Jade Imperium - One Small Step

Gatac 2007-04-30 18:50:26
Hugh does his best to return the creature's greeting in kind.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-04-30 18:59:11
Hugh doesn't try for the verbalizations, but makes (he thinks) a passable job at the strange one-handed bow. He maintains a posture of non-agression with his body language, and the creature seems to pick up on that. It finally takes its spear back from the other one, who remains in front of the small biped.

The smaller of the two large bipeds makes a "C" shape with both hands, then cups them together to form a circle. "Gruhnnht Brah?" It's fairly obvious to everyone that it's asking if you humans (gruhnnht) came from/are located at/own the Gateway (brah).
Gatac 2007-04-30 19:02:44
"Gruhnt brah," Hugh replies, repeating the gesture of the circle.

Maybe I should try signing more, he thinks.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-04-30 19:27:22
They've been observing your mannerisms as well, because the lead one gives Hugh an affirmative nod, like a human would say "yes", and the child biped and its guardian turn around, heading back into the jungle.

The tall one backs away, still maintaining a non-agressive posture but keeping eye contact, then fades into greens and browns as its hair adapts to the flora.
fanchergw 2007-04-30 19:35:24
Seeing the toucans eyeing the dead croc-thing, Semo moves slowly and casually away from it. As far as he's concerned, they can have it. Still, he avoids doing anything that he thinks might upset the big, hairy monsters.

Speaking of which, the captain seems to be getting along famously with them. The yetis, or whatever they are, start to leave, the last one seeming to look back at them.

"Uh, Captain? You think they mean for us to follow them?"
Gatac 2007-04-30 19:43:28
"Hell if I know, Sarge. But we're heading back for now."
Dieter 2007-04-30 19:48:49
Max glances up the Sun's angle, wipes the sweat off his blow, then checks his watch.

"Look, that glowing white thing up there is going to make things a lot warmer over the next few hours. It's not going to do no one any good getting blasted with an unhealthy dose of UV radiation, not to mention Kitty being in no shape for a forced march through the jungle. Need I also mention the fact that there will be large flying animals descending upon our position in mere moments?" adds the Doctor, grabbing Kitty by the arm and helping her back to the Gate.
Gatac 2007-04-30 19:54:21
"Point taken, Doc. We'll increase guard rotation when we get back, make sure everyone gets some rest in the shade. As for you, Doctor Cavanaugh...what's your shoe size?"
CrazyIvan 2007-04-30 20:11:59
Angel starts taking a shine to the scientist, keeping an eye on him while more acutely staring into the vegitation, his gun at an easy ready. Still, among the three eggheads, while not the cutest, he seems to be the least inclined to consider the grunts to be accessory pieces of equipment.

Angel frowns at Andy's comments, contemplating. "High energy reaction...and this thing crashed? So either it got shot down or...there is one hell of a triple-A position somewhere that direction."

He paces around the area they're surveying, confirming his suspicions. "Can't tell you where the wreckage is, but I can tell you what took it. This ship...or whatever...has been picked clean. Seen enough of it in Iraq and elsewhere. Expensive piece of hardware crashes, locals come and pick apart the remains for on-the-cheap finished goods. I'll bet you a beer there's some green-skinned local in the jungle who's got a crash couch as an easy chair."
fanchergw 2007-04-30 20:47:45
"Yes, sir." Semo'll be just as happy to find a little shade back at camp and suck up a couple gallons of water.

He'd probably done some damn fool thing like split the group and send a team with the locals, but that's why he's just a sargeant and they're in charge.

Semo takes the back of the group and forms up as rear guard. He follows along, weapon ready and eyes alert for more danger.
e of pi 2007-04-30 20:54:11
Luis observes the exchange of odd signs quietly, his specielties unneeded for the moment. He considers a comment as they head back to base, but decides its not worth it. Instead, he simply falls in with the rest of the team as they move out. Wouldn't mind something to drink myself, he thinks.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-04-30 21:32:13
Sure enough, on the way back to camp you hear the large avian descend on the flock of scavengers down by the river. There's a great cacophony of whoops, then fluttering wings heading in all directions.

As for the nature hike back to camp, things go fairly smoothly. For the Delta guys, the twice-worn path could almost be called a trail now. To Max and Kitty, however, it still just looks like jungle.


"Shot down? That's a disconcerting thought," Andy replies, still running spectrometer tests inside the relative shade of the wreck. "Still, this has to be damage... I mean, either from a battle or from the crash, or reentry, if it was a spacecraft. We know this material is nigh-immune to the ravages of time, so if we see any natives with avionics from this thing, we know where they came from. Hmm... you know Dr. Kilgore and Cavanaugh found sentient life? Some kind of ugly Chewbacca thing. It's insane, really. Two arms, two legs, evolved enough to have a language... you know what the chances of that are? Well, they're low, I can tell you that. In fact, this whole planet is one in a billion. Make that one in a billion billion if there's water here."

Andy rambles on, and eventually finishes his tests and motions to Angel that they can head back outside. "It's clear, anyhow. No beasties using it for a nest. You can do your thing and I'll come back by myself if I need to get another sample. Oh! Did I tell you? The results seem to indicate that all these Gates are identical. Well, aside from the damage, but identical just the same. That's great news! Can you imagine how bad it would be to come here and find that the gateway has completely different glyphs on it? This is all strong evidence that we should be able to get back without any problems. I think, since that one gate is broken, we might be able to thread it sideways through the return portal. We'd need some cranes and more people, of course."

SFC Taylor handles the status report while the other group are out in the bush. Angel hears the whumpf and sees the flash, but the portal's shut once more when they extricate themselves from the crash site.


The river DOES in fact turn out to be water. There's a high likelihood of becoming extremely sick if you drink it, but it's water.

Kitty makes a copy of her recordings for Max, so he can study the Sasquatch-like aliens and their methods of communication. She studies her earlier recordings of the various animals as well as the untainted samples she managed to obtain. Dr. Tupolev keeps the second Humvee running in order to power his lab equipment. He flits back and forth from an array of microscopes and computer simulations.

Everyone refills their depleted Camelbaks with fresh water from base and eats some MREs. Speaking of supplies, there's a pair of new boots for Kitty as well as a high-powered tranquilizer rifle with box of twenty darts.

Mission Time 00:06:32

The remainder of the day burns away in what almost passes for routine. The sun starts sliding lower on the horizon about six hours in, turning from pure white to a more Earthlike yellow. Clouds gather here and there, catching the late afternoon sun in a dazzling display of golds and pinks.

You sit, crouch, or stand, on patrol, on perimeter, re-watching recordings, drinking, eating, wringing out sweat from your fatigues. No animal has breached perimeter, nor have the yeti-things shown up at your camp.

The Gateway activates, right on cue.

*Mesas Negras to away team. By our calculations, you should have the Gateway on your side charged now. What's your ETA for your return trip?*

Greene and Dietrich both spare glances back at the two generator trucks, kept silent after their arrival here.
Gatac 2007-04-30 21:44:45
Hugh takes the radio call.

"Negative on the return trip, Mesas Negras. We're still studying the environment. With respect to our contact with the other beings, I believe it's best if we limit our gate traffic to an absolute minimum. Show them that we're here to stay, but not moving in with an invasion force. Build familiarity. We've got enough supplies and men to last through the next few days. We're transmitting some preliminary exobiology data, but the Science team is still trying to get a handle on all the samples they took. So, uh...nothing to send back, really."
Dieter 2007-04-30 21:54:06
"Uh..Mesa Negras. This is Dr. Kilgore. While I did concur with Captain Verrill's decision to not charge up the gate during our initial recon, I'd like to recommend we charge it up overnight in the very likely event that the planet's nocturnal ecosystem rears its ugly head at us. I'd prefer at least one sure exit should our technology suffer permanent failure. I think Doctor Cavanaugh would agree." adds Max.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-04-30 21:54:25
"Max is right," Kitty says. "I'd recommend more than that, actually - charge the gate, engage a portal to ensure the entire process works like it does on Earth's end, then charge it again and let it sit in case we need it."

*We're receiving your data now. Captain, work it out with Dr. Kilgore and we'll expect your portal on your mark. Unless you see a reason not to, we'll be checking in every hour now... and General Sanderson passes on his congratulations. You've made a lot of people over here extremely excited.*

(edit: Dieter got in a post before mine, and I was confused as to who was speaking on the radio or just talking. Max & Hugh are on the radio, but Kitty was just talking so MN didn't hear anything from her)
Gatac 2007-04-30 22:14:16
"I concur with the Doctors, charging the gate at night was my intention. The noise should keep the animals at bay. Tell General Sanderson that I recommend a 1990 Pomerol Bordeaux."
CrazyIvan 2007-04-30 22:20:30
Angel chuckles at the scientist as they thread their way out of ship.

"Crew might have up-jumped the Indig's tech to a level of usefulness as manual labor. Course, the furry bastards might be the crew..."

The rest of the day is downright boring, what with the science crew well and truely spooked out of any more ill advised expeditions, and the CO going all...cautious. He does however mumble to himself again "Tonight is gonna be bad..."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-04-30 22:43:28
*Copy that, Captain. See you in an hour.* The portal disengages and blinks out.

Mission Time 00:06:57

Angel's in his usual spot out on perimeter. Verrill's switching them out more often now, but Angel's beginning to like it out here. Stanhill's sucking down some more water, out at Angel's 10 o' clock. Staff Sergeant Putupu's just swapped out with Mellish, heading for a clump of brush that's providing more shade now that the sun's heading down. Taylor's out past the shipwreck and out of LOS.

Suddenly Angel hears movement in the treeline. It's sudden, and sounds like somebody - or a group of somebodies - was being quiet and then decided not to be quiet. Luis and Semo hear it too a moment later. Thing is, Angel hears it while whoever it is is still trying to stay quiet.

"Gruhnnht! Yarp!" shouts one of the yeti-things from the treeline. Um... what'd Doc say that meant? Um... Humans, we are making a statement of location.

You look and see the one-eyed biped there, but he's obviously not the big cheese. You see... nine others, with the largest of them decked out in some sort of bone-laced chestplate, dripping with earrings, noserings, and other trinkets. It carries no spear, but instead leads a small column of three fairly well-groomed aliens. These three wear no bags and carry no weapons, but their hair is painted in spiraling white patterns, similar to the Gate glyphs. Their chests are painted with what looks like a stylized avian.

The big chief-thing makes some more noises and gestures. Whirr ask human permission grant us talk.
Gatac 2007-04-30 22:47:35
Hugh slings his rifle over his left shoulder and approaches, nodding for Max to come over and beginning to sign in the forest dweller's language.

We grant you an audience. What do you want?
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-05-01 00:47:11
Sudden confusion. We enter with gift/trade as you required.

One-eye converses with Chief, too fast or subtle for you to discern what they're actually communicating. The Chief appears to be dominant, because One-eye returns to its position.

The aliens walk slowly in procession, Chief first, then the three painted aliens. One-eye walks to the Chief's left, another tall alien to his right. Four more, each carrying wicked stabbing spears, axes, or clubs, flank the procession, two to each side. Angel and Luis feel a lot of attention paid them by the guard aliens - they're sizing them up, maybe.

Chief stops at the inner edge of the camp, before he passes the Humvees and the scientific equipment. The painted aliens get on their knees before Hugh and Kilgore.

The chief communicates, and between everyone they think they understand what he's saying: Unsure reason for change. Unsure reason human change appearance, change smell, change talk. We fulfill our bargain nevertheless. Apologies for low number. Fight with nearby tribes. Take, and go. Painted ones are strong and will serve you well.

You're not sure "Gruhnnht" means "humans" anymore.