The City in Shadow - II
The City in Shadow – 2
Judson, Harrylock, Galadiir and Sonny have travelled south to the edge of the Cold Desert in search of some stolen Rukomol. They are exploring a ruined city that is in the shadow of a gigantic floating pyramid.
Searching the top of the tower, they found a small pedestal holding a metal globe. It was quite light, made of metal and had lots of tiny holes all over it. Sonny set to examining it whilst Judson looked up at the base of the pyramid forty feet above them. There was no obvious way inside to be seen in the black surface. He took a glowglobe from his pack and used the crystal to float up to the base of the pyramid. He hovered for a moment; he saw a large protruding hemisphere surrounded by six smaller hemispherical depressions. As the power of the crystal faded he slowly floated back down.
“We don’t know how much power this thing’s got. We need to make another way down”.
They had plenty of rope from the packs they had found; they tied it round the pedestal and let it fall to the ground. Galadiir produced the drawing they had found on the bodies.
“I think this thing is the key”, said Sonny. He found a small twist-off cap, inside was a cavity with metal wires and contacts. Sonny reached in and used his Charge esotery; the ball sprouted six spindly legs, skittered around for a short time, then switched off. After some debate*, Sonny wired Judson’s portable heating device into it. They used the crystal to get up to the pyramid; Judson switched on the ball. It extruded six legs that fitted into the six depressions; the hemisphere rotated to reveal a tunnel. They entered; Galadiir used a glowglobe to signal to Sonny where to Bolt Ride to, carrying the crystal.
The hemisphere rotated them into a large room, at least fifty feet on each side. The room was full of pieces of equipment; control surfaces filled the floor and walls. There were exits in each wall; all but one was sealed. Most disturbingly, from the ceiling hung many metal tendrils or tentacles; often tipped with grasping claws. Several of these were waving and questing around blindly. Climbing out of the cylinder, Galadiir headed for the open exit.
“That’s far enough,” commanded a voice. “This is ours and we’ll have no thieves. Go back to where you came.”
Galadiir ignored the command and continued towards the exit. A bolt of white light came out of the shadows and hit him full on, knocking him backwards into a clump of tentacles that tried to grab him.
“That was a warning. Go back to where you came from. This is our stuff.”
Judson drew his verred and ran at the speaker; a balding man briefly illuminated in the light of his own energy bursts. A bolt of white light hit him; stopping him in in his tracks. Harrylock fired off his X-bow and Sonny drew and fired his buzzer; both shots missed. Judson loosed off an arrow that hit the speaker.
“Cheale, Derroch, take them. They will not steal our things”
Two others stepped forward; a man with a glowing energy blade and a woman with a long writhing whip of coiled metal. Galadiir used his Ice Onslaught, it missed and several of the metal tentacles grabbed him.
“Wait!” yelled Harrylock. “We are not here to fight or hurt you.” ** “We just want to recover the Rukomol. Then we’ll go and leave you alone.” ***
“Rukomol? You mean these things? Take them and go – they are no use to us.”
The next chamber had several control panels and a large floor to ceiling cylinder filled with a luminous blue mist. Also in the chamber were several unhappy Rukomol, one was missing a leg.
“We sent the Collector out to get some items to get through the doors. It came back with these things.”
An examination of the panels showed that the mist was a collection device; it could be set to collect technological or mechanical devices. It could also be set to return them; Sonny figured out how to do this. The mist flowed out of the cylinder, engulfed the room; and then vanished. So did the Rukomol and Harrylock.
“He’s been vaporised!”
“No, I don’t think so. Remember, he’s part mechanical as well.”
Despite Galadiir wanting to stir up trouble ****, Sonny and Judson persuaded him to leave the pyramid and return to Codun.
“Go, and don’t come back.”
They used the crystal to descend down to the tower and then climbed down the rope to the courtyard. Judson retraced the route back out of the city and they headed back to Codun. There they found the Rukomol safely back in their stables and Harrylock sitting in the tavern waiting for them.
Uolis was true to his word and purchased a house for them on the edge of the town. *****
XP = 2
* Galadiir point-blank refused to put his Singularity Detonation cypher in it – to be fair; it’s difficult to see how it would have made it work; a bit like connecting a nuclear device to your central heating to get some hot water for a bath.
** “I am” – Galadiir
*** Unusual for Harrylock to string this many words together.
***** “Can we have a tree in the garden?” – Judson. “Certainly. Normal or flesh-eating?”