*Quick note before I start: This is the 3rd installment in a series I’ve called the Lost Colonies which is largely about human society adapting to the strange environments of other worlds. You can read the other installments here: 1, 2,4, 5, 6, 7. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing this series, but with my new work schedule I had to bring it to a close. If you’ve enjoyed this story follow me on here for my other writings. Thanks again to everyone who has reblogged, liked, replied, DMed, or otherwise shown their appreciation for this series. It means a lot to me that people enjoyed it and the love you’ve all shown me has really helped keep me going for these last few months.*
A bead of sweat dripped down Kiara’s forehead as she hauled the last of the containers of equipment into a weathered shed. Even though the gravity on Steadfast was lighter than her homeworld it had still been a long day of preparations for what the colonists called “The Tides” and her back was aching. It felt good, reminded her of her childhood. It had been a long time since her days scouting beyond the Thaw and though she loved exploring the universe and finding hidden pockets of humanity it wasn’t often that she had a good reason to get her hands dirty.
Kiara looked around for the colonist she was helping and found her tying large heavy knots to some sturdy looking rings sunk deep in the ground around the house. “Jun! I finished loading the crates. What’s next?” A moment later the device on Kiara’s hip perked up and translated Galactic Basic into the old Earth dialect that these colonists still spoke. It was supposedly a form of pre-unification Mandarin, albeit with several hundred years of taxonomical drift.
“Did you remember to tie them down spacer?” The elderly woman asked as she went back to her knots. “Yes I did. Everything’s stowed properly for the Tide.” Jun simply grunted and Kiara was sure that she would find an excuse to check on her work before the day was done. “Well trace the cables on the house to the anchors in the fields, just make sure I got them all secured.”
Kiara shrugged and took off a jog around the edges of the complex. There were 8 lines attached to winches built into the porch surrounding the circular house. The whole effect would have looked like spokes on a bike wheel from above. Sure enough as she reached each anchor Kiara found the knots tied so well she couldn’t have tightened them if she wanted to. Kiara finished the 2 kilometer jog back at where Jun had been previously only to see her double checking Kiara’s work in the shed. “Good work spacer. You’re done here, go check on Hai and see if he needs any help in the kitchen.”
Kiara smiled to herself and took off to the house to find Jun’s husband. Kiara found him stirring a large stockpot in the kitchen with a basket of freshly baked rolls on the table. Hai was friendlier than Jun but rarely spoke at all. “Greetings Hai, Jun sent me in to see if you needed help.” Hai simply kept stirring as the translator worked. “No, you can rest if you’d like. Help yourself to some bread.” Kiara picked up a roll and spent a long moment simply smelling the heady aroma of yeast and herbs. That was one of the major perks of a primarily agricultural world like this one: wheat meant bread.
Jun came in from the field carrying one of the black, meter tall, egg shaped stones that dotted the hillside to the East and Hai gave her an affectionate peck on the cheek. It was the only time Kiara had seen her blush. Jun set the egg down on the table and grabbed a large, flat tool from near the sink. Sliding the sharpened edge of the tool into a crack in the side of the stone Jun twisted and the stone split open along the perimeter to reveal that it was in fact a large mollusk. As Hai went to work transforming the near meter of mollusk into some wonderful smelling soup Jun washed her hands and sat down at the table across from Kiara.
“So, you said you wanted to interview me spacer?” Kiara straightened up, set the translator on the table, pulled her datapad out of her bag and hurriedly swallowed the last of her roll. “Yes, sorry, let’s start over. I’m Kiara Williams and I’m a special liaison for the Galactic Republic. We’ve been traveling the galaxy learning more about the human colonies and outposts that were lost when EarthGov fell. We’ve made it our goal to re-establish contact with as many of them as we can and to find ways to reintegrate them into galactic society if they wish to rejoin us or to simply learn more about them if they don’t wish to rejoin.”
Jun picked up a roll and thoughtfully chewed as she listened to the translator. Kiara continued. “We understand that this planet is a former EarthGov military outpost that was kept off of most official records. I just want to assure you that we’re not here because of the military, I just want to learn more about you and your culture.” Jun gave a short laugh as she heard that. “Well if you did want the military then you came a few hundred years too late. When the war was over they left us here to rot. That was a long time ago sure, but your ancestors being slaves that got thrown away isn’t exactly something you forget.”
Kiara decided that telling Jun that there was never a war, that EarthGov simply fell apart from the inside was a talk that could wait for another day. “I know how hard that is. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve come across a number of similar stories of EarthGov’s crimes. I came from a lost colony myself. We can talk later about what, if anything the galactic council can do for you, but first I’d like to learn a bit more about your culture if that’s OK?”
Jun nodded as Hai slid a bowls of soup in front of the women before sitting down himself. “Well let’s start with the obvious questions. We’re several kilometers in land but the hills are covered in giant mollusks and your home is apparently built to float, exactly how does that work?” Jun laughed into her soup. “I thought spacers were supposed to know everything about science. It’s the moons, we’ve got 3 of them and they have enough mass to make the tides a bit bigger than you’ve probably seen, especially when they align like they’re doing right now. Only happens a few times a year but when it does it can get this old place up over those hills if we don’t anchor it in place. When they don’t align we usually don’t get tides high enough to even reach us.”
Kiara gratefully sopped up the last of her meal with a third roll “I saw some houses out closer to the shore on my way in. Are they temporary? Where do the rest of the colonists live?” Jun sat back with a cold glass of some brown liquor as Hai kissed her on the cheek again before going out to the porch. “We call the people on the shore ‘Drifters’ because they just let their houses drift along with the tides when they roll in and steer them as needed. Sometimes they get swept out to sea but they usually keep a kayak or 2 to tow them back into shore if they need to. Decent folk, sometimes we hire them to help with the harvest if the blackshells, mollusks as you called them, get a good meal from the tide. We usually sell most of the harvest to high grounders who live further in land and up mountains where even the big tides can’t reach.”
“Exactly how high can the big tides go?” Jun got up from her chair and led Kiara to the porch. Somehow the tide had come in over dinner without her even noticing. In the fading light of dusk Kiara could see the tops of the hills nearly a hundred meters under water. “We must be 500 meters up!” “It’ll get up to 700 before the night is out.” Hai tightened a winch nearby pulling the shed which was floating nearby a little closer to the main house before sitting on a swinging bench chair to watch the sunset. Jun joined Hai on the bench and guestured to Kiara to take a nearby seat.
“So you’ve asked your questions spacer, and I don’t care much about your republic. I’ve been on this planet all my life and I don’t intend to leave. You’ll probably find some Drifters looking for places to drift and there’s probably some high grounders who’d be interested in leaving too, but not me or my Hai. What about you though? What’s your plan?”
“I’m not exactly sure what you mean Jun. I’m just doing my job and trying to learn about people who got lost out in the stars.” Jun shifted in her seat and leaned back into Hai “Well I’m not lost spacer, I know where I’m at even if where I’m at drifts from time to time. Do you have a home out there in the stars? How about someone to come home to?”
Kiara shook her head. “I spend most of my time travelling the stars, the closest I have to a home is my ship, but that’s really all I need.” Jun and Hai shared a look. “Just because you drift doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to drift with you, or someone you can always drift back to. That’s how I met my Hai after all.” Kiara smiled at the thought and got up from her chair to go back in the house leaving Hai and Jun to watch the sunset in peace.
Kiara opened up her commlink back to her ship in orbit and opened a channel to one of her contacts on the galactic council. A familiar Turic face filled her screen. “Ah Kiara, it’s nice to hear from you. Is everything is going well on MX-103?” “Yes Kit’cha, everything’s fine, this interview just took longer than expected but I should be back at the station in a few standard cycles.” “That is good to hear Kiara, I’m sure Corporal Jett will be glad to hear -” “JEANNE MADE CORPORAL!?” Kit’cha’s face fell slightly “I forgot we were keeping that a surprise.”
Kiara laughed to herself and took a deep breath. “Say, Kit’cha, I was wondering…” Kiara grinned fighting down an unfamiliar nervousness in the pit of her stomach. “when I get back, would you like to get some dinner? Just the two of us?” Kit’cha seemed caught off guard at first. “I’ve learned a lot about humans since I was assigned to the lost colony division 12 sols ago and I’ve learned a lot about their customs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but given the context would this be what humans call a ‘date’?” Kiara didn’t say anything but simply nodded, feeling her cheeks flush with color. “I would greatly enjoy that Kiara Williams.”
A while ago, a friend of mine told me about a friend that had a theory. Instead of having extra Aspects aside from the canonical 12 ones (No, I’m not counting Piss or Lips as canon), given they are more or less the Basis of Creation, the fundamental powers from which the new Universe is made (Space and Time, Order and Chaos, Life and Death, Mind and Soul…), more than having extra, off-canon Aspects, in big enough Sessions the 12 Aspects split into smaller chunks.
I loved this idea, so I began to work on two divisions, thinking that the Session before the Trolls had 48 Players, and ended up making an Expanded Aspect Chart. Three sets of Aspects! The original with 12, the first division with 24, and the second division with 48, to give a total of 84 symbols, with their respective names and colors! I’ll explain what each of them means below the cut.
(I was thinking I’d be late posting something for Kiyotaka’s brithday when this idea popped into my head, so have 1500 words of hastily written Ishimondo post-DR:IF fluff with terrible spacing and no italics because I’m on mobile)
Motherfucker! There was no way Mondo was even going to make it through all the security checks to get in the damn building, let alone all the way to the office before the clock ticked over to…
12:00am, Tuesday, 1st September, 2015.
…The day after Taka’s birthday…
God-fucking-damnit! How the hell had Mondo let this happen!? He’d listened to his parents having screaming matches after his old man had rolled in drunk after midnight on his mother’s birthday, he’d seen those idiotic men in TV sitcoms who showed up on Christmas morning with nothing but some random shit they’d picked up at the gas store at 11pm the night before, and he’d sworn to himself that he wouldn’t be that sort of shitty partner when he’d grow up! After all, how hard was it to remember the most important person in your life’s birthday!?
And yet, here he was, with nothing to give his finace but a gas store rose and the cheaply-made school diary that had made him remember the day in the first place. And, sure, his excuses were a lot better than the one’s his old man or those dunderheads on TV had been able to give. The end of the fucking world had happened, for a start. He’d had his memory erased and been told to murder 14 of his surviving classmates, Kiyotaka included, and probably only survived that because one person had luckily got their memory back and told them what was up. Then they’d all joined up with Future Foundation and Kiyotaka had stayed at their headquarters working his ass off for Division 1 while Mondo had been sent out to build up recently reclaimed areas for Division 12, so they’d been apart for a couple of months. And this diary in his hand was the first thing he’d seen that mentioned the date for weeks.
But… still. Even with all those excuses, he was still gonna be that guy. That guy who turned up too late with too little to impress his partner. And his partner could be hard enough to impress as it was…
…But what was done was done. Mondo had fucked up. The least he could do was go and apologise, shitty gift looted from an old gas store that he’d found on his mad dash across the country in hand, and beg Kiyotaka to give him a chance to make up for it.
He got plenty of odd looks as he passed through security. A downside of being a Hope’s Peak student, he supposed. Everyone knowing who you were meant they could also instantly tell when you’d fucked up and forgotten your boyfriend’s birthday. But a period of time that was both too soon and not soon enough later, Mondo was stood in front of Kiyotaka’s office/apartment door, looking at the whiteboard that listed all the appointments he’d had that day and hoping that at least one of those people had done something nice for him, because Gods knew he fucking deserved it with all the different, boring weekly meetings and cross-division organisational shit he’d somehow ended up involved in.
Well, only one way to find out… And that was knocking on Taka’s door.
There was barely a fraction of time that passed before the door slowly started to swing open and Mondo could see his finace wearing his usual white…
Pajamas… because Mondo had just called on him and probably woken him up after midnight!
“…I’m sorry, but is there any chance this could wai…MONDO!?” Taka’s expression went from begrudging and tired to alert shock the second he realised it was him at the door.
“Hey… I’m sorry…”
“What are you DOING here!? Aren’t you supposed to be near the front lines… OH GODS! Are we doing THAT badly!? The front line is HERE!?”
The hell…? Why was Taka so shocked to see him? It was his birthday… or had been! Shouldn’t he have been pissed off that Mondo was so late? After all he’d have had to have spent all the day wondering why his own boyfriend hadn’t even called to wish him a happy birthday… at least he would have spent his time off doing that… if he’d had any time off yesterday… which on second thoughts, the schedule posted on his door hadn’t mentioned…
“…You don’t know what day it is, do you?”
“Of course I know what day it is!” Taka snapped indignantly, “It’s Mon… well, it was Monday, technically it’s Tuesday now, but as I’ve not been to sleep yet…”
“But… you don’t know the date, do you?”
“Ah… I’ll admit I can’t remember it off the top of my head, but I can check in my diary!” He disappeared for a moment and came back brandishing a small black book with ‘2015’ on the cover. “Let’s see… today, or yesterday if you insist, was Monday, August Thirty-Fiiirrr…”
“…Hope ya had a Happy Birthday.” Mondo sighed, holding out the rose.
“…I completely forgot.” Kiyotaka gently took the rose off of him, smiling at it with tears beginning to form in his eyes as if it was some priceless jewel and not a piece of crap Mondo had panic-stolen. “I thought you were in Osaka…Did you really come all the way here just for my birthday?”
“’Course I did! It was bad enough I forgot about it until the new schools diaries came out!” Mondo pointed out, “I wasn’t gonna just call you after that!”
“You have a school diary? So it starts in September and ends in August?” Kiyotaka looked ecstatically hopeful.
“Yeah…?” Mondo shrugged, getting it out of his pocket, “…You want it?”
“Yes! Please!” Kiyotaka pretty much snatched it out of his hand and looked through it excitedly, “I know I’m not n school anymore, but I’m finding it odd that all the months are in the wrong place in my current diary! That’s probably why I forgot my birthday was coming up…”
…Because his birthday was usually when his old diary ended? But his other one wouldn’t end for another four months…
“…This is wonderful! I really appreciate you making the effort to come and see me…” Kiyotaka sniffed happily and wiped the tears from his eyes.
Heh… maybe Mondo hadn’t fucked up as much as he thought he had…
“However, you did so without proper authorisation, and therefore have wasted precious Future Foundation resources! As such, I am afraid that I will have to report this to Division Three who will look into this further and may, depending on exactly how much fuel you used getting here, deduct the cost from your salary or proceed to further disciplinary procedures…”
Motherfucker! Was he really gonna report Mondo for a fucking romantic gesture!? “Hang on one fucking minute! I ain’t even used Future Foundation’s fuel!”
“Then… how did you get here? Don’t tell me you walked all the way…?”
“No, I found an abandoned gas station and filled up there.” Which had been pretty lucky really, because he’d rushed out on his bike without planning the route, so if that hadn’t been there he would have ended up walking! “I’ll just fill my tank back up on the way back and I’ll have the same amount of fuel as I left with!”
“…You found a working gas station!?” Taka stared at him in awe.
“Well, I had to go and turn on the backup power generator while I was using it, but otherwise it worked fine…” Mondo shrugged, although Taka still didn’t raise his lower jaw back up. “Is that important?”
“Is that important…!?” Taka repeated his question sarcastically, “I’ve just had a four hour cross-division meeting about finding a sensible location for us to try and build a new gas station on the way to your assigned location! If you can just show me an intact one that’s already there then that’ll save us no end of trouble and we can consider building one up towards the north side instead!”
“…So you’ll have less meetings to go to?” Was all Mondo got from that.
“Hmm… no, we’ll probably end up having a bunch of meetings about the northern gas station, so probably not…” Kiyotaka sighed. “But it does mean I can forgive you going AWOL from your post…! So long as you agree to stay here overnight, have a shower and then drive me out to this gas station tomorrow morning… or this morning, technically…” Kiyotaka gestured for him to get inside the apartment, pausing to put the diary and crappy rose down next to the pile with his keys and wallet before heading further into the place, “…Sorting this out probably takes precedence over my other plans for tomor… today.”
So in other words, he wanted Mondo to stay the night and take him out for a picnic to celebrate his birthday tomorrow. Well, this evening had gone from disaster to dating… and Mondo couldn’t help but push his luck…
“…And maybe as we’re together for the first time in months, we can have a little fun in the morning, eyyy…?”
Kiyotaka paused, then half-turned to face him, one overly-large eyebrow quirked up flirtatiously at him… “Technically, it already is morning…”