear. No significant biological contacts within the launch perimeter. Commencing subsurface hull polarization." IANTO reported.

    There is a subtle quickening of Borealis' heartbeat as power flows into the lower hull shield emitters, creating a thin ionized layer between the hull and the surrounding ocean. Given the ship's enormous surface area below the waterline, there will be a significant suction force acting on the hull when the graviton lifters are engaged. It's not as easy as scooping a toy boat out of a bathtub, believe me. Sure, you could pump more power into the lifters, pounding hectares of seabed flat and lifeless in the process. When random bits of the ship start dropping off, you'd probably want to rethink your chances of reaching apogee. This method is decidedly safer. However, there's a catch.

    A soft launch may place considerably less stress on the hull, but it's slower than a rainy weekend spent at your maiden auntie's house. Our current rate of ascent is two metres per second, and there's no appreciable sensation of motion unless you're equipped with finely-tuned internal accelerometers, as we are. As far as launches go, it's all a bit rubbish, actually. Disappointing.

    "Is anything wrong, Sir?" JUNO enquired. "All systems are nominal, according to my readouts."

    I drummed my fingers on the console irritably. "Nay, Lass. It's no' the ship at all. It's just that I've found this soft launching business a mite too beige for ma fancy. This is supposed to be oor finest hour, and there's nae majesty, nae sense o' achievement or even the slightest whiff o' excitement aboot it. Anyone watching the ship's external vid-feeds would be comatose wi' boredom by now."

    "It's either this or a replay of our departure from Damocles, Sir." JUNO cautioned.

    "Fair point." I admitted. "The only thing that can save this moment is an absolutely stinging piece of music befitting the occasion." I grinned, immediately seized by the idea. 'Tell ye what, I'll make this a Crew's Choice deal. One proviso, though... Also Sprach Zarathustra is completely off the table."

    I allowed the crew to digest this information for a moment or so. That should give them ample time to search through the entirety of humanity's collected musical works, analyse the most emotionally evocative pieces in history suited to our current situation, and then narrow their own selections down to a single result. Naturally, JUNO, DIGBY and IANTO have evolved their own distinct tastes in music. JUNO is our undisputed hard rock queen. IANTO favours electro-pop, techno and symphonic rock. DIGBY has the broadest palate of them all, preferring a frankly oddball mix of traditional folk music, R&B, jazz, Glam Rock and Psyko-Ska.

    This should be an extremely interesting exercise.

    "Hull is free and clear, Sir. Mass compensators set at seventy-five per cent. Increasing rate of ascent to five metres per second. Commencing starboard RCS burn to launch heading zero-three-zero."

    "Carry on, DIGBY. So, you've all decided, then?"

    The crew nodded, smiling inscrutably. "Yes, Sir."

    The music began, soaring and majestic. Most definitely a Vangelis piece. One of his lesser-known works.

  • Quantum_AnomalyQuantum_Anomaly Join Date: 2016-06-13 Member: 218496Members
    Great as always. But I have to say, Voices (and its sister track on that album, echoes) are a couple of the first songs I ever remember hearing. It was the first cassette tape I owned, and while it played on repeat MANY hours were spent reading battletech novels and playing earthseige, with that particular song holding a place of vision usually saturated with mechs adorned with banners, returning from battle, while a parade of soldiers walked between them toward some significant landmark. It's always been an empowering track, and I'm beyond psyched to envision the Borealis liftoff to it.

    Nearly brought tears to my eyes hearing it here. Got dang you've got good taste.
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
    Perfect song! Love this book as always. I am going to ask if there is any way we can have 1 file with the entire book after it was done. It took me a good 2 hours to do it to Arora falls and this is even longer!
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
    edited January 2019
    Ok, and now the song has passed the "will I hum it later" test and earned a place on my music playlist. Also, thanks for saying that you will proofread and release a document with the 2 books.
  • Quantum_AnomalyQuantum_Anomaly Join Date: 2016-06-13 Member: 218496Members
    Although you may not write another installment to this particular story, I do hope that you continue writing, and link us all to wherever you go. Whether you continue chapter-by-chapter updates on a writing site, or release a solo short story, novella, or grand series, I think we all want to stay informed and throw monies at you.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited January 2019
    "Atmospheric engines are online, Captain." JUNO announced. "One moment, Sir... I have detected a potential error in the ship's cybernetic command interpreter subsystems. Further analysis indicates a control latency period in remote access mode, fluctuating between 790.75 milliseconds to 1.04 seconds from command initiation to execution. While this is well within system design tolerances, I recommend the use of manual flight controls, at least until this defect is rectified."

    I shot JUNO a sideways glance. Pish, that's hardly nothing at all.

    "You're absolutely certain of this?" I remarked sceptically.

    "Absolutely, Sir. DIGBY and IANTO concur with this decision." JUNO replied, smiling sweetly.

    I considered the implied meaning of JUNO's words for a second or two.

    "Hmm. I see..."

    "Go on, Sir. You know that you want to do this." DIGBY urged, grinning from ear to ear.

    The pilot's HUD appeared unbidden. Holographic flight controls materialised beneath my hands.

    "The ship is yours, Captain." IANTO exclaimed cheerfully. "Take us home."

    A lesser man would call this insubordination. I consider it sound advice from steadfast friends.

    I allowed Borealis to creep forward under the rising impulse of her atmospheric turbines. There's considerable inertia to overcome, so this launch will require gradual acceleration rather than a brute-force charge skyward. My flight plan will take us behind Pyramid Rock at 75 metres above sea level. If the Precursor gun does show any signs of life, it will first have to deploy and traverse through 120 degrees to acquire the ship. The island's single peak will shield us briefly, but we'll be picking up speed all the time. Bear in mind, Enzo already has that gun emplacement fixed squarely in his sights. At the slightest hint of motion, all four portside mass drivers will pound the living crap out of that weapons platform. And if we do go down, Borealis will go down with all guns blazing.

    Airspeed, 150 klicks and increasing. The music swells gloriously, its triumphant cadence seeming to guide my hands over the controls. Two-twenty, pitching up five degrees. A nice, gentle ascent for starters. We wouldn't want her dainty bottom dragged across rocks and dunes. Speed 400, altitude, one kilometre. The gun platform remains inert.
    I conjure we're safe, at least for now.

    Time to put some tilt in the kilt. Throttles to 70 per cent, angle of ascent 30 degrees. Airspeed, 850. I reach out to dip virtual fingers in the torrent of air rushing over the hull, marvelling at the patterns of turbulent flow interacting with Borealis' skin. The air claws feebly at her, as if reluctantly accepting the inevitable. She feels ungainly here, though she is not entirely graceless. She is simply out of her native element. The atmosphere is a river, and we are now salmon swimming upstream.

    Mach One. One hundred per cent thrust. Our velocity increases as the air thins. When Borealis reaches Mach 3, the atmospheric turbines will transition into scramjet mode, greedily scooping up vast amounts of increasingly tenuous air to feed our second-stage flight mode. We are still far too close to Manannán's surface to engage the fusion drive. If I activate the fusion drive prematurely, the ensuing devastation might provide sufficient cause for the Precursor weapon to respond in kind.

    Mach 25. The sky is almost completely black. We are crossing the threshold of space.
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members
    edited January 2019
  • Alrekr_IronhandAlrekr_Ironhand New Hampshire, US Join Date: 2016-03-22 Member: 214677Members
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
    This thread has been mostly untouched for almost a month. Did the borealis crash or something?
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members
    I'm assuming bugzapper is busy. But bumping once in a while helps. I do hope all is well for bugz. :nod:
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    I'm not dead yet, and neither is the story.

    I'd like to get this next bit right.
    Please be patient.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited February 2019

    "Attention all hands. Secure from launch stations. You may now move freely about Borealis. Be advised that all chronometers have been reset to accommodate a 24-hour cycle. Shipboard time is now 05:38 hours, Sol 85, 2273 C.E. All duty personnel, Red Watch will stand to at 12:00 UTC. Please consult your PDAs to review your current watch rosters. That is all. Selkirk, out."

    I rose from my chair, feeling particularly pleased with myself. I'd call this a confirmed personal milestone. Now that we've settled into a stable orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometres , Borealis can look after herself for a while.

    "Most of the old hands will head straight for breakfast and then grab a few hours of rack time. Not a bad idea, actually. Is anyone else interested in joining me?"

    Halfway down the bridge access corridor, we bumped into Héloise and Enzo. Like any other gathering of mates with food on their minds, we wasted at least five minutes deciding where we all wanted to eat. Of course, we could be terribly snobbish and eat in the Officer's Mess, although I'd like to bring the colonists up to speed with a quick briefing in wherever they've congregated. Shortly after we broke atmo, Jens Halvorsen transmitted a congratulatory message to Borealis, along with a traffic advisory that we will have to remain in orbit for the next 72 hours. The reason being that the area surrounding the warp gate could become extremely hazardous with little or no warning. At least one unmanned test vehicle is inbound at this point, although there is no way of knowing precisely when, where or in what shape it will arrive. Temporal and spatial distortions are highly probable. As I've said previously, warp gate calibration can be a mighty ticklish business.

    Given its proximity to the hangar deck, the best place to find our colonists would be The Zeppelin Lounge tavern in the stern observation gallery. A quick check of their PDA locator beacons confirmed this. Naturally, there were a few intrepid souls who had strayed from the herd. The ship's PA system will put them back in the loop. If anyone prefers to eat elsewhere, I have no problem with that. It wouldn't be for wanting a change of cuisine though, since all of the ship's food synthesizers draw from a common library of recipes, as well as a central supply of raw nutrient solutions. Face it, you can dine on Ethiopian doro wat in a faithful replica of Bavarian bierkeller aboard Borealis, whenever the fancy takes you. With its stylish Steampunk aviation theme and a panoramic view astern, I've found The Zeppelin Lounge to be a pleasant spot for a quiet glass or two at the end of a watch. For obvious reasons, the tavern and aft collision bulkheads will be closed when we power up the fusion drive. I highly recommend Anak Krakatau as an alternate venue.

    Fantastic BBQ pit.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?" I paused for the hubbub to abate before continuing. "First of all, we're still in one piece. Frankly, I'm just as surprised as you are." After the cheers and good-natured ribbing subsided, I plunged straight into it. "Right, let's get down to business. Borealis will have to remain in close orbit for the next 72 hours, during which time we will prepare the ship for warp flight and conduct planetary scans of Manannán and its companion bodies. Once we've received flight-path safety clearance from Carl Sagan, Borealis will break orbit and proceed to rendezvous with the Sagan. Rather than us tearing out there at full speed and spending the next three weeks twiddling our thumbs, we'll take the scenic route. Our flight-path will involve making Hohmann transfer orbits around Alpha Hydrae Five and Seven to keep us out of the warp gate's firing line. Down the line, the gate at Omicron Leonis might have dispatched another drone ship at an earlier point in the calibration process, and it would be awfully embarrassing to have that slowcoach smacking into us at this stage of the game. Okay? Any questions?"
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
    Thank you bugzapper, sorry for the gentel nagging
  • nauticalperananauticalperana The land of the free and the home of the brave Join Date: 2016-05-25 Member: 217491Members
  • nauticalperananauticalperana The land of the free and the home of the brave Join Date: 2016-05-25 Member: 217491Members
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited March 2019

    You'd think that 175 light years would put anyone well beyond the reach of Terran Confederation bureaucracy. Not so, as it turned out. Within a few hours of Terran authorities receiving Halvorsen's initial report, suffocating tendrils of red tape began creeping inexorably toward us. The abrupt arrival of 12.5 terabytes of official paperwork on my PDA came as no real surprise to anyone. As a matter of fact, I have been bracing myself to endure an inevitable flood of demands for information. For starters, they want to know every minute detail of what transpired after Aurora first entered the Alpha Hydrae system, presumably down to events that occurred entirely on the quantum level. No problem. I knocked that job over in the time it took to finish two mugs of tea.

    As the day wore on, it became clear that our faceless inquisitors were asking some questions that shouldn't be answered directly. I decided that the crew and Héloise should sit in on this, mainly to provide their personal perspectives on answers to particularly awkward questions. Obviously, TC's pen-pushers are looking for a scapegoat, as they always do. I made it perfectly clear that Captain Hollister and his command crew were entirely blameless in all events leading to the loss of Aurora, and that nothing humanly possible could have been done to prevent it. As for the actual cause, I had no option but to cite the Precursor gun emplacement, describing it as 'an automated quarantine enforcement system of unknown alien origin'.

    That being said, I also had to describe the method which enabled us to temporarily deactivate the weapon and permit our safe passage through Manannán's atmosphere.
    All done with an absolute economy of truth, of course.

    The real trick is in providing just enough detail to satisfy the investigating panel, but not quite enough to stir any significant official interest in Precursor technology. It took a fair bit of connivance on our part to talk down the weapon's capabilities, dismissing it as being comparable to an early Achilles cruiser-class gun mount. Just a clunky old terawatt-range phased plasma beam, powered by a planetary array of geothermal reactors. All things considered, a highly impractical and relatively primitive energy weapon. Apart from not knowing what specific circumstances will cause the weapon to reactivate, there's nothing particularly remarkable about it. Nothing more to see here. Move along.

    Not too shabby an effort, even if I do say so myself. It should take TC's snouts at least a couple of weeks to trawl through this veritable ocean of data, even with a smart AI riding shotgun. We've managed to tick all of the requisite boxes, and then some. Most importantly, we've done it without revealing any of the more interesting aspects of our extended stay on Manannán. Naturally, there will be even more questions asked further down the track, but we already have our answers at hand, prepared well in advance. Not a word of lie to be found in our respective tales, either. We have cheerfully handed our diligent investigators a finely-crafted bouquet of truth... After thoughtfully removing any concealed thorns in the narrative, of course. Not a word has been said about Father of Tides, Warpers, Precursor nanites or pocket-size Doomsday weapons. Some things are best left unsaid.

    These trifling omissions should buy humanity a few more centuries, at least.
  • BugzapperBugzapper Australia Join Date: 2015-03-06 Member: 201744Members
    edited March 2019
    News travels fast. However, pure bullshit moves considerably faster.

    Now that the warp gate is operational, it's possible to access the InfoCortex once more. That's become something of a mixed blessing. As soon as my PDA detected the Confederation web's carrier wave, it reconnected and began downloading 102 years worth of system updates, news flashes, e-mail messages and a truly staggering amount of advertisements, effectively rendering it useless for the next week or so. Fortunately, my PDA is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal-mine. For now, it's the only one capable of accessing external data feeds. Purely as a precautionary measure at first, although it now seems like this was the only sensible thing to do.
    We have been isolated from Confederation society for just over a century. Things will have changed.

    Not just clothing styles, music or the latest cool-kid buzzwords in StreetSpik, either. Human attitudes change like the weather on Belonna Prime, only with far less predictability. What was permissible a century ago may no longer be considered acceptable behaviour, and our colonists might find themselves entering situations for which they are totally unprepared. To this end, Borealis has been tasked with curating that massive influx of raw data into something a mite more digestible. Don't get me wrong; this is not censorship. Borealis is entirely impartial in this matter. Rather than have everyone drinking from a virtual firehose and attempting to make sense of the changed society they're about to enter, it would be much more productive to winnow out as much unnecessary guff as possible before giving the colonists unrestricted access to the InfoCortex.

    Going by what I've seen trapped in my mail's junk filter today, Nigeria, Vietnam and Samoa are now mostly populated by devout widows of bankers, remorseful ex-Government ministers and deposed royalty. However, the spelling and grammar used in those dubious solicitations has vastly improved.

    As a consequence of our imminent return to civilization, Borealis has become something of a Nine-Day Wonder. For all of the ships that have gone on Eternal Patrol, very few have ever been seen again. Occasionally, one might turn up as a cloud of debris or a crumpled mass on some half-forgotten Black Rock, and only very rarely as a lifeless hulk adrift in less-travelled spacelanes. After a number of particularly unpleasant experiences with wrecked starships, Frontiersmen developed a sure-fire method of dealing with drifters. If no lifesigns or energy signatures are detected within 24 hours of the first hailing call being transmitted, the derelict vessel is simply incinerated by the most effective method at hand. No boarding parties. No do-or-die rescue missions. No exceptions.

    Borealis is a notable exception to that rule. Now that it's common knowledge that she's recycled from Aurora's remains, I've noticed a distinct 'return from the grave' vibe in many of the public and private postings on the InfoCortex. Most of the commentary seems reasonably positive so far, although I've noticed that the ratbag element has begun creeping out of the woodwork. Mostly harmless Tinfoil Hat stuff so far, easily dismissed by anybody with one iota of common sense. However, there are other rumours that appear to be a mite too detailed to be entirely speculative. Rather than embark on a pointless hunt to discover the source of these leaks, I conjured it would be best to let the more outrageous claims to pass entirely unanswered. As for the reality of our situation, a brief yet candid video clip should dispel any persistent rumours that Borealis is:
    (a) Packed to the gunwales with murderous android duplicates of dead Torgaljin colonists, or (b) A Kharaa-infested plague ship poised to destroy all Terran life in its path.

    By the way, that 'Ascended Thetan' yarn is also 100 per cent blimp guano. Sorry.

    Predictably, it didn't take Alterra long to smell blood in the water.

    Borealis materialized abruptly in our quarters as Héloise and I were about to turn in for the night.

    "I sincerely regret this intrusion, Madame Maida." Borealis apologized, "Captain, priority encrypted F2F communication received on Alterra command channel. Code prefix: Savoy IV Delta Tau."

    "Thank you, Borealis. I'll take the call in here. We might as well make ourselves comfortable."

    "Very well, Captain." Borealis hesitated before activating the commlink, her expression quizzical.

    "Sir, I seem to recall that it is customary to be appropriately dressed when communicating with one's employers. Shall I fabricate a fresh uniform for you, and perhaps a robe for Madame Maida?"

    I grinned, shaking my head slowly and deliberately. Héloise stifled a giggle. A golden opportunity.

    "I appreciate the offer Borealis, but that won't be necessary. I'll adjust the camera's field of view."

    After arranging my pillow at a comfortable angle, I settled back on the bed and activated the commlink. A flexible camera arm snaked out of the bed-side console, automatically positioning itself to provide the caller with a head and shoulder shot of me. Theoretically.

    "Authenticate Savoy IV, Delta Tau. Selkirk, Alexander Fergus."

    One glorious moment of stunned silence.

    According to the caller's projected nametag, Milady Héloise and I have just had the pleasure of flashing Alterra's Senior Counsel (Corporate Asset Retention), one Milos Janáček.
  • derf213derf213 Join Date: 2016-12-06 Member: 224632Members
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