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 Post Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 4:50 am 
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It takes some time, but the result is inevitable; after some time and care with the smoker, there are a lot of dead blood bees on the ground; two somewhat damaged hives lying on the ground; and two undamaged hives still hanging in the trees. (There's still a few live blood bees around, but nothing that can remotely be called a swarm).

The box, closed and now sealed, still continues to buzz loudly (with the buzzing increasing in volume any time anyone accidentally kicks it).

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 Post Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 12:09 am 
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Location: Praise be to the sticky elastic bands of the Healing Gauze
Once everything is said and done, Felix moves to make the lid on the captured hive more secure than a simple rock lock mechanism.

"There's a lot of them," Felix says. "Do they normally congregate in such large numbers? It doesn't seem right that so many hives would form in such a close area to each other..."

Felix examines the environment to see why they might have been attracted to here.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:15 am 
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Arkady gathers up the other four hives. "Do we have anything to carry these back in? If not, I think we will have to be burning them."

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:18 am 
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"I was actually thinking about cracking them open for their honey," Felix replies. "After we take that it wouldn't be a bad idea to destroy them. No point in leaving an empty home for new bees to move into."

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:17 am 
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Two of the hives are still firmly attached to the tree. Is Arkady taking any particular care not to damage them as he removes them?

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:24 am 
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"Good points. It's no use speculating of course. We will have to wait until they make a move."

CCC wrote:
"No record of a pod opening prematurely," says David, "although someone with admin rights could in theory delete that record. But... the pods can't be re-used, and I haven't found one that's open without explanation. If they can open the pods, then why can't they ask us what they want help with? If they're from on-planet, then how did they log in before we were even close to orbit? And magic can't be a thing, you don't just change the fundamental nature of physics by going to a different planet! Magic is scientifically impossible!"

Roger shrugs. He looks as though he's going to say something, and then decides against it. "Anyway, I'll get out of your hair and let you get back to work."

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:47 pm 
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Arkady's going to try to get them undamaged; he figures the better shape they're in, the more that can be learned from them.

"I am thinking there are still bees in these; the smoke should not have killed all the brood or the eggs. But if we scan the intact hives then take them apart in a lab it will help make the new hive fit them better. The broken ones we should probably harvest and burn."

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:03 am 
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Arkady: Survival: +1 Gloves: -2 Roll: -1 Total: -2

The first hive is damaged somewhat in the removal. In the process of damaging it, though, Arkady does find that his suspicions are correct - there are still live Blood Bees waiting very quietly inside their hive (some of them crawl out of the damaged section and crawl around the area, looking vaguely lost).

Arkady: Survival: +1 Gloves: -2 Roll: +4 Total: +3

The second hive that Arkady removes is surprisingly undamaged. There presumably are still blood bees inside it as well, but they're staying inside, possibly playing possum.

Which leaves the group in possession of:

- Three damaged hives, all of which still contain at least some live blood bees. (A brief inspection shows that there are still some survivors even in the first two hives that were cut off)
- One undamaged hive, with swarm intact, held on a closed and sealed plastic container full of insectile rage and buzzing, the few small ventilation gratings being covered in bees
- One undamaged hive, with the protective swarm dead, but some life still presumably remaining inside the hive

Meanwhile, Felix examines the area, trying to see what might have bought the bees to this location...

Felix: Survival: +1 Roll: +3 Total: +4

A lot of the trees and bushes around bear flowers, and there are plenty of creatures (which presumably have blood) around for the bees; there's certainly no lack of food for them. In fact, it seems that this may have been some sort of abandoned orchard - there's a lot of fruit trees right here, arranged in what might almost be rows. A bit of poking around through the bushes also reveals the dessicated corpses of a few local rodents - something vaguely squirrelish, a couple that look kind of chipmunky, and some kind of particularly small mouse creature.

Something doesn't feel right about this to Felix, and it takes him a few moments to work out what it is; it's that he can see another of those squirrely creatures right over there, very close to where the hives were. The blood bees clearly haven't been here for long, or it would have learned to stay further away (that, or been killed). Also, the pile of rodenty remains is a very small pile - again, suggesting that the bees weren't here for long. Which means that all five hives must have been established quite recently... in which case, why did the bees not establish just one hive?

--------------

"Thank you again, for hiding that script," says David, as he leaves.

Is there anywhere else Roger would specifically like to go at this point?

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:39 am 
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"Hmm..." Felix looks around some more to try and figure out why there were so many of the hives here. He'll examine the fruit trees and take some samples of what he finds while he's at it, asking Sir Bevier for more details.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:22 pm 
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Idly curious, Arkady looks at the somewhat more quiet bees coming out of the damaged hive. Are there any visible differences between them and the dead guard bees?

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:41 am 
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Roger goes back to work on the translation program. With Zalasbra around, that has become a higher priority. He'll do that until bed time unless something else comes up.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:26 am 
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Felix: Survival: +1 Roll: +3 Total: +4

Felix takes some samples. He can see no reason for several hives to all gather on one tree like that - there seem to be several other suitable trees around, after all.

Something about this looks suspicious. Clearly there is some reason why they were all on one tree... but the more Felix looks around, the less and less likely that looks.

What with the Suits, it's a good fifteen minute walk to ask Sir Bevier anything. And, unfortunately, it turns out that he knows next to nothing about the habits of blood bees and can't offer any useful answers; all he can do is suggest that Zalasbra, back at the camp, might know more.

Arkady: Investigation: +2 Roll: -2 Total: +0

Aside from the fact that the live bees are, well, alive, and less immediately aggressive than the swarms were, Arkady can see no difference between them and the dead bees.

--------------

Roger returns to his terminal to find Piper sitting in his chair, playing a quiet tune on her pipes.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:02 am 
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Away from the hives, Nate pulls off his helmet and gloves.

"I think you might be onto something Felix. I think it might be wise to bring Zalasbra in on this."

Reaching into the passenger side window of the truck, Nate pulls out the tablet and a small camera designed to slot into the helmets of the Vac suits.

"Let's see if he's smart enough to answer a Skype call."

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:45 pm 
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"Oh hello Piper. I didn't expect to find you here. I was just going to work on the translation program some more." Roger pulls up a chair and gets to work.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:08 am 
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Though it's not specifically Skype, the expedition does have access to a functionally similar video calling program. The only difficulty is that the tablet given to Zalasbra has had most applications, including the video calling program, blocked...

However, the bee hunting team do manage to reach the ship.

--------------

Piper gets off the chair she's sitting on and moves to Roger's lap, instead. She gives him a kiss on the chin, and then turns back to her piping.

Before Roger can get to grips with the differences between English and Elene grammar, though, an icon buzzes on his screen; an incoming video call from Nate.

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