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Old 12-11-2010, 02:28 AM
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Scout

“It is a comet,” Eyawng said, with unwarranted confidence and a 'that settles it' tone of voice. The others looked at him doubtfully but remained quiet. Ngeytė'aysey, an elder whose long memory and obstinacy had proven critical to many of the clan's past decisions, raised a questioning hand.

“I have seen many comets. This does not resemble any of them.” There was a murmured chorus of agreement from those who would not otherwise have been brave enough to disagree with Eyawng. The future Olo'eyktan was notoriously short tempered.

“The tails of comets always fly outward from the bright sun,” the elder continued, illustrating this statement with a gesture that involved his own tail. It was true, many had seen comets, and those who hadn't remembered the stories of those who had. Some discussion followed. There seemed to be two kinds of comets; those that grew brighter and then dimmed, and those that remained bright for longer periods and could be sighted almost as regularly as the small spheres that attended Polyphemus. Often the latter kind would move very close to Polyphemus and be transformed into a string of smaller comets, a bit like certain kinds of fruit. Sometimes these strings would fly into Polyphemus itself and leave vast, dark markings like hooded eyes. It was part of the lore of this clan that the Tsahėk's interpretation of such marks would foretell whether the hunting would prove successful in future seasons.

Eyawng grew impatient. How unseemly it was for these old fools to blather on about such useless ethereal things in front of the future Olo'eyktan! It's a comet like any other! Why don't people concern themselves with significant matters? He glanced impulsively over at Nayral. She ignored him as she always did, looking across from the craggy hilltop to neighbouring Hometree. Hometree was taller, of course, but the bare hill provided a good unobstructed view for this small party of skywatchers.

Why did they bring me out here? It's going to take me ages to get that fire pit to the right temperature again. If only these idiots were capable of understanding what I'm working on...

He looked up. The useless comet was still there. It was a sharp little blue-white line, a scar on the skin of the night.

***

“You know, my great-great-grandfather saw Scout set off back in 2090, just before he died. Astonishing really. He was 120 years old.” Steve Laplace paused to chew another mouthful of processed and flavoured algal strands and watched his guest's expression. “The two Voyager spacecraft launched when he was about 8 or so, in 1977. Between them they had completed the first effective reconnaissance of the outer solar system by the time he was 20.”

Belinda Damask played the pedant. She may have been the CEO's daughter but she had a real intellectual curiosity that belied her uncompromising public image.

“But the Voyagers weren't truly the first were they? There were the Pioneers, the first to reach Jupiter and Saturn. And the Voyagers didn't reach any of the transneptunian bodies.”

Steve wondered what she looked like naked. “Yeah, I was getting to that stuff. My point is that we had our first close up look at all these worlds within a very short timeframe. There has been no other period like it”

“Until now.”

“Right. Scout is really going to be a game changer. We're going to go from this-” he moved a finger. An image familiar worldwide flashed up on the nearby screens, a circle a mere twenty pixels across. White and blue and green blocks. Clouds and seas and foliage.
“to having a full-up orbital and surface mission.”


Belinda was irritated. Didn't he realize everyone was excited about this? That everyone was waiting for Scout's arrival? This world had LIFE, for f***'s sake. She guessed that it might be proving difficult for Steve to adjust. Planetary scientists were used to dealing with esoteric subjects like transverse faulting on some godforsaken icy lump around Neptune. Moving from that to information from Pandora was going to be difficult. He and his colleagues across almost every scientific discipline were basically going to have the whole world watching over their shoulders. Data from the cameras was going to be freely available to all as soon as it arrived. Data from the other instruments would remain proprietary for six months to allow the instrument teams to get their papers finished without being scooped, but there would be plenty of people making guesses based on the imagery alone.

She decided to play along with the flow of the story. She figured Steve had some kind of narrative worked out. Might as well let the guy run with it, patronizing as it was. “So this is the first time this time this has happened since the Voyagers?”

“Yeah. Before Voyager, planetary moons like Jupiter's Europa were just little blobs in telescopes just like our images of Pandora. Voyager turned them into worlds. It was a sort of golden age. But this... this is going to be so much more.”

“Hah, yeah, you're not kidding!” she said. “You know, my daughter's teacher got the class to draw pictures of what they think Scout might find.”
She showed Steve her daughter's picture. It was a

Last edited by ISV Venture Star; 12-12-2010 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 12-11-2010, 01:21 PM
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I think this is pretty cool! But I should add that it touches on several things personally. Like the one character talking about an ancestor being alive at various landmarks of space exploration. MY grandmother knew the Wright Brothers when she was a little girl but lived long enough to see men land on the moon. And then my older brother was a science reporter who was on hand at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the all the info from the Viking and Voyager probes came back to Earth.

But if you can make a story out of this, I'd say go for it!
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottWashburn View Post
MY grandmother knew the Wright Brothers when she was a little girl but lived long enough to see men land on the moon. And then my older brother was a science reporter who was on hand at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the all the info from the Viking and Voyager probes came back to Earth.
That is amazing. I love that kind of stuff!

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Originally Posted by ScottWashburn View Post
But if you can make a story out of this, I'd say go for it!
OK, I have a story mapped out. Feel free to make negative comments though, even ones about my underuse of semi-colons or my tendency to write in unwieldy long sentences!
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:38 AM
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Ok heres the deal.. you either continue.. or i will beat you senceless.. your move
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:23 AM
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Continue please I like fan fics with a little science / space exploration thrown in.
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