Operation
Waterworld
The day's oppressive heat lingered into the early evening hours as the
Mariner checked his course against the stars. Several days beating to
windward had brought him within 200 klicks of his destination: the
freshwater Fountains of Wayne. "Who was Wayne, anyway?" he
mused as he
set his sextant carefully back into its case. The origins of the name
were lost to history, before the great flood... before the smokers...
before the pervasive distrust between humanity and the thin veneer of
rules that duct taped together the drifters.


The Fountains of Wayne were rumored to be scattered around this area,
once known as Cambridgeport. Any port once in these waters had long
been overwhelmed by melted sea ice, but the name remained as a
reminder that land once existed. The Mariner settled into his hammock
to retire, his thoughts turning to the riches he would accumulate
trading fresh water with other drifters. When two drifters meet,
something needs to be exchanged. Nothing's free in Waterworld.


The next day dawned clear and breezy. Perfect sailing conditions --
the Mariner had high hopes for success. With some luck, he'd tag all
these fountains, sampling water from each to check its quality, before
sunset.


It wasn't long before the Mariner reached the first waypoint. The
freshwater upwelling had been a regular stop on the Mariner's trading
route for as long as he could remember. He dropped his sampling stick,
withdrew a half liter, and poured it straight into his gullet,
expecting a cool, refreshing, slightly minerally effervescence.


And gagged.


The fountain had shut down! The Mariner started, shocked more at the
future implications than the immediate ones. A mouthful of seawater
wasn't going to hurt him; he had several day's store of liquid in his
hold, although much of it was beer. His mission had suddenly taken on
a sinister tone, and he hoped this wouldn't foreshadow the rest of his
journey.


The Mariner made his way towards the second waypoint, marked by a
craggy, anchored, floating barge with a small cluster of boulders on
top -- a small reminder of the land that once stretched as far as one
could see. Again, the sampling stick went in. This time, he only wet
his tongue -- and again, seawater. The second freshwater fountain was
as dry as the first. He stalled here for a short time, watching
messenger birds in sight, to the sides of his craft, both sides at a time.


The next fountain was just as dry, although he did meet a few rough
looking drifters, with whom he traded vinyl stickers in exchange for
witless conversation. He knew the code, and gave those stickers for free.


When he came upon the fourth fountain, marked by a barge containing a
circular, rotating fungal form, he decided to investigate more
closely. He made his way off his own ship, onto the barge. After a few
experimental (and entertaining) spins on the jauntily cocked mycenoid
cap, he climbed a small structure from which hung a few loose
barrels... and at last, some precious drops of water came out, but
only a few, and the flow was not sustained.


At this point, it was late in the afternoon and the Mariner decided to
wrap up by visiting the final Fountain of Wayne. This one was much
more impressive than the others, with an abandoned atoll of many
anchored barges, strewn with half-ruined, weathered, sprawling
structures that once formed a containment core for some drifter's
yammering sprog.


Again, the stick. And again, the fountain was dry. However, a
deep-bored shaft and pipe that some enterprising drifter had installed
many years ago still ran clean and pure. The shaft provided plenty of
freshwater, with which the Mariner topped his holds and refilled his
water bombs. Satisfied, he stalled here for a while, attracting some
attention from a local uniformed drifter, who shone a bright light
upon his ship but did not approach.


Satisfied, the Mariner returned to home waters. As he sailed, he once
thought he saw another freshwater upwelling far off in the distance --
but did not approach to investigate -- and his mission ended a
qualified success.

Pilot Ship Points Promotion
Buckminister Immaculate Taco 125  
hackworth Synesthesia 1512.82  
Keebler Curb Burner 0  
ld50 Frek 427.786   Captain
pywaket Cloudbuster 621.264   Admiral
RexHazard Pioneer 0  
Treekiller chlorophyll 754.33  
yt SecretAsianSCULly 1303.46  
Mission Task Pilot
Airlock pywaket
Damage Control hackworth
Deck Officer yt
Deck Officer Asst. Keebler
Filmer hackworth
Flat Bag Treekiller
Food Wrangler Keebler
Medi Bag Buckminister
Minister of Zoobs pywaket
Mission Leader yt
Mission Reporter hackworth
MRC Officer hackworth
Navigator yt
RadioBox A hackworth
Skynet Operator (post-mission) yt
Skynet Operator (pre-mission) Keebler
Sticker Bag Keebler
Still Cam ld50
Tailgunner Treekiller
Tool Bag RexHazard
Wookiee Bag hackworth
Division: MAD
Date: 06/19/2010
Status: Success 
Origin: Fort Bartlett
Destination: Etch Two Oh
Light Years: 15.66
G-Well Activity: 1.64
Technical Rating: 1.93