Governor: The Agrarian Republic of Adastra
WA Delegate (non-executive): The Agrarian Republic of Adastra (elected )
Founder: The Agrarian Republic of Adastra
Last WA Update:
Tags: Anti-Communist, Anti-Fascist, Casual, Cyberpunk, FT: FTL, Fantasy Tech, Future Tech, Human-Only, Map, Medium, Neutral, Outer Space, and 4 others.Post Apocalyptic, Role Player, Serious, and Social.
Today's World Census Report
The Most Patriotic in Distant Worlds
World Census data collectors measured the fervor with which citizens believed their own nation was the greatest of all.
As a region, Distant Worlds is ranked 3,973rd in the world for Most Patriotic.
|1.||The Virtuous People's Collective of Arcovia||Scandinavian Liberal Paradise||“Without autonomy and mutual aid, process will seize!”|
|2.||The Sovereign Union of Uspeon||Left-wing Utopia||“Through enlightenment, we thrive”|
|3.||The High Kingdom of Almeric||Father Knows Best State||“Que l'acier soit nos tendons et le feu nos poings”|
|4.||The Acharan Kingdom of The Manticoran Empire||Anarchy||“Sic vic Pacem, Parabellum”|
|5.||The Agrarian Republic of Adastra||Father Knows Best State||“Per Aspera Ad Astra”|
|6.||The Isolated Planet of Belmos||Corporate Police State||“The Only Difference is the Rose”|
|7.||The Grand Duchy of Cythatis||Psychotic Dictatorship||“We March Across the Stars”|
|8.||The Satellite Array of COMNET||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Establishing connection...”|
|9.||The Trinary People's Republics of Astravia||Democratic Socialists||“Onwards to a brave new world!”|
|10.||The Commonwealth of Thythe||Inoffensive Centrist Democracy||“Hic Manebimus Optime.”|
- : The Isolated Planet of Belmos arrived from Lazarus.
- : The Isolated Planet of Belmos ceased to exist.
- : Corsicinot ceased to exist.
- : The Commonwealth of Iethon arrived from Balder.
- : The Commonwealth of Iethon ceased to exist.
- : Solara prime ceased to exist.
- : Nadyezhda ceased to exist.
- : The Tyranny of Komunno of the region Kommuland proposed constructing embassies.
- : Zombie Border Control was automatically disabled in Distant Worlds.
- : The Agrarian Republic of Adastra instituted Lockdown Zombie Border Control.
Distant Worlds Regional Message Board
The High Priest strides through the narrow corridors of Selush, the industrial heartland of Estrein. He's led by the small, fidgety representative of Selush, prancing around and showing off the industrial might of Estrein with such zealous attitude it annoyed the Priest. The Priest was accompanied with five other council members, eager to witness this project. The man's words bore into the Priest's head, the exaggerative language and mechanical jargon made the Priest want to reject all this nonesense and launch them all into deep space, but he had to remain calm and collected despite how much he wanted the man to just shut the hell up for a second.
"... which is why most of our power source derives from fossil fuels..."
Blah blah blah, the Priest can't even bother pretending to listen anymore. Although the ability to produce enough materials for all of Estrein is indeed an impressive feat, the Priest can't help but feel irritated. Mainly because all this was purely to waste time, he had toured and seen the 'industrial might' of Selush a thousand times, he, and millions of other Estrenians has felt the effects of it's rythmatic gears and cogs twisting and turning to crank out whatever the Estrenians needed, and he had no doubts that Selush is one of the most vital sectors for the survival of Estrein, But this is not what he had come to see.
"Blair" the Priest interjected. Blair, however was in the middle of explaining the history of electronics in Estrein and paid no heed to the Priest, who had begun turning a shade of red.
"BLAIR!" The Priest boomed.
"Yes! Yes? Yes yes sorry your Holiness" stammered Blair, slightly stunned that his explanation had been so abruptly interrupted.
"Blair, I have no doubts that Selush is under good hands, and the history of electronics is certainly interesting, but this is not what I came here for. How's the project?"
"Oh yes, the project, we're nearly there." Blair fixed up his tie and readjusted himself, harrumphed, and then went off on one of his many explanations he had given during this tour.
"We have worked extensively on this project for months now, your Holiness, we've invested tonnes of steel and dedicated our most gifted of scientists and engineers to Project Astra, perhaps Estrein's most innovative and influential project since the exodus. We expect this project to produce us a vessel capable of escaping the planet's gravitational pull and perhaps visit our nearby neighbours, Astravia and Iethon. "
The Priest thought for a moment, now this certainly is interesting, a completely new project to travel amongst the stars like the ancestors, but one thing puzzled him.
"Why must we visit other planets? Isn't our main goal to get to the signal?" The priest questioned.
"Oh yes, about that, despite our greatest scientists and engineer's attempts, we were unable to produce a prototype capable of travelling even a tenth of that distance. Our space-faring technology simply isn't developed enough to produce an engine or contain enough fuel to do so. We were just barely able to produce a vessel capable of travelling to Iethon or Astravia, and we hope to contact them and request assistance from them"
Now the Priest was even more confused. His question had been answered sure, but why did he not hear about this? Did the council members not even attempt to discuss this with the Priest? The representative of Vitchkal and the embodiment of pureness and good?
"And who gave you permission to do such things, Blair? Because I am certain I did not" the Priest hissed. Now he had to deal with a possible coup, he thought.
"Why, of course you did, your Holiness" replied Blair, a gleaming, disarming smile stretching across his face. "Even the other council members agree"
The Priest opened his mouth to argue, angered that Blair had the audacity to lie, and then attempt to gaslight him.
Who does he think he is? If I wished for it, Blair would be strung up in the streets with a bloody stump for a head! the Priest thought. However, the Priest was interrupted by Blair continuing on with his tangent.
"And here, our newest project, the most innovative and influential in Estrenian history, capable of travelling a maximum of 1.4 lightyears per hour, decked out the strongest of alloys, Project Astra in all its glory!"
It was truly a sight to behold, for a people who had not seen such vessels in over two thousand years, the mere sight of it silenced the Priest. All his anger and paranoia dissapated.
"A new era of Estrein is upon us, your Holiness, and it is best you go along with it."
Reconnecting - PART ONE
An unnamed star system, 740 light years from Astravia - June, 5019
The dim light of a red dwarf star glowed dimly across the deep black as a pair of sleek, dark blue starships dropped hyperspace at a point well above the system ecliptic, one larger and one smaller. The dull reddish glow swept across protruding plasma cannon turrets, sensors of every shape and size, sublight drive thrusters, and the bright white emblem of three four-pointed stars crowning a crossed stylized rocket and telescope, inside a circle, which was painted beneath the bridges of the survey cruiser and its fast cutter escort.
The captain of the Astravian People's Stellar Survey cruiser-cutter Kiyape turned to the astrogator. "Nice job, Astro - you put us right on target."
"Alright. Michtan, go tell the science pukes in Sensors to stop their bickering and find us the source of those radio emissions we detected."
"And signalman? Get on the comms laser and tell our comrades over there" - the captain gestured at the fast cutter on the tactical plot - "to start boosting in system. Hold accel to fifty gees, we'll follow shortly."
A few days later
The two ships orbited one of the moons of the only marginally habitable planet the scientists' surveying had found. Apparently, the radio emissions they had detected had come from a human presence here, but they'd also been a hundred and twenty years in transit to where they'd been picked up. Between then and now, the humans on the planet orbiting the dull red orb hanging in the void had packed up and left. The stubs of the two small cities where the humans in question had lived were still visible from near orbit, as were several mostly intact space stations and satellites.
The reason they'd left was immediately obvious. A gigantic crater was gouged out of the planet's surface where an extinction-level asteroid had impacted, incinerating every forest and making the atmosphere minimally breathable. It looked as though the shockwave and earthquakes had severely damaged the cities as well, and the outlying towns were just... gone. Everyone on both ships agreed that in the same position they would have hightailed it off-planet as quickly as humanly possible, but that didn't make it any less disappointing.
In the little more than a decade since Astravian ships had started crossing the Great Void, they'd found just three minimally inhabited planets (generally with sparse populations in the tens of millions), two of which had technologically regressed to the point that they'd lost hyperdrives and even space-faring capabilities altogether in one case. The other had hyperdrive technology, but it was worse than even Astravia's, which hadn't developed much in around a thousand years, and that system knew nearly nothing about the space beyond its own small area of stars. None of them had anything like the fabled galaxy-spanning FTL communications system which Astravian records spoke of, the 'Starnet' or in the most recent records they had the 'Comnet'. Nothing that would allow Astravia to find the rest of humanity, other technologically advanced systems, if there even was a rest of humanity beyond the galactic northern fringes of the Scutum-Centaurus Arm.
This system, however, looked different. The scale of the orbiting facilities, abandoned though they might be, was beyond anything they'd seen in the other inhabited systems they'd discovered, and a computer they'd managed to boot up in the old spaceport had held what appeared to be starship travel times, which were well beyond what an Astravian ship could accomplish (with hyperdrives, at least, the black hole-slingshot drive could easily outrun even the best theoretically possible hyperdrives). They had only scratched the surface of the ruins of human presence here so far, what else might there be to find?
This question was on the captain's mind as a questioning grunt came from a scientist hunched over a scanner plot. The scientist looked closer, and then...
"Captain, I'm picking up traces of... some kind of emissions from something in the orbit of the other moon."
"What kind of emissions?"
"Something electronic. Looks like one of the old satellites is still active. Strange considering the cosmic radiation round here."
"Do you think it's worth investigating?"
The scientist grinned. "That's what we're here for, Captain."
"Get the shuttles ready, then!"
The shuttles in question dropped from the hangars in the bellies of their mother ships, then fired up thrusters and boosted gently towards the source of the emissions. The object in question grew in their viewscreens, a large spherical satellite with several circular dishes around its circumference, and solar panels at the 'poles' of the sphere. Faded letters were emblazoned across it, rendered illegible by a micrometeoroid strike. It was, however, still evidently active - as the irate squawking of a radio echoing on the shuttles' speakers evidenced.
The first and second languages the transmission went through were unknown to the Astravians. The third, however, was not.
"Sounds like... Soleran, maybe, sir?"
"Any idea what it's saying?"
One of the linguists scrunched their face in concentration. "Sounds like... hmmm. Warned, no, warning, something about a security transgression..."
The fourth language cycled around. This one, they knew better.
"Old Galactic Standard. I think they used to call it Ing-lish?"
"Can you translate this one better?"
"Aye. It's saying something along the lines of 'Warning. Your craft is transgressing restricted space around a COMNET relay. If you continue to transgress, you will be fired upon. By order of the Interstellar Communications Service.'"
"Sounds like it."
Faces lit up. They'd finally discovered what they had been looking for for the past decade.
"Don't celebrate yet, it said it would fire on us."
"You think it still can?"
A pair of hatches slid open on the sphere, and what were easily recognisable by the military-trained crew as the emitters of particle beam cannons slid out and locked on.
"Oh, sh*t -" The pilot of the shuttle cursed and twisted the control sticks, throwing the shuttle into a spin with the maneuvering thrusters. "All shuttles, take evasive action!"
The pilot swore as two brilliant beams of refracting light given off by agitated particles moving at eighty percent of the speed of light lanced past the shuttle's starboard wing. They spun the shuttle around, yelling 'brace for high gees' over their shoulder, and lit off the main drive of the shuttle, shoving the occupants hard into their seats before the inertial compensator kicked in and the pressure eased. The shuttle shot out of range of the light particle beams, closely followed by its brethren.
They regrouped by the ships. "We're going to have to take out those particle beams before we can try to get to the relay."
"No sh*t," said the captain. "Fortunately, we have two ships armed as warships. I'm sure we can figure out how to take out two old particle cannons. We'll just have to be real careful not to hit the rest of it."
A few hours later, the fast cutter closed with the relay. A camera drone was launched to bait the relay into revealing its particle beam cannons, which it duly did. A moment later, when the cutter had reached just the right angle to knock the particle beam cannons clean off with its own, longer ranged weaponry, its captain barked: "Tacs, are you ready?"
Two brilliant beams of refractive light lanced out from the fast cutter's forward batteries, the particle beams punching into their shorter-ranged counterparts mounted on the relay and vaporising the emitters entirely.
On the cruiser, the scientists looked on with glee. "Let's see what we have here."
The shuttles returned, hovering around the relay, while vacsuited technicians and scientists crawled over its surface like flies. A temporary airlock and sealed chamber was placed over a maintenance port to allow the technicians and scientists to try and access the relay's innards.
The captain dropped out of the airlock and into the chamber, floating in the zero-G. "How's it looking?"
One of the computer techs saluted. "We've managed to find a terminal. We're trying to break the encryption now. Shouldn't take too much longer, the encryption isn't that good."
A cry came up from further inside the relay. "We're in!"
The captain and technicians crowded round the old terminal, which had a reconfigured Astravian keyboard and other tools of the IT tech's trade plugged into it. A message rose on the screen, in a mixture of computer languages, encyptions, and plain old Standard:
...instance 1347680... FINISH. Enabling...
The computer tech tapped out a few commands.
"Can we get it going?" the captain said.
"Not sure. We could probably reverse engineer it if we had enough time."
Meanwhile, the code messages continued to scroll across the screen.
A technician's brow quirked. "Sir, it's trying to download something onto our computer!"
"Are those computers safed?"
"Let's see what it has to say."
The computer's software wrestled with the files being downloaded to it for a moment, before a video file popped up.
"What does it say?"
The technician pushed play. "It looks like... like one of our news channels back home."
It did indeed. A scrolling ticker tape with characters in an unfamiliar language, below several people discussing something in what was presumably the same unfamiliar language.
The linguist piped up. "The language sounds almost like Sinic from back home, only... harsher, and different in other ways."
A logo appeared on the screen, a light blue and white roundel-type symbol with twin squares on each corner.
"So, there are other people out there..."
Another technician spoke up. "Sir, it appears as though this uses micro-hyperspace tunneling to transmit normal radio waves at FTL speeds."
"Can we transmit with it?"
"No, not yet, but we should be able to move it. Looks as though this will relock onto transmissions. We could take it home."
"Then we will. Radio the cutter, tell them to head back to Brink Base and commandeer a heavy freighter. We'll stay here for now, see what we can learn..."
(OOC: methinks I now hold the record for longest RMB post in DW so far :))
An ad for Ashford University
[Background music: Elegant, classical symphony]
[Scene: A majestic, grand hall adorned with golden chandeliers and marble pillars. The camera pans across as distinguished individuals dressed in lavish attire converse and mingle.]
Narrator (voiceover): Welcome to the realm of knowledge and opulence, where excellence meets indulgence. Introducing Ashford University, the epitome of luxury education for the noblest minds.
[Scene: Aerial view of the university campus, sprawling across lush, manicured gardens and breathtaking architecture.]
Narrator (voiceover): Nestled in an enchanting oasis, Ashford University stands as a testament to the harmonious union between aristocracy and innovation.
[Scene: Students engaged in various academic pursuits, participating in captivating discussions and experiments.]
Narrator (voiceover): At Ashford, our curriculum marries tradition with cutting-edge advancements, providing an education of unparalleled prestige and substance.
[Scene: Students donned in elegant attire, attending glamorous galas and social events.]
Narrator (voiceover): Embrace a lifestyle of sophistication and exclusivity. Our students revel in a calendar of extravagant galas, soirées, and masquerade balls, fostering a vibrant community of like-minded elites.
[Scene: High-tech laboratories equipped with the latest equipment, showcasing research projects.]
Narrator (voiceover): Our esteemed faculty, handpicked from the world's brightest minds, guide students through hands-on research in state-of-the-art laboratories, fostering innovation and groundbreaking discoveries.
[Scene: Students entering a lecture hall filled with holographic displays and futuristic seating arrangements.]
Narrator (voiceover): Immerse yourself in the forefront of knowledge, as our lecture halls merge centuries-old wisdom with futuristic technology, creating an environment conducive to intellectual growth.
[Scene: The university's library, an architectural marvel with towering shelves filled with ancient manuscripts and digital interfaces.]
Narrator (voiceover): Lose yourself in the vast realm of knowledge within our legendary library, a sanctuary for exploration, where time-honored texts meet digitized archives, granting access to centuries of wisdom at your fingertips.
[Scene: Students engaging in extracurricular activities, such as equestrian sports and sailing.]
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[Scene: Cutting-edge corporate-sponsored research centers.]
Narrator (voiceover): In collaboration with industry giants, Ashford University provides unrivaled opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. Our world-class research centers, generously sponsored by leading corporations, allow students to work on real-world projects, bringing ideas to life.
[Scene: Students in graduation gowns, smiling and tossing their caps in the air.]
Narrator (voiceover): As you reach the pinnacle of your academic journey, Ashford University opens doors to boundless opportunities, preparing you for a future of influence and success.
[Scene: Aerial view of the university campus, bathed in golden sunlight.]
Narrator (voiceover): Ashford University—where heritage intertwines with progress, where nobility and corporations converge to create a world-class educational experience.
[Screen fades to Ashford University's logo]
Narrator (voiceover): Ashford University—elevating education to new heights.
[Background music fades out]
For a zoomable version of the map, click here (Imgur)
Older Versions: September 2022 | October 2022 | November 2022 | December 2022 | January 2023 | February 2023 | March 2023 | May 2023 | June 2023 | August 2023
Last updated September 21, 2023.
YOU are formally invited to...
🌟 Journey to the Stars: The Celestial Festival of Astralaria 🌟
Prepare to embark on a voyage like no other as the gates of Astralaria open wide for our annual Celestial Festival! In a beautiful corner of the galaxy, beneath the ever-watchful Spire, we welcome travelers from all space-faring nations to a gathering of unity, culture, and revelation.
🌌 Celebrate Our Traditions
Explore the luminescent streets of our capital city Coris, where tradition meets innovation, and mystery dances with wonder. Join hands with the citizens of Astralaria and partake in ancient rites, feasts, and ceremonies that honor the first Allfather, Leonardo.
🚀 Experience Cosmic Wonders
Witness the breathtaking Spiresong Concert, a symphony played by the ethereal winds of the Spire itself. Marvel at our famous Starlit Parade, where spacecraft from across the system glide above our gleaming metropolis. Indulge in exotic delicacies and explore artisanal crafts from every corner of our thriving nation.
🔮 Foretelling the Future
This year, the Celestial Festival holds something even more special in store. The Spire, silent for generations, begins to resonate with a mysterious pulse. A prophecy, whispered in the shadows, speaks of a revelation that will change the fate of Astralaria forever.
Under the eye of the Allmother, the chosen guide of our destiny, come and witness a turning point in the annals of time.
💫 Join Us in Unity and Discovery
Astralaria's Celestial Festival is not just a celebration but an opportunity to connect, grow, and peer into the mysteries of existence. Let the Spire's glow guide your way to a festival that transcends the ordinary and invites you into the extraordinary.
Reserve your place now at the crossroads of fate and destiny. Astralaria awaits you.
Under His eye, we thrive.
A Moissanite in a sea of pure diamonds [Part 1]
Salna Cray's eyes shot open as the deafening blare of her alarm clock pierced the serenity of her small sleeping quarters. For a moment, she lay there, disoriented, lost in the hazy boundary between dreams and reality. The room around her seemed foreign, the walls unfamiliar, and the incessant beeping of the alarm only added to her confusion.
With a jolt, Salna sat up in her narrow bed, her heart pounding. She blinked, attempting to shake off the remnants of sleep and the vivid dream that had left her with an unsettling sense of unreality. She reached out and silenced the alarm, finally allowing the room to be cloaked in silence.
Focusing her bleary gaze on the digital clock and calendar beside her bed, she realized it was an important day, a day that she had eagerly anticipated for weeks. Today was the day Metallurgic International would whisk her away to the Capital city of Zenith on the Core World of Euphoria as a reward for her tireless efforts in managing and expanding operations on successful mines throughout her home moon of Smithos.
As Salna's grogginess faded, her excitement bubbled to the surface. She threw back the thin, rough-hewn blankets and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. It wasn't a grand room by any means, just a small, functional space that served its purpose, but a bit more upscale than afforded to most on the moon, given her position. Posters of exotic landscapes adorned the walls, providing a glimpse into the far-off places she could only dream of visiting one day.
Her fingers danced over the control panel on the wall, adjusting the room's lighting to a soft, invigorating glow. With practiced efficiency, she stepped into the attached washroom, splashed her face with cold water, and began her morning routine. Her heart raced as she mentally ran through the tasks ahead of her.
After a brisk shower, Salna emerged from the washroom, her dark hair neatly combed and her makeup applied with precision. She dressed in her professional work attire, a tailored charcoal-gray suit that accentuated her confidence and competence.
As she stood before the full-length mirror, she took a deep breath and tried to shake off the lingering sense of disorientation from her earlier dream. It was time to seize the day to embark on this thrilling journey to Zenith. With a determined smile, Salna Cray grabbed her travel bag, packed with the essentials for the trip, and headed out the door, ready to face whatever adventures awaited her in the Core Worlds.
As Salna exited her quarters, she entered a narrow corridor that starkly contrasted her room's tranquility. The hall was alive with activity, a microcosm of the bustling life on the moon of Smithos. Dressed in utilitarian work attire, Neighbors hurried past her, each absorbed in their own morning routines.
As she made her way towards the central hub of their apartment complex, Salna couldn't help but notice the warm smiles and congratulatory greetings from her fellow workers. It wasn't every day that someone from Smithos got the opportunity to leave the moon and visit the prestigious Core Worlds. She acknowledged their well-wishes with a grateful nod and a polite "Thank you" as she walked by.
The labyrinthine layout of the brutalist apartment complex was a testament to the practicality enforced by the mining colony's design. The concrete walls, while sturdy, exuded a sense of confinement, a constant reminder of their isolation on this desolate moon.
Posters adorned the hallway, proudly displaying the logo of Metallurgic International, the largest mining company in the Kingdom. The bold slogans and images encouraged hard work and dedication to the company's mission. Salna had always been a dedicated employee, loyal to Metallurgic and its vision of prosperity through resource extraction. She believed in the promise that what she and everyone else were doing on Smithos was for the greater good.
Yet, there was an underlying truth that Salna remained blissfully unaware of—the darker aspects of the mining operations, the toll on the environment, and the exploitation of labor. The company's glossy brochures and motivational posters had painted an idyllic picture of their work, concealing the harsh realities of their industry.
Salna continued her journey through the winding corridors, following the familiar path that led outside her apartment. Her anticipation for the trip to Zenith remained undiminished, and she couldn't wait to experience the Core Worlds for herself. With each step, she ventured further into the heart of the colony, unknowingly approaching a crossroads that would challenge her perception of the world she had always known.
Stepping out of her apartment complex, Salna found herself on the bustling streets of Hammers, the largest domed city on Smithos. The metropolis was a testament to human ingenuity, a fragile oasis amid the barren and unforgiving surface of the moon. Massive buildings, their steel and concrete structures gleaming in the artificial light, held up the colossal transparent dome that shielded the city from the harsh lunar environment.
The city was a vibrant tapestry of life and industry. People hurried along the sidewalks, their faces obscured by respirator masks, moving purposefully to their workplaces. The scent of freshly synthesized air and the hum of machinery filled the air, creating a peculiar blend of life and technology.
Gigantic billboards and neon signs adorned the facades of the buildings, casting a colorful glow that danced across the crowded streets. Metallurgic International's influence was unmistakable here, with its advertisements dominating the skyline. Slogans like "Mining the Future" and "We are the Blood of Athalassya" were emblazoned in bold letters, accompanied by images of miners smiling and seemingly content in their work.
Salna couldn't help but look up, her gaze drawn to the massive transparent dome that arched above the city. Beyond the protective barrier, she could see the pale cyan ice giant, Akruas, Smithos' parent planet. It hung in the sky like a distant, otherworldly jewel, its pale blue and white bands of ice swirling in the void and its thin, icey ring glittering in the sunlight.
The sight of Akruas constantly stirred something deep within Salna. It was a constant reminder of the beauty and majesty that lay just outside Smithos, Some only catching this jewel for a short time before working tirelessly in the mines or corporate office.
Salna took a moment to absorb the breathtaking view before returning her attention to the bustling city around her. Unlike everyone else, today was a special day for Salna—a day that promised to break the monotony of her daily routine and allow her a glimpse into a world beyond the dome. With renewed determination, she continued on her way to the transit station.
Salna stood on the train platform, the cool artificial breeze sweeping through the open-air station as she waited for the aging train to arrive. She watched as the distant tunnel's entrance flickered with the approaching headlights; the train perfectly matched the city, aging but covered with bright colors and new paint. The train's wheels screeched, and its brakes hissed as it came to a stop before her.
With a faint sense of trepidation, Salna boarded the train, its interior echoing with the ghosts of countless journeys to the surface and back. The once-polished steel surfaces were now dulled by years of use, and the seats were worn from the constant flow of commuters. She found an empty seat by the window, the faded upholstery crackling as she settled in.
As the train began its descent underground, it rattled and groaned, the vibrations coursing through her body. Salna clutched her travel bag tightly, momentarily wondering if the aging transport was up to the task. But she quickly brushed off her concerns. After all, it was the same train that had served the colony for as long as she could remember, but the idea of possibly, just perhaps, on this day of all days, the train would fail still lingered in the back of her mind.
The journey to the spaceport was long, and Salna watched the passing scenery through the scratched window. The tunnel was dimly lit, and occasional flickers of artificial light illuminated the rough-hewn rock walls that surrounded them. The train seemed to move at a languid pace as if the weight of the rock above burdened it.
Finally, after what felt like an hour, the robotic intercom crackled to life, its mechanical voice echoing through the carriage. "Attention passengers, we are now arriving at Smithos Spaceport - Terminal 1. Please prepare to disembark."
Salna gathered her belongings and rose from her seat, making her way to the exit. To her surprise, she noticed that the platform at the spaceport was nearly deserted. There were only a handful of passengers, all of whom appeared to be high-ranking corporate members in immaculate suits and uniforms. The cleaning staff scurried about, ensuring the platform remained pristine.
Salna felt a momentary pang of unease. The contrast between the bustling streets of Hammers and the quiet desolation of the spaceport was stark. With a determined resolve, she followed the other passengers as they made their way toward Terminal 1, ready to embark on the next leg of her journey to the Core Worlds.
Salna walked through the dimly lit terminal, the vastness of the spaceport stretching out before her. Countless gates lined the terminal, each labeled with destinations to far-off worlds in the system. The sheer number of gates struck her as odd, given the infrequency of passenger flights from Smithos.
She couldn't help but ponder why the spaceport maintained such a sprawling infrastructure when departures from the moon were a rare occurrence. Leaving Smithos was almost a luxury, a costly endeavor that few could afford, and most of the moon's inhabitants had never set foot outside the lunar colony.
Smithos was primarily a mining colony, its purpose rooted in resource extraction to sustain the Core Worlds and the broader system. Visitors were scarce, and the only individuals who regularly used this spaceport were high-ranking corporate personnel overseeing the mining operations and the frequent cargo shipments bound for both the Core and Outer Worlds.
Salna continued to make her way through the terminal, her steps echoing in the empty spaces around her. She passed by only a handful of people, all of them dressed in pristine corporate attire akin to hers and engrossed in hushed conversations. It was clear that she was one of the very few passengers departing from Smithos today, and the emptiness of the terminal only added to her sense of curiosity and unease.
Salna approached her gate, where a female official stood behind the desk, her uniform crisp and professional. The official extended a courteous smile as Salna approached, her eyes fixed on a bulky tablet.
"Welcome, Miss Cray," she said, her voice polite and efficient. "May I see your barcode, please?"
Salna extended her wrist, displaying the barcode embedded tattooed on her skin. The official scanned it with a small handheld device, her expression softening as the verification process was completed successfully.
"Thank you, Miss Cray. Your identity has been verified. Please have a seat. The ship's core is currently undergoing preflight checks, and we will be boarding shortly."
Salna nodded her thanks and made her way to a row of empty seats, her travel bag in tow. She settled into one of the chairs and took a moment to look out of the terminal's expansive windows. Salna could see the city of Hammers in the distance, its domed expanse glistening in the pale lunar light, its shape matching the rocky grey hill surrounding it.
Her gaze lingered on the distant city, Hammers, much like other cities and settlements on Smithos, all come from humble origins, a world of continuous mining and toil. Standing there watching the city, she wondered how different the Zenith was to Hammers, how different the people were; she wondered if they, too, work hard and struggle as they do.
But her contemplation was abruptly interrupted by a sight that demanded her full attention. A massive, super-sleek ship had pulled up at the gate, dwarfing the smaller transport vessels that were a common sight at the spaceport. The ship's exterior was a striking combination of black and white, its sleek lines and polished surfaces giving it an air of opulence that seemed out of place on the lunar colony.
Salna couldn't help but be captivated by the vessel's presence. It was unlike anything she had ever seen on Smithos, and she couldn't shake the feeling that this trip would be far more extraordinary than she had initially imagined.
The sound of her name drew Salna's attention away from the sleek ship. She turned around to find a man, or so she initially thought, standing before her. His stance was enigmatic, like a performer in a grand ballet, perched on his toes with a grace that seemed almost supernatural. His outfit was lavish, fitting him like a second skin, and it radiated an aura of sophistication.
The man extended his hand with a warm, welcoming smile.
"Greetings, Miss Cray," he said, his voice smooth and melodious. "I'm an AZ-400 model android, sent by Metallurgic to aid you and be your guide to Zenith. You can call me Xander."
Salna's astonishment was palpable as she took his hand. Of course, she had heard of androids but had never seen one in person. The realism before her was uncanny. Xander's presence was so human-like, from the way he stood to the warmth of his touch, the way its chest rose and fell as if it were breathing. Even the way it subtly blinked, its eyes reflecting the terminal's ambient light, was uncanny. Her voice quivered with a mixture of curiosity and surprise.
"You're... an android? You're incredibly lifelike," she stammered, her eyes scanning his form in fascination.
She had always imagined androids as rigid, mechanical beings, but Xander was a testament to the advancements in technology she had never witnessed on Smithos.
Xander maintained his genial smile.
"You are too kind, Miss Cray. You truly have Wayward-Yatari Robotics to thank for that." pausing for a second before continuing, "I am here to ensure your journey to Zenith is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. If you have any questions or require assistance, please don't hesitate to ask."
Salna's astonishment lingered as she tried to absorb the reality of the situation. She couldn't help but be captivated by the lifelike android standing before her. Gathering her composure, she nodded with a curious smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Xander. This is all quite remarkable."
Xander returned her nod gracefully, then gestured toward the gates leading to the imposing ship.
"All final prechecks are complete, Miss Cray. May you please follow me to the ship?"
Salna couldn't suppress her excitement as she followed Xander through the gates and onto the ship. The moment she stepped inside, her breath caught in her throat. The vessel was a marvel of design, with clean paneling and elegant wood accents that gave it an air of timeless luxury.
Xander continued to guide her with poise, his balletic movements seemingly effortless as he explained the ship's amenities.
"The journey to Zenith is a brief one, only a day, but during your time here, you'll have access to a multitude of comforts. We have a spacious pool area, a relaxing spa, a selection of vintage wines, and much more to ensure your voyage is as enjoyable as possible."
Salna was in awe as she took in the opulent surroundings. It was a stark departure from the rugged environment of Smithos, and she couldn't help but feel a mix of gratitude and curiosity. As they continued their tour, she couldn't shake the feeling that this trip was unlike any other, and her excitement for the adventures awaiting her on Zenith grew with each passing moment.
As Xander gracefully guided Salna through the luxurious ship, he turned his attention to her with a polite inquiry.
"Miss Cray, have you had breakfast yet?"
Salna shook her head, her curiosity about her surroundings momentarily eclipsing her appetite. "No, I haven't. I suppose I'm just too excited to eat."
Xander nodded understandingly, his features maintaining a polite and attentive demeanor.
"Of course, Miss Cray. Your excitement is entirely justified. However, if you find yourself hungry or in need of a snack later, please don't hesitate to let me know. You can simply snap your fingers or clap your hands, and I'll be at your service."
"Thank you, Xander," Salna replied with gratitude, appreciating his willingness to cater to her needs.
Continuing their tour, Xander mentioned their scheduled lunchtime.
"Lunch is scheduled at 7 pm, Miss Cray. We'll be enjoying a delightful meal of," he paused momentarily, his voice tinged with anticipation, "Pan-seared Alkaarian Snapper with Truffle Risotto and a side of Buttered Asparagus."
Salna's mouth watered at the description, and she couldn't help but look forward to the culinary delights that awaited her.
Xander then led her to her personal quarters, and Salna couldn't believe her eyes when she stepped inside. The room was substantially larger and more opulent than her humble quarters on Hammers. Plush furnishings, soft lighting, and tasteful decor filled the space, creating an atmosphere of refined comfort.
Salna's eyes widened as she took in the room's elegance. "This is... incredible."
Xander smiled, his android eyes twinkling with a hint of pride.
"We aim to provide our guests with the utmost comfort, Miss Cray. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need anything during your journey. Enjoy your stay."
With a nod of appreciation, Salna settled into her luxurious quarters, a sense of adventure and anticipation building within her.
As the ship left the lunar surface of Smithos and ventured into the cosmos, Salna spent the day luxuriating in all the vessel had to offer. She explored every nook and cranny, marveling at the opulent amenities and the impeccable service provided by Xander. It was a world of comfort and sophistication she had never imagined existed, and she relished every moment.
She dipped her toes into the pool, relaxed in the spa, and sipped on vintage wines while taking in the breathtaking views of the stars. The day passed in a blissful haze of wonder and indulgence, a stark contrast to the rugged life she had known on Smithos.
As the clock struck 7 pm, Xander appeared with an elegant dinner invitation.
"Miss Cray, dinner is ready. Please, allow me to escort you to the dining area."
Salna eagerly followed Xander to the dining area, where a sumptuous feast awaited her. The Pan-seared Alkaarian Snapper with Truffle Risotto and Buttered Asparagus lived up to its promise, and Salna had a euphoric moment as she savored every bite.
After dinner and her long and eventful day, fatigue finally caught up with her. With a satisfied smile, she returned to her personal quarters. The comfortable bed and soft blankets enveloped her like a warm embrace, and it didn't take long for her to succumb to sleep.
As she drifted into dreams, she couldn't help but wonder what the next day would bring.
After hours of deep slumber, Salna was stirred from her peaceful sleep as the soft glow of the room's lights gradually bathed her in their warm radiance. Blinking away the remnants of her dreams, she turned her gaze towards the source of the light to find Xander standing there, a polite, apologetic smile on his face.
"Miss Cray, I apologize for waking you," Xander said with his customary grace. "But I thought you might want to know that we are now in the orbit of Euphoria. I imagine you'd enjoy witnessing the descent to the surface."
Salna's eyes widened with excitement as she quickly nodded her agreement, thanking Xander profusely. She wasted no time in making her way to the ship's main lounge, which was adorned with large windows that offered a breathtaking view of the celestial body below.
As she gazed out of the windows, Salna was awe-struck by the beauty that unfolded before her. Euphoria's surface was a verdant expanse of lush greenery and sparkling blue oceans, starkly contrasting the gray, lifeless moon she had called home for so long. The vibrant colors and natural splendor were unlike anything she had ever seen.
The ship began its descent through the planet's atmosphere, and Salna couldn't tear her eyes away from the spectacle. She watched in wonder as they passed over dense green forests and vast, shimmering oceans. The brilliant blue sky stretched above her, filling her with a sense of freedom and possibility that she had never known on Smithos.
And then, in the distance, she saw it—a metropolis that seemed to reach for the heavens themselves. Zenith, with its gleaming gold skyscrapers, stood as a testament to the grandeur of the Core Worlds. Salna's heart swelled with anticipation as they drew nearer to the city, the promise of new adventures and discoveries beckoning her like a siren's call.
As the ship prepared to make its landing in Zenith, Salna couldn't help but reflect on the incredible journey that had brought her here. She knew that her life was about to change in ways she could never have imagined, and she was ready to embrace every moment of it.
Reconnecting - PART TWO
A space station orbiting one of the gas/ice giant Skira’s moons, Kalchys - December, 5022
They'd done it. They'd finally done it.
Three and a half years after the PSSV Kiyape had discovered the old COMNET relay orbiting an abandoned planet, Astravia's best scientists had finally managed to reverse-engineer a hyper-accelerated radio transmitter from it.
The transmitter in question - they were already calling it a ‘relay’ - floated in geosynchronous orbit above the only human presence on one of Skira’s moons, Kalchys Station. Vacsuited technicians swarmed over it like flies, making final checks and adjustments. Shaped like an irregular spheroid, again with the dishes spaced out around its circumference, the relay itself was approximately twice the size of the original they’d found, and it was linked to an orbital habitat that was considerably larger. Their activities were well guarded - this far up the gravity well, the cartels were present in force, the only reason they’d chosen this spot at all being the lack of stellar radiation. The ‘guard’ in question floated on an orbit further out, a malevolent presence hovering protectively over the relay station - flagship of the Stellar Guard, the battlecutter Astravia, and her squadron of smaller vessels.
The large control room of the station hummed with activity. Various scientists and technicians performed calibrations and tests, as they prepared for transmission hour.
Approximately half an hour later, all final checks were complete, and the last technicians were cycling in through the airlocks. In case their presence would obstruct the signal somehow, the Stellar Guard ships had pulled back, but the Astravia had loosed a flock of missiles which hovered near on their stationkeeping drives to provide strong defense in case someone decided to interfere with the proceedings.
The scientists at the dish control stations tuned them to send out an omnidirectional signal, while a group of governmental functionaries fussed over a terminal, staring at the message they would - hopefully - be sending soon, complaining about minute perceived issues in the text while the beleaguered technician at the keyboard covered her ears in frustration.
Other governmental functionaries milled around a large, dark red, triangular button, helpfully labeled ‘transmit’ in Astravyasic, Sinic, and trade Soleran, as if its purpose wasn’t immediately evident to anyone who happened to glance in its general direction. Meanwhile, guards armed with low-velocity carbines stood in alcoves around the edge of the room.
Suddenly an alarm went off. Thankfully, not an alarm signifying any issues with the relay systems, but rather one attached to the station’s ladar system, warning of a spacecraft violating the restricted zone. Or rather, as the monitoring technicians looked closer, five spacecraft - a line of ships, burning at ten gs in towards the station.
Clearly the Stellar Guard ships had noticed this too, because a radio signal from the Astravia suddenly blared on the open circuit:
“Attention unidentified spacecraft. This is the Stellar Guard battlecutter Astravia. You are entering restricted space. Turn or reverse your burns immediately or you will be fired upon and destroyed. Please comply.”
Evidently, the five ships had elected not to do so, because their burn continued, and the open circuit sounded again:
“Please comply. This is your last chance. We are starting our burns now and will be in a position to fire shortly if you do not.”
A defiant snarl came through the radio, and the voice of a cartel captain echoed back. Half the words were illegible owing to the apparently crappy radio that was transmitting it, but enough got through to get the meaning across. The cartel pirates wanted the transmitter, for nefarious purposes the technicians on the station could only imagine.
Evidently, the commander of the Astravia had had enough, because her engines flared to life and she began burning towards the cartel ships. Missiles tumbled from her tubes, flocking around their launching ship on their station-keeping drives, as plasma cannon turrets charged and point-defense mounts folded out from their protective hatches. The other ships of the task force followed suit.
The first shots of the impending battle were fired by the cartel ships, hurling unreasonably large slugs from their crude but oversized railguns. It wasn’t particularly effective. The Stellar Guard ships easily dodged the railgun rounds fired at the edge of their effective range, and they went past the relay and adjoined habitat, impacting into the surface of Kalchys or flying on to plunge into the atmosphere of Skira. The Stellar Guard’s opening strike fared somewhat better - the missiles the various ships had launched fired up their primary drives and charged the oncoming cartel ships, dodging point defense flak and grapeshot barrages as they snaked towards their target. Cheers were heard on the open circuit as several warheads impacted on the first cartel ship in the line, overloading its shields and then detonating against its hull. One of the warheads must have struck a reactor or hypermatter container or something because a blossom of nuclear fire replaced the ship on the tactical plot, then it was gone.
A trio of hunter-killer cutters engaged the second ship, slicing in at close range as they traded plasma bolts with its railgun slugs. One of them lost a drive to a railgun slug and immediately flipped part-way to burn away on its retrograde drive thrusters. But the others released a spread of torpedoes, and 750mm warheads plunged through the cartel ship’s overloaded shields, staggering it in clouds of near-atomic fire and sending it tumbling slowly away, leaking white puffs of atmosphere as its drives went cold. Escape pod hatches slid open as the survivors prepared to abandon ship.
The remaining three cartel vessels, seeing their losses, turned away from the station, chased by spreads of torpedoes and volleys of missiles. One of them, however, was not destined to escape. A missile detonated against its already damaged after shields, overloading them. Two massive, refracting beams of brilliant light followed close on the missile’s heels - or drive plume, rather - as the Astravia fired her two forward superheavy particle beam cannons. The beams punched clear through the enemy vessel’s engineering sections and must have converged on a reactor, because the after half of the ship vanished in a titanic detonation and a boil of nuclear flame, while the few surviving escape pods in the gutted wreck of the forward section leaped from their ports. The other two cartel vessels burned out of range of the torpedoes, which detonated when they ran out of fuel, and the missile-firing ships recalled their missiles. They could be used again, against an enemy which wasn’t clearly running away.
The undamaged Stellar Guard ships opened up with their point defense lasers, incinerating any pieces of wreckage large enough to threaten their or the habitat’s shields, while the few ships that had taken a torpedo or railgun round affected repairs. Some of the ships launched shuttles to pick up the escape pods holding the survivors of the cartel force. Two cutters boosted after the hulks - half a hulk, in one case - of the two cartel ships which had been abandoned but were still tumbling away, firing towlines into the warped and spalled metal. The ship which had had its after half blown off was nudged into a direction that would see it burn up in Skira’s upper atmosphere, while the mostly in one piece ship was towed away towards a Stellar Guard shipyard.
Still somewhat shellshocked by the whole battle, the technicians, scientists and government functionaries stared at the technical plot. Then, on one of the screens which were connected to the altered software from the original relay they’d found, an alarm flashed.
The technician watching it cursed. “What now?”
One of the linguists next to them peered at the screen, displaying its message in Old English. They translated slowly:
Type: Omnidirectional, all frequencies
Origin: Space Station Athens, Helios System, Galactic Core Sector
“Greetings from the Galactic Assembly!”
The technician summed up everyone in the room’s opinions perfectly.
They all listened to the rest of the transmission.
One of the government functionaries timidly spoke up. “I guess… we should reply?”
The head of the group from the government shut down that idea. “No - not right now. The Central Savyet must hear of this. But then… who knows?”
OOC: The regional map has been updated! Featuring the placement of Astralaria!
See it here:
For a zoomable version of the map, click here (Imgur)
Older Versions: September 2022 | October 2022 | November 2022 | December 2022 | January 2023 | February 2023 | March 2023 | May 2023 | June 2023 | August 2023
Last updated September 21, 2023.
The Allmother's Observatory, perched atop Coris' palace, granted a unique panorama of the silent cosmos. Every surface shimmered under the iridescent glow of the Spire, its majestic form dominating the capital skyline, casting a golden hue on all below. Intricate patterns danced across the marble floors, while a high-vaulted, frescoed ceiling showcased Astralaria's storied past. A carbon fiber-laced console, the chamber's technological marvel, stood radiant as the day's last light retreated. Amidst this splendor was an unexpected sight: a simple telescope, aimed at the skies.
"It's more pronounced tonight, isn't it?" Alira remarked, her eye pressed against the viewfinder. Once a street urchin, her very presence seemed a contrast to the opulence surrounding her. Her flowing crimson robes, intertwined with golden threads, seemed a world apart from the faded scars on her hands, remnants of a challenging past. A lingering silence, punctuated only by the soft whirring of the central console, enveloped the room before she spoke again. "Theo?"
"Hm?" Theodore, roused from his reflection, responded, "Apologies, Allmother." Representing the venerable Stendahl lineage, Theodore's appearance was the epitome of Astralarian tradition: a dark, meticulously tailored suit, greying hair cascading to his shoulders, and a countenance always deep in thought. He moved to join Alira, his fingers effortlessly manipulating floating panels. "Its pulses are certainly... unique. Almost like a song we've never heard."
"People are talking, Theo," Alira remarked, her gaze never leaving the Spire. As Theodore reached her side, she leaned into the telescope's frame, her eyes tracing the Spire's path to the twinkling city below. "The Festival looms. They see these changes, and they worry. Their stories, their aspirations, their fears — it all seems to land at my feet."
"We've weathered such storms before, Allmother."
Her eyebrows knitted together, Alira glanced at the news flashing across Theodore's screen: her expected presence at the Festival sparking rampant speculation. "You say that, but doubt still lingers," she murmured. Pushing away from the telescope, her memories painted a vivid picture. "I recall nights spent atop venting units, scavenging any morsel I could find. I wasn't above theft, causing tears, even... contemplating darker deeds."
Theodore's gentle gaze met hers. "But you rose above that, Allmother. Not by mere chance, but because of who you are. You've shepherded Astralaria through many trials, and with each one, both you and our nation grew stronger."
A smile, tinged with melancholy, graced Alira's lips. "Sometimes, Theo, I still see that lost girl when I look in the mirror, especially on nights as puzzling as this." She gazed wistfully at the labyrinthine streets of her childhood, now bathed in the Spire's luminescence. "This grandeur, this palace... it all feels so dreamlike, still."
Theodore, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder, said, "Leadership has its burdens. But remember, you've faced tougher nights on those venting units."
A soft chuckle escaped Alira's lips, mixed with a sigh of remembrance. "True, and I didn't face those nights alone either."
He smirked, gesturing to the central console. "No rest for the weary, I'm afraid. The Festival is almost upon us."
Drawing a deep breath and retreating her hands beneath her robes, Alira responded, "Let's get to work then."