Into The Machine
The Adventurers return to the secretive Ninetails laboratory in order to get to the machines in one of the chambers. However, retrieving these machines may bring them more trouble than they bargained for.
Within the dark, many eyes await their prey.
OOC: Take note of the start time.
Venturing into the metalic and stone labyrinthian lab, they quickly spotted signs of a rather explosive escape. The source of which they later found out was Fremy herself.
Moving in deeper, they find connections to the Tower of Mages, as well as storages and enchanted engineering plans of sorts. It seems they were doing some kind of research by making use of Relics to touch peoples' Cosmospheres; a term used akin to that of a soul.
They were on a clock at the time, dealing with 'failed' Werefangs, referred to as Chimeras by Fremy. They group managed to get out with something called a 'Dive Crystal'. And with tale of an important machine called a 'Dive Machine' being within this lab, they now venture to try and acquire one of those Dive Machines -- in the hopes that it may be the answer to their lost memories!
But last time, they were chased out by those powerful Chimeras - though they did not chase outside of the lab - so they will have to be careful doing this and avoid their patrols.
Now, darkness falls over the hills. And the gathered group prepares to venture in once more. Their future may very well depend on this mission.
She had Thundersnow Howl at the ready in her hands, though no arrow nocked so she could pull on it's elemental powers as soon as necessary. Going to interiors wasn't very nice for birds, so instead she has her Bun-Bun companion with instead, Yojimbo currently sitting in the hood of her cloak and leaning over her shoulder. His senses were likely better suited for the underground-like structure anyways.
"Everyone be on your guard." A sidelong glance at some of the members of the group that have habits of being a little spacey at times. "We want to avoid the Chimeras as much as possible and as long as we can, but they are not to be taken lightly either way."
"Right evade as long as we can, and don't play around if we engage right?"
He has come here today to help the more investigative allies find out what can be found out, aiding them with his ... who is he kidding? He's here to blow up anything that tries to stop our investigations. He follows along with the group, looking our warily as we proceed.
A little disappointed Frenemy Speedo isn't going to be joining the group for this expedition, Fuka is nonetheless hyped for a return to the Chimera labs. Or whatever they're officially called... Fuka's not really that big on official names. She even managed to recruit a couple of new faces for the dungeon crawl, deciding the goal is a vitally important one she's happy to support; well worth taking risks for.
The little sylph nods enthusiastically, agreeing with the advice thusfar. "The monster pack in there conned Red." she explains, using the gamer terms. She looks around, then adds an explanation. "To inspection, I mean, signalling they're above our group's strength. Raid-level threat. We *might* be able to survive the fight, especially with this group's gathered threat level, but it'd be a lot of risk and some would probably die, which really kinda defeats the purpose! So yeah... avoid and escape rather than fight, got it!"
"Chimeras," Uta mumbles, as she proceeds along with the rest of the party, the tip of her staff marking her steps rhythmically. "Li Gan will certainly love to know about this. Unless he already knows about this. Or at least part of this. I mean, it would explain why he is interested in hybrid monsters in yamato specifically. Actually, hm." She taps her chin. "This is strange, he seemed to be surprised that combined monsters were present in Yamato, as opposed to other places. If he knew about this- Hm. Could this mean... could this mean that the Cait Sith/Were 'Fang Ausfuehrung Zwei'-," the latter part rendered by the Translation System the way Uta's approximate knowledge of German understands it: the 'Zwei' as a clear 'two', and 'Ausfuehrung' as a vague semantic blob encompassing the meanings of 'version, model, issue, series'. "-, as Spahthjahr identified the race of our Yamato Adventurers, are... not the second batch of Were Fang created by the Tower of Mages, but that someone else entierely, possibly on a completely different continent, created them first? Of course, it's possible that both versions were created by the Tower of mages. And it's interesting that, according to the Palace Land libraries, they don't seem to be aware that the Cait Sith, Were Fang, and Spriggan were created in Yamato... could it be that it's because... they weren't? Not the first time around, at least."
Uta snaps back to reality once Shiruba urges everyone to attention. "Oh, right. Right. Chimeras. Avoid them. But we should also document them. For Li Gan. You have Artisany, right, Shiruba?", she asks, unsure. "We'll need drawing. If not, I suppose we'll have Gwen sew puppets of them. Hopefully Li Gan won't be too perplexed by the unorthodox way of conveying information."
"I'm curious as how one can get memories -back-," Uta muses to Merek. "Does it means they're not really lost? And if so, -where- are they stored?"
Kaydon already had the Jaeger out in his hand, the back of the blade resting on his shoulder as he walked behind Shiruba, "I agree with not taking them lightly but this time we're at least ready for them." Though yes, avoiding them entirely and not getting overrun would be the better option.
So she pacxked herself up and headed off, following Uta to meet up with the rest of the group. "Wish I had a camera," she mulls, after taking in the briefings from Uta and Fuka. "Would make this so much simpler."
He glances Utaward for a moment, and shakes his head. "We don't mention any of this, of what we do here, to the Mage's Tower. At least, not until we understand more of what we're dealing with. According to our sources, this place /was/ managed by the Mage's Tower in the past. That is to say, the chimeras created here were almost assuredly done at their behest. Or, whatever experiments they were performing here, they emerged as a result. Whatever the case, the less that they know of our investigations the better-- until we've full compiled enough information to safely disseminate."
"With that said," he sets his package on the ground, "Everyone, please take a pack. I've prepared an abundance of supplies for our adventure today."
Once the gathered party has done so, Prophylaxis nods and turns towards the entrance to the facility. "Come, then," he says, and takes the first steps into the dark.
Fuka shakes her head as Uta lore dumps, fond of the girl, not exactly sure what's going on with the exposition but more than willing to trust Uta knows what she's talking about. In lore, that's usually a safe bet. It makes her glad though that she told Uta about this and that the odd spriggan agreed to join the return expedition.
"I wouldn't mind some more fruit." Fuka replies to Proph cryptically, taking up one of the supply packages and heading towards the facility. Once inside she moves to take up a position near the front of the group, once again casting some low-key light magic to cause the hilt of her greatsword to cast off a light. Enough to help the group navigate, but hopefully not so much as to be noticeable at a distance or around corners so as to not draw attention.
Miyako's wish gets Uta to reflect briefly. "Wasn't the original camera pretty much... exposing chemicals to light, and fixing them? Silver salts, if I remember correctly. If I have recreated a phonograph, perhaps a skilled alchemist could recreate the photographic process. Granted, one would have to start with the long exposure variety, which... at this point we could substitute with the original Camera Obscura where pictures were simply traced artistically, but it's a step in the direction of instant snapshot." She mimes placing a box in front of her face, closes one eye, and presses down a finger. "Flash," she exclaims, and, out of the front bottom of the imaginary box, she yanks something equally imaginary, flat and thin, and shakes it violently. "Enchanted Polaroid."
"Mum's the word," Uta confirms with a nod to Prophylaxis. "Will not notify the Tower of Mages. I'll wait for notifications on when it is safe to Li Gan."
After picking up her pack of curatives, she begins to examine its contents. "Hmmm. Let's see what we have. there.. oh. Oooh. Ooooooooh, dang that's good stuff. Oh, man, that's even better." And then, just as she's been nerding out about Lore, she begins to nerd out about Pharmaceutical details, as she, herself, joins the group heading inside. "Fruit would be good, yes," Uta chimes in to Fuka, unaware of the context.
"Fresh fruit is generally enjoyable!"
She's clearly love some herself but she won't push on it they have a job to do. She also makes note to not talk to the Tower about this...
And there are a lot of forks. And not much in the way of signs on where to go. It's clear that this place was as much a science facility - based on the rooms they spot as they move through - as well as a maze intentionally made to make infiltration more difficult.
It isn't long before their spells of light start running into trouble however. Deeper into the labs, there seem to be strange 'suppressions' of magic going on. Places where things start to get a bit... weird.
Their spells of light begin to dim. Physical enhancements don't take quite as much effect as they usually do. It's a strange sensation to most of the Adventurers here. But with that, a series of dark tunnels leading deeper in the facility. Notably rather wide tunnels. Golden eyes moving at the ends of them from some of them.
And then, Fukaziroh spots it. A sign hidden behind a lot of dirt and grime. 'Dive Workshop'.
"This place is just weird," she mulls, half to herself, as the party comes across yet another magic-dull area. "I think we need to look into counter-measures for this, if they can manage it down here...."
But then they come to a door, and Fuka points out the fading sign. "Who's the best with lockpicks?"
It would help if they had some idea were to go. But at least Shiruba can document where they've been, so they can get back out as speedily as possible once they find their objective. Fortunately others succeed in fighting something of potential. "Try not to make too much ruckus getting it open. We don't want to do anything that will draw attention."
It is impossible from the way he says it to tell if its a serious question or not.
The magical suppression doesn't affect him as much as it would any of the pure casters, but he has enough enchanted gear now to still take note of it. He wonders if there's some kind of pattern to where the suppression fields are, maybe they could figure out a way around them, or where they're being controlled from.
It's a little disconcerting, having her active lighting spell flicker as its power is suppressed. Fuka's got plenty of non-light power, but if they lose the ability to see they're going to be in a lot of trouble. Hopefully it's just a suppression effect, and not something like a boss monster that renders everyone blind before the battle starts from a horrible ambush. "Alchemy is something I've neglected somewhat." Fuka observes to Miyako and Uta as they wander along. "I wonder if I could do something with enchantment and alchemy though. Create a camera. That'd be pretty awesome wouldn't it?" the little Sylph grins, flipping one hand through her hair and striking a glamour pose.
She finds something, raising a hand to illuminate the dust and grime-covered sign. "It's a workshop." she claims. "But it looks like it might be a dive. That's what this says. Dive Workshop." she offers. Then frowns at the door. "Nope, not good with locks. Kicking down doors, sure! But that's not exactly subtle. If we need to, I could try earth magic on the wall maybe?" she offers.
At the mention of the Mage's Tower he reminds everyone, "It seems likely that this was their facility, so...."
If so, that either implies connection at some point in their shared history... Or just convergent technological evolution. "If we could tear some of those out of the walls, they'd be worth studying..."
But that's a tertiary goal at best. It's what's behind this door labeled 'Dive Workshop' that really matters.
Unfortunately, Prophylaxis can't crack locks.
"They were investigating Cosmospheres, Kaydon," Prophylaxis explains. "That is, the realm of the mind and the soul, of memory. Adventurers have Cosmospheres, and it seems that Landers may have them as well. They are worlds within ourselves that contain our 'selves,' if that makes sense. Either way, the machine likely stored in this room has what we need. As for a subtle means of ingress..."
The doctor shrugs. "I suppose I could try to whip up some acid. That may do the trick."
"Unless we want to force it I can't help here..."
"How in the world do they do this?", Uta wonders in reaction to the enhancements dimming, looking around and tapping her lips. "I wish there was something we could easily inspect. I mean, I -could- Loremaster the dimming of our magic as an event, but with each attempt, I'm at risk of developing cephalgia and pharyngitis. I'd rather save the big guns for when it's worth it."
She attempts to clean the grime around the si, to see if "Speaking of dimming... I wonder...", she says, and after materializing a clean syringe needle from her inventory, she attempts to give herself a small prick on a fingertip, to see if there is any alteration in the effects of the Red Light. Slower, activating at a shallower level, anything different from usual. And as she does so, she comments, "I wonder if there's anything else behind that grime. If I don't end up bleeding, I'm trying to clean some of that grime, to see if we're missing extra writings, or a lever to a secret passage, or... I dunno, a doormat with a hidden key?"
"...Worlds? Within ourselves? Landers have it?", Uta boggles at Prophylaxis. "Where did you learn all that?"
Kaydon has always had generally a passing knowledge of what's going on. It's not so much that he doesn't care, just that he's kind of a dumbass and trusts people like Proph to figure that stuff out.
"Because I've been there," he says to Uta. "At least, to my own Cosmosphere. And if some Landers used to be Adventurers, then it stands to reason that they likely have Cosmospheres as well. Though perhaps of a different form than our own."
He walks over and carefully pours the contents of the vial onto the door. As he steps back and covers his eyes and nose, it begins to sizzle and bubble, eating a hole through to allow passage. "Careful not to get any on your skin as you pass," Prophylaxis cautions, "I seem to have made it slightly more powerful than I'd intended."
Opening the chamber into what looks like a laboratory of sorts with three enormous dive machines. They look like enormous cockpits that one lays down inside of. Each of them has multiple connectors with blue gems on their tips. But more notably, each of them has a dull red crystal sitting in the 'top' of the device.
The chamber itself is closed off. But worryingly... the door is far smaller than these machines. And to make matters even worse, the machines themselves are too large to just 'carry' out of here. Even with a group as large as theirs!
"Ah the voice we need to worry about is the one that goes I like that ship of my Morri's... and we need to ignore it."
Some more humor on Gwen's part as she beholds the machine.
"Maybe we can make a new way out...?"
She considers... but refrains from doing what's on her mind because someone asked for no touching to start with.
"That voice that goes I like that ship of Morri's..." Fuka grins, speaking in a voice that would probably be sinister if it weren't actually her. "...Is probably mine. How terrible you would ignore me, Gwen!" the littler Sylph teases. She helps with forcing the door, then steps aside to let the eggheads and analysts have their turn at the devices. Fuka is a damn good Enchanter, but the devices here are well beyond her own expertise. And she was warned not to touch anything. And here Fuka is, behaving.
"So. Are those dive crystals? I guess we're going to need to find dive crystals and bring them here to do the whole cosmic pool diving, right?" Fuka asks no one in particular. "Hey Merek, weren't you looking for diving machines? Or was that for the ocean?"
Once the lab door is open, he wanders in. He's definitely never been invited on any of the stuff to see these machines before, so he mostly just looks confused. BUT he knows better than to go around touching things, "Look I get that I'm just here to carry stuff and maybe fight a monster or two, but what the hell are we supposed to do with all this? It just looks like a mess of nothing."
"Massive application of Fireball and/or Fire in a different geometrical configuration?", Uta asks Schneider, distractedly.
Once in, Uta considers the machines. "Hm." She considers the walls of the room. "HM."
And then she turns to her Sylph friend.
The small one.
"Fuka, you have learned Construction, right? Are any of these walls load-bearing? Do you think we could theoretically... knock one down, or melt it, and... well, not have everything collapse on us like a temple at the end of an adventure movie after the protagonist has collected the long-sought treasure?"
"Well isn't that interesting," she muses. "Wish you hadn't broken the door."
They are simply /much/ too big to be brought outside.
"...I think it may be feasible to mark where this is located relative to the outside and dig down to reach it. But that's a whole different can of worms." The doctor shakes his head. "Sorry, I'm not sure I can be of much help at this juncture, except to answer questions."
"You may be able to," the doctor says to Kaydon, "But it'd be best if you would treat Cosmospheres with more care. They are, evidently, everything that makes us 'who we are.' Every good and bad memory builds who you are as a person, and tampering with them at all could lead to catastrophic results. My only interest in these machines is to determine how to repair damaged memories and protect undamaged ones among Adventurers and Landers. Outside of that, Cosmospheres are best left untouched."
To Uta: "Not willingly. And not without outside help. Like I said, I only visited my own Cosmosphere because someone else was invading it."
Fuka frowns in thought, considering Uta's question. "I'm sure some of the walls are." she says. "And it might be possible to open up a wall and pull some of this out. But this place has weird physics, not to mention weird magics. I'd have to wonder if the dive devices *need* to be down here in order to properly work." she offers. It's something she might examine, using her knowledge of magical theory and enchanting, but right now she's got something else to consider.
Pulling up an interface, Fuka considers the air before her as she examines it with the far-away look of someone reading their in-game menu interface. Moving her hand, she experiments with 'deleting' a wall, seeing what sort of construction results from the operation. Then she restores, trying a different deletion, and then a few options such as bracing. "Yeah, pretty sure we could do it. Would take some earth magic or possibly some manual skill like construction." she agrees. "We *could* remove the machines, if that seems like a good idea. Not sure we'd want to be hauling them through the halls though, not with the chimeras out there. And sure, large-scale earth manipulation and maybe mining could let us open the full passageway out of here, including past the front entrance hole. But... yeah, we got a lot to worry about between here and there."
"A way to restore them might be possible..."
She looks over to uta then back to Fuka while she lets the people who know what they are doing more than her deal with the machines. She does seem very impressed at it all and she's looking the mahincery over. She looks to Mereke "Or maybe do something for you Merek."
She'll settle in to keep watch while others work.
After a moment, Fuka dismisses her interface, instead turning to study the dive machines with her frown beginning to deepen. She IS a reknowned enchanter. She also has other advantages, at least in this place at this time. "Y'know..." she muses, then falls silent. She stretches out a hand, begins to wave it. Rhythmically, not like spellcasting... more like she was conducting an orchestra.
She remains silent, which might worry people who know her. Then she begins to hum lightly. A fragment of a song... a fragment of a Song. And then she shakes her head. "I wouldn't want to run one of these machines here." she finally declares. "The aura of this place, the suppression of light, the... disharmony. No, I think it'd be a good idea to get out of here for now, and come back prepared to remove the devices from the facility entirely. Whether that means a full raid party or preparing to tunnel in from above, I'm not sure, but I'm kinda sorta sure we don't want to run everything down here. Especially not with the chimeras in the area!"
He shrugs helplessly, "'Feng Shui', I suppose? I'd suggest using places blessed by the Goddesses, once we get to that point."
"I am not sure if we would be able to do it today, Merek." She looks around for confirmation. "But if those memories can be restored...", she begins, serious, in response to Gwen, "...maybe there's hope for you, Merek. And maybe..." this time she looks between Kaydon, and Prophylaxis. "...I wonder if it can... you know... fix... other issues of the mind."
That line of reasoning is dropped when Uta blinks at Fuka humming a song. Her jaw, instead of being dropped like the line of reasoning, lowers gradually.
"T-the Sublimation Song?", she gapes. "Also known as the 47th Song? The one Estelle heard on the Green Moon? The one blasted at the Sooty Chims? That... that one is a concerning song," Uta shudders. "Why are you humming it, Fuka? Is it... related to this place?", she asks, head sunk in her shoulders. More notches are docked from her confidence, now lowered like her jaw.
Fuka isn't exactly sure what she was humming. She's not even sure why she was humming. Something to do with the interaction of her character skills with her intent, the facility, the harmonies perhaps. And the song itself... well, she's not sure if it has anything to do with the dive devices, or if it's something about the disharmony of the environment here. She looks at Uta, opens her mouth to answer... then shakes her head. She doesn't really understand enough to give a coherent answer that's in any way more enlightening than Uta's question.
She shrugs, then turns to Merek, her expression softening at his question and the unspoken desperation behind it. "I... I'm not sure." she says, her voice quiet. She glances back at Uta, then returns attention to Merek. "I think we have the skills here to do it all now, if we're *very* careful. Normally I'd be cautious considering the risks, but ... I don't know, maybe we can try to extract one device here and now? Worst case, we have to abandon it and run, and then we come back for the two ones remaining here?"
"Wasn't the goal for this specific mission to extract the dive machines in the safest manner possible?", Uta asks. "Do we have anything pressuring us for time? If not, I suspect going the safe, slightly slower route is better for everyone involved, isn't it? We can deal with these chimeras once the devices have been removed from the battlefield." After some thought, she adds, "Which reminds me, has anyone inspected these chimeras? What do they inspect as? If they were a result of the attempts at creating Were Fangs... is there a possibility of they being... part-iman? Like, them being... 'part-people'?"
But then, Shiruba interjects her suggestion. "I'm listening," she says, leaning forward, using her staff to support her weight.
Somewhat daunted by the seriousness of what's at stake, Fuka abruptly shakes her head. Time to apply some Fuka to the situation. While others discuss the best way to abscond with their treasure, she makes her way over to Miyako. "This Spriggan polycule, tell me more!" she says with a playful grin. "I mean, you *know* I'm not writing about it because if I was, I'd totally do a self-insert! But inquiring minds want to hear more! Give me all the sordid dark details!"
"There are three of these machines. I propose that once we're able to secure a way out, one should go to each of the Alliances for safekeeping, use and study."
Fuka hums lightly. Not the Song, but just a wordless note of thoughtfulness, or something approximating thought. "The harmonics of this place suppress the devices." she says, more sure of herself now that Merek's attempt and his words back up her own feelings. "I don't know if more singers would help. We could certainly try, maybe with some skilled Bards, but I feel like we'll have a lot more success getting the devices out instead. This place is just... not suitable for them. Which makes me wonder just what changed, since obviously once it was!" she muses. "Well, we can figure all that out later. I think actually disrupting harmonics down here would be a terrible idea. Maybe get out, then come back and dig a path down so we have an escape route should we dig too deep and attract a ball dog or something?"
"I'd like to look deeper into this Musical Feng Shui. Or should I say, listen deeper into it?" After a moment of confused frowning, Uta shakes her head and continues, "Like, the Chims in the caves of Ezzo would keep cycling between the three Strange Mood songs. On the Green Moon, if I remember correctly, they were specifically blasting the Chims with the Sublimation song. And I've heard there's a whole floor completely devoid of Song in the Tower..."
"I'd like to learn more about this Jered Gan and Freemy characters, Doctor. If... information can be shared. I understand there might be confidential topics going on there."
"And I'm afraid that learning how to recharge crystal is not my department. Not an Enchanter, here."
"I can do that!" Fuka replies cheerily to Shiruba. With her interface. "Just shuffle a bit of the stone up behind the door so it can't be opened. Make a note of that, if I'm not one of the ones that returns to recover the diving pools, the door's been blocked by a ridge of stone and that'll need to be cleared away."