Aug 13, 2020 8:33 PM
Azure portalsnaked into Vicissitude
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Azure is standing in one of the teleport rooms, waiting as the last of the three large pallets are loaded onto the sending pad.  Once it's in place, they step into the empty corner along with the single waiting passenger and her elekid daemon.  The nearby monitor reports that the receiving pad on Citadel of Spring has already been cleared of obstacles.  Tapping the terminal to start the countdown, Florentho begins activating Teleport.  The pallets and the two humans and their daemons all faintly begin to glow as the Move is prepared.  After a quick falling sensation, they appear in a similar but slightly different room.

A room which is in complete panic.  Instinctively, they jump off of the teleport platform, Florentho trying to find the source of the problem.  

Some kind of snake-like thing slithers into view, knocking over one of the pallets.  At the front, where most daemons would have a face, it instead has a large mirror.  It isn't something they've ever seen before, and they can't spot its human. 

It lunges deceptively fast.  Florentho readies himself into a fighting stance to defend his slower and more fragile human half behind him.  When the mirror-thing strikes, Florentho passes right through the mirror as if it were a doorway, and Azure follows an instant later.  

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Their landing is perhaps not the softest, although it's cushioned somewhat by the wildflowers and grass of the meadow they find themself in, stretching into the distance, with overgrown hedgerows visible. It's quiet, in a way, the wind gently blowing, and the calls of birds from distant trees, and the humming of insects.

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They are very confused as they stand up and look around.  

The visual itself isn't too unusual from the VR recreations of the dead world.  That it comes complete with touch and smell is different.  He also doesn't know what the sounds are, as his only experience with humming noises are the ever-present processes keeping the ships running.  

Out of habit, he checks his phone.  No signal to the fleet.

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There's no obvious evidence of other humans, the entire landscape, despite the animals and the other wildlife, seems...empty somehow? Almost dead.

...Is that a cottage over there? Maybe, hidden in amongst trees.

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The animals and other wildlife are quite interesting to the new arrival.  He knows what pokemon are, even though they've been extinct since before the ships left the dead world.  These tiny creatures are much smaller, and not familiar.  He watches for a moment, moving around the smaller flowers of this world.  Maybe everything here is small?  It makes him hesitant to move and crush anything, though if anything hiding in the grass were sapient Florentho's ability to sense nearby emotions should warn them before they step on any.  It doesn't detect anything from insects.

He slowly starts walking towards the cottage.

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From a distance, the cottage looks normal, but as they near it, it's broken down and ramshackle appearance becomes apparent - the roof is still mostly intact, but the doors and windows are broken beyond repair. There are signs that someone - or something - was recently making a home here, and there's birds nesting in the eaves, chirruping to each other, somehow muted. Although they probably don't have enough of a frame of reference to realise that the birds are a little quieter than they perhaps should be.

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He steps closer to peer through a window.  Is there anything interesting inside?  

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Not particularly. There's some furniture that's slowly decaying, some of which has definitely been broken down to be used as firewood. A stack of mouldering paper books next to what was once a bookcase. There's other doorways that can be seen - perhaps there's something more interesting in one of the other rooms?

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They make their way to the door and step inside.  He wouldn't trust the roof for anything long-term, but the next five minutes are unlikely to be the five minutes that the roof finally gives in if its lasted so far.  

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Inside smells...musty, and like the forest around it - broken windows will do that to a place.

There's a staircase to the left of them - although the wood might not hold his weight with the decay that's set in - and two doors - one into the room they were peering into from the window, and one into what looks like a toilet, tucked partially underneath the stairs.

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"It feels strange that a building would just be left to rot like this," Florentho says.

Azure hums agreement.  "I guess if they have so much space around, it doesn't matter if some of it isn't used?"  Even with a logical answer, it still feels wrong.

Florentho is much more durable than a human, and can teleport back to the entrance if he gets stuck.  He glances outside and memorizes the terrain, just in case, then cautiously tries the staircase. 

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It makes some concerning noises, but holds - at the edges at least, the centre of the stairs seem a little less sturdy.

The hallway the stairs lead onto has three doors - two bedrooms and a bathroom by the looks of things. And also...

Is that a hole in the wall? It doesn't look natural. It looks like something busted through it.

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There are quite a few Moves that can break through walls, if not done in a special arena or reinforced as thick as a ship's hull.  Hyper Beam?  Or a few Tackles, even, if the wall isn't too thick.

If there's anything noteworthy, he'll stay up and investigate.  Otherwise, they might as well move on.  

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It looks like one of the bedrooms had a map painted onto the wall at some point? And there's piles of what...might be map booklets on the desk beneath. That said, given how open to the elements the place is, they might not be any use any more.

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He hesitantly nudges at the booklets with his blades, not wanting to get his hands dirty.  Even assuming the pages aren't too stuck together to open, they won't do any good - they've only ever used the digital maps of the ship, and wouldn't be able to tell distances.  

He'll return downstairs and leave the old house alone.  Perhaps there will be a road or path of some kind, assuming the person who lived here didn't Fly everywhere.  

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Well, there's an overgrown path leading around the cottage - a little deeper into the forest, but also towards what looks like it might be a more open area? Perhaps a road?

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It's that or any other direction at random.  They might as well try the path.

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And they will, indeed, come to a road! There's only really one direction to go in - apparently this road ends at the house, and to the left there's what appears to be parking area (...with a car that looks like it's been torn apart?), and to the right the road itself leads off through the forest, overgrown and a little obscured.

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He ignores the car and starts walking.  

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The road goes on for quite a ways, winding through the forest, until it reaches a set of gate posts - slightly tumbled down, but the gates appear to have been long long gone. Beyond it there's a tarmac road, fallen into disrepair, with grass starting to grow through it.

-and a footprint? Except no human could have made something of that size.

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It would be strange if every creature on the planet were the smaller-than-flabebe insects and the roughly pidgey-sized birds.  It isn't obvious by looking at a footprint if it belonged to a daemon or a wild creature.  Either way, it hasn't occurred to him that it's a thing to be alarmed by.  

Hanging around a broken gate doesn't seem any better than hanging around an abandoned cottage, so they might as well keep going.  Even in bad repair, the road is better than dirt.  Fleet shoes aren't made for anything other than flat smooth tile surfaces.

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While the tarmac road is smoother, it regrettably is not entirely smooth, nor flat. It will be an increasingly exhausting hike - the road undulates, following the terrain rather than cutting through it.

There continues to be no sign of anything resembling an actual human. Although they will encounter more houses - in varying states of repair.

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That's strange.  A single house falling to ruin would be one thing, but all of them?  They'll check any that look like they might still have something inside.  Before each one Florentho takes a moment to memorize the safest-looking clear spot on the road as a safety precaution.  Teleporting anywhere that wasn't an officially-marked teleportation pad was dangerous, as had been thoroughly drilled into him while he was getting his teleport license, but with a complete lack of proper teleportation pads they were going to need somewhere to retreat to if necessary.  (Florentho does try to send them back to the fleet, but it predictably fails.  There's a limit of about a hundred miles and they're well past it here.)

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The houses are...mostly missing things someone might grab if they had to leave in a hurry, and didn't expect to be able to come back? There's still some things to find though - apparently not everyone thought to take all the canned food in their house, or forgot one in their hurry to leave, and some of the houses where the windows are in better repair some of the books will have survived without becoming mildewy. There's also the remains of technology - the computers and such like are probably somewhat less advanced than Azure and Florentho are used to.

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He doesn't know much about the shelf life of canned food or about finding food in the wilderness.  Florentho is stronger and has far more endurance than his human, so he'll grab a few cans that look un-damaged to carry.  Azure doesn't intend to eat them today, in the hopes that he'll come across some humans instead, but he might as well have the option.  

Do any of the books seem useful?  

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That would rather depend on what he counts as 'useful' - some of them are fiction books, but there's a number of non-fiction books as well, a few encylopedias, and in one house a series of science textbooks.

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