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File 159969408181.png - (155.68KB , 800x600 , fp-title.png )
975952 No. 975952 ID: 5de9b9

Documenting the strange.
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No. 975953 ID: 5de9b9
File 159969411251.png - (112.54KB , 800x600 , fp-1.png )

When the Pattern-Originator Starmover was finally ensnared, in a trap of its own devising, few originally cared to know what else it had done in the domain it had seized. Rules older than most entities capable of processing them had been broken. Rules ancient, wise, long-dead thinkers had carefully selected, honed, refined to prevent such disasters as the Blot. Of those that wished the fiercest of punishments for Starmover's transgressions, none would prove feasible, for none had the genius or insight of Starmover enough to even extract it from the fractal labyrinth it forever raged within, incarcerated within its own flawless, inescapable design.
No. 975954 ID: 5de9b9
File 159969412848.png - (699.75KB , 800x600 , fp-2.png )

But the wound on (what we laughably describe as) objective reality was made, and showed no signs of healing. The Blot scarred what once was the Trapezium, and whatever potential once lay dormant was thoroughly rearranged beyond recognition in Starmover's frenzied creation. Natural laws once thought immutable were nudged and cajoled into stranger arrangements, the infinitesimal adjustments spiralling chaotically into newer, unfathomable forms.

With the capture of Starmover, the natural laws begin to reassert themselves within the Blot, as the inevitable tides wear down cliffs, as stars burn and die. The threat of the Blot was contained to itself alone, and near stars could turn without fear. Greater sophoncy regarded this hazardous region with the secure curiosity of those who, having survived the worst of a situation, now considered themselves too wise to fall prey to any of its lingering dangers.

No. 975955 ID: 5de9b9
File 159969414661.png - (668.57KB , 800x600 , fp-3.png )

And so it was that the Shapeless Monarch, looked upon its many partitions and subsections, and split them further and further until an agent of suitably expendable cognitive resource could be extracted. It sent its agents across the Slivertang submoiety, where the light danced in seconds from the Blot. New cities were hewn from dead stone to study it from afar, sophonts migrating in a vast interstellar pilgrimage to this cosmic vantage point. Plans were made, and volunteers chosen.

The partition Crystalline-Resonating-Curve found itself the first since the Starmover to move from outside the Blot to within, and, miraculously, survive.

But within the partition was a barely significant individual known as Glass-Fold-Nine-Circles, who, not being a direct partition of the Shapeless Monarch itself, and thus further expendable, suited Its Formless Majesty all the better.

No. 975956 ID: 5de9b9
File 159969418293.png - (53.43KB , 800x600 , fp-4.png )

Yes, I am Glass-Fold-Nine-Circles, of course. I am [27 years old], a trained xenobiologist, unpaired (and largely uninterested), with no descendants, and my ancestral home was lightyears away before I entered the Blot. I'm not sure "lightyears away" is a concept that makes sense. Crystalline-Resonating-Curve assures me it will figure out a way to leave the Blot by the time I'm prepared to leave, and that is what it's currently focusing on.

My species name is a long serial number, the product of a less than imaginative partition of the Shapeless Monarch some dozens of generations before my time. We called ourselves the Seekers before we learned that name had been taken by several tens of thousands of kinds before us. We also bore the brunt of a lot of mockery about our thinking a desire to find things was in any way unique to us, so now we just use the serial number if required and ignore the matter entirely otherwise.

I am the first thinking, living being in the Blot since the departure of its creator. Well, to come from outside it. Excluding Crystalline-Resonating-Curve, I suppose.
All that aside, I am here with charged with a simple task, and one that could reward me so well it would free me from obligation of ever having to work again. If I do it right.

Many have theorised that life exists within the Blot, either forged from new, theoretically-impossible physical interactions, or intentionally crafted by the Starmover as part of its inscrutable folly.

I am here to explore and document the life within this anomalous region, reunite with Crystalline-Resonating-Curve, and through it present my findings to the Shapeless Monarch. I will be rewarded for the insights I deliver.

I have some basic survival training for hostile wilderness, but I do not know how much of it will help me here. I am hoping my rations will hold out for the duration of this expedition, because I dread to think what could happen if I tried consuming any of the matter here.
No. 975957 ID: 5de9b9
File 159969421322.png - (113.65KB , 800x600 , fp-5.png )

Right now my findings are that it's very cold. The picots in my body are stabilising my temperature, but it's still mildly uncomfortable. I'm also being sparsely coated in fine crystals. They're melting when they touch me, but they don't appear to be water. It's so close to snow, but snow doesn't tend to be blue. Whatever this substance is appears to be non-toxic, and I'm not feeling any irritation, but that could be the picobarrier. I don't really understand how it works. It lets my fur through, and insulates, yet as far as I can tell it feels like I'm protected by a thin film of what might as well be magic. I can't even feel it on my skin.

I currently have in my possession, in my subspace storage pouch, some rations, as well as the collapsible lightvessel that brought me here. Also my journal, with which I will record my findings. A physical journal, just in case anything were to happen to me. Also, an omnisurveyor, which will let me get more information on whatever I find.

There was genuine fear that the more objects I brought into the Blot, the likelier something would go wrong. So I have only the essentials for my expedition. Food, shelter, journal, analysis tool, picobarrier. Fortunately, my biology can be sustained by the water in my rations alone.

Hm. I can reconfigure the lightvessel into a shelter at any time, so setting up camp immediately is not necessary. I suppose I could disconnect its ansible and report my safe landing to Crystalline-Resonating-Curve, or I could... start wandering, looking for signs of life.
No. 975958 ID: f56a2b

Report to base.
No. 975959 ID: 1ed92d

Report safe landing and make note of this report in your journal.

Examine substance falling from sky more closely. Is it the solid form of water?
No. 975960 ID: 0d6409

Let’s make it a short report, outside of the blue not-snow and cold there’s nothing to really say. If anything ask Is there a a preferred direction we should wander? and what direction they’re going, so we don't go In the opposite way.
No. 975965 ID: 094652

Set up a marker or a flag. You never know...
No. 975966 ID: b1b4f3

Report safe landing, and set up the omnisurveyor to see if you can find any traces of something more interesting than blue snow and rocks.
No. 975969 ID: 0e149a


best to let crystalline-resonating-curve know that you've arrived safe and sound. maybe mention the blue stuff too, see what it has to say.

also, get out your omnisurveyor and start omnisurveying the stuff around you. maybe you can learn more about the weird snowy stuff!
No. 975990 ID: 3a6d43

Report safe landing and surrounding conditions.
The blue... is it liquid oxygen in some allotrope? Just how cold is it out here?
No. 976245 ID: ed202d
File 160002242330.png - (254.50KB , 800x600 , fp-6.png )

> report safe landing
I reach into my subspace pouch, find the ansible attached to the lightvessel, and gently detach it, pulling it back to me.
I join it to myself, receiver into ears, subvocal microphone to my throat, base unit resting on my head where my jaw meets my skull.

[Landing made, vessel collapsed and stowed. Everything is proceeding well. Current location is, well, cold, blue, and has some form of exotic precipitation.]
[Acknowledged,] rings the chiming, hollow voice of Crystalline-Resonating-Curve. Audio signals are not at the top of its preferred means of communication, but I don't think the technology for direct neural stimulation exists for my species. Too few of us to warrant mass-production, with my kind numbering maybe two hundred altogether, and the civilisations that are capable of producing the technology don't produce at such paltry scale.
[How are you up there? Do we have an exit plan yet?]
[Still working on it. Have you finished collecting data already? That was much faster than I expected for a proteinaceous singleton.]
[Pardon? Is that an insult?]
[It is a literal description. You are meatbound and singular. We do not typically expect such fast results from indivisible meatminds. Unless, of course, you have not finished the data collection, but you would not be asking about exit plans unless you concluded your task here, correct?]
[I'm just trying to understand where we both are right now with our respective tasks. You don't need to be so cold and distant about it.]
[I am both of those things, in both the literal and figurative domains of meaning. Do not contact me again unless you are finished here.]
[Or in an emergency, yes? Surely?]
[I shall repeat. Do not contact me again unless you are finished here. The dangers here are completely unknown. Do not jeopardise us with inane prattle. End transmission.]

The receiver goes silent. I groan to myself, disconnect the ansible, and stash it away again, pulling the omnisurveyor out in its stead. Crystalline-Resonating-Curve was far more cordial before the mission began. I suspect the stress of this unfamiliar situation might be getting to it.
Or maybe it partitioned itself so many times it no longer had the processing power to put up a friendly, polite facade, and this is how it actually viewed me from the start. Or maybe it is right and the mere act of trying to talk to it could suddenly lead to something in this space seeking to cause us harm.

Well, whatever. It was made very clear to me by many, including Curve, that I'd be on my own here for the most part.
No. 976246 ID: ed202d
File 160002245727.png - (452.61KB , 800x600 , fp-7.png )

> use omnisurveyor
I hold the omnisurveyor up, reading off the screen. Temperature is 248K, windspeed is 4 km/h, and the atmosphere is 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and then a bunch of error codes.

Okay. It can't be some exotic oygen allotrope snowing down then, the temperature is far too high. The temperature readout makes me wince, though. I'm fortunate to only feel a little too cold. Without the thermal protection I have I'd be freezing to death right now.

I point it at the ground. Strange. It gives me structural readouts suggestion the ground beneath my feet is composed of multiple laminate layers of varying polymer sheets. Which would suggest ground with absolutely no traction, yet the surface feels rough. And cold. I was told the picobarrier would make shoes unnecessary but I'm having some doubts.

I point the omnisurveyor at the river nearby. It gives me more readings. The content is an aqueous solution. 92% water, 8%... another error code.

Alright. Less than helpful. I tap a few buttons and check the error logs and-- unexpected polarity? Unconventional charge values? Hm. I'm not a theoretical physicist, but it looks like these readings are suggesting... no, that's not possible, if that were true it'd affect more than just the surroundings, I'd probably have had all the molecules in my body detonate or disperse or something. Unrecognised antimatter elements? How is that possible? If frozen antimatter is falling onto me... no, it has to be a problem with the surveyor. There's undoubtedly something not right with whatever chemical is involved, but I don't think it could possibly be that drastic.

I'll make a note of it in my journal later, someone more knowledgable in these fields than myself ought to follow this up.

It feels like the snowfall is getting heavier.
No. 976247 ID: ed202d
File 160002246878.png - (256.08KB , 800x600 , fp-8.png )

> mark location
I don't have much of anything to mark this location, and trying to search for any rocks under the snow reveals the surface to be rough but otherwise eerily devoid of debris. Just snow. I fall back into the snow, wriggle around in it a bit, and hope that it works out for now.

I retrieve my journal and wander onwards.

For a while.

Then, I suddenly realise I'm not alone. Through the fog of snow, I see something emerge, and it immediately freezes up. I think it saw me.

I also freeze up, realising I can get a good view of the creature if I don't make any further movements and startle it away. It looks like it might be seconds from darting further into the fog.

I slowly move my journal and discreetly take a few images. I make my observations. Bilaterally symmetrical, quadrupedal, covered in feathers, glittering in the snow haze, with multiple strange limbs sprouting along its sides, transclucent flaps running alongside it. Its bulging eyes regard me with caution. Its body would come up to half my height, but, eerily, with the length of its neck, it stares eye to eye with me, and I very slowly turn my head to no longer inadvertantly challenge it. But it remains frozen in one place.

I should name this creature, as if I let the denizens of the Shapeless Kingdom name anything they'll just give it a reference number and consider the task done.
No. 976251 ID: 1ed92d

Call the mysterious being a Snowsprite, because this weird stuff around you looks like snow!

Attempt to make contact. Raise one hand above your head and stretch the other out to one side.

Also, guess we know why Crystalline-Resonating-Curve was sent to this nightmare dimension. It probably gave another high order lifeform the cold shoulder.
No. 976260 ID: 094652

Keep the name pending until you get a first impression of its behavior to others.

For now, draw a line in the sand - literally - and see how it reacts. Then try to feed it something.
No. 976263 ID: b1b4f3

Harpuian Freezer.

What self-defense measures do you have against potentially hostile fauna or flora? You've confirmed that fauna exist. Though it remains to be seen what it eats. Optimally you should try to avoid startling it until it's used to your presence, then follow it at a distance to observe its habits. In reality your presence will still affect its behavior, so it would be best to completely hide yourself somehow while observing wildlife.
Also you're going to want to find a dead specimen at some point, for dissection.
No. 976286 ID: 470289

Do you have anything like scientific nomenclature? Like a latin name or something. Could call it, '4-legged snow thing' in that language.
No. 976287 ID: 663062

"Snowsprite" feels reasonably compatible with the names we've seen so far anyway.
No. 976291 ID: cdabe3

Snowsprite is a good name.

For now, just observe it. You have no idea if this thing is friendly or not, and it’s better not to risk antagonizing another creature accidentally.
No. 976292 ID: b1b4f3

I think "snowsprite" is terribly nondescriptive since it's not sprite-like and this isn't actually snow.
No. 976305 ID: 36784c

>Harpuian Freezer
No. 976315 ID: 3fd119

I agree with this, see if you can benignly prompt it to act first. "Snowsprite" is a good name in a vacuum, but future explorers might find the title dangerously misleading if this creature would have been better named "Barbel Ravager".
No. 976376 ID: ed202d
File 160012156498.png - (217.57KB , 800x600 , fp-9.png )

> draw a line in the snow
I slowly reach down and draw a line in the snow, and the moment I make contact with the ground, I flinch as it darts off into the distance.

I suppose it was more timid than I expected. Off into the horizon it goes, bounding far faster than I could ever run after it.


I tentatively, and I do mean tentatively, register its species name as "Snowsprite", because it seems to flit away like one at the slightest movement.

While fruitlessly trudging after it, I contemplate how things may have differed if it were hostile instead of skittish. The only weaponry I have to defend myself is a cutting beam I could decouple from the lightvessel, which itself is more of a utility tool that could be repurposed. I'm fortunate that it happens to be a modal construct, with one mode drawing power from the lightvessel's catcher drive, and the portable mode making use of light capture and a resilient battery.

I get further and further away from my snow marker, which I realise is fading rapidly, and as light dims I decide to abandon the search.
Off into the distance I see faint signs in the sky that this is not simply some alien world, as vast but unfathomably distant structures reveal the "stars" of the sky to be strange, flickering lights, between my eyes and the other surfaces inside the Blot.

I retrieve the collapsed lightvessel and shake its films out into its octahedral configuration, pointing the bow vertex skyward, as the rear of the ship first sinks into the sand and then purposefully digs further down.
No. 976377 ID: ed202d
File 160012157919.png - (194.99KB , 800x600 , fp-10.png )

I enter. It's a cosy room, most of the contents of the ship rotated to be parallel with the ground. It's about large enough for a small cushioned seat and another interface film into my subspace storage bubble. I fish out a ration bar and tear off the film.

It's so nice to be in a warm room. The windows remind me of the cold dark outside, but in here, the temperature is adjusted based on a learned profile of my body's responses to temperature fluctuations. All very sophisticated. It would be cutting edge for my kind's grasp on technology, but it's apparently as effortless as homeostasis for the Shapeless Kingdom. I suppose given their nature it might very well be the same principles.

I put away the thoughts that I'm resting inside an artificial body, as that feels less comforting and more dread-inducing.

I chomp into the ration bar, which is as hard as a brick. It cracks, and the taste is vaguely meaty and savory. Not in a very satisfying way. I didn't realise the first thing I'd miss here the most would be hot, fresh made meals.

I spend some time trying to chew through the shattering ration, scooping pieces of it off myself, while writing some of my thoughts down in the free space of my journal. My thoughts and observations of my first day in the Blot. I'm surprised, so far, that despite the strangeness of the snow, it's otherwise conforming more or less to an environment I understand. I had fears it would be an alien vortex of incomprehensible sensation, flensing my understanding of the world around me until all I became was gibbering response to unending stimuli.

However, I should be careful. Assuming that the Blot may remain this mundane could prove my undoing. As the creation of a higher power, assuming anything about this place could be wrong.

When I first volunteered, my father warned me to be very, very careful, and to always be respectful when in the domain of a god, especially one as quick to anger as Starmover. I said that the higher civilisations thought the idea that Starmover was a god was atavistic superstition. They told me Starmover was simply a being of great and terrible power. My father nodded, and then, honestly confused, asked me to explain the difference.

I couldn't think of an answer.

I'm still not sure there is one.

I finish my ration bar, and the roar of snow outside puts me into a troubled sleep.
No. 976378 ID: ed202d
File 160012159932.png - (238.06KB , 800x600 , fp-11.png )

Day 2

I wake and the snow is still roaring. It's lighter outside. I eat another ration bar. Still plenty left. This one is about as difficult to eat, and has some fruit flavour I can't place. Vaguely floral, too.

I begrudgingly exit the camp, the chill biting before the picobarrier and internal picots kick in to warm me up, and decouple the cutting beam from the exterior of the lightvessel.

I hear a sudden staccato burst of chimes that reminds me of Crystalline-Resonating-Curve, but I turn around and spy a creature staring at me from a small distance away.
The same noises are made, but louder and harsher. I watch glowing fluid ooze from the creature's... snout? Mouth? Head tip, and the... decidedly angular protrusion from its back that looks like a crude signal antenna suddenly starts sparking and crackling violently.

This one does not seem friendly, and as I freeze up, I remember I'm currently holding a cutting beam projector.

I could go back into my camp and hide, or flee and hide elsewhere, or fire the beam as a warning or maybe something else, but decision paralysis leaves me rooted to the ground as it takes a step towards me, harshly chiming and crackling.

What a start to my day.
No. 976379 ID: 736b7e

Make a sweeping cut through the ground in front of it.
No. 976380 ID: 1ed92d

A warning shot should suffice. You can always just kill it if it feels antagonized.

Also, in spite of being a strange, artificial world refusing to abide by physical law, this place seems fairly rooted in 'cause' and 'effect', for the most part. At least it follows temporal principles of logic!

....If we make it out of this, we need to remind the higher beings that it's difficult to ingest nutrition in the form of shrapnel.
No. 976384 ID: b1b4f3

This creature is making a noise with increasing volume and displaying a threat while moving closer slowly. I interpret that as it's territorial, but doesn't see you as prey. Running away might work but you'd leave the shelter unattended. Similarly, hiding in the shelter will waste time and risks it being damaged by this creature, though that is unlikely.
Yell at it to stay back and fire a warning shot. That should make things clear to it.
No. 976385 ID: b1b4f3

...oh god, there's another possibility. Courtship display.
No. 976387 ID: 7dbf0e

Hm. More humanoid. Leaking and sparking. Obvious danger signs, but we already know we can presume little here. Still, this reeks of hostility.

Take a cue from the last encounter. Draw a line, then retreat, still facing the thing. If this is intelligent it might react to an attempt at communicating, however primitive. And if it crosses the line, ignoring it completely, you know it’s not concerned with such trappings.

This could be a threat display, as well, trying to chase you away, off its turf. You’ll know if it attempts to close the distance, or if it lingers in the periphery.

If it does close the distance, do not hesitate to try to cut a line in front of it for, stronger emphasis, or cut it itself if it ignores even that.
No. 976389 ID: 36784c

Ha! It'll be funny if that thing really is trying to court Glass-Fold-Nine-Circles! XD
No. 984324 ID: fa2754

Look big, shout real loud and stomp on the ground. There's your display. If it doesn't back down, get ready to cut it down.
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