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Aldebaran: Part One (by Kassiopeia)

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  • Aldebaran: Part One (by Kassiopeia)

    Preface to Part I
    With the rebirth of Aldebaran and transformation into a game for both Smac and Smax, I thought it was time to publish this first part of the story behind the game. This story survived on the web for 3 years, unattended by a neglectful Smack, in a yahoo account of all things. So it must be robust. After this excellent introduction by Kassiopeia, I'll add a few more details from our original plot discussions. The whole original project was the group effort of Kassiopeia, Cybergod, and me, Smack. Here are some links of interest to the first project and the new project:

    Aldebaran-1: The Smac version
    Aldebaran One: Release Thread
    Aldebaran One: Website (don't laugh too hard)
    Aldebaran One: Beta thread

    Aldebaran-2: The Smac and Smax update in progress

    .................................................. .................................................. ......

    Aldebaran story by Antti Helin AKA Kassiopeia (Apolyton posting name). It should be noted that Kass is Finnish and any inconsistencies in English usage you may encounter are intentional. The timeline might shift here and there occasionally, but should have no impact on the plot.

    This is the AC-fiction story "Aldebaran". It's original idea and plot are the products of the mind of Smack whereas I myself have used it as raw material to create this story. This story derives from the AC mod "Aldebaran" currently in beta-testing. For further info on the mod "Aldebaran", check the AC-Creation forum. Now, to the story.



    The SETI Program (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) had not proven the existence of alien intelligence on Earth, but some scientists on Chiron (With University in the front row) had exclaimed that on Centauri, some four light years from Earth, there would be different conditions with the so-called radio wave backround noise of the universe. Hence, a Chironian SETI program was started, with several radio telescopes pointed at all directions like an ear waiting for the alarm sound of a phone.
    And in Mission year 2386, they were called.

    From some hazy transmissions the Chironians could determine several facts. The first, and the most amazing one, was that on another part of the galaxy the offshoot of the human race had thrived, named cleverly by Prokhor Zakharov himself as Homo sapiens galacticus. The story of them was interesting.
    Twenty-five years after the launch of Unity, two colony ships equipped with a revolutionary tachyon drive set their course to the far reaches of the galaxy, particularly the constellation of Pleiades. No scouts to Centauri had been sent after the Unity launch, because scientists were certain that Centauri was a dead system. Also, some pieces of debris were accidentally found, and it was presumed that Unity had been destroyed.
    The fate of Earth was known by the Galactics, as they were commonly called. A scout fleet had returned to Earth to find a piece of rock shrouded in dust clouds full of radioactive particles. Earth had not survived.

    The sphere of influence of the Galactics was over thirty star systems wide. Also, there were some other sentient species inhabiting that corner of the galaxy. One day, an unscheduled transmission was received from the Galactican communications beacon that had been launched to Centauri long time ago. It contained detailed information regarding the tachyon drive, which's secrets the official Galactic Alliance had refrained from divulging to the Chironians. It was a widespread theory that some radical element or faction of the Galactics had sent the drive data, and also a peculiar scientific piece of information:
    In Aldebaran, only sixty lightyears away from Chiron, was an uninhabited planet that could support human life to some point.


    MY 2383, UN Headquarters, Peacekeeping Forces

    "Shera, Shera, Shera..." The crowd shouted in rhythm at the market square before the Peacekeeper HQ at U.N. Headquarters. Shera Nehred appeared on a balcony and the tranced masses started to just scream loudly, with no hearable message.
    Miss Nehred stepped to a microphone and the people fell silent.
    "Commissioner Pravin Lal", she said. The crowd started buuing even louder.
    "Is the democraticly elected leader of the Peacekeepers."
    The most radical parts of the crowd had prepared for a coup, to overthrow the "militaristic" commissioner.
    "And I shall not deny that from him!"
    A stunned silence. The opposition leader of the UN House of Parlament was going to let the evil commissioner continue?
    "In exchange, I have been given two fully usable colony pods. All those who wish to follow me, can."
    Another stunned silence. People were thinking... Would they leave their comfortable homes and restart as colonists again?
    They would. "Hurray", the crowd started to repeat.
    Shera Nehred smiled and returned inside.

    MY 2387, 14th Annual Global Trade Summit, Morgan Solarfex, Morgan Industries

    "The most important matter at hand is the new revolutionary technologies obtained by the University in the past mission year", Nwabudike Morgan said.
    All the seven faction leaders had gathered around table at Morgan Solarfex, negotiating the commercial transactions and situations of the future mission year and discussing and commenting the mission year that had already elapsed.
    "Technology is no matter to us", Sister Miriam declared. "We do not wish to leave Chiron. This is our Promised Land, and we shall not leave it. And you cannot force us, like the Israelians were driven off from their own land." Her comments were generally disregarded.

    "The SETI Program was run by interfactional staff", Pravin Lal mentioned.
    "Hence, all results of communication with Homo Galacticus should be shared with all the factions."

    "I will agree to this at some point", Zakharov murmured. "I will divulge you any astronomical information, and all technology from this moment forward, but I want payment for the Tachyon Drive. I will share all blueprints for, say, three billion energy credits per faction. And I won't sell them to anyone beforehand. If someone wants it, now is the best time to get it."
    Morgan sighed. "We all know that the Tachyon Drive isn't the main reason we are here. Zakharov, you have Planet Busters."
    Lal slammed the table. "I was not informed, Morgan! The use of these horrendous quasi-nuclear weapons is utterly and totally a violation of the UN charter punishable to the highest degree!"
    "I am sorry, Brother Lal, but I had no time. A University citizen desired the citizenship of the Morganites. I personally admitted him a Morganite ID chip, in exchange for some information about certain University projects."
    "Oh, you'd be better off just probing it out", Zakharov sighed. "I will sell you both techs, for ten billion credits. I guess that if everyone has them, nobody dares to use them." But, even after losing his "ace in the hole" for hefty 70 billion credits, he still had a few tricks in store.


    Mission year 2386, Peacemaker Headquarters, Peacemaking Forces

    "Chiron is too small for us", Sheran Nehru said to her closest officials.
    "Where ever we try to expand, we run into other factions. I suggest that we buy a foil fleet with our last funds from the Morganites and found a sea base to continue our plan", Nehru said and then resumed the task of reading the documents regarding the Tachyon Drive, sneakily probed from UN Social Council.

    Astromathematics Unit, New Arzamas, University of Planet

    Chied Mathematician Kelle Hourten was chatting with his colleagues over lunch.
    "The theoretical speed of a tachyon drive ship is one thousand times the speed of light." An admiring whistle.
    "let's not make this too easy", Hourten smirked and continued. "If a Unity class ship travels in forty years to a star four light years away -"
    "It travels in a speed equivalent to ten percent of the speed of light", chief astrophysician Jim Hoffman said.
    "Precisely, Jimmy. So, that's ten thousand times slower then the tachyon drive. Then, what's the lenght of the journey to Aldebaran? Roughly sixty lightyears, I remember hearing."

    He started sribbling to a napkin. "I think that with acceleration and deceleration, the ship will make it to Aldebaran in eight years." "And to Earth it would take only six to seven months."
    "No wonder Zakharov's so hot on building the damn ship, it's less then a decade. We wouldn't have to recreate the cryostasis equipment of Unit, we could build a more basic model that would have to work only for 96 months."
    One of the interns from another table asked suddenly: "What's the big deal with this tachyon drive? And how can it's speed be a thousand times the speed of light? That's like against the theory of relativity by Einstein, right?"
    "The theory of Einstein hasn't been proven false, son. That theory however applies only to the physics of the dimension we are now, and where we live. The tachyon drive uses tachyons, particles which move almost at the speed of light, to propel itself to light speed. But the ship does not just stay at the brink of the light barrier. It crosses it, and when that happens, the Law of Neutralising Impossibility takes place. It, well, the only way we can describe, "sucks" the ship by bending the space-time continuum to another dimension called "hyperspace", where the laws of physics we know aren't valid. And in hyperspace, the any kinetic energy is multiplied a thousand-fold. That way the ship can travel at 1000 c, "c" meaning the speed of light."
    "How does a ship then get back to normal space?"
    "It has to slow down to a speed less then one c, so that the space-time rift can be released and retract."
    "But then it should decelerate 999.1 c before that! No retro-rocket can do that!"
    "A simple retro-rocket system will do, because when the kinetic energy is a thousand-fold, it will neutralize also a thousand times faster than in normal space. This all would be more simple if in hyperspace time would go a thousand times faster than in our dimension, but it doesn't. And if it would, everyone on board would age a thousand times faster - not too nice, dont you think?" The intern shook his head and returned to his lunch.

    Economical Ministry of Hive, Drone Mound, The Human Hive

    The Economical Minister Matsumura Harada was having a fierce argument over his commlink with the Chairman himself.
    The Hive was a socialist system, so Matsumura had always been frustrated due to the fact that the Hive regime gave no appreciation to him. Drones did't need wages, they would settle to food and a roof over their heads. And when the economics were totally planned and under total goverment control, Matsumura found no challenge in the post of the economical minister. It was generally considered as the job the most dangerous political opponents would be placed, to "extinguish" them.
    "We need to build an energy bank here, Chairman."
    "I am not allocating funds to maintaining such facilities, not in Drone Mound or anywhere in the Hive."
    "If we can't access the stock exchange, our funds -"
    "Our funds aren't of anyones concern. If we have no credits to build it, we make the workers do it. In the perfect society, there's no need for private entrepeunering or paying salaries to employees."
    "This is ridiculous -"
    "The whole idea of the Economical Ministry is ridicilous. We have no need for such elaborate and useless organisations. Now, I must attend to matters of most importance. Chairman Yang out."
    The video screen darkened. Matsumura sighed. "This can't continue like this", he muttered and called his private secretary.

    Mission year 2390, newlyfound Gaian embassy, University Base, University of Planet

    Lord Richard Brighton looked at his beautiful leader.
    "Lady Deirdre, I am honored to speak with you."
    "The pleasure is mine, Sir Richard. I apologize for not attending the celebrations of the opening of the University embassy."
    "I am sure that whatever you tended to, it was far more important then this humble establishment."
    "Richard, I have a reason for my call."
    "Yes, milady?"
    "I regret to inform that the Gaian Council has not agreed to initiate the construction of a colony ship to Aldebaran."
    "Why is that milady?" the disappointed ambassador asked.
    "I know that you were one of the most eager to colonize Aldebaran, but the Gaian factories are now solemnly dedicated to the construction of", Lady Deirdre sighed, "Quasi-Nuclear Missiles."
    "I knew also that there were many not-so devoted minds in the Council, but this is a shock." "Actually, they might have a point, Richard. If we remain as the only faction without them, we might be an easy target."
    "But, why not to build the ship also?"
    "The Planet Buster project is currently consuming all available industrial efforts. The Council has decided that the final decision to launch a ship to Aldebaran will be postponed until further notice."
    "This is bad news milady."Lindly lowered his voice and said: "I'm thinking of visiting Gaia's Landing soon."
    Deirdre smiled. "A wonderful idea, Richard. I think that the Nanohospital opening celebrations would serve well."
    "Are you sure you can't transfer me there? Even for some low-level desk job?" "That is the matter of the Internal Councillor, not mine. If I would use my authority, our little affair might be discovered."
    "You are wise in your decisions, and I submit to them."
    "Good. Now, I have some other matters for you also. I want that you have a Planetpark built to the embassy grounds for you and your people to use." "A wonderful idea, milady."
    "Start clearing an area, and I will send you a piece of Planetmind in a biocontainer on a Needlejet."
    "As you wish, milady."

    In the meeting room of Morgan Industries, CEO Morgan decided on the same grounds as the Gaian Council that the Morganite efforts wouldn't be directed to building a colony ship, but to construct Planet Busters.
    And because the Believers, Spartans and the Peacekeepers had no desire to leave Chiron, they followed the Morganites and the Gaians.
    But in the Peacemaker Ocean Base, University Base and Drone Mound, colony ships nearly identical to Unity were built.


    Mission year 2391, Wolf359, Galactic Cloning Farm Theta

    The Galactic Cloning Farms were the political prisons of the Galactic Alliance, at the same time also producing new citizens to the GA.
    Citizen Awen Llawella had been arrested two days ago, for attempting to overthrow the local GA regime stationed in the system Wolf359.
    She was eating her nutrite ration as the force field of the cell was disrupted. She heard some gun fire, and in seconds she was facing her closest companion.
    "Terenec, you have liberated me from illegal captivity."
    "Come, Awen, quickly. We have commandeered a colonization ship destined to Aldebaran One. There we can create our own nation."
    "The United Noncomplicity Front, with it's own colony... Wonderful, Terenec. Goodbye Wolf359!"

    Mission year 2392, Centauri, Low Chiron Orbit

    The surveillance satellite glided in harmony with the green-red planet. It was geostationary, so that one spot would be always under it's watchful eye, instead of rotating the Planet taking pictures from all over it's surface. This satellite belonged to the Peacekeepers, and it's telescopes had been fixed to the main factory base of the Human Hive. One of the thermal boreholes had looked stragenly different, and soon after the satellite had been deployed it was revealed that the "borehole" was actually a resourcefully disguised missile silo, where a Planet Buster was under construction. In few months more of these "boreholes" appeared, and the Peacekeeper Probe Forces estimated that the Hive now had ten of these missiles.
    When Santiago and Miriam found out about this, they unveiled their missile silos that had been hidden underground to warn Yang that any attack would be retaliated at equal strength.

    Mission 2392, University Base, Institute of Innovative Tactics

    "We need more testing, Academician", the chief of Project Hunter-Seeker complained. "The weapon system just isn't reliable enough."
    "The factions are arming for a nuclear war. Except this faction. All resources have been dedicated to the colony ship, because I'm counting on our trump card. We must have something better then those harsh and blunt nukes. We need the HSA-weapon. If it is technically ready, you must prepare it. Connect it with PlanetNet and MorganNet via the main Network Node here. Then hook it up with the main quantum chamber at sector three."
    "We need more power than that, sir. But if I can test it I can -"
    "Then take the chamber of sector four as well. Cut down the electricity systems at Domes G to J, and disable the tachyon field if necessary. You have Provostial authority."
    "Yes sir", the chief of Project HS sighed, and disconnected the commlink.
    < The whole concept of the HSA-weapon was quite original and ingenious. It would be, if it would work that was, like the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm; formless in it's defense but perfect in it's offense. The HSA weapon system would be able to infiltrate via the datalinks any computer and data network linked to PlanetNet or MorganNet. It could erase all data, or override the computer systems and do virtually everything, even launch the Planet Busters or make the machines disassemble themselves on molecular level using their own nano-repairers. To accomplish this, all that was needed was a huge quantity of energy for a short period of time and a command from the weapon operator. The only problem with it was, excluding the hurry Zakharov was in, that Planet Busters in flight were impregnable. Nobody would be stupid enough to link the guidance system of a PB missile to any public data network.

    Nobody was ever going to know exactly what happened. For some reason, the first Planet Buster was launched, and then that strike was retaliated, and then a third party launched... In a few minutes, the atmosphere was full of missiles going to striking at their targets in some twenty minutes.

    Drone Mound, Aerospace Complex

    Yang looked at his ministers.
    "Where is the minister of economy?" he asked. "It seems that we must abandon him then. Well, the new Hive at Aldebaran will not need a minister of that area -"
    "Not so fast, Yang." The economic minister.
    "Matsumura, you made it in time." Yang was surprised.
    "Your hired hands were useless." Some thugs appeared to the sides of Matsumura, equipped with quantum rifles. Their special tattoos revealed that they were members of the Neoyakuza that had struggled under the Hive regime. The Neoyakuza's leader was unknown - until now.
    "Matsumura! Cease this and we may take you with us."
    Matsumura smiled and prompted his henchmen. After ten seconds he looked at the seven bodies and said: "Come, companions. We are commandeering Shimoda.

    (continued below)
    Aldebaran 2.1 for Smax is in Beta Testing. Join us for our first Succession Game

  • #2
    Peacemaker Ocean Base, somewhere near the Eastern Peacekeeper Coast

    "Unity II is ready for launch, Pacifist Nehred. All supplies have been loaded onboard, and it seems that we even have room for some more people even with the whole base population in. We just need you and the high committee, ma'am." "Roger that -"
    The door of her office was forced open. Her security guards were thrown in to the room.
    Nehred stared at the guards and asked: "What is the meaning of this?"
    A person in a Spartan Navy officer's uniform stepped in with an armed escort. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Captain Jebediah Skipp of the Federation Navy Submarine, Glory of Sparta. I have heard that you have a colony ship at your disposal."
    Nehred looked at the guns and thought. She was the only one with the code that would unlock the ship drive system. Unity II wouldn't work if she would be dead. She explained this. Skipp had his men lower their weapons and said: "I hear that you have empty space in the colony pod. Now, if you will hand over the other colonization pod when we are at Aldebaran, we will spare you and your people. Will you accept?"
    "Do I have a choice?" Shera Nehred asked.

    University Base, HSA control room

    "Engage!" the Provost ordered. The lights of the base dimmed for a split second as the generators' power was drained to the weapon. The control computer gave a simple "OK"-signal and then shut down.
    "It isn't supposed to shut down", the operator said, confused.
    Suddenly a bolt of energy shooted from the operating console. The consoles started to shortcircuit, and a loud explosion echoed from the other section of the base. Zakharov looked as the two operators were "attacked" by the electronic pulses. Zakharov panicked and tried to escape the room with the two convulsing bodies, but suddenly he felt a strong burn in his back and fell unconscius.
    Sidney and Brionin were the chief researchers of the University's only Planetmind-regarded project. They were in a Planetpark inside University Planet Institute, near the HSA Control Room, when the shockwave of an explosion awoken them and a couple of hundred others, volunteers of the project Telepathic Matrix, from self-enduced hypnotic trance. They rose from their seats at the Planetpark, and Sidney and Brionin wandered to the base corridors. They were filled with bodies that had seemed of just dropped dead. Suddenly, the Planet Buster alarm was set.
    "Brionin, we must evacuate to the colony ship!"
    "Yes Sidney, but I'm going nowhere without Zakharov... or his body."

    Gaian Embassy, University Base

    A moment ago, the whole three-hundred sized staff of the embassy had meditated with Planetmind in the Planetpark. Then a strange noise and a shcokwave had woken them up. Suddenly the personal commlink of Lord Richard informed him that Lady Deirdre wanted to speak to him.

    "Planet Busters are coming your way", Deirdre said calmly.
    "For Planet's sake..."
    "I have a final task for you, Richard. Take the Planetmind specimen back to the container and... the University has a colony ship, try to get onboard. That is all I ask, and i understand if you can't... But do not use violence, Richard. Everyone has the right to survive..." Deirdre terminated the connection.
    In a few moments, Lord Richard Brighton and all of his staff were making their way to the Aerospace Complex.

    "I found him!" a shout in the corridors. Brionin and Sidney found the source of the sound and saw Zakharov. The shouter had kneeled over him and was checking his pulse. "He is alive!" "Wonderful!"
    "He lookes like he has a serious internal hemorage."
    "Damn!" Brionin cursed. "We don't have an MD in our team!"
    "What can we do?"
    "Let's take him to the colony ship, get the ship ready... and think."

    Lord Richard ran to the closing hatch. He yelled: "Stop!"
    The hatch's movement halted. A sound came: "Who are you?"
    "Gaian ambassador. Do you have space for us, there are three hundred of us." "i don't think -"
    "Wait Sidney", came another voice. "Lord, do you have a doctor of medical sciences?"
    "I have four doctors in our staff."

    "Ahem, Lord, if you give us two MD's we can have a deal."
    "Very well, two MD's will become University citizens, and in exchange we get a ticket to Aldebaran."
    "Accepted. Welcome on board, lord..."
    "Richard Eugene Brighton, thank you very much."

    That day, three streaks of light appeared and disappeared to the near-space of Chiron, and a moment after that huge shockwaves shattered the surface of the Planet, and a dust cloud shrouded it. It became, like Earth, a dead piece of rock. Or so it was thought.


    UNS Unity II, MY 2399, Deck 6

    One of the computer screens of the command centre came to life. It blinked, and warmed up from the freezing temperature it had fell to after the ship had entered hyperspace.

    Tertiary ship computer system reinitialised -
    UNS Unity II, ship log:
    MY 2392, 0 days 1 hrs - Transfer to hyperspace
    MY 2392, 2 days 23 hrs - course fix alpha
    MY 2395, 167 days 16 hrs - course fix beta
    MY 2397, 98 days 11 hrs - Subroutine alpha engaged
    MY 2397, 100 days 4 hrs - Subroutine alpha completed
    MY 2398, 302 days 19 hrs - Retro-rockets activated, program entered
    MY 2399, 12 days 1 hrs - System boot, primary computer system initialised
    MY 2399, 12 days 2 hrs - System diagnostics complete, ship status normal
    MY 2399, 12 days 2 hrs - Subroutines beta to gamma engaged
    MY 2399, 12 days 3 hrs - Subroutines beta to gamma completed. Results:
    - Warning - Two known, two unknown objects detected. Jump starting wakeup sequence in thirty seconds... Sequence One engaged... waiting for further commands.

    The ship computer specialist Troy Heights read the last lines, told the computer to make a print of the log and brandished it to the captain. Captain Julie Mikalova took and read it. "I need you to tell me two things. The first is, is Pacifist Nehred included in sequence one?"
    "No ma'am. She is with the chief civilian officers in sequence two."
    "Secondly, how about the Spartans?"
    "They actually removed the civilian officers from sequence one and included themselves in it. We had no chance to alter the commands before going to cryosleep. That 'captain', umm..."
    "Skipp, Mr. Heights."
    "Well, Skipp woke up with the first ones. They got out the rest of their people manually, and now they have fortified themselves in cargo bay two, the one with the other Landing Unit."
    "Could we try to remove them?"
    "They have a large amount of handguns, brought from that sub back in Chiron. Actually, commander Hoynes took the liberty to seal that section of the ship off so that they can't take over the other LAU too."
    "Hoynes is awake? Was he here before I was?"
    "Yes ma'am. It seems that he was accidentally moved from the second sequence to the first in the mess before launch. We might have a Spartan in sequence two, however."
    "Oh well, things could be worse. Order Doctor Woods to wake up Nehred." It wouldn't be pleasant having that 'leader' marching around giving orders to my crew, captain Mikalova thought, but I guess if I'd try to take control the people would just get mad and have my head brought to Nehred on a silver platter.
    She examined further the log print and asked: "What are these "unknown" objects, Mister Heights?"
    "I already asked the chief science officer to activate the rest of the scanner systems and take a good look at them. Also, Mister Girdeaux is preparing the landing probes."
    "How about the ship itself?"
    "The chief engineer reports that excluding some minor structural faults and problems the ship is in perfect condition."
    "So everything seems to be fine, apart from those gun enthusiastists in the cargo bay, strange objects hovering near Aldebaran and a pompous civilian politician waiting to be waken up in the cryo bay?"
    "Well, to be honest ma'am, it wasn't such a good idea to name this ship Unity II."

    HSS Shimoda, command bridge

    "How is this ship equipped?" The newly-appointed Primus Matsumura asked the commander of the ship, who Matsumura had persuaded to follow him.
    "We have only the colony pod at the aft cargo bay and supply tanks with nutrients and lots of energy. And of course, a hefty armoury. Only necessary computer systems, no scanners."
    "Nothing else?"
    "Excuse me, sir, but the Hive is known of it's ascetism, don't you agree?" "True. Guns and bread, if you want more then hook up with Morgan." Matsumura laughed. "I'm glad I didn't do that on Chiron. The poor fellow never thought of investing in a space ship."
    UPCV Marie Curie

    "How is Zakharov doing?" Sidney asked doctor Hayworth.
    "He seems fine, but there is no change in his condition. We used a rather innovative program on him. We didn't put him in cryostasis, and we set an alarm to him so that if he would wake up from the coma I and my colleagues would be woken up and sent here. We were also afraid that he would be damaged by the freexing process. But, there's no change."
    "What happened to him?" Brionin asked.
    The surgeon, doctor Stenbach, answered: "The operation we did before launch helped us a lot. That and the medical equipment, and we have a pretty accurate diagnosis. A very powerful source of neuroelectrical stimulii have affected his brain."
    "They did use the HSA-weapon system after all", Sidney exclaimed.
    "Amazing", Brionin said and then asked: "Can you give any prediction of his state?"
    "There isn't an operational way to cure him... but, I and your biologists have determined that Planetmind is in a very close connection too our survival. Maybe Zakharov could be cured by it too."
    "You have Planetmind with you, don't you?" Sidney asked with a hopeful impression.
    "Yes we have, and we are planning on a way to use it on Zakharov. But we need time. I don't think he could survive Planetfall in this condition. Id you want to land know, you are going to have to do it without him."
    Aldebaran 2.1 for Smax is in Beta Testing. Join us for our first Succession Game


    • #3

      Galactic Alliance Starship Domination

      The door guard quickly placed himself between the door and the hasty officer. "State your business", the guard grunted.
      The officer waved the print in his hand and said: "I need an audience with the Empress. This is a situation of utmost importance and urgency." "Identify yourself."
      The officer sighed. Damn Praetorians, they were so pompous. They had almost total control over all other military officers, concering the security of the royal family. This particular guard was really a pain in the ship's officers' necks, even though he and his colleagues guarded only the daughter of Geraldine Riley, the cousin of The High Emperor.
      "Wait here, commander... Vailen. I will confirm you from Her Excellency."
      The door closed as the Praetorian disappeared. After a while the guard came back and said: "You can approach the Excellency now."
      Yes, and by now the unknown ships have probably made orbit, Vailen thought and stepped in. Not to mention the stray colony ship that's communications had probably broken down.

      GSA Frontier

      "The Alliance ship isn't suspicious. They bought the story we sent them with the wavelink transmitter."
      Colonel Llawella smiled. Now, when there was no present danger from Domination, they could sneak up on it and destroy it. And if not destroy, then at least cripple seriously. Then they could land the pod on Aldebaran One, transfer all needed hardware from Frontier and start building the first colony of the United Non-complicity Front.

      GSA Domination

      Empress Riley examined the print out.
      "So, commander, about this colony ship... Have they sent us the correct identification codes?"
      "No, Your Excellency."
      "Then why haven't we destroyed the vessel?"
      "But Your Excellency! Their communications are down. They can only use Morse code, and the code is too long to transmit that way, it would take hours."
      Riley pondered for a moment. "Vailen, have them Morse code you, say, the first twelve digits of the code. If there's even a second of hesitation, arm the port cannons and blast them to Kingdom Come."
      "Yes, Your Excellency. Then, what about these unknown ships?"
      "Send them a message, warning them that if they attempt to land on Albebaran One, they will be eliminated. Those Chironians will have to go back to home. Domination was sent here to confirm the planet's conditions, to make sure no others then the Galactic Alliance will be able to colonize it, and to prepare ground for the first transport ship coming in as soon as we give them the OK-signal."
      "I am aware of our objectives, Excellency."
      "Good for you. Now, do as I have told you. Dismissed."
      Donatella Riley looked as the commander disappeared from the room. She then looked more closely at the piece of paper.
      The Empress had accepted the ruledom of the Aldebaran Colonisation Mission, but she had no desire to be an intrepid pioneer. Like all Galactics engaged in politics, she desired power, both to her herself and to her family. The High Emperor wasn't really her family, His Majesty wasn't a part of the House of Riley.
      To be the commanding royalty of a fleet, even of a fleet of one, was the best place to gain power. Great politic maneuvres were no longer committed at the Court at Galactic Prime, but at the command bridges of starships. Riley planned to initiate the colonisation of the planet, then become the self-appointed governor of it and finally, in maybe fifteen years, declare independence on Aldebaran. The High Emperor, bored of continous campaigns to regain control of rebelling provinces, would just sigh at the situation and offer an affiliation treaty to Riley. She would accept. Without the Alliance at her way, she could colonise another planet, and maybe conquest some other petty affiliate of the Alliance.

      These plans would be soon foiled, by both local and interstellar problems. Empress Riley had not been informed that three solar systems had already been overrun, and two more were at the time under heavy bombardment.

      UPCV Marie Curie

      "The Gaians want to cultivate the Planetmind to Hydroponics Two", the ship's captain reported. Sidney sighed and replied: "Very well. Let them do what they wish with the Planetmind. They will need it - no, we will need it to heal the Provost."
      "Yes, Professor. I shall inform them, and the Hydroponics Division."
      As the captain walked away, the intercom beeped.
      "Sidney, Brionin here. The astronomers are now ready for us."
      "Thanks, Brionin. I'm on my way."

      "The star Aldebaran is an orange giant, and it is classified as a K-class star. It is the only star of the system. There are two planets, Aldebaran One which is relatively close to the star, red giants are rather cool. Aldebaran Two is a gigantic gas giant, which is eleven times bigger then the largest planet closely studied so far, Jupiter. It is very far from Aldebaran One, and it's effect on it's orbit is very small. Between Aldebaran One and Two there is an asteroid belt, but much bigger then on Centauri or Sol. Aldebaran Two has a large ring around it, and assumably that ring and the asteroid belt are the remnants of a planet sized about Chiron and the leftovers from the time the system was formed from a dust cloud."
      "What about Aldebaran One and it's conditions?" Brionin asked.
      "We lost contact to the probes two minutes ago", one of the scientists said calmly.
      "Excuse me?"
      "We simply lost contact to them. Scanners tell that they were shot at."
      "From the large Galactic vessel. We have sent a message informing them that we are not hostile", the captain said behiund Sidney and Brionin. They turned to the officer who had just came to the room. The captain continued: "They replied, demanding us to withdraw from the system. Shooting down the probes was a warning."
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      • #4
        Unity II

        "I want to speak to your Captain."
        "I am sorry, but the Captain does not wish and audience now." The Spartan made a brief smile and turned off the commlink.
        "Pacifist Nehred -" Captain Mikalova started.
        "I heard him. As long as Skipp doesn't try to pull anything, we will let them be", Nehred stated.
        "I agree with that, but we think that they might have a nuclear warhead with them -"
        "They were on a submarine equipped with a nuclear cruise missile. We found out it prior to launch, but we couldn't determine whether they had taken it from the sub or not."
        "This mission hasn't gone without trouble."
        "True, the Hive and University ships, and not to mention the two Galactic ships."
        "You have scanned them?"
        "Yes, Pacifist. They communicate with English, but with a very strange dialect, similar to the one heard on Galactic transmissions. And the other factions didn't build ships."
        "Quite right, captain. Now, do you have a suggestion regarding the nuclear missile?"
        "Well, I and the chief military officers run through several scenarios. They might want to obliterate this ship, with a remote-or time trigger, or take it down to Aldebaran for later use. Or they might just reverse-engineer it and use the plutonium to make a fission reactor."
        "But we have materials for that in the colony pods, right?"
        "Yes we do, but a surplus reactor wouldn't hurt anyone. If they decide to destroy Unity II before they leave the ship -"
        "Why would they do that?"
        "To eliminate competition, ma'am. One less mouth for the planet to feed."
        "Figures. So, if they decide to destroy us..."
        "Our chances would be slim. We could try to dump or deactivate the bomb, but only if we have time to. And we don't, if they use a remote trigger. Not to mention that the pressure seals would delay us for more than a minute. So all we can do is leave at the same time with them and let the ship explode, or stop their launch and try to negotiate."

        "They could threaten us to blow the ship in pieces if they are stopped, even if they are still in."
        "Would they do it? Blow up themselves?"
        "They burned down Carthago and salted the ground, so that nothing would grow", Nehred muttered.
        "Excuse me?"
        "If they can't have it, so can't we. A common Russian tactic when Napoleon attacked. Burned down the cities so that the French wouldn't have supplies." "Very well, Miss Nehred. Wht do you suggest?"
        "Start preparing the colony pod. I am taking a vacuum suit. I'm going outside." "What?" the captain asked, but Nehred was already gone. Suddenly Mikalova received a message, arking her to come quickly to the bridge. The Galactics had sent a message to them two minutes ago.


        Unity II, Cargo bay two

        "Captain", the Spartan said.
        "Yes, ensign?"
        "We have intercepted a publicly broadcast message from the larger Galactic ship."
        "What does it say?"
        "It seems that they have shot down a group of probes targeted to Aldebaran. ALso they threaten us, or all non-Galactics, to stand down from the system." "Or else?"
        "Or else they will engage and destroy us."
        At that moment, the previous plan of Captain Skipp was erased and replaced with a new one. A one even that Nehred character would agree upon.

        GSA Frontier

        The ship-like objects slided on the view screen. The blue coloured ship, the Outlaw ship, was approaching the biggest ship, coloured red.
        The interested eyes of Colonel Llawella saw as a text indicating the simulation number appeared in mid-space. The blue ship's course appeared as a dotted white line, ending up besides the Alliance ship.
        After some waiting the blue ship came to the starboard side of the Alliance ship and slowed down. It matched it's speed, and started to close in on the red ship's hull.
        "We send a docking confirmation signal. Then we run the navigational computer's docking program. But after thirty seconds..." The voice of the lieutenant vanished.
        Now the blue ship, almost connected with the red ship, started to turn rapidly. "At this stage, we launch the colony pods." Two bright orbs emerged from the blue ship and fell towards the planet.
        "Then, the ship's hacked drive system completes the ninety degree turn and fires the main engine at 300 percent power. Domination should have no chance to evade the ramming ship. At 97 percent probability, Domination will be totally destroyed, if not at impact, then at least when the overloaded engine system explodes."

        Unity II, upper hull structure

        Nehred opened the hatch and felt a slight breeze as the little remains of air in the airlock disappeared into infinity. She climbed the ladder, attached her connection rope to the ship, activated her magnetic boots and took a deep breath.

        The sun shining at the center of the system emitted deadly doses of different radiation around it, but on the far side of the ship there was a sanctuary. The ship had started a slight turning towards Aldebaran, so that the port side of the ship was facing the star as the starboard side was dark.

        But when problems resided, new ones appeared. The dark side was excruciatingly cold. The only source of warmth was the small leaks of the ships hull and those of the vacuum suit Nehred wore. Also, there was very little light, only the starts and some random guidance lights in the outer layer of the hull. Using these lights, Nehred headed to the hatch that would allow her to "sneak" behind the Spartans' backs.

        UPCV Marie Curie

        Sidney looked at disgust at the syringe filled with bright pink liquid.
        "You're going to inject him with that?" he asked.
        "Yes we are, sir", the physician replied. "We have added cells from the Planetmind specimen to a salt-water solution."
        "If it's his best chance", Brionin muttered, "then it's fine with me."
        Sidney nodded and left the room.
        "Don't worry doctor, he's not friends with syringes", Brionin laughed.
        The physician uncovered Zakharov's arm and injected him.
        "The Planetmind cells should create an unknown hormone once in contact with his immunologic system. The cells will die eventually, but the hormone should cancel the effects of the Disturbance."
        "The Disturbance?"
        "I have named the condition as the "Disturbance". The weapon system he developed obviously caused this."
        "Yes, the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm weapon."
        "Right. I have a very interesting find to show you. Let's go to my laboratory. Our nurse will stay here with the mediscanners and inform as on any changes."

        "These cells have been extracted from the brain of our patient."
        Brionin looked thorugh the microscope. "They look like... shocked."
        "They are. It seems that the weapon triggered a mutation in the brain stem."
        "A mutation?!"
        "We have not yet discovered it's properties, but I and my colleagues believe that it has something to do with the Hunter Seeker Algorithm and the huge flooding of electronic pulses. I wouldn't be suprised if he could be able to detect, or even produce electronic pulses with his brain. If he wakes up, that is."
        "Maybe that is why the coma is lasting so long. Because the mutation is nearly complete."
        "Impossible. His system has had seven years to complete the transformation. I think that the process needs something to wake it up."

        At the same time, Sidney was busy at the command bridge, monitoring the situation.
        "How about the other Alliance ship, what are it's intentions?"
        "According to radio traffic, they can't have a direct contact. They use Morse code to communicate."
        "They're comms are down?"
        "Most probably so, sir."
        "Then, how about the other Chironian ships?"
        "We contacted UNS Unity II>/i>, the Peacekeeper ship. They have some trouble of their own, but they have no hostile intentions towards us."
        "And the other one?"
        "It's a Hive ship, but it appears that they don't have communications equipment at all."

        UNS Unity II, upper hull structure

        Nehred punched in the lock code and opened the hatch. Again, a small breeze. She lowered herself down, closed the hatcth and waited for the chamber to be repressurized. Then she removed the vacuum suit and opened the airlock door. Behind it was an empty corridor that turned left. Behind that corner, there should be a small trapdoor leading to a small landing, where there would be ladders to get down to the large hall of cargo bay two.
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        • #5
          CHAPTER NINE

          Captain Jebediah Skipp looked at his hands. They shaked in anxiousness. He was prepared for this and reached to one of his trousers' pockets, and quickly swallowed the cedative.
          He took the printout of the message, and read it again, twice.
          Then he turned around and glanced at the cone-shaped object standing in the middle of the hall, next to the access hatches to the corridors which led to the Colonization Unit. It's side panels had been opened up and now technicians and electricians were busy rewiring and -routing the detonation system.

          The original plan had been to store the nuke for later use, and maybe attach it to the exploration probe frame in the CU storage. Now they were refitting the warhead, and cutting their way through the plasmasteel bulkhead to get the probe frame out. Then they would place the newly made nuclear missile to -
          "Captain!" a voice behind him shouted.
          Skipp turned around and saw a security detachment. Two of the men were holding a woman between them.
          "Sergeant, what is this?" Skipp asked.
          "A captive, sir. She was found at corridor eight-one, and she was hiding a vacuum suit."
          "She tried to sneak up on us? By walking on the outer hull? Impressive."
          "Thank you", the woman muttered.
          "I believe I have seen you elsewhere. Pacifist Sarita Nehred, leader of the Peacemakers."
          Nehred laughed. "If you would get your goons to release me, we could have a little chat."
          Skipp gestured the men to do so. Nehred walked up on him. She looked also at the warhead and grunted: "I assume this is your little toy, Skipp."
          "A class three delta quasi-nuclear warhead. Range of total destruction: two thousand kilometres."
          "So what do you intend on using it?"
          Skipp had a brief smile as he brandished the message received from the Galactic ship. "Just a reply to this, Nehred."

          "The Frontier is making a docking approach", a member of the bridge crew of Domination to their commander.
          "Very well. Arm all starboard and port guns, and get navigation thrusters to full readiness. Also prepare a boarding team and secure tightly all hatches leading to the docking array. I want to make the first strike, if they aren't as friendly as they seem to be. Communications, how about those Chironian ships?"
          "They are slowing down, except the third one. They aren't transmitting any radio emissions, so I guess they don't have communications at all, sir."
          "Prepare the aft rail guns and arm them with flare ammunition. They should have windows."

          Brionin looked in astonisment at the mediscanners. They had literally been fried up. Zakharov seemed peaceful in his bed, but every piece of electronics on his room had malfunctioned. Even the pocket calculator Brionin had brought in a moment ago had immediately started to -
          "Brionin, is that you?" a voice said. Brionin turned around, but the door was closed.
          The voice laughed. Brionin turned again, and saw the Provost's eyes open.
          "Provost, you... are awake!"

          "Yes I am." He sniffed the air. "Something has short circuited."
          "Our medical scanners." He remembered the mutation. "You have fried them!"
          "What are you talking about?" Zakharov scanned the room. "Where are we?"
          Brionin explained as well as he could, and also told him about the journey to Aldebaran. He then hurried to the corridor to reach an intercom that was operational.

          One of the numerous hatches on the surface of the Domination's hull slided slowly away and revealed the mouth of a long barrel. The barrel extended some seven metres from the opening and made a whirring sound as it's controller changed it position. The rail gun stopped, and after a brief moment of silence, fired. A blinding flash accompanied the launched projectile propelled by the huge electromagnetic coils of the rail gun barrel. After a few minutes, the timer of the projectile reached zero, and it exploded to a bright cloud of orange-coloured gas that quickly expanded into a nanoscopic nebula.

          "Colonel, Domination has opened gun ports! And it has fired!"
          "Calculate the course, lieutenant!"
          "It's headed directly for the third, silent Chironian ship..." She spotted a message on the telemetry screen. "It was a warning shot, a color bullet."
          "Clever", Llawella muttered. "Now they will not be held responsible by the Treaty, as they have now cautioned all the ships to withdraw. How are the Chironian vessels doing now?"

          "They are decelerating, all of them, but it could be a navigational maneuvre."
          Llawella had a decision to make. If she would instead of trying to sneak on the planet cripple the Galactics and land, she would have to deal with the Chironians. If she would take her chances and go for Aldebaran now, the Chironians would maybe distract Domination enough. But then she would have a full equipped and operational Augustus-class cruiser above her head, with a full compliment of siege weapons such as fusion bombs and ion cannons that could penetrate the thin atmosphere, not to mention a squadron of atmospherical fighter jets.

          They would continue with the original plan.

          "The Galactic ship poses and immediate threat to our colonization effort!"
          "The UN Charter will not authorize use of Planet Busters without consequences -"
          "Listen, Nehred! If you don't authorize that maneuvre, if you stop me from shooting that nuke at the Galactics, we will all die! Does not the Charter state that 'certain measures even outside the Charter can be used if the Colonization mission is under serious threat or even immediate destruction'?"
          "The old Space Mission article of the Charter is void, Skipp! We aren't the last remnants of humanity -"
          "Oh for crying out loud! We aren't, but we sure weren't either. Does not that make your entire Charter void?"
          "You are twisting the Charter for your own bloodthirsty purposes -"
          "An action your Commissioner was not too shy to commit."
          "I admit that Lal had his ways around the Charter, but I am not Lal... We are not the same."
          "All I ask is that you help me to make sure we can land on Aldebaran. From that on, every man - or woman - for themselves. Using the missile would be a pre-emptive strike to reply to an act of provocation. Besides, I doubt anyone would like to accuse us of atrocities, since we saved their necks."
          "And who knows what the Galactics can do about the nuke once it's launched."
          "Precisely. It might be our best, and only, shot."
          A pause as Nehred pondered. After a while she whispered: "Make it so, Skipp. Let me go back to my crew and personnel. Give me a data disc with the maneuvre program, and I will have it engaged."

          Zakharov was fast asleep in his room. The physicians were discussing the situation with Brionin.
          "He is not yet able to control his ability. Currently it seems like to have a consciousness of it's own, playing with it's capabilites like an adolescent." "Will he be able to master it?"
          "That is a question of time."
          "How about his psychological abilities?"
          "He is as far as I see it somewhat retarded mentally. It could be a symptom of the prolonged coma or a side effect of the mutation and it may be permanent or temporal. He is able to do normal motorical functions, like walking, eating and dressing up, but his social mind is like the one of a fourteen year old. His intelligence remains, however, and his IQ is somewhere around 160 to 180. Also his memory isn't fragmented; he remembers everything he should to the moment the HSA weapon was activated."
          "It seems that the Planetmind has finished his mutation", the other Gaian doctor commented.
          "Also we discovered something else very interesting. We planted a Zakharovian brain cell, only one, to the brain stem of a small laboratory rat. After an hour we added Planetmind cells, and it triggered the mutation to full strength. We were forced to place the mouse into an electromagnetically insulated cage."
          Sidney's voice flowed from the intercom speaker. "We are closing in at an approach vector to Aldebaran. There is no turning back now." The ship started to shake as it's engines started to make the last push.

          Sarita Nehred handed over the disc to one of the helmsmen. "Insert this, and follow it's guidance program. If it does not have an orbital approach sequence, write one quickly."
          The navigators and helmsmen started to execute the listed maneuvres. Suddenly the intercom announced: "This is Skipp. The missile is ready for launch at cargo airlock four."
          "Acknowledged", Nehred replied. She turned to Captain Mikalova and ordered: "Initiate the main landing sequence. All hands to Colonization Unit One." "Yes ma'am... May I ask... what is the plan with the nuke?"
          Nehred chuckled.

          Frontier was now on the side of Domination. They had matched speeds, and now the Frontier's navigational thrusters were warming up. But not to dock with Domination, but to turn against it. All people onboard had already fled to the Colony Pod attached to the ship's belly.

          Marie Curie and Shimoda were as ships sligthly different from the other ships in the system. Their hull consisted only of the Colony Pod section - there were two of them on top of another in Marie Curie, which was shielded at bow with a fuel tank, and at the aft there were the main engines. The ships had jettisoned the main engines immediately after reaching Aldebaran, so now there were only a pair of empty tanks and two colony pods plummeting towards Aldebaran One. Unity II was a miniatyr of the original Unity configuration, therefore it had the colony pods placed on it's sides, whereas the rest of the ship - that was bigger then the other Chironian ships - was dedicated to storing seed pods and other supplies. These would be dropped to Aldebaran One surface once Unity II would be close enough. One of the seed pod compartments had been fitted with the missile, and the pods themselves had been dumped out to space.

          From the scanner station of Colonization Unit One, Nehred observed with interest as the situation was unfolding. The first event was when the smaller Galactic ship made an erratic maneuvre and turned on to a collision course with the larger ship. At the same time the smaller ship launched a smaller landing vessel which fled to the planet and remained unscathed. Simultaniously, when the collision was found out at Unity II, Skipp launched the nuclear missile. It would make it to Domination in time, if it would not be shot down. Once the missile was launched, the Colonization Unit's detached and activated their own engines, racing for the planet and joining the remains of Shimoda and Marie Curie. The Galactic cruiser collided with Frontier and it's port side was seriously penetrated. At that moment, Empress Riley and most of the crew had already made it to the Colony Pod of Dominatin. All guns had been targeted at the incoming nuclear missile, in an attempt to preserve all the supplies inside the ship. They fired at point blank, but as the CU of Nehred started to approach the atmosphere, just before the scanners died out she could see six other pods, all in one piece.

          She saw the similarity with the original Planetfall, and shivered.

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          • #6
            Comments are welcome. I don't think any more backstory is really needed, especially if Kass or I decide to write part II to go along with the scenarios. However, questions are welcome too. And barring Kass or I taking up the story, someone else might want to finish it themselves, which is great!

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