Ansible Station 24 (Update 2022-09-05)

The word savage has a long history of being used to justify racist, colonialist actions and the destruction of human cultures. It suggests that others are subhuman, not as worthy of respect as oneself. It justifies the slave trade, assimilation, and genocide. In this context, using the word “savages” for people that live in relatively low-tech farming communities in an otherwise science fiction setting absolutely draws on the history of that word and could not reasonably be interpreted in another way, especially when you also start talking about mounting heads on sticks, as though the Crescent worlders are violent tribal stereotypes. They’re not.

It’s okay to make a silly mistake and not understand the implications of one’s words. People make mistakes all the time and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for saying it. That said, the worst choice someone could make is to pretend that you meant something else to save face.

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A fascinating idea, live interpretation in diplomatic situations is definitely one of those high stress situation where you really have to to be mentally switched on and considering all the implications of your words. It’s definitely a bit of mental whiplash at times switching back and forth from vastly different modes of thinking from Lojit and vice versa for example. Very interested in seeing where this project goes.

I was surprised at first that a language based game wouldn’t show any representation of what the languages actually looked like until I realised it was about interpretation and English would be a better medium to showcase the inherent structural and cultural tone differences baked into the languages. I was wondering if that was something you took into account: accounting for the more poetic baseline when translating to Fleschette by softening your words from Lojit, because blunt directness in addressing a topic which may be normal in Lojit might be already ruder by default in Fleschette even given added poetry. From the direct nature of Lojit I would definitely assume Lojit speakers would meet a cultural clash with indirect, high-context cultures that rely more on reading between the lines.

Will you be adding anything about what guidelines and norms interpreters tend to follow? I know you did add a line about how interpreters are meant to be neutral. I’m not at all involved in that field but from what little I do know I’m under the impression in modern day interpretation you are meant to translate the intended message faithfully and not embellish/understate things for diplomatic reasons. I’d assume there are galactic standards the player would know and be aware of so that they could purposefully break those standards with full knowledge of the consequences if that’s how they wanted to play it.

Question feedback:
Typo?:

With soaring hearts we’re meant to fly [n] With whispered words, with whispered words
Against the darkness we defy

What’s [n] supposed to be doing here? I’m not aware of any text tags that start with [n] in choicescript, is this supposed to represent something language related like stand for native language?

Which character did you like the most, and why?
Don’t think I had enough time to really get a look into each individuals character. The ones that stood out most were just ones speaking up on the case antagonising each other: the Crescent woman and the AFTA representative. The others seemed nice enough but none really stand out given they were all introduced at mostly the same block of time.

Where do you see this story going from here?
I’m thinking it’ll probably drop into a little downtime to let us know the various characters and what the more mundane side of an interpreter’s life must be like to set the scene and give context to everything. Show off the cultures in everyday life when things aren’t so high stake.
Overall story-wise it seems like it’ll slowly build up around diplomatic events and the workings around behind the scene that must occur in diplomacy that people don’t tend to see, and how the player can pull strings and gain influence by networking perhaps. Becoming more informed for a more knowledge-based playstyle.
And…then a war from the sounds of it where they’ll need to put all their efforts up to then into play perhaps?

What do you think the strengths of this story are, so far?
The way the worldbuilding is conveyed. I’ve always felt that you can’t really separate culture and language entirely since a language will reflect the needs of a culture and demonstrate what they prioritise being able to convey. It’s definitely a good way of implementing ‘show, don’t tell’ with the ways you’ve conveyed the differences in how languages work and the problems that can arrive in translation so that even a layperson with no linguistic knowledge can understand.

Which faction has the moral high ground?
Depends on what you would consider just and moral, I hardly think I can judge an entire faction based on a single case with no other information.
It seems clear to me that there’s a definite value clash with the AFTA believing it has fairly compensated the death in accordance to its guidelines and the Crescents valuing life much more highly and believing material goods are not equal or adequate compensation. Don’t have enough evidence to say one way or another the reasons behind the decision-making so I only have conjecture.

Perhaps life and poverty is plentiful in AFTA areas and worker lives are simply monetary collateral loss under a capitalistic system. Perhaps AFTA values follow more strictly to the rules of law; that justice, a structured society and rules are highly correlated and that there cannot be special exceptions for emotional damages if all are equal and subject to the same rules that happen to equate human life to any other material loss. Or perhaps AFTA actually does care about the human cost but openly addressing about emotional sides to subjects is taboo in their culture and appeals to emotion considered to delegitimise a speaker, and they would rather take action to address this problem in other ways.

That said? With what information is given I’d probably side with the Crescents on this particular case.

EDIT: Looks like you had an additional question not on the list in the demo.
How would you describe Ansible Station 24 if you were to recommend it to others?
How to convey diplomatic messages in space (without accidentally making everyone shoot the messenger/intergalactic war)

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Where did the info on the non-RO characters go? I swear it was there…- or am I just going crazy- shdfkshdfius-

Oh also I noticed that when I choose Rome to be the first speaker, there’s an error within this text;

You select Dr. Gren as the first speaker. Whether you intended it or not, your choice of first speaker sends a message. Field Mouse snarls. Dr. Gren scowls.

It should be “You select Rome as the first speaker.” or something similar-
ookay now for;

Which character did you like the most, and why?
I really enjoyed the AFTA spokesperson- I’ve always been a sucker for business-type characters, haha. The Autarch delegate Rome was super interesting too; unfazed and calm… For the reoccuring characters, I have a softspot for Goliath and Nightcrawler. I’ve always loved the robot characters, I hope we get to interact more with em soon… Becketts also really fun & nice- he reminds me of me ehsbeiudsnfoe

Which faction has the moral high ground, in your opinion?
I don’t have enough context for this- I would say maybe the Crescent Howler, but her abrasive attitude is throwing me off just slightly, even though I know that doesn’t really say anything about the fairness of the situation. For all I know she could be entirely justified. The AFTA spokesperson… It’s hard. On one hand I’m like; “Thats messed up and the lack of care for human life here is Bad”, but on the other hand it’s like. They’re just following protocol, and the same would be given to any other life lost there… it feels weird to provide more compensation for just one.

Where do you see this story going?
I’m not really sure… I assume we’ll be having more interpreting sessions, and that they’ll ramp up overtime… perhaps a straight up declaration of war during one of them- all in all, I’m excited!

How would you describe Ansible Station 24 if you were to recommend it to others?
hmm… I’ve never been good at making things concise… “A Sci-fi IF in which you play as the interpreter for a space station designated to be neutral meeting grounds. Drama ensues.”

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The Autarch diplomat was definitely my favourite character, he didn’t act like a child and had personality to him. The Autarchs seem to have more moral integrity, but I do like AFTA quite a bit too.

I absolutely despise the Crescent worlds and it’s people (August being excepted) both June and Field Mouse are childish and unnecessarily hostile.

I’d recommend glassing the Crystal Sphere, but I think the Autarchs would draw the line somewhere at the atrocities they’re willing to commit and AFTA would consider it “unprofitable” and “a criminal waste of resources”

amogus free trade association

Chapter 2 hit 30k words. Still aiming for the end of August to release, but it’s a very long chapter.

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I did not meet my End of August deadline! Chapter 2 is sitting on 45,000 words.

My plan is to release the chapter up to the point where the secret saboteur is ALMOST revealed, but I’ll leave it up to you sleuths to figure it out in the forums. That’s right, there’s a mystery component to this chapter! Who sabotaged the station? The mystery actually comes quite late in the chapter, but as a reader you’ll know it’s coming and you should be gathering info throughout.

Anyone who correctly guesses the saboteur (and there is a correct answer!) gets a prize which I’ll figure out at some point. Probably a cute call-out in the credits or something.

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Only five days late!

A note that the demo for Chapter 2 ends on a cliffhanger. In the full game, Chapter 2 will end roughly 3-4000 words later as all of the various subplots are resolved.

Still extremely relevant:

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This was fun, cant wait to find out the saboteur

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Alrighty, let’s check out this “sci-fi and intrigue” thing.

Random stuff and emergent thoughts

First right off the bat, thanks for this setting, I wish more games had it, along with the option to see which stats a choice will test before you pick it.

Starting this whole thing on a cheery note, I see. :thinking:

Holy shit, Fleschette is Shakespeare speech. Shakespeech? I can’t wait to use Fleschette to make somebody the victim of Shakespeare’s “your mum” joke. Please tell me I’ll be able to do Shakespeare’s “your mum” joke.

Ah, I see we’re going the Conga Death Line route.

Yep, Conga Death Line.

And the line goes on and on. Time to take out ridiculous high loans.

I read two sentences of Lojit and I already hate it. Of course, it was invented by libertarians, so that’s perfectly on track.

“because nobody else qualified for the job was stupid enough to accept.” :rofl:

Both options here have the same stat changes, dunno if intended.

For the record, how good is this? Is it possible to get a 0% galactic rise?

Haha, bunny slippers.

Fucker jinxed it. This is going to be a complete shitshow, isn’t it?

Alright, it’s past midnight, so first screen of the second case seems like a good place to break for the night. More tomorrow.

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I picked Alex though I’m probably wrong there since they are too obvious of a choice

I liked Beckett and August since they are nice and aren’t pushy(London comes on way too hard for my taste) but I find Alex(I can very much see them going on a chaos is a ladder speech which they kind of already do in game) and June to be a lot more interesting given their extreme views on things

For me it’s a toss up between AFTA and the Crescent. There are things that I admire in both(Crescent respect for nature and AFTA freedom for all to choose their path)and things that I don’t(Crescent dislike for space travel and AFTA big focus on money).
As for the Autarchs I’m not exactly into stuck up nobility or authoritarianism and I don’t really have a high opinion of Rome and the way they dealt with other cultures but at least the Autarchs doesn’t have slavery. Hopefully none of them starts talking about what they think Hegelian dialectics are :grin:

Babylon 5 diplomacy simulator with the mc being a go between for the factions.

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I just found this earlier today and did a playthrough of it, I love the concept and really enjoyed trying to keep the peace! Definitely going to keep watching this one going forward.

As for my thoughts on the Saboteur

An AFTA-Autarch alliance would definitely be a threat to the Crescent worlds, but an act of sabotage like this could also be a very good way to strengthen the alliance if it can be blamed on the Crescent.
Most of the cast has an alibi, no motive to disrupt the proceedings, or is too powerful politically to need to resort to underhanded methods themselves, they have underlings for that.

  • Beckett and Dahlia can cover for each other if they aren’t interrupted and are the ones to discover the first tampering.

  • The Primarch and President have no reason to get their own hands dirty and as the game says, they’re too politically powerful to accuse anyways.

  • The Robots are also unlikely saboteurs and both give pretty reliable answers as to where they were and what they were doing.

  • Maverick does have anti-Crescent sentiments and doesn’t have an alibi but overall he’s not a likely suspect, he also brings up a good point that he could much more easily sabotage from the outside.

  • Linda doesn’t have an alibi either, and while the PC can bring up that her claims she doesn’t want to hurt anyone doesn’t mean she didn’t do anything because the sabotage was clearly done without the intent to immediately hurt or kill anyone she doesn’t have any clear motive to doing so in the first place and so is unlikely in my mind.

  • Crete was injured repairing the Ansible, and while that doesn’t prevent them from potentially doing so on purpose to make them look less suspicious, they’re known to be protective of the Ansible and likely wouldn’t sabotage it or the station lightly. They also don’t really have a political motive.

  • June definitely has a motive, in that the Crescent have the most to lose from this marriage and alliance going through, and she doesn’t exactly have anyone to vouch for her on the station. Personally, I think she’s a bit too obvious, and is likely a scapegoat for the true saboteur.

  • Alex doesn’t have an Alibi after potentially speaking to you en route to your room. I’m pretty sure they’re not the saboteur for similar reasons to the President and Primarch in that Alex doesn’t really need to get their own hands dirty and there are probably much simpler ways to make or break this alliance than putting themself at risk in the process

  • The lovers actually have the most solid Alibi as London and the Player themself potentially can vouch for them all night.

But that does finally bring me to my point that London is, dare I say it, sus.
London has an alibi in that they were in the room with with Sam and Zander, but very importantly they leave for a very vague and indeterminate amount of time that can be chalked up to everyone in the room being high as fuck and not noticing that when London goes to “freshen up” they come back sweaty after “what could have just as easily been an hour as it could have been twenty seconds.”
It is this window in time, where they go off on their own and come back the opposite of freshened up where I think London in their own words if you interview them does a “lap of the whole station” and sets up their sabotage.
I’m about 95% certain London is the one behind everything here. Namely, they claim to have set this whole marriage in motion and with it comes the alliance. London can also show a fair amount of disdain when dealing with Crescent worlders, such as calling them savages and explicitly saying they’re evening the odds against the Crescent’s numerical advantage.
Additonally, to loop back to what I wrote about Linda, this entire situation isn’t designed to kill anyone. The Saboteur has only cut off communication and escape routes. This is more of a scare than an assassination attempt, and that could be very deliberate.
I think that London has engineered a situation where AFTA and the Autarchs ally, and are hand delivered a perfect scandal in the form of June being accused of sabotaging the alliance to justify going to war with the Crescent. London has spent a lot of time and effort setting this up and out of everyone on board the station they not only have the most reason to cause an incident but also the most amount to gain if this only strengthens the AFTA-Autarch bond.
Or I could be completely wrong and spent a significant amount of time pretending to be Sherlock Holmes and getting everything wrong, only one way to find out.

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At the end of the current demo, you asked five questions. I’ll answer them in reverse order.

  1. How would you describe Ansible Station 24 if you were to recommend it to others? Political intrigue/mystery in a sci-fi setting, where you’re sort of a point of balance between competing factions.

  2. Where do you see this story going? I think that the conspiracy/saboteurs are going to keep trying to push things out of balance while we run around trying to prevent everything from boiling over. I also think that we’ll be in a position to make or break the conspiracy.

  3. Which faction has the moral high ground, in your opinion? I am not sure. I feel like the clear answer here has to be the Crescent, because they seem to be farmers and laborers while AFTA appear to be a bunch of profit-driven capitalists and the Autarchs seem to be Space Imperialists. However, I don’t think that you would just make one faction the obvious good guys with the other two being obvious villains, so I’m pretty sure they’ve got something messed up that we just haven’t seen yet. So I’m gonna say Autarchs here just because they’re my favorite faction because of the language.

  4. Which character did you like the most, and why? London, because I like the way she set everything up to get this engagement going, and because I have a weakness for the shifty romance options who are quite possibly going to betray me. Also, honorary mention for Nightcrawler, in the “oft overlooked servant who knows way more than you think they do” role.

5. Whodunit?

I’ve only gone through it once so far, and I didn’t pay enough attention to remember exact times for things and whatnot, so this is gut instinct, here.

There’s a few people I rule out immediately. I was with Zander and Sam all throughout the potential sabotage window, so they’re out. I’m ruling out the primarch because I honestly don’t believe they’d lower themselves to physical sabotage, especially not such crude sabotage. I rule out Crete because I do not believe they’d risk the ansible.

Everybody else is some level of possible. I don’t really think Beckett would do it, but he might be susceptible to bribery/intimidation. I don’t think the robots would, but they might be susceptible to malware of some stripe? That kind of thing.

That said, I have two main suspects. The first is London. She’s shady as hell and has some kind of ulterior motive. I went with her back to Zander/Samuel’s room afterwards, but everybody got high and at some point London left to ‘get something from her room and freshen up’ and came back in slick with sweat, with her clothing also sweaty. Shady. Also, she did meticulously plan everything with getting the two of them together and engaged. Did she do so knowing it would get her to the ansible? How deep does this go?

The second is Alex, and I’ll also go so far to say that I think that no matter who sabotaged things, they’re actually behind it. (London is an exception here, I can believe that she’d plan this on her own). They’ve got enough strings to pull that I can pretty easily see them getting somebody else to do the dirty work for them, and the feeling I get is that they’ll do anything for money. Mind you, I don’t mean this in some lower class “will stab you for your wallet” way, but in that “captain of industry will commit a genocide for slightly increased profits” way. I just get the feeling that they’d do this in a heartbeat if they thought it was at all advantageous.

My money’s on one of those two being the saboteur. If I had to pick one of those two, call it 51% London 49% Alex.

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Alrighty, back to talky-talky gamey-gamey.

Second case

I have to admire Beckett’s IDGAF attitude. Bathrobe always, no matter who he’s meeting.

Oh no, it’s the choice from Hell! (I mean, not the first option, because lol no, one dagger in my back per person, thanks, Alex)


If we go with Dahlia here, will we have further opportunities to unlock the London romance?

Oh, so close to tensions not rising!

It should be a “do” before the string of names in the third paragraph.

And that’s the end of it!

Q&A

How would you describe Ansible Station 24 if you were to recommend it to others?
Intrigue and Politics (but I repeat myself)

Political tensions keep rising, with the end result depending on how high you managed tensions throughout the game and on whether you can figure out who the Ripper is (and prove it).

Well, the Autarchs are imperialistic autocrats and AFTA are libertarians, so Crescent would have to be close to actual nazis to not have the moral high ground by exclusion. From what we know so far, they are not.

I have to hand it to Beckett and his IDGAF live-his-life-in-his-bathrobe approach.

This is a very difficult question. Like, I’m only picking someone at that point because I’m being forced to.
We know it isn’t Sam or Zander. Could London have done it when she left the party? Maybe, but I find it hard to believe that it’d take all that time to figure out that doors have been welded shut and Crete, especially, probably would have raised about four hells about the bashed ansible.
I don’t think Jericho would’ve lowered himself to performing (gasp) manual labour.
I’m leaning towards somebody from the crew:
Not Crete, because they’d never damage the Ansible.
Not Linda, because she’s probably smart enough to not have to resort to the wire-cutting and pipe-bashing.
I don’t think the drones can LIE, so that rules out Nightcrawler and Goliath.
So that leaves me with June, Beckett, and Maverick, and I piiiiickkkk…
Maverick!
Maverick probably has soldering experience from doing repairs on the station outer hull, so he’d be good for the welding, and he strikes me as not-quite-tech-savvy-enough to make the wire-cutting and ansible-bashing plausible.

I really love this. It’s basically a series of logic puzzles! Can’t wait for chapter 3!

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Alex’s pronouns are they/them!

Minoa’s pronouns are they/them!

Thanks, glad you enjoyed!

+5 is perfect! Because the Crescent worlds start at 50% tension for the first case, +5 is the lowest you can realistically get. Hope it was reasonably clear that tensions were already high at the beginning of this case.

You also got the best outcome for the second case, too! +5 is the lowest you can get thanks to the princess’ stunt with her dad near the end which vastly raises Autarch tensions. You’re a natural at this.

Remknds me of this video, strong language warning:

Thanks, glad you enjoyed! You’re a veritable Hercule Poirot.

lol fun fact: regardless of relationship level, London will not reject the player’s advances. You can be at 0 and they’ll still be like “hell yeah I’m in”

I’m glad people seem to like Fleschette! It’s a lot of fun to write.

Any creature with language can lie!

Some Polls

  • Keep stats update choice
  • Remove stat updates completely
  • Always have stat updates, no choice

0 voters

  • Keep RO portraits
  • Remove RO portraits
  • Make RO portraits a choice, like stat updates

0 voters

  • More scenes from other characters’ perspectives
  • Fewer scenes from other characters’ perspectives; story should stick to the interpreter’s point of view
  • Make it more clear when such a scene is happening

0 voters

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I ALMOST “wtf, Zander” at this point, but then my brain managed to cut through the Shakespeak and I realised that her objection was “how about you don’t treat me like an incubator” which, well, you go, girl.

The mediation is basically a logic puzzle. This shit is my JAM, and I’m here for it.

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Oops, didn’t catch that. I will go back and fix it. Thanks for telling me.

I love stuff like this. It really makes you think about your word choice.

Once I spent the day speaking only in haiku, even while at work. All day, start to end. Even reports to the boss, who never noticed. Nothing poetic. Just counting the syllables. No seasons at all. Still interesting. It slows the conversation, makes you think things through.

It was pretty fun. I should try again sometime, see who notices.

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Long time lurker, first time poster here. Just gotta say the games shaping up to be really really good. The worldbuilding and lore for the languages and the factions are incredibly well done. It really immerses you in the world and you definitely feel like a translator with how unique each of the languages feels. Definitely keeping my eye on this WIP as it progresses.

You also got the best outcome for the second case, too! +5 is the lowest you can get thanks to the princess’ stunt with her dad near the end which vastly raises Autarch tensions. You’re a natural at this.

It took a little bit of save scumming but I managed to get both factions to have sub 50 tension (AFTA at 46 and the Autarchs at 50) in the second case leading to no rise in tension.

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HELP. AHHHHH- Okay so- first of all, this is perfect, this is beautiful, I love this IF SO MUCH, Lojit is probably my favorite language solely because I think it sounds cool (and I have a bad history with poetry…) but Lojit just… it just makes so much SENSE, yknow? Like I could speak it if I needed to. Fleschette requires knowledge of prose and poetry, which I Do Not Have, and Scythe requires intensive knowledge of background references, which we (the reader) couldn’t possibly learn because. It’s worldbuilding. And. Y’know. We don’t live in that world. (HOWEVER I DO WANT TO SAY I really like Scythe as well- the fact that you explain every reference that’s happening is so satisfying!!! Love the fact that there’s a catalog of every term in the IF… super useful-) but I’m mentally screaming right now because.

ALEX.
AH.

AHHHHH.
I’m so mad at myself- I utilized the save states a lot to be able to go through and read every last bit of dialouge, and going with London near the end has HEAPS more content PLUS you get to interact with Zander and Sam, but… for some reason I keep going with the paths that get me the most interaction with Alex??? :sob: and like. WHY. Their tone is clipped, we don’t get to even talk too much, but it’s just… hh.

Okay rant about my favorite character over, the worldbuilding and characters here making this setting so… so REAL. Like- the languages, the politics, the fact that there’s so much existing media that we can learn more about… Not to mention the characters- I kept stat checks on so I could see what was happening, and I LOVE how each character reacts to every option differently- like even things that would usually be construed as passive (Like refusing to go with London) can be taken negatively, and just… it feels so REAL!!

I haven’t noticed any grammar issues- my only complaint is that the Interpreter can’t be more passive aggressive and petty to Alex :pensive:

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when i just noticed this was updated on my birthday xD, now i shall check it out just because