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File 151885100177.png - (461.24KB , 1600x1600 , IntroMountainrange1 - Copy.png )
868099 No. 868099 ID: 6e59e3

Daylight is coming. Visibility will be poor.
The light will be harsh and the snow will be blinding to the unprepared.
The radiation levels spike again as the white star bathes this side in UV.
The communications network is quiet but for the background noise.
224 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 964740 ID: 7490b5

>>964718
Completely power off the vehicle once it is totally covered. it will conserve fuel.

Try to take stock of what is in the vehicle in terms of food, medical, and survival gear.

Also strip-search the captive (offscreen) to see if they have anything useful and make sure they have nothing dangerous. Dress the captive once you are done.
>>
No. 964810 ID: fa2754

>>964718
Inventory time. Pick out a few things to get the translation ball rolling.
>>
No. 965543 ID: 124fab
File 158882665061.jpg - (193.53KB , 1221x1162 , PerkelePrequel9.jpg )
965543

>>Captive
I check it for anything I missed in the first frisk, but I don’t find anything. Junk, mostly. I take the makeshift muzzle off.

The prisoner immediately begins babbling.

>”Tan ktan zwen tak bah dan ket all Toozool! Toozool neyt kwen-”
>”Toozool, neyt kwen mi, neyt kwen- kwen mi,” it continues to babble.
Well. It clearly knows what I am.

I gesture to myself. “TOH-ZAWL,” I emphasize… then I point to it.
>”...Y-yennik. ”
“Yennik. Tozol.”
It looks confused at this exchange. It bobs its head… rapidly.

>”Geezhel prem uhal hey na?” It asks in a different voice.

A… different language? Still one I don't recognize, but less harsh than its clackish babbling.
“Nope.”

>>Killing the captive.
The… yennik?... lives as long as it is useful. But there’s no promising that it will live - and no sense in making its death any more cruel than necessary.

I spend a few more minutes talking to it - and aside from exchanging some simple words like ‘vehicle’ or ‘gun’, I don’t think I will get much more out of it for now.
>>
No. 965544 ID: 124fab
File 158882665330.jpg - (153.85KB , 667x667 , perkeleprequek10.jpg )
965544

Ration
Mmmm.. polymers and carbs. Much better than the beasts Mother and I bring home, and it tastes less like powdered dust than our own, old ration bars. It’s almost disgustingly sweet… but it awakens in me a hunger I’ve never known before.

Like all my life I’ve been a starved beast that just learned to deal with it, suddenly presented with… actual food.

I resist the impulse to eat all of these rations immediately… and also squelch the desire to eat my less-than-helpful captive. The yennik is spared for the moment.

Tablet
I pull out the tablet - and the storage drive from earlier, which fits snugly into a port.
>>
No. 965545 ID: 124fab
File 158882665889.jpg - (656.69KB , 1600x1600 , Perkeleprequel11.jpg )
965545

Now that we're out of that hellish daylight, this interface looks more colorful. It might just be my eyes not needing to filter light so harshly, but I can see color better.

A message appears on the screen, alongside what looks like a button… Curiosity gets the better of me, and I press it.

What plays is static… but it tickles my brain. Like I should know this - like someone is yelling to me over an avalanche. The sounds sound… right. Like they’re in the wrong order, but… scrambled? I play it back over and over again, and there’s just… something I’m missing, maybe. Like if I look at the audio analyzer right, I’d understand.

I feel like I should.

>”Bekka quan taka deuel,” my passenger says after the fifth time I play it, clearly annoyed at my obsession with static.

The audio is giving me a headache - or maybe that’s just the interface.

We have plenty of time still - should I keep playing with the tablet? I might see if I can figure the interface out - or this message.

Or is there anything else we should examine?
>>
No. 965547 ID: 3a7feb

The captive is likely to be more amenable to analysis than an encrypted audio signal. Or whatever it is. That might just be static and you're looking for patterns where there are none.

See if you can figure out how this creature counts. Does it have words for zero, or one, or so on?
>>
No. 965548 ID: b1b4f3

>>965545
>headache
I feel like Tozols shouldn't get headaches so easily. Don't play the audio anymore, but look at the waveform, analyze that. Looks like there might be some regular frequency changes...
>>
No. 965551 ID: 9c48ac

There... are points there with more than one signal at once. That's not possible with the sort of audio encoding I'm used to. So you might see if there's a way to separate the signals.

The headache is worrying, though. So be cautious with playing it, especially as it is now.
>>
No. 965575 ID: fa2754

>>965547
Seems fair. You're laying low and you have company. Learn the readouts of the cockpit.
>>
No. 965585 ID: b34040

>>"neyt kwen mi"
I think this is "don't kill me". Happy to oblige, for the moment.

>>hunger
Chocolate maybe? I could understand having a mini-revalation for chocolate.

>>965551
Specifically, about 85% of the way along where an ascending wave crosses a descending wave. Is that a visual glitch? Try to focus on that.

>>What do?
Search the cockpit. See if there's something in there you missed.
>>
No. 965600 ID: 4033f7

>>965585
While they are probably saying something along the lines of "dont kill me" the order could be different depending on the flow of their language. (eg kill me not, dont make dead, death shant become, etc.)
>>
No. 965748 ID: 124fab
File 158892670852.jpg - (679.80KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel13point5.jpg )
965748

I take a short break from the static to check the console - and the rest of the cockpit.

>>Controls
They’re pretty simple. I can’t ID a few of them - there are some buttons that adjust climate, and do some other things that aren’t readily apparent. The big concern is the keypad that accepts… number input?

>>Search Cockpit

There’s not a lot here. I found a launcher in here - It seems to be the launcher for a distress flare - but I don’t see any survival kits or weapons or anything otherwise useful. It’s likely this vehicle isn’t intended to operate far from a larger transport.

>>Chocolate
I do wish I found another ration. I have more... but I want so many more. The thought of whatever this food bar is... I need more.
I find myself licking the wrapper clean - then eating the wrapper. It brings me joy, but not relief.
>>
No. 965749 ID: 124fab
File 158892670993.jpg - (334.38KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel13.jpg )
965749

>>Opfor Codec
>>'Don't kill me'.
Distracting myself from the limited nature of my foraged supplies, I think on its words earlier.

I guess I got a little further than I expected.
“Neyt kwen mi.” I say to it.
>It looks confused for a moment, then nods its head. “... Beyt kwen tohzawl,” it says back.
“Beyt kwen yennick.”

It doesn’t trust me, but at least this is mutual progress.
Still, this doesn’t take it off the menu yet.

I hold up a finger near its face. “One,” I say.
>The bird stares back at me for a moment.
I reiterate the gesture - then do two.

>It says nothing, staring at me obliviously.
I wish I spoke its language so I could tell it to speak the Utility Language. This language barrier… is going to work against it.

This is going to be hard to just come up with ideas for exchanging language.
>>
No. 965751 ID: 124fab
File 158892699528.jpg - (394.65KB , 1412x1414 , PerkelePrequel12.jpg )
965751

>>Tozols shouldn’t get headaches.
It’s- It’s not a headache, but it’s… hard to describe. I instinctively strain to hear it. My ears focus on it. There’s a pattern there. Straining to hear it is like overthinking it. It's almost like eye-strain.

>>Encrypted audio signal.

… that’s what this is. I pull up the tablet again, and play it again - I know I shouldn't, but I do.
It’s like one I know, but isn’t one I recognize. There is a pattern here, but I'm missing pieces. This... is this scrambled?

>>Waveform, pattern.
I read the signal over and over again. There’s a pattern here. On a whim, I mouth the noises - and find I can reproduce the clicks and hisses.

Perfectly, in fact. It's a familiar cadence. Clipped, curt, to the point. There's meaning here.

With that in mind I listen closer - this audio is heavily scrubbed, so it makes this hard. It’s almost mechanical in nature - but it’s not. These patterns aren’t radio broadcasts or machine clicks or synthesizers - they seem machine-like, but organic in nature. Slight pauses that are… imprecisely precise.

Something nags me. This is far too familiar for my liking.

Where… where have I heard this before? What's this like?
>>
No. 965753 ID: 3a7feb

Is this your birthright-tongue, the battle cant? A limited codec specifically for transmitting critical tactical information as quickly as possible in extremely noisy environments...
>>
No. 965754 ID: fa2754

>>965751
Does this bird of yours have a clue? If not that, maybe an idea of the red caution alert on the display.
>>
No. 965756 ID: b34040

Try this: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a battle. You have a squad, and are trying to communicate with them as succinctly as possible. One of them is saying something to you. Now listen to the recording, what are they saying?
>>
No. 965760 ID: 9c48ac

>>965748
>Keypad with number input
I'm guessing that's their ignition security system. Try not to let the engine shut off, you may not be able to start it up again.
>>
No. 965766 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965760
More likely to be the radio. The keypad would let one switch to specific frequencies quickly.

--

So you talk about learning the language from this guy, but is that something you are actually capable of doing? Learning languages is a long and hard process (aside from the battle cadence, you literally should have that ingrained from before you were born, unless something happened...?).

--

Is the flare gun metal? If so, you should be able to use like-caliber shells with it if you find any. Depending on the caliber, that would either be shotgun rounds or grenade launcher rounds. Both of which have a large overlapping variety of ammo (bird/buck shot, flechette, slugs, explosive, napalm, triball, etc) although the grenade launcher calibers will probably be rarer and more likely explosive, smoke, or flares, while the shotgun caliber would be shot or slugs.
>>
No. 965779 ID: b1b4f3

>>965751
Obfuscated morse code? Battle chant of a different species?
>>
No. 965783 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965760
Military vehicles generally dont have any sort of ignition security or even keys. The most deterrent they may have would be a padlock on the outside if that and instead depend on base security and such to keep people from stealing hardware. Chipped cards and badges, along with keypad codes are not infallible since it would be digital, and keeping separate ignition keys would make them a target.
>>
No. 965785 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965779
The idea that another species could have a battle language is a rather disturbing thought. As is the possibility that another species could learn or crack it, let alone utilize it. It could be something akin to morse though, although the captive's annoyed reaction to our listening to it probably means this isn't the case unless there is a third, unknown factor.
>>
No. 965859 ID: 124fab
File 158898378207.jpg - (352.57KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel14.jpg )
965859

>>Battle cant/battle language

… Yes. This is absolutely tozol battle language. I can… feel… the ordering. It’s not obvious at first - I should be able to instinctively understand this, but I don’t. Even when our Mother switches keys mid-speech, I can pick up on it.
.
<Status update: Banshee / Hidden in light-armor vehicle / analyzing unknown intelligence asset>
I play the first five seconds of the message again.
>“-..__*.._..._---..--..**--..__.__--__*” it says - and I repeat it, in time.

It’s the same cadence. Definitely a tozol speaking - there’s noise and static, but I think I hear it. But it’s definitely not Mother. I would never have trouble understanding her, and I have a full grasp of battle cant.

At least, I think I do. This is still a mystery.

Now the captive is very concerned at all the clicking noises I am making.

>>Learning language from [captive]
You’re right. That’s a matter of weeks to months, if Mother and I didn’t have to constantly hunt for ourselves, evade patrols, check on comm buoys, or find new places to hide.

Small phrases are easy, but not that easy. If I kept this up for a week or three, I might be able to snatch bits and pieces if I overheard radio chatter, but I wouldn’t count on it. Even if I could mimic its words, I don’t know what it is saying exactly.

The biggest worry is that they know a tozol by sight.
And this one knows one is on-planet.
>>
No. 965860 ID: 124fab
File 158898379233.jpg - (122.87KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele15.jpg )
965860

>>Flare launcher
The flare launcher is tucked in a small case in the floor. Pulling it out is trivial, but I lack the room to really examine it. It is less of a gun or grenade launcher and more like… a missile launcher? This fits with what I saw from the crevasse earlier. It’s practically a metal tube, with a trigger and some rubbery grips - the launcher does not even have sights. This thing is barely a weapon by any definition.

There is also a pack with two extra ‘rockets’ - they smell of a few compound chemicals and metals that make me hungry just smelling them. I… think I smell strontium and phosphorus, but there’s something much more here complicated.

I cannot believe how good my sense of smell is when my nose is not freezing over.

Or how hungry that ration made me.

>>Caution
That alert has been there since turning off the radar control. I saw similar warnings on the screen for obstacles.

>>Keep engine on/ignition system
The engine was off when I commandeered the vehicle. It unlocked on my approach, and I worked the ignition without problem - which is further underneath one of these handles, and doesn’t seem to need a key. Additionally, though we turned off the engine when we stopped, I have no problem getting it started again.


Speaking of.

I am in no hurry to leave, but the snow is starting to cover the cockpit. It’s been thirty minutes since turning off the engine. I cannot tell if the rescue team is gone now, but they clearly have not tried to seize this vehicle yet.
>>
No. 965878 ID: 124fab

Clarification: That is Banshee speaking in the first italicized line.
>>
No. 965890 ID: b1b4f3

>>965859
Is there any reason a tozol would have to hide battle chant from another tozol? Or is there something wrong with Mother's version of it?

...did the snow stop?
>>
No. 965893 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965860
If it is fully covered, it should begin to warm up again inside of the vehicle since you are now insulated. Eventually, try to dig a tunnel out from a hatch to the surface so you can know when the storm is gone and when it would be safe to uncover the vehicle and keep moving.

--

For the audio, is it possible that there is also some sort of audio scrambling going on as well? If there are other tozols, they may consider your mother (and by extension you) as hostile or at least not an ally and thus would need to turn towards more crude means of encryption instead of relying on the encrypted nature of the battle cadence. The problem with this theory though is that this would mean that the bird things are working with (a) tozol(s). The bird did seem to recognize you as a tozol. Encryption could be as simple as playing the file in reverse or flipping the waveform, since this does seem to have the right rhythm.

The other possibility I can think of is that this file is incredibly ancient and this is some sort of proto-battle cant. In this scenario, that tozol vessel you found in the excavation may not have been yours. Instead it was an ancient craft the birdies dug up in some sort of archaeological dig searching for tozol tech/vehicles/structures. This would also explain why the pigeon instantly knew you were a tozol. The apparent military presence here would, in this scenario, be for defending or responding to any failsafes or weapons that the archaeologists may trigger.

Third possibility is that we just dont have enough information to truly know what is going on at the moment. I mean, why are the birds even here in the first place? Did they know about us? If so, why didn't they come sooner and why are they not armed to the absolute teeth? If they are working with tozols, why didn't the tozols themselves go after us? They would have a much better chance at not only surviving, but succeeding. If the birds didnt know about us, then why do they know about tozols and why are they digging?
>>
No. 965894 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965890
The intro to the quest could be interpreted as implying that the mother deserted some battle and fled here, which could mean that all other tozols (assuming there havent been any particularly enterprising individuals that have splintered their faction) may consider us enemies. Since all tozols speak the battle cant from birth, they would need extra layers of encryption to send messages if they think a hostile tozol may intercept.
>>
No. 965932 ID: 094652

While you wait, research the vehicle. See if there are any emergency distress signals that could compromise you, or if a power leak could drain the heat shields early.
>>
No. 965982 ID: 9e3bd6

>>965932
>Beacon
It probably has one, but we would also probably know if it was on.

>Heat shields
I could be wrong, but I think this thing uses more conventional (read: unpowered) means of insulation. I dont think this planet is quite that cold.
>>
No. 966116 ID: 124fab
File 158909543131.gif - (419.43KB , 881x875 , Perkele16.gif )
966116

>>Still snowing?
Yep, the blizzard is still going, which I count as a blessing. Who knows how long it will go for, though?

>>Wait, then dig a hole
I 'dig a tunnel' to the surface.
By which I mean I open the vehicle. It needs a bit of a push to open with snow on it, but the springs are good, and as long as the snow doesn't get too deep, we're safe. I don't want to wait for it to be fully covered though, because this is a fold-open door, not a hatch, and it's hard to tell when 'deep' becomes 'too deep'.

My captive squawks its protests about the sudden biting cold in the warm cockpit. I agree for once, and close it immediately. This is the first time ever I've been this warm, and it is growing on me.

>>Reasons for battle language
>>Known Unknowns, Unknown Unknowns

I've never known battletalk that I can't understand, and there is no rationale that works in my favor. Every implication is bad.
That just means we should treat every tozol as potentially hostile, then. 'If you don't know who your allies are, you don't have allies'.

It would just be me and The WIse One- ergh. Mother.

I wish I could meet other tozols though...
Maybe Mother would have more input on this.

Should we wait longer? Maybe an hour or so?
Or
Should we go for the mountain? Now that we've lost the trail, maybe we won't be leading them to the comm antenna.
Or
Something else? Like retreat to the cave from earlier, or return to the camp and see if they're gone?
>>
No. 966122 ID: b1b4f3

>>966116
If you're sure we lost the trail, go for the mountain.
>>
No. 966124 ID: b34040

Just go as soon as you're sure you've lost your tail. The longer you're out here the higher the risk of discovery. Also realise that if you take you captive to the comm antenna, you can never let him go.
>>
No. 966126 ID: 0c0a56

>>966116
OpSec. Re-blindfold your captive, driving some dummy loops to get his internal compass messed up some more. Head to the comm relay as the first stop. Need to confirm it's not compromised.
>>
No. 966131 ID: 094652

Return to the mountain, they won't follow in this snowstorm.
>>
No. 966133 ID: f98f1e

We can't be sure this vehicle doesn't have a tracker of some kind in it. We shouldn't take it to any location we don't want potentially compromised.

If you really want to check on the beacon, park at a distance and go check it out on foot (and make sure the captive is secure before you leave him in the vehicle). Going back to the cave might be better, especially if you have a place you can lock up the prisoner, but that also ties you down more - you have to be there to feed him and so on. But, if you can learn their language, that could prove to be invaluable later...
>>
No. 966176 ID: f07f0b

>>966116
>shitty tunnel is shit
I kind of assumed the blizzard had buried the vehicle under several feet of snow by now. Of course the style of door the vehicle has would have ruined my plan anyway, so this is moot.

>>966133
Initially, I kind of dismissed the idea of a tracker since this is hardly a military vehicle, but after doing some research I'd say that there is almost definitely some flavor of tracker on this thing (probably anti-theft and/or emergency distress broadcaster). Probably a small box of some sort with no discernible purpose bolted somewhere under the hood, or on the underside. It would not have any wire connections to the rest of the vehicle since it is all self-contained. As it is, it probably is only broadcasting a location without drawing any attention to itself. However if we do try to remove it, it will probably trigger some sort of anti-tampering measure that triggers an alarm on their end. We should go to a sheltered, unimportant location and try to find and remove it. The vehicle is too big of a boon to simply scuttle it in my opinion. The captive probably won't know where it is or even know it exists since that sort of info is not only classified (even for civ corporations) but also irrelevant to anyone that doesn't specifically work with them.
>>
No. 966177 ID: f07f0b

>>966133
Additionally, if we keep the bird, lets keep them somewhere away from our base of operations.
>>
No. 966791 ID: 124fab
File 158961118848.jpg - (1.37MB , 1408x1408 , Perkele17Actual.jpg )
966791

>Mountain
After checking the vehicle for signals, I dig out some of the front snow, then get back inside. The engine turns on, and I pull the snowmobile out of the storm.

It… seems that we’re in the clear for now. I can’t confirm without exposing ourselves.

Nevertheless, I gun it for the mountains. The blizzard lightens up a bit - the inner gullies are shielded from the worst of the storm, but the haze should at least dull our colors.
>>
No. 966792 ID: 124fab
File 158961120643.jpg - (940.79KB , 1600x1600 , PerkelePrequel19.jpg )
966792

>>Find place to remove black box.

I find a snow cave - It's been a long time since I've used this cave. Even with radar off and signals cut, it's best not to bring a vehicle to the comm array.

>>Blindfold captive
I use some of the bindings from the armor, spin him around, and then pull him out of the snowmobile.

>>Black Box, Signals

I don't hear any signals from the vehicle. In the shelter of the snow cave, I take my time to give it a thrice-over. I cannot discern any black box, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

I can feel and hear in a very broad spectrum of EM, among other, non-EM spectra. If it is signalling something, either it's in something I wouldn't notice, or on a time-delay.

Also, I give my spare cloak to the yennik - it's starting to shiver uncontrollably even before we leave the cave. The wind chill up here is fierce, especially in the wake of the blizzard.
>>
No. 966794 ID: 124fab
File 158961163771.jpg - (301.00KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele20.jpg )
966794

After ten minutes of hiking - and several points where I have to haul the captive - we arrive.

This communication array... The weather has not been kind to it, but it is still transmitting. I can feel it as I get closer. It's also putting off some urgent-feeling short-range radio - it must have a message from mother.

The site seems empty, but I keep my gun ready just in case.

Ugh... And after all that warmth in the snowmobile, even I am starting to hate this chill. It cuts to the bone. The cave is insulated, and there are some spots where the rock even breaks zero degrees.

At least the captive stopped stopped shivering. It's just mumbling now. I've had to deal with this for five years - glad to see it can wait. It even has my great coat.

Clear the tunnel? Or check the relay for messages first? Or...?
>>
No. 966799 ID: 3a7feb

If your captive is no longer shivering, they are dying of cold. Its metabolism cannot produce enough heat to compensate for the losses from the environment, even with the great cloak.

Most of these organisms thrive, or at least make do, with an ambient temperature about a quarter of the way from ice to steam. If you want them to remain alive, take them with you in to the cave, build a fire for them to warm themselves near, and hurry. Otherwise, they'll freeze to death shortly, which should be a relatively painless and humane way for your living captive to become a frozen specimen.

Clear the tunnel, preserve your captive's life. After dragging them around all this way, killing your captive by accident just feels... rude. If you're going to kill them, it should be on purpose, because they've been uncooperative.
>>
No. 966800 ID: b1b4f3

>>966794
Check message first.
>>
No. 966802 ID: fa2754

As much as I want to check the message first, we should keep our captive alive. Clear the tunnel.
>>
No. 967472 ID: 7c0903
File 159013439415.jpg - (251.25KB , 1600x1600 , PerkeleUpdate22.jpg )
967472

I descend - I make sure the yennik follows me, who seems eager enough to get out of the wind.

It gets dark very, very quickly - Mother chose this cave for its depth and darkness. Easy to conceal equipment further in.

... And among other hidden things, I feel something further ahead. Something is making noise - and ultrasonic pulses.
>>
No. 967473 ID: 7c0903
File 159013441283.jpg - (533.07KB , 1600x1600 , Perkele21.jpg )
967473

Mode: Mixed low-light + tozol blindsense

Eugh, these things.

They're some of the endemic life in caves. They're nasty, brutish, and not too picky about what they try to eat. Animals, fungi, storage crates, antennae, generators.

These things are resilient, armored, and deceptively quick. Not me-quick... but I would hate for there to be more than one.

They often come in groups of four.

And I'm sure it's heard my captive behind me, who has the good sense to stop when I stop. Unfortunately, I can feel it making some sort of ultrasonic pulse.

Tactics?
>>
No. 967474 ID: b1b4f3

>>967473
Shoot it.
>>
No. 967475 ID: 3a7feb

Shoot it, then eat it.
>>
No. 967476 ID: 3a7feb

Wait. Also: aim for the nerve stem, and put it down for good.
>>
No. 967477 ID: fa2754

>>967473
Make the first shot, aim for eyes and space between the armor plates.
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