Posted Dec. 2, 2021, 1:21 a.m. by Jason Wolfe
Posted by Jason Wolfe in [OOC] Main Sim Summary (Updated 11/28)
Posted by Jason Wolfe in [OOC] Main Sim Summary
Hey, guys! Since we’ve had a bit of a shake-up when it comes to the direction of the main sim, I wanted to kick this back up onto the visual board so that you all can see what’s going on in our current story. With Luke stepping away as GM, I’ve been asked to attempt to keep things going and squeak the Viking across the finish line so the story isn’t left hanging. Luke gave us some really good bones on which to build, and I’m hoping to do his idea some form of justice. As I said in this post, it will take all of us working together to make that happen. I will say that I have a solid direction in which the sim could go, simply because I’m an adaptive storyteller in a collaboration effort like this—meaning I’m reacting to what you guys post just as much as you are all reacting to what I set out.
Simply put, you control the course of the story!
“But Jason,” I hear some of you say, “I’m not exactly sure what’s going on! What do I do?” Friend, that’s a very good question and one I’ve been trying to solve myself! With your help, I’m hoping we can put all the facts we’ve learned together into this one space so that we’ll all be on the same page when it comes to information known to the crew (and characters) of the Viking. Moving forward, I will do my best to keep this section up-to-date when you guys nail some big plot points. Let’s dig in!
—The Story So Far…—
As noted above, the Viking discovered a massive alien ship while on a routine patrol of deep space. The ship was transmitting a very friendly greeting, asking for help and welcoming replying aliens to come aboard. When the Viking came in range, it received a sort of “welcome packet” of information about the aliens and their culture—very much like a childhood film showing you the marvels and wonders of a far-off land. The ship also requested two liters of anti-matter, though again in an automated fashion. Some of the crew felt this was suspiciously similar to an event that befell another Federation ship years and years ago, so the crew opted to learn more of the aliens before passing over the good stuff.
An away team was dispatched to investigate the ship, learning rather quickly that the entire crew—what crew there was left—was in stasis. Many were dead in their tubes, but one tube in particular was being handled with great care by the ship’s monitoring systems. This pod contained Lord Hab’rabi, a powerful man of station whose dress and bearing evoked images of old Earth gods. More curious still were the strange ember lights that moved about his head like curious insects, drifting in and out of his skull in a disturbing fashion that seemed to bother him not at all. Not quite convinced of Hab’rabi’s intentions or benevolence, the command staff extended an invitation of sorts for Hab’rabi to come aboard the Viking to discuss the antimatter. Though a bit long-suffering in his acceptance, Hab’rabi agreed upon the condition that he be borne to the Viking via shuttlecraft; he seemed very interested, though wary, of transporter technology that his kind did not yet possess or understand. In the meantime, the Viking took the larger alien ship in-tow and set course for a starbase, offering a limited power transfer to stabilize the foreign systems.
Not long after Hab’rabi was settled in his quarters did the crew begin to realize that the alien was not the only thing to have come aboard. Lieutenant Darz and Commander Sigmundsson manifested some less-than-diligent behavior, and a few other crew members experience bits of lost time or confusion. One engineer decided to abandon his post to go make out with someone he hated working with! Fearing that they had somehow been boarded by a malevolent force or contaminated by an unknown pathogen brought aboard by Hab’rabi, Commander Kohr enacted a containment protocol—force fields sprang up all over the ship, segregating each deck from the others and placing turbolifts on limited-access. The behemoth ship was also cut loose and set adrift on a collision course for a distant star before the Viking engaged shields, changed course, and put distance between them. Security details were dispatched to arrest and contain both Darz and Sigmundsson until their conditions could be medically and scientifically assessed. During this distraction, a security officer in charge of guarding Hab’rabi suddenly turned on him and stunned the alien directly and repeatedly before dropping his phaser and coming to his senses.
—Our Current Dilemma—
The crew of the USS Viking have begun to unravel and something hinky is afoot! The stage is set and there are plenty of mysteries to solve for those writers with the gumption and grit to get to the bottom of what is going on! We’ve got four solid threads moving along and lots of good information just waiting to be discovered, and each department is going to have a role to play in the success—or failure—of this mission. Can the Viking crew figure out what’s really going on, or will chaos and confusion spell disaster? I can’t wait to find out! Oh, and I’ve retitled some of the main sim threads to include a little hint for you all, so keep that in mind!
To help you guys get inspired, here’s some breadcrumbs for your station:
Medical: Ensign Fairweather has reported to Sickbay complaining of some lost time. He’s not happy, either, because he found himself making out with someone he hates working with! His prefrontal cortex has shown a bit of recent stimulation, but so far the medical staff hasn’t figured out what would be causing it. While this was going on, Lieutenant Commander Kohr arrived for a scan in hopes of being cleared to continue his duties when he suddenly collapses! Seconds later, two sparks of light—one a sullen russet, and the other a wan amber—slip free of his skull and loft into the air. The darker mote ripples and vanishes, but the amber mote lingers… and seems to have taken an interest in Lieutenant Fayth. Security teams are on the way with both Lieutenant Darz and Lieutenant Commander Sigmundsson so their behavior can hopefully be explained. Could their scans hold clues as to why the crew have begun acting so strangely? What are the strange spots of light that seem so familiar to those orbiting Hab’rabi, and is there a connection?
Oh, and Lord Hab’rabi’s been shot. Better make sure he’s okay so that there’s not a diplomatic incident!
Security: Ensign Sacco has gone rogue! While on duty guarding Lord Hab’rabi, the ensign drew his phaser and stunned the alien at point-blank range; not appeased by the result, he then fired several more times into Hab’rabi’s head before dropping his phaser and calling for help. A medical officer has arrived to check on the unconscious alien, but that still leaves Sacco unattended… and possibly unhinged. Could the ship’s internal logs have any clues as to what happened, or why Sacco decided to go postal on our visitor? Might Sacco himself remember anything prior to the incident that he’s too shaken to remember? Is there a way of preventing this kind of thing from occurring again?
Science: The science department has a wide open selection of venues they could go in order to help the crew. The first option is to work with the medical staff to learn how these strange lights work, and what they are. Hab’rabi has referred to them as “remnants,” the souls of his people and the echoes of their past. Scans have determined that they work in a way similar to the Viking‘s gelpacks in that they can read, store, and transmit data. They also appear to read much like brain wave patterns. Are they some kind of data storage device the aliens use for their foreign purposes? Are they truly souls, some kind of displaced memory in ethereal form? How do they interact with the world around them?
The second trove of information is contained within the alien ship itself, a behemoth of a vessel several times larger than the Viking. She’s a good fifty years behind current technology, but she’s a marvel of engineering: the ship has traveled to us from the far side of the galaxy with only minor damage, a structural and engineering feat! A ship like that is bound to have records and sensor logs of phenomena never-before-seen on this side of the galaxy; the Federation could potentially learn a great deal about long-term travel on ship design at the very least. She was meant to be a colony ship according to Hab’rabi, but it was sent off-course and they had to make due with their situation. Could understanding what happened to the alien ship offer clues to what is happening aboard the Viking? Would learning more about Hab’rabi and his people shed light on the changes in the crew’s behavior?
Engineering: Your team has both a mystery and a problem. The mystery lies in the alien ship and how to effect repairs to get her back underway. She’s still on minimal power, despite getting a nice charge from the Viking via a direct energy transfer. There’s a bit of radiation leaking from the warp core; while it’s nothing serious or life-threatening, it is obscuring the Viking‘s sensors. It’s a huge colony-type ship with thousands of aliens in deep stasis, though something happened to them and left a good majority of them dead. Still enough for a colony, perhaps, but it’d be iffy. What can be done to repair the damage (once you get it back in-tow)? What else might be going on that the sensors can’t see for the radiation? And what is that secured room in the heart of the behemoth?
Your problem is with the Viking and the mysterious force moving about affecting the crew. The first officer has enacted a containment protocol, and the captain wants a plan to protect the ship from these… energy blobs?… and she wants it yesterday! How are you supposed to shield the ship’s systems from a thing you don’t understand? Can you get a sample to analyze? Have medical or science collected any data you can use? Why is the comm panel lighting up with complaints of malfunctions all across the ship? And why is it so damned hot in here?
Command: This is a fine, sticky mess, innit? The Viking has made first contact with an alien species from all the way across the galaxy, and you’ve rolled out the red carpet in welcome. Sure, you had your hand under the table ready for a cantina gunfight, but you didn’t let that stop you from smiling and welcoming Hab’rabi aboard. Then what happens? Lieutenant Commander Sigmundsson, drinking on the job. Lieutenant Darz, packing away the buffet before taking a skinny dip. Ensigns gone wild with phasers and tongue-spelunking. It’s like high school… in space! Worst of all is that no one seems to have a handle on it, and the first officer has collapsed! What are you to do? Lock the ship down and get down to brass tacks, that’s what!
Kohr is down for the count, but could there be something to that? Hab’rabi was stunned into a coma by a member of the security detail meant to guard him, but maybe if you act quickly you can avoid a first contact snafu. How can you head this thing off at the pass, get the ship back under control? And good gods, will someone please figure out what those lights are and how to stop them?
Whew! That’s a read, innit? But I’m hoping that gives you struggling folks a bit to chew on and possibly some inspiration! Moving forward, I will do my best to keep adding new discoveries to this in case life happens and you fall a bit behind. If there is anything any of you would like to add that I missed or didn’t cover quite right, please feel free to add it anywhere. This is as much a reference for the entire team, as well as an open dialogue of discussion should you want to put your heads together and try to figure out what’s going on. I cannot stress enough that this is a team effort, and I’m very excited at the idea of working with you all to bring this tale of strangeness to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
Let’s do this, folks!
—Jason, Interim GM (Sorta)—
The suit is itchy, restrictive. She doesn’t understand why, but Mother says that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The sound of her own breathing is loud inside the helmet. There is a faint hum, too; the life-support system works to keep her suit cool and with fresh air. She thinks it smells like algae, but Mother says that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Mother stands silently next to her, holding her hand and staring towards the horizon. She looks, too, but she’s not sure what Mother is looking at. It is hard to see through the green-brown haze thick in the sky, but she thinks she sees a light. Maybe that’s what Mother wanted her to see.
Mother points, and she squints. The light is brighter now, flickering. It glows brighter and brighter until it hurts to look at, and then it’s gone. There’s a streak in her vision she can’t help but try to wipe away. Her glove makes a hollow sound on her visor. Mother does not notice; she is crying, distracted. There is family aboard that colony ship, family they would never see again. She didn’t know them well, but she will still miss them. Footsteps sound behind her and she turns…
…coughing and sputtering, heaving the stasis fluid from her lungs. Anxiety burns all around her, but she manages to pull herself from her tube without help. A hand falls on her shoulder to stead her and she smiles a thank you at the vessel’s concern. She is not sure which one it is, but she is relieved at the gesture nonetheless. She almost envies them, free of fear. She briefly wonders what it would be like to ascend, what a vessel would feel like. A second skin, perhaps? But there is no time for that, not with their ship on alert status.
She stumbles to a console, enters her access code. The screen is blurry from stasis sickness, but her hand knows what it is doing. The ship’s system calmly reports to her in garbled words, and alarm ripples through her. They’ve dropped to sublight, but why? Curiosity pulls her to the nearest portal, and she stares out. Had space always been so black? She stared, trying to make sense of it, when…
…would it end? The stasis fluid seared her lungs. Tears streamed down her face as she screamed inside her skull for her body to move. It was futile. A part of her reminded her that her neuroinhibitor was still in-place, still held her dying body still. She screamed, begged, raged, all inside the prison of her flesh even as her vision began to dim. She could hear muffled shouting just outside her tube, but they may as well have been on the far side of the galaxy. In the quickening dark, she longed for Mother’s gentle touch one last time. How ironic, since their last conversation had not been a pleasant one. What had she done to deserve this hell?
Because of an accident involving the gelpacks during the switchover from main processing to auxiliary processing, several of the Viking systems are not working as expected. While this is by no means an exhaustive list (leaving you folks room to play around), these are the current disabled/malfunctioning systems.
● The main computer takes twice as long to process complex information or requests, though critical systems are functioning properly.
● All transporters are down.
● Shipwide malfunctioning of emergency bulkheads, mostly contained to jefferies tubes (sorry, Chief Asam!)
● Deck 11 has no artificial gravity.
● Deck 15 has too much gravity!
● Decks 25 and 26 are experiencing fluctuations in environmental control.
● All replicators are limited to serving Starfleet field rations, unless you’re on Decks 3-13… in which case it’s gagh for days!
● And these are just what the computer has reported!
On top of all that, I’d like to remind everyone that a containment protocol is still in-effect, and security has been told to restrict movement between decks without medical clearance. Watch those durn force fields!
More to come, folks! As always, feel free to hit me up via Discord if there are questions or feedback. Thanks!
—The Data Dump—
Though the data dump received from Hab’rabi’s ship is quite extensive, it is very much oriented towards simpler minds—a kind of educational overview that obviously glosses over a rather deep and rich culture. It is almost artfully constructed, leaning away from the more technical and exploitable aspects of their civilization such as technical specifications and military strength and more towards their advancements and contributions to their people and the universe around them.
Hab’rabi’s people, known once-locally as the valhrn, were originally a tribal and nomadic people spread generously across their homeworld. Very brutish and warlike, the early valhrn spent much of their infant centuries vying for territory and control of the best hunting. Overall they suffered a greater span of barbaric behavior than other comparable civilizations until an astronomical event roughly translated as the Awakening occurred and changed the course of their history—or perhaps simply accelerated their advancements along their predetermined course. Thousands of songs and poems in all the various valhrn dialects are archived and paint varying pictures of what the Awakening was like, but most accounts agree on a single image: that of the sky opening up and raining fire that did not burn upon the land and the tribes gathered beneath.
Over the next century, the valhrn went from a species sundered into over two dozen tribes to a nearly-united people divided into three major castes. The rarest and most elevated of these castes were the hab, religious icons said to be touched by the wisdom of their ancestors—if not the gods themselves—and who acted as the chosen leaders of their people. Much like shamans or high priests of other civilizations, they were attributed with almost preternatural power over life and death. The second caste was known as the set, a privileged minority shown to possess great mental and physical prowess and even the ability to commune with familial spirits with the assistance of the hab. Some were even chosen by the gods to ascend and serve as conduits between the mortal world and the World Beyond. The lowest caste were known as the gen, a sort of militaristic labor force tasked with the expansion of the valhrn beyond their own world as decreed by the gods.
To this end, it is said that the hab managed to pull back the Curtain of Death in order that their ancestors might return to bestow their wisdom to the living. These remnants—the wills and memories of ascended—would be called down by the hab in order to touch the set, creating a sort of conduit between the form and the formless that the ancestor could once again speak. This so-called anointing was so powerful and overwhelming that a set could not contain the remnant for long, and yet such anointings were recorded quite commonly among the valhrn of the day; from philosophical discussions to shared moments with departed loved ones, the remnants grew to be a common staple among the valhrn.
Upon the bones of the Awakening grew the body of valhrn culture into a raw form of what it is today by way of the Enlightenment, a period of refinement and growth through both art and technology. In order to bring their purpose to fruition, the valhrn labored almost ceaselessly for another four hundred years to improve all corners of valhrni life. To them, it was a kind of golden age of prosperity where no one suffered and all basked in the warmth of contentment. Yet this era was not meant to last, for while the valhrn may have improved their own quality of life it came at great cost to their world and its environment. Thus did the Enlightenment draw to a close and the Decline rise from the ashes of valhrni hubris.
The Decline exhibited all the hallmarks of a planet hurtling towards destruction: poisoned skies, empty waters, fallow fields, erratic weather patterns, earthquakes, fires, and all other manner of disaster both natural and unnatural. The valhrn labored long to correct the abuse and neglect of their world but to no avail, eventually turning their attention to stellar expansion as a means of salvation. To this end they began construction of great colony ships that would carry future generations of valhrn to the farthest reaches of their knowledge in hopes of finding a world where they could start anew. The valhrn made significant strides in the fields of eugenics, cloning, and genetic manipulation in order to increase their own survival rates when another discovery was made: the yur.
The yur—or “vessels”—were created as a more suitable conduit for the remnants and became a sort of fourth caste among the valhrn. As much cloned as born, a yur entered the world as a fully-matured blank slate whereby a remnant could retain a body for periods many times longer than that of anointing a set. In this way, the valhrn hoped to make full use of past knowledge and experience to hasten their departure from a world no longer suited to their kind. The process of creating a single, viable yur however proved to be too resource-intensive and time-consuming, resulting in only a few thousand compared to the multitude of remnants moving amongst the valhrn. Yet the yur were incredibly conducive to another aspect of valhrn survival: the storage of information.
With the colony ships prepared and their physical survival tentatively assured, the valhrn bent their collective will and remaining time to amassing as much of their culture and knowledge as possible with the help of both the yur and the remnants. Once satisfied, the valhrn turned their attention to the final task of finding the next homeworld. Though their knowledge of their solar system was extensive, not much was known of systems beyond and the continuation of the species would ultimately be left up to chance. Fewer than a dozen systems were considered viable, and the valhrn scattered to those distant points of light—some as much as two hundred years away even at superluminal speeds—with no more assurance of success than whispered prayers and hopes could provide.
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