|MAX: The evening of the 9th as we return from mining Max seems excited. When the core group is together and alone. "I think I may have found it. Tomorrow I'll show you, it is sealed. The rock seems to have been manipulated somehow most likely a mutant power. . There is a cavern about a meter in, but I don't know much other then that. My suggestion for opening this caver is first we build a Hidey or concealed entrance something we can sorta seal. We don't know the atmosphere on the other side or if there's a pressure difference. I suspect if it is connected to the outside that vapor or a pressure drop would be noticed. Also it will take most of a mining shift to tunnel into it with a mining laser I guess. It close to the lift shaft about 25 meters in an old shaft so we have to set up watch, etc. We also should set up a plan to enter and explore the cavern..."|
JACK: "Sounds great. Scooter's already taking the Veequin to be there with you, so building the hidey with your Geology advice and Curt's mining advice should work out nicely. Vana and I can take the watches nearby. Meanwhile, if Dayne and Arpad are amenable, they can work on setting up the cave-in to cover the exit of the people who are going to be in there exploring (faking their deaths). I'd suggest they set that up outside the safe zone, but near it, near where we've been mining, then I can make the report to the guard that our three friends were in that section when it collapsed, and make it believeable. Each of them is welcome to another tablet of Veequin for the month to protect them from the exposure while they do the work.
NOBODY: "I recommend that we finish our survey of the entire DZ first. We may find another section that nears the hidden cavern, or we may find more other things of interest. Also, if there is exploring to be done, I am a very likely candidate with my eidetic memory. It makes mapping a lot easier. Also, a pass-through hidey hole, obviously smaller than a person could fit through, near the escape hole would be easier to hide, but allow goods to be passed down to the scouts."
JACK: I think the pass-through hidey is less needed. Since I can resist any environment that's likely to exist beyond the 'door', I can simply open it, put the items inside, and close it. This all assumes that the pressure difference isn't so great that it causes other problems, or that the addition of toxic atmospheric gasses isn't detectable by the prison's sensors.
SURGE: "I would agree with Nobody that we should complete a scan of the area. It sounds like the close proximity of the entrance to the lift shaft may prove challenging. Can you guys check for cameras tomorrow and see if we can get in and out of that area without being noticed? As for scouting out an area for the cave-in, we would want to find an area that is far enough away from the entrance but not too far from where we typically mine."
MAX: "I think scanning of the rest of the Danger Zone is time we cannot afford. As it will take us close to the time when most of our mind-blocks are renewed. Also we need to explore this cavern to see if it is indeed the tunnel we have heard about. If it is we need to know more about it. Also we to know if we need to buy/purchase more rations and equipment for all involved. SO my feeling are we should focus on the cavern, however if folks want me to keep scanning I will.
CURT: I agree with Max here. I don't really think we can afford to spend the time required to finish scanning the area. We only have a bit over two months left before our mind blocks are renewed, and it sounds like we would need to spend about 1/2 of that to finish scanning the area. That leaves almost no time left to plan and prepare the area and to explore whats behind here, unless we basically stop mining.
SURGE: "It does seem like at this point we're running out of time. I think we should have Max stop scanning then and aid Arpad and Dayne in setting up the cave-in. It sounds like he's more needed there as we really need the cave-ins to go perfectly."
MAX: I think Vana's is the first thing Surge should try. It wont hurt, and then later in the month he can do something more drastic. Also surge is there away to remotely "damage the camera by the lift shaft so it needs to be repaired?
SURGE: "Actually, I was just thinking about this. I've repaired some broken cameras here and there over the last year. The most common failure is a short of some kind. Now that my lightning bolt is unblocked, I can simply fried the camera with my bolt. A bit crude and it should leave them baffled at to how it happened. But since this is a one-time deal it won't be a problem. From their point of view it's more likely for a camera to simply stop working then to have a few seconds of pure static. It may even take them a few days to replace it." Surge grins, "So I think that's our best approach. I'll just need to make sure that my bolt attack isn't visible in the camera's view. So I'll go ahead and ask to return to mining then. Anyone else have something to say about it before I go speak to the mining engineer?"
JACK: "I think it's the least risky choice of what we've discussed, go ahead."
MAX: On getting people into the side tunnel It wont be too unusual for a few to go in there, and on the day of leaving for all to go in there. We are known to be a 'Gang'. The cave in is what we need to cover our escape. Also we need to be able to trigger it from behind the 'plug' we make so it covers the plug and therefore helps hide the escape. But I think we need to plan more on how we are going to get stuff in there and then getting out of here"
CURT: The only thing to keep in mind here is if suddenly Surge decides to come down to the DZ, and then the Camera where we're working "mysteriously" quits working and then suddenly the mine shaft caves in and our entire gang as well as all the other members of the escape committee are killed, it's going to look REALLY fishy if you ask me. That's too many coincidences for the Warden to overlook in my book.
NOBODY: "Even though I don't have a fine touch, yet, I could use my TK to mess with the camera to set up that it is having problems. A bit of fake tremor in the video might also help set the stage for the tunnel collapse."
JACK: "Actually my worry is exposing ourselves to too much scrutiny, and especially exposing that tunnel to scrutiny. They may have a way of detecting Curt covering the hole if they look hard enough, so I want to make them not bother to look in that tunnel very carefully. If they see us all go in there a few times in recent days, it's going to invite more scrutiny."
SURGE: "Noted, that would be a bit suspicious as well. Here's what I'd recommend. First, I return to mine and a few weeks pass. During that time I can build some devices if need be or simply mine. Once the exit is open and we're ready I'll shoot out the camera early in the morning. If I believe my lightning bolt may be too risky I can always fly up to the camera and simply use my energy surge power to gently overload it. Either way the camera gets disabled. At that point Curt, Nobody and I crawl through the exit and begin our search. Later that afternoon, Arpad and Dayne trigger the cave-in in another part of the DZ. Hopefully the camera incident will be given off to a random freak occurance. We can only hope they don't link the camara and the cave-in together. Then several weeks later, maybe right before our mindblocks are renewed, we stage the full cave-in near to the exit and that will claim the lives of the remaining members. I think as long as we don't visit the exit shaft frequently in the meanwhile, they shouldn't think too much about it. Does anyone else think that there maybe too much coincidence going on here that the warden will be on to us?"
SURGE: "The other option is to have Nobody and I explore the exit once it's open and not cause the cave-in. We would return before the day is over. Then when we found the exit out we have the whole group escape with only one cave-in happening that 'kills' us all. The main downside is whenever Curt is not around to hide the exit opening it may be discovered. That seems like a risky venture."
SURGE: Looking to Arpad and Dayne, "So how easily could you rig a massive cave-in around the escape exit and trigger it remotely while having everyone on the other side?"
JACK: "Presumably all cave-ins that you actually plan are triggered remotely to some extent, to keep yourself from being buried in them," Jack says with a smirk. "Simply have the key section to pull apart be within 10 feet of the plug, and Curt can simply stretch himself to pull it and trigger it. We may not have a rope, but Curt seems to be the next best thing."
ARPAD: "We don't have rope?! We had actually been doing our planning based on having a rope. If we use Curt as a rope, isn't there a chance that he could get buried also? I do want to point out that this is not an exact science. Neither Dayne nor I are experts at creating cave-ins. We will do our best, of course, but it is very dangerous work."
JACK: "I'm under the impression that most cave-ins are like chain reactions, they start slow and build in intensity. Because of that it was my hope that Curt could simply pull the needed support and get his tendril out of the area much faster than the cave-in would happen. If that's not the case, there's always Nobody's telekinesis."
ARPAD: "That would be the ideal situation, but I'd hate to have to stake everything on that. Like I said, this is not an exact science. We might set up what we think will be a localized cave-in, but it might accidentally spread further than we expected. The bottom line is that this is a very dangerous thing and the more safety we can build into it, the better. Ideally, I would like to have some sort of electronic timer and small explosive charge to set it off but that is probably out of the question."
NOBODY: My TK continues to grow in strength. It's range is pretty good, but right now it has the power of a small child. It is also very hard to detect.
CURT: Curt will mention that currently his stretching ability is mind blocked. I can change shape, but I can't stretch a limb out over a large distance at this point. At least not with any speed or strength.
JACK: What ever happened on that idea to try to create a rope out of twisted prison clothing?
GM: Although mining skill can be used to create a cave-in, the most applicable skill is actually mining engineer. Trying to set it up without a densiometer, and the knowledge of how to use one (geology or mining engineer) will result in further minuses. Dayne feels fairly confident of his ability to set it up but a failed roll could be fatal.
JACK: Does this mean that Max with the Densiometer will be able to help out and make the cave-in less risky? It seems likely.
GM: Yes, if he is not busy scanning.
NOBODY: "Although I have already memorized those two books, I am still studying them. I expect that soon I will be the equivalent of a mining engineer, but it will take a month or few for me to absorb the data. Basicly I need hard experience. Unfortunately, I'm getting too low of a level with the basic mining, so I have to do everything mentally. Its like rediscovering math."
NOBODY: "If Max actually got a thorough read on the books, then he will probably be able to use the data more readily than I."
SCOOTER: After looking over the section the following day, Scooter says, "As I understand it, you basically want me to build a secret door through this section of rock. And Nobody is also suggesting that we build a second, smaller secret passage for passing smaller items. I'll tell you right now that I can tunnel through the meter of rock, and disguise it as best as I can but it is not going to be that well hidden. A good search is probably going to find it. This is a lot different then when I was building the hideys before. When I built I hidey, I specifically looked for a place to build that hidey that would be easy for me to disguise. That's a big part of the art of concealment. In this case, you want me to drill through a relatively blank and otherwise unmarked section of wall, and then disguise it. I will do my best but I want everyone to understand that it will probably not pass a thorough inspection. In fact, it may not pass a cursory inspection for very long."
JACK: Is there another location that would be easier to hide a few meters down the wall? Certainly drilling through several meters of solid rock will take alot longer, so it can't be too far away. What about making the entrance on the ceiling? That probably isn't as thoroughly inspected. Perhaps up high on the wall?
GM: Extremely good idea but unfortunately also the victim of a very bad die roll (natural 18). The only safe place to drill through is at the shortest point. The densiometer shows that drilling from further away means going through unsafe structures of rock that would require extensive bracing, which would require a bigger hole.
NOBODY: The old man speaks quietly, off to the side, to Jack. "We need a real expert. Maybe you could talk Etienne into helping us with this, but telling him he doesn't have to escape if he doesn't want to. We can leave him some of our stuff from our caches as payment."
JACK: "I agree that he would be useful, but he's made it abundantly clear he wants no part of it, and payment would be secondary to his wanting to remain apart from this, and enjoy his solitary mining. He said not to include him at all in our plans, not just that he didn't want to get out."
GM: There is another obstacle that you must take into account. The lift shaft is right outside this secondary shaft. There are cameras at the lift shaft and, although the cameras don't look down this secondary shaft, they can easily see the entrance to this secondary shaft. A second obstacle is that the guards do come down to the DZ more often now with the new warden, and might be prowling around the lift shaft area. The good news is that this is LS1, which is used for transporting ore, rather than LS2 which is used for transporting people, so the guards are not hanging around here for most of the day.
JACK: Good to know, but you're right about the concern about the cameras. In particular Surge, Curt, and Nobody cannot be seen by them entering that shaft on the day of their disappearance.
CURT: One thing to remember is that I can enter and exit this secondary shaft looking like anyone in the group. I can also serve as the disguise for the tunnel entrance just by stretching myself across it and blending in with the rest of the wall.
JACK: Sounds great, but you'll be too busy on the other side of the exit to waste your time disguising it. I was thinking about the possibility of you disguising yourself as a battlesuit, which would then allow someone to walk behind you and slip into the tunnel without being seen by the camera. The battlesuit would then continue walking normally until out of view of the camera. Otherwise if your control of colors and shades is good enough you could simply stretch yourself across the hallway mimicking the appearance of an empty tunnel, but I think that's much harder than simply mimicking a battlesuit.
CURT: I guess I don't consider making sure the exit is well hidden to be a waste of time. If the guards find it, then it could mean that we are all pretty much screwed. And, yes I can disguise myself, at least visually, as a battle suited guard. Stretching across the tunnel to make it look empty is an interesting idea. If I do it a little ways down the tunnel, then I think I could make it look convincing. However, if they get close, they will probably notice. And if they don't they might walk right into me.
JACK: Hmmm. I suppose you could be right. You're not 100% essential to the exploring mission, and you could join them at night for exploring while noone's in the tunnels, and come out to hide the exit during the day.
SURGE: "We need to keep the tunnel hidden at all costs. I like the thought of Curt masking himself as a cover for the tunnel once open. This however suggests that we shouldn't open it until we're ready to have the cave-in. Furthermore, given the location of the cameras, we'll need to have the video disrupter to be most certain they can't trace our trickery. Furthermore, if we stage the cave-in at the same moment that we disrupt the camera that might seem as a good explanation for the disruption. Not sure if we can bring the cave-in closer to the main lift shaft to make that more realistic though. Ultimately, we need the cave-in to be convincing and we can't risk it being too small."
JACK: Another option is to build up a pile of rocks in closer to the lift shaft in the tunnel, ALMOST blocking it, but not quite. Vana and I could easily lift a fairly large rock into place to block the route through, to make it look like a solid cave-in, then pull it down again when we need to use it. It might be easier to cause a small cave-in and then clear the path we need though. There's plenty of unstable rock structures in the area at least ;)
CURT: "Since we are going to have 3 people, I would like to make it my job to make sure the entrance is not found. I'll sit in the entrance disguising it. That way we will have fast and easy access to it at all times. And, as you say, at night I can join Surge and Nobody in searching."
SURGE: "Agreed. This sounds like a good plan. On a separate note, I have gained slight access to my lightning blast. This will be good in case there are any critters on the other side. Nobody and I alone aren't really the most potent combatants, given the current mindblocks. But with our flying abilities we can at least be more mobile assuming the tunnel isn't incredibly narrow."
JACK: When Dayne's Ionic Machine is active it blocks vision, and most types of sensors, but it is actually visible, right? It doesn't actually jam the camera? The other option is Surge's video disrupter when the time comes. What does that do to the camera, exactly?
GM: Yes, Dayne's Ionic Machine is easily visible and detectable by sight and probably radar. However, no senses can penetrate into the Ionic Machine.
GM: The video disruptor, if it works correctly, will cause static to show on the monitor for the camera that it is affecting.
JACK: Only as long as the disruptor is 'turned on'? Or for a specific length of time like 30 seconds or something? Ideally just disrupting it for the second or two it takes to move into the corridor would be least alarming to the security forces.
GM: Yes, it will disrupt only as long as the disruptor is on. Keep in mind that the video disruptor has not been built yet and will probably not be very reliable once it has been built (i.e., it will have a burnout roll).
SURGE: "The video disrupter will be challenging to construct with good risk of failure once it's finished. It's not so necessary but given the location of the cameras to the exit means we'll need at least one use of it. Ideally, Nobody and I could make it together to improve our chances. That being the case we should finish the scan of the DZ. How much longer on that Max? Once we're close to having that be complete, we can stage the incident that gets me in trouble. I think we should figure that out now while we wait."
GM: Another thing to keep in mind is that ANY use of the video disruptor might raise the alarm. If the cameras never show static, then suddenly show it, it could easily bring guards down. It just depends on how jumpy they are.
GM: Max should be able to finish the scan of the Danger Zone by the end of month 23.
SURGE: "Also, it seems that once we find the way out of the cavern, we'll want to move very quickly on getting the rest out. We should start discussing that as well as the general plan to cover the large group of missing people. Clearly, we don't want people to just vanish as that would immediately raise red flags and make it much more difficult to escape to Circle City without them searching for us."
SURGE: "Hmm, on second thought we may want to avoid using the video disruptor as if the cameras never fail but do so this one time it might raise the alarm. What if we had a large group of 8-10 people or so casually walk into the secondary shaft first thing in the morning. They would enter in such a fashion that the camera wouldn't have a good enough view to see who everyone was or how many entered. Then Curt would change his form to look like Surge and he with a couple of the others would leave an hour later or such. He would then return looking like another prisoner so that his appearance could look like several other prisoners not in our group. An hour or so later he would leave as Nobody with a couple others in our group. Returning later as another prisoner to the shaft. Thus if they were really watching carefully in reviewing the cameras they would see normal activity and Surge, Nobody and Curt would have been seen clearly leaving at some point thus making it able for them to be at the cave-in towards the later part of the day."
SURGE: "The main thing is we want all activity on the camera to be appear normal and for it to not seem obvious that people entered and never departed from the shaft. Thus the suggestion that larger groups move in and perhaps out of the shaft. Sound feasible? Any suggestions to make it better? This would eliminate the need for the video disrupter."
NOBODY: "I don't like it. There are way too many things that can go badly wrong. The most dangerous thing is the proximity to the main shafts. This sort of suspicious activity caould also lead to too much of a followup investigation.
NOBODY: Let's do something simple. Let's just have some or all of our group start mining that short shaft. Also, finish the scan. And if I can get that compass, I can possibly extrapolate where other DZ tunnels might come near to the cavern. We may be able to mine another tunnel to get near enough.
NOBODY: BTW, Surge, I don't quite have access to my flight. Yet."
JACK: I'm not sure how much of this will be compatible with actual mining, hopefully Arpad and Dayne can mine out sections in their plan to undermine the cavern wall or whatever. We don't want to lose too much mining yet...
GM: Arpad and Dayne discuss the issue for a bit (using Vamperina as a translator, of course) and conclude that setting the stage for the cave-in is going to be a full time job for at least a couple of weeks. During this time, they will not be mining.
JACK: Ouch. Okay, we definitely need to get it done, and sooner rather than later, IF we're hoping to give the explorers the time they may need. If I can help with my strength in any way moving rock or tunnel braces or something, let me know.
NOBODY: "Doesn't the mining engineer come down and inspect the tunnels occasionally? Especially now with the increased mining in the DZ? Doesn't he bring an assistant or two? Of course, a complaint lodged, about some unsafe tunnels, at a strategic moment, might allow Surge to be present at the right time."
GM: "You've seen the mining engineer in the mines quite a few times and yes, he generally has an assistant with him, but it is always one or more of the mining trustees (e.g., Razeem and Taylor).
JACK: "No, I don't think Surge has EVER come down here, not even to work on broken mining tools. Everything he works on is brought to him in the shop... About the only thing I can think of would be to break the elevator or the electronic locks on the lockers, which couldn't be brought to him. All in all it adds alot of complexity, hopefully we can come up with something simpler like that guard (Vittorio Krane, just looked up the name).
JACK: Now we just need to figure a way to get Surge sent to the DZ without committing a major crime. Perhaps that guard who likes sending people to the DZ...
GM: Obviously the obstacles you face are relatively minor compared to getting to this point. Let me know how you are going to address them and what the exact plan is. Also let me know when you want to start implementing the plan. It is currently day 10 of month 22.
JACK: We're brainstorming to try to come up with the plan, and refine it. I do want to take a minute to brief the Escape Committee too, see if they have ideas to add on the current problems.
SURGE: "Yes, we need to start brainstorming this. Vamperina, Scooter, any thoughts on what would be enough to get me in trouble with that guard and sent to the DZ? Obviously we don't want solitary confinement though.
VAMPERINA: "Yes I have ideas but is that still an option? As Max reminded us of yesterday, the new warden has said that minor infractions will now be punished with fines instead of the Danger Zone, and that Danger Zone duty is now voluntary. I suppose you can try just to see."
SURGE: "What if I had spent all my credits? I suppose with my stipend they would simply not pay me it to cover the fine. What if I started turning out shoddy work? I could claim that I'm distracted and no longer interested in doing any work, even a cushy job. There has to be something simple I can do that will lose my cushy job and send me back to the mining level. Get caught stealing from the machine shop? Thoughts?"
VAMPERINA: "Maybe this is overly simplistic, but couldn't you just say that you want to go back to mining? According to the numbers, you were a really good miner and you could say something like 'There's a really nice video/music player for sale in the canteen and I would like to go back to mining for a few months so that I can earn the money to buy it.' Obviously a good miner can make more than 10 creds a month. Just a suggestion."
SURGE: Surge pauses looking rather dumbfounded. "Well... I suppose I could just try that, eh?" Smiling he continues, "Gosh, I guess I was making this too complicated. The warden clearly wants mining production to be as high as possible and I was turning in high amounts before joining the machine shop. With the new credit program and the lack of skim by the gangs means I can really benefit from mining to my full potential. That's a great suggestion Vamperina. Thank you." Surge grins.
NOBODY: "Unless you are swamped at work, I don't see any reason why not. maybe you'll get really lucky and the Engineer will get pissed at your being ungrateful and permanently kick you out of the shop."
SURGE: First, Surge would like to know more details about the camera and its view of the secondary shaft where the exit is located at. Is it possible to fly into that shaft, skimming the ceiling, and not be in view of the camera? Or does the camera have complete sight of the entire shaft opening?
GM: The camera has a view of the entire mine shaft entrance
SURGE: Second, on this shaft, it's a mined out shaft, right? Do inmates go in there? What sort of traffic does it see throughout the mining day?
GM: No one has mined it for quite awhile, but that doesn't mean that it is mined out. It just means there are better places to mine down here. Basically, if you mined this shaft, you would not get the +2 bonus for mining the DZ. That being the case, no one mines it and so there is no traffic there throughout the day. Curt was mining in there when Max found the entrance and he did come up with some ore.
JACK: How long will it takes us to cut through the meter of rock if we're not worrying about covering up the hole, just slice a round hole through and pop out the plug? We do still want there to be a plug, but perfect concealment is no longer the goal.
GM: About 12 hours with a mining laser and a successful roll. This time goes down depending on how well the roll is made.
JACK: Unless the coverage is badly aimed, I think Curt's shapeshifting is our best bet. The idea of him prowling down the passage (starting out of sight) in the form of a battlesuit, letting someone hide behind him, him stopping to 'look' down the disused shaft to cover that person's movement into the shaft, and then continuing out of sight of the camera seems the best I've heard so far. It covers up the traffic into the passage, and offers near perfect concealment from the camera, without requiring that we rely on the imperfect video disrupter or the guards' inattentiveness.
GM: It's a good idea but far from "near perfect". The battlesuits are like oversized medieval plate armor. Unless you are careful, the camera could easily see a person walking near the battlesuited guard.
GM: Those with Security Systems also know that posing as a battle suited guard also entails a lot of risk. The real battlesuited guards have radios and other high tech gear. Most battlesuits that Nobody and Surge are familiar with also include transponders so that their location can be pinpointed at all times.
GM: Probably a better option is to disable the camera in some way. This does happen occasionally. Surge can tell you that he has fixed security cameras before in his job at the machine shop. Those in the mines with Security Systems can also tell you that cameras have gone missing (presumably to be fixed) and haven't been replaced for a couple of days sometimes.
SURGE: Ah, cool. News to me, though not surprising. :) When I worked on them what was the most common failure/breakdown? How easily would I be able to reproduce the most common problems in the camera? Also, can I get to the camera without being seen? Like fly up to it during the mining day when no one is around (and no other cameras are watching me).
GM: One of the components had shorted out on the one that you worked on. The power going through that particular component shouldn't have exceeded 5 millivolts but it apparently had and the component shorted out, causing the camera to malfunction. With your lightning bolt, you could easily feed too much juice to the entire camera to short it out. Not very subtle, but effective. It might leave them scratching their heads about why it shorted out, but you doubt that they would give it too much thought. Most likely is that they would simply replace the camera and see if it happened again.
GM: And yes, it is possible to fly in such a way as to avoid that camera and the other cameras by the lift shaft, and approach the target camera undetected. That is assuming that no one changes the angle of the cameras. The cameras can be remotely controlled to point in other directions though that doesn't seem to happen that often with the cameras here in the DZ.