Marin intends to enter the bridge. It's a procedure she's implemented thousands of times before; leaving Nymet requires using the bridge, and Marin Pathfinder of Nymet could not have survived cooped up in a single innangarð for her entire life. It's not an exaggeration to say that she has spent more of her life in the bridges than in any innangarð. She knows how to operate them: entry, traversal, and exit. It should take a moment's thought to conclude her journey. Instead, as her staff strikes the earth, the bridge opens...somewhere else. She's standing on a bridge- an ordinary bridge, one made from materials and not the raw power of the gods- in an unfamiliar innangarð, with no sign of the bridge she just exited behind her.
"That's- interesting. It fits the pattern of the statue replaying my memories. You've never run into that phenomenon before when working with Nomai technology?"
"No, as I said, most Nomai technology has been dormant. The only active technologies we've encountered were the grav crystals and grav plating. Even the warp cores were taken from a workshop and powered separately."
"We should wait to expose anyone else to the statue. It seemed to have gone dormant again immediately, but our understanding of this technology is too limited to gamble on it. I should have asked if someone could check my state of degradation earlier, but if there are any healers here who could take a look, I would appreciate the consultation."
"What do you mean by state of degradation?"
"I suppose you might not have the same terminology we do, if you don't have the same relationship with the utgard. Do you have any techniques for measuring the extent to which people have been degraded by exposure to raw chaos, perceptual illusions, and involuntary shape-shifting?"
"I don't think we have raw chaos or shapeshifting around here. I'm not sure what you mean by perceptual illusions. The only illusions I know of are optical illusions and those are harmless as far as I'm aware."
"Those sound the same, if much less dangerous. I wonder if there's some underlying similarity that we could identify if we studied it. It sounds as though your world has fewer dangers on the planet itself. That could explain your population numbers- as far as we've been able to tell, humans in my world developed most of our traits through a process of natural selection."
"As far as we understand it we evolved the same way. Our ancestors had a lot of difficulty finding enough food, we've since solved that problem through agriculture and cooking techniques."
"I'd be interested to learn more about your study of evolution, but it's not urgent. Let me know if you find anything out about the station."
Marin goes to ask around in case she can contribute usefully to what anyone is working on.
Tektite is looking for company. "I'm gonna go check out the plume of smoke over yonder. If you're looking for something to do I wouldn't mind help."
"I'd be happy to accompany you."
She does; there's not much she can do at this distance without something specific to track, and working with limited magic, so she holds off on casting anything until they've gotten closer.
When they arrive it appears that something has crashed in one of the craters. "I dunno what that is, exactly. Looks like some kind of plant seed, but it’s not anything I’ve seen on Timber Hearth before — and trust me, I was quite the explorer back in the day. D’you think it’s extraterrestrial? It kinda looks like something that might’ve come off of Dark Bramble."
That doesn't sound ideal. Marin can control plant growth to a limited extent, and she can manipulate terrain...she has limited means with which to identify what this is, though.
"If it's from Dark Bramble, we should slow it down."
She begins casting something to delay plant growth.
"I reckon that's a good idea if you have a way to do it."
So she slams her staff on the ground, says a few words, and slows down plant growth within a certain radius of this suspicious extraterrestrial object.
"I wonder what's inside it. I reckon we'll need a little scout to check. It would be a tight squeeze getting through there and those thorns look nasty."
"Do you have technology that can do that? In our world, there are people who could send small creatures or magic to scout for them, but I'm not one of them. If there were anyone small enough, I could give them protection from the thorns, but there could be other, unknown dangers."
"Oh yeah, just need to haul the launcher over. It's a bit to heavy to carry myself though."
Marin might also notice that the sun is red and larger than it previously was.
She barely understands how her own sun works, let alone this foreign luminary.
"Is that normal?" Marin points out the change.
"It definitely isn't we should probably head back and make sure Hornfels knows."
Inside it is. She runs, while checking to make sure Tektite is keeping up.
Tektite cannot in fact keep up given he has a prosthetic foot. He motions for her to go on ahead. Her run takes her just outside of the observatory when for a moment the sky goes completely and utterly dark and then there's a rushing noise with flecks of blue coming just over the horizon. And then a massive wave of blue energy follows after it. Finally there is white.
And then she can't feel her body and she sees something that looks like a strange mask. Her perspective moves into the top hole in the mask and she feels her last 22 minutes of memory replaying surrounded by glowing purple tendrils. And finally, she's back exactly where she was 22 minutes ago. On her way to the observatory to talk with Hornfels.
Well. This doesn't say anything promising about her mental state, but it would be an odd drop-off from the statue incident.
Marin will see if Syl rushes past her, and this time, she'll call out: "Syl! What happened?"
"The station in orbit of Giant's Deep activated and broke apart. I want to get the launch codes so I can get there right away in case its orbit decays."