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PBF Lasers and Feelings

The Raptor, scout ship of the Consortium Fleet, is currently exploring star systems in Sector 113, an unmapped sector on the widdershins frontier of Consortium space relative to the galactic plane. The crew are enjoying a respite after rescuing a mining and manufacturing facility on the planet Tycho 3 that encountering new form of subterranean lifeform. For the past days, the ship has been surveying stellar and planetary bodies for the Consortium knowledge banks.

Introduce your character. For example, describe them going about their duty or what they do when off-duty. What do they look like? What is their background? Do they have any quirks?

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Chazz D. Spanner emerges from the shower bay, a ducked head breaches the doorway, parting the steam and revealing a tall, thin man in nothing but a towel. The air scrubbers shift into overdrive to deal with the otherworldly musk of his aftershave as he slips off to his quarters, dripping the whole way.

He orders his coffee (“Coffee. Black. Hot.”) and struggles to put on his socks. He slides open his wardrobe and mulls over which of his identical standard issue engineering uniforms to wear today. His finger floats left and right like a divining rod.

“That one.” He nods, and takes the uniform from its magnificent space coat hanger. “Yep. Computer, what am I doing today? Also, I think I want eggs, please.”

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Skip Zipwissel finishes a set of handstand push-ups before expertly transitioning into a complex series of Ashtanga yoga poses. Though of average height, his thick muscles give him the presence of a man far more imposing. He knows this, and he admires the definition in his quadriceps while stretching with a satisfied nod. “That’s definition,” he says to himself.

The walls of his quarters are riddled with photos of Skip with some of the greatest scientific minds in the galaxy, and he prides himself in knowing that he could clearly out-lift any of them. On his desk are awards he’s earned for his appearances on popular media programs where he serves as “expert adviser” on topics like “weird space,” “alienology,” “mysteries of the final frontier.”

Wiping his sweat with a scented towel he says to the ship’s on-board computer “Alright now, gimme that sweet science news!”

The computer begins listing titles, “Comparative analysis of black hole event horizons”

“Nope.”

“A mapping of the greegon genome”

“Not happening.”

“A pilot study of proposed formulas for more efficient fuel conversion rates during deep space exploration…”

“Absolutely not!”

“Colonists claim that native reptiles of Burnley V are seducing their women.”

“That’s the one! Hit me.”

The computer begins reading the article aloud as Skip makes his all natural uncooked breakfast, enthralled by what he hears. It’s a great day to be a scientist!

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The computer replies in a business like manner, "At 1500 hours, you have a meeting with Ensign Scofield about the routine maintenance schedule. You have one more day to seal microfractures in the axionic charm prism. Your thera-magnetic wave signature experiments finished overnight, and I have sent an update to your personal pad.

“Would you also like your eggs black and hot?”

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Skip has set the computer’s voice in his room to ‘sultry,’ and it describes how in the relatively recently established colony of Burnley V, the native reptiles became a fashionable pet, especially among the female colonists. The lizards are cute, protective of their owners, and help control pests. However, more recently there have been some tensions related to the lizards. Initial experiments suggest some interesting new discoveries about pheromones.

Over breakfast, the computer updates Lt. Zipwissel. “Your InstaWhatChat account added 17352 new followers. Your blog traffic is up from last week but down from two days ago. Would you like to make a new post?”

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“Hmm… Pheromones… Sexy.”
Skip picks up his terminal as he chomps on a raw foods nut/date/egg white pancake. Looking at his InstaWhatChat profile and wrinkling his forehead over the numbers. His picture is two weeks old, and he’s pretty sure there isn’t enough bicep peak on display.

“Ok. Here’s what we do.” Skip, still not wearing his shirt strikes a thoughtful pose as he looks at the terminal held up with a flexed arm. “Get a picture of me from my good side in 3… 2… 1…” A flash. "Now post that baby with the caption (he spreads his arm as he looks out of his viewing window) “It’s never too early to solve the mysteries of the cosmos!”

Looking back at the terminal. “Gimme a preview.” It shows up, and that bicep is perfect. “Oh, yeah. Science, baby. Now compose a post titled ‘Lecherous Lizards of Burnley V.’ Leave all of the boring stuff about the lizards out. Focus on the pheromones, put something in there about experiments using pheromones for military operations and manipulation/subjugation, you know, the spooky stuff. Add a little bit of ‘reptile brain’ talk, and cap it all of with questions of whether or not those little guys are remnants of an ancient alien invasion force. Send it to me for review when you’re finished.”

As he puts on his uniform he notices that it isn’t quite as tight as it should be. “Oh, this isn’t going to fly. Get me some new standards, reduce all girth measurements by 1cm so they don’t stretch out so fast. Now, what’s on my docket today?”

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“Ye-what? No, the usual. Poached with too much hot sauce. And don’t make me define too much again just dump it on.”

Chazz stumbles into his uniform and sits down to mull over the results of his experiments. He sucks back the eggs with a cough and jumps up with a start.

“Wait, one day left? Crap, I gotta stop procrastinating, what time is it?” Chazz bolts out of his chambers still strapping on his utility belt and heads straight for the machine room. It’s not a big job but any repair on an ACP is delicate work and he curses the coffee he just downed.

“Skip’s had that glimmer in his eye lately, ever since Cap had his… incident. I don’t think I ought to be late for whatever Scofield has in mind.”

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Like a walking commercial for Gillette Space-razors, Gary Phantom struts down the corridors of the supply center. The girls all whisper and giggle as he goes by, but he doesn’t care. He has a mission. This one in from Scott Winston, a Sergeant in the Space Police, and it’s to be done ASAP. With his headset on his ear, and his phaser on his hip, he walks straight to the door at the end of the hall, and into the dim room beyond. He knows what he has to do, and by Zeus, he’s gonna do it. Taking his seat at the bar, he orders a Pepsi with Vodka, and he and the Sergeant talk about old times over the hum of the mechanized barmaid.

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A data analysis of the likes and shares on Skip’s photo estimates that the new photo is one standard deviation above his already high norm.

In response to his scheduling question, the computer pulls up the massive list of samples and sensor data the Raptor has collected since its last stardock that, as chief Science! officer, Skip is in charge of. There are mineral samples with potentially interesting industrial uses. There are detailed scans of biological samples as, according to Consortium directives, scientists should try to avoid removing anything living from its ecosystem (there was an incident when a sentient mold was separated from its family…). There are various samples of interstellar gas and nebulas. There is far too much for his small team to analyze themselves. Skip is currently juggling half a dozen ongoing experiments, and Ensign Meson has four active. Anything they don’t get to will be delivered to the Consortium Academy of Science next time they dock, so it’s up to Skip to pick and choose what he wants to investigate.


There has been some tension between Lieutenants Spanner and Zipwissel since Captain Darcy became insensible a couple days ago. There is currently no clear chain of command. But exchanges have been professional. Consortium High Command doesn’t think it necessary for the Raptor to return immediately if Captain Darcy may wake up any moment, so they should stay on station and continue their surveying mission. But if Captain Darcy doesn’t awaken in the next five days, then they should return to the nearest starbase.

As Chazz enters the somewhat cramped engineering bay – scout ships tend more toward function than form – and is greeted warmly by Ensign Scofield. Scofield hasn’t forgotten when Spanner risked life and limb to pull him from a plasma discharge. Scofield is a quick pair of hands, but let’s just say it’s best if Spanner handle the fiddly, critical jobs himself.


Phantom and Winston trade stories, even though they’ve both heard them before, because they’re still gripping. Winston continues to say they should sell one of their adventures to Hollyworld to turn into a holovid. Today, Winston is particular hung up on the time he almost found the Space Pirate Queen Zaiyah. (Phantom emphasizes the “almost” since one of Zaiyah’s crew sent him on a wild goose chase, and Winston missed Zaiyah by at least 72 hours.)

To change the subject, Winston asks how the Raptor’s fighter handled on its last sortie.


In Skip’s quarters and in engineering, a holo projection of Communications Officer Terson materializes. “Lieutenant, we have picked up what I believe to be a Consortium distress signal from the Pykhios Nebula, four lightyears away. However, I’m having trouble decoding it, possibly due to interference from the nebula. What do you advise?”

“So I was thinking, if we just stuck that magnet in there, I mean, who would—” Chazz stops himself for the incoming message.

He puts his hand on Ensign Scofield’s shoulder, “Might need your help, buddy. Looks like we’ll be booking it sooner than later. Let’s get into these guts.” And he ducks his gangly torso into the ACP housing.

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Looking through the experiment profiles, Skip mumbles to himself “boring, boring, boring… Where’s the good stuff? Computer, has Meson finished his work yet? Can they pick up any of these? I don’t want to spend an entire day going over how some interaction between radiation and gas clouds creates translucent titanium, or any of that. Have any of our experiments produced anything unexpected? Do any of these preliminary readings offer anything even remotely unusual? I can’t -”

The projection of Comm Officer Terson projects into the room and Skip tries to listen but is distracted that Terson hasn’t been doing enough squats. Those chicken legs just don’t cut it. Snapping out of it, he watches the message again.

Nebula… distress signal… that could be, well, dangerous.

“Computer, do you pick up any unusual readings for the nebula? Any strange radiation? Other anomalies? Is anyone closer?”

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(Because we’re playing by forum, to speed up rolls, how’s this: if something asks for a roll, I’ll post the number of dice I think you should get. If you think the number should be different, reply with your counter. I’m particularly amenable if your suggestion is based on roleplay.)

@VictorViper Roll to repair the ACP. For this one, roll 3 dice: you’re the chief engineer, and this has been on your docket for a while, so you’ve got the diagnostics, schematics, tools, etc. that you need.


“There is no Consortium vessel within twenty light years, including inside the nebula. According to logs, no Consortium vessel has entered the Pykhios Nebula in the last two months.”

Rather than a verbal report on the nebula, Skip receives a summary on his personal padd with links to sensor data should he want it. His keen eyes notice that while the outlying regions of the Pykyios Nebula are within expectations, sensors detect unusual currents and turbulence in the heart of the nebula along with occasional tachyon bursts. That would cause interference, but if that’s the case, why is there a Consortium signal coming from the center of the nebula?

“Oh great,” Skip says. “Tachyons. A nebula. And turbulence. This is either some Consortium black ops gone wrong or something that will very definitely kill us.” Skip sighs hanging his head down. “Chazz is going to want to run right into this. I know it. Why doesn’t anybody on this damned ship want to stay alive?” He looks at a photo on the wall of the crew officers, focusing on captain Darcy. “Or conscious?”

Skip waits a good minute to hear if Lt. Spanners responds to the communique. After that time he lets out a relieved sigh and shakes his fist in something of a celebration. “Zipwissel to the bridge. Relay that distress signal to command, along with an addendum that we are currently without captain as he’s in our medical pod, and that our ship being a fightercraft, is not equipped for such rescue operations. We’re requesting a capital ship or relief frigate to take point on this. We’re deep in experiments that could be compromised by the nebula.”

Skip winces waiting for the response from command. Maybe captain Darcy being out of their mind could be beneficial. The last thing he needs right now is to die. He’s got a live interview with Galactic Oddities booked in a week, and he’s pretty sure he’s a week away from setting a personal record on his deadlift.

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@discobot roll 3d6

:game_die: 1, 1, 1

(Sorry, got busy over the weekend)

With Scofield monitoring the axionic charm flux, Chazz can concentrate on mending the microfractures. Every now and then, Scofield peaks over Chazz’s shoulder to watch his progress. “Beautiful work, lieutenant. How did you get the different crystalline structures to align like that?”

“Years of practice,” replies Chazz, still concentrating the seam he’s currently working on.

“You think it can handle extra throughput?”

Chazz finishes the seam and takes a look at his handiwork. “Yeah, it should be able to handle emergency load without frying like last time. At least once, anyway.”

Once the delicate work is complete, Scofield asks, “Want me to finish up here, lieutenant?”


“Aye aye, lieutenant,” responds Terson to Skip’s directive. Command doesn’t reply immediately, which is strange. Skip gets bored and does some stretches while he waits.

Once he’s cycled through his muscle groups, he realizes it’s been an unusually long time, which makes him only more anxious. “Zipwissel to Terson. You did forward the signal to Command, right?”

“Yes, lieutenant, along with the basic diagnostics I tried on the signal, and they confirmed receiving it. I’ll try them again though.” Terson adds, “I’ve been monitoring the signal, and it’s just been repeating. Or we’re hearing echoes.” Terson’s image turns to look at a different screen. “An Ensign Woodiaz from Command science branch wants to talk to you. Should I put it through to your quarters?”

“Yeah, I’ll leave you to finish up here. I want to know more about this distress signal. More importantly, I’m anxious to know what Skip has in mind. It’s been an hour without any updates from Comms, and you know how antsy he gets.”

Chazz wipes his brow with his trusty, filthy rag leaving a huge black streak across his forehead.

“Computer, update all logs and forward my status report to Lieutenant Zipwissel and advise I’m headed to the bridge. Assign access duties in engineering to Ensign Scofield.”

Huffing a great sigh, Chazz heads to the bridge.

“Yes, please do, but give me about 30 seconds.”

Skip quickly covers his desk with datapads, pulling up readouts on his holoterminal. He wrinkles his brow in his best look of consternation.

The signal comes through and Skip looks up with a sigh. “Ensign Woodiaz, I hope you’ve got good news for me. As you can see, I’m deeply inundated right now, and these experiments are in critical stages right now. I don’t have a lot of time to spare.”