Off-Topic Discussion > Arts & Talents

"The Vault of the Prophets" - A FS Adventure story sketch

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So, I've been playing my way through the remasters of the pre-PS4 Uncharted-Trilogy (tl;dr I can see why they made a female-led spin-off :D ) and I got a little contact high ... As I am not planning on adding any more large FS-projects to my slate (Vega Must Burn, 3 The Lost Generations and Project Neutrality are good enough), and this story fits nowhere in the Of Shivans and Men-Anthology slate (as its main events are set closer to FS2 then the OSaM endpoint of 2345), let spread the whole thing out here...

A major problem with this story is to work out a rationale for it all to take place in the usual space of FS gameplay...

Chapter 1
Spoiler:You start as a member of Vasudan activist group, that advocates for Vasudan isolationism and its leader is a very serious about the whole "we must not dillute our culture by contact with aliens"-thing (ignoring that Vasudans never were a monoculture - but everyone goes along because the fragility proposition sounds kinda reasonable, if you are the first generation born after your homeworld was destroyed and much of the cultural diversity of the Vasudan people has been lost with the destruction of major cultural sites and other fait culturelle).

The first mission sees you liberating a piece of vasudan art from the estate of a Terran "philantrophist" (you know, the people who do charitiable giving so for the social credit and the tax write-off, not because of some principled approach to the common good). It is implied that said objet d'art was plundered from Vasudan Prime during the evacuation or some time after the bombardment while the PVN's was in a state of disarray.

The heist doesn't end very stealthy and you wind up on the run for from the GTVA's local police force.
Chapter 2
Spoiler:On the trip back to your groups hideout, one of the people in the heist crew gets in their head to show of "your prize" and everyone gets a good look; its a rendition of a mural/mosaic with depicts a number of geometric patterns accompanied with cartouche written in a local temple script, which no one on the team can read. But another member of the heist crew gets curious and goes of it find out of what the content of the cartouche means.

Back in the hideout you hand the artifact over to the leader, who upon seeing it goes back on the plan to go public about the heist - instead he has different plan: to the stage the destruction of artifact by a terran GTVA unit. A majority of the group is okay with it because vasudan isolationists basically.

However later you overhear a private dispute between the person who went to translate the cartouche and the leader. Appearently Person Curious is not okay with the destruction of a piece of Vasudan culture for the publicity stunt. They also mention the Hammer of Light but that part of the discussion is quickly shot down by the leader.

A day before the operation to destroy the artifact takes place Person Curious confides in you, trying to get you to join him in stopping the destruction of the artifact - it needs to be taken to the Caretakers, a quasi-monatistic organisation that since the destruction of Vasuda Prime has devoted themselves to the preservation of any aspect of Vasudan heritage. In short: the artifact belongs in a museum.

You join in on the plan to steal away the artifact from ship that is going on the "staged destruction" operation, and make off with it.

Just as you are making your way out of the system (maybe with your former comrades at your back, if you had a stealth failure), you are ambushed by a wing of unmarked terran fighters. You manage to escape and make it the next system from where you proceed to the HQ of the Caretakers above Vasuda Prime.
Chapter 3
Spoiler:The Caretakers take you in and Person Curious gets to research the artifact right away. You and any others you had with you meanwhile bide your time doing odd jobs for the Caretakers and generally trying to figure out what to do next.

At this point, regardless on any stealthy outcomes, your former comrades catch up with you - this time they brought a cruiser and they demand you hand of over the artifact. And then, because misery loves company, the unmarked terrans are back, and they brought a cruiser too. A three-way brawl ensues which only ends as the GTVA sends a warship to break it up.

Back on the Caretaker's base, Person Curious lets you in on why everyone has it out for this artifact:
The cartouche translates to a single phrase "The Vault of the Prophets" - and that "the Prophets" is how some circles of the Hammer of Light used to refer to the Ancients. Turns out there that what remains of the historical record from eight thousand years ago, records an event that in Imperial Vasudan is referred to as "the Night of Falling Stars". That event, by most moderns scholars has been dismissed as a particularly impressive meteor shower. But there have always been local legends attached to the "Night of Falling Stars", many of which feature visitory suddenly arriving in settlements and a later date to disappear again. Someone of these visitors left behind stories of "the ultimate fate of universe" (and that way all the Hammer of Light-prophecies were born).

Since the discovery of the Ancient ruins in Altair there was been a conspriracy theorist subculture that had been correlating the "Night of the Falling Stars" with a visitation from the Ancients - but it never got any traction because even before the destruction of Vasuda Prime hardly any evidence existed to support the claim. But the artifact you rescued is a depiction of a mural/mosaic that was supposedly left behind by one of the visitors.
And the mattern on it are actually a representation of a star system - specifically Altair. But not only does it represent the star system, it could very well be an astrogation chart to location inside the system.

While the Caretakers remain somewhat sceptic at all the conjecture that is going on, but they are willing to support an expedition to Altair - and Person Curious is all set to go. You go along.
Chapter 4
Spoiler:Just as you are on your way to Altair, you run into the "philantrophist" from Chapter 1. He had by now outfitted personal security force to find you and the group you were once part of - because no one steals for him (yeah, not a nice person) - because you didn't have enought people gunning for you already.

En route you are also joined by a GTVA detachment, because the authorites are worried as to the trail of conflict you seem to be leaving behind - they make it clear that you are not arrested yet, but that you are going to be accountable for everything at some time in the future. They know who you are and what this is about because the Caretaker told them.

In Altair, you then have to do a number of navigational challanges to decode the astrogation chart - knowing that it is one is not enought because you have no referrence for the Ancients measurements of time and distance.

Along the route you find some of the waypoints to have been secured against anyone that might stumble on them, you suspect the Hammer of Light but some of the equipment used is conspiciously terran. At final waypoint you find the reason why: before you spreads the remains of a battle between a terran unit and a unit from the Hammer of Light - both appearently fought themselves to multual annihilation over control of what you will find below. (Also maybe have some "dormant" Shivans here for good measure)
Chapter 5
Spoiler:Arriving at what is the location of the Vault you find it to be a large asteroid, and the continuation of the battle you saw before. However there are a few more intact ship and you can make out unit insignia - the Terran ships bear the Phoenix/Owl symbol of the GTI as well as markings of the 37th Mobile Infantry (a unit reknowned for their xenophobic esprit de corps and unrestrained battle tactics), the Vasudans bear markings of an obscure Hammer of Light group, known as the Obscured Constellation, which was never engaged outside Altair.

On the ground you find the site heavily damaged by ground combat between the 37th and the Obscured Constellation - both sides appearently went all out in an attempt destroy each other. It is not clear if there were survivors on either side but one of the GTVA soldiers remarks that if there would have been survivors, they'd bet they had been terrans.

The Vault itself proves to be a hyrbid of observatory, a listening post and a traffic control station - much of it is damaged and you will need to get specialized equipment from the GTVA to get everything running again. You and some of the GTVA people depart for a local space station to requisition the required material and machinery.

As you return, you find the GTVA force engaged with the same unmarked terrans you already encountered. The terrans have driven the GTVA away from the asteroid and managed to land their own ground forces. You fight them off, and GTVA reinforcements arrive to secure the site.

However, one of the transports the terrans used to land their ground forces got away - and before it did the terrans had the run of the Vault and seemed to very focussed on extracting data from the remain data storage systems.

But before you can go chase after the transport the GTVA slap handcuffs on you and take you away...
Spoiler:The escaped transport arrives in Polaris, at the Freedom Shipyards, where construction on a very familiar ship is under way.Spoiler: that's the Iceni

This is of course a very rough outline, which could very much shine if it just were polished enough. And stylstically it is very much a The Lost Generation-story but it also ties neatly with Between the Ashes...

ps. Spoiler:The Obscured Constellation is an element I would like to continue to use in Project Neutrality - so I would prefer if you use to bring me in on what you are doing.

Pulling in some post from the Discord for record keeping:

Following the question why suddenly Vasudan Art was a relevant thing:

--- Quote ---FS canon never really happens in places where the cultural foundation of either the Terrans or the Vasudans matter; it is a slight caveat of being in space 100 percent of the time.

Art, by its very amorphous nature as an aspect of cultures, is actually a very good dimension to have on hand for story telling purposes; it helps build motivations and context for action that out of context are not the most optimal course of action. Sadly also a dimension which requires a very specific set of knowledge and skills to really make work. (I am suck at writing descriptions for things I imagine, for example - makes it hard to incorporate such things)

In that story it actually makes a lot of sense to have it - finding the Vault is picking up a legacy left to the Vasudan by the Ancients*, so first three chapters have a to establish a Vasudan identity which can be compared with the identity of the Ancients we get form the FS1 Monologues. Hence the step from an exclusionary perspective ("it belongs to us, not you") to an inclusive perspective ("it belongs in a museum") and the "downtime at the monastery" before the adventure gets going properly.
* (because in the FS-Ref Bible the whole alien visitation thing being a fact; although exact plot point seemed to have been dropped for the final version of FS1 - no mystery here why)
--- End quote ---

and a response to what I meant with "no mystery here why"

--- Quote --- I am only speculating but my reasoning is like this:

1) It was 1998 and the internet hadn't turned The History Channel's Ancients Astronauts-Series into the "Aliens"-meme yet.

2) The "ancient alien visit"-trope has "a bit of a history" with it being used as the "ancient aliens visit and shape a savage culture"-narrative, which is racist on its face. I mean by implying that a culture created its monuments not for an purpose intrinsic to that culture but for the benefit of some outside actors, you do imply that said culture is only waiting for some kind of outside masters to arrive - which would then legitimize colonizing them. - Which even in 1998 might have struck some people as "not good" (to put it mildly).

I mean I am only bringing it into the story because I think I managed to apply in an inoffensive way, by setting it up so that some random Ancient soldier offered the Vasudans a legacy instead of forcing it onto them (which is consistent with canon, as per Ancients 5).
--- End quote ---
(just to make it perfectly clear, I find the racist application of the "ancient alien visit"-trope worthy of condemnation, even though I do sometime read/watch/listen to fiction that employs it; when I notice it it almost automatically triggers me to go into a "can I think of a version of this without the racism?"-mode, which can be oddly stimulating but doesn't change my outlook on the that application of the trope itself)

I am reclaiming this one


--- Quote from: 0rph3u5 on April 19, 2020, 02:02:36 pm ---I am reclaiming this one

--- End quote ---

Does that mean you want to delete the thread?

No. Just means that I worked out the kinks and found it deliverable


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