You are Captain Carya Marseille-O'Hara, and you've come out all this way to the star known only by the catalog number K2-18. It's a system that humanity has known a little about since shortly before a series of climatic and social disasters led to a worldwide scramble by the developed nations to consolidate their hold over dwindling resources, which eventually became the Third World War.It's a red dwarf, about 111 lightyears away from Sol, with a relative position that places it in the constellation Leo. The second planet in the system, K2-18b, was an early target for investigation of relatively close-by exoplanets conducted throughout the early 2000's. It's not visible from earth of course, but over the years it became clear that the planets in the K2-18 system mostly possessed the sort of thick atmospheres that could insulate them despite being tidally-locked, allowing energy and warmth from K2-18 to dissipate around to their dark sides.Or at least they would, if K2-18 still existed.“ALICE, give us some idea of a safe zone around the event horizon,” you order, eyeing the spot where you know based on the long-range telemetry a black hole is currently lurking. “Then project a no-fly zone around the center of the anomalies.”“Shall I share the data with the Sadalahn's computers?” ALICE asks with some trepidation.“Would there be a problem?” you ask curiously.“The shipboard unit aboard that vessel re-defines the term 'dumb' AI,” ALICE sighs, her digital avatar rolling its eyes before disappearing as she gets to work. “Calculations may take several minutes. Until now many of the variables at play were theoretical.”“Understood,” you nod. “Take your time.”Meanwhile, Rossweisse too has been staring out Sericea's cockpit viewport, deep in thought. “This is impossible.”“Yeah?” you ask in response, noticing that you too have slipped towards oogling a little. “How do you mean?”“K2-18 definitely lacked the mass to produce a black hole,” she muses, as if thinking through a stellar puzzle aloud. “It simply isn't part of a red dwarf's life cycle.”“So something must have changed,” Haman realizes. “That's what you're getting at.”“And what precisely did you have in mind?” you press, a note of skepticism in your voice. “What could make what should be impossible possible?”Rossweisse gives you an appraising look, and it dawns on you what she means.“Oh no,” you shake your head. “No. There's no way Newtypes did this. I refuse to believe it.”“The precise theoretical limitations of the Psychofield phenomenon haven't been determined,” Haman points out.>1/2
>>1793303“It strains credulity,” you stress. “When a result seems impossible you should be looking for improbable causes, not equally impossible ones!”“Even assuming that K2-18 was a catastrophic variable binary system until a few hundred years ago, which is within the realm of the possible,” Rossweisse counters, “there would still be an identifiable, luminous stellar mass at the rough center of the ejected cloud. There isn't.”“Something did something to this star system that we cannot account for with known conventional physics,” Haman agrees. “And what do we all know that violates the rules of conventional physics?”“It starts with an 'N', and it ends in 'ewtypes', Carya.”As much as I hate to admit it, sis... she has a point.“You don't really think the Jovians were trying to use newtypes to blow up a star, do you?” you ask, completely incredulous at what you're hearing.Maybe it wasn't a weapon.There's a moment of silence between you as you process that thought. “Stellar engineering?”“Purely theoretical,” Rossweisse muses, “but theory often has a way of finding itself tested where newtypes are involved. Perhaps Jupiter was left so desperate by its changing circumstances that such measures seemed less unreasonable than they do to us.”>We'll wait to hear from ALICE, then move as close as is safe for a thorough examination.>How sure are we on the basic premise that this phenomenon is what remains of K2-18?>Maybe an ex
>>1793308>>How sure are we on the basic premise that this phenomenon is what remains of K2-18?
>>1793308>>We'll wait to hear from ALICE, then move as close as is safe for a thorough examination.Blind us with science, King.
>>1793308>>How sure are we on the basic premise that this phenomenon is what remains of K2-18?Was that last option missing a few words? Or is it just me?And here's a flimsy theory: Maybe the Jovians tried their own hand at warping through spacetime (with Cyber-Newtypes or none at all), set the target coordinates for this system, stuff went wrong and said blackhole manifested in the exit?
>>1793351Not sure what happened there...
>>1793308“If something here doesn't make sense, is it possible that we might have been mistaken in our basic premise?” you muse.“You mean you don't think this is really K2-18?” Rossweisse asks, seizing upon perhaps the most basic assumption that you've made so far. “This is the correct spot for the system to be in... Haman, while ALICE is working can you determine the age of our data on the K2-18 system?”“Yeah, give me a minute,” she replies.Several seconds later the HUD in front of you projects two similar spheres in space, one in bright blue and the other slightly smaller in vibrant purple within the first.“I have estimated the minimum safe distances, factoring in various assumptions for the true number of dimensions,” ALICE announces... a statement that leaves you scratching your head a little.“The number of dimensions?” you repeat.“Affirmative. Current academic debate has yet to settle on the veracity of various theories regarding dimensionality in spacetime, so instead of choosing one theory I collated the theories with the greatest support in literature and calculated for them all.”“That was what took some extra time.”“I see,” you nod, pretending you understand the intricacies of what ALICE just told you.“And is this representative of the point of no return?” Rossweisse asks.“Affirmative,” ALICE affirms, seemingly happy that someone on the bridge has the sophistication to ask the important questions.“So are we going to have any issues if we get closer than where we are?” you ask. “I'm concerned about time dilation, gravitational shear, that sort of stuff.”A third white sphere appears overlaid around the first two. “We may lose a few seconds or minutes as we approach this line, but much further and you start to lose much greater amounts of time. Those minutes will become hours, days... possibly even months as Sericea approaches the point of no return.”“And we won't know for sure what we're looking at unless we get closer,” Haman guesses.“... affirmative,” ALICE replies hesitantly.>1/2
>>1793399Whoa, can we try a probe first at the point where it turns to months? Or would that entail us waiting for months for the feed from said probe to come in first?
>>1793399>Could we fashion a ferric slug into a sabot? Use it to shoot a funnel towards the point of no return using Sericea's axial accelerator cannon?>Is it possible for three or four newtypes working in concert to somehow adjust the passage of time? Give ourselves some insulation?>We should approach the white zone at speed, spend as little time close to that limit as we can, and work with what we learn from it.>Other?
>>1793414>>Could we fashion a ferric slug into a sabot? Use it to shoot a funnel towards the point of no return using Sericea's axial accelerator cannon?Shoot the black hole. Very 'murrica.
>>1793399>>Could we fashion a ferric slug into a sabot? Use it to shoot a funnel towards the point of no return using Sericea's axial accelerator cannon?
>>1793406It could work, but at this point fashioning the probe will take some time and there's LITERALLY no data about how it would work in practice.This is humanity's first actual recorded experience with a black hole.
>>1793414>>Could we fashion a ferric slug into a sabot? Use it to shoot a funnel towards the point of no return using Sericea's axial accelerator cannon?Ok, so not a probe full of sensitive equipment, but instead it's a Newtype controlling the funnel that will experience what's beyond the spacetime? Well, that'll be quite the experience.
>>1793447Tessaract Psychoframe Gundam is a go!And this was what started the Dark History.
>when in doubt, shoot the biggest gun you have at it3d10, DC 17, Crit 25
Rolled 7, 8, 1 = 16 (3d10)>>1793492Murrica.
Rolled 1, 4, 3 = 8 (3d10)>>1793492Hmm... Should probably put a timer self-destruct on the funnel, if one of our Newtypes is gonna go for the mental piggyback with it. Just as a precaution.
Rolled 2, 6, 7 = 15 (3d10)>>1793492
>>1793502This idea is good enough to get you a fourth roll considered... also, you'll have backup when you go in.
Rolled 7, 5, 8 = 20 (3d10)>>1793513
>>1793513“How long would it take to machine one of our ferric carbide rounds into a casing for some sensors?” you ask.It takes Rossweisse a tick to realize what you're thinking. “Like the sensors from a funnel?”“Exactly.”She considers the question for a few moments. “The issue is that the carbide material itself is extremely difficult to cut. Someone would need to fire off a small-caliber Minovsky round and hollow out the material.”She's right, of course. A 20mm shell fired directly at the front end of a linear cannon slug should dig a deep pocket into the material that you can slot the essential sensors into, back-filling with either quick-setting cement or some sort of polymer.“It would take about an hour to do it safely,” Rossweisse concludes.“Take Bianca to oversee the process,” you order. “Be sure to do it outside the ship.”“I already have a good idea of how to do it.”You spend the next fifty minutes staring out into the void, letting the sheer vastness of the space in front of you sink in. It almost feels hungry, some trick of the mind perhaps which makes the inanimate dangers in front of you come alive in your imagination.Finally, you hear Bianca report in.“The projectile is ready,” she informs you. “Locked and loaded.”“Rossweisse, Haman, I'm backing us off,” you report, briefly taking control of Sericea and easing her further out of the system. “I'd like to get a running start at this.”“I'll be on the bridge in a few seconds,” Rossweisse tells you, “but go ahead and put us where you want us.”After a few minutes of work, you ask ALICE if this new position will give you enough room to reach maximum sublight acceleration and peel off before reaching the white boundary and starting to lose significant amounts of time.“Of course it reaches a point of diminishing returns,” ALICE explains, “but I agree that this plan strikes a decent balance.”>1/2
>>1793579When Rossweisse arrives you quickly switch gears, focusing instead on the stripped components of one of your spare funnels tucked tightly into the barrel of Sericea's main cannon.“I have the package,” you report. “Rossweisse, initiate the maneuver and fire on ALICE's mark. Haman, please stand by.”You feel the ship around you shudder slightly as the engines flare into life, and you're pressed into the back of your seat. You count off the seconds as Sericea picks up momentum, until finally you hear Rossweisse call out that she's fired the projectile.The sense of velocity is almost overwhelming at first as the ferric slug reaches a substantial fraction of the speed of light, far faster than a conventional chemically-propelled bullet could ever hope to accelerate to speeds that would boggle the mind even if your mind weren't literally hooked up to it.“Sensors are active,” you report. “I'm picking up an object, right on the edge of sensor range.”“Details?” Rossweisse asks.“And how's your sense of time?” Haman asks nervously over the comms.“It's... slowing,” you admit. “It comes across more as an inexplicable loss of velocity rather than time dilation.”“We're not sounding any slower to you at all?” Rossweisse presses.You shake your head. “No. More details coming in from the probe, the object reads as possessing a Minovsky signature, data is being uploaded to our storage banks.”“Identified as consistent with... a large, armored helium carrier... it's Seven-class.”ALICE's tone is tinged with surprise... this is one of the sister ships of your own fleet's flagship, Nagato. But that can't be right.“Its location places it well inside the zone of no return,” you explain, interpreting what you're seeing through the makeshift probe's sensors.It barely feels like we're moving at all... how are they that close to the event horizon?”“The ship reads as being much longer than it should be... well over three hundred kilometers,” you report. “It's being stretched by the differences in the passage of time between her bow and stern.”“Did her navigators accidentally drop her into a black hole?” Haman muses in amazement. “That's... really bad luck.”>You've seen enough, let the probe go. You've been fortunate so far.>You can still figure out more about this situation, and you may not get a better opportunity than this.
>>1793628>>You can still figure out more about this situation, and you may not get a better opportunity than this.
>>1793628>>You've seen enough, let the probe go. You've been fortunate so far.Let's not poke the warp too much, lest it decide to poke back.
>>1793628>>You've seen enough, let the probe go. You've been fortunate so far.Looks like we'll have to rely on the Minovsky signature we have to further identify it. A name or registry would've narrowed it down, but with how much it's being distorted, gleaning further info might be overstaying our welcome.I say drop a beacon/sensor here for the time being as a warning for any wayward spacefarers.
>dice+3d10, no dc>best of three>higher is better
Rolled 1, 7, 6 = 14 (3d10)>>1793709
Rolled 6, 4, 6 = 16 (3d10)>>1793709After this experience, if there are any Zeon inspired uprisings that occur spouting crap about "escaping Earth's gravity", just refer them to this instance.
Rolled 10, 1, 2 = 13 (3d10)>>1793709
>>1793709In a moment, your mind is overwhelmed by a single, powerful thought: don't leave.It's a plea, born of such desperation and terror that it could only hail from the last moments of life for an entire ship and her crew, amplified a thousand times over by the presence of easily dozens of newtype minds that are themselves in the process of being slowly rent apart by unstoppable forces of cosmic proportion.That very instant, you lose hold on the probe and slump out of your seat to the deck.“Carya!” Rossweisse shouts, turning and practically leaping from her own seat to see to you.“I'm... I'm okay,” you gasp, your skin cold and sweating from your brush with death.I severed the connection.“What happened?” Haman demands over the comms. “I can't see anything!”“They know what's happening to them,” you realize aloud. “They're still self-aware... screaming into the dark as it devours them whole.”“They're beyond our help,” Rossweisse insists quietly. “If what you're saying is true we can't even get close enough to communicate back with them.”>We need to drop a hazard beacon and get the hell out of here. This entire star system is a tomb waiting to be filled.>Keep us in position, we need to figure out what happened here before anything else.>By my estimates, we can get into long-distance visual range safely. We need to determine which way she's facing.>Other?
>>1793790Oh fuck, other Newtypes involved now.>>Other?What are the odds for giving the Newtype presences a sort of "mental buoy". Something that'll bridge their consciousness onto a receptacle inspired from what Carrina is currently housed in?Kinda like what Dom did for the other Purus late in the last quest.If we don't have the necessary tools for it to pull off with a good chance of success...>>We need to drop a hazard beacon and get the hell out of here. This entire star system is a tomb waiting to be filled.
>>1793854In with this
>>1793854And by this, I mean we get answers right at the likely source: Jupiter. And the answers better be good for their sake.
>>1793854Without even knowing how many there are or being able to get close to their ship? Zero.Rossweisse's assessment is coldly accurate.
>>1793790>>We need to drop a hazard beacon and get the hell out of here. This entire star system is a tomb waiting to be filled.
back home \o/
Okay, so you're leaving without poking around to get the full story.Give me one last 3d10, best of three to see what sort of information the probe managed to record.
Rolled 6, 9, 8 = 23 (3d10)>>1793937
Rolled 9, 10, 6 = 25 (3d10)>>1793937
Rolled 7, 4, 4 = 15 (3d10)>>1793937So, is the ship facing factored with how much it's "stretched" significant to where it might've started its transit from?>>1793944Oh, probe did gud.
>>1793957>>1793959probe did bretty gud :DDD
>>1793959Precisely, and a 25 is good enough to work out which way she was heading.She was trying to head AWAY from the event horizonI'll probably be eating some time soon, so I may be late with this next update.
>>1793984“This entire system is an empty tomb that wants to be be filled,” you realize aloud. “We need to drop a navigational hazard beacon and get the hell out of here before we end up like them.”“I feel the same way,” Rossweisse agrees. “There's been a pressure here since we arrived, probably to do with the newtypes aboard that ship.”“Acknowledged,” Haman replies from the bridge of the Sadalahn. “Helm, get us turned around and on a course out-system. I'll handle the details from there.”You quickly arrange to have Sericea drop the hazard beacon warning anyone foolish enough to come close to K2-18, this 'screaming star' in the depths of space, never to approach closer than two astronomical units to the center of the K2-18 black hole. By your estimations that's as close as most human crews could get to the event horizon and the wreckage of the helium carrier slowly being pulled into it.Then ALICE chimes in.“Captains? I have found something for you to see,” she announces, bringing up a grainy image. It shows a long column in black and grey, with some bright white pixels at one extreme end.“Are we looking at what I think we're looking at?” you ask.“Indeed. This is an image of the stricken vessel, with its engine flare visible... proximal to the event horizon.”“She was heading away from the center?” Rossweisse realizes. “From within the minimum safe distance?”“It would appear so,” ALICE agrees.The only way that would be possible...“Is if she were already fleeing from the scene when the black hole formed,” you declare, tapping your chin with one finger. “Rossweisse, you may be right.”“In what sense?” your partner asks.“In the literal one. It's not conclusive of course, but it suggests that this crew had something to do with it.”“Can we confirm it?” she asks curiously.>We can try to scan for evidence on our way out of the system.>M-particles don't occur naturally... right?>Other?
>>1794087>>We can try to scan for evidence on our way out of the system.>>Other?See if ALICE can plot a simulated trajectory of where the stricken wanted to go based on the info the probe obtained. Take into account any capability to use the Psychoframe phenomena to move through space.Much more likely that it was a mad scramble, but there might be a small chance they've set a particular destination.
>>1794146I'm fine with this, just to avoid a deadlock.
>>1794146>>1794189Back from dinner, have a few things to take care of before getting into the writing.>3d10, higher is as usual better.
Rolled 9, 2, 8 = 19 (3d10)>>1794249
>>1794249I mean, feel free to take the full three rolls if that was in question.
Rolled 7, 9, 6 = 22 (3d10)>>1794249Whoops. Was doing stuff.
Rolled 4, 2, 9 = 15 (3d10)>>1794296
>>1794389“I don't want to linger here,” you admit, “but we can scan on the way out-system. ALICE, can you suggest a likely trajectory for the wrecked ship?”After a few moments of silence, you repeat the question. “ALICE?”“Negative,” she replies. “The vessel appears to be on a trajectory which takes it directly towards K2-18d, within the same system. Long range telemetry indicates nothing out of the ordinary with K2-18d: terrestrial, no significant atmosphere. While on our in-system trajectory we recorded no signs of Minovsky activity indicative of a permanent artificial habitat.”“A lifeless world.”“You took a bit longer to get there than I figured you would,” you tell her. “What else were you up to?”“I have detected what appears to be a trail of Minovsky particles. Not particularly dense and deteriorating rapidly, but in my estimation it likely leads to our original mystery vessel.”“Are you sure?” Rossweisse asks.ALICE's digital eyes stare straight at your flesh and blood partner, who seems to ponder the question she just asked.“Point taken.”“It falls within the margin of error for my calculations,” ALICE declares.>Then we head back there along that route. Make absolutely certain.>Then we head back to Jupiter and confront them with this.>Other?
>>1794402>>Then we head back there along that route. Make absolutely certain.
>dice+3d10, best of three>dc 16, critical 21
Rolled 7, 2, 1 = 10 (3d10)>>1794497
Rolled 9, 10, 4 = 23 (3d10)>>1794497
Still waiting on #3.Unless someone, you know. Rolled while I was writing this.
Rolled 10, 8, 10 = 28 (3d10)>>1794578
Rolled 6, 3, 9 = 18 (3d10)>>1794497>>1794578I'll take it.
>>1794586>writing>and this is where it comes back around
>>1794601You convince Haman to coordinate with ALICE and Rossweisse to follow the trail in short bursts, only a few lightyears at a time. Between jumps you have ALICE sweep the area to reacquire the trail of scattered Minovsky particles and adjust course, honing in each time within her original margin of error and moving ever closer to where you know you left the first hazard beacon near the drifting mirror-ship.And then, fifty lightyears or so from K2-18's remnants, Sericea's sensors pick up a metallic contact with its own M-particle signature.“All stop,” you order.“All stop aye,” Rossweisse replies as she hits the retrothrusters and slows your forward momentum to a crawl.“ALICE, identify the target bearing thirty degrees by fifteen off the starboard bow,” you order.“Target is a junior mobile suit, drive inactive,” she reports, opening an inset window on your HUD to magnify the machine. “Low density particles trailing from the machine. Mainly nitrogen, oxygen, traces of argon, carbon dioxide...”“Atmosphere,” you realize aloud.“Whoever it was opened their own hatch and vented,” Rossweisse suggests, pointing at the image. “Look, the canopy looks like it's open. See this glare we're getting, right here?”“Agreed,” ALICE weighs in.“Move us in, I want a closer look,” you declare.In short order you have the junior mobile suit pulled into the catapult deck, which is subsequently sealed and repressurized so that you and the technicians can get at it without bringing it all the way aboard. The experts report no traces of any toxic or radiological contaminants.The man inside is clearly dead, his visor having been lifted when he deliberately exposed himself to hard vacuum. But while he's not going to be telling you anything, you do immediately notice that he's left a small memory stick in the control panel. You retrieve it and plug it into a small laptop one of the technicians brought along, one that has no internet or wireless capability to isolate it from ship's systems, and find a single video file which for a few short moments brings the dead man back to life.>1/2
>>1794718The man's voice is unexpectedly calm, almost relaxed you'd say... but underneath that there's a current of strain, perhaps regret.>“If you're watching this... then it means that I'm dead. Bad luck, I guess. I just hope that I'm not too late. If you haven't already been to K2-18... don't.”>“I mean it, under no damn circumstances. There were thirty-six newtypes aboard the Colorado when she went down... the damn fools went too far, compressed K2-18b into a microsingularity. It pulled K2-18 itself into its gravity well, along with a lot of the nebula around where the partner star would've been.”>“We tried to rescue them, we really did. But... we had to withdraw. It was too much for the rest of the crew.”>“Then something started happening to the rest of the crew. They started seeing things, things that weren't there. Things that couldn't be there. People, corpses... some of them heard screaming. Sometimes men would come back reporting that they'd been to sections of the ship that didn't exist. Mostly, I just had a killer headache.”>“Word began to spread of a curse, and the tension just made things worse. Members of the crew withdrew to their quarters. There was drunkenness, listlessness, mania. My headache got bad enough we had to reduce speed, I couldn't navigate safely.”>“Then the order came to abandon ship. We put out a secure call for rescue, purged the memory banks, and put on our suits, captain's orders. And we started leaving the ship.”>“It's been six days. I've lost contact with the ship, I haven't heard from the crew since day three. I know in my heart they're all dead... I don't wanna go like that. I don't wanna go out pleading with empty space for a mercy that I know isn't gonna come.”>“The only kind of mercy I can expect is the mercy I can grant myself, and that's to make it clean and quick.”The man sighs wearily, a wry smile creeping across his face.>“So, to recap... stay the hell away from K2-18, and fuck the Jovians.”>“Yeah... that about covers it. See you... well, whenever it is you find me.”>2/3
>>1794930We started with The Expanse, gone Interstellar, and ended up somewhere close to Event Horizon. Freakin' hell.>fuck the JoviansLet the "fucking their shit up" commence!
>>1794930The catapult deck remains silent for several long minutes as you digest what you've just heard, the last words of a man abandoned in space, alone and cold but not afraid.“So what do we do?” Rossweisse asks quietly, having overheard the same message as you did.>We have more than enough evidence to justify military intervention: thiry-six counts of crimes against humanity for starters.>We need to approach them carefully. They made one artificial black hole, who knows what they'll do if cornered.>If we go public, and make the right kind of offer... maybe we can rob the Jovian government council of support.>Otther?
>>1795006>>We have more than enough evidence to justify military intervention: thiry-six counts of crimes against humanity for starters.>>We need to approach them carefully. They made one artificial black hole, who knows what they'll do if cornered.Other?Can we see about giving the guy a proper burial-at-sea(space?) or something, just drifting around in a MS is kinda shitty.
>>1795006>>We have more than enough evidence to justify military intervention: thiry-six counts of crimes against humanity for starters.>>1795026Yeah, that'll also probably be for the piece of mind of our crew after a revelation that chilling.
I'm running on fumes here
>>1795111Don't sweat it, I'm about ready to call it anyway.We'll pick up in the next thread, so thanks for coming by and hope you liked the reveal. Next you get to deal with the Jovians, now that you now what they've actually done. Keep an eye on twitter, since it was a nice place to call it I may just run next weekend instead of trying to jam a short session in midweek.
>>1795127Good run, mate.>Nagato>Colorado>Seven-classI see what you did there.
>>1795127>hope you liked the revealThanks for the run. Eerie doesn't even begin to cover it.>now that you now what they've actually doneAnd if the connection between the Newtype kidnappings and the bunch crewing the Colorado were to be confirmed— well, for starters, I can't imagine how Quess would even process that. It's a lot to think about.