Wherever you go, whatever you do, you must do it with foundation. The substance must come from somewhere; how it shows up is up to you, that's how we can all learn from your discretion. Build endlessly, and you will find yourself saying 'It's all been done!' Has it really? Look around you, how you live, and where you live. The state you live in needs your creativity to thrive. 'They already got to it.' You know what? Maybe they did. Look • Focus out a bit. You see all of the planets in the galaxy ? That's prime land, there. How many are habitable?' Is this the only reality? How many David Cakos are there? When you start thinking about the very foundation you stand on like this, the possibilities will overflow. The Cako Federation holds a key stake in the extended colonies of humanity. With the commodification of space travel, many firms rushed to claim a stake in the abundant resources in the galaxy. We had always looked at things a little bit differently. The galaxy stands for opportunity and abundance, to be sure. It's our assurance that this thing doesn't go belly the fuck up when the sun decides to take a few weeks in Cabo. We're spending the Earth winter on Mars. The maiden voyage of the UNS Lux marked a grand beginning for the Federation's galactic operations. The radical new capabilities of humanity were seething in through the fabric of reality. This was our purpose, to take the human race further than it had ever gone before. I never doubted us. Morning Star When we emerged through Venus's thick sulfuric clouds, Sara remarked that the Terrestrial Analysis showed abundant beryl deposits along the dark ridgelines of the morning star planet. I looked at the report for myself. The visible face of the planet shows richer mineral deposits than any active quarry on Earth. Our tools for analyzing and excavating the Earth's terrain became so advanced that most mineral deposits on Earth's surface had been completely exhausted. Could it be, that Venus is mounted with gems? We've only just entered its atmosphere, and our sonar is completely lit up. 'Sara, are you on with command right now?' 'Please confirm with them that Venus's terrestrial reports are coming through.' 'They've received 60% of the reports so far.' 'Are they excited for the holidays?' 'I do believe so, David.' It would still be several hours before we land on the surface, but the clock is already running for us to decide where we need to be landing. The conditions of Venus's land allow for rich mineral deposits, but this is not all that we came for. We should find a shoreline so that we can take water samples and perhaps learn more about the composition of Venus's crust. What if we take one scoop with the rover and come up with a shovel full of diamonds? This was the very first time we breached Venus's cloud layer, and so we would need to make some tactical decisions for the mission. We had particular success criteria going into this mission, and we did run through possible scenarios and what we would prioritize. As long as the rovers make it back with a thorough cache of samples from Venus's surface, it's a job well done, but the decisions we make now will determine what sort of samples we'd be collecting. Delta Runtime The politics of science are always changing. Many years ago it was 'who's gonna blow up the world', or 'who's gonna make it to space first?' Things are real different now, in a lot of ways. People are connected in a whole new way, they have all new desires, new anxieties, and a new vision for themselves. The more people in the room, the more confusing any equation becomes. It's always going to be about some idea for how we want the world to be, and power, and having the money to make your family happy. You look around and technology is everywhere, it's a new colonialism we've gotten ourselves into. It is sort of infinite, but it's an immense consolidation of power. The first and last thing you need to know about the Delta runtime is that it was invented here, by me. They took it, went off and did whatever the hell they needed to do with it, and I'll make peace with that like an emperor. Do you feel the leading edge now? Good, now don't move. All games, really, subjugate you to some idea of rules and points. The points don't matter? Congratulations. You've found a new points system, and rules to characterize and stimulate the gameplay. The thing you learn naturally is how all the people in a room negotiate stake. There's a ton of stake flying around in here, that's for sure. Extra time and money will blunt it a bit, it gets people saying 'There's always next time.', but I only ever treated anything I did like my first and last try. Some people call this 'the fear of God.' When you think about things like that, it stops being about how you're gonna get iced up, or what the rover brings back, or if the rover even makes it back this time. Why? Because if your blood really fucking boils like mine does, there's only ever going to be this time. But, we all love to have fun, too, and we love shiny things and cool toys. So there's that, and we can all build hinges around it. Ox Goad The kids don't want to eat their vegetables, they hate going to school, whatever else have you. What are you supposed to say to them? Yeah, right? Maybe start by explaining that they've got a whole life ahead of them and they'd better stay busy. Having to put your shit together doesn't end when school is out. How young are they? Does it look like they're scrounging on the ground? You might be able to get 'em with some fresh drip and a nice line of shit. When I get interested is when it starts looking like they don't need the ice. They better still like the way it looks hanging off her, but I like to see when these kids are shifting their perspective around. We selected a landing site near the periphery of a mountain range, with an apparent fresh water stream running into a nearby basin. The roversiare equipped for shallow excavations, however this site was selected, with support from our geological team, to allow us to inspect the sedimentary behavior of Venus's terrain. The valley that the stream runs along would expose a cross-section of rock that can be used for detailed analysis of the terrain and carbon dating of the planet's minerals. When we land, the rovers will begin collecting ground level sonar data to supplement the aerial imagery captured on entry. Automated drilling fixtures will capture samples with detected changes in terrestrial composition, each marked with point-in-time metadata, such as location, ground composition, time, and atmospheric data. The drill-arms are variable depth, up to 20 feet, water-tight, and automatically collect and store up to a thousand variable-form-factor samples in the internal cargo, with expandable chassis mounts for direct access in challenging terrain. Additional instruments are used for fluids, shore sifting, and air samples. The rovers are also capable of measuring air pressure, gravity, and electromagnetic data, which we will use as modeling data for the return launch and for evaluating the feasibility of establishing an orbital system on the planet. All of the capabilities of the rovers are automatic, with semi-auto and manual operation as needed. These procedures are designed on Earth using various terrain and situations meant to simulate various conditions on Venus. This is excellent, because the collection capabilities of these machines works whether or not we have a stable connection at command. This data is available in real-time for our team to view and dashboard in our cloud environment. Our talented geological and atmospheric scientists are also pretty awesome Python programmers. They can start working with the data as soon as it's collected, which will inform any additional mission objectives before we pack up and leave. Existing launch and control systems are working via an ad-hoc node outside Venus's dense atmosphere. This enables point-to-point broadband connections with equipment and allows us to receive real-time data from the rovers and imagery systems. By building an orbital system, we can conduct regular missions into Venus's atmosphere to learn more about the ecology of the planet. Lattice We're estimated to land in about 20 minutes. The high-res imagery we're seeing of the surface shows, vividly, the abberated deposits stretching for miles along the mountains. Because these images are constructed in real-time on a 3D surface map, we are able to start scouting and earmarking deposits for the equipment to collect. We've got about 48 hours on the surface, and it looks like our geo team killed it on the landing site. When you look at these deposits from different angles, you can see diffraction that suggests some sort of mixed composition or a crystalline structure. Sara and I stepped out to smoke a bowl and enjoy the fresh - evening air. You forget what time of day it is in there. And as we land, you can see the dynamic suspension gear preparing to make contact with the surface. It is designed to land the ship on flat ground with controlled impact and managed thrust. The inclined cargo vessels expand and the rovers automatically unload and begin on their routes. You see rover Aerix, traversing along the shore and collecting surface samples of what appears to be clay, sifting the pebble shore for metallic deposits. It will drill, as needed, when it detects deeper deposits, beneath the surface. This is fully automated, via the rover's depth sonar array. We've only advised desired paths based on the maps we have now. On Location Cameras on the rovers provide a 360° view while the rover does its thing. Now, rover Sirus is approaching the first crystalline mineral deposit. What a miraculous stone, it's as if the surface of it is sliding off the shard as it erupts from the craggy dark grey rock. Is it - liquid? The camera array is exceptional quality, but it still is difficult to make out exactly what we're looking at. Sara showed me a few stills where it appears to be mercury. As we view it now, on the live feed, it's fractal, like a massive diamond lattice. While the excavation ran, we all deliberated over what in the hell we were looking at and how it would look up close. We couldn't even say, definitively, whether it was solid or liquid. Collection We put the sample in a sealed instrument for X-ray spectroscopic analysis before we open it. This shows us a detailed elemental report of the sample so we know what it contains and whether we would be exposing any harmful substances to open-air when we handle it. This report should be coming back soon. The specimen, now outside of its collection vial, is nearly blindingly irridescent. When I first saw it, albeit in a sealed case, I was attempting to figure out what color it was. I soon realized it was essentially shapeless. The surface did, truly, appear to be sliding off itself, into a shimmering, opalescent array of colors, like running mercury or the surface of old video discs. The X-ray report came back 'inconclusive,' whatever that means. Whatever that means is that no one knows what the hell we're looking at. They're going to run it again before we take one of these samples out of the box. People are losing their minds, they can't figure out what it is, and they can't stop looking at it. It's a beautiful substance, any way you look at it. It's a little hard to look at sometimes though, like it tickles your eyes, it even stings sometimes. The last time I was in the lab looking at it, I got an erection. The material was gushing, steaming upwards as it hit the top of the plexiglass box. Lux's First They don't know what it is. Keith is going to take it out tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning rolled around, and the Federation lab sounded like the NYSE trading floor. I hadn't heard that many people speaking in a room in years. It's been nothing but the shimmer, day and night, for the past 3 days. At 11:00 we piled into the observation room while Keith prepared to open the seals and remove the mercurial gem from the container. He unlatched each of the 4 sides of the box, breathing and moving so steadily, like you would working on a watch. Adrenaline filled the entire room. Keith slowly gestured to open the hinged lid, almost wincing behind his welding mask. A pure white light flashed out from the edges of the box, the power browned out, and Keith screamed 'IT FUCKING DISAPPEARED.' Saturnium Keith ran out of the lab in a panic and stared at us, stark white in the face. It's in his fucking eyes. 'Uh...', Scott muttered, from under his breath. I turned to Sara - 'It's... in your eyes.'

Naked Sun