Creations Beautiful and Wondrous
|Creations Beautiful and Wondrous|
|Dates run:||June 17-19, 2008|
|Read the logs:||Creations Beautiful and Wondrous|
"Take us where you dropped them off. If you lie about it, the dog eats you."
Nathan and Angelo literally experience heaven when they run afoul of a mutant during an Elpis trip to Kyrgyzstan, leaving the rest of the team to perform a rescue.
Nathan invites Angelo, Monet, Jane, Rahne, Yvette and Dom along on an Elpis research trip to Kyrgyzstan. They end up travelling to some of the more rural, economically depressed areas of the country, including Mailuu-Suu, a former mining town in the Jalal-Abad province. The town has, as a result of Soviet uranium mining and poor waste disposal, multiple radioactive waste dumps in and around it, most of which are now decaying, meaning the background radiation levels are far higher than considered safe. It is considered one of the 30 most polluted cities in the world. Many of the locals now eke out a living scavenging scrap metal from the tailings of an old light-bulb factory, sifting through broken glass to find light bulb filaments.
Cancer and radiation issues are endemic. Locals believe that vodka and milk will protect you from radiation poisoning. Kyrgyzstan's economy is shaky, at best and large parts of the country run on a "kiosk" economy basis. Health services are based on the remains of the Soviet system. There's little enough as it is, and even less in areas like Mailuu-Suu, where they're simply waiting for the town to die. Radiation poses particular problems for mutants, as some mutants' physiology is simply unable to deal with it at all and cancers often present atypically in mutant subjects. The south-western part of Kyrgyzstan has a younger population than average, in a country that already has a high proportion of young people. The exodus of Mailuu-Suu'seducated and wealthier population has left an emerging population of teenaged and young adult mutants even less able to access support services than they would be otherwise. Elpis propose a fact finding mission that will then hopefully set up further health services in the area. The groundwork has already been done by the locals, now all that remains is compiling their reports and adding in first hand observations.
Once in Mailuu-Suu, they begin to come across mentions of a cult focused around a young man called Jyrgal. (The name appears to mean "happiness" in Kyrgyz.) The cult's devotees have even poorer health than is standard in the area, all displaying malnutrition, dehydration and poor muscle tone. It's a minor issue to the Kyrgyz authorities when so much else is wrong in the town. The cult itself is under the radar - it's simply its devotees that have been noticed.
Nathan decides to investigate the cult and is followed by Angelo. When they fail to return, Dom in particular, is worried about this. Experience has taught her that Nathan calls in when he's busy. Just in case. They leave it overnight, hoping they're simply late before opening up a search. When Nathan and Angelo don't come back the next morning, they call the mansion, to let them know that there's a potential problem, but that they should hold off on sending in the cavalry for 24 hours, as it might not be something serious but this way they've got help coming if it is needed. They set off to look for Nathan and Angelo and Domino decides that the safest place to keep Yvette is right next to the luckiest woman in the world.
It becomes apparent that Jyrgal is a young mutant whose power has left him trapped inside a paradise of his own making. He's utterly helpless, unable to even feed himself and unaware of the world, spending the better part of every 72 hours in heaven, before sleeping it off and starting again. Jyrgal's power, however, also traps everyone within a certain range in their own versions of heaven for as long as he's cycling. They become trapped as he goes back into his heaven fantasy and come out as he does. Anyone who arrives after he goes up isn't caught, but may be effected by the emotions in the room, if they have some form of telepathy based power. They're free on his down sleep cycle before being caught up again. Nathan and Angelo were rather unlucky and arrived as Jyrgal began his up cycle, and became trapped. Ultimately, almost everyone trapped in Jyrgal's powers doesn't want to leave. After all, they're in heaven.
It takes the gang well over another day to find the cult's headquarters. It's surrounded by armed thugs, who protect the believers. They storm in and rescue Nathan and Angelo and manage to arrange to have Jyrgal sent to a nice shielded room at Muir Island Research Facility. Ultimately, it's slightly anti-climatic. While they do manage to find and rescue Nathan and Angelo, the worst that was really likely to happen to them was the potential for them to remain unconscious for a few days and wake up minus all their valuables. From the moment they were confirmed missing, they (logically and sensibly) work under the assumption that they're in some danger and that leaving anyone behind in a "safe" location would be more dangerous - the only one of them with field experience is Dom. Dom does, however, get read the riot act from Nathan once he's back, for taking Yvette with them, even though it was logically the safest place for her.
Trivia and Meta
Angelo especially had trouble reconciling himself to losing the dream world.
The concept for this plot came from the Red Dwarf episode "Better Than Life", in which the characters were caught up in a simulation of their perfect lives.