Tag Archives: Acran

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] Survival Instinct #amwriting #storytelling

Acran, after pressing the call button to Huth Zorikavir’s office, scuttles in. /We may have a problem,/ he sends quickly, though he still takes the time to bow.

“Oh?” Zohi of Hatch Kavir responds. Her head tilts to the right as she considers the Mekke. “At ease. Tell me what you know.”

/Not a great deal,/ the Mekke sends back, /But … something from our commander. His mind … reaching out towards the Vanguard ship. I only sense such an intentional grasping in cases where the subject is actually attempting to make contact. Not with the mind, of course, but an attempt at communication always carries a trace of a telepathic push./

“We need more than that before we can act,” she says with a disappointed hiss.

/Yes,/ Acran replies, his mandibles clicking together, /Sadly, I have no access to sensor or communication logs that might give you more concrete proof./

The Nall gives a rough chortle. “Such trust must be earned. But I have access. Your intelligence may lead to actionable evidence. If it does, this may result in a clearance promotion.”

/Such access is not necessary in the scope of my function,/ Acran replies, dipping his head, /My people are not known for their ambitions. I do hope that you are able to acquire the information you need. Is there anything else I can do for you?/

She regards him with a cold, black stare. “You can tell me what you *do* want. I am less concerned about your *people*. More about *you* as an individual. Surely, you must strive for something.”

/I serve at the pleasure of the Vox,/ the insectoid replies, /If I and others of my race provide enough value to the Parallax, we survive. I want to survive./ His eyes are similarly cold, but expressionless.

“Survival without purpose?” Zohikavir opens her snout in amusement. “Even the smallest insect on Nalhom scurries about its existence with some sort of purpose beyond simple survival, even if that purpose is building shelter, caring for offspring, or protecting their queen.” Her head tilts. “You serve the Vox, then? You desire nothing beyond servitude?”

/Servitude is no novelty for the Mekke,/ the interrogator explains, /We each know from birth we must serve and protect the queen. If we do not serve the Nall, the Queen dies. We die./

The Nall officer dips her snout in concession of the point. “Very well. I will make note of your unflinching loyalty to the Vox in my next report to the homeworld. That is all for now, Acran.”

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-exploration: Portal Lock Antipathy

The Nall exploration vessel Brazen Star isn’t docking at the Consortium fuel tanker. Tyalavikil lacks the authority to do so without clear permission from the Vox Council on Nalhom.

So, instead, he orders ship’s systems to minimum except for sensors and decryption. The Brazen Star goes into passive spy mode while the ship’s commander awaits clearance from the homeworld.

Over the past few weeks, the ship’s interrogator has been slowly working on the mind of Tyalavikil. Never a full intrusion, or even enough to make the touch known. Slowly, but surely however, Acran increases the connection with each contact, acclimating the Nall to his presence. He is not, however, doing so when he steps onto the bridge to deliver his report, standing by silently while awaiting the Nall’s response.

“Go ahead,” the commander orders. He seems pensive and edgy. The impatience colors his tone of voice. Before Acran’s arrival, his mind had been on other things, distracted, and the Mekke picks up just a hint of it – something guilt-tinged; something dark. If light treason had an odor, this could be it. Soon enough, though, it is tamped down and replaced by a more focused, attentive, industrial mood.

“Crew morale is significantly higher than is typical,” the Mekke clacks into his translator as he hands the Nall a more detailed report, “Anticipation of glorious service to the empire seems to be a prime cause.” He stays as far from the commander’s mind as possible at this time, avoiding any association between the sensation and his presence.

“Not much to be pleased about until we have the means to refuel,” Tyalavikil replies, gnashing his fangs. “Little has changed but the starfield.” He gestures toward the Rucker on the viewscreen. “Do you suppose the sight of the Consortium tanker is a source of optimism for our crew?”

The Mekke pauses, as if gauging the minds of the crew for a moment. “The predator requires prey,” he says simply, turning his head towards the viewscreen, “I confess, that it is not a mindset we Mekke will ever understand.”

Silence falls on the conversation until the communications officer reports that the Parallax has its own tanker on the way. It’s a ship called the Bountiful Goddess. “She should arrive within the next six hours,” the comms officer concludes.

Tyalavikil’s mind betrays just the barest tremor of disappointment and consternation. His fangs clack together. ¬†Ultimately, he bobs his snout in response to the subordinate. “Inform the rest of the crew. Once the Bountiful Goddess is on station, our expedition may begin and Nalia will reclaim the glory she is due.”

“Indeed,” Acran says, bowing to the ship’s commander, “Permission to be dismissed, Ur’Huluth.”

The commander lifts a tattooed palm in response to the Mekke, saying, “Go.”

Dipping his head subserviently, Acran turns his unblinking stare towards the corridor. Later on, he presses just a little harder on the mind of the Ur’Huluth, specifically attempting to feed the predatory instinct of the Nall.

Tyalavikil, momentarily unguarded within his mind as Acran departs, seethes at the inconvenient paranoia of the Vox Council. It seems he had quite hoped to make contact with someone aboard the Rucker. Bringing a Parallax-flagged tanker into the situation makes it difficult – although not impossible – for the Ur’Huluth to do so.

The Mekke pauses carefully, considering his actions, not wishing to move too quickly. Deciding it worth the risk, the telepath gently reminds the Nall of his access to secure text channels, and the image of the walls closing in around him.

The commander drifts off in thought for a bit, then seems to regain his focus. He glances toward Nall at the other stations, wondering if anyone just called out for his attention. However, at this time they seem concentrated on their duties.

That pleases him. He calls up a tightbeam broadcast window on his monocle HUD, then lets the output pads on his fingertips dance in the air as he prepares a message aimed at the Rucker. Three words: “PORTAL LOCK ANTIPATHY.” He then activates the transmission function.

Just like that, Tyalavikil puts his command – and neck – in dire jeopardy.

The Mekke’s mandibles spread wide, but he merely returns to his work, waiting for the opportune moment.

Meanwhile, aboard the Rucker, Captain Miranda Lee is awakened in the darkness of her quarters by the shrill ping of her PDA. She rolls over on her bunk to reach to the bedside table for the device. Peers at the message. Sees the source. “Shit.” That’s just before her intercom buzzes. The tanker’s bridge officer reports: “Our sensors are picking up…”

She finishes for him: “A Nall ship. Right?”

“Aye, Captain,” the bridge officer replies. “Not doing anything. Just on the drift.”

That draws a mordant chuckle from Miranda Lee. The Brazen Star, she knows, is a bomb waiting to go off.

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[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-exploration: Under These Alien Stars

A holographic representation of the Vox, Gris of Hatch Vril, appears in mid-air. She’s surrounded by orbs representing the worlds of the Parallax – Nalhom, Lebal, Vollista, Ist’thol’mek, Grimlahd.

“Our goddess is pleased with what we have accomplished so far,” the Vox intones. “But she knows we can do more. We must do more. NOW is the time.”

She goes on: “The children of Nalia must make their mark in the unclaimed stars beyond our homeworlds and beyond the meddlesome interlopers of the Stellar Consortium. YOU must step forward to serve. YOU must give all in the name of the goddess to carry our people forward into the future that awaits us under these alien stars.” The message ends.

A Mekke stands head and shoulders above your average Nall, which is not difficult to do, and this particular insectoid is doing his best to get through the spaceport without getting in anyone’s way or attracting negative attention. Acran finally arrives at the deep-space recon vessel, unarmed and wearing nothing on his carapace other than a small bag of belongings and an insignia representing his status as Interrogator. He arrives at the airlock and taps the call button.

A Nall voice replies via the Brazen Star’s intercom: “State identification and assignment.”

“I am Acran, ID# 487902-33758,” the Mekke clacks into a translator device from his bag, ¬†“Assigned as replacement interrogator for Voltissa.”

“Ah, yes,” comes the reply over speakers. “That was quite a mess. Perhaps you will survive longer. Report to Ur’Huluth Tyalavikil on the bridge.” The airlock hatch thunks open.

“My thanks,” the Mekke replies as he skuttles aboard. He makes his way to the bridge and approaches the command chair. /Greetings, Ur’Huluth,/ he sends, /Interrogator Acran, reporting in./

The scar-faced Nall commander of the Brazen Star swivels his goggled gaze toward the Mekke. Both eyes, presumably lost in battle, are covered by blood-red glowing lenses. He replies: “Speak aloud to me at all times unless otherwise ordered. That is to be your default. Intrude into my mind again without permission and I will have your head.”

The Mekke bows, spreading wings as he retrieves his translator again. “My apologies, Ur’Huluth,” he clacks into it, “And I appreciate your forbearance this time. It will not happen again.”

“Good,” Tyalavikil replies. “The goddess expects greatness from you during your service aboard the Brazen Star. Once you get settled in your bunk, report to the ship’s information minister for further briefings. Huth Zohikavir. She will keep you apprised of any mission-vital data.”

“Understood, Ur’Huluth, it is my pleasure to serve,” the translator replies as Acran bows once again before heading below to stow his few belongings. This takes little enough time, and Acran is soon approaching the information minister’s office.

Crouched in a swing suspended on chains within a domed chamber, Zohikavir regards the newly arrived Mekke with gnashed fangs. Her tail lashes back and forth. “Interrogator,” she says, bowing her snout in deference to the Mekke. She raises a tattooed palm in salute. Lifting her beady black eyes to stare at Acran, she adds: “Departure is within the hour. I feared you might miss this opportunity.”

/Huth,/ the Mekke sends, also bowing in response, /I am glad I received the orders in time. The Ur’Huluth sent me to you for briefing on the mission./

“Our primary mission is to observe the activities of this vessel.” She waves a clawed hand in the air, bringing up an image of a Consortium vessel. “The Zheng Fe.” She swivels her snout to regard Acran. “Our secondary mission is to gather evidence that the Ur’Huluth is conspiring against the Vox and the interests of the Parallax.”

/That explains his reticence to allow telepathic communication,/ Acran sends, while reaching out very gently to the officer’s mind. Just a touch to confirm the truth of the information, with the telepathic message used as cover.

“No, that is just his usual professional paranoia,” Zohi of Hatch Kavir responds. Her comments seem truthful. “But we should be wary of any efforts on his part to undermine Parallax interests in the exploration region.”

/I see/ the Mekke replies, clacking his mandibles, /Do let me know if there is anything specific I can do to serve the Vox./

“For now, feel free to roam the ship and observe the crew,” she says. “Report any anomalous or aberrant behavior.”

/Of course,/ Acran replies, offering slight bow before scuttling out into the corridor.

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