View Full Version : Ame no Woto: Melody of Light

January 28th, 2018, 03:38 PM

Would you like to see something disappear from this world? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4A0uCYDxE0)

What was, once, now once was. The endless flow of History now can be paired, divided, into the two eras of Man: the time of Now, and the time of Before. All that is known, is Since. The Old World is shrouded from us like the horizon beyond a cold black stretch of mountains, impermeable to thought. All we know is Civilization lies past that curtain, a realm of thoughts and of ideas that have gone, only leaving their material traces. As we march further on, we must question ourselves: are we walking in the footsteps of Before? Is the tide of Progress pulling us backward, not forward? Mankind was once punished for Hubris; do we again stir wrath we cannot know? How much of this path is merely preordained? We walk Blind and in that Blindness it may be that we step ever nearer to our Fall. And then-

Where We say, Mankind was once punished for Hubris, They will simply say:

Mankind was,

- -- - --

This is the story of five explorers. (https://youtu.be/j50keQfKNMw) Whether they knew they were explorers, or if they understood what they were explorers of, it is not the duty of this tale to determine. This record stands merely to recount, for purposes of posterity: for someday, perhaps, this too will be Before. Our thoughts may vanish from the world, but our Essence yet remains, and will always remain, just for as a scar remains upon the body.

Five girls - soldiers, explorers - found themselves in a cave, or what seemed to be a cave: what is Now a cave, for its original purpose in the Old World no longer remains. There had been a great shaking and a fall and ruination, and for three of these girls it was yet another cast die of misfortune. Their leader and her closest subordinate had perished at the hands of those who hold no respect for Before, bandits and raiders pilfering material and Essence with no appreciation for its providence. For two of these girls, it was yet the end of triumph and beginning of a fall: after victory came this collapse, the rush of rock and concrete debris on their heads, the scattering of six and remaining of two. Of the unknown four, this story does not yet know.

The 33rd Infantry Expedition Squad: that was the name given to the six, before they became two-and-four, and before they again became five with the convergence of themselves and the other three, who were a branch of the 8th Scouts Regiment, if that still mattered. The world of Now had no grip on them anymore: they were caught within the Essence of the Before. All of them, as it mattered to them, were from the kingdom of Andover, a creation of Since, an industrial power and an expanding one, with military force and far-reaching interests. As evidenced by this expedition, its interests had some time ago turned from not just Now, but to Before, also.

There was no apparent option to escape: the shadowed room they had found themselves in, infiltrated in every corner by choking dust, held only doors they didn't even faintly recognize. North - or what they had colloquially deemed 'North' was a pile of debris, illuminated by the steady kerosene flicker of their lamps. Was that the way they had fallen from? Memory was as deep and unknown as the surrounding, consuming darkness.

In here there were chairs, sitting still and waiting after centuries unused, as well as a desk, a short wall behind it and behind that wall a door - metal, imposing. Doors of wood lay elsewhere, more accessible, the paths beyond - if there were paths beyond - unknown. All that existed to the five lay in this room, so cut off were they from the outside. They coughed intermittently as age-old dust seeped into their lungs, and scattered to the corners of this underground place, examining the cabinets and furniture for whatever answers - what questions? - may lay in wait for them. The Old World, always, had much to tell. They had no direction beyond this, and some no direction at all: one of their number, Lance Corporal Millicent Oak, had no thought come to her mind but horror, mouth weakly open as she stared at the crumbled pile of what once was a door: where she came from, and where should could not now go back. Could she ever go back? Her entire world seemed to be in the few dozen metres of this room.

"Maybe we can dig our way out..." she muttered, half to herself, then spoke up louder: "With the five of us, we could move that big rock out of the way... maybe." Confidence dripped from her words like water from a dry faucet. She flexed, weakly, her heavy build, imagining her strength managing to clear a path, imagining sunlight once again shining onto her bleary eyes.

"I don't think that's gonna work," said her squad mate, Corporal Nichole Williams, a slight girl with a shock of brown hair and a smile put on despite the situation.

Elsewhere besides was the newest member of what once had been their detachment of the 8th Scouts Regiment: Private Alice Chastain, a transfer from elsewhere, short even for her age and unassuming, but with an underestimated cleverness. To the military, cleverness wasn't particularly important in a private: she knew how to hold and needle and thread and didn't blanch at battle wounds. That was important.

She was on her stomach, the breath seemingly knocked out of her, her uniform patterned with black dust like soot. Even for her, a way out of this seemed unlikely, if not impossible. With nothing else apparent, she lolled over onto her back with a slight grunt.

Already standing tall, brow furrowed in deliberate thought, hands on her hips to give an impression, was their de facto leader: Sergeant Haley Clarke of the 33rd Infantry Expedition Squad, a stately blonde, tall and - on the outside, as appearances mattered - unperturbed by the situation. She directed her iron look to her new subordinate, Millicent, barely knowing her but knowing soldiers, and soldiers could be expected to rarely be different.

"Wouldn't recommend that, lass. Trying to dig ourselves out would only make it more unstable and risk bringing the rest down on our heads."

Appearances worked: Nichole took note of her new sergeant's apparently cool head. "Did you see anything on the outside?"

Half to herself, Millicent shook her head, saying, "Oh, right... of course it's impossible."

When she stopped speaking, they could hear little else after the pattering echo of their voices died down: just the whisper of the flames in their cages, and the groan of the structure all around them, and the rock of the mountain above their heads. The sheer silence burrowed into their minds, demanding that it be broken, no matter how, before it became itself an unbearable din.

"There was a field gun on the outside, in the bandit's camp, we used to break through the door; the blast probably destabilized the supports in here, caused the collapse once we came through." Straight, to the point, without any embellishment: such was Haley's way, and it was recognizable at once.

"...sergeant?" Alice began pulling herself up, and glanced over to the tall woman whose voice resounded through the room, her presence unmistakable. A familiar face, from a different time.

Nichole's heart sank a little, remembering the bandits. "Oh..."

"I didn't think bandits would attack soldiers," said Millicent aloud, bitterly feeling the bite of hindsight. "But they did."

The only other member of the 33rd still present, Private Junior Grade Olivia Ford, began stirring, her narrow eyes darting around and focusing on whatever might have been keeping this room intact. A miracle, maybe, and nothing more.

Haley frowned, but expressed no deeper emotion on her pale face. "They were very well armed, one had a suit of plate and some kind of motorized saw blade. They were also mumbling about something, before we attacked, that leads me to believe they weren't your simple ruffians."

Hardly a stirring consolation, but it didn't matter much now. Whoever was dead was dead, and above ground the bodies remained, as evidence.

"...so someone else is after this place, too?" Despite the weight she felt, Nichole tried to frame the situation as best she could: the emphasis was on moving forward, not back, never back. They were all here for a reason, and whatever that reason may be, it was beyond their control. What agency they had was limited to using their strength together to stay alive despite this place.

Millicent was quick to chime in, staying talkative. "Maybe they'll be too scared to come in after us."

Empty words, but words nonetheless, and Nichole expressed her own doubts with a simple 'maybe'. This was no time for pretending that they were safe, not after what they'd lost, and who they had lost, too. Any one of them could be next and perhaps only Fate would decide.

"If we can't get out, then they can't get in. And we can call for more reinforcements." Millicent, of everyone, kept burning a candle of hope, however bare the flame may have been.

Sighing, Nichole rested her hands on the desk behind her, leaning on it half for support and half to see if it was still sturdy enough to hold a person's weight. Her hands narrowly dodged splinters in the aged wood, and she felt it give just a bit as she tested it more. It was still intact, somehow, but clearly the years had not been kind: clumps of dirt were scattered over its surface, pock-marks in its once-fine face now springing forth blades of grass that sprouted despite the perpetual darkness of this place.

"Old ruins often hold valuable treasures, be they physical or forgotten knowledge, running into these kind of threats isn't uncommon for expeditionary units. And that they were too scared to pursue you is unlikely, my guess would be they were either waiting for reinforcements or gathering their strength before hunting you down in here." Haley, though her position of leadership implied an inspirational figure, was ever the natural cynic, or a realist as she'd say. She hadn't been born into optimism like some others had.

Alice, uninvolved in the conversation, sat up restlessly and paced about, staying within the lamplight but trying to occupy her mind with something - with anything, came as it may - or else she felt she'd go mad first of anyone here.

"Eh!?" Millicent groaned as Nichole stepped away from her and the desk. "They can get reinforcements too..."

"Well, that's... great," Nichole offered.

Both Alice and Olivia, more alike than they knew yet, had no interest in whatever the others were talking about, but for different reasons: Olivia shivered with nervousness as she made her way meandering about the room; Alice was instead fixated on finding something to occupy her mind so that she could solve the problem they were caught in. Talking about it or over it did nothing. Why waste the energy?

The two bumped into each other, fumbling in the dark, and Olivia let out a stream of mumbled apologies in the midst of the situation. Her voice was sheepishly quiet enough that it was drowned away by the sound of Millicent rummaging through the creaking cabinets against the wall and shuffling through the time-worn papers inside. For her, at least, that offered enough of a distraction, her mind escaping to ideas of maps and directions, perhaps.

Haley continued on, her voice seemingly a constant. "Very possible, I heard their leader talking to someone over a handheld radio before we killed everyone in the camp. Unfortunately there's no one coming for us, we were sent to investigate your disappearance."

Millicent stopped mid-thought. "Right, you were our reinforcements..."

"Yes! Yes, yes. That's us," Olivia exclaimed, almost in a shout, joining in the conversation she'd ignored just to avoid any further awkwardness, trying to be a part of whatever solution was bubbling up in their heads.

Nichole and Millicent, both more interested in the contents of the cabinets, tried to examine the papers further: but like moth-eaten clothes, they fell apart in their hands, refusing further examination, if there was anything further to them to be examined. On their faded surfaces, little of note could be seen, age having stolen away that knowledge forever.

"Ah, is that you, Chastain?" asked Haley as the small private passed her by - partly out of curiosity herself - on her way to try the doors.


She blinked, as if Haley's familiar face might change in an instant, an illusion of dust and darkness. Yet, she was the only familiarity in that room: from when Alice was in the 33rd, before being transferred elsewhere, she remembered other faces, yet none of them were to be seen. A shot of panic ran through her.

"The others," she gasped, glancing around the room as though there was someone she'd missed, "where are th-"

Haley looked down at her with a confident smile, almost a smirk. "Hello again, seems our luck with ruins hasn't improved. As for the others... with luck they're somewhere further in, though it's more likely they were killed when the tunnel collapsed."

Reality was cold, as Haley knew it. Why pretend otherwise?

Alice stopped speaking and nodded stiffly. Other thoughts couldn't overwhelm her, not now. Reality was what it was and there was no changing that at all. Wherever the rest of the 33rd may have been, they were not in this room, and if they were to be found, it would be beyond one of the doors out of here. With fastidious determination, she started examining a wooden door, its worn-out bolt and its plain knob, her mind occupied for now. With her ear and some weight against it the door shifted just a little, but she heard nothing besides their own voices and the scurrying of tiny feet.

"Are you okay, Alice?" Millicent asked, her voice tinged with concern. Her old Sergeant had always counted on her to keep morale up. "I mean, Private Chastain."

The only response she received was yet another nodd, sharp and mechanical.

"Sergeant, uh, Clarke? What's the course of action?" Millicent asked, walking over to another door, this one still wooden, but seemingly unlocked - only jammed.

Nichole had slipped away from the rest, back to the desk and to a strange contraption behind it: a slab of metal with a face of glass, all in all almost the size of her torso, looking like a machine but with no fuel or electricity to give it life. It sat there, useless and aged, the buttons on the front of it doing nothing any more. There were two others flanking it, but they, too, did not even flicker with a spark of light. She wandered around a bit more, to the metal door, and ran her hand down its cold steel. It had no apparent handle, just an inset with a row of numbers in a chain, like the lock on a safe.

"Sergeant, I've found something. It looks...important." Briefly she thumbed at the pistol in her holster, before deciding that wasn't the best course of action.

"What is it?"

Nichole gestured her over. "It's a metal door with some pretty impressive locks. There's gotta be something important inside."

"Possibly, but without some way to power that we have no way of getting in. For now all we can do is start heading deeper into the station and hope we find an exit, anything else comes secondary until then." For her this was almost commonplace - or she made it seem so - but Nichole still was baffled. The Old World did not explain itself easily, or eagerly.

"Right," responded the corporal, crossing her arms over her chest and breathing deeply.

"...or we don't, and we're trapped here..." said Olivia, still shaking, unable to bring herself to interact too closely with the strange room. "...never mind me, ma'am."

Millicent stepped over and patted her on the back, pointing to the jammed wooden door, its face touched by wear, no handle left to open it save for physical force. "It's okay, Private Ford. We can get out. With guts!" Her words were only faintly inspiring, and least of all to herself.

The steel door had caught more of Alice's interest: mechanical things were her forte, or at least they put her mind to work most. She studied it alongside Nichole and Haley, who stepped aside to let the private examine its workings. It was clearly some kind of mechanism, based on her knowledge, though no connection to the machines behind the desk - or anything else, even - was apparent. All she could see was a set of dials, three in a row, that no doubt were there for entering a code to get the door open. It was the sort of thing that, even with a battering ram, couldn't be brute-forced. Whatever lay behind this door, no one had seen it in hundreds of years, but it was still beyond their grasp. No attempt at fiddling with the dials succeeded in producing any results: just hollow clicks with each flip of the numbers. Even Olivia, giving it a go, found only failure.

"...This isn't an electric lock. Just a physical mechanism," Alice said, partly to herself and partly to the three crowded over her, anticipating some answers. However, her attention soon found another target.

"Sergeant," said Millicent, not yet confident enough to shout, but wanting to redirect her attention. "The other doors are just wood. We might be able to force them open..."

Nichole was soon by her side, rapidly losing interest as the steel door attracted more from others. "That sounds like a great idea, Millie."

"Oh, um, Nichole, right? I was thinking we'd take one of these chairs and, well..."

"Yeah, Nichole. Ram it?" She picked up a chair, hefting it with what strength she had, wanting progress of any kind to make this place less stifling than it was. Even to enter another room, no matter what it contained, would start to shake off the ennui this place inspired. The dust coated not only their lungs but their minds as well; it made them slow and weary, edging towards willingness to succumb to this isolation.

"Well," Millicent interrupted, with a firm step back from the door, "shouldn't we wait for Seargent Clarke's order?"

"I guess." Nichole gripped her rotten, wooden chair anyway, not giving up. "Hey, sarge, permission to try one of the other doors?"

"One moment, I'll help you two with it." Haley raised her hand in a limp wave; she was busy looking over Alice's shoulders as she put her mind to work checking one of the machines just as Nichole had: Alice came to similar conclusions, understanding the buttons below the glass face were somehow connected to the machine's functionality, and indeed she was able to understand most of the letters and symbols on the buttons. It was similar to a typewriter, but clearly, and certainly by its Old World provenance, much more advanced.

"Aye aye," sighed Nichole, setting her chair down. Her arms were already sore.

At the wooden door in the south, the rest of the squad reconvened. Attempts were made at slamming it down: Haley first, her slim figure barely shoving it, then Millicent, who herself shifted the door somewhat but failed to knock it down. She'd hoped for a heroic opening, like out of a story, but was left with disappointment and bruised muscles.

Then Nichole, bringing her ram to bear, shoved at the wood with a certain reckless abandon. Whether by her own strength or technique, or the door being worn down enough already, it jolted on its hinges and gave way with a creak. The squad was able to pass beyond, the corridor that stretched before them offering a new darkness, yet more ominous than before. The flame-light revealed peeled and worn posters on the walls, but little else. From the ceiling hung electric lights, almost mocking in their non-functioning state as a mere kerosene flame took their role instead.

"What now, Sarge?" Nichole slipped her pistol slowly from its holster, her wary eyes on the black unknown ahead.

"Weapons drawn, stay together, and be ready to fire on my command if something hostile tries spooking us." No one had any intent on disobeying. In the confusion of the underground world, any direction was accepted without question.

Unsteady affirmations of "right," and "yes ma'am" came from her squad, but they followed.

"Before we move out I want to know what everyone's carrying so I can decide who gets point."

Millicent hefted her machine gun, hanging by a thick leather strap from her shoulder. ""Um, I have a Lewis gun..."

"Lovely, can you fire it from the hip?" Haley eyed the monstrous, unwieldy weapon with an upturned nose.

"Yeah, but it's hard to hit anything that way."

Behind her, Olivia patted her rifle. "Still the same old Lee-Enfield and some patches, ma'am."

Nichole and Alice reported in similarly: "I've got a handgun and, uh, three bombs," "A gun. And a medkit."

Haley clicked her tongue. "I didn't ask for your sass too, Ford. Anyways, Oak, you have point. Everyone else fall up behind."

The awkward private let out another set of apologies, stammering, while Millicent gave her affirmation and brandished her machine gun, stepping forth to the front of their little column. It was a tight fit in the narrow hall, and the barrel of her gun tapped lightly on the metal lamp Nichole held in her off-hand, a few paces behind.

Thankfully for them, the hallway was a short one, going on for a few uneasy metres, then turning to a junction: left, and right, both thick with subterranean darkness. At both ends were doors, one piled on with locks along its edge, the other not so. Both were wooden, just as the last: security here, it seemed, was relatively lax. Or had someone passed by this place not too long ago?

Millicent glanced down both ends of the split hallway. "Which way, Ma'am? The one on the left looks like it leads to the same room as the locked door from before."

"Left, it may link to the east door in the first room." Haley raised her hand, stopping mid-step. "Wait."

Going on ahead, she found a fist-sized hole in the door, from time or wear or God knows what. It was too small to see through with the lantern held by it, but riddled with splinters, clearly not made by careful hands. Careful hands, the sergeant had not in mind: smashing at it with the butt of her rifle, Haley tried to make the hole larger, but the door was made of something more than just wood, it seemed. Something powerful must have bored it in the first place.

"Um, ma'am, I can try... I've got thick skin..."

"I think we might need something a little stronger, sarge."

Haley stepped back, shaking her head. The lantern wouldn't fit past, either. "Who wants to be the lucky girl that gets to stick their hand through a dark hole?"

No one spoke up, and the only willing participant was Millicent, who stepped ahead of everyone else, taking off her pack and wrapping her jacket firmly around her arm. Either daring or entirely not considering the danger, she reached through the space in the door, but cannot feel anything on the other side, not even a handle or another side to the locks.

"There's no latch on that side," she stammered, pulling back.

"Sarge, can we blow this door or what?" Nichole sighed, impatience edging her words.

Olivia perked up with an idea, and raised her voice as best she could. "Can I just...can I try something for a second?"

She goes unheeded, however: Alice, who was sniffing the air - stale, musty, but nothing else - pulled out a match, struck it, and flicked it through the hole. A very tiny, tiny light brightened a bit of the tile floor in the room beyond, burning bravely but revealing little.

"Oh...well that takes care of that then," said Olivia, her words getting quieter and quieter as she spoke them. "Try...this."

With a bit of a shiver, not looking anyone in the eye, Olivia slipped her backpack off, rifled through it for a strip of paper, scrunched it into a sturdy ball, and placed it in Alice's palm. "Better light."

As Nichole stepped back towards the other end of the hallway, Alice struck another match and lit the corner of the paper, hastily tossing it on through as she'd done before. The whole act was done in seconds; everyone else let out a short gasp, but they were too late to intervene if they had any mind to. The smoking paper ball embroiled in flames on the dusty floor, casting its light on a couple rows of desks and their old, coming-away drawers, with black chairs beside them and on top, yet more machines.

"Sarge, should we maybe check the other end?"

Haley slapped her forehead with her palm. "Or we could try unlocking these latches... which are on this side of the door."


Alice frowned a little, staring at the fading ball of light. "Caution. If there are no latches on the other side..."

No signs of movement could be seen around the flames, but that was no reason to get over-confident.

"We'll set up a firing line before opening the door, just to be safe, but before that..." Haley pounded her fist on the door, a sudden and startling noise, but nothing still could be reported from the other side.

She ordered Nichole, owing to her apparent affinity with doors, to work with the latches and bolts. It takes a few minutes, but the corporal manages to figure them all out - simple, unchanging mechanisms that they are - and gingerly pushes on the doorhandle before jolting back. The whole squad kept their weapons trained on whatever could come through, but this time, there was nothing. The latnern light reached fully through now, and they managed a glimpse of the whole room: staid and plain, with several rows of long metal desks, on which were yet more of those machines Alice had examined before. On the eastern side of the room stood lockers, some open and most not, but the chief sight were a pair of further doors: one stuck open, propped up by an overturned desk, the other held shut by chairs and apparently little else but hope. Despite her wariness, it was Nichole who stepped into the room first, as though it was her responsibility as the one who unlocked it - in case anything happened, perhaps.

Everyone save Alice was immediately most interested in the lockers, with Haley giving them a thorough once-over, though to little effect.

Alice was fixated on the machines, more than anything else thus far: these ones were standing on their own, and larger than the last. They were built the same as well: a flat glass pane over a board of buttons, with clearly recognizable letters and numbers on them as well as a few other symbols she couldn't decipher. However, with these desk-top machines, Alice noted wires running from the machines under the desks and to each other. Tracing their lengths, the wires slipped down to the floor into precisely drilled holes, and beyond there, no one could tell. With her ear against the icy steel side-panel of one, she felt as if she could hear a very vague electrical hum... but, it could have just been the noiseless ringing of her ears. That sound intrigued her most of all: power. Activity. Life.

"These machines seem to still be active," she said, intending the others to hear her words, but when she looked over to them they were clearly too caught up with something else.

They stared down upon a battered, ancient skeleton, rotten brown and covered up in a bundled grey coat too large for its frame. Any identity was unknowable with how thoroughly the body had decayed, and nothing around seemed to tell much else about it. This Old World casualty, perhaps in their final moments, had clearly been injured, with wounds especially on the thigh: broken, twisted bone almost like from a gunshot. Its hands were gripped into once-tight fists, nothing more remaining as its skin and organs had long since withered away. Beside it was what Haley and Millicent imagined to be a broom, or a mop, or so it had been some long, long ago. One end had been sharpened to a razor point like a weapon. About half of the eroded shaft was stained a flat black colour, like oil or paint. It was dried thickly and stuck on, and even scratching it didn't peel it off.

Alice peeked over briefly, not interested in the skeleton, but more so in the haplessly barricaded, half-open door. "Let's go the other way."

Nichole, partly disgusted, couldn't help but admit a morbid fascination with the centuries-old body. The battle before - the battle which saw her sergeant and her senior corporal die - saw to that, but there was something about this one, perhaps its age or perhaps that there was no way of knowing anything about the person themselves. Something made it impossible to look away.

Millicent, too, understood in her own way: it was painful to imagine how this person had suffered, alone and dying not on a battlefield, but in this empty and lifeless room so long ago.

On her own adventure was Alice, who pushed aside the small wooden desk into the door beyond, finding what she could immediately tell was a washroom. It had no more occupants, and little remained within besides a pair of urinals and beside them two open, empty stalls. There were sinks, as well, on the other side of the room, and a hanging light that died well before Alice's time.

Haley and Millicent left the corpse and peek into the lockers close by. They were all broken and opened easily, time having taken its toll on them. The two went through them methodically, finding most contained lengths of rope and wire, as well as strange, complex pieces of metal that they didn't quite know the purpose of. One held a tattered shirt hanging from a knob, a bit too big for any those present; yet another had within it an old book with a dust-caked cover and pages falling out of its spine. In the locker closest to the skeleton, there was a folded-up piece of paper about a foot long, not as harmed by the passing of time, and a metal canteen - empty - alongside a knife, very rusty, but long and presumably once sharp. It showed no signs of use.

Flipping through the book, Haley found it mostly incomprehensible, both the old language and the meandering scrawl it was written in. From its format, it seems to have been a journal, its owner, perhaps, the long-dead person laying quietly on the floor.

Alice had popped over to join the whole group, and snatched one of the colourful if mouldy pieces of metal, small enough to fit in her palm. It and those like it were all flat and criss-crossed with yet more metal, like pieces of art of some kind, in a style alien to anyone of this era. She couldn't see what they'd be useful for, but from looking at them, they appeared to be intended to fit into something, just as paintings fit into a frame, or a key into a lock. The machines came immediately to mind, the connection tenuous but possible.

Nichole had simpler, more concrete pursuits: the folded piece of paper, wanting to decipher something on her own. The paper folded out into what was obviously a map. It was too old and faded to read it well, but she could see there were mountains and roads marked out on it, as well as a central structure she reasoned might be this very building. At the foot of one mountain, there was a likely entry-way, but without another, present-day map, she couldn't quite tell if it was the one she and the rest came through.

"Sarge, I've found a map!" She held it up for emphasis, careful that her eager fingers didn't tear it into uselessness.

Haley pulled her nose, almost wearily, out of the book, having found some words like 'work' and 'night' and 'frustrated,' as well as mentions of 'guys... downstairs.' "I'll look it over in a moment, I want to see if I can make anything out of this first."

"Aye aye." Nichole folded it back up again, carrying it awkwardly in her hand, holstering her pistol so that she could keep map and lamp both at the ready.

Alice had scuttled over to the machines again, and with the new-found knowledge of these chips, tried figuring the whole system out. Eventually, she found that the row of letters lifted up to reveal something underneath: a flat panel, just big enough for the device she held in her hand. Curiously, there was currently one already occupying this particular machine, and it had a piece of paper stuck to it that read "JULY REPORT" in big, bold letters. Frowning, she began pressing random buttons, attempting to brute-force the machine into compliance. One of them reacts somehow, popping the current device out like a cookie thrown out of an oven, landing it in Alice's hand, cold as ice. The machine's hum remained as tuneless and stable as ever. With a sigh, she put the little devices in her pack, to perhaps find proper use later.

"I don't understand," wondered Millicent, looking into the lockers. "None of this looks like it's worth fighting for."

Nichole shrugged with some amount of disappointment obvious in the following slump of her shoulders. "This is the most shallow level. The good stuff...it's probably already been taken. We might not be the first ones to find this place."

"Wouldn't be so sure about that, the good stuff as you call it might still be here," said Haley, moving towards the northern-most door. It was locked up, like the last but more hastily, with the main defence being a pair of chairs propped up against it - as though to keep something out. Whether or not they were effective is lost to Before.

Millicent: trudged into the nearby bathroom herself, getting a proper look. There was a dusty but functional mirror above the sinks, and after wiping off the dust, Millicent could vaguely see her reflection looking curiously back at her. Turning the knob of the faucet, the slightest drip tap-tap-tapped into the basin. Not enough to do a quick face-washing.

"Do you want to look inside of these?" Olivia walked up to Alice, noticing her frustrated button pressing. She hit one of the machines with her foot, as though that would suddenly resolve the inherent problems within. However, it was an offer that quickly fizzled out into nothing as Haley's commanding voice subsumed all else.

"Ladies, if you'd be so kind as to form a firing line around the north door, we're going to see what's in the next room." A scant couple moans of disappointment followed, but orders were orders.

"Yes, ma'am!" Olivia then whispered to Alice: "That takes care of that I guess..."

"Form a semi-circle so there's no chance of anyone other then the one opening the door getting caught in your line of fire."

Haley led by example, her rifle at the ready, with Nichole muttering "right, right," and coming up behind her, pistol in hand.

As their sergeant pushed away the chairs with her foot and walked forward to the door itself, the squad looked on. They were all hesistant, attempting infinite carefulness as Haley unfastened the few, loose locks there were, then opened the door. For a while, there was no sound at all save for the creaking of wood and the scurrying of some small creature away in a nook of the room.

What lay beyond, though, was a scene of absolute chaos. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7TifHKJxjI)


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January 28th, 2018, 03:50 PM
(This is a novelization of the sessions of Ame no Woto I'm running with friends Kirby, Lurk, I3uster, Fancy Face, and Bloble on Roll20. More to come, since writing up 5 hour sessions in narrative format isn't exactly easy)