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Look at the gold all on my chest [Maddyn]

Timestamp
Spring, Era XXVII Post Fractum
Location
Moonstone
Content Warnings
General Sliucha Warning - See Signature
It wasn't really the most elegant solution, but again, it was something, right? Sawdust! Definitely seemed like the simplest way of going about it. It's very nature as fine particulate matter meant that it was more easily poured into spaces where the Black Fog might be lurking, after all. Admittedly, even if sawdust was 'cleaner' than some of the other potential solutions to be found, it did feel a little limited in scope. Sliucha wasn't entirely sure how well this would have gone over with the situation with the wells around Zenith and Nadir.

Just pour sawdust into the water and hope for the best? But then again, 'flushing' the wells had worked well enough there, so perhaps it wasn't a problem.

It was nevertheless interesting to think of the Black Fog in this way. It was like fire, where you could try to just smother the fire to put it out. That was the same sort of approach they were going with in terms of the Black Fog, smothering it in enough material that it was 'consumed' and rendered inert.

However there was admittedly still something of a problem for Sliucha to tackle. How, uh... how to incorporate any of this into Gigan's operation? And it was something that she'd have to go back to the golem for. In what situations was the golem running into the Black Fog, exactly? Was it typically that Gigan broke into a cavern area underground that was full of the Black Fog? Or was the Black Fog just seeping out of the surrounding earth as the golem drilled away?
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Sawdust! Which given how expensive and rare wood was within the Arakmatian Desert? It too was a price that really was dear - but also, when the results were a safer, more reliable source of water? It was almost as if life was working through checks and balances with Sliucha as to just why the northern areas of Moonstone had suffered more over the same timeframe than say, the Third District and towards the south.

To the south, there’d been so much organic material that outside the Zinn Sunn ruins? Most of the Black Fog had long since abated and in the decade thereafter, recovered.

To the north though? Sand and sand and a whole lot more sand made for a far slower recovery when there was less organic material to neutralise the problem at hand.

When it came to Gigan’s operations? It was largely a case of the slow seeping of the fog meant that Gigan’s tunnels and mining shafts went down lower than the Black Fog had managed to descend. This in turn meant that there was a significant number of shafts that the Golem had unearthed that were simply unusable in the moment. Future operations for sure, but at the moment? Too much Black Fog for people to move in and start with the pickaxes and such.
 
So it seemed like it was more a matter of unearthing big pockets (shafts/caverns) of Black Fog as opposed to minute quantities slowly building up around Gigan. All right, good to know.

Say, then, that they had their sawdust solution. How to actually deploy it en masse to neutralize the Black Fog? Miners couldn't move in, and it wasn't ideal for Gigan to be operating in those situations, either.

And none of this really brought Sliucha closer, she felt, to an oil that was resistant against the stuff. A baseline solution against the Black Fog in general was good, but it wasn't strictly what she'd been trying to do to help out the golem, either. Then again, perhaps that was for the better. The initial feel for a resistant oil had been more "allowing Gigan to operate even in Black Fog conditions" but obviously it was probably preferable to completely clear out the Black Fog so the surrounding, very organic, very fleshy, very mortal people working the mining infrastructure could actually do their jobs?

So Sliucha was reimagining the process. There was a potential ding to production there, but if a pocket of Black Fog was discovered, then countermeasures should be taken to mop it up before mining continued, right? That made sense? And Gigan, being the mostly inorganic golem that he was, should be front and center in helping with that. So... well, it'd still probably be preferable to have an oil that was at least somewhat capable of standing up to the Black Fog in those instances, if he was going to be operating in its proximity, huh...

Man, this was tough!

But, okay, this could be figured out. Just have it so that there were always supplies of sawdust and other organic materials on hand, and if Gigan ever ran into Black Fog, the golem's task was prioritized to carrying over the organic materials and launching them into the Black Fog to 'clear it out', essentially. Seemed simple enough, right?

And ideally, Sliucha figured out a way to make the oil - the one organic piece of Gigan - as resistant as possible to the Black Fog to allow the golem to relatively easily work within the Black Fog's presence.

First and foremost, though, she'd decide to put that new policy to the test. She'd approach the miners and Gigan and explain the reasoning behind the new process and ask if they wouldn't be willing to try it out and for Sliucha to monitor the results. Sure, it worked in a test environment, but how viable was it in actuality?
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Informed, for all that the means by which of finding a solution to Sliucha’s problems and that of Moonstone as a whole were not so much multiplying as they were changing in how the challenge might yet be approached. Brute forcing things after all was viable, even if quite expensive to achieve and it wasn’t as if the areas beneath Lauryl, Arakmat and what was now Moonstone were even easy to access outside Gigan’s own mining operations and the wells that sunk into the water table.

Without a ‘Nightlands’ to access and collect all of the Black Fog, as Arium had ended up unwittingly doing in much of its north.

Fashioning a process that was a little more productive than the more, identify, then ‘wait and see’ and letting the Black Fog submerge (eventually!) before the various miners actually moved in. Which had its own problem in that it was difficult to know in advance exactly how much organic material was required to clear out all of the Black Fog when unable to accurately gauge the extent of how much existed within the mining shafts. Too much organic material then meant that the excess needed removing - but too little was all kinds of problematic with leaving the noxious substance within the shafts too.

New process? Willing to give it a whirl! Just, the miners especially were very, very cautious of entering a mine shaft that might still contain the Black Fog. Much the same fears that led towards the canaries being used to determine if they’d ended up opening a shaft that contained a lot of gas that could be flammable.

The substance that potentially lurked within the mines might have changed, but fundamentally, the process wasn’t all that different from the past hazards of delving into the earth in search of riches.
 
Right! The procedure was definitely that, upon discovery of the Black Fog? All of the miners would be informed and clear out of the area.

Then, Gigan hauls the organic material in until Black Fog levels had receded.

That way, they were leaning on the golem's inorganic nature to allow Gigan to handle the situation most safely, yeah? If there were any such incidents, Sliucha wanted them reported and sent to her so that appropriate oil maintenance could also be provided to the golem. Better safe than sorry!

With that procedure in place? As a matter of curiosity, she'd run tests on the oils previously developed. Were any of them innately 'better' against the Black Fog? Or did all of them seem to be the same?
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Nightlands or no, Black Fog or no, sifting through the earth in search of precious metals and gems had always been dangerous work. That there was just one more problem to be found within the darkness below the world? Oh well! Just so long as Sliucha had some token safety measures in place, and they weren’t being actively suicidal in the search for wealth then it was business as usual.

It wasn’t safe, but most professions had their hazards and Sliucha had founded a hospital for a reason. The only real difference was that she was dealing with a source of potential harm that didn’t have a magical solution that could be brute forced into play.

Gigan at least was more or less unscathed by the Black Fog even if it couldn’t handle its oil sources being purged for too long. But the improved oils that Sliucha had manufactured and identified at least meant that Gigan could now be powered up and down and given more impromptu maintenance that much easier for it.

When it came to what was best for Black Fog? Dwarves hand down. It, when subjected to rigorous tests? Didn’t actually appear to be organic at all. Or if so, was so resistant that Sliucha couldn’t find a difference. It might not have been the best for operations when compared to the other options - but it was situationally - hands down superior for delving into Black Fog afflicted territories.
 
Huh.

Sliucha felt like it was too much of a hassle to be hotswapping oil types whenever Gigan encountered a pocket of Black Fog, though. And the loss in overall productivity from a wholesale switch didn't feel worth it - if anything, it almost felt like it'd offend the golem, for all that Gigan wasn't supposed to have feelings. (But it was still a little mean, surely.)

Could Sliucha perhaps just... improve the dwarven formula? Try to get it to the point where it at least met the baseline that was what the Builder had originally provided? Or, having already done a bit of work, get a version that was even more superior? Then she'd have gotten the best of both worlds - a way to get rid of the Black Fog (if rather brute-forced) as well as an oil that was quite hardy against its effects, allowing Gigan to more capably handle dealing with it, thus minimizing the risk to the miners.

So, while the new system was put into place for now? Sliucha was already working on improvements.

Which was really kind of a pain in the ass. All of Sliucha's previous work was based off of the oil that came out of Port Alyxandrya - at least in terms of quality, that's what produced the best oil. Whereas the dwarven oil was the one that had the key of being capable against the Black Fog. Oi.

Time to start with the simplest approach, then. Just mix the two at differing ratios and see if any of the results produced a superior blend!
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Work to be done! Every answer yielded a different path really in Sliucha’s approach as she sought to find the right point of balance for both her own operations and how they fit in with Moonstone as a whole. Manipulating the oil from the Dwarflands was… well, it was crude at best - unrefined compared to the oil obtained from near Port Alyxandrya.

Mix and match!

Which… well, the two oils really didn’t like to be mixed. The oil from the Dwarflands being the more dense of the two and when combined? It looked quite a lot like the various alcoholic drinks available at some of Sliucha’s enterprises that were purposefully designed to be layered. The ‘pousse-café’ styled cocktails where the different viscosity of the liquids was a feature rather than a hindrance.

Shaking, lots and lots and lots of shaking required to blend the two oils and even then, they tried to come apart again when left to rest for too long. Sliucha had about a week’s worth of the blend being viable before it separated too much and needed a thorough shake all over again.

End product? Not immune to the Black Fog, but heavily resistant while having a rather impressive threshold for heat resistance.
 
What they had on hand was certainly something! It was like having the solution they needed just perfectly out of reach, though. Just a little bit more and they could grasp it...!

But the fact that it began to separate out within a week or so really was the kicker. Granted, there was the fair question of whether or not Gigan could do anything to solve that... was there some way that the golem could just self-cycle or self-maintain the oil? Blend it within its body, or something like that? Or did they really just need to increase the maintenance cycles if they wanted to use this solution?

Surely there was a way to just bind the two oils correctly. Something to stabilize the mixture. In the same way that you could get oil and water to mix, with the right material present. Find some materials that particularly loved the greasy oil and see about introducing it into the mixture to help 'cement' the two together. Hopefully, of course, without winding up reducing the effectiveness of the mixture too much.

Perhaps other varieties of organic or mineral oil could be introduced, that might be able to help mix the two together and stabilize it for longer? Sliucha'd give it a shot.
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Back to basics! Where, one poisoning with Holy Water incident aside - Sliucha had been shown a few variables that while not strictly necessary to the Witchcraft process were recommended when working with something more complicated. Namely, making the Oils mix was evidently going to need some kind of Binding Agent to ensure that the mix didn’t come apart within the week or require someone on hand to reapply said oil weekly and go through all the bits and pieces to ensure Gigan was indeed operating smoothly.

The Golem’s maintenance logs were doing well between Sliucha and Mr. Scales, but the newfound mixture as was was going to severely cut into their time if not careful.

As was though, Gigan didn’t really have any means of dealing with that kind of work internally and really did need outside assistance.

Mix and match in the meantime, trying to find something that might work and that too wasn’t going to end up introducing even more organic material that would up the risk factor of the Black Fog eating away at the concoction. It took time, but eventually? Rose Quartz ground down into an extremely fine powder looked to be what was needed to stabilise the two oils into a single compound.
 
Mix and match, mix and match.

How about this? How about that?

Keep a list of what she'd tried. If she couldn't find what she wanted among the more common varieties available, she'd have to go back to the drawing board and perhaps think about blends of the common materials. Sliucha really would have preferred not to have to delve into the rarer varieties of material, obviously just because it'd be a pain in the butt to get her hands on them in order to continue Gigan's maintenance...

...but aha! Rose quartz worked a treat!

And with it, she had her stable oil blend. Heat-resistant, debris-resistant, Black Fog-resistant. It would be provided to Gigan for analysis - at the end of the day, did the golem deem the oil... acceptable?
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Rose Quartz!

Oh, sure, there was doubtless now going to be other issues. Namely, Sliucha had a good supply of Rose Quartz from the mines - but then that too tended to attract the lewd attentions of the two Earth Elementals (and their increasingly exhausted ‘Keeper’).

Gigan? Finding it to be a most acceptable alternative oil once a diagnostics was run. Improvement over the standard oil, resistant to the Black Fog and while a little challenging for initial start up? Once completed operations were much smoother over all.
 
Surely as long as they were careful about the amount of rose quartz being used, and/or made sure to keep some leftover, it wouldn't be a problem? Plus, of course, they could perhaps satiate the Earth Elementals with the discovery of the other kind of mineral they'd been asking about...

Whatever the case, though, they had their solution! A means to rid themselves of the Black Fog as opposed to simply trying to flush it away, and a resistance in the oil that powered Gigan to help the otherwise inorganic golem be the lynchpin of the plan to do so. This way, they could keep the actual miners out of the way of things, and leave the brunt of the work to Gigan, who wasn't affected by the Black Fog.

As for the oil's challenges in initial start up? Well, again, it wasn't as if they'd turned Gigan off yet, so...

Of course, this did mean that Sliucha needed to import oil from elsewhere, as opposed to just making her own homebrew. So, she'd see about setting up a supply route and getting that stuff brought over. Hopefully it wouldn't eat too much into the profits generated by Gigan's mining operation!
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
With any luck, Sliucha wasn’t accidentally incorporating some of the ‘spirits’ of the Rose Quartz into the oil concoction for said Earth Elementals to become enamoured with. But assuredly, one way or the other, Sliucha would find out given the likelihood of trouble soon following the lewd Elemental Spirits.

Solution though! And potentially a different sort of Damage Control that at least trended to being more conventional for an Alithean to solve.

Import from the Dwarflands? Expensive, but at least shipping wasn’t going to be too bad given the neighbouring Province and logistics being entirely workable. Price? Little bit costly mostly due to coming from the Dwarfen King’s territories and excises upon trades with the surface were… unpleasant. Almost half of the cost was in taxes along as if the King was desperate for any and all income he could get his hands upon - or making a point that the surface didn’t deserve goods of such obvious high quality make.
 
...ouch!

But, Sliucha felt like there wasn't much choice but to make it work. The relationship with the dwarves just wasn't really there, Sliucha felt, to try and get something better out of the deal. (Sorry, singular dwarf that was rescued that one time, but Sliucha rather doubted that the influence would run deep enough to sway the dwarven king of all things. Sliucha didn't even want to think about the politics that might be involved.)

But, well... all right! It seemed like they had things nice and set up for the foreseeable future!
 
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