With a promise of good behaviour and one more companion under your command you set off from the main road out of the small, derelict village. It's no longer as early as it once was but the remnants of the rain coupled with the soft sunlight trace a line of all colors across the blue sky, rainclouds gone but for the highest ones.
Slowly you manage to catch up with the construction caravan, damaged as the car might have become it's still a much smaller and lighter vehicle than the construction and transport vehicles you're accompanying. Once you fall back in formation you hear a whistle from up ahead, Flake waves a friendly 'welcome back' wave
Amal gives him a thumbs up!
Serenity‘ nods slightly in his direction.
It doesn’t takes too much longer until you finally reach the destination of the construction. It doesn't looks like it's anything in particular other than a patch of wilderness. There's a few marker posts in bright yellow you can see past some vegetation
Hughbert: "Our operation was successful. The enemy force has been incapacitated, and our ranks are one stronger as well." Hughbert gives Flake a quick brief.
Flake brings forward the cutting blades of his vehicle and drives right off the road at a weird angle, the spinning blades don't form a straight line, however, and more of a wedge form in front cutting a path just big enough for the construction vehicles through the vegetation. You notice an excess of brown tones for the season, though they're not dead a fair bit of the vegetation here
JayM: is starting to show signs
Serenity: "Was expecting… a lil bit uh… more?"
Serenity: "Guess we got a lot of shit to set up Harriet."
Harriet: "This just means we'll be able to set everything up right," Harriet says.
Serenity: "Hm. Good point."
With an expert maneuver the cutting vehicle makes a small opening, the trucks park at the edges, the vehicle carrying the Leonid parks a distance away in the middle of the path while two construction vehicles park in the middle. Once everything's all in their proper positions Flake finally gets down and waves everyone over, including the party
Amal smiles to themself and shakes their head, chuckling a little bit, then glances up at Serenity and Harriet: "Need any help?"
Serenity‘ parks off to the side before ambling on over.
Flake: "Yeah… I wasn’t expecting a lot more, honestly. We've been trying to be mostly pacific against those engagements so we do try kind of hard not to hurt anyone, meaning we wind up with stuff getting stolen"
Flake: "Hrm… On that note it does make extra sense they asked for your help… It's a bit underhanded but it deflects a bit of hate from the government workers"
Serenity: "Haha. Well, for what it's world the town spokesman sounded feed up with the thieves anyway, so." A nod to Amal.
Harriet: "Can always use a pair of extra hands at a time like this," Harriet nods to Amal, and heads over to Flake. She folds one arm across the other, tapping a finger at her chin. "Political maneuvering, huh? I don't have the patience for it, but I guess it makes sense."
Flake: "Anyway, the first night is most set up, the purification structure needs to be set about nine hundred meters below ground, so we need to dig that deep first before we can install the whole system"
Flake: "Night? Day. Sorry, i'm used to measuring my work by how many times I need to sleep"
Serenity: "It's your time to shine Anton."
Amal is tiny and therefore super helpful when it comes to setting up machines! (And they're really good at following fairly abstract instructions without breaking shit. Maybe they worked in a repair ship once back in Rissan? Who knows.)
Flake: "So right now we'll need to get the digger set which takes a while so any amount of hands is useful. After that it's up to the operators to finish digging which should be done by tomorrow morning"
Flake: "So well, get to it I guess!" he points Amal and Hughbert to the digger "You two help set up the base" he directs Serenity, Harriet and Anton to the large crane-like neck of the digger "I know you can fly, so you help up there, you two got good technical skills so help align the digging rig"
Harriet: "Sure, we can handle that."
Flake: "I'll get the geology team and start mapping the underground water flow, if everything works right we'll be ready by lunch time!"
Amal: "Sure thing~!"
Serenity: "Works for me."
Hughbert: "Alright. If you need anything from ground level, Harriet, let me know and I'll [Command] someone to bring it up for you."
JayM: And… What is there to say about a day of hard work? It's not simple by any means, setting up the base of the digger isn't complex in and of itself but there's no way to have clear instructions, the ground is uneven and requires a lot of inventiveness and improvisation to make it stay stable
Amal is more than equal to the task, and Hughbert's a tactical genius, and once it looked like EVERYTHING was about to go to heck in a handbasket BUT THEN NOPE IT WAS FINE, and it takes a while, but… eventually they get it set up!
Harriet has a good head for measurements, so she's able to adapt fairly well to the uneven ground - it's just something which takes time and effort, because there's no shortcuts with things like this. She reflexively answers questions with calculations she's keeping in her head more than once.
JayM: Meanwhile, setting up the digging rig isn't quite easy either, it uses two different digging heads a circular one with various shovel-like blades to move earth and a screw-like head for long lines. The process is a bit tedious involving a lot of adjustment and recalculation to make sure the first screw-type dig reaches the water layer for sampling before the long trench is built. The hardest
JayM: part, interestingly, was after you finally thought it was ready to go as the sun was about to go down and then the screw digger got stuck on something, and someone had to go down to remove a hard rock that had it stuck
Serenity‘ is mostly just glad there aren’t people shooting at them or riding gigantic mutants into the machinery while trying to hook up and align everything, really.
Hughbert almost called one of the construction crew the wrong name, but then he actually didn't.
JayM: Either way, with one of you, or perhaps none, dirty from sliding down a large screw digger it's finally lunch time, and just about everyone is tired. However, you notice someone set up tents, quite a few of them, actually one for every member of the team, the tents are smaller than your average camping tent but they seem to not need set up, they stand on their own somehow with some internal
JayM: structure
JayM: A large ragnite-powered grill and cook fire both have been set up and some food is being prepared, you'd expect it to be mostly food they brought, but there's also an appreciable amount of game too
Flake waves you over "Hey everyone, good job you all. You're really better than I thought, it's good to have some fresh people with us from time to time"
Serenity: "This is basically what I do for a living, so."
Harriet: "I usually work with more explosions than this, but it's not exactly out of my way."
Someone from the team, the one in charge of cooking, walks by and hands everyone a plate- Cooked beans and rice as well a piece of beef… Venison, definitely. Standard-sized servings for everyone
Flake: "Good… Hey, I don't know how they do things where you're from but here we got a tent for everyone, I know you're going to love the sleeping bags too. They're kind of amazing"
Serenity‘ glances over at Flake from her plate, not entirely sure if that was sarcastic or not despite it obviously being enthusiastic.
Hughbert: "This is a good lunch. I see you have a good sense for nutritional value."
Flake chuckles "Don’t worry Serenity I mean it. Folra cotton leaf is kind of amazing, they're aromatic leaves that, if you prepared correctly, are as soft as cotton, I promise
Harriet digs into her food because she is actually pretty hungry.
Serenity: "Aha."
Flake nods at Hughbert "Yeah, hard work needs a lot of energy. And a little game never hurt anybody"
Amal: "Hey, thanks!" They're pretty hungry after all of that, afterall, and snarf down the dinner probably a little too quick, to be honest. "That sounds really nice~"
Flake sighs deeply and falls over backwards after he's done eating "Now i'm tired. So, when you feel like it" he pulls a lollipop out of his pocket and sticks it in his mouth "Feel free to go to bed"
Flake: "Myself, i'm going stargazing for a while."
Serenity: "What's… with the lollipops?"
Flake looks at Serenity "'unno, I just like 'em"
JayM: "I hear they're the oldest sweet in recorded history"
Serenity: "Fair enough."
JayM: Is there aught you wish to do before moving on?
Serenity: "Anyway." She shrugs after a bit, then turns in for the night.
Harriet is gonna eat, and then go the fuck to sleep.
Before Flake goes to his own tent you may hear him mutter "(Why do I have a bad feeling about tomorrow…)" before he goes in
Amal already… snuck off to go get some sleep? Wow.
And so the night begins…
And the call of the morning is not by the rooster, but by the sound of a small explosion! As the first sound to pierce the morning is the sound of Serenity's beam striking the ground, though most certainly by now the entire party has already been awakened one way or another
Hughbert, sadly, just barely had enough time to get back to the entry of his tent when he noticed the sun was starting to peek through the horizon
Meanwhile, the night-shift digger is looking at Serenity weirdly from the high vantage point of the digger, but otherwise focused on his job
[OOC] JayM: This is after the scenes now
Serenity: "…It was touching me weirdly while I was asleep." Not really yelled, but state with some defiance force in the worker's direction.
Hughbert catches the glimpse and frowns. He goes to get everyone up (making sure to visit Serenity last, to give her time to calm down from… whatever that was). Anton gets an extra-rough shake, maybe a flip or two.
Harriet: "Oi, Serenity, are we under attack or something?" Harriet calls out from her tent.
Serenity: "Uh… maybe?"
Serenity: "Not really sure what the hell that was."
Harriet: "There were a bunch of weird vines on my baby, and also me, but none of them really tried to attack us." Harriet emerges from her tent, her ECC slung over her shoulder. She's still fiddling with it.
Serenity: "Yeah same, trying to wrap themselves around me and then like - I duno, dissolved into leaves? Not that that makes any sense."
Serenity: "Heard some people talking about, like, cutting fucking edge FG development shit too."
Serenity‘ rubs at the back of her neck, just sitting in the tent’s entrance.
Harriet: "That's so weird." Harriet pauses, before remembering she should probably ask: "You okay?"
Serenity: "Yeah."
Hughbert finally comes back to Serenity's tent. "Have you checked your ragnite batteries since last night? I believe the vines recharged mine, which may be related to Serenity experiencing… Sensory overload? Was that it?"
Serenity: "Uh no I just grabbed it and then blasted, really." She lets out a yawn, before pulling it up and taking a look.
Amal finally trudges out of their tent looking mildly confused. Or bemused. One of those things.
Serenity: "Also it wasn't really sensory overload, it was more like…"
Harriet investigates hers, too.
Serenity: "I duno, it was kind of like when I'm talking to her, but it was different, too,"
Serenity: "And I feel like if I was trying a bit less to concentrate I could of seen or smelled something too, but that doesn't… really make any sense."
At this point the rest of the crew has managed to be woken up too, a few are grumbling
One of them dressed a work jumper approaches you "Hey, you the one doing the racket?"
Serenity: "Where the hell is Anton anyway I needed to ask him something."
Serenity‘ turns to the worker, sizing them up and let and unspoken ’what?' settle on her face.
Worker: "At least make coffee if you're going to wake everyone up"
Serenity: "It is common for weird as vines to crawl into your bed and try and wrap themselves around you here?"
Serenity: "Cause if so you should really put that on that travel phamplets."
Hughbert: "I believe Flake has a fine brew on hand for that." He nods to Serenity and the worker.
Worker: "Vines? What do you mean"
Amal: "Gosh, think of the tourism potential." I mean uh!
Serenity: "There were these weird vines in our tents, trying to grab us."
Harriet: "Kinda silvery, dissolved into leaves?"
Serenity: "It was not a good touch." Sharp glare in Amal's direction.
Harriet: "Actually listened when I told them they were gonna set off my ECC?"
At this point Flake shows up "Elizabeth by the goddess' sweet embrace, go make some before you and Randy start fighting again" he almost shoves the worker out of the way "Sorry about her, don't worry." he looks at Serenity "Grasping vines? I haven't seen or heard of them, and I graduated as Integrator so"
Flake: "Are they still around? I'd love to see what they're connected to"
Serenity: "Naw they kind of…"
Serenity: "Uh, turned into silver leaves when touched…?"
Serenity: "It was incredibly bizzare."
Flake crosses his arms "Hrm… That is worrying" he shakes his head "It's either one of two bad things as far as I know, some non-native species or… An altered native one"
Flake: "Neither things I want to see around here"
Hughbert: "They were attracted to my ragnite battery, I believe. It recharged it as well. Harriet, noticed any negative side effects?"
Serenity‘ finally awake enough for that to click. "Wait they refilled your ragnite?"
Harriet: "So far, my cannon seems fine… they misaligned some parts, but it’s not too hard to put them back."
Hughbert: "If your ECC doesn't show anything…" He holds his arm out- his jacket's still in his tent, so his force gear bracer and attachment are out in the open on his arm.
Serenity: "I guess that would explain the voices… Kind of."
Amal: "…I slept okay at least!"
Serenity: "Never be human, Amal."
Flake: "Voices?"
Serenity: "Uh, long story."
Serenity‘ squints at Flake.
Serenity: "You ever feel like sometimes you know what’s gunna happen, before it happens?"
Flake: "Yeah, I do"
Serenity: "It's something like that, but with there here and now instead of the future."
[OOC] Serenity: with the here^
Flake: "I get those feelings sometimes, normally at night when stargazing." he crosses his arms "Ah, I see…" "
Flake: "Honestly I have no idea what that is about, but it's not the first I hear of it, so i'll take it a true"
Flake: "What'd you hear, then?"
Serenity: "You should talk to Anton about it sometime - WHENEVER HIS DUMB LAZ ASS FINALLY DECIDES TO WAKE UP - but uh, they were talking about stuff with force gears that wouldn't make any sense if you didn't have any intimate knowledge of how they work."
Flake: "Huhn… Interesting…"
He crosses his arms, thinking
Flake: "Well we are about a day west from an Arklight testing facility"
Flake: "Wonder if that's related"
Harriet: "Sounds logical."
Serenity: "Huh…"
Flake: "Either way we-" and his words are interrupted by the loud sound of something hitting metal incredibly hard, and the sound of metal bending "-what the" "
Amal: "That's the… the monster researchy people, rig- ack!!"
Serenity: "That is not a sound we should be hearing at this depth."
And there's water raining down for a moment, and you see the digging machine's arm just bend as a short burst of very high pressure water erupts from the nearly finished hole with enough force to tip the machine back and bend the arm
Serenity‘ groans while pulling her hair into a ponytail, then goes to see what the fuck happened.
Flake winces "Seriously?"
Serenity: "Hugh this isn’t your idea of a practical joke, right?"
The digger scrambles out of the machine "Ack, i'm sorry boss that shouldn't have happened"
Hughbert: "I have no part in this." He runs in a straight line to the source of the geyser. He runs through his tent- by the time he exits out the other side, he's already wearing his jacket and holding his book.
Flake runs over with Serenity "I told you there was a high pressure natural gas pocket in the way. I told you, you're lucky the damn water got mixed in it and it didn't ignite!"
Amal: "Oh, dear."
Harriet just… facepalms and goes over to deal with it.
Digger: "I-i'm sorry! I swear I was being careful!"
Anton lets out a loud yawn before wandering out of his tent. He follows after the others. "Good morrow, my dear companions!" He tilts his head at Serenity. "Don't mind me. I sensed that you were moving now so I decided to take a gander at what we were doing~."
Flake sighs, holds the digger by the shoulders "So now you're going to do the sample testing" "what" "You got everyone wet, and broke the digger, you do the boring safe job"
Serenity: "Get over here dumb ass."
Serenity‘ knees down near the edge, peering down into the hole while opening her senses to both the ragnite drive on the digger, and anything that might potentially be below.
Amal also kind of scoots over to (a safe distance away from) Serenity and the borehole.
Anton whistles as he watches the others work. "So what are we doing this fine morning?"
Amal: "Apparently having some kind of disaster with the borehole hitting a pocket of ???"
Amal frown.
Flake: "Was natural gas, there’s some pockets around, we used to use that instead of ragnite a long time ago"
Flake: "Burns bright if you set if aflame, goes off in a giant explosion if you're careless, doesn't have the capacities to make Force Gear but you can make ignition-based engines same way you can do with ragnite"
Hughbert: Flake's got it under control- Hughbert instead walks over to supervise the Actual Foodmans making breakfast, observing them preparing vegetables, like beans!
Serenity: "Shit burns out real fast compared to ragnite, though. Can't imagine an entire country running on it."
Flake: "That it does. I can't either but I saw some old machinery, they're pretty impressive"
Serenity‘ nods her head towards the digging machine after she stops mumbling to herself.
Harriet: "It’s an interesting power source, I'd love to do something with it at some point just for fun."
Serenity: "Also good Goddess you can just sleep through anything can't you Anton?"
Anton gives Serenity a playful wink. "Guilty as charged~."
Serenity: "Suppose there's no sense in asking if you, too, were paid a visit by overly friendly vines last night then."
Amal: "Ah, yeah." They take a step or two back. "I mean, I bet you could optimise machines to run on it if you had to and it'd be fine…" They trail off tilting their head curiouslt.
Flake looks down the hole "Tsk… Okay so the hole for the chemical barrier is finished ostensibly but the walls are damaged, we need to get some protective rigging if we don't want to have our workers get caved in"
Serenity: "Yeah."
Flake: "Except I didn't expect this outcome…"
Flake: "How to do this…"
Amal glances at Harriet. She's the genius, here!
Harriet: "Let's have a look." Harriet assesses the situation, because, like, even if she's not that great at safety it's still in her wheelhouse.
It's a huge hole, Harriet, it's kinda shaped like a horizontal line, as wide as five people side-by-side and as long as about ten meters. There's a literal explosion-hole at the right side of it halfway down it's depth, anything further the wall is risking collapsing
Serenity‘ will…. double check her work after she’s done.
Serenity: "Anyway Anton."
Serenity: "C'mere."
Anton blinks before approaching Serenity. "I knew you'd warm up to me eventually. How can I be of service?"
Harriet: "Right, okay, so we'll want to reinforce that," she gestures vaguely to the hole, "before we do anything else, because if we dick around with it it's definitely gonna just gave in."
[OOC] Harriet: *cave in
Serenity‘ gives Anton a blank looks, mentally runs through a few reactions, discards them all. "You said your power worked forwards and backward, right?"
Anton scratches at his cheek giving a thoughtful look. "Did I? I wonder…" He playfully smiles.
Amal watches Serenity and Anton with curious amusement.
Flake: "That’s the thing, I didn't bring any material for that. Normally if I was expecting that we'd have a safety net for that, but I didn't expect… This. So I didn't"
Harriet: "That's okay, improvisation is my middle name. Lemme look at what we do have, I'm sure I can figure out something."
Flake: "I mean I could whip up a wooden structure to hold that but i'd rather not cause any more damage than I already did to the local flora"
Serenity: "Cute." Eyeroll. "I need you to muster whatever focus your tiny little brain can muster, and try and figure out what, exactly, was happening when the " Threads "," and she does air qoute for emphasis, "were disturbed last night."
Anton: "To be honest it's hard to remember what I have and haven't said in this world line. I am able to review the past or look into the future though!"
JayM: Harriet: There's extra supplies, mostly wiring and tubing. There's a bit of repair material for the trucks in case of a necessity, there's a couple of metal panes for the truck carrying the big monster and a rather fragile tarp to cover the other trucks of necessary. There's a lot of cabling.
Harriet: "Right, okay," Harriet says as she gets done taking inventory. "Hey, Flake, how attached are you to that crane arm? It's pretty totalled, we could use that too."
Serenity‘ then asides to the others, "There’s always dairagnite if you're desperate," before returning her attention to Anton and his stupid face.
Hughbert breaks off from the breakfast crew. "Harriet. If I overheard right, you need to find salvagable materials for supports and scaffolding, correct? Perhaps I can take some of the workers that would be idle and [Investigate] the timber that was felled to make camp for servicable wood."
Flake: "It's… Yeah, you can use that if you need it"
Anton chews at his lip. "Oh, those? They were just trying to get a feel of the density of the threads around you if I'm not mistaken and how they'd be able to affect them. They weren't actively trying to snap them or even unravel them just… tugging in different places really and seeing if they were capable of doing so."
Harriet: "Huh? Oh, yeah, that's be good too," Harriet nods to Hughbert.
Serenity: "That's… more of an answer than I was honestly expecting."
Serenity: "Can you trace back the movement to whomever did it?"
Anton: "The vines had no aura, I'm afraid."
Anton: "Nothing to trace. No feelings."
Serenity: "Hm."
JayM: Now that's some more material avaiable for you, Harriet. You got a sizeable amount of wood avaiable. A fair bit has been ground to chips, actually, thanks to the vehicle's whirling blades (and pretty much turned to compost) but there's a fair bit of material still
Hughbert gets Paul and a friend or two of his from the camp and sets about finding what'll work. Turning a big machine into supports would be expensive when it can be repaired or scapped!
Serenity: "I suppose that lines up with her not being able to sense anything other than the threads being disturbed."
Anton: "If there was something far out, it was being drowned out by the lot of you reacting to the incident."
Serenity‘ tilts her head down towards Amal. "It wasn’t you, was it?"
Amal snorts a little puff of air out of their nose. "Hah, no. If I wanted to mess with you, I'd do it while you were awake, you're too scary to sneak up on."
Serenity‘ opens her mouth, remembers her immediate reaction was to blast a hole in the ground in the direction of the voices, shrugs and nods vaguely instead. "Alright."
Anton: "If you want the abridged version though, my take is that someone out there was testing the waters to see how badly they could direct us on to an unfavorable world line. Find whoever sic’d the vines, you find your answers~. How's that for an explanation?" He beams with a smile before giving a thumbs up.
Serenity‘ rolls her eyes, stands up on her tip toes then pats Anton on the head.
Hughbert returns with a pile of load-bearing logs, and immediately starts instructing his helpers on how best to stabilize the dig with them.
Harriet gives the wood a quick once-over, and once it passes inspection, she gets to work. She utilises the wood for most of it, dipping into the crane for metal supports where they’re needed, and using spare wiring and tubing to lash it all together and make it sturdy enough to pass muster.
JayM: Which are unlike my PM logs, which already collapsed
JayM: It looks a little jury-rigged, because it is. Still it's as sturdy as it needs to be, a wooden frame that'll keep any large chunks of soil from smothering workers below. Won't keep you front getting dirty but you're already going to get muddy anyway
Serenity: "Ugh the more I think about this though, the more it's bugging me."
Serenity: "Like. It felt a lot like the first time I heard the voices. And while it's definitely not the same as the normal spooks or as her, the voice seemed kind of familiar? It was all real weird."
Flake looks down "Hrm… Man, I really need to look into getting that masharas training program approved again. I didn't figure you could set the frame that way to hold the weight but it makes sense"
Serenity: "But the more I tried to focus on it, the harder it was to make anything out, which is also the opposite of how spooktime tends to work."
He looks at Harriet "Well, wanna be the first to do the honors? Or well, I guess not, I need you up here setting up the automation system"
Flake looks at Hughbert "I gather you got a water-type force gear?"
Harriet: "Yeah, you've just gotta make sure to counterbalance it properly, or else everything goes to shit real fast." Harriet thumbs-up, "it's cool, I'll keep everything covered up here."
Anton seems to be staring off into the distance. If Serenity was expecting some more insight from him… yeah.
Amal: "I mean, maybe there's just more 'out there' than you think there is, and you can talk to all of it? That's pretty weird, though."
Serenity‘ doesn’t ever expect anything from Anton, it makes it easy to not be disapointed.
Serenity: "I guess."
Hughbert nods and boots it up. "It's not particularly suited to non-combat arts, but yes, that is my specialty."
Serenity: "I mean, I've never really left home so I suppose it's not super strange to think there might be other distinct voices."
Flake: "It's cool, if you can help out just trying to keep everyone as dry as possible if you can? If you can, this is really more of an amenity for people working in the mud underground"
Amal: "Maybe it's a Terchuan thing? See if it happens again once we've moved on somewhere else, I guess, this place is kinda… I mean, it has ominous butterflies! Those sure aren't normal!"
Flake looks at Amal "What, Omen Butterflies?"
Hughbert: "I will need to do it in my particular way, but, I can do that."
Flake: "Yeah they're native to Terchuan. They're pretty cute aren't they?" "
Flake: "They're also pretty useful, they feed on a type of… Detritus caused by natural erosion of exposed ragnite, actually. This particular kind of detritus is also amazing for plants, it's pretty much the most common soil enhancer we use. So if you go where there's lots of omen butterflies you'll find out where there's lot of fertile soil"
Serenity: "Huh."
Amal: "They're adorable!" Ah-HA, conversational gambit effective! "…huh. I wonder if you could naturally produce that as fertiliser, that might help out the depleted soil in other parts of the world…"
Serenity: "They actually eat ragnite?"
Flake: "Not quite, it's closer to ragnite-enhanced humus, just like how we used ragnite to enhance medicine. It's naturally occurring here in Terchuan but it is possible to make it artificially"
Serenity: "Oh. That's less interesting."
Flake: "It still needs a fair bit of dead biological matter, but the ragnite dust when mixed with the particulars of certain plant refuse triples or up to quintuples plant growth rate in many cases"
Flake: "Yeah I haven't met anything that eats ragnite that isn't a monster, sorry"
Flake calls up a few workers "Either way, time to go down, any of you wanna help you're invited" there's a small elevator rig "C'mon Hughbert. It's mostly going to be just putting stuff around and filling it in" he then gives a thumbs up to Harriet before heading down
Harriet will get to setting up the automation system as soon as it's appropriate!
Hughbert takes the rig down.
Serenity‘ will go grab a couple of samples since she ran out of things to harass Anton about anyway.
Amal will definitely make a note of that for later. Anything they can use to try and help things across the world…
It’s a day's worth of hard work. The most impressive part of the job is lowering those huge plates of a silvery metal with tiny, tiny holes down to the bottom. Hughbert gets the dirtiest job in the party, which is trying to keep people mostly clean but at least it's impressive seeing water leaking out of what looks like dense clay down here. The plates are arranged like walls in the hole
JayM: and once they've been properly adjusted it looks like you're inside a giant bin. After that's done it's time to pour down a liquid with a foamy appearance all the way up to almost fill up the hole.
Serenity: "And now for the most exciting part."
Serenity: "More waiting."
That's where Harriet's job happens, the automation system is pretty ingenious, it takes about five hours of waiting before you can test if it is working however as that is how long it starts for the purification system to start outputting the first bits of metal-ragnite compound. The magnetized collection system draws what looks like a silvery-blue quicksilver into a collection system
JayM: that flows into large containers. The very weight of the containers should cause them to get switched to the next, and there's enough to last at least a couple of months here. Of course testing the container switch requires using some actual water because the trickle of liquid metal from underground is super slow
JayM: But it works, all they'll need to do is have someone to pick up the containers every month or so and bring new ones. Much better than the 24/7 staffing required otherwise
JayM: I would suggest caution with that, lead is toxic especially this ragnite-lead composite they use to remove it from the water, it's especially pernicious so don't touch it
Harriet is sure to warn them about that, because she's long ago learned that things being obvious to her doesn't make them obvious to everyone else.
With all that done, Flake takes a deep sigh, looks at Harriet "Damn, the magnetic collection is impressive"
JayM: "You don't happen to have any publications on this kind of thing, do you? I'd love to add that to my collection"
Amal: "That sounds a lot like 'writing documentation' to me…"
Harriet: "Oh, yeah, absolutely. Let's see, the last thing I did about this sort of thing was when I was messing around with filtering ragnite, that'd be in, uhh, Applications Of Mesh-Structure Filtration To Industrial Ragnite Facilities, Babbage, Fornier, et all, in Ragnite Engineering Monthly? There's a bunch of other stuff too. Writing it all down's a drag, but I always make sure I've got my docs
Harriet: right. " Harriet grins.
Flake nods "I'll see if I can get a copy, then. Honestly you don't see a lot of electrical and magnetic engineering around here"
Flake: "Folks fear the thunder something fierce"
Serenity: "Can't imagine why."
Harriet: "It's a damn shame, the fields are really promising."
Hughbert returns from washing up after The Muddening. He's wearing what appears to be the same outfit as before, except not covered in huge gobs of moist dirt.
He looks around "Well, I'd say the day ended much better than I expected. Let's hope we can make a fine trip back. We should still have some fresh water avaiable for bathing if you people want, I know I do. I wouldn't want to wash up on the local water, though, you saw what we just pulled out of it
Serenity: "Out of curiosity."
Serenity: "What were you expecting?"
Flake: "I have honestly no idea I just, I don't know how to place it…"
He closes his eyes "It's like the stars were aligned in just that pattern when what is supposed to be five hours of work turn into five days of work?"
Flake: "Something like that"
Flake: "But hey it didn't, so that's great"
Serenity: "Aha."
Amal stares at Harriet. OKAY NEVERMIND THAT'S IMPRESSIVE, they're impressed, carry on.
Harriet grins and thumbs-up to Amal.
Amal: "Heh. That's why you put the Fatebreakers on a job, after all~."
Serenity: "Ugh, no."
Serenity: "Told tell people that's what our boss named the team."
[OOC] Serenity: DON'T tell^
Flake raises an eyebrow at Serenity and Amal
Harriet: "If it were me, I'd call us the Breakthrough Brigade."
Flake: "I mean look, I know all about dumb names, at least it's just your team that has a weird name not you. I don't judge"
Serenity: "…Yeeeeah."
Amal: "I mean, there's a dumb fate, like, 'a mountain will fall on us' or 'this routine work will get sabotaged by terrorists and take five days'… and then we smash it!" They punch their fist into their hand exuberantly by way of explication!
Amal: "Er I guess it's fatebreakers, not fatesmashers. Whatever."
Flake can just chuckle at Amal "Okay, I'll take it"
He stretches "Okay we're washing up and heading back, then… Y'know i'm thankful you were all here, though. This went smoother than planned.
Harriet: "Hey, no problem. We're here to help!"
Flake heads over to a makeshift shower that has been made, the staff mostly does the same. Thanks to Hughbert, that's less a problem than it could have been.
The car quietly awaits to finally bring you back
Serenity‘ slaps Anton on the arm as they return to the car. "Is there like, some kind of protocal for dealing with foreign Oracles and Medium by the by?"
Anton gives Serenity a queer look. "Foreign… oracles?"
Serenity` gives Anton a flat look. "Flake. Who was quite clearly an oracle but doesn’t realize it."
Harriet: "Wait, Flake's an oracle?!"
Serenity: "Like 85% sure."
Amal: "Oh yeah totally."
Anton: "People have the capacity to be an oracle, sure. But the actual know how isn't exactly public knowledge. If they show promise they're scouted by Masharas and conscripted into the church. Alcore going rogue is as close to a foreign oracle as you're going to get as anyone who does get training is to some degree monitored."
Serenity: "So this is mostly like a thing where you'd go " HEY COR I FOUND A GUY! " when we got back but otherwise whatever?"
Anton: "As for mediums, our data shows that pretty much all of them originated in Masharas."
Amal: "And today Serenity discovered that oracles are born with a thing for lollipops and it's not a learned behaviour."
Harriet: "Is that a thing which… we should study that," Harriet snaps her fingers.
Serenity: "Wait,"
Anton: "Oops! The reason for that one might actually be important~. You might have to ask Cor about it later!" He smiles.
Serenity‘ frowns, glances around.
Serenity: "…It’s a bit of a weird coincidence that the first night we spent sleeping next to another potential oracle was also when all that weird shit with the thread disruptions happened, yeah?"
Anton: "Just to go on record here but screwing with other peoples threads is Amals gig, not mine. I can see them."
Anton: "I can't suddenly make you not hit a landmine or fall off a cliff. I only can warn you about it beforehand."
Serenity‘ crosses her arms over her chest. "So you’re saying there's someone ELSE like Amal out there, in addition to someone like Al?"
Anton: "I'm saying you're linking this behavior to oracles when it's anything but, my dear Serenity~."
Amal tries to look innocent and mostly fails. "Well, I'll certainly try to keep a lookout…"
Serenity: "Okay but:"
Amal: "..that -does- seem more likely than it having anything to do with oracles, though. Sometimes weird coincidences just happen."
Serenity: "You fuckers keep going on about fate and destiny and shit,"
Serenity: "So it's kind of hard not to see patterns and connections in coincidences, especially with rare things I don't understand."
Serenity: "But in any case some other person like Amal existing that could potentially partner up with Al is kind of a horrifying thought so that's fun I guess."
Anton: "Presuming it was not Amal who did it, my interpretation of the events would be that someone who can do what he can is very new to the concept and trying to see just what they're capable of."
Serenity: "Did we have anything else planned here or does anyone feel like crashing a research facility?"
Amal: "Ooh, are we crashing a research facility?"
Serenity: "I'm feeling paranoid and antagonized so I'd like to, at least."
Hughbert: "If we were not, I would have not brought Silvester along."
Harriet: "Weren't we supposed to do something with that anyway…?"
Anton claps his hands. "Onwards, then! To less what ifs and more… excitement!"
Harriet: "Like, I could've sworn Cor asked us to chase that up."
Amal: "Sounds fun. Looking for anything in particular or are we just gonna open all the cages or what?"
Serenity: "I don't remember I kind of tune her out after she's been talking for ten minutes in meetings."
JayM: You were asked to help with Arklight's Sacred Grove project
JayM: I take it you're notifying the caravan?
Serenity: "Well, there was the monster thing, and now I wanna know what the fuck was trying to cope a feel, and I feel like there was something else…."
Amal: "Anyways I think we were supposed to -help- them, not mess with their stuff?"
Serenity: "I can investigate discreetly."
Serenity: "…Well okay I can talk to invisible people quietly and Hughbert has a guy that can investigate discreetly."
Amal: "Infiltration -and- getting things done for Cor at the same time! I like it."
Serenity‘ climbs into the car. "Unless uh we were supposed to do anything else for these hillbillies I forgot about first?"
Harriet snaps her fingers. "The Arklight project!"
[OOC] Harriet: *institute
Harriet: "We were supposed to check in on the Sacred Grove project."
Serenity: "Oh."
Harriet: "You know, the one to help with food supplies and junk."
Serenity: "Oooh."
Harriet: "So, like, maybe we shouldn’t wreck their entire shit."
Serenity: "Right the thing actually relevant to our interest."
Serenity: "Yeah okay."
Amal: "Yeah wrecking no, helping out while surreptitiously poking around yes."
Amal: "I'm sure we'll get to wreck something again soon though??" They look apologetically at Serenity.
Serenity‘ narrows her eyes at Amal., before shaking her head and getting the car moving.
Amal grins!
JayM: Anyway
The car revs up, and here is where you part ways with the caravan. The poor vehicle is yet to have time for a full maitenance but it faithfully drives onwards for you. Fairly certain the single Responsible Adult in the party will remember to warn Flake you’re setting off on another mission, given he's the leader of the caravan, to which he says he'll report back for you and good luck.
Hughbert already took care of that of course
He points out to you the path to the Arklight testing facility, which is as he said about a day's worth of travel. The road is long… But not dangerous, aside from one incident wherein you see something unsettling- What looks like a frog with translucent blue spikes on it's back and covered in a sickly looking ooze, it looks almost caricatously inflated if not for the fact it's about
JayM: three times the size of the car, and it also smells of rancid milk. It just lazily hops past the road and flings itself on a nearby stream, being carried off by it
Harriet takes a picture with her calotype! But doesn't otherwise interact with it.
But aside from that particular monster just passing by and behaving really weirdly the travel is peaceful, and you see in the distance, at the dawn of the next day, the entrance of what absolutely must be the testing facility
It's obvious because it has a large area of reinforced flooring visible, Harriet is familiar with what a 'blast zone' is supposed to be. The most amazing part is a giant tube of flowing ragnite, diameter about four meters, set in the rock- The testing facility is, of course, set against a mountain
JayM: As to what is going on in there
Amal IS NOT OKAY WITH THIS FROG IN PARTICULAR and might even hide behind Anton or something.
JayM: Its for next session
JayM: Here have [+10 XP]
JayM: For you worked hard to day
JayM: And no better way to learn than to do
[OOC] Anton: +1 Ability-desu

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