Passport: Climbing Permit
Current Mission Summary:
Your mission to survey the biomes on Terragast has hit a snag. The data tablet where you were recording all your findings disappeared while you were asleep! After asking around, it seems likely that locals called the Eglabites took it while you slept, but you're not the only one who's had a run in with these hedgehog-like folk. A Timtillawink climber named Falvo was also the victim of a unprovoked bedazzling, and his climbing partner, a Felisi named Calissa, is keen to help you locate the Eglabites and recover your tablet.
You have a permit that will let you climb up the mountains, and you've also gotten advice about the Eglabites from Melanie, a Lackerdood caretaker who is on friendly terms with an Eglabite named Eektie. She explains that the Eglabites are usually open to trades, if you can find them. They value good food, good moss, and good jokes.
"Are you--are you sure?" Falvo asks. "Maybe you're just hungry. Let's set up for lunch and see if you still feel the same after you've eaten." He pulls out a thermos with a small heater while Calissa grabs a seat and starts munching on some crunchy spheres. You enjoy some of your own provisions and spend some extra time making your decision, but going to feed the munchers couldn't possibly be a bad idea. When lunch is over, you repeat your decision to the climbers.
"I think you're mad in the head," says Calissa. "No one's explored the Stone Heart Caverns in decades, not since the munchers moved up to the surface. Even the caretakers stay away." She scratches her head. "Maybe the Eglabites can go about unscathed though. Maybe the spines, keep the munchers off." She makes a clicking motion with her teeth. "Would be like trying to bite a pincushion."
"But what will we give them?" says Falvo.
"Why, you, of course," says Calissa, poking him in the stomach. She grins devilishly. "Just kidding! We can give them these stale kibbles. They're supposed to be squab flavored, but it's more like old hairball." She digs a rattling canister out of the bottom of her pack, twisting the top open for you to have a look. The smell is potent.
(34%): Feed the munchers with the kibbles.
(47%): Feed the munchers with your fruit snacks.
(19%): Feed the munchers with whatever you find on the way.
The trail to the Stone Heart Caverns winds through a high stony valley accented with fuzzy heather and an ever-present steaming mist. "They call this the Thermal Pass," Calissa explains. "The steam comes from fissures in the ground. Keeps the pass, well, passable because it melts the snowfall." As you continue walking, you begin to notice warning signs. At first there are just a few, but by the time you reach the the end of the trail they're sprouting up everywhere like an invasive weed. Those not written in Federation Standard are covered in diagrams of something with many, many teeth.
"Well, we're here," Falvo says, standing firm. The rock of the mountain arches over a shadowy cave, deep enough that the back is hopelessly lost in shadows. "This is as close as I want to be," says Calissa. She seems similarly rooted. You take out your bag of fruit snacks and slowly walk up to the front of the cave, waving it around in the air. You hear a faint crunching echoing from inside the cave. Could it be a muncher, drawn forward by the scent?
Suddenly, a high pitched voice calls out from above. "Is that a juicy-sweet morsel-bite? Can I have it?" An Eglabite wobbles to the edge of the cliff above, sees you, then wriggles down the side with ease, appearing quickly at your ankle. "I only got a sniff of the last one, and it smelled so tasty." A tiny face peers up at you from under the moss-covered spines. "But can we go stand with those two while you decide? This is too close to the mouth."
You have gained an Insula momentum! Different types of momentum will affect the outcome of your missions in 1001 Odysseys.
(29%): Ask about your data tablet.
(61%): Ask where she sniffed the last fruit snack.
(11%): Insist that you want to see munchers.
Falvo gasps. "So you're the one who's been decorating everyone's belongings," he says. "Look here." He gestures to his boots, as glittery as ever. "Oh, very nice," says the Eglabite, nodding. She runs a tiny finger over the blue pebbles along the toe, admiring the swirls. "That must have been Casper and Wookto," she says, and grins mischievously at Calissa and Falvo. "They told me they saw two campers following them back to the village. Visitors are strictly forbidden. Lucky they didn't get your sunglasses." She winks and holds out a hand. "May I have a fruity morsel, please?"
"Hang on," says Calissa. She kneels down to look at the Eglabite at eye-level. "Our friend here lost a data tablet containing all their research the same night you 'accessorized' their bag. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
The Eglabite scrunches up her nose. "A 'data tablet'? The square thing that makes a picture of whatever you point it at?" You concede that that could be yours. "Oh, well, I don't have it," she replies. "It belongs to the village elder now. They gave a bundle of herbs in trade." You ask her if she could take you to her village. "Certainly not! I would get in so much trouble." She snuffles her nose. "But, maybe, if you gave me that bag of fruity snacks?"
(71%): Give her the bag of fruit snacks.
(29%): Ask to be led to the village first.
You hand the Eglabite a fruit snack, and she takes it delicately in her fingers. "What a strange concoction!" she says. "It's like a tiny blomferous plum, but it holds its shape." She tastes it. Her eyes widen, and her spines bristle. "Ohh! Such sweet juiciness. I must know how to make this." She grabs the whole bag and upends it into her mouth. "Ith...there more...at your camp?" she says between munches.
Calissa looks stern. "There will be time for that later. Lead us to the village!" she growls.
"Oh, all right," says the Eglabite. She licks the rest of the juice from her fingers. "Follow me."
You were told the hills off-trail were treacherous, but the Eglabite leads you through the easiest climbs, the gentlest slopes. "I had no idea you could get around this easily," says Falvo. "I haven't even broken a sweat." You see pockets of flowering shrubs and scrawny trees, many of which are new to you. You wish you had your tablet.
At the end of a steep gully, you see a curtain of hanging vines and leaves over a cave mouth. "Through this way," says the Eglabite. You walk through a dark tunnel, Falvo's flashlight lighting the way. Then you exit into a small clearing. There are dozens of Eglabites here, laughing, dancing, working. This must be the village! You see a few sturdy huts and several large birds with tiny saddles nearby. Maybe the Eglabites use the hawkish birds for flying.
Then the villagers see you. "Aliens!" "Trespassers!" They all start talking at once. Some look astonished. Others look angry. "Who brought them in here?!" you hear someone exclaim. You see an older Eglabite with a big hat holding what you are pretty sure is your data tablet.
(82%): Introduce yourself.
(15%): Hide behind a nearby bush.
(3%): Ask for your tablet back.
You introduce yourself and Calissa and Falvo to the crowd and do your best to explain that your mission is to study the planet and that you mean no harm. Your Eglabite guide discreetly points at the Eglabite with the large hat, so you direct your words to her, sitting down on a clear patch of stone to look her in the eyes.
"Oh, Most Mighty Milliner!" says your Eglabite guide. "It was I, Wooktie, who led them here. They appreciate my crafting works, and they gave me so many delicious fruit snacks! You should try some, they're yummy!" The Eglabite elder's face is inscrutable.
"Ah- also, they didn't know that it was an Eglabite who got the fluffy-puff herbs off the top of that rock for them. They didn't mean to walk off without trading. But the thing is, they need that record-maker-image-taker to finish the rest of their mission. So please, offer to trade it back."
The elder looks out at you from the shadows of her hat brim and you find yourself suddenly aware of just how sharp those Eglabite spines must be. "You must not ever tell anyone about our village," she says. "It's supposed to be secret! If everyone knew about it, they'd be here all the time, and we'd have to set up craft fairs every weekend. We have other things to do, you know! Setting up a craft fair for ourselves one weekend per month is enough!" She gestures around the village, and you notice several tiny tables covered with a variety of crafts hidden behind the crowds of Eglabites. "You can have this thingy back when you leave, if you keep the secret."
Falvo eagerly looks at one of the nearby tables. "Those suspenders match my boots!" he exclaims.
You vow to keep the village a secret.
You have gained a Conversation momentum! Different types of momentum will affect the outcome of your missions in 1001 Odysseys.
(12%): Return to Base Camp now.