“Technology has always proved the deciding factor in...well...pretty much anything in history. Almost always the fine line between life and death, or subjugation and freedom. However, what happens when we begin to delve into a niche of technology that we don't understand? That is the essence of science; to unravel the unknown. But sometimes, the unknown is better off left unknown.”
The Voidwalker Conflict was a significant event in Gigaquadrantic history due to widespread tension revolving around an Ultraterrestrial artefact dubbed as the Voidwalker. Identified as Zhulultu technology, much of the First Gigaquadrant came to a gridlock deciding the fate of the Voidwalker and the actions revolving around it, depending on whether the scientific importance of uncovering Ultraterrestrial technology could propel the First Gigaquadrant (or whoever claimed it) into a new level of technological advancement.
Due to the controversy revolving around Zhulultu technology and the history of their kind, the desire to explore the Voidwalker was met with controversy and conflict from all those interested in the Voidwalker itself.
- Xho - Co-ordinator
- Drodo Empire (Private Expedition)
- Wormulon Talk to me
The Call of the Voidwalker Edit
The Andromeda Galaxy was always moving. Nothing ever truthfully slipped under the eyes of the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene, at least, where their eyes were present. The Exterioris Sector, however, was not a place where these eyes looked. It was as much a place to explore as any other hidden or unknown part of the First Gigaquadrant, but the Exterioris Sector was also always thought of as empty and not considered for exploration. It was only recently that signals, unique and unknown, and potent enough to be read from a great distance, started echoing through the Andromeda Galaxy.
Coming from the far reaches of the sector, where very few had dared to travel, something appeared to be awake there. Something existed in that vast nothingness. Though, those who had picked up upon it did not know what it was. The unusual nature of it initially raised heads: some thought it was a faint signal proposing first contact, or a distress signal long since ignored.
It was when anomalous readings from this signal were translated, it came to appear far more interesting - or far more sinister - than the Andromeda Galaxy originally thought. What could send something like that across the galaxy, and have significantly different readings every time? Unless it was a number of signals at once. Though the potency of these signals was too enticing to ignore. And it enticed many.
The first to answer the call was, instinctively, the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene. When word spread across the galactic scientific community, the labs and seminar halls became abuzz with discussion. With immense enthusiasm on a matter deemed too exciting to ignore, leading minds in the fields of xeno-archaeology, -linguistics, -engineering and astronomy debates its importance. Sponsors from across the galaxy assembled an expedition to investigate the signals. Leading this expedition were the preeminent scientists Taesir Krakkiv and Erelos Tarkenis, who though various connections were also able to gether the Ecumene's finest scientists on an expedition into the distant corner of Exterioris, where the source of the signals originated. While rumours spread amongst the exepedition members that the signals were of a foreboding origin, the general atmosphere during the journey was to be largely optimistic as many among them traveled believing that for good or ill, whatever was trasmitting would in its wake bring about a paradigm shift in the ider universe. And a sense of exitement that they would be the first kept spirits high.
The Kicath were the second to come. One of the nations that had picked up on the signals, it was of immediate interest to them. The nature of those signals were somewhat familiar to them in the past, though not on a scale that they had mapped out with this. They immediately came to a decision that this was perhaps something of a technological nature, though they were not sure what it was exactly.
An Apalos probe came third, along with its own suspicions about the source of the signals. It soon called for more vessels to join it.
The Drodo Empire, busy with other matters, did not pay much attention to the events unfolding in the Andromeda Galaxy. However, many individuals within the country kept their eyes on it as new details became clear- one of these pairs of eyes was the Drodo aristocrat Kirvan Jivirik. Kirvan, who before now had retired from his tumultuous political career and became a scholar, advanced his education in history, and made himself into an aspiring xenoarchaeologist, studied the unfolding of these events closely. As soon as he realized that these signals were both ancient and technological, he gathered his family's vast fortune, and put together an expedition to the source of the signal with the hopes that he may reveal one of the many missing links in the Gigaquadrant's history.
From across the stars, the Mendel Pact sat back watching the outer universe with resentful eyes, lying in wait for an opportunity to advance their fire power, get back at the powers that had slaughtered their young kin, taken from them time and again. News of a potentially advanced, forgotten race and the possiblity of technology was too good to ignore. Their scientists convinced them quite easiely that this was too good an opportunity to pass by and not take a crack at.This was what the Mendel needed if they were to have venegeance on the Xonexi war criminals like the Hegemony. With such ideals striking a chord with the High Lords, they dispatched a large team to sieze the Star Temple, as they called it, and claim its treasures for the Pact, while under the guise as mere treasure hunters looking for loot for their Clan. Lead by Bjorta Mecdwerka, the Super-Commando teams were armed, prepared and cross-trained for whatever they could meet there. On the Koridelbe Battleship, Fleshbane, the Mendel's finest warriors painted over their black, shadowy armor, and, led by their Chaplains, gave one last prayer to the gods, before preparing for their mission.
Amidst the various factions that sought an expedition into Andromeda were forces that worked separate and unaligned to the interests of any specific government or nation; supernatural forces that disregarded the political implications of the discovery of the construct other than the chaos that would be bound to ensue in the aftermath. A veteran warrior of countless battles and a slayer of many daemons and their machinations, Shinha Hachiman, regarded as a hero on an intergalactic scale, would not ignore the dark and ancient presence of the vessel and knew all too well of the conflict that would come of its sudden appearance in Exterioris - it would not be the first time he had dealt either with forbidden technology or the archaic weapons of the occultists of Chaos, which ever sect was responsible for their conception. Once more he would take up his blade and stare into the bloodied jaws of the void, with hopes sincere and truthful that he would not be forced to turn it upon those same people he had both once served with and dedicated himself to defending from darkness.
Stardate 15-04-08AQF, things have settled down for Rambo Nation it seemed captain Garan Andarch read on his datapad in his private quarters onboard the Excelsior-Class starship, the USS Royal Oak. Their covert deep space-exploration mission in the Andromeda Galaxy prevented them to be present during the Fury of Galvarus incident and the start of Da Reckoning. Garan was shocked by the events though enjoyed his mission, the Rambo never mapped systems in the Andromeda Galaxy before and it was a good way for Rambo Nation to explore other galaxies once more, like in days long past. Suddenly the intercom disturbed his thoughts as his second in command, commander Mykera K'rell required him on the bridge. As Garan entered the bridge he was informed that their junior science officer, the Ortella girl Zule Grunzar picked up some strange readings hailing from the the Andromedans called the Exterioris Sector. Surprised Garan looked over the sensor readings, they were not something the Rambo ever encountered. Though sensor readings indicated it was something ancient. Smiling he sat down at his command chair and began barking orders to set course to the point of origin, their first exploration of Andromeda was about to begin!
Captain Onon Vebbar of the New Republic Star Destroyer Concord scratched his chin as the vessel transitioned to real space. Dispatched to the Andromeda Galaxy to partake in various multinational projects with civilisations such as the Divinarium and the Draconid Imperium, Vebbar was intrigued by rumours of a startling discovery in the Exterioris Sector, of a vast construct of unknown origins. Even more intriguing was information indicating that the Rambo sent an officer to investigate the object, particularly in light of the Galvarus event. Standing from his command chair, Captain Vebbar turned to face Dané Elenya, a Republic xenoarchaeologist who had been assigned to represent the Republic in this affair.
- Dané Elenya - I recommend caution, captain. Finds such as this rarely bring out the best in people.
The Ancient Halls Edit
At first, the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene had arrived at the site of the call. True to their reservations on the matter, what caught their sight was both astounding and worrying. At a first glance, the more educated among them immediately recognised this to be a part of the Tuuros Galaxy Precursor Culture - or, to the wider populace, the Zhulultu. No Zhulultu technology had been discovered by the population of the First Gigaquadrant for many years - one instance was over fifty years ago, and the other over twenty millennia ago - both discoveries almost immediately resulted in catastrophe. It was without question that the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene, and the individuals there present were concerned, and rightly so that this immense construct would bring about a great evil on the Gigaquadrant, when there was so much there already.
First off, was the measure of the construct. It was vaguely crescentiform; with a mass of great tentacle-like appendages that appeared to be its mode of movement. As for its size, it was normal for Zhulultu spacecraft to be of ostentatious dimensions; this one in particular was no exception. The results of the measurements stated that the spacecraft was over forty miles in length, far larger than most modern supercarriers. The composition of the craft's hull was much like the stone-like material that the rest of the Zhulultu constructs were made of - known for its visually ancient look, yet bore properties that made it sturdier than even the most state-of-the-art alloys. It was customary of Zhulultu design for armour to appear segmented much like a carapace, and the crescent body of the ship was just so.
Taesir Krakkiv, one of the few adepts of the ominious Zhulultu, was awestruck compared to her companions, who were all equally wary of what such an intact construct could mean for the universe. As a former part of a group who had dedicated their lives to studying the Zhulultu and their creations, Taesir's eyes were wide with wonder as she looked about the halls for signs of intact script. Her supervisor, a Draconid xenoarchaeologist looked at her like she was about to lose herself to insanity. He had the security detail kept close to her as they moved though the dark halways of quasi-stone.
The halls of the ship were not lit, and it required a form of lighting for the xenoarchaeologists present to manoeuvre through it. To suit the size of the Zhulultu, the halls reached ten metres from the floor to the ceiling, and were shaped in a trapezoid manner that were comparatively narrow, only five metres in width. The hallways were marked with obelisks of the same material but of darker colouration, symmetrically laid out in intervals of about seven metres apart. Each one had grooves within the shape, which to those who were knowledgeable about Zhulultu xenoarchaeology, was indication of some form of lighting. They did not know just for how long these hallways went, perhaps for miles and miles towards the other end of the construct.
- Erelos Taekanis - These halls are where your expertise come in, how far do these hallways go before we reach somewhere significant?
- Taesir - Hard to say. Structures like these are enormous and without power there is no way to use any advanced transportation systems. We just need to--
- Erelos - We are not activating the main reactor until we know for certain what this vessel is. Remember that.
- Taesir - Which would be virtually impossible unless we can feed in some sort of power.
It was by logical reasoning that, if they were to find anything around this ship, they would have to find at least a way to activate the directional systems within the corridors of the ship. Unlike many other Zhulultu constructs, which were often clad in the block-like script of their language, it came to Taesir's attention that this ship was peculiarly plain. There was no indication of anything to anywhere - there was no written script engraved into the walls. As they had come to the end of this hall, it connected to another, greater corridor. This one was much wider and taller - about thirty metres in height and fifteen metres wide, with the obelisks comparatively greater as well. It appeared to be a main walkway. Taesir held up her hand to indicate for the team to stop.
- Taesir - An arterial corridor. Could lead to the command chamber.
- Erelos - Useful. Hopefully we can give some power to whatever consoles are still operable.
From behind the Ecumene's team, they could hear the clamouring of footsteps. There was no second team with them of an equal size, and by the sound of the approaching entities, were far less in number than the xenoarchaeological team already there. From around the corner, as the corridors bent in a crescent shape also, there were vague lights upon the wall, as it seemed whoever was approaching was also using lighting to move their way in. As the entities came around the corner, meeting the team there already, they revealed themselves to be a number of Kicath - six overall, and armoured in a way highly similar to that of Agents.
By the time the second team had revealed themselves ,they were greeted with Ecumene legionnaires aiming their weapons in their direction. When Erolos identified the shapes, he barked at the soldiers to stand down. As the soldiers lowered their rifles, Erolos stepped forward, taking on a guarded stance as he examined the Kicathian operatives.
- Erolos - We were not expecting the Kicathian Republic to arrive so soon... What are your intentions here?
One of the Agents stepped forward. By the frame of the Kicath, the individual was female. As she pressed her fingers to the side of her helmet, it dematerialised around her face, revealing the form of a Kicath with silver dermal prosthesis rather than the dark skin of a normal Kicath. It would have been hard to identify the Kicath as female if it were not for her frame otherwise, as most of the facial features were replaced with synthetic armour-like flesh.
- ??? - My name is Agent Commander Tau of the Kicathian Agency. We are not here on the Republic's business.
- Taesir - Agency? We--
- Erolos - I am talking, cultist.
Taesir sneered but complied. After snapping at her, Erolos turned his attention away from his guide and back on the Kicathian operatives standing before him.
- Erolos - Apologies for our guide. What business does the Agency have to be exploring this site.
- Tau - Personal business. We were expecting a number of parties across to convene at this location...however I had identified the signal as Zhulultu related before we arrived. We are here on an exploration mission rather than a combat operation...though we are expectiong resistance.
- Erolos - Well...I suppose we would be grateful for the support and protection. Our mission here is to gather knowledge for the universities back in the inner rim. And we would be grateful for any means of assistance.
Tau looked around the corridor of the spacecraft, recognising also that there were no signs of Zhulultu linguistics carved into the walls. It was pitch black without any forms of lightning, and she had come to the same conclusion that Taesir did moments beforehand.
- Tau - A navigational console of some sort will have to be located if we are to find our way through this construct.
Most Zhulultu consoles followed the same design. They appeared like the obelisks dotted around the ship itself, though bore a spherical head rather than a triangular one. As the two teams moved their way down the halls - Tau's team of Agents armed and scanning the surfaces and walkways as they went along, the dim crimson light of a console began to appear in the far distance, where the greater corridor split in two more directions. Catching sight of the console, beaming that there was some energy coming form it, Taesir picked up speed into a jog and darted for the console with a frantic delight. Two Ecumene Legionnaire droids - those spherical drones that followed and danced around the archaeological team - chased after her as she ran for the console.
As she approached, some style of bioluminescent footprints marked themselves underneath Taesir's own - forming a perfect yet holographic copy of her own footprints in the red light that the Zhulultu were known for. The lights intenisified with the presence of Taesir next to the console - as if the ship was expecting an arrival. When Taesir noticed the light underneath her, she began to slow down, a little less excited and now a little more nervous, moving more cautiously towards the console now.
- Erolos - Taesir Krakkiv back away. You don't know what these footprints mean.
- Taesir - The ship's just waking up...hopefully. And hopefully this isn't a trap to kill lesser beings.
- Erolos - And if it is?
- Taesir - Well...
Tau further approached the console, standing next to Taesir. Because she was mostly made of alloys and metals from the head down, the footprints of the Kicathian Agent were not found underneath her. The console did not recongise artifical systems upon its surface, and Tau was uncertain and reluctant to place her hand on the console.
- Tau - Hmph. I suppose there is only one way to do this. It needs an organic print to activate the console. I'm not going to stand around and see what happens with cybernetics.
Taesir nodded. Taking a few deep breaths she stepped up to the console and, reaching foreward with a great sense of caution she pressed her fingers against the dark material of the console's body. She closed her eyes, wining as she subsonsciously expected osmething very nasty to happen. The contact of her hand against the material of the console sent an uncomfortable jolt of pain into her arm, much like an electric shock. The ship's corridors erupted into light, as a swarm of Zhulultu scripts lit the walls in the similar manner of the holographic footprint itself. The corridors were now bathed in the glow of that sinister red hue, although now, it appeared to be easier to navigate through the corridors.
Taesir looked to Erolos looking incredibly smug, somewhat stil lstunned by the pain that shot though her arm.
- Taesir - Well...Now we know where the omnipresent Zhulultu script was hiding...
- Erolos - Can you translate any of it?
- Taesir - This stuff? It can wait, in the corridors most of this stuff is quite generic; top-level decrees, historical events, mythology, events on ship, cultural traditions, most of this stuff I've seen before in a number of sites before.
Tau approached one of the walls, looking at the tall edifice that was lit in myriads of Zhulultu script.
- Tau - This is unusual. I haven't seen any kind of Zhulultu finds that have the script like this. It's all usually engraved into the wall like a carving. Not a light-print on the wall.
- Erolos - Perhaps they see extra significance in the text written aboard this vessel.
- Tau - If that is the case, then we have discovered something unlike anything else. This could be either more advanced than normal Zhulultu technology...or it could be a lot older than anything else we've discovered.
- Taesir - The Royal Academy's cloud network will have a field day. We just need to scan all this, send the data back to the inner rim and let thousands of eager paelaeo-linguists do the work.
The Antechamber Edit
The two teams, the one from the Pan-Andromedan Ecumene and Agent Tau's own team, moved further on towards the centre of the construct. The split corridors at the console seemed to converge once again on the other side, as was common with Zhulultu architecture. They were advocates of symmetry wherever concerned, and this ship was perhaps not unusual enough to be asymmetrical. As the xenoarchaeologists ventured further in, it became apparent that this construct was inactive to the point that there were no sentries nor sentinels present. However, there were frequent allusions to a location within the ship that caught their attention over and over.
The name of the location simply translated to 'Antechamber'. To Taesir, this was of unparalleled intrigue. There was only one other allusion to an antechamber in the entire annals of Zhulultu xenoarchaeology - and that was of one aboard the Ultimatum, the flagship of the Zhulultu tyrant Lord Zhuleshxi. Records of the Ultimatum's antechamber bore terrifying depictions - it was known historically as the location of the first encounter with the Xhodocto themselves in billions of years - although conclusions drawn from the manner of this ship that they were unlikely to encounter a Xhodocto on this construct, or so they hoped.
The word 'antechamber' had two meanings in the Zhulultu's language - one of which was the substantial definition of a smaller room against a larger chamber, whilst the other had a far more metaphysical meaning - which was the definition intended for the chamber that the Xhodocto communicated through. Unfortunately, Taesir could find no determinative in the Zhulultu script to define whether this antechamber was one or the other. She pondered over the possibilities while Legionnaires scanned the walls for every inch of script they encountered. Erolos however was constantly on his guard. While he was not as proficient in the precursor tongue as his guide was, he was nonetheless paranoid, able to deduce that this corridor was leading to somewhere very important.
Taking time to translate what was on these walls, it was unusual to find that there was no mention of the Xhodocto whatsoever. Not even the names of any of the Xhodocto of ancient times. It had sent a chill down Tau's artifical spine, to think that this craft was unusually detached from both Zhulultu architecture and Xhodocto iconology. Coming to the end of this greater corridor, without much desire to have explored the lesser corridors that branched off it, numbering almost seventy of them by the time they reached the end, they came to a door, that, unlike the rest of the ship was in fact engraved with the Zhulultu language, as well as some artistic depictions of Zhulultu individuals. It was however, incomplete, as it had suffered damage. Half the door had been scathed by what appeared to be a burn mark as well as erosion - common with the tracks of damage that Demonic Energy left. Whilst they could gather some understanding of the text on the wall, they were drawn to what appeared to be the name of a Zhulultu depicted on the door, although the burning on the door meant that it had only presented the name of 'Zhul-', which was by all accounts meaningless. Seeing the signs, and the damage, Taesir gulped at the implications; where once she had hoped that this instance of 'antechamber' could be either one, her mind now raced with the possibility that it was of the second, more dreaded purpose.
A faint whistling sound from the far end of the corridor took the teams' attention somewhat off the enigma immediately in front of them and turned it towards the distance behind them. As the noise slowly grew in volume, a golden glow could be seen to emanate from its source, although it could not yet be seen whether it was brighter than the illumination of the archaeologists and Agents or whether it was merely closer than expected. Close to a minute passed before the object became near enough to see and, within the following half a second, it had brought itself from a high speed to a sudden stop. A short gust of wind blew over the people standing in front of it. It was clearly recognisable as an Apalos probe, for it was shaped in the traditional style of a Temple Ship, a roughly cuboid structure plated in gold and with decorative details all over. However, it was only two metres long, making it smaller than many of the individuals present in the corridor. The light emitted from its entire surface brightened many of the surroundings, although its effect was limited due to the dark colouration of the walls.
Emerging from the shadows came Dané Elenya of the New Republic Xenoarchaeological Corps, who, with scanner in hand, was speedily inspecting every piece of technology she could come across.
The Agents had turned around some time beforehand, meeting the oncoming presence of the Apalosian probe with their rifles primed. One of the six Agents had also had their gun primed and pointed at Dané, unable to ascertain as to whether the archaeologist was an aggressive presence or not.
- Agent - Halt. Identify yourselves.
- Apalos - Apalos.
Engrossed in her work, Doctor Elenya failed to react to the agent before almost bumping into him.
- Dané - Oh! Hello there. Dané Elenya, New Republic Xenoarchaeological Corps.
- Tau - Weapons down.
The Agents all lowered their weapons, although many of them kept a rather defensive stance, as was the way of the Agents. Tau appeared not to have any reserved body language, apparently hearing of Dané before this expedition. The Ecumene legionnaire droids floated around the new arrivals.
- Tau - I wasn't really expecting a party from . The beacon signals reached that far out?
- Dané - Indeed. Though I would imagine my government was invited by one of our Xonexian allies.
- Tau - We are not particularly certain. Not all of us are governmentally funded xenoarchaeologists...but now I suppose more of a collaborative effort might increase our chances of success. Or survival, depending whether we can identify the nature of what is behind this door.
- Erolos - It would be best if this discovery were not public knowledge due to who had constructed it.
Tau turned around, facing the great door once more. Aside from the etched Zhulultu artistry upon it and the damage it had taken, the archaeologists already there had measured the door to be nearly twenty metres tall and around ten metres wide, and seemingly opened by panning itself into the ground. She herself had taken particular consideration into the nature of the burns on the door, passing her gauntlet-cased hand across it. Her scanners had immediately picked up traces of heat signals as well as a mark of essence within the exposed sediment of the material, immediately pulling her hand away from it.
- Tau - We need to locate a manner of opening this door...and do our best in not coming into physical contact with it. Those burn marks are essence-inflicted.
- Erolos - A good reason not to open it.
- Taesir - Ahh Kranndung. We just...uhh, well, surely whatever's behind here should be dead or inactive, yes?
- Tau - Hopefully our new collaborators should possess some scanning technology to identify any signals from behind this door.
- Apalos - Of course.
Moving forward, the probe initiated a scanning procedure upon the door. Zhulultu technology was extremely intricate; most technological advancements of the current day were still primitive in comparison, although the scanner from the Apalos probe almost miraculously detected signals through the three-feet-thick door, albeit very faint. There were two distinct signals - one was interpreted in a manner similar of that to the power system running throughout the entire ship, whilst the other was far more intriuging. It appeared to be an organic heat signal, although the interference of the Zhulultu technology within the walls meant that the probe could not identify the strength of the signal, only that it was there.
- Apalos - A remote scan is limited when faced with Zhulultu designs, but the results suggest that there is something alive on the other side of the door. No further details are available.
- Dané - Most intriguing.
- Tau - Hmph. I suppose now we must come to a decision to open that door or not.
- Apalos - We have dreadnoughts on standby if the situation goes beyond control. It is the safety of the people in this group that must be your concern.
- Taesir - A good plan "whatever it is stand by to evaporate it if it looks dangerous never mind the integrity of the site.
Taesir rolled her eyes at this suggestion.
- Tau - Well. Zhulultu technology is apocalyptic as far as themes are concerned. Although I doubt a subspace compression wave will damage this ship...I have a feeling this ship is more active than it looks.
- Erolos - Forgive our guide. She has a habit of putting her interest in the Zhulultu above her own personal safety.
- Tau - We have no real alternative other than leaving this ship alone and hope that it doesn't fully activate by itself. But we need to find a way of opening this door. I do not see a console here.
It was common for the Zhulultu to implement failsafe passwords should their consoles be damaged or removed - that was known to the archaeologists. Unfortunately for them, these failsafes were various, and there was no one uniform method of unlocking a door - it was all a manner of personal preference to the Zhulultu of who headed this ship. Judging by the architectural manner of the ship, surprisingly enigmatic in comparison to most Zhulultu craft, it was generally accepted by the team present that the method of opening this door was by a spoken phrase. As to what the phrase was, they were uncertain. There were millions upon millions of words on these walls, although the Zhulultu never made their secrets too mysterious to unravel. Taesir pressed her features, concentrating on any kind of possible password. She perked up after having an idea.
- Taelsir - There must be a key clue, a connection in all these statues and scriptures. We just need to compress and sort the data to find a possible match.
- Tau - My knowledge on the Zhulultu language is limited. Nothing on this door that might be a clue?
- Taelsir' - There's a half-burned name; Zhul-something...but what?
- Tau - Well that's useless. Zhul-something could mean anything...there's still some more text on those walls though.
- Taelsir - Maybe the name is repeated elsewhere.
- Tau - Probably.
With datapad in hand, Dané remained characteristically laconic, scanning the walls for any potential clues.
- Taelsir - The computer aboard the ship my team came on could sort though all these words in minutes. I'm sure of it.
- Erolos - That is...actually quite a clever idea. Let our computer core sift through the junk data for repeating clues.
Between the efforts of Tau, Dané, the Ecumene archaeologists and the Apalos probe, the walls lit up by the Zhulultu texts were scanned rather thoroughly. It took roughly half an hour to complete the scan of the two nearby walls, and to their chagrin, no mention of any Zhulultu was there - however, when compiling all of these texts together, it was apparent that the sentences were not entirely cohesive. Where it would have seemed to have a Zhulultu name present, each of these instances were stricken and replaced with another word, a word that was not present within their dictionaries. Upon the walls themselves, the word appeared glitched, as if the coding to illuminate it completely was done so rapidly and without much care. Looking though the data, Erolos called out.
- Erolos - Here: One word looks rather conspicuous. It's...not in any of the Royal Academy's linguistic matrices but perhaps it does not need to be.
- Taelsir - Right, we just need to get the pronounciation right.
After taking a few minutes to analyse the word, taking declension and gender into consideration, they acquired the pronunciation of the word. The word in itself was spoken as ozhuluzansai, which, if they had cared to refer it to the rest of the linguistic matrices they possessed, could have translated it to the word traitor.
- Erolos - That word...ominous.
- Taelsir - Or maybe fortuitous. Let's try the word!
- Tau - Good luck, I guess.
Erolos nodded and took a step forward. He cleared his throat, rolled his shoulders and with a clear commanding voice, bellowed "ozhuluzansai" at the door. It took a few moments to pass, enough for the team to consider that it was not the word they were looking for, although not after long the door began to strain and crackle as the mechanisms freed themselves. The door unfurled itself in a symmetrical manner, as it parted itself into seven distinct shapes that fit neatly into the slits that the door was built into. The parts of the door that were damaged had dishevelled a considerable amount of dust and ash on to the ground, causing an unpleasant sound to echo through the corridor.
As the door opened, Taelsir looked ecstatic, smiling, bouncing on the spot a couple of times and clapping to herself before struggling to compose herself, seeign no one else was joining in. She let out an embarrassed chirp and lowered her head. The light that had illuminated the walls and walkway of the corridor soon followed into the room that was locked away, as the scripts slowly began to light up the room - or most of it, at least. The damage that was upon the door on the outside carried on within the inside - about half of the room, wall and floor was singed by the demonic essences that had scratched it, and the lights that followed its way into the burn marks stopped, and the texts on the walls jolted and shook erratically over the burns they covered.
Not long afterwards, the team recognised this to similar layouts across Zhulultu craft - this was the control room of the entire ship. It was highly unusual in comparison to other spacecraft of any point in time of the First Gigaquadrant - in fact, it appeared more like an inner sanctum of a temple in antiquity rather than a captain's bridge. The centre of the room had a cistern within it, locked away by another circular door, whilst it was surrounded by obelisks that rose higher in proportion than the other obelisks in the corridors. There was a crescent-shaped surface up against the wall, damaged alongisde the floor by the burns. The surface was a perfectly reflective black glass, which was known to have been the ship's control panel. Among the sparse content of this room was also a chamber, roughly the height of a Zhulultu - although it was emptied. It was evident that the heat signal was not coming from the sarcophagus-like containment, but much rather from the cistern underneath their feet.
There was an atmosphere of caution circling the Ecumene's researchers. Taelsir's theory on this room's purpose calmed her down, but now there was a question of what this room's true purpose was; a control room yes, but the presence of a sarcophagous and an underfloor cistern worried her as to what this room was.
- Taelsir - I...think this might be a prison. Just a hunch.
- Tau - Whatever it is, don't touch anything. We should set up a perimeter around this room. I have a hunch that whatever's under the floor is too dangerous to deal with.
- Erolos - There is plenty of room to establish a base camp and decipher this enigma. Everyone is cleared to settle. We can investigate further from here.
The Biodome Edit
Though the Antechamber was most possibly the paramount interest of all the xenoarchaeologists there present, the rest of the ship was not yet explored, and despite the interest there, there was perhaps a myriad of yet undiscovered items of antiquity of the Zhulultu culture that some of them could not wait longer for. As they were scaling the walls for the means to open the Antechamber beforehand, they had come across a few instances of the word 'biodome'. Particularly strange to the xenoarchaeologists as there were no instances of Zhulultu biodomes beforehand, and that the ship had no atmospheric system activated, only the navigational system and lighting were currently active.
It posed a number of questions - what exactly was the purpose of a biodome on a ship as small as this? As large as it was in comparison to most modern Gigaquadrantic vessels, it was exceptionally small in comparison to the Ultimatum, which bore no biodome system at all - that in itself was a dreadnought of unimaginably advanced technology. Tau had moved on forward in vague hope of uncovering this biodome, leaving one of her Agents behind at the Antechamber - on orders to kill anyone there present intending to activate anything within that room. Wanting to move away from the more supernatural elements of the Zhulultu, Erolos had gathered a group of xenoarchaeologists to investigate this 'biodome', using what he knew of the language to discern its location within the vessel. Trusting Tau to encounter and clear hazards that could threaten the less militarily-inclined members of the expedition.
Tau was heading the smaller group, equipped with some manner of a Kicathian pistol in her right hand. The headlights on her helmet illuminated the path around fifty metres forward, although the immense size of the corridors meant that this barely illuminated anything. For her, she was able to see further forward on account of vision filters within her helmet, though she was not entirely certain whether the xenoarchaeologists had those capabilities with the technology they brought with them. Despite the carmine red lighting of the walls, it appeared to get darker the further down this corridor they went - it seemed that the navigational system only lit up a particular part of the ship. It soon turned to complete blackness, as it was before they activated the navigational system near the antechamber. However, the xenoarchaeologists were immediately stopped as Tau's left hand rose in a halting gesture.
- Tau - Hold up. I have a number of heat signatures two hundred and fifty feet down this corridor.
The xenoarchaeological team responded quickly, stopping suddenly, with certain members looking about and behind themselves. Upon closer inspection, this number was six. In addition, voices- speaking in a language that Tau nor any xenoarchaeologist immediately recognised- were heard in great echoes, reverbating down the great corridor ahead. Tau and the archaeologists leant up against a wall, as the corridor was bending around to the point where these entities were present. Somewhat intriuged by the language, Tau had tried matching the language to a number of known vernacular languages that were established within her internal systems, and, whilst she may have been able to guess, it identified the language as Aratacian - one of the spoken languages of the Drodo Empire. Coming to the conclusion that these entities were most likely Drodo, Tau moved forward, although kept her pistol raised as she made herself known to the number further down the corridor. The chatter immediately stopped, the echoes even seemed to cut themselves short amid the tension. After a few tense seconds, three small flashlights swung about to meet Tau's gaze, and out from the shadows came a solitary, humanoid man a bit shorter than your average human. The man wore a body-emcompassing suit, made of grey-black polymer plating and a helmet whose visor was tinted black. Curiously, a curved, engraved sabre hung low from his waist, and a few other almost anachronistic decorations to his kit gave him an officer-like appearance. The figure clicked something on the side of his helmet, and the tint faded away from his visor, revealing a moustached Drodo man of sharp features, no older than thirty. He stood straight with his hands behind his back, and spoke with a confidence that masked his fear;
- ??? - ...Pleasure to make your acquaintance.
Tau raised her pistol upwards, so that while it was not aimed at the Drodo, it was not stowed away either.
- Tau - Hmph. We are finding more and more in this vessel. I will have to keep count on how many there are.
The Drodo raised an eyebrow, and allowed himself a small, friendly smile that softened his otherwise intense expression. A few other flashlights turned on, and armed men donning similar body armour came in to view.
- ??? - There are others aboard this ship? Interesting.
With a motion of his hand, he brought his men to be at ease. Rather casually, he stepped forward to Tau, and gave a long, formal nod;
- ??? - My name is Kirvan Jivirik, former Margrave of the March of Stekeveelia, son of Fiihar Jivirik the third. I come here on an archaeological mission.
He paused, and scanned the massive Kicath agent in front of him with a hint of skepticism. In a tone that seemed to be stuck in the area between friendliness and condescension, he asked;
- Kirvan - And you are?
- Tau - Agent Commander Tau of the Kicathian Agency.
Whilst she did not specialise in interrogative operations, Tau did recognise the inflection within his voice. Not paying him much kindness whatsoever, probably expected of a Kicathian Agent, she moved on past the team of the Drodo without saying anything else. The Drodo aristocrat looked at the agent pass by with a slightly hurt expression. A few of the man's retainers grumbled to themselves.
Guessing that there was no danger from the aliens speaking Aratacian, the xenoarchaoogists Erolos led approached Tau's team. Taking note of the team of six from the Drodo Empire. Erolos, as a gentleman and a senior representative of the Royal Academy, respected Kirvan's presence appropriately, clenching his right fist and bowing as he rested this fist on his left pec. Out of respect, Kirvan returned the gesture. It was a good thing that some foreigners, at least, could recognise an aristocrat when they saw one. Erolos gave a signal to Tau that he could handle negotiations with the Drodo expedition.
- Erolos - Your presence here was unexpected, Drodo. But apologies for the conduct of the Kicathian Agent.
- Kirvan - Its no trouble. I have much been to many different cultures- in that time I've learnt that awkwardness is... Well, inevitable.
Kirvan chuckled, and motioned to the rest of the archaeology group with a grin on his face;
- Kirvan - I take it your group is the charge of our mutual friend, the Kicath?
- Erolos - That we are. If Agent Tau permits, perhaps we have a fair amount to gain exploring the environmental deck this vessel may be equipped with.
The aristocrat shifted his stance, and for a short moment looked in to the eyes of Erolos with his own, his deep blue eyes making an intense impression. After a few short seconds, he nodded, his expression changing back to its normal, inviting smile.
- Kirvan - I concur. This biodome could present a richness of samples and knowledge, but I fear, perhaps irrationally, of what may wait on the other side of that entrance.
Kirvan took in a deep breath, betraying his nervousness about being on this derelict.
- Kirvan - We will go in together.
Erolos nodded, performing a hand signal asking for everyone to move on.
- Erolos - Lady Tau, I hope you do not mind the extra company.
- Tau - Do you think there is any place in the Gigaquadrant where calling me a lady is a good idea?
Despite the aggressive reaction from Tau, she quickly lowered her tone, and after a few moments, she gave a recalcitrant nod to Erolos. She was not concerned with the Drodo nor the number of expeditionaries there present, but the higher the number was risking higher casualties should something go awry. They were not too far from the door of the biodome, which to their ease was vastly similar to the door that sealed away the antechamber. Thankfully as well, a console like the one within the antechamber - a flat plane of a black glass like material, perfectly reflective - was upon a surface. To the uneducated, it only seemed like an oddity, though physical contact with it presented them with multiple options regarding what was on the other side of that door.
Erolos approached and studied the console, checking though the available options. Kirvan studied Erolos and the console closely, taking mental notes silently. He knew little of the writing and technology of this place- Drodo universities simply didn't have much information on the Zhulutu at hand. Erolos examined the options deeply, curious as to the state of the facilities on the other side of the door. Taking a risk, Erolos decided to code in the activation sequence and open the doors to this mysterious chamber. The doors had opened themselves - slowly at that, as they could hear the mechanisms churn and crack open much like pulling apart two objects frozen together by frost. There was no light upon the inside of whatever was there, and as the doors revealed the way forward, the xenoarchaeologists were met with a number of skeletons at the doorway. It did not take a forensic scientist to immediately think of a mode of death; it was apparent by the way such bones were scattered over one another, they were killed in a violent manner. Erolos widened his eyes and did his best to keep his last meal down as he took sight of the bodies.
- Erolos - That is not promising in the slightest.
- Dané - Certainly not. The poor beings...
Next to one of the long deceased bodies, amid torn armour and clothing withered away and hardened by countless years of idleness was a device. It seemed rather primitive towards many of the archaeologists there - the design was not ornate nor did the appearance and control system seem that ergonomic. Kirvan, taking a quick look to either side, bent down and carefully picked the strange device up, holding it to the air;
- Kirvan - Would anybody care to identify this... artifact?
The Drodo offered the device to Dané, his arm trembling somewhat from fear of his surroundings. Dané took the device in her hand and scanned it, apprehension etched on her face.
- Dané - It appears to be a voice recorder of some kind. Not terribly advanced, but I'm unable to ascertain its origins.
- Tau - Does it work?
Dané continued to scan the recorder, which suddenly became activated. A few of the Drodo retainers looked quickly to the device, slightly startled. Though static and distorted to the ears of the team there, a voice could be heard speaking, among various others. The language they spoke was unknown - not heard by anyone there present - though they could gather that the voices were distraught and panicking. Tau had tried to identify the language through her own scanning system, but all results came back inconclusive.
- Tau - Can't say that language is on my systems. It's probably extinct. Try and date the bones.
- Erolos - The design of the recorder, the bodies, the language, they must have come after this vessel was abandoned.
Erolos drew a device from his belt. He strode up to one of the skeletons and knelt down, pressing the device against the remains. In doing so he extracted a fragment, and systems within worked to radiologically date the bone fragment, displaying an estimate on a screen for Erolos to read.
- Erolos - Examination reveals these bodies to be an estimate of between one hundred and two hundred thousand years old but that doesn't shed much light on their origins. They could be speaking an ancient variation of Common Dracid for all I can tell.
- Kirvan - Keeping in mind just how ancient this vessel is, this group of unfortunates are relatively recent visitors...
- Tau - Well, we don't know how old this vessel is. At least two billion years old, granted, but I'm thinking this is as almost as old as the galaxy itself. Probably older...either way. Eyes peeled.
Moving further inwards, the team came to a curved ledge, that, on the other side lead onwards into what seemed like woodland - although, seemingly millennia upon millennia of inactivity meant that this entire room was as cold and lifeless as the rest. One may have likened the environment they had walked in to as almost swamp-like visually, although now the dense waters that would have been there was now frozen sand, and whatever life may have walked through here were now half-buried in the earthy enviroment of the biodome. It was clear that the systems had failed in here - possibly at the hands of the deceased aliens at the doorway or maybe even someone deactivating the systems from the outside - nevertheless, there was no life in here now.
The biodome was, by some vague estimation, the largest room of the ship - it accounted for nearly two hundred metres of the ship from end to end, and was perfectly circular in shape. No lights they possessed reached the ceiling - the ceiling was not parabolic in shape - it had a much steeper gradient than that. They passed by the fossilised remains of multiple, unique creatures - even the skeletal structure of them implied a surreal appearance in life, and the dead woodland around them grew high, around five times the height of the Kicathian Agents there. Walking close to the group, Kirvan freed a small handheld sensor from a pocket in his kit bag. Pressing a handful of buttons, he ran through a variety of different scanning modes- mostly to put his mind at ease. Finding nothing, he sighed, and sat it back in the pocket.
They came to the far end of the room; everything behind them was as pitch black as it was. Nearing this wall, they came across the intriuge of crimson red lights dimly lighting the ground, and, following it for some time, they came to the back wall. Within alcoves on the black wall, some two metres off the ground and embedded half way inwards, about six metres high and three metres wide, were cylindrical containers filled with a peculiar liquid that one could have crudely described as 'liquid electricity', taking on different qualities of light the way they looked at it. Within these containers, laid multiple figures - one for each container. None of these figures were recognisable to any of them, enough for them to assume that they were specimens of extinct species put into stasis. It was not odd to the others that Kirvan did not pick up a heat signature or any other signature of any other kind - Zhulultu technology was known for its quality of being invisible to other technologies.
Erolos turned to the expedition team and cleared his throat.
- Erolos - We can set up another base camp here. We should contact Central and arrange for a bio-hazard team to confirm these canisters are safe for study.
A Drodo soldier- one of Kirvan's retainers, looked to Erolos;
- Retainer - A base? Here? Directly beside what might be for all we know to be the damned crew of the ship?
- Erolos - This location has become a node of keen scientific interest. We may even be able to discern the former lifeforms that inhabited this chamber with further study.
- Retainer - It might also become a node of keen strategic interest if whatever's in those tanks decides its had enough.
- Tau - What do you mean, 'strategic'?
- Retainer - What I me-
Kirvan interrupted the soldier;
- Kirvan - Excuse him. His concern is understandable- putting a stop here is potentially risky. Should we at least put a bit of distance, perhaps a wall, between a sensitive temporary base and these things?
- Tau - Not a bad idea. I can't quite gauge how dangerous those things are if they're set free.
- Erolos - There should be some rapid-deployment phasic barrier pylons stored at the central base. We can use those to set up a containment perimeter around these specimen.
- Tau - Right. Contact Central, tell them what we've got here.
The retainer adjusted his grip on his assault rifle, apparently a bit pleased with himself. Kirvan nodded to Tau, before giving a nervous glance to the entities above him.
- Erolos - Central this is Team Three. We have identified a point of keen interest, requesting haz-mat precautions, base camp equipment and a set of RDPBPs at the coordinates provided by my .
There did not seem to be a reply at first. In fact, there was a concerning amount of silence for some moments. Whilst the Central camp was still active, they were preoccupied with the matter of the Kicathian Agent - whilst no one was foolish enough to come into contact with any of the technology present, the Agent itself was the problem they were encountering. The team were witnessing the Agent suspended in mid air, paralysed, over the cistern that bore the heat signal. The neon sets of lights on the armour was drowned in a crimson red light, and the display over the Agent's helmet was noticeably fogged and swarmed with static and Zhulultu script, darting to and fro over the visor. It took some time before Taesir was composed enough to respond to the Retainer's call.
- Taesir - Team Three? Uhh this is Central we, uh, we read you.
- Erolos - We have several specimen containers over here. Can you confirm a supply of extra RDPBPs can be provided?
- Taesir - All due respect sir we're...a bit preoccupied over here.
- Erolos - With what?
- Taesir - Nothing too serious. Give us a few minutes and we'll try and sort things out.
- Erolos - Taesir, what is going on!? What is pre-occupying you over there?
- Taesir - One moment. Someone get me a feed from that bastard's helmet!
Erolos growled as Taesir cut him off. Kirvan looked over to Erolos, grimacing.
- Erolos - Something's happening at the central camp and they are 'preoccupied'. I told that girl not to touch anything!
With a volatile mix of fear and frustration, Kirvan stepped over to Erolos;
- Kirvan - Touch? Touch what? What could they possibly've gotten their hands on that would've so 'preoccupied' them?
- Erolos - I have no idea. Mishandling any of these artifacts could spell disaster. Damnable girl acts like she is unaffected.
- Kirvan - With respect, my friend- this girl of yours sounds like she has the attitude of a carefree child. Some of us here make every effort to bring professionals to such a sensitive site, so this won't happen- I suggest next time you consider doing the same.
- Erolos - Her profile mentions that that "carefree child" is one of the few experts on Zhulultu technlology. Such experts are a rarity and that is why I must put up with her.
- Tau - Either way we'd ought to get back there before something bad happens.
- Erolos - Agreed. I marked this location on the expedition's SPS. We can sort out the issue at Central and return here with the camp equipment.
Returning to the Antechamber, the team were met with the archaeologists present, staring at the Agent who laid motionlessly in mid-air over the cistern. They were preparing to ascertain a reading of the Zhulultu script on the visor, although many of them were reluctant to approach the Agent - they all knew how dangerous this technology could be. Kirvan stared at the Agent wide-eyed- occurances like this were the stuff of rumours and tall tales told by spacers back in the Empire.
Erolos, meanwhile paced directly for Taesir, who was looking over the helmet feed on a monitor along with a few other linguists. Frustrated, Erolos projected his voice so he could clearly be heard.
- Erolos - What in the endless Void did you do!?
- Taesir - Me!? Why am I to blame?
- Erolos - Because of that infernal cult of yours!
- Taesir - We were making some observations on the pod when suddenly, out of the blue that Agent starts floating into the air while their armour goes crazy. I've spent the time you spent running back here to work out what's being plastered all over his helmet.
- Erolos - So you touched nothing.
- Taesir - I may be enthusiastic, maybe overconfident, but I'm not clumsy. I know what this shit can do if you don't handle it with a surgeon's hands.
As the archaeologists eventually connected to the feed on the helmet, it was not long before a manner of these readings were found. It did not present anything at first, although to much of their surprise, the readings began to increase in number, exponentially so, as the monitor's displays filled with static and finally bursting and shattering, leaving the build of it smoking. A few of the Drodo soldiers raised their rifles on a reflex, looking about, a few tense seconds would pass before they slowly lowered them, and stepped around to the exploded monitor. Kirvan walked up beside his men, sharing their surprise. Taesir stared bewildered at the exploded screen, not fully processing what just happened.
- Taesir - Well...Shit.
- Kirvan - Ancestors above- what sort of overload is that...?
- Taesir - I think some of my seniors talked about stuff like this happening....wait!
Taesir scrambled out of her chair and looked in the direction of the levitating agent. The Agent began to speak - although, it was not the voice of the Agent in itself. The voice came out as far deeper and synthetic than a Kicath's voice, to the point where it was almost indistinguishable from the murmuring and rumbling of machinery. It spoke in the language of the Zhulultu, slow and articulate; what it spoke however, was disjointed and incoherent, although before they could piece together what the voice said, the Kicath's visor also burst like the monitor, and the metallic body of the Agent rescinded into an infernal husk as it crashed on to the ground, sparking and lit with a violent fire. Kirvan, shaking himself out of a shocked sort of trance, drew a six-shooter engraved in a way similar to his sword, and slowly approached the husk. Carefully, he nudged it with his foot.
- Taesir - Must be a security measure. to keep whatever's inside from waking up.
- Kirvan - What it did was kill someone. This- this wasn't anticipated, not on a ship this old.
- Taesir - Occupational hazard with Zhulutu archaeology. They like devices that toy with, abuse and incinerate lesser beings. I think the Agent became a conduit due to the vast amounts of bionic systems laced within its body.
- Erolos - Cybernetic hacking, I had presumed the Agents were outfitted with the best countermeasures to that sort of activity.
- Taesir - Anti-virus is only as effective as the viruses it can outmart. Whatever infected the Agent was a whole different level of software.
- Tau - Whatever the hell it did to my Agent, make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. Clear the room.
- Taesir - What happened to your agent is why my brain is only 5% synthetic. Tough I've heard legends of devices that screw with aliens who have no amount of augmentation on them.
- Erolos - This cannot happen again. Quarantine the centre of the chamber before we leave for our site study. And make sure no one gets close.
- Taesir - Killjoy. Fine
Kirvan looked to Taesir with disgust. Shaking his head, he rallied his men to him and prepared to leave the area, holstering his pistol.
Archive Room Edit
The Archive Room - an infrequently found chamber within Zhulultu constructs appeared to be present on the Voidwalker. As the xenoarchaeologists had entered the room itself, they took note of the nature of the room. It was narrow - end to end, no more than four Zhulultu could have stood in this room simultaneously, athough the ceiling of this room was so vastly overhead that no light they possessed reached it. In the centre of this room was a lone pillar - decorated and sculpted in the stone-like craftsmanship of the Zhulultu of ancient times, and at its base appeared to be a command console. It was of exceptionally rare occurance to find such a console to be intact; even the more numerous constructs within the Tuuros Galaxy had somehow aged or had been intentionally damaged in the years after their disappearance as to prevent anything in particular destructive knowledge to fall into the hands of those that succeeded them.
Upon seeing the contents of the room, Taesir's jaw dropped in awe and amazement. Her eyes were entranced by what she saw and she was suddenly almost bursting with excitement. She had been to a number of sites, but none of them compared to this narrow but tall chamber. her excitement overcame her so immensely at the extreme rarity of the room and its contents she was almsot paralysed, eyes wide and beak quivering and wide. Not far behind, Kirvan, pointing a small flashlight this way and that, shared her awe, though didn't quite so much show it-- that would be, after all, a bit uncouth by the standards of Drodo bluebloods.
- Kirvan - I can only begin to imagine what might be here for us to find...
- Taesir - Indeed! I've never seen a site so...pristine! I thought such preservation was a myth myself.
The design of the room itself was not like those of recorded Zhulultu archives - most archives that were discovered were artificial intelligences - by the age of the War of Ages, these artificial intelligences had become fragmented, primarily from a protocol within their programming. It was known that these damaged intelligences were damaged in such a way to present a puzzle when a number were found - but to find one of such an unusual nature, and intact after years beyond years, was both terrifying and astounding to behold. Since there was no artificial intelligence present, the method of activating it was not as straightforward as studies in the Zhulultu xenoarchaeology would have indicated. Cautiously, Kirvan and his small party of warriors walked ahead of Taesir and towards the central console, clacking steps echoing away into the vast room. Slowly, carefully, Kirvan stretched his arm out, and rested his hand on the console at the centre of the room for a few moments, feeling its exterior. The console was featureless - as was most Zhulultu technology when it was not activated. It was known that signals such as body heat and bioelectricity activated Zhulultu technology, and as Kirvan's hand came into contact with the console, the slight sting of the Archive Room's energy worked its way into his hand as the room came alive. While his retainers were immediately on their toes, as the room itself reawakened Kirvan let his hand slide slowly down from the panel, and panned about in now unrestrained, childlike awe.
The same bloodshine red text that lit the walls of the Antechamber filled the endlessly tall Archive Room, floating only centimetres from the wall in its holographic nature. It was set in the same language, although it appeared to the more educated eye that some of the script was of a different order to that of the rest. Kirvan motioned to a retainer, and with a nod a leather bag was thrown to the aristocrat. Out of it he grabbed what looked like a very durably-built holocamera. He tossed the bag to another retainer without a second thought, and began taking photographs of the script, wandering left and right about the place.
Taesir had her own camera on her recording images and footage of the light as it danced across the walls. After sme photographs she took notice of the writing that hovered just in front of the walls, trying to draw from what she knew to decipher anything she could, having at the very least a basic grasp on the language from previous digsites and expeditions she had been on. Kirvan, for a time, looked over Taesir's shoulder, studying any notes taken and scribbling into his own notebook. After a few fruitless minutes, the astonishing sight of a preserved archive such as this became mundane, and he plodded to the central pillar, and sat on the floor next to it, staring at his older notes. As Kirvan looked back up from his notes however, he was greeted by the sight of a clearly bored member of his expedition leaning, carelessly, against the glyph-adorned wall, putting his full weight against it. Immediately, Kirvan cringed inwardly. As his weight pressed down on the glyphs, the wall of text behind him suddenly rushed downwards, revealing the text further up the wall in much clearer light. It appeared the text upon the walls were manipulated somehow by physical contact. The retainer, half-panicked, stumbled away, before slipping on the smooth floor for a good several seconds before crumpling down to it.
- Retainer - --Fuck! Hey... Ugh, what was that? Scared me...
The transformation of text took Taesir by momentary surprise. But after the initial surprise she looked around, hoping ot find a glyph she could understand. Finding one she was interrested in, she tapped it with her two right-hand fingers, ehr eyes tracking the resulting transformation. As the glyph was tapped, all other text on the wall dimmed, revealing another, more organised set of glyphs. It seemed that, upon tapping the glyph was the manner of opening the archives. It was not clear as to what the information entailed, but it appeared to be details of surveillance over a region of space. The archive was not that well filled out, and it appeared that whatever the surveillance task the Voidwalker was responsible for, was either uneventful or incomplete.
- Kirvan - What a curious way to keep records... Perhaps there's something more interesting elsewhere?
Kirvan himself had a go at manipulating the glyphs, trying to highlight a completely different section to read it easier. As the glyphs had returned to the way it was, another set opened up entirely. This one was of more intrigue; a diagram - three dimensional as it spun around, revealed a digital specimen of a species that was recorded there. It was not known what the species was, as it did not appear similar to anything of prominence in this day. One could guess perhaps that it was once of prominence, perhaps a percursor that existed in times long before other precursors, although it was entirely up to conjecture. Kirvan, a historian by education, was astonished. The enigmatic records of the Zhululthu unveiled a history so unfathomably distant it was utterly lost to time. When he embarked on his travels, Kirvan understood the value of this ship's artifacts in a more detached, impersonal manner-- but now he understood at a truly personal level.
- Kirvan - ...We'll need better recording devices, Taesir. Much better.
- Taesir - The number of terabytes of data that must be stored here...Oh the Royal Academy is going to love what we've found!
- Kirvan - Every historian, xenoanthropologist, and xenoarchaeologist this side of the Gigaquadrant will kill for this information-- What's going on?
The archive wall returned back to its dormant state; although this time, glyphs of a more odd nature began to highlight in bright red, as if something was beckoning them to activate it. The other glyphs surrounding it, top to bottom began to become dissonant as a static overcame them, although the stranger glyphs remained the same.
- Taesir - Must be the system trying to preserve the more critial entries from a power surge.
- Kirvan - Maybe so... Whatever happens, let's pray that we didn't just compromise this whole bank.
- Taesir - Wouldn't hurt to try and see what these more pecular glyphs are...at least I hope it doesn't.
Kirvan motioned for Taesir to give it a try, his uneasiness evident. Taking a breath of reassurance in herself, Taesir looked for one of the stranger glyphs. cautiously, she approached it and with a light tap, activated one positioned a little higher than her head. The glyph activated much like the two before them, although this time, the text revealed was of a stranger nature than that of the text of the other records. It slowly emerged on the wall around them, although now it did not appear like any shorter report or a set of information. It seemed like as if an entry was made on the archive much rather than collected data, as the set of language seemed far more complete than the glyphs of the previous sets. Relieved, Taesir looked at the mroe complete archives. Using a set of optical bionics in her eyes, she attempted ot internally translate the contents of the archive on the best of the information on the precursor dialect that she had. It was, at best, fragmented. This order of script was the first of its kind, and only a small number of glyphs of the entire paragraph were discernible. It seemed that, based on what the script was, the text was of an antiquity far greater than other Zhulultu texts, perhaps even the oldest recorded text ever discovered in Zhulultu xenoarchaeological circles. Taesir took a step back, processing the magnitude of what she was reading. The paralysing energies that she had when she entered the room were dwarfed by the forces that nwo swept her body at this cosmic revelation.
- Taesir - This...This script here. It erm. predates well...everything. Zhuleshxi's ark, the monolith on Sol III, anything we've found in Tuuros and Triangulum...Any site it...
To singal the sheer awe, Taesir outstretched her arms and opened her mouth in awe. Kirvan simply stared.
- Taesir - Ancient. Even to them this is beyond antiquity.
- Kirvan - The oldest... Civilised thing-- evidence of it, anyway-- ever found. As tired as the phrase is this rewrites, well, everything. Everything we know of this period.
Taesir could only nod her head as her arms slowly lowered. Still reaching out as if to grasp a physical manifestation of the discovery's enormity. As to what the text itself illustrated, it appeared to be written in the first person - a Zhulultu itself had coded this message into the Voidwalker's archives, although the decipherable translation did not offer a complete account of what was written. Kirvan snapped out of his trance. He demanded the holocamera back from the retainer he had since passed it to, and began to frantically snap pictures of the text, gibbering excitedly to himself. Despite its incomplete nature, Taesir tried her best to at least identify any keywords her mind was racing to what the precursor of precursors could have possibly spoken of. For in this chamber was the very reason she pursued the Zhulultu and their remains.
The very text upon the wall only had a small number of words that could be cross-referenced into the more widely understood Zhulultu script that was more common in ancient constructs, although Taesir had translated that transcript into a rough draft:
'Final Account of Zhul-???
I travelled - (stars?) - to - (escape from?) - Zhul-???.
The next sentence was entirely incomprehensible, although what appeared to be words of a similar nature to ruthless were probable.
I know that Zhul-??? will find me. I will - (try?) - to fight - but loss is - (inevitable?). Enclosed is information to - ??? - but there is a chance that Zhul-??? will find it and destroy it. If any Zhulultu discovers my craft, let it be known that Zhul-??? has called upon - (death?) - and has betrayed - ???.
The next few sentences were similarly impossible to decipher, although the last few words had appeared to either have been input incorrectly or were damaged in mid transit.
- Kirvan - ...And there's our earliest evidence for... armed conflict, anyway. What could this all seriously mean?
- Taesir - I'm not sure. No idea how old Zhuleshxi was, that is if he is the one the archive is talking about. Whoever wrote this...I'm guessing this was the ship they used to escape.
- Retainer - This is one hell of a getaway vehicle, if you ask me.
- Taesir - This isn't too beyond them. That monolith on Sol III I mentioned? My seniors tell me the thing was a signal beacon and it turned some 650 square megametres of land into complete desert in the act of transmission.
The soldier whistled;
- Retainer - Gods above...
- Taesir - They saw themselves as either almost gods or divine agents. And designed like it.
- Kirvan - Interesting, that. Even the oldest, most unspeakably ancient society was prone to the same, folly as so many others, hubris. He paused, studying the archive one last time. Come on Taesir, I think we have what we need.
Taesir nodded. she took a look back at the archive as everyoen prepared to leave, thinking to herself that if there was time maybe a more collaborative effort could decipher the other contents of the archive.