- On the evening after the golf game, there’s a party
- Jack notes how unusually forward-thinking the Hot Heads’ society is compared to typical raiders, such as maintaining the fires and the green; the average ages of the Hot Heads is also significantly higher than other raider groups
- Idith helps name Cauterizing Kendall
- Sentries use fire-based semaphore to indicate that someone is approaching: a lone figure wearing a full suit of power armor enters through the gates, referred to by the Hot Heads as “The Goal Render”; Miranda notes that she came through ~3 years ago and played golf, ultimately losing but impressing the Hot Heads, and sometimes uses the town as a stopover
- The person asks for the Freehaveners and approaches Mack, introduces herself as Walker: hired by Lord Davenfort to make sure we’re doing our job, brought us payment in exchange for the change in terms
- Mack has heard of Walker as a well-known and reliable mercenary, rumored to be associated with the Brotherhood of Steel; he asks about the Knights of Cascadia, which triggers an angry reaction she quickly covers
- Earl reappears with Miranda after spending a very strange and kinky time trading jerseys
- Idith’s research uncovers that the algae is more concentrated at the surface/shore; the mineral compounds are distributed evenly throughout the water; the source is deep underwater
- Kendall helps find holotapes of microfiches of pre-war Soap Lake history to help with research on Poseidon Energy; there’s evidence that there’s hidden underground construction beneath the collapsed Poseidon building, whose construction/permit costs were partially offset by the promise of bringing tourism
- Morrigan learns from local children that Hot Heads hunt inside the Poseidon building, which we use as a pretense for an expedition inside, accompanied by Kendall
- Descend through two levels (above water); at the third level, water level begins to rise; cast water breathing and descend to sixth (“top”) level
- Giant eel creature attacks, and Alder is much more favorably disposed to Walker after she keeps her from getting squished and dragged away into the lake
- Hot Heads inform us that the eel is the Abaia, the notorious monster of the lake (that can temporarily travel on land) whose flesh is a source of food
- Idith downloads files from the Poseidon Energy CEO’s computer and discovers information on research facility beneath the lake
- Poseidon was attempting research in competition with Vault-Tec with the red mercury, using bodies of water as both a water source and a barrier against radiation; chose Soap Lake for its mineral properties as a good site to use red mercury, creating a tourist destination with its restorative properties; eventually ran out of food and resurfaced to get supplies and find out the aftermath of the bombs
- Earl leads Hot Heads in bodging a raft to take us out to the site of the underwater facility
- We explore the facility, finding submersibles and environment suits, then the red mercury in a canister that water from the lake is being pumped through (then sent back to the lake and to the former basement)
- Muddites seem to have believed that the red mercury was created in the facility due to the fact that the canister was always full, though this could be because it doesn’t get depleted
- Idith sets off an alarm but is able to disable it
- Mack sees a naked human with close-cropped hair, cybernetically enhanced with claws attached to its hands, on the security room’s closed-circuit camera, before it attacks Earl
- Other “Jerry”s with varying enhancements begin attacking; the barracks section contains several unmodified Jerrys, who awaken but are trapped by Mack locking the door
- The security system initiates a cleansing procedure that will flood the facility and cause the reactor to detonate, destroying the Jerrys and the red mercury, which can only be disabled by the main Poseidon system
- Idith and Mack succeed in cancelling the detonation, though the reactor has already opened
- Mack swims to the reactor, chased by the Abaia, and resets the reactor
- Walker opens the hatch for the van with the rest of the party and the canister of red mercury, then takes the aquatic motorcycle to Mack and attaches herself to the van to escape
- Earl spears the Abaia with the submersible, then leaves it and the motorcycle anchored underwater
- The Hot Heads realize what happened to the springs after several fail to heal/die from golf injuries and radioactivity; they see Abaia’s corpse and assume that she was the source of the water’s healing power
- Miranda and Kendall say goodbye before we are driven out of Soap Lake
By the time you read this, I will be gone. I can't even begin to explain how amazing the last few days with you have been, my heart has felt things that it hasn't felt in ages. Perhaps, ever. I have seen and felt colors I never knew existed. Hope has blossomed in this ragged soul, a hope thought long extinguished by the falling of bombs that ended our world. You have made me feel that perhaps the world didn't really end, just change. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly.
I am sad that it CLEARLY was Abaia that powered the healing properties of the spring. Strange, that a creature which would attack and kill your people would also be helping. Symbiotic relationship and all that. Kind of like us, perhaps. We need each other.
I can't restate enough that clearly your people's desire for us to attack Abaia for eating was a big mistake. Not the first mistake we humans have made, eh?
I hope we can meet again, perhaps explore this blossoming new world that grows within us.
All my love,
the small dark fella what's his name, Mac, that's it. This is Mac writing this letter.