Diary of an EggHunter

The Rime Age: Day 48

For the millionth time, I turn the gas valve, enter the hut, close the door, wait that short while, and die.  And then I stroll down the corridor, headed for the imager and another shot at huevo.  Today will be the day -- my mantra for the past few weeks, and one that I'm about to jettison.  The fog swirls around my feet as I enter the elevator.  Funny how it never comes inside.

Arriving at the top of the shaft, I push the red button, no time for the aurora machine.  The door opens on Atrus's study and I see Dan'ni, Atrus's journal floating open in front of him.  Dan'ni has chosen the Marlon Brando avatar for today -- the bulk suggests the late Brando, not the svelte, sultry early one.  I chuckle and Dan'ni rotates to give me a quizzical look.  I sweep my mouse up and down my own avatar -- Madonna from the "Like a Virgin" tour, quite a contrast.

"Hey Dan'no," I say, "Any luck?"  He scowls, and his Brando bulk sways as he shakes his head.

"Maybe I've clicked the journal too many times," he says.  "I'm going to restore and try again."  His avatar melts away, indistinguishable from a linking.

After the ride down, I trot along the back hallway, behind schedule with only a few minutes left of being gassed.  Today, I'm working on the spikey crystal in the third position.  Click the first crystal, then the second, wave, wave, wave, get the right color combination, push the button, and hold your breath.  Today will be the day.  The imager cycles through statictest01.avi -- and then stars.  I wave my hand over the fourth crystal, cyan to blue, and push again.  And wave and push, and wave and push.  And always stars.

The timer goes off: my gassing has run its course.  I turn from the imager to poke around the room before heading back up to the study.  The other hunters call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the walk back to the hut over the disconcerting escape-and-restore strategy.  Remember what Cyan said about zip mode -- use it sparingly, you never know what you missed the first time through.

The door swooshes open and in runs Reinbag, his mouth shut and cheeks puffed out.  He's partial to the latest theory that filling your lungs with gas and then holding your breath will extend and magnify the effect.  Quickly setting the crystals and colors, he proceeds to bang away at the button furiously with his mouse hand.  I watch in amazement until he loudly exhales, gasping now for the Rimian air.

"What was that all about?" I ask him.

"New theory," he wheezes.  "Overload the 3d engine, see secret passage, gotta try again."  He fades out of sight, and I head back into the hallway.

A large crowd has gathered just outside the elevator, digging and poking at something below the floor.  I spot PC_Michael, splendidly decked out today as Louis XIII.

"Looks like they've found the WhaleThingy Trigger Box!" he exclaims.  I peer past him, spotting a shimmering blue cube just below the surface of the floor.  King Reh, splendidly decked out, as always, as King Reh, is hammering at the box with a red page.  It's tough hunting for eggs when you can't bring your own tools along.  He stops, clearly frustrated, and stands back.  buckminster takes over, using a blue page he's brought in from the Stoneship Age. 

I leave them there, and continue on to the hut.  I think I'll call it a day.  Escape, save, escape, and quit.

But I'll be back.  I've got a new idea about alternating the spikey crystal with the Snoqualmie Falls crystal in a palindromic pattern.  I'm going to try different color combinations, all of them palindromic as well.  I eject the disc and restore it to its case.  Tomorrow, for sure, I say to myself -- tomorrow will be the day.