Monday, November 29, 2021

Put a Ring On It

 I realize I've not been keeping up with the blogs, and that has lead to some detail being lost - I'm working on getting it all there, though, so if you see a detail missing, let me know.

After leaving Tesseractus, they traveled two weeks to the next "interesting" place, a huge ring-world known as Vularious. Hang on - I think you may have misunderstood me. When I say this ring is huge, I don't mean that it is simply "fairly large". I mean that three Earth-sized planets could fit edge-to-edge across its inner diameter. The system consisted of the ring, and some kind of pulsing, artificial sun at the center. The ring itself is covered in enormous, complex edifices and oddly-positioned buildings; the inside of the ring appears smooth, but is littered with smaller structures, few over half a mile tall. The outside is not so "smooth", and is covered with much larger "buildings", some a thousand miles tall! However, for the massive size of the thing, there are only three colonies: two scientific camps, and one scrapper camp.

The first order of business was contacting the scientists. The group convinces the scientists that they are most likely insane, and have blown up a planet. The lead scientist seems a bit of a nervous fellow - Dr. August Whinery, of Durst Tech. He claims their base has been attacked before by the other scientists, and important equipment has been destroyed.

Borrowing a land vehicle, the group head over to the much better fortified camp nearby; this base is under the control of the much more haughty and dismissive Dr. Alexander Zhang, of the Caedfell Moons; unlike the Durst Tech guys, Zhang has military support from home, so beefier equipment than the stuff the Durst Tech mercs have access to. However, he claims that Durst Tech has been sabotaging their equipment; they moved bases, and Durst Tech followed them. Of course, they followed Durst Tech when Durst Tech moved, so it's really a big game of back and forth.

Making no progress with the scientists, the team headed "spinward", taking their ship over to the scrappers - CrapTrap Scrap City, home of the CrapTrap Scrappers. The broke, irritated scrappers, who haven't been able to get more than a few tiny scratches into the ring. As it turns out, the material is nearly impervious to normal percussive blasts, and as Elise found out, reflects disintegration beams.

The scrappers - who haven't had much contact, if any, with the scientists, claim that some of their equipment has gone missing or gotten destroyed, too. They blame it on some strange creatures that they saw once. With no better leads, the crew headed over to find these strange creatures; after some searching, they located a shadowy creature, and stopped it to communicated with it.

The creature was hard to see - they were translucent, and the light shifting though them detracted from their already cloaked appearance. Only with a combination of sensors and careful movement tracking could the creature be seen at all.

After a greeting - it seems that the creature communicated through vibrating the ground, which was then picked up by their suits - they asked the creatures if they were the ones destroying equipment. As it turns out, the creature claims they were trapped, for "1051920 days" - about 2,880 years - by the ring. They were merely trying anything they could think of to escape.

It was about that time that their newest member of the team hailed them, and said that he may have figured out what some more buttons on the control pad did. They lit up when they came near the ring, and he has a vague idea of how to turn it on... though what happens after that is anyone's guess. The crew informed the creatures, who gladly vacated the surface of the ring - apparently taking some sort of glowing ship back to the artificial sun in the middle of the ring!

The scrappers, too, were all too glad to have an excuse to leave. The scientists, on the other hand, needed some convincing. Durst Tech mostly agreed to leave, and began packing things up, but only if the Caedfell people left too; the Caedfell people refused unless the Durst Tech people left. Reggie and Nix came up with a plan to use the "warm up" procedure with their control device to send shockwaves through the ring, gradually increasing their frequency. That was enough to get the two sides moving, albeit slowly. After quite a bit of back and forth, Durst Tech left, and the Caedfell group took half their people off-ring. A few other ships from Caedfell broke ranks and left, leaving only a skeleton crew on the ring itself.

And so... they pushed the final button. A shockwave of energy wraps, finger-like, around the ring, and suddenly... the ring is gone! The control device deactivates, and they are left in a system with nothing but a handful of ships. The Durst Tech ships head towards their nearest station, while the Caedfell ships remain, trying to find where the ring went. The sun-like ship, meanwhile, zipped over to the Hephestus, thanked them, and left them a gift - an oblong, silvery object, 8 feet long by 3 feet wide, and the surface of which is exactly 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Course was laid in for the Cube; in the 10 days of travel, the object eventually opened, revealing a strange, silver creature, some sort of android. Reggie, now a proud father, named her Silver Surfer Bridges.

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