Passport: Climbing Permit
Current Mission Summary:
Your mission to survey the biomes on Terragast is underway. In addition to gaining insights by talking to the locals, you have also observed several plants in the Terrafern Valley firsthand and gathered great data for the Odyssey. While studying in the Valley, you had a strange encounter with a group of Eglabites who decorated your pack with twigs and pebbles. You chased them through the thick undergrowth but had to turn back when you lost sight of them at the edge of a steep ravine. Nevertheless, the caretaker Argochus was impressed by your efforts and granted you a climbing permit that allows you to climb up the mountains to the atmo line (higher than that and you won't be able to breathe!).
In the morning, you wake up and stretch. Your thoughts turn to breakfast, but are interrupted by a shout, "My oatmeal is burning!" You go outside and see a Zibzab frantically waving a towel over a pot. The pot is on fire. You quickly grab your water bottle and douse it. "Oh, thank you! I hope the granite bits are still chewy," says the Zibzab. "I promised the expedition team I'd go low-tech, but my mini flamethrower is my favorite tool." A white-hot shoot of flame sprouts out from her hand. "Like this!"
You ask her why she has come to Terragast. "Oh, it's, um, an expedition to see the mountains!" she says. "My name is Frogbok." She thinks for a moment. "Would you like to accompany us? I've never met a Human, and you seem sufficiently intelligent." You agree and go to get your pack. You rummage through it, checking your climbing gear and your stash of fruit snacks. But wait. Where is your data tablet?
It's missing! It had all of your notes and photos from yesterday, and you forgot to back up the data last night. You used it to listen to your favorite Earth music, too. Frogbok seems dismissive. "Oh, I can build you a better tablet in minutes!" she says. "Have you ever heard traditional Braxiconian chamber music?"
(58%): Ask around camp to try and find your tablet.
(42%): Go with Frogbok and a new Zibzab tablet.
You decline Frogbok's offer. "Suit yourself!" she says. "My mini flamethrower and I will have a marvelous time." You go back to look for other campers and hear a commotion two tents over to your right. "I swear I didn't do it!" says a Felisi to her companion, a Timtillawink. "I haven't got an artist's bone in my body. It must have been someone else." The Timtillawink stares at her, crossing his arms. He has on green lederhosen with plain hiking socks and boots. Or they would be plain, if they were not otherwise covered in swirling designs of sticks and pebbles. The same designs you found on your pack the other day! They appear to be stuck on with some kind of sticky sap. "I leave these out for one night to dry," the Timtillawink exclaims, "and look what's happened!" You interrupt them and ask politely if they have seen your missing data tablet. They haven't. "Oh, now things are getting swiped, too," says the Felisi. "Was there a ransom note? Any clues? This is so exciting! We have a prankster in our midst." She smiles, baring her teeth. "I bet I can sniff them out."
(76%): Ask them to help you find the prankster.
(24%): Keep searching the campsite.
The Felisi grins even wider, her sharp teeth catching the sunlight. "Yes! I, Calissa, will help you. And so will Falvo here." The Timtillawink grunts. "Yes, I suppose that is one way to spend a vacation," he mutters. You agree to meet after breakfast.
Falvo is still wearing his bedazzled socks and boots when you arrive. "You know, I think it's grown on me," he says. "Do you think they could do my jacket, too?" He strikes a pose. Calissa laughs. Then she notices your pack. "Let me see that," she tells you. It's still covered in sticks and pebbles. She takes it in one hand and sniffs it. "Eugh," she says. This is Eglabite-made. I knew it! They won't be in the campsite now. We'll have to go to one of their villages." She takes out her tablet, and brings up a map. "Lucky for you, Falvo and I spotted an Eglabite last night and tailed it to a village in the northwest." She pauses. "I wonder if that's why they pranked us this morning. They don't like being followed." Falvo grimaces. "Well, if we're going to follow them again, how do we know they won't run away again or try to prank us?" he says. "I heard one of the caretakers, Melanie, is friendly to them. Let's ask her what she does."
(8%) Sneak up to the Eglabite Village.
(78%) Ask Melanie about the Eglabites.
(14%) Continue searching the camp for clues.
You walk through camp towards the caretaker's cottage and find a Lackerdood outside, checking her climbing boots with a pack by her side. "Melanie!" Calissa greets her, "Have a few minutes? There's this mystery--"
"I'm due over at the Eastern Base Camp by lunch," says Melanie. "Let's walk and talk." She swiftly shoulders her pack, and the three of you scramble to catch up to her brisk pace, explaining the missing data tablet and the unexpected craft projects. Melanie laughs in delight when you show her your pack. "Oh, that's a lovely design, isn't it?" She runs a finger over the pebble-work. "They must be quite smitten with you. Troubling though that they took your device. Usually it's a trade -- one thing in return for another. If I give them a laugh, they'll bring down hard-to-reach supplies for me. One time, I told Eektie the one about the Zibzab geologist, and he laughed so hard he rolled right down the valley." She chuckles at the memory.
(38%): Ask her to tell you the one about the Zibzab geologist.
(43%): Ask her about Eektie.
(19%): Ask her to tell them to give your tablet back.
"Ah, Eektie." She smiles. "It's not his real name, you know, but the chirping noises used in their language are hard to master, even for a Lackerdood." She makes a chirp-chirp-chirrup whistle like songbirds you have heard back on Earth. "Apparently that means, 'I am not a predator or a large bagel.' Anyway, I met him, oh, half a dozen years ago when I was clearing out debris from an avalanche along the southern trail. He popped right out of a snow drift! Completely unhurt, but he had lost most of his mossy coat. He was so glum. I brought him back to camp, fed him stew, and gave him new moss from the water heater. Now he shows up about once a week when I go hiking!"
You have gained a conversation momentum! Different types of momentum will affect the outcome of your missions in 1001 Odysseys.
(39%): Ask her to tell the Eglabites to give your tablet back.
(61%): Ask her where you can find the Eglabites.
"Finding the Eglabites reliably is tricky," says Melanie "This is their planet after all, so they can navigate even the steepest mountain terrain just as easily as we Lackerdoods can surf the waves. One afternoon when I was up on the Couloirs, I ran into Eektie, and he told me that he'd just seen Argochus down in the Valley eating lunch. That's a two-day climb for a Lackerdood! But, even if you're not looking for them, they can find you. If you have something handy, you might even be able to trade to get your tablet back." You arrive at the Eastern Base Camp, and Melanie turns to say farewell. "Lots of work to do on these tents before our next group comes in," she says. "I'll be around here if you need me."
The Eastern camp is not as big as the Western one, but its grand white and silver tents fill the tiny plateau on which it sits. The last of the morning shadows still cover the edges of the camp, leaving dewdrops and silvery wisps of fog. "There's Tyrant Mountain," says Calissa, pointing a clawed finger up towards the jagged mountain peak above. "The hardest climb in all of Insula."
Falvo sighs. "Another year of training, and we might be able to reach the top," he says. He looks at it longingly.
Calissa pats his shoulder. "But until then, let's amuse ourselves with this Eglabite issue!" she says. She turns to you. "Where do you want to go?"
(27%): Climb the mountain and look for Eglabites.
(33%): Go to the valley and look for Eglabites.