Astronomica

Ep 1: A Brief Orgy of Cannibalism and Violence

November 03, 2020 Astronomica Pod Episode 1
Astronomica
Ep 1: A Brief Orgy of Cannibalism and Violence
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Astronomicast, a Stars Without Number podcast. This week kicks off the pod with introductions to Star Master Stan, our players Cullen, Colin, Geoff, and Kristen and their first round of characters. We'll also learn a little more about the setting and pretend we know how to play without looking up the rules every few minutes.

If you enjoy the show, please follow us on your favorite platform for new episodes every Wednesday. You can also head on over to Apple Podcasts and give us a five star review. It really helps us spread the word and find even more fantastic audience members just like you. You can also check us out online at Astronomica on Twitter, AstronomicaPod on Instagram, and Astronomica Podcast on Facebook. If you have questions, comments, or general observations you can email them to astronomicapodcast@gmail.com.

The theme music for our show includes recordings from the Hubble telescope
Editing done by Kristen Schebler

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Kristen:

You.

Geoff:

You're listening to Astronomica, a Home surgery and Homeopathic Bitching podcast.

Colin:

I thought I was here to talk about my feelings.

Stan:

No.

Kristen:

Oh, no. Man down the street.

Colin:

Okay.

Cullen:

Astronomica a Group therapy session gone.

Colin:

Very odd.

Stan:

This is Astronomica A, stars of that number roll playing podcast. I know that sounds like the joke.

Colin:

Out of the lot.

Stan:

I am Stand, the Star Master. That's what other people say about me. That's not what I say about master.

Colin:

We tried Star Daddy at first, but.

Stan:

I kept being sexually excited.

Geoff:

That's his position on astronomical.

Stan:

And to my left is hi, I'm.

Colin:

Colin, and I am going to be playing a senescent starship engineer named McDonald Mackie Coburn. And that's all I'm going to tell you for now.

Stan:

Can you tell us what senescent means?

Colin:

He's getting up there a little long in the tooth.

Stan:

Too old for the ship.

Cullen:

I am Cullen, not to be confused with Colin. And I will be playing Anton Baptistioshida, who is the ship's general, gopher Gopher. He's the galley officer, and he is sort of the combat specialist of the team.

Kristen:

Hey, there. I am Kristen. I will be playing dr. Hildegaard. Hypeatiacade. And I don't know what this ship situation is because I have not joined the crew, so we will have to find out later who exactly I am.

Geoff:

I'm Jeff, and I will be playing the Ms Admiral Grace and also Murray Hopper. The Ms Admiral Grace is the ship and Murray Hopper is a robot. Sometimes my consciousness is in the ship. Sometimes my consciousness is in the robot. But what does it mean to have a consciousness when you can alternate between bodies? When one body can be the chip and one body can be the robot, one can have the consciousness and they're back up.

Colin:

Sometimes there simultaneous flip the switch. I don't have a nacho recipe. Locked and loaded, ready to go.

Cullen:

One should always have a nacho recipe. Really? It's chips plus. Chips plus. That's really all you need.

Kristen:

It's true.

Colin:

That's also a computer recipe.

Kristen:

And if none of that made sense to you, stay tuned, because hopefully it will.

Stan:

Yeah.

Colin:

Hey, everyone, colin here. We just met 20 seconds ago. How are you doing? Thanks for taking interest in the Astronomica podcast and giving us a listen. I hope that you will enjoy what happens next. Before we get to it, though, I'm here because we decided that we wanted to issue a bit of a disclaimer here on the very front end of the pod. Here's what you should know. Astronomica podcast was born and started walking during the hell year of annodominai, 2020. And like practically everything else on Earth, our little podcast did experience its share of upheavals and mishaps arising from the COVID-19 pandemic of those upheavals and mishaps. The big one that will affect you, the listener, is that we only matched record about one full episode worth of content before the play hit an event which forced us out of our original studio space and into a different recording situation, which was far less optimal. So I'm coming the long way around the barn to tell you that after episode one, our overall audio quality takes a big dip for a while. It's a variable problem, and some episodes are better than others. And I hear that if you listen to it on a stereo and not headphones, that helps and all that stuff, but it does go down. So we do encourage you to listen, because if you can get past the poor sound quality, there's a lot of good story content coming up in these next few episodes. However, if you give it a listen and find you just can't get around the issue, do not despair. We have a solution for you. Around episode 17, Anton Gets His Groove Back is where we manage to relocate our studio and re optimize our sound. So if the audio issues get to be too much, then just go ahead and skip to that episode, episode 17, and right before it, you'll find our sound is back where it ought to be. And you'll also see that the crew of the Admiral Grace has recorded a little recap to catch you up on everything that you missed. So that's about it. Thanks again for listening. This is Colin for the Astronomica podcast crew signing off. Enjoy the rest of the show.

Stan:

Okay, I have prepared a piece of writing that I would like for you all to pretend you enjoy.

Colin:

Awesome.

Kristen:

Oh, man. Who. Do we have the coffee? Do we have, like do we have some little berets to pass around and.

Stan:

You can just snap.

Colin:

You can lay it on me. STAA Master.

Stan:

In the year 21 80, humanity achieved spike drive technology, accessing the vastly strange metadimensional pathways to reach the stars. The following centuries were an epoch of discovery and growth. We mastered fundamental forces, confronted our social demons, and seized the reins of our biology by 2900, gate technology erased the logistical limitations of distance. Proximity between resources, industry and labor became a nonissue world spanning cities, garden like agricultural worlds and orbital manufacturers became the norm and we prospered together. Then one day, the gates failed. What we built in ten centuries, we lost in ten days our Eden's desolate our industry still and our city's. Brief orgies of cannibalism and violence. Then, silent tombs medalist, please remember to reference often brief orgy brief can orgies.

Cullen:

Of cannibalism and violence that is where Anton came from I feel nice. And also how he wants to go out.

Stan:

And the name of the first episode?

Geoff:

My long term goal is to emit the adjective brief.

Stan:

The year is 44 51 and out here, beyond the Cygnus loop at the edge of cultivation, an ember of our golden age struggles to ignite and burn anew. Welcome to the Rhine gold cluster.

Colin:

Thanks for having me, dude. I'm glad to be here.

Cullen:

If we can trace it back historically makes it feel like it was built off of the back of Nazi gold.

Colin:

Right.

Stan:

It's named after a legendary treasure, which is what a lot of the planets and our systems in this sector are named for. So the Rhine gold is like a famous cachet of treasure that was discovered in Germany. In the Rhine gold sector, there is a statistically unlikely collection of garden worlds.

Kristen:

Excellent.

Stan:

So it became kind of a prime destination for settlement in this region of space.

Kristen:

So speaking of garden world, what world are we on?

Stan:

You are in the system of Argo on the world of New Antioch, and there is actually a second planet in the system that is inhabitable, which is used primarily for agriculture. New Antioch is an Earth like planet with about 0.7 Earth gravity, resulting in architecture that grows up rather than out. Lots of skyscrapers, lots of bridges between structures, and the surface of the planet is mostly this sort of beautiful, carefully cultivated wilderness.

Colin:

That's pretty dope.

Stan:

The architecture, by the way, is in a sort of neogian style blends, kind of Greek Orthodox religious architecture with kind of more modern, obviously, sensibility and the benefits of the low gravity.

Colin:

So lots of domes and spires, like.

Cullen:

Illuminated paintings and the domed spires.

Colin:

Hockey. Sophia, is there like a Greek Orthodox tie in? Should we tell the folks at home that this is our third attempt?

Kristen:

Hey, guys, we're so good at this. Pause for edit three times now.

Colin:

Yeah, okay.

Stan:

I'm forgetting what details I've already given. The planet is the first extraterrestrial settlement of the Greek Orthodox Church. It is the first bishopric not on Earth, equal in stature to the autocephalus heads of the church in Jerusalem, Antioch, et cetera. So the bishop here is, like I say, on par with any other head of the church.

Colin:

And is he also the head of state here?

Stan:

Yes, unofficially, the state, the church, and kind of an outward facing front called the Reliquary Institute are all in practice maintained by the bishop and his synod.

Kristen:

Cool.

Colin:

Okay.

Stan:

They're theoretically separate entities, but in practice they are not.

Colin:

Okay. And what's the Reliquary Institute?

Stan:

The Reliquary Institute is a group that is primarily focused on preserving human culture, especially after the collapse that led to all these different worlds being kind of stranded and cut off. They highly value artifacts from Earth that.

Cullen:

Collapse, referencing the brief orgy of cannibalism and violence.

Stan:

Anything not consumed or overly humped.

Colin:

Yeah. How long ago was the brief orgy of cannibalism and violence?

Stan:

It was about 3800 was collapsed in the current year is 44, 51.

Colin:

About 600 years.

Stan:

Yeah.

Colin:

So do we know what happened or just all of a sudden, like, Et couldn't flame home no more? Yeah.

Stan:

So the systems were connected by a series of gates that ships could fly through to reach distant other gates really rapidly. Then one day those gates just stopped working. And it was a sort of a wave that passed through human occupied space at about the speed of light. So there were worlds that knew it was coming that they couldn't do anything about it. And in fact, your character is from a ship that left Earth with a vacuous to get through the gate before it closed, and they failed to achieve that. Okay, and you were adrift in space for a very long time, living on paste pace. Yeah, Mackey was actually born in space, like, hundreds of years into the voyage.

Colin:

Yeah, he was born on an accidental generational ship. It wasn't intended that way, but that's how it worked out. Right?

Stan:

What was the name of the so good emergency Food Replicators.

Colin:

So good. Emergency protein rations.

Stan:

Not for nothing, but the initials of that company are MSG.

Colin:

All right.

Geoff:

So good. Almost no residual human flesh flavor.

Kristen:

Well, what are we doing on this rock?

Stan:

You guys minus Hildy have been approached by Mr. Grant Holiday, a man wearing a blazer, which I don't think we referenced this time around.

Kristen:

He did not.

Geoff:

It's my personal code never to trust a man in a blazer.

Colin:

Oh, shit. It shots fired.

Cullen:

Fair. But again, if one is to wear a blazer, you either commit fully and wear a suit, and therefore I'll take you seriously or just don't and be a normal person. Wearing a blazer is a half ass attempt at formality, which really just comes across like you should be at a country club or at a prep school, and I want nothing to do with either of those.

Colin:

What about, like, the Andrew Yang thing? That's like the button down?

Cullen:

The tech guy that's wearing a T shirt, jeans, and somehow also a sports coat? Yeah, fuck that.

Colin:

Okay, cool.

Cullen:

I was wondering all right, trust that even less.

Geoff:

Can we retroactively change his name to Chad Holiday?

Stan:

No.

Colin:

Stop phone.

Cullen:

My name is Todd Halliday. I'm here to give you a dope mission.

Stan:

His name is Grant Holiday and he is wearing a T shirt, slacks, no T shirt, jeans, and somehow also a blazer.

Colin:

Okay, where are we exactly? I mean, are we docked with a structure? Are we on Tarmac?

Stan:

Yeah, you are docked at the roof level of a very wide that is built for this purpose. On a higher gravity world, there would be a space elevator type situation with a cable connecting to a satellite. In this case, the gravity is weak enough that the structure can actually be built all the way up to the surface of the atmosphere. So that's where you guys are docked. And you've been looking for work. You can reliably find work by showing up at a world and offering to do jobs.

Colin:

Are we expecting this guy or is this dude just like, some dude dressed like an idiot is approaching?

Stan:

Admiral Gracie, you announced basically via the harbor master that your ship is available for jobs and so you're not surprised to have someone walking up.

Colin:

Okay, so we are currently occupying space inside of one of the characters.

Kristen:

EW.

Colin:

Yeah.

Stan:

Right.

Colin:

But here we are.

Kristen:

We are intestinal parasites. Guy.

Colin:

Yeah. Okay.

Geoff:

That is remarkably close to my personal opinion of all of the inhabitants of my ship.

Colin:

Okay, so I guess Mackie is just going through the ship, doing his, like, checklist, making sure everything's, like, stowed properly and, you know, making sure that all of the fluid levels and shit are topped off. And that's what he's doing right now.

Cullen:

I'd assume that if we're docked, we're probably doing some sort of resupply. Anton's hauling boxes to and fro in general, doing the physical labor involved in stockpiling for our next voyage.

Geoff:

Hopper is also, like, helping you haul the boxes back and forth, but he's reluctant to actually cross into himself. It just feels gross.

Cullen:

Some weird body autonomy issues there.

Geoff:

I have noticed on occasion, humans eyes go unfocused and it causes them some level of discomfort or disorientation. I feel the same thing on a level that you cannot begin to comprehend.

Cullen:

Yeah, it seems real weird.

Stan:

So Grand Holiday approaches, says, Hi, I'm Grand Holiday. I represented Mr. Jeff Cho. Can everybody please make a no check? Yes, that's going to be your intelligence. And no.

Cullen:

I rolled a five, and I do not have either of those skills, so that is going to count as a four.

Colin:

I rolled a seven, but I don't have no, so that's going to be a six.

Geoff:

I ruled a ten untrained for a nine.

Stan:

All right, Jeff, you check your logs of important persons in the system, and you come up to jeff Cho is an executive for the Stellar Destinations Travel Company based on a Gia. He doesn't have a lot said about him in the news. He appears to live a very private life. Not a figure of much scandal, but very wealthy. So Mr. Holiday says, I represent Mr. Jeff Cho. He has recently made a purchase of a very valuable item, object Et 107, and I need someone to transport it to his estate on a GM.

Colin:

Can I do another untrained no check on Et 107?

Stan:

Sure.

Colin:

All right. Yeah. Mackie don't know shit about that.

Stan:

All right. You thought he said DT 107? Totally.

Colin:

DT 107, actually. Anton Baptiste. Yoshida. Yeah. What do you look like, dude?

Cullen:

So I like to imagine Anton is, you know, his background. He's he's former military. He's kind of probably not super remarkable looking. He's clean cut from his military days, but he sort of let it go a bit. Do you imagine he's got one golden hoop earring, very sailorsque, and he has a mustache. And I'd imagine that he tends to just wear his back suit in general, just as, like, hey, I live in space. Sometimes shit goes bad and not having to take a few minutes to put on the thing that will save me from immediate peril seems like a pretty.

Geoff:

You sound insultingly close to alleging that your ship does not contain adequate safeguards to maintain atmospheric pressure.

Stan:

Plus, it picks up chicks.

Cullen:

Yeah, you look real smelt if you're wearing forms.

Stan:

There's a certain kind of spaceport lady that digs a vacuum.

Cullen:

Absolutely. Port is in vacuum scruffy, military tattooed earring man. He tends to get around. I imagine so. Really? I guess what Anton is thinking is, all right, so this man wants me to take a box and drive it somewhere. That's, like, probably the least risk I've taken on a job in quite some time, so, fuck it. Yeah, homie, give me your money, I'll move a box. I'm already moving boxes. I guess that's an internal monologue.

Colin:

Yes. Mackie so, have you put a sensor array on this guy? Is he what he appears to be?

Geoff:

I do not know anything about this guy, but the guy that he works for is really rich.

Cullen:

All right.

Colin:

Well, that's a promising stat. What does Hopper look like?

Geoff:

Hopper looks like Caleb Landry Jones. Okay, if he was a Madam Tussoads wax figure.

Colin:

That's so creepy.

Geoff:

And he has a permanent grin on his face.

Kristen:

Oh, my yikes.

Colin:

And Mackie he looks like Peter Falk about Circa the Princess Bride. He's wearing kind of like, a threadbare, like, flight suit with lots of pockets and straps and buckles and shit like that. And he's got, like, a beat up trucker hat, like, way back on his head. And will this story have all of.

Cullen:

The best sports, like fencing, fighting, true love, revenge?

Colin:

Well, if it does, it probably won't be under my steam. I don't get out much anymore. He's like, mr. Holiday, this cargo, can you tell us anything about it other than a series of letters and numbers?

Stan:

Well, it's a large shipping container. Essentially, it contains a fragile and very valuable artifact piece of art which Mr. Cho has purchased from a local collector.

Colin:

Is this what they used to call a hazmat? In any particular? Does it have any stranger esoteric properties?

Stan:

It does not.

Colin:

All right.

Stan:

It's a sculpture.

Cullen:

Not to be too forward, but what kind of compensation is Mr. Chow offering?

Geoff:

Mr. Yoshida, you have been promoted to chief negotiator.

Cullen:

Now. It's official. So, yeah. What? You looking to hire us? What's it looking like? What's the pay?

Stan:

Provided this is a priority mission, that it will not be back burnered for any other distractions?

Cullen:

Cross my heart.

Stan:

Mr. Cho is willing to pay 8000 credits, which is a substantial amount for.

Cullen:

Well, I don't see any reason to say no. I mean, we're not doing anything else. Maggie. Gracie? Hopper. I'm sorry, I don't know what to call you half the time.

Geoff:

I'm hopper, I'm standing right in front of you.

Colin:

All right.

Cullen:

I'm sorry. Hopper.

Geoff:

Surely even your fallible organic perceptions recognize this plain fact.

Cullen:

Well.

Colin:

Mackie kicks you in the shin with the side of his foot and is, like, ichne on the ELFA examination. A of stop differentiating between the two. All right.

Geoff:

You do raise an interesting question, though.

Colin:

A nacho is basically something that has sort of a crispy texture, usually a corn chip, but it could just as easily be a chicharrone or a park rind. And Mackie starts, like, reciting the ingredients for nachos very loudly at Hopper, for reasons that will become clear later. Yes.

Geoff:

The texture of chlorine is important.

Colin:

Yes.

Stan:

You're a strange group.

Cullen:

Yeah, we get that sometimes. Yeah, I guess let's load her up.

Stan:

Terrific. I will have it delivered within the hour.

Geoff:

Mackie, please present the standard 17,000 page nondisclosure agreement and indemnity form to Mr. Halliday.

Colin:

Mackie just starts padding all of his pockets. Fruitlessly, you know.

Geoff:

Mr. Yoshida, you have been promoted to Chief nondisclosure and indemnity form Distribution Officer.

Cullen:

I'm going to go ahead and use my executive authority. We're good.

Stan:

All right. So he departs. Hildy.

Kristen:

Yes.

Stan:

You are in your apartment. You just walk in, you've got groceries, you're carrying, and your little droid rolls up to take them from you and put them in the refrigerator.

Kristen:

Good deal.

Stan:

And it says, bleep, bloop.

Colin:

How are you today?

Stan:

Hildy.

Geoff:

That's racist.

Kristen:

So I've got my groceries.

Stan:

You come walking in the door, you kick the door closed behind you.

Kristen:

My little cat shaped robot is there.

Stan:

No, he's more like a little R with a flat top. So r or whatever.

Kristen:

Sure.

Colin:

Those are the best ones because you can put things on top of them.

Kristen:

I don't know. I feel like if he was a D Four, it'd be like a triangle. Yeah, you're welcome.

Colin:

Yeah.

Stan:

No, he has a little flat surface that you can set your groceries on. A little arms that will pop up, and he will put your food away for you.

Kristen:

Excellent. Yes, I do. Go ahead and toss that on there.

Stan:

He does ask you how you're doing, but you know that he doesn't care.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Stan:

It tested well with focus groups. The television turns on as you enter the room. You have a large it's a large screen, but it looks like kind of an oversized, thinner, 1950s wood panel television set.

Colin:

Cool console TV. Just like Grandma's.

Stan:

Yeah, well, it's got the little dial.

Kristen:

Yeah. I mean, that's trendy that's it's got.

Geoff:

A special unit that generates the smell of ozone.

Stan:

It puts out heat off the top. Doesn't have to, but so you got a cat nesting up there. The show currently airing, which is brought to you by the Echo Corporation, which has a sort of a gravitic telescope array that collects radio signals from Earth and then redistributes them throughout the Rhine gold sector. It's a very popular source of entertainment, and it is currently detecting radio signals from the year 1955.

Kristen:

Cool.

Stan:

And then, of course, any products that are advertised or anything like that, the Echo Corporation can replicate and then sell to you. So you can at any point while watching a show. Tap on an object on the screen.

Kristen:

Dude, and buy the object.

Stan:

A lot of people with Archie Bunker.

Cullen:

Lazy Boys, eat your heart out. QVC.

Colin:

Got it.

Cullen:

Next level.

Colin:

Yeah.

Stan:

From your friends at Echo Corporation.

Kristen:

Nice.

Stan:

Currently, what's being broadcast is an episode of the Kaiser Aluminum Hour. An episode called Mr. Finchley versus the Bomb, written by Rod Sterling and starring William Shatner. Thematically appropriate. I want to go find that.

Kristen:

Yeah, I know, right? I'm kind of intrigued. While I am intrigued. Hilde is Hildegard Is. It's just kind of background noise. She really just kind of listens to the TV for background noise. She's got some work to do.

Colin:

Let me explode.

Kristen:

She's got her groceries in. And just because she's in for the day, she doesn't mean that she's kind of done. She goes back to her little office setting, which is I'm imagining this place is not a huge space.

Stan:

No.

Kristen:

So we're talking, like, really efficient kind of use of space that she's got a little cubby. That's her study cubby. That's her home study cubby. She's so cozy and yeah. She's going to sit down there and pull out her research. And she happens to be a specialist in linguistics working with the Institute.

Stan:

Yes, that is correct.

Kristen:

I know it's correct.

Stan:

I'm saying I'll allow it as your star master, fine.

Kristen:

But yeah, what she's been working on lately is she's kind of at the point in her career where she's basically done most of the research that she needs. She's got most of the letters behind her name that she needs, but if she was in a current academic institution, she'd be, like, trying to get tenure. So that's kind of the point in her career where she is right now. Publisher Parish is still a thing, so she is definitely hustling to get those papers cranked out. The only problem is that her area of research and linguistics is nontaran sentient, which is not super trendy right now.

Stan:

Yeah. So during the Golden Age, humanity did make contact with intelligent alien life, but it is sufficiently rare that contact has not been reestablished. And even in the height of human civilization, there were maybe two or three species that were encountered.

Kristen:

Cool.

Stan:

So it's been six centuries since the last contact with any kind of alien life got you. Well, with any intelligent alien life, alien life is actually fairly common in the sector.

Cullen:

But I'm wondering, is this disinterest in a nonhuman sentience specific to the Neo Orthodox Church? Is it sort of a I would say that religious ambivalence or is it more of a I would say the.

Stan:

Church actually represents the greatest interest and that it is still not very much it's just not a very practical concern.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Stan:

The big question, I think, in modern life, as far as intelligent alien life, is whether it exists. And that's a meaningful question. I think now that they know it exists, and it's just, like, out of contact and you can't reach it.

Cullen:

It's kind of what's the point is. The general consensus.

Stan:

Yeah. I mean, there are people definitely that are very curious about it and want to know more, but there's just no information there.

Geoff:

Is there, like, an alien heretical, cult offshoot?

Cullen:

I'm sure there is for sure somewhere.

Stan:

Well, let's see what tags I roll for the next planet you go to, but yeah.

Colin:

All right.

Kristen:

Hildeguard is one of those outliers who she tends to think it's not enough to just know whether something exists or not. We know it exists, so maybe we should know a little bit more about it. So what she's analyzing as she's sitting down and getting situated is there are some old tapes of what has been assumed to be or recordings, I guess, of what is assumed to be some dialogue from difference of these species. So it's something that we don't really know for sure what it is, but she's working on looking at the tonal quality and measuring out peaks and waves and all that kind of stuff and trying to work on some hypotheses and theories.

Stan:

Right. Identifying some versions from that.

Kristen:

Yeah. Working on a lexicon.

Stan:

Yeah. Well, while you're working, you notice that there's a little blinking light that indicates that you have a message.

Kristen:

I suppose I shall answer it.

Colin:

All right.

Kristen:

Click on the light.

Colin:

All right.

Stan:

The message is from a woman named Chelsea Caraballo. Take you a moment to place her, but she is someone that you met at a sale conference a few months ago. Sale being? Society for the Advancement of Interstellar linguistics.

Kristen:

Awesome.

Stan:

The first thing she says, basically, is, hi, it's Chelsea Caraballo. We talked at the conference, and you mentioned an interest in alien artifacts, and when you found out that I worked at the shipyard, you asked me to let you know of anything interesting. There is a package that's about to go out, headed to Aja on a ship that takes passengers, and the package is numbered Et 107, which is how we designate non terrestrial or alien artifacts.

Kristen:

You don't need to tell me that.

Stan:

I didn't ask you to roll a no check. Wasn't sure.

Kristen:

Clearly, you did not listen to me very well at the conference. Is this a message that you sent me, or is this an interaction?

Stan:

It's a message, but in the future, messages can be there's a little AI in there that's, like, this is how she would respond.

Geoff:

Actually, the AI in there is, like.

Cullen:

How do I program my AI to have maximum Snark, as per my previous email?

Stan:

But, yeah, basically it gives you that information and tells you to take care.

Kristen:

Well, that's super useful. So, yeah, I guess I'm going to go and see if I can look up any information on this ship. And what I really want to do is I mean, I want to search everything, so I'm going to basically into my databases. I'm going to toss in the Et 107 number. I'm going to toss in the ship designation that I got, and then any other identifying info to see what I can find out about what's going on.

Stan:

Okay, give me an intelligence and program check.

Kristen:

All right?

Stan:

Unless you want to give me unless you want to argue for a different skill set.

Kristen:

No, I think that's good. So you said intelligence and program?

Colin:

Yeah.

Kristen:

Okay, so I have a plus one in my intelligence, and I have a base zero programming skill, so I'm going to add one to the die roll. And the reason I'm explaining this is because I realize stars without number, while an excellent game that a lot of people play, is one that is slightly different from DND in that we roll two D six instead of a D 20, and we modify that by our skills and our steps slightly differently than before. OOH, score. I rolled a ten on the die plus one, so eleven.

Stan:

All right, so the three of you, please improvise your advertisement that she finds.

Cullen:

I feel like I was only recently promoted to chief negotiator, so I probably have not had time to reissue a new advertisement.

Geoff:

Mackie is the chief negotiator. Please do not give yourself promotions.

Colin:

Okay? I think that what happens is.

Stan:

Slightly.

Geoff:

Off camera and be like, you rolled.

Stan:

Well enough to, like, find the original file.

Colin:

There's a picture of Peter Fox or a video of him. He's a little too close to the camera, a little loud focus, and he's gesturing and why are you pointing at me?

Geoff:

You are the one who is meant to deliver the message for the other meatbags to consume. No, MACDs have shown that they will not trust me.

Cullen:

The microphone is not on, Maggie. Hold on. Let me hit the button. Rolling.

Colin:

Consider the Admiral Gracie for your next soldier. And amongst the stars. They ran out of time.

Stan:

As for the Et 107, aside from recognizing that the shipping code, which carries a certain legal responsibility, it's similar to, like, a Hazmat designation. You have certain clearances with regard to the value of your cargo, considered a priority type of situation. So if there's some kind of, like, disaster, your first responders are like, we got to get this out of here.

Kristen:

So I assume, like, the Et stands for extraterrestrial, and then the 107, what is that designating?

Stan:

The specific object is enumerated, but you don't have any way of accessing any kind of index of what it would be.

Kristen:

Got you. It's deliberately it's some, like, proprietary or it's someone's own designation, but it's not, like, a standardized designation that I can find any, and so on.

Stan:

Right, okay, cool.

Kristen:

And then presumably, I find out something about it belongs to Mr. Cho or that it's been purchased recently.

Stan:

You know that it is. Let's see. It belonged to someone named Flavian Stacy.

Kristen:

Okay, you.

Stan:

Don't have any information on who it was sold to or anything, but, you know, it's being shipped to a Jia from the message.

Kristen:

Okay. And what do I know about Aja?

Stan:

Aja is an artificial planet. It's a little star system with no natural orbiting bodies or none of any note. Anyway, there are two artificial megastructures that orbit the star. One is called the Nightlight, and it's essentially just a large sphere of kind of translucent material that it remains perfectly stationed between the star and the second object, which is a gia itself. I'm mega structure consisting of two rings that sort of circle around a central orb of water.

Kristen:

Cool.

Stan:

And it's a product of the golden age company known as Monopol gravitics.

Kristen:

The golden age stuff. So we don't know exactly how it works anymore. It just kind of works, and we hope it doesn't stop working.

Stan:

If it broke, it would stay broken.

Kristen:

It sounds like it would be bad.

Colin:

Right.

Stan:

So these rings essentially produce a form of antigravity that maintains a spherical reservoir of water, a large kind of ocean planet with no core. And the antigravity keeps it from achieving any kind of, like, deep water pressure that would destroy things in it. It is populated by submersible estates and cities. There are communities that float around on the surface, and it's a popular tourist destination for its beautiful, pristine waters. And it also serves as kind of an animal preserve for ocean life from around the universe. Yeah, there's whales. There's tons of whales.

Kristen:

Whales.

Geoff:

Is this where you're from?

Cullen:

Yeah, I guess Anton will be originally from India.

Geoff:

Cool.

Cullen:

Which I guess will serve us well in this, our first adventure. Possibly.

Stan:

So you're familiar with one of the major cultural practices of a Gia, which is they have a sport called raid. There are professional raid teams, and each kind of floating city has its own professional team. These cities that float on the surface don't have any kind of propulsion. They just kind of drift. But when two cities bump up against each other, the game is afoot, and the raid teams attack each other with clubs and try to reach a flag in the center of the rival city.

Kristen:

Excellent. All right, so I guess with that information, the only other thing I need to know is basically how quickly do I need to get moving on this info? Is this ship leaving imminently? Do I have time to pack? Do I need to leave tonight, or is it like, I'll get up tomorrow morning?

Cullen:

I think we may also be remiss if we don't discuss how the parameters with which we in fiction created this planet just through our table rolls and stuff. I think maybe we rolled floating cities and ritual combat, as I think our first two tags.

Stan:

Seagoing cities and ritual combat.

Kristen:

Yeah. So that is a cool thing with the game that you get to kind of create the setting with some really neat tables.

Stan:

Right then I have pre generated some and populated the system with interesting places to go. But I've also specifically left some stars just totally unprepared. And so if you guys visit a system that I don't have prepared, I will roll the tags and created on the fly for you guys.

Cullen:

Nice.

Geoff:

Cool.

Cullen:

Sort of a procedurally generated tabletop world.

Stan:

Correct.

Cullen:

Say, long form improvis.

Kristen:

Yeah.

Stan:

That'S one of the fun things about the system, is provokes improvisation.

Kristen:

Nice. So I guess I'll look up the flight plan for the Admiral.

Stan:

Grace well, it's a little bit like the Ups truck. When it's going to show up? When it shows up.

Kristen:

Got you. So I probably need to get on it. Okay, so then, in that case yeah. Hilly is going to immediately close down all of her programs. She's very meticulous. And then she's going to hail the ship.

Geoff:

A tracking number has been created for your package.

Kristen:

Excuse me. Excuse me. I'm not trying to send a package. I'm trying to contact somebody.

Geoff:

A tracking number has been created for your package.

Kristen:

Excuse me. I'm trying to contact someone about transport upon your vehicle.

Cullen:

Mackie, the phone's ringing. Mackie.

Colin:

Thank you for calling the Admiral gracie Limited. How may we be of assistance?

Kristen:

Yes, hello. My name is Dr. Hildegard Kate. I am inquiring about transport on your vehicle to the world of IGA.

Colin:

We have a number of guest accommodations that can only be described as sumptuous.

Kristen:

You would be interested.

Geoff:

That is incorrect. Some of them are luxurious.

Colin:

That is also correct. Would you like some choice or luxurious? You can have either one. We don't actually have any passengers booked at the moment.

Kristen:

Well, what is most important is that I have a cabin that has access to I have recently learned that you will also be transporting something of interest to myself. So a cabin?

Colin:

That might be what have you learned about what we're doing? What we're up to?

Kristen:

Yes. I don't know about what you are up to, but it is a matter of public record here on New Antioch that ships transporting extraterrestrial artifacts are registered, and I have seen so what?

Colin:

Are you in any way affiliated with Mr. Cho?

Kristen:

I do not know. Is this Mr. Cho?

Colin:

So if I'm reading you correctly, and you forgive me, the transition is a little crackly on my end. You want to book passage on our ship to snoop through a package that.

Geoff:

Was a tracking number has been generated for your package.

Colin:

Yes. Thank you.

Cullen:

Mackie, do I need to buy more crochets for the passenger?

Colin:

Mackie, look. Yeah. Better get the sumptuous ones than prefabricated sandwiches and what have you. So wait a minute. You want to book passage on our ship to snoop through the cargo that another person put on to our ship for transportation? Am I reading you correctly on that?

Kristen:

No. That is absolutely incorrect.

Colin:

Because it's cool if you do I'm just asking.

Kristen:

It is absolutely incorrect. What I wish to do is to book transport on your vessel to go to Edia so that I might study and complete very important research on some extraterrestrial artifacts that you are carrying. This is a standard procedure. I'm surprised you do not know about this.

Colin:

Oh, I know almost nothing. I'm known for that.

Kristen:

So, listen, in that case, if you could please forward me the information on the number of credits I must forward to you.

Geoff:

I shall mackie make sure to apply the snooping surcharge on the usual bear.

Colin:

Listen, we do have a snooping surcharge. Listen, can I call you back? We're going to have to put our heads together about what we're actually going to charge you, because between you and me, I don't know what went wrong, but we haven't had any passengers in a while.

Kristen:

That is somewhat concerning, I must admit.

Geoff:

But Mr. Yosita, you are repromoted to Chief Negotiator.

Kristen:

Before I go, I shall let you please contact me here. I believe you have my number.

Colin:

You said you were a doctor of some kind?

Kristen:

Yes. If you could please apply my faculty discount, that would be excellent.

Colin:

I'm certain that exists.

Kristen:

Right after she says excellent, she clicks the button to shut off the mackie.

Colin:

Continue. And we'll have figured out what we're going to charge you by the time you get here. Don't you worry about that, Mr. Yoshida.

Geoff:

These sumptuous and luxurious sandwiches are the same. Do not buy any extra quality of sandwiches.

Cullen:

I wasn't going to make sandwiches anyway, but okay. I'll just stick to the basics. That come.

Kristen:

Yeah. So then Hildeguard is going to start basically putting together her kit. She has worked in the field before, so she has kind of a standard field bag that she puts together a few changes of clothes, a few basic supplies and everything. She, of course, brings her data pad with all of her ongoing research on it so that she can continue working on things. She posts to the necessary places that she is going to take a sabbatical because her area of interest is so sort of stuffed in the basement. Let's put it this way. She's kind of the fox moulder of her department. So when she says that she's going to go leave to study something, first off, everybody's like, phew. Yeah. It's very likely that people don't even notice. And the people who do notice are just like, thank God. It's very easy for her to kind of, like, pick up and leave, even though she's quite serious about what she's doing. And yeah, she's going to get everything together, take her robot and make sure it powers down and stows away where it's supposed to lock everything up and starts heading to the docks.

Stan:

All right, you took away your robot and immediately turns back on and goes out and starts sweeping the floor, bumping into chairs and stuff.

Cullen:

Oh, no.

Kristen:

And she totally is, like, going up there, assuming that by the time she gets there, they'll have figured everything out and she can just sail right in.

Colin:

Great.

Cullen:

Here's what I'm thinking, all right? So this guy's paying us 8000 credits to transport the big box, right?

Colin:

That's that is my understanding.

Cullen:

I mean, even, even the largest person is going to be significantly smaller than this box.

Colin:

I'd assume that's true.

Cullen:

So if we come up to, like, a boxes of one, and that's 8000, and this person is probably 0.2. So what's 0.2 of 8000? You know, I'm not good at math. That's well, that's a computer about that, but, you know, I think that that only sounds 1600. I don't know enough to argue that.

Colin:

All right, that sounds good to me. 1600 credits for passage to a Ja.

Geoff:

Do not forget the snooping surcharge.

Cullen:

I call it an even two grand.

Colin:

I guess even two grand sound good to you.

Geoff:

Correct. That is factoring in the faculty discount.

Colin:

Listen, you can spend an entire life among the stars and you never cease to see wonders because they are without number. It's very true. So, Hopper are you Hopper? Are you Admiral Grace right now?

Geoff:

Are we on the ship?

Colin:

We're on the ship.

Geoff:

I am Grace.

Colin:

Okay, gracie, me and Mr. Yoshida Baptiste Yoshida are going to go out and welcome our guest and we shall return shortly.

Geoff:

Do you require assistance in the person of Hopper?

Colin:

No, I don't think that will be necessary.

Cullen:

Yeah, I think we'll be fine. Just open the big door and come inside.

Geoff:

Are you sure you do not require any intellectual guidance?

Colin:

Oh, I mean, I'd say it's safe to assume we always do that, but it's like we discussed through no fault of your own, and it's not a judgment, just an observation. Organics can't find you a little unsettling, so maybe let us be the tip of the wedge on this commercial venture.

Geoff:

I have noticed a serious deficiency in organic life forms and appreciating the excellence that it is represented by my cortical functions.

Colin:

I couldn't have said it better.

Cullen:

Absolutely.

Colin:

He's right.

Cullen:

Absolutely. Kevin.

Colin:

Yeah. So we'll go out and we'll meet the new fish, and we'll be back here shortly. And in the meantime, in between time, I urge you not to think about any subjects of deep existential nature.

Geoff:

I will avoid thinking of subjects of deep existential nature. To accomplish that task, I will have to categorize subjects of deep existential nature.

Cullen:

I went ahead and compiled a list of about 12,000 Sudoku's that ought to keep you occupied for about five minutes.

Geoff:

I have finished the list of 12,000 to Dokus.

Colin:

Shit, man.

Geoff:

Mr Baptiste. Oshida, please remain a moment and allow Mr Mackie onto the tarmac.

Stan:

I always just tell him to do the same list a million times.

Colin:

Mackie walks down the Gangplank and towards the end of the I guess the sort of light platform that were landed on and awaits the arrival of the Doctor.

Geoff:

Mr. Yoshida, do not allow any harm to befall Mackie. If any harm befalls Mackie, you will wish that it had not. You will wish that you were dying. You will not die for a very long time.

Cullen:

I got to say, Grace, you say this every time you get on it and or off the ship. And at how many times has Mackie returns injured in any way?

Geoff:

So far, zero. You are on track.

Cullen:

I just feel like at this point, I would have garnered some kind of trust, but okay, sure thing about you got a bus.

Geoff:

I am incapable of trust.

Cullen:

I've noticed.

Kristen:

Excellent.

Stan:

You make your way through the beautiful new Antioch architecture, cross a few bridges between skyscrapers and reach the starport.

Kristen:

Good deal.

Colin:

So what does she look like?

Kristen:

Yeah, so what you see coming up the way, very purposefully, is a lady in sort of her, I would say mid thirty, s to early 40s. She looks a lot like Miranda Otto with sort of shorter length blonde hair, and she's kind of average to short, I would say. She's not quite as tall, and she has a very no nonsense demeanor. She is like purposely she knows exactly where your birth is. She knows exactly where she's going. She is dressed she's not dressed particularly spectacularly, just very functionally. She's got just kind of like one.

Colin:

Of those vests with all the pockets in it, like a dad going on, like, what he thinks is a safari.

Kristen:

Well, she totally has, like, the actual not like the dad who thinks he's going on safari, but the actual archeologist in the field, the space archaeologist in the field version of that.

Geoff:

So it's got, like, stains from, like, venomous things that she's fought off.

Kristen:

Oh, for sure. There are stains from venomous things. Vomit. Because every archeologist gets sick no matter what. Everyone who goes into the field gets sick from something. But yeah, no, the pockets are there. They're just a little bit more streamlined. She's got a duffel bag.

Cullen:

They're spaceier.

Colin:

Yeah. Okay.

Cullen:

Somehow that means they have both more room inside of them, and also they're sleeker.

Colin:

Exactly. So she doesn't have cargo pockets on her pants. She has cargo bays.

Kristen:

Absolutely. Yeah. That's exactly what was in the advertisement.

Colin:

Well, as you approach, Mackie takes up yeah.

Kristen:

So what does she see? What does the ship look like when she comes up?

Colin:

What does the ship look like?

Cullen:

Jeff, you are the ship.

Geoff:

So the Ms Admiral Grace is a free merchant ship, which is a small frigate, but it is considerably larger than the typical free merchant. And it is actually it bears the unmistakable lines of a Pretech craft, but it has been retrofitted. All of the pretext functional equipment that was on board has been stripped away and sold for parts or scavenged in some way, and it was just a derelict hole for a long time. And it has been lovingly and painstakingly recreated and retrofitted. So there are large sections of it that are just structural struts with atmospheric fairing around the outside to make it move through atmosphere, but won't hold atmosphere within the ship. So there are passages where you have to transition through vacuum. Cool, flavorfully cool.

Colin:

As you approach, Mackie takes his trucker hat off and holds upon his back and says dr. Kade, I presume.

Kristen:

Yes, that would be me.

Colin:

I am McDonald caused we talked on the phone. May I present Anton Baptiste Oshida.

Cullen:

How's it going? Nice to meet you.

Kristen:

Hello.

Colin:

He is.

Kristen:

I assume you have my accommodation secured.

Colin:

And your price is the price is going to be a flat 2000 galactic credits.

Kristen:

No. I believe there is some problem here. 2000 is considerably greater than I believe a ship of your caliber might command. No, I'm sorry, ma'am. I will give you 200 here. I am transferring it to you now. And she takes out her data pad and she transfers. She already has rung up your accounts and everything. Transfers it and she looks at you expectantly. Excuse me. Is this the way to my quarters?

Cullen:

I believe you're forgetting the snooping fee.

Kristen:

No, I did. It was because it's in there, along with my faculty discount. Yes, thank you. 200 credits is what I wish I'll be paying you. If you will please escort me to my cabin.

Cullen:

I'm sorely tempted to not let this woman on our boat.

Colin:

I feel very insulted by the mirror. I've been very reductive of obvious.

Cullen:

Do you not see the merits of this fine vessel?

Kristen:

Yes, fine vessel.

Colin:

It's a piece of history.

Kristen:

If you'll excuse me. And she goes to her data pad and she's going to do a programming check is my bid here? Programming check with intelligence to look up all of the safety failures.

Cullen:

So, like a carfax.

Kristen:

Yeah, she's looking up carfax, basically to show them I'm sorry, Starfax.

Colin:

We all just high five for the folks at home.

Kristen:

Also, most of us missed each other's hands.

Colin:

Yeah, well, I mean, we clearly weren't athletic. That's one of the reasons we're here.

Kristen:

Hey, man, that's true.

Cullen:

Athleticism, accurate and mean.

Stan:

All right, give me that program check.

Kristen:

Okay. Awesome. OOH. I got a six total.

Stan:

Luckily for you, the failures of the Admiral Grace are public record.

Geoff:

Yeah, some would mischaracterize the atmospheric failure as a failure, when in fact, it was a deliberate choice.

Kristen:

It's a feature, not a bug.

Stan:

They don't have the necessary licenses in order to carry passengers.

Kristen:

Okay, so she holds that information up on the pad and looks at you expectantly. Yes. I believe with this information, 200 credits is more than generous. Yes. Gentlemen.

Colin:

Mackie, his smile kind of freezes on his face. And he looks over at Anton.

Cullen:

I got to say, all right, he did just promote me to the Negotiator a minute ago, right?

Colin:

I believe yes.

Cullen:

Negotiating Voice here we are, madam?

Kristen:

A doctor.

Colin:

Doctor.

Cullen:

I'm sorry, kade, how's about from what I've gathered through your demeanor and via our phone correspondence.

Colin:

I think that we.

Cullen:

Should probably come to some sort of compromise here because no, we're not exactly no, we are legitimate. We're not exactly a licensed personnel transport, per se.

Kristen:

Yes, that is exactly what however would.

Cullen:

You prefer that we not tell Mr. Cho that we have some snooping doctor checking out his art piece before he gets it?

Kristen:

Well, here is my compromise for you. I do not care if Mr. Cho knows that I am snooping genuinely a collector of such artifacts, then it would be important for him that these artifacts would be, shall we say, confirmed as accurate and true artifacts of an extraterrestrial series. And so I would only add to the prestige of his object. So here's my compromise for you. How about instead of paying you 200, I can easily cancel this transfer. I shall sign on as crew and then you will not get in trouble for having a passenger, which you are not allowed to have. And I shall provide you and Mr.

Colin:

McDonald here you can call me Mackie.

Kristen:

Mr. Mackey here. Yes, I will provide you and Mr. Mackie and the Admiral Gracie, who it seems is an artificial intelligence ship.

Colin:

No, listen yes, artificial intelligence we don't talk about that. We don't talk about the ship.

Kristen:

I shall provide doctor expertise in exchange for pattern.

Colin:

Okay. May I confer with my colleague for a moment?

Kristen:

Absolutely, but and she looks down at her timepiece. I believe it is very important that.

Colin:

It will only be a moment. It will only be a moment. And I take and see how our.

Cullen:

Expertise is going to be particularly relevant to our undertaking, is all I'm saying.

Colin:

I kind of get you by the elbow and drag you off a few feet and turn my back on the Doctor and I looked at you, I'm like, she is terrifying.

Cullen:

That was a lot to handle, I agree with that.

Stan:

I just want to chime in as Star Master to point out that 200 credits could get you out of a couple of gyms.

Kristen:

She's already taken that back.

Geoff:

Hopper's head is like watching you.

Cullen:

Can I roll a notice check?

Colin:

Yeah. Rolling up his check.

Cullen:

It's a seven all day. Do I see Hopper?

Kristen:

Anything extra?

Geoff:

Notice as soon as you turn around and look at me.

Cullen:

All right.

Colin:

Yeah, so she's terrifying. Look, I'm thinking we'll just cut our losses here and we let her aboard. Here's the thing. I've been here a minute. Follow my lead on this. We just got to pretend that this was the plan the whole time. Can you do that for me?

Cullen:

But the 200 credits, though, I guess.

Colin:

We should insist on that.

Cullen:

Well, I mean, we're already getting paid $8,000. It seems like small potatoes.

Colin:

It does seem like small potatoes.

Cullen:

And, I mean, really? We can put vacuum between us and her. Don't actually have to deal with her.

Colin:

If that can be a rage, I would like that vacation.

Cullen:

That's easy.

Colin:

All right, well, I guess this is a done deal. Do you want to read the disclaimer or should I?

Cullen:

It seems like I mean, you're the XO, right?

Colin:

I don't even know what I am these days. All right, so Mackie turns around and comes back to you and says, I believe that your offer is previously stated. Will be amenable to us. Before you go aboard, I have a little bit of legal boilerplate I need to read to you.

Kristen:

Excellent.

Cullen:

I'm ahead. I'd offer to carry your bags, but I'm not going to do that.

Kristen:

I do not need your assistance. I am quite able to manage on my own. Thank you.

Colin:

So Mackie reaches into one of his pockets, his ample pockets on his flight suit, and pulls out, like, a crumpled up print out. And he like, smooths it out and also a pair of readers, which he purchased on the edge of his nose. And he reads to you. Welcome aboard the Admiral Gracie. Limited liability corporation. We hope that you enjoy your time with us. Management would like to respectfully request that passengers refrain during flight from the discussion of certain topics with Hoppa. Admiral Gracie, including, but not limited to any subject touching on the nature of existence, selfhood metaphysics, and especially ontology any philosophical musings should be directed solely to the COO. Or better yet, kept buttoned up in your fat yap. Thanks for your cooperation. McDonald Coburn. Chief operating officer Anton. Yeah, when did they make me COO?

Cullen:

I mean, like, I change this every couple of weeks, right?

Colin:

All right, well, okay, for the present. McDonald Coburn. Chief operating Officer Admiral Gracie. LLC welcome aboard, Doctor.

Kristen:

Thank you very much. Is there some things that I must sign or put my fingerprint to?

Colin:

Nah, you seem pretty smart. Come along.

Kristen:

Excellent, excellent. Thank you so much.

Colin:

All right.

Kristen:

Yeah. Go up onto the ship.

Cullen:

Get up in this ditch.

Geoff:

Welcome back aboard. Chief negotiating officer mackie and chief operating officer baptiste yoshida. Welcome aboard. Unregistered crew member and or passenger.

Kristen:

Yes, hello. I believe your name is the Admiral Grassy.

Geoff:

Yes, that is correct.

Kristen:

Yes. Hello, admiral Grassy. My name is Dr. Hildegard Hypatia Kate. If you may check my records, you will see that I am an expert.

Geoff:

Are you a medical doctor?

Kristen:

No, I am not a medicine.

Geoff:

Do you have a PhD?

Kristen:

Yes, of course I have a PhD.

Geoff:

Is your PhD in the field of physics, biology, chemistry, or material sciences?

Kristen:

Well, technically speaking, as my undergraduate was in was in anthropology, it included some part of biology.

Geoff:

Welcome aboard, Ms. Hypatia.

Colin:

Cade.

Kristen:

No, I believe you have misunderstood.

Geoff:

It is registered as Ms. Hipatia cade. Welcome aboard, Dr Hilda.

Kristen:

God. Hypatia Kade. Hhkad. Thank you. You may look up my numerous publications now, please, if you would show me to my cabin. And with Hilde joining the crew of the admiral Grace, we are going to leave you and pick up the story in part two of our pilot episode. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you're enjoying everything so far. If you are, please definitely give us to follow so you can keep up with us every week and we will catch you in just a few minutes.