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The Myrmidon (reboot)

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  • #21

    "Yeah," Kimrith replied, "We've had some weird luck here. Or... Karma, I guess."

    He shrugged.

    The planet's atmosphere proved surprisingly welcoming. Oxygen content was higher than the norm for an L-congruous; about 30% total air volume, as was the argon content at 1.9%. Nitrogen was a touch lower than expected, at 68%.

    The rest was trace gasses; nothing really unusual. There was traces of a pollen-analogue in the air, but not much, and it was levo-amino based; a good sign for the viability of the local flora and fauna as a food source for the crew.

    "Yeah, it reminds me of the forested regions of my homeworld, too," Kimrith admitted, striding to the edge of the wing and squatting to look down at the undergrowth, "Not seeing much wildlife yet, but... well, a crash like this will have them scared. It'll probably be a couple of hours before they return."

    He paused for a moment, eyeing the plants, before glancing at the churned-up soil in the crash scar.

    "I think this area might be close to an extinct volcano. The plant life here's rich, and the soil's dark. Plus, it's a mountain range."
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    • #22

      Allyn joined Kimrith at the edge of the wing to get a better look at the crash scar.

      "You know, with the makeup of the air being what it is, the crew will be able to venture out without suits. Oxygen is a little richer than back home, but nothing dangerous, by the looks of it." he said, pushing the readouts to a corner of his suit's HUD to have it in easy reach if need be.

      He nodded at the mention of the local wildlife, "You're probably right about that. I'd love to have a scout around and expand our perimeter a little bit. We were told to stay put, though. Still, I could send the drone out and get us some aerial recon. Seems like a safe enough way to start." he commented.

      And safe was how he felt. They didn't know much about the local flora and fauna. There could be things that were still harmful to them. Still, if there was danger here, Allyn felt that it would come from an external source, and not the planet's natural climate. He could still be totally wrong, and he wasn't about to let his guard down just yet, but, all things considered, it seemed like they had gotten incredibly lucky.

      He stood back up and a compartment opened up on the back of his sit. The drone popped upwards and then flew around them under its own power. It was a relatively simple design, still using the tried and true quad-rotor method. It did, however, have very quiet motors, which gave it a soft 'whooshing' sound as opposed to the loud, angry bee sound of traditional quads. He gave it a few moments calibrate its cameras and sensors and then sent it off to see what it could see.
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      • #23

        "Mm. Even pure oxygen is breathable," Kimrith replied, before shrugging, "But you've got a point. A lot of things can catch fire that you wouldn't anticipate in a pure-oxygen atmosphere."

        He gave Allyn a nod when he mentioned the drone.

        "Good idea," he agreed, "It'll give us an idea of the area around us."

        He watched the drone in interest as it took off.

        One of the first things the drone found was an insect-analogue; a big one, about the size of the drone. It flew up to the drone, and tilted its head in an almost curious manner, before zooming off.

        For a while, that, and some similar specimens were all that the drone found. It was only when it ranged towards the edge of the plateau that it found some of the other wildlife.

        A huge, six-legged creature with gecko-feet and a herbivorous beak was plodding through the trees, still a touch nervous from the wary reaction to the drone but clearly starting to calm.

        A group of smaller critters dashed past it a moment later, only to disappear into some bushes. The drone didn't get a very good look, but the images did reveal that they had a similar herbivorous beak.
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        • #24

          Allyn sent the video window over to Kimrith so that he could see what the drone was seeing as well. "Wow." he commented at the sight of the insect, "That's a new one to me. The first thing we see and it's a bug the size of the drone!"

          When the rest of the animals came into view, Allyn blinked in surprise, "Those are... large. Herbivores, by the looks of it. " he pondered things for a few moments before continuing.

          "Given the size of those creatures, I think it might be advisable to have the crew set up a perimeter around the ship. Herbivores are one thing, but chances are there are carnivores here too, and probably big ones at that."

          Allyn chuckled, "I'm glad I didn't go flying off, now." he jibed, not that he was rash enough to do something like that, but the situation warranted a little levity.

          He looked back to Kimrith, thinking for a moment, "Well, while the drone is up there, let's get a reading on the radio spectrum around here." he said, then turned on the drone's RF and EM sensors. The readings appeared in the upper left of the video window for them to see.
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          • #25

            "I'm not surprised, actually," Kimrith replied, watching the video feed with interest, "When atmospheric oxygen concentrations rise, so does the size of the insect analogues. Though it is quite large."

            Kimrith's body language shifted from relaxed but alert, to something more wary when the drone came across the large herbivore.

            "Yeah. The planet's in a megafauna stage," he agreed, crossing his arms in thought, "A perimeter is a good idea."

            He went to activate his suit's communications suite, to inform the Captain of their discoveries, but ended up holding off when Allyn mentioned scanning the airwaves.

            The Crystal Dragon turned his eye to the graph that had popped up in the corner of his view. Aside from the occasional faint burst of signal from inside the ship (which was mostly contained by the metallic hull) the RF spectrum was mostly background; astronomical sources and so on.

            But there was a spike on the graph; a semi-regular pulsing, in the cadence of a conversation... right in the civilian radio band.

            The kind of thing that would be seen on such sensors when observing a radio conversation that was outside of the transmitting radio's range.

            Kimrith looked at Allyn, before activating his communications.

            "Myrmidon, this is Varainier. Drone deployed for recon. Be advised, megafauna observed, and we're detecting an artificial radio signal. I say again; megafauna observed, we are detecting an artificial radio signal."

            There was a brief moment's silence.

            ":Ah, roger, Varainier. Artificial radio signal, and megafauna observed. I'll inform the Captain. Hold position.:"

            "Copy. Holding position."

            Kimrith muted his mic, and turned to Allyn.

            "What do you think?" He asked, precisely at the moment that the reading jumped in what a trained eye would immediately pick out as a heterodyne, that might have even been faintly audible if their radios had been tuned to the frequency.
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            • #26

              Allyn's posture said a lot. The Gyrfalcon was alert and ready to spring at a moment's notice. The size of the creatures they'd just seen was worrying. So far, they'd only seen insect analogues and herbivores, but that implied that there would also be predators. What about the Flora? Would that be waiting to spring its own surprises onto them?

              Allyn had to remember he was standing up on the ship, and it was easy enough to duck back into the airlock should they need to. Still, one couldn't be too careful. He edged away from the wing, moving towards Kimrith again.

              Then the radio signals came. That... That was something that had all of the earmarks of a standard communication signal.

              He looked over to Kimrith, nodding slowly as he went back into the drone's buffer and snapped that last bit of signal out. He was focused now on his task. This was something he knew and understood. The signal was using standard communications modulation. He had the Zephyr run it through an offline comms modulation algorithm and played back the sample for Kimrith. It was unintelligible. There was just too much degradation to play back anything but bits and pieces of syllables.

              He glanced over to Kimrith then, "The demodulation got us this much." he commented, flashing the broken waveform on their huds. "It's definitely speech, and it's definitely a radio transmission," he said, absolutely certain. "We're not alone here."

              He stopped a moment to consider what that meant, "There is sentient life on this planet. Advanced enough to have radio communication. So, presumably, they must have seen the ship coming in for that crash landing. I suggest that we prepare for guests." he paused again, "Given what we've seen of the planet so far, what are the odds that whoever is broadcasting native?"
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              • #27

                Kimrith gave Allyn a nod when he mentioned that they weren't alone.

                "I figured," he replied, giving a nod, "And yes. We should."

                He then paused, considering.

                "Low," he announced after a moment, "That signal is the only artificial source anywhere on this planet, otherwise we'd be picking up a significantly increased background in that bandwidth. Also, I think that's a Federation language, though it's... hard to tell."

                Given the disparate senses and methods of communication of the various species within the Federation, its official, and most commonly used trade language was actually primarily written, though a number of spoken forms had been constructed - based on the sounds a species could vocalise - in order to allow it to be translated more easily in real time, as a computer system would have an easier time handling that.

                Though with the way that the spoken forms were all derived from the same core language, it was relatively easy to learn to understand another form of it, even if you couldn't vocalise it.

                Before he could continue, the drone spotted a small pack of raptoroids. The shape of their heads and jaws suggested that they were carnivorous, as did the curved teeth, but they'd need to get a closer look at the teeth to tell for sure.

                The raptoroids would be up to Kimrith's chest if he were out of his armour, six-limbed (like every other ground-based animal they'd seen so far) , but unlike the others they'd seen, two of the limbs had been re-purposed entirely into a balance mechanism, held up parallel to their spines.

                They were also looking up at the drone with obvious curiosity.

                "Huh... We've got a predator. Pack-based. Might actually be trainable," Kimrith noted, before jolting as his radio crackled to life.

                "Varainier, this is Nightfang," the Captain's voice rumbled, "You said you'd picked up a signal?"

                "A very weak one, sir," Kimrith replied, "We're beyond maximum range. Allyn put it through demodulation, and that only got some broken syllables."

                There was silence over the line for a brief moment.

                "Understood," the Captain said, "As soon as the situation in the ship has stabilised, I'll send out engineers to begin setting up a palisade. Ryder, I want you to keep that drone out and scouting, and keep an eye on that signal. Varainier, watch his back."

                "Got it, sir," Kimrith replied.
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                • #28

                  Allyn nodded to Kimrith. "Well, that's interesting," he commented as he zoomed in on the raptoroids. "Six limbs. The Geckoid also had six limbs." he shrugged, "It's starting to look like hexapods are prevalent here."

                  "Trainable?" he asked Kimrith, raising an eyeridge in curiousity, though the dragon couldn't see that through the helmet. "What makes you say that?" he asked, mulling over the possibility in his head.

                  The Captains orders came, and they were easy enough to follow, though as Allyn sent the drone out, he kept an eye out for the battery indicator. Currently, the drone was at 70% charge. When the battery got down to 30%, he'd bring it back in for a recharge.

                  He sent it further out and noted how the raptoroids tracked the drone as it flew off, but then returned to more interesting and closer things to focus on.

                  As he worked the drone, Allyn looked over to Kimrith again. "I wonder just how big the fauna on this planet gets. What about the marine life?" he continued, "In a lot of ways, this planet is really fascinating. You know? Hmmm..." he pondered a moment, "You know, if the local flora arebiologically compatible with us and we could subsist on them. Then, I think that would mean that the opposite would be true and they could subsist on us..." he trailed off, letting the thought linger.

                  Another burst of radio signals came in. Allyn had set up an automation to process the signals as they came in. The further out the drone went, the more that they were able to hear. It was still too far to get a continuous audio stream, but he could swear that there was a word in there, somewhere.
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                  • #29

                    "It looks like it," Kimrith confirmed to Allyn.

                    He paused when he asked about why he thought the raptors were trainable.

                    "They're pack-oriented," he explained, "Carnivorous, yes, but if we can get them to regard us as their leaders... A number of species domesticated predators like that. Admittedly, it'd probably take a fair bit of time before they're safe to handle without armour."

                    "This planet is fascinating," Kimrith agreed, "And yes. That's true. But we probably won't be regarded as food. That takes conditioning."

                    The Crystal Dragon paused.

                    "I, ah... like watching documentaries," he admitted, shifting his wings in an approximation of a shrug.

                    The drone's continued flight soon brought it to the edge of the plateau, and the steep, rocky slope leading off. Not quite a sheer cliff, but it amply explained the geckoid's body structure and feet, and the raptoroids' balance adaptations.

                    Off to the left, the gradient steepened further, until it became completely sheer. Not too much further on from there was the second waterfall, which was visible from the drone's location.

                    The radio signal remained unintelligible, the single word nigh-impossible to discern. Was it "find"? Or "guide"? Or maybe "sign"?

                    A few minutes into their vigil, the Captain connected to them again.

                    ":Varainier, Ryder. The situation inside the ship's been stabilised. I'm sending the damage control crew out to begin setting up a pallisade and other defenses. In the meantime, I want you two to scout out the area, but remain within one kilometre of the ship."

                    "Copy that, Captain," Kimrith replied, before turning as one of the airlocks clunked, before the door opened to release a handful of power-armoured figures, escorting the damage-control crews in their exoskells.

                    "Ready, Allyn?" he asked.
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