Jade Imperium - First Contact

Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-07 23:38:40
Taylor keys his radio twice, signalling that he got the message and is going silent.

Chief is the last to leave the longhouse, but he gives you an almost understanding nod. These aliens read body language like you read books - it's possible he picked up on your demeanor despite the differences in species.

Semo's behind one of the ribcage-like supports in the longhouse scavenged from the crash site. Tupolev said something about these things being ultra-tough...

Stanhill likewise takes up cover position behind a "rib" on the opposite side of the longhouse. Hugh stays by the door, peeking through as best as he can.

Hugh has a good view of the starboard side and rear of the alien craft, which works out because a hatch dilates on that side. There's a puff of air as the interior of the craft gets buffeted by the hot, humid atmosphere outside. The Chief, Whitehair, and the three Chosen come forward out of the crowd of 15-20 Whiirr-people that's gathered around the craft.

Everyone reflexively grips their weapons a little tighter. That instinctive fear of the unknown coupled with the tactical thinking that this might be a far, far superior force is incredibly sobering.

The first of the Others steps out of the hatch. It's humanoid, much shorter than the Whiirrs, perhaps the height of a shorter human male or average human female. It has black, pebbled skin, almost like a rhino. It wears some kind of terribly ornate hard-plated suit of armor, all chrome and gold. There is a golden avian predator, like the ones that went after Stanhill's UAV, sculpted on the chestplate. Its wings swoop outward to become winged pauldrons, while its tail feathers blend into abdominal plating. It wears a chrome, featureless mask with a slightly flared golden crest sweeping back from where a human's ears would be. Its limbs are jointed like a Whiirr or human. It wears a red sash diagonally across its waist and chest.

The Chosen kneel down as they did when you had your first abortive meeting. The faceless Other nods to them, and they rise once more. It is at point you notice that the Other carries a short, wide-bladed sword attached to its left leg. No scabbard, no straps, no baldric. The sword just looks glued there.

The second thing to emerge from the ship is decidely not humanoid in the slightest. A flattened round sac 3 feet in diameter, roughly the shape of a football, floats out of the hatch. Large ventricles near the bottom of the sac pulsate, moving it through the air. A morass of tentacles 5 feet long, like a jellyfish, trail behind the creature. The front third of the thing is covered in the same chrome metal as the first Other, but this "mask" is pierced and broken up with many grills, small tubes, and vents. A series of three blinking red lights scan the Whiirr-people as it clears the hatch.

The next thing out is a floating metal sphere the size of a small beach ball. A crest, like the fins on the tail of the manta-ship, protrudes from the sphere's crown. A red light, like the jellyfish's mask-lights, provides the only color to the chrome metal. A second floating sphere follows the first. The floating spheres float up 10 meters and move out over the village. With a smirk, you think back to the last thing you saw fly that high and how the avians here do not suffer such things for long.

Finally, five more of the humanoids, ranging in size from maybe five and a half feet to over six feet tall, disembark from the craft, arraying themselves in a sort of honor guard around the jellyfish and the red sash. These bipeds wear similar suits but only one sports a sash - this one purple. They all have swords, some on legs, some on backs, some diagonally across their avian-styled chests. All carry what, unless you are very mistaken, look like ray guns. Longarms. Blaster rifles. Long chrome barrels, handgrips, stocks, widgets in the middle where a firearm's magazine and receiver would be.

The short, sashed humanoid starts speaking without signing. Its voice is metallic and louder than you would expect from someone who's basically no taller than Dr. Tupolev.

"Bah weep granah weep nini bong! Blah blah blah blagity blagha blah!"

Well, it's not Whiirr-speak, but Chief appears to understand it. It bows its head and assumes a posture of subservience.

Thunder has called you, and Whiirr-people answer. We have your tribute, as required.

"Blah blah googly moogly whatsit?"

Other tribes have attacked us often. Please accept this tribute. They are strong and will serve you well.

"Kaopectate perestroika gorbachev."

Chief bows again, this time in gracious acceptance. The Chosen Ones go to glory! A chorus of yarps and grahs, much like the chorus in the song from earlier, echoes throughout the village.

The short, sashed one steps forward, speaking its gibberish in a much softer, threatening voice. "Giggity giggity goo, goo giggity goo bakata."

They are new to Whiirr-people. They bring strong trade and do not ask for Chosen, only stories. But they are scared, ready to battle. I tell you, Red-Other-From-Sky, that they bring trade, not war.

Red Sash looks back at the jellyfish, which vocalizes the Other-language in harsh metallic tones. *Blagha blagh blagha.* Satisfied, Red Sash calls out in its loud voice, "Bah weep granah weep!"
CrazyIvan 2007-05-08 00:21:52
Angel takes a slightly different tactic, heading for the bushes and sundry plantlife that invariably surrounds the periphery of such villages. Its as good a spot as any to hide, and at least this way the entire team isn't pinned down in the same place. He watches the ship land through the scope of his rifle.

Thunder indeed
Dieter 2007-05-08 03:04:17

"Captain, our furry friends just gave us up. The Chief says we're here to trade but ready to fight. I believe this our one and only chance to make First Contact without someone getting shot with one of those...really cool-looking weapons of theirs." suggests Max, salivating over all the new technology he's seen in the last hour.
Gatac 2007-05-08 05:46:02
"Then I guess it's my ass again," Hugh says with a sigh. He slowly walks out of the house, scanning the village - and the Others in particular - for further details. He keeps his hands on his rifle for now, but doesn't raise it to his shoulder.

(Assuming they don't open fire)

Hugh slowly lets go of the gun, trusting the tactical sling to keep it in easy reach. He begins to sign in Whirr.

"On behalf of my people, I greet you."
e of pi 2007-05-08 07:35:01
Luis, the croc encounter reminding him of protocol he may have forgotten, follows Hugh out into the open, hold ing a few steps back and trying to look as unthreatening as a slightly scared guy holding an SMG at the ready can. It's not far, but enough to bring them into view, and every step is nerve-wracking.


Like Hugh, he keeps a good grip on his submachine gun, but doesn't raise it. He relaxes slightly when the first seconds don't bring a terrible death by beam weapon, but he's still staying alert. I hope Angel has my back, wherever he went, he thinks.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-08 14:42:48
"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet?" asks Red Sash, almost... angrily? When it becomes obvious you don't understand any of its gibberish, it waves over the Chief. "Phasellus laoreet porta risus," it says. Chief nods, and signs, Red-Other-From-Sky asks why you do not understand. The (gesture for jellyfish) can talk between peoples. Red-Other asks you to come forward.

The floating jellyfish floats towards Hugh. The smell is even more alien than your first few hours on the Whiirr-planet, not to mention it looks, well... it's a nightmare.

Luis affords a glance up, mostly to avoid concentrating on the thing, and notices why the other humanoids don't seem all that concerned with their weapons. The two floating spheres seem to have taken up a slow orbit above the longhouse. Luis' best guess is that they're some sort of alien UAV. Maybe AI, maybe a brain inside a robot body, maybe a tiny alien as a pilot.

It is... some hurt, signs Chief, But it is how Others talk to not-Others at first.
Gatac 2007-05-08 14:47:00
Great, pain. This is going to be good, Hugh thinks. He takes a deep breath.

"I'm ready.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-08 16:30:19
The jellyfish raises a handful of thin tendrils like angel hair pasta and wraps them around Hugh's head. He can't help but shrink back at the sensation. He was expecting pain, but it just feels... like somebody's dumped a load of lukewarm pasta on his head.

"Duis tortor tellus, elementum vel?" asks Red Sash.

That's when it hurts. Hugh thinks thoughts that aren't his. <Who are your people and from where did you come?>, Hugh thinks to himself. <Do not sully yourself with the beast-speak, use your own tongue or your mind alone,> the jellyfish interjects. <It makes the translation easier and lessens the pain.>

Luis almost reflexively fires at the jellyfish when he sees Hugh flinch and his face twist into a grimace of pain. He does notice that a few of the "guard" humanoids give an almost sympathetic flinch.
Gatac 2007-05-08 16:51:14
Fighting through the pain, Hugh tries to think his reply.

We are explorers. We found a gateway on our planet and used it, which led us here. We call ourselves 'humans'. We would like to know more about you.
fanchergw 2007-05-08 18:09:44
Semo hunkers down behind his rib-support as the craft settles to the ground. He can only see part of it, but enough to tell that the tech is at least human level. He hears what sounds like something pneumatic, but cannot see it from his position.

Moments later, he sees a humanoid in some kind of metallic armor step into view. With the doorjam where it is, he can only see about three-quarters of it, but it appears to have some kind of sword on it's side and is wearing a red sash across it's torso.

Almost immediately, some kind of floating, tentacled horror drifts into view. Semo swears he's seen something similar on some SciFi show somewhere. Whatever it is, it's even uglier than their hairy hosts. A few more of the humanoids step into view, but none of them are wearing sashes. Looking around, Semo considers moving to another rib-support with a better view, but that would put him too close to Luis.

Semo thinks he sees something metallic flit upwards past the corner of the doorway, but he cannot be certain of it.

There is some discussion back and forth, very little of which Semo can make out from where he is. After some moments, the tentacled thing floats over to Hugh and settles about his head. It is only the lack of orders and the appearance of acceptance by the captain and the doc that keeps him from opening fire.

Sweat trickles down Semo's forehead as he wonders what is going on.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-08 21:17:24
The pain only seems to stab into his brain when the creature "talks" to him. The jellyfish pauses for a moment as Hugh responds, then vocalizes back to Red Sash in its tinny, calm voice.

"Turai nulla sodales pede id enim, Samal Akor ullamcorper nibh odio sagittis luctus. Skarmalagi quisque id ante eget turpis accumsan pulvinar?"

Pain, once more. <You stand before Samal Akor of the Imperium, second of seven among the Jade Emperor's Turai. The Gateway you came through... the one near the Masters' ship? It does not respond to us, yet you speak the truth. You used it. How?>
Gatac 2007-05-08 23:02:47
I am Captain Hubert Verrill, United States Army - Captain is my rank, Hubert is my first name, Verrill is my family name. I am only the commander of this expedition, but if you wish to speak to my leaders, I can arrange that. As for the gate, I do not understand the details of it, but it involves feeding large amounts of electricity into the Gateway's nodes. You would have to ask one of our scientists if you want to know more.

Fighting through the pain, Hugh adds

My men are under orders to retreat and seal the gate from our site if I do not report in. Please release me for a moment so I can notify them.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-09 15:47:23
Jellyfish translates, and Red Sash nods. The tentacles quickly unwrap, folding back underneath the jellyfish.
Gatac 2007-05-09 15:54:30
Hugh keys his radio.

"Checking in. Next check in 10 minutes."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-09 16:26:00
*Copy that, ten minutes. Taylor out.*

(assuming you return your tentacles to their upright positions)

The jellyfish wraps up Hugh's head again, and Red Sash works out the words "Capten Verellr... curabitur ac justo ac purus mattis euismod. Mauris malesuada, nisl eget sodales condimentum. Ut congue ornare libero"

<Captain Verrill, that's no rank I've ever heard of. As for charging the Gate, don't play with me. Everyone knows how to USE the Gates. The Repository of Benevolent Spirits lists your particular Gateway as inoperative. It's not the first one that hasn't responded to our codes.>

Red Sash pauses, prompting Hugh to give an involuntary sign of relief. He is definitely going to have a lasting headache from this. "Suspendisse dignissim pharetra quam fermentum nisi consectetuer arcu?"

<Do your leaders even know of the Jade Imperium of a Thousand Worlds?>
Gatac 2007-05-09 16:34:31
<It wasn't my intention to mislead you. I really don't know what sets our gateway apart from any other - I only know how to use it. If you would show my science team how you activate a gate, maybe they could offer an explanation. And no, we do not know of the Jade Imperium, but our leaders are interested in a peaceful first contact with all powers we encounter on our expedition.>
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-09 16:58:50
You all watch Hugh call in on the radio, then grimace his way through what appears to be a one-sided conversation with the red sashed humanoid and its pet jellyfish. Has this turned into some weird psychic interrogation? Is Hugh being forced to radio the all-clear? These guys seem to know that you're in the longhouse and that you're armed, but they don't seem terribly worried about it.

"In sit. Amet neque skarmalagi eleifend nisi pretium dictum."

<Very well. We shall continue this conversation at the Gate.>

Red Sash turns to Chief now, saying, "Quisque et risus at felis feugiat tempor. In a est. Nam vitae purus eleifend nisi condimentum cursus." It waves off the Chosen with a gesture of dismissal.

Chief is taken aback. We thank Red-Other-From-Sky for his generosity, but Not-Others are not Whiirr-people's to give in tribute.

Red Sash thinks long and hard, then barks an order to its guards. Three of the chromed humanoids approach Chief and the members of its council, then hand over their longarms. You can tell Chief has just been bought off.

Very well. The Others' gift brings many victory for Whiirr-people. Not-Others, go with Red-Other-From-Sky.
Gatac 2007-05-09 17:15:28
<We are not anyone's tribute, Samal Akor. If you do not want our friendship, we will leave and never come back. But if you try to take us by force, my leaders will consider it an act of war between our people.>

Hugh raises his left arm. He doesn't need to consciously think it to get the message across.

If I drop my hand, my men will open fire with everything they've got.
Dieter 2007-05-09 17:42:07
"Is he trying to get us killed?!" says Max, to no one in particular.
Gatac wrote:

Hugh raises his left arm. He doesn't need to consciously think it to get the message across.

If I drop my hand, my men will open fire with everything they've got.

"Nevermind...he answered my question." adds the scientist, looking down at his P90 and switching off its safety.
CrazyIvan 2007-05-09 18:14:52
Angel tenses slightly seeing the motion, aiming for the leader...things...head. He may not have a face, but hopefully there is something important up there.