Flambois Academy has a library, of course it does, it’s an Academy. However it doesn’t have quite what the new girl is after, so she’s off to New Babbage Repository For Medical Arts and Science to try and find what she needs. Maybe some extra credit will offset all the trouble she’s been getting into since she arrived.
It is said that on All Hallows Eve the barrier between the realms of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Who’s to say that other such barriers become thin, perhaps between the realms of Angels and Demons?
Maybe the Angels go and play in Hell, or the Demons in Heaven? Do younger Angels dare each other to go take a selfie in Hell without getting caught? They’d need to dress the part so they don’t stand out. They also have to dim their natural aura so they don’t light the whole place up, which was a skill difficult to master for some.
The Demons really don’t like this game the Angels play, but there’s not much they can do about it. The touch or any physical contact of an Angel will turn most demons to dust like a vampire in the midday sun, even just their aura is painful. All a demon can hope to do is chase them away, or have human slaves attempt to capture and drag them to a crossing point. They did try an assortment of projectile weapons against the Angels, but generally this turned out to be pretty futile.
So while the Angels play their games, the Demons just go torment the Living instead.
The SL Living Expo in aid of the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life has been open a couple of days now and I’ve been playing with some of the fab stuff you can get there for your SL home. Anyone that’s taken a look at my blog will see I like a good story, so I’ve come up with one to go with the photos.
Standing in her living room of her Victorian town house Ava positions the book stand in the middle of the room, opposite the fireplace where she can see the portrait of her ancestor. The lady had apparently had some unusual talents that no-one would speak of, but up in the attic hidden under some boards the book had been found. Being somewhat tired of housework and curious, Ava had decided to have a read of the book and try out some of the incantations within.
The old lady had included a few pages of basic steps to get set up tucked in the front which she read. This was followed by several pages of cautionary advice that she skipped over like people do with a T’s & C’s page that you find everywhere these days. Flicking through the next few pages of the book, Ava’s eye is caught by the words “Love Spell” and stops to read this one in detail. Glancing up at the portrait on the fireplace, which now seems to be frowning, she begins following the rituals instructions.
The Dryad wakes slowly like a flowers petals opening. When her eyes open she suddenly becomes aware of the temperature. It’s too cold, it’s too dark, she shouldn’t be awake yet. Being bound to the cycle of nature and the Seasons, she shouldn’t awake until Spring when the first green shoots appear. Something is wrong, she must find out what’s going on. Sticking her head out of the entrance to her underground sanctuary, she looks around to see white everywhere.
She finds some boots to protect her feet, usually she’d be barefoot but dare not walk on the freezing snow, frost is as dangerous to her as it is to plants. As she walks through the Human settlement she sees green grass poking through the snow, this is what’s woken her but how?
There’s no sign of industry that she’d heard of further south that made the climate warmer, just the usual primitive wooden homes. She visits a few of the buildings to see if there was anything amiss but found nothing unusual.
They have ships in the harbour so perhaps they have brought something here, or learnt of something that’s causing the problem.
Then she glances up and sees the temple up on the mountain, perhaps that has the answers.
She wishes she’d brought a cloak as she begins the ascent, touching the trees on the way up for reassurance, they are still slumbering as she should be.
Inside the temple she finds evidence of rituals and sacrifice, but these are not the usual practices of worshiping nature and beings such as herself, as could be found at the stones further down the mountain.
These were darker works, the fools had evidently heard of crops being raised artificially out of season to the South and thought this was how it was done.
With her bow she knock everything off the Altar in anger at their foolishness. Picking up a collection of scrolls featuring illustrations similar to the altar goods she glances at them in surprise. These are old, so very old but she recognised them. The fae races had worked hard to destroy all copies of this arcane knowledge, in order to preserve the balance of nature. She knows what she must do.
Waiting at the doorway of the temple, to get some warmth from their fires, she is impatient until dawn. She was going to need all the help from nature she could get for what she had in mind. As the sun rises she takes a bud from the vines encirling her body and places it into a shallow hole she was able to make in the frozen earth with the end of her bow. Standing back she raises her arms and chants quietly calling on the dormant natural world around her.
Directing the energy into the barely buried bud she encourages it to grow and expand until the building is encased in leaves, the shoots running up between the stones of the building like roots through foundations of a house and pries them apart.
It takes time and a lot of effort but eventually the roots demolish the building entirely into rubble. The shoots recede and combine into a single living thing…a blossoming tree. They wanted out-of-season plants, this is what they shall get.
Exhausted and barely able to stand she returns to the forest to hibernate until Spring actually comes.
When I had been told by Camilla Runo the builder of Vargsangen that it had returned I was excited and just had to go explore! I thought I would wear something warm and furry like my previous post. But once I collect this New Year’s special skin from Fallen Gods that completely changed, a Dryad post was in order. I had earlier been out for a walk (in the odd world of Real Life) and I saw daffodils sprouting, which doesn’t usually happen for another couple of months and that gave me an idea, to which I added a fantasy twist.
The build is expected to close at the end of January 2022 so get over and check it out. Here’s a few extra snaps that didn’t fit into the story:
Following on from my previous post, Awakening bridging the RL time gap between Hellas Planitia closing and World of Helix (post coming soon!) opening to the public.
Ava awakes to a beeping sound, a priority message has been received and she’s been woken up. Groggily she taps the flashing envelope icon and reads with growing shock.
From AMZ Outreach Office:
I'm sorry to have to break this news to you, but based on the beacon of your capsule and the signal of drone 116s transponder, you're no longer near Mars. It would appear that at the time of this message transmission,you are headed for the planet Ithemba. You may even have arrived by the time you receive this.
We have contacted Helix Corp and informed them of the situation. Helix Corp representatives should not hinder you, provided they have received their correspondencece, but are under no obligation to assist you. Any assistance you get from them will depend on what you can negotiate in situ.
Given this turn of events we are sending a droid-piloted shuttle instead of the requested drone. This will contain a number of drones and related equipment and supplies that will allow you to operate localised services.
Ava reads the message a second then third time and sighs “Damnit” she mutters. At that moment she’s lurched to one side, she sees the crate above move slightly but doesn’t fall,. The ship was manoeuvring, apparently descending by the feel of things. It seems they have arrived.
Ava wakes in darkness. Reaching forward her hand hits the inside of the capsule and the control panel lights up in front of her. She activates the exterior cameras to see where she ended up..Wall, crate,slightly further away wall..and a purple detailed hover bike that can only belong to her friend Vic! She’s in the right ship at least. She mentally catalogs her gear of use. If Vic is on board, tools will be more useful than weapons to her so Ava snags the compact kit that’s standard issue in the capsule along with her weapons; 2 company-issue handguns with spare clips and a tazer, not fatal to a human but in Vics hands very Terminal to bots.
She presses the hatch release of the capsule, there’s a hiss of seals then a clunk and nothing happens. She looks straight up out the capsules window and sighs, the goons have stacked a heavy crate on top of her. Looks like she might need to call the office. She reluctantly activates the capsule emergency beacon then brings up the communications menu on the control panel and starts preparing her report for Head Office.
To AMZ Outreach Office Situation Report:The resident community in the Hellas Planitia crater have been rounded up by what appeared to be Helix Corp employees. To prevent abduction I secured myself in my NukeSafe capsule, which they appear to have loaded onto their ship, presumably unaware I was inside. Destination is unknown but likely another Mars location.I have attached the transponder for drone 116 to the transport ship, so AMZ will get the location of the new Helix Corp office, just in case my capsule is offloaded elsewhere. AMZ lawyers should contact Helix Corp make them aware they are illegally carryig one of our employees. Maybe also remind them that trying to force open my capsule could have fatal consequences for their employees.
Prepare a shiping drone containing the following items and send it on it's way towards Mars ASAP, exact destination co-ordinates to follow.
Drone Control terminal & Workstation Refresh pack for NukeSafe (power cells, all gas canisters) Signage pack for new location office Ammo packs for standard issue side arm Fill any remaining space with cigarettes in reseller packs (A rare commodity,last shipment presumed lost at Hellas crater)
Ava transmits the report and reactivates stasis mode, all too aware of the time it may take the message to arrive, depending on current location and rotation of plantets. Hopefully there’s an AMZ drone or company craft nearby that will relay the emergency beacon signal faster.
OOC Background: The Hellas Planitia RP location I’ve written about previously has closed and the players are moving to a new place. The new location is being created by former Owners of the Helix City Cyberpunk roleplay, so it’s kinda full circle for the crater residents. This post tells the beginning of Ava’s IC part in the relocation story.
Ava is sitting in her office below the landing pad when she hears the sound of engines of a craft approaching. She brings up the feed from the landing area cameras and sees a personnel transport ship with Helix Corp logos on. They’ve not sent anyone here for a long time, this cannot be good.
A squad of armed personnel for which the best description would be “grunts” emerge from the ship and make their way to the open gates. As they enter the town a second ship arrives, this one more like a prisoner transport that lands right outside the gates. Defiantly not a good thing. Looking around at what weapons she had to hand, tackling them all herself really wasn’t an option; she’s a courier, a weapons courier, but still just that. Thinking fast she goes to one of her shipping drones. She opens the maintenance hatch and removes its tracking transponder and attaches it to part of the landing gear of the prison transport ship, all the grunts are at the other side of the ship facing the towns entrance.
Gathering up her company issue weapons and a few other useful items, putting them in the Nuke-Safe survival capsule, she had been provided with all that time ago when she first came to Mars. Dragging the capsule outside to where it will be seen by the thugs, she climbs in and shuts the hatch, hoping the grunts will be greedy enough to load her capsule into the ship with any other plunder they may take.
She activates the small exterior cameras on the capsule to see what’s going on. Her view isn’t great from this position, but she can see the residents of the crater being herded by force into the transport ship. Will they load her capsule in with the prisoners as loot among other valuable tech some seem to have gone back for? One of them seems to have spotted her capsule so she closes the shutter to prevent them from seeing inside an turns off the exterior status displays. Finally she activates the stasis function, setting it to wake her silently in 72 hours.
Pre-opening post about the new Helix Corp location coming soon!
Following Ava’s fairly unfruitful visit to the Armoury and conversation with a potential first customer on the way, hopefully a meeting with the pilot mentioned will be productive.
[08:15:12] Ava wanders around the various parked up ships looking for the one she'd been told about
[08:16:02] Ava stops short as she sees someone sat in the shelter of a ship "Hello there"
[08:16:03] Szondi raises an eyebrow noticing the newcoming , but then concentrates again on her computer
[08:16:56] Szondi looks at the newcoming '' hello ''
[08:17:35] Ava steps a little closer "Hi, I'm looking for a pilot called Szondi, wouldn't happen to be you by an chance?"
[08:19:12] Szondi half nods '' so tell the legends...how may i help you ? ''
[08:21:40] Ava : My name is Ava, I work for AMZ, yo probably noticed the big yellow crate over there by now. I've been sent back to this dust pit to set up and negotiate shipping deals with whoever needs them.
[08:22:02] Szondi closes the computer and places it on ground , near the chair '' you can come closer i don't bite , yet ''
[08:23:09] Szondi : do you want i deliver your stuff?
[08:23:35] Ava steps closer, just under the canopy "I was talking to the chick in the Armoury she was pretty unhelpful, saying she had her own stuff worked out, bus suggested I come talk to you"
[08:24:21] Ava nods "Yes, I was thinking something like that yes, sub-contract as it were"
[08:24:55] Szondi frowns and meditates...'' legal stuff , i suppose....dont wanna troubles , you know ''
[08:27:26] Ava : I expect so yes, but AMZ does have a policy of not opening any packages we're asked to ship, best for all parties concerned. Which of course if *you* stick to that, it passes the buck to AMZ for the contents.
[08:28:37] Szondi : that AMZ covers responsabilities ? any sort of legal assurance ?
08:32:00] Ava : The rules are very..undefined..out here. AMZ uses that to it's advantage, adopting that policy and using our crates passes the responsibility to AMZ, yes. The parent company on Earth is too big to be messed with. Works for everyones advantage.
[08:33:21] Szondi : hmmmmm * nods and smiles for awhile , meditating * sounds interesting , yes....tell me more , please
[08:41:35] Ava : Well right now I'm trying to get a feel of who wants what shipped, AMZ were hoping to get contracts with thor and earthgov
[08:42:06] Ava : so far that's not lookng so promising
[08:42:45] Szondi : i don't wotk to Thor ...mainly , but before continuing there are some things you had to know...
[08:43:22] Ava nods "ok, lets hear it"
[08:44:16] Szondi stands up and makes a sign to Ava , indicating to follow '' ok , come aboard please
[08:45:20] Szondi : you can see this is not a freighter , i mainly transport passengers...
[08:46:24] Szondi : people who wants a fast , safe and discrete trip to their destination...with no questions...
[08:46:55] Szondi : i can carry only 2 tons of merchandise...
[08:49:37] Ava /me nods looking at the vessel "Well that's fine, I find it's often the smallest packages that pay the highest prices anyway. The limitation works in your favour too, scarcity raises prices"
[08:51:20] Szondi : maybe but not in Mars....a journey to Gagaringrad and back costs me 1500 C-bills , so i need to recover that amount and get some profit...
[08:57:57] Ava : I think we''d have to negotiate that on a load by load basis. 1 pound is not a lot for that price. We'd be talking likely very dubious contents. But as I said, you'r covered by AMZ for that.
[08:59:47] Szondi : i don't ask what boxes have in , just need a cover if gov officers inquire about...i'm not a smuggler...
[09:05:35] Ava : Well I'm not asking you to be a smuggler, AMZ is a legit shipping company. I'm not sure on exactly what loopholes AMZ have jumped through, but you don't have to worry about the officials. They can't open the boxes, that's the beauty of it. I can't, you can't. Only the sender and the intended final recipient with a biometric lock.
At which point the strange world that is RealLife required my attenion, so I look forward to continuing this story sometime soon.
On her way to find the pilot mentioned by the Armoury proprietor Ava comes across a potential customer outside the Thor Mining Corp offices.
[07:40:52] Cyka looks over to the woman in front of her appearing obviously grouchy as she nods briefly. "Hi... You wouldn't happen to have some smokes on you by chance...?"
[07:43:27] Ava shakes her head "No sorry, never picked up that habit. I'm Ava, a courier for AMZ, they've sent me to try and set up shipping deals with whoever wants or neds them."
[07:44:18] Cyka cocks her brow some and just sighs "Any chance you can procure cigs. or different kind of courier?" she asks obviously going through nicotine withdrawal if Ava had ever seen it before.
[07:47:34] Ava: I'm sure I would work something out, get some on a shipment this way, but obviously would have to be among other stuff. The Armoury chick wasn't too cooperative and not been able to make contact with anyone from Thor or EarthGov yet.
[07:48:41] Cyka nods lightly "Thor mostly keeps to themselves.. and i would suggest not trusting the earth gov people are far as you could throw them" she states flatly. "but if you can get me a few cartons of cigs i will pay you cost and a half for them. "
[07:52:08] Ava laughs "Trust? No, any large organisation, corporate or government shouldn't be trusted. You just gotta use their language though, cash. I don't care if they're trustworthy, so long as they pay upfront"
[08:01:07] Ava: Well I shall keep you in mind your offer as I fish around for customers, a shipload just full of cigarettes might not be all that profitable..but we shall see.
[08:03:15] Cyka shrugs "Im a street sam. working for the towns mayor. All i need are cigs and booze. and I'm offering a 50% over cost at base. more if in bulk.. so just keep that in mind.. its a comodity out here"
[08:05:00] Ava: I certainly will. Gotta go with market demand, if that's fags n booze, so be it.
[08:05:52] Cyka chuckles "i dont know about market demand. but if nothing else. you will have a steady reavenue if you help me out.. and i can help deal with any one who might fuck with your routes. " she says with a chilling smirk
[08:07:22] Ava nods in completely understanding the womans' last comments "Definitely a consideration"
[08:09:36] Cyka shrugs lightly before yawning "Any ways, names Cyka, i work dirrectly for Jadz as her security detail. if you need some help let me know. Will owe ya a favor if you manage to get those cigs. and.. some say a favor is as good as gold" she says lightly reaching to her pocket only to remember her pack of cigs has long since been filled with this horrid places dust just sighing in irritation
[08:11:00] Ava: Thanks Cyka, I look forward to working with you, I've gotta go head over and talk to a pilot that the armory chick told me about.
[08:13:02] Ava raises her hand in a farewell wave and heads off
Since my return to the Hellas Mars crater Sci-Fi roleplay coincided with the opening of the CyberFair event this month I thought it was time I gave Ava’s AMZ characters appearance a bit of an overhaul, along with some embellishments and extra details to her story.
The Story so far:
Ava is a courier for AMZ (All Mars Zone) that ship pretty much anything anywhere. She was sent to Mars originally to deliver a particular dangerous package (given that she was sent with a personal bomb shelter capsule), to the Martian city of Helix. The delivery wasn’t originally made because the city was evacuated. Later she met the local courier that she was supposed to give it to on Mars, but not the final recipient, so she was stuck on Mars with a useless dangerous crate and a portable bomb shelter.
After some time spent with the refugees of Helix she was recalled to Earth by the company. When she explained the situation on Mars and the surprising growth of the crater community to her employers, they sent her back. Her instructions were to establish an office there and negotiate shipping contracts with whoever or whatever organisations or entities required them.
The resulting “Office” being a very loose term for a storage crate painted in company colours and signage placed under the shuttle landing pad.
AMZ are now using unmanned drone ships for the long haul to Mars, controlled by an AMZ employee for take-off and landing, or if the there is problem such as the pod deviating from its set course. The company’s focus is customer privacy, confidentiality and shipment security. To this end the drones cargo compartment can only be opened by AMZ employees with biometric authentication. Additionally customers can ship goods in AMZ crates with similar protections, so only the intended final recipient can open it.