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Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2; Consequences: Airsick (Mild)

By all rights, Shirona should slice off his head here and now. But something about this man's ramblings rankle her.

Also, Li might not appreciate blood spilling on her face at that moment.

"Why here, then? Why in this side of Leng, and in the side from the Dreamlands?" She asks plainly. "What do the Lords of the Air and Darkness seek that they encroach upon my father's domain?"

Mitama fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2014 around 14:21

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Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

"Aight, let's stay grounded," she says to the pilot, pulling the collar of her fur coat up to protect her neck from the cold. An idea pops into her head, and Hyun-Ae hops out to chase after the crew chief. "Ay yo, hold up! Try to get some info off those things, would you? Like, priority number one."

A gust of wind peppers her face with little grains of ice. This sucks. "Lemme come with, Maddy. I ain't about this kinda weather." She hops into step after her and waves at Mad Dog to come with. "Let's go, Pup!"

Takanago
Jun 2, 2007

You'll see...


Mali Sasithorn
FP: 4

"Yeah hold on," Mali waves at Hyun-Ae and Maddy. "I'm going with ya. Lemme just get my stuff."

After bending down to pick up her snow-covered gun from off the ground, she half-jogs over to the spot where the skull has fallen. "God drat..."

What the hell is this thing, anyway?

Well, whatever it is, it doesn't look hand-meltingly-hot anymore. So, after staring at it for a moment, Mali carefully grabs its chain and picks it up as well.

"Alright, let's go."

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

The cyborg finishes removing the grenade launcher, watching the rest of the team move toward the hut.

"Go on up," he says, scanning the area and sweeping the grenade launcher over any avenues of approach.

"I'll provide overwatch, be right behind you."

Subvocalizing over internal comms, he hoists the grenade launcher up in one arm, pressing two fingers to his neck with the other.

<Careful, Shirona. Don't give 'em too much about you in case he's still got a way of calling home. Want any backup before I move up?>

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


The crew chief gives a thumbs up without turning around or breaking stride, and continues to lug that big toolbox over to the drones. It may be a little bit for the info to be retrieved.

I forgot this in my last post, but Hyun-Ae should roll systems here. You're getting something regardless, but a good roll will net extra information.

Meanwhile, the three women enter the warm Quonset. It's a nice change, getting out of the wind and cold, though the warmth is really only relative. It appears to have been set up as a barracks, with four bunk beds on either side. The cultists must have been living in here, from all the trash and gear they've left lying around. They must have been here for a while, but hardly since the end of the Cult Wars. There are plenty of loose weapons and ammunition and old ration packs, but not much else. The back section has been separated by a plywood wall. On the other side is an altar, a foul thing with eye-searing symbols painted on in what is clearly blood, with a black iron knife and a strange horned skull - and a very modern portable computer with a satellite uplink. It's top of the line hardware. Unfortunately it's been bricked - you can probably get it working again for your own purposes, but the data is gone. Still, it's a clear sign someone was supporting these idiots. Opposite the altar is a trapdoor, yawning open, with a ladder descending down into darkness. Pinned on the back wall is a map, drawn on old yellowing paper. It appears to be a street plan. Whoever made it was a skilled draftsman, and there are numerous notes and a detailed legend, identifying structures as things like the Library, the Great Temple, the Palace. Additional notes have been scrawled into it more recently in a much cruder hand.

Outside, Kumara smiles, his sharp teeth prominent. "You think there are only two sides of Leng? Leng is the crossroads of realms. The Lords of the Air and Darkness placed their Black Monastery at the heart of a Leng beyond your ken. And then they sealed the doors behind themselves, until the day of purification! It is at hand! The walls that divide the realms are weaker in the realm of your hapless king. Our allies even now tear open the path. Soon they will return, and there is nothing you can do to stop them!"

Cain manages to get the grenade launcher loose. Fortunately it's designed for this sort of thing, so it only takes him about ten minutes to strip off the actuators and connections for the assault drone, and attach the trigger unit from one of the carbines.

The grenade launcher is effectively a piece of mega-hardware. The stats are below. As a default it gives me 2 additional FP for my reserve. The stunts marked with [*] are optional. You can one, both, or neither. Each gives me another FP.

quote:

PAW-30A2
Function: Blow poo poo Up
Flaw: Limited Ammo


Mega-Stunts:
25mm Grenades: Weapon:4, or Weapon:6 but at a cost.
*Blast Radius: Make an attack on everyone in a zone at Weapon:2.
*KABOOM: Spend a fate point to (very loudly) destroy an inanimate object.

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at Sep 29, 2014 around 13:12

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2; Consequences: Airsick (Mild)

"That will not be necessary, Agent Cain."

Shirona gently nudges Li Wu back a few steps, raises her sword, and swings it across the the cultist's neck.

"We were just about done here."

As the man's head rolls along the rocky ground, the shinigami flicks away the blood from her blade. She sheathes her sword with a click, and the cultist's body collapses at last.

"Cultists." She looks at the corpse with disdain, then turns around to meet Li Wu again. "I gave him a chance, and he just spat out zealous nonsense. At least I know what the stakes are here." She throws her arm around the girl in a half-hug. "Come on, we should get warm with the rest of them. Good job back there."

Emerald Rogue
Mar 29, 2013


Madeline
FP: 2

"God, it looks like a frat house in here. Well, with more guns, I guess."

The open trapdoor catches her eye, and she crouches down for a better look, flicking her flashlight on. It's dark down there.

"I didn't think that Quonset huts usually had basements. Wonder what's down here?"

Emerald Rogue fucked around with this message at Sep 30, 2014 around 11:55

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Hyun-Ae fiddles with the computer for a bit. Or at least, she goes through the motions of fiddling with it. Not like her present company could tell just how hard she was mailing it in. "Yup. It's done for."

She hucks it aside and sits down on one of the beds. "Nothing good, I tell you what. Feel free to go first if you want."

Systems: 4dF+4 2 lol

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


Hyun-Ae gets a ping from the crew chief, followed by a file detailing some interesting information. These drones are all coming back listed as strategic reserve storage, meaning they're supposed to be in some big NEG warehouse in case of alien invasion or an outbreak of mass insanity or that sort of thing. So whoever got a hold of these things had some kind of government connection. Also, they loaded some custom firmware onto them. Hard to make out what is was supposed to do post-self-destruct, but it doesn't look like it was purely combat oriented. Best guess, they were given finer remote-control features.

The flashlight reveals a shaft going down some distance into the darkness, at least 10 meters.

Emerald Rogue
Mar 29, 2013


Madeline

Hm, neat old map. Wonder if it's got anything to with the shaft under this hut. Madeline takes a few pictures of the document with her smartphone for later reference before transforming and disappearing down the shaft in a blur of broken light.

"Will do, Hyun-Ae. I'll keep in touch on the radio. I wonder what these goons were trying to do out here?"


Is this the appropriate point to call for a brainstorm? It seems like it might be!

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Li Wu
FP: 4

Li accepts Shirona's help gracefully. "I was going to shoot him anyway. Saves a bullet. We should be careful, though. Half the time when guys like these dare you to kill them it's because they're going to come back as a ghost or some poo poo."

..."I would kill for a coffee right now."

If Gorbash is in I am in!

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


I'm game.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2; Consequences: Airsick (Mild)

Shirona looks at Li, confused.

"That sounds rather extreme. I could buy one for you in the beverage machine back in the Foundation."

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

"Dang, yo. Dunno what these dudes were up to, Maddy, but they got some nice stuff. Government issue, of course." Hyun-Ae lets loose a smug chuckle. "Also, they got some kickin' new control system software. Not combat, though. Maybe medical or something similarly precise."

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


The weather top-side is continuing to degrade. Little Wing and his crew are collecting anything useful from the dead cultists and disabled drones, as well as checking for other surprises. They haven't found any yet.

Maddy finds herself in a rough tunnel leading deeper into the plateau. The tunnel seems to have been occupied in stages, separated by long periods of time. In the first phase something bored the tunnel right out of the rock, in one long pass. Much later, someone else cleared away rubble and put in timber supports, and hung oil lamps and candle holders. After another period of abandonment, damaged timbers were replaced or shored up with more modern metal supports and mesh, and a lot of cabling was run on the ceiling, for telephones and electricity, with lightbulbs every few meters. The last phase is very recent, certainly involving the people you just dealt with. The old supports have been reinforced with a liberal application of sealants and structural foam - messy, but workable. Using the existing cable as a base, fiber optic lines and wireless repeaters have been added, and most of the old bulbs replaced with LEDs. There's an old knife switch for the lights on the wall that's been disconnected in favor of button haphazardly glued on top of it's case.

About 30 meters in the tunnel curves around to the right, blocking her view further down, but the supports, cabling, and lights definitely continue on much further.

We'll hold off on that brainstorm for now. After you see a bit more, we can come back to it. I've been checking the rules and considering ways to make it work better. Also I will have things for those who don't want to brainstorm to do.

Emerald Rogue
Mar 29, 2013


Madeline

"Hey guys, the cultists have some kind of tunnel down here. I'm pretty sure they didn't dig it, either - there's, like, old oil lamps down here right next to wireless repeaters and stuff. The tunnel makes a turn up ahead. I'm going to keep moving as long as the radio signal keeps up."

Cloaked in the tager's light-warping field, Maddy moves around the curve in the tunnel. The only evidence of her passing is a knocked-over candle holder and a muttered profanity.


Moving down the tunnel using Maddy's perfect stealth.

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Mad Dog trails steps inside the hovel, shivering from the cold.

"Hey, go follow Maddy-ice in there," Hyun-Ae commands from her reclined position on a bed. "Go see what's up with that tunnel, maybe act as a radio repeater."

"Ugh, fi-ine!" The mercenary whines. She sticks a sullen tongue out as she descends into the shaft.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2; Consequences: Airsick (Mild)

Strange need to kill for a drink aside, Li and Shirona follow the others inside the Quonset.

The others already scout ahead inside the tunnels, so the Shinigami hangs around instead to check the hut instead. "The laws that hold your world together are weakest at the heart of Leng. If our cultist was telling the truth, these tunnels must be how they are going around."

Notice to check the Quonset? -/-/+4 = 2. No.

Mitama fucked around with this message at Oct 16, 2014 around 15:59

Takanago
Jun 2, 2007

You'll see...


Mali Sasithorn
FP: 4

"Shee-it," Mali notes, having followed the others into the tunnel. "This reminds me of a place I saw in Chiang Mai. Lead to a drug lab."

She takes a closer look at the wiring and supports as she walks. "I guess it wasn't as fancy as this though. Or maybe it was fancier. Depends on if you're counting the oil lamps or the fancy wires."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Li Wu
FP: 4

"It's a figure of speech!"

Li sticks with Shirona for now, and glances over the hut with her friend.

Notice to help: <Krysmbot> Ettin, +/--+5 = 4

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Hyun-Ae's avatar pops into AR space in a puff of smoke and leaves. [ I'll roll on in when Puppy here gets too far out to work as a repeater. ] The raccoon kicks back on an over-sized magnolia leaf. [ In the mean time, I'll be up here keeping an eye on ya'll's backs if you need me. ]

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

The cyborg arrives, a bit late to the party, forming up on Madeline with the grenade launcher in one arm and a fresh carbine slung across his back, pockets stuffed with magazines looted from the infantry drones.

"Sorry I'm late," he cracks, "Had to stock up on party favors if we run into anyone other than the welcoming committee."

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Mad Dog's arsenal clatters against her as she travels down the tunnel. "Do you think we have enough guns?" She asks, sliding up to Cain. "Serious question."

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

"I came into this op with a pistol, a knife, and good old DEVGRU ingenuity. We have plenty of guns, merc," he smiles, clapping her on the shoulder.

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

She shoves her broken hand in his face. "But I can't fire two at once right now! That's like having..." Gears turn. "One less gun! Or person!"

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

"It's not about how many guns you can fire, kiddo," he says. "It's about how effective you are with the ones you've got. Back when I was still flesh and blood, we got stuck in against a massive amount of Triads, trying to summon something in the sewers of Hong Kong. Three men down, three left in our team, one of whom was disabled from a cleaver to the arm.

It wasn't about massed fire at that point - it was about how we staged the fight. Made them come to us, cut them off from backup and reinforcements, and used the terrain to our advantage. We cut 'em down in about three hours, but they drat well didn't finish the ritual.

Your most valuable tool in a prolonged engagement isn't your hands. It's your head. Use that properly, you won't even need a gun."

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

"Uh, excuse me, but," Mad Dog's sword extends from her arm. "My best tool is in my hands. Literally."

[ Literally. ] Hyun-Ae chimes in.

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

"You're thinking too literally, kiddo. Look at it like this: situational awareness. Unit positioning. Leverage of existing resources. Fighting under advantageous circumstances. Doesn't matter how big your gun is, if you can't see where you're taking fire from and you're in an untenable position, you're gonna lose the engagement.

You're thinking too literally. Combat as a concept, and the use of unit tactics, will always beat massed fire. Guerrilla warfare has been proven effective hundreds of thousands of times over, and is living proof of that methodology.

Hell, look at me. DEVGRU taught me how to crawl through mud and blood and dirt with literally nothing, and still eliminate targets that massed fire could never have brought down. The OOI refined that. And the only thing that brought me down, that got me turned into more metal than meat? Guerilla warfare and improvised explosive devices.

To use your example, a sword means little compared to the mind that places each strike, that tells the hand where to go and which way to apply pressure. You can't go in hacking away like it's a slasher flick, you've got to fight effectively.

It's all about fighting smart. Equipment fails. The mind doesn't. Again, look at me," he says, gesturing down at the shredded cybernetics in one leg.

"That leg's been torn up by small arms fire. Got through the dermal plating. And that affects the way I'm going to approach the next engagement. Keep it from being a running gunfight, avoid having to rely on that leg. You should evaluate your current situation, see what you can do to counteract the equipment failure."

He pings Hyun-Ae on a private comms channel. [Show some faith. She's more than just a gun hand, her training just needs to be refined.]

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

"Mmmmmmm." The mercenary squints at him critically. "Alright."

His private line springs to life.

[ Hah, in one ear and out the other. ]
[ She's a good kid, but I think you overestimate her abilities. ]

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

[Eh, I've seen rookies just like her. They catch on quick or they get dead, usually. Hopefully she'll take a few notes from working with someone who's done this for drat near 20 years, because having her as a liability could compromise the op.]

He thinks for a second, keying his comms again.

[I like her, though. Lot of potential. Maybe see what you can do about getting her trained up some, she could be a hell of a lot more viable of an asset with the proper training.]

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.


Shirona and Li Wu pick over the Quonset with more arcane attuned experience. In the front section, the make shift barracks, they turn up a few charms and amulets but nothing of particular note. The back section, though...

Li Wu can tell that the altar is set up not just for casual worship, but for ritual summoning of lesser entities, the kind that can answer simple questions or act as watchers. Nothing as big as the servitor the priest summoned outside, he must have been preparing that for quite some time. It's also wired into the terminal directly. The specific arrangement looks to Li Wu like a communication channel - using daemonic intermediaries to shift packets through a sub-dimension. Very hard to trace or intercept. There are commercial versions available, though this one looks like a proprietary set up.

The map on the back wall is interesting too. The main streets are definitely laid out in a ritual circle, and at the center is a temple with some interesting features. The whole thing looks disturbingly like the containment grid around an industrial d-drive, blown up on a much larger scale. Something is a bit off about it. She'll have to take a look at it in person to be sure what.

Shirona meanwhile recognizes the skull. It's that of a Denizen, natives of Leng who were infamous slavers and pirates until her ancestors broke their power and devastated their fleets of black-hulled ships. It's fresh.

---

Down in the tunnel, Maddy continues to scout ahead. It proves to spiral down some distance, the layered encrustation of technology continuing the entire way. Then the tunnel opens up onto a shelf of rock, overlooking a much larger dome like cavern. With her enhanced vision, Maddy can see the streets of some ancient, ruined city open up below her. Most of the buildings are mere ruins, in many cases the stone warped as if melted. But the streets are clear, and the main roads easily noted for at the center of each is a line of pure white crystal. Flood lights illuminate one of the roads, and a massive, intact structure of black rock at the center. Some kind of temple.

Ladders provide access to the cavern floor.

---

Cain and Mad Dog aren't too far behind Maddy in the tunnel.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2

"It makes sense that these cultists would make do with old rubbish." Shirona says, picking up the horned skull for a few seconds. She frowns. "Wait, this looks like it comes from a fresh corpse." Have the Denizen returned to the Dreamlands, then? If so, what part do they play in this whole mess? They're certainly not doing well if they're pieces of some cultist ritual.

"Strange." She puts down the skull, then turns to Li Wu. "But it's all coming together, bit by bit..."

Mitama fucked around with this message at Oct 25, 2014 around 04:38

Takanago
Jun 2, 2007

You'll see...


Mali Sasithorn
FP: 4

Mali seems to fall behind the group in the tunnel for a bit, but after switching to a brisk jog she gets to the bottom in practically no time. The run seems to worked her up a little, as she now seems to continually fidget and shift her weight from one foot, to the other, and back again. "drat," she says, peering over the ledge. "Now this is what I'm talking about."

"Hey Shirona, do you-" Mali turns around, pulls off optic camouflaged hood off her head, and blinks. "Oh. Nevermind. Well..." She scratches her head. "Want to keep going?"

Emerald Rogue
Mar 29, 2013


Madeline

"Yeah, I think we should keep going as long as we can still keep in contact. Hang on just a minute while I check something, though."

Maddy shimmers into view moments after she begins to speak. She scrunches up her face in concentration as she holds her phone to eye level and compares the picture she took earlier of the cultist's map to the half-ruined cityscape below.

[Hey, team. The tunnel under that Quonset overlooks some kind of underground city. It's mostly ruined except for some weird crystal stripes on the roads and this big black building in the middle. I ... think it matches up with that map we found. What's going on here?]

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Mad Dog scampers forwards along with Mali, carefully peering over the edge of the cliff when she arrives at it. "We should totally keep going!"

Back in the hut, Hyun-Ae lazily watches Shirona inspect the skull. "Ya'll think we found our dimension hoppers?"

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

"If we do, we should expect heavy resistance, Mad Dog. Can't afford to rush in blind," he says, overlooking the precipice. "It's gonna be a long way down, team. Everyone good to go?"

Tempus Rimeblood fucked around with this message at Oct 25, 2014 around 04:10

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



Princess Shirona of Celepha´s
FP: 2

"What I am sure of is that we uncovered a cult who wants to summon an extra-dimensional deity from a realm I am not even aware of. That last bit is frightening, but otherwise a standard operation for power-hungry cult." Shirona says. "If we connect it to everything since the lab break-in, then we know some powerful people have spent significant resources to make this happen."

She notes the chatter in her ear. "This skull belongs to one of the former natives of Leng. The terrible ones, I will insist, pirates and slavers before my people drove them away. From the sound of things down there, Madeline may just discovered one of their cities."

Shirona taps into the communicator. [That black structure is the Holy Redoubt, the temple of our cultists. Whatever this entire scheme has built up to is behind those doors. Stay where you are.]

She looks at Hyun-Ae and Li Wu. "We have to follow them."

Mitama fucked around with this message at Oct 25, 2014 around 04:36

Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

[THE Holy Redoubt? Christ, I thought that place was a myth they used to scare the rookies. And I thought it was underneath Sub-Saharan Africa. Either way, holding position and moving to fortify.]

He looks at Maddy and Mad Dog.

"Well, you heard her. We hold here. I'd advise hanging low, taking up a defensive position. Madeline, your eyes are better than mine, think we're at risk of running into any patrols?"

Atlatl
Jan 2, 2008

Art thou doubting
your best bro?


Hyun-Ae FP: 2 [ -2 Yeah RIP Fingers ]

Hyun-Ae groans in annoyance as she stands. "Maaaan, fine. Let's get."

Elsewhere, Mad Dog trudges away from the edge of the cliff. "Waiting is the worst. We should be aggressive!"

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Tempus Rimeblood
Sep 23, 2007

...Friendship? Again?

Cain

Another exasperated sigh from the cyborg. "Mad Dog, either we wait here for backup or we go in without a full team and risk blowing the entire op."

He sets up a private channel with Maddy's comms. [Think you can talk some sense into her? My approach isn't working, and I know I'm not the most personable guy on the fireteam.]

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