Apophenia Evolved

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Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Eight

After the moment of recovery was over Emiray said, “I see, I guess that would be why the Euclidian Key would not be useful for you. I tank would hardly have need of a pistol. Since it appears that I believe you now, I guess I will tell you what I know about what happened. It all started down in the Belly when I found the corpse of a man…”

Emiray told the story about what happened to her to the best of her ability. She explained the discovery of the body in detail and of her meeting with Professor Gray. She tried skimming over the story about the Black Crocodile but Lynn questioned her about it and she told the whole story from beginning to end. It ended with her unfortunate showdown with Professor Gray.

“I think I wounded it but I doubt it was anything serious. He probably thinks I am dead, my wounds are still really bad but it was thanks to Rob that I escaped. Rob must have pretended to be dead after it got shot so that it could help me when it was needed. The doctors told me that it brought me here and I guess I owe Rob my life.”
Lynn nodded, “That is what I heard too. That is one impressive robot though. I heard that it managed to remove the bullet from your wound by itself, not a small task. I wonder where it learned to do something like that.”


“I never knew that about you Rob. What happened to that man?”


Lynn stood up and looked back and forth between the robot and the Emiray. “Well, I’m glad that you managed to survive that attack but you don’t need to worry about it any longer. Just get better and return to your home, I’ll deal with Professor Gray and make sure he doesn’t do anything bad with the Euclidian Key. Now that I have a name and description I should be able to track him down. Also thanks for telling me about the Ark Tunnel Generator, since it has enough power to supercharge the Euclidian Key, Gray is sure to try and take control of it and when he does that then I will be able to stop him.”

Emiray nodded, “Is it alright if I asked you a question?”

“Sure, you answered all of my questions after all. It seems only fair that I answer some of yours too after all.”

“That man that I found, who was he?”

“The body that you found sounded like Professor Harold. He was the scientist that I helped design the Euclidian Key. He was a great researcher. Given what I know he must have activated the Euclidian Key to escape. Either he stress of the teleportation must have killed him or he must have been trapped and died of dehydration.”

Emiray was silent for a few seconds before asking something once again, “Was he a father?” Her voice was quiet, like she didn’t want to know the answer but had to know.

Lynn paused before saying, “Harold, yes, I believe he had a son. Although I head that they have been estranged for many years now. Since I don’t know where he is I don’t know if he even knows about his father’s death.”

“I see. Thank you.” Emiray grew quiet and laid back down on the bed. Lynn waited to see if there were any more questions. Where she finally decided there were probably weren’t any more coming she said.

“I will be going now. I’ll come back to check on you once I have found and dealt with Gray. Try not to get shot again.” Emiray didn’t respond, she just laid there looking up and the roof of the room.

Lynn was just about to left, to be on the roof visible from the window when the door to the room burst in. The first thoughts that came to Lynn’s head was that these four men were armed, the second was that they were wearing University Security uniforms. It was when she connected those to thoughts that she noticed the third thing. These men, they were aiming the guns at her, her and Emiray. No, they couldn’t have possibly know Lynn was there, they were aiming the guns at Emiray.

That is when Lynn’s thoughts stopped and she began to move. It only took her less then a second to move Emiray from on top of the bud to underneath it. Lynn hadn’t had time to replace Emiray’s previous position with air so there was a sudden snap as air closed into the vacuum.

With that accomplished Lynn moved herself into a better position behind the men, this time with enough concentration to move to prevent the vacuum snap by moving the air that was where she was going to be into the place that she was previously.

The sudden lack of targets distracted the men just long enough for Lynn to remove all of their guns from them. She caught of glimpse of the guns through the window before they fell to the ground a floor below.

With the men unarmed it was an easy task to move the four men several inches down. Trapping their legs inside the floor. She pondered briefly what to do with the parts of the floor that had been where the men were now before finally moving it outside the building just like the guns.

Lynn finally took it a breath. It hadn’t been more then ten seconds since the door had been pushed open and the men had entered. Finally her brain was beginning to catch up with what had happened. Why had University Security been here and why where they attacking Emiray. Were they even attacking her, Lynn had acting so fast that she wasn’t even sure about that. Maybe they had seen here in the room through a security camera and came to Emiray’s rescue and Lynn had just attacked them.

No use pondering that now, best to just ask them directly. “Um, I hope I didn’t do anything wrong but why did you just attack us?”

One of the men, the leader if Lynn guess correctly, began to turn his head to look at her but she relocated herself to be in front of them again. “Lynn Tear, I should have know you would be here. You and the Engineer Emiray are arresting under article 7, section 34 for the theft of the Euclidian Key and the murder of Professor Harold.”

Lynn’s jaw hung there limply. This guard couldn’t be serious, she began to laugh at the absurdity before stopping. Could he be serious? “What? Why? How? That’s impossible? I helped Professor Harold make the Euclidian Key, what reason would I have to steal it from him, and murder him? What possible reason could have have for doing that.”

The officer struggled with his legs, trying to break free of the floor. “Humph, why would I know a criminal thinks.” The man spat at the floor in front of Lynn. It might have hit her but she move it out of the way. “However there is security footage of you breaking into Professor Harold’s laboratory where the Key was kept.”

“But he died far beneath the University District, how do you…” Lynn was about to ask how the man would explain that when it came to her, she could quite easily be able to do that. “Then why are you blaming Emiray. How could she be involved in this.” Lynn felt like she was grasping at straws, trying to explain why they weren’t responsible.

She was getting a sinking suspision that these men were actually University Security and if that was true it would be very bad if she did anything to them. She hadn’t hurt them in her initial attack so she should probably get away with nothing more then a scolding, if she could get this theft and murder charge cleared up.

“Harold was murdered in the Belly and then there was an attempted murder of the Professor who went to discover the truth about the body and you claim that she had nothing to do with it. What sort of a fool do you take me for.”

That is when everything snapped into place for Lynn, she glanced over at Emiray and asked, “I see, I think I understand now. You told me that Gray couldn’t let anyone who knew about what he did to live right?”

Emiray was already on her feet and had managed to secure some sort of long knife but was now holding it casually. “Yes, I said that didn’t I. If they claim that I attacked Gray then that must be what this is about.”

There was a single moment of hesitation where Lynn wondered if Emiray really did try to attack Gray but then it vanished. If that was true then there would have been no reason for Lynn to be accused of theft and murder. The only reason that she could think of for that would be to isolate the two main people who had any real knowledge about the Euclidian Key.

“Very well, I think we will be leaving here then.” Said Lynn. She glanced between Emiray and the robot R08 and the Lynn moved the three of them somewhere else.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Seven

“Ok, that is unusual but can you get to the point.” Responded Lynn grumpily. It was more then unusual for a Belly Engineer to be attacked. Custom dictated that you she treat them like your own family since they were the people who kept the city afloat. Even criminals treated them with respect, Lynn didn’t know who would want to attack one.

“Well, they asked her what happened to her. She is still in bad condition but some of the things she say was interesting. She told the hospital workers that she was attacked and that they took the Euclidian Key from her.”

Lynn dropped the phone as she heard what he was saying. The phone almost hit the ground and broke but just before it hit the ground it was instantly back in her hands again.

“Wait, this Engineer said that? What hospital is she being kept at?” Asked Lynn in a rush. She had already left the building she was currently on and was halfway down the block when she got the response.

“She is at Queen General Hospital in the intensive care unit. Apparently she had taken a wound to the chest that was severe. My friend said she the bullet had already been removed and the wound wrapped before she had even been brought there. She claimed that her robot did the operation and while that is hard to believe all the other options are event harder to believe.”

There was a crackle of static and Ivan took his phone away from his head in disgust. The phone had been disconnected and the call dropped. That only happened when Lynn teleported large distances quickly, she must be going directly to the hospital as fast as possible. Ivan stuck his phone back in his pocket, there was no point in calling her again for a while. He would give it a while, enough time for Lynn to talk with this Engineer and figure out what was happening.

June 10th

Academy District, Queen General Hospital

“I’m sorry miss but we can’t let you see her. She is in stable condition but her wounds are still bad and she needs to recover.” Said the doctor, Lynn tried to argue but the doctor shook his head, “Even if you are a powerful Esper, I can’t let you in until she has recovered. I’ve done the best I can and our healing esper will not be able to see to her until tomorrow. You will just have to wait until then to see her.”

Lynn ground her teeth in frustration. If this Engineer really did know where the Euclidian Key was then Lynn needed to speak with her before it was to late to do anything about it. That meant that Lynn really didn’t have time to waste talking with a fool doctor that wouldn’t let her see the Engineer.

“May I at least speak with the robot that was accompanying her here?” Said Lynn with the best modesty that she could muster. Speaking with the robot wouldn’t be optimal but it would hopefully be enough.

“No, that robot is her property and while she is unconscious I can’t let you access it. These are University rules and you should already know them.” Said the doctor. Lynn knew that but she was hoping that the doctor would let the rule slide. She was generally annoyed by people who always followed the exact letter of the law, they always kept tripping her up.

“Fine, I’ll come back tomorrow and see her then. What room will she be in when I come back?” Asked Lynn slyly. She tried to kept all of her intents out of her voice. She had no intention of following the doctor’s orders but it would be inconvenient if the doctor found out about that.
Lynn listen to the doctor’s response and then began to leave the building, making sure to take a short look at the map of the building to get sense of the room’s location. Then after she had left the building and heading a few blocks away she stopped. It only took her a moment to center her own location can calculate the necessary distance, she had been doing it for years and was not the most skilled person at doing it.

The world shifted and the was in a hospital room. A girl, younger then Lynn, was laying on the bed only a few feet away from her. Next to the bed, sitting on a chair was a strange robot. It was carrying an odd collection of bags hung around it and it had a neat circular hole in the center of its blank mask face.

Surprisingly the girl was awake and scrambling at her sheets trying to get free and away from Lynn who had just appeared in front of her. The girl was clutching at he waist like she was expecting something to be there.

Lynn raised and opened her hands to show there there was nothing to be afraid of. That wasn’t strictly true, Lynn could probably put the girl several hundred feet into the air before anyone realized what had happened but the girl probably didn’t know that. “Please calm down, I’m not here to hurt you. I just wanted to ask you some questions about what happened to you.”

The girl stopped moving and just stared at Lynn. It would have been unnerving if the girl didn’t have an expression of pain plastered on her face. “What is it that you want to know?” Asked the girl.

“You were attacked by somebody and the doctors remember you mentioning something called the Euclidian Key. I want to know who it was that attacked you and what they are doing with the Key.”
“What, are you going to try and kill me too.” Responded the girl bitterly. “That man attacked me because he wanted this Euclidian Key and he couldn’t have me tell anyone that he had taken it. I don’t even know that the Euclidian Key is so if you are going to kill me just get it over with already.”

“I’m not here to kill you.” Said Lynn in the calmest voice she could muster, it also hide her exasperation. “I’m trying to recover the Key to prevent anyone from using it. If somebody is willing to kill for it then I need to get it out of that person’s hands as quickly as possible.”
“Any why should I believe that you can’t trying to get it for yourself. If I was attacked to take it then surely it must be important. Wouldn’t you want it just as much as my attacker.”

Lynn couldn’t contain her laugher. “I don’t want it for myself because out of everyone in the world, the Euclidian Key is nothing more then a large piece of metal.” Lynn held out her hand to stop the girl from trying to speak. “I’m an Esper and the Euclidian Key was designed using the insights that were discovered when Harold was studying my power. There is nothing that I could do with the Key that I couldn’t do without it and many things I can do that even someone with the Euclidian Key would be unable to do. I would need a power source capable of powering half of Mü for it to be anything more then metal for me.”

“Any what is you already had an Ark Tunnel Generator” Responded the girl.

“A what?” Said Lynn, feeling a bit of confusion for the first time since she entered the room.

“An Ark Tunnel Generator, something capable of powering half of Mü.” Said the girl coldly.

Lynn stared at the girl with a blank uncomprehending look on her face. “That exists?” She said in amazement.

“Yes, don’t you know what powers your own District. It was heralded at the greatest discovery of the decade and it revolutionize power. I thought it was common knowledge.”

Lynn’s jaw hung open for a second but it snaped closed as she began to thing. “Well, I suppose that if I had the Key and a power source that big I could, I don’t know, um, rip most of the Academy District into pieces, travel to the moon, maybe tear open a hole into another dimension? It is hard to say, there are probably more things you could to with it, though you would probably need my experience to do more then attempt to rip the city apart. I hardly have a need for more power then I already have so I haven’t really put much though into what I would be able to accomplish with it.” She nodded, satisfied with her own explanation. “Though I suppose if anybody but me tried to channel that much power through the Euclidian Key then they are more likely to just rip themselves into a billion pieces then anything else.”

“So, if somebody knew about this then they would be expecting to die if they tried to activate it at full power.” The girl seemed to be in a calm state again. The girl crawled back into the bed and pulled up the sheets again. “Very well. I believe you. I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
“Great.” Said Lynn happily, although she was concerned about the possibility that the girl had brought up. She had been planning to directly stop the Key if it ever got activated on a large scale but if there really was a energy source strong enough to power the entire District and somebody got ahold of it then she didn’t know if she would be able to stop the Key. “First I would like to know your name.”

“I am Emiray, Major Engineer of the Third Quadrant.” Said Emiray and Lynn whistled. She didn’t know much about the Belly Engineers but she knew that Major was a title only given to show their dedication to the city. As far as Lynn knew there were only a handful of them.

“And I am Lynn, Level 8 Teleporter.” Now the return was true. Emiray was showing signs of surprise. While the number of Major Engineers alive was probably in the dozen, the number of Level 8 Espers that have ever existed was less then that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Six

I also finished the first half of part seven. That and part eight should be up late tonight or tomorrow

“No,” Said Emiray who couldn’t see Gray’s growing frown. “I’ll need to give the report to them myself. I’ve come all this way after all and the head engineer would be upset if I passed my duty off to somebody else. I can’t let something little like this stop me or I would be a disgrace to the engineers.”

“I’m sorry.” Said Gray, there was almost a forlorn sound in his voice. “I didn’t want it to come to this but now I don’t have any other choice.” Emiray looked over her shoulder in confusion and she tensed as she saw what he was holding.

Gray had the gun pointed straight at Emiray. The small weapon didn’t pack very much firepower but against Emiray’s body it could easily kill her if she was hit by it. “What are you doing Professor Gray.” Said Emiray, her voice beginning to tighten as she stared at the muzzle of the gun. If she jumped him then she might be able to stop him from firing. If she could get close to him then she would be able to hurt him before he would be able to kill her, but getting close was the problem.

“I’m afraid that I need to get the Euclidian Key from you and since you insist on taking it to the authorities I’m going to have to take it from you.” There was still a measure of uncertainty in Gray’s voice which kept Emiray talking.

“The Euclidian Key?” Asked Emiray quietly. She was trying to keep him talking and maybe he would be put the gun down and let here leave. “I don’t know what you are talking about, but if it is anyone of the person’s possessions then I will give you all of them if you want.”

“That is no longer good enough. I can’t have anyone find out what has happened which means that I can’t just let you go. If you tell the authorities then I may not have enough time to do what I need with it and I can’t let that happen.” Responded Gray with a tinge of annoyance in his voice.

“Then what are we doing? If you need to get rid of me then why are we standing her talking with each other. You could just shoot me and be done with it. There must be a reason that we are talking.”

“Yes,” Said Gray, “We are standing here and talking because it is giving me time to think of a solution to my problem that doesn’t involve killing you. It is rather tricky because any method I could think of restraining you enough to prevent you from escaping would eventually kill you.”

“I see. How about you leave me locked up some place and then come back to release me after you have done what you need to do with this Euclidian Key. Then you could escape and nobody would be able to follow you.” Suggested Emiray in her meekest voice possible. She was trying to guess her chances of getting the gun from him before he shot and the best she could get was to the chance of messing up his aim enough to only get a life threatening injury instead of a fatal one.

“I thought of that one but the problem is that there is a high probability that I am going to die by the time that the plan if over and even if I tried leaving a message then it might be discovered before it is too late and I can’t risk that.” There doesn’t seem to be any good solution.” He continued to wait and point the gun at her.

She stood there frozen waiting for him to decide her fate when she saw R08 out of the corner of her eye. “No Rob, wait, don’t!” However it was too late. R08 with a clanking gate was rushing at Gray. R08 would walk just fine but with everything that it was carrying it was difficult for it to run without creating a lot of noise.

Gray noticed and moved his gun slightly to the side and pulled the trigger. There was a loud bang R08 collapsed with a hole through its placid mask of a face. Oil began to well and the hole and R08 began to slump to the ground. Even as she felt the pain at what could be called death to her friend she needed to move.

One step after another she counted as she sped toward Gray. One second, two. She reached down and grabbed the hilt of her knife as she got closer to Gray. Three seconds. Gray’s gun was beginning to point at her again. Four seconds. She was almost there but she had run out time. She jerked wildly to one side and there was a second controlled explosion. The pain bloomed in her shoulder and she struggled to take the last step that she needed.

She thrusted the knife forward but her aim was slightly off. She barely grazed Gray’s arm before Gray knocked her hand way with his gun and and pressed the gun to her chest. Emiray held her breath for that one last second.

Professor Gray lower his hand and dropped the gun. He didn’t need it any more and it sickened him to keep holding it. He could see the blood seeming out of the body at his feet. He hadn’t wanted to kill her but since it was what happened he had to deal with it. Gray turned his eyes over to the corpse, if it could be called that, of the robot. Gray doubted that Emiray would be carry the Euclidian Key, it has probably been kept on the robot just like most of her other stuff.

A couple of minutes later her had found the bundle and after unwrapping it her pulled out the long and slender key like object. Gray slipped the Euclidian Key into his coat and then turn away from the girl and the robot. As he moved away and began making his way through the building and out into the University District he began muttering to himself. “For the greater good.” He didn’t know if he believed it anymore.

Emiray was cold when she opened her eyes again. The pain was enormous and she could do no more then twitch her fingers. She had been shot once in the arm and a second time in the right side of her chest. The fact that the wounds hadn’t yet killed her was somewhat encouraging although she didn’t know how much that was worth. It was getting difficult to breath and she didn’t know how much blood she had lost, it must have been a lot.

She couldn’t seem Gray and didn’t know how long she had been unconscious for but he must have been long gone by now. Not this is mattered. She would probably die here alone. It wasn’t quite a locked room in the middle of nowhere but It felt the same. She looked over toward where R08 was, at least she wasn’t dying alone. However R08 wasn’t where it had fallen.

She opened her eyes wide and rolled her head, the only part of her that still seemed to work correctly. She searched for R08 desperately, Gray would have any reason to take R08, would he. Then she saw it. R08’s eyes were glowing softly and it was sitting not far from her and opening up one of the bags it had strung about it. A long set of tweezers were in its hand. The hole in the middle of R08 face was still there but it didn’t seem to inconvenience it.

“HOLD STILL, THIS WILL BE PAINFUL. THE BULLET NEEDS TO BE REMOVED.” The warbling that usually annoyed her so much was now comforting. “YOUR WOUNDS ARE VERY BAD BUT I WILL DO WHAT I CAN. TRY NOT TO DIE.” Emiray almost laughed but it was extremely painful to attempt even that so she gave up.

R08 drew closer to her and pressed the tool against her chest. Then her world was consumed again with pain and she collapsed into blissful consciousness again.

June 10th

Academy District, Top of a Building

It has been a colossal waste of time. The Euclidian Key had been stolen and she hadn’t been able to find out anything about the theft. Lynn had even tracked down the Phantom Thief Rose in the Entrainment District in hopes that she would know something about the theft but it was useless, nobody knew anything about it and Lynn was simply stuck with a missing Professor and Key and absolutely no clues to go on. It was disheartening and Ivan kept pestering her to give up on the search and return to her studies.

Lynn had even devoted hours to just reaching out and feeling for any of the spacial disturbances that could have been the result of using the Euclidian Key but that too had been a deadend. Her cell phone rang and she pulled it out of her pocket and saw that is was Ivan calling her. Since she hadn’t found it by now she realized that she should probably go along more with Ivan, her studies and research were important and she couldn’t just ignore them.

Flipping the phone open she answered, “Yes Ivan, I’ll be there in a moment.” She was about to close the phone when Ivan yelled through it.

“Wait. I found something.” Lynn paused and put the phone back to her head.

“I’m listening.”

Ivan continued, “You mentioned the Euclidian Key to me briefly when I asked you what you were looking for, and I finally found something. One of my friends working at a hospital just called me to ask my opinion on something and I learned something interesting. Apparently there was a Belly Engineer that was shot not far below the city and her robot carried her to the hospital.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Five

Since I'm behind several days I'm posting by parts now. Part Five should have been done on the 5th but didn't get done then.

Part Five

There was one long moment where time seemed to stretch for Emiray as she strained every sense that she had. Gray was opening his mouth as if to ask a question to her but she blocked it out keeping everything tuned for that one instant. Gray’s hand set down on her shoulder for only a moment before she twirled and ducked, knocking Gray’s legs out from under him.

He cry out as he collapsed onto the floor with a loud crash. During that slow moment Emiray could see a large blurred shape leaping through the air where Gray and her had been a moment before. Then after time had been going so slow it seem to speed up in double time to make up for it.

Emiray leapt forward after the Black Crocodile, holding her knife perfectly still. She plunged toward where the Crocodile should have landed and felt the impact as the point of her knife reach it. It felt like molassis as the knife slowly sunk in. However it didn’t get all of the way in and before she could react something whipped out and knocked her back, sending her spinning to the ground.

Reeling from the hit that must have come from the Crocodile’s tail, Emiray clambered to her feet. She could feel the pain and was gasping for breath but she could see the knife, seemingly suspended in midair, moving quickly toward her. This Black Crocodile was bigger then the last one, much bigger. Emiray hadn’t know that they grew this big.

Emiray kept her balance the best that she could as the Crocodile rushed toward her in an indistinct blur. She managed to slip to one side, avoiding the mouth of razer sharp teeth by mere inches and grabbed the hilt of her knife. It slit a little as she lost momentum and she pressed it in deeper, hopefully deep enough. Then she hung on for her life as the creature thrashed. As it rocked backward and forward trying to dislodge her, she held on to the knife like her life depended on it.

The Crocodiles tale came up and lashed her hard across the back once and then twice. The pain was intense but she kept her teeth gritted and her hands locked firmly on the knife. Then it was all over the Crocodiles movement slowed and eventually stopped. Emiray then waited for minutes, making sure that the creature was finally dead. Only when she was certain that it was finally dead did she let go of the knife and collapsed onto the ground in exhaustion and pain.

Everything still seemed like a hazy to Emiray event when Professor Gray helped her up and lead her out of the pile of gore that she had been kneeling in. Things began to slowly come into mental focus, she first wondered how she should deal with the bodies of two Black Crocodiles. Eventually she gave up on that problem, she would report it and a couple of Engineers would come to clean up and make sure this section of tunnel didn’t have any more of them.

Eventually it began to dawn on her that she was covered in blood and grim and that everything felt a great deal unpleasant, especially her boots which squished a little when she tried to move her toes. The pain was also beginning to seep back into her body as the adrenaline that she had felt went facing down the Black Crocodile began to fade. Most of the time she never missed it but right now she could use a nice hot shower.

It took her a moment to realize that Professor Gray was talking to her. She shook her head to make it a little better, “I’m sorry, what were you saying. After what happened I’m not feeling very well.”

“Well I should think not. Your back is in pretty bad shape with plenty of cuts and it is bleeding all over. You need to get that treated and wrapped or it could get bad. I recommend getting real medical attention but since that it not available to use now we need to do the best we can and keep the would clean.”

“Rob should have bandages.” Said Emiray and R08 stepped forward automatically and pulled several small rolls of bandages out of one of the many bags strung along him. Gray took the rolls from R08 and began to unwind one of them. Staring with and annoyed look on his face Gray looked over the wound.The skill was cut in several places and there was gravel and grim all over, probably from the tail when it hit her. He needed to get the wound clean or any bandaging would just make it worse.

Unscrewing his water bottle he pored it over her back, making sure to wash all of the worst of it clean. Then he scowled and pulled out his personal bottle of liquor. He hated to waste it on something like this but the back needed to be disinfected and without proper tools this was the best that he had available to him.

“I need to disinfect the wound so this is going to be painful.” The scowl still on his face he poured the bottle of alcohol over Emirays back. She flinched but didn’t cry out. The back mostly clean he wiped away the rest that he could with the clean cloth that R08 had conveniently provided for him.

Gray smiled grimly at a job well done, medicine had never been his strong suit even though he had taken several courses. Maybe it was because of his oath, it was already painful for him to heal her given that the only reason he was doing it was to make sure she was capable of leading him to the surface.

Eventually Emiray managed to recover enough to begin leading them again. However, while she would probably be able to lead them to the University District by the end of the day in ordinary conditions it was now no longer possible for her. Her only seemed to have enough in her to lead them both to an Engineer safehouse a couple of hours away. There she was able to get hot water and enjoy a relaxing shower and bath before collapsing on a half sized bed. She could normally keep walking all day but the fight with the Black Crocodiles had drained her and the pain of her back had been making each step a new type of torture. It didn’t take her more then a minute to fall asleep after she had laid down on the bed.

Gray looked over at R08 sitting next to Emiray’s bedside. He had been impressed by her today. She was still a young girl but her skill was much higher then her age would merit, what kind of difficult life had she had. He knew he wouldn’t have been able to wrestle an almost invisible crocodile and end up victorious. It was all he could do to keep from running while Emiray had fought the beast. All thoughts of the weapon tucked away in his coat had disappear from his mind the minute he had seen the blurred look of the creature that had attacked Emiray.

He knew he couldn’t get attached to her, it wouldn’t end well, but he couldn’t help feeling things toward her. Predominantly to was respect for her abilities and pity that she wouldn’t be able to do more with her life. With her skills she would eventually have been someone important, maybe even the head engineer. He feel sorry that she had to get wrapped up in all of this.

It was many hours later that Emiray awoke. She was feeling better then she had been but her back and body were feeling incredibly sore. She felt like she would be able to make it to the surface today but it would be slow progress and would probably be night by the time that they arrived there, maybe a little bit less then half of her average speed.

Hot breakfast was a luxury that seemed to difficult at the moment so she passed out bread and cheese to Gray and eat some herself. An hour later after she had had Gray help her change her bandage they started making their way but up the passageways to the University District. The route hadn’t normally felt so long but she kept a slow pace that event Gray didn’t have any trouble keeping up with.

She kept an even close watch out on her surroundings then usual to make sure they didn’t get ambushed by another Black Crocodile. That never happened however and they reached the surface without further incident. Gray had occasionally tried to keep conversation up, asking her questions about her job, but it was just too much of a pain to answer so she just listened. Gray eventually switched from asking her questions to telling her stories of different experiments that he had done and what the outcome had been. She never really paid attention to the stories.

The passageway to the University District that she had taken was locked with a keypad. The security system was mainly there to keep unrulies out and to make sure new experiments didn’t get released into the Belly like Black Crocodiles had been. It wasn’t very complictated and Emiray then left Professor Gray back into the Academy District.

With the change of scenery around them Gray asked, “Are we finally back in the University Dictrict.”

Emiray nodded mechanically. “Yes, we are still below street level but was are definitely in the University District, on the east side of the District if you needed to know.”
“I see.” Said Gray, he sounded reluctant. “Since you are injured I can take the man’s possessions and give the description of events to the authorities if you want. They you will be able to get medicial attention without worrying about it.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Day Four

Emiray looked over at Professor Gray and then back at Omar. “I suppose we should get going soon. Keep up the good work Omar.” Omar beamed at the praise and gave her what might have been a salute before motioning to his robot and head off in another direction.

“Professor Gray, do you want to rest a little longer before we start heading back up to the surface.”

“What, now?” He glanced at his watch before saying, “Shouldn’t we stop for the night. It took me two days to get down. This seems like a good place to stay after all.”

Emiray nodded, she could expect his professor to continue going if he had been walking all day. “Alright, although it should probably only take us a day to get back to the University District. Omar probably took the official paths but since I know this sector better then him we should be able to make the return journey much faster.”

Emiray moved over to R08 and pulled the blanket roll off of him and slipped the blanket out of the waterproof bagging. She glanced over at Professor Gray and tossed the blanket to him. “Here you can use that. I usually isn’t very chilly in the sector so I will be find without it.”

“No really, I couldn’t. This is your blanket, I can’t just take it from you.”
“The head engineer would be annoyed at me if I didn’t help any guests, besides I don’t usually use it anyways unless it is cold.”

“I suppose..”

Having gotten his agreement Emiray moved over to one of the cubbies in the wall and slide inside, making herself comfortable. R08 followed her and sat down next to the outside of the cubby. After a few seconds his eyes began to dim and then moments later they went out.

Professor Gray stood there is silent for a minutes watching the girl sleeping in the cubby. He had never imagined that any of the Belly engineers would be like her. She was young, too young, for the job. She could be any more then fifteen, maybe even younger. Yet, Omar had treated her with a great deal of respect and said she had been an engineer longer the he had been.

Gray had had a chance to speak with Omar at length on their way down. Some of their interests have overlapped, engineers knew a great deal about repairing machines and that wasn’t that much different then making them. Gray had gotten several new ideas about how to change his mental resonance chamber from his talks with Omar, resolving several electrical issues that he had been struggling with. If Omar thought of his girl as his senior then how good was she at the job.

He stood there hesitating. He slide his hand inside his coat pocket and touched the cold metal of the weapon had had hidden inside there. If she had kept Harold’s possessions then she must have the Euclidian Key on her somewhere. It would be over in an instant and then he could be able to easily recover the Key. Sure, he would be blamed for it since Omar knew he was with her but if it was for the greater good…

No, he released his grip and pulled his hand out of his coat. He moved over to the other side of the passageway and stretch out as best as he could, wrapping the blanket around him. If he dealt with her now then it would be virtually impossible to escape from the Belly before being caught. He would need to wait for them to leave before doing anything.

June 9th

The Belly, Sector 36

Professor Gray woke up to the smell of something… cooking? He rubbed his eyes and scrubbed his stubble before sitting up and looking around. Emiray was sitting next to a small pot which was sitting on a small electric stove. Gray stood up and went over to the stove and sat beside Emiray. He didn’t really know what to say, it somehow felt unconfortable to watch somebody several decades younger them him cook.

Emiray scooped up some of what seemed to be a mix of mush and stew and handed it to him along with a spoon. “Um, thank you.” He said thankfully. All of the food that he had eaten with Omar had been on the go, Omar never seemed to stop long at any one stop and it had just been dried meat and stale biscuits with him.

He took a spoonful and tasted it. The flavor was fairly bland but it was warm and that made it good enough. He paused for a second while he was chewing. “Is there fresh meat in this?” He asked, quite puzzled.

Emiray nodded, “I managed to get lucky this morning before you woke up.” Gray continued to wait, hoping for a little bit more of an explanation, maybe of what type of meat this was. Eventually it became apparent that Emiray wasn’t going to elaborate and Gray decided that it would probably be better if he never found out what type of meat it was.

They had finished breakfast and had traveled several hours before Emiray stopped and knelt on the ground. She stuck out her hand and pressed her finger into a puddle of strange yellow goo. R08 moved up need to her and examined the goo with her.

“IS THAT…” Began R08 before Emiray said, “Yes, Rob, I think it is.” She rubbed the goo between her fingers, feeling it carefully. Gray moved up behind them and leaned over.
“Is something the matter?”

“Shush… be quiet.” Said Emiray and she glanced around, looking for anything out of place. Beyond the puddle of yellow goo nothing was out of the ordinary. She dropped her hand down to the belt strapped around her jumpsuit and pulled out a large knife. She spun it in her hand until the point was facing up.

“Quietly, walk over to the wall and keep for back to it.” She instructed Professor Gray. She however didn’t move, except for her eyes which flickers back for forth across the corder looking for the almost imperceptible flicker that should be there.

Gray began obeying her order, backing slowly up until his back was against the wall. “What is it? Is there something out there?” Ask Gray, fear beginning to tinge his voice.
Emiray didn’t waste the motion to nod. “Yes, somewhere nearby is a Black Crocodile. We can’t proceed until I have found it or am certain it isn’t around.”

“What do you mean? Wouldn’t a black crocodile be easy to spot?” Asked Gray, the light of curiosity beginning to flicker in his eyes. Strange things always made him interested and once he was interested he could stop asking questions until he had everything figured out. “And why would there be a Crocodile here in the first place.”

“Quiet” whisper Emiray as she tried to concentrate. “Black Crocodile is a misnomer. It is actually just a big lizard, more like a chameleon then anything else. They are practically invisible, blending in almost perfectly with their background. Dealing with one of the is said to be like fighting a crocodile in the darkness, thus the name.”
“I’ve never heard of them before, such a creature couldn’t possibly be natural, could it.”

“I once heard that they were an experiment in the University District that managed to escape. Some of them found homes down in the Belly. Even so they are rare and most engineers have never encountered one before. Several engineers have even died dealing with them.”

“Have you encountered one before.” Said Professor Gray, cold ice running down his spine. Suddenly he was very worried. All his work would be for nothing if the Euclidian Key was lost down here with their deaths. Their bodies might never be found if they died here.
Emiray didn’t respond. She was too busy concentrating on her surroundings. If she wasn’t giving it her full attention she would miss the almost imperceptible blur that showed itself when the Black Crocodile moved. Everything was silent for one long instant when she could only here the dripping on water.

Then she saw it. It was only for a moment but she saw the slight blur at the joint of one of the pipes where the type of the pipe change. Emiray didn’t waste any time. She took three long steps and plunged her knife forward. There was a feeling of pressure and the red blood began spilling over her hands. The thing began to trash under her but she released the knife and took several long steps backward.

Now that it was flailing wilding in near death it could be clearly seen. The lizard was at least three feet long with razor sharp teeth. All of the tiny scales were colored almost perfectly with the pipe it had been crawling along however with the rapid movement the illusion of invisibility was gone.

Emiray waited for the thrashing to die down before stepping back to the Black Crocodile and pulling her knife out of it. Now that it was dead the camouflage had stopped changing. There was a large sigh of relief from Professor Gray who took several steps away from the wall and stood next to the lizard corpse.

“Well, you manage to get it. Good job. Nasty thing isn’t it, and quite big. I can see why it is called a Black Crocodile.” He wiped the sweat from his face with the sleeve of his shirt.


“No, what?”

“No, it was small. They are usually twice as big as this one.” Emiray’s concentration hadn’t wavered for a second since killing the Black Crocodile. This one had been small, it must have been a young one. Did young Black Crocodiles say with their parent or parents. Emiray didn’t think they did but that was different from knowing and she couldn’t take any risks when dealing with a Black Crocodile.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Day Three

“Not that that I know about.” Responded Ivan. He noticed her worried expression before asking, “Is there some reason for you to think that anything would be…. missing” He paused for a second before the last word because just before he had said it Lynn was gone. She hadn’t left through the doorway or anything mundane like, she had just ceased to be there anymore.

After around a minute for swearing at the frustration of having to deal with her he pulled out his cell phone and dailed her number. There was a ringing sound and he looked up to see a phone sitting on the table next to him. Curse her and her bloody ability to teleport willy nilly. He really needed to find a new job.

June 8th

University District, Professor Harold’s Laboratory

It has taken Lynn several minutes to arrive at Harold’s Laboratory. There was too many intervening obstacles to make the teleportation any quicker. Still by going across the rooftops she had been able to arrive at the other side of the Research District faster then any other person was capable of doing. It was beginning to become evening and the doors to the laboratory were locked. Harold used to keep the doors open late working but since he was missing the must have locked the doors early. Maybe the doors hadn’t even been unlocked today if there was nobody to work here.

Locks never really bothered Lynn however and a moment later she was on the other side of the still locked door. She could have made a few quick jumps and nearly instantly arrived main research room but she walked instead. If something really had happened to Harold then any clue she might find would be interesting.

The rooms on the way to the main research room were empty of any clues that Lynn could find however and the room itself was equally useless. Sure it was full of all sorts of things, experiments that Harold had been working on before his disappearance. Many things were out of the ordinary but that was too be expected, but nothing there clued Lynn into why Harold has vanished. She hadn’t really expected to find anything though, the University Security must have already combed this placed and Ivan would have know had they found anything.

The room changed and Lynn was in the basement. Harold kept many of his projects down here where they were safer and father away from prying eyes. In particular one project was down here that Lynn had helped him with. That was the project that she had initially been worried about and had decided to come over to check on.

It was a relief to see the door into the special laboratory shut and still locked. Only her and Harold would be able of opening the door without breaking it, or at least that was the plan. There were probably other Espers that would be capable of entering the room so it would be best to go in and double check. She went up to the door and typed in the password to open the door and… nothing happened. Lynn frowned, the door not working was a bad sign.

She moved to the other side of the door easily, trying to type in the password had simply been a formality. The keypad on the other side of the door had been rewired as far as she could tell, possibly to stop the door from opening from the other side. But it didn’t look like the door would be able to open from this side either so she didn’t know why somebody would do it, had it been Harold.

She crossed the room instantly, her worry growing and found the case that usually sat there open and flung to the floor new to a small portable power generator that they had kept in the room for testing.
The Euclidian Key was gone.

June 8th

The Belly, Sector 36

It had taken Emiray several days sort everything out down at the water pump. After taking all of the notes she could about the body she needed to find a way to dispose of it. The distance was too far to take the body all the way back up to the surface and she didn’t want to even if she could have. Still she had to carry it, with the help of R08, several miles to something that functioned like an incinerator. It was a horrible way for someone to end, burned deep under the surface with nobody who cared about you to morne for you. It also reminded Emiray that when she died this would probably also happen to her.

After the body was dealt with it was still several more hours before she got to a communication station. Cell phones didn’t get service down in the Belly so engineers had to rely on regularly spaced communication stations to stay in touch with each other hand the chief engineer. Normally she would have made a report about everything that had happened and then been assigned another job in a nearby sector to go and complete. This time was different however. Somebody in the University District was making a fuss and she needed to personally travel up several sectors to return the personal articles that she had deemed important enough to save from the fire.

So she began they days long trip through the tunnels up to the University District. In straight distance it probably wasn’t that far away, only a couple of miles up but there was no straight path. The city has constantly built upon itself and as the top got heavier and heavier the bottom sunk deeper and deeper into the ocean. Now there were miles of tunnels and rooms and passageways all beneath the city. A person could be lost for years down in the Belly if they didn’t know the passageways between the sectors.
Emiray had grown up in the Belly and knew her way around many parts of the Belly. In the parts she didn’t know she was still able to find her way. R08 had been to many places that she never had been and engineers were constantly marking and remarking the correct paths and while an normal person would never recognize the signs Emiray knew them on sight.

When she finally arrived at Sector 37, not far under the University District she made contact with the head engineer again. The orders she received were to wait there Omar, another engineer. He was bring down one of the people from the University District. While it was unusual for people other then engineers to want to enter the Belly she suspected that a death of another person from the University District was probably important enough for that to happen.

Emiray waited at the communication station for Omar and it was only a couple of hours before he arrived. He wore the some type of stained jumpsuit that Emiray was wearing although his was a fair bit bigger then hers. He have her a bow and she nodded her head slightly in response. Following behind him was a robot, although his was much different then R08. He was a quadruped model, faster and stronger the R08 although not as good at delicate tasks. Omar’s was also more bulky and was less then a decade old, practically new by engineering standards. If something couldn’t last at least ten years then it generally wasn’t worth having in the first place.

A little bit behind the robot come another map. The man was huffing and leaned up against the wall as soon as he caught up to Ovan. Surface-siders always had trouble keeping up with the pace that Engineers tend to set. The man looked a little bulky and probably got too much to eat and not enough exercise.

“Is the the man.” Said Emiray. It was more rhetorical then anything else. Who else would be following Ovan down into the Belly. Ovan nodded enthusiastically. He had only been an engineer for three years now and still thought the job was exciting. Emiray thought that he had enough enthusiasm for two or three engineers.

“Yes, that is him. Bit of a strange old dude if I would say so. No disrespect but he always keeps grumbling. First it was about not having a decent cup of coffee and then it was about not taking a bath. Surface-siders can be soft can’t they.” Ovan laughed at his own comment, not seeming to realize that the man was not three feet away from him and plainly capable of hearing everything that was being said.

“Excuse me.” Said the man who seemed to have gotten his breath back. “I heard that there was an Engineer who found the body of a University Citizen an I to believe correctly that you are that engineer?” He paused for a second before continuing. “I mean not offense but you seem awfully young for the job.”

“Hey now, don’t go saying that.” Said Ovan heartily. “Don’t let her fool you. She is one of the best engineers that there is. She has been one longer then I have, she had been one most of her life, practically born an engineer I say, an engineering genius.” He paused to catch a breath and Emiray interrupted him before he could continue.

“Yes, that was me. I found the body down in Sector 38 although I still have not idea how he managed to end up dead locked inside a room. I brought with me all of his personal possession except his clothes. I will give you a full report before you are guided back to the surface.”

Ovan shook his head for a moment. “Actually you will have time to tell him on your way back up. I’m been instructed to pass the guide duty off to you and the head off to Sector 35. It seems that some of the platting is starting to weaken and it left then some of the building in the city above might collapse. Architecture is my strong suit so the chief is wants me to get on to it as quickly as possible. You are to guide Professor Gray here back up to the surface and then give all the appropriate reports before reporting back to the chief.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Day Two

I finished writing late last night and went to sleep right after that so I am posting the story in the morning.

Six Years Ago
The Belly, Sector 75

The last piece slide into position with a click and Emiray placed the small backplate on and screwed it tight. She picked up the small watch in her equally small hands and turned it around a couple of times. It seemed alright, though she didn’t know for certain yet. She twisted the crank several times and the gave out a giggle as the watch began to tick.

Smiling she hurriedly stood up and raced out of her room and down the dark hallway to her Uncle’s room. She knocked once before entering, no waiting for a response. “Uncle, uncle, look I managed to get it working again. All I needed to do was replace several of the parts and it was able to work again.”

Her Uncle looked up from his work bench and smiled back at her. “Come over her Emi and show me.” He took it from her as she got closer and stared it through his thick glasses. He put it close to his ear and listened before handing it back to her. “You did well, a quality repair job. It will probably last for ten more years because of you.” He reached out and ruffled her short hair. “I’m proud of you.”

She beamed back at him, “Do you think daddy will be proud of me too?” She asked innocently. Her Uncle froze, his hand still tangled in her hair. It was painful for him, he didn’t know what to tell her, he had never had to take care of a child before her father died. There were things that he wanted to tell her, things he should tell her, but he never managed to say anything.

“Yes, I’m sure he would be very proud.” He tried smiling at her but it was forced.

June 5th

The Belly, Sector 38

The water pump had been fixed, the water was pumped out of the room, and the door to the room had been fixed and opened. The rotting smell wasn’t any better but it had been a relief for Emiray to be able to leave the room and breath some relatively clean air again.

“Rob, how could that man have gotten down here. The door into the pump room wasn’t working and he couldn’t have been dead more then a couple of days.” Said Emiray when she got back to the room. She had put on a dust mask which made it a little bit easier to breath, but not much.

“I DO NOT KNOW. YOUR HYPOTHESIS IS SOUND HOWEVER. IT SHOULD BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR THERE TO BE A CORPSE HERE. HOWEVER THAT DOES NOT STOP THE CORPSE FROM BEING HERE.” Responded R08 in its warbling tone. It was great at any amount of useful engineering assistance but R08 just wasn’t able to be creative.

“I wonder who he was.” Said Emiray as he put on a pair of thick leather gloves. They were usually used for grabbing into hot object but she really didn’t want to touch the corpse with her bare hands. She began checking the man’s coat pockets, maybe he was carrying an ID or something that would tell Emiray who he was.

She didn’t really want to be doing this but since she had found the corpse she would need to give the chief engineer a though report of everything that she could find out. If it was murder then it would be serious business. “Rob, please start recording.”
“RECORDING STARTED…” Responded R08. It would be better to give an account as she saw it now then try and remember what happened later.

“The corpse isn’t very old, maybe a day or two at the most. I still have no idea how he arrived here. I have been unable to find an wallet or any sort of identification yet but since he is wearing what is probably a lab coat he must be from the University District. Since Sector 38 is below the University District that makes it even more likely.”

She pulled out a something from one of the coat pockets and examined it. “In one of his coat pockets I found a strange object. It is a long rectangular rod bar with something jutting from one end. It resembles a key, although it is very big if it is a key.” Emiray placed the object to one side and continued to search the body. “He doesn’t seem to have an ID on him and other then the unknown object his pockets are empty.”

“There doesn’t seem to be any external injuries on him so it is unlikely that he was murdered. Maybe he got lost down here and starved to death or drowned after some sort of accident. Although how he would end up in the pump room if that was the case it beyond me. Other then the grate I used to enter the pump room there appears to be no forced entry, or any form of entry.”

She spend a couple more minutes going over the body looking for anything else unusual.
“I wonder if he was a father. Rob, stop recording.”

June 5th

University District, Pegasus Research Facility #5

Professor Gray continued to fiddle with the settings for the program. They simulations all seemed to work correctly but the experiments always failed. He had burned through seven different hypothesis to explain the reaction but he had yet to come up with a compelling solution.

There was a hiss as the large machine next to him began to open. The mental resonance chamber should supposedly let you view a person thoughts or watch their dreams but so far the data it had been giving him had been mostly garbage. He took off his glasses and leaned back in his chair before saying, “Good job Edith. You can take the rest of the day off while I rework the machine and redo my hypothesis.”

“Professor Gray, Professor Gray, your phone is ringing.” Gray looked up at Edith for a moment trying to realize what she was talking about. Then his concentration snapped and he too noticed that his phone was ringing. That was strange, almost nobody ever called him on the laboratory line, they always called his cell when they needed to contact him.
He stood up and walked past the walked past Edith and the Mental Resonance Chamber before picking up the phone and answering, “Yes, This is Professor Gray in Facility 5.”

“The tortured Titan guides they way.” Every muscle in Gray’s body froze and he heard the words coming from the other end of the phone. He glanced up to check on Edith but she had already left once he had noticed the phone.

“And we shall pay the same price.” Responded Gray in a whisper. “What is it that I need to do?” Asked Gray in a strangled whisper. He knew this day would eventually come, he had prepared for it and was willing to go through what needed to be done but he knew they price the the Titan suffered that that he would probably share.

“You must recover the Euclidian Key. The scientist who invented it decided not to go along with our wishes.” Said the voice on the other side of the phone. Gray shivered slightly, he knew what would happen to though who didn’t go along.

“What to do you want me to do to recover the Euclidian Key?” Sometimes independent action was a good plan, but now was unlikely to try that route. The man on the other side of the phone was probably important and high up in the ranks. Gray was nothing more then a grunt.

“The Key can be used to distort space and the inventor used it to escape with the Key. However without a large source of energy he will be unable to use it again. According to our measurements the Euclidian Key placed him somewhere underneath the University District. We need you to recover the Euclidian Key and dispose of the scientist who invented it.

“Do you mean in the Belly?” Asked Gray. If the Euclidian Key was in the Belly then it would be more then a little difficult to recover it. Without the right permission a person could get in trouble for entering the Belly, not to mention the possibility of getting lost or finding some dangerous creature. Without an Engineer to guide you then entering the Belly might was well be suicide.

“All the necessary arrangements for you have already been made. You will be making a scientific inquiry into the Belly to study the roots of Mü. An Engineer will be provided for you and you must recover the Key.”

Gray nodded to nobody in particular before saying, “I will do what is needed.”

“For The Greater Good” Said the voice. “For The Greater Good” Said Gray.

June 8th

University District, Residential Section

“Ivan, how can he just be missing?” Asked Lynn in an angry tone. “Harold is a well respected scientist with ten assistants, a person like that just doesn’t disappear.” She tapped her fingers on the table restlessly. She thought she should have been happy that her meeting with Harold was cancelled but she had been working with him closely on several projects and it was disturbing to him suddenly vanish like this.

“He just is. His lab assistants haven’t seen him in days. He seems to have contacted nobody and there have been no records of him.” Explained Ivan slowly. It was often painful for him to deal with Lynn because she would often ignore him completely or simply dismiss his opinion out of hand. She could get away with it too, Lynn was a Level 8 Esper and probably the most powerful single person alive. If she didn’t want to pay attention to him then there was very little that he could do to make her pay attention. It was all very frustrating.

“Is it possible that something happened to him?” Asked Lynn, “Was there anything missing from his laboratory?”

This section of the story will continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010, Day One

June 5th
The Belly, Sector 38

Emiray was deep in the Belly, far below the University District. Sector 38 was about as deep and derelict as a place could get. Several times Emiray has to wade and deep as her chest and twice she had to swim though flooded portions. Three of Sector 38’s seven water pumps had been busted and there had been numerous faulty electronics and broken doors. It was Emiray’s job to come down here and make sure everything was in working order.

Dirt and mud crusted her short hair making it impossible to tell what color it used to be. Her clothes, a simple jumpsuit, was so smeared and stained it was hardly recognizable as clothes. It was also at least a size too small for her. The only thing about her that was clean where the numerous tools that hung around her belt. They were clean and almost shined the the murky dark cast by the small electrical lamp that she carried.

She stopped in front of a door and set down her lamp on a nearby pipe that was handing at chest level. The last of Sector 38’s water pump was beyond there and she would need to make sure it was functioning before she made her report to the chief engineer. Given the water level nearby she suspected it was malfunctioning like the others she had fixed. It has after all been a year since this section’s last scheduled maintenance and many of the old pumps couldn’t even last that long before breaking. Even the pumps that hadn’t been broken had still needed some maintenance or they wouldn’t have lasted more then a couple of more months.

Emiray looked over the door looking for any damage. It was a solid metal door and beyond the rust covering the bottom half it seemed to be in good condition. The grabbed the handle in the center of the door and started to turn. There as a squeaking sound and the handle turns an inch before grinding to a stop. Emiray gritted her teeth and pushed again but the door handle refused to budge.

“What do you think Rob?” Emiray asked as she let go of the handle and dusted the flakes of rust off of her hands. There was a click as the robot reached out its hand and pressed it on the door it moved its head closer to the hinges.

R08 was just a little bit taller then Emiray and would probably be thin if it wasn’t carrying a multitude of bags and other things strapped around it. R08 was an old model and would probably have been junked long ago had the Belly Engineer been able to afford replacements. So R08 was still around and had probably been doing the job of an Engineer’s assistant longer then any of the engineers had been engineers, certainly longer then Emiray had been one.

Its mask like face stared at the door for a few more seconds processing before it said. “THe InTERIOr iS LIkEly FlOODeD ANd ThE INSiDE GeARS BUSTED. WE WILL PROBABLY NEED TO REMOVE THE DOOR BEFORE ENTERING.”

Emiray nodded grimly. The door opened inward and if it was indeed flooded then it could take hours to remove the door and get into the pump room and then hours more to fix the door. Only a second rate engineer would leave a broken door behind them. She looked around and then pointed toward the vents in the celling. “Rob, Any chance those would lead me into the pump room. If I could get inside and fix the pump then that would fix the flooding and then we would be able to get the door open.”

“THAT SEEMS LIKE A REASONABLE PLAN. ALTHOUGH THE VENTS MAY NOT LEAD TO THE PUMP ROOM AND THE ROOM MIGHT BE COMPLETELY FLOODED MAKING REPAIRS IMPOSSIBLE.” Responding R08 in its lightly warbling tone. That always but Emiray, she had managed to keep it in good working condition since it had been assigned to her but she had never been able to fix that warble. There was nothing wrong with its speaker system so it must be some kind of software bug.

She reached up and pulled herself onto on of the pipes. A couple of minutes and her wrench managed to get the grate of the vent off and she squeezed herself inside it. “Rob, there isn’t enough room for you to come up here. Stay down there and see what you can do about the door. I’ll come back for parts after I found out what is wrong with the pump.” She heard an affirmative beep as made her way through the vent duck. Ten minutes and two wrong turns later she finally managed to find the vent leading into the pump room.

As she began working on the bolts holding the vent in place she began to smell it. It was the smell of something rotting. She had smell decomposing creatures before, rats and other animals sometimes made there home in the Belly and when they died it didn’t take long for it to start rotting. Emiray got the last bolt off and help the grate gently as she let it slide down. Once it stopped moving downward she slide herself out of the ducts and stopped dead.

There, floating in the middle of the pool of water near the pump was a human corpse.

June 5th
Space, Low Orbit

Lynn stared up at the stars. They were beautiful, they had always been beautiful and so far away. Now that she was as close to them as she had ever been they seemed even farther way. “Beep, Thirty Five Minutes Of Air Remaining” came a sound near her ear. That brought her two her senses and she looked around, the Earth hung below her like a giant gem, sparkling. While the stars still seemed so far away the Earth seemed small and insignificant.

“Lynn, the satellite is two hundred miles retrograde away from you.” Lynn heard the voice through the communication set in her suit. They had been telling her that for a couple of minutes now and would probably start to get annoyed if she continued to spend any more time staring at the stars.

She stared to her west and could see the satellite off in the distance, although it seemed very small. She reached out to it and then it was there right in front of her as if she had always been right next to it. She reached out and grab one of the satellites rails with her gloved hand. “I’m there, now what do I need to do.”

“If you would remember the briefing then you would know that the satellite has run out of the fuel needed to correct its orbit and keep it where we need it to be. Rather then send a new satellite up you are going to replace the fuel canisters. Now please follow my directions carefully.”

Lynn listens as the voice droned on. She followed directions not really paying attention. Twenty minutes later the fuel tank had been replaced and Lynn was finally free to enjoy herself again. Sometimes it was a pain needing to do was she was supposed to. It seemed that all of her time was spent participating is some kind of experiment or preforming some task that nobody else was capable of doing. However she still had fifteen minutes before she ran out of oxygen and she wanted to spend those moments staring at the stars.

“Beep, Five Minutes Of Air Remaining.” Finally she broke away from the stars and spun to look at the Earth. She needed to return back to Mü. The University probably has some test or some experiment they wanted her to perform. She sighed, taking one last deep breath and then the Earth was closer, much closer. She was falling and even through the suit she could feel the atmosphere wiping past her. Every-time her suit warned her that the tempetures were getting to hot there was a shutter and she began to fall again.

Just as her suit began to warn her about the critical low levels of air she flipped the pressure release and air began flowing into her suit from outside. It was thin still, but it was breathable. The Earth was hurtling toward her and she could see the ocean far below her and the city. It was still small but it grew bigger and bigger and she got closer to the ground. Like the stars Mü always impressed her, the largest city in the world floating on top of the ocean.

She could see the building get bigger and bigger as she fell through the clouds. If she kept at this for a couple of more minutes then she would hit the ground. Her eyes locks on one of the taller buildings and then suddenly she was standing on top of it.

“Ivan, I have managed to land safely in the Entertainment district…” Lynn paused for a second deciding, “Cancel any other plans that I have for this evening. Tell them that I am planning to spend the night in the Entertainment district.”

“Wait Lynn, You can’t just do that. You promised me…” Lynn clicked the communicator off and unlatched her helmet letting her hair roll down to her shoulders. “Sure I can, in fact I just did.” Said Lynn with a smile. Ivan would probably get angry at her but there was really nothing that he could do to stop her. Lynn doubted that anyone would be able to stop her if she didn’t want to be stopped and it wasn’t like she was doing anything wrong. Occasionally she wanted to act her age, maybe she would go see a movie or go to the arcade.

First however she needed to go get some clothes, a space suit was hardly the proper attire for a teenage girl. There would probably be somebody in the Entertainment district willing to try her some proper clothes in return for the suit. She smiled planning how she would spend her evening.

Then the roof of the building was empty and Lynn was nowhere to be seen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - All Online!

I know I never really post here, but this November is will be different. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for the third time and this year I'm planning on showing everything. Everyday (Or most of them) I will be posting all my writing to my blog for the entire world to see.

My NaNoWriMo profile is there for anyone interested in my initial idea and I will be keeping an up to date word count there.

I already have an interesting idea, but since I can't promise I'm that great an author I can not say it is a good idea. Maybe somebody will like it, maybe not, but I will accept any criticism.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tales of Arabian Nights

I got to play a game of Tales of Arabian Nights during Conduit and I must say that it is an awesome game.

My character started out by being sold into slavery by her siblings. She escaped and began to try and find her fortune in the world. However the fates looked down on her, as she traveled back to her home she become lost in india and in attempting to get back she tried to make a deal with a wizard, however he became angry when she was unable to pay his price and she was sent back into slavery again.

She eventually managed to buy herself out of slavery however it wasn't long after that she encountered a strange custom where is was illegal to eat figs out of a leather bag. Figs given to her by the person who was trying to arrest her. She managed to escape with only a banishment but is soon came back to haunt her.

She got in trouble in the next city that she visited but not before she encountered a pool of gender changing. It didn't look strange but one sip and he was then a guy. How the guards recognized him with his new gender he never found out.

And thus ends the story of a young noble girl who just wanted to see the expressions on her siblings face when she returned home rich.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Railway Connects Us

I know I mentioned on Facebook that I would make a post a while ago. Alas that didn't happen and I never got around to it until now. On the plus side I am now using MarsEdit 3.

Underground cities which are connected by a subway system. With huge stretches of uninhabitable land between cities the only way to get between them is the ancient subway system. Small stores have been constructed around the stations selling everything a tired traveler might need and anything an eager visitor could imagine.

People wait expectantly for their loved ones to arrive or work frantically to earn enough money for a ticket to leave there boring home and see what else the work might have to offer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Untold Stories

During my daily life I occasionally see something interesting that inspires the seeds of a story inside me. Some of these seeds catch hold inside me and begin to grow into a tree of ideas. Some of them I decide to turn into stories or use in a roleplaying game that I am playing. Others sit in my mind or in a small note on my computer. Those are the ones I want to share, the Untold Stories.

The stories will generally include my thoughts and the start of the story. Others might just include a picture that I found that inspires some thoughts. Maybe some of these stories might eventually be given homes and the person who gives it to them might be you. Don't be afraid to adopt a story, just make sure to include a link to where you are bringing it to life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fallout 3 Hacking Mini-Game

Due to a friend's request I decided to create a hacking mini-game which works the same way as it does in Fallout 3. So I spent a few hours today throwing together an implementation of it using HTML and Javascript. It is currently working quite well, although I plan on adding a more difficult version which uses longer words.

Please enjoy!


This requires the most recent version of Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Avoiding Average Proficiency

One of the issues I've come across in various games is the disuse of average skills. Players generally prefer to use their best skills. The reason is fairly obvious, players want to succeed at what they are doing and so they attempt to solve problems using the skills they are good at.

This habit can lead to a bunch of unused or rarely used skills. While this might lead to a good simulation of a character's actual abilities I feel that it is generally unnecessary to have all those extra skills.

Different games do different things to deal with this. Some games use multiple different solutions. I am going to use the word skill to represent anything that could provide a mechanical bonus to a player.

Every Skills Is Useful

This is probably the most common solution. Every skill is useful in different situations and it is the GM's job to make sure that they get used. Skills usually have a fixed breadth of what they can accomplish so that the GM can make every skill useful in different ways.

The problem is that in groups of players the character with the highest skill is always making that type of roll. It also doesn't solve the problem of the players always trying to solve a problem in ways they are good at.


Almost everything in D&D

Skills in Spirit of the Century

Resource based skills

This method has some sort of balance system for the skill. Maybe you only have so many dice that you can use for the skill during a session, maybe you have to spend points to gain a benefit.

There is something appealing about this sort of skill system. Since a player can still usually get one or two good rolls out of a weaker skill then they will want to try it occasionally. It could also be that using one skill is equivalent to using another because they all come from the same pool and then the player will just go with whichever seems most appropriate.


Everything in Trail of Cthulhu

Aspects in Spirit of the Century

Traits and Fan Mail in Primetime Adventures

Organic Growth

If an organic character growth advancement system involves increasing skills that you use then if falls into this category. That rewards the player for using their weaker skills because that is the way that they get better. Since it is harder to improve higher skills it can be more beneficial to use the lower skills because it is easier to improve them.


Advancement System in Burning Wheel

Friday, February 12, 2010

Campaign Ideas (Part 1)

PTA has caused me to think of all sorts of season ideas, it has really started a fire in my creativity. I'm probably going to continue post my different campaign ideas to help me remember them and maybe somebody else will like them too.

A new human colony on a new planet is the beginning of a new chapter in human history. However this momentous occasion is shattered when the colony suddenly loses contact with Earth and is attacked by strange alien invaders.

The explorer ship visits a strange island following a treasure map. If it weren't enough that there were vicious beasts and hostile natives on in the island, the crew all want the treasure for their own.

A round of hackers stumble upon dangerous information, a method of calling down demons. They need to decide what to do with this newly discovered ability. Then when the people they stole the information from discovers them they need to avoid being eliminated for knowing too much.

The zombie apocalypse has begun, the only problem is that the zombies are generally decent people other then the eating brains part. Now zombies are declared to also be people, at least to those who aren't zombie haters.

After a meteor shower a group of teenagers begins to monsters that nobody else notices. What will they be forced to do to protect the people they care about. When they get offered the power they need to defeat the monster how do they deal with the great cost associated with it.

What I am learning from my current campaign

As I play my current campaign I continue to notice problems with how I am GMing. One of them I already mentioned. However there are plenty of others. I am noting them down in hopes that will help prevent me from doing them again.

I'll add more reasons as I think of them.

Name The Campaign

From the start and even after a few session I don't really know what to call the campaign. While I don't think this is a major problem I really should have done it. So to remedy this problem I am now officially giving my campaign a name. It shall be known as Umwandeln Herz: Umbra. And yes I combined both Latin and German to make it sound cool.

Constant peril is boring

The situation in the story put all the players and the people that they care about in an almost constant threat of danger. So the players do the logical thing and bring everything that they care about to the safest location. This reduces the danger placed on the characters, which destroys the point of putting them in constant danger.

In the future I think it would be better to make the players think that they are safe most of the time and then spring the danger on them. That way the danger feels dangerous.

Too much sandbox

Some might say this is a good thing but I find that having too much of a sandbox leads to too much indecision and floundering. This is related to the scene issue I am having. Basically the players don't know where to go and are not self motivated enough to do much.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roleplaying, Scenes, and Primetime Adventures (Part III)

Out of all the things in in Primetime Adventures the rotating player determined scenes are my favorite. It is something that seems so simple, you just go around the table calling out scenes, but it is very powerful. Out of everything in PTA it is the mechanic that I am most likely to port to other games that I play.

It puts in the hands of the players the decision of what happens next. This sort of rotating scene framing seems like a magic bullet which cuts directly to things that matter. Instead of asking "What do you do?" the question changes and becomes "What is happening?"

The second different thing is narration rights. Putting the control into the hands of a player who is not the Producer is also a game changer. There are other games that I have played which have done this but never to the extent that PTA does.

More PTA Season Ideas

Dragons, the great beasts of legend. They live deep in the mountains where none but the most courageous knight dare tread. Many wonder how Dragons live but it is one brave scholar who braved the mountains to find out how they live, what he didn't expect to learn was who the Dragons are.

The greatest drama ever filmed has been losing ratings and is about to be canceled. Will the actors be able to convince the studio to keep the show going or will they be forced to find new roles. What about the rising drama which is going to replace their show?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roleplaying, Scenes, and Primetime Adventures (Part II)

Reading through Prime Time Adventures is a strange experience for me. My mind is still deconstructing it but ideas come unbidden to the top of my mind. These are stories that I never would have thought to tell. Yet somehow PTA makes me want to play them.

Again, I'll post more thoughts about PTA as they come to me.


The ancient Chinese martial artist Wei has finally taken on new pupils. Well he be able to teach them about martial arts and life or will they fall down the wrong path like his last apprentice.

The world of extreme sports is vast and some of them are very strange. In a world of extreme ice skating where there are no rules only victors, who will come out as the champion.

The princess has been kidnapped and the heros are going to rescue her. How will the princess fare in the castle populated by evil villains, especially when she find that they are tragically human.

Time traveling vampires from another dimension who are here to make sure that our world doesn't make the same mistakes that theirs did.

The despised demon child gets adopted by a stranger. Will they be able to find a place to call their own and will they be able to stay there when their pasts come back to haunt them.

Sphere is one of the largest MMO in the near future. There are many people who play the game to escape their problems in reality. When strange things begin happening in Sphere how will these people deal with their problems and protect their second life.

A bunch of people are trapped in a sky lodge and grizzly murders begin to happen. However what if the criminal was different? What if different things had happened? The next episode will do exactly that, telling a new story but with the same cast.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Roleplaying, Scenes, and Primetime Adventures (Part I)

In the last couple of games I played the main problem that I was having was game pacing. One session was mostly undirected with the players not having any idea of where to go. The second session had the same sort of problem, the players were faced with a puzzle that they didn't know how to solve. This lead to a long discussion between players and took a very long time because they even tried to do something about it.

I believe that both of these problems had to do with the players not knowing what they should be doing next and expecting me as the GM to point them in the right direction. Because I had several scene framing problems I decided to finally get a copy of Primetime Adventures. People keep talking about it being the quintessential scene framing game. I have meant to get it for a long time and now seemed like as good a time as any.

I'll post my thoughts and opinions about the game as I read the PDF.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Everyone is talking about the iPad

No comment about the iPad name. Now onto the things I actually care about....

Contractless $30 3G

This is awesome! This is probably the #1 reason that I am going to buy an iPad. Sure is doesn't support all carriers but I really have never had that much of a problem with AT&T so that really doesn't matter to me.

My Mom things it is awesome

The iPad is the layman's computer. There are lots and lots of different things that I do with a computer so it is impossible for me to replace my computer with an iPad. My Mom however is different, she almost exclusively uses her computer for the internet and for writing documents. This makes the iPad the perfect computer for her because everything just works, I almost never need to provide technical support for my Mom's iPhone and it is going to be the same for an iPad. While this doesn't make me want to purchase an iPad it does make my Mom want to buy one (and my brother).

Books, Books, and more Books

My parents are using Kindle for the iPhone to read eBooks however I think that the iPhone screen is too small to effectively read. I also find the Kindle to be too unipurpose for my tastes. I really want to do more with eBooks and the iPad seems like a good tool for doing that.

Cheaper then I expected

That sums up this point, I was expected the lower end iPads to sell for the price that the upper end iPad is selling for. This was a pleasant surprise that means that even if it turns out that I don't like the iPad then I am not too out of pocket.

I signed an NDA

I really wish I could tell you something here, but I signed an NDA. Trust me that whatever I would put here is awesome.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Code 2 - Greatest Desire

Blood. Blood strained the otherwise white pants like a Roastank blot.

“Come out come out wherever you are.” The sing-song voice drifted closer and closer.

“I’m growing tired of this.” Came the second voice. Bright blinding light filled the dark alley and Rhett was forced to scrambled away, knocking over a garbage can as he went.

Rhett shivered and adjusted the glove on his hand again, his projector was warm to the touch. He couldn’t stop shaking, he could see the outline of his approaching death. He held his breath and huddled in the corner. The fear was worse this time, this time he had been confident and sure of his victory. This was supposed to have been easy, his opponent was supposed to have been a beginner, his opponent was supposed to have been alone.

Rhett waited as the shadows of his opponents passed by him. He continued to hold his breath, second after second, until he was sure that they were gone. He slipped from his hiding stop with a measure of relief. He twitched momentarily when he heard a snap. It took a moment for him to realize that it was because he had stepped on something.

The fear still hadn’t left him, he could still feel it permeating through his bones. He wanted to run, to escape, more then he had ever before wanted to in his life. Yet, he couldn’t, he had to win. He could still remember the haunting voice of the man who had given him his projector. It has been a moonless night then too.


“The power to change, the power to grant your greatest desire.” The man was tall, bearded, and dressed in black just like Rhett had been. Rhett didn’t even look up from that he was kneeling in front of.

“There is no amount power that could quench the loneliness that I feel.” His voice cracked as he spoke, tears still streaming down his cheeks. Rhett didn’t think that he would ever stop crying.

The bearded man took out something wrapping in a piece of cloth from the back at his hip. He unwrapped it slowly before setting the glove on the grave in front of Rhett. The stone embedded in the glove shimmer in the darkness. “No human power is capable of that. To free yourself you must become more then human. Then the serpent will grant your greatest desire. Look up, can’t you see it?”

Rhett raised his head and looked up at the dark sky. Even in the darkness he could see it, a light in the sky. He stared, uncertain is what he was seeing could possible be real, “What is that?”

“That is paradise.”


There was the faint tinkle of glass as Rhett broke a window. He lifted his leg and stepped inside of the dark building. The building belong to a college, so it should probably be abandoned during the night. Rhett sure hoped so. He hobbled down the hallway wincing every time he used his wounded leg. He needed to think of a plan, so way to defeat his opponents. Hey with two of them he didn’t know what he could do, if only he had an ally too.

His projector glowed slightly in the darkness. Rhett lifted it up and looked at it. Is that possible? Could his projector really give him an ally? Then the grow died and Rhett as left standing in the darkness. Of course it would be impossible for it to be able to give him an ally.

Rhett began climbing up the stairs of the building. Maybe if he fought them on the roof then he might be able to beat both of them. As he climbed the last couple of stairs he felt faint and heaved for breath. He could still feel the moisture of his own blood on his leg and he wondered how much blood he had lost.
He stepped out onto the roof. He stepped over toward the rail and collapsed. Now all he needed to do was wait for his two opponents to arrive. It was then that he noticed her, she was sitting on the floor in one of the dark corners of the roof.

The woman was just sitting there staring at the sky.

Ignoring his wound Rhett rushed over to the woman, “You need to get out of here right now!”

Thi stared back at him with a blank look on her face, “Why?”

Rhett began stuttering, he couldn’t just explain the he was going to fight some people here is probably only a few minutes. “It is going to be dangerous here, if you don’t leave now then you could die.” Said Rhett, it was the best explanation that he thought he could give her.

“Maybe it would be better if I died.” Said Thi in the same empty voice that she had used before.

Rhett stood there dumbly for a second, however when he was about to respond he hear a voice from behind him say, “Found You.” He spun to see two figures stepping out onto the roof. Rhett to feel his blood drain away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

iTunes App Store and Book Updates

There has been a lot of talk recently about the tablet that Apple may or may not be releasing on Jan 27th. One of the things that is speculated to be on the tablet is digital books which can be purchased like apps and music can be now. However I'm not here to speculate over what features the tablet might have, (others are doing a fine job of that) I just wanted to make a comment about benefits that digital books can have over physical ones.

One of the benefits of the App Store is what when the developer finds some bugs they can submit a patch and then the user can painlessly update their copy of the application. If digital books were sold through iTunes then they could be capable of doing the same thing. If there were errors in the text then when the author discovered them they could submit and update and all the users would then have a corrected version of the book.

Also is the books could have extras then the author would be able to submit other writings and information after the book is in the market. This would even book more useful in technical (or manuals) books which authors often try to release quickly after the product is released. Then they could add to the book and fix errors that are pointed out to them by their reader.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What do I want in a Roleplaying Game?

One of the questions I have continually thought about is what I want a roleplaying game to be like. What are the optimal features that I imagine in the "Hypothetical Favorite RPG"?

Non-binary success

After the players roll the dice is isn't just one of them succeeds and the other fails.

Wagers from Houses of the Blooded

Arbitrary Character Elements

Your character should have things about them that give them mechanical bonuses which are character based and can be almost anything that the player wants.

Aspects from Spirit of the Century

Fortes from Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies

Dogs in the Vineyard

Rewards for attempting difficult tasks

Very difficult rolls should have some benefit to the player. Higher difficulties should have some reason the player does not want to avoid them and try for easier rolls.

Advancement in Burning Wheel

Player involvement in narration

The players should have some ability to narrate and add things to the story. These are things that are beyond just their character's ability to interact.

Wagers from Houses of the Blooded

Goal driven characters

It shouldn't just be the GM telling players where to go. The players should also have input on the flow of the plot and what they want to happen.

Beliefs from Burning Wheel

Characters of differing skill levels

There are many stories where the hero is trained by his more skilled colleges. I want there to be both weak and strong characters in a group and not have the players feel like it was unfair.


I'll add other things I want in a game as well as more examples as I think of them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Question Based Advancement

A recent post over at The Harping Monkey talked about characters and the fact that good characters are based around a question. I thought that was interested and decided that it would be interesting if the character questions went on the character sheet, sort of like the character concept.

However I didn't want it to just sit on the character sheet, forgotten like the character's eye color. To fix that there needed to be mechanic that dealt with the question. What if the question tied into character advancement? What if whenever there was a question about the character that got answers then the character got some sort of advancement.

My current idea is what whenever this happens the player gets to change something about his character to reflect the answer. For example, if you where playing Spirit of the Century then it would allow the player to change one of his character's aspect or swap two skills on his pyramid. Answering Questions seemed to subjective to use to grant people extra experience but it seemed to be a great way to let the player tweak his character.