Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22192 times)

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5100 on: December 26, 2018, 12:45:53 am »
Helen picked through the neatly piled belongings, picking out the property of the halls residents while also confiscating other items of interest she didn't recognize. A silver athame, a jar of essence, and a pair of purple stones that anyone would have mistaken for fist sized amethyst pyramid carvings, but were actually a relatively common variety of ioun stone. The variety could hide the user from undead attention and Helen had to wonder if they would work on the modern sort of undead. If so, they would be truly powerful artifacts given the abundance of the living dead in these latter days.

Meanwhile, Branches sorted through the clothes and tossed any that seemed worn out or outright damaged onto a messy pile. Moving to one neat stack, she picked up a large black bra trimmed with a simple decorative lace, and judged it carefully. It was in good condition, and it wasn't Helens, which meant it either came from the bandits or the farm.

"It's Roxanne's." Helen said simply, then explained "too big for me or anyone else on the farm, too small for Lilith, and it's style is all Roxanne." With that, it went onto the pile with a few of Roxanne's other clothes. A lot of elegant dresses and dark colors. Branches picked through the pile a bit more and came up with a pile of underthings, shirts, and skirts. Helen had input for these as well. "Mica's. Anything that's not silk is probably her sisters. Mica can only wear silk, and Catnip can't stand the feel of it on her fur." Branches went to yet another stack, holding up each article in turn. "That one is mine, but I've never worn it. That cloak is Victor's, the jacket is Hector's, not that he ever wears it. Hm, some of this is too generic to put to any one person. You could probably hand it all over to the center, the stuff we can't put to an owner..."

As they went over and sorted the clothing, the little automatons took it away and stacked it neatly in the back of a cart. Also, as they worked through it, Helen realized something; there was an awful lot of underwear in the swiped stacks. An unreasonably high fraction of the clothing in fact, was women's underwear.

"What's with all the panties?" Branches asked, noticing the disparity herself. Steinar raised an eyebrow and surveyed the scene. Yes, with most of the regular clothing loaded into a cart, what was left to sort was an inordinate amount of underwear. Helen was perplexed for only a moment until she remembered the events over the last year. Then, she laughed.

"Mica's panty raid." She said, "The silly thing took off to the destroyed city east of here and brought back a truck load of ladies wear and a a big bag of relics." The cleanup after the results of Mica's playing around with a certain hatchet had been particularly messy, but not horribly destructive unless one counted the destruction of the barn, which Helen supposed she did. Branches was already sorting through it all without much interest. Neatly stacking or folding any of it was a fools errand, so the Homunculus simply picked up handfuls of underthings and tossed them into bags Steinar had retrieved from the hall. With the clothing sorted, they began on everything else. The stuff Helen hadn't confiscated of course. A bench, a chair, a small private libraries worth of books. Helen even let Branches hang on to some of the more mundane texts on history or more benign fields of magic. There was also food. Stuff in jars and cans, dried stuff, powders, bottles of various fluids ranging from water to oil to what seemed to be very tart but very fresh juice. For all of the trouble they'd made, the theiving automatons had picked up plenty that would keep their master well fed and comfortable.

"Ok, let's try this again." Helen said, bringing out the coins again. She had taken them out earlier to try and bargain with the two bandits, to make repairations for the trouble caused by the Homunculus. Unfortunately, at the time, Steinar had been less than successful at dealing with the two. He'd done a fine enough job trying to reason with the men but reasoning really was beyond them. What with one of them being either too stupid or too belligerent and the other with his mouth stuffed with dirt and out like a light.

"You wanna deal," the one without dirt in his mouth spat, "you can deal direct with Yellow Jacket. She'll deal, oh fuck yeah, she'll deal."

Just like with Steinar. Helen had no clue who this "Yellow Jacket" was as did Steinar and Branches. When questioned, the only answer the mage hunter could get out of them was "you'll see" and other likewise vaguely threatening proclaimations. She had other, better things, to do than assist in the sorting while standing around being unconvincingly menaced by tied up bandits, but Illiana had vanished into her own navel and the golems weren't very good at distinguishing the differences in ownership or quality when it came to sorting.

"I suppose we will." She thought before turning to Steinar, drinking slowly from his best cup. "Make sure most of this gets back to it's owners, like I said before, but ask around. Maybe someone over at the f- Walkerville has heard something."

Jenny dropped off her cargo of mushrooms at the kitchen to the thanks of a greatfull french woman and a somewhat more leery chef before making her way around to where she'd been told the new "expansion planning" office was. There she found Communications officer Khaki arguing with a stern faced man and his bubbly assistant while a tall straight faced mouse woman looked on in amusement.

"You have to give me something!" Khaki barked, "Without the antenna, we can't raise Dirtnap, Tinkertown, or any of the scavenging crews in the dead zones! Dirtnap and Tinkertown can take care of themselves for awhile, but without that antenna we can't get any logistics  to the scavenging crews and they are flying blind out there. What if we have to recall them or if they get in a jam? Oh, hey Atomos. Er, wait, it's Jenny now isn't it?"

The man looked over, but only long enough to get a look at who Khaki was talking to, and his assistant offered Jenny a seat just next to the door, an apology, and a cookie. She waved off the apology, took the seat, and was helpless to keep herself from rudely snatching and scarfing the cookie.

"Sorry..." Jenny mumbled through a mouthful of raisens and sugar. The assistant skipped away nervously. For a moment, she thought the ranger had growled at her. Khaki spared her one more long glance before returning to the matter at hand.

"Anyways, I need that antenna. It's vital that we have it." She resumed.

"And I'll say it again," said the exhasperated man, "We. Don't. Have. It. The radio equipment available isnt suitable and even if it was, the storm knocked out some of the existing towers. The only one with the kind of antenna you're hassling us for is owned by that Hoyt bastard up north."

Jenny's ears perked a little. "Hoyt?"

"Yeah, junky drug dealing ass hole moved into some ranch or something about a year ago and has been strangling the local economy and pumping out drugs ever since. He's only now started to be a real problem for the center though..." Khaki explained, the swivel under her chair squeeling horrendously when her weight shifted, "One of his guys sometimes gets the idea to use their relay to transmit shitty gachi music over the centers intercom."

Jenny stayed silent and conferred with Cheena. It felt wrong to ask for anything else with an important thing like the centers comma antenna out of commission and with no replacement to be had except in the hands of a man that they hadn't met, but already didn't like. Khaki and the man discussed setting an alternative system up, satalite radios or a kind of HAM setup. They would work fine, but not as well as the old system. It would be worrying, and the frequency could be easily monitored. Khaki eventually left, somewhat satisfied with the propositions but still deeply worried.

"I'm getting the feeling I should do something about that..." Jenny thought before listening in on the next conversation. Something about a casino. Commercial construction details, all very boring. Cheena sorted through Jenny's thoughts and memories, and came back a little confused but better educated all the same. It was very strange. That sensation, like fingers sifting through her mind as though it was a bin filled with beans, was beyond strange. Not unbearable though. If anything it was sort of pleasant. She fidgeted a little and leaned back. Talk and planning, still boring, but it gave Cheena something to focus on. Youthful and curious, Jenny liked that. It was the impulsiveness that was going to take some getting used to. It had been a day since finally settling back in, but it had already proven incredibly difficult to control her urges with Cheena's influence.

The assistant tentatively offered Jenny another cookie and this time, she was more civilized about how she took it. Cheena it seemed had decided that she didn't like raisens.

"Okay, so that's all settled then. We'll have the materials requisitioned as soon as a location has been staked out and an agreement for payment can be reached." The man said, sliding what one could safely assume to be requisitions to the rodent lady. "It's good to have transitioned into basically the same job I had before, innit L?"

"Whatever you say Chuck, as long as everybody is doing something right? The uh, special accommodations I asked for are in these plans yeah?"

"Yeah. It's all there."

"Good. Be seeing you guys." L finished before seeing herself out. Jenny had to restrain an urge to go after the woman's sleek silky tail. It looked very enticing as something to chase after. Instead she moved over to the recently vacated chair across from "Chuck" and made her request.

"Well, first off, I'm afraid it's not as simple as striding in and just requesting stuff be built for you." He explained after Jenny had finished, "You'll need the right forms, which we've got plenty of, and a bit of capital. With that said though, I'm more than happy to waive the payment stuff, but even then you've got another issue."

"Oh?" Jenny said, a little taken aback by the thought that her little project required so much in the way of bureaucracy. "It's just a tiny little building, no more than ten by twenty or so. Ten by ten even."

"No see, that's the problem. The issue is planning. All the buildings and stuff are already planned out, construction starts in earnest here next spring, but there's no room on the street plan for a structure that small." He told her. Street plan. A structure that small. Planning. Jenny was suddenly very on edge, she didn't like the sound of any of that. None of it was bad, of course not. In fact, a return to civilization on a small scale would be more than welcome. It was all happening too fast though. Too quick, too steady. "Fortunately for the Mislings, Doctor Marsh has got a fertility treatment in the works. Lucky for us as well since that means things won't be so chaotic for awhile. Construction can go slow, in other words, we can take our time. If your project were bigger, we could squeeze it onto the plan."

Jenny had a think about it. She wasn't for any kind of spa treatment, she didn't want to built an outright bathhouse. She just wanted someplace nice she could go and sit in the steam for a bit. Maybe a good place for... She hit on an idea.

"How about a lodge?" She asked, "For my rangers?"

Daniel put the finishing touches on the trip hammer he and his wife had spent the day on. He doing the heavy lifting, physical and arcane, and she doing the light work. Namely, making tea and mixing reagents.

"And this is real Otto of rose?" Daniel asked, holding up a tiny crystal flask containing a light pinkish oil.

"Yes sweetest, the last I had. Condensed it myself before we left Algol. You know, I haven't seen a rose since?" Sylvia said. Daniel took the flowery fluid and poured it into a bag, tossing it gently to thoroughly mix the contents before carefully spreading them over the anvil stone. "What is it about this rock that's got you and Helen all worked up  love?"

"You should remember ma'am, your engine ran on a stone like this."

"Oh? It's the same? Seems a shame to destroy it."

"It must be done my dear, it's damaged and it's leaking entropy into the atmosphere."

"Whatever you say love, torch?"


Sylvia withdrew an acetalyne torch from the collection of tools and materials she and Daniel had hauled to the crossroad where the arcane trip hammer was to be assembled and handed it over. It was used to fuse the silver spread over the anvil surface and finish off the project.

"Lovely day for it." Daniel said, and it was. The sky was blue, the few clouds racing through the sky, a gentle breeze. Just the sort of pleasant weather Daniel wanted for this. It needed to be as nice as possible. "Perfect even. Alright, where'd we leave the bag? Ah, there we are. Just leave it in Syl, the bag won't be much worse for wear after." He hefted the bag, it's obvious slab shaped cargo putting stress on it where it's corners pushed the leather outward, and placed it on the newly annointed trip hammer. With that done, Daniel set the hammer going, and fled to a safe distance with Sylvia in close pursuit.

"So what next Dan?" Sylvia asked, snaking her hand into his. She'd never seen Daniel doing more than fighting as part of his duties. That and a little investigating. When he'd finally confronted her in the sparse counsel room of the sanguine order in Algol. The shadowy figure slipping in through the window, eyes glowing with the distinct light of hard magic, had intrigued her even while frightening her. She hadn't known then what a mage hunter was and it would be until later that she would learn more.

"We get lunch and wait. Generally, no one is going to bother a machine in operation if it looks dangerous. Trust me darling, it's going to look dangerous. We can watch from the roof while we eat." He told her, allowing his hand to be snaked into. Behind them, the trip hammer made it's first descending blow. The hammer dropped and the leather bag did little to muffle the "chk" of of stone on stone. As it went through it's operation, the bag began to look worse for wear. More obvious was the death of the grass, the cracking and degradation of the concrete and asphalt, the rusting of the signs nearby, and the general appearance of great age overtaking the intersection while leaving the trip hammer itself utterly untouched. By the end of the day, the time slab would be reduced to nothing more than a fine grit.
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