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Chapter 24 (Original Archive)

supreme_arbiter 8/21/2004

Hi everyone!

I, Paul Madison, am the new GM. Thank you Stacy, I am honored ^_^ Thanks Jim for starting this great game :D I will endeavor to stay committed to regular turns (regularity to be defined at a later date. ;) It will take me a while to start the game up again, so there's time to consider jumping in. I'll give a heads up before I start.

In the meantime, I'm curious. What do you (players, potential players and lurkers) want to see as the game progresses? Please let me know, thanks.

I can be contacted either at [email protected] or [email protected].

I remain your servant,

supreme_arbiter 9/1/2004

Turn 1:

[recap: formerly from the Warden, the following crew have crashed on the planet surface]

In the cockpit, Nike sat in the central command chair viewing several displays. Bud, Bailey, and Chelydra were clustered around her examining the results. Percy, Arkady, Amanda and Shlitzee entered together. Amanda was dumbfounded by the featureless sand pressing against the cockpit windows. Chelydra handed a bag to Percy. "Here you go Perce. I found it in the supply room. I left the spears there."

Percy thanked Chelydra, then noticed the computer terminal and flight chair on the far right side. He gleefully took his place.

"We may be protected from the storm and free of stowaways," Nike was saying, "but we're still motionless. There's a problem with the reactor. Without it, this dropship's going nowhere!"

"Dropship?" Shlitzee's eyes glowed green. "Did you say dropship? This is an officer's lifeboat! It's a nice one, but it's no dropship."

"Um, yeah right. Lifeboat," Nike said slowly all the while thinking, "smart ass robot!"

Arkady resumed his seat in the engineer's flight chair beside Percy. He gazed over the controls. Suddenly he recognized one. "Reserve power is very low. We'll be in the dark in another few hours."

"The ship's lifeform scan is complete," Percy interjected. "There are numerous small creatures burrowing down in the sand around us. And, oh! There are six humanoids directly behind us!" While everyone turned to look, Percy typed furiously at the keypad before him. He displayed the view from external cameras above the airlock. The sky was growing dark and a thick fog clouded the view, but several humanoids were clearly visible. Most of them were cowering. One was on his knees prostrate in the sand and waving his arms skyward.

OOC: A map of the lifeboat is at: Bud, Bailey, Nike and Chelydra have been in many parts of the ship not detailed on this map (I will provide a more detailed map later.) They know, for instance, that engineering is back up the hall behind the second door on the right, marked 'danger'.


[recap: Janus heads west to find the downed ship]

Janus emerged from his tent. A Galtite from his party was approaching his tent; his hat had fallen carelessly down his back where straps held it in place while he ran. Janus relaxed. "What is it, brother?"

"Monster storm come, like death!" The Galtite pointed to the west and south. Malik emerged from the tent and gave Janus a worried look. Janus grabbed his binoculars from the tent and ran to the dune crest above their camp. The Sigai mountain peak was just barely visible on the horizon. Above it, bruised and sullen storm clouds threatened to consume the Sigai. Internal electric discharges made the clouds boil and shine an eerie green color. Unless the winds changed, the storm would be on them in a few hours. They'd never make it to Sigai before the storm hit, not even if they left everything and rode light. They were too far to turn back and they wouldn't survive in the open desert: they'd be burned alive. He cursed his luck.

Janus scanned the horizon. At last, he spotted a rocky outcropping in the middle of the dunes to the north. It looked large enough to secure a grounding rod to.


[recap: somewhere in a dense forest, robot MX2000 has been tempted from his post by the sounds of a fight]

The wildeyed native shouted, "Tua Morta! Tua Morta, Otha!" Without taking his eyes off of MX2000, he stooped to pick up a rock that was the size of his chest. He hefted it above his head and ran with it straight at MX2000. He bellowed a tortured yell as he prepared to batter the robot.


end transmission

supreme_arbiter 9/1/2004

There won't be a regularly scheduled turn posting date. At the most I'll be posting a couple of turns a month. At the least I will post one turn a month. We'll see what 'the market will bear'. I remain committed to the longevity of IAS -- 8)

mikejohnson_lordofdance 9/2/2004


[Bud scratching his right ear with left thumb] "I don't think they're here to fix the reactor."

[Bud winks to Shlitzee while jovially slapping Chel {on his shell}]

"Maybe we should make contact while we figure out what to do with this crate?"

stacinator 9/8/2004


Nike nodded. "Affirmative. We may not have what we need on board to make necessary repairs, if those repairs are even possible. So positive interaction with the natives, who may be our only chance to make it out here, would be a definite plus, no?"

gammaben 9/13/2004


As he worked the computer, and scanned the displays, he was pleased that he was able to actually work the computer. Thank goodness he remembered how to work it. It hadn't even been a complete day, he guessed, since waking as a clone of the original Percy Jenkins, and there was much Percy the clone knew he would either remember or realize he couldn't remember, as time went on. Then the bus theory hit him like a ton of bricks. What if he were the only one to remember how to work certain controls? There was one solution to that. The bane of every developer, technogeek and engineer: documentation. Everyone hated to write it, but everyone depended on it. With the short supply of knowledgeable folks on board, Percy decided to do some documenting. He pulled out the fluorescent yelowPost-It Notes (TM) pad from the bag Chelydra had retrieved...

("Thanks, Lieutenant!") ...and grabbed the ink pen from the uniform pocket underneath his duralloy plated light suit--not a small task since he'd fastened it up tight back on Warden. Then he started labeling controls.

"Uh, Percy, what are you doing?" Amanda said, amused.

"I'm documenting." He looked up, as he realized, while important, the situation demanded his attention at more critical areas. "Hey, it's my nature!" Percy sighed. "Waaaaaaiiitaminute. Did you say 'problem with the reactor,' Nike?" Percy grimaced. Well, I'm no propulsion engineer, but I'll see what I can do." He realized the irony of the statement, and his mind briefly dwelt on the unknown fate of Zhaxier.

Rising to his feet, he scanned the computer terminal, plastered with square pieces of paper. "Ok, which way to the reactor room? I've got a bag and fanny pack full of tools, gadgets, and..." As he spoke he sifted through the contents briefly. "And boxer shorts. Well maybe something in here will help! Maybe some of our more diplomatic members can greet the crowd outside?"

supreme_arbiter 8/21/2004

Turn 2:

"Percy, you'll find the engineering room behind the second door on the right just ahead." He nodded affirmatively. "Let's go," Nike said, then led Bud, Shlitzee and Chelydra quickly up the central corridor to the airlock. She approached its control computer, but it suddenly popped out without her command. Nike watched in surprise as the keyboard lit up: two buttons were highlighted: one for the inner door and one for the outer door. A display read, "inner cabin and airlock equalized to outer atmosphere."

Bud gazed around the environmental control room to get his bearings. He approached the airlock door and looked through the window. As he did so, a dim light came on inside and he could see that the far door was still closed.


"I'll join you," Arkady said to Percy. They followed behind the security team to the door clearly labeled DANGER in red letters. Percy tried his card on the reader beside the door and it opened. Inside Percy and Arkady found themselves in the middle of a long and narrow room that stretched from left to right. The wall behind them held bins for storage of spare parts: they were mostly empty. There was a small forge, a recycler, two fuel cell bins and what looked like a telescope mounted to the ceiling. But the dominant feature of the room was the thick, double-paned window that occupied the long wall in front of them. A dim, red light revealed little detail beyond. An airlock separated the windows into two halves. The familiar radiation warning symbol was emblazoned on the airlock door.


[Retraction: Janus and his men are all Galtites. However, they belong to two separate Galtite tribes. Janus, Malik and a few elite fighters belong to the Rota tribe. The others belong to the Spragni tribe. Sorry for the confusion. -p]

Janus and his men hastily packed camp and headed north. The dunes were unnaturally quiet. Even the Zinhala were no where to be seen. The caravan arrived at the foot of the tall rocks after several hours. As they neared them, Janus began to make out their regular shape. These were no works of nature. They were buildings: towers, domes and unnatural constructions that Janus did not recognize.

He dismounted and took a rod and hammer from his pack. He climbed up a tower that stood not much taller than the dune that engulfed it. He hammered the metal rod between two stones, then took a coil of wire from the rod and climbed back down with it. He showed his men where to dig a hole nearby. In very little time, Janus and his men had dug a large enough hole. Janus returned to his pack where he removed a grounder: a large, metal box filled with wire and salt. Janus placed the box at the bottom, connected it to the wire from the rod, then started to cover it with sand. In minutes the men had filled the hole.

"Let's get our bags into the ruin," Janus yelled over the wind which had picked up.

Malik nodded and ran off to convey the orders to the others while Janus removed his saddle and bags. He hauled them into the ruins and dropped them inside, then ran back to secure the rest of their gear.

Malik was still talking to the others. Janus could tell there was trouble. Malik turned to him as he approached. "They don't want to go in!"

"If they don't, they'll be killed!"

"They said they'd rather face the storm than what's in those ruins."

Janus closed his eyes and shook his head, but his hesitation lasted only a second. He spoke to the crowd of men. "Who's coming with me?" Malik and two other members or Janus' Rota clan stepped forward. None of the Spagni did. "Bring us two of the spare water bladders, two bags of jerky and two sand shelters," he ordered. The men rummaged through their packs like their lives depended on it. After they handed the items to Janus and his men, he said, "you and your mounts are free to leave. Galt be with you." The Spragnis, and a few Rota, mounted up and rode further north in search of safer shelter.


"Stop," MX2000 shouted. He raised his arms in a threatening manner. The native looked determined to injure the robot. He fired his laser. The blast struck the native in the chest and he suddenly burst into a cascade of light. The light grew and consumed his entire field of view. MX2000 ran a diagnostic program to verify the data his optic sensors were receiving. Both were fine. He looked around him. Gone were the rocks and hard scabble terrain. It had been replaced by jungle. It was as if hundreds of years had passed in an instant. Vegetation had taken control of the landscape. Not too far from where he stood, under an avalanche of overgrowth, MX2000 detected the distinct signature of a large metallic body. Its shape resembled that of a dropship.


end transmission

supreme_arbiter 9/12/2004

It hadn't even been a complete day, he guessed, since waking as a clone of the original Percy Jenkins.
It's been about 14 hours :) 10 of those hours were spent on the Warden. Somewhere in there Percy, Chel and Nike got a little (very little), sleep so they may consider it to be 'the next day'.

stacinator 9/16/2004


"Alright boys, let's put on our diplomacy hats. On second thought," she said as she looked at Chelydra, "Maybe you should put on the take a back seat hat and guard our asses." She could see Chelydra stiffen. "Hey, I'm not saying don't come with us, just come in the back nice and easy. No offense big guy, but I'm not sure how these people are going to react to a turtle-man."

"Asuda, can you get that door open?"

mikejohnson_lordofdance 9/20/2004


"Asuda, can you get that door open?"
[Bud] {slicking his hair back, in hopes of making a good 'first impression' with the natives}

"Door? I have a way with doors."

He smiles while trying the controls, attempting a 'code 6' override if the issue is clearance.

aeraxbob 9/27/2004


OOC: Assuming that Shlitzfarl is still with the 'meet the neighbors' squad

watching it's organic companions play with the controls, Shlitzee double flashes its eyes Red-Green

To the group, husky synthovoice: "Let's say 'hi' to the fleshies."

supreme_arbiter 9/28/2004

Turn 3:

Bud tried the manual latch. It spun easily in his hands. It opened toward him and Bud entered the airlock. Through the window of the outer door, Bud saw vague shapes in the dark. Strobing flashes of lightning provided glimpses of the desperate humanoids a meter or so below the tail end of the ship. Nike stood at the entrance to the airlock watching Bud. Chelydra and Shlitzee stood behind her.

"Secondary computer repairs are complete," Shlitzee said so everyone with a headset, a comm device, or simply standing nearby could hear her. "However: to restore the AI, the autonomic regulator will have to be installed by one of you carbon bags. Bolt buckets are not allowed to perform that function." She smiled and her eyes turned a bright shade of blue as Chelydra looked at her curiously.


[Meanwhile in the engineering room...]

"What do we have here," Arkady said as he approached the airlock door. Beside it was a passcard reader and two small computer readouts. One glowed green and said 'Airlock: 3 millirems'. The one beside it glowed red and said 'Containment: 452 rems'.

"Seems like the engine is running a little hot in there," Arkady deadpanned.


Janus and his men gathered their gear in the mouth of the ruined building. It wasn't a very large space. A narrow stairway led into a darkened passage below. Only one of their mounted leviathans could fit into the outer chamber. Janus ordered Malik and Jethro to take one of the leviathans inside while he and Micah removed the saddles from the others and freed them. The freed Leviathans headed East as fast as they could.

Inside the ruins, Jethro fed the Leviathan oats mixed with an herbal medicine to sedate the animal. Malik was preparing a saddle to cover the opening through which they had entered. Janus reviewed the men and their gear. All were safe and secure for the time being. He led the men in a prayer of thanksgiving then was silent. Outside, the wind howled and sand blew in over the corners of the saddle. He was reasonably certain the structure would withstand the storm: it had stood for longer than his people had lived in the land and had probably withstood many such storms.

Janus examined the chamber they were in. The walls were sandblasted and featureless. The dark stairway yawned like an unspoken question. He ordered the others to stay with the Leviathan and took some candles and a tinderbox from his pack. He cautiously made his way downstairs.


MX2000 scanned the area. A fine mist (undetectable in the visible spectrum but which gave off a noticeable amount of heat) wafted gently in the still air. The mist seemed to be drawn under the dropship. The robot followed it through the undergrowth. What MX2000 couldn't smash his way through, he cut with his laser. After several minutes, he found himself in the shadow of the ship. Vines had grown into the few cracks they could find between the plates of Duralloy. The mist had mostly disappeared. MX2000 stomped and cut his way into the belly of the dropship through an open gangplank choked with weeds.

Inside, MX2000 saw signs of fighting. Laser blasts scored the bulkhead. The jungle had managed to invade the ship only a little before the light grew too dim. Dead vegetable material cluttered the corridor. MX2000 switched to night vision. The warm mist led further into the ship. He followed it toward the cockpit. In a corridor filled with dust and broken pipes, there lay a long dead corpse in combat armor.


end transmission

mikejohnson_lordofdance 10/1/2004


{speaking into radio} "Okay, which 'carbon bag' wants to install the autonomic regulator?"

{looking out to the humanoids, speaking to his companions} "I'd like to know more about them, but what's our best approach? We've got some people that don't look like they were expecting us... and I don't see anyone like Chel or Shlitzee among them."

{Bud absent-mindedly fiddles with his pistol} "Should we send a lone envoy? And should we offer shelter from the storm?"

aeraxbob 10/6/2004


-pops the plastilid from a small canister, screws it to 'her' neck. A second later, a fast fizzy-whoosh is heard as the canister frosts over, after which Shlitzee unscrews and pockets it.

"Well," eyes shading mauve, "I'd go give'm a talkin' to, but I suppose that's not what you had in mind." Looks over her 3 companions, "but I wouldn't be too hasty to invite new house guests."

'Her' laser roves slightly, at nothing in particular.

gammaben 10/7/2004


OOC: Just noticed on my char sheet for Percy that he has Chel's id card. Can we assume he gave it back to him, after he acquired it back on Warden to open the armor locker?

After taking in the scene of the engineering bay, Percy assimilated the radio transmissions from Shlitzee and Bud. "Alright, secondary computer repairs are complete!" He tried to make sense of the "secondary computer repairs" protocol, hoping his computer knowledge wasn't lacking for an explanation. "Radio on!" he said. "Team, this is Percy. If we find an autonomic regulator, we'll see if we can install it! Uh, radio off!" He looked at Arkday who had found something of interest.
"What do we have here," Arkady said as he approached the airlock door. Beside it was a passcard reader and two small computer readouts. One glowed green and said 'Airlock: 3 millirems'. The one beside it glowed red and said 'Containment: 452 rems'. "Seems like the engine is running a little hot in there," Arkady deadpanned.
How many rems do you think the containment can hold... back?" he asked nervously to Arkady.

"I was expecting something cylindrical, maybe with light blue discs of neon light, and some kind of pulsating noise." He paused for effect. "At this point you're supposed to accuse me of watching too many golden age science fiction movies," he half-joked to the pilot.

Percy walked to the telescope-looking object, and tried to ascertain its usage visually and by touch. "I don't guess there are any instruction books lying around. Idiot's guide to Reactor Repair? Reactor Repair for Dummies? Waaaaaitaminute." He cleared his throat and tried to sound official. "Computer, engineering status!" He looked to Arkady and shrugged. "Worth a shot, I guess."

Barring any response from a voice activated computer system, Percy looked for any comptuer interfaces he could manipulate to learn more about the reactor situation and how to access reactor control/maintenance.

stacinator 10/8/2004


"Alone isn't an option. Bud, seeing as we're the only normal humanoid looking options here. You game?"

"Invite them in? Total security nightmare."

publius1024 10/9/2004

Just noticed on my char sheet for Percy that he has Chel's id card. Can we assume he gave it back to him, after he acquired it back on Warden to open the armor locker?
Percy and Chel each have an ID card on their character pages. Percy said this in Chapter 14 after he entered the Armory:
"Here, you better take your ID card back, Chelydra." He handed the card back to Lt. Jackson, "er, that is, Lieutenant!" Percy put his own ID card in his belt zipper pack and zipped it up.

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