Continuities » Sandboxes » like we're made of starlight
Mar 30, 2017 8:33 AM
space Arda and Peka's world
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"There are ten people on the crew," he says to Nerdanel of the first test of lightleapers for intergalactic travel. "Mandos agreed to resurrect them if they get stranded and can't get back and stop their hearts before they run out of supplies. Now, if they do it in a specific order, then we have a mechanism by which they can transit a nontrivial amount of data - there are 3628800 orders in which ten people can die, and we can ask Mandos about times of death -"

          "Or we could just ask them once they're resurrected."

"That might take Years!!"

         "If only we had a way to do resurrections ourselves."

"Soon."

         "Yes."

"Not soon enough."

         "Yes."

"I could give the crew a book of possible messages and the suicide order associated -"

         "It'll upset them, they might not stick to it, it puts them in a terrible position if one person is suddenly unwilling to suicide -"

"It wouldn't upset me. It'd make it easier, really, knowing someone was learning something -"

         "You're very unusual, love."

 

 

 

The lightleaper coordinates are set for an unthinkable distance away. The crew is not advised on any particular order for suicide, should it be necessary. It shouldn't be necessary. Tests of shorter hops have gone fine, trips to Endorë would be practically routine if not for the recent political complications. The math all checks out. 

But if it fails, somehow, they will be very, very far away when it does.

They jump.

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They are very, very far away.
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That wasn't the stage where they thought something might go wrong. Well, it could have, but then they'd be dead and waking up in Lórien. 

The question is whether they'll be able to head back. And the navigation computers are at least under the impression that they're working just fine, and could take them home this minute if they so pleased.

They do not so please; they were born before their people had harnessed electricity and now they are looking out on the stars of a different galaxy and they are the Noldor and they will go home when they're good and ready. They let robots maneuver all their best external cameras into place. They sing. They map the stars. 

The computer patiently launches in on a battery of forty thousand tests; three need to be rerun, anomalies being present. 

" - that might be radio," Ertuon says, when the anomalies are still present the second time.

"Ilúvatar above."

"Yeah - what do you say we jump sixty lightyears that way - it might not be but I don't want to go home wondering -"

 

The navigational computers are instructed to do that.

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It's radio.
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They're engineers, not alien-contact diplomats. But they know some of those. 


They head home.

 

 

 

Twelve days later all of the lightleapers in existence (there are four) arrive on the spot, half the Noldorin royal family accompanying them. They have to jump twice more to find the actual planet.  

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Here it is! It has oceans, and continents, and cities!
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And aliens!!!!!!

They've been doing some space exploration, they're familiar with oceans and continents. The cities are more exciting. They look for the prettiest.

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The least ugly one is over there on the coast. Of its buildings, six and three-quarters of them, if they were cleaner and had nicer grounds, could maybe be the ugliest buildings in Elf cities but not slated for demolition and replacement outright.
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Well, that's a little disappointing. A lot disappointing, really. They scout for pretty uninhabited areas where they can maybe settle in so they don't have to live in the city.

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Most of the planet has seen some kind of interference - mining, logging, habitation ongoing or abandoned, farming. There are some wilderness areas, not very close to the least ugly city but some closer to it than any other city.
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Aaaaaaaargh. 

 

"Maybe the interiors are nice," someone says hopefully. 

 

They find a wilderness area to land.

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They are shot at!
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The ships are shielded against running into space debris. They are not shielded specifically against people shooting at them because why the fuck would anybody do that, but the shooting turns out to do less damage than a rock run into at acceleration-to-a-lightleap speeds. They are mostly confused.

 

"Maybe the Enemy did things here too?" 

      "Or there's another one -"

"Prince Curufinwë, how are you on the language from the radio samples -"

      "We didn't get high enough fidelity messages to tell if it was spoken words or music. We could listen now, pick up the language this afternoon -"

"Let's just land, they're not going to hurt us -"

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Yes they are!
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"There's probably a war on," someone says charitably, "and they're scared. They're handling it badly but I suppose if you landed on Endorë -"

       "They wouldn't shoot at you! We're obviously not hostiles in their war."

"Maybe they think shooting is friendly."

       "I know everyone's eager to get out of the ships, but perhaps we should just stay in orbit and pick up the language and communicate that we regard shooting as unfriendly."

"Yes," Fëanáro says, "let's do that," and that settles it.

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There are many languages spoken on this planet. They are not pretty, but they are serviceable and there's a lot of some of the popular ones on the radio. Several dialects - seems like a social class marker - of a popular one are spoken in Least Ugly City. Hypotheses among the locals about the ships include that they are enemy action, that they are aliens who don't know enough to send a message first, that they are aliens who are here to collaborate with the enemy, that they are an elaborate prank, and that they are a collective delusion.
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Those are interesting hypotheses. Elves sit contentedly in orbit while Fëanáro picks up four of the languages and all of the dialects of the one spoken in Least Ugly City and teach everyone else a few and by then being contained to the ship is really stressing them out so they broadcast something back.

Hello, it says, we are the Quendi of Valinor, very far from here, and we found you on a scouting mission four of your weeks ago. We are going to land. Shooting us would be unfriendly. 

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There is a delay and then they get lots of replies. Are they going to try to land in the same place as before? Are they with the enemy? Are they clean? How did they get here? Were they damaged in the shooting? How many of them are there?
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We'd prefer to land somewhere uninhabited but can choose a different location if convenient. We are not with the enemy; when an enemy troubled us back at home he was destroyed, and now we have peace. What do you mean by 'clean'? We have faster-than-light travel. A few cameras were damaged in the shooting, but they're ones we'd use for taking pictures of the stars, not of your world. There are eighty people on this expedition.

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What do they plan to do after landing? How does faster than light travel work? Have they touched anything or anyone who was unclean and then failed to sufficiently purify themselves (presumably as aliens they are not of inherently unclean bloodlines, but if they are that is also a thing they'd like to know)?
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We know our bloodlines back to the first of the Eldar and don't think our world has unclean things. Once we land we'll try to learn more about your world. Faster than light travel requires very, very complicated math, we will teach you but it might take some time. 

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How are they defining the first? Why do they need to land they can talk just fine like this. If they're going to land it has to be closer to the city, how about that farming area there, otherwise the enemy might get them.
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We have larger spaceships for when we're going to spend a lot of time in space. If we can't land, we'll have to go home in a day or two. The first Elves are the Elves that awakened beside Cuivienen 625 Years - 1473 local years - ago, how else would it be defined? We can land there but it's not very pretty, is there somewhere pretty?

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Their species is much older than that and evolved from another species. They are not sure why prettiness is a criterion or what aliens think is pretty.
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Once we have more information about your computer systems we can send examples. It seems likely we have different understandings of what is pretty. 

 

They land in the fields. They open the doors - atmosphere's breathable, Elves can tolerate a wide range there - and are immediately much relaxed. They sketch prettified pictures of the landscape and sing.

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There are people waiting for them! None are more than five and a half feet tall and most of them have blue hair, some green or yellow. They don't seem to have a braiding custom.
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