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The Terracotta Army is the 8th episode of Aztec Gold. 


Synopsis Edit

The Crew heads to China, traveling south and east before heading north to Eastern China. Mothra has a little trouble navigating, as he had to translate between different coordinate systems. As the crew gos through customs, they are asked to provide passports, registration, as well as a reason for their visit. Additionally, each of them is asked to provide 3 marks on all of their weapons, drones, and decks to the customs officer. They comply begrudgingly, though Cybersloth looks at the rating of the mark to see how easy they would be to remove. She decides against it once seeing that the marks were granted with a considerable rating, likely by someone high up in Wuxing.

Nova informs the group that the Yakuza have a lot of influence in China, as they've been moving in from Japan. Additionally, Aztechnology has been waging war on western China (an area near Tibet), allegedly over the attacks on the dragon Hualpazer. They suspect that the attack was a ruse, and the company wants something in Tibet.

A matrix search shows that Xia most likely refers to the first emperor of China. According to legend, his body was moved to be interred in the oldest section of the Great Wall around 300 BC. Flying to the wall, the group buys some real (not soycaf) coffee and explores. As they search, Doc says he's going to put on a different sim if they aren't going to be interested, and asks to be called if they do something fun. They find a section of the wall that has a long list of names and addresses. The newer ones appear to be online communications. The newest lists the name of Feng Shi, along with a number. Cybersloth. Calls the number, and the response comes by text only. It asks if they are in search of the artifact, and asks them to provide their coordinates.

Once confirming that they are at the wall, Feng Shi gives his home address, an apartment on the 43rd floor of the Bluebird building in the industrial district of Hong Kong. He says he is no longer standing vigil over the artifact due to the effort it takes to maintain, but will gladly meet them in person.

The crew arrives the next day, parking on the roof of the 50 floor building and picking the lock to the stairwell. The apartment complex looks to be in a state of disrepair or construction, with plastic sheets hanging over unfinished plywood, and flickering bulbs in the hallway. The crew decides to take the stairs, and hears a sound like breaking glass as they approach the apartment.

Cybersloth knocks on the door and a large ork answers after a delay. He has a lot of chrome and a fresh cut on his face. When asked about it, he claims he dropped his coffee pot. The crew says they want to talk, and Feng invites them to get a drink a couple blocks over. Mothra and Nova agree, while Burnout, Cybersloth and The Edgelord go to the bar. Feng puts his key in the door and leads them down the stairs, confirming the suspicion that the elevators can't be trusted. As soon as they are gone, Mothra and Nova attempt to break into the apartment. Cybersloth tells Doc that he might want to tune in.

At the bar, The Edgelord starts to grow suspicious of Feng, doubting that he is who he claims. He asks for proof, and tells Feng part of their story. Feng asks to see some of the artifacts, to prove that this isn't a "highest seller" kind of situation. All of his statements are rather vague, but Burnout believes him wholeheartedly. Cybersloth doesn't speak Or'zet and relies on subvocal translations to follow along.

At the apartment, Mothra notices that the door is unlocked, despite having seen Feng lock it. He also notices that the coffeepot is intact. In the far part of the apartment, he sees a broken window, with a hole in it large enough to fit a person through. He does not look down. As he searches the apartment, he finds a safe hidden behind a painting of a valley and some mountains and uses his subvocal mic to break in. Inside, he finds an old datapad, a number of scrips and threatening notes if Feng Shi cannot pay off his loans, as well as a couple fake passports. Both of the passports are for a young, human, Asian male, and not an ork.

Mothra calls burnout, warning that the ork they are with isn't Feng. Even as he does so, he hears Lone Star officers approach the building and prepares to make his escape, running up the stairs to the blimp on the roof. Burnout confronts the ork, but The Edgelord manages to talk him down. He admits that he is not Feng, but a representative of one of the many people Feng Shi owed money to. Owed, as he has recently taken a fall out a window. Feng says he can't help them out, and that there was no artifact in the apartment, just a copy of a biography of a dead emperor. The ork also implies that the reason he was able to kill Feng so easily is that he was expecting guests, and thanks them for their help.

The crew leaves the bar, agreeing to drop the issue if the ork pays for the drinks. He agrees. They rendezvous at a nearby parking garage and head out of town. The Edgelord reads the biography, one of Qin Shi Huang. He notes a dog-eared page about his death, that he was buried with thousands of terracotta soldiers. The crew heads to the tomb, where they find a challenge protecting the artifact.

Chess-0

Inside, the crew found a puzzle as well as an army of terracotta soldiers. The outer wall of the stone vestibule is lined with tombs and urns, the graves of important rulers. In the center of the huge foyer was a vastgrid of alternating obsidian and ivory tiles. Four of the tiles had carvings on them. One of a crown, three of horses. Upon the tile with the crown stood a statue of a man cupping a large bowl in his hands. The other carvings also had statues on them, of horses: two of ivory, and one of obsidian. The obsidian horse has a large valve protruding form his fame. The two ivory horses have a jug attached to their saddlebags. One reads 7, the other 11.

On the back of the statue of the man there is an engraving that says:

The black king has spent his life fighting over this strange checkered land, the white king has finally been defeated and his troops have surrendered and pledged allegiance to him. Now he is not sure what to do with himself, so decides to have a drink. But he is a king, and a king demands precision. He requires exactly two liters of water be brought to him.
The crew recognizes this puzzle as a chess board, and moved the knights and king to each other, following the rules of chess. As they did so, the soldiers came to life, animating and attacking the intruders. In a matter of minutes, they had filled the king's bowl with exactly two liters of water, and when they did, a hermetically sealed chamber opened with a hiss of stale air, revealing an artifact inside: a lodestone, capable of aligning with magnetic forces and leylines. The vigils and characters engraved upon it indicated that it provided the power to control the soldiers, saying that in your hands holds the defense of China.

Recognizing a pattern and hoping for control of the famous statues, the crew sets sail for Easter Island, loading up four of the massive statues onboard the blimp.

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