[IC]Lancer: Planet of the Monsters

Graograman

Life on the oncoming lane
Validated User
Space, as they say, is big.

Humanity has spread across the stars, colonising numerous solar systems, terraforming where they can, living in biodomes where they can't. A habitable planet is usually met with joy and excitment, they're rare.

Blink gates connect these clusters, using the more exotic properties of quantum entaglement, allow for instantaneous travel between gates. Each solar system with a gate thus becomes a thriving hub from which waves and waves of colonists, corporations and outcasts spread, seeking new places to settle. At slower than light speeds, this expansion takes decades, even centuries.

But Blink gates don't build themselves - someone has to. Such is the purpose of the Arkship A'Tuin - named after an ancient god, hoping it brings fortune - and it's crew: to travel to a new destination, create a thriving colony and build a Blink gate, from which another wave of human expansion will follow.

To this purpose, the A'Tuin has everything the Union could think of to ensure the success of the mission: AIs to steer and guide the ship. Petabytes of licences for every possible need the colony might have. Colonists and specialists in cryosleep to nurture and speedgrow the new colony. Battalions of marines and a squadron of Lancers, to protect the precious cargo. And the most important thing of all: the blueprints of a Blink gate.

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The journey so far has been relatively calm. You've been in cryosleep for most of it, but unlike the rest of the (normal) crew, you've been woken regularly to work on your assigned duties, and to practice, practice, practice. Colonel Jones wants you sharp, in case things go south. And so, every two months, you wake up, you don your hardsuits, and you keep training.

The final weeks of the voyage see a flurry of activity: Mission Command is woken up in it's entirety, information is analyzed, plans are discussed. You're awake, as well, and supervising the printing of your mechas. Protocol dictates that you'll drop after the Recon team has finished doing a preliminary survey of the planet, and chosen the landing site.

Landing day comes, and flurry of activity becomes manic. Final preparations are done, things are double- and triple-checked, orders are reviewed and godspeed is wished. The marines from the Recon team, as well as a large host of drones, are finally away, with the rest of the crew watching them with envy from the sally port.

Sometime later, you're called to Colonel Jones' office, where she receives you with a grim face. She bids you to sit and clears her throat.

"I'll go right to the point, ladies and gentlemen. We're in trouble." She stops for a minute, and you can see the gears turning in her mind, trying to find the best way to deliver the news. "The Recon team is down, presumed death. It turns out the planet is inhabited, by these:" She flicks a finger and in your AR display you see a blurry image, possibly taken from a drone. It looks like the bastard offspring of a vulture and a chainaw, and twice as ugly. The image shows the creature in the middle of disemboweling one of the recon drones - you estimate it to be twice as large as your mechas, more or less.
"It appears that the wildlife is hostile and extremely dangerous. This is bad. As you know, we have everything we need to establish a colony... on the planet." She flicks another finger and a series of statistics replace the image of the vulture. You're familiar with them, but the situation is, indeed, worrying. "As you know, the A'Tuin was never intended to remain intact. We're supposed to bring it down to the planet and use the materials in building the colony. As a result, some of the components are not meant to be replaced... among them, the engines. Engineering tells me the engines can safely function for another six or eight months before they start to fail. If that wasn't enough, our reactors are running low on fuel, and we don't have the right equipment to mine asteroids for resources. In short, gentlemen, we can't turn back, and we have about six months to settle the damn planet, or die trying." She smiles grimly.
"Situation being what it is, Command has put on hold waking the rest of the crew, except for a few specialists, and of course, the marines. However, we cannot deploy them and their armor if our transports are going to be waylaid by those things." She shows you a large map of the planet, with five sites circled in red. "We have marked five possible zones as potential settlement sites. It's up to you to choose one, and then we'll send you on your merry way. Your mission will be to secure the landing zone, clear a path for the settlement drone, and guard the zone while we the marines land and take over the defense duties. The A'Tuin will maintain orbit, and for the time being we won't be waking the crew, until we have somewhere to send them. So, any questions?"
 

HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
Abigail wakes, spars (losing to Jonah) drills marksmanship (winning at rifle range, losing to Harvey at pistol range) and participates in squad-based battle simulations (winning handily, against two squadmates or simulated AR foes) then maintains her gear and sleeps for another little eternity. It'd be annoying if the alternative weren't even more boring.

The process repeats, again and again and...

Hm?! Her comms buzz, snapping her from the reverie of putting a three-round burst through the same hole, and she moves "with a purpose" toward the briefing. It's almost an impromptu foot race.

She regards the vulture-chainsaw hybrid with a careful eye, and not just because it's the only interesting thing she's seen for years. "Fascinating. I suppose we have no data on these?" It's a rhetorical question - of course they don't, because If they did, she would know about it already.

Still, all told, she takes the "dire news" without breaking stride. "Did anyone think we had several extra centuries of food and fuel aboard? We all knew this was going to be a one-way trip if we can't get the gate up - the mission is desperate by design. That in mind, I have only two questions: where is the last known location of our survey team, and how do our landing sites compare to one-another?"
 
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Ominous presence

Registered User
Validated User
Harvey dives into the wake cycles training with enthusiasm, even the losses. After all, their training, even when competitive, is more about the squad learning to work together than trying to one-up each other. And that's where Harvey really excels, filling in the gaps and shoring up the weak points of his allies. To that end, Harvey tries to get to know his fellow Lancer pilots as much as their down time allows.

...

Looking over the statistics flashing past his AR display, he echoes Abigail's second question."Yeah, picking a prime site to begin operations could make the difference between success or failure all on its own. We need to set up somewhere we can defend and, ideally will facilitate rapid construction. On the kind of time frame we're on, every extra day we can buy improves our odds of success."
 

Graograman

Life on the oncoming lane
Validated User
Colonel Jones meditates for a moment.
"Last known location of the Recon team is here." On the map, a bright red question mark appears near the circle marked as #4. "As for comparison between landing sites... Well, all we have running is two NEWTON class satellites, which honestly are better suited at predicting weather patterns rathen than geosurvey. Still, they have a functioning mass spectrometer, even if it isn't a high-res one." The colonel overlays a data gradient over the landing sites. "This is all the info we have on the landing sites. Normally we'd call up one of our resident experts to analyze it, but with resources as tight as we can, well..." She gives you a shrug. "Your guess is as good as mine. Or better, since Whiplash is registered as part of the Geo team."

OOC: You can analyze the landing sites for two factors: colony viability (site has plenty of necessary resources, is geologically stable, etc) and site defensibility. Roll with +1 accuracy, relevant traits add another +1 accuracy.
 
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talam

Smile, smile!
Validated User
Of the many things Kingsley expected in the last hurrah of their long trip to A'Tuin, giant monsters was somewhere near the bottom of that list. The repeated wake and training cycles had been met with the usual stoicism he had for anything work related, but this warranted an eyebrow raise.

"Huh," was his response at the picture. Growing up on the frontier, he was used to seeing things that would make most people balk, if not have a minor freak out, but even this had him pausing at the strangeness. Kingsley stroked his chin as he tried to figure out what would make a good site for a colony, given his experiences.

OOC: Kingsley has the survival expertise, so presumably he has the skill to evaluate a good site. http://orokos.com/roll/618285: 1d20+2d6k1 10
 
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HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
Abigail, between her breadth of education and tactical expertise, is well-equipped to evaluate her options, and her answer is..Remarkably simplistic.

"You don't need a full-spectrum nanite survey to find a good spot for a forward base. Stick to fundamentals - high mountains, deep water. You know the best part about living on the coast? You only have belligerent neighbors on three sides."

OOC: Eyeballin' the data!: 1d20+2d6k1 21
 
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Ominous presence

Registered User
Validated User
OOC: Sorry for the silence, went into work early unexpectedly. Here was my roll, before I got the coding right:
https://orokos.com/roll/618205 Result:14


Harvey studies the data for a moment before making a decision. "Based on studies of the surface composition of similar planets, and its reasonably defensible position, this site is my recommendation." He offers up his findings to Colonel Jones.
 

Graograman

Life on the oncoming lane
Validated User
Of the many things Kingsley expected in the last hurrah of their long trip to A'Tuin, giant monsters was somewhere near the bottom of that list. The repeated wake and training cycles had been met with the usual stoicism he had for anything work related, but this warranted an eyebrow raise.

"Huh," was his response at the picture. Growing up on the frontier, he was used to seeing things that would make most people balk, if not have a minor freak out, but even this had him pausing at the strangeness. Kingsley stroked his chin as he tried to figure out what would make a good site for a colony, given his experiences.

OOC: Kingsley has the survival expertise, so presumably he has the skill to evaluate a good site. http://orokos.com/roll/618285: 1d20+2d6k1 10
The data on the sites doesn't make much sense to you - you're more accustomed to topographical and hidrological maps. Sites 2 and 4 are surrounded by dense forest, and that strikes you as a bad idea without knowing what lives in them. Sites 3 and 5 have good lines of sight and are on level ground, but the lack of nearby water would be a problem. Site 1 has a river nearby, and skirts the edge of a forest - far enough to have effective lines of sight to whatever might come out of it, but close enough that lumber operations won't be at risk.

Abigail, between her breadth of education and tactical expertise, is well-equipped to evaluate her options, and her answer is..Remarkably simplistic.

"You don't need a full-spectrum nanite survey to find a good spot for a forward base. Stick to fundamentals - high mountains, deep water. You know the best part about living on the coast? You only have belligerent neighbors on three sides."

OOC: Eyeballin' the data!: 1d20+2d6k1 21
Hours spent calibrating the sensors on the satellites have really paid off. While they're not the most precise of all the instruments on board, you've developed a feel for their quirks and properties - good enough to read the data like an open book. It doesn't take you long to figure out that you've hit the jackpot: site 4 has some huge rare earth deposits whithin comfortable distance, and enough plutonium and uranium nearby to get a second fusion plant running quickly.

With both resources secured, you can print all of the defensive equipment you could possibly need to secure the settlement, and you wouldn't even need to use the reserves on the A'Tuin.

OOC: Sorry for the silence, went into work early unexpectedly. Here was my roll, before I got the coding right:
https://orokos.com/roll/618205 Result:14


Harvey studies the data for a moment before making a decision. "Based on studies of the surface composition of similar planets, and its reasonably defensible position, this site is my recommendation." He offers up his findings to Colonel Jones.
Site 1 has the best location for an autonomous colony: nearby sources of water and wood, and somewhat decent mineral deposits nearby. Sites 2 and 3 have better mineral deposits, but at more depth, which would require deep mining rigs. Sites 4 and 5 have aquifers at a shallow depth - it would make a decent source of water, but their location would make it a logistical nightmare to keep them secured.
 
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HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
Abigail indicates Site 4. "Hm, that changes things. There's considerable interference in the readings around this area, consistent with heavy, radioactive elements - the kind that feed reactors. This is the best spot for a military installation, clearly. It's a bit lacking in niceties like readily available wood and water, but we can snap those up after we're done with the pest control."

She points at the bright red question mark with a frown. "That means we may well be dropping right into the maw of Hell, if our scouting expedition is any indication. but I imagine that's a selling point for most of you."
 

talam

Smile, smile!
Validated User
“I think Site 1 is the best option,” Kingsley argued, though not in a harsh tone. “Site 4 might have a valuable military resource, but it’s a lot of risk to try setting anything up there. A setback could be devastating.”

He pointed at Site 1, “Whereas that’s a more defensible position with easy access to water and lumber. It’s hard to express just how important a reliable supply of water is for the initial growth of a colony. I think Site 4 makes for a good second site to take over, once we have a stable base.”
 
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