Site 17

Session 26/27 - August 6?, 2260

Green Goo and Mystery Doors

Alasdair

  • Being 3
  • Creation 1
  • Detection 4
  • Electronics 1
  • Elemental 1
  • Energy 1
  • Entropy 1
  • Insight 3

Ananda

  • Arcane 2
  • Being 1
  • Detection 8
  • Elemental 1
  • Electronics 1
  • Insight 2
  • Living off the Land 1
  • Mechanical Technology 2
  • Stealth 3

Em

  • Arcane 1
  • Computer Tech 1
  • Defeat Security 1
  • Detection 3
  • Stealth 3
  • Structural Technology 1

160 CDP / 170 CDP
Total: 4910

Kassil: Last session ended with Ananda having found a new gun, Alasdair having welded extra covers over a locker with a voice only he could hear inside it, and the door leading onward beckoning, at least theoretically leading to SOS-899-A, color yellow.
Ananda glances over her shoulder, to check that everyone else is ready to move on.
Alasdair is.
Em is ready
Kassil: Well, then?
Ananda nudges the door open with a foot and sidles through.
Kassil: Ananda, you see a fairly typical and rather sterile corridor beyond it.
Ananda: Any places where something might hide?
Ananda: Or blast doors?
Kassil: There are blast doors in the dorridor roof, yes.
Ananda signs, ‘Clear.’ to the rest of the group and moves on ahead.
Em follows, watching flanks and rear.
Alasdair does likewise.
Alasdair bumps into the wall trying to avoid crashing into Em.
Kassil: Presuming Alasdair follow, you head down the corridor past two blast doors and another defunct security booth before stepping out into a room containing what appear, at first glance, to be a cube-shaped mass of translucent green; a second glance reveals it to be contained by a transparent barrier nearly a meter thick, presumably on all sides.
Ananda: (Dimensions?)
Kassil: The room’s about ten meters on a side. The cube, in full scale, is about five meters on a side. You estimate the green goo is probably a cubic meter.
Ananda: Any other exits?
Em: Can my level of Mechanical or Strucutral tech give me any insight into whether or not the cube exceeds the tolerances for containment of our current technology?
Kassil: There are two more exits from the room, both on the opposite side of the room. One looks like the door you just came in by, but the other has a bright red diagonal stripe painted on it, and a security card reader beside it.
Kassil: You could roll Structural Tech to try to figure out what it is, I suppose.
Ananda idly paces around the perimeter of the room. She stops at the doors to consult the map. What color are the rooms on the other side?
Kassil: Em, you’re sure it’s quite durable, but it doesn’t seem weirdly exotic.
Em: Is there any provision for taking samples out of it?
Alasdair heads to one of the walls to peer into the green, trying to assess what it is.
Kassil: The un-striped door appears to lead to ALF-0031-V, color green. The striped door has no corresponding label.
Em: Is there any apparent way to extract samples from within the cube?
Ananda quirks an eyebrow. Tries Markov’s ID on the card reader.
Kassil: Em, are you searching around and on top of the cube?
Kassil: The card reader display a red light in response of Markov’s ID.
Ananda shrugs and stashes it back in her pocket.
Ananda wanders over to Alasdair. “What do you make of it?” she asks, with a small jerk of her head towards the cube.
Alasdair drums his fingers on the wall. “Not sure. It appears organic with a vague cellular structure.”
Ananda peers into the green.
Kassil: As the two of you stare at the goo, you hear the door you entered by click shut.
Alasdair tenses a little, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Ananda looks up from the cube but otherwise doesn’t move, listening.
Kassil: Nothing else presents itself; Ananda can see that the door is closed, but not locked.
Ananda gives the cube a somewhat skeptical look.
Ananda holds her flashlight at arm’s length and shines it into the maybe-cellular mass. Does the refraction make any of the organelles clearer?
Kassil: The mass more-or-less even lights up from the flashlight’s beam.
Kassil: There’s a small amount of refraction in the clear containment.
Ananda: Is there any empty space inside the containment?
Kassil: Not that you can see, but the cube is almost perfectly clear.
Kassil: The green goo /seems/ to be tightly hemmed in on each side.
Alasdair: No gaps in the ceiling or air bubbles?
Kassil: Not that you can see. You could try to get up on top of it and examine it from that angle, of course.
Alasdair: Oh! I have the image in my head exactly backwards. Nevermind.
Alasdair: “I’ll lift you up if you want to check the top.”
Ananda: “Sure.”
Kassil: No ulterior motives present there at all. :D
Alasdair: ( I have no idea what you’re talking about. >.> )
Alasdair lifts Ananda reasonably easily with the aid of the boosting.
Kassil: So, with a hand from Alasdair, Ananda is able to get on top of the cube; something she notices on the way is that the cube has a near-perfect 90 degree angle at the top, sharp enough that it would be painful to crawl over without armor on.
Ananda: (It’s a cube. Why wouldn’t it?)
Alasdair: I’m just holding her, not hoisting her onto the unknown structure. Unless she demands it, anyways.
Ananda looks it over for air bubbles or other texture discrepancies.
Kassil: All right, if Ananda’s not going up on top… For what she can reach and see, the top seems as featureless as the sides, aside from a very narrow cylinder that rises roughly half a meter above the middle of the cube.
Kassil: The transparency of the material is such that, from below, it isn’t visible due to it blending in.
Ananda: “Set me down on top, if you would. There’s something up here.”
Alasdair hefts Ananda up onto the cube-thing.
Kassil: Ananda, on closer inspection you find that the cylinder seems to be a capped tube positioned directly over the goo.
Ananda: Does the cylinder look like it’s supposed to accept a sample container?
Alasdair: Or the introduction of further material?
Kassil: It’s hard to tell – the cap has been cut precisely enough that you can hardly see the distinction between cap and tube, even at close range.
Ananda taps on the cylinder.
Kassil: It makes a clicking sound, kind of like tapping on extremely solid stone.
Alasdair daydreams of the Meganeko, hoping it’s having a nice life in the city.
Ananda pulls a sample container from her pack and flips the cap open.
Kassil: The cap doesn’t flip open, it turns out – as Ananda fiddles with it, it slides up, bringing a long cylinder up with it; Alasdair can see that a patch of the goo about five centimeters deep is being pulled up with it.
Ananda: (5cm by what diameter?)
Alasdair: “Goo coming out. Be careful. Everything else here wants to eat us.”
Kassil: A cylinder 5cm tall by 3cm wide.
Kassil: The goo, once it reaches the open air, smells fantastically savory.
Alasdair idly scratches at his right jawline.
Kassil: Alasdair, you can see a couple of the cellular shapes near the air pocket start to wiggle toward it.
Alasdair: “Put it back in. Quickly.”
Ananda shakes the cylinder of goo into the sample container, then replaces the cap. Closes the container to prevent contamination.
Ananda looks over the edge, “What did you see?”
Alasdair: “Something in the goo was bolting for the opening.”
Kassil: One of the shapes gets hit by the plug as it drops back in, bursting from the impact; everything else in the containment starts to move a few seconds later, squirming through the goo toward the ruptured one. The goo Ananda harvested, on the other hand, seems pretty much completely inert.
Ananda watches the cells churn beneath her feet. “Huh.”
Kassil: Alasdair, by this time you can pick up the smell of it.
Ananda holds the sample container up to a light. Any organelles in there?
Kassil: Nothing but translucent green goo.
Alasdair wrinkles his nose. “Ugh. I may never be able to eat steak again.”
Alasdair: I presume the live things are eating the dead thing?
Kassil: It appears so, yes.
Kassil: The late arrivals also seem to be trying to engulf the early arrivals.
Ananda breaths a laugh. “Smells like it’s made to be eaten. Ample reason not to; I don’t want to find out what it would get out of the bargain.”
Ananda looks over to the card-access door. “Did you hear that?”
Alasdair: “No, just Em’s stomach rumbling.”
Ananda: “Kf. Lift me down, please. Sounded like someone knocking.”
Ananda stashes the sample container in her pack.
Alasdair helps Ananda down carefully.
Ananda gives the side of the cube a measuring look, then a brief shake of the head.
Alasdair: ( This worksite is not OSHA-certified. )
Ananda: (I’m not a good enough rock climber to tackle that, yet.)
Ananda listens at the door, then knocks three times.
Kassil: There’s nothing to be heard, and no response to the knocks.
Alasdair stays close and listens as well.
Ananda: (Red-striped door.)
Alasdair whirls and looks at the cube.
Ananda looks over her shoulder, but doesn’t yet say anything.
Alasdair signs to Em and Serek, “Do you hear that?”
Kassil: You get puzzled looks and shakes of the head in response.
Ananda raises an eyebrow. Signs, ‘Hear what?’
Alasdair signs, “A brief scraping sound.”
Kassil: You both hear a soft knock on the door, now – two raps, and then nothing.
Ananda replies with one clear knock.
Ananda signs, ‘Beginning to suspect that the thing in the box has weak telekinesis.’
Kassil: There’s no response to Ananda’s knock.
Alasdair signs, “The cells form a coherent distributed organism?”
Ananda signs, ‘Might, yes. Can’t see enough internal structure to be sure one way or the other.’
Kassil: Em’s still examining the clear material of the containment.
Kassil: Serek seems to be distracting herself with thoughts of goo flammability.
Alasdair signs, “If so, why hasn’t it removed the cap yet?”
Ananda speaks aloud, to whatever’s beyond the door, “We don’t have the security clearance to get in, so you’ll need to either let yourself out or wait for someone else.” She waits, one hand lightly resting on the ZX.
Ananda signs, ‘Weight. Nothing odd that’s happened here has moved much of it.’
Kassil: There’s no response from behind the door to Ananda’s words.
Alasdair frowns and licks his lips. “Are the knocks coming from this side of the door? How many the first time?”
Kassil: The knocks seem to be coming from the other side of the door.
Ananda signs, ‘Three.’
Alasdair makes a rapid ‘tap TAP’ on the door, emphasizing the second much more than the first.
Alasdair raises an eyebrow and watches the card reader intently.
Kassil: The reader’s light is a steady red.
Ananda: “Think it’s lost interest in us?”
Alasdair shrugs, continuing to watch the card reader as he lightly places a hand on the door.
Kassil: Alasdair, you feel a tingling sensation against your palm, like a weak electric current.
Alasdair: “Hmm. Feels like there’s a current running through this door. Or playing along the surface. It’s hard to tell.”
Ananda tests it with the back of her hand.
Kassil: Ananda can feel a faint tingling sensation on contact, as well.
Ananda: (What’s the door and wall material?)
Kassil: Metal.
Alasdair pushes once gently on the door.
Kassil: The wall looks like it might be plated, rather than solid.
Ananda bridges from door to wall plating across two fingers. Does it ground?
Kassil: There’s no sensation of current crossing.
Alasdair hooks a thumb at the cube. “Think it wants in here for some reason?”
Ananda: “Could be. Don’t seem to have a coherent way to get a response.”
Alasdair: “Keep a hand on the door. I’m going to try something.”
Ananda lifts her hand from the wall/door interface. “That’s not actually electricity.”
Ananda puts it down again, “Go ahead.”
Alasdair: “I’m certain your theory is correct, so it’s test it a little.”
Alasdair obstructs the cube’s view of the card reader and pretends to be taking it apart and attempting to gain access to the room.
Kassil rolls dice…
Kassil: The light on the card reader briefly flickers amber when Alasdair gets near it, before returning to a steady red.
Ananda quirks an eyebrow. Passes her multitool to Alasdair with her free hand.
Alasdair nods his thanks and redoubles his “effforts”
Kassil: The light flickers one more time, but nothing else seems to change.
Kassil: Em appears to be trying to chisel loose a fragment of the containment cube, to little avail.
Alasdair mutters, “Time to take this up a notch.”
Alasdair: What can I tell about how the door mechanically operates? Does it swing in or out or slide in a particular direction?
Ananda looks from cube to door.. On a whim, she taps in morse code: ‘Who are you?’
Kassil: It looks like it’ll swing into the room on the other side.
Kassil: As for the rest of the door, you can give me a Struc Tech or Electronics check.
Kassil: You’re pretty sure it’s a magnetic lock on the door.
Kassil: The reader looks like activating it will cut the power for about ten seconds.
Ananda frowns at the door thoughtfully. She taps out a simple rhythm in 4/4 time.
Alasdair creates an extremely convincing illusion of him disassembling the card reader, the maglock thunking open, and the door unlatching. The door swings open an inch and whisps of blue-grey smoke, reminiscent of cooked electronics, waft up. He does his best to disguise the Weilding by making appear to be part of the bypass process.
Ananda will stop when the illusion starts.
Kassil: There’s a pause of about thirty seconds, followed by a pair of soft knocks on the door underneath the illusion.
Alasdair: Does Ananda feel the door move any under her hand? And does it definitely sound like it’s coming from the other side of the door?
Kassil: Under the influence of the illusion, you can’t really say. The knock sounds to be coming from the middle of the fractionally-open illusion of a door. There might be a very slight vibration from the knocking, but it is rather hard to tell.
Ananda signs, ‘This could be simpler than we’re thinking. Make me ethereal for a moment and I’ll see if I can walk through.’
Alasdair: “I could also try inducing a current from the card reader to disengage the maglock. It doesn’t seem like a complex mechanism. If only Em were responsive, she could try it.”
Ananda signs, ‘The advantage being that if there’s something objectionable on the far side, we don’t have to worry about getting the door closed again.’
Alasdair: “If we’re doing that, I’m coming with you.”
Ananda shrugs, ‘Okay.’
Alasdair renders himself and Ananda Ethereal for a short time.
Ananda signs to Em and Serek to wait here and keep an eye on the cube.
Alasdair: Oh. Did anything happen when the illusion ended?
Kassil: Did you cancel it?
Kassil: Otherwise, it’s still going – the only thing that resulted was two more knocks.
Alasdair: It only had a 19 min duration, a fair portion of which was probably pretending to do stuff. I would have waited until after it lapsed before moving to the next trick.
Kassil: Okay, then.
Kassil: The only result was the two additional knocks.
Ananda pushes her nearly massless hand against the door.
Alasdair probes the door for permeability.
Kassil: The door yields to your touch, feeling as if you’re pushing your hands through an electrified fog.
Ananda steps through the door with a look of moderate distaste.
Alasdair: Can we tell if the electricity is only on the surface or if it flows through the door?
Alasdair shadows Ananda’s motion.
Kassil: The entire door feels like a charged fog.
Kassil: Stepping through, you find yourselves in a cavernous space, dimly lit from an unknown source that produces no shadows. It appears to be a hangar of some kind, if the immense plane-like object occupying the middle of it is any indication.
Ananda raises an eyebrow.
Kassil: Your estimate is that the object is easily 100 meters long with a wingspan half again as wide, the surface of it gleaming dully in the ambient light. You can make out roughly familiar shapes to it – engines there on the wings, control surfaces, and so on, but the entire thing has a rough, bark-like texture and no visible windows or entryways.
Kassil: There doesn’t seem to be anything you’d consider alive in the room, and certainly no source to the knocks.
Ananda: (I gather that there isn’t room for this place on the map?)
Kassil: The map wasn’t exactly highly detailed on scale.
Kassil: It’s not listed on your map anywhere, however.
Ananda: (Lovely.)
Ananda heads over to the craft and tries to float into where the cockpit of a normal plane would be.
Alasdair simply tries touching the “plane”
Kassil: The surface of it resists your etheral state. Alasdair, it feels like metallic tree bark.
Ananda looks ‘round from a vantage point on top of the craft. Is there anything else of note in here?
Alasdair runs his hands over it in a petting motion.
Kassil: Ananda, in the distance ahead of the craft, you can see what seems to be hangar doors.
Kassil: Alasdair, you find that when you run your hand along the plane in the direction of airflow, the roughness of the bark is pretty much nonexistent – it feels like running your hand over a nearly frictionless surface.
Alasdair looks for hatches, fueling ports, etc., in the usual spots.
Kassil: The only thing you find are attachment points for something beneath the wings.
Kassil: Judging from the placement, you suspect they’re for weapons of some kind.
Alasdair: Are they mechanical or biological in nature?
Kassil: The craft seems to be mechanical, or at least metallic.
Alasdair flits over to join Ananda.
Ananda tries a thing she saw recently. This place keeps minds in the strangest housings… (Being/Insight to minimally sense nearby minds.)
Kassil: You sense Alasdair, Em, and Serek.
Alasdair: ( Em and Serek seem faint and rudamentary. ;) )
Ananda: And the ZX, or is it inanimate in here?
Kassil: The ZX has a vague sense of awareness.
Ananda: ‘kay.
Ananda frowns vaguely and shakes her head. “Nothing much interesting, unless we can get inside the craft or open the hangar doors.”
Alasdair: “It does seem mostly like a sto- wait, hangar doors? This far down? How would that work?”
Ananda: “Possibly tunnels, but I expect the Site is playing games with space.” She waves vaguely to the doors ahead.
Alasdair texts Em and Serek and asks them to keep an eye and ear on the door in case the knocking happens again.
Kassil Alasdair gets an affirmative text from Serek.
Ananda flits off in the direction the craft is facing. “Might as well check it out.”
Alasdair ups the duration on the Ethereal effect by 2 hours, then refreshes his and Ananda’s Endurance for base (35).
Kassil: The distance to the hangar doors is roughly 400 meters; the right side of the door has a modest-looking control panel with three red lights across the top and several switches.
Ananda: Any labels?
Kassil: Alphabetically labelled from A to G.
Kassil: A, D, F, and G are all currently switched down. B, C, and E are up.
Ananda telekinetically flips B, C, & E down.
Kassil: The lights wink out, one by one.
Ananda switches the other set up.
Alasdair: Is there a SOS-899-B on the map?
Kassil: Not that you find from a cursory search, but there is a -D and a -K.
Kassil: Switching the other switches up doesn’t cause the panel to respond.
Ananda sticks her head and a flashlight into the control panel. Okay, what goes where in here?
Kassil: It’s a bit of a rat’s nest, but you think that they main thing is switching everything to ‘up’ and hoping there wasn’t a necessary sequence.
Ananda does so.
Kassil: There’s a loud groan from the hangar doors when Ananda flips the last switch up, and they slowly roll up into the roof as the sourceless lighting strobes red and a klaxon blares from somewhere near the middle of the roof.
Ananda winces.
Kassil: It opens onto a blank stone wall – the material of the mountain the Site is buried under, most likely.
Ananda looks nonplussed. She knocks on the stone.
Alasdair: How much of a gap is there between the stone and the doors?
Kassil: About a finger-width.
Kassil: Ananda’s hand sinks into the stone, given her ethereal state.
Alasdair inspects the junction of doors, roof, and stone at the top.
Ananda takes a few steps into the wall, to see what’s there.
Kassil: The junction between the frame of the doors and the stone is sharp, the ceramacrete of the wall in perfect alignment with the stone, but not fused to it.
Kassil: Ananda, you find yourself muddling around in a cold, dark, airless location, typical of being immersed in stone.
Ananda returns to the control panel, and flips B, C, & E down again. The control panel should now be as she found it.
Alasdair: ( That would put the control panel in the exact opposite state, I believe. )
Kassil: It would, yes.
Ananda: (Whoops. Reverse that.)
Kassil: When the switches are flipped back down, the kalxon sounds again as the doors grind back down until they seal again.
Kassil: Alasdair, your inspection gives you the impression that this was built by a lunatic.
Alasdair: Does the seam look like the rock was carved to fit the hangar or nothing that methodical and deliberate?
Kassil: The seam looks like the hangar wall and the rock were fit together perfectly.
Alasdair: No gap in the slightest?
Kassil: Just enough to tell that there’s a seam, but there might as well not be a gap.
Alasdair sits on the plane’s “cockpit” and drums his fingers on the surface.
Ananda: (Was there only the door we entered by, and the hangar doors?)
Kassil: Yes.
Kassil: Alasdair falls into the plane as the cockpit ‘canopy’ splits open under him.
Ananda wanders back to the craft, looks up when Alasdair falls in.
Kassil: It looks like how you might envision an extremely high-tech fighter jet cockpit to look.
Alasdair: Does the metal-that-looks-like-wood theme extend to the interior?
Kassil: It does.
Kassil: The seat is nice and comfortable, though.
Ananda perches behind the canopy and looks over the controls.
Alasdair: “… unexpected.”
Ananda: “What did you do?”
Alasdair: “Touched it.”
Ananda: “Huh.”
Ananda checks whether the inside is also solid to ethereal objects.
Alasdair: ( The seat is, at least. )
Kassil: Overall, yes. Some of the controls are rather ghostly to your touch, but the interior – specifically the metallic parts, the the pilot’s seat – resist your ethereal state.
Kassil: Detection checks?
Alasdair: “Pity we can’t take it home. Bet we’d get quite the reward for this baby.”
Kassil: Alasdair is distracted by the comfort of the seat.
Alasdair: ( And Ananda leaning down toward him. )
Kassil: Ananda, you notice a tiny green light start to blink on the console, nextto a switch and a dark display screen.
Ananda flips the switch.
Alasdair: “If this thing tries to take off, it would be… bad.”
Ananda: “I’d guess that it can become ethereal on its own. Otherwise, why would it need to be solid to ethereal occupants?”
Kassil: The screen lights up, displaying a message. “Hello. Welcome to the AVX-900 frigate, designation Starhound. Please strap in prior to activation.”
Alasdair hmms at the cockpit. “Initiate diagnostic check. Please state current date, time, and location.”
Kassil: The console makes no response.
Alasdair shrugs. “Worth a try.”
Ananda: “That’s getting somewhere, I think. Sounds like it ought to have cargo space.” She hops off the side and heads aft.
Alasdair looks around for something like a positional display or informational readout.
Kassil: All the other internal screens are dark, and the only thing Alasdair can see that might be of any use is a button marked with a green triangle.
Alasdair is so very very very not pressing that.
Ananda knocks on various places at the side of the craft. If it worked the first time…
Kassil: All of Ananda’s knocks produce the sound of a very solid surface.
Alasdair: “Tap, don’t knock.”
Ananda tries that.
Kassil: Ananda’s searching turns up no particular hidden hatches.
Ananda wanders up front again and eyes the controls some more. “See anything that looks like door controls or a fuel gauge?”
Kassil: Ananda’s completely baffled by the displays.
Ananda: (Dear Site: I work with animals. What is this?)
Kassil: Basically.
Kassil: So! Any other efforts? Or are you going to hope Em finds the Internet again next session and let her poke at it?
Alasdair: “I think we should avoid tinkering with what could quickly become an ethereally-solid bomb with wings.”
Ananda: “Yes. I wonder what the green goo wants with it.”
Alasdair flips the switch back to its original position and flies out of the cockpit. “Maybe it’s the fuel source?”
Ananda shrugs, “Haven’t the foggiest.”
Kassil: Once you’re both out of the cockpit, the closes again with a slight hiss of pressurization.
Ananda takes some photos for posterity, before we drag Em in here to help us steal it.
Alasdair: “Nothing we can get back, so tag, document, and move on, no?”
Ananda: "We might let Em have a look at it. Mechanical things are her area of expertise.
Alasdair: “We can, sure. I don’t know that the onboard systems will have any information for us, though.”
Ananda nods. “I would like to get it back to Saint Mary, if we can. Other than that, it looks like our next stop is a green.”
Kassil: Okay, then. Going to retrieve Em and come back to the craft?
Ananda: Yah.
Kassil: Then we’ll pick up next time and hope her Internet manages to be stable.
Kassil: 160 CDP.
Alasdair: What is the other room out of 899-A?
Kassil: ALF-0031-V, color green
Kassil: Presuming, of course, that the map matches up with a label per room. :D
Ananda: It would be nice.
Kassil: Wouldn’t it?
Alasdair: Novel, certainly.


Kassil: Okay then. Last session ended with Alasdair and Ananda exploring a room that mysteriously doesn’t seem to correspond to a map point, which was a hangar that contained an organic-looking jet that was resistant to ethereal-state entities, as well as Ananda getting a sample of green goo from the transparent cube in the marked room.
Kassil: Em spent the session in an AFK fog that had her chipping blankly at the cube to try extracting a fragment.
Kassil: Serek seems to simply have more-or-less turned into a 2D cutout.
Em: OCD Lass fails alas
Ananda looks at the red-striped door and shakes her head, “A pity that none of us can pilot.”
Kassil: You believe you’re currently in SOS-899-A, also.
Alasdair shrugs. “More a pity that we’re in an underground cavern and unable to get that thing out.”
Ananda: “It got in somehow.”
Kassil: So, what now?
Ananda collects Em and Serek from their respective preoccupations and gets ready to move on.
Em: I’d vote heading to AC-362
Em: give us a chance to see if white is neutral, below red, or above purple.
Ananda: “There’s another one that’s closer. ALS-77-Z.”
Ananda: (We’re at SOS-899-A, we think.)
Alasdair: “ALF-0031-V would be more useful, I think. Nearby.”
Em: Ah right. It probably is more likely that green is “safe” than “higher frequency than yellow hence more dangerous”
Ananda nods to Alasdair, “Looks like it’s on the way.”
Ananda: (Is the door towards ALF-0031-V obviously locked?)
Kassil: It has a keypad.
Kassil: Em could try a Defeat Security check on it.
Alasdair: ( I thought the hangar was the keypad door. )
Kassil: It is.
Kassil: The hangar has a large, obvious keypad.
Kassil: The unmarked door has a mounted-at-lock-level-flush-with-the-wall security pad.
Alasdair: ( Oh. Hmm. )
Kassil may have neglected to mention it last time due to the fascination with the hangar door.
Em: (I’m always eager to wrestle with security)
Kassil: Feel free to roll, then.
Ananda lets Em get to work, and takes over her normal task of watching behind us.
Kassil: Despite the time spent fiddling with cube and plane, not much time passed in-game last session.
Em: Okay, Em taps into the inner peace which our sardonic magi has placed so much closer to the surface of her being than normal…
Kassil: Em inspects the panel for several minutes, carefully prying the plate loose from the wall and probing around with her security kit before connecting her P-comm and carefully fiddling with it for another ten minutes. She’s as startled as anyone else when she trips over the correct combination and the door unlocks with a soft click, easing open a few centimeters.
Em: (yes, yes indeed she IS startled)
Em: (thinks of changing adding a middle name “Serendipity”)
Alasdair almost dives for cover but plays it off as a stretch.
Kassil: (Alasdair’s bluff check: “No, really, it was a stretch!” “Then why are you covered in cold sweat?” “Uh.”)
Ananda eyes the hangar door suspiciously for a moment, but decides it’s the same-old environmental feature.
Em raises an eyebrow at Alasdair but bows slightly “Thank you for your indispensible aid once again, adept.”
Alasdair nods back.
Kassil: So, what now?
Em starts to slip into the shadows in the familiar rearguard position, thanking her stars again for such bold team mates
Ananda resumes her place at the front, ZX readied. She opens the door, stepping through and to one side if there’s space. Kassil: The hallway beyond the door looks fairly typical, if you ignore the fact that it seems to have shadows of people running and fighting burned into the walls. It’s a perfect capture of a pitched firefight between a force of humans and some other humanoids, the latter apparently trying to force their way out of the hallway.
Kassil: Both sides seem well-armed, with the shadows of assault rifles visible, although one of the humans at the fore appears to be carrying a sword of some kind that she’s run one of the other figures through with. She and the figure she’s stabbed are on the right-hand wall.
Ananda: (The shadows are on both walls?)
Kassil: Yes.
Em keeps checking for drop and leap bears as per normal.
Ananda takes still images of the walls before moving on.
Ananda: (About how long is the hallway?)
Kassil: About fifty meters in length.
Em: (is impressed at the murals)
Kassil: (Yes. Murals.)
Em: (yes yes I know, that’s probably from a nuke going off or something)
Ananda: (Any sign of a Wielder or suchlike in the middle?)
Em: (still looks like a mural >_>)
Kassil: (Nah, those would be blast shadows.)
Alasdair hesitantly touches the sword blade where it emerges from the creature.
Alasdair frowns contemplatively at this fingers and then the figures.
Ananda: “Find something?”
Kassil: You could try an Arcane check to determine if any of the shadows are Wielding, Ananda.
Alasdair: “Either something interesting or another hallucination.”
Ananda walks over to see what Alasdair is looking at.
Em looks at the shadows and shakes her head, “This place has so many pleasant surprises.”
Em looks at the floor closely for any signs of unusual tracks or marks on it
Alasdair holds up his index and middle fingers, pads toward Ananda. “What does this look like to you?”
Kassil: Em, all you see is smooth ceramacrete.
Ananda raises an eyebrow, “Old blood. Smells like it, too.”
Alasdair nods. “That was my assessment, too. Yet, shouldn’t the smell be quite pronounced given the apparently volume of it?”
Ananda looks around to see if she can locate the source.
Ananda: “I’m not seeing the rest, anywhere. Where do you see it?”
Alasdair gestures at the “mural.” “I think it’s what they’re made of. We should get samples of this stuff.”
Em keeps wary watch while you do in case any ghosts are around, not that she has a lot of tricks to use on them >_>
Ananda touches a shadow with a bit of tissue – carefully not her skin.
Kassil: Clearly Em needs to invest in Spiritual Wielding. XD
Ananda: (We need to get Serek back, to overpower any Omega entities and bend them to her will.)
Em: Em lacked the foresight to take this magic stuff seriously, she originally studied it solely as an adjunct to her technological work >_>
Alasdair wipes his fingers on the floor before cleaning them with a bit of water.
Ananda shrugs, “Just ash.”
Ananda taps a fingertip on one of the bullet-shadows, on a whim.
Em: Is there any way to test if the ash is from the remains of incinerated bodies? though wuoldn’t that imply enough heat to boil all the blood away?
Ananda looks at the wall and her left hand in surprise, “That was hot. Odd.”
Kassil: You’d need to take a sample back to Saint Mary for a sufficient analysis.
Kassil: So.
Alasdair shows Ananda blisters on his fingertips. “Very odd.”
Em: is the wall possibly a portal to somewhere else, like those viewscreens we encountered before?
Ananda nods absently. “If it is, I wouldn’t want to go through without knowing how to get back.”
Em: Maybe try manipulating the silhouettes as you did the images on the screen?
Ananda: “Go for it.”
Em looks a bit shaken.
Em says in a subdued voice “Anyone else get visions of this fight that seem more than an overactive imagination?”
Ananda: “I haven’t.”
Alasdair: “Nothing I wouldn’t write off as the Site messing with me, no.”
To player: In AlphaOmega, meta-humanity is a diverse lot. Alasdair and Serek are part “alien”, Ananda is of a human subspecies, and Em is the only baseline human in the group.
Em: (okay. Here’s what I’m going to do. I get a picture in my head of my ancestor and I try to pull her out of the wall and into the corridor with us.)
Em: “Okay. That was anticlimax incarnate.” I ponder if from what I experienced while doing that attempt if that seems likely then this wall isn’t like the screens.
Kassil: You’re quite sure the wall is not a video screen.
Em: (but it has none of the properties for manipulations like the screens did?)
From Kassil: Yes.
Em explains “I had a vivid visual impression of the fight, and the woman with the sword, I had the strongest feeling she was one of my ancestors. Apparently someone converted to the Saints after having seen one too many strange things in her life.”
Kassil: It appears to be a wall with shadows burned into it.
Em looks a bit disturbed.
Ananda perks up. “While you were Wielding, or before?”
Em: In any event, the wall doesn’t seem to be a gate to the past or soemthing or if it is, I don’t know hot to direct wielding energy at it to do so…
Em: Before.
Ananda makes note.
Em: I guess we proceed, with more creepy memories added to the existing ones we have of this expedition?
Alasdair: “Very interesting. Might just be an echo of sorts.”
Ananda shrugs, “Maybe we’ll find something more, farther on. The near-human creatures do appear to have been trying to get out.”
Em: Possibly. I’m normally not that sentimental nor fond of my family so it is very unusual for me to have a thought like that…
Em: …and I would hope an ancestor of mine wouldn’t be dumb enough to rely on a sword .
Em looks pained.
Ananda waits near the door at the end of the hall.
Em: If times were such that was the best idea I’m a bit scared of what she went through.
Em: (is the door security locked again)
Alasdair: "Probably ran out of ammo. "
Ananda: (Looks like no.)
Alasdair follows Ananda.
Kassil: The door is not locked; it swings open with a touch, opening into a room similar to the creature storage room found earlier, although the tanks are each sectioned off with clear panes of what appears to be reinforced glass.
Kassil: Left and right have passages sealed with more metal doors.
Kassil: Straight across the room is a door that seems to be made out of railroad ties lashed together with heavy wire, with light seeping around the cracks in it.
Kassil: There are a dozen tanks in the room, and each ‘cell’ has a placard attached next to a control panel.
Ananda does her best to ghost in and miss nothing.
Kassil: Ananda is distracted by the light leaking around the door, her footsteps clattering in the near-silence of the room.
Alasdair looks for anything out of place or noteworthy.
Ananda squints and makes note to see if her eye implants need adjustment, later.
Kassil: Looking around, all the cells seem to require security cards to operate. The placards are all hazard notices, indicating containment of large predatory lifeforms. One in particular is ALF-868, a Keter-class amorphous bioform with the ability to manipulate mental states and a distinct hunger for neural tissue.
Kassil: Alasdair and Ananda both notice that the quality of light leaking around the wooden door is suggestive of sunlight.
Em follows, seeing if she finds anything unusual.
Kassil: Em’s also pretty sure the light seems like daylight.
Ananda satisfies herself that we’re the only moving creatures in the room, then methodically checks and photographs each of the placards.
Ananda ambles over to Alasdair, “Looks like we’d need some preparation before introducing ourselves to anything in here. Got a favorite door?”
Alasdair: ( So, the strange blockaded doorway is not on the map? )
Kassil: Indeed not.
Kassil: It’s not so much blockaded as ‘this is a very… /rustic/ looking door.’
Alasdair: ( Ah. )
Alasdair searches the tanks for anything that might resemble the near-humanoids etched into the previous wall.
Kassil: Nothing. The tanks here are all occupied by distinctly monstrous creatures.
Kassil: So, what now?
Alasdair: “Into the unknown?”
Ananda shrugs when Alasdair walks away, and goes to listen at the “rustic” door.
Em: (rustic like a wood barn door?)
Kassil: Unfortunately, the door /is/ made of railroad ties, which are pretty thick. Even with Ananda’s hearing as acute as it is, she can’t hear anything through it.
Ananda: (Is it locked?)
Kassil: There’s a piece of kinda-rusty metal jammed into what would be the latch on the frame, wired to the door. You’re pretty sure you can just slide it back to open it.
Ananda: “In here, something this deliberately low-tech makes me wonder if technology is unreliable on the far side.”
Em: Don’t suppose you have any way of checking this hypothesis magically, Alasdair?
Alasdair: “Or it’s just as anacronistic as the fighter.”
Ananda: “Could be. Have anything else to do here?”
Alasdair: “No, I think we’re better off leaving these be.”
Em: I’m very curious what this place looks like from the “outside”.
Ananda: (Does the door open inwards or outwards?)
Em: Why not have one of us sneak outside and see, just not relying on technology in case it fails (maybe leave it behind?)
Kassil: The door looks like it could swing either way.
Alasdair: “This door doesn’t lead outside any more than the hangar door led into space.”
Ananda nods, “Good idea.” She leaves her backpack out of easy reach and line of sight from the door. And, hesitantly, the ZX.
Em: What do you mean Alasdair?
Ananda takes her Mantis, which is hopefully too simple to fail. She returns to the door and gives the rest of her group a questioning look, waiting for them to be ready.
Alasdair: “I mean just that. It’s some manner of hallucination or misapprehension. You’ll see.”
Ananda smiles, “I’m willing to look like a fool for knowledge.”
Alasdair leaves his gear as-is and joins Ananda with a half-grin. “Let’s do this.”
Alasdair: ( … and they were never head from again. )
Em: (gets her watts ready to cover you two in case anything’s unfriendly and there IS a space there)
Ananda pushes back the bolt and steps through the door. See what there is to be seen.
Ananda: (Ananda steps through the door and bounces off a solid rock wall.)
Kassil: The door swings open with a quiet creak, revealing a view of the outdoors – apparently set in a red sandstone cliff face, the view is constrained by the opposite side of the gully of red earth. Desert grass rustles in a slight breeze, and a wave of heat rolls in through the door, carrying a scent of woodsmoke.
Kassil: Ananda can see clear blue sky overhead, and that on the other side the door is framed by more timber.
Kassil: Looking down the gully, she can see a town about twenty miles in the distance, with some signs of relatively modern construction.
Kassil: Ananda, your P-comm chirps.
Ananda automatically taps the ‘acknowledge’ button on her headset.
Kassil: There’s nothing calling; when you go to check it, you see that the chirp was it delcaring ‘NO SIGNAL’.
Em wonders what she sees…same as Ananda, constrained by being farther back in the chamber?
Kassil: Em, yes.
Ananda shrugs, figures. She looks back to see if the door goes to the same place that she started from.
Kassil: You don’t see the sky or down the gully, essentially.
Kassil: The door leads back into the Site with your companions.
Alasdair steps through behind Ananda once there is room.
Kassil: Alasdair sees the same thing – open blue sky, town in the distance, and the distinct scent of woodsmoke on the air.
Ananda: (Is the opposite end of the gully climbable, or otherwise of interest?)
Alasdair checks his electronics and sense of connection to his Wielding sources.
Kassil: The opposite side is climbable, yes – it’s a modest slope. You could also hike up or down the gully with no real trouble.
Kassil: Alasdair’s electronics are all reporting no signal, bur otherwise seem fine.
Em watches intently if curiously
Ananda: “I’m going up to see more of the surroundings. Back in a few.”
Em appreciates the warning.
Kassil: Em, staying inside, or going through the door?
Alasdair: “We, uh, should mark the entrance before we go off exploring. In case.”
Ananda picks a likely spot and tries to make like a spider.
Em: Staying inside a little longer I think but….
Em: Folks, how long should I hang back before assuming its safe to join you?
Em: Or are you still convinced this is a hallucination , Alasdair?
Alasdair grabs a handful of whatever’s handy and tosses it across the threshold before hurrying off after Ananda.
Kassil: Ananda has no trouble going up the side of the gully, quickly reaching more level ground; from her new vantage she can see that the terrain seems to be desert hills, with vivid red earth and sand.
Alasdair: “Yes, I am. Or… something.”
Kassil: Em, Alasdair just threw a handful of red dirt at you. It’s scattered across the floor.
Em: (puts it in a pouch on her backpack)
Kassil: Em spends the next five minutes sweeping the dirt up to tidy into the pouch, then.
Ananda scans the horizon for other signs of civilization.
Kassil: Alasdair, once you get up with Ananda, you can see the same broad, open landscape.
Em: Go on ahead but head back this way soon okay?
Kassil: There’s the city-town-thing, and a few straight lines extending out from it that you suspect mark roads.
Em ‘s mind races as she tries to figure out how to overcome an illusion this pervasive. She does repsect Alasdair’s opinion.
Kassil: It’s rather open, compared to the settlements you’re used to – there’s no sign of walls, at this distance, and some of the buildings seem lightweight.
Ananda: (By the sun, what direction is it in relation to us?)
Kassil: Either east or west – you suspect probably east, if the sun’s setting, but it might just be a hot morning.
Alasdair: “I can try peeking at those buildings if you like.”
Ananda: “Sure.”
Alasdair: ( How far are they do I think? )
Kassil: You’d figure about two kilometers.
Kassil: You can see some cars and people moving in the distance.
Em ponders the narrowness of her mystical studies and vows to broaden them in future.
Kassil: So, Alasdair…?
Kassil: :D
Ananda spends several minutes looking over the landscape, then whispers, “Not as dry here as the north end of Old Mexico. Wouldn’t be too bad if we needed a place to hide from inhabitants of the Site for a while.”
Ananda: (Say, did the door look able to lock from this side?)
Kassil: You didn’t inspect it that closely.
Ananda: (‘kay.)
Alasdair attempts to scry on one of the people, seeing everything they’re seeing and what’s going on around them. Kassil: Alasdair’s eyes glaze over, taking on a blue color, for the duration of his scrying.
Kassil: Em, about halfway through this unseen scrying, you get the dirt in the pouch.
Ananda double-checks on the availability of water.
Alasdair: “Looks like an Old World town, normalcy. Couple black helicopters and flimsy cars. But there is a very strange ‘Dog Park’ that was very fuzzy to my sight. The person avoided it or looking at it.”
Kassil: Em, what are you doing? Still staying put, or venturing out?
Em: If the dirt’s put away, I follow them out.
Em: I lack the means to resist the illusion.
Em: Might as well get mindraped with my friends if it is one. o_o
Alasdair: “I’d wager that whatever’s in the ‘Dog Park’ is the source of all… this.”
Alasdair gestures at the landscape.
Kassil: Em, you can see Alasdair gesturing on top of the hillside.
Em: I hurry up.
Ananda double-checks on the availability of water.
Kassil: Ananda’s eyes glimmer and turn a watery blue.
Em: Have I seen them scry before?
Kassil: Em, you can see everything I’ve described to the two of them thus far.
Kassil: You’re familiar with the effects from your Arcane studies.
Em: Okay. So this is normal for them. Just checking.
Em: I’d concur about the dog park, and I have an observation to share with Alasdair when he’s “back”.
Ananda nods satisfaction at the results of her search. “Could be. Grab someone else next to the ‘Dog Park’?”
Em: (takes out her pcomm and presumes it’s giving “no signal”?)
Kassil: Nothing has any signal.
Alasdair: “I think I might try directly viewing it. Because that’s worked out so well before.”
Alasdair sniffs.
Alasdair: “Wait, where are they getting the wood to burn?”
Kassil: There /is/ a distinct woodsmoke smell in the air still.
Alasdair: Smoke plumes from the city/town?
Ananda: “They have motorized transport, and it looks like the roads are safe for those flimsy cars. They might just truck it in.”
Em: Ah, folks, this looks a lot like Southern Utah to me, should I jog back to the “other side” and see if I can find any visual references to this place maybe?
Ananda: “Interesting. Tell us what you find.”
Em: we’re in line of sight of the town from here, right?
Alasdair: “Meanwhile, I’ll be risking my sanity to satisfy impulses I should know better than to give in to.”
Ananda: (Is there any wind? If so, from what direction?)
Kassil: There are no smoke plumes above the town, per se, but there are a couple plumes of what’s probably industrial pollution from smokestacks. Surveying the horizon, you can see a faint plume of smoke about another half-kilometer to the west.
Em: That’s what makes us mystically inclined inquirers after Truth and Power
Kassil: The breeze seems to be carrying the smoke from there.
Em smiles quirkily.
Kassil: Em, yes, you’re in line of sight.
Em scans the town intently and tries to memorize the lay of the land and prominent features, like the way the roads link up and shape of any river or hill lines so she can look at maps of settlements about this size.
Ananda grins at Alasdair, “I thought you were supposed to be the one of us with sense.”
Em: Do I need to make a detect or wits or something roll?
Alasdair smiles broadly, “It seems to have gone out of fashion.”
Kassil: Make an Intelligence check, Em.
Em thinks really hard about the way this all looks.
Ananda laughs near-silently.
Kassil: You think you’ve got the layout memorized.
Em nods and runs back to the base and if the door is still there and permitting entrance, tries to get a signal with her pcomm to do some data ferreting.
Kassil: You have no trouble getting back into the Site.
Kassil: Your P-comm chirps to indicate a signal as soon as you cross through the door. Make a Computer Tech check to see how your data ferreting goes.
Alasdair attempts to scry the air around the ‘dog park’ and environs.
Em sniff sniff POUNCES after shiny data bits seeing if any of the settlements in southern Utah that have been this size at sometime in modern history match the lay of the land.
Kassil: Alasdair’s eyes turn a ghostly white while his scrying effect is up.
Alasdair blinks. “Uh… hmm. Several robed figures in the park. Probably generating the fuzzy effect. Maybe even holding this ‘reality’ in place.”
Em takes a few minutes and catches up with them when she’s done, muttering blackly about “alternate timelines or unduly complex hallucinations”.
Em: Oh!
Em: (double checks if the terrain type does at least genuinely match Southern Utah of contemporary or if she was imainging things)
Ananda: “Innteresting.”
Ananda , out of idle curiousity, tries to see out of the fire to the west. What’s burning?
Alasdair: “Also, that phrase has an aversion to it now.”
Em catches up with them
Alasdair: ( Do I have any idea what Source they would most likely be using to create their ‘aversion zone’? )
Kassil: (If you were trying it, you’d likely try to use Being and Ignorance.)
Alasdair: ( Did I get a sense of the size of the area? )
Alasdair waits to do something stupid until Ananda returns to the here and now.
Em: (We need teamwork to reach the utmost heights of stupdity!)
Kassil: Ananda’s eyes, during her scrying, are internally lit like sparks of flame are swirling inside.
Ananda observes, “Not a wildfire, off that way. Looks like it’s in the fireplace a fancy bunker or something, full of unpleasant-looking people in uniforms.”
Alasdair looks thoughtful. “This might get interesting, then.”
Ananda: “Should we get ready to run?”
Alasdair: “Highly likely.”
Ananda prepares self.
Em notes “This area looks a lot like Southern Utah but it simply isn’t unless I am worse at searching than I thought especially after all the focus Alasdair’s help has granted me.”
Alasdair: “I’m quite certain that this place has never existed in our reality.”
Em: …So have we essentially stuck our head in the lion’s mouth here?
Alasdair: “And I’m about to yank on its.. tail.”
Em: Anything I can do to lend you help with gripping or pulling?
Alasdair concentrates intently on the dog park and attempts to crush the Ignorance effect in place.
Kassil: There’s a crackling discharge of white light somewhere inside the city, about where Alasdair said the dog park is.
Alasdair blinks quickly.
Alasdair: “Well, uh, that certainly did something.”
Em: Reality seems resilient one way or the other.
Alasdair: “I was briefly at/in the dog park, surrounded by robes filled with darkness, and seemingly emanating energy of some kind.”
Ananda: “Darkness with no structure to it?”
Alasdair: “Yes, why?”
Ananda: "Lots of things can look dark under a robe. Not so many are amorphous.
Alasdair: “Given the directionality of the light, I should have at least been able to discern the hints of some structure. I expect it’s some conceit on their part.”
Ananda nods.
Ananda scans the horizon, by habit.
Kassil: Nothing about the city seems to have changed, although there’s a police siren in the distance.
Kassil: One of the unmarked black helicopters is circling over the dog park area.
Alasdair: “Looks like I pulled back the curtain a little on them. One layer, at least.”
Alasdair: “Not that we don’t all know what happens when the cultists tangle with government types.”
Ananda: “Kf. How long do you want to wait to see if there are explosions?”
Alasdair: “I think I remember this plot from a monster movie or something. I’m tempted to see if the guys up in the bunker are scrambling.”
Kassil: So, what now? :D
Em: They don’t seem to be able to swallow us but we don’t seem to be able to see what they truly are either.
Alasdair: Waiting for a bit, listening for explosions.
Kassil: After about fifteen minutes, the black helicopter lands again. Considering that both the Old World and any modern settlement would freak out over a flash of Wielding energy like you displayed, this is pretty bizarre.
Alasdair: “Huh. Well, let’s poke it again.”
Alasdair attempts to scry the air around the ‘dog park’ and environs.
Kassil: Alsadair’s eyes have turned solid white, with wispy strands of vapor drifting from them.
Em: (Have I seen that happen before?)
Kassil: (It looks like a strong scrying effect.)
Em stays alert if a bit concerned if she has much hope of dodging the fabric of reality disappearing like a popped soap bubble.
Ananda hisses in necrosi, “Everybody get down. Minimize your profile.”
Ananda will drag Alasdair if need be.
Em drops to the ground, using tactics if necessary to find the best cover.
Kassil: Anada is forced to haul Alasdair to the ground, scraping his left arm and side against a stray rock in the process.
Ananda whispers, “Person coming up from downhill. Don’t know if they saw us.”
Ananda watches for a moment longer, “Scratch that. We’ve been seen. Doesn’t look like they’re in a hurry, though.” She seems suspicious of that last.
Alasdair shakes his head to clear it. “What’s going on?”
Ananda looses the grip she’d kept on Alasdair’s right arm, in case she needed to haul him along. “Welcome party seems to be coming our way.”
Alasdair quietly refreshes his and Ananda’s Endurance.
Alasdair: “How many? What armament?”
Kassil: The figure’s visible to all three of you now – at this range, you can easily tell it’s about three meters tall, dressed in a light-colored robe with no hood, walking quite gracefully up the slope. It appears to be human, aside from the size, with a pleasant-looking face and no visible hair. Both hands are in view, clasped in front of it as it moves.
Ananda indicates the single figure working its way uphill, with a tilt of her head.
Kassil: No weapons are visible. No armor of any kind, for that matter.
Kassil: It’s also quite androgynous.
Em: That’s a bad sign, most creatures with strong mystical ambitions like that two in one sort of thing….
Ananda: “Hmm?”
Kassil: Doing anything?
Alasdair: “I have a feeling this will not go well for us.”
Em: What makes you say that in particular?
Ananda watches the figure warily, waiting to see how much space they give us.
Kassil: If no one acts, the figure closes to around fifty meters, stops, and raises one hand in greeting. “Welcome. I fear you might have collected some unwelcome attention, strangers. You should come with me to Josie’s house.”
Kassil: Its voice is a fairly musical baritone.
Ananda straightens up, making no sudden moves. “Hi. Who are you, and who’s Josie?”
Ananda assumes the other two are covering her.
Em is of course.
Enigmatic figure smiles. “Me? I am an angel, of course. Josie is the good lady my companions and I were sent to help. ‘Old Woman Josie’ is how the people name her.”
Alasdair stands to Ananda’s left within arm’s reach.
Ananda smiles faintly, “Ah, do you have a name?”
Kassil: (For what it’s worth, you can all see that the figure’s teeth are in absolutely perfect condition.)
Angel inclines his head. “I do not. Josie refers to me as ‘Andy’, however, so if you wish I will answer to this name.”
Alasdair: “And what of the noise makers in the /dog park/? Who and what are they?”
Em: I presume they’re devils if you’re an angel?
Andy looks at Alasdair. “The figures in the Dog Park? They’re the ones you seem to have drawn the attention of. One of the lesser troubles in this city, I fear.”
Ananda: “If you’re supposed to help Old Woman Josie, what’s she tasked with?”
Andy smiles again. “Oh, she has no task. She is simply a truly good person, and so we help her – and sometimes others – to keep goodness alive in the city.” He frowns then, slightly, looking down into the gully and at the open door to the Site. “Ah. You are not from around here at all. I see why you willingly disrupt the city’s status quo, not knowing any better.”
Alasdair: “We are scientists. We perturb systems and learn from the reaction.”
Alasdair: ( Does this person look like a Seraph or a second-hand depiction of one? )
Kassil: (If you were to make a guess, this might vaguely look like a Seraph, but without the touches of alien ancestry.)
Andy smiles. “Learning is a noble undertaking, certainly. However, I would be happy to help you learn about the city, so that your experiments might be less likely to bring you dangerous attention.”
Ananda is trying to appear relaxed, but can’t quite hide her discomfort. She steps to one side in order to have everyone in view at once. Asks her companions, “Thoughts? Preferences?”
Em: Well, I only see three choices. Run. Now. Fast. Go with her. Or abandon stealth and ask the other side their story and pray she’s misled about stuff.
Em: …I tend to favour “go with her” but only if Alasdair agrees the Other Side probably has ill will for us.
Em: I’m just going by gut instinct, he actually has some data.
Ananda thinks for a moment, then turns to Andy, “If you’re ‘sent’, who or what sends you?”
Alasdair looks sidelong at “Andy” before addressing Em. “I’m not sure either side doesn’t bear us ill will.”
Andy tilts its head in Ananda’s direction. “I’m afraid I can’t really answer that. The closest I can provide is that we are made by the Creator and sent by the Creator’s decision. I do not think we – or the Creator – exist in the world you come from.”
Em: Then we best leave until we have more resources for safer observation I think?
Ananda: “Innteresting. Do you think you’d be able to walk through the door over there and continue to exist?”
Alasdair leans over to Ananda and whispers, “I would suggest we refrain from inviting it to enter our reality.”
Andy shakes his head. “We cannot. The space where your world touches ours in a solid wall to us. I cannot speak for those such as the figures in the Dog Park, or the other ill-willed beings of the world, however – I simply do not know. I do know that people were taken from this place the last time the door was used, and taken across to your world, so perhaps humanity is native of both.”
Alasdair quicks his head. “And how long ago, by your reckoning, was that?”
Andy looks contemplative. “Perhaps… A century and a half ago. I was not here, but others of my kind were. They were sad to see the people being taken treated like mere beasts, but our task of helping Josie’s great-great-great grandmother did not permit interference with your world.”
Alasdair: ( That roughly jives with the activity logs we’re uncovered, right? )
Kassil: Yep.
Ananda: (Yep. Suggests time runs ~1:1.)
Kassil: A hundred fifty years ago, the Site was still active, but it went dark not long after.
Alasdair: ( So the Site is a proto-Sigil. Interesting. ;) )
Kassil: (Maybe.)
Ananda: “Why is it important to you that we meet Josie?”
Andy gives Ananda a puzzled look. “I didn’t say it was – just that you should come with me, because of the attention you’ve drawn already. Josie’s house is merely where we gather, and so it is more difficult for the others at work in the city to detect anything there.”
Ananda glances at her companions, “Sounds like either direction we leave, whatever those were at the ‘dog park’ are unlikely to follow us.”
Em says in a somewhat shaky voice “If you are an agent of a grand Creator of all that is, can you prove that you are, and not merely a very powerful entity with different traits than ourselves?”
Em looks pale as she can get and very very unhappy.
Ananda wavers, caught between curiousity and the feeling that her skin wants to crawl off on its own.
Em: It seems a Gordian knot to me. But I want to cut it very badly and see really what lies at the heart of everything no matter what.
Andy looks at Em quietly for a moment. “Oh. I’m so sorry, dear. I think you misunderstood – the Creator isn’t ‘a grand Creator of all’. The Creator makes /us/ and sends us out on tasks. The world is much, much older than we are.”
Em looks a bit less distraught. Tight mouthed she asks “So just the creator of you and your kind then?”
Andy shrugs, rather gracefully. “The Creator makes us, and other things. The universe and the rules that govern it, however, no. It is much older than us, and whoever or whatever made it is, by the admission of the Creator, much farther beyond the Creator than it is beyond us.”
Ananda: “What sort of other things?”
Andy : “Tools. Other creatures. Occasionally things like small worlds to relocate creatures to in times of need, such as when we preserved the dinosaurs before the meteor struck the world, millions of years ago.”
Ananda ‘s eyebrows attempt to meet her hair. “Creatures such as?”
Alasdair: "I believe this is someone else’s vidscreen world."
Em: So forget world snake, more like universe snake, Alasdair?
Em pales again.
Andy looks at Ananda with some amusement. “Well, the Creator couldn’t send me to help, say, a Centaurian. I wouldn’t survive for long at all in their atmosphere, but the Creator still tries to help them by sending those it creates who can.” It looks at Alasdair with a puzzled expression. “Vidscreen world?”
Kassil: (So… Are you going to go with Andy, retreat to the Site, or hare off? Or hang out on the hilltop and chatter until the Dog Park Figures show up?)
Em: “I believe we should leave….now. Before whoever’s on the other side of the screen learns enough about us to think about us persistently.”
Em: In fact, I insist on a strong reason to do anything else, right now, please….
Ananda: “Good enough for me.”
Em: Thank you for your civility, Andy.
Alasdair smirks, “You don’t want other Em-lettes wandering around with unnatural breaks in their minds?”
Em glowers at Alasdair “I think that’s the least of our possible worries.”
Em bites back more words and starts to walk toward the exit.
Andy nods to Em. “I hope none of the other beings here can follow you through the door. I do not know what your world is like, but their kind of being prefers to make things worse for mortal life.”
Ananda nods to Andy, “Nice meeting you.” She turns and follows Em.
Em turns her head “Nothing bigger has eaten us yet. We will see if our cooperative synergies yet emerge sufficient.”
Em vows quietly to find a way to use less sleep and study more wielding.
Alasdair trails after the group, keeping watch for anything else that is showing an interest in the group.
Kassil: Alasdair doesn’t see anything following the group, although the back of his neck itches like he’s being stared at by someone.
Kassil: All right, you make it back into the Site without apparent incident.
Alasdair: If possible, along the way I’ll pick up a small plant and put it in a sample container.
Em: (I have red earth…adamah :) )
Kassil: Easily done – you uproot a tuft of desert grass and bottle it.
Ananda closes and locks the door behind Alasdair with emphasis.
Alasdair: “So…”
Kassil: And by lock, you mean ‘stick the rusty bar in the latch-hole’.
Alasdair: “That, um, answers a few hypotheses.”
Ananda: (Close enough.)
Ananda: “Does it?” She’s still visibly on edge. Moreso than when being chewed on or shot at.
Ananda retrieves her hot thermos and has a cup of tea.
Alasdair: “About the origin of- are you okay?”
Alasdair hovers near Ananda, obviously concerned.
Em smiles wanly at Ananda “It’s one thing to hear rumors of grave ontological importance, another to come face to face with one?”
Ananda raises her cup to Em, “Something like that. I don’t get on well with that kind of dualism.”
Kassil: At any rate, once you’re done, I’ll end the game here, with 170 CDP for everyone.
Alasdair shrugs, “We just walked into someone else’s vidscreen. That thing’s so-called ‘Creator’ is no more mysterious or powerful than we are.”
Em: Yes, but the very structure of reality is just a massive ontological circle jerk or rape.
Em uses the crudeness of rape very deliberately and with great bleakness.
Alasdair: “Look at it like a pyramid: our reality sits at the top. We tap into n lesser constructs with varying physical laws, each no more real than a good novel. And so on, down into perpetuity.”
Ananda drinks tea and keeps quiet.
Em: I don’t think it’s a pyramid. more like a torus of moebius strips. The universe is a snake eating its own tail, ontologically.
Em: I see I have a lot of study of Being ahead of me….
Alasdair: “That there is some mechanism at work here,” he gestures at the containers, “by which elements of these constructs can be brought into our reality is interesting, but nothing more.”
Em smiles at Ananda "My apologies. You are right I have no proof . But. It makes a dire sort of sense.
Em: I see I will have to put my other research on hold to delve more deeply into this question.
Em gives a small brittle laugh.
Alasdair: “Anyone with time, talent, Wielding ability, and sufficient lab facilities could recreate the monstrosities we’ve encountered.”
Ananda smiles faintly, “And nonetheless, we currently have no way to prove that we aren’t living in someone else’s vidscreen world. Not the top of the pyramid you propose, but somewhere in the middle.”
Em nods and stays silent, thinking perhaps she doesn’t want to enlighten the most powerful and morose person in the group to terrible soul chilling horror….
Alasdair nods. “True, but all scientific thought has to be based on a set of assumptions. Constants. If we begin to doubt that 3 isn’t 2, well…”
Em nods slowly, appearing to entertain the thought seriously “There is that…”
Ananda: “Kf. My working assumption has been that the question is unimportant to anyone but the physicists.” She quirks a smile, “That might not be applicable, here.”
Em smiles back in quiet admiration.
Alasdair lets out a barking laugh. “I remain unconvinced that the Site itself is objectively real. I would suggest not using it as the basis point for any calculation.”
Em nods “Well. That was the most exciting thing to happen yet, from my perspective anyway.”
Em: I grew up in a tribe that might as well have lived on dirt. I’m easily excited.
Em gives a small laugh.
Alasdair: “One of, certainly. And it does provide a measure of understanding about where this all came from and how the ‘timeline’ got muddied. Namely, that it didn’t.”
Ananda ‘s smile turns wry and she hides it behind her cup. “Push too hard on what you can prove is real and you end up with French philosophy again.”
Alasdair: "Mmm, now I’m craving crepes."
Ananda comments, “Kf.” She seems to be getting her balance back, layering abstraction onto recent experience.
Em looks relieved at this, the point scout needs to have good morale
Alasdair: “So, if all these came from otherwheres, it seems reasonable to conclude that some of them also came from otherwhens. Neither point is, at this juncture, documentable, of course.”
Ananda nods, in a ‘go on’ sort of way.
Em: "It does make things a bit up in the air. But it does raise the prospect of more bacon rays to discover.
Alasdair: “That explains the ‘hallucinations’ and time dilation as, um, ‘portal bleed’ from these places. The phenomina are manifestations of ‘reality eddies’ temporarily swirling into existence.”
Ananda: “Could be. Can you propose a test?”
Alasdair: “Nothing that wouldn’t be highly computationally intensive.”
Alasdair: “We could document that,” he gestures at the door, “and then compare it to the reported hallucinatroy phenomona. For example, prior to opening that door, I smelled wood smoke. The same scent that lingered on the breeze there.”
Ananda: “Hm. Not that we shouldn’t be documenting everything, anyway.”
Alasdair: “Granted, but the sheer number of transitory sensory phenomina would make accomplishing anything else very difficult.”
Ananda: “True.”
Kassil: (Although there really have been fewer of them on this level… Aside from the imprinted hallucinations Ananda and Alasdair suffer, anyhow.)
Ananda: “On the other hand, if we tried working backwards from an incomplete set of such minor hallucinations, the result would likely be garbage.”
Em: (don’t drive the archmage insane please!)
Ananda: (He did it to himself.)
Kassil: (He’s trying to drive himself insane. :D Ananda just got him to do the first big scar.)
Alasdair: “Absolutely. You wouldn’t know which sub-reality constructs went with which phenomina.”
Ananda: “Sounds like a project for as many undergrads as one can get together for a couple of months next summer – or however soon we can offer a reasonable chance that they’ll return to their parent institutions in one piece.”
Kassil: (Never, then? :D )
Ananda: (This is a place out in the wilds…)
Ananda: (The definition of “reasonable” is probably a little different.)
Em: (We just need to come back another dozen times and return alive to say we have a basis for claiming what happened to Em’s original party was “a weird fluke” and the place is Reasonably Safe for Undergrads".)
Em: (Undergrad life should be a bit cheaper than ours >_>)

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