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Summary[]

Join Alex, Helen, Bryn, Lydia and Ben as they prepare to re-enter the aurora.

This week Hamid learns to sound authoritative, Azu wards off trouble, and Zolf and Cel have a heart-to-heart.

Synopsis[]

Body swap graphic

The party continues on into the night; Siggif does some incredible dancing, Cel stays relatively sober to keep an eye on Carter, and everyone has a good time. Through the night, Azu and Cel realise that Carter’s problems stem from him not knowing how to entertain himself and needing some sort of external stimulus to throw himself at. They also realise that Carter seemed to be mellowing out a bit throughout the night, since things are starting to happen (and that Carter just has a really extreme form of cabin fever). Azu, for her part, has realised that Carter’s risk-tasking is more about bringing people in and getting attention.

With the party over, it’s the next morning, and Zolf, Cel, and Hamid have gathered the rest of the ship together, after having had a hearty breakfast made by Zolf, to discuss the plan to fly into another borealis. Earhart gestures for the three of them to present their ideas, and Cel launches into an explanation filled with a lot of technical jargon and complexity that is hard for everyone else to understand. Hamid politely interrupts them, mentioning that everyone really just needs to know the basic process and, most importantly, the outcome. Neither Cel nor Hamid say that it’s a definite, not wanting to give people false certainty, but both of them say that there’s a good chance it will work. Zolf adds that it’s their best option; Earhart asks about the risk, and Hamid answers that it’s small but still significant. She takes a moment and then steps back, saying that this isn’t a decision she can make for people, and it’s put to a discussion and a vote. No one speaks up immediately, not wanting to be the first person to speak. Hamid reassures people a bit, repeating that there is a good chance that this will work, but also a chance to make things worse or not change anything at all. Cel agrees, but adds that they, Zolf, and Wilde should abstain from the vote, since they didn’t have anything happen to them.

Meerk (in Barnes’ body) raises his hand, and checks with Skraak before asking what needs to be fixed in order to make this happen. Cel explains that they just need to shift a few things around; they know, but don’t say, that they don’t know many ways to reduce the margin of error, which is causing them no small amount of anxiety. Zolf notices that Cel is quite worried about all of this, and resolves to pull them aside when he gets a chance. [It’s also noted that neither Cel nor Zolf have told other people about the strange ship stuff from the borealis, nor have they talked to each other about it.] Earhart calls for an official vote, and asks for Cel, Zolf, and Wilde to abstain, which they agree with. She calls for the aye’s, and every NPC but Siggif raise their hands; after looking around, Siggif raises his hand as well. Hamid and Azu raise their hands as well. No one raises their hand for the nays; Earhart tells Cel to report ship changes to her, and then tells Zolf to oversee the rest of the project. She tells everyone else to get about their work, and asks Hamid to meet in her cabin. Hamid agrees, but turns to Zolf, mentioning that they should head a bit more north to try and find a borealis; Earhart says that this is what she wanted to talk to him about, and Hamid, awkwardly but earnestly, stumbles over telling Zolf to belay that order.

Hamid follows Earhart into her cabin, taking a seat. She explains that she brought him in for a few reasons, and asks that he not share what they speak of outside of the cabin; he acquiesces. Earhart then apologises to him, saying that she hasn’t been treating him fairly and that she was not giving him enough credit as their navigator. Hamid seems a bit taken aback, saying that he understands how difficult her experience has been, but does thank her for the apology. Earhart continues, saying that she agrees with Hamid and that they will need to pull a bit more north to encounter a borealis. She adds that there’s one other thing she would like Hamid’s help on: namely, that they will soon be moving away from the map they have, and that she would appreciate Hamid’s assistance in projecting an air of confidence about the journey. He doesn’t seem completely confident in agreeing, but does say that he will try. Earhart brings up that people are already stressed about the whole bodyswapping thing, and that this uncertainty will not necessarily help. Hamid sees her point and agrees, and Earhart moves on to the final reason why she brought Hamid in, mentioning that he is quite forthcoming, and would appreciate his discretion in this matter. Hamid understands, and agrees to follow her lead. She tells him to continue going about his business as normal, and says that she will speak with him again when they need to. Hamid starts to ramble a bit about how they’ll be able to use the instrumentation to track everything, and Earhart cuts him off, saying that he’s giving her about a 4, and that she needs a 9. She adds that having a little bit of authority will help, and Hamid gets it. Before he leaves, Earhart asks him to send Sassraa in to her cabin; Hamid says that Zolf and Azu put Sassraa on bedrest, but that they were at the meeting earlier. Earhart seems to have forgotten, and tells Hamid nevermind, sending him off.

Hamid goes to find Zolf right after this, telling him to continue heading more north as he repeats his earlier request. He also adds that Earhart wanted to see Sassraa, but that he isn’t sure if it would be okay for them to see her. Zolf says that it depends on what Earhart wants; Hamid says that he isn’t sure, and didn’t ask, and Zolf says that that’s his main concern. He says that it could go a number of different ways, and Hamid suggests that Zolf could request to be in there more so than Hamid could. Zolf says that they could get someone sneaky to listen and then break in if needed; Hamid says that no one is really that sneaky on the team, especially with the body swap. Zolf asks if Earhart’s intentions are good, but Hamid wasn’t able to tell at all. Zolf says that this really isn’t his scene, it’s more Hamid’s, and doesn’t really seem all that confident making the final call. At this point, Hamid relays the conversation that he had with Skraak, telling him that the kobolds haven’t been completely honest about why they’re here. This isn’t something that Zolf is particularly excited to hear, and asks Hamid to immediately explain, which he does; he apologises, and says that the kobolds aren’t here to follow Hamid. They’re more here to investigate the larger world; Hamid adds that the fact that Skraak finally revealed it is a good sign that the kobolds view them as allies. Hamid confesses that it’s a weight off his shoulders, and that he’s relieved. Zolf says that it’s good, and that he made his feelings on the situation pretty clear (he’s clearly also relieved). Hamid says that he agrees, but does admit that he didn’t make his feelings on the situation very clear, in this instance. Zolf says that Hamid should go talk to Skraak about it, not him, but Hamid explains that he was consulting Zolf for the medical angle. Zolf says Sassraa is fine and can chat with Earhart if she wants. He thanks Hamid for updating him on the kobold situation and mentions that he’ll trust Skraak a lot more now. He adds that he isn’t a fan of seeing people blindly follow a leader, and requests that in the future, Hamid make it a bit more clear that he isn’t into having people follow him as a god king, as it’s been a lot for Zolf to deal with as well. Hamid agrees with him, and Zolf says he appreciates Hamid told him.

Hamid heads off to see Sassraa; they’re fine to meet with Earhart, and heads off to see her. Sassraa also seems to be doing better, thankfully. Skraak walks them to the cabin, and Sassraa heads in to chat with Earhart.

Meanwhile, Cel is getting to work on reworking the cell to make it do what they need it to do, along with Hamid and Skraak helping where necessary. As they’re working on it, Cel starts to get a little nervous because it’s weirdly straightforward, but it seems to all be working as they need. Hamid and Cel are both much more confident that they know what will happen this go, as opposed to last time. The work proceeds easily enough. Zolf does a quick check in on Cel - they seem a lot more confident and less worried this time around, so he doesn’t think they need to have a conversation imminently.

While the ship is being worked on, Azu goes to have a chat with Carter. She finds him fiddling with the little gambling cubbyhole; he seems to be setting it up so that when he plays he’ll be able to cheat. Azu announces herself, and Carter jumps, trying not to seem suspicious. Azu asks if Carter would be interested in a new hobby; he is completely confused, and has no idea where she’s going with this. He starts backing away, ready to bolt, and Azu tries to keep him there, finally handing him the tarot deck that she picked up in Hiroshima. He asks what they are, and Azu explains, a bit awkwardly, that they haven’t always gotten on. Carter cuts her off, saying that she keeps treading on his mouth, and Azu concedes the point, apologising. She says that he has a lot of brains, and that this might be a nice way for Carter to use that and keep himself occupied. Carter doesn’t really seem to get it; Azu shows him the moon card, and Carter says that it means it’s night. Azu tries to get Carter invested, but he’s just completely lost and confused, and she ends up just leaving.

Digital art of Zolf Smith and Cel Sidebottom hugging on the stairs of the ship, with text reading "I-ah... see you on the other side...". Zolf is on higher steps while Cel is on lower, and both of them are on tiptoes as they hug each other tightly. The stairs are wooden, with barrels and mugs tucked underneath. Outside, the aurora looms, purple and blue with lightning striking. The "oh no" bell hangs right outside the entrance. Cel is a tall half-elf, with vertical wavy blonde hair, wearing a long greyish-white coat with a pack attached to their belt. They have painted nails and a bracelet. Zolf is a white dwarven man, with white hair and a white beard, a long navy coat, and a ring on his thumb.

Zolf and Cel share a hug before re-entering the aurora. Art by @moofbat on twitter. Used with permission.

Time skips ahead; it’s approaching dusk, and they notice a borealis on the horizon, and that they’ll be hitting it late at night. The plan is to have the same people in the cell, with Zolf steering; everyone will go to bed as they hit the aurora, and then wake up having been swapped back into their original bodies. Earhart in particular seems to be really trying to emphasise this. Most people are buying into it, but everyone is at least going along with it. They all start preparing to head down into the cell; the kobolds set up a blanket for some privacy. Hamid suggests that Zolf goes to get some rest; Wilde takes the wheel, and Zolf goes off to get some shuteye before piloting them through the aurora. It takes Wilde a minute to actually take the wheel, clearly nervous, but Hamid stays there in quiet support and Wilde finally engages.

Zolf wakes up a few hours later, and everyone is heading down into the antimagic cell. Cel is clearly anxious, but goes to catch Zolf before he can go up the stairs. They wish him luck and then gives him a big, trembly hug. Zolf hugs back, patting them on the back, and tells them that it’ll be fine, and that they’ve done everything they can. Cel says that it’s probably enough, and breaks the hug. Zolf reaches up and pats them on the bicep, apologising that they’ve been the one who’s had to bear the weight of all this, and thanks them for what they’ve done. Cel puts on a cheery face, and says that they’ll see him tomorrow, and Zolf says he’ll see them on the other side. Cel returns to the antimagic cell and Zolf heads up to the wheel.

Quotes[]

Dice rolls & mechanics[]

  • Azu and Cel make a Sense Motive check on Carter: Azu gets 30, Cel gets 19
  • Cel makes a Knowledge (engineering) check on the box: 16
  • Zolf makes a Sense Motive check on Cel: 27
  • Hamid makes a Sense Motive check on Earhart: 13
  • Cel makes a Disable Device check on the cell: 22
  • Hamid makes a Knowledge (arcana) check: 33
  • Skraak makes a Disable Device check to assist Cel: 22
  • Azu makes a Perception check on Carter: 15

Plot Notes[]

Trivia[]

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