Thursday, July 8, 2021

Turn, Turn, Turn (and) Four Pillars

The creature was... odd. As horrible as it looked, it acted rather like a puppy, flailing at them playfully. However, when it hit? It hurt! Reggie dodged past, hoping to avoid the thing, but of course, Rodney jumped in swinging. While he was eventually successful, the creature managed to hit him - and Reggie - a good couple times first. As it turned out, the creature tore more than just flesh and bone - it also tore away memories! Reggie picked up a minor delusion - only his teammates are real, and Rodney lost even more of his poor memory, attaining the hindrance "Extra Clueless", which is a -4 to any common knowledge rolls. Ouch.

Reggie took a heavy blow, but through a little gamble with luck and doom, used a green chip to avoid getting his head smacked off. The draw from the Deck O' Doom did not go well, however, and Reggie ended up with a left arm that ceased to function - the hindrance "One Arm".

They continued on to the security area, and upon opening the first door, Reggie found himself in the middle of a standoff! Two soldiers were pointing guns at three station guards, one of them Jose. Reggie crept around... and realized that the standoff was frozen in time. The men weren't moving.

The other rooms showed a story of what happened - one had the station guards grabbing guns, the next had the soldiers cutting down the guards and scientists in a hail of gunfire. The next room showed one of the scientists, Richard Doyal, talking with someone that appeared to be the head of the soldiers, one Captain Naemes. Doyal, it seems, was a traitor! And the soldiers were definitely AlSec...

The last room was empty, but an explosion was visible through the window...

Down the hall, they found the room that had blown up, with the door welded shut. Rodney applied his hammer, and as it turns out, the door was welded shut because there was hard vacuum on the other side. Oops. Lins dove for cover on the other side of the closing bulkhead door.

Rodney suggested that, maybe, time flowed in the direction of travel; the crew traipsed around to the other side, and found (in the as-yet-unexplored area) a section that looked like the surviving people had camped out there for quite a while - years, maybe. However, they found the same damaged door, and continued around, and it seemed that time was stuck or looping the same from either direction.

Exploring the damaged area, Rodney found a bubble of some kind, protecting a video camera; the camera was able to be charged and accessed wirelessly, and the crew watched the final moments of Dr. Durst.

Durst, it seems, had created some kind of gravity weapon or shield; he ranted at the camera for a bit of his brilliance, and once the enemy arrived, he ranted to them, too. He used a small control pad to crush one of the guards into a ball the size of a fist using his gravity tech, cackling all the while. And then... well, then the remaining guards threw in a few grenades and slammed the door. As it turns out, the shield held perfectly against the explosion, but not the back wall - and the shield didn't hold in air at all. Durst kicked and soundlessly screamed as he floated away from the station; the control pad flung from his grasp and ended up nestled in a crevice in the station. The view scanned forward a few hours, and suddenly, a wave of energy washed over the station, then another, and then... nothing. The stars were gone.

Nix took a space walk, found the device, and brought it back. After some investigation, he realized the pad was merely a remote control; the gravity device was embedded in the ship itself. Whatever the device was, it seemed to be a key to using the black hole to generate wormholes, though it wasn't as if the buttons were labeled. It would take some major research to figure out how the device worked.

With the station fully explored, it was time to head off, this time to a destination 4 days away, Tiberious' Ring. When the ship arrived, it was bombarded by signals from four different clans: the See, who demanded that they be allowed to search their holds, and seemed rather snooty; Zwerg Fortress, who claimed to have the purest minerals in the system; Mortalis Rex, a group of "fearless men and women" intent on making their mark on the universe; and finally the Felszerzet Enclave, who essentially invited them to lunch. There were also two ships - an East Asian-style pirate ship, named the Orukai, and a large, pink pleasure vessel named the Fairy Princess - complete with giant fairy wings on its back.

Elise decided that the Mortalis Rex were the best option, and she and Rodney took their mission to heart - mine fast, mine hard, make some money, and get rich! They were thrown a little welcome party - some basic fried foods that were, nonetheless, fairly tasty - and then sent out to mine. They found a good sized iron asteroid, and set about mining, with Elise cutting a grid into the top, and Rodney following up with a good wallop, knocking the looks bits free. Eventually, after a full day of work, they dragged themselves to bed. After a good night's sleep... they realized their asteroid was gone! Someone had dragged it off while they slept! Grumpily, they headed back to Mortalis Rex to sell the iron they had collected. After a little hemming and hawing, they were offered the price of... $35. That worked out to an hourly pay of just over $2 an hour. It seems someone else had shown up a few hours earlier and dropped off a big ol' iron asteroid, knocking the bottom out of the iron market.

Irritated at having been stolen from, the crew packed up and went to visit the Felszerzet Enclave. The greeting there was warm and hearty; their guide, one Jeffory Longsfeet, was all too happy to show them around, and nearly fainted from happiness when Rodney asked for a tour of the mushroom vats.

Unlike the other factions, the Enclave was perfectly happy not to mine, instead spending time in microgravity growing new mushrooms and, apparently, chickens, who took well to low gravity. Rodney was enamored with the no-longer-flightless birds, and purchased one, naming it "Reggie 2.0". He even got it a birdy diaper. He also got a tube of mushrooms that would continue growing and producing food, and a plasticized "plank" of mushroom-wood. And a couple "fun" mushrooms, that were more recreational in nature...

Elise, meanwhile, bought some frozen chicken-cubes, and experienced some of the fine cuisine of the area.

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