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Underwater War IV


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(OOC: Clemenza, I'll let you write the docking bit...

Sure, why not. One tihng I want to make clear: What kinds of weapons are the Security Corps using?

Lefteris entered the Biological Studies Room happily. He left in a murderous rage.

What transacted during Lefteris's visit to the B.S.R:

The head scientist seemed worried, but Lefteris didn't take much notice of it. After all, these types of men always seemed worried about something. The head scientist didn't acknowledge Lefteris's presence until Lefteris had placed a large hand on the man's shoulder.

"Oh, sir! I didn't hear you come in," the scientist said worriedly.

"It's alright. How is everything going?"

"Oh. Well, er...Mostly, everything is going quite well."

Lefteris frowned. "Mostly?" he asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes. The scientist drew shaky breath.

"Yes. We have a small problem with the cotton plants. The amount of cotton each plant produces is below what we expected."

"And exactly how much cotton does each plant produce?" Lefteris demanded impatiently. The scientist bit his lower lip.

"Out with it, man!"

"Fine. Let us put it this way. If we want the cotton plants to be worh growing, we would need several acres of land in which to plant them," the scientist concluded, staring at Lefteris for an answer. Lefteris sighed and motioned angrily with his arm.

"I understand. Declare the project a failure, and distribute all scientists and freshwater from the cotton project to the others."

The scientist nodded. "Understood, sir," then, seeing Lefteris's dissapointed face, he said quietly, "It was saddening for all of us."

"Right, right. I must leave now, to rethink our strategy. Thank you," with which Lefteris turned and left the room...

Fast forward to now, where Michele is standing in the dock and Lefteris is back in his quarters, talking with the men from the Alecton...

A techie gave Michele a report on the Damian.

"By what we have gathered, sir, the Damian is a submarine, nuclear submarine to be precise. We -"

"Nueclear submarine?" Michele cut him off. "Do you have any idea whether it still has it's capabilities?

The techie was silent for a moment, then read from his datapad.

"We have not received any information as to whether the nuclear submarine Damian still has full capabilities, including being able to launch nuclear missiles," he read.

"I understand. Under no condition may you make them feel threatened. Understood?"

"I understand, sir. Shall we allow them to dock?"

Michele sighed and shook his head sadly. Then: "Of course we will! What do you we'll do? Arm our cannons and harpoons at attack them? Of course not, fool. Let them dock!"

The aide bowed, and replied meekly, "Yes, sir," and hurried off.

My only worry is whether the submarine will fit through the bay doors... Michele thought, allowing himself to worry for a few seconds. The he pushed the anxiety out and pulled the calm in. For several minutes he watched his men scurry around, getting everything ready. The intercom boomed.

"Attention, technicians! Submarine Damian is approaching! Widen docking doors!"

The activity intensified, and slowly, the docking doors slid apart more and more, until they were almost touching each wall. Floodlights were shining into the water, illuminating it. A dark shape could be made out. Slowly, it got closer and clearer. Then the tower broke the surface of the water, and soon, the whole sub followed it.

Please don't hit the launch, please don't hit the launch... Michele thought. Thankfully, the sub cleared each end and the launch from the Alecton that was moored near one of the ends.

A wait...Held breaths...

Then a door slowly hissed open on the Damian, and a figure came out. He didn't seem to notice that there were several men armed with harpoon guns and bone spears among the crowd who were watching him intently. Michele pushed his way through the gathering crowd and went up to the man. Several other men were coming out of the sub, leading pigs and livestock and carrying barrels . Michele had his eyes on the animals for a few moments, then turned his attention back to the man. In accented English, he said, "I am Michele, second-in-command of this base.  I welcome you to our home."

The man apparently wasn't used to hearing heabily accented English, but Michele thought that he had understood.

"Thank you," the man replied, stretching out his hand. Michele took it, and the shook. "My name is Dallas, and we came because we received your message. We come for trade, and as you can see, we have many things that you may be interested in."

Michele grinned.

"'Interested in'? You bet we are interested in this. We haven't seen a cow or goat for many years now.  What is in those barrels?" He asked, looking at the oil drums the men were unloading.

"There is paper and - "

"Paper?!" Michele interrupted incredulously. He realized his rudeness and said, "I'm sorry. Please continue."

"We have paper, wheat, flour, barley, beer,and plants and medicines, among other things."

Plants? Wheat? Flour? Michele wondered. Where did they get those?

Composing himself, he asked politely, "Shall we go to our leader's quarters?

Dallas seemed pleased. "If it wouldn't be disturbing him."

Michele smiled. "Oh no! In fact, he is expecting you and already conversing with delegates from the other craft you no doubt saw. Will your men be coming with you?"

"Yes. Except for two, who will stay here with the craft."

Michele nodded. "Of course. Let us be off, then. I must ask your men to stay together and not wander anywhere. This base, same as any city had on Old Earth, has it's rough regions."

Dallas nodded. "Of course. I have already ordered them to stay together. That won't be a problem."

"Then off we go!" Michele said happily, and the group left towards Lefteri's quarters.

OOC: There are a few things I want to clear up: My base is not an oil rig. Think of it as a mushroom shaped construction barely submerged under the water, ok?

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"My name is Nox Phray." Nox indicated himself. "I speak for our leader, as at the current time I am the only one of us who can comprehend your unique dialect."

"There's nothing unusual about my speech!" Lefteris protested.

"Language evolves." Nox responded calmly. "Consider English, the language we are now speaking. We speak English, and if their transmission is anything to go by, so do the crew of the Damian. But these are very different forms of English. 'Regional variants,' if you will. Like the difference between the English spoken in old Newcastle and the English spoken in Old Sydney. What we speak now actually most closely resembles English spoken with an extremely heavy Greek accent. So much so that my colleagues, who speak a form greatly influenced by French-Canadian input, have great difficulty understanding you."

"What are you saying?" Fabian hissed.

"Just a quick introduction." Nox said, without taking his eyes from Lefteris. He switched dialects again. "With me are Fabian Viir," he indicated the suspicious High Biologist, "and crewmen Hrarlth, Viir, Mortan and Mortan." He pointed at each of the remaining men and women in turn.

"Viirs and Mortans?" Lefteris raised an eyebrow.

"Our gene pool is somewhat limited." Nox answered. "That is part of the reason we are here, in fact. But we can discuss that later. For now, I doubt you have had time to examine the samples that we brought. And so I wonder exactly what we have to discuss."

'Why you all look so weird, for a start.' Lefteris thought to himself. None of the people before him looked... well, normal. For a start, they all wore a bizarre device of pipes and filters over their faces, leaving only the eyes and forehead free. Lefteris had avoided mentioning these, but their presence was unnerving. The four crewmen were staring at him as if he were some kind of freak, and it was beginning to annoy him. He was phrasing the question in his head. 'Er, about those masks... So why is it that you're all so pale? I'm curious, why are your eyes so incredibly creepy? Um...'

The awkward silence was interrupted by a sharp rapping on the doors. Lefteris looked up sharply. Nox smiled politely, and sat back.

"Company, already?" He asked rhetorically.

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"Evidently," Lefteris said, getting up and crossing the room to the wide oak door. The knock came again, but a bit louder. Lefteris opened the door, and saw Michele with a troupe of men standing behind him.

"Michele, what is this?" Lefteris asked quietly, and in a low voice.

"These are the men from the Damian, Lefteris. I couldn't keep them waiting, since they must be immensely powerful if they're offering to trade animals, and -"

"Animals?" Lefteris hissed.

"Yes. Cows, goats, and chickens. Anyway, I took them here. I'm sorry if I interrupted your meeting, but I really couldn't keep them waiting," he concluded.

Lefteris sighed, bit his lip, and said, "Tell their leader that he is welcome to bring in 3 men with him. Take the others to the recreation lounge and entertain them somehow."

"Got it. By the way, it looks like the Damian had only twenty men on it. Make sure to inquire about that," Michele nodded seriously and turned to Dallas. "The quarters are small and would be extremely cramped if you took in all your men, so you may take a maximum of three men with you. I will take the rest to our upper-class recreation lounge. Do not worry, they will be treated well," Michele said in broken English. Dallas hesitated, then nodded and pointed to three men. They went in followed by Lefteris, and Michele took the rest of the men away. Lefteris, closing the door behind him, felt uncomfortable seeing that the newcomers had nowhere to sit. He looked at Nox and his men. They didn't seem to be squeezing in. Lefteris motioned towards his bed.

"Please, sit. I am sorry for not preparing proper chairs, but I did not expect so many people at once in my room."

Dallas and the three men sat down on the small bed, and Lefteris threw in several pieces of driftwood into the smoldering fire. Since the wood was soaked with salt and other chemicals, it would start stinking horribly when it started burning. That was why there were two large ventilators installed. He sat back down at his ivory desk and looked at Nox.

"Maybe we all should introduce ourselves to one another?" Lefteris asked in Greek.

"Why not?" Nox shrugged and said nonchalantly, in that same stiff language. Lefteris switched to English.

"Let us introduce ourselves to one another. I am Lefteris Ferdinand, the leader of this city. This  originally a scientific station that was researching types of fish around Old Crete before the Flooding. We improvised it, modified it, and sunk it just below the surface of the sea. Of course, my ancestors did that. That was hundreds of years ago. Now we survive on seaweed and fish and other marine animals. We are offering plants, vegetables, and ancient artefacts in trade. There are several other bases like these around Old Greece and Italy, but they are much different from ours and focus mostly on surviving in any way possible." He smelled the acrid smell that the driftwood emitted, but then the ventilators kicked in and it dissapeared. "That is all about us. Nox, tell us about yourself and your craft."

The pale being emotionlessly started reciting the history of his craft and people.

"The Alecton was a small submersible before the Flooding. It met up with other submersibles and was formed into what you see now. Our population is somewhat inbred, and that is a cause for concern. We came here after receiving this - What do you call this...er, station again?" Nox asked Lefteris, who shrugged.

"Most of the time we just call it Base."

Nox leaned back again, folding his hands on his chest.

"Very well. We came here after receiving the message sent out by Base. For trade, we have fabrics and an assortment of other items. I would prefer not to divulge anymore information at the current time," Nox concluded. Lefteris nodded.

"Very well. Dallas, who do you come representing? The number of men on your craft seems woefully small, so you must belong to some higher faction."

Nox's group and Lefteris turned to look at the newcomers.

OOC: What Dallas says is up to you, Lord J. :)

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(OOC: Thank you Clemenza :) )

  Dallas looked around the room and cleared his throat.

  "Um, yeah.  My name is Dallas Jensen, I represent what remains, from what we've been able to research, of the United States of America.  Of course, what remains of our mighty nation is a city covered by a glass-and-steel bubble called New Virginia.  We lead relatively peaceful lives, and we thought ourselves alone until your message," he points to Lefteris.

  "Right now, our purpose is to find the other survivors and reform this planet as best benefits all of mankind.  We have been alone long enough now."

  Joe looked up from his magazine as Tommy walked in.

  "So, babysitting huh?"

  "I know," said Joe, "Sucks huh?  I'd rather be seeing what the local nightlife has to offer."

  Tommy grinned, "We could always abandon our post."

  "Yeah," replied Joe, oiling his rubbergun, which fires rubber bullets to disarm and disable.  He was wearing standard riot gear with a digital helmet which relayed images of all points inside and around the submarine, thanks to strategically placed cameras.  A microchip implant allowed him to keep track of all incoming information, as well as the emotional and vital states of all the crew, wherever they may be.

  "Yeah," repeated Tommy, easing his shockbaton in and out of its frog as he took the seat beside his friend and coworker.

(OOC: I assume that answers your question?)

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Ryan Sharpie looked over the reports that lay scattered over the former presidents desk, Now that the people had finaly taken control of the station, the corrupt goverment was destroyed.

He smiled, as he remembered, the cherring crowds pelting Santos's swinging corpse with anything they could find, a mob atmosphere at it's most usefull.

Now a new KYA empire could spread it self across the ocean blue. Ryan narrowed his eyes over one of the reports, two frigets had been dispatched to explore. One east, and one west. their reports from macadonia gave no sigh that they knew of the destructio of Ahmed Santo's dictatorship.

The thoughts ran through Ryan's head slowly. To send them a messege could disrupt their mission, and with a qourter of the population still activily fighting for the formor dictatorship, the return of the ships. He scanned the crew number.

4,350 personel. Could distabilze the fragile new peoples goverment.

His eyes ran down the reports and paused over a sentence.

"Long Range radio scanners have picked up numerous transmissions to the far north north west. Will hold position until new orders are recived." The larger scout ship to the west reported.

Ryan quickly yelled for a sectretary to come in. A rather short and foul looking female came in, and gave the peoples salute to Sharpie.

"Comerade Sharpie." She said quickly.

He glanced at her identifcation card, something they had all been forced to wear long before Santo's dicatatorship.

He scribbled something quickly on a peice of parchment and handed it to her.

"Helena Give this to General Reatez. Top Priority." He gave the salute and gestured for her to leave.

Thing's were finnaly looking up for the KYA, the overpopulation problem was being solved, but converting 8 frigets into small cities in the east, both with enough resources to grow and do well, the mining and construction of the central collum had stalled due to the conflict, but now they could resume progress.

"New people?" said silently to himself. Sharpie's hands opened a desk drawer, revealing a cigar rolling lazily in a open drawer, a pistol and a lighter.

Sharpie coughed harshly as the smoke entered his virgin lungs, but he continued to smoke anyway.

"The privilges of power." He smiled and said to no one in particular.

Messege to Scout ship Renu

Executive order 1139

You are here by ordered to set course north north west at 16 knots, Broadcasting a messege of friendship and trade at maximum power. If you establish contact procede with standered first contact protocol. Keep your gun ports open, allow them to see that we have no secrets to hide.

If you fail to make contact, return after reaching 13'16'19 North.

Ahmed Santos of the KYA.


Mining Operations  50% complete, 15% per post.

Centeral Collum construction 25% complete, 10% per post.

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OOC: For ease of reading, I think I'll just put dialects foreign to the Alecton in white.

'Reformation, hmm?' Nox mused. 'Unification? Well, we'll see...'

"Who is this? What is he saying?" Fabian muttered.

"His name is Dallas. He's from the Damian, the other craft that Greede apparantly did not detect." Nox made a note to have a word with the High Navigator.

"Does your companion want something?" Lefteris asked carefully, making a concerted effort not to stare at the face masks.

"No, he's fine." Nox responded. "But I would appreciate it if I could demonstrate the quality and uses of the items that we brought with us."

"Would you like them brought to us?" Lefteris asked.

"If you would." Nox nodded. He cast a glance back at the crewmen that he and Fabian had selected to join them. They all looked uncomfortable, glancing around nervously. Well it was understandable. They had been born in the Alecton after all, and only ever left it for a minute or so. None of them had ever been so far from the mother craft. Then again, Nox considered, neither had he. He looked up sharply at a movement in front of him, seeing the man from the Damian with his hand outstretched. It took a moment for the gesture to stir the correct response from Nox's memories. He reached out to shake hands, smiling even though the expression was hidden behind his atmosphere filter.

"You were attracted by the same signal that we were, mm?" The foreigner asked, in an accent that was once again far removed from the Alecton's speech.

"That is correct." Nox answered. "We hope to form a workable trade relationship, now that such a large group of survivors has been discovered." 'And watch carefully for any signs of a Lord of the Flies mentality.' He added to himself, releasing Dallas' hand.

"What is he saying now?" Fabian asked impatiently. "What did you just do?"

"Fabian, we won't get anywhere fast if I have to explain everything to you." Nox said aside.

"The Council sent two members in order to avoid just this situation." Fabian hissed.

"Is there something wrong?" Dallas asked, noting Fabian's frown.

"My companion dislikes being unable to understand the dialogue." Nox replied, as Lefteris opened the door to two men carrying a large tray. "Ah, good." He walked over, closely followed by Fabian. The crewmen sat awkwardly in place, until two of them stood up sharply and hurried over to stand on either side of the two councillors.

Nox glanced over the tray, checking that all of the items were present. Finding everything, he looked up at Dallas and Lefteris, who stood opposite. Lefteris sat down next to the two crewmen, while Dallas rejoined his men, and perching on the end of the bed.

"The items here are a brief sample of the goods that we are prepared to offer. We present them to our host as a gesture of goodwill." Nox reached down, and picked up the first item to hand. A thin, silvery shirt. The threads were thinner than hair, and so tightly woven as to look almost metallic. He held it up, shaking it slightly so that it shimmered. "This is a demonstration of

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Kadri walked the dark, dimly lit corridors surrounding the Library in silence, her pneumatic dart gun swinging loosely in her hand. Every time she passed the large wooden doors that lead into the Library she paused and wondered if she would find a new book to read or tape to view when she got back. She walked on, unafraid of the dark. Everytime she passed a flicker lamp - an old-fashioned one, the kind with the bulb - her snow-pale face seemed to shine. She completed her rounds, and wiated several minutes for her replacement to show up, a man whose named was Kalju. He claimed that it meant boulder in Old Estonian, and Kadri believed him. He was a solid seven feet tall, with a build of a bear. He finally came out, and they exchanged the customary greeting among their people; putting their fists together and then hugging each other. It all transferred without a word. Kadri went back into the Library, and Kalju started his rounds.


Some background on the "Library"...

Before the Flooding, Base was a research craft. Its main goal was to study fish around Crete. It would make sense that a scientific craft would have a library, no? Of course it does. When the Flooding stopped, and the world was covered in ocean, the Base started recomposing itself. It took on any survivors and drifted around aimlessly for many years, due to it not having any real materials with which to stabilize itself in one place nor any engines to move around as they wished. In time, though, the engines were invented, the anchors and cables made.

The scientists still ruled. They gathered all the information they could, and stored it in what used to be a cargo room. This came to be known as the Great Library. Many years went by.

Still the scientists ruled, and protected the Library vehemently.

Then, a mere hundred years before the present moment, a perfectly planned and executed coup took place. The populace was tired of the scientists focusing on the past and fish. They wanted action. They wanted to feel ground beneath their worn shoe soles. The leader of the coup(His name has been long forgotten) promised the populace this, and so they supported him.The Great Library was raided for the valuable paper, but not completely destroyed. The dictator had enough sense to leave the notes, research papers, and books about aquatic life and history before the Flooding mostly intact. The Great Library faded into obscurity and then was forgotten by most, save the old folk and leaders of Base. And now there live a small group of people, no more than 300, who have sworn to protect the Library with their lives. Descendants of the scientists, if you will.

Now, their peace may be disturbed...


Lefteris was nervous. He doubted that he had anything these strange people would like. The masked ones seemed like they needed to keep inbreeding at bay, and so they may need some of Lefteris's people, but what else? The leader, Nox, mentioned that they were sick people, frail people. Medicines? They had none, save the stockpile of several crates filled with pills of different sorts passed down by each leader of Base to his successor. The other one, Dallas, mentioned some sort of biodome? From what Lefteris understood, it was some sort of large plastic bubble where they could grown plants and vegetables and raise livestock. They held the upper hand over both the Alecton and Base.

History has shown that no army is invincible, Lefteris thought, quoting some long-dead dictator. He rubbed his eyes, then became aware that everyone was looking at him.

I must have wandered off, Lefteris mused. Very well. I shall have to lay down my trump card...

OOC: Part two coming tommorow. Sorry, guys. Please don't post anything until I do.

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Lefteris turned to Nox. Nodding to Dallas, he said, "No more form my side, Nox. I am not so sure that this may be of any great interest to you, Dallas, but Nox, I have reaosn to believe that your socitey is based on science. Is this not so?"

Nox nodded slowly, and Lefteris took this as a sign to continue. "Would you be interested in obtaining information?"

Nox paused and looked at Lefteris, as if he was scanning him.

"This offer intrigues me. Tell me more."

"Well, we too were once ruled by the scientific caste. IN fact, only a mere hundred years ago were they deposed and the new order brought forth." Lefteris unconciously rubbed his stubble.

Unprofessional, Lefteris! He scolded himself. He had to look professional, intelligent.

"What I am getting at here is that this was once a research craft, studying species of fish around Old Crete. Of course, the station had not only books about fish around Greece, but many encyclopedias about all kinds of marine animals."

Nox sat up.

"The ruling scientific caste set up a library, a giant one. The first stockpile of books and research papers was complemented with cassetes that ordinary people who had survived the Flooding had recorded on their televisions, along with radio broadcasts. And so it grew, and finally stopped growing when the refugees stopped coming. The ruling caste then made it taboo to harm any of the things in the Library of Alexandria, if you will."

Nox nodded.

"When the scinetists were deposed, the library faded into obscuirty, and only the highly educated and rulers of Base know about it. That is what the Library is. Think about our offer. If you wish to see the Library, that can be arranged, although there live a highly defensive, almost to the point of fanaticism, group that has dedicated itself to protecting the Library, and as we never go down there anyway, we don't know much about them. A visit could be arranged, but these people may be aggressive." Lefteris shrugged and looked at Nox and his entourage.

OOC: Dante, you may now either accept or decline my offer. :)

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  The scientist with Dallas nearly knocked him over, whispering frantically.  Dallas nods a few times, pushing the man back, before speaking up.

  "Umm, as I have just been informed by Dr. Pangloss here, we are not an exclusively scientific culture, but we do value information and the pursuit of scientific endeavour."

  Lefteris turns to look at the tall lanky cowboy.

  "I think it is time for us to come to a mutual agreement, a treaty, if you prefer.  I think we all have things to offer each other, in the realm of trade, science, and," he nods to Nox, "genetic diffusion."

  Dallas goes on to propose a treaty with the following points:


  • Political independance for all concerned parties.  No faction shall interfere in the political interactions of any other faction. 
  • Regulated trade of goods. 
  • Clearly defined borders of territory. 
  • Regulation of activity around and within said borders. 
  • Regulated exchange of scientific, social and educational information and personnel. 
  • Regulation of military buildup through the mutual sharing of information (ie. no secret armies). 
  • Other concerns dealt with in accordance with Geneva, and post-Geneva treaties.

  After this presentation, Dallas elaborates, "There is no need for the dissolution of any of our core faction values.  On the contrary, we should celebrate the multiculturalism and multinationalism that we will be establishing here, now."

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"...This my friends, is our Atlantis, a lost city, underwater.  It was developed our Goverment (OOC:UK) in 2009 to be a totally watertight facility, in the possible event of any future flooding, which, as we all now know, has become reality.  Our current location is just off the former Scilly Isles, as you can tell, this part was, in the past, populated.  Our base, built on the Tresco, was kept top secret, and only a few Goverment officials, such as myself, had any knowledge of it.  There is a docking station on the former island of Bryher, and from there we go through a short tunnel to the base.  Power is supplied from Tidal Generators linked to the surface, and shortly, from Thermal Vents to the east of this base.  Food can by synthetically cultivated in the giant biome, which you now see to your left.  With the latest purification techniques we will have no worries about water either.  Oh, and the name...we'll stick with Atlantis."

Commander Hugh Davis was leading a small group of people to safety.  They were mainly  from the Military Academy in Plymouth, where they'd been based, until disaster struck.  A former Special Forces soldier with SBS, and former CiC of undersea operations, he had means of escaping certain death in most situations.      As they opened the hatches, they were suprised to be greeted by other survivors, Scientists, and Goverment Officials, who had beaten them there.  Large Underwater platforms were being dragged in from locations around the UK, communication links had been set up with nearby undersea mining centers.  From London, a signal had been received: the Royal Family were running low on power, food, and hope, in their watertight bunker.  King William was a unique monarch, in that he was also in charge of the country.  Folloing the riots of 2044, Parliment was disbanded until a new leader was found, and in that time, the widely respected King had taken over temporary control over the country.  He must be rescued.

The year is now 2540, and decendants of the Royal Family still rules over Atlantis.  Atlantis itself is entirely self contained, but now much bigger.  The base was now entirely reliable as well, after many technological failures and food shortages.  It was time to go exploring again.

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'An interesting show, submariner Dallas.' Nox thought to himself, as Lefteris double-checked some fine points. 'And telling. Politics already takes a front row seat, as it were, as do territory and military concerns. Are you trying to get a foot in the proverbial door? Take what you can get, quickly? You must have realised by now that you have the upper hand here. Or is this in truth, an honest offer for the betterment of mankind? After all, there are few enough of us left. One would think that it would be a priority to preserve the species. Hmm...'

"Nox, what do you say?" Dallas asked in a friendly tone. Nox looked up carefully.

"We will have to consult with our leaders." He stated. "Fabian and crewman Mortan will return to the Alecton directly, in order to hear a verdict on this issue. They will no doubt return with a decision."

"And yourself?" Lefteris asked pointedly.

"I wish to see this library, before I make any judgements." Nox replied. "If it is suitable, I will remain here until Fabian or another representative returns."

"Why do you keep mentioning my name?" Fabian asked in frustration.

"Because I'm talking about you." Nox smiled. "I have arranged for you to report back to Maribeth and the council. Don't worry, I will give you an exact transcription of this conversation before you go." He added to forestall the High Biologist's protests. "I will retain three crewmen here and examine the commodity that has been offered to us."

'And find out for myself just how fanatical these protectors of knowledge are...'

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  As the leaders spoke in the meeting room, the scientists and crew of the Damian socialized with the other residents of the mushroom-shaped fortress.

  Carlton looked over his strangely-shaped glass at the women around him.  They were so beautiful, so...Exotic.

  "And, what is your name, beautiful?" he asked the girl at his shoulder.  Strangely, although he had a girlfriend back in New Virginia, he could not help being attracted to these women he would probably have described as "plain" under other circumstances.

  The young lady, smiling coyly, vocalized a series of (to Carlton, anyway,) beautiful vowels, in which Carlton plucked out the word "Helena."

  "Helena, huh?"  Carlton grinned, "Well Helena, your eyes are like daffodils and you skin is like..."

  The girl looked up at him, not understanding a word he said, but enjoying the attention.

  "But you've never seen a daffodil have you?" he asked, a somewhat sober look crossing his face.

  She blinked in reply.

  It was a beautiful day on the church lawn as the newlyweds ran down the satin carpet into the audience.

  They were an odd couple, to say the least.  Her pitch black hair bore as little in common with his bright red as his gigantic hands and her small head.  They differed over everything, she was a class president while he worked on a farm from age 9.  She was rich, he was poor.  She was a night person, he was a day person.

  They would have never met had her transit bus not broken down in his community, but from the moment they met they were inseperable.

  They held each other laughing as their parents looked on from the sides of the aisle, one side cheering, the other quietly smiling.

  James grinned from his seat as he watched the pattern unfold.  As a cousin of the bride's father, his presence was not neccesary, but appreciated.  They knew enough about his office job to know it kept him busy and paid well. 

  As his cousin slapped him on the back, he thought about the long years of development that had brought days like this about.

  Genetic modifications are dangerous and unpredictible.  That is why the modifications we made were so unobvious.

  Opposites attract, nothing strange about that, right?

  For years, research indicated how certain pheromones affect certain attractions.  A few years before the flooding, a researcher found that the greater the difference in genetic background, the more likely that attraction would occur, especially when considering sweat and body odors.

  The two families intermingled, thier poses shifting from businesslike friendliness to light touches and throaty, intimate vowel sounds.

  A minor alteration to the genes controlling for brain development.  And now a slight change in brain structure means a lower chance for inbreeding and a higher distribution of genes across the city.

  The family was getting on like old times as the group progressed to the local nightclub for the recession party.

  James continued to grin as he climbed into his private car.

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Lefteris nodded solemnly.

"Very well. Let us go, then, Nox," then, to Dallas, "Dallas, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to stay here."

"Why?" Dallas asked, looking mildly puzzled. Lefteris hesitated for a bit before answering.

"Because honestly, these people could be very dangerous," he said, fully expecting Dallas to ask the obvious question. And he did.

"But then why can Nox go with you?"

Lefteris shrugged. "I though it seemed obvious. Because he's a scientist and researcher, just like those people are reputed to be. And furthermore, if we are attacked by them, then there is a high possibility that they will try to exterminate us at all cost, and I can't have my people being blamed for the death of the leaders of two major factions."

"I could send a message to my father at this very moment, telling him not to blame you if something happens to me!" Dallas said vehemently. Lefteris merely shook his head.

"There is...another reason. You are naive, Dallas."

At this point Dallas opened his mouth to protest, but Lefteris cut him off.

"NOT, though, in a bad way. It is simply that you have this..this bio-dome, while Nox's and my people have had to scavenge and endure many hardships to survive. Dallas, please. I really wish for the best for everyone. You will be able to see the Library when - if - we have established peace with those people. I have already summoned Michele here; he will answer any questions you may have. I apologise for my rudeness, but you must understand that this world is a very dangerous place to someone who is unnacustomed to it. Now, we must go," Lefteris said seriously, before turning around and walking out of the room. Nox, who had been watching with a bemused look on his face, followed.

Their first stop was the barracks, where Lefteris got together 15 men to accompany him and Nox to the Library. Of course, the men didn't know what in the Hell the library was, but they followed orders.

They walked. For a long time. In pure, undisturbed silence. Seventeen men in all, fifteen of them wielding crudely constructed guns that shot small harpoons. As the group descended, Lefteris felt his ears pop once or twice, and looked at Nox, for some reason. Nox wasn't displaying any emotion or sign of discomfort at all. Lefteris shook his head and suppressed a shiver, continuing down the metal steps, ever down.

Finally, the group reached the spacious hallway that led straight to the library. As they walked, Lefteris noticed that Nox had quickened his pace and his eyes seemed more attentive; sharper.

Soon, a large door could be made out. No - not large. Enormous was a better word. It must have been 5 meters high and 2 meters wide. Lefteris stopped and put an arm in front of Nox.

"We stop here. My men will go on for a bit, and see what reaction the denizens of the Library have. It's for your own safety," he lamely added. Nox nodded and said crisply, "Very well. I can wait."

Just then, a shout came from quite far up the hallway.

"Sir! There are people here! And they're going crazy!"

Lefteris frowned and started walking forwards, but then stopped, walking back quickly to Nox. He drew his only sidearm, what looked like a pistol that had been mutilated and then put back together again.

"If something goes bad," he explained. Nox turned the contraption over in his hand.  "I doubt it, but take it anyways. Has five shots of large needles. Powerful enough to incapacitate, at the very least. Just press this button and it'll fire. I'll be back soon," Lefteris finished, jogging off and leaving Nox in the very poorly lit hallway. Soon, Nox could see lefteris no more, and the minutes started dragging by...

So passes half an hour...

Nox stopped toying with the gun and looked forwards when he heard the distinct thump,thump,thump of boots hitting the smooth metal floor. Soon, he could see that it was  one of the soldiers jogging towards him.

"Our leader is requesting your presence, sir!" He barked out while saluting. "Please come with me!" The soldier jogged off and Nox followed at a fast walk. Soon, the due reached Lefteris, who was standing not too far away from the humongous door. On the floor lay a body, a small pool of blood around it.

"The locals here got nasty," Lefteris said scathingly with a look of hate on his face.

"Seems like they won't talk to anyone who isn't a scientist. They've put up a good offer. They will send out a representative to negotiate...But only with a scientist, or someoe associated with science. Nox, would you be willing to negotiate with their representative? We will have your back, as the saying goes, the whole time. But it is your choice."


OOC: Dante, if you think that I took control of your character too much here, say so and I will take this post down. It's just that I'm not thinking very straight for some reason...

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(OOC: So, what.  Do we agree to the terms of the treaty or what?)

  Dallas sat there, outwardly calm while inside he destroyed the office again and again.

  How dare they?

  Rising from his seat, he stilled his mind and plastered a simple grin on his face.

  "So, I suppose we are dismissed."

  Michele looked up, smiling, "Umm, are there any questions, sir?"

  Dallas looked down at the man, a shark smile on his face.  "No, I believe we are quite done for the day."

  Michele moved to the side, "Yes sir, shall I show you to your quarters?"


  Dallas led his men through the doors into the corridor, ignoring the feeble squeaks coming from the little man.

  As he walked, he activated the radio signal in his neural microchip, telling his crew to meet him at the Damian.

  Some time afterward they arrived at the Damian and went aboard.  Some of the crew were not exactly happy about this choice, but they kept their silence in the presence of outsiders.

  Michele ran up to Dallas, weezing breathlessly.  "Are you leaving, sir?"

  "No.  We will simply be staying aboard the Damian for the time being."  Dallas smiled condescendingly at the little man, "Tell your leader that when he is ready to discuss terms of treaty, I will be more than willing to discuss and interact further.  In the meanwhile, we have many things to discuss amongst ourselves.  Have a good day."

  Dallas closed the door in Michele's face.

  He turned, "Joe, Tommy, report."

  "Well, sir, we didn't see a whole lot.  The guards are changed every six hours, and they all seem to be armed, pretty much the same way."

  "Those crappy harpoon guns."

  "Exactly, sir."

  "And you've observed them?"

  "They seem very well disciplined, if somewhat obsolete."

  "So you think that our neural implants and weaponry would make any engagement shortlived."

  "Absolutely sir."

  "Good deal."

  Dallas turned to the crew, "Carlton, Rutger, what did you see?"

  "The locals seem poor," said Rutger, "But pretty well controlled and educated."

  "Controlled in which way?"

  "Classical tyranny.  Not surprising, but it is pretty sad."

  "Good, then the handle on this society is tight enough to be easily broken."

  "Yes sir, if invasion was neccesary, we could easily recruit the locals."

  Dallas nodded, turning to the rest of his men.

  "I think it is obvious we hold the upper hand here, but what is obvious is not always true.  If it comes down to a fight, I believe we can hold our own.

  "I won't lie that Lefteris' silence concerning the treaty, and isolationist policy concerning his 'library' pisses me off, but we shall show patience," he grinned, "No matter how much it pisses me off.

  "In a few days we will disembark for New Virginia."

  James read over the report on his desk.  The mine was finally producing raw ore, and construction was well underway. 

  Good, in a few days we will have the beginnings of a fleet.  And in a month or two...

  James grinned, coughing.

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OOC: No problems, no problems... Infomation on the treaty will come once it has been discussed by the council.

"I will negotiate." Nox nodded. He held out the needle gun to Lefteris, who pushed it back.

"You might need it in there." He whispered.

"Forigve me, but I would prefer not to present myself to these people while armed." Nox replied, pressing the weapon into Lefteris' hands. This time the Greek took it, though he seemed unhappy. Stepping forward, he knocked sharply on the large doors. Nox idly wondered exactly where in the base he was. The path he had memorised, but the location was unclear. He stuck out his tongue and ran it along the inside of the filter over his face. Sharp. Tangy. A high concentration of metal oxides in the air here, as well as carbon dioxide, which was a dry taste beneath the others. Pathogenic results would have to wait until he removed the apparatus and examined the filters aboard the Alecton. One of the doors slid forward an inch.

Lefteris' men backed away, holding their firearms ready. Nox and Lefteris stood side by side as the door continued to open.

"We have made our offer. What do you say?" A voice rasped out.

"A scientist from... elsewhere has agreed to your proposal." Lefteris grimaced, glancing down at the body on the floor. A pale hand slid out from between the doors, as the gap opened ever so slightly wider. It was followed by a sharp plastic spike.

"Then enter, 'scientist.'" The voice spat. "But if this is a trick..."

'Interesting... They have a different accent to the ones above.' Nox noted as he stepped forward to the doors, making sure that both of his hands were clearly visible. Unsurprisingly, the gap between the doors was too dark to see through, but the figure beyond waited a second, before beckoning him in. Nox nodded, and slipped through the narrow gap, leaving Lefteris and his men behind.

"What is that on your face?" The shadowy figure asked, as it closed the door and slid a huge bolt across it.

"My filtration mask." Nox answered, adjusting the vents on the front of the device. "It protects me from the surface toxins, as well as filtering out any pathogens that may be in the air."

"And if it contains an explosive device?" The figure asked suspiciously.

"Then it makes no difference whether the mask is on my face on in my hand." Nox replied. He was certain that the darkness here was being maintained in order to keep him unawares. These people were, of course, unaware that the Alecton's crew lived in semi-light for their entire lives. He glanced around, making out various shelves and stacks of what was probably ancient desks. The figure that had met him was almost certainly female, judging by the shape. She moved around Nox carefully, keeping the spike at her side. She still believed that he could not see her...

"What are you here for?" She asked, hostility evident.

"I wish to gain access to the materials that you have stored here." Nox replied truthfully.

"To what end?" She immediately asked.

"None." Nox smiled beneath his mask. "Knowledge does not need a purpose. But if it can be put to practical use as well then so much the better."

"Who are you?" She continued.

"My name is Nox."

"What paltry 'science' do you practice?" Sneering.

"I am the High Archivist of my craft." Nox replied. "My school and I record and memorise the discoveries and findings of the other schools. To this end I possess theoretical knowledge of biology, chemistry, navigation, mathematics, hunting, etcetera." For the first time, a pause in the conversation.

"Give me an example of your discoveries." Less certain this time.

"A mutant species of limpet found in Old Hong Kong." Nox replied at once. "We have dubbed it the 'iron shell,' latin classification pending analysis. We believe it to have escaped from a study that must have been taking place there, as it seems most losely related to the nacelloidea found previously only in Antarctic waters. It has a method of digesting iron oxides that we have yet to fully understand, using the oxygen to respirate and adding the iron to an armoured shell. We have a malacolgist working on the details."


'You may have overdone that a bit.' Nox reprimanded himself. The figure in front of him began to chuckle.

"Yes, I see." She snapped her fingers, and a weak light struggled into being. She was revealed as a short but proud looking woman with a hooked nose, but otherwise delicate features. Her black hair was scraped back into a ponytail, and she wore a shabby red suit. "You want to throw the big words at us?" She smirked. "Alright, we'll call your bluff. Follow me." She turned on her heel and began to march away. Nox stepped after her.

Glancing behind him, Nox noticed that he had been correct about the shelves. Two large, heavy shelving units had been leaned against the doors as a barricade. One of them was now pushed aside to alow entry. The desks were there almost as support, as most of them were in very poor condition. Still, Nox was seeing more wood then than he had ever done before.

Leaving the antechamber, the woman led Nox through a narrow passage, with several doors along their length. These were all closed, though various sounds could be heard through them. Whispering, mostly. Nox also took the oppertunity to examine the lighting system. It appeared, to his surprise, to be electric. 'Their generators must be held together with string and prayer by now...' He reflected, with some appreciation to whoever maintained the system.

The corridor gave way to a large chamber, which also had several barricades lined around the doors. They were lined with grim-faced men and women, all of whom holding similar plastic spikes. Nox reflected that these were probably the remains of desks and instruments, long since turned into weapons. Eleven pairs of eyes watched him cross the floor, and he resisted the urge to wave cheekily. At the other end of the room, the woman stopped before a door. She turned around.

"Here we will talk." She stated. "Out voices will carry to the others from here. Sit down." She indicated a stool inthe centre of the room. Nox took a moment to examine the situation, before shrugging and sitting down. He was behind the barricades now, but that only meant that the plastic spikes were closer.

"So, Nox." The woman said, walking around to a shelf with several tattered manuscripts on it. "You want access to our pre-flooding data."

"My companions and I want access to all of your data." Nox responded.

"And what do you offer in return? The same toys and gimmicks that you offered the cretins above?" She sneered again.

"What do you want?" Nox asked amiably. The woman seemed taken aback, and she blinked for a moment before assuming a carefully blank expression.

"Nox, what do your people do?" She asked.

"We collect data, and use it to ensure our own survival so that we can collect more data." Nox grinned beneath his mask.

"So yours is what might be called a technocraic society?" She asked.

"Definately." Nox nodded. He could see the next question coming, but decided to let her say it anyway.

"What would you say, Nox, if I were to suggest you help us retake our station?" The woman asked.

"I would say that it would be a risky venture, and enquire as to just how high the rewards for such a gamble would be." Nox leaned backwards, feeling his vertebrae click back into place. He sat up again.

"Complete access to all of our files." The woman sounded put out, as though the offer should have been incentive enough.

"Not good enough." Nox shook his head. "Your files are, I think we both know, quickly fading away. Any hard copies you may have are rotting, I can see that. If you have data copies, then they won't last long, and will be inaccessable at this level of power. No, if anything our intervention would save your library, in which case you would be dealing with us." He shrugged. "But there is something to be said for having an ally indebted to your cause. If we were to help you, we would want full access to all data and trade in this facility. We would memorise your material, thus preserving it forever. Or..." He mused. "We could just memorise it anyway. And teach-" He stopped. "How about this. You and Lefteris provide us with the materials to extend and repair our craft. In return, you and your companions join us. We will memorise your data, and... absorb you into ourselves." He smiled. "Your data is preserved, we both gain access to each other's materials, you can move out of this dark, damp, cold level; and we gain some mongrel vitality in our gene pool."

"...Lefteris?" The woman asked.

"Will be overjoyed not to have people he views as psychopaths running around his lower levels." Nox dismissed the issue. The woman scowled.

"He has no appreciation for the good our knowledge has done. This station would not even exist had it not been for-"

"Yes, yes." Nox nodded impatiently. "That is my offer. I will have to return to my council in order to iron out the details, and I imagine that you will have to do the same." The woman nodded. "Good. Then I'll be off."

"How did it go?" Lefteris asked as the door closed behind Nox.

"Passably." Nox said happily, stepping around the bloodstain on the floor. The body was now absent. "I imagine that Fabian will be departing soon. I'll be joining him, I think."

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They walked in silence for a long way back. Lefteris desperately wanted to ask Nox what they had agreed on, but thought it would be impolite, forcing it upon him, if he himself did not start a conversation. But he did have a right to know what was taking place on his base, didn't he?

"Nox," Lefteris said, rather than asked.


"What exactly did you agree on in there? I would like to know, since this is my base and one of my men died in this...er, endeavor."

"Oh. Well, it is quite simple. At first they would allow us access only if we helped them rebel against you and take this base - " At this Lefteris looked sharply at Nox. "But I persuaded them into a better course of action. They - and, by the way, you - will provide me and my people with the neccessary materials to repair and make better the Alecton. In return, we will gain access to all of the files and will take the people down there under our care, to extend our gene pool. How does that sound?"

Lefteris had been following along with slow nods and now, he seemed quite content.

"Agreed. Although I have one request. If you plan on moving out the data and files, we would like to have a look at them first and copy anything that is worth something to science or our Base. Although I suspect you will have to talk it out with your council, no?"

"Correct. Now, I think I shall be departing soon with my crew members."

They kept walking, and walked the rest of the way in silence.

Alright, I will update this post a bit later. For now, I'm going to play Far Cry.  :D

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I've been absent a while, the previous post having been typed up with restricted internet access, so I'm just going to skip the whole 'going back and talking' scene, because that wouldn't involve anyone else anyway. Nox goes away, Nox comes back.

First there is the radar. A massive shape, making a beeline for the base. A few ripples on the surface, indistinguishable from the waters all about, are the second sign. A shadow beneath the waves, and then the foam as a clear dome breaks the surface. Surfacing for the first time in nineteen years, the Alecton slips alongside the Greek construction. A virtually shapeless hulk, seemingly held together by the huge circular bracers that encircle it, the craft resembles nothing more than several lumps of differently coloured clay mashed together.

"Greek base, this is Maribeth Kohl of the Alecton." The Grand High Academie read from her own, rough notes of the dialect. "We request permission to dock."

"If any docking facilities exist..." Muttered Nox from behind her.

"You should have checked that while you were there." Lucretia snapped.

"How are the Guardians doing?" Nox ignored the High Culturist.

"Still circling the launch, out of range of the scanners." Came the reply.

...Yeah, a short one. What? I can't be expected to so do much every time.

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Lefteris had seen Nox off and then turned his attention to Dallas. Not finding him in the room where they had been conferring, Lefteris asked around and had found out that Dallas and his men had returned to their ship. Lefteris had frowned at that moment, but shook the feeling off and headed towards the docking bay. Knocking on the hatch of the Damian, Lefteris waited for it to open and for the talks to resume...

Ok, now about this. I have this idea that we should agree beforehand on what our characters are going to say, so that it isn't A) we keep making very short posts where each person controls his characters or B)where on perosn painstakingly makes a very detailed dialogue between his characters and another participator's characters, only to find out that the other roleplayer doesn't agree with what he wrote and so he has to edit everything. :-

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  • 3 weeks later...

(OOC: Sorry for my absence.  The stress of finals mixed with the end of the semester and going back to work has prevented some posting here.  I've also been hanging around the www.4815162342.com boards, some really interesting Lost related stuff there.)

  Dallas sat sipping coffee in his command chair waiting for something to happen.

  They're not just going to leave us here.  Something will come of this yet.

  He had cooled down from his dismissal, but he was still in no mood to brook foolishness.  He had already sent to scientists to the back whose poker game had distrupted his brooding.

  At least they know where I stand.

  A light started flashing on the computer console, accompanied by a low, steady beep.

  If only everything works out as it should.  Any dismissal, any dissipointment-- We must thrive at any cost.

  The beeping got louder and running steps told Dallas that something was going on.  Rising, he went to radar where he saw the Alecton moving to Greek ports.

  "So," he said, when the men had arrived, "It seems they have reached some conclusion with the others."

James felt strange in the oddly-shaped laboratory in his tightly-starched white coat.  Of course, all the scientists around him were dress similarly, so it was not a matter of being dressed out of place.  Indeed, the way he dressed most often recently would definately be out of place here, or anywhere else in the city.  One of the problems with the treatment of his heart disorder, modest hospital gowns are like answers in a religous text.  Short and never covering nearly enough.

  He felt mostly out of place because of his profession.  He was the only person present not employed by the Science Directive, here by special request only.

  "Ahh yes, here it comes," said the man responsible for James' presence in that crowded room.  "I think you will understand what I mean when you see what these fish can do."

  James grimaced, then pulled his mouth into a grin.  "A fish, eh?  Military applications from a fish.  We shall see."

  An intern pushed a button on the wall and the wall opened to display a tank.  In the tank was a fish.  It was not a strangely colored or shaped fish.  If anything, the oddest part of the fish is how normal it seemed.

  "...ok," said James.

  The intern pushed another button as the scientist began to narrate, "We found this specimen off the eastern end of the city.  We thought it seemed rather, unremarkable, but then," he snapped his fingers at the intern, who pushed the button again, "this happened."

  Another fish dropped into the water, although it was about the size of the first, it appeared to have a longer body and fins.  It was also striped in red and yellow along the sides.

  As soon as it fell into the tank, it turned to the first fish and began to rush toward it.  The two fish met in the middle of the tank, and then exploded like a grenade.

  "What the...What...?"


  A while after arrival of the Alecton, a pounding was heard at the port hole opening.

  Dallas looked up from his coffee and glanced at the outside cameras.

  Lefteris stood outside the porthole, looking only partially impatient.

  Dallas grinned, "It looks like that's my cue."

  He rose from the command chair and nodded to the security men, who opened the port doors.

  "Greetings Lefteris."

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The door hissed slowly open, and there stood Dallas, greeting Lefteris formally but not unfriendly.

"Greetings, Lefteris," he said cordially, motioning that he should come in. Lefteris's bodyguards hesitated, looking at the two security men standing at each side of the doorway, but Lefteris waved them off.

Best not show this Dallas that I am doubtful of his intentions, Lefteris thought darkly as he stepped into the submarine.

"Shall we sit?" Asked Dallas, indicating to two comfy-looking couches.

"Why not?" Lefteris replied, and sat down. "Let's get down to business, then.What are you and your leaders interested in?"

Dallas crossed his legs and put on a no-nonsense look.

"As I've said before, we are first and foremost interested in diplomatic matters. Territorial boundaries, trade. Regulation of the military, if such a thing exists for you, and economic power.If we are to be civilised nations, we should start acting like it."

Lefteris grinned.

Not much to govern, though, is there?

"Something wrong?" Dallas asked, seeing the grin.

"No no," lefteris answered hastily, dispersing of it as quickly as it had come on.

"I and my superiors are also interested in the opportunities of genetic exchange between yours and our people. As we understand it, your gene pool is quite limited, as is ours.

"As is everyones'," Lefteris butted in. Dallas nodded.

"Any data on current geology of the world, oceanology, information on flora and fauna would also be gladly accepted and traded."

"You say 'current', then that means the Library will be of no use to you," Lefteris quickly quipped.

And anyway, we've given it all away.

"In exchange for these items," Dallas continued, "We can offer goods like food and other vital materials that you don't have the possibility to normally obtain.

"As well as forces for policing," he concluded.

Lefteris sat back and thought. Thought long and hard while Dallas looked on patiently.

"Well," he finally said.

"I totally agree with you on the diplomatic issues and can no doubt find research papers and notes on the scientific matters, but am going to have to turn down your offer about the policing. My citizens are perfectly happy and content, spirits are high, and I have no reason to suspect them of revolting or otherwise destabilizing my leadership. After all, an unstable government brings an unstable lifestyle, and the people know this. And they also know that with an unstable lifestyle come food and water shortages and other lack of neccesities, so they will all work together for peace and prosperity. But I've wandered from the topic. May I go? I have some pressing matters to attend to."

"Of course," Dallas said, and Lefteris exited the submarine relieved.

That could have gone worse, he thought.

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  Dallas maintained his friendly smile until the porthole door slammed shut.

  The smile then curved upwards into a somewhat malicious grin.  Dallas didn't know why intimidation suited him so well, but he liked it.  A lot.

  "So," he said, turning to men behind him, "Which of you would like to stay?"

  Twelve hands rose immediately, to Dallas' dismay, until he realized who the twelve were.

  Eight were SD men, all of them, in fact.  Three were regular crewmen, two with hands lazily raised, but one (Carlton, isn't that his name? thought Dallas) held his arm straight and his eyes focused hard on Dallas' face.

  So this one is determined.

  Finally, oddly enough, Tommy, one of the Security men who had stayed on board the Damian during the whole time, had a hand raised.  Dallas found this development strange, but did not comment.

  "Well, no lack of volunteers, anyway," he said with a grin.  "Still, I intend to leave only seven, at most, for genetic exchange.  More than that would probably result in a security risk for both sides."

  One of the crewmen nodded, and walked to the corner where he sat.  The SD men looked at each other, and, through some means of deciding that Dallas did not recognize, half dropped their hands and backed off.

  Dallas nodded, and looked down at Tommy, who grinned back up at him.  "I suppose we can do without one Security man here until we get back to New Virginia.  Besides, I suspect you have reasons other than personal," he glanced at Carlton, "or scientific," he looked over at the SD men.

  "Sir, yes sir," said Tommy, pulling a note out of his pocket, "Forward this to Colonel Hawkins if you will, sir."

  Dallas looked at the top of the note as he took it from the big man, noticing the uncompleted pyramid with the all-seeing eye above it.

  Black Corps business then, good.  We can keep a trustworthy eye on this place.

  "Good then, we will wait one day for an equal number of exchange citizens to be assembled from the Greek side, and then we will leave."

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"In effect, we certainly have the better end of the deal." Nox explained, his voice emanating from a corner that lay in deep shadow. Overhead, the stars glittered through the observation window for the first time in over a decade. "The Greeks have agreed to lend us space and give us materials to repair and extend the Alecton. We have also been granted access to their library, not to mention its inhabitants. In return, we gain a monopoly on fabric and synthetics production, which works in our favour as well, provided the Damien doesn't interfere. We are also obliged to share the contents of the library with Lefteris' people, but frankly that isn't much of a loss. If there was anything of critical importance in there, it would have been used by the people who held it."

"This is nothing new, Nox." Fabian pointed out from his seat near the gardens. "You know quite well that there is a reason why my brother is distracting Maribeth and Maeris at the moment. We are exploiting these people already. What we want to know is, are we exploiting them enough?"

"We've been surviving on the barest essentials for more than two hundred years." Lucretia added, running a hand through her hair. "We finally have an opportunity to take something, and keep it. You say that we're getting a lot, but as my brother asked, are we getting enough?"

"What do you want, to take over the rig?" Nox asked calmly.

"If that is a viable and profitable option." Lucretia nodded, though her expression showed uncertainty.

"We don't have the power to force a coup, or maintain stability afterward." Martz Hrarlth, High Historian, muttered from the corner opposite Nox. "But I am interested in the possibility of forcing a form of slavery onto these people. I assume that everyone here is familiar with Ranith Meers' report on her so-called 'new fugu'?"

"Of course we are." Fabian scoffed. "It's been part of our schooling for the past fifty years." He paused. "You're suggesting that we use third-level poisoning on the Greeks?"

"No, he's suggesting the first level." Nox replied, a smirk in his voice. "What good would zombies do us? No, you want to make them all slave addicts, High Historian."

"It's one option among many." Martz shrugged.

"Such a strategy could work well, but it would lead to a situation where we would be forced to repress a population much larger than our own." Fabian scowled. "The danger of rebellion would be too great. We would hold the power to keep them alive, but what if they turned the tables? Fought against us and forced us into slavery as well? We would become slaves to their will, forced to churn out Ranith's solution endlessly. No, we need to be more subtle."

"Perhaps a method of controlling pregnancies? We could render seventy percent of the population sterile without them ever noticing." Felicity Hrarlth suggested, standing near the entrance to the room. "With the population lowered, they would be easier to take over and maintain."

"We want to control them, not kill them. We need their genes." Fabian pointed out.

"I agree. If we are to control these people at all, they must be unaware of it." Nox's voice added. His silhouette shifted slightly. "I would be inclined to use second-level new fugu on them, if it weren't for the presence of the Americans. Their... authoritative manner would, combined with third-level new fugu poisoning, enable them to demand what they wished from Lefteris and his people."

"Perhaps, then, we should shift our focus to this... Dallas?" Lucretia wrinkled her nose, as if the name made a distasteful odour. "Can he be manipulated?"

"I don't known." Nox's voice carried a frown. "The man is... unusual. He clearly comes from a very different genetic background to our own, and I confess I do not trust him."

"We would be more worried if you did." Lucretia sneered.

"Dallas is an unknown factor. A wild card." Nox continued seriously. "His interference in our plans could spell disaster, or not. Personally I would wish to have him removed simply as a matter of caution."

"Removed as in permanently?" Felicity grinned murderously for a moment.

"Too dangerous. The death of a diplomat would not help us." said Fabian.

"Perhaps we could frame Lefteris?" Felicity tried hopefully.

"And have the Americans ransack or destroy the rig in retaliation? Where would that leave us?" Lucretia asked rhetorically. "I'm afraid my dear Felicity that you will have to bury your murderous tastes for the time being." The High Hunter scowled at her across the room. Lucretia smirked in return.

"Could Dallas be used as an ally in any move against the Greeks?" Martz coughed as he spoke. All eyes turned to Fabian, who pointed with irritation in Nox's direction.

"If you are prepared to trust him, then yes. However I believe that Dallas, or whoever is behind him, has hidden motives." Nox's shadow moved slightly as he shrugged. "But I don't think he would admit to it and I don't think that he would work with us. He would think that he doesn't need to, and with a nuclear submarine at his command I would be inclined to agree with him."

"The debate shifts once more." Martz cleared his throat. "The Damien. It would be a great asset to us."

"We can't pilot it." Fabian said disgustedly.

"And there is little likelihood of ever learning." Nox agreed.

"Could we control them in the same way as the Greeks?" Felicity asked sulkily.

"Maybe." Fabian shrugged. "We never actually decided what to do with them."

"Could our ends be better met with honest dealings? It's something to consider." The elderly High Aqua-Geographer, Mmbas Meers, spoke up for the first time. His eyes were fixed on the stars above, glinting as they did.

"Well, negotiator?" Fabian turned an annoyed expression to Nox's position. "Could they?"

"I expect that honest negotiation would serve us with everything that we require." Nox replied. "And in fact at the moment I would say that it is our best option, with only two major flaws. Firstly, Lefteris can be controlled but his successor may not be. Our own stability would depend heavily on the stability of the rig, and the good feelings of its leader or leaders. Secondly, and far more importantly, Dallas and his submarine. What if he outbids us? What if he brings military strength to the fore? If an emergency were to arise, we would need a crab-hold on the Greeks."

"So in-" Fabian was interrupted by the tinny whistling of one of the speaking tubes. His siter Lucretia reached up, sliding the cover off the tube in question.

"Lucretia." She spoke into the tube. Pressing her ear against it, she listened. "Right. Maeris and Maribeth have left." She spoke to the room, while listening at the tube. Just now? Very well. Thank you." She slid the cover back. Already the other councillors were getting up from their places. "Juliano was talking to them in the EPShu. We have time to disperse so act casual."

"We can afford to defer this subject for another time." Fabian agreed, standing up and stretching. "After all, we want to pump these people for all that they've got, and that requires waiting until our craft is ready."

"Provided Dallas does not move first." Nox said quietly, as Felicity opened the door and strode out, followed by Martz Hrarlth. Fabian and Lucretia said nothing as they moved across the room and exited into the culturing gardens. As the doors closed, the observation deck was silent.

Nox sat in the semi-darkness, thinking quietly about how different everything looked in starlight. He had removed the 'bulb' above his head, so that he could sit in shadow and better admire the effect of the alien light. And it was alien. Foreign. Or, the Archivist smirked, was it ordinary, and he the alien?

"It's been twenty eight years since I saw the stars, lad." Mmbas Meers said huskily, his eyes still fixed on the roof. "And don't say that we surfaced nineteen years ago, because that was in daylight. The sun was too bright, nobody could stand to look at it. But the stars, ah. How I missed them." Nox sat in silence, mulling over the High Aqua-Geographer's words. Too bright... Well it had been a dull day today. Would the crew have trouble in the bright daylight? He would have to look into darkened lenses, from his memory.

"I suppose you think I'm being too sentimental." Mmbas said sharply, drawing Nox's attention back to him. He quickly formed a reply.

"I think that I prefer moonlight." He said, smiling. Damn.

"Moonlight?" Mmbas snorted, coughing as he did so, his throat rattling. "And I thought I was the romantic!" He convulsed into a fit of coughing, finally forced to take his eyes away from the stars. He choked and hacked, leaning over his cane as he fought for air. Nox watched for a moment, before swiftly unfolding his legs and walking over to the older man.

Taking hold of Mmbas' chin, he tipped the man's head back, simmultaneously bringing his hand down onto the throat and the other up the back of the neck. Mmbas' eyes went wide as his head snapped back, and the coughing was replaced by the sound of air rushing into his lungs. It was not unlike the sound of gargling. After a few seconds of inhaling, something hit the back of his throat and he reflexively swallowed. And breathed easily. He looked forward again.

"Ahem. Thank you my boy." He smiled weakly. "Still a bit of trouble with my throat. I'm sorry if I scared you."

"You should get to bed." Nox said, standing above.

"Yes. Yes, you're quite right I should-" Mmbas grunted as he stood with the aid of his cane. "-get to bed. Gerrie will be wondering where I am."

'And no doubt hoping that you won't be returning.' Nox thought privately. He offered the councillor his arm to lean on, which the older man politely declined. As Mmbas hobbled across the room to the door, he turned around. He paused for a moment, looking back.

"...What?" Nox asked.

"I was just thinking, I can see why you prefer moonlight." Mmbas smiled. "Look at the glass, boy." He pushed at the door, and was gone.

"Look at the glass?" Nox wondered aloud. He looked upwards. The observation dome was clear, but it wasn't strictly glass. Through it, the moon was just beginning to shine at one side. "Glass? Glass... Look at the glass, look into the- look in to, lookin to... Looking to the glass. Looking glass? Archaic term for-" His monologue stopped abruptly. "A mirror?" He looked upwards. Yes, as expected, the observation window offered a reflection as well. He peered at his mirror image, looking down at himself. White skin, white as ivory. Hair to match, sticking out at all angles in a fluffy, spiky mass that was only loosely tied at the back. Straight nose, thin mouth. Black eyes. An overcompensation mistake in the artificial pigmentation he had experimented with. He noticed that the moonlight shining through gave his eyes a silvery look. He looked down at the door through which Mmbas had exited.

"Me, the romantic?" He scoffed. Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew the bacteria-filled tube that he had removed from the wall. "Obscure wordplay, Mmbas, but not serving much point." He walked over to his seat, replacing the light. Its greenish glow filled the area once again.

Hearing voices in the corridor beyond, Nox swiftly ducked into the third doorway from the room, slipping through the door just as its opposite was opening.

He made his way down through the rest of the Alecton, still trying to get used to the hugely uncomfortable silence that filled the void left by the engines. Having no true concept of day or night, the workers of the craft were still going about their business, though each of them looked different. Some excited, others nervous or irritable. The paranoid ones were wearing their filtration masks, and Nox didn't blame them. Even with the Alecton still sealed off and airtight, it was best not to take any chances. But he disliked the cumbersome masks, and was prepared to take a small risk to avoid wearing one at all times. Besides, what kind of impression would it give?

Passing through the Archives, Nox pushed aside the thin door that seperated his tiny room from the rest of the craft. Entering the cabinet that served as his quraters, he closed the waver-thin panel and resisted the urge to lean on it, knowing that it would probably bend. Instead he sat on his bunk. He rubbed his eyes, tired. Tomorrow he would have to talk to Lefteris again, as well as coach Maribeth on how to communicate with these people. He had delegated the task of teaching the rest of the crew to his own subordinates. Say what you like about corruption, being in power had its perks.

These did not include a comfortable bed, he reflected.

"They plot and they plan, but they get nowhere." Gerrie Meers said dismissively, sitting hunched over her walking stick in the navigation chamber. Her son Greede nodded obediently. "The only thing they got right was to have one of their number get rid of those two thornfish." Gerrie continued, her speech slightly distorted as she ran her tongue around her single tooth. "Though they didn't do it like I would have done it. Now I'm old, the way I'd want to do it."

"What arre your p-planss?" Greede asked.

"Plans? Oh I don't have any." Gerrie winked. "Just ideas, boy. Just ideas."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"I want them to be watched," Lefteris stated seriously to the leader of all the security forces and military personnel in Base.

"It will be done, Lefteris. But I would like to ask you a question - Why?" Commander Rihael asked cautiously.

"Because," stated Lefteris simply. "I just don't trust Dallas or whoever is behind him."

"But what of Nox and his people?" Rihael asked softly.

"To be honest, I do not trust them either. But who could, before better getting to know each other? That ghostly white skin, those filtration masks..." He trailed off, a slight frown on his face. But he snapped back to attention and then said,"But they seem like true businessmen and diplomats. Not once, during the whole time I was with Nox, did I feel any major emotion. Not joy, nor dislike, nor happiness nor sadness. I do not doubt that they may have hidden intentions, but until I discover something of their plans, be it even a rumour or inkling, I do not want any action that would be seen as hostile to be taken against them. Dallas masked his distate for me during my meeting with him reasonably well, but not well enough. Now that I know he dislikes me, I would prefer him - and his men - to be watched until I figure out what their intentions and plans for this Base are. Understood, Rihael?"

"Understood," the Commander nodded gravely, and turned to leave. As he reached the door, he stopped and turned around, bringing out from his polyester bag several sheafs of paper, which could be seen to have been laminated recently.

"These are images and plans for several Old Earth weapons, that my men found in the Library during that sweep for any important information. They are in very bad condition, but may benfit us nonetheless. I have gotten several Engineers to look over them, try to make at least one example.Oh - and keep those pages, I have made several copies," Rihael said, and left the office. Lefteris picked one paper up and looked at it with a slightly tilted head. The "weapon" resembled an 'L' turned 90 degrees clockwise, and was labeled: 'Glock 17 - Self-loading pistol'

After several minutes of trying to figure out how it was used and what it fired(Presuming that it fired something), Lefteris gave up and resigned the analysis to Engineering. It was their job, after all, to find out all the intricacies of machines and all things created by the hand of man. For now, he had the project and foreigners to worry about...

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