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1034928 No. 1034928 ID: f57349

Yesterday you were nearly four hundred miles northeast of here, just outside the City of Needles. An ancient automaton, wise but wounded, broke through the floor of a windrider repair shop (on a hill outside of town, pictured) and sent you on a quest. Or, for those less interested in grand narratives, hired you to deliver a payload to a target. Apparently a big rock, up beyond the sky, is going to fall and kill approximately everyone, unless you reach it first and blow it up in just the right way.

Your advance payment included a set of three chainpods: swift, efficient, and versatile amphibious vehicles. Unfortunately they're designed to seat one person each, and there are six of you, so things have been a bit cramped... but even so, from Thaemor's capital to the mouth of Cerdyn's Pass in just one night! Conventional armies might count themselves lucky to march that route in less than a month. It's autumn, and you're barely a third of the way to the Light'ning Beanstalk, which isn't even the true destination so much as another bottleneck on your route, but such dizzying speed leaves you pondering the possibility of a victorious return before winter.

Up ahead, past the next switchback, there's the town of Hallux, stopover point for trade caravans (though it's late in the year to be busy with that now, snow and ice might block the pass before normal wagons made it through), plus a moderately famous apothecary and bathhouse fed by natural hot springs. Some of you have family there.
160 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1039846 ID: 3f01d5

rolled 10, 4, 13, 13, 1, 1, 16, 14, 15, 19, 2, 13, 7, 16, 3, 20, 5, 2, 13, 11 = 198

> Political jargon happen

It just makes Grundle's head hurt. He has not time nor utility to talk business nor politics with the rest of the party nor does he think he will have many useful ideas. Grundle is going to do a recovery roll while the politics jargon goes on as he rests for a moment to gather his thoughts.

> Mask jumps to adventure scouting mode

Heck yes! This is much more up Grundles ally. He is quick to jump along. No need for paint on your stick my friend I have this useful jar of paint that refills once a day we shall use this to mark our way and mark what we have visited! First things first. Grundle marks the spider room with a big x in the black paint about the size of his palm. Then he heads out looking for more supplies for the group. His pack is still pretty full on cyphers so he doesn't bother to try to look for more. He does think he might be able to find iotum in these rooms eventually though.

For now his main action is going to be "Sense Magic" in the rooms and hallways he enters with Mask and any other person who joins.

"Ay me comrade. You been adventuring for very long? This your first scruff? I had quite a few adventures myself when I was younger"

He is lying of course as he was mostly a medical man at heart and a bit too interested in the morgue when he wasn't skilled enough to help them but it's useful and helpful to get to know the others. Could save your skin down the line after all.
>>
No. 1039847 ID: 3f01d5

rolled 5 = 5

recovery roll! +1
>>
No. 1039859 ID: 3f01d5
File 165949466258.png - (898.06KB , 804x536 , counterintuitive.png )
1039859

rolled 20, 1, 10, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3, 5, 14, 15, 5, 10, 2, 16, 4, 12, 2, 1, 9 = 154

>>
No. 1039869 ID: f57349

>>1039794
>>1039780
Paprika runs down the mountainside for hours, with Natalina in pursuit, a zigzagging trail of nightmare-fire and space-splintered rock as they skip over switchbacks and shout impassioned arguments that are mostly lost to wind noise. On arrival back at the half-evacuated town, Paprika is incoherent with exhaustion and rage. Elanyah's bodyguard observes what appears to be a blatant assassination attempt against one of the parties engaged in negotiations, and with a flick of the wrist sends both sprinters plummeting together into the sky, like a falling star in reverse.

Natalina and Paprika pass through the Death Zone, lose consciousness, wake up two steps down the damage track in an unfamiliar environment, or possibly an exceptionally vivid shared dream. Both are weak and nauseous, probably wouldn't be able to stand unaided if not for the fact of also feeling light as a feather. Push off with the force of an ordinary footstep, takes five heartbeats before reaching the floor again.

First room: about fifteen or twenty meters wide, eight high. Roughly hexagram shaped, with six aneen-sized alcoves. Well, five alcoves, plus a door shaped like a giant gear. Four are empty, while the one directly opposite the door has a metallic statue bearing an uncanny resemblance to Milaconi Whose Mere Touch Can Heal Or Slay, at least based on Reiko's descriptions and artistic depictions. Ceiling has a dome or something eight meters in diameter, showing starry night sky and a solar eclipse.

Second room: gear shaped door has triangular windows with rounded corners and a glossy black panel in the center. Touching that causes it to roll aside, revealing an antiseptic-white hallway, curved like a corkscrew down and to the right, punctuated by curtains of oddly cohesive smoke or fog. Is it getting narrower, or are you growing larger? Pleasant tingling sensation where the swirling particles touch your skin. Overall condition improves from "debilitated" to "impaired" without costing a recovery roll. Head still feels like somebody tried to clean out your earwax with a pickaxe.

Third room: past the last smoke curtain and another gear-door. Fifteen meters wide, floor and ceiling about four meters apart, both dappled grey synth with protrusions shaped like mushrooms. Average is waist high, but there's a lot of variety, larger flat-topped type surrounded by clusters of smaller, rounder ones. Clear synth cylinders with a wide assortment of colorful contents - green slime, red pebbles, what might be puffed rice, etc. - all around the perimeter wall, and at the bases of some of the larger mushroom structures too. Previous two were oddly devoid of scent, but this one reeks like an alchemy lab, and something worse is up ahead.

Fourth room: Door is an inert panel on a simple spring-loaded hinge. Previous two might have been airtight, this clearly isn't. A Y-shaped path, bordered by canvas privacy screens attached to the floor and ceiling with elastic cords, divides the room into three sections, each about six meters high and wide. One has a lathe and other reasonably comprehensible machine tools, the next has snarls of plumbing focused around coffin-sized upright cylinders of pink ice, the last has... well, they might be chairs, or torture devices. Four of them, sized for humanoids about three meters tall. Two vacant, two occupied by mummified corpses.
One of the exits, between the lathe and the chairs, is crudely barricaded, while the other, between chairs and ice, is padded for soundproofing but opens easily.

Fifth room: through the soundproofed door, similar size and shape to the fourth, but everything is black velvet. Y-shaped path is a raised catwalk with chest-high handrails between pits in the floor. One has stacks of quilted fabric, another is packed full of hollow fist-sized synth spheres, the third is flooded with warm salty water. Both exits (besides the way you came in) are gear-doors without windows. One is already open, the other only acknowledges your touch with an angry honk.

Sixth room: by far the smallest, roughly a four-meter cube with no other apparent exits. Everything is gleaming polished metal. Dozens of baffling curvilinear fixtures, at least some of which seem to be trapped - first one you poke whips out a small razor on a mechanical arm which flails around for a few seconds before withdrawing.
>>
No. 1039880 ID: f57349

>>1039791
Reiko attempts to follow the pair back down the mountainside, but can't keep pace. Tayle the Chirurgeon is even further behind.

Reiko barges in on the preliminary negotiations, introduces herself with what seems like an appropriate degree of informality ("My full name is a killing word which the very spirits of the Datasphere dare not speak") and proposes:
-That the site of the former bathhouse be ceded to the King Under The Mountain, for use as an embassy
-That the Volcano Tamer installation be dismantled (she volunteers to do that part of the work herself)
-That components salvaged from the Volcano Tamer be used for embassy construction, as an initial symbolic step toward reparations
-That seismic stabilization services equivalent to the installation's benefits be provided by the King Under the Mountain as part of a mutual nonaggression pact
-That a Farspeaking Pylon be constructed for embassy use, at Tayle's expense apart from material known as Quantium, which the King Under The Mountain should provide

Elanyah asks what her employer would be receiving in exchange for that iotum. Reiko replies that if plans for the farspeaking pylon alone aren't enough (and, admittedly, she's still assembling / unpacking those, based on cross-reference of volcano tamer innards with chainpod dashboard navigation systems), they could deliver steel spiders or other salvage from under the Eye of the Sea - two live specimens are already captured and ready for transport.

Mia Xan asks where Tayle is supposed to be getting food, let alone wages, for the workers needed to build a suitable embassy, and what they could possibly use as fireproof building material if the nonaggression terms prohibit quarrying local bedrock - which Elanyah agrees they almost certainly will.

At that very moment, Eliznyabeth comes crashing in through the wall, having slightly misjudged safe stopping distance when the rear chainpods are overloaded and one of them doesn't have a working drive mechanism. She disembarks, shows her cousin the paperwork. Elanyah confirms that the King Under the Mountain has had past dealings with the First Bank of Ephremon, through intermediaries in Vebar beneath the Amorphous Fields, and so would accept it as proof of creditworthiness. Then Eliznyabeth explains that she's going to need help preserving three tons of meat before it spoils. Oh, and she also got a minor status update from the mysterious patron who sent them on this quest in the first place. Y'know, the one who claimed to be able to extrude vast quantities of shapestone from almost anywhere on the ground?

The smell of hours-old blood mixed with trampled tallgrass and the whir of machinery spinning down brings bad memories to the front of Reiko's mind. She's shaking slightly, staring at something beyond the horizon. Takes a step back and crosses her arms. Mia Xan, looking at her but not quite seeing, says "I suppose you're right, nothing more need be said. Sounds like a very solid plan."
> rolled 18, 14, 1
GM intrusion, traumatic flashback in this case means you're stunned for a few minutes and take ten points of intellect damage.
>>
No. 1039990 ID: e5709d

rolled 4 + 2 = 6

>>1039880
>Mia Xan: How will you deal with logistics?
"W-well, I happen to... erm... would they be interested? I don't know if they actually cover catering... I mean, if I remember correctly, House... erm... what did those business partners do again? Something... rocks? No, no, I think it was salt... and... no, no, wait, the cattle barons got pissed off at us... I think... and House Sparlow is definitely not going to work with us, those assholes tried to-"

>Eliznyabeth bursts through the wall.
"... Hot damn, I need to stick with you gals. You seem to have the *sniff* solu-urk?!"

>Trauma
As Reiko grows nauseous from the stench of big game, her vision swims in simple sparks of light waving into existence and then flickering out as their trails fade. Flashes of red interlace her vision. As she tries to concentrate, her hearing tunes out to the sound of a radio, as loud blaring explosions swarm around her. The visions are back.
"P-p-lease excuse me I nnneed to iron out my brain."
Reiko manages to stumble outside and somewhere near the town's entrance before collapsing into sobbing jitters, occasionally forcing herself to vomit as her stomach commits seppuku over and over.

After the PTSD episode, she walks to the local workshop. Playing with the tools there helps her mind calm down. (Recovery Roll, all to Intellect)
>>
No. 1039993 ID: 287555

rolled 14, 10, 2, 15, 7, 8, 9, 18, 11, 8, 1, 4, 15, 19, 7, 20, 8, 2, 5, 5 = 188

Natalina feels disoriented and confused, and her head and eye are throbbing again. Did they really run for... hours? It felt like a snap decision, but it just went on, like some kind of trance. If they were thrown, how did they end up indoors—that first room did have a dome of strong-glass or transparent synth, didn't it? The discontinuity only adds to the dreamlike quality of their current environment.

"I don't know about you, but I really need a rest after that."

Going to retrieve some of the quilted fabric from room 5, and then spend an hour resting with Paprika in the first room, applying the recovery roll to move back up the health track instead of recovering points.
>>
No. 1039994 ID: 287555

rolled 4 = 4

>>1039993
>>
No. 1040036 ID: 97a765

>>1039993
Paprika sits cross-legged next to Natalina on the quilts, scrawling out a rough map and notes with a furrowed brow and shaky hands. "I'm so sorry I got you into this mess. Wherever we are..."

>applying the recovery roll to move back up the health track instead of recovering points.
Same here, also giving Natalina 1XP for the GM intrusion.
>>
No. 1040037 ID: 97a765

rolled 1, 13, 19, 19, 2, 5, 1, 17, 4, 14, 11, 10, 6, 9, 19, 10, 4, 17, 2, 10 = 193

Forgot to roll
>>
No. 1040044 ID: f57349

>>1040037
You've got sticks of chalk and charcoal for sketching, but the parchment set aside for maps is... well, way too parched. So dry and brittle, it's like trying to write on a fried potato chip. Any leather bits in your clothes (boots, belt, etc) feel like they haven't been properly oiled in months, and so are similarly at risk of structural failure without reasonably prompt maintenance. You're also really, really thirsty, but your canteen's half-empty, and what's in there is mostly a solid block of ice.
>>
No. 1040080 ID: f57349

>>1039844
>>1039846
>>1039859
Saoirse, Mask, and Old Grundle, scouting out the relatively small rubble-choked room marked "x" on the map, dig up a set of six sinister hovering orbs, about half a meter in diameter - slightly larger than the steel spiders. Upon being released they bob up to head height like corks in a stream. Mask discovers that they can follow directions in the form of traditional whistles and hand gestures used for falconry: "go over there," "come back," "circle around looking for trouble," "kill what I'm pointing at" (unlike actual falcons, they're willing to attack rocks, intensifying that cherry-red beam they constantly emit until it drills straight through, but they don't seem to eat), "stop," "don't bite that person's face, they're a friend," and so on.

All three of them get 1 xp each for the discovery. Also found six shins and three units of parts.

Through the entrance numbered 11, no monowire webs are found within broom reach, but there are some thick coiling vines or cables up near the ceiling.

That first big room, southeast of point H, has four shinspinners (previously described here: >>1037851 ). Two of them are frantically working cranks on the spindly brass tripod holding up what looks like an enormous conch shell, pivoting it around so that the narrow end points toward you. A third races across catwalks four or five meters off the ground, apparently headed for a cluster of vines just above the entrance. Last one chitters and squeaks and jangles a ring of keys.

Potential GM intrusion: due to that nat 1 Santova rolled, key-wielding shinspinner seizes command of the hovering orbs, who immediately turn and make a coordinated attack on Mask.
>>
No. 1040099 ID: e5709d

rolled 3, 3, 4, 6, 16, 19, 1, 13, 14, 7, 6, 16, 2, 8, 10, 15, 10, 7, 18, 20 = 198

To Reiko's delight, a quick test reveals that the boost to her processing power means she no longer gets a headache when she uses her scan tool. She decides to scan the burnt-out husks of buildings and the beach for traces of iotum.

Then Reiko remembers she left Mia and Elanyah with someone who burst through a wall.
Reiko hurries back, though using one of her furs as a scarf mask may not be the best idea.
"Sorry about that. I can't be around rotting meat for too long."
Reiko has the nagging feeling she has forgotten something. Aside from fixing the chainpods, fixing her arm, 'fixing' the Volcano Tamer by deconstructing it into a million new embassy parts, fixing Paprika from her flaming fugue-
"Wait, where's Paprika?"
>>
No. 1040163 ID: 287555

rolled 9, 8, 14, 1, 20, 9, 17, 11, 6, 10, 10, 3, 1, 6, 6, 20, 9, 17, 12, 14 = 203

>>1040044
"Are you all right? You look worse than I feel."

>after an hour, back to hale
"This morning we faced fire, this afternoon snow and a sphere of water, and tonight... I'm not even sure how to describe this place." Natalina's going to start figuring out their surroundings. (I figure more exploration will follow, but might as well start with answering some questions about the first room).

Is the sky above the right sky? Does it contain the north star, any well known constellations, familiar moon(s), or whatever the equivalent of those things are in the ninth world? The duo are lacking the necessary tools to determine lat and long from the stars, but they can still make a quick reality check. Has the solar eclipse progressed over the course of an hour? (No looking directly at the sun, even eclipsed). If it's unchanged, that might mean that's an image rather than the live sky.

Not touching yet, but any indication the metallic statue is actually an automaton? Seams, joints, wear marks or scuff marks on it or its surroundings? Is it small enough to fit through the door to the spiral hallway?

Any sign of how they arrived in the room with the skylight? Is the dome above covered or sealed? Any seams or markings in the room that might indicate concealed doors to the outside?

Now that we're less out of it, maybe pay more attention to the "healing fog"? Does it have any noticeable effect besides the tingling sensation? If it does have medical properties, might be worth trying to collect some later, once we have containers for it.

Natalina's training in perception, detecting differences, and/or noticing flaws or strengths from Cultured is probably relevant to most of that, and the inability in understanding numenera to some of that. The arkus will take the time to apply Understanding to each thing she's examining.
>>
No. 1040168 ID: f57349

>>1040163
>Is the sky above the right sky? Does it contain the north star, any well known constellations, familiar moon(s), or whatever the equivalent of those things are in the ninth world?
It's the left sky. Familiar constellations around the horizon, most of which wouldn't normally be visible at this time of year, plus central sections that are never visible in the part of the world you're from.
>Has the solar eclipse progressed over the course of an hour?
It has, though not as far as you'd expect if time was passing at the usual rate and the sun and moon were still approximately the same apparent size.

There's another occlusion, like a dark egg, large and nearby enough you can triangulate it just by walking around to different parts of the room. If this was a barn sized for aneen, that shape would be in the hayloft directly above Milaconi's twin sister, large enough for another such pair of twins to hatch out of as full-grown adults, though perhaps not sufficient for triplets. Could probably get a better look at it if you lit a torch or glowglobe and/or climbed up there.

>any indication the metallic statue is actually an automaton? Seams, joints, wear marks or scuff marks on it or its surroundings?
Abundant signs, including a half-meter-wide hatch on top. Could easily enough pop the manual release and see what's inside. Looks like it was sitting there undisturbed for at least a couple hundred years before you arrived. Lots of activity in the baffling abyss of time before that, though. Wear marks and wall fixtures in the other four alcoves suggest they're each meant for another automata of similar size but significantly different body plan.
>Is it small enough to fit through the door to the spiral hallway?
Yes - past the first fog-screen, anyway. Beyond that it'd be an increasingly tight squeeze. You'd need more information about exact dimensions, range of motion on those joints, etc. to say for sure whether it could crawl all the way through to the barricaded or honking doors without demolition work.

> Does [the "healing fog"] have any noticeable effect besides the tingling sensation?
Primary function seems to be cleaning. It disintegrates plucked or cut hairs, but not those still rooted, even if the actual break point is still some distance away from the curtain. Interface panel in the wall nearby (inconveniently far above eye level) seems to be for calibration or supplementary effects. One such setting resharpens Paprika's sword. Not just grinding it like a whetstone, but actually adding new material, filling an old notch in one edge... plus scalpel-like extension to a fingernail on the hand that was holding it. Probably something on that menu could perform the necessary maintenance for your various leather goods, but the wrong setting might finish wrecking them, or do bad things to your actual flesh.
>If it does have medical properties, might be worth trying to collect some later, once we have containers for it.
Container would need to be something special, the stuff seems to either actively flee or go inert when scooped away from those arches set into the walls.
>>
No. 1040201 ID: 97a765

rolled 3, 13, 6, 3, 13, 6, 15, 2, 7, 18, 11, 20, 4, 19, 8, 14, 13, 4, 15, 5 = 199

>>1040044
Paprika crumbles her paper a bit in frustration, then lies face down on the quilts.

>"Are you all right? You look worse than I feel."
"Nn 'ink so." She says a few more words too muffled to comprehend.

>Hours rest
>"This morning we faced fire, this afternoon snow and a sphere of water, and tonight... I'm not even sure how to describe this place."
"It's been an eventful day! ...it's only been a day, right?"

>There's another occlusion, like a dark egg, large and nearby enough you can triangulate it just by walking around to different parts of the room ... Could probably get a better look at it if you lit a torch or glowglobe and/or climbed up there.
Paprika will climb up and get a closer look. "Could you hand me a torch, Nat?"

>metallic statue
>half-meter-wide hatch on top
Since she's already climbing around all over this room, Paprika will get up there and pop open the hatch.

>One such setting resharpens Paprika's sword.
Paprika will test the sharpness on some of her dried parchment.

>interface panel
Can we mess with the settings without standing in the fog, then experiment by throwing various materials through?

>Primary function seems to be cleaning.
"Ahh...hey I need a moment." Paprika will take the time to fireproof her belongings again once they're done experimenting in room 2.

In the first room, Paprika will use her charcoal to scribble a map on the floor, leaving a few black handprints here and there. In addition to the areas they've explored, she'll take notes on what the different settings on the interface panel in room 2 do.

She'll also take a closer look at those mushrooms in room 3, as well as the synth tanks. Are there any more interface panels in this room she can play with?
>>
No. 1040203 ID: 287555

rolled 5, 9, 20, 6, 8, 7, 1, 4, 6, 11, 3, 15, 5, 6, 11, 7, 13, 20, 8, 7 = 172

>Familiar constellations around the horizon, most of which wouldn't normally be visible at this time of year, plus central sections that are never visible in the part of the world you're from.
"Far from home... but at least not somewhere stranger."

>Not just grinding it like a whetstone, but actually adding new material, filling an old notch in one edge... plus scalpel-like extension to a fingernail on the hand that was holding it.
"Ah, excellent, we've discovered where we can get our nails done. That's one necessity taken care of then!" Natalina jokes. (She's not going to stick her family blade in their right now, though).

>Interface panel in the wall nearby (inconveniently far above eye level) seems to be for calibration or supplementary effects.
>Probably something on that menu could perform the necessary maintenance for your various leather goods, but the wrong setting might finish wrecking them, or do bad things to your actual flesh.
>Can we mess with the settings without standing in the fog, then experiment by throwing various materials through?
Perhaps we should save further experimentation until after we locate a stool or ladder, or some other means of getting a good look at the control panel? If we accidentally change the settings to something harmful (say, changing what the fog disintegrates) that could leave us trapped on one side.

>Paprika will climb up and get a closer look. "Could you hand me a torch, Nat?"
Natalina will pass Paprika a torch from the explorer's pack the glaive left on the ground when she started climbing.

>She'll also take a closer look at those mushrooms in room 3, as well as the synth tanks.
Natalina will join in examining the equipment in the third room (after Paprika is done climbing around the first room). If it's some kind of laboratory or storage, it might be a source of edible food or other useful materials we have in short supply. (Once again, training, Understanding and potentially an inability apply, and maybe teamwork?) Identifying the stuff in the synth containers, especially.
>>
No. 1040231 ID: f57349

>>1040201
>>1040203
>Paprika will climb up and get a closer look. "Could you hand me a torch, Nat?"
Between low gravity and abundant handholds, climbing up is easy enough. Most of it is solid metal, but the top surface of the rim just below the "dome" seems to be padded with a ridged pattern of soft synth. Raise the torch more than a handspan above that level, flame goes out - not flickering from a strong wind, but almost instantly, as if you'd shoved it through thin ice into a lake. Pull back and it reignites.

Natalina, down below, got a better look at the "dark egg." Flat surface rather than curved, bulky hinge mechanism at the bottom.

> If we accidentally change the settings to something harmful (say, changing what the fog disintegrates) that could leave us trapped on one side.
It seems to revert to default settings if left alone for a few minutes.

>She'll also take a closer look at those mushrooms in room 3,
Rather than spores, the gills under the cap seem to serve more like the gills of a fish, for gas exchange. Smoke from the torch gets visibly slurped into one of them.
>Are there any more interface panels in this room she can play with?
Nothing fancy.
>as well as the synth tanks.
Simple enough mechanism. Met an aeon priest once using something similar to train rats. Tricky part is figuring out what you'll be getting.

Each cylinder has a pattern of raised bumps and ridges, nearly invisible from a distance or in bad light but possible to read by touch. Most of them are focused around a geometric diagram, paired with simplified heraldic images of animals, plants, and/or monsters. Diagram section includes no long curved lines, only straight segments between tiny symbols (lots of repetition among those, possibly single letters from an unfamiliar alphabet) at well defined points, which, along with the overall circular layout of the room and night-sky dome nearby, suggests a code based on astrology... but what depraved prior-world madman would split up the zodiac into nearly a thousand segments and try to keep track of separate symbolism for each of them? Oddly high proportion of perfect pentagons and hexagons, too, where you'd expect naturally visible stars to occur at less convenient angles. Also, some of the lines are doubled or even tripled, and others are actually long narrow solid triangles.

First container you checked is labeled with a stylized ear of maize, and a constellation that looks somewhat like a pentagonal sea turtle being stabbed in the armpit. Green slime inside turns out to be dense, viscous, sticky, almost painfully sweet, but can at least loosely approximate proper food. http://www.thecodelesscode.com/case/155 No obvious signs of acute toxicity, though eating a whole bowlful at once (the dispenser mechanism squirts it out in globs of uniform size, about a quarter-kilogram each) leaves you jittery, manic, and mildly nauseous.
>>
No. 1040232 ID: 3f01d5

rolled 15, 6, 12, 13, 2, 17, 2, 19, 5, 14, 6, 20, 3, 17, 6, 9, 10, 12, 17, 5 = 210

>>1040080
Mask is pretty thrilled at the discovery of the laser falcons- and equally torn when they turn at the appearance of the shinspinners. Their mind races- I have to avoid death by automaton, but they can fly, potentially faster than I can run. That means we have to hope we can turn them off. The key ring the shinspinners have? Looks like if I rush them, they'll spring a trap, so I can't go in. Have to get them to come to me. Block off the entrance, get them to rush forward? Fire, maybe?

"Warlock! Can you peer into their minds? I'm going to try and draw them towards us, but they'll likely scatter! Capture if you can, heavy gloves, grab and pacify! I don't relish the thought of killing scared animals trying to keep their dens safe, and they're like to be less of a threat out in the open, so long as we keep our wits. Who knows, they might even be tamable!"

>>1037575
>As for equipment, only thing I really want that's not on the list yet is wine and oil. Seems like the kind of things that might come in handy in a dangerous place.

As per this post, Mask should have some oil- going to chuck it at the ground behind the shinspinners and then aim to strike a blow on the electrical cables with my lucerne hammer. Goal is to create a shower of sparks that ignites the oil, cutting off the obvious escape route and hopefully pushing the creatures out of the tunnels towards us, or at least panicking them enough to disrupt whatever their plan of attack is. They probably have some sort of secret tunnels, but if I can flush them into the open...

Applying a level of speed effort since that seems applicable when accuracy and reaction speed are the most important parts here. Medium armor only increases that by 1 instead of 2, thanks to armor training, and speed edge 1 reduces that back down to 0, so it should cost 3 points flat, putting pool totals at 8/13m, 9/12s, 9/9i

Bookkeeping wise, I'm accepting the GM incursion and gifting 1xp to Eliznyabeth. I'm going to spend 4xp to increase might edge to 2. That should put Mask at 5 remaining xp, out of 9 total earned.
>>
No. 1040243 ID: f57349

>>1040201
>Since she's already climbing around all over this room, Paprika will get up there and pop open the hatch.
>rolled 3
>rolled 5
>inability at understanding numenera
Space for a human to climb inside, and extensive controls... which are mostly unresponsive. Maybe some core system is broken or depleted, or maybe you just can't figure out how to unlatch the parking brake. Further attempts are possible but will require at least one level of Intellect effort.
>>
No. 1040263 ID: e5709d

rolled 12, 12, 4, 18, 4, 2, 1, 8, 7, 16, 5, 12, 20, 11, 17, 8, 6, 16, 1, 17 = 197

After negotiations are finalized, the meat is properly seasoned and stored, and Eliznyabeth is sufficiently distracted from renovating new porches, Reiko decides to fix her arm with the local workshop. (Intellect, 1 Effort)
>>
No. 1040274 ID: 287555

rolled 12, 20, 14, 11, 8, 3, 9, 6, 2, 1, 13, 18, 10, 17, 12, 18, 11, 20, 9, 6 = 220

>Raise the torch more than a handspan above that level, flame goes out - not flickering from a strong wind, but almost instantly, as if you'd shoved it through thin ice into a lake. Pull back and it reignites.
Natalina gulps. "I... don't think there's any air up there."

>No obvious signs of acute toxicity, though eating a whole bowlful at once (the dispenser mechanism squirts it out in globs of uniform size, about a quarter-kilogram each) leaves you jittery, manic, and mildly nauseous.
"Ugh. Well that was hardly pleasant, but at least we're not going to starve anytime soon. I'll have to work to translate these markings later, try to identify what ingredients are safe." Judging by the height of the control panel, whatever previous world-er built this place wasn't human, so not everything dispensed in this kitchen of cafeteria may be safe to consume. Hopefully they can figure out better meals than blobs of corn-sugar-goo.

Next up... let's check room 4. How or with what was the blocked door barricaded with? Does it look like there was an attempt to force the door from the other side? Does the barricaded door have window? Not clearing the barricade yet- whoever did this had reason to do so, and either left by other means... or is those corpses nearby.

Examining the tools: are they in useable condition or suffering from rust and a lack of maintenance? Are they sized for human hands? Scavenging a set of portable tools might be a good idea.

After that, let's examine the plumbing. Anything inside the pink ice? Any sign of controls or valves? Does the equipment appear damaged?

Still applying Understanding on each task one by one, and training hasn't changed.
>>
No. 1040304 ID: f57349

>>1040263
All five points of inorganic damage are successfully repaired, at the cost of one unit of parts.
>>
No. 1040321 ID: f57349
File 165993097006.png - (556.62KB , 1053x561 , Steel Angel.png )
1040321

>>1040274
>After that, let's examine the plumbing. Anything inside the pink ice? Any sign of controls or valves? Does the equipment appear damaged?
>rolled 14
Thinking back to some of Reiko's rants about tumor rationing, you realize it's a bioreactor - sort of basic workshop for modifications to living flesh - which has been frozen to minimize maintenance needs during long-term disuse. No obvious damage, though it's hard to be sure when you've never seen one before. To check for subtler problems you'd presumably need to thaw it out, start it up, run a test project, and compare results to some known-good baseline.

>Examining the tools: are they in useable condition or suffering from rust and a lack of maintenance? Are they sized for human hands? Scavenging a set of portable tools might be a good idea.
>rolled 20
Lathe works fine. Handgrips are awkwardly oversized, but not unmanageable - reminiscent of the chainpod controls, actually. Feels almost like you're a little kid again, messing around in the kitchen. Ten minutes and 200 lb of raw materials later you've built yourself a stepladder and satisfactory set of portable crafting tools.

>How or with what was the blocked door barricaded with? Does it look like there was an attempt to force the door from the other side? Does the barricaded door have window?
>rolled 12
Thin, flexible sheet of clear synth (same sort of bag you could buy for two shins at almost any marketplace back in the Steadfast, but cut open and spread out flat), held at the corners by hand-sized diagonal strips of bright pink adhesive synth, sealed around the edges with a trail of lumpy golden-brown stuff that's somewhere between wood, fungus, and extremely stale pastry, then backed up by a stack of heavy barrels and crates which are in turn strapped down with more pink tape.
Don't seem to have been any serious attempts to force through - based on accounts of your family's history, damage from a failed siege leaves patterns of successive disruption and reinforcement or refinement, like waves, tides, and storms on the shore, while this looks more like it was laid down all in one go.
If there's a window near the middle of the door, you can't reach it without moving the crates. Some gaps around the edges might be possible to peek through, but you're not sure if they're blocked by something or it's just really dark on the other side.
A flickering light says that "the shelter-in-place order has not yet..."
>rolled 11
Oh, crap, something snuck up behind you! Looks like the bastard spawn of forbidden romance between a steel spider and some fancy footstool or end-table.
>>
No. 1040358 ID: f57349

>>1040201
>pop the hatch
>I'm fine with spending intellect, though my pool's not huge to begin with
Climbing inside, Paprika can't quite figure out how to get the five-meter-tall machine actually moving, but manages to persuade a viewscreen to light up. It fills the pilot's field of view, showing immediate surroundings clear as day, but luridly color-shifted and with cryptic annotations. More and more detail emerges wherever focus lingers for more than a moment. Wires behind the walls, Natalina's heart beating inside her chest.
Through the dome on the ceiling... it's not a dome. That distant disc eclipsing the sun, isn't the moon.
You can see the Clock of Kala, the Black Riage, Cerdyn's Pass. The Eye of the Sea is like a tiny chip of sapphire on a dark rugged face peeking out between underbrush, cheekbone to the north still blushing with volcanic heat.

It would seem you traveled here in a straight line.
>>
No. 1040413 ID: 97a765

rolled 16, 11, 11, 19, 19, 18, 10, 16, 18, 19, 14, 7, 11, 8, 8, 14, 5, 18, 6, 19 = 267

Well...I'll leave the mech for now.

>Natalina, down below, got a better look at the "dark egg." Flat surface rather than curved, bulky hinge mechanism at the bottom.
And it's outside the pressurized area of the room? Paprika can't reach it with her spear can she?

>"Ah, excellent, we've discovered where we can get our nails done. That's one necessity taken care of then!"
Paprika's sunny disposition starts to return. "Oh and I love the look. You think we can figure out how to make it do the rest of our fingers?"

>It would seem you traveled here in a straight line.
>Natalina gulps. "I... don't think there's any air up there."
"I think it's a good bet that's where we came in." Paprika twirls as she drops back down to the floor, "Well Nat, it looks like we're really lucky to be alive!"

>Rather than spores, the gills under the cap seem to serve more like the gills of a fish, for gas exchange. Smoke from the torch gets visibly slurped into one of them.
What happens if Paprika jabs one with her sword?

>"Ugh. Well that was hardly pleasant, but at least we're not going to starve anytime soon ..."
"I was a little worried we'd have to eat the dead aliens, so this is a relief."

>"... I'll have to work to translate these markings later, try to identify what ingredients are safe."
>Ten minutes and 200 lb of raw materials later you've built yourself a stepladder and satisfactory set of portable crafting tools.
Paprika marvels at how quickly Natalina is picking all this up. "I'll try to help however I can. Soairse was kinda the brains of our operation."

Paprika decides to start up a conversation while Natalina is working. "So back on...the ground, you said something about eel men? Your family history sounds really interesting."

>investigating the barricade
>Oh, crap, something snuck up behind you!
Paprika's hair ribbon shrivels into ash when she activates her halo, and her long waist-length locks escape their braids and float and billow, lighter than air, glowing white hot and leaving thin purple streaks across the vision. "Hold it!" She moves between Natalina and the spider, gripping her spear, and waits for it to make an aggressive move before she strikes.
>>
No. 1040415 ID: 287555

rolled 14, 7, 18, 12, 13, 17, 17, 9, 12, 19, 11, 14, 8, 16, 5, 16, 14, 3, 1, 7 = 233

>Thin, flexible sheet of clear synth (same sort of bag you could buy for two shins at almost any marketplace back in the Steadfast, but cut open and spread out flat), held at the corners by hand-sized diagonal strips of bright pink adhesive synth, sealed around the edges with a trail of lumpy golden-brown stuff that's somewhere between wood, fungus, and extremely stale pastry
An attempt to create an air-tight seal? Whoever put that up might have been concerned about disease, or gas, or... a lack of air on the other side.

>Oh, crap, something snuck up behind you! Looks like the bastard spawn of forbidden romance between a steel spider and some fancy footstool or end-table.
>A flickering light says that "the shelter-in-place order has not yet..."
From behind the suddenly-glowing Paprika, Natalina will attempt communication- if the machine is transmitting, perhaps it can be reasoned with... and hopefully not trigger a blinding headache? She'll try flashing reflected Paprika-light (she's now the brightest thing in the room) in a quick request for identification and intent. Short and to the point, since human-hand semaphore is comparatively slow.

No time for Understanding, but maybe training in Persuasion applies.
>>
No. 1040418 ID: f57349

>>1040413
>Paprika can't reach it with her spear can she?
Could easily enough reach out and touch the lower quarter, maybe third or so, with one end of the spear, while keeping hands and head safely inside the region where fire can burn normally. Feels like hard metal, mostly smooth. Could plausibly be the same stuff as the walls and floor, maybe with a different paint job and/or in odd light...
>trained in all tasks involving physical performing arts
...except that tapping on it is quieter than expected. Good solid whack which ought to have set it ringing like a gong is barely audible, even with one ear pressed right up against the ceiling below the hinge. That sound persists pretty well once you can hear it at all, though, so there can't just be some squishy thing on the opposite side muffling the drumhead.
>What happens if Paprika jabs one [of the mushroom gills] with her sword?
A flake of pale, slightly porous synth, about the right size and shape to use as notepaper, snaps off somewhere inside, then falls out like a loose tooth. Mildly annoying intermittent whistling noise from the thin gap where it was.

>Paprika's hair ribbon shrivels into ash when she activates her halo, and her long waist-length locks escape their braids and float and billow, lighter than air, glowing white hot and leaving thin purple streaks across the vision. "Hold it!" She moves between Natalina and the spider,
It holds perfectly still for three tenths of a second. Then the current room's lights abruptly shut off (dispenser-tube room is still lit, can't be sure about the black velvet room at a glance since it was dim already) and spiderbutler vomits a stream of icy froth at both of you.
>rolled 16, 11
Paprika easily dodges the initial jet. Then, rather than splashing against the wall behind her, the froth slows in midair, spreads out, and coheres into a swarm of white butterflies... or perhaps it would be more correct to call them moths, since they actively seek out fire. At point-blank range, with clutter limiting space in which to dance and a continuous spray from the original source still coming, she can't quite escape them all. Six Might damage from hypothermia, reduced to 5 by armor.
>rolled 14, 7
Natalina also manages to evade the direct spray, thanks in part to being slightly further away and Paprika providing cover. Fluttering follow-up extinguishes the torch she was carrying, from which ice-moth residue drips down onto her hand for two Might damage, reduced to 1 by armor.

>>1040415
>request for identification and intent
>rolled 18
Rather than a name, the mechanical end-table replies with a hierarchical title (hard to translate across cultural contexts, maybe somewhere between "bosun" and "abbot"), seniority in units of 1.008*10^-8 of a sidereal day (total value given is within an order of magnitude of your own age, not sure of much beyond that without taking a few more moments to think), and some sort of training certification from a trade guild you've never heard of. Seems to be trying to establish chain of command for purposes of dealing with an emergency.
>>
No. 1040422 ID: 97a765

rolled 2, 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 1, 1, 4, 17, 18, 12, 12, 4, 20, 4, 7, 1, 5, 14 = 146

>>1040418
>spiderbutler vomits a stream of icy froth at both of you.
Paprika will try to scrap the spiderbutler. Might effort for extra hit chance.
>>
No. 1040449 ID: e5709d

rolled 2, 9, 9, 17, 4, 8, 18, 4, 16, 8, 4, 5, 5, 12, 17, 14, 2, 18, 8, 8 = 188

With negotiations steady at the moment, Reiko uses her spare time to craft another temperamental cypher.
>>
No. 1040450 ID: 287555

rolled 19, 19, 7, 17, 8, 11, 2, 3, 12, 7, 8, 16, 10, 2, 6, 20, 2, 3, 12, 14 = 198

"Ah!" Natalina winces, dropping the now-inert torch. "...fire suppression response?"

>Seems to be trying to establish chain of command for purposes of dealing with an emergency.
First responder protocols? Assume one is the highest ranked survivor until one encounters a superior.

Natalina draws herself to her full (not great) height, glaring with indignation at the fire-fighting sub-abbot. "I speak with the authority of generations of leaders, and- with the deputized authority of the space rock defense force!" The arkus calls out as she begins signaling a similar (more concise) light-missive, attempting to assert a higher hierarchal rank, hopefully before Paprika risks shutting off their remaining light source to avoid further heat-seeking ice-moths missiles. "Stand down!"
>>
No. 1040451 ID: f57349

>>1040449
Level 1 gravity-nullifying spray. You can permanently reduce a single nonliving object's weight by 50 lb, with a minimum of zero in most cases. If the target is of sufficiently homogenous composition, could be used to produce as much as 60 shins worth of floatstone, though you'd then need some way to hold it down or it would drift off into the sky.

Applying the spray to a block of wax which was then molded into candles, or glass or clay to be shaped into small containers, would let you portion it out to send several smaller "message in a bottle" packages to Paprika and Natalina, wherever they ended up, simply by "dropping" from the point where they were launched. However, absent an actual guidance system or some other clever trick to correct for variability in high-altitude winds, having the package end up close enough for them to actually find it would be subject to the same challenges as making a ranged attack against a distant, invisible target.
>>
No. 1040454 ID: f57349

>>1040422
>scrap the spiderbutler
>rolled 2
Low gravity throws off footwork, so that what was intended as a step forward and thrust to a vulnerable-looking spot becomes a hop into the air and awkward overhead swing which it barely even needs to dodge.
>rolled 8, 6, 4, 2
Paprika gets hit again, five more damage.
>>1040450
"Ackn. With regard to maneuvers necessary for avoidance of high-velocity impact, you have precedence. For ongoing damage control in this area, I have precedence. Please instruct your subordinate to stop panicking and,"
There is a noticeable gap but no 'message ends' designation.
"emitting flammable gas? Or otherwise being on fire."
>>
No. 1040482 ID: 97a765

rolled 3, 11, 20, 1, 5, 18, 17, 18, 1, 11, 20, 6, 8, 2, 19, 15, 3, 2, 1, 5 = 186

>>1040454
Paprika halts her clumsy assault but she doesn't drop her shroud. "What? Tell it to turn the lights back on first."
>>
No. 1040483 ID: e5709d

rolled 16, 12, 7, 2, 16, 14, 6, 13, 1, 6, 16, 4, 14, 11, 9, 12, 17, 9, 19, 17 = 221

With the negotiations finished and Reiko's new toy spray complete, Reiko addresses Eliznyabeth, Elanyah, and her bodyguard.
"Where are Paprika and Natalina? I was busy chasing them and they went straight for you. We need to make sure they're safe."
>>
No. 1040499 ID: aa8cad

rolled 8, 15, 16, 14, 14, 3, 5, 4, 12, 20, 10, 18, 16, 8, 16, 2, 2, 4, 6, 15 = 208

>>1040413
>"I think it's a good bet that's where we came in." Paprika twirls as she drops back down to the floor, "Well Nat, it looks like we're really lucky to be alive!"
"Even if the... skylight is open above, something must have caught us." The arkus replies with a small frown. "We would have been much worse for the wear 'falling' to this floor at speed."

Could the mystery egg/hatch be/include/provide some manner of net or capture mechanism (perhaps invisibly, like the helm Reiko constructed)? That might make sense if machines like the augmech they found are meant to disembark from and return to this room.

>Paprika decides to start up a conversation while Natalina is working. "So back on...the ground, you said something about eel men? Your family history sounds really interesting."
Natalina visibly brightens at the invitation to speak on one of her favorite topics. "Oh, they are." The next ten minutes are filled with energetic and romanticized rambling on tales of past exceptionalism, heroism, and honor. "The eelfolk were part of a trade agreement, oh, two centuries back? 'Reverse honey' was involved, though surviving records aren't clear on what that was and I haven't been able to find the waterway named in the route on modern maps." She muses as she pulls a completed hammer off the lathe.

" ...of course we haven't held a position of nobility since great-grandfather's time." Natalina sighs. "My parents are merchants. And, ah," she makes a wordless noise of frustration. "I just want the world to see what we can do again."

>>1040454
"Paprika, the uh, firefighting automaton, whishes for you to stop being on fire.

"Are you all right? You took the brunt of that."
>>
No. 1040614 ID: f57349

>>1040482
Jet of foam sputters to a stop, then the automaton half-kneels and rams its rounded head into Paprika's solar plexus, hard enough to knock the wind out of her and send her flying into an adjacent room. She bounces off a black velvet wall and lands in warm, chest-deep water.
XP from the GM intrusion, and impaired due to Might zero. Could climb out of the pool and keep doing things, but spiderbutler doesn't seem to be making further aggressive moves, and you're shivering uncontrollably, so to lay back and relax in the hot tub for at least an hour also feels like an option worth considering.
>>
No. 1040621 ID: 287555

rolled 8, 16, 15, 7, 16, 20, 15, 15, 15, 18, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 4, 5, 1, 17, 20 = 245

After checking if Paprika is all right (a little more frantically than previously posted), and assuming the spider-abbot is willing to cease hostilities while the glaive doses her corona, Natalina has questions for their... host? She'll translate the conversation for Paprika's benefit, and any questions she has to add, as well.

> I'm sorry I should have asked this sooner, how many colors and polarizations can you distinguish?
If Natalina managed to talk Reiko or Grundlehaven into providing a mechanical description of the limitations of the human eyeball to Elanya, the blonde is going to do her best to restate that information before asking additional questions, and hopefully avoid a second laser-induced information-overload migraine.

-Do they speak the Truth, or any other languages? (That is, uh, Truth the language, usually conveyed using sonic vibrations, not the veracity of statements). Her subordinate doesn't speak Light, and her own translation module will need to recharge eventually.
-What information can they share about the nature and extent of the current emergency?
-This isn't our normal operational area. Can they describe the purpose or use of these rooms, or provide a map? (Chambers devoted to providing safe shelter or amenities for sustaining organic life are of particular interest to us, for obvious reasons).
-Do they know the route to the beanstalk—the structure connecting this location to the planetary surface? Or to vehicles capable of reaching the surface?
-Are there any important rules relating to this sector we should know?

And of course, the pertinent quest:
>In essence, I am looking to hire a courier. Across the Black Riage, halfway to the Clock of Kala, you'll find the Light'ning Beanstalk, where it is said - though this was before my time, so I cannot vouch for the historicity of the account - Jack the First stole nitrogen-fixing bacteria from a giant whose castle was built above the clouds. That castle's ruins are still present, or some structure which could reasonably be mistaken for them. A ship may be docked there which can take you the rest of the way, or if not, materials to build one."
-Forecasting has predicted an extremely large, high velocity-impact will occur in the next several decades if it is not intercepted in advance. Are they aware of a ship docked here, or the location of ship-fabrication facilities?
>>
No. 1040643 ID: 97a765

rolled 11, 3, 16, 7, 17, 16, 10, 19, 16, 12, 10, 6, 7, 5, 2, 3, 3, 9, 4, 6 = 182

>"I just want the world to see what we can do again."
"Well I think you'll be the one to show them. Have any plans for your castle?"

>encounter
>"Are you all right? You took the brunt of that."
Now that the excitement of combat has died down a bit, Paprika almost-whispers in a shuddery voice, "I think so. One of those blankets would be- OOF!"

>the automaton half-kneels and rams its rounded head into Paprika's solar plexus, hard enough to knock the wind out of her and send her flying into an adjacent room.
>checking if Paprika is all right (a little more frantically than previously posted)
>you're shivering uncontrollably, so to lay back and relax in the hot tub for at least an hour also feels like an option worth considering.

Paprika surfaces pale and bedraggled, with her ego perhaps even more injured than her body. When she's finally able to speak, she says in maybe the most pathetic voice Natalina's ever heard, "I'm going to stay here and float for a little while if that's okay."

>She'll translate the conversation for Paprika's benefit, and any questions she has to add, as well.
Paprika will ask if there's a way to communicate with their friends below.
>>
No. 1040650 ID: aa8cad

>>1040643
> Paprika surfaces pale and bedraggled, with her ego perhaps even more injured than her body. When she's finally able to speak, she says in maybe the most pathetic voice Natalina's ever heard, "I'm going to stay here and float for a little while if that's okay."
Natalina will delicately sit down on the catwalk besides the pool during the discussion, and offer Paprika her hand (her right, with her left still being used to communicate in reflected-light-semaphore as needed).
>>
No. 1040727 ID: 131daa

rolled 6, 10, 9, 8, 20, 3, 7, 12, 9, 18, 20, 4, 19, 18, 16, 3, 8, 19, 10, 5 = 224

Eliznyabeth, for her part, was perhaps showing more generosity that was entirely wise. She similarly had indulged more on 'samples' of the meat in the curing process than was perhaps wise, having reasoned that whatever she would take from it in such small doses would be insignificant next to the about 6,000 pounds she brought in and also that she was the one who hunted it.

That was an accurate assumption, but the fact that she was laid out on a couch with a stomach ache from having eaten almost 5 pounds of meat in a single sitting is a testament to the folly of her hubris.

"Yeah, go ahead and take the money and just pay off whatever debts the town has and give them the rest to pay for that plan they have, it's not like I'm actually using it for anything else." She would say, handing off the check of credit to the Elenyah.

>>1040483
"Oh, fuck, people are missing?"
>>
No. 1040882 ID: 3f01d5

rolled 15, 2, 13, 2, 16, 6, 1, 17, 8, 2, 16, 20, 5, 6, 12, 7, 4, 6, 15, 8 = 181

> Warlock can you help with the shinspinners

Oh can he? Presumed unsentient spider beasts the lot of them and one just so happens to have the keys we will likely be needin to get some progress going.

"Warlock...*mumbles grumbles* not much use carin about things trying to kill ya if I have my say of things!"

Mumbling grumbling moaning and groaning Grundle probably makes too big of a fuss over monster sympathisers but non the less pulls out his WEB DETONATION CYPHER. He either runs into the group and has it detonate or throws it and had it dedonate depending on the physical limitations of the cyper. im assuming by owning it he would know it

"Also no use in trying to control em. Not sapient as far as i know. Me magic aint limitless"

Grundle does however try to use Hedge Magic (-1 intellect) to yoink those keys away from the one of em.
>>
No. 1040929 ID: f57349

The PCs are currently split up into three groups:

Reiko, Eliznyabeth, the chainpods, Elanyah and her mobile embassy, Mia Xan the diplomat, and at least fifty locals are back down in the half-ruined town of Hallux, preserving meat for longer-term storage and hammering out the rough draft of a treaty with the King Under the Mountain. Literally hammering - official copies need to be engraved in wolframite tablets with sapphire and refractory synth inlay, to stay legible while immersed in molten rock. Elanyah has broad authority to negotiate on her employer's behalf, but that's at least partly because the sublithene lacks a long-range comm system, so distant micromanagement is impossible. Such a treaty can't really be considered final until it's been seen and read, and ideally given some formal endorsement, by the actual magma-dwelling leaders.

If all continues to go well, most of the haggling over trade concessions and border definitions and so on should be settled, and quantium sufficient for construction of the farspeaking pylon delivered, in four or five weeks. Then it might take a few more weeks to build.
>>
No. 1040930 ID: f57349

Saoirse, "Old" Grundlehaven Havespont, "Mask," and a ring of six recently-unearthed sinister hovering orbs are raiding the shinspinner nest under the Eye of the Sea. (That's 15 miles away from Hallux as the xi-drake flies - uphill is a hard all-day trip for a normal person with a full backpack or aneen-drawn wagon, or half an hour by chainpod. Downhill on foot was recently shown to be possible inside three hours for someone agile, lightly laden, and intensely motivated). One of the shinspinners has a key ring which prompted the orbs to switch sides, while others are rushing to activate traps and an emplaced artillery piece, so that's likely to be either a tough fight or a hasty retreat. They're currently the furthest back on the timeline, mid-afternoon.

Aram the Stablemaster and Tayle the Chirurgeon are also nearby, along with about twenty other locals and two aneen - one still hitched to a wagon, the other a dwarf albino known as "whitesides" who follows Aram everywhere. They're mostly busy recovering from the hike or making preparations for other incoming refugees, not directly participating in dungeon exploration.

>>1040232
"Mask" sprints all the way to the far side of the room by applying speed effort to fleet of foot, then splashes foul-smelling oil in a thick perpendicular line which ends at a sparking rat's-nest of copper wire. Dodges between most of the gazer beams, aided by distance. Armor feels uncomfortably warm in a few spots but no damage penetrates.
Moments later, oil ignites and roaring flames fill the room's northwest exit, blocking off direct route toward point H. Only apparent path for shinspinners to flee now is by leaving the way you came in... but they don't seem very interested in retreat just yet.

>>1040882
>web detonation cypher
>rolled 15
Entire set of orbs are stuck, as is the shinspinner holding the keys. Acrid fumes rise where angry red light touches gluey strands, but it'll definitely hold for at least a few minutes (better than some rocks managed!), and more importantly the orbs can't pivot far enough to focus beams in the right spots for an efficient escape.
>Hedge Magic to yoink
>rolled 2
Unfortunately that means the keyring is also firmly glued to the floor.

Saoirse flicks a series of razor-sharp playing cards at the shinspinner overhead, delaying it and inflicting injury while "Mask's" pet lizard climbs up to intercept.

Conch cannon extrudes a toroidal ring of curdled light which becomes narrower and brighter as it glides through the air, from dull smoky orange to yellowish-green to a searing azure that briefly reveals bone structure inside whichever hand is instinctively raised to shield eyes. At the point where it stops, a thunderclap. Everything within a three meter radius takes 8 damage before armor. Mask and the lizard are out of the AoE, but that includes Grundle and Saoirse unless they manage a level 5 speed defense task. Loose items across the whole room are briefly tugged toward the blast.
>>
No. 1040931 ID: f57349

Paprika and Natalina are tens of thousands of miles up beyond the sky, and a comparatively trifling distance to the northeast, at the local equivalent of a hotel.

>This isn't our normal operational area. Can they describe the purpose or use of these rooms, or provide a map? (Chambers devoted to providing safe shelter or amenities for sustaining organic life are of particular interest to us, for obvious reasons).
Yes, this is a flesh shelter. Rated life support capacity divided by baseline human requirements is ten, but redundancies and stockpiles mean that under crisis conditions, a thousand could be crammed in for two or three weeks with reasonable expectation the vast majority would survive, or a hundred for at least a year.

Parking garage, decontamination spiral, refreshment dispensers, business center, rest area, toilets, storage vault. Business center's topstation-interior-access door is currently barricaded due to the shelter-in-place order.

>Do they speak the Truth, or any other languages? (That is, uh, Truth the language, usually conveyed using sonic vibrations, not the veracity of statements). Her subordinate doesn't speak Light, and her own translation module will need to recharge eventually.
No direct familiarity with Truth, but recognizes some loan-words from Classical Uxphonese. Could spend 2xp to say you happen to already know Uxphonese, in which case you'll be able to converse normally - and in the actual city of Uxphon too of course, on the off chance you ever go there. (It's a rank 4 community, built in and around a canyon tangled with ancient plumbing, on the side of the Black Riage facing the Cloudcrystal Skyfields. Several hundred miles north of Cerdyn's Pass, past Legrash or the Amber Monolith, halfway to Gaian territory.) Alternatively, could spend a month learning the basics at no XP cost, in between some other long-term activity.

"Didn't want to make a fuss about it during damage control, but your Light accent is just awful - like an off-the-shelf format-conversion submodule, with barely any personal idiomatic refactor, choking on an improvised transciever with three-digit actuator ping times."

Similar options open to Paprika, though the innkeeper got a less favorable first impression.
"Oh, I'm sorry, is setting yourself on fire your culture's standard signal for 'no further service needed, everything is fine'?"

>Are there any important rules relating to this sector we should know?
Four nearly identical cylinders clustered around a mushroom-table on the ceiling, filled with liquids so colorless you initally thought they were empty:
"This is oxygen hydride. You need it to live, but too much of the pure form without correct drit will rot your teeth."
"This is a mixture of oxygen hydride and carbonyl hydride. The smell can burn, or make you sick. If you drink it you will almost certainly die."
"This is methyl hydroxide. It burns easily. The smell is adequately safe, but if you drink it you will almost certainly go blind, and perhaps die."
"This is ethyl hydroxide. It burns almost as easily, will addict, too much causes crabmeat of the liver, but adequately safe for recreational drinking."
Steel angel skitters over to the far wall, indicates a tube of red gravel.
"This is human-safe drit substitute. Crush one pellet into each bowl of pure oxygen hydride."
Finally it directs you to a cylinder which Natalina initially skipped past, based on visual similarity between the contents and raw sewage. Constellation thereon is actually a few unconnected diagrams, including one resembling a chain or ladder implied to repeat indefinitely. Heraldry is a boxy, triangle-faced ungulate with horns like the crescent moon, standing amid a field of ripe wheat. Lumpy brown sludge inside turns out to be delicious slow-cooked beef stroganoff.

Natalina and Paprika get 1xp each for discovery by exploring the dispenser installation's range of options. Once you're finished with your food and drink (one way or another), that small polished-metal room is designed for disposing of waste materials, and generally providing personal hygiene a bit more nuanced than decontamination screens. Mechanism initially interpreted as a trap is actually an automated barber.

Room with black velvet walls and ball pit https://xkcd.com/150 usually has courtesy rules against whatever might result in sensory impressions which interfere with someone else's rest, but since the two of you have nobody to annoy but each other, that's largely moot.

Storage vault is off-limits to visitors. Already retrieved materials to restock the workshop while you were building that ladder, so if you need anything else, ask.

>What information can they share about the nature and extent of the current emergency?
Biocontaminant causing hemorrhagic fever. Treatable, often survivable even without treatment, but prevention preferred. A given patient either coughs up all their blood and dies within two weeks of initial symptoms, or recovers to the point of being non-contagious and permanently immune in four. Should be an all-clear announcement soon if it's coming at all.
It started "One minute, five and a half seconds in the immediate future," which is a figure of speech those fluent in Light, particularly automata, often use when they actually mean "long enough ago that I'm not qutte sure." Unless there's some other confounding factor (incomplete secondhand reports, temporal anomalies, brain damage), that almost never refers to anything more recent than thirty-nine days (65536 minutes).

>Do they know the route to the beanstalk—the structure connecting this location to the planetary surface? Or to vehicles capable of reaching the surface?
>Are they aware of a ship docked here, or the location of ship-fabrication facilities?
Easiest route would likely be by rail, and there's a rail station just two miles away... along the exterior. Local supply vault has a selection of protective equipment, some of which could fit you with minimal modification, but the steel-angel innkeeper is somewhat puzzled how you ended up here, alive, without bringing your own.

>Paprika will ask if there's a way to communicate with their friends below.
Chainpods have a... sawtoothed azure grapevine? An invisible machine channel for chatting with each other, which by itself has very limited range. There's a farspeaking pylon near here which could easily link to such grapevines, if they're within roughly two thousand miles of the Plains of Kataru (the known world and then some) and not e.g. underground or deep underwater or tucked away in an Otherspace or something. Under normal circumstances you could seamlessly relay through that nearby pylon, with one of those chairs in the business center as the actual interface, but it's on 'priority only' bandwidth rationing due to a hardware fault, possibly space-rock-related.

That's your department, as deputies, right? Just hop over, five miles in the opposite direction from the train station, patch whatever's wrong (which, if you're lucky, might be as simple as re-socketing a loose cable), and key in the relevant pod's unique 32-character ID code.
>>
No. 1040933 ID: f57349

>>1040483
That status update Eliznyabeth received while scouting ahead was a terse text message on the chainpod's dashboard, saying that Paprika and Natalina are alive, not in immediate danger, and significantly closer to the objective than was expected by this time. It didn't provide much further detail, but lots of bystanders can confirm they saw those two being launched into the sky.
>>
No. 1041022 ID: e5709d

rolled 19, 3, 2, 18, 4, 13, 12, 14, 10, 12, 14, 9, 1, 3, 7, 9, 12, 19, 4, 8 = 193

Reiko gets started on the disassembly of the Volcano Tamer, asking for Elanyah's assistance relaying the responses from the Volcano King. Having preserved this shoddy, complicated, and noisy machine for the past three months, her only regret is that she can't blow it up for catharsis.

Of course, she'll enjoy reverse-engineering its sub-functions and unlocking its true potential even more. A pity her former boss-hole is a pile of ashes; she'd enjoy dissecting his pride and joy while he's forced to watch.

Merely powering the device off without causing an eruption or giving the Volcano King indigestion will take a fair effort. But her new processing power lets her understand the 'instruction manual' made of floating pointers and ASCII binary.
(Intellect, Effort 1)
>>
No. 1041082 ID: 97a765

rolled 7, 5, 6, 13, 15, 8, 3, 9, 18, 1, 6, 5, 12, 17, 20, 19, 5, 12, 12, 17 = 210

>>1040650
>handholding
Paprika takes Natalina's hand and her expression shifts into a ragged smile. Small whisps of steam rise and swirl from her soaked skin.

>"Oh, I'm sorry, is setting yourself on fire your culture's standard signal for 'no further service needed, everything is fine'?"
Paprika responds to the light show before Natalina gets a chance to translate. "Well fuck you too. Walking trashcan..."

>one of those chairs in the business center as the actual interface
"The ones with the corpses in them? Can you ask it how they died?"

>Just hop over, five miles in the opposite direction from the train station, patch whatever's wrong (which, if you're lucky, might be as simple as re-socketing a loose cable), and key in the relevant pod's unique 32-character ID code.
"Sounds fun, but I gotta be real with you - I need a breather first. My paper is ruined too so we'll have to figure out another way to write the code down."
>>
No. 1041113 ID: 287555

rolled 14, 3, 15, 1, 19, 15, 10, 17, 16, 2, 10, 1, 1, 20, 15, 19, 16, 19, 5, 19 = 237

>Yes, this is a flesh shelter
"It would seem your earlier assessment was correct, Paprika.  We were exceedingly lucky to arrive here." 

>Could spend 2xp to say you happen to already know Uxphonese, in which case you'll be able to converse normally
Sure, let's go with that.  A city with well-established nobility and meritocratic upward mobility is the kind of thing that would have attracted Natalina's interest.

Natalina is quite relieved when she can switch from awkwardly reflecting light with one hand to actual speech...
>"Didn't want to make a fuss about it during damage control, but your Light accent is just awful - like an off-the-shelf format-conversion submodule, with barely any personal idiomatic refactor, choking on an improvised transciever with three-digit actuator ping times."
...as is their host, it would seem.  They're not wrong either, as attempting to 'speak' Light by flashing a hand-mirror in reflected light seems comparable to attempting to 'speak' by drumming one's hand on a table to produce audible words.

"I apologize for the disrespect." she replies in Uxphonese, inclining her head.  (And she'll continue translating into Truth for Paprika as needed).

>>"Oh, I'm sorry, is setting yourself on fire your culture's standard signal for 'no further service needed, everything is fine'?"
>Paprika responds to the light show before Natalina gets a chance to translate. "Well fuck you too. Walking trashcan..."
Natalina will opt not to accurately translate this line, however. "Threat display in the face of a stranger of unknown intentions, actually."

>Biocontaminant causing hemorrhagic fever.
So the sealed door in the 'business area' was in response to a disease.  That means exploring further down that path means gambling on it having burnt itself out... and likely earning the ire of the local innkeeper for breaking quarantine protocols.  And while one path risks disease, angry spider-abbots, and the loss of a safe space, the other available path risks hard vacuum.

>the steel-angel innkeeper is somewhat puzzled how you ended up here, alive, without bringing your own [protective equipment]
"As are we, to be honest.  Does the 'parking garage' perhaps contain some mechanism to safely catch someone arriving at high speeds?"

She'll also request the safety equipment from storage at the abbot's convenience. If provided, Natalina will spend some time familiarizing herself with it and it's use. (Applying Understanding).

>rail station 2 miles away, communication systems 5, along the exterior
Several hours of walking then (assuming the strange gravity here doesn't reduce their pace), faster if... "Oh".  A concerned expression crosses Natalina's face at the thought of applying Phase Sprint.  "You wouldn't happen to know if this facility exists beyond Euclidean dimensions?"

>"Sounds fun, but I gotta be real with you - I need a breather first. My paper is ruined too so we'll have to figure out another way to write the code down."
"It has been a long day, and we are fortunate enough to have arrived at a kind of inn."
>>
No. 1041181 ID: f57349

>"The ones with the corpses in them?
There are two other chairs currently unoccupied.
>Can you ask it how they died?"
"There was a discontinuity, and when I was reinitialized from backup they were already in that condition. Resuscitation may be possible so please do not disturb them."

>Does the 'parking garage' perhaps contain some mechanism to safely catch someone arriving at high speeds?"
Certainly not at full miss-the-ground speeds, but, if you were initially set on a suborbital ballistic arc by something along the lines of an overclocked gravy bowl... and then, given your respective anomalous capabilities, somehow continuously vented hot gas through an asymmetric phase-pocket plenum for both marginal life support and brachistochrone thrust... relative velocity at intercept could theoretically have been subsonic, while still within a slim window of overlap between 'time in transit' and 'traumatic abaryia survival time.' At that point, perimeter sandpipers and the garage's vapor screen might have brought you to a safe stop with only a few relatively minor miracles.

>the other available path risks hard vacuum
>request the safety equipment from storage
Protective option the spiderbutler presents first (with some passive-aggressive apologies about the engineering constraints imposed by Natalina and Paprika's powers) initially appears to be a comically oversized pair of fur-lined handcuffs.
Looking through either cuff from one direction reveals an empty fishbowl-shaped otherspace, less than a cubic foot. Stick your head in the hole and close the cuff around your neck, smart fluid flows out to cover the rest of your body, supplying breathable air, compression, and adequate protection from most concievable hazards, for... a while. Multiple days possible, but inadvisable without more data. Eight hours at 95% confidence, so try to stay within two or three hours' travel of shelter or resupply points.
Flip it over, there's a different space, possibly similar size but packed solid with coiled synth rope. Tether between the "helmets" can extend or retract from either end at 3 m/s without interfering with closed-circuit audio. Liquid armor distributes shocks across the whole body so any yank or impact is like a perfect water landing.

View from inside the otherspace helmets is similar to wearing strong prescription glasses - in Paprika's case, the exact ones she didn't know she needed, providing an asset to visual perception of anything more than an immediate distance away from Natalina.
Natalina, however, takes a similar penalty, with anything outside potential reach of Paprika's flames refusing to come into sharp focus. The two can see each other normally, but to anyone else, and reflective surfaces, looks like their heads are missing.

A level 4 artifact overall, so 4 xp will be split between the two of you once you've accomplished something useful with it.
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