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LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Take part in the discussion --> here
Only submissions in this thread, please.


Welcome to the twelfth edition of the Limit Theory Fan Contest! This month will be about Research. It doesn't necessarily have to focus completely on research, but it must openly feature the topic in some form. Be a little creative, and I'm sure you can come up with something awesome. :) Everyone can make as many admissions as they like, but only one can be the "official" admission by which you are judged.

This contest will have 3 prizes for the top three submissions, and each entrant can only win one prize. If there are less than six entrants, only two prizes will be given out. If there are less than four entrants, only one prize will be awarded. If there are less than two entrants, no prizes will be given. Selected prizes will be taken from the pool, and winners can choose between them. First place gets first pick.

The objective: Create art about Limit Theory.
This could be in written form as a story, lore, or a detailed idea for a mod. It could be visual like a gif, photoshop or video. Or even audio - anyone up for a bit of stand-up about Limit Theory? These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but I'm sure you guys can think of a lot more. It is fine to use other games' assets in your submissions, as long as your work is your own.
Rule of thumb: "Does it spotlight Limit Theory?"

Prize pool:siriusx3 Depending on the number of submissions, two to four prizes will be randomly selected from the pool for the winners to choose from. The remaining prizes will be held over for next month. This gives all winners prizes to choose between, with the first place winner having first pick between them all. This should ensure everyone gets something they enjoy. The prize that is not chosen gets returned to the pool for the next month, and the pool is refilled to six items, randomly chosen from a list. If an item is declined by the last-place winner two months in a row, it is removed from the pool to keep things fresh.

The rules:
  • The artwork needs to be about Limit Theory per the objective.
  • Everybody is free to enter but can only submit one entry to the contest. You are free to change or replace your submission for as long as the contest is open.
  • If you have submitted more than one work, you need to be very clear about which one you're entering. If there is any doubt, the latest entry in the forum thread will be judged.
  • You cannot submit something you've already submitted to a previous LTFC. Submitting things you plan to (or have) submitted to other non-LT contests is discouraged.
  • All contest submissions have to be made as a reply to this thread.
  • Submitting a prize does not exclude you from having a submission scored.
  • Judges are not barred from making a submission themselves, but their submissions can't earn prizes. If they would like their submissions to earn prizes, they cannot act as a judge for that month.
  • The contest will be open to new submissions until Saturday, March 4th, 23:59 GMT.
  • Discussion about this contest or submissions can happen here.
  • Any prizes are yours to do whatever you want with them. You can even give the prize to someone else if you'd like, and they don't have to be from this forum.
Note: if you're using another site to host content, make sure the title and comment displays that it's part of a contest submission. This is to avoid future Googlers from becoming confused when looking for official content.

Our jury of three people will judge the submissions based on the following criteria:
  • Originality: 30%
  • Aesthetic: 25%
  • Details: 10%
  • X factor: 20%
  • Realism according to the LT universe: 15%
Have a question? Send me a PM!

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Breaking light

The steady intervals of flashing red created a trance. It was only a dim awareness in the back of his mind that told him that they were warning lights. but made a melodious rhythm that ticked like a song.

The creaking of the outer hull paralleled his physical pain as he felt his ribs slowly cracking as if an elephant were being lowered into his chest. The life support monitor on his suit triggered the abort mechanism, but the speed. He was travelling too fast, the ship was travelling too fast. it made time slide by, dragging the pain out, leaking air out of his lungs, cracking his cheek bones, sinking his kneecaps, fracturing his knuckles and shattering nearly every bone at once at a painfully slow 1/100th real-time.

Creaking of his chest cavity gave him a sick feeling and he wished with every fiber of his being that the flight would not be over. In these seconds, however pain filled he was, were the seconds close to the truth and light. “1/500th” the computer’s display showed in its rapidly blurring red glare “1/1000th”

Then he saw it, infinity before him, matter becoming energy in time. He felt the energy information from his eyes pulsing into his brain, he felt the comprehension as rivulets of metal and matter sank into the glow that was around his ship.

The world opened up to him, and he understood at that instant. But it was only an instant. his body began to burn in slow pulses of received pain, but the long stretches in-between were bliss in the majesty. Metal drops in the ship became liquid, and then light, faster and faster until it was just him.

He was in space, in light, he had no body, no experiments, it was already done and would be done. He understood the rules now, ones that were obscure and ones that were known in a different language.
The race of bipedal mammalians thought in such small terms, they only saw the handful of rules, but there were millions all around them. They thought it to be simplistic rules, but they grasped the bare fraction.

What? There were others? Others here? Of course there were, there were millions, and more joining every second. They were familiar to him, a family in light.

Just then, the world stopped in motion, the warm breeze of light froze in place.

He wanted to claw his way back, wanted to cry but he had no body to do so. He began going backwards, sliding faster and faster away from the paradise promised him by infinity and energy. The billions of beings waiting for them all, in infinity.

First, he could feel again, and then the familiar ship cockpit appeared out of the world of light. Dimness became reality and he slammed back into his seat, in the tiny modified Wardrum fighter.

The familiar view of the churning black hole lay in front of him, and the graviton waves buffeted his ship and beckoned him in. real-time was restored, and he couldn’t remember what had just happened.

All he knew, was that the experiment had failed.
There is no peace, only passion

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Catsu was quicker, but.... finally here my entry for the February contest ;)

I guess no comments are required:
Spoiler:      SHOW
And the usual link to the version with more pixels.

In this one, I re-used some assets (but did new renders as I needed an elongated format so also had to reposition the scene) from my "This Ain't LTFC" thread because.... well it would be a pity not to :roll: . I have my first serious "in house" (I mean interior view) render as well. Because it required a lot of models and textures - and in particular, a human body which is much too hard for me to model - I did not myself model all the objects, but downloaded some free-to-use ones.
Listed below are the sources:
Spoiler:      SHOW
As a side note: hypertextures glowing and intersected by solid lights break heaven in the rendering speed. The last image (yes, the small one on the bottom-right) which is a zoom in such a zone took almost 16 hours to render!
Image by Cha0zz

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Third then, I guess. :?

Anyway, here my entry for this month. I hope you enjoy it! :oops:

(Spoilered for Size, I hope I didn't went over board :? )

Intention, Accident and Luck
Spoiler:      SHOW
The appliances on my table beeped again.
Without taking my eyes off the screens showing my slowly growing crystalline lattice in its incubation chamber, my hands entered some short commands to re-adjust the chamber's environment and to stop the alarm before it got annoying.
How long has it been now?
I didn't bother to count the alarms going off every few minutes, reminding me to re-adjust the temperature, radiation, particle flow, etc. etc. for this experimental lens that was supposed to be the for "Next generation of beamweaponry" as those clueless militaries put it when they dumped their own not-so-successful attempts into our laps. I still don't understand how they managed to neglect the growth until it became unstable...Blockheads!
It's beeping long has it been now...?

Bad thing: I nodded clue how long.
Good thing: Apparently I did this long enough that I can take care of the lens without paying any real attention to it!
It's beeping again...I really need a break...

"Jeff? Hey Jeff!", I heard a voice calling my name.
...Dream? Hallucination? Don't care, probably only the usual alert. I'll take care of it right away...
"Intensity 78%, 378°...or a bit cooler: 376°, reduce flow of Sodium and Iridium, more Francium..."
I mumbled with my head on the table.
"Erm...That's totally wrong...And you know you have about 8% unstable crystal in there?", the voice called out again...wait, I know this one...
Right, Esther, my colleague in this department...8% instability? Meh...still time before the lattice might blow up at about 10.3- DAMN!
With a mighty groan I heaved my head up, hands grasping for the screen and my mug respectively. As the extra-strong coffee flowed down my mouth I thanked whatever entity sent me that intern...I hope he ran away as soon as the secondary alert went off.
Anyway! Assessing the situation, I gave my instructions, "Esther, I need you to operate the pincers while I bring some order into those parameters! Separate the unstable parts and store them into the isolation-chamber for now!"
"Already on it! Why didn't you tell anyone in time that you needed a break that badly?! Jeez!"

Carefully adjusting the environment inside the chamber, slowly shaving off the instabilities...luckily for us, no stable layer had formed around the failed parts yet, so all we had to do was removing the dangerous layers instead of also reconnecting a functional piece back onto the lens.

We sat back after a while. For now everything was back in order.
Logs told me, that I was apparently slowly misadjusting the whole thing during my short times of wakefulness, while of course disabling the alert every single time...
"I need some more coffee now, you want some too?", Esther asked, standing up.
"I sure need that right now!", I replied with a yawn.
"You'll stay awake, watching your crystal? No more near-catastrophes?"
"Yup, staying awake, taking care of the lens. No more emergencies."

Ah, Coffee! What a wonderful invention from good, old Earth...Pity it had to be evacuated centuries ago...
"Looks good so far, how long until we can try to put the final layer on it?", my colleague commented, looking over my shoulder.
"Hmm...another 7-10 hours I'd say...that corruption cost us 2 hours at least..."
"OK, I'll pack up your failure for disposal then and take over for you. I'll wake you up for the finalization process."
Ah, finally a break! A snack, a bed and only about 11 hours more until I finally can go home! As long as nothing goes wrong, then I'll-
"We forgot about that other sample in the Isolation chamber...", she sounds stressed...
That other sample?

Oh, she's speaking of the "Glomor-Crystal" we got in 2 days ago...I forgot we had that one around, too.
What was this one about again...Ah, right. A few unknown spacecraft appeared out of the blue in the Glomora-Sector, some far-out mining outpost. Military called the Intruders "Glomor" -Must've taken about a dozen of those blockheads to come up with that name...- and sent some fighters.

Long story short, the Glomor were equipped with superior beam-weaponry, adequate shields and good maneuverability.
Our fighters only won after they found out, that the attacker's ships were extremely susceptible to direct, physical impacts and explosions. And that only after one of our guys managed to ram an intruder head-on, breaching their weakening shields and turning it into a giant mess of splinters.
Our sample is actually one of many pieces of the ship's hull that were sent to labs all over the empire's sectors for investigation. When hit with any energy-based weapon it seems to change its structure until it scatters or reflects the incoming attacks. On the other side it seemed to be able to fire very dangerous beams from about anywhere on its hull...No barrel, no muzzle. Just laser where they needed it. Another thing the military found out, aside from the material being brittle as hell, was that it reacted violently with Nitrogen from the atmosphere, releasing heat, radiation and some extremely lethal gas...Poor guys who found out that fact first-hand...

We all got the current knowledge about those crystals when the samples arrived. Strange, brittle material, extremely resistant against directed radiation, composed of a number know and a few unknown elements, under all circumstances to be kept in a vacuum etc. etc.
We actually wanted to finish our lens first, so we just dumped the Glomor-Crystal into the isolation-chamber...where we conveniently disabled most sensors and alarms because the sample constantly set them off...

I wasn't quite sure where the problem was though. "So? It's pretty inert outside of Nitrogen though..."
"You don't understand! The unstable growth falls apart, heating up, releasing radiation and spewing particles everywhere! It's reacting with the Glomor-Sample!"
"It's doing what?! With what!?! Get those Sensors back running right now!" I felt my stomach dropping.
"I'm on it!", her shrill answer met me halfway rushing through the room to her workstation. From all we knew about the unstable lens, it could blow up any moment, likely breaching containment and injuring us with the blast. Or allowing the Glemor-Sample to react with the atmosphere, killing us with that gas! We have to try and get this under control before something really serious happened! Even though I'd rather run right now...
"It's breaking up much faster than it should! The Glomor-radiation seems to accelerate the break-down!", I observed with anxious excitement.
"The lens...It reforms on the side of the sample! It seems to be stable!"
This was Grand! This was Incredible! This...made absolutely no sense yet...but we'd get behind it, too! If we survived anyway.

"Hey Esther, get that cutting laser online...low intensity on the alien-side!", I instructed my colleague according to an idea I just had, "Get a zoom of the affected area on the screen!"
A few seconds of hectic typing later we got to see what must've happened during the initial fight: A tiny fraction of the surface burned away before this damage stopped and our sensors confirmed the complete scattering of our attack! Left was only a tiny dent that could probably be re-grown in the right environment!
"That's incredible! Next, fire the laser through the lens! Same output, high spread! I want an unfocused beam of light going through! Also more cameras, I want to see where it points!"

I was right! It worked! The light was focused strong enough to leave noticeable burns on the wall of the chamber!
And once Esther started swiveling the light source around, the burns followed right along!

"Stop it for now...", I said flatly after a while. "I'm calling the Boss. Take care of the other lens, please."
My own workstation with the lens had started beeping again. But I just rushed over to the communicator, punching in the number for an urgent connection to our Head Scientist. I couldn't care less whether he was sleeping or eating, this was way more important!

"Sir? Jeff speaking! We got a success on our Crystal-Research!"
"Crystal-Research? Which one?"
I had to take a short breath when I finally processed what all this meant. We'd taken some big steps towards more efficient weaponry AND understanding a new, emerging threat.
My voice fell flat, "...Both."

I tried something a bit different this time (Basic conversations, yay! :ghost: )...and apparently turned this into a Wall of Text :oops:
Apparently, sometimes stuff might happen.

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

The Four Lines of Research

Research is the study and improvement of materials, components, items and ships in the Limit Theory Universe. Each of these products are based on the raw materials which are found in asteroids and black box products which are generated at colonies. Minerals and other base line products are impossible to research since they are the building blocks of the LT universe.

Materials are the products that are made from the refined ores and other raw resources in LT. They are very difficult to research; taking large amounts of time and resources. Once a new material is discovered it unlocks a single material with several different traits. These special materials help distinguish particular factions from one another and can have huge impacts in regional control and faction relations.

Components are the molded products which are made from materials. Components allow for additional variety between items but do nothing on their own. They are what make two items of the same size and function have different attributes. Components have a shorter research time than materials which is in part because of engineering expertise and understanding of the materials being used in the components.

Items are composed of components which are typically bought and sold in the markets. These include turrets, sensors, engines and other items which are frequently used in building and designing starships. The discovery of new items happens fairly frequently since they depend on existing components and materials. A newly researched item may not be a huge game changer, but it will help fulfill market needs and provide a larger selection of items to choose from.

Lastly, new ship designs may range from very short to very long research times depending on the materials and components used to manufacture the craft and the overall complexity of the vessel. Ships can have a variety of roles or can be specialized for a particular role. Specialized craft typically take somewhat longer to develop than general purpose ships. This isn't always the case as ships using newly researched materials may take a substantially longer period of time to develop since the material may be in short supply and not immediately integrated into various components and items where it would be most beneficial.

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Better late than never!

Didn't have time nor inspiration for music, so I did a digital painting again. Let's hope all the practice pays off :ghost:

(click for DA page, with traditional crazy high resolution download linky)

Link with theme and links with LT should be fairly obvious :)
Warning: do not ask about physics unless you really want to know about physics.
The LT IRC / Alternate link || The REKT Wiki || PUDDING

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

Xenoarchaeological Studies, Part 3 - The Skiron Find

In CE 3183 a small survey ship exploring the Gamma Microscopii system found what was perhaps the most important discovery of the 32nd century. The discovery overshadowed every alien artefact that had been discovered before and after, lead to the eventual formation of the Soterian Archaeological Institute and several technological advances, including phased particle beams, HQ-QE1 communications and, most importantly, the singularity drive system. As with previous articles, we have included excerpts from the logs of those present and pictures taken at the time.

Excerpt from Planetary Survey Alecto 14 - Captain Karsten Connell, Survey Ship Karthania, 21/02/3183 CE.

Skiron is an almost entirely unremarkable world, orbiting Gamma Microscopii at a radius of 2.18 Astronomical Units. Simply put, it is roughly analogous to Mars in our own home system. It is dry, dusty and inhospitable, a marginal colonisation prospect at best. Terraforming is not considered to be a viable prospect, especially given its sunward counterpart, Soteria, is already terraformed to within 99% of Earth norms. Originally surveyed in 2613 after the RELSP-X Ryker II jumpdrive2 was finally made available to civilian explorers, Skiron was observed briefly, given a footnote in the history books then overshadowed for the next 6 centuries by its more bountiful neighbour.

After the completion of terraforming in 3012, colonisation of Soteria proceeded like countless other virgin worlds and within 150 Earth years the population and infrastructure had grown to the point where it was both self sufficient and exploitation of the rest of the star system was feasible. Alecto 14 was the last deep survey mission in the Gamma Microscopii system. Ten of the previous missions had focussed on the outer planets and their extensive satellite systems with the eleventh onwards investigating the barren inner planets.

The key word in the above paragraphs is 'almost'.

While in orbit we detected an object buried within a series of plateaus, located within an area in the northern hemisphere. We were searching for minerals using neutrino based spectroseismological sensors, a technology that was unavailable to the original survey teams. The object is approximately 1.2 kilometres long, metallic and buried underneath 150 metres of dust. Given the wind speeds and location of the object, the climatologist on board Karthania estimates it has been buried for at least 2,000 standard years. I recommend sending a ground-based research team from Soteria to investigate; this is no natural mineral formation.

Captain Connell immediately returned his ship to Soteria, cutting short his journey by nearly 3 weeks. In hindsight the sensors on his ship could have been useful in further surface surveys, but even the deployment of more precise sensors in the intervening years have not turned up any further wrecks.

A team was dispatched from Soteria aboard the destroyer Seraphim3, which was loaded up with excavation tools, labourers and several xenoarchaeologists. Prefabricated habitats were to be constructed on Soteria, supplied, and sent over as quickly as possible, followed by materials scientists. Within 3 weeks of Captain Connell's departure work had begun excavating the object and we began to discover its secrets.

Chief Excavator's Log, Skiron dig - Jennifer Chen, day 173.

Success! I didn't think it'd be easy when I signed up for this, but we hit a major milestone today. Working from the destroyer sent to babysit us was challenging, but the work rate of the team has been much improved since the habitats were shipped over from Soteria. And the construction of high gain transmitter/receiver stations on the ridge means we can now receive entertainment broadcasts and comms from home.

As it stands we've now cleared the top half of the ship along its entire length. A ship! It can be nothing else. Not only that, but it clearly is not human in origin; you don't need to be a xenoarchaeologist to see that. It measures more or less 1,182 metres long, if you take into account the damage that occurred when it crashed.

Next we'll start on the front and back. What we assume to be engines are filled with dust, as is the opening at the front. The team is divided on speculation as to what function it actually possesses. Some have said it's some kind of advanced Bussard Ramjet. Personally, I'm much more cynical... It's a weapon.

A laboratory team are due to arrive by the end of the week to begin exploration and material analysis of the wreck. Meanwhile, we'll keep digging.

Image With the arrival of the laboratory team, work could finally commence on exploring the ship and seeing how the wreck could benefit humanity. Radiometric dating was attempted, but a curious lack of radioactive materials or organic remains for C-14 dating lead the team to a dead end. Eventually the resident climatologist and geologist modelled the crash and expected dust deposition over the intervening years, finally giving an estimate that the ship had lain undisturbed since around 1200 CE.

Personal log - Professor Jaroslav Arif 11/04/3185 CE.

Today I was asked by my superiors to summarise our progress. The deadline is several days away, so I’ll use this medium to put my thoughts down... Then I'll edit them into something a little more acceptable to the Soterian government.

Analysis has begun on three important parts of the vessel: The hull material, drive system and the power system. Perhaps they're the easiest, but we had to start somewhere. I suspect the team will be working here for a long time to come.

Firstly, we've managed to build on the work of the xenoarchaeological team and established a lighting system within the ship. The sheer volume of corridors has made lighting the entire ship prohibitively difficult, so for the meantime we have only lit the rear quarter of the ship. I suspect our next area will be the front quarter so we can examine the frontal aperture.

The materials science department confirms that the outer surface is composed of a metal with greater heat resistance and tensile strength than our own ship hulls. Given the abundance of hull material with which we have to work, we have already subjected small samples to some stress testing using our excavation lasers. The lack of facilities in the habitats has been a limitation, but the hull material shows a 40% higher heat tolerance than our ceramsteel hulls. Further analysis is required, of course, but I hypothesise that we can synthesise the metal given enough time. I'm going to arrange for samples to be moved to better equipped laboratories for further analysis of the atomic structures once we've removed enough of the hull material. Certainly it is not a naturally occurring material, so my dreams of ships encased in 'Arifium' are unlikely to happen, but one can dream.

Secondly, the drive system. In all honesty, this is a total mystery. What we believe to be the rear of the ship has what appear to be exhaust ports of some kind, but we have found no obvious fuel storage or pipes leading from a reaction chamber. We did discover a large open area towards the rear of the ship linked up to some machinery. We haven't worked out its function yet, but work continues.

Finally, the power system. Given whatever catastrophic event caused this ship to crash, I would expect antimatter containment to fail entirely in one of our own ships. However, there seem to be no signs of an antimatter explosion and indeed the section we think might be power generation is bereft of any clues. Whatever the technology used, it is completely unknown to us. Given the lack of interior damage their failsafes are obviously extremely effective, or they use an energy dense fuel that can be stored safely. I believe this lack of volatility is related to the drive mentioned above. I expect further examination will reveal more.

Of course, the question everyone will ask: Have we seen anything like this before? And I will answer, given that no samples remain from either the Equatorial Guinea Wreck or the Clermont-Ferrand Incident4, I cannot ascertain whether this discovery is related. Given the millennium or so difference between this and the EGW/C-F Incident and the 229 Light Year distance between them, I would suggest it's improbable but not entirely unlikely. Given our own 900 year journey to the stars and the sheet scale of the universe it seems that these events are entirely unrelated but something.... I don't know, a little voice at the back of my mind is shouting 'Do not dismiss this thought'. In the grand scheme of things a millennium and 70 Parsecs is both tiny patch of space and a mere blink of the eye.

I feel I am digressing. Tomorrow we continue examining the drive system. Maybe we'll have a breakthrough, maybe we won't.

Image Excavation and exploitation of the wreck continued for 3 years. Unfortunately the crash had caused severe stress fractures within the superstructure; the ship would never fly again. But we could preserve it, so once the scientists had gleaned all the information they could, a dome was constructed over the habitats and excavation site. While Skiron is not a particularly inviting planet, anyone passing through Gamma Microscopii is eligible to visit.

As for the information the ship provided, it was incalculably valuable. Singularity drive/power systems removed our craft from their reliance on antimatter, a dangerous fuel source at the best of times. HQ-QE Communications advanced our FTL transmissions beyond simple text based messages and paved the way for video communications across the stars. And the weapons, well, they served the Empire well in both the Regency Wars and the Ko'Thann Insurgency.

In the next part we will discuss the ruins on Exiccare.


1. High Quality Quantum Entanglement. Previous iterations lacked the error correction necessary for high data throughput.
2. Ryker II jumpdrives increased the jump range of ships from 18 Light Years to 62 LY.
3. A Messenger class destroyer that went on to serve during the Regency Wars and was destroyed during the Battle of Asteroth.
4. The Equatorial Guinea Wreck and the Clermont-Ferrand Incident were two alien incursions that occurred on Earth during the early 21st century.

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

The hull beams groaned softly. Another groan accompanied it, this from a throat. The throat of a man sprawled on the deck. A series of low thuds resonated through the deck, stirring the man. His eyes opened slowly, breaking the weak glue of long closure. He groaned again, this time with more conviction.
"What the hell?" he muttered. The deck vibrated. He raised a hand cautiously, seeking his head, but the effort was too much. The hand fell limply to the deck once more, mere inches from where it had started. Black spots danced before his vision. He lay still for a moment, breathing deeply, trying to retain consciousness.
A moment passed. The hull groaned. The deck thudded.
The man's vision cleared. He reached for his head again, but thought better of it before his hand arrived. Instead, he used it to prop himself up. He rose to a sitting position and took stock of himself.
Four limbs, both my eyes work, head's in one piece... His head swam. Ugh. Mostly, anyway. Though his limbs ached, and he had no feeling in one of his fingers, he figured he could probably limp out... if only he could get his head to stop hurting. Or at least make it hurt less.
Although... Where the hell was here? And why did it keep making these infernal noises? He looked around.
The deckplate upon which he sat was strewn with broken glass, shredded metal, and blobs of plastic, apparently melted and left to cool. As he raised his head, the superstructure of the... ship? Station? groaned again. It was more insistent this time, as if the hull either wanted him to stay down or get moving.
The tableau before him did little to assuage his confusion. A long desk or counter or something was in a state of disarray similar to the deck. Debris covered it from end to end. There were some things he almost recognized here, though. Things that might have been tools or sensors. A shattered screen here, a handle curled around itself there. A pair of forceps thrust through a tray. He turned from the counter and looked for a door. He found one, though it was closed. A pad adjacent to it appeared remarkably unscathed.
The deck shuddered, the sequence of thuds louder than ever. The man decided to try getting up, in case he needed to get somewhere in a hurry. Unsteadily, he climbed to his feet, using the counter for support. His head swam, almost bringing him down again, but his grip on the counter was solid. As his vision cleared, he looked at the wall opposite the door. A pair of thick metallic disks were attached to the wall. The first was near the floor, while the other, directly above it, was about twenty centimeters from the high ceiling. Jagged glass shards protruded from a collar encircling each ring. A collection of wires emerged from a battered fixture on the wall beside the ruptured chamber, torn and frayed. The wall itself sported deep scores and light burn marks. Whatever the chamber had contained had voiced its displeasure in a most destructive manner. The wall opposite the counter stood clean, defying the rest of the room. No scores or scorches marred its smooth, glassy surface.
The man's contemplation on the matter was cut short by another groan from the hull, matched by a half-dozen pops and bangs from the deck. The man made his way to the door and pressed a palm to the panel in some ill-remembered reflex. In response, the door opened.
The corridor walls beyond were scraped, burnt, and torn. Leaking fluids darkened the wounds or misted into the air. The man walked into the corridor, carefully avoiding the twisted edges and questionable jets. His head was just starting to clear when the deck bucked violently under his feet, throwing him against a wall. A dark, jellylike fluid splattered as his hand met it. The fluid slowly turned silver before his eyes. Curiously, he turned his hand this way and that, noting with some concern that the silvery fluid was crawling up his arm. He tried to scrape it off with the edge of his shirt, but that only spread it. He resigned himself to whatever fate would come and trudged onwards down the corridor.

A horrific screech of failing metal assaulted the man's ears. His stance changed instantly to one of hair-trigger readiness, his muscles tight and eyes wide. The deck bucked again, but he was ready this time. He rode the shift with ease. He began to run down the corridor, noting as he did that the walls were becoming progressively more and more damaged. Where he met intersections, he chose the left with a vain hope that he would find salvation at the edge. He jumped over a holed deckplate, skidded around a corner, slid under a half-closed door--
And stopped dead.
Amnesia could not erase the knowledge of exactly what was leveled at him. Nor the dark, reddish smears on the ground. The rifleman's face held no trace of mercy. The runner held his arms up, his fingers splayed in a gesture of submission.
"Who are you?" barked the rifleman.
The runner frantically tried to remember his identity. Finding nothing, he stammered, "I-I don't know! I just woke up half an hour ago, I have no idea what's going on!"
The rifleman gestured with his gun. "What does your ID say?"
"Carlos Hadgard, Science Division first class."
"Oh great, an amnesiac scientist," the rifleman groaned. "Listen, Hadgard, if you want to live, you're going to have to prove your use. Can you handle a gun?"
"Ugh! Here, take this." The rifleman shouldered his gun and threw a pistol across the makeshift barricade. He leveled the rifle again. "Can you hit that lump of slag?"
Hadgard picked the pistol up gingerly. The gun fit into his hand easily, and he raised it at the chunk of debris. His thumb slid over the safety even as his finger twitched. A blinding flash and a deafening crack emerged from the pistol's barrel. The slag grew a new hole, dead center.
The rifleman nodded approvingly. "You'll do." He lowered the rifle. "Welcome to the Last Sanctuary. I'm Joeson." Joeson beckoned Hadgard over the barricade and walked down the corridor. "We have food and water for longer than we're likely to live, whole walls, clean air, and ammunition. Most of us are military--soldiers, pilots, the like--but we also have a few engineers and scientists like yourself, although most of them have their memories. You'll have to excuse the... rough greeting. Things have been weird since we grabbed that accursed artifact. We've gotten ourselves our own little Sarnath." He glanced at Hadgard. "You should probably get to the sickbay. It's over this way."

The medic looked carefully at Hadgard. "How do you feel?"
He chuckled. "Did you just 'a scientist is always fine' me?"
"I guess?"
The medic waved a scanner over Hadgard's limbs. "You don't appear to have any broken bones. There is significant bruising on your chest and arms, but that'll buff out. I'll need a blood sample before I can release you into the Sanctuary proper." He put the scanner down and picked up a small syringe.
Hadgard watched with interest as the medic bared the needle and approached his arm. With a sudden realisation that he was not a fan of needles, he refocused on the medic's face.
The medic's pupils dilated. He stepped back quickly, hiding the empty syringe in a drawer. "That's all. Report to quarantine three until the blood test is finished. Joeson will escort you."
Hadgard walked out of the sickbay. He glanced back uneasily. The medic had turned away, but Hadgard could still see him cross himself.

"Here we are, quarantine three." Joeson palmed the hatch open. "Your home for the next few hours." Inside was a bare white room, with a chair, table, and cot. Closed shutters of some kind, no doubt leading to a lovely view of space, ran across the far wall. Hadgard stepped inside and the hatch shut behind him. It dogged down securely. Finally.
Hadgard burned an hour or so playing solitaire with the box of cards left on the table. Just as he was about to finish his eighth game, one of the shutters slid open. He looked over.
A gun barrel was thrust through it.
With preternatural speed, he leapt from the chair. Cards flew through the air, oddly slowly. Then the artgrav cut out, and he too floated free from the floor. He pushed off the ceiling, bounced from the floor, and grasped the edge of his cot. The other shutters opened, and more muzzles poked in. All at once, they began to fire.
For some reason, the globs of plasma which spat from the barrels were slow. He easily dodged them, bounding from wall to ceiling to floor to table and so on.
Until one hit.
It should've killed him. It certainly should've hurt. But instead of death or pain, all he felt was a light tap. He looked down at his chest. The cloth was burned away, a stray ember devouring a thread. But his skin was whole. And...silvery?
He understood now. The medic could not pierce his skin because of the gelatinous liquid he had touched, back in the corridor. Neither could the plasma.
He was untouchable.
A devilish grin formed on his face as he advanced upon the gunners. He would pay them back for their deceit and betrayal. The plasma splashed off his body like water. The soles of his boots tied themselves to the deck with microscopic silver threads, anchoring him. A silvery blade formed on his hand even as he slashed the barrels cleanly off. The guns spewed warm gas before falling silent. Blood flew in small droplets as he gave the gunners the same treatment.
He leapt through the shutter and fell facefirst on the deck. Unfazed, he stalked down the corridor towards the remainder of the Sanctuary. The small issue of the hatch was swiftly dealt with by a swift punch to the everything. The heavy alloy hatch, dogs twisted out of their slots, flew a good two meters before colliding with a barricade and stopping.
It then came back with a vengeance, propelled by a two-kilo rail slug. It spiraled through the air, catching Hadgard in the gut and throwing him back down the corridor. The silvery fluid absorbed the impacts, spreading them over and throughout his body. He got up again, only to be met with the characteristic crack and flash of a railgun discharge. The shell punched him straight in the chest. Not even the fluid could distribute the impulse perfectly, and he felt something give in his ribs. He got up again, now only a meter or two from the opposite end of the corridor, and dove away as the railgun discharged again. A hole appeared in the corridor's end. Air began leaking from it as he ran for the gun.
The railgun flashed again. So did Hadgard. He dodged the railgun, rebounded off the corridor wall, and scrambled through the barricade. The rails fell to his blade as easily as the rifles. Scarcely were they severed that another slug flew down them, nearly unfazed by the thirty centimeters of lost rails. Hadgard's arm buckled as the slug impacted it. It was bent backwards, and he felt the meaty sound of tearing tendons and snapping bone. The wound did not bleed, thanks to the tough silvery armor, but it hurt like hell. He was only able to rend the gunner's flesh and dice the railgun through force of will and the support of the fluid.
The next adversary was another room full of riflemen. They stood as little chance as the first, though the broken arm did not afford him the same agility as before. Finally, he broke free to the citadel.

"Save yourself from hell!"
The recording looped again as the captain considered it. A man, his clothing charred to unrecognizable tatters and his skin shining silver, beat a fully-dogged hatch down with one hand, while the other hang limply at his side. He then proceeded to eviscerate the comms personnel, one by one, with some kind of blade protruding from his hand. As the last man screamed into the microphone, the killer ran him through, penetrating the console and killing the transmission.
"So..." the first mate said uncomfortably, "Are we planning to...rescue anyone?"
The captain looked him straight in the eye.
"Hell no."

Re: LTFC - February 2017 - Research Edition

And now, for the results of the February 2017 "Research" competition!

The available prizes are:
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY
  • Darksiders
  • Natural Selection 2
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
The first place winner is: Dinosawer, for his entry For Science! - with a score of 89.33!!

Second and third place go to: The runner ups are (in order of submission):
  • Catsu - Breaking Light (Story)
  • CSE - Big Science (Comic)
  • F4wk35 - Intention, Accident, and Luck (Story)
  • BFett - The Four Lines of Research (Story)

Comments of the judges in order of submission*:
  • This feels fresh and original, but is let down by implementation. Complex words and phrases are used for complexity's sake; grammar and punctuation suffer as a result. The text doesn't 'flow' naturally.
  • The parts you describe, you do very well. Yet I feel something is missing. The lack of information or background might have been an artistic direction, but for me it made the story feel flat.
  • I'm not entirely sure what happened... it was well-written, apart from some grammatical errors, but... I thought he fell into the black hole and got ripped apart, but suddenly he's in his ship again? I'm confused. Neat story, at any rate. Maybe we can get Josh to add black holes.
  • Delightfully silly, and nice use of available graphical assets. Revealing dresses is not something researchers casually wear, unless the far future is so deranged that it's considered a formal outfit :)
  • Amusing twist. :P I enjoyed it. I found the text rather hard to read, though. I don't really mind you using assets from other places, either, so it's clear, as long as your work is mostly original (which it is). You did well!
  • Thanks for the chuckle! I'd like more research to be done on the effects of the ingestion of the stable beer foam.
  • The little details make it feel as if this could happen in the LT universe. Both design and reverse engineering are handled. Good job!
  • Very detailed, and generally nicely written; looks like it fits nicely in the spirit of LT. However, it gets bogged down in technobabble that's way too complex for a short story, and rather flat dialogues.
  • Very nice story. That detail is amazing. :) You really did a great job creating an atmosphere. I will admit, though, that most of the time I wasn't completely sure what was going on, but still! Nice work!
  • Nice... essay? I think it's an essay. It didn't read much like a story, which is what I went into it expecting. It seemed more like brushing up on things I already knew.
  • While it's well thought-out, and very detailed, it's more fitting to the "suggestions" section of the forums. As a work of fiction, it fails at gripping the reader.
  • Reads like a manual, an interesting choice. I like it, though it was a bit on the short side.
  • I honestly can't think of any criticism. Love the style, love the design.
  • ...what the hell is wrong with that mug? Some kind of localized space-time distortion, no doubt! Really, really, really good depiction of nodes and virtual interfaces; not only does it look very LT, it also looks very research. Perfectly on-topic! The visual style can be characterized as "sloppy", but it most definitely has its charm.
  • Nice image! I love the atmosphere. The perspective is a little strange, though - particularly the windows in the background - but you did an excellent job on the character and especially the nodal holograms. Well done!
  • Well thought-out, with every little detail accounted for, and well-illustrated. Use of the "personal logs" to tell a story works really well as it adds the much-needed drama to what would otherwise have been a boring history textbook. There is little to bash apart from all three logs being written in exactly the same style despite being supposedly from three different characters.
  • I don't know how you do it, but this story drew me in. You have a great way of describing things, helping my imagination.
  • I feared this would be dull from the starting paragraphs, but it ended up turning into something amazing - and the pictures are, of course, quite incredible! I very greatly enjoyed this piece. I really want to know what happened next, though. It left so many things unanswered!
  • Slow start, but I really like how you did this. I'm impressed! The text seemed "fragmented" at times, especially near the beginning, but by the end I didn't notice it. This piece was rather thrilling. :thumbup:
  • That action sequence should be made into a movie.
  • Gritty and gripping, a story well done. It's very, very light on explaining any of the details (although it doesn't really hurt it), and stays on the fringes of the "research" topic.
*(comments on each are in random order to keep judges anonymous, and I may have edited a few comments slightly to further this)

A detailed overview of all scores can be found here.

Prizes will be handled in the comments thread. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to the other judges and everyone that participated!
Have a question? Send me a PM!

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