This post has the following content warnings:
Jul 15, 2020 12:15 AM
an exploratory vessel is stranded in a dreadfully prismatic bit of space
Permalink

Tanna hasn't been Captain of the Endeavor for long. Sure, she grew up on an exploratory vessel, and sure, she's been some kind of officer ever since she hit the minimum age for her species, but the stripes are new.

Not that she's nervous.

Her crew's finally finished their shakedown mission and graduated off of milk-runs. They're settling into a routine with each other, and, well, they're an interesting bunch. Not quite as prone to arguing as her father's crew, but definitely the products of many worlds.

They're navigating through a routine bit of space, running the nth sweep of the solar system this portal dumped them in, when what can really only be described as a negative space wedgie unfolds around her ship, grabbing them in a burst of flashing color and depositing them elsewhere.

Tanna whistles a bird-curse, then gets her crew mobilizing to figure out what the fuck just happened, and at least try to identify where they even are.

Total: 335
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

They seem to have appeared within a solar system, rather than an anonymous bit of intergalactic space. 

That’s something. 

Pity of pities, however, that solar system, as if discontent with boring astronomical entities that bother with such trifling concerns as ‘the laws of nature’ and in some manner of celestial teenage rebellion, is utterly and pervasively bizarre. 

Thirty-six planets appear to be revolving around a single sun, on the same orbital path; those planets’ visibility might be partially attributed to the fact that each planet seems to be itself orbited by a tiny, infinitesimally small ‘sun’. 

They’re within a few miles of some sort of spherical outer shell for the system, made out of an unfamiliar and unfathomably dark material, and studded with violet-tinged portals, seemingly leading to similar astronomical set-ups. They might also note the uncountable ‘stars’ scattered across the shell’s surface, each of which might be more accurately described as ‘flat, brightly luminescent surfaces which aren’t even slightly made out of plasma’. 

They are not, to put it mildly, within any hitherto known region of space.

Someone reasonably perceptive might further note that one of the planets has a bright, ludicrously large, and presumably illusory message flashing above it, in foreign characters.

 

Permalink

Well, this is just great.

At least the anomaly dropped them somewhere inhabited. More magical than usual for a system, too - the closest she's ever seen in person is the Oheanri dimension, though she's heard of weirder.

She has the wizard currently on the bridge cast Comprehend Languages, and sends out an alert to get personnel to their stations. No one's going to be asleep yet, at least.

Permalink

The illusory sign appears to say:

”Hello! This is the hekyeiyelui-“ and then in substantially smaller, if still legible, print, “We have lost contact with our [well-thought-of] parent system, and would appreciate [well-thought-of, unexpected] visitors. Our [well-thought-of] wards do not permit approach with hostile intent. No other worlds within the system are currently inhabited. Thank you.”

Permalink

Well, that's definitely a sign. Likely a good one, she's not getting much of a 'trap' feeling from this.

Still, they'll be cautious, and only send in a landing party at first.

She selects the team, and hesitates over sending down their actual literal god (that was the weirdest part of this, but apparently Alean gods get bored too), before deciding to keep him with the ship - and the bulk of her crew. Besides, the away team she has selected are no slouches.

Permalink

Isekura is selected as team leader, being the most diplomatic of the group and also the one with the most leadership experience despite zir relative age. 

The group decides to approach in a shuttle, rather than portalling. It's less safe, but it also telegraphs their movements, and is less likely to provoke a hostile response.

When the shuttle lands, ze steps out first, followed by another of zir species, a tall and willowy elven woman, a shifter from Oheanri, and a rather large sapient wolf. Ze has zir own translation item, and the wizard's cast tongues on herself and the other three.

Permalink

They land in the central square of an enormous city.

Elaborately styled landscapes- heavy on deciduous trees, in a baffling array of colors, alongside elegant ponds and dazzlingly out of place ice rinks and burbling rivers and gorgeous flowers- seem to dominate the ground, with large homes- seemingly forged from solid stone- placed within every acre. A dizzying array of paths- all made entirely out of interviewing bricks of malachite and lapis lazuli- curl in loops and knots along the ground, connecting each house. 

In a layer above, small floating islands drift around in seemingly random patterns, sometimes gently skimming against each other. Each seems to have a single store or restaurant or other non-house building, and each occasionally lands on a designated patch of ground, with the entry or departure of a customer.

The customers, in their own way, seem just as interesting as the stores.

They seem divided roughly into ‘androgynous, human-like skin and hair tones’, ‘masculine, green to blue skin tones’, and ‘feminine, blue to hot pink skin tones’, with each of those categories then having four further sub-divisions of color. They seem to vary between nearly seven feet- in the case of the greens- and around 5’6 in the case of the fuschias, with similarly broad variance between inhuman grace and clumsiness, between inhuman beauty and aesthetic mediocrity, and so forth. Each color of person seems inclined towards wildly differing fashions- the violets in headscarves and dresses, the greens barely covering anything, the mints in something resembling formal suits, the browns- who could pass, easily enough, for human- in practical garments…

In addition to the people being terribly interesting, they seem to have terribly interesting pets: brightly colored sheep with unicorn horns, strangely levitating giant oysters, strangely slithering eels that look like holes within the world itself, softly glowing silver tapirs, brightly shining chickens with feathers made of sunlight…

And in addition to the people, and the pets, being interesting, they were also staring. Quite a bit. 

A few brave souls seem just about ready to speak up, but-

Permalink

A tornado, over the course of a few seconds, develops in the sky- it’s perhaps a hundred feet across, and very loud- and someone unceremoniously drops out of it, catching themselves a few feet from the ground with some manner of levitation. The tornado dissipates, slowly.

“Hello!” chirps the someone, looking at them intently. “I’m Kadlawen! Royal Red Sorcerer of the Unclouded Flower, ruler of none and advisor to all, all that nonsense- you triggered the detection ward, see, and since I can teleport all casual like I’m the designated responder for this sort of situation. Um. Who are you?”

 

Permalink

Isekurra zirself is a hair under five feet - tall for a dwarf - with dark pink hair and pale skin. Ze's covered pretty thoroughly, showing only zir face, with an androgynous build. Of zir companions, Malir is tall, around the height of the greens, with a feminine build, light skin, and black hair, also only showing her face and neck, though she's wearing practical engineer's clothes in shades of cream and brown rather than the complicated skirts her people tend to favor. Ateshai is between them in height, currently masculine and humanoid in shape with brown skin and hair. His sister Runla is a very large wolf with silver fur. Then, Kunali, another of Isekurra's own kind though not of zir planet, pale and brunet with golden eyes and less thorough skin covering, and also a good foot shorter than zem.

"Hello. I am Isekurra Aherinna, of the planet Amsed. A space anomaly swallowed our ship, meaning we're quite lost. We represent the Council of Worlds, a federation of many diverse peoples from just as many planets. My companions here are Malir, from the planet Veshir, Ateshai and Runla, from the planet Oheanri, and Kunali, also from Amsed. I'm head medic of the exploratory ship the Endeavor."

Permalink

“... goodness,” he says. They seem to be attracting a bit of a crowd, though they remain a reasonably respectful distance away.

”It seems that you are, in fact, quite lost. Astonishingly so. And, um, not just in odd body makeup, presumably. Wow. Um. I admit that I was hoping for someone from our parent system, but that’s no reason to be rude- would you rather entertain questions some place more private, or acquire guest rooms at the palace, or neither? You have to be terribly tired.”

Permalink

"Talking somewhere more private is fine. We weren't doing much before being transported."

Permalink

“Lovely! Ah, this may be mildly dizzying-“

And then he mutters a few nonsense syllables and fiddles with a wand and a staff that weren’t even slightly on his person a few seconds ago, and then they’re several hundred feet in the air, alongside their shuttle, with a small, harmless little twister left on the ground where they departed, and then a much larger tornado swallows them up and spits them out and they’re somewhere else entirely.

They’re on solid, barren ground, within an unreasonably large courtyard, with unutterably gorgeous architecture surrounding them on all sides. 

“Here we are!” he beams, striding confidently towards a door.

Permalink

Ze's used to wizards being odd, so ze doesn't even blink at the off-beat teleportation. Though it's interesting, implies magic here might work a bit differently than is average in the Council worlds.

Ze follows, along with zir group.

Permalink

They enter an expansive hallway, with intricate fractal-carvings running over each wall- though no actual paintings- and a soft glow emanating from the ceiling. 

In short order, they arrive in... a game room? 

Tables, odd boxes with ‘chiller’ inscribed upon their surface, and bizzare contraptions litter the room, alongside several animated fiddles aggressively playing themselves. An azure man- shirtless, and wearing long pants, as seems to be the azure fashion- seems to be fencing against an animate sword, which promptly sets itself down.

“Hello, Sasha!” Kadlawen chirps. 

Permalink

“Hey,” ‘Sasha’ replies, resting a sword against his shoulder. He seems a touch taller than Malir, in addition to being substantially more, well, azure.

He and Kadlawen exchange truly uncomfortable amounts of eye contact for several seconds.

He turns to stare at the offworlders.

“So, since that was, like, seventeen different kinds of unexplanatory: what the literal fuck. Could you tell us an amount of information that would make that several degrees less what the fuck.”

Permalink

Kadlawen gives him a meaningful glance.

Permalink

“... if you would,” he adds, insincerely.

Permalink

"We're not usually slated for First Contact, sorry about the non-explanation. I'm guessing your species doesn't have contact with others? In our home dimensions, there are - we're not sure how many, but numerous worlds with numerous different peoples, who developed in many, many ways. Portals sometimes randomly would open between these worlds, and contact was historically established through those. Someone figured out how to make intentional, permanent portals, and four of the planets - which had unified governments by that point - decided to come together to found the Council of Worlds, initially to make negotiating things like hostilities and trade among themselves easier. Gradually, other worlds decided to join, or were contacted. The Council has existed for over three thousand five hundred of our years, and last I checked had members from four thousand, eight hundred and nine homeworld planets, plus an assortment of colony planets; some planets have multiple member nations. Our vessel was meant to set out from a contacted bit of space and do sweeps outwards, through uninhabited territories, mostly to survey for usable resources. We're not supposed to be making contact except in cases of emergencies or anomalies, which this counts as. The five of us represent four species from three different homeworlds."

Permalink

 

“Thank you!” Kadlawen chirps. “I don’t formally speak for any particular polity- except possibly Bradaton’s, he should stay as far away from interspecies contact as possible- anyways, I nevertheless expect that we’ll be very interested in permanent portals. We are, in fact, only one species- twelve colors, twelve genders, I’m red and Sasha’s azure, that’s probably translating strangely if you’re using translation magic but I doubt that’ll matter- and we have seven currently extant countries, each of which was set up about a year ago when we settled here- ”

Permalink

A fuschia woman- wearing a skirt and a jacket, both black- abruptly pops out of a trapdoor set into a corner.

”Salutations!”

Permalink

“... what the fuck? Why- what, were you-”

Permalink

Yes, you imbecile, of course I was, I heard the tornado and decided to lurk in the tunnels in case Kadlawen had been compromised- don’t you have the slightest speck of paranoia within that minuscule thing you call a brain- Rakaskem, dear, you can come out now-“

Permalink

A slender man, in human-typical coloring, climbs out of the trapdoor; he shrugs helplessly, and moves off to the side. 

Permalink

“No, seriously, do I have to repeat myself in saying what the fuck, is Tashalka hiding in a corner somewhere too-” 

Permalink

“If she were,” Rakaskem says, solemnly, “we wouldn’t know it”.

Permalink

“In any case, now that we know that Kadlawen hasn’t been compromised-“

Total: 335
Posts Per Page: