Wayfarers

Hope

He stared at an open landscape, the ground covered in orange dust. There was no flora, nor fauna, just another dead rock. His eyes adjusted. The colors slowly faded in, bending through what little atmosphere there was.
He marveled at it, seeing what humans were never meant to see. He wondered how hard it must have been, how his life seemed brighter in the color of invisible light. The silence was heavy, so heavy his ears were ringing.
He almost looked away, jumping at the sound of a woman speaking over the radio, "Oracle, I'm calling it in five"
He took a deep breath, trying to maintain his focus. "No worries, Argos. I'm almost done."
He made notes on a tablet held in his lap, trying to write without looking away. Minutes passed, and the woman spoke again, "Alright, let's hear it."
The man looked away, and his vision blurred. "Let my eyes adjust, just a sec."
A man chimed in, laughing before he spoke, "No cheating."
Oracle's vision cleared, and he read out his notes, "Atmosphere is very thin, and has no oxygen. I'm seeing 30% helium, 20% nitrogen, and I want to say 20% hydrogen. The rest is hard to tell. Probably argon and other trace elements."
The radio stayed quiet for several moments before Argos replied, "Damn. Drones reported 19 nitrogen, 31 helium. Just a little off. Nice work."
   
Youth favors rebellion. It has always been and will always be. Make no mistake, it's an essential trait of our species. How else would we progress? Nothing embodies this more than a wayfarer. They are neither of the earth, nor the void. They are humans born on our new home, their feet firmly planted in Safeharbor's soil.   They asked of their parents, "Why did the earth die?" They were met with silence and didn't appreciate it. The secrets kept by their elders were a betrayal in their eyes. With wanderlust, and a thirst for truth, they took matters into their own hands.   The Wayfarers are pioneers, those with the courage to journey into the void. They will seek out its wonders, stumble upon its horrors, and will gladly die in pursuit of more. They are explorers venturing into uncharted space. It's a suicide mission, which is a shame. Humans are so scarce now. They are the only hope humanity has left.
     

Who Are The Wayfarers

The wayfarers began shortly after the activation of Caydie's Cradle, but before The Battle of The Pillars . During this time of progress, a group of young men and women ventured into the void with a mind to explore the system. They did so on the best ships the cradle could produce. They mapped the planets, investigated anomalies, and brought back resources, samples, and even technology.   The wayfarers still venture into the ruins here on Safeharbor, as there is always more to find in those dark places. Interestingly enough, the profession only attracts those of younger generations. Earthborn humans, and those born in the void before coming to Safeharbor, are terrified of venturing far from their sanctuary.   The job necessitates the younger generations, anyway. They are less prone to haphephobia, and tend to be better acclimated to the genetic modification humanity forced upon itself back on earth. These advantages are not particularly game changing, but it's a step up. These men and women also tend to be particularly skilled, as an upbringing on Safeharbor has allowed an overabundance of education.

Significance

Before we move into the specifics, it's important to discuss how one joins, trains, and does their job. Humanity may be an endangered species, but hundreds seek to join the wayfarers every year for three important reasons: the newer generations desperately seek to fulfill a wanderlust they've had since birth. They want to know why humanity left earth, a seemingly perfect place. Why did they leave so many behind? They have questions, and they need answers.   Finally, the wayfarers yearn for a humanity worth being a part of. Humanity is broken, and that hurts them more than they would admit. This drive has put humanity on the map in recent years.   Without the Wayfarers, the Eden would never have been able to assist in The Battle of The Pillars and The First War. They wouldn't even know we existed. The wayfarers explore unmapped regions of the galaxy in the best ships humanity can build. They seek their findings, claim bounties, and so much more.
   

Diversification

Keeping with a tradition used in space programs back on earth, wayfarers must diversify their skills. It's not enough to be an expert in biology or engineering. One must be well versed in both. The survival of their group depends on it. When you're out in the black, millions of miles away from anyone else, it's a horrible situation if someone dies. It's a tragic reality of the job.     This reality is only made worse if the one who dies happens to be the only one who knows how to repair the ship. What if it's the only one who knows how to operate the vessel? What if it's the only person who knows how fire a gun, safely take a sample, or study alien architecture, or operate The Quantum Telegraph?   Every wayfarer studies many different fields. They learn everything they can before venturing out, and the learning doesn't stop there. They overlap their skill sets, no two teams being exactly alike. They teach each other what they know, and have access to many sources of learning when no one around can teach, such as texts and video lectures.

Tools of The Trade

Wayfarers are all equipped with weapons, but these weapons vary. The skills of the wayfarer will always determine their equipment. All wayfarers are provided the best equipment available. Much of the gear given to wayfarers are prototypes.   Their suits are cutting edge, well armored, and have skeletal structures giving slightly increased speed and strength for high gravity exploration. Their life support uses Algae farmed on Safeharbor to recycle CO2. Most of what they carry relies on solar power, and the batteries are small, lightweight, but have much longer lifespans between charges compared to what most work with.   When one joins a team and receives their gear, they take a name, an alias to be used when communicating with one another. These aliases are chosen based on their skill set and personal preferences. Wayfarers are the closest thing to black ops humanity has, and they are often used accordingly. After The Battle of The Pillars , They were used to scout sectors of enemy space and were sent out to rescue humans scattered about the galactic community.

Persephone class frigates

The wayfarers were met with opposition at first. No one wanted the impulsive youth poking about the galaxy. As time passed and their efforts in subpar vessels proved rewarding, the wayfarers were given a single dry dock in Caydie's Cradle to produce vessels that would suit their needs.   I, The Archivist of Safeharbor discovered plans for a ship in The Archives. With careful modifications, most focused on efficiency, they began construction on a new class of frigate: The Persephone class. Persephone class frigates are caught between a corvette and a destroyer. They are well armed, but also highly maneuverable. Those in charge on Safeharbor gave the wayfarers free rein. Any tech they find, they use, especially if it's better than what they have.   The wayfarers effectively travel to hell and back on their long journeys. This is the inspiration behind the name of the ship class. When an elder on Safeharbor equated it to the myth of Persephone, the name was officially recognized. To the elders, it was an ill omen, but to the wayfarers, it was a promise. In the myth, Persephone always returned in the spring, even if only for a short time.
           

Wayfarer Archetypes

Wayfarers are divided into one of four archetypes. These archetypes emerged as the profession grew. Some wayfarers valued different aspects of their mission. Some valued the knowledge while other valued the experience. Others still simply wished to keep their allies alive, and had the skills to do so. These archetypes are the easiest way of creating teams, as one of each archetype makes a well-rounded crew. These four Archetypes have little to do with their expertise in certain fields or their abilities. It merely highlights their advantages, their ideals, and what they excel in.
   
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Ragtags

Ragtags are veterans. To call them soldiers isn't quite right. They have the skills, and have the knowledge, but there's a reason they left the military. Maybe they disliked authority, maybe they just wanted the truth, or maybe they really didn't like fighting. Regardless, They've seen action, and know how things work in practice. Pragmatism goes a long way in keeping one alive. They often find themselves being the voice of reason, a logical tactician who sees the big picture. Their name comes from their background. The fleet of safe-harbor is lovingly referred to as the ragtag fleet, which carried over when they joined the wayfarers.
   

Wanderers

The wanderer is there for discovery. They excel in improvisation and survival. They are curious by nature, and often join on the grounds of wanderlust, alone. They always have a plan, and are more than capable of working under pressure. They think quickly, and act just as fast. Wanderers can keep you alive when trapped on a hostile planet. Of course, they are the ones who likely got you trapped on that planet in the first place. It's only fair.
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by Adobe Stock
 
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by Adobe Stock

Augurs

Augurs are those who took particularly well to the genetic modification of humanity. The still suffer the downsides, but they are the few who can truly benefit from these changes. The best example is their eyes. Human eyes see more the longer they stare, able to pick up some of the slightest things and take in light normally not visible to the naked eye. Most humans avoid staring too long. Augurs refuse to look away, no matter what the cost may be. They can pick up on subtle expressions, making them good at detecting deception. With time and experience, they can even learn how to do it among other species.
     

Prodigies

The prodigies are gifted with photographic memory. They are driven by a need to know. They must learn. They are skilled with language, science, and other paths of the intellectual. They offer this knowledge to their teams, a walking encyclopedia that is rarely wrong. They spent several extra years in the educational programs offered on Safeharbor. They likely have numerous implants designed to make their tasks easier, and have a keen eye for how things work.
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by Adobe Stock
       

Factions

Since the wayfarers began, the organization has seen numerous factions rise from both their success and their failures. The most prominent would be The Reclaimers, who solely seek to find earth, believing the wayfarers have lost their original goal in the excitement of discovering new worlds.   The four Archetypes also count as factions, as they each tend to learn differently and often stick close to social circles formed during their education until assigned to a team. These teams are chosen by de facto leaders of the organization, usually members with prestige and tremendous amounts of experience.   Other minor factions spring up, usually created to focus on goals related to current events or group efforts to explore large sectors of space. Some are gaining traction, however, such as Homebound. They are a faction that isolates its search to Safeharbor and neighboring systems.
 
Oracle stopped on his way back to the ship. Something pulled his attention toward the sun, It was a nagging feeling at the back of his mind. He was being watched. He hated that feeling, as all augurs do. They stare into the black, and despite their instincts, refuse to avert their gaze. As rare as it is, sometimes they find something that stares back. He lowered the sun shield on his helmet, and his heart started to race as he looked up at the red dwarf in the sky. He saw the faintest silhouette of dark tendrils. It wasn't behind the star, nor was it in front of it. It enveloped the star. "What the hell is that?" he asked, unaware that he spoke out loud.
Another woman's voice spoke on the radio, mouse, "You okay?"
A panic washed over him. What ever it was, its attention shifted from the star it shrouded and turned to Oracle instead. Maybe it didn't want to be seen. "Eyes to the sky, guys. We gotta go," Oracle shouted, breaking into a sprint as he made his way back to the ship. Roadrunner's voice rang in his ear, "Woah, We just got here, what's up."
"Mouse, prep the ship. There's something in the system."
"On it," Mouse replied.
"What is it," Roadrunner asked, his breathing heavy as he, too, ran for the ship. "I don't know," Oracle began, acknowledging an unsettling thought, "but it's hungry.

Cover image: by Adobe Stock

Comments

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2 Dec, 2020 19:56

I find oracles rather interesting. Natural senses that can surpass digital sensors in accuracy and range is a fascinating concept. I also like the concept of going down to a barren planet, letting your eyes adjust, and suddenly discovering that it's a lush world full of creatures and plant life that exists just beyond normal human perception.   I think the prodigy of your team could be kind of like the King in a chess game. Maybe not especially useful, but you need to protect them at all costs so they can bring everything they learn back to Haven.   I'm not entirely sure what the huge difference between Ragtags and Wanderer's skill sets are... would Worf versus Spock be an apt comparison? Fighter versus Ranger?   So, if a giant moster is enveloping the sun, wouldn't they have, like, eight minutes minimum before it reaches them? more if it doesn't move at relativistic speeds? Or maybe beings like that don't exist in normal space-time... Oh, and I suppose what the guy is currently seeing actually would have happened eight minutes ago, so that puts a wrench in things... Is it the same creature depicted in the Ragtag and Prodigy sections?

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
2 Dec, 2020 21:12

Oooo yes. So as far as RPGs classes go, you kind of hit it well. Prodigies (Argos) tend to be tech savvy. They are similar to kings in chess but they also offer alot in the way of drones and tech. They are definitely supports. Think bards lol. The augurs (Oracle) are kind of the closest to a magic user you can find but it takes time. It doesn't say here, but oracle has done this on every planet. He had to train it like a muscle. Eventually he learned to distinguished shades of color and the like. Same with deception. With humans it's natural but you need time with another species to learn their tells.   Ragtags (roadrunner) are very much fighters. Plain and simple, and wanderers are very close to rangers with a bit of druid and alot of rogue thrown in. I hope that makes sense Lol, in the rpg, there wouldn't be classes. These would function more like race does than class.     You also clearly see the problem with the space beastie. That's a bad day right there. The creatures in the art were just fun to include. I definitely like to imagine that's what it looks like but those were just awesome stock art I got. Lol thanks again my friend.

3 Dec, 2020 02:35

So. Uhh. Your opening excerpt is centered... for some reason? That's kind of weird. Anyway, now I'll actually start reading.   Ooh. I really like that vignette piece. It's again that idea of loneliness and isolation, as well as the continuation of humanity's fading into the backdrop of the ever-expanding universe.   I'd love to see a bit more exploration of the development of the wayfarers in the first query. You suggest that the younger generations are more interested in exploring more. It may be that I just read a great article on culture so my mind's stuck there, but I'd love to see you mention more about the idea of an endless depression that lay upon the wayfarers. As the others begin to retract into their shells, their sanctuaries, they are maybe left behind, in some way, and, instead of sitting back and letting humanity disappear into the universe, they want to continue to explore. Almost like a second, less aggressive, version of Manifest Destiny. (Just ideas, but something like that would be awesome). This would also do well to exemplify the opposite ends of the spectrum of the themes I've seen around your world.   Ok. I love the different classifications of wayfarers, especially how they seem to easily relate to the different personalities. Both introversion and extroversion, expression and exploration. It's super interesting and, if I were a wayfarer, I would totally be a prodigy.   You know. I really like your world. It's not great for light reading. I'd say it's terrible for light reading because I have to actually pay attention to log everything scientific and sci-fi you write. It's a great world and definitely feels like a product of the waves of quarantining that came with the Coronavirus.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
3 Dec, 2020 02:54

Ooo you know, you have a point. I wrote this in a frenzy to try and get it out so it can sit and I can expand on it in a week or so. Their culture is exactly that. I'll delve into that more. Good catch.   Ok... so yessssss thank you! I actually used some writing cheats there. Those are the four humors. This video explains it as I've used it XD it gets complex when googled.   https://youtu.be/dtsmluPK7Ug     I love it, and didn't realize it till you said that. XD so thank you.   This whole world is stemming from the pandemic... like hard. It's probably alot more obvious than it should be. Thank you very much good sir!

Sage Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
3 Dec, 2020 20:37

I love the pieces of prose that you're writing for these articles. I'm starting to grow quite fond of these characters.   The wayfarers are a wonderful profession - I really can see why the youths that were not born on earth would want to become a wayfarer and explore the galaxy.   Great article!

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
6 Dec, 2020 06:49

I am 100% a wanderer. When playing NMS I will think: "Oh, let's visit that planet real quick. Just to see what it looks like from the ground. And then half an hour later I am still running around scanning stuff. Then of course I see a cave and have to go inside. Just to get lost and eventually having to use my multitool to dig my way back up. I think because of that game I can in a small way relate to these wayfarers. I really enjoy the prose parts because they really let you live through what it is like to be a wayfarer. Also loving the different archetypes. The way you write it it seems like you have thought of everything, and it all makes perfects sense.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
6 Dec, 2020 17:53

Woooot thanks so much. NMS definitely brings out my inner wanderer. Every time I see a planet of unusual color, I'm like "oooo purple? I wonder... YESSSS purple grass!" Like who gets excited about purple grass XD teas a beautiful planet. Lost it after the first reset :,(   I appreciate the kind words. I'm glad the fiction worked. I plan to use these characters more in the future. Thanks again!

Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
6 Dec, 2020 18:25

Ugh yeah, I lost one of my beautiful planets as well with one of the updates earlier this year. I have to say using the same characters is very interesting from a readers perspective.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
7 Dec, 2020 04:35

Man reading these is really making me want to get back on my sci-fi world now...

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
7 Dec, 2020 04:46

DO IT! i love your Sci-fi XD glad to inspire... or should I say sorry?

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