Introducing a new Chain Story
An explanation of what a Chain Story is can be found here: Introducing Chain Stories! Interactive Fiction Writing
This post kicks off a Chain Story between @zakludick and @therneau, each of which will be taking turns to write a part of the story. There is minimal planning as to regards to the handing off of the story which will make it interesting and a challenge.
As each of the writers makes their contributions their names will light up when it is their turn. Each of the parts in this series will be called a "Log", following on there will be an abbreviation... more info forthcoming about those later!
Book of Space Lore - A new and exciting universe being created right here on the blockchain!
Log SLZT #1
Thorne Herm scooped up another dry soil sample and placed it into a thick plasti-seal envelope.
Working carefully with his suit's thick-fingered gloves he placed the envelope next to a dozen others on the tray. He checked out the display on the left forearm of his bodysuit.
"Well G5. Another five more before we head on back to the pod." He began walking in the direction of the next set of coordinates on the Terrain Positioning System.
The robot's twin chain drive spun up as it began to follow Thorne. "Affirmative. Two hours and thirteen minutes till nightfall." The robot's voice was a synthesized buzz. Some of the other explorers often remarked on the archaic robotic vocals he had set into the assistant, but Throne preferred it that way. It reminded him of the fresh old times when machines were less... individual.
Some explorers used custom voices that would sound like their girlfriends or ex-girlfriends, others chose some movie star's voice for their assistants. Thorne felt that it was annoying. If it was speaking as someone you missed then he felt it would just keep him wishing that they were there. As for the "dream girl", he found that equally frustrating and a little boorish.
"Calculated return trip at forty-seven minutes." G5 interrupted his train of thought.
"What's the rush?"
"Ship scanners indicate a surface temperature of -78 degrees Celcius on the planet surface thirty minutes after sunset." The robot's voice was calm and logical. If it was one of those synth voices then it might have sounded excited or even concerned. Instead, it was stoic and informative, just the way that Throne liked to receive his information.
Some explorers just got too soft and comfortable with all the technology they could buy. What kind of mindset did that promote? Reliance on the Assistant robot for moral support, but then feeding off its concern and promoting emotion-based decision making.
Perhaps that is why his employers like him so much.
He reached another checkpoint. Using a small shovel with a telescopic handle, he dug up a small patch of dirt highlighted by his Heads-up display. The clean glass of his facemask was overlayed with information that he could bring up and disperse with slight movements of his eyes.
Once he had dug down four or five inches he stabbed the soil to loosen the large chunks of rock that made up the floor of the valley that he stood in. There was no breathable atmosphere on Vorcia III. He took an empty plasti-seal envelope and filled it with a scoop of soil.
These were samples to be sent in for analysis that yield better results than what ship scanners can do. Vorcia III most likely contained quite a few minerals and metals that could be mined. Thorne had taken a contract to collect the specimen samples in this valley and several more. As long as he got there first.
Without a further word, Thorne placed the latest sample on the tray on G5's back and moved off towards the next location.
It was doable. He needed to push a little to get the job done and then he could get to his pod. It was a terrestrial lander that was well insulated and had internal heating that would keep him at regular temperatures in the harsh night temperatures.
This was his first day on the planet. It had only recently been cleared for exploration crews. Deemed unclaimed and unoccupied and therefore safe for investigation, mapping and exploitation. There was no local flora and fauna that would be disturbed or displaced due to the mining activities.
Thorne was pretty happy that Vorcia III was not occupied, or even had any fauna at all. He was tired of nearly getting eaten on worlds containing swamps and jungles. Last time there was a particular slime-covered monstrosity that had far too many teeth. A medical examiner diagnosed him with selective zoophobia. It made sense, any living creature that Thorne was not familiar with set him on edge.
"Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!"
For the second time, G5 interrupted his reverie. He supposed that it was healthy that he did not let his attention wander too much. "What is it G5?"
"Proximity scanners indicate a heat source." The robot reported.
"Location?" He requested and the robot transmitted a display overlay onto his Heads-up Display. Around 11 yards ahead of him there was a large boulder twice his own height. The overlay display showed a large heat pattern around the base of the rock. "What the hell?"
It was like nothing that he had ever seen. It was not a living creature. More like a radiated patch of heat.
"G5, show record of geothermal activities on Vercia III."
"Negative. None found."
"Display record of scanned plate tectonics."
"Negative. Ship scans show a single mantle plate with minimal core readings."
Thorne approached the boulder. G5 trundled after him, it's scanners constantly updated the output on Thorne's HUD. He moved cautiously around the boulder, unsure of the potential danger. Temperatures around the stone displayed 20 to 29 degrees Celsius. Nothing to worry about.
There was a plume of heat, radiating out from the base of the stone. "What the hell?" He whispered. With a flick of his eyes, he minimized the heatmap overlay and looked at the stone where the plume had been. Sure enough, as he had expected, there was a hole in the ground.
He approached the hole and switched on his suit's shoulder lamps. He was still a yard away from the edge but he could clearly make out a sloping side that went down under the rock.
It might have been his paranoia, but Thorne could swear that he saw something move inside of the opening...
Log SLZT #1 completed!
Now the keyboard is passed on to @therneau to add in Log SLZT #2 of the story!