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Member Since Nov 20, 2001
198 Images, Last upload Jun 11, 2015

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Since those terrifying days on Hycaron II, I have studied the artefact closely trying to discern its meaning and purpose.

Looking back now, I realise that the discovery of the artefact was not through chance or luck. While I believe my colleagues were ignorant of its location, senior managers and project directors in the corporation must have had prior knowledge, sending us unerringly to the collapsed cave system where the strange rock lay.

I can only imagine that our presence or attempts to examine the item had triggered an automatic response, I don’t remember much of what happened next, and perhaps it is best that I forget.

I am assured that it was only a day or so later that the Captain found me, dragging me blinking into the stark light of a new day. I saw the dumpy ragged profile of her ship, sitting close by. It was nothing much to look at, but it only dawned on me later that this heap of junk had skipped through the Echolian cordon with ease.

When I woke again, days had passed. The Thunderbolt had again thumbed its nose at the Echolian Navy and left Hycaron II heading towards Candor and beyond.

I felt a pang of fear when I saw the rock again as it sat in its cradle in the hold of the ship. I didn’t want to go near it, but Captain Rhand insisted. Although there were many markings, she was particularly interested in one set that she believed to be the positions of stars. I had questions for her of course, but she wouldn’t answer them, not at first anyway.

I began to learn of the Lazloi and her belief that something was calling out to her in the void, across an area of space known as the Tiesian Gap. She had been in contact with the shadowy matriarchy over many years. They had given her technology, androids, and special capabilities for her ship. It seemed to me that they were simply using her, a proxy that could act on their behalf while they hid from view.

It would seem that three factions sought this rock, the Lazloi, the corporation, and the Brotherhood of Ankh, although I cannot pretend to know why. It seems strange now that the Lazloi were the only ones ignorant of its exact location.

I am puzzled and a little concerned though by the greater set of markings. My hand computer works furiously as I do to decipher what I believe to be complex mathematical constructs. The map has brought us here but the greater mystery continues to elude us.

When we began to explore the megastructure, I imagined that it might be some sort of sanctuary, a zoo or even a crashed spacecraft. Chambers filled with mechanisms the size of office blocks have indeed become the home of many forms of life, but they are merely visitors. We have also discovered other entrances into the structure, the most spectacular being a vast water inlet, easily mistaken for a small harbour.

For what seemed hours, we ventured down a tunnel whose cross section was like a cathedral, my gravimetric sensor telling me things that seemed impossible. Ahead, I could hear the sound of rushing water, the water moving faster in the light of our torches.

We have reached the end of the tunnel and the water is moving swiftly as it falls headlong over the edge of a precipice. In the utter darkness, I stare at the glowing gravimeter and laser-ranging sensors in disbelieve of the truth they are telling me.

We stand on the edge of a void so vast it defies imagination. A geometrically perfect void nearly twenty kilometres across sits below the megastructure, a cylinder that plunges down into the planet to a depth my sensors cannot reach…

-- Cyana Bristo, scientist, formerly with the Echolian Science Institute.

V3 figures with Shadow Dancer, Moon over Saturn and SF Remix suit. Strike and Sassy Hair. M3 with customised textures. Terrain created in Bryce.

Thanks for looking and for any comments.
April 3, 2007
Science Fiction
192.2 kB

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Image Comments

Apr 3, 2007 1:15:46 pm
Top render, top story :)

by Star4mation Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 1:45:31 pm
These are such cool stories! What a genius you are!

by gchuck Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 2:27:45 pm
I love the very real body dynamics you captured in the poses. Your characters look very real, very human (well, when they're supposed to be). Wonderful render... Then you suck me into this intriguing story!

by kalon Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 3:11:56 pm
Another nice story and pic to go with it. Well done.

by duncanlong Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 3:26:45 pm
It may be my imagination, but Rhand seems to be maturing in your latest renders; in any case she wears it well. Thanks for sharing another entry from the Thunderbolt's log. Great work, as ever, Mark!

by Denger Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 3:28:13 pm
Great image. Great story. More, please. :)

by starlightpainter Homepage »

Apr 3, 2007 5:27:42 pm
This is excellent!!

by Denys234 Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 12:18:10 am
I am enjoying the story very much :)

by Bea Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 12:29:38 am
You never run out of ideas ! just wonderfull.

by Odessey Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 7:18:04 am
Rhand rocks my world. Any opportunity to read about her is like a b-day gift. I would have liked to see a seperate render with the setting that was described though.

by Tom-Noddy Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 9:25:25 am
Excellent image my friend

by gattone_blu Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 9:47:10 am
Great work as usual. I really love the pose of the guy on the right. His exaggerated shoulder sway makes it look as if he is really slogging through the water--great little detail.

by garyandcatherine Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 10:03:07 am
The story continues very well.

I do like the texture of the structure. It shows a pattern with some meaning but what it is isn't clear. Good work!

by CardinalBiggles Homepage »

Apr 4, 2007 2:31:51 pm
Lovely work. Super quality narrative too, as always.

by bluehermit Homepage »

Apr 16, 2007 8:01:45 am
Great picture and story - and a very thoughtful tone and colour range.

by Mikeall Homepage »


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