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Artifacts which might not be what they appear to be

 
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MajorFreak
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2002 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STORY BY XINDAAN
EU player - formatting was kept as original
=====================

My tow Caretaker was gliding through Square of Quantos. Artifact hunting, as I often do in the early morning hours. Most pilots obey an unwritten rule of following TRI time and are asleep at that time, or doing their business on the stations. Thus, this qualifies as most probable time for not getting interference in your artifact hunt.

I hit the next waypoint, entering the new one on my spiral pattern, slowly approaching the equator. However, luck was with me and I did not need to go there. A notifaction sound alerted me of a new radar contact, and there it was, the local artifact. Great. Another data disk, I thought, just what I needed. Everyone likes data disks. Wonderful. Really.

While Caretaker was approaching the object in the distance, my shields suddenly began to flicker. Immediately, I started with evasive maneuvers. Right after that, my eyes focused on the display showing the shield status. 100%, all safe. Stay calm. Radar check. Nothing. Just me, the artifact and a distant asteroid. Let's stop the evasive maneuvers for now.

What was hitting me?

I looked around. No beam on the sides of the ship. No beam on top of me. Rolling. Nothing. Keep rolling. There. Back. A tight beam hit my ship. Blue. Shields still at 100%. Extrapolating the beam direction, it might originate from the distant asteroid. Probably a ship hiding there, roidhugging. Still, the distance was unusual, the roid was more than 30k away, and a laser hitting me from there? Not one of the things you can buy at stations, for sure. I cut the throttle, changed the direction of my tow, then began to accelerate towards that asteroid. The beam kept contact with my ship. What was it doing?

I enquired on the sector channel for identification. Not surprisingly, I was greeted by silence. However, the laser beam began to pulse visibly but just for a moment, then returning to its original state. Caretaker continued on its course. There, another change. This time, not abrupt. A gradual decrease of the pulse frequency down to perhaps one pulse per 10 seconds, and notably different lengths of the pulses, lying between a fraction of a second and perhaps 3 seconds per pulse. After about two minutes, the frequency increased again, until my eye could not distinguish anything, seeing just one, steady beam.

Communication, I thought, understood. Let's decipher it. Grabbing the scanner and recording the signal at the highest possible resolution was the obvious thing to do. Upon analysing the sequence, it caught a repeating pattern, with a longer pause defining start and end point of the pattern. Recorded, I voiced over the sector channel. The laser beam stopped.

Upon analysing the recorded pattern, doing several transformations, it soon became a readable format, using a similar encryption to normal sector chat. Then, I heard the message. It was voice only, and the voice obviously being distorted.

Here is what I deciphered, and I feel that I should share it, for reasons I will explain in the end.
Quote:
Hamalzah's blessings, my friend. You do not know who I am, nor should you. Better for you, and, more importantly, better for me. I know you have no reason to trust me. Therefore, judge the following things only on their own. Do my arguments stand up under careful scrutiny? Decide for yourself.

You are artifact hunting. Everyone and their mother calls them pre-collapse artifacts. Pre-collapse. If you really think that this prefix is true, please have your brain examined for any sign of coherent thoughts being left.

TRI did not stop telling us about the Great Collapse, noting that even the natural laws changed. How none of the old technology still worked. Look up the history information: "The ancient technologies that powered the great civilization were mysteriously ineffective. Indeed, it was a great task to rediscover the basic natural principles which now seemed to govern the galaxy." Read the historical timeline: "In addition the Collapse causes physical changes rendering the few remaining technologies useless." Check the information on spaceship engines before the collapse, compare them to the graviton based ones we use now. Get into your head that technology is different now, that we have new, different natural laws.

Listen to the previous paragraph again. Again. And again. Listen to it until you understood it, and you start to realize what I will tell you now.

So, now, we are supposed to believe that with our new, completely different natural laws, you can just find a pre-collapse engine, strap it in your ship and it works better than any commercially available engine of the same size. We are supposed to believe that with our new, completely different natural laws, you can just find a pre-collapse shield, strap it in your ship and it works better than any commercially available shield of the same size. With the old technology that is no longer working.

If you are not puzzled by that, you did not listen to that paragraph often enough. Do it now.

It gets better:

What about this one[/]i: It has been reported that the artifacts appear within a certain distance around the Triple-Zero-Gate. You do not need to be a Thrice "I saved the entire galaxy with just the nail of my left ringfinger" Seven Hero to realize the obvious relation to a jumpgate. A thing that it is there due to gravimetric fluctiations which are a consequence of the collapse, which are a post-collapse object. Causality. Cause and effect.

[i]What about this one
: The artifacts come packed in nice, standardized boxes. Check the Horizon Industries database for more information. So, we're supposed to believe that small data disks, up to huge size 5 engines or size 4 shields were all packed in these nice boxes. Probably a cargo transport, and these were cargo containers. Note the blocked exhaust of the engines, demanding that the engines were not equipped on a ship that was destroyed. Otherwise, you would find them floating with at least with their exhaust being free. The exhaust that belongs to an engine which works nicely with the post-collapse natural laws, which weren't there in the pre-collapse era, by the way. So, for the benefit of doubt, we just assume that a pre-collapse cargo ship was transporting post-collapse engines. That cargo ship was then blown up in the collapse, leaving the containers floating around, and not a trace of the ship itself is left. Good that they equipped collapse-proof shieldings around cargo items back then.

What about this one: It is a proven fact that artifacts appear. They appear in areas that have already been searched. They were not there before, unless cloaked. They appear as soon as another artifact in the same sector is found. They are not slowly drifting in. They stay motionless with respect to the Triple-Zero-Gate. They just appear.

Combine these points together and get the one, inevitable conclusion:

The artifacts can not be pre-collapse. Period. The artifacts are placed there. They decloak, or they get transported there, or they get dropped off by a cloaked tow, whatever. In any case, someone controls them. Someone makes them and places them. Someone who has the capabilities of building engines that are better than those being commercially available at the moment. Someone who is able to build a ModX that serves a "boost everything you can think of by 9%"-purpose. Someone with obvious access to advanced technologies.

And you can bet that this Someone has power. Think about the artifact placement.

Least scary option: Loaded tows fly around, cloaked or with a really powerful ECM. One or two in each non-station sector. They fly along that sphere around the Triple-Zero-Gate. Whenever someone grabbs an artifact, they just drop a new one at their current position.

Slightly more scary option: Someone is able to use the jumpgates in a way so that jumping objects do not appear in the opposing jumpgate, but instead in in a certain distance away. We are talking about up to 110k as that certain distance away. This would require a cloaked tow sitting in the jumpgate, able to make things inside its cargo space jump to a place far away from the counter-jumpgate. Picture bombs set to explode in three seconds sent directly inside The Wake Station. Picture ships not appearing inside a gate, but way outside, making it impossible to confine aggressors coming into the sector.

Even more scary option: Imagine that someone is able to define exactly where the transported item will appear. Chain-jumping. Make it appear inside the next jumpgate on your path, and make it jump right again and right into the next jumpgate on the path. Instant transport through the known galaxy. Picture a whole fleet chain-jumping towards their destination. Unstoppable, invulnerable. One might want to check for recent alterations of jumpgates.

On a slightly different note, would you feel safe as pilot, knowing that your so-called pre-collapse engines are, in fact, not pre-collapse, knowing that they are not here by a freak accident, but instead they have been put there by somebody with unknown intent, some purpose which you can only guess?

Candidates? Yeah, who might be that Someone? TRI, Hyperial, Amananth. Big corporations.I do not know who it is, nor do I have enough data to suspect anyone.

If you are lucky, you are just an unpaid prototype tester. I did not see a lot of Black Guard ships, among their tasks being prototype testing, around, did you? Remember what Cameron said in the interview with Two-Side? "Black Guard is also doing prototype testing. So what we are testing right now, you might find in your ship in the future." These TRI enforces surely are fast, so, there are good engines out there, developed. Somewhere. If it's prototype testing, then TRI might be the one.

But perhaps there is also a nice switch, allowing that Someone to get control of your ship at will, wreaking havoc, while people think that you are the one responsible for it. That reminds one somewhat of the Clone attack on Quantar Core, right?

What about Hyperial? Everyone likes to point at Hyperial. I am convinced that Hyperial is not it, though. Instead, I think that Hyperial might be a target. There was quite some trouble recently. TRI and the Quantar government tried to rally up the entire Quantar faction to hunt this Dr. Rauder. Surely Quantar could have pointed their pilots into doing something more constructive as Faction Reconstruction Project in that wasted time. Well, most Quantar pilots did that anyway, not becoming TRI lackeys. Then there were the nanobots, production sabotage. A blow to Hyperial production. Monetary losses. Production resumed elsewhere. Then there were the Clones. For my taste, REMEMBER GVB is a too obvious fingerpointing to Hyperial. A big, flashing sign HYPERIAL DID IT! is not really stylish. Unless there is a group that is ready to fight, it would be stupid to have everyone crawling around trying to find the clone controllers. However, if they are ready to fight and have the above capabilities... hm... Good luck.

But look at who benefited from the Hyperial production trouble. Exactly, other companies. Who could sell more of their own products? Engines, rockets, guns, whatever. Find out on your own. You will see the big names there. Companies, I might add, which are competing with each other as well. Companies, which conduct research in engines, shields, powerplants, and so on, to get an edge over their competitors. Companies which surely have prototypes of new, better engines, shields, powerplants.

Amananth? Well, Amananth is just the usual suspect. For all we know, they could be responsible for the great collapse, Conflux, and even these annoying asteroids at the gate in Lesser Locks, and even Emma.

I have no further insight into these issues, so I can only name suspects. You might think that I am a lunatic, a madman, whatever. Feel free to punch holes into my reasoning, in fact, I would be happy to see some, I could sleep better. Until then, I will continue to hide.

If you dare, share the information with others.

Transmission out.
Well, this was the transmission I got. When Caretaker arrived at the asteroid, I could find no trace of any ship.

The event took place about a week ago. I first tried to do investigations on my own, which is why I asked for witnesses of artifact appearances. Eventually, however, I decided that everything was getting too hot for me, too dangerous. I mean, I even revealed too much in my information request, if it's true whatever this pilot told me. I have to think of myself, however, and that's why, I decided to stop being a secret holder by just sharing my knowledge, thus cancelling any benefit in an accident I might undergo.

Hamalzah shall bless our paths!
Xindaan


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