ALONE IN VAARN 3.1 day three

Image is “Alien Corridor” by Vincent Barbe

Leif and Faulkner awake, agonized by the loss of their companion. In the purple-grey of morning, they notice that worm-pollen has started to accumulate in drifts amongst the fungal forest. The air is thick with cantaloupe-sized spores. They quickly collect a day’s worth of rations.

After, they explore the corpses that are the rooting-hosts of these fungal outgrowths. They find a keycard stored away in a raider’s jacket. Searching the Cynosura wreck again, they find a door that opens with the keycard. Once they enter, they find creaky, unrepaired janitor synths trying their best to clean and patch up the Cynosura.

Signs of battle are written on the walls: slug holes, laser burns, severed wires, and broken tubes. On top of this, an awful biotech infestation rages all over the consoles, controls, and terminals. Anything with a computer is being used as a host for some strange, pulsing parasite. The janitors are waging a losing war. Even some of them have succumbed.

Leif and Faulkner stalk the hallways by the light of Leif’s pillaged glowstone, looking for a data storage room. They come across a four-pack of frantic yurlings chasing down a garbling janitor synth. The two level their weapons and fire, immediately dispatching a pair of yurlings. Once the simian mutants close in, Leif and Faulkner, who have no melee weapons, resort to the butts of their guns. In the fray, one yurling manages to devour Leif’s ball bearings.

“My balls!”

Leif gets his revenge and puts a kinetic downpayment on the creature’s forehead. The last yurling runs away, tail tucked between his legs.

After this minor inconvenience, the two continue their search. If the Cynosura once carried a wealth of useful material and commodities, it is unapparent now. The bleak hallways, chambers, and cabins have been heavily looted. Leif and Faulkner are unable to find any crystals. They wonder who took all of the cargo and equipment if the raiders were all dead outside. Something more insidious is afoot. Perhaps it had to do with the biotech infestation.

Leif tries to use his true-kin inheritance to convince a rusty-wheeled janitor to help him search for the crystals, but fails to reason with the synth’s logical matrix. It’s too preoccupied with cleaning up the mess. But the robot does follow them around, if only to clean up after them.

They keep searching and finally come across a data room where they find a crystal, but . . . [Yes but, Child Bowed] This crystal lies in the hands of a translucent blue child, sitting cross-legged, with a fungal growth climbing out of its third eye. It whispers in dreams. Octarine auras envelope its body. It seems to be meditating.

Perhaps this is the root of the infestation, the two wonder.

Leif and Faulkner greet it, waking it from its ruminations. The child opens its pupil-less eyes. Leif and Faulkner talk to the grotesque youth, telling it that they have come through perilous paths to seek a memory crystal for their master’s boon. The child is strangely agreeable, as if it had been expecting them. After it sits still, with only it’s forehead’s growth tittering on its brow, it announces that it will give them the crystal. On one condition. It is weak and inundated with the disbelief of its disciples. They must bow and worship the child.

Does Leif bow? [Hard yes] Leif immediately takes to his knees, kissing the floor with his forehead, just like he used to bow to the old water-chieftains of his childhood village before he was adbucted.

How about Faulkner? [No but, Shame Submission] Faulkner cannot bow. He is shamefully cursed to submit to no other being but Azathoth, the One Who Devours.

The child gives the crystal to Leif and curses Faulkner with a wound; one of the new-ibis’ eyes immediately melts and spills over his face in gruesome warmth (-4 dex and -2 ego).

The blue-skinned youth laughs as he turns into an octarine mist. He warns of fractal sickness if they choose to forget this encounter.

The two retreat into a lockable storage closet for the night (locked using the keycard), waking every so often to the haunted scratches of a yurling. As he holds the crystal safely within the folds of his cloak, Leif cannot help but feel that the memories within are somehow connected to him and his childhood, but he does not tell Faulkner.

End of the third day.

Afternote: I think I’m getting the direction for how Leif’s childhood memories are going to come to play, and how Faulkner’s spiritual infirmity might affect the looming narrative. It’s interesting to watch both of these things grow organically out of random rolls and encounters. I’m liking the possibilities that are branching through solo play. I also can’t wait for these two to meet either another party member or NPC.

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