Udan’s jump device has malfunctioned and sent him 600 miles Southeast to the coast! Oh dear. (rabidacidbadger missed this session)
A few hours (10 miles) east of the Mochawa village is the area where Jonas’ brother went missing. Jonas takes our characters out there. They follow the trail east for a little way before turning back to the place Jonas was camping the previous night, which is presumed safe for the night.
During the evening, several animals are heard briefly in distress then quiet. There are occasional mechanical noises too. Mostly though, the area they were exploring is eerily still. This piques the interest of Nikolai and Jax who decide to go out in the night to investigate. XR-77451 accompanies them as he feels compelled to protect them from expected danger.
Wandering in the dark, our group hear a squawk a little way away to their left. They follow the direction of the noise. Cautiously, they explore, when suddenly a metal claw on the end of a cable strikes Jax in the chest and starts dragging him at speed along the ground. Nikolai dives and grabs Jax’s foot, while XR runs alongside, trying to get ahead to attack the cable with his sword. Jax shoots wildly, but to no avail, missing the cable each time. Realising that this isn’t going well, Nikolai decides to cut his losses and at least recover the shoe he sold Jax a couple of days ago.
Jax vanishes down a metal-rimmed hole and falls to the bottom of a 6 meter shaft with a crump.
Filled with concern for their friend, and curiosity about the hole, Nikolai and XR clamber down the shaft. As XR is about to drop, the grapple-hook mechanism resets itself and appears next to him in the shaft. XR carefully grabs the support pole, then jumps up and down on it (in the shaft) to snap it off. He arrives at the bottom of the shaft with an almighty crash in a pile of broken metal and grapple cable as the device fired while falling.
After identifying the device as an animal-catcher, they realise this is probably a facility for gathering food. The group decide to explore the barely-lit, meter diameter tunnel in which they find themselves. After a while, they find a hole leading down into a larger (6 meter diameter) tunnel. Jax falls and is so injured he passes out. XR stays with him while Nikolai goes to find a first-aid kit.
Nikolai manages to find a kit and a control panel. After returning and tending to Jax, they all go to the panel to see what can be done. XR manages to to bring up a map showing many many warnings and errors in what appears to be a large underground network for harvesting both arable and livestock. A look at the productivity logs reveals that another human was dragged down in a neighbouring tunnel. Believing this to be Jonas’ brother, the team prepare to head to his position.