2020-12-08: A Link to the Past

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============================<* Great Spiran Sea *>============================

The Spiran archipelago is, unsurprisingly, composed of a series of islands. One is large, some are fairly big, the rest are quite small. Travel between the islands is accomplished by a series of small, local ferry runs between Spira's major seaports. Each of these ferries is pretty much like the rest - a large two-masted brig equipped with a pair of paddle wheels that allow the vessel to run on chocobo power whenever the wind is low.

Because all of the ferries are basically the same, this is the one you're on. Whatever one that is. Wherever it's going. You're on it.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Several weeks ago, Cid called together a meeting of the Drifters.

That meeting was a more somber affair: a plan to save Yuna from a marriage. It ended poorly, all said; while everyone escaped with their lives, it was a success in spite of that plan rather because of it. A price had been paid, too. Today is different. It is more like paying it forward.

On the bridge of the Fahrenheit, the balding Al Bhed rests back against the railing. His hands rest there, as he looks thoughtful.

"All right, all right!" he says. "File in. I've got something I think all of y'all will be happy with."

There is a moment while everyone files in. Brother looks them over once; Cid, too. When Riesenlied rolls in, Cid responds to his fellow airship captain with warmth and a total mistake of her character. He throws a bottle of moonshine into her lap. "Riese!" he says. "Damn glad to see ya! Drink up, it's on me!"

Then, he turns back to the others. Cid holds up a device: a silver rod, which ends in several metal plates and crystals. Wires are jury-rigged into it, and a few metal gadgets.

"This is your ticket back to Filgaia!" he says. "I'm calling it a Reflector Key, 'cause it uses some Elw technology to make other Elw technology do some other stuff. Don't ask me, I just had some people work on it. Don't know exactly how it works."

Mariel, of all those here, recognizes it: this is a (very) heavily modified automatic ear-groomer.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Admittedly, Catenna's been detached from most Spiran affairs these days. She's focused mainly on business, namely dancing and cooking and providing services, even in lieu of the physical CaraKin. It's easier for her. Getting involved in religious disputes between Yevon, the Guard and others still feels odd to her.

But a meeting is a meeting. And the prospect of a way back to Filgaia appeals to her, even if this is the Moon.

Arriving in one of her dancing outfits, the Moon Shaman - Saarda-Shanta on her shoulder - keeps to one side of the room, her arms crossed over her midsection. her eyebrows rise slightly as she listens to Cid explain things - and then he reveals his device.

Catenna, at least, has no idea what that thing is. Catenna is not good at technology.

"You have found a way to use that to... what? Activate some sort of portal?" she asks with a cant of her head and a curve of her eyebrows. "That would be remarkable. We have never found a means to travel between Filgaia and Lunar in anything but an involuntary way."

<Usually involving running en masse through a portal,> Saarda-Shanta deadpans. <We do seem to enjoy fleeing collectively.>

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Ever since the last plan to save Yuna from a marriage, Riesenlied has discovered that amongst airship captains (of which there is a grand population of two, here), she actually is the tsukkomi to Cid's bokke. The Al Bhed certainly remind her a lot of Wayside's residents - hearty, enthusiastic, and often... prone to, let us say, plans that require a little bit of revision, perhaps.

        Riesenlied is in wheelchair today, covering a little sniffle from a cold she's nursing; she hasn't been out and about Digging, due to her health in general, and she has a ship and her children to look after.

        Then Cid drops moonshine into her lap--

        "Eh? Ehhh?!"

        Riesenlied stares haplessly and her horns sag. "Cid, I do... not drink..." She scans the room for the first instance of someone who might appreciate it--

        And holds it up for Lily.

        The topic of the Reflector Key comes up, however, and the horns perk back up. "A way back to FIlgaia?"

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Somethin they'll be happy with? Lily is interested enough in that. She walks in alongside Riesenlied rolling in, looking over the bridge again as is her usual way. Check each side, check under potential cover, all the usual danger markers. But it's the Fahrenheit, and...

And Riesenlied just got given moonshine. Lily laughs faintly at that, and nudges her arm with a hand. "Yes, big drinker Riese," she teases a little, and then looks ahead to the key and technology.

"A ticket back to Filgaia?" Lily questions. "Now that's promising."

Lily takes the bottle as Riesenlied hands it to her though, and she will have some rather immediately. "Thanks."

This works for her.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline Barber was at that meeting, and participated in that ill-fated plan. But thankfully she made it out, even if it took a toll on her mentally and physically that took some time to recover from after the fact. But, when Cid calls another meeting, Jacqueline is there once more. She takes a seat, settling herself in and waiting for things to get started.

She looks on in interest, then, as Cid produces a peculiar device. She studies it curiously before rummaging through her bags, drawing out a notebook and a pencil.

"May I...?" She asks, gesturing to the device and to the notebook. If given permission she'll take a sketch of it, though as she does she looks back up.

"This is supposed to get us back to Filgaia? That's remarkable, if so. How do we use it?" Jacqueline asks, curiously. He doesn't seem to know exactly how it works, so there doesn't seem to be any point in asking that... though she's absolutely curious about it.

She does, however, look toward Catenna as she asks her question, and then back to Cid.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel is here!

She did not, honestly, expect to be, but she was invited, some of her friends would be interested in the information, and so she came along. She looks a little tired, but not in a bad way - just the sort of tired that results from a couple busy days rather than long-term raggedness.

It is generally her tendency to act as a wallflower when she's not the one talking, and today is no exception. There are plenty of places in the busy Fahreinheit where she can stand out of the way. But...

...

"...um," Mariel says, a little awkwardly. "...may I see that for a minute?" She does not mention her Elw-ness, but it's not as if it's a secret around the majority of this crowd.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Boudicca has posed.

        No matter her troubles, Boudicca is happy to come back to the Farhenheit, as she finds herself so often doing. This time, rather than seeking Ida, she has been summoned..!

        Which means no Al Bhed are bothered by a Helpful Ghost with a language barrier on her way in. Phew.

        And so she files in -- or, perhaps, ducks in, because she's six feet of plate armour plus the horns on her helm. "Oh, Riesenlied, you seem to be a touch ill... should you, perhaps, save the imbibation for another time..?" Luckily, Riese has a solution. It's Lily! "Sensible," she concludes.

        To Saarda-Shanta, Boudicca replies, "Let us be fair. Once we did not run insomuch as swim."

        ...

        Beat: "Oh," Boudicca realises, startle animation, "that is not better, is it?"

        At least she has the sense not to look to Mariel until Mariel asks to see the dinglehopper..!

<Pose Tracker> Tidus has posed.

        "Huh, really?" Tidus asks, peering at the silver key. He knows this meeting was mostly for the benefit of Filgaian Drifters, but he figured, what was the harm in poking his head in and seeing what the deal was? Sure enough, it's not really a big deal to *him*, but it sure is a big deal in general. He opens his mouth to ask how it works, right before Cid tells everyone not to bother. "If you say so," he says, rubbing the back of his head.
        
        He looks out at the others. "So, I guess you guys'll be leaving soon, huh...? It'll be sad to see you go, but I can't blame you for going home to where you belong. We've all got our own problems to deal with, huh?"
        
        Mariel asks to see the Reflector Key. He blinks over at her, but doesn't think too much of it. Who wouldn't want to get a closer look at the thing that'd send them home?

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is there. He's standing somewhere else in the gathering as opposed to 'on the fringes' for once, which may be developer oversight but shhh. There is much awe and shock to be had around, going by early opinions, with the claims that this strange silvery rod is their ticket back to Filgaia.
        It reflects on their character they would go out of their way to use the Otherworlders' name for the world. So Ethius thinks. He brings that hand away from his forehead.
        "That is a development." He states more plainly. "If I may enquire, Mister Cid, who were these 'some people'?"
        Something something gift horse something something mouth?

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Thankfully, Noeline enters at Riesenlied's side, and so she's there to experience the leader of the Al Bhed offer the other Hyadean a flask of moonshine strong enough she can practically see the smoke flowing around the bottle.

        You can see her expression swerve hard between a nostalgic couple of looks, as 'oh my god' and 'oh my god this is great' briefly war on her face. Then chivalry wins out, and she chuckles softly as she helps complete the passover to Lily, then settles against the handlebars of the wheelchair in a comfortable and practiced position of support.

        "You should probably know that our experiences with Elw teleporters are not exactly permanent," she notes with a chuckle in Cid and Tidus' directions, giving Mariel an apologetic smile and a half-shrug as she says it. "This isn't the first time we've left Spira and come back, after all, and I don't doubt it'll be the last, either."

        "Which is not to say we're not grateful," she admits with a final, light laugh. "More that it would be nice to find a method of travel that doesn't collapse after we've gone through."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida settles in, leaning against a bridge console with folded arms. Her side is visibly bandaged, but that's the fault of a bunch of Fiends in the coliseum, not Yevon.

        Her eyebrows raise as Cid dumps a jug of moonshine in Riese's lap, but her attention snaps over to the mysterious device as Cid produces it.

        "Highly specific," she says. She can't make heads or tails of it. "But if it's in any way reliable, this could be a game-changer." She gives Boudicca a nod of friendly acknowledgment as she files in.

        Mostly, she wants to see what Mariel makes of that device. If anyone would recognize what's been kitbashed together, it would be her.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Zhang Xiumei is here, too.

She is towards the back, at the moment. She doesn't have the Model AV armor on; she is in a button-up shirt, vest, ribbon, and skirts. Her purple ponytail hangs neatly over one shoulder, as she has a book unfolded on her lap. She is jotting notes down quickly, as she sits thgere. Her eyes do perk up, though, at mention of a way back to Filgaia. "That would help.

Cid looks around for a second. "Yeah," he says. "We know they work--we used 'em when we sent Al Bhed to go nab Yuna!" He laughs, because -- honestly -- he's not going to apologize for that. And, besides, after how many loved ones have been killed by Yevon...

Cid laughs when he doesn't know what else to do.

He holds it up for Jacqueline, then Mariel to see. "We've got a bunch more. See, these let you do something handy--take 'em to a ruin with an Elw teleporter, and after the modifications we made, they'll sync up. That lets ya teleport to another one you've been to."

He taps a finger against it. "These'll take you to the Live Reflector in the Lost Woods, outside of Sylvaland's main island. That's what Brother told me to say." He nods, then glances at Brother. Brother nods back; then Cid looks at Ethius. "My people. We unearth ancient tech, mess around with it, and do whatever the hell we want!"

He grins at him. "It's great."

Then, he pauses: "One little problem, though. Any questions before I start explaining?"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

<Owls do not enjoy swimming,> Saarda-Shanta answers Boudicca, fluffing her feathers out with consternation.

Catenna, for her part, looks towards Mariel with a cant of her head, leaving it to the little Elw to assess whether or not this is actually going to work. The explanation goes over her head, really. The Moon Shaman has about as much technical aptitude as your average mainland Lunarian: Namely, almost none.

When Cid suggests there's a problem, her gaze snaps back to him, and she arches her eyebrows. "I don't have any questions but I do wonder what the challenge is you've run into," she invites. "Do tell."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Boudicca asks if Riesenlied should keep the imbibation for another time-- and there's a quiet pout as she murmurs, "I have not imbibed in years!" Not that she ever made a habit out of it, given how... incredibly tipsy she gets even sniffing alcohol.

        Her spice tolerance isn't the only thing that's weak.

        Lily, on the other hand, seems extremely enthused to receive it, and she smiles a bit. Classic Lily.

        Jay starts sketching and Mariel asks if she can see it. Did she know something about it? IT would make sense...

        But Noeline is there to assist her in turn, comfort showing clear across her face. She looks around; there's so many people she haven't seen in ages, and it's good to see them well. "Yes, it took a lot out of me and others to activate that first one in the Pleasing Gardens, I remember..."

        Riesenlied's eyes widen as Cid explains. "Sylvaland. That is in south Aquvy, I believe..." That must mean that they've gotten it to work before, judging from Brother's experience.

        But there's a problem. "What is that...?"

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"They are doing fairly well given none of them have had maintenance in several thousand years," Mariel replies, slightly defensively, to Noeline.

Mariel accepts the Reflector Key. Now, Mariel is not an Elw technologist, really, but she's handled a fair bit of it in her time, and she turns it around in her hands to make sense of it. Let's see, she thinks to herself. They've connected this crystal array to the other activation trigger, which is connected to...

Mariel can't help but smile, just a little bit. She supposes that using the ... original item ... as structural support and a small battery probably works at least for a while, but she can't help but find it funny anyway. She wonders what *else* they have repurposed to power the reflector crystals. But she doesn't ruin Cid's drama.

"This crystal is cracked," Mariel says, instead. "You could probably make it more reliable if you had a replacement. Which, ah, you might not have... I wouldn't have guessed this design would work, but if you've tried it."

Mariel hands it back, after a few moments of turning it around in her hands. "Would it help if you had someone who can read Elw work with the teleporter?"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

With permission granted, Jacqueline gets to work on sketching and note taking. This information will be important to take down - especially when it comes time to pass it on to trustworthy Drifters that there's a way back.

"Yeah... but, this doesn't necessarily mean we won't see each other again, right?" Jacqueline says with a sad smile. She glances toward Cid. "If you were able to send your people back and forth... then that means we'd be able to get back here from Filgaia too, right?"

She glances toward Mariel, though, as she asks to see the device. Well... if it was Elw technology, then it stands to reason she'd know a thing or two about it. She makes sure to include Mariel's observation in her notes. She looks back to Cid, then.

"So, I take it that if you're telling us this now, then you've got an Elw ruin in mind?" She asks. ...Though it's possible that might be part of said 'problem'.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida's brows rise. "I'm impressed," she says. "I'd figured you'd gotten one of the teleporters running, but to do so at-will..." Sure, the device looks a little kitbashed for her taste, and it is hardly the well-crafted elegance of the Baskar peoples' Sealing Rods, but function beats form in this case.

        "...Sylvaland?" Ida looks even more surprised. She pauses a beat, and then: "They've Guild Galad's western neighbors. They've utilized the Elw teleporters for decades, if not more, but how they activated them is a state secret."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida's brows rise. "I'm impressed," she says. "I'd figured you'd gotten one of the teleporters running, but to do so at-will..." Sure, the device looks a little kitbashed for her taste, and it is hardly the well-crafted elegance of the Baskar peoples' Sealing Rods, but function beats form in this case.

        "...Sylvaland?" Ida looks even more surprised. She pauses a beat, and then: "They've Guild Galad's western neighbors. They've utilized the Elw teleporters for decades, if not more, but how they activated them is a state secret."

        "And yes, please, do explain the problem involved."

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

"So that's a test run there and back," Lily notes of how Cid knows they work. She agrees about the drink being sensible, of course. Lily grijns faintly at Riesenlied. This stuff is probably strong enough to serve as vehicle fuel, but that doesn't seem to faze the sorceress much.

"As Noeline says," Lily agrees. "As long as the Guard is here, we have unfinished business in Spira, too." She remembers, of course, fighting Tidus during a certain assassination attempt. Now she's talking to him like it's all normal. That's certainly fine and good.

"Bring on the problem," Lily says about questions.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius's inquiry is met with candid but frank explanations.
        That is consistent with their observed behavior, even before the more formal alliance between the Drifter community at large and the Al Bhed. Ethius thinks to himself, as Riesenlied speaks aloud the meaning of where Sylvaland is and that the name Brother has given matches up. They have shown no hesitation in that regard. If I am to take his statements at face value, then...
        A hand to his forehead again, as Ida further elaborates on how the region's Elw teleporters have seen frequent use. ...There still remains undeniable differences between the unearthed machina of this region, and what I have observed elsewhere throughout the two worlds.
        Lily's statement about the Guard sees him look up from his internal monologue, in her assurance to Tidus.
        "Indeed. There are certain matters I wish to see addressed before long."
        ...I should labor under the assumption that this option is available to the enemy, as well. Doubtless that the Veruni will need to find some means to resupply in order to continue to recreate and maintain their equipment. They will not stop at turning Hyland into a puppet state.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Boudicca has posed.

        Boudicca wriggles her fingers to Ida, which entirely disabuses the whole cool composed lady image she's got going on. And Saarda-Shanta gets a sympathetic look! At least she has a cool way to get across the water.

        Brother, of course, gets a more proper deep nod for his assistance; Boudicca still hasn't figured out Al Bhed at all, for all she tries to mirror it back occasionally, but she is pretty good at getting her point across without words. It comes from spending 200 years in a statue mortals could see and rarely hear. Life skills. "So, you mean to say this is a portalable method of..." She starts, to Cid, only to stumble over her words a little as she finishes, "... ah... portals?"

        She doesn't think with them that often, give her a break.

        Attentively, she watches Mariel for answers, too..! And gets quite a lot of them. Boudicca wonders, briefly, why it made her smile so, but she files that away as something to ask later.

        Her attention goes back to Cid, though. "Yes, please do explain."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Noeline can't help but offer Mariel a brighter grin in turn this time, amusement bubbling up in her voice. "It is a marvel they work at all," she admits diplomatically. "And they have saved our hides more often than not."

        She rests a hand atop Riesenlied's shoulders. "That expertise might help here, as well," she wonders quietly, though a frown crosses her face as she watches others fuss over the device. Thankfully, her own technological experience is a lot more mundane. "Though I suppose, ideally, that this would be an entirely self-contained method."

        When Cid mentions a problem, her brow furrows. "... I assume you're going to tell us that the ruins in question are currently right in the middle of the Church's territory. Or worse, under Althenan guard by the Althenan Guard. So far, every other trip to a ruin has been rather one-way." The grumble is very toothless; it's hard for her to dislike Cid, full of Noeline's favorite brand of chaotic humanity.

<Pose Tracker> Tidus has posed.

        Tidus grins at Noeline when she points out that travel between worlds has yet to become one-way. "You got a point there!"
        
        Cid explains that this key is guaranteed to work because the Al Bhed have already used them. Tidus sobers but nods. Well, that explains *that*. He did wonder about it, but going after Yuna was so much more important that he ended up completely forgetting about it.
        
        Lily is definitely here, too. Tidus definitely remembers fighting her at that gathering. It's kind of awkward. Still, he nods to her too, because it's made less awkward by how normal *she* acts. Ethius chimes in on the same matter "Isn't the Guard originally from this world, though? I'm not trying to be ungrateful or anything, but if you're from Filgaia, why d'you care what the Guard does?" he asks them.
        
        Cid mentions there's a problem. "Oh boy. What is it now?" Tidus groans.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Tidus asks Ethius why he cares, pointing out how strange it is that he would care so much about the issues involving a world he is not from.
        "...To put it in short," it'd be great if Ethius could do that for once but doubtless he's going to append thirty extra words to the following statement regardless, "there are circumstances involved where Filgaian matters have found their way within the conflict between Althena's Guard and your land, prior to Althena's Guard ever making landfall in Spira."
        Ethius doesn't look in anyone's direction, looking off towards a wall. "...I would rather see it does not bring further disarray to the people of Spira as collateral."
        ...Had I been able to discern the origins and channels of arms supply earlier in Glenwood.

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Why does Lily care? "That's a fair question," she admits. She looks at Ethius thoughtfully, and then inclines her head once. "There's that, but I also just don't like the Guard very much. And I doubt their plans for Spira are good. ...Besides, it's not like they'll stop here on their 'crusade'. It's only going to grow, if you ask me, given the chance."

"...And I guess in third is the fact that I'm a mercenary, and war is my business anyway."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"We caught a boat there," Cid explains to Riesenlied. He hesitates, for a second, and then explains: "By caught, I mean stole. Might have to work that out with you Otherworlders down the line."

He shrugs once. Then he looks at Jay. "That's exactly what it means. You're gonna be able to go to Filgaia and come back. With a small little complication: you're gonna have to go through dangerous ruins, probably."

Xiumei pipes up, after that: "Most Elw teleporters found to date have been in very dangerous places," she adds. "So... we should assume there are a lot of dangers ahead of us. I don't think this will mean we'll see regular trade between the worlds any time soon."

She scribbles a few more notes.

A lot of people ask about Cid's problem. He looks at Noeline -- cracks a grin -- and then shakes his head.

"Well, these used to be attuned to a teleporter in Spira. Makes sense, right? Gotta be attuned to two, or otherwise we'd have a real problem going anywhere," he says. "We used to know a ruin on Bikanel, which had a crystal spire coming out of the sand. That spire got blown up in the whole mess with Home."

He shoots Tidus a grimace, then a shrug. "Y'all getting my niece out of there... I'll take losing it. Besides... we know it went down further, and we think the ruin proper is there."

He wrinkles his nose. "Problem is, we've never been there, just some crystalline spire on its roof. Which was buried. So we need to go excavate it--and then get inside." He glances at Mariel, then nods. "Different Reflector Keys have different levels of damage. We've got a whole bunch--one per person, and we'll give them to y'all. But... if you can help, with either those or the teleporter in the ruin... I won't say no."

He sighs. "The big problem is gonna be finding it under all the sand, then getting inside. But... I don't think we're gonna have trouble when we get there."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Oh, the Sylvaland teleporters are, ah... they are their own network." Mariel explains, electing not to get into any differences beyond that. "They probably are not locked at all to travel within that network - you just step on them. That is, locked by the Elw. I understand most of them are guarded by the monarchy. I haven't used them in..."

Her brow furrows as she tries to put a date to it, and then just doesn't. "But coming in through the long-distance will need something to open the way, yes."

When Cid explains what the problem is, Mariel nods. "I will come," she says. "I might be some help, if things go well. And if not, well... I can't hurt anything by being there, I suppose."

The smile suddenly comes back at 'different Reflector Keys' and that they have a whole bunch. She just bets they all look different, too.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna cants her head towards Ida with a blink. In many ways, southern Aquvy is alien to her; she's from the other side of Filgaia altogether. "Interesting," she murmurs.

A nod follows. "Yes, most teleporters have been decidedly off the beaten path. Unless we can actually beat ourselves a path, we are likely to have to fight our way through to basically any teleporter."

And indeed, Cid explains that there's some excavation to be done. The Moon Shaman scratches her cheekbone with the edge of one nail.

"There may be a way to seek out the gateway spiritually," she muses. "At least in terms of narrowing down where it is. But you can count on our assistance."

It's up to you who 'our' means.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Cid explains on how they had to steal a boat.

        You can...

        You can very much see the moment in which Riesenlied starts to slide in her wheelchair, her palm placed to her forehead. It's a very picard.jpg moment for her.

        But she shakes that off, because that isn't the issue (miraculously). Or is it an issue at all? There was a crystalline spire of a ruin, which got blown up and needs excavation.

        "It sounds like you need Diggers, and..." Riesenlied looks around the room. "You called upon the right people."

        She tilts her head as she murmurs, "I have experience with, ah, sensing resonances beneath the earth. I may be able to assist as needed."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Boudicca has posed.

        Boudicca wouldn't know ANYTHING about stealing boats*.

        *look, how did they expect her to go visit marivel on her spooky island???

        And so rather than pass judgement on this terrible crime, she says: "You will have as much assistance as you please from me, Cid." And from Mariel! Who Boudicca is sure will be VERY HELPFUL.

        To Tidus, she instead points out: "... not all of us are native Filgaians, though I still hold much affection for the land." Althena's Guard... well, she can't help but feel a little responsible. She did help them, once upon a time.

<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

 
"Huuoohohohohohoho! Buried beneath dunes? Hardpan? Playa?" Venetia Vuong says, having half-veiled her mouth with one hand. "That should be a worthy exercise once you've narrowed down the site."

(She has also been jotting down notes with a pencil which is significantly less smug.)

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        'But I don't think we're gonna have trouble when we get there.'

        Ida is the very picture of genteel skepticism. "The ruin we can handle," she says, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "I am, of course, assuming it will do its damnedest to kill us, since as you just mentioned, there are no safe Elw teleporters." Ida pauses, and glances back at the key. "What do you mean by 'different levels of damage?"

        Ida cracks a smile when Venetia speaks up. "As for finding it, you have Miss Barber, Riesenlied and a trained Mineralogist."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Dangerous ruins, huh...? Well, that's nothing new. Everyone here has been through their own fair share in the past - sometimes just for fun." Jacqueline says with a good-natured chuckle. "I think we'll be alright on that front."

But then he gets to her other question, the matter of which ruin they had in mind. It's a ruin on Bikanel... problem is, they don't actually know where it's located. Jacqueline frowns pensively, considering how to approach the situation.

"You'll be a big help, I'm sure, Mariel." Jacqueline says, offering her a smile before looking in Catenna's way. "That's a good idea, too."

She chuckles sheepishly, though, as Ida brings her up. It's true!
5r"As for excavating the ruins... I might be of some help there. Earth manipulation sorcery happens to be a specialty of mine, large or small." Jacqueline offers, looking back at Cid. She glances toward Venetia, then, offering her a smile and a nod. "Of course, I couldn't possibly do it alone."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Marivel is here but has been hanging back to let Mariel take charge here. It is her people's tech, after all. She just kind of smiles as she watches Mariel discuss things with El Cid.

A strangely common name come to think. But Marivel doesn't say much, even while people are volunteering. Her mind might be elsewhere, even for an important moment like this.

But she does say, "You may not be a native Filgaian, but you have formed a contract with the Guardians. You are tied to Filgaia now in a way MORE than most natives. You should be proud. A true Filgaian."

Marivel cracks a small cheeky grin..

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel is here but has been hanging back to let Mariel take charge here. It is her people's tech, after all. She just kind of smiles as she watches Mariel discuss things with El Cid.

A strangely common name come to think. But Marivel doesn't say much, even while people are volunteering. Her mind might be elsewhere, even for an important moment like this.

But she does say, "You may not be a native Filgaian, but you have formed a contract with the Guardians. You are tied to Filgaia now in a way MORE than most natives. You should be proud. A true Filgaian."

Marivel cracks a small cheeky grin.

<Pose Tracker> Tidus has posed.

        Tidus stares at Ethius. "Oh," he utters. "Uhhh..." He scratches his head. "Huh." A pause. "So that means you... care?" Lily is less confusing about her interest. "That sounds more like you," he says dryly.
        
        To Boudicca, he pauses, then says, "Oh, I meant those two specifically! The rest of you are more, like... uh..." How to say this without sounding like a jerk. "Nice?" Nailed it.
        
        Cid explains things. Tidus nods. "So we just gotta dig it out and get it back, right? That doesn't sound too hard," Tidus says. He nods at Ida and says, "Not with the people we got here, yeah."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Cid mentions stealing a boat, and Noeline - in rather a contrast to some people here - just snorts. "That depends who you stole it from. If you wish to systematically dismantle the Guard's transport lines, I'm not about to stop you." She has to tilt her head in acknowledgement of Xiumei's words. "It's true. But it is a nice thought. Not nearly dying every time we have to switch worlds, that sort of thing," she puffs up.

        Part of her is still a spy, deep down. Part of her is Wayside's logistical officer, still, rather than one of it's two leaders-slash-Moms. So when Mariel mentions that Sylvaland's teleporters are part of a network, she can't help but look terribly curious, raising her eyebrows as she tries to piece things together. "I see. A series of local networks, with branch points between them. I think I'd been thinking similar after we found other pairs elsewhere."

        "Well," she sums up with a light sigh. "There is no end of expertise here to help you uncover a ruin's secrets, and surely you'll get a lot of other people besides. And the Fereshte is very, very good at fending off people or things who want to harm us until we can escape. It is practically our speciality," she puffs.

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

Lily waves a hand vaguely. "You can give the boat back or whatever, I'm sure it's fine."

Yes, that's Lily's response to piracy. It really just doesn't bother her all that much. This is encouraging, probably.

"No regular trade... That's probably best at the moment." A teleporter in Spira. Hmm. A ruin on Bikanel... Ah.

"So, in return for clearing the path, we get to use it. That sounds fair enough to me. I'm not much for seeking it out spiritually," Lily admits, looking to Catenna and Riesenlied, "But I can sure blast through whatever's in our way."

She grins, then, to Tidus, sort of amused. "Yeah. " She seems willing to accept this.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        "Yes." Ethius cares! Ethius cares despite being a total creep! Maybe him caring isn't such a great idea!!
        "...I would suggest we move in small teams where possible, as to minimize the risk of alerting hostile powers as to our intentions... but we may not have the luxury of stealth before long." They never do, in his experience.

<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Ashley is also here, but is woefully and terribly out of his element with this sort of thing. He's not an Elw specialist! He's not even a normal technology specialist! He's... also not as pale as he used to be. Has he been getting some sun?

Answer: Yes, because he's been fishing a lot since he got stranded up on Spira again. The fishing minigame called to him, and he answered with gusto...!

"Sylvaland... That's pretty far from Meria, unless we can figure out a way to access a teleporter over there, too..." And that means he's going to be far from home. Filgaia's a big place, after all. "Well, I guess it's good we're not being sent all the way over to Ignas or Elru," he murmurs, "We'll just have to figure out a way back from there. It's still one step closer, at least!"

Beat.

"So uh, when we do find the thing, how... are we going to dig it up out of the sand? It sounds like it's kind of deep down in there...?"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Yep! Makes sense to have ya there!" Cid says, with a grin at Mariel. "If you know anything about this stuff. Sure would like to meet the people who made it, but Brother tells me they're all dead. Damn shame!"

The different Reflector Keys do all look different. Different yet the same; the wiring and mechanical parts vary for each.

He glances at Riesenlied, then he nods. "It's a good idea. I'm sure something is, er, resonatin' down there." He looks like he doesn't really know what that means. "And yep. We need some Diggers. We're good at it, but I know you're the cream of the crop!"

He rolls his shoulder, then, and takes the Reflector Key back. Then, he works something on the end -- a screw-on attachment. Inside is another crystal. "We've also got this. It's called a lodestone. It can bring something with it--we were able to bring a few bigger machina with each of them. Couldn't do the Fahrenheit, but... you have one of these inside something, press a few buttons, and teleport..."

He nods, once. "You're gonna bring it with you!"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Boudicca has posed.

        Tidus corrects Boudicca, and Boudicca flusters, "Oh! Yes, of course." And lo does Marivel informs Boudicca of the TRUTH, and her cheeks colour. "Ah... yes, I suppose you are right!"

        And so she turns her attention back to Cid. And looks to Jacqueline. "Do you suppose the Caravan would suit one of those lodestones..?" She has no clue how Jacqueline keeps a caravan going when everyone keeps teleporting everywhere, but this piece of technology seems like a REMARKABLE ASSISTANCE.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied glumly responds to Noeline, "Sylvaland can be... touchy, especially amongst people it considers unknowns." She really hopes the Guard didn't appear in Sylvaland, at least; they have enough stress with them in Yevon.

        Mariel explains that Sylvaland's network is their own, and guarded by the monarchy. Riesenlied taps her chin for a moment to add to what she did earlier: "As such. I imagine they may be touchy at a large number of Drifters suddenly appearing inside their network."

        Cid reveals the lodestone, which is able to bring bigger machina with them. Her eyes widen for a moment longer.

        "I wonder if this is how Odessa brought their Gears..."

        She furrows her brow. "If it could not bring the Fahrenheit, I doubt it could bring the Fereshte either. But we need to bring this ship back to Filgaia..."

        A pause, as she smiles. "But all in due time. We still have to help you here in Spira, Cid, and I do not mean to take that away anytime soon."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna nods as Riesenlied says her piece. "I have some techniques that may be able to guide us, as well. Much can be heard if one listens in the quiet parts of the spirit. I am less of a blaster, of course," she muses, before giving Lily a glance. "But that is why we have a Lily Keil."

<just one,> Saarda-Shanta deadpans.

Back to Cid - Catenna listenss and leans in a little as he reveals the next device. Her lips curve into a pensive frown. Once more, the technical things go all the way over her head.

"I admire your ingenuity. This should make things significantly easier."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        "...Bigger machina?" Ethius stands up straighter, noticeably, which is a feat because there is rarely a slouch in his posture when he is partaking in meetings like these, as if staring down something going right over the tipping point even as Riesenlied further frames possibilities as to how Odessa has gotten around limitations they're only about to surmount themselves.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Noeline's eyebrows rocket upwards as Cid casually crows about the face of the Elw, and threaten to clear her face entirely. Maybe Cid has a little too much chaotic humanity, she wonders, coughing behind a hand for a moment as he demonstrates the lodestone. Something the size of the Fahrenheit isn't an option... well, that just leaves her mentally comparing the Fahrenheit and the Fereshte, wincing softly to herself when she comes to the same conclusion as Riesenlied.

        That leaves her silent for a moment, and honestly leaves her wondering whether the two of them should stay with their ship - but she sets that decision aside for later, shaking her head briefly. "Mm. I remember from my first trip to Aquvy the distinct feeling that maybe I shouldn't get too close. Still, ARMS does have the official backing of a number of kingdoms, not to mention a few timeless people that have probably been there before - perhaps that will smooth things over?" she wonders towards Marivel.

        

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Boudicca, if nothing else you are a true friend to the people of Filgaia," Mariel says, turning her head that way slightly to look at the Seraph.

Mariel's cheeks redden slightly, but she doesn't explain to Cid that they are not, in fact, quite all gone, or that she felt a little hurt by that. It's not really much of a secret, but it also doesn't seem to be relevant today - she can tell him another time.

Brother is an Al Bhed, Mariel knows that, and as far as she knows he doesn't actually speak anything *but* Al Bhed, so he can't very well read Filgaian books. Which leads to the question: "Where did Brother learn about the Elw?" Mariel asks, curiously.

Mariel looks at the lodestone, isn't entirely sure how it works (she's not a machinist) but accepts that it very well could - it sounds feasible, anyway. It gives her a couple ideas, also which she keeps to herself. Instead: "I would expect so," she says to Riesenlied. "But they might not use the long-distance teleporter often if they have difficulty activating it themselves. "

<Pose Tracker> Tidus has posed.

        Tidus is still baffled by the concept of Ethius caring, though Lily at least takes his comments in stride. He gives her a lopsided smile back. Despite being a nuke-powered terrorist, she's still not as scary as Lulu, so it's not as hard to relax around her as he would've thought.
        
        "Hey, don't worry. I should've been clearer," Tidus reassures Boudicca. He considers Cid, then asks, "So when do we head out?"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

How does Jacqueline keep a caravan going under these situations? The answer is pretty simple, really - having a bunch of talented, reliable friends around to help her out.

She looks over the device that Cid displays curiously, though, taking some more notes on it into her notebook.

"A 'lodestone'..." She repeats, then looks toward Boudicca. "Hm... I'm not sure. If the Fahrenheit and the Fereshte aren't compatible, the Carakin might not be, either... It operates on a different set of mechanics, and the scale might cause some problems."

But Riesenlied muses on something, and Jacqueline nods.

"...Yeah, that sounds like Gears to me." She says consideringly. "...I'm a little worried about letting Gears flood into Spira, and Lunar in general, but I guess the Guard has no problem unleashing their Golems onto it. We might eventually need something to even the field."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Sylvaland, Ida thinks. She could just hop on a ship, cross the sea, and be home in time for the Feast of Lights. Her pulse quickens as hope flickers within her.

        Hope, and also anxiety.

        Ida looks at Noeline. "Sylvaland suffered the loss of its teleporter on Kasutho," she says, "and we were instrumental in stopping a madman from vivisecting its people." She pauses. "ARMS or not, we've at least done that for them." The lodestones, though--promising. Very promising.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel grins widely at Boudicca's reaction... but she turns her head and looks over to Ashley after to smile at him too. She's pretty smiley today. But she seems to not be saying much regarding the topic. She's mostly just listening. But she does pipes in eventually to reflect aloud, "I feel we just arrived in Spira. To return home so soon--well, I suppose I have some obligations back home. But securing our own method of moving between worlds will be key regardless considering our enemies seem to be quite willing to hop about willy knilly. Particularly Solaris."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"We can talk to Lord Irving," Xiumei says, as an aside, to Riesenlied. "Maybe, Miss Riesenlied, he can help smooth things over with Sylvaland and the Al Bhed...?"

She scribbles a few more notes down. Her eyes do widen a little at the talk of using Gears. And then they narrow again. Going back to Filgaia means that they can speak with their friends and family; it also means there are certain things that she can't ignore.

She finds her writing slows. She misses a couple of pages of notes.

"Trust me, Riese. We're working on it," Cid says. "The idea of bringing the Fahrenheit to Filgaia and dodging Yevon and Sin? That sounds like a dream come true." He grins toothily. "We'll give you the stuff to do it, soon as we crack it."

He flashes a grin at Catenna, nodding his thanks. Then, he looks at Ethius. "Mm-hm! We had a few standing by. We had to dump 'em in Sylvaland, though. Couldn't get them on the ship. But we know it'll work--I'll probably send some people to go get 'em back, if they're not a wreck already."

He glances at Jay, then nods. "Yeah, ain't no reason to hold back," he says. "I don't have any doubt that the Guard is gonna be a problem for the Al Bhed sooner or later, even if they take out Bevelle." He shrugs. "So... I guess don't stomp around the countryside, squashing chocobos, but bust 'em up if they bring those golems out!"

He grins. Then, he looks at Tidus. "We're sending a couple people to scout, just in case Yevon's hanging around. Let's give it about four days, and we'll send the Fahrenheit and Fereshte near where it was."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied chuckles at Catenna and nods, looking to Lily. Indeed, she seems to agree wholeheartedly about that.

        She does smile a bit more sympathetically to Noeline, reaching out to hold her hand. "They will be with good hands with the Al Bhed, even if we have to separate again. That we know where they are is heartening enough."

        Jacqueline expresses the very real worry of flooding Spira with Gears, but nods as she floats that they will need power to deal with the Guard Golems. On her part, the Fereshte's presence has already been an accident too late to reel back.

        Xiumei says that perhaps Irving can help -- Riesenlied nods quietly; she doesn't know much about him other than his association with ARMS, but it seems to be a relationship that works for those that she knows. "I hope so... the last thing they need is to be enemies of another state."

        Cid cheers her a little, though, and she nods as she says, "Thank you. We are in your debt."

        She pauses, and also shuffles a bit closer on her wheelchair and puts a hand to Mariel's for support, if she'll have it, since she knows that earlier statement probably hurt a little.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Cid looks at Mariel. He considers, for a second, before offering: "He was on Filgaia, a couple times. And... it matches some of the oldest ruins we've ever found, up in the far north of Spira," he says. "But those are hard to get to. Especially with the war, Sin, and Yevon on the ropes."

<Pose Tracker> Lily Keil has posed.

A single Lily Keil, just the one. That one laughs at Catenna's remark. "I do what I can." But, "...Being able to deploy Gears against the Guard could even things out a lot." She openly agrees with Cid on the Guard being a problem--for the Al Bhed in particular, for others in general. And the Fereshte...

"Sounds like it's a lock, eventually."

Four days or so, and Irving...

"In the meantime, some of us at least are good at staying off the radar. We can do that until some negotiations happen, as best we're able." It's not as if Lily concerns herself overmuch with governmental approval... but there's something to be said for not courting pointless trouble, either.

"In the north, hm? I wish I could get a look at those. They sound... interesting."

She shakes her head. "But, more pressing. Four days or so. All right."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline nods. It sounds like things are pretty cut and dry from here on - they know what they need to do and when they'll do it.

"I guess the only thing left to do now is... make sure everyone's ready to move out." Jacqueline says consideringly. "I'll have to do some rounds to make sure all our Crest Sorcery practitioners have all the spells ready that they'll want. No telling what we'll face when we get there."

She takes a moment to think it over.

"...Is there anything else we should know before then?" She asks.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Saarda-Shanta fluffs her feathers out briskly. <Dodging Obsession sseems like a very nice idea.>

Catenna's more sanguine about that prospect. She nods back to Cid simply, crosing her arms once more. "Then it sounds like we have every reason to proceed, provided we avoid squashing any chocobos."

With a glance at Lily, she smiles a faint but appreciative little smile. "You do it well," she concedes, her voice quiet, before lapsing back into silence and settling for letting people more technical than her explain.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel, hopeful non-combatant as she is, wasn't even thinking about Gears. *She* was thinking about whether she could load up, say, a chocobo-drawn wagon with certain things she wanted to transport that were too big for her arms, bring the wagon, and leave the chocobo.

But of course people are thinking of giant war machines. It's just the way the world works. (Worlds work?)

She looks momentarily sad, though it doesn't last; what Cid says to her makes her curious instead. "I'd like to see those ruins, some day... if we could ever get to them. I understand it might be hard right now. I am willing to wait." The ruins are presumably not going anywhere.

Riesenlied being around helps. She reaches back. Mariel can apparently find the hand without looking.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Ida's blunt comment makes Noeline snicker quietly, and she nods her head in quick acceptance. "Mm. So there is that, at least. And it's not like you're going to be leaping out of the frying pan into the fire - the worst that I suspect Sylvaland would do is kick you out again, which would be much the same outcome you're looking for anyways."

        She's more conflicted than she expects of herself when she thinks about leaving the Fereshte behind, and her hand finds her partners to squeeze it as she frowns uncertainly. "... mm. You're right, of course, but even then... I'll be glad once they're through, I suppose," she gives in with a soft sigh as she turns Riesenlied's wheelchair in Mariel's direction.

        "... I am a little hesitant to put Gears on Spira. Well-- more Gears. I suppose there are plenty of people who have already beat us to that, however, and we're rather past the point of playing fair."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        The odd man falls to silence as some more words are traded, turning his gaze over to Brother in brief. (Ethius knows better than to let a gaze directly linger upon Brother for more than two seconds at a time.) "A match...? ...I see."
        Does he? It's tough to get a read on him as he dwells about some of the lingering chaos that might be happening in Sylvaland because of their strange but fruitful excursions between the two worlds.
        In light of all that has happened - and is happening - save for the odd survivors of Sin attacks making it to shore in Glenwood or Meribus, it is somewhat odd that contact between the people of Spira and the 'Otherworld' beyond the seas has been as limited as it has.
        He does remember catching that sight of Seymour with another. There's a lot of uncertainties and doubts, and talks about further evening the odds against the Guard Golems.
        The quiet acceptance among the gathered, even with the reticence, brings a hand to his forehead. ...Is it out of my hands, now?
        ...
        "Four days, then," Ethius echoes that timeframe. "...I will be on standby should the need arise."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Boudicca has posed.

        Boudicca is touched once again..! Mariel's words bring a smile to her face. It's an expression which becomes sympathetic, as her cheeks go red, but... it's not Boudicca's place to correct Cid, here.

        She smiles to Tidus, too, with the universal expression of 'we have all in our lives misplaced our words', which is exactly how she would put it, which might not make it quite so universal. But, you know, the spirit of it endures.

        Ida speaks of what they have done for them. Moving between worlds with...

        Oh, Boudicca thinks. Gears. Yes. That makes much more sense than a caravan. Right.

        (Boudicca was not thinking about Gears in the slightest.)

        "We will... surely exercise caution, yes? And endeavour to reduce our footprint upon Spira." Even if they have to bring their big stompy robots, surely they can do it responsibly!

        R..right???

        "Four days. I see," she bows her head. "I will be here."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        'Thank you. We are in your debt.'

        "Agreed," Ida says. She looks up, giving Cid a look of genuine gratitude. Anxieties about Sylvaland aside, the major obstacle seems to be surviving whatever's inside Cid's mystery structure.

        "Boudicca is correct," Ida says. "While Gears may be a necessity in future conflict, I'm certain we can find ways to minimize the overall impact." Such as the very valid concern that angry civilians could react to the presence of more war-machina in violent ways. "...The Fahrenheit can serve as a Gear-carrier, can't it, Cid?"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"So do I," Xiumei says with a nod to Riesenlied. Then, she looks down, and hesitates for a second more. Then, a few notes are scribbled in.

Cid grins back at Mariel, then nods. "Some day. When things let up. I don't think they're actually Elw--the technology doesn't match the machina we see from the Elw," he says. "But there's some Elw stuff there." It is hardly uncommon, for Elw technology.

But... Elw technology on Lunar is rare.

"That's right," he says to Noeline. "I don't play fair anymore. That just leads to empty apologies to my people's families." Then, he nods at Boudicca. "Yeah, we should be careful. And... uh... I dunno. Get me some Gears, and we'll find out. Probably!"

He doesn't seem bothered, at least...?

Cid shakes his head, then glances about them all. "Four days! So get your stuff ready. We'll be ready, too."