Oizys First Contact

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Phorcys
Level 5.2
Level 5.2
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 pm
Nexus Client: The Confederation of Swarms
Client Tech Level: A1
Client Leader: Confederal Consensus
Client Councillor: 0992904-Interlocutor
Client Species: Oizys
Location: United Kingdom
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: First Contact

Post by Phorcys » Fri May 31, 2019 11:01 pm

"These are the representatives of the Morthanveld, Ghalimi, Mitaku, Kadjar and Binary Collective Clients; all have a technology rating at or above your own."

They have been trapped in a vivarium of horrors. A nightmare of bewildering forms and abhorrent noise - and separated only by faint barriers of light invisible to oizys eyespots. 0992904-Interlocutor's setae bristle and limbs engorge at the panoply of threat displays. His ovipositor stirs perversely in its sheath and the instinctive rush of the killing frenzy takes hold. A lesser oizys might have tried to resist it, might have remembered where he was - but three million years at the pinnacle of evolution - a dozen generations of selective breeding - and a lifetime of tunnel fighting where a half-second's hesitation is too long - have honed him into the perfect oizys. And for the oizys conscious thought is a luxury their parsimonious nervous systems can little afford. So 0992904 stalks forward, every powerfully-built limb driven by independent instinct-

"On behalf of the Mitakan Federation, greetings and welcome to the Nexus". In the painfully bright enclosure a trio of noxiously colourful creatures step towards the barrier. "It may seem a little overwhelming, but I can assure you we are all here to help guide you through this process, and we look forward to mutual cooperation between our spec-"

0992904-Interlocutor hurls himself bodily at the Mitaku, nine pereiopods outstretched to perforate the aliens. A three metre wide hulk of hydrostatic muscle and barbed, ridged exoskeleton thick as tank armour collides with the barrier -

-and smashes against it like a tunnel wall. The others are abruptly snapped from the frenzy - realising that some kind of implacable field sequesters them from the creatures. But 0992904 continues thrashing wildly at the Mitaku onlookers, driven deeper into the frenzy by the pain of a wounded arm, all his might brought to nothing against some unseen, imperceptible force. If the oizys could conceive of metaphors, they might see in it one for this entire contact.

What first astonishes 0409334-Biologer about the alien is how soft it sounds. His panic overcome, he clicks his cloaca at it measuredly, sensing the echoed reverberations through its body - and its fleshy red dermis feels soft as the unhardened cuticle of a day old spawnling. And thinner. Even with a respirator, the feeble creature wouldn’t survive more than a few seconds on the surface of Phorcys. The burning winds would scour the flesh from its cooked endoskeleton.

He chitters with satisfaction and relief, thinking how easy these things will be to kill. But it is instantly perplexing as well-

These are the great terrors from beyond the void? How could these feeble, ungainly bipeds have ever conquered their own planetary environment, let alone become a more advanced species than the oizys? Or perhaps they have inhabited the void for so long their species has degenerated and devolved? Simulations do suggest long periods of microgravity induce severe tissue degradation… but that these things could ever have survived a terrestrial environment at all seems impossible.

How easy it must be for such things to mate! The thought occurs to him immediately. Barely a few millimetres of fragile dermis for an ovipositor to penetrate. Yet the idea of being so inexplicably fleshy, so vulnerable - his cloacae clench tight just at the notion-

But he corrects his approach. It would be foolish to assume that just because they are intelligent their biology must be similar to that of the oizys. He must start from the fundamentals.

Bilateral symmetry, he notes. Possibly a limited cone of primary sense detection then.

Obligate bipeds, judging from the extremities of their limb appendages, and the column-like endostructure nested within their central mass.

The limbs are not hydrostats. They are almost like mechanical systems, musculature connecting to joints and junctions in the endotissue. Strange. Fragile.

No identifiable tracheae-system. Body plan is too inefficient for diffusion. Those two central organs that engorge and deflate almost like oizys limb segments, only filled with air - they are like the pulmonary sacs of rockleapers, and other rare species of the East Isthmus mountain peaks. A combined circulatory-respiratory system, he posits. What can be inferred? Lower-pressure, lower-density atmosphere than Phorcys standard. It must be so, for the air past the barrier feels bizarrely insubstantial compared to that of their own section of the craft. Sound travels differently. Unfamiliarly.

The nervous system - most unsettling of all. Extreme cephalisation. Elsewhere he can find analogues, but this is unlike anything on Phorcys. A bizarre concentration of neural tissue in the upper mass. He can sense the thing - an organ in its own right - thrumming with electricity. Whatever those protuberances from the upper mass are, they too seethe with disturbing energy. What can be inferred? This is less certain...

Reproductive organs? The crux of sociobiological analysis. But while numerous organs appear potentially analogous to the oizys gamete sac, he can find nothing retractable sheathed in the extremities - though the abdominal apparatus is morphologically similar to an ovipositor. A hydrostat, he can intuit from the internal structure, similar to the oizys limb in fact. Yet no barbs or spines, or any structure on the organ capable of perforation and forced entry...

Yet it is when he observes the others that 0409334 is most taken aback. Considerable structural disparities, more so than could be explained by racial diversification. This cavity - Is this the same species? They appear outwardly similar but possess no such-

-the hydrostatic mystery is solved. They are gendered! Like certain species of tidecrawlers on the Meridian mud flats. Such a rare and seemingly disadvantageous reproductive schema that it would never have occurred to him that such organisms could even dominate their local predation hierarchy - let alone attain intelligence.

Much more is perplexing now. There is so little dimorphism between these aliens. What could be the selectional advantage of gender when no clear mating-strategy divergence can be intuited from their forms?

Gestational tidecrawlers are bloated, distended creatures larger than an adult oizys, barely capable of more than wallowing in the sand and flailing their armoured protrusions at intruders, whereas the reproductors are small, skittering creatures barely the size of a pereiopod, able to dart and evade the gestators thrashing attempts to dislodge them. A clear competitive dichotomy.

Yet these creatures are essentially identical in terms of gross morphology. Minor differences in tissue distribution and bone density reveal next to nothing of their mating strategy - in fact if anything, the two aliens he assumes to be the gestators seem marginally slighter in build. How do the gestators of the species protect themselves from the reproductors without morphological advantage? Perhaps in a sentient gendered species - it occurs to him - kin groups could protect their gestators, hoarding and and bartering them as valuable commodities, including unkin gestators…it is a good solution, perhaps, but then these possible alien gestators do not seem to be cloistered or guarded. Maybe the reproductor is her kin? But then how to explain the stark variation in colour? The implications of intelligent gendered life must be manifold, and difficult to predict. Mitakan social structure will doubtless come to be a complex area of study in orbital periods to come, 0409334 reflects. He must learn what he can.



"Confederation of Swarms welcomes honoured-emissary-friends" 0409334-Biologer stridulates cooly, trying to keep his composure even as 0992904 flails and peals with rage. It pains him to see such a magnificent specimen of oizyskind rendered powerless by their profane technology - and he will relish the day he has one of these things that have insulted their pride splayed out in the vivisectory. "Confederal Consensus requests information-exchange"

"Up!" 3100441-Emissary chirps sharply to 0992904 in Meridian. "Attack is useless. Only reveal-displays oizys impotence"

For once 0409334-Biologer agrees with the Western filth. 0992904-Interlocutor rises to his pereiopods - but keeps his magnificent foot-long ovipositor fully bared, tracking each micromovement of the Mitaku reproductor with its barbed point.

0409334 approves of this potent display rather more. "Request information on nature of..." he considers how to pronounce the vocalisation Mitaku, and decides to produce the closest approximation he can by carefully clicking two limb segments together - though he cannot be sure the nuances of the sounds will lie within their range of hearing "...T'tu Federation. Request dialogue explicating extent-degree of T'tu Federation interaction with Nexus Collective". Though eager to delve into biological matters, he asks what he must. He must keep in mind this also is what the Consensus has sent them here to learn - he must not let the Westerner's accusation be right. "Confederal Consensus must understand outcome-eventualities of confederation with Nexus" 0409334 explains.

"Owners claim-state drive to protect oizys" 0992904-Interlocutor stridulates more bluntly. "Why? What is purpose-use of oizys to Owners? What is purpose-use of T'tu? Do Owners promise-protect T'tu?"

"Further inquiry" 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician chitters tremulously, "request knowledge of technological insight-capability relative to Owners"

This is of equal importance, 0409334-Biologer reflects. How else to ascertain the ultimate effectiveness of an evolutionary schema but by its results?

"Further inquiry" 0409334 stridulates with almost keening urgency. "Request knowledge of T'tu society-biology. Possible specimen exchange?" He gestures a pereiopod at the prominent one -“You are reproductor?” he aks. He raises another two limbs at the others. “Conspecifics are gestational organisms? Your kin? Or claimed?"

He waits impatiently for their response - only then it occurs to him these creatures may have difficulty parsing the speed and simultaneity of oizys language. The oizys' entire exchange has been faster than the time it took for the Mitaku just to pronounce their greeting - 0409334 intuits there is a signfiicant metabolic gulf between them. An insight of significance. Whatever indiscernible advantages they may possess - at the very least the oizys mind appears to operate faster.

"No questions, Westerner?" he asks 3100441-Emissary, still perturbed by his cool silence, "Kin-Leagues convey no inquiries?" and for a moment the oizys seems as distant and inscrutable as any of the other strange and terrible and yet unknown forms hovering behind the barriers.

"The West will have answers" 3100441 replies cryptically, and 0409334's setae bristle.
The oizys species of the Confederation of Swarms

The Church of Autology and the fate of the Earth

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Wuufu
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NS Nation (Prefix): The Grand Master of
Nexus Client: The Mitaku Federation
Client Tech Level: A1
Client Leader: Federal Council
Client Councillor: Cassie Ekin
Client Species: Mitaku
Location: United Kingdom
Has thanked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: First Contact

Post by Wuufu » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:23 pm

All three Mitakan’s jumped back as the Oizy slammed itself against the barrier, a collective autonomously generated gasp filling the room. Giving credit where credit is due, all three managed to outwardly compose themselves again pretty quickly, but their heart rates wouldn’t settle again for another minute yet.

That… was unexpected, Sotaro felt uncertain through the telepathic link.

It certainly looks like the bet is yours, Tami stated, making hasty notes onto a small datapad she had withdrawn from her belt. Look, it’s still trying.

Indeed, Sotaro was obviously making an effort to calm himself. I wonder why? Surely it knows-

Confederation of Swarms welcomes honoured-emissary-friends

Focus! Cassie admonished the two as dialogue was opened. She was about to say more words when the Oizy’s continued.

Request information on nature of... T'tu Federation. Request dialogue explicating extent-degree of T'tu Federation interaction with Nexus Collective. Confederal Consensus must understand outcome-eventualities of confederation with Nexus.

Owners claim-state drive to protect oizys. Why? What is purpose-use of oizys to Owners? What is purpose-use of T'tu? Do Owners promise-protect T'tu?

Further inquiry. Request knowledge of T'tu society-biology. Possible specimen exchange? You are reproductor? Conspecifics are gestational organisms? Your kin? Or claimed?


A beat of silence passes.

“Did you get all that?” Cassie asked Tami, her voice carrying across the chamber and likely being broadcast out towards the Oizy’s.

Tami nodded, and released a hold of a finger on the datapad. The audio that had filled the chamber had been temporarily recorded and then used to transcribe the text that instantly appeared on the screen.

She held out the datapad to Sotaro, who took it and began to peruse through the questions, speaking them through the telepathic link as he did so. Once done, he turned to face the Oizy’s, a full twenty seconds having passed since the barrage of questions. Let’s start with the first, shall we, he mused to his colleagues.

“Thank you for your patience, let me answer your questions for you,” he took a quick pause.

“Our relationship with the Nexus Collective is a simple one. We are provided access into the Nexus, equal opportunities to inform how it is run, access to space within the Nexus itself, the ability to trade, interact and learn from other species and cultures, and in return, we control access to our world and our gate. Nothing in the Nexus can hurt or affect us, as you can tell,” he motioned lightly towards the barrier, “the Owner’s are very verse in providing protection in that way.”

He paused, glanced down at the next questions on the datapad. “As for what the Owner’s get from this, this has been a question of debate within the Mitakan Federation as well. We have come to the following conclusion. The Owner’s seek life. They seek to find it, connect it to their Nexus, and provide ways for it to continue existing. Note that outside of ensuring the laws of the Nexus are fulfilled, the Owner’s will have little interest in the goings on of your world. There are many Client’s though that will, and should you have interest in trade, aid, joint scientific research, or other boons, there are many here that will provide.”

Having provided enough to get an initial inclination on his viewpoint, he turned to the final questions. A longer pause occurred here as he pondered his words, his eyes going over the various questions below.

As he did, however, Tami stepped forward and took over the answers, her hands clasped gently behind her back as she responded to the Oizy’s. “Hi there, I’m Tami, I’m the biologist and cultural specialist of the Mitakan delegates. Our people share a gendered male/female makeup,” she motioned to Sotaro and then herself as she spoke, pointing out the male/female divide. “During our mating ritual, the male ejects cells into the female that seek out and merge with one of her eggs as an act of fertilisation. This starts the process of the formation of a foetus, which the female carries to term. Nearly all of our children are born with no visible gender, though genetically most have a pre-programmed one that emerges when they grow older. Some form mixed gender or no gender, and some choose to change their gender prior to it taking effect.”

Here Tami motioned to her colleagues behind her. “None of us are related. We all work alongside one another for common goals. As for whether any of us are claimed… I am not sure I fully understand that question. In our society, those who do not have partners often seek out others in the same situation, while those who do have partners usually become… ‘claimed’, with the average partnership lasting around one hundred years, though you get both shorter and much longer ones too.”

Tami glance at Sotaro was enough that he ascertained she had finished. Glancing through the questions as she had spoken he had noticed one that wasn’t quite answered.

They mentioned the possibility of specimen exchange? he asked.

Out of the question, Cassie's response was sharp, but she immediately backtracked. That is to say, we’d have to verify that with the Health Guild. They might have a few who have agreed, or might agree, to Nexus scientific research.

“I notice you have also asked about specimen exchange,” Sotaro turned back towards the Oizy’s. “We can certainly provide you with scientific readouts of the makeup of our biology easily enough. We share scientific research on that readily. As for specimens… we usually don’t share our dead. Most of our people have rituals through which the dead is honoured and the body of the deceased is used as part of those rituals, and those that don’t are covered by laws that honour those traditions anyway.”

Another pause.

“I hope that answers your questions?” It was likely their responses took far longer to iterate than the Oizy’s had expected, and he had no idea how the translation was working, but he thought they had managed a well rounded response.

That’s the first time we’ve been asked about biology, Cassie mused to the pair. Nicely handled.

Sotaro just grunted, but Tami looked rather smug.
Wuufu, Councillor of Security and Interim Councillor of Foreign Affairs in the Council of Brilliance, and Grand Master of The Cynosure Order.

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Xah
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NS Nation (Prefix): The Morthanveld Polity of
Client Tech Level: A2
Client Leader: Ancient One
Client Councillor: Speaker
Client Species: Morthanveld
Location: --
Contact:

Re: First Contact

Post by Xah » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:45 am

The Advocate watched the reaction of 0992904-Interlocutor with resigned unsurprise. The only surprising thing was that it had taken this long for one of the oizys to react in such a manner. It briefly considered amending the potential Client status of the oizys to include some psychological and cultural pre-requisites, but after consultation with Hub, decided not to. The oizys were too remarkable, their evolutionary enthusiasm too intense, to expect them to fit into expected Client norms. A strong mentor-Client, such as the ghalimi, should be sufficient to ensure they did not render themselves extinct in a post-contact Outside Context Problem.

It translated the speech of the oizys as best as it could, and elevated the priority of a formal translation service within Hub's mainframe. It would take a bit of work getting suitable translations as there were too many concepts that didn't work either used by the oizys, or that the oizys used themselves. If it thought the concept would invoke anything other than paranoid fear and aggression, it might've suggested some form of non-verbal empathic communication technologies, but that was a non-starter in this situation for sure.

<are all members of this species so... volatile?> one of the Morthanveld asked. As species entirely devoid of visual senses, the Advocate had hoped some measure of commonality with the oizys, but the ultra-pacifist spinoforms would never grasp the predatory and cannibalistic nature shown.

<the species has a unique confrontational mating mechanism that results in death of the losing partner.> the Advocate said. <heightened aggression and pre-emptive violence are key to success in their social hierarchy. so much so that an inability to control one's urges to attack is often perceived as a benefit in obtaining social advantages. to put it simply; one cannot afford to upset another, lest it result in attack and fatal impregnation.>

The Morthanveld rustled their spines, releasing an odour that the Advocate recognised as a rare 'disgust/fear' response. Meanwhile the Ghalimi were far less perturbed, pressing their sensitive sensory appendages against the field separating them from the oizys. They were the only other species that approached the oizys in terms of size and shape, although where the oizys were rigid, the ghalimi were more akin to jellyfish.

To potential-Client Oizys: from Client-member Ghalimi: Welcome
To potential-Client Oizys: from Client-member Ghalimi: Offer of cooperation. Reason: Similar environmental conditions
Offer details: transfer of usable technologies for easier access to space in exchange for acceptance of Nexus Client status.


The Advocate nodded to itself internally. The Ghalimi were doing their thing. One didn't get a ten-thousand year old Mentor-Client status without some measure of diplomatic awareness, although it suspected they were about to be tested.

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Phorcys
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Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 pm
Nexus Client: The Confederation of Swarms
Client Tech Level: A1
Client Leader: Confederal Consensus
Client Councillor: 0992904-Interlocutor
Client Species: Oizys
Location: United Kingdom
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Phorcys » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:54 pm

“I notice you have also asked about specimen exchange,” the Mitaku that designates itself Sotarogovan replies. “We can certainly provide you with scientific readouts of the makeup of our biology easily enough. We share scientific research on that readily. As for specimens… we usually don’t share our dead. Most of our people have rituals through which the dead are honoured and the body of the deceased is used as part of those rituals, and those that don’t are covered by laws that honour those traditions anyway.”

For once, this makes sense to the oizys. The dead are an essential resource in the habitat-vaults, both in the corpse-nurseries and the ration-pits. "Miscommunication" 0409334-Biologer explains. "Query live specimen exchange. Can return tissue-corpus once specimen used". That should put their concerns to rest.

Of course the Confederal Consensus would never allow for the secrets of the oizys anatomy to be handed over. But the lack of ranged frequencies or discernible pulse intervals coming from the Mitaku's cloacal analogue - and the painfully bright light of their enclosure - leads 0409334 to intuit their echolocational sense is poor if nonexistent. This raises the possibility the Kin-Leagues' genetic engineers could manufacture some plausible pseudo-oizys specimen to mislead them. The creation of such a genetic malformation is forbidden by Consensus command, but perhaps given the circumstances an exception could be made. The Mitaku could not perform such a deception themselves - at least not against 0409334-Biologer who has felt their internals for himself.

An advantageous dynamic. Good. However as the oizys wait for the ponderously metabolising Mitaku to reply 0409334 considers the disturbing import of their prior answers - and their behaviour. None of the aliens are kin, yet they appear - so far as he can intuit their body language - to exhibit no natural wariness or alarm at unkin proximity. The gestator - Tami - is their party's biologer, disproving his hypothesis of gestators as commodities among sentient gendered life. As for the gestator's description of viviparous gendered reproduction - which oizys science has observed in nature and already understands - it revealed nothing of their mating strategies or selective hierarchies. In fact 0409334 senses intentional obfuscation. What deceptions do these aliens intend? They offer only data, instead of flesh - and data can be manipulated. Only a thorough vivisection can determine the truth. And most preposterous of all their claim that-

"-mating-partnership continue-lasts one hundred orbital periods?" 992904-Interlocutor exclaims in Meridian, seemingly mirroring his thoughts.

"Two hundred and fifty Phorcyn orbital periods" the translation software chimes.

"This one only 15 orbital periods old by T'tu count" 992904 chitters, sounding almost offended.

"Impossible" 0409334-Biologer declares. That an individual mating-partnership can last longer than three generations of oizys stretches credulity. "No organism can survive such timespan". A significantly slower metabolism might significantly slow tissue degeneration, but in the hostile environment of a terrestrial surface these creatures must surely have a brief life expectancy. "T'tu morphology fragile-weak. Ungainly. Vulnerable. Cannot survive long. Hypothesis - species survives by gestating large expendable broods. T'tu claim of longevity is deception".

"Must discern" 0992904-Interlocutor clicks, setae bristling agitatedly. He jabs a pereiopod forcefully at the barrier, getting the attention of Tami. "Further request" he stridulates in rapid split-second bursts of Standard, an intentional show of metabolic superiority. "What is T'tu lifespan?"

Of deeper significance, 0409334-Biologer considers, is what sort of planetary environment could possibly sustain such adaptively feeble mistakes of evolution. "Further inquiry" he adds. "Request dialogue-exchange of planetary-environmental information. You observe Phorcys. This one must conceive T'tu world"

"To potential-Client Oizys: from Client-member Ghalimi: Welcome"

A translation interrupts, the sound issuing from another enclosure.

"To potential-Client Oizys: from Client-member Ghalimi: Offer of cooperation. Reason: Similar environmental conditions. Offer details: transfer of usable technologies for easier access to space in exchange for acceptance of Nexus Client status".

0992904-Interlocutor hisses at this new overture. He has been climbing down from the brink of frenzy by focusing on the pitiful Mitaku alone. Difficult for an oizys, situational awareness as natural and vital as breathing - but now the Ghalimi confront him and make his concentration impossible. The Mitaku are utterly alike anything on Phorcys but like the advocate these new monstrosities - superficially similar to the oizys bodyplan - are all the more alien for it. Not merely different but a perversion. Gelatinous. Internally diffuse. Abhorrent.

"Confederation - and Kin-Leagues - conducive to technological exchange" 3100441-Emissary breaks his cryptic silence, interjecting and cutting between 0992904-Interlocutor and the alien before he can lose control. "Elaborate-explicate intent. Confederal technology already capable of reach-escaping orbit. What is offered?” 3100441 asks the strange being, scuttling towards its barrier. 3100441 reflects on the ridiculousness of 0992904's designation when all the Meridian can do is chitter and flail, and the high position of 0409334-Biologer who has forgotten what he is really here for, preoccupied only with his eugenicist fantasies. But all the better. They are enemies now, and better his enemies are fools. The Kin-Leagues shall reap the alien bounty, unlock the secrets of their technology and reach the stars - while the Meridians squander its potential. And when the Meridians are in their deserved place stamped under Western pereiopods, there will be nothing left for them.

Sure enough 0409334-Biologer's single-minded interest is drawn. "Similar environmental conditions?" he chirrups. "Continue". Could this species be a more serious competitor to oizyskind?

"Technology exchange?" 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician clicks at the Ghalimi, as if to confirm what he cannot believe, to ask if it can really be that easy. His limbs ripple with interest and resurgent pride. 3100441-Emissary notes that the East Continental's superiors do not seem to have seen fit to entrust him with their plans, but 3100441 knows no Easterner can have any more common affinity with a Meridian than one of his own kind can. 2204873 will recognise where his interests lie when the time comes, 3100441 is sure.

And the time is coming soon, he taps sub-audibly to himself. Soon. His every sense is alert for the signal. It is coming.
The oizys species of the Confederation of Swarms

The Church of Autology and the fate of the Earth

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Wuufu
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NS Nation (Prefix): The Grand Master of
Nexus Client: The Mitaku Federation
Client Tech Level: A1
Client Leader: Federal Council
Client Councillor: Cassie Ekin
Client Species: Mitaku
Location: United Kingdom
Has thanked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Wuufu » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:38 pm

Tissue Corpus? Cassie grimaced as those words came across the translation boundary. Does that mean what I think it means?

Possibly, Tami mused. If it does, it’s something we’ll want to avoid.

They watched in interest as one of the Oizys jabbed a tentacle at the barrier.

What is T'tu lifespan?

Then almost as quickly a second request.

Further inquiry. Request dialogue-exchange of planetary-environmental information. You observe Phorcys. This one must conceive T'tu world.

Sotaro leaned over the datapad he still held, and was about to launch into a response when he noticed that the Oizys were no longer paying attention to their barrier, having been distracted by one of the other Clients. The Ghalimi, he mused.

That at least took some heat off them for the moment, and they watched the conversation of a technology exchange with much interest.

Let’s ignore their requests on specimen exchange for the time being, Cassie requested the other two. That’s definitely something for future negotiations rather than a first contact situation.

The other two answered in the affirmative, and once it looked like the conversation had stalled between the Oizys and Ghalimi, Sotaro held up the datapad in front of the barrier. The screen was landscape, with one half showing a rotating image of their homeworld, a blue/green orb hovering in space. On the other side the screen further divided into four quadrants, each one showing a video feed of parts of the planet close up; lush forests, large seas, and green cities.

“Our homeworld, Mikato, is mostly comprised of an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, with 35% of the planet’s surface covered in water, often salty. The rest of the planet has lush plant life dependent on climate, amid which animals and wildlife prospers. Our cities often work with the local plant life to ensure continued existence of the biome around our living space. Our society works hard to maintain the current balance of our ecosystems and that of our planets bio-support systems necessary for our continued existence.

“That being said, the Nexus does offer a chance to reside within its bounds should your own planet be unfit for the task, or be wanted purely for resource extraction. There are many Client’s we know of who primarily reside within the bounds of the Nexus.”

“As for our lifespan,” Tami leaned forward. “Our current average life expectancy is around 475 years. I myself am 285 years, Sotaro here 330 years, and Cassie is 218 years. Age is an indicator of experience, but we don’t discriminate on leadership positions, and as such Cassie remains as the head of our representatives to the Nexus, being the Mitakan who lead the first expedition to the Nexus much as you are doing now.”
Wuufu, Councillor of Security and Interim Councillor of Foreign Affairs in the Council of Brilliance, and Grand Master of The Cynosure Order.

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Xah
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NS Nation (Prefix): The Morthanveld Polity of
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Client Leader: Ancient One
Client Councillor: Speaker
Client Species: Morthanveld
Location: --
Contact:

Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Xah » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:46 pm

The Ghalimi floats in its orange tinted atmosphere, apparently listening to the translation from the Oizys.

Information: Ghalimi atmosphere is also toxic to most. Environmental conditions harsh. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide rich
Solution: Have learnt to create robust materials. Resistant: High pressure. Corrosive. Self-healing.
Technology offer: two alternates: most ideal offer: Ghalimi construction of space elevator in oizys orbit. Access to orbit resource costs substantially lower. Includes solar based power source at tip.
Secondary offer: less ideal: more work for oizys but less invasive: knowledge of methods to create own materials for elevator construction.
Comparison: first offer in place within two oizys solar orbits. second offer knowledge transfer rapid, implementation of technologies within ten to twenty solar orbits
Requirements for offer: Acceptance of Client Status. Assignment of Ghalimi as Mentor-Client. No time constraints. Negotiation invited

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Phorcys
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Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 pm
Nexus Client: The Confederation of Swarms
Client Tech Level: A1
Client Leader: Confederal Consensus
Client Councillor: 0992904-Interlocutor
Client Species: Oizys
Location: United Kingdom
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Phorcys » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:22 pm

0409334-Biologer trills in frustration, realising his specimen request is being stubbornly ignored. It seems an exchange is a step too far - even for such guileless creatures. Disappointing. But then his attention is more drawn anyhow by the data the Mitaku are offering so inexplicably freely on their homeworld. He can sound out their internals and intuit their biology to a degree from here, but this information can only be obtained through willing dialogue. So he decides not to press his specimen request again. Only to listen.

Though the images that flash up on the Mitaku’s data pad are mere blurs of colour and motion to oizys eyespots, 0409334-Biologer still notes them with interest, realising that the Mitaku have worked out so little of oizys biology they have yet to even realise their vision is a vestigial minor sense. 0409334 on the other hand has already intuited all their primary sensory modalities. Whatever the state of their technological advancement, raw oizys intelligence has clearly taken the lead here. Do they even know that he can echosense right through them?

Of greater interest still is of course the planetary data itself. An oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. 0409334 considers it, and its implications. Foremost - how inert, how stable it must be compared to Phorcys! Atmospheric chlorine plummets rapidly as soon as a rad flare or a chain eruption denudes any sizeable region of life, making the air unbreathable for decades at a time. Even with such hazards, the atmosphere of Mitako could remain metabolically viable for - who knows how long, depending on native biochemistry? Far longer than on Phorcys, undoubtedly. Perhaps Mitaku do not even require periods of metabolic dormancy.

But this is only the tip of the revelation.

“…the planet has lush plant life dependent on climate, amid which animals and wildlife prospers…” the slow-metabolising alien drawls in its languid speech, but 0409334 has already realised, trawling over the Owners’ data translations, that Mitako is a planet far more hospitable than any terrestrial environment known to oizyskind.

Absurdly so.

0409334 would not believe it if it were mere hypothesis. He would not believe it if it was not fact. To Confederal science the term ‘terrestrial environment’ is synonymous with extremes. Phorcys is a tortured hellscape, and when the Confederation sent probes to the neighbouring worlds of their volatile red dwarf system - they discovered that so was everywhere else. Nyx, the first of the planets, a gas giant many millions of years ago, now stripped by stellar radiation to a wracked volcanic core. Hemera, a dying hydrosphere, tidally locked and clinging desperately to a dissipating atmosphere and shrinking seas. Cronus, an entire world flattened to the consistency of pottery by its own crushing gravity. Thetis, a frozen nitrogen icescape entombing a lifeless sea of toxic methane.

But Mitako.

The mystery of the aliens' physical frailty is solved. And by an unexpected answer. They have not, as 0409334 first surmised, degenerated over long eons of voidborne low-gravity existence. They were born degenerate. The Mitaku species shaped by the feeble evolutionary energies of an impossibly placid world.

The constant danger, the ever-looming threats of starvation, irradiation, inundation - extinction - that have loomed over every oizys life past and present are absent on Mitako. The pressures that forged oizyskind into the pinnacle of biology do not exist. On Phorcys the natural world, even the planet’s geology itself is an unrelenting enemy. On Mitako, the aliens “work with the local plant life to ensure the continued existence of the biome around our living space…”

0409334-Biologer’s first reaction is a sense of profound wrongness. Of course these aliens have advanced so far with no obstacles in their way! But in the time a Mitaku could draw a single breath his conflicting thoughts have resolved into a steeled contempt.

When the anomalous craft was first detected in orbit, he thought his lifespan's work in ruins. All his efforts to perfect the oizys genome wasted before the unimaginable might of the alien. He imagined the oizys species as endemic organisms on an isolated island chain, lording their superiority over what they thought was the world until predators washed up on their shore.

But in fact, the reverse is true. The oizys are the superior predators, now unleashed upon the cosmos by the foolish probing of these aliens, and in the new evolutionary battleground, the Mitaku will be the first to go extinct.

"This one thanks T'tu for information exchange" he clicks coldly.



"Ghalimi construction of space elevator in oizys orbit. Access to orbit resource costs substantially lower. Includes solar based power source at tip...Secondary offer: less ideal: more work for oizys but less invasive: knowledge of methods to create own materials for elevator construction"

While the Biologer wastes his time seeping over the Mitaku, 3100441-Emissary conducts the negotiations that will forever advance oizyskind. Fitting, 3100441 considers, and expected. Who more worthy than a scion of Phonotaxis to be here?

The Ghalimi's offer piques his interest greatly. But he cannot overstep his mark. Not yet. "Have no power to accept" he clicks, reluctantly. "Consent-authorisation of Confederal Consensus necessary-required. This one regrets that Meridian Swarms less receptive to exchange. Western Kin-Leagues however most receptive-desiring of acceptance. Offer valuable-progressive for Confederation of Swarms"

"Consider words close-carefully" 0992904-Interlocutor cracks in Meridian.

"3100441 correct" 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician chitters hesitantly in the Westerner's defence, "Offer critically significant. Atmospheric-elevator hypothesised by East Continental science - never believe-considered practical-possible"

"Confederal Consensus will not approve-accept alien construct on Phorcys surface" 0992904 rattles in contemptuous certainty.

"True. But incorrect option" 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician explains. "Secondary offer superior. Understanding-possession of self-repairing material technology applicable to all facets of Confederal manufacture".



"Our current average life expectancy is around 475 years. I myself am 285 years, Sotaro here 330 years, and Cassie is 218 years"

0992904-Interlocutor writhes with agitation. 0409334-Biologer requests the translation to be run again.

"475 years...285 years...330 years...218 years"

It stubbornly repeats itself.

"You claimed T'tu longevity impossible!" 0992904 rattles in startled anger.

"Is impossible!" 0409334 trills with shaking arms. "Population resource-dynamics unsustainable. No evolutionary advantage". The youngest of these creatures claims to have outlived six oizys generations. "How could such a species not outstrip-consume all available resources?"

But of course. He realises before he has even finished stridulating. Mitako. How it changes everything. Ease and abundance. 0409334 realises it will take his mind some time to adapt to the notion that the world they inhabit can exist.

He raises his limbs to inquire further-

-when the advocate suddenly stirs into motion alongside him-



Air-Void Control, Habitat-Vault 01

2501665-Signaller is small for a Meridian. He spans a mere two metres across from limb to limb. The pitted scars grooving his cuticle would be intimidating on a larger oizys, but instead they only make him more obviously vulnerable: not a winner of many mating struggles - a near-survivor only through caution and speed. And every oizys will slip up eventually. Hungry rivals wait for a single mistake, a moment of distraction, a half second off-guard.

So it is everywhere except the brood warren. So it is here.

It has been just over a cycle since Air-Void Control was relocated, after attempts to put down the mating-outbreak collapsed the tunnels. In that chamber 2501665’s tactoaudio terminal was surrounded by the stations of other kin. Cuticle to cuticle they had survived the chaos. But Air-Void Control has been rehoused in a series of abandoned and forgotten mineshafts. His new post is in an isolated, dead end passage, punitive discipline long minutes away should violence stir. And between him and 2679764-Communications-Technician - his only kin nearby - are three satellite-operators, and they have been clicking their way at all too obvious frequencies. Sounding them out in preparation for the kill.

“108.8” they chitter only just audibly to each other, “108.8”. But 2501665 is meant to hear. It’s the result he averaged at his last reproductive fitness ascertainment - almost nine points lower than the next weakest candidate from his burrow. Below 100 and the system would have flagged him for the death-trials. He may face them yet - his warren-masters have cut his rations and doubled his regimens in punishment. 2501665 hovers on the edge of exhaustion. His genomic rating slips with each test.

He teeters on the edge of survival.

What 2501665-Signaller is about to do clashes against a lifetime’s indoctrination - ‘for the swarm, for the race, for the genome’ - the words drilled since spawnhood resound. But the swarm the race and the genome have shown they have place for him anymore.

The only reason he hasn’t been stripped of his designation and cast into the tunnels is because his Master-Signaller thinks he has a good chance of killing him. As does everyone. So even as 2501665-Signaller attends to his station, monitoring orbital telemetry, tapping out course correction commands and relaying responses - he watches the chittering unkin behind him, clicking for the slightest unexpected motion. He has youth and speed on his side but little else.

“Half-breeds never last-survive in 01 corpse nurseries" 4909031-Satellite-Operator chitters mockingly behind him. The taunts are always a precursor to violence, 2501665 knows. But the satellite-operator’s very insult is 2501665’s advantage.

Because it aroused no suspicion when he dealt with the Western spy. For as many orbital periods as 2501665 can remember kin and unkin alike have mocked his proclivity for foreigners. And it is true. He has never mated Meridian, as his record painfully shows. During transit times the runts stalk the level's foreign quarters, to hide from their own race and prey on weakling Westerners and East Continentals. His superiors hold him in contempt for it. They tolerate his miscegenation only because his impure spawn have yet to survive to maturity. And even fellow kin regard him as weak, protecting him - when they must - only to sustain the inviolability of the kin-group. 2679764-Communications-Technician has not once stridulated a limb in his defence against the taunts.

No oizys can survive like this. Not for long. And if consorting with Westerners against his own is what it has come to, so be it - this cycle 2501665 will save himself and have revenge for all their scorn.

Contracting a gizzard he regurgitates up a small object concealed in his cloacae, designed to mimic a natural gastrolith. Surreptitiously he touches the disguised data chip the Westerner gave him to the terminal pad. Keys in the forbidden access codes they somehow knew - releasing the virus.

Within seconds it will infect the entire system.



► COMMUNICATION TO THE OWNERS


Prototype Void Habitat, Orbit of Phorcys

1973088-Voidreacher runs the telemetry on the alien object for the hundredth time, scanning for any discernible structural weaknesses. It hangs silently in close orbit, vast and unknowable - and grotesquely shaped like some fungal protrusion grown across the stars.

1973091-Voidreacher glides up and down the spine of the habitat, running airlock and firewall tests, prepping a station that was never designed for it for combat readiness, as best he can.

They have been at it for over a cycle now.

And it was the threat of imminent combat that set 1973088’s military mind into action, dampening his fears with the discipline of training. But exhausted, his resolve begins to wear - thought creeping back through the cracks to contaminate his unthinking state.

“Cannot detect structural-morphological weakness” he trills to his sibling with growing concern, “Cannot locate radiators, airlocks, viewports, optical antennae, tightcast array-”

“Irrelevant” 1973091-Voidreacher chirps with maddening certainty “have orders. Fear has no purpose-use”

“-Fool! Cannot identify recognisable-targetable structures. If order comes, where-what does this one target?”

“200 antimatter units will destroy-vaporise any target”

“Not certain. Enemy unknown”

“Certain. Antimatter known” 1973091 reminds him, stridulating tersely. It is clear he does not want to consider their predicament.

“Mission Control, vessel-crew requests task information” 1973088-Voidreacher begs again into the receiver, knowing he will be rewarded only with uncaring static. “If negotiation-containment of threat successful, permission-request Phorcys re-entry-”

Unexpectedly the comms panel lights up - and 1973088 chirrups in relief - but the pre-message protocol codes that rattle out are unfamiliar. “Communication from Air-Void Control” 1973088 stridulates confusedly, “but this is not protocol channel”

“Multiple firewall breaches” 1973091 rattles in horror, pereiopods striking desperately at the control terminal. “System compromised!”


D̶̲̖͎̗̠̖̳̒Ḛ̞̗̦̆̓͊́ͧ͐̉Ș͓̯̲̭͈ͩͅT̹̮̻͔̣̽ͧ̓̒͒ͨͧR̷͇̲̞̻̠̺ͤO͉̐Y̘̬̻͉͈͝ ̹̼̝̬̞ͩͫͣ͛ͧT̯̰͚̣ͩ̑̔̇ͬH̛̰̙ͧ̾̑ͪ̈́̊͐R̳̼ͣ̿ͩ̈́͞Ẹ̑Ă͍̜̼̇́ͤͩͣT̨ͤͬ͂͐ͧ


-Comes a garbled command in an unfamiliar stridulatory tone. Not a Meridian one.

1973088-Voidreacher peals a high-pitched cacophony in frustrated anger and fear. How he has waited for this order! To fire and forget and return to the surface. And now it comes and it is so obviously not be trusted. This can only be some foreign deception, some ploy against the Meridian Hierarchies to incur the wrath of the alien menace upon them-

“Not follow order?” He asks his brood-sibling, not wanting the responsibility of making the call should his assumption prove wrong.

“Does not matter. Locked out of system!” 1973091 trills in terror. “Sibling! Emergency launch triggered!”

The anti-matter containment module detaches, fusion thrusters igniting. Direct guidance is only possible from the station’s control panel - but 1973088 and 1973091 aligned the module with the alien construct-craft hours ago. There are seconds to impact. There can be no question of it - the first shot of the war has been fired-

-and there is only one thing left to do. If the foreigners have forced their pereiopods, 1973088 can at least make sure their first strike finds its target. That they neutralise the threat. Scrambling to the manual guidance override - which remains miraculously unaffected by the lockout - 1973088 steers their munition till the last second, when it blooms in an immense white light.



The shift is immediately perceptible. Unsurprisingly the strike has had no effect, but 3100441-Emissary knows it has happened. Clients begin overlapping their perceptual cones in seeming concern. The advocate itself appears agitated. This is 3100441’s cue.

“There appears to have been an attempt to attack our craft” the advocate chimes to the oizys in Standard, “an antimatter bomb fired from the Confederation’s orbital habitat. We are in no danger, of course, but we request an explanation"

The oizys trill in alarm, 0992904-Interlocutor’s setae bristle as though he stood in the Phorcyn wind. Only 3100441-Emissary remains still.

“This is mistake" 0409334-Biologer insists, possessing no illusions that the Confederation is ready to confront the aliens just yet. "Rogue elements. Disobedience. Will be explanation-justification!"

“We have just received" the Owner continues, unappeased, "what appears to be a declaration of war. A demand for us to surrender our craft.”

"Deception!" 0409334 insists.

"We are still trying to verify its authenticity. There appear to be some discrepancies in protocol between this statement and previous communications".

"Valued-visitor-friends" 3100441-Emissary announces, stepping away from the other oizys, stridulating high pitched and clear in intelligible Standard. "This one's masters fear-foresaw current eventuality. Meridian Swarms hostile - possible Confederal negotiations break down. Possible Meridian Swarms attack. Kin-Leagues prepare for this."

"What is this?" 0992904-Interlocutor looms towards him, ovipositor bared from its sheath, but 3100441 continues undeterred. This is his time-

"The Western Kin-Leagues, in accord-conjunction with East Continent Technarchies, secede from the Confederation of Swarms in protest at Confederal aggression"

At this 0992904-Interlocutor peals with rage, seizing 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician and raising him bodily into the air, winding his thick limbs around the East Continental's helpless body. 2204873 thrashes and squeals, pleading his innocence - "this one knows nothing. This one not told!"

"2204873 tells truth, Meridian" 3100441 clicks in their language. "Aerovoid-Technician's superiors did not see fit to inform-explicate him. This one explains now"

3100441 gestures back to the advocate, continuing in Standard. "Swarms of East Continent in league with West. Southern Swarm States in league with West. This one proclaims New East-West Axis of Swarms. Proclaims Axis successor to Confederation of Swarms. Axis will not tolerate unnecessary-illogical aggression. Request transference of clientship from defunct-divided Confederation to Axis control".

The deception is unconvincing. 3100441 knows it is. He attempts it not because he is stupid, but because an oizys would not even realise the need to be convincing. Among oizys the total self interest of all parties is assumed. The pretence of righteous indignation is little more than an offer of a diplomatic gloss to the Owners, a justification for doing what is obviously in their own interest - engaging with a receptive client, rather than a phobic one. This is the choice he offers.

"Unkin!" 0992904 rattles and with a crackling chitter launches himself towards the Westerner in the killing stance - only for an Owner barrier to materialise between them in the split-second before impact. 3100441-Emissary reels back startled, terrified, but alive - and sure now of the favour of the aliens.

As he watches 0992904-Interlocutor batter himself pointlessly against the invisible field, he knows - the ascendancy of the West over their barbarian kind begins this day.
The oizys species of the Confederation of Swarms

The Church of Autology and the fate of the Earth

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Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Xah » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:50 am

As the module streaked towards the Owner vessel, the first thought of the Advocate (who retained full awareness of the craft despite its other duties) was that the Oizys had launched some kind of scouting or sensory mission towards the vessel, in an attempt to learn more about it. After several milliseconds of consultation with others, the incoming projectile was scanned, followed by the revelation that the device contained the small but not insignificant amount of anti-matter that was probably being used to power the habitat. Its approach pattern was direct, and it represented an important part of the orbital habitat unlikely to be detached either accidentally, or for a minor scouting duty. A brief debate over the intentions of the devices was halted by the demand to contain the apparent attack, and the consensus of the Advocate and its supervisor was that it was better to allow the craft's shields to absorb the impact than perhaps further alarm the Oizys by just altering the state of the AM.

As the explosion rippled over the field, the Advocate did its best to put on a tone that expressed displeasure; "There appears to have been an attempt to attack our craft, an antimatter bomb fired from the Confederation’s orbital habitat. We are in no danger, of course, but we request an explanation"

"This is mistake" one of the scientist-types insisted. "Rogue elements. Disobedience. Will be explanation-justification!"

The strangely coded message was received as the oizys protested its ignorance and the Advocate parsed the message, along with its transmission envelope, noting certain irregularities as well as the nature, tone and origin of the message.

"We have just received" the Advocate said, "what appears to be a declaration of war. A demand for us to surrender our craft." If it was possible to put disapproval into an oizys statement, the Advocate tried its best. This wasn't the first time a new Client had responded aggressively, things usually sorted themselves out eventually.

"Deception!" the scientist insists.

"We are still trying to verify its authenticity. There appear to be some discrepancies in protocol between this statement and previous communications." The Advocate wondered in passing if the Oizys had any concept of sarcasm or understatement.

It watched the ensuing breakdown in order within the Oizys delegation with slight concern. If it followed the conversation and the body language properly (not always a given with this Client), it appeared the attack was either a deliberate provocation from the more aggressive faction, either in an attempt to defeat the Owners or as a display of power to enhance its negotiation stance, or it was a false-flag by the less-aggressive faction represented by the more scientifically minded representatives here, in an attempt to discredit the others. Regardless, the actual cause soon became moot.

"Swarms of East Continent in league with West. Southern Swarm States in league with West. This one proclaims New East-West Axis of Swarms. Proclaims Axis successor to Confederation of Swarms. Axis will not tolerate unnecessary-illogical aggression. Request transference of client-ship from defunct-divided Confederation to Axis control".

Ah. A coup. Not unusual. The violent response of the larger Oizys wasn't entirely unsurprising and the Advocate separated the two factions quickly.

"The Nexus receives your request to be considered as the representative Client for this universe. Can you maintain Client status without the support of other Oizys factions, and resist their inevitable response?" It speaks to oizys from both sides. "Desist from continued attacks upon the field. Client status for this universe is now in flux; you will need to determine some method of deciding which faction will be granted Client status. Until that is resolved, the Nexus can return each of you to a place of your choosing and await final decision. Observation of the process will continue and the Nexus requests restraint and a non-violent method." Fine words, but the Advocate has little hope that anything short of civil war will resolve this.

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Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Wuufu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:32 pm

"There appears to have been an attempt to attack our craft, an antimatter bomb fired from the Confederation’s orbital habitat. We are in no danger, of course, but we request an explanation"

The Mitakan’s exchanged glances as the Advocate confronted the Oizys. As with everything with the Owner’s, the sheer technological prowess they possessed meant they hadn’t even felt the impact, and it was only through the Advocate’s reaction that the three had even realised something was amiss.

An attack? Sotaro sounded more concerned than fearful, feeling rather safe in the Owner’s care. The Mitakan’s moved together, ignoring the protestations of the Oizy’s as they attempted to reassure the Advocate in the chamber across from them.

Seems so Tami nodded, then… Did I just hear something about war?

That would be a short-lived mistake, Cassie mused.

More a waste of resources, Tami’s reply got a smirk from the other two.

They watched in silent fascination as one of the Oizys staged what looked like an attempted coup, and then the Owner’s put their world in flux. Quietly, Sotaro leaned down and tapped a few virtual buttons on the PADD, setting the official recommendation of the Oizys access into Mitakan space as Code Black, designated for those species deemed hostile or dangerous. That wasn’t to say the Mitakan’s were averse to trade or future diplomatic meetings, with relevant security precautions, but it did mean that at current, any Oizys would be denied entry into Mitakan territory, forcefully if necessary.
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Re: Oizys First Contact

Post by Phorcys » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:21 pm

Communication to Under-Command|Vault 01
6206614-Barracks-Master [Identity Confirmed]
Timestamp 46.72.19|92.65

Message start_
+++Kin-Leagues hostile|Agri-territory taskgroups encircled|Defences circumvented|Drone firewalls compromised|Commanders assassinated at tactical briefing|Sustaining damage|Contingent attempting to re-establish control of coast|Requisition reinforcements|Request evacuation|Sustaining damage+++
Communication to Military Taskgroup 066|West Territory
0031169-Under-Commander [Identity Confirmed]
Timestamp 12.73.19|92.65

Message start_
+++Operational incapacity|Marine assets lost|Flight conditions volatile|Evacuation unviable|Reinforcements unviable|6206614 to assume local command|Contingent to hold|Expenditure acceptable|Failure unacceptable|Confederal Consensus alerted|Session beginning|Await victory+++


The Equatorial Meridian

The oizys do not make declarations of war. Such a concept has no place in agent theory - and it would be irrelevant even if it did. War is the permanent state of every swarm, against their allies no less than their enemies. The difference is only between hot and cold. So without warning, without ceremony, without propaganda or justification - as dispassionately and remotely as teleoperated surgery - the Kin-Leagues’ plan to excise the Meridian cancer is commenced.

The storm wracked skies are split by the screaming contrails of hypersonic drone craft - cheap, hardened, and disposable, kinetic weapons in themselves if they survive the environment long enough for their munitions to run dry. They come like a stormfront from the West, an aerial armada converging on the Vaults - and the tide of Meridian drones scrambled in defence.

But there will not be even a single engagement.

Surface to air laser batteries knock every last invader from the sky before they can even make range. No sooner are they repelled than a swarm of long range tactical missiles arrive in retaliation, stolen navigational codes allowing them to track down the Meridian drones with pinpoint accuracy. The Meridians have the defensive advantage - the Westerners have their spies. The mutual annihilation of the Confederation’s air fleets took only seconds. The wastes are scoured for miles with their ruin.

Confederal theorists have been trying to predict for decades what the next war - what a modern war - would look like, and now their competing hypotheses are tested, their success tallied in materiel and oizys flesh.

Seconds after the failure of air warfare, secret sub-surface facilities begin to rise from the Meridian sands on vast hydraulic platforms. Underwater silos emerge across the Western coastline in turn, arsenals of intercontinental rockets unleashed from both side. Designed to breach the atmosphere as quickly as possible to reach their targets from the void, launch losses to storms and volcanic debris are minimised. Their efficacy is brutally demonstrated. Within minutes every outlying facility, defence battery and staging post across the continent has been wiped out. Subtarranean structures are no safer. Collapsed. Cratered. The monolithic radiation shields protecting the upper levels of the Meridian Habitat-Vaults are targeted - killing thousands and exposing tens of thousands more to open atmosphere. The Meridian Hierarchies expunge the Wests' invaluable agri-territories in return - a terrifying demonstration of masochistic resolve. Mass starvation across the Confederation is inevitable now - but the decision has been made. Better for famine to take a billion than to survive subjected to the dysgenic tyranny of the West.

In an hour the most advanced military technologies of the Confederation have all been spent. The cost has been terrible - and the war has only just begun. More robust, low tech solutions are required to make the killing blow.

But the bulk of the Meridian Hierarchies' conventional ground forces have already been deployed - stationed to defend the vital Western agri-territories against possible alien invasion. Now surrounded and cut off in their true enemy’s territory - every one of those eugenically perfected and highly trained surface teams an incalculable loss. Even the locations of the sub-marine force carriers that transported them were given away by the deployment, the bulk of the Meridian navy destroyed by fusion torpedoes only seconds into the attack.

Their main contingents are all trapped. They have no marine assets to land their reserves. They cannot secure any beachheads. Air combat is impossible.

There is only one prong of counterattack remaining.

Across the thousands of miles of the trackless Meridian wastes, subterranean hangar-ports emerge like the yawning mouths of a once dormant leviathan. They disgorge great convoys of hardened landshuttles and super-heavy landcarriers onto the flats.

Trundling through the treacherous wastes under the weight of thick ceramic radiation shielding and military grade armour, most will never reach their destinations. The majority of casualties in every oizys war have always been lost to the surface environment - for not even the most advanced vehicle is any defence against an unpredictable volcanic surge, or a high velocity ejecta storm.

But with Meridian naval forces crippled it is a risk they have to take. At least with their elites already in the field, the vehicles are packed only with mass-mobilised conscripts, intended to release their payloads at short range and overwhelm the enemy in superior Meridian bodies. Drill teams will breach the Westerner’s outlying tunnel networks, chemical teams poison their agrilands to force surrender. And even untrained in military tactics, every Meridian will be worth three of the dysgenic foe in unarmed close quarters combat.

That is the plan.

Until reconnaissance taskgroups along the Southern border begin to report hostile contacts. For the first time in living memory. First provocations and skirmishes - then direct assaults. Waves of landshuttles bearing the glyphic marks of the Southern Swarm States - the old enemy of the habitat wars, transgressing into the demarcated zone for the first time in a generation. Sappers have burrowed under the minefields. Oizysform mechs are scaling the falls. Fielding equipment nobody knew the South even possessed - more evidence of Western treachery.

01 Under-Command assumes control of the Meridian Habitats' combined forces, rapidly dividing its assault to counter the threat from a second front. They fight now to repel an old enemy - as well as to punish the new one.

No longer over defunct Confederal commlinks but on encrypted bilateral channels an emergency session of the Confederal Consensus is called - to determine the allegiance of the Confederations’ other power blocs. The East Isthmus Consortium has been calling for immediate aid since the fighting began, but the Technarchies of the East Continent have gone dark. Whether in preparation for some greater treachery - or because they wait to choose the winning side - none can be certain. Their time has come, for as furious recriminations and desperate demands for aid fly over the channels, it becomes apparent that - after generations as a second rate Confederal power bloc - the fate of Phorcys depends on them...



"Client status for this universe is now in flux; you will need to determine some method of deciding which faction will be granted Client status. Until that is resolved, the Nexus can return each of you to a place of your choosing and await final decision-"

"Western-traitor-fiend does not return to Phorcys alive!" 0992904-Interlocutor demands, thrusting a writhing periopod towards the Advocate. He has relented his assault upon the barrier - but the oizys is on the fraying edge of reason, musculature pulsing with hydrostatic force.

0409334-Biologer's demeanour is no less tense - but entirely opposite, the cool and focused manner of the confident hunter stalking his prey. "Your kin doom-condemned" he stridulates with cold malice."Your race condemn-extincts itself. Western military caste weak-inferior. Southern Swarms weaker. Cannot survive"

"This is correct" 3100441-Emissary clicks with arrogant unconcern.

"Westerner thinks East Continent will fight for you?" 2204873-Aerovoid-Technician chitters, less concerned with the geopolitics 50,000km below than staying on the right sight of the huge Meridian he's trapped next to. "If planned, you are deceived".

"Technarchies support-align superior-successful side, of course" 3100441 concedes, "and with alien support, New Axis victorious". He raises his pereiopods in gestures of peace towards each assembled client, another at the advocate. "Confederation of Swarms have aggressed against you. Retaliate-destroy them, ensure survival-loyalty of New Axis and benefit-furtherance of Nexus Collective"

"Traitor-Leagues cannot be trusted!" 0409334-Biologer insists. "Traitor-Leagues decadent-weak-worthless. Confederation superior client!"

"Confederation desires only war" 3100441 clicks condescendingly, "to outcompete. Expand. Exterminate. Primitive-biological ways of Phorcys past. Western Kin-Leagues and their new partner-allies embrace future. New model-paradigms of civilisation. Coterminous progress-gain"

"Coterminous death, if aliens join with traitors!" 0992904-Interlocutor trills with barely contained rage at the Advocate, coiling his limbs as if about to strike.

"Observe! Observe Meridian temperament!" the Westerner chitters. "Since habitat wars three generations ago, superior-enlightened Swarms of West and East Continent yoked to eugenicist-primitivists of Meridian by military necessity. But Owners, T'tu, I't'i'i - can liberate our Swarms. Only we desire peace-progress with alien intelligence."
The oizys species of the Confederation of Swarms

The Church of Autology and the fate of the Earth

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