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Author Topic: Survival Trial Log - Kelvin McClure (Core, no Mod game story, seed: H1483)  (Read 416 times)

anthraxus

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A loud crack echoed across the sky as the small drop pod plummeted through the clouds.  Vapor trailed behind it and the herd of muffalo near the river lowed and broke into a rushing stampede in response to the noise.  This was fortunate for the beasts as seconds later the drop pod blasted into the sandy soil.  The pod cracked open, depositing a naked old man covered in transit goo onto the ground.

The old man groaned as he painfully got to his feet.  He coughed roughly and groaned as the sudden movement caused his back to twinge.   It was an old injury, the doctors said it was some kind of age related spinal degredation that he could not afford to have corrected, especially not on a journalist's salary.  He did a couple of quick, simple stretches that usually give some relief, but this time the ache and twinge seemed to have settled in for the duration. 

As he wiped away the goo, what hadn't already evaporated, he looked around.  He seemed to be at the bottom of a deep river valley that ran northward from a staggeringly tall range of mountains to the south.  The ruins of a large sandstone building stood to the south west, faint remnants of ancient multicolored paint or laquer hinted at some homey or jovial past use.

He wasn't sure who had screwed him over so thoroughly, although the apparent fact that they weren't willing to kill him directly certainly narrowed down the list.  In his sixty something year career as a journalist directly calling out the richest and most corrupt of the elites of the Glitterworld Triad, he had made a lot of powerful enemies.  But most of them would rather have just killed him and spaced his body with a degrading solar orbit.  The ones that would relish in the thought of his suffering in the mud and blood of Cybele were thankfully few and far between.  Despite the anger and thirst for vengeance that was threatening to overwhelm him, he recognized that giving into them would be a quick road to death on this stupid rock.

With a sigh of resignation and a glance to the slowing returning herd of muffalo, he bent to the task of looking through the remains of the drop pod to see if he had anything to work with at all.  The first and only thing that he was able to find in the blown apart shell of the pod was a standard issue Triad Survivalist Society Universal Trial Recorder.  The pod itself was designed to generate one as it fell apart.  He had hoped for a utilitool or some food maybe, but no such luck.  Fortunately the TUTR was designed for ease-of-use and durability.  He pressed his thumb to the large obvious printscanner on the surface of the relatively featureless device.  In less than a second the holoscreen projected a very barebones display.

<Triad Survivalist Society Universal Trial Recorder Initialization Sequence begun>
<Member Assignment: undefined - *error*>
<Trial Authorization Code: undefined = *error*>
<Voice Prompt for Initialization>

A light and cheerful voice, obviously developed by some AI persona somewhere to be "comforting and appealing to the masses" chirped at him.  It soundly perfectly androgynous but he thought he heard a faint Auroran accent to it, which was very interesting as he himself was based and born on Sumsummat. Maybe it was just his imagination trying to find clues to pull together.  The device chirped again and the voice repeated, "A configuration error has occured with this unit.  Please return to TSS Logistics and Fulfillment for support, or state your name and purpose for use."

The old man grimaced at the device and said in an alarmingly gruffer and more raspy voice than he was used to hearing from himself, "Kelvin McClure, I need help!"

<User Name saved.>
<Telemetry indicates location: 16.12°S, 141.70°W - H1483 {Cybele}>
Kelvin's heart fell.  He had already figured where he had to be, but to have it confirmed was another thing altogether.
<Non-planetary communication protocols disabled.>
<Library access: valid, granted>
<*WARNING* Corruption of primary library data detected.  Limited access still available>
<Utilitool generation capability: valid, granted>

"I am sorry Kelvin," the device responded and even Kelvin had to recognize that there seemed to be real sympathy in the voice, "It seems that I am of limited utility in rendering aid in your current situation.  I can provide some general information from the TSS library archive that may be useful moving forward, and I can generate an Utilitool for your use in gather materials and building shelter.  Would you like to proceed with that?"

The old man eyed the ruins on the other side of the river and could already picture in his head how he could deconstruct some of those wall to make a very secure long term shelter, and there were enough berry bushes and wild healroot in the immediate area that he was pretty sure he could make it a least a couple of days.  "Do it," he told the device and after a few moments the device produced a brand new Utilitool.  TUTR in one had and tool in the other Kelvin began to carefully wade across the river to begin this next chapter of his life, one he planned to very tightly control the ending of.
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anthraxus

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Crossing the river washed away the last of the transit goo and Kelvin discovered that it had server a function he was unaware of: thermal insulation.  He emerged from the water with teeth chattering and for the first time noticed the full bite of the near freezing wind that blew down the river valley.  Shivering, he rushed across the packed earth to the limestone ruins.  He used the Utilitool to quickly chop down a couple of small trees and built a campfire close to the first section of wall he planned to disassemble and then where he planned to erect a new wall.  It only helped a little, but just like all those times he disappeared into a story he was researching, Kelvin quickly disappeared into the work of taking this part of wall apart and putting it back together again over there.  His campfires crackeled and the herd of muffalo across the water were joined by a beautiful herd of wild horses.

He worked late into the night until he almost closed the wall of the new shelter.  Unfortunately exhaustion overtook him, and he built up the campfire as much as possible before curling into a ball as close to it as he could stand.  After a few hours enough of the exhaustion has cleared that, though he did not fully awaken, the cold began to seep into his old bones and he began to toss and turn. 

The sun had barely cracked the horizon when he awoken, his back screaming in pain from sleeping on the cold hard ground.  The campfire was down to embers and his stomach grumbled the loudest noise he had heard since speaking with the TUTR right after landing.  He looked at the flat black unit he had slept next too, and on a whim he tapped the surface. The thing chimed and the same pleasing and pleasant voice spoke, "Good morning, Kelvin!  Your vitals show that you are doing well given your present conditions.  How can I help you today?"

As it talked the holoscreen lit up as well.
<TSS Universal Trial Recorder - Local Time: 2nd Septober 0823>
<Vitals Scan: Acceptable parameters, temperature and malnutrition concerns>
<Caution: Beware of hypothermia symptoms and malnutrition>

"Not sure if you can," Kelvin said, "but I wanted to find out what the date was, so that's already good.  I'm going to finish the shelter walls today, but I'm not sure what to do about a roof."

Kelvin replied, "Oh! You can utilize the roofing feature of the Utilitool.  This will produce a quick setting, self-doming foam covering.  Unfortunately this substance only solidifies in elevated horizontal positions, so it is normally only usable as roofing or flooring.  It does not hold up well to heavy traffic, so it is not suited as a flooring material and is recommended only for roofing use."

Kelvin smiled and said, "See?  You can be useful after all."  He immediately rolled his eyes at himself.  What are you doing?  It's not even a full AI. he thought to himself.  His stomach rumbled again and said, "Well, I'll do that after I find something edible."

He spent the rest of the next two days gathering berries when he was hungry and finishing the deconstruction of the unneeded walls.  The roof went up without a problem and he even had enough stone left to make a pretty nice bed from fresh pine needles, long grasses, and a solid base of limestone blocks.  As he ranged about looking for more berry bushes, he found some more ruins to the north, both steel walls and more limestone. 

While working on breaking down the steel walls into usable scrap he heard a chittering and odd scratching in the undergrowth on the other side of the narrow cleft that the steel wall had obviously once blocked off.  The random chittering and odd noises continued for several minutes and Kelvin decided that perhaps now would be a good time to go roast some berries over the fire or something.  As he turned to leave a racoon the size of a small dog but foaming wildly at the mouth came screaming and charging out of the undergrowth. 

Kelvin broke into a panicked run and for a few moments he was able to stretch the distance between himself and the horrible furry thing.  It's screams were odd, a high-pitched but ululating sound that seemed impossible to come from a biological throat and they lasted for longer than Kelvin thought should be possible.  It ran after him although it staggered and stumbled frequently, obviously not in full control of its limbs.

As he got near the shelter Kelvin decided to stand his ground.  The fight was furious but mercifully brief.  The racoon leaped at him and was able to sink it's teeth into his shoulder and arm in a couple of nasty bites, but he was able to grab it and beat it against the stone wall of the shelter until it stopped moving. 

He left it's body there on the ancient stone tiles of the ruin and went inside.  A frightening weariness overtook him, and he collapsed, still bleeding into the bed.  Miraculously, he awoke a few hours later, weak and barely able to move, his semi-dried pool of blood causing the needles and grasses of his bedding to stick to him.  He took some small strips of bark that he had saved from the trees and used the utilitool to stick the ends together, making rough bandages over the worst of the bites and using roofing foam to make sure they were blood-tight.  Fairly sure that at least he wasn't going to bleed to death, he collapsed back into unconsciousness.
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anthraxus

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The next couple of days were not as difficult on Kelvin physically as they were psychically.  Though he did not know it, twice while he slept other people wandered through his vicinity.  The first was a small caravan of traders that went past the shelter without so much as a second glance at it. The second was a single raider.  He could not find a way to enter the shelter so he stepped into the nearby caves and disappeared. 

After a week without any human contact Kelvin finally broke.  Late one night he began to morosely wander around the shelter and though he knew that he should stop, he just continued to widen the circling path he had begun.  Before he knew it, he also began to wander into the nearby caves.  He had seen them, of course, but knowing that caves tended to draw insects and he was not ready for an accidental encounter.  In this wandering fugue state, however,  he had no such sense of self-preservation.  He wandered into the dark and it was not long before the mandibles of a megaspider clamped down on the his leg.  His mind already mostly detached from his body, he quietly collapsed as the insects fell on him, lacerating and shredding his limbs as his thoughts continued to wander and drift away. 

In the dark, quietly, Kelvin bled to death from numerous wounds, his mind never returning fully from the sad wandering it had undertaken.
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