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1082438 No. 1082438 ID: 2916f1

A Sci-Fi Mystery Quest about Ethics, Loss and Finding Oneself

Thread 1: https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/1079873.html
Discussion Thread: https://questden.org/kusaba/questdis/res/141592.html
Wiki: https://questden.org/wiki/History_Unmade

You're trying to get used to this face of yours; to the artificiality of it, the familiarity and the sadness it invokes. You imagine it will take time. Your captors helpfully reinstalled the mirror above your sink but you're starting to understand why you might have taken it down in the first place. Before the amnesia.

With this face comes a name: Disquiet-247. Disq for short, you've decided. A familiar name, but devoid of context like so much in your life right now.

You still have so many questions. Shyama put his foot down though. Said you clearly needed a break. Maybe he's right. Maybe this is a good time to collect your thoughts.
Expand all images
No. 1082439 ID: 2916f1
File 170705147716.gif - (336.86KB , 990x660 , HU_01_000_B.gif )

It's horrible to not know who you are, what you are or where you are. But there is perhaps a special horror it not even knowing when you are.

Shyama and Vijaya seem to know a world history that differs vastly from yours. One event they spoke of haunts you in particular: This Apennine Cataclysm. When ancient Rome was wiped out by blinding lights from the sky that shook the land and sea and left the land poisoned for decades.
No matter how you look at it, it sure sounds like someone deployed nuclear weapons against the Italian peninsula before the birth of the Roman Empire. You cannot fathom who would do such a thing, or why.
No. 1082440 ID: 2916f1
File 170705149693.png - (186.44KB , 990x660 , HU_01_000_C.png )

You have a feeling that you might be connected to it.
No. 1082441 ID: 2916f1
File 170705151185.png - (311.31KB , 990x660 , HU_01_000_D.png )

There's that symbol by the door. 'History Unmade'. It sounded ominous from the start, but with this knowledge of Rome's doom, it's downright sinister.

Of course there's the matter that all this suggests... time travel. It makes sense then, that your captors' equipment seems to archaic: cassette tapes, light bulbs, stethoscopes, paper writing pads.
Speaking of which, Shyama helpfully left one for you. Maybe it's time to put it to use.
No. 1082442 ID: 2916f1
File 170705152918.png - (214.21KB , 990x660 , HU_01_000_E.png )

You draw a timeline and jot down the best match you got: Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia. Around -330 CE and around 200 in your Captors' calendar, which you decide to label 'BP' for Buddha's Parinirvana. You add that, too: 0 BP. But the Buddha's death is probably not that easy to pin down. You make a guess based on the Conquest of Persia: around -530 CE. Maybe.

Then there's an event that Shyama could give you an exact date for: The Apennine Cataclysm in 432 BP, which by the same method you used for 0 BP, you place around -100 CE. So far so good.

And today would be 2512 BP. According to the computer screen you have, it's 2080 HU ('History Unmade'?) and 4361 CE.
You quickly do some subtraction in your head to confirm something that popped into your head while you were still reeling from Shyama's description of the nuking of Rome: 432 BP is exactly 2080 years before 2512 BP, which would make it the year 0 of the HU calendar. You note that down, as well.

Now, going by the Persian Conquest again, the current year comes out to... around 1980 CE. That is not 4361 CE. This does not add up.

What the hell are you missing here?
No. 1082443 ID: 273c18

Easy explanation: the computer is displaying the current date from the reference point of a time traveler from the future. You traveled around 2380 years into the past, and it was about the year 2280 CE when you left.
Considering the time lists the current year as 2080 HU, and assuming the nuclear strike was made immediately after you traveled back in time, you've been in this timeline for 2080 years. I guess we don't know that for sure though. It's possible you've been in this timeline for a much shorter amount of time and you were merely meant to check to see how history was progressing along this new path. Or you were meant to change it again?

...the feeling of anticipation you had about the date could mean you need to be here for the full 2381 years. You have another 300 years of waiting. Maybe the "important thing" you needed to do was to get the intruders off the ship and find some way to be undetected for the last 300 years so that they didn't mess up your trip home. At least, that's what I assume the trip home involves: waiting until the time of your departure so that you can take a sideways trip back into your original timeline? Maybe with the tech involved, it's impossible to move forwards in time (well, faster than usual) and timelines move in parallel, so you have to wait until you've "left" before you can go back in without polluting your original timeline or causing issues like meeting yourself.
No. 1082444 ID: 5ebd37

That, or the computer's clock didn't reset when time travel occurred. That would mean it is showing the year you left from, plus however long you've been in this timeline.
No. 1082445 ID: 273c18

That is, essentially, what I said.
No. 1082446 ID: dd3fe0


We could call this something like 'anchor date'. Other useful terms would be 'subjective age', which is the amount of time you've personally lived.
No. 1082447 ID: 8f9bc4

So some time in 2281CE, someone invented a time machine and decided it would be a good idea to blow up Ancient Rome. They went back to -100CE and nuked it from orbit. Then (????) and 2080 years later they (that is to say) you've been discovered. You went forward in time the hard way, so your original clock that said 2281CE added another 2080 years onto it. You have about 201 years left to stop the time machine from activating, otherwise a stable time loop could form which concentrates more energy with every iteration until the explosion is big enough to stop the time machine regardless and probably annihilate the planet along with it.

You may have absolutely no idea how time travel works.
No. 1082448 ID: dd3fe0


Ugh there are so many hypothetical models of how time travel does or does not work, is the problem. Until there's some specific observed behavior, in more detail, and it's effects in various parts of the timeline, you won't know which model to apply.
No. 1082886 ID: 2916f1
File 170743167472.png - (223.08KB , 990x660 , HU_01_001_A.png )

Right, yes, it all adds up if you assume the computer's clock is still counting years beyond a time jump from 2281 or thereabouts and that it's been running afterwards for a measly two millennia. You consider this. You consider if you were there all the while. Two millennia, an absurd number. You thought 176 was a preposterous age, but over two thousand? That takes the cake. No way.

Your mind races about the possibilities of time travel, but the mechanics remain rather unclear to you. One thing you think you can dismiss already is a stable timeloop. After all, a history where Rome was wiped off the face of the planet before the Empire cannot possibly be your history, right?

This stuff hurts your head and isn't leading anywhere helpful, but it's hard not to fixate on it.

It's a bit of a relief when the woosh of the door distracts you.
No. 1082887 ID: 2916f1
File 170743168830.png - (311.02KB , 990x660 , HU_01_001_B.png )

Vijaya is leaning against the doorframe, looking at you with a... mischievous expression? Is that what that is? You're a bit worried.

"Hey there, tiger", she says, "Brought you some enrichment for your enclosure."

What? What?! What does that mean?!

"Catch!", she says.
No. 1082888 ID: 2916f1
File 170743170724.png - (359.30KB , 990x660 , HU_01_001_C.png )

She lobs a colourful Magic Cube waaaay over your head. It's not going that fast and your arms are long, so you catch it effortless anyway.

"Oops", says Vijaya, "Sorry about that. Still getting used to the gravity."

No. 1082889 ID: dd3fe0

Tiger, Enrichment to your enclosure:

Tigers are large predatory mammals that would get bored, listless, and develop mental and physical health issues in captivity, that is, in an enclosure, and were thus given many sorts of novel experiences and interesting things to do and clever methods of simulating their native environment when they had to be held in captivity for whatever reason. Collectively, these activities and objects and methods, which are not only applied to Tigers, are called 'enrichment'. 'Tiger', being a large, charismatic, fierce, predatory mammal, is also an affectionate nickname that humans give other humans sometimes.

You might want to respond with genial sarcasm and a grin, "Oh great, 'Roar', I guess. Am I getting a ball or a watermelon this time?" to let her know the joke landed.
No. 1082892 ID: 8f9bc4

How curious. Solving one side mixes up the others. You'll have to find some smaller set of operations or move sequences that manipulate one side, and at the end of each operation, all the other sides must be unchanged from when it began.
No. 1082894 ID: 273c18

Yeah, didn't you realize this was a spaceship?
Oh I just realized myself that you could have been in stasis for the majority of those millennia. Also possible, you're working in shifts with some other people, like the ones you remember the names of. Maybe that was the important thing you needed to do? Wake up the next crewmember?

Ask her if she found any others like you on the ship.
No. 1082895 ID: dd3fe0

Maybe reply something like:

"Oh, A Rubik's Cube. Though I doubt it was invented by Ernő Rubik in this timeline. We just call it a Magic Cube when being generic. What do you all call it? Anyway, serious talk here, better enrichment would be something with which I can be creative and expressive. Some sort of plastic construction blocks or snap together engineering toys, sculpting clay, a coloring pad and paints or colored pencils or markers, maybe a musical instrument, yarn and knitting supplies, collage materials, that sort of thing."
No. 1082896 ID: 273c18

Solve the cube in under a minute like a boss.
No. 1082897 ID: dd3fe0


We could be on Luna. Or a rotating space habitat. Or another celestial object in Sol. Not just a spacecraft under constant acceleration. Did you notice any Coriolis effect in the trajectory?
No. 1082918 ID: 5ebd37

Tiger? Isn't that flirty terminology?

The cube is curious. Did they find that here, or did they bring it with them? What other ideas might exist in both timelines, regardless of who originally thought of them?
No. 1082936 ID: 99c693

Huh... gravity is different here from what Vijaya is used to, huh?

You should drop the cube to the ground for a moment and check how quickly it falls. If the speed looks normal and familiar to you, there's a potential Vijaya is used to higher gravity than you in general, which could mean that our new friends aren't from earth.

Or that we aren't.
No. 1082940 ID: dd3fe0


Actually, a small splash of water would be better. Watch how the droplets form and travel, that'd be a MUCH better indicator of gravity levels!
No. 1083029 ID: 2916f1
File 170757938003.png - (295.52KB , 990x660 , HU_01_002_A.png )

You try to take the joke in good fun. The grin feels strange on your face, you really hope it looks natural anyway.
"Oh great, 'Roar', I guess.", you say, "Am I getting a ball or a watermelon this time?"

If this came out strained and weird, Vijaya doesn't comment on it.
"Judging by that roar, maybe some yarn instead.", she says.

"Thank you for the Rubik's Cube. Uuh what do you call this thing?", you ask, raising the cube a little.

"I call it the 'cool colourful cube thing'.", Vijaya replies, "It's one of your things. I've never seen anything quite like it and I doubt anybody on Earth could manufacture plastics with colours this vibrant."

You nod and say: "Ah. Anyway, serious talk here, better enrichment would be something with which I can be creative and expressive. Some sort of plastic construction blocks or snap together engineering toys, sculpting clay, a coloring pad and paints or colored pencils or markers, maybe a musical instrument, yarn and knitting supplies, collage materials, that sort of thing."

Vijaya smirks at you with a frown. "Do you want a pony, too? Look, if I find something you'll be the first to know. We sure didn't bring anything like that.", she says.
No. 1083030 ID: 2916f1
File 170757938252.png - (348.79KB , 990x660 , HU_01_002_B.png )

There is a natural lull in the conversation and you shift your focus to the question of gravity. It certainly doesn't feel strange to you, but really thinking about it, maybe that's the odd part. You bounce the little cube in your hand. It falls pretty slowly. Feels normal to you, but you suppose on Earth you'd have expected a much faster drop.

You also think back to interacting with the water earlier. It formed these big globs and kinda clung to the cup. You figure gravity really must be quite low here.
Maybe you could have gotten used to this. Certainly could have if you'd been here for two thousand years, intermittent stasis breaks or no.

Vijaya must have noticed you watching the cube bouncing in your hand because she mutters: "Aw my big mouth is gonna get me court martialed one day."
No. 1083032 ID: b3eab7

Ask how they stave off "cabin fever" if they brought so few means of expressing their creativity.

You can also throw her a curvecube by mentioning the cube is supposed to be from Earth in your timeline.
No. 1083033 ID: ed9c4f

Man, Vijaya is being such a bro though. Let's reassure her.

Let her know that she drew your attention to the gravity, but it was inevitable for you to notice that fluids move slowly and things fall at a slower pace.

Still, thank her for not treating you like you're a criminal. It's unsettling to deal with so many unfamiliar things, so it's nice when there's someone who doesn't act like even the most basic or obvious information is dangerous in your hands.

For our private thoughts... So, you were used to the gravity, but you do remember terrestial gravity? That's interesting. You seem to have forgotten a lot of identifying information, but not general knowledge.

We can use the latter to try approaching the other though. Focus on how your body feels when you move your limbs. Do you have the impression that your limbs ever felt heavier or lighter than this? Can you remember how water usually flows, and if so, does it invoke a mental image with any visual context?
No. 1083035 ID: dd3fe0

Was there a Coriolis Effect when pouring water or watching it fall? Did things twist midstream or mid trajectory, as if from rotational gravity or are we subject to mass based gravity instead?
No. 1083040 ID: 5ebd37

Ah, so this is a military operation. But she's fine, Shyama already mentioned that they were from Earth, not on Earth.
No. 1083048 ID: 273c18

"It's one of your things"
Aha. She just admitted that there were objects in here. Tell them you want the rest of your things returned.
No. 1083049 ID: dd3fe0

So, if this is at a space station or on a moon or something... them not knowing about quality plastics or nuclear weapons is troubling. Without nuclear and atomic rockets, it takes ludicrous amounts of time to get ANYWHERE in space unless there is a LOT of very specific types of heavy-investment mobility infrastructure. Also, you're familiar with the concept of very low-tech space stations; Rocketpunk is an established retrofuturistic genre, and there are no physical constraints that prevents any of the ideas of the genre from working; it's just a matter of economic investment and time to make all the stuff the hard way. If your world's technological advancement had been stopped at mostly late 1940s for a thousand years (ie, when plastics, and pigments, and nuclear power and nuclear weaponry were all very limited), people would still be in space in a huge way, given enough time for investment in the right infrastructure. You CAN have terrifyingly low tech space stations and space infrastructure and moon colonies and whatnot, it just requires a lot of trial and error and a lot of people to maintain and run it and a lot of stuff to already be in space to make it work. And if whatever network of null-automation interrelated infrastructure they have to make things work is breaking down, that's a very bad thing...
No. 1083133 ID: e61589


I think Shyama has already told us that they won't return everything to us yet, since they don't know what things are potentially dangerous.

They've probably checked the cube over and determined that it's harmless.
No. 1083203 ID: 253138

Ask Vijaya what she thinks she'd get court-martialed for doing here? Bringing you a puzzle toy? By the way, that's what this cube is; The goal is to make each side the same color by rotating the segments. Give her a demonstration of that by rotating a couple perpendicular sides of the cube. But you digress.

Tell her that you woulda soon figured that we're not on Earth anyway because if we were on Earth then the two of 'em that first came across you wouldn't have been wearing space suits and her group probably wouldn't be so concerned about food supplies. There's also the obviously less-than-Earth gravity. You think we're either on the Moon or, less likely, a space ship in a orbit near enough the Earth for those who've just got the tech to first land on the Moon can reach and return from. Your bet is on the Moon, and if it's the Moon, you're betting the dark side since if wherever this was was on the light side, if it was spotted from the Earth the first Moon landing likely would have been here to investigate this... Base? Shelter? Landed ship? Crashed ship? Well. she doesn't have to say where we are, but you would like to know if your bet is right.

Say that she may also like to know that you've roughly worked out the conversion from your timeline's calendar years to theirs based on the historical dates Shyama told you. To really dial it in you'd need a relatively recent geological or astronomical event; One within modern record so as to cut down inaccuracy. The 1980 CE eruption of Mount Saint Helens and 1908 CE Tunguska Event would do nicely. Ask Vijaya if there was a large volcanic eruption this year or recently in... Damn, you don't know their names for the continents. You need a world map, or a photo of the world. Failing that, you could draw a rough map of the world and point to the Pacific Northwest. Then point to Siberia and ask just when a huge inexplicable aerial explosion that flattened a large area of forest in this area around 72 years ago happened. And to line your months up with theirs, ask when the Summer and Winter solstices in the northern hemisphere are on their calendar. ...You're gonna need to know the months and days of their calendar too.

She may also like to know that they, this timeline, first landed on the Moon about nine years after when it happened in your timeline. Maybe they didn't have the whole Cold War Space Race thing to spur them on.

What's that logo on the side of the mug you used? Doesn't look like the History Unmade one. It ring any bells for you? And any manufacturer marks on the bottom of the mug?

Add to your mental mysteries list how you knew how to speak Kushani and why you defaulted to it when you first spoke to Vijaya and Shyama. The Kushani you spoke probably had to have been recorded from this timeline since any language from your timeline from the same region as the Kushan Empire (which I assume it's from) would have diverged so much in the last two millennia as to be mostly incomprehensible to them.

And Gaius Julius Caesar was born in Rome in -100 CE, possibly the same year as the Apennine Cataclysm. Though, if someone wanted to either kill Caesar in the crib or his mom before he was born, nuking Rome and a number of other Roman Republic cities seems a wee bit overkill, to put it mildly.

No. 1083211 ID: dd3fe0

(Not Kome, no)
No. 1083501 ID: 8f9bc4

Shyama expected you to know where you are, so there's no reason to hide it, since you'd (somehow?) remember anyway. You already assumed you were on a spaceship or the moon. Those bulky space suits gave it away way more than Vijaya's offhand remark about gravity. At any rate her secret's safe with you, no need to risk any court martials.

The gravity here is... odd. The moon would have much stronger gravity than this. In particular water would stay in a cup, rather than float as globules slowly back down into it. You must be on a large asteroid, or a rotating space station with just enough centrifugal force to barely simulate gravity.

Honestly you're not sure why this detail might be important. It's not like you're going to jump down to the planet and go rampaging through Tokyo or anything. (On that note, Tokyo probably is a thing they have heard of.) They're worried about you getting into some sort of computer system here. You're uh... you're not on the very same orbital weapons platform that caused the Apennine Cataclysm, are you? If that is still armed, it would explain why they're so cautious, and why it could start a horrible war fighting over who gets to rain down nukes on their enemy.
No. 1083685 ID: 1d6349
File 170837749299.png - (342.21KB , 990x660 , HU_01_003_A.png )

You ponder the gravity of the situation some more. Neither the thrown cube, nor any of the water so far have shown any evidence of a strong coriolis effect.
You're amazed at the realisation that you seem to be familiar with both terrestrial gravity and whatever this weaker form is. You fiddle with the cube and pay attention to how your arm and fingers feel. They feel... odd, but not in ways that should relate to their weight. They feel too long, most of all; arm and fingers, both.
Thinking of flowing water conjures... showers, a brook, bottles pouring liquid... tears. No particular context emerges.

The symbol on the mug is a puzzler. It seems familiar just like your name and your face do. You think there are many other symbols kind of like it, all with slightly different meanings. You feel it like it's on the tip of your tounge, what it means. It's maddening.
You can't place it. But... another one pops into your head. Yes. Similar. But different. Very familiar.

You think about language. You can put English in its historical and cultural context, but not Kushani. This is particularly strange because it implies that you've perhaps lost even more of your memories than you thought. You can't imagine having learned Kushani in the old timeline and having it be useful here. So you spent at least enough time in this new history to learn a whole language that is quite different from what you assume to be your mother tongue. And you don't even remember the basics of the new history.
No. 1083686 ID: 1d6349
File 170837751070.png - (326.79KB , 990x660 , HU_01_003_B.png )

You refocus on Vijaya.
"What? Court-martialed? For bringing me a puzzle toy?", you say with your best smirk.

She sighs and shakes her head: "May have exaggerated a bit, but... Shyama is not happy with me right now, so I should watch what I say."

"Ah, you'll be fine. Honestly, I was bound to figure out we're not on Earth eventually. I probably would have noticed the gravity at some point. Plus, why else would the two of you come in here wearing space suits? Why else would you be so concerned about food supplies? I think we're either on the Mooon or some sort of spaceship in a low-enough orbit to be reachable for people to land on so short after the first Moon landing. My bet is the Moon, probably the dark side, because otherwise the first Moon landing would have been here, surely. To investigate this... base? Shelter?", you say, watching Vijaya's face carefully, "Landed ship? Crashed ship?"

Vijaya looks slightly horrified. You think it's safe to say the Moon guess was right on the money. But no change in her expression betrays the nature of the structure you're in.
No. 1083687 ID: 1d6349
File 170837753327.png - (307.22KB , 990x660 , HU_01_003_C.png )

You can tell her mental defenses are about to slam shut entirely, so you opt to show some vulnerability yourself.
"Well. You don't have to say where we are. In any case I am grateful you're not treating me like a criminal. It's unsettling to deal with so many unfamiliar things, so it's nice when there's someone who doesn't act like even the most basic or obvious information is dangerous in your hands.", you say.
Vijaya coughs awkwardly and replies: "Don't mention it. Uhm... especially if they do ever call you before a court. Do not mention it."

"Of course, of course.", you say in a conspiratorial tone, "Oh and maybe you'll like this: I've roughly worked out the conversion from my timeline's calendar to yours. I just need a solid, recent geological or astronomical event to nail it down."
Her face is a mask of intense ambivalence. Fierce non-committal disinterest. It looks like it's taking all her strength when she says: "Uh huh. Isn't that something. Anyway, how does that cube work?"

You consider whether to push the calendar issue further.
No. 1083697 ID: a7a180

Not around company.
In your timeline, the objective is to make all the colors on each face match. Time yourself solving one, you might be surprised by your speed. Or not.
No. 1083707 ID: b3eab7

Yeah, keep mum about the calendar for now.
Show how the cube is played: You randomly scramble it, or have a friend to it for you, then you solve it by unifying the colors on each faces.

There are techniques to methodically solve a cube, but do you know them?
No. 1083709 ID: 273c18

Someone else is here, listening. Don't push. Show off how the cube works, then ask who the new arrival is.
No. 1083724 ID: dd3fe0


Well, the thing about the low enough orbit thing, is that things in orbit are constantly falling. It's this act of falling that causes the feeling of weightlessness. In order to feel 0.17 (ie, Moon) of Earth Gravity from altitude from Earth ALONE, you'd have to be stuck on something sufficiently far from Earth that is just suspended there and the part you are on would have to be not orbiting, such as an Orbital Ring at exactly the Moon-equivalent gravity distance from Earth (this is MUCH larger than most designs for the 'first' economical Orbital Ring for Earth would be), or a Space Elevator, where the elevator is stuck at a very specific part of one of the multi-prong beanstalks (you don't know of a material which would allow for a single-stalk Earth Space Elevator), so you are effectively subject to something near 0.17g. Other options in the roughly moon gravity are: Io (0.18), Ganymede (0.15), Callisto (0.13), Europa (0.13), and at the other end, Mars (0.38) and Mercury (0.38).
No. 1083744 ID: 5ebd37

Apologize, you're not trying to get anyone into trouble, you just need to figure out who what where and why your here.

As for the cube, it would be interesting to hear what they thought it was for. And who's this new person? I don't think you've been introduced.
No. 1084089 ID: 0be7f9
File 170861346348.png - (1.16MB , 3000x2000 , HU_01_004_A.png )

Right, there's someone else there, peeking through the door. Very small in stature with dark skin and hair and a pretty eye-catching... eye. It's got a golden shine to it.
You decide to drop the calendar matter for now and go along with the change of topic.

"Oh it's a great little thing. First you scramble the whole cube or get a friend to scramble it for you. Then you try to solve it by lining it up so each side of the cube is a single uniform colour.", you explain.
Vijaya tries to sound conversational. "Figures. Sounds pretty hard to do. According to Maya there are... a ridiculous number of different permutations", she says.

"True, there are a lot, but there are techniques you can learn and practice to solve any possible state of the cube. And in fact it's always possible to do it in 20 steps or less.", you say, "See? I've solved two layers of the cube. Of course, the further along you are, the more complicated the steps get because you have to avoid messing up your progress."
"So you can solve any permutation of the cube?", Vijaya asks.
You nod and reply: "Sure, if I remember the algorithms anyway."
"Incredible." Vijaya seems honestly impressed.
You wave a hand in a show of modesty: "Eh. I'm sure you could learn how to do it in a day. And then it's just a matter of practice to do it faster."
No. 1084093 ID: 0be7f9
File 170861358063.png - (791.69KB , 3000x2000 , HU_01_004_B.png )

You figure now might be as good a time as any.

You ask with a jerk of your head: "So who's that, hovering behind you in the doorway?"
Vijaya turns. "Huh? Oh. Been standing there, long?", she asks.
The newcomer answers: "Erm... Not too long. And it's quintillions of permutations I'm pretty sure." Their voice is high-pitched and slightly hoarse.
Vijaya sighs. "This is Maya, our information tech."

Maya steps a little closer and says: "Yes, uh, I'm Maya Ramesha Gh-"
She pauses, embarrassed. "Maya Ramesha. I-I like your hair.", she says.
She puts her hands together in front of her chest and bows just a little awkwardly, saying: "N-Namaste."

You suppose you're not the only one who's nervous around here.
No. 1084121 ID: 8f9bc4

You'd be the first.
No. 1084133 ID: 9fa9c3

Sounds like she wasn't supposed to tell her third name or title, like it was confidential or something. Know any relevant words or names that start with Gh that these folk might have under restriction from telling you?
No. 1084169 ID: a7a180

It might just be overly formal, like you don't introduce yourself by your middle name all the time.
Well, does your technical specialist have any questions about how the tech here works? We'll do our best* to answer them.
*=we don't know either
No. 1084197 ID: 273c18

Introduce yourself, and ask if there's anything they wanted to talk to you about?
No. 1084211 ID: 5ebd37

Give a little bow back.
No. 1084227 ID: 841200

Is that stuff on our head actually hair or just like some light projection or something?
No. 1084258 ID: 8f9bc4

Incidentally "namaste" is a Hindu word for I bow to you, in a respectful bow sense. Honor among equals. Given that Rome and nascent Christianity (and Islam) were uh, nuked, it's safe to say most of the continent is either Buddhist, Confucian or Hindu.

...incidentally you might have been some kind of historian, whatever your role was in this. You keep remembering all these curiously specific details about history!
No. 1084270 ID: 414b45
File 170869686466.png - (191.28KB , 990x660 , HU_01_005_A.png )

Your 'hair' is definitely not physical. It's either a projection from a volumetric display or a... DtR system. That's short for Direct-to-Retina. You remember what that is, apparently. You might even be able to explain how it works, though translating all the concepts into Kushani might be difficult.

Yeah the way Maya stopped herself mid-word there was certainly a bit odd. You can't think of anything starting with "Gh" that might be relevant here.
Should you ask about it?

You set down the cube and return the bowing gesture. Here's a custom that you remember from your own timeline.
You introduce yourself: "I'm Disquiet-247, but you may call me Disq for short. If you have questions about any of the technology here, I'll do my best to answer them. Might not amount to much... Because of the amnesia."

Maya gives you an intense look and then says: "Oh I have loads of questions. Where do I even start? Clearly almost all of the machines in here are computerized in some fashion but these computers are also incredibly tiny. How do you fit so many logic-circuits into such a small space? Do you use semiconductors or something more advanced? Are they quantum computers?"
No. 1084271 ID: 414b45
File 170869688324.png - (165.25KB , 990x660 , HU_01_005_B.png )

"God I hope not! Quantum computers are such a pain in the ass to maintain and the power requirements are completely nuts! Plus, except for some few very specific use-cases they don't even perform any better than classical computers! If they add another quantum computer, I'm quitting!"
No. 1084272 ID: 414b45
File 170869691068.png - (210.34KB , 990x660 , HU_01_005_C.png )

There's a couple seconds of silence during which you realize you said all of that out loud and you're not exactly sure why.


No. 1084273 ID: 56db77

So that seems to have triggered a memory, sort of.
No. 1084274 ID: 56db77

We already know Islam exists as a major religion in this timeline. And yes we're already confused as to how that works
No. 1084275 ID: af7615

I think a little laughter may be warranted, followed by a comment about apparently that hit some kind of memory, thanks
No. 1084276 ID: 6fec12

Said like a true engineer.
No. 1084278 ID: f99fdd

"Ah ha, annoying coworkers, amirite?"
No. 1084279 ID: c01660

This is good. Keep talking nerdy to me.
>quantum computers
Want to crack one of these open and find out? They’re neither quantum nor silicon until somebody opens the box. That’s how quantum mechanics works, right?
No. 1084295 ID: b3eab7

Simply says that her mention of quantum computers seems to have awakened some forgotten memory.

...Which also goes a good way to answer her question, since yeah, "classical" computers typically involve semiconductors.

IIRC for quite a bit of time the semiconductor used was silicon along with its doped variants, the circuits "engraved" on tiny sheets by oxidizing the parts you want to be isolating.
No. 1084296 ID: 600150

"Yeah, uh... I never said it was perfect amnesia. I guess workplace grievances are forever, huh? But yeah, semiconductors. Most are silicon and alloyed variants of it, I think?"

"Um, though given you're keyed into the world's technology... does the term 'nuclear weapons' mean anything to you?"

"Well, I think that's what the Apennine Cataclysm was caused by, which sounds absurd even to me because those weren't invented in my timeline until roughly two thousand years after the nonexistent cataclysm's date. But we also had an old adage along the lines of 'when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'"
No. 1084311 ID: 273c18

Do you remember who "they" are?
No. 1084329 ID: 8f9bc4

Do optical transistors ring a bell? You know about silicon semiconductors used as transistors, but those have hard limits to how small they can get because of electron tunnelling. Possibly molecular computing?
No. 1084733 ID: dd3fe0

There's a few computational options. Historically, the progression was electromechanical computing, then to vacuum tubes and relays, then transistors allowed for the integrated circuit and microprocessor, and then that got really really advanced as the silicon microelectronics advanced. That said, there's a pretty stark shielding and error correction requirement for anything beyond relatively simple microelectronics in space. Beyond that, a civilization could use a few paradigms: Quantum Computing is one, Photonic Computing is another. There's neuromorphic computing, aiming to mimic the brain's architecture rather than act as a traditional computer. And there's also molecular and DNA computing, using the properties of molecules and DNA strands to perform massively parallel computations.
No. 1084744 ID: 8a4559

What do you know about computers? Here's a great opportunity to jog your memory.

It'd be interesting to open up a (unimportant) piece of tech and see what you recognize.
No. 1085204 ID: 6d3a6d
File 170947666646.png - (210.64KB , 990x660 , HU_01_006_A.png )

"Ah ha, annoying coworkers, am I right?", you joke to break the tension.
Vijaya keeps boggling at you: "Uh-huh."

Right, then. You feel you're on some kind of track here. You go over what you said again in your head. You're not sure who 'they' could be, but probably some kind of authority; higher-ups, supervisers. There's something resonant about the idea of the beleaguered engineer having to manage the consequences of other people's decisions.

But thinking about computers gives you a lot of blanks, so instead you try to just... keep talking and see if your mouth can access info your conscious can't.

You say:"Seems like that awakened some kind of memory, thanks! Uh..."
No. 1085205 ID: 6d3a6d
File 170947668909.png - (323.01KB , 990x660 , HU_01_006_B.png )

"Okay, semiconductors, yes. We use those. Uh, mostly silicon, or silicon-alloys with a layer of.. silicon with oxygen... okay I don't know the Kushani words to explain this properly. But! We also have a lot of uh... optical components. They use light instead of electrons? Which isn't ideal. I mean the mix isn't ideal. They wanted as much optical computing as possible, but it turns out a lot of ubiquitous controller chips and whatnot are produced in huge amounts but almost never as an optical variant. Soooooo, yeah. We lose a ton of power to conversion between these components. Turned out fine. The reactor handles it easily.", you say.

Maya doesn't say anything but you see her mouthing the words 'optical computing' with great joy.


"Aaaaand we have the magnetosphere shield which is good because it means we have to fix fewer flipped bits and fried components due to solar radiation and also because it prevents us from getting cooked by solar eruptions. Wow, it's just... just flowing out.", you go on, "We have only emergency shielding in the... detachable habitat modules. Their smaller reactors can't power a constant magnetosphere. Only the main vessel has that. So there IS a space ship!"

Vijaya interrupts you: "Slow up! We should be recording this."
No. 1085206 ID: 6d3a6d
File 170947671616.png - (196.08KB , 990x660 , HU_01_006_C.png )

Your brain is on fire. In the good way. You feel alert. Like you've woken up for the first time in your life. You have so many questions. You point at Maya.

"You!", you say with great excitement, "You're the techie! Do you know anything like this: a weapon that creates an explosion via a chain-reation of splitting or fusing atoms?"

Maya's expression darkens. "Of course", she says, "Nuclear weapons."

Now there's a word worth learning.
No. 1085208 ID: 0be7f9
File 170947734536.png - (366.45KB , 990x660 , HU_01_006_D.png )

And then Shyama happens.
"Have the lot of you gone deaf?!", he shouts.

Maya and Vijaya wince and quickly make room so he can enter. He sighs and reassumes his usual, calm affect. "Honestly, you two. Are you children? Do I have to watch you at every step to keep you from sticking your hands in the cookie jar?"

"I- I... well.", Vijaya struggles, "I swear I was about to fetch you."

Mayas eye darts between Shyama and the door. "I uh... I'll take another crack at the basement level.", she offers.
Shyama nods and replies: "Please do."
No. 1085209 ID: 0be7f9
File 170947737070.png - (200.16KB , 990x660 , HU_01_006_E.png )

After Maya has darted out into the corridor, Vijaya sheepishly hits the close button and leans against the door.

Shyama finally turns to you and starts setting up his side of the table. His tone is conversational. "Hello Disq. How are you feeling? You were supposed to take a break. Please don't overexert yourself."

You reflect on this. You're feeling great. Energized! You feel like you're finally making real headway.

"Give me a moment to get seated and start the recording. And then we can talk about whatever you like.", he says.
No. 1085224 ID: b3eab7

Well first, repeat the explanation about our computers. Then you might broach the subject of the Roman Empire being annihilated by very anachronistic nuclear weapons, suggesting history was altered by some very unconscionable time travelers.
No. 1085264 ID: 273c18

Well you seem to be a computer tech so tell her to ask you questions about computers. If she has insufficient knowledge to do so, she's going to have to retrieve the techie she just banished.
No. 1085277 ID: 8f9bc4

Something's... weird about this. She's too evasive. Too gentle. Maybe don't tell her... everything you... what was it you were supposed to do again?
No. 1085304 ID: 273c18

Well yes they are intruders attempting to either take over the craft we're in or at least fully investigate it and steal any tech they can get to. They are, in a way, enemies. The problem is we can't get out of this room, or at least not without violence, and we don't know how capable of violence our protagonist is. It's *possible* that our interests align with theirs since they claim to be trying to stop a war, but they are making no attempt to sway us to their point of view so that's either a lie or they think the methods they're going to take are objectionable somehow.
No. 1085323 ID: b4b039

One possibility to consider is that who you are by default may not be who you were before amnesia. Maybe brainwashing, maybe a thousand years of stress, cultural pressures, etc. If you'd now choose one way on e.g. plan stop-the-war, and a different way after regaining your memory, how do you feel about that? I'm not committing to one way being better, yet.
No. 1085325 ID: 5ebd37

In this sort of situation you need to hold your cards close to your chest. These people seem nice, but they haven't been forthcoming.

So chat about the general state of tech in their world, to compare to what you remember. But don't give them any details on nuclear or other weaponry.
No. 1085385 ID: dd3fe0


You should still try and remember some things though. It's odd that they didn't know for sure whether nuclear weaponry was used anachronistically. After all, even in the amount of time that has passed, if Rome was nuked, there should still be evidence of Uranium-235, Uranium-238, Plutonium-239, Plutonium-240, and possibly Carbon-14 (if there were fusion bombs used) still in the soil.

That said, you could maybe talk about the peaceful methods to power space stations and space colonies and space ships and Aldrin Cyclers and such. Of note, there were photovoltaic panels for solar energy, with or without mirrors to enhance photovoltaic efficiency, there's nuclear power generators, there's laser or microwave wireless energy transmission from remote generators, there's thermoelectric generators like RTG's, there's electrodynamic tethers for orbiting celestial bodies with sufficient magnetic fields, there's fusion power, using a variety of reactor designs and forms of fusion.

With regards to fusion power, a few methods are magnetic confinement fusion (like the tokamak and stellarator), inertial confinement fusion, magnetic target fusion, muon-catalyzed fusion, and aneutronic fusion. Of the various fusion cycles that were investigated, the general order from least complex to most tricky (based on the temperature required, mostly) was Deuterium-Tritium fusion (~100M°C), Deuterium-Deuterium fusion (~200M°C-~400M°C), Deuterium-Helium-3 fusion (~500M°C), Proton-Boron fusion (~1B°C), and Helium-3-Helium-3 fusion (~1B°C).
No. 1085759 ID: 1d6349
File 170989686892.png - (346.40KB , 990x660 , HU_01_007_A.png )

Shyama setting up gives you a few more moments to think. Something about his calm and friendly demeanour puts you on edge. It's impossible to say how genuine it is.
You haven't forgotten that nagging feeling about that thing you were supposed to do. And you simply don't know enough to say whether Shyama is friend or foe or whatever else. You are a captive, after all. You make a mental note to not divulge anything you might regret sharing, especially when it comes to weapons of mass destruction.

Shyama finally settles down and pushes the button on the recorder. "This is session two, cassette one, 6th of Pausha Waning, 2512.", he says, "What do you want to talk about, Disq?

You figure repeating what you've already given away can't do much harm, so you give a summary of what you blurted out just before. Shyama takes notes.

"Sounds like progress!", he says with a smile, "An engineer, hm? I'm glad you're piecing yourself together."

"Uh, yeah", you say, "Maybe if you ask me more about computers and tech and stuff, I'll remember even more."
Shyama gives an apologetic smile: "That's not really my area of expertise."

Ha! Got him.

You say in your most even and innocent tone: "Well uh... maybe you could call Maya back, then?"
Shyama takes another note and replies: "I'll be happy to set you two up to talk tech later, Disq. For now, let's find another topic."

Well, that's something, you suppose.
There is another thing, of course, that you're burning to know more about.
No. 1085762 ID: 1d6349
File 170989746745.png - (344.32KB , 990x660 , HU_01_007_B.png )

"The Apennine Cataclysm, then. The way you described it, you made it sound a lot like the work of very anachronistic nuclear weapons. Did you never make that connection?", you ask incredulously.

Shyama nods at this. "Yes, I figured you'd have more questions on that matter.", he says, "When I described the event, I was paraphrasing parts of the Kataklusmos Manuscript, a Greek translation of a collection of first- and second-hand reports.
"We have understood for some time now that the Cataclysm was a series of nuclear explosions, but no explanation for how such a thing could be possible. The best scientific explanation we have is bizarre asteroids made of radioactive material, but the entire hypothesis is full of holes.
"There are other theories. Many religions consider ancient Rome a wicked place of evil that was rightfully destroyed by some deity or other: Shiva, Kali, Allah and many many more are credited with the deed.
"More recently, popular conspiracy theories attribute the Cataclysm to extraterrestrial incursion or, yes, time travel. Though those people generally believe it's modern governments sending bombs back in time. It's ridiculous."

"But time travel does look like the most sensible explanation. I mean, I can't imagine why time travelers would want to prevent a Roman Empire in particular, but that seems to be what happened, right?", you say.
"It seems so.", he concedes, "But there's something about it that still doesn't really add up. Thanks to all kinds of archeological studies into the matter we have a pretty good idea of the number and size of the various detonations. And frankly: It's a mess.
"If I wanted to relegate Rome to the dustbin of history, I'd opt for a single bomb in the middle of the city. it wouldn't even have to be a particularly large one. In the Cataclysm, not a single one of the bombs struck Rome directly. Any single one of them would have sufficed to obliterate the place, but they scattered them all over the countryside. The city was devastated, but more due to overwhelming force than any kind of precision.
"What's more, the largest bomb by far struck the ocean! If this was a deliberate nuclear attack, I have to say it's the most incompetent bombing I have ever seen and I have seen a few."

No. 1085763 ID: 1d6349
File 170989747242.png - (344.56KB , 990x660 , HU_01_007_C.png )

He gives a thin smile.
"No offense."
No. 1085766 ID: e5d873

Do not return the smile.
“How many.”
No. 1085767 ID: dd3fe0

Ah, so the implication is the polity you are associated with has engaged in nuclear war or is actively engaging in nuclear war.

That's reasonable to consider, especially in the context of a space based war and heavy space habitation. Most explosive weaponry doesn't work well in space --no shockwave-- and you need to pretty quickly get up to nukes to do interestingly violent stuff in space against space based targets. Also the fact that essentially any interesting sort of spaceship thrust is inherently weaponizable, and some designs for, say, Orion drives use quite weaponizable nuclear bombs or contribute to nuclear proliferation (though there are, of course, some designs that don't).
No. 1085768 ID: a3a6e9

He's implied that you (or your group) are responsible for the bombing, which, given that the slim evidence available suggests you're time travelers, I guess is a reasonable suspicion. Not sure how you want to respond to that - grim acceptance of possibility, surprised acceptance, denial, ignore....

It IS a little odd in particular that the largest explosion happened at sea. If it was indeed an attack, was there a fleet? A ship with something important on it? Still weird either way. Maybe their aim sucked? I'd think it's something else, but I don't know WHAT.
No. 1085774 ID: 8f9bc4

Was it... an accident? You were doing normal time traveler spaceship things, and the deely bopper went on the fritz, leading to a catastrophic series of events that ended with your entire nuclear arsenal falling out of the ship while it was orbiting over Europe?
No. 1085776 ID: f14228

Then, perhaps, an accident? Or sabotage, by someone of limited means and unable to prevent the, aheh, literal fallout.

Yeah. You can see why they'd be concerned about the one motile probable-person still somewhat functional around here. And of, say, you getting it into your head to 'fix history', presuming time travel WAS still on the table based on the tech in this place. Which, for the record, you are not considering at present, nor have any particular knowledge of. Nor knowledge of it being possible, let alone how it might shake out. If anything were supposed to happen, you think it ought to have long before any interlopers arrived.

But... whoof, yeah. One li'l jaunt back to the age of Rome, to stop whatever event went down, and boom, there is no more timeline where these people exist. One would be wary, if the possibility is considered. You understand you could be considered an existential threat, and thus confined. Miserably, you can't dispute it, however unbelievable that is to say and think.

Indeed, beyond accident or sabotage, there is another possibility - that it was all intended, at least, except for it getting to this point. Something may simply have gone wrong on the way, before a proper reset could occur, a cosmic bit flip hit the snooze timer or... something. Back to sabotage.

If we believe this place was intentionally interfering with history, then The Apennine Cataclysm may have been but one of several intended variants of a time-travelling experiment, where the creators of this place wanted to see how a timeline shook out based on different things occurring at different times - and placed this facility out here to record them for later viewing pleasure, far away from where any additional butterfly effect could occur from its presence.

The mark by the door - 'History Unmade' - certainly suggests an intentionality to the proceedings of what went down, however 'amateurishly'. If time travel is the culprit here. If it can even work like that.

For one, you can't puzzle out one thing - why wouldn't the butterfly effect of messing with history cause the time travel itself from not occurring in the first place, and cause a paradox? That speaks more to this being the work of messing with parellel or alternate dimensions of similarity, or other sci-fi notions thereof. Or your understanding of time travel is just inadequate.

Or this whole world is simply a simulation. If you're any indication, at least part of the tech necessary is there. Maybe everyone and everything here is no more than bits and bytes - but relax. You do not think so. It'd be too convoluted. Surely a simulation could be run without the unnecessary step of whatever this is.
No. 1085783 ID: 273c18

Tell her you don't appreciate the accusation. ...if she thinks you did it, does that mean there's nobody else on the ship?

Hmm. So, the attacker didn't have precision targeting. Is that because they were launching bombs from far away in outer space? Except, even if that were true, they should have been able to target precisely with the correct calculations. Which would mean... whoever did it either didn't have enough time to make precise calculations or there was nobody available with the skills to do so. Also possible that the method of launching the weapons was unconventional?

Let's shift topics again. Ask how well they're handling global warming in this timeline.
No. 1085799 ID: a7a180

Two hypotheses - one, the nuclear bombardment was accidental, the time machine malfunctioned and its nuclear engines or whatever all fell to Earth and somehow went supercritical in the process. Or two, whoever did it wanted to make sure they wouldn't miss.
No. 1085804 ID: dd3fe0

Regarding the whole 'going back in time uncreates everyone in the present timeline' isn't proven. You don't know if timelines split with several timelines, or if cause and effects is resilient or fragile, really. Or if the answer to which model is 'it depends'.
No. 1085880 ID: 56db77

Largest in the ocean... Was this a war with fucking Atlantis!? Did Rome just get caught in the crossfire!
No. 1085881 ID: dd3fe0


No such thing. Well, you can't predict any specific capabilities of a mythical/magical civilization, due to the whole magic thing not existing. Otherwise, the ocean is inherently a very hostile place to put a civilization unless you have a very large surplus of energy and technology (like with relatively small deuterium-deuterium fusion reactors, and good automation technology). Even hypothetical biological transhumans based on adding marine mammal adaptations or neo-dolphin uplifts would have a lot of difficulty managing a highly technological underwater civilization without some on-shore infrastructure to supplement them, or a prefabricated aboveshore seasteading setup, which were always hard to get to be as self-sufficient and sustainable as people wanted them to be.
No. 1085887 ID: 56db77

Hypothesis: A war between time travlers. One group moved into the past and set up bases in remote countryside and the ocean to remain subtle but the other group found em and nuked em.
No. 1085889 ID: 8f9bc4


> One group moved into the past and set up bases in remote countryside and the ocean

Oh no... time colonists.
No. 1085909 ID: a3a6e9

Hmm. Now I'm imagining history like a piece of paper that's been doodle over until it's absolutely chock full.
No. 1086009 ID: 360d4d
File 171007456836.png - (260.75KB , 990x660 , HU_01_008_A.png )

You do in fact not appreciate the accusation. The very thought that you could personally have caused this kind of apocalypstic horror is... deeply upsetting. What's worse is with the amnesia you can hardly say for sure that you didn't.
This hits close to home. So many dead, so many people killed. Could you have done this? You wonder, you can't help thinking about it. You certainly wouldn't want to do this. Under what circumstances would you even consider committing such an atrocity?
No it wasn't you. Why assume that? There is no proof. No, no way. Maybe it was an accident. If you had a hand in it, it could have been an accident. Crash a nuclear or fusion reactor into the ancient Roman countryside and perhaps it will explode like a bomb.
Were you even there? Two thousand years ago? Laughable. Impossible. It wasn't you.
No. 1086012 ID: 360d4d
File 171007465784.png - (301.76KB , 990x660 , HU_01_008_B.png )

You glare at Shyama. "No offense?!", you say a little louder than you meant to, "I don't appreciate the... wh- what you're insinuating here! Why me? Why would it be me? Surely there are others!"
Oh wow. Your hands are shaking. Something is wrong. The image of a spaceship crashing through the atmosphere will not let you go.

Shyama remains calm. He speaks slowly: "I didn't mean to suggest it was you personally. It looks like the Cataclysm was caused by, well... 'your people' whatever that means. People sometimes react poorly to harsh criticism of their particular social group. But I can see how it came across and I'm sorry. I apologise. I'll try to be more precise in my speech."

You don't know if he means it. The tone of voice is deliberate and careful. He knows he struck a nerve and he's trying to calm you down. You're suddenly aware of your breathing. It's going fast, your chest is heaving. Do you even have lungs? Or is this just an artificial affectation of your body? Why can't it stop?!

Shyama continues: "And no, there is nobody else. You're the only one we've found and so far there's no evidence that anybody else ever set foot in here."

Alone. Only you and nobody else. Alone. An accident.

"There are more rooms like this one. Furnished but unused."
No. 1086013 ID: 360d4d
File 171007466133.png - (279.17KB , 990x660 , HU_01_008_C.png )

You think you might be at your limit. You need to talk about something else. Or nothing.
So many dead. So many dead. So many dead. Half a million dead.

You feel the soft skin of Shyama's hand on yours. "Disq? Do you need a break?", he asks gently.
No. 1086024 ID: f14228

>a break
Or a breakdown from helplessness. Grab Shyama's arm. Blurt out that you can't stop picturing a spaceship scattering into pieces - and feel immense loss. Guilt? For half a million dead? Jesus, the ship must've been massive.

Are these memories - or wild fears? What does she actually know? Surely archeological digs would've uncovered something if it was a genuine spaceship disaster - metal scraps of unlikely provenance, impossible to create in ancient times, anything to confirm or disprove. Don't they have radiocarbon dating techniques?

Does he have ANY answers?

To WHY you were left behind like this, alone? Why you're named 'Disquiet-247'? What your purpose could've been? Are you even real, or just a simulated relic filled with conflicting memories - and can you even trust those memories, then? How long have you been here, isolated? Why do you know Kushani?

It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense.

... yet.

Stop restricting Shyama's arm. Apologize. You need a moment. You think you may have trauma on top of the amnesia. Maybe the amnesia was a blessing in disguise.

Ah! You think you have more. This is a detachable habitat module, isn't it? It must've been disconnected when the ship blew up - or before it did. It explains all the rooms. Why you're alone. Nobody else was in this module at the time.


Could there be other modules, floating out there?
No. 1086036 ID: 8f9bc4

To be... perfectly honest, no, a nuclear fusion reactor won't explode like a bomb if it crashes into the Roman countryside. Even plutonium reactors have failsafes to slow the reaction, and the core would be shattered and/or vaporised on impact, spreading it out and further slowing the reaction.

For the explosion of a nuclear bomb, it takes a design of surgical precision, with the purest of ingredients, carefully shaped to react as fast as possible in as small a space as possible.

Dropping a nuclear reactor from space would arguably be worse than a bomb, spreading highly radioactive dust from the impact across a large area. But what happened definitely sounds like bombs, not like mysterious meteor impacts that blew up a sparkling cloud of slow death over the land.
No. 1086040 ID: ab4bb7

Ships falling from the sky... it would explain the lack of precision. The reactors themselves would create the irradiation but not the explosions, but I'm sure there's plenty else on a spaceship that could cause the earth-shattering kabooms - heck, they could have been purely kinetic explosions. It would explain both the lack of precision and the variety in payloads.

The only alternative explanation would be if many parties of varying modern tech-levels made a concerted effort to wipe an entire people out of the history books, and their means of aiming had a margin of error hundreds of miles in diameter - which would be understandable, given they'd be firing these things across time.

"I... I might need a break, but... Is there really no archeological evidence to suggest what objects impacted those points? That's the part I don't get - even nuclear explosions would leave something more tangible than radiation behind, right?"
No. 1086041 ID: a7a180

Only half a million?
No. 1086043 ID: dd3fe0


Agreed. Fusion and fission reactors falling is BAD, but they are not fusion or fission BOMBS. The effects would be profoundly different. Your emotions and your surging memories and guilt is getting away from you. Breathe, try to relax, try some meditation techniques, take some time, and get ahold of yourself.
No. 1086062 ID: 273c18

>Under what circumstances would you even consider committing such an atrocity?
To prevent an even greater one? Or, I guess you could have been indoctrinated to believe it didn't matter... or something terrible happened to you, to make you hate the future you came from with such a passion you were determined to erase it no matter the cost. Maybe the root cause was Rome, and the spread of their religion.

>image of a spaceship crashing through the atmosphere
Huh, that's weird. What perspective are you seeing that from?

Anyway, Shyama has lied to you before, so there's no reason to believe that you're the only one here. At the very least, the basement level could contain stasis pods for the rest of the crew. This is a tactic used to provoke a reaction-- this is an interrogation, after all.
Tell him to get out.
No. 1086066 ID: dd3fe0

Okay, half a million dead on a single spaceship. That is actually really interesting because it gives us a LOT of information.

Let's think through this logically.

First, no clarketech, only technology you can think of and which makes sense to you.

Second, let's assume that it is normal people on this ship making up that number. No uploads, no brains in a jar, no decapitated heads on life support living in VR. Cyborgs sure, but otherwise the people look like and are shaped mostly like normal humans with normal human needs.

Third, we can assume that almost no one is cryogenically suspended unless absolutely necessary or forced to. The technology required to bring someone back from that state is the EXACT SAME technology needed to make people immortal. Given a choice between 'we kill you, freeze you, give you 'repairable' brain damage, put you in a freezer for a few centuries, and then thaw you out, revive you, and repair all of the damage when you are at your location' or the option of 'here take this treatment every so often and you live normally, you just don't age and can live forever barring accidents', especially since the same technology underpins both, most humans, given the choice, will stay awake the whole time.

Now, since gravity plating is a science fiction concept, and this is a single ship, that ship is probably an O'Neill Cylinder of some sort, in order to be big enough to HOUSE half a million people, and provide for their life support and continued sustenance and social cohesion. There are other designs but that one is most likely and most economical at this scale. Those are usually thought of as space stations, but even the stations can be towed or have engines placed on them and be moved around to wherever. Calling it a 'spaceship' and not a 'habitat' or 'space station' or 'cycler' or 'starship', specifically implies it is designed to be extra mobile in the first place, however, but not generally intended to leave the star system. This makes things like a single cylinder design rather than, say, the twin counter rotating design more likely.

Okay, so we have a single O'Neill Cylinder that has half a million people on it that is destroyed. What can we infer from that? Well, O'Neill Cylinders are usually supposed to be parked at Lagrange Points, where their orbits wouldn't decay much. Even a civilization that's only somewhat in space would notice such a thing; just killing all the people on it wouldn't generally make the incredible amount of very obvious mass disappear.

Now, whether it is a station type or a ship type or a generation ark-style *starship* type, dropping an O'Neill Cylinder into a planet is a specific Warcrime known as a 'Colony Drop'.

But regardless of which gravwell an O'Neill Cylinder is dropped on, the remains of it would be absolutely still detectable on most planets, moons, and dwarf planets in the Solar System. Now, unless it was dropped in one of the oceans within the solar system and no one took a submersible to double check where it landed, or it was dropped on Venus and no one sent a probe to the location to check the ruins, or it was dropped into one of the Gas Giants or the Sun, it should still be very obvious to any interplanetary polity where this huge mass of metal lies. And even if it was pushed from a stable orbit to impact something massive that would hide it like one of those, unless you have an unreasonable amount of thrust, it would probably take actual years, years where people can do something to interfere, in order to crash into whatever it is. Further, if it landed anywhere NEAR the Italian Peninsula, people would've found it by now!

So what we can confirm here is that SOMETHING doesn't add up. We are absolutely missing some important details here. Investigate!
No. 1086076 ID: 8f9bc4


I think she meant the people on the continent, who got blown to smithereens.
No. 1086077 ID: dd3fe0


Plausible, I suppose. Does the feeling seem to come from the deaths on the ground, the deaths on the spaceship, the combined loss of life? Try to isolate it.
No. 1086145 ID: 56db77

>Fusion and fission reactors falling is BAD, but they are not fusion or fission BOMBS.
Correct but auppose someone accidentally or intentionally triggering a catostrophic meltdown?

I imagine that could still make a pretty big bang and spread a whole lot of radioactive material
No. 1086153 ID: c1bb51


Maybe catastrophic meltdown with high velocity kinetic impacts? That'd require a LOT of pre-planning and control of the engines for an extended period of time, though. And it'd still be somewhat different in end result than bombs.
No. 1086656 ID: b22bc5
File 171076602639.png - (297.14KB , 990x660 , HU_01_009_A.png )

You can't stop. You need to stop, but it's like your mind's in free-fall. Or you're tumbling down a slope to an unfathomable abyss and you can't hold on to anything.

You clamp down hard on Shyama's arm. You can feel him flinch, but he doesn't pull away. Think of something else. Breathe.

Half a million dead. You keep falling. The ship it keeps falling. You find that it is more a conceptual image. Less like a memory of watching something happen and more of a recurring daydream. Lights in the sky. A shower of shooting stars.
No, you decide... No you didn't see it happen. But you knew it did. You thought about it a lot. A lot.

"Don't bottle it up", Shyama says, "or you'll explode. Talk to me, Disq."
It just comes pouring out.
"I can't stop thinking of a spaceship scattering into pieces!", you cry, "And I feel loss, guilt, maybe? Half a million dead! But I don't understand what that means!"

Half a million on a single spaceship? Is that possible? How populous was Rome? You're not sure. The number has no real context but it seems etched into your synapses. Half a million lost forever
No. 1086657 ID: b22bc5
File 171076603152.png - (300.19KB , 990x660 , HU_01_009_B.png )

He's pulled himself onto the table and is holding your arm. He says: "That's okay. We'll figure it out. I want to help you."

You hold on for dear life. Perhaps clarity is what you need after all?

"Then tell me! What else have you found?! If there was a crash, there must be more! Wreckage, surely! Materials you can't replicate! Don't you have... have... Fuck! Radiocarbon dating?! Carbon! Isotopes! Half-life! Do you have ANY answers?!", you ask wildly.
He's still acting so calm, so composed. "I'm sorry, Disq. There's still so much we don't understand about the event. There are various objects hypothesized to originate from the Cataclysm, yes. Nothing that can be radiocarbon-dated. But the work is still ongoing and impeded by... well... circumstance."

Surely a crashed ship with half a million occupants would leave clear evidence! Surely! Would it? You're not sure. If the reactor exploded, how much would be vaporized? How much would be shattered into tiny bits? You'd need a lot more info to even begin puzzling that out.
Your hands are shaking and your vision is swimming. The abyss looms. This isn't helping at all! Another vector of questioning perhaps!

"Why is it just me, then?! What am I?! What am I here for?! Is anything I know even real?! How long have I been here?! How long have I been alone?! Am I really the only one?!", you demand.
"Disq.", he says with a sudden firmness, "You are agitated. These are good questions, but I can't pull the answers out of thin air. We'll unravel it together, but first we need to get you through this panic attack."
Your grip tightens as you get more interrogatory: "Why do I know Kushani?! Are you lying to me?! It doesn't make any sense!"
He gives you an apologetic smile. "I have been omitting things to avoid causing you undue stress. I can see that's not working. I promise I'm not lying to you. I understand you're not inclined to trust me, but I want to build that trust. Neither of us can figure this out alone."
"Trust!", you scoff in disbelief, "I know what you're doing! You've provoked this! You're interrogating me!"

The words hang in the air for a couple seconds as Shyama looks directly into your eyes with a serious expression, thinking on how to respond.

Finally, he responds slowly, in an even tone: "I cannot prove that I want to help you for your sake, Disq. So let's look at this pragmatically. I need you. You're right, I need answers, but you are, I promise, the only one I can ask. And you seem... fragile. What good would it do me if you broke down entirely? I don't have time to figure out the inner workings of this place without a guide. So no, Disq, I do not agitate you on purpose. Neither of us knows what you went through and I can see now that I have no way of avoiding your triggers. I don't know what they are and you can't tell me."
No. 1086658 ID: b22bc5
File 171076603586.png - (274.28KB , 990x660 , HU_01_009_C.png )

Here he finally breaks eye contact.
"I'm sorry that we have to- No, chose to lock you in here. I don't enjoy using the power we have over you. But the stakes are too high to take any risks. I'll gladly explain more about that later.", he says, "For now, let's get you calmed down. This is in our common interest. Breathe."

You're not sure why, but you can feel yourself getting calmer. The pressure in your throat, the heat in your brain, the jitter in your hands all begin to fade. You slow your breathing. You take a moment.

You'll think about this whole trust thing later. For now you're glad the anxiety is subsiding. You still feel like you're balancing on the edge of another panic attack.

Shyama nods encouragingly. "You got this, Disq."

You let go of his arm. You clear your throat and say: "Sorry, I... I think there's a lot of trauma on top of the amnesia."
"Yes, it seems so.", he agrees.

You try to close out this issue for now. Thinking about it more calmly: Reactors shouldn't just explode on impact. You're not sure where that leaves you, but you file it away for later.
You're here. This habitat is here. There might be others like it. You might not be entirely alone even if Shyama is being truthful about nobody else being here.
No. 1086659 ID: b22bc5
File 171076604035.png - (355.01KB , 990x660 , HU_01_009_D.png )

Shyama seems to have caught a glimpse of your writing pad. As he settles back into his chair he says: "Is that a timeline? Would you like to talk about that? Would that help? Oh and I spoke to Gamal about Isa bin Maryam and I think I can clear up some confusion on that point.", he offers.

Yes, you think maybe getting the time stuff figured out would help right now. You remember you had a couple ideas on how to synchronize the year notations with natural events...

Or should you ask about something else instead?
No. 1086660 ID: 0be7f9

I'm surprised this hasn't seemed to cross anyone's mind, but what if this weird result came from neither and accident nor incompetence nor strange plans?

What if it comes from sabotage?

What if someone DID set out to destroy. Not just Rome, but sizeable parts of the world. This would explain why there were potentially several bombs. But some brave soul prevented that cataclysm by sabotaging the payloads to be dropped closely together instead. Maybe all of them were supposed to land in the ocean, even.

This could also still work with the idea of a crash or the destruction of a spaceship. It could still have been a spaceship intended to do harm somewhere, and someone facilitated its destruction to prevent this.

If so... if so, Disq... you are an engineer. You were uniquely capable of either causing or preventing such sabotage.
No. 1086694 ID: 273c18

Alright let's try not to think directly about the cataclysm for a bit.
Synching up the timeline seems relatively straightforward at this point, though natural events like planetary alignments will confirm it.
Ask about upcoming planetary alignments. In (march 10) 1982 all 9 planets (if Pluto is considered a planet) were in a 96-degree arc on one side of the sun. In (jan 1) 1665 all 8 planets were within a 30-degree arc.
Volcanic eruptions should be static too, so there's... hmm, Krakatoa in 1883, Santa Maria in 1902, Novaruptia in 1912, and Mount Pinatobu in 1992 (though that's a future event)
Earthquakes... probably aren't as reliable due to mining and fracking interfering with the crust. Also I expect large explosions can mess up the timing.

Tell her your overall theory-- that the clocks here display two dates because one of them is from the perspective of a time traveler, and the other one is a measure of how long it's been since... well, probably since you arrived here. Though you hope you haven't been conscious for over 2000 years.

((sabotage intended to limit the damage? If Disquiet did that, then maybe she intended to send ALL of it to the ocean, and she blames herself for not getting it right. Oh. The important thing Disquiet was meant to do-- I think she was trapped in this room by the people she sabotaged, and the important thing she needs to do is to get out and go back home. The other crewmembers were here, but they either went home already or were on the ship that fell. Another possibility is that the nukes weren't meant to hit populated areas at all, and were meant to do something to more subtly alter the course of history? Like, maybe they were meant to affect the ecosystem or geography, or the radiation was meant to render certain areas uninhabitable for a few hundred years. Maybe Disquiet was unable to prevent the sabotage, and got locked in this room by the saboteur, and the important thing she needed to do was send a message back home warning them of what happened here. In this scenario the ship that fell was also sabotaged, and carried other non-saboteur crewmembers. I guess in both cases the ship that fell was sabotaged, the difference is if the people on it deserved it or not.))
No. 1086704 ID: 5ebd37

Take your mind off space things for now.
Compare historical figures and peoples across the timelines that wouldn't be directly affected by Rome. Did their world have Vikings, Celts, Britons, Rus, Franks, Carthaginians? Did they have Genghis Kahn, Mansa Musa, Moctezuma, Oda Nobunaga?
No. 1086751 ID: af6d69


Interesting thought, hypothesis: an organization, probably the HU folks, have time travel. Now HU send large space ship(s) and station(s) back in time, by having their infrastructure orbital they avoid any unitended interactions with or even being observed by people in the past. Now given this apperent effort to avoid at least accidental interface it seems likely that HU's intentions are at the very least for subtle/low collateral actions. As for what they intended to do in the past? It's possible they simply intended to observe from orbit to get a super comprehensive record of history though it seems more likely to me based on the apparent amount of resources they sent and the organization's name thst they intended to influence/guide history along their chosen path. Thrn at some point some individual or more likely a group decides they don't like HU's plans and decided to sabatoge them - the question then becomes was the cataclysm just colloteral in this fight to control history (the exploding ship just happening to land near Rome) or were those working against HU also seeking to alter history to their liking and preventing the Roman Empire was something they at least thought would do that.

Of course assuming this is all accurate it seems very strange that Disq is the only survivor of this conflict.
No. 1086756 ID: 273c18

Could also be that the nuclear barrage was aimed at a ship in orbit.
No. 1086762 ID: dd3fe0


Small debris impacting wouldn't generally cause events like nuclear bombardment. Even 'Rods from God' style tungsten kinetic impactors need to be accelerated and guided to their target. It's a myth (well, a trope in science fiction) that gravity alone would be enough. And large enough debris to have effects like that would have a visible ship that people would notice with the naked eye if it came from something in orbit, and thus would write about or form legends about.

That's the weirdness about all of this. Most of the potential explanations WOULD have evidence of some sort!
No. 1086763 ID: dd3fe0


Also nuclear explosions and ships blowing up in orbit is SUPER OBVIOUS FROM THE GROUND.
No. 1086766 ID: ae4517

Perhaps there was someone left to clean up or at least spouk the evidence
No. 1086767 ID: ae4517


I mean... they did notice. They did notice stuff falling from the sky. And exploding. And probably starting to burn up in the atmosphere thus looking like falling stars.

At least from reasonably afar. And the people who were in the spots from which a spaceship could have been seen were probably too dead to write legends about it after impact.

Since the investigations are still ongoing, any evidence created notably before impact may still be buried and looked for.
No. 1087370 ID: b22bc5
File 171170768365.png - (336.35KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_A.png )

Sabotage... What if it was sabotage... You're an engineer...
The abyss looms again.

You're not thinking about that right now.
No. 1087371 ID: b22bc5
File 171170770398.png - (324.17KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_B.png )


"Ack!" "Whoah!"
No. 1087372 ID: b22bc5
File 171170772347.png - (344.94KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_C.png )

"Fucking stop!", Shyama yells.

Oof, that hurt. It felt familiar.
You shake your head a little to get clear your thoughts. Ow. Okay. No more head shaking.
No. 1087373 ID: b22bc5
File 171170775790.png - (235.45KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_D.png )

"Okay, I'm good. I'm good. Sorry, I... had trouble letting go for a moment there.", you groan.

Shyama looks at you with concern and says: "Please don't do that again. The last thing you need is more head trauma, Disq!"
"Yeah... Okay, yeah. No worries. I got it.", you say, "Uuuuhh let's talk about the timeline then.
"So what I figure is that the screen displays two different years because one is from the perspective of a time traveler and the other is how long it's been since... well probably since I arrived here. Though i hope I haven't been conscious for over two thousand years."

"If that were the case I'd say you're shockingly sane", Shyama concurs, "Or you're hiding it remarkably well."
"The Amnesia might be helping.", you say with a bitter smirk.
"Perhaps. Uh.. Could you elaborate on the 'perspective of a time traveler' idea? I'm not sure what you mean by that.", he inquires.

You think for a moment.
Then you say: "Well, the first number is 2080 HU. According to what you've told me that's exactly the number of years between the Apennine Cataclysm and now. This suggests to me that that's when these time travelers arrived and 'unmade history'.
"The second number is 4361
CE. If you subtract one from the other you get 2281 CE. That's a year number that feels... contemporary? it feels like it's... part of my personal context. And in fact, the number makes me feel... anxious. It's probably important.
"So, I believe that the time jump went from 2281
CE to about -100 CE."

Shyama nods. "That makes sense.", he says.

"That last bit of uncertainty bothers me. I have some ideas for reference events that should let us nail it down. But for a couple of those, I'm struggling with how to communicate them. After all, you probably have completely different names for places. How do I explain what the Tunguska area is?", you say.
"I can sketch a map for you, if you like.", Shyama says.
"That could work."

You flip over a page on your writing pad and slide it over to Shyama, who goes to work on a world map.
You can see Vijaya fidgeting behind him. She's clearly anxious.
No. 1087374 ID: b22bc5
File 171170777380.png - (257.75KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_E.png )

You can't seem to think of any astronomical phenomena whose exact date you're certain about and that are simple to communicate. You suppose you didn't memorize arcane planetary alignments. So you figure the more terrestrial ones will have to do. You're feeling pretty confident about the Tunguska Event though.

Shyama finishes the map. You note the interesting shift in how it's centered.

"All right. I'll mark some locations that should have had notable eruptions in recent history. And also something we call the Tunguska Event. That one I'm sure you would know about.", you explain as you begin adding little marks to the map with the years of the events, "There was a mysterious explosion just around here, that flattened all the trees in a huge area without leaving a crater. Distant eyewitnesses saw a light as bright as the sun, a red burst and then they were eventually lifted bodily off their feet by the shockwave."

Vijaya seems to start vibrating.

"Oh! Yes! The Evenkasthana Explosion!" Shyama sighs: "Ah but I'm not sure what exact year that was. If only somebody did."

Vijaya looks like she's about to explode.

Shyama lets her stew for a couple more seconds before asking: "Do you know, Vijaya?"

And she beams like the Tunguska Event.
No. 1087375 ID: b22bc5
File 171170790218.png - (273.02KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_F.png )

She hurries over to the table and excitedly tears the writing pad away from you as Shyama hands her a pen.
"Well, that one's easy!", she says, "2451 exactly. And uhhh... Volcanoes, huh? Let's see. Okay that's the Rakata in 2426. Hmmm... the others are tricky. I'm pretty sure I would have known if there had been a major eruption in Mayneela... This one up here definitely exploded yeah. I think that's the Puirluni. but I'm not sure when that was... the Gagxanul... Pffff. I dunno. But hey! Two out of six is not bad, right?!"

You look at the map. Right. You can't actually read Kushani. You do know how to say numbers, though and that's base-ten. So chances are that they also write them down that way. And if that's the case...
"I can't read this.", you say as you write a column of numbers over the pacific ocean, "Could you tell me what this writing means and also tell me the numbers again?"
Vijaya points to parts of the map: "Unknown. Unsure. 2451, 2426."
You note that down. "Thank you. And perhaps you could list your numerals from 0 to 9 here?", you ask.

Vijaya hesitates and looks to Shyama who simply nods. Then she writes down some numerals.

After studying those for a moment, you flip back to the timeline.
No. 1087376 ID: b22bc5
File 171170791925.png - (259.08KB , 990x660 , HU_01_010_G.png )

With the 1908 CE Tunguska Event nailed down to 2451 BP you now have a proper conversion method. After all, the most likely explanation for it is an unusual asteroid which would not be affected by terrestrial events two millennia prior.

This places the supposed death of the Buddha in -543 CE and the Apennine Cataclysm in... -111 CE or 112 BCE.

It also gives you 2824 BP for that dreaded 2281 CE and most notably:

"It's 1969. That explains why you only recognized three of these eruptions! The other two are future events."

Shyama notes that down on his own writing pad.

You're pretty pleased with having the timeline figured out. A little bit of order in all this confusion.
No. 1087377 ID: 273c18

Oh, you know future events. I suppose you can tell them about other up
What else can we investigate at this point? Well, you can point out how the map is different where you're from. The americas (whatever they call those continents) were on the left. Oh, ask how that particular wrinkle went for them. The ocean separated the two major landmasses for quite a long time until someone decided to sail across it- who was it in their timeline? Did they treat the natives okay? That... did not go well in your timeline.

Ask Shyama if he's willing to tell you anything about what they've found on the ship. Or what other objects they took from your room. (also see if you can verify if you have your pronouns mixed up somehow, Shyama doesn't look like he's presenting as male at all)
Oh, maybe you can ask them about their culture. What's it like on earth right now?
No. 1087378 ID: 2b20ca

Warn them about global warming. Uh, what else. Threats to the ozone layer? What was the gas in the refrigation units now again? That damaged that Ah, and for the love of goodness, don’t put lead in petrol or paint, or get rid of it asap if you do.

They’re ahead technologically in some ways, seems. That feels encouraging. But might be making other mistakes so who knows. Computer tech feels behind, sorta.
No. 1087386 ID: dd3fe0


The Americas were on the left because Eurocentrism, which had Europe placed prominently in the map. Easy to understand there. Lots of map choices are arbitrary.
No. 1087395 ID: dd3fe0

Alright. If you are 1969-ish, then, I have a lot of things that might help. Let's see here... Remove lead from gasoline/petrol; engine knock can be solved by higher octane and eventually electronic fuel injection and variable valve timing, and leaded gasoline is a public health crisis. Reduce use of chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants and aerosols, which deplete the ozone layer, contributing to the Ozone Hole over Antarctica discovered in 1985.

Alright, big planetary events. 1976 Tangshan China Earthquake; 1980 huge eruption with Mt. St. Helens; Huge earthquake hits Mexico City in 1985. Extremely strong El Nino event, uh an oceanic-atmospheric oscillation event in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, in 1997 and 1998. European heat wave in 2003. Huge Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami in 2004. Haiti earthquake in 2010.

Do NOT ignore warnings on human-caused climate change via greenhouse gasses, and invest heavily in attempts to mitigate them. Transition to renewable energy sources as soon as possible. Man-made climate change is an existential threat.

Technologically, silicon-based semiconductors will be huge. Optical computing is more niche, and it makes sense to go all-in with traditional methods for a very, very long time. Invest more in microchip research. Packet Switching, involving breaking down data into packets before sending them to their destination via the most efficient route, is foundational for developing the Internet, a worldwide network of computer networks.

In medicine, focus on the importance of vaccinations and the establishment of global health monitoring systems to quickly identify and respond to emerging infectious diseases, preventing pandemics.

In material science, explore the potential of carbon fiber and composite materials for their strength and lightweight properties. Experiment with photocatalysis using titanium dioxide for breaking down pollutants under UV light, helpful in environmental cleanup.

Supersonic passenger airliners is a bit of a technological dead end. Spaceplanes are probably going to be more trouble than they're worth, and computation techniques makes some aspects of them possible with rockets. Anyone saying Cold Fusion is possible is lying to you. It will likely take decades from the time Virtual Reality is possible in a basic way for it to actually be worthwhile.

Focus investment in nuclear energy into Small Modular Reactors with heavy passive safety systems reliant on physical principles. Relevant designs are Light Water Reactors, High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors, Liquid Metal-Cooled Reactors, Molten Salt Reactors, but you should maybe be hesitant at using Fast Neutron Reactors, and especially hesitant in designing fast breeder reactors.

Renewable energy, invest heavily in investigating Perovskite materials for solar cells, and bifacial solar cells -- get energy from both sides --, and investigate floating solar farms. Wind farms can also be offshore as well. Wave Energy Collectors are profoundly more difficult to make work than the other two, and might not be worth immediate investment. For battery technology, in addition to Lithium-Ion, investigate Lithium-Iron-Phosphate batteries. Investigate options for solid-state batteries, the lowest hanging fruit is probably Sulfide-Based, Polymer, and Lithium Iron Phosphate for the Electrolyte, Interfacial layer, and cathode, respectively.

Agriculture, it's important to adopt sustainable agriculture practices. Some ideas are no-till farming to reduce soil erosion, integrated pest management to prevent pests via biological control and habitat manipulation rather than just chemical pesticides, a greater focus on polyculture and growing multiple crops in the same space, improve use of drip irrigation for managing water scarcity, and researching more soil biology to prioritize soil health is vital in encouraging sustainable farming practices.

Invest in urban green spaces and rooftop gardens, use of distributed, decentralized, renewable energy microgrids, plastic recycling and upcycling, precision agriculture, the use of passive solar design in buildings, like with thermal mass use. It's vitally important to maintain ecological diversity, and you might be neglecting things like, say, wetland area restoration, or land use policies which limit development in sensitive areas. Habitat preservation and wildlife reserves are vital. Promote transit-oriented development and urban density and minimize suburban sprawl. Provide public funding for research into lab-grown cultured meat and plant-based meat alternatives, to limit factory farming of animals.

Aircraft, investigate Hybrid Airships that use a combination of lifting-body design, direct thrust, possibly with hybrid electric/fossil fuel engines, and helium. Computing advancements and Computational Fluid Dynamics and composite material science will make blended wing body designs in traditional heavier-than-air aircraft more feasible, and will help with lifting-body designs for lighter-than-air craft.

Rocketry: focus on reusability and operational efficiency; it's possible to have a first stage booster return to Earth and land vertically to be refueled and flown again. Engines --investigate liquid methane/liquid oxygen designs, designed to support multiple ignition cycles, and the missions that enables. An entire rocket system, designed for both orbital and interplanetary missions, can be reusable. Computer and software advancements, engines that support multiple ignition cycles, and advanced materials for heat shielding are important with this sort of rocket design.
No. 1087397 ID: ab4bb7

We should focus on getting answers. The way these guys are moving, something big is on the cusp of happening, and we need to find out what if we're going to save... some version of history. Maybe one of the more anomalous details should shed some light.

"What is kushani, anyway? I'm going through my knowledge of languages, and it doesn't seem to share roots with anything. And it certainly didn't exist in my timeline, as far as I know, so how do I know how to speak it despite being stuck on the moon or wherever this whole time?"
No. 1087398 ID: dd3fe0


The only context for the word 'Kushani' you had before all of this was the word itself as a Hindu girl name.
No. 1088157 ID: c3e91a
File 171249998766.png - (329.21KB , 990x660 , HU_01_011_A.png )

You see the value in letting them know about future disasters. That just makes sense. If you can save some lives, there's little reason not to.
The idea of giving them scientific or technological advice makes you nervous, though. This could certainly also be very beneficial, even save more lives, yet. But you should probably consider it very carefully first.

"If it's future disasters, you want, I can probably think of a bunch. There's a couple natural ones, but the really worrying stuff is... artificial disasters.", you offer.
"Do you mean 'man-made'?", Shyama asks.
"Yes, that! Do you know about climate change? Global warming? The uh... the hole in the... fucking... sky? Uh do you put lead in your paints and fuels? Lead is quite toxic. Don't do that.", you answer.
Shyama notes that down. "Uh huh. Noted. Well, I don't know about any sky holes, but I have heard of this warming effect. Alarming hypothesis. You're saying it's true?"
You nod: "Very much so, yes. But there are ways to prevent it from getting out of hand."
Shyama sighs.
"What's the time-scale of these issues?", he asks.

You frown. "The sooner you tackle it, the better. Climate change is no joke!", you say.
"I'm asking because our current crises are quite immediate. If Climate change can wait a couple years, I say we talk about that later, when we have years to work with."

Well that's ominous.

"You're... expecting something worse within only a few years?", you ask.
"Now that's a topic we should definitely talk about", he says, "but it's a heavy one and you've had two blows to the head today already. Let's maybe stick to something less taxing for now, yes?"
You begin to protest: "But-"
He interrupts you: "No buts. Sorry, Disq. I won't risk it right now. Maybe there's something else you're wondering about?"

That's pretty final. Oh well... You think about other topics.
Well there's... one thing.
No. 1088158 ID: c3e91a
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"I'd like to clarify something", you say, "and please don't take this the wrong way. I'm pretty sure somebody used male pronouns for you, but you don't really present as male at all."
You can see Vijaya grimacing behind him.
Shyama smiles politely and says, curtly: "It's true, I do go by male pronouns."

There are a few seconds where you expect him to say more, but he doesn't. So you fill the silence with: "O-oh?"
He nods. "Yes.", he says, "How about you?"

You should have seen this coming. You think. How can you not know this immediately? You make a guess.
"Female? I suppose?"
This is so awkward.
Shyama nods and takes a note. "Good. Thank you.", he says.

Then there's more silence. You need another topic.
No. 1088159 ID: c3e91a
File 171250001046.png - (309.87KB , 990x660 , HU_01_011_C.png )

Okay, how about culture? You figure that might be interesting.

"What is kushani, anyway?", you ask.
"It's... well. It's the most commonly spoken language on Earth.", he says.

"Where does it come from? What's its history, it's culture?", you ask.
He gives you an incredulous smile. "You really care about that, do you? Well okay, here's the short rundown: Kushani was the language of the Second Empire of Kushana and was spread all over the world by conquerors and Sopanayana missionaries.
"It is an official language in most of the Kushan Empire's various successor states. It has a rich cultural history of literature, poetry and philosophical scripture, just like Sanskrit before it, with which it shares a script:
Devanagari has been the writing system with the largest corpus of written works in the world since before the invention of the printing press.
Kushani is also notable for its use in foundational scripture for several schools of the world's primary philosophical system: Buddhism including
Sopanayana as well as many, many local syncretic faiths."

"Fascinating!", you say, "So is that the religion you follow, then? This... Sopanayana?"
He snorts: "Hardly. No, I am a lay practitioner of Ahenniryena. It's a... more introspective school. A new philosophy for a new age, we like to say."
Vijaya adds: "And free of the caste bullshit."

Shyama shakes his head and chuckles: "You have no context for any of this, so I won't bore you with the specifics of this conflict. It's not really that important."

Shyama seems in a talkative mood. Maybe culture is his weakness? You decide to fire off another of your burning questions while he's in a giving mood.
No. 1088160 ID: c3e91a
File 171250001829.png - (326.73KB , 990x660 , HU_01_011_D.png )

"You talked about conquerors and missionaries. How far did that go?", you tap on the Americas on the eastern edge of the map, "The people here didn't fare so well in my timeline. How're they in this one?"

Shyama sighs. "That's a... complex topic, Disq. I don't know how to answer that... Ixachitlan is a diverse continent. The south is home to many Muslim colonial states. The north has three major Buddhist ones. The majority of the continent is a pathwork of nations, sovereign territories and coalitions, mostly adhering to syncretic local faiths. Colonialism casts a long shadow, but Ixachitlan has weathered it better than other places.", he says.

He sounds a bit defensive, you think.

After a few seconds of silence, Vijaya clears her throat and says: "Shyama and I are from Kushanasthana and Maharathisthana respectively. Former heartland of the Kushan Empire. In case you were wondering."
No. 1088166 ID: f14228

So some places did not weather it well at all, huh? Well, your time was certainly not without its own colonial shadows.

Anyway, if we're going to keep to lighter themes - and considering the fondness of culture - how about discussing what entertainment differences there are?

Television. Movies. Theater. Radio shows. Comics. Games; tabletop roleplaying, miniatures, arcades, computer games, virtual reality.

What all they got? Any favorites?
No. 1088213 ID: 5ebd37

>Ixachitlan is a diverse continent
Well it sounds like they have a native language name for it, so that's one up over our own colonial history.

Another lighter subject you could pursue; food. Staples from our timeline like coffee, chocolate, corn, or tomatoes might have gone undiscovered in theirs.
Exchange favorite recipes. Although as a robot maybe you don't have any. Hmm, maybe avoid this topic and stick to media discussion.
No. 1088227 ID: 273c18

>caste bullshit
Oh that was a problem in your timeline too, so you have context for that. Tell them about how their culture developed in your timeline, ask if that's similar to their situation.

Oh ask how the Aztecs fared. Ixachitlan is a native american name so it sounds like they were given more respect in this timeline at least. Did the Aztecs get wiped out by disease again?
No. 1088234 ID: 8f9bc4


The violent death of every living soul on the European continent might have been worth it, if it eliminated smallpox.
No. 1088240 ID: eb0a9c

"Shyama, give it to me straight. The idiots from my timeline ruined and exterminated most of the native populations, replaced them with slaves they harvested from tribes west of Kushan (or rather, south of Rome), and then acted surprised when everything eventually blew up in their faces. Whatever your culture did, I assure you: it's a bad apple in a sea of bad apples."
No. 1088287 ID: dd3fe0


The ethical way to stop smallpox would've been to give the vaccine to the Roman Empire. Any of these large empires could've been trained in germ theory and how to do vaccination. And there's a whole HOST of ideas which don't require preexisting infrastructure (like, oh, humanism? The whole idea that all human beings have some inherent worth and value to their lives?) which a time traveler who valued saving lives, and making timelines in which more lives are saved, could've given to people. Huge segments of knowledge were earned in blood and knowing about these things without having to spend the blood could've been immense, and caused a huge population boom, and prevented the extinction of whole species, cultures, and peoples.

One idea would be to just give a bunch of advancements and ideas (and a globe, perhaps) to the Persian Empire, or to Cyrus the Great himself when he was getting started. It would be perhaps the first really big empire, and a bit of tweaking could have a HUGE amount of lifesaving advancements and cultural ideas and ways of thinking and morality that would utterly redefine the human race and the direction of humanity.
No. 1088324 ID: f1fe1f

Uhh moving on from the heavy subjects Shyama how advanced are the technology of you're time?

Like It's obvious that you have some handle of space flight since we're on a ship so is there any space colony set up or did you just stumble across this ship while it's floating in low earth orbit.

Also do you guys have a smart phone?

In my timeline it's basically small hand potable computer that happen to be able to make phone calls. I would love to have some way to contact you guys when you're out of this room and It would prove me with plentiful reading materials when I'm alone.

Also have you found a way to make mechs viable in this timeline.
No. 1088349 ID: eb0a9c

I'm... pretty sure the goal wasn't to kill smallpox.
No. 1088726 ID: 95eda8

Asking more about the culture of this other timeline is a good idea, but we should at sone point consider that Shyama and the others are for sure working under a bigger government or organisation capable of launching a manned mission to the moon. Right now we could be talking to agents of a totalitarian regime although the interactions so far are speaking more to a preventive concern right now. Still, especially in our emotional state we should try to be careful and concentrate more on finding out about their world view and alliegances.

Questions that should reveal some about that:
-Since there was a lot of talk about different religions, does atheism exist in this timeline? Have there been bigger scisms in their leading world religions comparable to ours?
-Does this world have a unified code of human rights? If so, who drafted this up?
-Is there something resembling the United Nations?
-Are there any big wars currently? If yes, is the country they are from involved?

Until now our captors have shown to be mostly compassionate and open-minded, but its importent to make sure who we are working with here. Plus, Shyama seems to be very cautious and might have similar suspicions of us, so an exchange in this direction might clear the air a bit. Maybe compliment him for his calm and restrained reaction to your arm-grabbing and apologize for breaching the topic of representation (which seemed to be obviously loaded and complex, although it would be fascinating to learn more about an alternate timelines view on reprensentation and *maybe?* transsexuality) since for all he knows we COULD still be a crazy killer robot from the most evil of timelines...
No. 1088840 ID: 1d6349
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It occurs to you that this group of astronauts is unlikely to be working alone. Space programs require an amount of resources and a workforce that are beyond what anybody but large, wealthy nations or corporations can bring to bear.
It might be prudent to figure out what kind of entity you're dealing with here and what their values are. Probing deeper into the colonialism topic seems like a good place to start.

"How did the uh... the Aztecs fare? Uh the Triple Alliance? Mexica? Tenochtitlan? Does any of this ring a bell?", you venture.

Shyama lightly taps his pen on the table a few times as he answers: "Yes... Tenochtitlan, the Mexica, Tlacopan, the Tlaxcallans and so on. Well, they... They managed, I suppose. Nahuatlan has been in a bit of an economic upswing ever since they finished work on that canal.
"Their culture is relatively intact, though that still means that it's been altered quite significantly. If you want to know just how badly they were treated, I'm really not the right person to-"

You interject: "Shyama, give it to me straight. The idiots from my timeline ruined and exterminated most of the native populations, replaced them with slaves they harvested from ... whatever the continent south of Rome is, and then acted surprised when everything eventually blew up in their faces. Whatever your culture did, I assure you: it's a bad apple in a sea of bad apples."

Silence falls.
No. 1088841 ID: 1d6349
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After a couple seconds Shyama finally blinks, takes a couple notes and then responds: "All right, but let's keep this brief. In the 2020s by our calendar, outsiders began to arrive in Ixachitlan. First were Muslim explorers from Alkemmet and Haemia, then Buddhist and Hindu missionaries from Mabharata and Mahacina.
"They brought a number of infectious diseases with them, that the locals were not accustomed to, leading to a string of devastating epidemics. These were further aggravated due to the limited understanding of epidemiology and the steadily increasing influx of settlers from both east and west.
"The then-nascent Empire of Kushana greatly expanded its Ixachitlanan colonies and conquered others laying the foundation for modern colonial states on the west coast of northern Ixachitlan and spreading its religion, culture and language."

"And the caste system.", Vijaya adds.

"Oh speaking of which!", you say.
You can hear Shyama inhale sharply through his nose.

"The people in India as we called it also had a caste system. That's where society is divided into four groups... or was it five? Anyway, they all had different privileges and were allowed to work different professions and were banned from intermingling, right?", you venture.

Shyama seems a bit torn on how to respond to this for a moment. Then he says: "I'm not sure if that's wrong or just very strangely put. The Kushan Empire's castes are largely a self-perpetuating system of privilege, wealth and opportunity. Family names are closely linked to caste and the members of the more privileged castes have a material interest in looking after their own.
"In imperial times it was a given that, for example, the government's offices were stacked with wealthy
Kshatriya families who constantly fought each other for power, but also collectively assured that no one without a traditional Kshatriya name would ever make it very far in politics. And of course they cooperated to concentrate as much wealth and power in Kshatriya hands as possible in any way they could.
"The other castes acted in very similar ways, though of course there was a pecking order. And the
Dalita would always have to make do with whatever scraps the rest of society would leave them.
"Now, intermarriage was never actually forbidden, but it was effectively unthinkable. Marrying someone of a lower caste would quickly make anyone a pariah to their family. They'd always rather cast someone to the dogs than let anybody climb up to their level. It was in the higher castes' material interest to keep these lines solid while making them look technically crossable."

You think about this. It's certainly not what you expected when you heard the word 'caste', 'varna' in kushani.

"Anyway, we're working hard on eliminating the whole thing. In modern Kushanasthana and many other places, using one's caste name is strongly frowned upon. And please, I don't care how curious you are, do not ask people what their caste is.", he concludes.

"That's so very interesting," you start, "you see in my timeline-"

Here Shyama cuts you off: "Disq. Excuse me. What does this accomplish?"
No. 1088842 ID: 1d6349
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"You keep drawing comparisons between our timeline and yours. You keep asking all these questions about history that have nothing to do with whatever is going on with you, the amnesia and all that. Why do you care so much about our history, when you evidently were here on the moon the whole time?", he asks.

You tilt your head in disbelief: "How could I not be curious about that?"

Shyama shakes his head. He speaks softly: "Curiosity is not a good enough reason to get so hung up on something pointless. You're trying to unravel an impossibly dense web of karmavipaka. You are trying to understand the current state of the whole world as the result of a single karmic act over two millennia ago. That is not sensible, Disq. It's too large a problem to solve."

You're not sure how to respond, so he keeps going.

"This is very much like the unanswerable question of karmaphala," he says, "Here and now there is a real problem to be solved. It's urgent. Time is limited. You need to find back to yourself, Disq. You're like the wounded man, struck by a poisoned arrow who will not allow the wound and poisoning to be treated until he knows the name, family name, profession, exact look of the attacker, make and material of the arrow and so on and so forth. Treat the wound first. Worry about the rest later.
"Let it go for now, hm? You can dig into history all you want when this is all over."

Shyama seems to have mistaken your intent, here. He's not wrong that you'd like to know everything there is to know about this new history, but he seems to have missed that you're digging for background information. That's just as well.

You make a show of reluctantly nodding your head. "Okay. Fine, I'll let it go. Can we talk more about contemporary culture then? The state of the world now?"

Shyama clicks his tongue. "We might have to steer clear of a few things, but otherwise... Sure.", he says.
No. 1088843 ID: 1d6349
File 171320786250.png - (228.62KB , 990x660 , HU_01_012_D.png )

You consider what other topic you might start with... You want to ask about a United Nations kind of deal and international human rights, but these things are not quite so simple to explain, so you opt for a simple one first.
Maybe you can bring up the UN again later, when you've figured out a way to describe the concept.

"Are there any big wars, currently?", you ask.
Shyama looks down for moment before responding: "I don't know what a big war is to you. The most devastating war in history ended... about 22 years ago. And since then there have been many lesser ones. I don't think there was ever a time in my life when we weren't at war in some capacity. But let's not go deeper into this topic. It's too close to what I'm trying to avoid for now."

You think for a moment, but you cannot seem to find a kushani word for 'atheism', so you'll have to describe what you mean.

"We talked about religion a lot but so far haven't touched at all on people who don't believe in, well... anything. Belief-less ones?", you try.

Shyama's quirks an eyebrow. "People who don't believe in anything? Uh... You mean people who have no conception of the world?"

You try to clarify: "Ah no. Okay, this a bit difficult. We have this word 'Atheist'. It translates literally as 'godless person', but it really refers to someone who rejects belief in any deities whatsoever."
"Oh. Well, I don't really believe in any deities either.", he says.

"I thought you're a Buddhist. You don't believe in the Buddha?", you ask, incredulous.
"Well, the Buddha was a man and we have written evidence of his existence and his teachings.", he says.
"And now?"
"Now? Now he's gone."

"What, your Buddhism has no devas or bodhisattvas? No, you know what? That's all beside the point. What I mean is... Is there no sort of... worldview out there of a more mechanical cosmos without... a spiritual component? Where only the physical exists and only science can help us understand the nature of it?"

He thinks and then turns to Vijaya. "I think they have something like that over in Alkemmet, right?", he asks.
Vijaya scratches her scalp stubble and says: "Yyyeeaaaahhh, uh... Can't remember the name of that philosophy, though."
Shyama turns back to you. "Another thing to talk to Gamal about, perhaps?"

"Do you have an opinion on the idea?", you try.
"I barely understand what you're getting at," he says, "I'm personally not sold on any division between the physical and the spiritual. To me, there is only one cosmos that matters and we are trapped in it by our misapprehension of its components. There is a system to it and science is useful for understanding and manipulating this grand illusion to various ends.
"We try to keep the gods and the buddhas out of it. I believe that living to secure a place in the heavens in another life tends to lead to... complacency. It is therefore best to consider this realm, this life, this moment as the only true reality and make the best of that.
"But that's not what you mean, is it?"

No. 1088848 ID: 91e1e8

It sounds like people in this timeline may put less importance on belief in deities in general, and are more focused on how the belief systems affect actions, perhaps? Which would explain why even this explanation of Buddhism sounds more agnostic than religious as we understand it.

But we have gathered some clues: people of Gamal's, Shyama's and Vijaya's countries of origin seem to interact with each other regularly and kindly enough to know and accept each other's philosophies somewhat well. Maybe that's where we can hook into the cooperation of nations?

"So if I understood correctly, the members of this crew come from different countries? Is that because the governments cooperate on space travel or do you just happen to come from a diverse place? Sorry for comparing again, this is just for my own frame of reference, but where I come from we had some cooperative projects between nations that opted into them. Projects like trading laws, travel restrictions, but also protection of people on a large scale. Or the avoidance of cruelty by governments. I'm curious if this is such a project."
No. 1088850 ID: dd3fe0

Talk around words and form words as compound words or short phrases as needed. IE, agnosticism is 'the word for a belief that the divine and supernatural is unknown or unknowable', and secularism is 'the word for the political principle and political philosophy that religion should be removed from affairs of the state wherever possible'.

There's a number of aspects of human condition that are 'irreligious'. Some are political, some are philosophical, some are intellectual positions, some are parody religions, some are social movements. Things like secularism, atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, some categories of materialism, naturalism, antireligion movements, antitheism, freethought, and the like. They're characterized by a rejection of dogma, rejection of belief in the supernatural, rejection of the spiritual, rejection of the existence of deities, rejection of belief that miracles ever happen or happened, rejection of any concept of the afterlife or reincarnation or dharma or karma or similar, rejection of religious institutions and religious practices and beliefs, rejection of superstition and non-evidence based practices, rejection of the idea that there is a world or reality beyond what can be directly seen and measured with tools, a focus on concepts like empiricism, rationalism, reason, logic, observation of the natural world, and epistemological beliefs that support all of that. Surely you had some level of the same spread of those sorts of ideas amongst humanity in your timeline?
No. 1088851 ID: dd3fe0


And by rejection of dharma, that means that their understanding of the 'cosmos' is more about concepts like the those in physics and astronomy, uh physical cosmology: you know, the big bang, special relativity, general relativity, dark matter, the expansion of the universe and galaxies and of space itself, the study of spacetime, quantum physics, string theory, black holes, the movement of galaxies and stars, that sort of thing. And their understanding of 'morality' would be not based on authority that comes from religious institutions or religious types of belief, perhaps instead based on empirically observed ways to get to best group outcomes, like via utilitarianism or by social contract theory or by game theory, or simply moral codes that are not anchored in religious dogma in general.
No. 1088861 ID: d9776d

Atheism rejects spiritualism and the belief in gods or something beyond this existence. Atheists put their trust in the observable and provable. Science is unto it like a Holy book is unto a religion, you suppose.

One also has something like agnosticism, wherein one believes something spiritual or divine or beyond may exist - but that humans do not know it or cannot prove it to be real.

Mankind is good enough at storytelling and has told enough tales over the years, made up enough sects and religions and schisms, that atheists find it entirely plausible it all comes down to lies-to-children and then lies-to-adults, and the answer to our existence is cosmic happenstance and evolution. Which can be wondrous and boggling in its own way.

They should, by now, know about the vastness of space and the Big Bang, yes? Old religions in your timeline tended to push back against scientific understanding - simply countering the belief that the sun was spinning around the earth and not the other way around was controversial.
No. 1088863 ID: 273c18

Tell him that the Atheist label is partially a pushback against excessive focus on religion, which doesn't seem to be much of a problem in their culture? It's historically been a huge one in your world.
No. 1088866 ID: 79f4b9

Honestly this would be easier if I have some access to you're version of the internet. Or maybe a few recordings of some popular documentary.
No. 1088875 ID: eb0a9c

Well, we are dealing with time travel. If that couldn't find hard evidence of a god, nothing can.
No. 1088883 ID: 3483f2

So it seems like this religion is less an orthodox business and more of a school of philoso-... Ah damn it makes sense that this timelines' kind of philosophy emerged from religious movements, the roman empire was pivotal in spreading greece concepts and works after annexing them! Fuck, that's interesting!

Anyway, Shyama makes a good point and seems to lose his patience for now.
We should kindly ask him about the exact nature of this time sensitive problem.
Up until now we only got glimpses of that and since we are slowly getting our shit sorted out it me be time that he told us what exactly we can help them with.
Is a reactor overheating? Are they stranded on the moon base? Did communication with Houston break down? Based on their reactions so far I think it will be somewhat linked to something they cant parse in a technological manner or linked to writings they don't understand.
No. 1089607 ID: 815fee
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"No, I don't think so."
You try to think of a way to explain this in a simple, concise way.
"The people I'm talking about reject dogma, deities and all notions of karm and dharma and what have you. They believe in that which is observable and provable and only that. Their cosmology is based on observable evidence and laws and models that have proven to make accurate predictions. There was a big bang and-"

"Disq, sorry, look..." he interrpts again, "I think we might be talking around each other. I don't think we actually... disagree here? I mean, I find karma to be quite observable and demonstrable: intent leads to action leads to consequence. I don't really understand what rejecting dharma even means and I don't think discussing that further will be fruitful, but perhaps there isn't even a need. Laws and models that allow predictions about the cosmos to be made? Sounds like a description of dharma to me. But the word has many meanings and perhaps that's the source of this misunderstanding..."

"Well surely at least secularism exists? That's the idea that government, administration and the state... the public sphere... should be separated from religious matters.", you explain

"Yes of course. The temple and monastery complexes of the Brahmana constituted one of the empire's strongest pillars, after all. Their power had to be broken and there's still more work to be done."

"That's n-"

"Yes, that's not exactly what you mean, Disq. Is that a surprise? According to you, history diverged over two thousand years ago. I'd be surprised if any of your philosophical frameworks did map neatly onto any of ours. Does it really matter what bird the feathers on the poisoned arrow came from?"
No. 1089608 ID: 815fee
File 171399375706.png - (165.29KB , 990x660 , HU_01_013_B.png )

Shyama seems pretty frustrated with this line of conversation, so you decide to move on to something else.

You ask: "So if I understood correctly, the members of this crew come from different countries? Is that because the governments cooperate on space travel or do you just happen to come from a diverse place? Sorry for comparing again, this is just for my own frame of reference, but where I come from we had some cooperative projects between nations that opted into them. Projects like trading laws, travel restrictions, but also protection of people on a large scale. Or the avoidance of cruelty by governments. I'm curious if this is such a project."

"Ah, that's... hmm. That may be a partially apt comparison, though it's a little complicated.", Shyama says. He seems lost in thought for a moment.
"Almost everybody involved in the 13th Dyauspitr mission are from the Coalition of Kushana, a loose alliance of several dozen countries and territories for the purpose of securing and safeguarding the spoils of the caste war. Our space program is a collaboration within the Coalition.
Beyond that there is a larger global movement surrounding the Coalition of Kushana, informally known as the Hiver Uprising. That could be described as a cooperative project to protect people, especially against cruel regimes. Though if anything the Hivers seek to undermine travel restrictions and trade law... well, it really depends on whose law."

That doesn't really sound like the United Nations to you...

"Incidentally, Gamal is not from the Coalition of Kushana. He's from Egypt, which is part of the Dacian Sultanate."

"And that's... also part of the Hiver movement?", you venture.

Shyama smirks. "Ah no... No, Dacia is one of the greatest threats to the whole enterprise. No, Gamal isn't with us because Kushanasthana is a diverse place, exactly - though it is that - but rather because he has proven his loyalty and reliability, which is crucial in any clandestine operation."

You recoil. "Clandestine? You flew to the moon. How the hell would you ever hide that from anybody?"

He steeples his fingers. "Of course we're not hiding the fact that we're exploring the moon. But what we have been able to keep under wraps so far is... well, you. Fortunately, our enemies' space programs lag behind ours and so keeping the existence of this habitat on the far side of the moon a secret was simply a matter of photocompositing. But they're sure to catch up eventually."
No. 1089609 ID: be7bbd

THEY FAKED THE MOON LANDING IN THIS TIMELINE! Er... well, uh, they faked A moon landing in this timeline!!

This kinda sounds like a conspiracy of sorts...

But you should probably hook into this from a more sympathetic angle, perhaps? Maybe something like "So you are a rebellion against classist regimes? Is that why you need to keep me a secret? In case I might be dangerous in the hands of someone else if they find me?"
No. 1089614 ID: 273c18

I dunno how we're supposed to have a conversation about the differences between timelines without comparing them, but ok.

Oh, now we know our current location with better precision. Far side of the moon, that's a real good place to hide from a pre-spaceflight civilization. Maybe the important thing you were supposed to do was move to a better spot? Except, if you could do that, why weren't you already somewhere else? Not much reason to stay on the moon.

Anyway I think I get the jist of their situation. They're in a cold war, and they think things are going to escalate, so they're trying to find an advantage. Tell her about the cold war between the USA and USSR, and about how it ended. Not with a world war, believe it or not!
No. 1089628 ID: e082e0

And by the time they figure it out you would like to have a headstart… in what, exactly? What do they need from this facility and me?

Technologies? The secrets to wielding nuclear fire? The answer to life, the universe and everything?

Which is 42, by the way.

Which is a silly literacy reference from the science fiction of your timeline.
No. 1089633 ID: 5ebd37

Shyama is getting real passive aggressive with this arrow analogy. As an amnesiac, all topics hold equal relevance for now. If He thinks you should be talking about something specific he should just say so and not talk down to you.
No. 1089647 ID: eb0a9c

They pulled a Billy Bat, and faked the moon landing so they could merge the fake movie with the real moon landing to manipulate the public into limiting their attention of the moon, which in this timeline is mega-@#$%ing important.

Same old insanity from the ruling classes; money is not backed by goods or services, it is once again backed by slaves, the labels rebranded yet again.
No. 1089671 ID: e7219b

He keeps demanding we stop strying into "pointless"topics but keeps dodging the question when we ask what is important.

We know they're here because of some sort of "crisis" and he keeps getting annoyed when we don't focus on addressing topics relevent to this crisis but he also won't bloody well tell us what the crisis is!
No. 1089672 ID: dd3fe0


Yea, what the fuck is up with this?
No. 1089680 ID: dd3fe0


Also, we have to apparently be in a particular state of mind to listen to these presumably horrible details, but they also won't tell us what state of mind that is, so we could practice mindfulness meditations or whatever to try and get to that point or spend some time bracing ourselves against whatever the bad news is or perhaps suggest appropriate stimuli or methods to get us to that state of mind!
No. 1090385 ID: c3e91a
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You figure it makes sense that anybody who found an artifical structure of unknown origin on the moon would want to keep that knowledge from their enemies for as long as possible.
Still, the fact that most of humankind but not all of humankind are ignorant of your existence makes you uneasy. How serious are they about secrecy? The existence of this... Lunar habitat will be impossible to keep hidden indefinitely, but you? You, they could certainly make disappear if they wanted to.
They don't strike you as hardened killers, but how well do you know them, really?

For now you decide to keep things friendly though.
"So you are a rebellion against classist regimes?" you ask,"Is that why you need to keep me a secret? In case I might be dangerous in the hands of someone else if they find me?"

"That is precisely it. Our enemies have demonstrated an alarming lack of scruples. If they found a way to wipe all opposition to their dominion off the map, they would. No question. But we got here first. So perhaps we can find a better solution."

He's still avoiding the real topic, still trying not to talk about it directly. Time for a stab in the dark.

"This all sounds very familiar. See, in my timeline there was a prolongued conflict between two large power blocks, justified primarily with an ideological divide. We called it the Cold War. The advent of nuclear weaponry meant that direct warfare between the largest powers could have quickly escalated into a disaster of apocalyptic proportions. So for decades, this cold war was instead fought via allied puppet states and largely unsupervised cells of spies, assassins and saboteurs.
Perhaps you'll be surprised to hear that it didn't end with outright nuclear war. The
USSR collapsed economically. Though the threat of global nuclear war never really went away..."

Never? Hm. You're not actually sure about that. History at this point gets kind of fuzzy in your mind. Perhaps the climate crisis became a greater concern in the end?

Shyama studies your face for a few moments.
"Well. The prospect of total nuclear annihilation doesn't seem to trouble you much. That's... surprising."

"Is that all you have to say about it?", you ask.

He shakes his head. "Certainly not. And I suppose, since you're familiar with a... similar situation, perhaps I misjudged the potential danger of the topic."

You try to word this next bit tactfully.

"I'm honestly at a loss as to what else to talk about. You keep blocking questions because they're 'pointless', but won't tell me about the important crisis you have going on.", you explain.

"I suppose I didn't explain the issue very well, then. I suppose the poisoned arrow analogy isn't quite as culturally universal as I'd hoped. So in plain words: I'd like you to focus not on all the little differences in how history played out, no matter how tempting, because that is a topic of endless depth and there will be time for it later. And while I didn't want to aggravate your condition further by introducing you to the horror of looming nuclear war, I was hoping we could find ways to work on your amnesia.", he says, "But all right. Let's speak of the end of the world."
No. 1090386 ID: c3e91a
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"You'll promise to let me know when to stop rather than hurting yourself?", he asks.

You nod. "Of course."

"Of course", he sighs as he stops the recorder and switches out the tapes once more.
"This is session two, cassette two, 6th of Pausha Waning, 2512.
I will keep the history lesson simple, because the poisoned arrow analogy also applies to me. From 2477 until 2490 the Great Haemian War raged on. It is the most devastating conflict to date. The most notable belligerents were the Dacian Sultanate, the Holy Wendish Empire, the Empire of Kushana and then after its fall the
Pipilikavat alliance. The war consumed both the Wendish and Kushan Empires and left the Dacian Sultanate economically ascendant. During the latter half of the war, various polities around the globe worked on nuclear weapons projects. The Dacians succeeded first, but by that time, the war was already over.
"The power of their weapons had already been proven by various tests in the Sahara desert. But the first and so far - thankfully - last use on actual human targets was the bombing of..."
Here he sighs. "Rome. Ending the Roman Hiver Uprising of 2493.
"A clear statement of intent. The Coalition of Kushana have successfully constructed nuclear weapons of our own not long after, but this just leaves us in a precarious stalemate. I'm not sure if I'd call it a 'Cold War' as you did, though. It's true that our member territories and the Dacian Sultanate aren't directly threatened with military action, just about everywhere else is consumed by war.
And it's just a matter of time before somebody does something foolish and plunges us all over the edge into nuclear annihilation."

No. 1090387 ID: c3e91a
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He stops and studies your reaction again. He seems tense. Vijaya behind him is just staring blankly into space.

"And...", you begin, but it comes out as a hoarse croak. You clear your throat and try again: "And what do you hope to find here to prevent that?"

"Anything.", he says, immediately. "Anything to save us. Anything at all."

He settls back into his chair and takes a deep breath. After releasing it, he continues: "We have no way of knowing what technology would have been available to your people and which of it we could even adapt for practical use in time. I try to think small, simple. I'm hoping for miniature recording devices, audiovisual and more, scanners. Untraceable hand-held weapons. I believe these sorts of innovations could help us erode our enemies' cohesion from the inside. But again, I'll take what I can get. What's immediately useful to solve the problem at the core."

He leans forward again. "Will you help us?"
No. 1090388 ID: a7a180

So they bombed Rome not once, but twice? Maybe it was their nuclear warheads which went back and time and changed their own history. Does that make sense? Of course not, nothing does.

You don't know if aiding one side or the other in a war would be counterproductive to your mission, whatever that mission was. How about a deal: They help us investigate our surroundings and try to understand this facility's purpose, and in exchange the function and purpose of technology that we jointly (re)discover will be shared in two directions. They get our tech, we get our memories. What little we know indicates we were an engineer here and do have the technical knowledge buried in us to help identify technology.
No. 1090389 ID: 273c18

Well, spy tech is a relatively harmless future tech to leak so sure, that seems reasonable. At worst it'll cause privacy concerns, but it's basically impossible to monitor an entire population unless you're looking for specific phrases.
If anything else useful shows up then we can consider the costs and benefits of revealing that tech to them.

However, in exchange... they have to let you leave this room. You're not going to make much more progress recovering your memory if you're stuck here.
No. 1090393 ID: ab4bb7

"Is there tech here that can help you with your crisis? Almost certainly. But see, here's the bad news; I don't remember exactly what my crisis is about, but I'm starting to get this sinking feeling that it is orders of magnitude greater than the one you described in scope. Near as I can tell, an entire timeline - containing the whole of humanity for many generations - may have already been murdered. Unmade? Whatever. So, maybe it's my turn to direct your attention to the far deadlier poison arrow, one that threatens far more than just a limb of humanity. Am I using that correctly?"
No. 1090395 ID: 8f9bc4

> I'm not sure if I'd call it a 'Cold War' as you did, though. It's true that our member territories and the Dacian Sultanate aren't directly threatened with military action, just about everywhere else is consumed by war.

Nope, that's... pretty much exactly what happened in your historic cold war. Proxy wars were f-cking everywhere, all in the name of preventing $thoseotherguys from spreading.

You'll help them but it's true. This 'precarious stalemate' isn't the biggest danger to the world right now. Nukes can't be used without massive popular backlash on either side because they're just that bad, and the rich fucks causing your wars can't extract rent out of a bunch of corpses. The biggest danger is that you've forgotten something very important you need to do, and until they know what it is, they can only assume it'll erase all of existence if you don't take care of it.

Both your task, and their spy efforts require you to remember though. So:

1. make sure what you're forgetting isn't a "history eraser" button
2. help them spy on the commies

Can you remember some kind of microscopic cameras? Video transmission without the use of radio waves? And really, what on Luna is that important thing you have to do?
No. 1090397 ID: 56db77

Big issue I see is that spy tech won't really solve this issue. If their enemies feel like they're now at a definitive disadvantage they may just decide to go nuclear.
No. 1090417 ID: 273c18

The thing is, once one side has an advantage, they don't have to press it. They can open negotiations and use their advantage to gain reasonable concessions without risking nuclear war. They can't gain total victory, sure, but they can get a good outcome nevertheless.
No. 1090419 ID: 5ebd37

Well nothing helps erode a regime's power from the inside like information technology, but that would be rather long term to implement.
No. 1090429 ID: def3bb

Alright, so there's several issues here. Assuming your tech level is roughly equivalent to my timeline and calendar's 1969-ish, you are in an incredibly awkward position, technologically, vis a vis 'useful things I can give you in a timeframe of weeks to months'. There is a ton of useful technology I could help you develop, really game-changing stuff, but most of it is either, itself 'a form of infrastructure' or something that requires a massive, pre-existing web of related industry and infrastructure.

Of course I could help you develop that, but that is still in the 'years to decades' range. Examples exist from all over different sorts of technology; like if you put me in charge of microchip and computer engineering and software development at your largest institution for that, I could shave decades off of development to get you to the point of having, say, neural network based generative artificial intelligence. Or, put me in charge of some sort of space and satellite command, and I could help you develop a Global Positioning System, with massive economic, social, and military benefits, and associated satellite based telecommunications and weather monitoring technology. I could even, along with microprocessor and microchip development, help you build an Internet, a network of digital networks, which is likely the next big civilization-defining infrastructure development. But, again, years to decades!

Associated with satellite monitoring, there's climate data and models that contributed to nuclear dearmament in my timeline, stuff that helped project a potential large scale worldwide agricultural collapse and mass starvation and existential risk to humanity due to that after a large nuclear exchange due to the onset of nuclear winter. This contributed to various treaties and nuclear dearmament and de-escalation policies. So that's a thing to be aware of as well.

Or, for direct military things, I could help you develop the next generation of traditional guided missile destroyer --or the guided missiles themselves-- or your next generation of military helicopter, or next generation of radar resistant stealth combat aircraft. Or even a subsystem useful for military equipment, I could help you develop a phased array radar system. The problem is these are all, again, years to decades out, and mostly require a whole host of other technologies and industry!

Even the best sort of spygear of the sort you are asking for requires a robust semiconductor and microprocessor industry, for miniaturization needs. Sure, I can help you make, say, digital cameras, but -again- those are predicated on a whole web of industries. That's because, if I'm right, where you are technologically is at the point where most of the low hanging fruit has been picked. Most of the easy and able to be done quickly stuff that's left would just be novel consumer goods!

Your best bet is to find an already built computer around here somewhere -- look for excess cooling infrastructure, processing is hot -- get it working, and use that to crack enemy codes and for cryptographic analysis, and then also use that computational access to help develop whichever part of the next generation of technology is important to you.
No. 1090479 ID: f75ce2

'Erode our enemies cohesion from the inside' is a dangerous mission statement when it comes to nuclear powers, but yeah...

I think we could need a change of scenery and think about what we found out so far. How about telling Shyama that we will do our best but it would help to maybe take a guided tour through the facility to jog the memory of specific technologies for them to reverse-engineer.

That also could give us a way to access our own level of technology since most of our memories and knowledge seems to be stuck in the 21st century for some (...) reason, aside from the blurt about quantum-computing...
No. 1090480 ID: f75ce2

So am I getting that right - we've been mistrusting Shyama this entire time. He has outright confirmed that he has been hiding information both from us and from the world at large. But now that he asks is politely to help his side in a war we have no info about past his word, we're suddenly eager to share all our stuff with him?

How do we know this is truly what our tech will be used for?

Also, uhm... "I'm fine, Shyama, but Vijaya over there doesn't really seem okay."

I say we should ask to see Maya again. She and Vijaya have tickled more memories to the surface than Shyama could ever manage. We don't need to tell him this, but speaking to Maya, Vijaya and Gamal may also help us learn more nuance about the conflict and give us a better idea of if supporting this group's efforts will even actually be helpful.

But seriously, is Vijaya okay? Does she need a cup of water and to sit down for a sec?
No. 1090482 ID: dd3fe0

I think we need to ask them more, specifically, about why and how their side has the moral high ground again. See what rhetoric they give.
No. 1090498 ID: b3eab7

Well we sure don't want a second nuclear holocaust... But we'll need guarantees to ensure our actions don't cause it instead of averting it.
No. 1090605 ID: eb0a9c

At the end of the day, what these empires don't realize is that they cannot have blind faith in technology that requires decades of testing, error corrections, and mass education. Everyone's looking at the governments and waiting for one to press the button. None of them will expect how fragile the missile detection systems are.
So you can fit a haymaker into your one-two jab of tech support.

That's what you need to start with; information. Your first infrastructure should be implementing worldwide systems that can detect nuclear material, so that everyone knows where everyone else's bombs are and can go to sleep knowing those bombs are also tucked away and not busy killing the world. Then, those systems (and all systems) need a self-contained means of error-detection, meant to prevent nuclear errors through a series of redundant checks on likely motivations for a beeping red light and the means to properly re-test a potential short-circuit.
But the final step would be education. Bombard the planet with low-cost, low-tech, all-in-one educational TVs that blare out the necessary information about nuclear war, the systems used to detect nuclear material, etc. Frame it as a sort of obligatory instruction manual for this otherwise dangerous technology... and secretly program those TVs to give out free information about standard health practices, sciences, technologies that are easily implemented in low-income neighborhoods, anime (can't forget anime, duh), and 'theoretical' alternate history stories, if they're tweaked long enough. You'll educate the world into realizing just what they've allowed themselves to be ruled under.
The new empires will freak out - but what are they going to do, nuke the moon?
No. 1090606 ID: dd3fe0

I mean, full disclosure, there ARE ways to make flawed, limited, systems for shooting interception missiles or lasers at inbound nuclear missiles, so I don't want you to think I'm intentionally withholding high level information from you. But those will never stop a full scale exchange, the math doesn't work out for these sorts of things to trade well on the offensive/defensive calculation in terms of research, economic, or industrial effort required to get them 'sort of decent'. A nation that invested heavily in that stuff would still be annihilated by an equal peer that invested the same amount in just having more, better, and/or longer range missiles.

As far as social manipulation or social engineering goes... I'm not the best at that sort of thing, my ideas are based more on some technologies I didn't spend too much time focusing on, like the sorts of technologies designed to automate learning at a high level and to a large scale, like to teach or train anyone that even wanted to learn, as long as they had a very basic proficiency, and not just autodidacts and geniuses. A lot of that stuff was theorized to be able to do very dramatic sorts of social change from a bottom up rather than a top down level, and to be sure, Artificial Intelligence did cause extremely rapid social change as more people got access to it. I suppose the question becomes, how much time do we probably have? Days? Weeks? Months? Years?
No. 1091364 ID: 1d6349
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You consider the question and find a deep anxiety rising. Agreeing to help makes sense on many levels. Of course you'd want to help prevent nuclear catastrophe. Of course being cooperative may get you some concessions such as an end to your confinement. It's not that you don't have plenty of ideas for how their predicament might be addressed. Information technology is good. Making the nuclear arms race more transparent, dispersing the fog of war would likely do wonders.


but what if you're missing something? What if you'd be giving a technological edge to people who will misuse it? What if you're about to be the cause of a disaster?

And there's something else there. Something deeper. At the gut level, the thought of revealing technological secrets to Shyama makes you deeply nervous.
What else have you forgotten? Are you missing the forest for the trees? is there a bigger danger than even nuclear warfare?

Beyond that there's another issue. As your brain is alight with recollection, it dawns on you that while you're familiar with a lot of the working principles of many, many technologies, devices and other junk, you're not confident that you could actually reinvent them from memory.
These things are simply too complicated to fully keep in mind. What you need is a database that holds all the specific info on how to solve all the little problems that inevitably pop up when moving an invention from the conceptual stage to implementation.
Until you gain access to such a database, any advice you can give them will be pretty vague and nebulous.

So in the end, both the ethical and practical questions cannot be answered for the same reason: The Amnesia. That damn poisoned arrow.

You decide to hedge a bit. There is one thing you are pretty sure of.

"... I will try.", you say.
Maybe it's okay that you don't yet know what exactly that help will entail. You want to make a positive impact. You'll just have to figure out what that means along the way.
No. 1091365 ID: 1d6349
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Shyama brightens up. He opens his mouth, but you interrupt him before he can say anything: "With some caveats and conditions."

He nods. "Go on."

"The smaller issues." You count them off on your fingers, " One. I will need computer access to give you actually useful information. Two. I want out of this room. Surely you can see that having a look around the habitat could help unlock more memories. Three. I want to talk to Maya again. Speaking with her and Vijaya has unlocked more memories than you've managed so far."

"... I see.", he says.
He does not seem pleased. There is another pause as he takes some more notes.
"And those are the smaller issues, yes?", he sighs, "I'll consider these. What's the bigger issue?"

"See, here's the bad news; I don't remember exactly what my crisis is about, but I'm starting to get this sinking feeling that it is orders of magnitude greater than the one you described in scope. Near as I can tell, an entire timeline - containing the whole of humanity for many generations - may have already been murdered. Unmade? Whatever. So, maybe it's my turn to direct your attention to the far deadlier poison arrow, one that threatens far more than just a limb of humanity. Am I using that correctly?"

If this alarms him, his face betrays nothing.
"Well... The poisoned arrow is usually an obvious problem that is being ignored for pointless distractions. But this problem is for from obvious. You don't even know what it is."
He shakes his head.
"But I get your meaning. If this hunch of yours is correct, we'd best do whatever possible to restore what we can of your memory."

"I guess... That is what you've been trying, but..."

"Yes, yes, I got it. You want to talk to Maya. We'll see about that. I've got that noted down. I'm really not sure if touring the habitat is the best idea in your condition."
He sounds annoyed. Probably no sense in pushing that right now.

You've been stealing glances at Vijaya for a while now. You thought she'd just spaced out, but she still doesn't seem to have snapped out of it. She's just... staring...

"Speaking of condition.", you say, "Uh... Vijaya over there doesn't really seem okay."
No. 1091366 ID: 1d6349
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Shyama turns around to look.
"... Hey Vi? You All right?"

Vijaya blinks but keeps looking ahead, dazed.
"'m fine...", she mutters.

After a couple seconds, Shyama turns back to you and stops the tape recorder with the press of a button.
"Let's call it a day, Disq.", he says, "I'll discuss your proposal with the rest. For now we should all get some sleep."

Now that he says it, you do feel quite tired. And Vijaya is clearly not well.

Shyama gathers up his writing pad and the recorder and after scooting off the chair, approaches Vijaya.
He touches her arm and speaks softly to her: "Let's go, Vi. We're done for today."

She blinksa couple times in quick succession and looks over at the both of you. "Ah. Good. Yeah.", she mumbles.
"The door, Vi.", he says and after a moment, she pushes herself off the door to make room.
Shyama knocks on it. Only seconds later it slides open.
No. 1091367 ID: 1d6349
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"Good night, Disq. See you tomorrow.", he says before leading Vijaya out of the room.

"Is she gonna be okay?", you ask quickly.
Shyama sticks his head back in. "Don't worry, Disq", he says, "She's pretty tough. And she's not alone."

"Good... Okay. Good night.", you say.
Shyama disappears and the door slides shut.
No. 1091368 ID: 1d6349
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The exhaustion hits you like a tidal wave. The wall plug seems to be calling for you.
There's not much for you to do anyway, except think, really. And you're quite tired of thinking for the moment.
Climbing into the bed, it strikes you just how tiny it is, or how tall you are. Why is everything in here so awkward?
Why'd Vijaya shut down like that?
Why's Shyama so hesitant to let you talk to Maya?
How can you know whether any of these people can be trusted?
No. 1091369 ID: 1d6349
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Well, maybe you'll figure things out tomorrow.
No. 1091397 ID: 273c18

>Why'd Vijaya shut down like that?
She's a war vet, probably. Trauma related to the subject you were talking about.
>Why's Shyama so hesitant to let you talk to Maya?
Basic infosec. They're keeping secrets from you, and you're asking to talk to someone without training in that field.
>How can you know whether any of these people can be trusted?
They can't be trusted, because they're keeping secrets from you!

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