Saturday, November 5, 2011

Player 5: Imbalance of Terror (pt 2)

Last time, on Tales of Woot:

And now, the continuation . . .

Captain's log, supplemental. Sometimes, in the line of duty, a Captain is caught in totally coincidental situations which threaten his very life. It seems that a totally random and unforeseeable fire has consumed this structure I found myself in. I spent some time this morning trying to figure out how to delete some of the log entries I stored in my brain. Unfortunately they don't teach us that in the Academy. If I survive this, I might put in for reassignment to teach cadets how to deal with being stranded on bizarre worlds where the very laws of physics don't even apply and most things exist just to murder you. Perhaps I will devise some sort of class 4 probe that contains a small photonic detonator and I will have a lecture where I just shoot those at students for a few hours.

However, I did not have much time to contemplate my syllabus. With most of the structure gone, and because someone had removed most of the torches scattered around the compound, monsters started attacking me right where I slept. I had to beat this creature with my bare hands. Fortunately, it did not explode, but it did resemble a partially decaying humanoid of some sort. Good thing I took the zombie extension courses at Starfleet Academy. No - wait - there aren't any zombie extension courses at Starfleet Academy.

In the light of the morning, I examined what was left of the building. The (apparently fireproof) glass was just floating in the air where it was originally. Why anybody would build something out of anything but this magical glass I don't know. In fact, in the glorious view of hindsight, it seems quite foolish to build anything out of a material that burns so quickly and completely, and then cover it in flaming torches. I was beginning to have a deep resentment for the native residents of this world. Sleep deprivation was weakening my grip on the Prime Directive. I still needed to flee this place before the moron who built it returned. I mean, before the sanctified and honorable race of primitive souls climbs out of whatever stupid caves they've been hiding in and reclaims their perfectly suitable smouldering ruins. There, I honored my duty to respect the local society.

Then, however, I found a curious thing. Under where the tower once was I found a hidden staircase. Perhaps someone meant for the building to burn down. Perhaps I didn't violate the Prime Direc -- I mean perhaps the random and completely out-of-my-control fire that just happened to start near me was totally a good thing.

The stairs led to a short tunnel underground. I decided to just leave these torches where they were. I was very hopeful that this secret tunnel would finally lead me to the answers I desperately sought.

Oh, it just leads to the stupid underground storage room, which has now been infested with what appears to be animated humanoid skeletons armed with primitive bows. That's what this world needed: animated humanoid skeletons armed with ranged weapons.

Oh, wait -- the tunnel LED to the underground storage room, which HAD BEEN infested with humanoid skeletons which WERE animated and SHOT at me with arrows. Why am I supposed to record these logs in the past tense if I'm just thinking about them as they happen? Answer that for me, Starfleet Academy. Stupid Professor Data and his big positronic asshole face, teaching an entire semester about taking logs and yet never telling us what to do about animated corpses. Your inaction to tell me what to do about skeletons with bows and arrows has led me to great harm. WHAT ABOUT THE THREE LAWS, DATA? WHAT ABOUT THE THREE LAWS?

I went ahead and just rebuilt my signal, less worried about upsetting the locals (since, you know, I already burned their house down), and set off to the mountains. I just wanted to leave this stupid, deadly place.

Nearby I saw a cave in the ground, apparently lit from within with more magic torches. I decided not to explore it, since it would probably be as full of animated skeletons as everything else was. Or maybe this cave was full of an entirely new monster of some sort, like giant spiders, or something else right out of my nightmares. One thing I can say about this world is that with most of the monsters taking various humanoid forms, at least there aren't any spiders. I hate spiders.

As I got closer to the mountain, I could see that there appeared to be some sort of artificial structure atop it. Perhaps it would not be as good a hiding place as I thought. Still, I decided to go ahead and investigate it. Hopefully if it was entirely made of rock there would be less risk of me completely destroying this one.

I found a long set of stairs leading to the top of the mountain. It all seemed deserted, like it was placed there for me to find. Had I appeared in a remote section of the world, or was this all there was on the entire planet?

I went up the stairs, feeling good about not joining the rock climbing club at the Academy. If the mountains all have staircases, I wouldn't need any rock climbing experience.

The view was quite impressive from atop the mountain platform. I could see no other structures in the distance, aside from the ruins of the building I had left. Was this world truly empty?

The platform had a strange hatch, leading to a long, narrow hole. I could fit inside, but I would certainly not survive a fall through it. Take that, world. I have avoided one of your many stupid traps. You will have to try harder than that to get this captain.

The platform had a long bridge connecting it with another nearby mountaintop, with a line of magic torches running along it. I thought about adding these torches to my collection, but I had enough already.

More torches were scattered about at the end of the bridge. Someone - or something- had been here before me. I was beginning to think these were not signs of civilization, but of a single individual, exploring this dangerous world. Like me, was my predecessor alone? Where was he now - er, then? Where was he at this point, when I was there; as opposed to now when I'm recording this? Where was he going to have been when I was where I was being to have gone. -- Whatever, you get what I'm trying to say.

Atop the next mountain, I found something quite bizarre. A small pool of water, set inside the mountain, was filled with a creature quite similar to pigs from Earth. How they found their way into the hole is beyond me, but they could obviously not escape. Was this the work of my predecessor once again? If this was supposed to be a source of food, why would it be so far from the compound? I may not have taken the "Constructing a Lake of Pigs" course at the Academy, but I know enough to not put it so far into the area where you could be pretty easily killed and / or exploded.

Pleased by the sight of animals that did not want to attack me, I decided to help the pig creatures escape from the hole. It felt good to actively thwart my predecessor's actions. All in all, this was a good moment for my morale.

The strange moon of this world was rising again. Would the dangerous night monsters soon be upon me? I suddenly felt that I had just doomed the pig creatures to a fate similar that of the wooden structure I destroyed. I was a bit of a harbinger of doom on this planet. I better get back to my bed, I have some log editing to do.

I decided that I would go back to the ruins and try to decipher more about this world. In hindsight perhaps I should have tried to learn more about this world before I burned what is my only real shelter to the ground. This really is the Academy's fault. They did not prepare me for this. Ask me about a no-win scenario, I'll have your answer, but I am just dreadfully unprepared to deal with animated humanoid skeletons and lakes of pigs and walking torpedoes. I'll have to prepare a letter to Professor Data.

Dear Professor Data, Thank you for telling me all about Quantum Neutrinos and Transducers. The joke you told us about the Ferengi in a Gorilla suit was great fun to retell at parties. Oh, hey, I had a quick thought. Maybe in the future you can teach your cadets actual information that will keep them from being murdered the moment they set foot on a strange planet. Here's a tip you can tell cadets in the future: never use the Holodeck. Problem solved. Also I still think I deserved an A on that paper about Ancient Bajoran literature.

When I get back to the ship, I'm having my engineer turn the Holodeck into a storage bay. Better yet, I'm just going to have it removed altogether, and the entire room will just be open to space. HOLLOW DECK.

While I'm on the subject, I'll just go ahead and never use the transporters again, either. From now on, it's nothing but shuttles for me.

Now hold on, Captain. Get a hold of yourself. Remember your first Duty: respect all worlds. This planet isn't that bad. It has its own unique beauty. There is something very calming about the subtle motion of the clouds, and the gentle rolling of the hills. In fact, it's almost -- wait a second, what is . . .


To be continued . . .

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