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Projects & Development => Outpost Novellas => Topic started by: dave_erald on November 02, 2015, 11:44:24 AM

Title: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 02, 2015, 11:44:24 AM
Outpost 2 - Life at the End

Chapter 1
     The long hour after...
     More than half a thousand humans had left New Terra on the next generation Conestoga, and to them life showed promise. Now free of the suffocating grip of circumstance that was life on New Terra the ship was going to open up possibilities and dreams. For some it nurtured faith and love, for others it was like a burdening weight of uncertainty and fear had been shed away, yet for all it was giving validity to something rarely ever talked about, or seen.

     Anyone that was looking down on New Terra as the Final Stage of the rocket assembly fired knew that their faith and hope was justified and fulfilled. They were leaving behind an uninhabitable planet for which no one felt at home on. There was now only the sparsely lit and in some places cavernous inside of their temporary home. The titanium and alloys and ceramics of this ship resonated its purpose, that it was built around humans, and built by humans specifically for the preservation of life. This in a way felt more like home than that planet ever did. It wanted you to be there, it needed you there to function, and it was something that could never be said about the disappointment of rock and hell that became the world now distant in the rear view.
     Everyone could relax knowing that life on board the ship was going to be predictable and clean; free of the natural disasters and uncertainty of running from the blight, running from starvation and power shortages, everyone knew that the running was over.    Most of the ships inhabitants had already been placed in deep cryo-stasis in preparation for the long flight. Deep in space they had already gotten lost inside their own prefabricated dream world of the new life they had envisioned on the next planet. Life was going to be better. The colony was surviving.
     Darian Voss was sitting in his custom made Lynx chassis looking at the video feed of the now fading smoke trail that was the departure of the Conestoga II, knowing full well that life was not going to get better. Not for him, and not for the others that were left behind. Darian knew what that number was, and the number of people left both here and in the Plymouth colony was going to dwindle fast. There were almost 200 by last count, going nowhere.

"Two hundred of us left"

"One hundred and ninety eight to be exact" chimed in the all too familiar voice thru the vehicles speakers.

"Only one mattered. Just one..." Darian less said but forced out of his mouth, straining at control and sanity, crying still.

   He relaxed his grip on the steering wheel and forced himself to breath. It did neither himself nor anyone else any good, sobbing and weeping like a child in the minimally padded steel seat. This was a man some were certain was mined from the planet itself, never born in natural ways, now reduced to tears and emotion.
What a bullshit way to live, feelings.  Darian picked his hands up off the wheel and looked at them, they were working hands, ones that had lived and could tell stories out of every wrinkle and scar. But she’s gone now, and now I have to feel... feel like this? The hell did I let her leave for anyways? Grieving about it was nothing new to him, these feelings had happened before, though he would not be the first to admit he had them. The last time was less dramatic, less... singular. It was just as painful but at the time he had somebody that needed him to be a pillar, unshakeable. Now there was no one.

"There is an incoming call, looks like the Local Magistrate." Darian's savant came thru the speakers again. Jade was one of the few remaining computer savant programs left. Jade had been with Darian for 21 years now.

"Right, just give me a minute." The weathered man sitting in a battered Lynx, in the middle of an open desert, suddenly had nowhere he needed to be, and no one he needed to talk to.

"Okay put her through" Even in no mood to talk he still knew better than to test the limits of that woman’s patience.

"Darian its Katherine where are you?"

"I was two seconds from taking a long walk with no breathable air. Had I known you were calling...” Darian was upset but could still quip with the best of them. I don't want to talk, but that woman has no patience and will space you for ignoring her, Darian thought to himself, but I could throw a torque wrench at her and she would just throw it back and smile. The hell does that make sense? And yet, somehow, having to deal with this woman was starting to draw Darian’s' mind away from other things. He sat up and shook his head and his hands quickly to try and set himself back to reality.

"Everyone knows' the sacrifice you made so I'll let it slide. We are all missing someone"

"Thanks I guess. So what do you want?"

"We need to get out of here." Katherine's voice was stern but had a sense of urgency to it. Darian had learned early how to read her voice, albeit still clumsy but better than most other people.

A sly grin flashed across Darian’s' face "I think the recreational facility with the Jazz and the food you like that got hit in the last sand storm could still be operational" life sucks right now but maybe I can distract myself

"Not even once greaser" Because Darian had spent his life becoming a gifted, talented and trusted Mechanical Engineer and Repair Tech he had tried his best to avoid the stereotype of his position, and for the most part people considered him above the generic nickname, man I hope that’s not a pet name Darian often joked to himself, always hoping it was a joke.

And then the warning claxons started wailing and the colony Savant's voice Eve came over all working P'A' systems, work stations and vehicles.

“Warning seismic watch initiated”

"Looks like someone beat you too it." Darian remarked over the comm.

"And that would still be three steps ahead of you. We need to start looking over supplies and options. I need you back at the Command Center right away." Katherine was in no gaming mood, and he knew better than to test it.

"I'm not really in a state of mind to be thinking about the future your eminence. I have a bottle of New Terra Primed that’s like 40% alcohol that I plan to drink 100% of." Darian responded in a less diminished voice. The longer this conversation was going to drag on the less patience he could muster. "And I’m not planning on sharing so if that will be all" this prompted a stern response from Katherine.

"Nobody is going to lay pity on you, and everyone has lost just same as you have. Your loss is cruising out into the stars right now, most can't even say that. So when you’re done..." Darian killed the comm. He had finally had enough of everyone and there words. I buried my wife, and sent my only daughter out into deep space. My loss isn't bigger in comparison to others; it's just bigger knowing I’m staying here Darian voiced in his head.

"Jade was I wrong in sending Elena on that one way steel capsule into space?"

"There was no surviving on this planet, and she only got a seat because of you. You have done well. Be proud of that." Jade responded in her casual soft tone through the speakers.

"But since you're here and you’re going to be drinking you should go hook up with Katherine"

"Hook up eh?" Darian grumbled "you spent too much time with Elena before she left I think. She imprinted a bit of her naive spirit in you."

"Katherine is the top local authority, and by human standards her features suggest she's attractive."

"Oh good, now your sensors are failing. One more thing to fix I guess" Darian smirked; the man was upset but still had some humor left in him.

   Darian fired the Lynx up and started the short rough ride back to his residential complex. He could have easily just ordered Jade to drive but that would have been a waste of all the custom controls he put in, plus it gave his mind something to concentrate on instead of everything else. Right now Darian didn't know what he should be thinking about, whether he should be worried about cutting off Katherine like that, about Elena not being with him anymore, or whether that right rear motivator is going to last the rest of the ride back. Darian largely had his mind focused on that bottle of velvety smooth liquor squirreled away in a compartment in his quarters. For what little the colony could muster in regards to luxury consumables, Garvin Watt's Agridome hooch was fantastic.
   Darian had the airlock to the complex in sight when Jade began communicating over the comm. again.

"I have reestablished a data link with the Command Center. Looks like they got the communications array repaired. Data update downloading." Jade informed him. It would only be a few minutes to get all the recent data and to sort through anything relevant. Darian steered the nimble Lynx around and parked next to the airlock. Couple of switches later and shutdown of the Lynx began, and simultaneously the docking collar extended out to the door of the cramped vehicle.

"The Command Center confirmed good launch from the Conestoga II via skydock."

"Good" is all Darian could scrape together about that "now what do the one hundred and ninety eight of us do?"

"One hundred and ninety nine" Jade corrected him.

"Oh great, one more down here to worry about..." Darian rolled his eyes.

"No sir" Jade started "the Command Center data packet transmitted the most recent medic signals from all communicating implants, only 198 on planet."

"You said 199 Jade, now your math algorithms are shot?" Darian was now sitting upright and alert in his chair. He knew very well that Jade never made mistakes.

"Yes of course. 198 down here, the signal count tagged one on the skydock, a single person that should not be there."

"I know that" Darian almost shouted at the vehicle intended for Jade, a sentient computer program that was not represented in a physical form. One he wished had been so he could really vent his frustration on once in awhile. The skydock was what the Conestoga II was attached to before takeoff, everyone on board the skydock was supposed to be going along for the ride leaving it completely empty. The only two places for humans now should have been on that ship, or down on New Terra.

"Did the data burst from the skydock record whose signal it was?"

"Yes sir, checking now" Jade answered.

"Well than, who is it?"

"The signal belongs to Elena Voss."
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 02, 2015, 11:50:16 AM
Sorry for having reposted this. I felt that their were too many mistakes in that first post to correct. I hope to continue this as a novel, if it's only viewed by myself than that's fine too. I'll keep posting here as I write it, if anyone likes it or comments than great, if not I will probably just continue on regardless. This is something I have wanted to do for awhile so if this resonates with anyone else, awesome, if not then so be it. 

Also, I have tried to copy my MSword document to HTML and then to here unsuccessfully up to this point. If anyone knows of a streamlined way or reliable program I am all ears.

Thanks again.

Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on November 02, 2015, 03:42:58 PM
Stop apologizing for providing content. I actually look forward to seeing more of this -- and I'm sure there are plenty of others who feel the same way.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 10, 2015, 01:14:50 AM
Chapter 2
     Number 199

   Darian was about to set a record for fastest sprint from Res to Command Center, had the tunnels been in better shape he may have succeeded to. Each fifty foot prefab connection tube was built with a walkway, labeled conduit connections for ventilation, power and little else. However, since the launch prep for shuttles and supplies up to the skydock took precedence over tidiness, the time constraints slowly claimed each tube as a dumping ground for something non essential. Darian lost track of how many times he ran past coils of wiring, buckets of connectors, and just general garbage. Every second or third tube had temporary cots set up as all available time and raw materials were being used for launch day; this left the necessary Residential structures incomplete leaving colonists to sleep where ever they could. Darian had spent many nights in these hollow steel coffins in the past, and up until 15 years ago he would never have believed there was a good reason to be anywhere else, and then Elena was born; as part of the 3rd generation of colonists on New Terra it forced him live bigger.
     Darian stopped running for a second, partly to catch his breath, and the rest because reality was starting to crash down on him real hard and really fast. He looked over at the steel wall of the tube, balled up his fist and let it sail. The deep metallic thud of impact against the bulkhead resonated far and wide down the empty tunnels.

“Dammit” he cursed out loud to no one in particular.    
     He pulled his hand back, flexed his fingers and closed his eyes. The sting of flesh to steel coursed up through his arm, and it felt good. Pain was one of those problems he knew how to handle; it was transparent and real, it was simple. He also knew the answer, being an easy one he didn’t need anybody to intervene or call on for help. Unfortunately for Darian things were far from simple and way out of his grasp to fix alone. He was going to get his daughter back, but no clue as how to do it.

   Before walking again he found a bottle of dark liquid in a pile of junk staring up at him, grabbing the bottle and looking it over Darian opened it and downed the neck out of the clear bottle. The thick alcohol ran down the back of his throat and burned most of the way down. Darian turned in the direction he needed to go and began walking again, slower now with feet that felt twenty pounds heavier than before. Problems kept going through his head one after another with no answers to be found. The ship had left, New Terra was tearing itself apart, and those left behind in the colony were running out of time; if there was a silver lining somewhere he couldn’t find it. To top everything was his daughter still alive and on the skydock, the absolute last place he was going to be able to reach.

   Several paces later Darian found himself walking into the Command Center to convince everyone to help him and he hadn’t a clue of where to start, and he was walking into an argument already reaching its climax.

   Katherine was standing in the middle of the Logistics room upright and full of fury. She was in the center of the room next to a bank of work stations; the monitors displaying varying aspects of colony systems and functions lit up her shapely silhouette very well. The room was only ten feet tall stretching thirty by thirty and filled with vid screens, stations and work tables. Like most of the buildings in Eden it was purpose built and minimalist in nature, there were no windows to look out of and what little light emitted from a few working ceiling lights only served to be swallowed by the pale grey walls and floor. Neither she nor anyone else noticed Darian walk in and he used the pissing contest to hide in the shadows. He sat down with his newly acquired bottle and let the scenery unfold; this was going to be enjoyable right up until someone noticed him. Katherine at the moment seemed to be venting directly at a short stocky man Darian knew to be Arlan Pryce. The man was sufferable at best and had an affinity for side dealing. As the colony Quarter Master Arlan also took stock of all items and supplies and knew where everything was everywhere all the time, this worked to his advantage and made it easy to adjust numbers. This was the confusing part for Darian as he couldn’t understand what would compel Katherine to be yelling at him, and why he would bother hiding anything, there was nobody left to hide it from.

“Why the hell are my Patrol Officers finding stores of food and weapon supplies hidden in unfinished conduits that aren’t on the colony manifest?” Katherine wasn’t quite at her full volume setting but everyone in the room could tell she was creeping up on it pretty quickly. Arlan tried to stand up straight and stick his chest out but looked to be having a hard time with Katherine’s voice deflating him.

“We have extras and I’m entitled to look out for my interest and the interests of those…” Katherine cut him off by involuntarily taking a step forward and somehow making herself another foot taller over the little man, although her getting taller could have been the hooch Darian was downing bit by bit. Katherine looked down at Arlan, looked him over and then let him have it.

“You’re not entitled to shit unless I say you are” Even twenty feet away Darian noticeably shrunk in his chair a little. “Everyone has been working day and night for the preservation of life in this dark little corner of the universe and not once have any of us thought of ourselves first.” At this point she drew her sidearm from the holster on her left hip and stuck it in Arlan’s temple, Darian wasn’t surprised that it drew everyone’s attention because even he tensed up a bit. Katherine’s voice dropped a few decibels but gained vehemence.

“If you start hoarding and stealing from others again I’m wasting you. Plain and simple, understand?” Arlan was starting to perspire a little for obvious reasons.

 “Got, got it. Ma’am” is all he could muster. The man collapsed into the nearest chair and looked visibly whiter than before.

   Firearms were not permitted to anyone except high ranking officials and P.O.’s so it was easy for her to acquire one for personal protection. Darian had his with him at all times for the same reason even though the squabble with Plymouth colony mostly over now he probably didn’t need it, he also wasn’t going to give it up either. The acting P.O. Sergeant took her hand off the sidearm in its holster and relaxed a little. Sylia Daxon had only just fallen into the position of overseeing all of the Patrol Officers; most of the experienced personal had left on the ship leaving her to cleanup whatever she could. Dark haired, dark skinned and both physically adept and strong willed by everything Darian knew about her.

“Katherine could you maybe relax and not threaten to shoot people that have already accepted dying here” Sylia was already lowering the hand she had raised in an effort to grab Katherine’s attention and motion her to calm down.

“What do you want me to do, just let anything and everything happen and quicken are eventual starvation because one man has hidden everything?” Katherine blurted back to Sylia and for the moment at least looked to be relaxing a little, but only a little.

“Why does anyone think you should be in charge anyways?” was yet another voice from further down the room. Vaughn Malworth stood up out of his chair and was looking directly at Katherine. He had been sitting beside Garvin who for the moment looked to be doing the smart thing and staying shut the hell up.

“Why can’t we hold extras for ourselves? And why do we need you in charge? Why do we need anyone in charge?” Vaughn said as more statement than questioning.

“I asked for you to be here to represent what’s left of the resident community. And when you find someone better than I that hasn’t given up on the remaining populace then by all means put it to a vote” Katherine replied.

“I hadn’t given up yet” Vaughn started “and I don’t believe that I ever will. In fact I am putting my name in right now as governing leader to coordinate what’s left of us into a working colony again” Malworth was on older man, in his late fifties with grey receding hair combed back away from his mostly ageless face. Vaughn for all reasons would have been on the ship and out of the system by now if it wasn’t for his age being an automatic rejection from the lottery. That a man of his years was still in great shape is a testament to his character, and that he commands a loyal following amongst the older population of residents left on planet was indicative of the influence he had, which from what Darian heard was only because of how adept he was at using people against themselves. The reason Vaughn wasn’t on that ship came down to simply his age; medical factors were top priority with 50 being the absolute cut-off and that even included him in his healthy state. It was something that Vaughn would likely be cross about for the rest of his days.

“If anyone has a good reason why I shouldn’t be leading what remains of us then please speak up” Vaughn looked around to the few people that were in attendance. Darian felt this was probably a good enough time as any to start talking.

“Well to start, you’re an ass hat.”Darian took one more swig of the bottle knowing he may not get back to it any time soon.

“You” Katherine almost yelled across the room at him. Darian didn’t know what Katherine was going to do next but figured he may as well take his place same as the others and stood up, wishing he had a blindfold and a smoke.

“What happened?” she started in on him “did you have trouble or you cut me off mid sentence?”

“I cut you off. I wasn’t in the mood for talking then and I’m not in the mood right now, I just don’t have a choice now”

“Damn straight you don’t have a choice. You’re one of the few I can count on, I have half a mind to hit you with the butt end of my gun” Katherine was standing right in front of him now and he was unsure whether she was going to hug him or hit him. He was kind of hoping for neither.

“My not having a choice isn’t whether you say I do or not. It’s about my daughter.”

“What about her?” Katherine said slowing her pace again.

“She’s on the skydock.”

“What? No everyone up there is on their way out of the solar system by now.” She was now starting to get confused and irritated. The confusion was from wondering why Darian would make any of this up, and irritation from Darian just being Darian.

“Jade downloaded all the launch information and current local data. The colonist implant tracking system registered her as alive and well on the skydock thirty minutes after launch.  I was running over here to tell you and get everyone help me get her back.” Darian snuck in another gulp of the fire liquid “but on my way here the more I thought about it the more reality wore me down. Elena is up there going nowhere and I have absolutely no way of reaching her.” As much as he wanted to go on the weight of hope for seeing his daughter crushed him back into his seat.

“Why is Elena on the skydock? What could possibly have made her want to stay?” and before Katherine could finish that train of thought the colony savant was on the rooms speakers.

“We are receiving a communications request”

“From whom?” Katherine answered.

“The request is coming from the skydock. Shall I put it thru?”

“Yes absolutely” Darian said. Still mired in his seat but showing a glimmer of life.

The radio crackled to life, a burst of static leapt out of the speakers and then finally a familiar voice.

“Hello? Can anyone hear me?” Elena’s voice came thru nervously.

“I’m here. What are you doing there?” Darian replied out loud. Suddenly he could feel himself shedding mass and lightening up for every word that he got to hear in his daughters’ voice.

“Dad? Is that you? It’s good to hear you again.” Elena started pouring emotion “I was so worried I was going to get caught and not be able to reach you again”
“What in pick a holy man’s name are you doing on that blasted skydock?” Darian was elated with being able to talk to his only daughter again, but his happiness was slowly turning into worry and annoyance at her for not being on that ship.

“I found a way to get you off that planet and come with me. Is it safe to talk?”

“Yes of course it is. Just how do you suppose you were going to help me?” Darian asked curiously aloof.

“Plymouth has another space ship.”

   Darian didn’t need anyone to tell him his mouth was open and that he had the most empty and vague look on his face, which looking around the room at everyone it was the unanimous stare on all faces. Darian put the liquor to his mouth and finished off what was left in the little bottle; he then turned and looked at Katherine.

“Care to extrapolate on that one your highness?” Katherine looked down at Darian in confusion.

“I seriously have no idea what she’s talking about.” Katherine sounded genuinely surprised by Elena’s statement.

“On the whole ride up to the skydock and while waiting for launch one of the girls from the other colony said how even though we were working together that her people still didn’t fully trust us and that this mission would not succeed” Elena paused to catch her breath then kept on going as if she would forget it all mid explanation. “She said that they were doing what they could to build a backup ship in case this plan failed. Now being up here and safe from the planet she didn’t think it was going to do any harm by saying something”

   Garvin who didn’t have any emotional interest up till now was standing and excitedly bouncing at the idea of getting off planet. What was more worrisome to Darian was the quiet demeanor he could see in Vaughn; he didn’t like the look of wheels turning behind his frosted over eyes.

“So how do we get to this ship and get it up to the skydock?” Katherine asked to anyone in the room. For the first time since Darian regretfully put Elena on that launch vehicle and set her into orbit he had purpose again. Darian stood out of his chair and looked up at the ceiling as if talking directly to his daughter.

“Elena when you accessed the panel your talking to us on now did you come across the communications channel to the Plymouth Colony?” Darian asked. It was a few moments before Elena responded.

“Yes it’s right here. Why?” Elena said. Katherine looked over at Darian with what he imagined was the same look on his daughters face.

“Yes, why exactly Darian?” Katherine folded her arms and glared at him.

“Well if we plan to get off this planet were going to need to cooperate with them, plus if they were building a second ship it isn’t anywhere that I know of. We need to find it so we can start making our way there.” Darian grabbed the nearest working tablet he could find and started drawing up a list.

“We have little for food and supplies, the Blight is tearing up the planet between us and them, and the only working space port on this planet is about to be demolished by an approaching storm. Just how exactly do you plan on leaving this rock?” Katherine asked him.

“I don’t know” Darian said “but I’m not staying here, so are you going to help me or not?” Darian looked at Katherine and then walked out of the Logistics room.
One way or the other Darian wasn’t staying on this damned planet any longer.

Now he had somewhere to be.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on November 10, 2015, 02:42:37 PM
Looking good! Keep it coming!
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 10, 2015, 06:26:19 PM
I realize that there is going to be grammar and sentence structure errors galore, but for now it should suffice as a good extension of this world. I am constantly going over my source copy, checking and rewriting small sections as I read them serves to help me correct previous mistakes and hopefully avoid future ones. Again I am reading over my stuff for a third or fourth time out loud learning as I go.

And if anyone reads this and notices something or thinks there is a better way or picks up on something I've missed or mistakes then please by all means let me know.

I am in no way a pro or even an amateur at writing so any and all constructive criticism is welcome.

Thanks and enjoy reading.


P.S. I am also doing this in between a regular day job and family so if updates are infrequent I apologize, and if you don't like it go right your own.

EDIT - go write your own. Right? Right.       

 Yes I have a day job.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on November 11, 2015, 02:42:02 PM
Someone is posting novellas again!

I'm excited.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on November 11, 2015, 03:34:49 PM

Fixed that for ya.  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 11, 2015, 03:53:11 PM
Write Right. Got it.

See what I mean about rereading everything... Good grief.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 15, 2015, 12:56:14 AM
I've almost got Chapter 3 typed in, and I've got it in my head to get a chapter a week posted but with life as it is it could be longer than that. Also I need to set some time aside to do some multiplayer.

So it could be a week and a half to two weeks before each chapter is up. Patience is key.

I'm having fun with it.

Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on November 16, 2015, 11:21:54 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing more.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on November 18, 2015, 12:03:31 PM
Chapter 3
     Out in the cold

     Dark, vacant and empty were the best words Elena could use to describe the inside of the orbiting catacombs she now found herself in. The entire skydock was now abandoned, and lifeless, and Elena could feel it without anyone having to reassure her. She was alone, spinning around the planet in a high orbit waiting for someone to come get her. Her father had just left whatever room he was in when the conversation started and then the comm. went dead, those few moments of interaction were enough to convince her she was not entirely alone.

“Hey kiddo you still there?” Elena almost jumped when she heard her father’s voice again.

“I thought you killed the channel. What happened?” Elena asked

“Had to run out and get started on something. What’s your status up there?” Darian’s voice sounded as if it were competing for someone’s attention, if Elena had to venture a guess it’s that he was rummaging thru things while talking.

“Umm give me a sec” Elena got up from the workstation to look around the control room she was standing in.

     Black steel walls, vid screens and ventilation tubes filled the minimal space afforded by the room’s cramped interior. Little else was around to attract attention, there was only enough in here to run what was needed and oversee the important functions of life on the skydock. A few stations had a cup of coffee or random food packet lying open and left behind, the station engineers and science crew in too much of a hurry with preparations’ to notice little things like that, which partly explains why Elena was able to get off the ship without anyone finding out. Two stations down she found the screen she was looking for.

“Okay got it. Life support looks to be in good shape, with next to no one up here the co2 scrubbers are barely being taxed, I would guess easily a year or more with little maintenance. Food supplies I would have to go do a visual on as the log hasn’t been updated in over a week, it’s a good bet they took most everything. Power and navigation look good, orbit is holding steady and there are no red flags in the systems queue.”

“Good” Darian responded “there you are dammit” his voice trailed off as more muddled noise filled the speakers.

“What are you doing?” Elena asked her father.

“Looking for my bottle” she was pretty sure the next sound coming out of the comm. was of him cracking the seal on a bottle of Agridome hooch, the same bottle she gave him two months ago, and of him taking a sizeable drink from it.

“Is it any good?” Elena asked of him

“Nope, worse than the one I just finished” Darian choked on the vile liquor.

“Worse than what? Wait how many have you had now?” Elena asked.

“That’s a damn good question, care to answer there Voss?” another voice shot across the room Darian was standing in, Elena guessed that was Katherine, and her earlier assumption of him being on the open speaker channel in his room had to be correct.

“Both of you never mind, Elena go check your food supplies” her father mostly ordering her.

     Elena rolled her eyes then looked around for an earpiece and found one in the first drawer she searched. Looking across the room she found what appeared to be the commanders work station and sat down for a second deciding on searching for anything useful before walking away. The desk was littered with tablets, mostly displaying assignments that must have been handed off to section leaders and miscellaneous crewmen during the final weeks of prep. Most of them were filled out properly but at least one wasn’t, and it was the only one on the desk that looked out of place. For some reason this datapad was filled with information about food supplies, which was exactly what Elena was looking for though this one did not appear to be updated in at least as long as the other manifests were. Still something caught her attention it and just wasn’t making any sense to her why.

“Why is there a datapad about food manifests on the commanders work station?” Elena asked her father over the comm. link.

“Maybe because that was part of his job, you know overseeing supplies and personnel and what not. Commanding maybe? Did you find the supply hangar yet?” Darian was amusing at first though his voice slowly turned to annoyance at his daughter not listening.

“Yes I get that, why does it list all specific items? And why haven’t most of the checklists up here been updated recently?”

“I don’t know, maybe when you get to the supply hangar you can find out.” Darian insisted again.
     Elena rolled her eyes again at her father for not listening to her. She made one final check under the desk for a sidearm taped to the underside and found none. “Figures” she said out loud to herself, not that I honestly expected to find one she thought. Elena got up and made her way out of the room and off to the supply hangars.

     Elena continued a monologue in her head that her dad often confused for daydreaming when he caught her in the past not paying attention why would you need a gun anyways? There is literally nobody for thousands of miles; you’re in high orbit, nobody’s here, why am I looking for a gun? Elena stopped walking for a minute to let everything sink in, she really hadn’t considered just how far she was from anyone, how she was now thousands of miles from everyone. I really am all alone up here. Elena stared off into the distance for quite some time before coming too again. When she started walking again it was at a much slower pace, she may only be 15 years old but even she was mature enough to understand how there need not  be a rush, especially right now, her father may be barking at her to find food but Elena knew that walking would be more than quick enough. The single and very much alone cosmonaut on the skydock took two rights and a left and found herself walking down a long single hallway leading towards the supply hangars at the far end of the space station. Having artificial gravity up here made movement a lot easier and faster, and traversing the station much less of a chore. Before making it to the end she stopped at the only window halfway down the passage and gazed out into the darkness that was space.

   Closest to her was New Terra, the planet was just in view and about to pass below her feet. Even at this distance and with no atmosphere on the planet worth mentioning she had a perfect unobstructed view of the pot marked and darkened planet from which she was born. Bright red streaks of newly erupted lava flows in the equatorial region of the planet traced along its scorched surface, a beautiful contrast to the dark and jagged rock faces it was leeching out onto. Past that to the north were some of the more common low lying and level plains of the planet, large regions of oxidized rust and dirt blending naturally towards grey tracts of land that are more abundant on the planet’s surface and riddled with the more common astronomical debris that had been hitting the planet for millions of years. The frozen methane and co2 of the relatively smooth tundra that comprises the northern cap was just coming into view as she stood there absorbing all of the natural beauty the planet had to offer, that is of course when the planet wasn’t actively trying to kill you. Little else could be distinguished from this distance, and it was just as well as the planet slowly disappeared below her. Much farther past where she had been looking was the sun New Terra was orbiting.    

     From everything she read it looked much like the same star her ancestors had fled some couple hundred years ago. At that moment Elena put a hand up on the window and found herself closing her eyes and relaxing in the bright glow of the distant inferno, embracing the warming violence of the solar fire had Elena standing still for the longest time; living on the planet and feeling the suns glow was one thing, but being up here alone and having the opportunity to pause for a minute and embrace the warmth was infectious. This she was certain to be and from as far back as she can remember the first time that she could recall places and events and feelings that she felt peaceful.

     Even when her mother was alive it was somehow different, it felt secure and safe being in the arms of her mother, but because life was always hurried or hidden away at times from vortex or electrical storms it still never felt calm, it never felt peaceful. Elena finally turned from the window and continued on her walk towards the supply hangars. Stepping away from the viewport she now found herself visibly shaking from the cold of the skydock and it reminded her to either turn up the ambient temperature or put on more clothing, “put a coat on and get back to work” she could hear her father in her head. Strolling up to the end of the corridor and into a junction heading off in three directions, one to her left labeled ‘R.L.V. Dock’ which was for the two Reusable Launch Vehicles that ferried passengers and cargo up from the planet. Directly in front of her was the passage to the supply hangars and to her right was the corridor leading down to the Ship Assembly Sub Section of the station.

     Opening the bulkhead door in front of her she stepped into the cavernous storage and assembly hangar section of the skydock. Elena remembered seeing this area when walking past with the group being escorted into the starship but never being allowed in, as was the case up here that most areas were off limits and required key card access. Once she stopped to think about that it dawned on her that she hadn’t required cards or pass keys to get into anywhere on the station thus far, it sort of made sense seeing as nobody was supposed to be left behind and it meant little need for security lockdown of any type. Still it was curious.
     The hangar was largely empty now, scattered on the floor were random crates and boxes, some of the preassembly of the starship was done in here so there were plenty of tool carts about as well. Elena started on the first crate and got it open without much fuss.“Clothes” she said aloud “at least I won’t freeze to death, right away that is” and pulled out the first black jacket she could find that fit her. The rest of her attire, dark pants, white shirt and work boots that were standard issue for her on the planet would suffice for now. She was given a pair of much lighter slip on shoes when she first arrived on the skydock but chose not to take them “if it don’t work, it don’t stay” her father preaching in her head again. And she liked her boots much better anyways.

     Two more useless crates before the fourth one finally bore fruit “emergency rations, MRE’s and dehydrated food packets by the hundreds” she stated after running her hands thru and identifying in bulk what looked to be in the crate. Grabbing a food packet that was just simply silver with a green label and closing the crate lid she looked around for more items to rummage through. A black case about four meters in length caught her eye and she walked over to it. Kneeling down in front of she pressed the open lid button on the front case, the red light turned green, a few barely audible clicks and the lid popped up off its seal. Elena grabbed the top and swung it up and away from her to reveal what looked to her to be missile components.

“Hey dad” she called over the comm. “what is a Mark 2 103EMP7?”

“103EMP7, 103 ahh right that’s one half of the center section of a EMP missile. The 103 section has the charge core and burst circuitry for the EMP portion itself. Why?” Darian replied.

“I’m standing in front of one right now, found a black case and I opened it looking for supplies” She answered.

“How did you get the case open?” Katherine asked through the radio this time sounding genuinely concerned.

“I just walked over to it, pressed the case open button and pop, it opened.”

“That’s a high level restricted munitions case. Only command level designation opens it, which would only have been handed out to the person in charge of the skydock and one senior level scientist or munitions expert.” Katherine went on “do you have a Alpha level clearance badge or pass card on you?” Elena quickly checked all of the pockets on her new coat and came up empty just as she thought she would.

“Nope. The only thing I have on me is this jacket I just found and a datapad from the command deck and that’s it. I don’t even see anything else lying around near me or the case…” She had intended to go on until Katherine cut her off

"Wait, what datapad?”

“It was one lying on the Command Officers desk. I put it in my pants pocket and didn’t think anything of it. Why?” Pulling the datapad out of her pocket to look it over and found nothing of the unusual sort to it.

“The pass card may have been grafted into that datapad, not sure why you would waste the time to do that, but of everything up there you managed to unknowingly grab the magic key to the SkyDock” Katherine explained to her “why did you take it in the first place?”

“There was something weird feeling about it, not that this doesn’t qualify, just something else. However now the blue message notification light is blinking but there aren’t any new messages in the system that I can find. This thing keeps getting more and more confusing, probably broken.” Elena was still flipping through the pages on the datapad when her father burst back through the radio at her.

“So, about the food supplies?”

“Yes yes, I found one crate so far, it’s packed with all sorts of food items, if I’m paying attention and my math is right it could last me almost six months. It is just me up here after all.” Elena found herself looking around again to confirm that.

“Okay good. Close the missile crate and make your way over to the R.L.V. dock. May as well make sure both ships are still attached and useable right now.” Darian started “you haven’t found any signs of structural damage or pressure leaks right? Any signs of power loss to parts of the station?”

“No, no and also no.”

“Good. Are you at the starboard side dock yet?” her father was always impatient when he wasn’t right there, and sometimes when he was too.

“Just a minute, dad” She said getting up, she used the heel of her boot to close the lid of the missile crate and turned towards the hangar door.
     Out of the hanger and a quick right she could now see the outer door to the docking compartment. Like the rest of the doors this one opened for her as well, she began to wonder just how many things she was able to do because of the datapad she was carrying. The bulkhead door slid to her right to reveal the interior of the docking module. The room was filled with a wall of metal cabinets to one side holding spare space suits if need, breathable oxygen tanks, helmets and other assorted necessities required for space walks. The other side of the room was lined with benches and seats; little else was around as it was mostly empty to allow personnel to carry supplies and equipment on through to the hangar or the Starship that used to be at the end of the corridor. Elena walked over to the first docking port and looked out the view window and found nothing connected. She walked down the room to the second docking port and looked out that viewport beside that docking door.

“Well there’s one Launch Vehicle attached to the skydock” Elena said after looking it over then turning her attention to the command screen next to the door.

     The readout said there was a good seal and that the R.L.V. was communicating with skydock properly, all systems showed green so she pressed the open door sequence into the command screen. There was the sound of locks disengaging, air being passed through as the pressure from vehicle to dock was being balanced and moments later the dock door unlatched and slid away to her left with a hydraulic groan. The air from the connection tube was stale but breathable as she walked the short distance in between the skydock and the outer door of the ship. The small pad next to the door had few buttons on it and Elena found the one for opening the ship door and pressed it. The same audible groaning noises could be heard out of the ships door as it unlatched and moved out of her way in protest.

“What do you mean there is only one ship?” Katherine asked loudly and suddenly in Elena’s earpiece making her wish she didn’t have the bloody thing at all.

“One, there is only one docked and attached to the station, and I’m about to walk into it.” Elena replied as she kept walking into the ship. The dock was coupled to the starboard side of the ship just behind the cockpit. She could see the command console of the big ship but didn’t see any flashing red lights from where she stood so she turned towards the cargo hold aft of the ship and started walking.

“Where the hell is the other one? I don’t remember hearing about it coming back, do you?” Katherine must have been looking at her father because he almost immediately answered back.

“No of course I don’t, it was supposed to have stayed up there as near as I can figure, those things aren’t automated so somebody flew the damn thing back down here, I assume.” Her father sounded bothered by having to answer that question, and Katherine was adept at asking him obvious questions that she knew would wind him up.

“Well where is it?” so Katherine did it again.

“Why in the hell would you think I know the answer? Maybe its flight log got recorded in the Skydock  computer, or go ask Sylvia maybe she knows, wait a sec, hey Jade” Darian called out to his Savant

“Yes Darian how can I help” Jade piped through into the room her father and Katherine were in loud enough that Elena could hear.

“Where are the two R.L.V.’s?”

“One is attached to the skydock and the other I lost track of during its decent to the north.” Jade replied.
     There was a long silence before Elena finally jumped back into the conversation. “So what’s going on?” she asked after finally making it to the cargo hold. This time the door didn’t immediately open for her when commanded to. She tried a quick work around but still nothing. “And why won’t this door open?”

“What is north of us, Katherine? And what door? What are you doing?” Darian was getting quite confused and upset now.

“I’m trying to open this cargo hold door on the Launch Vehicle but it won’t budge, a security encryption or something is stalling me.” She looked around to make sure there wasn’t something obvious she was forgetting to do.

“Don’t worry about that for now, there shouldn’t even be anything in there to begin with” her father said. Elena looked down at the interface screen for the door and found the cargo hold camera controls. Flipping the one on and panning around the room to reveal that it was clearly not empty.

“Uhh there’s stuff in there. You said empty, it’s not empty” Elena mumbled into the radio.

“What?” Her father asked “Well what is it?”

“I can’t tell from here, at least one large section looks like a fusion drive module, or part of one from what I’ve seen. Didn’t they take that with them on the new Starship?”

There was an even longer silence than before. When it finally broke Katherine was the first to speak again.

“What is going on around here?”
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Vagabond on November 24, 2015, 02:35:56 PM

Great story. I've enjoyed reading so far. It fits the themes of the original Novellas well.

Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on November 28, 2015, 10:29:26 AM
Ok, I finally had time to read through all of that. Very engaging. I'm eager for the next part.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 01, 2015, 10:44:19 AM
First I would like to say Thank You to everyone that has read up to this point. It means a lot knowing anybody is reading and taking interest, it means more to me that people are waiting for more to come out.

I had originally had it in my head for these chapters to be a little longer than what they are, but after re reading them as forum posts it only makes sense to keep them just a little bit shorter to fit in. Maybe one day I'll put it altogether in one book and can extend some of the descriptions and story telling a bit more.

Oh well...

.. on to Chapter 4!
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 01, 2015, 11:01:35 AM
Chapter 4

     Both Darian and Katherine shared an uneasy silence for a long time after Elena’s last communication, neither one knew what to say or even what to do with the new information. In the end someone had to speak, as both people were going to get nothing done, and go nowhere otherwise.

     Darian looked Katherine directly in the eyes and said “So, care to explain all that? Plan on building a second starship and not telling anyone?”He thought he knew where everything was and how everything happened in the last 6 months but, lo and behold, this planet still had secrets to give up.

     He put the bottle to his lips and sucked back more of the robot degreaser someone tried to pass off as alcohol when they packaged it. Darian may never have been privy to all information going in and out of the colony, and he used to be fairly certain of the whereabouts of all bases and equipment, but every once and awhile something would happen to make him question his judgment. Of course now wasn’t about questioning his character, it was more about ascertaining who he could trust at all. Darian was getting ready to throw almost anyone out into the thin atmosphere of the planet for answers when the woman across from him started to talk again. He was almost sure he could trust Katherine, he had been wrong before.

“I don’t have an answer for any of that, why would you think I should?” She reached out to him, fearing she was going to throttle him with a sucker punch he braced against the cot he was sitting in; instead she grabbed the bottle from his left hand, spun and sat down on the bed next to him. Katherine turned the bottle up and almost drank half of the contents before speaking again. This time she wasn’t talking at him defensively, her words had a sudden weight to them, the somber tone in her voice that Darian knew very well, and then he remembered why she sounded the way she did.
     She looked at him and said “I would give anything to be up there with him, but I would never take from others to do it, you know that” Katherine set the bottle down beside her and became quiet. As each moment passed the strong willed woman sitting next to him, the one that never grew complacent with this world or of the idea to surrender to fate,  became more tired and less worried about keeping up appearances, so much so even that she slowly closed her eyes, lowered her head, and began to cry.

Darian almost forgot about Ethan.

     Ethan was her sixteen year old son, now on the Conestoga II and barreling out into space. The kid was a blond haired dreamer, not a lot unlike his mother, only he was less restrained by the gravity of influence cast down on by peers, and of life on the planet itself. Darian knew Ethan well, the kid was around his daughter whenever possible in these last six months. Ethan got an automatic ride on the ship with his mother having to be left behind, something that surely weighed heavily on Katherine, and may have even taken something from her altogether when he left.

     Elena had been following in her father’s footsteps from a young age and after her mother passed away she had become even more of a shadow to him. Ethan had never lived through that sort of emotional trauma and didn’t feel the need to be at his mother’s side as much as Elena was to Darian. Ethan was always off on his own finding a place for himself in the colony, Katherine was dealing with people and problems and with the violent outbreak of activities leading up to launch day the two spent even less time together.

     Just as Darian was remembering that Katherine was more alone on this world than ever before, Katherine was just beginning to realize that she was living it, and not enjoying one bit of it at all. She was however, enjoying the bottle in her hand so much so that Darian reached over to take it before it was all gone.

 “There’s some kind of point to all of this right?” Katherine looked over at Darian. Taking a swig and then turning to her “To live on, to control ones destiny I would surmise, which is a bit farcical to think as I have been feeling an overwhelming lack of control as of late, probably has something to do with Elena being on that damn skydock. If I you were to ask me I would say she may have found the worst place to be, which is shocking coming from somebody having survived some forty years on this bloody rock. She’s not on that ship heading towards what should be a better life, and she’s not down here staring at the end, she’s right in the middle, waiting for nothing to happen… would drive me nuts man.”

     Darian turned his head to look out the plate window of the tight room, staring off into the distant sunset. It must have been forever since the last time he sat still looking at nothing, and even now at the end of the day when things should be slowing down there was a still flurry of activity on this desolate rock whipping around in space, at times when Darian was sure little was happening, as if all motion stood still, something was always going on.

“There’s never a pause is there, things never stop, it still marches on”

“What marches on?” Katherine looked at him quizzically, or as best she could through tear soaked eyes.

“Life man…life” The orange and red glow of the star receding back from the horizon was calming for Darian, New Terra wasn’t always terrible, and every once and awhile it still had its moments. He sat there in silence now for an even longer time watching the slowly vanishing light just south of the mountain range about a kilometer to the north of the colony, and moments later the sun was gone. It was after the light gave up its battle to the darkness that Darian realized just how long they had been sitting there.

“Alright, now what?” He looked back at Katherine. She must have sorted herself out while Darian was staring off into the void because when he looked at her again she was back to normal.

     Her face was still visibly flushed but she wasn’t crying anymore, and the emotions weren’t gone, they were just held back for another day. “You gonna be alright?” he asked her.

“I’ll be fine. I don’t usually breakdown like that.”

“That wasn’t a breakdown, I’ve witnessed those before, we’re all just human remember, you finally took a break from being a robot to become normal again.” Darian joked lightly and it was enough to provoke Katherine into punching him in the arm.

“Well I’m hungry now, better go replenish my robotic energy stores like the machine I am.” She gathered herself together and stood up from the cot and walked over to the door.

     Katherine turned to look back at Darian “I’m going to call some people and have every one meet in the Observatory; there are a lot of unanswered things going on around here that I want to get straightened out, and we also need to figure out how to get off this damn planet.”

“Why there?” Darian looked puzzled.

“It should be empty right now, there is nobody around looking at anything and we don’t look to be going anywhere quickly, most of the colony is in Res or at the Rec Center, we should be able to go over things quietly.”

“Oh right, like how a damned R.L.V. came back to the planet? Or why there is an extra drive module in orbit?”

“And the impending storm and Plymouth Colony and so many others” Katherine opened the door and stepped into the hallway “and thank you for being here for me” she took another step forward, the door closed and she was gone.
     Again Darian found himself alone with his thoughts. He had known Katherine all of his life but never remembered her falling apart like that, and definitely never believed that she would do it in front of him.

“Jade, how long till the storm hits us?”

“Conservative models place the storm 18 hours out right now. It’s fairly large, maybe a category 4 with electrical discharges spaced 5 mins apart at the moment, there is enough disturbance in the atmosphere to interfere with long range sensors right now.”
     Something else to look forward to Darian thought, as he was trying to make sense of things his mind turned back to Katherine. He was reluctant to admit that it felt good to have someone around that he could rely on that wasn’t his daughter, and somebody that needed him just as much. As it happened to be a subject of debate in his mind, it wasn’t abundantly clear which one needed the other more, or if at all, and Darian hadn’t decided if he was ready to think like that again.

“Jade call Elena”

“Setting up communication link” there was a pause while Jade was routing comm. channels “communication link established”

“Elena you there?”

“Yup, just finishing off my meal. You were gone long” Elena replied cheerfully back down to him, Darian felt just as good about hearing his daughters voice as she was of his.

“Lost track of time sitting here watching the sunset with Katherine” and Darian immediately regretted having said that, he closed his eyes and put a hand up to his temple knowing his daughter was going to make more of what he said than what he thought he did.

“Were you holding hands? Did you just finish a meal together? Tell me everything” if Darian could see his daughter he would bet she was grinning from ear to ear and wearing a smug grin on her face. Elena had been pestering him for years to get more acquainted with Katherine but he used the ‘colony is too busy, needs me there’ line as a sort of defense for a long time now, and largely because of his wife passing on.

“No we weren’t holding hands, we were sitting on my bed with a bottle of…” which at that point Elena abruptly cut him off.

“Sitting in your room on your bed? What has been going on since I left? Oh I’m so proud of you”

“It wasn’t like that, good grief” Darian got up and walked towards the lavatory to splash some water in his face and get ready for the walk over to the observatory. “We weren’t talking about much really, she was remembering her son and started to get a little emotional…”

“Emotional? What did you say” Elena sternly asking him, as if he had just done something terribly wrong.

“I didn’t say anything inappropriate, she was just upset about Ethan leaving that she started crying.”

“She started crying?” Elena paused for a second “that’s big you know”

“What’s big? So she cried, that’s not a big deal, were friends, friends confide in one another, there’s no shame in that, so she vented a little. Big deal.”

“It’s a huge deal, I’ve never seen that from her, she’s comfortable with you and you need to be there for her. She needs you, and you need her.”

“Oh bother” Darian wiped the excess water off his face, grabbed his voucher card so he could grab some luxury food at the Rec Center on his way over to the Observatory “don’t be starting with that nonsense again. I’m fine, she’s fine, everything’s fine.”

Darian picked up his jacket by the door, checked the pockets to make sure his Ident Card was in it and turned back to face the middle of the room.

“I’m going to this meeting with Katherine and some others to figure out what the last of us down here are going to do next. Get some sleep. When you wake up try to figure out what got you high level clearance to open up that munitions case, find out all you can about the R.L.V that came back down to the planet and why the one up there has an extra damned drive module in its cargo hold.”

“Okay I will, if you promise to watch out for Katherine”

“Fine fine, I was going to regardless. And see if you can’t get a message down to the Plymouth Colony, there is a large storm on the way and it may have already over taken their little outpost.” Darian looked around the room and wondered if he needed anything else before taking off, and then he remembered the little black case.
     He walked back over to his large grey steel cabinet that held all of his clothes and equipment and opened the doors. Inside it you could find all manner of items and junk, extra belts and boots, a few tools, shirts and pants, jackets and boxes. One of the boxes on the top shelf that Darian had to move other things out of the way to reach, buried way in the back was a little black dust covered box that he hadn’t thought about in years.
     Darian sighed heavily and then opened it. In the little box was a crudely crafted silver ring on a necklace, and it had been a very long time since he last looked at it. Living on this planet didn’t afford much for big sentimental gestures and events that you would see in the old history logs of earth, especially when it came to things like weddings and marriages, but one tradition that carried over was the wedding band. Life on New Terra was always hanging in the balance, even precariously at times, and so terribly apparent at first that some of the colonists chose to mimic the idea by hanging a wedding band around your neck instead of wearing it on your finger. It was a reminder that even though life could be hanging by a thread at times, you could always look down and see that at the end of that rope somebody else was right there with you. That somebody else was a hand crafted ring from the person who wanted to be there with you.
     Darian always felt it was a silly ritual that got started, but he never once mocked the people or the feelings behind it. He reached into his shirt and pulled out the gold ring and necklace he had worn for years around his neck, the one Jordan, his now long gone but never forgotten wife gave him. She was buried at the first colony site after the accident and was buried with the ring and necklace he made her.
     The silver band and chain he held in his other hand was from Katherine. A much different girl than the one she had become, but more like the one that had just cried on his bed and walked out of his room. That was a long time ago Darian he thought to himself that was a whole lifetime ago now. He was having a hard time now remembering why the falling out between the two of them occurred, and he was only sort of certain that it wasn’t entirely either one’s fault, just that it happened and they both moved on. He pocketed the silver ring, put the box away in the cabinet and closed the doors.

“Elena?” he asked over the comm.

“Yes?” she replied back almost immediately.

“Don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone. I’ll check in with you once I’m back” Darian shut off the light to his cabin and opened the door. “I love you, be good.”

“Love you too, and be careful”

“No promises.” And just like that the comm. went dead.
     Darian walked out the door and made his way in the direction of the Observatory, and onto what could very well be some of the biggest decisions he was ever going to have to make. The encroaching storm which was most certainly spurred on by the blight was also making its way in this direction and was going to be forcing another colony move inside the next eighteen hours. Darian wasn’t sure if he was going to be the one to make that decision or if it would be Katherine, but he was positive there was nobody else left in charge to shoulder that responsibility, and that it was going to take everyone to do it.
     The first decision was figuring out where to run, and they were running out of usable planet to run to, and fast.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on December 01, 2015, 07:01:12 PM

he was every going to have to make

You have quite a fetish with alcohol consumption. :P
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 01, 2015, 07:59:34 PM
Thanks for the tip, fixed.

And no, they do, not me.

Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 01, 2015, 08:06:08 PM
...also that should be the end of the drinking for awhile. Next few chapters should see alot of action.

Disclaimer: The opinions and beliefs of this writer are comical at best and should not be taken seriously. Seriously...
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 14, 2015, 07:50:59 PM
If anyone happens by this, how upset would people be if I deviated from the source Novella and game? Granted that I already have a little bit (ie I'm not putting anything about blight/savant mutations in, forget it) but stuff like weapons\vehicle types or attachments, new tech things like that, or where the ship goes or ends up. Stuff like that.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Vagabond on December 15, 2015, 08:39:53 AM

My vote is to see the story stick close to the plot and game play of Outpost 2. Since you are continuing from the standpoint of Eden winning, I think it fits the story line to not mention the blight/savant symbiosis because it isn't mentioned in the Eden Novella.

I'll be happy to read even if you deviate. I don't think the novella ever mentions where the spaceship is going does it?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on December 16, 2015, 09:55:51 AM
It's your story. Ultimately, it's up to you. Just try to make it good. As long as your pieces fit together with each other, I think that's good enough.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 07, 2016, 01:06:34 PM
I'm going to write it in a way that kinda feels like how the novella was trying to approach it, as in both colonies work together to get the 'woman and children as it were' off the planet and to safety.

OP2 kinda feels more about building the colony and escaping the planet rather than these people are fighting these people (if that's all it was that'd be pretty damned boring for most people, hence the guns and vehicles and the boom and the bang and I'm sidetracking...)But I get you're point you were making before Vagabond, Plymouth kinda feels like the underdog, and also the one that got the short end of the stick and it would have felt better even to me to have seen Plymouth actually score the 'WIN' so to speak. I am going to try and address why the story follows the point of view of Eden more directly then I have (if I have at all, I should reread my own story I guess).

Gimme a day or two and I should have Chapter 5 posted. Thanks for waiting.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Vagabond on January 08, 2016, 04:24:55 AM

Looking forward to reading.  :)
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on January 20, 2016, 09:15:43 PM
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 24, 2016, 02:38:08 PM
Chapter 5

       Lights were dim in the hallway Darian walked in after having left the Rec Facility, his food in hand and on his way to the observatory. Not sure that I’ve spent this many credits on one meal before Darian thought. There had been enough time to pass for him to forget the last hot meal he had, there were days that allowed for breaks long enough to sit down and relax with friends and good food, as good of food as you’ll get in this colony, but Darian never believed that he could afford the time. Rushing around and sorting out problems and repairing machinery had been his day in and day out for quite some time now.

     The observatory wasn’t far from the Rec Facility, in fact Darian was sure to find a spot to sit down and start on his meal long before anyone else showed up, and long before his credits went to waste. The best thing about walking the tubes in this colony was the guaranteed power supply, not having to worry about black outs caused by Tokamak downtime was quite agreeable, it was all due to the new Geothermal plant, and it provided ample amounts of reliable power that would prove to be a good thing. Darian could vividly remember running into things right at the moment a brownout would show up and all the lights would disappear. As long as it had been since the last meal he sat down for, it was longer still since Darian stopped to think about things he was grateful for, power was one, holding the bag up in his hand food was nice he thought, and  family that had just suddenly reappeared. Maybe life wasn’t as bad as he originally believed.

     The Observatory door opened up to a cavernous interior holding a simply massive telescope at the center of the room. Connected to it were banks of data retrieval and processing systems used for information transfer to the meteor defense system, and that facility was up in the mountain range to the north far from the main colony. The energy build up and transfer from the Tokamak to the Laser system used by the defense station was on a simply massive scale all of its own. It had been assembled and setup their back before most of the colony relocations due to the blight accident, and when it was first built it was stationed far from any colony because of concerns with shielding and safety thus making placement in the northern hemisphere as the core reasons for its remote location. The building was largely inactive for the better part of a year as all personnel and resources were devoted to migration and spaceship construction, as such the Tokamak power station that was feeding it suffered equipment failure and had gone unrepaired until now.

     Once the colony migrated close enough to the installation the maintenance crews were able to get out to the generator facility and conduct repairs. With power generation and the observatory providing telemetry data on the incoming meteors the defense station could finally operate again.

     Darian found his spot in the gunner seat of the telescope and sat down. Setting the meal out in front of himself he stripped off his jacket and threw it onto the next chair beside him, when he did that the necklace and ring he pocketed before leaving his res unit fell out and onto the floor. Looking at it now laying on the shiny metal floor Darian was flooded again with emotions, more then he wanted to deal with at the moment so he picked the chain and ring up and set it on the chair next to his pile of food items and the large bottle of fruit drink he had standing there. Darian committed himself to dealing with the chain and what if anything he should do with the thing later, for now he grabbed the large enclosed tray of food, reclined back in the chair and began to eat. And as if on cue the first person walked thru the entrance door and stopped, ten meters away, the one he had just passed thru and looked over at him. It was Katherine.

“I remember you always being late” she yelled over to him.

“I remember you smiling more” he said back. Katherine walked over to him carrying a datapad and sat down in front of him.

“Food eh? Good idea, I haven’t ate anything in hours” and proceeded to grab a handful of long cut seasoned potato wedges of out of his tray.

“Help yourself?” Darian asked as a question more than giving permission for her to just dive in.

“What else do you got there?” she asked, he was starting to get the idea that maybe she was hungrier than she was inclined to admit.


“I thought they weren’t making those anymore” Katherine all but jumped out of her seat and lunged towards Darian’s face after the burger he was trying to cram in his mouth. The required ingredients for making a proper ‘Burger’ were not as easy to come across on New Terra and for that reason alone he had to pay extra to get one, much extra, so much so that he would not have shared this particular meal with anyone. Reluctantly Darian handed it over to Katherine and she immediately took a huge bite out of the side, relaxed a bit, closed her eyes, sat down, and enjoyed herself.  It became apparent that Katherine was obliged to space out and eat all of his food when she started taking more bites and completely ignoring everything else going on around her, including Darian sitting there staring at her.

“Give me that” Darian reached out and snapped the burger up out of her hands before she finished it off “there may be more but you’ll have to go splurge for one yourself, and do it with your own credits”

“Fine” Katherine collapsed back into her chair and sighed. “So how are we getting off this planet?”

“Why don’t we start with how we’re going to survive this newest storm?”

“The colony has weathered bigger storms before” Katherine looked out the nearest view window as if looking for the distant storm itself, it was still miles out but creeping closer and closer as the hours passed.

“Jade, what’s the countdown to the storms arrival?”

“The current weather model puts it just under 14 hrs out.” The savant answered thru Darian’s transmitter attached at his belt.

“So that means we should go north than?” Katherine said.

“Oh? Care to explain how you drew up that largely random conclusion?” Darian looked at her quizzically.

“The RLV”

     Darian forced out his usual ‘that’s ridiculous’ noise out of his mouth just as he was rolling his eyes “The RLV what? All we know is one came down somewhere to the north, and in a electrical no scan zone. You wanna drive up there and go look?”

“Yes” Katherine stared him straight in the eye, serious and unflinching.

“When? When are you going to have the time to do that? Or where are we going to get the time to build another spaceship?  That out there is a fairly large storm and I’m willing to bet the blight is tailing it if not ahead of it and causing it. When it gets here, we had better be long gone.”

“So let’s move everybody now”

“Good, I’m all for it. Where?” Darian finished off his meal, threw the packaging in the nearest reclamation bin and sat down again.

“North. It’s the only direction left to us. Blight encroachment modeling has shown that the northern hemisphere, namely the northern polar region of this planet and a few of the volcanic rock areas will be the last to be overtaken which probably means moving to the north will be the last place we’ll be able to relocate the colony to, after that the only place left is space.” Darian was shifting in his seat now, moving a colony was a lot of work, and as near as he can tell they hadn’t ever settled in the harsh tundra landscape of the north. “We still don’t have enough raw materials to build an entire ship, some of it sure but not all.”

     At that moment a voice jumped in from across the room “ We have a few modules that are almost complete” it was Arlan making his way across to them “the storage modules for resources are complete, as are the outer hull sections, in fact there is a complete shell for another starship waiting for transport up to the skydock” Arlan sat down in one of the chairs next to Darian and Katherine. A much older man than the two of them with a dark green coat and black pants, he was wearing a worn out pair of shoes, and several bands and rings on his left hand and arm. Darian had no feelings one way or the other for Arlan, as of late Katherine may have been of the same mind, right until the spat about hoarding supplies. It didn’t look like Katherine was in the sporting mood for a fight, and if Arlan could just avoid being an idiot things should be fine, then again, he did just say there is a whole shell of a ship ready to use.

“Okay, now I have to ask, where is there an extra shell for a spaceship hiding? You don’t just hide one of those wherever.” Katherine asked

“Plymouth” Arlan said, smiling and quite pleased with himself, as if holding on to this all powerful information, and Darian was quite sure he was still hiding more. Darian looked over at Katherine “If we are to get off this planet we may need all the people and materials we can get.” Grumbling and groaning t o himself he started ticking off items aloud “Okay fine, Plymouth has a shell, there is a fusion drive sitting in the skydock  apparently, we can have people and materials to get a ship going, what else?”

“Wait, there’s a what and where?” Arlan looked genuinely surprised for once.

“What’s the matter Arlan?” Darian smirked “something somewhere you didn’t know about? Welcome to the real world friend, a fusion drive is sitting in the skydock RLV right now.”

“A Fusion drive? Well, it didn’t come from us or Plymouth.” Arlan shifted uneasy, irritated more at not knowing things. He wasn’t upset at not knowing about mission information or rumors, but seemed to crave knowing what everyone had and then holding that as tradable information. The same way Vaughn does with people and gossip.

“The extra ship must be what Elena was on about earlier.” Darian thought.”But the fusion drive I don’t know either. What about that rogue group of Eden and Plymouth colonists that took off years ago, maybe they built one and put it up there. What were they called again, The Divine Order, Cryo Clan or something? I think they changed their names two or three times. Where did they end up?”

“They took off to the Northern hemisphere portion of the planet. No one has stayed in contact with them though” Vaughn said, having snuck up on all three of them and now standing looking at them.

“Oh good, everyone’s here now.” Darian rolled his eyes. “Well let’s get on with this than” Katherine eyed both Arlan and Vaughn in one gaze “How much cargo and how fast can we get packed up and out of here?” Vaughn and Arlan looked at each other and then back to Katherine, Arlan spoke first. “24 hours give or take; nothing is setup to move right now. 20 would be pushing it, 10 if we weren’t going to take anything at all, and that means no structure kits, no raw materials or refined, barely enough food to fill evac transports, if any of them even run now”

“So basically we go with nothing, or hope this storm isn’t nearly as bad as we think and wait it out and take everything” Katherine mulled over the ideas swimming in her head. While doing this Darian spoke up again “The only thing we can’t build if we move is another Command module. If I remember correctly, it requires at least one Savant, and a pile of boptronics hardware to create, the shell is easy enough to build though we could use some more magnesium stock piles for it and some of the other structures, including cryo pods.” Darian continued rattling on again aloud, “That just leaves some remedial stuff that even a half equipped spaceport could build. So unless somebody knows where we could find an extra command module we, and I strain use of the word probably, could build ourselves another ship.”

“What we need to know is if we can wait out this storm and figure out how far away the blight is” Katherine looked around the room at everyone in attendance.

“I might have something on at least one of those fronts” Vaughn said from his chair he found back in the corner.

“And? What?” Katherine asked.

“There is a prototype Command Module at the Aramo Facility.” Darian and Katherine looked at each other, even Arlan looked surprised again.
“I don’t know of any prototype” Arlan said

“Nor should you, it’s in the Advanced Lab there. Just like there are items in this Advanced Lab you don’t know about” Vaughn smiled. Darian was sure he was holding something back, and he had no idea what.

“Fine I’ll bite, why is the module still there, what makes you think we could even get to it seeing as its beyond where the Blight has already passed, and what in the hell is in this Advanced Lab?” Darian asked impatiently.

“I have the codes to get us in the Lab at Aramo, but I have no idea of a means for us to get there.”

“And what about this Lab?” Katherine jumped in irritated.

“I’m not at liberty to divulge that” Vaughn sat up straight and crossed his hands. Not willing to take no for an answer Katherine reached for her sidearm, and Darian caught that movement in the corner of his vision, he knew what she was planning to do so he reached out and put his hand on hers to stall her from pulling the weapon and pointing it at Vaughn. Darian looked back at Vaughn “We are not going to make you tell us what’s in that Lab, you are going to give that information to us willingly”

“Whatever makes you believe that?” Vaughn asked.

“You want to get off this planet as much as the rest of us. And I’m willing to bet you have a plan for what’s hidden in there but can’t use it now. Am I right?”

“Yes you’re correct. It won’t hover high enough to get past the Blight.” Vaughn stated. Again the other three looked at each other and then back to Vaughn. “What won’t hover?” They all asked. At that point Vaughn got up and started walking out of the observatory. Arlan was next and trailed after him. Katherine stood up and looked at Darian “Don’t suppose Vaughn is telling us everything do you?”

“Not even close.” Darian got up and started to clean up his pile of bags and wrappers he made a mess of on the chair next to him. Katherine had the same idea as him and before he remembered what he had left on the chair she found the ring and chain and picked it up to look it over.
“Is this” she started and took a breath before continuing “the chain I gave you?” she looked up at Darian and into his eyes. “You kept it all these years? Why?”

“I’m not really sure to be honest” He picked the chain out of her hands and put it back in his pocket. “Guess I felt bad in some way, like I couldn’t give those feelings back to you”

“And now?” Katherine asked.

“I don’t know.” Darian didn’t have anything else to say and was now stammering for anything to say “I, I really don’t know, something happened in the back of my brain, so I looked in the back of my locker and grabbed it. As for keeping it all these years…or why I decided to get it out now I don’t have an answer for you. I still don’t think I’m the person you want right now.”

She reached down and took his hand in hers “I don’t want anything right now other than to get off this planet and see my son, what I need is someone I can trust”

“Good” Darian said, letting go of her hand and threw his coat on “that’s about all I’m good for right now. Let’s find out what Vaughn is up to” he then turned and walked towards the door with Katherine in tow.

Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 24, 2016, 02:39:47 PM
                           X                                X                                  X

“Alright Vaughn, spill it, what are you hiding?” Darian and Katherine caught up to Vaughn and Arlan on their way to the Advanced Lab on the other side of the base.

“It’s a surprise, though with little of us left it hardly needs to be a secret anymore I suppose” Vaughn didn’t look back as he talked, just kept walking forward in a steady march.

“You suppose right” Katherine piped up from the back, irritated still.

     Past corridors and walkways the four of them shuffled their way towards the Advanced Lab. The last and latest of the big Advanced Labs to be built it was still mandatory for it to be constructed at least 1000 feet from any attached colony building, and with that it required a separate contamination chamber halfway down the connecting tube for safety purposes. Before the Blight explosion it had been several years since the previous large scale accident had occurred in an Advanced Lab, but still safety protocols remained in place and followed to the 't' to avoid any potential spill over of chemical or explosion accidents into the colony. Only a select few reserved people had access to the Advanced Lab due to equipment and testing restrictions, thus none of the current group of colonists walking down this tunnel should have had access to the Lab, yet as surprises go Vaughn pulled a silver trimmed green keycard from his pocket and swiped it in the security chamber outer door datapad. “Well of course you would have a card.” Darian muttered “Who’s life did you crush to nab one of those?”

     Vaughn ignored him and watched as the three lights over the outer door changed from red to yellow, air valves cycled and locks disengaging with mechanical clicks and clunks behind the steel door, yellow lights went green and the door unlocked. The older man pulled on the door and swung it open to reveal a cramped chamber that the four of them did their best to squeeze into. After the outer door closed and locked shut the room went dark for a moment before being filled with a dim red glow.

“Chamber decontamination initiated” an automated voice sounded off inside the chamber. Ventilation and scrubbing gas valves cycled and the room was filled with a fast moving gas that swept over the four before being sucked out thru the grated floor panels beneath them.
“Decon complete” the same droll voice sounded again. The inner door popped and Vaughn swung it out and open to reveal the last section of tube before the Lab outer doors.

“Final door and then we are in the Lab, I’ve been told not to touch things in the Lab and it would be best if you all followed my lead and did the same. We will be entering into a stairwell which we'll have to walk up three flights of stairs before we enter into the Lab.” Vaughn looked back at the others to judge their reactions.

“Why would it be built like that? And where are we going?” Arlan asked with a confused look on his face.

“The chamber and stairway is another part of safety measures” Vaughn started. He inserted is keycard into the Lab outer door datapad and it lit green and popped locks to allow them access. Stepping in and starting the climb up the stairs he continued his explanation of the facility “Due to the Acid Cloud weaponry and the Blight program these gases have a very high specific gravity, I’m told they were engineered this way so that in the case of the Acid Cloud it would not disperse into the atmosphere and effect friendly units. Same as the Blight or any other chemical compound they would be working on, hopefully making it simpler for containment and reduce the chance of spillover into the colony”
“Good idea” Darian said from one flight down, trailing the aloof Arlan who was good with numbers and locations, but walking and science seemed to stumble him a bit.

     Vaughn looked down to ensure everyone was still following “after we enter we will need to take the catwalk across the vehicle and weapon test center and over to the north east stair case and down to the testing floor. That is where it is.”

“What? Where what is?” Darian asked, and then immediately got distracted with all of the test equipment and stations in the Advanced Lab after they rounded the staircase corner and into the main facility. There were beakers of colored liquids, testing equipment and apparatuses everywhere, weapons in different stages both apart and fully assembled. Darian could make out the power supplies and capacitance units for the Laser and Thor weapons pods. The only thing he couldn’t find was any research techs or assistants.

“There’s nobody here” Katherine spotted it before him and had the same idea to ask.

“Most everyone is on the ship” Vaughn struggled at resisting the urge to crush the keycard in his hand when saying that, the man was still very clearly upset at not being on the ship and instead being here, his muscles tensing and the way his face contorted made it pretty clear to the three he was harboring resent at anyone involved in the decision to keep him off the ship. “The few remaining are in the rec facility running out the clock. This way” Vaughn pointed over to the catwalk. As the four of them walked across Darian couldn’t help but stop and look down, and what he saw made him whistle in aww.

“What are those?” he asked. Staring down into the pit were two vehicles lined side by side facing the large hangar doors, one sort of looked familiar as it was a Tiger chassis but with some massive modifications to the top side. The second vehicle was only slightly smaller and painted in a dark grey and black motif with small carbine cannons mounted sides and front, and no wheels or track system that Darian could identify. He looked over to the other three descending the wall staircase and picked up the pace.

“You’ll have to excuse me as I only have a basic grasp of what these vehicles are and what they do. The one on the right is an UpArmored Tiger Chassis with a modified Rail gun package.” As Darian was making his way down the stairs he could now get an idea of what the system on top of the tracked chassis was. There was one longer single barrel in the middle of the turret similar to an RPG setup, but with the necessary magnet bands and wiring to distinguish it as a Rail Cannon, though it and the capacitance cylinders, wiring, bands and magnet assembly’s all looked much more oversized than typical.

“That’s a long range Rail Cannon isn’t it?”  Darian asked in awe. Anything mechanical, technical or weaponry itself was fascinating to him, and anything brand new was so much more exciting. “Shiny” he said now finally standing next to the big machine and running his hand down the lowered barrel.

“That’s exactly correct. With a clear line of sight it has almost triple the range and close to twice the concussive force of the standard cannon. I have been told it uses ammunition sized 35% larger than original issue, and something about with the extra power and distance shot it does more damage or something. And there was something about the fire refresh rate was cut by a large portion, almost a 150% cut in re fire time I believe. I wasn’t all that interested in how it worked to be honest. I just liked knowing it was here.” Vaughn stated standing on the other side of the tank from Darian. Darian opened his mouth to finally speak “It would make sense that the cyclical rate of fire would be cut as the larger capacitors and firing system would take longer to cool and recharge. How well does it work?”

“It’s only been field tested once. I did manage to get my hands on that report” Vaughn smiled. Katherine looked him over not at all surprised at that tidbit of information.

“It was fielded 10 months ago against a small Plymouth outpost. It has the power to completely destroy an UpFitted Lynx in a single shot.” Darian’s mouth dropped slightly at that. “However, the energy surge and release from firing, flash and noise that is emitted from the cannon barrel made it very easy for their sensors to pick up its exact location. They immediately sent units out to recon; if the commander in charge hadn’t swiftly retreated we may have lost it. The first EmpLynx and spider on scene came very close to shutting it down and stealing it, side note the Plymouth Spiders ground speed has been increased sizably since there first introduction. Ever since then it had been parked until it could be shielded better from detection.”

Vaughn finally turned and looked at the second vehicle in the hangar bay and pointed to it. “This is the Jaguar class scout and attack chassis.”

“Where are the wheels?” Arlan pointed down at where he surmised they should have been, and found none.

“It’s fitted with the same repulsor tech as the S.C.A.T. or Small Capacity Air Transport but with carry over improvements from the spaceship program. It hovers. And with the energy cannons was going to be used as a means of dealing with the Plymouth Spider problems. It is shielded against Emp discharges so it doesn’t have to worry about Emp attacks.”

“Very cool” is the only thing that came out of Darian’s mouth. He looked it over up and down, bow to stern. “So this thing does work?”

“Yes it does, but like I was saying before we could never get it high enough away from the Blight to avoid the risk of contamination. And everything up till that base is infected already. The rock the base is sitting on, which is heavy in iron and magnesium has so far resisted infection but only just, it is still making its way across.” At this point Katherine piped up again.

“How long?”

“Maybe a couple of days, I’m not sure exactly. It doesn’t much matter unless we can get it past the blight. If we could then we have a command module for the ship.” Vaughn stated at her with folded arms.

“So how do we get past the blight?” She crossed her arms and stared over at Darian. He noticed that everyone was now staring at him.
With mouth agape and a blank stare on his face it was all he could muster for them “Why are you looking at me? I’m not a chemist, I’m a mechanical engineer.”

   Arlan was the next one in line to talk, and the first time he had said anything since entering the Lab. “Too bad you couldn’t just burn it like you do in Lab experiments” Arlan said staring blankly off into absolutely nothing at all.

“What?” Vaughn asked.

Arlan quantified his first statement by adding “Incinerate the Blight. Like what you do with crops or hazardous chemical accidents for fear of contamination.”  To Darian it made sense though he wasn’t sure how Arlan came across the idea in the first place.

“Oh, and how deep is the Blight contamination zone before we even reach the clean zone of the research outpost and the facility?” Darian asked looking back to Vaughn.

“A full three kilometers, give or take” Vaughn shrugged.

“Three kilometers or so” Katherine laughed “how would you like to burn three kilometers of New Terra soil?”

     Before anyone could answer there was a burst of light from the north that bathed an intense red glow through the window panes of the upper level of the Lab. Out of the viewports Darian could make out the bright red muzzle flash that was the Meteor Defense Laser Cannon as it laced out a large beam of energy, hurtling it out into space towards an incoming asteroid like a vibrant red spear, as he glared at it, it gave him a marvelously absurd idea.

“That, we are going to use that.”
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 24, 2016, 02:44:30 PM
Sorry for the delay on posting this.

And if anyone sees any glaring mistakes please kindly point them out, I rushed thru posting this and only had time to skim thru it (moving from office format to forum format screws it up a bit, I basically have to redo everything) but am confident I found any mistakes if there were to be any.

Thanks Again!!!

EDIT: I've already found and edited about four mistakes or so, I should be able to have anything else cleaned up by tonight or tomorrow DOUBLE EDIT : There appears to be a lot of red, I need to slow down next time...

Side note - Chapter 5 is in two different posts as there is a 20000 character limit to each post. Who knew?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 24, 2016, 10:15:56 PM
Thought I would throw this up on Google Docs and get some feed back.

 Link to Google Docs version of Novella (https://docs.google.com/document/d/14hNYZ6OZDXE9e0wxRrAxjPEa8MBwsFiFntlnh7wEjJs/edit?usp=sharing)

I don't know if it would be better this way or just leave it as being posted in forum topics?


P.S. Could someone let me know if this link worked correctly for them and if it sets it to read only or to an edit version. Thanks.

Double EDIT, I am also looking into keeping the master copy on my home drive, and it will be the finished version if such a thing ever happens, like say putting it all together in a paper back version for myself. Anyways, that's way out and the only reason I say this is for the purpose of clarifying that there could be three very very slightly different versions (editing mistakes, very small rewrites) that could set the three only marginally different from each other, and that my home version will be the proper version if and when completed. Sorry for the confusion, I am trying to avoid confusion, so maybe I will just pick one way or the other.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on January 25, 2016, 04:49:55 PM
There are red highlights in it for some reason.

Google docs is a great place to put them all together as a single doc but I would post the chapters here anyway so demonstrate activity.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 25, 2016, 05:47:44 PM
Red highlights in the google doc? Probably any words I added to the personal dictionary. If you mean the chapter posted here than that was me moving to fast
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on January 25, 2016, 05:52:27 PM
No, red here on this post. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 25, 2016, 06:17:50 PM
Nope. That's me editing the grammar and a bit of style in some sentence's. I try to get it out without having to do edits later, me changing the text to red when I edit something here helps me keep track of what I'm dicking up so I can fix it in my home version. The ideas and direction will remain the same, misprints and grammatical errors are the only things I'm correcting thus far.

How is it so far? Again all comments or ideas are welcome.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on February 16, 2016, 10:38:15 AM
/me nudges with a stick

Any progress?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on February 16, 2016, 06:41:45 PM
I hope to get working on chapter 6 and get it out before end of February. The more I look at this thing I've created the more I want to slow down and make more of it, take some time to actually write something good and worthy of people reading, right now it feels like I'm sailing thru writing chapters too fast. Also I got it in my head that I would love to be able to get this bound and printed one day. Not to make money per se but so I have this, I made this, look at this. Anyways...February has been awash mostly.

I'll get back to it.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on February 29, 2016, 09:17:37 AM
... “What?” Darian looked around at the three colonists that were staring intently at him

“Oxygen deprivation” Vaughn said

“What?” Darian repeated

“He’s been without oxygen multiple times, in fact you can see the brain damage already, repeating ones self, half baked plans, delusions of heroism…” Vaughn was still talking and intended to continue on if Darian hadn’t already started walking towards him...
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on February 29, 2016, 10:20:29 AM
Sneaking something in before the end of February? Good thing it's a leap year. :p
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on February 29, 2016, 10:42:55 AM
Sneaking something in before the end of February? Good thing it's a leap year. :p

Notice that did yeah?

Honestly didn't realize I was at the end of the month, and then I didn't realize it was a leap year till your comment. Wake up Dave...
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on February 29, 2016, 07:57:09 PM
t's okay. We've all been there. I've been there too.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on May 25, 2016, 08:23:23 PM
of out of his tray
Vaughn stated at her with folded arms.

Do they have cows on New Terra? Where's the beef?

I rather like where you're going with all this. I like how you incorporated the S.C.A.T., and the meteor defence burning a hole through the blight idea is cool. The coincidence of having the meteor defence fire just after someone mentions burning the blight seems like a bit much. It's a little too convenient. I sort of feel the two events either need to be spaced out a bit more, or the idea should come after seeing the meteor defence fire. I do like how you introduced the meteor defence well before it fired.

And yes, I shamefully admit that reading the update to your story sat on my to-do list for 5 months. I can only say that is because of who I am as a person.  :P

So..., any more updates planned?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Vagabond on June 03, 2016, 05:11:00 PM

I Really enjoyed reading this so far as well. Would be excited to see it continued.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 14, 2016, 01:11:09 PM
So, I think I know where I need to go with this story to finish it now, and I do apologize for the gap in posting.

I think I will need help with some technical things on the way

For instance, Blight propagation =


The blight can only even remotely become airborne, by which I mean it can travel with larger dust particulates expelled by CO2 and O2 generation that it naturally creates in the planets crust, but it in itself is not by the very definition airborne.


Does this make sense to anyone? It is a rough cut, but a first hack at how Blight may work. I need to read up on this again unless someone knows exactly how the Blight worked in this game. I'm not entirely confident they explained the science in this game (may have been for the better)

And Hooman, as for animals in the Agridome, think Mystery Meat. Or something something, I should find a better answer for you
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: leeor_net on December 14, 2016, 02:43:17 PM
Woot! Looking forward to this! And I bet you're looking forward to me not poking you about it all the time.

Your explanation sounds plausible to me, most bacteria and viruses aren't airborne anyway, not for long anyway though they can be 'airborn' on mucous droplets. Thinking in terms of cold/flu here vs. blight.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: lordpalandus on December 14, 2016, 02:51:39 PM
What I think needs better explanation is why the Blight moves quickly during the day but quite slowly during the night. Unless that is explained somewhere...
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on December 14, 2016, 04:30:16 PM
I got an idea on that lordo, or more so just a shitty slightly educated theory.

Im going to go out on a limb and say this type of synthetic "bacteria" most likely based off of Cyanobacteria was mutated to work better off of Thermal energy and mineral deposits as opposed to water content.

Because the colonists still had to live on the planet I figure the scientists used a form of this cyanobacteria to recreate the Great Oxygenation Event on early earth. But the low water content (and other items) typically used to create Oxygen demanded the reengineering to work specifically off of mineral deposits and thermal energy for cellular replication. Thus deep well testing underneath the Advanced Lab complexes.

In a roundabout way explains how surface Blight moves faster during the daytime (dependant on atmosphere makeup) could go from -153c to plus 120c

Or I could also be way off

EDIT = per discussion with Leeor, not a bacteria maybe but an organism. Extremophile or Thermophiles would fit the bill.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: Hooman on December 22, 2016, 03:25:48 AM
Glad to hear you're taking this back up.

As for the blurb on the blight being/not-being airborne, that sounds like the difference between getting sick because someone sneezed on you, versus getting sick because someone in an adjacent hospital room is sick, and the two rooms share the same ventilation system.

I think there was a reason in the game as to why the blight spread faster during the day, though I can't remember what it was.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 - Life at the End
Post by: dave_erald on January 12, 2017, 12:57:37 PM
Chapter 6
     United we fall

   The night sky returned to its dark beauty following the end of the red glow the meteor defense tower created. Darian had forgotten how bright the cannon was at night time and so much so that he found himself waiting for his eyes to correct to the dimly lit interior of the work station. Once they came back in focus he could see everyone glaring at him, and all with quizzical looks on their faces, probably waiting for an explanation he thought.

“What?” Darian looked around at the three colonists now staring intently at him

“Oxygen deprivation” Vaughn said

“What?” Darian repeated with a puzzled look

“He’s been without oxygen multiple times I bet; in fact you can see the brain damage already, repeating one’s self, going on with half baked plans and delusions of heroism…” Vaughn was still talking and intended to continue if Darian hadn’t already started moving towards him; Katherine knew where this was going and immediately jumped in between the two men.
“Enough. Idiots” Katherine got Darian’s attention and looked him in the eyes “Care to elaborate before we all start believing you actually have brain damage?”

“I don’t know” Darian said as he blinked his eyes “I’m making this up as I go” Katherine let go of him and muttered something under her breath.

“I know what he’s got in mind” Garvin piped up from the back. Nobody noticed the robust man walk in and Darian was curious how he managed to sneak up on them probably the bickering back and forth he thought, either that or he’s very light footed for a heavyset man, I need to learn that skill.

All attention now focused on Garvin, though he lacked the hubris of someone like Malworth, still he rose confident and started “He means to incinerate the ground same as you would burn bad crops for fear of contamination”

Darian looked Garvin in the face “Yes that. Exactly”. Voss sat down with his datapad in hand and started furiously typing away at it.
Vaughn sighed loudly, rolled his eyes in his head and put his arms up in disbelief “And just how would you like to do that? We are out of time and personnel not to mention food. We still have to relocate the colony and that alone includes amongst a dozen things that need to happen requiring two or three times the people we currently have. Are you even listening?” Malworth slowly rolled from confused to frustrated, and his face was working towards anger next “Hey! I’m talking to you” Vaughn was ready to charge across the floor towards Darian when Katherine pulled her gun and jumped in between.

“What is your problem Vaughn?” Katherine pointed the well maintained carbine at his face
“He’s not taking any of this seriously” pointing at Darian ”why not start with making the transport fly higher or try…” Katherine cut him off by all but yelling at the man “SIT DOWN” and gestured with her pistol to take one of the open seats and park it.

“I can fill in” Garvin continued. Everyone looked back again at the man standing by himself. Katherine let go of Vaughn and holstered her pistol once more.

“It’s highly wasteful but as we probably have no other choice it may actually be very useful.”  Garvin stepped closer so that he could be better heard. Darian was now smiling to himself because he was remembering just how picky Garvin is with numbers in and numbers out.
The head of food production for the colony was very particular about calculating all materials and energy used and to make sure that everything produced something and was accounted for. It had zero use in a weapons or military application but as far as energy required to effectively sterilize and decontaminate land, items and equipment Garvin always had the math on point.

“I can very easily run the numbers and calculate energy required and area of effect needed to maintain a safe perimeter around the vehicle to get us where we need to go. The blight is not an airborne particle by trade, it only infects above ground units and structures when it gets expelled from O2 and CO2 pockets that it is naturally creating, its mass causes it to fall back to the planet’s surface after a short distance travelled in the air. We should only need to burn a path on the ground and a sizeable corridor in front of us to drive thru. Provided we can make our insertion on a less turbulent day and reduce the chance of dirt and dust contaminants getting into the boptronic circuitry of our vehicle we should be able to drive in, get what we need and drive back out safely without risk of contamination.”
“And you are sure you’re not working for military intelligence?” Darian asked.

“What? I talk to people, other people talk. You wanna do this or not?” Garvin stood with his arms crossed.

“I think it’s our only choice. So who’s going where and doing what boss?” Darian looked at Katherine. She must have been running numbers and scenarios in her head because it was a while before she answered him.

“It sounds like we need to break up into three teams, team one needs to take a group north and act as point for the convoy of trucks and people that will becoming its way, I’m going to have Sylvia lead that unit. Team 2 needs to work on this gun contraption thing and procuring the new command module, Darian you and Garvin can work together on that. Vaughn, and I hesitate to suggest this, but you are going to run fire support for them in the Long Range Tiger tank, we’ll find you a hill to sit on and pick away at infested vehicles.”
   That last part met with some noticeable stares and uncomfortable tension, Darian was sure that everyone felt the same way and was unhappy with the idea of Malworth piloting some long range doom tank pointed in their direction.
“The rest of us are going to get what remains of the colony on the move. I’m going to have the colony savant program the mining spiders to start disassembling the parts of the colony we are not using and shove them into the GORF, the space ship leaving farmed all of the raw materials out of the storage facilities and if we need to build anything we are going to need all the resources we can get.”

“That brings up a good question” Darian looked down at his comm. “Elena come in”

There was a brief pause before the link was established and his daughter answered back “Yes I’m here. Everyone good down there?”
“We are all fine, how are you?”

“Good, or as well as I can be by myself up here” was all Elena could muster for the moment “I have good news”

“I was hoping you would” He replied “what do you got”

“So it looks like there is a base of some kind to the far north hidden in a snowy mountainous region. I could make out what looks like a Command Center but smaller, most of a Spaceport though it doesn’t look like it has all of the facilities for building starship components, only big enough to send and receive launch vehicles. A Tokamak and what looks like a common ore mine and a smelter.”
Darians mouth noticeably hung open for awhile before confusion set in, same confused look on everyone elses face right up until realization dawned on them all pretty near at the same time.

“There is a way to get off this planet than” Darian started.

     Arlan was one of the first to put things together and figure out that they were still going to come up short “we still don’t have a ship to fly, let alone the materials to build one. Even if we farm out all the structures and mine what we could we are still going to come up short”  and like a typical materials handler he was counting stuff off on his fingers and in his head, quietly doing all the background math that kept saying everything is coming up short. “We need more people and we need more materials. And time, we just need more of everything”

   And as if on cue a warning claxon and alert came over the building speaker system “Enemy units sighted. Southwest, 5 kilometres out and approaching” Darian spun on his heel and sprinted to the nearest workstation and sat down. “Jade bring up the cameras for that area, let’s have a look” as the monitor sprang to life everyone else in the room filed in around behind him to have a look at what was going on. Finally the screen came to life with four video inputs showing, two cameras showing the inside view and outside view of the building they were in, and the other two had the information he was looking for. Screen 3 looked like it was trying to zoom in and focus on the incoming vehicles and the 4th screen was showing an overlay of the area around the base and all of the structures and units within range. The system was pinging 5 units just within range of sensors moving very slowly in their direction. “Blight infested units looks like. Five of them” the other camera had finally focused and zoomed in on the units “looks like 4 Lynx vehicles and a Panther, one Emp, three Microwave and a Stickyfoam, the Panther has a Rpg on the top. We need to stop these things before they get here”
“We don’t have any operational assault vehicles right now, none of them have been started up and moved in the last two months. They won’t be ready in time.” Katherine said now very obviously worried.

“What about that?” Darian pointed at the Tiger Tank sitting behind them. “Let’s see if it works” He got up from the desk and walked over to the tank and stared it down.

The 70 ton behemoth sat there patiently waiting for its next combat mission. The ‘Tiger’ class chassis was built strictly for combat, derived from old earth data packets and built for life on the near inhospitable planet they now call home. At nearly 15 meters long with the main cannon stretching out another 3 meters in front of the tank it claimed a sizable amount of real-estate in the hanger. The longer he looked over the tank the more he could see changes from the previous versions of Tiger tanks that were in service up until then. The composite armor body plates looked noticeably thicker and stacked higher than usual. The main drive system was different somehow; larger cooling units on the back and the tracks themselves looked to be made from a different material all together. And this was all before he got to the differences in the main weapon.   
   Tiger units all came equipped with a ‘Dual’ unit weapons pod, where this tank should have had two Rail guns side by side it had one much larger, and much longer setup right down the middle. The cooling lines, energy coils and cables all were substantially larger than normal iterations of the weapon system. The barrel of the gun was designed differently and was again made out of a different material than standard issue Rail guns. The tank was obviously designed for testing purposes with an on hand crew as there was a small cockpit similar to his own Lynx. Darian popped the hatch and climbed on in.

“Somebody care to open the inner hangar doors maybe?” He called down to everybody standing there.

“And just where do you think you’re going?” Katherine looked up at him.


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