Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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elpozoleolmeca  [developer] Jul 7, 2016 @ 2:57pm
Feature Spotlight: Jump Gates
Even the incomplete and shallow hull of the jump gate under construction was truly massive, Tarik thought to himself as he stepped off the shuttle. He and two other members of his team were greeted by a small group of Psilon who seemed overeager and anxious about their alien visitors. Their giant eyes and small stature made Tarik feel as if they were being watched by hyper-vigilant children.

“Please, let us offer you a tour of the facilities. We apologize that the jump gate is in such disarray.” A Psilon robed in drab grey greeted them with a monotone expression. “You may call me Oren, I am the dignitary assigned to this post.”

Tarik looked around the main corridor of the jump gate and couldn’t stop listing potential construction hazards: exposed wiring, makeshift ramps, and blacked out corridors. His previous experience as a field researcher and scout for the military made him evaluate environmental dangers carefully, as most people in this field died from accidents or preventable mistakes. Tarik looked down at the nearest Psilon, who made no effort to hide his curiosity and analysis of the Human team. It was going to be a long three-day tour.

Captain Alves, Tarik, and a second scientist named Anna, had all been invited onboard the highly secure and experimental jump gate site. The Psilon would not have been able to manage such a technological achievement without the protection of their allies, the Human Republic. In return, the Psilon offered a research treaty allowing mentorship and educational expeditions such as these to aid in advancing humanity’s knowledge. Tarik looked around the worksite suspiciously. Even with the aid of the Human empire, there must have been some other backer for this costly and risky construction.

As the team walked towards the engineering hub, Oren mumbled to himself while pointing out facts about the jump gate at random, Tarik notice the high amount of contracted labor. While there were many unmistakably Psilon robots at work, there were also an assortment of other Humans, Sakkra, and Bulrathi milling about the site.

Oren ushered the Humans into a small room crammed with Psilon bodies, windowless and uncomfortably warm. The Psilon scientists and engineers in the room hardly noticed the Human’s entrance as they poured over notes and data tablets. Anna immediately pulled her heavy hair back away from her face peering over the low shoulder of a nearby Psilon to view a schematic.

A single Psilon stepped forward in the crowded room and approached Captain Alves. “I am Jama, head engineer for the Jump Gate Project. I understand that I am to give you a full tour of the facilities, answer any questions you may have, and allow full access to our on-site database. Is that correct?” Jama’s head tilted slightly to the side, as if the commands he were given were abnormal. His featureless eyes blinked with only a mild regard for the Humans in front of him.

Captain Alves turned to Tarik to answer. The Captain had no problem with the Psilon, but he was only here as escort for the small scientific team. Tarik looked down at Jama, “Yes. Your orders are correct. We have logs from the office of the Controller if you would like to verify.”
Tarik procured the files from Anna offering them to Jama who took them. Jama flipped through them briefly and nodded. It was typical for the Psilon to need multiple stamps of approval before committing to any action. “Please follow me as we move through the site. Do not touch anything without asking. Do not remove any loose materials from the worksite.”
Jama shuffled from the room and the Humans followed, grateful to be out of the cramped workspace of the Psilon. Another Psilon rushed up to Jama, breathless and slightly damp, delivering some message in their quick, high-pitched language. Tarik noted how the Psilon moved quickly and silently. If they weren’t so paranoid and averse to violence, they would make excellent spies or scouts.

Walking down the corridors, it was easy to tell that the Psilon were still early in the process of constructing the jump gate. The skeleton of the structure was in place, but it was far from livable. Most of the materials here would be for the basic construction of the exterior and base infrastructure, with only the blueprints for the more complex machinery onsite.
They paused at a checkpoint into the area where advanced power cells were being mapped for installation. Anna made notes regarding the power distribution hub for this sector of the gate. She was communing in soft tones with Jama, who seemed enthusiastic about the advanced electrical conduits that Psilon helped pioneer. Anna kept a careful summary of their conversation to bring back to the Scientific Committee of Sol.

This particular jump gate was built in the star system neighboring the Psilon’s home world of Mentar, about four month’s travel time from the most outlying Human colonies. The journey was long, but not uncomfortable. The innovation of the jump gates could radically reduce that time if a companion gate was built closer to the Human border. It wasn’t completely unlikely, especially since the Psilon depended on the Human’s military for protection.

However, there was still a large amount of work to be done. At this phase, the technology was so advanced and difficult to execute that most of the galaxy barely had the technology to even attempt the required support systems. Humanity was far from their own gates, but took this opportunity as a chance to see what they would need to jump start the technology.
Suddenly the screeching sound of sirens overlaid by a Psilon voice cut through the air, causing the humans to instinctively cover their ears. “What’s going on?” Anna screamed through the noise.

Jama looked up coolly at the alarms, “We have an intruder.” He looked down at a small machine on his wrist, flashing quick signals and codes. “Very close by. We should evacuate now.”

The security staff of the jump gate, a small team of Psilons in perfectly clean and pressed uniforms carrying small stun guns, rushed down a nearby hallway. If there was truly a threat onboard, the Psilon staff would find themselves woefully overpowered.

With an annoyed grunt, Captain Alves rushed behind the security staff pulling his pistol from its holster. Tarik hesitated before putting his hand on the small pistol at his hip and rushing after the Captain. As they followed the security staff into the blaring and echoing sound of alarms, they entered a quadrant used for storage that was stacked with raw materials and stockpiled machinery.

The security team circled around the object of the alarms, a large Sakkra male cornered in the back of the warehouse section. The Sakkra hissed causing the Psilon to stumble back. The Sakkra was wearing the uniform and badge of the construction crew, yet held a small bag tightly under one massive arm.

The security team shot off a few rounds, but the Sakkra charged them at the same time. Some fumbled their weapons, others totally missed, and a few made superficial but ineffective contact with the stun rounds. The Psilon scattered across the floor.

Tarik began to back up towards the corridor when the Sakkra turned in mid-charge towards Captain Alves. The impact of the charge slammed the Captain against the wall, his pistol clattering loudly against the exposed metal flooring. The pistol spun until it reached Tarik’s feet. The impact of the Sakkra’s charge also knocked loose unsecured roofing above Tarik’s head, with sharp shards of fiberglass falling on him. The Sakkra, still recovering from his full charge, stumbled upward as a few of the Psilon security team also scrambled to their feet.
Tarik picked up the Captain’s weapon, which was far more powerful than his own, and with a lucky shot hit the Sakkra in the low abdomen, spilling dark fluid out at a disturbingly rapid pace. The Sakkra fell to its knees with the hit. The security team jumped on top of the opportunity, using their non-lethal weapons to finish the job. The Sakkra was semi-conscious, twitching on the ground from the electrical shocks of the Psilon stun guns.

Tarik rushed over to Captain Alves to see that his legs were crushed, but his upper body seemed mostly intact. The Captain took a sharp inhale of breath and shouted at the security team, “Arrest that spy to have him interrogated!” The security team nodded and seemed to be grateful for the direction, their panicked hands fluttering about the massive Sakkra to secure his limbs.

As the Psilon rushed the Captain and the Sakkra spy towards the infirmary, a few Psilon staff members removed a small data drive from the satchel the spy dropped during the fight. A Psilon engineer plugged a small interface into the drive. He confirmed that the spy had not only attempted to steal information about the jump gate but was also trying to disrupt shipping manifests in order to slow construction.

Tarik watched a hulking Bulrathi carrying steel beams stop briefly to take in the scene. He look Tarik up and down quickly before turning down an unfinished corridor. Tarik looked down at his arm where a small sliver of the fiberglass cut his skin. The cut was deep, but not severe. A light purple foam bubbled to the surface. Tarik pulled his shirt off and wrapped it around the wound without drawing attention from the distracted Psilon nearby.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
Torchfire Jul 7, 2016 @ 3:10pm 
Nice story...
And not quite an unexpected ending. There is always one of them around, isn't there?
Davor Jul 7, 2016 @ 7:48pm 
Another good story. Keep them up.
DarkestOnion Jul 8, 2016 @ 4:28am 
Solid story which boils down to the following game mechanic: my Psilon counterspy killed your Sakkra spy and we let our Human allies watch the RNG :)
Midnight Jul 8, 2016 @ 7:43am 
Originally posted by Davor:
Another good story. Keep them up.

+1
Moo2lover Jul 8, 2016 @ 8:35am 
These are cool 😃
seabo_76 Jul 8, 2016 @ 1:08pm 
Cool story
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
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Date Posted: Jul 7, 2016 @ 2:57pm
Posts: 6