Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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elpozoleolmeca  [developer] Feb 24, 2016 @ 2:01pm
First Contact - A Human Short Story
Welcome to the latest in our short story series, this time covering the Human race. This is our last short story before Early Access begins, and wraps up coverage of the races in Early Access 1. Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to ask questions about Human lore in the comments!

First Contact by Kelsey Howard, Creative Writer at Wargaming Austin

Doctor Zara Song stood on the live television set of the Central Transmission Tower, trying her best not to look like she was going to vomit on live television. She wasn’t typically an anxious person, but one could say that the pressure of initiating first contact between Humans and aliens was stressful. Her team of engineers stood behind her, in the background of the shot, but she was front and center as the one who led the team that had intercepted the message. She was the one who pushed for the message to be analyzed, even when the rest of the team thought they were listening to useless chatter or feedback.

The entertainment personality that the government had brought in to “help deliver the message to the common people” was wearing a tacky suit and plastic smile, which made Zara feel even more uncomfortable. He leaned in close, his aftershave flooding her nose. He winked at her and mumbled under his breath, “We’re making history here, look excited!”

Just as the camera crew counted down and the red lights turned to a uniform green, Zara gave a weak smile. The host lit up like someone had sparked a fuse beneath him. “Here we are at CTT with THE exclusive interview with the team from Beijing International University that intercepted the first alien message sent to Earth.” The host paused for dramatic effect in the dead silent studio. “This is Dr. Zara Song, head of the team that accomplished this feat. Zara, tell us about the message.”

Zara cleared her throat and took a deep breath. It was time to put those junior high debate team meetings to work. “We first heard the transmission a few days ago. It seemed like we were picking up accidental noise, but it was coming from unoccupied space the far edge of our system. Upon closer study, we realized it was a message that was delivered in ways we had never seen before. We aren’t sure if it was even meant for us, but we worked tirelessly to find meaning in it.”

The Host, making an artificial and over the top show of surprise, made a gasping noise. Zara imagined he would make the same obnoxious sound if someone had punched him. “What did the message say?” The Host was breathless, but still delivered his lines perfectly.

Zara recognized her cue. “On behalf of the newly formed Unified Sol Government, we present this message to the citizens of Earth. These are the first words from extraterrestrial life. We will play it for you now.”

Zara looked to the camera crew, crouching behind the cameras and obscured by the bright lights of the studio stage. It looked like she was speaking to a cluster of mechanical beings, each with a single reflective eye, instead of other humans.

The audio file played over the speakers of the studio. A gruff voice speaking in a language of growls filled the room. The message wasn’t clear, but there was no doubt it had all the characteristics of a defined language. Yet, there were tones and sounds within the clip which seemed so unnatural and foreign… so alien… that the Human mind hardly knew how to wrap around it.

The clip ended abruptly, the clip ending with a snap. The host turned to Zara, his manic eyes wide, “Alien life. Confirmed. Now… what will we say in return?”

The studio was quiet. Zara knew the role she was supposed to play. The new global government was young and unpopular with most of the population. Years of war had bred distrust among the people. Decades of environmental decline had devastated Earth’s ecosystems, leading to the Wars of Unification as the remaining nations fought for… everything. This was the chance to unify the people of Earth as one. When faced with the idea that the universe was so much larger than the petty squabbles of Earth… what would humanity do?

Zara folded her hands into her lap. “As a gesture of goodwill, we have recorded a message in return which we will begin transmitting now, thanks to the Unified Sol Government.” Zara looked straight into the camera, her dark eyes steady. “The message states, ‘We are the Humans of the Sol system. We welcome your presence.’”

The Host turned back towards the cameras. “Now we wait. Do they understand us, or are we as foreign to them as they are to us?”

The studio was silent for a moment, still with the gravity of the message. Humans had been alone in the universe, or so they thought. From the dawn of their oldest civilizations they had battled each other to the bones and blood but now, for the first time, all their eyes were turned to the skies.

The sirens started quietly at first, so muffled that Zara thought she might have been imagining them. Within a matter of moments, heavily armed men in full body armor with the patches of the fledgling USG military stormed the set. The cameras suddenly went dark and the overhead lights flashed on brightly.

“Follow us, Dr. Song. Now!” She jumped up and looked back at her team; they were being held at gunpoint, forced to stay behind as she followed the soldiers. They took her out the backdoor of the studio, where a massive wall of glass showed the city below. Beijing was a massive, sprawling city that had been partially destroyed in the war and was currently tearing itself apart.

The soldiers, one on each side, grabbed her firmly by the arms and hustled her down a corridor towards the elevator. All three entered the narrow elevator with Zara uncomfortably squeezed against the back wall. The trip was quick, only her turning stomach indicating the speed at which they just traveled. As the elevator doors opened, she realized they were on the ground floor of the tower, which had quickly been taken over by the military presence inside the building.

A straight-backed and neatly dressed officer approached Zara, “Your message got a response, Dr. Song.” She faintly remembered him from the meetings leading up to the broadcast – General Liu.

“From the aliens?” Her eyes brightened, her scientific curiosity outweighing the terrifying prospect.

“The aliens moved with alarming speed once they received our reply. Their technology is quite obviously beyond ours… and they were much closer than we originally anticipated.” The General began walking away while talking, and Zara hurried to keep up. “They did not send a transmission in reply as we would have thought. Their ships have registered on our surveillance systems. They are coming to Earth.”

Zara hadn’t fully considered the tricky situation she was in now. She had successfully argued with the USG for that simple reply of welcome, hoping against hope that the new government would see the event as an opportunity to cement their power. The newly unified global government was barely keeping things together here on Earth… and now they were being faced with a potential extraterrestrial threat. But what if they could turn the incident to win popular support?

The room was full of soldiers, all seeming to speak at once. There was panic in the air. “We can’t have hostile enemies enter the city airspace without expecting massive casualties.” An advisor to the General jockeyed for his attention in the claustrophobic room. “Civilians are already starting a city-wide riot.”

“We don’t know their intentions.” Zara tried to remain calm amid the storm.
The General eyed her suspiciously, but seemed to listen. “We aren’t going to be responsible for starting an interstellar war here. I’m the highest ranking USG officer; you will all follow my lead.” He turned to an advisor. “Do we have any diplomats nearby?”

The advisor’s face was ghastly pale. “Well, we did, but the civilian panic has compromised all routes.”

A comm tech shouted from across the room, “Alien ships entering the atmosphere! Less than two minutes to touch down. They’re headed straight to the Tower!”

The General shouted, “Send runners to the nearby units and prepare to repel an invasion. Lock air defense batteries on inbound targets but do not fire unless you visually confirm red flares fired from CTT.” He looked to Zara with a face that looked as hard as stone and just as weathered, “You’re going to be the diplomat.”

“What?” She jumped slightly, but the adrenaline was starting to get to her now.

“No one else can get here fast enough, the city has gone insane with the news. The aliens might recognize your voice, at the very least. They seem to understand you.” Gesturing to the nearby soldiers and pointing a barely shaking finger at Zara, he barked, “Get her out there, now!”

The alien ships suddenly started to come into view, massive and hulking, crimson red. Zara was breathless at the sight. Aliens, something humanity had long dreamed of but written off as fantasy, were landing on Earth. The ships were foreign, but still something was familiar about them.

Suddenly a loud explosion rocked the building. Zara instinctively covered her ears against the horrible sound. The civilian rioters must have blown up a car.

The General looked down on her. “I’ll stay behind to man CTT. Go, go, go!”

A group of soldiers surrounded her, throwing a bulletproof vest over her torso and leading her towards a space that the military was clearing for the alien landings. Zara focused on putting one foot in front of the other. She was a scientist at heart. She could approach this with the cool pragmatism of observation… if only her heart would stop trying to pound its way out of her chest.

The Bulrathi ships were lower now. The air was tense and full of the howling sound of their engines preparing to land. People were gathering around but the soldiers moved quickly to establish a perimeter around where the ships were going to land.

The soldiers pushed her forward and quickly ran back to take cover, leaving Zara alone. She felt terribly on display, but no one was paying attention. If the sounds of the alien ships hadn’t been drowning out all ambient sound from the city, she would have been able to hear the absolute chaos that was unfolding.

The alien ships were on the ground now and Zara felt oddly at peace. They were responding to her call, and she had been kind and inviting. Well, at the very least, they hadn’t entered Human airspace with guns blazing. At least that was something.

The bays of the ships opened and walkways lowered. Out of the massive ships, Humanity got their first look at alien life… and they looked like giant bears. Or, if not like any bear on Earth, they at least seemed vaguely familiar. The first of the aliens came closer and she comprehended their massive size: the creature towered nearly three feet over her.

She tried to smile and seem kind, hoping that somehow the aliens would understand something through the language barrier. She hoped they would see her, smiling face upturned and trying her best to communicate, rather than the jittery soldiers and the screaming civilians behind her. More than anything she hoped that the General could hold off firing the emergency flare for long enough for her to say something, anything. She took a deep breath. With the detachment of a scientist, she observed the smell of the alien creatures. It was a damp smell—no, the scent of a forest.

She spoke diplomatically.

“Welcome to Earth.”
Last edited by elpozoleolmeca; Feb 24, 2016 @ 2:02pm
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Showing 1-15 of 20 comments
Welcome to earf
Sinjen Blackstar Feb 24, 2016 @ 4:07pm 
Smiling and showing your teeth in the animal world is a show of intimidation not a friendly gesture. The bears might take it as a challenge.

I'm waiting to see what happens next. :)
Birdie_Sparrow Feb 24, 2016 @ 4:32pm 
Normally yes re: teeth but that is for earth creatures. WHo knows the Bulrathi customs - showing teeth may actually mean a show of strength and confidence! :)
James009 Feb 24, 2016 @ 10:02pm 
Nice story.

I'm waiting to see what happens next too.
Flamadiddle Feb 25, 2016 @ 4:26am 
That went well with my morning coffee
Tevu Feb 25, 2016 @ 2:03pm 
"We come in peace, shoot to kill"
James StarRunner Feb 25, 2016 @ 3:57pm 
Oh gosh! I LOVE the first two Master of Orion games (The third I couldn't stand)! But I still play the first two games and had even worked on a tabletop version of it! If there are still auditions for voice actors, I'd love to try out!
Leo Messi Feb 25, 2016 @ 4:02pm 
Cant start game...if i pick Single or Multiplayer...nothing happend...its like freeze ;(
Torchfire Feb 25, 2016 @ 4:27pm 
If I understand correctly, there are more of these contact stories?

If so, where can I read them?
Kody Feb 25, 2016 @ 4:33pm 
Originally posted by Torchfire:
If I understand correctly, there are more of these contact stories?

If so, where can I read them?

Not all of them follow the same theme--each is tailored to the race. I'll see if we can get the links together and put them in a pinned post.
Diarmuhnd Feb 25, 2016 @ 6:25pm 
"Remember the Cant"
-the Expanse

my guess the other contact stories can be found on the official website. heading over there to search.
Kody Feb 25, 2016 @ 6:28pm 
The easiest will actually be on the Facebook page in the notes section:
Birdie_Sparrow Feb 25, 2016 @ 6:44pm 
And more are coming! :)
Torchfire Feb 26, 2016 @ 1:18am 
Originally posted by GeneralDirection:
The easiest will actually be on the Facebook page in the notes section:

And what about the Facebook impaired?

Seriously, FB is one of the places on the internet that I never had, and never will have anything to do with.

So, is there anywhere ELSE to read those stories?

Edit:I think I finally found the rest of them...
Last edited by Torchfire; Feb 26, 2016 @ 4:00pm
tRhianor Feb 27, 2016 @ 1:04am 
Great story. Hoping for part 2 :)
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Date Posted: Feb 24, 2016 @ 2:01pm
Posts: 20