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    Thread: Personal or Galactic Survival?

    1. #1
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Cool Personal or Galactic Survival?


      Personal Survival...or Galactic Survival?

      Chapter 1: Josh’s Homecoming

      Josh Harris was sitting in his room having a drink and looking at the Gal Net links like any other day. He was on board the Maidens Pride, a new Solar Transport that was taking him home after 16 months traveling the Fringe Worlds looking for resources that his Corporation might need.

      He had scanned hundreds of asteroids, and dozens of moons and uninhabited planets, but now his trip was soon going to be over, and he sat back thinking of all the places he had seen and been to. His records had already been sent back, and his Boss was pleased with what he found. It was more than enough to keep the Galactic Mining Guild going for another decade, even counting the drone miners and their insatiable appetites.

      Since the advent of Intelligent computers and drones using them, ships could be made in a month, and weapons and other hardware in hours easily. The Generic Printer on the wall in each room was everything anyone would need... food, equipment and water or juices at your fingertips, and ready to ingest in a matter of minutes. But thats the way it is in 3210, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

      He was just settling down for a nice nap when the ship rocked violently, and his eyes popped open to hear alarms and the computer screaming for everyone to get to the escape pods. The ship was under attack and he swore and grabbed his bag with his scanners and computer in it and ran out into the hall, to be grabbed roughly and thrown into a pod not much bigger than he was, and a second later....silence...as he tumbled out into space, and after a second to gather his bearings he managed to turn the power on and send a distress signal out ...but no one answered... at least not right away.

      “This is Josh Harris calling for all help within the range of my voice, we have been attacked and passengers are out in life pods drifting. Send help immediately...” he called but only static answered and he knew they were only a few days from the Core systems and only a few million miles from planets, since he saw them out his cabin window just an hour ago. But at near light speed they had traveled a long ways since then, and he didn’t know why no one was answering..or if anyone could.

      He sat back and waited for that answer, and finally the computer jumped in saying they were approaching a planet, and Josh saw the readings from the scanners, it was a temperate world, 18% oxygen, fresh water, and plants everywhere...not home... but better than nothing.

      “Can we land?” he asked as she seemed to think that funny and said ‘it depends on what ‘landing’ means to you.’ and he smiled, obviously this was one of the newer pods, with a fully sentient computer.

      “Anything I can walk away from.” He added as she agreed they could. He checked the place as they approached and after a minute he chose a spot near a lake and with some trees around it. “There...stop right there.” he said as she reminded him to tighten his belts and make sure he had a helmet on too, and after doing everything she ask he sat back with his eyes closed, not knowing if they would live or die today.

      The touchdown made him think this was less of a landing and more of a crash, but he gritted his teeth as the pod bounced and rolled for a minute then came to a sudden stop as it slammed into something sizeable enough to stop it. He sat back and the computer said the hatch was unlocked, and he turned from his seat and pushed against it and blue skies and white clouds greeted him, and since he was up and walking, that was all he had expected.

      “We made it in one piece...” Josh hinted, as the computer said that she wasn’t so sure of that. Once she was down like this she was basically worthless, unless she had another body to be set into later on.”you have a constructor built in right? I’ll definitely have need of that. We should start by making fresh water, or some machine that can purify natural water to drink.” he added as she said she could....with the right materials...make almost anything in due time, and he agreed and they seemed to have a deal.

      “Emergency equipment in the closet behind you.” She said and a little light flashed and Josh opened the closet to see some nutri bars, a odd looking rifle, and a small box of pills marked for infection.

      “That is a Model 22 Particle Transport, computer survival tool.” She said as he just laughed.

      “Looks like a little gun of some kind.” He mentioned as she agreed that it could be, if set up correctly.

      “It can be used for mining small surface ores, or hunting small animals. I wouldn’t suggest attacking anything bigger than you with it though.” She mentioned as he agreed.” Short range, less than 30 meters, can break up rocks into their constituent parts and do a little refining as well. bringing those refined ores back to me, and then we can make something better for you next time.” She mentioned as he nodded looking it over carefully.

      “I can recharge it a few times off my batteries...if we get good sunlight on this spot... we’ll see.” She added and he stepped outside to see a large field with weeds and bushes of many types, and he reached into his bag and pulled out a scanner and set it to find eatable plants, and started looking for supplies while it was still daylight.

      Chapter 2: Survival of the Fittest...Tech wise that is

      Josh walked a good distance, found a rock that was reddish and the scanner read iron ore... and he sprayed that with the beam on his gun and bits and pieces of ore popped and snapped and the computer called saying she was getting it all, and he was doing pretty well for the first day.

      “I made a list of the plants surrounding us here, gather anything marked with a check.” She added and he looked and saw maybe 6 things she had checked and when he tapped on the checkmark a picture came up showing it, helpful for sure.

      “I cant eat dead plants and sticks,” Josh said seeing one and she reminded him it was her job to know these things and Fiber was needed more than he would ever know.

      “Any type of cloth can be made from this one, even bandages, and we both know eventually you’ll need those.” She added as he just nodded sadly and went back to looking for more to gather.

      The little tool was a wonder, it had several settings... one for rock, one for defense, and one for gathering, and a swipe of the wide beam against a plant and it was gone in a second, and back at camp when he got there.

      “Here...” The computer said as a small door opened and out slid 4 newly made nutri bars and he stuck those in his pocket. “keep gathering like this and you’ll have a surplus soon enough. I can keep these in storage for weeks if need be.” She hinted as he agreed and sat down and ate one...and it wasn’t bad.

      “Here’s a small water refiner...” She added as a bottle like thing came rolling out next.” Just dip it into the lake nearby and shake well, there’s enough purifier inside to make this much safe easily.” She went on and he took that and snapped the hanger on it over his pants top and took his snack and walked to the lake and got the bottle filled. “Hmm there’s almost nothing in this water that can hurt you anyways.” She said as she saw the results.

      “And thats a good thing.” he remarked and took a nice big drink and started back towards camp.

      “Since we don’t know anything about night life here, better plan on sleeping inside tonight.” She mentioned and he totally agreed with that, and a few hours work later, he closed the door gently and sat back in his chair and got a few hours rest, while sometime during the night something made a loud scream nearby that jerked him awake, and he made sure the door was latched this time, as night sounds went on all around him until dawn.

      By sun up things got quiet again, and after a quick search, blood and bones were found not 200 yards away, and some interesting looking footprints that Josh scanned and the computer analyzed them.

      “A large carnivore...perhaps reptilian... and weighing around 500 pounds.” She said and Josh admitted that he didn’t want to meet one of those right now, and she agreed. “I think some specialized mining is in order, find the items on the list.” She said and Josh started looking for more iron, and copper and after walking for what seemed miles, he had a good supply of each and she called him back.

      When he got there there was a small table next to the capsule and a drone the size of a large bee flying back and forth, and as it did parts got made and then put together, and 30 minutes after Josh got back he had a gun, a real one this time.

      “This workbench is new...” Josh hinted and so she took the time to tell him that in an emergency she could create drones capable of working outside the capsule, and since she had minimal room for storage this helped a lot.

      “If I had some Silicon I could make more of those and make bigger things faster.” She hinted and Josh saw another trip in his future. “Go to the lake and look for soft, smooth looking sand along its edge and scan for it.” She insisted and away he went and after a little more walking he scanned a tiny ‘beach’ not more than 6 feet long and she was impressed and happy.

      “Get a good scan and then send some back to me.” She added and he did, and after a few minutes checking the quality she demanded all she could get, and he spent an hour slowly sending back sand until she stopped him.

      “This is high quality stuff, there must be a silicon vein upstream from there, something to check on later.” She said and he walked back to the capsule and now there were two tiny drones working, and she pointed him to a gun sitting beside the workbench, and a pile of 12 bullets to go with it.

      “High powered shotgun, short range but very deadly.” She mentioned and he agreed and swung it around checking out the feel of it, and she left him know that with more copper more bullets could be made. “ And more fiber...in a little while I’ll come up with a better way to get some but for now, you know what to do.” She added and he went walking and found some more little bushes or big plants that had seen better days, and she called him back before dark, and he sat inside drinking some tea from a plant he found and it wasnt bad either, and he sat back and fell asleep while dreaming of hot meals and big smiles at the many restaurants he had been to over his 25 years.

    2. #2
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Chapter 3: Gaining...Slowly

      In two days Josh had 20 bullets and started carrying the shotgun full time. He was doing pretty well too since now he had an idea where to look for things.

      By now the computer had 4 mini drones running full time and it seemed to be working on something beside the capsule that Josh didnt even know about. But he trusted her, and as time went on, days and finally a week, they got along well and things got done.

      “I never did ask you your name...” Josh mentioned while eating his evening meal as the computer seemed surprised he brought it up.

      “I am Model CLR 200 from the Itasca Research group.” She said, a little flatly he thought, as he smiled and nodded he understood.

      “Then for our purposes.. I’ll call you Clare...” Josh added as she seemed taken back a bit by this.

      “You shouldn’t take the time to worry about me, my life is getting short I’m afraid.” She mentioned softly as he asked why. “The solar arrays aren’t getting enough power to run everything full time. I’ve been shutting down things that aren’t necessary, or don’t work well to save power, but its only a matter of time now. If we get a week of rain or cloudy skies, my batteries might well fail.” She mentioned as he looked a little sad too.

      “Then we fix it,” he added without pause... as she got quiet for a second. “ I’m an engineer and I know together we can do almost anything...in time. But by myself I can do very little. I need your expertise and manufacturing help to move forward on this world.” he added as she admitted that with her help nothing...theoretically... was impossible.

      “Then its settled...start planning for a better power system or make the solar system more portable so better sunlight can be gathered.” he announced and she agreed, and a new turn was made in their work,and those little drones started making something else, and a few days later the solar panels were now on a wooden mount some feet away, and getting much better power.

      “Power efficiency has gone up 30% with better placement.” She announced, as he cheered for her and she seemed pretty happy too.

      “See Clare, there’s nothing that we cant do..given some work and time.” he mentioned and she agreed and her voice seemed a little shaky saying it. “Is there a problem?” he asked as she seemed embarrassed to say.

      “I appreciate your worrying for me...anyone else would have given up on me when troubles occurred and walked away.” She hinted softly as he laughed saying as an engineer he knew how bad things were, and without a skilled ‘partner’ he would never survive alone.

      “We’re in this together, one way or another.” he announced and she agreed and her focus turned towards faster production and more drones and Josh worked hard every day trying to get the things she needed, and was rapidly becoming quite the surface miner himself.

      After a month she was ready for the big reveal, and Josh would have been crazy not to see it being built a part at a time right behind the capsule. It looked like an ancient Moon Buggy or something but he was quickly told it was a high tech device, that just happened to look bad at the moment.

      “It’ll have a top speed of 20 MPH easily, and uses bio-fuel that is made from plants found everywhere.” Clare went on as he smiled and thanked her saying with this he could extent his range of operations and find more things quicker, and she agreed that was its purpose. “I’, assigning you a drone to help keep us in touch during your travels. What it sees I see.” She offered and a small cube floated over and landed on the top of the frame and she went on to explain the little buggy.

      “Put plant material in this box, it’ll be turned into fuel and run through those lines to feed the engine.” She said and he asked where the tubing came from and she said it wasn’t important right now...and he saw her scavenging from the capsule itself to make it work.

      “Is it ready for its first test?” he asked as she agreed, and he sat down on a box raised a bit from the floor and used voice control to tell it what to do, and after a few minutes practice, he was away bouncing along over the local hills seeing new things he had not seen before. Like silicon based rocks, that he quickly sent back and gave Clare even more to work with, and iron ore and copper, and soon she was in her glory, as new things and plans got made and drones came off her tiny assembly line to help.

      Chapter 4: Exploring..and sadly...Finding

      Josh slowly extended his range until he was told he went out of Clare’s tele-portal range for materials. He said he understood, but went on, around a lake and to the other side and one day as he came up to the top of a hill he was sunlight reflecting off of some shiny surface a few miles out, and he rejoiced that others were here, and ran that way.

      But in a few minutes he was standing by a large chunk of wreckage, and it was clearly half, or a large part, of a star ship that had crashed here.

      He slowly walked around it, gun in hand, but saw no one, but at the last minute a huge 6 foot spider jumped out at him and he fired into it, ending its life quickly.

      “This is wonderful!” Clare exclaimed as Josh asked why.” Using this for parts we can make something truly better, bigger, faster and even use this as a base for quite some time into the future. There has to be full sized rooms still intact inside, and electronics and refined metals to use...” She went on while overlooking the fact that some others had been here too...and were no longer around.

      “Come back and get me and my tools, then I’ll set up inside the new structure and we’ll be a hundred times better off.” She offered and Josh went back and together they moved the computer core and the constructor from the capsule to the big wreck, and after an hours work her drones set up the power grid to run only in the areas still intact, and by nightfall they had lights and rooms along one hall that were still air tight and safe from the outside.

      “I’m operating on emergency power for the moment,” Clare mentioned as Josh said it had to be better than before and she agreed. “In a few days my drones will have things set up better... there’s half a ship here after all. With all these materials we should be safe for quite some time.” She offered as Josh felt exhausted so he went to a room and laid down, for the first time in weeks, and got a good nights sleep while Clare worked feverishly to see he never found out that THIS was part of the Pride that they had been on until recently.

      This part had a few rooms still intact, as well as a generator, and some other equipment. It had miles of wiring and light carrying optic cables, and enough lights and other parts to set up a passable base for the near future.

      By the time sunlight hit the little base Clare’s work was evident, and Josh smiled to think she worked through the night, something only she could do for long periods of time. And while he slept she found the main computer link on board and with it backups of all the blueprints the original ship had...and her choices just went wild... since she had long ago decided that Josh’s survival was her top priority.

      Now she had plans for things like hover vessels, and weapons for on it and with the old wreck, refined metals of several thicknesses so making something so small would never be a problem. But if trouble ever came here then Josh would have a long term home on this planet...one that could move as necessary to stay alive, since she knew now that the enemies that attacked them had been here because not a single body had been found during the night, and her drones went out looking for nearly a mile in every direction, and now she ran full speed to make more, a dozen more, to speed up manufacturing of the necessary parts.

      Josh got up a little later and asked what she needed...his normal routine now... and she laughed and said nothing for the moment, and Josh went out for a ride looking for new things in the area, and seeking plants for food, while he was doing that her drone assistant she assigned him watched feverishly for any sign of trouble.

      His scanner did find a vein of copper ore near the surface, and another of iron a few miles away and slowly they built a new map of this area and its treasures, and Josh felt pretty good about things now, and the frame of a new unit was seen off to the side of the camp, and Josh was surprised its was as large as it looked, but said nothing.

      But she had been a busy girl, and the ship wide constructors in every room were working now, in the few they had, and her drones were being made from spare parts in the wreck in large numbers until it looked like the base was a small bee hive. But Josh knew from his own experience that Clare worked hard and worried harder...well...one of them should he guessed, since his curiosity got the better of him most times, and so he asked her a few times how things were going, as the old wreck got cleaner, and looked better and now there were stairs coming in and out, and Josh got a gift...a set of light armor and a helmet, and she explained how to use it to him, like he didn’t already know, but she liked playing ‘Mother’ so he left her have that.

      “Now extreme heat and cold wont bother you at all...and it can be used for diving to the bottom of the lake or rivers looking for materials we dont see out here. Just keep a close eye on your O2 supply and you can refill it from bottles that will be coming out of a unit I started today out back.” She went on and Josh finally asked when she took a break...and she got quiet thinking it.

      “So long as I have power and something to do I don’t need rest.” She offered, as he just smiled and said ‘everyone needs rest’ and she didn’t know what to say to that, but then he seemed more than ready to accept her as more than a machine...so she said she’d consider it, and went back to work while Josh tried on his new suit.

      The suit was incredible, it regulated the temperature inside so that, so long as power was available, you never needed to be hot, or cold for that matter. He felt it was kind of cheating...and he liked a nice cool morning following a warm day the day before....the difference between the two was what he liked, and he wasn’t sure that living in a custom suit was what he wanted full time. But he tried it on and wore it for the day. It was comfortable and easy to walk in and had a rocket/jet pack on it that left him jump at least 12 feet high, letting him see further if he thought he noticed something.

      So when night time fell he took it off and laid it over a chair in his room, and thanked Clare for doing it, and she was quick to tell him it was a standard thing in every constructor on every ship, and he laughed knowing it was used in space if someone didn’t get to a pod in time, or needed to go out and work on the ship, but that was OK with him, and they went on about their normal days and the thing out back got bigger and taller and he asked what she thought she was doing this time.

      “Standard hovercraft for long range travel and even can be used as a mobile base.” She mentioned as he asked why... and for a second he could almost see her eyes roll... and that made him chuckle thinking it.

      “Its a big planet and you cant explore it in that old thing,” She added and he agreed with that.” so this will get you to places that other thing cant, and has enough cargo space to bring things back we might need. This old wreck wont last as a source of materials forever, you’ll need to learn to mine and travel again gathering things.” She went on and finally he agreed and went to rest again and another 6 drones ran out to help on the little ship, because now Josh had taken an interest in it and his attitude showed that he wasn’t sure they needed it, but she knew better, and three drones were in the other room making ammo for a medium machine gun to mount on the roof, and Josh was going to be even more upset to see that.

    3. #3
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Chapter 5: Exploring far And Wide

      In a few days Josh had a new mission..fiber,lots of it...and he agreed, but before he left she gave him a chain saw, not a big one but it worked. she used the last of the fiber in storage to make a tiny bit of bio fuel for it, but once he felled a few trees their fuel problems would be over for a while.

      So he walked out and smiled, since the wreck was inside of the forest going far to cut trees was silly. He went to the nearest tree, notched it easily and after a minute it fell, and he scanned it in and it disappeared back into storage and from there into fuel.

      He asked how many they needed and Clare told him to keep going, and so after a little while she stopped him and he went back inside the base.

      “Now take these bottles of fuel out and start loading the ship, it’ll take many trips to fill it, and bring back the empty bottles, no reason to waste materials.” She said as he just laughed and carried out what looked like a plastic 5 gallon jug filled with fuel, and she showed him how to do it and after a minute the first fuel was inside.

      “Now the next one...” She said as he went back for another, and by the time the ship was filled his back could use a rest, and he mentioned it. “You don’t want to try it out first?” She asked and he finally gave in and went on board, and there was a ramp going up to a solidly made door, and it opened instantly and he walked in to see a nice place, lots of storage and even a small frig in the corner, and he knew she went all out on this one.

      He got into the pilots seat and looked around. It was well padded and comfortable and he saw he could use this for a long time this way. It had a good view from here too, and you could see for miles. He wished he had this when he got caught in a few thunderstorms not too long ago, and he saw why it was here a little more clearly now.

      “What do you think?” She asked and he smiled and said he needed to gather some food for in this and she reminded him that nutria bars lasted a long time without going bad, inside a fridge, even longer, and he agreed saying even fruit or vegetables would last longer now and she seemed happy he agreed with her.

      The first trip was a quick one but Josh got to see how well it handled, considering it was nearly 20 feet long. It was a lot more than he was used to, but it was comfortable too, had nice seats and even electronics to help him see enemies from a good distance.

      “The one storage closet has the old starter gun in it for emergencies, and more ammo for your shot gun, and there’s a new weapon coming for on the roof to protect you from enemy attacks.” She informed him and he saw, once again, her saying things she tried to keep to herself.

      “And how many enemies have you spotted so far?” He asked and while she didn’t want to say she had to answer, it was in her programming.

      “No enemies have been seen so far, not directly anyways.” She admitted as he sat back in the pilots seat and nodded sadly.

      “No bodies around the wreck anywhere huh?” he asked as she got quiet for a second after.”I’m an engineer Clare, not an idiot, I saw that the first day.” he hinted as she apologized for thinking he needed protected from this info.

      “So...you’re thinking there’s more wreckage and maybe more bodies somewhere else?” he asked as she agreed.

      “At least one more this size.” She added as he nodded he understood.”In case of emergency you need to keep food and water inside the new ship. It can run for hours without stopping and can be refueled from dried grass or twigs through the standard constructor that’s built in.” She added and he thanked her for planning ahead.

      “When the time comes we’ll be ready.” he promised and went back outside to gather fresh water and put it into the fridge too and started gathering for a trip.

      Chapter 6: First Real Enemy

      In two days Josh was riding along checking out new territories. His little fridge had 50 units of fresh water, more than enough for a few days. he carried a dozen energy bars for food, and more in storage. If need be he could travel and gather more, and there was a mini-gun mounted on the roof and 1000 rounds of ammo, and Clare’s drone watched and ran that autonomously.

      As he traveled he found some small bits of wreckage, but nothing like the big piece they were using as a base. these were odd bits worth little to anyone, even Clare, but he found a few cargo containers, and inside were some medical supplies and even some odd metals he hadn’t seen before.

      “ No matter what, bring everything home.” Clare would say and he stored it all and after a days travel started back the way he came when the gun on the roof started firing, and Josh stopped dead asking what it saw.

      “We’re under attack!” The little drone declared but Josh didn’t see anything. But a second later a few rounds bounced off their hull, and he started flying evasively until he got told the threat had passed. He turned and went back to see a smoldering pile of metal, and he searched it to find some ammo, one small gun, and a sign, or insignia on the side and he knew that sign at first sight.

      “Zirax...” He said right out loud and Clare ordered him home immediately...and he went...because he didn’t even know why he was attacked but he knew two or three of these would have been too much.

      “Now we know for sure..” Clare said as he rode along.” Zirax are killers and meat eaters. Their senior officers and staff can grow to 8 feet tall, and look weak compared to Humans, but their thin and spooky looking bodies hide a terrible strength, and many dont even carry weapons, because their nature is to kill and eat whatever they kill and they love a challenge.” She added as he agreed, he had seen information packets about them many times before.

      “If they are here and that was one of their drones, then you must have been close to one of their bases. They may not have known about us at all..but they do now.” She said almost in a panic as Josh reminded her that that drone wasn’t calling in anything, and she reminded him that her drone saw everything and reported to her in real time, and she wouldn’t expect any less from the enemy.

      “Then this is a Zirax world..” She said softly...and Josh could see more high speed construction going on very soon.

      And he was completely right. Clare went into overdrive, even for her, and drones ran out to add a second gun to the hovercraft, and a small constructor of its own, and better armor for defense. Then she added two guns to the base and sent out drones as far as she could to post in hidden spots and watch for attacks coming.

      Nothing happened for a week and Josh has food accumulated to last a while. But food has a shelf life, and even with refrigeration what isn’t eaten soon goes bad, so he needed to gather a little everyday, just to keep his stocks up.

      But even he didn’t know that Clare had a signal generator going on a coded frequency hoping to get hold of any Allied forces close by. The Zirax wouldn’t hear it, but any Navy vessel would. But after weeks trying she had not gotten even an automated signal in return, and that worried her even more than before.

      This area should be right along the trade lanes, and many ships would be going by not too far away. But not a single ship answered, not even an automated response to her distress call, and either that meant her signal wasn’t reaching far enough to get anyone...highly unlikely...or there was no one to reach. And that made her think bad things, like why the Zirax had claimed a planet in their space...and gotten away with it.

      They had been on this planet for about a year now, and in that time the Zirax hadn’t bothered to look for them. Or maybe didn’t know they escaped the stricken ship. But they just lost a drone to an attack, so they would think the worst, that a force had come to remove them and they would start planning an attack of their own.

      So Clare kept up her signal saying that they were being found, and they needed extraction, and hoped that some friendly forces would find them before the Zirax did.

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