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Topics - anthraxus

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1
One would think that it would be impossible to angrily open a auto-door, yet Katrine Korogo was so righteously indignant that Daniel Bowers would have sworn he heard it slide open a little quicker and more forcefully than normal.  He sat at his desk and held his breath as he eyed his boss, hoping with every fiber of his being that her anger was not focused on him.  He quailed under her thunderous gaze as she paused just inside the door and glared at him.  "You, with me." was all she said to him, and quick as a capybara he hopped up to follow her. 

She quickly walked down the hallway from the reception area towards her inner office, each click of her devilstrand heels sounding like suppressed gunshots.  Daniel noticed that her two assistants each glanced up with concern from their screens as the pair quickly passed by their offices, but he waved them off as he went by.  He proactively pulled up her schedule and recent correspondances that she had made visible for him on his internal heads-up display, but nothing jumped out as something that would get her this worked up.

Other than those first three words she said nothing until he closed the door to her office behind them.  He saw the icon appear to indicate that the surveillance supression was in place, and he nodded to her.  She continued to pace relentlessly behind her desk as he stood nervously.  "They did it! I can't believe it, but they totally did.  The unmitigated gall!" she said, practically spitting the words. Daniel stood still and waited for her to come to her own point.  There was a reason he had lasted longer than her last three personal assistants. 

After another minute or two of confusing ranting, she suddenly stopped behind her desk and stared directly at Daniel.  She said, "Bowers, McClure has disappeared. I know some TSS goons grabbed him, but they supressed the signal of the tracker I had on him and were able to shake the agents I had on him as well."  Daniel's jaw dropped in surprise.  He knew that Ms. Korogo had been keeping close tabs on Kelvin McClure, the investigator that had published several very bad exposés on certain practices of the Triad Survivalist Society and indiscretions of it's leadership.  He didn't know it was that extensive.

She said, "Bowers,  I need you to start clearing my schedule and making some arrangements for me.  I need neurotrainers and my lawyer ASAP.  I also need you to take Sweaty to the groomer and get her ready for travel." Daniel paled at the thought of having to deal with Katrine's pet yak, Sweaty.  She had grown up with the beast and loved it more than most people.  "This needs to be kept as low-key as possible.  We'll use the codename Keyhole for the operation.  That was the codename that McClure used when we talked."

The next quadrum was a blur of quick preparation, neurotrainer and nanite immune system integration as well as shifting control of her various companies to trusted associates or trustees.  At the end of it, she and Sweaty and ample supplies were transported to the Sumsummat orbital station and then loaded into a large transport pod to be dropped to the surface.  She had paid a substantial sum in bribes and blackmail to insure that she would be inserted near the general area she had found McClure had been dropped into.  The chances she was going to find him alive were slim, but she felt she owed it to him for the numerous times that his information had either turned her a massive profit, or prevented some tragedy to her and her businesses.  The last thing Daniel handed her before prepping for transit was a TSS Universal Trial Recorder.  "It's been scrubbed and tweaked by security so that it will transmit to us instead of them, but the Utilitool and library access will be critical for you," he said, the concern and worry easily readable on his face. 

"Don't worry," I said, "I've already determined what the outcome is going to be, and you know I'm almost never wrong."

She closed the transit pod and petted the sedated Sweaty.  As the sedatives began to impact her as well, she said, "Stay alive Kelvin.  I'm coming to get you."

2
A loud crack echoed across the sky as the small drop pod plummeted through the clouds.  Vapor trailed behind it and the herd of muffalo near the river lowed and broke into a rushing stampede in response to the noise.  This was fortunate for the beasts as seconds later the drop pod blasted into the sandy soil.  The pod cracked open, depositing a naked old man covered in transit goo onto the ground.

The old man groaned as he painfully got to his feet.  He coughed roughly and groaned as the sudden movement caused his back to twinge.   It was an old injury, the doctors said it was some kind of age related spinal degredation that he could not afford to have corrected, especially not on a journalist's salary.  He did a couple of quick, simple stretches that usually give some relief, but this time the ache and twinge seemed to have settled in for the duration. 

As he wiped away the goo, what hadn't already evaporated, he looked around.  He seemed to be at the bottom of a deep river valley that ran northward from a staggeringly tall range of mountains to the south.  The ruins of a large sandstone building stood to the south west, faint remnants of ancient multicolored paint or laquer hinted at some homey or jovial past use.

He wasn't sure who had screwed him over so thoroughly, although the apparent fact that they weren't willing to kill him directly certainly narrowed down the list.  In his sixty something year career as a journalist directly calling out the richest and most corrupt of the elites of the Glitterworld Triad, he had made a lot of powerful enemies.  But most of them would rather have just killed him and spaced his body with a degrading solar orbit.  The ones that would relish in the thought of his suffering in the mud and blood of Cybele were thankfully few and far between.  Despite the anger and thirst for vengeance that was threatening to overwhelm him, he recognized that giving into them would be a quick road to death on this stupid rock.

With a sigh of resignation and a glance to the slowing returning herd of muffalo, he bent to the task of looking through the remains of the drop pod to see if he had anything to work with at all.  The first and only thing that he was able to find in the blown apart shell of the pod was a standard issue Triad Survivalist Society Universal Trial Recorder.  The pod itself was designed to generate one as it fell apart.  He had hoped for a utilitool or some food maybe, but no such luck.  Fortunately the TUTR was designed for ease-of-use and durability.  He pressed his thumb to the large obvious printscanner on the surface of the relatively featureless device.  In less than a second the holoscreen projected a very barebones display.

<Triad Survivalist Society Universal Trial Recorder Initialization Sequence begun>
<Member Assignment: undefined - *error*>
<Trial Authorization Code: undefined = *error*>
<Voice Prompt for Initialization>

A light and cheerful voice, obviously developed by some AI persona somewhere to be "comforting and appealing to the masses" chirped at him.  It soundly perfectly androgynous but he thought he heard a faint Auroran accent to it, which was very interesting as he himself was based and born on Sumsummat. Maybe it was just his imagination trying to find clues to pull together.  The device chirped again and the voice repeated, "A configuration error has occured with this unit.  Please return to TSS Logistics and Fulfillment for support, or state your name and purpose for use."

The old man grimaced at the device and said in an alarmingly gruffer and more raspy voice than he was used to hearing from himself, "Kelvin McClure, I need help!"

<User Name saved.>
<Telemetry indicates location: 16.12°S, 141.70°W - H1483 {Cybele}>
Kelvin's heart fell.  He had already figured where he had to be, but to have it confirmed was another thing altogether.
<Non-planetary communication protocols disabled.>
<Library access: valid, granted>
<*WARNING* Corruption of primary library data detected.  Limited access still available>
<Utilitool generation capability: valid, granted>

"I am sorry Kelvin," the device responded and even Kelvin had to recognize that there seemed to be real sympathy in the voice, "It seems that I am of limited utility in rendering aid in your current situation.  I can provide some general information from the TSS library archive that may be useful moving forward, and I can generate an Utilitool for your use in gather materials and building shelter.  Would you like to proceed with that?"

The old man eyed the ruins on the other side of the river and could already picture in his head how he could deconstruct some of those wall to make a very secure long term shelter, and there were enough berry bushes and wild healroot in the immediate area that he was pretty sure he could make it a least a couple of days.  "Do it," he told the device and after a few moments the device produced a brand new Utilitool.  TUTR in one had and tool in the other Kelvin began to carefully wade across the river to begin this next chapter of his life, one he planned to very tightly control the ending of.

3
Survival Trial Log of Hans Cummings

Test... Test... Ok, looks like it's recording to transcription mode.  Not sure who is going to hear or read this, but hopefully it is the Triad Survivalist Society Award Commission, and not the TSS Terminal Review Panel.  Anyway, to do this right...  This is the initial survival trial log of Hans "Solo" Cummings, member in good standing of the Triad Survivalist Society, #46169243HC.  My trial authorization code was SLE111223, but I don't know if that is still valid.

If there was a way to file a complaint I would.  *chuckle* Consider this an official complaint about this whole mess, whoever you are. 

I know a lot of people back on the glitterworlds think that those of us who want to do survivalist trials are just completely crazy.  But for me, this is really a reminder of my childhood.  I clawed my way up from the coreward wasteland of the pollution processing works of Dodona, so I know what's its like to start from nothing.  I dug myself out and eventually joined the Dodona Stellar Navy R&D as a researcher.  I've always prized my intelligence as my strongest asset, but my tenacity and stubbornness have to rank right up there too.  So make no mistake, I was planning this trial according to the TSS guidelines: crosstraining on construction, farming and mining techniques, familiarization with the Azure Tech Utilitool, and bonding with a helper animal.  Thousands of Stellar credits and almost a year in preparation. 

*break in recording*

Sorry, had to go check outside, thought I heard something.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh right, prep.  So I was two weeks out from my planned drop window when the autodoc monitoring indicated that I had a probem developing with my gall bladder.  CentOps and TSS logistics agreed that I could have it removed and should be healed sufficiently for drop, so I booked it.  The last thing I remember was changing into the patient gown and meeting Dr. Abry? Aubrey?  Abby?  Something like that.  Anyway, she ran down the operation for me and turned on the anesthesia feed on the med-bed. 

I faded to black and the next thing I know I am waking up, covered in transit gel, falling out of the sky in a nearly empty drop pod.  The only thing besides my naked ass in the pod was a Utilitool and the TSS Universal Trial Recorder here. According to it, I've hit down at 15.50 N, 27.10 E on the 12th of Decembary, just after dawn.  By the holomap that means I am somewhere in the Naouus Range, north of Rubatora Mountains.  I know that means that the nearest known settlement is nearly two weeks foot travel from here, give or take a couple of days. 

There air outside the pod was freezing.  I had dropped next to a large but narrow mountain peak.  The aerial snapshot the drop pod loaded on the TUTR shows there are a ton of old ruins scattered in the immediate vicinity, mostly steel from the looks of the minerology layer.  It looks like there are some big stone stele scattered around, but nothing obviously useful.  A strongly flowing river cuts through the hills and small mountains nearby. I immediately set to cutting some of the nearest oaks to build a shelter, and some nearby winter berry bushes provided me with an evening meal.

As I roved around, I noticed that a part of the mountain is actually smooth worked marble and not rough granite.  When I get close to the wall, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of anxiety and worry.  I don't really give much credence to various rumors of psychic powers, but I certainly have a terrible feeling about what lies on the other side of that wall.  From the R&D records, the only thing I know of that could cause that is archotech, which does not alleviate my concerns at all.  To give me a little more of a comfort zone with this, I plan to move my shelter further to the south tomorrow.

I am really up the creek here.  I was ready for this with time and supplies.  I am not ready to try to start from nothing.  The more I think about it, the more anxious I get as I start to realize the shortcomings in my training.  I realize I don't really know how to make a decent bow or other primitive weapons, so I am going to have to fix that as soon as I can, but I am going to have to try to get by on berries for now.  I wish I hadn't spent so much time on the range and some more time on the close combat drills. At least it warmed up to a tolerable temperature as the day passed.

Anyway, I could ramble on forever, but I need to try to see if I can make myself sleep.  I hope you can understand but I'm going to have my hands full for the foreseeable future, but I will try to make some kind of regular schedule to record updates.  Maybe it will be good notes for my autobiography when I get out of here.  Yeah...  That's the thing.  Lots of stories about people who finish a TSS trial a big, big things.  That will be me.  It has to be.

<end recording transcript>

<ATTCH - "Prelanding Aerial Survey Shot">


4
Scenarios / [A16] Survivor: Rimworld (Season MMMDIII)
« on: January 29, 2017, 06:34:42 PM »
Welcome to season 3503 of Survivor, the longest running series on Galactic TV.  This is your host, AI Jim Probst.

This group of young challengers is undertaking the greatest challenge in the galaxy, survival on an uncivilized Rimworld.  Not only will they have to build a functional shelter, fight off roving bandits and raiders, and defend themselves from ravaging beasts, but they may not be able to trust each other.  Anyone who can make it off planet will win the grand prize, anything the glitterworlds of the Core have to offer. This is their story.  This is Survivor

Your faction will be a New Arrivals
Start with 9 people.
Your people will be between 18 and 25 years old.
Arrive in drop pods.
Player starting characters have a 100% chance to start with cryptosleep sickness.
Start with research: Passive Cooler
Start with research: Pemmican
Start with research: Devilstrand

Incident created:
  - Resource pod crash (60 days)

Start with:
 - Chicken x4
 - Wood x500
 - Steel x500
 - Packaged survival meal x60
 - Component x300

Map is scattered with:
 - Steel x100
 - Plasteel x167
 - LMG
 - Pistol x2
 - Charge rifle x2
 - Plasteel knife x4
 - Marble blocks x200
 - Nutrient paste meal x10


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5
Stories / Muffalo Cross Vlog
« on: April 27, 2016, 11:22:03 PM »
The video shows a wooden wall, with sunlight angling across it from the left.  Triple bladed frondgrass carpets the ground up to the wall.  A middle aged man enters from the left.  Assuming the wall is a standard height, he would be just under six feet tall.  He wears his synth thread jacket open and is shirtless and ripped underneath.  His dark hair is trimmed down to the standard cryptosleep buzz.  He walks to the center of the frame and looks to the camera.  His face is vaguely familiar, although it is hard to place from where.

"Here?" he asks, his voice is smooth and deep, flavored with a faint spinward glitterworld accent.  Another voice responds from off-camera, "Yeah, dude, go.  We're recording already."  The man on screen looks down, coughs lightly and his lips can be seen to move quickly, like he was praying or speaking to himself quietly.  After a second he looks back up and smiles, white teeth glittering in the sunlight. 

"Hi,  my name is Bret Cross.  You may remember me from such golden joywire classics as Merrin Veck and the Solar Wreck, Colony 2291 and the Urbworld Urchins series.  Although since it has been a couple decades since I was last on the wire, I wouldn't blame you if you don't."  He swipes his left hand over his head, the movement instantly recognizable as a signature gesture of many of his characters.  "At my brother's insistence, we are starting this running vlog of the foundation of what we are calling Muffalo Cross.  You may be wondering why I dropped off the map so many years ago, and what I've been doing since then.  Well, some of you may know that I am originally from Eribin Dani, and that when that world collapsed into the fires of religious nuclear war I was safely off world, filming Urbworld Urchins.  What you probably don't know is that I had a brother who was still on Eribin Dani when it all went down." 

He seems to think for a moment and then quickly advances on the camera.  The same voice from earlier is heard saying, "No, quit it Bret, Stop!", and the source is revealed to be another man, slightly younger than Brett but with an obvious family resemblance.  The younger man also wears standard cryptosleep synth thread pants, but no other clothing.  While he is as physically impressive as Bret, his back bears the unmistakable stripes of a whip, and he has a large full-color tattoo across his upper back the legendary warship Donnager against a star filled backdrop.  Bret keeps the younger man in a simple headlock as he pulls him into the shot.

"This knucklehead is my brother Daniel.  Say hello to the galaxy, Dan!"  Dan waves awkwardly towards the camera and twists out of the headlock.  He holds his hands up warily towards Bret, but looks to the camera.  "Hi galaxy!" he waves again, more naturally and at ease.  Brett continues, occasionally feinting towards Daniel like he was going to grab him again, "Anyway.  I wound up having to spend the majority of the fortune I had made in my joywire career trying to get him off of the ruins of Eribin Dani.  We wound up more or less bumming around the spinward systems for several years, working on odd jobs to make the ends meet and just trying to settle on some kind of direction.  Finally, we landed a contract to join a group looking to establish a colony on the antispin rim, somewhere around Upsilon Maxi.  We made friends with another of the colonists, Naoki McGuire, a former Planetary Guild Navy researcher who prefers to go by the nickname Muffalo."  A couple shots fire in distance and both brothers look in that direction. "Um, yeah," Bret looks back to the camera, "Anyways, I got the luck of pulling regular maintenance shifts for journey out.  Imagine my worry, then, when I happen to cycle up for my shift only to find half of the warning lights on the maintenance panel flashing emergency indicators.  Apparently the last person to pull shift duty had died at some point during his shift and the ship quickly started to fall apart. Um, we'll pick this back up in a minute" 

Another shot echoes from off camera.  Daniel looks at Bret and they nod in silent agreement.  Daniel walks towards the camera as Bret draws a pistol from under his jacket and walks off in the direction of the gunshots.  The last shot is of Daniel reaching out to turn off the camera.

6
Stories / Noble's Journal
« on: April 08, 2016, 12:14:44 AM »
6th of Winter

I've decided to start this journal, but I don't think I am going to tell Vicky and Jac about it, at least not until there is a need too.  For our first day on Phac III, it has been quite the busy one.  I awoke in the in my crashpod as the chute deployed, causing a hard jerk as it braked and detached.  A display in front of my face gave me an info dump on the planet and a satellite photo of our landing site.  It also showed that two other pods were ejected with me.   

We set down in the middle of an flat arid scrubland.  As soon as the crashpods disintigrated, I got a look at the two other survivors of whatever happened to the colony ship we were on.  Surprisingly I recognized them from the longsleep orientation.  It turns out they are a married couple, and came from whatever crap hole world they were escaping from together.  Jac, the guy, had somehow managed to sneak a dog, a cute lab named Orkie and isn't too bad on the eyes himself. 

As we gathered up some of the supplies that crashed nearby, as well as some weapons we discussed plans for what to do next.  There were several ruins nearby, and we were lucky enough to have a small marble building that was almost completely still standing.  The air is dry and hot, but a colony seed bank had dropped with the supplies and Jac and I worked out where to go ahead and get some potatoes and healroot planted to help supplement the few prepackaged meals and medicine that came down with us.  While we did that Vicky started building some beds for us to sleep in, and building up some walls.  We decided to start dumping our supplies in the little marble building and putting together some basic frames for solar panels. 

Over the course of the day we all had several nice chats here and there, but I would have sworn that I had noticed Jac checking me out more than once.  Several things he said in our conversations also lead me to think that he and Vicky had more of an open kind of relationship.  What with all the chaos and worry and anxiety over the crash and trying to get some shelter and supplies set up for us, I was feeling the need for some real physical closeness.  It may have been stupid, but I made a pass at Jac.  He shut me down cold, the big tease.  I went to go work on putting the finishing touches on the stove while he and Vicky wandered off somewhere together.  They must have talked about what happened though because a little while later Vicky cornered me in the storeroom and asked what I was thinking hitting on her husband.  She called me a desperate slut and stormed out, despite my admittedly half-hearted attempts at apologizing. 

We all kept separate and busy for while, and to mend fences I gathered up some meals and we all had a little picnic amongst the freshly planted potatoes.  Orkie provided us with some entertainment chasing after the family of squirrels that live somewhere nearby. Vicky and I made nice, and I think she has started to forgive me for my rash behavior.  Still, laying here alone in my bed while they cuddle together in theirs makes me realize how lonely this place may be.

Maybe I'll get lucky and we'll find someone else out there for me.  And then we can all get lucky :) 

Long day of building ahead tomorrow.  We'll see what happens.



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