Friday, November 30, 2012

1155 (Art Every Day Month Challenge 2012)


Here is entry 1155 for the Art Every Day Month Challenge hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, the instigator behind the Creative Every Day Challenge. This little Twig-dude appeared while I was building a textural background. I think he's a keeper...

Friday Flash: Extractive

Extractive
by Garrisonjames

Mantrimo adjusted the lux-lens. Just a little more to the left. Yes. Perfect. Smoke coiled from the crucible. Three years' wages worth of crushed opals and all the other required ingredients, all his hopes for Linnea, for their future together, were melting into one another. The words came easily, the gestures took a bit of practice. Ritual was not his strong suit. But Mantrimo persevered. Practised until his fingers bled, his brain became slightly addled with persistent fever. Nightmares came regularly now. Waking as often as not. He was becoming accustomed to them. Told himself they were a symptom of impending success. Perhaps they were.

'Nature Abhors a Vacuum.' Whoever wrote the old book he was referencing had placed especial emphasis upon this tired and trite adage. This hoary bit of painfully obvious wisdom. This warning he was far too gone to pay attention to now. He was a scientist, not some dullard shaman or pretentious sorcerer with delusions of artistic merit. He was on a mission. Driven by a mistress far more cruel than ambition or revenge. It was love that spurred Mantrimo through the darkness. Past all reason. Into madness and what lay beyond.

The melting process was successful. He diligently poured the glowing white liquid into the mold. Waited.

Mantrimo harbored no doubts. Indeed he now lacked the capacity for such things. The operation he'd performed by candle-light with the murderer's scalpel and a set of three mirrors ensured that he was as far from doubt as a knife's edge could make a man. He'd cut out his conscience. Or such had been his intent.

'Take what you want. Take it and pay the price.' The book had said that as well. Prices are to be paid. Balk at the cost and you were not committed enough, not serious, unworthy. Mantrimo paid the price. He kept paying every night. It had become his religion. His salvation. Damnation.

In darkness and silence he sat. Waited. Timing was critical.

The opal slid free of the mold. Lustrous. Liquid. Empty.

His penultimate achievement. A stone that other men might have sold their souls to attain. But that would hardly cover the cost.

Part the heavy black drapes. Snuff the candle. She wore the lace-edged gown. Expensive velvet. Form fitting in the classical style. The one he had bought for her on his trip to Nagrothea. The spider-venom paralyzed her body, but let her breathe. Her pulse was faint. But steady.

He placed the opal gently into the setting in her tiara.

The words rumbled and tumbled forth. They would not be held back any longer.

Darkness descended upon Mantrimo.

He never got to see the transfer.

The Inmost Light blossomed within the opal as Linnea passed the scalpel through his throat.

One quick pass and it was done.

She was Soulless now. Immortal. And he...he was a thing of the past. A broken shambles. Thrashing about on the floorboards like a fish out of water. Gasping blindly. Dying.

She only regretted that he hadn't been able to do more for her.

Dread Penny



B
ad Coin. Worse Fortune. The copper-pieces from Nagrothea are not welcome in most reputable establishments outside the Burned Over District(s). But, as with most such things, there are of course exceptions. A few private collectors. Aficionados of the outre or the obscurely wicked. Twisted dilettantes looking to add a bit of vaguely-risque darkness to their social cachet. Abdead militants looking for some sort of touchstone or memento or something--anything-- to help them unlock a connection back to the homeland to which none of them have even been.

Conservatism is not for the living. In Nagrothea such philosophy is only discussed among the PostMortes. To do otherwise would be to cast pearls before Grunters; a waste of time and sure to produce an annoyed pig-thing. The ancestral Host of Nagrothea do not waste time. Nor pigs.

So-called 'Dread Pennies' were allegedly first minted not as coins, but rather as a way to preserve certain of the increasingly decrepit and failing members of the Established Order, those who were unquietly succumbing to the ruthlessly erosive ravages of time's inexorable passage. Even the mighty ones of Nagrothea cannot completely free themselves of the tyranny of entropy and decay. Already mummified, embalmed, or otherwise preserved, the crumbling venerables were forcibly reduced to a less corruptible state then bound within these tokens of esteem.

To this day one can still hear the faint mutterings and dire imprecations of the spirits lodged within the macabre coinage as they are passed from one illicit vendor to another. It's better to spend these things quickly, before the nightmares and screaming begin.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1154 (Art Every Day Month Challenge 2012)

Here is entry 1154 for the Art Every Day Month Challenge hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, the instigator behind the Creative Every Day Challenge. Yes. I did a new piece every day so far, but I've been running late and missing the designated time specified for each one of late, at least until tonight. I'll round up all the missing pieces at the end of the process. This is one of a series of Mysterious Locales that might lead to something one of these days...

Bujilli: Episode 53

Previously...
Gonnes broke the delicate silence following a cold, Spring rain. The Rainbeast had moved on. It was time to get back to the Academy. More gonnes. Upstairs. Bujilli and Leeja went to investigate--neither one wanted to leave their temporary refuge with a possible sniper behind them. Upstairs at the Film Repository they met some Street Urchins. The Kids were not alright. They were rifling the place. Looking for something. Whatever it was, they were more than ready to kill to get their grubby little hands on it. An ambush failed. Accomplices abandoned the place. Bujilli and Leeja learned very little from interrogating the burglars. But the Urchins recognized Bujilli and Leeja as 'the ones who drove out the werms.' The Not-Kids panicked. One of the Urchins bit Leeja. A nasty bite. More nasty than she immediately realized. The Urchins escaped. Bujilli and Leeja got out of there. Just as the drums began. They ran for their lives.
Memories, dreams, recollections--they all flowed through Bujilli's mind as they ran along the dirty streets. The air was fresh from the recent rain. They stuck to the clearer sections, avoiding the jumbled piles of trash and rubble. Gang barricades. Burnt-out shells of once fashionable shops. Collapsed buildings. This was a Burned Over District. Hard hit by the Collapse and the chaos that followed and never quite left. Unpatrolled, unmonitored, lawless and wild; these sections of the Old City were cordoned-off and abandoned.

Jog left. Turn right. Go back to the last intersection--the street ahead had ruptured from another gas explosion. Left. They ran.

They stopped. Barnabas Street was sparkling. Leeja shuddered in revulsion...or was it something else? Bujilli reached out to steady her. Counsel showed him a red warning icon. Leeja's wound was more dangerous than either of them had suspected.

He nodded. Quietly asked for his Counsel to examine the wound.

The machine etched into Bujilli's bones revealed three maggoty-teeth slowly burrowing deeply into Leeja's flesh. Each one exuded a powerful anesthetic. She would not suffer. Not immediately. The teeth were working their way towards the bones of her hand. They worked slowly. Leaving no sign of an infection or intrusion. The entry wound would heal over without a trace. No hint of the vile things would be immediately visible.

Until it was too late.

Bujilli looked around. Then he spotted it. He laughed. They had gone in jagged, loopy circles around and around this area for a while now. He was unfamiliar with most of Wermspittle. Leeja was his guide. But she was in a bad way. Her eyes were unfocused. The teeth were affecting her strangely. Dangerously.

He considered his options. this was no place to be lingering about. He might be able to adapt the Green Fire Purge spell to remove the teeth...but it would take time and leave them both vulnerable. They were only four or five blocks out from the Film Repository at best. Maybe not even as far as that. Those Not-Kids would be looking for them both.

They needed to get out of here.

They needed help.

The amulet pulsed.

Bujilli started. Looked down. Touched the hag-gift. Hedrard had given him the amulet as part of their arrangement. That and the Voucher. Fees were to be waived. Access granted. Access.

He closed his hand over the amulet. It was warm again. It pulsed once more.

"Hedrard?" he whispered.

"You were expecting someone else?" cackled the hag.

It was good to hear her scratchy voice, which was in itself slightly disturbing.

"We're in a bit of trouble..."

"Yes. You are. I lost track of you for a while...but everything is working again*. You're not far from one of the old gates. Which is fortunate."

"Which way do we go?"

"Can you fight?"

Bujilli looked at Leeja. She was quiet, staring blankly, just moving as he directed. He spat in disgust. The baby-teeth in her wound were making her delirious.

"Not effectively. Leeja's hurt. Something in the wound--she was bitten--it's affecting her mind..."

"Hmmpph. I won't ask. You'll need to be quick and quiet. Do you see the small square off to the East from your position? It has a statue in the center.

He had no idea which way was East. No compass. His sense of direction was confused. This was an entirely other world from the one were he had grown up. He was still getting used to this place. If one ever could get used to Wermspittle. There. He saw a statue. In a square.

Bujilli led Leeja across the street and rapidly down the alley towards the square.

"We're nearly there."

"The statue faces the main entrance for the old Heldraw Hall. It's technically part of the Campus, but it was shut down and abandoned ages ago. Do Not Touch The Front Gate. Go to the wall, to the right, there's an alcove of sorts, a place for guards to look decorative. Do you still have the voucher I gave you?"

"Yes."

"Press it to the back of the alcove. There should be a spot cleaner than the surrounding tiles."

He dug out the Voucher. Pressed it to the cleanest spot on the back wall.

Click.

An opening appeared. Bujilli led Leeja inside. The opening closed behind them.

They were in a hallway. Richly paneled with dark wood. Dust caked everything like a light drift of colorless snow. Indistinct portraits hung at regular intervals. A few coats-of-arms. Tiny shelves of bric-a-brac festooned specific sections of certain walls. A few display cases for wired-together hominid skeletons, intricately curling masses of pseudo-sea shells or other samples. A suit of armor was mounted on display--the right side was spotless, gleaming, translucent as though transformed into glass by some bizarre mishap. The plaque set before the armor was faded. He didn't feel like brushing off the dust to read it.

Bujilli smiled. This looked like what a museum ought to look like. He'd heard all about such places from a thief in Zandrume. At least he always thought they were a thief. Museums were excellent places for acquiring valuable things...if one knew what to take and whom to take it to...he wondered about old man Schroedinger and his curio shop. Maybe there were other peddlers or dealers who'd be interested in a few items liberated from this dusty, mostly forgotten place. He'd have to ask Leeja if she knew of anyone like that. After they got her wound tended to and those nasty teeth pulled.

A soft golden glow leaked out of a dusty lamp lying next to the wall. It woke up. Responded to the Voucher. Took up position hovering just in front of them both. A self-carrying torch that didn't set things on fire. Bujilli smiled. This was a thoroughly useful thing. His Uncle would have been very pleased to have had him return with such a wondrous thing. Probably wouldn't have beaten him. Might have given him an extra portion of stew. Or not.

"I've sent along Sritta to come collect you and bring you here to my office."

"Thank you." Bujilli led Leeja down the hallway. The wall behind him was blank. Clean. All the dust and cobwebs had fallen away when it had opened to admit them.

The hallway led to a four-way intersection where another hallway crossed this one. Going back was fairly pointless. Boring. The intersection was rounded-out a bit to form a sort of special space. A raised section in the center served as the base for four statues. Four old men in lab coats. Each one situated at a corner of the heavy, precisely-square pedestal. Sharp-edged. Dusty, but obviously all of one piece. It was probably some kind of basalt, or so he guessed. He'd seen more than his fair share of ancient basalt daises and monoliths and the like over the years. The statues were marble. Travertine marble, if he wasn't mistaken. The figures were very realistic, aside from being over-sized.

As they came closer a fountain shimmered into view at the center of the platform. It was positioned so as to be directly overseen by the proprietary scientist-guardians. Water tinkled softly. Bujilli started to look away. Then he noticed. Looking at the fountain. Looking through the water. Everything was different on the other side. Lush green foliage showed through the water. Not in the hallway, but somehow behind the water of the fountain itself. There was a garden over there. Overgrown. Rampant. Ferociously alive.

Not like this place.

Leeja moaned.

She was swaying loosely. Weak. Her eyes were mostly closed. Her skin was waxy. Her hair hung limp and all but lifeless. Merely a twitch along the ends. She was in a bad way.

Bujilli steadied her. Supported her. Turned away from the fountain and the garden that hid behind it. Picked a direction and started walking. Whomever Sritta was, they were following the amulet to locate him and Leeja. So he kept moving. It helped to keep his mind off of what was happening. At least a little.

They walked onward.

Sritta found them an hour or so later.

Leeja was unconscious by then.

Bujilli carried her.

Her hand was turning black...



*Idvard temporarily suspended the amulet's functionality in Episode 39.

Previous                                              Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Night Mail in Wermspittle

Yorim Balthome is the Post Master General in Wermspittle. The office has been in his family for over two dozen generations, not because of any lingering prestige that might still cling to the title, but more from a profound sense of inertia. There just is not a lot of mail to deliver any more. Not since the last couple of wars disrupted everything that the plagues, pestilences and poxes didn't muck-up first.

By ancient edict, dating back to the Founders, all postal deliveries in Wermspittle are to be made only under cover of darkness. The mail can only be delivered at night.

Likewise, by the same edict, Post Boxes can be mounted just outside any window, at any height, on any floor. To this day one may find Post Boxes nailed firmly into place outside sixth-story windows, leaning precariously from underneath the shutters of attics, jutting lopsidedly from wrought-iron balconies, poking through the blinds of garrets or otherwise secret cells unreachable from inside the buildings they occupy like cysts; even the tall, tall turrets of the ramshackle palaces of long-fled foreign merchant-princesses sport once gaily-painted, even richly sculpted post boxes sticking out from the upper floors like some sort of architectural rash.

Hundreds of years have come and gone, leaving crusty scars and badly-patched bullet holes in their wake, but the Postal Service still endures in Wermspittle. After a fashion. In a kind of half-life.

The airships don't come here any more. Few caravans come to Wermspittle, those that know the way or have made their own maps, and never ever in Winter. The options for getting something sent out from here tend to be slim to non-existent, but the Mail Carriers do their best. Each Autumn riders are sent out in the five directions, one for each of the primary old routes including the Cold Roads. Few, if any ever return. Even fewer come back with replies, parcels or correspondence from elsewhere. But it has happened.

The riders are something of a seasonal rite. A traditional observance. A hold-over from the Old Days before the Military Governor appointed over Occupied Wermspittle by the Franzik Empress Matrimundi more than five hundred years ago instituted a system for the apportational transmission of small parcels, letters and missives. Those systems were smashed by the Anti-Franziker Contra-militants during the so-called Last Uprising (which it wasn't). Over the years each Post Master has attempted to realign, repair and revive the mechanisms ruined by the clog-wearing hypocrites who decried all such forms of 'oppressionist sorcery' until they realized they too could starve like everyone else come Winter. But alas, it remains an unreliable thing on a good day, and there are scant few good days in a place such as this.

Pigeons once threatened to cut into the number of deliveries entrusted to the Postal Service. But that was before the Midwives' Rebellion, and only a fool trusts a bird to deliver a message in the midst of so many starving people. No one takes such things seriously any more.

Ancient, harrowed and hallowed by accumulated experience and the sheer perverse miracle of having survived into the current age, the Postal Service endures, abides, carries on as best it can. For over four hundred years the rates have remained set at one silver coin, as per the old edict...though everyone knows that in the early days a particular denomination of currency was specified, all traces of those details have been expunged and casually disregarded. Any silver coin will do, even a token. It's not about the money. It's about the ritual.

Each night what parcels, packages or pouches have been entrusted to the care and keeping of these stalwart souls go out under cover of darkness, into the night. There are only six or seven certified Mail Carriers left now, besides the Post Master General and his immediate family. They are a dying breed, say some. A thing of the past. But until something better comes along to replace them, most probably by force, the mail, such as it is, still gets delivered each night in Wermspittle.

One after another the fearless Mail Carriers strap into their harnesses, cinch-up their triply-buckled bags and float gracefully, silently out from the Post Master's Tower. Each one in charge of a licensed and bonded flock of highly trained crows, jackdaws and magpies. Each one dangling from beneath a personal aerostat of ancient design. Each one more extensively re-re-re-built and cobbled back together from the remains of defunct aerostats no longer reliably airworthy, no longer suited for continued service.

Yorim Balthome watches over Wermspittle from his decrepit tower, the tower of his family, of his ancestors, and he worries about what will become of the Postal Service once they run out of parts to repair their aerostats...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Strange Places: Low Marshes


Down along the Ertish river, on the Western side, before the great, dark woods swallow everything up beneath their dark, brooding branches, there are the Low Marshes. In the Spring, great clouds of passenger pigeons return from their migration. Every hand that can raise a net, throw a stick or use a bucket-gonne descends into the Low Marshes to reap the desperately needed bounty that flies in from all the different Souths each year.

In the Summer these wetlands are steamy, sultry and rife with clouds of swarming pests. Usually only leech-peddlers seeking to profit from the medical trades (who buy large quantities of nearly every kind of leech) and the worst of the fisherfolk can be found here in the hot times.

Fog-shrouded and treacherous through most of the Autumn, hunters prowl the Low Marshes seeking after waterfowl mostly. The flocks are plentiful for a few weeks. Before Winter falls like a headsman's axe and the waterways freeze-over. A few hunters attempt to go after larger game. Roebucks, Red Bears, moose or elk, even the tuskers , if they're stupid or have a deathwish or they're truly desperate. The worst seek to trap other hunters. Some folks never lose their taste for long-pig, even in the softer seasons.

Through-out the cold, dark Winter; there is little here for the living. Those abandoned to the Low Marshes in the Dark Part of the year are rarely ever seen again. Those that are, probably shouldn't be. The old Goules hold macabre meetings out in the worst parts of the Low Marshes during the Bleak Solstice. Some say they conduct weird, dark rites, but none care to speculate within their hearing. Hungry things prowl the margins of the Low Marshes in the cold months. Things that frighten away the wolves.

The Midwives often recite the adage that 'No one goes down to these places without bad intent or worse reasons.'

For Example...

Butcherboys pass through the Low Marshes on their way to one of the many unmarked Ectobogs where they dump remains they'd prefer were never identified or found again. Fantomists have begun to make use of the supposedly secret by-ways of the Butcherboys, sparking yet more enmity between the groups. A bloody reckoning is in the offing, so warn the Butchers from their abbatoirs, killing floors and slaughter shops. Like Winter Itself, their wrath is inevitable and they will not abide the trespasses of the foreign sorcerers no matter how powerful they might think they are. The Butchers are the Chosen of the Cold Times. They wield terrible power in the dark. They are not afraid of the Fantomists who have flouted the Old Ways, either through arrogance or ignorance. There will be blood, trouble and worse, come the next Winter...

Bandits and river-raiders gather in the Low Marshes at the early onset of Autumn. They come to the sheltered coves and secret lagoons to barter ill-gotten loot, swap prisoners, trade information, choose new leaders. They've been coming here for too many generations to count. They do not welcome eaves-droppers or interlopers. They also leave before the cold winds begin in earnest, before the killing rains, while there is still color in the leaves.

Refugees who don't know any better sometimes get stuck out in the mud. Some get pulled ashore, for an added fee, others sink and are lost. Not a few of the 'guides' who accept foreign coin to direct these sorts of folk through the Low Marshes have made good money luring them to their deaths. The paths through the Low Marshes, such as they are, tend to be misleading to those not raised down along the fetid banks. Those who live down here keep it that way. Signs get shifted about at random. Tracks get filled-in with brush or redirected into the nastiest spots. The locals are a dour, taciturn lot. Even for Wermspittle. Unfriendly, even surly to strangers until paid to be otherwise. Then they're simply unreliable and treacherous. 

The Low Marshes are best avoided. So, of course, they aren't. If you know where to look, where to avoid, who to talk to and who not to speak to under any circumstance, you might be able to locate some buried treasure or chain-weighted trunk of sunken loot. Or maybe you'll just wind up feeding the flukes, the bog-werms or leeches...or some of the other things that lurk just below the scummed-over surface of these foul wet lands...

Lithus Sector: Telajan-D (Ju-Hai)

Telajan (Coord.: 06.01)
Part One: System Overview
Part Two: Inner Zone
Part Three: The Planets
     A) Aldrin
     B) Mattigar
     C) Shelg
     D1) Ju-Hai
     D2) Molat
     E) Saxo-Mara
Part Four: Outer Zone
Part Five: Past, Present, Future Imperfect (Telajan)

The planets within the Habitable Zone of the Telajan system have been modified and manipulated on a planetary scale, but to what end, what purpose?

Ju-Hai
Largest of the planets within the Telajan Habitable Zone, Ju-Hai is owned by the Merellon Corporation, at least legally. They hold all Title and Claim to this planet, despite continual challenges by various 'interested parties,' and those who would contest their right to this world in the courts, any courts. Merellon Corp employs an incredibly sophisticated and hierarchically regimented cadre of legal staff larger than some empire's standing armies, and better armed.

Merellon Corp maintains a massive collapsed-durinium-clad arcofort on Lithus Prime just to deal with the ongoing legal turmoil surrounding Ju-Hai and the rest of the Telajan system.

Gaining access to Ju-Hai requires passing through Merellon CorpSec protocols and an inspection that has been immortalized in Lpop music for its overly-diligent invasiveness. No matter how much the PR Teams attempt to soften the impression made by the In-Transit Inspectory (ITI), some fresh new vidiot comes out with a catchy new song lambasting yet another lapse or failure, blowing it all out of proportion and heaping scorn and ridicule upon Merellon Corp. The initial efforts to suppress or drown-out such agitpop efforts only made them all the more popular and successful. Current official policy is to just ignore it all in the hopes that it will just go away once people get bored or the next fad comes along. But it does not go away. If anything the agitpop songdramas, memejingles and rhymeries have proliferated.

Plenty of offworlders still manage to pass the entry protocols (bribery is notoriously unreliable, not recommended and quite steep if you can even locate someone useful who will accept a little well-intentioned graft). Imports are rigorously monitored, checked and re-checked and the list of prohibited substances and cargoes is constantly being upgraded and revised every ten minutes. Non-Corprist interests and businesses have a difficult time navigating the deliberately complicated and ever-changing regulations, mandates, special orders and so forth. Very few non-sponsored or non-subsidized traders can afford to attempt to deal with this planet. Those who do subscribe to the Merellon Trade Network or who mount Merellon Transponders on their ships find that much of the stifling red tape fades away with one click.

Life on Ju-Hai
Ju-Hai is slightly larger than Earth and covered by many seas broken-up by myriads of rocky, mountainous landmasses. Each major land mass is divided into a number of Independent Satrapies. Legally, technically each of these divisions are free to pursue their own agendas, but in reality they are all clients of Merellon Corp. The charters and constitutions of these 'Independent' Satrapies are cynical shams filled with double-talk and nested word-labyrinths of gibberish calculated to prevent anyone outside of the Merellon Legal Department from ever sorting any of it out, and even they require extensive AI-assistance to keep track of all the subtle, inter-textual boobytraps and dead-ends.

A few of the Satrapies have begun to pull away from the Council of Founders, which is the direct management unit under the Atmosphereic Control Authority (ACA) and the Orbital Defense Mandate (ODM) both of which are directly beneath the Ju-Hai committee of the Telajan Project that reports directly to the Lithus Sector Oversight Committee of the Merellon Corp's Sub-Board. Of course, none of the Satrapies currently have the means to really ever break away from Merellon control. They carry far too much debt and are burdened with incredibly onerous penalty clauses, specified transition procedures and a host of sub-clauses and riders to their Charters that make such efforts all but doomed.

But in the face of such entrenched regulatory cynicism there has arisen a host of creative reactions and responses. Those who would call for violent revolution have been remanded to corporate jurisdiction long ago. Extreme rendition truly means something dire and in most cases quite irreversible when you're dealing with a Sector-spanning Megacorp. But such things have only strengthened the resolve, the ingenuity and the determination of a growing caste of increasingly legally-adept practitioners of contra-corporate activity. Engaging, highly netcast episodes of incredibly elaborate forms of civil disobedience have rapidly become not only a populist artform imitated elsewhere (especially within the Aerostat Communes of Aldrin), but have quickly become the number two export and a major part of Ju-Hai's economy.

Merellon Corp now faces something of an existential crisis as they must manage the on-going anti-Corprist activities of the various cells and covies of insurrectional artists, politimpressionists, spontaneos, vote-mobs, and other such things even as all manner of new, feral political movements appear, make their mark and fade or explode into obscurity until revived or remodeled by successors and others.

The political ecology of Ju-Hai has transcended everything else. Subversion has become the norm. Flouting the rules and regs is the established way of doing things. And this is troubling to the CorpSec Overseers who fear that this might eventually lead to a total crash of the rigid structures imposed upon the Satrapies.

Outsiders, especially the more idealistic and radicalized fan-bases of the various Ju-Hai based movements, have been flooding into the pre-fab cities along the coasts and high up in the mountains. Every CorpRetreat and SpaPlex has been overrun by deliberately dirty students, creed-chanters, illicit dance-troupes, mocking clowns, and worse. Squatters, Freegetters, DropOuts, DropIns, and a host of other even more obscure, weird and marginalized sects, parties, non-govs and the like have made Ju-Hai their preferred target destination. Tourist agencies make pilgrimages and even immigration incredibly affordable and accessible. Several competing Missions have taken to sponsoring Fellow Travelers, in some cases going so far as to smuggle in a few of their brethren officially classified as undesirable, at least according to the tabloids and newsfeeds.

The one thing that sets Ju-Hai apart from every other revolution is the deeply ingrained non-violent ethic at the heart of it all. Any schlub can lob a bomb, but who can write a one act play that brings a totalitarian regime sixty-two lightyears away to come crashing to its knees? On Ju-Hai this is not a rhetorical question.

Six Scenarios for Adventuring on Ju-Hai

  1. Appleseed Blue is a fresh young start-up that focuses on providing reliable and untraceable immigration to Ju-Hai for any self-styled revolutionist, impressario of social change, or whatever. They charge a steep price due to all the trouble it takes to circumvent the local protocols and counter-measures. A lot of their clientele finance their excursions through FreeBanks, but an increasing number of them use the FinServ Bureau of various private lenders who are offering extremely generous rates, often interest free. Nine out of ten of these operations are part of a holding company under the control of the Merellon Corp. A recent expose revealed some of these sorts of connections, but since the program was sponsored by a Merellon-subsidiary PR firm, no one takes it seriously. What didn't make it into the expose is that Appleseed Blue is also a deep subsidiary of Merellon Corp. That's how they have managed to build-up such an impeccable record in so short a time. A smaller, tramp carrier service that only leases a few de-listed or discontinued small-craft has lodged a complaint. Unfortunately for them, someone within the byzantine hierarchy of Merellon has noted their objections and panicked. A contract for disposable mercenaries was rushed through, ostensibly to 'teach these upstarts a lesson in manners.' The casual trashing of the carrier's offices got out of hand. Two mercs were liquidated and one of the work orders did not self-dissolve properly. Now the small carrier is looking to hire-on some protection for their ships. Your team could be hired as the initial muscleheads, the follow-ups, or maybe you'd prefer to take up arms on behalf of the scrappy little carrier facing down the corporate behemoth. There might even be a dramacast possible, or some sort of realitycast if you jump on the opportunity before someone else does.
  2. A group of red-tagged Aerostatists from Aldrin have slipped past the PolDroids in one Satrapy to take temporary refuge in another one. They came here to make recordings and to soak up the unique atmosphere of the on-going struggle here on Ju-Hai with the plan to take it all back to lend verisimilitude and an extravagant, fresh new energy to their own Mardi Gras-esque celebrations. They managed to get more than they counted on and are now on the infamous Dump/Detain/Deport list of enemies of the Ju-Hai state...even though technically there is no overall Ju-Hai state (a mere technicality). These excitable students and their instructors are desperately looking for some way to get word out or to find asylum or passage offworld. Whatever they saw--and recorded--seems to be extremely inflammatory. Are you up to the task of getting them offworld with their data intact?
  3. Jack came to Ju-Hai to stir things up once and for all. The very notion of a non-violent protest makes him sick. Physically ill. It's the illicit dolphin-hacked wetware he implemented back at that unlisted clinic on Mattagar. The wetware is malfunctioning, possibly. Or maybe Jack is the pawn of some sinister cabal of malcontents who wish to see Ju-Hai enveloped in flames and madness and war. Whichever might be the case, Jack has begun to make an example of the disgusting peaceniks. They've found three bodies so far. Forensic Psychometrists predict there are at least five more to be uncovered and that the kill-spree is far from over. Local Authorities have gotten too used to petty squabbles and word-fights. They have decided to call in outside experts on violent crime. That'd be you. They want this miscreant found and stopped immediately. Especially as a major holiday is coming up and this psychokiller is upping the ante with each victim.
  4. An ambitious young clone from Tregio (00.03) has hired your team as personal Security. She has brought you all to Ju-Hai to help facilitate a project that so far only three people know about. At first you didn't much mind the whole 'Need-To-Know' crap, that kind of thing is just SOP when working with Corprist clients and contracts. But that was before a hit-squad of Parthenogens tried to take you all out with a rather messy IED at the Tregio Sub Port. Then a suicide bomb-clone took out a substantial section of the hull in your part of the transport enroute to Ju-Hai. Maybe it's time you knew what was going on. Yeah. Right. Knowing isn't all it's cracked up to be. Especially when you find out that you're expected to run interference and physical security for a mad woman who is planning to found a New City in the middle of nowhere where there is a glitch in the boundary-marker sub-routines and a small patch of Ju-Hai is legally outside the purview of Merellon Corp. It's a technicality. Pretty damned thin. But someone somewhere is willing to go to extreme measures to stop her. You can walk away, as per the standard clause in your contract...but will you?
  5. A virulent and hyper-addictive morphogenic drug has just started popping-up along the more fashionable Happenings and other impromptu events in six widely separated Satrapies at the same time. Merellon CorpSec cannot move against what they suspect as a foreign investor trying to poison the well due to internal conflicts and considerations. They require a discrete, professional Solution to the matter in the next 15 hours. You'll get LuxClass travel arranged both ways, a catering robot and a direct holoLink Rep to help facilitate communications with some very high-level Merellon Execs who wish to remain unverified. The chain of evidence available, such as was provided to you from the CorpSec team, points to the Dolphin Ghettoes under Lascalla, the Southern-most Satrapy and a hot-bed for chemo-separtists. Of course the time-stamps are all smudged, demoted or missing. Everything you've been told is suspect. Potentially untrue or worse, at least according to the dolphin who is Nmailing you. They claim that you're being set-up. Something about provoking an incident. Who do you trust? What do you want to do now that you're on site, on planet?
  6. Three hundred years of isolation and info-suppression just ended last Tuesday. The CorpSec firewalls breached. There has been a blacked-out xeno-archaeological dig on Ju-Hai with one of the richest arrays of Precursor relics ever found. All hell is breaking loose as all the academics are filing complaints, and quite a few tomb-poachers have dropped everything to jump all over this site while there is some measure of chaos and jurisdictional indeterminancy. The Xeno-Arc Department of the University of Kaaldu has acted precipitously in sending out a 'Neutral Intervention Team' to take stock of the files, records, and site disposition immediately. Merellon Corp PR is trying to smooth things over, but they've been deeply hacked, possibly by a clandestine team operating from within the blacked-out site itself. Private Collectors are hiring unscrupulous Retrievers to go in and grab what is easily made away with, while every institution with even a modest pretension to xenological interest is calling for sanctions, urging a total repeal of Merellon's ownership of Ju-Hai and all manner of even more drastic measures. Forty-three families through-out the Lithus Sector have declared Vendetta upon Merellon Corp and its Board and Subsidiaries in the name of each one of their members who they believe had their careers ruined or lives cut short by Merellon's duplicity and illegal/unethical restriction on this site. Letters of Marque targeting Merellon Corp holdings or properties are being issued by several small opportunistic principalities. Matters are spinning wildly out of control. Violence has broken out on-site. You can guarantee that you are not the only ones running around with guns and lots of unanswered questions. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Aethyric Eel

Aethyric Eel
No. Enc.: 2d4
Alignment: Any Evil
Movement: 120' (Passwall at will)
Armor Class: 6*
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: 2
Damage: 1d6 or Special
Save: F3
Morale: 4 (gains +1 every successful attack)

Special: On a successful attack, Aethyric Eels can cause CHAR damage, forcing the victim to make a Save or suffer the loss of 1 point of CHAR. Those victims who have been previously struck receive a cumulative -1 penalty to the next Save attempt. Victims reduced to 0 CHAR in this manner have their faces removed, leaving behind only their mouth in an otherwise featureless non-face. Survivors regain CHAR at a rate of 1 point per full day of rest, but their face, if removed, is permanently lost. There are rumors of spells and/or entities that might be able to give one a new face, rebuild the old one, or otherwise help restore the victim to a semblance of normality. Dopplegangers are believed to know how to stitch together new faces for those willing to trust them...and if you can meet their price...

*Aethyric Eels automatically subtract 1 from all damage caused by non-magical weapons used against them.

Sinuous, gelatinous denizens of the near aethyrial, these creatures squiggle and wriggle through the weird geometries and tumbled existential debris in search of faces to devour. Blind and faceless in their own right, the Aethyric Eels navigate by virtue of a form of ESP that seems to let them sense the presence of dreamers and spell-casters in particular. They are inordinately fond of taking away the faces of spell-casters, somnambulists, sleepwalkers, and the like. So much so that they will often forgo attacking easier prey in order to latch onto their preferred victims.

The supple quasi-material skins of Aethyric Eels can be preserved by immersing them within pink brine or vinegar. Skins preserved in pink brine can be converted into incredibly soft gloves that can enable the wearer to reach past walls or barriers. The skins kept in vinegar are better suited to making armor that affords the wearer an additional bonus against aethyric and similar (Immaterial) attacks, spells and effects. Both sorts of  items require experienced master craftsfolk to produce; the kind of experts and adepts one would expect to find among Dobble-Kin, certain reclusive bands of Simulacra or 'gangers...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Duruj

Duruj
No. Enc.: 1d4 (2d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 2 (Plus Area Effect)
Damage: 2d4+2 (Claws), 3d4+2 (Bite), or by weapon
Save: F4
Morale: 10

Special: Duruj radiate intense heat that inflicts 1d4 damage upon anyone caught within a 30' radius of the creature. All flammable substances exposed to this heat effect must Save or begin to combust.

Any weapon the Duruj wield becomes a +2 weapon (to hit only) for as long as the Duruj retains it. Once relinquished (as in the case when the Duruj is destroyed) the weapon loses the magical bonus within 3d4 days.

Grotesque metallic golemic-creatures with braziers built into their heads and incandescent jewels for eyes, the Duruj wander the planes in search of darksome foes to destroy. Soulless things, they are immune to the life draining attacks of the undead. Mindless things, they are immune to Charms, Illusions and all mind influencing enchantments. Implacable things, they do not sleep, do not stop, never cease in their pursuit of the forces of darkness.

The raw, ruthless ideology that drives these diminutive beings out across the planes to confront the dark powers is encoded, instilled, embedded directly into their physical make up. It is integral to their very being. They cannot question the morality that motivates them. They are pure in their pursuit of the imperatives etched within their very form. And that is a very big problem.

The Duruj have been corrupted. No one knows how, or when it happened. But the results have been unmistakable. The alteration to their fundamental mission is only a very small thing, in itself, but it has resulted in terrible consequences. Now, the Duruj do not only hunt down shadows, spectres, and other such creatures...the Duruj consider all beings that cast any sort of a shadow at all to be their enemy...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 52

Previously...
A brief respite during an Autumn rain has given Bujilli the opportunity to gather his thoughts. The chill gray killing rains pass. As does whatever was prowling behind it. The sun doesn't come out, but there are a few street lights still working in this area. The electric kind. The ones that are supposed to drive away the bad things. When they work.

Bang!

"More damned gonnes..." Leeja hissed.

"Upstairs." Bujilli looked out the doorway. The rain had washed away most of the blood except for what was spattered across the wall just below the eaves. A light fog was rolling in now that the rain had passed. It was a good time to leave this place.

Boom!

Bujilli could smell the reek of burnt powder. He hated the smell.

There was a loud crash in the back. Towards the stairs.

He looked out past the front door. Rain washed cobblestones, fog curling around the base of streetlights, the way back to the Academy. He glanced back at the archway, the boarded-over and barricaded entrance to the corridor leading back to the stairs. His eyes met Leeja's gold-green stare.

Hesitation kills. His Uncle had taught him that from an early age.

Bujilli strung his bow. Pulled out an arrow. One of the wickedly barbed-headed ones he'd found beneath Idvard's Keep.

"I say we do a little hunting."

Leeja smiled beatifically. Like an angel. Of death.

The way through the barricade was not difficult to discover. Whomever had erected the barrier had been trying to discourage casual inspection more than really hold-off any sort of a horde. A really fortified position would not always look all that daunting. Until it was too late. This sort of thing was more a statement. A designation of territory. The sort of thing he'd expect from a gang.

Only there wasn't very much graffiti in this place.

No one had camped-out down on the ground floor before. They both knew this from having checked the place out thoroughly.

Locals tended to avoid the place from the looks of things.

Bujilli climbed up and over the sturdiest bit of the barrier. Leeja beat him to other side, but he had no idea how she did it. She just smiled, turned and got on with the hunting.

He did his best to move as quietly as he could. She moved like a ghost.

The stairs. Blood. A body crumpled at the bottom. One arm caught-up in the railing.

Crumple.

Scraping noises. Heavy footsteps. Furniture shifting. Someone was rifling the place upstairs.

Bujilli checked the body. Warm. But dead. Half the guy's guts were strung along back up the stairs. It stank.

They were up the stairs in what felt like three steps.

crackBoom!

Leeja's gonne interrupted the investigative process.

Two dirty, bedraggled kids stood staring at Leeja.

"Yu  Yu  You shot Zeddy!"

"I wasn't going to shoot the wall. It wasn't doing anything wrong." Leeja began to nonchalantly reload her gonne.

"But we didn't do nothin' to you..."

"What are you looking for, if I might ask? I'm curious what could be up here that you'd kill to get your hands on it."

The floorboards creaked. Bujilli turned. Drew. Released.

His arrow took the would-be ambusher right between the eyes. Silently he swore. He should have hit them in the throat. His aim was a little off still. He could use some practice with the new bow.

He drew another arrow.

"Any more of you around? I don't like wasting arrows."

"N No. Just us. Now."

Someone crashed through one of the windows in the next room. Making good their escape.

Bujilli laughed.

"What are you going to do with us?"

"We could sell them to the Butchers..." Leeja teased.

"Look. We didn't know you were looking after this old place. We...we didn't mean no disrespect. Honest."

"So what brings you here?" Bujilli lowered his bow just a little bit.

"We--"

"Shut up Trizzi!" The smaller one, a girl with unevenly spaced eyes, slapped her partner.

The taller one, a boy painfully thin with washed-out gray eyes stopped talking. Began to stare at their mud-caked feet.

The little one glared at them.

Hatefully.

"Doesn't look like they're the talkative type." Leeja sighed in resignation and disgust. As if she thought somehow that she ought to be used to this crap by now.

"You're bluffing." Accused the filthy little girl. She was terribly upset.

"We'd rather not kill you if it's not necessary..."

"Your idea of necessary. Not ours. Not mine." Spat the child.

Her eyes went wide in shock. A faint glimmer ran through her.

"You're the ones that drove out the werms. Oh No! Trizzi RUN!"

The little one flung herself towards the nearest window. Her partner wasn't so quick. Leeja grabbed them by the shoulder.

"Please don't hurt me." Whined the skinny-kid. Then he bit Leeja's hand. The kid had lots and lots of really sharp teeth. All of them filed to points.

Leeja yowled more in shock than anything. Blood sprayed. She jerked back. The kid fell to the side of the window. An arrow through the throat. His blood was a noxious, unhealthy greenish-black oil that reeked of horrible things.

Bujilli went to Leeja. She was swearing in some language he couldn't follow. He examined her wound. It was minor. Superficial. She had reflexively pulled back before the kid could really sink his teeth in.

They wrapped her hand with clean wool and bound it with a couple of rags.

Then they both got out of there.

Those weren't really kids. If they ever had been born human...they were something completely other now.

They also weren't alone.

Down the street and behind the corner someone was pounding on makeshift drums. The sound carried oddly in the fog. But the malevolent intent was unmistakable.

Once they reached the open street Bujilli and Leeja ran for their lives...


Previous                                                    Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1148 (Art Every Day Month Challenge 2012)


This is a K'Thoim. It is a critter we feature in one of our upcoming adventures. It is also entry 1148 for the Art Every Day Month Challenge hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, the instigator behind the Creative Every Day Challenge. I ran out of time today, so I will colorize this piece later on.

1147 (Art Every Day Month Challenge 2012)

So...I goofed-up the AM/PM thing last night for this post. I've been working on a lot of different stuff all at once. Things happen. In any case, above is the reduced header I made for Mr. Till over at the FATE sf blog. We highly recommend the FATE sf blog. John has been doing a lot of highly creative stuff and his posts are a pleasure to read. We're looking forward to great things from him in the months ahead.

This header is going to count as entry 1147 for  the Art Every Day Month Challenge hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, the instigator behind the Creative Every Day Challenge. It just went up 12 hours late is all.



Frume

Frume
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4+3
Attacks: 1 (Bite or weapon)
Damage: 3d4 or by weapon
Save: F5
Morale: 14 at night, 3 in daylight

Special: Frumes assume gaseous form freely, taking 1d4 turns to fully transition from one state to the other. They are susceptible to damage by fire in either form, taking double damage from fire-based attacks if struck during their transition from one form or the other. Even while in gaseous form a Frume can be detected thanks to the foul reek that they give off continually. The stench of Frume is so terrible that it can cause cattle to stampede, flocks to scatter, and even well-trained dogs to run away howling. (Optional: Treat Frume-Stench as a -6 penalty to Morale checks.)

Note: Anyone struck by a Frume is afflicted with a horrid stench for 1d4 days afterward...

Horrid, six-eyed brutes with despicable habits, the Frume are nocturnal scavengers who wander from farm to farm looking for things to eat. They're not particularly picky eaters. Anything they can catch, they will try to eat. What they cannot eat is of no interest to them.

The lingering stench of a Frume takes 1d4 days to dissipate, given a good breeze. Vinegar can help mitigate the stink, but so far no one has concocted a suitable remedy for washing away the foul scent.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Telajan C: Shelg

Telajan (Coord.: 06.01)
Part One: System Overview
Part Two: Inner Zone
Part Three: The Planets
     A) Aldrin
     B) Mattigar
     C) Shelg
     D1) Ju-Hai
     D2) Molat
     E) Saxo-Mara
Part Four: Outer Zone
Part Five: Past, Present, Future Imperfect (Telajan)

 The planets within the Habitable Zone of the Telajan system have been deliberately arranged as part of someone's solar-system-scale garden, but who reshaped these worlds and why?


Shelg
The smallest planet in the Telajan system, Shelg occupies an uneasy position between the placid, gentle inner planets Aldrin and Mattigar, and the more active, dynamic outer planets Ju-Hai and Saxo-Mara.

Shelg has no moon. The algae-rich seas are nearly gelatinous, the only tides are those generated by sub-sea volcanism and tectonic shifting. The atmosphere is breathable, but extremely humid and packed with carbon dioxide to the very threshold of human-acceptable limits.

There are no plants growing above the sloppy, muddy surface of this world. All the plants on Shelg are rhizomatically-linked into a massively parallel network of inter-connected and intertwined roots. The overlapping layers of root-tendrils go down to the very bedrock and in some cases they extend into fissures within the bedrock to continue downwards even farther. So far no one has been able to reliably trace just how deep the roots do in fact extend. Three different expeditions to Shelg have attempted to map-out the pseudo-synapses of the root-network or to trace the extent of the roots, but none have survived past one day on this world (rotational day=36 standard hours).

Most forms of AI, especially the math-based/oriented machine intelligences common to interplanetary vessels and other such mechanisms experience a severe form of feed-back effect upon reaching a point roughly three planetary diameters out from Shelg. Even hardened military-industrial grade AI have been known to crash. There are no clues as to what is behind this effect at this time. all forms of augment Wetware also experience this nullification effect. Whatever is doing this warrants study. Perhaps someone will finance a primitively-equipped mission to Shelg one of these days...if only anyone could identify a likely looking spot to drop-off such a team...

Life on Shelg
There is no above-ground plant-life on Shelg. Everything is below the level of dense, nutrient-rich mud. In place of herbivores, there are quite a number of mudskippers, lungfish and other such animals, as well as vast mycological and bacteriological colony-forms that live out their lives entirely within the thin muddy layer that provides a sort of protective sheathe over the vast root-networks. The average depth of the mud is approximately 10 to 60 feet, with a few areas, mostly along the coastlines, being as shallow as 1-10' deep in spots, but these areas are almost always also somewhat covered by a secondary layer of murky water that tends to make them exceptionally treacherous to normal modes of ground travel.

It is not wise to try to walk about on Shelg without personal flotation systems, stilts or a mech-walker frame. Indeed, with the discovery of the pirahna-like swarmers and the mudgators reported by the last mission to Shelg from Kaaldu's College of BioDiversity, it is a good idea to make use of armored rafts, armored airboats, or grav-skiffs and avoid contact with the mud altogether.

When it is not raining, it is drizzling or sleeting when a cold front moves in. Visibility on Shelg is extremely hampered by all the mist, fog and near-perpetual rains. Weather on Shelg is driven by upwelling hot-spots in the seas where sub-sea volcanoes produce fluctuating columns of warm water. The average period without rainfall tends to be less than ten minutes once every day in the equatorial zones, twice that in the polar regions. Climatology on Shelg is considered to be artificially modulated according to prevailing theories, but no one has found the means by which it is being manipulated or regulated. Again, no one knows where to send an expedition in order to find out.

Automated aerial recon-drones were released into the upper atmosphere of Shelg on four different occasions. All of those systems flatlined upon deployment. To this day the drones float above the thunderclouds, inert and useless.

Six Scenarios for Adventuring on Shelg

  1. The Melinda-Maru crashed along the 24th parallel on Shelg. The owners-of-record want to salvage the contents of the ship. They have written-off the crew and already disbursed death benefits. There's no ticket home for any survivors; they're effectively non-persons now, thanks to standard corporate policy. Your team has been contracted to assist with the salvage operation. There are Corprist PR types as well as some hazed-out R&D types included in the mission-crew. There is no fraternization allowed, officially. Unofficially, you've gotten to meet a few of the PR types. They're lousy at gambling. They're also all clones. Disposable Mission-Objective Clone Employees, by the RFIDcodes. The Salvage rig is about to be dropped into place. Three Diameters out. Do you really want to go down to Shelg?
  2. A Dumbcam was retrieved from Shelg by a team of students from one of the socialized secondary schools on Kaaldu as part of an otherwise innocuous class competition. They posted the images recovered from Shelg. There were hominids of some sort spotted in three of the photostills. They were engaged in what could only be some sort of hunting ritual. They were in the process of surrounding a human that has since been identified as Georgina J. Randolph, a grad-student at the College of Biodiversity at Kaaldu. She was a member of the Third Expedition to Shelg. that team was reported lost six years ago.
  3. Ruben Aniard of Tregio (00.03) has invented a 'Closed-Loop Data-Shield' that he wants to test-out by sending a group of volunteers to Shelg. If the new systems work properly, then there might be a way to get past the barrier that crashes AIs. Of course, if the systems fail...you'll have to bring back whatever telemetry or other data you can salvage with you, assuming the recovery pod works as well. It is a refurbished and stripped-down chassis gutted from an ancient Belter-pod, given a flexform aeroshell and completely manual controls. If it doesn't blow up, it ought to make it back out. This job does offer hazard pay up front.
  4. A group of Achernarian investors have begun to offer special weekend getaway tour packages to certain very isolated islands in the Southern Hemisphere of Shelg. This offer is only ever extended to a highly select clientele and comes at an exorbitant price. One of the potential clients contacted by the Achernarians is an undercover operative for a team of interstellar crime-fighters recently deported from Lithus Prime. This person has contacted your team for assistance in investigating just how the Achernarians are getting down onto the surface of Shelg and back again with no apparent difficulties. The agent has accepted the offer and registered for a group-hunting expedition. If you accept the offer, your team is expected to accompany the agent disguised as exotic game hunters.
  5. A Fourth Expedition to Shelg is currently being organized by an Exploratory Committee on Kaaldu (03.04). The Committee is accepting applications and try-outs. Do you have what it takes? Can you convince the Committee?
  6. Captain Reynaldo of the Topaz Rogue comes up to your table at Humphrey's Cafe Algerian at Port White House on Layer Seven in orbit around Donthir (07.02) and drops dead from seventeen expertly grouped microburns through his midsection, obviously the work of Imperial Calmers. He also drops a bundled package. Inside is a weird tuber. It's a node taken from the root-networks on Shelg. The file attached refers to the thing as a 'mandrake,' and there are three diagnostic and analysis reports on the flimsidrive. This is the real thing. What would you like to do now?

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