The Fallen Star – Chapter 2

“I told you this was a bad idea… And why did you rush in like that Shayitah?!” exclaimed Bowdoc.
“Duncan said let’s go, so I go. Why didn’t YOU rush in?”
“Hey! I only suggested that maybe we could take our chances, but Thaufar had to push things, like he always does!”
“Oh, I push things?”
“Did you suddenly start to notice?” added Círeth.
“What? Don’t you dare speak to me like that, elf!”
“And here he goes again… Anyway, just be quiet, everyone. I hear something.”

“Snort snort snart! Oïïïïnk!”

“Was that a werepig?”
“A werepig? Are you still drunk or what? Plus, it’s not nighttime yet.”
“Anyway… *sigh* Let’s just move on.”

The insides of the star were made out of pure metal. The walls were veined with grey conduits, cables and screws. Occasionally, bursts of steam came out of the tubes, leaving large trails in the thickening air. As they advanced in the corridor, the sound of their steps resounding deeply through the ship, they found themselves surrounded by a dim orange light.

“What is that, Duncan?”, nervously asked Círeth.
“I don’t know, but I can see an intersection up ahead. Let’s go check it out.”

They arrived at the crossing, and what was meant to happen… happened…

“Which way should we go? Left or right?” asked Duncan.
“Lrifth!” they said.

“Okay, so let me put it this way then: left XOR right?”
“Right.” said Shayitah.
“We can’t go right, the corridor is burning! And zapping like crazy.”
“That’s why I wanted to go right Bowdoc.”
“But… When… How even? Okay, I give up. We can’t go right, let’s go to the left first, and then we’ll go right so you can meet your friendly flames.”
“What is that glowing green light? It seems to come from the left corridor…”, asked Círeth.
“I don’t know, let’s go check it out.”

Following the light like summer flies, they trod through more moist passageways, and eventually made it to a closed door. Onto it was painted an enormous animal. After several minutes of close inspection, they realized that the so called beast was in fact a cute kitten, playing with a ball of yarn. Hanging next to the closed door, a rope disappeared through a hole in the wall.

“Great, what do we do now?” asked Shayitah.
“It’s obvious! We pull the rope, and the door opens. Easy.” said Bowdoc, proud of himself for being so manly…
“How do you know that?”
“I’m a rogue, I know how doors work… Didn’t you ever hear ‘Pull the hanging rope, and the door shall open’?”
“We don’t have doors in my tribe.”
“Just pull it Bowdoc!” pushed Thaufar.

Upon pulling the rope, the door slowly slid sideways.

They entered the room, and immediately noticed a big buzzing machine, right in the middle. It had a small drawing on it, ‘E-Kitty’. The machine exhaled green vapor from a panel on its left side. On the right side, a series of buttons and symbols gloomily beeped in loneliness. They started to examine he room, looking for anything that could prove either useful, or valuable.

“~ What does the button say? ~” hummed Shayitah, while forcing a big red emergency button down on the reactor’s control panel.

”Processus de réparation automatique de la coque enclenché. Veuillez vous éloigner des parois pendant que nos robots de maintenance résolvent les problèmes.”

“Oh great, couldn’t you have used your brain for once? Just for once! Didn’t you see the writing? It reads ‘Emergency case only’” said Thaufar with exasperation.
“No it doesn’t, it’s something more like ‘Life Renewal’”.
“Oh, and of course you elves know that better than everyone else?”
“As a matter of fact, yes! I know how to read, and you don’t. It looks like infernal to me.”

“I’m bored! I go back to corridor!” concluded Shayitah.
“Good, we don’t need you here! Go burn yourself!”
“And get zapped too!”
“Guys we can’t let her go on her own to that other path, plus there is nothing left to see here. Let’s go check it out.”
“Gosh! Is that all you ever say, Duncan?”
“Say what? Let’s just go, and check it out.”

As they left the room, a panel on the ceiling opened and plated boots descended towards the floor. Unfortunately, our adventurers were already far when the 8 feet tall maintenance robot turned on and started examining the damaged walls.

They made it to the intersection, only to discover that the burning corridor was now fully repaired.

“Hey Shayitah, what did you do with the corridor? Why isn’t it burning, nor zapping?” asked Duncan.
“I don’t know, it was that way when I came back. I was kind of disappointed, you know…”
“Yeah, I’m sorry Shayitah, but maybe there’s fire elsewhere on this ship?”
“There’s only one way to find out, let’s continue exploring.”

Several corridors later, the group arrived into a large room, with huge windows and a lot of seats. On the walls, countless dials, measurement devices and screens we flashing, red, blue, green, and teal.

“Look at these!” exclaimed Círeth.
“I know right? All this technology seems very advanced compared to what we have at home… Stars are definitely strange things…” pondered Duncan.
“What? No I mean: look at those seats, they are so comfortable!”
And as Círeth lazily sat in the central chair, the flashing suddenly stopped, and a deafening metallic sound came from the corridor they just left.

“What NOW?!” screamed Círeth.
“Can’t stop for even a minute, there’s always something to disturb you!”
“That’s why it’s called ‘adventure’, Círeth… You know, things wouldn’t be fun if it was easy.”
“Please, not that debate again, I tell you my point of view: you can’t know this because things have NEVER BEEN easy Duncan, so how can you tell? Plus, easy adventure means safe adventure, no random events, no extra-planar travelers to teleport on you…”
“Is she barging against the odds again?” asked Bowdoc, as Círeth continued on with her monologue.
“Yeah… Just leave it be, in one minute she’ll stand and shout at us for not being motivated…”
“And I am the only motivated person around, none of you really want to be exploring dungeons and fighting for our lives!”
“See? I told you…”

“I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about it. After all, I am the only elf around, surrounded by dwarves, orcs and humans… What a fate!”
“Listen everybody, there was a sound, so let’s go and check it out. Círeth you’re free to stay…”
“Fine, I come. Otherwise you would just get yourselves killed, and I would have to live with it. Move on already!”

As they arrived at the intersection, the noises got louder. It seemed to come from the reactor room. Slowly, they approached the door.

“There’s definitely something inside.” said Duncan.
“Sure, but what? I can recognize these sounds…” whispered Círeth.
“It sounds like, … like in a smith’s shop. You know, like someone is hammering stuff. Hard.” said Thaufar.
“Everybody’s ready? I’m opening the door.”

Duncan pulled down the rope, and the door slid open in a screechy sound. As they entered, they finally discovered the source of all this noise.

“What in the seven mountains?!”

Before them, an 8 feet tall maintenance robot was hammering down the deformed walls, trying to reshape them anew. On its back were written letters: ‘ER4-04PNF’. So far it had done a very good job, for the room was now very clean, and freshly painted. Only the south wall was left to attend to.

Suddenly, the robot froze. After several seconds, he dropped his hammer, which fell to the ground in a blast, echoed by the corridors of the fallen star. And before they could realize was what happening, ER4-04PNF turned around,  aimed at them with his spray-paint machine from which teal drops were still leaking out, and pressed the trigger…

To be continued…

By Axel Caro and Quentin Dauchy

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