Thanat Phone Home

Day 14, Pre-Dawn

As planned, L&R is going to open the gate once early in the day to establish that the explorers are still alive. If they give off signs of life, they'll call back to Earth with requests and any data commodities they have for trade(or simply to share). They'll have about ten minutes to transmit. An hour later, they'll receive replies for ten minutes. And then they'll have a staggering thirty minutes of gate-time later in the day for all transfers to take place. Since Arianhod has already contacted L&R once, they'll have some replies waiting during the first connection.

Shortly before dawn, the gate suddenly springs to life, generating one of the miniscule apertures necessary for data transfer just in case something nasty is waiting on the other side, and transmissions arrive from Sol space:

Recruitment Profiles

Rostislav Lev

  • Jovian
  • Military Experience
  • Special Ops Experience
  • Bio-Conservative
  • On The Run
  • Bonus: +4GP worth of items or feedstock if accepted into the colony.
  • Bonus: Lev is accompanied by eleven other refugees.

Good day, colonists. I am Rostislav Lev, formerly a major with the Jovian special operations forces, but no longer in their good graces. I have with me eleven other refugees from Jovian "justice," and your planet looks like a place where we might be left alone, assuming you will not force any bio-modifications or nanotechnology upon us. I realize that we are likely not who you were looking for in your recruitment profiles, but I hope you have some sympathy in your hearts for our situation, and if you do not, we some resources we managed to… liberate, during our escape, which we will be happy to pay our way with.

Kinkulon IX

  • Scum
  • Extremely Scum
  • Mildly Famous
  • Expert XP Creator
  • Xenofauna Expert
  • Biology Expert

Hello, simpletons. I'm sure you're already mishandling this wondrous new world, and that's why I'm offering you my services. You may know of me from my studies on Whiplash digestive systems or my seminal essay: "Do Mist Trees Poop?" If you don't, it's alright, I already know you're uncultured cretins, but you can make up for it by allowing me to practice my art and my science on your world that you're failing to appreciate properly. I'll even deign to let you have a few credits like Best Boy or Dolly Grip in my XP's.

Sameera Sudarshana

  • Lunar-Lagrange Alliance
  • Xenogeologist
  • Mining Expert
  • Demolitions Expert
  • Has Multiple Lawsuits Pending Against Her

Greetings and salutations! Word over the meshvine is that you're in need of a mining expert who knows how to handle a novel environment, and say no more. Few people have blown up as many things in as many places as I have. Some of it may even be in an exploitable state afterwards. I'm joking, I'm joking. But seriously, I'll blow open so many holes to riches that you won't be able to count them all. Just remember to wear your hard hats, folks. Also, uh, don't open any Pathfinder gates, not all of my detonations on Luna were entirely to code.

A Gentle Smell Of Lime

  • Factor
  • Trader
  • Wanted Criminal
  • Biology Expert
  • Stealth Expert
  • Legal Expert

Ah, humans. I'm glad you've ignored our advice about the Pandora Gates. To make a long and very tiresome story full of mundane details short, some very unpleasant people are angry about a deal that we fulfilled to the contractual letter and wish us harm, and our shipmates seem to feel that it is somehow our own fault. In the interest of not being reduced to carbonized slag by a squad of those you call Extropians, could we perhaps stay on your little colony for a while? Our skills will of course be at the colony's disposal for the time being.

Business Offers

Dunk My Junk Adventures

  • Scum
  • Pays: 2GP

Alright, you guys have an exciting new world and we've got exciting new business opportunities. We'd like to embed an XP team on your colony for the next two weeks and subject a bunch of our unpaid volunteers to massive testicular trauma. It may seem horrible, but it pays the bills.

USS Space Nazis Must Die

  • Scum
  • Will Share Their Drugs
  • Pays: 1GP

Uh, hey, Thanat. Remember us? Cool, cool. Look, we need a place to do some business where no one's gonna look us over the shoulder, and this colony you've got going is the perfect thing for it. Like it's brilliant, who's going to tell you what you can't do when you've got your own planet, right? Hope your buddies don't have sticks up their asses about "illegal" drug trades, lol.


  • Argonauts
  • Moderate Favor
  • +5 r-Rep
  • Like That's Their Entire Deal

Hello, colonists! We hear your new world is looking fascinating and you've already been making some discoveries. We're looking forward to sharing them, and will of course support your future endeavours as long as you support our free knowledge principles.


  • Hypercorp
  • +1 GP per gate opening

Hello and hello, colonists. I'm sure you don't care much about the usual corporate sales pitch considering who you are, so I'll make this blunt and simple. Gammax is on the lookout for storage sites for various industrial byproducts, some with a negligible* amount of trace radioactivity or with limited* biological hazard probabilities. Since you've started a new colony and could probably use the money, we thought we'd approach you with the deal of a lifetime. In exchange for just a few* drums of our byproducts every month, we'll support your endeavours to make the best, coolest colony that transhumanity's ever seen. Just hit us up if you want to get in on this amazing opportunity, you only get these deals once in a lifetime, after all.


  • Hypercorp
  • 3 GP

Oh, my gosh. A new group of gatecrashers? On a virgin world? Making unique and new discoveries? That's, like, SO what people love, all the time. Experia will absolutely pay primo credits for your XP's and scientific data. Just shovel it into our datalinks and we'll give you the money. And because we like you, we won't even try to claim legal ownership of your likenesses and forks. See? It's nowhere in the fine print. It's not even on the back of the contract.

Media Updates


Oh, no. Sorry for the misleading headline, Titan is fine. But Reclaimers have recovered the lost discography of Gloryhammer from ruins on Earth. Pretty exciting, huh?

Ultimate of Fortune: Oiled Guns Edition


SHAMING GENETRASH CAN BE NON-VIOLENT. WATCH AS BILLY AND ZANE SHOW UP IN THE SHOWERS OF THIS SCUM BARGE GYM WHERE THIS WIMPY LITTLE REMADE IS HIDING OUT. [an XP follows of two muscular, buck naked Ultimates cornering a guy in the showers of a scum barge and arguing with him about Ultimate philosophy. it's pretty obvious that the guy isn't actually Scum but just another Ultimate acting the role and he ends up being viciously cornholed by their superior philosophy]

[twenty pages of guys yelling about guns follow]

Extropians Recover Ancient "Bitcoin" Basilisk Hack

"Look, it's the only explanation," states Extropian trader Hungus Hulk, "The fact that people wasted their life savings on what is clearly such a scam can only be explained by it being an early form of Basilisk Hack hijacking part of their cognitive processes."

Recovered Alpha Fork of Chris Roberts Insists "Star Citizen" Will Be Done Any Day Now

But if you want to get in on the last wave of backer bonuses before launch, you, too, can buy the Sodawolf 9000 for only a million credits! It will definitely be implemented in the game before the heat death of the universe.


While digitally thumbing through Ultimate of Fortune, Arianhod pings the Titanian consulate, and very politely requests whatever detailed intel she can get on all of the applicants, especially the Jovians. They could be a huge asset and huge risk. She has a hard drive with the expeditions full XP along with her notes, As a sweetener, when open for transmission, along with DNA equivalents taken from the biosamples, with a focus on the first contact bits and closeup of the gunships, both alert and inert. There's also suggestions that this might be the place to start moving refugees that are still earth-sick and make sure we can get a populated colony and eventual aligned member of the A-list going, and we don't want the Scum forming the backbone of it now do we?

Major favor, -30, spending 1 moxie to remove penalty.
1d100-60: -35 [1d100=25]
Superior success! Getting extra detail.

Titanian Consulate Report

Rostislav Lev

As expected, intelligence on a Jovian special ops major isn't easily acquired, but the Titanians have pinned him down to several locations over time. There are plenty of generic spy ops, but the most notable incidents are: helping Ultimate mercenaries locate and destroy an Exhuman hive in the Kuiper Belt and assisting a biocon exoplanet colony in its defense against a Hypercorp takeover then apparently disappearing for five years following that venture. Upon his return he was briefly hailed as a hero of the Jovian Republic, then disappeared from the public eye before resurfacing after a prison break that even the Jovian propaganda machine couldn't hide, apparently liberating a handful of political prisoners before disappearing. Essentially a total blank on the rep networks, but negative in C-rep and slightly positive in x-Rep. He looks like a grizzled action hero in his mid-40's who makes hard choices and utters one-liners after blowing bad guys up.

As far as Titanian intel can gather, Rostislav's entourage were all released during the prison break, so all that's known is that they pissed off the Jovians badly enough to get locked up.

Kinkulon IX

Aside from some very scholarly and passionate essays and hypotheses about both bio-engineered digestive systems and xenofauna digestive systems, Kinkulon's career appears to have been 90% starring in fetish porn videos in custom-made synthmorph sleeves. The more extreme matters include consensual cannibalism, but there's also stuff where he/she(there appears to be no definite gender) sleeves in a huge morph and steps on other, smaller morphs, hard-to-parse stuff like breaking windows with gigantic breasts while giggling, as well as more generic things. It appears to be mostly commissioned things, thus accounting for the huge variance in material. Kinkulon has been on multiple exoplanet expeditions before, often Scum expeditions, and is highly rated in @-rep and, oddly, also G-rep. Kinkulon has a rogue's gallery of morphs, all synths, for various events, including the extremely unique "Ball of Tits Morph." When not starring in any fetish material, however, Kinkulon tends to manifest in short and unassuming sleeves, almost bland enough to be Cases, though they're of much higher quality on the inside.

Sameera Sudarshana

Her background appears to check out. She's been working as a mining engineer, often on asteroids, for about fifteen years of her life, even before the Fall, starting off generic but eventually developing a skill(and passion) for explosive mining. A year ago, however, she caused some degree of trouble on Luna as she either mis-calculated, or was overly enthusiastic, about the amount of explosives needed in a mining project. No lives or stacks were lost, but a hell of a lot of credits went down the drain as her "mining" collapsed an extensive and expensive tunnel network. She's currently being hunted by a lot of lawyers, and her formerly pristine C-rep is now in the negatives, while f-Rep is taking off since she's been funding her exile with XP's of her explosive mining work and also been doing what pyrotechnic work she can without getting caught. Her usual morph choice is a young, cheerful Indian woman modified to have four arms, she happily admits that it's a Vishnu thing.

A Gentle Smell of Lime

Intelligence on Factors is always a difficult thing, since their hive/colony existence means that after meeting other Factors, they aren't necessarily the exact same colony entity afterwards. Apparently they've been exiled from Factor society for several months now, after a deal with Finosa Labs went sour. Poring over the details of the contract, Lime appears to have intentionally left out some subtle clauses that the Finosa Labs lawyers and scientists missed in their eagerness to get their hands on what they presumed was Factor technology/intellectual property. Instead, however, twisting the wording, Lime supplied them with outdated data from a defunct Hypercorp, data which had never been publicized since it mostly consisted of failed or disappointing experiments. Not having any legal recourse, Finosa Labs pulled some strings and now every G-rep entity in the system knows there's a fat bounty on Lime's head. @-rep is high, since the anarchists approve of anyone who fucks over a Hypercorp. Lime spends most of their time crammed into a spacesuit rigged up to look like a synthmorph, concealing their nature and disguising any non-human behavior as "whoops i'm an AGI i do not know how fleshies do beep boop ha ha excuse me while i run away."


Arianhod shares the dossiers with the rest of the team "Personal preferences, everyone except the scum, who I think will probably get murdered in short notice, and also enjoy that. The Jovians are a risk but honestly, we need extra hands and this is a colony. I'll start writing up a charter for everyone of basic expectations. As for the business offers, I'm alright with most of them, but especially the testicular trauma folks: They seem like an excellent opportunity to find out what fauna and flora on Splinter is man-eating."


"Yeah, Kinkulon looks like an asshole, no doubts, the others look alright, Factor included. I hope we can get some alright scum to come through. I'm fine with the first three contracts, but the hypercorps', absolutely not. One wants to dump nuclear waste in a pristine inhabitable world, and the other wants to lock up all our discoveries. Fuck that."

To emphasize his 'fuck that' point, Thanat uploads 14 days' worth of XP to the Argonauts, L&R and to the USS Space Nazis Must Die, leaving to the others' muses to hide their identities or not depending on their settings (while the Argonauts' version is as full as the others in case he missed something, points he think would interest them are highlighted). To the Argonauts, he also hands data gathered by various sensors, of bots and the GEV. He also updates his back-ups on L&R and the ship, just in case. He also downloads whatever has been sent to him while he was away, virtual mail and bills pill up just as annoyingly as the real version used to. He then contacts L&R, to ask for xenoarchaeologists as planned earlier, since their claim to Splinter has now been filed with the other gate corps and co-ops.

<So guys, as you might see from the XPs if you got the time, we also need people into xenoarchaeology and first-contact experts. Uh, first contact with remnant security robots, not live aliens, sorry. And do you got an astronomer available?>

"Reading all those rep reports, do you think we should start our own local rep network? Jovians might not like it since they won't have inserts and muses to handle it all automatically, though."


"Let them fuck with ectos if they want. Honestly, we might consider building it off x-rep since no one here has any ideological opposition to that."


Liz poured over the dossiers of applicants as well as the potential contracts, evaluating them all with a rutheless, single-minded efficiency that only an AGI could do. She made a copy of her observations and CC'd it to rest of the team… and to their muses, in case Thanat decided to just mark it as spam. She send a second copy to his Muse just to be safe.

« Lev brings with a number of logistical and social challenges but brings an immediate infusion of supplies, which can be used to bootstrap us to self-sufficiency all the sooner. My immediate notion is that they are… 'Rebels', meaning they have military experience or similar and could be useful but are also potential usurpers.»

She paused for a moment, thinking.

«Unfortunately, unless we can improvise, a great deal of their initial 'donation' to our cause will likely be taken up just securing their provision and habitat, as our two prefabs are taken up by lab and engineering equipment. Be advised.»

«Kinkulon deserves a polite but firm 'No, thank you.'» Liz declared. «Sameera has potential, but I suggest caution in allowing criminals or those under legal scrutiny to settle here, even temporarily. I have no great desire to 'turn them in' or 'put them on trial', myself.»

«This Factor… I admit interest in just the novelty of meeting one, but as I understand- this would be an xenopsychological version of me, so you may wish to stick with the 'devil you know', so to speak. Still a very interesting canidate and useful skillset.»

Glancing over the business offers in more detail, Liz hummed.

«This… 'XP' adventure crew… I find their sense of humor distasteful, but I have no great objection so long as they follow whatever procedures we lay down and do not compromise the stability of my mesh. As for Thanat's contacts looking for… neutral ground- my above position stands. I do not much care what organics do with their bodies or money so long as they are not doing deleterious things to the greater community or mesh. I certainly think both of them are lowballing us something fierce though- we should re-negotiate for a better return.»

«The Argonauts seem to be the most 'attainable', and improved rep with their network will help us in the future. I would approve of their request with only the most minor of negotations. Gammax meanwhile should know exactly where to put it's industrial process byproducts; not here.»


"I was wondering if we should tell them about the gunship, but cat's out the bag now." Arianhod sends her findings, studies, and relevant XP (She turns that stuff off when sleeping, taking care of needs, or privacy issues) to the Argonauts and also whatever local gatecrasher nodes there are. (Subject: Two first contacts, no shots fired). As for the Jovians, yeah, their gear would be used on them, on vehicles at the very least, but that means they're paying their own investment cost: Anything of value they create from then on is just pure uh, "profit" to use y'alls term or "social capital" to use ours. I can toss on something from my accounts as well, and get them a rover. Not as useful as a GEV, but that's the point, it would mean they can keep up with us, but also not just fuck on off and plan revenge later."


"Alright, let's take a look," Lahmia sips her coffee. It's practically the only thing she drinks. There probably hasn't been a real grows-in-dirt coffee plant in centuries but humanity will never truly change.

"Going down the list, the Jovians sound not awful but we'll need to keep an eye on them. Eh… Ah. Sameera sounds like a useful asset, but we'll have to keep an eye on her. A Gentle Smell of… a Factor, interesting. We would have to keep an eye, err, eyes on them.

Did you guys not watch Dunk My Junk Adventures? It's hilarious! They might ask Arianhod to help out. Alright, who else do we have? USS Space Na- I thought that was a joke. I guess it's okay as long as they don't make a habit out of it," she let's the pun hang for a second, "I've almost finished my package for the Argonauts, I just want to check over the XP from looking at the giant snail shells one last time for editing purposes. And fuck Gammax."

Lahmia realizes there's one left she hasn't addressed. "Maybe Kinkulon is nice once you get to know them? We do need the professional touch."


"We can give a one month probationary period to all of them, if they don't work out, they don't work out. Granted, the Jovians might be more violent about it, but mostly because Kinkulon and the nut smashers are gonna be funny for a few days and then we'll see if they're tolerable after that. I'm okay with the grow op as long as it doesn't involve slavery, or other forms of coervice and/or horrible nastiness. If its highly toxic, explosive, or similar, proper safety protocols are done. Their grow lab or chemplant is going to be done to secure standard in exchange for being done openly, and we do need more chemists and hydroponics nerds anyways.

One of the downsides of all these people is we'll need another rover and whatnot to transport all of them around."


"We could also, not. We can try asking the jovians if they don't mind sticking by the gate while we GEV the others and most of them to the ruins. Someone probed our world, it might be worth it having spec op people stay there a few days. Of course we'd leave them supplies and shelter, we're not monsters. And if we get one of those signal booster balloons, we'll be able to keep in touch."
"Another benefit: the 12 man jovian unit will be broken in two, easier to manage and convince chunks."

While the gate is active, Thanat is shitposting and getting shitposted at by the scum on the USS Space Nazis Must Die, wasting bandwith. Ah, how he missed those idiots and useless goofs.

USS Space Nazis Must Die

Once the first XP's start hitting Sol-side, Thanat finds his connection getting flooded with a truly staggering amount of giant snails with tits. "tfw no giant snail gf w/ huge breasts that smothers you in her slime" gets copypasted at him at least five thousand times. It's hard to tell if it's ironic or if there's actually a genuine snail fetishist contingent Sol-side. They also send him an ALI that does nothing but procedurally generate new permutations of memes. Somehow it keeps getting stuck in loops of posting Loss until rebooted, but it usually manages a few days before each loop.

Rostislav Lev

Not having received an update yet, the Jovians contact the crew again, briefly, leaving a message with L&R to forward. "Due to some unfortunate security concerns," Lev tersely explains, "We won't be joining you via the Oberon gate, if you'll have us, but instead via the Discord gate. This means we'll be arriving about twelve hours after everyone else, along with our supplies."


Sharing the early footage freely gets the party some props with the Gatecrashing crowd in general(+5 x-rep for everyone who shares their XP's).


Attempted communication with alien machinery makes considerable waves, and the party receives a torrent of unsolicited communications with helpful hints like: "nuke them all NOW" "any sign that they have two genders??????" and "wud u fug alin robot?" being in the majority. There's a more verbose and high-profile message buried among the chaff, however, in the form of a video message.

"Congratulations, brave 'Crashers." A man with an almost geometrically angular chin and perfectly arranged hair greets them from behind a dark wooden desk, somewhere on Mars judging by the perfect view beyond his windows. He looks extremely corporate, "You've found the-" he checks some notes on a pad, "-tenth sign of active alien machinery on an exoplanet so far, and the first one that isn't aggressively mysterious, incommunicative or trying to kill us. Therefore, on behalf of the Pathfinder Corporation, I would like to offer the help of one of our first-contact teams, including xenolinguists and xenodiplomats trained in the latest theories on how to handle a first contact scenario. Attached to this message will be a copy of the relevant contract."

He leans back in his sumptuous leather office chair, making it creak, "Now, I realize most of you have outer system sympathies, but consider this: The Planetary Consortium is the closest thing Transhumanity has to a united government. Wouldn't it be better to greet these aliens, or their machines, with a united message from humanity? An extended hand of peace, cooperation and prosperity? Rather than hundreds, if not thousands, of confusing, discordant messages from little co-ops and mom and pop operations? That's the sort of thing that leads to diplomatic misunderstandings."

The attached contract offers the help of a five-man team(three experts, two security) and their equipment in exchange for Pathfinder having exclusive rights to communications with the aliens, and any technological discoveries based on negotiations with them. These rights are by default shared with the colony, but not with any other entities on the other side of the Pandora Gate, and only Pathfinder will have the right to pass them on. There are also vague promises of assistance in establishing and maintaining the colony, if the discovery proves to be useful, but with a codicil that Pathfinder would have veto rights on any new additions to the colony in terms of personnel.


Thanat nonchalantly redirects all his incoming non-private traffic to the Pathfinder suit, snail tits, memes and live meme-generating ALIs all. Just to make sure the message passes through, he has it all copy/pasted several times, too.

"I don't mind Jovians, but them coming from Discord, I don't like it. I mean, I don't like the people who own that gate. I suppose twelve hours would be enough to set up some defences, in case it turns sour, or the Jovians are overpowered and someone else comes through."

<I take it you have no experts available then?> he asks L&R.


"It's bullshit, yes, but honestly, until we set up more infrastructure, we need to keep the colony together as much as possible. When they arrive we try to fortify the gate a little and start cutting a dirty road to the shoreline, working in shifts. We'll probably have to ferry people in shifts across the bay, and once everyone is there, start working on that bridge. Yes, it should have both rail support and a roadway, and also ideally landline backbone so we're not relying on the balloon transponders forever."

"That reminds me, we want the blueprints for those, or are we going to make them?"


Alright so. GP/resource situation. We have 4 GP from the automine. Liz, Lahmia and Arianhod's resource trait gives us 4 GP. The contracts give us 3 GP. The Jovians give us 4 GP. The Argonauts give us 2 GP due to sharing our discoveries. Purple awarded us 1 GP for mysterious reasons. Total: 18 GP.
A Blue Box (allowing us to control the gate) costs 5 GP, a prefab costs 1GP, a minifac costs 5 GP, two automines costs 6 GP. It fits, *depending how much of an asshole does Purple want to be, and we'd have 1 GP left.

Now I know you (GovtCheese) want a vehicle to take the Jovians to camp directly instead of making several trips with the GEV but consider this:
*unzips dick*
Also: a buggy seats four for 3 GP. We'd need a GEV (5 GP) that seats 6 because we have to pass by the sea to avoid the spider crabs. And, it only seats 6, so we'd still need at least two trips, so with first line as recap of above:

  1. A Blue Box+Prefab+MiniFac+2 Automines, +1GP.
  2. I don't mind taking a Blue Box+Minifac+GEV+Automine, but no prefab for those who have to wait while we shuttle the others.
  3. Or we have to go Blue Box+Minifac+GEV+Prefab (16 GP), giving us two extra, but no automine. (Assuming we leave a prefab at the gate for visitors/people waiting to be shuttled to the ruins)
  4. There is also the very enticing Blue Box+GEV+Prefab+2 Automines, and one GP left. The GEVs would both have Large Fabber, that should* allow us to print the parts for a MiniFac which Thanat should be capable of assembling, with resources extracted by the (by then, three) mines. (Assuming again we leave a prefab at the gate)

Yeah actually I'm all for 4 now.


I will be spending 1 minor C-Rep favor on 'Legal Advice: Exporting Water' (Success: -25)
And then offering 2 more of my minor favors for 1gp acquisitions,
first test failed
second test held off
And then her only Moderate C-Rep favor for an Automule to be delivered 'directly', (Success -21)


//Arianhod votes #4

Arianhod calls in some favors to make life on Splinter a little less…aggravating. An aquatic scout bot for mapping the bay and port, a collection of architectural digests so not everything Thanat and the rest of them build is a hideous metal box, the basis for a clinic, a brewery, and also something to help all the biocons not constantly sneeze and hack and etc.

@-net minor, Sol Archive: Profession- Architecture
1d100-70: -37 [1d100=33]

@-net minor, Workshop (brewery)
1d100-70: -60 [1d100=10]

@-net moderate, Barracuda bot
1d100-60: -13 [1d100=47]

r-net minor, specialized fabber (antihistamines)
1d100-55: -27 [1d100=28]

r-net moderate, research package (Clinic- Medicine Paramedic)
1d100-45: -32 [1d100=13]


@-net minor for a Prefab.
23:15:56 < DiceMaid-9001> Sanev_Khan, Thanat asking for a prefab from scum. :o): 24 [1d100=74]
With one insight spent to flip the roll into a success.


1GP from Resources 3 and 2GP from minor @-rep favors (everything else came up cold)
Engineering Swarm, Breadcrumb system, and Smart Clothes


"I think we're ready to move on. I guess there's just the issue of the planet's name. "Splinter" is just a placeholder, I'm going to be hubristic as hell and suggest Silverwheel, both for the orbital constructions and also to give off a vague sense of prosperity and/or potential mineral claims. If there are overwhelming objections in the future we can change it."

Love & Rage

The volunteer collective spokesperson on duty that day apologizes to Thanat for the slow response, apparently all their local xenoarcheologists are currently on Luca, trying to excavate and record a ruins site threatened by local terraforming efforts, and thus none of them can currently be spared for the Splinter expedition.

Cerean Transcrustal Authority

Liz gets a callback from one of the main authorities on water/volatiles import/export business in the Sol system, an AGI working for the Cerean Transcrustal Authority(primarily exporting water and similar from Ceres). It suggests that the most straightforward, and least legally/politically cumbersome, export target would be Mars and its ongoing terraforming effort. Mars needs massive input of water, enough that another import partner wouldn't do anything to challenge the CTA's profits, and the "political" question of terraforming Mars has been mostly settled by the Planetary Consortium via a combination of threats and force. Venus is the only other potential major terraforming situation on Sol, and there's a heated debate on whether to develop it into an Earthlike or a novel ecosystem, with the novel ecosystem winning at the moment. There are several exoplanet terraforming projects in progress(mostly bankrolled and supported by the Consortium), but most of them are facing stiff resistance and sabotage from a combination of preservationists(in case any native life exists, even if only bacterial) and xenoarcheologists(since most worlds close enough to human standard to be terraformable have a tendency to have had prior residents).

The more extreme preservationists, the CTA AGI(who at this point has volunteered their name as being Aki Five) points out to Liz, have been known to attack more lightly guarded supply lines rather than the terraforming projects themselves. It links her several news articles about comet liners being found dead, eco-terrorists being captured on Ceres and similar grisly or alarming tales.

Of course, the AGI points out, this would be much less complicated if Pathfinder managed to dial up the Splinter gate, thus circumventing a lot of logistics and, as a favour to a fellow working AGI, sketches her out a brief suggestion for a high pressure storage and pumping solution on the Splinter side of the gate, to simply pipe the water through to Sol-side(or whichever trading partner Liz ends up going with) rather than transporting it in containers with a much lower throughput.

Day 14, Late Afternoon

Much of the day has been spent spitting messages to Sol and getting replies, then downtime while the party negotiated between themselves(to a background of Urist setting several of the local trees on fire while having nothing better to do, expanding the clearing around the gate. It turns out that at sufficient high temperatures the sticky sap inside the trees has a tendency to violenty explode, detonating the rest of the tree as burning-and-sticky napalm-like fragments. After the first hour or so, Urist is covered in sticky, sooty black patches. Thankfully the rest of the forest is too moist for him to have started any forest fires.).

But eventually all of the negotiating is done, the party has agreed on who to invite, what contracts to go along with, and what to buy. After a quiet hour or so after the last connection, the gate suddenly kicks to life, this time dialling straight to a larger connection size, bypassing the first-contact checks, and the goods start rolling through. Dwarf bots similar to Urist set down the larger items that can't transport themselves in the dirt before returning through the gate, while the GEV rolls through the gate under supervision of a simple ALI, loaded with the remaining items.

Once all the non-sapient goods are transferred, the new colonists and visitors start arriving.

Sameera is first, with a folded-down Go Cycle under one arm and with a backpack the size of an EVA unit attached to her sealed, cobalt-blue suit. Only her eyes are visible through the faceplate, but she's obviously happy, executing a theatrical bow as she comes to a stop in front of the party. "Thank you for having me!" She bursts out, once she's erect again, taking a deep breath inside her suit like she's actually breathing the native air and savouring its aromas, "New world, new soil, no lawyers. It's like being born again." She pauses after a few moments, "…If any of you are lawyers, I didn't mean that as an insult, the only lawyers I mind are the ones suing me."

Kinkulon arrives shortly after her in an unadorned, humanoid synth of no apparent brand. It's the sort of quiet, special lack of detail, however, which suggests that some famous designer was paid a couple million credits to create what's only a couple of brushstrokes and internal quality from being a Case. Rather than a physical face, his sleeve has an LCD screen on the front of its head, displaying what some would call "emojis" and what assholes would call "advanced and compact symbolic representations of transhuman emotion." He's accompanied by several suitcases on wheels, each large enough to stuff Thanat into. Rather than greeting anyone, he walks over to the side of the clearing, looks up at the sun while shading his non-existent eyes and rubs his chin like he's thinking extremely deep thoughts for several minutes before approaching the colonists present, ignoring Sameera. "Charming world," he snaps his fingers and his luggage rolls after him, "I'm sure you have some local accomodations, some primitive stick-and-mud huts, where I can store my sensitive and valuable equipment. Please show me to them as quickly as possible so that I can start working."

The Scum all arrive in one big mob, and it takes a while to separate the ones here to make and sell drugs from the ones here to hit each other in the dick a lot. They all generally look like Mad Max extras wearing rebreathers. The party gets the sense that half the Scum are not themselves sure of which group they belong to after a few minutes being mixed together. One of the Scum brightens up on seeing Kinkulon, "Oy! Sven!" He greets him, slapping the synth on the back like an old acquaintance, "Never figured I'd see you here." He slings an arm around Kinkulon's shoulders and points at him while talking to the party, "This sassy robot here helped us get started. We were just another bunch of idiots with no real gimmick, when he designed a pod morph that was, get this, eighty percent scrotum by volume!" He beams at everyone and keeps going before Kinkulon can interrupt him, "You won't believe the rep we got punting that thing around. I'm still getting free drinks for our final show with it, where we punted it at a Jovian destroyer."

During this, a bulky spacesuit, closer to a military hardsuit than the relatively form-fitting ones everyone else is wearing, has slipped out of the gate and placed itself furtively in a shadow, not getting too close to anyone. It's almost certainly their Factor guest, Lime.

A few moments after Lime's arrival, the gate shuts. It'll be another twelve hours until the Jovians arrive.


Arianhod greets Sameera warmly, Lime professionally, and Kinkulon a bit more hesitantly, and hopes Thanat talks to the scum so she doesn't have to. After enough of a pause, she continues. "Hello everyone! I'm Arianhod Xsdottir, and now that the claim has been registered welcome to Silverwheel, formerly Splinter! We'll have a dozen more joining us in about 12 hours, and they're from a…more unique set of circumstances, I hope everyone here will be able to get along.

I am an accredited medical professional with the Titanian medical board, so please let me know if any of your morphs have any special needs. For those of you in biomorphs without enhanced respiration, please be aware that the air here is breathable but you are likely to have an allergic reactions as well as responses to the different oxygen levels. I have acquired an anti-hystimine fabber, Its located…" Arianhod pops off her helmet, shakes off the helmet hair, roots around through a crate until she finds it "Here, on the side of this GEV. The advised dosage is 1 pill per 50kgs of weight per 4 hours. I am also qualified to provide modifications, I see a few bouncers here, those feet are going to be hurting if you have to walk any distance in a gravity well. Please see me if you wish to have them changed."

"Our main settlement is London Falling, currently 3 days south of here, we hope to shorten that time immensely in the near future." Arianhod brings up the maps. "We need to cross that bay to avoid the crab bots and we can't go into orbit due to ah, Mothra and friends over there." Arianhod highlights the fashbots quartz facility and shows images of the active gunship. "While I know that might be a tempting target to nail your balls too, please understand that that thing might come and kill the rest of us afterwards, please be considerate."

"So far I have no encountered anything that eats transhuman beings per se, but that doesn't mean it can't exist out there. Please be careful, Sameera, if I could get your input, let's plan on how to lay out the gate house, Kinkulon and A Gentle Smell of Lime (may we call you "Lime"?), we never got a chance to fully take a look at the larger flora and fauna in the jungle biome, and we have basic biologic facilities at London Falling. Specimen containers are printable from the GEV fabber." Arianhod thumbs the comm: «Lev, we're ready for you when you arrive». She turns to the rest of the group. Any other questions?"

(Organizing this thing, putting up the prefab a little ways away from the gate and continuing to clear the surrounding area. Using Provoke, in a polite, @-list way, if needed)


Thanat greets the arriving scum as is only proper. The local mesh usage spikes high as memes, counter-memes and shitposts are exchanged faster than even exhumans can think. The AR local to them becomes painfully bright to look at. Some struggle to walk or function slower in the real world, so busy they are in their virtual contests. Eventually it all subsides and XPboards are set up for easy, clear and direct communication. One of the drug-dealing scum gets the first post ever and uses this occasion and privilege to share a 3D image of Arianhod and Sameera with "enhanced" features.

"Yeah, they're fine," announces Thanat to the other original colonists. With his brainpower free once again, he tries to figure out how the Blue Box works, to prevent extra-solar gates from dialing Splinter. "So uh, Silverwheel? Really?"

Simultaneously, he contacts some of the scum over mesh. «You guys gonna stay long? Or just come to trade shit, and off you'll go again already?»


"Yes. Let's not try to go with Farttown or similar. Besides, not enough sulpher around here for that." Arianhod's muse reminds her of something. «Oh! One more thing. Please, please use either your vacsuits, the GEV's facilities, or the facilities at London Falling for when nature calls. Until I can mod in compatible local biotic sphere, improper waste disposal can cause biological catastrophe.» Arianhod assigns her servitor to toilet cleaning fulltime, given who the guests are and the number of them.


"I'll have you know Scum too can give perfectly cromulent names to stuff."


"Literal English translations of names are perfectly fine. Just not, you know, yours."


Lahmia is the third to physically introduce themselves, "Hello, my name is Lahmia Bloodyteardrops, my specialties are nanotech and the dark arts," she takes her helmet off to greet the new arrivals. Starting with Sameera, Kinkulon, and Limes, "I look forward to working with all of you."

Meanwhile, there's a flurry of blocked correspondence and counter-shitposting around her, establishing that she is in fact here for a job and not scum boy fun time, but that doesn't mean she's lame.


Moments after Lahmia introduced herself, a pleasant still portrait of a monochrome woman appeared in the gathered AR/entopic feeds of the gathered newcomers. "Greetings. I am Liz, and I will be overseeing software and hardware administration throughout the local Silverwheel Mesh."

As she was speaking, the veritable cloud of memetic filth and squalor seemed to evaporate into the local AR mist as she quietly, ruthelessly adjusted user access permission throughout the space; she had no reason to touch personal area networks of course, but the message was clear- do not fuck with the local mesh. "If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to access and improve our local meshwork experience, I am availible at all hours of the day."

Day 14, Evening

Even the Scum realize that Arianhod might very well toss them right back through the gate if they don't help out, and thus assist with setting up the future customs checkpoint to Arianhod's specifications. One of them even whips up a quickly improvised flag and hangs it from a similarly improvised flagpole nearby. It takes several hours and a lot of snickering from Thanat and the Scum before someone realizes that it's a thinly disguised Goatse. For anyone not well-versed in Scum memes, however, it would resemble a very nice cyan(very pale, almost silvery)-on-dark-blue wheel with multiple spokes, flanked by some seemingly irrelevant bordering imagery.

In the meantime, those members of Dunk My Junk not pressganged by Arianhod set about acquiring some establishing shots and experimenting with the flexibility of the local rubber trees. It turns out that they can, in fact, slingshot into someone's nads with a nasty crunching sound if pulled sufficiently far back to generate a lot of pent-up energy. Before Arianhod or Lahmia starts running for the healing vat, however, one of the producers lets them in on a little secret: All of their "stars" are in fact podmorphs with easily replacable genitalia. He even shows them the chilled trunk full of dozens upon dozens of spare slot-in penises and scrotums.

Thanat sadly misses this spectacle as his old Scum buddies pull him aside, waggling their eyebrows and making the same tentacle hentai jokes that Thanat has had to endure ever since he sleeved into the Takko for the first time. It only takes a few hours for them to get tired of the endless memery and settle down to tell him about their plans, a remarkable show of restraint from them, emphasizing that their venture here isn't just a quick trip. "I guess we might have slipped you a little white lie," one of them confides to him, "We're not here to make or trade normal drugs-" he pauses, "-well not only normal drugs, everyone needs some weed or narcoalgorithms every now and then. We're here to work on petals. Some corp fucker-" he spits before remembering he's wearing a spacesuit and manages to gunk the inside of his faceplate up considerably, "-er, some hypercorp assholes have been trying to break into our servers and steal our work, or sometimes just destroy it. Not a lot we can do to keep people off a scum barge, but here?" He gives Thanat a gap-toothed grin, "We'll be able to work in peace and, well, when the gate pops open no one's going to notice a few thumb drives headed back the other way."

Kinkulon announces that he will be investigating the local fauna while the party awaits the last colonists, slipping in among the trees to collect samples and make observations, but never straying far from the temporary camp.

Sameera chuckles as he stalks off, "Quite a crowd you've assembled. I look forward to making a proper geological survey of this place, some deep probe samples, some ground-penetrating radar scans…" she thinks, "Until I have those samples, I don't think there'd be much for me to do at your base camp, unless it has a really interesting geology you want me to examine. I've brought my own ride," she pats her Go Cycle, "If you give me your current mapping data, and the camp coordinates, I could stay out in the wild for a few days, do some scouting, and then rejoin you once I have some data to analyze and share. I promise I won't blow anything up until you're there to watch it happen."

Lime doesn't approach, or indeed even speak much, until the Scum and other attendants are mostly occupied, either with tasks from Liz, Lahmia and Arianhod or just with being Scum. They seem to master transhuman speech perfectly well, but are almost completely devoid of physical mannerisms, making them somewhat odd, possibly unnerving to some, to talk to. The faceplate of the suit is perfectly mirrored and reveals nothing about what's inside. "Lime will do," they confirm, the voice is synthesized and accentless, almost genderless, but faintly male, "We thank you for the sanctuary. We will gather a few samples from this area while we wait, but we are more interested in this world's aquatic ecology. Being under an open sky is…" the voice falters, as if searching for a word approximating a Factor term, "…not something we feel comfortable with. Not something most Factors are."

Shortly after Liz clamps down on the local mesh networks, she becomes aware that the Scum are already testing her blockades. One of them pings her repeatedly in morse, tapping out "L-O-S-S-D-O-T-J-P-E-G" in a pattern of perfectly timed refused connection messages. It's one of the ones chatting with Thanat, likely his muse handling it while the owner makes a complicated tentacle porn joke.

With the work and the conversations, twelve hours(not quite to the minute) pass relatively quickly, and the Pandora Gate is soon humming to life again. This time it follows first-in protocols, with a small aperture and a probe first, before opening to full size and permitting Rostislav and his Jovians through. They're dressed alike, in spacesuits and hardsuits(and one battlesuit) generally patterned with yellow and black stripes, giving them something of a vespoid appearance as they arrive, weapons in hand. Every single one of them is armed in some way, and they don't lower their guns until they seem satisfied that the area surrounding the gate doesn't hold an ambush, at which point Rostislav gestures for them to be at ease and lower their weapons before presenting himself to Arianhod and the others who are clearly in charge. He doesn't seem to relax until the gate's closed behind them, at which point a visible tenseness goes out of his posture.

"We're in your debt," he nods to Arianhod, his voice gruff, and sounding like he's trying to express emotion but isn't quite sure how, "Those Go-Nin fucks were inches from handing us over." He frowns disapprovingly at the Scum frolicking around the treeline, as if watching something subhuman rolling around in its own shit, "We brought the items we promised, and we won't be a burden to your colony." He pauses before continuing, as if thinking his words over carefully, "I haven't spent much time with… Anarchists, and my men even less. I know your decision-making structures can be unorthodox, but it would probably put them most at ease if you just gave them orders." He pauses, "Within reason. You'll have to excuse them if any of them behave a bit oddly, most of them have suffered at the hands of the Jovian Republic."

While Rostislav introduces himself, Liz has a chance to scan his crowd. Despite his term, not all of them are men, and she notices a few oddities among them. One of them has regular physical tics, a consistent nervous cracking of knuckles, even more nervous than the rest. Another two seem to get exhausted a bit easier than the rest, just getting through the gate seems like an ordeal, and the others seem somewhat protective of them, offloading what burdens and work from them that they can. It doesn't take long for Liz, reading subtle things about their stances and noticing a few non-standard things about their suits, to realize that two of Rostislav's commandos are pregnant.


A mental frown was the only minor show of emotion. Applying a subtle AR tag to the individuals in question, Liz quickly jumped onto the LAN and tacnet. She made a point to CC a copy of the conversation feed to Lahmia and Thanat, but was primarily interested in their medical professional's opinion. «Arianhod; there is a minor concern that is relevant to your specialties and responsibilities.»

Liz was by no means a master physician, but Ariandhod's personal network had a number of textbooks and similar that she could 'borrow' to illustrate her point. Rapidly composing a VR demonstration. First of recorded XP of the arriving Jovians, then increasingly complex analysis, anatomical diagrams and caveat-marked assessments. «I am no great authority on biological reproductive morphology, but my grasp of the subject indicates at least two of the arriving Jovian party are at least one term along.»

She paused for a moment, humming silently. «I have no great positive or negative opinion of this development, but I think we should 'get ahead' of this in a circumspect manner. I see no reason to single them out publicly or to promote an ostracizing environment.»

While Arianhod digested Liz's findings, she finally added. «If there is a meshwork endeavor that can help address this matter, I would be happy to execute it promptly.»


Considering what the particular timing means, Arianhod winces. «Noted Liz, thank you. Also note what happened with the scum when you locked down the mesh: Rule 1 for dealing with scum, you don't tell them no, you get them to do what you want in general with a combination of passive aggressive peer pressure and letting them think they had the idea themselves.»

Arianhod nods at Lev. "Understood, I'm Titanian myself and while you may not agree with the system of government, we do have one in a recognizable form. If you want direct orders, fine. I'd like to sit down with each of you for a brief interview in the GEV over there." She points to the original GEV, she doesn't want some scum surprise scaring the shit out of people further. "I will not pry at your pasts but I do need to get a medical record since…traditional bodies face a few extra challenges here and I want to make sure each of you tells me what medical technologies you're personally comfortable with, as well as making sure any trauma from recent events gets treated. I'd like to have a chat with…" Arianhod selects the probably preggo refugees" those, first. If you're looking for something to keep your men's mind occupied, I find something that helps build bridges across cultural issues is having a shared problem: we're still setting up a gate house facility. Extra hands, especially big guy's over there" Arianhod points to the battlesuit "would be handy. Food and water are available from fabbers in both GEVs."

Arianhod turns to Sameera, "If you think that's best, but please keep a radio booster and gnat with you at all times, and stay clear of the alien bots, as well as avoid crossing any of these "roads." Please have your Muse check in every 2 hours. I don't want someone getting lost out here beyond any kind of hope of rescue."

Then to Lime. "Excellent, because this planet has a huge water competent we want to explore. I've acquired and aquatic exploration drone, feel free to make use of it"

«@Colony: Okay folks, the refugees are here, they're going to help us build this thing. They're hurting, so if you greet them in the traditional manner you're accustomed to, you'll be scaring people who don't deserve to be scared anymore. Junk folks, if you're interested in weapon or battlesuit related violence, please clear it with me first, they're on edge and might not stop at vaporizing your junk. Let's get some lighting out, its getting dark.» Hopefully between two GEVs and the bots and people's personal gear there's enough light to work by.

(Medical interview with each of the Jovians, one by one, in one of the GEVs with no one else allowed in, they can use the other one. In addition to diagnosing illnesses, getting their personal comfort levels with transhuman medicine (Healing vats? Nanites? Resleeving is probably a no go but would you be okay with your severed head being regrown into a full healthy body? etc), the rest of them get to help out with the gatehouse project when I'm not seeing to them. Getting them each an ecto if they don't have one or mesh inserts)


"I suppose you don't want my help with the medicals?"

To Lime, he adds: "Feel free to jump in the other GEV if it gets too overwhelming."

Then he sets to wrangling the Scum, making sure they don't bother the Jovians, and more importantly that they don't even want to. It is, as Arianhod said, a subtle combination of veiled threats, and planting seeds of ideas in their heads so they think it's their own. It's a bit time consuming, but surely worth it. With assistance from his muse, Thanat also plays on the tiny shred of guilt they feel at having lied to him (he really doesn't mind, says he, but he'd rather they told him, still), and speaks about trying to allow them mesh access through his own implants, to motivate them into behaving.
With enough people already working on the gatehouse, he checks on the gear the Jovians brought through the gate. He pings the Jovian lead, and asks "Do you expect more people to come from Discord, or can we lock Go-Nin and prevent them from dialing here?"


"Ah, Sameera, hang on, let me share the relevant inf-" she pops onto the mesh to retrieve the data about local wildlife and maps when she sees Liz's message. «Coming to term with what? Is it an election thing?»

"Anyway, here you are, and I can't stress this enough please don't go so far out that we can't help, we don't know what all out there can kill someone."

Day 14, Night

Sameera gives Lahmia a thumbs up, "I've reviewed your XP's, unless there's something more out there, it doesn't look like anything that doesn't warn you before it attacks, or which a Go Cycle can't outrun. But I'll be careful. Can't promise I'll check in every two hours, but at least once a day, and I'll leave a breadcrumb trail." She pats a container on her hip, "So if I get stuck somewhere you'll at least be able to find my stack." Unless someone has any further issues or complaints, she'll start preparing to set out as soon as dawn breaks.

The Jovians, after Rostislav relays the request, are willing to help with the gatehouse, but seem nervous around the Scum. They aren't quite warding them off with guns, but their body language signals that they're not quite at home with the boisterous atmosphere, memery(though at least most of that is on the local Mesh, so they're not subjected to it) and jovialities. In general they seem like a quiet, sober crowd. If they have any misgivings about the medical interviews, they put them aside once Rostislav gives it as an order that Arianhod will be assessing their physical fitness and skillsets.

In general, the Jovians(who have a variety of Slavic names like Vasilyev, Ivan and Katrina), have very similar "red lines" in terms to their medical treatment. They won't be subject to any nanotechnology in their bodies, or to any changes to their genome. A trip in a healing vat is something they'll assent to, if it's the only way to keep them alive, but they'd prefer cruder surgical procedures or cybernetic replacements for anything damaged. A few of them already have simple cybernetic replacements, one has an artificial hand and another an artificial eye. They're about as advanced as what the rest of transhumanity has, but it feels like there's been an intentional choice made not to conceal their artificial nature.

The fellow with the physical tics, Vasilyev, stands out slightly. Assessing him, Liz and Arianhod consider there to be a good chance that he's a Watts-McLeod infectee, an Async, whether he's aware of it or not. It's not a guaranteed matter, but some of his behavior fits the limited, established literature on how some strains of the virus changes the infectee's behavior. Alternately he may just have mild social anxiety and OCD. Both pregnant women, meanwhile, are in good health. Under interviewing, they reveal that their particular political "crimes" consisted of having a child with someone who had received genetic therapies in the past, and due to their heightened security clearances, they were thrown into a military prison rather than a normal one. Both of them appear healthy, albeit a bit more stressed than the others. They set their red lines a bit stricter, for the sake of their unborn children, since the literature on what, for instance, T-Ray scanners might do to a fetus are extremely limited(considering the rarity of natural births since the Fall).

Rostislav is the last to enter for an interview, and for a baseline human he sports a surprising number of well-healed scars. It appears he's been shot, burnt, cut and had bones broken at least a dozen times. It doesn't seem to have done any harm to his physical fitness, however. He provides the party with a breakdown of the skills among his crew, primarily they're related to security and military operations(tactics, shooting at things, not getting shot back, blowing things up, improvised fortifications, stealth), but three of them are technicians, and there's also a psychologist(with a specialty in uplift/AGI psychology), a trained physicist and Rostislav himself has some experience with gate operations.

His reponse to Thanat is a stoic shrug, "Depends on how competent Go-Nin's techs are. I wouldn't expect any lock-out to hold for more than a week if they want to break through, unless we have someone camped by the gate working on countermeasures. As for whether someone wants to come after us… you can bet they will, and no one but Go-Nin is liable to give them any gate time unless they can pretend to be Anarchists or Corporate. Go-Nin only cares about the colour of our money, but Pathfinder and Terragen don't want Jovians on their precious exoplanets. Apparently we're dangerous and need to be contained."

Lime, meanwhile, doesn't quite hide away in the GEV, but keeps on the sidelines of the action, apparently well aware that once someone starts talking to him, his nature's liable to be easily discovered. The literature on Factors describes them as extremely communal creatures, and any that are found entirely on their own are postulated to be exiles or madmen(and have been universally hostile and uncommunicative), so it's probable that Lime would feel extremely out of sorts by actively isolating themselves. Then again, he's already an exile of sorts, so he may also already be insane by Factor standards.

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