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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:18 am 
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This would be an excellent time.

(And, we live to convey experience. :)

So, as you suggested, I got some crystal bits (all about the same size) and left them at regular intervals from the bottom of the crater climb to the top. And then I took pieces of various sizes, including one large prism, and put them down on the hilltop outside. And then I sat and watched them. (I had time to spare this evening. I figured everyone in-Cavern would be at the ADM meeting, which I really, really wasn't interested in...)

By darn if the stuff doesn't sublimate in the open air. After a couple of minutes, a thin trail of white vapor was rising from each crystal -- straight up, like incense in very still air. After a few more minutes, I could tell the crystals were shrinking.

The small pieces went fastest, as you might expect. They shrank to chips, then grain-size, and finally vanished in minuscule puffs of vapor. The thicker chunks got thinner, until they were hair-fine strands or plates which broke under their own weight and went entirely. I'd say my biggest chunk took about 45 minutes to sublimate away completely.

The crystals in the crater also seemed to be shrinking -- at least, the ones nearest the surface were. Farther down, the sublimation rate got too slow for me to discern in one day. I imagine the crystals at the bottom of the shaft are *growing*, but that must be a geologically slow process.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:58 am 
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This is exciting! :D

Maybe I'm visualising the mechanism incorrectly, but...

Could you stick a crystal where the bar would go in the pole? Then you could loop the ring over the crystal, then climb down into the pit and wait for it to sublimate. You should have enough time to at least get a good look in the hole.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:17 pm 
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Hah! So they DO sublimate, and it wasn't just someone stealing them. Interesting.

There's no way you should go through that hatch with a crystal assist, then, because who knows if you could get out - well, okay, you could Relto out, but then you'd be back at the beginning again.


Sir Pyke has a very interesting idea there.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:40 pm 
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Nice. That did it.

I rigged up a nice thick crystal, hung the ring over it, climbed down into the pit, and waited. It only took about twenty minutes -- the tension of the chain was enough to break the crystal well before it vanished.

And inside the hatch is... wait for it... a bunch of blue cloth.

Okay, okay. I yanked it out before the hatch closed. At first I thought it was just a yard of blue silk. Faded greyish-blue, not deep royal blue. But after I straightened it all out, I realized that it was actually a drawstring sack. Nothing inside, sadly, but it's got a loop of cord in the rim that lets me pull it tight shut.

There's no dust or dirt on the fabric -- I guess there wouldn't be, since it's been protected by the hatch all this time. I say "silk" just to give you an idea of the texture. It's shiny, slick, and a little stiff. Looks waterproof, in fact.

Now, since I know you're going to ask, the hatch itself opens onto a sort of metal drainpipe leading downwards. The pipe is almost a yard wide, but a heavy steel grate blocks it off just a couple of feet below the hatch. That's what the sack was resting on. Maybe it washed into the hatch, once upon a time, and fetched up on the grate.

I pulled the crystal trick another few times, to make sure I got a good view. The drainpipe goes straight down about six feet, and then angles a bit to the south, so I can't see any farther than that. (It's quite dark, but I can see a hint of that green glow coming up from below.)

The grating doesn't open. It's welded in place, part of the pipe and hatch construction. If there's a way down, that isn't it. The bars are heavy -- rough steel, thicker than the one I'm carrying around, and about three inches apart.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Cloth? Weird. Well, now you have a Sack of Holding, congratulations! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:38 pm 
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So, with this sack you can either:
A. Carry some crystals for a longer period of time before they sublimate, perhaps to the lake to see how they react with water

B. Carry some lake to the crystals in the cave to see, again, what happens

C. Carry some lake to the pit to use in some way as a counterweight on the ladder apparatus. I admit I haven't yet figured out how, though...

Oh, and (D), depending on what happens when you mix crystals and water, you could pour some lake down the open hatch.

That's a lot of water hauling over a long and treacherous distance. I'd say take a few crystals down to the lake (using the bag to make them last longer) and see if they react at all with water. Then bring some water back with you to the cave area and we'll figure out what to do from there...

Oh, and I'm sure there are plenty of other things you could do with the bag, but I'm brainstorming at this point...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:16 pm 
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This sounds like a lot of work, but if you really want to get into one of the stilt-huts, you could attach the bag to the bottom of one of the seesaw ladders and fill it with enough rocks to counterbalance your weight. Then you could shimmy along the seesaw to get to the hut.

Make sure you keep your hand on your Relto book the whole time, as it could be a bit hazardous.

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 Post subject: Ok my honest opinion...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:43 am 
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Ok, my honest opinion...

If the drain goes down, it must come out somwhere.... maybe you should look around and find where this drain may come out. Let's figure out what they may have been doing here. Was this a water processing station of some type? Mabye the lever was worked at one time to lift water up and down to replenish cisterns that were once attached to the towers. Any sign?

Since the hatches are sealed off, then it means they never used the hatches to go down to other levels; or, they sealed it off before they left so that others would not be able to explore the hidden mines. But if form follows function in design, and it seems the D'ni never built things unless there was a specific use, then we need to understand what it is this whole complex of machines served.

It seems you're going nowhere with the hole in the ground. Are there any other types of D'ni made structures around? Mabye hills that look unatural, and D'ni made... maybe hiding some type of opening into an underground complex. Mine shaft, etc.

It seems it is time to continue exploring a little farther out from this area to see if there are other things that tie into this complex of machines and levers....

earthwiz... :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:49 am 
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I am late today, so I'll bend my rules a little and pack together a few suggestions...

I have not seen a drain outflow anywhere. It probably doesn't head in the direction of the lake, since the hill is between the pit and the lake. And I've gone as far as I can go in any direction; the overgrowth just doesn't allow arbitrary hiking. So I think I'm out of luck there.

Shimmying along the beam, as I said earlier, is too much for me.

I will head over there now and try the notions with the crystals and the lake.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:07 am 
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Many negative results, one interesting one.

I don't need any special tricks to get crystals back to the lake. The biggest ones I can break off are still there, albeit thin, after the downhill hike.

I dropped one in the water. It sat there and began developing tiny bubbles on its surface. It didn't seem to be reacting with or dissolving in the water; it was just evaporating as usual, although at a somewhat slower rate. (Maybe because the water is cool, maybe because of the pressure difference.)

The bag is indeed watertight. I got a measure of lake water in, and it didn't even drip. (Although the bag is big enough that if I completely filled it with water, it would be too heavy to carry.)

The interesting outcome is this: the fabric is airtight too. I threw my last crystal into the water in the bag. It continued sublimating, but I noticed that the vapor was puffing the bag up slightly. I tightened the drawstring, and got the upper half of the bag to rise up like -- well, like a half-inflated sack with water in the bottom. (Darned if I can think of a better way to describe that. Standing up off the ground, waving back and forth slowly...)

The bag doesn't seal perfectly; once it was mostly inflated, I got a white trail leaking up out of the neck. So I'm not going to get a bang out of this. Nonetheless, probably good for something.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:30 am 
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So the vapor from the crystals lifted the water? That's a strong lifting force! Do you think it could lift enough water to counterbalance your weight on the ladder? That is, you could carry the bag up to the pit, climb down itno the pit, affix the bag to the west ladder, then toss in a crystal and seal it. The bag would lift, raising the west ladder and lowering the east ladder. Then, as the lifting force of the vapor dissipated, the water would weight the west ladder, raising the east ladder (with you on it) to full height...

I'd be amazed, though, if the vapor from the crystals was strong enough to lift that much weight. At the very least, though, you could use that trick with as much water as it *can* lift to explore the area immediately under the east tower...

I have to admit, Belford, after I get home and settled in for the night I always come here before I link into the cavern. Bravo for such a great adventure!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:28 pm 
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Okay, wow, you're onto something. You did slightly misunderstand me, though.

The gas definitely seems to be lighter than air, now that I look at it. But it wasn't strong enough to lift the water *off the ground*. It was just the upper half of the bag, hanging upwards off the "anchor" of the water in the bottom.

(The gas is light, but water is heavy! A pint a pound the world around.)

(Sorry, forgot international players: "Wherever in the world I am, a liter weighs a kilogram." :)

(No, let's not get into different gravitational constants in different Ages...)

I dumped the water entirely, in order to get a better idea what was going on. I put a large crystal into the empty bag, and then tied it off. (And tied it to the post, to make sure I wouldn't lose it while experimenting!)

The bag expands fairly quickly. It bobbed off the ground almost immediately. Within twenty minutes, it was fully inflated and straining upward on the drawstring.

It's certainly not enough to lift my weight. I'd estimate twenty or thirty pounds of upward force. And it maintained that quite well. I didn't have all day to watch it, but I came back a couple of hours later and it was still inflated.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:53 pm 
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Idea! Let's see if I'm picturing this right...

With your inflato-bag primed and ready, if you went back to the two structures/pit/tilty-pole...

1.) Climb ladder on the near side up to the top of the tilty-pole.

2.) Tie bag to tilty-pole.

3.) Climb down into pit and release ladder.

4.) HOPEFULLY watch the bag tug up on the tilty-pole enough to pull it on a diagonal, such that the opposite ladder now dangles into the pit.

5.) Climb opposite ladder.

Of course, if it works you might end up stuck on the far side of the pit. Heh.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:29 pm 
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If worst comes to worst, he can just Relto out, then slog through the maze of bushes back to the towers, then lower the ladder again That's a risk I'm willing to take :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:51 am 
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Your understanding is perfect. And your recipe is perfect as well. (Except that the west side of the beam is at ground level, so I didn't have to climb up to reach it.)

And on the far side of the pit is... just about what I drew in my diagram. The base of the east tower, surrounded by undergrowth. No way to climb up, and nowhere to go.

*But* I found something leaning against one of the support stilts. It's a sword; or maybe I should say, a light saber; or maybe I should say, a *toy* light saber.

That is, there's a hilt, which is heavy, cylindrical, and machined into rings. There's a "blade", which is an eighteen-inch rod of black glass. And when I hold it and squeeze the hilt, it hums. Oh, not really like a light saber, and it doesn't light up or anything. Or destroy walls. Just a mechanical whine, like a television tube. I tried touching the glass rod (carefully!), and it just felt like glass.

You are quite right that I had to Relto out. Heh. No big deal, I'm linking in and making that hike a couple of times a day anyway.

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