Site 17

Session 30 - August 12, 2260

Frozen in Time

Alasdair

  • Anarchy 1
  • Arcane 1
  • Being 1
  • Detection 2

Ananda

  • Being 1
  • Biology 1
  • Detection 3
  • Insight 1
  • Read Person 1
  • Stealth 1

Em

  • Computer Tech 3
  • Detection 2
  • Electronics 1

165 CDP
Total: 5400

Kassil: So, last session had you chatting with ORACLE, discovering unpleasant and/or confusing things such as Circe being at the Mauna Kea observatory, and a time distortion bubble that Alasdair popped by using himself as a temporal brake.
Ananda: IIRC, we were talking about finishing up our documentation in here and seeing how the surface looks.
Kassil: You were discussing finishing ‘this branch’.
Kassil: Exactly how you define that is still unclear. :D
Kassil: So.
Alasdair: We’re still in SOS-636-V, yes?
Kassil: As far as you know, yes.
Ananda: (Shall we have a look into CSF-093 and ALS-77-Z before we head out?)
Alasdair: Seems like the thing to do.
Ananda: The door in here was welded shut when we came in, ethereally.
Alasdair: Yes
Ananda fiddles with her P-comm.
Kassil: The door is still shut, on this side. You don’t see signs of welding, but the doors /are/ rather solidly built. They might even stand up to Nik and Astarte.
Alasdair: “Ready to move on?”
Ananda shrugs, “Ready enough.”
Alasdair looks at Em.
Ananda resettles her backpack.
Em looks up, a bit pale but nods, “Yes, sorry.”
Em shakes her head.
Em: …So is everyone else here being haunted by unsettling minor hallucinations of past events?
Ananda: “How do you mean?”
Em: Since we got back from the place with the self proclaimed agents of a higher power, I’ve been getting a steady trickle of small hallucinations about some of my days as a prostitute.
Em: Alasdair seemed a bit unsettled there. I’m wondering if that was because of something similar?
Alasdair: “I have had zero prostitute hallucinations, myself.”
Em looks wry, “I would have expected so. I mean, of whatever is dark and disturbing from your own history.”
Em: “No need to share details, but it is a matter of significance if more than one of us are having experiences in the same vein.”
Em: Ananda, how about you?
Ananda looks between Em and Alasdair, curiously. “No. I’ve been exchanging e-mails with someone claiming to be a dead man.”
Alasdair: “This place is all about digging a knife into the cracks of your psyche. Occasionally, it’s going to hit home.”
Ananda shrugs one shoulder, “Who knows, it may even be, from a different timeline.”
Em: I presume you’ve had dark times in your life too, though, Ananda?
Ananda quirks an eyebrow, “Take that as given. You don’t work in the wilds very long without seeing things you wish you hadn’t.”
Em: Well, you seem to have incredible luck at times, so I had to double check if this might have been lifelong …
Kassil: Visual Detection checks, please.
Em: Just wondering if we should leave quickly before the efforts escalate to the point of perhaps dragging us into a version of the past.
Ananda smiles faintly. “The luck is that I haven’t died from any of them.”
Alasdair: “Well, when you’ve tested yourself and fully know your limits, you gain a certain resilience and confidence.”
Kassil: A dead rat falls in between the three of you, falling from the roof.
Ananda pauses a moment, seems about to reply to Alasdair, but looks up sharply instead.
Em: Is it the rat Ananda left at the entrance?
Alasdair slowly looks up, gritting his teeth.
Kassil: It looks quite similar.
Ananda pulls on a pair of gloves and examines the rat. Does it have an ear-tag?
Kassil: It appears to be the exact same rat you left on the top floor.
Alasdair checks the ground around the group, pacing in a tight circle around Em and Ananda.
Kassil: Worse for the wear from being dropped from the roof, but otherwise seemingly unchanged.
Ananda: “Hnn. Same number as the one I left out.”
Em: So. If we have no way of insulating ourselves from these “knife thrusts”, maybe we should leave until we can get superior magical coverage to protect ourselves more?
Alasdair: “I don’t believe that’s possible.”
Ananda looks up at the ceiling, “Thanks, I think.” She then bags the rodent corpse and stores it in her pack.
Em: That would be unfortunate. What leads you to think that, Alasdair?
Alasdair: “The only protection to be had from this place is leaving for somewhere far far away.”
Ananda: “Did anyone else notice a hand withdrawing into the ceiling, after the rat fell on us?”
Em: Not I.
Alasdair grimaces.
Ananda: “Looked a bit like the one Alasdair pulled out of the floor on our first trip in. Ceiling moved around it like water.”
Alasdair: “Yeah.”
Ananda makes note.
Alasdair closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before pulling out his P-Comm and fiddling with it.
Ananda: (Is he hiding it from our view?)
Alasdair: ( He is. )
Alasdair frowns briefly at his P-Comm before putting it away.
Alasdair: “To the next room?”
Ananda: “Sure. Let’s see if the messages from beyond follow us.”
Em nods and follows.
Kassil: To Ethereal mode!
Kassil: Or you can try getting the door open, from the inside.
Ananda: (I think we want to be ethereal, to make it easier in the other rooms.)
Kassil: For certain comical values of ‘easier’.
Ananda: (I fully expect the white room to be sealed at least as well as this one.)
Alasdair turns everyone Ethereal again.
Kassil: Whoompf.
Kassil: Passing through the door makes you itch fiercely in whatever parts of your body are in contact with it as you pass through.
Ananda grimaces. Can’t scratch through armor.
Alasdair bolts through the door as fast as possible.
Kassil: Nothing seems to have changed much on the other side, although the room with the rustic-looking door has a fairly thick scent of woodsmoke filling it.
Alasdair heads toward the remaining passageway, saying at least a foot from any surface.
Kassil: (Why so paranoid? :D)
Ananda resumes her cautious, alert pace towards the next room.
Alasdair: ( Oh… no reason. >.> )
Kassil: The remaining passage seems fairly bland, in terms of what you’ve seen so far. It’s a fairly large ceramacrete tunnel, marked with a few blast doors that are all retracted. It ends at a vault door, which sits partly open. Surprisingly, the door appears to have been left this way, rather than forced open.
Ananda eyes the door with some skepticism.
Ananda: (Is it open wide enough that I can get through without passing through the door-material?)
Kassil: Yes.
Ananda sidles through, then.
Alasdair follows Ananda, trying not to touch anything.
Em looks around pointedly and takes her time…and absently is tracing the first gesture of her “focus magic”…
Em: Follows sneakily afterward.
Kassil: The room is actually somewhat familiar, as you saw it briefly on your ethereal jaunt to find the source of the viewscreens. While that glimpse was momentary, you can now see a complex tangle of padded-looking pipes surrounding numerous human-sized white tanks that cover the floor and hang from the roof amid a level of catwalks.
Kassil: The air is noticably cooler inside.
Ananda: (Interior layout?)
Kassil: The floor space is fairly open, with one tank roughly every five meters. The piping runs underneath the catwalks, high enough that if you were on foot you’d have to have a pretty impressive jumping ability to get to them.
Kassil: The upper tier of tanks mirror the floor level, and all the pipes join together at the southern wall, where they disappear into the material.
Kassil: Each tank has a small window at a level for an average person to look through them.
Ananda: (Are there labels on anything?)
Kassil: There are small consoles on each tank, just under the windows.
Em starts checking out the nearest console for data, making suer there’s no anti-tamper/security measures first.
Alasdair shudders and floats up to the upper catwalk to check the containers up there.
Kassil: Em finds nothing explosive, corrosive, or otherwise fatality-inducing about the console.
Em yays, paranoia unjustified again.
Ananda leaves those to Em for now, and quietly paces the room, alert for anything moving or creature-like. She’s carrying the ZX a bit more at the ready than usual.
Ananda does the same inspection of the upper level.
Kassil: Ananda, you find ladders on what you believe are the east and west walls.
Kassil: It’s not too hard to get onto the upper level via one.
Alasdair moves to the next tank over and looks inside.
Em ‘s metaphorical whiskers twitch as she data ferrets.
Kassil: Ananda, you can see Alasdair peering into one of the tanks.
Ananda ends her circuit of the catwalk behind Alasdair. “Find anything interesting?”
Alasdair: “People in cryostorage.”
Alasdair moves to the next tank over and looks inside.
Ananda settles her firearm against her side rather than in her hands and looks into the tank on the opposite side of the walkway.
Em nods, “People in storage with very terse explanations of who or why. but they apparently are still alive and could be revived. If we were feeling like having more targets might diffuse the magical attention the place gives us….” (she makes it clear by expression this is a pretty weak reason to revive them)
Ananda tinkers with the console on the cryotank.
Alasdair pulls back from the tank sharply, choking/coughing slightly.
Ananda looks up. “Something wrong?”
Alasdair: "He’s awake."
Em: While in cryogenic suspension??
Em looks alarmed.
Alasdair looks back at the other tanks before muttering, “And I think they’re all Wielders.”
Ananda briskly moves to the awake one and looks in. “Is that the only commonality?”
Em: I’d say they’re all very unlucky, as a secondary trait, to end up interred in this place
Em: I’d almost suggest asking ORACLE who these folks are but somehow I expect the answers won’t be very useful
Alasdair checks the panels on the awake guy and the two he’s already looked in on.
Alasdair: “We should absolutely not use ORACLE in here. The… fallout would be catastrophic. And these are my favorite pants.”
Ananda watches the aware person for a moment. “We can assume he’s been in there for at least a century and a half. It sounds maddeningly boring.”
Em: …is he still sane??
Ananda hesitates. “Still, we should probably leave him in there a while longer. I don’t think any of us knows how to handle people who’ve been in that kind of sensory deprivation.”
Ananda: “I don’t know, and I’m not psychologist enough to find out.”
Alasdair: “I expect he’s very angry and would cause the release of who knows what else is here. Not to mention kill us.”
Kassil: You could always try reading his mind. _
Ananda: “Kf. With that long to stew, it’d be entirely understandable.”
Alasdair: “Em, how did you find out why the people down there are, uh, incarcerated?”
Ananda bares her teeth at the awake one in what’s distinctly not a smile and makes herself turn away. Instead, she goes ‘round and checks the other person-sicles for signs of awareness.
Alasdair raises an eyebrow at Ananda. “Is he messing with you?”
Ananda: “No, but I get the impression that he would if he could.”
Alasdair: "Well, they didn’t get here by winning Employee of the Month."
Kassil: As Ananda moves to pace, she nearly trips as a cord from her pack has managed to wind itself around her ankle such that it’s nearly like stepping on her own shoelaces.
Kassil: She catches herself before she goes sprawling out across the catwalk.
Ananda recovers with what she hopes is a measure of gracefulness, or at least not too much flailing.
Alasdair: “You okay?”
Ananda: “Yeah, just a little run-in with Murphy’s Law.”
Ananda continues on to check the other cryotanks.
Alasdair: “Hope it’s not one of the denizens.”
Ananda: (Notably, after attaching the loose cord back where it belongs.)
Ananda: “Kf, Murphy lives everywhere.”
Ananda marks certain of the tanks with a bit of orange tape.
Alasdair sidles over to the tank on the other side of the awake guy and peer in. “Find other awake ones?”
Ananda: “None so far, but a few that look like they’ve got involuntary Wielding stuff going on.”
Alasdair: “The tanks seem to be dispersing or grounding the energy.”
Ananda nods absently, watching electrical-looking sparks that flicker off one of the.. prisoners? inside a tank.
Alasdair: ( Em sure seems busy down there. ;) )
Ananda: (She’s probably in full data-ferret mode and doesn’t even hear us.)
Alasdair falls partly through the catwalk before catching himself and sucking a sharp breath through his teeth.
Ananda looks up at the sudden movement. “What was that about?”
Alasdair rights himself and unclenches his fists. “Sorry, tripped.”
Em murmurs absently as she finishes drawing zero for info about the subject she’s examining “is there a poltergeist tripping us up here?”
Alasdair checks the display for the tank.
Kassil: Which tank?
Alasdair: The one I was just looking in.
Kassil: It doesn’t seem to have changed. Still reporting the same name, age, and ethnicity.
Kassil: So, Em. What are you doing?
Em: Can I set it up so I get a relay of the data from the tanks, so I know if anyone else tries to revive these folks while we’re not here?
Em: and any way to set up command circuits to override such attempts?
Kassil: They don’t seem to be set up for wireless beyond immeadiate interaction.
Ananda watches the sparking sleeper for a moment longer, then gestures briefly. (Being/Insight to sense what this one is.)
Kassil rolls dice…
Alasdair: “Em, come see what you can tell us about the people up here, please.”
Em nods and gives it a try.
Alasdair watches Ananda closely once he figures out what she’s up to.
Em: Alasdair, not much data here. I have names, ages, ethnicity and not much else aside from biometrics. A few have some ominous notes: “datavore” “genesis” “mutant”
Em: What are you looking to find out?
Alasdair never takes his eyes off Ananda while replying, “What they are and why they’re here. Are they all human? No evolutionaries?”
Em: No data at all on why. “What” is extremely limited. The biometrics are not particularly helpful that way, unless there’s a particular one you know deviates out of normal human range…
Ananda looks stunned and leans against the nearest upright object. She drags the back of her arm across her forehead – sweating, in spite of the coolness here.
Em: I have no information leading me to think any of these are nonhuman.
Ananda ‘s voice is hoarse when she adds to Em’s information, “I suspect that these are spiritual Wielders.”
Alasdair puts a concerned hand on Ananda’s shoulder. “You okay?”
Em: Alpha or Omega or a mix?
Ananda nods to Alasdair, “Will be. Probably both. Looking into this one,” she jerks a thumb at the sparking sleeper, “Hooked me into something that would tear the universe apart.”
Alasdair glances briefly at the tank. “I… I know the feeling.”
Em: Obviously, I have missed out so much by not learning telepathy….
Alasdair: “The most terrifying things cannot be unlearned, Em. Don’t be quick to open that door.”
Em nods slowly, “I was starting to wonder if my earlier eagerness to include this in my curriculum of further studies might have been a bit rash”….
Ananda meets Alasdair’s eyes for a moment, in shared understanding.
Alasdair starts to say something before realizing he still has a hand on Ananda’s shoulder. He quickly removes it and clears his throat, glancing around at the tanks.
Ananda: “Kf. Walking in here was rash. Doing anything now that we’re here isn’t even on the same scale.”
Ananda is clearly making light of it. She pulls out her cold thermos for a drink.
Em: I think unthawing the datavore would still qualify. >_>
Kassil: Possibly!
Kassil: Only one way to find out!
Ananda: “Let’s assume that we leave anything that’s clearly a person frozen, shall we? There are many reasons I prefer to work with animals, and quite a few of them look like they apply here.”
Alasdair: “The power of the people contained here is staggering. Whoever or whatever locked them here…”
Alasdair shudders.
Em: And we still don’t know what made them abandon their work.
Alasdair: “I have only unconfirmed suspicions.”
Em: We could unthaw one of the Alpha wielders….surely they wouldn’t kill us out of hand…
Em: Though I’d recommend dragging their unit out of the facility to do this.
Em: Maybe into the place we met the agents of the higher power…
Ananda: “Some of the crew here was straight-up murdered, don’t forget. This ‘Foundation’ might not have been abandoned so much as destroyed.”
Alasdair: “That’s my impression. Perhaps not by a singular entity, but destroyed nonetheless.”
Kassil: Dragging the units out of place is likely to kill the occupant, Em. They’re hard-wired to the Site’s power supply.
Em: we could splice in a replacement power supply and levitate the whole rig out maybe…?
Alasdair: “And no, we don’t awaken those here. Enough things got loose already that I’m loathe to court even greater disaster.”
Ananda gives Em a look. “No people. I don’t want to explain to someone that it’s been more than a century and everyone they knew is dead.”
Em nods, more swayed by Alasdair’s argument…when the man who would cheerily risk burning out his brain to understand the universe says “I think that’s too dangerous”, it’s worth heeding…
Alasdair chuckles thinly. “I’d also prefer to only make mistakes we have a chance at correcting.”
Em: So I take it you don’t think all of NWSEC has the resources to incarcerate any of these, unthawed, if they got antisocial?
Em: (tries to figure out exactly how they’re doing this freezing thing anyway, is it different, superior, or inferior tech to what we’d use, if we can do the same thing now….)
Kassil: Well, the electronic components seem simple enough, if rather robust. You can actually see where the main loop and a backup have fried over the last 150 years, in the unit you’re examining – but there are still seven more backups in a functional state to keep the unit online.
Ananda pushes herself up from the pole she’s leaning against and paces a bit.
Kassil: (Don’t forget you still have ALS-77-Z waiting. :D Or a flight back to the safety of the surface.)
Alasdair looks for the other door out of here.
Em: (so it seems this is just really durably built versions of what we already use…just 150 years ahead of their time when made?)
Ananda selects a place where the catwalk rests on a cross-beam, dusts off her hands, and lets herself ‘fall’ through. She catches the beam for a moment and hangs there, miming the influence of gravity, then lets herself drop the rest of the way, landing weightlessly on her toes.
Ananda tags the tanks of involuntary Wielders on this level, as well.
Kassil: The other way out of the room is a human-size door in the south wall, made of some golden metal.
Alasdair flits down silently and inspects the door.
Kassil: All in all, by the time Ananda is done tagging, nearly thirty tanks out of 250 have been tagged.
Kassil: The door appears to be a perfectly normal office door, of the kind you’d find in a business inside an arcology, except that the whole thing is some strange golden-colored metal, and the glass appears to be interlaced with some extremely fine threads of material.
Alasdair peers hesitantly through the glass.
Ananda ambles over to the office-door when she’s done.
Kassil: Ananda can also see the unusual-looking office door and the odd-looking reinforced glass.
Em finishes her investigations and follows
Kassil: …As can Em.
Alasdair whispers, “So…”
Kassil: Ananda and Em can see the sides of an empty white room from their vantages to the side of Alasdair.
Alasdair steps back two steps.
Ananda rests her left hand against the door, pushing just a bit to see if it’s resistant to ethereal creatures.
Kassil: At the back of the room, if Ananda or Em look, is a very, very nice-looking desk with a rather plush office chair behind it. There’s no sign of any computer equipment, but there are papers fanned across the desk and a fountain pen in an inkwell on one corner.
Kassil: The door does not seem to be resistant to ethereal forms.
Alasdair: “Anomalous Lifeform Storage, and no sign of a lifeform. Troubling.”
Ananda looks through the window, head tilted slightly to one side. “Odd, that.”
Ananda shrugs, steps through.
Kassil: Ananda passes into the room with no apparent ill effects.
Alasdair grimaces but follows quickly.
Kassil: Alasdair likewise enters to no apparent ill effects.
Kassil: The air in the room has a hint of lavender to it, and it’s slightly on the warm side.
Alasdair tries to leave.
Kassil: The door yields easily to Alasdair.
Ananda: “Maybe it’s the desk that’s alive?”
Em watches worriedly looking if there’s a sign of anything that might conceal a computer
Ananda raps her knuckles on it.
Alasdair joins Ananda and glances at the papers.
Kassil: And… There’s a tall figure in a rather nice business suit sitting in the office chair, as Ananda knocks on the desk. “Ah! Hello!” Notably, despite being humanoid, it has a flat, noseless face, and two rather pronounced horns.
Ananda: (Are you still on the far side of the door, Em, or did you come in with us?)
Em: (watching through the window, ready to wield if something untoward happens, just a couple minutes longer)
Alasdair starts.
Em: (is extra o_o of anomolies)
Em: (in this place)
Kassil: You all get the impression that the figure has been there, and you just didn’t see it until now, despite the absurdity of this thought.
Ananda jerks back and automatically brings the ZX to bear on the figure.
Kassil: The figure tsks at Ananda. “Well, that’s hardly a polite response to a greeting.”
Em checks if the door conspicuously changes in any respect.
Kassil: The door is still perfectly permeable.
Ananda looks at the figure for a moment, then stands down. She quirks an eyebrow and smiles, “It’s also impolite to sneak up on people like that, so I rather think we’re even.”
Alasdair: “You’ll have to excuse Shelly. We’re all a bit jumpy, but I imagine you understand why. I’m William. And you are…?”
Kassil: “Hmph. I can hardly be blamed for dozing off when no one bothers to drop by.” The creature waves a hand, and three rather nicely appointed chairs are suddenly /there/ on your side of the desk. It chuckles at Alasdair. “Well, if you’re going to be like /that/, you can call me Bob.”
Em watches, apprehensively reviewing her wielding lessons in her head.
Kassil: “I suppose your friend behind the door is named ‘Marcy’?”
Ananda leans on the back of the chair, watching ‘Bob’ closely.
Ananda: “If she wants to be, today.”
Em checks if there’s any monitors or warning lights suddenly obvious on or around the door.
Alasdair: “So, how do you come to find yourself here?”
Kassil: “The Foundation discovered my current locus moldering in an old office building and brought me here. Of course, if you checked those files you liberated from CSC-077-X on the third level, you’d know that.” The creature seems rather amused. “Since you technically know it, I won’t ask that we bargain for that information.”
Kassil: Em finds no alerts, warnings, blinking lights, or other hazard signs.
Alasdair: “You’ll have to forgive me, it’s difficult, at times, to converse with beings who have a linearity that differs from our own.”
Kassil: The creature waves a scaled hand airily. “Think nothing of it. Please, have a seat.”
Ananda: “You trade in information, then?”
Kassil: “In part, certainly.” It smiles widely, revealing needle-like teeth. “I am a deal-broker. I am quite capable of granting incredible things, if you can match the price.”
Ananda gives ‘Bob’ a more than faintly skeptical look, “The definition of ‘incredible’ is such that I’m not inclined to take your word for it.”
Alasdair nods to Ananda. “Certainly has a Faustian air about it.”
Kassil: “Perfectly understandable. I’m sure you’ve seen some rather astounding and horrific things, what with the Foundation being defunct.” It picks up a pitcher that wasn’t there a moment ago and pours a glass of what looks like water. “Still, the word is an accurate description of my abilities.”
Kassil: The entity doesn’t actually drink from the glass it just poured, setting it down and fidgeting with it. “If you’d like, you can simply perform some tests – ask for something minor and simple. Unless you agree to my price, I won’t produce it, and it won’t cost you anything.”
Ananda considers for a moment. “How about a perpetual motion device?”
Alasdair: “Since this is, to us, our first visit, perhaps an illustrative example would be helpful? What was the boon and cost of the latest request prior to our arrival?”
Kassil: Ananda’s request gets a snort. “I’m not the Site’s engine, madam. Violating the laws of this universe is hardly a cheap or easy prize, and I’m afraid you can’t afford it.”
Ananda grins, “Just checking.”
Em: (how far do you think a single soul GOES anyway, esp with 150 years inflation??)
Ananda: (Come in and ask. :D )
Alasdair: ( Not as far as it used to. It’s a buyer’s market. )
Kassil: Alasdair, on the other hand, gets a nod. “I can do that, certainly. Agent Marshall Duclane came by on the day the Site ceased to be occupied by the Foundation. He was desperate for a weapon to turn the tide, so he requested a powerful weapon. He had me deliver it to his partner, since the cost was his life.”
Kassil: Alasdair, Ananda, auditory Detection checks.
Kassil: Em, the conversation seems to be rather polite, and the thing at the desk is fidgeting with a cup of water.
Em watches carefully, not liking life forms that materialize out of thin air. o_o
Ananda: “So you deliver material goods. What assurance do we have that information we get from you is complete and accurate?”
Kassil: “Given your suspicion, probably none. You could always go try to find the weapon I sent Agent Jannis, but it’s somewhere down on level ten, last I knew of it.”
Ananda shrugs, “Maybe eventually. How would we know what to look for?”
Kassil: “It’s fairly clear – there aren’t many technological devices on that level, really. It’s a gun the size of his arm, probably still laying in the skeleton of Agent Jannis.”
Ananda nods amiably and files the information away for future reference.
Ananda: “What’s the range of beings that you will or can deal with?”
Alasdair cracks his knuckles and stretches his fingers.
Kassil: “That information will come at a cost. Perhaps, let’s say, your old firearm, since you seem so enamored of the one that likes to shapeshift.”
Ananda: “No thanks.”
Kassil: The creature smiles politely. “As you see fit.”
Ananda is struck by a thought. “Zix does have likes and wants. Do you consider it a suitable entity to negotiate with?”
Kassil: The smile goes away. “Please don’t try to weasel around the price of a request, madam.”
Alasdair raises a hand, “Perhaps something a bit more conversational. Since the laws of this universe are difficult to violate, is there a universe you find a bit more… recreational? I imagine you like to stretch your legs, so to speak, from time to time.”
Ananda: “Hn? Oh. No offense intended.”
Kassil: Alasdair’s response gets a soft chuckle. “I’ll answer that for one of your field rations, sir.”
Alasdair shrugs and places it on the desk.
Kassil: The creature picks it up with a smile. “Certainly there are realms of existence – universes, as it were – where things are more congenial to my nature than this one. Most of them would be ill-suited for your form of life, for various reasons.”
Ananda looks over the furniture idly. “Is all this,” she waves a hand at the desk and chairs, “a matter of your taste, or something chosen to meet expectations of the people who come to talk with you?”
Em watches vigilantly, striving to maintain focus and alertness.
Kassil: “This is my current locus.” The creature smiles again, displaying the needle-like teeth anew.
Alasdair looks over at Ananda. “We really should be getting back. It was lovely to meet you and I look forward to returning in the future.”
Ananda: “We should, yes.” She nods politely to ‘Bob’, “I shall keep you in mind, if I need something extrordinary.”
Kassil: The creatures inclines its head politely. “I am quite sure I will still be here for the foreseeable future.”
Alasdair chuckles at the joke and follows Ananda to the door.
Ananda shows herself out.
Kassil: The two of you pass through with no trouble; Em, watching sees the creature simply stop existing.
Em blinks.
Em: “Nice trick, that,” she mutters.
Alasdair lets out the breath he’d been holding the last few feet.
Alasdair: “Ah. Uh. So. Huh.”
Kassil: After the relative warmth of the room, the chill of the cryostorage chamber is fairly sharp.
Em: (Alasdair likes playing Russian Roulette?)
Alasdair: ( Alasdair likes tossing rocks onto the pond before checking the ice with his body. )
Ananda stretches her arms over her head, rising up on her toes when she does. She settles out of the stretch with a long breath.
Kassil: So, what now?
Em: So…that looked ominous to me. Was it?
Ananda looks sidelong at Alasdair, “Did you happen to notice that echo to its voice?”
Em: I presume as far as you knew, there was nothing in there before you entered, and nothing in there after you left?
Alasdair: “So, non-linear lifeform dealing in Faustian bargains.”
Alasdair nods at Ananda. “Yes. I expect that existing in our reality is not easy for it. Nor is that remotely it’s true form.”
Em: Pity Dante’s not here, we could convince him that taking one for the team could be extended to “how much data that will protect them from harm does my soul buy”…
Em: Okay, no.
Em: That wouldn’t be a place to go.
Em: But I have to admit I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the level of danger in this place.
Ananda barks a laugh.
Em: You gave it food. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt you, Alasdair
Alasdair: “No, it would not. In sales, there’s a very relevant term: loss leader. Sell something for a loss knowing that the customer will also buy something very expensive. We haven’t seen the full extent of its initial offering, but I felt very much like the fly in a spider’s parlor.”
Alasdair shrugs, “The information cost it nothing and gained me nothing, so I’m not worried.”
Ananda: “I would be very surprised if it eats remotely what we do, if at all.”
Em nods slowly and hopes it’s just a sales tactic, yes.
Em: What next then?
Ananda: “Back to Saint Mary. See if it’s the same one we left, within tolerances.”
Alasdair: “Agreed. We need to by hypervigilant for changes. I regret not paying more atten-” He pats his P-Comm. “Uh, attention to the base before.”
Em nods and relaxes just a hair but keeps a wary eye for anything somehow getting out of That Room.
Em: Well, hopefully we won’t do anything awkward like find out we’re in a world where some of us were murdered earlier. o_o
Kassil: 165 CDP, then. The return to Saint Mary is fairly uneventful, really, although the base camp crew are shocked to see you after the time you were gone. We’ll pick up in Saint Mary next time, with some things happening there.
Em: We’ll see.
Em smiles winningly.
Ananda: Current date?
Alasdair: Yeah, that’s not ominous. At all. :D
Kassil: August 12, 2260.
Ananda: ’kay.
Karelzarath: So we lost 6 days, give or take?
Kassil: Roughly.

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