Story - What This Land Giveth (The First Discovery of Phased Ore)

#1
@Ronyn @Grummz @nethril#8239 ?

The electric impulse of a thought reached across the Fabric of cyberspace and translated into digital letters displayed on a retinal HUD.

"Cullman?" It read. The blinking of eyes did not darken the message and they briefly refocused on the ash-capped snow-scape, but more specifically, on the giant MEK that was eagerly assaulting the ground with one large drill-arm, slowly disappearing into a self-made pit. It was painted a matte black that seemed to suck light in, with vermilion accents and almost the same sunset-colored lights as the holographic assist of the augmented reality which was relaying information to him. "Cullman?" The silent message pinged him once more, as his sight flitted to the side, onto a friendly, a pale, gray-haired man, in a mid-sized frame larger than his own, but still nearly dwarfed by the one that was doing all the loud work.

"Carmen." His acknowledgement of her quasi-presence was mutually unintrusive. The man in the other powered exosuit, standing on a small hill of jagged rocks, made eye-contact, before directing his attention to the rest of their immediate, quiet environment, where a light fall of ash and snow danced in a rare calm breeze.

"You have something for me?" Came the next message, which somehow managed to convey a tone that said, 'This better not be a waste of my time.' Only without words, digital or otherwise. Perhaps meeting in person, on the odd occasion, aside from going off of whatever reputation another person had could give one enough familiarity to assume their tone.

"Have I wasted your time before?" Was the reply, as he had enough exchanges with the head of their research team to be more than familiar with her personality. And it worked both ways, of course.

"No. Sorry." Weak in patience and only a little less so in sincerity, as always. Some part of him liked to think her apologies were perhaps a little more sincere when it came to him. That part got an eye-roll from him, internally. "What have you found?" was Immediately followed by, "I suppose asking that is redundant, when it comes up as 'UNKNOWN' on scans."

"It didn't show up, before. Only after we dispatched the xenos." He looked up at the other man, again. "Even the weather calmed down and it was raining boulders. Literally."

"Yes. I have heard other reports saying these xenomporhs phase in rubble to alter the battlefield to their advantage. You're saying whatever your scans detected was buried during the fight?"

"The ground wasn't stable to begin with. We're standing on a thicker crust, but a magma flow filled up the hole the Category-2 left, after the old-timer and our heavy could trap it in, with the use of all my damn mines." He glanced over at the third member of their group, a woman with short auburn hair, a defined jaw and laugh-lines, as sturdy-looking as the frame she piloted that was still smaller than the digger.

"First-time with a Category 2?" Carmen asked.

"First-time the damn environment did our job for us." Cullman implied other Category-2s had been more problematic.

"You mean the first time we played it smart, aye?" A new contact chimed in.

"The first-time we 'could' play it smart. And it was still luck." Cullman's dissatisfaction digitally dispelled any delusion that they had a clean victory.

"Ye're such a sour-puss, Chase. This is why women can'nah deal with ya." The third party teased.

"Fiadh, the perimeter, please." Chase Cullman called her attention to the task at hand.

"Aye. Aye." she mumbled, turning around with her hulking frame.

"Not the first person to note you're trying too hard to play the lone wolf, might I add." Carmen's thoughts wrote.

"Not playing. Not hard." Cullman flatly stated, though that did not translate through the Fabric. Neither did any defensiveness, if there was any.

"So, you naturally repel women, as part of your charm." An assertion, rather than a question.

"Works about as well as yours, then." There was only a brief pause.

"Touché." He received, followed by, "Just keep me appraised." And with that Carmen was gone for the time being, leaving room for Cullman's mind to meander.

She looks too young to be heading research, but it's hard to guess anyone's age. The average lifespan was already doubled before we even left the old home-world. Times were I would've already gone gray, like Moran, over there. Now, when you start seeing wrinkles on someone, laugh lines and all the telltale signs of aging, they've already lived more than the average person used to. Lot of people spent their last years in pain; suffering from all sorts of diseases and defects, before all of that was engineered out of us. We wouldn't even be the survivors we are, if it weren't for all that. A golden age...and not many of them, since. But, we can't let ourselves think there can't be more. Hmph. Not even I'm that pessimistic. We never had to face anything like this. But, we were practically fated for it. The rest of the race wants nothing to do with us. They pretend to forget everything we've done, everything we are. From fear. It doesn't matter.

There is only one reason we're here. One reason we still live and fight. And it's not just because we're the only ones who can. Or the only ones who will.

We have no choice.

We have to.

"Awwwwooooo!" The howling of a wolf brought Cullman back from his unintentionally, but predictably, negative reverie. Fiadh turned back towards them. Out on the field, close to his MEK stood the holographic projection of a canine twice the size of any back on Earth, its call only audible to the three inside their frames, but not to their environment.

"Looks like yer boy's already hit pay dirt, lad!" Moran's voice, though muted and only coming through in text, actually had a strong accent Cullman could still picture. One which he himself lacked, as he only shared their heritage by name, not through any real branch on any family-tree. But, then, that was the case for many. Even back when the race was still on Earth.

"What do we have, Fenrir?" Cullman asked his MEK's OP-AI.

"Composition still unknown." Came the cautiously curious cadence of Fenrir.

"Let me see!" Cullman asked and nodded to his two companions, who readied themselves for an ambush, Moran twirling a sizeable hammer, while Fiadh projected a large energy-shield and I pike, as Cullman closed his eyes. When he opened them, he was looking at melted slag and debris, which he swept away with Fenrir's hands to reveal a glowing, electrified chunk of ore, nothing they had ever seen before. Stepping back from his MEK's optics to the Fabric, he sent an urgent communique.

"Carmen?"

"Well?"

"Prep your lab!"
 
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Pandagnome

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#2
Carmen has much to clear up i want to hear technobable from carmen next.

Cullman is he as old as the other pilot Moran in the medium frame and grey hair?

Fiadh - woman with short auburn hair what does she do she has a bigger mek is it a heavy?

She looks too young to be heading research, but it's hard to guess anyone's age. The average lifespan was already doubled before we even left the old home-world. Times were I would've already gone gray, like Moran, over there. Now, when you start seeing wrinkles on someone, laugh lines and all the telltale signs of aging, they've already lived more than the average person used to. Lot of people spent their last years in pain; suffering from all sorts of diseases and defects, before all of that was engineered out of us. We wouldn't even be the survivors we are, if it weren't for all that. A golden age...and not many of them, since. But, we can't let ourselves think there can't be more. Hmph. Not even I'm that pessimistic. We never had to face anything like this. But, we were practically fated for it. The rest of the race wants nothing to do with us. They pretend to forget everything we've done, everything we are. From fear. It doesn't matter.
I like this part particularly because the age group of the Reapers are varied and how those older are still proactive too.

Would be good to know who is saying what a bit more clearly, but other than that i liked the story.
 
#3
Carmen has much to clear up i want to hear technobable from carmen next.

Cullman is he as old as the other pilot Moran in the medium frame and grey hair?

Fiadh - woman with short auburn hair what does she do she has a bigger mek is it a heavy?



I like this part particularly because the age group of the Reapers are varied and how those older are still proactive too.

Would be good to know who is saying what a bit more clearly, but other than that i liked the story.
Yeah, I don't think Carmen's personality was mentioned, yet. So, I kind of took some creative liberties with that, imagining her to be someone who's absorbed in her work, has no time or care for forming in any stronger relationship beyond professional ones, nor does she have patience for anything not related to her work, or if she feels her attention is being pulled away from it.

As for ages, Cullman is older than Carmen, not graying yet, but both are middle-aged...ish. Moran is our equivalent of someone in their 50s and I imagine Fiadh is around the same age, if not a little older, than Cullman. And yes, she has a heavy MEK, as I've said, she and Moran both had to get a little bit up-close and personal with the Category 3, even after the thing was knocked off balance and the ground crumbled under it from Cullman's mines. A light, medium and a heavy frame had to work together to properly knock it off its ass, on already unstable ground, and into the lava.

EDIT: i edited parts of the conversation where it perhaps wasn't clear who was speaking, as per feedback.
 
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Pandagnome

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Happy Kaiju
Jul 27, 2016
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#7
Had to make a small but very important correction. To the category of the Kaiju. It was only a category-2, as per the Vision Book (for reference), not a towering Cat-3. I'll make the necessary edit to my sequels, as well. Damn it.
:oops: how different is the 2 to the 3 in scale probably much better is the highest one a 5?