February 17, 2019 at 1:03 am #15957
Sian looks carefully at Shrike before replying. ”Yes, I have found my Master to be an attentive and active lover on many occasions. We have been intimate many times since shortly after he took me on. I do not feel that it has in any way eroded his confidence in my abilities nor my confidence in his guidance of my activities. I suppose you could say that you and I have very different relationships with our Master, yet we both serve and achieve the results demanded by them.”
She nods at his second comment. ”I believe that we have a consensus on the plan, then. I will do my best to make sure that we get there with as little risk as possible.”
279February 17, 2019 at 5:08 am #15959
“So you told me. It’s just a different kind of chain they employ to control us. But at the end of the day, everyone is someone else’s dog I suppose.”
I replied shrugging. I finished the last bit of junkfood from the self heating bag and consciously relaxed myself in the comfortable, heated seats of the car. It would be the last time for quite some while, I suspected, that I could enjoy such comfort.February 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm #15981
Sian sits back in her seat and contemplates her friend’s words. Is she controlled? Certainly, but she believes there to be a difference in that it is driven into her species that she must have a Master or Mistress. To her knowledge, only the traitors among her kind have ever tried to break that bond and survive and she does not put herself in that category. She shakes her head. No, she has always had a Master and that is just the way things are supposed to be. She considers herself quite fortunate to have been taken on by Schwartzkopf. Smiling to herself, she looks out the window at the scenery and goes over her plans for the tunnel.
280February 19, 2019 at 1:39 pm #15990
I was surprised how smooth the transfer went, when the time came. With barely a flicker, we exited the car and only a moment later we were surrounded by stone on all sides. For obvious reasons I kept away from Sian and an eye on the CO2 readout of my armor. It wouldn’t do if we remained undetected just to asphyxiate underground.
“Thank god, this region has active seismic background, otherwise we’d have to watch out for termor sensors…”
February 19, 2019 at 2:21 pm #15993
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Jack_Spade.
Having been warned by Shrike that they were coming up to the parking lot, Sian was first out of the car and moving to get to a good starting location for the tunnel. She easily overcame the inherent barrier of the material and began shaping the earth to her desire. In a few seconds, she had created a good-sized chamber with a step descending into the ground. When everyone was inside the comfortable room, Sian stripped out of her armor and clothing before heading outside, where she carefully formed a covering that would look as natural as the surrounding area while leaving a small airway. Once that was completed, she went gaseous and flowed back into the room through the air passage and rejoined her companions.
Dressing, she smiled at the others and turned in the direction they wanted to go and continued the tunnel at a downward angle until several meters below the surface. She used her geology and engineering knowledge to create a structurally sound passage through the rock, complete with air holes to the surface.
281February 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm #15995
After flagrantly admiring Sian’s body, Al was soon admiring her mining skills just as openly. He’d worked as a miner, and knew that there was a big difference between being able to hocus-pocus solid bedrock around and being able to instantly erect a structurally stable and adequately ventilated tunnel.
“Damn, Vampirella, how’d you learn ta do this? Some sorta natural affinity fer places the sun can’t git at ya?”February 19, 2019 at 6:23 pm #15997
Sian chuckles at the question. ”No, not really, although being out of the sun has its benefits for me, of course. Besides being the voice of my Master when he requires it, I am an archaeologist by trade and training, and a pretty good one. I learned long ago that it is best to know how to create tunnels like this as well as be able to shore up crumbling tombs and buildings. With that in mind, I attended classes on different geological types, what it takes to support structures, especially those underground, and mining engineering. The rest of my knowledge was self-taught in the field. If I do this right, we should have no trouble with any sort of a collapse. There does seem to be some minor seismic activity, but I am going slow enough and adding extra support to the tunnel to compensate. It would take a larger than normal tremor to really cause a problem.”
Sian pauses every few minutes to get her bearings and to check with her friends to make sure that they are doing alright. She is very aware that some people do not do well knowing that there is tons of rock above them just waiting to crush them to death. She tries to keep thoughts away from that sort of thing. ”I have pretty good direction sense, but anyone else please feel free to chime in if you think I might be straying from the path we need to follow.”
282February 19, 2019 at 6:38 pm #15999
For his part, Al knew exactly what direction there were heading in, but it was enough to know the psychotic “vampire-from-another-planet” was on the right track. He didn’t need to say anything.
What he did need was to see. It was pitch black in this place. He took out his low-light flashlight. It wouldn’t mess with any of his companions if they had owl eyes or some shit, but in combination with his fancy eyes he’d be fine.February 23, 2019 at 5:23 am #16014
I idly picked up a gold nugget the size of my thumb and tossed it forward with a “Catch” only a half second before as a warning.
Sian gave the term “Strip Mining” a whole new meaning. The progress was swift enough, although it felt as if I was taking a stroll in the park – a very dark, cramped, claustrophobic park.
“According to the gyro compass we are on course. And if I didn’t miss my count of strides, we are now inside the cordon and about 50 m out from our target. We should soon come across the natural caverns. Al, keep the light on the ground. Would be a shame to come this far only to fall into a fissure.”February 23, 2019 at 5:25 pm #16020
“Right, sure,” Al replied non-committally. He was pretty sure he couldn’t die, and if he did, it sure wouldn’t be from stepping into a hole. Indeed, he was relieved when they broke out into natural cavities in the rock, though he immediately switched over to internal air – underground waterways were not the only reason spelunkers carried oxygen, and an area with this much geothermal activity carried especially high chances of ambient toxicity.
The most common worry in this area was CO2 concentrations, but nastier gasses were not unheard of. Worse, patches of bad air were sometimes dynamic, drifting from place to place. He used his Zippo to test the oxygen level, and the flame burned bright. For now. He kept his respirator handy – he didn’t know if vampires could suffocate, but if Sian passed out for any reason, it could be a long search for a way out of here…assuming there even was one.February 24, 2019 at 7:02 am #16034
“Al?” I asked softly, “Would you mind not having an open flame here? This far down we might also find pockets of methan or H2S. A large underground explosion would be a bit of a hassle right now. And probably kill us too.
My helmet has a gas mask with a gas sensor. That should suffice for the moment.”February 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm #16046
Al shrugged. Everyone was a mining engineer now. “Ya got me there, kemo sabe. Reckon I’d ruled out methane fer a couple o’ three reasons, but the hydrogen sulfide…This bein’ Yellowstone, shoulda thought o’ that. Pretty rare for it ta concentrate enough ta be dangerous in open cavern systems like this, but yer right, if’n yer gadgets got it under control, best not ta chance it.” Al lit a cigarette, then snapped the big Zippo shut, at which point it disappeared from view. “There ya go, safe as houses.”February 26, 2019 at 3:58 pm #16070
I just sighed and hoped that we indeed wouldn’t stumble upon such a gas pocket.
Finally, Sian opened up a passage into a natural cavern – and I could see how the mages in the group shuddered. The background count must have spiked massively…
February 27, 2019 at 12:38 pm #16090
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Jack_Spade.
[Evening, Thursday March 25, 2077; Underground Caverns nr Devil’s Den, Yellowstone Park, Sioux Lands]
The mana was fluctuating wildly in the caverns now, one minute at normal levels and then ebbing away like the spindrift at the beach…then it would return with a vengeance as if rushing to fill a void. It made acclimatising to it almost impossible and only Shrike felt comfortable. The caverns themselves were geological marvels, quite probably never before explored by metahumanity. Volcanic glass reflected the muted lights carried by the travellers and the steady drip drip drip of water accompanied the subtle sound of their footfalls…
#92February 27, 2019 at 12:52 pm #16094
“Well great, we’s here. Now what? Ain’t like the damned brief was rich in explicatory dee-tail. We jist wander around lookin’ fer some mystical portal or somethin’? An’ we find it, then what? Jist kill whoever done opened it, then hope it closes on its own? Or maybe these is numbskull questions cuz y’all in Club Immortal know exactly how all o’ this otherplanar hoo-ha-dilly works?”February 27, 2019 at 12:58 pm #16095
“Seems as if we are getting closer. Someone better switch to their witch sight, so we don’t wander headlong into the vortex. We are pretty much on course now. Oh and watch out for awakened critters: Those who haven’t been killed by that thing are likely mad as hell – which isn’t particularly good if you have to contend with bats that possibly carry HMHVV.”
I had taken point now that Sian no longer needed to form our way for us and relied mainly on the ultrasound sensor on my helmet for orientation. By now I could almost feel the pulse of the thing – mainly through the reactions of the people with me, but also how the Void inside me gorged and starved from moment to moment…February 27, 2019 at 1:05 pm #16098
The mention of paracritters was somehow heartening for Al – something he knew how to deal with, as opposed to completely winging it when it came to all these Invaders from the Abomiplane that spooked the never-dies so badly. He readied his rifle and talked to Rex about his brass knuckles. Watching them fade in and out of view as they made their way through the caverns actually made for a useful visual barometer of the creepy-levels in here.March 2, 2019 at 3:02 am #16165
Finally we reached a large cavern and by now I felt the resonance of the Void. I knew we had reached the right place because someone had taken the effort to place a yellow and black police tape around the area.
“Careful now. There are bound to be people watching this thing. When we go in, we need to be quick about it. Just keep a mental image of the world in your mind and watch out where the ritual sites of the enemy flare up. Try to ignore the promises and whatever you do, don’t help them build any bridges. Oh, and try not to get driven mad.”March 2, 2019 at 5:45 pm #16180
“Whoa there, Nelly. Back when ol’ Al was workin’ with the Troubleshooters, damned corp brass made us see docs an’ techs an’ all manner of eggheads – s’posed ta keep us in top form. Well, that included regular trips ta the headshrinker. Make sure we din’t have no stress or some hippie bullpucky. So one thing the guy said ta me was that I got a low tolerance fer ambiguity. So if I ain’t got the faintest what ya jist been on about, you’ll have ta excuse me. Don’t go crazy. Check. No bridges. Check. Ignore temptation, heh heh, reckon I been puttin’ Satan behind me since afore I knew my letters. So that’s all the stuff we don’t do. But I still ain’t got but the vaguest idea what it is we do do. So there’s that ambiguity I been talkin’ about. If’n y’all are jist makin’ it up as ya go, if we’s jist goin’ in, seein’ what’s what, shuttin’ anythin’ down looks off…in other words, if’n y’all got as little idear as I do what exactly we’s aimin’ ta do besides jist closin’ the door…somehow, well fine, jist say so. But if they’s somethin’ specific we’s lookin’ ta do ta stop these freaks comin’ over, well I din’t have no backchannel briefin’ with no lizard, so howzabout someone finally fills me in?”March 2, 2019 at 11:11 pm #16185
Sian chuckles and nods at Al’s words. ”I could not have worded it any better, Al. Thank you.” Turning to Shrike, she continues. ”If your master told you anything more, now would be the time to share it. I know that mine did not give me any indication of what to do next.”
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