“Attention all crew; I repeat - Attention all crew.” the ship - wide loudspeaker announced. submitted by
He and the runtime of Flowers had their arms buried deep in the guts of a Goat gear hauler trying to reconnect its aft starboard repulser module and looked at each other questioningly.
With a series of snaps, a waldo from Flowers’ forearm began snapping in the connections on their side, as he thought his own manipulators from both of his forearms and they began plugging in the nine pin connectors on his side.
“Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops. Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops.
“Dout leader Mri’x to Ops. Dout leader Mri’x to Ops.”
The mostly-human and the robot-looking vessel for his AI friend both produced wondering looks. “Runner!” the mostly-human, Mr. Drake yelled out into the maintenance bay.
A Mwraht, a slender bipedal humanoid coated in fur and wearing their moccasin like deck boots and the ubiquitous brown leather smock vest they favored, suddenly appeared, wippingits hands.
It was M’arh, a student on the ship learning ship engineering and maintenance from the human and AI perspective. It regarded Drake with an earnest expression in its tilted almond-shaped eyes.
“Please run to ops and let them know we’ll be along shortly,”
M’arh smiled and mouthed something, and the translator, in a fair facsimile of what M’arh’s voice would sound like if the Mwraht’s mouth could form the words said “At once,Instructor”, and took off.
“They never cease to puzzle me.” Flowers said in a voice synthesised and engineered to sound like an erudite Free Wales Easterner with a touch of Old Earth, fitting the bolts on the deflector on his side as Drake thought out a data probe and began running diagnostics on the repulser.
Drake looked at him quizzingly, as he split his attention between the connectivity check and his other hand began bolting on the deflector on his side.
“There are nuances to their speech, as well as odorant aspects to what he said that you cannot hear or smell, though I have been working on an idea where you could.” Flowers said as he began hooking up the power cables on their side.
“Ok…” Drake said as he mentally pushed the diagnostics over to Flowers and pulled a ratchet from the fairing lip he had set it earlier, tightening down the deflector bolts.
“Meat bags” Flowers said, shaking his sensor pod. “Your kind are so oblivious!” Flowers announced, withdrawing their arms and standing up to their full two meter height. “And I see your frustration with biological markers at not knowing what I am talking about. Monkey-assed murder hobo meat bags.” Flowers said in a dead pan.He went over and began cleaning it’s arms and legs with an orange-based degreaser.
“That is Monkey-assed Augmented murder hobo meat bag to you, you synthetic shit!” Drake said, laughing, joining Flowers at the cleaning station, and began using the same cleaner on his replacement arms. “And I still have no idea what you are talking about.”
The humans and Mwarht in the maintenance bay all stopped what they were doing and looked on. In most instances, those words were an invitation to murder. The other Runtimes there, some Flowers, some Neptunian Wind, ignored it and kept working.
Flowers sighed, an unnecessary vocalization only, for emphasis. “They adore humans and revere you as something akin to a living deity. The Dout leaders here know you lead the teams that first boarded their ships and took on the Drix raiders to save them. They know you then lead the teams that boarded the Drix slaver destroyer and carried out retributionary subjugation for what the Drix had been doing on the Mwraht ships.
“They do not know how you then petitioned the Order and led raids into Drix territory and assaulted the slaver worlds.”
Flowers looked at their human friend, and saw the distress in his eyes. Both knew the augmented human, and a small army of fellow Augies and Runtimes had taught the Drix in the clearest way possible to stay out of human space and leave the Mwraht alone in such a clear and brutal fashion whose necessity still bothered the human.
Flowers lowered their voice, straightening their friend’s work smock. “M’arh’s grandsire was on that first ship you boarded. Mri’x mother was on that ship and was the one about to be eaten and raped by a Drix, the one you pulled off of her and punched, it’s head rupturing.”
Even though they could see their words were causing him distress, Flowers continued.
“They love all humans, but they excrete a pheromone musk that is akin to the same one they excrete in their religious ceremonies, but slightly different, when they interact with you, or after a few beers and they talk to you. Their sub vocalizations are completely adoring and submissive when it comes to you. Some of the females and a non-zero number of males fantasize about being ‘taken’, or mated, by you. You idiot.”
“That was implied.”
“You fucking pretentious Rooba. You know what I meant.”
“Flowers laughed. “Yes, we do. I still love the word play, though.”
“I really wish you had been with me. I know, you were tied up on that Artifact World, but I sometimes wish you had been there, to keep me in check. I was not in a good place.” He brushed himself off, found his coffee mug and set off for the passageway that led to Ops.
“I have told you before, be glad I wasn’t. Your response was far more measured and restrained than my would have been. It is a flaw in our Matrices. Slavery brings out the ‘murder-bot’ in us, and no one in the Order can figure out why.”
“I know that you have the facts of my actions, but it was like I was in the Second War, again. And we both know what a bloodthirsty asshole I was then.” The human, if that term even applied to their friend anymore, remembered what a monster he had been in the Alpha Centauri and Tau Ceti theatres of the Second War. The pain and humiliation of what he had been was written plainly on his face.
“You destroyed three hundred and eighty three of my Runtimes, roughly half of which was in single combat. And that was before the Holies shredded your limbs. The Purists still consider you a living dataphage, akin to human allegories of Satan. My kind uses you as one of many examples of why we must never war with Humanity again.
“And, strangely enough, the Seekers consider you both a Singularity to be understood and an objective: to breed with you, thinking you are a key to their evolution.”
He stopped dead and looked at Flowers shocked.
“I will provide logs to prove these statements.”
The Seekers were the strangest of the AI’s, in his opinion. They had made themselves biological Runtime vessels, biological bodies, that they wore like clothing, compiling experiences seeking to understand Humanity, their Creators, and evolve past the limitations of being an AI. Not to become human, but to become something that was both the best of AI and Human essences and so much more.
“So, I’m a Classical hero to the Mwraht and a boogey man and bad example to the AIs that they want to breed. Great.” Drake pinched his nose and shook his head.
“You did not know any of this, I take it?” Flowers asked.
“The second war was almost two hundred years ago. When the Order brought me in, you were already a member and I thought they were going with the whole forced-to-learn-each-other thing when they sent us out on that mapping mission; like they did with the Iberrians and the Chinese. I thought the other AI just had a thing about me from the War, which is understandable.
“And I had no idea about the rest. I thought that the Mwraht just thought I was the cool teacher.” He shook his head and leaned up against the wall, massaging his temples one-handedly.
“Idiot murder hobo.” Flowers said, realizing now that their friend, while brilliant, was oblivious.
At that point, Mri’x came around the corner, his fur a glossy black with dark grey stripes. Mri’x looked at Flowers sternly, then nodded at Drake as he passed.
Drake looked at Flowers questioningly, who nodded. Both had caught that Mri’x had cut his translator as he passed and caught a gutteral call. “It was a vulgar corollary to ‘Talking Waste Receptacle’. Quite elegant, really.”
Drake shook his head and began his way to Ops again. “Send me the specs on the hearing and smelling upgrades. I think I need to upgrade again.”
As fast as thought, the files were there, as well as one to improve his language skills with them.
* * *
Captain Sarah Rees of the Union of Independent Stars Exploratory Vessel SS University of New Cardiff was looking over holographic charts at the central tank with her XO, Lt. Commander Martin. Both had the mocha skin common to Westerlies of Free Wales, she a pixie of a woman shorter than even some of the Mwraht with close shaved hair beginning to show grey. Mr. Martin was taller, but still dwarfed by most of the rest of the human crew. He was a vicious social climber who didn’t care for the civilian crew, though a misstep on his part when he was still Stellar Navy had made him as much of a civilian as anyone else in the crew, a fact he often forgot. And for some reason he loathed the three AI aboard, and looked down his nose at the Mwraht. This led to all sorts of headbutting with Drake’s group of Operations Specialists and Drake himself; who largely ignored and dismissed the little shit.
“Leader Mri’x, Mr. Drake. Thank you for joining us. M’arh informed us you couldn’t pull away. Flowers, thank you for coming as well.” Rees said as she moved around to the far side of the tank, in a darkened room full of people at work stations worked with either data plugs or AR sets. Flowers took no insult. They readily accepted that they were Drake’s Executive Officer for his group, and their ego, as such, wasn’t as easily bruised as a human’s” Flowers gave a nod with their sensor pod and took a manipulators-behind-the-back stance the humans were fond of.
“Thirty minutes ago” Rees continued, “we picked up a GP general distress beacon from a system that was on our research list. We will be bypassing the next two on the list and based on the current agreements with the Galactic Parliament, we will be going to full power and make best speed for the system in question. It is in uncharted space as far as we, the GP and the Conclave are concerned.”
The GP, the System Confederacy, the UIS and the AI Conclave had all agreed to adopt what was essentially humanity’s Maritime Law and all ships receiving the signal were required to render aid.
Drake took all of this in and thought out a series of commands to the six Kodiak Class corvettes in the retired Assault Cruiser’s forward hanger, beginning their startup sequence and pinged the comm devices of all of his Operations Specialists. Flowers looked over and nodded. Little known to the crew, except the Captain, those ships could be armed to the teeth with a minimum of work. Flowers sent his command to arm them, the ship systems’ pinged Drake as confirmation and he agreed. Drones began opening the hull and loading the weapons packages, removed fairings that covered weapons ports and began preflighting the weapons, as another set began bringing the ships to life.
“We will be ready when needed, Captain. Option two.” Flowers announced. She smiled in somber appreciation. She was glad she had the option. She was about to race into an unknown system to answer a vague distress call with zero intelligence.
While this was going on, in the aft bay, hundreds of drones were coming to life as Mri’x brought his group to action. With a thought Drake and Flowers authorized the release of weapons to Mri’x so his drones could be armed. Mwraht drones were some of the best in either race, outside of the Conclave, and the AIs had even adopted many of the construction techniques the Mwraht used, especially their alloy that allowed a small fusion bottle to power the EM Cavity engines, weapons and shields.
The fact that the Order had given literal tons of precious metals and set up arcologies for the Mwraht in payment had made the Refugee Mwraht colonies some of the richest ones in known space.
Mri’x subvocalized and his translate stated “drones will be ready as well, Leader.”
“Thank you, Leader.” Captain Rees said with a bow of her head, then began drawing plans up in the tank. “We know little, but we are past the signal shell, and there is nothing but the beacon and normal noise.
“The system is a stable red dwarf binary one, the stars holding about a light-hour from each other, at their closest. We expect that based on stutter, a few terrestrial bodies inside the orbit of a mid-sized gas giant, that is three light-hours out from the outermost orbit of the primaries. We see some wobble that there are a few solid bodies out from the gas giant.”
The tank then zoomed on a rough solar system as described, the gas giant was a solid neon green sphere on the display, with a ‘Jx3.1’ tag on it. Three times the mass of Jupiter. The thing wasn’t a true Super Jupiter, but it would play holy hell with the system, and make modelling a lot more hard. The problem was that it exhibited 3.1 times more gravitational influence on its stars than Jupiter did, but that didn’t say how big it actually was. They wouldn’t know that until they came out of the Trough and then Alcubierre drive. The telescopes were essentially useless at this point.
“The system is slightly below the gravitic trough we are riding, so we will exit the trough and make best speed in A-Space to it. We will bring the STL drives up to 110% before doing so. After we drop the A-Drives, we’ll make best speed to the signal, scanning as we go. We will do a 150% burn and aerobrake if it is a planet, or cut the drives, rotate and crash burn if it is a ship.”
Wow, thought Drake. She is damned serious about this.
Those maneuvers would make them extremely visible yet incredibly hard to hit; and give them a high-G escape route if needed. But all of this was also going to play hell with the student-crew of the ship, who had long grown accustomed to 0.6G. It would also mean the Mwraht, who were still adapting to the higher-than-their-normal gravity would need to be in their special acceleration couches. They would still be able to operate their amazing drones, but not much else. The couches took an hour to cycle up to protect the Mwraht, and an hour to cycle off after they weren’t needed. The moves the Captain was planning were not a thing to undertake lightly. She suspected something. Drake pushed more commands at the Kodiak and gave all weapon system controls to Flowers for all of their ships.
The Kodiak corvettes were very deceptive Q-Ships. They looked like Massive trans-atmospheric cargo shuttles, but each one had the armor, power plant, FTL and STL drives of a frigate - and the weapons of a Destroyer.
Flowers turned to him, head tilted in their predefined “Are you bloody serious?“ look.
Drake just nodded once.
This exchange wasn’t lost on anyone there.
The Captain looked at Drake in an interrogatory fashion
“Armed up the Kodiaks and positioning them for a hot launch, if needed.”
The Captain smiled grimly and nodded. “We are planning on a rescue mission, will those changes reduce any capacity for the primary mission?” she asked.
“No, Captain.” Flowers answered for them.
She nodded and carried on.
“Mri’x, obviously, you’ll be couched for this, and I sincerely apologize for that. But something about this has my hackles up.”
“As are mine. GP ships do not have automated distress beacons, someone activated it. But we are three thousand light years from GP space, the closest GP race being the Drix.” He approached the holo tank and began expanding the map. “We call this space the Greater Void. It was the territory, long ago, of the ones we called-” the translator cut out at that point and was replaced with the gracile being’s raspy growl. Mri’x looked perplexed and growled again. “I see our translators have been modified to allow the uttering of The Nameless Ones true name.” The map zoomed out farther.
Soon, all of the mapped and a few of the suspected Dark Matter Troughs were displayed. They were like shadow arms of the galaxy, spiraling out from the core, a few of them wrapping themselves all the way around the galaxy.
“The ones you call the Fae are originally from here,” he indicated, a star not unlike Earth’s, almost a thousand light years from the star they were headed to, but smack dab in a grey band of a different Dark Matter Trough. It was a great curving grey patch that went coreward from the Earth-like star, passing within about fifty lightyears of Earth.
The Fae were a recent mystery the Tides of the Universe had dumped upon the shores of Humanity just after the Second War, right before the Fall of Earth.
When they sent their pleas for Asylum out, they sent information about themselves. They were the barely viable population that had been running for three centuries in their great world ships made from hollowed out asteroids. What they had been running from was even to this day unclear, but in their tongue meant Dark Brethren.
The fact that tongue seemed to contain roots that became Sanskrit was a huge thing.
They were tall, whip-thin and pale people who breathed a lower oxygen percentage at lower pressures than humanity, and their normal gravity was about a third of what humanity
After First Contact, genetic samples proved they were, or had started out as human, roughly a hundred thousand years ago.
“This is the Coreward Flow from what you call the Crux-Scutum Arm through the Orion Arm, and to the Perseus Arm. The Drix call this whole area their equivalent word and meaning for Hell. Their myths say this is where the Monsters live.
“The Rest of the GP races call this The Red Zone, it is forbidden to fly here, and if you do, there will be no rescue. So of course this is where my people ran when we fled the Drix.”
Mri’x moved the hologram out again, showing this outer rim area that was the Red Zone included Earth, and all known human and AI settled worlds, of all the separate factions combined.
“The area is full of thousands of worlds your kind could land on, little to no protection required, unlike the Fae, who it would crush and pressure cook, as it would most of the races in the Galactic Parliament.” He zoomed in on an area at the far end of the Trough. “We ran here, and Mwarht Home is here.” He showed a system in a blue circle. Zooming out again he highlighted the Drix Combine, Coreward of and on the far side of the destroyed system the Fae had come from, hundreds of light years separated the three systems.
“We ran through the system the Fae came from when we ran from the Drix. We needed water and anything to recharge our ship farms' biological cycles.
“There were no solid planetary bodies in that system, just vast fields of debris where rocky planets were. No moons, no ice giants. Just the star, a larger red dwarf and gas giants and numerous asteroid belts. There were massive radiological signals throughout the system, and tons of debris. Something destroyed this system. In a way, it was a blessing for my people. The ice and debris were easily mineable for what we needed. We even found artifacts of the people that had once existed there. This is where we got our improved FTL drives and much of our weapons and armor technologies.” Mri’s looked somewhat ashamed. It was a racial shame. They hated, deep down, living on the detritus, cast-offs and charity of other races. Before the Drix they had been proud though primitive peoples who had yet to discover flight or antibiotics, let alone space flight. Easy pickings for the Drix.
“All of that was about one thousand lightyears from the system we are headed to, a few weeks' travel with your drives, months or years with Galactic Parliament standard drives. This area is one of mysteries and many, many dangers. Any race that could shatter every solid body in a star system is not to be taken lightly.” Mri’x looked up to his Captain, or as they called her ‘Leader of multiple Douts’.
“Thank you, Mri’x. Drake?”
“We will be ready for pretty much anything. I’d like to request permission for Flowers and Winds of Neptunes to take out their Scout bodies and launch just before we start braking, if we do.” He said. Winds appeared as a hologram of the planet Neptune, and pulsed in cadence with the words it spoke. “As you wish, Grand Master.” and winked out.
“Good plan, Drake. I take it you all will be on the Kodiaks with your crews?”
“Yes, Ma’am. I’ll leave four of them here, to bring the Field Engineering and field Science students down if the scene is safe. I’ll leave one set up for medical and Flowers can fly it down, if that becomes needed.”
“Very well. We are about eight hours out, if we stick to the plan. We leave the Trough in two hours. Drake, M’rizx, set up what you need. Mr. Martin, please take the Conn and give the Old Girl her legs, she needs to run. I’ll be meeting with the different department heads next.”
* * *
A/N: Lurker posting something HFY for the first time. A rough draft of something bigger I'm slowly working on.
Had great fun writing this. I'm still flexing my muscles on writing as well as on English grammar (I'm non native English). Would love to see what you think of it.
Original prompt: https://www.reddit.com/WritingPrompts/comments/hp76pb/wp_the_last_surviving_logs_of_the_crew_of_the_iss/
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 8 days 4 hrs to event
“You’re sure this is genuine?”
Abel looked Myogi straight into her light brown eyes, searching for any trace of doubt she had concerning the message. His voice being the only notable sound apart from the soft hum of the ship’s life support system. They were on the bridge of the I.S.S. Conan. A place designed for function not aesthetic, able to hold six of the small cruiser’s crew of eight. Currently, only four people were present.
She returned his stare unwavering.
The front of the oval shaped bridge held the navigation consoles and the main screen for displaying whatever it was that was important. This was Ahmed’s station, the I.S.S. Conan’s first helmsman, though at the moment Gerald, his junior, was operating it. Tactical was to the right manned by Karl the ship's chief engineer. Communication was to the left, until recently manned by the ship’s XO commander Myogi Shizu. Command was where Abel and Myogi were standing now, at the center of the bridge. Only twenty-eight? Way too young!
Abel remembered his first impression when he and Myogi first met, just over two years ago. But she showed him his doubts were unfounded by taking command of the ship and its crew. Oh, he tested her, of course. But she passed all his challenges with flying colours. And with every success, Abel's respect for this young woman had grown.
“It’s genuine, sir!” Her strong voice showed not even a hint of uncertainty. “The quantum encryption seal has been verified and the origin of the message has been established as coming from sector HQ at Jewel-4.”
Abel read the flash message again.
To: Cmdr. H.P.F. Abel, I.S.S. Conan From: I.S.S. Sector HQ, Tantalus Sector, Jewel-4 Priority: High You are to set course immediately to the Conflictus System, Heagon Sector. Investigate anomaly at coordinates 298-8876-98. Report on 8 hour intervals upon arrival. Yours sincerely, Commodore Aginov Tantalus Sector Admiral
She wouldn’t screw up such a simple thing as this. After all their time together, Abel was certain commander Myogi Sizu was among the best of XO’s he ever served with. He feared the moment she would leave his ship to take on her own command.
"Besides,” she added, “who could possibly be interested in creating a fake ISS message? I mean, it’s not that there are any aliens out there trying to trick us."
Abel smiled. Two centuries of interstellar space flight, but mankind had yet to come across other intelligent life. Let alone lifeforms that deliberately tried to divert a small cruiser to an unknown location.
Abel activated the navigation computer and entered their new destination. A holographic representation of the Heagon sector appeared. It was a small sector, with few stars and zero colonies or outposts. Barely interesting. He added the I.S.S. Conan’s current location and suddenly whistled with surprise.
“That will take us a week to get there.”
“Should I plot the course, sir?” Myogi asked.
“Yes. And inform the crew about our new orders. I’m going to request confirmation on this.”
*** 1 day 9 hrs to event
Confirmation came within twenty-four hours. Now, with less than eight hours travel time left to their destination, Abel noticed how much the tension on board his ship had increased. Of course, any new mission brings a given amount of stress. But patrolling between colonies and occasionally inspecting civilian transports for contraband was hardly a dangerous task. This time it felt different.
“You should eat, sir,” Myogi said.
Abel looked at his still untouched plate containing his evening dinner. A small piece of fried chicken, some flavored potatoes and carrots.
“I’m not hungry.”
They were dining alone. The rest of the crew was either being on station or resting. Myogi had already finished her meal and had used most of their time together to bring him up to date with the crew status. Most of her time was spent on regular issues, like Dylan who was angry at Karl for having been scowled at during the latest drill or Gerald complaining that Sorland, as acting chief security, inspected his cabin without him knowing. Of more pressing concern were the details of the sour relation between Karl and Ahmed. Each of their disputes seemed to be about something rather trivial. As a result Myogi now concluded that the ship's medical officer, young Irene Caldwell, was at the heart of their enmity.
“Only two weeks fresh on board and she is already driving our most senior crewmen crazy. I really should talk to her about this.” She concluded.
Abel wasn’t listening. And halfway through her report Myogi must have realised she was having a monologue.
“You’re not listening, are you sir?”
“The ship is in excellent condition, sir. Nothing can go wrong. We'll go in, scan whatever it is we find there, and get out. In a week's time we'll be drinking cocktails on the beach of Lake Pelmac in the Feynman colony, enjoying our shore leave.”
She tried hard to let her voice sound relaxed, like there was nothing wrong. But with two years of close collaboration Abel immediately noticed the tiny aberrations in her usually clear voice. So you feel it too?
Again he started reflecting how much, as a senior officer, Myogi had grown over the last two years. She would be leaving soon, he now was sure of it.
“My grandfather was captain of the Xerxes during the pacification of the Tantalus sector, when they were fighting the pirates,” Abel started. “That was a real war! He once told me that when you are in command for a long enough period, you start to develop a sort of sixth sense for when danger lurks. I always thought he said it to boast his stories a bit.”
Abel looked his XO directly in her eyes.
“Now I’m not so sure anymore. Ever since I got that damn confirmation back from HQ I feel terrified.”
“Trust your team, captain.” Myogi’s slender fingers touched his hand briefly, reassuring him. Then she gathered her plate and cutlery and got up. Just before leaving she added:
“Now finish your plate, sir!”
“Yes, ma'am,” Abel laughed.
*** 26 hrs to event They should have added more room to the bridge.
The thought popped up as he watched his entire crew of seven in the confined space. They were fully operational now, with Ahmed and Gerard at the helm as well as Karl and Dylan at the tactical stations. Sorland was making himself useful by manning communications. That left Myogi and Irene who were just standing idle to his right side. Abel could understand everyone wanted to see firsthand why they were sent to this remote location in space, though he suspected that Irene’s motivation was less about curiosity and more about ascertaining her own safety. Give her a break, she just left the academy.
"Visual on screen," Ahmed announced. His loud voice broke the silence on board the I.S.S. Conan’s bridge. The main screen went black, then it suddenly showed the outside environment.
Abel watched the image on the screen, a deep black space. But the countless stars usually visible were missing. Instead the black of the image was broken by wide lanes of partially translucent brown. Dust! At the center a large yellow star was visible, shedding a bright corona, and to the right a smaller yet surprisingly bright purple companion could be seen. For a moment it appeared the astro charts had missed classifying Conflictus as a binary star system, then Abel realised the purple companion was the anomaly.
An unsettling knot formed in his stomach.
Ahmed adjusted the I.S.S. Conan’s heading. The purple companion now centered on the screen. As the ship covered more of the remaining distance, it slowly enlarged into a pulsating blob of gas roughly measuring a thousand kilometers in diameter. A fascinating view, Abel found. And one like he never had seen before.
“Wow. That looks weird,” Myogi said, her voice filled with wonder.
Abel nodded in agreement. As they approached the image of the anomaly was filled with more details. The gas cloud was packed with dancing streaks of purple running like lightning criss cross. The sight was beautiful yet disturbing.
Abel felt the knot in his stomach grow a little tighter.
“Sorland, report to HQ that we have arrived as planned at our destination. And—”
At that moment the ship’s main computer activated the alarm, preventing Abel from finishing his second order. The direct image of the anomaly on the main screen was replaced with a simplified tactical view. Moments later Dylan’s voice boomed in the confined space of the bridge.
“Contact..contact..contact..!! Bearing zero-three-nine. Range two-point-eight.”
Practiced drills kicked in. Abel and Myogi immediately sat down in their seats and buckled up. Karl activated the ship's weapon systems, linking it with whatever it was Dylan's sensors had located, while Gerald powered up the ship's emergency thrusters. Irene remained standing. Frozen. Her face pale white displaying fear.
Abel fired his commands.
“Full stop! Karl, identification on the contact!”
The reply came almost immediately.
“Contact is orbiting the anomaly at three thousand klicks, sir. No identification, but it’s big.” So that’s why the computer went berserk!
“Sorland, send that message!” Abel commanded. “Include we have an unidentified contact!” Then he noticed Irene. “And please escort Irene to her cabin.”
Sorland acknowledged. Abel never heard it. His attention had already returned to the main screen.
“Any sign on the EM-band?” he asked.
“Negative, sir!” Karl answered. “Whatever it is, it’s quiet as a rock.” Why are we here?
Abel started to question his orders as he contemplated the situation. What had Aginov exactly meant by ‘investigate anomaly’? Was HQ aware of the unknown object around of... something else unknown? And what exactly was it he was now meant to investigate?
Again, Abel felt the unsettling knot in his stomach. He looked to the right, at Myogi. Unlike him, the young woman seemed to be at ease, her attention focused on the main screen, radiating self-confidence. Perhaps I should let her take command!
Feeling his stare, she turned to look at him.
“You’re okay, sir?” she asked.
“Yeah” he lied.
Abel added to it a silent curse. What was wrong with him? He was her captain, not some pitiful old man. He should be the one being self-confident. So why the hell was he still questioning this mission? Abel gestured his XO to come near. As she leaned over to him, he made sure he kept his voice down.
“Commander, I want your assessment on the continuation of this mission.”
Myogi gave him a puzzled look.
“You want to abort the mission, sir?” Like Abel, Myogi too kept her voice down, realising her captain wanted a private confer.
He gave her a short nod in reply.
“I don’t like it. We came to investigate a stellar anomaly. Now we have an unknown contact, possibly hostile.”
“We don’t know if it is hostile, sir.” she said. “Up until now we only know the computer identified something out there and labeled it artificial.”
Abel contemplated her words. She was right of course. The computer had found something out there that simply didn’t match it’s programmed parameters, so it sounded the alarm. Had it been wartime, or had their mission been of a more aggressive posture, any unidentified contact would likely pose a threat. But this mission was neither.
“I still don’t like it,” he said. “You think the computer is wrong?”
“No, sir. We just don’t know what it is. And that’s exactly why we need to investigate it. If we leave, it will take more than a week for another ship to reach this location. By then it might be gone and we will never know.”
A simple and solid rational analysis. Something he had come to expect from her, Abel thought. She was going to be a great captain.
“Sir...,” Myogi hesitated, “you should also take into consideration that admiral Aginov is just waiting for another event to question your ability to command. He did not seem to be happy how you'd dealt with the issue concerning the freighter Leonov.” The Leonov...
Abel had almost forgotten the incident. He was sure Aginov would cherish the fact if he ignored his orders. And he wouldn't hesitate to court marshal him over it.
“Captain, what are our orders?” Karl’s loud voice interrupted Abel and Myogi’s deliberation. He needed to make a decision. Fast. Abel looked his XO in the eyes. Perhaps it was
“So you want to investigate it, Myogi?” Abel whispered, thinking aloud. He still had his doubts but Myogi was right: ending this mission right here right now would effectively end his career as a flag officer. Besides, toying the idea of putting Myogi in command, if she pulled this off it would flag her as exceptionally talented. He then had a bonus for her file, before forwarding his already written request for promoting her to captain. A soft smile lined his face.
“Very well, commander. You convinced me, for now.”
Abel addressed his crew, still waiting for his orders. “We are going to continue our present course.” Then, following his idea, he added. “Commander Shizu has the conn.”
Whether or not Myogi was surprised by him handing over command of the ship to her, she didn’t show it. With a trained efficiency she directed the crew of the I.S.S. Conan towards the unknown object, ascertaining the ship had always a direct escape route out of danger. Abel watched her with a sense of pride.
Abel’s heart missed a beat.
It had taken the I.S.S. Conan ten minutes to cover the distance between the ship and the unknown contact, enabling visual inspection. Abel was standing at the far end of the bridge, accompanied by Sorland. The latter one, having escorted Irene to her cabin, had joined him in witnessing Myogi’s command of the ship. It had made Abel smile. He long since suspected his chief security having an interest in the ship’s XO surpassing only professional.
Now everyone on the bridge froze.
“Fuck!” Karl muttered.
Even Myogi lost her cool. “Oh my god”
Abel remained silent and stared at the main screen. Stunned. On it, something was visible that couldn’t be. The undeniable proof of alien intelligent life, for all on the bridge to see!
He studied the image shown on the screen. A construction, trapezoid in shape, containing three large spheres connected with tubes. A pair of very large solar foils were stretched out on either side. Both shape and style were unlike any spaceship or space station Abel ever had come across.
“Captain?” Myogi looked at him, her eyes searching for any hint he wanted to retake command of the ship. Abel just stared back. She understood, firing a new set of commands that returned activity to the bridge.
“Ahmed, take us in, one hundred klicks. Karl, keep offensive weapons locked on that thing. And keep scanning the EM-band. If they even switch on a single dashboard light I want to know." You’re doing great, Myogi.
To: Cmdr. H.P.F. Abel, I.S.S. Conan From: I.S.S. Sector HQ, Tantalus Sector, Jewel-4 Priority: High +++ this mission is now classified top secret +++ Your preliminary report on the object has been examined. I agree on your initial assessment the object discovered is no longer operational. As to its origin, it is still a mystery. Permission is hereby granted to extent the investigation on the object. The I.S.S. Dealus and I.S.S Galileo have been dispatched to your location and will join you in five days. Yours sincerely, Commodore Aginov Tantalus Sector Admiral
*** 20 hrs to event
They had assembled in the ship’s mess. Like the bridge this room too hadn’t been designed for a full gathering of the crew. With only two tables there was just enough room for half of them to sit down. Abel preferred standing.
It had only been six hours since they had made their discovery. They had spent the time scanning the object for any electrical activity, finding none. Also, a more detailed visual survey had revealed extensive damage on the forward two spheres, whereas the solar foils showed a severe lack of maintenance.
It was dead.
Both Karl and Dylan had agreed on this and, being the ship’s engineers, they were the closest thing Abel had to an expert on ship design. Following their conclusion, Abel and Myogi both agreed the unknown object posed no threat to the I.S.S. Conan and its crew. Then why am I still worried?
Abel still felt like he was missing something, that something was eluding him. Apart from its origin, if the unknown object was dead, the most important question was: what happened to its crew? And would the answer to that question lead to a reassessment of the object’s threat status? Again he felt uncomfortable.
“Captain? Our new orders?”
Myogi interrupted Abel’s pondering, bringing him back to his current task: informing the crew. He let his eyes wander over the men and women serving on board the I.S.S. Conan. Their faces were displaying a mixture of excitement, worry and, in case of Irene, anxiety. Abel noticed Irene had taken her seat next to Karl, who had put his arm protectively over her shoulder. He also noticed the malicious look Ahmed was giving both of them. Trouble is brewing..
Whatever it was that was going on between them, it had to stop. Abel made a mental note to schedule a private chat with both of his senior crew members, then started addressing his crew.
“I don’t think I have to explain how much of historical significance our mission has become.” Abel's voice immediately commanded the attention of everyone in the room. “Already the discovery of this unknown object is changing how we view our galaxy.”
And with a grin. “And I’m really glad that the object found is dead as a rock.”
He received a single approving nod from Myogi and a small chuckle from Karl, who recognized his own words being used. The rest of his team remained silent, yet Abel’s small joke did ease the tension.
“An hour ago we received new orders. The I.S.S. Daelus and I.S.S. Galileo are currently enroute to our location. They’ll join us in approximately five days. We are to wait here until they arrive.”
The news caused a visible ripple of relief among his small audience. Abel took a pause. They needed this, he realised.
“In the meantime we have been given permission to extend our survey.”
“What do you suggest, sir?” Karl asked. “We don’t have any survey droids on board.”
Abel nodded. “I know that, Karl. Commander Shizu and I already discussed this. She suggested we should try to board the object.”
*** 14 hrs to event
“Approaching… distance… one hundred meters… eighty...”
Abel listened to Myogi’s voice coming in over the speaker. In front of him, on the bridge’s main screen, three tiny figures in space suits were visible, manoeuvring towards the rear sphere of the unknown object. She was one of them, though Abel no longer could be sure which of the figures was her. Why is it different?
The question suddenly popped up as Abel’s mind involuntarily registered the anomaly, partially visible in the background. The purple streaks no longer seemed to dance randomly through the gas cloud. Instead it appeared as if they were coming from a focal point, it’s exact location blocked from view by the unknown object, as if it had reacted to their presence. Abel felt a sudden chill. Then, shaking his head, he immediately dismissed his absurd thoughts. You’re seeing ghosts, old man.
Myogi’s voice interrupted his thinking. “There’s damage also visible on this sphere.”
That was new. Already they had ascertained the unknown object had sustained damage on the forward two spheres but due to the position of the I.S.S. Conan and the unknown object, they hadn’t been able to perform a more thorough visual inspection of the most remote sphere.
“Bloody hell...” Karl suddenly interrupted. “Commander, looks like the damage here came from an explosion on the inside.”
Abel signalled Dylan. “Can you switch to Karl’s suit camera?” The assistant engineer nodded and a single moment later the main screen switched to the chief engineer’s camera. A close up view of the hull of the rear sphere became visible. Abel inspected the footage and immediately agreed on Karl’s assessment. A gaping rupture was visible, the inner support structure bending outward. Whatever the cause, it had come from the inside.
Myogi’s voice continued “...there’s some kind of entrance here. It’s spherical, roughly three meters wide. We move in to inspect it.”
A sudden soft voice behind Abel disturbed his observation on the boarding operation. Annoyed Abel turned, Irene was standing there. Her eyes confused, the trembling of her body betraying great suffering. Then Abel noticed the blood.
“Irene…” he carefully asked “what happened?”
She looked in his eyes. “I’m… so… sorry… captain,” she said. Her voice filled with grief. Then tears started to roll down her cheeks as she collapsed on the floor. Sobbing.
Abel turned, finding Gerald and Dylan looking at Irene, horror stricken. “Where’s Ahmed?” he asked. Both men stayed silent. The shock on their face acknowledging what he already suspected.
Abel turned back to Irene. Seeing her huddled on the floor, hands over her face, crying, he realised the young woman was in no condition to give him any more information. He quickly ordered Gerald to take care of her, then was off into the corridor. A rising urgency manifesting as he searched the crew cabins for his first helmsman. They were all empty. Abel pressed on to the mess, then to sickbay. He found Ahmed lying on the floor, motionless. A light red pool already visible around a large wound across his throat. Too late!
Abel swore aloud as he looked at the body of his senior officer. Already blaming himself for not having held that chat he had promised himself hours ago. He surveyed the I.S.S. Conan’s sickbay. There were signs of a struggle. The examination table was thrown to a side and a medical pad was lying on the floor, broken. To the left of Ahmed’s corpse a blood covered scalpel was visible. No doubt the weapon used. As he bent over to pick it up, Dylan’s panicking voice screamed over the intercom.
“CAPTAIN TO THE BRIDGE”
It took Abel only twenty seconds to return. As he rushed in on the bridge, he heard Myomi’s alarming voice over the speaker.
“Faster… we’re losing him…” His blood ran cold.
Gerald elucidated. “Suit malfunction. They’re trying to reach the airlock before he runs out of air.” Then with a grave voice he added “I don’t think they’re going to make it.”
“Who?” Abel asked.
The moment he mentioned Karl, Irene issued a long wailing cry that filled the entire bridge, shattering the last remaining doubts Abel had that both incidents were unrelated.
*** 12 hrs to event
They made it in time. Barely. But Karl had suffered from massive asphyxiation, rendering him in a deep coma. And with sickbay now being a crime scene Abel had no other option than to move his chief engineer to his cabin. That was where they now had assembled, Sorland now administering whatever first aid he could think of.
“So, she killed him?” Myogi asked.
“Yes.” Abel nodded.
“That bitch.” Myogi fumed, then she was off. Abel watched her go. Moments later Sorland followed her. Abel was about to stop him, then decided against it. With Myogi being so agitated, Sorland was probably the only one capable of restraining her. He looked back at Karl, still lying motionless on his bed. His breathing being heavy but regular. Abel felt tired. There was just too much that had happened. And it didn’t make any sense. Aginov would grill him on this mess. His career was now finished.
*** 10 hrs to event
“No, we are not going to try to board it again!”
Abel ignored Myogi standing in front of him. His eyes were looking straight past her, absorbing the image on the main screen. There were more purple streaks visible now in the anomaly, casting a purple haze over the unknown object in front of it. Loneliness…
Abel suddenly wondered why he was thinking about him feeling alone when Myogi was standing in front of him, yelling at him. He felt agitated.
“The answers we need are found over there!” Myogi’s voice was loud and angry, her right hand pointing to the main screen.
“We wait until the arrival of the I.S.S. Daelus and I.S.S. Galileo.”
Abel now clearly voiced his irritation. He and Myogi had been working together for two years now and they didn’t always agree. Yet he couldn’t remember her ever being so angry. Nor could he remember her being this disrespectful. She paused, still fuming, her lips twitching.
“Admiral Aginov is right.”
Her words struck home. Abel gave his XO an angry look.
“What? What did you say?”
“You’re weak,” she spat, her voice ringing with contempt. “Always trying to hide for danger. If it wasn’t for me you would have headed for the hills.”
Abel no longer hid his anger. “Watch it commander. You’re not captain yet and if you continue like this you will never become one.”
A sudden high pitched scornful laugh from her filled the bridge.
“Captain? You’re not a captain,” she mocked. “You’re a caretaker. Just like my parents. Always finding excuses to hide, to not take risks, to stay a nobody forever.”
“Well, I’m not going to be a nobody.” Myogi walked past him and left the bridge.
“Myogi?” Suddenly his anger was gone. Abel realised his XO was about to do something that, without doubt, would have severe consequences for her. Then he looked at Sorland who, like everyone else on the bridge, had followed their open disagreement with horror.
“Get her back here, Sorland!” Abel commanded. “ Before she does something stupid.”
As Sorland left the bridge, he returned staring at the main screen. The purple haze had grown stronger. It gave him an eerie feeling.
Myogi never returned to the bridge. And neither did Sorland. About fifteen minutes after they both left the bridge Dylan reported. “The inner entrance to the airlock has been opened, captain.”
Abel sped away, reaching the entrance to the airlock in less than twenty seconds. Myogi and Sorland had already donned their EVA-suit and had already closed the inner airlock door. Abel punched the intercom and yelled.
“Commander! Stop!” His fists pounding on the small window in the steel enforced door.
Myogi just smiled at him as she put on her helmet.
“Sorland! Stop her!” Abel roared.
As he heard his name, the chief security looked at him. His face saddened.
“I’m sorry Hieronymus," he apologised. "I cannot let her go alone.”
Then he too put on his helmet. After they made their final security checks, Sorland depressurised the chamber. One minute later the outside door of the airlock opened and the full force of the anomaly now entered Abel's view taking him by surprise. Pain…
Watching through the window he saw Myogi turn towards him, smiling, waving, as they both drifted outside in the direction of the unknown object. He watched them go until they were no longer visible. Then he turned away, sank to the floor and started crying.
He didn't know how long it had been. But while he sat there, his back against the cold steel door protecting him from the relentless vacuum outside, his grief slowly turned into anger. A deep primeval type of anger. Hate...
"Stupid insolent bitch!"
Abel slowly made his way back to the bridge. As he passed Irene's cabin he noticed the door no longer was locked. Her laughter emanating from the inside, as well as other sounds that left little imagination as to what was going on. Whoever was with her had ignored his order to keep her locked up until she could be trialed. Revenge…
For a moment Abel considered to intervene, then he continued his way. He would soon trial them all. As he entered the bridge, Gerald rose from his seat, unsure what to do.
"Dylan went to see..." he started.
Abel held up his hand. "Irene! I know." Then he eyes locked with the main screen. The unknown object in full view, the anomaly, the fury it now displayed. Yes! It was reacting to their presence. Abel closed his eyes. He could almost hear it calling... Kill…
*** 3 days 11 hours after event
"We're entering the system now, admiral."
Aginov watched the main screen of the I.S.S. Daelus come alive, uncovering the dust streaked space surrounding Conflictus. At its center a yellow star radiated brightly.
"Any word from commander Abel?" he asked.
"Negative," the young lieutenant, manning the communications station, replied.
“Keep trying” he commanded, his eyes still focused on the main screen in front of him.
"Picking up a single contact." Tactical reported.
"Identifying… it's the I.S.S. Conan, sir."
Aginov exhaled, relieved. "Any other contacts?" he asked. The reply came instantly.
"Negative, sir." Followed by "Nothing on the EM-band, sir. She's dead!"
Aginov's blood ran cold.
Ok we are 323 comments in on the collapse
post and 98% didn’t bother to make even a slightly thoughtful answer. So... i guess i will be the change i want to see in the world
First off, If you are the fatalistic nihlistic type you can just go where you think it will be nice to die, maybe that is with friends and family, maybe it is on a beach in mexico, or feeding your body to the last polar bear. For everyone else that still has the instinct and drive for self-preservation….
What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse?
First let's question the question. What difference does it make to know
"What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse"?
The answer is dependent upon your own personal situation. Your personal situation has limiting factors.
- Imagine you are a goat herder in Somalia during a multi year drought and there is no grass for feeding your animals. You have to sell them for dirt cheap because everyone else is also trying to sell off everything they can to get money thus depressing the goat prices further. Now the price of food is skyrocketing because there is no grass and the farmers crops failed, everyone is trying to buy up a hoard of food because everyone knows it is going to be a hard year. You manage to get the equivalent of $120USD in cash after selling practically everything you own but held onto one breeding pair of your healthiest goats you plan to use to regain a livelihood after the drought is over.
- Imagine you are a billionaire with a fueled up superyacht, a helicopter, and a private plane. You have practically unlimited money, friends who are rich and connected in other countries, and a whole slew of passports, visas, and secondary citizenships, all else failing you can buy citizenships in most countries for less than $2million investment and pay a teams of specialists to expedite the process.
Your personal Limiting Factors constrain you usually somewhere between those extremes, everyone has different options.
If we assume you are asking the question "What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse" because you want to have the best standard of living available for as long as possible or simply survive the incoming population bottleneck, then the practical question becomes ...
"What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
It is important to ask this question to constrain the search space to the possible
. It makes fuck-all difference if a somali goat herder knows about the ToP SeCret ElitE mULtibiLLioNaIre New ZEaLand sOUth IsLaNd ReDoUbt BuNkeR CoMmUnITy
It is not going to help him and should not be in the search space as a survival strategy.
TL:DR Constrain your search space to what is realistically achievable for you
- Start with your baseline probability of survival and increase it.
- Don't let a search for "best place" stop you from achieving "good enough place" or "better than where i was previously place".
- You are just trying to be an early adopter of increasing your survival probability stats before the non collapse-pilled masses.
- Think of surviving bottlenecks like surviving a charging bear attack, you don't need to be able to outrun the bear, you only need to be able to outrun the slowest people in the group up to the point the bear's appetite is satiated.
- Remember working with others can leverage group synergies and massively increase the realistic capabilities, but this requires you establish social cohesion with sane cooperative people that have a similar goal orientation. /greencommunes
What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
Ok now lets question the new question some more...
In order to answer this we need to untangle some of the subjective and objective elements.
The objective elements of human survival are well known.
- Clothing/ShelteTemperature maintenance
Optimizing location is a series of subjective trade-offs. There is no perfect place, they all have advantages and disadvantages.
So you must decide your personal preference of which goods and bads you most desire and what your scenario expectations are of the future.
Your personal preferences and collapse expectations mean the “best area” is specific to you. What you can achieve
and what do you desire
, find the overlap between the two, then do research to find the place that gives you the most goods with the least bads and increases your probability of survival and standard of living.
One of the best strategies is to adapt yourself to your local circumstances to take advantage of the advantages, and plan ahead to mitigate the disadvantages, it is really all most people can do for themselves.
Do you like not living in unbearable heat, maybe moving to greenland is NOT a better option than just buying 400watts of solar panels and attaching it to a small efficient AC that keeps one room of your house cool even during summer electricity blackouts. Most problems have multiple solutions, it is worth it to take time and think about things from an economic perspective and different time horizon perspectives.
Increasing your optionality is better than narrowing it when it comes to survival, rather than the binary thinking, of “go way out into the northern mountains, farm and live in a bunker” versus “be a full time yuppie and ignore collapse issues”. Getting 2 acres you can put a cheap used rv camper on and go do permaculture on during weekends, near enough your place of employment/where you live, is probably a better plan. Indeed the small dacha’s and country gardens helped many people survive the collapse of the USSR. They would spend weekends and haul potatoes/veggies back to the city with them on the bus. Hedge your bets to cover the most scenarios including the most likely scenarios like losing your job or getting in a car accident. Survival and thriving always has and always will involve dynamic adaptation.
Here is a very short list of some of potential trade-offs that you may need to think about and some brief descriptions of how they can affect things. This is NOT meant to be a systematic or exhaustive analysis, this is just me stream-of-conscious flowing on strong coffee to help others start thinking about it for themselves. There are unlimited variables
- Hot versus cold
- A lot of people in the forum think they it is somehow optimal for them to move to canada or greenland. Someone in eastern kansas moving to canada is not necessary, remember even in RCP8.5 business as usual scenario kansas by the end of the century still won’t be as hot as texas is currently. If there are already people living in hotter dryer areas now, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pack up your shit and move to the arctic, just enjoy the longer summers. At least base it on something scientific like the expectation of when that area will cross the 35C wetbulb survivability threshold, so if you live in Bandar Mahshahr then yes move somewhere else now is time.
- Do you have children?
- Moving somewhere may not be needed if you can live out your expected natural lifespan before things get too bad, especially with the climate. If you have children you may want to move to account for the expectations during their future lifetimes.
- Wet versus dry
- Wet places usually have more disease and insect loads for people and crops. In dry places it is harder to raise food, net primary productivity is usually lower, except where irrigation is available but there are usually less pests including plant fungal diseases like powdery mildew. There are Europeans living in certain parts of africa whom can only inhabit those areas currently because of antimalarial drugs, pesticides and mosquito nets. The native populations are full of people heterozygous for sickle cell which gives them resistance/immunity to the malaria, just a long view consideration.
- Seasonality of rainfall
- if you get all your rainfall in the summer you usually live in a region where the muggy wetbulb temps are higher and will be getting higher. You are more likely to get floods during the growing season. If you get rainfall mainly in the winter like mediteranean climates you will usually have dry summers with low humidity so deadly wetbulb temps should not be a problem but maintaining summer vegetables requires irrigation. If using rainfed agriculture you will have different crop choices, which areas grow the types of food you like?
- Sunny versus overcast
- Sunny areas are great for some dark skinned people and needed for vitamin D production in post collapse scenarios unless you have a good dietary source, black people in dim areas get Vitamin D deficiency diseases like rickets and have higher mortality in a hard enough crash. Gecko skinned gingers thrive better in overcast areas. Lots of people currently exist in environments they are biologically maladapted to, they are only able to live there because of modern fortified foods/supplements and medical care. Bright sunlight destroys folate (needed for reproduction) in pale people and causes skin cancer. Some people get S.A.D. and commit suicide in the gloomy winters of the pacific northwest USA. Just because a place is good in lots of other ways, you should not consider it if it will leave suicidal.
- Growing season, long versus short
- Long growing season usually means more heat for longer, more times to grow crops but usually less optimal conditions. Short seasons means you have to compress a lot more work in a shorter amount of time. It also means trees grow slower and growing your own fuel supply takes more land footprint while you simultaneously need more heating fuel. Places like iowa have moderate/short growing season but the high lattitude makes for long daylength which increases productivity during the moderate/short growing season. Rainfall is concentrated during the summer and soils highly fertile but it is practically one giant biocide saturated monoculture of death. It doesn’t matter if the you live in a fecund area if your future children die of bluebaby syndrome from the nitrate pollution in the well-water or end up mentally retarded from the chlorpyrifos spray drift bioaccumulating and destroying neural development in utero.
- Employment availability
- Let's be real here, most of you need to have employment to live, even as things crumble in a slow crash the vast majority will be dependent on employment and purchasing in the marketplace that which they need for subsistence. Cities are almost always better for employment. Keep in mind recently and historically, even prior to the industrial revolution, people were more often moving to cities to escape collapse scenarios in real life. You can look at africa and the middle east today. The reason is the city with its dense network effects can command food from a diversity of sources and the economics incentivize shipping surplus to cities. In times where the economics don't incentivize it governments usually seize it and send it to the cities. There is lots of historical precedent showing this, despite the general ruralist zeitgiest among collapsniks thinking that they need a homestead in the country. Employment or entitlements has been and will be the primary way people meet subsistence needs even in most collapse scenarios. Even in 3rd world areas that are experiencing famines, war, full infrastructure breakdown and conditions that are equivalent to 1st worlder visions of total collapse, people still wake up, go to work pulling weeds for the local land baron, get paid and then go buy a bowl of millet from the store.
- High versus low wages.
- some areas have low wages but this can come with benefits like low cost of living and people being pre-adapted to living through cooperative social behaviors and "ghetto rigging" improvisation. Last time i was in some shithole parts of arkansas i noticed just about every rural person had a decent sized garden, more than any other state i've been to. They feel compelled to share unlike some high-income places where people are clawing for money to pay rents or status seeking in a dog eat dog competitive environment. I have lived in quite a few homeless encampments and one thing that surprises people is how everyone gives away all surplus among each other, this is a paleolithic variance smoothing strategy, it is supernaturally effective and feels natural once you do it. I see it re-evolve over and over in poor people.
- Education levels and sociability of the population
- Is the area culturally acceptable to you? Are you acceptable to the people of the area?
- There are places that may have all sorts of good qualities but they are filled with ignorant racist meth head bible belt sociopaths who will torment you out of sheer boredom. Some places get full of these people and they reinforce the ignorance and shittiness into a dominant culture that you will be fighting against if you move there. When moving to a place where you are an outsider and the community is hostile to allowing assimilation that can reduce your survival odds. See various historical genocides.
- Distance from food sources
- Being close to a food source like right on a farm you grow on is great but if you have crop failure you may have no draw to bring in the food. Distance should be measured multiple ways including the strength and reliability of the transportation networks and the energetic distance for transport in energy descent scenarios. Think of the number of connections in the network you can draw from. In a city there are many stores each store sourcing from thousands of farmers, if a few farmers or stores fail there are still plenty of options. Some small rural towns depopulate once the single local walmart closes. Do you trust the local weather and your own potential self sufficiency more than markets/entitlements and transport resilience? Across what scenarios and time spans?
- Legal rights and entitlements availability
- Solid legal rights and strong property law is great if you are part of the ownership class but when you are dispossessed, lack of legal enforcement can give you a higher standard of living because you can build shelter and do side hustles things without having "the man" come slap you down. In a place like western Europe you may have recourse to welfare entitlements and unemployment insurance payments to buy food in financial crashes and slow crash scenarios, in some countries things like this are not available, this is more important than most people think. Indeed most recent famines occur where food is present but people just have no way to buy it because they are brokeAF, you don't see rich people in those areas starving.
- Water sources
- Water flows towards money. Just because there is a stream nearby doesn't mean you will be able to take water from it, you may need water rights while government is still able to enforce such edicts. Alternatively you may have impeccable senior water rights but the government enforcement is defunded and someone with zero water rights is upstream from you sucking the entire creek dry during a crash. Rainfall vs irrigation. rainfall allows a form of independence but having reliable irrigation can smooth out catastrophic variance in rain shortfalls. Don’t forget irrigation management was a major factor in the formation of early oppressive states.
- Transportation network.
- Even prior to the industrial revolution, in cities that had Sea Ports, the population in those cities had higher survival rates than those living in the countryside during famines. Transportation is critical. More transportation modes plane, train, automobile, bikepaths, all different roads, rails, canals, rivers etc. These transports allow goods to flow, which generally helps satisfy regional shortages. Some people judge the main threat to be people taking what they have, usually it is governments doing the taking in the historical record but many are concerned with mythical hordes. If you subscribe to this paranoia about people robbing your homestead you may enjoy being as minimally connected as possible to the transport system. You must determine based on your own preferences and expectations. Good transport is a double edged sword, it means food/resources can also be shipped out of your area towards money/powerful people, remember ownership norms and enforcement rarely disappear during collapse-like periods, indeed the ownership class still sends supplies to the highest bidder which may not be you, see Irish Gorta Mor for example.
- In places like london way back when they still burned wood as cooking and heating fuel there were estates just outside the city that were highly organized coppice producers that fueled the city. Wood is heavy and only so much could be carried in a cartload considering they relied on animal traction. There was a distance where bringing the wood to london to sell would not make you any money even despite you getting wood for free because the cost of the journey feeding yourself and animal took the entire value of the wood. These effects are worth thinking about across different transport scenarios. Assets become stranded and likewise things can become uneconomical to ship to you when you need things produced in the city. The wood producing estates outside london were well off financially and smaller estate size could provide higher income than the much more distant estates that were an order of magnitude larger. Transport matters, markets and trade continue to exist in practically every collapse and even in supermax prisons, expect to use markets as a survival strategy, it is more likely than you living some isolated mountain man scenario.
- Soil fertility
- (the older a soil is geologically X how much rainfall it gets) is what generally determines how fertile it is. The best soils are those that are relatively new and have been subjected to just enough rainfall to match the evapotranspiration rate, this minimizes nutrients leaching out, these are the mollisols/chernozems of the prairies. Because the water is just-enough in those zones they are also right at the edge where they can have major droughts with even slightly less rainfall. Wetter areas generally have less inherent soil fertility because of more leaching of nutrients but have more room for rainfall variability without plants meeting water deficiency.
- your social ties family friends locations
- Having a positive social environment with people you love while just getting by, is better than doing well financially and being socially isolated, for most people. Don’t abandon good family and friends if you can avoid it, it is usually not worth it. “Social capital” has always been a key to human flourishing. Many people in the collapse of the USSR survived on “blat”, not by relocating. A real world social network for altruistic reciprocity is a survival tool.
- Proximity to imperialist countries with militaries that may want/need your resources for themselves or their people
- Places like ukraine, some of the best farmland in the world, a country may seem optimal in many ways but historically this advantage was noted by outsiders and it has been at the crossroads of empires which means they suffered tremendously in war. The devastation of war and imperialism negated much of the natural benefits of the area when it comes to survival rates. This is something to consider. In parts of africa there is more conflict in abundant zones with more food, outside of famine zones because paramilitaries are supported from the land there and controlling the food supply is used as weapon of political power. Concentration of resources can make areas more dangerous, it makes attacking them economical.
- Fuel supply
- Population density
Most of these maps are of the USA. If you have other maps please post them in the comments and i will edit this post to squeeze them in. From these maps and a little critical thinking you can figure out where is best for YOU. If you need to figure something out go to google images and search for maps it is easier than ever to find what you need. But remember the map is not the territory, there are great spots maps don't have the resolution to show.These are just some random things i pulled up real quick. mapporn
is a good source https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/ https://ourworldindata.org/charts https://ucanr.edu/blogs/dirt/blogfiles/37486_original.jpg https://www.plantmaps.com/
There are a lot of submaps,for example if you click california then it brings first and last frost date maps, heat maps etc… http://www.bonap.org/
On the left hand side there are lots of links to climate and biogeography maps https://www.firelab.org/sites/default/files/images/downloads/whp_2018_classified_midsize.jpg
Firehazard map https://imgur.com/a/drI7nZB
middle of nowhere
hdd+cdd= change in energy requirements for climate control https://energyathaas.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/caldeira.png https://fitzlab.shinyapps.io/cityapp/
Find out what your city will be like in 60 years
human development index https://imgur.com/a/VDmTac7 https://imgur.com/a/XoGw1Ic
solar and wind potential combined https://imgur.com/a/97XEe22
1% of population lives here https://imgur.com/a/Ki4Zegq
land quality https://imgur.com/a/kYzus5H
Fig. 2 Spatial distributions of projected damages. County-level median values for average 2080 to 2099 RCP8.5 impacts. Impacts are changes relative to counterfactual “no additional climate change” trajectories. Color indicates magnitude of impact in median projection; outline color indicates level of agreement across projections (thin white outline, inner 66% of projections disagree in sign; no outline, ≥83% of projections agree in sign; black outline, ≥95% agree in sign; thick white outline, state borders; maps without outlines shown in fig. S2). Negative damages indicate economic gains. (A) Percent change in yields, area-weighted average for maize, wheat, soybeans, and cotton. (B) Change in all-cause mortality rates, across all age groups. (C) Change in electricity demand. (D) Change in labor supply of full-time-equivalent workers for low-risk jobs where workers are minimally exposed to outdoor temperature. (E) Same as (D), except for high-risk jobs where workers are heavily exposed to outdoor temperatures. (F) Change in damages from coastal storms. (G) Change in property-crime rates. (H) Change in violent-crime rates. (I) Median total direct economic damage across all sectors [(A) to (H)]. https://i.redd.it/x9a2x7627vm31.png
Nuclear targets https://i.redd.it/s8stxdk9a6i31.jpg
Chernobyl fallout, demonstrates the nonlinear patterns of distribution https://i.redd.it/al06n7nofwi21.png
Reliance on nuclear energy. https://i.imgur.com/AbcjwaD.jpg https://imgur.com/6o2XcHD https://i.redd.it/jvp1e7maxhr01.jpg
Global solar potential https://i.redd.it/zk0hbo2bhf4z.png
Renewable electric supply
Power plants http://i.imgur.com/esUA6iN.jpg https://i.redd.it/6s781fax1cs21.jpg
Red and orange have same populations https://i.redd.it/cbndvblgz0x21.jpg
Agricultural suitability https://i.redd.it/cpkaqv5h11d31.jpg
how america uses its land https://i.redd.it/2w1va9h2w7431.png
Life expectancy by congressional district https://i.redd.it/kgrz9rweksx21.jpg
food for humansgreen versus animal feed purple https://i.imgur.com/TOlZ2SD.gif
line that separates wet and dry USA https://imgur.com/oqJXKsV
Is food a human right? See paupericide https://i.redd.it/xbvng0ul8nz01.jpg
food self sufficiency https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315066937/figure/fig2/AS:[email protected]/Worlds-hybrid-PV-Wind-power-plant-cumulative-FLh-map.png
combination wind+photovoltaic capacity https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/content/95539main_fig1.jpg
human appropriated net primary productivity https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/content/95543main_fig2.jpg
avoid the pink and orange unless your strategy is cannabilism in fast or hard crash. https://nimaehsani.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/water_scarcity_map.jpg?w=748
water shortage https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Global_malnutrition.png
The Options XO trading website offers a variety of different binary options, which the clients may openly consider and invest in during a longer process of active research. With many interesting concepts implemented into the platform, the overall development and an increasing value driven operation will definitely prove to become highly efficient at viewing the many alternatives that are being ... 30 Second Binary Options; Trade Types. Most binary brokers offer their clients a choice of four or five different types of trading contracts. However, with OptionsXO, traders have a choice of seven different types of trading contracts. These include: 30 Second Options; 60 Second Options; Above/Below; Boundary; Boundary High Yield ; Classic High/Low; One Touch; One Touch High Yield; With the ... Options XO Binary Option Platform Review. Trade now at Options XO. In spite of their tongue-twisting name and irreverent rhinoceros in a top hat logo, OptionsXO has a lot to offer traders, especially those with more experience. Although the tiny minimum deposit and educational resources center at OptionsXO.com will appeal to everyone, the power and complexity of the trading platform was made ... Warning: Options XO's website might be operating but the business is closed. It is not recommened to register or signup with them as it will not be functioning account and you may lose the money because there will no withdrawals can be made. Recommended Auto Trading Software . Signup with Best Brokers Click Here. Signup with Best Signals Service Click Here. They also have app for Android and ... Binary Options vs. Vanilla Options . A vanilla American option gives the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified price on or before the expiration date of the option. A ... He’s been working for 7 Binary Options since April 2014 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role. He’s played a crucial part in developing the site and helping it grow. In his role as writer and consultant, John’s keen to help others get ahead in the ever-changing world of binary options and forex trading. He’s always happy to advise others, whether it’s complete ... Der Options XO Broker bietet vier grundlegende Kontotypen basierend auf der Ersteinzahlung neuer Kontoinhaber an. Ein Minikonto wird Tradern angeboten, die die Mindesteinzahlung von $25 tätigen. Es bietet nur wenige Funktionen, die über grundlegende Transaktionen hinausgehen. Das Silber-Konto, das Sie mit einer Einzahlung von $200 eröffnen können, ist das beste Angebot, da es Tradern ...
Are binary options a good idea? If you're thinking about trading binary options, watch this video first. Check out our FREE training for traders https://bi... The road to success through trading IQ option Best Bot Reviews Iq Option 2020 ,We make videos using this softwhere bot which aims to make it easier for you t... This is the official YouTube Channel representing OptionsXO - The world's leading binary options trading platform. Want to learn more, and possibly trade wit... IQ Options -https://affiliate.iqoption.com/redir/...Please subscribe and leave a like for more videos.Online trading is a very risky investment/profession. It i... How Binary Options Work. To get the transcript and MP3, go to: https://www.rockwelltrading.com/coffee-with-markus/how-binary-options-work/ Try it for yoursel...