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Dozens B. McCuzzins 2023-07-18 20:52:57 -06:00
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@ -5,6 +5,9 @@ src/chapter3.md
src/chapter4.md
src/epistolary/index.md
src/epistolary/00074.md
src/epistolary/00075.md
src/epistolary/00076.md
src/epistolary/00077.md
src/notes.md
src/acknowledgements.md
src/characters/index.md

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left: 2rem;
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body {
padding-top: 0;
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---
title: 00075
created: Mon, 27 Mar 2023 09:24:13 -0600
updated: Mon, 27 Mar 2023 09:24:14 -0600
public: yes
syndicated: yes
---
### 00075 {#00075}
> White blooms look on as Inky turns another page in the book they
> are reading, a purported bestseller luridly titled *The Secret
> Lives of Plants*. The olericulture guide before it had been more
> appealing, but it was something to do between meals and napping
> with an eye mask while holed up in the green room.
>
> While Confidence had been taking stock of provisions one night days
> before the ship's departure, Inky had dropped in and not so
> covertly taken over a room with a higher ceiling near the cargo
> hold, beside an escape hatch. They brought in some grow lights the
> following evening and asked Confidence to help install them
> overhead after explaining their plan. Next, they loaded in some
> dwarf conifers and star magnolias in wheeled containers with weight
> compression. A nutrient solution pump connected to a timer and long
> hoses periodically watered and fed the trees. Near the door was an
> air filter, another useful item from the Wandering Bazaar. It
> monitored air quality and composition, and could extract various
> common gases from multiple inputs and pipe them to attached storage
> tanks. There were two tanks outside the room that were hooked up to
> the filter: a smaller one for excess carbon dioxide drawn from the
> atmosphere that can be released slowly in tiny concentrations back
> into the green room for the trees to absorb (or injected into water
> with a carbonator for fizzy drinks), and a larger one for extra
> oxygen produced by the trees and held in reserve. There was also
> another tank and an unused combinator on board to recombine
> hydrogen and oxygen.
>
> When the rest of the crew take turns to sleep or patrol the rest of
> the ship, Inky steps within hearing distance of the starhelm and
> activates the energy barrier around it. The barrier also blocks off
> sounds to maximise the energy directed at the helm.
>
> Standing back against a low wall enclosure, Inky begins to play on
> their violetti, channelling emotions through the lilting notes. The
> instrument itself was a bespoke affair, an early Yule indulgence
> years ago, and Inky had conferred at length with the luthier on
> their requirements and core design. In appearance it closely
> resembles a smaller, lighter violin while being an octave higher
> than most violins, making it a great accompaniment to a flute or
> piccolo in birdsong. However, instead of a mechanical nightingale
> solo, they feed the helm a selection of nursery ditties — falling
> bridges, black sheep, blind mice and the like. Sliding a few bars
> of Bubbytabbies at intervals for best measure. Nya nya.
~
> Alex didn't mind the travel, in fact, he enjoyed the cramped
> confines of his quarters. The limited world of their space ship a
> bubble, something he could control, and protect from the chaos that
> surrounded him. It was no different than the sailing he did planet
> side, something he had been fond of and his uncle had chided him
> for being so passionate about. Corraidhin would always titter on
> about Alex's studies, and then he'd sneak off and sail out under
> the stars with Marvelo, and his uncle wouldn't see hide or hair of
> him for a handful of nights.
>
> "If only you could see me now Uncle" Alex muttered as he sat behind
> a large leather bound chair in front of a large ornate desk strewn
> with star charts, and books on everything ranging from divination,
> to history, navigation, to munition manufacturing. Some of the
> titles were unsurprising "Starhelms & You: A Guide to Starhelm
> maintenance", "The Big Bang: Everything Delightful About
> Explosives", but others were peculiar for Alex "Palmistry for
> Dummies", "Superstitions DO Exist, and you're NOT Paranoid!",
> "Ancient Gods and Goddess of Basementaria".
>
> Alex pushed the books, and loose notes, and maps away from him and
> placed his cup of coffee in their place. Cold, again. He stared into
> the dark depths of his favored drink, forlorn. He sighed, and made
> a gesture, and a small stag drone dislodged itself from amongst the
> papers and books and latched itself onto the coffee mug, warming
> it. "Thanks again" Alex muttered "What is this? Sixth time this
> cup?" he shook his head. He couldn't focus.
>
> Since they started this trip he'd spent more and more time brooding
> over these books he'd collected before their departure, barely
> saying a word to Marv or the others even. The only one he seemed to
> communicate with on any sort of cadence was Inky. They never forgot
> to bring a cup of warming tea, floral and fruit notes, to stave off
> scurvy they'd said.
>
> "That does it!" Alex said to the room at large as he stands, and
> strides to the door of the cabin. He strides out into the star
> light, noting the crew has taken note of his sudden appearance. "At
> Ease!" he barks, and marches up to the starhelm and sits before it.
>
> The explitives come swift and fast. If it weren't for the emotion
> reflector the crew and everyone in the galaxy would think rather
> poorly of Alex, but it felt good. "Neddas you son of a bitch, you
> and your cursed crystals, and all these snakes slithering around
> waiting to strike! Light burn each and every one of them!" and once
> Alex had let his anger burn, the tears came, strong and
> unrelenting. "I don't know what to do uncle, you're within grasp,
> but I don't know how to help, or where to go." and so it went, Alex
> wept until there were no more tears to weep, and the letter Inky
> had relayed from his uncle bore an unmistakable tear sodden rumpled
> look.
>
> When it was over, Alex rose, solemn and calm and meandered across
> the deck to the bowsprite to take in the empty uncaring void before
> him.
The atmosphere of most starsails only last a couple weeks before the
recycled air starts to get stale, and then noxious, and finally
unbreathable. Consequently they often have to 'refuel' at planets and
moons with breathable air whenever they pass by.
Inky's ship garden however has been keeping your air fresh and
self-replenishing over the last couple of days. The crew are
consequently well oxygenated, have been sleeping well, and lack the
fatigue that most starsailors experience at this point in their
journey.
A pair of space gulls have apparently decided to hitch a ride on your
ship, and can be found roosting on the mizzen mast when not hunting
for space guppies. They have tried on occasion to steal food from
some of the crew, with little consequence but an exasperated shooing
away: space gulls are considered good luck, and they are never in any
real danger from the crew.
Keeping the starhelm well fed with various sundry emotions, you make
good time, and are soon approaching the orbit of the green moon
Selene. The moon itself is well out of the way, but your current path
will take you through the Tears of Selene, a large asteroid cluster
that trails along and fans out behind Selene as the moon orbits the
planet. From the surface of the planet, it looks like a wide comet's
tail made of stars of various sizes. From here, it looks like a sea
of asteroids of different shapes and sizes.
There are a couple of asteroids in the Tears large enough to support
permanent life. Pirate outposts, mostly. Or other parties looking to
escape the law---or someone or something else---for one reason or
another.
You slow the ship down well below cruising speed to carefully
navigate the Tears. You spot the fabled and notorious Rock of Brawl
in the distance, a sprawling cosmopolitan city ruled by Scarlet
Darling the Pirate King. It covers every inch of both the top and
bottom of a large, flat asteroid at the center of the cluster.
Cautiously you eventually emerge on the other side of the Tears. You
see a derelict starsail adrift on the other side of the asteroids. It
is in the shape of a seahorse with a tucked head, a crest fanning
from the top of its head down its back, and a long tail tightly
curled toward its front. It lists to the side and drifts seemingly
without power, except for some strobing emergency lights behind the
seahorse's eyes, signaling distress.
As you sail closer, you see what looks like a little old woman in a
cloak and shawl on the helm waving and trying to hail you.
WHAT DO YOU DO?

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@ -0,0 +1,127 @@
---
title: 00076
created: Sun, 16 Jul 2023 14:49:38 -0600
updated: Sun, 16 Jul 2023 14:49:38 -0600
public: yes
syndicated: yes
---
### 00076 {#00076}
> As the ship grew closer and the derelict became more clear Alex
> gripped the side of the ship. He could see the woman in the window
> through his telescope, but wasn't sure what to make of the situation.
> He assembled the members of the team to the deck to discuss further.
>
> "It's clear that the ship is adrift. We should probably attempt to
> help." Alex stated matter of factly. "However Marvelo has confided in
> me his strongest suggestions that we not take the risk. We have a
> clear goal. And the life of this one woman isn't work much in the
> scheme of things. The world is at risk." Alex sighs, "He may
> unfortunately have a point, but I believe we that if we choose to
> stare into the abyss and make such a choice we become the monsters we
> struggle against. And we always have a short." Alex's eyes dart to
> Inky, the seem sad, ashamed. A fleeting statement of understanding is
> exchanged between the two.
>
> "I say we go, but with caution. If anyone wishes to join me, they may
> do so. We need someone to remain with the ship to guard it. Marvelo
> is still not up to excursions, but he's a crack shot with a blaster
> and has agreed to watch from atop deck. Lee I need you on the deck
> gun and look out. Should anything come towards us while we explore
> the derelict, you have explicit permission to send them to hell. Use
> your judgement."
>
> "I've done some reconnaisance on the ship already, we can at least go
> in knowing something about what we face. However anyone who comes
> needs to come armed, with medical assets, and spare oxygen. We need
> enough equipment to get in, face the unknown, and save this poor
> woman's life."
>
> (DM: Do I notice anything about the derelict upon inspecting it with
> a telescope? Signs of attacks? Further what do scans reveal about the
> derelict and the area around it?)
~
> Inky offers the ship's captain a small encouraging smile when he
> looks over in their direction but otherwise remains silent during the
> briefing. The unspoken agreement was that no one was going to let
> their captain go in on his own despite any individual misgivings on
> the matter, Fair One's chosen or not. The only question is who would
> accompany him. This presents three problems.
>
> Problem #1: Inky's packs and pod were already prepared before the
> rumbles overhead about a starsail sighting sounded while they were
> checking on the salt batteries and compost tea. It would be a pity to
> not test the equipment before the mission landing. Get more distance
> out of that deep discount.
>
> Problem #2: his uncle would have Inky's fireball-roasted head on a
> platter if he found out Inky was enjoying a freshly harvested
> watercress salad back on the ship while his nephew faced great peril
> at the hands of an evil old lady.
>
> Problem #3: the sysorcerer is the only obstacle between Inky and four
> very angry, heavily armed agents. He is trying hard to be a good
> captain and leader to them, that anyone could see. Better to be a
> mobile tea lackey than an immovable target practice lackey.
>
> To the sea dragon it is.
You run a quick scan of the derelict starsail.
It looks as though is has been heavily pierced and battered by
artillery, boarded and looted, and left to drift. No doubt the work
of some enterprising, opportunistic space pirates.
The ship is broadcasting a weak SOS signal running a loop, but you
pick up no other energy readings.
There is a single lifeform reading on board. But you know from
experience that such readings are notoriously unreliable in deep
space where creatures of the vacuum often tread the thin line between
life and death.
You launch a jollyboat and cautiously approach the sea dragon. As
your small craft enters its atmosphere, a putrid wind blows across
you and its rank air fills your nostrils and lungs. The ship has been
adrift for quite some time for its air to be this stale. Another
short couple of weeks from now its air will become toxic to breathe.
As you dock, the small woman rushes forward to greet you, hands
flitting up and down like moths. Thin wisps of white hair peek around
the edges of the shawl she has pulled up like a hood and wrapped
around her shoulders. Her weathered taut skin gives her a gaunt,
almost skeletal appearance. There is a painful looking crack running
across her scalp, down her forehead, and over her face, splitting her
features into two hemispheres. Her left eye is large and watery, and
droops down her cheek like a runny egg yolk.
"Oh thank you, thank you for stopping!" she wheezes in a raspy croak.
"We were attacked by reavers and left to drift. We've been out here
for weeks, and nobody would stop for us! Oh, we would have surely
perished if you hadn't come by!"
"Oh, yes." She notices you looking at her, and briefly attempts to
hide her face behind a fluttering hand. "I have the Splitting
Sickness, you see. It will be the end of me soon, I'm afraid. Nothing
that can be done about it now."
"My granddaughter and I were on our way to Lua," she continues,
disappearing into the ship and beckoning you to follow. "Are you
going that way by chance? I must deliver my granddaughter there. She
is very sick, you see. And I believe the cure is to be found on the
red moon."
The bridge is dark, save for the dim red glow of the floor lights and
the strobing emergency lights. The old woman stops before a long
glass box on a raised platform, inside which lies a young woman, eyes
closed and still as death, as though deeply asleep.
The old woman looks up at you, her cursed eye gleaming wetly and
unblinking in the low light. "Will you help us?"
WHAT DO YOU DO

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---
title: 00077
created: Tue, 18 Jul 2023 17:50:29 -0600
updated: Tue, 18 Jul 2023 17:50:29 -0600
public: yes
syndicated: yes
---
### 00077 {#00077}
> Alex stands in the airlock watching the woman retreat. He briefly
> gestures to the crew to hold their position while he grips his
> weapon. "I'll be just a moment everyone. You know what to do"
>
> Alex steps into the ship and begins to follow the woman. "Ma'am, what
> happened here exactly. And how can we help your grand daughter once
> we've reached Lua? We're happy to take her and assist, but we must
> know how we can do that. I'd also like to file a report about the
> attack you suffered, even if you think you're a forgone conclusion
> we can help others. And admittedly, I'm no doctor, but are you
> certain there's nothing that can be done about this splitting
> sickness?"
>
> A faint static on the radio "Boss, don't forget the cookies."
>
> Alex sighs heavily, "my second in command would like to know if you
> have any cookies as well. He's convinced helping little old ladies in
> space somehow nets you home baked cookies."
~
> Inky gives the crew a quick sidelong glance, then shrugs internally
> and hops lightly onto the derelict ship after Master Alex. They
> follow behind at a short clip, half-registering the captain's voice
> in conversation with the old lady and hiding a smile at the mention
> of cookies over the radio. Angry agents or not, at least someone
> has got their priorities straight.
>
> From their position behind and to one side of the captain, they
> surreptitiously run a scan on the woman for further injuries with a
> portable infrared sensor, with particular attention to the crack
> at her scalp. They listen to the old lady's breathing, as well as
> for any sounds aboard the ship while the instrument takes
> measurements of vital signs under the woman's skin, including
> temperature, oxygen levels and presence of scar tissue.
>
> <!-- GM: what, if anything, do the measurements reveal about the
> nature and progression of the old lady's Splitting Sickness? -->
The old woman slowly shuffles away, back out to the battle-torn main
deck, clicking and muttering to herself. "There is a grain that grows
in the dusty red soil of Lua," she explains. "Its fruit can be
processed and ground into a paste that hopefully will halt and even
reverse my granddaughter's mysterious ailment."
As she talks, Inky surreptitiously runs a scan on the woman for
further injuries. She is wasting away, suffering from advanced stages
of Splitting Sickness. Her organs have begun to turn to pulp and are
rapidly failing. Her swollen heart beats irregularly. A thick
puckered seam runs along its length, threatening to burst at any
moment. It will be the end of her if the crack in her skull doesn't
split open first.
"It's genetic. Her sickness, I mean. At least, it's hereditary. That
is, her mother died of it. Poor thing." She babbles away as she pokes
at the rubble on the deck with shaky hands. "I keep her asleep in the
suspension unit so it doesn't advance any further."
"Ha! Here we are," she rasps, a lopsided grin scattered across her
broken face. She jerkily hauls a metallic cube from behind a pile of
rubble out onto the deck. She opens a panel on its side and pulls out
a tray of slightly undercooked cookies. A solar oven. "Here you go,
dearie." The tray trembles in her grasp as she holds it out to you.
You hear gunfire coming from your own ship. You spin around to look.
Marvelo has fired two signal flares up and away from the ship. The
arc of the flares draw your eyes to the Tears of Selene in the
distance.
The carcass of an enormous space whale drifts forward from the
asteroid field. It's a gruesome ship. A starsail cobbled together
from the bones of dead space whales, sloppily painted with faded,
patchy red and white stripes. Scrap and salvage and odd rusted pieces
of metal adorn its sides along with humanoid and bestial remains.
"Oh no," croaks the old woman. "Oh no, they're back. No no no no no."
WHAT DO YOU DO

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@ -39,6 +39,8 @@ Upcoming NPCs and/or monsters
- [ ] oracle - <https://lambdacreate.com/paste/midjourney.png>
- [ ] corn smut? - <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_smut>
- [ ] Jorunna Parva, sea bunny time lord <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorunna_parva>
- [x] Cocopita, Gourd Witch
- [x] Calabazh, granddaughter of the Gourd Witch
- [x] harrowkrake
- [x] time swallows: It is a common misconception that barn swallows are the most widespread species of swallow. That distinction belongs to the *time* swallow. Although---if you're lucky---you'll never actually see one.
- [x] gnu zealots

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@ -7,9 +7,6 @@
<title>BASEMENT QUEST</title>
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line-height: 1.5;
font-family: Georgia, serif;
font-size: 20px;
color: #1a1a1a;
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@ -28,13 +25,16 @@
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@ -84,9 +84,10 @@
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code {
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@ -157,6 +158,8 @@
margin: 0 0.8em 0.2em -1.6em;
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@ -220,7 +223,6 @@
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@ -230,6 +232,13 @@
left: 2rem;
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@ -283,6 +292,9 @@
<li><a href="#current-story" id="toc-current-story">Current Story</a>
<ul>
<li><a href="#00074" id="toc-00074">00074</a></li>
<li><a href="#00075" id="toc-00075">00075</a></li>
<li><a href="#00076" id="toc-00076">00076</a></li>
<li><a href="#00077" id="toc-00077">00077</a></li>
</ul></li>
<li><a href="#appendix-a-dramatis-personae"
id="toc-appendix-a-dramatis-personae">Appendix A: Dramatis Personae</a>
@ -355,11 +367,11 @@ into the <a href="#current-story">current story arc</a>.</p>
you can <a href="https://tilde.town/~dozens/quest/rss.xml">subscribe to
the rss feed</a>.</p>
<h2 id="stats">Stats</h2>
<p>Total length: 99274 words / 424 minute read. (Mind you, thats the
<p>Total length: 102362 words / 437 minute read. (Mind you, thats the
length of this entire page, including all the extra bits and bobs. Not
just the story.)</p>
<p>There have been 260 messages posted over 252 days since the first
post on July 13, 2022 for a daily post rate of 1.03.</p>
<p>There have been 271 messages posted over 370 days since the first
post on July 13, 2022 for a daily post rate of .73.</p>
<h2 id="chapter-1">Chapter 1</h2>
<p>This is the first installment of BASEMENT QUEST.</p>
<p>Jump to: <a href="#00001">1</a> <a href="#00002">2</a> <a
@ -4509,21 +4521,21 @@ done too quickly, and hes all too aware of the danger hes put himself
in. “What would Corraidhin do..” Alex thinks to himself, “perhaps a
spell?”.</p>
<div class="sourceCode" id="cb26"><pre
class="sourceCode lua"><code class="sourceCode lua"><span id="cb26-1"><a href="#cb26-1" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> target<span class="op">:</span>new<span class="op">(</span>obj<span class="op">,</span> tbl<span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-2"><a href="#cb26-2" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> obj <span class="op">=</span> obj <span class="kw">or</span> <span class="op">{}</span></span>
<span id="cb26-3"><a href="#cb26-3" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="fu">setmetatable</span><span class="op">(</span>obj<span class="op">,</span> self<span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-4"><a href="#cb26-4" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span><span class="cn">__</span>index <span class="op">=</span> self</span>
<span id="cb26-5"><a href="#cb26-5" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>x <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-6"><a href="#cb26-6" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>y <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-7"><a href="#cb26-7" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>speed <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-8"><a href="#cb26-8" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> reutrn obj</span>
class="sourceCode lua"><code class="sourceCode lua"><span id="cb26-1"><a href="#cb26-1" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> <span class="va">target</span><span class="op">:</span>new<span class="op">(</span><span class="va">obj</span><span class="op">,</span> <span class="va">tbl</span><span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-2"><a href="#cb26-2" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">obj</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="va">obj</span> <span class="kw">or</span> <span class="op">{}</span></span>
<span id="cb26-3"><a href="#cb26-3" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="fu">setmetatable</span><span class="op">(</span><span class="va">obj</span><span class="op">,</span> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-4"><a href="#cb26-4" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="cn">__</span><span class="va">index</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="va">self</span></span>
<span id="cb26-5"><a href="#cb26-5" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">x</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-6"><a href="#cb26-6" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">y</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-7"><a href="#cb26-7" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">speed</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-8"><a href="#cb26-8" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">reutrn</span> <span class="va">obj</span></span>
<span id="cb26-9"><a href="#cb26-9" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">end</span></span>
<span id="cb26-10"><a href="#cb26-10" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a></span>
<span id="cb26-11"><a href="#cb26-11" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> target<span class="op">:</span>yeet<span class="op">()</span></span>
<span id="cb26-12"><a href="#cb26-12" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>x <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-13"><a href="#cb26-13" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>y <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-14"><a href="#cb26-14" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>speed <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">50</span></span>
<span id="cb26-15"><a href="#cb26-15" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="cf">return</span> self</span>
<span id="cb26-11"><a href="#cb26-11" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> <span class="va">target</span><span class="op">:</span>yeet<span class="op">()</span></span>
<span id="cb26-12"><a href="#cb26-12" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">x</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-13"><a href="#cb26-13" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">y</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-14"><a href="#cb26-14" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">speed</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">50</span></span>
<span id="cb26-15"><a href="#cb26-15" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="cf">return</span> <span class="va">self</span></span>
<span id="cb26-16"><a href="#cb26-16" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">end</span></span></code></pre></div>
<p>After preparing the spell Alex makes his way towards the guard rail
ready to cut the mooring and zip lines, spell at the ready should an
@ -8454,6 +8466,300 @@ scoop up a quick meal.</p>
<p>You have a couple days of travel ahead of you, and the very
non-empty void of space on all sides of you.</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO?</p>
<h3 id="00075">00075</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>White blooms look on as Inky turns another page in the book they are
reading, a purported bestseller luridly titled <em>The Secret Lives of
Plants</em>. The olericulture guide before it had been more appealing,
but it was something to do between meals and napping with an eye mask
while holed up in the green room.</p>
<p>While Confidence had been taking stock of provisions one night days
before the ships departure, Inky had dropped in and not so covertly
taken over a room with a higher ceiling near the cargo hold, beside an
escape hatch. They brought in some grow lights the following evening and
asked Confidence to help install them overhead after explaining their
plan. Next, they loaded in some dwarf conifers and star magnolias in
wheeled containers with weight compression. A nutrient solution pump
connected to a timer and long hoses periodically watered and fed the
trees. Near the door was an air filter, another useful item from the
Wandering Bazaar. It monitored air quality and composition, and could
extract various common gases from multiple inputs and pipe them to
attached storage tanks. There were two tanks outside the room that were
hooked up to the filter: a smaller one for excess carbon dioxide drawn
from the atmosphere that can be released slowly in tiny concentrations
back into the green room for the trees to absorb (or injected into water
with a carbonator for fizzy drinks), and a larger one for extra oxygen
produced by the trees and held in reserve. There was also another tank
and an unused combinator on board to recombine hydrogen and oxygen.</p>
<p>When the rest of the crew take turns to sleep or patrol the rest of
the ship, Inky steps within hearing distance of the starhelm and
activates the energy barrier around it. The barrier also blocks off
sounds to maximise the energy directed at the helm.</p>
<p>Standing back against a low wall enclosure, Inky begins to play on
their violetti, channelling emotions through the lilting notes. The
instrument itself was a bespoke affair, an early Yule indulgence years
ago, and Inky had conferred at length with the luthier on their
requirements and core design. In appearance it closely resembles a
smaller, lighter violin while being an octave higher than most violins,
making it a great accompaniment to a flute or piccolo in birdsong.
However, instead of a mechanical nightingale solo, they feed the helm a
selection of nursery ditties — falling bridges, black sheep, blind mice
and the like. Sliding a few bars of Bubbytabbies at intervals for best
measure. Nya nya.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Alex didnt mind the travel, in fact, he enjoyed the cramped confines
of his quarters. The limited world of their space ship a bubble,
something he could control, and protect from the chaos that surrounded
him. It was no different than the sailing he did planet side, something
he had been fond of and his uncle had chided him for being so passionate
about. Corraidhin would always titter on about Alexs studies, and then
hed sneak off and sail out under the stars with Marvelo, and his uncle
wouldnt see hide or hair of him for a handful of nights.</p>
<p>“If only you could see me now Uncle” Alex muttered as he sat behind a
large leather bound chair in front of a large ornate desk strewn with
star charts, and books on everything ranging from divination, to
history, navigation, to munition manufacturing. Some of the titles were
unsurprising “Starhelms &amp; You: A Guide to Starhelm maintenance”,
“The Big Bang: Everything Delightful About Explosives”, but others were
peculiar for Alex “Palmistry for Dummies”, “Superstitions DO Exist, and
youre NOT Paranoid!”, “Ancient Gods and Goddess of Basementaria”.</p>
<p>Alex pushed the books, and loose notes, and maps away from him and
placed his cup of coffee in their place. Cold, again. He stared into the
dark depths of his favored drink, forlorn. He sighed, and made a
gesture, and a small stag drone dislodged itself from amongst the papers
and books and latched itself onto the coffee mug, warming it. “Thanks
again” Alex muttered “What is this? Sixth time this cup?” he shook his
head. He couldnt focus.</p>
<p>Since they started this trip hed spent more and more time brooding
over these books hed collected before their departure, barely saying a
word to Marv or the others even. The only one he seemed to communicate
with on any sort of cadence was Inky. They never forgot to bring a cup
of warming tea, floral and fruit notes, to stave off scurvy theyd
said.</p>
<p>“That does it!” Alex said to the room at large as he stands, and
strides to the door of the cabin. He strides out into the star light,
noting the crew has taken note of his sudden appearance. “At Ease!” he
barks, and marches up to the starhelm and sits before it.</p>
<p>The explitives come swift and fast. If it werent for the emotion
reflector the crew and everyone in the galaxy would think rather poorly
of Alex, but it felt good. “Neddas you son of a bitch, you and your
cursed crystals, and all these snakes slithering around waiting to
strike! Light burn each and every one of them!” and once Alex had let
his anger burn, the tears came, strong and unrelenting. “I dont know
what to do uncle, youre within grasp, but I dont know how to help, or
where to go.” and so it went, Alex wept until there were no more tears
to weep, and the letter Inky had relayed from his uncle bore an
unmistakable tear sodden rumpled look.</p>
<p>When it was over, Alex rose, solemn and calm and meandered across the
deck to the bowsprite to take in the empty uncaring void before him.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>The atmosphere of most starsails only last a couple weeks before the
recycled air starts to get stale, and then noxious, and finally
unbreathable. Consequently they often have to refuel at planets and
moons with breathable air whenever they pass by.</p>
<p>Inkys ship garden however has been keeping your air fresh and
self-replenishing over the last couple of days. The crew are
consequently well oxygenated, have been sleeping well, and lack the
fatigue that most starsailors experience at this point in their
journey.</p>
<p>A pair of space gulls have apparently decided to hitch a ride on your
ship, and can be found roosting on the mizzen mast when not hunting for
space guppies. They have tried on occasion to steal food from some of
the crew, with little consequence but an exasperated shooing away: space
gulls are considered good luck, and they are never in any real danger
from the crew.</p>
<p>Keeping the starhelm well fed with various sundry emotions, you make
good time, and are soon approaching the orbit of the green moon Selene.
The moon itself is well out of the way, but your current path will take
you through the Tears of Selene, a large asteroid cluster that trails
along and fans out behind Selene as the moon orbits the planet. From the
surface of the planet, it looks like a wide comets tail made of stars
of various sizes. From here, it looks like a sea of asteroids of
different shapes and sizes.</p>
<p>There are a couple of asteroids in the Tears large enough to support
permanent life. Pirate outposts, mostly. Or other parties looking to
escape the law—or someone or something else—for one reason or
another.</p>
<p>You slow the ship down well below cruising speed to carefully
navigate the Tears. You spot the fabled and notorious Rock of Brawl in
the distance, a sprawling cosmopolitan city ruled by Scarlet Darling the
Pirate King. It covers every inch of both the top and bottom of a large,
flat asteroid at the center of the cluster.</p>
<p>Cautiously you eventually emerge on the other side of the Tears. You
see a derelict starsail adrift on the other side of the asteroids. It is
in the shape of a seahorse with a tucked head, a crest fanning from the
top of its head down its back, and a long tail tightly curled toward its
front. It lists to the side and drifts seemingly without power, except
for some strobing emergency lights behind the seahorses eyes, signaling
distress.</p>
<p>As you sail closer, you see what looks like a little old woman in a
cloak and shawl on the helm waving and trying to hail you.</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO?</p>
<h3 id="00076">00076</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>As the ship grew closer and the derelict became more clear Alex
gripped the side of the ship. He could see the woman in the window
through his telescope, but wasnt sure what to make of the situation. He
assembled the members of the team to the deck to discuss further.</p>
<p>“Its clear that the ship is adrift. We should probably attempt to
help.” Alex stated matter of factly. “However Marvelo has confided in me
his strongest suggestions that we not take the risk. We have a clear
goal. And the life of this one woman isnt work much in the scheme of
things. The world is at risk.” Alex sighs, “He may unfortunately have a
point, but I believe we that if we choose to stare into the abyss and
make such a choice we become the monsters we struggle against. And we
always have a short.” Alexs eyes dart to Inky, the seem sad, ashamed. A
fleeting statement of understanding is exchanged between the two.</p>
<p>“I say we go, but with caution. If anyone wishes to join me, they may
do so. We need someone to remain with the ship to guard it. Marvelo is
still not up to excursions, but hes a crack shot with a blaster and has
agreed to watch from atop deck. Lee I need you on the deck gun and look
out. Should anything come towards us while we explore the derelict, you
have explicit permission to send them to hell. Use your judgement.”</p>
<p>“Ive done some reconnaisance on the ship already, we can at least go
in knowing something about what we face. However anyone who comes needs
to come armed, with medical assets, and spare oxygen. We need enough
equipment to get in, face the unknown, and save this poor womans
life.”</p>
<p>(DM: Do I notice anything about the derelict upon inspecting it with
a telescope? Signs of attacks? Further what do scans reveal about the
derelict and the area around it?)</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Inky offers the ships captain a small encouraging smile when he
looks over in their direction but otherwise remains silent during the
briefing. The unspoken agreement was that no one was going to let their
captain go in on his own despite any individual misgivings on the
matter, Fair Ones chosen or not. The only question is who would
accompany him. This presents three problems.</p>
<p>Problem #1: Inkys packs and pod were already prepared before the
rumbles overhead about a starsail sighting sounded while they were
checking on the salt batteries and compost tea. It would be a pity to
not test the equipment before the mission landing. Get more distance out
of that deep discount.</p>
<p>Problem #2: his uncle would have Inkys fireball-roasted head on a
platter if he found out Inky was enjoying a freshly harvested watercress
salad back on the ship while his nephew faced great peril at the hands
of an evil old lady.</p>
<p>Problem #3: the sysorcerer is the only obstacle between Inky and four
very angry, heavily armed agents. He is trying hard to be a good captain
and leader to them, that anyone could see. Better to be a mobile tea
lackey than an immovable target practice lackey.</p>
<p>To the sea dragon it is.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>You run a quick scan of the derelict starsail.</p>
<p>It looks as though is has been heavily pierced and battered by
artillery, boarded and looted, and left to drift. No doubt the work of
some enterprising, opportunistic space pirates.</p>
<p>The ship is broadcasting a weak SOS signal running a loop, but you
pick up no other energy readings.</p>
<p>There is a single lifeform reading on board. But you know from
experience that such readings are notoriously unreliable in deep space
where creatures of the vacuum often tread the thin line between life and
death.</p>
<p>You launch a jollyboat and cautiously approach the sea dragon. As
your small craft enters its atmosphere, a putrid wind blows across you
and its rank air fills your nostrils and lungs. The ship has been adrift
for quite some time for its air to be this stale. Another short couple
of weeks from now its air will become toxic to breathe.</p>
<p>As you dock, the small woman rushes forward to greet you, hands
flitting up and down like moths. Thin wisps of white hair peek around
the edges of the shawl she has pulled up like a hood and wrapped around
her shoulders. Her weathered taut skin gives her a gaunt, almost
skeletal appearance. There is a painful looking crack running across her
scalp, down her forehead, and over her face, splitting her features into
two hemispheres. Her left eye is large and watery, and droops down her
cheek like a runny egg yolk.</p>
<p>“Oh thank you, thank you for stopping!” she wheezes in a raspy croak.
“We were attacked by reavers and left to drift. Weve been out here for
weeks, and nobody would stop for us! Oh, we would have surely perished
if you hadnt come by!”</p>
<p>“Oh, yes.” She notices you looking at her, and briefly attempts to
hide her face behind a fluttering hand. “I have the Splitting Sickness,
you see. It will be the end of me soon, Im afraid. Nothing that can be
done about it now.”</p>
<p>“My granddaughter and I were on our way to Lua,” she continues,
disappearing into the ship and beckoning you to follow. “Are you going
that way by chance? I must deliver my granddaughter there. She is very
sick, you see. And I believe the cure is to be found on the red
moon.”</p>
<p>The bridge is dark, save for the dim red glow of the floor lights and
the strobing emergency lights. The old woman stops before a long glass
box on a raised platform, inside which lies a young woman, eyes closed
and still as death, as though deeply asleep.</p>
<p>The old woman looks up at you, her cursed eye gleaming wetly and
unblinking in the low light. “Will you help us?”</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO</p>
<h3 id="00077">00077</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>Alex stands in the airlock watching the woman retreat. He briefly
gestures to the crew to hold their position while he grips his weapon.
“Ill be just a moment everyone. You know what to do”</p>
<p>Alex steps into the ship and begins to follow the woman. “Maam, what
happened here exactly. And how can we help your grand daughter once
weve reached Lua? Were happy to take her and assist, but we must know
how we can do that. Id also like to file a report about the attack you
suffered, even if you think youre a forgone conclusion we can help
others. And admittedly, Im no doctor, but are you certain theres
nothing that can be done about this splitting sickness?”</p>
<p>A faint static on the radio “Boss, dont forget the cookies.”</p>
<p>Alex sighs heavily, “my second in command would like to know if you
have any cookies as well. Hes convinced helping little old ladies in
space somehow nets you home baked cookies.”</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Inky gives the crew a quick sidelong glance, then shrugs internally
and hops lightly onto the derelict ship after Master Alex. They follow
behind at a short clip, half-registering the captains voice in
conversation with the old lady and hiding a smile at the mention of
cookies over the radio. Angry agents or not, at least someone has got
their priorities straight.</p>
<p>From their position behind and to one side of the captain, they
surreptitiously run a scan on the woman for further injuries with a
portable infrared sensor, with particular attention to the crack at her
scalp. They listen to the old ladys breathing, as well as for any
sounds aboard the ship while the instrument takes measurements of vital
signs under the womans skin, including temperature, oxygen levels and
presence of scar tissue.</p>
<!-- GM: what, if anything, do the measurements reveal about the
nature and progression of the old lady's Splitting Sickness? -->
</blockquote>
<p>The old woman slowly shuffles away, back out to the battle-torn main
deck, clicking and muttering to herself. “There is a grain that grows in
the dusty red soil of Lua,” she explains. “Its fruit can be processed
and ground into a paste that hopefully will halt and even reverse my
granddaughters mysterious ailment.”</p>
<p>As she talks, Inky surreptitiously runs a scan on the woman for
further injuries. She is wasting away, suffering from advanced stages of
Splitting Sickness. Her organs have begun to turn to pulp and are
rapidly failing. Her swollen heart beats irregularly. A thick puckered
seam runs along its length, threatening to burst at any moment. It will
be the end of her if the crack in her skull doesnt split open
first.</p>
<p>“Its genetic. Her sickness, I mean. At least, its hereditary. That
is, her mother died of it. Poor thing.” She babbles away as she pokes at
the rubble on the deck with shaky hands. “I keep her asleep in the
suspension unit so it doesnt advance any further.”</p>
<p>“Ha! Here we are,” she rasps, a lopsided grin scattered across her
broken face. She jerkily hauls a metallic cube from behind a pile of
rubble out onto the deck. She opens a panel on its side and pulls out a
tray of slightly undercooked cookies. A solar oven. “Here you go,
dearie.” The tray trembles in her grasp as she holds it out to you.</p>
<p>You hear gunfire coming from your own ship. You spin around to look.
Marvelo has fired two signal flares up and away from the ship. The arc
of the flares draw your eyes to the Tears of Selene in the distance.</p>
<p>The carcass of an enormous space whale drifts forward from the
asteroid field. Its a gruesome ship. A starsail cobbled together from
the bones of dead space whales, sloppily painted with faded, patchy red
and white stripes. Scrap and salvage and odd rusted pieces of metal
adorn its sides along with humanoid and bestial remains.</p>
<p>“Oh no,” croaks the old woman. “Oh no, theyre back. No no no no
no.”</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO</p>
<h2 id="appendix-a-dramatis-personae">Appendix A: Dramatis Personae</h2>
<h3 id="alex">Alex</h3>
<details>
@ -8474,8 +8780,8 @@ he can slip by.</p>
<ul>
<li>Player: sinatra</li>
<li>XP: 1</li>
<li>Skills: Do Anything 1, Investigation 2, Illusions 2, Sneaking 2,
Sysorcery 2, Stabbing 2</li>
<li>Skills: Do Anything 1, Investigation 2, Sneaking 2, Sysorcery 2,
Stabbing 2, Illusions 3</li>
<li>Equipment: a bunch of STAG drones, stone of <em>courage</em></li>
</ul>
<p>Paths:</p>
@ -8597,8 +8903,8 @@ very soon!</p>
<ul>
<li>Player: mio</li>
<li>XP: 0</li>
<li>Skills: Do Anything 1, Persuasive 2, Plantomancy 2, Throwing 2,
Medicine 2</li>
<li>Skills: Do Anything 1, Persuasive 2, Throwing 2, Medicine 2,
Plantomancy 3</li>
<li>Equipment: Handy Duffer Discette, Fine Feathered Quills, Jade Tea
Set, Mountain Range Glyph Ink, Bead of the Werehare</li>
</ul>
@ -8607,7 +8913,8 @@ Set, Mountain Range Glyph Ink, Bead of the Werehare</li>
<li>Retriever: Contractual Obligation, An Auspicious Start, Two In The
Hand, The Triple Lindy</li>
<li>Were-Hare: Lepusthropy, Beast Sense, Hybrid Form</li>
<li>Tasseomancer: Reading, Ceremony, Steeping, Blending</li>
<li>Tasseomancer: Reading, Ceremony, Steeping, Blending, Caffeine,
Scrying</li>
</ul>
<h3 id="jarrod">Jarrod</h3>
<details>

View File

@ -5,6 +5,215 @@
<title>BASEMENT QWEST</title>
<link>https://tilde.town/~dozens/quest/rss.xml</link>
<description>Friends having ADVENTURES! Huzzah!</description>
<item>
<title>77</title>
<author>dozens@tilde.team (dozens)</author>
<guid isPermaLink="false">77 - Tue, 18 Jul 2023 17:50:29
-0600</guid>
<pubDate>Tue, 18 Jul 2023 17:50:29 -0600</pubDate>
<description>
<![CDATA[
<h3 id="00077">00077</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>Alex stands in the airlock watching the woman retreat. He
briefly gestures to the crew to hold their position while he
grips his weapon. “Ill be just a moment everyone. You know
what to do”</p>
<p>Alex steps into the ship and begins to follow the woman.
“Maam, what happened here exactly. And how can we help your
grand daughter once weve reached Lua? Were happy to take her
and assist, but we must know how we can do that. Id also like
to file a report about the attack you suffered, even if you
think youre a forgone conclusion we can help others. And
admittedly, Im no doctor, but are you certain theres nothing
that can be done about this splitting sickness?”</p>
<p>A faint static on the radio “Boss, dont forget the
cookies.”</p>
<p>Alex sighs heavily, “my second in command would like to
know if you have any cookies as well. Hes convinced helping
little old ladies in space somehow nets you home baked
cookies.”</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Inky gives the crew a quick sidelong glance, then shrugs
internally and hops lightly onto the derelict ship after
Master Alex. They follow behind at a short clip,
half-registering the captains voice in conversation with the
old lady and hiding a smile at the mention of cookies over the
radio. Angry agents or not, at least someone has got their
priorities straight.</p>
<p>From their position behind and to one side of the captain,
they surreptitiously run a scan on the woman for further
injuries with a portable infrared sensor, with particular
attention to the crack at her scalp. They listen to the old
ladys breathing, as well as for any sounds aboard the ship
while the instrument takes measurements of vital signs under
the womans skin, including temperature, oxygen levels and
presence of scar tissue.</p>
<!-- GM: what, if anything, do the measurements reveal about the
nature and progression of the old lady's Splitting Sickness? -->
</blockquote>
<p>The old woman slowly shuffles away, back out to the
battle-torn main deck, clicking and muttering to herself.
“There is a grain that grows in the dusty red soil of Lua,”
she explains. “Its fruit can be processed and ground into a
paste that hopefully will halt and even reverse my
granddaughters mysterious ailment.”</p>
<p>As she talks, Inky surreptitiously runs a scan on the woman
for further injuries. She is wasting away, suffering from
advanced stages of Splitting Sickness. Her organs have begun
to turn to pulp and are rapidly failing. Her swollen heart
beats irregularly. A thick puckered seam runs along its
length, threatening to burst at any moment. It will be the end
of her if the crack in her skull doesnt split open first.</p>
<p>“Its genetic. Her sickness, I mean. At least, its
hereditary. That is, her mother died of it. Poor thing.” She
babbles away as she pokes at the rubble on the deck with shaky
hands. “I keep her asleep in the suspension unit so it doesnt
advance any further.”</p>
<p>“Ha! Here we are,” she rasps, a lopsided grin scattered
across her broken face. She jerkily hauls a metallic cube from
behind a pile of rubble out onto the deck. She opens a panel
on its side and pulls out a tray of slightly undercooked
cookies. A solar oven. “Here you go, dearie.” The tray
trembles in her grasp as she holds it out to you.</p>
<p>You hear gunfire coming from your own ship. You spin around
to look. Marvelo has fired two signal flares up and away from
the ship. The arc of the flares draw your eyes to the Tears of
Selene in the distance.</p>
<p>The carcass of an enormous space whale drifts forward from
the asteroid field. Its a gruesome ship. A starsail cobbled
together from the bones of dead space whales, sloppily painted
with faded, patchy red and white stripes. Scrap and salvage
and odd rusted pieces of metal adorn its sides along with
humanoid and bestial remains.</p>
<p>“Oh no,” croaks the old woman. “Oh no, theyre back. No no
no no no.”</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO</p>
]]>
</description>
</item>
<item>
<title>76</title>
<author>dozens@tilde.team (dozens)</author>
<guid isPermaLink="false">76 - Sun, 16 Jul 2023 14:49:38
-0600</guid>
<pubDate>Sun, 16 Jul 2023 14:49:38 -0600</pubDate>
<description>
<![CDATA[
<h3 id="00076">00076</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>As the ship grew closer and the derelict became more clear
Alex gripped the side of the ship. He could see the woman in
the window through his telescope, but wasnt sure what to make
of the situation. He assembled the members of the team to the
deck to discuss further.</p>
<p>“Its clear that the ship is adrift. We should probably
attempt to help.” Alex stated matter of factly. “However
Marvelo has confided in me his strongest suggestions that we
not take the risk. We have a clear goal. And the life of this
one woman isnt work much in the scheme of things. The world
is at risk.” Alex sighs, “He may unfortunately have a point,
but I believe we that if we choose to stare into the abyss and
make such a choice we become the monsters we struggle against.
And we always have a short.” Alexs eyes dart to Inky, the
seem sad, ashamed. A fleeting statement of understanding is
exchanged between the two.</p>
<p>“I say we go, but with caution. If anyone wishes to join
me, they may do so. We need someone to remain with the ship to
guard it. Marvelo is still not up to excursions, but hes a
crack shot with a blaster and has agreed to watch from atop
deck. Lee I need you on the deck gun and look out. Should
anything come towards us while we explore the derelict, you
have explicit permission to send them to hell. Use your
judgement.”</p>
<p>“Ive done some reconnaisance on the ship already, we can
at least go in knowing something about what we face. However
anyone who comes needs to come armed, with medical assets, and
spare oxygen. We need enough equipment to get in, face the
unknown, and save this poor womans life.”</p>
<p>(DM: Do I notice anything about the derelict upon
inspecting it with a telescope? Signs of attacks? Further what
do scans reveal about the derelict and the area around
it?)</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Inky offers the ships captain a small encouraging smile
when he looks over in their direction but otherwise remains
silent during the briefing. The unspoken agreement was that no
one was going to let their captain go in on his own despite
any individual misgivings on the matter, Fair Ones chosen or
not. The only question is who would accompany him. This
presents three problems.</p>
<p>Problem #1: Inkys packs and pod were already prepared
before the rumbles overhead about a starsail sighting sounded
while they were checking on the salt batteries and compost
tea. It would be a pity to not test the equipment before the
mission landing. Get more distance out of that deep
discount.</p>
<p>Problem #2: his uncle would have Inkys fireball-roasted
head on a platter if he found out Inky was enjoying a freshly
harvested watercress salad back on the ship while his nephew
faced great peril at the hands of an evil old lady.</p>
<p>Problem #3: the sysorcerer is the only obstacle between
Inky and four very angry, heavily armed agents. He is trying
hard to be a good captain and leader to them, that anyone
could see. Better to be a mobile tea lackey than an immovable
target practice lackey.</p>
<p>To the sea dragon it is.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>You run a quick scan of the derelict starsail.</p>
<p>It looks as though is has been heavily pierced and battered
by artillery, boarded and looted, and left to drift. No doubt
the work of some enterprising, opportunistic space
pirates.</p>
<p>The ship is broadcasting a weak SOS signal running a loop,
but you pick up no other energy readings.</p>
<p>There is a single lifeform reading on board. But you know
from experience that such readings are notoriously unreliable
in deep space where creatures of the vacuum often tread the
thin line between life and death.</p>
<p>You launch a jollyboat and cautiously approach the sea
dragon. As your small craft enters its atmosphere, a putrid
wind blows across you and its rank air fills your nostrils and
lungs. The ship has been adrift for quite some time for its
air to be this stale. Another short couple of weeks from now
its air will become toxic to breathe.</p>
<p>As you dock, the small woman rushes forward to greet you,
hands flitting up and down like moths. Thin wisps of white
hair peek around the edges of the shawl she has pulled up like
a hood and wrapped around her shoulders. Her weathered taut
skin gives her a gaunt, almost skeletal appearance. There is a
painful looking crack running across her scalp, down her
forehead, and over her face, splitting her features into two
hemispheres. Her left eye is large and watery, and droops down
her cheek like a runny egg yolk.</p>
<p>“Oh thank you, thank you for stopping!” she wheezes in a
raspy croak. “We were attacked by reavers and left to drift.
Weve been out here for weeks, and nobody would stop for us!
Oh, we would have surely perished if you hadnt come by!”</p>
<p>“Oh, yes.” She notices you looking at her, and briefly
attempts to hide her face behind a fluttering hand. “I have
the Splitting Sickness, you see. It will be the end of me
soon, Im afraid. Nothing that can be done about it now.”</p>
<p>“My granddaughter and I were on our way to Lua,” she
continues, disappearing into the ship and beckoning you to
follow. “Are you going that way by chance? I must deliver my
granddaughter there. She is very sick, you see. And I believe
the cure is to be found on the red moon.”</p>
<p>The bridge is dark, save for the dim red glow of the floor
lights and the strobing emergency lights. The old woman stops
before a long glass box on a raised platform, inside which
lies a young woman, eyes closed and still as death, as though
deeply asleep.</p>
<p>The old woman looks up at you, her cursed eye gleaming
wetly and unblinking in the low light. “Will you help us?”</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO</p>
]]>
</description>
</item>
<item>
<title>74</title>
<author>dozens@tilde.team (dozens)</author>
@ -84,5 +293,169 @@
]]>
</description>
</item>
<item>
<title>75</title>
<author>dozens@tilde.team (dozens)</author>
<guid isPermaLink="false">75 - Mon, 27 Mar 2023 09:24:13
-0600</guid>
<pubDate>Mon, 27 Mar 2023 09:24:14 -0600</pubDate>
<description>
<![CDATA[
<h3 id="00075">00075</h3>
<blockquote>
<p>White blooms look on as Inky turns another page in the book
they are reading, a purported bestseller luridly titled
<em>The Secret Lives of Plants</em>. The olericulture guide
before it had been more appealing, but it was something to do
between meals and napping with an eye mask while holed up in
the green room.</p>
<p>While Confidence had been taking stock of provisions one
night days before the ships departure, Inky had dropped in
and not so covertly taken over a room with a higher ceiling
near the cargo hold, beside an escape hatch. They brought in
some grow lights the following evening and asked Confidence to
help install them overhead after explaining their plan. Next,
they loaded in some dwarf conifers and star magnolias in
wheeled containers with weight compression. A nutrient
solution pump connected to a timer and long hoses periodically
watered and fed the trees. Near the door was an air filter,
another useful item from the Wandering Bazaar. It monitored
air quality and composition, and could extract various common
gases from multiple inputs and pipe them to attached storage
tanks. There were two tanks outside the room that were hooked
up to the filter: a smaller one for excess carbon dioxide
drawn from the atmosphere that can be released slowly in tiny
concentrations back into the green room for the trees to
absorb (or injected into water with a carbonator for fizzy
drinks), and a larger one for extra oxygen produced by the
trees and held in reserve. There was also another tank and an
unused combinator on board to recombine hydrogen and
oxygen.</p>
<p>When the rest of the crew take turns to sleep or patrol the
rest of the ship, Inky steps within hearing distance of the
starhelm and activates the energy barrier around it. The
barrier also blocks off sounds to maximise the energy directed
at the helm.</p>
<p>Standing back against a low wall enclosure, Inky begins to
play on their violetti, channelling emotions through the
lilting notes. The instrument itself was a bespoke affair, an
early Yule indulgence years ago, and Inky had conferred at
length with the luthier on their requirements and core design.
In appearance it closely resembles a smaller, lighter violin
while being an octave higher than most violins, making it a
great accompaniment to a flute or piccolo in birdsong.
However, instead of a mechanical nightingale solo, they feed
the helm a selection of nursery ditties — falling bridges,
black sheep, blind mice and the like. Sliding a few bars of
Bubbytabbies at intervals for best measure. Nya nya.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>~</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Alex didnt mind the travel, in fact, he enjoyed the
cramped confines of his quarters. The limited world of their
space ship a bubble, something he could control, and protect
from the chaos that surrounded him. It was no different than
the sailing he did planet side, something he had been fond of
and his uncle had chided him for being so passionate about.
Corraidhin would always titter on about Alexs studies, and
then hed sneak off and sail out under the stars with Marvelo,
and his uncle wouldnt see hide or hair of him for a handful
of nights.</p>
<p>“If only you could see me now Uncle” Alex muttered as he
sat behind a large leather bound chair in front of a large
ornate desk strewn with star charts, and books on everything
ranging from divination, to history, navigation, to munition
manufacturing. Some of the titles were unsurprising “Starhelms
&amp; You: A Guide to Starhelm maintenance”, “The Big Bang:
Everything Delightful About Explosives”, but others were
peculiar for Alex “Palmistry for Dummies”, “Superstitions DO
Exist, and youre NOT Paranoid!”, “Ancient Gods and Goddess of
Basementaria”.</p>
<p>Alex pushed the books, and loose notes, and maps away from
him and placed his cup of coffee in their place. Cold, again.
He stared into the dark depths of his favored drink, forlorn.
He sighed, and made a gesture, and a small stag drone
dislodged itself from amongst the papers and books and latched
itself onto the coffee mug, warming it. “Thanks again” Alex
muttered “What is this? Sixth time this cup?” he shook his
head. He couldnt focus.</p>
<p>Since they started this trip hed spent more and more time
brooding over these books hed collected before their
departure, barely saying a word to Marv or the others even.
The only one he seemed to communicate with on any sort of
cadence was Inky. They never forgot to bring a cup of warming
tea, floral and fruit notes, to stave off scurvy theyd
said.</p>
<p>“That does it!” Alex said to the room at large as he
stands, and strides to the door of the cabin. He strides out
into the star light, noting the crew has taken note of his
sudden appearance. “At Ease!” he barks, and marches up to the
starhelm and sits before it.</p>
<p>The explitives come swift and fast. If it werent for the
emotion reflector the crew and everyone in the galaxy would
think rather poorly of Alex, but it felt good. “Neddas you son
of a bitch, you and your cursed crystals, and all these snakes
slithering around waiting to strike! Light burn each and every
one of them!” and once Alex had let his anger burn, the tears
came, strong and unrelenting. “I dont know what to do uncle,
youre within grasp, but I dont know how to help, or where to
go.” and so it went, Alex wept until there were no more tears
to weep, and the letter Inky had relayed from his uncle bore
an unmistakable tear sodden rumpled look.</p>
<p>When it was over, Alex rose, solemn and calm and meandered
across the deck to the bowsprite to take in the empty uncaring
void before him.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>The atmosphere of most starsails only last a couple weeks
before the recycled air starts to get stale, and then noxious,
and finally unbreathable. Consequently they often have to
refuel at planets and moons with breathable air whenever
they pass by.</p>
<p>Inkys ship garden however has been keeping your air fresh
and self-replenishing over the last couple of days. The crew
are consequently well oxygenated, have been sleeping well, and
lack the fatigue that most starsailors experience at this
point in their journey.</p>
<p>A pair of space gulls have apparently decided to hitch a
ride on your ship, and can be found roosting on the mizzen
mast when not hunting for space guppies. They have tried on
occasion to steal food from some of the crew, with little
consequence but an exasperated shooing away: space gulls are
considered good luck, and they are never in any real danger
from the crew.</p>
<p>Keeping the starhelm well fed with various sundry emotions,
you make good time, and are soon approaching the orbit of the
green moon Selene. The moon itself is well out of the way, but
your current path will take you through the Tears of Selene, a
large asteroid cluster that trails along and fans out behind
Selene as the moon orbits the planet. From the surface of the
planet, it looks like a wide comets tail made of stars of
various sizes. From here, it looks like a sea of asteroids of
different shapes and sizes.</p>
<p>There are a couple of asteroids in the Tears large enough
to support permanent life. Pirate outposts, mostly. Or other
parties looking to escape the law—or someone or something
else—for one reason or another.</p>
<p>You slow the ship down well below cruising speed to
carefully navigate the Tears. You spot the fabled and
notorious Rock of Brawl in the distance, a sprawling
cosmopolitan city ruled by Scarlet Darling the Pirate King. It
covers every inch of both the top and bottom of a large, flat
asteroid at the center of the cluster.</p>
<p>Cautiously you eventually emerge on the other side of the
Tears. You see a derelict starsail adrift on the other side of
the asteroids. It is in the shape of a seahorse with a tucked
head, a crest fanning from the top of its head down its back,
and a long tail tightly curled toward its front. It lists to
the side and drifts seemingly without power, except for some
strobing emergency lights behind the seahorses eyes,
signaling distress.</p>
<p>As you sail closer, you see what looks like a little old
woman in a cloak and shawl on the helm waving and trying to
hail you.</p>
<p>WHAT DO YOU DO?</p>
]]>
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@ -7,9 +7,6 @@
<title>BASEMENT QUEST</title>
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@ -28,13 +25,16 @@
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@ -84,9 +84,10 @@
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@ -157,6 +158,8 @@
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/* CSS for syntax highlighting */
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@ -220,7 +223,6 @@
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@ -230,6 +232,13 @@
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@ -283,6 +292,9 @@
<li><a href="#current-story" id="toc-current-story">Current Story</a>
<ul>
<li><a href="#00074" id="toc-00074">00074</a></li>
<li><a href="#00075" id="toc-00075">00075</a></li>
<li><a href="#00076" id="toc-00076">00076</a></li>
<li><a href="#00077" id="toc-00077">00077</a></li>
</ul></li>
<li><a href="#spoilers" id="toc-spoilers">Spoilers</a></li>
<li><a href="#acknowledgements"
@ -358,11 +370,11 @@ into the <a href="#current-story">current story arc</a>.</p>
you can <a href="https://tilde.town/~dozens/quest/rss.xml">subscribe to
the rss feed</a>.</p>
<h2 id="stats">Stats</h2>
<p>Total length: 99274 words / 424 minute read. (Mind you, thats the
<p>Total length: 102362 words / 437 minute read. (Mind you, thats the
length of this entire page, including all the extra bits and bobs. Not
just the story.)</p>
<p>There have been 260 messages posted over 252 days since the first
post on July 13, 2022 for a daily post rate of 1.03.</p>
<p>There have been 271 messages posted over 370 days since the first
post on July 13, 2022 for a daily post rate of .73.</p>
<h2 id="chapter-1">Chapter 1</h2>
<p>This is the first installment of BASEMENT QUEST.</p>
<p>Jump to: <a href="#00001">1</a> <a href="#00002">2</a> <a
@ -4512,21 +4524,21 @@ done too quickly, and hes all too aware of the danger hes put himself
in. “What would Corraidhin do..” Alex thinks to himself, “perhaps a
spell?”.</p>
<div class="sourceCode" id="cb26"><pre
class="sourceCode lua"><code class="sourceCode lua"><span id="cb26-1"><a href="#cb26-1" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> target<span class="op">:</span>new<span class="op">(</span>obj<span class="op">,</span> tbl<span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-2"><a href="#cb26-2" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> obj <span class="op">=</span> obj <span class="kw">or</span> <span class="op">{}</span></span>
<span id="cb26-3"><a href="#cb26-3" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="fu">setmetatable</span><span class="op">(</span>obj<span class="op">,</span> self<span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-4"><a href="#cb26-4" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span><span class="cn">__</span>index <span class="op">=</span> self</span>
<span id="cb26-5"><a href="#cb26-5" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>x <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-6"><a href="#cb26-6" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>y <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-7"><a href="#cb26-7" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>speed <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-8"><a href="#cb26-8" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> reutrn obj</span>
class="sourceCode lua"><code class="sourceCode lua"><span id="cb26-1"><a href="#cb26-1" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> <span class="va">target</span><span class="op">:</span>new<span class="op">(</span><span class="va">obj</span><span class="op">,</span> <span class="va">tbl</span><span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-2"><a href="#cb26-2" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">obj</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="va">obj</span> <span class="kw">or</span> <span class="op">{}</span></span>
<span id="cb26-3"><a href="#cb26-3" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="fu">setmetatable</span><span class="op">(</span><span class="va">obj</span><span class="op">,</span> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">)</span></span>
<span id="cb26-4"><a href="#cb26-4" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="cn">__</span><span class="va">index</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="va">self</span></span>
<span id="cb26-5"><a href="#cb26-5" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">x</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-6"><a href="#cb26-6" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">y</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-7"><a href="#cb26-7" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">self</span><span class="op">.</span><span class="va">speed</span> <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">0</span></span>
<span id="cb26-8"><a href="#cb26-8" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> <span class="va">reutrn</span> <span class="va">obj</span></span>
<span id="cb26-9"><a href="#cb26-9" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">end</span></span>
<span id="cb26-10"><a href="#cb26-10" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a></span>
<span id="cb26-11"><a href="#cb26-11" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a><span class="kw">function</span> target<span class="op">:</span>yeet<span class="op">()</span></span>
<span id="cb26-12"><a href="#cb26-12" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>x <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-13"><a href="#cb26-13" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"></a> self<span class="op">.</span>y <span class="op">=</span> <span class="dv">100</span></span>
<span id="cb26-14"><a href="#cb26-14" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"