[ISS] A Hidden Place (Ash, 2.3, Mar 2.1)

edited April 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky
image

Mark,

image "Corp Rys came for Ash, took her out. He left the door unlocked, so I decided I was sick of staying put, came to see you." She walks beside you but not too close. Her hand hovers near yours and her face turns to you several times.
When you get to the speedball gym, the door is still open. "That's odd." Nadja comments.




What do you do?


image
"That is odd. But wait-- Rys came back for Ashlee? Is she in trouble? More trouble, I mean."

I lower my voice as we approach the gym door and stop. I listen.
Try to figure out if anyone's around.

I risk a peek in through the doorway.

If anyone asks, I'm looking for my sweatshirt. Super lame.
You hear some conversation, two people talking. The shower's running. You recognize Zola's laugh.

image "Nope, she decided to ask him for some food, and he showed up, took her to the cafeteria. Maybe he feels guilty for hitting her. Did you see her drokking face?" She turns to you, sliding a hand to your cheek, "He backhanded her right here. Probably hurt like hell." She rubs your cheek, then leans against you.



What do you do?

Comments

  • image
    I put one arm around her, looking up and down the corridor.
    "We could do a lot worse than Rys. That pair in Pod Ten, for a start."

    I don't know how Zola got out of her room, or who she's with, but whatever is going on, I don't feel like meeting anyone.

    "That's weird though, right? That she'd ask Rys for anything, after what happened. I think he likes her, but she's... well."

    There's nowhere you can be out of sight along this stretch of the hall, either. Maybe the store room where we keep the spare kit, crash mats and stuff. But I think that's locked.

    I move my arm off from Nadja's shoulders. I keep forgetting about the cameras.

    "We... shouldn't be out here. Maybe this was a bad idea."
  • image

    Mark,

    image "Of course it's a bad idea, Mark," Nadja remarks with a smirk. "That's why we're doing it." She steps away from the door to the gym, turns on the ball of her foot and starts walking down the corridor away from your rooms. "Wanna go to Pod Eight? They have a faulty cam or two, even a private room where we can hang out. Alone."

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    Seems like everyone but me has a secret exit. Even Aiden has been breaking out of our little Navi corral.

    I frown a little, like I don't know how that's possible.
    "Lead the way, I guess."

    I used to have an escape hatch too. The service galleries near the outer hull. But they welded shut the access panels. Made a point of coming to the infirmary and showing me a feed of the Umkhandi robot at work.
  • image

    Mark,

    She leads you down the corridor past the gym to the end, then crouches down by an air vent. Nadja pulls a small tool from her boot and works at the grate until it pops off, removes it, then moves it aside and ducks down to crawl in.

    What have you hear about crawling around in the air vents, Mark? What happens to sneakers who try it?

    What do you do?
  • image
    Word is that if you know where you're going, you can get to any part of the ship this way. That's probably true, technically. If you know the way. The vents are built for crawling around in, though, and there are plenty of wrong turns. I know better than most about opening the wrong hatch.

    There are stories. Like the girls who followed the vents into one of the alcoves at the outer edge of a centrifuge section. It turns, but it turns really slowly. There were three of them. They saw that the exit was rotating away. Two of them jumped out. By the time the third got there, the gap was too small and still closing. She'd have to wait twenty minutes for the next exit to come by. Her friends shouted for her not to try it. But she had a thing about the dark and she couldn't face that long without any light, so she tried to squeeze through. Her friends hit the panic button but you can't stop the ship's machinery. So they had to watch while she screamed and the wall kept grinding along and tore her into two halves.

    That's the story, anyway. I don't think I believe it.
  • image

    Mark,

    You get a nice view of Nadja as she crawls in, and hear the sound of the air vent's metal frame flexing as she moves deeper, then disappears.
  • image
    This seems more and more like a bad idea. I duck inside the vent and try to put the grate back in position. I can't fix it in place. It'll just have to rest there.

    I try to catch up with Nadja. Don't want her to leave me behind.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja keeps ahead of you, crawling in the vents for several hundred meters before she takes a sharp right. The metal starts getting cooler to outright cold. You realize she's headed towards the hull of the ship. You've been in the air vents for maybe five minutes.

    She stops at a T intersection ahead and hesitates for a moment, then turns left. When you move to catch up with her, you see the grate she moved carefully over. Glancing down through the grate as you pass, you see an airlock.

    You see the airlock. This is where you died, Mark.

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I freeze in place. I look through the grate, and keep looking.
    I think about those moments of panic. A jumble of images. Shocked faces on the other side of grainy glass. A siren, persistent and distant. A rush of air. Silence.

    I take long, deep breaths. I think about the stuff people said when I got back. That I had died. Got cloned. Those drokking lies. They made me furious. What did those idiots think they were saying? The doctors got to me in time. I was alive. I am the same person. I. Am. Alive.

    Swallowing hard, I move on, following Nadja.
    "How much further?" I call out. "I need to..."

    I need her. And what do I mean by that?
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja looks over her shoulder back at you. It's dim in here, just ambient light leaking through the grates. She senses the tension in your voice, but she doesn't seem to understand it.

    What's the worst thing that could happen right now? Why don't you Hold Steady to make it out of here.
  • Probably the worst thing is that I might feel an ineffable compulsion to kick the grate through and revisit the scene.

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 4, 2. Total: 7)


  • image

    Mark,

    You push on the grate and see it fall down to the deck before even thinking about it. Only the sound of it landing, the metallic sound of the grate sets off a panic in your head. Nadja hisses a warning. She is about to freak out, she might up and leave, and then you're probably sunk.

    Somewhere in these vents, you could probably reach the adult's sectors.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I could get to the adult decks. I think I might even know the way, from here. No idea what I'd do once I got there, though. Maybe I could stay out of sight, or pass for someone who was supposed to be there. Maybe.

    I catch up to Nadja.
    "I've been here before. Are you sure this is the way to Eight?"
  • image Nadja stops at a junction that heads up, left and forward, and sits up to look back at you. "Will you be too angry if I say I'm not sure anymore?" She frowns a little, then looks left, "They sealed off the old pass, so I tried to work around it. Now, I'm pretty sure I can backtrack. But, I'm not sure where Eight is anymore."

    What do you do?
  • image
    It's tempting to press on. See where we come out. But no.

    I know the way now. I can come back here, alone, another time.

    I make my way up to the junction and sit up next to Nadja. I reach over and take her hand, our fingers interleaved. I'm not angry.

    "I think we'd better be getting back. We need to be there when lockdown ends. I can't go to iso."
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja gives a curt nod, looking a little embarrassed at getting lost. Since you know the way back, let's assume you turn and she follows you back. It's cold here, and any body heat you build up with effort is cooled down by the air and the chilly metal.

    Mark, I think you're trying to Run Away here, to try and get back before trouble comes for you both. Why don't you roll that and we'll see how things pan out for you both?
  • Run Away

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 5. Total: 8)

  • On a 7-9 Choose 1:
    - You run into something worse
  • image

    Mark,

    You pick your way back towards pod, crawling ahead of Nadja, the long spaces between grates leaving you in inky black shadow. As you come around the third "last L turn" (some back-tracking on your backtracking), you see at the end of the duct is a hovering drone. You've heard these were manufactured to take care of duct rats and were equipped with small lasers and tracking equipment. It starts moving towards you. Nadja's behind you, Mark.

    You can either try to crawl over her or suck it up and try to go towards the drone. Maybe it only hunts rats?

    What do you do?
  • image
    I keep going. It's only a drone.
    And I'm not a rat.
  • image

    Mark,

    You crawl ahead, and the drone comes down the shaft towards you. You hear it's little humming thrusters and hear the camera moving to and fro to sense for objects. It keeps moving towards you, Mark, not fast, but it takes up some room. You'll need to either lay flat or try and knock it down as it gets closer.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I hiss a warning to Nadja and lie flat. With my head turned and pressed against the metal of the vent, I can feel the thrum of some distant motor.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja follows your direction and flattens down. The drone moves closer, closer, the camera whirring as it passes over you. It ignores you, Mark, continues over your body. It moves farther past, then gives off an alarm as it nears Nadja. She yelps in pain as the shaft lights up in a quick red flash.

    It shot her, Mark. She starts quickly crawling backwards, trying to get away from the drone, screaming in fear.

    What do you do?
  • image
    Stomm. Time to do something. Anything.
    I flip over and scoot back, crab-walking, until I get my legs underneath the drone so I can grab it with my hands.
    I reach out and grab it and flip it to one side, and smash it against the wall of the vent.

    My arms are tools, levers to apply force with. As I try to get a stronger grip on the drone, to force its camera against the wall, I feel distant.
  • image

    Mark,

    Let's see you Lash Out, Mark.
  • Lash Out

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 6. Total: 9)
  • image

    Mark,

    Grabbing the drone, you smash it against the wall of the air vent shaft. It was built to be light, and it doesn't react until after you've slammed it. The camera pops off in your hand, and after a few tense moments, you're able to rip the battery from the undercarriage and it drops, inert.

    Nadja's crawling away still, she hasn't realized the drone's destroyed.

    She's there, Mark. Crawling all this way to get some alone time and here you are, alone. Sure, it's a tight fit, but you're alone, you can make it work. Not like you'll get another chance.

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I close the distance to Nadja in an instant, full of adrenaline after destroying that machine, and nearly get a boot to the face for my trouble. She's still squirming away, frantic. I grab hold of her by one calf, put another hand up to her waist, half pulling her to a halt, half clambering along her body.

    We're face to face now. Pushed together in the near dark. I lie down on my side so that I can free both hands. I put my left hand up to brush away her hair, clasp one side of her neck and pull her closer. I press my cheek to hers, my lips against her ear to whisper, low and urgent. "It's okay. It's okay. I fixed it." Brain and body awash: with aggression, elation, lust, fear. "Nothing's going to hurt you now."

    The back of her jaw, that angle of bone, against the palm of my hand. Skin and bone, skin and bone. "I'm here."My right hand traces the curve of Nadja's thigh as I feel the flutter of her heart against my chest. "I'm here, and I need you. And I won't let anything take you from me."
  • image You have to take firm hold of her before Nadja stops screaming. You smell a hint of burnt flesh, but it's too dim to see where she was hit. She's panting, sweaty from sudden panic. It takes several caresses before she calms down enough to answer, "I'm..." her voice squeaks a little, she's completely undone. "I'm all you need."

    She'll join you in this cramped, sweaty lovemaking. What's the most memorable moment of this coupling, Mark? What will you keep thinking back on?
  • image

    That distant pulsing vibration from the ship's core. It passes through us, braced against the angles of cold walls. It feels like we're part of the machine. Clutched tight in the dark; sightless creatures of need.
  • image

    Mark,

    Ending scene here, but keeping thread open for new scene dealing with the return to your dorms.

    After a few moments of rest, Nadja murmurs that she's cold and hungry. She affectionately kisses your cheek, then slides back into the pants she'd removed. You orient yourself a bit in the shafts and begin crawling again.

    Doing anything with that drone before you go?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    Well, let's see now. The drone's camera is smashed to drokk, but I can see the sensor module just inside the hole the camera's dangling out of. That might come in handy for... I dunno, something. I reach in and pry up the little block with two fingers, then shake it out into my palm. It's too dark to see for sure but the external pins feel like they're still in all the right places.

    Not much I can do about the wreckage of the drone. If we're lucky they'll blame really ferocious rats.

    I put the sensor module in my pocket and crawl after Nadja.

  • edited April 2016
    image
    As I crawl along I start to get that familiar hot itch on the left side of my jaw. Like there's a little bug in there, twitching around. And I can't stop now to scratch at it.

    You're a bad boy, Mark. What would happen if people found out? Here it comes again, the voice.

    Something different this time. It brings back memories. Coming out of an anaesthetic haze. Blurs of light and dark. And a voice. Telling me things.

    Where are you, Mark? You're not supposed to go off-camera. That makes me stop dead. Why would the voice not know where I was...

    There's a long pause. I can hear Nadja's boots clanking ahead in the darkness.

    Oh dear. You didn't think I was just a voice in your head, did you?

    I get a horrible, sick, lurching feeling in the pit of my stomach.
    I notice for the first time the telltale swoop in tone of a vocal filter.

    I'll take that as a yes.



    -----------
    Mark gains 1xp from Satiety, and cashes in 5xp for Soul Debt, with the bargains "Uncanny Voices" and "Strings Attached" - held with The Connoisseur
  • image

    Mark,

    You end up backtracking to the Ready Room in your pod. At a junction, Nadja let you get in front, she got mixed up again. Seems a little woozy. When you get to the grate and look down into the room to see if it's clear, you look through to see Pax in the room, by herself. She's sitting at a chair with her back to the grate, which is about two and a half meters up. You can see her working on one of the terminals, not her Navi, and she has a number of interfaces running.

    What do you do?
  • image
    Interesting. Interesting. My mouth twists up in an involuntary smirk. This looks like the kind of thing that could be... a lever to push on.
    I motion for Nadja to stop, and when she doesn't I put a firm hand on her shoulder. Let's stay quiet and see what Pax is up to.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja pauses once you touch her. She's eager to get out of this shaft, to be able to stand up, to get warm. But curiosity wins her to your side.

    As you watch, Pax flips through several menus on her Navi, diving into some restricted areas, searching for something. She's quite good at this, and she moves very fast, like, too fast.

    What have you heard about cybernetics on the ship, Mark?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I haven't heard a thing about cybernetics. Don't know why. It's like a conspicuous gap in our curriculum. Like, sometimes you see links pointing out from your textbook to something about it, but they never go anywhere. You can figure out the basic principles, machine augmentation, from the way those links are worded. The silhouette of the subject is there even if the details aren't.

    An instinct in the back of my mind tells me to wait, watch for something secret to use later. I move across so that Nadja can get closer to the grate and see better. I kiss her, softly, then go back to watching Pax's subterfug8e.

    I lean over and whisper in Nadja's ear. "By the way, did you know that your roomie has a crush on you?"
  • image

    Mark,

    Watching Pax dig into the systems on the ship like this, Mark, it's like Gazing into the Abyss.

    Nadja stiffens for a second when you mention Ashlee has a crush on her. She shifts against you, her left hand moving to your side. She doesn't move much, too easy to make a noise in here, but that definitely got her interest.
  • Gaze into the Abyss
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 3, 3. Total: 5)

    (+1 xp)
  • image

    Mark,

    You see Pax pull a small wire out of the side of the terminal, and she starts to move it up to...

    That's when the red lights flash in the room, and a klaxon sounds. It's an all-alert. Corporals are being alerted and probably receiving comm traffic.

    "It's Tabitha. She's drokked it now." You hear that voice in your head. "You better get back to your room and look innocent real hard, Mark."

    Below you, Pax packs up her stuff and slips out of the room, moving as fast as she can.

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I back up a little and kick the grate out. Then I turn and go out of the hole feet first. I hang from the lip of it, dangling in the air for a moment, to make the drop shorter, then let go.

    I pivot the table so that it's under where the grate was and stand on it to help Nadja down.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja eases herself out, and in the light, you can see that she's filthy with grease from the evening's activities, and there's a burn mark on her side from that drone. You help her down and she helps you push the table back to its normal position.

    Are you headed back to your room?
  • image
    Yeah, we'd better be getting back. We'll have to take a look at that burn later.

    I take Nadja's hand before we open the door to the corridor.
    "Look surprised," I say.

    I open the door and we step out smoothly and I let go of her hand. The corridor looks like Pandemonium, all red and dancing shadows. I can hear shouts and running feet.

    On the outside I look focused or concerned or something, walking briskly. On the inside I'm loving the atmosphere of mayhem.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja nods and squeezes your hand before she follows you out of the Ready Room. I'd like to see you Hold Steady to see how you and Nadja sneak back without notice.
  • Hold Steady
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 1. Total: 3)
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja follows your lead and you walk quickly around the corner near the classroom and swing up to head to your rooms. You pass by Mi Sun, who looks like she's about to cry, and Ashlee, who sees you and Nadja both, seems to notice that you're filthy, from her expression. Nadja gives her a smirk and ducks into her room.

    Mi Sun looks up at you, she wants to talk to you, probably. And there's Ashlee, who has to know you guys sneaked out.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I stop next to Ashlee.
    "Hi. Who set off the alarms?"

    I don't really need to talk to either of them in person right now, when a Navi message would do. But, you know, curiosity.
  • image
    I have to pull my eyes away from Mi Sun. And yeah, Nadja is a mess and I can guess why... but where the hell did they go to Drokk? Wait wait... who cares...

    "I uh..." I look at Mi Sun again, I want to say a thousand things but I can't... not with Mark here, and it's just.... not something that's easy to talk about, "I thought you did..."

    Mark is a little closer than comfortable, I take a step back until I bump into the wall. I tilt my head to the side and look at Mark's obviously greasy clothes and his disheveled appearance.

    "Well it wasn't me."
  • image

    Ashlee and Mark,

    Mi Sun looks at you, Mark, then Nadja, shakes her head with what looks like disgust, then heads back into her room and shuts the door.
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I watch Mi Sun go, with like a theatrical expression of attention. And I look back at Ashlee after the door closes and raise my eyebrows.

    I give Ashlee what I think is an encouraging smile and duck into my room.
  • image
    But... I wanted...

    Suddenly I'm alone in the hall again, left with that 'encouraging' smile Mark gave me. Does he really have no clue?

    I sigh a loud, exasperated sigh, hoping to catch Team Power at practice.
  • image

    Ashlee and Mark,

    End scene

Sign In or Register to comment.