(Episode 6.3.b Mission Assist HUD)

>Urbs of Stabiae, August 79 CE<

In each of the three other corners of the forum you now notice a loose stone; when you turn the stones over, each has an inscription.


I. invēnimus Lapidem in Aegyptō. Cleopātrae patrēs Lapidem dēdērunt, et rēgīnam dēlectat.

II. Lapidemne quaeritis? nōn habētis sīgnum, et nōn in cellam intrātis. sōlum sīgnātī in cellam intrant. vōs interficimus, vōs sine sīgnō.

III. habitāmus nunc in Aegyptō, sub terrā. vēnimus in Alexandrīam, et invēnimus cavum antīquum. in locō Lapidem antīquī pōsuērunt, et nunc servāmus potentiam in Lapide.


Suddenly you hear a familiar voice behind you, and the strange disclocation thing happens in your guts again.


“num cessātis? bene. locus perit. sīgnumne dēsīderābātis? nōnne satis fēcistis? debētis Sinistrum invenīre in Britanniā.”


Operatives, Mission Control reports that error-state 1298B has returned, and that it is now much more destabilizing. Mission Control cannot see you on our tracking tool, but we also cannot extract you at this time. We are reasonably sure that if your Recentius should die in the eruption, we can resurrect him or her. Please stand by.


Suddenly a middle-aged man (with a pillow tied to his head) is coming towards you through the smoke and fumes.


“quid facitis, stultissimī?” clāmat vir. “venīte mēcum!”


You follow him from the forum down to the shore. Pieces of pumice are raining down on your heads, and you wish you had a pillow, too. The man in the pillow looks back at you and taps his head to indicate that he’s smarter than the average aristocrat.


The smell of sulphur is overwhelming. On the shore, you see that a massive sheet has been laid out, and to this sheet pillow-man leads you. There are others there, also wearing pillows, and they hand you the last few pillows, and you all sit down on the sheet, though it’s a bit hard to see the point of it.


Pillow-man is having a great deal of trouble breathing, but he clearly wants to tell you something important. “Societās. . . P--pote. . . Potentium. . .”


You’re interested now, of course.


“. . . mē dēlūsit. . . . vēnī dē Mīsēnō. Lapidem. . .”


You resist the urge to shake pillow-man and say something like “nolī morī prō mē, senex!”


“Lapidem. . .”


The urge is growing again now, though.


“Lapidem. . . ad Aegyptum. . .”


ille nōn movet.


Prompt: Stand by.