|Jack, Vamperina, Surge, Curt, Arpad and Axel enter the airlock of Parl Klive's house and close the door behind them. Everyone is on a heightened state of alert "just in case...". Behind her vacc suit, Vamperina has activated her Density Increase.|
From the time the door is closed, the airlock takes 12 seconds to cycle. Vamperina takes the lead and carefully opens the inner door.
The interior of the large dome area is, as expected, round. The room is about 15 meters in diameter and separated into four distinct, raised sections by the hallway that leads from the airlock to a door 15 meters away leading to another dome. The hall slopes down towards the center of the dome where a decorative plants sits at the intersection of a crossing hall. The raised sections are anywhere from 1 feet above the central walkway near the edges of the dome, to three feet above the walkway near the center. In the center, short ramps lead up to each section. Each section is bordered by a decorative railing. The far left section is obviously the kitchen. The far right, the dining room, the near right a sitting room and the near left a living room.
You note all of this from the airlock door. Vamperina steps in and looks left and right to the corners of the room obscured by the airlock walls. She stops abruptly as she is looking to the right.
"Welcome," comes a man's voice from the right. "Come on in and let's sit and talk."
Vamperina looks back into the airlock and says quietly, "One man sitting in a chair."
SURGE: Surge will enter and sit where the man indicates. He will introduce himself as he sits then wait for the others to enter. Though if the man asks him a question he will respond as politely as Surge can.
SURGE: Surge will do an E-M scan of the outside of the property as he approached and would do the same of the interior areas. This is standard procedure for Surge but I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. I don't really expect anything but Surge is always curious and likes to know what sort of equipment is around him at all times.
GM: You detect nothing out of the ordinary. The kitchen has the usual assortment of appliances. The living and sitting room have typical audio/video entertainment equipment. The airlock mechanisms are exactly as they appear to be.
CURT: Curt will follow Surge's lead and take a seat as well.
JACK (mostly OOC): Jack mutters something about 'way to wait for my lead guys...'
JACK: In a low voice to Vana "If you'd like to watch from the doorway that might be prudent." He then moves into the room, greeting the man pleasantly and taking a chair near him, reserving the closer one for Axel.
VAMPERINA: Vamperina nods and remains in the hallway. The hallway is three feet below the level of the sitting room so she has an easy view of the man and everyone else. She can also see the rest of the dome fairly easily.
Arpad and Axel follow Jack into the room and sit down.
The man is seated in the corner seat in the sitting room. He is wearing an expensive and well-taylored kevlar suit that leaves only his hands and face exposed. His gray eyes are deep set under a forehead devoid of eyebrows. He has a prominent chin and sunken cheeks. Were he standing, he would be over 2 meters tall, lithe and muscular with the movements of a cat.
BROTHER GRAY: "I am Brother Gray of the Anubi Brotherhood, and not Parl Klive as some of you may have assumed. It was not my intention to misrepresent myself."
GM: Brother Gray's voice is completely different from the voice that you heard from the speaker plate on the door. Axel nods in confirmation that this is not Parl Klive. He seems as much in the dark about what is going on as anyone else.
BROTHER GRAY: "I am not here to help you and have, quite frankly, broken into Parl Klive's house without his knowledge. Your welfare is of no concern to me. What is of concern to me is the one who is missing." Brother Gray turns to Axel and quietly asks, "Where is Xorn?"
GM: Immediate reactions?
SURGE: Surge looks around the room to see if anyone else is more knowledgeable about this then settles on Axel, Surge's best assumption on that. Surge will remain alert but waits for Jack or Axel to respond. Surge appears to not be threatened by Brother Gray and shows no alarm at what has been said so far.
CURT: Curt looks to Axel as well with a puzzled look on his face.
JACK: "Xorn chose a life of solitude and peaceful mining within the prison, he chose to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Why is this of such concern to you?"
Brother Gray's eye flick briefly to Jack as he speaks. But then he ignores Jack and turns back to Axel.
AXEL: Initially Axel seems just as surprised by the man's question as anyone else. But then a deeper level of thought seems to assert itself and Axel replies woodenly, "Xorn plans to escape in a few months."
GM NOTE: I am unsure as to how far I should take this turn because I'm not sure what your character's reactions will be. For his part, Brother Gray seems completely uninterested in your group and cares only about what Axel has to say. Do you want me to send the conversation in piecemeal turns to allow you to interject or do you want me to carry it on to the next logical break? Let me know. Thanks.
SURGE: Surge most likely will just watch with mild interest. Very interesting stuff but at this point Surge feels the same way about Brother Gray as he feels about us. So you can continue on flowing the conversation.
JACK: I personally would rather be able to interject, because it's obvious that this person is connected with whoever mentally violated Nobody, and apparently Axel as well. I'm not willing to let him question Axel as he would some slave or mental puppet.
JACK: Jack will speak up again and say, "If you have issue with Xorn's decision, you need to talk to me, and stop mistreating my friend. I was in charge of this escape, and I gave Xorn the opportunity to come with us, but he chose not to. It's possible he suspected someone would be waiting for him when he got here, and it appears he was right. What business do you have with him, or for that matter us?
BROTHER GRAY: Brother Gray completely ignores Jack. Still looking at Axel he says, "go on."
JACK: Jack will get up, and physically interpose himself between the two to break their eye contact. As he does so he says, "I insist you stop mistreating my friend, release him from whatever hold you have on him. Only when I am certain Axel is in full control of himself and voluntarily speaking to you will I allow this to continue."
BROTHER GRAY: Brother Gray finally looks at Jack and replies, "This does not concern you. If you persist in your efforts to interject yourself into this discussion things will go badly for you. My life is pledged to the Anubi Brotherhood and they are free to use it as they desire. If you attempt to remove me from this chair, this house, and everyone in it, will be destroyed in the ensuing explosion. My brothers outside can destroy your vehicle at will. Our secondary person of interest has already detached himself from your vehicle and can be questioned at our leisure. You are in a situation about which you know nothing and your position is not strong. Difficult though it may be for you to accept, the correct tactical decision is to back off. Dialog is the best option available to you." Brother Gray's demeanor is not one of arrogance so much as mentoring.
CURT: Curt stands up and says "I think I'm going to go stand outside. When this building blows up, I would prefer not to be inside." With that, he will make his way to the airlock and go outside.
SURGE: Surge has grown more alarmed as the conversation continues though does not activate his FF. He will then stand up and move towards the airlock. If no one interjects Surge will cycle through the airlock and return outside. BTW, how are we handling cycling the others through the airlock?
GM: Arpad follow Surge. That leaves Axel, Jack and Brother Gray in the sitting room. Vamperina is still in the room at the entrance to the airlock.
JACK: I was supposed to return outside with the vacc suits to bring them to the people still in the machine, but I would be a fool to ask Vana, Axel, and Arpad to remove their suits right now.
JACK: "Surge? Is everything ok?" I assume Brother Gray says nothing and does nothing differently to indicate that he objects to Surge leaving... "If you go out there, be very careful not to trigger any unpleasantness..."
JACK: "I am attempting to open a dialog, not to attack you. Your treatment of my friend is my primary concern, to hold him against his will, even mentally, will not go over well with me. If you will release him from this control and ask your questions while he has the freedom to choose whether to respond or not, I will be happy to allow you to continue your dialog. As things stand, it's not a dialog, but more similar to a forced confession. Perhaps if you explained more to us, we'd be more inclined to look favorably upon you, but as of now you have done nothing but violate, control, and threaten. How are we supposed to react, with joy?
BROTHER GRAY: Brother Gray pauses briefly, as if thinking. Then he sits back. "The decision is out of our hands. My brothers will destroy your vehicle if my conversation with Axel has not resumed within 10 seconds." Brother Gray waits, seemingly unconcerned that he might soon be dead.
GM: At this point I am assuming that everyone has all their defenses active (force field, armour, whatever). Let me know if I am wrong. Also, Vamperina seems uncharacteristically nervous. Everyone knows her well enough to know that she has a penchant for detecting danger, and that nervousness is often a sign that she believes danger, while not imminent, is very close at hand.
JACK: Jack sighs heavily, and says, "Hopefully you will be willing to include us in the discussion when you are finished." He then walks back to his seat and sits, listening carefully."
SURGE: As Jack sits back down, the airlock cycles again and Surge re-enters. "There's a heavily armed jet circling around outside," Surge states matter-of-factly. He then resumes his seat.
VAMPERINA: Vamperina looks a bit less nervous.
BROTHER GRAY: Brother Gray turns back to Axel and says, "go on."
AXEL: Axel continues woodenly, as if the whole conversation between Jack and Brother Gray had not taken place. "Xorn says that he plans to escape sometime in the next few months."
At Brother Gray's prodding, Axel reveals that he talked to Xorn a few days ago to try to talk him into escaping with him. Xorn declined but Axel continued to plead with him until Xorn finally told him that he would be escaping in a few months. Axel naturally expressed curiosity on how he planned to do this and Xorn eventually told him that his mind blocks had not been renewed. He had gone for the annual appointment (about a week ago at the end of month 22), and everything progressed exactly as it had every other time his mind blocks had been renewed except that, on this occasion, Xorn woke up and they he could immediately tell that none of his mind blocks had been renewed. Both Axel and Xorn had heard that the prison psychologist could be bribed to not renew mind blocks, but Xorn had not paid him. He did not have that kind of money. He assumes that someone paid the prison psychologist, but has no idea who it might have been. Thus, as soon as Xorn can free up the mind block on his Tunneling power, he plans to tunnel out and escape.
After assessing this information, Brother Gray is silent for a minute or two, deep in thought. Then he turns to Jack and says, "I need to speak to Eli. If he confirms Axel's story, then we will be depart."
JACK: "I will go get him." Jack cycles out through the airlock and jogs over to Nobody, and quietly talks to him, and hopefully gets him to agree to come inside (will send the private stuff privately).
A few minutes later, Jack returns with Nobody. Jack removes his survival suit and hands it to Vamperina. He suggests to Axel and Vamperina that they return to the Ionic Machine. Vamperina frowns but then agrees. She and Axel depart, leaving only Jack, Nobody and Surge. Jack and Nobody sit down. Brother Gray indicates for Nobody to sit near him. Once everyone is seated, Brother Gray turns to Nobody and asks, "Where is Xorn?"
NOBODY: The old man raises an eyebrow, "Objectively speaking, I do not know as I have not seen him since we left. There are too many unknown factors involved. I can surmise that he is still in the prison, possibly trapped on the Danger Zone level, waiting for rescue and aiding those inmates trapped with him. It is possible that he is up in the living level of the prison and locked in his room."
Before Nobody has spoken more than a few words, Brother Gray frowns and sits back in his chair, no longer paying any attention to Nobody. After a few seconds, he reaches into his pocket, fumbles around for a second and then withdraws his hand. Then he stands up, picks up his vacc suit that was on the floor behind his chair. He dons it and walks over to the airlock. As he is donning his vacc suit, Surge gets up, walks over to the airlock and cycles through. Once Brother Gray has finished donning his vacc suit, he too enters the airlock and cycles through.
NOBODY: "Was it something that I said?"
JACK: Jack says quietly, "I have every reason to believe he assessed that you were no longer under their programming, and therefore to question you was not as worthwhile, because he could not compel you to complete truthfulness. If he and his brotherhood leave us alone at this point, that's the best we can hope for, because of the situation." Unspoken and yet plain on his face is the rest, hopefully someday that situation will not be so stacked against us.
JACK: Jack follows him to the airlock, slowly, and peacefully, and says, "If you will allow I will go out with you to make sure noone takes your departure the wrong way, if you wish to leave in peace, we will cooperate."
Brother Gray doesn't seem to notice that Jack is speaking to him. He also doesn't say anything when Jack enters the airlock with him and cycles through.
JACK: If he insists on cycling through the airlock alone, that's fine, I'll still follow him out as I'm able and flash the group an ok sign, and watch him depart.
JACK: If everything goes as I expect I will cycle through the airlock into the machine, and brief the ones who are in there, that there could still be a bomb in the house, or his threat could have been getting blown up by the jet, but it might be safest to let us sweep it first.