People on the SWL Discord were wistfully discussing the contest and who’d entered. Here’s my sub-par entry
Adventure in Virunga - Diary of a Faction Recruit
Dear diary, today I got a phone call from Kallie, who’s been my boss these last few months. She seems very new to management. Kallie said lava golems are harassing civvies in DRC, so I’m getting an all expenses paid flight to Goma via Adis Ababa! I’ve got to rush to catch my flight. This is gonna be awesome!
Well this sucks. The Dragon paid for me to fly Economy. I offered to pay for the Cloudnine upgrade, but they said they have a “standing arrangement.” At least I was by the emergency exit so there was legroom. Yay?
Eventually landed in Goma. It’s in a field, and half the runway is out of use after the volcano, Mount Nyiragongo, damaged it. Which is my next port of call! Tomorrow. Now to find my hotel! Only the best for the Dragon’s employees?
Dear diary, the hotel is… cheap. As I was checking in I saw the price - $20. Seriously? I bet Kallie gets better hotels.
I phoned her; she doesn’t - when she got bee’d, she had a night in that sh*thole in Seoul. Still, the perks sounded better than this place!
I hired a car and drove out to Virunga National Park. Looks fantastic! Started in a place called Kibati. Tried talking to some locals – with the help of the translation app on my phone, we were able to sort-of communicate. Local farmers reported seeing walking fiery statues, which sounds like what I’m after. I’m looking for a man named Kabila.
Found Kabila, a local shepherd. His farm stood out, having charred grass nearby. He talked me into buy some ewe’s cheese, and said everything was fine before some foreigners came along. He pointed me in a direction, so I’m just eating a late lunch and then heading over. Having the cheese with a bread roll from the hotel. Yum!
Found some truck tracks heading toward the volcano. Judging by the marks in the ground, it could be seismology for oil? Will investigate. I feel like Sherlock Holmes!
Following the tracks, there was an abandoned Sycoil truck near the base of the volcano, still thumping away. I’m keeping my distance in case the surveyors see me. They’re just milling around. One of them is wearing weird headgear.
As I bravely approached them, his headgear was writhing black tentacles! So I tactically retreated to reassess my options! Steeling myself, I approached once more, and they drew guns! I gave them warnings, and opened fire. Poor bastards. I worked out how to stop the truck from thumping and disconnected the generator, but inspecting their instructions (using my handy Dragon G.H.O.S.T. interface!) they weren’t looking for oil but Filth! I rang up Kallie for a heads-up, but she said something about corn and could it wait, though she did advise me to get checked up after being near it. Thanks, I think? There was some oily Filth bubbling up from the ground nearby, so I found a rock to seal it, which I’m told works. There were also some explosives in the Sycoil truck for assaying, so I took those. You never know when you’ll need big badda-boom!
It’s getting dark, so I’ve driven back to my hotel. I’d considered waiting overnight in Virunga, but they have gorillas and lions. Not taking my chances when the alternative is beer on tap!
Dear diary, today I’m going to head back out to the truck and see where it was headed. It looks as though they were following a seam of Filth underground towards the volcano. Wish me luck!
Saw my first lava golem here! It ambled out of a cave as though it was scared? I don’t know much about lava golem psychology. Still, the cave is a starting point! I’m disturbingly close to the active bits of the volcano.
Sneaking around the cave, it seems the lava golems only see you when you move (Seismic senses? I’ll ask Dragon HQ afterwards). Kept my distance. The cave links on one side to the lava lake through an old channel, and on the other to a Filth source. The Sycoil team seem to’ve been disturbing the geology to help it spread. What was their endgame? I’m returning to the car to think of ideas.
In a stroke of pure genius, I remembered I had the explosives from the truck! I was able to seal off the Filthy cave, (KABOOOM!!!) so it’s no-longer connected to the lava golems. Hopefully this will stop them harassing the locals?
I’ve submitted my report, and I’m heading back to the hotel for the night. Fast, in case there’s a pyroclastic flow! Time to celebrate at the bar!
Dear diary, woke up with a nasty hangover – good thing I take these shades everywhere! Back to the airport via some aspirin! Over and out!