Sixty-four Pixel Colonists

Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Have some discreet suveillance around the tank for two nights and then stop it and inspect it nomatter the results anyway because the newt hospital is freaking astronomical units away and we really can't afford any risks of food poisoning

>Also if it's proven someone is tmpering with the food supply, the vital food supplies, on purpose, let's explain how next time they pull that kind of crap there will be serious trouble.

Which reminds me:
>We should choose a security chief to enforce our colonies 'laws'
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
(01-17-2018, 03:18 PM)smuchmuch Wrote: »>We should choose a security chief to enforce our colonies 'laws'

Do this through democratic vote after everyone has eaten.
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RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
no don't. fuck the police.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists


Colony Mood:

Construction Drone: UNPOWERED
Compact Scouting Drone: UNPOWERED
Compact Scouting Drone: UNPOWERED

Foot Expedition to the Northeast: ?? Turns
Design - Radar Tower: 1 Turn
Repair - Solar Panel (jury-rig): Complete!

[Image: map_7_cropped.gif]

The broken solar panel is fixed, but cheaply. Make good use of it while the repair holds up!
+Vulnerable: Breakdown

After spending a turn back on full rations, the colony's mood has improved. They're not eager to cut rations again any time soon.
Mood: -Hungry, -Short-tempered

Colonists spot a figure approaching from the northeast: It's the geologist, alone. "They're crazy!" says the desperate geologist, referring to the biologist. "We were starting to make some progress on the sample collection problem, but it was slow going. We were running low on food and air. I said we should go back. They insisted we should stay, that we were too close to our goal. We had a big argument, and I thought I won. We went to our pressure-tents to sleep, intending to start the journey home early the next morning. But when I woke, I was alone. They took all their gear and supplies and left mine. I don't know where they went, and they won't answer the radio. We need to go back and find them! They'll die out there!" "This," says the medic, solemnly, "is why we use drones for this sort of thing." "No," says the geologist, "it isn't! Because we are supposed to be trained professionals who know and respect the limits of our own abilities! We are supposed to have enough sense not to pull this kind of crap!" The geologist is extremely agitated and more than a little bit angry.

The colonists realize that, duh, they can just turn on the spare algae tank while they drain and inspect the weird one. A couple of them volunteer to do the teardown. What they find, however, concerns them: There's a thing in the tank. "A thing?" asks the medic. "Yeah, a thing. Some kind of fuzzy little lump. Bright violet, and only the size of a lentil. Maybe it's some kind of mold? We tried to scrape it off, but it's adhered to the side of the tank really well." They'll go ahead with the rest of the sensor test suite and so forth, but that will take a little longer. But what's this mysterious mold?
New Project: Diagnose Algae Tank A's electronics systems (1 Turn)

The tank-tampering issue has started a debate: Some of the colonists suggest the colony appoint a Chief of Security to handle these kinds of situations. Others think that's stupid and unneccesary in a colony of 10 scientists and trained explorers who, after living in cramped quarters for as long as they have, know each other intimately, and who have been getting along in a state of enlightened anarchy pretty well so far. "Yeah," counters the pro-security side, "and we'd agree with all that, if it weren't for the fact that someone's already been tampering with food production! So apparently it's not unneccesary after all, is it?" The colonists have strong but divided opinions on the subject. After some quarreling, they decide to put it to a vote: Should the colonists appoint a Chief of Security, or not?

While the debate is ongoing, the archivist takes it upon themself to set up a discreet surveilance camera over the tanks. Within a day, the camera catches someone skulking about: It's Shiva, who does something surreptitiously at tank A and at tank C. Unfortunately, the camera doesn't get a clear shot of what they're up to: It was focused on the two food-producing tanks, B and D. The archivist isn't sure what to do with this information.

The colony generates a little bit of plasticarbon and 1.2 extra kW of power. What should they do with it?

RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
I say we save up that Plasticarbon for later so we can build another proper Solar Array on the next turn. That way, in case the jury-rigged one breaks down, we'll still at least have 2.4 kW of power to draw from. Either way, we should definitely not waste any time on diagnosing the problem with Tank A's electronics systems. And whenever we can, see if we can't figure out what the hell is up with that mold. That seems to be pretty important as well.

...Also, given the knowledge we're armed with, it may be best to have someone check up on Tank C as well, just in case.

EDIT: Ah! And while we're at it, we should use the power we have to send a scouting drone out to check on the northeast and see what the hell happened to the guy that decided to stay behind. ...Maybe use the other one to take a sample of that mold, if possible? That, and to put that unpowered compact tank to use, and get it to generating food to compensate for the fact that A is offline.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
mold is not proof of tampering, it's proof of fucking mold, it grows on food and shit, it happens sometimes, you're on an alien planet, get over your paranoid cabin-fever asses
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Send both scouting probes to look for the Biologist
>Ask Shiva to explain what they were doing and please stop being so goddamn shady for no reason whatsoever
Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Okay first thing first, we need to start looking into tank A and get an anlysis of that mold.

Either it's a earty contaminant, brought with us in the ship likely. That means that etiher through tampering or accident brought it in there.
And while it's not like a national emergency if it's not tapering, it still a big-ish deal. Even if we recycle most of our oxygen and water and our food production is surely but slowly augmenting (hopefully), we're /still dealing with limited supplies of all of them. We really can't afford extra contimanations. Accident will alway happen but negligence however can be prevented.

If it's an alien organism... well that's a big godamn deal now isn't it ? I mean we're a research colony, this kind of exactly the kind of stuff we're looking for.
... Shame that our rident biologist acte like a mrron and has gone away ssut when they would be relevant.

And if turns out that, say, complelty at random, Shiva is using the tank to grow pigment for his paints... dude you could just ask and wait a bit, we'll save you a tank for this kind of stuff and weed growing when we have established food production.

(To be fair, CHOWKA is correct.
Mold is not proof of 'tampering' per se. (although given we are on as asteroid with no oxygen, the chances of purely natural contamination are much slimmer than on earth) and even the camera footage, should the archivist choose to share it, is not 100% proof Shiva is the 'culprit' per se. It's still very strong evidence, tho, and at the very least those noctural visits deserve some dman good explanations)


Saving for an extra solar pannel does seem good idea.

As is sending the scoutingdrone to spot the biologist, hopefully thy're not dead. And we need them to study tank A.


To clarify, when I mean a "security officier" for now I don't necessarily mean like a permamanently armed cop who enforce the law at every hour. I just mean one guy or gal who can be trusted to go down when/if bad shit start going down, like breaking fights (I mean ten people cramped spaces t's gonna happen sooner or later) or people acting like jackasses, general reckless endangerement and telling Shiva to cut it out.

So relax, no 'judge Dredd' here, not even 'sherrif' and more 'mall cop' or 'playground supervisor' level of authority here. For now that should be enough. Hopefully.
And the position should be given to a volunteer with at a majority of vote support, with a one/two week mandate.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
shiva: cookin
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RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Question what shiva was doing with algae tanks A and C.
>Particularly C as that tank is still running.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists

Colony Mood:

Construction Drone: ???
Compact Scouting Drone: SEARCHING
Compact Scouting Drone: SEARCHING

Design - Radar Tower: Complete!
Diagnose - Algae Tank A: Complete!
Build - ???: 1 Turn

11 Food (-2)
9 Plasticarbon (+5)
600W unused power

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The colonists waste no time sending both scouting drones to go find the biologist. The geologist takes the controls personally. They search for hours with no results. Eventually, the other colonists go to bed.
The geologist stays at the drone console well into the night, palms sweaty, staring at the sensor readout screen without blinking. At some point, the medic shows up with a warm mug of algal-derived stimulants. The pair of them sit together in the cramped cockpit of the landing craft through the night while the drones continue their methodical sweep.
They're interrupted in the middle of a quiet conversation by a sudden dimming of the lights. The console screens flicker out, then cycle back to life. There is a tense moment of waiting before it becomes apparent that the power system is still holding - for now. The medic makes a nervous joke. The geologist doesn't laugh. Power failure at this point would destroy the biologist's last hope of rescue.
Finally, as the colony's artificial day cycle triggers a slow brightening of the ambient lights, one of the drones sends a video feed of a body lying on the ground. The drone is at the periphery of its range, and the image is very shaky, but the body looks to be wearing one of the colony's uniforms. All of a sudden, the picture wavers and turns to static! The geologist, howling with frustration and despair, hammers on the controls with their fists, but the drone is totally unresponsive.
The medic finally calms them down, pointing out that they should send the second drone to the same coordinates. However, when it gets there, the video feed shows no sign of either the body, or the other drone. What could have happened?

[Image: map_8_cropped_2.gif]

Mio finishes a design for a radar tower. It will take a lot of resources to build, but once it's finished, it will both give the colonists better vision of their immediate surroundings, and help warn them if any smaller asteroids or malfunctioning drop pods show up to cause problems.

The colonists finish diagnosing Tank A's electronics systems. They conclude that nothing is malfunctioning. That means that the records must have been altered deliberately. Unfortunately, all of the colonists have the training to have altered them, and all of the colonists have had plenty of opportunity to do it without being noticed. Everyone is a potential suspect.
Mood: +Suspicious

As for the weird mold, the colonists are divided in their opinions. Some don't see what the big deal is - just clean the stuff off and turn the tank on again already, right? Others, however, put forth the opinion that if there's the slightest chance this mold is an alien organism, then maybe that's worth paying attention to. Isn't this exactly the sort of thing they all came out here for? To make exciting new discoveries? A third group, still irked about the earlier paint generation incident, think whatever this is, Shiva is to blame. In any case, it doesn't cost much to try to analyze the mold, although the colonist with the most expertise in this area has chosen a highly inconvenient time to go missing. Not to mention that the colony still lacks a proper biology lab.
New Project: Analyze Mold (2 Turns)

The archivist, remembering a notion from earlier that they meant to follow up on, starts meditation classes for any interested colonists. Several join. The colonists will be better at staying calm and at focusing from now on.

The attempt to vote on the security officer issue dissolves into a brief debate over the definition of "security officer" that ultimately leads nowhere. It's hard for the colony to coordinate this kind of thing when they don't have any sort of proper meeting area. Maybe they should revisit some earlier proposals to build a central community space?

The archivist wants to confront Shiva, but they're having a tough time cornering the artist. It's not that Shiva is hard to find. On the contrary, the colony is so small that there's nowhere for Shiva to hide. The issue is that they aren't sure they want to make their findings widely known until they've given Shiva a chance to explain themself, so they'd prefer to speak to them in private. But there isn't much privacy to be had among the colony's handful of tiny buildings. Shiva is always in the company of others. The archivist can't figure out a good excuse to get Shiva alone. Or should they go ahead and just spit it out in front of everyone?

Shiva mixes up some algal protein powders and cooks them over a heating element borrowed from some spare environmental shelter equipment into a kind of experimental scramble. Those colonists brave enough to try it declare it to be surprisingly good, and a welcome change of pace from the usual algae patties. The majority of them, however, refuse to touch the stuff until the business with the algae tank is resolved to their satisfaction. Especially since there's a contingent of the colony that remains convinced Shiva is responsible for either the tampering or the mold - even if they can't prove anything.


RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Tom, the Archivist, doesn't want to start a witchhunt. Even amongst trained individuals, with things as tense as they are, he can't risk it. Instead, he seeks help from a friend-- council, at the very least. He wasn't ever trained, nor ever wanted, to be some sort of enforcer, but here he is with sensitive information...

None of this feels right.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Research batteries, so we can store extra power for things like the ansible, or so we can run an algae tank every other turn if we don't have enough power to run it all the time.

With that extra plasticarbon, I propose we build yet another compact algae tank, so we can start getting a whoooole bunch of plasticarbon quickly. Plasticarbon and power are our current bottlenecks, and we have just enough power to run one more algae tank. Once we have two or more algae tanks one plasticarbon full time, we'll be able to build a new solar panel or algae tank every turn.

Once we build a few solar panels and algae tanks, the radio tower, and an extra drone, we should look at making some hallways between the different buildings so it's less cramped and colonists don't have to constantly keep putting on spacesuits.

>Engineer: What the hell is my construction drone doing?
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
...The biologist goes aone without help or contact and disapear...
...The artist is tampering with the limited food supply to make paint...
... One guy who may have critical information decide to keep it for themselves because hey'd rather confront a potential shady person alone and without support...
...There's someone clearly tampering with the limited food production and we have someone disapeared and people still can't agree to organise...

... Are we sure these are trained professionals and not teenagers on a summer break pretending to be space colonists in those suits ? Because all we need now is one couple to start making out behind a big space rock and we can have someone tape a big hokey mask to their helmet mask and brandish a butcher knife.
(... please don't. even as a prank)

Okay seriously tho:

-I'm all for analysing the mold but who has the competency to do it since our biologis went missing ?
Anyway let's start it if there someone one competent, even if just to learn how to avoid future contamination as soon as possible

-At the slow rate we produce plasticarbon we're not going to be able to make a communal room nor a radar anytime soon.
We have one unused tank, we need to put it on plasticarbon production now.

-However to do that we need to resolve the curent unreliability of our power supply. We're missing 1 plasticarbon to make a new solar pannel, can we recycle materials from the old one to make it this turn ?

.. Also why can't they use the ship as a meeting hall. it brought them all here so y'know it must clearly have the space to hold them all.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Batteries are a fantastic idea, but with all the problems we're having with disorderliness, we ought to have a larger meeting space. Designing hallways between existing structures sounds like it should be quick and simple. But I think designing the lab we were considering earlier might be better for the long term.

We ought to inform the GFP that we're missing the Biologist, and send a message soon. It is still some expensive energy, though.

The rational side of me says this is all I need to talk about if I were in this situation.

But what I really want to know is, what are those red things in the east behind the fog of war?
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RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Send a team to investigate the area where the biologist and drone were last seen. Put Shiva and Tom on it so they can have an alone moment for discussion.
Vivian Quest
Tale of a small lizard, crime, and weird biology!
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists

Colony Mood:

Compact Scouting Drone: MISSING
Compact Scouting Drone: IDLE

Build - ???: Canceled!
Analyze Mold: 1 Turn

[Image: map_9_cropped.gif]

Mio is very concerned about the construction drone, which has started building something in the middle of the colony. Mio wasn't informed about any building jobs. They were under the impression that the colony wasn't going to build anything new for a little while, until they had enough plasticarbon to start a larger project. Mio shuts down the construction drone and drives it away from its building site.
The object that is revealed underneath is startling and unexpected:

[Image: mysterious_building.gif]

Jutting up from a circular dais is a thin gray pillar of plasticarbon. The pillar is not solid, but formed from a chaotic lattice of curling tendrils that stretch upward in a series of nested, ever-tighening helices. Mio finds the style unnerving, but strangely familiar, though they can't quite place where they've seen it before. It puts them in mind of an unfurling palm frond, a messy spiderweb, or perhaps a bone's spongy interior.
The other colonists gather around to stare at it - those who haven't joined the expedition to the northeast, at least. There is a sense of muted horror. What is this thing? Why is it here? They check the drone's build order record, and find a blueprint for this very structure entered into its memory, but none have any recollection of setting the order or of designing the blueprint.

Mio has half a mind to tear down the construction drone and analyze all its systems, like the colonists did for algae tank A. They know the colony is still in dire need of resources, however, so they set the drone to build another compact algae tank.
The area around the colony's landing craft is becoming congested. Next thing the colony builds, they'll have to decide which direction to expand in, or else reclaim some of the space they're already using.
New Project: Build Compact Algae Tank (1 Turn)
-10 Plasticarbon

The jury-rigged solar array seems to be holding for the time being, but the colonists all agree that a sudden power failure would be disastrous. They begin working to design a deep-cycle battery array to hold a backup store of power.
New Prokect: Design Deep-Cycle Battery Array (1 Turn)

The colonists debate the value of converting the landing craft into a community meeting area. They could rip out all of the seats and tear off some of the panels separating the passenger compartment from the cargo storage section, but the craft was designed for function, not comfort. Even without the seats, the ceiling is too low to permit anyone to stand. Sure, it would be more resource-efficient than building a new structure, but it would also be painfully uncomfortable, not to mention a lot of effort. On the other hand, aside from a few important electrical components, such as the drone signal antenna, the landing craft isn't good for much as it is. The colonists should probably find something to do with it. Or else just dismantle the dang thing.

Since the colony has enough power for it, they send a message to GFP using the ansible:
It might be a turn or two before GFP gets around to responding.

The colonists put together a team to go in search of their wayward biologist. The geologist, who is the only one with first-hand knowledge of the area, and the medic, whose services might be needed, both join the team. The archivist and Shiva also go along. The archivist goes along because they want to talk to Shiva in private. Shiva goes along partly because the biologist was their friend, (or as Shiva insists, "best bud", though nobody else gets the joke,) but mostly because the archivist pressured them into it.
New Project: Rescue the Biologist (??? Turns)

"Shiva," says the archivist, pulling Shiva aside on the second day and touching helmets to speak privately, "I know you were messing around with the algae tanks."

Shiva is annoyed. "I keep telling people the mold has nothing to do with me," they say.

"I put up video cameras," insists the archivist. "I saw you do something to the tanks."

Shiva looks baffled. "When?" they ask. "Three turns ago? I borrowed some plasticarbon for my flag pole. Is that what you're referring to?"

"For your what?"

"My flag pole. For the flag I made. I know everyone was mad after I made that paint, but I used the computers to do some topology optimization so I could design the pole to require as little plasticarbon as possible. Is that a problem? I thought we were planning on building one anyway."

As the archivist knows, the tank that was producing plasticarbon was one of the two Shiva visited.

"Okay, but what about the other tank?" asks the archivist. "What did you do at tank A?"

"The one with the mold? Nothing, I just wanted to look at it," says Shiva. "So sue me, I've never seen alien mold before."

"It's not alien mold."

"It might be alien mold! Look," says Shiva, "Tom, we know each other pretty well by now. I know some of the others have some hang-ups about me, that they think I'm not qualified to be here just because my background's in art more than it's in science. But you, I always thought... y'know, I always thought the two of us got along. I can deal with the way everyone keeps dumbing down their technical explanations when they talk to me, I can deal with whatever those rumors were that I'm a cannibal who's going to kill everyone in their sleep or whatever the heck, and I'm honestly sorry about the paint. I didn't realize GFP sent us out here with so little food. But you, you're suspicious of me too? After all the poetry and word games during the voyage? After being paired together in training? The time we broke into the human centrifuge building in the middle of the night and took turns getting high at 4g? I have to admit, I'm disappointed. I thought you knew me better than that."

Shiva walks away after the medic and the geologist. Tom lingers behind, suddenly regretful. Did they really drag Shiva all the way out here on this expedition over nothing? Did they really think Shiva might be a saboteur? Shiva hasn't really done anything to deserve that kind of suspicion. Aside from helping themself to some algae byproducts that, let's face it, weren't being formally rationed anyway, Shiva hasn't done anything wrong or caused any real trouble. They're totally innocent.

The eerie, organic pillar stands in the center of the colony, marring its skyline, its surface a rash of jagged shadows from the ambient lighting system. The five colonists left behind can't stand to look at it, but can't bring themselves to tear it down. They go about their daily routines with shoulders hunched and gazes averted. They jump at motions in the corners of their eyes. What alien intelligence was responsible for this structure? What does it want from them? How did it compromise their drone? Where is it now? Nobody knows what to do. Nobody sleeps well.
Mood: -Suspicious +Terrified


RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Tom: Tell Shiva that maybe a bit more communication would be better next time.

>Colonists: Erect a wall/tarp around the perfectly ordinary flagpole mysterious alien obelisk so you don't have to look at it.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
> Build biogas powerplant that can turn excess algae & food waste (& other decompostible biomass) into baseload power
>Burn the algae
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RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Well exterior interference is proven and creepy.

Quote:Shiva hasn't really done anything to deserve that kind of suspicion.

(Yes, yes he has . It doesn't matter if it was begnin, he could just have /asked/ for the plasticarbon rather than efectively stealing it in the most shadyv and suspicious way possible. Hiding things lead to faulty assumptions and miscomunicatios. Misscomunication leads to paranoia which is litterlay the worst thing that could happen in already tense situation.)

Quote:I know some of the others have some hang-ups about me, that they think I'm not qualified to be here just because my background's in art more than it's in science

(Or y'know because he's been acting shady and has been setting production back ?
Hs not some random scapegoat and his background has nothig to do with this, it's about complet lack of discipline and common sense.)

-Anywaaay, power the new tank, plasticarbon production. Next turn we can build another solar pannel which mean we will finaly a stable power production even if the jurry rigged one give out.

If we could get a couple of turns without some random drawback we could back to being somwhat on track. (I wouldn' bet on it but it'd be nice)

-And might as well send someone working on the batteries project, sure. Dunno if we'll be able to build them anytime soon but having the option is good.

-Put a tarp over the damn pillar for now. One person /may/ study it at a time (even if just to know what it's made off, plasticarbon ? If yes then we know where that one missing plasticarbon went) but only for limited shifts.

-For now space isn't that much a concern, might as well pick any dirrection. West as good as any.

When, WHEN, we have decent plasticarbon production (by which I mean at least 20 a turn minimum) AND astable power to spare (so that mean not a new pannel but also replacing the jury riged one at least) we might consider replacing compact tanks with small ones which for the size on one building offer a better production. But since for now they offer less than the production of two compact tanks for the same cost in platicarbon, they just aren't feasible right now

-I will ask aagan, what is the rate we can expect to recycle plasticarbon from older construction if we wanted to use it to build new ones ?

-Also, hmm what are the people in the expedition going to eat. Have they taken some rations or half rains with them because then shouldn't our food reserve have diminished by a whooping 5 rather than 1 this turn ?

Quote:> Build biogas powerplant that can turn excess algae & food waste (& other decompostible biomass) into baseload power

While that's a good idea, it's not one for now.
We don't have that much excess food to spare. In fact we are losing food slowly. We're barely suficient on food, plasticarbon and energy alike. So for now we'd better stick to solar pannels since there's plenty of sunlight to go aaround that cost us nothing.

(Also seeing as fuel power plant is alreay a potential blueprint, I think a structure /add on that transform excess organic matter into biofuel that can be used on top of tank grown said power plant would be more convenient.)
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Future building projects should expand west.
Unfortunately, much of it will be near the edge for now, especially until we can properly scout. Let's stay wary and think about a fence at a later date. Our colonists are generally trained enough not to fall off in some random mishap, but in the event of a struggle, I can honestly see it happening.

>Tom: Shiva isn't out here for nothing. As they said, they're not exactly an idiot.
Even if you're going to make sure you emphasize communication as key, apologize. Shiva's still your friend. You just... aren't always good at talking to people. Most folks seem to have a knack for casual conversation, but the memo always missed you.

>Medic: Find something troubling and confusing.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists

Colony Mood:

Construction Drone: IDLE
Compact Scouting Drone: MISSING
Compact Scouting Drone: IDLE

Analyze Mold: Complete!
Build Compact Algae Tank: Complete!
Design Deep-Cycle Battery Array: Complete!
Rescue the Biologist: ??? Turns


[Image: map_10_cropped.gif]

The lights flicker and go dark. A moment later, they brighten up again. The colonists, already on edge, are severely spooked for a moment before they realize it's just the jury-rigged solar array faulting out, but thanks in part to Tom's meditation training, they keep their calm and focus well enough to avoid any accidents - this time. The solar panel, for its part, resumes functioning - for now.

Mio, tired of all the colonists' jumpiness, throws a tarp over the alien construction. That hardly makes it go away or anything, but at least they don't have to look at its bizarre, unearthly form whenever they step outside, which helps a little bit. They should probably decide what else to do about it, though, and soon.
Mood: -Terrified, +Unsettled

The colonists finish their analysis of the mold as best they can without the biologist. What they find unnerves them: The mold doesn't resemble any sort of Earth mold they have on catalogue. Its structure, examined up close, is angular and complex, its individual strands forking and weaving together into a tiered, self-similar network. The strands shimmer with a metallic sheen. The colonists are forced to examine it in the tank where it presumably grew, because none of their efforts can break it or shift it from its position. They can't even take a sample for chemical analysis. They might be able to learn more if they had a proper lab to work from, or if a specialist with subject matter expertise took a look.

It seems tank A will have to remain offline for the forseeable future. Unless the colonists have any clever ideas for dealing with this mysterious problem.

Fortunately, the construction drone has just finished building Compact Algae Tank E as a replacement. The colonists set the new tank to generate plasticarbon for the moment.

There's room for one more compact algae tank next to the newly-built one, or another storage crate. There's also room next to Compact Storage Crate A. The colonists resolve to start their next non-compact build project to the west, although there isn't much space next to the big mound of rocks there. Too bad they don't have a way to clear away those rocks. They also discuss the merits of recycling unused buildings for plasticarbon and space. If they want to do that, they'll need to design and build some kind of equipment for it.

The ansible crackles to life!
Galactic Frontiers Project: Colonist Outfitters Department Wrote:MESSAGE RECEIVED. DROP POD EN ROUTE.

The rescue party finds something: While walking around a dune of regolith, the medic stubs their toe on what proves to be the missing scouting drone. The drone shows heavy signs of damage, but appears to be in the process of returning to the colony, though it was half-buried in asteroid dust and several of its wheels had jammed. Strapped to its back is a wrapped bundle of cloth cut from a colony spacesuit. Closer inspection reveals this to be an entire sleeve, roughly hewn from its suit just above the elbow, with a glove still attached at the cuff.

After helping the geologist clean the vomit from their helmet in a hastily-errected pressure tent, the rescue party cuts open the frozen cloth to find - instead of the dismembered arm they expected - several harvested ice stalks shoved into it. The rescue party doesn't have the equipment to thaw the stalks.

The medic pulls Tom and Shiva aside while the geologist is recovering from their shock and quietly points out to them the obvious: If they weren't already expecting the worst, they should now. Whatever compelled the biologist to cut off their own arm, they can't have survived for long after that.

"This expedition is pointless," they say. "We should stop now before anyone else gets hurt."

Tom asks why the medic is pulling them aside like this and not talking to the geologist, too.

"They're taking the loss very hard," the medic says of the geologist. "Harder than they're showing. This is a very personal matter for them. I'm not sure they're capable of applying good judgement. I'll need your help to persuade them to give up on-"

"Who says we're giving up?" asks Shiva.


"I'll help you keep an eye on them, but I won't help you to talk them into turning back. I know things look grim. I realize this expedition is also dangerous for the four of us. But if there's the slightest chance..."

Tom nods agreement. The medic looks frustrated. "Fine," they say, "but when someone else goes space-crazy and starts removing limbs, don't come running to me."

"Well," points out Shiva, "given that you're the medic, I should think that if I did lose a limb, you're the one who-"

The medic rolls their eyes and turns away. "Can it," they say. "Just help me figure out what to do with this thing." They indicate the broken drone. "We shouldn't leave it here, but we can't very well bring it with us, and we don't have the tools we need to repair it."

Tom wants to apologize to Shiva, or maybe just chew them out for being a bad communicator, but they still haven't found the right moment. You have to find the right moment for these sorts of things. Can't just open your mouth and start saying stuff, that never goes well.

RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
>Izvor, the biologist: Don't be dead.

>Tom: Continue waiting for a good moment.
It'll come. It'll come. It always comes eventually. You discovered after years of anxiety that you're allowed to wait, and you don't need to stress over it.
Besides: the biologist is of higher priority.

As Archivist, you start a small journal, trying to sum up what's been going on so far as you expedite:
Entry 1Show

>Non-specialist colonist at base named Reman: Have a nightmare.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
Hmm... so the mold has a bizarre, angular structure, a series of strands twisting together into a cohesive, self-similar whole... hmm, doesn't that sound an awful lot like the alien obelisk that appeared around the exact same time?!!?

That arm makes no sense. Whether they cut off their arm or just the sleeve, what was the point of sending it back to the base full of ordinary icicles? And again, whether they cut the arm or the sleeve, would they risk depressurization and loss of temperature control by doing so?

Also, the biologist is not named Izvor. Seriously.
RE: Sixty-four Pixel Colonists
(One plasticarbpn away from making a new solar aray which would let us make a new solar pannel which wouldlet us make support more tanks, 1.
But because we're one short we're going to have to wait one more turn of haf rations and the risk our jurry rigged solar will give on us. Bit frustrating.)

>Next turn spend 10 plasticarbon for a new solar pannel
(btw shouldn't that be +10 plasticarbon per turn in the numbers now ?)

(then the turn after that, build another compact algae tank which will be put on plasticarbon, then same for the turn after and then one more solar array (to replace the broken one), two more anks on food duty (finally decent rations for everyone) and we will have a funtcional colony as well as enouh plasticarbon to get started on more expensive projct like the bateries, the radar, the common room and so on....)

>Well, well that mold might actaly be genuinely alien, this is... actualy kind of great.
Tank A needs to stay on alien mold duty but should be moved away from other tanks to avoid further contamination.

>Without giving up, the group, or one or two members of it at least, should go back to camp with the broken drone, see if there's any images that can be salvaged from it's memory banks and then knowing what to expect, go again but better equiped (like say with extra rations and a tool to taw ice)

Quote:That arm makes no sense. Whether they cut off their arm or just the sleeve, what was the point of sending it back to the base full of ordinary icicles?

"Ordinary icicles" are kind of important since they mean there's water on the asteroid we're on (good for the long term, wter recycling systems no matter hhow advanced will only last for so ong and otherwise we'd have to hope we could ever make our ship work and go mine some other asteroids which is alot of ifs for something so vital). And maybe there's more to this. Maybe there's something IN the water they wanted to warn/show us about.

Hence why the importance of geting those samples back to camp alongside the drone

(... Although the fact these icicles didn't boil into vapor then freeze back intoa cloud of ice crystals as it would in space sort of make me wonder what the temperature and pression conditions are on this words suface exactly...

In fat that might be a good thing to know in general for futue planning purposes. can we get an answer on this, chief?)

Also googling it, Izvor is a totaly legit serbo croatian word for souce/spring. Not much used as a name as far as I can tell.