Being literate has it’s drawbacks. The principle one is that if you can read, you can read something you don’t like. Or don’t understand. Or that gives you a headache.
Hunter Greymane is sitting at ‘Veritas’, a popular wine bar in at the edge of the Glowtown district, doing just that. He’d spent the day speaking to techno-wizards about how they might tackle a particular hypothetical problem. Namely, could you enable network functionality with magic or technomagic. The answers he got…
Well let’s just say that’s why this early afternoon he’s got a bottle and a wineglass in front of him along with a data pad. He’s looking like he might need either something to punch, something to eat, or more wine than he presently has.
The big, blind Wolfen heads past a stall toward the winery, continually pawing at his snout. He has just passed a fishmonger’s shop, and the stench of fish is driving the poor Wise-Wolf mad.
It is almost a relief to smell something else — such as wine, and a particularly frustrated fellow Wolfen. “One wonders what ails a Wolfen at this time,” he remarks softly, casting his voice upon the Wind to reach Hunter’s ears from several yards away.
Dalia enters the bar a few moments later with the ever faithful Krunch in her arms. The leather and cowboy hat clad Fennod has seen Howie from down the street but it took a few moments to catch up. The Alien Preacher appears a bit frazzled, her hat is askew and her jacket is on inside out and she’s panting slightly.
Dalia approaches the bar and drops heavily into a seat after setting Krunch down with a muted sigh. The whisker coyote is not his usual happy boyous self and settles meekly beneath the stool with hardly a glance around the new location.
From the back of ‘Veritas’, a winged woman approaches the table that Hunter is sitting at. She’s not dressed in her usual silver armour but something much more casual. Soft linen trousers, shirt and vest … though they do nothing to disguise her bearing. A soldier.
“I take it your day yielded more questions than answers?” She asks as she gets to his table. “More wine or would you like to spar? I could do either, myself.” beat “Hello, Howakhan.” Dalia’s entry isn’t missed either and the womans grey eyes follow the Fennod across the bar. “Isn’t that your friend? Dalia?” she asks the blind Wolfen. She’s only met the woman once.
Recently Kaji has been getting more of a headache from people /not/ knowing how to read. It’s something he’s not given much thought to before, and as it goes with things you take for granted, it makes matters frustrating when it’s typical for you to jot a quick note or something to let people know you’ve gone out on the off chance people are too busy to pass word along for you. After crossing out his original message to Slaine that he’d made on a post-it, he’d in the end left an odd scrawl of stick figures that even he had no idea what it depicted and left it at that, stuck on the wall by the kitchen.
With that bit of dragon business out of the way, he was content to just wander, and at least with Kthzyx along, he feels a little better than he would have if he’d gone out alone. His crystalline friend had proven just as curious as himself that he’d doubted she would have objected to an outing in the first place, and so out they have gone..! To…a bar?
It always seems like such a popular place to visit in RPGs that the teenager couldn’t help himself. Plus, he’s got a party member. “Come on, Zyx,” he says, beaming. Yeah! With such thoughts in mind, it’s all too easy for him to stroll inside the place without a second thought. What fun is it if you can’t pretend a little in a place like this?Seeing new things is very much a reason for Zyx to follow Kaji. That, and to help keep the squishy person safe from mean people. When he leads the way into a building the purpose of which she can’t really fathom, she baby elephant-shuffles along after him. Maybe she’ll find soem crystals here? She might. But they’re probably being used to light the place up. That’s the thing with the meat world. They don’t know what to properly do with crystals. They use them to cast magic or just make them glow. Annoying.
At Howie’s question he turns the tablet around. “See this?”
Wait… Hunter sighs. Howie might hear him facepalming. “No, of course you can’t. Sorry. I’m reading a bunch of techno-magical theory. It’s…”
He glances over at Ardul. “… headache inducing…”
If anyone bothers to look, it certainly appears to be headache inducing.
Hunter doesn’t really know Kaji (nor Dalia for that matter) but the appearance of the kid with his walking crystal bodyguard makes his ears flick. “Wonder if that thing’s big enough to turn into a resonator…” He mutters.
He doesn’t quite mutter it quietly enough. It’s easily loud enough for Kaji and Kth to hear, let alone everyone else.
“No Ardul, I don’t need to spar. I need to figure out how I’m going to see if someone is Magi-networking into the wolfen beacon systems…”
Then he smirks.
“One is loath to say, but the Wind is amused — also… the Wind cannot read either.” And he turns his shaggy head toward Ardul and Dalia, recognising their scents, and remarks: “Neither does the Wind have a… head-ache.”
He smirks again and lets out an ‘urf-urf-urf’ sound: a chuckle. “One enjoys the scent of wine however…” As he turns to walk toward the bar, his head suddenly comes up and he swivels around completely to direct his blind visage toward…
“Kthzyx? The Earth and Sky are pleased to greet Kthzyx again. And… one smells a friend. Who is Kthzyx’s friend?”
Dalia’s eyes narrow at Hunter. “No.” She mutters flatly in response to his question about the crystaline entity. She’s usually much more polite but her day has been very trying. So trying that she’d been about to go collapse in her room and avoid people for the rest of the day until she’d spotted Howie. He’s a very calming presence for the psychic and calm is something she’s feeling the need for at the moment.
“Hullo, yes, I’m Dalia.” She manages a smile and tips her hat at Ardul and the others. “What would you like to drink Howie? Have you eaten today?” She asks her friend before ordering herself the largest second cheapest jug of wine in the place. It will not help her slight headache tomorrow but it will drown out the minds and thoughts of everyone around her and after the day she’s had, surrounded by picky, finicky, too-tightly pantsed people all trying to out argue the other, her own shields just aren’t cutting it. So wine it is. All the wine. Funny, that would be an apt describtion of the two families she’d been mediating between. “Oh. That is *so* not nice.” The Fennod murmurs unhappily at herself.
Ardul just shakes her head as Hunter shows Howie the tablet, not saying a word. The Wolfens seem to have it worked out. She does look at the tablet though “It’s only headache inducing because you’ve been staring at it for so long. I tell you, a good spar will clear the cobwebs away and give you a new perspective…”
She’s teasing a little but grimaces at the ‘magi-networking’ and watches Howie head to the bar. “It might not be magic, you know … it’s possible it’s just advanced technology.” Like her races. But different. “So what did the Techo-Wizards say? I know you saw some today…” She’d been out in Vanished Point for the first part of the day and spent some time in the shower when she got back.
Hunters comment about Zyx has the Winged Warrior smirking more, Dalia’s response just adding to it. “You could ask her. Explain what you need. From what I’ve seen of her, she might be able to grow you what you need. Or modify her structure to help.” Maybe Zyx could help. If it wasn’t destructive.
The Fennod though, gets a nod from the blonde who waves to Zyx and her friend. “Hello Zyx. Find anymore interesting crystals?”
Well, this place is certainly nicer than most taverns that so easily come to Kaji’s mind. In a way, he’s kind of thankful for that, and at least no one that’s had a first glance at Zyx has informed them that they don’t serve their kind. …although the boy’s pretty sure that Zyx doesn’t eat and drink people food anyway. Gosh, he hopes no one thinks she’s his pet or something…
Surprisingly enough, it seems some of the people here actually know Kthzyx! “Heh, you’re popular, Zyx!” he laughs, giving her a pat. He arches a brow at Hunter and then the others. Resonator? Crystal problems? Well, Zyx would know more about her capabilities than he’d be able to guess.
He does a double-take at Howahkan, smiling. “Oh! I remember you- around the market, when I first came to the city. Wow, that seems like forever ago now… Uhhh umm….” he snaps his fingers as he tries to recall the name of the wolfen, as though doing so would spark it into memory. It fails, by the way. “Er, anyway, I’m Kaji,” he finishes sheepishly, offering a nod back at Ardul with the acknowledgment given.Kthzyx straightens up to bipedal when others greet her, and she hums a cheerful tone hello. “I can resonate, but too much would hurt.” Kind of like singing non-stop. And Dalia might find it refreshing that her mind… isn’t. Not to a typical telepath’s abilities, anyway.
“Howie. This is my friend Kaji. He has paper.” She truly has no idea why that’s significant, but it is somehow, so she mentions it for her Wolfen friend’s benefit. Then, to Ardul, she says contemplatively, “I could try to grow something, but the last something was … too happy to keep growing. Is there a kind of crystal that’s best?” Please don’t say the purple kind.“No one has a comms network that big on this planet, Ardul.” Hunter points out. Advanced technology is all well and good, but you’d need the right infrastructure to use it at range. “Or someone would have had to unlock quantum communications and then copied Wolfen computer and encryption methods. I think, much as I hate saying this, magic is more likely…”
There it is again. Wolfen technology. Wolfen computers. It must be odd for Howakan to hear that. The world he’s from involves no such things likely as not, in fact it’s possible Howahkan’s people have no idea that there are multiple wolfen worlds among the cosmos.
“Hello Dalia. Kaji. Kthzyx. Forgive my musings. I’m wondering about one of the possibilities on this tablet. It involves building a computer network by doing all the long range transmission with low level frequency waves in the ground. Sort of the way earthquakes work… but less destructive. I was wondering if it might be possible to test that theory…” He has no idea what kind of crystals work best. And he hasn’t answered Ardul’s question in specifics… but she should get the idea from that.
He snorts again.
Next, he gives Dalia a toothy smile and replies to her question while padding his way toward Kaji and Zyx. “Howahkan has not eaten yet…One likes… wine. //Red//. And meat. //Redder//…” With his next grin, he salivates on the floor a bit (it’s a canine thing — a token of appreciation. Also… too many teeth). Reaching into a pouch at his belt, he //floats// a single gem — something resembling a black opal, except that it changes to many different colours, and is the size of a small egg. Floating it over toward Zyk, the Wolfen remarks:
“A gift. This is a stone Howahkan passed… deep in the bowels of the mountains. One believes it is the product of many dimensions in one. Please enjoy.” He smiles.
“Dalia Soul-Speaker — we should talk soon. Wherefore is Dalia unhappy?”
If Dalia had human or Wolfen eyes they’d be glazing over slightly at Hunter’s explanation. She understands very very little of that. As it is her eye-stalks just kind of blankly watch the man until he seems done and then she politely murmurs. “Well. I hope you figure it out.” Fortunately her wine arrives and she pours Howie a glass and then downs four of her own before pausing. “Excuse me.” The Alien’s grey skin flushes orange in embarrasment.
Beneath her stool Krunch peers out at Zyth, the whisker coyote’s stubby little tail and face tentacles are waving madly and the animal is practically virbrating with the urge to come befriend this lovely new creature! It talked! He heard it talk! With words outloud, not with its mind! He’s so curious and it’s right there, right there! But Dalia is still so angry! And if he goes out of his spot before he’s allowed then..then…actually, he has no idea what happens, he’s never dared to purposely disobey the Fennod. But something bad! More bad than he can imagine for sure! So instead he huffles sadly and watches the others. She orders them both steak, hers done a bit more than Howie’s and after eyeing her companion on the floor, who gazes up unhappily.. she snorts and orders the Coyote a dish of plain oatmeal. It looks even more disappointed.
“That friend Howahkan is a very long story of a very trying day at the end of which someone ate something they should not have.” Krunch coughs. Huffles and groans and coughs a bit more until he spits up a bit of… wool? The Preacher covers her face with one hand. “If I ever see a sheep, sheep farm, or sheep farmer again, it will be too soon.”
“As you say, if they were accessing at range, they’d need the right infrastructure.” Ardul agrees “But … who says they are? In most cases, a line of sight connection might work – and line of sight can still be quite a distance.” Ardul trails off though, because they don’t know where things are being accessed from.
And she’s not going to ask again how he has all this stuff.
“One assumption you could make though, Hunter, is that whoever is doing is has more than a passing familiarity with Wolfen tech.” Her magic-phobia might be showing a little. Just a bit.
Still… using crystals to send signals, isn’t unknown to her and she ponders this before turning to Zyx “A resonance of up to 3 Kilo Hertz I believe might work. But it might require higher…” That’s more like using technology. At least, she can fool herself for a while.
“A pleasure to meet you, Kaji.” The blonde smiles at the youth “Paper is something of a luxury here. Guard yours well, if you have it.”
Howahkan, right. He’ll remember that. Or try to, anyway. Kaji will also try not to fidget as the wolfen drools while he talks about having not eaten. My, what big teeth you have…!
He’s not too sure what to make of the Fennod, but she doesn’t seem like one to bother. Well, at least the blind wolfen doesn’t seem to think so as he speaks to her then. Before he can wonder as to what ‘soul-speaker’ means, Hunter’s words catch his attention, and everything else might as well have been swept under a mental carpet.
Edging a little closer, Kaji’s interest is more than obvious as he eyes the other wolfen’s datapad. “Whoooa…. so, you’re trying to figure out a way to make a medieval wi-fi? Or…okay, I guess not really medieval-” He waves his hands about- erase what he just said! “Erm, so how’s your tablet work? And do you have to plug it in to transfer information, or….well, I guess if you had a wireless connection you wouldn’t be trying to figure out how to build a network out of frequencies…” He ends up muttering the last, rubbing his chin.
To Ardul he nods, smiling crookedly. “So I’ve heard. Doing my best, ma’am.”Zyx is happy to see everyone, and she starts to consider Ardul’s explanation of what Hunter is requesting, though she’s not entirely sure what a ‘kilohertz’ is. But then Howie goes and distracts her with a VERY pretty crystal. “OOOOOOOOOOOH…” She accepts the egg-sized stone and holds it in her hands to study for several long moments before finally adhering it to herself in a decorative manner — now the opal looks like a necklace pendant. “Thank you, Howie.” “Ardul I’ve chased these signals over half a continent. If they’re being turned on manually, someone’s been very busy.” It’s one of the reasons he’s leaning toward a remote network. What’s the use of activating all these beacons if you can’t monitor them.
Of course he doesn’t know why someone’s turning on all these beacons to begin with but he does have a lead in that department.
“The tablet? Mostly you enter things by hand. It’s got local network capabilities but…” The wolfen gestures. “Look around. Pretty much any network you’re apt to find is local. Which is part of the puzzle. I’m trying to figure out how someone interfaced with three hundred year old wolfen tech across half a continent. Why can come later. How will provide some clues…”
He shakes his head and looks over at Kthzyx, Howahkan and Dalia… and a smirk starts to spread across his muzzle. A very sharp one.
“Say…” Ardul and Kaji will learn, it’s dangerous when he says that. “You’re an earth mage, aren’t you Howakhan?”
Suddenly, he pauses mid-nod, and a stiff breeze swirls into the room, particularly around Hunter, and leaves as quickly as it came. Howahkan smiles. “One speaks for the Earth… //and// Sky, Hunter,” says he followed by a brief chuckle. “What is a wolf’s question?” To Zyx he remarks: “There is a shaft in the mountains that disappears into the Earth… one will show Kthzyx if she wishes. The Elements there… speak very different languages. Deep languages.”
Dalia has a fifth..and a half.. glass of wine, sets the bowl of oats in front of Krunch and murmurs, “Eat. Then you can come out.” She cleans up the bit of fur and then takes off her hat and gently bumps her forehead against Howie’s shoulder in reassurance. Another thing she likes about her friend, he’s taller than even she is.
The Preacher finally looks to be a bit more relaxed and some of her usual good mood is returning. Her eyestalks turn towards Hunter with interest, wondering what he has in mind. After debating with herself for a moment, Dalia snags a clean glass and slides a half measure of wine over to Kaji. Why not? Plus, she really needs to make up for her earlier rudeness!
“As you say, Hunter…” Ardul is many steps behind the Wolfen on this. She’s no idea Zyx didn’t understand the frequency translation. If she did, she might try to help the elemental. For now though, Hunter seems to have something else.
“What are you thinking…” she murmurs to the Wolfen. She recognises that smile. She’s seen it enough when they’re on patrol together.
This, at least, should be interesting.
“Three hundred year old….” The look on Kaji’s face might be mistaken for being stunned, and while in a sense his feelings might be running parallel to that, he wouldn’t be quite sure what he’d name it exactly. He’s pretty sure he’s missing something more to it, trying to keep from getting his hopes up that there might be something familiar from a time or near-time that he would know. Besides, he’s not even sure if this wolfen tech borrowed off of earth tech or was basically the same thing. UGH, alternate realities!
It does seem that Hunter’s got an idea, and even having just met the wolfen, there’s just something about that tone and smirk that just speaks /volumes/.
So distracted is Kaji that he picks up the glass offered him without much thought, nodding a thanks at Dalia as he lifts the thing to his lips to take a swallow. He hunches his shoulders up as the taste hits him, barely managing not to spit it out, because he’s pretty sure no one here would appreciate getting showered in mouth-warmed wine. Instead he swallows it, squeezing his eyes shut as he sets the glass back down, resting his hands on the counter. Guuuuuh, how can people drink that stuff?
Kthzyx considers Howahkan’s offer to go see where the opal came from. Maybe. It could be interesting if nothing else. She then looks at Krunch curiously before going all spikey at Kaji’s reaction to his drink. “Kaji?” She’s worried now. Could that stuff hurt him? She hopes not.“It’s the earth I’m concerned with at the moment. The Techno-wizards tell me that //if// someone is using vibrations to transmit data through the earth then it should leave recognizeable patterns that can be detected. They could build a complicated, expensive piece of machinery to try finding them but all you really need, so I understand, is a sufficiently good earth magus, a computer to translate the signals and modulate the output… and a sufficiently large and sensitive tuning crystal…”
Oh yes. He is suggesting exactly what everyone thinks he’s suggesting.
As Kaji starts hacking a lung up Hunter glances over, notes Dalia and the wine in his hand. “It’s… not… that strong…” He defends the Fennoidi. Of course, Kaji probably doesn’t have much experience which would also be strange to Hunter. On Rifts Earth the concept of a ‘legal drinking age’ doesn’t really exist anymore. In fact in most places the alcohol is safer than the water by a large measure.
And bumps his head against a hanging light.
He still drinks the wine.
Then eats the glass.
“It is only Earth,” says he with a shrug. Once the glass is… consumed, the Wise-Wolf shifts his attention back to Hunter and his fur ripples. “Hunter wishes a communion with the Earth, channeled through… Kthzyx, and Hunter’s… ache-nology to translate, aye? For what one describes… this may require a leyline nexus — for //Howahkan//, it must be a place in the wild. There is too much… noise here.”
“This might explain one’s own headache…” and he reaches a claw to his mouth to pick pieces of glass out from between his teeth. “One would have another…”
Thanks to the wine and the subject, Dalia isn’t quite sure what Hunter is actually suggesting but if Howie is willing to go along with it she’ll keep him company if he likes. The Preacher politely covers her smile at Kaji’s reaction to the wine with one hand. She did not have to even try to skim the surface of his thoughts to guess that from his age he likely thought this would be an interesting place to visit. This way he’ll have had a good trip to the bar, instead of a possible bad one, maybe have a story to tell his friends or at least think back on later, and also hopefully be put off of alcohol for awhile yet. All good things she thinks.
“It’s just a bit of wine. Not to everyone’s taste, no worries.” Dalia murmurs to Kyth and Howie in reassurance. She would never harm a child! She is a healer through and through…and watches with what might for a Fennod be an expression of abject horror as Howahkan eats the glass. “Oh. Oh. Howie. The steak is coming…” She reaches out and fills her glass to the brim and slides it over to the Wolfen.See, the wine itself holds zero interest for Zyx, but the glass… now that’s a different story. It’s like a crystal, but with a complete lack of lattice structure. It’s FASCINATING. And now that Howie’s eaten a glass, she wants to do the same. Of cours, if Krunch decides he wants to visit, she’ll likely end up distracted by that. Good luck getting her attention again, but she’ll likely go along with whatever it was that Hunter proposed. Why not?
Kaji Haragami is not a drinker. He’s never had a sip in his life. His mother had advised against it, the problems of alcohol consumption drilled into him throughout gradeschool and something about his blood being too thin besides. He waves a hand, trying to signal to Kthzyx that he’s all right, despite the spot of trouble. “-‘m okay,” he manages to gasp before heaving a sigh.
“Yeah, let’s not do that again…” he says as he turns around, still leaning against the counter. Running a hand over his face, it’s perhaps a mistake for him to have peered past his fingers just then as he witnesses Howahkan consume…a bottle of wine. Liquid and all. Thankfully Dalia seems to have seen this as well, so it’s not just him hallucinating or something. That’s… Yuck. He shudders.
“Mmmmaybe I should head back to Grans,” he suggests to absolutely no one but himself. Or…perhaps to inform Kthzyx. He’s sure she can find her way back, and what with her crystal…ness, they seemed more interested in getting her feedback (Ha!) anyway.
What starts as a bit of wining and dining turns into crystal-eating, earth-choking and head-achenology curing... This is Vesper!
February 09, 2410
Winery, Glowtown, Vesper