Interested in further plumbing the unexplored depths of the Zuxian habitat inside Ardiel, an archaeologist named Dr. Knuleps funded a small team to explore a tunnel she'd recently secured the claim to. The tunnel led to a wide chasm within the moon where Knuleps believed an old bridge that once connected the chasm to further settlements on the far side had broken off and fallen into the chasm below. How and why were the questions she had set out to answer, not to mention whether there were any valuable Zuxian relics to be found in the supposed wreckage far below.
With the help of her metalborn assistant A-284, the crew mounted climbing ropes and descended, finding the rubble far below in the cold, dark chasm. Jake noticed a hollow sound beneath them as they landed, suggesting an empty chamber - a fact confirmed when Elena conveniently tripped over the hatch to the old tunnel under the settled dust and dirt. At the same time, Adrian uncovered a faded symbol on the exterior of the old tunnel, which Dr. Knuleps began analyzing in an effort to translate.
Heading into the tunnel below, James learned that it was more than a mere bridge between sections, but a series of labs and offices suspended over the chasm. In one lab, he found suspended samples of what looked to be pre-Cataclysm life forms, previously only known through their unburied skeletons. Further down the hall, a pair of Dr. Knuleps' grad students found a chemistry lab, but in trying to collect a few samples, managed to drop one, causing a strange green foam to rapidly expand. Still burdened with other unknown chemicals in surprisingly fragile containers (several millennia can be hell on lab safety precautions), the pair were nearly trapped for fear of worstening the mess until Elena and Jakob thankfully took the burden of worstening it for them, bumbling the remaining chemicals until the green foam was black and covered in white flames that smelled vaguely like cabbage.
Outside, Dr. Knuleps had been pointed to her chemical sniffer by the ever-wary Adrian in time to spot the sudden shift in air composition suggesting an impending reaction. With only moments to spare, she began working on overriding A-284's safety protocols in its thrusters to give them a chance of all getting clear, but it wasn't without a lot of help from James and Adrian that she succeeded. With the grad students all but carrying Jakob and Elena out of the tunnel complex, everyone grabbed a rope and were lifted by the overclocked metalborn assistant to get clear of the flaming gas cloud below.
Safely deposited in the intact tunnel above, the group at least have some answers about what caused the bridge to fall, given the sad state of the chemical seals millennia after they'd been put in place. There's still a chance that some of the samples James spotted may be recoverable once they can safely analyze and clear away the black foam, but for now, most of the crew are just happy to have gotten out alive. As if to twist the proverbial knife, Dr. Knuleps' translation program finished its analysis of the symbol Adrian found - a warning about volatile chemicals on the premises. A bit late, perhaps, but it's given them one more symbol for the catalog that they can be on the lookout for on future expeditions.
- Adrian - 2S, 2I
- Elena - 1S, 2C, 1G
- Jakob - 1S, 2I, 1G
- James - 2S, 2I
- 200 credit stipend from the expedition fund