City of the Lost (Open Ended)

On the flat-lands of Soteria a Mesoamerican looking pyramid appears from thin air. At the top of the pyramid is a portal 200 feet wide. Large amount of energy would emanate from the portal to alert both Nimbus Base and Blazing Umbra Station. Presumably both the station and the base would send people to investigate the anomaly. The pyramid is 2000 feet wide but only 500 feet tall not including the gate on top. The entire structure appears to be made of stone with the gate having
as yet to be seen mix of Nahua and Quiche pictographs. A dry wind full of pollution can be detected coming out of the gate but beyond that nothing has come through. The gate itself is circular and also made of stone with glowing blue pictographs on it. The portal appears as a flat polished black surface.

Within an hour or so, a Puddle Jumper is dispatched from Nimbus Station toward the pyramid, scanning continuously. Having never seen a structure splice in before, they are… Concerned.

Sorry, short post, I know. Just trying to get the ball rolling.

I guess I’ll help pushing the ball.

Among the passengers, Nine was on board the Puddle Jumper. She was one of the volunteers to follow the call to join and assist with the investigation of the unknown structure.

Seated on her bench in the bay behind the cockpit, she peeked past the pilots to look out of the cockpit window, observing and viewing the pyramid as the the pilots had the craft approach to collect scans. She had her drone Omega sit on her lap and kept it in place by placing her hands on top of it while she waited in silence.

Besides the drone, she had little in terms of external equipment on her person - a Tricorder was affixed on her belt, the communicator was strapped to her wrist and her blindfold. The blindfold was effectively the equivalent of a Ocular Head Up Display, and just as its Solas Tempus counterpart, the odd accessory can interface with her communicator or Omega to share map or sensor information with others.

Kana sat with almost inhuman stillness, with no sign of life but the slow rise and fall of her chest – significantly slower than a normal human’s – and the occasional movement of her eyes. She sat upright and alert, with military stiffness and control, her hands patiently folded in her lap. Her helmet was on, but open; had it been closed, she might easily have been mistaken for a spare set of body armour some lark had set up in a sitting position.

By now she was used to travelling to jobs in puddle jumpers. The Nimbus Station commanders were understandably wary of letting her fly into an unknown situation in what was effectively a heavy weapons platform, given her dangerous volatility. They were uncomfortable enough letting her carry her familiar plasma bolt pistol, due to its destructive power and lack of any stun setting, but had at least settled on the compromise that she would also carry a Type-2 phaser… and that she would use that first unless and until the need for lethal force became apparent. But a machine calibre? That was a bridge too far. Kana may have been very handy in dangerous situations, but that was not a good enough excuse to let her walk into those situations in what amounted to a tank.

Scythe was monitoring, though, from orbit. At a word from Kana, he would hammer drop through the mesosphere at hypersonic speeds like the finger of an angry god. The shockwaves of his entry would probably cause disruptive upper-atmosphere weather patterns across most of this half of the globe. Knowing he was up there, watching over her helped, but she really wished she could be in the comforting, familiar safety of his cockpit.

Ah well, she had to work with the tools she was given. Such was the life of a soldier.

For the first time since leaving Nimbus Station, Kana turned her head and spoke to the other occupants of the puddle jumper.

“So?” she asked, her voice modulated slightly by the helmet. “What is it?”

I will leave who is in the back of the Puddle Jumper vague for now so others can also join.

The copilot said, without thinking, in a disbelieving voice, “I have no idea.” looking at it and marveling, “We’re detecting, pollution coming out of that portal.” he said with a frown as the jumper looks for a place to set down, an opening, something to begin a study with.

@darktrooper501, let me know what scans show?

Scans would show that the pyramid is made apparently from limestone, It looks like it was recently constructed as the stone is still bright white. The stones that make up the structure show no weathering nor tool marks not even on the pictographs. Additionally the stones do not have mortar nor any binding agent to hold them together, instead they are arraigned in a way that allows them to remain structurally sound without mortar. The steps of the pyramid are only slightly larger than what should be comfortable for walking. Only one set of steps exist on the pyramid and they lead directly to the gate. Scans also reveal the same for the gate with notable fact that the stones, without a binding agent or support structure, held together in a circle against everything known to structural engineering.

Nothing would register from the scan of the portal itself, as if it didn’t exist. The mirror black color is observed from both sides with only the front side having wind come through. What can be noticed is just as the wind is blowing from the portal at times it will blow into the portal. Implying it is a two way opening. Analysis of the air from the portal would show an atmosphere extremely low in humidity and high in particulate matter from ashes, fossil fuel exhaust, and traces of radioactive dust. In addition it would be high in carbon dioxide, mercury, and ozone. These pollutants would be sufficiently high to warrant for the use of a respirator for anyone within 30 feet of the portal.

In the back of the Puddle Jumper, there would be Cody, who volunteered to join after he got a notification on his PADD about the event. He was leaning back in his chair, well at least as far as the solid metal wall would let him. He was just relaxing before anything crazy on this journey happens, relaxing his body as much as the metal wall would let him as he closed his eyes until something sudden happened.

He had been really busy with self-teaching himself about the engineering on this ship, it just intrigued him so much, how the tech had gone so far ahead in only 200 years. He had been taking so many notes on various pieces of technology and vehicles on the station, it had intrigued him a bit too much. So much in fact to the point where his old job’s schedule on his planet was nothing compared to now, he was practically addicted to the learning.But every once in a while, Cody had wanted to do something else in his life, something else that would be more adventurous and worth-talking over than “I took notes all day and ate ramen for all of my meals,” which was most of his days in his room, aside from the obvious sleep and hygiene requirements. This was his chance to do something more in his life, so he took it.

But besides that, he was in the Puddle Jumper, and was relaxing, enjoying the calm before the storm. He was listening, strangely, to a wide mix of music, from something calm to something pretty upbeat, yet he stayed relaxed throughout the songs. But, no one would be able to tell that, his earbuds aren’t leaking any sound. Someone would have to have heightened hearing to process the noises coming from his earbuds. He had his PADD in between his pants on the backside, it being covered by his shirt. The exact same thing went for his trusty Desert Eagle, only it was on the opposite side of his waist.

His snake was care-freely slithering around his body, since it had nothing better to do, no one beyond human to stare at, no one interesting to touch, nothing. It was honestly just doing that for attention since it was bored. Whenever it slithered along Cody’s back, it looked to anyone next to him like it was phasing between the walls since Cody was leaning against it, and it was. Stands don’t touch physical objects unless it allows them to, that was always the rules for them.

But enough detail, all that’s important is Cody is relaxing in his seat and staying silent listening to music

Of course, where there was trouble, there was a certain Mister Ravis, who sat slumped on a bench in the back of the Puddle Jumper, trying his hardest not to fall asleep as the shuttle rocked around gently. He dressed for success and was geared for the combat lifesaver role, with a secondary focus in being an assaultman, taking a smaller MDRX-23 compressed positron beam cannon attached underneath his commando phaser rifle instead of a Mark 1. It was still unbalanced, though, as the module made the already front-heavy weapon even more forward-leaning.

He sighed, tilting his head up to look at the ceiling. Unlike before, his head was completely uncovered; on his trip back from Sirius, he had most of his valuable belongings in his ship. This included old gear from his tenure in the Libertonian Marine Corps, and so, wishing to use something familar to him, he decided to bring that along for this mission. In typical Marine fashion, however, he wore only what he needed: chest plate, chest rig, kneepads, boots, left bracer. His helmet, stylized with a faded white underscore, lay in his lap, as did his secondary weapon, a customized “Commando” type 3 phaser, with skeleton stock and slick paint job. Curiously, he wasn’t wearing a bracer on his right forearm, a habit picked up during training ops with his battalion. As he was right-hand dominant, his shooting stance involved the right arm back and the left forwards, tucking in both as well as he could. As his left arm would be over center mass, the bracer added extra protection to where he was statistically most likely to be hit, assuming that he survived it at all.

It was silent in the cabin, perhaps a little too silent, but he didn’t blame anyone for it. The leadup to an operation was always the worst part. Slowly, he rolled his neck right, tilting his head down and reaching up to wipe some grime out of his eyes with a gloved hand. Right now, it was time to hurry up and wait.

Standing in the Puddle Jumper with them Cyro let out a heavy sigh, it was not abnormal for him to attend missions these days though he was wondering if it was becoming a bad habit. His eyes scanned the transport he knew most of the people here and those he didn’t he didn’t really care to ask such things were somewhat pointless in his mind, at the end of the day he was only curious about discovering more about the events that went on in this verse and what he could take from them.

With the silence in the cabin being somewhat depressing in his eyes he simply let the two AI programs within his person begin to converse, simply letting there random chatter about the possibilities of mass energy conversion fill the cabin. He wore his normal gear his combat arms coated by CorvUS cloaking and his armour not yet unfolded onto his person, such things were not needed at this time and it was pointless getting worked up for no reason.

The pilots relayed the information from the sensor scan… “That’s a lot of pollution coming out of that portal.” The copioot remakred after the full sensor report was given. “We’re trying to locate a place to set down near the top. Looks like while you’re there you should look for a way to shut down that portal before it pollutes the planet.”. Other than that the two men were silent, they were just pilots their job was to get the team there and get them out. “We’ve got some standard gear back there including one respirators for those that need it.” The pilot said.

Is there a place for the he Jumper to set down @darktrooper501?

The place where the pyramid appeared has plenty of space for the puddle jumper to land. Since it is on the flat lands there should be 5-6 kilometers of open flat grassland around the entire pyramid. Enough land to allow a small lab to be setup.

“Alright boys and girls, it looks like we’re going to have to set down at the base of the pyramid. But we’re going to do a complete circle and visual survey first.” The copilot days… The jumper circles around the structure slowly a holographic display of the pyramid appears in the back where everyone can see it.

While the Puddle Jumper was still circling around the structure, Nine studied the architecture of the pyramid in the meantime, remaining on her seat to look over the holographic display that showed up in the back. She found it curious that there were no tool marks on the material, nor there was the usage of mortal or any other type of binding agent in the construction of the pyramid and even the portal gate itself.

Especially the latter was puzzling to her. Despite its primitive appearance, it occurred to her that, whoever built the pyramid, knew what they were doing. Keeping in consideration that it appears to be erected relatively recently, in addition to the detail that it is a two-way portal, she began to wonder. She asked many things:

Was it hollow? Did it contain hidden technology? Did it have control elements? What was beyond the portal? Could it be some kind of invitation? Would she finally be able to meet a advanced civilisation on the other side that’s still thriving? Or at least anything that isn’t just remains.

GHOST-type AGI like her were naturally curious beings, just like humans actually. Maybe a bit more. She always kept her mind open to unknown or new things, even though her otherwise emotionless exterior wouldn’t necessarily give her interest in these things right away. As a matter of fact, it was hard to tell if she was even looking at the hologram. She typically keeps her eyes covered by the blindfold, making it hard to tell what her eyes are trained on - it shouldn’t be called a blindfold, it doesn’t even do what the name suggests. The android can see through it just fine. It just looks like a strip of black cloth she tied around her head.

Aside from the purpose of gathering details, she also did this to pass the time since there was this awkward silence in the craft. She would have sparked a conversation herself, however to those who knew her, she wasn’t known to be the talkative type and rarely has the urge to speak up unless it is something factual. Thus, she had no reason to break her silence until something caught her attention worth mentioning.

Eventually she let her eyes wander over the other people in the shuttle to see who was there. Looks like there some familiar faces. She knew Cyro and Tal - Cody and Kana only marginally, if not at all. She threw a fleeting glance at each of them to take in their features.

“Pollution,” Kana repeated, frowning. “Please tell me our job here is not to clean up garbage.”

But apparently the primary mission was going to be to shut the portal down. The pollution it was spewing out was of little concern to Kana. Even without her suit, she would probably be able to survive anything that an unmodified human with nothing more than a respirator could. But she could understand why a pollution spewing portal would be a concern.

“If our mission is to shut the portal down,” Kana commented, “we might not have enough ordinance on this craft to do the job fully. Perhaps an orbital strike would be more effective.” Clearly Kana’s idea of shutting the portal down was not in line with what the Federation officers had in mind.

The copilot actually looked back at Kana at this, “Orbital strike?” he said dryly, “That…” the pilot and he exchanged looks, “Is one method.” and then a COM came in from Captain D’Amico… His voice came over the speakers clearly, “We’ve been studying the architectural… Curiosities about the structure, your mission is to gain entry to the structure, gather information, see if you can determine what it is and what it might be for as well as how it got here and perhaps why. You are also tasked with attempting to shut down the portal at the top of the structure. We don’t wish to destroy it or damage it unless we have to. If this is a building spliced in randomly, as most of you were, then it could be an important scientific discovery. If it is something else, then we’d like to know how it got here and why. Any questions?”

Well, Cody couldn’t really respond to that, considering he couldn’t hear the man over his music. But soon after he finished, the last sone in his playlist was reaching its final chourus. It fades out after another 30 seconds, and the playlist has ended, 64 songs in total played from when he heard the announcement of thr mission to now. As it finished he sighed through his nose, “I don’t think I should play the whole thing again. We might be getting there soon” Cody thinks to himself as he opened his eyes and unplugged his earbuds from his PADD and wrapped them up before putting them in his pocket

Meanwhile the snake had just slithered itself down to his right leg sompletely and was beginning to slither back up to his torso. And also, while Cody was putting his earbuds away, he noticed the woman, or so he thought, with a blindfold staring at him. Or was she? Was she even blind? She had a blindfold on, but her head is turned to me… Did she hear my snake while the music played and she’s just focusing on it moving around… while still not being able to see? Well, Cody was lost, so he might as well see what really was up with the woman. He put his earbuds in his pocket and decided to move seats over to her. He grabbed his toolbox from under his seat and got up. He walked over to Nine and decided to sit next to her (let’s just say there’s space for him to sit)
“Excuse me Miss, but I saw that uhhh… you were staring at me? I couldn’t really tell because of your… blindfold…” Cody didn’t want to make it awkward in case she really was blind. After his second sentence he decided to awkwardly sigh, he thinks he’s pushing the conversation too far already

Nine arched an eyebrow towards Kana as she made her suggestion to shut down the portal with an orbital strike, silently questioning it. Well, it was… efficient, a bit too destructive for the android’s taste, however. Raising her eyebrow was a meaningless gesture. It was hidden by the blindfold anyways - in the end it appeared like she was turning her head to her to listen to what she said. She had an neutral expression on her face. As she wanted to comment on it, she soon would be interrupted by Captain D’Amico’s incoming transmission.

Hearing D’Amico, she diverted her gaze to Cody and his peculiar snake in the meantime. Stands were something unfamiliar to her. She wasn’t sure what it was. It could phase through matter - was it a ghost? Do ghost exist? She learned early on that supernatural and paranormal entities were no strangers in this universe. During the stay on the ship, she took note of the fact that she was apparently not the only person in the group that listens to music. She could hear the music just fine from her seat. She herself wore a a pair of headphones around her neck. As D’Amico concluded with a question, she answered with a plain, speaking into the communicator. “No questions from my side.”

Cody still had Nine’s attention when he stood up to change places. She saw him carry the toolbox. Another engineer? Seems so. She didn’t care when he took a seat down next her. Her head was slightly tilted towards him.

“I noticed your serpent”, she replied, implying she was indeed looking in his direction. “And your music.” She didn’t intend to elaborate further. She’s here to research, not to chat.

Cody’s eyebrows raise in confusion. She noticed the snake? Through the blindfold? And she heard his music too, was it too loud? Cody slid his toolbox under his seat and fixed his position
"Oh, you noticed my snake… so you’re not blind? Then how do you see through your blindfold? Unless it just made a loud sound, but I would have heard it… And my music, it was too loud?" Cody had made sure he had his music quiet enough so no one could hear it

“No, I am not blind”, the woman answered. Her attention was already somewhere else. Where? One could only hazard a guess. But her head was facing the rest of the room again, likely eyeing the rest of the group. She wasn’t doing this as a result of disinterest in Cody. She was simply multitasking, keeping her attention on the holographic display and the others, and of course Cody as well.

She continued to speak to him, “The blindfold is made of an E-textile which permits unobstructed vision for me. It’s only called that way because of aesthetics. Function-wise it behaves like a visor.” She looked at him again, “And the volume of your music was well within acceptable levels. I was merely curios of your music and the snake.”

“Oh that sounds really interesing. I might need to research about that later…” Cody comments towards what Nine said about her blindfold
"And thanks for telling me my music volume was fine, and my snake…" Cody said before he was cut off by him noticing Nine checking everyone else out. His voice sounded like he was going to say something interesting about his snake. Most likely that it was a stand and it had a special ability. But he noticed that Nine was checking everyone else out, so he thought she was done talking to him. He continued on with a now neutral tone, and the shift in voice is clear
"…it’s not that special, just a pet of mine that’s really clingy. I’ll leave you to whatever now"
And with that, Cody leans back in his chair and had his head leabed back so it’s diagonally facing the opposite corner of the ceiling