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Messages - Hibou

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     ...I hope that things like nail knuckles would still work with fist-damage mutations...

They do! Nail knuckles are treated as weapons that simply use the unarmed skill, and don't function like gloves which would block your claws.

It's cool. Keep posting whenever it's convenient, just remember to look after yourself first. If you need to take some time off that's fine, the thread will still be here when you get back.

As for myself, I swear I had that update typed out last night, but my computer crashed before I could finish it and today was particularly busy day with schoolwork and a trip I needed to take. Speaking of that trip, I'm out of town for the weekend, so updates might get pushed out at unusual times until Monday.

The Gang Opens One Door Too Many

"Yikes. Well if it's any consolation, we're not picking up any movement except for you guys." says Maria. Samar adds, "Pimblokto might be able to read the recorder. There's a port in the back of his head, but you'll have to remove the helmet to get to it, so be sure to do that when you're not underwater. It's not good for his electronics otherwise."

"I am fully capable of functioning without waterpoofing, and can reach processor speeds up to 150% of the standard rate." protests the robot. "You see?"

You grab onto the rungs of the ladder and hoist yourself up, floating past the hole in the second deck as if you were weightless. You arrive in what is labeled on the blueprints as Lab 1, and it looks like that label is accurate. The ladder runs through the center of the room, continuing up towards the bridge. On each side of you, running most of the length of the room are heavy metal cabinets that look bolted to the floor. Similar cabinets run along the outer edge of the room. Beakers, clipboards, pens, and computer parts litter the floor. The water tugs and nudges them, making them look as if they're being controlled by some invisible string. Soggy torn pieces of paper float lazily in the water, illuminated barely by the minimal light coming in from the two portholes on each side of the room.

Behind you is the door to the mess hall, if the sign above it is to be trusted. The door is shut tight, but you notice it has several small dents in it and there's a dark stain on the floor that creates a trail leading through its threshold. In front of you is the door leading to the second lab. This one is closed as well, and there doesn't seem to be anything irregular about it.

You grab the wheel that controls the latch of the door. It squeals and creaks in protest, but you twist it all the same. The bolt seems to be bent along with the rest of the door, but with some effort you finally pull it out of the way and- WHOOSH -the door swings open suddenly and water starts to shoot through the opening! You try to resist the flow- [5] vs [7] -but can't seem to escape as you're pulled along with it through the bathrooms! For a second you're riding on top of a wave as it hungrily fills the waterless room. Shower and toilet stalls rush past your face as the far end of the room and its slightly ajar door shoot forward to greet you. You try to stop your momentum by grabbing onto something, anything and- [6 + 3 = 9] vs [6] -manage to grab hold of a stall door as the water surges around you and you're submerged once again. The door to the crew quarters is thrown open as well by the current and you hear it crash and rock ahead.

You're still in the bathrooms, and looking around you get a feel for the room. There's four stalls on each side of the room. Each one is made out of what appears to be some kind of sheet metal, and they look fairly cramped. All the doors have been thrown open, save for one shower stall on the left side of the room and two bathroom stalls on the right. The floor and ceiling offer no additional secrets, looking like they are made out of the same sheet metal that formed the walls of the engine room.

You hear the ship creak and groan, and you all start to get a sinking feeling as the floor shifts under your feet.

[Music, for your consideration]

Samar comes in over the radio. "I'm not sure what just happened, but it seems the ship has passed its buoyancy equilibrium. If you don't want to sink with it, I recommend you get to and start the backup generator as soon as possible. After that, the emergency pumps should kick on and start getting rid of the excess water."

I believe it's possible to have mutations from a different tree while still also having post-thresh mutations in one tree. However, the more mutations you have from one tree the more likely you'll get more mutations from that same tree, so it might be more difficult once you're that far along in the progression.

Robust Genetics helps a lot with getting good mutations, but in the end there's no way to guarantee you won't get at least a few bad mutations. That's why trees like Alpha are balanced because of their low risk low reward system versus something like Chimera or Slime which gives some great mutations in exchange for some serious disabilities.

The Gang Opens One Door, and The Rest Stay Open As Well For Once

As you wiggle the crowbar free from it's barricading position, the metal door creaks and groans. With one final yank the tool comes free and the door swings open, beyond it is a smaller corridor. Like the engine room, this corridor is currently filled with water. It's only about twice the width of the door, and square in shape. In the center of it is a ladder, and it extends upwards towards the upper decks of the ship. Across the room is another door similar to the one you just opened, but this one has caved slightly into whatever room is beyond it and shudders as you move through the water.

The near silence of the ship is broken up again as you hear a familiar voice crackle in over the radio.

It was Maria. She seemed to be having a relaxed conversation with someone.
"You know I detest spiders." says Samar. "Well, yeah, but you could've made a bug zapper instead of a huge-" Samar cuts her off. "We're getting a signal."
You hear Maria say something under hear breath followed by the sounds of her scrambling around.
"Test, test." There's a pause, then you hear Maria imitating the sound of a telegraph machine. "I'm news anchor Maria Naji and we're coming to you live with the evening headlines-"
"Eh, right. What's your status down there, guys? Find anything interesting?"

It was a quiet day today, so I'm gonna let it sit tonight and get another one out tomorrow at the usual time.

The Gang Gets Closer

The breach is in a fairly circular shape, and the curling of the metal implies some kind of explosion. [Mechanics] [5 + 3 = 8] vs [5] More curiously, the metal curled outwards, meaning the source of the explosion came from the interior of the ship. Inside, there is a matching scorch mark on the side of the generator opposite to the hole, confirming that the explosion originated inside the vessel. The generators themselves are intact, which is a blessing considering that they appear to be fusion generators. A breach in one of these while it was online would have resulted in an enormous fireball that would have consumed most of the ship.

The destroyed controls have several dents in them, like they were struck by several dull but strong projectiles, or one large object several times. The screens and buttons took the brunt of the abuse. Judging by your mechanics knowledge, they look beyond operation in their current state- to say nothing about the electronics being exposed to sea water.

During your exploration, you do notice a yellow and black toolbox sitting open on the floor of the engine room. It's filled with several wrenches, screwdrivers, and other mechanical maintenance tools. There's also a spool of electrical wire sitting inside.

The Body
You two approach the body. As you get closer, you notice the hands- they're curled up into tight fists. The skin can hardly be called skin by this point. It's taken on a grey, almost rubbery looking texture. Checking its pockets, you see a lanyard sticking out of its back pants pocket. Pulling it out, you see what must've been this man's name. "Tao Lee". Underneath the name is a picture of a tired looking man with messy black hair and a pair of circular glasses. He must've been somewhere in his 40's when the photo was taken. Inside the lab coat is a small black stick with a camera on the front. It looks like a personal data tracker, the kind of thing people use to create video journals on the go.

You turn the body over to confirm the identity, but you are instead greeted by a gruesome sight. His face, neck, and upper torso have been burned completely. It's a mess of charred bone and flesh, and you cannot make out any identifying features except for the black hair clinging to its scalp.

That's fine, I'll put out another update later on tonight at the usual time then.

The Gang Gets Wet

Pimblokto turns back to the controls. "Navigating to entrance three." The sub lurches and you hear some motors running in the walls as the ballast tanks fill and the vehicle sinks down towards the breach. The hole grows larger on the monitors as you pull up and you get a view into the interior of the ship. Through the clouded water you see the shape of two long blocks of metal with wires and tubing covering their exterior. You don't see any movement except for the warping of the light through the water.

One by one you climb up into the tower of the submarine, and a door slides shut underneath you. As you secure your breathing equipment, the chamber fills with cold sea water that slowly covers you from toe to head. As the chamber fills, the top hatch opens and you swim out of the submarine and through the hole in the side of the ship. The first thing that you notice is that the hole is circular and very large. It's diameter is about the same as Pimblokto's height. The strips of metal around the gap all point outwards like spikes lining the exterior of a castle wall, or the teeth of a hungry beast.

Samar and Maria crackle in over the radio again, "Be sure to look out for anything unusual in there. It's not like Sinopec to just leave one of their research ships floating out in the sea like this."

The radio goes silent.

[Music, for your consideration.]

Your group enters the ship.

Inside, Pimblokto activates his head lamps once again. The light cuts through the dirty water and you get a look at the engine room proper. The room is fairly spacious, but the majority of it is occupied by the two enormous motors that powered the ship. At the back of the room they connect to the hull of the ship and presumably the turbines outside. Towards the front of the room there are several control boards for the engines. The control panels have been smashed beyond repair, their wiring floating free in the water, bleeding out of its case. The door that led into the next room is shut, the wheel used to turn the latch has has a crowbar stuck through its spokes, making it impossible to turn without removing it.

Perception check.
Everyone [Jason - Investigator] [8 + 3 = 11] vs The Dark, Murky Water [5]

Above you, bobbing towards the ceiling is a body. It's dressed in a white lab coat and some black pants. It's black hair is in a loose mess around its head, and it's face is pressed against the ceiling, obscuring its identity.

The wiki [link] has a page that lists the mutations and their respective trees, and it's fairly up to date. It also gives a short rundown of each tree and what it's best for, but don't take what it says as the gospel truth. Experiment with different trees, figure out what's right for you/your situation.

I'm gonna postpone the update until tomorrow and let the posts come in, after that the nautical fun can begin.

As a side note, if you split off from the party then I might PM you certain things that are exclusive to your character, so just be on the lookout for messages coming in that way.

Other than that, hope you guys have a fun weekend and posting will resume as usual tomorrow.

EDIT: This OOC thread has turned into a "Hibou can't keep an update schedule straight" thread. Gonna put an early one out today and then another later tonight to make up for yesterday's absence.

The Gang Reaches Their Final Destination

As you get up and start pacing the ship, you're overcome with a severe feeling of vertigo. However, it quickly fades.

"Alright guys, we're in the dead zone. We're gonna stop the speeder here and let you go on ahead. If you need us, hit that button on your earpiece and speak. The interference is pretty mild right now so we should be able to communicate easily." says Maria. The radio crackles a bit as she speaks.

The submarine slowly comes to a stop and you can see on the monitors the back end of the ship. From here you see the back of the control tower, along with the second entrance underneath the water: A large, bulky ship door with a wheel in the center for opening the latch. It sits neatly in the center of the first deck. Looming over the door is a crane. The line on the crane is wrapped around a long metal rod, and behind the crane you see that the antenna that was supposed to be mounted there had been torn off. The deck itself is barren, and on the back of the ship you see a few places for ropes to tie off, and underneath those the two ship's propellers. They both sit silent and still in the murky water.

On the right side of the boat curled strips of metal stick out of the hull right where entry three is marked on the map. Bits of debris and oil float over that area, bouncing and bobbing with the rain that beat down on the water's surface.

Pimblokto turns around in his seat and says, "We have arrived. Do you have an entrance decided?"

You could split up and go through whichever entrance you want, or stay as a group and go through one door as a unit. Or you could do something else.

If you're running the experimental, they made dogs a fair bit easier to hit. If you grab a knife spear and dump your most encumbering equipment (backpack, duffel bag, bindle, maybe the motorcycle helmet) and kite it into a bush you should be able to handle it. If you can't prod it to death, light the bush on fire and see how it likes it, just be mindful of your pain. If it gets over 30-40, start looking at your escape options.

The Gang Makes Their Approach

You do a quick inventory, everyone has their equipment, a tank and a SCUBA mask. They will provide enough air for you to breath easily for about an hour.

Samar comes in over the radio. "I'm not sure which entrance would be the most advantageous, but I would not recommend splitting your forces." "Yeah. 'Cause that always works in horror movies." chimes in Maria. After a brief pause, Samar concedes, "Yes. It would be counterproductive."

As she says that, something causes the sub's sonar to ping. "Ah, we're in scanning range of the vessel." says Samar, sounding almost excited. "I'm not picking up... Anything. The ship is most certainly there, but it's not showing any signs of life. There's no sounds, no heat signatures, and no distress beacon. The vessel doesn't seem powered either, and the computer core you're searching for is likely either unpowered as well." Samar sighs. "If it were powered, I could try and pinpoint its location with the heat it would generate and the power it was taking in. According to the blueprint, the backup power is stored in the lower deck towards the bow. I believe the room is labeled b-pow on your map. Perhaps you could start there."

Maria's voice comes in. "Oh, shit." "What is it?" asks Samar. "By the time you guys get to the ship, it'll already be in the dead zone. Radio communications might get choppy from there on out. So if you guys can't reach us and need an evac just- I dunno, make a lot of noise. Shoot up a flare if you have one. We'll get the message and pick you up ASAP."

The Gang Sets Off on a New Adventure

Samar gives the gang a thumbs up and descends back into the submarine. There's a few clangs, shudders, and for a moment the turbines start spinning. You hear Samar mutter something and the submarine stops moving once more. She pops back out of the top and says, "All right, she's ready for her crew!"

As you all clamor into the small submerisble you take in the interior. It's very utilitarian, many pipes and wires are exposed to the interior. Your feet clang on the metal grate floor and you have to bend down slightly to avoid hitting your head on the roof. Each side of the sub is lined with several seats, enough for the gang to sit in relative comfort and safety. The front of the submarine sports a large seat with a complex harness laid over it. In front of it, there sits a U shaped steering wheel and a large yellow lever. Dials and gauges surround the steering column. Above it is a control board filled with switches and buttons, along with one big red button off to the right. On each side of the pilot's seat are a number of monitors that show various camera feeds of the exterior of the submarine. Pimblokto is seated comfortably in the chair already and turns to face the crew. He waves cordially, and you notice his helmet has been replaced with the old brass helmet you saw on the diving suit in the hall. In addition, the spaces between his armor plates have been covered with some stretchy, presumably waterproof plastic.

Samar points to the controls at the front of the submarine. "Pimblokto will be steering because he knows what all those buttons do. But in the case that he's not able to, the wheel controls the direction of the sub and the lever controls the speed. In an emergency, you won't really have time to worry about those switches so don't worry about them now. The big red button is the emergency eject. All the seats are rigged so that when you press that button they will be launched out of the sides of the sub and packs in the back of them will inflate and pull you to the surface. I recommend you hold your breath whe- if that happens."

She points up to the entrance in the ceiling. "Maria and I will take the speeder around the cliffside and meet you on the ocean. The submarine has its own way of getting down, and I think you'll like it." She starts climbing the ladder but stops halfway. "Or you might not. In any case, buckle up." Without any further explanation she pulls herself out of the sub and you can see her climb down its side and exit the workshop.

You all get into your seats and make sure your straps are tight before Pimblokto flips a switch and you hear a loud, metallic CLUNK as something underneath the sub moves. On the monitors you see the room suddenly move up as you start to feel weightless. The submarine is falling through a trap door in the floor! Pimblokto doesn't say a thing as the camera feeds are enveloped in darkness and you hear the wind whipping past the sub. Then, something clinks against the hull of the sub and you feel gravity return quickly as an unseen winch screeches and whines as it slows the sub. Finally, you hear it splash down into some water and Pimblokto throws the lever. The hum of the turbines starts up and you move through the dark water and out through a hole in the rocky cliff face.

The refurbished speeder pulls around as the Ophelia exits the cave. The radios crackle as Maria's voice comes over the channel. "Alright! You guys made it out okay." You hear Samar say in the background, "Of course they made it, I personally triple checked the deceleration calculations." There's a short pause, then Maria continues, "It's gonna be a little bit of a ride, but lucky for you guys I managed to pull some blueprints of the ship we're headed to. I'm sending them to your screens now."

One of the leftmost screens flips over to a heavily annotated image of a ship.

(click to show/hide)

"That's what the Cat's Paw looks like on the inside. The labels are rough translations, but the important thing are those green dots. That's the water level. Anywhere below that and you'll need your SCUBA gear to breath. The red circles are the most interesting part, though. Those are possible entry points for you guys. One and two are just doors that came on the blueprint, but three is something new we found through sonar imaging. Apparently there was a hole blown in the side of the ship, which is why it has sunk so low this far. It might be worth checking out, assuming it's safe to do so. There's a lot of unknowns."

Samar's voice now comes over the radio, more clearly than before. "We will leave it to your team to decide where to go. Pimblokto can take you to any of them using the Ophelia. We'll hang back and monitor the ship as well as your progress."

Your crew can decide to enter the ship through entry 1, the door above water, entry 2, the door underwater, or entry 3, the hull breach. Or you could try something else.

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