Author Topic: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)  (Read 2545 times)

Zach

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[BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« on: September 24, 2016, 10:55:29 AM »
I had a good feeling about this one too.

Boots echoing on the steel floors, Zen stalked the hallways of the abandoned mining facility.  The previous owners had left life support intact--a good sign that they intended to return in the future.  Which could mean treasure, legendary or not.  There was certainly plenty to find out here in the belt.  But he was seeing no sign of anything here but mining equipment that was more expensive to transport than just make another of.  He'd settle for something he could repurpose for himself, his ship, or his partner.

Speaking of...  "Have you found a map of this place yet?"

Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 11:45:30 AM »
With that, the small screen on Zen's wristpiece lit up: a three-dimensional map of the facility, holographic and projectable from the device. The map was certainly weird, though. Too small, at least by the looks of the place from the outside, wide and dug into the asteroid its crew was to be mining.

"I don't like it, Zen," said the man's partner, co-pilot, and apprentice, Qara Agilos, "The only map I can find ignores the asteroid's surface. The place is dug in deep, and that can't all just be foundation."

Back on the ship, the scrawny girl floated in her cabin, red holograms surrounding her. She had the station's map laid out and zoomed in, something she could use to be in Zen's position, to see what he should be seeing (according to the data she'd taken from the station), and help him navigate as needed. The artificial gravity was shut down on the ship at the time. Fuel was . . . costly. Something worth saving by shutting down unnecessary systems when they were docked like this.

"Are you sure this place isn't manned right now?"
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 12:24:02 PM »
"Didn't see any other ships here, did you?"  He examined the map, turning at different angles to confirm his suspicions.  "Are you sure you got the right map?  There should be a mining tunnel right about here, and I'm not seeing it on this thing.  Unless..."

He made his way down the hall on the outer edge of the facility, the magnets in his feet letting him walk almost as though there was gravity.  Almost.  He entered one a room filled with lockers--for mining gear no doubt, and if it was like the last few he checked they'd all be empty.  This time he set his sights on the airlock across from it.  "What do you suppose the chances are that if you open this, there's nothing but unmined rock on the other side?"

He was beginning to have a hunch about this place.  One that meant something very good could be here.  Either that, or something very, very bad.

Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 12:57:07 PM »
"The graphic invention of Zen-bits, the hottest new breakfast food this side of the asteroid belt, yes," Qara remarked, "Unmined rocks, no."

Because that airlock wasn't on any maps of the place. As soon as Zen noted seeing something she wasn't, she hijacked his camera, blew up the image, and floated it by her right. This airlock was new, newer than this station. And it was hardwired, the best way to keep a Wyrd out of your system. She did a quick scan of what Zen could see.

"Hardwired and, by the looks of it, rigged to blow. See that orange card stuck over the console?" Qara uploaded a zoomed in shot of it to Zen's wristpiece, "Whatever's past this, it's more important to them destroyed than in someone else's hands. You need to figure out a way to disable that card and get me inside that console."
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 08:15:54 AM »
"Disable the card?  Easy."

Zen extended his arm towards the orange card; it shouldn't be too much trouble, in plain sight as it was, but he bumped the settings in his arm up just to be sure.  When he was fairly certain it was enough to pass through any shielding the card could have at that size, he fired.  An intense amount of magnetism was released from his limb, having two effects: one, the card popped and fried before it had the chance to send a detonation signal.

Two, it sent him tumbling backwards, breaking the magnetic lock his feet had on the floor and bouncing his lightweight frame off of the walls a few times before his momentum slowed to a more controllable level.  "...Right, just as I planned."

Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 09:27:39 AM »
"Good job, Zen," Qara began, "You disabled the explosive. You also destroyed the console beneath it. Now I absolutely can't open the airlock, jacked in or not. You're going to have to find another way."

Hardwired systems were always a pain. A Wyrd can't get in conventionally. No wireless communication happens with them at all. Back on Old Earth, they called them closed networks. The system hadn't fundamentally changed in the past five centuries, only new modifiers here and there. A Wyrd could only get in with a direct connection of some kind; a chip or adapter applied to the system, something the Wyrd could speak to, would give them full access to the closed network.

This console wasn't going to do it, though. Not anymore. Over half a millennia, and computers and magnets still didn't get along.

"You know, if you need me to be the competent one out there, we can switch places anytime."
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 06:55:02 AM »
"Sure Qara, next time I find a bomb you can come on down and plug right into it."

She likely just being her usual sarcastic self, since doing any kind of hacking on a bomb could backfire spectacularly; anything remotely computerized would have some kind of defense against being tampered with.  And while Qara was good, Zen wasn't sure she was ready for a task where she either succeeded or exploded.  Especially with her sometimes spotty focus.

"Wanted to find another entrance anyway; this was one was too easy to get to, and that probably wasn't the only trap that way either."

Whatever was going on here, if they left the station mostly intact they were planning on returning at some point, which meant there was likely a less dangerous entrance.  Something better hidden. 

"Can you ping my location on that map you sent?  I want to see just how wrong it is."

Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 03:12:44 PM »
Qara lit up a point on the map projected from Zen's wrist: a little dot just barely outside of the station. By the looks of it, he should have been standing out in open void, and also very dead. But only barely. And only when he stood near the airlock. In addition, she blew up a picture of what Zen could see, set it as an overlay atop the official map she had blown up and surrounding her, and updated Zen's map with it. That way, he could look through all he'd seen previously, possibly note any clues or off details that he might've passed over, rather than backtracking. It was a neat trick she'd thought up awhile ago, a way to simulate a Wyrd's augmented memory for someone without such an augment.

She also set a ping down the hall a ways, gave it a label: Airlock C3. Beyond it, there was nothing. Just the rocky environment of the asteroid.

"Just in case you're out of bright ideas, I've marked another airlock on your map. You should find exosuits hanging nearby. If all else fails, you can go for a space walk."
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 06:31:15 PM »
"Oh, I have plenty of ideas.  First and foremost, finding a door without a bomb."

The other airlock was an option, but one he preferred to leave for later; chances are if the one he was at was trapped that one would be as well, at least if it led anywhere interesting.  Space walking was another option, but one he wasn't a fan of either; he'd be in even more danger if he hit any traps while relying on an exosuit.  No, his preference was to find whatever entrance was actually meant for use.

To that end, after remagnetizing himself to the floor, he left the airlock and started making his way along the outer hall of the facility, peering at the map and periodically rapping his synthetic knuckles on the wall.  He might not find anything, but then again you never knew when you were discover a hollow wall.

"Ugh, the resolution on this thing was not meant for detailed maps.  Qara, I'm looking for a room on the outer edge of this fake or out-of-date map that's claims it's something so mundane or dangerous that no wanderer would even want to look into it.  Garbage disposal, or hazardous waste storage, something along those lines.  That'll be where our entrance is, I bet.  Well, the one that isn't rigged to explode."

Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 06:58:06 PM »
"Waste disposal it is," she said flatly, "Should be right up your alley."

She made note of a room on Zen's map. It was right behind the men and women's washrooms, going up as far as to intersect with the backside of the mess hall. It was a long room, mostly filled with pipes, each about large enough for a human to shimmy through, from which funneled all manners of waste, all to be ejected out into space from the northernmost part of the room. That was maintained via a simple airlock; when open, all manner of waste coming from the washrooms and mess hall would be violently thrown into space. When closed, which it currently was, waste collected into the main pipe, awaiting ejection.

If nothing else, the company could be blackmailed for egregious failures to adhere to stellar waste disposal laws. But that wasn't the prize either Zen or Qara were looking for, here.

Paradoxically, a pipe led into the room that wasn't on the map. One that went through an eastern wall, out the same way as the previously encountered booby-trapped airlock, where nothing was supposed to exist, according to the maps. There was an access port that could be opened nearby, and crawling through the waste disposal pipe seemed the only way to continue following it into the unmarked side of the station.
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2016, 07:03:08 PM »
"On my way," Zen replied, choosing to ignore the comment.  He was too excited to care about Qara's barbs at the moment; he was close to finding whatever was here, whether it was something lucrative, dangerous, or both.  A quick trip through waste disposal and he'd be able to see just what.  Though  it was a good thing that he'd already confirmed that there was more facility than met the eye; he wouldn't put it past Qara to try and trick him into jettisoning himself into space for a laugh.

Waste disposal was an ill-maintained mess, and he suspected this was the case even before the facility was abandoned.  It led credence to the idea that the mining facility was meant to be a front, not a real functioning platform.  Though it was also possible that they just had poor maintenance standards.  You could never tell with some of these start-up mining ventures.  Thankfully, at least the abandonment meant any human waste was long gone; all that was left was garbage and rust.  He considered turning the filters on in his helmet, but he wasn't about to waste air over terrible smells.

Smells that only got worse when he pried open the waste pipe.  "Let it never be said this job is always glamorous," he said as he ducked into the pipe and began crawling through to the unmapped sector.


Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2016, 01:34:06 AM »
"I rescind my offer to replace you, by the way," she noted, "I like this dress; I'd rather not to have to burn it."

Darks and warms were Qara's preferred colors, and the everyday dress she liked--the one she'd bought last week, borrowing money from Zen that she claimed was going towards some kind of necessity--fit the combination exactly. More specifically, it was dark grey and orange. Matched her hair, was just colorful enough that it didn't hit on that black-and-red taboo.

Forty feet and smells Zen might have to burn away later, there finally came a hatch that opened out into the unmapped portion of the station. This room was quite small, just an access chamber to the sanitation line, but past one of the doors out, it was easy to find the other side of the airlock that previously vexed Zen. Unlike the mapped side of the station, which remained in low power, this unmapped side was almost completely shut down. Not even the glowing red emergency lights flared. An icon on Zen's wrist computer lit up, indicating low oxygen. There was some, but not enough for sustained life support. And it certainly wasn't filtered.
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 08:04:17 AM »
"We might have to if we run out of fuel because of you," Zen grumbled.  For the time being, all necessary purchases were being made by him, and would last at least until Qara stopped being smug about using their money on a dress instead of supplies.

His decision to save his oxygen proved to be wise when he finally found a hatch and climbed out into the mysterious sector, discovering there was no air filtering through the place; he was forced to start using his helmet's internal supply, which was limited.  He could go quite a bit longer without air than a normal human, but not "explore an abandoned complex" long.

With the power almost completed gone, and the only illumination came from from the light on his helmet.  He hoped there was at least enough running to open the doors, or exploring this part of the facility was going to get tiring fast.  Fortunately, it opened with minimal coaxing, and he found himself on the other side of the airlock.  He started to consider what he'd encountered so far;  an airlock with an explosive...a sector not on the map, completely shut down...it was exciting, but...

It told a story.  Ultimately, that's what treasure hunting was about: stories.  No one went to great lengths to hide anything without an interesting reason behind it.  Illegal activities, secret treasure, abandoned complexes and ruins...the key to figuring out what you were encountering wasn't being a tech genius, or an unmatched pilot, or a skilled marksman or fighter--though those certainly helped.  But no, ultimately the key was to pick up the clues to the story you were following and let that inform you of where to go, what to do...

...and what precautions to take.  "Qara, get the ship warmed up, we may need to make a quick exit.  And turn the local scanners on; if you see anything approach from in here that isn't me, either lock everything down or take off, whatever you think is safer."


Nayt

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 08:42:07 AM »
That gave Qara pause. She made sure all of Zen's readings were set up in front of her. The oxygen content (or lack thereof), geiger counter, all of it. Without a thought, she did as he asked: powered on local scanners and made sure all engines were running and ready for a swift takeoff. It was as mindless to her as lifting a finger. Zen's ship may as well have been an extra limb. Something had to be wrong for him to take such a precaution. Take off without him, if all went wrong. That she might have to was worrying.

". . . Are you sure we should still be here, Zen?" she asked with a hesitant breath, "If it might be too dangerous . . ."

There was no point in him risking his life. If he found something worth money, then they'd stay afloat for longer, but if he got himself killed, then that was it. She had nowhere else to go.

The unmarked side of the station lacked much for directions. A room to access to waste management, the airlock entrance, a bathroom, and a very long hallway that connected them all. There were no signs indicating which room was which, as if the only people with access to this place were intimately familiar with it. No visitors, no guests. A corridor that connected to this hallway lead to a set of stairs, one that went straight down to somewhere beneath the surface of the asteroid. It was still vacuum sealed, but about halfway down, metal ended and rock began. Lights were dug into the ceiling of the tunnel, each one connected by loose and dangling wires, though they were currently inactive. At the bottom of the rock tunnel, some twenty meters down, was another airlock. This one, however, didn't seem to be armed to explode.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 11:15:07 AM by Nayt »
. o O (I think I must agree with Sliss. The "Fat Chance" would have been a perfect name for our ship.)

Zach

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Re: [BtSS] Treasure Hunting (Closed, for now)
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 09:05:43 AM »
"Don't know if it's dangerous yet, but..."

With everything unmarked, he was forced to check the rooms one at a time.  Not that he would've have checked them if they were marked, but he tended to be a little less careful if he was walking into a restroom as opposed to a factory floor.  His searches didn't turn up anything interesting on this floor, for better or worse.

"Why change the map when it's obviously not right?  Why leave that section on almost no power when the rest of the building gets emergency lighting?  Because you're not trying hide it; you're not intending to come back to it, so you treat it like it doesn't exist."

As he descended the stairs, the facility more or less ended and tunnels began.  This where they were working, where they were digging before everything was abandoned.  They'd wired everything up for excavation, lighting, doors, but now it was all disabled; except, maybe, for the airlock door at the end of the tunnel.

"If you're going to trap a door, why do you place the trap on the outside of it, where anyone who comes across it can find it?"

Before he continued, he investigated the tunnel carefully, making sure there were no side tunnels that would be easily missed with the only light coming from his helmet.  When he was satisfied that the only ways into or out of the tunnel were back the way he came and the airlock before him, he checked his gear--mostly simple tools, useful for tinkering with equipment or making simple repairs.  No real weapons to speak of--he was weapon enough for most opponents, if it came to that, and not carrying a weapon helped avoid fights with the paranoid.  Deciding he was as prepared as he was going to get, he approached the airlock.

"The answer is, because you're not trying to keep people out." 

He couldn't help but grin; this was the feeling he was hooked on.  Standing on the threshold, that moment of discovery.  He might end up rich.  He might up dead.  He was likely to end up running for his life.  But there was only one way to find out.

"You're trying to keep something in."

He pressed the button to open the airlock.