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Perihelion

#1
The ship was slowing down. The blasts shook Arthur, dampened by the gel. The ship would be on Venus orbit soon. The ship was not very large, only thirty meters long and nine thick. Painted bright green outside, and silvery inside. Way slower than the solar cruisers. But it didn't have a set timetable. It was a rental ship, available at any moment. It would return itself to the shopkeeper via autopilot, if it was stolen. Totally justifiable paranoia. Arthur took a look at his wrist. The tattoo showed that it was 20.31 SIPT, cytherean morning at Cindir. The cytherean day was as long as the year, and you couldn't see the sun through the atmosphere there, so time of the day didn't really matter. He thought for it to vanish, and it did. His bag floated next to him. The gel was not wet, but the pressure was similar to that of water. He swam to a screen, and watched as the planet came closer, while the blasts still shook the ship as it slowed down to orbital speed.

The ship reached the dock, and locked to it. Arthur swam towards the gate, and got out of the gel. He took off his helmet, squeezed it, and put it to his pocket. He grabbed to the rails, and pushed himself forward. At the end of the steril white hallway, he grabbed the rails again, to stop. Then he flung himself out of the hallway, and put his feet on the station's rotating inner wall. It was sticky, as in every station, to help in the transition. He stumbled when the floor, previously a wall, moved under him at 40 km/h.

After his inertia catched, he felt the familiar 1 g of acceleration towards the floor. Actually, it was slightly less. Venus cloud gravity. 8,73 m/s^2. He stepped off the sticky part, and looked upwards. The station was mostly covered in plants and bright white curved hexagonal floor panels. In the middle there was the sunpipe. Only a small strip of the inner surface was designated as public terminal. He looked forward, and saw the security check. The timetables showed the next shuttle was arriving in an hour. He had time.

He walked through the security check, which only took a few seconds while a swarm recorded everything he had with the precision of a microscope. It confirmed his identity, and was ready to paralyze him if anything dangerous was to be found. It noted only one thing to he operator. She looked at it, slightly suprised, and waved him to pass through. He walked through, and found himself in the lobby. It was mostly empty, because of the next solar cruiser wasn't arriving for six hours. He decided to take a cup while waiting, and walked to the nice little café.

Most of the round orange tables were completely empty. He walked to one of them, and sat down. He chose an espresso. After a few moments, a cup on a saucer was dispensed from the center of the table. He drank, and felt the hot liquid starting up his body after the week of sleeping in the steady pressure of the gel. He swiped from his left wrist to the table and read the news. Nothing new. Slight instability in Neptune diamond ring. Economy falling, as always. Bombings at Reiden, Mars. He did a gesture, and the interface vanished. He looked forward, past the elevator terminal, and saw the other part of the station, rotating in the opposite direction. It had 1 g of centripetal force, and lived by the earth-synchronized EaCT, not the arbitrary SIPT. The difference was a few milliseconds, and he saw the sunpipe slowly becoming dimmer, and the window between the interplanetary zone and terran zone darkening.

He sat there, still being a little tired after three cups of coffee. The clock was nearly 9 pm, and he had not slept the night before, so it was understandable. He pulled a headphone from his pocket, put it to his ear, and started listening a randomised playlist of popular songs. He ordered a glass of cold water. Barely nothing happened for a while. As the minutes crawled by, Arthur listening to music, drinking more cups of coffee, suddenly the shuttle came. Arthur finished his last cup, rose up, and started walking towards the center of the station. At the edge, he waited for him to turn closer to the entrance. Then he stepped off to the small ring, which moved at 40 km/h relative to him, experiencing a similar feeling to when he stepped on to the station. After the momentum was gone, however, instead of gravity, there was weightlessness. He floated to the entrance, and went in to the shuttle. After it was unloaded and reloaded, it left. He could feel gravity returning, when the shuttle was de-orbiting.

The windows first showed space in all its glory. Then, as the shuttle descended into the atmosphere, they showed the thick red clouds. The trip took nearly an hour. He couldn't see anything through the clouds. After a while, the bright lights of Cindir appeared. The shuttle landed on a runway, and drove in to the airlock. The outer wall closed, and all the dense air was pumped out. Then normal air was pumped in, and the shuttle door opened. He walked out with the few people that had been on the station with him, and looked at the beautiful city of Cindir. The buildings looked like straight from a terran citycenter, towering up to the ceiling, that protected the city from the acidic rain. He walked along the silent streets, thinking about the meeting he was going to, and the importance of what he had in his bag.

The meeting was set to 6.00 next morning, so he should find some place to sleep.. The city's sunlight was shut down. He searched for a hotel room, that was not just sleeping pod. He got a few results, chose, booked in and started walking. He followed the line under his feet, not really concentrating, and even more tired than previously. After the line passed directly through a door, he opened it, and went in. He was positively suprised. The hotel was an exceptionally traditional one, with red carpet with golden ornaments, and white concrete walls. Clearly going for the 2010s. It seemed like a place designed for richer tourists to sleep at and eat a breakfast while on a vacation. It had looked quite small from the outside, but it expanded below the first ground level in the rather three-dimensional city. He touched the reception desk, which showed his room number, and he noticed a glowing line on the floor. It was LEDs below the carpet, which clearly showed the way. They were pure white. He followed the lights to his room, and pressed his hand on it. He heared a rather loud clack, but the door didn't open.

He noticed a handle on the door. He smiled a bit. They had put a handle on the door. He pushed it down, and pushed the door inwards. He had encountered them previously. It still seemed a little unnatural compared to the normal doors opening with a tiny push and closing with an another one, with the top and bottom part both turning ninety degrees. He walked in to the room. It had a bed and a closed area acting as a bathroom. Everything was clean, and he was quite tired, as clock had reached 11 pm. He dropped the bag in the closet, and went to the bathroom through another door with a handle. He used the toilet, took a shower, and went to bed. He set the alarm at 5.30, because the place for meeting was a few hundred meters away. He would have time. He fell asleep

End of part one.
In space, no one will hear you scream. #262626
I've never played a space sim. Ever.
Vos estis tan limes.
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Re: Perihelion

#2
At exactly 5.30 SIPT, Arthur woke up, feeling sharp and ready for the next day. He rose from the bed, walked towards the closet, and took the bag from it. He opened the bag, and took a new set of clothes from it. He put them on, and pulled a briefcase from the bag. In the secret inside pocket he put a metallic rod. He opened the door with the handle, this time more easily. The clothes were a black suit with a white shirt under it, and black jeans. He walked to the standard door, slid it open, and walked outside. The door slid back closed behind him. He walked without the help of the navigation system, to keep secrecy. He walked up to the next level, and found the address. It was a warehouse for rent. He walked in, opening the conventional door.

The warehouse was dark and dusty, not having been used for a while. The slowly brightening sunsphere brought some light through the windows. He walked further, and found a table, that wasn't dusty. It even had two chairs. He sat on one of them, and checked the time. 5.58. A man walked from the shadows.
"Came a little bit early?", he said in politely and calmly.
Arthur rose up, and reached his hand towards the man.
"You must be Ramirez.", Arthur said in the same manner how the man had spoken. Ramirez grabbed his hand, and shook it. He looked old, probably near to 120.
"You are Arthur, then. You have something for me."
Arthur lifted the briefcase onto the table, and opened it. He took two small objects from it.
"Yes. All the data ISEA got from the Ruins in the Hermes project and all of the ETIRI missions." He showed a cube sparkling in the sunlight, inside a clear sphere of containment gel. "And the only sample got from there." He showed a fragment of pure white material inside a similar sphere.
"That's ten billion credits.", he said with a smile on his face.
Ramirez grabbed the spheres and carefully inspected them.
"Why did we have to meet in person?", Arthur asked.
"So I could verify that what you are selling me is in fact worth the money.", Ramirez answered, still looking at the objects.
"Deal?", Arthur said, hoping that the deal would be quickly and without complications.
Ramirez put the spheres on the table. He reached for his pocket. Arthur grabbed the table, and turned it on its side, and reached for his inside pocket. There was a rod, with a rubber handle. He brought it out, and pointed at the table. His contact lens lit up with infrared data.
"Don't move."
Suddenly his suit light up with red dots.
"Hands up.", Ramirez said while putting the table back to its original position. He had a gun, a laser pistol. "And drop that whip now.", he said, walking to the Arthur's side of the table.
Arthur obeyed. He was in a bad position, surrounded by automatic turrets ready to kill him the moment Ramirez happened to like.
"The security code of the containers?"
"Piranhas eating lobsters."
The spheres turned green.
"Thank you." Ramirez picked up the whip and walked to the other side of the table to take the spheres. Bad mistake. He opened the control channel by a thought, and issued an order.
"Incapacitate."
The whip sprung in to action, twisting its long line around Ramirez's body, curling him up.
"That's enough one-liners for the day. The deal is still on. Ten billion credits for a shard of the perfect armor material. That's actually a rather good offer."
Suddenly a man walked to the partially enclosed area from behind him.
"Little bargaining. What about zero and your life continuing?"
Arthur turned around. The man was Ramirez, and was pointing an exactly the same laser pistol at him. Around his arm there was a sleeve of batteries. Arthur ordered the whip to kill its original target, and jump to his hand. Black liquid burst from the body.
"Well that's clever.", Arthur said.
"Again, drop the whip."
Arthur dropped the whip. Ramirez pointed the gun at it, and shot. Arthur heard the small rumble generated by a laser beam ionizing air. A hole appeared in the center of the whip, and small flames rose from it. He aimed at Arthur again.
"Zero credits and your life. Take or leave."
Arthur tried to form a plan.
"I said, enough one-liners for the day.", he said.
"Hypocrite."
Ramirez pulled the trigger. Before Arthur managed to notice it, the beam had pierced his skin, missed the ribs and pierced into his left lung. The beam significantly dropped in power when the hypercapacitors ran out a tiny moment later. Arthur jumped forward at him. The beam buzzed around his body, going down and hitting the stomach, then reversing direction as he started to turn head towards Ramirez, hitting the neck and the face on its way up, eventually hitting the back wall. He hit Ramirez, pushed him over, and took the gun. He felt a burning pain all around his stomach and face, and his suit was on fire. He aimed at Ramirez's forehead, and swiped the flames of. He was on his knees, legs on top of Ramirez's arms.
"Ten billion in exchange for the items and your life. Final price.", Arthur said, feeling burning pain on every word
"You forgot something."
Suddenly his back catched fire. He screamed, and passed out.

He woke up in a gel-filled tank, naked. His stomach face and back still hurt greatly. He remembered, that the room had automatic laser guns in the back wall. He tried to curse, but only ended up coughing, with every cough burning his throat. His nose was connected to the oxygen supply. The tank hadn't healed him up yet. He could see it was still at phase one from the blue coloration as he opened his eyes, so it must have had been only an hour, judging by the severity of the damage. It had prepared the phase two of the process, which would happen soon. He tried to sleep again, and fell asleep near immediately due to the weak narcotics in the air he breathed. He woke up again, because the second phase would be painful, and he couldn't sleep anyway. The blue nanobots dropped to the bottom of the tank, and red nanobots rose from there. He felt pain partially numbed by the narcotics, as the nanobots repaired his skin and other tissue. The process was relatively quick, taking ten minutes or so. They swarmed through his throat, which had been burned by the hot air rushing from his lungs, when the laser pistol had pierced them. They fixed the lung, using stem cells artificially accelerated to cancer levels of growth. The red lines of burned skin were removed and replaced with more stem cells. After all damaged areas had been replaced, the red bots fell to the bottom of the tank, and green ones rose up to indicate phase three had begun. It was mostly letting phase two's stem cells grow, and then stop the growth to prevent cancer. It usually took twenty minutes, unless the cells had mutated to real cancer, which was then quickly killed, and the cells replaced.

Phase three ended, and the gel was pumped out. He standed on the bottom of the tank, stuttering and feeling that his feet couldn't hold him up. He leaned to the wall of the tank, gasping, and pulled the pipes from his nostrils. He tried to get a feeling of the gravity, which still feeled like one g. Good. He probably was still in Cindir. He searched for clothes in the relatively dark room, and found his scorched shirt, undamaged jeans, underwear and socks. He put them on, and started to feel slightly more healthy. He checked the time from his wrist. 7.56. He also checked his location, with the city navigation service telling him he was still in Cindir, in the Gamma compartment. It was five minutes by rail, thirty on foot from the warehouse. Suddenly a sound was played from some speakers. It was Ramirez's voice.
"Fake access code. You remember? I have tried to crack them, but those balls have some intense protection."
"Standard measures. I thought I was suspicious enough."
"OK. This is how it's going to be done:..."
Some machinery emerged from the wall, and rushed towards Arthur, locking him in place. A cage that was put on his head worried him the most.
"...this machine will erase your memories from the last five minutes every five minutes, if you don't tell me the code. Too many of them will start to damage your brain. To be exact, you have fifty iterations, or four hours ten minutes, before the damage starts to matter. I'll try as many known methods of torture as is needed. You, of course can prevent that from happening by telling the viable code now." Suddenly Arthur felt a feeling of repeteadly waking up, which was a normal feeling associated with memory sweeps. He couldn't count them, due to their nature, but it felt around two dozen, before the feeling didn't reappear. He was outside of the building. The narcotic effects had completely vanished. He checked the clock. 10.53. Thirty-five iterations. He opened the interface, and asked for location data of Ramirez Suix. It understandably answered: "You have no permission of the person you are trying to track."
It would have been too much to ask for Ramirez to keep his location public. The game was however over just yet. He connected to the slightly faulty system of Cindir's law enforcement, and let the encrypted hacking system embedded in his files take care of the rest. The fault was mostly useless, but would work for this certain situation. The system allowed free access for exactly a tiny fraction of a second in every minute. The time was just enough to fetch one byte of data. One byte of location data was enough to get the compartment. After the part of the minute had passed, the interface lighted up with the name of the compartment. Alpha. He was trying to get off the planet. Arthur ran to the nearest rail station, and walked into the sphere. It attached onto the rail, and left off towards the Alpha compartment, carrying Arthur in his burnt shirt at very near to Mach 1. Those little objects were worth ten billion credits. And he was going to get them back
Last edited by Behemoth on Sat May 03, 2014 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In space, no one will hear you scream. #262626
I've never played a space sim. Ever.
Vos estis tan limes.

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