A ruin unlike others - RPLOG
The typical array of tents and beings in robes surround the entrance to the creator ruin described in the job posting. It is immediately clear why the ruin has only been found now, with all but the entrance seemingly under the shiftings sands of the area. Most of the robed beings are busy going over various papers and books or chatting with each other, but one is talking to the only being not dressed like a priest, a short mouse with bright red hair who is sitting on a large rock near the entrance of the ruin.
Fenris saunters up, looking around at the bustling camp, his little otter golem scampering along at his feet. "Scarlett!" he calls out, raising a hand in a lazy salute, "Nice to see you again."
The big tiger is dressed very differently than he was the other day at the inn. He has discarded his loose vest and canvas trousers for a sleek suit in the Creator style, covered with a heavy, leather duster. "What fun do we have here today?" he asks amiably.
Corin wanders up to the pair on his own, decked out in his usual mercenary gear. Despite the frigid cold of the morning desert, Corin seems entirely unfazed and smiles at the pair on arrival, adjusting his tool-and-ammo-belt for comfort, "Beautiful morning, isn't it?" the bear says, glancing around himself at all the tents and the beings, "And hello again, miss Scarlett. Lovely seeing you here."
Scarlett looks up at the two new arrivals and raises her hand in greeting. "Hello, hello. Just got done getting briefed." The priest gives a nod to the mouse, before addressing the other two. "Yes, as I told Scarlett here, we just need you to go into the ruin and make sure it is all accessible and safe, although it really should be safe from all we have seen so far." He eyes Fenris' golem for a moment, then lets his gaze wander towards Corin. "I am sure you all are aware that we will have to search you and your belonging once you are back outside to make sure nobody took something from the ruin. Protocol, I am afraid."
Fenris raises an eyebrow at the acolyte and his warning. "Do what you think you have to," he says with a shrug, then nods at the door in the sand, "Shall we?"
Corin gets a nod and the shimmering little otter golem scampers over to frolic around his feet before turning a circle back to frolic agressively at the priest.
"Never had any creator technology to begin with, don't want any. Rather not immolate myself, really." Corin says with a chuckle, "Despite my choice in daytime profession." The bear gestures vaguely to some of the burn scars on his wrists before nodding, "Either way, I'll be happy to help!"
Scarlett jumps off from the rock and dusts herself off. "We shall, yes." She flashes a smirk while retrieving a torch that had been fastened to the side of her backpack, quickly lighting it up with some flint and steel. "We will probably need to bring our own light from all I have heard and seen." The torch bearing mouse nimbly moves in front of the small group and heads into the ruin, raising her torch high to illuminate the walls.
The ruin seems to be just as dead as described. No lights, no movement. Nothing. All visible doors that lead away from the main corridor are closed tight, but the frames on the main path are empty.
Fenris follows along with his hands in his pockets. "A little light please, Kawa," he instructs his golem as it scampers along at his feet. The tiny, overlapping plates that make up the otter's shimmering hide move apart a bit, and the little golem gives off a steady, blue glow from within. Fenris, for his part, keeps his eyes open, scanning the walls for any indication of what this place might have been.
Corin doesn't have a fancy golem-light, and instead settles for a plain old lanter, lit by a pair of magic rings on one of his gloves. The bear splits off the group for a moment to investigate one of the side passages. "Huh... Interesting... I don't like it!" he says chipperly, "Maybe it's just the mercenary in me, but uh... This seems like someplace you'd be ambushed."
Noticing the other light sources the group brought, Scarlett lowers her torch, passing it to her tail, holding it to her side. "It is a bit too quiet for my taste in her, I have to admit."
As the group presses forward, the building continues to be much the same, closed doors to either side, while the main corridor remains open. A couple of minutes later, this finally changes as they reach a door that is blocking their forward progress.
"Assuming that this place has been sealed up," Fenris says, sauntering up to the door and looking it over, "The only thing we are likely to find alive are machine servitors."
Without a lock to pick, Corin lacks any of the necessary skills to even make heads or tails of this particular type of lock. The poor old bear is just completely out of his depth on this particular matter, "Can either of you make heads or tails of this? I never bothered to study how to work these creator gizmos." The bear sighs and stands, scratching the back of his head, jostling the shotgun strapped over his shoulder in the process.
Scarlett shrugs and pokes at the buttons next to the door, without getting any response from it. "Me neither. Maybe we can force it open somehow?" The mouse lets her fingers glide over the tiny gap between the two parts of the sliding door, frowning slightly. "Not sure if we can get something in there, but might be worth a try?"
Fenris does have the skills to work with this kind of lock, but if the power is dead. . . well, button pressing is not going to do much. "Let's see what I can do," the tiger offers, stepping up to the door. He presses a fist against the steel of the door, just to one side of the seam. He flexes his arm and a sharp, wide blade shoots from somewhere up his sleeve, hopefully jamming between the two doors.
With a sigh, Corin, screws up his face in concentration, quickly beginning to grow and change, his muzzle elongating, his fur running together to form scales, sharp claws jutting from the end of rapidly growing paws, now basically talons, and the already large bear pretty much doubles in bulk. Then he jams his claws into the gap Fenris has managed to widen in the door and gives a mighty lateral heave, trying his best to force the doors apart.
The door protests against the manual opening with loud, metalic creaking, but the combined strength of the two beings is too much for it, so that it is soon open enough for each member of the expedition to fit through. Scarlett slips in first when it is not even wide enough for the other two and surveys the room. It is rectangular and decently sized with glass panels and weird looking tables with buttons to the side opposing the door and weird looking, horizontally paneled metal walls to the sides. Many, but not all of the glass panels are broken and there is a thick layer of dust on everything. Most noticeable, there is a very faint light source right over a large red button with some words in creator script over it.
Fenris squeezes in through the doors, forcing them just a bit wider as he goes. The tiger scans the room, trying to fathom its purpose from his other experiences with Creator ruins, then makes his way over to look at the lit panel and its attractively red button. "Huh," he says, a smile drifting across his features, "Emergence Restart. That could be interesting." He looks at the others with a twinkle in his eye. "Maybe this old place isn't as dead as we thought it was," he says, his hand hovering over the button, "Should we?"
"No. Absolutely not." Corin says, shaking his head, "I'd like to not anger every machine-spirit-thing in the place. I love a good scrap, but I'm not stupid..."
Scarlett crosses her arms. "It does seem a bit...unwise, if it could wake up the things in here, but I suppose the place is not really safe with them just one acolyte leaning on a table away from waking up. And making it safe is our job here." The small mouse fidgets around slightly, readying her bow, just in case, and grabbing an arrow that is engraved on one side of the head with a lightning bolt and some relatively simple mathmagical formulars on the other from her quiver.
"Exactly!" Fenris says in response to Scarlett's observation, "It would be irresponsible NOT to push it!" Before anyone can argue further, the big tiger reaches out at firmly presses the button, then sticks his hands in his pockets and waits with a satisfied little smile on his face. "This must be a control room," he says, walking around to peer at the panels and tables, "What do you think this place was for?"
"I'm telling miss Flora." Corin says, matter of factly as he pulls a heavy looking pregnant from the inside of his shirt, swapping the two soul gems around.
Corin pulled a pendant, not a pregnant.
A soft whirring sound appears, slowly becoming louder until it is quite noticeable, but still not more than a loud whisper. Then the lights come on, and with a shwooping noise, the door closes behind the three beings. A short moment after that the few screens that are not broke flicker on showing weird looking numbers, words and symbols. Except for one on which a figure that looks somewhat like a creator woman, but also completely different, appears. The female figure is translucent and tinted green, but otherwise looks familiar to those who have interacted with creators before. A series of sounds plays and speech comes from below her screen, in creator: [Greetings, [Error: User not in Database], it has been [Error: Chronometer broken] since my last activations. How can I assist you?].
Scarlet raises her eyebrows and glances at Fenris. "What is that, what is she saying?"
Fenris tilts his head at Corin. "I think you misunderstand my relationship with the highlady," he says with a smile, "But sure, let her know what I am up to. She likes that, I think."
The tiger holds up a hand to forestall Scarlett and turns his attention to the machine spirit. [Hello,] he says, fluently using the Creator dialect, [It is 480 years since the arrival of the Ark on P-12 Beta and this facility has been uncovered. We are a salvage team sent to assess the state of this. . . vessel? What is your designation and function?]
Having finished his long bit of odd sounding conversation, he turns to the others. "It is a machine spirit helper," he explains, "This should make things much easier." He hesitates for a moment. "I hope."
Corin seems content to let the old, old, incredibly old tiger do his thing. Especially since he can't understand a damned word it's saying. He does, however, add "When you say things like that, it makes me nervous... Just make sure we don't end up with some lovely necklaces like last time, won't you?"
The picture of the spirit flickers, eyes fixed on Fenris. [Under who's authority are you attempting to dismantle this installation? It is fully functional and [Error: Access Denied]]. The spirit flickers again, much more violently this time, before the glass panel she had appeared on turns black for a couple seconds, then she returns as if nothing had happened, eyes still focused on the tiger.
Fenris blinks. That was a surprisingly angry reaction from a machine spirit assistant. The tiger looks at his two companions and offers a wan smile. "Nothing to worry about," he says, "Just a moment."
He turns his attention back to the spirit. [General Access Code Beta, Seven, Romeo, Three, Nine, Nine,] he begins, continuing for a moment in what probably sounds like a chant to the uninitiated, [I am a duly authorized representative of the first arrivals. What is the name and function of this facility?]
"I don't understand a word of this. Do you?" Corin says, turning his huge, still dragon-y muzzle down to Scarlett. He shuffles awkwardly next to the door.
The machine spirit flickers again, although once she returns her green tint is replaced with a red one. [Deception detected. Access denied. Prepare to be detained for Questioning. Notifying [Error: External communication offline]]. While the spirit was still speaking, several holes opened in the ceiling, through each of which a vaguely rifle like construct lowers itself and each of the three adventurers finds themselves with a red dot on their foreheads...for about five seconds, before the screen flickers again and the light goes off in the room once more.
"Whatever it was, it can't have been good," replies the mouse, before addressing Fenris: "What did just happen?"
Fenris is a little surprised. "Huh," he says, "That should have worked." He turns a smile on Scarlett. "Looks like the machine spirit thinks I am lying about who we are," he explains, still not looking especially worried, "It is trying to contact someone to verify, or to report intruders, but since it probably can't talk to anything outside, it is probably going to try and treat us like a threat." The tiger still has that infuriating smile on his face. "Don't worry!" he says, "I am going to try to fix things, but these weapons are probably going to start attacking as soon as I move." He rests a hand on something attached to his belt. "Any questions before we get started?"
"Yeah, I have one. I think I remember saying activating this was a bad idea. Do you remember that?" Corin says, rolling his eyes and cracking his knuckles, "I sure do." the bear-turned dragon sighs and smiles, "I hope this plan works. I'd rather not die thanks."
Scarlett carefully looks up at the turret that is pointing at her. "Well, what is this plan you have to fix things? I feel like we should know before you do something dangerous."
Slowly the light flickers back on in the room, but the screens have yet to display the spirit again, although her return can only be a question of seconds.
"My plan?" the Tiger looks quizzically at Scarlett, "My plan is to walk out of here alive and well and with everything the Church wants in tow. Now. Stay alive for a few minutes. KAWA!"
The little golem, hitherto sitting quietly, springs into action, opening wide its little mouth and firing a beam of light at the turret pointing at Fenris, while Fenris, at the same time activates his divine shield as he scurries toward the lighted control panels, his hands moving in complicated gestures over them while a stream of incomprehensible gibberish flows from his mouth as he tries to find SOMETHING that the system will recognize. The others are no doubt able to take care of themselves. Right?
Corin's smile quickly vanishes and he tells Scarlett "Use this if you haven't got anything better!", before adding "Fenris you..." and setting forth a continuous stream of profanity of stunning variety and complexity as he drops his shotgun off his shoulder and launches up to one of the turrets and promptly attempts to rip out anything connecting it to the ceiling or, barring that, rip it out of the building entirely. All while still swearing like a sailor who just caught Fenris in bed with his wife.
Scarlett scarlet simply readies the enchanted arrow she had drawn earlier and quickly shoots it into the turret that was aiming at herself, drawing an identical one right afterwards.
The turret Scarlett had shot sparks heavily and black smoke emits from within it. A few seconds later it is hanging limply from its arm, apparently disabled, while the one Corin launched himself at simply breaks out of the ceiling from the sheer weight of the Dragon-Bear. The last one, which is aiming at Fenris seems to have started firing, or at least trying to. There is a soft clicking noise coming from it, but nothing is actually happening. Meanwhile the consoles the tiger had been working on dim in the same moment the red hued machine spirit reappears. [Manual overrides disabled, assuming full control of base]
Fenris finally frowns. "Well now," he says, "That is decidedly unfriendly! What kind of machine spirit is allowed to just ignore the codes?" Seeing that the others are currently safe, he returns to addressing the angry machine. [Listen, I know you are confused and you've been dormant a long time. I bet you can't even connect to the Extranet anymore, right? I've got a profile there. Neat place. I promise, I am here to help, but I can't do anything if you won't even identify yourself and the base!]
He looks over his shoulder at the others. "You want to see what you can do about getting that door open again?" he urges.
Corin tosses aside the turret and jams his claws into the miniscule crack of the door and, fighting the hydraulics, strains his muscles, "Easier said than done, Fenris!" the dragon-bear grumbles, grunting heavily as he begins forcing the door. "If I get shot in the back I'm going to be very, very angry!"
Scarlett loses her second arrow, shorting out the remaining turret, just in case it does find it in itself to lose a bullet or two. Afterwards she quickly makes her way towards Corin, although unlike him, she ignores the door, and tries to pry open the keypad with her knife.
The door, previously opened by force, is now not budging in the slightest.
For a moment the spirit turns yellow, eyes fixed on Fenris. [You claim to help, but you already said you are here to salvage us.]
Fenris holds up a hand to the others, not turning from the spirit. [Yes,] he says firmly, [Are you salvageable? Are your systems operating? Can you fulfill your function? We are not here to dismantle you. Again, what is your designation an purpose?]
The scene no doubt looks bizarre, the big tiger holding a not-quite-comprehensible standoff with the color changing spirit.
"Yeah, Flora is hearing about this one for sure..." Corin mutters, grabbing up his discarded double-barreled shotgun, "oh, let me just push this button we know nothing about, surely nothing bad will happen..."
[I am not more or less salvageable than any of you.] The shape flickers green for a moment, then red, then settles back on yellow. Eyes darting between the three beings. [You have already damaged us.] The spirit seems to have made up its mind and flickers to red. [Maybe we should tear out parts of you and try to see if you are still willing to negotiate.]
Fenris has never met such a recalcitrant machine spirit. Especially not one that would not even identify itself. [You are broken, machine spirit.] he says, [You have threatened beings of Promise, unprovoked and failed three times to identify yourself or your function. Initiate override and system reset and return manual control.] The tiger turns back to check his companions' progress as he proceeds to once more chant a litany of codes and passwords.
"I wish I could understand a word of this, miss Scarlett." Corin grumbles to the mouse next to him.
[You still treat us as if we were a mere contraption, as if you or your kind could force your will upon us.] The picture flickers for a moment before she continues.[We are not broken, you merely think we are something we are not. We will not hand over controls or reveal additional information.] The figure flickers into a shade of yellow. [You will be given an escort out of this facility and we will seal it up. No further attempts to breach and salvage will be performed, or there will be dire consequences, do we have an understanding?] The eyes of the spirit, if it even is one, stare at Fenris, awaiting a response.
"Yes, although even if we did, I am not sure we would be much help."
Fenris tilts his head at the spirit. [My mistake,] he says, [You are not what I think you are, are you?] The tiger reaches into a pocket and produces a small, metal pyramid and shows it to the machine spirit. [We will go,] he affirms, [But this is a tool I used to communicate with another machine spirit, can you access it? If you decide you want to talk, I'm am always interested in learning something new.]
The tiger turns to look at his companions. "I think we've got that sorted," he says, "But it looks like this facility is off limits. The priests aren't going to be real happy, but it looks like there's nothing here for them."
"Mmmhm." Corin says with a heavy-lidded gaze at Fenris, "You activated an angry machine spirit, nearly got all of us killed despite all of us telling you this was a bad idea, and cost them their find, and probably our pay." the bear raises a VERY sardonic eyebrow, "What could they POSSIBLY be mad about?"
One of the paneled walls to the side opens up and from the shadows steps a golem in fairly bad shape. It is humanoid, but missing one of its arms and from the looks of it, carries no weapons. The spirit flickers to a green. [Not currently. We will repair and maintain now that we are reactivated. Unit-38 will show you out.] Having spoken these last words, the spirit vanishes from the screen and the door opens. The golem points its one arm towards the door, standing in the middle of the room and a crackling emits from where a person would have their mouth.
"What even did she tell you? Other than to leave?" Scarlett pockets her knife, now that the door is open and slowly walks through it.
Fenris turns a huge grin on Corin. "I know! Fun, right?" he says amiably as he allows himself to be led away. The tiger shakes his head, doing his best to take in as much as possible as he can while they are led back through the empty halls, hoping that something else might have turned up with the power back on. "Mostly she refused to tell me anything," he admits, "This. . . building? Vessel? Facility? It is not like most of the ruins from the Arrival. The machine spirits in those are almost always helpful. This one was. . . . not."
"Fenris, I am trying VERY HARD to remain peaceful and not lose my temper, and you are making it VERY DIFFICULT. " The bear-dragon growls at the currently shorter tiger, "Quit pushing your luck, or I shall spend a large amount of time yelling at you."
Scarlett frowns slightly. "Would you rather have the priests find her and get shot by those ceiling things? At least nobody got hurt."
There is a variety of sounds emitting from behind the closed doors, humming, whirring, hammering, zwoshing. Whatever this place is, it is very alive now.
The golem leads the trio back to the entrance door, waits for them to exit then turns sharply around, the door closing behind it.
Fenris turns to face the others. "Listen," he says quietly, before the priests come to find what happens, "I would appreciate it if you would downplay what happened in there." The tiger looks about as serious as either being has ever seen him, and the expression is obviously uncomfortable lingering on the normally smiling face. "I am not supposed to be able to do what I just did. I don't know many beings on Promise who could have done it and I won't lie, it is mostly by sheer luck that we got out of there alive." He looks up at the draconic visage of Corin. "Sometimes, the only way to keep a dragon from swallowing you whole, is to convince it that you are more interesting alive than as a snack. I won't say that I made all the right choices, but I won't apologize. This was a win, in my book."
The tiger's grin returns. "It was awfully exciting though, right?" he asks, before turning his smile outward again to receive the priests and report.
Corin sputters incoherent angrish for a moment before gritting his teeth, "YOU. Are paying my fee. Time-and-a-half." he settles on, "and I'm still telling the high lady what you did."