Sunday, August 23, 2020

WoAF - Game Session 10

The heroic band sat in the Armored Ground Vehicle (AGV) overlooking the township of Page, Arizona at the intersection of routes 98 and 89.  They had little interest in the town itself, and only mild curiosity about the single light that shone from some window on the far side of the town.  They were far more interested in the condition of Glen Canyon Dam Bridge, but from where they were on the southern edge of town, they couldn't see it.  It was 3 am, and everyone was tired after a long and rough ride.  A dry hot wind was blowing hard off the desert. The sky was speckled with coldly glinting stars, and only a few slivers of coruscating radiation bands were visible towards the western horizon.  It was unusual to see such a clear night, and Guns was enjoying the view.

A debate began as to which way they should go from there. Guns recommended that they leave the town alone, avoid whatever the light was, and take an off road route to the bridge, which they hoped would prove sturdy enough to allow them to cross over the Colorado River gorge safely. 

From his position in The Perch, the diamond-glass domed turret containing the 50 caliber machine gun, Gun's spotted a storm rising in the south east. He gave a casual mention, and they decided to make headway before it swept over the area.  At first it just a appeared to Guns as a dark cloud against the stars that flashed a single thin bolt of redish lightning from on high.  But as he watched it began swirling darkly and growing in size and began to spread rapidly out over the desert.  He couldn't see it entirely because it was dark, with only a sliver of moon in the west, but the cloud began flashing often enough for him to get a sense of its movement.  The clouds were roiling in on themselves with surprising speed, and beneath them a dark circular wall cloud emerged.  In fact, it soon began casting lightning with such intensity that Guns became alarmed.  After a minute or so the flashes were blazing out at more than one per second.  Most of the lightning was inside the cloud, but quite a few bolts were landing on outcroppings of rock in the desert, blasting some to pieces, and catching tall cactus on fire.

"Hey Cap'n," called down Guns, "you know how I can make lightning happen by lookin in places?  Well, it's happening again.  There's a storm coming our way, and it looks like it's gonna be a bad one.  It's coming in from the south east and I reckon it will hit us in about in ten minutes", he said. 

They started looking for a place to hold up and considered the singular light in the distance, but knowing nothing about the town, and considering the amount of time it would take the storm to reach them, they decided to find a terrain feature they could hide in. Linda scanned the map for a safe place to hunker down and found a spot in a small ravine to the north that would serve to shelter the vehicle. 

Guns watched the storm writhing through sky like a great serpent, roiling wildly, blazing with purplish blue lightning. He even recorded the storm on his Visi-Screen, and closed his eyes for 15 seconds, and then reviewed the video.  He wanted to determine whether or not his looking at the storm happen to be causing the lightning, something he thought might be true.  But no, when he reviewed the recording it looked just as bad, eyes open or closed.  Not good, he concluded.

While they watched the incredible lightning display through the AGV windows, Linda brought the storm up on the Visi-Screen.  It looked by radar relatively small, but as they watched they could see it growing rapidly.  Even by the green screen view, the storm looked like it was actually a living creature, writhing and transforming with ever growing tentacles flowing out in several directions.

"Lexi," asked Pita, "based on the telemetry data, can you determine how long this storm will last before it abates?"  Lexi performed the necessary calculations and after a few moments he started to answer, but then went dark.  The blue lights in his eyes lights flickered and shut off.  He was inert. The same thing had happened in the storm they encountered on the far side of Flagstaff. 

It was at this moment that Captain Samwise remembered a dream he had while he slept on their way up from Bitter Springs to Page that he'd completely forgotten until just then.  It was a vision of a Kachina, the same one he'd seen outside of Mech Base 12, standing gigantically on a hill with a lightning storm behind him. Now he sensed the strange being had tried to warn him of the storm. He stared at it through the window of the AGV.  This wasn't a normal storm at all, he thought.

They drove about a thousand yards due north and parked next to the canyon wall. The AGV vibrated with a loud grinding sound as the vehicle drilled its heavy tungsten steel pylons into the ground to secure it.  Once done, Captain Samwise flipped the switch and they went into Low-Power mode.  Now they waited. The storm came roaring in.  A vast bolt of lightning struck within a hundred feet of their position, and all their lights and computer screens flickered.  Lexi remained inert.

Linda switched her view to the town and studied it in more detail on her Visi-Screen. She pinpointed the source of the light in the town as being the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, and mentioned it to the Captain. He took note of this fact, but took no action.  

"I never understood why back in the day they named Churches after ladders", commented Guns, trying to add a little levity, but the crew was a bit too nervous to respond in kind. The Church, at any rate, seemed too far to make a run for it under the circumstances. Looking at the radar image, Samwise noticed the storm was unaffected by the presence of the Church.  In fact, Samwise noted that the storm seemed to be flashing lightning around the Church more than anywhere else.  A number of buildings near it were hit by lightning and caught fire.  The dry hot wind fanned the fires and soon the buildings were engulfed in fiercely burning flames.

The wind kicked up a sand storm from under the cloud.  It was coming on as a wall of broiling brown, lit by hundreds of flashes of lightning.  Linda reported that it would hit the town in approximately 7 minutes.

All of a sudden there was a loud bang towards the rear of the AGV.  Fred, who was laying on his couch looking at the ceiling thinking, and was closest to the "bang", was jolted upright.  Everyone turned to look. He sat up and looked down across the aisle between him and the opposite couch. The sound had come from the steel door on the cabinet vault in which they had secured the iron chain, the talon'd hand, and the data crystal in its Hermetic-Box. That was the steel door that they had welded shut.  Below the door on the carpet he noticed something out of place. There was a piece of burned paper, somewhat crumpled, and stained laying on the floor.  He hadn't seen it there before.  He mentioned it vaguely to the Captain, but didn't feel very much like going down and seeing what it was. Guns, who had bobbed his head down to take a look, clambered from the turret, picked the piece of paper up, took a brief look at the words typed on it, and walked over to the Captain to hand it to him.  Without further ado, he climbed back up into the Perch to keep an eye on the storm.

Samwise, deeply puzzled as to where this slip of paper came from, read it out loud...

The Second Coming 
By W.B. Yeats 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst 
Are full of passionate intensity. 

Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand. 
The Second Coming! 
Hardly are those words out 
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert 
A shape with lion body and the head of a man, 
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, 
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it 
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. 
The darkness drops again; but now I know 
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, 
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

As he finished the last line a tremendous clap of thunder engulfed them, loud enough to cause the AGV to vibrate, and then there was silence.  Even the winds seemed to die for a few moments.

Out in the desert Guns thought he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye.  It only lasted a moment.  Perhaps it was a shadow against a canyon wall, illuminated by several flashes of lightning.  It seemed to him to resemble the outlines of the black winged lion-like thing they'd seen on the top of the volcano two days earlier.  He rubbed his eyes. He was sure he'd seen something out there.  "Captain, there's something out there in the desert, sir. And I think it looked like that thing we saw on top of the volcano back yonder", he reported.  Samwise ordered Linda to see if she could locate it, but her best effort with the Visi-Screen only revealed something too fleeting to pin down.  An almost-shape, perhaps just an oddly transfixed shadow. She couldn't get a better read on it than that. Pita was watching out the window and he thought he saw it, too. But nothing showed up on their screens. And yet, still, the hair on the back of everyone's necks was standing up on end.

At this point the sand storm came barreling down on the AGV with a mighty and sustained roar. Despite the slim chance that a large enough lightning bolt could potentially cause a feedback loop with the AGV's outer power system, Captain Samwise decided to put up the Plasma Shell as additional protection. A shimmering silvery sphere surrounded the vehicle at a distance of about 20 feet on all sides. As the sand storm swept over them. millions of high speed grains of silicon burst into flaming iridescence as they hit the plasma, causing it to glow with sparkling bright orange flashes along the south east side.

No one said anything.

Suddenly there was another bang from the rear of the AGV, and this time the steel door was slightly yet visibly dented from the inside. The Captain stood up.  He walked down the aisle in order to inspect the cabinet for himself.  Indeed there was a dent, and a hairline fracture on the weld. As he looked another loud "bang!" caused him to step back. And now there were two dents.

He quickly went to work and unhinged a steel door from another cabinet, got his arc-torch, and began welding the second door over the first. There was another loud bang from inside which caused him to pull away, and now there where three dents in the door, and the the weld had a distinct crack in it.

"Captain, why not create some sort of electrical impulse thing that might take this thing out?", asked Guns. "You know ... can't you make one of those, watchya call em ... EMP things?"

"Well", replied Samwise, "that might cause..."

"Yes sir,", interjected Guns,"that's definitely for sure.  But then again, look at what that thing is doing in there, and the storm out there.  Hell, even if the AGV loses power and everything, we can just carry on like everyone else out here in the wilds... eat'in folks and walking down the roads barefoot, and you know... stuff like that.  We can make it, sir." 

Meanwhile, sitting in the Perch with his hands on the machine gun controls, Guns watched as a large dark shadow moved slowly across the surface the brightly sparking plasma. And then there was a redish glow which grew and transformed into a massive lion-like head fiercely protruded into the Plasma Shell from the outside, glowing crimson, eyes blazing with scarlet sparks, its enormous jaws gaping wide into inky blackness.  After a moment it receded, snarling in silent iridescent rage.  Guns blinked several times.

"Um, Captain," said Guns as calmly as he could, "I think we got a problem out there".

"What did you see?" asked the good Captain, trying to keep his voice steady.  

"Oh nothing, nothing.  Never you mind, sir.  Wasn't anything after all.  Why don't you just keep carrying on with that welding you're doing down there", replied Guns, realizing that trying to explain what he'd just seen at that moment would probably be counter productive. Everyone was already busy enough dealing with the menace inside the AGV.

"I think we might want to uproot and move on, actually, sir," put in Pita.  

"Why? Did you see something out there?" inquired Samwise as he put down his face plate and went back to welding.

"Well, I did see something that I didn't exactly like, sir.  And it's just that we're kind of like sitting ducks out here.  We might want to make a move before ... "

The door of the cabinet banged with a loud crack.  The original weld was broken. But the Captain was undeterred and resumed his work just the same. He decided to stay put and handle things there. He deemed it safer to stay grounded.

Guns began shooting the machine gun through the Plasma Shell.  Rattatatatatata!  Rattatatatatata! Rattatatatatata!

"What are you shooting at?!" demanded the Captain.

"I can't hear you over the machine gun fire, sir!" shouted Guns in reply.  He chewed through 3000 rounds.  He was pretty sure he hadn't hit anything.

Meanwhile, Fred was still laying on the couch, contemplating the poem.  He felt a pang of foreboding dread as he ruminated over its dark and sobering words, and put his hands down his pants. 

Another tremendous bang sent the good Captain sprawling backwards onto Fred.  This time the steel door was broken and set ajar by about a half inch.  The original weld was completely broken. Fred and Sam stared down through the half inch gap into the blackness of the cabinet-vault... they could see reflections of the blue static electric charges writhing up and down the iron chain, and caught a glimpse of it coiling and uncoiling like a serpent.

The Captain cast around for a heavy crate.  He thought if he put something heavy in front of the cabinet door, he could try to weld the door shut again.  However, he quickly realized that with the door broken there was no way he could get a flat surface layer upon which he could weld a solid seal.  He took his hammer out, and with a mighty blow, he bashed the door back into place.  Fred was deeply impressed by this.  Samwise won them a moment of reprieve.  Fred leapt down and told the Captain to step aside. His skill with this kind of welding was better than the Captain's.  However, when he tried, he couldn't get the weld to seal either.  It was shot. And this was unfortunate.  Another bash from the inside of the cabinet caused a spray of sparks to blow out from the cabinet door, and inside the iron chain was writhing wildly.  Fred shoved the arc-torch into the opening in the hopes that he could deter the chain long enough for them to come up with another plan. The Captain pulled out his beam pistol and aimed it at the crack.

Meanwhile Pita has been working on Lexi to try to fix the inert Android.  The panels on the back of his head were open, and Pita was working as quickly as he could, tapping across the circuitry to diagnose the problem, however he wasn't having any luck with it at all.  Something very strange had happened to their Android.  Something very strange indeed.

Guns sat spinning the turret around looking in every direction.  No sign of the fiery beast, but he maintained extreme vigilance.

While this all was happening Linda had stood up, looked at the crack in the vault door, and quietly walked over to the AGV Exit.  She stood there with her hand on the Exit panel, ready to open the door and flee out into the storm and down into any convenient hole she could find in the ravine.

"Now, now, Linda, don't do that," admonished Captain Samwise. "There's no need to go running out into the lightning storm, now is there?"

"Sir," she replied with a certain level of panic in her voice, "with all due respect, that thing in the cabinet is going to kill us all, if you can't contain it.  And frankly, I think our chances outside are appreciably better than inside."

"Don't worry, Linda. This is all happening in our heads. Nothing is going on. Just go over the Pita and he will back you up. But whatever you do, don't open that door," ordered the good Captain, but Linda evinced no sign of being inclined to obey that order.

"No sir. That chain has broken through a steel vault door.  I don't think you can stop it with a torch sir.  I don't think you can stop it with a Lewiston Beam Pistol, either, sir."

"Linda, there's still a storm going on out there with lightning arcing everywhere.  It's dangerous outside. Go towards the front and back up Pita."

"I think I'd rather take my chances with the storm, sir," she stated as she stared at the gap into which Fred had shoved the blazing arc-torch.  The edges of the cabinet had begun to glow red, and the fire-resistant couch cushions had already begun to smolder.  

Pita, restrain Linda," ordered the good Captain. 

"Snap out of it!", Pita demanded as he man-handled her away from the door.  

Guns shouted down from the turret, "You know, Captain, why don't we all don our Armored Body Suits, just in case Linda is right and we need to vamoose out of here?"  It was agreed that this was a sensible plan.  

Fred was screaming, "Get a fire extinguisher! Screw it! Screw it!"  With this Samwise grabbed a fire extinguisher off the wall and began using it against the cushions.

Pita, meanwhile, got lucky and flipped the right switch in Lexi's head that turned him back on, however his Main Intelligence Unit was still offline.  His lights turned on, but he didn't speak.  He did look around, and his eyes blinked.  This was a step in the right direction at least.

Guns pointed out that the chain must be reacting to the presence of the storm, and that the two events were related.  They thought about how to cut off the link between the two.  Perhaps it was sound that linked them?  Or electromagnetic frequency. They asked Linda if she could find a way to do something along those lines. She was far too panicked to do anything more than stand next to the AGV door.  So Guns went to her panel and began fumbling randomly with dials.  She was not impressed.  Fred then spoke up.

"Linda, your sister wouldn't walk out on her mission.  Don't you do this!"  She was seriously affected by this. 

"It may be our only chance of survival, you realize," she retorted.

"None of us has given up yet, I don't know why you are.  Get back to your station and help us solve this situation!" commanded Captain Samwise with a determination and resolve that none of them had heard from him before.

And with that Linda grimly returned to her station, pushed Guns aside and began working the dials.

Pita, with another lucky flip of a switch, got Lexi's Intelligence Units back online. It seemed to him mighty strange that the offline switch had been flipped to begin with. "Lexi, do you know what happened just now?" he asked.

"No, sir, I do not," replied the Android.  

"Somehow your Intelligence Unit Power Line had been switched off.  Is that something you could do?"  

"It is possible sir, but I would not do that."

"Then the only alternative is that someone else in the AGV did it."

"That would seem like a logical conclusion," replied Lexi.

"Which implies that we have a saboteur onboard," stated Pita.

They decided that under the circumstances they would have to skirt the issue.  Lexi was tasked with helping to secure the cabinet door.  With his robotic strength he was able to grip the door shut long enough for Fred to put a temporary weld in place.  The chain was bashing and thrashing inside the cabinet. The weld would be unlikely to hold for long, but it did buy them a bit more time.  

"What's that chain made of?" asked Guns.

"Iron," said Samwise.

"Well, why don't you use that education of yours and build some sort of magnet thing to hold it down", suggested the gunner.

The team discussed this idea back and forth for a minute.  They considered using Lexi's new high capacity Brachiation Motor to generate a powerful enough magnetic field. The problem would be that any field of sufficient strength to restrain the chain would likely also affect all of the circuitry in the AGV.  That could be disastrous.  They considered creating a Faraday cage but the complications involved with getting the both the Magnetic-Field Generator inside the cage, along with the iron chain itself, given it's electric charge and apparent strength, turned out to be impractical and unlikely to work.  The other problem would be how to wield the magnetic device so that the chain could be managed if it indeed could be restrained by it.  Nevertheless, despite their reservations Samwise quickly crafted a makeshift Faraday Cage, but he couldn't work out the technical problem of how to use it to trap the chain.  So be it.  He put the cage aside and went to work removing the Brachiation Motor from Lexi, and one of the Power Crystals from the AGV, and used them to constructed a Unidirectional High Intensity Magnetic Field Generator, and attached it to a mount that could be wielded by holding onto two handles on its sides.  With this they could, if all went well, immobilize the chain for long enough to get it outside the AGV.

They were aware of the fact that the Plasma Shell had been significantly draining their power supply, and at some point the unit would fail. They had to move fast because the Shell was already losing power, and Linda noted that it had visibly dimmed.  

The Captain decided he would be willing to sacrifice the AGV's circuitry on the expectation that it would still be able to function mechanically as a vehicle should the Magnetic Field actually take out the onboard computers. It was a risk they'd have to take. They downloaded all of their most important data into Lexi, who would step outside to protect his own circuits from the Magnetic Field, and the rest was downloaded to Fred's Portable Spike, which they put inside the makeshift Faraday cage.  They wanted to put the Data Crystal that they obtained from James Maloy into the cage as well, but getting it out of the cabinet vault in order to do so seemed like a bridge to far.  There was a chance, however, that the container the Data Crystal was locked inside of might protect it sufficiently to keep it from being destroyed. 

Everyone put on their Armored Suits. They opened the AGV door and Lexi walked with his old stilted gait outside, followed by Linda who held on to his arm as they moved along the side of the vehicle away from the door.  The Plasma Shell was faded but still shimmering, its external power supply nearly depleted. 

And so they decided they were ready.

Sam flipped the switch on the Magnetic Field Generator.  

Every panel and component in the AGV began to spark, and small fires broke out as the magnetic field fried circuits in every direction.  Fred used a crowbar to violently unhinge the cabinet door, and Samwise shoved the Magnetic Coil into the cabinet. He managed to get the iron chain to lock onto the coil.  It was almost immobilized by the powerful field, but not entirely, and so it used its mysterious power it had to pull its "head" off of the trap, and began to coil itself slowly in the air trying to latch onto something. It found the Captain's arm.  Unfortunately, Samwise was not the strongest man in the world, and the device immediately latched onto the cabinet door and he could not pull it lose, try as he might. They needed to get the device through the door of the AGV so they could get the chain outside.  

Bright blue electric arcs were flying in bizarre patterns off the chain and being diverted along invisible lines of force into the magnet.  Seeing the Captain trapped against the hull, Guns, a man of considerable physical strength, leapt into action and grabbed the wildly sparking device, and with a heave detached it from the hull.  From there he used his brawn to maneuver it towards the AGV door.  The chain was not entirely immobilized, however, and was still writhing around, albeit slowly, and managed to wrap itself around Guns' arm as he pulled and shoved against the magnetic field towards the Exit.  Sam wanted Guns to throw the device outside, but it was apparent that the powerful field would merely cause the device to latch onto the side of the AGV and they'd never be rid of the chain.  Samwise tried to help Guns maneuver the device, but his lack of physical strength was such that there was little he could do to prevent the chain from wrapping itself around Gun's body.  The chain seemed intent on wrapping itself around the hero's neck.  With this, Guns was unable to prevent the magnet from reattaching to the hull just inside the Exit, and so was trapped within the coils of the chain.

Seeing this, Pita, also a man of formidable strength, leapt into action and grabbed onto the chain. And while he did so he executed one of his Mentarian Powers, known as Psychometry, which allows Mentarians to see the history of any thing they are touching. With his great strength he pulled both the magnet off the hull, and the chain off of Guns.  He felt his strength was even greater than usual, and that somehow something was helping him to execute these maneuvers. Could it have been the Kachina?  Perhaps it was.  

Pita now controlled the chain and walked steadily through the AGV doorway and outside into the storm wind.  As he did, he found his mind leaping back in time along the trajectory of the chain's long and dreadful history.  He suddenly knew the thing's name.  It was known from ancient times as "The Chain of Thanatos".  It was far older than his mind could see, its origins buried in the sands of time, but he could see as far back as a thousand years.  The chain being hoisted up in a special box, ornate and dazzling, overlooking a body of water from the walls of an ancient city.  Men were yelling, fires were burning, flaming arrows whizzed through the air.  The man holding the box was Prince Alexius III of Byzantium.  Below the wall there were dozens of Venetian warships mounted with Crusader flags. The chain was allowed to fall out of the box and into the waters below.  It began moving through the waters like a great iron serpent, and through the hulls of each ship it bored a gaping hole, wrapped itself around the masts, and slew anyone who came within range.  Amid fire and smoke and blood curdling screams, the Crusader ships were destroyed and sank beneath the waves.  And then the vision faded.

A fantastic amount of lightning was striking the Plasma Shell. Pita lumbered heavily away from the AGV until he felt that the field would not cause the device and chain to fly backwards towards the hull.  He came within five feet of the Plasma Shell before he felt there was even a chance that the magnet would not bound back towards the AGV.  

At that moment a bright red spot appeared on the surface of the Plasma Shell. It rapidly grew from a foot to five feet to ten feet, forming the blazing lion's head that appeared like some unholy apparition of evil rage. It seemed to be pushing its way entirely through the weakened shell and one paw began protruding through, bearing down on Pita.  He felt his skin starting to burn and the smell of burning hair filled his nostrils.

"Throw it into the Plasma Shell!" shouted Captain Samwise. 

And with that Pita hurled the Magnetic Field Generator at the lion's head, flipped it the bird, spun around on his heels and ran as fast as he could back towards the AGV doorway.  As he got close he grabbed Linda in both arms, and then there was a massive explosion from behind. He and Linda were hurled through the door into the AGV, and at that exact moment, every electronic component in the AGV, top to bottom, was utterly fried in a cascade of sparks and fire, and everything went black. 

There everyone lay or stood, singed and panting as the storm outside rapidly abated, and the lightning began to lessen and fade away.  Pita watched the reflections of the last bolts of lightning in Linda's eyes.

And that's where we left things that night.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

The Teachings of Disaster

Ah! Finally! I have been restored to civilization! I now have electricity again after 5 days. Internet access has also been restored! Now, from all this I want to tell you a few things I learned from my experience. 

1. There is no prep adequate when your Leaders have failed to establish a sound and reliable infrastructure in the case of disasters. We have no such leadership, nor have we for several decades now. No one should feel smug and safe that somehow natural disasters won't impact them harshly, nor that whatever preparations they have spent time and money making will actually be adequate when the infrastructure itself fails. You can please thank the Leadership for that fact. 

2. Fire-tech is really the most essential tech we have. Being able to see in the dark means you can move around in the cave at night. Without it ... holy crap, after the sun goes down, that's it. You're done. Plus ... it cooks food. Scares animals away. Warms the cave. I mean ... seriously. Fire is the actual high tech of our species. 

3. The mind is an amazing thing. When faced with an ice cold shower you can calm your mind, and enter it without flinching or cringing if you have the right state of mind. It took one ultra-cringy ice cold shower for me to get it together and calm my mind down about it. After the third day I could walk into the icy water and not flinch, but just take a normal shower. The hardest part was turning around for icy water on the back. But still, if you have the right state of mind, it becomes much easier to deal with. 

4. I do not need the internet, or advanced tech, nor does it need me. We spend a lot of time doing stuff in the Virtual World, and frankly, about 90% of that is a waste of our time. Not that without it we have anything better to do, really, but I am now aware that most of my time, generally speaking, is simply wasted on endeavors that produce no results. Elthos RPG is a good example. I spent 24 years working on it, and hardly a living soul in this world knows about it, cares about it, wants to use it, or has even ever heard of it. Of course, that is my fault in this sense - My priority has been to work on it as a game to be created, a technological problem to be solved, and a fun time to be had whiling away the days and years ... not as a business to make prosper. If I want to do that going forward I will need to completely change my orientation in regards to the project. I have a product and a service. What I do not have is a business. Note to self: next lifetime be sure to put a team together earlier in the timeline. This kind of thing can not be made to prosper by one person working alone. Also note: I found out that I can live just fine without Elthos. I don't need it existentially. It is simply a project I have worked on in order to bide my time and occupy my mind while the world collapses. I also wanted to leave a game system as my legacy to this world, and a print copy of the Elthos Rules would probably suffice after the apocalypse, so I think I have achieved that goal already. Mythos Machine, on the other hand, wouldn't survive a civilization collapse unless the Microsoft OS survived. And I suspect the rampaging hordes of Angry Techs will ensure that does not happen once the Great Collapse begins. Just a hunch on that one. But the Elthos RPG rules and one six-sided die is compact enough and simple enough to survive the dark age. I hope it does. The lesson I learned being: Do not be too attached the things of this world. They will not last. Pretty sure. 

Ok, those are my valuable life lessons that I learned from my experience. It's been a good experience.