INT. Secret passage entrance - day
Radek, Rhu, and the Gravedigger are underground, at a secret entrance, past a door, standing before yet another door.
Radek opens the door. It only opens part of the way. Behind it is darkness.
Rhu peers into the darkness, casting some light inside. The door seems to have jammed in its frame; beyond it lies a well-excavated tunnel, lined evenly with carved wood. The air is stale and dry, and oddly cold.
...you know, there might be an easier way in to the address on the stone than creeping in through an underground tunnel.
But where would the fun be?
Hey, this is fancy wood.
At home, sitting on my workbench.
You don't know what fun is, Radek.
A heart as cold as steeel. Or Aluminium.
The Gravedigger pushes the door open the rest of the way, and they head down the tunnel. Darkness closes around their lights all too quickly.
I fear holes.
Hey, you just popped out the last one.
The patterns on the walls seem almost to dance and move as their lights pass.
You know. Maybe we should look for the back-door/emergency exit. And skip the eldritch horror.
Rhu tries to keep as far from the walls as possible and mutters something darkly under his breath.
INT. Lab - Underground complex
Greibel follows the sphinx into a large room. It seems to be some sort of lab, full of lab stuff. Desks and tables line a side, covered in stuff and notes. Four large, upright tanks form a line down the centre. Three of them are occupied - one with a small woman who looks rather like Amadi, one with a large construct, and one with a very fat, very dead-looking male elf in.
(to the sphinx)
Don't suppose you ever took a chemistry class.
The sphinx goes and curls up under the one with the small woman and hisses.
Greibel just sort of stares around in disbelief.
(to the sphinx)
Well... any thoughts?
The sphinx looks at Greibel warily, then backs up slightly.
Insights? Inquiries? Ham sandwiches?
(nudging around at the tanks)
These. They're not real. Not here! Do you see?
Greible shrugs, and then heads over to a desk and starts reading whatever notes he can find. They seem to be accounts of research, a lot of numbers, a request for funding. It's a bit of a mess, and rather disorganised.
The sphinx jumps up onto the desk and sits on some of them.
Greibel goes and checks another desk, reading what's at this one, as well. These notes concern the nature of magic, and a lot of numbers and comparisons. The summaries seem to indicate considerable excitement, something about it being completely new.
Then the sphinx follows him over and sits on these notes, staring at Greibel.
Greibel pets the sphinx absentmindedly, still looking at the notes in his hands, lost in the midst of a bout of confused thought.
Gaurav (Rhu): Considerable excitement... something completely new... yup, definitely academics trying to drum up a little more money.
Bear Soup Guy (Greibel): EVIL academics!
INT. Secret passage - portal room
They come out into a circular room at the end of the passage, the Gravedigger entering first, followed by Rhu and Radek. Aside from a slightly raised dais (.75m radius) in the centre, the room is totally empty.
The Gravedigger peers around suspiciously, but doesn't find much. (rolled 31 perception) He notices some faint markings around the base of the dais, and direct Radek toward those.
Radek! Channel... like... things. Patterns! Please apply your vast intellect to them.
Rhu warily approaches the dais as well, trying to figure out what it is. (rolled 21 religion)
Those channels look like they might conduct something. You're... mechanical. Ly inclined. Mechanically inclined. Maybe you can work out what they do.
Radek gives them a look over. (rolled 15 arcana)
I can't make much sense of these.
Rhu gets out the stone and the note from the woman.
Go to the place... this must be the place.
(reading the bad poetry off the note)
The shoulders in the sand on the repeats of the world...
There's a blisters of something memory...
Look at the characters whip thy bum...
Kumquats devouring mundial smiley-faces.
Is this really the right place?
It is a dead end.
Well, there's SOMETHING here.
You don't put down squiggles for no reason.
Rhu sits down on the floor and sighs.
At least it wasn't another hole, I guess.
Maybe that thing is a trapdoor or something? Maybe it can be opened somehow?
The Gravedigger squats next to Rhu in case it helps.
Rhu taps the dais with his foot. It's very solid.
Can you try to move this stone? Maybe it's a heavy stone resting over an opening or something.
Radek, meanwhile, continues to investigate, doing sciency magic things. (rolled 28 arcana) One of them has an effect, and there's a resonance, concentrated about the dais.
This room is a magical focus. It was built for a purpose.
I can't say what.
Hmm. How do you activate the magic?
I've tried reading poetry to it and that didn't help. Maybe it needs a magic-user?
Rhu tries running around the room, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.
Radek ignores this and attempts to get the dais to do something using magic. (rolled 17 arcana) There's a flash of light over it. Nothing else really happens.
Woah! That's new.
Do it again! Do it again!
Technically, I could crack all this stone if you want.
Frezak (Gravy): I can break the ground in a... 15X15 feet area.
I don't think this was meant to be powered by a person.
What do you mean?
The room collects energy, like... a solar panel, I suppose.
From... where? I don't see any light in here at all.
It's an example, Rhu.
Solar panels don't work at night. This place operates on phases.
Suddenly there's another flash of light, bigger, bouncing down through the shaft and gathering over the dais. Then it fades, as quickly as it came, revealing a small mouse standing on the dais. It looks perfectly normal, a bit dusty, and rather hungry-looking. (Gravedigger rolled 23 perception)
The mouse squeaks and runs away, or as much as it can in a small enclosed space with minimal features and no furniture.
Let's see if he can find a way out.
Rhu steps over to the doorway in order to block the mouse's escape. The mouse darts at his legs.
Hey, mousie, mousie.
The Gravedigger makes soothing mouse sounds. (rolled 29 nature (natural 20))
The mouse stops by Rhu's feet and looks around in fear and confusion. And apparently hunger.
Frezak (Gravy): Since we don't have Greibel I have to get my own vermin.
The Gravedigger gets out a sandwich and offers the mouse some bits.
Here, poor little mousie. Have some lunch.
The Gravedigger squeaks a bit.
The mouse comes over eagerly to the sandwich and nibbles enthusiastically.
The Gravedigger very carefully picks up the mouse and strokes it as it continues to nibble sandwich bits.
So, Radek. Try for a duck this time.
Or, ooh! A moose!
I didn't do that.
The Gravedigger strokes Mr. Mousie, using half of one finger due to the sheer size difference.
So where did he come from?
Up there, I think.
I can't say.
Mr. Mousie squeaks.
What is it, Mr. Mousie?
The Gravedigger holds the mouse up to his ear and pretends to listen intently to him.
Bear Soup Guy (Greibel): We are truly a formidable party. Absorbed with a mouse and a cat.
Do you think there might be other... energy rooms around this building somewhere?
Put the mouse back on the dais there and I can try to send it back.
I could also try to send you over, but there might be a mass limit, and I accept no responsibility for what happens to the rest.
You'd send away MR. MOUSIE? At least let him finish lunch!
Interesting question about the mass limit. I wonder if this dais is big enough for an elf.
Rhu steps onto the dias and waves his arms a bit.
It's plenty big for a-
Another flash of light bounces down the shaft above the dais and covers Rhu, before vanishing once more, Rhu along with it.
Frezak (Gravy): Heh. Break for Mr. Mousie.
...That also wasn't me.
But at least none of his parts were left behind!
That we can tell. Crud. I hope I fit in there. Would not be great to leave my shoulders behind or something.
Gaurav (Rhu): "This transporter has performed an illegal operation and will be terminated. Partially transported giants may be broken. You may keep both parts."
Frezak (Gravy): Gravy is only 7 feet. >.>
Gaurav (Rhu): How broad are his shoulders?
I'm sure I could make you replacements.
Now, go on. This is exciting.
Um. I.... uh.
Come on, now!
You drive a hard bargain, sir.
Here, Radek. Hold Mr. Mousie. It might only do one being at a time. And be careful with him!
Radek holds the mouse and strokes him like a supervillain.
Ganelon (Rhu): "No, Mr. Gravedigger, I expect you to DIE!"
The Gravedigger marches onto the dais.
A light dances down the shaft, and with a flash, vanishes the Gravedigger much as before.
Ganelon (Radek): Now as much as I'd love to just exclaim "I'M FREE!" and run away into the sunset, I'm going to get onto the dais next.
Radek places the mouse on the dais.
The mouse sniffs confusedly.
Nothing continues to happen.
Radek very carefully prods at the teleporter with magic. (rolled 23 arcana)
There's a much smaller flash of light and the mouse disappears.
Radek gives it a moment before stepping on after.
The flash of light dances down to meet him.
INT. Lab - Underground complex
The sphinx falls asleep in front of Greibel as he goes through the desks.
Greibel looks around and goes to check out a box of junk off the the side of the tanks. Some of the things seem to have fallen out, including a book and a set of screwdrivers.
Greibel eyes the stuff in and around the box, then eyes the people/things in the tanks.
INT. Entry chamber - underground complex
Rhu, the Gravedigger, and Radek are all in a new room, dark, round, and a bit like the one they just came out of. This one, however, has a pedestal with some controls on, an actual door in the doorway, and a skeleton lying on the ground.
The first things they notice, respectively, is that something seems a bit off about the skeleton (Rhu rolled 32 perception (natural 20)), the mouse Mr. Mousie came through dead, and Radek has lost his chrome.
(advancing guardedly on the skeleton)
The Gravedigger stares at Mr. Mousie, and then goes and picks up Radek.
WHAT DID YOU DO TO MR. MOUSIE?
JUST HOLD HIM, I SAID.
The Gravedigger drops Radek and picks up the mouse.
I brought him here! And... my chrome is gone!
(properly freaking out)
MY CHROME IS GONE!
Guys, I do not like the look of that skeleton.
It means us ill. Or malice. Or something sinister.
Go hit it with some holy stuff and see if it moves.
Rhu channels divinity to perform an abjure undead spell at the skeleton. (rolled 12 against will) The skeleton is yanked a bit toward Rhu, and a couple of bones rattle away.
It stirs, drawing itself together and up, but it's also clearly hurt by the attack. It stares at Rhu confusedly out of empty sockets.
The skeletons put its arms out and moves as though to embrace Rhu. It hugs him, digging in with bony arms. (rolled 27 vs AC)
THIS IS TERRIFYING GET ME OUT OF HERE.
It's trying to communicate!
Radek casts Thundering Armor on Rhu, knocking the skeleton away with a blonnng. (rolled 20 vs fort) An arm comes off, sticking to Rhu's shirt.
The Gravedigger charges the skeleton horns-first, knocking it down again. (rolled 21 vs AC)
You will pay for that hug, skeleton.
Rhu swears an oath of enmity on the skeleton and then runs away, all the while calling down the Radiant Vengeance of Hazz'ridan upon the hapless skeleton.
The arm falls off Rhu's shirt.
The skeleton gets up and jump-hugs the Gravedigger with three limbs (rolled 23 vs reflex), clinging to him. A leg falls off in the process.
Radek tosses the Gravedigger a syringe and knocks the skeleton off him with a clang. It falls into a heap of dead bones.
The Gravedigger removes its head, just to be sure.
INT. Lab - Underground complex
Greibel is examining the things in the tanks, trying to determine their conditions. It's difficult due to the distoritions and clouding on the surfaces, (rolled 18 perception), but the Amadi look-alike and the constuct seem to be in fairly good condition.
Greibel taps lightly against the glass on the tank with the Amadi-like person.
Hey. Hey. Wake up!
Some bubbles rise in the tank, but she doesn't respond.
Greibel goes around and examines the console in front of the tank in an attempt to see if it makes any sense. It has some switches and graph-like things, and it seems to be on. (rolled 27 insight)
Griebel heads over to test the dead fat elf's console and starts pressing buttons and throwing levers. (rolled 19 reality) The graphs do some weird things, and then after a bit, the tank opens and the guy collapses onto the ground in a wash of fluid that flows into the drain at its base.
It smells really bad.
Greibel coughs vigorously and then sticks his fingers in some of the fluid still flowing out. It sticks like glue, a magical sciency substance used to maintain suspended animation, or at least preserve the dead. (rolled 32 nature (natural 20))
He heads over to the Amadi-like's tank, and then looks to the sphinx for approval just because of the eerieness of it all.
The sphinx watches curiously before padding over nonchalantly.
Greibel shrugs and flips the same buttons and levers that opened the other tank. The fluid empties, and the woman topples out. What looked like feathers on her dress turn out to be a pair of wings which splay out after her.
The sphinx licks her.
Greibel checks on her. (rolled 30 heal (natural 20)) She's dead, but not. Almost like she could get up at any point.
He tries to revive her by punching her in the chest. (rolled 14 heal) It doesn't work.
Bear Soup Guy (Greibel): Bah. Shouldn't have done all those drugs in medical school.
The sphinx licks Greibel.
(to the sphinx)
You seem to know something about the mysterious behind-the-scenes action around here. Any advice for a would-be healer?
The sphinx cocks its head at Greibel, purring.
No! Look! She was alive before! She has plenty of stories! She and that guy over there, they have a life-time of stories!
Work your arcane sphinx voodoo on them and give me some kind of clue as to what's going on in this crazy place! Why else are you here?!
No why, oy.
...Soy sauce. Right, right. Of course. Soy sauce!
Greibel starts pacing the room shouting incoherent sarcasms.
The sphinx goes back to licking the dead winged Amadi look-alike.
INT. Entry chamber - underground complex
Rhu examines the now properly dead headless mostly limbless skeleton (rolled 22 heal) while Radek investigates the control panel on this end of the transporter (rolled 24 arcana).
This is surprisingly advanced, but the controls are simple. It was made for a layman.
Can you control where you go? Or does it just push you back and forth between the well-room and here?
Speaking of which, do we even know if we're on the same planet?
Rhu looks around uncertainly.
Four destinations, including this one, and a fifth labeled "out".
I guess this must be #3 then?
I would like to figure out where we are, but... it is kind of tempting to see where places #1, #2 and #4 are.
Radek tries to figure out for sure where the things actually go. (rolled 30 arcana)
...Ah, hold on. This is a trap. The fourth location is where we arrived from. The first and second would no doubt be excruciatingly painful to one of you.
And I haven't a clue what "out" is.
There's no point going back to the cave. I think we should scout out where we are before we head... out.
I like being in, having a building between me and the holes. I think that is a good thing to have.
With you there.
We can experiment later.
Radek heads for the door.