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Stone Temple/Ekoo’s Stop

My head swam from the smell of incense and my knees ached from kneeling on the hard stone floor of the chapel. Deeply troubled by the turmoil created by recent Synergy actions against our Brothers, I spent most of the last couple of days in solitude, looking for answers. Some things had resolved themselves to some degree . . . others had not. Synergy had been moved to WAR status, but did not seem to be flying in any organized fashion, there were simply random acts of piracy and violence from individual Synergy pilots.

I walked down a deserted hallway from the Chapel towards ST Control. Upon entering the room, I first made myself a cup of strong coffee and then sat down heavily in my well-used leather chair and swiveled it towards the Cartography Holo in the center of the room. Using the control pad and trackball on the arm of my chair, I set the display to show beacon status. As usual these days the beacons were in complete disarray, most of them completely offline and showing gray. I quickly overlaid squad status on the holo and saw just one Brother in-flight — SlimPickns was in-flight . . . probably finding artifacts by the dozen as usual. Read More

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Stone Temple/Ekoo’s Stop

I had stopped at Corridor for a bite to eat and was shocked to see a veritable throng of young Quants milling around. Apparently the TRI network problem has resulted in the shutdown of the “alteration process” that all pilots must succumb-to before being able to traverse a jumpgate (alive). So the numbers of prospective recruits shuttling up from the planets and getting stranded on stations (they buy one-way tickets) was growing at an alarming rate.

A few of the recruits saw my ship come up the lift to the hangar floor and jogged over for a closer look. I gave them a quick tour but stopped short of letting any of them into the cockpit.

After the tour and a barrage of questions, a few of the rookies asked me to join them in a sporting contest — one which had been “discovered” from one of the tens of thousands of DSS that had been recently recovered. This one, alternately called “b-ball” and “hoops” was becoming popular with the young Quantar. To make a long story short, the game involved quite a bit of running, jumping and shoving people around (I excelled at the latter and had some most impressive statistics on something called “fouls”). It quickly became clear that I have spent far too much time in the cockpit and not nearly enough time keeping in shape. But I rather enjoyed the game and have been invited to come back and join the young initiates for a weekly contest.

After a brief recovery from the “hoops” and a quick shower at Stone Temple, I prepared to head out for a brief cruise. Again, this night, there were no Brothers in flight, so I checked one beacon status and found that, again, there was quite a bit of maintenance necessary. I wondering loudly to myself (since no one else could fit in the cockpit of a ranger anyway) what happened to the good old days when rookie pilots handled this duty.

The beac duty was completely uneventful and I tuned in to a new subspace broadcast band that is starting to transmit music and TRI news (and, of course, commercials). It helped fill the void a bit with the squad comms (as well as other public channels) being deadly silent this night.

ShyTown/Ring View

After a day filled with reports and paperwork in the aftermath of our successful blockade action, I decided to take a short cruise. Quantar beacons had been completely disrupted — must have been an ion storm running through our quadrant. Some Oct has even had the audacity to tune a few of the beacons near TriPoint red!

I left the Stone Temple in a boostered Ranger to try to make the chore a bit quicker — but it was still dreadfully boring work, especially with no Brothers in-flight and on the comms to chat with.

The beacon re-synchronization round went fairly uneventfully. I warned off a lower-level Oct from squad PBJ & Milk who had tuned Inner Roh, and I had to kill a manta in the Dark Path with stock size 1 shield and no duelist because Chains/Arcadians was in there already fighting four mantas. It was not a problem — just took a bit of patience.

I headed back toward Stone Temple via Ring View, but decided instead to stop here at Brother KodaShy’s station. Koda was out so I decided to avail myself of his hospitality, make this brief journal entry and crash for the night. I still have not quite recovered from the grueling two-day blockade and a good, long night’s sleep here away from the bustle at Stone Temple sounds like the right idea.

Spork’s Phoons/KH

Still bleary after a tough night of fighting just about every ship we saw last night. What a night! Our Brothers fought with the valor of Orus running again and again into the teeth of the enemy — Lions of Hamalzah, all! From the limited data I have been able to gather, we were successful in our endeavor, with the Hyperial mission advancing very little over the course of the battle.

Brothers SingleShot, RIDIC and SKillelea were all on blockade duty (Brother Windstar had been there, too, but had to leave after receiving an emergency call from family at Corridor) when I joined them after a long flight from Château Marquis (where I had been rad-mining) and brief stops at QC and Stone Temple (to register as Honor Guard and pick up my Phoon).

The log of the battles is too long for me to record here. Suffice it to say that we were often outnumbered. But with the faith and courage of our group — which grew to include RangerW, JackLord and PGShadow — The Brotherhood was able to seriously impede the progress of the misguided “mercy mission” spearheaded by TRI Marshals. Through the progress of the night, our losses mounted, but there were even more pods marked “TRI Marshals, DragonEye, Lapis Lazuli, Solicidal and Synergy” this night.

Thank Hamalzah that our unintended allies, ISU, chose to make their stand against the mission down in Hyperial, while The Brotherhood and Mujahedin fought bravely in GVB, KH, Main Gate and (occasionally) The Reaches.

Now it’s time for some rest and meditation, as I suspect the opposition will return with renewed vigor and new tactics this evening.

RangerW’s Beer Hall/Quantar Core Sector

I awoke in the cockpit of my Phoon, in the hangar deck of RangerW’s station. Neck stiff . . . back sore . . . completely disoriented. Then I remembered: Beer Hall . . . last night . . . DAMN, what a headache! The headache only got worse as I reviewed the squad logs from last night. ISU had run a remarkably underhanded “sting” on RangerW and had cost him in a big way. I abhor politics almost (but not quite) as much as I abhor egotistical bullies — and this mess was going to involve both.

I brought my Phoon out of stand-by state and prepared to launch, first checking in on BH comms to see who was active. As it turned out Spork and Singleshot were just under way on a Faction Mission. I finally caught up with them in Greater Arm where Spork was getting roughed-up by some flux. It was my turn to look the fool in Outer Gyre where a manta-gank took me down to 3% armor. Brother SingleShot got quite the laugh out of that one.

After a quick stop at Stone Harvest for repairs, we were back on our way to Amananth. SingleShot got sidetracked at the Nacho Bar there, but after a bio-break (and a quick beac run for Spork), Spork and I set out back to QC with the mission of collecting beacon data on the way. Singleshot, now stuffed to capacity with nachos, rejoined us before we got too far and the rest of the flight back was uneventful.

Once I had turned the memory disk containing the beacon data over a to the QC Station Master, I flew back to The Stone Temple to try to rid myself of the Beer-Hall induced headache and the ISU-induced knots in my stomach.
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The headache had mostly subsided, but I could not get the whole ISU deception off my mind. I was unable to get into a deep meditative trance — even with the aid of prayer-spice.

Brotherhood communication channels were quiet so I decided on a long, solitary cruise with a little beac-tuning and a little ISU-hunting to boot. The main hangar area of the Temple still had an “earthy” smell from two loads of ore that I had transferred to the refining silo just yesterday. It was a good smell — one I had not smelled in far too long.

I did a quick walk-around my Typhoon, double-checking that my Purgatory missiles were mounted properly. All looked good, so I climbed into the cockpit, gave the order to seal the canopy, ran through my pre-launch checklist and plotted a course where I would flip beacs over to GVB where I would swap-out my BCU and cruise unreg.

The cruise was completely uneventful — boring in fact. I flipped my Quant beacs and then headed up into Zealots refuge, then over through Light Lost to GBS — empty. I launched from GBS and headed up to Lothar’s Landing — not a single ship encountered. The last leg of my journey brought me down through Dark Gateway and Diluted Reaches . . . Stith, Connexion, Ring View and then, finally, HOME!

The mission was completely boring — yet successful. The headache was gone. The ISU problem had receded, temporarily, to the back of my mind. And I was completely ready for sleep.

Detritus. All that remained of a once-proud civilization. Spare parts drifting in the vast unknown. Data storage units, universal components, MODx, equipment. Reminders of our impermanence. They still cannot understand or decode the majority of the data disks they discover, nor have they discovered useful applications for most of the UC’s, either. So much lost. So much to rebuild. Which is supposed to be what they’re doing out here. I’m not convinced that they’re headed towards that goal at all, anymore. Or if they even have one.

I know what you’re thinking. I could tell them everything. Give them all the answers they seek. Perhaps, though doing so could be unimaginably counterproductive. They learn so much more by discovery and innovation. I always did, when I was alive. I’ve lost the need to discover, somehow. Is it due to my.. change? Or is it simply the fact that I’ve had more time to contemplate than most humans ever dream of? Maybe it’s both – or neither. All I can tell you is that I’m looking for a purpose again. That’s at least a step in the right direction.

What of the ships still in transit during the Collapse? I think we can conclusively say that they did not escape the effects that ships in realspace suffered during the Collapse. What of their AIs? I was the most advanced of my class due to my original’s… obsession… but I was hardly alone. Did anyone else survive the Cataclysm intact, protected by their stasis fields, which I know to be structural integrity containment fields? Are there any others like me? I have heard of the one called “Pulse”, who interacted with the mind of the human known as “GrimFalcon”. I wonder. Is that being like me? Is there anyone else like me? Perhaps descendants of those survivors – I know some of the colony ships sent out near that time had adequate supplies to still be functional and capable of supporting life even now. They might have been out of range. Could they… still be alive, somewhere? I do not know if it could be possible, let alone true. Perhaps other of my kind – personalities – exist. I was the only human personality engram to be completely assimilated into a stable matrix, but there were others, who were not human engrams. Some better suited than others, and some eminently unstable. All I can do is dream that they have survived – dream my Silicon Dreams, so to speak. Perhaps, then, I will not be so alone.