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1050419 No. 1050419 ID: f57349

Dimensional portal winks out. Thunderclap of unraveling tidal force shatters the surrounding stone wall. You're stranded in a cavernous space full of ancient, semi-functional machinery. Can you find another way home?

Core of character creation is an adjective, a noun, and a verb.

Noun options:
Arkus (leader)
Delve (explorer)
Jack (rogue)
Glaive (fighter)
Nano (mage)
Wright (builder)

For adjective and verb, describe what you want to be and do, I'll compile a short list of the relevant options.
Once chargen is done, any consequential IC action should include dice 20d20 in the e-mail field.
Discussion: https://discord.gg/ZuGRZKD Tip jar: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4587981
61 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1052456 ID: 6377a3

rolled 6, 9, 11, 1, 5, 8, 8, 10, 12, 16, 12, 19, 18, 2, 4, 17, 15, 2, 17, 1 = 193

>>1052246
Well, it might be that Lethal force is authorized because of malfunctions in in-built non-lethal combat systems built for containing belligerents. However, this is one of the many reasons for which there might be to build a sentient robot for all of your security needs, as DANI would grab the snapped rebar spear and twist it like a pretzel into a make shift pair of hand-cuffs, tying the goat person's hands behind his back and leaves him where he is as she calls over her (not actually connected to anything functional anymore) radio for another officer for processing so she can go about continuing her existing duties.

> "Are you all right?" Melaina calls out to their mechanical companion as the fighting comes to stop, and the ribbons of shadow-stuff fade.

"Maintenance of active combat systems are designated as due for service before further deployment."
>>
No. 1052457 ID: f57349

>>1052456
Crafted restraints are level 3, and prevent the gestures needed for esotery use, so mycelimancer is only level 2 for purposes of escape attempts and thus will not be succeeding without outside help. Can still stand and walk but only an immediate distance per round.
Apparently knows a few garbled words of Truth, calling out as you start to leave: "I am lost and taken! To whom [wedded/welded]? When is my name?"
>>
No. 1052499 ID: e5709d

rolled 15, 16, 14, 4, 16, 14, 20, 19, 20, 7, 9, 17, 3, 13, 1, 14, 13, 9, 3, 5 = 232

>>1052457
>Defeat means Marriage
Ivori immediately zips back through the doorway and to the exit she found to the right before the others even think about choosing her.

Her morbid taxidermy of the corpse has washed her blade clean of toxins. She concentrates and re-poisons her tanto. (intellect)

Finally, she concentrates and looks into the next area for anything scarier than a goat-fungus monster asking her hand in marriage.
>>
No. 1052509 ID: f57349

>>1052499
Hallway with the shin-high narrow-beam lights continues for about thirty meters. There's a dark passage to the left near the halfway point. The whirring noise is coming from up ahead.

A triangular space, roughly as large as the lounge or pearl room, has several dead-and-gutted machines, and one that still functions: an arch over the only other exit, with dozens of articulated metal arms coiled inside. It's high and wide enough to drive a wagon through...
>rolled 15
...but will probably do something surgical to anyone or anything passing under it.

>marriage
>rolled 16
The sorcerer-priest isn't actually expecting to marry any specific individual, just to be integrated into your tribe, initially as a low-status worker, after having been captured in a raid.
>>
No. 1052535 ID: dbf584

rolled 12, 17, 20, 19, 19, 12, 10, 11, 9, 4, 12, 12, 16, 12, 15, 16, 1, 2, 16, 2 = 237

>"Maintenance of active combat systems are designated as due for service before further deployment."
"We might be better off finding a more secure location first? We upset the previous occupants of this room, who still know where we are, and it's still pretty close to that biohazard you mentioned. And the chopped up fungusaur."

>There's a wicker basket full of questionably-fresh fruit, clear synth bag wrapped around the outside, sitting in the middle of the hallway they departed through, apparently positioned as an offering.
How thoughtful! One fruit basket, get.

>Apparently knows a few garbled words of Truth, calling out as you start to leave: "I am lost and taken! To whom [wedded/welded]? When is my name?"
>The sorcerer-priest isn't actually expecting to marry any specific individual, just to be integrated into your tribe, initially as a low-status worker, after having been captured in a raid.
Melaina brightens. "Oh, we can do an induction ceremony! We didn't do anything for DANI, so can do both at once."

Community rituals seem like they'd fall under a nano's purview, and they definitely fall under positive social interaction. Hedge magic could be used (changing color and appearance) of some of the debris around here to make some colorful temporary decorations, and she can say a blessing under the light of the silmaril.
>>
No. 1052537 ID: e5709d

rolled 4 + 1 = 5

As the android is busy... getting married to a stuffed mushroom... nope, Ivori's mind can't handle the stupid.

She sits on the muddy dirt, centering her thoughts and recalling one of her classic pranks:

Seven years ago, Ivori was busy reaming the rafters of a duke's mansion while Embri was mingling below at the lavish party. The garish aristocrat had giant white letters spelling out (in disgustingly inaccurate and superfluous terms) his egotistic achievements held in place with a series of simple pulleys, all made out of materials meant for the local city's defensive artifact regimen of tanks, resources that were stolen in the night and never reclaimed. Then Ivori spotted a witty opportunity.
Acting quickly, she placed cakes and candies from the staff's hazardously placed break 'room' on specific ropes, taking care not to pull down the letters herself. When the duke's and his guests' spoiled brats poured in two hours later, they quickly discovered the sweets and impulsively pulled down the ropes connected to the candies and cakes and those specific letters and pulled them all down. According to Embri, one girl in particular, wearing a red feather headdress for some reason, latched on to her rope and rubbed herself all over it. With the letters removed, the nobles gasped in abject horror at the new, grotesquely teenage phrase scrawled over high quality 7th-age military steel:
"[I'm Lard Swiney Mactoddler, and this is my favorite brothel in the city.]"
There were unjust executions. They made assassinating the duke oh-so-easy.


She wonders what happened to that little songbird. Oh well.
>>
No. 1052728 ID: 04697a

rolled 11, 16, 10, 16, 1, 19, 5, 20, 13, 17, 10, 4, 8, 11, 20, 18, 20, 13, 14, 14 = 260

>>1052304
Looking incredibly put-upon, Misha nonetheless grudgingly accepts the assistance in replacing the swiped garment, unaware of the new 'design' on the back.

>>1052457
The wright scowls at hearing some Truth come from the now-captive Margyr, starting to grumble to nobody in particular.
"Oh now 'e understands us. I see how it is. Y'try and ask some genuine questions about an interesting new material and get it sicced on ye, but clap the same bloody goat in irons and suddenly it's it's all pet names and binding oaths."

She sits herself down near the others and starts working the broken Trail Blazer's mechanical components from her heel, still grumbling but now almost entirely to herself.
"What the heck was I thinking? 'Hey guys I got th'portal installation workin', let's just do a quick scouting expedition! Anything goes wrong we just use this panic button cypher to zip right back. In and Out, 20 minutes adventure. tops.' Genius. Don't take any of yer better workshop tools or materials or even any protective gear, nooo, it's just a quick peek after all, grab whatever."

>>1052535
"Well since it looks like we're together for the long haul..."

Finally detaching the broken cypher's mechanism, she set it to the side, raising her voice and pointing to the Margyr.
"Oi, numpty, y'know anything useful about this place or was the mushroom also the brains'o the operation?"

At the mention of the last she gives a little glance to the spigot for any sign of the creature returning.
>>
No. 1052851 ID: f57349

>>1052535
Melaina arranges debris into a ceremonial circle, cleanses ill scents from the air and tweaks the spectrum of ambient light, then teaches the group a song. First few passes are a struggle just to remember the elegant-sounding but deeply foreign lyrics while staying in tune, then something clicks and it all comes together. Initially simple melody is repeated, offset, folded over itself to spontaneously interlock in dozens of harmonious variations, almost as if one mind had five voices.

After an hour of that, along with a (mildly intoxicating) shared meal and ordinary stuff like introductions, the group's cohesion has greatly improved.

>>1052728
>y'know anything useful about this place
This room is the edge of the territory of a larger community of margyr. Or, rather, it was - clearly you've staked a claim on it now, remains to be seen where the new border will end up. Mycelimancer attributes much of his former tribe's success to their control of a pair of pre-existing numenera installations, the "geyser of shameful weakness" and the "gate of eventually," which enabled... something to do with internal dispute resolution and an unassailable defense against raids by rival groups. Limited shared vocabulary means you're definitely missing a lot of important cultural context.

They've never been able to open the door you came through, not once across several generations of living memory. Quite a bit of mythology built up around it. Some of those stories were validated, others called into question, and new ones will soon be told. Personal participation in history has filled him with a roiling blend of gratitude, awe, and terror.

Down the other path, where Ivori scouted, are three machines of significance. The first will allow humble petitioners to pass, but none have fought it and lived. The second is harmless, even beneficial for those willing to learn. The third is vigilant and vindictive, inflicting some unspeakable disfigurement which is beyond the margyr tribe's ability to fix - which, if you're understanding right, somehow puts it in a worse category than actual severed limbs and some types of brain and spinal cord damage. Results are very consistent, though, not capricious like the Iron Wind.
>>
No. 1052938 ID: 6377a3

rolled 3, 12, 5, 4, 18, 12, 14, 5, 7, 16, 4, 5, 17, 20, 9, 9, 6, 9, 11, 8 = 194

>>1052851
DANI has personally little intentions on taking the Margyr as a prisoner, initially intending to just have other security personnel come to handle escorting them off site. However, with evidence that this is apparently something of a lingering infestation of people, as opposed to anything particularly small, that seems more and more unlikely.

However, from the poetic and tribal descriptions of the installations, does DANI know anything about these so called geyser of shameful weakness or Gate of Eventuality, or the devices discovered by Ivori?

Also, while DANI is willing to abide by the strange ritual and participate even if she doesn't particularly understand it, she is alas unable to eat or feel intoxicated on account of still being a robot.
>>
No. 1052940 ID: f57349

>>1052938
>on account of still being a robot.
>rolled 3
No organic neurochemistry for ethanol-tainted overripe fruit to engage with, but DANI somehow manages to get a little bit buzzed just by thinking too hard about the music.

>does DANI know anything about these so called geyser of shameful weakness
Sounds like it's producing anagathic gel. Flask the size of a tennis ball sells on the black market for (last you heard) at least five times as much as a baseline human could save up in a decade of moderately-skilled hard labor, so theft is... a concern, to put it mildly.
>or Gate of Eventuality,
No data.
>or the devices discovered by Ivori?
That's just the mail room. Envelope sorters, skate courier maintenance, that sort of thing. Should be fairly harmless, short of absurdly idiotic industrial accidents like, say, somebody sticking their bare hand in the risk-of-hazmat unboxer.
>>
No. 1052947 ID: dbf584

rolled 10, 1, 9, 8, 11, 8, 6, 10, 5, 14, 16, 15, 20, 9, 1, 14, 8, 12, 10, 19 = 206

>what do
Okay, bonding complete, let's explore down the path Ivori scouted.

First room past, uh, Inspector Li's Lounge. Any notable changed since any of us last laid eyes on it in >>1051300 ?

>Floating in the center of that room, roughly the size and height of a human head, is a hole in space.

So the mycelimancer describes this device as allowing person to pass, but none have fought it and lived. But as DANI remembers... this is part of a communication apparatus?

Understanding numenera check, I think. Observation only, no poking the void that leaves no survivors.
>>
No. 1052948 ID: f57349

>>1052947
Tossing a small piece of fruit into the hole (from a respectful distance) sees it sucked in, only to reappear and drop to the floor a moment later over in the 'pearl room,' minus the peel and most of the juice.
>>
No. 1052949 ID: e5709d

rolled 16, 6, 20, 10, 15, 11, 13, 9, 11, 19, 15, 7, 5, 1, 9, 3, 12, 19, 14, 13 = 228

Internally, Ivori chafes from her sore throat. What the hell was that incantation? She hasn't said so many words in a day since she was caught by a drunk guard and forced to sing along with her sister in an impromptu flash mob musical.
That... might have bonded her to the very person she has considered assassinating. Pity. A contract this mysteriously profitable only comes once a decade, regardless of whether or not it is trustworthy. Ivori is a professional - but will that stop her from retrieving her advance pay, stored in various dead drops? Most likely, unfortunately.

>Mail Room
Perhaps there's an answer to be found in the abrupt deceleration of communications.
Ivori attempts to access the mail archive's last packet of non-emergency messages, to get a general idea of what kind of cataclysm caused the plant to shut down entirely.
>>
No. 1052981 ID: f57349

>>1052949
Looks like some of the gutted machines in the triangular room may have originally been used for sorting mail, while another used a combination of magnetic coils and compressed air to propel small packages through tubes inside the walls.

Aided by DANI's description of the room's original function, Ivori obtains a plan seed, and an oddity: a postcard with text in an unfamiliar language on one side, photorealistic image filling the other. Picture conveys an illusion of depth, and by looking at it from different angles you can actually see things which were out of frame in the straight-on view. Focus is three humanoids bearing a family resemblance to DANI, posing around an inactive Dread Destroyer.

At least a day or two of work to turn the seed concept into a ready-to-use plan, and probably a week per set to build, but once you do here's what it will be:

EXPRESS TUBE
Minimum Crafting Level: 2
Kind: Installation
Iotum: Io (1d6 units); responsive synth (10 units); synthsteel (1 unit); mimetic gel (4 units)
Parts: 20 units
Specifications: This plan produces two 3-foot (1 m) cubes of synth and metal connected by a synth tube up to 1 mile (1.5 km) long, as well as five synth canisters about 20 inches (50 cm) long and 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. A canister placed in one of the cubes is transported along the synth tube at about 30 miles per hour (50 kph) and arrives at the other cube. There are switching stations along the length of the cube that allow canisters to pass each other in either direction. The tubes are usually buried or elevated to keep them out of the way of human activity.
Connecting multiple express tubes together creates a transportation network with controls on the cubes directing each canister to the correct end point.
Depletion: 1 in d20 (check per month of use)
>>
No. 1053013 ID: dbf584

rolled 17, 12, 5, 20, 17, 10, 15, 3, 17, 17, 18, 7, 4, 8, 3, 16, 15, 20, 3, 8 = 235

>>1052948
In her current state of mild inebriation, Melaina finds this very funny. A fruit peeler!

>>1052981
So this would be the machine the mycelimancer "harmless, even beneficial for those willing to learn." A means of transmitting messages at a distance could have been very useful (what with being lost and all) but if the equipment is gutted, it probably can't help us much without repairs. (Similarly, sounds like local value for salvage has probably been exhausted). The plan seed sounds useful, though!

Looking onto the next area then...

>>1052509
The "vigilant and vindictive" numenera the mycelimancer warned of is in the direction of the triangular space and the whirring noise, yes?

>Hallway with the shin-high narrow-beam lights continues for about thirty meters. There's a dark passage to the left near the halfway point.
Let's check the less-reportedly-deadly side passage first. Anything show up in the dark if Mel takes her light-on-a-stick in?
>>
No. 1053038 ID: f57349

>>1053013
>The "vigilant and vindictive" numenera the mycelimancer warned of is in the direction of the triangular space and the whirring noise, yes?
>rolled 17
Yes. It's actually the source of the whirring noise, and the only other large-enough-to-be-useful exit from that room passes through its engagement range.
>Let's check the less-reportedly-deadly side passage first. Anything show up in the dark if Mel takes her light-on-a-stick in?
>rolled 12, 5, 20
First thing you see is an image of yourself, earlier, walking down the hallway past those knee-high lights. It moves as you did but more slowly, and in intervals of shadow your two-minute-younger self's skeleton is dimly visible, as if bones were glowing through the flesh.
Stepping forward seemingly brings that image no closer, even as you break into a run. Keeps looping back to the start of the hallway, just before you turned to enter that side passage. For a few nightmarish moments it seems like you're trapped in some kaleidoscopic temporal anomaly.

Then you trip and faceplant onto the treadmill.

With better light, it's revealed as a six-meter-wide room full of display screens and exercise equipment. Recordings from the hallway could reveal the subtlest details of how somebody walks or otherwise moves, providing valuable insight toward teaching them to do so more efficiently.
>>
No. 1053097 ID: e5709d

rolled 19, 16, 15, 6, 6, 15, 13, 11, 18, 20, 15, 19, 13, 6, 6, 19, 20, 10, 1, 3 = 251

>>1053038
Ivori appears at the other end of the treadmill. Nope, she didn't do anything at all. No ma'am.
As opposed to Melania's touch-and-go approach, Ivori tentatively climbs her way across the area, then gracefully lands at the control room and glances at the machine's diagnostic of her abnormal exercise routine.

Attempt to understand numenera, no effort.
>>
No. 1053100 ID: 04697a

rolled 10, 14, 2, 3, 5, 9, 8, 19, 16, 13, 15, 3, 17, 10, 11, 10, 16, 5, 14, 14 = 214

>>1052851
The impromptu ceremony of food, singing and mild inebriation manage to soften much of Misha's bitterness towards the Margyr nano, helped by the discussion of multiple working numenera installations, that they are able to operate no less, catching her interest. In a minor symbolic gesture of bridges mended, she gives the Mycelimancer one of her Cyphers; an invisibility nodule, to look after and make use of (totally not just because she has no use for the dang thing)

Thus relieved and surrounded by parts and tools, she sets to work on developing a mounting that would allow the recently-discovered Stunner to be more easily and consistently used (settling on an arm-cannon style design), spacing out lamentations of not having the better equipment of her lab with more questions fired at the group's new companion.

"Internal conflict resolution and unassailable defence from external threats definitely sounds like a good setup you have goin'. What do these installations actually do? Also come t'think of it, minor tangent, but what d'you lot do for sustenance?"
>>
No. 1053296 ID: dbf584

rolled 18, 12, 4, 6, 14, 3, 4, 4, 17, 9, 5, 18, 5, 9, 19, 8, 10, 8, 17, 10 = 200

>>1052981
>Focus is three humanoids bearing a family resemblance to DANI, posing around an inactive Dread Destroyer.
"Hm. You know these people, DANI?"

>>1053038
>visible skeleton scanner
The nano is pretty curious what their mechanical companion looks like under that one.

1053038
>[The "vigilant and vindictive" numenera is] the source of the whirring noise, and the only other large-enough-to-be-useful exit from that room passes through its engagement range.
"So is this one part of the mail-delivery system gone feral too? Or's it security on purpose."
Does it look like there's a control panel or any kind of interface or... anything in the dangerous room, outside of danger-door's reach? Presumably its operators would have needed a way to pass through safely, though if we're unlucky, the controls are on the other side. (Short of turning it off, we might be able to try breaking it from across the room, but our android probably takes a dim view on vandalism).
>>
No. 1053367 ID: 6377a3

rolled 9, 16, 6, 9, 18, 18, 2, 5, 12, 16, 7, 12, 15, 17, 4, 6, 2, 9, 8, 11 = 202

>>1053296
> "Hm. You know these people, DANI?"

"Not particularly more than I imagine you recognize any human at sight. Actually, maybe you would recognize humans by sight since obviously you lack proper IFF tags. Any visual distinction between units is actually entirely for the sake of human psychological reasons, since any important information and short wave radio transmissions can be automatically scanned by any two units in proximity, but early user data revealed that having multiple identical units at any given installation was 'unsettling' for some reason."

It might be just the relative intoxication talking, but there seemed to be an iota of pride in the description of her capabilities.


>>1053038
Well, it's probably for the best to look over it as well. Even if she winds up not being able to discern exactly what this piece of equipment was for, there should be an E-Stop somewhere on both sides for safety reasons if passing through the machine in active use is truly as dangerous as it has been reported.
>>
No. 1053368 ID: 6377a3

Also, I am spending 4 experience on Might Edge 2
>>
No. 1053369 ID: f57349

>>1053367
DANI walks up to the whirring archway. Articulated limbs whip out, grab her by the ankles, lift her about a handspan off the floor, and after thirty seconds of cleaning and mending around her boots, set her gently back down. There's a brassy chime to indicate the task's completion. She finds it deeply reassuring that at least something around here is still working normally.
>>
No. 1053370 ID: 6377a3

rolled 17, 7, 8, 14, 8, 9, 17, 20, 10, 7, 15, 20, 11, 2, 7, 9, 17, 14, 18, 9 = 239

>>1053369
Excellent, the danger mostly comes from people not adhering to local dress codes, as opposed to anything actually wrong with machines. Though violating clean room procedures will pose a problem for getting them out.

Well, might as well check out the conveyer belt treadmill thing as well, while we're here.
>>
No. 1053504 ID: dbf584

rolled 9, 1, 10, 7, 20, 3, 6, 8, 13, 16, 11, 5, 17, 18, 1, 17, 6, 17, 10, 18 = 213

Well, if it's an android repair bay, that certainly explains why it's attempts to "repair" other people have gone so wrong in the past.

"Ah, wait, DANI, is there a path on the other side, or is it a dead end?"

If there's no exit beyond that installation we'll have to find a different path (down the way the magyr went, or back where we first showed up). But if there is, we can still try and figure out how to turn it off / get by safely.
>>
No. 1053505 ID: f57349

>>1053504
Maybe fifteen meters past the whirring archway there's a four-way intersection, so at least three possible routes.

Mycelimancer says previous exploration down that way usually just skipped past it with various sorts of short-range teleportation.
>>
No. 1053521 ID: e5709d

Ivori opts to train herself with some light exercise. After multiple runs showing the flaws in her silent step and balancing, a small pamphlet ejects from the analysis machine, giving a succinct summary of what Ivori needs to correct and future exercises to improve. Ivori memorizes the pamphlet, practicing its routine, and finds that her stealth stance and general athletics are already noticeably faster.
(4XP: Movement Disability -> Movement Standard)
>>
No. 1053560 ID: f57349

>>1053370
DANI points out a pair of closet-sized rooms in the back corners of the exercise area: a shower and a latrine. Shower's temperature can be adjusted, and supplemented by ultrasound emitters which massage sore muscles while scrubbing off particulates. Unfortunately, the water includes some alkaline de-greaser which makes it nauseously non-potable. Smells pleasant, at least.

Four hours after you first arrived, three simultaneous problems:
1) Improvised wedge slips loose from holding the door that needed Director Lee's palmprint to open. Door starts to close.

2) Misha and the mycelimancer have a little over half the parts and materials needed to start building a case for the stun ray, were gathering the remainder by cutting apart boxes from the conveyor belt and sifting through the worm's remains.
When Misha started to get up, in a rush to catch the door, sudden shortness of breath, dizziness, narcolepsy.

3) Three human-sized figures in grungy all-concealing cloaks or robes are shuffling out of the dark hallways, toward the whirring arch.
>>
No. 1053700 ID: dbf584

rolled 3, 9, 20, 17, 17, 13, 20, 16, 2, 16, 5, 9, 11, 18, 19, 3, 13, 17, 9, 4 = 241

>Shower's temperature can be adjusted, and supplemented by ultrasound emitters which massage sore muscles while scrubbing off particulates.
Siiiinging in the soooonic shoooooower~

Well, can't spend 4 hours on that. Maybe spend some of the downtime on another attempt to understand the repair arch, this time with an asset from Melaina's book? Must be some way to turn it off or get by it safely.

>3) Three human-sized figures in grungy all-concealing cloaks or robes are shuffling out of the dark hallways, toward the whirring arch.
"Hello?" The nano calls out towards the approaching figures. "Be careful, that arch is dangerous!"
>>
No. 1053766 ID: 04697a

rolled 7, 20, 13, 9, 4, 10, 9, 12, 11, 2, 11, 18, 17, 2, 14, 6, 5, 16, 7, 1 = 194

>>1053560
Getting somewhat lost in her newest little project and the gathering of materials for it, Misha is caught totally offguard by the door's sudden starting to close.

With a startled yelp she scrambles to her feet, already planning to quickly improvise a device with Right tool for the Job for either ensuring the door remains open or reopening it, but when her first hurried step towards it results in the room lurching, a call for aid is strangled in it's inception as she has to fight to remain conscious, putting Might effort into pushing through the waves of nausea and fatigue to not get cut off from the others.
>>
No. 1053778 ID: e5709d

rolled 15, 12, 3, 8, 12, 1, 5, 3, 4, 15, 8, 12, 11, 14, 13, 18, 18, 16, 11, 11 = 210

How quaint, it appears the showers have a 'Training Waterfall' setting.
Ivori spends an hour meditating under the overbearing downpour, recalling the token lessons she had to pass as a numenera junior researcher. Many of her assassination operations involved studying the core basics of her cover identity in order to fool the border guards of each nation she infiltrated. In general, if they could fool the guard captain by performing an actual demonstration of skills, the rank-and-file would completely ignore them from then on in favor of the rest of the queue, who were now more likely to be spies than some ditzy specialists. Her sister took to it well. (Made for some easy pranking). While her masters inferenced that most of academia is a con to get students from wealthy families to pay for additional classes they probably wouldn't need and would forget in time, the upside of a redundantly padded education is that it's harder to forget the basics; Ivori constantly forgets what she's applied if it doesn't involve stealth or murder. But for now, skill in identification will be required in a scout. [Flex Skill - Understanding Numenera]

Moderately annoyed at her waste of two charges of degradable toxin, Ivori spends some time crafting longer-lasting toxins by studying and applying the surrounding garbage.

>Three human-sized figures in grungy all-concealing cloaks or robes are shuffling out of the dark hallways, toward the whirring arch.
Ivori climbs above them and gets into position, ready to sneak attack if the party chooses to engage.
>>
No. 1054010 ID: f57349

>>1053700
>rolled 3, 9
>Must be some way to turn it off or get by it safely.
So far, only seen enough graspers for one person at a time. Could try running past while it's distracted?
> "Be careful, that arch is dangerous!"
Seemingly heeding this warning, they stop. One in the lead extends a limb and draws a chalk line on the ground.

The limb in question doesn't have a hand, or an elbow, but it's not a tentacle either. Moved almost more like a telescoping piston.

>>1053778
>rolled 15, 12, 3
Ivori climbs a wall and slithers through a crevice in the ceiling, above the active portion of the whirring arch. A handhold breaks off when she puts weight on it, but she manages to land gracefully, and would have caught the three robed figures by surprise... but they've already collapsed into a pile. No signs of life, just scrap synth and garbage.

>>1053700
>rolled 20
Somebody's sneaking up behind Melania. Can't be Ivori, she's in plain view over on the far side of the arch.
>>
No. 1054072 ID: 86f831

rolled 9, 15, 4, 1, 5, 3, 16, 5, 5, 15, 5, 5, 14, 19, 6, 5, 2, 6, 9, 8, 18, 6, 10, 4, 18, 19, 16, 7, 16, 9 = 280

After examining the treadmill and exercise equipment, DANI would stand a vigil to help make sure everyone was safe in the room.

Unfortunately for her, the laws of physics dictated that would be not even remotely feasible given that two things started happening at the same time. Between a possible medical emergency that absolutely warranted sending out an emergency broadcast situation, and mysterious newcomers.

While annoying, the door closing behind them hardly struck as an emergency and indeed the idea that they wouldn't be able to get back through it wouldn't even be considered, since it should be easy to just scan the handprint again, or see if emergency access codes are still valid even if she really shouldn't be resorting to such a thing.

Still, medical emergency reported, Dani would inspect the newcomers.
>>
No. 1054073 ID: f57349

DANI pings the ragged-robed arrivals for RFID tags but they're... absent? No. Invalid, expired. You're looking at a pile of garbage that inexplicably learned how to stand up and walk around.

>>1053766
Misha falls to hands and knees, hacking up fragments of lung and watching the margyr nano race toward the rapidly narrowing sliver of light through the door to the lounge, knowing he won't make it in time.

Wakes up a minute or two later, on what feels like a lumpy but serviceable bed. Instant Wall cypher (and a day's worth of water) has been expended to create a ramp. Mycelimancer is dragging her, on a molded-foam sled, along the previously-inaccessible section of suspended catwalk through the cavernous area where the portal originally opened up. He claims to have a plan, but is grunting and wheezing with the effort of carrying it out rather than slowing down to explain.
>>
No. 1054077 ID: dbf584

rolled 20, 2, 2, 13, 3, 5, 6, 1, 11, 2, 11, 18, 2, 13, 10, 1, 18, 1, 19, 3 = 161

>Somebody's sneaking up behind Melania. Can't be Ivori, she's in plain view over on the far side of the arch.
Meep! The nano darts away from what is probably trouble, as Ribbons of Dark Matter condense behind her. Melaina turns around, staff glowing and at the ready, to see who or what was behind her.

Going to spend 4xp on Moving Towards Perfection to upgrade Melaina's Intellect Edge to 2.
>>
No. 1054081 ID: f57349

>>1054077
Three vaguely human-sized upright piles of debris - scrap metal, yellowish-brown waterlogged paper, snarled wire and hair, other nasty stuff - each wearing a tattered cloak of thin black synth. Apparently they can teleport. Some of the material is recognizably leftover bits of the mail-sorting machines, though.

The one to Melaina's left (DANI's right, and furthest from the exercise room) reaches out with that thin piston-like limb and draws another line on the ground with the same piece of chalk, right behind Melaina's heels, apparently indicating that if she takes another step backward she'll be in the whirring arch's engagement range.
>>
No. 1054208 ID: e5709d

rolled 2, 4, 19, 4, 1, 17, 8, 5, 13, 10, 19, 9, 5, 4, 4, 20, 19, 1, 15, 4 = 183

Ivori watches as the rest of the party panics and flees. Few things in this entire universe could define the word 'amalgamation' better than pieces of detritus and spoils convalescing into sentient constructs through nanomachine-empowered chaos. If only her masters could see what true 'living garbage' was...

She has been split from her party. No matter. Whether they live or die, there is little she can do for them divided on this side of the disassembly line.

Ivori continues to stare at the three robed piles, trying to comprehend how they function and where their power sources are. After all, an assassin must always know how to kill every type of being that is within their range perception.
[Understanding Numenera 1 Effort]

Finally, she decides they are not aggressive at the moment. Time for a simple solution to the most pressing problem:
"...Exit?"
>>
No. 1054224 ID: dbf584

rolled 17, 11, 9, 12, 14, 8, 10, 6, 4, 14, 3, 16, 11, 9, 2, 6, 8, 19, 6, 18 = 203

>The one to Melaina's left (DANI's right, and furthest from the exercise room) reaches out with that thin piston-like limb and draws another line on the ground with the same piece of chalk, right behind Melaina's heels, apparently indicating that if she takes another step backward she'll be in the whirring arch's engagement range.
"Aha, right, dangerous." Mel's going to take a few steps to the side, so she's not right up against the danger zone.

"Sorry about the uh," the nano gestures vaguely at the shadow-stuff the figures don't seem particularly perturbed by. "You just surprised me, is all." Teleporting behind someone like that might be rude, but they aren't attacking, and seem to have reciprocated the warning. Hopefully a positive sign.

"Hello! I'm Melaina! We're explorers, currently trying to locate this facility's exit. Who are you?"
>>
No. 1054300 ID: f57349

>>1054208
>rolled 2, 4
No idea what these things are. If they've got vital core systems, probably either very small or hidden in some transdimensional pocket. Seem to be carefully avoiding the whirring arch, so shoving them into it might be a reasonable first thing to try. Failing that, might have to fall back on the professional assassin's BFFs: Burning, Freezing, Blunt Force, and/or the Bigger Fish - that is, maneuvering a seemingly unstoppable target into direct hostilities against something even worse.

In terms of other tactical weaknesses... movement rate seems to be limited to a slow shuffle, so ought to be easy to outrun, provided their teleportation can somehow be prevented. They also don't seem to be reacting to sound at all. Possible they haven't got ears.

>exit
There's a 4-way intersection, meaning three unexplored passageways, close enough you could be there and taking cover around the corner in one round. No apparent lights, though, so you'd be stumbling around in the dark unless you lit one of your torches or glowglobes.

Or you could crawl back through the same crevice in the ceiling used to get here. Walls seem to be smoother on this side, though, no handholds from the scars of stripped machinery, so climbing or jumping up there won't be easy. A ladder sure would be useful.
>>
No. 1054303 ID: 04697a

rolled 7, 15, 10, 17, 9, 14, 12, 20, 6, 12, 10, 13, 14, 11, 16, 14, 1, 14, 18, 14 = 247

>>1054073
Groggy, Misha tries to sit up and immediately regrets it as old familiar and newly introduced pains both lance through her, causing her to abandon the attempt.

Normalising her breathing, she focuses on the Mycelimancer's words, confused.
"What, a plan? I thought your lot couldnae get in here... I guess the creature came f'back here, did yer mushroom buddy tell you about somewhere with healing? Gonna fix me up?"

Lying back, the Wright gives a slight wry smile at the thought. Wouldn't that be nice; stumbling ass-backwards into a cure for her ongoing condition. She's long past the stage of hoping for an easy solution, after all the frustratingly persistent withering affects even grafted parts, flesh or synthetic. But she indulges the thought for a moment, idly looking at the ceiling of the vast chamber as she's dragged along.

The moment passes, and now braced for the hurt she successfully props herself up on her elbows with a groan.
"Bloody hell."

Head now elevated, she takes a good look around at the situation, nodding in approval at the usage of the Instant Wall as she scans the surroundings and their destination for anything useful.
>>
No. 1054304 ID: f57349

>>1054303
Now that it's a matter of a level surface with handrails instead of scrambling up a steep stony slope, and you're away from most of the spores, mycelimancer slows down a bit to chat.
>did yer mushroom buddy tell you about somewhere with healing? Gonna fix me up?
>rolled 7
Geyser of Shameful Weakness provides the best healing, which could be obtained by raid or barter, but he admits he hadn't planned quite that far ahead.

Path you're on runs parallel to the long axis of the cavernous space. Maybe a hundred meters past the top of the instant wall there's a side branch, perpendicular catwalk leading into another doorway.
"Not go that way," says the mycelimancer, though the word in Truth he's using for 'not' isn't the one you'd expect - it's a very formal technical term referring to the point at which simpler or more intuitive models of some phenomenon start yielding dangerously inaccurate predictions. Occasionally used as a poetic euphemism for the Iron Wind, though that interpretation seems contextually unlikely.
"Lair of fogbox cat, no-eyed deer - or was, once, which is bad enough."

>I thought your lot couldnae get in here...
Haven't found a way to open that door you came through - not in living memory, anyway - but there's a way around, seldom used due to the danger. As recently as 10^6 hours ago his mentor set hoof on this very same bridge by making use of a teleportation cypher to bypass The Mutilator. Fluid level was higher then.
>rolled 15
Misha was under the impression margyr had individual lifespans comparable to humans. Shorter, if anything. But here's this guy, looking maybe in his 30s or 40s, talking about something that happened 10^6 hours (meaning ~114 years) ago with a tone of childhood nostalgia, and referring to "living memory" as if it often reaches immensely further back than that.
>>
No. 1054348 ID: dbf584

rolled 7, 1, 8, 10, 18, 12, 12, 12, 17, 3, 2, 5, 5, 17, 3, 6, 18, 19, 9, 3 = 187

Are the interlopers doing anything else? Or have they just been standing their since they teleported past the arch and drew the chalk lines?

>They also don't seem to be reacting to sound at all. Possible they haven't got ears.
Hmm. Do they react to hand signs? (Melaina waves). Or maybe they can read or recognize symbols if they draw lines. Maybe if Melaina "writes" a message in dark matter, that might get a response? (She'll try repeating herself in text >>1054224 ).

Going to continue trying to establish communication with the newcomers... or at least see if something gets a reaction out of them.
>>
No. 1054362 ID: 693906

rolled 17, 5, 10, 15, 17, 12, 7, 2, 7, 4, 16, 10, 4, 14, 2, 18, 17, 16, 20, 1 = 214

>>1054300
> Possibly don't have ears

Well, DANI will try broadcasting a facility standard hail and introduction over short range radio frequencies that ostensibly are just robot language, broadcasting over any open channels, prioritizing by proximity and existing users
>>
No. 1054376 ID: e5709d

rolled 12, 19, 10, 5, 11, 16, 14, 7, 15, 8, 8, 17, 5, 9, 14, 12, 4, 7, 17, 3 = 213

Ivori lights up a glowglobe and rolls it like a bowling ball through one of the corridors. She arms her bow and stares intently as the little ball of light eventually comes to a stop.
>>
No. 1054587 ID: f57349

>>1054362
There's hissing and crackling in the machine telepathy channel which you thought was meaningless background noise until it suddenly resolves into voices. "A sword." "A sleeper." "A wounded angel." "We are what you left behind." "We are who left you behind." "Where is your gate, angel?" "When is your alarum, sleeper?" "What line, sword, will you cut us for crossing?" Bit rude that they aren't presenting properly formatted names.
>>1054348
The one with the chalk draws a few stick figures, and makes gestures which are difficult to interpret because the number of fingers involved doesn't stay consistent from one moment to the next. Seems to be asking either "are you allied with the margyr" or "do you like goats."
>>
No. 1054594 ID: f57349

>>1054376
Rolling the glowglobe doesn't initially work - it either sticks to the floor at the point of contact or jumps pack to her hand as if it was on a string. However, picking a millipede out of her hair (one more reason that ceiling crevice isn't a very desirable option) and inducing it to crawl on the globe instead seems to satisfy the device's need to be held, after which it can roll normally.

Following the right-hand wall, hallway continues about 50 meters to a Y intersection, where Ivori encounters the mycelimancer coming the other way, still dragging Misha on a crude pressed-foam sled.
Third branch of that Y intersection has another short hallway, with periodic flashes of light in a complex sequence of colors from something in an open space at the far end.
>rolled 12, 19
>>1054303
>rolled 7, 15
Seems like the pattern of colors might be a countdown, though if so the zero point is at least a day away.
>>
No. 1054674 ID: aa8cad

rolled 18, 6, 10, 15, 19, 9, 2, 10, 19, 19, 6, 13, 6, 17, 2, 5, 8, 5, 2, 8 = 199

>>1054587
>Seems to be asking either "are you allied with the margyr"
"Well we're allied with one margyr, we had an unfortunate confrontation with the rest, but left off with a fruit basket, so maybe there's hope?"

Um, lessee, Melaina can make little shadow-puppets that look like their stick figures. Here's a group of us, here's a group of goat-horned stick figures, bump them into each other and have a little fight, then the groups separate again, but the shadow with goat horns and holding a mushroom has changed groups. Oh! And she can show the actual fruit basket.

Mechanically, trying to convey the truth that we had a confrontation with the margyr, but recruited one of them. Making simple figures and moving them around seems within the sphere of Hedge Magic + dark matter (though elaborate and detailed illusions might need a dedicated Nano power, or Effort). Training in positive social interactions continues to apply.

>or "do you like goats."
"Not like that." she blushes.
>>
No. 1054729 ID: e5709d

rolled 16, 6, 16, 4, 15, 10, 10, 1, 17, 7, 20, 19, 17, 11, 8, 4, 17, 2, 3, 9 = 212

Interesting. Ivori considers raising some venomous millipedes to stick onto her glowglobes - they'll run the moment they detect something, leaving the glowglobe to stick at the point of danger.

Ivori stares at the mycelimancer for a few seconds, then points at him and then in the direction of the third branch, checking up on Misha soon after the mycelicmancer leaves to investigate.

After a summary examination for any invading diseases or curses (and some discreet slight-of-hand to reverse pickpocket embarrassing items into her inventory while her back is turned), Ivori joins up with the mycelimancer (assuming he's still alive at this point) and analyzes whatever is causing that beeping noise.

[Understanding Numenera, 0 Effort]
>>
No. 1054781 ID: f57349

>>1054674
>rolled 18
You accurately convey the information, but they're not happy to learn it. Weapon-limbs are extruded - a tangle of glass shards, a rusty hook which might once have been part of a bicycle frame, and a cylindrical ceramic bludgeon - and they start trying to kill you in a plodding, methodical (reluctant?) sort of way.
> rolled 6, 10, 15
One of those would have connected, if not for the hindrance of them still being caught in your shadow-thicket.
>>
No. 1054822 ID: 86f831

rolled 11, 3, 6, 18, 4, 14, 11, 10, 5, 6, 4, 20, 19, 19, 19, 16, 1, 18, 20, 13 = 237

>>1054587
"That sure is a lot of needless hostility given that, at least theoretically, we are all supposed to be protecting the facility. Or whatever is left of it."

>>1054781
And this is where needless hostility becomes a boiling point, DANI will activate hold the gate and put herself in the path of the blows to make sure that nobody else gets hit
>>
No. 1054916 ID: f57349

>>1054822
As she wades through the snarl of dark matter, a fist-like mass of glass shards collides with DANI's face, forcefully enough to shed glittering splinters in all directions. Her eyes aren't even scratched. Two other attacks are safely deflected, and a judo-throw followup leaves one of the trashbag raiders sprawled across the wrong side of that chalk line.

The archway's whir slowly rises to a shriek. When it calms, and articulated arms withdraw, nothing visible remains of the one who was grabbed.

>theoretically, we are all supposed to be protecting the facility
>rolled 18
The three... well, two of them now... use a dialect of machine telepathy distinct from your own, though somewhat mutually intelligible. Possibly descended from Waste Management rather than Security. In any case, checksum subtext makes it clear they have no loyalty whatsoever to your employer.
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