I link back into that control room. I have buttons and things to play with. I play, and I look around, and in this position, I get a new perspective:
What I discovered the last time I was here, was that the spot marked a has a cylinder that goes up when you stand on the pressure plate in front of it. Somehow, when the cylinder is up and starting to come down, it powers things. Things like the controls at b. When I ran over there, I yanked on the first lever, the one closest to a, and more lights came on, like the ones in front of foot pedal c. I can run over there and stomp on it, but it's touchy. I have to be standing right in front of it before Dart will figure out what he's doing. (I suspect he was dropped off too many cliffs onto his head.)
All of those are quite a jog, and it all has to be completed before the cylinder goes all the way down. The thing that really puts it all together and gives me a purpose is looking at the floor. I'm on the round thing that I jumped onto upon entering the room. I rode in here on the Spinning Garrison Express, the main part of which consists of some notched depressions in the wall that are whirring by on the wall behind me and to the left in the shot above. The thing is, the platform I landed on isn't circular. It's another gear. And the two devices marked d are locking the gear down in the floor. There's another pair of them on the other side of the gear, complete with another foot pedal.
So I figure, all I need to do is raise the cylinder to its full size, race over to the first lever, then across the room to each foot pedal and unlock the gear.
I give it a try, but even in Run Very Fast mode I can't make it. Then it occurs to me that I might just be able to keep the power going a bit longer if I'm sneaky. I don't need to make one trip that goes to all three locations - I just need to be able to get to each one while there is current running. I can come back to the cylinder to recharge in between stops. I bring the cylinder all the way up and yank on the lever. The lights for the foot pedals come on and I dash back to the cylinder. I stay there while it rises again, and the little lights continue blinking. Aha! It does work. I get the first clamp unlocked and come back, and stomp on the second pedal in plenty of time.
A helpful little fence to keep me from injuring myself on the spinning machinery rises and now we have juice. Time to figure out what those other switches are for.
The symbol on the far right looks like the doors that are all through the place. The other two unlit icons look like elevator doors. I pull on the third lever and the centre icon is illuminated. We'll see what that gets me. In the meanwhile, I try to get out of this room now that the Spinning Garrison Express is more or less permanently closed.
As I approach the doors that are in the control room, a ki symbol flickers on blue and the two halves of the doors part.
Other doors follow suit, and I see that I'm in one round hallway just like there was downstairs. The only problem happens when I try to get into the middle of the garrison. There is also a ki symbol when I approach these doors, but it flashes green, and the door doesn't open. Well, that's okay, I guess. I already know what's in a couple of them. It's the way I got up here in the first place.
The hallway on the second floor is boring, so I climb back down. The doors downstairs behave the same way. I can now walk around the hallway however I like, but to get into the internal rooms, I need to use the holes in the walls. How fortunate that massive devastation is allowing me to get by.
The doors that could be seen as we went by the "Grab your ki while they're hot" sign now opens up. I take a comfortingly familiar Myst elevator to the garrison roof.
This answers the question of which bits of the environment are spinning and which aren't. The garrison, and its next-door neighbour, seen in the picture above, and both sitting and rotating. There's not a whole lot of interest on the roof, but there is one really long, well, I'll call it a gangplank: a walkway that extends far out from the building. I take in my surroundings, mostly pretty, temperate forest with rivers and lakes far below. The garrison is fairly well isolated. The only thing nearby is one rocky spire that is high between the two buildings. I go down the gangplank, and suddenly more is clearer.
If I time it very carefully, I can jump from the gangplank to the spire. The other building also has a series of gangplanks, one extending from each of its sides, and they all seem to lead up to doors.
Travel is never easy among the D'ni.
Getting to the spire is simple enough. It's lower than the gangplank, so gravity does most of the work. I do notice that the gangplanks seem to have pointy bits on them, so if you miss, you could theoretically impale yourself on them before you have the chance to panic-link yourself to the hospital.
I look around from the spire, and I see a couple of useful things. First, looking back at the ground that supports the garrison, I see something I should have been expecting. Eder Kemo/Gira really is an anomaly.
It's not clear just how I'm supposed to get down there. It looks like there's some sort of path. At any rate, it's not something I need to worry myself about just yet. More immediately important, there's a handy journey cloth on the spire.
There's a ramp up to the higher part of the spire so that you can be higher than the gangplanks and jump down again. I make it sound easier than it is. It takes my several tries to coordinate landing on a slab of metal that's moving at about 5 km/h sideways in front of me. Every trip through Relto brings me back to the spire, though, so it's not completely annoying. I even try jumping back to the garrison, and I miss that too. I think I'm never getting off this rock.
At long last I make my jump and trot up the gangplank into the new building. The doors open in three places and retract back into the wall to let me through. (One word, D'ni people: hinges.) It's dark in here. I head up the stairs in front of me, and another door parts for me. It opens up into another Pointless Circular Hallway that goes around the building. I do a tour of it, just to make sure that there isn't anything of interest in it. Now I have lost my way back to the door where I came in, but it hardly matters. They're all the same.
It points where the PC Hallway bends to follow the next side of the building there are dark little rooms with strange machinery in them. There are no buttons or controls on them, so they look like they're scenery. Moving farther inside along a randomly chosen path, I enter a room that looks like more of the same. There's another machine dead ahead that looks like you put something on a table, and the mechanisms above and below do something to it. Hanging on the left wall is some sort of armoured suit. There's enough of it there to make me think it's an android of some sort, but cautious closer inspection reveals that there are gaps between the helmet and the body. (I'm a big wimp, remember?)
Things like this make me ask questions, like, if it's a suit, how are you supposed to put the thing on? That sucker doesn't look like it has a zipper in the back. And if there's supposed to be more than one person around - the D'ni we've seen so far have been largely a solitary lot, but it takes quite the individual to graduate from the humble, functional buildings of Myst Island to two huge, whirling buildings complete with a security system, so I'm guessing that Gahreesen isn't one person's individual project - so if there's going to be more than one person around, why only one suit, here out of the way, instead of a room filled with racks of them? But perhaps I overanalyze.
Back in the corner next to the door I came in through is another Scary Machine from the props department that doesn't do anything either. On the wall opposite the suit there's a discreet hatchway that leads into what reminds me of a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Jeffreys tube. I traverse it and come out an equally discreet hatchway into a grandiose room. The room is sliced by large, thick, imposing, industrial-looking supports that look like they must be all that keeps the building from collapsing in on itself, were it not for the fact that any sane engineer would hide such things away from where ordinary schmucks like me could trip over them. The effect is that what is in reality a huge space has been reduced to one walkway through the centre of the room with a bunch of nooks along the side to search for journey cloths, and which are otherwise unusable. Kind of the opposite of living in a dorm, where you get the smallest possible space, and the goal is to maximize how big it feels. Someone needs to introduce the concept of feng shui to the Guild of Architects.
On the end of the walkway that my sense of direction tells my is toward the centre of the building, there's one chair bolted to the floor, and a huge bay window. I press my nose to the glass and look.
It's anybody's guess what that room is for.
I go out through the only other door in the room, and it deposits me back out in the Pointless Circular Hallway. I figure I've just gone one side of the building counter-clockwise, so I continue in that direction and duck into the next spoke.
I'm in a boardroom.
The grey parts of the walls in the picture seem to be imagers of the sort that we found off the dock in Myst Island. One of them is working, and if I hadn't seen it, I'd have gone on assuming this building was pentagonal as well.
From the look of it, the other half of the building is identical in design to the half I've already seen. I hope that there'll be enough differences between the two, because I'm sure that you, my faithful reading public, would not appreciate my describing what little I've accomplished in here all over again.
It would be good if I could find something to do in here. A journey cloth would be nice. I toss the room, looking for anything of interest. On the table, I find another notebook full of information on the ki and what it does. Apparently, it's been opening all the doors for me, and it's a lot more useful in the Uru Live game than it is here. You can read the details here. Nick and his friends have really got to learn to stop leaving their homework lying around. Their teachers are going to be miffed.
There's also one chair that's pulled far away from the table, and lying on the seat is a linking stone. With a resigned sigh I press my hand to it, praying I get another one like the last one with stuff to do and read and think about.