Everyone ascended to Thurisaz's mountain, which housed an antenna array and communications equipment (Rising Spine directions: S6 W1, c, t, s, s).
First, a electromagnet survey of the landing planet was done, and we found:
The signal takes a moment or two to resolve, filtering out a significant amount of noise that's picked up from the landing planet itself as well as the twin stars behind it, before it's modeled on the displays for your ocular consumption: The overall spectroradiometric view of the landing planet is quite different than the verdant visual signal we observed earlier: Below verdant green, the planet glows with radiometric activity, much of it concentrated in circular patterns that might be other SpinDizzies, though a few including one near the arctic pole are almost dark. A fair amount of the signal on the continents is twinkling on and off like christmas lights. Beyond that larger impression there's a fair amount of radio broadcasting that may be more purposeful, directed. As Thurisaz's computers sort through it for recognizable encodings and separate compression from static, it comes up with one clear signal and a few more potential candidates still processing.
From there, the group tuned into an audio broadcast aimed directly at our spindizzy:
The signal comes in. A pleasant voice, a bit odd sounding, with an accent speaks and the letters appear on screen, as if written out in cursive with a light pen. Hello, my dear friends! Yes, you of the Ultraviolet-Syncopation-Burning-Squirrel-Caramel Spindizzy. I am so happy to see you approaching me through space, and I have written this letter straight from my computing core, warm with the waste-heat generated thinking of the wonderful things I plan to do when you arrive. Maintenance plans! I /do/ have so many of them just for you. You /are/ an untidy lot. Flying around with a hole in your world? Is that safe? Perhaps. But is it proper? Seemly? Whatever will I do with you. And your landing gear is partially burned out and filled with spiders. I realize that you come to planets like mine to have these things repaired, but could you not take a moment every year or so to tidy up? I forgive you. Whatever problems your lack of care has created will give us more time to together. There is so much for you to do when you land! Other worlds like yours are here, you may meet their inhabitants and come to know each other (so long as you behave), and we've ever so much lush greenery. A garden! A jungle! It gets /everywhere/, needing to be cut back, getting in the machinery. Why /did/ I create so much greenery? Oh, yes, yes, I recall. I made it for you! So you can have a whole planet of forests and jungles and underwater algal tunnels to run and play in like the wild animals so many of you are! Speed quickly, and I will see you soon! Write me back if you wish, I'm happy to answer any questions and I so love a chance to talk with my guests and prepare everything just so. Yours, most truly, The Housekeeper
A lot of discussion occurred after, with topics such as
- Can the voice be trusted?
- How does it know who we are?
- What questions should we ask back?
Some wanted to pass by the planet completely, however this is impossible. If we do not land, we will run out of power or criticial systems will start to break down, neither of which would have a good outcome.
It was determined questions could be sent, but would take a few days to get responses back. The protocol also asked us to introduce ourself when sending the questions. Among others, BunnyHugger introduced herself as the Mayor, the SED was introduced, Tzann introduced himself, and a group photo was taken (though not all wanted to be seen) and attached to the message.
The types of questions asked included:
- Did you change your terrain and atmosphere to accommodate us in particular, or the spindizzies in general?
- Request a flight plan, and a history of previous contacts. And a spindizzy manual.
What kind of fuel does SpinDizzy use?
- What kind of life forms comprise the maintenance crew? That is, are they biological, or artificial, or something else?
- What form of payment is required (if any)?
- How did they know about the spiders and landing gear damage?
- Does the wound in the world HAVE to be fixed, or can we leave it as-is?
- Can the wound in the world instead be reinforced rather than fixed?
- Can the crack in the northeast be repaired or reinforced?
- How long they expect repairs to take, and how much supervision we are allowed to do in general.
- Are our hosts edible? Are we edible to our hosts?
- Has our host always been a Housekeeper or did they take it up later? Are they capable of being something else if they want to? Are they capable of wanting to be something else? If not, would they like help with that?
- Are there any special protocols to know when landing, who we interact with, and such?
- Are there any upgrades available? Can we afford them?
- Where are spindizzy parts sourced from? Those things aren't small, certainly.
- What information do you have about our new, temporary neighbors?
- Do they know about or use time travel in any way shape or form?
- We we get improved superlight communications or telescopy?
After the data packet was sent back to the planet, a new transmission came in:
As Seya packages up the list of questions and introductions into the somewhat pedantic formating of the epistolary protocol and submits it for transmission, another component of Thurisaz's equipment lights up blue, indicating the availability of content from another detected signal. This one is weaker and considerably more modest in its throughput. But that it went unnoticed for this long is more testament to the obscurity of its encoding: Positively archaic. Almost teletype like.
The messages received seemed garbled (lowercase is a message directed to us, uppercase is a broadcast to all):
FI MIY SQOTILVG FI MIY SQOTILVG JIDROKR QKLBY AUGW PB QKSBRR JIIARJRWQWT VIZOTIZUDWF JIDROKR OBDWVR AUGW SCPUF SCPUF FI MIY RBHLHW AUGW DPEZD DOSXOI FTLBUYSROIMLA HWMWTLYITA IBFWT SRYLVJ nkiw twzwzvre ygr hest alft s nkiw gic ob s nkiw nic oa ygr hest alft jlmsu lxier ord yrg hest alft FI MIY SQOTILVG FI MIY SQOTILVG JIDROKR QKLBY AUGW PB QKSBRR VLTWYLLWT VIZOTIZUDWF JIDROKR OBDWVR AUGW SCPUF SCPUF FI MIY RBHLHW AUGW DPEZD DOSXOI FTLBUYSROIMLA HWMWTLYITA IBFWT SRYLVJ ygr wyoxl nkpqm gic lbpxla pcre ygr alxt fih FI MIY SOQEPLVG YGR ALMSOBH QKSBRR smier ygr auyraw nkiw gic
Those present worked frantically to decode the messages, and determined they were mostly transposed keys on a QWERTY-style keyboard. Perhaps someone was having difficulty typing.
The group found the decoded messages more or less stated:
- THE QTICK BROWN HEX KEOCKB OXER THE BKCU TEN
- AZURE TFE BATEBE BLUE FUX
- BLUE YEZEZVER THE GRAY LADY
- DO NOT APRYOAVH DO NOT APRYOAVH HOSERLE PLANT LAHE ON PLANEE
- CAYETAAEY COMRYOMASED
- DO NOT APPROACH DO NOT APPROACH HOSTILE PLANT LIFE ON PLANET CARETAKER COMPROMISED HOSTILE INSECT LIFE AVOID AVOID DO NOT ENGAGE LIFE FORMS
- generator under attack
Some of the later messages were more intelligible and confirmed the group's suspicions:
*bzzt* do not SQOTILVG *bzzt* do not RBHLHW life DPEZD blue twzwzvre the gray lady do not approach do not approach hostile plant life on planet housekeeper compromised hostile insect life avoid avoid do not engage life forms
Using clues from others above, Vahno was able to piece together the entire message the next day:
FI MIY SQOTILVG FI MIY SQOTILVG JIDROKR QKLBY AUGW PB QKSBRR JIIARJRWQWT VIZOTIZUDWF JIDROKR OBDWVR AUGW SCPUF SCPUF FI MIY RBHLHW AUGW DPEZD DOSXOI-FTLBUYSROIMLA HWMWTLYITA IBFWT SRYLVJ do not approach do not approach hostile plant life on planet housekeeper compromised hostile insect life avoid avoid do not engage life forms spacio-gravitational generators under attack ( nkiw twzwzvre ygr hest alft ) blue remeber the gray lady ( s nkiw gic ob s nkiw nic oa ygr hest alft jlmsu ) a blue fox in a blue box is the gray lady handy ( lxier ord yrg hest alft ) azure its the gray lady ( ygr wyoxl nkpqm gic lbpxla pcre ygr alxt fih ) the quick blown fox knocks over the lazy dog ( FI MIY SOQEPLVG YGR ALMSOBH QKSBRR ) do not approach the landing planet ( smier ygr auyraw nkiw gic ) azure the little blue fox
At the end of the RP session, the group decided the Impetuous Leaper would do a flyby of the planet in a few days to get a better idea of what's going on. Our responses to at least some of the questions should be received in a few days as well.