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Friday, September 20, 2013

Mark Loren - A Night on the Town

Early morning.  My KI flashed with a brief pause before it flashed again. It continued repeatedly flashing until I finally decided to wake up and check my KI Mail.  It was a message from Hannah

Come to the Plaza.  

I grabbed my relto and before long found myself in D'ni.  Hannah was there of course talking to a small gathering of people around the map about her recent explorations.

"I've been spending a bit of time in Minkata," Hannah began.  It was easy to tell out of those who had gathered who had been to that age by the look on their face.  I had only traveled there once.  The three suns and arid conditions had not given me reason to return.

Hannah had started to send KI images to us.  I was astounded to see stars.  More than stars, but Galaxies and constellations; Hannah insisted that the pictures didn't compare to seeing them in person.

"You guys should come with me next time," Hanna insisted.  Uncomfortable laughter.  These KI shots were amazing, but I don't know that I could stand Minkata long enough to see such a sight.

"What'll you do when you get lonely.
You've been running and hiding much too long..."

Eric had begun to play his guitar.  Right on cue too.  The pressure to join an expedition to Minkata was releaved.

"You know it's just your foolish pride.
Layla, you've got me on my knees.
Layla, I'm begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind."

Eric had launched into a full on performance.  It seems he's been working on his solos too.  I leaned back against the tent post and looked toward the D'ni ceiling.  Fire marbles and orange glowing algae kept the cavern lit, though always with a unique cycle.  Soon the algae would not be so bright.  Soon the cavern night would begin.

Pam arrived sporting a maintainer's suit with an assortment of other items to complete her ensemble.  She and Flora Kuldell had ambushed Torri Illan.  Their presence had garnered the attention of Artus Matloff  who had decided now was the time to enlist Steven Petersen as his wingman.  It wasn't going well.  Soon Artus, or Vinsce as he preferred in the cavern, would be coming to me for help.

To get away I decided to take a stroll around Ae'gura.  I walked down the great stair, walked past the memorial near Kahlo pub, and soon passed by Takotah II.  It looked worn and run-down.  Not too long ago a passerby explorer had exclaimed to everyone who would listen that a crazy person lived there, that they believed they had helped save the cavern from some great evil and somehow lost their friends during the whole ordeal.  Some people even had said that on some nights you can hear cries of sorrow from the building.

Of course, every explorer received a KI Mail from the Guild of Greeters a few months ago warning us not to go near this "Pantaleon."  Apparently he had been tied to the cave-ins that had occurred the previous year.  To be honest the whole story seems nothing more than a ghost story to ward people from going into Tokotah II.  From the looks of it you'd have to have death wish to go inside Tokotah II so since it appears as though it could collapse at any moment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jeremy Reinold - A Change of Pace

I've had to do some serious thinking over the past few days.  Up until now I have used the cavern as an momentary escape from life on the surface but it may be time that changes.  Not that the surface life has gotten any better, or worse for that matter.  Just that there is a different sort if feeling in the Deep.  D'nipalooza was a great example of that.

After getting my job with Issac Foust I've had little time for anything short of integrals and derivatives but since the summer session has ended I may find myself in the cavern more often.  I can't remember the last time I went to a festival like D'nipalooza; or even a show for that matter.  So great to see so many in the cavern at once.  The DRC would have cringed at the number of bodies in the area.  Even a week later I can still feel the buzz about the cavern.

 When I linked in I was greated by Evelyn Sayers, or D'veetah as she likes to be called.  She sent me an invitation to her hood.  Pahrahtehs.  Looks to be a nice little community.  I found a full table of Heek players, more than a few around the fountain and around the clock.  Certainly beats my own desolate neighborhood.  Apparently more than a few of these 'explorers' have found lodging either in the hood or in Ae'gura.  It's a little strange to think about people living down here but I guess it works for them.

Before we left, D'veetah introduced me to Jessie Pollick.  He was busy creating an outline of his cavern studies in the classroom of the neighborhood but took time out of his schedule to greet me.  It seems he is an anthropologist who has been gathering data on the various groups of the cavern.  Jessie's interest is in how the cavern became a home to the explorer community.  One thing struck me as odd: why do such a study when those on the surface would never accept the presence of an ancient city in a giant cavern roughly a mile below New Mexico; much less one that was currently inhabited.  I guess I shouldn't have brought it up because he got quiet for a moment before saying that he planned on using a cover for the final report.  Something about the personal dynamics of an online community.  Regardless, his research sounds interesting.  I'll have to follow up on it soon.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mark Loren - D'nipalooza

A gathering was taking place.  Hundreds of people filled the halls of Kirel.  D'ni was alive. 

"Welcome to D'nipalooza! Tonight, we will be showcasing musical specials, partying, and remember to support CAVCON awareness so that we continue to enjoy the good times here!" Kaaja announced to everyone in Kirel via her microphone.

"Mark!"  I looked around and saw Hannah Renshaw waving her hands around to get my attention.  "You made it!  Looks like we have the whole gang together."  She was right.  The whole gang was here.

Hannah is the a true explorer of our group; capable of solving the most intense puzzles in the cavern as though it were child's play.  Torri Illan: pragmatic, but relatively shy.  Artus Matloff, an energetic self-proclaimed genius who brags from time to time.  Then there was Flora Kuldell - an energetic outdoorsie explorer type who always finds herself getting into trouble.  Leaning against the railing was Steven Peterson, who was often consumed in writing or reading of some kind; he's kind of nerdy if you ask me.  Then there's Eric Gibson with guitar in hand.  No doubt he'll be playing tonight.  Last we have Pam Foster: an outgoing explorer/fashionista sporting the latest trend in the cavern, albeit a bit weird looking.

After a brief introduction we the show started strong with music from Krossfire and Tete Plongeant.  The cavern had never seen such an incredible opening act for the biggest music event of the year.  Who knew the cavern knew how to rock?

After Jet Blast had finished their set I ran into Eric Gibson.  "So, When is your big debut?" I asked.

"My group won't be playing until much later.  These guys are pretty good.  I've been practicing."  he said with a grin.  "I aim to please the crowd."  I looked about.  I had been expecting a small crowd but I would have guessed there was easily over a hundred people.  Eric shook out his hand as he began to warm up.  "You should have some fun tonight.  Forget the cavern problems."  I looked at him and he shooed me away saying "Go! Go! Dance with some girls." Eric said with a laugh.

After a several hours I found myself watching fireworks set off across the lake.  The D'nipalooza was far from over, but I needed to head topside again.  I said my farewells and headed back to the surface.  D'ni is a truly fascinating place.  It's lasted for over 10,000 years and if we're lucky it'll last another 10,000.