• A Knight of Shreds and Patches

Transcript: Episode 10: Engage Means Fight

A Knight of Shreds and Patches Transcript

Episode 10: Engage Means Fight

Transcript by Cameron Robertson


Note: Zee-o is a synthetic humanoid being and primarily speaks in a robotic, monotone voice.


Intro:


[hurdy gurdy music begins]


Nick: Welcome, listeners, to A Knight of Shreds and Patches. An immersive actual play podcast. This episode features the talents of -


Drew: Drew Mierzejewski as Wyatt Fisher.


Aly: Aly Grauer as Zee-o.


Cameron: Cameron Robertson as Emma Blackwood.


Austin: Austin Whittington as Cassidy Shard.


Nick: Nick Robertson as GM and Narrator.


Austin: Hello listeners, this is your editor, with today’s messages:


The kickstarter to fund season two of the award-winning all ages friendly podcast Skyjacks: Courier's Call is live! This show is set in a fantasy world called Spéir, a world of giant birds, sky ships, adventure, danger, and folk magic inspired by the card game Illimat and the music of The Decemberists. Courier's Call features the talents of our own Drew Mierzejewski and Aly Grauer, as well as Paulomi Pratap and Aaron Catano-Saez. Head over to bit.ly/SCCS2 to check out the Kickstarter and learn more about the show! The kickstarter runs through June 11, and the link can be found in the show notes.


And with that, we wrap up today’s announcements and head into episode 10: Engage Means Fight. And so...


Join us, for now our tale to yours attaches

To carry hope: a Knight of Shreds and Patches.


[hurdy gurdy music ends]

[electronic beeping]

[robotic powerup noise begins]


Distorted Robotic Voice: Power restored. Systems online. Reconfiguring audio connection.


[robotic powerup noise fades to radio frequency static]


[over radio]

Austin (as Cassidy): Last time on A Knight of Shreds and Patches, we cleaned so much. Emma met the local wizard and got some electronics help and a job offer. We still had more cleaning to do, but fortunately the sweet shopkeeper’s wife got us a reward anyway and Zee-o remembered a thing.


[radio static]



Episode Start:


Nick: We open to the sound of heavy footsteps on gravel as Wyatt approaches his destination. We see his sturdy, worn boots as they crunch along and we see worn stairs, meeting these worn boots with a creak. And as we zoom out, we see Wyatt approaching this shack that the alderman indicated. The building lists slightly, almost as if it's leaning away from him and the news that he brings.


Drew: We see Wyatt go up a couple of stairs onto this rickety patio to this shed - it's a house but it looks more like a shed. And there's an old weathered door that he's standing at. And he's about to knock, but he reaches into his pocket and he pulls out the picture. And he's looking over it and looking at all the people and he turns it over. And we see on the back that there are a bunch of names on there as well. And he turns over one more time, and puts in his other hand and he knocks on the door.


Nick: And there's a long pause and then you hear a shuffle as someone gets up from a chair inside. And there's the creak of floorboards and the door opens a crack and you can see a lined and tired face with long blonde hair, leaning slightly out of the doorway, and a woman asks,


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Can I help you with something?


Drew (as Wyatt): Are you Mrs. Kilburn?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I am - I was Mrs. Kilburn. You can call me Ms. Michaels now.


Drew (as Wyatt): Pleasure to meet you Ms. Michaels.


Nick: And she opens the door and holds out a hand to shake.


Drew: And we see Wyatt go in and give the shake as well.


Drew (as Wyatt): Alderman Wilfred, he sent me down here to acquiesce some of your fuel.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): We don't have much in the way of extra fuel. We need it for the fleet.


Nick: She gestures to the three boats that are tied up to a dock. And you can see the Advant you ran into earlier is digging elbow deep into one of the engines like a spider trying to rebuild a web.


Drew (as Wyatt): I don't know much about that ma'am.


Drew: But he reaches into his pocket he pulls out the acquisition form that Wilfred gave him on how much fuel they need.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm here to get this much.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): 24 gallons??


Drew (as Wyatt): That's correct.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): What did you do to get that sort of payment, sir, if you don't mind me asking?


Drew (as Wyatt): Took care of some bandits.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Oh. You might as well come in for a minute, it's gonna take a little while to fill the cans.


Drew (as Wyatt): I appreciate that.


Drew: And he like takes his hat off and he steps inside.


Nick: This place is not very well put together. There is a little wood burning stove that is crackling away and a chair with a quilt hung over it, where she was obviously sitting before you interrupted. There's a little bit of needlework on the ground; it looks like when you knocked she just tossed it on the floor. So she was doing needlework to keep herself busy, but doesn't have a lot of passion around it. And you can see there's a table and the walls don't seal all the way, there's little cracks of sunlight in some places. But what really dominates this room is that there's the fuel tank just outside the shed and it looks like some sort of dispenser chute that actually runs into the room and into a trough in one corner of this building. And so it looks like the way that they get the fuel is to start a pump and get a siphon going and fill things in this room and then carry it out to the boats.


Drew (as Wyatt): Are you gonna need me to get my own containers?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): No, the acquisition forum also says that you're getting your own cans. So you'll have three of them by the end of this.


Nick: There's a big plastic bin with a lot of, they look like just normal gas cans, but some are plastic, some are rubberized, some are slightly rusted metal. And she grabs a few plastic ones that are larger and sets one down and begins to do a hand pump on the side of this tank. And you can see the clear part of this hose start to fill with fuel and it comes up over a bend and then starts to drop down. And she says


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Well, this whole process will take a little while. 24 gallons is quite a bit.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm happy to stand here and wait or if you'd like me to leave I can go too.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): You might as well wait.


Drew (as Wyatt): All right.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): So you took care of some bandits, huh?


Drew (as Wyatt): Yes, I did. Uhhh did you know this man?


Drew: And yeah, I hold up the picture.


Drew (as Wyatt): Any of these men?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Yeah. Yeah, I knew him.


Drew (as Wyatt): All right.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): They used to live here. You know? Well, not here, here, but they lived in Wawa, back in the day.


Drew (as Wyatt): I gathered as much.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): You probably already know that the older one's my husband - or my ex husband.


Drew (as Wyatt): Yes.


Drew: And I flip over the picture, and I'm looking at it and I go,


Drew (as Wyatt): He uhh, he was a competent fighter.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I don't know where he learned it.


Drew (as Wyatt): I don't know either, but - he gave me a run for my money.


Nick: She stops to look you up and down. And I think Wyatt has the posture of somebody that is very comfortable with movement, sort of that predator look of being able to move in any direction and being balanced. And she takes that in and a surprisingly quick glance, and says,


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I guess he finally found something he was good at.


Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah. He died well.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I told him that was going to happen. Can you imagine leaving a town, living in the outskirts and attacking the people you grew up with? Taking the boys that you taught and convincing them that was the way to make a living?


Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah, I can.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I can't.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm not saying it's right or it's wrong, but I can. People get desperate sometimes. Do you want this picture, ma'am?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): You know, I don't think I do. I thought I might, but the fact that you've offered it to me... I don't know what I would do with it. [sigh]


Drew (as Wyatt): Well that's another question, I guess.


Drew: And we see Wyatt put the picture in his pocket. And he reaches into his shirt, and he pulls out a necklace. And it looks like it's a flash drive of some kind on like a metal chain. And the flash drive has eight stylized eyes on them on both sides. And we see Wyatt take it out and rub his thumb over a little bit. And go


Drew (as Wyatt): Did um, you or any of them people in these pictures, did they uh, they follow Aranebis?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I know we don't in this town, but my ex-husband probably changed quite a bit after he left. They might have.


Drew (as Wyatt): Well, if you don't mind or if I don't know what - I'm assuming anybody else in this picture, as alderman Wilfred told me, they don't exist in this town anymore. The only connection is Kilburn here, so if you want me to remember him, or if you want Aranebis to remember them, I'm willing to do that. But if not, we won't.


Nick: There's a long silence with just the glugging of fuel behind you as she keeps her face pretty carefully blank. And she finally breaks eye contact with you and looks down and her eyes widen a little and she pulls a lever on the side of the hose cutting off the siphon.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Well, this one's full.


Nick: And she busies herself swapping out the tanks for another one and starting the siphon again.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Do you think people deserve to be remembered, sir?


Drew (as Wyatt): Yes. I try to remember everybody. Everybody I can.


Nick: She looks a little thoughtful for a second and says,


Nick (as Ms Michaels): But you said you wouldn't remember them if I asked you not to.


Drew (as Wyatt): Kilburn has a man in your life. He's connected to you. He is connected to me too, because I'm the one who killed him. But he has a stronger connection to you as someone who at one point I think, I don't know, probably loved. So it's up to you whether he gets to be remembered or not.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): What does that do? Being remembered?


Drew (as Wyatt): Well I guess, do you know much about Aranebis?


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I really don't.


Drew (as Wyatt): Aranebis is a God of Death. Of Remembrance. You can basically download everything you can possibly think of if they have journal entries or pictures or whatever their life they tried to record. And you download it, give it to an Advant. They'll download it. And it will go to Aranebis and Aranebis will never forget.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Hmm.


Drew (as Wyatt): And if you wanted to I suppose, you could find an Advant and look them up and see the remembrances, their pictures, their words.


Nick: Have you met our Advant? I don't think that's a specialty of his.


Drew (as Wyatt): No. But I travel. I'll get someplace eventually and I can download it. I have a lot of people in this.


Drew: And he holds up the flash drive.


Nick: Hang on for one second.


Nick: And she pulls the lever on the tank and swaps it for the third one. And you can see she's set the full ones closer to you. She's not going to give you any more trouble because you have the official documentation and you've given her something to really chew on. And she starts the siphon a third time and she walks across the room to a small chest that you hadn't noticed before. And opens it and starts to dig through it. And she comes out with a little notebook. It's leather bound, it looks really old, it's been opened and closed so many times the cover doesn't even seem to be in one piece anymore. It's held together more as a memory of a book than an actual book. And she holds it out to you and says,


Nick (as Ms Michaels): This was this was Kilburns.


Drew: Wyatt takes it.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Maybe there's some part of him that's worth remembering in there. But even with all this, I don't think I want him to be forgotten.


Drew (as Wyatt): All right. Then I'll do what I can.


Nick: And there's a long pause, as she stares over your shoulder lost in thought, and you give her that moment. You've had this conversation a bunch of times. And the fuel continues to glug behind you and then she cuts it off. And she says,


Nick (as Ms Michaels): You seem... I don't know. I don't know what I expected from someone who is going to come and tell me my ex-husband was dead. But thoughtful isn't a word that springs to mind that often these days.


Drew (as Wyatt): Well, I'm not gonna lie, ma'am. I've killed so many people and I think somewhere along the way, I just realized that they were important to me, as I was important to them. So I don't like killing. Given the opportunity I, I don't do it. But more often than not, people want to kill you. And I'm not gonna let that happen. Not yet, at least. Someday my number will be up. And I hope when my numbers up, I get remembered. And honestly, if anybody does my job, they should be thoughtful. If they're not thoughtful, then that's just a butcher. Anyway...


Nick (as Ms Michaels): Well, I'm glad that you're not a butcher.


Drew (as Wyatt): Me too.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): And here are your 24 gallons of fuel.


Drew (as Wyatt): Thank you.


Drew: And I feel like it's one of those - He picks up one, he picks up the other, and he can't pick up the third one, he's like,


Drew (as Wyatt): I'll be back for this one.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): I'll set it outside for you.


Drew (as Wyatt): Thank you.


Nick (as Ms Michaels): My name's Jessie, by the way.


Drew: He smiles and goes,


Drew (as Wyatt): Thank you, Ms. Michaels.


Drew: And he walks out.


Nick: And as you step your way down over the porch, and down on to the dirt and vines, you hear the full clunk of the third tank being set on the porch and the creak slam of the door being shut and locked behind you. And so you make your way back to the rig. The grumbling and clanking of the Advant in the boat engine behind you drowns out whatever you would hear from this little shack, but you know that inside there are tears.


Drew (as Wyatt): Wyatt get's back to the truck and sees Emma reading goes,


Drew (as Wyatt): What the hell are you doing? Hey!


Cameron (as Emma): Reading?


Drew (as Wyatt): You're supposed to be keeping a lookout?


Cameron (as Emma): Yeah I am.


Drew (as Wyatt): No, no, you're reading. You're - I walked right up to the truck and you didn't say anything.


Cameron (as Emma): Well, it, because it was you.


Drew (as Wyatt): [disbelieving garbled noise] You - might not have been me.


Cameron (as Emma): But But I saw you.


Drew (as Wyatt): But it might not have been. You didn't hail me, you didn't challenge me, didn't do any of that.


Cameron (as Emma): Well no Wyatt because it was you and I saw it was you. So I didn't say, hey!


Drew (as Wyatt): Next time -


Cameron (as Emma): Man coming towards me. I don't think you're Wyatt.


Drew (as Wyatt): I-


Cameron (as Emma): It was you.


Drew (as Wyatt): No matter who it is, whether it's me, or Cassidy or Zee-o or whoever, you challenge them and let them know who you are and you get who they are. Even if it looks like me. Do you understand?


Cameron (as Emma): Why? I get, so I get in the woods if someone's approaching you, but we're sitting in the middle of a town square.


Drew (as Wyatt): Get in the habit. Fill these up.


Drew: And he sets down the gas and goes back for the third one.


Nick: Emma this is a lot of fuel. You know this would run the rig for quite a while it's a very efficient engine. But a town like this giving up this amount of fuel is surprising to you.


Cameron: Emma goes, climbs down, tosses the book back through the window of the truck, and I think picks up one of the containers then carries it at a time because they're heavy. [laugh]


Nick: And time accelerates a little bit as Wyatt brings the last fuel tank and there's some awkward silence. When he comes back the second time, Emma, do you challenge him as he approaches?


Cameron: I think he's coming back as Emma's walking back around the truck to pick up the second container. And she just waves real big says


Cameron (as Emma): HI WYATT!


Cameron: And then picks up the container and turns around and heads back to putting it away.


Drew: We see Wyatt nod approvingly.


Nick: And Emma fills up the rig and secures the rest of the extra fuel. And we see the sun pass along the sky as the shop is quickly organized. And we see Zee-o and Cassidy coming back with a large arm full of supplies and some sort of strange cooking utensil. It looks like a pot with a cord hanging out at the bottom. And you all are back together again.


Drew (as Wyatt): Hey! Identify yourselves.


Aly (as Zee-o): Wyatt.


Austin (as Cassidy): Wyatt.


Drew (as Wyatt): All right, there you are. Come on in. How'd it go today everybody?


Austin (as Cassidy): We got our supplies. We are out of squares. So you know, be aware.


Aly (as Zee-o): We have acquired a new cooking tool.


Drew (as Wyatt): The the pot thing?


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): What is it?


Aly (as Zee-o): The man in the shop invented it with the help of a local Advant.


Drew (as Wyatt): Is that why we're all out of squares?


Austin (as Cassidy): No we're out of squares because we bought food.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm asking did you pay extra squares for this?


Aly (as Zee-o): No.


Austin (as Cassidy): NO!


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm just asking.


Aly (as Zee-o): We bartered.


Drew (as Wyatt): Good, good. You bartered for it?


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes. It cooks food faster. I believe that if we take some time to look at how it works,


Aly: Zee-o holds it up and turns to Emma.


Aly (as Zee-o): We could find a way to be more efficient.


Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, probably. Can I see that?


Aly: Zee-o passes it to Emma.


Cameron: And Emma starts turning it over looking at the different elements of it.


Nick: Based on your knowledge of combustion and the parts that are visible. You must be missing something because this thing does not make sense.


Austin (as Cassidy): He demonstrated with one - he threw some raw ingredients in a pot pulled the thing it made a wrrrr steam came out and food was ready. And they were ingredients that I picked, which means it's - shouldn't be a sleight of hand?


Cameron (as Emma): Huh!


Austin (as Cassidy): So he called it "wild tech". Who knows? But it was interesting enough and Zee-o wanted a book, so


Aly (as Zee-o): I found a book.


Drew (as Wyatt): What book?


Aly (as Zee-o): I do not know the title. It is a history book.


Drew (as Wyatt): Okay. So we're out of squares, which means we got to get a job and fast. We got enough fuel to get out of here. But -


Cameron (as Emma): So speaking of squares, also wild tech. We did get a job offer while y'all were all gone.


Drew (as Wyatt): Okay. Do tell.


Cameron (as Emma): When you were walking towards the boats - did you see a wizard?


Drew (as Wyatt): You mean the Advant?


Cameron (as Emma): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah I saw him.


Cameron (as Emma): That is what he called himself.


Austin: Cassidy snorts that the word wizard.


Aly: Yeah. Zee-o tilts their head,


Aly (as Zee-o): Wizard?


Cameron (as Emma): That's how he described himself. Yes. So-


Drew (as Wyatt): And that's what they are.


Aly (as Zee-o): Are they wizards?


Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah, they do technological magic.


Austin (as Cassidy): Mmmmm


Aly (as Zee-o): I suppose that is one way of looking at it.


Austin (as Cassidy): But it's not really magic if it's technology.


Drew (as Wyatt): But it is.


Austin (as Cassidy): Good argument.


Drew (as Wyatt): Look, I've seen things I don't think you understand what I've seen out there. Wait till you see some of it.


Austin (as Cassidy): Yes Wyatt, let me tell you about the spider beast that's been chasing me for five- [Wyatt interrupts]


Drew (as Wyatt): And you know how that thing works?


Aly (as Zee-o): [speaking over Wyatt] What kind of job was it Emma?


Cameron (as Emma): Well~


Austin (as Cassidy): [continues arguing with Wyatt] It doesn't, I don't need to know.


Cameron (as Emma): [speaking over Cassidy] I'm so glad you asked, Zee-o. Basically, he lost his tablet and needs us to go get it and there's a cloud of wild tech creatures.


Drew (as Wyatt): How big? Ho-how big did he say?


Cameron (as Emma): He said cloud.


Aly (as Zee-o): Cloud?


Cameron (as Emma): He's - he is come- heading back this way cause I said that I couldn't give the final go ahead for the job. So we can get more additional details then. But he did say he would pay us nine large squares.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'm sorry, what?


Aly (as Zee-o): Nine?


Cameron (as Emma): Nine.


Drew (as Wyatt): Well that's more money than we're gonna get out of this town at all. I - we could do four or five odd jobs and maybe get five out of this town.


Austin (as Cassidy): That's several months of food. Or like something cool and interesting in a bigger city.


Drew (as Wyatt): All right. Here's the deal. We can take this job, it is pretty low on detail but we could take it it's a solid nine squares. But we got enough fuel, we could ride off to the next town, and maybe have better luck there. What do you guys think?


Aly (as Zee-o): Is there any reason why we should not help the Advant?


Drew (as Wyatt): Oh, I think we should. But like I said low on detail. Who knows what a cloud is. I've seen a cloud that looks like a cloud of flies that tore down an entire Jeep in less than five minutes.


Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I was kind of hoping that one of y'all would have better luck getting details than I did.


Drew (as Wyatt): But I've also seen a cloud of those as well that about the size of cats that flew around and shot at people so like that's, that's a lot.


Aly (as Zee-o): I suppose more detail is necessary to make an informed decision.


Austin (as Cassidy): Did he say where?


Cameron (as Emma): North of the lake. Like I said, we're gonna need lots more details.


Austin (as Cassidy): I can just go look. [soft laugh] This is kinda like I can go spot and you guys can decide what you make of his details while I go see what the real details are.


Drew (as Wyatt): That's not a bad plan.


Aly (as Zee-o): Do you want someone to go with you Cassidy?


Austin (as Cassidy): Either way, but someone's got to be here to talk to the guy.


Drew (as Wyatt): I'll do it. We'll stay here. Emma you can come with me, and we'll talk to the guy.


Cameron (as Emma): Okay.


Austin (as Cassidy): All right Zee-o. Let's go see some forest and hopefully, our enemy this time won't be cloaked.


Drew (as Wyatt): [interrupting] It's recon. I don't want you to engage at all.


Aly (as Zee-o): At all?


Drew (as Wyatt): At all.


Aly (as Zee-o): We will not engage at all.


Drew (as Wyatt): With the cloud.


Aly (as Zee-o): With the cloud.


Drew (as Wyatt): I feel like I need to be more specific. You-


Aly (as Zee-o): Okay


Drew (as Wyatt): Go north, recon the area.


Austin: Cassidy walks away to go get her bow out of the truck.


Aly: Zee-o is nodding.


Drew (as Wyatt): Bring back information and do not engage with the enemy in any way.


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): Other than looking at them.


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): And gaining information.


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): Do you understand?


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Drew (as Wyatt): Repeat it back to me.


Aly (as Zee-o): We will go north of the lake. We will recon the area. Find the location where this cloud of wild tech exists. Attempt to locate the object lost by the Advant and report back with information without engaging the target.


Drew (as Wyatt): Excellent. Thank you.


Aly (as Zee-o): You are welcome, Wyatt.


Austin: Cassidy walks up and puts a hand on Zee-o's shoulder and goes


Austin (as Cassidy): All right. We're off. Have fun. Don't -


Drew (as Wyatt): Make sure you take some food, Cassidy.


Austin (as Cassidy): I know what I'm doing.


Austin: And Cassidy just turns Zee-o around and starts walking away.


Drew (as Wyatt): Emma!


Cameron (as Emma): Yes?


Drew (as Wyatt): Come on.


Nick: And so Cassidy and Zee-o you head out of town. The lake is not very big. You figure it'll probably only take 15 or 20 minutes at a jog to get close enough to start recon. And Wyatt and Emma, you give them some time to get out of town before heading down to see Modem. And he now has his sleeves rolled up almost to the shoulder. He's got a wrench stuck between his teeth. There's grease on his face. The engine is half disassembled, spread on the dock and the boat. And he's pulling what looks like it was once an air filter, but now appears to be mostly seaweed and mold out of the middle of this engine. And he looks up and he says,


Nick (as Modem): Oh excellent. My mercenaries.


Drew (as Wyatt): Emma what was this guy's name?


Cameron (as Emma): Modem.


Drew (as Wyatt): Greetings Great Modem.


Drew: And we see Wyatt do the left swipe.


Nick: And he swipes right at you. And it flings a little bit of grease onto the ground from his hands which are just caked in oil and mud and there just - he's very dirty at this point.


Drew (as Wyatt): I bring you an offering.


Drew: And he reaches into his pocket. And he pulls out literally just a sandwich. Bread and maybe some condiment on it and some meat and maybe the last of their cheese. And he holds out the offering to Modem.


Nick: He raises his chin and looks down his nose and then grabs off of his belt a cloth and puts his hand under the cloth. So he can grab this sandwich without touching it with his dirty hands and says


Nick (as Modem): This offering is acceptable. I thank you mercenary.


Drew (as Wyatt): And we thank you, Great Modem.


Cameron: Emma's just standing there looking back and forth very confused between, with this conversation. [laughing]


Nick (as Modem): I take it from your offering that you have accepted my request.


Drew (as Wyatt): We have. What are your parameters?


Nick (as Modem): You must fetch my assistant from the north side of the lake where it is guarded by a cloud of wild tech. And you must tell me what amongst your gear causes the Oracle to reveal a three.


Drew (as Wyatt): We will. Uh tell us, what is this cloud that thou hast seen?


Nick (as Modem): I was unable to fully ascertain its specifications, being afraid for my life. But it was many smaller wild tech devices that blotted out the sun in their myriad and destroyed everything around them.


Drew (as Wyatt): Great Modeg, Great Modeg. Say unto us, the size of which these things thou hast seen. Has-hast they been the size of a hand? The size of a pebble?


Cameron (as Emma): Wyatt it's Modem with an M at the end.


Drew (as Wyatt): I-I What did I say?


Cameron (as Emma): Modeg with a G.


Drew (as Wyatt): Oh. Shit um...


Cameron (as Emma): It's fine, he probably didn't notice honestly.


Nick: He's waiting patiently for this aside.


Drew (as Wyatt): I apologize. Great Modem. Uh, tell us again, the size of which thou has seen.


Nick (as Modem): The cloud, the individual particles being the size of a diesel engine, larger than any flying wild tech I have seen in mine day.


Nick: And we're going to cut to Zee-o and Cassidy. Zee-o and Cassidy, you have made it to the far side of the lake. You are attempting to fulfill your assignment. What does it look like as you sneak through these woods towards whatever this is?


Austin: Cassidy knows that somewhere up here, there's gonna be things that are a threat in a vaguely cloud shaped whatever that mystical nonsense is, so she figures Okay, it's probably something flying. If it was threatening enough to this dude to have to, you know, run away or whatever that means it was obvious, because otherwise it would have just got him. So her plan is to walk gently, but not sneakily, is basically start getting in the area and start listening and start tuning into nature and picking up what the sounds of her boots on the snow and the couple of birds that are out in the light breezes, the trees, listening for anything that doesn't fit with nature, that would be a sign of anything else. She's ready to draw her bow, regardless of Wyatt's instructions not to engage, she's gonna protect herself. But if it's something that this Advant was scared of, eehhhh probably don't just engage it without thinking about it.


Aly: I think that Zee-o takes their cue on how sneaky to be from Cassidy's body language, and so they are moving in a similar fashion to Cassidy. But as soon as we cross into range, even if we can't hear them audibly or see them, Zee-o hits that outermost range of the signal of these things, and immediately stops moving and puts a hand to their head, as though they walked into something.


Austin: And Cassidy sees that quick motion and immediately moves to cover behind a tree.


Austin (as Cassidy): What's- what do you got?


Aly (as Zee-o): There is a signal. It is very loud, even at a distance.


Austin: That makes sense with it being a cloud of mysterious magic. What is it meaningful or just loud or what?


Aly (as Zee-o): It is noise. Just noise.


Nick: Zee-o, in order to make sense of this screaming signal you're detecting ahead of you, make me a Wild Tech roll at average difficulty.


Aly: So that's four green two purple. Yeah?


Nick: Yup!


Aly: Three advantages.


Nick: Interesting. So you are not able to decipher, it's too much information at once. It's like a bunch of different voices yelling over each other. And it just makes it too difficult to parse what the heck they're talking about. But let's say what those advantages that you are able to triangulate pretty much exactly where they are and what their sensor range is. So you're able to lead you and Cassidy to some cover where you can see them and assess the situation very safely.


Aly: Okay, does Zee-o get a sense that this is any kind of intelligent tech? The threshold for the intelligence of this tech? Where is it? Is it like a baby? Is it like a dog? Is it like a goldfish?


Nick: It's hard to assess, but you do. Well, how much of assessing the signal have you done? Have you seen the signal of something that's smart? Have you assessed a mechanical baby? I'm curious now.


Aly: I don't think so. I don't think there's been a lot of intelligent tech is what I would say. In past experiences.


Nick: You probably haven't felt a lot of intelligent tech. This feels like a hive. Even without being able to tell exactly what it is it feels like a series of branching instructions. It doesn't feel logical.


Aly: So Zee-o assesses the signal and is able to direct Cassidy in the direction of where the signals coming from and they continue on through the woods approaching it and Zee-o is having to adjust and recalibrate to make the signal less noisy in their head.


Nick: And what we see is the two of you crouched in a thicket looking out of a small gap and you can see this large tree that has had most of its branches stripped off and at the base of the tree. You can see a tablet with what looks like a little stick figure with its hands on its hips, tapping its foot. And all around it is this swirling column of drones. They look to be about two feet long and a foot wide made out of a single solar panel. And they have helicopter blades on each corner. And hanging down is a little mini chainsaw on each of these. And they are slowly shaving away at this tree, making it into fine shards that are raining down into a pretty large pile around this tablet. And they move in perfect unison. It's like a murmuration of birds that turns in and out of itself without any sort of communication. There seem to be about 12, but they're moving in very tight sequence. And they're almost like a wall or a column shifting around each other as they slowly take apart this tree. It would be very dangerous to approach, you feel.


Austin: Cassidy knows that the tablet is the mission, and she bites her lip looking at the tablet and looking at the cloud of dude's thinking, because


Austin (as Cassidy): It's not engaging if I don't shoot them.


Aly: Zee-o cocks their head at Cassidy,


Aly (as Zee-o): How do you intend to retrieve the tablet without engaging them?


Austin (as Cassidy): Go fast and go sneaky?


Aly (as Zee-o): They will most certainly engage you.


Austin (as Cassidy): What are they looking for? They're chopping down trees. I don't look like a tree.


Austin: She says as she looks down at her brown canvas jacket and green scarf.


Aly (as Zee-o): You do not look like a tree. However, if they have any kind of security protocol, they may attempt to chase you out of the territory in which they are logging.


Austin (as Cassidy): Well, how big is the territory? You said when you saw the edge of the thing when you hit it back there?


Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.


Austin (as Cassidy): That's not too far.


Aly: I want to know, so they've got these little chainsaws, and they're chopping at this tree. Does Zee-o get the vibe that the machines are arbitrarily chopping down trees and logging the area or does Zee-o get the vibe that the machines are trying to get at the tablet and destroy it.


Nick: They are not trying to get at the tablet because if they were they would have by now. The way they're taking this tree apart is like watching someone who's anxious shred a piece of paper into smaller and smaller pieces. What they're doing isn't making anything particularly logical. They're not turning it into lumber, they're not cutting it down and moving it, they're just slowly taking it apart and picking up the pieces and taking those parts apart.


Austin: Cassidy takes a quick scan. Are there like stumps or piles of woodchips around or do they just pick this tree and then they'll go off somewhere out of sight?


Nick: The weird thing is the way that they're subdividing this tree, they're not making much progress. It's really big. And they're doing really find small cuts and occasionally dipping down into the sawdust and things.


Austin: Okay, so it's not like we can just wait them out.


Nick: Yeah, it's gonna take a while. But there is cover on the way towards that there are a few stumps that look like they have been shredded in the past and some bushes and things.


Aly: Now that we can see the drones, do they look like they were built for the purpose of logging or do they look like they were cobbled together?


Nick: They look like finished tech.


Aly: Cool. I wanted to know if somebody DIY this trash or if it was built for this and it's just freaking out.


Nick: No, these are remnant technology or they were produced recently, but they are cohesive, they don't look cobbled together. In fact, the square part of their body appears to be made out of a solar panel so that they can operate indefinitely, which is concerning.


Aly: That's upsetting. Zee-o looks at Cassidy again and says


Aly (as Zee-o): I do not think this is a good idea.


Austin: They’re in cover, the two of them, but Cassidy is still looking at that tablet with hunger in her eyes.


Aly (as Zee-o): How do you intend to get it?


Austin (as Cassidy): What are the chances that you could try to distract them with whatever you're hearing them on?


Aly (as Zee-o): Distracting them would be engaging them and Wyatt said we were not to engage them.


Austin (as Cassidy): No engaging them is fighting them. If you just send them off in a different direction, it's not fighting.


Aly (as Zee-o): But it is engaging.


Austin (as Cassidy): Engaging is fighting. It's not. Whatever distraction I want to have you do if you can, it doesn't count.


Aly (as Zee-o): Engage. Verb. Gerund or present participle: engaging. To occupy, attract, or involve someone's interest or attention; to cause someone to become involved in a conversation or discussion for example; participate or become involved in; arange to employ or hire; pledge to enter into a contract to do something; with reference to moving into position so as to come into operation; enter into conflict or combat with an enemy.


Austin (as Cassidy): See that definition is the one that we're working with.


Aly (as Zee-o): The first definition is to occupy, attract, or involve an attention or interest.


Austin (as Cassidy): No but the second one was to go fight.


Aly (as Zee-o): The fifth one was to go fight.


Austin (as Cassidy): The fifth one was to go fight. I don't see what the problem is; engaged means fight.


Aly (as Zee-o): In some senses, yes. But in the first and foremost sense of the word, to distract them still counts as engagement.


Austin (as Cassidy): Look, I'm gonna make a run for it, and go try to do it. So then it's me engaging and not you and it's totally fine, because you'll have to follow up when it inevitably fails. And we got to come back later with firepower.


Aly (as Zee-o): Cassidy.


Austin (as Cassidy): But why Wyatt said we couldn't we weren't allowed to shoot it, I'm so I'm not gonna shoot at them.


Aly (as Zee-o): I appreciate your attention to that detail. But I feel that you may be willingly obtuse about the other aspects of this word.


Austin (as Cassidy): I don't know what you're talking about.


Aly (as Zee-o): See, you're doing it again.


Nick: And we're going to cut back to Modem gesturing broadly and saying,


Nick (as Modem): The cloud of wild tech is dangerous and sensitive. Whatever you do, do not approach until you are ready for combat, as they can detect the smallest pulse of life and appear to eliminate it is some form of sub routine.


Nick: And Cassidy, why don't you make a roll either Coordination or Stealth.


Austin: How far back was the edge of their territory? [laugh]


Nick: Probably like 100 yards.


Austin: Cause I think that affects if going fast and just going for it as the plan. Cassidy is charting her course with her eyes for she's just gonna go fast. She's gonna try to grab this thing, and she's gonna try to get out. And the reason she's doing that, rather than sneaking, is because the wizard was close enough that he freaked out and dropped this thing, but he still got away safely. And even with Cassidy's side that still has a little bit of a hole in it, she's pretty sure she's faster than old, doddering wizard. So she's just gonna take a couple steps closer, look for the line, make eye contact with Zee-o, do the "I told you what I expect, regardless of if you're going to do it or not" look, and then makes a run out towards this cloud of death and the tablet.


Aly: I think Zee-o is going to immediately start trying to like make sense of the signal. Not to reach out and talk to them, but they're trying to analyze the signal they're getting from the drones as quickly and efficiently as possible, so that when the time comes for them to engage, they'll be able to talk to these drones. Does that make sense?


Nick: Mm hmm.


Aly: So they're not going to distract them. They're just trying to like, get a diagnostic on what the heck they're doing and how to talk to them. So that when the moment comes, they can do it.


Austin: All right - what am I rolling here, Nick?


Nick: So you're gonna roll your Coordination, it's going to be a hard difficulty.


Austin: All right. Coordination is a yellow and three greens.


[dice rolling]


Austin: I've got two successes and an advantage.


Nick: Nice. So I think you're able to get the tablet. So you burst out of this thicket, as you approach you hurtle your way over a couple of stumps. And as one these 12 drones turn and you can see that they have little cameras on their chainsaws. And so they turn and they all point at you in unison and begin to come towards you. How do you dodge them and get to the tablet?


Austin: Sure. So this is basically it's a game of parkour almost. So Cassidy did not take a straight line route. What Cassidy was doing was charting the path between trees, looking at where those how those trees would occlude her from this cloud of dudes in the middle of the clearing, because based on Zee-o's conclusions, they're just noise. They're not thinking they're just doing stuff, whatever it is they're doing, but they're not thinking and that means that Yeah, she's gonna get chased. But Cassidy can treat them like a deer that's being hunted, but opposite. So where a deer is gonna run away and she takes the angles to corral it into a place where she knows what the terrain and she knows how to catch it. This one, they're gonna fly in a straight line at her. So she goes into the straight line till they noticed her and then darts to the first tree and then takes off backwards away to the next tree and then back around to the next tree and then cuts across behind them, and then two trees over and then all the way around the whole clearing and then back straight line back through grabbing the tablet, and then losing line of sight behind another couple of trees, ducking down into a ravine and then coming back up a couple of steps later, in a different spot, just throwing off line of sight as much as you can. Knowing that these things, yeah, they're gonna chase her, but even with how fast they are, it doesn't matter if they hesitate every time she goes behind a tree.


Nick: And you really get a feel for how they track and move, and you're able to scoop up the tablet. The 12 drones have scattered, you're able to force them to split up and for a little while they're not anywhere near you, and you're able to hightail it out. Zee-o you see Cassidy do a very confusing of pattern between the trees and the drones go up into the canopy and she grabs this tablet and just starts booking it back towards you. And you quickly realize that you need to go with her or you're going to be left behind because Cassidy is not slowing down.


Aly: Cassidy bolts past Zee-o and Zee-o hesitates for like a millisecond and then from the kneeling crouch that they're in, bolts like a wild animal after her. If it turns out that Cassidy is not going fast enough, Zee-o is not ashamed to pick Cassidy up and run with her. That has happened at least once in our past already, I'm sure.


Nick: And you all are able to make it out quickly. The buzz of these helicopter blades fades to quiet. They have struggled to keep up with you and you assume, Cassidy, that they went back to cutting up their tree. This was a complete success. You're really excited about this. The one thing that gives you pause Zee-o is that you can still hear them. You're past that 100 yards and that area of effect that you entered. You haven't found the perimeter for it yet, which is a little concerning, but they don't appear to be getting any closer to you.


Austin: As we reached that point where the perimeter had been that they had sat and planned Cassidy starts slowing down with a victorious smile, like she just won a sprint.


Aly: As soon as Cassidy starts to slow down in her run, Zee-o reaches across the gap between them and grabs onto the edge of Cassidy's jacket and pulls up and forward and starts running faster.


Austin: Cassidy picks up the pace again. Looks at Zee-o confusedly, but they're running it a flat out sprint so it's hard to, she's having a hard time talking. I mean, Zee-o wouldn't but -


Aly: Zee-o notices Cassidy's face and says out loud as they're running.


Aly (as Zee-o): We are not out of range yet. I do not understand, but I can still hear their signal.


Austin: And Cassidy nods and keeps running.


Aly: We keep going for a bit and as Cassidy's energy starts to flag again Zee-o reaches over and scoops Cassidy up and books it for where the truck is.


Nick: And we cut back to Emma and Wyatt and Modem. And I think the three of you are sitting on the side of the dock with your feet dangling just over the water and Modem is biting into the sandwich. And he says


Nick (as Modem): Yes, but as long as you are able to plan I feel that you will be able to fetch my assistant without any lasting repercussions.


Drew (as Wyatt): Thank you, Great Modem. We will take time to plan and be prepared.


Nick (as Modem): Is this mozzarella? This is really good.


Drew (as Wyatt): You are welcome to it Great Modem.


Drew: We see Wyatt stand up and snap his fingers to get Emma up as well. And he turns to Modem and says


Drew (as Wyatt): May the old and the new meet in you.


Nick: And he nods graciously and says


Nick (as Modem): As it does in us all.


Drew: And Wyatt swipes left and looks at Emma.


Cameron: Emma is standing up and isn't currently looking up to see Wyatt look at her.


Drew: To which Wyatt kind of nudges her and does the swipe left.


Cameron: Emma waves her hand to the left but more in a wave. It's not the two fingers that Wyatt's doing.


Drew (as Wyatt): We'll work on that.


Nick: Modem frowns disapprovingly before swiping right. This was a long conversation. Modem is a- likes to talk and you can tell that the villagers don't give him the time of day, so he very much took advantage of people who would listen to him pontificate. And around this point, Wyatt and Emma, as you're heading back to the rig, you see Zee-o just sprinting above human speeds out of the tree line carrying Cassidy.


Austin: I figured it was like a baby and-