It's been a rather quiet day on Nimby's refuge, which in itself is remarkable. Jenora has been spending the occasional night in one of the newly finished rooms in the felitaur tower, and is about to head out to explore some more when a soft chime comes from the view screen and a static filled picture of Copernicus comes onto the screen.
Jenora says, "'Allo 'allo. 'Ow goes?"
Copernicus's image seems a bit wooden, but it's probably the bad connection. "Kainudy and WolfSinger found some odd things going on with some figurines in Haven. They're at the house where Chastity will be running an embassy for us. I'm dealing with this problem at my end, think you might be able to go help them for me?"
Jenora stands up, padding over towards the viewscreen. "All right. What's with all the static on the connection? Haven't seen it this bad in a while."
Copernicus's image wavers, "Oh, you know how they like to double check stuff, probably rewiring the system again."
Jenora hmmms. "All right. Hope it gets fixed up soon. You might want to check on that, though, while you're up there."
The image of Copernicus nods, "I'll get on it right after this. Good luck Jenora."
Jenora says, "See you later."
With a curt nod, the screen blanks.
Jenora yawns, stretching, and throws on some clothing before heading out. She walks up to the 'landing pad' at the top of the tower, and takes off from there, zipping off towards the house.
At the embassy house, Kainudy drums her claws on the floor. "I hope they finish expanding the bedrooms soon."
WolfSinger barks, "big enough for me...."
Kainudy grumbles, "Wolves can sleep under rocks though.."
Simtra looks up from where he is working on the floor, "There is only so much I can do."
WolfSinger barks, "only if it's a soft rock...."
Kainudy says, "At least you work quietly, Simtra."
WolfSinger's tail wags. "Of course, a nice grassy field is better."
Simtra chuckles and keeps on working, listening to the two talk.
Kainudy eyes the kitchen, and ponders breakfast..
A firm rap can be heard on the door.
Kainudy perks up, and calls, "Are you a door-to-door baker?"
Jenora calls back, "No, but people have said I'm hot enough to cook things with..."
Kainudy grins, "It's Jenora. Go let her in, WolfSinger."
WolfSinger barks, "and I thought 'taurs and their appetites were bad...."
WolfSinger pads over to the door and opens it.
Simtra stops working and cleans up the area.
Jenora grins, waves to WolfSinger, then steps inside.
Kainudy says, "Hello Jenora! I see you didn't bring any donuts.."
Jenora says, "No, I'm afraid not."
Kainudy asks Simtra, "Turning Point has donuts, right?"
WolfSinger barks, "what's a donut?"
Simtra says, "Yes, I believe they do."
Another, sharp rapping at the door.
Jenora blinks, and turns around to look at the door.
"Who is it?" the dragon calls again, "And do you have any donuts?"
"It's a messenger ma'am. I have a package, no idea what's in it.
Kainudy says, "Must be something for you then, Simtra?"
Jenora says, "Who's the package for?"
Simtra nods and heads for the door, "Coming!"
WolfSinger tilts his head, watching.
Simtra opens the door.
A rather tall looking fox in smart but simple clothes says, "It's for Kainudy. Anyone here by that name? Ya gotta sign for it."
Jenora pads in towards Kainudy. "Kai, it's for you."
Kainudy blinks, and goes over towards the door. "A package? Who is it from?"
WolfSinger barks, "awwwww.. nothing for me?"
Simtra backs up from the door to let Kainudy out.
Jenora peers around to watch the expression on the poor courier's face when he sees the dragon.
Kainudy sits up on the outer steps once she clears the door.
The courier looks up and gulps, and hands out a piece of paper, "S'ssign here."
Simtra chuckles as he is starting to get used to so many strange looking creatures.
Kainudy takes the slip and holds it up against the wall of the building.. then asks the courier, "Do you have a pen?"
The fox hands out a pencil like crayon stick to the blue dragon.
Kainudy writes very slowly to avoid tearing the paper, then hands both back to the courier. "Do you expect a tip too? I don't have any money."
The fox blinks, "No, my tip was include. Have a nice day." and quickly heads out the front path and out of sight.
Kainudy shrugs, then picks up the package and examines it.
The package was obviously done in Haven, but the claw mark style writings indicate it's from the felitaurs.
WolfSinger chuckles. "come on! Open it up already!"
Kainudy takes it back inside, and hands it to WolfSinger. "Would you do the honors and open it up?"
Simtra closes the door behind her.
WolfSinger nods!! and snatches the package, and rips it open like a kid on Christmas.
Jenora shakes her head. "Anyhow, Kai, Copernicus asked me to come over here..."
Inside the good sized box is two other boxes, both of which smell of food. The last is a leather pouch that jingles, and a computer printed letter from Copernicus.
"He did, Jenora?" Kainudy asks. "Maybe he's finally learning to delegate stuff then."
Kainudy pulls out the letter first, and gives it a quick read..
Simtra smells the food and looks over WolfSinger shoulder to see what else is in the box.
Jenora says, "Something about the figurines, and hoping I could help with them. His signal was rather fuzzy."
Kainudy smirks, "That's a new way to describe Coper's thinking.."
Simtra does not seem to quite to listening to what is being said.
Jenora snorts. "No, I meant static on the transmission."
Kainudy blinks, "Static?" then goes back to trying to decipher the printout.
Dear Kainudy, I have given you a good supply of money, along with some doughnuts and some cold ham and pineapple pizza. Check out Turning Point for me as best you can. I think some of the mines in the mountains to the North of Turning Point may be a good place to start. Good luck, I'll join you when I can. Copernicus Skygazer
Jenora nods. "Static."
Kainudy hmms, and hands the letter over to Jenora, then opens the coin pouch and pours out the contents. "Don't touch the donuts, WolfSinger. There's a special treat for you in the other box though."
Nearly 30 gold coins rattle out, along with a few silver and copper ones for change.
Jenora whistles at the coinage. "Not bad." She picks up the letter and looks it over.
Kainudy asks Simtra if this is enough money to get them to Turning Point and back.
Simtra eyes widen as he looks over the coins, "Yes it would. With a good amount left over"
Kainudy opens the other two boxes, giving the pizza to WolfSinger to try and offering donuts to Simtra and Jenora.
Simtra munches happily on the donut that is handed to him.
Jenora grins, and munches on the donut. "Thanks."
Jenora says, "So... where are these figurines?"
After eating some of the donut Simtra says, "Oh one thing that you might want to know if you are planning a trip to Turning Point is that the shorter way is overland and then by boat, since the trip that is totally over land it too long."
Kainudy pulls out the 'wiped' figurines from the booth, and also the amber one that Simtra showed them.
Jenora picks one of them up, and looks it over...
Jenora says, "Okay, now what are the 'odd things' that Coper was talking about?"
Kainudy says, "These were the ones we got yesterday. The datagrams inside them vanished after WolfSinger's laser set off some sort of reaction. The amber one is Simtra's, and still has a data lattice in it."
Jenora blinks. "Data lattices? Laser?"
Simtra hmms, "What are you taking about?"
Kainudy says, "Well.. if you hold it up to the light right, you'll notice a sort of shimmering latticework inside."
Jenora nods, picking up the amber one to peer at the light through it.
Simtra says, "Is that some of that magic you two were using when I first saw you."
Kainudy nods to Simtra.
WolfSinger munches on his pizza as he watches the others. "It wasn't magic though... well, maybe it was... that little laser shouldn't have had that kinda reaction.
Simtra says, "What's a laser?"
WolfSinger barks, "well, it's a device that makes a special kind of light beam."
Simtra oohs and sits down in a chair and watches the group.
Jenora nods. "It makes a very bright light that's all the same colour and all going in exactly the same direction. It can burn holes in things if you make one bright enough."
WolfSinger barks, "wanna see?"
Simtra says, "You must be some sort of powerful magicians then."
Jenora looks up through the amber again. "So there's some form of hologram in here, then?"
Simtra shudders slightly, "No, that is ok WolfSinger."
Kainudy says, "That's what I thought at first, Jenora, but it seems to both store information and process it as well somehow."
Jenora says, "An optical computer then..."
Kainudy says, "The first one we tried to analyze produced some images intercepted from satellites, and then it self destructed."
Kainudy says, "Oh, and it apparently wiped out the short-term memory of the person that was doing the analysis, so that he'd completely forgotten about it afterwards."
WolfSinger barks, "and the second one shot out some kinda powerful beam."
Jenora hmmms. "Some time of one-use messaging device, then... designed to self-destruct when it's finished relaying its message."
Jenora blinks. "Wiped the short-term memory? How was that accomplished?"
Simtra keeps siting where he is, looking more and more fearful as he listens to the others talk.
Kainudy says, "Dunno. Copernicus suspects magic, since neither WolfSinger or I were affected, and we have shielding against that sort of thing."
Jenora says, "Who was affected?"
WolfSinger looks over at Simtra.
Jenora says, "Specifically, was it one of the felitaurs?"
Kainudy nods, "Boros, a young male that was working on the shuttles."
WolfSinger nods!! "His name was Boros. He works on repairing shuttles."
Simtra says, " Shuttles?"
Jenora hmms, nodding. "It might not have been magic; it could have been something designed to affect the felitaurs. We've already run into things like that on this world."
Kainudy says, "Well.. after the incident yesterday, nobody remembered the booth where we got the figures. They didn't even remember ME being there earlier."
Jenora says, "All right, that's weirder. Were they all felitaurs, or were some non-felitaurs affected?"
Kainudy says, "No felitaurs this time. All locals."
Kainudy says, "The booth itself was missing. And in a crowded marketplace, how likely is it that nobody would notice a big empty space?"
WolfSinger barks, "yep... very strange."
WolfSinger whispers to Simtra, "a shuttle is a small flying machine."
Jenora shakes her head, and sits down.
Kainudy says, "We could try to trigger Simtra's figurine, and wait to see if he loses his memory afterwards.."
Simtra nod and his tail lashes to and fro wildly.
Jenora says, "I think we should _ASK_ Simtra first..."
Jenora turns to Simtra. "Sorry for leaving you out of the conversation here..."
WolfSinger barks, "yeah... don't want his melting, either. "
Kainudy says, "His is made of a different material though. Maybe it's a different kind of lattice?"
Simtra looks up and folds his ears back as they look at him.
Kainudy says, "Well, yeah, I suppose we should ask first. Otherwise, we can take off WolfSinger's collar and try it on him instead."
WolfSinger barks, "ummmm.... my... ahh... collar doesn't come off."
Simtra blinks! "You want to collar me!"
Jenora says, "No, no, we don't want to collar you, don't worry..."
Jenora says, "You see, the collar protects him from magic; Kainudy meant to remove his protection and see what happened to him instead, not to you."
Simtra says, "Magic? You are magicians!"
Simtra looks as he is about to bolt.
Kainudy says, "It's not OUR magic though, Simtra.."
Kainudy says, "We could probably just hire someone off of the street. That way, if it works and they lose their memory, we won't have to pay them."
Jenora says, "Not really. This figurine may be magic, though, and that's what we want to know."
Jenora smirks at Kainudy. "You are _NOT_ being reassuring."
Kainudy shrugs, and grins. "Well, you're the only genuine mage among us, Jenora. What do you suggest?"
Jenora snorts. "And I am _NOT_ a mage."
Jenora sighs, and looks up at the figurine again. "I'm not sure."
WolfSinger barks, "Simtra, magic is nothing to be afraid of if it is used properly."
Simtra shakes, "But you use magic. This laser, shuttle, and data things are all your magic items and you will destroy the planet has I know it, again.
Jenora says, "No, no... the laser isn't magic. Nor is the shuttle. The figurine we're not sure about."
Kainudy says, "You use tools, Simtra. Did you make the tools?"
WolfSinger barks, "Simtra.... let me ask you something.... what is the most fantastic, complex non-magical device you can thing of?"
Jenora hmmms. "Look, have you seen a magnifying lens? A curved piece of glass that focuses light? You can set something on fire with that. Think of a laser as being a really strong lens..."
Simtra says, "I have seen such a lens once. I guess that would not be magic then."
WolfSinger barks, "okay... that's a good example."
Simtra says, "But what about the other things. . ."
WolfSinger barks, "if you showed that lens to someone who didn't know what it was, and they say you start a fire with it, they might think it's magic, right?"
Jenora says, "Okay. Have you seen little rockets? Something explosive underneath that shoots a small object into the air, like fireworks. The shuttle is a much larger version of that, where you sit inside the object that gets shot into the air, and can steer it."
Simtra stops shaking but still looks nervous , "I would guess so. . ."
Kainudy says, "They make me nervous too, Simtra, if it's any consolation."
Kainudy grins, "But then, this house makes me slightly nervous."
Jenora says, "That's because it wasn't built for someone your height."
WolfSinger barks, "some idea... shuttles and lasers aren't magic, but since you don't know how it works, it just seems like magic to you."
Kainudy says, "Oh, I know how they work. That's why I'm nervous."
Simtra nods, "I guess. I will wait and see then. . . But I guess you are not magicians tho"
Simtra sits back and tries to understand what the group was talking about.
Kainudy says, "And the house makes me nervous because it's made of dead trees."
Simtra says, "And what is wrong with that, being made of dead trees."
Simtra says, "What else would we make it of?"
Kainudy says, "Live trees."
WolfSinger barks, "dragon's don't like dead trees... burns too easily. Sneezing when encased in dry wood can be hazardous to dragons."
Kainudy blinks at WolfSinger, but doesn't comment since Simtra seems to like that answer.
WolfSinger winks at Kai. ;>
Kainudy says, "Anyway.. Since Simtra got his figuring in Turning Point and the vanishing feline merchant that provided the others says they come from Turning Point.. we were going to go to Turning Point and look around."
Simtra manages to raise his ears back up, "So what does all of this magic err tools have to do with my statue?"
Kainudy says, "Your statue is probably a magic tool, Simtra."
Kainudy says, "And whoever makes them has been eavesdropping on the Chirr'T'Thar communications."
Simtra nods and tries to understand.
Kainudy says, "At least.. the one that WolfSinger was given was. They might just absorb information from wherever they are. Yours could have been spying on you all this time, Simtra."
Simtra says, "I don't see how, but if you say so, I guess it might be able too."
Jenora just peers quietly at the figurine...
Kainudy says, "And this stuff come from a mine.. so either they're mining some sort of computer, or else someone in Turning Point is embedding these things into the figures."
Jenora hmmmmms... "Weird." She turns to Simtra. "Do you mind if I try something with it? I can't promise I won't damage it."
Simtra says, "If you are not going to damage it, I guess so. I do like what it looks like."
Jenora nods. "I'll try not to, then." She sets it down, licks one claw, and taps it lightly.
Simtra watches intently at what Jenora is doing.
WolfSinger barks, "whatcha gonna do?"
Kainudy says, "Don't worry, Jenora's very good at this. I've never seen her accidently blow anything up."
The figurine makes a dense sounding soft 'thunk', like someone had tapped a rock with a claw tip.
Jenora hmmms, frowning, and licks the claw again, then flicks lightly at it.
WolfSinger tilts his head, watching.
A slight flicker of the inside can be seen, as if the complex crystalline "circuitry" is trying to channel whatever Jenora has put into it.
Jenora hmmms. "Weird."
Kainudy says, "Can you tell if whatever is in there is.. complete?"
Jenora hmmms. "Not without a fair bit more work than I'd feel safe putting into it right now."
Jenora holds a hand out. "Kai, could you give me a couple of those coins? One silver, one copper."
Kainudy passes over the requested coins.
Jenora sets the coins down next to the figurine. "All right, let's try this from a different angle." There's an audible 'snap' of static electricity as touches both the coins.
The figurine lights up a bit more this time, and as the crystalline matrix inside starts to light up, a faint modulated e.m beam reaches the figurine.
Simtra blinks at seeing the static electricity, "Oh, I just remember I need to go into town to get some more tools, I will be back later."
Simtra says, "If you would excuse me."
Jenora winces, and rubs her ear.
Jenora pulls away from the figurine, taking the coins with her.
Kainudy says, "Anything?"
Jenora says, "A little something, yes. Some sort of communications, I think."
Simtra stands up and hurries out the door, slamming it behind him.
WolfSinger barks, "Simtra!! wait!"
Simtra hears WolfSinger's shout and pokes his head back in the door. "Yes?"
WolfSinger barks, "There's nothing to be afraid of...."
Jenora isn't so sure of that herself, but doesn't say anything.
Simtra nods, "I guess so."
Simtra closes the door behind himself.
Kainudy just shrugs, and says, "Foxes," as if that explains everything.
Jenora shakes her head. "Well, that was annoying." She stands back up, and glares at the figurine.
Jenora says, "Okay. Now that we don't have to worry too much about scaring Simtra..."
Jenora hmmms, looking over the figurine. "Something left in there."
Kainudy says, "Any idea what it is?"
Jenora peers in closer...
WolfSinger barks, "remind me to have you look at my collar some day...."
Kainudy says, "Is it chafing, WolfSinger?"
Jenora blinks, and curses in about three different languages. "Whatever it just beamed out, isn't stored inside there anymore. Pretty severe entropic shift inside there."
Kainudy blinks. "So, the lattice is a transmitter?"
Jenora hmmmms. "I'm not sure. Now that I think of it, the beam wasn't going from the figurine, but to it. As if whatever was over at Turning point just ran an erase sweep on it."
Jenora frowns. "All right, one last shot to see what's left. Stand back."
Kainudy says, "The lattice was pretty fine.. I suppose a microwave burst at the right frequency could vaporize it."
WolfSinger barks, "yer not gonna melt it, are ya?"
Jenora says, "I don't plan to."
Jenora places her hands on either side of the crystal, and runs a quick controlled EM frequency sweep over it, building up a holographic image of the object in her mind.
WolfSinger barks, "Well, Boros didn't plan on melting the first one, either. "
Jenora says, "Whoah... neat."
Kainudy hmms. "Maybe it was th something in the machinery that caused the meltdown? What is it, Jenora??"
Jenora says, "Just that there's quite a bit of 'circuitry' in here. Looks like the memory's been dumped, but still a lot in here."
Jenora says, "It does look like it was once attached to something else, though."
WolfSinger barks, "how'd it get in there?"
Jenora shakes her head. "I don't think it's a matter of 'getting in there'... it looks like the whole crystal is grown to act as a base for this sort of circuitry, then the circuitry is etched into place."
Kainudy hmms. "It's not natural then?"
Jenora says, "Probably not."
Jenora says, "If it is, it's an amazing discovery in itself."
Jenora stares down at the figurine. "I think we should give this back to Simtra, then head out to the Turning Point to see what is really going on here..."
WolfSinger barks, "glad ya didn't melt it for him...."
Kainudy says, "There are mines to the north of the city where this stuff is supposed to come from. We'll need to check them out as well."
Jenora says, "Well, part of it is melted, just nothing obvious."
Jenora nods to Kai. "All right. How soon can we be ready for this?"
Kainudy says, "As soon as Simtra gets back, I imagine.."
Jenora says, "Assuming he does come back."
WolfSinger barks, "yeah... hope you didn't scare the poor guy off for good."
Kainudy says, "Either way, we can always find the route from orbit."
Jenora sighs. "Don't remind me."
Jenora says, "All right, we'll wait a few minutes for Simtra as we get anything together we'll want, then head out. Let's get to it."
High above in the orbital mining station, Copernicus calls up the tower on Nimby's Refuge. Ceres answers and grins as she looks at the crisp vid image. She was so proud of how well that system has been working the last two weeks. She purrs, "What's up Coper?". With a chuckle he purrs, "Oh, just wanted to make sure that Kainudy got that package ok."
WolfSinger barks, "ooooo!!! we're gonna go into space? Haven't been there in a LONG time!"
WolfSinger's tail wags excitedly!
Jenora shakes her head at WolfSinger, chuckling at his enthusiasm.
Ceres nods, "Sure did, a local courier dropped it off. Say, have you thought about our request to move our breeding date up a year?" at which point Copernicus chuckles nervously, "I'm taking it under consideration. Oh, and if you see Jenora anytime soon, tell her I could use her help ok?" after a few bits of flirting with his mate, the signal breaks, and he thinks . o O (Thank goodness they got that package. I know Kai will appreciate the money and food, but it was more important they get the note not to wander off to Turning Point yet till we analyze the structure of these crystals more, that, and I'm too busy to go with them for a few days due to the council meeting.)