A Knight of Shreds and Patches

We Can Only Go Forward

Episode Summary

The Patina sets up camp for the night and it's a great night for tough conversations.

Episode Notes

The Patina sets up camp for the night and it's a great night for tough conversations.

Content Warnings:
- Discussion of grief for loss of a loved one 
 

Cast:
- Wyatt Fisher is played by Drew Mierzejewski. Drew can be found on Twitter @worldstoforge and is the showrunner for Skyjacks: Courier’s Call, an all-ages actual play podcast set in the world of Spéir, designed by James D’Amato. 
- Cassidy Shard is played by Sydney Whittington. They also edit the show. Find them on Twitter at @Sydneywhitt
- Zee-o is played by Aly Grauer. Aly can be found on Twitter and Instagram @dreamstobecome Aly is also a player on and audio editor for Skyjacks: Courier’s Call. You can support both Aly and Drew by joining their Patreon Patreon.com/WhimsyArtifice
- Emma Blackwood is played by Cameron Robertson. Find her on Twitter at @midnightmusic13. and on Instagram a @reading_and_dreaming. Cameron is also a player on Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars Edge of the Empire actual play podcast. 
- Our GM and narrator is Nick Robertson. Find him on Twitter at @alias58. Nick is also the GM for Tabletop Squadron, which you can support Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron.

Music & Sound Credits:
- This podcast features the musical talents of Dora Violet and Arne Parrott. You can find Dora at facebook.com/doraviolett. You can find Arne at atptunes.com
- old radio Channel search sound effect by Garuda1982. Link & License
- natural area - central european - upland forest [4CH surround sound] » campfire in the woods front by craftcrest.Link & License
- A Little World by Yusuke Tsutsumi. Link & License
- River by Sergey Cheremisinov. Link & License
- Forest Bathing by Andrea Baroni. Link.

Art Credits:
- The official artwork for this podcast was created by Rashed AlAkroka, who can be found on Instagram and Artstation @rashedjrs.

Find Us Online:
- Our Website
- Twitter
- Join our Discord

Episode Transcription

A Knight of Shreds and Patches Transcript
Episode 13: We Can Only Go Forward
Transcript by Cameron Robertson

Note: Zee-o is a synthetic humanoid being and primarily speaks in a robotic, monotone voice.

Intro:

[hurdy gurdy music begins]

Nick: Welcome, listeners, to A Knight of Shreds and Patches. An immersive actual play podcast. This episode features the talents of -

Drew: Drew Mierzejewski as Wyatt Fisher.

Aly: Aly Grauer as Zee-o.

Cameron: Cameron Robertson as Emma Blackwood.

Sydney: Sydney Whittington as Cassidy Shard.

Nick: Nick Robertson as GM and Narrator.

Sydney: Hello listeners, this is your editor, with today’s messages:

Thanks for listening! We appreciate when our listeners do in fact listen, after all. If you know any other potential listeners that may enjoy giving us a listen, spread the word. New listeners help the show grow, and our show is still young, so any help increasing our listenership of listening listeners is greatly appreciated.

And with that, we wrap up today’s announcements and head into episode 13: We Can Only Go Forward. And so...

Join us, for now our tale to yours attaches
To carry hope: a Knight of Shreds and Patches.

[hurdy gurdy music ends]

[electronic beeping]

[robotic powerup noise begins]

Distorted Robotic Voice: Power restored. Systems online. Reconfiguring audio connection.

[robotic powerup noise fades to radio frequency static]

[over radio]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Last time on A Knight of Shreds and Patches, we finally got to see the Knight in action, and Emma did a great job. I hit two drones at once, then promptly missed my next shot. Wyatt made a heroic effort to protect the townsfolk. Zee-o stopped Modem from having a pet drone. We talked payment. Then we talked history and teamwork.

[radio static]

 

Episode Start:

Nick: It is cold as the sun begins to set. The crackle of the fire doesn't drown out the sound of animals in the forest around you, but it does make them sound more comforting. The trees around you stretch towards the darkening sky, standing like sentinels against the night. The Patina is standing near to the campfire, having stopped their journey for the evening. The hulking silhouette of the truck is just outside the fresh ring of fire light. It is dusk.

Drew: Wyatt is finishing up with a communal lean-to. It's a canvas tarp with four poles that we build that goes over where we can prep food and keep things while we are here camped because we could be here just for the night or we could be here for a couple of days, it depends on how low on fuel we are and stuff like that, but I believe he's finishing up with that and we can hear the *tink tink tink* of a hammer on stakes as he's finishing up that.

Aly: I think Zee-o helped start the fire and now is helping Emma unload the supplies for the personal tents, which are not up yet but will need to go up before it gets too dark. So they have the tent packs unloaded from the truck and are arranging them and...

Cameron: Walking around finding flat spots that they could be set up in.

Aly: Mhmm.

Cameron: Picking up a few sticks, tossing them towards the fire for fuel later.

Sydney: Cassidy's off in the lockers on the side of the truck looking for what is going to be food tonight. Looking through the fresh supplies that just came from Wawa and the cook pot that was the result of negotiations at the shop in town.

Nick: Modem is with the group. He is just outside the ring of fire light leaning up against a tree and has what looks like a piece of one of the drones and is flicking the propeller and we hear a slight grinding noise and then he's grumbling to himself and pulling back some of the covers and trying to make the ball bearing inside stop grinding. He does not have the rest of the drone, so you're not sure what he would want with this propeller, but he seems very focused on this little piece of mechanics. And the camp begins to come together. Cassidy you collect the supplies for dinner for the Patina and your accompanying guide. And you bring the cook pot over to the fire.

Sydney: Because we're looking at fresh supplies just coming out of town, there is actually some fresh meat and a couple of fresh plants from the - wherever the town's sources their greenery. We're getting into late fall now, almost winter, so there's not a huge amount of crops left, but Cassidy got what she could. And then now that we're a couple of days into this journey, it took a couple of rounds of experimenting to get this cook pot to do what she wanted. There was some subtlety to it that hadn't been advertised. There was a couple of cycles of okay food, but she's got it figured out now. And this one should be actually good.

Nick: And you finish preparing the ingredients and toss them into the pot. And echoing off the trees is the sound of the pull chord as you get it started and stick it next to the fire where it can absorb some of the ambient heat and people begin to relax around the camp. Where does the camera go first?

Aly: I think it follows Emma and Zee-o as they start to plant each of the individual tents in the growing dusk. And Zee-o is holding things in place for Emma and when Emma reaches for another tool or another stake, Zee-o is right there with it assisting almost too quickly being helpful, and their eyes glowing that bluish white light are pretty fixed on Emma. They're not really paying attention to the work that's being done, even though it's getting done, their focus is on Emma.

Cameron: I think the speed that the assistance is coming and the way that Zee-o is anticipating all of Emma's needs as she's putting these tents up is freaking her out a little bit. It's a little strange. Will be like turning for the next tool and Zee-o will set it right in front of her face. She's like,

Cameron (as Emma): Oh, thank you.

Aly (as Zee-o): You are welcome.

Cameron: But the longer it goes on, I think the more awkward, Emma's getting about it.

Aly: I think it culminates in Zee-o handing Emma something - probably like the little stake hammer to nail the thing into the ground and Zee-o hands it to Emma. And Emma drops it in surprise. And it hits the ground and Zee-o looks at it and then looks at Emma and says,

Aly (as Zee-o): Are you all right?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry, that was.. that was heavier than I was expecting

Aly (as Zee-o): It is the same weight as it was before.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I know.

Cameron: Emma leans over and grabs the hammer from where it tumbled a few feet away when it fell, and starts hammering the tent pole into the ground.

Aly (as Zee-o): Is there anything else I can do to assist you better?

Cameron (as Emma): No that that one was fully on me, Zee-o. I, I don-I don't? I don't know. I I I I- maybe I'm tired?

Aly (as Zee-o): It is possible. Do you find that you have worse depth perception when you are tired?

Cameron (as Emma): I. Hmm. So I know I have worse depth perception when it gets darker. That's always been a thing. But I think with the tiredness it's more of like a lack of focus.

Aly (as Zee-o): What are you focusing on?

Cameron (as Emma): See I'm not sure. I think that's the problem.

Aly (as Zee-o): You are distracted.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I... so much has [exhale laugh] happened since I joined the group. And I guess I things just keep replaying in my mind I guess. So-

Aly (as Zee-o): Are you upset?

Cameron (as Emma): Um,

Cameron: Emma moves on to the next stake pole.

Cameron (as Emma): I don't, I would [sigh] - I would say that some of these things that are going, like the scenes that I'm seeing, are upsetting? But in a... I don't think I am upset. I think it's just thinking about them... The more I think about them, just like, the more I think about them, it's like a never ending kind of spiral.

Aly (as Zee-o): Would you like to talk about it?

Cameron (as Emma): That would probably [sigh] be a smart thing to do.

Drew (as Wyatt): HEY EMMA!

Cameron (as Emma): [voice shaking] Yeah?

Drew (as Wyatt): EMMA!

Cameron (as Emma): YES! Wyatt!

Drew (as Wyatt): [yelling] Do you want anything moved from the truck into the lean-to?

Cameron (as Emma): [yelling] No, I-I'm good. Thank you

Drew (as Wyatt): [yelling] How bout you Cassidy?

Sydney (as Cassidy): I got it myself. It's fine. Thanks, though.

Drew (as Wyatt): All right. Modem anything?

Nick (as Modem): Yes, if you could grab some of my tools out of the back. This ball bearing is proving quite stubborn.

Drew (as Wyatt): Sure. I can do that.

Drew: Real quickly, we see Wyatt go over to the truck. And he gets onto the roof cause I think there's a storage container put on top, where we have kept extra luggage and stuff like that, that's not going to go in places. And he gets up there and he opens it and he sees where Modem has put his tools and he reaches for it. And as he does, he puts his other hand down and rests it on an old guitar case. And seems to be the first time that he's noticed it in a while. And he reaches in and he takes the guitar case out he takes the tools to and shuts the thing and jumps down. And he's like,

Drew (as Wyatt): Hey Modem! Here's your tools.

Drew: And sets them on the ground. And we see him lovingly put his hands over this guitar case, and we hear the * click click* two clicks as it opens. And we see a beat up guitar. And he reaches down and pulls out the guitar and flips it over and the fish cog symbol is burned into the back of the guitar. And he traces it a little bit and then flips it over again, and strums. And it's out of tune. So he'd strums it again and we hear that bwwwwww. And he tunes it a little bit, and then looks around the camp and sees everyone's working in that there's really nothing for him to do right now. So I think he sits at the wheel of the truck and begins to play - something sad and twangy.

Nick: And the environment around you seems to lean in and everything grows closer as the sad sounds of the plucked guitar drift through the camp. And we cut back to Zee-o and Emma.

Aly: Zee-o is looking toward the truck in the direction of the sound of the guitar. If their blank face could look puzzled. It would right now. And then they look back to Emma.

Aly (as Zee-o): Pallie used to say that talking about things was helpful. If you would like to talk about it.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah...um.

Cameron: Emma leans over to pick up the hammer that she 100% dropped when Wyatt yelled at her.

Cameron (as Emma): Has Wyatt always been that loud?

Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): How-how like I feel like traveling through the woods if we're trying to avoid bandits and stuff, I feel like being somewhat quiet would be good. And I just, I don't see everyone else jumping when it happens, so I guess that does make sense that it's been a constant thing.

Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): [sigh]

Aly (as Zee-o): When Pallie was here, Wyatt would yell, and Pallie would yell back. And sometimes Pallie would yell, and Wyatt would yell back. They were brother and sister. They yelled a lot.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, siblings do that. [laughing]

Aly (as Zee-o): Do you have siblings?

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I have an older brother and an older sister.

Aly (as Zee-o): Then, you know. You know what it must be like for Wyatt.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. I-i I guess I don't, I don't know, but [huff] I can imagine and it's, it's not. [sigh] It's not good.

Aly (as Zee-o): No. Wyatt does not want to talk about it.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah, I kinda... When y'all first came back into Thunder Bay, [laugh] I was expecting Pallie to be with y'all cause she was the only one from y'all's group I'd seen and met before. And when I asked it was a pretty gruff, she's gone. But the - I [sigh], it was incredibly obvious that there was a lot of pain there behind that answer, too. So I've kind of been too concerned slash scared to ask him further about it. I don't want to. Like, I know that it has to be super painful, and I don't want to poke at that pain if I can avoid it. But yeah, I can imagine it sucks.

Aly: Zee-o tilts their head to the side a little bit, and looks down at the ground where they are kneeling next to Emma as she continues to hammer tent stakes. And for a moment they also kind of look sad, but maybe it's just the way the shadows are playing across the tent and the woods and their face.

Cameron (as Emma): Are- are you sad?

Aly (as Zee-o): I believe so. I, before Pallie would talk to me about all sorts of things. Pallie encouraged me to find words to express myself. We talked about feelings. Every time we talked about a new feeling, I found myself experiencing new things. Things I did not think I was capable of. Anger. Fear. Irritation.

Aly: For a second Zee-o looks up and towards the track where Wyatt is playing the guitar. There's a pause. Then they look back at the ground.

Aly (as Zee-o): And now Pallie is gone. And still, I experienced new things. You met her. You knew her - even for a moment. And now she is not there. That is a complicated feeling for me. I can only imagine. I cannot imagine what it must be like for you. Or Wyatt. Or Cassidy. It is too complicated.

Cameron (as Emma): I think my feelings on the loss are probably the, I don't know, least intense? I spent maybe half an hour, 45 minutes with Pallie and I learned a ton from her just within that time. And she was incredibly encouraging and helpful. And even though she knew more than me, when she was explaining something, it wasn't in a like condescending way at all. She seemed like she would be a very good teacher to have when learning your way through the world. From that I can extrapolate out how I can guess how that must have impacted everyone else. But I think I would, I would include you Zee-o along in with those feelings that Cassidy and Wyatt are having as well. Y'all were all part of the group together and I think Pallie mattered just as much to you.

Aly: Zee-o looks at Emma.

Aly (as Zee-o): Is now a good time to talk about why you could not turn on the Knight?

Cameron (as Emma): Uhmm. [sigh laugh] sure.

Cameron: This tent is finished and Emma stands up walks over to the next tent to begin the process again.

Aly: Zee-o follows.

Cameron (as Emma): Uhmmm.

Aly (as Zee-o): You said you wanted to talk about it later. Is it later?

Cameron (as Emma): It-it is later. Yes.

Aly (as Zee-o): Good.

Cameron (as Emma): Um. So, I... I am a mechanic.

Aly (as Zee-o): Yes.

Cameron (as Emma): And I - I think there are, there's a good number of mechanical things that I am very familiar with and have interacted with prior to joining this group, like the truck, tractors, um radios, smaller pieces of tech. Um. The Knight is a completely [uncomfortable laughter] different level of complexity and technology. And it's not something that I've worked on anything even remotely close to before. And even though I've pulled the tarp off and studied it in the truck, it's - until we turned it on and Wawa, it's been basically a statue. I can look at the connectors and take a guess at how they're working, but it is so... big. And there's so much going on. And I haven't been able to find any notes Pallie may have taken on it that might help with figuring any of it out. And she's not here to ask questions for and she rebuilt it and

Cameron: I think Emma's hammering of the tent poles is getting more emphatic as she's talking.

Cameron (as Emma): And it's there's the-the mechanic is now me and I, I... there are some things that I feel like I am prepared to do and then there's the Knight and I... I haven't learned the Knight yet. When you turned it on, I'd looked at that panel before that, and I didn't see anything there that I thought I needed to do to get it to wake up. So

Aly (as Zee-o): Emma.

Cameron (as Emma): Yes? [exhale]

Aly (as Zee-o): The tent stake is hammered.

Cameron (as Emma): Oh... Yep.

Cameron: Scoots over to the next one.

Nick: The tent stake has been stuck about four inches below level with the ground and Emma was hammering into a crater.

Aly: While Zee-o watched fascinated. Yeah.

Aly (as Zee-o): You are saying that you lacked the requisite knowledge to interact with the Knight other than on an appreciative observer level?

Cameron (as Emma): Yes, I think some of the the more mechanical engine type parts of the Knight, those parts I understand. I've, I've never worked on any technology that's had a brain before and that... I have no experience there. And I, I'm going to have to learn it. It's it is not something that I've ever encountered. But I find it very interesting and very exciting. But the heat of the moment when I see everyone getting attacked by chainsaw drones and there are people screaming, probably is not the best time for that learning to take place. [sigh]

Aly (as Zee-o): Emma.

Cameron (as Emma): Mhmm?

Aly (as Zee-o): I am sorry.

Cameron (as Emma): For what?

Aly (as Zee-o): I am sorry, that you were put into a position that you were not prepared for.

Cameron (as Emma): I-I don't, I don't think you need to apologize.

Aly: I did not understand. You are a mechanic. Pallie was a mechanic. I did not understand that there would be a difference. Now I see that simply because you share some of the knowledge that Pallie had does not mean you share all.

Cameron (as Emma): Yeah. I think [laugh] you probably understand that part of the Knight way better than I do Zee-o.

Aly (as Zee-o): Do you wish to understand it further?

Cameron (as Emma): Very much so.

Aly (as Zee-o): Then I believe you will fill the role that Pallie intended.

Cameron (as Emma): That-that's comforting. [sigh] Thank you. [laugh] I-I, it feels like there's very large mechanic shoes to fill here.

Aly: Zee-o looks at Emma's feet.

Cameron: Emma sees it.

Cameron (as Emma): Ah no, no- An expression saying that there's, there are big shoes to fill as in... Huh. I haven't thought about how to explain this before. Um. Guess it's someone, someone was here, Pallie, who had this immense mechanical knowledge that she'd gained throughout the years of her career and working hands on with the Knight rebuilding it. And there is now that large of a knowledge gap now that she's missing, and so it's a very large gap now that me coming in as the mechanic, I feel like I need to fill that gap. But then just replace gap with shoes and I guess that's the expression.

Aly: Zee-o nods sagely

Aly (as Zee-o): Pallie had the biggest shoes of all.

Nick: And the camera zooms back from the tents as they are being erected. And you can see steam rising from the cook pot near the fire, as it bubbles away happily. And we zoom in on Wyatt still playing guitar.

Drew: Wyatt's got a faraway look in his eyes. I think he's looking towards the fire, and the cook pot, and kind of not hearing what's going on, just playing this guitar. He's thinking about the last time he played this guitar. It's been a long time. He's just remembering that moment. And Wyatt remembers three years ago, when he played this guitar. They're in a place called Sasnak Traveling - It's one of the big cities. And it was the end of summer. And it was the last time they were with Gwendolyn, who was the other knight in the Patina three years ago. Back in those days, it was, it was Wyatt, it was Pallie, it was Cassidy, it was Iokua, it was Owen, and it was Gwen. And it was the last night they were in Sasnak Traveling and Gwen was going to stay. She'd been offered a great job to be the first sword of Sasnak Traveling and as much as Wyatt wanted her to continue on with them, and everyone did, she said no. She was gonna stay. And that last night, they sat around and they drank and Wyatt played guitar. And they told jokes and they laughed. And it was a really wonderful evening. And Wyatt is suddenly struck with this feeling of how everyone leaves. Everyone eventually fades. Gwen did. Owen did. Iokua definitely did. And Pallie did. And now they're gone.

Nick: And there's the lonely howl of what may be a wolf, what may be wild tech, in the distance. And we come back to Cassidy.

Sydney: So after having started the food, Cassidy got up and went around to the other side of the truck and took the shin plate off of Wyatt's exosuit and opened up her rifle case where all of her cleaning supplies were and grabbed her a rag and some oil. The camera, as it follows her back around to the fire, it lingers on the suit. And the helmet down to about the waist is actually really shiny. This is something that Cassidy has actually been putting the work into, not just a you know, sure I'll clean it and throws it into the snow and then pulls it out and goes yeah, it's wet now it's that's it's basically - no she's actually taking the time to get in and clean it as best she can. She can't do anything about the electronics but at least it can be reflective. So she's taken this shin plate back over to the fire and she's sitting there and rubbing circles in it watching the grime of however many months or years it's been since someone cleaned this thing and she's listening to Wyatt play and she's catching glimpses, or I guess hints, of Zee-o's and Emma's conversation but she doesn't feel like it's her place to get involved in there. And she's mostly staring off into the fire and thinking.

Nick: Across the fire, just out of the range of the light, as the sun settles further below the horizon and the light in the sky begins to fade, Modem has been fiddling with this little helicopter blade and using some tools to pry bits and pieces and he flicks the blade again and it begins to buzz, loudly. And he opens his hand and this little piece of technology takes off into the sky flying straight up, and he looks back and watches it go, and then begins to chuckle to himself.

Nick (as Modem): Who would have thought there was still some power left in it. It's almost like magic.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [sigh]

Sydney: Cassidy audibly sighs from the far side of the fire. She doesn't say anything, but she watched that thing go up with one eye, and then watched it fly off in the distance and went back to polishing.

Nick: Modem stands from the tree and walks towards the fire. He's bald and has long knobby fingers and long thin legs. He seems taller and more skeletal without his usual large tinker's pack that he carries with him and he sits down on a squat piece of wood closer to the fire, opposite of Cassidy and his knees come up almost to his chest. And he looks across the fire. Eyes wide and unblinking.

Nick (as Modem): You don't like me, Cassidy. And I don't understand.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Wow, a master of deduction here.

Nick (as Modem): Cover it in sarcasm all you want. We'll be traveling for quite some time, and I've mostly kept to myself. But yet, you continue to throw these dagger glances my way. To sigh as I do my daily routine. Why?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well because your daily routine involves attributing things that we can understand to unknowable magic.

Nick (as Modem): How many people understand the workings of this technology? I certainly only understand a portion. Does it matter if it's electricity if no one knows from whence the power comes?

Sydney (as Cassidy): When you - [laugh] if you call it magic, then there's no difference in the magic of electricity versus the magic of mechanical rubber bands wound up really tight versus the magic of synthetic AI versus the magic of cold fusion. I don't need to understand the precise details to know that it's no, it's not magic.

Nick: Modem squints a little bit, he still has not blinked this entire time and the smoke from the fires blowing straight into his face. You can see the rims of his eyes getting a little bit redder.

Nick (as Modem): What would be magic to you, Cassidy?

Sydney (as Cassidy): I don't think there is any. Everything is explainable somehow. And once it's explainable, it becomes science. Where did you learn your Advantia magic?

Nick (as Modem): The magic is more of a traditional way to explain things. Think of it as Advantia shorthand. If you want me to go into details I most certainly can, although it is frowned upon to explain things outside the Advantia to an extent. I am a student of Eagle Hill.

Sydney (as Cassidy): So it's frowned upon to share knowledge and then you say, 'Well, you know things are unknowable,' does it occur to you that maybe being more open with your sharing of knowledge would make more people be able to understand and [laugh] get the explanations of things?

Nick (as Modem): That drone rotor I was working on, Cassidy; it's an A65 incremental rotor. It was made at least 100 years ago, and the servo that combined the power source with the torque needed for lift was having a short. I removed the short and cleaned the ball bearing and apparently there was an internal battery I did not expect. This connected a cable as I worked on the ball bearing and it created that lift, making more force upon the ground than in the air above it, causing that rotor to spin and fly away from my hand. Coincidentally, if my finger had been in the rotor at the time, I would probably have one less. Do you feel better?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Wow, I'm I'm really impressed that you have the capability to explain something.

Nick (as Modem): Again, with this aggression as all I do is pursue my own interests. That's the part I don't understand. If I walk into a town and list off that amount of information, someone may shoot me or I may get laughed out of town. There's no way to know. But if I have the Advantia by my side, there's a certain amount of respect and I can help them. It is a tool just like this wrench.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Is it respect or is it people being uncomfortable with you?

Nick (as Modem): To me, it doesn't matter. Do I look like someone who cares about others comfort level?

Sydney (as Cassidy): [sigh] Do you know there are people in this world that depend on Advantia technology to live or to be who they are? Or do you work only in the realms of the physical, [laugh] of the diesel and the drone and torque?

Nick (as Modem): Please! Please Cassidy, I know we are having a conversation, but if you could avoid mentioning diesel, now that I am away from that horrid town, I would appreciate it as a sign of politeness. I'm aware that there is more out there than what my knowledge is, although I have not been made privy to the inner workings because it is not necessary.

Sydney (as Cassidy): See, you say it's not necessary. There - [sigh] free exchange of knowledge, which is prohibited or frowned upon by your order... So let me tell you a story. Do you know the city Quirk?

Nick (as Modem): I am not familiar with it. I have stayed mostly in this region of the world.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It is very far from this region of the world. In a land far [mumble] many years almost of travel from here. It took me many years. It's a land of sand and heat and desert. There are no Advantia there.

Nick (as Modem): It must be very primitive.

Sydney (as Cassidy): HA! There is technology. Do you know the magic of cold fusion?

Nick (as Modem): That is a myth.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Huh? People would like you to think that, wouldn't they? The town of Quirk is powered by cold fusion. And the generation of which is administered to by the Labs of Sand. Members of the Labs cannot exchange words with external people, period. Do you know how much they could help if they actually didn't just hoard knowledge? So I left that place - unrelated to that specifically, but as - have that in my mind, and I start moving North into lands with Adventia. And the ones that I meet, are friendly, and openly talk about things, and openly help. And I'm like, Oh, well, this is this is how I should be you shouldn't be, when you're in a position of power and knowledge like this and you have the capabilities to understand how to fix something, or to build a new piece, to fabricate something that solves a problem for somebody.

The - so the Advantia down there for one thing, and then I started getting further North, again, and East and we start getting into the mysticism, and everything is magic and 'oh, we can't tell you. We can't share that information because it's, oh, it could be dangerous knowledge to know how your body works.' Do you know how much harder it is for a kid to go and talk to a wizard who you have to do all the rituals or the wizard won't see you? If you make the right sacrifices of bread and mozzarella and salami and you wave your hands in the correct thing, maybe he'll help you. Maybe he'll cure whatever the problem that has been ailing you for 20 years, but only if you do the ritual right. And if you do it wrong, that's it. You know, he'll never see you again. So imagine that you're a kid. That you know that there's an answer out there somewhere, but you can't - you don't know the rituals because no one's ever taught you them. If you had a someone who was willing to share this knowledge, who was open, who would be willing to discuss it with you and tell you what they could do. That can be so much more useful.

I was helped by an Advantia who was open, but they weren't taught what was actually going on because it was a mystery for a higher circle. And so I don't know what's going on. All I know is that it helps. Do you see the problem?

Nick (as Modem): But you're being helped.

Sydney (as Cassidy): So the help without the knowledge of what's going on and the - you pray for answers, and an Advantia answers them, and you don't know what they did. And you don't know why they did what they did. But you know, hopefully it helped. And hopefully there's no complications, because maybe it's bad magic. The spell misfired. And it's not that, oh, well, we actually got the dosage of this wrong, and we're gonna have to adjust it a little bit. But you'll be better come back in a couple of weeks.

Nick (as Modem): I understand. You say that we're hoarding knowledge. I say that we're rationing it. At this particular case, the medical sciences, I am unaware. I don't even know what bastions of the Advantia of really deal in that, I'm more on the mechanical side, but a story from my past, Cassidy. One time, I realized the potential of a gas blowback causing a spring to re adjust itself, like from a internal combustion, but applied outside of that.

Sydney (as Cassidy): So the way a gun works.

Nick (as Modem): The way an automatic weapon works. A weapon that can put out more bullets than you've probably seen in a lifetime. And I was so excited by that discovery that I shared it with somebody of industry in Eagle Hill. And they took that information and they started to make these weapons. And sure one or two, not a big deal, but on a massive scale... The death would be unbelievable. The Advantia itself had to step in, there's a reason I was out in Wawa.

Now I'm not saying that your medical considerations or things like that, are anything like that. I agree if you knew a little bit more about it you would be more comfortable, but too much knowledge too fast, could do more harm than good. And whether or not we agree on that entirely, I am not the one that helps you with your problem. I wish that I could. But I have had experiences where sharing too much can be dangerous. And I'll tell you whatever you need to know about diesel engines or heck wireless signals, if that's your interest. I have a sensor on my staff that, while it's been acting strangely lately, hopefully will begin to function again. That's one of those magic things. I don't know how it works. I'm afraid to crack it open because if it's destroyed, I won't get another one. But there is more out there than the individual. The Advantia strives to help the greater good. That I can promise you.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [sigh] Hopefully their picture of the greater good is one that is in line with what the rest of us are hoping for.

Nick (as Modem): And that I can't tell you. Again, I have not been to Eagle Hill in a long time. I'm hoping that my discoveries will get me back into that circle where I can influence things. But I can tell you, all I am is a traveler who is hoping that his life savings is enough to get him there in one piece with the aid of some mercenaries. And I would like to get to know these people little better. Maybe that will help me learn the greater good. Being glared at every 20 seconds does not help me with that goal.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I'm sure I was polishing this for 30 at least.

Nick (as Modem): [deep sigh] You have a sharp wit, Cassidy.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Thank you. I try. I've been honing it for many years.

Nick (as Modem): [laugh] How much longer do you think until that food is ready?

Sydney: Cassidy pokes the pot.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It's still got a few minutes it looks like. It's not an exact science, though it is still a science. But I got to go swap out armor plates, so, you know, enjoy the fire.

Nick (as Modem): Bring back one for me as well. Maybe I can help.

Sydney: Cassidy shrugs and goes,

Sydney (as Cassidy): Okay.

Sydney: The sure expression and walks over to go, to put the newly cleaned shin plate on and come back with more.

Nick: And the camera zooms out. We see the fire as it gets darker, now almost fully night. People are still walking this way in that, putting together the last bits of this camp that could last several days or just an evening. Wyatt plays a little bit more hopeful of a song on the guitar, but hits a wrong note, grunts to himself and goes back to the original sad song.

Aly: Once the tents have been completed and built, Zee-o goes to take stock and just give everything a once over in and around the truck and walk the perimeter of the camp. Since Wyatt is actually having down time for once, Zee-o sort of falls into what Wyatt would do, which is to make sure everything is in its right place, nothing is missing, nothing hitherto unrealized is broken and in need of fixing, that sort of thing. And also just to check the perimeter of the camp and make sure that we're in a good spot. And so the cameras on Zee-o as they're walking through the woods on the fringe of the camp, and they suddenly in a very fluid, very human sort of gesture, swat at what must be a mosquito near their head. And then they stop. And they look at their hand, and they look around, and there's no mosquito. And they sort of put their hand down slowly and their focus turns inward for a second, to run a quick diagnostic to see if there's something that would have caused them to react that way.

And I want to say that it's like, the thing that Zee-o has acquired from the misbehaving drones that they have locked away in a compartment in their hard drive, it's scratching at the door, and it made them swat at a bug. And now they're looking at the closed door in their mind where the malware is tucked away, and staring at the door going, how did it do that? How did it make me do that and why? So Zee-o goes into their mind, essentially, they go inward, and the inside - Zee-o can see themselves standing in a brightly lit white hallway. It goes on in a long distance in either direction. And there are no signs on the walls, there are lots of doors, plenty of doors, and every now and then there's another hallway going perpendicular so there are crossroads, but it's sort of an endless corporate interior looking crawl, essentially in a bright white light.

And Zee-o walks down this hallway, and stops several feet away from the door where they know they have tucked away the malware that they acquired from the logging drone. And they can hear it bumping around in that room. And not necessarily knocking on the door, but like it is bumping up against the door and feeling around to see if it can find a way out. Like when you shut a cat in a room and the cats like 'Well, I don't have thumbs. But I know that there must be a way to open this door because I've seen people do it.' That sort of insistent, cluttering sound. And Zee-o stands by the door watching, trying to figure out how it made them swat at a bug that wasn't there. And if that moment was caused by the malware, how? And so they're standing by the door, staring at the door, running an internal diagnostic to make sure that the door is in fact shut and locked and the thing is still inside and that sort of thing.

Sydney: Zee-o, hears the thumping around. It starts as chaos, and then it shifts to a rhythm for a little bit. And then it goes back to chaos. And then back to the same rhythm. And then back to chaos. And Zee you can't help but wonder if there's - is it purely random? Is it just flailing?

Aly: Yeah, I think Zee-o notices the pattern once, twice. The third time they start taking notes. They open a file in their mind and they're taking notes on the pattern as it happens. And then I think after a little while Zee-o, confident that the door is shut and locked, steps forward and reaches out and puts a hand against the flat of the door. Nowhere near the knob just in the middle of the door as though to feel what it might feel like through the door.

Sydney: And it goes silent. Maybe there's the slight sense of of magnetism? Like the door pulls you in just a little bit. And then you get the just the rhythm right on the other side of the door from your hand.

Aly (as Zee-o): You will not get out.

Sydney: The rhythm plays again but in two spots on the door. There's one at your hand and one up at your eye level.

Aly (as Zee-o): What do you want?

Logging Drone AI: [three robotic pitches]

Aly (as Zee-o): You have a room. That is all you get.

Sydney: And it just goes back to banging around again.

Aly: Zee-o takes their hand away from the door and steps back. Double checking, triple checking, making sure that it's locked. They stand there a few more minutes, listening to it bash around inside the room, and then they turn and abruptly walk away down the hallway at a steady clip. And as they walk away we see over their shoulder, an iron bank door builds itself over the outside of this regular wooden hallway door, and like [locks engaging] the lock emerges and then the wheel turns like a bank vault and shuts and they have added security to that threshold. And then suddenly Zee-o is back on the outside of themselves and standing in the middle of the woods, outside the camp, staring at the ground. And then they lift their head and they turn and look and see that everything is as it should be. If anyone had been watching Zee-o at the time, it looked like Zee-o swatted at a bug and then glanced at the ground and then kept walking.

Nick: And Zee-o walks away from the fire. Wyatt is playing guitar. Emma is walking in and out of the tents, making sure that they're set up correctly. Modem and Cassidy are both polishing bits of armor, and a cheery ping echoes through the camp as the cook pot is ready. And everybody gathers around the fire to grab some food.

Drew: I love the vision of all of us, the cameras like on the thing so we're all like looking down on it and ding and then it opens and it's just steam. We're like,

Drew (as Wyatt): What is it?

Sydney (as Cassidy): This is from where I grew up. I got lucky with the spices that Wawa had. Somehow they had what I needed to make this and it's got a lot of meat in it too. For protein.

Drew (as Wyatt): All right, then. You made it, you dish it.

Sydney: Cassidy grabs the ladle that's nearby and Cassidy's got a pile of the camp very sturdy, but not pretty silverware that's a blue and white mottled pattern. Stuff that can survive getting thrown on the ground. She dishes up five hefty bowls and there's actually a little bit left in the bottom for a small amount of seconds, which is pretty good, and this is mostly Cassidy making sure she uses the fresh food while it's still fresh.

Nick: When you scoop the portion to Modem he holds the bowl up high and says

Nick (as Modem): I thank the magic of technology for this bounty.

Nick: And then winks at her and goes to sit down by the fire.

Drew: Behind him, we see Wyatt swipe left.

Sydney: Cassidy rolls her eyes. [laugh]

Sydney (as Cassidy): Well, you know my name's Cassidy but the magic of technology ehhhh - Cassidy is better. Thanks.

Nick (as Modem): Thank you as well Cassidy for being the tool that the world has used to provide us with this nourishment.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [sigh]

Nick: He's smiling really wide, like just actively poking at you.

Sydney: Cassidy's looking at him and she's twickering a little bit at the corner of her mouth. And she's only like 90% serious, scowling at him. And then she goes back to handing out the bowls to the next people in line. Which is I guess there's only four bowls because -

Sydney: And Cassidy puts the fifth one away.

Cameron (as Emma): Cassidy why'd you get five bowls out?

Aly: Zee-o puts their hands down.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Zee-o, do you want to try it?

Aly (as Zee-o): I do not think I can. I was ready to hold it should you hand it to me.

Nick: Cassidy got it out because she's used to getting out bowls including Pallie.

Sydney: Yup.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Uhh yeah, I sorry. You're you can have the bowl. I can give you something if you want something.

Aly (as Zee-o): Thank you. That will not be necessary.

Sydney (as Cassidy): Here, have - I will.

Sydney: And Cassidy reaches into the air behind her with her open hand and puts it into the bowl and hands it to Zee-o and goes

Sydney (as Cassidy): You get my companionship and the rest of us for tonight.

Aly: Zee-o looks at Cassidy, looks at Emma, looks back at Cassidy.

Sydney (as Cassidy): It's figurative.

Aly: Takes the bowl and does like a I don't want to say a bow but that kind of bend of thanks that they have seen other people do when receiving food. And then they go and they sit by the fire and they hold the bowl.

Drew: We see Wyatt take his spoon and take a big slurp of soup. And it's on his beard. And he takes out a handkerchief and kind of wipes it off and goes

Drew (as Wyatt): This is really good. Goodness this is good. I think you should cook- hey wait a second! Wasn't our bet that you weren't gonna cook?

Sydney: Cassidy just looks really innocent at him. And looks at the pile of clean armor next to her on the bench. The last couple of pieces of it.

Drew (as Wyatt): You know you're real lucky that this is very, very good. And I'm willing to let that go. Because it's very good.

Drew: And he goes back to eating.

Cameron (as Emma): What was your bet?

Drew (as Wyatt): Oh I - well uh, let's see. I bet that Modem was going to come with us. If I won, then Cassidy was gonna clean my armor. And if Modem didn't come with us that I was gonna let Cassidy cook from now on because I usually do the cooking. But... Yep.

Drew: And he goes back to eating.

Sydney: And Cassidy looks at Wyatt with a subtle smile, but it is actually there's there's more to it and then she looks at Emma and winks.

Nick (as Modem): You did not think that I was going to come?

Drew (as Wyatt): No I did. Cassidy didn't.

Nick (as Modem): Well joke's on you because I did. And also now I get this delicious soup. Thank you.

Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah what's it called, Cassidy?

Sydney (as Cassidy): This is tortilla soup.

Nick (as Modem): The tortilla must be a fearsome foe.

Drew (as Wyatt): [snort] It's, um, it's a flatbread.

Nick (as Modem): I rescind my previous statement.

Drew (as Wyatt): No, no, for some people bread does a terrible foe. So tha-that's somewhat true. I had a buddy in the Rainiers couldn't digest bread. Just farts for days.

Nick (as Modem): Pour soul.

Cameron (as Emma): That sounds terrible.

Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah, it was real bad. They gave us a lot of bread in the Rainiers.

Cameron (as Emma): That doesn't sound terrible.

Drew (as Wyatt): No, it wasn't that bad. But uh, yeah. [laugh] Poor Michael. Gassy Michael.

Sydney (as Cassidy): What a nickname.

Drew (as Wyatt): Nobody, nobody bunked with Michael.

Cameron (as Emma): Ohh.

Nick (as Modem): Back in Wawa, there was an engine on a boat that I called Gassy Michael

Cameron (as Emma): Huh.

Nick (as Modem): It helped to pass the time to personalize them.

Aly: Zee-o looks up.

Aly (as Zee-o): That seems highly unlikely.

Drew (as Wyatt): What does?

Aly (as Zee-o): That he would call the boat motor the same thing you called your former colleague. The likelihood is very small.

Drew: I feel like we all turn and look at Modem.

Nick: Modem looks across the fire at Zee-o and their metallic face and glowing eyes. And you could see a twitch in his jaw as he's trying to decide what to say.

Nick (as Modem): I don't think that my sensor is broken. I think that you are the six. There I said it. You're not human.

Drew: I think everyone gets very still around the fire.

Nick (as Modem): Go ahead and gut me and leave me in the woods, Wyatt. I must pursue knowledge. It is my duty as an Advant. And that thing is not human. It is technology. It is technology unlike anything I have ever seen, and I must find out what it is. Sorry, Zee-o. You must tell me. Before you kill me, you must tell me.

Aly: There's a really long pause. And Zee-o slowly pans their eyes to Emma, to Cassidy, to Wyatt.

Drew: We see Wyatt has his hand on the handle of his pistol.

Aly: And then they look at Modem across the fire.

Aly (as Zee-o): Did no one tell you?

Drew (as Wyatt): Tell him what?

Aly (as Zee-o): That I am not human?

Cameron (as Emma): I thought it would be pretty obvious...

Nick (as Modem): [overlapping] It was obvious but no one would mention it.

Sydney (as Cassidy): [overlapping] With the glowing eyes...

Cameron (as Emma): [responding to Cassidy] Yeah.

Nick (as Modem): No one acknowledged it. This is world changing.

Cameron (as Emma): [interrupting] Why why do we need to?

Sydney (as Cassidy): Zee-o's as much of a person as any of us.

Cameron (as Emma): Also, also - I'm gonna need you to stop calling Zee-o it.

Drew (as Wyatt): Yes.

Nick (as Modem): You're right. I apologize. They could change the world. If I could just see their inner workings or bring them to someone -

Drew (as Wyatt): [interrupting] No.

Nick (as Modem): - more knowledgeable than me.

Drew: We see Wyatt stand up. He stands over the fire looking at Modem.

Drew (as Wyatt): That's not going to happen.

Nick: Modem has instinctively raised his hands.

Nick (as Modem): I - I meant no offense -

Drew (as Wyatt): I didn't take offense. I took umbrage with you saying that someone needs to open them up. No one is going to open them up. Now while I'm standing here.

Nick (as Modem): Okay.

Drew (as Wyatt): No one's going to study them, unless Zee-o wants to be studied.

Nick (as Modem): I would assume from the fact that you're in the woods with a band of mercenaries, Zee-o, that you have no interest in furthering the knowledge of human kind?

Aly (as Zee-o): Do you have an interest in furthering the knowledge of humankind?

Nick (as Modem): With the very fabric of my being.

Aly: Zee-o looks at Cassidy. Zee-o has very good hearing. Zee-o looks pointedly at Cassidy and then back at Modem.

Aly (as Zee-o): What do you think your people would do with me?

Nick: Modem's face falls and he looks into the fire and his shoulders slump.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I do recall a tale that you just shared about what happens when technology the Advantia think is dangerous is out in the world.

Nick (as Modem): Good point. I, I-I apologize. I think maybe I let some of my training and some of my education get the best of me. That -

Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah, I think you did.

Nick (as Modem): That would not be best for Zee-o, who has been nothing but kind to me. I see that.

Aly: Zee-o stands up and walks across to where Modem is sitting. And they drop to like a crouch, the way an adult crouches in front of a toddler, and they have the empty bowl in one hand, and they lift their other hand upright, as though to show him their upright open palm, fingers slightly spread.

Aly (as Zee-o): You can look. I do not know how to answer your question. But I will tell you, I am dangerous.

Nick (as Modem): I remember what you did to those drones. You're honest, almost to a fault, Zee-o. I may have further questions for you on our journey, but for now, I will respect your boundaries. I will respect your boundaries going forward. And I do apologize. For now, I I feel that I must think on it. You have given me a new perspective. One word of advice. When you get to Eagle Hill, do not let people realize what I have realized. It would be bad for you. It would be bad for your band. It would be disastrous for Eagle Hill as a whole.

Drew (as Wyatt): Yeah, no shit. What do you think we've done this entire time?

Nick (as Modem): Well, I figured it out.

Drew (as Wyatt): You've been in close quarters with us. Most people aren't.

Aly: Zee-o turns their hand down and sideways as though to shake Modems hand and they say

Aly (as Zee-o): Your apology is accepted. Your advice and insight on the region of Eagle Hill, the Advantia, and other ways to conceal ourselves is welcome.

Nick (as Modem): Thank you, Zee-o.

Nick: And he reaches out and grasps your hand. And you can feel that the hand is strong, but very flexible. It's like squeezing wires. And he gives a solid shake and then let's go.

Nick (as Modem): Your secret is safe with me. Just the way I reacted, someone who has been away from the Advantia for some time. I fear what would happen to someone who is currently active in the organization.

Aly (as Zee-o): It is hard to keep a secret.

Aly: Zee-o says as they stand up.

Aly (as Zee-o): When you do not have the answer.

Aly: And they go and they sit back down in their original spot and look into the empty bowl.

Drew (as Wyatt): Feel good? Got that off your chest now?

Nick (as Modem): Good is not the word I would say -

Drew (as Wyatt): Eat your soup.

Nick (as Modem): I think I will eat my soup.

Nick: And he digs a hefty spoonful.

Sydney: And Cassidy is finished serving the soup. And then she goes and sits down right next to Zee-o just as a sign of solidarity.

Drew (as Wyatt): I should play something.

Drew: And Wyatt puts down his bowl and reaches over and grabs his guitar, tunes it a little bit and goes,

Drew (as Wyatt): What do you guys want? Something happy? I feel like something happy.

Drew: And he begins to play like a jig. Something a little upbeat and happy.

Drew (as Wyatt): You know, lighten the mood. Something like that. Did I ever tell you where I got this guitar?

Cameron (as Emma): I didn't know you had a guitar.

Drew (as Wyatt): Till about half an hour ago - 45 minutes, I had completely forgot I had one too. It's my brother's. My little brother Saul, he gave it to me when I went to the Rainiers. Yeah I don't even know if he's alive yet. Still, I mean. [huff of laughter] I mean I left when I was 16. So a long time ago. I've had this guitar for a very long time. And you know Pallie, Pallie liked it when I played.

Aly: Zee-o looks up and watches Wyatt.

Drew (as Wyatt): You know, I've been, um, thinking a lot lately about what's fair? A lot of things that happened this last year and they're not fair. What happened to me isn't fair, you isn't fair. I mean, if life was fair, I'd be the one who's dead and Pallie would be alive right now. But she's not, cause that's the way life goes. It's nobody's fault. It's just what happened. And I know that's been hanging over everybody. We've lost a lot in the last little bit. Iokua. Pallie. Heck the jeep.

Sydney (as Cassidy): I'm not super sad to have the Jeep leave.

Drew (as Wyatt): Well, it's still around.

Cameron (as Emma): I I don't - I don't think you could have saved the jeep, just from what I heard like six months ago. [laugh]

Drew (as Wyatt): That's true. [laugh]

Cameron (as Emma): I'm surprised it had lasted you that long.

Drew (as Wyatt): And that's the life we live. It's not fair, but it is the one we got. So we'll just keep going. And that's all we can do.

Aly (as Zee-o): We can only go forward. We can never go back.

[hurdy gurdy music swells]

 

Outro:

Aly (as Zee-o): End of episode. Commencing end credits. The following information will be placed in the show notes for your added convenience.

This has been A Knight of Shreds and Patches, an actual play podcast using the Genesys game system from Fantasy Flight Games. The show is edited by Sydney Whittington, and features the talents of:

Drew Mierzejewski as Wyatt. Drew can be found on Twitter @worldstoforge and is the showrunner for Skyjacks: Courier’s Call, an all-ages actual play podcast set in the world of Spéir, designed by James D’Amato.

Aly Grauer as Zee-o. Aly can be found on Twitter and Instagram @dreamstobecome. Aly is also a player on and audio editor for Skyjacks: Courier’s Call. You can support both Aly and Drew by joining their Patreon @ Patreon.com/WhimsyArtifice.

Sydney Whittington as Cassidy. Sydney can be found on our Discord server, which is linked in the show notes, and on Twitter @ sydney_whitt.

Cameron Robertson as Emma. Cameron can be found on Twitter @midnightmusic13 and on Instagram @reading_and_dreaming. Cameron is also a player on Tabletop Squadron, a Star Wars Edge of the Empire actual play podcast.

And Nick Robertson as narrator. Nick can be found on Twitter @alias58. Nick is also the GM for Tabletop Squadron, which you can support @Patreon.com/TabletopSquadron.

This podcast features the musical talents of Dora Violet and Arne Parrott. You can find Dora at facebook.com/doraviolett with two Ts. You can find Arne at atptunes.com.

The official artwork for this podcast was created by Rashed AlAkroka, who can be found on Instagram and Artstation @rashedjrs.

You can follow the Patina on Twitter @akosap_podcast or visit the website: www.akosap.com.

Until next time…

...Audio Offline.

[hurdy gurdy fades]