80. A Peculiar Sickness

Kalam moved through the junction staying in formation with the rest of the fighters, alert and scanning his surroundings all around for strange noises and or creatures appearing. Still prepared for missile combat, but ready to switch to blades if the situation warranted it.

Talo does his best to remain quiet and far enough back as to not interfere with Gildor’s efforts. At the next juncture, Talo casts detect evil to see if there are any potential problems in the next unseen turn or door.

Kradorn follows Gordon, In his marching order. “The quest for colored cards” he softly whispers. Gripping his sword and shield. Moving quickly and quietly as possible.

Gildor signals he sees two creatures to the north and comes back to the party. He signals to check each door, one by one. He’s more inclined to move south and scouts ahead by 30 ft. He’s looking for those card thingies too.

Gildor moves down the corridor while Talo and Gordon open the door to the south, revealing a 6m x 6m room with a bunk against the eastern wall and a few broken scraps of the original furniture left scattered across the floor.

The occupant of the room lies in the bunk, a collection bones and fabric shreds.

The room to the north is 18m by 6m with a side room to the north about 6m x 6m. The western end of the room has 6 large columns or tanks against the wall, connected to a machine on the south wall by tubes and hoses. A pair of armoured feet lay in the northern room but the rest of the body is concealed.
The large room has been smashed up by someone, any black panels are cracked and furniture smashed.

Gildor gets to the junction at end of the corridor and finds four recently dead vege-pygmies as well as a couple of the brightly coloured birds that Gordon summoned.
As he gets closer to the junction Gildor can see several waist high fungi just round the corner. He can also hear dozens of the vege-pygmies in the eastern corridor, running about shouting and shrieking to one another.

Gildor quietly makes his way back to the group then whispers their dilemma,”We have about 12 pygmies and 4 fungi things south then east. If we go east then north from here, I only spotted 2 pygmies there but there could be more either way. It looks like the crew quarters are to the south-east but we don’t know where the north-east goes completely. We will probably have to fight possibly either way we go from here. The longer we are here, may make it harder to get back to our world, if we can get back at all. Let’s scout to the east, then north. Those metal feet might be another golem thing that LG can use to assist us if that is what it was. Do we risk finding out or just press on east then north and fight as needed? I’ll let you big folk go first though if we decide to go north-east.”

Talo eyes the feet cautiously and in a low whisper says, “Looks to be a bit of action necessary here.” Talo urges to party forward. In a quiet voice, Talo says, “Gordon, display the red security badge thing if that thing comes at us. It may respond to a perceived authority.”
Talo searches the room for any more badges or items of interest and examines the room looking for what caused the disarray?

Gildor corrals everyone back into the room with the metal feet and then he closes the door or has Gordon close the door. “Ok let’s look this thing over.” He looks everything else around the room over too and looking for card things.

Knowing his arrows had little affect on the veggie creatures. Kradorn remains with his sword in hand. Until he finds a more effective weapon at least. Flaming plant death arrows… or something like that, he thinks as he awaits the signal to move. Eyes looking up and down the corridor for signs of trouble.
Whispering “I say less time here the better.” pausing to look at everyone.
“I can lead North-east” if we agree.

Gildor nod, “OK I’ll be quick then we follow you to then north east if the metal thing is dead or can follow us.”

Gildor and the party back into the large room and advance on the fallen golem, for that is what it is. It is severely damaged, both legs smashed, its head caved in on one side revealing a black, fist sized object, like a lump of cracked coal within and it has one arm missing. The small room in which it lays has four black glass panels on the northern wall (all smashed) and nothing else.
Talo examines the damage and thinks that whatever did for the golem also set to on the black glass panels and the rooms furniture. It looks like nothing more sophisticated than a mace or spear did the damage. There are no burn marks he can see.
A quick look around the room finds nothing of any interest to Gildor.

The party move out of the room, east along the corridor and then north passing a 6x6m empty room, its use long forgotten.

Gildor turns east at the end of the northern corridor into a 6m wide by 60m long corridor just like the one they arrived in. There are no signs of the vege-pygmies Gildor saw but in a room in the north (9) the elf sees a small light, like a lantern, move quickly past the door and vanish, the room going instantly dark. Moments later the light reappears in the north-west corner of the junction up ahead. The light is small and dim but just seems to float in the air as if suspended on some invisible thread. The elf thinks he also hears a faint and strangely distant whistle come from the light.

Kradorn doesn’t know why but a cold shiver passes through his body.

Kalam was alert, a bolt in his crossbow ready to be fired towards any enemy right when he perceived a hostile intention, be it from the direction of the strange light or from the way coming towards this corridor. While cautious enough to avoid the front line of their formation in order to avoid compromising their chances for an effective defence, he was ready to fill in any gap if necessary. He also paid very close attention to the distance between him and any target of any of his bolts, ready to switch to his blades if and when combat reached that stage.

Gildor waves the others into the room so they can search it for clues.
In the room Gildor whispers, “I don’t know what that light thing is but we best be cautious and be ready for a fight. When we are ready to leave this room I’ll see if it’s clear then head east again.”

The party move into the room quietly and carefully but it’s dark and the humans in the party struggle to see much at all. The large room appears to be a hall or waiting room of sorts but the furniture is all wrecked and scattered across the floor randomly. A search of the place reveals an adolescent human skeleton almost hidden under the debris and Gordon finds a small powder pink and blue backpack still on its back. Looking inside the gnome finds 2 100gp gems, 6 50gp gems and a tablet much like the black ones Gordon gathered from the mindflayer’s lair only this one has a magical illusion cast upon it. It is as if the tablet were made of glass and through it a magical world filled with cute stylised creatures and flowers can be seen. As the tablet is rotated it is possible to view a full 360° panorama of the world through the looking glass.

Once searched, Gildor checks the hallway for activity and moves to follow in the direction the light went as long as the others are behind him or if they found something of interest in the room to keep them there for a bit.

Gildor moves out into the corridor again and then east to the junction with its central column. The mechanism inside the column still seems to be working, with handles moving up and down the inside walls.
The southern main corridor is clear of vege-pygmies but mushrooms can be seen spilling out from corridor at the next junction. The corridor heading east looks clear too, red security doors along the north side and black along the south side.

The glowing light seems to have taken shelter from the party behind the thick double doors to the north, it’s flickering, ghostly light can be seen through the small windows in the door, bobbing and weaving about.
Kradorn stops for a moment, resting against the wall then vomits. He looks pale and says he feels weak too. Neither Kalam or Cynan feel great either, both feel a little nauseous and have the shivers

Chills run through his body as he feels the sudden illness overcome him.
“Something is wrong…” Kradorn moans. “We must get away from here”

Kalam remained alert, a bolt in his crossbow ready to be fired towards any enemy right when he perceived a hostile intention, be it from the direction of the strange light or from the way coming towards this corridor. He was determined to do his best, notwithstanding the malaise and the absence of light. He whispered noticing that other were having similar symptoms.

“Perhaps we should avoid this strange light and finish our investigation here without any confrontation with it if possible. I notice that 3 of us including myself have been affected by inexplicable feelings of malaise and this happened only after we first detected the light. Or it may be that there is something wrong with this part of the ship and things will gradually get worse. About the second possibility we cannot do anything other than finish our investigation, but we can try to avoid the dancing light.”

Talo rushes to Kradorn’s side to help how he can. “Yep, we are headed back. No need to worsen our condition out here.”

Talo takes the role of mother-hen and corrals the group back to safer areas in the ship to see if the computer can be of assistance in diagnostic of the disease and his blaster. The dwarf inspects the ill ones, noting they are all human and seem to be stricken by a flu-like disease. He attempts to determine if the illness is a function of magical, poisonous, or other mundane means.

It looks to the dwarf that the humans are showing signs of poisoning, he isn’t aware of any disease which could affect them so quickly. If it is a curse or spell of some sort, only a detect magic might show it.

On the way back to the protected area, Talo takes plant samples back from growths and the vege-pygmies to see if the computer can assess any weaknesses or advantages they can glean from additional insight. Perhaps the computer will have some insight regarding new spells if it can speak a form of magical language.

Talo tries to lead the group back through the route they took to this point. Once the group gets back to the door through which they last saw combatants, Talo casts detect evil. If there are bad folks around he organizes the group in formation preparatory to breaching the door.

The party move quickly and relatively quietly back into the room where Talo found the boxy weapon and through the glowing red room into the smaller one just south of it. Talo prays and feels a lurking evil through the door though some distance away (25 – 30m).

Talo re-organizes the phalanx to include himself and Gordon in the front to hopefully allow the taller folks to attack over the top of them.

Gildor says, “I think we best be heading back to the crew quarters area Talo. If you want to get to LG first to check on our friends, that sounds good. We will probably have to fight a bit to get back too if there is any of the beasties still back there, where we left em in web and such.”
“Saphiria, you feeling ok my dear? Seem like there might be a strange sickness here. Stay close my dear as we may need you to help in a fight a bit just try and stay out of harms way.”
Gildor stays alert and does spot checks ahead for Talo then falls back if he spots anything and signals anytime he does notice something to the rest of the group.

Talo listens carefully to Gildor, “Good point. We need to be ready to hustle back to LG after the battle through the web portion.”

The door opens on an empty corridor with no sign of the vege-pygmies or the web Gildor cast at the junction to the south. Gildor peeks east and can see movement beyond the cluster of large mushrooms at the first junction (10), at least half a dozen vege-pygmies moving back and forth or gathered in the corridor.
Behind the party the glowing light appears in the red glowing room, it’s ghostly whistling sounding all the odder as the light is close but the sound seems to come from far off.
Kalam suddenly doubles over and vomits explosively. He is feeling weak and his skin seems to itch too. A quick look by Talo reveals all three humans show signs of what looks like sunburn across their bodies though Kalam only has it on his head and hands, areas not covered by the suit he took off the mindflayer. Cynan seems somewhat better off than Kradorn with only those parts of his body not covered by his platemail now red and sensitive.

Kradorn grabs Kalam even though it hurts.
“Something magical… bad back there. Must get away.” Kradorn says his voice cracking. His mind reeling, whatever it takes to get away.

Talo casts a healing orison on all affected parties as they stumble through the halls. Looking down the corridor to the intersection Talo says in a hoarse whisper, “Press on, we need to get them back to some relative safety.”

Talo’s prayers have the effect of healing the burns but the poisoning seems only to have been relieved for a minute or two.
They press on and the party arrive at the junction to find it deserted. Looking east they can see the corridor is littered with bodies, almost a dozen at quick count. There are signs that there were more but some have been dragged away down the southern corridors. Those bodies that remain have been hacked and smashed into bloody pulp.
At the far end of the corridor they can see the security golem standing impassively.

Kalam moved with Kradorn, willing him self to persevere through whatever was ailing him, in his effort to keep up with the party. It was a constant battle between that and keeping aware of his surroundings, being on guard. Still with the crossbow in one hand while with the other he was supporting Kradorn as much as he was supported by him if need be.

With Talo making sure everyone is ready to set off, the party hurry along the corridor towards the golem at the far end. On either side of them the party can hear the vege-pygmies down the side passages but none react to the party moving along the main corridor. They step quickly around the fallen bodies and arrive at the golem seemingly without the vege-pygmies noticing them.
The party heads south and around the corner to the avatar of the Limited Gravitas which appears as the party approach.

Talo comments, “Maybe the illness is related to their armament. Can we get some helms or gauntlets for their extremities? Gildor, can you ask LG, if he can tell us what is ailing them? Perhaps LG would know where some blocking components could be found. Also, since we are working to help restore his to full functionality, maybe he can allow us to keep these ‘energy weapons’ in light of these efforts and the fact we possess a red security tag.” Talo tries to apply an unguent from his first aid kit to these burns his the humans are experiencing.

LG listens to what Gildor says and then asks him to describe what he has seen and the route the party took to arrive at the northern junction. After Gildor has spoken, LG takes a moment to consider and says.
“I do not have the facilities to make a diagnosis of your companions based on their symptoms but from what you have described to me, it would seem that the golem I sent to the build facility succeeded in her mission to build a needler pistol. However by your description the build facility experienced some sort of catastrophic malfunction and the small build unit room has become irradiated. While we do have a medical facility in the central block, its primary purpose is as a consultation facility and not a treatment facility. The medical treatment facility on this level is located directly east of the central block (See Map). You may be able get the treatment they require there.
On the matter of firearms, unfortunately I am limited to a policing function and so cannot use lethal force or allow lethal forced to be used without command personnel approval. However, the needler pistol you recovered from the small build unit facility has been developed especially to counter the mutant humanoids and will render them unconscious for 3 to 6 hours. It contains 90 small darts tipped with a potent nerve agent. Note however, that the nerve agent is lethal to humans and the weapon should be handled with care.”

“This isn’t getting us any closer to finding the king.” Rumbles Munin

“Let’s go.” Kradorn gasps feeling like his insides are twisting up. His skin feeling like the fire is burning off. “Hurry or we won’t be around to save the King, much less ourselves.”

Gildor translates everything LG told him for the others.

Gildor says to LG, “Can you instruct me on how to use the med-station or do you have an interface there to assist us on how to use the tools?” Gildor will take notes if necessary in common but if a different language is needed he writes it below the common sentence as a reference as well as symbols for buttons translated to common for what each button does.

LG creates a picture of the small hand-held device that administers the cure for the poisoning and the specific vial of liquid that goes into it.
“The device and the vials should be kept in large cabinets in the medical treatment facilities. However this should be unnecessary as each facility has a medical golem to help put any ill or wounded person into one of three treatment beds where the illness or wound can be ascertained and treated.” says the mask impassively

Gildor says, “Let’s get the sick folks to the red dot on the map following the red line. That’s the medical station. I think we can search the south-east section for cards as well while we are there, letting the sick recover perhaps. This will help us find the king once we get the card LG needs. If we are ready to go I’ll lead the way.” Gildor moves out slowly once the others are ready. “Be careful with that weapon Talo”, Gildor says with a grin.

Talo replies, hand over heart, “With my traditional tact and prudence.” Then he seems unable to keep up the ruse, “Ha ha ha ha!”
Upon hearing the directions to helping the sick among them, Talo says, “Well, there will come time to clear out some of these halls to find the king and search carefully the rooms along the way. I will keep this handy for the plant-fellers.” He holds up his new friend in the form of the needle gun and nods his resolve to the others.

Kradorn grabs Kalam as they lean into each other and follow Gildor. Kradorn groans out for everyone to hurry.

“If we have been brought down with this kind of ‘irradiated’ sickness, how long do we have before it becomes worse and we are not able to perform physical actions such as running and/or fighting? We need to know of a time frame for seeking this ‘medical facility’ with regard to looking for the dwarven king. In addition, is this a sickness that can hide in our bodies and grow whenever it wants? Not all of us feel sick right now, but it would be inadvisable I think to leave this strange place and find out that we or others of our company later on start feeling this irradiated thing.”

Just before they go Gildor hears Kalam’s request then says to LG, “Can you tell me the time window on the illness. How long until death or exposure details on different races and how long or effective the cure is?” Gildor translates to the others what he learns just before they head out to the med place.

“My assessment of the nature of the illness is only based on your description of the damage to the build facility, the symptoms you display and how quickly they manifested. I am unable to make a precise estimate but would suggest a life expectancy of 10 to 12 hours based on the dosage. As to the non-human members of your group I have no data as to their metabolism or susceptibility and am unable to make a prognosis. The cure is effective within an hour though any weakness may take take several hours to be reversed.”

The party set off east, turn north and come to another junction like the one on the opposite side of the central area. A security golem watches them approach and its gaze follows them as they turn east again moving with all the caution they can muster yet pushed faster and noisier by the urgency of the humans’ illness.
They pass several open rooms, all ruined and litter filled, before coming to the eastern junction. They stop just short of entering the large space but can see the two yellow marked doors and on the opposite side.
Kradorn hisses for the party to halt and warns them that one of the many and peculiar smells he can smell is of predator dung, that and the scattering of chewed bones about the junction and in the corners.