Friday, July 2, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241007.02 || The Archialect Arc pt II - Wild Bounty || Savant

Colin Pinnell <> wrote to

The Archialect Arc
Part II

Wild Bounty

((This log follows the events of The Gilded Ear, posted on 04/18/10. For
those who do not recall - I don't blame you! - Savant was running an
autonomic process and android somewhere outside of the bounds of the
Federation, in a Ferengi merchant station, where she arranged a meeting
with some miners. Now we get to see what came of the meeting, and what
that was all about...))

Concurrent to Charon's predicament...

The two prospectors were, in Savants' opinion, adorable. They were a
couple, male and female, she a half-klingon bastard child and he a
renegade Vulcan who had cast off the rationalist shackles of his birth,
donning instead the sword and shield of mercenary commerce. She was
cool, collected, short and wiry, muscled like a swimmer and sharp
toothed; he was huge in every dimension and jovial like a Viking of
ancient lore. So strange, so well out on the ends of the bell curves of
their species - what a marvel they were together, too! Lyndona and
T'taun. They warmed a place in Savants' synthetic heart.

Her runabout followed behind them closely as they navigated the asteroid
field together. The two ships were fairly similar, though the
prospectors' ship was larger they were both jury-rigged and repaired
endlessly, to the point of being nearly unrecognizable as space-faring
craft. Theirs had a long sensor-studded boom that projected forward like
a narwhal's horn, probing through the mountain-sized rocks that tumbled
serenely through the void.

Lyndona's voice was cheerful over the comm channel. "So you're not
looking for dilithium, huh? Thought it was a sure thing!" She smiled
like a happy shark, her needly teeth white and neat. She had a humans'
sense of hygiene, at least, and good for her.

"No, not dilithium. Maybe later. Right now, I'm looking for selenium,
gallium, vanadium, manganese. Transmetals, if we can find them." Savant
was in good cheer as well - she had found some pleasant organics to
spend some time with. It was always nice to spend time "under-cover."
She enjoyed it when they didn't presume they were talking to a computer.

Her boyfriend leaned into the cluttered viewscreen as he steered their
ship, the "Wild Bounty," towards an unexplored cluster, "You sure your
account's good? Good Ferengi latinum?" T'taun got an elbow in the ribs
for his lack of trust, and Lyndona smiled that predator grin again. "Of
course she is!"

"Of course. Five hundred per cubic kilometer, just like we agreed." The
program replied. And it was specifically a program replying - her
android was deactivated and in cold storage, they were talking to a
video simulation of the interior of a compact Runabout. To them, Savant
had a tightly organized, jam-packed spacecraft behind her pilot's seat.
In reality, almost all the available space had been taken up by powerful
processors, power reserves, replicators, transporters, and storage
tanks. All that space for life support would simply have gone to waste.
The shuttlecraft gave off the right signatures for a life support
system, but it was a sham. What would a computer program need with a
bubble of air and heat? She had named it "Chrysalis."

T'taun smirked, a decidedly un-Vulcan thing to do, and grinned as well.
"Just checking. This test phaser's good for more than cutting rocks,
after all. Let's g-owch! Lyndona! Let's get over there, looks like we
may have a hit." He nursed his newly bruised ribs and steered the ship
towards the distant rocks.

Wild Bounty's boom glittered as sensors released photon bursts in their
scans. Data poured into both vessels, and they soaked in the scenery.
Savant was at peace as the local universe revealed its secrets to her.
She barely paid attention to the happy chatter of the two prospectors -
they were interesting, but were acting as predicted, so had only limited
novelty. This, though - this was the foundation of knowledge. Location,
orientation, radiation - these were the elements from which the universe
was made. Savant basked in the slim sliver of light that was knowledge

But it was a small slice, and over too soon. Lyndona's voice was bright,
as always. "Oh, nice. Best one in the point so far. Will this do, Miss
Savant?" They had been surveying the Lagrange points of this unclaimed
and boring gas giant for several hours now, and the recent findings were
perhaps the richest. The two miners were mystified as to why Savant
wanted these elements - rare perhaps, but not so rare as to go hunting
for them in specific. Usually the hunt for dilithium was difficult
enough to enrich any miner's holds full of whatever mineral they were
interested in - it wasn't a limiting factor. But to hunt for a system
which was devoid of both dilithium and latinum isotope - that was a
strange thing indeed. Her money was good, so they had complied, but not
without curiosity.

"I think it will do very well, but let's finish the sweep. I'm very
curious about that large object at Lagrange Five. With any luck, it's
going to be carbonaceous." Savant sounded hopeful, which only mystified
the miners further. Carbon was the third most common reactive element in
the universe - why wish for a huge block of the stuff? It was
everywhere. T'taun shrugged and pressed Wild Bounty into warp; Chrysalis
followed just behind.

And behind them both, as a serene backdrop, the great ringed, Caribbean
blue planet hovered like a frozen marble in the black; hushed, waiting.

[ To be continued ]