Posted on

Story 54

Exotic Exhibits, part Three

As you walk into the old man’s office you find him holding a bottle of what looks like infant formula in one hand and cradled in his opposite arm is something that looks almost like a child’s stuffed play thing with black and white white fur. It probably weighs about 250 grams and is approximately 20 centimeters long.

“It is thanks to your efforts that we have this wonderful little guy here, but don’t let his tiny size fool you. When he’s fully grown this Panda of Old Strayos will probably be over 1.8 meters long and weigh a good 150 kilograms. Upon docking I wired the credits to you for your latest effort as the canisters pinged me with data about what they contained. Truly this is going to be marvelous. I am sure your notoriety will continue to grow as word of these new displays attract attention.  

However, the next task I would request of you, involves sending you someplace a little more difficult and potentially hostile, Ularos IX. They have kept genetic samples of fauna from all the worlds they have conquered. Eight of those planets are from outside our very drift system and have the potential to be incredibly diverse. Depending on how many samples you can bring me, I will pay you between 6,000 and 11,000 credits.” He sets down the formula bottle and pulls another shaving cream canister out of a drawer and sets it on his desk. “So are you up for one last mission?”

No, then walk away and gain a fame point for all that you’ve done to this point.

Yes, then travel to the mission point on Ularos IX and listen/read Story 51. Also, the plan that you and your crew come up with will require that your ship be capable of launching missiles and that you pay 1,000 credits to the chop shop on the Kiln to move your transponder ID over to one of your missiles.

Posted on

Story 51

From a different solar system

You realized long before you arrived that another puppet show wasn’t going to be enough. You needed something completely different to appeal to the Ilex, hence your willingness to mislead them about some unique device you would be willing to sell them for the right price. You have told them that you have a means for them to slip through a specific planetary shield with no resistance. They have agreed to the meeting in their military science building, which is also the same building where they house a lab with the genetic materials of animals they considered particularly hostile.

To prepare for this excursion, you made your whole crew follow the same protocols as if they were preparing to visit with the Zhian. Special soaps and detergents were used to eliminate scents, special clothing was made on your ship’s fabricator utilizing odorless polymers, and everyone had to force down bland diets that wouldn’t permeate your pores or make you gassy. The Ilex do not require such things, but you were trying to minimize your scent trails and just pretend that you thought they were culturally sensitive to odors like the Zhian. You did, once again, make your navigator not shave for a couple of days just in case anyone questions why he has a can of shaving cream in with his scanners and various tools. You are ushered into the conference room 

“So humans, our engineers are dubious of your claims. What type of demonstration have you prepared to convince us of such a notion?”, declares one of the Ilex sitting opposite of you at the conference table.

Your engineer speaks up, “It involves knowing that planet’s specific shield modulation and wrapping your ships in a specially engineered conductive mesh to cancel out the shield’s effect by being able to match the shield’s modulation. The complicated part…”

You raise your hand to slow your engineer down, “We figured you would have some questions about the veracity of our claims, why we would be willing to sell it to your people, and the actual cost for both the technology and the ability for you to manufacture it here on Ularos IX. Our engineer and I have a three point presentation along with computer simulations followed by a live demonstration using our own ship.”

As the lights begin to dim for the presentation, your navigator leans in close to one of the Ilex, “I’ve already seen this presentation, do you have a restroom I could use?”

The next forty five minutes passed with a very impressive looking, if scientifically suspect, presentation. Somewhere along the way, your navigator made it back alright despite what must have been an uncomfortable crawl through the ventilation system from the restroom to the cryolab.

“I know your team still has its doubts; that’s why we want to provide an actual demonstration. We are so confident in our work, we’re going to perform it in our own ship; after which I think we’ll be ready to negotiate price for this technology. Let me send you our ship’s transponder ID so you can easily track us.”

– – – –

As they monitor your ship, the Ilex see your transponder picking up a lot of velocity heading towards the gate while keeping your ship extremely close to the planetary shields and then they see your transponder make a sudden and rapid shift going back 180 back towards their military science building and suddenly there is an explosion against the shield that they can actually see with their own eyes. The one Ilex just looks at one of his senior officers and remarks, “I told you the science on that shield idea was bad.”

– – – –

“Luckily they monitor inbound traffic to the planet and don’t really worry about outbound traffic.”

Your first officer speaks up, “You have to admit that was pretty crazy hoping they would track the transponder ID and not notice that there was still a whole ship left back by the shield entrance.”

“I was flying close to the shields, making it very difficult to monitor us.”, your navigator responds.

“Besides,” your engineer jumps into the conversation, “it looks like this whole crazy scheme actually worked.”

You smile at everyone, “Well done, let’s get that canister back to the Space Zoo.”

The ship is just outside of the shield gate, and you had the wherewithal to fuel up the ship before taking off. When you return to the Space Zoo, listen/read Story 55.