29 – Into the Light05-Sep-08
The discovery of a Suidoid corpse from the Beastmen Clans within the vault has provoked a number of questions for Reesus, your Apeman retainer. Obviously, the Beastmen have known about this installation for quite some time and already sent their own representatives within – a fact that was concealed from your party.
When asked forcefully to explain the situation, Reesus flew into a rant and is dangerously close to turning on the party. Blaming the Conclave, Pure Humans, and Androids for treating his people without respect, he challenges the party with near-treasonous statements against the Affiliation.
“Well?” yells Reesus at the party’s preparations for battle. “What will it be? Kill me now where I stand?” It looks like the Apeman is ready to lose his wits. You’re not sure if he’s going to attack or make a run for it…
Aka-Vasha moves up to Reesus and says: “Don’t be so surprised that the Affiliation don’t really give a damn about any of us. Who cares what they think, the only thing they care about is their coffers and themselves! They are not here – we are! It’s like we are alone out at sea, so we must stand to together or we will fall apart! Whatever is here, it threatens all of your lands, so if we don’t take the fight to them and end it, they would take the fight to everyone! Seeing how we don’t owe the Affiliation anything, whatever we find here is ours to divide amongst ourselves – fairly and evenly!”
(That’s not quite the spirit of the Conclave’s orders to the party – you are supposed to return all salvageable tech for Affiliation use. But of course out here on the Expedition, who is there to enforce that?)
A look of avarice crosses Reesus’ simian features, and he appears to consider Aka-Vasha’s words carefully.
Olive stands and hands the pistol back to Ras. He walks to Reesus, stares him right in the face. “Query: Do you want to talk about injustice? Regretful statement: My people are considered than little more than tools, slaves, and the symbol for everything that has gone wrong in the past. Angry reflection: My people aren’t even a ‘people’, as we,” pointing to Pris, “don’t even acknowledge each other. Envious conclusion: I wish I had your solidarity and your recognition by the Affiliation.” Olive stands for a moment, then walks away.
Reesus is still thinking about Aka-Vasha’s words about dividing the loot, and doesn’t pay much attention to a machine-man like Olive.
Gene scolds the party, “Everybody calm down. Olive is right. Reesus, if you know more about the previous group now is the time to fill us in. We’re gonna get to the bottom of what’s going on in this infernal place and were gonna do it as a team. Everybody here was hand picked for their skills not their lineage.”
The Apeman appears honestly surprised to hear such words from a Pure Human. His hand, which was inching towards his weapon, rises instead to his chin in contemplation.
Ibben calmly reloads his pistol as the others talk to Reesus before he puts in his say, speaking in firm yet gentle tones. “Come now, Reesus, no one is accusing you of treason, we simply need the best information available if we are to survive and end the threat of this Ancient place. A threat, as you so aptly said, which effects the Bea… Moreau even more than the rest of us.”
“You are correct when you say we are each here for our own reasons, but still we need to work together, not one of us could do this on our own.”
Apollo smiles wolfishly at the Beastman “Matters of concealed information between different states of the Affiliation fall into the political sphere and are a little out of my jurisdiction. So calm yourself down man, and don’t do anything foolish. No one is going to shoot at anyone… (he looks around to all present) …right?”
Apollo turns to Reesus once more and lowering his voice a notch speaks to the Apeman as if they where the only two beings there. “And Reesus… do not presume to be the only one that knows what it is like on the Borders. I have been there, that’s where we Judges do most of our work. And yes, the powers that be really haven’t got a clue… but then again they never tend to, and that’s the main reason why people like us are needed even if the thanks we get ‘from above’ are few and far between.”
Reesus, now calm and collected, speaks to the group as a whole. “I apologize. My quarrel is not with you, it is true. I am willing to continue onward as part of a team.” He then points a furry finger towards the party: “As an equal – not some expendable cannon fodder!”
Looking down at the Suidoid corpse, Reesus continues: “When the storm first uncovered this vault, the doorways were shut and could not be forced open. The first search party we sent was but a single scout with the mutant power of teleportation. He vanished within this metal prison, and soon afterwards the small upper door began to open at irregular intervals. A second party was sent through this doorway – the same one we entered – and never returned.”
Pointing at the Pigman now, he says: “Karl here was part of the second party. That was several months ago, just before the attacks began. Once the strange mutants began emerging from the vault, we sent a third party. I do not know what happened to them or if they even made it inside.” Reesus then sneers. “At that time I was sent as part of a diplomatic envoy to the Free City to request aid. The Conclave ignored our pleas until the one of the Outer Baronies was attacked.”
Reesus mutters a curse in some Tribal tongue, but quickly calms down again. “And now we are here, and together we will continue our Expedition and discover what this place is.”
(Well, Reesus is reasonably happy again now that he’s finished whining, and you have a bit more info about the previous scouting parties and the campaign setting as a whole. Thanks for indulging me; now let’s get back to dungeoncrawling!)
Into the Light
With the party conflict over, you turn your attention once again to exploration.
“Well?” Aka-Vasha said looking down both of the darkened western and northern corridors at once. “What hellish abyss should we explore next?” She has no interest in going in circles, she wants to press forward and find better loot.
Gene collects his thoughts and begins to speak. “I think we are going to be here a while, if we can make allies with the plantmen it is worth a shot. the black keycard may even reveal some useful items. I suggest we regress, regroup and consider our next moves. If we gain the trust of the plantmen, they may offer us more information about the dangers of this place. Who knows what else is in here? We haven’t been here two hours and we’ve already been attacked twice, things are likely to get a lot more dangerous.”
Gene looks around the party and waits for their input.
“All indications are that the cause of the problems is below,” states Rasputin. “Instead of aimless wandering, slowly being worn down by the attacks of every creature we encounter, let us strike at the source of the problems while we retain our full strength.”
“Also,” muses Rasputin, “Downwards may be the only way out of here unless we can get back through the airlock entrance.”
With the consensus to proceed onwards, the party elects to leave the cocooned bodies behind. Resuming your marching order, you cautiously head east down the corridor towards the lit areas. Reaching the end of the darkened hall without incident, you peer carefully around the corner. With the illumination of the ceiling lights, you can see straight down the wide hallway for over two hundred feet – your view south blocked only somewhat by the lit elevator shaft that you spied earlier. On either side of the corridor, you see a number of doors colour-coded orange and yellow.
Also at the north end of the lit corridor is an open doorway. Looking inside you see an unusually large brightly-lit chamber. From the doorway, you can make out many piles of furniture and equipment, all destroyed and broken. In addition, you see litter and skeletons (mostly Ancient) scattered around the place. You cannot tell if the room is an active refuse pile, or simply in a state of extreme disarray. There are numerous spots that a hidden foe could be concealed amongst the debris…
What are your actions?