[Back to the Gaming War Stories page]
[Back to previous logs]

29: Artemis Hunter(A)!!

[run by milliken@bbn.com]:

One of Selene's inumerable probes finds something strange! A small spacecraft, traveling at STL relativistic speeds (currently about 50% of c & decelerating), heading for the Godling's Star system [which, in this timeline, has no Godlings & few other civilized-type people -- Unars discovered it]. It will get there, & stop, in about 15 years. This is amusing -- would Selene's favorite troubleshooters please go take a look at it? We off-load the people on the Hell (Selene's working on producing a high-stealth probe, & one of her new Nobel class ships, & we had about four people helping her construction 'bots), load up the Bat, & hyperjump to the area.

This takes a few weeks, mostly spent in hyperspace.

We get to the place. Yeppers, there's something there! We can't see it very well, since it's spitting off particles like crazy -- it seems to have a magnetic shield which is protecting it.

Moonfur tries hailing it in all her languages -- starting w/ New Garavaran & Kintaran (since this looks pretty unique!). No reply... Scan again. Hm. Well, among other things, it's been out a long way (we can track its backtrail), & seems to have its course plotted through "thin" parts of space, it was up to .99c at the furthest edges of that, & it looks like all the power is going to the magnetic shielding, the thrusters, the force screens, & there's a little "parasitic" power that might be powering a computer &/or freeze tube(s). It's got hyperdrive engines, but they look a little busted...

It is scanning! Everything in the area, including us, but we aren't getting more attention that the other stuff -- it powers up its laser & shoots things that would get past its forcescreens.

We discuss what to do. Moonfur suggests (quietly, & not very seriously {she made the same suggestion to Selene, earlier}) using the jump drive to go forward 15 years, find out what it is, & come back... We're keeping up w/ it using fractional warp -- could we extend our "warp bubble" to it, & make it slow down its real speed? Embereyes (Frank is on vacation) doesn't think so. What about dragging it into hyperspace w/ us? Lucifer thinks that w/ the right equations, we could dump its velocity & come out...

Might overload the hyperdrive engines on that side, though. Well, we can manage -- it's not like they're TL 13, so they'll only be a nusience to replace. Might be a good idea if we told the ship what we were doing, though, since it would simplify the calculations a LOT if it shut off its drives. Oh, & by the way, Lucifer says to Celeste & Moonfur when Celeste askes what he makes of the ship, it looks to Lucifer like a Timeline A "Burrito class" ship, about 70 years old; crew: one person w/ AI. Moonfur has fits about how it can't possibly be one. But... Well, it could have busted its hyperdrives going back over 400 years in a failed jump, & that could explain what it's doing going STL -- it's only been 50 years for the ship, while it's been probably about 500 for the rest of the universe. Oh, dear. Celeste doesn't want us to say anything about what's going on to any crew we rescue. Moonfur points out that they're going to be really confused, since they're going to wake up & the War will be gone, & there's lots of new aliens, & all that good stuff.

Moonfur rigs the comm to talk to the other ship's (FTL) sensors, & tells it, in New Garavaran, that we're going to be slowing it down.

By modulating its thrusters, it replies, "Describe method." Moonfur & Lucifer do. "Acceptable," it says, shutting off its thrusters. Moonfur: "Ready for jump?" Ship: "Yes."

We send Annshat & Moonfur's kids off in the Bat, a safe distance away.

And we jump. And we come out -- Embereyes managed to tweak the hyperdrives such that we don't bust any of ours. The ship is there, stopped. Now that we can scan it -- that magnetic shield looks home-made! Wow. Someone was interested in saving his, her, or its hide. Moonfur tells the ship that we're going to be coming over, expect one Human, one Kestralian, & one Kintaran. We take Handy over. The airlock is small! Moonfur could squeeze herself in, but it would be hard. We tell the AI that we're going to be disabling the airlock so it can be opened from both sides -- it's not like there's anything resembling atmosphere on the other side anyway...

The AI can talk now that we're inside the one-room bridge-cabin. It hasn't seen a Luca's class freighter in a long time... It's Rusty, the ship is the Rustbucket, & is the Captain all right? We go check the freeze tube in life support. There's a green light & an amber light -- amber is the power cell. We can replace that whenever. What's the Captain's name? Captain Artemis Hunter. "But! But! But she--!" Doesn't exist, Moonfur wants to say. Selene(A) made her up! Celeste tells Moonfur to calm down.

Rusty confirms that they were flung back in time about 537 years, & have been working on getting back to approximately the present. At Celeste's insistance, Moonfur does not explain that Rusty was also thrown, ah, sideways into a parallel universe. She'll explain to Rusty's Captain first...

We have construction 'bots haul the thing into one of the holds where it can start warming up from something close to 3 degrees K. Celeste fires off a report to Selene. Selene: "WHAT?" Celeste sends the same report, in boldface. Uh-huh. "Should be safe." Moonfur wants to know what Selene means by that. Selene means that since the two (two!) Artemis Hunters aren't exactly the same, they won't converge, w/ one replacing the other as happened w/ Larana (B), Celeste (B), & Moonfur (B). They might fight, though -- Captain Artemis (B) seems to have a liver problem, get into lots of bar-fights, & from the medical records, tends to lose.

Since the freeze tube is pretty old, we should have a doctor standing by who has some experience in such things. Well, the Godling's world is pretty close, & they have Unars there, & it's going to take hours to warm up the ship anyway, & we put a new battery in the freeze tube, so... Off we go.

We get there & hail the station. They say they hope we don't want to dock, since they're a small station, & they don't have landing facilities big enough for the Hell on the ground, either... Moonfur says not to worry, that we've got a shuttle, & we found a very old freeze tube, & we're rather not open it without a doctor, & do they have one? They do. We haul the freeze tube over, & start thawing Captain Artemis out under the watchful eye of the Unar doctor (who hasn't seen a freeze tube like this before -- we give him the manual that Lucifer has for a more "recent" version [timeline A]) & an Irari. Moonfur insists that Celeste be the first sight seen by Captain Hunter, since Unars & Kestralians were "bad guys" sort of, & Kintarans hadn't been discovered by the time that Hunter had her hyperdrive accident. & Irari definitely hadn't been discovered either!

Artemis Hunter's first words are along the order of "I want a drink." She expresses some small bogglement that "The War is over." She is not impressed w/ talking white hairballs. The Unar doctor doesn't want her drinking so quickly out of freeze. She says nasty things about Unars (in Unar); Moonfur, in Unar, says that it's not nice to call the doctor's mother "luggage." The Unar says we don't owe him anything as long as we get this person out of his sickbay now. Moonfur shoves her out the door. "Who do you think you're shoving?!" quoth Captain Hunter. "You!" quoth Moonfur. "You trying to start something?!" gripes Hunter. "No," says Moonfur. "I'm taking you back to our ship, where you can get something to drink. If you give me trouble, I'll sit on you!" Either Hunter figured out that Moonfur outweighed her by 200+ lbs, or "something to drink" were the magic words. Besides, she didn't have her blaster w/ her.

Moonfur introduces her to Kintaran beer. This is a hit. Moonfur's small supply of Flare's Secret Recipie (Himario booze) is not appreciated. Oh, well. The Rustbucket is a bit pathetic. Moonfur fixes the comm back up (Hunter swiped every bit of wiring that she could to build that shielding, "& the last two months were spent stone cold sober!"), wiring it in shades of red, orange, & brown & making copious notes so that Hunter can repair it herself. Hunter asks if Moonfur's ever been a prospector [who tend to repair things idiosyncratically w/ whatever comes to hand -- though Moonfur did have access to a veritable rainbow of parts...]. No, but Damien has been -- they go over claim maps together. All of Hunter's old claims have been mined out in this universe (Moonfur finally explained that she, & they, are from another universe entirely, & in this place, the War never started), even the fringy ones. Oh, well... She'll just have to find some new ones, then.

She asks to borrow some tools so she can start fixing up her ship...

Selene is consulted again, & (w/ Moonfur's agreement) says that she (or rather, her analog) probably sort of owes Artemis Hunter something, so Artemis Enterprises will foot the bill for fixing up the Rustbucket.A. Hunter finally discovers the small print beneath the crescent-&-arrow designs that are all over the place, & thinks it amusing.

Moonfur finally gets around to mentioning that oh, by the way, in this universe, the military effort never happened to boost the tech. "You mean my stuff's not obsolete anymore?" asks Hunter. Moonfur replies, "No, now it's cutting-edge technology. {pause} This will mean that it's more expensive to repair, though... At least you can see through the stealthing that most people have." But only Unars do that... "Not in this universe. Lots of different people have it." Moonfur does not mention that Artemis Enterprises is one of the people in question...

What w/ Moonfur's "Selene this" & "Selene that" which pepper her conversations when talking about unique & advanced tech, Artemis Hunter finally comments that Selene must be a relative of hers -- the Greek name, y'see, is a tradition in the female line of the family. (Well, it's greek names in her side, & greek & roman mythology in Selene's, but close enough.) Moonfur is now going to be researching Greek names...

New hyperdrives are constructed (w/ Embereyes' fingerprints all over them...), & installed, & we go to Kintara Station so that Captain Art can register her ship. (Moonfur fixes the transponder.) Kintarans being lax about such things -- the Sparrials are as well, but the other Captain Art was last reported in that area, & it might be a good idea, Moonfur thinks, to keep that pair seperated on general principles -- Captain Hunter won't have to pay as much to get people to accept that she's a legal person who just happens to be from another dimension, & her ship as well... At least she now owns her ship free & clear, according to the banks (& can morgage it for some money if she needs to).

We drop her off there, Moonfur gets to visit a little, & warns Hunter about the KLF (who may or may not {probably not} be able to fit through the Rustbucket's airlock, & even if he did, Hunter's "Bessie," {blaster} would take care of it).

Moonfur did what repairs on the much-troubled Rusty (about half its processers were down, memory loss, etc... Some of those particles were indeed getting through & doing nasty things to it) she could -- Selene could have done the repairs by remote, but she was too busy preparing for a general electronics trade show.

[[*sigh* Why do I have a Bad Feeling about this trade show?]]

[[How about because Selene seems to have fallen for "Vladimir" -- the station manager for NovaTech Station 2!!!!]]

[On to Logs 11]