Fort Weyr - Forgotten Storage Room

A stone archway, high above any person's head, is the first indication that this room is not your usual room. Behind the door, the cavern stretches out, and the floor is covered in small boxes, endless stacks of them. Inside the boxes are a multitude of small glass containers of various shapes and sizes, and apparently different uses, as well. Each one is carefully wrapped in soft wherhide and cushioned with dried leaves, and the boxes themselves are stacked in a way that it would take considerable effort to knock them over. A large coating of dust is evident on every surface, showing that this place hasn't seen a visitor in some time.

It's not long after the evening meal, and Marika is standing at the entrance to the storage cavern, momentarily alone. The other guard on duty is wandering around inside the cavern, muttering to himself. Finally, he returns to the door, giving Marika a slightly apologetic look. "Thought you were crazy, but I heard it too just now." the older guard mutters, shaking his head. "Should've reported it then." he says, with a slow shake of his head. Marika looks a little sheepish, and tries not to look like she's waiting for someone, though while the other guard was in the cavern she was peering down the corridor an awful lot, as if looking for someone. "I ran into Wingleader B'ky, sir… he knows, at least." she says, peering down the tunnels once more.

The soft tapping of footsteps echoes down the corridor, quietly announcing the arrival of said wingleader B'ky, the man's left arm still in a sling, his attire pale grey tunic and pants instead of his usual colorful leathers. Hair bound back in a runnertail, he'd left that midnight-hued lock to hang down one side of his face, the dyed strands swinging freely as he moves. Tucked under his unbound arm is a clipboard, suggesting he's stll working despite technically being on leave. The man just doesn't know how to take a vacation, does he? Well, he is heading to the storage cavern on business, slowing as he reaches the entrance and inclining his head to the guards on duty. "Hello," he greets them with a slight smile, gaze drifting over he crates and packages stacked nearby, "I've some time free this evening, and was wondering if there's been anything of note in here, recently." He may have caught the tail end of their conversation, for it's to Marika he glances then, head tilting to the side just slightly, "You said you'd heard.. skittering sounds the last time we spoke?"

Marika does not seem at all surprised to see B'ky, but the other guard was not quite expecting that. He falls silent, and steps back to his post, standing at attention, all but saluting the rider. Marika gives the wingleader a polite "Sir" by way of greeting, then nods. "Yes, sir. Skittering. He just heard them too, sir." she adds, nodding her head at the other guard, who would appear to outrank Marika somewhat. "Just now, in fact." she adds, glancing over her shoulder to the cavern. "It's probably nothing serious, sir, but if you need a hand checking things out, sir?" she offers. The other guard remains silent, though he does shoot Marika a /look/, for her eagerness to desert her post.

B'ky nods to the higher ranked guard, lips pressing together when he's told the sounds had just been heard, though the wingleader's attention is mostly on Marika. There's a 'hrmm' as he turns somewhat to survey the cavern, asking the guardswoman, "How long have these noises been going on?" His voice is soft, perhaps unneccesarily so, as if he were hoping only to be heard by the two guards. Though who else might be listening, is anyone's guess, really. "Mm, I could use a hand checking the boxes," he nods slightly to her, "if you've the time now?" There's a brief, very faint browraise at the other guard, B'ky pausing as he catches that /look/ being sent at Marika. "Ah, if it isn't too much trouble?" he adds quietly, glancing between the other two.

The other guard may outrank Marika, but he doesn't outrank B'ky. "Of course, sir." he says, albeit grudgingly. Marika looks a little sheepish, but nods. "I… I can help, sir. So long as it won't be long, sir." Though likely she's only saying that for the guard's benefit, given her fondness for procrastinating. That sorted, at least to Marika's satisfaction, the young guard frowns slightly, turning to the cavern. "Few nights… Don't hear them during the day, but doesn't mean they're not there, I suppose. There's just… more general Weyr noise, if you know what I mean, sir?" Even the tunnels see some traffic during the day - the library isn't far from here, after all.

B'ky nods to the two guards and begins heading further into the storage cavern, steps slow as he pauses now and again to look closer at this crate or that package of goods. "It shouldn't take too long," he assures, giving Marika a slight smile before continuing on, "And there's been no one besides my wingriders and the cargo haulers?" His voice is still lowered, thin brows drawing together slightly, as if puzzling something out. "Mm, it's possible the noises could have been drowned out, I suppose. Although I imagine there might be another explanation. Given the boxes were tampered with.." his smile is thin, almost wry, "I wouldn't be surprised if there were another entry to this cavern. Something the weyrbrats may have found. The tampering might have been some sort of prank, considering what the crates contained, and that nothing was taken."

Marika follows B'ky into the cavern, the older guard grumpily remaining on duty. He may have allowed this, but odds are Marika will find herself in trouble sooner or later. She sort of stretches the boundaries a little too often. Not that she really seems to mind /too/ much. What's punishment? Laps of the bowl? Done and then over with. "No, sir, not a single other person, only wingriders and cargo haulers. I suppose there could be some other way in, sir," she's keeping a more open mind about that sort of thing since the library incident, "but why would they keep coming back?" she asks, frowning at the crates. "It doesn't make any sense."

"Mm, possibly a dare, or some kids testing their luck," his smile tilts slightly, the wingleader pausing some distance into the cavern, "I remember, when I was younger, the weyrbrats would challenge each other to various sorts of mischief. They'd get into all kinds of trouble over it." B'ky's chuckle is soft, the man gently shaking his head. Turning to glance back at Marika, he asks the guardswoman, "In which area were the noises? If we can locate them, I imagine, we might be able to find the passage, or whatever else might be causing it. I certainly hope it /is/ just weyrbrsts, and now ..something else." Though what else could it be? Crawlies?

Marika frowns slightly, and shakes her head. "Weyrbrats." she says, with slight emphasis on the 'brats'. "Still, I suppose weyrbrats would be preferable…" she agrees, looking about the cavern, brows knitting in concentration as she tries to pinpoint where she'd heard the noises come from the other night. "I think, over there, somewhere." she waves towards one of the rear corners of the cavern. That vague hand gesture covers quite a large area, really. "Could be something simple, though, sir. Maybe the Weyr's pipes run through behind that wall?" she suggests, though she seems to doubt that. "Didn't really sound like /weyrbrats/. Or people at all." she murmurs, frowning. So. Crawlies?

B'ky moves toward the area indicated, steps slow as he glances at the stacks of crates and various piled cargo that have been stored there, awaiting transport or transfer. "Mm, preferable, although if it turns out to be something else, we're still left with the problem of tampered cargo." His brow furrows somewhat, the man musing to himself, "Who would want to tamper with boxes of food and medical supplies..? There was nothing valuable in any of them." He steps between several stacks of crates, navigating the maze of boxes with relative ease, heading first for that far wall, steps slowing further as he reaches the corner. "Hmm, pipes? It's certainly possible. You said.. skittering?" glancing back over his shoulder again, "What sort of noise was it, exactly?" And he does pause, as if unsure he really wants to go on. "Not.. footsteps or something like the scuff off boots on stone?" he asks, gently scuffing a foot along the floor and side of a box as if to demonstrate.

Marika frowns, and shakes her head. "Uh, well, it sounded like skittering, sir. Definitely not footsteps, not unless…" she frowns, and furrows her brow. "…not unless they were really tiny. It… could have been tunnelsnakes, or crawlers, or some such thing, sir?" They'd certainly be interested in food, though possibly not medical supplies. "…they wouldn't require much of a tunnel to sneak in, due to their size…" Because she's /fairly/ sure there wouldn't be any larger tunnels in a storage cavern, that would just be poor design, wouldn't it? Or a very well-hidden tunnel. As if to demonstrate the sound, she places her hand on a crate, fingertips only touching the surface, and moves it along like a crawler, quickly tapping out a little almost skittering sort of sound. Not entirely accurate, naturally, but a better approximation than boots on stone.

B'ky ahs softly, nodding an, "I see.." and then chuckling, "Tiny feet, hm? I imagine it's likely not weyrbrats, then. I suppose I'll have to ask the headwoman to have someone sent to check for anything living down here." His brow creases faintly as his gaze drifts over nearby crates, "Mm, I certainly hope it isn't tunnelsnakes. Those are.. rather unpleasant. If not a small tunnel.. they might have been brought in unintentionally.. ah, possibly hitching a ride in the cargo itself. I've found a few…surprises here or there over the turns, things that have snuck into the cargo without anyone noticing." From his expression, they likely weren't at all pleasant sort of surprises. The wingleader tilts his head to listen as Marika makes tapping sounds on the crate, lips pursng with a, "Hmm.." the man moving closer to a few boxes, to set his clipboard down atop one of them as he comments, "Hopefully.. whatever is causing it, we might be able to find some clue," because he totally intends to take a look, at least, after coming all the way down here.

Marika gives B'ky a bit of a look, frowning slightly. "Things sneak in /in the cargo/, sir? That.. that does not sound good." she eyes the crates warily now, continuing to make her way to that general indicated area, the rear corner, though giving crates a wider berth now. "Do you think there could have been something in the crate with the cracked jar?" she asks, glancing back to that crate. "…maybe it got out when the inventory was checked?" she muses, "Or maybe the sound was coming from /inside/ a crate." The guard frowns, tilting her head oddly at a crate as she passes it, as if trying to listen for a skittering. "…that… that wouldn't be any better, though." Probably worse, actually. The tunnelsnake, or crawler, or whatever, would already be inside the crates, with the food.

Was that a scratching noise just there? Hmm, no, probably just the wind.

"Mm," B'ky nods, moving slowly around the crates, "It doesn't happen often, although.. when it does, it is something of a surprise, ah.. and can be rather unpleasant. Moreso if it's something large, though we've never found anything worse than a spinner." He pauses, head tilting to the side as he considers, "I believe it was a little smaller than my hand.." raising said hand, fingers spread in the air, before he reaches for a box, tracing the edge of it thoughtfully. "It's possible, although I'm uncertain what would have snuck into a crate of medical supplies," brow creasing faintly, "Perhaps.. something in the packages of dried herbs." He hmms softly, "I imagine.. if the sound has just been in this one area, there may be something stowed away in one of the crates." He steps back, glancing at Marika, "There are crowbars back against the wall there," indicating one rack with the tools, "Ah.. if you wouldn't mind helping me open a few crates t check?" Because B'ky certainly can't do it himself, what with that arm in a sling. His smile is thin, as he agrees, a note of wryness in his tone, "Mm, no, I suppose that wouldn't be any better.."

A skittering sound comes from nearby…

Marika seems a little surprised by something, but she quickly shakes her head, moving on. "Hmm, true, sir. I can't see many things being very interested in medical supplies." Though dried herbs might appeal to the creatures, whatever they are. When B'ky points out the crowbars, Marika nods. "Yes, sir." she says, jogging the short distance to grab a crowbar, and then heading back. "Just tell me which, sir, and I'll open them." she adds, eyeing the wingleader's sling a little guiltily a moment, before turning slightly, to frown at the crates. "Hopefully there's nothing to find, but…" she jumps, suddenly. "Did… did you hear that?" she asks, turning wide eyes on B'ky.

B'ky continues to step back from the nearest crates, steps slow, head tilting to the side as thin eyebrows draw even closer together. He glances at Marika when she returns with the crowbar, nodding somewhat, "Hmm.. perhaps this.." trailing off as he frowns, gaze flickering from one crate to another. There's a definite nod for Marika's question, the man holding a hand up for quiet for a moment, before he murmurs, "I think.. that one." And he steps carefully toward the crate, indicating it with his free hand, though he doesn't make to open it himself. "It's possible it's only something small," offering the guardswoman a slight smile, "I once opened a crate to discover a kitten had snuck in somehow. Luckily, I was able to return it to its owner." He's being a tad optimistic, perhaps..

"Why are there always /people/ in store rooms? They're for storing. Not for lingering, loitering, making out, or otherwise /fooling around/ in. But no, I always end up with other people in rooms with absurdly small amounts of space in them. How perfectly /predictable/." Suffice to say, K'shan isn't in a very good mood. So the rant that ensues upon his mere /hearing/ of voices coming from the store room, really only pales against the withering glare he has for the occupants. Occupants with crowbars. "What in the world are you doing? ..Kittens?" Wait, what?

Marika steps up to the indicated crate, and jams the crowbar in under the lid, though she doesn't start applying leverage just yet, instead raising an eyebrow at B'ky. "If it's a kitten, I will raise it myself." Assuming it doesn't have an owner. In a quieter voice though, she notes, "I bet it isn't a kitten, though." But it's definitely /something/. With a grunt, she leans down on the crowbar, and the crate lid creaks as she raises the edge of it. A little more effort and the lid comes completely off, and the young guard slides it to the ground, then steps back a bit, to allow B'ky to look in first. The contents aren't really any of her business, she's just here to open them. The older guard, at the door, seems to agree with K'shan's opinions on people and store rooms, but he still helpfully notes, "They're looking for the source of a noise, sir. Inspecting the crates to see if anything has been tampered with." And is he going to /stop/ the greenrider? Apparently not. Some guard he is! Though likely he'd intervene if B'ky was to give the order. He probably assumes that anyone entering while the wingleader is present also has the wingleader's permission.

A tunnelsnake! It lunges at the closest target, jaws wide.

B'ky steps back as Marika applies crowbar to crate, the man smiling slightly, "One can only hope it is something so pleasant.. although spinners are fairly easy to remove." He steps forward again, leaning a bit to peek inside, one hand reaching to shift aside the crate's contents.. "There doesn't seem to be-" But B'ky straightens almost immediately, shoulders tensing at the sound of an all too familiar voice - one he'd likely rather not be hearing just now. "We're not /fooling around/," he states somewhat stiffly, glancing over his shoulder in K'shan's direction, tone rather unamused, "And as I recall, you've had little problem spending time in them yourself." The greenie is suddenly not the only one in a less than pleasant mood. The wingleader closes his eyes, though, turning away from that glare. There might be a slight wince, too. Just letting his breath out through his nose, the bluerider says more evenly, "We're working." Well…they /are/. Pause. "Ah.. sometimes things stow away in the crates," the explanation at least not snapped out, B'ky quite forgetting his hand is still in that crate. Which is unfortunate. It's unlikely the bluerider could deny K'shan permission to enter anyway, not with the look on the greenie's face! Still, the guard at the entrance is given a sidelong look, just as /something/ clamps down on B'ky's fingers. There is a rather UNMANLY YELP. The wingleader draws his hand back swiftly - a little too swiftly - whatever was hanging on goes.. well.

Indeed. Evil, terrible looks from a proddy greenrider are not fun things. K'shan just snorts when B'ky protests..though the comment about his /own/ time in store rooms has the greenrider practically seething. "I'm just here for some supplies. /I/ get sent as a little run around errand person just because Nawyth is.." Wait, yelping? Tunnelsnake. /Flying?/ It's not an unmanly noise K'shan makes. It's a downright shriek, arms lifted to cover his head as he dashes out of the way. Or some way. One can hope.

Marika falls silent at B'ky's stiff tone, but the yelp swiftly draws her out of her silent thoughts, and she staggers backwards, dropping the crowbar and raising her arms in a defensive gesture, as though that might help. At least she's quiet about it? The old guard at the door pokes his head in at all the noise, ready to fight if need be, though he quickly assesses the situation, and mutters something about youth today. The snake? Well, it didn't get Marika, that's for sure. Likely it landed somewhere and slithered off behind something else, but odds are it's still… around. Slowly, the guard seems to realise that she's not been bit, and she lowers her arms, sheepishly picking up the crowbar. "So, I guess it's tunnelsnakes." she says, voice rather shakier than intended.

B'ky sucks in his breath with a hiss, though thankfully, the tunnelsnake hadn't latched onto his hand. There is, however, a rising welt on the back and on his palm, where the teeth managed to get him. Ouch. The bluerider swears; he can't help it, really. It bloody /hurts/. Though K'shan's shriek has him whirling quickly in the greenrider's direction, and.. staring. Just a bit. Did the greenie actually make that sound? "K'shan- ..Are you alright?" he asks after a second, though it's Marika he's turning to, nodding to her crowbar, "Ah.. if you could," and then only does he think to look around to see where the tunnelsnake /went/. "I guess so," B'ky agrees, half sheepish tone accompanied by a mild grimace as he holds his injured hand up, out of the way of anything. "Did you see where it went?" he asks, frowning at the floor, and then glancing back at the crate.

Is K'shan alright? He does..slowly straighten out again, giving B'ky a wide-eyed look. But then there's a look given to the floor. Or the shelves. And the crates, as the greenrider very..slowly backs out of the store room. "I'm fine..I'll just.. I'm going to wait out there and you can find that thing. And kill it. And then burn it." Zoom. /Gone./

Marika stares at B'ky at the swearing, though her eyes seem to be mainly on his /hand/. "Oh, shards." she breathes, glancing back to the exit. "Er, sir. Perhaps… perhaps you'd best get that looked at?" she suggests, "…by a healer. It… it doesn't look so good." K'shan's exit is noticed by the young guard, and she nods quickly at the greenrider's parting words. "That… sounds like a plan. Find it, kill it, burn it. /Shards/, I hate tunnelsnakes." she mutters, adding a few choice curses when B'ky asks if she saw where it went. "I, uh… Sorry, sir." Oh dear.

Le gasp. B'ky can /swear/. It doesn't happen often, anyway. He gives K'shan a faint nod, although as he watches the greenie back out of the storage room, he can't help one thin brow sneaking upward. Is that amusement? Surely not! Ahem. "Ah.. we'll let you know when it's.. gone," he assures, another curious look sent the greenrider's way, "..Are you sure you're alright?" It's only a tunnelsnake, after all. A big, bitey tunnelsnake. The wingleader makes as if to brush his fingers through his hair, but stops, remembering that hand is still injured there. Suppressing another grimace, he lowers it again and regards the welts, telling Marika, "It's fine…just.." and he shakes his head slowly, "I'd rather not let the creature get very far. Especially with so many of my wingriders having to work in here." Well, the floor is given a look, the man moving in what he hopes is the right direction, using a booted foot to shift piles of smaller packages while he suggests to the guardswoman, "Ah, perhaps you could use the crowbar to check the rest of that crate?" He's not asking her to stick her hand in, at least.

Marika is not so much stunned at the swearing exactly, more concerned for the pain or shock that /caused/ the swearing, though B'ky's assurances do seem to mollify her, somewhat. "…alright, sir. Understood." she says, nodding slowly. At the wingleader's suggestion, she steps up to the crate, poking the crowbar in cautiously. "Uhhh… sir…" she starts to say, shifting an opened package aside awkwardly with the crowbar. "Sir!" she barks, jumping back. "There's eggs in this one, sir! And… and another snake." She takes a cautious step forward, poking at the contents of the crate with the crowbar. "…it's dead, sir. The snake." But there's still that one on the loose…

B'ky continues to shift aside the piles of packages, keeping his hand up, out of the way. There's a pause as he turns, blinking at Marika, "Hm? What did you find?" and then suppressing another grimace, hurrying over when she jumps back. He leans a but to regard the contents of the crate with a less than pleased look, "..I see.. leave them for now. I'll speak with the headwoman. She'll likely send someone down for the eggs. I imagine they'll have to sort through the entire crate, to check for anything else." He's not going to make the poor guard do it, at least. He does look a touch relieved for the lack of another /live/ tunnelsnake, though, shoulders untensing, "Mm, if you could place the lid back on the crate? I don't want those things escaping if they hatch before someone's sent down here." And he steps back again, with a slight smile for the guard, "I do apprec-" and there goes the swearing again. Oh hey, and something's got his foot! Trust B'ky to step on the thing. Really.

A tunnelsnake slithers out from behind a crate, making for the exit. Make way, make way, or else get your toes bitten.

Marika nods slowly, grimacing at the crate, and pulling the lid back up onto it. Before she can secure it in place, B'ky is swearing again, and she jumps back, before trying to pinpoint the source of this outburst, looking the bluerider up and down slowly. Oh! There it is, it's got his foot. She hefts the crowbar in her hand, and carefully approaches. "Back, sir! …if you can." she says, swinging the crowbar in a threatening gesture. Threatening if you're a tunnelsnake, anyway. But, before she can whack it, the tunnelsnake slithers away, slithering along, and right between her legs. The young guard squeals like a much younger girl, then turns beet red, and chases after the snake, practically squashing it with the crowbar, or /attempting/ to, at least. She misses by /that/ much.

B'ky is hastily backing away from the tunnelsnake, the look on his face rather priceless. He might stumble a bit, but he manages to keep his feet, at least. "Faranth's sake," he mutters, nearly scowling at the thing as it eats a hasty retreat. Though to be fair, he just /did/ step on the thing. It's probably terrified. The man starts at Marika's squeal eyes on her crowbar, though as the tunnelsnake makes it's escape, B'ky can only watch. There's a bit a grimace for Marika's near miss, the bluerider lettting out his breath. Sigh. "It's.. alright," he smiles thinly, moving after her at a much slower place and just shaking his head. "I imagine they'll have a few drudges or candidates in here, to check over the crates, soon enough," pausing a moment to add, "..and possibly the surrounding tunnels." Does he ever look pleased about then. Guh. "Thankyou for the…help," he nods toward the guardswoman and her crowbar, tone somethat apologetic, "I do appreciate it." And nobody got squashed by furniture this time. Though given B'ky's tendency to get accidentally injured while she's around.. Anyway, the wingleader sighs, murmuring a quiet, "I had better speak with the headwoman," and turning to leave the the cavern as well, with more than a few wary looks at all the shady corners. Where something might be..lurking.

Marika nods slightly, and moves to put the crowbar back. "Yes sir. Any time you need a hand, sir…" she offers, though she's grimacing at the exit now. It got out. /Alive/. Not good, not good at all. "Sir? Go to the healers, sir." she practically pleads, expression exceedingly guilty, as though it were somehow her fault. "Don't know if that thing was poisonous, sir." Though there's still the dead one, it looked much the same, surely someone could tell if it was a venomous variety by looking at that one. Someone with knowledge of the things. She heads back to seal the crate, before returning to her post at the door. "…sorry it got away, sir." she says, looking rather embarrassed now, for her squeal and ineffectual chase.

"Ah.. I'll do that," B'ky murmurs, turning back to offer Marika what he likely hopes is a reassuring smile, "I doubt it was.. it isn't the first time I've been bitten by one. The weyrbrats would be sent down to the stores to clear them out every few sevendays, when I was younger." Ah, nostalgia. He does give his hand a brief look, letting our his breath, gaze flicking down to the arm in the sling. That's all he needs, really. "It's likely nothing serious," the wingleader murmurs, chuckling softly as he tells Marika, "It's not your fault. I should have been more careful." If he hadn't flailed about, it wouldn't have gone flying out of the crate in the first place! Still, he heads out of the cavern with a, "Thankyou again, for the help. I'll likely see you later." Probably with a contingent of 'brats to help hunt through the tunnels for the thing, after speaking with the headwoman. Yep.

The aunties titter amongst themselves, until Crazy Auntie leans forward and says, "So I heard from someone …"

"Well! I heard that Roc wingleader ran afoul of a tunnelsnake, 'e did! Quite lit'rally, stepped on the thing."

Another auntie interjects, "Well, /I/ heard tha' young guard girl was there, the one what gets in loads o' trouble for slacking off. 'eard from a good source, I did."

The first auntie looks shocked. "Not the same guard, the one who was in the 'firmary when that 'leader got his arm broke? Someone oughta teach her a lesson! The nerve of her!"

"The very same! An' turns out, she'd been 'earin' noises down there. She got the man to come there, tell me that ain't suspicious! The crate they checked, it 'ad a snake! I tell ya, she planted it. She must've! A snake in the first crate? That's no luck at all!"

The first auntie tuts in disapproval. "Kids! Should keep 'er away from that cavern, they should. Gon' get half the Weyr's supplies eaten by snakes if'n they're not careful."

"Y'know, the guard on duty, no, not the girl, the one /actually/ on duty, 'e tol' me, they were shriekin' an' squealin' in there, he thought it must be renegades or sommat, but no, jus' a bunch o' sissy girls. I hear the loudest was the men, 'specially the greenrider. Just what I always say, greenriders, a flighty lot, them. Jus' a tunnelsnake, fer Faranth's sake, but the carryin' on, honest, think they was bein' murdered!"