We first introduced the players to each other. They are:
- Bryan Carter: Reverend Tom Aimsley, IDET 2 team leader
- Todd Zircher: Parker Edward “Papa Zulu” Zolis
- Bert Isa: Mstislav “Misty” Egorov
- Moses: Christoffer O’Dell
- Trevor Hudgins: Antonio “The Golden Sabre” Sara’Juevo
We then discussed their training, especially on the fact they were trained for infiltration, with their graduation exercise in Cairo, Egypt. They were stripped of all their equipment except for their UNIDA IDs, and dumped in Cairo. They were to gather information, blend in with the population, and to work together as a team.
Additionally, the Rev and Papa Zulu both moved their families to Alice Springs, along with other families that have moved to Alice Springs. Such as General Borodin’s wife, and IDET 1’s new team member, Sergei Koslov.
The team’s mission is verifying the information that has been recovered from the notebooks of Captain Oates. They are to verify that the portals that are listed as locked are in fact locked. If they are not locked, they are to investigate what is on the other side of the portal. They are not to reveal who or what they are to the inhabitants of the world, but gather any information that they can covertly. The team will be issued the second crystal key, (found on the Junkyard pokiwol by IDET 1.) and they will use to see if they can unlock the portal with it. This is a peaceful exploration, and they are not to engage the natives in combat if possible.
After a briefing with General Borodin, and soon to be traditional shot of his home brewed vodka, they went to a news briefing and answered questions from the reporters assembled. Then the team, Borodin, and four reporters, walked under the covered walkway to the shaft that was sunk down into the ice. It’s a mine lift, big enough to hold large vehicles, guided down by guidewires to the ice dome. The building that contains the portal has been sealed with wall sections, and the interior is now heated to about 50°F/11°C. Antonio’s steam trike was hooked up to a motorcycle trailer and loaded up with the heavier of the gear, including the two fuel cells for recharging equipment.
Under the watchful eye of the press, and the UNIDA webcam, they mounted their bicycles, Antonio fired up his trike and entered the portal and appeared on the Prime platform. From the Prime platform, they rode the 47 miles/75.5 km to the Alternate platform. They then checked the first portal, the 2 o’clock portal, and found that it was open.
Misty entered first into a large cave, bigger than his cylume’s ability to illuminate. He also found a strange vehicle. The vehicle is of unknown manufacture, though there are various maker marks on the vehicle, “Bright Bros Carriage Makers, Manchester, England”, “Feyman Boilerworks”, and “Lewis Steam Engines”. A logbook is found; it belongs to one “Viscount Terrence Greystone, Cmdr TÆES.” It contains information about various worlds, and details Alt 0,8. It’s obvious that the owner of the logbook has visited at least one world on Earth Prime’s Alternate Platform.
They check to see what language they are speaking, it’s English with an accent that’s a cross between a southern accent and a British accent.
A survey of the cavern shows that it is 100 meters in width, and at least 20 meters tall. There are several empty rooms around the exterior of the cavern, the doorways are only 4’ tall, and at the north end of the cavern is a vertical shaft, that seems to be 100 meters tall. Further investigation yields a series of steps that lead upwards. The tread of each step is shorter than normal, as though the steps were meant for someone with shorter legs and smaller feet. It takes them an hour to climb to the top of the stars.
The stairs lead to small, natural appearing cave, with one end filled with rubble. The stairway entrance is disguised, so Misty tagged it with paint to indicate where it was. The shaft’s opening, is similarly disguised and promptly marked by Misty.
The rubble was cleared by someone, not sure how many, but Misty’s tracking skill allows him to follow the trail. The open in the cave leads to a mud and bat guano filled chamber. Tracking is incredibly easy here, and the team finds the cave opening is shielded by brambles and blackberry canes.
They crack open the laptop, fire up the astronomy software, aim the camera at the sky, and the astronomy program determines that the time is either 2AM or 3AM, and that they are approximately between 37° W and 40° W, and 79° N. This puts them in the same location as West Virginia, in the mountains.
Misty from the tracks outside, he determines that there are four people, three men in boots, and one female in either boots or some sort of shoe. He follows the tracks and finds that they lead to struggle. The evidence points to someone firing off a shotgun, in the form a brass shell with a cardboard tube, and that three of the folks, two men and the woman, were escorted off the land. The fourth person’s fate is unknown.
There is a nearby farm, with several outbuildings. The cave opening is in a rock outcropping in a large crop of corn. The sounds of owls and dogs can be heard in the night. The team follows the tracks into to the rows of corn, trying to be quiet, but the dogs either heard them or they smelled them, and they start to howl.
The team puts a move on, but Papa Zulu (“I don’t run!”) was tail end charley and soon the sound of men and horses is heard heading their way. Papa Zulu is surrounded, and Misty who got to the fence, turned around and headed back to protect Papa Zulu.
It took some quick thinking and kind words from the Rev to defuse the situation, and they are escorted off the property. A couple of the team note that the weapons, shotguns, rifles, and revolvers, were all ball and cap, so that the shotgun cartridge did not come from these people.
They try pumping the men escorting them and find out that Brits arrived yesterday and caused a ruckus when one of the Brits started berating the head overseer about owning slaves. “He was s damned abolitionist.” They also found out that they may be in the past, one man referred to an abolitionist event as occurring in ’65.
A ruckus occurred, and the owner of the farm, Chamberlain, got into a fight with the Brit. The man called himself a Viscount. He was taken away to Franklin, the county seat.
They were shown the road, and were able to estimate that Chamberlain’s holdings are fairly large, he has hundreds of acres under cultivation, mostly food crops.
The session ended with them walking down the road on a 12 mile/20km trip to Franklin still in the wee hours of the night.
Addendum: Log entries.