Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas morning

Dragon's Fangs Hammer (AR 32 blunt with innate +30 Fire)
It's Christmas morning so we opened up the Raiden's Angel boxes from yesterday.
Raiden's Angel

  • Socket Flux x2
  • Angler Spinelle x3
  • Elite Treasure Chest x3  (ETC)
  • Socket Flux x2
  • Seeds of Rafflesia x1
Raiden's Angel 2

  • ETC x3
  • Citadel of Gods Pass (7 days) x1
  • Angler Spinelle x3
  • Veteran G Exp Card x5
  • ETC x3
Raiden's Angel 3

  • Angler Spinelle x3
  • ETC x3
  • Veteran G Exp Card x5
  • Siren's Scale x1
  • Citadel of the Gods Pass (1 Day) x1
Raiden's Angel 4

  • Citadel of the Gods Pass (1 Day) x1
  • Socket Flux x2
  • ETC x3
  • ETC x3
  • EC Veteran x3
Raiden's Angel 5

  • Dragon's Fangs Hammer x1
  • Angler Spinelle x3
  • Angler Spinelle x3
  • ETC x3
  • Citadel (1Day)
From the various Elite Treasure Chests,

  • Level 100 Enchantment Chip x 9
  • Level 96 Enchantment Chip x 8
  • Level 92 Enchantment Chip x 10
  • Earth Stone x 25

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Gift

Happy New Year Fire Cracker
Tonight, we noticed a Christmas Gift box in our normal inventory.  Opening it revealed:

  • Expert Explorer Pack (3 Days)
  • Santa Hat x3
  • Santa costume (SCO)
  • Santa Costume (WIZ)
  • Santa Costume (FIG)
  • Santa Costume (ELE)
  • Santa Costume (MUS)
  • Snow Spray x50
  • Christmas Stocking x25
  • Snowman x25
  • Happy New Year Fire Cracker x50
  • Christmas Tree x25
  • Raiden's Angel x5
  • Raiden's Angel II x5
  • Raiden's Angel III x5
  • Raiden's Angel IV x5
  • Raiden's Angel V x5
Since our inventory was near capacity, we'll hold off on opening those Raiden's Angel boxes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

X versus Santa X

They always seem to be taller than us
We do wonder what weapons they wield.
Last night, a kind soul donated a bunch of costumes to us, including the Santa outfits for Grace and Adelina.  Therefore, we tried them on and compared them against the Santa versions of the event missions.  The items from tonight's Winter Season box were Christmas Tree, Snowman, and 1 Rudolph Hat.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Funny faces of Lisa Lynway

I thought Tora was a boy.
Continuing on with the friendship quest between Lisa and Adelina, our Adelina had a chat with Lisa at her cafe.  The little boy Tora from the previous quest chain has now turned into a little girl and Lisa likes to call Adelina a sister.  It also seems that Adelina has either been traveling with our family for the 5 past years or she worked for Lisa for the past 5 years.  We could be wrong though but 5 years has definitely gone by somewhere.
Sad face
Angry face?
All happy to work for Adelina
So now Lisa has to visit Adelina and work up to 500 friendship points with her.  To do this, Adelina requires massive quantities of Level 88 Enchantment Chips.  We turned in 5 chips and only gained 7 friendship points.

In tonight's Winter Season box, we received a combination of Christmas Tree and Snowmen again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas event day 2

It's so squishy and peaceful.
It turns out that we can only do each Santa event once per day.  So tonight, we changed our team lineup to emphasize melee speed for the single target bosses/crystals and a great-sword for the Glacial Valkyries.  Grace's ice spells and the patrols at the Glacial Fortress mission hurt more but it wasn't life threatening.

The drops from tonight's Winter Season Box were 1 Snowman and 3 Christmas Trees.  With such poor box rewards, we're tempted to save up for a promotional scroll.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Asoka

That hairstyle reminds us of Claire.
The Santa costume and hair for Asoka was available in the bazaar today.  Since we barely spent the Gold that came with Asoka, we decided to splurge on the costume.  There was also a costume set for Valerie too but since we don't have her nor any foreseeable future possibility of getting her, we didn't get it.

2011 Christmas Event - Santa Adelina

Again without a face
At this point, we had 19 coins and we wandered to try out the Winter Season Box from the Christmas Rapper which required 20 coins.  So we spoke to the female fighter again and discovered that we can fight against a Sword wielder.  That wielder turned out to be Santa Adelina.  When hurt, she first summoned a ring of skeleton gunners.
Totally harmless
Afterwards came the giant skeletons.
The Santa siblings
Finally came Santa Emilia and Santa Grace.  Fortunately, Santa Grace did not cast spells this time.

We received 3 Santa Coins from finishing this fight and traded it in for a Winter Season Box.  From that box came 1 Christmas Tree and 1 Snowman.  We wonder what else the box could contain and whether is it worth it.

2011 Christmas Event - Gift delivery

Aren't you a little old for this?
The next person we helped was Santa Nunez.  His request was to find 3 children, one in each town and deliver gifts to them.  Since our home base was in Port Coimbra, we started there first and found the "child".
You look like someone we spanked a few minutes ago.
Twins eh?

2011 Christmas Event - Glacial Fortress

Didn't we just decapitate you a few minutes ago?
Next was the second mission offered by the male fighter.  This mission took us to the Glacial Fortress where we had to eliminate 4 crystals before entering the center to defeat a giant Jack Frost.  Afterwards, we had to go out again to find a newly spawned crystal.  Defeating that opened up the center area where the reindeer were held.  Unbeknownst to us, Tiburon and Ramiro were in that center and were in a groin kicking mood and they got two of our team down before we gave them a good spanking.

2011 Christmas event - Hatching some reindeer

How does it fit in there?
Next, we tried out the first mission offered by the male fighter dressed int he Santa outfit.  The mission was to hatch eggs in order to rescue 5 reindeer.  Hatching an egg required 5 medicine and not all eggs contain reindeer.  We quickly noticed that the Gacial Valkyrie and just about everyone else is harmless and the only tedious part is finding the eggs themselves.
They're harmless!

2011 Christmas event - Fight against a Staff wielder

Santa Emilia - Quite scary without a face
Since the fight against Grace went so well, we tried again but picked the fight against a Staff wielder.  The Staff user turned out to be a levitating Santa Emilia.  When damaged, she calls upon 2 Ogres to attack you.  While those Ogres are alive, Santa Emilia is invulnerable.

2011 Christmas event - Fight against a gunner

I brought my best team as I was expecting the worse.
The game was updated last night and along with the new update is the Christmas event for 2011.  This time, it was held right outside of the City of Auch.  We first talked with the female fighter in the Santa outfit and volunteered to fight someone wielding a gun.
Grace, meet Santa Grace
That person turned out to be Santa Grace and she actually wait for you to make the first move.  Her bullets weren't particularly harmful but then she started to cast various AOE spells and those were quite painful, especially to my Grace as Healing Potions actually had to be consumed.
Those reindeer must have been hiding somewhere.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Withdrawal

Run! Run! It's the last ship!
Continuing from the last entry, the Captain and Grace managed to come home last Saturday.  Just getting back was a story by itself as they were originally scheduled to start leaving the country today.

On the 14th, they noticed that the base was packed with soldiers and they had the largest escort of soldiers they ever had when visiting the work site.  The mess hall was also packed that night.  However, on the morning of the 15th, when they visited the mess hall for breakfast, it was entirely empty of soldiers and half of the hall was closed.  They thought nothing of it until later in the afternoon when they visited the port.  When the soldier at the port saw them, he exclaimed that he were looking for them and that they had better get their bags quick as this was the last ship to leave the country.  The soldier at the port told them that during the night, all the soldiers had left on a long caravan to a neighboring country.

This last ship was almost empty of passengers as everyone else was supposed to have left already.  The purpose of the ship was to carry a General's personal boat and the last remaining soldiers.

As to the mission, it was a mixed success.  CATH2 was operational in her home but became pouty one day.    She refused to let anyone touch her and slept for 2 days.  Fortunately, just as mysteriously, she overcame her mood swing and started working again.  As a precaution, we had Dr. Torsche send another head but can't do anything at the moment since there's no one with CATH2 anymore.  This episode was most annoying to me as when CATH2 became pouty, the only message I received from the Captain was that CATH2 had sustained a fatal injury.  Thinking the worse from the word "fatal", there was quite a commotion at home and at Dr. Torsche's lab until we later found out that wasn't that bad.

The first story that Grace told this morning was that she saw something shocking at the guard shack for CATH2.  While leaving the site, she happened to look out the window of the carriage and saw 2 native male guards doing inappropriate things to each other in public.  It must have left a deep impression.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trip Epilogue

All alone
In the days since I left that country, quite a few things have happened.  The second base has completed their transition with everyone leaving together as a caravan.  Everything that could not be carried has been grounded down to dust and the land has been returned to its original desert state.  Our system, CATH1 remains by herself, enjoying the uncluttered desert.  One hopes that she finds enough energy to operate for years to come.
Handing over the real estate back to the natives.
The first base had a ceremony in which the base was officially signed over to the natives.  Traveling here in the future will be difficult if not impossible should we ever choose to try to do it.
Will they find what they are looking for?
The Captain and one of my coworkers returned to take care of some unfinished business on the third base.  The rest of the team including myself was surprised that the Captain didn't take us along this time as our specialties is taking care of unfinished business.  However, we are secretly relieved that we are not going again as traveling there is now very difficult and we don't really know how they will leave once they are there.  It sort of reminds me of that song with the lyrics "You can check out anytime but you can never leave".  But if anyone among us is best qualified for that situation, I would think that it would be them (or at the very least, Grace).

Last days of the trip

It's like everyone is rushing to leave.
Eventually, it became time to leave the base and head for home.  We got to the port early in the afternoon but had to wait for the passengers of an earlier ship to check in before we could check in.  This process took at least 3 hours and the passengers of the earlier ship were heading to Absinia.  As a joke, the workers at the port offered to let us go to Absinia if we wanted but no one for our ship took them up on their offer.

Something interesting I noticed was that many of the passengers to Absinia were carrying large stuffed animals and even baby dolls.  We assumed that these were gifts to their children back home but nonetheless, it was a strange sight.  In one particular case, I thought one of the women was carrying a live baby before a closer examination revealed that it was a doll.  Many of these passengers were overloaded with luggage and wore many layers of clothing to lighten the luggage load.  That was also a strange sight and it infuriated that baggage handlers as there was a limit on the weight of the cargo per person.

When new people arrived at the port, we could immediately tell from their ethnicity which ship they were planning to board.  If they didn't look Absinian, then they had tickets to our ship.  We had to warn them from getting on the wrong line as we weren't sure if the port worker was serious in his offer.  Our ship was truly multicultural that night.

After all the Absinians were checked in and locked behind a cage door on one side of port, we checked in and waited on the other side of port.  It was a long wait of at least two hours as our ship had yet to come in and no one knew when it was going to arrive.  Fortunately, I had a packet of dried berries which I shared with fellow passengers.  I also had a bag of chocolate chip cookies too but was unable to get to it as I was forgotten to remove it from my luggage as I was checking in.  Eventually, our ship arrived as we boarded.

Due to our later departure time of our ship, we were really worried about being unable to make our transfer to the next ship that would take us home.  It did not help that we had to obtain a visa at the transfer point.  This was because of some stupid bureaucratic thing that required us to get our luggage from the first ship, get the visa, leave the port (and take a few steps into the city), turn around, and reenter the port at an adjacent door.  Getting the visas took 2 hours and we could have literally taken a few steps through the port if we didn't need to get the visas and our passports stamped.

Fortunately, everything was settled with half an hour to spare so we had a snack at the lounge.  The voyage back to our home country took 14 hours.  However, even then, I would still need to take another ship to reach my home city.

Sightseeing

And that tower over there directs the ships.
Since we had some time before we were scheduled to leave the base, we went sightseeing.  One of the places that I saw was a tower used to direct ships.  We went right up to the base of it but did not enter as we did not give advance warning to the people inside.  My coworkers have gone inside in the past so I've seen how it would have looked like.
It's so empty! Where is everyone?
Other places that we visited included the various palaces built by the previous ruler of the country.  It's all very ornate and pretty but we did not see a single soul while sightseeing in that area.  A place of note that I visited was the Glass House.  There was a dome on that house and the inside of it was covered with a reflective material like ice crystals.  Even with the chandelier lights off, the effect was pretty.  I imagine that it would be even prettier if the chandelier was lighted.  We visited the roof of the Glass House and we had a good view of the surrounding area since the land was flat and everything was lower.

A coworker even witnessed a cannon attack by the pirates while we at the Glass House.  He claimed to have seen the projectile arc up into the air and land somewhere, causing a cloud of smoke.  Following the rules, I was left the roof at that time for the bunker and therefore only saw the smoke when I returned to the roof.  There was damage on the dome of the roof and a coworker claimed that the roof had previously survived a direct hit from a cannonball.  Looking around debris, I found a small chunk of the dome that had been blasted off.  Piecing it back on the dome like a puzzle, I found out where it used to fit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Never a dull moment

Ugh, it's 4AM...
There's rarely a dull moment back on first base.  At least once a day, pirates would fire cannonballs on to the base.  Although this happens far away enough that the cannonballs should not reach us, the alarm still rings and everyone is supposed to get to the nearest bunker.  I first experienced it after dinner on the first night of arrival on the first base from the third base.  Our party was strolling back from the dining hall when the warning bells went off and we quickly made our way to the nearest bunker.  It was an interesting experience as the danger was real (though low).

However, other nights were not as pleasant as the warnings went off when we are in the latrine or in the middle of the night.  There was one night when more than a dozen warnings went off between 11PM and 6AM.  Those pirates were persistent in their attacks and we did not get much sleep.  My coworkers were so used to it that they didn't even bother getting up to visit the bunkers.

There was one time when we were sightseeing from the roof of a building when the warning went off.  I headed back down into a bunker but the coworker stay up on the roof.  He said he could see the trajectory of the projectile and we later saw smoke rising from where it landed.

Traveling through a prison & the wrong feed

Don't stop for hitchhikers!
After spending a few days at the first base waiting for some progress on the work site at the first base, we finally got to visit it.  Our team somehow managed to borrow an old beat up carriage with an old horse for transportation.  We were worried that the horse might die at any moment but fortunately, it didn't.  Our team of 5 spent one day at the work site which I might describe in another entry.

In any case, the most interesting event of that day was when one of the people we were overseeing asked my coworker to help feed his horse as it was getting hungry.  This required taking their horse and carriage back to base as that was where the feed lot was located.  As people had to travel in at least pairs, I went with him.  The road to base went through an actual prison.  This meant on a road flanked by high walls, spiky wires, and guard towers.  Traveling on that road, we passed a sign saying "Do Not Approach.  Do Not Stop. No Photography".  Taking that as a challenge, we approached, stopped, and took a photo of the sign.

Getting back on base, we rode to the feed lot where there was two types of feed.  Normally, we would know what to feed the horse and I trusted my coworker's judgement on picking the feed.  After all, horses of this type are known to feed on one feed or the other, but not both.  So my coworker fed the horse and the horse ate without complaints which we took to be a good sign of selecting the proper feed.  After the feeding, we started to ride back to the work site.  I noted that the horse seemed to perform a little differently and mentioned it to my coworker.  However, we just passed it off as the horse being old and continued on our journey.

We made it back to the work site and spent the rest of the afternoon there.  We rode back to base and rested in the tent.
I blame you!
It wasn't more than 2 hours of resting when the tent door opened and an angry supervisor stormed into the tent and demanded to know who fed his horse.  It turned out that their party had left the work half an hour after we left.  However, midway back to base (along the prison road), their horse keeled over and fainted.  They tried to remotely contact my Captain but since she was asleep, she didn't hear their pleas for help.  Eventually, they were able to get a ride back to base and a checkup was performed on the stricken horse.  In its stomach, the tamer found a mixture of feeds and that caused the horse to be ill.  Performing a stomach pump would take a day and the tamer was kind enough to lend another horse until their first horse recovered.

Disbelieving that she would make a mistake in selecting feeds, my coworker and I went back to the feed lot to determine what was actually fed to the horse.  It turned out that my coworker did in fact select the wrong feed but it was an easily overlooked mistake as both feeds looked similar.  Normally, this story would be funny by itself but it was actually funnier because my coworker had constantly teased another person back at home when that person made the same mistake in the past.  No doubt that this story would be related back at home as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interaction with guards

"wavy leg"?
Writing about the interaction with the natives reminded me of how one of my coworkers (the retired special forces one) interacted with the guards.  This coworker is very outgoing, an extrovert in every sense and got along well with everybody.  All the checkpoint, gate, and entrance guards that we had to go through were either native soldiers or foreign mercenaries (from various conflict prone countries).  As such, their native language was something other than our native language.  This coworker made the effort to try to learn their basic greetings.  She doesn't pronounce it correctly though so the guards always smile and laugh.  Sometimes, they would respond back with the greetings pronounced correctly.  There might have been at least one case where the greetings were mixed up in which the greetings of one language was used on a guard who did not that particular language.  I just found this tidbit humorous.

Interaction with the natives

Back where I come from, your questions can be considered insensitive.  Now please give me my food as a line is forming behind me.
The first base was the largest of the 3 bases that we have visited.  It was a transit point so there were many travelers passing through.  This was also the first time I talked with a native for more than a few seconds.  One of the times was at a dining facility where I noticed one of the servers behind the food stand started asking these oddly insensitive questions relating to my far east background.  I was taken by surprise as I was expecting him to ask which food item I wanted so it took me a few seconds to give an answer.  Fortunately, a line of people was forming behind me so I had an excuse to move on to the next stand.
Arg, move away! You're invading my personal space!
Another weird interaction was during the time we visited the work site.  One of the young native men (age 23) was eyeing me before getting closer to chat about non-work stuff.  Like the previous person, he also asked some oddly insensitive questions but I was able to steer the conversation to other topics.  He was also standing too close but I passed that off as cultural difference.  Although some themes were harder to get across due to language barriers, I learned more about his hobbies (and age) than I intended to.  Fortunately, the Captain called me away to do actual work (even though it's actually outside my field) so I was able to escape.  For the rest of that afternoon, I did not stray too far from the party.

All the other natives were nice and normal.  One gave out candy at the entrance of the work site while another went somewhere just to fetch me bottled water.  I accepted but did not eat the candy though as a coworker advised against eating it.  I gave the water away to the Captain as I originally looked for it for him.  Somehow, I doubt these other people had as good a command of my spoken language as they were older and did not make an attempt to speak anything other than their own native language.

Back to the first base

I think her rank was a Lieutenant Colonel.  We also shook hands with a General later on.
After the inventory was checked, the Captain did not want to wait around until the construction was completed, so we traveled back to the first base.  The journey back was more bearable as it was only 20 miles.  I have to admit that the first base looked more hospitable during the daytime than nighttime.  The Captain met with some of the base officers to discuss important topics and we met up with the two party members that we had left behind more than a week ago.

Inventory check

I let the big strong man move the heavy boxes.
A few days later, our cargo arrived and we escorted the movers to a suitable staging area.  We unlocked the container, went inside and checked the equipment against the shipping list.  It was pretty hot inside the container and there were flies buzzing about since the staging area is right next to the waste pit mentioned in a previous entry.  Since  all the equipment were in smaller boxes and stacked, we had to move many things around and peek in many boxes.  Fortunately, the items were all accounted for and we locked the container when we left as there had been thefts in the past.

During the time that we were checking the inventory, we happened to be next to a building built and occupied by the natives.  Unlike our clean and professional buildings back home, this building appeared dilapidated yet it had an important function as a command center.  Of note was the condition of their restroom.  It was my first time visiting a native building and also my first time seeing a squat toilet.  I've never used one before and was not about to try it.

Exploring junkyard

Since the home for CATH2 wasn't near completion yet, we visited the area and in particular a very large junkyard where the soldiers towed all the ruined and smashed war machines.  Mostly because of the novelty of the place, we walked around and admired the wrecks.  For some reason, the soldiers seemed to like writing graffiti on the junk such as a bulls-eye with the words "Shoot here".  The Captain actually went inside one of the wrecks but I didn't even want to touch them for fear of getting tetanus from all the exposed sharp metal.  A coworker search around and found some metal rods which he felt may be useful later on.  In the future, some enterprising business might savage the raw material from all the accumulated junk.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CATH2

I had stomach issues that could be due to multiple factors.
Eventually, we managed to catch a ride to the third base on our travel plan.  It was not a comfortable ride and CATH2 was still asleep while her home was being constructed.  Still, we checked out how her future home would look like.  At this point, I have to mention that her home is in an incredibly dirty place, a literal hole filled with human waste that had to be drained and plugged with concrete.  We could smell the waste even before we arrived.  It did not help that I was feeling weak from the ride and had lunch immediately before visiting the site.  Plus, the water in this base was non-potable and we had to rely on bottled water for anything that might touch our mouths.

The Ziggurat

I read that the name of this place meant "house whose foundation creates terror"
Since CATH1's test was over, I was free to move around a bit until the next departure time.  While the Captain was off meeting with the officers regarding transportation issues, my coworker and I saw the Ziggurat.  The Ziggurat was a massive terraced step pyramid.  We couldn't get very close to it though as the soldiers no longer had time to give tours of it.

My coworker also pointed out to me the many seashells embedded into the ground.  This implied that this barren land used to be covered with water.  Although the shells were small, they were numerous and I collected a handful of them before I got tired of shifting the dirt with my hands.

I saw a giant spider too but didn't dare get close enough to get a detailed view of it.  It also made digging around in the dirt for mere seashell that much more uncomfortable.

CATH1 System Acceptance Test

Now do what I do but not what I say.
Finally, after a few days of tinkering and replacing robotic parts, CATH1 was ready to be formally tested.  There was a script to be followed and the idea was that CATH1 would follow our directions.  Since CATH1 was operating in the real world rather than the factory controlled environment where she was built, there were many unpredictable factors to consider.  One of the major factors was the unavailability of controlled test targets.

Our original plan was to release specific monsters with specific parameters and have them behave while CATH1 hashed them.  However, real monsters aren't obedient like that.  Therefore, we looked around the area and seized upon a few targets of opportunity to test CATH1's performance.  I doubt those monsters knew what hit them but their screams must have attracted the attention of other monsters as a few of them went by us to see what was going on.

Fortunately, CATH1's performance went well and she passed her tests.  She was left operating on her own and my team went to take care of other business.

CATH system 1

Making adjustments
Continuing from yesterday, we spent the night in the tent at the first base and on the next morning, 3 of us traveled to the second base to view the CATH1 system.  The ride there was relatively uneventful until we were near our destination, at which point the pilot did some crazy moves that was part of standard procedures.  The second base was located in the middle of a desert, a barren wasteland devoid with not a drop of water in sight.  After we arrived, we immediately headed to the CATH1 location to meet the engineers working on the system.

Over the next few days, adjustments were made to the system until it was ready to be formally tested.  I sat with the engineers during those days to verify that the issues were corrected.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First base

Our Captain greeted one of the officers who came to pick us up.  I think the person was ranked a Major.
The next afternoon our party checked out of the hotel and departed on a relatively short evening voyage to our first work site.  Since it was very late at night when we arrived, we were picked up by our host and rode to the billeting office where we were fortunate enough to be assigned a single tent for our entire party.  Living in a tent, especially with other people was something that I have never done before.  Since the tent and the beds were heavily used by transients like us, the mattresses were worn and there were holes in the tent floor such that dirt was visible.  Later on, I discovered that there were at least 2 large rats running around in the various folds of the tent.

In any case, it was late and I didn't have time to explore the surroundings as our party was to be split and I was to travel with 2 others early next morning.  The night passed uneventfully and I made use of a sleeping bag the first time in my adult life since I did not want to come in direct contact with the issued linens.

Fancy hotel

Coworkers liked to mess around.
The voyage from the departure point to our first destination took a whole day (trip time + time adjustment).  It was quite tiring to be crammed into such a small space with little walking room for such a long period of time.  Fortunately, our planner accounted for this as we made reservations to stay one night at a hotel upon arrival to rest up.  This hotel was the most expensive hotel that I have ever stayed at.  Even at the discounted business rate, it was at least 3 times more expensive than the fanciest hotel that previously I stayed at (5 times if compared to budget places).

The hotel had a gorgeous pool and the sea was visible right outside the pool.  The staff was friendly and spoke several languages to accommodate the guests.  There was even a person serving dates in the lobby.  However, security was very tight and all guests had to go through a metal detector and have their bags scanned.  We were technically not supposed to wander outside alone either.  Since the rest of the party was tired and spent the rest of the time resting, I did not to get examine what was outside of the hotel complex.

Start

Brunie plays the part of escorting us through the various dangers lurking in the snow.
My real life adventure started on the last day of October.  There was a heavy snow storm the weekend before and many trees had fallen, blocking roadways and causing other issues.  I was worried that we wouldn't be able to make it to the departure point or that the departure point was closed due to the ice.  Fortunately, there was no snow on the day of departure and I was able to make it to the home base without any issues.  From the base, I waited for my coworker and together, we were escorted to the departure point where we met our 3 other traveling companions.

Real Life activities

I was away for most of November on an interesting business trip that could potentially be described as once-in-a-lifetime (especially since I'm not sure if I will be able to go again).  Of course, there are some interesting stories on this trip and I am trying to think of a good way of telling it using the game characters.  So far, I've made a rough draft of the potential characters for the stories but the place settings is still a challenge.
I'll have myself be represented by Asoka with the reasoning being one of the very few people of Far East ancestry.   Since we're so rare in that land, some of the natives were quite eager to ask me questions.
I'll have Captain Adelina Esperanza represent the head of our little party, especially since I actually do call this person "Captain".  This person is active in the military and that is their rank.
Gertrude represents one of my coworkers.  I chose him as they are both giant muscular men who have significant martial arts skills.
Grace represents another coworker.  I chose her as they are both  retired special forces agents who are very good with rifles and other firearms.
Claude represents the last coworker in our party.  I chose Claude because they both have a huge girths and there are not many characters that large.
The 2 Catherine robots represent the 2 system we were involved with.  Maybe I'll refer to them as CATH1 and CATH2 where CATH stands for Completely Autonomous Traveling Humanoid.
Alejandro represents the main caretaker for CATH1 and CATH2 and he is chosen because of his similar large girth.  Soso represents his helper and she was chosen because she was the only other person of Far East ancestry that I saw on the entire trip.  Plus, they both have good hand to hand fighting skills.