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Story 8

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Sentient Electrical Cloud

As your ship enters the Nebula, you notice an unexpected phenomenon. Numerous pink clouds with electrical arcs are heading right towards your ship. They are moving with tremendous speed and surround you from all directions and stop abruptly about 1 click out. Then, 1 cloud heads straight for your bow and passes right through your ship’s electrostatic barrier and hull. It enters the bridge and comes to a stop about 2 meters shy of you and your command console. You can see that the pink cloud roils in almost a rhythmic pattern as electricity arks through it in various places and a continuous discharge comes from it to the ground as if they were legs holding it off the ground. It begins making electrical buzzing sounds very slowly. Your comm officer flips on the universal translator and the speakers begin to buzz back. The computer and the gaseous cloud continue to buzz back and forth, very slowly at first but with increasing rapidity. After several minutes the translator pings that it has some of the rudimentary parts of the language figured out. 

You offer up a quick introduction of you and your crew to this new entity and you can hear your universal translator simultaneously translating it.

After a momentary pause the entity starts buzzing and for some reason the universal translator seems to include an electrical static sound when interpreting.

“Greetings, ugly bags of water. My name is Zz-zz-zzhao and our people are the Nuh-bess Roessius. We live in this Nebula. We would like to propose a mutually beneficial cultural exchange. First, we would appreciate a transmission containing your literature and other types of media, and we will offer refueling when you pass through our nebula. Second, if you let me travel with you to a new Nebula, I will regularly top off your ship’s power till you get me there.”

  1. You can refuse both as you distrust such generous offers, plus you have too much going on to start taxiing a pink cloud around.
  2. Allowing them access to some old holo videos, music, and what passes as literature for your crew seems like a pretty good deal to save on refueling costs, but you’re not ready to let an alien join your crew. Place the pink cloud token on your current spot in the Nebula. Whenever you stop on that space, move your energy back to full.
  3. For all you know these aliens will turn around and pirate the stuff violating the DMCA, but an extra crew member that doesn’t need much space and will save you time and money on your fuel expenses could be a huge bonus. At the end of every turn recharge your ship to full and whenever you drop Zz-zz-zzhao off in a different Nebula gain 1 fame point. 
  4. You have a personal goal to seek out new life and new civilizations… and make them all learn your favorite catch phrases from various holos. You can expose both Zz-zz-zzhao and the rest of the Nuh-bess Roessius in different ways. Place the pink cloud token on your current space and whenever you stop on that space, move your energy back to full. Also, at the end of every turn recharge your ship to full while Zz-zz-zzhao is part of your crew, and whenever you drop Zz-zz-zzhao off in a different Nebula gain 1 fame point.

Clarifications: In order to refuel your ship you must end a movement on the pink cloud token, but you do not need to end your turn on that space. It will fully recharge your ship at that point but re-arming markers and additional actions that use energy after that point will once again reduce your energy. Zz-zz-zzhao is very compressible and does not take up significant space on your ship. He is also willing to be a navigator joining your crew for shift rotations.