Please use this thread to post Lore Submissions.
Lore for July
Title: Dante History X
The hours pass … the night follows the day, and this in turn to the night … in an endless cycle … although I’ve only been locked up for two weeks, it seems like two years …
Ancient Greece is a beautiful, comfortable, perfect place … But the prison of Thebes is just that … a prison … Bars, a stone bench on one side, a small window through which light barely passes, a hole in the ground for … well, that…
And in my memory appear the remnants of the days gone by, when all this began … It seems impossible, but I, Dante Artorius Inferno, am a prisoner of Queen Pentesílea here, in Ancient Greece …
Accused of a crime that I have not committed, with evidence that involves me but I have not provoked … But everything points to me … everyone doubts, nobody believes me … Even Katalina looked at me suspiciously when she came yesterday to bring me some food and drink, because the porridge they give to the prisoners makes you so weak that you can barely move …
How is it possible? Condemned to disconnection … Of course, we already know that death does not work here thanks to the Revives network all over the planet, but … if they erase your DNA fingerprint from the Revive databases, you will not be able to be reborn if you die … and they will …
Tomorrow, at noon, in the public square of Thebes, a Stel representative will erase my DNA fingerprint from the data banks, and then a Queen’s guard will kill me, probably beheading me with a falcata … Well, if this had been Ancient Rome, They would have knocked me off the Tarpeian Rock, or they would have crucified me … At least this will be quick …
Hours pass, and in my mind the past events that have caused me to end up here swirl … A horrendous crime, a situation where nothing is what it seems, a secret that must remain so …
The worst of all is that there is no witness in my favor … No one saw anything, because there were only the person who died and I … And when everything passes, the murderer will remain loose and the conspiracy will continue …
It all started just four weeks ago …
Lore for July
Title: Dante History X
The reconstruction of Next Island had been a very hard task … many destroyed buildings, tons of Common Dung everywhere and, above all, to regain confidence in our planet because, despite having lived throughout the Entropia Quadrant, Next Island I feel like my home …
The various factions on the planet were now in a kind of inpass, due to the collaboration they had had in recent events … For that very reason, Planetary Chief Socrates now had a respite and the possibility of ending some of the quarrels that had been estranged from the factions for a long time.
Regarding us, well, Planetary Chief Socrates congratulated all of us who had made the miracle of recovering our planet possible and, as a reward, they gave us a series of Strider vehicles, weapons and armor of the latest generation …
For the rest, life on Next Island was the same as always: Craft, business, some mining … But I still couldn’t get promoted to VIP Stel …
The tests to enter the VIP building were very arduous: Aside from making 500 shirts and mining, you had to hunt Sharks and, honestly, it is not an animal of my preference, so I took it easy …
Meanwhile, between business and business and visits to Ancient Greece and the court of Queen Pentesílea, the nights returned in the town’s bars … and one of those nights someone familiar appeared …
I was having an Arkadian cocktail when a thunderous voice broke through the music and noise:
-But if the hero Stel is here …
I could not believe it, our old friend Simon the Resa appeared in his usual armor, approached our table and hugged me effusively …
-Simon, what a surprise to see you far from the fields of the Resa … what brings you here?
-Well, it’s always good to see an adventure partner … even if he’s a stinky Stel - he said with a knowing wink.
-Okay, this stinking Stel is glad to see a thief and swindler Resa - I replied as I raised my glass in a toast …
After a good time between drinks and jokes, Simon approached confidentially and began to tell Katalina and me something confidential.
-Let’s see, Dante, Katalina … in our faction it is rumored that in the middle of the desert they found a man with severe symptoms of malnutrition and totally insane…
-Simon, always a colonist gets lost in the desert and the patrols must rescue them.
-Yes, Dante, but this … this is a Stel, and also, it seems that he talks about things … eh, curious …
Things get complicated: If he’s a Stel and he’s in a Resa camp, we have to go find him or rescue him or whatever … In our faction we all help each other.
-Simon… what’s wrong with that Stel? What things are you talking about? - I asked curiously …
Simon took a long gulp of his drink … he looked at me and said a few words:
-That Stel talks about a pyramid and robots …
Gods!!! Is it possible that this crazed Stel is Desmond ???
Lore for July
Title: Dante History X
The next morning Katalina, Simon and I went through the TP network to one of the Resa areas… That was where the rumor had started…
We appeared in a Resa camp … Despite the union that had lately been between the factions, the people of the camp looked at us badly … some Resa spat as we passed, and others looked us in the eyes while their hands went to the butts of their pistols…
Even so, we saw that Simon was a well-known member of his faction, and nothing bad was going to happen to us… We approached one of the largest buildings, which we assumed was his headquarters.
After identifying ourselves and leaving all our weapons at the entrance, Katalina, Simon and I went to a kind of room where several Resa were working on the screens of their terminals … Simon went to one of them.
-Hey Michael, is Derek in his office?
-Hi Simon… I see that you bring animals to the barracks - he said as he looked at us askance.
-Come on Michael, they are friends and trustworthy … tell Derek to go out, we should talk to him.
This Michael looked at us wearily, pressed a key on an InterCOM and, seconds later, he told us to go to the background.
After a short wait, an old Resa appeared in the doorway, glanced at us, and spoke politely to Simon, who made the appropriate introductions… Derek was apparently a highly respected leader of the Resa.
-Simon and … friends … what brings you to this area? - He asked as he looked us up and down.
-Derek, we are behind a certain rumor about a crazy settler who …
-Wow, Simon !!! Interested in that crazy Stel? Derek looked at Simon amused.
-Well, rather my friends are interested, as you can imagine …
-What an element that guy was … he appeared in a camp to the south, totally famished and disturbed … he didn’t seem to know anything or anyone … he was screaming and howling, and saying strange things about robots and a building…
Simon and I looked at each other … we had no doubts … that madman was Desmond … In that case, he survived the pyramid’s enclosure and the metal armor did not interfere with the Revives … Or maybe yes, and his mind was a chaos. Fortunately, no one would believe his ravings even though deep down they were true. Simon kept asking Derek.
-And what happened to that Stel? Where is?
-Well, this … the boys thought he was making fun of them, so they gave him a “special treatment”, you know … they touched him only a little, besides, he was just a damn Stel … but he was really crazy or traumatized by something … - Derek looked at us trying to justify himself …
-Well, in that case we come to take him away … these Stel friends will take care of him.
Derek looked at Simon intensely… it seemed like he was going to say something, but he didn’t get to say it… what was he hiding?
-Derek … tell me that Stel is alive … -Simon looked at Derek in a threatening way …
-This … That Stel is not in custody now … a couple of days ago he escaped …
We looked at each other in amazement … that damn Desmond is more elusive than an octopus … to know what he would be doing now … and if he keeps talking about the pyramid and the robots … well, the secret of the planetary TP must remain a secret…
Lore for July.
Title: Dante History X
When we left the Resa building, the three of us felt lost: Desmond had returned, although apparently insane, he was talking about the Planetary Teleporter, the pyramid and the robots, and now he escapes and we do not know where he can be or what he can do.
-Dante, you know Desmond… where could he go in his current state? - Simon asked.
-Well, the faction was his life … he would go back to the VIP headquarters … but with his mind shattered, anyone knows …
Simon was an old dog … something was on his mind …
-And if he wasn’t as crazy as we think? - Simon said, looking into the distance, as if deep in thought of him.
-What are you trying to say, that he faked his madness? Katalina voiced my own thoughts.
-I don’t know … maybe it’s that I’m bad thought … What happened to the VIP Stel when they saw that Desmond didn’t come back? - Simon said
-Well … some of them asked me a series of strange questions … I felt observed more than once … I was on alert for a while, although the VIPs who were investigating me were a few … Remember that it seems that the information from the Planetary TP was something secret , and only a few Stel were aware of it …
-Then, he can’t go around telling anything about the TP, or ask for help from all the Stel, unless only those who were in the secret … - Simon was right …
-But at the moment it doesn’t seem like he has contacted them …- I said doubtfully.
-Well, we also know that Desmond had a boyfriend. -said Katalina
-That’s right … Well … in that case … maybe he would like to contact his boyfriend … Mark, one of the Stel … he’s not a VIP yet, although many of us thought that being Desmond’s partner would help him …
-Then it’s easy - Katalina said - we’ll have to watch Mark in case Desmond gets in touch with him.
-Okay, we can take turns following him to see if he gets in touch with Desmond …
Simon was still thoughtful … he was an old bulldog, and he wanted to have all the options covered …
-What if he didn’t want to be seen together now? Where could they be seen or hidden? -It was a very timely question.
-Well, it’s an open secret that Desmond and Mark loved to frequent “some places” of Ancient Greece, when they weren’t on missions … -Katalina had a mocking tone in her voice …
Suddenly, Katalina and Desmond’s eyes locked on me … No, wait, I don’t think they’re trying …
-Dante, I think the short Greek robes should fit you very well … you are also very attractive … -Simon seemed about to burst with laughter …
I knew … I had to spy on Mark, and if he went to Ancient Greece to one of the places he liked to frequent, well …
For several days we followed Mark … I even talked to him making me the buzzword … after the past months, he had begun to accept that his partner was not coming back, that something bad had happened to him and he had not appeared in any Revive …
I honestly think it was a waste of time to follow up. From what I could see, Mark was already dating other people, and his life was normal enough, so the most likely thing is that Desmond had not shown any signs of life …
How wrong I was…
Lore for July
Title: Dante History X
One afternoon I was doing business with some settlers, selling some vehicles when I got a call from Simon.
-Dante, can you talk now?
-Simon, tell me … I’m closing a business with some clients …
-Dante, drop everything and go to Orpheu’s Cave NOW.
-What happened, Simon? Any problem?
-Dante, Mark left his house a few minutes ago, totally disheveled, running … he went to a TP and dematerialized … fortunately I have a friend in maintenance, and he showed me the registry of DNA fingerprints on TPs … he went to Ancient Greece …
-Well, Simon, he still wants to go for drinks to “those places” that he likes so much …
-And why was he running with his face as if he had been given unexpected news? … Dante, let’s go to Ancient Greece now …
Simon was right … Mark was a very calm person, so if he was running and looking like someone who has seen a ghost, it is that something had probably happened to him … For example, that his boyfriend whom he thought was dead months ago has appeared …
I closed the deal, fired my clients and went quickly to a TP… on my way to Ancient Greece…
I wasted no time warning Katalina, and that was a mistake that I must now deeply regret …
Simon and I appeared in Orpheu’s Cave in Ancient Greece … using the maintenance key that his friend had given him, he read the arrivals record on the TP terminal … Mark had gone to Thebes …
Once there, Simon and I scoured the area… to avoid problems and not be easily detected, we bought some chitón and continued with the search.
In the distance we saw the unmistakable figure of Mark … we followed him through the alleys until we got close to the blacksmith’s house … we looked around a corner and saw them …
Mark was desperately hugging a very thin and very dark Simon from spending many days in the sun … The scene was beautiful if it weren’t because Simon had been about not only to kill us, but to betray the whole planet … We tried to listen to the conversation, but they spoke very quietly, it was an intimate moment between them …
A few minutes later they separated and began to speak something louder … it was no longer the intimate moment of two people who love each other and thought they were lost forever … Now the voice denoted anger, and we could hear everything …
-Listen Mark, there is a lot at stake in all this … We could have been rich, but that stupid Dante and his dog Resa almost finished me.
-Dante … I saw him for days and we talked … Damn traitor … even he asked me about you … We must inform the faction that …
-No, Mark, no … this only belongs to three VIPs and me, we cannot alert the faction … We must get rid of Dante and his friends in a discreet way, do you hear me? Forget that you are not in the PVP zone, you have to eliminate them …
I started to lean a bit more to hear them better when suddenly I stepped on a branch at the foot of the wall of the house … the creak alerted the couple, who looked in our direction … Gods !! They had seen us …
-Simon, you have to get out of here … or fight. -I said while drawing a Chikara Oni-Roku CDF Edition …
Simon looked at me, pulled out an Armatrix, and we stepped forward as our armor materialized around us …
The crossfire was brutal … the four of us were under cover and the shots were lost between the stones … we were tied …
Suddenly, we heard a great detonation and part of the roof of the house where we were under cover gave way on us … a huge stone hit me in the helmet and everything went black …
When I opened my eyes, with a great ringing in my ears, I could not believe what I was seeing… Next to me was Simon with his eyes wide open staring at the sky, with a big shot hole in his neck… dead? He has not revived? What?
-Well, well, what do we have here? It was fortunate that those stones had fallen on him, otherwise he would have escaped. -The one who spoke thus was a Hoplite, undoubtedly one of the Pentesílea Queen’s guards … and behind him, several more hoplites with their spears ready …
I looked confused at my hand … The Chikara was still there … and the hole in Simon’s neck had the characteristic shape left by the shots from said weapon … It can’t be, I haven’t killed Simon … Damn Desmond, what have you done ???
-In the name of Queen Pentesílea, you are arrested for murder!!!
With the new forum, I decided I’d post all 5 of the lore submissions in the same post. Had a bit of an adventure trying to find out some background based on NPC dialogue so hope you all enjoy!
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Other than the Haruspex I saw at Orpheus’ cave, I have never actually seen any other members of the Haruspex faction. Loyalist scouts have reported strange readings in the northwest of the planet with mysterious floating orbs being a contributing factor towards the unusual environmental activities. However, I am certain this is the work of the Haruspex, as it is rumored that the Woodland Haruspex dabble in magic.
With a new lead on my investigations into how the portal to Ancient Greece works, I now pack my things and adventure beyond the desert territories of the Stel and Resa. We have slightly more scouts in the northern parts of the planet, however, it is relatively undocumented topography and we are not sure what the Haruspex are up to. Scouts on skyrippers have located the make-shift home base of the Haruspex in the north, so perhaps I might find someone to talk to there.
“You’re chasing ghosts again Hector?” said the guard captain at Paradise Landing.
“Yes, with the knowledge of the Haruspex and our own technological capability, we can win the arms race with the New Elysian Order and dominate the other factions” I replied.
“Your reports repeatedly talked about portals and magic, I fear for your sanity if you keep going down this route. There is a reason why we try to keep our distance from the Haruspex. Their dark magic is not safe to poke your head into” he argued.
At this point, the whole entirety of the Loyalist faction must find me insane, but I know what I am looking for. I recently even ordered a new strider to traverse the forest areas in the north as I know the Haruspex try to build their settlements in the most out-of-the-way locations possible.
Based on my charts, I will be passing through territory contested by the Resa and Loyalists. There is no outright fighting but only tense standoffs if both sides encounter each other. There shouldn’t be any other factions I should look out for, and I’ve learned from the last time that the Stel have skyrippers too so I need to remember to pack anti-air weapons as well.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
My journey so far towards the reported Haruspex ritual grounds and capital has started off quiet. I started off at Riverside View, the closest teleport I have to it that’s in Loyalist-controlled territory. A slight problem with starting off my journey at the break of dawn was that I wasn’t awake enough to remember calibrating my nav computer and for the past 4 hours, have been walking north-east instead of northwest.
My clumsiness is going to be the death of me someday I swear, but not today. I will try to make the best of the situation and see if I can chart out the resources and survey the area. The area I’m currently walking through is quite mountainous and has been putting my new strider to the test. I applaud the engineers that designed this, I have yet to find a mountain I cannot climb with it, though some proper seat belts might be needed as I do feel nervous going up the side of a mountain at nearly a 90-degree angle with the sensation of almost falling off.
After trekking the contested area for about 2 more hours, I decided to set up camp for the night. I found a nice ridge area to make camp and it is high enough to know my bearings. Once the camp was set up, I started a fire and heated up a ration kit. The stars in the sky shined just bright enough that I could see into the distance and to my surprise, there was a dim light on a mountain several kilometers from me. Alarmed, I pulled out my binoculars, looked towards the dim light, and had to squint a little to see some kind of structure in the distance. Could this be a fellow Loyalist expedition? What if they were hostile enemies on the hunt for an unsuspecting victim? I had to find out before my head ended up being displayed as a hunting trophy.
I left behind most of my stuff at my campsite and sneaked my way towards the dim light while hidden by the trees. I didn’t even bother wearing armor since I only wanted to scout around and not get weighed down by equipment, just a rifle in hand and some binoculars.
Every sound of tree leaves rustling kept me on edge, at any point while I sneaked my way towards the dim light, a creature or something could jump out and ambush me, but with the moonlight watching over me, I was ready for anything. Once I reached a position that I could look down from, I saw a red tent, which could only mean one thing: Resa.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Entry #72 was cut short due to an unexpected skirmish with the Resa. For the past day, I have been chased by Resa and I think I lost them finally so I can note down the situation. I am not sure how long I lost them for but these Resa are much more skilled at tracking and hunting than your average Resa, but a short log entry will have to do for today.
As I was perched on the ledge looking over the small Resa camp, one of them walked out and looked towards the moon, then turned towards me, as if they spotted me with eyes at the back of his head. That shook me, he was looking right in my direction and I heard some shuffling near me. If I had rolled over 2 seconds later, there would have been a blade in my back. When I rolled over, I saw an armored figure pulling back their blade for another strike at me, but blocked their death blow with my rifle.
Without any time to process what was going on, I saw another armored figure running towards me at the corner of my eye. “This is it”, I thought to myself, finally, a warrior’s death as they call it, but just before the second figure reached me, I kicked away the first Resa and rolled again to dodge the second.
This was the most action I’ve seen in months and the adrenaline rush was the only thing keeping me alive and moving. These guys had armor and I didn’t, but I did have a much lighter gear setup. I had to think fast, to run back towards the camp or run deeper into the contested territory. Just as the two Resa were recovering from their failed ambush, I chose the latter and sprinted towards the fields. A stupid idea, but I hoped to lead them away from my camp, have them lose track of me, and then return to my camp to recover my gear.
The surroundings around here were just clear fields and mountains with little to no cover, but I kept running and running. I plotted out on my Nav that I could do a big circle to get back to my campsite and so far I’m about 79% of the way into my route. Occasionally the hunters would catch up and fire some shots at me, but I was quick enough to dodge most of them and only suffered minimum damage. I’m getting tired of running and soon will have to fight them, I just need a better position. These hunters are relentless and won’t give up, I will have to muster the rest of my strength to take them on. It’s hard to type and run at the same time so I will stop this entry here.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
Currently, I am still alive and successfully killed off the pursuing Resa. When I stopped to find a suitable place to make a stand and fight the two hunters, I noticed a great vantage point on top of a hill and scared a mountain boar to run towards them to distract them. To be honest, I was surprised the mountain boar distraction actually worked, as I managed to get into position and snipe out one of them with just one critical hit.
The poor mountain boar met an untimely end however at the hands of the second pursuer, but a small sacrifice was necessary. Before I could even aim and fire, the surviving hunter fired several shots at me and I could hear them going into the rocks near me. In what I could only describe as fight or flight reflex rather than actual skill, I tossed myself off of the ledge I was taking position at and rushed him.
Within seconds, we both were jumping around, blades in hand, seeing which one of us was going to die to the other’s blade. I was fast, but he was much faster than me, but I managed to defeat him before lying on the ground lifeless.
Two hunters and two kills. With all this adventuring lately, I might actually rack up a few more confirmed kills onto my personal record. Well, now that no more Resa are chasing after me, I can get back to my camp knowing full well that I can continue my journey, after a long nap. The running and fighting for the past day and a half has been extremely tiring and the long circle route I took back to my camp was not any help at all.
At last, after around 6 more hours of slowly walking around and taking some breaks, I reached my camp and saw no indication of anyone tampering or stealing anything. A good sign? Yes. I honestly was expecting the entire campsite to be raided by the Resa or other scavengers while I was away. I hope I don’t get in contact with the Resa again anytime soon, and if I do, I plan to be prepared with combat gear and a team to bring havoc and destruction to them.
According to my Nav, I need to continue west but I find it unsettling to go through NEO territory considering the rumors of their superior technology that could utterly destroy me with ease. I guess I’ll have to pack up and do a detour back east and circle back towards the Resa camp I encountered. For now, I rest, and tomorrow we will start our new route.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
I came across a Haruspex settlement today that wasn’t on my Nav. Of course, it was in the weirdest of places, high on a ridge on the eastern side of the planet. This settlement was different though, it wasn’t just a bunch of wagons in a circle, there were towers as well with orbs and Haruspex roaming about.
The Haruspex seemed to not be alarmed by my presence and did not even raise any weapons towards me when I approached them. As I walked toward the middle of the settlement, I noticed a Loyalist scout present and asked them why they were here and why the location was not on my Nav. Norma Bates was her name, and she seemed to be scouting out and studying the Haruspex in the area. Soon after, a few Haruspex came up to us and said something strange to me:
“Hello stranger, welcome to Tanzanite View, we are the Woodland Haruspex and we know why you’re here” one said.
“The Elder told us about your arrival. Go towards the rock and you shall find your answer” chimed another.
I felt a bit uneasy considering I just discovered this place and felt like I was walking into a trap. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to know at the time, but to speak with a leader of the Haruspex is a great opportunity to learn more so I went towards the rock.
When I got to the rock, an apparition appeared, an orb that radiated a blueish mist and I felt as if it was calling out to me. I stood in fear as I was not sure what the orb was and drew my pistol. Walking towards it with my pistol aimed at it, it suddenly told me everything about how the portal to Ancient Greece came into existence and whether it was truly time travel or not.
The “Elder” explained to me that the strange readings and phenomena we encountered near Orpheus’ cave were caused by the Haruspex and their portal to a land they modeled after Ancient Greek civilization. Any action someone does in Ancient Greece would not affect Ancient Greece in the current and actual timeline and though I was a bit disappointed that the Haruspex do not truly have time travel spells and rituals, their elders, these floating orbs, have the power to create artificial realms.
Shocked and amazed, I put away my weapon and walked back towards the settlement. The idea of me talking to a floating orb is going to get me thrown out of the Expeditionary Force, but I should really put it in my report and into the database. The Haruspex Elders are not living physical beings but some kind of spiritual entity in the form of a floating orb. Of course, the Expeditionary Force might not consider my findings as far-fetched as I would think they would since these are the Haruspex we are talking about and it is well known by all factions that woodland magic is one of the foundations of their society. I better wrap things up at this settlement and will continue the journey northwest after documenting as much as I can with the help of Norma.
(This is a repost of initial journal entry from previous forum, since it hasn’t been published yet.)
Character Name: Feng Zho
Character Description: A second wave Elysian scientist turned reluctant fighter in a new land, Feng tries to understand the mysterious forces controlling reality on Next Island while trying to uncover what happened to his family.
Journal Entry 1:
Log Date/Time (Local): 41y_92d_1054m
Log Date/Time (Universal/Calypso Time): 55Yac_42D_0423
Attempts at merging the new teleporter install at new outpost x1357y902 with the Next Island teleportation network has so far been a dismal failure. I have performed the standard frequency matching procedure five times now over three days, and each time, the same result, which is to say the new teleporter installation remains unmerged with the network. From experience, I knew frequency tuning procedure was a finicky process, but the issue is starting to appear to be more than a problem of difficulty.
My instruments have detected a significant amount of anomalous noise, which my directional detectors suggest is coming from the south. The noise is likely interfering with our ability to establish a resonant link between us and the network. Elysium scouts have also reported significant amounts of Haruspex activity in that area. The relationship between the Elysium settlers and Haruspex is good, so there is not much desire to ‘rock the boat’ and confront the Haruspex regarding the energy signatures emanating from that region. However, if we wish to establish a teleporter link to this outpost location to extend and protect the Elysium’s settled territories, some confrontation may be unavoidable. Within the Elysium, there are some who question the motivation of the Haruspex and how they can be convinced to follow the Elysium’s philosophical teachings. There are rumors too that the Haruspex have the capability for interdimensional travel, without the materials and technology that the Elysium Alliance has spent dearly to develop. But those are rumors, and I find them somewhat laughable. But I digress. My likely solutions will be some apparatus to reduce the incoming noise, or, god forbid, having to determine the source of the noise. I shall try the standard protocol one more time, and make my report and suggestions to the Elysium Defense Laboratory.
Having ended my log entry, my mind returned to the problem at hand. My inability to achieve success with teleporter network merge was immensely frustrating. If only I could find an error I had made in my parameter calculations that could fix the problem. I slowly lowered my head until my forehead bumped the edge of my laboratory table. Thump. Thump. Thump. Perhaps I was being a bit melodramatic, but thumping my head against a desk seemed an appropriate and therapeutic response to the frustration I was feeling.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
I heard a chuckle behind me, and quickly raised my head from the table, grinning sheepishly at the figure in the doorway. “Having trouble?” Linara asked, sounding a bit amused.
“That’s embarrassing,” I replied sheepishly. “And yeah. The last attempt ended up with the exact same results as the previous four. You know that saying about the definition of insanity and all that…”
“What’s that?” Linara asked.
“Something about doing the same thing and expecting different results or something like that. It would be easy if there was an error I made that I could find. But I’m almost 100% certain I’m correctly calibrating the teleportal frequencies. There is just so much noise here.”
“You’ll figure it out,” Linara assured me. “The future of the Elysium Alliance is in your hands, Feng!”
“Yeah, no pressure,” I grumbled, before realizing Linara was teasing me.
“I’m just kidding! It’ll work out. You should take a break and let those thoughts ruminate a bit in your subconscious,” Linara suggested. I was about to say how much other work I had to get done before the end of my assignment, but stopped myself. “Yes, perhaps that’s a good idea to take a break,” I replied.
Linara was one of the guards stationed at this outpost, which stood at the northern edge of Elysium Alliance territory. She was tall, with curly dark hair. Probably a few years younger than me, though I never asked. Her friendly, bubbly demeanor belied her expertise for taking down enemies with speed and precision, which I had the chance to see when the outpost was ambushed by drakes the first night I arrived. She single handedly managed to bring down two vulcan drakes. From the other guards in the outpost, the word is that Linara spent time fighting alongside the New Elysian Order in the north.
I stood up from my laboratory table. The stiffness in my legs corroborated the fact that I had indeed been sitting for too long. “I’m going to go for a walk,” I said, to no one in particular.
“Want me to come along?” Linara offered.
“No, I’m okay. Thanks,” I replied, as I grabbed my laser pistol from the wall and holstered it. “I can use some alone time to think. I won’t go far”
“Alright, but be careful out there. I don’t want to write a casualty report for you.”
“I’ll be fine. Just a few steps around the shelter, and I’ll be right back.”
I left the tent, and walked north towards the river that ran north of our outpost base. I came to the place where the river from the north forked and became two, one flowing east, and one west. The recent storms had made the rivers choppy and turbulent. I loved watching the river. When my mind was consumed by a problem, I found the rushing river could wash my worries away, and bring me back to a calm center. I stood hypnotized, watching the river current drive water to crash against the rocks in the river.
I heard a crack from a branch breaking behind me. I spun around. In front of me, about 20 feet away, was a woman that I did not recognize. Her face was partially wrapped in a cloth, and she wore a leather and cloth shirt. Her clothing suggested she was a Resa nomad, but why was she here, and alone? My hand went to the holster of my gun. It was empty. I groaned internally. You damn idiot, I thought. You are in for it now…
The woman raised her hands and pointed something at me, and I froze. In the woman’s hand was my pistol, now pointed at my head.
Now we are free.
With the shade disappearing beneath the waves, what should have been a moment of great joy, quickly turned to sorrow. They had defeated the Shade of the Gorgon, they had completed the mission the haruspex had summoned warriors for, and freed Ancient Greece of the evil Gorgons once and for all. But at what cost? Many great warriors had died in their quest, many more lost on the travels. The pain of the enslaved creatures, the darkness of the Gorgons seared through each of them, the look in those creatures eyes never to be forgotten, the death and suffering to haunt these waters for ever more.
Bonnie turned to face the blooded army of Hero’s, each of them had fought like warrior poets that day, braver and with more courage than had ever been known. The grief, in that moment waned, turning quickly to an overwhelming sense of pride. A great cheer erupted from the still standing warriors, and gathering their weapons sloshed through the bloody water triumphantly, back to the cool white pillars of Knossos.
The strong figure of Aegeus awaited them, in his full glittering Gorgon Armour. “Your highness” Bonnie nodded proudly to the King of Athens as the army of hunters filtered by, each of them now with many of their own of pieces of such armour, as had been the promise of the Haruspex.
Bonnie, having made her way back to her home in Menelausia, sat peacefully contemplating the end of the mission and what was to become of them now. It was in that moment it dawned on her, whilst they had been busily working on their quest to free the lands of Evil, Ancient Greece had now become home. Those who were lost were not gone, they were a part of the warm sands, part of the cool waves, and their memories swirled in the calm breeze. Much like the people of Ancient Greece, these warriors too, were now free.
Winds of change
Thebes was growing. The influx of interplanetary travellers had been welcomed with open arms. Now they were not just visitors, but townspeople too. The market stalls once filled with only local wares, stood side by side with new stalls, filled with trinkets and weaponry from all over the known universe.
Bonnie was busy contentedly browsing through the market, when she felt someone approach.
“Haruspex presumably?” she questioned the stranger. “No, but I do come with a message” the stranger lowered the hood of her cloak, revealing an almost Myrinian form. “History is set to repeat forever in these lands, The quest is complete and for you and your men, but what happened that day will replay over and over, and others too will go onto face the Gorgon and her shade.” She continued. " I thought something like that may happen here, Ancient Greece has an odd sort of way of playing with time." Bonnie replied. But this did not abate the new sense of freedom, as no matter how often the Gorgon would re-appear, the settled warriors here knew they could take her down. The once legendary Gorgons of these lands, the evil she conjured, and fear she instilled in the people, had now become nothing more than an excellent creature to hunt. “Perhaps the Haruspex knew this all along, and this” Bonnie motioning across to all the newly sprung up stalls " was the real plan" she continued. “The Haruspex are a peaceful and grateful people” the messenger added, " You should come meet the elders on Next Island some day." “Thank you” Bonnie replied as the messenger bid her goodbyes.
Next Island was the planet on which they first arrived, but at that point seemed to them the stepping stone to the Orpheus portal to get to Ancient Greece. Maybe it was time to go back across the portal and explore more of which that vast planet had to offer.
Spirits of the blue menace
After many months of exploring the lands of Next Island, Bonnie was beginning to feel familiar with the vast differences in the lands, from the magical enchanted forests, to the bare baron lands of the stel. Mountains filled with wild and fearsome Drakes, Seas full of Sharks and Megalodon, right down to playful and slightly comical screechers birds of the beaches.
There was one place though, which she felt drawn to. It seemed to hold clues to learn more about these lands, and the people who reside there. Conq’s rest seemed to hold more than the magnificent museum you see when you first arrive, it is the resting place and memorial of one of Next Islands greatest hero’s, and within the great museum there were clues to secret missions and places, as of yet undiscovered.
Bonnie had hear rumours that a new Pyramid had been discovered, and within it a portal to a place where everything is not quite as it seems. The key to finding the way there began in the museum, and sure enough there it was. Encased in glass, the pyramid itself, well at least, a model of it. “This sounds fun!” Bonnie remarked to her friend, who had already turn on their heels and was making a dash for the door. There was always a huge urge for discovery amongst the non natives, after all they were interplanetary travellers, discovery is what drives them, so Bonnie was not so surprised to find herself abandoned and in what appeared to now be a race to find the Pyramid!
As it turned out, finding the museum was not the tricky part, it was deciphering the ancient code which was written all over it. This seemed to be the key to get inside. After chatting with a wise old ape and finding some ancient pillars, the portal was revealed. The next adventure had begun!
The haunted place.
A huge glowing Toadstool sprouted from the dusty ground by the ancient pillars, looking precisely enough out of place enough to be exactly what she was looking for. The portal. Handing in the items used to open the door to the portal, Bonnie was filled with a sense of both excitement and trepidation. All that was know about this place was from the ancient text - “spirits of the blue menace, this we build for you. You who seem to move through dimensions and possess others, this we build for you. We wish you now give us peace, since this was built for you.” A place of ghosts did sound like an adventure indeed, but creatures who posses others, and needed pyramids built to keep the peace? Those sounded very intriguing indeed! Bonnie thought as she awaited her fate through the portal.
In that moment she was instantly transported in a magical mythical place. “Brrr, is absolutely freezing in here” thought Bonnie, shivering as ice crystals formed around. Compare with the usual paradise warmth Next Island usually enjoys, this place was cold! In the darkness there was a path of what appeared to be glowing plants. Following the path led to a forest where it seemed everything glowed! And a giant cactus none the less, this place was strange indeed, but not as strange as the creatures she was about to meet.
“Oh wow” Bonnie declared, " You are… completely see through!" she shouted at one of the ghostly screechers, which turned out not to be a great idea as it turned to attack her. Then something even stranger happened. The creature contained the loot of others. Now the description made sense, creatures who posses others. This place lived up to its name, and was indeed truly magical.
Log Date/Time (Local): 41y_92d_1545m
Log Date/Time (Universal/Calypso Time): 55Yac_42D_1234
Need to ensure the revival terminal at outpost x1357y902 is functional. It is currently installed and powered, however, there has not been an opportunity to do a live test (NOTE: irony). There is no standard protocol for testing revival terminals on humans. Killing someone and then seeing if they revive would probably be a breach of ethics… The best that the revival techs here have come up with is sending some poor screecher or sand boar through the terminal. Some standard protocol should be instituted by the EDL, but that is way beyond my paygrade.
While the revival regulations turn a blind eye to revival of animals, there are strict rules regarding using the revival for humans that are still alive, with very large penalties if you were found to violate them. Some less ethical people had been found to bypass the death condition on activation of revival, and as a result, the regulators on CDF were forced to deal with some small bands of cloned troublemakers on Calypso, though generally these folks had a self-destructive streak and didn’t get along well with themselves. Generally, the repeat offenders ended up losing access to the revival network. Which makes the penalty of abusing the revival system worse than death. I suspect we may see the sporadic case also here on Next Island.
The revival system is as close to witchcraft as a technological device will get in my opinion. The initial attempts at its development failed as scientists attempted to clone the physical form, then replicate the chemical reactions that occurred inside the revival subjects body. This only resulted in a shell of a being in a vegetative state, which is pretty creepy if you think about it. The breakthrough in teleporter technology coincided with advances in mindforce. The ability to travel between dimensions unlocked signatures of our being and consciousness that could not be seen before by science and turned out to be the missing puzzle piece for replicating a person that had a ‘soul’. The mind signatures were analog, so they were analyzed in the frequency domain and stored for a sufficient bandwidth so that imprinting these stored signatures on the physical and energy forms of the clones resulted in an indistinguishable being from the original, at least to our perception. But what might be lost in the analog to digital conversion of our souls, might keep one awake at night.
My mind tried to work, but having a laser pistol pointed at your melon puts a damper on brain function. The woman in Resa garb, keeping the pistol near my head, motioned for me to move off the path leading back to the outpost. I slowly moved as she told me to, trying to slow down my breathing, adrenaline now rushing in my body. Think damn it, I thought to myself.
It was strange that a Resa would decide to go for the direct confrontation route. It was even stranger that they would do so out in broad daylight so close to a Elysium outpost. I glanced at the woman briefly. Her hands shook, though she was doing her best to steady it. There was blood on her leggings and on the elbows of her leather shirt. I caught a bruise and scratches on her cheek that was hidden, barely visible on her face in her headwrap. And she walked with a slight limp. It looked like she had been in a bad fight.
“What do you want?” I spoke softly, trying to steady my voice so it did not betray my fear as we moved out of sight of the outpost into the brush near the path. She did not answer me, gripping my pistol tightly in her hands and pressed into my back. Her eyes, darting towards the outpost and me, revealed fright rather than malice. My eyes caught a quick glimpse of an iridescent green pendant she wore around her neck on a leather strap before she quickly hid it again beneath her shirt.
Once we were about two hundred feet away from the path, the woman with my pistol turned me around. “Where’s your med kit?” she asked, her voice quivering with fear or pain, or maybe both.
“Look, are you hurt? I’m sorry, but I left my restoration chip back at the camp, but if you are hurt, maybe we can go back to the camp together and we can try to help you, if you aren’t trying to kill me,” I replied, trying to defuse the situation, but speaking a bit to quickly. Now that we were a bit closer to one another, I could see a gash in the woman’s right leg. The blood on her leather leggings looked fresh.
The woman cursed quietly. “I need that restoration chip,” she whispered to no one in particular.
I took a deep breath to try to calm myself. “Why don’t we go to the outpost, and we can look at your wounds. I promise nothing will happen to you, and we can forget about the gun and all that,” I said, trying to be reassuring.
“No, we can’t do that. There are people tracking me, and I can’t risk them finding me here,” she replied. “And I know the Elysium Alliance doesn’t really give a damn about the Resa. You all just think we are nothing but scavengers anyways and don’t really care what happens to us. So no, I’ll take my chances.”
“You don’t really have much choice,” I said. “It looks like you are losing quite a bit of blood. You need help.” Why did she think she was being followed, and who were they? Who was this Resa woman? I thought.
“Look, I’m going to need you to get me into that outpost so we can get that restoration chip. Then we are going to both leave the camp, so they can’t use you to track me down,” she said in a weak but determined tone.
Then her eyes rolled back, and she collapsed onto the floor.
Log Date/Time (Local): 41y_94d_1836m
Log Date/Time (Universal/Calypso Time): 55Yac_45D_1325
Some personal ramblings.
I find it more difficult to understand the EA’s stance towards the native Stel and Resa tribes. While they have caused and continue to cause some chaos during the establishment of the second wave colonies, they were part of the Elysium during the first wave colonization of Next Island. The majority see the Stel/Resa tribes as a nuisance, but they are our brothers and sisters from the past. The official line is that the Stel and Resa tribes consist of first wave colonists corrupted by Demra. That raises many questions. Were they corrupted prior to arrival to Next Island, or did the corruption occur here. As far as I have seen, there has been no proof to substantiate the tribes’ corruption. Is their current scavenging and raiding behavior a product of their biology, or simply of their circumstance? I take the stance that we should extend a hand to our lost brothers and sisters. However, my opinion is extremely unpopular within the alliance, and I keep these thoughts to myself, lest I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to answer questions regarding my loyalties.
But our problems with Stel and Resa belies a larger question about Demra, and I believe a moral quandary. The Elysium was at the forefront of identifying the Demra corruption, and the negative impacts that it has had on our organized, peaceful society. But in identifying an antagonist, we have allowed ourselves to group human beings into two groups, and shun all those we deem to be corrupted. We have neither understood how and if Demra is spread. We have not identified a cure. We have even used Demra as an excuse to ostracize those whose behavior we deem unacceptable.
The effect of Demra on humanity’s genetics and their behavior likely results in a range of different outcomes depending on how the gene is expressed. All of this is conjecture, but can we simply turn our backs on those we deem to be “corrupted”? While we may see the Stel and Resa as a nuisance, their resourcefulness has helped them manage to survive in a forsaken landscape for decades. What really is Demra?
I’ll leave these thoughts for today, there is much work to be done.
I checked the Resa’s wrist for a pulse. She was still alive. A lump had formed where the woman’s skull hit a large stone on the floor where she fell. I winced, thinking about the headache she would have when she woke up, if she survived. I hope her skull was not cracked. I checked my back pocket for my comms unit, and groaned in my head. I had left it back at the outpost, which Linara had told me some number of times to never do. So I’ll never be hearing the end of that I am sure.
While I did not want to leave her lying on the floor in the brush if those looking for her were nearby, I also did not want to risk injuring the woman further if her neck was broken. I decided I would have to take the chance and leave her on the brush floor and come back with help. I could run the half mile back to the outpost, then grab a strider and come back here with reinforcements.
I used my shirt to bandage the woman’s still bleeding leg as well as I could. Then I saw it again. The woman’s green, iridescent pendant was lying next to her head on the floor. The chain from which it hung must have broken around her neck in the fall. I could now see the pendant was in the shape of a reptilian scale. The pendant almost seemed to glow on its own, and it was unexpectedly large for something one might wear around one’s neck. Not wanting to leave it there on the floor of the brush to get lost, I picked up the scale pendant and broken chain. The pendant was heavy and had some heft. It almost felt like a real scale, but I did not know of any creature with a scale of this size, and with its unnatural seeming properties. I slipped it into my back pocket and started running out of the brush and down the path back to the outpost, when I saw the figures of two Elysian outpost guards crouched on the path in the distance.
“Help!” I yelled at the figures. “I have a hurt Resa woman back here.”
The figures broke into a run towards me. Thank goodness Linara and Julian came to look for me, I thought. Then I froze. As the figures approached, I realized they were not Linara and Julian after all. Based on their dress, I had just yelled out to a pair of Stel brigands.
Log Date/Time (Local): 41y_94d_1856m
Log Date/Time (Universal/Calypso Time): 55Yac_45D_1345
I’m not sure who wrote the previous entry 41y_94d_1836m in my research log, but it was not me. Unfortunately it seems these science log devices do not have a delete function, so I’m left with having to write this journal entry disavowing my previous journal entry. Again, if anyone is reading log entry 41y_94d_1836m, the author is not me (Feng Zho). I don’t know who inserted it into my journal.
On a side note, they should really introduce a security protocol that includes identification/authentication into these devices. Encryption would also be useful.
I turned around and quickly ran back up the path, but not before seeing one of the Stel brigands draw a weapon and fire it in my direction. As I dove into the bush, I felt a pain in my right foot, and smelled the scent of burnt flesh.
Don’t look, I told myself.
I looked, and nearly passed out.
There was a 2 centimeter hole above my right ankle. The laser blast cauterized my blood vessels, so there was no bleeding, but I could see bone where the blast and burned a hole in my lower leg. I attempted to steel myself as the wave of pain kicked in. I hope you may never know the sensation of having a 2 centimeter diameter hole burnt out of your leg.
Nice job buddy, I told myself sardonically. No restoration chip and no armor and a lone walk all by your lonesome. Will have to rethink some life choices. I heard the two Stel walk up the path towards me. I reached for my pistol. My holster was still empty. I had forgotten to pick up my laser pistol before starting to run back to the outpost to get help. There I was, totally defenseless on the floor with a hole in my leg, going into shock. Not a good look.
The two Stel came into view, with their weapons drawn. The tall Stel man had a thick beard and black hair, and a scar on his right forehead. He spoke first. “So, where’s the Resa?” he said in a tone that suggested he really didn’t care if I lived or died…
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” I replied.
The other Stel snickered. “Let’s just kill this one and go find the Resa. I’m sure she couldn’t have gotten far with her wounds,” the female Stel said, as she raised her rifle to my chest.
The male Stel pushed the laser rifle barrel down towards the ground. “Yes, we will, but I’d like to know a bit more about the Elysium’s plans in this area. I see there’s a teleporter being installed here. Want to tell me a bit more about your supply delivery schedule? A little help and I can reduce unnecessary pain in your demise,” the male Stel said, chortling in amusement at himself, and pointing his laser pistol at my left leg.
I said nothing, and closed my eyes as I braced myself to get shot again. I heard a laser blast followed by the smell of burnt flesh. But this time, I felt no pain. The female Stel started screaming.
I opened my eyes. In front of me was the lifeless body of the male Stel lying face down in the dirt with a hole in his chest that was still smoking. I swallowed back the urge to throw up, as I could see the Stel’s innards. His body was already vanishing as whichever Stel revival was rebuilding his physical body. I could see Linara and Julian standing before me with their guns drawn. I felt tears of relief well up in my eyes.
The female Stel, still screaming, had run off into the brush. Without a word, Julian ran off to chase after her. I looked at Linara. “So happy to see you guys,” I said weakly.
“Yeah, we had to send the search party after you didn’t come back right away like you said you would,” she replied. “Nice hole in the leg you got there.”
“Haha, so funny.”
Linara grinned and started applying her restoration chip on my wounds. The hole in my leg got smaller and smaller as my tissues and bones regenerated, until my wound was fully healed. The miracles of modern science! I rubbed my leg where the wound had been. “I’ll never get used to that,” I mulled. In the distance, there was a laser blast. Two minutes later, we saw Julian come back out of the brush towards us.
“She won’t be bothering us here for a while,” Julian said. Julian was older, probably in his late forties, with a large build but moved in battle like a dancer that one might find disconcerting if you have never seen him fight. In contrast to Linara’s lighthearted personality, Julian was serious, and terse in his conversations.
“Let’s get you back to the outpost,” Linara said, as I picked myself up, testing my newly healed right leg.
“Not yet,” I replied, “I need to pick up my laser pistol, and we need to help a wounded Resa.” I started walking towards the spot where I had left the wounded Resa woman, and ignored the very confused looks on Linara and Julian’s faces.
Log Date/Time (Local): 41y_95d_0101m
Log Date/Time (Universal/Calypso Time): 55Yac_45D_1930
Specimen: Scale Pendant
Ostensibly, the appearance of this sample seems to be a scale from the Daudaormur creatures in the bogs and marshlands near the enchanted forest. The shape, color, and texture of the scale-like object appears comparable to that of the Daudaormur. However the size of the scale is several times larger than that which exists on an actual Daudaormur. Additionally, after spectroscopic analysis, the elemental composition and density is unlike any biological material I know about found on Next Island.
I would conjecture that this scale is actually manufactured rather than of biological origin. My understanding of biology of the creatures on Next Island leads me to believe that this can not originate by any natural means. Additionally, I do not understand the energy signatures that are being emitted by this specimen, except to say that it seems to match some of the interference I have been experiencing in my work to perform the teleporter install at the outpost, much to my dismay.
On a whim, I modeled the expected resistance to different damage types using my composition and energy measurements.I am uncertain where the Resa woman acquired this object, but I may know why the Stel were after her. The material seems highly useful for reinforcing against damage from close quarter combat as well as resistance to acid venoms.
At the risk of sounding insane, I have been having extremely vivid dreams. I remember being called towards a cave, of ancient battles, and oversized Daudaormurs. The dreams recur, and it is as if some force is drawing me towards something, but I don’t know what it is. But the dreams seem so real, as if I can almost touch it. I know it is just a dream though. I think.
“So what did you find?” Linara asked, as I completed my study of the scale pendant from the Resa woman.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “How is she doing?”
“Still asleep. Her wounds are fully regenerated, but it may take some time for her mind to forget the shock of her wounds.”
I looked towards the resting form in the bed at the far corner of the room. “What a strange day,” I muttered.
“I’ll say,” Linara replied with a smile. “So what did you determine from all your gadgets?”
“The pendant is not from Next Island. Or rather, it doesn’t seem to be of any natural origin on Next Island. I’ve never seen anything like it,” I said.
Linara sat quite for a minute. “So, any idea where it is from?”
“No, but I did find the same energy signatures from it that are interfering with my teleporter install. It is like the noise interference preventing me from frequency matching with the network is the same as that emanating from that pendant. I’ve never seen matter produce energy signatures like that. I’m in uncharted territory here. Oh, and modeling suggests the material has military uses for armor reinforcement. It is as advanced if not more than any of the reinforcing materials we have available to us.”
Linara raised an eyebrow, “So how does a Resa come to acquire such an item, one would have to ask.”
“I don’t know. I need to find out,” I replied.
“We should report this to the commander then,” Linara suggested.
“Yeah, but I want to get the full story from the Resa first,” I replied as I looked over to the sleeping form of the Resa woman. “I need to understand what is going on, before it gets hushed up and hidden in some archive somewhere.”
Linara nodded, and the sleeping form on the bed began to stir.
Harriots Lore for August
Finding Ancient Greece
Charlotte was fast asleep, she barely even stirred as I gathered a few things. I was getting ready to leave. For a split second, I had thought about leaving her here and getting my Ark contact to pick her up and ship her back to Calypso. But instead I was about to do something far crazier than that. I was on a mission to find the place she had been looking for before getting separated from her crew. I had never stuck my neck out for someone other than myself, at least not since Jerad had been alive… And yet I found myself almost caring about the reason Charlotte was here. I had never really cared much for the tales of bloodshed and battle in Ancient Greece, the Island was harsh enough even without looking for trouble.
I left Golden to protect her while I was gone. He seems to be on edge, I could tell it would take him some time to warm up to the stranger in our cave. Before I blindly trekked off I managed to sneak out Charlotte’s tattered map with a location and a name marked down. ‘Orpheus’ Way’. It was the only lead I had to Ancient Greece.
But once I got there I had no clue what I was looking for. Or even which way to turn. But something was glistening in the morning sunlight. When I walked closer to investigate I found white pillars sticking out of the ground, similar to something Charlotte had mentioned. There was what looked like the head of a bull sticking out of the ground. The creature was like nothing I had seen on Next Island. This must be the right way.
Follow the relics.
My eyes scanned for the next relic but only a small Haruspex encampment could be seen. It was worth a try, if nothing else they may have something good I could ‘acquire’ for my collection. Nothing, from the vines and nature reclaiming the caravans it was obvious they had been empty for a long time. I had heard whispers, stories really, about the Haruspex connection to Ancient Greece. Something about that reinstalled my belief that I was on the right track. Just as I climbed the hill, another pillar came into view.
Follow the relics.
The voice in my head kept chanting like a montra. They were my only clue. I wasn’t an archaeologist like Charlotte claimed to be but I could do something as simple as that. The path seemed to twist and turn until the rushing waterfall was at my back. Behind the overgrown plants was what looked like the entrance to a natural cave. Much like the one I had been sleeping in.
Finding Ancient Greece
As I approached the cave my view wavered, it was as if I had drunk too much stolen tourist whisky. I had to lay my hand on the rocks to steady myself. Just as my vision cleared another while pillar came into view. These ones were bigger, but something strange caught my attention. They were embedded into the rock formation. How long have these been here? Just as I was about to take another step, my foot stumbled over a large circular disc imbedded in the ground, sending me tumbling further into the cave. After dragging my slightly bruised body upwards I found that disc held a mosaic of what looked like an Ancient Greece figure. I had to show Charlotte this. She would know what it all meant. I had to bring her here. This could be the place she had been looking for.
I laid a few white pebbles on my way back to Orpheus’ Way so I could find the way back easier.
Golden gave out the loudest whirl click as I re-entered the cave. Charlotte was hunched over some paperwork spread out on an old travel case I had ‘found’ laying on the beach. She didn’t seem to notice me until I spoke up.
“What are you…” Charlotte gazed up.
“Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. These are fascinating. Where’d you get them? Actually, never mind, you probably stole them. This though, ‘the Stel myth’ I actually studied before I came here. It was supposed to be part of our research trip here but… That doesn’t seem to matter now.”
She grew quiet for a second. As if something still troubled her. “Oh right, I wrote down my last research notes on the Stel myth. I may have missed something, had to write it from memory an all, but you’d better read it for yourself.”
Charlotte handed me page after page. Her handwriting was almost illegible, I had no clue how anyone deciphered her notes. But sat among them was a drawing also.
“Sorry for the crude drawing. I’m not the best of artists. This however is your Stel beast, well at least how it appears to some people. Also my notes are super messing, but I’ll give you the short and sweet version. Have you heard of the ‘Original’ inhabitants of Next Island? Part of my research was to investigate the original inhabitants. Long before the first wave, this land had its own thriving intellectual species. No one can say for sure what happened to them or what they truly were but some say their ghost’s still remain on the island. Our department called them ‘The Ghost’s of Next Island’. They are said to be spirits from the old times. The Stel myth is one such spirit. Actually, from Jerad’s journal it seems to be a revengeful spirit. I believe the spirit isn’t at rest and won’t be until it ‘reclaims’ the land that it believes these ‘invaders’, the first wave, stole from it.”
The Island Beast
My head started to spin, more than what I had felt at the cave.
“So you’re telling me, what got my mentor killed was just an angry ‘being’ that wasn’t happy people had moved here?” I couldn’t quite bring myself to comprehend the idea of it being a ghost from the old world.
“In layman’s terms yes.”
Charlotte handed me what looked like a freshly written page.
“I believe we called in the ‘Island Beast’, you’ll know it by a fairy-tale that’s told to all Stel. I guess when they made the tale it was based on a form of truth. I would love to know how that story went, but maybe some other time. This entry here was dated 10 years ago, according to one of your recent scribbles. Am I really more like the Resa?”
I rolled my eyes, “no information is safe around you. I guess that proved my point. Anyways, continue.”
“Right, so the ‘beast’ or spirit could still be wandering around the desert. There is a possibility it returned to the place Jerad had found it, as a sort of tether to that location.”
“So how do you fight a spirit?” A cold shiver ran down my spine at even mentioning that word leaving my mouth. “I mean it’s not like we can call in a ghost hunter.” A small laugh escaped my lips at my own light hearted joke. Charlotte was stone faced as she said her next words.
“Do you know any?” Her steely resolve was quite terrifying and I had met the scariest and toughest of warriors.
“No, no I don’t know any ‘ghost hunters’” She sighed, staring a hole into the journal.
“Do you know where this is, the mutant boar lake?”
“Now that’s one thing I do know, however, I cannot guarantee my safety or even yours for that matter. The Stel’s like to hang around there. We need to find you some kind of disguise…”
Charlotte looked thoughtful for a moment. Her eyes gazed at the pile of clothes. Almost chuckling to herself.
“Why do you have a Loyalist armour set there? Think that would serve me much better than some flimsy disguise.”
I tried to hold back my laughter, the armour sat loosely on Charlotte, I had a feeling she would need more meat on her bones for it to fit properly. It would have to do. I had an unsettling feeling I would have to be on top form today, I didn’t know why but something in me felt like I had to protect Charlotte. Like watching a wounded animal. If she was right about this I had no clue what I could even do against such a being.
The Island Beast
I was back once again staring at the mutant boar, they looked partially agitated today. As if preparing for a coming storm. Charlotte almost ran into one of their horns as she gazed around in wonder. She barely even noticed when I speared it with my sword pulling her back.
“You have to remain vigilant here, this isn’t some tourist destination. These boars have no manners and wouldn’t think twice about attacking.” Charlotte gave a small nod but I knew for a fact she wasn’t really listening.
I took her to the location Jerad had mentioned, it was a small pond, of sorts, with what looked like someone had deliberately placed stones there. Charlotte’s eyes lit up.
“Fascinating, this is definitely the right place. You see those stone formations, this would have been placed to mark a location the original islanders would have thought held great magical potential. Which makes it the perfect nesting ground to bury their most valued members. The remains must be around here somewhere. Possibly even right underneath our feet.”
At Charlotte’s words a black fog began to form where we stood. It seemed to swirl and form patterns until two beady red eyes stared at us. This smoke seemed to waver; it almost looked like that of a big, gigantic bear, looming over us. The red coal-like eyes stared at us following our every moment. Charlotte seemed to take a step towards the spot I had mentioned to her. The eyes stared at her intently. Charlotte seemed to pay no attention as if it were an everyday thing.
“Ah here. You see this marking on the stones, its buried here….” A loud deafening sound pierced the air, Charlotte was indicated to cover my ears. After what seemed like a few minutes the sound died down. Charlotte faced the ‘being’ as if trying to square up to it. “Are you quite done? I know for a fact you cannot harm either one of us while we have these.” Charlotte held up a bright blue petal. It seemed to shimmer a little in the sunlight. I searched my own pockets. Charlotte had skilfully reverse pick-pocketed me, a blue petal was tucked neatly in my pocket. Charlotte indicated to place it back in my pocket.
The Island Beast
“I know these blue flowers hold a special magical power here on Next Island. Wasn’t easy to find but even an old soul like yourself knows of the significance it holds. Now…”
“You are no better than those that invaded our land.” An eerie booming voice spoke out. “Those that only wish to pollute and destroy this once sacred land. I have had to sit and watch, as species that once thrived, died one by one. I watched as invaders attacked and fractured. This land was once whole, I watched as the island broke apart. Those that are the cause must pay for what they have done.” Charlotte settled herself down on one of the rocks as if it were story time.
“I know it must have been hard to watch as the world changed. But now others are here to enjoy the place you once enjoyed, be it in a different way. The burden of this land is no longer yours to bear, you must pass it to the next generation. We must lay you to rest, properly. You can join your brothers and sisters, but you must allow us the honour of ensuring this world that they create thrives. We can be your voice to ensure the safety of the world that is to be created. But you must trust us to follow out the plan for a better world here.”
The island beast fell quiet for a moment. “In honour of my ancestors I will allow you ONE chance and one chance only to prove your worth. There is a place the locals and tourists alike call Ancient Greece. There you will find a den. Bring me back a snake from the gorgon’s hair as proof of your worth. If you fail or die on your journey you are not worthy enough to ensure the safety and longevity of this paradise”
Charlotte readily agreed, not knowing the full weight of the task that had been given. The black smoke-like creature faded until only the blood red eyes of the mutant boar pierced at us. We were surrounded.
Here we go again with another 5 Stories:
I really hope the story for Conq is ok with everyone I tried my best. Was definatly the hardest task writing I had so far.
This three-page journal describes the adventures of finding the mysterious pyramid on Next Island. The journal can be found in the magical forest behind the smaller tree trunk.
The mysterious pyramid
Recently I was walking around Conq’s Rest because I wanted to go back and pay his nice memorable place a visit. As well as trying out my luck with the crafting machines that are stationed there. Anyways before I got to take my leap of faith. A building caught my attention. I passed this place quite sometimes, but I never realized that you could enter and visit the big building. Immediately I changed plans and went to explore the building. I was quite surprised by the number of different artefacts you could find there. Once you enter the building for example you see a big statue of an Ancient Greece fighter and in a vitrine nearby a nice statuette and a small display of Ascalaris. You can look at some holographic lamps with the symbol of Resa, Stel and the other factions. There were some banners of those factions as well, right besides a cyclops and some Gorgon armor from Ancient Greece. All those artefacts I did expect to be in an exhibition of the things of Next Island and Ancient Greece but there was one artefact on display that did strike me as very odd.
This artefact was a glowing pyramid, it especially sparked my interest because it was something I would not expect when thinking of iconic things of Next Island. I know Sebastian seems to live in remains of a pyramid as well, but this pyramid seems to be different: There is a stair that is lighten up with energy and rumours have it, that this mysterious pyramid is located somewhere in the western dessert. I guess this looks like a mystery I like to solve. I will study the strange looking text and prepare for an expedition to the western desserts tomorrow.
The search for the pyramid
After studying the map of Next Island, I made out a few things what the desert in the west could be. My strongest guess is that it is somewhere near Shatterrock. The other option would be that it is more located in the south. But since I got the implication of western desert, I figured it will be west of where the replica of the pyramid can be seen.
I equipped my Maze Hammer and did go west of Shatterrock for some exploring. I must have walked the desert for about a minute when a C.A.R.E Mk10 started to attack me. Not soon after, I had to revive back on the outpost. I needed a new approach. No sooner said than done I took out my Sleipnir and explored the rest of the desert in the next hour from a save distance. Sadly, I have not found any indication of the pyramid I was searching. Although this lead was a dead end, I had now a better plan to explore the southern desert, my second guess for the location, so I hopped in my Sleipnir and flew down to the southern desert. Starting from Kamba outpost I went south, past a small river than almost hit a mountain because I mostly paid attention to what was below me and not what was in front of me. I flew down all along the river all the way past Serpentine Village and Shadow Hill till I reached Oasis Outlook. Tired of the long travel, I decided to go to Cecily, to help her with their Problems with Red Papoo Stalkers. She always has a little something if you can kill 50 of them by using only a NI Basic Laser Pistol. But as soon as I left her, I realized that for one it was already quite late, and I haven’t gotten any pistol in my inventory. I decided to go to Serpentine Village to grab a Pistol and speak with some fellow Islanders if they can help me with the pyramid search before I call it a day.
Finding the pyramid and its secrets
After having such a long search yesterday, I seem to have gotten lucky. A stranger approached me in the morning. He said he have heard me talking in the bar about searching for a mysterious pyramid. For a ped he could point me in the direction of there whereabouts of this pyramid. As I agreed he said I should go to Shadow Hill and fly northeast. The pyramid should be in the middle of the following outposts: Shadow Hill, Morion Outpost and Serpentine Village.
With this new information I couldn’t wait to get on my Sleipnir to Shadow Hill and search the pyramid. I seem to have been so close but just looking in the wrong direction. I flew in the direction he told shortly got distracted by a nice little pond in the distance with some palm trees around it. After a short break there I continued towards northeast. Just shortly after I saw the pyramid in the distance on top of a plateau. When I approached closer there was a mystical fog surrounding the pyramid. And in the fog, there were some creatures that looked familiar but different- Ghostly Screechers. I was afraid they would attack me but found out that they were not hostile towards me.
I went closer to the pyramid only to realize it was full of writings in a Language I can not read. Seeing the replica of the Pyramid I could see the writings but just thought they might be too small to read, but even having them big in front of me I just could not make any sense out of those signs. After thinking a bit, the only feasible solution was to find someone who is on Next Island since years if not centuries. After thinking about that it came to my mind, that I have heard of a lonely ape that wondered Next Island long before I was here. I figured he should be somewhere in the Northeast. Since I did not remember it exactly, I went back to Crystal Peak and did what I always do in dire situations. I went to the Beach Bar and grabbed a drink speaking to locals for some more Information.
Random Letter 16
This letter has can be found when looting a Screecher Provider on Next Island. It looks as if it was digested with a small piece of meat and still has some bloodstains on it.
Today while I did my daily Lesser Elysia crafting in Tanzanite View I passed by the Haruspex Elder that told me about Ancient Greece back in the days. Today he had a new secret for me, he was looking for some help because of a tragedy that has occurred in his realm. While I still not quite understand what their realm is exactly is, I still was curious to hear what have happened there. He told me that they created an armor as a thank you gifts for the continued support of us humans provided between here and Ancient Greece. After they planed the whole armor out and have had the actual blueprint for the armor. The formation of the armor they entrusted the Molochs some Ancient Greece primordial race. Since they are all experienced bullmen miners they seemed to be perfect for the job, however they stood under the influence of Demra. Demra seems to be a strong power I still need to learn about since I haven’t heard of her before as far as I remember. Nevertheless, it seems to be an evil ancient power, so I got tasked from the elder to retake the gift. But to even get near those Molochs, I first need to perform a ritual that involves a blood sacrifice to be able to enter their realm. To have a big enough blood sacrifice I need to kill 1000 Great White Sharks, 2000 Desert Crawlers and 5000 Screechers.
Although I am not sure if I am strong enough to finish this task, I figured I can as well try, since the elder told me that time is of essence as well, or the Molochs might use the power of the armor to take the world. I will go to a local shop and get some amplifiers, that way I can immediately start with the Screechers since I should be able to handle them with the right equipment. I should as well grab the Screecher containment quest on the side to get some extra oil for the task.
First, I will go to the local shop and buy me some amplifiers for my mindforcechip. I am quite confident that I should be able to handle the Screecher sacrifice. To be re l pr pa
The rest of the letter is not readable anymore
This letter is pinned to a Construction Machine in Conq’s Rest
Today was a very special event on Next Island. It was the funeral of Conq45. I was touched by the number of Islanders and people all around the universe that have gathered for this last goodbye. As I joined the circle that formed, I was well joined all the nice memories that got shared that people have had with him. I for once only remember him from the BIG Industries warp flights. That helped me out immensely as I was quite new. He had the patience to explain how all of it works. His presence in the universe really touched and positively influenced the life of many different people.
After sharing those stories, we all went to the edge and formed a line looking up to the sky. There was what I felt a short moment of silence, where we just staired out in the sky and all remembered our stories, we had with Conq, while there was a big wormhole on top of us. After that we got asked to take a leap of faith. I did not think much of it at the time and was impressed, when I found myself in a cave dedicated to Conq. As I only remembered him from the warp flights I was pleased to hear and see all the deeds he accomplished. Standing at the cave as I write these words, I want to give you a small goodbye poem.
Conq we did not have much to do
But you helped me out when I was quite new
You were helpful to many people not only me
And for this you will be in our loving memory
You helped many people with your spaceflight
And had patience while secretly fighting your own fight
I heard many stories on your farewell
But they are not mine to tell
I know you helped many communities
You’re an inspiration Conq45 Rest in Peace
Here are the next lore entries for my character!
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
The sun was coming up and I was set to depart from Tanzanite View, the uncharted Haruspex settlement I stumbled upon yesterday. There was not much for me to do in general for surveying the land and documenting as Norma already did most of it while scouting, however, I did take some time to look at their strange stone structures which still fascinate me. Were they a power source? A beacon of some kind? Too many questions, not enough answers. However, I detected an immense amount of energy coming from the towers and channeling from the tree roots and branches to the bright orbs on the structures.
A single tower seemed to be equivalent to almost half the power generators powering the Biological Research Area. Interesting, I will take note of this and perhaps in the future we could adapt this magic into our settlement power grids.
The Haruspex Elder did not want to answer these questions, I think it senses my plans and what I’ll be doing with Haruspex magic. No matter, all my answers should be answered when I study at the Haruspex settlement in the northwest, the strongest source of strange energy readings.
I ended up staying for lunch as well before leaving and got to sit by a cliff looking down towards the grass plains below. The Haruspex are simple beings and don’t use any kind of mindforce implants and chips to do magic, they do, however, use some sauce to make salad taste really good. At about mid-day, I finally left and headed to my destination.
Nothing out of the ordinary was observed while hiking close to NEO territory, however, I think I made another grave mistake, as when I reached the shore of the NEO outpost designated “Flash Point” on my Nav, all I could hear was heavy artillery fire and drakes roaring as they flew by. Explosions and fire lit the sky and it was practically a war zone. This area of the planet is known for being the home of several kinds of drakes and the New Elysian Order was right under them… literally.
Every few seconds, you could hear either a drake blasting fire or a NEO turret firing. It surprised me that the NEO survived so long in such unfriendly lands but I expected nothing less for a group that took all our leading scientists and engineers as their own. I won’t be just sitting around waiting to get shelled or become drake food, so I will continue logging after I leave NEO territory.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
It has been a few days since my last entry and I am still not out of NEO territory yet. There have been drakes and NEO patrols roaming around and the geography of the area lacks any kind of proper spots to hide. I was not anticipating such a terribly planned out detour but seems now I have to continue through.
I finally found a very remote area on top of a mountain with no drakes in sight and far off from any NEO outposts. I’m going to try to use this time to get some proper rest, study the area, and get an entry in the journal to keep a record of my journey through these not-so-friendly lands.
After crawling through Flashpoint outpost and trying not to be drake food, I ended up continuing north where I walked through an ashy and volcanic area. I had some trouble breathing in this area and when I looked over some kind of ravine, I saw vulcan drakes roaming about. At this point, I just turned around and decided to leave, but before I could, a drake popped up behind me and tried roasting me alive. Just before it blew fire at me, I jumped out of the way and hid behind my strider, but fire is not as rigid as a bullet, and for the whole 30 seconds I was taking cover, I could feel a painful burning sensation on my right side. Atlas armor is not very good at insulation and protecting against sentient flamethrowers, but I still tried holding myself together and after the drake stopped breathing fire, I got up and shot it down with my hunting rifle.
After killing off the vulcan drake, I sat down and checked my injuries. Harsh burns on the right side of my face and arm, but nothing a fast aid pack can’t fix. The heat ended up melting my Atlas arm guards and part of my helmet to the point where I had to cut the armor pieces open to get it off. Luckily none of the parts melted onto my body, or else I’d have to get creative on how to remove them.
With myself patched up and orientated with the surroundings again, I continue north with the hopes of reaching a checkpoint where both northern continents have the smallest water gap dividing them.
In the distance I see a NEO base looking over the vulcan drake ravine and at this point, I am tempted to ask for help but no, I am going to continue this journey myself, I do not need their fancy technology being shoved in my face while morale is at an all-time low.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
The mountain passes through the most hostile territory I have ever been in were wide, calm, and quiet. This was both a great feeling but also a sense of fear grew in me as I felt another ambush could come at any moment or a drake could swoop down and carry me away.
My finder is not working properly and I need to stop to fix it or else I can’t survey for resources. Something keeps the NEO weapons powerful and I feel the durability comes from a certain resource in the ground, not just technological advancement. Without cover, the sun practically cooked me in the daytime so I did most of my activities at night. Even on the skyripper, which sped up my traveling quite a bit, it lacks the roof to protect me from the evil that is the sun.
If the NEO could figure out how to make gear that could cool people down, I wouldn’t mind trading some research data with them for it. Between drakes and the sun, the heat seems to be a main cause of death here, while the strange papoo factions are the main danger we need to watch out for in Loyalist territory.
My datapad is getting filled up with not just data entries but also photos and more photos of the amazing views that the mountains give. I move around the most at night when the air is cool and hide in the day to rest and cool down from the heat. My strider, after some diagnosis, I realized is not in good shape so I have been spending my off-time in the day to rest, eat, and slowly repair it. I’m not as good at these mechanical repairs as the technicians at Crystal Peak, but my main goal is just to get it back to running smoothly again.
I still need parts for my strider and I don’t want to rip apart my skyripper, or else I’ll have to continue the entire journey on foot. The strider will have to be low in priority, as I don’t see how I can raid a NEO outpost for parts without getting myself killed. I could, however, attempt to raid a Resa camp to scavenge parts from their scavenged vehicles. I am not sure what I will do but I will think of a solution eventually.
Name: Captain Hector Draken, EEF
This morning, while looking at the sunrise, I finally saw the river checkpoint! I was finally able to get out of NEO territory and get away from these flying lizards. At least the NEO haven’t started building aircraft to harass me from the air like the Stel, it would be a nightmare if they did.
This path I took was great for avoiding sharks but what it doesn’t avoid is these savage chimera that roam the area. Not sure if it’s the ration packs or the minor inconvenience that I do not want that they smell. However, my arm still aches from the burn injuries and I can’t exactly shoot properly with one arm.
My pistol was indeed enough and was a great opportunity to loot some crystals in case I needed to trade with the locals of the area. The inhabitants of the land do not exactly see PEDs as important as resources, so it’s easier to buy and sell items with physical wares than with a universal currency.
Despite my strider being burned and melted by the drake, I still had a skyripper and it was much easier to use that than the strider to get across the bog area infested with daudaormurs. I am not certain of the origins of these on planetside but I have a theory that the Haruspex brought them into existence while creating Ancient Greece. There exist such creatures in Ancient Greece as well, under the control of The Gorgon herself, but these planetside ones seem to roam freely and without a leader.
One thing I learned today was that the bog was in Resa territory, something which perplexes me as I did not expect the Resa to be up this north. The Haruspex indeed are not very aggressive and take a more passive position on territory as long as they can exist and roam around freely. A new teleport was discovered when I arrived at the empty Resa camp. I also realized at that moment that the teleports had the faction’s emblems engraved on them and I have thought the Stel and Resa to be completely the same and their names interchangeable this whole time. I can see why I am not on the diplomacy team of the Loyalist faction, as my handling of the interactions at Morion Outpost and continuously referring to those Resa as Stel could have been very offensive. Do not assume just because I realized my mistake that I am warming up to the rival factions, I am not and will not fully trust them.
Most of the Resa camps I go to are empty, especially the more remote ones on mountains and such. Seems scavenging is more important for them than to secure their homes. To be honest, I can see why, out in the middle of nowhere, the risk of getting looted by raiders is so small since no one is near you, so it is mostly safe to leave your camp unguarded.
5 parts for August Lore
The Ancient Greece Redemption - Part 1
That morning something different happened: through the bars of my cell I saw the jailer approach, but this time he was not alone … someone with a hooded robe was accompanying him, which did not allow me to see his face … they stayed a few meters from me cell, and the stranger gave the jailer a handful of peds, apparently to be alone … Moments later, the stranger pulled the hood back, and I could finally see his face.
Desmond … the bloody traitor had come to see me … He came over, looked at me with a scowl of hatred on his mouth, and spoke.
-Hi Dante … Long time since you left me abandoned in that damn pyramid … ago … mmm … 8 or 9 months? -He was staring at me.
-Desmond … How could you … We were friends before your betrayal … - I hit the bars with all the accumulated anger.
That got him out of control.
-Treason? Treason, he says … the same one who left me to die in that nest of robots. - Hatred was evident in his words.
He looked at me for a long time … It seemed that he was ordering his thoughts … At last he spoke again.
-Listen, that planetary teleporting was the beginning of great wealth for the Stel, and now that’s just junk.
-Desmond, but don’t you understand that that would have been the beginning of the end of the Entropy Quadrant? … The robots would have invaded everything sooner or later - It was incredible that Desmond did not see the danger that that represented.
-No, it would have been impossible … Once you and that Simon had finished with the robots, my other VIP colleagues Stel would have arrived and hacked the System, to avoid new communications with Calypso’s robots … It would have been OUR … and you would have too participated … - An expression of pain passed over his face - And instead of helping, you left me abandoned to a thousand deaths …
A thousand deaths … what was Desmond referring to?
-Listen, Desmond, in the end you are alive, only that your plans have not come out … But instead of going back, you end up with Simon and you set me up with your boyfriend to blame me … -If it weren’t for the bars of the cell , I would have killed Desmond with my bare hands.
Desmond looked at me … his eyes showed a shadow of madness, but also of that intelligence that characterized him … I wanted to know more …
-How did you kill Simon? And how did you prevent him from resurrecting? And my weapon? Who shot it? - I had many questions, and I wanted to know everything before they executed me …
-Dante, it’s fair that you know everything … Simon was not killed by me, but by you … it is your weapon, a CDF Edition bound to its owner, no one else can use it … unless I take advantage of the fact that you are unconscious, take your hand with the pistol wielded, and press your finger on the trigger … and the gun you have fired, with a little help, of course … -He smiled mockingly …
I can’t believe it… he used me to fire my gun and kill Simon… but how come he didn’t resurrect?
-Of course I guess what you are thinking now … you see … you were both unconscious after the roof of the house fell on you … Mark and I searched you and saw that your friend had an access card to the TP systems, no doubt he used it to follow us … when we used it, we saw that he had sufficient credentials to enter the DNA system … and we took the opportunity to terminate Simon … His death would be permanent.
Of course … the card and keys that his friend who worked in the TP had given him to be able to follow Mark … Damn Desmond … and on top of that it makes me look guilty …
-And now you’ll be thinking why I didn’t kill you too … so that you would suffer a minimum of what I suffered in that damn pyramid … -his eyes showed evil, but … he also looked scared …
-Desmond … what happened to you in the pyramid? - He was curious about what had happened to him …
-Thousands of deaths, Dante, that’s what happened … listen …
The Ancient Greece Redemption - Part 2 - Desmond’s Story
I woke up in the dark … I couldn’t see anything … I just smelled of burning metal, and I heard electrical sounds … short circuits … Those sparks guided me … I was in the anteroom of the hangar …
The hangar door was almost ripped off its hinges, and I could see inside: Only junk remained from the planetary TP… You and Simon had undoubtedly destroyed the system.
When I took inventory, I realized that you had taken everything from me: the TP chip, the Healing chip, my weapons, and the survival rations … I had nothing …
Hours later, orienting myself by the sparks and lights of some systems and screens that were still on, I arrived at the exit of the pyramid, to discover the horror: the huge armored door was blocked, and the opening and closing system destroyed … Well done, Dante… you made sure I couldn’t get out.
I started looking for another way out … nothing, there was no way … I explored the whole place from end to end, and hours later I was aware of the situation: I could not go out, I could not teleport or heal, and I had no food or drink …
Four days, Dante … four days going crazy looking for a way to escape, and the thirst driving me … from a droka I got the cooling liquid, and I drank it … it was liquid and it quenched my thirst, but … it gave me a dysentery that left me dehydrated … I was dying … and I didn’t know if I could appear in a Revive or, on the contrary, I would end up completely dead … Thank you Dante, thank you very much …
Two days later, weakened to exhaustion, I couldn’t take it anymore: with a sharp edge of metal I opened my veins … I committed suicide, I wanted to end it, and my mind flew, with one last thought to Mark, my Mark …
I blinked… opened my eyes… where am I? A Revive? Where?
I couldn’t believe it … the Revives network was working despite the shielding … My joy lasted just long until I discovered that the Revive was right there, INSIDE THE PYRAMID … Damn it !!! He couldn’t get out, and he would go through everything again … Why would robots put a Revive inside?
Well, at least I had another three days until thirst consumed me again… in three days I could find a way out.
There was no way out … and thirst and hunger killed me again … I committed suicide again …
By the fifth time I already knew what I had to do: I had three days before I was too weak to be able to find a way to escape from there … if I did not succeed, I would have to commit suicide again and again another opportunity …
Do you know how many times I died, Dante? I don’t know … I just knew that in those three days I had to prepare everything for the next attempt … Die to stay alive … Magnificent …
Over the weeks I was looking for tools, energy cells, some transport system to help me … I set up my own workshop … I repaired some screens and power systems, and so I was able to mount a lighting system … it was very rudimentary, but at the less I could see and illuminate much of the installation … I also managed to build a system with energy cells to be able to use tools, and to recharge them …
I began to attack the huge entrance door … the robot tools were perfect, but the door had enormous armor … and with so much work in a couple of days I was exhausted … back to suicide …
Months, Dante, months … months preparing everything, months using tools to break the door, months committing suicide, months resurrecting, months without Mark … and you, Dante? What did you do in those months? Ah, I forgot, you were dedicated to saving the planet from a lot of animals … what a hero …
Finally, one night I was able to open a hole in the doorjamb, and I saw the outside … I saw the sky, and the stars … and I was able to pass my body and go out …
But I have not told you the worst … now I know, because I recovered little by little … but so much fear, so much suicide, so much resurrection, so much hardship had destroyed my mind … Now I know that at that time I was crazy, and that my body responded as if he had an Automatic Pilot: work, die, resurrect … work, die, resurrect … but Desmond did not exist …
From what I could find out, a couple of days later some Resa discovered me dying again, but now far from the place … They took me to the camp, and before my ravings, they thought that I was pretending, that I was making fun of them … in that kind of the mist that unleashed the madness, I felt the beatings and the blows, I heard the laughter of the Resa … But I did not exist …
And one day, suddenly, I opened my eyes in that Resa prison … and I remembered … It was Desmond, a VIP Stel … months had passed, I had left the pyramid, I had lost my boyfriend, and the guilty of my misfortunes, you and that damn Resa, you would be having drinks in the bars of Next Island …
That night I pretended to be crazy again, until they left and left me alone … and I escaped … I fled … I didn’t know where I was, so I jumped down a ravine … I died, and I finally appeared in a Revive in Morion Outpost … I already had a reference point … you already know the rest …
He walked away down the hall … a moment before walking out the door, he turned and said …
A thousand deaths, Dante, a thousand deaths … you’re only going to have one death tomorrow, but it will be the final one … I swear …
The Ancient Greece Redemption - Part 3
It is the day … A few minutes ago the guards of Queen Pentesílea appeared with the jailer in front … they opened the cell and I was able to leave … the jailer put some shackles on my wrists and, immediately afterwards, I was pushed without much consideration by the hoplites to the release from Thebes prison …
A crowd gathered around the square … there was a kind of corridor flanked by Amazons to the center, where there was a wooden scaffold where everything was supposed to happen …
I went down the hall while the villains cursed me, spit, scold and threw rotten fruit and even excrement … I was a murderer and I was going to be executed …
I climbed the steps of that makeshift stage and faced the crowd … Gods, if that looked like one of those old “Autos de Fe” where they burned heretics and witches in the past …
On one side a representative of the VIP Stel … It was one with whom I had interviewed along with Simon to receive payment for the durasteel of the robots … Now I know that he and his partner were some of those who knew about the planetary teleporter … he looked mockingly as his lips silently formed the words “you’re dead” … In his hands a Revives and DNA controller … they were going to erase me from the data banks …
On the other side the representatives of Queen Pentesílea, flanked by a series of hoplites and a huge warrior with a huge falcata in his hands … I would bet my head that he is the one in charge of cutting it off …
-People of Greece … travelers from other worlds … this morning we will deliver justice on behalf of Queen Pentesílea on this settler, accused of murdering another settler who was also a friend …
A lot of howls interrupted his spiel: the people clamored for my blood at the magnitude of my actions, and more now, that the people of Greece had discovered the resurrection thanks to the Revives of the “travelers from other worlds” … The representative cleared his throat and continued with his sentence …
-That is why he is condemned to death, for the life he took … His head will be cut off, but before that, to prevent him from being resurrected, his people will erase the memories of his existence …
A simple way for those minds of the past to explain that he was going to be erased from the DNA banks …
The VIP came forward … he showed his controller to the crowd that was huddled there, and he switched it on … Some lights flickered, and my photo appeared on the screen … the people howled with even more fervor …
The Stel pressed a button, and my photo on the screen started to flash red… He looked at the Greek representative, who nodded at him… The Stel pressed the button a second time and…
A lash of pain ran through my body … it was the disconnection of the DNA banks … I did not remember that deadly sensation that I experienced years ago in Calypso when I was connected … it was the same pain, but with a different purpose …
Between gasps, I looked at the audience … and saw them …
Katalina was there, with a hooded cloak that hid part of her face, but I saw her … and next to her was a figure that could not hide part of the turban that encircled her forehead … Moustapha the Toulano … what they did there?
I saw them both… but I didn’t see any pity on Katalina’s face, nor on Moustapha’s… I saw determination, nervousness… what were they up to?
The executioner came forward amidst roars from the audience … he opened his arms receiving the cheers of the public as he showed the huge falcata … at the same time, the hoplites had made me kneel while my head was in a low position … I looked at Katalina for the last time …
What are these crazy people doing ??? Katalina and Moustapha opened their capes showing their perfectly repaired armor … and some long-range weapons …
The huge executioner raised the falcata and began its downward movement to my neck …
BLAM !!! An accurate shot smashed the weapon in the giant’s hands … only the hilt remained before the perplexed look of the executioner …
The panic began … the people detached themselves from the side of my two rescuers … they could already see their weapons in their hands firing into the air … The hoplites let go of me while they readied their egidas as defense and pointed with their sarissas …
Katalina and Moustapha fired at their egidas… they were strong shields but they had nothing to deal with the BLP shots… The hoplites took cover…
And I while there, alone, chained, in the midst of the general panic and the shots … and suddenly I saw them … A group of Stel guards approached, undoubtedly the VIP escort who had to erase me … well armed and looking to conquer the world … Katalina and Moustapha were lost… There was no time to lose…. I turned to my right and with a great impulse, I gave a head butt to the jaw of the VIP, who collapsed unconscious … I threw myself in the middle of some barrels of goods … now I had to be very careful, because a shot could definitely kill me …
The shots raged on both sides in the now deserted square of Thebes … how were we going to escape from there?
A huge roar made my eyes look up: An Arkadian Dropship was about to land while its hold was being opened… in that ship there was space for up to eight people, but who was driving that ship?
The dropship landed and I didn’t think about it: I ran to the open door of the cellar and dove headfirst, while Katalina and Moustapha covered me with their shots … Seconds later, they too entered as the doors closed … From the cabin came a voice well known to me …
-Grab you all, welcome to JoseGaltor Airlines !!!
-Damn crazy … Jose, Jose … what are you doing here? - I couldn’t believe that my old friend left his adventures with him and his RockTropía Vixen to come and save me …
-What do I do? Save your ass, as always … thank your pretty wife and your friend in the turban …
The ship just took off and launched at high speed, gliding over fields and rivers … Now we were outlaws on Next Island and Ancient Greece …
The Ancient Greece Redemption - Part 4
That night we took refuge in the fields of Ancient Greece … My friends and I were uneasy: we were outlaws on the planet, and also a death sentence weighed on my head … As if that were not enough, I was now a mere mortal, since I had been deletion of DNA banks.
Katalina told me what I needed to know. Once I was arrested and the charges for my conviction were read, she was on her way… she quickly flew to Toulan in search of Moustapha, and they both created possible escape plans.
But due to the strong security measures, and the surveillance to which she was subjected as the wife of the condemned, there was no possible way to get me out of her prison.
-So your little wife got in touch with me… With how happy I was in Rocktropia surrounded by pretty Vixen and betting on Thief’s fights… -The one who spoke like that was my friend JoseGaltor.
We met Jose a long time ago in Calypso, when we were rookies … But he went to Arkadia, and had great luck mining and hunting in the Underground … in fact, he was very rich, but he did not invest in land or shops: he enjoyed the life.
-As you suppose, dear Fenix - He always called me that, in memory of other times - the only way to save you was the day of the execution, but of course … where they were going to get a pilot crazy enough to land near a scaffold in the middle of a crossfire with a ship the size of an Arkadian Dropship that, by the way, is stolen !!!
Definitely, I have been lucky enough to surround myself with good friends and colleagues … I’m sorry that Simon is no longer among us, but now the main thing is to unmask Desmond and be able to prove my innocence and clear my name …
Moustapha began to sort out our alternatives:
-Now we can’t get close to the Stel, because they would hand us over… Desmond is missing, and his boyfriend Mark too… The Resa will hate you because Dante is supposed to have killed one of their own, and we have to flee Ancient Greece.
-Right - Katalina intervened- Queen Penthesilea will declare us fugitives from the law, so we can’t expect help from her …
I was thoughtful for a moment … I didn’t see any kind of solution to the situation … Although at the moment the main thing was to get out of there …
The next morning we left the stolen ship and approached Thebes Market again… it was abuzz with both Greek and Stel soldiers… everyone was looking for us…
We went through some alleys that led to the houses of the villagers … near a patio we heard the voice of a woman, singing something … Katalina approached carefully and saw her … she was laying out the laundry, a lot of robes, chitón and layers … Katalina made us a gesture of silence.
The woman finished her task and returned to the house … Quickly, Katalina came out of her hiding place and went to the clothes hanging … a moment later she threw us some Greek robes and capes with which we muffled ourselves to be able to camouflage ourselves among the people of Thebes.
We left from there to the field, and we walked a long way avoiding Arges, Mirinians and others … Finally, after a good while walking and circling the area, we arrived at Orpheus Cave … To discover that there was a squad of hoplites guarding who entered and who came out of there …
There was no way to pass through there without being seen … Surely our faces were already on all holo-screens, so the only way to pass would be by shooting.
We got closer on the road … there was a movement of people back and forth although in a more leisurely way than other times, undoubtedly due to access control.
Under our robes and capes we had our weapons loaned … Each time we were closer, we could already see the faces of the hoplites scrutinizing the faces of the people, asking for documents … There were barely two or three people left in front of us, and …
One of the hoplites looked up, looked at us for a second, and looked down again at the documentation that a guy was giving him … suddenly, he froze, and looked at us again with wide eyes: He had recognized us .
Voices, screams, Sarissas at the ready… The four of us launched ourselves like titans towards the hoplites. Moustapha made quick movements with her Twin, while Jose took out a Khulokar Dagger from Arkadia … I had to be more careful since I could die forever, but still, flanked by Katalina, I took down two hoplites …
In a few seconds the hoplite contingent was on the ground, some unconscious, others injured, and some dead that in a short time would dematerialize and appear in a Revive Terminal … It was time to go to Next Island, and then we would see …
Moustaphá crossed the Orpheus Cave TP, followed by a JoseGaltor who, with a gesture, pointed us to a new group of hoplites that was approaching … Katalina and I had just enough time … I didn’t think about it, with a push I launched her into the TP seconds before the hoplites appeared at the entrance of the cave …
Finally, I entered the TP and prepared to be Teleported … Wait, it doesn’t work … what’s wrong?
The hoplites looked at each other smiling as they circled the TP with me in the center …
Damn it… how did we not realize it before ??? Without my data in the DNA banks, the Teleporters were not working for me … I was trapped in Ancient Greece again … and this time, maybe I’ll be executed right now …
The Ancient Greece Redemption - Part 5
Prisoner again … But this time it’s different, something has changed … Once the hoplites captured me at the Orpheus Cave TP, they put me on a wagon that swayed along roads and highways … My hands had been tied, my eyes were blindfolded and gagged, and I didn’t know where they were taking me, But …
Thebes was very close to Orpheus, I don’t understand why it took us so long to get there … It seems as if they took me another way …
After a few hours, the wagon stopped … they grabbed me and threw me out of the carriage in a bad way … I hit the ground hard. Damn Greeks !!! They don’t take care of anything …
-Is he? - A distorted voice asked the hoplites … Without a doubt he had a vocoder or some kind of voice distorter … I remember my grandfather watching an old Videovision series of robots called “Cylons” … this voice sounded the same.
-Yes, he is the murderer … But we should have taken him to the Queen - The hoplite spoke uncertainly … Without a doubt they were going to do something illegal with me.
-Listen, Greek … Here is the agreed payment, 10k peds … You distribute it among your men and you say that it escaped you, or whatever … But the murderer comes with me. -The voice denoted someone used to command
-Foreigner, if the queen discovers us we will not be worth anything … and there are 6 of us in the patrol … some more money would come in handy, I don’t know if you understand me … - The Greek undoubtedly wanted to get something more for my sale.
There was a pause … The stranger would be considering what to do … He sighed …
-Okay … 2k more peds … okay? -Another pause …
I could see in my mind the Greek wondering if he was okay … looking at his companions …
-Okay, foreigner … take the murderer and go.
The footsteps of the Greeks were heard as they approached the wagon … sounds of getting up and settling, and then starting off … Funny, I didn’t know there were horses in Greece, come on, in fact I had never seen any.
The sounds receded, and I was still bound and gagged, waiting …
-Well, friend, now it’s our turn. - The distorted voice addressed me, no doubt.
I heard how he was looking for something, sounds … possibly he was looking for something in a backpack or something similar … I heard how he was armed with something metallic … a weapon? Was he going to execute me?
He grabbed my clothes and pulled … the tunic ripped at my shoulder, leaving him naked … He leaned something cold metallic on it and …
A wave of pain … enormous … As if my body were ripped from the inside out … Agonizing pain … like …
Like when I was deleted from the DNA databases … or when I was connected to the databases in Calypso years ago …
Have I been reconnected to DNA and TP banks?
A strong jerk and the gag tore off … a snap and the ropes that linked my hands were cut … The stranger was releasing me …
I raised my hands and was able to remove the blindfold … I blinked when the light hit my eyes, and I saw him …
A strange black armor, impenetrable… imposing-looking… He reached his right hand to his neck, under the full-face helmet that covered his head, and removed something that he threw to the ground… A portable voice distortion.
I looked at him … something about his bearing seemed familiar to me, but I didn’t quite know who he really was …
Finally, he reached his hand to the armor control, pressed it, and the helmet folded up … At last I could see his face …
-Hi Dante … ready to go back to work?
I couldn’t believe it… a star-shaped hologram projected over his head as he smiled at me.
-Chief Socrates !!! What’s going on???
I will pop all 4 parts in the one post this time, to save the spam. This is for august. Thanks
A wanderer lost.
It was another long hot day on Next island. The sun baked down on our weary explorer, yet it was hard not be in love with this place. The cool turquoise waters, tropical forests and enchanting wildlife was certain not something you tire of quickly. Bonnie had been exploring the final parts of the Island she had not been to yet, whilst contemplating returning to Ancient Greece. She was reminded of the stranger in at Thebes, who had encouraged her to come visit this place, but as of yet was left wondering why. Sure it had been lots of fun exploring, the locals and wildlife were certainly unique!, but she was left with a feeling like she was missing something.
The museum at Conqs Rest was full of clues of the factions and creatures who inhabited these lands, but there was a sense something was missing, or that she had not yet found. On her travels and conversations with the locals, the friendly ones that is, she had learned of the great exodus and the legend of the Pillars of Ether, and for as much as it made for some nice history of the people here, it did not help explain the dark forces which seemed to be at work in these lands. Each factions story of events varied, it was hard to know who to trust. Her instinct for adventure and exploration, was firmly set from her space exploration days, and as much as she longed to head back to the stars, she knew she had to finish what she started here, and find the Haruspex Elder.
The sun was beginning to set, the red and purple sky looking very fitting for this island paradise. As the air cooled, Bonnie mustered up the energy to continue the search. “Tanzanite” She read aloud from her map, “surely there must be some sort of clue there!”
The Stolen Gift.
Bonnie travelled across the map before finally arriving in Tanzanite. It was much a kin to some of there other places she had visited before. A few buildings here and some palms there. Bonnie sighed, deflated in her lack of finding anything of much interest. Just as she was about to leave, the winds picked up, spiralling dust all around the teleporter she was going to use, she glanced over to the swaying of the palm trees, when she was struck to see a faint green glow. “What on earth, or should I say Next Island, is that” thought Bonnie.
The winds settled as she approached the now still tree, and to her great wonder there it was, a glowing orb, like the kind she had seen before in Orpheus.
It was an elder, of the Haruspex. Although it would usually seem odd conversing with an orb, there was not much surprising these days! The elder spoke of a great tragedy and that they needed help. The Haruspex had been busy creating a new armour set, as a thank to the human colony for the continued assistance. " A very powerful armour" the Elder emphasized. “However, unbeknownst to us, they have apparently been corrupted by the influence of the Demra, and that has persuaded them to keep the armours. They have stolen our gift to you.” He continued.
“Wait” Bonnie interjected, “who is Demra?” She asked trying to make sense of it all. It turned it it wasn’t a who at all, but a what, a molecule that might hold all the answers in these strange and beautiful lands. Bonnie had the feeling she was only scratching the surface of what really went on here.
“The molochs are very powerful, and with this armour, they may attempt to take that world, especially it they are under the influence of the Demra corruption. We need you to stop them, to fight them in their depths and retake the gift.” The elder warned.
The elder passed her the details of the ways to get to the depths, and the blood sacrifices that will be required. “It is time to take back what is ours” Bonnie shouted to the elder and she rushed off to the teleport to begin this new and exciting quest.
Blood on your hands.
Unfurling the paper she had stuffed in her arm guards, Bonnie tried to make sense of her smudged list. It was her notes she had made whilst speaking with the Haruspex elder, the details of all the items she would need to get into the depths where the Molochs were, and of course what creatures will need to be sacrificed. She had met many of them on her travels, so had an inkling where they each might live, yet it did seem like an awful lot of blood was to be spilled for this.
Arriving at the beautiful beach under the shadow of the cliff side settlement of Crystal peaks, she chatted with the local gatherers, who were busy secreting the sweat from the large blue birds to later sell on. Bonnie was impressed by not only their patience, but the military precision in which they encircled the creatures to ensure maximum efficiency in the process.
She was careful to keep away from the birds, or screechers as they were known locally, the group were working on, and soon enough she had her sacrifices of the screechers checked off the list, and it was time to move onto the desert.
“These ones are mine!” an angry voice called in the distance, before her teleportation chip had even a chance to cool down. “I guess I am not the only one the Elder has sent” Bonnie chuckled to herself, moving away from the disgruntled hunter. The desert to the north was vast, but the creature herds not so much! The little desert crawlers certainly lived up to their name, but finding let alone killing 2000 of them seemed to be more challenging that she first imagined. “It’s too hot here anyway” Bonnie grumbled, " to hunt during the day anyway, I’ll come back at dusk" Bonnie reasoned with herself, deciding it was time to go swimming in those beautiful waters instead. “How hard can killing a few sharks be?” She continued, leaving the blistering heat behind.
The cool water was a pleasant change from the burning sand, as she made her way down the beach and onto the shore line. The sea in front was vast, but seemingly surrounded almost on all sides by land. They waters were as deep as the sea lochs she remembered from her time on ancient earth, yet much warmer! “Should be easy enough to hunt here” Bonnie thought as she slipped under the water.
Using electricity under water to kill things, whilst you are also under water… doesn’t usually sound like the best idea, however Bonnies mindforce implant protected her from the dangers of self destruction. A few zapped sharks later, Bonnie was sure she saw something much larger in the water from the corner of her eye.
Her eyes darted to each of the creatures in visible range. “No, they are all the same” She thought as she studied each one meticulously". " Must have just been a shadow" She re-assured herself.
Then it happened again, something moved, something huge! In the distance, there was an enormous shadowy shape swimming through the waters. Bonnie immediately called for backup from her crew who were also in the area completing the mission.
A small group of hunters assembled. “What is it?” one of them asked. “Whatever it is, its huge!” another replied." Well lets find out, shall we?" Said the admiral as his warning shot hurtled through the water toward the great beast. In that very instance, it turned and raced through the depths at break neck speed towards them. For such a mammoth creature it could move as though the water parted in front of it. “MEGALADON!!” Bonnie yelled as they all braced for impact. The sheer force of the creature on the water surrounding them knocked them all off kilter. Regaining their positions they opened fire on the fearsome mob, jostling to stay in position against its ferocious onslaught. Eventually the group gained the upper hand, and the beast was no more. “Now I know which ones not to shoot.” Bonnie joked to her team mates, as they each went in separate directions, hoping all to meet again when they can each gain entry to the Molochs Depths.
Here once again the 5 Stories for August. As you may see the magical forest instance lore really captured my immagination and I hope there will be more news , lore especially about the ape and the spirit of the blue menace:
Finding the lonely ape
Although I got up today with a terrible headache from my night at the Beach Bar, I still remember a conversation I had with one of the locals about the lonely ape. In fact, since the ape never was seen near a civilisation of Next Island and according to the description lives where not many people pass by, the local insisted to rather call him a very lonely ape. From the description I got the local told me to go to Hillside Hideout and travel north from there on.
After some time of traveling with my Sleipnir I finally arrived at Hillside Hideout, there was a small Shed where Joan the Gentle stood firm, but he told me to mind my own business, so I moved on the slope up the mountain. Always checking my compass that I should be heading north. When I reached the top of the slope, I enjoyed the view back and, in the distance, I could see a river crossing the planes. After a small break I went on passing through mountains in the middle of nowhere. I checked my compass once again since I wasn’t sure anymore if I was heading to the right direction. Suddenly a tower appeared in the far distance and a big pillar, I was not sure if this was a natural rock pillar or if it was human shaped. Anyways I got into my Sleipnir and flew across the canyon.
To my surprise when I reached the big pillar, I suddenly explored a teleport in this deserted place. The Death Valley Teleport seemed to be a fitting name for a teleport where you could fall down a cliff in almost all directions. There was only one path leading down from my location and to it’s right there was a natural platform. And there I saw the lonely ape just standing near the edge.
Decipher the Inscriptions of the Pyramid
Despite my genuine interest of solving that old Next Island mystery, my mining addiction carries me away from time to time, especially when it looks like there are many claims that like to be discovered in a deserted place. Instead of speaking to the lonely monkey near Death Valley Teleporter as intended yesterday, I dropped a mining probe, since I instantly hit a lysterium deposit. I pressed on and did a big mining run all the way from Death Valley teleporter across the river and up again to Conq’s Rest. When I arrived there in the late afternoon, I needed a rest myself and sort all the ores I have mined.
Today I was fresh and ready for finally solving that mystery. I ported to Death Valley and spoke to the very lonely ape. Surprisingly the ape was already expecting me to ask him about the pyramid. He said I look as if an interesting question was about to leavy my lips. Something is strange with this ape, because the next thing that he said was: “Most people who pass me by have nothing to say that I want to hear”. This sounds to me as if this ape can read minds. How is he otherwise supposed to know what people that are passing by would want to say without them even speaking to him. As well before I even asked my question, he knew I was different, and I had something special on my mind.
After my question and the short conversation, he told me to go back to the pyramid and decipher the text. I ported back to shadow hill and made my way back to the pyramid. This time when I approached the symbols of the pyramid, I could finally read them, but I still could not really make sense of them. I guess I must think about them while drinking a Black Mamba at the bar. Maybe it will inspire me for some smart idea that will make sense of these words.
Wild thoughts about the mysterious Pyramid
“Spirits of the blue menace, this we build for you. You who seem to move through dimensions and possess others, this we build for you. We wish you now give us peace, since this was built for you.” This is the inscription on the pyramid. As for now it’s hard to make sense of these word but yesterday I had several ideas at the bar how I could interpret them.
My first thought was not about the writing itself but why did this lonely ape know how to read the ciphers on the pyramid. There are three options:
He witnessed those spirits of the blue menace
He was part of the group that was originally building the pyramid
He is a spirit of the blue menace
Let’s pick all those theories apart one by one.
If he just was witnessing either the building of the pyramid or the spirit of the blue menace it would still not explain why he can read their language. From this standpoint he needed to at least have interacted with either the spirits or the group that built the pyramid. When he interacted with the spirits it would be strange that he would not be affected by such powerful beings. Only explanation for this theory would be that he was trading with the group that built the pyramid and therefore knew their language.
What supports the theory that he was helping in building the pyramid is that he knew how to read all those signs. He knew about the pyramid from the start. In this case I would assume that he and all other Papoos on Next Island might have been smart beings before they started to get possessed by this spirit of the blue menace. Going by this theory this lonely ape and Sebastian would be some of the only ones that got not possessed and therefore are still able to speak and express themselves.
He is himself a spirit of the blue menace or is possessed by one of these. What supports this theory is mainly a feeling… the feeling that from my first interaction with him it did feel as if he could read my mind.
Despite my theorizing I think finally there is no other way of finding out what this pyramid is all about than confronting this lonely ape again. I really hope I will get some more information after we talk.
The cluster of pillars I
Since I couldn’t find any more information about this pyramid, I visited the lonely ape again. When I approached him, he told me that there is no reason for me to speak. This was quite an odd way to start a conversation, or was it more stopping a conversation, but since I met him before I knew he can be a bit strange. He went on telling me that he already knows what I want to know and that he can’t answer my question and is not sure that anybody could. Still, he provided me with the information that I should look for something old and out of place on the planet. And before I got to ask him where I should start my search or what exactly I should look for, I remembered that I think I have read something about it somewhere in the northern part of the desert.
This time I didn’t search the northern desert around Shatterrock. Instead, I started my search just south of flashpoint and explored around the coast of this desert if I find any of those pillars. I went a long way along the shore and after some time I reached Salvation Outpost, I haven’t really found any special pillars but at least the view of the big lake in the middle of Next Island accompanied me along the way. I made a short rest and pressed on towards Kamba Outpost, crossed a small river on they way and arrived in Kamba Outpost a bit later.
Since I already covered over half of the north of the desert, I thought I go and ask some locals if they have heard or seen those strange pillars. Even tough I didn’t get any helpful information Hiresh hired me to kill some Arges and promised me some crystals I can choose from as reward. Since I needed to kill some Arges anyways for my Ascalaris Mission, I got side-tracked once again and made a trip to Ancient Greece for the rest of the day.
The cluster of pillars II
Today was finally the day I found the cluster of pillars. After having a sleep and getting my rewards from Hiresh in the Mmrning, I went to the west of Kamba Outpost near the cost. After a short time, I realized that there are many wild boars in the distance. I went out of reach on a ledge and soon saw a forest in the distance, when I realized that to my left there seemed to be some pillars below me. I stopped took and slowly approached them. After all this talk with the ape and thoughts about the spirit of the blue menace, I was cautious to not make any dumb moves. As I approached, I saw something between the pillars, it did strike me quite odd to see something growing in the middle of nowhere. Something different than the usual trees that have acclimated themselves to the desert.
In the middle of those pillars there was a big mushroom, with a strange fog around it. Not only the fog was strange, but the size of the mushroom was really impressing as well, also from the distance I could tell that he was quite a bit taller than I am. Quite near the mushroom there was a broken cartwheel that looked to be quite old from a long forgotten time. In this moment I realized that I have seen some sign like that mushroom on the pyramid. I went on and touched the mushroom and had a feeling that reminded me of my first travel to Ancient Greece, but I didn’t teleport away. Something still seems to be missing. I may need a teleportation key that this mushroom works.
I decided to go back to the pyramid and have again a close look at the signs and there I saw some symbols that were familiar. It looks like I would need some magic flowers, amazon legs, chimera hearts and cyclops wrist guards. From the paintings I need them all when I go to the mushroom.
Some of those ingredients I already have in my storage, but I am afraid some of them like the amazon legs still are missing. I am not as confident as I was before in revelling this mystery after knowing that I need a leg of a creature that outright kills me when I go near them. For now I have come far with the mystery, but I might wait a few months till I can hunt amazons myself, before I will attempt to solve this mystery completely.
Harriot’s lore for September.
The Gorgon’s Lair
Before we could even speak a pack of angry mutant boars descended on us. I managed to quickly shove Charlotte in the direction of the stone structure where she found a place to hide. With her out of the way, I could fight to my hearts content. They were fast, but I was much faster, dispatching them with little effort. When the last boar hit the ground, Charlotte emerged slowly.
“Is that all of them?” Charlotte had a sheepish look on her face.
“For now. We need to get moving, the other boars would have heard the commotion.”
Charlotte nodded her head readily as we made our way back to safety.
Back at the cave Charlotte was looking over her tattered map frowning at it as if it would magically show her the answers. A small smirk crossed my face. She must have noticed as her enquiry was now on me and not the map. Her steely look was at times intimidated; she was turning into a fine member of the Resa.
“You know something right? You seem too calm about this whole situation.”
“I have a feeling I found the right place while you were still fast asleep. But I didn’t travel beyond the cave entrance so what awaits us there, I have no clue. I’m not even sure if we are fully prepared for what’s waiting on the other side.”
Charlotte’s eyes were brighter than the night stars, she was almost jumping with excitement.
“Well, what are we waiting for! I’ve spent many years studying and researching for this moment. I can’t wait a second longer.”
This time round the cave was almost too easy to find. I almost didn’t even need the markers I had left to find the way. Charlotte was jotting things down and taking in the scenery. Stopping at every moment to examine things, I had never seen someone so excited over broken remains.
Once we reached the cave entrance, I didn’t have time to warn Charlotte of the strange effect it had. For a moment I hoped it was just a one-time thing, but once again that dizzy drunken feeling washed over both me and Charlotte. Sending us stumbling into the cave. I sat for a moment waiting for the dizzy spell to pass, Charlotte however, looked as bright and chipper as always.
“I guess you can’t handle a drink either then, someday I’ll take you out for a proper drink. But first, look at this place…” She was noting things down as if they would vanish into thin air. Her eyes grew wide when she turned around and saw the mosaic.
“Wait, that looks like a Teleporter. I wonder if it still works.” Before I could even get my bearings, she vanished before my eyes.
I sat staring at the empty space she left behind. A thought crossed my mind. I had gotten her this far; it didn’t mean I had to follow her into the unknown. I had no clue where that teleporter leaded to, or even if it were only a one-way system. But despite my better judgment, I couldn’t leave Charlotte alone. How she had lived this long was beyond me.
The Gorgon’s Lair
Charlotte was nowhere to be seen on the other side. I was in a cave, the Haruspex Elder seemed to glare at me and for a magical glowing ball I didn’t think that was even possible. Just as I was about to approach it, Charlotte came bounding into the cave.
“You have to see this, come on. There’s no time to waste.” She dragged me to the entrance of the cave. My eyes had to adjust to the sunlight as it beamed over the harbour. Ships that bore the Haruspex symbol laid wait at the harbour as if awaiting adventure. Perfect white buildings stood proudly across from us. For something named ‘Ancient’ this place looked as if everything had just been built.
“I can’t believe it, it’s actually real. I’m going to run ahead; I’ll meet you on the other side.” Before I could stop her, she sprinted off into the distance. This place was not on any map I had, I needed to be careful. Just in case, I started to mark trees as I went along so that I could find my way back.
Without warning, I was ambushed. A scary warrior-like woman came bounding down the hill. Myrinian. I had seen a few from a very far distance on Next Island but this was my first time seeing one up close and personal. I was about to ready myself to the imminent attack, but before I could draw my sword an arrow came flitting through the air, landing a devastating blow to the Myrinian.
“You’d better be careful around these parts.” Charlotte was trailing after the warrior that had just saved me. “Now who are you? I haven’t seen you around here before. You from the mainland? I mean you look like you are.”
“I’m Charlotte, this is my companion Harriot, she’s not much of a talker.”
“I’m Byron, you’re lucky my hunting party was passing by here. Ancient Greece is full of dangers. You’d best watch your step.” The man standing before us wore no symbols of any Next Island faction instead he wore strange armour that I had never seen before. In his hands he held the most magnificent bow which I had never seen anyone own such a weapon.
“Well, maybe you could help us Byron, have you heard of the Gorgon. I know in Ancient Greek mythology, she was known to be able to turn men to stone. I also recall there being 3 of them in total…” Charlotte took a moment to assess the strange glare Byron had given her. “Sorry I talk a lot, I haven’t spoken with many people for a long time.”
“Yeah, doesn’t show much… Anyways I know of the creature you speak of; you’d best go talk to Bat, he’ll give you the full story on that place.”
“Bat? Wait, you have talking bats here?” Charlotte’s naivety was almost endearing. Byron let out a hearty laugh.
“Batiatus, once you know what you’re letting yourselves in for, meet me by the sea near here. I can give you a lift over to the island.”
Batiatus had a lot to say on the matters involving the Gorgon and her Enslaved Daudaomurs. Charlotte listened with intense focus jotting down every word he spoke. I left her to it while I went back to the market place we had passed on our way here.
The Gorgon’s Lair
The Market was bustling with Ancient Greek residents bartering over unique goods. Spices wafted through the air; the scent was so strong it almost made me sneeze. One stall I came across held decorative pots, some looked like the ones I had seen buried around Next Island but there was one that looked practically modern. I found myself caught up hopping from stall to stall, it was nice walking around people that didn’t seem to care what faction I belonged to or where I came from.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, my natural instincts kicked it and I began to draw my sword.
“Woo, it’s just me. No need to cut my head off or anything.” Charlotte was smiling while still jotting down notes in her note pad. “So, this is the market place. Oh, this is pretty. I wonder how they trade for goods here.” Charlotte was holding a pendant that looked as if it were made from clay.
“We don’t have time for this did you get the information you needed.”
“Oh, right yes, got everything I need for my report. Shall we meet Byron now?”
Byron was waiting at the end of the dock. He had a small looking boat tethered to the dock.
“She might not be pretty, but she’ll make it to the Island that holds the Gorgon.”
It was a seemingly long boat trip across the sea, at one point I thought Byron was about to kill us and dump our bodies in the sea.
“There she is, though be careful up there. Lot of nasty things on that island.”
What looked like a spiked fortress came into view. It looked almost imposing, until it clicked that the ‘spikes’ were actually a rock formation. The distant roar of voices could be heard from where the boat came ashore.
“And here’s where I leave ya, I think you’re crazy for venturing up there. There’s a teleport at the top if you get too scared and want to run away.” Byron’s tone was light-hearted as if it were merely a joke but there was a hint of fear in his eyes.
At the entrance stood wounded soldiers from all sides and planets. We hid just before the row of armed guards. A Stel group had just arrived, they were laughing and joking together.
“Don’t worry lads, Perseus will save us. He’s a legend that defeated her once before right.” A roar of laughter could be heard. Perseus, Jerad’s brother. He looked sheepish but joked alongside them. If any warrior were to defeat the Gorgon, Perseus was not my first choice. He seemed to pause for a moment, as if trying to delay the inevitable.
“You guys go ahead; I’m just going to pick up some more supplies.” The Stel warriors gave him a knowing glance.
“Don’t worry we’ll kill her before you get back.”
Perseus seemed to pace outside the entrance for a moment as if trying to talk himself into facing what laid beyond the row of guards.
Before I could stop her Charlotte walked up to him. I planted my back firmly against the rock, one day she’d be the death of me.
The Gorgon’s Lair
“Hi, I’m Charlotte. So, this is her lair then?” She was staring wide-eyed up and the spiked mountains that seemed to reach around as far as the eye could see.
I took a deep breath, Perseus was the least of my worries, if it came to it, I could fend for both me and Charlotte. I found myself doing the thing I thought I would never do. I gave up my cover to try avoid Charlotte walk in on something she had no clue about.
“What did I tell you about talking to strangers?” Perseus looked on edge at my presence.
“I know but does he look like a blood-raging murderer to you?” Perseus looked mildly offended before almost bursting into laughter.
“We’ve met before, right? You were asking about Jerad.” My guard went up. Charlottes ears seemed to perk up.
“Well, that doesn’t matter now.” My words were barely a whisper.
“Wait he’s the one that you found those journals from. I must have read them a thousand time. Oh, don’t mind me, this is my friend Harriot. And assuming by all that teasing before that you are Perseus well not the Perseus of legend but… Sorry I talk too much.” Charlotte and her constant need to talk was a killer for my reputation.
“Harriot… Why does that name seem familiar?” Before he could speak screams came whaling from the Gorgon’s lair. About half a dozen people streamed out of the entrance, some of which were injured. One Stel officer seemed to indicate to Perseus.
“Call for back-up. Your new friends there seem like they came ready to fight, we need all the support we can get.”
The inky black water swished about our feet as we clambered over dead snake bodies and humans a like. Charlotte’s face showed no fear, she jotted down notes almost as if unaware of the battle we could hear raging in the background. Her pen almost fell from her hands when her eyes met the Gorgon’s. But before she could express her excitement, some kind of energy surged towards her, I only barely managed to save her from it.
The Gorgon herself was like nothing I had ever seen. 10 times bigger than the tallest man in her lair. Her body was coiled like a snake, yet there was something majestic about her. Before I could fully admire her more, I dragged Charlotte behind one of the stone statues. A stone statue that looked far too life-like. I hated to admit it but for my own preservation all I could see was a losing battle.
“I don’t know about you but this just seems like a death sentence. There’s no way we’ll get close enough to her let alone get one of those crazy… yup, crazy she has snakes as her hair!” Charlotte pouted at me like a sulking child.
“You have the brawn; I have the knowledge. Together we can win this.” Charlotte has a steely look of determination in her eyes.
“Tell me your idea and I’ll think about it.”
The Ancient One’s Trial
Her idea was maybe just crazy enough to work. While the Gorgon was distracted by a full-on attack, I managed to sneak around the back of her. I thought for sure those snakes in her hair would spot me, but just like Charlotte had told me, she had a blind spot. I readied my sword as I stood in wait to strike at the right moment. Our plan wasn’t to defeat the Gorgon but to cut a snake from her hair while she was distracted. Charlotte had fashioned a lasso onto my sword, all that was needed was the right angle and speed to throw it, then cut and run.
The Gorgon never saw me coming, my heart was beating faster than I ever dared possible. It was now or never. With the strongest highest throw, I could ever manage, the blade sored into the air like a kite. The deadly sharp blade glinted in the light just before the loudest scream could be heard. She had stopped and was now focused fully on me. Now’s the time to run! My mind went blank, I almost forgot to pick up the snake hair strand that was still wriggling on the ground. The moment it was in my hand my legs sprinted as fast as they would carry me. Though during her brief interest in me, the other warriors had taken the chance and attack her with everything they had left. Just as my foot hit the edge of her lair, a loud scream of excitement could be heard.
Perseus was standing shaking by the entrance.
“Don’t think that move got past me. It was stupid and brave and probably wasn’t even intended to give the others a chance to defeat her. Almost reminds me of my…” He grew quiet for a moment. “You’d best leave here before the other Stel find out who you really are. Harriot …”
Charlotte was waiting for me outside the lair. Her eye’s lit up when she saw the snake hair in my hands.
“You got it! I thought for sure that plan would fail… I mean, wow it really worked.”
“Now we need to get out of here before they decided the Gorgon isn’t their only enemy.”
Back at Morion Outpost the boars were on edge as if something had spooked them. Before we could even make one step towards the place we needed, they charged blindly into the awaiting turrets. We spent the entire journey fighting are way to the stagnant pond. The boars seem to have started to congregate here also. But as soon as the black smoke figure appeared once again, the boars seemed to squeal and shy away from the pond.
“I see you are back. By the fact you are still alive I believe you have failed the task I assigned.”
The black smoke almost seemed to grin. Before another word was said the snake hair landed with a loud thud on the ground.
“If you want to really test me, try something more challenging.” My words were strong and taunting, yet I knew I didn’t mean those words, the Gorgon was certainly a match far greater than I had imagined.
“Maybe I was wrong about you, maybe a ‘Resa’ will bring peace to this land once again. For the sake of this Island, I hope I’m not wrong in trusting you. But for you to truly succeed you must rely on others. The bone’s laid here will lead you to a place known to locals as the Ancient Ruins. We however, have a different name for it.”
Just as the smoke figure said the bones, that looked far smaller than any human bones, lead us straight to the Ancient Ruins. I had been here once or twice before. The place was crawling with Red Papoo’s, Charlottes eyes grew wide when she saw the beaten down building.
“So, this is the place. Somehow I was expecting more mystical stuff like dragons to be guarding such a place.”
“The drakes are more interested in the volcanoes and mountains.”
“Wait so there are dragon’s?”
“Dragon’s, drake’s same difference, right? Can we get this over with now? This place always has a weird feeling about it.”
The bones led us to a spot just behind the building. What looked like golden fireflies floating to the sky stood before us. It was somewhat beautiful and chilling at the same time.
“Now this is more like it.” Charlotte wasted no time at all laying to rest the bones of the Ancient One. A huge gust of wind picked up as the last bone was buried before dying down to a gentle breeze. “I guess that settles it then. So, what’s next?” Charlotte was looking at me as if ready for her next adventure.
“Now, you go home.” My words held nothing but sadness in them.
“Don’t you mean we ?” I turned away before Charlotte could interrogate me more on the matter.
We barely spoke all day in the cave. I had prearranged with my smuggler friend to set up her journey back to Calypso for after we had finished what needed to be done. Part of me regretted following through with the plan, but it was the right time. She had people waiting for her, people that probably worried about her and thought she were dead all these years. If she stayed with me, I couldn’t guarantee she would be alive by the end of the week, heck even I didn’t know what would happen next.
The morning of her departure she woke up early to talk with me.
“Harriot… I don’t know what to say, if you truly don’t want me here, I’ll leave in an instant. But I need to know why.” I let out the longest sigh ever.
“You’re my first ever, friend… Of course, I don’t want you to go, but there are people waiting, your research waiting… If you stay here there’s nothing but a life of hiding and fighting every day to survive. Maybe our paths will cross again, but you have your own path to walk. I can’t block that for you.”
“I understand, I’ll go but not to follow my path. I will work on finding a way for you to not have to fight for your life every day. And I will be back you can count on it. Maybe one day we can even get a proper house here and find a place for all these treasures in the cave.”
TITTLE: Wuthering Halls
I couldn’t believe what i saw: The Planetary Chief Socrates had secretly saved my life … So, he knew that I was innocent, or else he knew about Desmond’s plans …
-Chief Socrates … how is it possible? - I still didn’t believe i was free.
-Dante, remember that I must know EVERYTHING about MY Planet … -Again that strange feeling of possession was seen in the way of talking about Next Island. He sat on the grass next to me.
-Listen… Your wife and your friend the Toulano came to see me and told me everything they knew about your adventures with Simon and Desmond … The planetary TP and the betrayal of some members of the Stel faction … We had to intervene.
-But… why didn’t you intervene in person? You are the Planetary Chief of this area of the Entropy Quadrant.
Chief Socrates looked at me amused, as if he had to explain a lesson to a student.
-Let’s see Dante, this is … Politics … There are several factions in Next Island, and also a kingdom from another time, Ancient Greece … The balance is precarious between all the factions … I can’t intervene in one, because the others would throw themselves like wolves to take the place, and what is worse … that instability would lead to problems with the Central Government of Calypso … there they have their own problems with the robots, and if something happens on a planet in the Entropy Quadrant, they fire the Planetary Chief and put another in his place … and we don’t want that to happen, do we, Dante?
Power games … that’s what I was involved in now because of Desmond, Mark and the handling of some of the VIP Stel.
-So, Dante, we will have to do it in a discreet, hidden way … If the planetary TP is known because of this crisis, there will be chaos between the factions trying to take advantage of the possible advantage if they find the place … We cannot allow it.
-Yeah, Boss … and in this interval we have lost Simon … he was a great help despite our differences, but now he’s dead … -deep down I felt guilty for his death.
-Too bad we couldn’t resuscitate him, -Socrates said.
I was amazed … could it be resurrected despite being removed from the DNA data banks ?. I asked Chief Socrates, who explained to me that with a DNA sample the avatar could be reconstructed with memories up to the moment of death … The bad thing is Desmond was cremated in Ancient Greece once the investigation was finished; Furthermore, when he sold himself as a mercenary, he was very jealous of his privacy and security and, therefore, no one knew where he lived … Maybe in his house there was some DNA residue to be able to reconstruct it.
-I’m sorry Boss, but I don’t know where he lived either … Too bad I couldn’t bring him the Viceroy helmet that I gave him.
-Were you going to give him a helmet? -Socrates asked.
-Yes, he said that Viceroy helmets were his favorites, so I looked for one for him … When we came back from Teleporting I was able to get a contraband one … I showed it to him, he tried it on but it was too big for him, so he left it to me to read. I will change it for another … and with so much trouble with the animals, Desmond and everything else, it stayed in my private storage …
-He tried it on … -Socrates was thoughtful, smiled and immediately said - Dante, we have to go for that helmet, it could be that it had some DNA from him.
-But … let’s see … I can’t go back for my storage … I’m on the run, I’m an outlaw …
-Yeah, but Katalina if she can legally go after your belongings. -Socrates was in everything.
We notified Katalina … in a couple of hours she showed up … We hugged each other tightly while Socrates quietly retreated to the background … After that intimate moment we explained the whole situation to her, and what she had to do: Report to the Stel barracks where we resided and go to my private Storage, which was in the basement of the building. Each Stel has a private Storage that only he can open, unless there is some authorization for a close relative, and that’s what we were going to do… I wonder what is in Katalina’s Private Storage… I’ve never known.
The rest of the afternoon was spent by Socrates and I chatting amiably about the political situation in the Entropy Quadrant, until Katalina appeared in her Quad… She had a package in her hand: It was the famous Viceroy helmet… Socrates took it, went to his backpack and He pulled out the strange device that he had undoubtedly used to reconnect to the DNA Banks.
Katalina and I watched with interest … the strange device launched a bluish beam into the helmet, scanning it … Seconds later, images of the people whose DNA was in the helmet appeared on the screen: A known Arkadian smuggler, me himself, Katalina who had just brought it in her hands, another who would undoubtedly be the Crafter … and someone whose DNA was missing or had been erased … Possibly it was Simon …
We got going … we went to a nearby revive and entered the data of the unknown subject … the Revive stayed for a while processing … and a green light appeared on the terminal: The data had been 99.92% accepted … That is, some failure was possible …
We all looked at each other … Socrates manually activated the “Revive”, and immediately afterwards, a form appeared lying on the ground between great flashes … he was naked, and in his strong muscles you could make out the scar on his belly that I had made with my SI Knife some time ago, before we were friends … He moved … he turned his face with his eyes open, and we saw a spot in the shape of a lightning bolt on his skin, on the left side of his face … Without a doubt, the result of 0.08% of mistake. Simon jerked to his feet, staring into space as he screamed.
-Damn Desmond !!! I’ll take you with me to hell even if it’s the last thing I do !!!
He collapsed backwards giving a strong blow … without a doubt his mind was recreating the moment of his death … We had to give him time, but the important thing is that he was alive and we had a good mercenary in our ranks … Desmond and his dirty dealings had their days numbered …
-I can’t believe it… I can’t believe it, damn it !!
The one who spoke thus was Simon … once he woke up and could focus his gaze, between the Chief Socrates and I we explained what happened, as well as his resurrection … incredulous, he looked at his image on the screen of one of our tablets … to discover the strange new scar on his face …
-Dante, every time I have to do something with you I end up with a new scar … You are unlucky chasing my butt all over Next Island…
The situation would have been very comical had it not been for the seriousness of the events … when he recovered a bit and his anger passed, Simon told us about the last seconds of his life.
-The roof fell on us, and without a doubt I lost consciousness … I was awakened by a huge, indescribable pain, from the inside out of my body … the pain of the disconnection of the DNA banks … I couldn’t move, that idiot Mark had me held with all his might … And I saw Desmond …
Simon stared at me …
-Dante, you were unconscious, and that bastard was holding your hand with the Chikara in hand … he was pointing at my neck, and his finger is on top of yours on the trigger of the gun … Damn … The very pig shot while cursing him with all my might … explosion on the neck, and all black … until a moment ago …
-Okay Simon, calm down … -Socrates put his hands on his shoulders in a friendly gesture. -It’s all over … you’re back to life, and now we must end this story before Desmond does something dangerous.
Behind us we heard the sound of the teleporting chips materializing … Moustapha appeared and our most recent acquisition, my friend JoseGaltor …
Between greetings and introductions, the six of us sat on the grass and proceeded to summarize the situation.
-The thing is as follows: - the one who spoke like that was Chief Socrates - Simon, Mark and three other VIPS, of which we already know one, know about the Planetary Teleporter, as well as the location … They also know that it is destroyed and useless, and they think they have left Simon and Dante out of the game with the fake murder …
-Then it’s easy: Use the planetary troops, stop them all five and it’s over… We restore Dante’s honor and forget all this nightmare… -Moustapha was a practical man.
-The Planetary Chief cannot choose a faction or there will be an imbalance of power … this must be done discreetly. -Katalina understood the ins and outs of power … without a doubt, its origins, of which I have not yet spoken, helped it.
-Exactly, we cannot destabilize the planet… therefore, we will have to… -The sound of the InterCOM interrupted Socrates - Wait a minute… Chief forward, Roger.
-Chief Socrates, here follow-up … the bird went to the TP directly to Shadow Hill.
-Let’s go there, copy that. -Socrates closed the communication, and addressed us - Gentlemen, it seems that the identified VIP is going to the Teleporting near the pyramid … Why?
It didn’t make sense that … the Planetary Teleporting was destroyed … there was nothing else there. Just scrap, destroyed robots, spare parts in stock…
An idea began to haunt my head …
-Simon… when we were there, we destroyed everything, didn’t we? -I asked for.
-Let’s see Dante, we put the termite charges in the TP and we burst it … -Simon answered looking at me strangely …
-As far as we know, we could not see more of that pyramid … the corridor, the entrance, the gigantic door through which we left, the teleporter type entrance through which we entered … was there only that? -I asked the question. JoseGaltor was the one who answered.
-And if there were more than one teleporter room inside? -That’s it … someone else saw my idea.
-It doesn’t make sense … Desmond would have used her to run away. - Simon cut the possibility … Now it was my turn.
-What Desmond said … “colleagues will come to hack the system” … and those spare parts that were in boxes …
Socrates put words to my suspicions …
-The fellow hackers are the other two unidentified VIPS … and with any spare parts … they will try to rebuild the Planetary Teleporter !!!
With a flash, we appeared in the TP closest to the coordinates we had of the pyramid … Being registered in the DNA banks I was able to enter the Storages network again and recover my weapons and my old Viceroy … With Simon it was something more complicated, because their belongings were already in the previous warehouses for the global auction, due to having “died”… But with the permits and authorizations of Chief Socrates, the bureaucracy fell at our feet.
Once prepared, Socrates spoke to us:
-Sirs … from now on I cannot accompany you … The “official” presence of the Chief of Next Island would be counterproductive in the political balance … Therefore, from now on you are alone …
We looked at each other: Moustapha, JoseGaltor, Simon, Katalina and myself … Armed, willing, but in case of a mistake, they would deny knowing our operation … I remembered a former elite corps of covert operations, true shadow heroes but, if something came out wrong, he denied any relationship, knowledge or support. Socrates continued:
-Okay, the orders are as follows: Re-enter the pyramid, destroy a possible second Teleporter or the previous one if it had been rebuilt, destroy the spare parts, everything … regarding Desmond, Mark and the three VIPS, they must be taken prisoner … They will later be taken to the Secret Services of the government of the Entropy Quadrant in Calypso … and they will cease to be our problem.
We nod in silence … we prepare the coordinates of the pyramid in our teleporter chips and …
With a flash, we appeared in the vicinity of the pyramid … there it is, a few hundred meters from us … black, silent … and with several Krakas parked nearby … We were not alone …
We approached carefully … the black mass grew as we got closer … There was no one watching, something logical because no one knew those coordinates except those who were there …
The pyramid had a Teleporter-type upper entrance, which was accessed with the chips that some of the guardian robots had … There was also a huge armored door at the front, almost invisible, whose opening mechanism we had broken to lock Desmond inside … but he had managed to open a hole during the months that he had remained there, and that allowed him to flee … there it was … it was not big, but it was enough to be able to pass inside …
We went inside and turned on the flashlights … the hallway was dark, although we saw remains of Desmond’s work: Abandoned tools, discharged batteries connected to long lines of cables … bloodstains from his suicides … Deep down, Desmond did not deserve the torture at hand. that Simon and I submitted to him.
JoseGaltor gestured to us pointing to a corridor … he remembered it from the other time, so we moved on … there were still traces of our passage: several guards destroyed … we followed the trail of destruction that Simon and I had created until we reached the door where we were going to stop at the Teleporter room …
We looked at each other: If Desmond and the others were there searching for the remains, we should come in by surprise, aim quickly and stop them … Two to the left, two to the right and I to the center … We count: three, two, one …
Now!!! I pushed open the door and we stormed in, shining our flashlights and pointing at possible targets …
-Stop !!! Stop there and drop your weapons !!! -we shouted as we pointed to the air … only the echo of the room answered us … We looked at each other without knowing what to do …
Nothing !!! … there were only remains of the original teleporter that Simon and I had destroyed … Traces of the explosive charges and the combustion of the termite charges … a pile of junk from drokas, drones and Calypso defenders, and the metal skeleton that had been General Kratos, but nothing more …
Where were Desmond, Mark and his henchmen ???
We went back down the corridor we came through, which we hadn’t fully explored now or when we were the first time … several doors opened to various rooms with machinery, boxes of spare parts and other things that we could not identify …
In some rooms we saw traces of the months that Desmond spent there, while other rooms seemed not to have been used at least by human hands …
At the end of the corridor another sliding door opened that led to a ramp that descended to a lower level … We tensed, we did not know what was there …
We put the flashlights on low intensity, so as not to denote our presence, and we slowly descended the ramp, without making noise …
The ramp was quite long, and every so often it turned and fell again, like a spiral staircase.
Suddenly, JoseGaltor, who was in the lead, raised his clenched fist: The universal signal to stop because there was something ahead … slowly we cocked the weapons, trying to keep the BLP strikers not making noise … we advanced a little more, and began to see lighting … A bluish light … and the noise of machines … and in the background, human voices …
A little further down was the last bend in the ramp … we crouched down and looked out very carefully, to see a scene that left us all petrified …
A huge room, cyclopean in size, in the center of which was a second Planetary Teleporter, but in this case of gigantic dimensions … what were you planning to transport? Eomons? Hussks?
In the background a row of monitors, terminals and other electronic devices in which the three VIPS were busy: The two who spoke with Simon and me when they paid us for our service and our silence when they discovered the Teleporter, and the third who was the one who disconnected me from the DNA banks in Ancient Greece …
Voices brought me out of my reverie: Desmond was calling Mark from the Teleporter panel, while he lowered a protective plasma welding mask … Mark was leading a small transport with materials …
-Hell, Dante … these guys have built another teleporter … -Simon didn’t get out of his astonishment.
-Let’s see … if it’s technology from Calypso’s robots, most likely they can’t connect it without help … -JoseGaltor was right …
-And this … - Moustapha narrowed his eyes trying to see what was at the bottom of that huge hangar- What’s there at the bottom?
We looked out again… there was something huge in the shadows, but the very darkness of the background did not allow us to see what it was …
-I don’t know, but I think we should throw ourselves against them and try to stop them … -Katalina already wanted to go into combat …
-Mmmm … if I remember correctly, Desmond told me that there was a revival right here … if any of them or us dies, he will appear again in battle … That could be a draw … - I doubted the way to launch us attack…
-Maybe we should try to catch them by surprise -JoseGaltor grabbed a piece of metal from the ground and threw it hard through the gap in the ramp to the opposite side of the monitors …
The metallic “clang” was heard over the noise of the machinery … The three VIPs jumped up, with their short weapons in hand; Mark left the transport and materialized a Plasma rifle, and Desmond raised his welding mask while he stroked the grip of a Sparkbite … they all looked in the direction of the sound, which was just the opposite direction from where we were …
Everything was silent for a moment and, immediately afterwards, the five of us got up in unison with our weapons at the ready, pointing them …
-SET EVERYONE !!! NOBODY MOVE!!!
The five Stel turned to see five guys with a diverse and ferocious appearance, us, pointing them with large caliber weapons … We looked into each other’s eyes … It is curious how conscious one of small details is: a drop of sweat, a corner of the lips twisting, the flexing of the fingers on the triggers …
-Damn Dante !!! Is it that I’m never going to get rid of you ??? -Desmond was looking at me wanting to squash me like a Cyrenea fly.
-Desmond … how could you build this? And in such a short time?
-Little time? I had enough … I did not tell you everything that happened in those months that I was locked up here …
Desmond began to speak …