Mr. Dwight had spent much of the time travelling to Fort Payne grumbling, but it seemed sensible to him to at least leave word there should our efforts at Chattanooga prove fatal or worse. Having spent several days travelling and then a full day of trampling about the Fort trying to determine what the Protectorate knows of contents of the First National Bank of Chattanooga, he was sadly proved correct: They really didn’t know much about it and didn’t have any resources to spare to aid us.
That said, the conversation about ley lines, magic mishaps, and other esotericka seemed to annoy Mr. Dwight even more than wasting his time getting here. Alas, Thorne who would have no doubt reveled in the conversation had fallen ill on the trip, and thus missed the opportunity to join in. The conversation largely went over the heads of the rest of the company.
Returning to the Bessie Bell, Justice mentioned to the party that odds sounds were coming from a flooded cave across the way, a place that was labeled in ancient “Nickajack Cave”. Curious—and perhaps keen to tease Justice a bit about his jumpiness—the company took the “Zodiac” skiff to investigate. The cave was immense, and farther back was a beach. Khiron noted something odd about the rock formations, but said he would need to analyze samples before he could nail down what was bothering him. Mr. Dwight was sure the cave contained rare and valuable metals.
Beyond the beach was a ramshackle wall with a single partly-hinged door. The door was already breeched, but Gabriel took efforts to ensure opening it would not generate an alarming level of noise. Beyond the cave descended at a slope down to another more formidable wall with a large, sliding door. Khiron located a control panel and was able to activate it. It lead down a long, seamless corridor that illuminated at our approach.
Wary of such tight quarters, Mr. Dwight sent his ‘cricket’ ahead.The ‘cricket’ reached the end of the hallway and encountered a strange golem-like creature that contained a living humanoid head. It responded with violence at the approach of the ‘cricket’, but had failed to discerne it’s essentially “etheric” nature and thus did no harm to it. Mr. Dwight recalled it in any case, and the thing at the end of the hall sent it’s own rather more terrifying version of the cricket to greet us.
In a fit of good sense, the company decided to parlay rather than antagonize the denizens here further. It “spoke” only through text. It claimed the area was “Output 1347” and was willing to trade powerful armaments in exchange for more information on the Chattanooga situation. It seemed those of “Output 1347” understood little to nothing of the arcane so they had little information to offer otherwise. The “sample” weapon did prove beyond a doubt that they did posses technology to rival or perhaps even surpass the pre-Fall ancients.