Is there a doctor in the house?

Diane

There was a collective sigh of relief in the comms room when the away team radioed back to let us know what had happened in the village. We were all a little shocked about what happened, but also relieved that we knew that at least some of the team was still ok. The news that they were heading back kicked off a flurry of activity: the supply team went into overdrive to make sure they’d have a quick turnaround, base command disappeared into meetings to figure out how to best help the villagers rebuild, and our medical staff prepared to do what they could do patch up their boss.

The hovercraft came through the portal before long. Despite hearing her report, it was still a little surprising to see Lauren in such a disheveled state, and even more so to see Dr Huxley still unconscious as Haley and Hayden carried him off the hovercraft on a makeshift stretcher. As the medics transferred him to a proper bed, I couldn’t help noticing that Haley and Lauren looked remarkably similar in their tattered combat gear, despite the obvious differences between them. Then I realised that both of them were looking back and forth between us and I could almost feel them thinking the same thing I was…

The moment passed quickly though. The away team were ushered off to the locker rooms with new gear bags so they could freshen up and replace their busted gear, and the medics conscripted me to assist with Dr Huxley, given that he was in a worse state than anticipated. We wheeled his bed to medbay and one of the medics disappeared int the side room with Sarvesh to confer about how to proceed, leaving me and the other medic to give him basic attention and get him cleaned up as best we could.

Interestingly, “as best we could” was a lot better than anyone had expected. Somehow I just seemed to know exactly what needed to be done, and it wasn’t long before Sarvesh and both the medics were watching in stunned silence as I tended to the doctor. Not that I noticed. I was completely absorbed in my work. It felt like no time had passed at all before Dr Huxley was conscious again, but I felt utterly drained and just about passed out on top of him. Apparently that was six hours of non-stop work that even the doctor would have a hard time finding fault with.

At some point while I was busy, the comms room lost contact with the away team. Most of the techs figured it was just some weirdness with radio signals penetrating the portal, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something big was happening…

Someone set up us the bomb

Haley

This whole thing just keeps getting weirder. The attack of the clockwork robots was a thing. Apparently I’m pretty damn good with a gun, and stuff. Lauren was pissed that an untrained rookie was better at shootering than she is, everyone else seems to think it’s because we’re apparently either the same person (according to Solveig) or numbered clones (according to Hilde).

Anyway… after I helped Solveig crash our hovercraft after everything electronic died, and we mowed through clockwork robots like they were nothing, this giant fucking clockwork gorilla thing appeared and absolutely smashed Hilde. I took a shot at it, then Lauren seemed to remember how guns work and took over so I could go tend to Solveig’s injuries. This was harder than it should have been? I don’t even know what happened there, normally I’m really good at his kind of thing but seems like I couldn’t do much more than an average first aider so… I dunno. I’m feeling rather wonky about my abilities right now. So while I’m having my crisis, Lauren and Hilde dealt with the gorilla, Hayden kept out of the way and did a cheerleading act which seemed to make everyone work harder, and then we were left to take stock of our situation.

We’ve lost our transportation, Hilde and Solveig aren’t in great shape, and we still need to find this Daniel guy. Lauren is convinced he’s in the city somewhere but suggested that we should signal him somehow rather than just blunder around aimlessly. This was exactly what I was thinking too - it’s seriously like she’s in my head sometimes - but the others were reluctant to draw attention to ourselves because of the clockworkians. It was all a moot point anyway, because Mike had the flare gun.

At least, I thought it was a moot point. Apparently Solveig had an idea, so we trekked off to the top of a nearby building, leaving Lauren behind to guard the hovercraft, with Taba as a second pair of eyes. When we got to the roof, Solveig shooed us back inside as if she was super embarrassed by something. We heard what sounded like a magic spell of some kind and then there were some intense flashes of light in what looked like morse code (Lauren told me later that it spelled SELF). Solveig returned looking sheepish and told us that “nothing happened and we can forget about it”. After a few moments we spotted what looked like a mirror flashing a reflection at us from halfway up another building. We figured this was Daniel, so we went to pick up the others and go check it out.

Heading across to the signal’s origin was fairly uneventful. It was clear when we got there though that someone had put a lot of work into clearing out all the clockwork robots in the area and seeing up traps and barricades. Of course, Hilde missed the memo about traps, copping a grenade to the face as she prodded dead bots looking for “clues”. Lauren confirmed that these bots had probably been shot with the kind of gun Daniel was carrying, so we headed for the entry only for Lauren to trip another of the traps…

Fortunately she’s smart enough to know how not to instantly detonate the claymore attached to the tripwire. Solveig recovered it instead. Lauren spent a few moments complaining that she should have expected this, and then warned us all to be on the lookout for additional traps… at which point part of the wall collapsed. This gave us an unimpeded path upstairs to where Daniel was.

We got to the floor where Daniel had signalled us from, and Hayden started calling out in a soothing voice to let him know we were here and friendly. Lauren snarkily told him “if you’d just let me do the talking he’d be fine, he already knows me.” Daniel obviously heard them bickering and directed us down the hall to where he was. Lauren led us into the room.

Daniel seemed pretty relieved to see Lauren in particular, and glad to see that she had a team with her. Then he noticed me bringing up the rear and did a double-take. He looked at Lauren, then back to me, then back to Lauren, and said “I never expected to see Diane on a mission with you…?” It was pretty obvious that he got the three of us mixed up just like everyone else seems to do, and I may have been more than a little annoyed as I introduced myself.

Daniel had seen better days. I had a look at his injuries but there was nothing I do for him that he hadn’t already done for himself. While I was doing that, he filled us in on everything that had happened. He’d been tracking the group of clockwork robots that had taken Michelle, and had been pretty damn surprised to see a mechanical angel swoop down, basically snatch her from their grasp and fly back into the tower. I guess this is where we’re heading next… but we’ve decided to make our way back to the hovercraft with Daniel first so we can do something about patching up all of the damaged people and rating in a slightly more defensible position than a crumbling building laced with explosives.

Worst. Rescue. EVER.

Lauren, day 1

So. Things happened. Everything went to shit, the team got separated, stuff happened. Short version because I don’t have time to write a proper entry goes something like this:

  • Meet a bunch of people
  • Make friends
  • Get attacked by clockwork robots
  • Dr. Huxley gets knocked out
  • Robots make off with a heap of people (including Michelle)
  • Get blamed for the attack
  • Daniel escapes to go look for Michelle
  • I stay with Dr. Huxley to help him out when he wakes up
  • We get locked up along with the (former) village chief
  • The noob patrol turns up with their mental hovercraft and turns the village to swiss cheese
  • Oh look now we’re free again.

On the positive side, we’re no longer in a cell, and we can get Dr. Huxley back to base to get the medical attention he needs. On the negative side… *shrugs* Not sure there’s actually any negatives. I get to be smug about being the only non-noob, at least for a bit 😛 Also, I have someone to come along when I go looking for Daniel and Michelle, which is helpful, even if this is a rather… unusual crew.

Hilde is… exuberant? a show-off? I dunno, whatever she is she’s probably not as competent as she likes to think, even if she is the child of two norse gods. Hayden seems a bit of an odd choice for a mission like this, seems to have absolutely no skills worth a damn although I understand he’s a hell of a talker when he’s not so freaked out. Solveig is… I dunno, a big scary girl who likes blowing shit up, and a pretty damned amazing pilot. Mike is an older guy who seems a little gruff but hasn’t really had a chance to show us what he does yet. Haley seems normal at first glance, but from what I’ve heard she’s an amazing medic - at least, Dr. Huxley seems convinced that she’s at least as good as he is. The strangest thing about Haley though is that everyone seems to think she’s my clone… I get this with Diane too. I guess I’ve just got one of those faces.

We left Mike behind to help clean up the village and then headed back to base to resupply, drop off Dr. Huxley, and organise some help for Mike. We all then headed for the abandoned city to find the others. Instead, we found a weird dead zone where nothing electronic seems to work. Including the hovercraft. Of course, we found this out while barrelling down a freeway at high speed… needless to say, we crashed. So I’ll say it anyway 😛 We lost Solveig off the front of the hovercraft and down into a massive breach in the freeway (she was trying to bring it to a halt by puncturing the cushion with Haley), and almost lost Hilde off the roof where she usually sits since apparently she’s a jeep or something…?

Of course, this is also about the time when we find the clockwork robots too. Solveig all but landed on one of them. Haley took a surprisingly accurate pot-shot at it with her pistol and took it down (while looking remarkably surprised at herself), while Hilde tried to recover Solveig from below. We noticed a bunch more bots coming towards us, so I went for one of the convenient big guns attached to the hovercraft and started spraying bullets into the crowd. Haley took a few more pot-shots and literally every single one wiped out a bot. The whole time, Hayden was standing there looking bewildered.

Hilde had barely managed to get Solveig back up onto the freeway when a clockwork sniper-bot pinned her to the side of the hovercraft with some kind of crossbow bolt. Haley and I saw the sniper and its friend, and bot raised our guns to deal with them. Haley hit one square in the face and then stared at the gun in her hand as usual, as if she had no idea what she was doing. I pointed my big gun at the other sniper, but for some reason the best I could manage was to just kinda knock him down and keep him busy with a shower of lead until a lucky shot took him out when he popped up to see if we were still there. It’s almost as if Haley’s stolen my gun skills or something? Hah.

So then this weird gorilla monster clockwork thing appeared out of nowhere, charging headlong towards Hilde. Hilde tried… something? which went completely wrong, and ended up with her being pinned by the monster and having lost all her weaponry. This is… mildly disastrous.

Through the Looking Glass

Haley, day 1

So it’s a good thing I checked my kit before we did anything. Someone thought I’d be ok with a piddly little combat knife; I’d asked for a machete for a damn good reason. Have you ever tried to amputate a leg with a combat knife?? The quartermaster here was being a real tight-arse about replacing it too, until I offered to demonstrate just how difficult it is by using him as a model. He got helpful real quick at that point. I now have a damn good machete. Still no idea what I’m going to do with the gun though.

I’m not usually this grumpy about everything.

I was a little surprised to find Diane working in this crazy place. Dunno why. Not sure anything so small as that should be surprising after the day I’ve had so far. And then of course the reactions came… I think the only time we’ve had a more over the top reaction to our supposed similarity was that time we went to Rice Paddy’s together (Japanese food made by Irish people? Who would have expected that to be a good idea? 😛) and the staff lost their minds! This time, everything from amused stares to shocked disbelief. Hayden even asked if we’d had a DNA test… We’re not that similar. Diane’s taller than I am. We have different colour eyes. I could go on (but I won’t, because this is my diary and nobody else is going to read it!)

We moved on pretty quickly, seems that Diane isn’t coming with us. She’s one of the comms team here, so she’ll stay in the base and basically keep in touch. It’s just us noobs going on this magical journey, apparently. But holy shit, there’s a massive hovercraft. With equally massive guns. And Solveig is apparently going to pilot it by herself. At least she’s offered to let me “help” - Hilde gets to be a jeep instead and isn’t allowed anywhere near the controls 😛 And then… magic happens and a portal appears and we do a zoom and then we’re somewhere else.

Somewhere else, in this case, appears to be a recently abandoned base camp. Hilde instantly dashes off to have a look around, because apparently daughter of gods and blah blah blah, and instantly gets attacked by a giant lizard. This is so many kinds of odd. Hilde got grabbed, another lizard appeared, someone dealt with it somehow, don’t even remember, it all happened too fast. About all I can remember is that I managed to shoot the damn thing with my pistol from a ridiculous distance which gave Hilde enough of an opening to throw it off a cliff. I’ve never even touched a gun before today!

We moved on from there, following the trail left by the previous party. We came to a remarkably familiar looking village, and somehow our party decided to stop and investigate before charging in headlong again. Something about this place was trying to remind me of something but I had no idea what it was. We figured we’d roll down to the village, leave the impressively scary hovercraft on the outskirts, and attempt some diplomacy. This is totally what happened. Because of course nothing’s going to go right for a bunch of noobs exploring a whole new wooooooooorld (argh Disney, I can’t use that phrase without the music from Aladdin) and I have no idea who thought it was a good idea. First hiccup was having to get Hayden to pretend to be a girl - I have no idea why this was the thing my brain was trying to remind me of…? And then. instead of diplomacy going as planned, their chief shaman-type individual told us a bunch of lies and then everything went to shit when we questioned her a little bit more closely…

The shaman attempted to blind us with her magic staff, which worked pretty damn well. Solveig didn’t care, and just fired the main guns on the hovercraft anyway. This was predictably disastrous, damn near hit all of us but surprisingly missed literally everything except the village which pretty much fell to pieces. Hilde then crash-tackled a watchtower which collapsed on top of the shaman and her assembled warriors… and that was pretty much the end of that. Once the dust settled, we went and found the remains of the team we were sent to find.

Locked up in the only fully intact building remaining in the village, we found Lauren, the Hux, and another random guy who turned out to be the previous chief of the village. Hux was unconscious, so Lauren did some explaining about what the hell had happened.

Also, apparently Lauren is also my clone, just like Diane is. This is a surprise. I guess I must have one of those faces.

Hi, Friend!

Diane, day 1

Today has been eventful. I mean, of course it’s eventful, I’m working with am organisation that sends explorers through a magic portal! This is the first time we’ve encountered anything other than just a garden world though, the first time we’ve lost contact with an away team, and… the first time we’ve called on the scholarship students. Oh, and we’re sending them through with very little idea of what they’re doing. At least we’re here to help them if they need us.

We had a bit of a whirlwind introduction to them all, and… they’re really not what I expected. Not sure what I expected, but they’re not it. The only ones who seem even remotely dependable are Mike and Haley, but even they were looking rather it of their depth.

Speaking of Haley, I’d expected her to file in with the others. Instead, she’d gone off to complain to the quartermaster about her gear, and so she came in a few moments after everyone else. It was really bizarre - they all thought I was Haley for some reason and were wondering why “Haley” wasn’t ready to go… then Haley walks in, all geared up, and everyone freaked out about us being the same person?! I guess we look a little similar, but apart from the crazy red hair that we both hate we’re completely different! I guess I must have one of those faces though: people seem to have the same reaction with me and Lauren too.