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ALIEN: Manticore

ALIEN: Manticore

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Blackwinter-witch

Apr-04-2017 11:17 PM

UPDATE: September 05 2017***************

ALIEN: Manticore is now past the 110,000 word mark. :D
That's why I've been so scarce around here, busy-busy-busy with writing and housekeeping, Life's usual hurdles, etc..
There's also short-stories coming soon-ish. They're being worked on, but have to be adjusted as the Main story progresses to eliminate continuity errors and such other annoyances.

One short-story ties-in to a work found here having to do with Walter's fate on 'Paradise'.

The other gives my views on the origin of The Alien, which I am titling ALIEN: Origins and it's far more deserving of that title than Alan Dean Foster's Covenant prequel.

A third short-story is loosely-related to the ALIENverse, but will be available for reading also.

END UPDATE*******************

I'll be posting little excerpts and teasers here, entertaining questions (though some I may not be able to answer) and I hope you guys enjoy this little window into my perspective on the ALIENverse. :) This is all partially-edited  material, so it's going to be rough and have flaws.

This little bit calls-back to something Ridley Scott wanted for ALIEN, the 'flying mouse drones'. I love the idea, and as a nod of Respect and Appreciation to R. Scott, here they are in their scene.

" The ship tended itself, and it’s hibernating crew conscientiously. It constantly monitored everything aboard and outside, surveilling the cosmos via it’s sensor arrays and their sophisticated instruments. It watched, listened, and in some ways it ‘smelled’ ‘touched’ and ‘tasted’ the universe around it.
In the engine section and elsewhere throughout the vessel, the hundreds of tiny drones that swarmed and flitted about only in the absence of the crew had once again emerged, performing their tasks tirelessly. They were semi-autonomous mouse-sized extensions of the mainframe intelligence, it’s roving eyes, ears and hands, ever-vigilant over their country of darkened, cold, minimal-gravity, nitrogen-filled corridors, rooms and chambers.
As the ship came into range of comm relays, it established contact, checked for messages and other items of information the crew had stated preferences for. It collected what there was to be had, flagged items for each member of the crew and continued it’s vigil and voyage.

Sometime later, a signal impinged on antennae sensitive enough to pick up the extremely weak radio-frequency emission, one in the sub-milliwatt range, and conforming to no known comms protocol. It ran, there was a break of precisely twelve seconds, then the signal repeated again.
The computer recorded it, worked out a fix on the emission-point, and flagged it for the Captain’s attention.
Weeks later, it detected a new signal, from the same emission-point as the earlier one. This one was stronger and clearer: A standard-format distress beacon and Emergency Location Beacon.
The artificial intelligence double-checked the emission-point, re-analyzed the earlier, now silent, beacon and compared it to the Interstellar Trade and Commerce Commission standard beacon it had detected. It examined the distances involved to the nearest comm relay, worked out how many years the EM signal would take to reach it at the light-speed limits of radio transmissions.

Manticore did not possess the ITCC-mandated overrides that would force it to go to the distress beacon. The laws on Shadowfall dictated that responding to a distress beacon was strictly ‘Captain’s Discretion’.
In accordance with that, the computer began restoring the ship to Human Habitation standards, altering course to the star system that the emissions were coming from and bringing the Captain out of hypersleep.
"

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

202 Responses to ALIEN: Manticore

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 2:25 AM

Something Real

Thank-you! I will try to hold onto that quality, I assure you. I was also into tabletop pen and paper RPGs for a while, years ago, I think that's where I first started to discover I wanted to Create, and lots of reading of classic sc-fi probably led me to wanting to Write.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Something Real

Apr-07-2017 2:28 AM

BLACKWINTER-WITCH - Tabletop RPGs are amazing fun! Of course, I have to be the one telling the stories. It is a quirk I can not shake. I adore seeing the spark of excitment and wonder in th eyes of others! :)

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 2:32 AM

Something Real

That is merely the hallmark of a quality GM/DM who runs truly engaging campaigns and game sessions!

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Something Real

Apr-07-2017 2:36 AM

BLACKWINTER-WITCH - Hahaha! That is a very kind statement - one that is greatly appreciated. I feel that story-telling is a form of magic we each possess. It is the ability to create wonder and excitment from nothing. :)

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 2:40 AM

Something Real

You're welcome! :)

Storytelling has a VERY long history among Humanity, so we link ourselves to our earliest ancestors in this way, yes? It is 'magic', in a way, I would say, how words can turn the audiences minds into Theatres better than anything technology can provide, and Uniquely Individualized. :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Something Real

Apr-07-2017 2:42 AM

BLACKWINTER-WITCH - Extremely well-spoke! Hear, hear! :)

Ingeniero

Apr-07-2017 3:25 PM

Farlander, I loved Arthur Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. I still remember the description of the flower and what was around it.

Blackwinter-witch, now the secret is out regarding how well you write. I'm not sure it was a secret to begin with, I'm new.

Excellent work and thank you for the nod to Ridley Scott in the beginning. It is very nice to see that. The "feel" is consistent with the universe and I really like the taking the fight to the Engineers of the last sample.  

Something Real, it doesn't sound silly at all.

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 4:00 PM

Something Real

TY! :)

Ingeniero

I'm quite new here as well :) The 'secret' is one I am pleased to share, and if it helps my fellow aspiring authors then my sharing has achieved at least a little benefit and good to my fellow forum members. :)
Thank-you for reading and your compliments! You're welcome also and I'm glad you enjoyed my tip-of-the-hat to R. Scott. :)
I wanted to honor the man who gave us this universe, and I try my very best to always stay true to the 'feel' and nature of the ALIENverse's 'feel'.

With MANTICORE, there's more freedom than some corporate vessel, but also bigger risks. EG: Heading off to face down the 'Gods'.
Plausibly, the crew of a company ship just simply could not pursue a plotline like I have with MANTICORE, and I wanted to get away from the Company-owned theme. Inspiration-wise I researched private-registry Captain-owned ocean-going vessels in today's world and they are by far vastly more numerous than most people think. So I applied that to the ALIENverse as well.
There's a big, dark, universe with many lonely places where fate can find you and be unkind...Manticore gets to take us out there. :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

S.M

Apr-07-2017 4:22 PM

"My Thanks to Ron Cobb (posthumously) for the wonderful concept art he did!!"

I don't believe Ron Cobb is dead.  He lives in Sydney.

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 4:39 PM

S.M

Thank-you for pointing that out!! Glad to hear it!! I must have been thinking of O'Bannon...brain crossed it's own wires/Human error type stuff.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-07-2017 8:22 PM

In case some of you were wondering about where I get some of my info for my works, and how 'practical' some potential future-fictional tech is, have a look at this video.
Now, apply a few decades of advancement and improvement, as well as adding a more powerful lasing core that can be adjusted for variable outputs and a variable-focus emitter-head. :D
Welcome to where I get some of my goodies for the ALIENverse.

5kW laser beam for hand-held cutting

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

SpiteHouse

Apr-08-2017 4:15 AM

Tech like that handheld laser, drones and 3D printers...I would most definitely be interested to see them portrayed futuristically.

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-08-2017 4:20 AM

SpiteHouse

In my works you will. ;)

What really amazes me, and one reason why I write, is how so much of sci-fi IGNORES really cool tech in the real world that will be around in the future. EG, in Prometheus, not a single smartphone, just that holocube of Holloway's...so, I do my best to include real-world tech with suitable advancement.
Imagine where tech like you mention will be in say, 80 years?? :D
As for smartphones, the new Modular snap-on additions and such has given me some great ideas :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Ranting Xeno

Apr-08-2017 7:25 AM

I can't believe I missed this thread for so long.

As an avid book reader, yes real books not ereaders or audio bollocks, I find pleasure in words written with grace and eloquence. It is made even better when based on subject matter of which I am fanatical.

I look forward to reading more snippets and, once complete, the entire work.

Keep it up! What I've seen so far looks great.

RX

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-08-2017 2:33 PM

Ranting Xeno

Thank-you very much!! I'm very gald you found your way here and are enjoying this Topic!

I agree Real books are better, and have the advantage of still being vastly more reliable under all conditions than an e-device, as no batteries are needed, and they can be dropped in the tub, and are still 'functional'. ;)

I put considerable time and effort into my works (mainly in the form of editing) and it's really nice to have that effort appreciated as you and others have stated that you do by way of enjoying the snippets and excerpts I've posted!! :D

More excerpts are coming, it's a bit tricky to decide what I can use that won't give too much away and spoil the mystery. :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Ranting Xeno

Apr-08-2017 3:37 PM

I wish I had the ability to pull words out of my head and have them make sense.

I can spout words but never in a coherent form, and always have pacing and general narrative issues. I'm more autistic than artistic lol

I'm bored though, so might have a stab at the Jonesey thing from the other thread. Kind of wary to though, nothing I can produce will compare to your work.

At least people will get a laugh out of it, more than likely laughing directly at it lol

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-08-2017 4:03 PM

Ranting Xeno

Well, then this should bring you some comfort. :)

My First drafts, I don't even refer to as 'first drafts', I call the rough-raw, as they're like freshly-mined ore or marble or freshly cut and de-barked logs. Seriously, barely readable, it's really just an idea-stream. Seriously.

THEN, I Edit, and edit, adjust, tune, alter, change, add, subtract, sculpt, chisel, and such. :D
Editing is actually quite easy, as the hard part's done, the initial creative burst, also as newer ideas pop up, with editing you can find places for them, add, re-phrase, re-structure and make things how you want them to be as exactly as you're capable of.
NO one ever achieves a Perfect work on a First Draft, so don't worry. And when I mean NO One, I mean NO One, and that includes the finest authors in history as well.
The Jonesy tale, GO for it!!! :) Take a try, do the first draft, try your hand at some editing, then see what folks think. As it involves Jonesy, I would presume favorable reactions. :)

The best authors are not the ones that are the most creative, they're often the ones willing to do the most editing and refinement.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-08-2017 4:09 PM

The Naming of Names...

The manticore (Early Middle Persian Mardyakhor) is a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), and sometimes bat-like wings. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot venomous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims.
It devours its prey whole and leaves no clothes, bones, or possessions of the prey behind.

A perfect description and metaphor for an armed vessel capable of salvaging those that make the mistake of attacking it. When I needed a name for the vessel in the story, I wanted to step away from the traditional ship-naming methodology of the ALIEN universe. I love how they did it, but I am my own self, and given the staggering number of vessels that must exist in the ALIENverse, not everyone is going to go with the Conrad-based naming conventions.
'Manticore' both sounds good, and if you look into what it means, the basis of the name has some solid depth in Myth and History. It's a name that connotes ferocity and the mythical creature's abilities do parallel somewhat to the armament and combat-related systems as well as salvaging capability of the vessel as well.

YES, Manticore is armed, and quite heavily. The reason is that Ridley Scott once mentioned that piracy and related problems is a common problem in this universe (hence why Nostromo had weapons available to the crew). A company-owned vessel, the crew doesn't really have much of a stake in the ship and cargo, but Manticore is privately-owned, is the home of the crew, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep it.

This also opens up that aspect of the ALIENverse, piracy and such. Human civilization will ALWAYS have the criminal element, and in the ALIENverse, Out There in the dark and silent void, people are on their own.
However, situations involving ship-to-ship combat will NOT be handled like Space Opera does so.

 

 

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-11-2017 8:10 PM

What ALIEN: Manticore IS and ISN'T:

This work of mine works mainly to expand and answer some of the franchise's unaddressed 'loose-threads'.

Ever wonder about the folks who encounter the aftermath of Incidents?
EG:
What eventually becomes of the Engineer structures on LV-223?
How did that massive egg chamber below the Derelict on LV-426 work?
What is the Space Jockey, really?
What's in the unexplored buildings on LV-223??
Etc..
True, these 'answers' are NOT Canonical, just Fan-Fiction, but I did my research and at the very least they'll be entertaining 'place-holders' in the fanbase's minds until Canon answers come down the line.

*It is not a re-do/do-over of ALIEN.
*It is my gift to the fanbase.
*It might someday, possibly-maybe serve as a 'resume-work' I can use to prove I know how the ALIENverse works and feels.
*It's just an exercise for me to visit my favorite universe while awaiting ALIEN: Covenant, one I can share with fellow ALIEN fans.
*It's my Raised Middle Finger to James Cameron. ;)
*It's my way of paying appreciative tribute and Respect to R. Scott, H. R. Giger and Dan O'Bannon.
*it's practice, as writing always requires practice, practice and more practice.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-13-2017 4:14 PM

Places Of Interest In ALIEN: Manticore & Related Works:

With Manticore and it's crew, I can show more of the wider universe, and make the attempts to do so.

SHADOWFALL:

Shadowfall is in a remote star system and usually avoided in the few shipping lanes of the region due to its ‘strange and complex celestial dynamics’ making it difficult to traverse safely.
Shadowfall itself orbits a massive gas giant that possesses a heavy and well-developed ring system. The system and world were found and settled by the surviving remnants of the Native Aboriginal North/Central/South American tribes and nations.
The world is 'better than earthlike', and for decades scientists have puzzled as to why it has a biosphere and lifeforms that are Terrestrial and include species extinct of Earth.
The truth is known by a few among the Council of Nations: It was the 'prototype' for Earth, cultivated by the beings Dr. Elizabeth Shaw referred to as 'Engineers'.
Shadowfall is absolutely unspoiled, and right from the start all planning for colonization was done with the aim of avoiding all the mistakes made in the past on Earth. This includes nearly-impossible Immigration processes, it is a world that keeps a very tight rein on the number of offworlders allowed to visit on tours and Immigration is a sobering formidable gauntlet even for the 'elite' of Human civilization.
When the Khymaerhan Liberation and Exodus occured, while every other world turned them away, Shadowfall and the Council of Nations welcomed them, where the Khymaerhans have proven quickly and frequently to be very significant beneficial additions to Shadowfall.

Next: THE HUB

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-13-2017 5:38 PM

EXCERPT from ALIEN: Manticore :

Sinjihnn Du’Maur was the type of man who could shrug off the worst of hypersleep-hangover in a few minutes, and like any experienced star traveller had found and developed his own tricks for getting through the worst of it quicker and easier. He found what he needed in the galley.
Chief among these was a ‘prescription’ of Doc Smythe’s: A two ounce shot of whisky with a large-format energy drink so strong it was banned on Earth, with an ingredients list that read like an inventory from an herbal health store.
The alcohol damped out the pain on system-wide level and the energy drink worked as a support to a system labouring to come back up to speed as one rejoined the living. The only downside was that even fine, twelve-year aged whisky tasted like furniture polish, although the carbonated energy drink still managed to be palatable to taste buds suffering from hypersleep-hangover.
Alone in the Galley, he snapped a shot of less-expensive blended whisky back, grimacing at how his taste buds interpreted it’s flavour, while he popped the opener of the energy drink’s can and swigged back a generous amount to kill the unpleasant subjective taste of the whisky.
“Anything that tastes that bad has to be considered ‘medicine’.” He muttered, braced himself straight-spined as the whisky began to spread it’s effects from his stomach in a pain-quelling warmth then left for the bridge.
The bridge was quiet, aside from the occasional machine-sounds from assorted instrumentation and the general background sounds normal for the ship. Sensing his presence, his console came alive, as did assorted tertiary consoles and monitors around the bridge.
Through the starboard bay-windows he could see three small, dim, round shapes against a distant star that held them in it’s gravity. The largest of the worlds ahead had rings, unspectacular but clearly distinct. He recognized the star system from years of experience flying the trade routes; Zeta II Reticuli.
Dropping into his console’s seat, he moved it forward to his preset position that he preferred and tapped in a short string of commands single-handed on a small, seldom-used keypad alongside the primary one in his console’s workspace.
The console monitor came alive, presented a checklist of various systems and the function-monitoring of them in green alphanumeric text. He used the touchscreen to select ‘Overmonitoring Matrix Command Channel-2677’, then typed in ‘What’s happened?’ single-handedly as he took another long drink from the can.

Two hours later, Sin mulled over the information he’d gotten from the computer’s analysis by bringing Manticore’s primary sensor array to bear on the small planetoid orbiting the ringed gas giant. At the range Manticore was from the planetoid where the radio emissions originated from, a fair amount could be determined, even through it’s visually opaque atmosphere.
Radar had confirmed two vessels, though the return-echo image-processing of the larger one had him puzzled. The smaller one though was a recognizable class of smaller vessel used for light freight and salvage as well as wildcat prospecting--but he didn’t know what to make of the larger one.
The decision to wake the crew nibbled at the back of his mind, as this could be valuable salvage combined with a rescue operation, or depending on how bad the emergency was, straight-up salvage and remains-recovery.
Remains-recovery was one of the grim realities of salvage work, but one he and his crew were accustomed to and undeterred by.
A more intense and thorough scan of the larger, horseshoe-shaped object showed zero energy output, or energy output so low as to be entirely undetectable at the range they were at. The wildcatter had energy output on-par with a crippled but semi-operational vessel.
His attention kept returning to the larger, horseshoe-shaped object. He’d presumed for his mental convenience that it was a vessel, but there was really no way to be entirely certain what it actually was at this range. What the ship’s sensors couldn’t tell him, his gut did, and it told him plainly this was a situation where it would pay off to be as wary as possible.
The proof of which was down on the planet, not a kilometre from it, stranded and with it’s distress beacon running.
There’d been no hails, or any kind of broadcasts from the wildcatter ship, which bothered him a good deal. He’d sent numerous hails, and received no response at all. If the crew were in hypersleep to conserve life support while awaiting rescue, it was standard operating procedure to include an automated message about crew situation and disposition as well as status with the beacon. There was nothing like that here, just the emergency beacon and it‘s basic message, programmed in from the factory.
That meant either they had been in a serious rush to climb into hypersleep, or the other two possibilities of their being dead, or just having not bothered.
No Identification-Registration transponder had come up, which made things all the more suspect. He continued to mull things over, reviewed the information he had, considered that against what he didn’t have, had the computer scan surrounding space thoroughly, which yielded nothing of interest.
“ ‘Captain’s Discretion’. Well, this Captain’s discretion calls for a better look-around first, then I’ll make the call.” He said to himself, and typed in commands that would launch a drone towards the planetoid below, where it could give him a direct-eye-view of what to expect if they went in. He decided to leave his crew undisturbed in hypersleep rather than put them through the discomfort of emerging from it and possibly having to simply turn around and re-enter hypersleep.

 

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-18-2017 2:46 AM

Splendidly done fan-edit!

I'll be using this as reference material for my works!! :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

S.M

Apr-18-2017 3:16 AM

It's just a trailer though...?

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-18-2017 3:25 AM

It has different music mixed in and some short bits of deleted but fully processed footage...it's just something that hits my Muse the right way, I can't explain it any better than that. :)

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Deep Space

Apr-18-2017 4:20 AM

Well written I'd say.  Not that I can offer any helpful or constructive, critique but I'd continue reading it and enjoyed the excerpts :) 

Keep it up and good luck!

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-18-2017 4:44 AM

Deep Space

I'm very glad you both enjoyed the excerpts and commented to that effect!! :D
I'm presently editing ALIEN: Manticore, and there'll be at least one more excerpt posted in the near-future. :)

Once editing is complete, I'll be trying to figure out how best to 'package' it for the convenience of readers. It might just be fan-fiction, but I want it to look, read and feel as professional and best as is possible. :)
YES, it'll be free, but I am looking into the Legalities of accepting Donations.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

S.M

Apr-18-2017 5:45 AM

I think you need to dial down the verbiage.  There's a lot of sentences that are more wordy than they need to be.  Eg. "He’d presumed for his mental convenience that it was a vessel, but there was really no way to be entirely certain what it actually was at this range."  "for his mental convenience" is superfluous to that sentence.

Similarly there's repeated words eg. "The alcohol damped out the pain on system-wide level and the energy drink worked as a support to a system labouring to come back up to speed as one rejoined the living."  This could be re-written simply as "The alcohol damped out the pain and the energy drink worked as a support to a system labouring to come back up to speed."

The whole thing needs to be tighter and more concise.

Blackwinter-witch

Apr-18-2017 5:53 AM

S.M

As I stated at the start of this topic...this is raw, partially-edited material, with LOTS of flaws, and if you think the ones you mentioned were bad?
LOL
Then I am SO glad I am the only one who sees the really bad spots!! The excerpts here are largely unedited 1st Draft material, rough enough to almost leave splinters in your eyeballs.
The problems in the paragraph you pointed out I fixed Saturday night...along with some others I am glad no one saw as they'd call into question my ability to write English. :D
I make editing passes, over and over, as with each pass I know I miss some things, or upon fresh-re-reading, alterations elsewhere have forced a change somewhere else.
In short, we're on the same page.

*Man's giant leap was just a stumble in the dark.*

Rick

Apr-19-2017 1:10 PM

S.M = Grammar Nazi (Amatuer Alien Storyline Nazi) and (for Ref: kinda like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi)

S.M

Apr-19-2017 1:29 PM

For when you don't have anything intelligent to say there's always that Predictable Scified Snark (TM).

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