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Underwater War IV


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As some of you may know, I recently posted a poll of sorts to gauge the popularity of a fourth Underwater War. This was to avoid the fate of such threads as Tenebria and House Wayku. Including myself, five people expressed definate interest. So here's the thread.

This is not a sequel to the original Underwater wars. It's more like... another one.

In the early twenty first century, the world saw an unprecedented rise in the number of natural disasters. Incidences of hurricanes and typhoons increased exponentially, with the result that most low-lying coastal areas were evacuated every summer by the year 2030. Some almost sea-level islands disappeared completely almost overnight, drowning every inhabitant. High rainfall was common, and floods endemic. The question on everybody's lips; where had all this water come from?

The answer, as some had known all along, was the icecaps. The polar regions were teetering on the brink of an irreversible catastrophe. Increasing global temperatures had all but destroyed them, but they could still have been saved if a massive effort was made. That effort was only just lifting off in 2045, when the final push was delivered. Hurricane Ekaterina, the largest tropical storm yet seen, smashed through Brazil before turning North across Mexico and blanketing the entire western United States. It went on to tear through Canada, only fading out as it reached the North pole. The rescue efforts of the East, and of the rest of the world, involved aeroplane drops, helicopter rescues, and a vast expenditure of fuel and resources. Finally, it was too much.

The push was tiny, but its effects were cataclysmic. The icecaps broke apart completely, shedding tonnes of ice into the world's oceans. Sea levels rose at once, drowning millions. Not a government in the world could help as their citizens descended into madness and their power vanished over the course of a year.

What follows is hearsay, rumour based on the beliefs of those who survived. All that is certain is that in the year 2052, the atmosphere was poisoned. The theory is that some country, some ill-informed or possibly insane administration, launched hundreds of hastily-developed cryogenic warheads in a desperate attempt to 're-freeze' the poles. If true, then of course this was doomed to failure. The temperatures of the poles were lowered so that they were far colder than they should have been, and no ice formed. The side-effect of this was that the atmosphere of the planet was rendered toxic. The isolated survivors were forced to take cover however they could, or perish in the poisoned air.

The year is now 2540. Things have changed. All but the peaks of the highest moutains are underwater. What was once sea level is almost unreachable, due to the crushing pressures of the water above. The atmosphere is still slightly toxic, capable of causing death in cases of prolonged exposure. The Northern polar region is consistantly frigid, but never quite frozen completely. Massive icebergs lie almost unmoving in its static waters. The chemicals released into this area have steadily warped the surrounding wildlife, killing some while mutating others.

This is the new world. A world that the few survivors are just coming to terms with.

The Rules:

Space-based weapons are not allowed.

Resources are scarce, and important. If you're going to build a ship, or fifty of them, where did the material come from? What will you arm them with?

For this reason, nuclear weapons are extremely unlikely. Not forbidden, but unlikely.

Try to keep things realistic. If you've got nuclear power, where are the generators? What do you do with the residue? If you don't have a rocky outcrop to build on, how do you stay afloat? Do you stay in one place, or move?

On a related note, building on non-rock (i.e. seafloor) is all but impossible. Very loose, that stuff.

I'll post my own group after I'm assured that this thread won't just sink to the bottom of the page (heh, fitting though it would be). If there are any qualms about the rules or the background, let me know via IM.

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(OOC: the original underwater war took place in the year 3030, so this is more of a prequell then)

Ahmed Santo's watched as the Colony wavered in the Storm, The capital City of the KYA empire had been based near the former city of Istanbul, but now, that place was gone for ever.

The city held close to 200,000 people, fed off fish farm's and powered by massive hydroelectric power stations. They had been created as a way to help ease Julieus's demand on Fision, which was rapidly becoming un practible with the scarcity of nucular fuel. The city was held in place by massive cables which were burried deep into the bed rock below, while they were stable enough for storms and even the heaviest of the winter currents, a heavy strike could sink the city. City and Defense engineers were already working on a centeral collum to build down to the sea floor, finding material was't easy, but the progress was coming slowly.

Santos Inhaled deeply off his cigar, and exhaled with a cough, his lungs were not agreeing with him today, probebly his chronic broncitis acting up again. He fliped through the reports on his desk, the city was becomining massivly overcrowded, conditions continued to worsen each year. IF he opened another city up, it could split away politicaly, his enemies were everywhare. Yet, if he continued to force the populace onto one city, they would starve or rebel.

He sighned the executive order to begin mining operations in near by Galipo, the operation was simmiler to how the ancients mined oil, a nasty black tar that substance, but it served as a good back up to most systems atleast. Hopefully the decedents of Turkey would survive, and hopefully a new Ottoman Empire could be formed.

He snickered at the thought.


Mining Operations  10% complete, 15% per post.

Centeral Collum construction 5% complete, 10% per post.

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An OOC note: My base(s) is/are located above Greece.

Lefteris Ferdinand paced his small office, his small city swaying slightly as the anchors lying on top of Mt. Olympus moved around. Looking out his window, he saw (Although it was slightly obscured by the few metres of water seperating the city from the surface) the sun shining brightly, and cursed his forefathers for making Earth such a hellhole.

Turning around, he sat down at his desk, and started writing. Since paper was nigh-impossible to get these days, Lefteris wrote everything on his data-pad.

His office shook slightly as a hydro-electric generator sucked something in, probably a fish. Lefteris ignored it. He was concentrated on more important things, like how to keep feeding a city of 20,000 people. Oh sure, there were the fish. And seaweed. But the people were getting tired of eating only that, and besides, it didn't supply them with all the nutrients needed to function properly. They were getting weaker and weaker, and soon; Nobody would be able to go gather fish or seaweed that was floating around.

He couldn't turn to the other cities not far from him; they had their own problems. Overpopulation, not enough energy, the list went on.

Popping open a small canister, he took out a Xanaz pill. The physicians had advised him against taking it, but he really needed it now. He crunched down hard on it and was rewarded with an instant soothing effect.

Now, Lefteris thought. If only I could find out how that dirt-mining operation is going. Lefteris smiled to himself. After all, it's our only hope to keep starivng to death.

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"Sir, Sector 52 of the D Area had collapsed!" reported an officer through the vid-phone.

"Second one in the month, and...the eighth one in the year..." mumbled Korner as he let out a heavy sigh, "Casualities?"

"Estimated to be around 500, rioters plus civilians in that sector." replied the officer.

"Strengthen the patrol around the surrounding sectors, and tell the Debries team to forward to 52 after they are done with 11." ordered Korner as he grinded his teeth on the old pipe that had been passed down from his grand...whatever. Who have the leisure to deal with such minor things from the long past, when he have a much larger burden from that past?

Rigs. This damned colony! 30,000 men are just far too much, something must be done soon or all 30,000 of us will become fish bait...


Rigs, as the name suggests, started with three oil rigs hijacked by renegade an admiral and his fleet around the 2050s. Along with other ships ranging from recharch ships, tankers, cargo ships, and even some other navy ships that were "peacefully rallied", the rigs were towed to the oil fields near Baghdad, which was long underwater.

The rigs were drilled deeply into the rock bed for both oil and support. The colony managed to survive, and expanded by stripping ships for metal to build floating metal platforms attached to the three rigs through underwater cable (entangled up in a big mess through the 500 years of unplanned building). At that time the colony was powered through the nuclear reactor from the carrier of the admiral.

When the remaining oil was totally sucked up, the shafts were drilled even deeper and were converted into geothermal power plants. By then, even the carrier was dismantled, only the reactor remained and was sealed up, along with a reserve for each type of plane. Subs and fishing ships are the only functioning and produced crafts in the colony.

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"(OOC: the original underwater war took place in the year 3030, so this is more of a prequell then)"

I was thinking completely unrelated, but if that's what you want...

"Fascinating." The Grand High Academie Maribeth Tyree jotted notes on her worn papyrus notebook, while simmultaneously trying to keep her eyes on the speciman that swam before her. "Simply amazing, I've never seen anything quite like it!"

'Just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that...' Her companion thought tiredly to herself. It had been a tiring day, and the Academie's enthusiasm for her craft was beginning to try on High Engineer Maeris' nerves.

"Your Ladyship, a moment?" She tried, knowing that her attempt to wrest attention was doomed to fail. The Grand High Academie had discovered a new species of coldwater whale, and was furiously making notes as a small pod swam above the Alecton. The High Engineer eyed the giants carefully. The last mutant species had almost caused the sub's doom, and it was with no small shiver that she noted the outsized fangs on this unrecognised breed.

"I'll come back later, Ma'am." Maeris sighed, turning from the observation deck. She caught the Academie's murmured response as she sealed the hatch. Damn!

Maeris made sure to seal the appropriate valves, and made a point of checking the gauges alongside. What good was it to preach to her companions if she didn't practice caution herself? Finding everything within normal ranges, though the leakage meter was higher than it should have been, Maeris climbed the latter down to Third level. She felt the reassuring hum of the Alecton's engines, idling while the craft was stationary. She had lived with them all of her life. She would have felt completely lost without that steady rumbling. It let her know that all was right in the world. They had only ever shut down once.

'Never again.' Maeris promised herself, even as she nodded to another crewmember. The High Enginerr tried to place the boy's face. Ah yes, the Yzin lad. He was a Mathmatician, or training to be one, so it was no wonder that she hadn't recognised him. Maeris idly wondered what he was doing in this part of the sub. Probably running an errand to talk to Maribeth. Maeris smiled ironically, and wished him luck. Reaching another bulkhead, she checked the seals and gauges before moving on. Dropping down the short ladder to Second level, she examined the emergency lighting and found it satisfactory. Maeris didn't feel like passing through the canteen, and took the long way around through the outer pockets. Finding the ladder to First Level without meeting anybody else, she climbed down to her domain.

Whistles whistled. Pumps pumped. Bilges bilged and gaskets gasked. First Level, where it had all started, could now be thought of as the Engine Room.

It was in fact eighteen rooms, with the central one being the most important. That, the 'subcentre' as it was known, was the focus for the entire craft. Around it were arranged the various engines, extractors, pumps and filters that kept the Alecton running. Engineers stood at their posts, monitoring and making reports. Junior Engineers scuttled to and fro, fixing gauges and realigning springs. The occasional trainee, and it was rare to see them on the floor like this, gazed about themself in wonderment.

The whole area was lit by what Maeris liked to think of as 'real light.' White light, generated by traditional filiments. Oh sure they were difficult and expensive to make, but good lighting was needed down here! Maeris would do everything in her power to run an efficient Engineering Corps, and if that meant white lights so that gauges weren't misread, then so be it. The greenish-tinged light of the rest of the craft didn't agree with her anyway. It made her feel ill just standing in it. Generated by bacteria indeed!

The High Engineer walked through the steaming, hissing chaos. She read dials, twisted valves, loosened a particularly tight screw, and generally made herself seen. She hadn't gotten the job of High Engineer by not getting oil on her hands! Her meeting with the Grand High Academie would have to wait. But not too long. Because Maeris knew, it would soon be time to move on...

* * *

Some backgroud. The Alecton was a small submersible in the twenty first century, owned by some billionaire or other. He did not even think of it when the disasters hit, but his wife did. Taking her children, the woman loaded the craft with food and hurried North, intent on rescuing her sister. Hey, I never said she was smart. Upon finding the other woman, however, the lady discovered that her sister was working as part of an ocean survey into the effects of the disaster. The craft that she and her fellow researchers were aboard was called Marie. Long story short, the Marie had tested the atmosphere's toxidity, and found it deadly to man. This was just after the poisoning. However, they still maintained a faint wireless link with similar groups a few hundred miles away.

These groups scurried together under the water, sharing their results and pooling their resources. It was the Alecton though, that allowed them to do this. Without the stronger submersible's power and speed, the men and women in the research vehicles would surely have perished. Thus when they worked, displaying incredible skill and ingenuity, to combine their craft, the new submersible kept the name of the first. The original Alecton become the subcentre of the new.

As time went on, power slowly died. The scientists were able to synthesize water and oxygen from the seawater around them, but food supplies were desperately low. And so they went back to the only supply they could find.

Hoping that the Alecton's hull could withstand the intense pressures of the water, the crew descended. They made a brief foray around what had once been an open area of land, before they were forced to rise again. The dead trees and animal pieces that they found were quickly reprocessed into edible material. It wasn't pretty, but it would have to do.

Their next target was an old city. Moving down, they did not have to descend so far to reach the old skyscrapers. Scavenging what metals and resources that they could, the crew began what would become repeated behaviour for the next few hundred years.

The Alecton toured the globe. Metals, stolen mostly from old automobiles, were recycled and used to expand and strengthen the craft. The stronger it got, the deeper they went, for longer. Eventually it became possible to remain on the bottom, tearing up the old land for precious organic matter and minerals. The original crew grew old, and died. They trained their children to follow in their footsteps. They in turn trained their children, drilling into them the importance of knowledge, how brainpower was the only thing keeping them from spontaneously imploding. New resources were discovered.

A species of kelp growing in what had been the Alps proved to be an excellent source of papyrus, and permanent samples were taken for the Botantic farm. Light-giving bacteria were located and bred, resolving the old issue of lighting with chemicals that were generally toxic. Food came in the form of fish and plankton, with the occasional addition. If someone died, you didn't throw their corpse away. That would have been an unforgivable waste of protein.

And so we come to the Alecton as it is today. A society of scientists and academics, scrounging their existence from the seabed, occasionally rising through the waters. It is a large craft, and possesses many varied attachments and arms to manipulate the enviroment around it. It is currently moving south from what was Greenland. It sends out a repeating radio signal, which reads little but a desire for a reply. It has been answered twice, in the craft's entire history. The first time, they welcomed aboard a whole family of survivors (and welcomed their craft into the bulk of the Alecton). In the second case, they found corpses. These too were welcomed.

Make no mistake though, things are far from perfect. Attacks from huge, twisted monsters have taken their toll on the Alecton. Their population, despite rigorous controls, is becoming dangerously inbred. And they know that it is only a matter of time before there is an anomaly, a mistake. The craft is over five hundred years old. Despite constant repairs and upkeep, despite the invention of brand new materials, it cannot last forever.

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Lefteris watched proudly as the three modified submersibles drifted up from the murky depths, each laden with many pounds of mud and dirt.

Puffing on a cigar celebratingly, Lefteris said quietly, "This is it. Now we can't die..."

He watched from the thick plastic windows the base had. It wasn't dangerous. After all, their base was barely submerged several meters under the water. Aides and engineers scurried around, making sure no technical glitch would damage the craft and their precious cargo. klaxons lit up and started shrieking as the bay doors in the middle of the floor opened up and the three submersibles surfaced.

The people exploded. Cheering, crying, hugging. Technicians rushed to help the beaming crews out of the ships.

Finally! No more seaweed and fish! Now we can grow whatever we like...Fruits, vegatables! Bananas or strawberries!

Not being able to contain his excitment, Lefteris rubbed his hands together and started grinning. If all went as planned, they could execute more operations like this, and everyone would be able to eat well. Not to mention that they could get rich by selling fresh fruit. It went for a very high price, since almost nobody had any any dirt in which to grow it.

Oh yes, this was the beginning of a new era...


Radio messages were sent out to anyone and everyone. They advertised tomatoes, bananas, , potatoes, kiwis, and all kinds of berries, and for while they hadn't been grown yet, the seeds had been carefully preserved for the decisive day...

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"Poseidon!" The radio operator breathed as his decrepit instruments rattled into life. "We're getting a signal! An artificial signal!"

"Are you sure it isn't just the whales again?" His companion leaned over curiously. "Because you know those things-" He stopped short as he read the patterns on the battered screen. "By the Old Depths, you're right! Are you getting this?"

"I'm getting, I'm getting..." The first muttered, scribbling furiously at his papyrus notepad. As the faint signal faded out, he looked up.

"What does it say?" The other operator asked, twiddling the various dials and knobs in an attempt to regain the connection.

"It, it..." The radioman trailed off. "I'm not sure. I'll take it up to the council, see what they say."

* * *

"Hmm ah, heh heh. Two emergency council meetings in less than a twentytide? We must be doing a wonderful job." The toothless Gerrie sniggered to herself, leaning heavily on her ivory cane. The two councillors on either side of her seat tried to pretend that they hadn't heard her.

"My wife may have a point." Mmbas Meers spoke up, wheezing slightly in his old age. "But not in that we are somehow ineffective. Could it be that these two events are somehow related?"

"Only if someone else has been duplicating our techniques. ...Which is entirely possible." Felicity Hrarlth, leader of the Alecton's Hunting school, spoke from her place near the door. "But if we accept a hostile party as a given, the I wonder why they would attempt to lure us into a trap, given the near-success of their previous attack."

"There can't be a connection." Grand High Academie Maribeth spoke up. "We know that last tentide's difficulties were just caused by a particularly aggressive pod of whales. I believe that they reacted to the presence of our guardians. We may need to call them in closer if there are further sightings of that particular species..."

"But we can discuss that another time." Maeris interrupted sharply. "Right now I have rumours spreading like contagion through First Level. I've already had Junior Engineers asking me if we should prepare to head South or not. We need to tell the schools something."

"What is the message offering?" Greede Meers asked from behind his thin mask.

"Food." Maribeth shrugged. "With particular emphasis on fruit."

"Bah, we don't need that." Lucretia Viir scoffed. "We have the gardens to supply us with food. And I have serious doubts about fruit." She added darkly. "There hasn't been a fruit tree for hundreds of years. And seeds kept that long would long since have rotted."

"Frightened someone will rob you of your monopoly, sister?" Fabian Viir asked smugly.

"And another thing." His brother Juliano added quickly, "Any sizable trees would have to be grown on or near the surface. They would be exposed to the toxins in the air. I wouldn't trust any fruit that they bore, myself."

"This is of course assuming that the message is giving the truth." Maeris pointed out. "It's entirely possible that some other survivors wish to rob us of our resources."

"We are in need of resources ourselves, as you well know." Greede said silibantly. "Metals, especially. With the loss of our mining arm..."

"Don't." Maeris choked on the word. She turned away from the council, hiding her tears. Greede did not react as the other members of the council glared at him.

"...We do need metals." Martz Hrarlth sighed, reluctant to agree with the slimy Greede Meers. "And we need repairs. I know Engineering thinks we can hold out, but sooner or later we will need to stop patching the holes and go over the whole craft-"

"The Alecton is fine." Maeris snapped, without turning back to the other councillors. Maribeth put her arm around the thickset woman's shoulder.

"No, I'm afraid that it isn't." The whole council, even Maeris, turned to the new voice. Nox Phray stood in a corner, looking at the floor. The youngest member of the council, it was unusual that he should be the Alecton's Archivist. "Craft integrity is at seventy percent of optimum. In present circumstances it will fall below acceptable levels in five years' time." Nox stated flatly. "Given the loss of our mining equipment, repair levels will fall. Furthermore, even if the craft were not structurally endangered, there is only so much that we can do with our current resources. Our population may be regulated, but it is already bursting at the seams. We must enlarge the Alecton, and relatively soon. To this end I advise we approach this colony with caution. They may have something that we can use." Having finished, the Archivist lapsed back into his habitual silence. Maeris tried to quell her sobs.

"I agree." Fabian Viir said firmly. "We don't need to announce ourselves. We just need to... examine. It's what we do, after all."

"I second that." Juliano Viir agreed.

"I call a vote then." Maribeth announced. "All those in favour of approaching with caution, raise their hands." She spent a moment counting the raised hands of the council members. "Well then, it's unanimous." She said in surprise. "We go South, but we don't announce our presence."

* * *

"We'll be passing over Old Belgium in a matter of days." The tinny voice at the other end of the speaking tube said. "From there the plan is to head through the Alps. We can test the depth there, and the water tends to be much calmer."

"Yes, thank you Aleksandra." Nox closed the tube. So, a radio message.

It had been a long time since the radios picked up anything but whales and the like, the Archivist reflected as he poured himself a cup of milk and tried not to think about where it might have come from. Lucretia's experiments in the Gardens were best left out of mind, as a rule. He sat down at his desk, and listened to the engines vibrating beneath his feet. Like Maeris, he found them a constant comfort. Around him, his small school was whispering frantically amongst themselves. Well, they wouldn't get much work done today. Nevermind, an Archivist's work is never done. And he could hardly expect them to memorise Fabian's latest results on a day like this. Hopefully the High Biologist would keep this in mind, and not provide too much. But then, Nox considered, chances were high that Fabian and Juliano had trouble enough with their own schools.

Rumour was indeed spreading throughout the ship. Nox had heard most of the theories already. They ranged from the paranoid ("It was all faked by the council so that they can drag us South away from those whales!") to the naive ("My friend says they'll give us apples for free") to the downright bizarre ("The whales are using radio signals to trick us into a trap"). Nox had, as his duty demanded, taken down every detail and filed it away for future reference. And if there was no future reference, well his successors would have to learn it anyway. That was what the Archivists did. It's why they were the smallest school aboard.

But this twotide had held more than just the message. Nox closed his eyes, bringing the details forward...

"Felicity and Lucretia have agreed to collaborate." The girl had reported. "They met in Conservatory B about an hour ago. Felicity mentioned the Stingray project."

"Stingray, already?" Nox had asked carefully.

"Mmm." The girl had nodded. Jessica, that was her name. "They talked about the 'failure of the guardians' and last tentide's attack by the whales. I think they mean to breed a new guardian species."

'I expect you are correct, Jessica.' Nox thought as he surfaced from his memories. 'But why would Lucretia and Felicity not mention this at the council?' He asked himself. Were they trying to keep it a secret? He failed to see how they could do that, with the number of people monitering Lucretia's experiments. Ah well, it was early days. Plenty of time to watch.

* * *

The Alecton turns Southeast, heading directly for what was once the Western coast of mainland Europe. There are no radio transmissions.

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(OOC: Interesting... I have two different faction ideas already.  Which to choose, which to choose...)

  James awoke with a start, his blood squirting rapidly through his veins and his heart pounding loudly in his chest.  Gasping, he closed his eyes tightly, waiting for the pain to go away, for his mind to ease.

  It was the third time that night his heart had woken him.  Too many cushy years in the Protection Corps and too many barbeque brisquit dinners has resulted in a time bomb in his chest.  He imagined his heart wrapped around a clump of dynamite with an LED read-out flashing "ITS TIME, ITS TIME."

  He looked into the mirror across from his small cot, where he and his wife would talk away the evenings and warm the nights.  Empty now except for an old, sagging-chested bald man with a heart condition and an over-worked mind.

  "It's time you old bastard," he muttered to his reflection.

  A few hours later, he sat in his small, 6'/6' office, smoothing his ragged vest and drinking what passed for coffee in the 26th century.  Waiting.  Always waiting.

  James hated to wait.

  A soft knock announced the arrival of his nephew.  His godson.  His replacement.

  As the young man walked in and sat down, James couldn't help but feel slightly pissed at the cocky, skinny, blackhaired bastard in front of him.

  "Good morning, Dallas."

  The young man ceased his smoothing of the crisp, new black collar and looked up, raising his eyebrow.

  "Good morning, Sir.  You have orders for me?"

  James leaned back, studying the young man closely.  After a moment, he interlaced his fingers on his chest and began.  "Six hundred years ago, in the United States of America, the secret military base known as Area 51 recieved orders to begin building a Biodome large enough to house a hundred thousand people.  The general in charge of secret operations did not ask why."

  "General Torreador, the founder of New Virginia."

  The upper corner of his mouth twitched as the older man replied, "Founder... Yes.  Twenty years later, when his replacement, General Corgan, was ordered to build a hatch at the bottom of the Biodome for the storage of a nuclear submarine-- a nuclear submarine in the middle of a desert, mind you--, he did not ask why."

  Dallas looked at the old man and raised an eyebrow.  But he remained silent.  The old codger had strange ways, but Dallas trusted him.

  James picked up his coffee and downed the rest of what was in the bottom of the mug.  He grimaced, partly at the taste, partly at the pain.  After a second, the old man straightened in his chair and set the mug back on his desk.

  "When the world was washed clean and sparkling..." James couldn't help himself, he snorted with laughter.  The young man sat up, curious.  "Hah, more like when the world was covered with the shit and the stink of civilization's sewage in the Second Flood, the leader of the Biodome III opened his final orders.  They were simple and to the point: 'Maintain radio silence at all costs, ignore all communications, keep such communications secret from surviving populace.'  When he read those orders, he did not ask why."

  The young man kept his silence.  He knew this discussion had a point, and he knew enough to wait for it to present itself.

  James sniffed dismissively and activated the HD panel behind him.  "A few days ago we got this transmission."

  A shaky image appeared on the screen, the image wavered and then the profile of a very strange-looking man appeared.  He looked almost alien-- dark, with over-large features-- and what he spoke was incomprehensible.  He looked excited and happy, eager to share news of a new dicovery or adventure.

  "What is he saying?" asked Dallas, watching the man closely.

  As he watched, he clearly heard the words, "potatoes, bannanas, kiwis," before the man started speaking differently again.

  "He is speaking Greek," said James.

  "Yeah, sounds like Greek to me!" grinned Dallas.

  Eyebrow raised, James said, "No.  He's speaking Greek."

  Realization was preceded by questioning and shock as the HD panel darkened.

  After a moment, James nodded, and picked up a piece of paper.

  "You will take the Damian and trace the source of that signal.  When you find the originators of the signal, you will make contact, and exchange goods."



  A few hours later, the nuclear submarine Damian left the port at the bottom of the city of New Virgnia, carrying 20 men and numerous livestock for trade.  They maintained radio silence as the sub cruised for Greece, or what had once been.

(OOC: I established most of the backstory for my faction in the above post.  The one thing most people may not know about is the concept of a "biodome."  Several years ago, in an attempt to establish a way for humans to survive in space, a marriage of technology and biology produce the biodome, where a small group of people and a small ecosystem can survive completely cut off from the outside world (sealed in, with glass or heavy plastic).  The plants and wildlife produce the chemical basis for life, while the people work to promote the order (or disorder) needed for life to thrive.  In the experiment noted in the book Out of Control by the editor of Wired Magazine, the people in the biodome lived quite well.  For my faction, I modified the concept of an isolated environment to a much larger scale (the size of a large city), and added some of the resources availible to a secret organization, such as the NSA.)

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Ahmed Santo's loked over the latest reports, food riots were begining in some of the lower levels. The poor were revolting, because the rich like always had more then them. Even the rich had little. He pulled out a small keyboard and started typing quickly.

"To all Police and Military personal on the station. Contain the rioters with Tear gas and peper spray. If riots continue, flood the sections till 95% are full, then empty before it kills everyone." He sighned it and sighed. He had alot of work to do to get his people back on there feet.

Two scout ships had been dispatched, one east, and one west, both were scrapped together from old freighter hulls. They had a few suprises incase they ran into any trouble. Hopefully the goods they carried could start trade. Somthing the KYA despretly needed. One was headed east to Nothern Greece and macadonia, the other was headed east towards Persia and Kahzistan.


Mining Operations  35% complete, 15% per post.

Centeral Collum construction 15% complete, 10% per post.

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"......the reactor had been dormant for more than 400 years, we can't guarantee that it will work like the old days." announced a voice from one of the men sitting in the debriefing room.

"I'll assign you a whole sector to do the job then." said Korner calmly.

"It's not a matter of a sector, Admiral," the man shaked his head and continued after pressing a few buttons to change what's showing on the screen, "Any one problem will exterminate the whole colony, meltdown, radiation leakage..."

"It's up to you techies to deal with that, what I need is the product, and I will give you what you need. Men, raw materials..." Korner tapped his fingers casully as he replied to the men, as if hadn't heard of the potential problems.

"Engineers, Admiral." corrected the man, seeming a bit annoyed, "We'll try out best to put the reactor back to work if you insist, but why do you need us to do so? We have the three shafts for power, and oil storage long enough to last out the repair even if they all three fail."

"It's not yet the time to release the news, not all can accept it like your kind who think and asks before doing stuff." Korner then readied to stand up and end the meeting, when the screen of his vidcom flashed on.

"Admiral, we're...we're not alone! We've just received a radio transmittion from near Greece. Shall I broadcast it out to you?" reported the soldier, obviously excited by the news.

"Umm." Korner gave a short and prompt reply and chewed on the pipe again, always so when he is dealing with something big or unexpected.

The broadcast about various new food source echoed through the room. Korner was excited not only by the fact that they can change from kelp, bean sprouts, fishes and occasional salvaged MRE and canned food treated in the dehydration chamber, but the fact that there might finally be a solution to the overpopulation problem.

"Where did the broadcast came from? Did they identify themselves?" Korner asked the soldier as he opens another channel on his vidcom.

"I afraid not Admiral. The radio message only consist of the discovery, and was only recived very faintly." the soldier replied with an obvious sign of disappointment.

"Nevermind...send out reply messages 24/7 telling them that we want contact ASAP." ordered Korner, then switched to another channel, "Stock up two subs. One with oil and whatever chunk of copy of our knowledge database. Another one, arm it."

"Aye, sir."

The following message was broadcasted through the atmoshpere 24/7:

We're Rigs. Wish to contact. Please reply.


Reactivating nuclear generator 10% complete, 10% PP.

Subs will reach Greece in 3 posts.

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Several twotides [two tides, a day] pass. The Alecton passes slowly above Old Belgium and France, making a brief stop over Paris to collect the merest scrapings of metals and other materials. The effort is futile, and Paris is abandoned. The craft can afford to move closer to the surface now, as the vicious whales have not followed from the Arctic circle. What little sunlight filters through is used reflected back at the Botanic Gardens, where Lucrezia Viir performs her experiments. The drop in water pressure is a relief to Maeris and her engineers, who can finally ease their efforts to prevent the hull from buckling. Maribeth Kohl and Fabian Viir pass their research data on to Nox Phray, who carefully sets it down and memorises it. The various councillors and crew members go about their business.

'...But even as everything seems to be back to normal, there is a palpable difference in the atmosphere.' Nox thought to himself. It had the same effect as writing the statement down, permanently embedding it into his memory. It was the equivalent of keeping a diary. 'Everyone about me, even Greede Meers and his weird mother, is playing out their expectations. They are excited, and it shows. We are moving faster than usual, almost certainly because the Engineers are pushing the engines. They want to meet other survivors as well.

But I wonder, what will other survivors think of us? Our lifestyle has mutated our appearence somewhat. And if my memories are correct, we have developed a drastically altered dialect. I am not sure if we will be able to understand each other.

In any case, it will be a fascinating experience. Even if these people have nothing to offer us, I plan to learn from them. It will be interesting to see how they fare with the toxidity of the air. Juliano's latest reults put levels at 76ppm. Low enough to be breathable, but it killed the fish he experimented on in eighteen weeks. I can only assume that some form of resistence has been developed. Either that or those fish were particularly weak.

We will be arriving at the approximate location of the signal in ten or so twotide's time. Possibly later, if the engines do not hold out.

My mole in the Hunting school informs me that Lucrezia and Felicity have been meeting regularly. They appear to be discussing 'Stingray.' If this means what I think it means, then this jaunt to the south couldn't have come at a more convenient time for them.'

Nox paused, gazing up at the ceiling. The last time the Alecton had recieved a signal, it had arrived too late and found nothing but corpses. He wondered what the reaction would be if this were the same. Probably to just pick them all up and eat them, he reflected.

A slow-moving craft, the Alecton will reach its destination in roughly four posts' time (including those of other people).

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  Joyce looked up from her dinner to watch the storm overhead.  Thunder rolled and lightning flashed, striking the lightning rods with almost angry fury as hard droplets rained down on the thick plastic window above the restaurant.

  Angry fury, thought Joyce, as she and the other customers watched the dark clouds roll, I shouldn't think like that... anthropomorphism is a luxury a modern woman cannot take.

  And yet she could not help but feel that the earth was punishing them, punishing her, punishing humankind itself.  A separate entity taking out its long-held fury stemming from millenia of abuse.

  Joyce knew that the sins of her race were long behind her, but she could not help feeling slightly responsible.  As she swirled her plastic straw in her goblet the memories of today washed through her mind as the rain washing over the plastic window above.

  Earlier today they had built the first 100 feet of framing for the ocean elevator connecting the mountain range below New Virginia to the biodome above.

  For years they had lived in an almost worshipful state of noninterference with the shaping and changes of their mother planet.  But a few months ago, the Engineering Corps had announced thier plans for the erection of lightning rods on the dome surface.  Shortly thereafter, members of the Science Directive started making short jaunts outside the dome, grinning and slapping themselves on the back before they cruised back in, gasping and coughing.

  For some reason, the truce held with the outside world had been broken.

  Dallas grinned as he sank into his cot.

  Today had been one hell of a day.

  Between the exciting yelling that had woken his this morning (the SD men had noticed a new type of fish, it was pushing bits of bones together with spiny hands when Dallas got to the observation deck), and the jetsam that had stopped them a few hours ago... peace is not the word.

  Not just any flotsam, that.  thought Dallas, his grin fading somewhat.  It had been a ragged human corpse-- at least, it looked human-- wearing a thin, fishscale coat and a necklace of teeth.

  There were many questions about how a corpse, so seemingly fresh, could have gotten out here with nothing on the radar.  Although he knew that the air was still quite toxic, he had noticed that the corpse had a huge, gaping wound in his side.  Not asphyxia then.

  The men from SD had asked that a port be opened to pick up the corpse, but Dallas had refused.  His orders had been clear, and they were still knots away from Greece.  As he fingered the collar around his neck, he closed his eyes.

  All questions will be answered.  Soon.

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OOC: Whats with the "will finish in X posts" ? I think thats a bit uncreative and that we all can do better.  :-

IC: Lefteris stared at the radar monitor with a look of unvbridled happiness. There, light green on black, were two faint dots. Of course, they were far off and could be whales or some other sea creature, but Lefteris didn't want to consider those options.

Finally! After all these years...we're not the only survivors! And of course, these may not be the only ones. After all, this radar was clobbered together from that 1980 sub we found floating and spare car parts, Lefteris thought with a fond smile on his face. They hadn't respondid yet, which  dampened Lefteris's spirits, but he wasn't going anywhere. Turning briskly away from the monitor, he strode out of the radar room and into the incubation room, where the seeds were being grown. These, too, had proved to be successes, with a small problem: 20% of the plants died in the first week.

Oh well, lefteris thought not too sadly. There are plenty of others, and I'm sure they won't ALL die.

A technician who was in charge spotted Lefteris and strode towards him, datapad in one hand, datapen in the other, and a grin plastered on his face.

"Well, sir, it's going great. Bio-scans have shown that the plants are growing normally and without any defects. These lamps seem to be fit for the job," he added, patting a flourescent light showering blinding light on the plants.

Nodding, Lefteris asked, "How long will it take them to grow up and become ripe for eating?"

The technician tilted his head left and right, as if it were a pair of sacles, and said unsurely,

"We don't really know. For each plant it's different and we don't have any botanic records from Old Earth. For the strawberries, my guess is 1 month,maybe 3 weeks. I don't know about the kiwi's, but the potatoes will be ready for eating in about a month and a half."

Lefteris frowned, and said quietly,

"I was hoping it to be shorter than that. I those ships from other bases get here anytime soon, and find out that we don't actually have those fruits on hand, they might start a ruckus. Oh, well. Nothing to do."

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  The bar was shaking with sweaty bodies and Southern rock music.  After a day of hard work in the fields, the working class needed some time off.  So they partied.

  Tonight's party was for no special reason, they rarely were.  The difference between a slow night and the thundering concert was less a matter of reason than a matter of need.

  Or at least that's what the working class thought.

  If they had the slightest idea of how their lives are controlled... thought James, looking through reinforcement schedule on the desktop before him.  But it works.  People think they have free will, that they need it, that they deserve it.

  He popped a pill into his mouth and flushed it with a sip of brandy.

  But the peace and prosperity of this city is reason enough to show how the right combinations of variables can be controlled and predicted.

  He started writing a report to City Security.

  Input controls output.

  [pre]Staff Sergeant Jones,[/pre]

  Intermittant reinforcement increases the association between behavior and reward.

  [pre]  Thank you for applying the changes I requested in my last report.

  The extensive military training you have initiated will mean

  continued peace between the survivors of this planet.[/pre]

  On screen, the party continues, intensifying and receding.

  Patterned behavior is obvious to those who know where to look.

  [pre]  The Engineer's Corps will be sending you new equipment shortly,

  I would suggest you take advantage of it.  The computer chips

  have been fully validated by the Medical Society, and I have

  tested the body armor personally.[/pre]

  Onscreen, a fight breaks out.  A chair flies across the room and hits one of the musicians in the gut.  Screaming, with blood running down one side of her face, a huge woman picks up a patron and slams him into a group of spiky-haired Tekks.

  But invisible to the controlled.

  [pre]  As you know, we are in the process of establishing contact with

  other factions here on Earth.  Although I suspect the initial inter-

  actions will be necessarily trade and necessity oriented; as the

  survivors grow stronger the need to conquer will become overwhelming.[/pre]

  After a while, the Security men show up.  "Criminals" are arrested.  "Good Citizens" are given citations.  And the rest are "saved" from the bad people.  The party starts back up, as if nothing had happened.

  And the variables work as determined by reinforcment schedules.

  [pre]  That is where you, and your men will make the difference.[/pre]

  James reaches over his desk and turns off the HD display.

  But now the variables may prove more than predictable.

  [pre]  Thanks again,[/pre]

  James coughs, clutching his chest.

  And we will have to change again.

  [pre]  James Stuart Mill, CO of Special Concerns.[/pre]

  James closes his eyes, a single tear (exhaustion?, pain?...hope?) falling from his uplifted chin.

  Meanwhile, Dallas and his men sat on the sub's bridge, discussing recent news.

  "Yes sir, we have observed the convergance of several ships ahead.  It seems we are not alone."

  "I thought that part was clear," Dallas said, grinning, "The question though, is how alone are we?"

  "I feel sure we have not been spotted, sir," said a confident officer.

  "Good.  Follow the nearest ship to our destination.  We shall follow as closely as possible without being detected by conventional means."

  "Aye, sir," the ensign glanced over the list in front of him, "The magnification lens has identified the nearest ship as the... Alecton."

  "Odd name.  I wonder what it means."

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The two blips were getting brighter and closer by the hour. Lefteris, on the other hand, was getting more impatient and had more outbursts of frustration. Too much excitement can do that to people. Finally, he could take it no more. In a unusually loud and emotional outburst, he roared out across  the whole bridge, "Send out 2 craft to meet them! I can't take it anymore, I just need to know who they are! Michele, I want you to lead the operation. Rally a few volunteers and take two 'weed harvesters out to meet them. Don't scare them off, that would be the worst that could happen."

A man with very dark hair and tanned skin(Nobody knew how it got that way, but many suspected that it was in his genes) nodded to Lefteris and asked quietly, "Which harvesters should I take?" Lefteris snapped his fingers a few times, and then said decisively, "Any of the faster ones. I got it, take the Aikepopulous and the Rome. Get going, kid." The Italian nodded and sped off, making a beeline for the mess hall. Lefteris grabbed a mouthpiece dangling above the radar and spoke out in a clear voice into it.

"Unidentified craft! We are sending out two seaweed harvesters to meet you. Please, do not take it as hostility. We would just like to know more about you, sooner!" Lefteris tried to make it sound as friendly as he could. After all, the chances were high that those craft were from the other side of the world and wouldn't understand a word of what he said. Letting the mouthpiece dangle again, Lefteris quietly cursed to himself.

Waiting is such a bitch, he thought quietly to himself.

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"Rising to communication depth...extending antenna..." reported the sailor tonelessly.

The screen of the vidcom of the captain soon comes to life.

"Good day, captain." greeted the operator from the other side.

"Good day. Had we managed to pinpoint the source of the broadcast?" asked captain Ivanov.

"Not so. The stormy weather around here the past few days messes up quite a bit of the whole attempt. However we've managed to reduce the possible areas to a smaller coverage. Captain, do you wish that to be sent to the shipnav?" replied the operator as she did some tunings to keep the channel stable.

"Yes please, and..." as Ivanov replied to the communicator, another voice interrupted the conversation, "Ivanov, we've got something on the radar."

"Well...? You've heard that, operator. I'm afraid we'll have to cut the transmittion now. Cyclops, out. "Ivanov cut the link with Rigs then switched to the interrupting message, "What is it Phil? Another mutated shark or whale?"

"Doesn't seem so from the sonar. Must be something like us to be in such size and speed, but we'll need to get closer for visual." replied Phil from the other side.

"Descend and resuce speed, Phil. Wait until Cyclops get back down there, then we will check what's that thing..."

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"Do you understand it?" Maribeth asked carefully, while the Archivist scanned the brief papyrus transcription of the message. He glanced at her to show he had heard, and then closed his eyes, frowning slightly in concentration.

"Yes..." He said hesitantly, tapping his forehead. "The language is technically the same as our own, but the dialect has been heavily modified. We are being informed that their intentions are not hostile, and that we should expect-" He paused. "Oh dear."

"What is it?" Maribeth asked worriedly.

"They have sent two craft out to intercept us." Nox opened his eyes. "I recieved reports from Felicity just a few minutes ago that the Guardians are getting skittish."

"Oh dear Neptune, what if they get too close?" Maribeth's eyes widened in shock. "Quick, we have to get you to Third Level! You have to reply!"

"No need." Nox reached around to retrieve a blank sheet of papyrus, and a fishbone quill. He dipped it in the seashell of squid ink on his desk, and scribbed out a hasty message. "Here." He handed it to Maribeth. "Don't worry about the words, I've written it out phonetically. All you have to do is say what you see."

"Right, thank you." Maribeth nodded distractedly, glancing at the message as she hurried from the Archive. Nox watched her go with a concerned expression.

"Two craft. Why two?" He thought out loud. "Either they wish to be absolutely sure... Or they are violent. Or perhaps..." He looked over at the array of speaking tubes on one wall. He stepped over to the one labelled 'Navigation' and slid it open. He blew sharply to ring the bell at the other end. Holding his ear to the tube, he waited.

"Yess, Archivisst?" The High Navigator's voice slithered down the tube.

"Hello Greede." Nox said formally. "I need to know something, have you picked up any unusual signals on the sonar?"

"Unussual? In what way?" Greede questioned.

"Any large, moving objects. Perhaps similar to the whale signals." Nox answered.

"Mmm, no, no, nothing like that." Greede replied. "Though, I note that the Guardianss have been agitated reczently. Iss there ssomething wrong?"

"No, not that I know of." Nox leaned against the wall. "I just have reason to believe that we're being followed, that's all. But if you can't pick anything up..."

"Ssonar hass shown no unussual readingss since we left the Alpss, Archivisst." Greede said.

"Ah well. Thank you Greede. Archives out." Nox closed the tube, and tried to repress a shudder. He always felt dirty after talking to Greede Meers. The man's family suffered from a genetic disorder, making them weak-boned and fragile, despite the vast array of supplements available. The Council had, upon Greede's birth, decreed that neither he nor his parents should have any further offspring. Greede was, Nox suspected, deeply bitter about this. His slimey appearence and speech defect did not help.

Greede Meers sat back and closed the speaking tube. Around him, the four select pupils he had hand-picked for the School of Navigation watched their instruments carefully. Greede rolled his head to one side, to peer at the girl studying the sonar. As he watched, the large green blip moved slightly closer to them.

* * *

"Message to incoming craft: turn back!" Maribeth read into the microphone. "This is the submersible Alecton, responding to earlier message. We have several automatic security measures in place that may pose a hazard to your vehicles. I repeat, turn back. We are approaching and will announce ourselves when it is safe to do so. Once again I urge you, do not get any closer!"

The Alecton has reched its destination, and will interact soon.

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The two harvesters-turned-diplomatic craft stopped dead in their tracks. Michele, who had been dozing off and daydreaming about what kind of people they would meet, was woken up with a jolt. Glancing towards the control console, he saw the 4 volunteers getting rather active. Michele waited a moment to see if they had just hit a piece of driftwood, or if it was something more serious. The moment passed. Michele stood up from the worn leather chair and walked the few steps down to the control console. Turning to the navigations and communications officer, Michele touched the man on the shoulder. The techie turned, removing his earphones, which he had been pressing tightly to his ears.

"What happened?" Michele asked curtly. This was no time for obstacles or mistakes.

"We received a message from the Alecton.

"The closest ship, I mean," the man added hastily when he saw the puzzled expression on Michele's face.

"And? What did they say?"

The techie's face showed much uncertainty.

"Well, the surface radiation started acting up again, but from what I was able to gather, they were telling us to turn back, that they had...'measures' installed that could pose a threat to us." Michele hesitated.

"Patch me through to base," was the command finally given.

"Well, Michele? What is it?" Lefteris's voicee, tinged with static, came through the speakers a minute later. Holding up a mouthpiece to his mouth, Michele answered,

"They're telling us to turn back. They say that they have something that may pose a threat to us. What should I do?" Michele added. There was a pause, then Lefteris spoke again, albeit in a more serious tone.

"Do as they say. Keep a good distance from them, I don't want them to get scared off or leave, but I also don't want you abandoning them. Got it?"

Michele chuckled. "If you don't mind me asking, Lefteris, why?" he asked. Then, scoffing, "I doubt that they've tamed any of those mutant whales or something."

Lefteris's voice was even graver.

"It's a possibility we have to consider, Michele. Do as I say. NOW." His tone sobered Michele.

"Gotcha. Disengaging and staying several thousand meters ahead of them. Michele out," he ended, putting the mouthpiece back on it's hook. Turning to the helmsman, he told him the new orders.

"Turn around and stay 4000 meters in front of them." The man nodded and turned the harvester sharply to the right. The other craft did the same, and soon they were well ahead of the Alecton, heading along with it and the other unidentified craft towards Base...

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Early report on the newfound 'Mothering Squid' (Mesonychoteuthis Viiri?)


The new species of 'super-squid' first refered to two years ago (see: 'A living Kraken?' 21/12/2345) has finally been sighted over Old Antarctica (Estimation position is over Asuka). Detailed reports shall be written in the near future, and I write this in order to record prelimiary observations.

1) This new species is huge.

Larger than any previously recorded species of squid, estimations place the largest specimens at 50 to 65 metres in length, not including the four large feeding tentacles. For creatures of such bulk, they are surprisingly manoeuvrable, easily faster than our own craft by several times. We believe them to possess a jet propulsion system similar to other squid, but have also been observed grasping the terrain to move about in much the same way as octopi.

2) The new species is juvenile.

Examination of the parts collected two years ago, coupled with careful observation and collection, has indicated that even the largest specimens are not fully-grown. Initial observations lead me to theorise that this species never fully matures except in rare cases (note: Disgraced report 'Graspers' ?).

3) The species is protective.

Perhaps most unusually, the Mothering Squid displays a feature almost unique among cephalopods. They nurture their young.  The 'adults' appear to live in small groups of no more than twenty, but these may be surrounded by several thousand young, ranging in size from 1 to 15 metres. The older individuals are fiercely protective of their charges, but we have observed that at a certain point this instinct dissipates, and the young squid must flee lest they become dinner. [insert: 14/2/2367. Experiments have indicated that this instinct is in fact a reaction to a chemical released by young squid. When an older squid senses this chemical (currently known as 'Squidex'), it adopts the protective attitude toward the younger squid.]

4) The species is strong.

We have observed a pod of fanged whales come into contact with the new species. The whales used their customary technique, attempting to ram their prey while shaking their heads violently. It seems, however, that the squid have evolved their own techniques. The guardian individuals all displayed the same behaviour, remaining still until just before the whale was to impact, and then jetting out of the way and around to the side of the whale. If the whale does not quickly move on, the squid latches tightly to its side. The whale is then completely unable to remove the squid, and its companions cannot help as their prodruding fangs make grasping the body of the squid impossible. The squid will then cover both of the whale's blowholes with its tentacles. Unable to swim properly and incapable of breathing, the whale will suffocate in a matter of hours. We have observed an entire pod being brought down in this fashion.

Early indications are that this species is not aggressive, merely protective. The High Biologist is desperate to locate a mature specimen...

"So how do we keep them away without actually losing them completely?" Maeris growled, glaring out of the glass roof of Conservatory 4. Overhead, the huge form of one of the guardians drifted past serenely.

"Our best option would be to divert their attention to another object for a short while." Fabian Viir stated. "It wouldn't be easy, but it's the only method that I can think of."

"Couldn't we just saturate the area with Squidex?" Mmbas Meers wheezed, leaning heavily on his whalebone cane. "We could keep them around, in that way."

"Too dangerous. What if we need them?" Felicity Hrarlth asked rhetorically. The High Hunter scowled as the last of the guardian's shadow passed over. "I would prefer to keep them around. Perhaps if we sent out a small sub?"

"I would like to have the Alecton observed from the outside, and repaired." Maribeth said carefully. "It is important that we dock with the... rigs."

"So what do we do?" Felicity asked angrily. "I for one am not willing to sacrifice our protectors for a slim chance of trade!"

"We could get more." Mmbas shrugged.

"If we travelled to Antarctica, yes." Felicity growled. "That's a long way to go without any notable protection." She paused. "And then there is this ship... Damian?" She looked over to Nox, who nodded. "A nuclear submarine? If they still have full capabilities, we will need all of the help that we can get."

"Could we tranquilise them?" Maeris asked.

"Only if we wanted to kill them." Felicity reponded darkly. "I recommend that we send out a launch. We can deal with the possibility of repairs and the like later."

"Seconded." Nox spoke up from the doorway. "We don't even know if suitable facilities exist."

"I agree." Maribeth sighed in relief. "All those in favour? One, two..." She counted the hands. "Eight out of twelve. The majority have it. Volunteers for the launch?"

* * *

Four hours later, the Alecton surfaces 1km from the Greek rigs. A small sub launches from the side, making a beeline for the distant structures. Soon afterwards, it draws alongside.

"Greek structure, this is a launch from the Alecton." Nox spoke into his microphone, imitating the dialect of the rig people. "We bring samples of trade goods."

* * *

"Submarine craft Damian. My name is Maribeth Kohl, Leader of the Alecton." Maribeth read from Nox's note, trying to follow the phonetics that apparantly imitated the strange accent. "We thank you for keeping your distance, and suggest meeting aboard the neutral facilities above Old Olympus.

"With respect, the Alecton."

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I have changed to this color now since it is much easier on the eyes. Just a heads-up.


Beneath the usually jovial and happy exterior of Lefteris lay a ruthless personality. During his ascension to power, several other men posed a threat to him, as they, too were campaigning for the leadership of the base. Lefteris took care of that. One day, his strongest opponent, a man named Jules Segal, was found dead in his apartment, a harpoon right through his chest. Another man, Makapoplos, "fell" onto a long and sharp pipe. And so it went on until, lo and behold! Lefteris was the only candidate left.


The language was clunky and seemed stiff, but it was understandable. Lefteris flipped a few switches and then spoke into the mouthpiece.

"Alecton, this is Base One. I am the leader of this facility, my name is Lefteris Ferdinand. You are welcome to dock. We will let your craft in to see what you offer," he finished, hanging the mouthpiece back up. He waved to the gathered group of technicians, who immediately started jogging towards a small launch. Twenty minutes later, the launch from the Alecton floated into the rig, watched by an eager crowd.

The top slid open, revealing a dark cabin with several men and an assortment of items that vouldn't be made out yet due to the poor lighting. The men climbed out, unsure of where to go. Lefteris sensed their discomfort, and commanded Michele, who was standing stupidly, unsure of what to do, to take them to Lefteris's private quarters and feed them seomthing. Michele nodded and led the men off, while Lefteris turned his attention back to the craft.

Lighting the launch with the beam of a flashlight, he was amazed.


He lifted a shirt out of the craft and rubbed it. It felt like real cotton! Of course, when the cotton seeds matured, they too, could have this kind of clothing, but how on Earth did these people get it? There were other things of interest, too. Papyrus, which was largely inaccesible to them, whalebone, which was considered a rarity due to it being hard to kill a whale and strip it. Some metal, and some jewellry. Lefteris started rallying mechanics and crewmen into action.

"Get the items out of this launch, and secure it! I'm keeping 10 of my Guard here, and if anyone is caught stealing, they will be harpooned without hesitation!" With this, Lefteris twirled around and stalked off towards his quarters. He noted, with pleasure, that the people seemed to have been cowed by the threat. Then,probably, theft could be ruled out. Walking along the heavily lighted corridor, Lefteris calmed himself.

This, of course, would probably usher in a new era of prosperity for his city, since they hadn't traded with anyone except the other Grecian survivors for almost 70 years. Of course, these could be pirates or worse, but Lefteris doubted it. They seemed composed and intelligent, not like the pirates whose attempts to act like peaceful people usually failed miserably.

He reached his living quarters. Inside, he saw the Michele was trying to converse with the men, but was failing to make himself understood. Lefteris motioned for Michele to leave, and he obeyed.

Then, sitting down on his leather chair, he said in quite good English, "My name is Lefteris Ferdinand, the leader of this base. I understand that you wish to trade with us." He saw that they were uncomfortable standing. "Oh, please, sit down!" The men sat on a worn couch. "Now, let us discuss what you want form us...and what we from you. Tobacco?" He asked, offering each of them a pipe filled with the newly grown and processed tobacco. Each of them refused. One of them spoke up.

"Our craft, the Alecton, received your advertisement about fruit and vegetables. That is why we came here. We wish to see the plants."

Lefteris smiled.

"And you will, in due time. But we Greeks, we are nice, homely people. First we get to know each other. Now, what would your names be?"

Growth of seeds:

All plants will be ripe and in full bloom soon,except tobacco plants, which have already bloomed. Estimated time for bloom: 3 posts.

OOC: Notice I highlighted "felt". That is because I don't know whether it is or isn't real cotton, due to Dante mentioning his 'experiments' with fabrics.  ;)

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  Danna' looked up at the Ogre in front of him and swallowed.

  "Umm..." he stuttered, "Hi...?"

  The Ogre grinned and swung his mammoth club down.

  Unthinking, Danna' dropped and rolled to the side, jumping when the club hit the ground in an earthshattering bash.

  "Right then," he said, hopping up on his feet and yanking out his shortsword.  "Let's get this done!"

  The Ogre snorts and just as he's about to swing his club again, he freezes.  The image shimmers, then a window pops up in front of the shortsword-wielding warrior prince.

  "Hey Jerry, you want to go to the store with me?"  says a female voice as a pretty, but somewhat wrinkled face fills the window.

  "Sure Mom," replies Danna', AKA Jerry as he resheaths his sword, "I want to get that new game pack I was telling you about."

  "Right, the one where you're a soldier, fighting the many denizens of the deep."

  "Uhh, yeah."

  James stepped into the VR tank and closed his eyes.  Slowly the tank filled, and he opened his eyes to see a completely white room.  He looked around.  The room was much bigger than any room that existed in New Virginia.

  Cyberspace. he thought with a grin.

  The tank he was in was filled with a sort of electrically-stimulated psychotropic.  Through certain electrical pulses, the chemical solution would produce hallucinations (and delusions, if specifically programmed), for environs that did not exist on earth, much less New Virginia.  Using the tank, he, and other citizens who purchased the tank and the solution from the Science Directive, could explore such inspiring places as the rings of Saturn or the deserts of Mars.  Of course, the pornography industry had a corner of the market, as did the sci-fi/fantasy industry.  But he was not here for any of the above.

  "CSA One."  he muttered, and he blinked as the room changed, becoming an office, oval in shape, with rich decor and a seal on the floor.  President Washington turned in his chair and looked across the floor at the newcomer.

  "Welcome to CSA One, the game where--"

  "Four eight fifteen sixteen twenty-three forty-two."  said James.

  Washington blinked, "Ah...yes."

  James blinked as a window opened in front of him showing the CSA One players for today.  Over half of the teenage population had bought this title, and he watched as they interacted.  He immediatly recognized the equipment most of the soldiers were wearing, it was the same equipment he had sent to the Security Corps.

  Good.  For the war ahead.

  The Damian submerged as it rounded the Alecton and headed for the Greek colony.

  "Prepare your nosepeices," said Dallas, ineffectually, as most of the crew already had their nosepeices attached.

  "We will be docking, hopefully, within the hour.  I want everyone to stick together.  You two," indicating the Security men, "Will stay on board to make sure that no-one attempts to hijack the sub.  The rest of you will gather plants, animals and supplies and load them onto the dock."

  He sighs, "Remember, we are trading, but we are not as yet friends.  Be friendly, but don't trust any of them."

  As the sub nears the Greek dock, a message is sent out:

  "This is the Damian requesting leave to dock.  We have supplies and we wish to trade."

(OOC: Clemenza, I'll let you write the docking bit, if you like.  The supplies are goats, cattle, (all with nosepeices to breathe), chickens, flour, barley, beer, freshwater fish (catfish, bass, etc.), paper (several reams, white), serveral food plants and houseplants, herbs, medicines, etc.)

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