[ISS] Epilogues (All)



Let's have one epilogue thread to suss out what happens with the bomb threat, the plague, and the needs on the bridge for crew.

Mark, given the choice between leaving Priscilla hidden and bringing "the cure" into play, how do you decide?

- If you chose to keep Priscilla hidden, then there is no cure available for the group and any breach in containment spreads the plague aboard the ship.
- If you hunt for Priscilla and reveal her, the cure requires her death. She'll willingly accept this cost and the AAU will attempt to upload her consciousness into the computer's memory, allowing her to continue existence. The cure should end the quarantine...

Tabitha, you've reached out to your classmates to build a bridge crew, but only one of them bothered to respond. Where do you focus your efforts?
- do you keep piloting in shifts with the crew you have, and spend free time helping Gwen getting into her Ottermode body?
- do you stick your nose into whatever Ourania and Temperance have planned and possibly affect or thwart their goals?

Ourania, your mother is dying, but you've launched a grand plan to break quarantine. When you announce the threat to the ship, roll with Dark. On a hit, choose options. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, you just get one.
- You discover the deadman switch and can activate the device or not, your call
- They agree to discuss terms
- Nobody is hurt in the negotiations

Ashlee, you were able to escape the iso cubes with Gwen's help. You're in the belly of the beast among the Corporals in their blind spot. Do you unleash vengeance on the ones who hurt you, or try to free the other students, including Priscilla and Lucas?

Temperance, you followed the plan to the letter, right? Let’s see you roll+Hot for how your clique carried out their orders. On a hit, choose which things went wrong. On a 7-9, choose two. On a 10+, you need only choose one.
- Trish sets the deadman switch to her own input
- Torrence lets the plan slip to Corporal Eff and is detained
- Tunde rats you out to your father before the big plan is set in motion


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    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 3. Total: 10)

  • edited September 2016


    Tunde is trying to "save me from myself" when he goes to Father. I really expected more from him.

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    Help. Anyone who's ever shown me kindness, or at least understanding. Yes, Priscilla, end even people like Lucas, who weren't perfect to me but who at least treated me as human... making human mistakes.

    Vengeance enters my mind, but I was never pushed that far and I've come to understand that I can work in more subtle ways. Get in their heads rather than fight them.

    I get outside the experiment, and then i can help make things better.
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    I keep piloting in shifts and helping Gwen with her new body. I'm curious what may be holding Ourania back from responding to me, and what she's doing with Temperance and Mark..but as soon as I came off my first shift, heady and tired, Gwen needed my help.

    Then food. Then sleep.

    Then more piloting, some other drokking crisis, and an argument about our course. If we can't get staffed up, we'll have to divert.
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    I didn't go through all this to betray her now. Priscilla stays hidden.

    And besides, if that means a little more fear and disorder on the ship... good.
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    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 5, 6. Total: 12)
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    It isn't easy being the face of the revolt. I would much rather have someone with a leader's charisma do it. But It is effective. The face of the commandant's daughter and the extremity of the threat to the ship do their job, the remaining crew agree to discuss terms. No one is hurt in the negotiations.

    After a tormented bout of thinking, I choose not to remove the sickness from the Commandant. She would be a constant destabilizing force. The ship has a better chance to heal itself without her.

    She never sends for me.
  • edited September 2016

    The negotiations were held with Temperance's father at the head of the administration, Ourania's mother strangely absent. Temperance's father insisted that his daughter participate in the talks, standing alongside you, Ourania.

    Ourania and Temperance, what is the result of the negotiations?
    1. You agree to maintain the separation of the ship until the plague is cured or the ISS Tsiolkovski reaches her ultimate destination (which is thirty solar years from now). However, the current state of the adult population is untenable, and the ship is not able to continue its mission and things will only worsen with the "successful graduation percentages" of students reaching adulthood as non-carriers of the plague
    - to complete the mission, the adult population must swap quarantine with the student population
    - the student population must immediately take control of the ship and all necessary functions
    - AAU must be reactivated and put in partial control of the ship alongside the student population

    2. You agree to land on Zeti-5, an M-class planet within two months' flight past the nebula.
    - due to the limited resources and tech on the ship, the adults lobby to retain the ship, but offer the "colony kickstart" materials that haven't been depleted or destroyed
    - the student population is then free to settle in another area on Zeti-5, in a rough but livable state. It won't be easy living, there will not be a resupply, but everyone will be free.

    How did you decide?

    Mark, you were called on to keep the security of the talks, and stood in a vac suit alongside Eff and Tek. You intercepted the message that test subject Ashlee Rai had somehow woken from containment and escaped, that all of the detainees from iso were being freed, including Priscilla.

    Why did you die during the negotiations, what were you trying to accomplish?

    Where did you wake up?

    Tabitha, when you woke, you had to employ the assistance of the AAU to help Gwen enter her new body.
    Dana told you about the talks, how Ourania and Temperance were negotiating, were threatening the ship with a bomb to obtain release for the students. She begged you to de-activate the bomb and save the ship, but you didn't, did you?

    Was it because...
    - you realized the ship could be lost in the nebula if you weren't piloting and bomb or not, you trusted in your classmates to not drokk it up; Dana informs you that you're free of the plague and can remain in the adult population, with her, if you wish?
    - you saw through Dana's lies and manipulations, realized she was using you for the ship's benefit and her words of love and devotion rang hollow; what tipped you off?

    Ashlee, you've freed everyone, this required an obvious and undeniable use of your psychic powers... the escapees, which include Pax, Lucas, Zola, and Priscilla, as well as over a dozen others from all the pods, are amazed and their lives are changed.

    - Among the freed students, did you find your brother, Mason, here in iso this whole time? If you find your brother was in iso, he tells you something. What was it?

    - If your brother is not there, you instead are able to gain access to the lab, and you can confront the trio of scientists who tortured and experimented upon you.

    What happened?
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    I was eager to get back into the AAU, whatever the reason, but for Gwen especially. The moment I was done helping Gwen negotiate the delicate systems of the artificial body, Dana was there, pulling out my connection and explaining the situation.

    Lots of small things had been bothering me since I passed to the adult side. Things had been so easy. I expected to be interrogated a little about my head injury and Zola, but I wasn't. I expected pushback on my requests and suggestions, but I got none. I expected emotional shadows of the tearful talk we'd had over Navi, but while I explained my and my classmates' raw anticipation of death, the guilt she'd expressed before..it didn't return. These things hadn't added up for me yet, but they would.

    The bomb...it's a rough tactic, but I'm not against it. Things need to change. Something has to happen, or we'll all suffer. Everyone on this side has let things go too far, they need to be shaken.

    While Dana begged me to interfere, her persona cracked. She threatened me, subtly, revealing a shocking knowledge about Gwen. She wept again. She kissed me. It was jarring, an attempt to dominate me wrapped in a performance of feeling vulnerable. Everything that was wrong about her plans fell into place then. I felt so violated.
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    I didn't have much of a plan in mind; I just wanted to see what was going on down at iso. Maybe I didn't do a great job of making a casual exit. More likely, I think, the AAU told him. Either way, Tek followed me.

    I took a short-cut through the recycling bay, and that was where Tek caught up to me. He came at me with a knife, we struggled, we Reichenbach Falls-ed our way over the railing and into the pit. I guess I'm the Sherlock Holmes, since Tek didn't come back, far as I know. I didn't see him anywhere before I blacked out from the pain.

    I woke up in a bodybag. I was in some secret den, abandoned crew quarters on one of the empty decks, I think. Locked in. I think it's near the engines, from the background noise. There are kind of scavenged decorations all over the walls. Stashes of snacks and drinks, computer parts, pillows. It's like a hideout you'd make when you were a little kid. All lit by an inspection lamp liberated from Mechanical Repair.

    I don't know how long I was there before they opened the door. My Navi was smashed to drokk in the fall, just like I was, so I had no way to tell the time. The door opened and there were Pax and Nadja. Pax watched me while Nadja put a tray of paste from the cafeteria on the floor just inside the door. They didn't say anything, just looked scared. Then they locked me in again.
  • edited September 2016
    You're basically asking if I have a happy ending, or if I turn into the monster they think I am. Well. My brother is there. In ISO for his constant communications with me, for breaking the strict quarantine between adults and us kids just to bring me his subtle moments of comfort.

    I don't care what they think of my mutation... let them see. Let them know. I'm doing this for myself. To prove to myself that I'm not a monster. That for whatever reason I have this... curse. It's my curse. And I can control it... I own it.

    Mason suffered in ISO on my account and of course i was in tears when I found him. But he just smiled that smile and put his arms around me and we held each other for such a long time. Vowing never to let them come between us again.

    He told me that mom and dad regretted their decision to send me to the lab. That it broke my dad's heart having to give me up. That my mother kept my room just as it was for years. Some of the snacks Mason sneaked into the lab for me... they were from mom and dad. They knew, but were too ashamed to face me.

    In the end... with all the madness going on, talk of leaving the ship... we'll walk out that door together and into a new world. I'm not sure if mom and dad live still. I can't forgive them... I'm not that good a person after all. But it feels good to know that they just might miss me.
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    So much of what I do, what I am is tied up in the little overlapping networks, both personal and technological, that make up the fabric of this ship. I would be giving up something essential, taking a huge risk if I were to advocate entering the gravity well of Zeti-5. And yet, and yet... AAU unfettered and in control "alongside" us?

    And even deeper, almost at a genetic level. Real gravity, a breeze that hasn't already been breathed by every one of us a million times or more, light and heat generated by the nearly incomprehensible fusion of a star, rather than the (for now) tame reactors of our devices?

    The "mission" is so remote to me, and I am so tired of these bulkheads that are all I have ever known.

    I share my thoughts with Ourania, and then my personal conclusion. "Ourania, I... if it were me alone, I would choose Zeti-5. But I fear that may be selfish. Romantic, sentimental. Either choice is better than the status quo, and I will stand by your decision."

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    My decision…

    I end up filling my mother’s role in a way after all. Another thirty years on the ship with the AAU partially in charge, or our own colony now without hope of resupply. An agrarian colony. Technological development limited due to the lack of minerals.

    Either path could be disaster.

    Temperance is right, the idea of living on a planet has a powerful pull. Our survival chances might be better if we put the AAU partially in charge and forged ahead to our planned destination. But the very act which brought about these negotiations will encourage more such, given time. We might not survive a second time. Or a third.

    It’s time to breathe real air again.

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    In two short months, the ISS Tsiokovski arrives in orbit around Zeti-5. After several weeks of scouting the surface, the student population is allowed to disembark from the ship with an equitable portion of the colonial foundation supplies, and the ship, the only home you've ever known, flies over the horizon to another suitable settlement.

    Three years have passed...

    What happened with you? Are you happily settled in this alien valley, eking out an agrarian existence in relative peace? Are you still around?

    If you would like an "update" on any of the student population or adults, let me know and I'll work up a few sentences for each of them. If you'd rather include them in your last post, feel free!
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    I'll never pilot the Tsiolkovsky again, or any ship. The thought still hurts me deeply.

    My last two months on the Tsiolkovsky were difficult, working my piloting shifts and returning to Pod 16 through the lock with still more to do. So many things happened and changed, I can hardly remember it all as anything but one desperate, heated press of activity.

    I pressured Dr. Lancome into helping adapt Gwen's body to her needs. Zola tried to hurt Pris and I beat the everliving stomm out of her again. I got away with it again, too. Gwen and Ourania coaxed what Zola and Dana did out of me in time, what with the three of us sharing a room. It was all very hard, but..I did have support. People I trusted, people I could run pace with.

    Now I'm four years old.

    Here on the planet, I can feel the difference between being watched and not being watched. The environment provides our vast surroundings with beauty and persistence, gravity and indifference. It's a tremendous relief, but nothing will ever really cure me of my wariness. I still see and hear and smell more than anyone else here, and I never forget what we came from. But I try to hold back less, which makes me, and I quote 'Drokking difficult sometimes.'

    There are animals here, and they're fascinating. Plants, too. I can get lost in surveys for days at a time, and I jump on opportunities to hunt. To run. To listen only to the sounds of the world and my own being, alone. I come back when my work is done, or when I get hungry, or when I get lonely, or..when I expect someone is lonely for me. I know from our orbital scouting that there's an ocean about two week's travel from here, and I want to see it but I also want to take someone with me.

    I wonder if I can pull Ourania away for a month, if I'm enough of a priority in her life. Gwen and I are still close, like the right and left hand of the same person. Sometimes when I need to run, she runs with me. She keeps me from forgetting home.

    I've seen babies now! People started forming their own families about as soon as we landed on Zeti-5. Apparently it's so easy that it can happen accidentally. It's great, and I get to be an honorary aunt to a lot of new humans. Babies are messy and demanding but also kind of wonderful. I opted to keep my birth control implant, though.

    Oh, and I've learned to play Rugby now. There are a few teams, and it's almost, but not quite, as popular as Speedball.

    What made me so empty? What fills us all up? I was trapped in my own life, so I rejected it. But now I'm free. I accept the parts of me that are Ioanna. I don't black out anymore. The interface healed most of my neurological problems, and time did the rest. The box of Ioanna's things? I was the one returning them to my room time after time.

    I haunted myself. But that's over now.
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    Most days I remember to breathe.

    I'm a horticulture supervisor now. I have a quiet office in one of the prefab buildings on the central courtyard. I go to the plantations on the hillsides. There's a good view from there. I don't talk to anyone much. I often see Pris walking alone in the fields at twilight.

    The settlement has its fair share of problems. A storage silo burned to the ground last year. That was me. I couldn't help it. I don't think anyone knows. People argue and come to blows. That's usually not me. They just do that anyway.

    A handful of people know my secret. Mostly the same ones who kept me locked up until we arrived here. They're careful to use it only when they need to. So other people don't find out, I guess? I get to be the hero risking life and limb. If I fail, they hide my body until I return. Last winter, when everyone was looking thin, I spent three weeks hunting alone. You can kill some big animals if you can die and still drag the carcass home.

    Nadja still comes over some nights. When she arrives she's all hands and kisses and secret smiles and whispers that I'm "her little freak of nature". But later, in unguarded moments, I see revulsion.

    If everyone knew what I was, they might find a way to kill me for good.

    I often think about leaving - it would be better for everyone else if I did. Eventually I might have to, when people notice I'm not getting any older. Go and lurk somewhere in the forest. Maybe I'll turn into a myth.

    If I stay in the middle of things, whether I hide my condition or not, everyone else is going to have families and grow and die, and I'll still be the same. Pushing things off-balance; the one who's always been here. Whispering secrets to future generations.

    Sometimes I suspect that the AAU made Pris into something like me, as a parting shot. I will ask her one day. Maybe we can haunt the woods together.
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    I worked hard, the first few months, as did everyone. Shoulders and backs and arms and legs aching, bodies constantly on the brink from new allergens and irritants. The "week of the rashes" was particularly miserable.

    As we got to the point where things smoothed out, where the next structure raised wasn't desperately needed for shelter, the next tilled plot wasn't desperately needed for crops that had to be planted right now, people started looking toward the future, toward structure. "Government."

    There was some assumption that I would "step up," but really, it's not me. I supported Tunde as a leader. He's got that inborn sense of right and wrong that led him to talk to my father about the "revolution," and a mind that is organized around the kinds of structures we needed to create. He's on the Council now, doing his best, and I help where I can.

    Right now? I look out across the room. A few dozen faces look back, some tired from a day of work, some glowing with anticipation for a night of play. The irony isn't lost on me. Temperance the saloon owner. Torrence and Trish set up our first still two weeks after we landed, and I used some of my social capital to reserve one of the prefabs. Communities need centers, places that aren't work or home. And where else would I want to be except at the center?

  • edited September 2016
    So speedball isn't really a thing any more. The facility just isn't there and the power requirements to charge the playing field. Just too much. Others miss it more than I do so I try not to complain and Tabitha's got me started in Rugby which isn't entirely un-fun. Some of the players are afraid to tackle me, too, so that's a plus of my new reputation. I'm under control now, of course, but they don't have to know that.

    The council came to me needing advice. Turns out there's a number of psychically active life forms on planet, and it looks like I'm "necessary" to communicate. They even take me along on expeditions from time to time. It feels good to be needed.
    Guess I have a steady job now as indigenous communications consultant. Lot of big words for a simple thing... simple to me. [brag]

    Mason's engaged to be married so soon I'll have to find my own place. It's been good living with him but three years with my brother in close quarters and I'm ready to spread my wings. I wonder if I'll be alone again.

    I don't hang out with my pod-mates so much though. I see Mark on the trail, Tabs on the rugby field. That's about it really.

    Best thing about this place though? No walls.
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    Three years.

    Things have evened out some. I don't miss the ship... well not much. The kind of math I 'm good at isn't really critical down here at first. Crops and building and fixing are much more important. Practical skills. Once we had a little more I took the lead of the lab, analyzing samples, gathering data from our new home, sorting out what it means, figuring out how to configure our seeds to prosper in this biome. I lost myself in it. I still do.

    Obviously the colony has changed. There have been hard times and better times. The hard times are when I get cursed for deciding to put us here at all. It happens. There was even an attempt on my life, once.

    They all expected me to lead, or to try to, or to be a judge. Maybe they expected me to become her. I'm a good citizen. I argue in front of the council with rationality and precision for one course over another, but I've refused to take an office with actual power to it. Still Tunde comes to me a lot. As do some of the other councillors. I tell them what I think. And they don't always agree. And that's okay.

    I've been to see Mother a lot. I sit next to the cold stone marker and talk to her. Talk to her like we never talked when she was alive. Before I killed her. I think that for everyone I did the right thing. Even me, I suppose. But it hurt. And even now I can't forgive myself for it.

    But life goes on for now. It's still Tabitha and Gwen that I'm closest to. They're closer still to each other, which I envy, but they're there for me too, when they aren't out exploring.

    Temperance tells me (because Temperance always knows things) that Tabitha really wants to see the ocean. I think I'll ask if I can go with her this time.

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