|It is day 22 of month 22. Vamperina and Dan are mining the MML today. Curt is free in the DZ and is hiding in the Escape Tunnel (ET). Nobody is in the infirmary. Everyone else is in the DZ. Scooter spends the day in the ET cutting into the wall while everyone else mines. By the end of the day, he has cut through to the natural cavern beyond. He takes this final stage slowly. When he finally cuts through, he finds that there is no significant pressure difference between the mines and the natural caverns. The air on the other side is also breathable, though somewhat stale. Scooter finishes cutting out the plug while others gather equipment from the stashes that will be passed through.|
At this point, you are racing against the clock. It is almost quitting time. Scooter manages to get the plug cut out just before the end of shift whistle blows. Curt quickly goes through and takes the equipment that will be stored here. As the whistle blows, Curt changes shape to cover the opening. No one seemed to take any interest in your activities. To anyone who might have been watching, only Scooter and one other person was mining the ET. This fits in with your plan that only a couple of people are mining it now while others join later to mine the "hot" vein.
When you reach the cell block level, Nobody is there, having just been released from the infirmary.
GM: Jason, what do you want Curt to do during the night? The lights in the mine will be on for another four hours before the other two shifts have finished and then they go out. Lift shaft two, which is visible to you down the ET, will have a lot of activity twice more today as the other two shifts finish. After that you will be by yourself down in the DZ and all of the lights will be out. You do have a cold light lantern that you can activate. Once activated, it cannot be turned off, but it will provide light for over a week.
GM: Keith, please send a new equipment list showing what is in the natural cavern and what is in the hideys.
GM: Night of Day 22, Month 22
CURT: The following day when you bring Curt up to date as to what was said by Nobody, Curt thinks on it for a while or so during the course of the morning and then says his thoughts on the situation. "My personal feelings on the situation are as follows. While I do feel strongly that Nobody is indeed very intelligent, no question there, in this case I feel more comfortable going with Arpad, Max and Dayne. First off, because we have 3 votes to 1 on the matter of if the collapse can be successful, but secondly, and probably more important to me, is that while Nobody is indeed very intelligent, he is what I consider "Book Smart" I.e. very knowledgeable about what he has read, but with much less "hands on" knowledge. The others have more hands on knowledge. They've been down in the mines actually mining, they know intuitively just through their personal experience how things should be, what feels right, what doesn't etc. I personally feel more comfortable going with experience over book smarts. In the end, I'll obviously go along with whatever is decided, although I will also say, I don't really look forward to spending a year down here in the mines if the plans end up getting changed. If that happens to be honest, I will probably seriously consider turning myself in."
SURGE: "Go ahead and use a cold lantern. It does last a whole week which should give you ample time to explore what you can without further aid. If we need more light beyond that for your searches I can look into building a light device for you or such."
GM: Night of Day 23, Month 22
CURT: The following day Curt reports to the group what he found the previous evening. "Last night after everyone has left to go back up to the main level, I waited until the lights went out, then entered the small caverns. I verified there was only one other opening and then crawled into it. It was a fairly tight fit, but as long as no one is claustrophobic, I don't think anyone won't be able to make it. After 50 feet or so, it opened up into a larger cavern. Perhaps 15 feet across or so at its widest point. Inside it was obvious that someone, or a group of people had lived there for quite a while (many months). There was trash all over the floor. Both food wrappers as well as human waste. The only things of interest that I found were several empty jars of grease and a rag stuffed into a small hole. When I pulled the rag out, fresh air could be felt blowing through the hole. There was also a larger opening leading out of the chamber. I took that opening and followed it for a ways. It started out almost big enough to stand in, but after 50 feet or so it started getting smaller and smaller. I finally came across a branch in the passage. It was obvious the new branch wasn't natural, so I followed that passage. It went on a long ways and took me over 5 hours to reach the next point of interest. Another small chamber with trash and the like scattered about again. At the far end of the room a tarp had been put up to seal off the passage. It literally looked as if the edges of the tarp had been melded into the walls surrounding the tunnel. In the center, a 3 foot large hold had been cut with another piece of tarp covering the hole. The smaller tarp has been sewn into the larger tarp, forming what I assume is some sort of plug. The entire thing had been covered in a large amount of grease which I'm guessing is used to make it air tight. I didn't go any further and other than exploring the room I didn't touch the tarp. By this time, it was time to head back.
CURT: The big question at this point of course is do I go through the opening or not. If so, I'm not sure, but my guess is we will need more grease to reseal the hole after I go through (GM Please correct me if I'm wrong or if I may not necessarily think that after the look I gave it). So basically at this point, do I go through the opening or not? If so, do we need to get some more grease or not. Also, should some with more appropriate skills come along? If we wanted to, I could take someone there during the shift for that matter. We would have to move fairly quick to get there and back before the shift was over, but it should certainly be doable. Obviously the person going would need to be able to keep up a decent pace for 6 hours or so."
NOBODY: The old man looks heartened. "This is good news indeed. I don't think that you should expose yourself to the surface right now. Remember that they have scanners set up for up to a 30 kilometer radius. Although, you may have been close to the edge of that sensor area. Any way that you can figure out the distance it is away from the prison?"
SURGE: "Excellent and very interesting. I would say that we don't want to go further until we have a way of sealing the tarp. I would be willing to come with you, but we'll need to widen the opening for me to get through. If you could slip through a small opening that might be the way to go for simple recon. I agree that you should not emerge on the surface. The only thing that I would want to know is if there's anything obstructing your ability to get to the surface beyond the tarp. The mere fact that someone has been through there and that they made a tarp suggests that it's open on the other side. Though I suppose they could easily have melded the rock on the surface to hide the opening. I would definitely plan to bring a mining laser just in case when we do the cave-in. That way we can cut through any melded rock."
NOBODY: "As long as the tracer device in the tool has been neutralized before it leaves the mines. We may have to figure on not bringing one at all unless we are certain that we can neutralize the tracers. The manual tools may have to do. Can we do that much Surge? Do we have the tools and the skills to knock out those tracers within a matter of minutes?"
SURGE: "I suppose I was being a bit vague. Yes, we would need to disable the transponder before moving into the caverns. Yes I can handily disable the transponder. I don't know if I can do it in a few minutes but I should be able to do it the day of our cave-in. The manual tools will work just fine if we can't get our a mining laser though. It really is a bummer we couldn't have moved over Curt's laser."
SURGE: Surge continues the discussion on what to do next, "We have plenty of grease in the machine shop and I'm pretty sure I can get some more from Ward. It may costs us a bit but a pittance, for sure. Once I get that I think Curt and I can venture there and have Curt go beyond to see if we have an open path to the surface. Meanwhile I think we should focus on the remote triggering of the cave-in. Jack, any luck with the Etienne front?"
CURT: Unless they want me to go through the barrier then yea I'm done for now. We might want to see if we can acquire some grease as well to use for resealing. I will point out that I can get myself through about a 4" opening currently, so we wouldn't have to open it up a lot for me to get through.
CURT (private for GM): All the jars of grease I found were empty correct?
CURT: Also, how far did I think I traveled from the mine entrance to where the tarp was? Just curious how far from the prison I got.
GM: At a very rough estimate, about 10 miles.
FELIP: On Day 26, Felip provides the group with a can of grease. "Surge asked me to get some grease from Ward."
GM: Keith, please mark of Cr20 for the grease.
GM: It is the morning of day 26. Curt is fulfilling his usual daytime job of acting as plug for the hole. The cold light lantern still has a few more days of light left in it. What is the plan?
SURGE: "Now that we have the grease, I'd say we go beyond the tarp to see if it's open to the moon's surface. Curt can you do that on your own? If not, then we'll need to send a group in during the day. I'd be willing to go but Curt can you come along too? How will we block and conceal the cavern opening if we do so?"
CURT: I can go alone if you wish. I haven't encountered anything yet, so hopefully as long as I don't end up on the surface and take a jog out there I should be fine. I can do it tonight if you wish. The largest benefit to me going alone will be I can get though a much smaller hole in the tarp, and therefore hopefully will use a lot less grease. Also, if the environment on the other side is nasty, it won't effect me. The disadvantage of course is if I have an encounter with something nasty, I'm likely to be in more trouble, although I can always turn into a rock or something and hope it goes away.
SURGE: "It seems that the bigger issue is how to finalize our cave-in attempt. Remote triggering with a rope or such seems to be the biggest block right now. Any ideas?" Surge will also query Dan, Axel and Felip on their thoughts on remote triggering the cave-in such as rope. Also do either of them know of this tunnel and who might have used it before?"
GM: Conversations with Felip obviously take place in the DZ. This happens on the morning of day 26 right after Felip gives you the grease.
FELIP: "I know where I can lay my hands on some rope. I don't know how much I can get. How much do you need?"
FELIP: "As far as who created the tunnel, I think we can all make an educated guess. About 15 years ago, the entire escape committee disappeared. They apparently vanished into thin air. The only thing that was known was that they were all mining in the DZ on the day they disappeared. That's what gave rise to the rumours that there was some sort of hidden escape tunnel in the DZ. That rumour has been going around for years and many, many inmates have looked for it but have never found it. I think we now know why. It seems that one of the ESC members may have had some sort of mutant rock-shaping or tunneling skills. Maybe he also had some special underground senses. I would hypothesize that he detected the natural cavern that Curt told us about. Then, at some point, probably right before his mind block was due to be renewed, he managed to gain some access to his powers and was able to tunnel into the natural cavern with the rest of the ESC. He then closed it behind him. He probably also, very slowly, made the air vent that Curt also mentioned. Then they waited there for awhile until he gained enough access to his powers that he could start tunnelling towards the surface. Or maybe he started tunnelling right away and it just took him awhile to make the tunnel. In any event, based on the amount of food wrappers that Curt found, they were there for quite awhile." Felip shrugs, "All just theory, of course but it seems to fit all of the facts that we have learned so far, including the tarp being embedded in the rock walls."
JACK: Yes, use the grease, explore beyond the tarp while the lightsource lasts. I would expect any grease the previous ESC had left would be on the other side of the tarp, since they obviously brought it with them and re-sealed the tarp from the other side (nice of them).
VAMPERINA: "Eli, how are you feeling today? You look much better than you did when we took you up to the infirmary last night."
NOBODY: The old man smiles wanly. He still looks quite pale and shakey, although much improved over his appearance, just before his collapse yesterday. He explains that he has been given a couple of medications: one to help thin his blood and reduce the chance of clots, and the other is a strong painkiller. You can see the multi-day, time-release capsules bulging slightly under the skin of his forearms when he points them out. At dinner he picks his way through his food, eating only about half of his usual. The old man nods off a couple of times during dinner, probably a combination of the drugs and the body's natural desire to rest after injury. those sitting next to him gently wake him and urge him to eat to keep his strength up.
NOBODY: Despite feeling poorly, Eli seems to be more like himself then he has for some time. None of you are quite able to put your finger on what the exact difference is, but he does seem to be more his usual subdued self than he has been for several weeks or more. Its odd how subtle the changes were, but now that you see him at the table, the differences practically scream at you.
NOBODY: When he leaves the table, Eli does so with the aid of a lightweight, metal cane. His limp is more pronounced than usual. "Its just for a few days until the knee becomes stronger." He says in way of explanation.
VAMPERINA: After the group has eaten and moved to a private room, and Surge has given the thumbs up after scanning for bugs, Vamperina asks Eli, "So what happened to you last night?"
NOBODY: The old man appears unable to meet anyone's eyes. At best he could be described as miserable.
NOBODY: "What you witnessed last night was my final breakthrough of a powerful mind-controlling mindblock. Jack, do you remember the day that you mentioned that you had talked to Etienne about his actions under the old warden? In that conversation you mentioned something about Etienne being a vigilante. Well, that night I did a little research through my mental archives and found some newspaper articles and other bits on Etienne. I also found something else. That research triggered a mind-control mindblock that gave me express orders to do whatever I could, short of being foolhardy, to get Etienne to escape with us from prison.
NOBODY: What the perpetrator of these orders did not realize is that my people skills are not very good, and so I seriously botched my initial approach of Etienne himself, causing him to really not want to have anything to do with us, and me in particular. Of course, I approached Jack in an attempt to get him to use his persuasion to get Etienne to join the escape, but Jack respected Etienne's wishes to be left alone, and so refused my request.
NOBODY: Then, of course, our plan sprung into action. Time was becoming tight, and I had blown any real chance of getting Etienne to freely accompany us. That's when I decided to see if I could slow things down by scaring all of you with theory on the cave-in, and force you to choose to bring Etienne into our fold.
NOBODY: I would just like to point out that those arguments were, for the most part, unfounded. Yes, I am constantly performing research and collecting data, but I must admit that I cannot support those claims that I made of the chances of the cave-in failing. I do see a possiblility of the cave-in being too small, or too large, but, honestly, I can't claim enough skill or training to override Arpad or Dayne.
NOBODY: Although I must admit that some of those arguments were probably based off of my own fears, mostly about our lack of data, skill, and training, but that is truly to a much lesser degree.
NOBODY: For the record, I would like to say that I am fully behind the plan that this group has come up with, and that I would never have thought to abandon the group if I had been in my right mind.
NOBODY: I am sincerely sorry over my weakness and inability to prevent the mind-control, or to break through quickly. At this point in time I do not find myself trustworthy as there may be other such traps hidden in my mind. I also want to say that I still do not like or trust Etienne, slthough he probably does have the skills and abilities to significantly aid our escape.
NOBODY: The thing that scares me most is that now I'm not sure if we should try to include Etienne. My gut reaction is to say no, but my followup reaction is wondering why the mind-controll was placed in my mind, where there is a very strong chance of my breaking through relatively quickly. Its as if someone wanted to make sure that we didn't include Etienne in our escape, and thought that this would pretty much end Etienne's chances with our group.
NOBODY: In the end, I can't say one way or another. I don't know who planted the mind-control mindblock, or when, how, or why it was done.
NOBODY: In conclusion, I want to say again that I am really sorry for this lapse. If the group feels that it can no longer trust me enough, or decides that I am to be punished, I simply throw myself on your mercy."
NOBODY: Eli looks forlorn, tired and shakey by the end of this speech. Still, he is unable to look into the eyes of anyone in the group.
SCOOTER: Scooter says "I'm glad to see your better Nobody, and your actions make much more sense now that you've explained them. I'm glad to hear your going to be okay, and that you've discovered the block and have hopefully dealt with it. It does make for an interesting point though. Someone on the outside wants him out. It could be for revenge or it could be to free him as a favor for past deeds or somehow his skills are needed. My suggestion would be for someone, either Nobody or Jack to go talk to Eitienne and be honest about the situation. Explain to him about the mind blocks and such and see if he can provide any information. Who knows, perhaps he will want to leave with us after hearing the story. Either way, I'm glad we're back to the original plan and back on track. I'm looking forward to hearing from Curt what he finds out about the cavern and tunnels in the next day or so."
MAX: " Umm how do we know if there arn't any other suggestions in your head Eli? I don't mean to suggest anything, but would you be able to tell us if there were?"
NOBODY: The old man sighs and looks even more worried. "We don't. That's the big problem. Since my best guess is that the mind control was implanted by either the military when I was initially reactivated for capture purposes, or the prison psychiatrist, there is the possibility that another, possibly all of us have these mind controls in place, just waiting for the right trigger. Since Axel is a supporter of Etienne, its possible he is also laboring under the same problem as I was.
NOBODY: The only thing that I can recommend is that we assume either the best, and keep a close eye on each other."
VAMPERINA: "Can't you scan everyone's mind right now and look for them. Or doesn't it work that way?"
NOBODY: I'm not sure. I've never run into this problem before. Would you be willing to let me try it on you, Vana, right here in front of everyone? Plus, there were two people left unscanned in this group, and one is not present. For those two I would have no previous readings to work from. A big point to keep in mind is that I was a victim of this mind control, and I have, pardon my lack of humility, a very powerful and disciplined mind."
VAMPERINA: "Sure, go ahead and take a look."
NOBODY: The old man sits facing Vana. His fingers splayed on each temple. He closes his eyes and concentrates for several minutes.
NOBODY: "I didn't find anything different, or that I could identify as a mind-control block. Still, I'm very new at this scanning process, having only begun to practice on those group members who are willing to allow it. this means that I could miss something that is very obvious just because of my inexperience.
NOBODY: Arpad, you and Curt are the only two I haven't scanned yet. Would you be willing to allow it? I would prefer to do it with a witness, or witnesses around. If you say 'No.', then I'll let the matter drop and not ask again. Of course, I can only speak for myself in this matter. It is non-intrusive, and very much like a blind man running his fingers gently over your face to get a 'look' at you."
SURGE: Surge listens quietly with a troubled look on his face. Once Nobody finishes Surge looks off and seems distracted. He remains uncharacteristically silent while the others talk. Finally he speaks up, "Thank you Nobody. I am not interested in any punishment but your credibility is now in question." With a frown he continues, "But more importantly, we don't know if anyone's credibility is good. I mean any of us could have been programmed. I suppose your mind scans are one way to look into it but what if you have a mind-control block that will program your response? Also, just because you can't find it doesn't mean it's not there." Surge scowls in frustration.
SURGE: After a few moments Surge sighs, "I guess we just have to trust our instincts and do the best we can. As for Etienne, I am not so sure. I'm distracted by all the possibilities. Let us see if we can proceed with the cave-in without his help."
SCOOTER: Scooter says "The fact that Etienne has no interest in escaping makes me feel it's at least worth bringing it up to him. If he were actively trying to join our group or something I might be more inclined to agree with you and say don't bother, but since he's genuinely not interested in joining us, I feel it's worth at least talking to him about it. If nothing comes of it thats fine as well, I'm just interested to see if he might have any info on the situation. Who knows, he might have something useful he can tell us."
JACK: I've said I'll go talk to him. I'm not interested in typing out the entire conversation over and over with him, but these are the points I'll bring up: 1) We could use your help, especially with the cave-in, and we think it would be safer for all concerned if you gave it, even if you don't want to escape with us. In the end it's your choice. 2) Someone with mind control capabilities has been creating 'sleeper agents' in order to get you out of the prison. We suspect Axel is another one of them, but the primary one we've discovered at this point is Eli, and it's the reason he's been far too eager and gone around me in several cases to try to include you in the escape. He's recently broken free of the control, and conveys his apologies for intruding on you so many times. How you want to handle this is your decision, again. We are still willing to include you, if you think you would be safer out there with us and other friends you know you can trust, or we can leave you here and you can try to deal with the next set of 'sleepers' to come after you and try to get you out. Do you have any idea who could be behind it?
GM: It is currently day 26 of month 22. You wait by the lift shaft a couple of hours later when the CB2 inmates come down, but Etienne is not among them. Axel tells you that he was called to stay behind at breakfast. You don't see Etienne again until day 28. When we get to day 28, please remind me that you will be talking to him in case I forget.
NOBODY: Eli talks to Curt alone in the DZ. "Before you go back down, Curt, I would like to get a mindscan of you. I've done everyone else but you and Arpad, and I'm still waiting on his reply. All this does is allow me to familiarize myself with your mental image, much like a blind man running his fingers over your face. Other than that, it is not intrusive, and is pretty quick. It takes just a few minutes. If you wish, we can have a witness watch over us while I do it."
GM: Curt agreed, and Vamperina agreed to witness.
GM: Nobody does a mind scan of Curt. As with the others, he is able to see Curt's mind blocks. He does not see anything else out of the ordinary.