jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

First off, here are Our Heroes So Far in alphabetical order (and if we got something wrong please correct us!):

  • [personal profile] adad64 (unknown) has not posted on the intro thread yet!

  • [personal profile] blackswanseer (she/her) is thinking of playing Ilaria Viteri, a driven "alternative archaeologist" with a gift for mathematics and a retinue of survey drones.

  • [personal profile] kaesa (she/her) is considering playing either *Adriana or *Garamond. The former is an artist in search of her past, and the latter is a library assistant in search of adventure.

  • [personal profile] redsixwing (they/their/them) is planning to play as Rai / *Ascension, an AI which has come to believe he is actually a fictional, magic-using character (complete with false memories).

  • [personal profile] sablin27 (xe/xyr/xym) has not finished planning xyr character, but wants to play someone who's honest and trusting / na├»ve, and is considering being an AI who uses whatever systems are nearby to communicate.

As for the plot, we have some ideas which we'd like to share. >_>b

A Whole New World

First off, this is one of Saturn's moons, called Enceladus.

A NASA photo of a white moon, with blue stripes added in via false colour.

This is how big Enceladus is, compared to geographical features on Earth.

A NASA image which shows the moon from the first photograph, superimposed over a view of Ireland and the United Kingdom from space. The moon is roughly large enough to eclipse England and Wales put together.

And this is why it's the most exciting moon in the solar system:

A cutaway diagram showing the global ocean beneath the moon's icy crust, and the steam vents on its south pole.

Those are steam vents coming out of its south pole, fueled by a subsurface ocean. And they're why Enceladus is currently the most likely candidate for extraterrestrial life.

Tying it in with the timeline as we know it, what if this is where the Great Old Ones -- the Suul'ka -- parked themselves, after prehistoric Liir drove them off and away from Earth?

Proposed Sequence of Events

The first part of this would take place at least a few decades before the Mugunghwa is launched, in Analogue. (It, or another generation ship, may be under construction.) It's also BEFORE contact with the Hivers, and AFTER ecological catastrophe forces Cetaceans and land-dwellers to unite. AIs exist, and are sort of considered persons, but are usually created to serve humans in some capacity and may earn their full personhood later.

  1. A prototype node-drive-equipped starship, the Traveler, launches from Earth. It's crewed by one human, one Cetacean, and the navigational AI *Ascension.

  2. Traveler enters subspace, and just as quickly exits near Saturn. Coinciding with this event is a broadcast known as the Scream, a terrifying noise which is received by communication devices across Earth. Some people claim to have heard this sound in their heads, or even to have heard a distinct voice instead. A handful of others go mad.

  3. Over an hour after the Scream, radio contact with Traveler is briefly reestablished, as signals from it reach Earth. The footage is extremely disturbing, and appears to show the inside of the ship being torn apart, bits and pieces of it (and of the organic crew) flying everywhere. The transmission cuts out abruptly.

  4. Traveler is confirmed to be derelict, and in a slowly-decaying orbit near one of Saturn's moons.

  5. Cetacean support for the Traveler Program is withdrawn, as the rest of the world tries to figure out what just happened.

And now you know why the Mugunghwa is slower-than-light. \o/

Here's what we imagine happening

A somewhat darker scenario, where our heroes are either investigating the wrecked ship (and the activity on the nearby moon ... ) or meeting up with the ones doing the investigating.

In the process, something happens which seals all or some of you away for thousands of years. How does it happen? That depends on how you want your characters to go out, and what ideas you have for where this goes.

Locations include the Traveler, the Traveler 2 (the new ship launched to check on them), and a possible aquatic facility of some kind based on Liir technology. Whether it was constructed by Cetaceans getting ready to receive Traveler, or by the Suul'ka and their minions in the solar system's prehistory.

Here is where you come in

These are just suggestions based on your character ideas so far, we're not trying to dictate them to you D:

  • Rai / *Ascension is, of course, the Traveler's nav AI. He no longer remembers that, though, and is completely cut off from the outside world. Inside the ship's computer, he has replaced memories damaged by physical or emotional trauma with false ones, based on the human pilot's favourite entertainment programs. While it's adrift, he is living the main character's life.

  • Ilaria Viteri is an Earth archaeologist who's pursuing a line of research which may at first seem tangential, but turns out to possibly hold the key to solving the mystery of what happened. An ancient system of writing, perhaps, which turns out to resemble the message that's hidden inside the Scream.

  • *Adriana has a mysterious past, and an unusually spiritual / artistic soul. What if she hears the Scream through a means that's not easily explained, and thinks that it's calling to her ... or telling her to warn people about something?

  • *Garamond was created to keep an old woman company, and subsequently got into academia, but with a thirst for exploration. What if he was actually made to be (or somehow became) Ilaria's lab assistant / drone wrangler / partner in crime, and that's how he gets mixed up in this?

  • Not sure where to place [personal profile] sablin27 yet, but xe has the option of playing someone from Enceladus maybe. An AI in the ancient Suul'ka complex perhaps, who no longer remembers why they are there but welcomes the chance to meet new people. Or a crew member in a modern, Cetacean aquatic facility, who was originally going to welcome Traveler and is now waiting for Traveler 2.

Death is not the end

The other idea we had can be done after the above scenario, or instead of all or most of it. Specifically, a certain private Investigator is paid to uncover what turns out to be the player characters. ^^;

She may have to work with them, to figure out how to escape whatever physical or virtual prison the Suul'ka have placed them in. Or she may have reconstructed some of you from thanograms, in an attempt to find out just WTF happened on your original investigation. (If your memory backups were made before Stuff Got Real, you might not know either!)

What do you think?

Too railroad-y? Too dark / SOMA-esque? Idk, you tell me >_>b

Just ... let us know where you'd like to go with this. Whether it's a version of our ideas, or something else entirely.

Date/Time: 2015-10-17 14:45 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
Sounds fun. Can I be the ship's engineer?
Date/Time: 2015-10-17 20:08 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
Well, if I'm an engineer, I think I'd better have a physical body, even if I also have a penchant for sticking my mind into the ship's software to peruse the nearby hardware. As long as the body doesn't get disconnected from wherever I currently happen to be, I'll be cool.
Date/Time: 2015-10-17 23:23 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
As an engineer, I would like to register my concerns about going on a exploratory mission in a vessel navigated by someone entirely lost in their own delusions. Can we switch control to someone less talented, but capable of comprehending the world the rest of us are inhabiting?
Date/Time: 2015-10-18 14:48 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Do correct me if I'm massively misinterpreting this, but:

Rai actually has no idea he's a navigator AI at all, and would be somewhat confused by being asked to pilot a ship, and way out of his depth - his current skillset is patched together from the digital corruption that landed him in someone's favorite corporate espionage serial.

Hopefully, the designers of the Traveler project had backup plans for things like "Ship's AI is not functional/has been downloaded and not backed up."
Date/Time: 2015-10-18 16:46 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
I'd expect everything the ship needs for its function to be thoroughly backed up. However, if the hardware you're in has been wrecked, who knows what else has been? It would hardly be unprotected or easily damaged. (I'm hoping none of us have problems with breathing vacuum.)
Date/Time: 2015-10-19 14:08 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Hm. I'm thinking that the hardware may be fine, or minimally damaged - the problem is memory corruption (which happens in real-world systems on perfectly intact hardware all the time).

Which makes Rai a perfectly functional Shadowrun-style saboteur, but not so functional ship-AI. :)
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 02:16 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] blackswanseer
(I'm hoping none of us have problems with breathing vacuum.)

Ilaria is human and would indeed have a problem breathing vacuum:) But my reading of things was that the original ship was what definitively wrecked. One or more PCs were on that (such as *Ascension) but others were on the follow up investigation. Ilaria would be with that second group was what I was thinking.
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 17:14 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Oooh, that's a good question.

If it wouldn't step on Sablin's or Kaesa's toes, I'd be happy to have a copy of *Ascension flying Traveler 2. That allows me to play before the group gets to Traveler, and also neatly solves the "have you actually interacted with this person before?"

Why, yes. Or at least a copy of them. It also puts the discovery of HOMG I AM AN AI pretty early in game, which is good - that friction is going to be a major driver for Rai.

(And, huh - gives the opportunity for the branched copies to interact, maybe. That could get weird.)
Edited Date/Time: 2015-10-20 17:15 (UTC)
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 21:00 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
My character wants to make the ship as amazing and efficient as possible. You're welcome to do the driving.
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 22:30 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Sweet. Driving amazing and efficient ships is fun! :D
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 20:57 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] sablin27
sablin27: (Default)
OK. I think I follow what's going on now. Sorry for the confusion.

Can I have had a version of myself on Traveler, too?

A dead one, to keep things simple. My character would love the chance to see the self she ended up not being.
Edited Date/Time: 2015-10-20 20:58 (UTC)
Date/Time: 2015-10-17 17:45 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] kaesa
On the one hand, I love the idea of *Garamond working with a driven, difficult, unconventional scientist, but on the other hand it could be a terrible trainwreck! Because, see, the fic he's from is about his divorce, which has turned into attempted murder. I'll let *Mute explain:
"Oh come on, you just want [his wife] to be innocent because she's just the kind of future-y Earth career woman you want to be, and you want me to be wrong about her," said *Mute.

"No! Don't be ridiculous. I just --"

"Okay, look at this, though," said *Mute, showing *Hyun-ae the data on *Garamond's marital history. "Like, he has never married a woman who wasn't psycho. This one died in prison for murder. And this one here was killed while fleeing from law enforcement. She steered her ship right into a meteor."

"And this other one was a famous brain surgeon," said *Hyun-ae. "And this one here was a space explorer. She eventually became the first governor of Europa colony!"

"Uh, fine, I guess they weren't technically breaking the law, but that just goes to show that their priorities weren't on their husband or family," said *Mute. "I mean, most of them ended up divorcing him, clearly they were terrible wives."

So he's got this... type. It is awkward. Basically I would only be comfortable with this if [personal profile] blackswanseer is aware of and okay with the fact that this guy is going to be super obnoxious at Ilaria -- at the very least he will be argumentative and explain things at her that she probably already knows. So if that is at all an issue I don't think I should play him. (I really like Ilaria as a character, btw! Very driven people are always fun to play against, and I have a weakness for scientist characters anyway.)

The possibility of *Adriana having a different and deeper experience of the Scream intrigues me a lot! I think... probably, given her character, whether or not it was Obviously Bad News, she'd want to go investigate. Frankly, especially if it was Bad News. Let me put it this way: if this was a horror movie, she'd pick up on it -- and then go straight into the basement. So that would absolutely work! But I'd like a firmer idea of what exactly she "hears" in the Scream if I'm going to play her.
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 02:03 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] blackswanseer
Thanks for the head's up! Yeah, that sort of behaviour you describe from Garamond isn't something Ilaria would willingly tolerate; it'd make her nuts. And as a woman in a technical field myself, it's actually a big pushbutton issue IRL for me personally^^;;
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 02:14 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] kaesa
Yeah, I figured patronizing bullshit is hard enough to opt out of in real life, why ambush people with it in a game? So I'll be playing *Adriana unless some third possibility captures my imagination. Thanks for letting me know.
Date/Time: 2015-10-21 06:53 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] kaesa
Argh, sorry, I just spent the last few days working on Yuletide stuff, but! Let me think about this a bit more. I've been turning it over and I'd kind of like it to not necessarily be... Obviously Bad News, but something she's compelled to follow even though it has a fairly good chance of not ending well for her.

I really like the idea of the call to help that's actually a warning, actually? Because if there is any possibility she might be able to help, she would absolutely get her ass over there ASAP. And also.... a warning about WHAT? Vague warnings are bad warnings! Be specific, senders of warnings!

I kind of like the idea of several others in the cult -- maybe not all of them? but, you know, a smattering. I'm wondering if they could all have something in common, like particular types of amnesia, or -- actually, maybe they were all AIs first compiled in a particular decade and have particular dated, not-optimally-efficient sensory interpretation programming that showed them a pattern where most people sensed, and paid no attention to, random noise? it might have a sort of synesthetic effect over several different senses, and a lot of AIs who brought it up would at first have been dismissed as "you're probably having hardware issues. or did you forget to update your drivers again?"

Anyway, some of them heard it and it maybe sort of sent them into preparations for Really Bad Shit and asking their contacts near Saturn to keep them informed, and when she was like "so I'm gonna check it out! find out what it is!" they all gave her That Look. You know the one. But they couldn't talk her out of it, so she left everyone else preparing cots and tanks and servers for outer-solar-system refugees should some disaster occur, and promised to definitely report back!

And everyone else is like "Well, that's a pity. She was nice."

SORRY this is possibly super-incoherent. I may come back tomorrow to poke at it a bit more while I'm awake.

(BTW, do you have ideas on family structure? Because I'd been considering family structure in relation to issues with ecology and scarcity (of land in particular) and Earth's current population issues, and I have some ideas if you're interested.)
Date/Time: 2015-10-23 03:01 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] kaesa

ANYWAY oh man, I like where this is going wrt *Mother being trapped; the only real issue I see with it is now that I think about it, in Digital *Mother split herself off into a bunch of fragmentary AIs because she was too big to travel the early internet easily (...and would probably fit on a thumb drive nowadays, oh how things change). So assuming it actually WAS her we'd have to figure out a way for her to have been [edit: reconstructed and] whisked away and trapped by aliens.

(AI reproduction in Digital is weird. I was playing with most AIs basically not being able to reproduce except by fission in the fic I was writing, as a holdover from that. I may elaborate in the comment I'm going to go leave on the worldbuilding post because it also ties a bit into family structure!)

Edit II: ALSO it's funny you should say that about creepy unsettling worldbuilding ideas because this is something I've asked my most frequent RP partner to warn me about. I will say something if it gets too creepy, I promise! I like unsettling in fiction, though.
Edited Date/Time: 2015-10-23 03:05 (UTC)
Date/Time: 2015-10-18 14:55 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
Enceladus! \o/

This looks like fun, and I like this for bringing the characters together. What they do after the fact, of course, depends on what they find there - but "marooned on an icy ocean moon, with only creepy ruins for company" sounds very entertaining indeed.

If Our Heroes are exploring the downed Traveler, I'd like to pitch for "found on board" - it makes a lot of sense for explorers to have downloaded whatever data they could find in the ships' computers, as a very early step.

As for where this goes...

We have options for a Transmetropolitan-style one-way trip to the future, complete with culture shock, probable language shock, and the irritating part where things very important to the resurrected are literally ancient history to the modern. I like this option, but it's probably best as a side dish, rather than a main course. We've got a moon with wrecked ships and ancient Suul'ka facilites to explore, after all!

If we focus on getting out, we'll need to survive long enough to do it, and also to have a means of doing so. With characters whose history opens up engineering, computer skills, navigation, and archaeology - I bet we can do it. Is "explore, rebuild, and try to escape" something that's interesting to everyone else?
Date/Time: 2015-10-20 02:09 (UTC)Posted by: [personal profile] blackswanseer
Quite interesting! To recap what I'm gathering from what [personal profile] jewelfox said above and what you've commented on to make sure I'm on the same page:

Some of us (e.g., *Ascension) come into play with the original Traveler and some (e.g., Ilaria) with the follow up investigation. Something goes wacky and we all end up in capsules or equivalents (for instance, depending on whether all of the AI types start out with a meat body, cyborg body, what-have-you). Wake up thousands of years later and have to figure out what happened and how to escape.

Edited Date/Time: 2015-10-20 04:27 (UTC)


Capsule Contingency

January 2016

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