Apr 08, 2020 12:36 PM
A Network exploration team lands on Krisses
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Sapphire stands in a carefully cleared grassy field, there's a rope fence surrounding the area her team is gathered in. The nearby river burbles away providing a calming background. Above them is the sparking orb of Charlie's Observatory as he works to determine their next destination. On that thought, "How are we doing Charlie?"

"I've got a connection to a new shard, seems like it'll be safe and viable as far as I can tell."

"Sounds good! Here's to another successful expedition." She raises her voice. "Everyone final checks, make sure all your equipment is good to go and that your suit is sealed and your filters are in the green." Putting words to actions she pulls her own helmet off her hip and fits it to the neck of her suit. Then she checks the HUD and sees all green.

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"Radio check," comes the voice of Aisha through the suit's speakers.

Acknowledgements filter in from the others in their group.

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"I can feel all our supplies. Nothing's missing."

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"Then we're good to go. Charlie whenever you're ready."

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"Transit in 3... 2... 1..." And then they're elsewhere.

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Somewhere else: a grassy plain beside a river about as wide as two people lying head to toe. There's mountains in the distance behind them, the sun peaking out around them, casting the mountain forests into a dusky blue-purple and the fields into a golden green. They're on a bit of a hill where the water spills down, narrower and faster, before widening out into distant farms interspersed with orchards and livestock ranges and areas apparently left to nature. The farmhouses are almost universally colorful, visibly pink or blue or purple or lime green or yellow or cherry red, very few any sort of plain white. A wide paved road winds down from the more northern mountains, set in a good bit from the river, through the ranches and farms, with smaller tributaries branching out into small, sparse neighborhoods. A few cars and tractors, mostly colorful, putter along the road, some turning off here or there.

And, as the river continues rolling downhill and gentling - a small town, farm houses growing closer together until there's two streets worth of buildings, three or four stories high, all in rows. The main road crosses the stream here, before meandering on past the horizon, heading away from the mountains while the river turns and runs loosely parallel to the low range.

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"There's people, I wonder if they're human?" Emily bounces a little.

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Sapphire is grinning ear to ear, "I guess all that training will finally come in handy." She takes in the landscape for a few seconds more, "Emily how's the air?"

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Emily's eyes close for a moment as she reaches out with her senses to test the air, "We have a safe oxygen nitrogen mix, low levels of industrial byproducts, everything is in the safe range. Our filters should last for at least a day without replacement or a refresh. No need for supplemental tanks."

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"First off, first contact procedures. Charlie blink us back so we can send a quick report."

"One sec let me put down an anchor," says Charlie. The world shifts back to where they were long enough for them to transmit a quick report and then they're back.

"Nice, alright, it looks a little far to walk and there's people so I don't want to leave gear around so let's take the cars. Keep the drones stowed for now, no need to look more aggressive than we have to."

All seven of them get into one of the two cars they have. The cars are silvery capsule like things, with a wheel system a bit like one of the rovers humans once sent to mars. They're designed to handled a variety of terrain with ease. Each car has seats for four and a generous cargo area. Both cargo areas are pretty full at the moment.

Once the doors are all closed they get underway. "Let's try to meet someone on the road, I expect that'll make a better impression than driving up to someone's house."

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Meeting someone on the road: is doable. The first car they meet is a pickup truck, bright orange, with more attention paid to aesthetics than aerodynamics. The back's full of crates. The driver slows down when the weird capsule cars approach, rolling their window down and sticking their head and arm out to lean over. They look approximately human, skin a medium-dark brown and black hair hair messily pulled up under a hat, a few braids with beads dangling here and there. They're the only human-like-being in the truck, though a lizard - about the size of a large dog - sticks its head out the other window and flicks its tongue out, making a chittering noise.

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Sapphire takes off her sidearm and loads up the first contact app on her tablet before stepping out of the car. "Hello, we," she gestures to the cars behind her, "are explorers." She doesn't expect to be understood but she needs to start somewhere.

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The alien says something  - "Hwej'r 'yal'z sor." ("Don't know that language."), voice a bit gruff.

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Back in the car Ria looks at her tablet and then via radio, "The computer doesn't recognize that, at a minimum it's a novel dialect. Switching to new language acquisition."

To the alien Sapphire says, "I'm sorry, I don't understand."

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"Narrel 'yal'zne rya? Ei... La-nashet heh-geil vi-medaki?" ("Y'all don't speak Narrel? Uh... Can you all speak Medaki?") The last phrase is distinctly in another language, said more slowly. And then, almost as an afterthought, they sign something, a bit awkwardly.

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Sapphire is quite glad that all this is being recorded because she doesn't understand any of it. She's careful to say words she's said before the same way. "I don't understand that either."

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"Eiye. Seown 'yal'z. Skwodeh yal dwa kyei hwejarnyar nrilem junt rya..." ("Huh. Don't know anything else. Y'all are awful lost if y'all don't even got a phrasebook...") They lean out and look around, glancing mostly towards town. Low, mostly to themselves: "Heh... Elarrimint wernath nrim Hanelte - ling va tekwuzi sriye dwa zweth skwode terer vith nerth..." ("Hm... Hanelte's got a networked teleprinter - lost tourists are probably town council's job though but that's farther...") They point at the town in the distance, and, louder, clearly directed to the group, "Svath za rya?" ("Y'all heading there?")

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"We can go that way if you think that's best." She tries nodding, maybe that's a shared gesture.

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They frown, and attempt to pantomime 'do you want me to go with you,' which isn't very successful or clear.

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She just repeats her new standby, "I don't understand."

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Sigh. 

They point at the town again, at a loss for how else to communicate.

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She tries nodding again. At the point her best guess is still that they want her to go to the town and that was her next idea anyway.

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They hesitate a bit, then take their arm off the edge of their window, turning back to their wheel - trying to signal 'I'm going to drive off now.'

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Sapphire turns and gets back in her car. "Did we get anything useful Emily?"

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"I tapped into local radio transmissions and that's helping a little. I think we have the words for a greeting and the very beginnings of a corpus but we need in person context to be certain of anything and start really building a translation matrix."

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"Alright, I think we need to follow that individual to the nearby town, hopefully we'll be able to find someone more helpful there."

They start driving towards the town following the local.

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