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File 167556227977.png - (2.55MB , 1311x1037 , GATITLE.png )
1055221 No. 1055221 ID: 1015ea

Life is dull.
There’s no other way around it.
You’ve worked hard - you’ve contributed to society. But at the end of the day, all you come back to is that same old TV in your livingroom.

An acrid scent lingers in your hovel. You’d say its the same sight you’ve known for years now, but the truth is that the bits of plaster in the back seem to be peeling off more and more every day.

At least you still had your television set.

You had set the damn thing up a while back - a radio transceiver, typically made for logistical workers hauling goods over long distances. Jury-rigging a spare set to act as a television antennae was difficult, but it was better than nothing.
Still, the microphone dangled off the side, the cord twisting and untwisting as you try to navigate to the mildly interesting soap opera you caught the tail-end of last night.
Turning the knob, a picture starts to form, blanketed under a layer of static. For once, it doesn’t sound like a pre-recorded show.
Expand all images
>>
No. 1055222 ID: 1015ea
File 167556230513.png - (2.13MB , 1296x1037 , GA01.png )
1055222

The static clears and - on the other side, a mouse.
“H-hello? Is anybody there?”
His voice is hazy at first, the bouncing signals picked up by your receiver coming from far, far away.
“I… I just got this connection all of a sudden. Haven’t gotten anything since the cave-in, but
He clears his throat, looking around nervously.
“I ah, um, this isn’t just me talking to nothing, is it? I hope it’s a real signal anyway.”
>>
No. 1055223 ID: a7a180

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmission. We control the vertical and the horizontal. You are about to participate in a great adventure.
>>
No. 1055224 ID: e51896

Assure him that this is a real signal, and he's connected with us. Ask about the cave-in, what happened, and for the location of where he's at so we can get someone to help rescue him out of there.
>>
No. 1055226 ID: 08de23

Let him know you're real, ask him who he is, what happened, and where. Use your 'soothing' voice-the one from the emergency call center gig you did some years ago.
>>
No. 1055243 ID: 15c72a

>>1055222
Oh, sorry, didn't mean to broadcast anything. Homemade transceiver must be acting up.
>>
No. 1055305 ID: 5d9787

What do you mean "cave in"? What is the situation?
>>
No. 1055308 ID: bbb04b

"Okay, not what I was expecting to have on tonight, but okay. Um, assuming you can hear me, could you start with your current location, whether you have injured, and what danger you're currently facing, in that order? I can call someone, and I'd guess that you need to conserve air over there."
>>
No. 1055714 ID: 1015ea
File 167607850443.png - (1.99MB , 1276x1017 , GA02small.png )
1055714

Picking up the receiver, you reply to his muttering.
>Oh, sorry, didn't mean to broadcast anything. Homemade transceiver must be acting up.

You reach over to switch the signal, but he pipes up again as he watches you get closer to your TV-set.
“H-hey, wait, please don’t leave. It’s… lonely in here. I’ve been stuck inside for a while now, but its hard to tell the time. I… don’t have anyone else to tak to. Is it okay if you stick around for a bit? N-not that you have to, if you’ve got anything better to do…”

He has no idea. Sure, let’s see where this goes.
>Use your 'soothing' voice-the one from the emergency call center gig you did some years ago.

It’s times like these where your wide range of experiences DO come in handy. Shame it didn’t take you anywhere else in life.

You tell the mouse man that everything will be fine and he seems to calm a little, soothed by your voice.
“O-oh, I’m sorry… it’s just been a while since I last had to talk to people,...”

Now for the next part - what was he talking about when he mentioned a ‘cave-in’? You bring it up to him.

“O-oh, so, the cave-in… well, from the looks of it, you’re a surface-dweller, so maybe its different for you, but down here, we get occasional earthquakes. Normally, the scaffolding on the roof is enough to help prevent any bigger problems, but… it didn’t work this time.”
>>
No. 1055715 ID: 1015ea
File 167607853146.png - (2.11MB , 1319x1037 , GA03small.png )
1055715

You ask him to tell you his current location, his injuries if any, and what dangers he’s facing in case he needs help.

“Ah, well… I’m at my home, corner of 445 Geronimo Street, somewhere off the Undercity… I’m not injured, and the only danger is boredom… and the loneliness.”
Interesting that he says he isn’t injured, considering his eyepatch.

“I’ve got my own television setup connected to a camcorder, so I’m able to move things around a bit if you need to see something better. My home’s not too cramped, but I’m not sure if there’s anything I could say right now. It’s… quiet here. I never went out much before, but I think having my door blocked by rubble’s made me realise how much I liked HAVING the option of going outside…”

He catches himself muttering, snapping back to attention.
“Thanks for offering help though, but I think help’s already on the way.”
He gestures toward something off the screen.
“We’ve… got these pneumatic tube systems running through our homes. Makes sending messages easier, since signals are rare down here… they told me that rescue’s coming, but I don’t know when.”

He scratches his arm.
“That was a while ago… I hope they didn’t forget. Or maybe they were just playing at me. Maybe I’m not worth it… ah, I’m sorry, I’m rambling again.”

He tries to smile, but it comes out pained.
“I guess I’m glad that you’re here… but what’s your name?”
>>
No. 1055717 ID: e5709d

Rhak'isa Ha'jakal
(Rawr Imma Tiger)
>>
No. 1055718 ID: 90c451

"Rory Parth"

Contemplate how this mouse trapped behind a cave-in is somehow better off than you are. I mean seriously, is that a computer? Aren't those expensive? Not to mention all the books he has.

"I'm assuming your place is self-sustaining then?"
>>
No. 1055741 ID: 86e259

How long have you been stuck there?
>>
No. 1055759 ID: dee951

How does refreshing food, water, air, and removing waste work if all the infrastructure and ability to leave to get supplies is messed up?
>>
No. 1055761 ID: f6ef46

Lance Briskle.

How do I get to you?
>>
No. 1056550 ID: 1015ea
File 167688841517.png - (2.13MB , 1304x1006 , GA04.png )
1056550

“Rory Parth”, you tell the mouse.

“Ah… interesting name! I’m called Daveth… though sometimes I get called Davey, but that was a long time ago.”

>Contemplate how this mouse trapped behind a cave-in is somehow better off than you are. I mean seriously, is that a computer? Aren't those expensive? Not to mention all the books he has.

There’s certainly a twinge of envy in the back of your mind. If only things had gone better in the past. But for now, you’re wondering what the hell you can even do for him.

“How can I get to you?”

He scratches his arm, standing a bit further back from the camera.

“Oh… there’s… there’s probably no need for that. To be honest, while I’m rather worried… I’m still able to get food, water…”
He adjusts the camera, pointing it towards a strange array of pipes.
“The pneumatic transport system’s pretty handy for that kind of thing. I’m glad that my piping wasn’t damaged… I don’t know what I’d do otherwise.”

“I’m assuming your place is self-sustaining then?”

He nods, though he doesn’t quite look at the television set.
“Yeah… it’s just… there’s not much else besides that. I tend to my plants, but nobody really comes to visit. Not that anyone can right now, since… the door’s all blocked in.”
>>
No. 1056551 ID: 1015ea
File 167688844597.png - (2.02MB , 1229x1037 , GA05.png )
1056551

Does he want help or not? Time to cut to the chase.
“Well, what can I do for you?”

“O-oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. I… there’s nobody to talk to - it’s just messages, and sending them back and forth isn’t much of a proper conversation…”
He shakes his little head, adjusting his eyepatch.

“I guess… you could keep me company for a while? I don’t know when exactly rescue will come, but I don’t have much to do. It’s hard to focus on reading now, and I think reception is down for the computer.”

“I mean… they wouldn’t lie to me about the rescue, would they? I got the last message pretty recently, but I don’t know how long its been since… everything happened. I don’t hear any sounds of equipment, and nobody’s gone to try and tell me that things are in progress so…”
He starts drifting off into quiet muttering, barely audible.

Perhaps there’s something to be said about the similarity of your circumstances. It wouldn’t hurt to accompany this poor man for the time being - but you’re seriously going to have to change the topic. He’s going to put himself into a panic if he keeps thinking like that.
>>
No. 1056552 ID: 15c72a

Tell him it's fine. Even if rescue takes a while he's safe where he is.

Ask him if he's got any video games on that computer. Movies? TV shows?
>>
No. 1056560 ID: f8083d

Yes we can talk, we could even find something to play together through this communication.
>>
No. 1056564 ID: 90c451

We can talk about whatever, though we don't have much on our end.
What's on that shelf behind you?
>>
No. 1057018 ID: 1015ea
File 167746312450.png - (2.14MB , 1382x1037 , GA06.png )
1057018

>Ask if he’s got any games on that computer over there.

Games? On a computer? Seems a little unlikely, but you may as well ask.

“Oh, games, huh… well, I’ve got Solitaire on there! I love it when the cards do the little cascade thing when you win.”

Riveting.

“Perhaps we could find something to play together through this?”

He perks up immediately, his big ears quivering to attention.
“That sounds… fun, actually! But… I’m sorry to say that there’s not much that comes to mind. I’ve got… paper, I guess? Maybe tic tac- actually wait that’s too boring. Umm.”
He was seriously going to suggest playing tic tac toe?
>>
No. 1057019 ID: 1015ea
File 167746315072.png - (2.25MB , 1382x1037 , GA07.png )
1057019

Changing the subject again, you bring up the topic of his shelf. You can think about games to play later.

“Oh, my shelf? That’s…”
He stumbles over to the shelf, picking up a photograph. In it, you can see three mice who bear a resemblance to him.

“Yeah, so… that was my family. O-oh, but, they’re still alive, just… elsewhere. You know how it is, people will get into those retirement homes in no time… but I mean, all my siblings have gone off to do their own thing.”

“...It kinda sucks, doesn’t it? This was the one photo I could get of me and my folks without the others around.”

“I don’t think many surfacedwellers have to deal with this kind of thing. When you’ve got this many siblings, most of the time your parents won’t ever have any time for you. I think I was basically raised by older brothers and sisters.”

“Ah, well… should we get back to the topic at hand? I’m not quite sure what game we could play together, but I think that’ll be nice. Preferably something short and simple, if it was something long, then I fear I’d not be a good match for you. I don’t have any cards either, but I think card games don’t quite work over the TV… hahah…”
He makes a good point, even if he’s not even able to look at you while laughing.


Well, what game should you play with Davey?
>>
No. 1057021 ID: e51896

Simon says, we'll be simon
>>
No. 1057022 ID: 5d9787

There must be card games played with one deck for each player. Even if there isn't it should be possible to adapt some games.
How about Mau-Mau with one deck for each player? If you are not familiar it's the game Uno is based on. 7 is a +2, joker is a +5, 9 is a +1 (but doesn't skip a turn), queen switch, A skip (in a two players game Queen and A do the same thing) and Jack chose the next suit.

Logical board games work very well for this kind of setup. We can mimic each other game, or play with a single board with only verbal instructions from one of us. Chess have the advantage of easy to identify pieces.

What's the story behind the eyepatch Daveth? It seem like you wear one since childhood.
>>
No. 1057023 ID: 15c72a

Oh chess would be ideal. Checkers, however, is much easier to set up if you don't have a set. Just need a bunch of little objects of two different kinds, and enough paper to draw a grid big enough.
>>
No. 1057048 ID: f8083d

Cards are no-go indeed, you need perfect information games like chess or checkers.

Since Chess is too long or complicated, I suggest checkers, or checkers on a chessboard: The latter would likely make the game a bit faster and the numbered squares will facilitate playing over the TV.

Alternately, you could try Connect Four.
>>
No. 1058358 ID: 1015ea
File 167866143550.png - (2.27MB , 1382x1037 , GA08.png )
1058358

>Simon Says!
…A little juvenile for two grown adults.

>How about some cards?
Davey’s not got any, and neither do you. The thought of cards only reminds you of many awkward and unsuccessful poker nights in the past.

>Checkers!

>Connect Four!

Now these two…
These are all fairly short games - and ultimately, nothing says you can’t do both of them.
You inform Davey of the games - and he’s more than happy to oblige.
“Oh! Checkers, that’s perfect! I don’t actually have all the pieces anymore, but we can make do!”
How does someone even lose the pieces for a checkers set?!


Regardless, thus begins an intense match - honestly, you hadn’t actually played that much checkers before, but who even has?

Soon enough, he’s got you cornered with an overwhelming advantage.
The old adage is true - never underestimate the quiet ones… or they’ll annihilate you in an old-timey boardgame.

“Looks like I win this time, Rory? How about we move onto the next game?”
To tell the truth, it’s surprisingly fun, even though you had to get him to move the pieces for you. In a way, it’s almost like being able to play games with a younger sibling, not that you’ve had any. Meanwhile, Davey’s got more than an abundance of siblings on his end.

“Well, what next?”
>>
No. 1058362 ID: 1015ea
File 167866175914.png - (2.03MB , 1256x977 , GA09fixed.png )
1058362

Moving onto the next game, Connect Four…
There’s something convenient about not even having to use a different board - with the previous setup sufficing, just approaching it differently.

This time,you have the edge.
Nobody ever expects a diagonal being formed when there’s multiple rows in contention.
“Oh! I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming. Maybe I should take notes for next time… you’re clearly quite a bit of a strategist.”
Divide and conquer - plan ahead a little. You can’t say you’ve accomplished much in your life, but some measure of strategy has been learned.
>>
No. 1058363 ID: 1015ea
File 167866183030.png - (17.42MB , 1229x1037 , GA10.png )
1058363

With another game concluded, the two of you take a mild drink break before returning to your spots in front of your setups.
You figure the amount of activity here’s gotten you closer to Davey - you finally ask the question that’s been on your mind for a long time.
“So what happened to you with that eyepatch?”

“Ah… people don’t ask me about it as often as they think. I think… it’s because they’re scared about touching on something they don’t wanna hear about.”
He adjusts the strap, the leather glistening under the television fuzz.

“To tell you the truth, I was born with it. An eye defect. Complications at birth. It had to get removed because one of my eyes didn’t develop while my mother was still pregnant with me. Outside of my vision being a little worse, I haven’t suffered any other health side effects!”

He slumps down where he’s sitting.
“...I guess. But it was a bit of a problem when it came to how others saw me. We tried a glass eye at first, but other kids often made fun of me because it never quite looked right. I can’t say it made me a lot of friends - some people tried taking the eye, using it as a marble… kids can be pretty mean.”
He sighs.
“I mean, now… I don’t think many people tried to even get to know me. Either they saw me as someone unstable, or someone dangerous. So I appreciate you spending time here with me.”
It’s certainly been nice in its own way.

“...I hope you don’t mind me asking, but were things hard for you when you were young as well?”
…The question is, what are you even going to say to him about that?
>>
No. 1058386 ID: 90c451

Well, sort of, though at first things were not much harder for you than they were for anyone in that situation, just what comes with growing up in a low income neighborhood.
Though, later on you made things harder for yourself, got in with the wrong crowd some might say, and you ended up burning every bridge you'd made before realizing your mistakes.
>>
No. 1058390 ID: 520a3f

>>1058363
Grew up pretty poor, so had to cut a lot of corners to live. Never quite shook ourselves out of the frugal lifestyle. We never did anything REALLY illegal, but sometimes we succumbed to some temptation. Filching a piece of candy, making up extra bad sob stories for sympathy, that sorta thing. Had to make sure we didn't piss off the wrong kids, either, else you'd get a nasty visit one evening when you're walking home. Obviously we don't get up to anything foul nowadays, but better poor and unarrested than risking a 'visit' from the boys in blue when you're taking a piss.
>>
No. 1058480 ID: 0d4f7d

No, you will never share your past with some one-eyed shut in. You may be a crook and a failed one to boot, but at least you can get yourself to get out of the house, dammit.
You are just spending time with this guy because you are bored out of your gourd. He is not your friend.
>>
No. 1059514 ID: 1015ea
File 167979444691.png - (2.34MB , 1382x1037 , GA11.png )
1059514

>No, you’ll never share your past with some one-eyed shut-in.
…And yet, this shut-in makes for a decent choice of confidant. Someone far, far away from your own circumstances. His people all live underground, right? The worlds of surface-dwellers, sky-fliers, ocean-swimmers and undergrounders are miles and miles apart.

Sure, why not. But you’re going to keep the finer details from him.

You tell Davey about your past - if only a little, of the rough time you’ve had growing up in a low-income neighbourhood.
The boardgames are packed away as he sits, engaged with your retelling of past events. Of your sticky fingers and barren cupboards.
For now, you held onto the details that followed - of your misguided teen years and young adulthood. Of the people who you’d been better off having never met.
And now, you’re alone in this world, without an out.
>>
No. 1059517 ID: 1015ea
File 167979457012.png - (1.00MB , 901x691 , GA13.png )
1059517

“So, you’re from a rougher childhood too? I… know how it feels.”
His fingers trace a line in the dirt flooring.
“I mean, nobody’s really well off where I’m at, but my family made do. My siblings were sent off to a bunch of different jobs and I was as well. I… wasn’t too bad at what I did. But I was only at the edge of being good enough, good enough to get into something more prestigious. I just don’t think my heart was into most of the options I had.”
He turns to his camera.
“What I’m really into, is plants. They’re hardy, much hardier than me.”
That would explain all the stuff growing in his house.
“Horticulture… it’s a complicated subject in our society. On one hand, it’s important because food’s important. We all eat a lot, metabolism, that kind of thing… on the other hand, it’s difficult to grow anything down here. Anything of value, anyway. I’d say we can eat a lot, but when the things you grow barely provide any nutrition, its got diminishing returns when it comes to space, time and efficacy.”

He looks at the flower at his side - a pale little thing. Compared to the ones you’ve seen in person, it seems frail, like its about to wilt at any moment. Yet, even in a sunless place like his home - there it is.

“The project I’ve been working on hasn't made much progress at all. But… you know what? I’m sticking with it. ”
>>
No. 1059518 ID: 1015ea
File 167979458815.png - (2.22MB , 1282x1037 , GA12.png )
1059518

Sticking with it? You ask him what he meant.

“Oh! So…”
He stands, grunting as he seems to be moving something from offscreen. Out of breath, he continues to explain his point.
“I guess it can be hard to stick with a project for a long time. But… it all depends on what the end goal is, and not losing sight of it.”

He pulls a big pot of soil over, though there doesn’t seem to be anything growing in it yet.
“Hah… well - let’s say you’re someone training for the Digging Cup, see who can make the longest, safest tunnel in the shortest amount of time possible. You have to train by making little holes with the right diameter and qualities over and over, and that can feel like a pain in the tush!”

His fingers point into the pot, but you don’t really quite see what he’s pointing at.

“If you didn’t have a real goal, then it’s gonna be hard to stick with it. But if you’re thinking about your dear wife in the hospital, or if you’re running for the sake of keeping your elementary school open… then you’re more likely to stick with it!”

The pot is scooted a bit closer to the camera, and you think you see a small plant shoot poking out from the soil.
“And in time, it does bloom, but you have to make sure the conditions are right as well - and you have to keep maintaining it!”
A bit of soil spills over the rim, onto the equally dirt-filled floor.

“Even if people tell me that I should put my time elsewhere, I can’t help but feel excited about this! But there’s been… harder times. When I think about just, stopping all of this.”

He looks off into the distance.
“But what else is there? I’d rather bring this project to fruition first, before just… throwing it away. I think there’s something worth it in there.”

His whiskers twitch and he turns his attention right back at you.
“Oh! I can’t believe I forgot, I didn’t ask about how you and the others garden on the surface! It isn’t like our societies come into contact with each other all that often, what with the Laws in place… but I’m wondering if there’s any tips you could give me.”

He waves his hands, as if to dismiss the idea that he’s expecting something from you.
“O-oh, but that being said, if you’re not the gardener type, then you don’t have to force yourself to…”
>>
No. 1059523 ID: 5d9787

Are we defining the protagonist circumstances? I guess he could be an employed farmer.

From what Rory said we can assume the job he is describing is considered far more glamorous than ours, but maybe a little bit of what we know could be useful.
We could say that different plants require certain properties from the soil, but normally not extremely dissimilar to the necessities of every other plant.
Ph must be somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5. Use one of those paper test thing.
Nitrogen in the soil depend on bacteria, so how much organic matter the soil contain determines how much supplement you should add. 5% organic matter is the ideal proportion in this criteria because it require the least amount of nitrogen fertilizer. If you don't have this kind of fertilizer you can plant leguminous next to what you are trying to grow to increase the nitrogen in the soil. If there is too much nitrogen the leaves may develop rust, so be careful.
Phosphor in the soil can be washed away if the soil have a sandy conquistense. If you are having problems with this a clay base soil should be easier to fertilize.
And plant growth hormones are amazing. Auxin, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid and ethylene. You have to read on how to ease each one, but it's worth. Just don't expect a miracle if there ia a problem with the fertilizing or the water supply.
>>
No. 1059554 ID: f8083d

Well for starters, on the surface, plants have the advantage of sunlight.
>>
No. 1059582 ID: dee951

>>1059554

Eh, sufficient power levels means you can have a room with red glow lights and heavy CO2 content, and you can stack them vertically in trays and do mixed hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, and mistponics systems, so you can get massive amounts of growth for limited spatial inputs and secondary benefits too. The problem there is the maaaassive input of both energy and labor. Outside, you get much lower outputs per cubic unit of space, but you can get wayyyyy higher outputs per worker-hour, with the types of automation that allow one worker to do many, more simple, tasks with the right machines. Because of the whole sunlight, soil, rain thing. It's also easier to grow certain grains if you have huge amounts of space.
>>
No. 1060862 ID: 1015ea
File 168083219710.png - (2.09MB , 1348x1037 , GA14.png )
1060862

You start with a pithy remark.
“Well, on the surface, plants have the advantage of sunlight.”

Davey nods.
“Oh… yes, of course. That’s true enough. Down here we’ve got other means, and I suppose there’s a degree of adaptability we possess to create more supplies for ourselves.”


You can’t say that you’re an expert about all things plant related, but you’re going to try to at least give him some kind of advice. There was definitely a time when you’ve tried your hand at farmwork. It didn’t pan out for long, but it did take a few years of your life. May as well see what you remember.
“You got any growth hormones for plants down there? If there’s no issues with fertilization and water supply, then chemicals like auxin, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid and ethylene - they can all help stimulate plant growth.”

“Oh! That’s an excellent suggestion, Rory, I really appreciate it! I suppose… our kind down here don’t experiment as much with chemical infusions in the past due to past incidents. But narrowing down the list significantly can help.


He changes the topic, prodding at his whiskers in quiet contemplation.
“I’d… rather not bore you too long with this kind of thing, so let’s move on. But this was a great help, thank you! I can’t wait until-”
>>
No. 1060863 ID: 1015ea
File 168083221795.png - (2.48MB , 1246x1006 , GA15.png )
1060863

The view of the camera shakes - and intensely at that.
“What’s going on?”, you ask Davey.

In spite of everything, worry bubbles up in the back of your throat.
“I… I’ve got no idea! This doesn’t seem like a rescue!”

He ducks down, hands on his head as he sticks close to the ground. Small pebbles and chunks of earth rain down from the ceiling, scattering around Davey and dirtying his clothes.

The connection on the screen grows hazy - the screen filled with static for brief intermissions, sound crackling and popping like a spitting pot of oil.

For a brief moment, you can’t see anything - and it was as if the connection had been cut.
>>
No. 1060864 ID: 1015ea
File 168083223508.png - (1.97MB , 1260x1022 , GA16.png )
1060864

Soon, the rumbling stops and the haze from the television dissipates in part, returning back to the usual connection quality.
“What was that?”, you ask, hoping that Davey can still hear you.

“I… that was another tremor, wasn’t it? Oh no…”
His voice sounds so small from your television set.

“I heard some crunching during that… I hope there isn’t much that broke during that…”

Standing up, he dusts off his clothing - and the little man in front of you seemed tinier than ever.
“Umm, I hope you don’t mind sticking with me during this… things could get pretty bad and uh, having someone’s voice around can help calm the nerves.”

Seems fair enough.
But what parts of his home should you go tell him to inspect first? While it’s likely he wants to check every part of his home, giving him an area to prioritise could prove important.

The kitchen and pantry. If his supplies are damaged, it could prove to be a problem if rescue isn’t coming any time soon.
The pneumatic pipe system he’s shown from before. If that’s damaged, he couldn’t even ask for supplies if he’s running low.
What about his project room and his plants? He’s going to be checking the other utilities soon enough, but if his plants have been hit in the tremor, then that could prove fatal to his future endeavours without quick intervention.
>>
No. 1060866 ID: 273c18

>>1060864
Plants first, it's time sensitive. Then the pipe.
>>
No. 1060875 ID: 5d9787

>>1060866
Make sense. It's not like he will be able to savage a broken pipe or a spilled pickle better now than a while later.
>>
No. 1062055 ID: 1015ea
File 168238075432.png - (966.80KB , 1272x989 , GA17.png )
1062055

>Prioritize the plants! The pipes can be fixed later!

You tell Davey to hurry and prioritize saving his project - and he’s more than happy to oblige.
The camera jolts, this time from being picked up - and you get a brief tour of his house, flashing by through the static haze.

Tunnel-like is an apt description. Fitting for a mouse, if anything.


His garden room is… currently wet.
That’s the best way to describe it.
He quickly sets the camcorder down somewhere on a desk and you’re getting a solid view of
True enough - you can even hear a crackling sort of gurgling from the other side as Davey looks on the scene with shock.
A large stone’s landed on one of the smaller, thinner pipes leading into the room, the control valve having snapped right off. Water’s jetting out all over from the different sprinklers threatening an unpleasant demise for his plantation - and that isn’t accounting for the flow coming directly from the water pipe.

“Aagh! The water piping! It’s going to drown them!”
He struggles to close the valve, and his little legs are submerged in the water flowing between the hydroponics basins.
“There’s just… so much water. I can help dry the plants out afterward, but I have to stop the flow first! I’m… I’m not good with engineering, I don’t know if you are, but this thing’s flowing like crazy!”

Ah hell, he’s really not having a good time, is he?
Question is if there’s a good way to stop the water from ruining everything - he’s in a greenhouse, surely he’s got a good amount of tools to deal with it?
>>
No. 1062056 ID: b57fea

>>1062055
There must be a service valve somewhere nearby! Get a pipewrench and crank it. Elsewise ducttape it up while you look for more solutions, it'll at least buy you some time.
>>
No. 1062065 ID: 273c18

There should be a cutoff valve in the sprinkler control system. Is that what that hatch on the wall is for?
>>
No. 1062861 ID: 1015ea
File 168342654311.png - (2.00MB , 1283x995 , GA18.png )
1062861

>There should be a service valve nearby!
“Can you try to find a service valve, Davey?”, you ask as he scrambles around the room.
“Try and get some duct-tape to patch up the holes first!”

The mouse scrambles, scrabbling across the waterlogged floor as he searches for supplies. Soon enough he finds the tape, rushing over to the pipe. Hurriedly, he circles the pipe using the table, struggling against the water blasting right against his face.

>There should be a cutoff valve in the sprinkler control system. Is that what that hatch on the wall is for?
It’s hard to see through the haze but… in the water, the valve’s handwheel seems to have snapped off. Uh oh.

Davey grunts, struggling to block up the broken pipe, his face being blasted by the water as he struggles to apply tape over the wrecked metal. A small bubble of water forms under the tape, pushed out by the jetting flow.
Soon enough - he’s able to force the last of it down, a shoddy seal forming around the pipe and stone that had wedged itself in there. Trickles of water still leak through, but nowhere near the volume as before.

“Is the water level going to keep going up?”, you ask Davey as he leans on the pipe to catch his breath.
“I… *huff*, installed a drainage system specifically in case something went wrong… I just wasn’t expecting it to be this big of a burst.”

Soon enough, some of the water starts draining out of the room, and a flustered Davey wipes his brow.
Unfortunately, he still seems to be ankle-deep in all of it.

“Ah… I don’t think I’ve gotten a workout like this in a while.”
He groans, looking at the sorry state of the waterlogged greenhouse.
“I think the drain’s clogged by all the dirt… I’m going to have to take measures to resuscitate the plants.”
The bulge of tape over the pipe wobbles ominously.

“I don’t think that’s going to hold forever”, you point out.
“The drain needs to be unclogged as well”, Davey adds.

Both of the issues need to be resolved, sure - but the question is how Davey should juggle the tasks. It would be a problem if the tape seal over the pipe broke - but part of why water’s still leaking through was because he didn’t have enough strength to make the seal airtight. And there’s the matter of the clog too - Davey’s looking winded, and at this rate, if something goes wrong, he may not have the energy to fix it.
There surely has to be a more efficient way to solve the problem.
>>
No. 1062866 ID: 273c18

>>1062861
Hmm... with better leverage, a job is easier. Is there anything he can wrap the pipe in and then fasten shut? Like with a ratcheting rope? Even a belt would help.
As for the clog, has he got a pipe snake around? A plunger could work too.
>>
No. 1062907 ID: f8083d

Do you have a toolbox somewhere? With a wrench you should be able to shut the valve even without the handwheel.
>>
No. 1062979 ID: c8509e

Yes, look for a wrench. And while we are at it, lets pay close attention to Davey's house to infer where exactly in the surrounding area his house is located.
>>
No. 1062981 ID: 273c18

>>1062979
It's underground.
>>
No. 1063038 ID: 3b86e0

>>1062981
With interior decor and building techniques that might be unique to an especific part of the surrounding area!
>>
No. 1064560 ID: 58e9c7
File 168506829598.png - (2.08MB , 1303x1008 , GA19.png )
1064560

“Davey, is there a toolbox around? The valve’s broken off, but a wrench should get it handled properly.”
You watch as his little legs slosh through the water, his head swivelling back and forth as he searches for the toolbox. He leans over, grunting as he strains to pull the box out, lifting it above the water and placing it to the side, near the pipe.
As he opens the lid, water gushes out and Davey gives it a gentle push, draining the container before grabbing a soggy wrench.

He’s holding the damn thing with both hands. For a gardener, he really doesn’t have much for upper body strength, does he? Maybe he’s just built that way.
The wrench slips back and forth before finally, he’s able to align the nut with the wrench - and starts to tighten the valve.
With each laboured pull, the trickling stream grows thinner and thinner until finally, the sound of water can no longer be heard from the television.

Then there’s the issue with the clog.
“You can see a plunger, right?”
Davey gives a weak nod, trudging offscreen before returning, plunger in hand.
Sooner than later, there’s the sound of gurgling water, disappearing off into the depths of whatever elaborate plumbing system that his city had concocted.
>>
No. 1064561 ID: 58e9c7
File 168506831278.png - (2.05MB , 1321x1037 , GA20.png )
1064561

With his plants safe, you can feel the tension dissipate from Davey, before he slumps down on the plunger he was just using.

“Dang… I haven’t gotten a workout like this in ages…”
Davey absolutely looks winded, drenched in both sweat and water. While a few puddles surround him, neither him or his plants are in danger of being flooded.

“Are you okay?”, you ask, a twinge of concern bubbling up inside of you.

He groans, giving a thumbs up.
“I think the plants will recover fine, I made them to be resilient… I’ll make adjustments later. Hahh… remind me again, was there something else I should be checking on? ”

Well, there were the other two options; his kitchen and the pneumatic pipeline.
Still plenty of time left in the evening to resolve these problems, and you don’t have other plans. But maybe you should say something to him, while he’s recovering from the ordeal?
>>
No. 1064565 ID: 443b73

What kind of problems a broken pneumatic pipeline can cause? I don't know a lot about this but I'm assume it can't suffocate Davey. Maybe it can, is his house hermetically sealed duo to the cave in?
If those are just paranoid thoughts of an ignorant, let's focus on the kitchen.
Unless he is extraordinarily unlucky a flooding shouldn't cause as much damage to the food as it did to the plants, but I'm concern with gas . ...Assuming they burn gas underground, they could rely exclusively on electrical heating for safety. It usually takes hours to fill a room with enough gas from a pipe to suffocate, so it should be relatively safe breathing for now, but sparks and open fires are very dangerous.
>>
No. 1064571 ID: 273c18

Check his kitchen next. He should be able to salvage anything that spilled.
>>
No. 1064576 ID: 8f9bc4

Tell Davey what he did was impressive. You're there for him, and as long as you work together, everything is gonna be okay. It might be exhausting, but he stopped the leak. He saved his plants. He can do this.
>>
No. 1066470 ID: 58e9c7
File 168748355396.png - (1.94MB , 1300x979 , GA21.png )
1066470

First things first - gotta give praise when it’s due. Davey was doing a LOT down there, especially considering he’s been living more of a sedentary lifestyle.

“Good job - that was impressive!”, you tell him. For someone like him, completing a repair job like that alone? You were worried he’d pass out.

“Things are gonna be okay. But you’ll have to check your food supply next.”
He nods, a faint smile across his face. For a one-eyed mouseman, he’s got some guts in him.

“Ahh… wow… I really did all that, with your help! Thanks, Rory… just give me a moment.”
It’s been a while since someone last thanked you. The moment hangs, with the faint dripping of water in the background. Finally, he sloshes through the water, over towards the camera.

>What kind of problems could the pneumatic pipeline cause if it got broken?
You ask Davey the question as he leans over, to pick up the camera, water still dripping from his clothing. He responds as the camera shifts, pointing away towards the walls.

“Oh… well, if the pneumatic tubing is damaged, then things would be a lot worse! In my case, and my neighbours, we wouldn’t be getting parcels of rationed food any more.
I… hope they’ll be fine. But they’ve held up through past disasters,if they were so easy to break, I don’t think we’d use them as the Undercity’s main delivery system.”

Guess there’s no worry about a gas leak or suffocation. Presumably the homes in the Undercity are built to be well-ventilated in a case like this.
>>
No. 1066471 ID: 58e9c7
File 168748359947.png - (2.22MB , 1305x1037 , GA22.png )
1066471

A solitary chair and what looks to be more of a desk than a table make it apparent that this was Davey’s dining room. There’s a clatter as he places the camera on a nearby piece of furniture.

Thankfully, the damage this time seems much less pronounced.
It’s hard to tell through the TV grain, but dirt, pebbles and dislodged ceiling tiles are scattered around what used to be a clean, quaint little place.


“Ah… things seem kind of fine”, he says from behind the camera.
Until he turns around.
“Oh… oh no.”

A whole passageway had collapsed, whatever supports on the other side of it given way. It looks like an avalanche made from dirt.

“That was where I was… keeping all the food supplies I’ve been getting sent when the first cave-in happened.”
Even without seeing his expression, you can feel the tension in his body.
“Can we fix this?”, you ask.

“...If there’s one thing they taught us in school, it’s to not poke around crumbled ceilings.”

Next plan, then.
“Do you still have enough food to last you for the meantime?”

“I… I don’t know, most of the supplies that I’ve been sent at the start of this disaster I’ve been storing away in the pantry… The fridge will have some, but I was just about to restock it later today! It’s nearly empty by now…”

Davey cradles his head between his hands. It’s just been one problem after another for this guy.

“Oh, what am I going to do? If I knew this was going to happen, I would have taken some of my supplies out!”

His fingers knead at his forehead, his soaked clothes stained with dirt.
Digging sounds like a bad idea, considering the structural integrity of his house. But what can you even suggest in a time like this?
>>
No. 1066475 ID: 273c18

>>1066471
It'll be okay, he's still got the pneumatic tube, which means he can start rationing food until either the next delivery or rescue arrives. ...maybe you can send out a message so that they can send him an early food shipment?

There doesn't look like anything we can do in this room, which means... check the rest of the house for actionable problems. Once everything is checked we can take stock of supplies and working utilities, and make a plan for survival.
>>
No. 1066492 ID: 443b73

If I'm understanding the situation that was a small room with shelves containing food packs and not a collapsed corridor leading to an intact pantry room. So the food should be in the middle of the rubble and if he run out before the next deliver he will always have the option of risk digging for food packages.
If my understanding is incorrect and there is an intact room formerly connected to the kitchen he could draw or pick a map of his house to see if it's viable to dig a small tunnel from another room.

If he managed to store food they should be sending more than he consume. If possible doing nothing in relation to the pantry should be the safest option.

Don't forget that his plant also count as food supply, that was the point of growing vegetables in the first place.
If he run out of food he can cook soup using leather from things like boots and books. Animal glue should contain calories. It's also theoretically possible to extract digestible carbohydrates from wood chips by pressure-cooking with acid (maybe vinegar). Those are all horrible and may get him sick but are better than starvation.

In the future he may consider spreading his food storage across every room during this kind of emergency.
>>
No. 1066493 ID: 273c18

Oh yeah if there are any thin, non supporting walls connected to the room with the food, he can just knock a hole through the plaster or whatever and access it that way.
>>
No. 1066610 ID: 9c902d

Let's continue to take stock of everything we DO have. Check what might still be accessed around the partially destroyed areas, too.

And honestly? I think we should start digging a tunneln out of this place.
It's clear no one will come rescue us. At least not before the food and air run out.
>>
No. 1067225 ID: 58e9c7
File 168868771525.png - (2.37MB , 1382x1037 , GA23.png )
1067225

You ask if he could make a quick search around the kitchen to take stock of what food he has left.
He doesn’t take long, and comes up with little worth mentioning.

“I guess if rations don’t arrive soon, I’ll have to start eating my crops… but they’re nowhere near ready yet either.”

He audibly sighs, and you can’t help but empathise with him.
“These kinds of quakes have been happening a bit more of late. I just wonder what’s happening? Even though I heard the news about it, I suppose I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

“Could we knock a hole through the wall to get to the pantry that way?”, you ask.

He shakes his head.
“That would be something we’d call professionals for… and they’ve been on overtime for a long while.”

The thought of Davey smashing his walls down after performing physical maintenance on his garden is an amusing thought - but disregarding the risk, you’re not sure he’s going to be conscious after having him take a hammer to his own house.

>If the pneumatic tubes are still fine, then he’d still be able to receive rations and stuff, right?
You ask Davey about that, and his ears perk up a little.

“Right. They’re dried, preserved foods specifically intended for this kind of situation. I’d still have access to them, but they space out the deliveries…”

“Still, that’s the only way right now.”
>>
No. 1067226 ID: 58e9c7
File 168868773352.png - (2.26MB , 1382x1037 , GA24.png )
1067226

There’s nothing else to it, he’s going to have to look in the last room of note for now.

You tell Davey to check out the pneumatic piping again - and to your surprise, he’s taking the camcorder somewhere new.
“What you saw from before was just one of the pipe’s exits… there’s actually a whole console room we use to coordinate the deliveries! I’ll have to check that out, but there is some redundancy in the piping, so hopefully there won’t be any problems.”

The pneumatic tube room is more interesting than you had imagined, with pipes running through and across the room, disappearing into the walls. You’d seen some of the pipes before elsewhere, crisscrossing other rooms in Davey’s house, but here? It’s something else entirely.

A console rests in the corner of the room, the screen gently pulsing.

“This is the Pneumatic control room. Deliveries are fairly automatic and centralised, from a distro centre at the heart of the Undercity. You can send messages freely using the system, but they check to make sure that nothing else besides the packages with the right clearance. Both sides have to agree to a transfer before something can get sent through, unless it’s from central. There’s no worries of people sending you bad stuff, since it all has to pass through rigorous screening before being sent off elsewhere.”

It’s safe to assume that the console probably is involved with actually setting up the transfer requests.
“Oh, but there is one problem; sending stuff to Central isn’t allowed. It’s not connected up to the system in the same way, so they can send us stuff but not the other way around. Normally we could just send messages via the terminals, but it’s hard talking to people outside of the local area here.”

Davey looks over at the deposit box, his tail perking up. A blinking light seems to indicate something’s inside.
“Oh! There it is! A fresh bundle from central!”

He skitters over, picking up the little box, which seems to be encased in what almost resembles a miniature suitcase shell.

He frowns.
“...Huh. This is a lot smaller than last time.”
You inform Davey that this time around, the rations should probably be spread out over multiple different rooms so that if something caves in, he wouldn’t be out of luck.

He gives a quick nod, turning the box over in his hands.
“Yeah… I won’t make that mistake again.”

There’s a chime from the terminal - and Davey turns his head.
>>
No. 1067227 ID: 58e9c7
File 168868777261.png - (2.03MB , 1305x965 , GA25.png )
1067227

“Oh, huh, what’s this? Someone’s sending me a request.”
A sudden message, now of all times?

“It’s… asking for some supplies. Food specifically. My neighbour’s… asking for some as he’s had his own pantry obliterated by the cave-in.”

I guess that’s even worse than what happened to Davey.

You ask Davey whether the message mentions anything about the fact that the neighbour should have had his own ration pack.

“A-ah… yeah, that’s what makes me feel a bit funny about all of this. He says that he hadn’t received one at all.”
The box rattles in his hand.
“This is only really enough for a day or two, and that’s for one person… sometimes I get so immersed in my work that I don’t eat, which is part of how I saved up a lot in the pantry.”

There’s a twisting, conflicted expression spreading across his face.
“It’s entirely possible for rations to get lost during transit, but… I don’t know. I want to respond, but…”
He turns away from the camera.

“Well… I don’t know him well at all. It’s also possible that it’s a situation where someone is trying to hoard resources in a time of hardship.”

Davey opens the lid, staring at its contents.
“If I split half of this and sent it over, I suppose we’d both live, but who knows when we’d next get something from central? If it takes too long, then…”

“Are the rescue efforts being hampered? From the sounds of it, you’ve been in here for a while…”
He doesn’t respond, the furrow in his brow deepening.

This poses a problem. But is it right for you to influence Davey’s decision on this?
>>
No. 1067233 ID: 273c18

>>1067227
I think the situation has progressed to the point in which we can do something directly to help. Tell him to network with everyone he can contact to create a detailed report on their survival situations, and you will relay that information to Central yourself. Those with blocked-off supplies will have priority on rations, obviously.
>>
No. 1067235 ID: 273c18

Specifically the report should at least include:
1, what parts of their apartments were damaged
2, how much food and water they have left
3, any injuries
>>
No. 1067238 ID: 443b73

>>1067233
Can we? We are part of a different nation and this government is difficult to communicate with for their own citizens.

There is too much uncertainty to give up on your food right now. The priority should be your own survival, but you can try to consume only half of your portion to send the rest to your neighbor later if you feel you can afford to.
Exchange a few messages to get a better understanding of his circumstances and to explain what happened on your end. This decision should not be taken lightly and doesn't need to be made immediately.
>>
No. 1068354 ID: 78048b
File 168990120097.png - (1.88MB , 1280x975 , GA26.png )
1068354

>I think the situation has progressed to the point in which we can do something directly to help.

You’re already this deep into things, you may as well get Davey helped out while you can.

>Exchange a few messages to get a better understanding of his circumstances and to explain what happened on your end. This decision should not be taken lightly and doesn't need to be made immediately.

You tell Davey that there isn’t a need to commit to the decision right away, especially considering that starvation isn’t an immediate threat any time soon, only a future one.

He blinks, then nods in affirmation.
“Yeah… you’re right! Even if our metabolism is a little faster than surfacedwellers are, we should be fine for a while.”

Soon enough, Davey’s tapping away a response message to the request he’d received. Though his fingers are dancing over the keypad, you can’t really see the contents of what he’s writing up which you proceed to ask him about.
Davey responds, “I’m just telling him that I can’t afford it right now either, since my own pantry was blocked off. We’ll have to discuss it again in future.”
Though as he presses send, he exhales with a pained expression.
>>
No. 1068355 ID: 78048b
File 168990121860.png - (2.31MB , 1382x1037 , GA27.png )
1068355

You ask Davey what’s wrong as he sits on the little stool he used to access the console, his head between his hands.

“I really hope that… Nico doesn’t judge me too much for this. My neighbour.”

“I mean it when I said that I don’t know him well at all; and the few interactions that we have had haven’t been great. He’s meant to be some kinda… fancy bigwig type over at central. Apparently he chose to live here to get space away from the busier parts of the city.”

It definitely does feel odd, hearing that a supposedly relevant official is living somewhere obscure, and not necessarily well-provided for, since Davey talks about his relative isolation.

“What if he accuses me of being selfish when the disaster ends?”

“Or worse, what if I somehow cause him harm because I didn’t agree to it out the gate? There could be ulterior motives for that message!”

What’s that supposed to mean? Ulterior motives for food reasons?

“Oh… I guess this is something unique to the Undercity… um. I’m not sure I should be talking about this, honestly.”

There seems to be a lot of weight behind that.

“To put it one way… when it comes to the city officials, as a civilian you should try to listen to them however you can. Non-compliance is seen as… potentially treasonous. O-oh, but, that doesn’t mean that people just… disappear, right? I haven’t seen it happen myself, so maybe it’s fine!”

…Does… does Davey not get the implications of that? Why didn’t he tell you BEFORE you told him to send that message?

“Ah… ah, hahah…”
He starts laughing to himself, a worried look in his eye. “I hope that Nico’s not trying to act on official duty or anything… there’s an Undercity saying, that when we’re at home, our uniforms do not matter. I… hope that’s true.”

This could be a problem.
>>
No. 1068415 ID: 273c18

>>1068355
Tell him that the response he gets to his message about putting it off until later will decide how he should proceed. If his neighbor is a bit pushy about it then he'll have to cave, I guess.
Is that the only other person he can contact?

...something worth bringing up is that the reason his neighbor didn't get food is that his pneumatic pipe might be broken... is he sure that the food will be delivered, and not just get stuck and wasted?
>>
No. 1068423 ID: e5709d

>>1068355
"You'll just have to live with that. But I think you need to ask yourself about the context of where you've made the decision.

I'm starting to wonder if that cave in was... well, I wouldn't declare it was scheduled, as it would hamper productivity. But I suspect the officials calculated a risk-reward formula and decided that cutting corners in natural disaster mitigation was worth the profit. That letting nature occasionally take its course is part of the system."
>>
No. 1070903 ID: 78048b
File 169302447447.png - (2.21MB , 1382x1037 , GA28.png )
1070903

“The best thing to do is to wait for his response. Depending on what it is, then we can figure out how to proceed.”

Davey nods.
“You’re right, Rory. Besides… I’m still stuck here. I can’t do much besides wait.”

“But at least I have you for company!”


>Is he sure that the food wasn’t delivered and didn’t simply get stuck?
You ask Davey about the stability of the pneumatic tubing.

“Hmm… normally these tubes aren’t supposed to get stuck, and there are systems in place for detecting blockages to reroute packages when necessary. I guess it could happen, but if it did, he probably would have mentioned it?”

A part of you wonders if the cave-in had been orchestrated. Use explosives in the right place and a lot could happen. But Davey’s anxious enough already, so you keep it to yourself.

You also tell Davey that there’s probably other people Nico could ask if he’s really struggling.
“I suppose so… it would be rather awkward if everyone said no.”
>>
No. 1070904 ID: 78048b
File 169302449605.png - (2.30MB , 1382x1037 , GA29.png )
1070904

Davey steps back as a fresh new package drops into the collection area.

“Is that from Nico?”

“No… I…”
Davey looks worried, his whiskers twitching.
>>
No. 1070905 ID: 78048b
File 169302454025.png - (2.14MB , 1382x1037 , GA30.png )
1070905

“Packages are supposed to have proper authorization and certification! I never asked for something like this!”
From what it seems, the package is indistinct, wrapped in paper of some kind. An ambiguous bundle.

The package sits in the receptacle, an ominous aura around it. You don’t hear anything besides Davey’s breathing.
There’s no NEED to open it, is there?
>>
No. 1070906 ID: e5709d

If it has no authorized recipient, it's up for grabs.
Look it over a few times and open it.
>>
No. 1070909 ID: 443b73

Ask Davey to share his thoughts. I don't fully understand his concern.

If the fear is about the government knowing he received a package that violate the rules there is nothing to be done about any possible paper trail on the other side of the tube, but assuming there is no register of where this end up the safest option is to keep it in secret.

Since your neighbor is politically relevant it's possible your addresses were accidentally mixed. That would mean you were meant to be left to starve while he was a priority, and this mysterious package could be something intended for him outside official procedures.

Unless I'm misunderstanding something you got to find out what's inside to decide what you should do with it.
>>
No. 1070917 ID: 273c18

Examine the package. How heavy is it? Does it rattle? Is it making any noise? Does it smell like anything? Are there absolutely no identifying marks? How securely is it wrapped?
All sorts of physical evidence can give us clues as to its origin and purpose.
>>
No. 1070925 ID: 918cdb

No, no need to open it.
Eat it with the wrapping.

But honestly, it's not a bomb, even corrupt politicians won't explode someone for not giving food on the first "no".

At worst, it's somethig that shows whoever sent it is not fooling around and wants food now, which means it's already our problem.
>>
No. 1070965 ID: 8f9bc4

I can't see what it is from here. Is it something particularly alarming? They wouldn't be sending you a weapon, would they? Surely they're not sending you something that... would only be of use to someone who's not going to be rescued?


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