Site 17

Session 34 - August 20, 2260

Scratching In The Walls

Alasdair

  • Arcane 1
  • Detection 4

Ananda

  • Creation 1
  • Detection 5
  • Energy 1
  • Medicine 1
  • Read People 1
  • Stealth 2

Em

  • Computer Tech 2
  • Detection 3
  • Energy 1
  • Nihilism 1
  • Stealth 2

170 CDP
Total: 6075

Kassil: So, does anyone need a recap?
Ananda: The meatfloor was… vivid.
Em: the meatfloor was to remind us It Can Always Get Worse
Ananda: I don’t think I needed to be reminded of that, but I suppose it’s a good marker.
Ananda: (Let’s not trigger another instance of whatever went wrong with the Site’s “engine”, while we investigate it.)
Kassil: Heh.
Kassil: Okay, then. You had just Void-sterilized the room, and Em had collected the Slime of Alien Color in a sampling kit.
Kassil: You were headed to a different room from there, I believe?
Ananda is moving north (we think) to MR-068.
Em: Then time to move out I guess?
Alasdair is already around the corner and a little ways up the hall.
Kassil: All right then.
Kassil: You move back along the hall, retracing your steps to the central corridor of the eastern branch of this floor. Ananda is in the lead, as usual, with Alasdair tagging close behind. Serek aimlessly wanders behind, while Em brings up the rear as per her usual position.
Kassil: Auditory Detection checks, please.
Em does ninja tailguard again.
Ananda holds up a hand for the group to pause.
Em: Halts
Kassil: You all hear a faint ‘shuff’ sound from somewhere ahead, before you reach the main corridor.
Kassil: (Somewhat like a bare foot on carpet, or the like.)
Alasdair: (After or before ALS-099-A?)
Kassil: Just after passing through that particular lifeform storage room.
Ananda: (Did any place on this level have carpet? I don’t recall it.)
Alasdair: ( It brought the carpet with it. )
Kassil: The room with the desk seemed to, after you entered it, but otherwise no.
Ananda signs, ‘Bide,’ over her shoulder, then moves ahead, alert and silent as possible.
Kassil: Ananda, despite the relatively good lighting in the hall, does a fair job of blending against the wall as she creeps forward toward the intersection.
Alasdair waits, alert for an attack.
Ananda pauses just before the intersection, in the partial cover of the doorframe.
Em waits till Ananda or Alasdair looks back to signal for a pause, if that happens, if not, its not that urgent
Alasdair is watching Ananda and the room beyond her intently.
Em watches too
Ananda scans the part of the room she can see from here, then eases around the corner to look at the rest. She motions the others forward, then signs, ‘Smells of formaldehyde. No creatures.’
Alasdair signs back, “Smelled it too.”
Em gets her respirator on and follows
Ananda nods acknowledgement, keeping a wary eye on the room ahead.
Alasdair catches up to Ananda cautiously.
Kassil: There’s a faint and regular hiss as Em’s respirator kicks on.
Em: sighs and takes it off. failed common sense roll
Ananda winces a bit at the noise.
Kassil: Alasdair’s footsteps are, admittedly, only slightly quieter than Em’s respirator before she pulls it back off and leaves him the elephant in the hall.
Kassil: None of you hear anything other than yourselves as you reconvene at the hallway entrance.
Em: (the plan is the bad things jump Alasdair and Em and Ananda rescues us >_>)
Alasdair shrugs at Ananda and nods up the hallway.
Ananda shrugs back to Alasdair, but breaks off mid-gesture with a look of surprise. She grabs for something in her pocket.
Em: ( can we complain to our ISP that we don’t like these grief callers?)
Alasdair raises an eyebrow at Ananda.
Kassil: Ananda pulls out a glass tube, capped at one end with a bright red plastic plug. Inside, a dozen small square pills are visible, each one with a large L pressed into the side.
Ananda holds the tube up to the light, eyebrows raised.
Alasdair takes a half step backwards, eye widening slightly.
Ananda tilts her head at Alasdair’s reaction. She looks a question at him.
Alasdair twice shakes his head “no.”
Ananda signs, ‘Bad experience?’ with a touch of humor.
Alasdair tersely signs, “unimportant,” before heading up the hall.
Ananda shrugs and puts the tube in a backpack-pocket, with the practice of someone who no longer needs to take it off to know where everything is.
Ananda sidles into ALS-33, alert and quiet.
Ananda: (..Or not so quiet.)
Em: (waits to see if the Grue gets Ananda)
Kassil: Ananda fails to trip over herself, or kick anything.
Kassil: Alasdair, meanwhile, is crossing the room a bit briskly, while Em and Serek trail along behind.
Kassil: Nothing seems to be interested in leaping out to attack Alasdair.
Em resigns herself to being tasty and follows
Alasdair stops at the hallway leading to MR-068.
Kassil: The others catch up with Alasdair shortly; the hallway toward MR-068 doesn’t particularly seem to have changed since the last time you all inspected it.
Ananda: (Is this the one with the claw-marks?)
Kassil: Yep.
Ananda pauses to listen down the hall, before moving on.
Ananda signs, ‘Movement ahead.’
Ananda moves in, keeping Zix ready to hand.
Alasdair frowns and follows.
From Kassil: You hear the scratching again, as you move ahead. There’s nothing in the hall, but it sounds like there might be something digging inside the ceramacrete wall.
Em moves up enough to gesture to Alasdair to stop “Danger” then waits to see if Ananda keeps moving
Ananda gets about 20m into the hallway, then pauses, holding up a hand for a halt. She moves to the left wall and presses her ear against it. She also keeps the ZX angled towards the wall, not quite in a ready-to-fire grip.
Alasdair gestures dismissively at Em and watches Ananda.
Ananda waves the others forwards, signing, ‘Hear that?’
Em nods “left, yes? scratching?”
Alasdair shakes his head.
Ananda nods to Em, ‘Same.’
Em signs “it stopped.”
Ananda frowns at the wall.
Alasdair maneuvers to the exact center of the hallway and looks over his shoulder.
Ananda signs, ‘I still hear it.’
Em looks nervous and keeps checking behind us periodically, pessimistic she’ll catch anything coming if its this quiet
Ananda is looking at the wall when she quirks a smile and shakes her head. She says nothing.
Alasdair very slowly turns around.
Alasdair glances at the floor and ceiling.
Alasdair shivers and takes a step closer to Em.
Ananda glances over at Alasdair, ‘Find anything?’
Ananda looks pointedly at the wall.
Em signs back “silent orange cat ran by”
Em points where it happened
Alasdair signs, “No. We should not linger.”
Ananda nods, once. ’Sound’s moving ahead of us.’ She moves along in pace with it, to keep a constant distance.
Alasdair tries to remain equidistant from Ananda and Em.
Em follows and makes a point of not crowding him
Ananda pauses, having tracked a point at a consistent height for perhaps 30m. She signs, ‘Stopped again.’
Ananda slowly takes a step back. Then another.
Alasdair stops moving and looks in the direction Ananda’s retreating from.
Em: backs up in sync and trepidation
Ananda still appears confident and curious, all attention to the front.
Em: (double checks behind us regularly, and for any path that damned cat might be lurking …)
Alasdair rubs the backs of his hands.
Alasdair prods at one of his pockets.
Ananda looks over her shoulder to sign, ‘Cover me.’ She lets Zix hang by her side and makes a few terse gestures to send a shockwave into the left-hand wall, right over the scratching sound.
Alasdair covers his ears.
Kassil: There’s a sharp CRACK sound as Ananda channel a burst of kinetic force against the wall where she says the scratching noise stopped.
Ananda watches for a second, then grimaces and covers her ears.
Kassil: Neither Em nor Alasdair hear anything beyond the echo of the kinetic pulse from somewhere up ahead.
Ananda gingerly uncovers her ears, after half a minute or so. Shakes her head to clear it.
Alasdair hesitantly fishes something out of his pocket and holds it up.
Kassil: Alasdair is holding what is either the vial that Em handed him to evaporate, or a perfect replica of it, down to the pills inside it.
Ananda quirks an eyebrow. Looks at Em.
Em has a go at trying to get rid of it herself then, taking it from his hand, puts it on the ground, kneels, touches it, and tries to slag it to plasma.
Kassil: And Em snatches the vial from Alasdair, thunks it on the ground, and…
Kassil: 33 damage.
Kassil: There’s a sharp sizzling as a hemisphere of plasma materializes to engulf the vial, and a tiny pop as the air rushes in to fill the scorched void.
Kassil: The vial has been torn apart, along with the pills that were rattling inside it.
Em ‘s face relaxes a bit from the tense grimace as she gives a silent thanks to Tesla
Kassil: There’s also a shallow, blackened crater seared into the ceramacrete where the vial was.
Alasdair gives Em a “not bad” nod.
Em looks satisfied to put her ! on the “just say no” response she just made to the Poltergeist
Em is relieved nothing killed us while she attended to that
Ananda signs, ’All’s quiet now. Shall we go?’
Em nods and follows
Alasdair nods.
Kassil: You head down the hall, dogged now by the dusty stink of scorches ceramacrete, and come to the vault-like door into MR-068. Surprisingly, it seems to be completely intact and wide open.
Ananda pauses at the door to listen.
Alasdair pauses behind Ananda and pretends to listen.
Ananda: (Not bad for pretending.)
Alasdair can fake it well.
Ananda glances at the others and signs, ‘Chimes. Distant scratching.’
Em hopes its not operating a computer
Alasdair nods and signs, “Agreed.”
Ananda moves on into the room, ignoring the lingering headache.
Kassil: Ananda can just barely hear herself.
Alasdair gives Ananda a 5m head start and follows.
Em follow about that far behind
Kassil: For some reason, Alasdair seems to be feeling a little jumpy.
Kassil: The room denoted as MR-068 is modest, as far as the roof goes. It’s only about five meters up, with waist-high solid divisions marking the 50mx50m room into 10mx10m lots, with corridors between each lot. Transparent material rises from the dividers to lock into metal grips on the roof.
Kassil: From the entry, you can all see that half a dozen of the lots seems to have had something going on when whatever happened to the Site went off. One is almost entirely swatched in web-like sheets of a glistening metallic material, another has a pillar of smooth black stone rising almost to the roof, a third has some kind of holographic-looking design slowly spinning in the middle of it. The other three are somewhat obscured by those.
Kassil: The chiming sound is, apparently, an actual set of windchimes, tinkling gently in front of an air vent that’s apparently pulling air in.
Ananda indicates the chime with a tilt of her head, signs, ‘I think we’ve seen this before.’
Ananda investigates the webbed enclosure.
Kassil: Ananda pads down the corridor to the closed door of the lot where the metallic sheets are. Peering through the ‘web’-fogged glass, she can see a humanoid skeleton at the computer console inside, apparently held together and upright by the spread of metallic webbing.
Em follows, curious if the terminal inside this one is as undamaged as the rest…"
Ananda: (Is there any kind of nameplate or monitors on these things?)
Kassil: There are monitors at the computer stations inside. None of the systems are currently online.
Em wonders if there’s anyway to check out if there’s a spider or anything odd accounting for the webbing here….
Ananda paces through the room, giving a cursory look at each of the remaining isolation chambers, or whatever they are.
Kassil: Sure! Pry open the door and poke around inside.
Ananda: (Pick up Being & Insight and listen for minds. What’s the worst that could happen?)
Em: We don’t have a spider-sensor…?
Kassil: The remaining three apparently-were-active chambers seem to contain something that looks a lot like kelp, which has filled the floor of the chamber, with airbag-laden stalks swaying ever-so-gently inside; a cloud of something very fine and smoke-like, which occasionally brushes an area that’s apparently some kind of containment with bright crackles of electricity; and a quivering ball of green gel that hovers in the air in the middle of the test chamber.
Ananda takes one close look at the smoke chamber then moves away, rubbing her temples.
Em follows thinking whatever set up show in here looks worrisome. She goes to check for a cubicle that looks free of extra dimenionsla/exotic issues and see if the computer will power on
Ananda paces, looking about for sample-taking apparatus.
Kassil: Em, Computer Tech?
Kassil: You’re still boosted to deific levels.
Em: oh wow.
Kassil: Ananda’s pacing search comes to no useful end; each of the ‘active’ lots has what appears to be a containment crate, although the ‘webbed’ room is hard to see into.
Em: Naturally I’m cautious about authentication protocols like at the place that slagged computers for bad passwords
Ananda: (What are the exits from this room?)
Kassil: One opposite the entry, and one to the right from the entry. Both appear to be inward-locking vault doors.
Ananda: (Open? Closed? Locked?)
Em: Computer Tech: may Gibson smile on us
Kassil: Open.
Kassil: Em, you find it almost trivial to boot the computer in one of the empty lots to life and tease open the security locks. Before long, you find yourself welcomed in as ‘superuser A-7’ on the Materials Research 068 Sub-Network.
Em: What were they doing when the Doom arrived? and are their data logs too bulky for use to store?
Em: (ie checking the dept admin’s log if there’s one…)
Kassil: Unfortunately, the specific computer Em is on only has a list of prior experiments, although some of those would be eye-popping in any other context. She is, however, able to wrangle a connection to the Administrator Network Level 2.
Em: What does that let me peek at?
Kassil: The Network itself seems abnormally barren, as if something’s mostly purged it, but there are a few files – communication transcripts, by the looks of them.
Em: Hrm. I check if whoever purged forgot about data recovery measures…
Kassil: Comp Tech check?
Kassil: As Em looks closer, she’s able to determine that what, at first, looks like a deliberate wipe of data is something closer to some pretty impressive system errors – internal clocks going utterly insane and returning values that made the systems crash and reboot over and over until not much was left beyond a basic I/O system that was too simple and too robust to care about the bizarre time-and-date.
Kassil: The files she can dredge up seem to have somehow escaped the digital apocalypse by sheer luck.
Kassil: If she were to find a physical server and successfully extract the hard drive, she might be able to reconstruct the contents.
Alasdair: ( I sense a Project in the making. ;) )
Em: …why am I thinking the server is in the goo?
Kassil: You could dig in and find out.
Ananda ambles over to Alasdair while Em is busy and signs, ‘If you’re ever interested in learning to move more quietly, I’d be happy to teach.’
Em: Can I get a clue where the server might be from diagnostics I can run from here, or are there physical cables to trace …?
Kassil: You’re pretty sure, based on the data you can retrieve, that you know exactly where the servers for the crashed network are.
Kassil: SN-67.
Alasdair signs, “That’s a hopeless project.”
Ananda shrugs, ‘If you say so.’
Ananda eyes the floor speculatively, signs, ‘Do you hear the scratching down there?’
Ananda: (SN-67 is down the main southwards hallway. We went east.)
Alasdair shakes his head and signs, “I think that’s just for you.”
Kassil: If you check that huge lovely list of data Alasdair got from Oracle for you, SN apparently means ‘Systems Network’.
Ananda nods. ‘What was with the cat back there? I didn’t see or hear it.’
Em: I share this with the others, that the system had a cataclysmic event but the hard drive seems intake and might be salvageable for data…over at SN 67
Alasdair shakes his head and signs, “Nor did I. That must be Em’s.”
Ananda shrugs, nods. ‘Anything for you?’
Em: Well, it’s also for Science. there’s some neat experimental data to review as is
Alasdair: “Nothing. Yet.”
Em: But I’m curious if there’s records what was going on at the time of the disaster, which is obscure.
Ananda: (That last was signed to Alasdair.)
Kassil: So, going to dig around this room further, or…?
Em: I’m a bit worried about dealing with the wierdness here after finding out what similar wierdness did to the crew in the last area, myself…
Em: Unless anyone has some bold ideas for safely discerning stuff here…
Ananda nods acknowledgement to Alasdair, then turns to Em and whispers aloud, “The bit with Circe didn’t put you off already?”
Em acks and checks her pcomm for the message from earlier
Em: (Harrow-gram for you…)
Ananda waits for Em to finish tinkering with her P-Comm.
Ananda ‘s eyes flick to the ceiling.
Kassil: Alasdair and Ananda see Em put a hand to her headpiece.
Alasdair raises an eyebrow at Em.
Em hrms. "Listen. Email from nowhere and no one again. Mean anything?
Em passes her pcomm to Alasdair (motions to give it to Ananda and Serek when he’s done)
Kassil: Does Alasdair listen?
Em: "It’s just a song.
Em: "curious if anyone knows more about it
Ananda will give a listen, when it comes around to her.
Alasdair will also listen.
Kassil: The file she’s got loaded plays some exceptionally beautiful, almost ethereal music. It’s a bit eerie, though.
Em: (It’s Circe’s muzak for her voice mail in Hell o_o)
Em: (also shares the “looks like a wielding equation” too, see if it makes sense to anyone)
Kassil: Em also shares a picture that contains a staggeringly complicatd mathematical formula.
Ananda listens a couple of times over, and sends herself a copy. She whispers, “I don’t know what it is, but I like it. Might be something encoded in that crackle at the edge of hearing; it doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the music.”
Alasdair sends himself a copy, as well.
Ananda copies off the image, with only the comment “Complicated.”
Ananda looks to Alasdair for his opinion on the image.
Alasdair squints at the equation. “I can only understand pieces, not the whole. I don’t know what it’s for.”
Ananda whispers, “Same here.”
Ananda shrugs and gives Em’s P-Comm back.
Alasdair: “Maybe when we get back, we can compare notes.”
Ananda: “Sure. In the mean time, I think we’re done here. SM-88-F next?”
Alasdair nods.
Kassil: (Aww, you’re learning to not play with the random exhibits of screaming madness.)
Ananda: (I want a sample of the air-kelp, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get one.)
Kassil: Well, if you have a sampling kit/container…
Alasdair: ( No, we’re following the “don’t breach containment” mantra. ;) )
Kassil: :D
Kassil: Surely they’re all totally harmless and inert. ;)
Ananda: (If there was a glove-box setup, then I’d give it a try.)
Kassil: Well, then. Let’s see if we get the last two parts of the east wing out of the way next week.
Kassil: 170 CDP, for now.
Ananda: Yay, CDP.
Kassil: Ananda has plans for her CDP.
Alasdair: As do I
Kassil: Excellent.

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