DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 50: Quarry
[flip of a coin]
girlsandgadgets wrote in damned
[From here.]

The top of the hill gave way to even rockier terrain as the land collapsed into a gorge. The sight wasn't entirely unwelcoming- there were signs of civilization: papers, more signs, equipment. Shining a light into the pit revealed ladders- it was a quarry. Edgar couldn't help but wonder what sort of mining they would be doing within walking distance of an institution, especially one that was more like a prison. As the town was within Landel's influence, it was likely the mining area to the north was as well. Now the question was what use Landel had for the resources obtained from the quarry. It seemed getting away from the asylum only created more questions about it.

The beam of light illuminated something Edgar recognized: a tool- more specifically, a drill. It was only down a ledge- within reach if he wanted to test one of the rickety ladders. He cursed his shoulder, not only for its biting pain, but the fact that it forced him to be overly cautious. It wouldn't have been hard to carry the drill up the ladder with two hands- maintaining his balance with only one was a lot harder, and he'd already done quite a bit of damage to his injury.

Still, as well as the tool, there were bound to be clues hinting at the location of the institute or about the digging project lying around. On the other hand, they could save item-hunting for another night and continue their way through the grounds around their prison. Temptation was certainly calling. Perhaps if he could simply get down there, grab the drill, then head back up with Gren holding the ladder steady?

He eyed Gren, trying to think of a way to communicate what he was thinking. He left his light on the drill below. "I'm sure you're aware how much I'd like that," he said, making an obvious nod toward it. "I," -he pointed toward himself- "am going to get it." He gave another nod to the drill. "Did you get any of that, Gren? Or is it as I'm thinking and the good doctor has made it nigh impossible for us to understand one another?"
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From the look on Edgar's face, Gren suspected he was finally realizing, like he had, that this was more than just an after affect of the noise over the radio. Somehow, their ability to understand each other had been scrambled, and if the way that Edgar was frowning at those batteries was any indication, it extended to written words too. It made a certain amount of sense, he supposed. He hadn't put much thought before now into how it was everyone seemed to be able to understand each other--there were simply more pressing concerns. Thankfully, the signs seemed to be in English, if in bad shape. It was somewhat comforting to know the language apparently hadn't changed that much in the intervening years.

At the top of the hill, an abandoned quarry came into view, looking as bleak as the rest of the landscape, though judging by all the litter scattered around, it had been in use until fairly recently. It didn't look like the place was going to yield them much in the way of clues, but it would make for good scavenging.

He was just eying up the rusting hulk of a nearby truck when he caught Edgar focusing on something with his flashlight. He stepped closer, looking down and spotting the drill his roommate had found. Judging from the gestures, he guessed Edgar wanted to go get it, but when the man spoke again, it was still gibberish to him. He tapped his ear and shook his head 'no,' hopefully conveying the fact that he still couldn't understand a word Edgar was saying. Then he pointed to the blond, pointed to the drill, and nodded again, gesturing 'okay' as he did so. Hopefully it wouldn't turn out to be some rude gesture back wherever Edgar came from, and if they got through this, and the effect war off, he was going to take the time to teach his roommmate a few of the hand signals he still remembered, just in case this ever happened again.

He wasn't too sure how Edgar was going to manage the drill and the less than sturdy looking ladder with his bad shoulder, but Gren supposed he could wait there and keep an eye on him while he did so, just in case he ran into trouble. Investigating the truck could wait for now. He didn't think it was going to go anywhere on its own.

Though frustrated that they couldn't understand each other through verbal communication, Edgar got what Gren was trying to convey... or he hoped he did, anyway. As long as it was something along the lines of, "No, I can't understand you," and "Yes, you go get the drill," there was a chance they could handle themselves until Landel undid whatever he'd done.

With a nod, he set his shovel on the ground for now, heading for the nearest ladder that could take him to the ledge. He knelt by the edge a moment, gauging the distance- it was only a head or two higher than the courtyard wall, and he decided it'd be harder for him to maneuver himself onto to ladder from the top with his arm. Swinging his legs over the side, he slid down carefully, landing on the ledge without injury.

The drill was a little larger than Edgar had initially expected, but it was no less a beautiful sight. He examined it a moment, then picked it up, returning it to the ground soon after- it was manageable for carrying with both hands, but climbing one-handed up the already questionable ladder with it was out of the question. He did take a few stray drill bits and rods that were scattered nearby, as well as the air hoses from the drill itself, tucking them into his sling.

Climbing the ladder took several tense seconds of every rung creaking beneath his weight, but it held long enough for him to reach the top. He sighed as he took his shovel in hand again, wondering how long it had been since the quarry had been used. The machinery itself wasn't in bad condition, but the ladders were in a state of disrepair, as though they'd been in the elements for some time. One would think people would learn to craft all their equipment out of stronger materials.

Satisfied for now, he tried communication again. He pointed at Gren, then to the giant machine he'd been eyeing earlier, giving him a questioning look. "Shall we?"

Gren kept watch while Edgar dropped down to the ledge and fiddled around with the drill. It must have been too heavy to contemplate carrying, though, as the blond returned without it after scavenging some of the pieces. Maybe if they found some rope... well. He'd keep an eye out, anyway. For now, it was probably safe where it was, anyway. It certainly didn't seem like the quarry got much in the way of visitors.

Gren nodded when Edgar pointed from him to the truck, and began walking in that direction. He didn't hold out much chance of it actually starting, nor was he sure where they would go if he could get it moving, but the stone that had been quarried here had to have been taking somewhere after all.

The vehicle in question wasn't in very good shape. It had clearly been sitting out in the elements for a long time now. Still, it would have been foolish not to investigate. The door was rusted, but popped open after a few stubborn tugs. It was only then he realized the steering wheel was on the wrong side. He pulled himself inside anyway and leaned over, studying the controls. Some of it was familiar, but it was old enough that he wasn't sure he could operate it, and one look at what he thought was the ignition made him give up on the thought entirely. It needed some kind of key he certainly didn't have.

A few more moments worth of inspection let him locate the hood release, judging by the markings on it, and there was a encouraging noise from the front of the vehicle that seemed to indicate it wasn't completely rusted shut.

He hopped down out of the vehicle and walked around to the front, heaving the hood up to expose the engine. He wasn't a mechanic by any means, and the tangle inside wasn't even remotely familiar to him, but maybe Edgar would want to take a look. Once he had the hood safely propped up, he waved the other man over.

Edgar stood back as Gren inspected the machinery, looking over the it from the outside with a keen eye. Four wheels, a cargo area in the back- it was for transportation. No place to hook chocobos or any other beast of burden to it, so it had to be self-propelled. He circled around the back as Gren hopped inside, trying to get a good look from another angle. An exhaust pipe was on the back. There had to be an engine somewhere in there, but did it run on steam, some sort of fuel, or an energy cell? Or was it a mixture of magic and machine akin to the top-of-the-line Magitek armor?

The machinist didn't have to wait long to find his answers. As he returned to the front, he caught sight of Gren waving him over, having opened the front compartment for the vehicle. The sight inside was a feast to behold: exposed wiring, rusty valves, dirt-encrusted pistons, pumps and pipes and tubes of every sort- all probably ruined from exposure, but fascinating nonetheless. He shined his light at the engine first, cursing himself for leaving all of his basic tools behind. Dismantling an engine with one's bare hands was never a good plan (though he did give turning the bolts a try, only to find they'd been rusted far too long as it was).

A large component caught his eye- a power cell? It did look necessary to start the engine or heat up the water that would be used to power it. Something had to come from that exhaust pipe- why would the design have it there otherwise? He stroked his chin, considering it as he headed for the cabin. Sliding into the seat, he took a look at the steering wheel- a little like Setzer's airship, but more compact. The knobs and buttons on the console failed to react. Alas, if only he'd thought to bring his toolkit! He considered the evening a lesson learned.

Stepping out of the vehicle, he took another look around, wondering where they might head next. The area had such potential, making it doubly irritating that he'd not thought to take at least a few basic instruments with him. He was sure he'd be back eventually. Until then, they needed to keep moving. "Gren," he addressed plainly, hoping his name could be understood in some fashion. "Where to now? That way- " he pointed eastward, then west with his other hand- "or that way?"

Gren watched while Edgar poked around the vehicle, though it seemed he wasn't going to be able to do anything with it, at least not tonight. Maybe if they'd had some tools... Edgar must have had some somewhere if he was building a weapon like the one he'd mentioned earlier, and the route out here seemed safe enough to undertake again some time. Gren just wished he had a better idea of how the truck was supposed to run, himself. Maybe they'd be able to find someone who belonged to this era to give them a hand. It was an idea to bring up later, anyway, once they could understand each other again. Assuming that ever happened, of course.

Whatever the case, it would have to wait for another night, and the trip up here had hardly been a waste, regardless. He nodded slightly when Edgar said his name. It seemed it was simply a language barrier, then. That made a certain amount of sense. He looked in both directions, trying to decide which was the better option. In one direction, the terrain grew steadily rockier and distinctly unfriendly looking. In the other, the trees grew in thicker, eventually converging into a proper forest. Neither looked particularly hospitable, and the tree cover would make good cover for anything that wanted to do them harm, but it also looked easier to navigate, and he was starting to worry about Edgar's shoulder. He supposed that if worse came to worst, and there was something ugly in the woods waiting for them, he had two fairly serviceable arms and could defend them. It seemed a better idea than climbing all over a craggy terrain. He gestured towards the trees, but would defer his decision if the blond decided he was up for a challenge.

Edgar nodded. Gren had understood his name when spoken, if not much else- it was a language issue then, as he'd expected. How long would the effect last? All night, or into the next day, or was it an permanent change? It certainly would hinder progress against Landel, as it was unlikely that many of the patients would be speaking the same language if the "multiple worlds" theory was true.

Then again, Landel had proven himself a man who liked challenges. Perhaps the rebels were getting too close to him, and he'd thrown up his defenses in retaliation; however, there was a chance he was tiring of the game he'd created and wanted to spice things up. Edgar sighed- it was hard to guess the motivations of a man he'd never met.

He looked both paths over again. Gren had indicated to the trees that lined the path east of the institution- while the trees could provide more cover for lurking beasts, it offered the two men similar protection, as well as blocking some of the biting wind. Edgar agreed with his choice, leading the way southeast.

[To here.]

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