Hiatus 

Posted: July 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ve decided to put this blog on hiatus for a while, there was very little uptake on it, and even less on the parcel. As it was the biggest plot with the highest prim count I’ve moved Ethan Explores onto the land. 

The story will continue at some point, but in the meantime, you can check out Proud Ankylosaur too! 

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As he lifted his foot to step over the opened gate The Traveller noticed the rough camp. It was unusual, especially considering that there were still buildings standing. Yes, they were in poor repair, but surely better than a tarpaulin or cloth spread over a frame? The lights still stood too, but they were unusual – reminiscent of the designs created by Nikolai Tesla from Earth’s history.

He looked to his right and inspected the buildings. Even through the grime he could see that they were solidly built. They looked like old fashioned shops, with a second door leading to separate living quarters. He took a few steps forward, the eerie silence leaving him with a sense of disquiet. He was sure that he was being watched, but there was no sign of his observers.

Traveller_001He wheeled swiftly, turning 180° and noticed the huge circle standing on top of the rough scaffolding. It seemed familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. An amalgamation of stone and metal, it looked completely out of place amongst the ramshackle buildings and tents. As he inspected it from a distance, his attention was drawn by a cuboid concrete building. Modernistic and raised from the floor on yellow steel struts, it was clearly a military building. But what was the purpose of it in this small hamlet?

He considered his next move, carry on up the road, or walk past the giant circle and inspect the building further? He stepped off the tarmac onto the packed dirt of the ground before the circle. Racking his brain he tried to remember what it reminded him of. A gateway of some sort, he’d seen something like it before.

Traveller_002As he stepped forward to approach the building he felt an unusual sensation. He faced the circle and looked through it. All that he could see was the wall, but it felt much further away than it was. He walked up the gangway, stepping closer to the ramshackle scaffolding the circle rested on. As he got closer he finally put his finger on the sensation he felt. It was a wormhole in spacetime…

Headshot_005Cdr. Doone’s brow furrowed as she looked at the display. It was concerning, a “malfunction” in a very select section of the database. It was so damaged that she couldn’t even ascertain the owner. She pressed a button onscreen and continued with the memorandum to security.

“This is all that remains of a personal log kept by one of the visitors on the Diplomatic deck. We have been unable to ascertain the speaker as much of the recording was lost due to a data wipe malfunction. Investigations are ongoing regarding the malfunction and the whereabouts of Ambassador Sec.”

She took a deep breath as she formed a conclusion to the instructions. “I would appreciate a swift and detailed investigation to be completed as soon as possible.”

” … The discussions continue apace, everything seems to be on track. I do however have my concerns about the…”

“… Ambassador Sec. His interest in the planet, and in particular the historical weapons that the Libertians used is concerning. Just this morning he was asking about the…”

“… Purely of scientific interest. To harness that amount of power could potentially allow the imperial worlds to create self sustained energy generation. But there was something a little too keen about him, too hungry for the details…”

Holo-projector_001“… free. But she agreed to provide the materials for a reasonable cost. Note to the Minister: Please arrange a transfer of two hundred thousand credits for this…”

“… She is absolutely charming and beautiful. But I wouldn’t trust either her or her retinue. They’ve been in the centre of the Imperial intrigue for most of their history, and I can’t imagine this changing. There *has* to be a reason that they’re here on a backwater planet like Liberty…”

“… After the Tarsus incident I’d be surprised if the High Command would even consider the possibility of acceding to our request. In fact, the Admiral appears to be purposefully avoiding me at the moment…”

“… darling, and I hope that you and the younglings are well. I’m hoping that this tour will be a relatively short one as it all seems quite straightforward. I lov…”

“… The Collective. It appears that the debris field reduces the effectiveness of their psychic connection, meaning that negotiations are taking longer than we originally planned. Hopefully they will have been able to…”

“… Frustrating man. Well, I say man but he’s more beast than man. If that’s considered a diplomatic temperament then I weep for the future of his world…”

Holo-projector_002“… So enigmatic, heavens know I’ve tried but under that hood anything could be…”

“… Never takes anything seriously, I’ve tried to pin her down to a decision so many times but it’s always “After this dance. Just try this drink. Is it time for dinner?” Hedonism is considered to be the pinnacle for her people and I just don’t have the time to entertain her…”

Her hands danced over the keyboard, entering security codes and sending it to security.

The last crate was placed down in the hangar, off to the side and out of the way. The muscular man who had been moving them wiped his brow and stood for a moment. Some of the crates were deceptively heavy, but he never shied away from hard work.

A light chirrup sound startled him and he slapped his bare chest, before realising that his combadge was in his pocket. He fumbled for it, taking a second to manoeuvre around the tied overalls. “Trasker, Engineering.” he said wearily. 6 days in a row he’d been working, with only 4 hours sleep. He was amazed that there hadn’t been a serious accident yet.

Engineering Ioan Traster_001“This is Command, we’re having issues with the debris shield. Could you move the maintenance schedule up for it please?” The voice at the end of the communicator sounded almost as tired as he felt.

“Certainly Commander Jonas, can it wait until the morning?” The engineer knew that he could potentially bring it forward to tonight, but that would put him behind schedule for some other things that he needed to address. Being the only engineer on an out of date dual station meant that he was part handyman, part juggler.

The combadge gave its familiar bubbly happy tone as Jonas’ reply came through. “Of course Ioan, I just wanted to make sure that you were aware of it. Thanks again.” It was all too easy to imagine the relief crossing her face, allowing her relaxed smile to return. He knew that the rest of the night shift would be better for her now that she knew it was going to be sorted.

The disconnection beep had hardly finished sounding when another message came through. “Trasker, Engineering.” The fatigue in his voice must have been evident, as an older voice came through the communicator.

“How much sleep have you had since I saw you the other day Ioan?” The voice had a self assurance and authority that brooked no argument.

“I took your advice and went straight to the residential area Dr Smythe.” Ioan lied. “I’m fine, honestly. What’s up?” He hoped that changing the subject would put him in the clear.

“I’m going to have to request a raincheck on the MediSci maintenance schedule. I’m in the middle of an experiment. Will you be able to squeeze us in tomorrow or the day after?” The scientist sounded apologetic, but there was also an undertone of self satisfaction that she’d given him some free time. On a small station like Liberty Alpha, time was the greatest gift available.

“Actually, I have quite a quiet day tomorrow. I’ll head over later in the day if that’s OK?” The engineer tried to sound more upbeat than he felt, although the relief was real. “And I’ll even take the opportunity to get some extra rest now.”

The smile on Dr Smythe’s lips was clear, even through the disembodied voice. “Good lad, and thank you. I’ll see you later tomorrow.”

“Yes Dr Smythe. And good luck with the experiment!” He bundled the communicator back into his pocket and headed for the transport pad.

The Traveller stepped off the corrugated metal platform and walked towards the checkpoint. The guard straightened up, standing to attention as his hand moved to his gun.

The Traveller_003As he moved closer the Traveller felt the shadow of the high compound wall fall over him and shuddered at the slight but noticeable temperature difference. “Hold it right there!” the soldier barked. “Who are you, and what’s your business at Camp Sebastian?”

The Traveller smiled, a warm, friendly and open smile. It usually worked, but this guard was clearly an archetype. “I’m just a Traveller, my capsule was waylaid and I found myself here. I’m just looking to get my bearings and maybe grab a bite to eat or something to drink.” He held his hands out, palms visible. “I’m unarmed.”

The guard stepped forward warily, watching for movement. “What’s your name?” The Traveller lowered his hands. “Well that’s a pickle, my name doesn’t really lend itself to the human vocal cords. You can call me The Traveller.” As he said this he chuckled softly to himself. It was almost the same speech every time, and closely resembled many similar conversations that another renegade had had.

“Well Mr Traveller, we’re not in the habit of letting unknown visitors just walk into one of the most secure compounds on the planet.” He paused for a moment, looking the Traveller up and down. “I’ll need to see some sort of identification.” The visitor’s smile broadened as he slowly reached into his pocket, watching the guard tense as he did so. As his hand withdrew from his pocket a small blue wallet became visible.

The Traveller_002“I think that you’ll find that’s all in order.” The guard reached out and took the wallet and opened it. His eyes widening as he read the ID. “I’m, I’m sorry Your Excellence.” He stuttered, panicking for a moment. “We weren’t expecting one of the Visitors from the Station.”
He handed the Traveller his wallet back, stepped into the checkpoint and raised the crossbar as the huge and imposing gate slowly dropped.

The Traveller nodded to the guard and moved forward. Looking through the gate his gaze took in the ruined and dilapidated buildings inside the camp.

Ambassador Deck_001
Aysha Astriddatter wiped the surface of the bar for what felt like the millionth time this shift. It was a futile gesture since the installation of the Liqui-Gen machine which automatically produced a wide selection of liquid refreshments for the guests of Liberty Beta. But she was the hostess, it was her role to ensure that the Ambassadorial Deck was up to standard.

The transporter powered up again. She adjusted her uniform and assumed the welcome position. One hand up, to highlight the wares that were available, chest out and a smile on her face.

The beam lit the support strut and died. But there was no sight of a new visitor to the deck.

Aysha exhaled. That was the problem with this old station, it was built decades ago for the people of Liberty. However, the replacement parts, supplies and expertise weren’t provided at the same time. She made a mental note to report it to Engineering.

She turned around and surveyed the room, the small groups and pairs of delegates deep in conversation. The meetings on board the station were vital to the rebuilding effort. Without external help there was no way that the world below would ever get back on its feet. She noticed the Tarun Ambassador looking over and smiled to him before turning back to the bar to wipe away an imaginary spot.

Medical Smythe_002As Dr Smythe looked into the microscope she felt a slight movement in the station floor below her. It always knocked her slightly off balance when Command had to make small adjustments to maintain the orbit. She looked up and focused on the wall for a moment. It was only a minor change, perhaps a centimetre or so, but it was disorientating.

She had grown up on the station, the only time that she’d spent away from it was during her studies at the medical academy. She hadn’t realised how dilapidated Liberty Alpha was until she’d experienced the state of the art facilities available to medical students. Maybe that was the cause of her disorientation, perhaps the gyros were even more damaged than she thought. Or maybe she was more attuned to the changes because she’d been here all of her life…

She walked over to the cryostasis chambers and checked the readouts. Dr Arcturis’ legacy to a dying world, the pods held a selection of people affected by some of the worst weapons used during the war. At its height the many factions turned to bioweapons, not just destroying the buildings, but infecting the population. It was his idea to suspend some of the victims in order to find a cure. Detached from the planet itself, Liberty Alpha Station was considered to be the perfect place to conduct the experiments.

Medical Smythe_001Dr Smythe looked at the face frozen in the viewport on the front of the pod, wondering who this was. It was a question that regularly crossed her mind, she knew each of them by their designation. This was Subject P:A4378 L1 ts4126 09 14. Affected by an unknown bioagent over half a century ago, she was placed into cryostasis exactly 52 years before. “Happy birthday 4378” muttered the Doctor grimly. She punched in a code and watched as a needle extended, plunging into the skin and emptying its contents into the prone body.

Now it was just time to wait. Hopefully this version of the antidote would show better signs than the Doctor’s previous attempts. She stepped back and walked over to the workstation, humming an old song as she went.