The Raider King allows the party to recover from our first day in Purgatory in his spacious guest quarters. Coral swiped whatever food and drink she could from the remainders of the feast, for midnight snacks or possibly breakfast. The Bloody Hands guard remains outside the room to insure we are not disturbed during the night.
Dr. Powell is taken to the most comfortable area and settled in. Axel begins the interrogation of Dr. Powell. We learn:
Vortigus = Adam Powell = Dr. Powell’s brother = the children of the Elder
Adam was the first person to research the weaponized mutagen. He was fascinated with what he called the perfection of the mutants. He created a new strain of the mutagen and tested it on himself. He is the first of the smart mutants, he created the smart mutants. The creature that is Vortigus, Adam did it on purpose. He wants to make more smart mutants because they are perfectly adapted to live on this world.
She also had some more information on the mutagen. Raleigh was the foremost mutant researcher, after Adam turned, and he was entrusted to research the mutagen. The mutagen creates mutants from normal bioforms, mutants from humans. It was weaponized in the past and released. It caused the mutants of the waste. Day Zero happened to stop the mutations. Raleigh was researching the mutagen, but he was enamored of smart mutants as well. Clarke was supposed to keep it safe. It should be destroyed.
The Whisperer makes a comment that is completely unexpected, “would it be so bad? After all, they can survive. We can’t.” Dr. Powell is appalled and horrified. The rest of the party, is more thoughtful or at least fails to show their emotions as plainly as Dr. Powell.
For a short time we discuss what to do about the Cold One, wake her up, stall, or arrange a convenient accident during the awakening. Dr. Powell is adamant that she should just be killed. The Whisperer, Axel and William Tell are on the “wake her up” side although Axel could stall. Hedda and Coyote abstain being slightly too tipsy to be coherent. Coral would prefer to stall but argues for sleep and decide in the morning.
Everyone sleeps until quite late in the morning. Coyote and the Whisperer go out to track down Jonah. They hear some Raiders yelling “Look at this kid go.” Coyote and the Whisperer exchange looks, probably Jonah, and head over to the area. They find a ring of Raiders with all sorts of liquid holding containers surrounding a teenage boy swaying in the center. Oh good, it’s Jonah. The Raiders are filling a bottle or dipper with radioactive water and giving it to Jonah who drinks it down. 18 drinks, any normal person would be dead. Jonah is stuporous, drunk but still alive. “Jonah, Jonah,” the crowd chants. Coyote and the Whisperer push their way to the inner ring, but Jonah does not have his wits about him enough to recognize Coyote. Coyote and the Whisperer discuss what to do bet on Jonah, convince him to come away with them, drag him out, start a fight? The crowd seems to be no longer betting, rather they are trying to see how much he can drink before he falls over, preferably dead. They move in closer to Jonah and try to quietly convince him to leave. They invoke Dr. Powell but Jonah refuses. Whisperer suggests waiting until he passes out then dragging him off, Old Man Coyote agrees. Then Udah shows up and interrupts the spectacle. Coyote attempts to distract the crowd, the Whisperer cold cocks Jonah and slings him over his shoulder. The three of them leave the area to return to the rest of the party. Udah looks very thoughtful, why was Jonah able to drink radioactive water and foul grog without harm?
When the Whisperer and Coyote arrive with Jonah, Dr. Powell is very happy and relived to see him. “What happened to him? What did he do?” Whisperer and Coyote avoid the question and put Jonah to sleep on one of the mats.
Dr. Powell is somewhat well-rested but is still confused and concerned. The discussion about what to do with the Cold One starts up: kill her or revive her. Dr. Powell makes the cryptic statement, “What if you knew your entire world was a lie?” Before we could follow up on that statement, the Raider King arrives to take us to the Cold One. We leave Jonah to sleep off the drink.
The Raider King hands William Tell the Astronomy book he is reading. It is a thick book with odd places like Europe and Oxford in it. Axel, Tell and the Raider King chat about stars, Earth etc. Coral links arms with the Raider King and asks him point blank, “What do you hope to learn from the Cold One?”
“Why the stars are wrong and how we can fix them?” He tells her and all of them. Coral is confused, “What do you mean wrong?”
“The stars in the sky don’t match the stars in the book.” The Raider King replies.
Once in the chamber with the Cold One, Axel’s eyes begin to glow. If anything, he is more infatuated with the Cold One than the Raider King. Of course, Axel likes the tech, the Raider King likes the girl. Axel begins to prowl around the room. The Cold One has long black hair and is wearing some sort of close fitting garment with sensors embedded in it.
The readouts are in characters that Axel recognizes as Chinese. He figures out how to switch the readouts to English. Dr. Powell moves over to the medical information area and checks the vital signs. Hedda joins Dr. Powell to help and to keep an eye on her. The Whisperer and William Tell go over as well mainly to keep Dr. Powell from doing anything deliberate to harm the Cold One. No one is really sure what she will do. Axel gets the control panel up and running and learns the system. Coyote is casing the room hoping to be able to do something in an emergency. Coral waits by the Raider King until the action starts.
“There are several layers of security protocols. I think I can hack them. But if not, we risk failure and killing her.” Axel explains to the Raider King.
“Time is running out. The planet is dying. We need answers. Proceed.” The Raider King instructs Axel.
“Just to be clear, what happens if Axel fails through no fault of his own?” Coral asks.
“That would be unfortunate.” The Raider King replies impassively.
The party attempts to explain to the Raider King that maybe having someone else with more technical ability, maybe with more experience working with Advanced Tech like this would be a good idea. The Raider King will have none of it. Axel will do it and succeed or everyone pays the price. Giving into the inevitable, Axel alerts Dr. Powell to be ready, “here we go.” Coral moves over to the cylinder to watch the Cold One.
Axel works his magic with the cylinder’s controls. Dr. Powell monitors the vital signs readouts. The temperature in the chamber warms, the fluid becomes less viscous and the body begins to move a bit. There are some tense moments when the temperature goes too high or the security system is triggered. Finally, the fluid begins to drain and the chamber fills with gas, the Cold One coughs. Last step, a cardiac zap to restart her heart. The chamber splits open and the Cold One falls out onto the floor. Coral immediately covers her in towels and blankets and begins to quietly tell her it is okay over and over again. The Cold One is coughing, spitting, her eyes are closed against the bright light and she is shaking violently. Her breathing is weak. All symptoms of deep shock. Without opening her eyes, she mumbles something in a strange language. The Cold One is carried off to the Medical Tent so Dr. Powell can see to her recovery. Coral goes with her convinced that she will need a friend.
Everyone else is astonished. She does not speak our language!