Broadhead Journal #8: "Three down, one to go. How much worse could it get? This last one is habitable at least. And I’m not the first one to end up here, either, although from the look of his ship, the other guy might have met a messy end. I’d better keep my eyes open as I look for the shield generator."
Before I go to the last shield generator planet, I decide to follow up on the repairman's clue about someone doing something interesting at midnight on Level Babe. There's not much there, just an east-west corridor with blue Heechee metal at both ends. One end also has a large shipping crate that I can hide inside, so I hide and wait until the appropriate time.
A scientist named Gordon Perry appears and hits an artifact on the Heechee wall, making a pure tone. Sounds like another tuning fork! He puts the artifact into the blister and then does something I can't see from the crate that causes a portal in the wall to form. As he passes through, he conveniently drops a slip of paper. I run out and get it  and then hide again until he passes through again and disappears down the corridor. The paper contains a five-digit numerical code.
|You can't tell in this picture that I'm hiding inside a crate.|
|Out of the crate and duplicating what Perry did.|
|Anyone getting vertigo from this illustration?|
|Rolf seems like a friendly guy.|
|That's a lot of techno-babble, so I know some of it's going to be important.|
|A garden in the desert...|
|Good thing I didn't touch the cactus near the wreck.|
North of the mountain trailhead is a bleak meadow with one elm tree that has a long limb overhanging the chasm. I can see the glint across the chasm again from here. I think I'll need a rope or something. I keep going north from the meadow and reach a cliff trailhead. The cairn here points northeast .
|Looks like the pterodactyl is guarding the bridge.|
|We're going to see a lot of Rolf's house.|
I can ask Rolf about a lot of interesting things. When I ask him about his pet, he tells me he feeds it the jubifruitus leaves sometimes as a treat. So I should be able to stuff the poor thing silly to get it out of the way later.
Rolf also has the lens cover for the shield controls, but he won't give it to me unless I find him some vermaculite, a purple mineral he mined from the mountains that makes his pots stronger. He also wants me to find his cane that he dropped in the chasm. He built a raft to travel down the river, but it doesn't float.
|Jamming with Rolf and his bird.|
|If you cut the tree down instead of using the rope, Rolf is upset.|
When I go back to Rolf and ask him about his wife Adriana, he admits he misses her, and asks if I'm wondering if he'll be coming back with me to Gateway. I say yes, and he says I greeted him properly, I didn't harm his pterodactyl, I got my lens without harming the tree, I let him read my magazine, and I jammed with him. He's keeping a close eye on what I'm doing, apparently.
So he's leaning toward coming back with me because I've been solving puzzles the non-violent way and being nice to him. It's possible to do things like shoot the pterodactyl instead of driving it away with the whistle, or cut the elm tree down instead of using the rope, which lowers his opinion of you.
|It takes an awful lot for Rolf to hate you enough to want to stay instead of being rescued, if this isn't enough.|
|Rolf is strangely oblivious to the second mendobrillium bush right in front of him...|
When I give the ore to Rolf, he tells me to meet me in the garden so he can verify it. I can take this opportunity to read his journal, just in case there's something useful there. He wouldn't like it, and in fact if you try to touch it when he’s there, he’ll ask you very seriously not to read it. But the fate of humanity may be at stake!
|Probably this incident is most of why he didn't want me to read the journal. Or maybe it was the poetry.|
|Rolf's got standards.|
|He's a pretty handy guy if he made his own raft. Even if it leaks.|
|Bailing for dear life!|
|This place is only accessible by taking the raft trip.|
So now I've got the lens and the lens cover, I've helped Rolf with getting his cane back, and I have leads on two actuator cores, which means one is an alternate solution. I suspect I know which one is better. Let's see what happens if I go dig up that actuator core he buried. The journal said it was west of the trailhead leading to the crash site, which turns out to mean the river trailhead, which is west of the mountain trailhead.
So that's not so good. It's better to get the cell from the crash site. Because I haven't done anything else he doesn't like, he still calls me friend and would go back to Gateway with me, but it isn't ideal.
So next time we'll get the final shield generator activated.
I was unable to cause a death from the killer cactus, unfortunately.
|If you kill Rolf but not the pterodactyl, it kills you. [#11]|
|If you sleep outside, a carnivore attacks. [#12]|
|If you fail to bail while on the raft trip, you and Rolf both drown. [#13]|
|If you are deliberately stupid, you can “jump to gruesome death.” [#14]|
Status: Orion Program (green badge)
Shield Generators: 3 of 4
Session Time: 2.5 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
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