You are Allen Starwind, a starship captain and veteran of the Great Interstellar War. Your starship is old, yet (mostly) reliable, and you must take on jobs in order to bring in enough cash to keep it flying. Last time, you did some stuff on Mars, headed to Earth, and agreed to a request from the newest member of your crew. Good luck, and fair skies. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZapQMArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Starcaller
You sigh, looking out through the shuttle window as it begins to enter Earth’s atmosphere. You aren’t quite sure how you ended up getting talked into accompanying Samantha on her trip to her hometown, but you’re going now. Though, to be fair it isn’t just you. Cynthia sits next to you as well, having insisted on going along (she was actually the one who convinced you to go). “Something wrong?” Cynthia looks over at you, raising an eyebrow. “You look tired.” “It’s nothing,” you reply. Of course, you don’t mention that you had planned on getting a nap while Samantha did her business planetside. Yawning, you look back at Samantha, who sits in the row behind you. “You excited?” She looks up from the small magazine she picked up earlier. “Yeah,” she nods. “I mean, I’m a little anxious. It’s been two years…” She sighs. “Not much point in worrying about anything though.” “Agreed,” Cynthia replies. “So where does your family live anyway?” “Indiana,” she says. “They live a little way outside of a town called Kokomo.” “Huh,” Cynthia says. She looks up at the screen at the front of the cabin. “Well it looks like we’ve still got a few hours before we touch down.” Looking over at you, she shrugs. “You may as well get some shut-eye.” >”Sure.” (Take a short nap)>”I’m fine, really.” (stay awake for the rest of the flight)
>>1494950>>”Sure.” (Take a short nap)WELCOME BACK ZAP
>>1494950>”Sure.” (Take a short nap)
>>1494950>”Sure.” (Take a short nap)The character takes a nap, not you Zap!
>>1494950>”Sure.” (Take a short nap)aaw yisss
“Right,” you nod as you recline the seat a little bit. The shuttle vibrates as it finishes reentering the atmosphere, and you close your eyes. ----Nurse Owens helps you up from the hospital bed with a huff, easing you onto your feet. “Come on, sailor. Let’s get you moving.” The two of you stand there for a solid minute while you get your bearings. It has been quite some time since you last walked around, most of your rehab has been focused on upper body strength. The young woman in front of you pulls an instrument from her pocket, pressing it to your forehead. It’s some sort of scanner as far as you can tell. “How do you feel?” “Like my head’s on fire,” you say with a tired smirk. “Don’t think anything’s too wrong with my legs though.” She gestures for you to take a step forward, which you do tentatively. “Seems like I can walk alright. I don’t feel like I’m about to fall over.” Shrugging, you take a couple more steps forward. “That’s good.” She nods as she returns the scanner to your pocket. “Doesn’t look like your equilibrium is damaged. Let’s get you into a uniform.” She smiles a bit. “Big day ahead.” Ah yes, today is the final day of your voyage back to Earth. They’ve laid out the whole red carpet for you, or so you’ve heard. Apparently you’ve become a bit of a celebrity since they got you back. After Nurse Owens walks with you to a dressing room, she leave you to dress yourself. The dress blues smell new, as if pulled straight from the bag and hung up for you. Pulling the ribbon rack from its silk case, you mount it on the jacket carefully before putting the whole getup on. As you look at yourself in the mirror, you realize that you have quite a few awards considering that you’ve only been in the military for a little over two years. You also realize that you need a haircut. Badly. Not that it matters much, the hat will conceal most of it. As you don the hat, you walk shakily out from the dressing room, still not completely used to walking around. In the hallway you see Nurse Owens waiting patiently. She notices you and smiles again. There’s something about her smile that you don’t like though, it seems to hide a great sadness. It makes sense, you suppose. Especially after learning just how severe the Abraxis Incident was. “Lieutenant,” she salutes you. “How do you like the uniform?” You are about to reply when you feel the ship shudder from landing. Looks like it's almost time. >”Let’s just get this over with.” (dismissive)>”It’s a little big.” (honest)>”I don’t know how to feel about it yet…” (conflicted)>”Glad to be wearing it again.” (optimistic)>Write-in.
>>1495324>”It’s a little big.” (honest)>”I don’t know how to feel about it yet…” (conflicted)
>>1495324>Write-in."Better than a hospital gown. I don't know how much dignity it has left but at least it closes up in the back."
>>1495324>”I don’t know how to feel about it yet…” (conflicted)With>>1495356
>>1495324>”It’s a little big.” (honest)>”I don’t know how to feel about it yet…” (conflicted)"Any chance for a quick trim and a tailor?" (Jokingly)
You shrug. “It’s a little big.” Nurse Owens chuckles. “Well you’ve lost almost thirty pounds over the last couple months.” She brushes something off of your shoulder. “Doesn’t look too big though. And it’s certainly a nice change from the hospital gown.” “I agree,” you reply. “Still… I don’t exactly know how I feel about all this.” You gesture with your arm. “Coming home, having this whole welcome wagon laid out…” You frown. “It all seems like too much.” She nods. “Yeah… I guess they’re just trying to keep public morale up as much as they can.” You hear the sound of footsteps down the hall and look to see four men in dress blues, being led by a man in the dress whites of high-command. He looks to be about fifty, and judging by his cold eyes, he’s seen combat before. “Lieutenant,” the man in white says with a slight scowl. “Good to see you up and moving. My name is Commodore Wilson.” You salute him as he approaches, and he returns it crisply. “You alright, son?” “Up and moving, sir.” You nod slightly as he drops the salute, turning to Owens. “That’ll be all. We’ll take care of him from here.” “Understood, sir.” She salutes him, then looks over at you. “Take care of yourself, Lieutenant.” As you and the five officers begin walking away, you nod. “You do the same, Nurse.” All five of you sit in a cramped transport shuttle as it makes its way to Fargo, where they’ve arranged for the ceremony to take place. The officers in blues look uncomfortable, as if afraid of either you or the Commodore. “I’m sorry about what happened aboard the Abraxis, Lieutenant,” Wilson attempts a sorry excuse of a smile. A part of you wonders if the man is even capable of one. “And I hate to bring it up at a time like this… But I have a couple of questions to ask you…” You meet his eyes as he produces a folder, opening it.
The jolt of the passenger shuttle wakes you. Looking over, you see Cynthia cross her arms. “We’re here. Though, now I’m thinking we should’ve prepared a little more…” “Why’s that?” You rub your eyes, sitting up.Samantha answers your question. “Indiana winters.” As you look outside, you remember that it is January on Earth. There’s a solid blizzard going on outside. “Oh, perfect.” You frown as you zip your jacket up. You all leave the shuttle with the rest of the passengers, and end up in the main lobby of the spaceport. Eventually, you find your way to the front of the main building, which seems to open up into a large city not uncommon in North America. “So where are we exactly?” Cynthia frowns, obviously not wanting to leave the lobby. “Indianapolis,” Samantha replies. “It’s a good fifty miles from our destination…” She points to a couple kiosks on one side of the lobby. “The way I see it, we could either hire a taxi or rent a car.” >Taxi. Less expensive but also much less private. Only gets you there and back. >Rental. More expensive, but more privacy and freedom of movement.
>>1495684>Rental. More expensive, but more privacy and freedom of movement.
>>1495684>>Rental. More expensive, but more privacy and freedom of movement.
You begin walking toward the kiosks. As you stuff your hands in your pockets, you are relieved to find that you’ve got enough cash for a rental car. “So we’re getting a taxi, right?” Cynthia walks alongside you, with Samantha following behind. “Nah, fuck taxis.” You grin as you arrive at the rental kiosk. “Besides, we’ve got cash to spare, so we can get a rental.” You put the cash down and select the model of car you want. “Very well, sir,” the attendant says. “Your vehicle will be waiting for you in the underground garage. Would you like some complimentary winter coats as well?” “Complimentary?” You raise an eyebrow. “Is there a catch?” She laughs lightly. “No sir, we just ask that you leave them in the vehicle when you return it. We understand that winters around here are quite harsh.” She gestures to a set of benches within speaking distance of the kiosk. “Just take a seat there and we’ll let you know when your car is ready.” “Thank you,” you reply. The three of you then head over to the benches and take a seat. With nothing much to do, you decide to pull out your communicator and browse the net. Doesn’t seem like there’s much going on in the world at the moment. Fleet week is scheduled to take place in a week or so. It isn’t long before the attendant directs you to the underground garage, where you find the car you had selected. It is an SUV with large wheels, perfect for the snowy weather you’ll be driving in. Though you frown as you walk up to it. This thing is certainly uglier than the photos made it seem. “Do you want me to drive?” Samantha looks over at you as the three of you walk up to the SUV. “I doubt the roads have changed much in the last couple years.” >”Go ahead.” >"Have you ever driven in a blizzard before?" >”I’ll bet this thing has an auto-pilot mode.” >”I don’t mind driving.” >Write-in.
>>1495897>”Go ahead.” > "Any places you want to stop by on the way? We could grab some food too."
>>1495897>>"Have you ever driven in a blizzard before?"
>>1495897>"Have you ever driven in a blizzard before?">”I don’t mind driving.”
>>1495897Did a blizzard knock you out?
You stop walking, remembering the weather conditions outside. “Have you ever driven in a blizzard before?” Samantha nods. “Once or twice in high school.” She takes another look at the SUV. “Never in anything this nice though.” She crosses her arms. “Fair enough,” you reply simply. “I’ll ride shotgun then.” Hopping into the passenger seat, you examine the vehicle’s interior. It’s a luxury model, no doubt about that. Heated and cooled leather seats, infotainment, the works. It’s miles ahead of the old truck aboard the Bad Habit. Samantha hops into the driver’s seat and Cynthia sits in the middle seat in the back, putting her feet on the back of the console. “This sure is fancy.” She chuckles. “Never thought I’d even sit in something this luxurious.” “What can I say?” You smirk back at her as Sam starts the engine. “Every now and then I like to treat myself to the finer things in life.” This SUV must be the sport model too, because it goes like hell once Samantha gets it out onto the highway. Thankfully the road crews must be on overtime, because it is mostly clear of snow. As you begin to reach the outskirts of the city, you see the all too familiar bulk of a Federal Navy cruiser hovering in the distance. Apparently there is a decent-sized naval base north of Indy, so you figure it’s probably headed there. It’s interesting to you how quickly the city fades into farmland the further north you go. The Midwest is one of the few places left on Earth with sprawling agriculture, you’ve heard that something like 20 percent of the Solar System’s food is grown on Earth. “How long until we get there?” Cynthia speaks up from the back, and you look to see that she’s already messing around with a tablet that came with the car. “No more than an hour,” Samantha replies happily. “Maybe sooner with the lack of traffic.” She shrugs and turns on the radio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juD4ayBbHdYYou grin a little bit. “Man, that’s an old one. I can’t believe they’re still playing it on the radio.” “Looks like it’s a specialty satellite channel,” Samantha says as she looks over to the radio. “Music of the 20th Century. How about that...” You smile to yourself, bobbing your head with the beat as the car rolls down the highway. It’s amazing how music can take you back to another time. You probably haven’t heard this song in two and a half years…It’s one that she used to listen to.
And that's it for tonight's session. My apologies for the long times between posts, I'm still trying to get back into a decent posting rhythm. Either way, we'll run again tomorrow at around 6:00 PM.
>>1496235thanks for running
>>1496226We need to think up a story to cover our looting of that ship. It will put us in trouble at the very least with the people who would look for the gold.
Got called into work earlier and just got home. Session will start in a little bit.
>>1497668cool, soon then?
It isn't a particularly eventful drive. After about half an hour or so, the snow stops falling. However, you do notice that it's getting darker outside. It's strange how being in space for so long plays with your internal clock, it doesn't feel like the evening to you. Eventually the car pulls off of the highway and onto a country road. "We're about ten minutes away," Samantha says cheerfully. Despite being several hundred miles away, you can't help but notice how similar this place looks to where you grew up. Of course, the winters were far worse in Fargo, but you figure that only makes sense. "So what kind of place is it?" Cynthia looks up from the tablet. "It's an old farm house," Samantha replies. "Been in the family forever. I think my great-great grandfather bought it." She shrugs. "You could always ask when we get there. My dad is really into our family's history." As the sun finally dips over the horizon, the silhouette of a house appears in the distance. You begin to make it out as the car gets closer. It is an old, brick construction with an attached garage. "Is this the place?" You raise an eyebrow as the SUV turns into the driveway and stops. It doesn't look like it's been lived in much over the last two years or so. The masonry is decrepit, the eave troughs look like they're about to fall off, and the place clearly needs a new roof. Badly. "Yeah..." Samantha frowns, opening the driver's side door. "But dad would never let this place go like this... Something's wrong.">"Could the house have gotten sold?" >"Let's knock on the door and see who answers." >"Stay here. I'm going to take a look around this place. We could be walking into a bad situation." >Write-in.
>>1497853>>"Stay here. I'm going to take a look around this place. We could be walking into a bad situation."
>>1497853>"Stay here. I'm going to take a look around this place. We could be walking into a bad situation."Veteran Paranoia strikes again
>>1497853>"Stay here. I'm going to take a look around this place. We could be walking into a bad situation."
You grimace, opening your door. "Stay here. I'm going to have a look around and see what's going on." You step out onto the snowy ground, putting the complimentary winter coat on over your jacket. As you approach the house, you notice that at least one room has the lights on, meaning the place isn't totally abandoned. Carefully, you walk around to the side of the house, not seeing anything particularly out of place. The house itself may be in a state of disrepair, but the rest of the property doesn't seem abandoned to you. Making your way around to the back of the house, you see a pile of firewood partially covered by a tarp. Though you're no expert, it does't look like it's been sitting there for more than a couple months. There's also a rusted truck sitting some distance from the house, next to an old shed. The first thing you notice about the truck is that it isn't covered in snow, meaning someone must've been driving it recently. You grimace, turning back toward the house. While it certainly seems like this place is being lived in, it isn't exactly giving you good vibes. If what Samantha told you is correct, then her family wouldn't just let their home fall into disrepair like this. Of course, with the recession after the end of the War, it wouldn't surprise you at all if the family just couldn't afford the upkeep on an old place like this. As you round the corner of the house and prepare to make your way back to the SUV, you are pulled from your thoughts by a metallic click. "Nothing here is worth your life, boy." A voice hisses from behind you. "Hands up, nice and slow." As you put your hands up and turn around, you see an older lady carrying a massive shotgun. She walks up to you, the barrel brushing your chest. >"Does the name Samantha Brooks mean anything to you?" >"Safety's on." >"Sorry for trespassing. I'll be leaving now." >Write-in.
>>1498105>"Does the name Samantha Brooks mean anything to you?"
>>1498105>>"Does the name Samantha Brooks mean anything to you?"
It lives, yayyy!!!!>>1498105>"Does the name Samantha Brooks mean anything to you?"Maybe her folks moved out because this place reminded them too much of ded Sam. :(
You sigh, ignoring the fact that the shotgun's safety is still on. "Does the name Samantha Brooks mean anything to you?" The woman lowers the shotgun just a bit, her expression changing. "Yeah... She was my brother's daughter." She looks away for just a moment. "She died in the War... Are you from the military or something?" "A-Aunt Claire?" You hear Samantha's voice behind you. The woman's expression changes entirely as she looks over at Samantha. She tries to speak, dropping the shotgun in the snow. "You're alive?" The woman finally chokes out a statement, to which Samantha replies with a nod. "I'm the captain of the ship that rescued her," you say simply. "She wanted to come home and see her family." The woman looks at the two of you, a slight grimace showing itself. "Well... You'd better come inside then." You, Samantha, and Cynthia sit in the house's living room while Claire does something in the kitchen. Despite the decrepit exterior, the inside of the house is remarkably well-kept. As the three of you wait, you can't help but look at the family photos on the walls, or rather how few of them there actually are. There is a single photo of the entire family, as well as a couple individual photos. The walls themselves look like they used to have more photos hanging up on them.Eventually Claire returns from the kitchen with some sandwiches and tea. "Please, help yourselves. We don't get many visitors." She then sits down across from Samantha. "It's been two years, Sammy..." She seems to look for the right words. "What happened?" Samantha looks over at you hesitantly, seemingly unsure of just how much she should tell. >Write-in.
>>1498324>"Samantha's ship suffered an attack from an unknown force and was left stranded and cut off from help. She was lucky to find a cryo pod and survive until rescue came, unfortunately the rest of the crew weren't so lucky.
>>1498324Hmmm, don't really remember what we agreed on. But treasury already know that the ship survived. Anyway, I don't see any other way to explain it without coming up with some silly story>Her ship was hit by missiles at the end of the war and via some coincidence Sam was the sole survive. She put herself in stasis until we ran across the ship drifting through empty space.
>>1498342Eh, I'll support this one since it got in first. Would be nice to spin something to say why she survived and the rest of the crew didn't instead of making it sound like she ditched them though.
>>1498324Her ship was damaged by an unknown force, stranding it. She ended up stuffed in an experimental cryo pod. The rest of the crew was less lucky. We came across her in the derelict and got her out. Took her a while to get memories back and for us to make our way back to earth. The navy isn't keen on people scouting out their wrecks so I'd appreciate if you don't shout it to the heavens.
Have we told the Federal government that she is alive? Did she have to get a passport stamped to get onto the planet? Maybe we should expect a call from our buddy big boss Leander about how we are now harbouring not only an Imperial spy but a deserter! And we have the audacity to bring them to Terra!
You frown, leaning forward. "Near the end of the War, Samantha's ship was attacked and disabled. She ended up in a cryo-stasis pod..." You grimace, remembering the scene. "The rest of the crew weren't so lucky. Regardless, we happened upon the wreck not long ago and rescued her." You look over at Samantha. "That's pretty much everything." "I see," Claire looks at both of you with wide eyes. "It's a miracle that you survived... We'd all thought you were gone." She wipes her eyes quickly. "So where are mom and dad?" Samantha raises an eyebrow. "And what about Liam and Lana? Are they out doing something?" Claire looks away and you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. "There's... There's something I have to tell you, Samantha." She looks back to the three of you, sighing heavily. She wipes her eyes once more before continuing. "Do you know anything about the Red Flu?" Oh no. You look over at Samantha, who is still processing what she just heard. "It was a really bad disease outbreak, right?" Her eyes widen. "Wait, you don't mean..." She trails off as Claire looks down. "I'm sorry, Sammy..." She sounds like she's on the verge of crying. "The outbreak swept through like wildfire right after the War ended." She looks back up, eyes red. Samantha doesn't say anything. She just sits there and quietly weeps. The three of you close the doors to the SUV, saying nothing as you start the engine and pull away from the house. You gave Claire your communicator number so that she could keep in touch with Samantha. It was very obvious that she didn't want to hang around that house any longer than she had to. Claire gave her some family photos from a drawer and sent all of you on your way. Samantha isn't crying anymore as you pull onto the highway. In fact, she hasn't said a word since you all left the house. >Try to comfort her. >Leave her be. There's nothing you can do right now. >Write-in.
>>1498542>>Leave her be. There's nothing you can do right now.
>>1498542>"Wew. You get stuck in carbonite for a couple of years and you whole familly has died. That's gotta suck. Damn, I wonder if the weather will be better tomorrow?"But seriously, maybe do the classic awkward hand on the shoulder thing. And we should find out where their graves are (if people still do that) so she can leave some flowers and say some words.
>>1498542>Try to comfort her.
>>1498542>Leave her be. There's nothing you can do right now. Sometimes people need to be alone in their thoughts.
>>1498542>>1498580Seconding finding their graves. Maybe take a stop, surreptitiously call Claire and ask her, then ask Sam if she would like to visit the graves.
>>1498542>Leave her be. There's nothing you can do right now.>>1498580Seconding trying to track down their burial plots
You take another look back at Samantha. Her expression is one you are all too familiar with. There was a point in time when you could look in the mirror and see it. There's nothing you can say to help her situation, and if she's feeling anything like how you did, she doesn't want to be bothered at all right now. For now, you drive back to the spaceport in silence. There's nothing to be said between the three of you, and you don't feel much like doing anything planetside. You sigh a little to yourself, turning the radio up just enough to hear over the sound of the wind outside. Snow begins to fall again as you approach the outskirts of Indianapolis. As you pull off of the highway and into the city, you make a mental note to find out where Samantha's family are buried, she'll want to know later. As you park the rental and hand it off to the company's people, you feel very tired all of a sudden. It's not a kind of tiredness that makes you want to sleep though, it's the kind of tiredness that makes your neck and shoulders ache. You all make your way quietly back into the spaceport, buying tickets back to the station without much incident and piling into a shuttle. There must not be very many people trying to get to space tonight, the shuttle is almost empty. Other than you and the girls, there are maybe a dozen people aboard. About two hours later, you find yourselves back aboard the Bad Habit. Tom greets you grimly, having read the mood when you all returned. "Sir," he says as he lights a cigarette. "Already checked the customs offices while you were gone. Nothing worth our time." He takes a long drag as the girls leave the wardroom, Samantha heading to her quarters and Cynthia heading to the engine room. "The ship's ready to make the jump to Ganymede, and our special guest says she's ready for the job at hand." He grimaces. "We can leave whenever you give the order." "Right..." You frown. "May as well get this out of the way. Prepare for takeoff." He nods solemnly. "Aye sir." He then turns on his heels, heading for the bridge. You stand in the wardroom for a little bit, leaning against the bulkhead. Today brought back too many bad memories for you... Shaking your head, you make your way to the bridge. No time for getting emotional, you've got shit to do.
And that's going to be it for this thread. My apologies for the lack of updates over the last couple days, I had to work three twelve-hour shifts in a row. However, assuming nothing interferes, we'll have a new thread go up on Tuesday. Picture unrelated.
>>1505554Okay, thanks for running!
>>1505554Weren't we suppose to be rescuing Lowes younger sister?
>>1505850That's what we're doing next thread, hence the little conversation with Tom about takeoff preparation.
>>1505554No worries zap, I'm just glad to have you back writing again even if I can't catch threads live often
Thank you for continuing Starcaller! I enjoy reading the quest!