Saturday, November 5, 2011

Player 5: The Entrapment Snare Factor (pt 1)

by Shauvon McGill

Captain's Log, Stardate four seven nine six one point two. I have been stranded. After a routine mission analyzing a globular cluster in the Caldora sector, I decided to give my crew a day to relax and catch up on some much needed R&R. I took the opportunity to try out a new Holodeck program I found recently, recreating the late-twentieth century phenomenon known as "Battlebots." However, the Holodeck malfunctioned, causing my ship, the U.S.S. Bozeman, to be overwhelmed with killer robots. My chief engineer decided to, rather cleverly, solve the problem using the ship's transporter, to beam me out of the dangerous area of the ship. However, since we were so close to the R-415 Globular Cluster, excess epsilon radiation overwhelmed our tertiary field grid, and I woke up here, on this unknown world.

It is a picturesque world, full of gentle hillsides and unassuming foliage. I have no way of knowing exactly what planet this is, however, so I must be careful.

I seem to be in good shape. I am still in the period clothes I was wearing in the Holodeck, so I do not have access to my com-badge or tricorder. As a result, I am committing this log entirely to my memory, as I was trained to do in the Academy. Duty dictates that I am not caught without having taken a log of the proceedings. Still, something about my condition feels . . . strange.

I am standing on a tower attached to some sort of construction. It is a simple wood-frame house with glass windows. From the looks of it, it is pre-industrial. There is no plumbing or electricity to be found. I certainly will find no help from the locals.

In fact, my first order of business will be to get away from this structure immediately. I do not belong here, and I could drastically disrupt the society here if I were found. Above all else, I must not violate the Prime Directive and cause any impact on this primitive society.

However, that poses a problem. The Bozeman is certainly looking for me, and once they track me to this planet they will be able to trace the transporter pattern to this location. If I left this general area, it will substantially increase the time it will take them to find me. I will have to leave some sort of marker for a search party to know which way I went.

The front door to this building has some sort of markings next to it. They must be a form of primitive language.

Inside is a large room, with several bookcases lining the opposite wall. The entire place looks deserted, but whomever lives here must be an avid reader.

A ladder leads underground. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to quickly look for some clues about my situation. I felt strangely comfortable here, like it was all somehow familiar.

It seems to be a large storage room of some kind. Many chests abound with more strange markings above each one. If I knew how to read this strange language perhaps I could find some useful tools or, if the situation merits, some sort of functional blocks. I would never know how to tell which chest contains such things, though.

A sign of some sort was standing in front of a door inside the storage room. Not knowing what the sign reads, I have no idea if it is a marker, or a warning.

The room was empty, though, so it must not be very important.

I decided to leave before I got into any trouble down there. I still do not know where I am, or for that matter, how to leave a message for my crew.

It was getting very dark outside, and the planet's only apparent moon was rising from the horizon. I could see some mountains there which might prove to be adequate shelter from the locals.

And then, finally, I saw one of the "locals." A very sickly-looking four-legged creature. Upon noticing me, it began running in my direction.

And then exploded. This planet seems to be much more dangerous than I originally thought. No wonder this building was surrounded by a large rock wall.

Another one of the exploding creatures noticed me, and I just had time to run back to the fortress, still holding the dirt that was flung at me from the first explosion.

That was a close one. I will have to keep a sharp eye in this world, especially at night.

Back in safety, I noticed that I was holding, in addition to the dirt, an unlit torch which must have been cast up by the explosion. Perhaps it would be helpful, even in constructing a message to my crew, but I had no idea how to light it.

But as soon as I stuck it into the ground, it lit itself. These strange magical torches were attached all over the building, I realized, and they never seem to go out or spread their flame to nearby objects. This world seems to have some very strange properties.

I decided to get some sticks from a nearby tree (within the safety wall), to try to make some more magic torches of my own.

But instead of simply breaking some branches or bark away, the trunk broke off in my hands. Again, this world's bizarre properties surprised me, as . . .

. . . the tree then . . .

. . . completely . . .

. . . disappeared! A small version of the tree fell out of it as it faded away. I decided to plant it where the tree stood. Perhaps this is the strange way in which plants propagate themselves on this world.

Good as new.

I broke the tree trunk into small pieces, similar to the torches. However, they do not seem to work the same way. I could simply place the sticks in the shape of an arrow pointing to the mountains in the distance, quietly informing any away parties that I traveled in that direction. However, another strange property of this world seems to forbid me from placing these sticks anywhere. I decided to venture out once more to try to find more secrets.

But more of those strange creatures were awaiting me. I was able to deftly avoid their explosive attacks, however.

Their explosions opened up a large cave underground, just outside the protective wall.

This world seems to be very rich with raw minerals. Normally I would be rich with such a wealth of resources just under the ground, but here I had no real use for them. Here is a small coal deposit opened up by my recent encounter. As a side note, don't try to collect coal with a stick. I still can't really figure out what these sticks are good for.

I make-shifted a pickaxe out of a stick and some stone back at the structure, to try to extract the coal from the deposit.

Strangely, the coal came right out of the rock quite easily - once I had the right tool, that is.

Then I tried my hand at some ore, which I extracted just as easily. I came up with an idea.

I noticed that the storage room contained a bank of large furnace-like mechanisms. They had two slots, and I think I figured out just what they were for. Sure enough, the ore fit in the top, and the coal I found fit in the bottom. In no time at all the ore was turned into iron. The immediacy and simplicity of this world was definitely admirable, but apparently comes at a price.

I found some flint in the explosion cave outside, and with the iron I had a working solution for starting a fire.

I tried to light some of the wood I had gathered on fire, and it was just as easy as everything else in this world. However, it was also just as fast. The wood burned to nothing in a matter of seconds. Just like the torches, though, it didn't spread to anything around it. I couldn't, however, use the flint to turn one of my sticks into a magic torch. This world still held many secrets.

I went back to the top of the tower to survey my surroundings and see if I could come up with a plan. Fortunately, I saw the perfect thing to do. I would need some torches, though.

I gathered some torches from the lower level and around the building. I hoped that whomever created them in the first place could just create some more.

I placed the torches in an arrow shape on the roof of the building. It was the perfect plan. Nobody around the building would notice, but it would be easily seen from space, like from the Bozeman in orbit.

Now, since I had gone through several days without seeing another person here (at least, none that didn't explode at me), I didn't think there would be any harm in spending another night here. There was a comfortable looking bed in the corner of the room.

The only problem was that now that all of the torches were gone, the room was quite dark, and I was afraid the local nocturnal creatures would return in the darkness. I would be much more comfortable with a bit more light, but since all I knew how to do was light a large fire, I figured that would have to do.

I lit a fire and prepared to get some sleep. I didn't worry too much about the blaze because I had seen that fire is quite easy to control and didn't spread at all. If the Academy taught me anything, it taught me that good Starfleet officers can enact a plan without running any tests on it. This fire would be perfect for both safety and comfort.

Perhaps I should have run a few more tests.

To be continued . . .


  1. Very entertaining read. Especially the part where you burnt down the house I spent so much time building. And the tree I kept alive as a Symbol of Woot.


  2. This must have took you a while.
    wwhat a neckbeard