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Apr 16, 2021 7:04 AM
Riley goes adventuring
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Riley contemplated the rather sparse file for her first field assignment.

Unexplored World 7bf728159fd95000.

Local name: Remnant

Population: 50,124,344

Warnings:

Remote observation suggests high rate of sudden death. Probable cause is violence of some kind.

Unidentified magical effects are present.

Priority objectives:

Determine cause of high death rate.

Analyze local magic.

Assess risk level.

Secondary Objectives:

Standard precepts

Open diplomatic relations

 

She took a deep breath and rechecked her equipment, four dodecs, her mage staff, a tent, two changes of clothes, an auxiliary generator, and an auxiliary processing core.

"This is what I wanted, a chance to discover something completely new. No more incremental work." She shook her head. "Didn't really plan on needing to fight though... I kinda neglected those classes."

She steeled herself, ran one last internal diagnostic, uploaded one last incremental backup, and activated the transposer.

And then she was somewhere else.

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Somewhere cold, and dark, and beautiful. 

She's in a city, of sorts, the streets narrow, slick, and sooty. Industrial-era, perhaps, judging by the electric street lights and the smoke rising from many chimneys. 

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But something is definitely out of the ordinary. An enormous shape floats overhead, tethered to the ground with what look to be massive cables. Its shadow falls on the streets, looming. the shattered moon barely visible behind its many shining spires, each wreathed in rings of light. 

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A floating city. The local magic must be something impressive if that's possible. She starts with a quick check for EM transmissions, are they using radio or something similar?

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Yep, that's a lot of radio chatter. There are two main signal clusters, one corresponding to high-frequency short-range ground transmissions and another to lower-frequency transmissions consistent with a global relay network. The former is fairly busy, but the latter much less so. 

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That's convenient, she'll start archiving signal logs. Are the transmissions encrypted?

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Most are. Only a few of the short-range batch lack encryption. 

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Well, best not to stand around with a vacant expression, she sets a background process to try to decipher the encryption but she doesn't expect results unless there's a vulnerability. She starts walking towards the cables, or whatever they are. With part of her attention she starts listening to the unencrypted signals, what sorts of things are being transmitted?

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"Party to Scrapper, how's the rig holding up? You need assistance? Over." 

"Negative, Party, she's limped along to Crowbar's for a lookover. Think it's the transmission again. It'll be a late delivery but eh, whatcha gonna do? 'preciate the offer. Over." 

 

...

 

"THIS IS SO COOL!!!"

"Nooo, Fuschia, you're doing it all wrong, you gotta be quiet and use the codenames!"

"You didn't!"

"Did too!" 

 

...

 

"This is DJ Rainbow with the very latest underground hits! This next song's a special request, so stay tuned for "Sky High Sighs" by the Raspberry Beats!" 

 

...

 

And a great deal more of similar. 

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Nothing urgent, she'll record it all just in case but for the moment she'll turn her attention to the people and sights around her. For the moment, she'll hold off on active scans.

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Plenty of sights; not many people. It's the middle of the night, after all. A strolling couple giggles drunkenly past. A group of figures clad in ragged coats huddle shivering around a burning bin. 

A black metal humanoid shape with glowing red marks, carrying a gun, turns from a side street onto Riley's. It's heading the same direction she is, and she's a block or two behind it. 

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She makes a note of the unhoused people and where they are. Maybe she can find a way to help them once she knows more about this place. She really wants to do an active scan on the robot but restrains herself. It's more likely to notice a scan than the people are in all likelihood and more likely to attack her too.

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The cables from the floating city lead down towards the center of the non-floating one; eventually Riley gets close enough to see that it's a walled-off area patrolled by more robots - and one bored-looking blond woman. The woman is dressed warmly, but maybe not warmly enough for this weather, and carrying a bird-shaped crossbow, of all things. She's alert enough to notice Riley's approach, and is watching from the moment the wall enters Riley's view. 

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Well, here goes nothing. "Hello there."

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"PLEASE STAND BACK, CITIZEN -" 

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"Oh, shut up, you humorless hunk of metal. If she's a threat, I'll handle it." She sounds almost hopeful. 

"Hello yourself. Please tell me you have something to talk about that isn't guard duty. Or at least are trying to plant a bomb or something." She's attentive, but her eyes continue to rove the surroundings, alert for any hidden threat. 

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"Are there often people trying to plant bombs? I'm new to the area."

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"Not often enough." She pauses. "I shouldn't joke about that. It's not super common but it's been known to happen. Hence the guards. Honestly there'd be guards even if nobody ever tried to plant bombs, it's a good precaution. Where do you hail from, if not Mantle?" 

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"I'm from a settlement called Crescent. I don't think most people know of it."

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"Nope, never heard of it. Is it part of Atlas?" 

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"It isn't. I travelled quite some distance to get here."

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This elicits a slight frown, and a wary alertness. "From where, exactly, and for what purpose? What continent is Crescent on?" The war was over seventy years ago, but some grudges last for generations. 

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Maybe she should have lied but in for a penny in for a pound. "I'm something of an explorer. And I'm not from Remnant at all."

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"...Okay, this is not at all what I was expecting, but at least tonight is no longer boring. How are you not from Remnant, and if not, then where are you from?" 

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"Crescent is a space station in a solar system we call Ikoria which itself is in a world distinct from this one. As for how I got here, I used a piece of equipment we call a transposer to make the trip."

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This is officially above her pay grade. 

She doesn't care. She wants in. And nobody else can just check, can they - 

She approaches Riley and extends a hand.

"Take my hand and repeat that, please." 

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