03 – Learning Caution16-Jun-08
With the opening of the upper doorway into the Ancient vault, your group has begun to ascend the eroded hillside to the newly-revealed entryway. Your climb is made easier by the spikes and pitons left behind by some previous interlopers.
Aka-Vasha is the first to make the ascent, though she is quickly followed by other party members.
The Mystery Deepens
Climbing up the hillside, Slinker hefts his axe over his shoulder and puts his note pad in his belt pouch, pausing to look at Rasputin over his shoulder. “Rasputin? You chicken? Or just half chicken like many a mutie I know?”
“Ah, Slinker my comrade, not a coward, merely cautious.” replies Rasputin “Once you have experienced the ‘wonders’ the world has to offer, you will learn caution too. Or not.”
Rasputin motions the retainers to come at least part way up the cliff. He explains to them that with high ground they will be vastly safer against anyone approaching from the ground, such as the creatures whose tracks you found below!
(Once the PCs have all reached the upper doorway, your retainers follow you up the eroded hillside, waiting on a ledge that affords them a clear shot to the ground below while still providing cover.)
Rasputin then waits beside the open doorway, waiting for the lead elements of the group to enter.
Aka-Vasha, being the first one up, looks inside the room. Seeing no one within, she quietly slips inside with cutlass in hand, ready for anything.
Once inside, you confirm your earlier observations. The room, about twenty feet wide by ten feet deep, is bare except for a pair of closed doors on the far side. The room itself is constructed of the same metal as the rest of the structure, and is apparently unadorned. The bare metal of the entry chamber reveals no tracks or signs of previous explorers.
Not wanting to leave a woman (even a two-headed one) alone to explore the recesses of the potentially dangerous metal room, Irons follows suit after Aka-Vasha, flexing the fingers of both hands to stimulate blood circulation and make sure any gun-draws will be swift and sure.
Ibben hikes his monks robes up to his knees, tying the slack into his belt, to more readily climb to the top. Once he reaches the top, he untucks his robe again and wipes some sweat from his brow. Clearly his corpulent body was not designed for climbing.
However, Ibben is glad to be out from within range of the doors below; it looks to him that it’s seen a lot of traffic and is likely the source of the mutant infestation of the area. They likely emerge at night, or at some designated time, and the sooner the party is clear of them, the better.
But then again, these spikes raise more questions; this route to the upper door is plainly used regularly, at least by one other person who chooses to avoid the lower door…
“Fascinating!”, is Ibben’s only comment so far, as he observes the metallic room within the upper door. With a wink, he disappears from sight (using Control Light Waves mutation) and moves forward to stick his head inside the door for a better look.
“The spikes must be from a third party,” Gene observed, “I don’t think whoever made those tracks installed them.” Gene peered into the vault. For a moment, it seems warm and familiar. His mind wanders briefly before returning to the task at hand. “Well, let’s take a look-see…” Gene steps into the room and waits for his eyes to adjust, mace ready.
Rasputin examines the spikes in passing also. He checks them for signs of age such as rust. If they appear new, it is likely that we are following one of the search parties within. If so, we are likely to find members of the search party in our explorations, or at least their remains. They are also likely to have disturbed whatever inhabitant lay in wait inside. If the spikes look freshly placed we should be very wary of ambush…
Indeed, the spikes do seem relatively new; lacking any traces of rust or other corrosion products. They are of relatively primitive post-Fall construction; the lack of obvious tracks suggests that they were not used extensively.
Watching the conversations between all the other party members, Olive says nothing, but his single eye flickers with interest. The android slips off his backpack, pulls out a few items and quickly lights a candle with flint and steel. He holds it in his right hand and allows wax to drip on his composite plastic form (providing dim illumination to the portions of the entry chamber not lit from the daylight outside).
Without any fear, he walks forward as he pulls his mace from his waist, spinning it around by it leather hanger. “Initiating musical protocol: Wwwzzzz wwwwwwwwzzzzzzz wwwwwwzz wzzzzz…” The odd sound of the android whistling sounded like a mix of vibrating air and static. “Taunting greeting: Hello friends! Would you like to play a game of Squishbrains?” Olive was making himself a target purposefully in order to protect the others from a potential threat.
The Slinker loads his crossbow and points it at Olive. “No I do not want to play squishbrains! This bloody android has got a diode loose! Where do you take the batteries out?”
“And do you play any better tunes? I like the Beach Boys myself…”
Quickly losing interest in his odd comrade, the Slinker drops his crossbow to his side and goes to look at the double doors, looking for any obvious method of opening them. There is a small panel beside the doors; Slinker approaches for a closer look.
Gene looks around the floor of the small chamber searching for tracks, shell casings, bloody drag marks… anything that might provide a clue as to the fate of the people who made the spike ladder.
“If that ladder wasn’t always here, then why have a door up here in the first place?” He observes with strange tone of childish curiosity in his voice.
Observing the hillside in more detail, you see that the area around the vault appears to have gone through significant seismic and erosional changes since the Fall. It is quite possible that some sort of proper entry existed here once and has since disappeared in the intervening centuries.
Rasputin considers the finding for a time and ponders out loud. “It may be that the spike and pitons were set here by some explorers, not the search party. The very fact that they have not been removed suggests that there is not an organised intelligence within. Perhaps the raids on the nearby settlements are from some type of automated defense set off by these explorers.”
“I hope it is so,” states Rasputin grimly, “as then we may yet live through this day.”
“Let’s wait for the rest of the climbers and then we’ll see if we can get it open.” Gene suggests.
Moving quietly and stealthfully, Yobo slinks along the floor looking for anything of interest that may escape the notice of the larger party members, but finds nothing of interest.
Bobby Olive looks around, scanning the area with his senses. “Curious comment: One would think with an opening door, something would be behind it. Perhaps it is has some sort of sensing capability…” Olive directed future processing of the data to a secondary system and focused his primary to more immediate issues.
Making his way back to the ledge of the upper area, the android uncoils his rope and drops it down after tying it to a suitable anchor. “Observational comment: It appears safe to be up here!”
Hearing Olive’s assessment, your retainers shimmy up the rope (except for Andre, who climbs up the rock face directly) and join the rest of the party in the entry chamber.
“You know,” mumbles Gene absentmindedly, “it almost looks like some sort of airlock…”
As everyone is busy searching, Aka-Vasha keeps her eyes on both doors, cautious for intrusion.
Even though Aka is watching the outer doorway, she is still surprised when it slams shut suddenly and without warning!
(OOC Comment: What, no DEX checks? No Saving Throws? Not one die thrown? Sure, it reeks of railroading – but I had to get you inside somehow!)
Commotion reigns as you are plunged into near-darkness. Blades and firearms are drawn, some party members blink out of sight (or remain hidden, in the case of Ibben), and there is much swearing, shouting, and rushing about. Only Olive’s single candle lights the room now, and it flickers precariously for a moment.
“Well; that door sure the hell closed faster than it opened!” comments Aka once the group calms down somewhat.
“Hey Ras…” asks Slinker. “What was that you were saying about learning caution? I think I probably should have been listening”
Before you have time for any more comments, the inner airlock doors silently slide open, revealing a larger space beyond. Like the current chamber, it is unlit.
What are your actions?