After fending of the first attack of the Chairmans other ark, my players are looking for allies and ressources and entered the Sinkhole, a place they earlier gave a wide berth, because they were afraid of it. But it is pretty close to my players ark, so they figured out that its worth the risk. The main outlook of the sinkhole is pretty much as described. They saw a few uptops going about their business, the first mutants they ever saw outside, besides the other ark, but while scouting/observing suddenly one downbelow guy climbed up some long mast till he reached the top, where he spread his arms and basked in the sun (praise the sun). This guy somehow noticed the player's and waved smiling at them with a big grin on his face, until the uptops noticed him and threw rocks and debris, until he fell of and disappeared behind the green curtain down below.
The stalker and another player took some good sniper position, while the fixer and his slave bodyguard descended to talk to the uptops. They easily initiated contact and were invited to one of he bosses, Saram Marak. On the way they saw a few people all around the sinkhole using old radios, listening to static, fine tuning with the nob, then concentrate much more intensely on the new static.
The uptops leader was friendly and interested enough in the players and their story and explained that they had everything they needed here, but didn't like the downbelows, because they got plants growing on them and that going near them would make this plants grow on you, too. You could remove them, which was painful, but if you missed a bit of root it would come back, and if it managed to borrow into your head, you joined the downbelows for good. It increased fertility, though, so it was just part of life, ie the strange plant grows counters the uptops sterility.
During the talk, one guy in the next room suddenly heared something on the radio that made him sound an alarm gong. Actually, all over the Sinkhole all this radio operators were sounding gongs, bells, bottles, drums or whatever else made a loud sound. Everyone outside made a run for the houses and shelters and within less then 2mins everyone was inside, every door and window closed, and a damp cloth pressed against the sills. All people huddled together and stayed quiet and the players were urged to do the same.
The players outside could see an army of downbelows and all kind of plant creatures and walking trees or bushes climbing up through the foliage and standing on the roofs and highest places, praising the sun. They all stood there for a few minutes, then started to shake and vibrate violently in unision and emitted a choking cloud of yellowish-green spores or pollen. The whole Sinkhole was obscured, until the pollen slowly started to sink down, about 2h later. In its wake, it left a yellowish-green stain on everything.
The the uptops exploded into bustling action: people went outside with brooms, mobs and snow shovels, to clean the surfaces from all the pollen-spores, and also mushrooms and new plants, that were sprouting from every nook and cranny, while others readied all kinds of equipment, especially climbing gear.
For a full day after a sporeing event, every downbelow was sleeping, and the uotops used this time to go down there, collect water, nuts and fruits, and come back. The only place off-limit even during this times was the big metal doors, that lead to The Cradle, the place were all the mutants of the Sinkhole emerged from, before the earth shook and took everything 4 stories deeper, and the plants started to emerge and spread from The Cradle. All downbelows would be sleeping for a day or two, save those who resided in the Cradle and who would fight tooth and nails and attack anyone who ventured into its metal bowels.
So, I now have to decide, what's actually in the former ark, a failed experiment, a fluke of nature, a killer tree variety? We will see. I think that this place will be designated Command Center Bravo. My players havn't found the casset player yet, but when they will it will be an interesting realization. I am low-key modeling the facility after Fallout New Vegas vault 22. I am contemplating if the players might actually find some half-functioning control room and if (when) they interact with it, initiate some strange emergency protocol from Mimir. When they get outside again, they would see some star flying about the sky and crashing somewhere further away: the skyegg has landed, and when they eventually find it, it will have attracted all the mutants and strangers wandering the zone and the described camp of the oracle will have sprung up around it. I am still pondering if I should do this, but I think it always feels good for the players, to be the active shapers of the world and the story surrounding the egg won't be altered much. At the egg I want to place the recording that tells them of the other command centers.
But first, my players will have to deal with the sinkhole and the downbelows. This could actually be a good place to plant the killer tree, it could be growing in the former main lab of command centre bravo, and lead into the Killer Tree episode, a bit further down the line. It could be the players themselves, who brought the spores into their own ark.
I am interested what you peeps did with the sinkhole or any other ideas you might have. Happy gaming, everyone.