Closed Tall Glass

Discussion in 'Role Playing Games' started by Ann, Jan 13, 2014.

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  1. Ann

    Ann Archaeology Expert

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    Ann Caroline Tickwittee's body was jerked about as the white, grain-streaked Land Rover traversed the yielding sands, hopping and skittling across loose rocks and swooping over and through the swells of sand dunes. The Sahara desert's Great Eastern Erg, situated in eastern Algeria, had a barren sheen to it--something movies were made of. The last visible traces of civilization had disappeared behind them two hours ago, though an illusive sighting of a far away city had maintained itself for about ten minutes of the trip before the mirage revealed its deceptive nature. Three other modern 'camels' accompanied them on their route westward, the Jeep running to their four o'clock jouncing in exaggerated fashion as the fuel drums in its bed rolled and clanged against each other.

    Following another thirty minutes of travel, the workforce convoy arrived at the eastern campsite, where white tents flanked a sand-flecked metal cylinder. Ann rolled down the window and leaned outward to wave at the salvagers, allowing a stinging, hot breeze to dust her raven hair and magenta headwrap. She winced and shut her green eyes.

    The desert fleet pushed on for another minute before arriving at the main camp, established around the shimmering hull of the object of interest. Here the Land Rover came to a stop, and ACME's archaeology head immediately shoved out the car door and tramped up to the front of the beached aircraft before her driver had even cut off the engine. Decades of desert winds and flying dirt had scraped, peeled, and pock-marked the now-silver fuselage, its last traces of paint barely discernable. A sand-blasted outline of lettering was all that immediately identified the plane, Tall Glass. (Ironically, the wrecked airplane lacked its shattered glass canopies.) A smoky blob to the right of the words was all that remained of what Ann assumed had been a pinup girl.

    She stood before a desert behemoth. She was here to rescue it from the scorched dune that was proceeding to swallow it, already begun with the starboard wing. Snazzy.
     
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  2. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    Lee Jordan was taking this case because he had nothing better to do, but on his form, he put this cooly as 'additional field experience'. That was sweet, it meant he could use this as another sort of credit towards his list of necessities so he wouldn't have to do more cases in some hot blooming place like... well, this hot blooming desert.

    All the complaints he'd made so far on this trip had been in his head, and Jordan jumped off the vehicle to squint at a plane he'd travelled all this way to squint at and blurted out.

    "This is it?"
     
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  3. Joe Kerr

    Joe Kerr V.I.L.E. Agent

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    To an observant onlooker, a gleam could seen in the distance; the sunlight reflecting off the lens of a pair of binoculars gave proof that the ACME crew was not alone in their endeavor.

    From his hidden vantage point in VILE's camp, Joseph Kerr observed ACME's arrival with keen interest; his ornate mask creating an unusual contrast with the Agal and Thawb that he had worn over his usual attire.

    "Soon, the games will begin"
     
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  4. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    Having slept for most of the drive to the crash site, Euge was eventually jarred into wakefulness by the cessation of the cool air from the AC. Sliding his sunglasses on and leaping from the vehicle, he caught his first view of the hopelessly mangled aircraft. Although he had little to do with archeology, Euge still jumped on the opportunity to travel with this dig. It had been easy enough to sell, with a promise of a case study for an accident investigation course at the ACME academy.

    Tall Glass was in sorry shape, far beyond the help of even the most able restorers. What remained of its tail rested approximately 200 feet off the nose, and another hundred feet beyond that was the port wing, with the radial engine and cowlings surprisingly intact. Walking over to the closest tent, Euge carefully examined a master plot of the entire dig, complete with surprisingly accurate listings of components that weren't mangled beyond recognition. Pulling out his own camera, Euge went to work, capturing as much of the dig as he could and dismissing the shine on the horizon as random desert glare.
     
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  5. Patty

    Patty V.I.L.E. Agent

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    Wrapped in desert garments, Patty Larceny was cool, calm, and collected under the scorching sun. She always thought hot sizzling sun was the sort of thing to get blood running without moving a limb, but this kind of solar energy was bordering that fine line between instant tan and apocalyptic annihilation.

    "What are they doing now?" Patty poked @Joe Kerr while she looked through a tinier version of the glare-resistant VILE binoculars in pink camouflage patterns, "Anybody we know?"
     
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  6. Joe Kerr

    Joe Kerr V.I.L.E. Agent

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    Joe did a quick scan of the ACME crew.

    "I think the young lady in the magenta hood is Ann Tickwittee, if our info is to be believed. She matches the description and this 'dig' fits her MO."

    Looking around again, the Jester spotted an all too familiar figure near the vehicles.

    "Well, well, it looks like our old pal Lee Jordan is along for the ride too. Funny, I wasn't aware that this desert had snakes."
     
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  7. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    Lee scratched his head and pretended to know what he was doing while @Eugene Grovington started snapping pictures. When that didn't stand, he decided to help unload the truck. Maybe, just maybe, by the end of the day, there'd be some ice cold beer waiting for them or some of the female students might want to play Sahara volley ball at sunset.

    Looking around, there weren't too many females here and if there was ever going to be beer, there needed to be a camp.

    "Hey, should we set up the tents?" Jordan asked the spiffy-looking Ann, "In case of sandstorms? I'd like to keep my behind safe."
     
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  8. Ann

    Ann Archaeology Expert

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    The archaeologist was visually gauging the depth of the sand their crew would need to remove in order to extract the half-buried wing of the craft when one of her ACME party interrupted her evaluation.

    Ann took a generous draft of water from her canteen before answering. This fellow might need to be kept busy. "Yes, naturally," she agreed. "You can begin setting them up now. Be aware that the white canvas is for the tents. Don't use the darker canvases--they are intended for the plane."

    She turned around to speak with her instructor peer, @Eugene Grovington. "Is it what you expected?"
     
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  9. Constance

    Constance Agent

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    The sun beat upon Constance’s lilac purple head covering as she climbed out of the Land Rover. She was clad in a simple pair of tan cotton pants with a white long sleeved blouse. The blinding glare of the sun was warded off by a pair of aviator style sunglasses. Taking a few steps from the vehicle, she glanced over her surroundings. As far as she could see, the forbidding sand stretched on. Only a group of tents near the wreckage of a plane broke the seemingly continuous landscape. This desert was certainly not a prime vacation spot, but it really wasn’t altogether terrible. The more she surveyed the area, the more it reminded her of a beach. Of course, it was missing some water. In fact, it was lacking a great deal of that particularly lovely molecule. Upon a second consideration, she changed her mind. It was a pretty awful place.

    Making her way to the back of her vehicle, she popped the door open and reached for the first of many boxes that were marked with the logo of the Medical Center. It was heavy, but manageable. With the container firmly in her grasp, she plodded over to a nearby tent. The sun was becoming a nuisance by now, and a slight dew started to dot Constance’s forehead. Reaching the cover of the tent, she set her load down slightly harder than she intended and took a moment to catch her breath. One box was unloaded… but certainly more than enough were left. This was undoubtedly going to be a rather long day.
     
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  10. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    So it was that Lee Jordan got to work with a few other volunteer students to pitch the white tents. He thought Ann's reminder was unnecessary, he'd been to enough digs and picked enough dark canvas tents to know that the white ones were for the team.

    All the technology had to be kept sand-free so they needed to go in last, and most will probably stay in a tent that's inside another tent until they were ready for use.

    "Don't put the food where everybody can see," he instructed the students, "we need to ration."
     
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  11. Spring-Heeled Jack

    Spring-Heeled Jack V.I.L.E. Agent

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    "A snake or a rat, depending on whom you believe," stated Spring-Heeled Jack, plodding over towards the pair from the small enclosure they had erected in his distinctive half-crouch that came from having his trademark boots on and active. He had affixed special cleats to the bottom of them to help handle the terrain, but they weren't as effective as he had hoped. Still, he was determined to make this mission a success. He was still comparatively new to VILE, only having been around about a year, but he wanted to show just how worthwile he could be, and why he deserved to inherit the name of the urban legend his family had been for generations.

    Crouching down beside Patty and Joe, but keeping his head pointed in the direction of the ACME camp, he related the news he had been checking on. "It looks like we are still going to get that storm the satellites promised us, my friends. Those ACMEs fellows might be ready for it, they might not, but either way, there will be plenty of confusion, cover, and chaos for us to play around in while it's going on. I almost hope they see us," he continued, a wicked grin appearing on his face and a slight chuckle bubbling in his voice. "They'd be so focused on protecting that heap of junk from us that anything else will come second! Oh yes, VILE will be claiming the day as soon as this blasted sand is in the air, and ACME will be left cleaning out the dunes from the empty space between their ears!"

    He turned to face his compatriots, and his smile got both wider and more unsettling, his goggles making his eyes look demonic. "Everyone remember the plan?"
     
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  12. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    "Unfortunately, yes." Euge sighed. While all the major components were still at the site, key puzzle pieces had long since disappeared to the elements. It was a conondrum that made Euge's job both easier and more difficult. Peering at the sandblasted fuselage, he spoke up again. "How soon can we enter? There may be documents in the cabin hinting at its mission." After all this time, the door would have likely corroded shut, forcing the work crew to cut their way in. Euge wanted to ensure the outside work was complete before they tore up the wreck.
     
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  13. Ann

    Ann Archaeology Expert

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    "Optimally? I believe we'll be ready to pop it open in the evening." She took another long sip of water, observing some of the crew setting up portable spotlights around the dune, before elaborating on method. "We can remove the hatch and cover the doorway with a tarp. As soon as the sun hits the horizon, let me know if you're ready."

    Spotting the medical assistant, @Constance, setting up shop, the archaeologist stalked over to the care tent, brown combat boots splashing in the sand. "Did you find everything in order?" Ann asked the younger woman. She motioned towards a plot in the ground outlined by bright orange marker flags: a rectangular area of approximately nine square meters. "If someone becomes dehydrated--and someone will, naturally--you may procure as many bottles of water as you need. They're all buried right there."
     
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  14. Constance

    Constance Agent

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    Constance’s glance followed the leader’s gesture and she nodded in understanding. The heat from the sun paired with the sand and the stark lack of trees created a dangerous environment. The team would need to be cautious during their work. A seemingly unimportant but careless disregard of safety could easily spiral into a medical emergency. While she did have some supplies to treat any minor or moderate heat related complication, she certainly didn’t want to use them.

    Reaching up to adjust her headscarf, Constance addressed Ann, “Everything looks great so far. Though I haven’t started sorting the boxes yet.” A small gust of wind kicked up some dust and carried it past the two women. The breeze provided temporary relief from the blistering sun.

    “We really need to emphasize sufficient rest and water consumption during the day to the work team. I don’t want a nasty situation to come up that’s beyond my scope of practice just because some guy wasn’t taking care of himself.”
     
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  15. Joe Kerr

    Joe Kerr V.I.L.E. Agent

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    The Jester smiled as he continued to observe the ACME crew at work. VILE would bide its time, waiting for the opportune moment to deliver the punch line to their 'prank'. If all went well, VILE would having a royal laugh at ACME's expense once the dust and sand settled.

    "Roger that, Jack. Just one question though, why didn't we just bring the helicopter and whip up our own storm?"
     
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  16. Spring-Heeled Jack

    Spring-Heeled Jack V.I.L.E. Agent

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    "Quite a few reasons, my wise fool. First, unless we use a particularly large helicopter, we're not going to get the kind of effect a full-on storm will give us. Sure, we're going to get some sand blasted into their face, but with a true and proper sandstorm, we'll be getting the combined effect of millions of tiny daggers, a fog as thick as any in London-town, and enough duration to give us all the time we need. Plus, if there's a helicopter, they'll expect a team. With a natural storm, having only one or two seen would be much more reasonable."

    "And finally," he said, rolling onto his back and gazing up into the desert sky, "if we use a helicopter, we give them a way out, right underneath the blades. And we must not give them a single way out if we can help it. It's harder on us, to be sure, but it is infinitely harder on them. The more pressure we put on them, the more they'll crack, and when someone cracks..." He chuckled, low in his throat, "...it's so much easier to make them crumble..."

    He laughed once again, and then suddenly his amusement was replaced by a calm and pleasant demeanor, like a man on holiday. "Patty, dear girl, how are you holding up? Plenty of sunscreen? And you're sure the sand won't be too hard on you?"
     
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  17. Patty

    Patty V.I.L.E. Agent

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    Patty was listening to the entire conversation wondering if she should put on the beeswax lip moisturizer or the shea butter one. With the impending sandstorm, she figured beeswax would hold better.

    "Not my first time in the desert," Patts winked @Spring-Heeled Jack, and then she went back to the job at hand, "If I can't get everyone's pockets, who should I focus on most?"
     
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  18. Ann

    Ann Archaeology Expert

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    Ann's feet sank into the sand on top of the dune, her sweat-soaked tank top now drying out and returning to its original white as the sun lost its glare and transitioned to a goldenrod-yellow hue. The team at the eastern camp had just finished lifting the separated port engine onto an open-bed truck, leased at the British government's expense. She drank from her canteen casually and exchanged friendly waves with them as they trekked over to the main camp to take part in the evening's volleyball match.

    Turning around to observe the setting sun, the ACME's expert in archaeology determined that it was the right time to penetrate the decrepit fuselage. She bent over to re-tie the ankle cords of her cargo pants and then proceeded to half-slide down the liquid slope and seek out @Eugene Grovington. Marching up to the pilot, Ann took a small sip of her water before addressing him. "Are you ready? I think now is the ideal time to open up the plane."
     
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  19. Lee

    Lee Agent

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    "Let's open 'er up already?" Lee advised from his side of the excavation camp, "Manual labor's ready to go."

    He liked archaeology, he really did, and fieldwork for archaeology was actually the more exciting parts of the work. Still, it was quiet out here and he didn't want to wait any longer, even if the volleyball match was a welcomed bonus.
     
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  20. Eugene

    Eugene Airfield Staff

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    Adjusting his aviators back up his nose with a single slow gesture, Euge appraised the aircraft one more time and nodded, slinging a cut-off saw over his shoulder before setting off. Leading a small procession up to the cabin door, he kept his pace slow, nearly reverent. The skew of the door with the obvious buckles in the aluminum was ominous, but Euge felt obligated to attempt opening by hand before resorting to destructive methods. A few fruitless tugs broke him of the notion, and he paused only to wipe the sweat off his brow before bringing the saw to bear. Euge's first incision bought a wry grin to his face over the earlier discussion of entry methods. While any excuse to play with explosives was fine by him, Euge was finally persuaded to the side of minimal collateral damage with offers of beer and threats of grants and nameplates. Dimly noting the presence of another saw making a matching cut, Euge rounded his incision to meet, yanking his blade free as the now freed section of fuselage settled. Stepping back, he aimed a forceful kick into the center and stood quiet as the scrap settled into the aircraft.

    Donning a headlamp, Euge proceeded delicately inside. While he was clueless as to actual archaeological procedures, the possibility of encountering the remains of another soldier was enough to stymie his excited pace. The path to his right dead ended at the gimbal for the roof turret, and Euge slowly shoved the emergency raft out of his way before shimmying over the wing spar up to the cockpit.

    Reaching the bulkhead, Euge peeled back a panel and pulled himself partially into the cockpit, sighing at the sight that met him. Euge was not a religious man, but his beliefs held fast for respecting the dead. In the pilot's seat was a skeleton, hunched over the controls and bleached from exposure to the unforgiving desert. Remarkably, some tattered scraps of a flight suit still remained, although any squadron insignia or nametape had long since faded. Still, one possibility for identification remained, and Euge worked himself further forward until a gleam of metal caught his eye. Pulling out his combat knife, Euge cut the dog tag free from the bootlaces and tucked it securely into his pocket. It seemed some traditions held fast.
     
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