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Sep 18, 2021 1:03 PM
The absence of spacesuit does not guarantee the absence of travel.
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"Highly disruptive."

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"All right. I want as close to a working escape path as we can before we reach anything more than long range sensor activity."

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Boyd checks if anyone has told Paterson.

Upon learning 'no', he sighs. "It isn't like we were planning a warp before this. She shouldn't be busy. Serrano, make sure the data is prepped."

He then connects to Paterson. "Paterson, we need you up here, new project."

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Silvia is indeed not currently busy, and comes up, asking questions as she does so, then begins working with Cornelia's data and models to plot likely subspace escape paths.

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"Cornelia, top priority here is safety, make sure Silvia has everything she needs. Second priority is information. Preliminary guesses, unreliable sensors—whatever it takes. If there is anything still there, subspace or not, I want to see it before it sees us, irradiates us, or whatever it does."

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The MS Lithobraking continues towards the anomaly.

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"I don't like how many of these models have unexpected spatial discontinuities. Captain, by a lot of Cornelia's models, if this activates again I'm not sure Art will have enough warning to adjust course to avoid us being torn to shreds, and I can't give you a course option that handles that."

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"'Never tell me the odds'."

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"Except, seriously, how much warning are we talking?"

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"There should be discharges from such things, but the disruption isn't limited to standardspace or subspace. To figure out where they are, we need to first map out both, then compute. Fee can make sure we get processor priority, sure, but the sensors themselves only work so fast. I have a few models but... most of them have us discovering a discontinuity in our path by hitting it before we get the data. Unless your people have been hiding the fact that your reflexes let you react to things before they happen…"

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"No, that level of hiding sounds like a human thing. Did you ask Pheodair–"

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"I've been talking with Fee, yes. The captain said to prioritize safety, so we are going for the best data we can get while keeping us out of the more likely ranges of disaster."

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"Good. I want extra drones too, and Art ready to work with them. If we don't get things sooner, tell me half an hour before we could spot a typical jelly."

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The MS Lithobraking continues to advance on the anomaly, passing the aforementioned distance with no jelly in sight.

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"Still no evidence of ongoing discontinuities, but we got something. Strange thing too. Small and it's absorbing, emitting, and reflecting light, but no thermal at all. If it was just on one sensor, I would assume damage."

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"In drone range yet?"

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"Signal won't be good, but we could send one. Trajectory of the object matches what we picked up earlier, and seems regular enough, no acceleration."

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"Then I want us further away, and a drone sent to intercept. Art, stay focused on the ship, let the drone run on auto. Actually, make it three drones, different intercepts. If this thing destroys them, I want a chance of seeing what happened."

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Three metallic spheres, occasionally emitting little pulsing ripples of light to push their trajectory, approach Griffie.

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"What is that?"

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The object is a bit over a meter tall. Its light-emitting portion is moving relative to its estimated center of mass, back and forth at irregular intervals. On closer inspection, the entity appears to be roughly mercurialoid. It has the same broad body plan as one, though it's more comparable in size to a child than to an adult. It's – they're? – holding a light source and waving. They appear to have a bubble, like a jelly might use, but much smaller and less ellipsoid. They also appear to be attempting to yell. With their mouth.

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The spheres don't look hostile. If the spheres were hostile they could have just not had their lights on, or moved on a collision course with a blade out, there's nowhere to hide. There's been nothing around for days, so unless meditating for decades in the void sounds appealing, which it doesn't, they should try to get the spheres' attention, and maybe grab one. The spheres have lights on, so maybe they'll pay attention to other lights? They pull out their Continual Flame necklace and wave it. "Please help!", they yell in every language they know.

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"Cornelia, language analysis software."

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"Already running, Captain. Checking the light, the... mouth..."

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Unfortunately for the language analysis software, the light is not linguistic at all. Furthermore, the mouth movements are intended to be heard, not seen.

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