Stargate: 1889

Tentacles

1st day on Mars

Note: Strength considered one die type higher for purposes of carrying.

When last we left our valiant explorers, Capt Ed had been grabbed by a large tentacle and was shaken by the experience. Mrs. O’Rourke and Martha were with him.

The tentacles reached out from under the sand and grabbed Capt Ed. They began pulling him under the ground. Martha jumped in throw her spear into the writhing attacker. Her spear pinned the tentacle to the sand, narrowly missing Captain Ed. Mrs. O’Rourke told Martha, “While that was warranted, something to keep in mind is that I have a chance to calm it down next time.” Then she pulled out her pistol and shot at the tentacle. Rowan ran over to snap at a thrashing tentacle and her horse reared up and kicked out at it. As it tried to pull Capt Ed under the sand, he managed to scramble free. He pulled his own gun and shot at it. Capt Ed gritted his teeth, pulled his pistols and hit it with one of them. The trio of soldiers opened fire, too, spraying the air with lead. A trio of soldiers still by the pyramid shot the tentacles and then Major Lycoll shot it. I heard some screams and shooting from outside. Major Lycoll was saying something inspirational and stirring.

Martha saw some blue stuff coming up out of the sand from where her spear was stuck into it. She pulled her spear out and it was coated with blue. Mrs. O’Rourke took a step back and got a good shot, with her merciful bullet. Rowan snarled and snapped while Mrs. O’Rourke’s horse danced around and landed on it with both front hooves. Mr. O’Rourke pulled out a pistol and took another chunk of flesh off the beast. Capt Ed shot his Colt Peacemaker, whittling away at it. Trio of soldiers, taking heart from Maj Lycoll’s words blasted away at the beast and the tentacles stopped writhing.

Mrs. O’Rourke told us that she would appreciate the chance to calm and capture animals. She took samples and in her professional opinion it’s a solitary, sessile, ambush predator. The biology appears to be copper based.

The others pulled it out of the sand and it was a large, tentacles; about the size of a rhino. It had no eyes, dry skin, internal carapace, and only six tentacles.

The light dimmed fairly early. Mrs. O’Rourke treated Captain Ed’s sucker wounds. While they were busy at that, I realized the pedestal is some kind of device to control the stargate. However, apparently, we’re missing the last symbol needed to return home.

After sunset, the sky turned dark blue. How unexpected, after the pink sky of the day. The temperature got very cold; very desert-like, or so I’ve heard. A tiny moon was visible in the night sky. Mrs. O’Rourke kept busy doing something to the creature’s remains. Surprisingly, the compasses work and the other navigational equipment seem to work as well.

Some of the soldiers were entrenched at the entrance while Cecile and I studied, per our respective specialties. I asked Cecile, during her studies of the symbols on the walls, to keep her eyes open for the missing symbol.

The next day, the sun rose in what we’ll call the east. Maj Lycoll said it was a 12-hour night.

Mrs. O’Rourke estimated the city in the distance was about 60 miles away and would probably take two to three days to reach. She recommended we start early in the morning, to spend as little time as possible in the open at night. There are still no clouds in the sky. The city is northeast, with mountains behind it. To the southeast was a dune sea, that was apparently moving. There’s another mountain range more northerly.

The atmospheric condensers were struggling to produce. Apparently, the air is extremely dry. Fortunately, we did bring extra water.

While Cecile and I were busy studying, the scouting party went out to look around the area. Mrs. O’Rourke went looking for more life forms. Maj Lycoll took his sporting rifle. Martha took her spear. It’s doubtful that she really needs anything else.

We looked for more rooms, but only found that one large room with columns, footed on one end by the stargate. It opened out into the desert.

Mrs. O’Rourke said there was a paucity of plants and anything larger than insects. She did find a couple lizards near the temple, but little else.

Surprisingly, Mr. O’Rourke found a moving hieroglyph. I may have underestimated his intellect. There are circular panels that as they turn form new hieroglyphs. I called Cecile over to see if anything looks familiar. She pointed out the form that would say ‘opening’. When she did so, it moved back and to the side. Inside, a series of lights, soft and apparently electric, along the floor illuminated the way.

A side room was revealed. Cecile grabbed a torch and we entered. There’s a couple statues of some pagan deity (Nefitis) and large stelae filled the rest of the room. Each one had six glyphs. There’s a least a couple dozen of these stelae.

Mr. O’Rourke was saying something behind us. I have no idea what he was mumbling about. Apparently, there’s a mummified body. It’s of no concern, it’s dead after all. Mr. O’Rourke said the body had some oddities, but most notable was the large gaping hole in it. And he found some kind of firearm with it, which he promptly concealed.

The soldiers carrying the body attracted the Mrs. O’Rourke’s attention. She was quite pleased with the discovery. According to her, it’s obviously not human. Its features more elongated and its ears had frills, eyes with second eyelids. However, it’s approximately human-sized and looking at the genitalia compatible with humans. Something hot burned the large hole in its chest. It’s also mammalian and been dead a hundred years.

{O’Rourke: imagine, arming the Americans as they march across Europe, burning Britain.
Maj Lycoll: Poor Yank, he doesn’t realize there’s an ocean in the way}

The strip of lights appear to be orichalc, glowing. Cecile and I want another day to examine the secret room so Mrs. O’Rourke, Capt Ed, Martha, and Maj Lycoll wanted to go look at the ocean of sand. Martha diced with the soldiers while Mrs. O’Rourke looked at the body. She packed it up for storage and transport to take home.

The next morning the scouts left extra early to get to the beach. They theorized it would take them about half a day’s light to get there. Halfway there, one of them spotted a structure, slightly off their route. The structure was the size of a decent-sized merchant ship.

It appeared to be a grounded ship, stuck point first in the sand, except the bottom doesn’t look like it’s suitable for water. It would be very unsteady in the water and had no rudder. A couple outriggers were equipped with propellers. It had the structure of an airship, but no attachments for the balloons or other flotation devices.

They entered through a hatch on the deck. In the middle, they found complex equipment. Capt Ed said it was very sophisticated machinery. They found the controls but there were some kind of missing fuel cells. There was a miniaturized analytical engine affixed to the controls.

They reached the ocean of sand and saw waves of sand washing up against the sandy beach. The moving sand tingled and the compasses were moving erratically.

{Maj Lycoll: obviously, the sand moves the propellers of the ship which powers it and it uses sails to guide it. Obviously.}

They all were picking up static electricity charge the longer they stayed. The sand rolled in waves as far as the eye could see. Mrs. O’Rourke took some samples of the sand. It reacted to motion like water.

Martha had to open her arm to get the dust and sand out of it. They returned to the pyramid.
{comments about Cecile’s dust ionizer, to keep the dust out of her tea, It’s only civilized.
Kelly: I’m Irish, I don’t have to be civilized.
Maj Lycoll nodded agreeably.}

Mrs. O’Rourke handed me the bottle of sand. Fascinating. She also said something about some airship.

Each grain appears to have its own static charge, repelling the other grains. Since, they never touch, they slide like satin and silk.

The next day, we left for the city. Major Lycoll had to convince Cecile it was better for her to pack her things rather than have ‘the lads’ pack it.

On the second day, we say a herd of animals in the distance. They look a bit like very skinny antelopes, with goat horns. They look quite starved, although grazing on some kind of brambles. Mrs. O’Rourke suggested there might be a water seep there. She asked us to wait while she got close enough to capture one. Some of them bounded off as she approached, but she got close enough to get a harness on one. She bribed it with food and it calmed and walked alongside her. Unlike antelopes, they had broad paws with vestigial claws. Like antelopes, they’re herbivores, but oviparous. The poor private made to tend it; the musk from it made quite a stink.

The seep was slow, but enough to restock a little of the water supplies. Mrs. O’Rourke collected samples of the vegetation. The plants stored water in their roots. The roots could be shredded to harvest the water. However, the water had to be well strained, as one private proved by trying to grab phantom butterflies all afternoon.

We reached the city by sunset. It’s in ruins and deserted. It had two spires on two plateaus, separated by a desert-choked canal. It’s been deserted for a couple hundred years. One set of spires were red stone with blue veins while the other were milky quartz with coppery veins. There’s ten feet of sand on the roads.

Cecile said it appeared the people had been gone for a couple hundred years. Mrs. O’Rourke said there’s life, wildlife. There’s a pigeon equivalent. The city is in excellent shape, considering how long it’s been deserted. There’s signs of advanced technology and that canal looked carved, not natural. Capt Ed said he saw mooring posts on some of the towers. He climbed in through a window and climbed up toward the top of a tower with mooring posts, with some soldiers and Martha to keep him company. Martha and Maj Lycoll spotted defensive fortifications and whoever left, left in an orderly fashion. Cecil says the city was a few thousand years old, and in remarkably good shape. She found some writing to copy and take notes. She also found docks near the canal. Maj Lycoll found signs of recent occupation, as in the past few months. He found boot prints, animal prints, and camp sites. He asked Mrs. O’Rourke to take a look at the animal prints to identify them. She said the prints were lizard-like, bipedal and very large; horse-sized. She guessed that they were mounts. Cecile said there appeared to be a temple in the center of the southern plateau (milky quartz buildings), and apparently set out like the temple at Karnak, but with statues of Set.

And the prints seemed to be less than a hundred individuals and headed east out of the city. They may have been following the canal. The desert was less harsh, the closer to the mountains. They also found quadruped prints, corral, bones and broken harness. Some of the quadrupeds might be the antelope-like but others were rhinoceros-sized.

While the Major and Mrs. O’Rourke were looking around, Rowan started growling.

At the top, Capt Ed found mooring ropes, in remarkably good shape. He also found smaller skiffs. They had no power supply and were weathered. They had been in a shelter and each could hold 2-3 people. He figured out most of the controls, even without power.

Rowan looked up and growled. They saw four figures flying/gliding down. They had their arms out and were holding halberds in their feet.

Cecile was grabbed by one and lifted into the air. More landed on the mooring platform with Martha and Capt Ed to attack.

2 experience points

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