04 – Into the Vault17-Jun-08
In a seemingly unfair move, the referee has trapped the party in the airlock entry to the vault. Perhaps someone (or something) was trying to lure you inside? Luckily, Olive had lit a candle earlier and with its illumination you can dimly make out your surroundings.
Moments after the outer door closed, the inner door opened, revealing an larger chamber beyond. It appears that you have been granted entry into the vault…
The Mystery Deepens
Throughout the commotion following your entrapment, Ibben remains calm. He is not too concerned about the door shutting behing them; after all they are here to exlore this place! He begins clicking his tongue audibly, trying to gauge what is through the door (using Echolocation mutation). As he concentrates on his surroundings, the monk drops his invisibility and returns to view.
With his mutant senses, Ibben discerns that the twin doors have opened into an area approximately sixty by sixty feet in size. There are passageways leading east, north, and west. About twenty feet in front of the open doors is a large structure in the middle of the room. (Ibben describes this to the others.)
Ibben moves right up to the second door, and keeps a careful ‘watch’ for anything moving out in the other room.
Olive’s candle gives Yobo enough light to see by. He can make out a large cylindrical object (about eight feet wide, extending from floor to ceiling) in the room ahead of you.
“Quick, get some more light. Ibben, give us warning of any approaching hostiles,” states Rasputin, stress clear in his voice. For those without special senses, Olive’s single candle does little to illuminate your prison!
Taking a less than tactful approach, Apollo shouts at the retainers: “Get a few torches out! I don’t fancy the idea of only having one source of light available.” And then to the party, he says: “Don’t worry about the door closing, I can probably open a hole in it… even if it damn near kills me.”
Gene speaks into the darkness. “Agreed. Lets shed some light on our situation before we get ambushed. I hope that door system was automatic” His curiosity about the Ancients had excited him for a moment but now his mind was focused. “I don’t fancy fighting in the dark. Not one bit.”
He then spits on the floor and mumbles something unintelligible [he curses the dark in Gutterspeak].
Aka-Vasha waits quietly in the darkness, until someone lights the way.
Your retainers fumble for their torches, and after a few moments have them alight. Rasputin does a head count, and confirms that everyone is present, then before venturing further he examines the surroundings for any way to activate the airlock.
He understands the principles of airlocks and realises that only one door can be open at a time. Rasputin suggests keeping the inner door wedged open until you locate and master the controls. If you get into serious danger, Apollo can Disintegrate the outer door, potentially allowing escape. Gene produces a hammer and iron spikes, and attempts to spike the door open.
“Don’t know if this will hold…” comments Gene. “The spikes don’t bite deep into the metal. But it’s better than nothing.”
With enough light to work with now, Olive scans the perimeter walls and airlock doors for any control mechanism. “Observational comment: Obviously, there must be some intelligence behind the operation of the door. Open slowly to bait us in, close quickly to trap us.” The android doesn’t seem to care about their current situation. His neural network was designed with adaptation in mind, so he did what came naturally.
Olive quickly notices a feature that went unnoticed before (or perhaps the referee just forgot to mention it…). Beside the doorway on one side is a small panel; perhaps a control mechanism? (See image at right, except this particular doorway is twice as wide.) The android indicates this panel to the rest of the party. You do a quick check on the other side of the double doors and confirm an identical panel on the other side.
Changing topics quickly, Olive asks: “Query: When will we establish a chain of command and standard protocol?” The single red eye blinked as he cleaned it free of dust.
With the door spiked open and several light sources at hand, you are ready to advance forward into the next chamber.
Moving forward, you enter the larger chamber. It is almost as unadorned as the airlock. Constructed of Ancient alloys, it has endured the centuries well, but some signs of wear are present. Lighting panels – apparently broken – line the ceiling but produce no illumination. The corners of the room are stained and unkempt, but from the numerous scuff marks on the floor and overall lack of dust you can tell that something (or somethings) passes through this area regularly.
As you noted earlier, the room is about sixty by sixty feet square. Ten-foot wide corridors extend to the east, north, and west. Turning back to face the airlock, you see two smaller doorways set into the south wall (on either side of the airlock chamber) each with a panel beside them. (These are exactly as depicted in the image above.) The panels beside these doors have a slot in them, which were not present on the double doors.
You now have a chance to examine the cylindrical object in the middle of the room (see image at right). It appears to be some sort of vertical shaft, with open doorways on the north and south sides. Like the room, the shaft here is dark, but peering down (carefully) you think you can see a dim light far below. The shaft does not continue further upwards; there is a closed metallic sphincter set into the ceiling.
The passageways leading out from this room extend into darkness as far as your torchlight will reach. You can make out a few single doorways on either side of each of the corridors, similar to the two along the south wall.
Remaining cautious, you venture no further than the inexplicable tube. Your torches are the only light sources, producing a small circle of illumination around the party. This area is quiet, but you can make out faint rustling or hissing in the distance, like a light breeze. You can’t tell where it’s coming from, though. The air in the vault is somewhat musty, and there is an odd vegetable scent in the air, like in a forest.
(The referee rolls a bunch of dice, and an evil grin appears on his face. He says nothing.)
What are your actions?