[The Scalopus Project] In-Character Thread

edited December 2011 in In-Game (Hidden)
After a long, rolling journey across the ocean, your team has finally arrived on Roanoke Island. The crew of the shipping liner was willing to help you get your enormous mystery machine on to land, but that's about it. They've heard the rumors about this island, and the huge sum of money that Arthur paid them for the trip wasn't enough to make them stick around.

The Scalopus sits on the beach, completely wrapped in canvas tarpaulins, chains, and locks.

Once you move inland a bit and have a moment to breathe, what do you notice about the island?

What do Oakstead and Arthur plan to do with The Scalopus? (And yes, I do think it should be able to use its tracks to crawl across land.)


  • edited December 2011
    [Maya Oakstead]

    Maya immediately notices the disturbing quiet indicative of a lack of birds. She decides to climb partway up a nearby tree to get a better look into the overgrown canopy to see what sort of wildlife she can find.
  • UserClone:

    Maya sees something she would expect, and something else completely unexpected.

    What are they?
  • edited December 2011

    Maya notices a couple of common frogs and sees a squirrel burrow built into the tree's trunk. She is about to write the island off as simply not having any birds when her jaw drops suddenly. The hairs stand up on the back of her neck...could that creature not ten feet away lounging on an adjacent tree's outermost branches really be...a live archaeopteryx?! That would be...

    "Impossible..." she blurts out from her vantage point some fifteen feet up.
  • edited December 2011
    The startled archaeopteryx jerks its head in your direction. Its eyes seem to be looking right at you.

    Does it see you? If so, what does it do? What do you do?

    Is your blurtation loud enough for the others to hear on the beach?
  • edited December 2011

    Oh, they heard me for sure. The creature doesn't see me, because I am perfectly still in my startled silence. It's vision is, like we always suspected that T. Rex's was, based on detecting movement. I remain still, staring into its eyes and dreading the moment when I finally must blink...
  • Of course, Arthur's first concern is the Scalopus, its pallet left lying at a precarious angle on the rocky ground. He approaches it and begins unbuckling the straps holding it secure, removing the protective cloths, and checking it over for damage. As he is stowing the straps and one of the drop cloths in an externally-accesible hatch, he can't help wondering if it mightn't be worth reassembling and re-greasing the tread on the upper repeller track one more time, just for good measure.
  • Questions for LlamaNerds:

    Does Arthur discover any problems with The Scalopus, or does everything seem to be in place?

    What is Arthur's plan for getting this huge thing into a less precarious position?

    How does Arthur react when he hears Maya call out from the treetop?
  • Does Arthur discover any problems with The Scalopus, or does everything seem to be in place?
    Everything appears to be in working condition, although by now he's convinced he could have done a better job greasing that tread; if he doesn't do it right it's going to squeak and rub and wear out faster. The packing so far seems to have done its job. But Arthur won't really know until he gets the engine running and the treads and drill turning.

    What is Arthur's plan for getting this huge thing into a less precarious position?
    Yes, that one will require some thought. He had been hoping to have another half dozen pairs of strong arms to help get it gently down off the pallet. Maybe he can rig up some sort of pulley or lever from the surrounding trees, or at least scrounge up some bushy foliage to pad its descent.

    How does Arthur react when he hears Maya call out from the treetop?
    Arthur glances distractedly up from his contemplation of the "important" matter at hand to see Maya looking at some sort of largish bird. Probably and emu or something. Arthur is pretty sure he saw an emu once in a zoo somewhere. Or maybe it was an gnu. Gnu are birds, right? Anyway, about that tread...
  • What does Arthur do now? Will he need help from the others? Is there anything to keep him from just getting inside The Scalopus and running the tracks to roll it up the beach?

    Let us know what kind of situation (or potential problems) Arthur is looking at. Then, I can decide if you need to roll.

    I'm going to wait on moving ahead with Maya until mease19 has posted. Once you've all used up about the same amount of story time, I'll move you all ahead at the same time. Arthur is almost to that point too. But let's keep going with him for now.
  • edited December 2011
    [Josephine Fallborn]
    While the others tend to their duties, Josephine wonders down from the Scalopus toward the water. Picking up a stick, she flips over shells in the warm shallows. They're so pretty here in the warm clime, not like the hard white clams on New Cambria's northern beaches. Here, they glimmer with pearly reds and pinks that glimmer in the bright sun. It would be nice to stick around and collect some to take back with us she thinks as the calm water washes up over her boots. Is it just me or is the water rising? "Jonas! Arthur! I think the tide is turning. If we don't get the machine and crates off the beach, we might end up getting stuck until the next low tide!"
  • Jonas looks over to Arthur. "What do you want to do about your machine, Vanguard?"

    The huge man hasn't seen the machine until just now, as Arthur pulls off the tarps. His eyes open wide. "Impressive."

    The Professor looks ready to give commands, but pauses to wait for Arthur's input.
  • While we wait for LlamaNerds...

    Maya, seconds pass, and pretty soon inevitability demands that you blink your eyes. What happens when you finally blink? Does the archaeopteryx respond?

    Josephine, what do you do after calling up your suggestion to Arthur and Jonas?
  • Having given the Scalopus a fairly thorough treatment to protect it from water damage, Arthur isn't too worried about the rising tide at first. But then the thought of the sand swirling around in the tide, getting into gears, and into the treads...the improperly-greased treads...

    "All right guys, let's get her down from her perch. Jonas, I think our best bet is going to be to construct some sort of ramp out of rocks, sand, drift wood...whatever we can find, and then drive her down slowly and carefully. I figure we've got the better part of an hour before the water reaches the Scalopus."

    "Maya! Josephine! Come help us gather building materials! Professor, would you care to accompany my on firing up this brilliant machine we've created?"

    Without waiting to see if his directions are being followed, Arthur heads into the Scalopus to start checking the internal systems.
  • edited December 2011
    "You yourself said we would need someone incredibly strong to man the controls," Oakstead replies. "Would it not be more apropos to avoid wasting fuel until we have Jonas on board?" He climbs onto the pallet and, before entering the Scalopus, calls out, "Maya, dear, what in the world are you doing up there?"

    Jonas, eager to drive the machine, launches into action. With long strides, he runs over to a group of rocks on the beach. Squatting to look at them, he wraps his arms around a rock so large that no human should be able to lift it without the proper tools. He straightens his legs . . . and up it comes.

    Unbelievable, the Professor thinks, agape with astonishment.

    Jonas walks carefully down the beach and places the rock where Arthur had indicated. THUD! He turns, looking for more similar rocks.
  • [Josephine Fallborn]
    Josephine comes up the beach to where the Scalopus perches and swings up into the doorway. "Don't forget the champagne!" she says before dashing off to help Jonas. Once she reaches her burly brother, she points to the crates stacked by the shore. "Do you think we could load all of those supplies into the machine? That would free up a lot of lumber to put under the treads so we can get the machine up above the high-water mark."
  • [Jonas]

    Thwomping another stone into position, Jonas turns at Josephine's voice. He looks over to the cargo crates. "And here I was thinking I was going to have to knock a tree down! Your way sounds easier. Go ask Arthur about storage space. I still haven't had a look inside this.......whatever he calls it."
  • [Josephine Fallborn]
    "Professor!" Josephine calls as she approaches the machine. "Do we have room in here to unload the crates? If so, we can use the crates to keep the treads from getting mired in the sand." Impatiently, Josephine brushes her hair out of her face for the 20th time and, giving up, ties her hair back with a colored headscarf. Is the wind picking up too?
  • [Professor]

    "Ah, welcome to the interior of The Scalopus, Miss Fallborn!" Oakstead closes a compartment and turns to face Josephine. "If our calculations were correct, the supplies in the crates should pack our storage closets to capacity. We estimate having approximately two weeks of resources. My hope is that Mr. Fallborn's experience as a miner will help us to locate other resources below the surface during our journey.

    "So yes, most certainly, you may begin unloading the crates without delay!"

    He beckons her to follow him for a brief tour of The Scalopus, to show her the living quarters and storage closets.
  • [Arthur]

    As the others go about their various preoccupations, Arthur begins bringing the Scalopus online. He fills the boilers, loads the furnace with driftwood (saving the high-yield carbon cubes for later when they are underground), makes sure that the grinding wheels are freed from their travel restraints. Once he is assured that everything is prepared for powering up, he lights the kindling in the furnace and begins adjusting valves to control air flow and water reclamation, so the water that gets turned into steam to propel the turbines is re-captured and re-condensed for reuse. This is one of the systems he is proudest of: making a giant drill and attaching it to a cylinder with the ability to burrow through the earth was rudimentary, but without the ability to recapture their water and re-use it, this trip would last at most a day before they would be forced to locate some underwater lake or spring and stop to refill the boilers. As it is, the efficiency of the system should allow them to extend that time out to a week before they must either turn around and return to the surface or else find another supply. Assuming average earth density and optimal digging rate, they should be able to penetrate 7 kilometers into the earth in that amount of time, an unprecedented rate of subterranean travel!

    Pulling his mind back from the raptures of Science, Arthur returns his focus to the furnace... Yes, everything appears to be flowing smoothly.

    Arthur heads for the rear of the Scalopus and calls out, "Jonas, I believe we're about ready for you in the cockpit!" In the cockpit, Arthur can see that the pressure dials for the boilers are beginning to rise. As they come out of the LOW PRESSURE reading, he reaches up and gives a slight pull on the warning line. An skull-vibrating HOOOOOMMMM sounds, and then he begins opening the valve diverting steam pressure from the main release chamber to the drill drive, and hears the satisfying thrumming of the front drill spinning up. 10 RPM... 20... 75... 150... At about 200 he cuts the pressure down; no need to get it spinning at full speed yet. He gives the warning line another two quick tugs, HOOM HOOM, and opens the valve for the rear compactor: a hissing sound from behind him, accompanied by a series of lights, indicates that the rear compacting arm has extended fully, but rather than just trust the instruments he heads back past the boiler, out the main side hatch, and around to the rear of the vehicle. Sure enough, the telescoping arm with the compacting surface has extended its full seven feet. Walking back to the front of the Scalopus, he checks the spinning of the grinding wheels. Everything is moving smoothly, with no squeaking or other untoward noises to indicate misaligned parts.

    Finally satisfied that everything is working as it should, he heads back inside and back to the cockpit in the rear of the machine, to await Jonas.
  • edited December 2011
    Awesome description, Llama! Regarding the lights: just remember that things should be explainable without electricity. You may want to do that later.


    Having hauled all of the crates to the open door of The Scalopus, Jonas prepares to start ripping the tops off when he hears the sounds of gears rotating and steam escaping. Shortly after, he hears Arthur calling him from the interior. Looking back and forth from the crates to the machine a few times, he finally climbs aboard. He needs Arthur's instructions for placing the boards anyway. They can wait.

    Placing one foot inside, he hoists himself up using the metal bars that Arthur had wisely built on each side of the door.


    Despite his caution, he still manages to knock his head against the underside of the doorway. Will anyone ever build a big enough door?!

    Rubbing the back of his yellow-haired head, he heads to the front of the vehicle where he assumes he'll find the cockpit. "Vanguard?"


    At the sound of the sudden piercing alarm, Jonas stumbles back against a wall, holding his ears, and knocking his head again. "Gah! Of all the...!"

    He hears knobs being pressed, levers being pulled, and several other clicks and clacks coming from the rear of the vehicle, so he heads back, still rubbing his head and wincing.

    "You know, Vanguard..."


    "Owwwwwww!" the giant bellows.

    He enters the control room, rubbing a shoulder. Looking around the room, he holds back whatever gripe he was about to share with Arthur. He's never seen anything like this. Not only does he see completely unfamiliar control modules, but the entire room is a work of art: Seamless lacquered wood paneling and shining brass everywhere. Every fitting, tube, handle, and foot pedal looks polished and master-crafted.

    Arthur squeezes past Jonas and goes rushing out to check on the result of some hissing operation.

    When Arthur returns, he sits down in a pilot's seat and looks out a thick glass porthole, legs crossed, as if waiting for something. Jonas isn't sure if Arthur even noticed him standing there. Had he overlooked the proverbial elephant in the room?

    "Um. Vanguard?"

    Llama, go ahead and move the scene ahead for Arthur and Jonas. Take us to the point where Jonas can start placing wood at the front of The Scalopus.
  • [Josephine Fallborn]
    Josephine squeezes Jonas' arm, her too lost in awe to realize how hard she's squeezing and him to burly to take notice.
  • At the sound of the alarm, Maya's gaze finally wavers as she snaps her head around reflexively. Realizing she's taken her eyes off of a potentially dangerous predator, she immediately snaps her attention back to the...hey, where did it go? No, this archaeopteryx had been real. One of the others must have seen it. Climbing down from the tree, she jogs back down the beach to the others just in time for the


    of the secondary alert alarm, as the rear compacting arm begins to extend. "It works...hmph. Of course it does. EVERYTHING he makes works. Somehow."
  • edited December 2011
    As Maya runs back to the others, shadows move over her. Dark, dense clouds above roll in quickly. Meanwhile, the tide continues to rise.

    As Maya enters the Scalopus, what she doesn't see is the archaeopteryx a few yards behind, making jumping, semi-flying motions in pursuit of her.

    What does Maya say and/or do when she enters The Scalopus? Once she's done whatever she's going to do, UserClone, you can describe what kind of chaos ensues when the archaeopteryx jumps into The Scalopus, flapping, clawing, and snapping everywhere. I'll ask for rolls if needed.

    What does Arthur say to Jonas and Josephine now that they're all in the cockpit? If they're going to beat the tide (and the weather?), they're going to need to rush on getting The Scalopus moved. Llama, you can take narrative control over Jonas for that process.

    mease19, you're welcome to put in responses to what the others post.

    Let's see how things go from here. All kinds of things could become complicated. I'll jump in when I'm needed.
  • "TELL ME one of you saw it!"

    At the series of bewildered looks, Maya exclaims, "The archaeop-"

    And is cut off as the creature swoops into the cabin, bowling her over from behind and digging all four of its talons into her back.

    A hideous wail of agony is her incoherent response.
  • How does Maya respond to being attacked by a vicious little dinosaur?

    How do the others respond to the attack?
  • A hideous wail of agony is her incoherent response.
  • Does she lay down helplessly? Does she fight? Squirm?

    Or do you just prefer to wait for the others to do something?
  • The latter.
  • [Arthur]

    "Oh, good, Jonas, you're finally here. If you'll just sit down in the driver's-"

    ""TELL ME one of you saw it! The archeop-"

    A bundle of feathers charges through the hatch, knocking Maya down and landing on her, then staring around the small cabin with its head cocked to one side.

    "Oh no you DON'T!" Arthur whips a pistol out of its holster, cocks it, and aims at the creatures head. A split second before he pulls the trigger, his eye focuses past the emu (or whatever it is) on the pressure dials, pipes and wood paneling of the room in which the bird stands. Trembling slightly, he uncocks the pistol and puts it back in its holster. [Key of the Architect]

    "Jonas, maybe you should deal with our...visitor."
  • [Jonas]

    "Uh... Shoo?"

    The archeopterix appears completely unimpressed by Jonas' furtive gestures and hand waving toward it.


    "Come on, man, go get it. If anyone can chivy that creature out of here, it should be you!"


    Seizing on a sudden inspiration, Jonas reaches over, grabs the warning cable, and gives a long, hard yank. A thundering HOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM sounds, echoing around the vehicle and off of the distant hills.
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