RE: Swamped
Something else finds her for you... And that's not necessarily good news
RE: Swamped
You don't have any particular thoughts, so you tell the others to scour the ground as well.

It doesn't seem to be going well. You can't see any signs of movement.

Then, suddenly, you hear a cry of pain. The woman leaps up, her cloak becoming plain as day, and a familiar headless lizard-worm is twisting itself around her arm, squeezing it tightly.

That's worrying. You'd sent it to Arthur for observation. How did it get loose?

You'll have to worry about that later. The intruder pushes the lizard-worm off, before any of you can get close to her. She then flings it right at you.

You don't have a lot of time to act. What should you do?
RE: Swamped
RE: Swamped
You don't know where the thought came from, really. Probably just desperation.

But your mind works fast. Within moments of the idea popping into your head, you start making calculations. Every one of them confirms you what you already knew beforehand; leaping onto a lizard-worm in midair before it lands is almost certainly impossible. You can get just about enough height, but to land so precisely with such tight timing is beyond reasonable.

Your legs, however, insist on providing a counterexample before you're even done with the calculations.

You have barely enough time to process what you just did before you leap again, spread your arms to deploy the glider flaps, and float towards the intruder, kicking her right in the face.

She falls backwards, and you start to feel a little faint.


You are now Simone.

What in the hells happened to you?
RE: Swamped
You're not entirely sure, but silent metal people are treating you like royalty. Lots of tea and biscuits.
RE: Swamped
You can't remember how you got here. You were on your way to the junkyard, then somewhere along the way you blacked out. You checked your suit before leaving, so you're fairly sure desert fever isn't the cause.

Even if it were, that still wouldn't explain where you are. You're sitting on a very comfortable bed, and there's a strange mechanical person staring at you expectantly.

It looks as though it's made entirely of metal, or at least the outer parts of it. But it's dressed in a suit for some reason.

Two similarly-dressed mechanical servants are standing by the doorway, giving you the distinct impression that however comfortable it may be in here, you're not permitted to leave.

"What do you want?" you ask the servant staring at you. With one of its metal limbs, it points to a tea set on the bedside table.

It doesn't say a word. You suppose this is an offer of hospitality, such as it is.

Well, you haven't eaten in a while, so you taste one of the biscuits and drink a cup of the tea.

It's delicious. The biscuit's even soft enough for your teeth to chew on.

The servant looks at you expectantly.

"It's very good," you say tentatively.

The servant motions to the tea set again. Maybe it's asking if you want more?

"I've had enough for the moment, thank you."

The servant bows, grabs the tea set, and heads towards the door.

Now what are you supposed to do?
RE: Swamped
Examine the room, if you can get up
RE: Swamped
You decide to take a look around your luxurious prison.

Judging by the size of everything, you're fairly sure this room is intended for humans. There also aren't any windows, as far as you can tell. The only obvious exit is the door guarded by the mechanical servants.

You get up and take a closer look at the furnishings.

There's a bookshelf, but none of the books seem to be in Common or any language you know. In fact, they don't use Aedran lettering at all, which is very strange. Aedra once dominated the whole continent for a long time; even grebling languages use mostly the same letters.

So either these books are older than the Aedran Empire, which would be surprising given the good condition they're in... or they're from off-continent, which would mean someone's found their way across the oceans somehow. Whichever it is, something very odd is going on here.

Aside from that, there's a small wardrobe. It's locked. You suppose hiding in it isn't an option, and even if it was, these strange machine-people are watching your every move, so you wouldn't stay hidden for long.

Everything else you can see seems mainly decorative, except for the privacy curtain in the corner with a chamberpot behind it. It's human-sized, though, so not exactly fit for your needs.

Your best guess is that this is a human's living quarters, and it's been hastily converted to a prison cell because they don't have anywhere else to put you. But the completely unfamiliar language and the mechanical servants suggest that you're nowhere near the desert right now, or even on the same continent.

If that's the case, you have no idea how you'll explain anything if they show up to question you.

So what are you to do now?
RE: Swamped
>Try ripping off the lock on the wardrobe

>If that doesn't work (as expected), rock the wardrobe until it falls over, in hopes to smash it open
RE: Swamped
Can you look under the bed?

Can you get up next to the mechanical guards and examine them more closely? You're curious what limits they might place on your behavior. Heck, maybe you can even try walking out the door.
RE: Swamped
You take a closer look at the lock. It seems to be sturdy; no matter how much you pull at the door, it doesn't budge at all. Perhaps someone stronger could force it open, but it's beyond what you can do.

So your next thought is to push it over, perhaps breaking it open. But it doesn't move at all when you shove it. You look a little closer, and realize it's bolted to the floor.

That gets you curious, so you take a look at the bed next. You lift up the sheet, and see that the bed is built down to the floor. There's no space under it, not that you can reach, anyhow. And it's also bolted down, to boot.

In fact, taking another look, every piece of furniture is bolted down. Even the chamberpot is in a small stand that's bolted to the floor, and while you can remove it from the stand, it takes some effort. This room is even stranger than you realized.

There's still one thing you haven't looked at too closely, and that's the sentries at the door. You don't actually know what they'll do if you try to leave; might as well find out.

You start walking towards the door. As you draw close, one of the servants moves directly in front of it. The other suddenly points a metal finger towards you. You've got no idea what that's for.

You back away, and once you get near the bed they resume their positions.

Well. You've learned a bit more about your surroundings, but what are you even going to do with this information?
RE: Swamped
Scream into the pillows.

Oh...huh. these pillow cases have a flame-shaped monogram...you know you've seen that symbol before...
RE: Swamped
Now why would everything be bolted down? Maybe it's a ship of some sort. Does it feel like it's rocking or shaking?
RE: Swamped
You think about what you've learned.

The only practical reason you can see for bolting everything down is if the room moves. Say, if you're on a ship.

But you can't feel any motion. That's unusual for a ship; it should rock noticeably even if you're in harbor. Perhaps it's hasn't been moved into the water yet?

Alternatively, it might be a wagon. It would have to be a much bigger wagon than the one Yvonne arrived in (and damn, you need to get out of here so she doesn't worry too much about you), but you have no idea how large humans can build them. Maybe it would be feasible to fit a room of this size in one.

You feel a sudden headache coming on. Perhaps you were knocked out by whoever brought you here. You decide to lie down and try to work out what you can.

As you do, you notice that there's a faint impression on the pillowcases. It looks like it might be a symbol, but it's hard to notice unless you look very closely. It resembles a flame, though without seeing the entire symbol you'd have trouble saying for sure.

Come to think of it, you have a faint memory of seeing a flame symbol much like this. But unless you saw it again, you'd have trouble saying for sure if they matched.

Just as you try to think about what to do next, a mechanical servant walks in through the door, this one carrying a note. The note is in your home colony's language, oddly enough, but the handwriting has a distinctly human style to it.


You no doubt have many questions. Unfortunately, I do not have time to answer them all, so I will focus on the most straightforward one.

What do I want from you?

It is simple. You have no doubt seen my mechanical servants, and have likely noticed that they do not speak. This is due to the limits of my own ability.

I have been trying to construct a voice box, and I have a successful prototype. Unfortunately, it is far too large to fit into the design. My efforts to shrink it down have only served to diminish the sound too low for human use.

By the time you finish reading this note, another servant should have arrived with the functional prototype, and a nonfunctioning model of the desired size. It is my hope that your particular expertise can solve this problem for me.

You may feel free to work whenever you are well enough to. You may also request tools from the servants, though I will, of course, forbid certain items if I feel you may be planning something undesirable with them.

I wish you the best of luck,
Your Host"

More specifically, it's the male term for host. You assume that to be intentional; the letter as a whole is too well-crafted for its author to be likely to overlook that detail.

So. It seems you've been kidnapped by some human engineer with a knack for languages, and he wants you to finish a project. You can't help but notice he didn't say anything about letting you go once you were done.

As the note said, the items have already arrived by the time you finish reading. There's also a toolbox, with not much in it. Beside the toolbox is a set of blueprints for the larger device, labeled in your home colony's language again.

What are you going to do?
RE: Swamped
Well yeah this is totally within your skillset. Its all prototypes, but your wiring skill has been invaluable in designing the many devices used by Greblings. When life gives you sand, make silicon.
RE: Swamped
You can't think of anything to do except take a look at the problem this "Host" has left for you. Even if he considers you disposable, working on this project might at least help you find a way out of here.

You look over the blueprints, and you soon realize the primary issue. The main focus of the voice box is making a wide variety of sounds, with little concern to how it spreads them. He's not using any principles of sound magnification at all. As skilled as he seems to be in general, the Host must be a complete novice when it comes to acoustics.

You already worked out the principles for a basic sound magnifier. You never had the free time to actually construct it, but if you made a working one, all the Host would have to do is set up the smaller voice box to transmit through it. With the right materials, you could probably get something minimally functional in the space of an hour.

But then, you have no idea what the Host will do once your use to him is finished. So maybe you shouldn't get to work just yet.
RE: Swamped
Concot a daring escape plan except- aw crap. You already made it!


Friggin science blackouts. You just can't help but tinker when you're stressed.
RE: Swamped
You check your suit, and find that the Host has left you with your pen and notepad. So you set to work trying to think up an escape plan... being careful how much you write down, in case the Host takes a look at the notepad at some point.

But you can't really think of anything beyond "make a hole in the wall", and you don't know if you even have the tools for that. Even if you did, the mechanical servants would probably stop you.

The sense of powerlessness is so unsettling that your mind keeps drifting to other things. More than once, you find yourself doodling rough plans for the sound amplifier, just because that's a problem you know how to solve. At least you're not Theodore; the way he works when he's stressed, he'd probably have built the damn thing already.

One of the servants, perhaps detecting your stress, approaches the tea table expectantly, holding up a pot. You nod weakly, and accept it.

The tea helps you feel a bit better, but you still can't figure out what you want to be doing.

RE: Swamped
Odd...the tea in your cup is vibrating in some interesting patterns...something here is emmitting vibrations on a sub-audible level...with the right set up you could detect where it's coming from and what it is.

Set the tea on various surfaces and see if you can detect changes in its vibrations.
RE: Swamped
(09-06-2017, 09:42 AM)btp Wrote: »Odd...the tea in your cup is vibrating in some interesting patterns...something here is emmitting vibrations on a sub-audible level...with the right set up you could detect where it's coming from and what it is.

Set the tea on various surfaces and see if you can detect changes in it's vibrations.

And that gets you thinking...

Even if you can't think of an escape plan, maybe you can devise a way to gain more information about your captor and surroundings.

A prototype sound amplifier might be able to double as an eavesdropping device with little modification. With some additional calibration, you could use the bouncing sound waves to detect open corridors and cavities beyond your prison.

...make a hole in the wall, indeed!
RE: Swamped
You're just about to drink the tea when you notice that it's vibrating a little in the cup, even before you pick it up.

Since you seem to be in some kind of ship or wagon, your first thought is that perhaps it's started moving. But there's no other sign of movement.

That leads you to wonder if it's sound. At a high enough frequency, you wouldn't be able to hear it, but it could potentially cause subtle vibrations. Enough to make the tea move.

You wander around for a while with the cup, pretending to be restless - you're not sure just how much these mechanical servants can grasp of what you're doing, so might as well put on a good show. Every so often, you put the cup down and glance at it.

You can't work out much, except that the vibration seems to be stronger around the mechanical servants. A little more wandering suggests it's moving either towards or from the door leading out.

Perhaps they're sending some kind of sub-audible signal to the Host, or receiving one. You recall one of Theodore's failed experiments involved trying to do something along those lines to make a long-range communication device, but he never managed to get one working that could send a signal further than from one end of his tent to the other.

Then it occurs to you that you might be able to actually hear that signal, and perhaps more. The idea of your sound amplifier is that it takes in noises and makes them louder... so all you'd need is a means to take in noises from a wider area.

You promptly make a list of materials you need, along with a sketch of the amplifier. Not detailed enough for the Host to use it himself, but it should convince him that you're working on his project. Then you hand the list off to one of the mechanical servants.

A few minutes later, the servant returns with what you need. You start assembling, with a few superfluous parts to help you pick up more noise.

Once you've got it set up, you hold the receiver up and turn it on. You hear... something, but it doesn't sound like any recognizable noise. It's just crackling.

Crackling that sounds a little like Theodore's test signal. So that's one theory roughly confirmed.

You mess around a bit so you can pick up noise outside the room, tweaking it as best you can to filter out sounds that aren't voices.

When you get it working, you think you hear two voices. Unfortunately, one seems to be speaking a language you don't recognize. Probably the same one these strange books are in.

But the other voice is speaking a human language, one that you know reasonably well. Odd that they're talking this way; maybe they both know each other's languages and simply find their own more convenient to speak in.

You adjust the output a bit, and try to determine what the half of the conversation you can understand is about.
RE: Swamped
Some kind of complicated romance novel? Gross.
RE: Swamped
"Of course it's not an unusual relationship in our time," says the voice you can understand. "But it was scandalous during the reign of Aedra, and Laikenne is clearly writing for an audience with historical grounding. Why else would he devote half a chapter to the aftermath of a skirmish on a peninsula most people have never even heard of?"

The other voice says something. You've got no idea what's being said, but it sounds like it's several sentences long.

"I don't think it's actually got anything to do with our plans either. I just don't have any particularly pressing tasks at the moment, so I'm reading for pleasure."

Now the foreign voice sounds angry.

"Well, if they did get captured, it wouldn't do us any good if I came out of hiding, would it? And you'd better not start that argument about weaponizing the robots again, I already told you I'm not going to do it."

Robots? What are those?

You hear some arguing, and they're talking so faster and interrupting each other so much that you can't make much sense of any of it for a while. Finally, though, the comprehensible voice says something slow enough for you to follow.

"Worst case, we've got one of theirs. We can bargain for their release."

There's a brief reply. It sounds annoyed.

"She doesn't really know anything, and once I've got the voice box working I can slip something into her tea so she'll just remember this as a dream."

The reply sounds even more annoyed.

"Please. You know perfectly well how capable I am of making bargains without actually exposing our operations. Or do you think I slipped up in Kandria?"

There's no reply this time.

"That's what I thought. I'm going back to my book. You can let me know when you have something pressing for me to do."

After that, you hear an odd noise. Then, silence, at least from the voices.

Now what?
RE: Swamped
they only have one? Clearly that means you.

No way you're going to let yourself be a bargaining chip.

Wait, how did you get captured anyway?

Do some more investigating. This time search for low frequency sounds. If there are any large mechanical parts or...that's strange...these readings match those of a sandstorm?
RE: Swamped
You try to sort out what you've heard.

"Worst case, we've got one of theirs."

He must mean you. He was talking about using you as a bargaining chip... which would only make sense if he were dealing with the camp. Or if he had some misguided ideas about your current standing with the church, you suppose.

And he mentioned someone being "captured". The camp isn't really designed to take prisoners, though. They'd only try to do it if they found hostiles right in the midst of camp...

Which could explain how you ended up here. You might have been assaulted, taken here, and then your assailants kept going towards the camp.

But... wouldn't that suggest you're still near the camp?

You adjust the filter on your sound amplifier. You might need to listen more carefully for environmental clues, to help you work out where you are, so you focus on picking out sounds one at a time.

You hear... wheels against wood? That seems to be the mechanical servants. There must be more outside the room.

With a few adjustments, you hear what sounds like gears turning. Large ones, you think. Bigger than any Theodore ever worked with.

You can't seem to hear any footsteps no matter how you tune the filter, though. Presumably, your captors are sitting still right now.

Then you hear... wind? No, not just any particular wind, it sounds like a sandstorm picking up strength.

But if it's that close, why can't you hear your captors talking about it? Is this place so fortified that a sandstorm isn't even a matter of concern?

It feels as if everything you learn about this place and your captor just leaves you with more questions. Your main concern is finding a way out of here.

You could, you suppose, finish up the sound amplifier and find some way to avoid taking the drug in the tea so you remember what you learned here. But on the other hand, you wouldn't be able to tell Yvonne much about where you were. And you don't even know if the prisoner exchange is going to happen.

What's your next move?