An anomalous spacetime tear has emerged. It has torn through numerous dimensions, although this happens to be made of a few neat portals outside of the extra ones. You have been tasked with exploring the world inside the portal, and making it back in one piece. Little is known about the portal, except that it should get beings of flesh safely to the other side.
JULIUS MARS REPORTING FOR DUTYEdit
As you come around a corner after shooting some shrews to death, you see something odd. There's a strange glowing area in the middle of the street. You can hear sounds coming from inside it. It sounds like lots of people trying to play music at once, except it isn't quite like any music you know. You hear more shrews, however, and it sounds like lots of them. What do you do?
I call Project Vigilance HQ on my radio. "Dr. Thresher, I may be a while. Going through a portal. Over and out." I then roll through the portal, quickly checking my surroundings on the other side, gun at the ready.
(2) You roll through, and end up facefirst in saltwater as a bunch of little rat-like things scurry out of the way. You manage to keep hold of your gun, but you have a splitting headache (-1 crafting, influence and tech for a bit). After making sure you haven't dropped anything, you get up and survey the surroundings.
Oh dear. It seems you've got yourself stuck in some sort of natural event, and predators abound. The beach you're on is filled with the rat things, which (now you look) have strangely lengthened snouts. A large bat-like creature- about the size of an eagle- with a long crest flies right over your head, before snatching up a rat thing. As you look over the rest of the beach, large possum-like creatures skitter around, snarling at each other as they hunt or steal. There are a few large birds with tails roaming around, and you see a...dinosaur?...about as long as a bear.
Having taken a primer in life sciences, as is required for PV operatives, I recognize some of these animal types. What type of dinosaur do I see? How many legs does it walk on?
You recognise the bat-like creature as a pterosaur. The rats appear to be laying eggs, after you see a seabird land and start eating them from a freshly-buried clutch. The possums are about as big as a large cat. The birds seem to be some sort of raptor-like dinosaur themselves, while the main dinosaur has twin tufts of quills and more quills all over its back. It's standing on two legs, and is robust and muscular. There are tusks in its mouth. From what you can gather, the dinosaur is a giant heterodontosaur, which is a type of herbivorous dinosaur. 'There are a few more of these heterodontosaurs around.
More examination reveals a few more types of animals. Odd ammonite-like creatures crawl around on the mud flats, mostly digging for eggs but sometimes going after the rats as well. In the sea, you can see a seabird being torn to shreds by some sort of seal-like animal (you can't figure out quite what it is). Further up the beach, a pair of large marine animals emerge from the waves and waddle to a bit further up, where they lie down.
Deciding to spend a little while here, I fill my pockets with eggs and move inland to collect wood for a fire.
(2) You walk inland a bit, and start collecting wood. You hear a rustle from behind you, and turn around just in time to see a large animal pounce on you! It pins you to the floor, making you drop your gun, and bites you in the shoulder (25 damage!). You have a large, ragged wound in your shoulder. There's a call from another animal, and it lifts its head up. You can't focus on it much (because you have a gaping wound in your shoulder), but it's the heterodontosaur! It seems those tusks are built for tearing through flesh. You don't have time to ponder, though, as it's still distracted. What do you do?
Gasping for breath, I use my good arm to lift one of the logs I gathered, and crash it into the animal's head (rolling a 6)
It works, and the beast is stunned for a turn. It stumbles, and you're free! However, whatever distracted it is probably still close. What do you do?
I hit the tusky over the head with my log again, rolling a 2. I then back into a tree and look around.
(4) The animal manages to duck under your swing, but it's clearly had enough of being beaten over the head. It retreats into the bushes.
On the other hand, another creature walks out of the bushes. And another. And another. It's more heterodontosaurs, but their large bellies give away that they're a herbivorous variety. A few pot-bellied pterosaurs (probably a pterodactyl) are perched on their backs.
I gather my gun and wood back up, then head back to the shore. I try to build a fire.
(2)' It's just a string of bad luck for you, isn't it? You trip, dropping the wood in a tide pool. You'll have to let that dry before you can make a fire. Meanwhile, there are still numerous predators around, who'll gladly take an injured person who can't see in the dark, and it's just about sunset. You walk up the beach a bit, then realise you dropped the Magnum. You walk up to get that, and by the time you've found it, a bunch of those ammonite-things have been chewing on your wood. This is not going well.
I sigh in frustration, and throw one of the ammonites as far as I can into the ocean. I look around for the portal that brought me here.
(3) The ammonite, having a shell nearly as wide as your head, isn't thrown very far. However, they get the message, and crawl away huffing and puffing. You look around for the portal, and see a faint glow. Seems it's not very strong, so no access for today.
A couple of the birds are looking at you with interest, considering your injured arm. However, the feast of rat things is plenty, so they probably won't attack. Unless you're unlucky. What do you do now?
I squat beside the dimming portal, hoping its meager light will be enough to ward off predators.
(2) Nothing happens for a few hours.
You are then rudely attacked by something grabbing you from behind in its jaws (20 damage!). It shakes you around in its jaws, and begins to drag you back to the ocean. (1) Random flailing results in it getting you in a better grip, and you feel its crushing jaws (5 damage!). (4) However, something bigger and meaner rushes up, and the attacker gives a loud squeal of pain. You get a vague image of four flippers and a beak, before you rush to the surface and take a deep gulp of air.
After failing to cast a fireball spell, I swim desperately to shore, probably dropping my weapons in the process.
(5) The predator doesn't notice you as you escape. As you get into shallow water, you look back, and see the shell of a predatory turtle as it tears its prey apart. You're lucky to be alive.
However, you're still injured, and not feeling too good. The headache's gone, though, and the wood should be dry by now.
That's a total of 45 damage I've wracked up here. I build a fire, then look around for ammonites.
(4) You see a small one, and grab it. It bites you in the hand for your troubles (10 damage, it's a bit venomous), but you manage to throw it on the fire and hear it puffing and huffing in pain as it is cooked alive. Revenge is sweet. So is calamari.
After it's been cooked a reasonable amount, you take it off with a stick. The shell is awfully convenient as a plate, so (once it's cool enough) you pull the meat out of the animal and put it on top. A couple of small mammals are sitting fairly close, but they're the lynx-sized ones, so no problems.
I eat the calamari. The eggs I gathered earlier... are those still unbroken? If so, I fry them in the ammonite shell.
(6) Yeah, they're all still fine. You cook them to perfection and eat them. Nothing happens until morning.
Your wounds have stopped bleeding (+5 health). The creatures on the beach are still ignoring you, for now, but another 'tusker' has appeared.
I raise my Mossburg 500 and fire at the tusker, rolling a 4. That would be a hit, doing 90 damage... I just barely killed it. I walk to the corpse and cut out one of its tusks, then check the portal again.
(2) Oh heck it's open and there's pseudoscorpions. One notices you, and then-
The turtle from earlier bursts out of the water, and grabs one, dragging it back into the water. Meanwhile, there are still 2 more, who will reach you in 2 turns.
With my Mossburg, I fire off a shot (3), hitting one of them. I then start running into the forest.
(5) The first scorpion, being a rather dumb animal, doesn't realize you're the one shooting at it and walks towards the ocean to fight that turtle. (You hear a splash a bit later.) As you run to the forest, the second pursues you, but some sort of large mammalian predator drops down from the trees and pounces on it. It must be another species that came to take advantage of the feast. As they tussle, you'll probably be able to get in a good few more shots.
I probably won't have enough time (or ammunition) to kill both of them, so I try to circle around them to get back to the portal. (Speaking of which--how much ammunition do I actually have?)
(About one clip left for each gun.) (5) Distracted by the tree-mammal, the other scorpion doesn't give chase. You manage to escape to the beach, where there's a large gouge mark where the scorpion used to be. The turtle presumably accepted its challenge. You make a mad dash for it, but you stop for a few seconds. Out to sea, you spot some sort of crashed ship. You'll have to investigate that further. For now, though, you roll through the portal, and look up to see another member of Project Vigilance.
"Looks like you've had a hard time."
YOU'VE RETURNED HOME
Congratulations! Your wounds have been fully healed, and you've had your ammo clips restored. However, there's still the matter of that ship. Due to the difficulty of getting a ship through the portal, they have suggested a scuba dive to the island. Do you accept, and continue the mission?
I accept, but request backup and a harpoon gun.
You walk through the portal, with a medic and technician following you. Both will likely be necessary, considering there's an unknown crashed craft and dangerous things. The egg-laying event seems to have passed by now, so there's probably going to be less predators hanging around the beach. Deeper water, though, may still have dangers. Probably more than just those turtles. Do you set up some sort of base before you dive, or just go straight in?
I request a couple of soldiers, possibly even a Magician, to guard the portal while we're away. (A base would be difficult to maintain, and it's doubtful we'll be here long enough to need one. Worst case scenario we take guard shifts through the night.)
(4) They give you three soldiers to guard it, and four on the other side so there isn't a pseudoscorpion incident again. After half an hour of watching for animals coming up to breathe, they spot a large turtle with an alga-covered back. It appears to have a flat beak, unlike the hawk-bill of the predatory turtle. Do you choose to dive?
"Come on. Let's get this over with." Before I put my mask on, I mutter "Couldn't send us a paleontologist, could they? Hmmph."
(1) You enter the water. After swimming a good 150 metres away from shore and passing the turtle, a predator as big as a great white rushes through the water and grabs the medic in its jaws. As it reenters the water from its attack-induced breach, it virtually lands on you, knocking the mask off your face and making you drop the harpoon gun. (3) As the harpoon sinks to the murky depths, you struggle to get the mask on, but manage to put it on before you start drowning. The beast tears the medic in half, before ripping off a leg and swallowing it. What do you do? The seabed should be close enough to swim to before it notices you.
I attempt to fire my spear gun into the animal's eye, rolling a 6.
You dive to the seabed, and pick up the gun. The technician follows, and just as the beast comes in for another kill, you fire the gun straight into its eye socket. There is a sudden flood of bubbles as the creature hisses in pain, and rushes to the surface to refill its lungs. It probably won't come after you again.
(4) A marine-mammal-thing is following you, but doesn't seem to want to attack. You lack a harpoon anyway, and so both species of mammal glare at each other a lot.
I hurry on to the ship, and attempt to find a weak point I can gain entry through. "Technician, do you recognize this kind of technology?"
(2) "No, no idea." You climb up to the ship, but slip on seaweed and hit your head on it instead. (headache again, 5 damage) "That looked like it hurt." You both search for an entrance but to no avail.
ZEMOCY REPORTING FOR DUTYEdit
You wake up from unconciousness. Your ship crashed after some sort of energy teleported it to just outside another planet, and the ship stopped working, causing you to crash. Violently. Luckily, you're still alive. After a check on your weapons, you groan to find that they're not working properly either. Virtually everything that needs complex technology has shut down; you'll need some big repairs, and you'll need to figure out how to go back through that energy field without the ship breaking down again. The gun that's working best is the heavy assault rifle, so you pick that up. The irihil plate is working well enough, but the shield and repulsors aren't, so you leave those behind. A quick check on the armoury reveals the doors are locked and you can't get in. Guess you'll have to go make do with this lot.
(1) Curses. It seems like you were the only survivor, because some part of the hull seems to have been breached. As a side note, the sensors have detected two creatures outside. What do you do?
Curse your random number generator, for a start :P
In game, I pick up the rifle and a portable sensor, (as well as the shield and repulsor, in case they start working), and then follow the signal to where the lifeforms have been detected. I also get the ship to scan the outside environment and see if it matches any known planets.
You find a working door to the outside, and open it. Far below, you see the two organisms. They are both covered in apparatus; from the fins on their feet and their general proportions you can guess that they're land creatures who have just been for a swim. It seems they haven't noticed you yet. What do you do?
Ping: How submerged is the ship?
The side you're on is mostly unsubmerged, with the side towards the left being more submerged than the front end you're at. You can't tell what the other side is like.
Zemocy - I shoot at them, scoring 3 hits, dealing a total of 225 damage to one of the life forms. (This is before armour but probably still kills them, so I guess that makes it Ping's other ally. If I have none, neither should he :P)
Ping: Your companion is killed in a hail of bullets. Looking to where the sound came from, you see a life form has just shot from the more submerged side of the ship.
I duck back underwater and start desperately swimming to shore.
Ping: (5) For once, luck runs your way. You dive into the water, and start swimming as fast as you can. You still have about 350 metres of water to go, so this will probably take a lot out of you. Hopefully this alien can't swim as well as you can.
Zemocy - As the other alien is swimming away, I scan the landscape around me, not recognising it. I ask the ship's computer if it can identify either the planet or the species of the creature I just killed.
Toothless: The ship responds that it has no idea where it is. Not the planet, not the solar system, not the star system. It can tell you you're in the northern hemisphere, though, so that's good.
Ping--I swim the rest of the way to shore. Upon getting back, I instruct the soldiers to open fire on anything that tries to get on shore. I then march back through the portal to demand a proper team of my own choosing.
(2) When you get back, you find two half-eaten corpses, one half-eaten living soldier and the broken-skulled corpse of a long-tail bird. You ask him what happened, and he explains that the birds had come over and investigated when they had been getting something to eat. They hadn't attacked initially, but they grew bold after they were ignored, and the subsequent surprise attack slaughtered the team. A shotgun to the face had killed one of them, and scared the others off. Unfortunately, due to the whole 'missing a large part of intestines' thing, he has no hope of survival. You shoot him.
You walk back through the portal, taking the others with you to avoid attracting predators, and so they can get a proper funeral. You explain the events to the person in charge around here, and they call the person organising the investigation. They tell you that they'll have a team ready by tomorrow, and ask you if there's anything specific you want for the team.
Zemocy - I get off my ship and onto the beach, to have a look around the area. As there may be hostile creatures about, I look for somewhere defendable.
It's a big open beach, but any large predators on the island will probably be rather flat and located underneath your ship. The best thing you can do is stay away from the water.
(1) You see some large, serpentine animals come up for breath rather frequently. One of the smaller ones seems to have a weapon lodged in one eye. From what you can gather, you won't be going places anytime soon.
Ping--As a high-ranking member of Project Vigilance, I order to construction of a mid-sized facility around the portal. I will need a squad of at least two dozen soldiers, a magician, and some heavy weaponry (grenade launchers). I order that a UAV be prepared and sent through. I supervise all of these operations.
Your request is accepted. The predators out there seem to take anything that looks like it's the right size, and there's no telling what on earth that thing was. There'll be others trying to take the investigation, too. For now, though, all you can do is prepare for the next move.
This isn't over.
Zemocy - I notice the big flashy portal thing and go over there to have a look.
(6) You walk to the edge of the beach, and strain your vision to see what it is. From what you can tell, it's another one of those portals. Near it, you can see the shapes of more of those little fleshy sapients working. The serpents are distracted right now, so you could take the chance to go and swim for it.
Zemocy - I decide I will try and swim across, as my species are good, fast swimmers. I take all the usable equipment I'm carrying with me and swim, keeping myself hidden from the fleshy sapients.
(1) You start swimming, and about 100 metres across, you see a shape emerge out of the gloom. It is much bigger than you, with a tough shell, four flippers and a massive, hawk-like beak. (1) A second one appears too, and they start to circle you. One lunges at you while you aren't looking, and bites you in the arm. It shakes it around like a rottweiler, tearing the flesh into ribbons. (50 damage!) (6) You manage to stick a finger in its eyeball, gouging it out and making that turtle flee. Unfortunately, the other turtle is still here.
Zemocy - Pah. I score four hits with my Rifle, dealing 300 damage to the other one, and keimming as best as I can.
(4) You make it to the shore. However, a group of the aliens have spotted you, and get out their guns. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to get all of them before you get a large number of bullets to the face. They seem not to be shooting straight away, though. What do you do?
Zemocy - I'll put my rifle away to show I'm not going to try and shoot them, and then see what happens.
Julius Mars - I make sure plenty of guns are aimed at the creature, including the heavy weapons I ordered earlier. I slowly approach it, and set up a portable picnic table and set the Heart Parchment on top. I touch it, and let my thoughts flow on the paper-- "Creature. You have murdered one of my men in cold blood. I desire nothing less than to see you gunned down right now, but you may be useful to me. This angers me. You need to tell me what you are, where you came from, and what your intentions are."
"I am Zemocy, and I am a Gaedrongo. We prefer not to speak of our homeplanet, and as I do not recognise this place I doubt it would mean anything to you anyway. Your men were probing my ship, and I acted in self-defence. However, I appear to have overestimated the strength of your bodies, as I did not intend to kill him."
"Self-defence? You opened fire on us solely for investigating your ship! We would have been happy to cooperate with you! Now you've ruined everything!"
Mars takes his hand off the Parchment for a moment, allowing himself to calm down.
"What are the capabilities of your ship?"
"None, at the moment. Normally, it has powerful weapons and plasma cannons, and can travel at high speed through space. It crashed after travelling through a portal similar to that one."
(1) Before you can continue speaking, a group of long-tailed birds bursts from the trees! The guards just went through the portal to change shifts, and there's about twelve birds and six guards. They attack! (1) The birds pin you down and tear into your flesh, biting at armour and clothing. One attacks Julius, while two double-team Zemocy. (3) They get in a few more bites, before Julius manages to get his pistol and repeatedly shoot his attacker in the chest, killing it! The other two are startled, jumping off and running before they realise they haven't been hurt. They turn around, preparing to attack! (Julius: 100-60=40! Zemocy: 70-28=42!)
Zemocy - Pow Pow! Four hits, two to each bird, killing them both.
Julius Mars - I fire at the remaining bird, rolling a 2 (which isn't so bad since I only miss on a one.) With the bird dead, my six soldiers and I turn and point our guns at Zemocy.
The guards have a quick injury check. (2) One has been disembowled and another has massive ragged wounds on his face. One takes out a large sniper rifle, and the other three aim their machine guns. The man with the face-wound is able to get the other man through the portal, and hopefully to medical attention (although the bird's habit of eating men alive is a major obstacle to that). One of the soldiers reccomends returning through the portal until there's a proper interrogation room on this side.
Julius Mars- still keeping my gun aimed at Zemocy's--head?--I give the order to return through the portal. With one hand on the Heart Parchment, I order Zemocy to come along.
I think Gaedrongos have heads you can point guns at. I follow, putting my own gun away.
You go through. A basic metal building of corrugated steel has been constructed around the portal, to help stop creatures travelling between the worlds. One of the possum things has entered, and is sniffing at the door. It looks up at you and darts to the other side of the room.
Julius Mars - I bring Zemocy to a holding cell. "I'm gonna need your gun, murderer," I tell him through the Parchment.
Zemocy - "Hm hm hm. I'm not a murderer. If I was, I'd 'murder' you here and now. But that would be more trouble than it's worth." - I hand over the Heavy Assault Rifle.
Julius Mars - I lock Zemocy in the holding cell. "I want this creature guarded at all times. I want at least twenty men on call at any time to deal with it should it escape. If you change shifts, do so one at a time so there's always enough people on hand. I want security cameras installed, and I want the door electrified on the inside. That will have to do till we can get him to HQ." After making sure this is done, I head back to the portal to make sure security is being maintained there.
Zemocy - Without the Parchment, I can't even communicate, so I sit down (can Gaedrongos do that?). This is perhaps the one time I'd quite like a 2.
Julius- Security seems adequate. However, as you look in, the portal partially disintegrates.
Zemocy- (1) You trip over while sitting down. Somehow. Before you can get up, however,' you are blinded by a bright flare of light, and fall forwards. When you recover, you see that you've fallen through another portal, this time a cool coniferous forest.
Well. This problem has just become bigger.
REWARDS: Zemocy is alive and well. Julius gets an extra piece of equipment and a medic.