Jinx stood inside the destroyed lab in Ironforge. He’d just been allowed back inside after Ironforge officials, among Gnomish technicians, had examined the area for any kind of radiation or power leak that could be dangerous to the city as a whole.
They’d left the wreckage alone at his request, not that there was a whole lot left to salvage anyway. He was taking stock of the damage, noting which parts would need to be replaced, which ones were salvageable, and which would need to be rebuilt completely. He frowned a bit when he noticed the half-destroyed console blinking at him.
He took a few steps toward it, scribbling some notes and half-baked plans for rebuilding. He wasn’t focusing overmuch on what exactly the console had to say, until he noticed the depleted power source was trying weakly to broadcast coordinates. He blinked in confusion. If she had been eaten by a wormhole, then there shouldn’t be exit coordinates.
He quickly scribbled down the numbers on a clean part of the paper, then ripped the piece off carefully. He put it in a pocket of his jumpsuit, saving it for later.
Jinx looked up at the machine again. If the machine had managed to procure exit coordinates in the moment between the wormhole opening and the machine’s destruction, that meant that an exit had been found and she hadn’t been simply ejected into the Nether to die. Which also left the very vague possibility that she was alive.
He pursed his lips a bit. He’d have to call in a few favors to get the machine rebuilt. But he’d do it the right way this time. No mistakes with unsupported wormhole generators. Their experiment, while surprising, unexpected, and disastrous, had proven something Gnomes had been unsure about for about a year. Dimensional folding and teleportation sciences could work together.
Slywyn was not far from ‘her’ home/building/base, exploring the town in the night. She’d decided that exploring at night was going to be much easier than exploring during the day after a few quick observations suggested that the humans here were diurnal instead of nocturnal like her own people.
She was currently poking around a fenced in area of one of the houses after having carefully climbed the fence. It seemed that a rather large amount of them fenced off areas of vegetation, essentially claiming parts of the wildlife as their own. She didn’t approve, but it wasn’t like she was in any position to do anything about it.
She’d had a run in with a dog in one of the fenced off areas, though it was much much smaller than similar dogs on Azeroth. It also appeared to be much less threatening, and of a breed she didn’t recognize. So much here was so strange, she noted for probably the hundredth time since arriving.
She crept up to a window in the house she was currently skulking around, peering through the glass. She saw a few items that looked similar to things she’d seen back at the house she’d claimed, but most of them looked much sleeker and newer than what she had.
Satisfied with her cursory examination of the buildings around the little base she’d established, she updated the small map she’d drawn to help her return. The pathways with more of the strange stone she’d noted at the dual pathways with the fast-moving machines were drawn out, as they seemed like the main ways of getting around.
It reminded her very much of Stormwind’s streets and pathways, but excessively refined. A light shone from around a corner, and Sly crouched down behind a bush to watch. One of the machines rolled down the street with an audiblehum of some kind of engine before pulling up to one of the buildings.
A human opened a hatch in the side, climbed out, and then shut the hatch again. Once he’d made his way into the building, Sly crept over to examine the machine. Many parts of it seemed hot, or at least warm, meaning that it ran off of some kind of combustion or heat source. The exhaust pipe smelled acrid, and was radiating so much heat she didn’t want to get near it.
In contrast to the machine outside the building she’d claimed, the inside of this one was new looking and smelled of leather instead of rust and mold. There were dials and buttons and switches of all kind that seemed to be for myriad uses. She drew a quick sketch before crouching low and making her way back to the treeline to venture home, her curiosity satisfied for now.
Certain to skirt her tripwire, and making sure that there were no new tracks in the pathway to her home, Sly made her way inside. She made a mental note to improve the defenses around it soon, perhaps the next night. As she walked through the kitchen area she heard a strange kind of “whump whump” sound she only vaguely recognized.
Sly tilted her head at an angle to try to hear better. The sound was getting louder and deeper, implying that whatever it was was coming closer. As it passed overhead, a bright searchlight passed over her building. Sly threw herself to the floor, her heart pounding.
As the thing passed on, she recognized the sound of it. It sounded just like her whirligig that she’d built, though it appeared that the rotors spun much faster and powerfully than her own did. She was rather curious as to what they were using as a power source. She hadn’t seen evidence of water tanks or power cores on any of the machinery. As a matter of fact, the engines didn’t seem to have any power sources at all.
She shook her head, climbing up from the floor and dusting herself off. Now that she suspected that Nordrassil’s blessings no longer had any effect whatsoever, she guessed that she’d have to clean this place up a bit to avoid some kind of infection or sickness. Especially since a place like this was likely to have diseases she’d have no defense against.
She frowned a little and glanced around the room. There was a lot of dust. Deciding to do it later, she moved back into what seemed to be the main room of the building. There were two couches against walls, and something with a large screen and a bunch of buttons. She guessed that it was some sort of video screen, based on similarities to things she’d seen in Tinkertown and Gnomeregan after it was partly retaken.
Deciding to leave it alone, especially since she didn’t know exactly what it was for, she sat on the carpeted floor and dumped out her satchel. Aside from her wormhole generator, she had a few other things. A parachute, her multitool, her hammerpick and Gnomish Army Knife. Multiple teleporters, which all seemed strangely nonfunctional, as well as her goggles, a few knives of differing sizes, a few samples of food she’d forgotten in the depths of her bag for far too long, and a change of clothes. There were a few other minor things, but nothing worth much notice.
Then, attached to her armor in various places, were her handheld High-Powered Bolt gun, combat knife, screwdriver, wrench, and bootknife. Her crossbow was folded against her thigh, bolts secured under it. Satisfied with her personal inventory, even though the majority seemed useless to her, she stowed everything away back where it needed to be.
She looked up at the ceiling as she heard several more things fly overheard. More than a little curious, she decided against going to look and putting herself more at risk. She looked back at the state of the building. She’d set about cleaning and making this place more habitable while she could.
Dwayne groaned, rolling over in his bed and looking at his clock. 6:30 in the morning, and someone wanted his attention. He rubbed at his eyes, slipping on a pair of slippers. It was the last day of the weekend, and he’d been looking forward to sleeping most of the day before he had to go back to work the next day.
He padded to the door and pulled it open, only to be mostly blinded by more than one light pointed in his direction. He raised his arm to block the light, and gasped. There were three Suits standing right in front of his door, and more around. One of the flashed a badge.
“We’ve been told you may have information on the extraterrestrial that landed two days ago. Would you come with us please, sir?” They didn’t wait for an answer, taking Dwayne by his arms and frogmarching him toward several waiting SUVs.
“Hey! Wait a second!”, Dwayne was angry and more than a little confused.
One of the men faced him, then pulled open the door to the backseat of one the SUVs. Colin waved meekly before the man pushed Dwayne’s head down and forced him into the seat.
“Sorry, sir. Matter of national security.” Dwayne looked out the window to see several more Suits entering his house before the SUV pulled away from the curb.
Colin’s voice came from beside him. “What the fuck did you do this time?”