2946-08-21 - Tales from the Inbox: Sojourn on Seyria

After the favorable response both Nojus Brand and I got for posting his last submission some time ago, Nojus has been inundated with requests to send me what he can about several other adventures which did not result in usable footage, and I've been bombarded with requests to put them at the front of the queue. I was not aware that every second expedition (on average) that Mr. Brand embarks on produces insufficient footage to produce a program he's satisfied with. He must be all but buried in stories he couldn't tell in the format of his well-known program.

While Nojus's program and Cosmic Background are not affiliated, we've reached an arrangement that will hopefully make everyone happy. We'll review his tales as they come, on a case by case basis. As Mr. Brand is not a very articulate person in long-form written world, he has agreed to send a recording of himself telling the story and any corroborating evidence he has, and I have agreed to condense these tales down into something appropriate to this text feed. In addition to this, he requested (and received from Ashton) a semi-regular guest spot on our vidcast program. His first appearance should be some time early next month.

I make no attempt to establish the veracity of Nojus Brand's stories; I will however only publish those that are both interesting to this audience, and that seem reasonably likely to be true. We all know that the source of these stories is given to embellishment; even so, many of his most well-known exploits are indisputable, as there is plenty of evidence in the form of drone and camera-pod footage.

In the tale he sent in for this installment of Tales from the Inbox, Mr. Brand explains what actually happened on Seyria, one of the most toxic (to humans) worlds to still sustain macroscopic life yet discovered. It comes to life because, while he returned with plenty of footage, it was not usable to form a clear sequence of events for a vidcast episode that he could be satisfied with.

Nojus hated that Seyria’s atmosphere was toxic. He much preferred to post footage of himself wearing nothing but perfectly mundane clothing, braving the dangerous wildernesses of explored space armed with nothing but his trusty Reed-Soares Portable Survival Utility. Still, hundreds of his fans had requested a trip to Seyria, all of them knowing he’d need to use an environment suit; they wouldn’t mind the change of equipment much. The suit Nojus had chosen to bring was intentionally as minimalistic as possible; that would get him as close as he could be to an unprotected adventure under the canopy of the poison planet’s equatorial jungle.

Seyria had already claimed all four of the drones he’d brought with him. All he had left was a microcamera pod, a hardy little device the size of his thumb which had been recording since he arrived, albeit often from most inconvenient angles. When he didn’t need it for other things, which was rarely, Nojus tried to use his survival utility as a camera monopod, providing the occasional drone-like view of his situation, but such shots were few and far between. Editing his new adventure, Nojus knew, would be a serious chore for his team of underpaid but reasonably competent video technicians.

The viewers had demanded Seyria because, though toxic to humans, it was teeming with life to which the acrid chemicals in the atmosphere were no obstacle. If one could forget such things, Seyria was a verdant, lush place, its warm, humid air containing twice Earth’s percentage of oxygen and ten times its carbon dioxide. As a result, the world was a hothouse, almost permanently clouded and insulated from the cold of space. Seyria was well-known in the Core Worlds as a planet of poisonous air and hideous creatures, and it was to face such monsters Nojus had come.

Despite this goal, so far, the explorer had found little worth the effort. The critters which had made off with his drones had been smaller than himself, and though they’d been brightly colored and covered in an exotic, horned carapace, he’d gotten no usable footage from either the drones or the microcamera. He had spied a few larger beasts in the distance, but they were in each case gone before he could get close enough for a good camera angle. In general, the trip had been, though far from dull, somewhat disappointing.

Nojus reached the lee side of a large rock outcropping, dropping his hard-sided pack of tools and supplies on the only surface he’d seen in hours that wasn’t covered in soft, engulfing moss or hip-deep in muddy water. His suit readouts still showed green, and he had days of nutrient slush left, but he resolved never to agree to suit-only planets ever again. There was something impersonal about taking on the elements of Seyria from the inside of even the flimsiest armor. He was used to doing things the old-fashioned way, the way it was meant to be done.

Changing his survival utility from hiking pole configuration to serve once again as a camera mount, Nojus clipped the microcamera into its tip and set it up on the outcropping. It was always recording, so he adjusted its angle to focus on the lush, riotous jungle behind him. “Day three on Seyria.” He said, without using the radio. The muffled sound of his voice would need to be touched up, but that wasn’t his problem. “Nothing too bad since the drones. Really, this place is not living up to its reputation, and if it weren’t for this suit, I’d feel right at home.” He chuckled, for the benefit of the audience. “Hopefully, those of you ingesting the feed will not be quite as bored as I have been today, after my team has fixed up the footage. Sure, this planet is...”

Nojus trailed off, noticing motion behind the camera, in the shadows cast by the outcrop of rock. He held up one gloved hand to the camera, excited. The movement had looked like something big. “Wait just a minute!” He exclaimed, for the benefit of the audience.

At the sound, the thing in the shadows moved again. A long, chitinous limb reached out to find purchase on the rock, not far from his pack of supplies, and a pair of long, trembling antennae unrolled and hung over his head. This, clearly, was one of the monsters Seyria was known for. Nojus hurried forward to grab the camera and survival tool, holding up one hand toward the beast as its triangular, many-eyed head cautiously peeked out of its hole. “I’ll be right with you!” He said, quickly detaching the camera from the multitool and configuring it into a barbed gaff. 

Hefting his newly configured weapon in one hand and pointing the camera with the other, Nojus stepped toward the giant creature, just as it unlimbered its multitude of clicking mouthparts. It was, he could see, undoubtedly predatory, and though it didn’t seem especially hungry, Nojus was right in front of its lair, and not running away; it could almost certainly be goaded into conflict. “Hello there, lovely.” Nojus shouted up at it, as its head rose above him. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you!”