zekebeau wrote: »
Remember, the craft that took off from Cape town didn't show up on our radar. Who knows how many dark Jellys are out there? Learning their communications will help us to pinpoint these hidden bases.
Speculation was rife following the sighting of the second alien species, one which seemed to be made of writhing shadows. The two distinct types of alien craft were also raising questions. Could the Earth really be some no man's land in an intergalactic war?
Engineers were drafted from across to globe and presented with confusing, vague and occasionally self-contradictory plans for sets of armour suitable for field use. Extensive meetings were held where the two castes met and attempted to understand one another's ways. It was slow progress, but it was progress.
The preserved fragments of Jelly landing craft material were taken from storage. It was time to subject them to an endless series of assorted spectroscopy methods. Early results were puzzling, and many interns were promptly dismissed for defying basic laws of physics in their conclusions.
Even working at the very fringes of acceptable science there were some things that a man in a white coat just found hard to take. For Dr. Estefan one of these things was being unable to measure the density of a chunk of misshaped metal. If you could call it metal. No, he was sure he could at least state that this material was indeed a metal. He entered that onto the data sheet for the sample he'd been studying, then crossed it out, then wrote it once more and sighed,
Description: Twisted five-sided plate, see Figure 1.1. Edge length 42±5mm. Thickness 5±4mm
Classification: Metal Semimetal Metal
Density: ~250 kg m^-3 ???
Composition: Magnesium [Mg-24] 3.01±0.02%, Iron [Fe-60] 25.13±0.02%, Unknown element[Atomic Weight > 300amu, Atomic number ???] 71.86±0.04%
Metal that was low enough density to easily float on water and yet apparently was made up mostly of several incredibly elements. Elements so heavy that not only did they not exist on Earth but they passed through the region of instability that was typically associated with the superheavy atoms produced by cutting edge reactors and existed in a second island of stability far beyond the established periodic table. If an material was made of gigantic atoms and yet appeared to weigh next to nothing (when he could even get a stable reading from it) then it said terrible things about gravity. Having to question one of the fundamental forces was just not how you wanted to spend a Monday morning.
The ESAC labs were just not equipped to study superheavy exotic material. No labs were. Dr. Estefan was going to have to persuade somebody to build him a new lab if he was going to get anywhere. A new lab with lots of brand new bits of kit inside it. He looked over at the carefully packaged material samples from the exploded Jelly craft and went to go and find himself a drink. A strong one.
At least it meant that these really were aliens. He'd been wondering if it was all some kind of elaborate hoax.
[Research complete: You now have the option to build an exotic material lab]
Maybe that delightful Dr. Thomas had something. She was Scottish. She had to have a bottle of something strong and palatable. He hoped he could find her. If not he knew he'd find himself down with the assorted Eastern Europeans drinking homemade plum/apricot/potato brandy/vodka/paint stripper.
In the end he did find her. She was sitting in one of the coffee rooms looking at a large TV screen. A field reporter was standing beside a smoking ruin. It was the British Consulate in Chile. Or it had been. The Yellow Sign were claiming responsibility. A fictional terrorist group had just bombed a building and killed half a dozen civilians.
"Wait. Was that us?"
The Scottish scientist turned to answer when the lights dimmed and changed colour. The voice of Mother interrupted their conversation with what was starting to become a familiar terror. Another triple spiral was unfurling above the Caspian Sea. There was no time to find out what was going on in Chile, Dr. Estefan was Aleph Level and that meant he had to get to his station to give technical support to the interception / ground strike.
And he'd still not had that drink.
The Majorgeneral had been having some trouble sleeping lately. These UFO spirals were becoming a regular occurrence and the agency just didn't have the man-power (or more airpower) to take them all down at once. And that meant that every time they showed up the international tide turned a little more and somebody just gave the vice that was currently holding his balls another turn.
Now wasn't the time to mull over how bleak the situation was though, he was in charge of the military aspect of the agency and he had work to do. He tipped back the tiny cup of espresso that had turned up next to him. The near-boiling liquid scalded the roof of his roof and caused him to splurt most of it back out across the plasticised screen set into The Pit's command desk. Today was just not Majorgeneral Reichenbach's day.
The interceptor was now eighteen seconds away from expected visual contact, he flapped his arm at the aide who had rushed up with tissues and was busy trying to mop up the mess. The screen was hooked into the forward-facing cameras on the interceptor. He briefly glanced upward at the vast slowly spinning map of the planet to make sure that nothing untoward had happened to the Rainbow Force as they slowly tracked one of the other craft out over China.
"Craft A Visual Contact Confirmed - It's another Rock"
Of course it was. Three alien spaceships skirting along at high altitude and swirling outward in a spiral. Of course it was another flying rock. This was meant to be a foundation comprised of the best modern scientific minds, why hadn't one of those damn white coats figured out what these spirals were all about yet? Or at least come up with a better way of shooting them down.
"Engaging hostile target - Missiles away"
White streamers of water vapour traced the paths of the missiles as they streaked through the clear blue skies. The land below was obscured by thick rolling clouds that flashed with lightning. A small chime sounded as the alien craft deviated from its near-perfect geometric path. For once it had reacted too slowly though. Both missiles struck as the interceptor swept upwards and over the fiery eruption. A fraction of a second later the interceptor screens jolted, the jet fighter was in a spin.
The UFO had taken both barrels and come out fighting, hurtling upwards and colliding with a wing that had sent the interceptor into a dangerous roll. Alarms sounded as instruments struggled to make sense of what was happening and to prevent a stall. Tumbling down the interceptor plunged through the cloud barrier into driving rain and dense blackness. The alarm stopped suddenly, the pilot had recovered. A second later the screens were bleached white as the interceptor rose out of the clouds.
"I've lost visual and radar contact. Please advise. Repeat: This is Purple Rain, I have lost all contact with the hostile target."
"Roger Purple Rain, this is The Pit. Hostile appears to have been brought down. Request you reduce altitude and confirm"
All he had to go on for the moment were a few radar readings. The hostile had struck the interceptor and then just dropped out of the sky. Like... Well, like a stone.
[Phase 1: Interceptor: [19, 15] Two hits hit. Enemy:  One hit
Unknown craft crash lands]
Despite a damaged wing, the pilot brought the interceptor down through the cloud to sweep over the Serbian hills below. Visibility was virtually nil due to weather conditions.
Things were tense in The Pit as the craft moved out in a search pattern. Mother broke the silence a few minutes later to report that the two other craft had left the atmosphere. The Rainbow Force were virtually out of fuel and heading back to ESAC.
[No available transport to investigate the crash site]
Even when he won he lost. They'd finally taken one of down a Spiral Rock and he'd sent his ground team a continent away. By the time they refuelled some yokel would have carted the wreckage away. Or been eaten by whatever was flying the wreckage. He was going to have to think very carefully about how explained to Mr Fish or Ms Chia why he'd decided to send the lander out on its own mission despite their previous intelligence on all rock craft fleeing after any one of them was engaged in aerial combat. Very carefully.
[-2 on diplomacy checks against the Middle East and Asia. +2 on diplomacy checks with Europe next turn. You've earned a Blackmark against Asia for failing to deal with an extraterrestrial threat, you can make a diplomacy check to remove this. While there's a Blackmark you can't increase funding with that council. If you have two Blackmarks with a specific council you'll go down a funding level with them.]
see317 wrote: »
Yeah, we probably should have clued into that whole "The others disappear when we molest one of them" thing.
Ah well, lesson learned for next time.
As for explaining why we sent the lander on it's wild goose chase, clearly we had a hypothesis but needed eyes on target to verify it. I think we can safely conclude at this point that molesting any one of the triad rock ships while they're engaged in their spiral behavior will cause an immediate retreat from the other two craft in the formation.
Yeah, that sounds good. I think the funding nations will buy that for a while.
Kaplar wrote: »
I don't think our explanations matter in terms of mitigating damage or affecting results.