41 – Return to the Lower Deck22-Nov-08
Most of the party is back on the botanical level. As it returned downstairs, the police robot has given you quite a scare. Camouflaged in the stairwell, Slinker had to drop his remaining gear to remain undetected. The robot gathered up the weapons, armour, and backpack that were hastily dropped, then proceeded down to the lower level! Luckily, Slinker kept his force-field belt and he and Ibben were able to reunite with the rest of the party.
Subsequently, Aka-Vasha and Yobo have scouted to the east and found a large room labelled with a sign (in Ancient). The chamber is brightly lit and filled with a musk-like stench; Yobo smells that it is the lair of something. One side of the room is split into three smaller, divided sections, each containing vegetation of a different type (mostly dead now). The hallway continues at the far end of the room, about 150 feet away.
Rasputin uses his knowledge of Ancient to try and make out words next to the chamber, see if it offers up any clues.
Gene also tries to discern the Ancient writing. “Whatever it is, I hope its a vegetarian!”
You translate the sign as ‘Warning! Dangerous Animals’. A vegetarian diet is unlikely.
“That does not sound promising.” mutters Ibben.
“Hmmm, keep watch for creatures but let us try the violet door,” suggests Rasputin. “With luck, we may find an unlooted area with the additional keycard we need to continue.”
Ibben comments: “I agree with Rasputin; let us first check out the violet-carded door.”
Before proceeding, however, you perform a quick check of your surroundings.
Olive looks around silently. From the doorway, he checks for potential threats, and whatever may have killed the plants in the ‘Dangerous Animals’ room. Perhaps they could find something that would help them with the plants above…
Although he is not a botanist, Olive figures that the plants in the ‘Dangerous Animals’ enclosure have simply died from neglect. It appears to have happened relatively recently, however – maybe in the past few weeks, as opposed to centuries ago.
Knowing that the greenhouse is a little dangerous to explore just yet, Aka-Vasha decides to explore the small rooms near the stairs, starting with the room at the end of the hall (marked ‘B’ on the map), then she will explore the two little rooms.
You take the time to explore all the smaller rooms nearby before proceeding further. The one at the end of the hall (marked ‘B’) actually requires a brown keycard, so your entry is barred.
(The referee tosses some dice.) The remaining unkeyed chambers are filled with what appears to be gardening equipment. They have been partially looted, but in one you do find some herbicide mix (pellets in a plastic pail). The instructions are to add water and spray, though you lack a spray device.
“Herbicide sounds useful.” remarks Rasputin. He takes the time to mix up a concentrated batch in one of his waterskins.
Olive politely asks one of the retainers to take the herbicide with him in case the group finds a spraying device. (Andre takes the herbicide pellets.) He also looks for parts to construct his own spraying device (or at least start one when we get a break).
Behind the violet-keyed door is a dark and narrow corridor, apparently some kind of serviceway. Small, latched metal doors line the walls on each side. The group gathers in the main room (with the drop chute) to decide how to proceed.
Rasputin comments: “The serviceway seems promising.”
Feeling sheepish after his close encounter, Slinker takes a deep breath and tries to move on. “Yeah, let’s see what the hell all these doors are all about.” He reaches for his notebook and pen instinctively, but is denied his tools of the trade. He nearly reaches for a cigarette, but stops himself. “But we should really check out the lower level and see where that robot is going off to.”
Ibben comments: “I agree with Slinker. Let us not get sidetracked, our primary goal is down on the lower level.” He contemplates for a moment, then adds: “I would prefer to take the other stairwell down this time, hopefully it will be free of robots!”
Gene concurs: “Yes, lets get to the bottom of this!”
Aka-Vasha adds her vote: “There is nothing of value with botany! We should see what secrets that tin watchman is guarding.”
Apollo formulates a plan: “Let’s try the other staircase. If we meet the Police Robot again, then so be it – it looked like it had already taken one beating before it found us. The sooner we get to the source of this infestation, the sooner we can all go home. Plus it rankles having someone – nay, someTHING – lay down the law to a duly appointed judge.”
“Agreed then.” says Rasputin. “We should take the quicker method and hope the reward justifies the extra risk. Let’s get scouts ahead and try to avoid the robot – damaged or not, I suspect it still has powerful weaponry intact if it comes to a fight.
“Yobo, if we do encounter that tin-can again, then you can slither down my robe to hide.” whispers Aka-Vasha.
Return to the Lower Level
Taking the western stairwell this time, your party returns to the lower level.
These stairs are a mirror image of those to the east. The metal stairs are in good shape, and there is little debris. As before, the stairwell extends quite far down – past the range of Ibben’s echolocation – and none of the landings appear blocked or occupied. You descend a total of about 90 feet down to the lower deck, but decide to send scouts ahead before all of you leave the stairwell.
Exiting the stairs, Ibben and Apollo (both invisible) leading with Slinker (camouflaged) slightly behind. Aka-Vasha follows, with Yobo coiled around her shoulders. There is just enough light from the torches in the stairwell to make out the closest stretches of corridor.
(The referee tosses some dice.)
As before, the halls are eerily silent and have a deserted, haunted feel to them. Yobo’s keen scent detects no living creatures. As before, he does smell traces of an unusual chemical scent, but he cannot identify its properties or source.
Notably, you do not hear the ominous humming of the police robot.
Deciding that it’s as safe as it’s going to get, the scouts summon the rest of the party and you get a better look at your immediate surroundings. This area appears to be a mirror image of the halls to the east. The large violet-keyed cargo door that your party found earlier is to the east, while to the north is another corridor lined with doors. Presumably, the northwest corridor leads to another stairwell up.
What are your actions?