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Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD1tmuNRQXI

Serenity sat in the darkest hole she could find, as far from anybody as she could be. The tears were finished. Her chest burned from wracking sobs she had struggled to stifle and her ribs lodged another in a long line of protests against the abuse she heaped upon them. And once more she ignored those protests. What did they have to complain about, anyway? They ought to look inwards for a change. Her hearts had been broken far more often than they ever had been.

The soft red glow of a cigarette reflected off the machinery around her. She didn't know what any of it did. Maimed careless elves who put their hands in the wrong place, probably. She also didn't remember where she'd gotten a pack of smokes. Things had been a blur after dismissing Telsen. Snaked them out of somebody's pocket as they passed by she supposed. Thievery and smoking were both bad habits she thought she'd given up centuries ago but gently caress, why not. She had her excuses. Stress. Massive crippling injuries she was not allowing to heal properly. Brain damage and chemical imbalances from oxygen deprivation and triton venoms. And that wyrm splitting her mind wide open and dredging up every bit of herself, exposing it to an unholy sort of light. They were Nashira's blackened shadow in a sense. But where she asked for your deepest secrets and unspeakable shames out of a desire to free you from their burden, the wyrms had a far more prurient interest. And more and more, Serenity was not certain the creature had put everything back precisely the way it had found it. Point being, as far as she was concerned she had earned some slack. Now more than ever.

She was lost in thought when Nori's voice crackled over the comms. Serenity listened. It was not the most eloquent speech, but it was well measured. And the fact that she was not unilaterally declaring the Tritons a sworn foe to be crushed at all costs? Surprising and entirely welcome. Now it was down to her to make sure such a statement never had to be made. Alliances could be hammered out. She had no idea what the Aqualanteans might have to bring to the negotiating table but she'd worry about that when the time came. Something would come to mind. poo poo. If nothing else, she wasn't engaged anymore. Maybe a political marriage with Isurus. The young triton seemed smitten enough with her to speak to his brother on their behalf.

Serenity put these thoughts aside and returned her focus to matter at hand. That loving pearl.

Maybe she was just reaching. Needing an explanation that made Anastasia's actions not her fault. It was her fault. Serenity would not act like she hadn't willfully - hell, gleefully - agreed to commit the most heinous sin imaginable among elvenkind. But despite everything she had only hours ago stood to gain and now watched crumble away, there was no guilt. Sorrow in spades. But no guilt. It wasn't even as though the situation was irrevocable. The letter had been shaded in meaning, and you'd have to be a damned blind fool to miss it. All she had to do was tell Ramona the deal was off and she could have everything. Her family. Her country. Anastasia. All of it. The only price was breaking one human's spirit, and what was a promise to a human really worth anyway?

It seemed that it was worth everything. If there was a price that could make her turn her back on her comrade, it had not been remotely approached yet. Even Anastasia and everything that would come with her did not make Serenity doubt this course for even a moment. She couldn't really understand why she even felt that way. She'd known the bounty hunter a few months and most of it had been spent pointedly ignoring one another. Maybe it was just the fact that she had a chance to legitimately make someone's dearest wish come true. What bard could resist making such a trite idea into a reality? Not her, that was for certain.

But. That loving pearl. Ramona had told her of herself, and her past, and how she and this seemingly innocuous gem were intertwined. And if Ramona was right about it, Serenity was not going to doubt that it had a hand in things. The timing was simply too convenient.

She took a drag and blew smoke over the pearl as she held it up before her eyes.She stared into it, looking for something. Anything. A hint of dark intelligence within.

"What do you want?"

Using Charming and Open on Savior, in hopes of an answer.

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Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Prof. Gabriel Marcell posted:

"Elven anatomy is a complex thing. Unlike most species, it defies easy modeling. ... Many theories exist, none of which have been proven. My own is that they are not a proper species at all, but a kind of self-aware teratoma that has managed to find a way to propagate itself absent a host...

[...]

- One curious trait of note is how they heal. Similar to most proper species, wounds and injury require time and energy to mend. Yet unlike most species, it sometimes (very very rarely) happens that the injury attempts to adapt to the circumstances that caused it to an excessive degree...

SERENITY
"At once, miss." Telsen cocks his head birdlike as you hand him your engagement ring. A couple moments of considering silence. The fixed blankness behind his eyes - the mark of your hypnotism - is starting to flutter and fade, but even through your grief, you find the right tones with which to command him. "Walk with Jaira," he says, and then you're gone and so is he.

* * *

You breathe out onto the sensuous curves of the black pearl and speak your query into darkness. The coils of grey smoke you exhale seem to twist and waver unnaturally, bending to an unseen current. They're not quite dissipating (or triggering the smoke alarms, you lucky devil), but drifting into a languid whirlpooling sort of motion, coiling around and over the pearl where you hold it up before your eyes, circling round its glistening edges and slipping through the gaps between your fingers.

Random chills flit over your skin. Faint whispers drift through the air, growing louder each moment. You are not entirely certain you aren't hallucinating. The skin on either side of your neck is itching like crazy - like there's a swarm of beetles just beneath the surface. You start to hyperventilate. Can't get enough air. Your guts are writhing within you, coiling and cramping like a caged beast; your much-abused ribs feel like they're not just aflame but actually melting. Spasming muscles in your back force you into a crouch, then prone onto the deck, as a cacophony of spectral throats hiss-mutter-whisper-sigh a polylingual babel of long-unfulfilled desires right into your defenseless ears.

Their entreaties come in all flavors: spiteful, tearful, hate-filled, resigned or regretful and everything else in between. Some snarl their hunger for violence and strife to sup upon; some mourn for past lovers or for opportunities decades gone. Many wish earnestly to die. And all of them, all of them, want something. They want it from you. Your skin feels like it's being stabbed with a million ice-hot tattoo needles.

The prolonged physical and mental stress you've weathered, culminating with the emotional trauma of your breakup with Anastasia, has triggered a traumatic mutation within your flesh!
Either DD+CON to resist the change and maintain your body the way it is now,
or DD+WIS to guide the changes according to your will. (You have to tell me what your will is if you do this.)
Or, if you simply wish to submit to the change-flux, don't roll at all and I'll tell you what happens to you.
What do you do? What do
you want?


RAMONA
After you speak with Madi, you and your addled wits wander the corridors of the Hvalreki, seeking out Serenity. She's nowhere to be found. Haven't seen hide nor hair of her since you awoke, and the side-effects of the thaum binders you took aren't making things any easier. The refugees' hushed conversations clog the air with blue-grey fuzz; the ambient chatter of the tritons without the ship's hull strokes clammy fins over your scarred skin. The sour tang of machine oil and body odor rings in your ears like a bad case of tinnitus, inescapable. Where the gently caress did she wander off to?

After some twenty minutes of fruitless searching, a clue at last: an unmistakable icy chill, the telltale gauzy silver shimmer of the unquiet dead, drawn to Savior as iron filings are drawn to a lodestone. She must be near. You do your best to block out the irrelevancies clogging up your sensorium and follow the sensation of cold as best you can - away from the refugees packed like sardines and down into the bowels of the ship, into a little-used utilidor where the ship's complement of arbeiters are kept in cold storage. A foul smell seems to hang in the air like miasma from a rotting corpse: you can't tell if it's truly the stench of decay or just another artifact of your cross-wired senses. The cigarette smoke hazing the air faint blue is definitely real, though...as if the air in this tin can wasn't polluted enough from its overburden of human lungs.

The stench is getting stronger. Your stomach does a slow barrel-roll inside you. You make a quick right-angle turn, ducking down a side corridor where the lights are dim and flickering. One hatch, two, a third one latched open - and oh dear Gods you actually nearly vomit. It feels like you just stepped into a walk-in freezer full of rancid poultry with all the fans running on high, and on top of that somebody's blasting out a poorly-conducted dwarven noise-concerto through badly equalized speakers while they rasp your skin with steel wool. It's hard to make any sense at all out of what you're searing-heeing-smasting-thouching - but you're sure you found her.

Your bard's laying fetal on the deck, at the epicenter of a swirling torus of half-substantial spectral forms. Ghostly hands and mouths and teeth gauze over her twitching body, whispering into her unstoppered ears. As you watch, something moves underneath the surface of her skin, bulging like a finger pushed up through a sheet of clay. You are abruptly reminded that your confidant and close friend is not in the least bit human - that she is a pariah and outcast, exiled from an ancient and isolationist imperial demesne - at least until she came back with that wedding band around her finger, anyway - and that you and she agreed to a pact of soul-binding which she herself said might worse-than-kill the both of you. Her hand is clenched white-knuckled around something small. Her wedding ring is missing.

Good lord, Savior's had three days to work on her. Three days in the open air, sucking up the Raft’s unquiet dead - dredging them up from their corpses like sediment from the seabed. Three days to work his malignant will. Whatever the hell happened down in Ikaria, when you snapped and hurled your curse at Serenity like a plate in a domestic spat...it's not something you ever really tried before, is it? You cast him forth from your person, freely given - and that bard picked him up from the deck, freely accepted.

The sense of malevolence emanating from the bard's clenched fist is palpable. There's an awful vitality to the way the whorling phantoms move - Savior and the ghosts he's gathered have grown fat on trauma and strife. Though these spirits are not quite so substantial as the ghostly captain who fed off 01's thaumium blade, there's a shitload of them in this confined space, and every last one of them is focused on Serenity like they're dying of thirst and she's the only glass of water for miles. Gods, this was not how you wanted to get rid of him...
You found her, but not fast enough to stop any of this from happening.
Also, your ice beam runs on pureed ghosts and you don’t have a lot of ammo stockpiled for it right now.
What do you do?



NORI
Dr. del Moreno shoots you an absolutely venomous glance as you casually blurt out the secret of the teleporter rig to every last civvie and triton around as a capstone to your inspiring speech. “Do you mind, Nori?” she hisses. “The teleporter project is - ugh, was - classified most-secret until about ten seconds ago! And right now we don’t even have a terminus in AQL! Please, please don’t go getting their hopes up until we’re sure we can deliver on them, okay? Right now we’re all counting on Lopence to pull through for us. Lissette and her lads met him while you were busy with the new recruits.” The lady in question chimes in: “I saw the terminus, Doc. Looks solid enough, but we’ll be taking a gamble anyway at this scale.”

As you learned when Dr. del Moreno briefed you and Ramona, translocator tech is extremely experimental. Before the Sink, it had only been tested at small scale: bananas, steel cylinders, and so on; and only over short distances, little more than a few dozen feet. But Gisela wants to use it for something much more ambitious: a bidirectional channel to move food, supplies, and maybe even people to and from the Raft. Hundreds of pounds of flesh, food, and metal, transported instantaneously across two thousandish vertical feet of seawater. A perfect way to circumvent the tritons’ upcoming siege. And a perfect way to get the extremely conservative triton clans unbelievably pissed off if they find out the Ikarians are violating the terms of their tenancy both in letter and in spirit. No contact with the surface means no contact with the surface, even if you might not need a submarine to get up there anymore. Of course, that's if they ever cop to your secret weapon...

Oh, and speaking of tritons: the jury-rigged hydrophone hooked up to the ship’s bridge crackles, hisses, and comes to life. “This-s thing on?” a voice says, wavery and fizzing like a dolphin’s. “Hello? Hel-loOOo? This is Sheshteyn! Can you hear us-s?” You know him, sort of - as well as you can know anybody after dickering with somebody for their loyalty for two days. Hard-headed, a bit of a jokester, good with a welding torch, commands the respect of his men and women - but he’s no trained soldier. Few among the Dolphin Clans are.

“We hear you, Sheshteyn,” May says wearily into the hydrophone’s pickup mic. “Six hours in a wetsuit trying to hook that gods-be-damned thing up,” she says to you in an aside. “And them trying to pinch my rear end the whole time. I hope you know what you’re doing with these jokers, Nori.”

“You t-treehuggers-s k-k-keeping an eye on the s-sonar in there?” your triton contact says. “Looks-ss like we have some guests-s coming our way…”

And true to his word, there’s a shadow on the sonar readouts, interposed between your submarine and the lights of Ikaria. A second force of tritons, without a doubt. Not quite the size of the force which Telsen and the Kerambit drove off from Ikaria while he left you and your friends to die, but still big enough to give an unarmed ship stuffed full of civvies pause.

Sheshteyn speaks up you over the hydrophone again. In the background, you can hear a chorus of militaristic voices, all singing in martial unison. “They’re hailing us-s-s!” he says. Guess you were right about that whole ‘assault in 10’ thing, huh?
What do you do?


MADI
Once Ramona’s out of the picture for a while, you’re free to deal with some more tractable patients. The many refugees-turned-settlers aboard the Hvalreki didn’t exactly lead the healthiest of lives before signing up for another stint in this floating coffin, but hopefully that’ll change under your tender care. A steady flow of scrapes, minor allergies, and dental troubles passes through your medbay - until you encounter something that gives you pause.

It’s a family - mom, dad, a teenager and two kids, everybody but the youngest bearing the characteristic genmods of the Aqualantean underclass. Mom’s got a tortoise-shell covering her back and terrapin-like scales over the backs of her arms and legs, and Dad’s missing his legs - in their place is the slimy foot of a brightly-colored sea-slug. All of them look pretty out of it. Their skin has an unhealthy pallor, and they look a bit confused and disoriented - the littlest one, still cradled in Mom’s arms, is squirming and shifting restlessly, on the verge of a nasty crying jag. Something about their symptoms is tripping your diagnostic circuits.
What do you do?

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
16/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
Ghosts whisper in my ear how Savior's just following the rules and I inflicted this upon her myself in a fit of emotion, but I don't believe anything they say. We didn't hammer out a contract, I've been figuring out what bullshit he's up to by touch. It's not my fault, and I'm about to destroy them all with great sweeps of my grapple whip and store their ectoplasm in my ice beam reservoir anyway, but first I figure something out: my ghosts never went substantial like these to torment me because I'm a medium who can hear them all the time. So where are they getting the energy to manifest? It must be Savior, but it could be Serenity. Better not be her soul, because that's promised to me.

Recognize many–the bounty hunters I killed on the ESCO ship for the teleporter. I turn my visor transparent and let them know who I am and that I can see them. I have new armor, better weapons, and they already showed me what they can do and that it wasn't enough to take me out.

"This is your hell–I'm your unfinished business, and I'm booming. The job you couldn't do before that just got harder."

They have to know that killing me is the way out, not gnawing on the bard. And just like before I'm going hard and trading blows. Confident, calculating, ahead of the curve.

SidekickBOT - Today at 8:47 AM
@slydingdoor: 2d6+3 hns = (3+5)+3 = 11
@slydingdoor: 1d10+1 messy forceful = (4)+1 = 5
@slydingdoor: +1d6 expose = (2)
@slydingdoor: 2d6+2 waywf? = (6+4)+2 = 12 they treat you as the most obvious threat to be dealt with and ignore your companions, take +2 damage ongoing against them.

total damage: 9

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


Serenity squeezed her eyes tightly shut and desperately clung to sanity as the pain and fury and sadness washed over her. It may have been a mistake pushing at something she didn't understand, but that was really just par for the course at this point. Absolutely refusing to leave well enough alone.

She tried to utter a prayer to Nashira, or Jaira, or anybody who might be listening. All she managed was a painful choking noise. Her thoughts disconnected and she tried to go limp, an animalistic hope that playing dead would make this end. It was not gong to be that easy, of course. Very dimly as if from miles away, she thought she heard boots and a voice - and then her skin erupted and Serenity went entirely insensate.

As discussed, Serenity will submit to whatever is happening to her.

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
10/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
Wire nets in the suit's "skin" absorb and use ladder circuits to lift the free ectoplasm into the reservoirs/batteries in the shoulders and quads, and I use the ice beam's barrel that rings the blaster's mundane steel to parry one of the more cunning ex-hunters' ghostly slashes to the eye because it was made of the right material to contain that kind of energy attack. The rest of them hit non-vitals, just frostnip under my suit.

Serenity's skin looks like parasitized and I point my beam at the bulge–maybe I could slow the metabolism? Or it could make it worse if she's already freezing... Helmet off, check for breath and heartbeat. She's cold against my ear. Hypothermia, keep the head warm. I put my helmet on her, pick her up and boot open the door. I'm about to scream for Madi, but swallow it. Not what we need, and someone's still watching. I peel open her grip, shake Savior out of it and crush him under my steel toed boot, and twist. Then I pull my glove off and hold her hand instead, pick her up, and run to infirmary, trying to speak... soothingly. "I got you, Serenity. It's Ramona. You can relax now. I get ghost attacked all the time! That one's over and there won't be another for a while. I survive them, you can survive them."

slydingdoor - Today at 11:11 AM
"something cool"
"d6 cold damage"
/r 1d6
SidekickBOT - Today at 11:13 AM
@slydingdoor: 1d6 = (6) = 6
slydingdoor - Today at 11:13 AM
:/

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


NORI
Sheshteyn falls silent for a little while (saints be praised), listening carefully to the taunts and war-songs of his rival clan. "You getting all this-s?" he asks the bridge. "We read you," May tells him. "What do they want?"

"Sounds like the Pearls-s-s-sent a s-security forcc-ce," he responds, tension in his fizzing speech. He chatters and clacks to his clanmates, and they pipe up with a counter-song of their own; a haphazard mix of landlubbers' sea-shanties, fishy obscenities, and focused pulses of echolocation.

The opposing force falls silent as the Dolphins' speech reaches their ears, only to come back stronger with another unified martial chant. This one's in a recognizable dialect of the common tongue...and loud enough to be heard not just over the sub's hydrophones, but in every room and corridor throughout the Hvalreki.

"Sea vessel Hvalreki," the tritons' war-speech goes. "You approach waters restricted by force of arms. City Aqualantis and surrounding settlements are under blockade. Under law of the Pelagic Treaties you are compelled to halt your engines and submit for inspection."
Well, at least they're not trying to kill you yet. What do you do? 

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Nori
23/23 HP | 1/1 Armor | XP 2/11 | load 8/14

fuckfuckfuck
I pace in a tight circle for a few seconds. We can't fight we have to talk. Where the gently caress is Serenity, she's the talker? fuckfuckityfuckfuck!

I clench my fists and let out a small growl of frustration, before stepping to the comms board.
"Ok, Sheshteyn, I'm gonna come out there, do you or any of your people feel up to translating, Y'all know my Triton is poo poo, and I don't want to start a war here. Another war. gently caress, you know what I mean.
I know you aren't on the best of terms with your other clans, but you know our plan here for unifying, do you think they'll be willing to at least give us a chance?"

As I wait for a response, I start stowing my rifle, and extra gear into a bridge locker, leaving only my dive suit, breather, and 01's sword. You never show up unarmed to a meet with Triton, it's disrespectful and they're as likely to kill you for the insult as they would for charging them with weapons drawn. Yes, I read a book about the Pelagic Treaties in the Ikarian library, try not to faint.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


Serenity struggled to focus her thoughts. She could feel herself being carried somewhere, very dimly. It was hard to concentrate over the unsettling sense that there was something under her skin trying to get out A flickering thought floated through her mind. They were supposed to be doing something. A war? Ikaria. Tritons. Nori pronouncing they were launching in ten. poo poo. This was just supposed to be a brief moment to herself to get her emotions under control so she could do her job and now everything was going strange. Again.

Serenity attempted to speak, though she couldn't feel her face very well. Why was she so cold?

"B...bridge. I still have a job to do. I'm...not going to die...from something like this "

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

"We'll go to the bridge when you're done 'changing,' okay?" Not that I know how to make that happen. No one should see her like this, though, too risky.

"If it can't wait, hide your neck with those locks of yours and watch the lights if you have to take center stage..."

slydingdoor fucked around with this message at Jun 11, 2017 around 02:39

ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Madi Keller
HP 22/22 | Armor 2 | XP 9/11 | Load 5/8


Madi lets out a sharp low whistle, drawing the attention of the nearby nurses. "Alright, you, get the family over there a private room, be sure to keep it calm. You, go find a dehumidifier and put it in wherever they get put. Emphasize that it will alleviate their symptoms, standard soothing stalling. Afterwards scrounge up any more dehumidifiers and get them running wherever people waiting to be treated are." And with quick nods the three are off, only to be replaced by a uniformed worker.

"Doctor Keller, talks with the tritons are starting soon and you requested-"

"Perfect, thank you for the heads up." Madi quickly jots down a few more things on their clipboard before handing it to the messenger. "This to the head nurse."

"One more thing doctor, Ms. Naki is handling the negotiations."

"Haaaalrighty," Madi immediately begins to jog towards the exit of medbay.

"At the bridge!" the messengers shouts to the retreating Madi, who only throws a hand up in recognition.
~~~
Madi enters the bridge as Nori shuts her locker. "Perfect, wanted to catch you before you left," the words with a hint of breathlessness as someone who had ran through the sub's halls "Sorry if I'm imposing a bit here but I'm getting in on this negotiations thing. Don't worry, I speak Subnautic, could even translate if you need."

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Nori
23/23 HP | 1/1 Armor | XP 2/11 | load 8/14

I regard Ramona's golem friend, aside from a few words in passing, I'd never really spoken with...her?
"Ok, you know the language, you got the job. But, may I ask why a doctor wants to face likely death meeting with a hostile and unpredictable force?"

ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Madi Keller
HP 22/22 | Armor 2 | XP 9/11 | Load 5/8


"Preventative medicine, in a fashion. Talk them down as much as I'm able from killing. And there's a few things I need to do down here that I'd prefer to not have juggle dealing with being considered an active combatant while doing."

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Nori
23/23 HP | 1/1 Armor | XP 2/11 | load 8/14

"Alright, I just wanted to make sure you were fully aware what you're asking here.
Do you need a dive suit? Pick up a weapon regardless."

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


SERENITY
The change-flux slowly begins to subside - your cramping guts finally relax and your writhing muscles regain a semblance of their normal tone. You feel shivery and loose-jointed, like you just spent a few hours doing some heavy lifting - ready for a massage, a trip to the hot-springs, and a long rest under the moonlight. You felt freezingly cold just a moment ago, naked-to-a-blast-of-spectral-gunpowder cold, but now that the warp spasm has passed, the chill seems to have lost its teeth somewhat.
Exceptional or supernatural cold is still a danger to you, but you no longer need a wetsuit to stay warm underwater.
You are no longer at risk of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold, but extremes of heat will be harder for you to handle.


As Ramona carries you up to the bridge, you palpate your altered skin with trepidation. It feels different. Thicker. There’s a supple, rubbery give to its underlayers that wasn’t there before. A memory surfaces of your younger days, and your travels with Maximilian to the frozen north. Your party had been caught by an unexpected blizzard en route to Nashira’s lost temple. The expedition was forced to go to ground, hunkering in the lee of a rock-face for nearly seven days while overhead, the storm raged like the grief of a Goddess bereft. Unable to proceed until the scouring winds abated, Maximilian tied a rope to his waist and ventured bravely into the white-out in search of provender. Five hours later, he returned, wind-burned and frostnipped. Over his shoulder he bore the corpse of a fine fat seal.

The bounty of that beast kept your party fed until the storm abated - its rich reserves of meat and blubber kept your body’s fires burning and drove off the insidious cold. Now you, too, carry a layer of insulation to hold the chill of the deep ocean at bay. Also you’re absolutely ravenous. Your body has placed great demand upon its reserves of energy in only a few short minutes, burning stored sugars and fat to fuel the creation of your new flesh, and now it craves replenishment. You could eat a horse. Well, maybe most of a horse.


Cross out Anastasia’s engagement ring in your inventory.
Expend 1-ration or become Weak (-1 STR) from hunger until you do.
If you wish, there’s enough time while in transit to pop an Arcane Art onto Ramona.


* * *

RAMONA
Savior’s captive phantoms tear at your skin and vitals through the chinks in your armor as you shred them with your electrified lash, whipping it through spectral flesh like an extra-large bug zapper. By the time you’re done, your extremities are numb and wooden from the ghosts’ frigid assault, but the room is thick with their discorporate ectoplasm. To your crosswired senses it appears as floating clouds of gelid, greyish-green liquid smoke. You suck it up into your suit’s reserves and crush Savior under your boot-heel. He squirts out from under your foot and skitters away into darkness. It won’t stop him, of course. But it’ll piss him off, and that’s a reward well worth the pain.

It’s over. She’s alive. You’re alive. For now. But you’re starting to worry a little. Ever since you began this mad quest, your curse has only grown in agency and malice. Conflict feeds on conflict - war and strife beget themselves and spread, escalating in size, scope, and intensity. Savior’s captive ghosts feed on entropy, growing bloated on the echoes of informational decay...and whether by malign coincidence or simple bad luck, you’ve been traveling in close proximity to an artifact of ancient make for weeks now. The late 01’s thaumium-alloy killblade, seemingly just but a blunt bar of blackened metal - but the miniscule entropic generators embedded within grant it a razor-sharp edge. You remember well the dire consequences of allowing just a single ghost to feed upon that weapon’s emissions unchecked...but that, of course, is when the drat thing’s turned on to begin with.

For all you know, the restless dead have been trailing in Nori’s wake for weeks now, silent and stealthy, supping from her weapon’s waste-stream in secret whenever she turns it on...until at last their strength has waxed enough for Savior to induce them to act. But he played his hand too soon...and now his spirits’ strength is yours. Even the dead can die again. You’ve got enough liquid ectoplasm stored in your suit’s reserves now to freeze an elephant, douse a bonfire, or start a (modestly sized) blizzard. Of course, if you can’t refill those tanks, you’re bound to run dry eventually. You’re not worried, though. When Savior walks the earth, rousing the restless dead; when war and extinction loom, and the fragile candle of drowned Aqualantis seems about to be extinguished forever...one thing’s for sure.

Death is certain.

* * *

RAMONA AND SERENITY
You two make your entrance onto the Hvalreki’s bridge right around the time Nori and Dr. Keller nip out the airlock for a parlay with this blockading force. You’re greeted with tense, pinched faces - the Ikarian principals fear the worst. At such close range the ship’s sonar is powerful enough to resolve their numbers clearly: fifty or sixty of them; what, in a human army, might be called a platoon. Your friendly forces outnumber the foe by a couple dozen...but that’s not saying much when the Dolphin Clan tritons are largely unarmed and unarmored - a ragtag, undisciplined collection of civilians.

“Hey up the-ere,” Sheshteyn’s voice crackles through the hydrophones. “Looks-s like they want to talk?” Somebody else butts in over him - “Forget-t talk, you fishstick, let’s get-tt-t’hell outt-t-ahere! I didn’t-t sign up f’r--owww!” A muffled thud, as of somebody getting walloped upside the head, cuts the interrupter off. Will hides his face in his hands and swears very quietly. Mite and Dr. Moreno are pacing the deck. May is quietly conferring with a knot of understudies. “Hide the translocator rig,” she tells them. “Get it somewhere safe. Behind a bulkhead or two, if you can. Go. Quickly.”

“Full stop,” Dr. Moreno orders. “Full stop, both engines. Keep them idle. If this goes belly-up on us, I want us ready to move yesterday.” Gisela finally seems to notice you two are there. “Ramona,” she greets you. “Sereniiiuhh.” She steps back a couple paces and looks at you warily. “Are you, uhh...entirely alright, honey? Somebody get Dr. Keller in here.
What do you two do?


* * * * * * * * *


NORI AND MADI
“Good luck, Nori, Madi,” Mite croaks over the airlock’s speaker. ”...I hope this works…” In a twinkling the antechamber fills with water and ejects you two out into the deep. The swarming Dolphins greet you as you emerge, spiraling above and below the ship in wary lookout, unwilling to venture far away. The Hvalreki’s directional spotlights illuminate the blockade below you in harsh relief. Wavering light glimmers off breastplates of turtle-shell and spiny coral. Reflections glint from spearheads and the pommels of swords. The enemy is arrayed in loose formation, a rough lenticular shape ready to envelop the Hvalreki should it attempt to break through the blockade - unusual for a race so reliant on ambush and evasion.

Sheshteyn swims by quickly - poor guy looks as worried as you do. “I hardly know what-t-to do, Nori,” he frets. “Brothers-s are scared out there. Want to run. Idiots-s. No running from a hippocamp. We’re not dead yet, I gues-s...and look, they sent a herald…”

Two bodies detach themselves from the centre of the blockade and fin towards you, slowly and deliberately, stopping at a respectful distance. They curl their upper bodies over in a gesture of respect. One’s well-muscled and haughty, outfitted in an anatomically shaped cuirass of some kind of hardened resin; he wields a heavy trident, inlaid with nacreous filigree and sporting mother-of-pearl tines. At his side is a she-triton bearing a short rod of coral topped with a single massive pearl. She bears the characteristic mutations of the tidecaller caste: her finned lower legs are thick and fleshy, lobed with heavy ropes of muscle, and her whole body, face included, is covered in scales.

The male speaks. “Nnnori. Maki.” He salutes you with his great trident. “Your bravery is known to me. I am Shuul G’lybnus, of the Amber clan; and my consort, Serat sh’Phth, of the Pearl clan.” She speaks up as well, finning over curiously to examine the medical symbols engraved onto Dr. Keller’s wrightwood-and-dragonbone integument. “My greetings, contrivance; blessings and good health to those under your care.” she says distantly. “Will you permit my entry into your vessel? I must inspect your passengers and your cargo.”


Madi, did you take a weapon? What do you two do?

Alumnus Post fucked around with this message at Jun 14, 2017 around 04:58

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


Serenity started laughing. Everything, all of this since the Shrieking Harpy, one haymaker to her metaphorical face after another in rapid succession. It was absurd. She lived an eventful life, it was true. But this constant barrage of physical and emotional abuse with no respite was too much to handle. It beggared even her most ludicrous stories. After all, a kraken, an abyss wyrm, an eldritch horror in the shape of an elf, the eldritch horror hunting for the soul of said elf, and a cursed pearl that was hellbent on destroying her life?

She was still caught in the clutches of the wyrm as it had its way with her. It was deriving some sick pleasure out of playing with her mind, using her as a conduit to concoct the story it wanted to see. And the constant mutations she was experiencing. It was matter of maybe, every now and again, an elf might warp in some small way. They did not grow an extra heart, vocal chords that acted on the subconscious level, and skin like this in the span of...however long it had been. Not long at all.

Probably it was just stress getting to her. She wanted there to be some explanation for it all beyond happenstance and bad luck. Either way, the only thing she could think to do in the face of it was laugh.

After a moment she got a hold of herself and looked up at Ramona. "Sorry. I'm a mess right now. When this gets settled we need to go get really drunk so I can blow off some steam. We could get matching tattoos!"
She fell into a stifled fit of giggles at that.

---

"No, I'm fine. Okay. Not fine but I don't need Madi. She's probably sick of my face at this point." She ignored the condescending 'honey' and pointed at a random ensign. "Order some food up here, please. Something better than the freeze dried rations if possible. I'm starving." Returning her attention to Moreno she continued. "I take it we've made contact with the tritons? So what's the word? And is there one named Isurus with them?"

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
10/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
She laughs and it has an abalone shimmer in my mind's eye. I have to ignore it. Sound is sound, light is light; the drat thaumic radiation has some psychoactive effects and I haven't trained against that enough to feel focused, safe. "Drinks? I quit, got your magic to help me sleep now. Miss͟e̡d͏ ̸y̸ơu͜r ̢shot͏ the other night." The night before I fired her. A bad one.

Matching tattoos... bring to mind the marks and brands I scraped off my body after escaping the plantation. I don't mention them, and I stop before I start thinking about her tattoos–I'm not dead tired like the last time I got distracted by them. Guess we're both laughing things off now.

"Heh, yeah, my fir̵st҉ tattoo and a newly eternal life to regret it for, let's do it." More shimmering.

I put her back down and we reach the bridge, "The doctor is where she needs to be, we're fine." I reach for my pockets, "Hm, I have something you can eat–ìf͡ you can spare me some healing."

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx0U9UsUgpI

With a firm nod, Serenity cocked the helmet down over her eyes and took a breath. She paused briefly and peered out from under the helmet, leaning in close to Ramona.

"I know you have your reasons. But you don't need to hide things from me." She hesitated for a moment. "If I'm doing something to bother you, tell me."

She bit her lip, stepped away, and began to sing. She kept it low so as not to disturb the crew, but it resonated nonetheless. Though the magic within was directed only towards Ramona, everyone present could feel it within them. Like a warm hand upon their shoulder, solid and reassuring.

Arcane Art: 2d6+3 10
Healing Ramona: 2d8 10
Ramona recovers 10 HP, and takes +2 next time someone successfully assists her with aid.

Shardix fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2017 around 02:10

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
10/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
"I wasn't bothered... What are you digging for?"

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


Serenity heard Ramona, but did not reply. She continued singing until it had reached its conclusion - a song half-sung was a tragedy. When she fiished, she sat down on the floor, back against a wall and looked up.

"Your feelings and your words are often at cross purposes. I hate that. Despite my profession I believe in being honest, as much as possible. Especially with the people I fight alongside."

She cocked her head.

"Mostly though, I'm trying to find out how to get you to be less dour all the time. Even when you laugh you're ready to fight." She waved a hand. "Anyway. On another subject. My ex-fiance might try to kill you at some point. She found out what we're planning. We have a lot of history, and she's forgiven me of a lot of transgressions against her traditionalist mindset. This, though? This is one thing she just can't overlook." Serenity idly played with a strand of hair as she spoke. "Even though she broke my heart I still love her a lot. And I don;t want to see her hurt. What do you need from me to get a promise that if you ever run into her, you'll just leave?"

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
20/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
I crouch nearby and think before I answer. She lost her wife for me. It's not some grand bardic fib unless her acting is so strong it can feed ghosts like Nori's sword... easy stuff first.

"All right. Tattoos mean different things to each of us. My old 'matching tattoos' I shared with all my people that said how much our bodies were worth to a plantation owner, and my fondest memory of them was getting rid of them with a knife. Both. I didn't say that because I was trying not to be so "dour." Not just for you, but still, for you. You don't mean to remind me of things I'd rather forget, and I doubt it does me any good to tell you about them, so I told a joke instead, like you.

"For drinks, I was... negotiating. Anything anyone wants from me I want to make sure they can't just take. It's habit. Was I going to let you go hungry if you didn't heal me? No. Blow you off for drinks because of the time I felt like poo poo and you wouldn't drink with me? No. But I like giving people a hard time, even when it's a bad time."

That's the easy part. Damned Tootsie must have tipped off her wife on the Raft. She just says she doesn't want to see her hurt, I can promise her that, then she needs to always be watching to keep the ex alive. But I don't. I do better. She wants me to be honest.

"There's a lot someone can take away from you if you won't fight them, especially if they figure that out about you. I'd need two things. First, insurance, for everything, insurance that I'd need to trust like my own armor. If I know I've got nothing to lose by running because I'll get paid back in the long term, I can outrun her and you can pay me for the arrows in my back and the opportunities I have to leave behind. Second, protection. You stop her, I don't have to. If you can do all that... I'll do what I can."

There's more truth to tell, but I stop. There's a part of me that believes this would be a great way to betray me. Produce a ring, invent a spouse, hide the ring, tell me a story like this, and handicap me against a woman of her choice. That's the one. That's my ex. Get me out of the way then maybe get married for real. Instead here I am, more believing she had a choice tell me to go to hell and live happily ever after and said no, while the rest of my mind keeps going on, preparing me for schemes deeper and darker than the ocean...

What do you most desire?

ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Madi Keller
HP 22/22 | Armor 2 | XP 9/11 | Load 5/8


A slight head movement at 'contrivance'. A shift in grip. "Doctor Madi Keller" Madi's voice simply, comes through clearly despite the water, the magic at work irreverent to the physics of the matter. At the same time, Madi reaches up and unclasps part of their leather uniform, revealing a row of insignias stitched to the inside of the coat, a rectangle of iron with dwarven runes etched over a monolith. "Recognized by Saint Ysayle's Scholasticate, Ιερή Τάξη του Ερμή, Alto Consiglio di Sanità, and the McCoy Foundation. I'm here to speak with you about a disease. There is a fungal disease spreading amongst the settlements of the Sea of Crescents, that by all appearances was engineered by a former member of the Alchemist's Guild. There is, at this time, no known cure once the fungus sets in. There is still very little known about this disease, but what is known is that it favors cold, dark, and damp conditions, has confirmed infections of elven, human, and one case of gnomish people, feeds off magical energy much as plants do sunlight and can even influence infected individuals to seek out sources of magic. On top of all that, it appears the ground zero of the spread of this disease is Aqualantis itself. Furthermore, there are at this time five individuals on this vessel showing symptoms of infection and medical personnel are moving to check for any more among the passengers, and as such as a doctor would recommend not exposing yourself to potential infection, but I understand that you will do as you must. Further, I seek the blessing of your people that I might investigate the ruined home of one Isha Akkermans, a disgraced alchemist exiled from the Guild for breaches of ethics practices. Reports received indicate the first patients with symptoms of this engineered disease came from the area around his home, which now lies within the submerged ruins around Aqualantis." At this Madi pauses to allow for response and questions.

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Nori
23/23 HP | 1/1 Armor | XP 2/11 | load 8/14

I take the moment after Madi speaks to jump in myself.
"Well met, Shuul and Serat, we come in peace this day, and uh...are glad that you decided to speak with us.
I brought Dr. Keller along to help translate and to explain the nature of the disease we're dealing with, but I speak for the...uh diverse collection of folks we have here.

I think that we can, um, come to an agreement here.
We know that you've declared a blockade and war on Aqualantis.
We know that the...people...in charge there have been poisoning the water.
We know that you want all humans out of the deeps.

On that last point, I can only say that leaving would be almost impossible for most of us, we are literally adapted to live here.
But the people who rule Aqualantis are tyrants, and no friends of ours.
We seek an alliance, between your people and ours, as you've already seen we've been able to reach agreement with your Dolphin Clan people.

I can promise you right here and now, that once we destroy the tyrant Karthas Murgo and those he serves, we will stop the processes leaking toxic chemicals into the water, not just for you but for our own future generations. An Aqualantis where we can all live and work together.
But we need your help, if you think there's any way there can be peace between your people and mine, then right here and now would be a good first step.

In the spirit of peace and cooperation, I'm more than willing to give you a tour of our ship, but as the doc told you, there is a risk you might catch whatever infection she's trying to deal with here."

Having said my piece, and unsure just how to end it gracefully, I just awkwardly fall silent, waiting for the Tritons' answer.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


"...I can't make a guarantee like that. It's an open ended promise. I've already broken one promise today. I won't set myself up to break another."

A sigh.

"Food, please. More than anything else, I just want to eat and put these things out of my head for the time being. I shouldn't have started this discussion. Not with what's going on right now."

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
20/24 HP; 11/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
It hurts to hear, so I fish for rations to avoid looking at her. "No, letting me know what to watch out for gives me time to recognize what's happening, time gives me options in the moment. If it's possible, you made it more likely..."

I have so little to offer in terms of comfort. I might as well be Slava or Juan. How in the hell am I going to bring up that I have the rituals now?

Candied sweet potatoes with coconut, a kid's food, is the can that comes up first. Not exactly good for my fearsome reputation, but who am I kidding. Any song this bard writes about me is going to make a fool out of me anyway. Doesn't mean I take any lip from anyone else on the bridge who comments on my serving a tiny ravenous elf that and the rest of my soul food though.

The thought pops into my head that it seems now we've both been stabbed in the heart by our childhood friends thanks to Savior. That little piece of poo poo. After the ritual, I'm coming for him.

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


MADI
The triton sorceress listens carefully as you enumerate the symptoms and spread of the fungal plague. When you’re finished, she’s silent for several moments, mulling over what you’ve just told her. Then: “Granted,” she says. “Take this boon, doctor; that my people will know you for what you are, and do you no harm.” Serat cups your face in one hand as she begins to sing a low, atonal melody. On the third repetition she touches your forehead with the great pearl at the end of her rod of office - a shock runs through your body as the well of power that enlivens you receives a seed-fragment of the tidecaller’s magic - just enough to mark you as noncombatant, nonbelligerent, and medical personnel. “It is done. Rest assured, doctor; my sisterbrothers will soon hear of this malady. Forewarned, we are forearmed. Perhaps this Akkermans seeded his work here out of necessity. The holiest of our great chants can only be performed in darkness, did you know? The light of suns is anathema to their most delicate - ah! but this is no place to talk of such things. You have my deepest gratitude.”

sh’Phth sighs heavily at the unpleasant ordeal now before her. “I appreciate your candor,’ she says, “but I will do what must be done. My honor demands it.” She fins over to her consort and strokes his face; they share a few quiet words, then he pushes her roughly away. “Lead me to your airlock,” she commands, her face an impassive mask. “I must now go ashore.”

* * *

As the seawater drains away, Serat works her throat and heaves a stomach-ful of seawater up onto the airlock deck-plates. The gill-flaps on her neck flop limply in the humid air before sealing shut, and the mutant sorceress draws her first gasping, mucusy breath of air. She ‘stands’ on the curled-over fronts of her fleshy, over-muscled fin-legs and takes a few tentative shuffle-steps, clinging to the bulkhead for support. “Fff..fitting,” she rasps, coughing up a blob of mucus. Her voice crackles like somebody with a bad case of pneumonia. “Hhhrkrh. Lead on.”
What do you do?


NORI
Shuul G’lybnus looks down his beaky nose at you as he listens to your awkward speech. Madi, after they’ve finished with his consort, translates your words into carefully phrased Subnautic. He scoffs at the idea that he could accompany you aboard - and sneers in disdain as you describe your newly minted alliance with the Dolphin Clans. “Your prrromise is as sea-ice in spring,” he states grimly, “here one day; gone the next. Your city’s master said much the same, many times; and where have his promises led? No, Nnnori Maki, show me action, and then, perhaps, my lord sh’Carkharias may speak to you of alliance.

“But I am no fool. I have heard tales of your valor in battle - feats to match the bravest of knights. The aberrancies you hold court with should be dead. Their vessels and habitat should lie broken beneath my spear-shaft. But the bravery of your and your companions means that they yet live.” He looks out upon his assembled men. “My lord’s younger son travels with me. He tells me the blade you carry made sushi of his shoal-corporal as easily as a shark takes his meal. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend, Nnnori Maki, and I am honor-bound to enforce the will of the Sub-Mariners….but that does not mean we must slaughter one another this day.”

“Swear this pact with me. Your vessel will depart this meeting and make port without delay. Your people will not raise arms against me, my men, or the armies now approaching your city. Your people will have no traffic with the upper world in any way whatsoever until Karthas Murgo is dead. Your people will endeavor to show us that this hovel beneath us can be a sound and healthy habitation, a model for the Aqualantis you so doggedly dream of reviving. Swear this pact, and I in turn will swear by the shifting tides: I and my men will not raise arms against you and yours. We will hinder your navigation beneath the waves no further. I will depart without delay to inform my lord Aixi of this pact, and ensure that all those whom he commands will honor it.”

“Do you so swear?”
Roll to Parley if you think you can get a better offer than this one. What do you do?

Alumnus Post fucked around with this message at Jun 22, 2017 around 01:46

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


SERENITY
Sugar! Sweet, sweet sugar! Ramona’s vacu-packed sweet potatoes are just what your body craves right now. You wash the can down with a few slugs of stale water and already you’re starting to feel like a person instead of a shivering ball of hunger and teratogeny.

The bridge would be in a tizzy over the tidecaller in their airlock right now if it weren’t for the fading echoes of your healing song. “That was beautiful,” Dr. del Moreno says, hunkering down to get on your level. “I never...wow. Thank you.” She wipes away a stray tear. “Yes, we’ve made contact. Nori is out there on our behalf, and...yes, from what we can tell your Isurus is out there too. They’re sending an envoy out to board us...gods only know how.”

“Her inspection is going to take some time.” She looks worried. “I...don’t know how the colonists are going to take this. Hell, I don’t know how the envoy is going to react...we’re really overfull in here; we need to make port as soon as possible. Do you...do you think you could try and put their minds at ease? We’re needed up here…and honestly I don’t know what I’d say to them right now…” She waits anxiously for your reply.
Remove your Weak debility. What do you do?

RAMONA
Mark off 1-ration; you should have 4/5 remaining. The bridge-crew is busy assembling a diplomatic welcoming party for their aquatic guest, and they want you to join them...and to gently guide the inspection away from the hidden translocator rig. What do you do?

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
20/24 HP; 12/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
I make sure to whisper converse with Serenity loud enough for enough people to overhear that the "thing" Nori mentioned to everyone isn't real, that making up a secret was just bait to find out where the loudmouths and spies were among us. It's the kind of paranoid scheme I'd cook up and lets any would-be leakers know I'm watching for them and I'd be dealing with them, even if the truth is I'd rather the translocator actually be a secret. I can feel the pressure though, all these honest hopefuls leaving us weak, forcing me to be more cunning to cover them...

SidekickBOT - Today at 10:58 AM @slydingdoor: 2d6 = (1+3) = 4

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


Serenity nodded to Moreno. "Sure. I can do that. Be easier with common room and a table to dance on but I'll manage."

Her expression remained neutral at Ramona's words. It was a reasonable enough idea, but she wasn't super keen on throwing more lies and bullshit in the faces of people who'd been dealing with non-stop lies and bullshit. She'd just...not bring it up in any fashion herself. If only to avoid complicating things any further.

Letting herself out of the bridge, Serenity began going here and there, chatting with anybody she happened across. Telling jokes, listening to their complaints, reassuring them on what topics she trusted she could reassure them. Anything to get their minds off of the grave matters at hand and lighten the mood. No, there was not going to be a war with the tritons. Yes, everything was well in hand - they had experts maintaining the sub and overseeing the diplomatic stuff. With the children she was a reassuring motherly figure. To the younger folks she was a cool aunt with her own rebellious streak and some racy tattoos they might be interested to see. With the women she was a fellow wife and mother who understood their concerns. With the men (or women with that inclination) she was a flirt who suggested everything and promised nothing. She'd been trained for this since she was a child and it was second nature to her.

Defy Danger (CHA): 2d6+3 = (3+3)+3 = 9

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


RAMONA
Everything's going okay at first. There was an undercurrent of apprehension in the air when word got out the tritons were sending in an inspector, but it turned quickly to a kind of pity when the colonists saw Serat is even less suited for life above water than most of them! She shambles laboriously from hallway to corridor on her over-muscled thighs, peering into the colonists' makeshift berths and occasionally stopping to catch her breath and converse a little with whoever's nearby. This particular tidecaller may have been gifted with a lung or two...but it's clear to everyone that her amphibious nature is more wishful thinking than truth. You maintain as diplomatic a presence around her as you can while being a musclebound hulk of a woman geared out in a full suit of battle-armor. Even if you do have to get down on your knees and twist to go through some of the tighter hatchways. Nobody dares start anything while you're around, and even the most sullenly hostile of colonists' glares smooth into a blandly inoffensive mask when they see you two and a foursome of ESCO defectors coming their way.
If you want to converse with Ms. sh'Phth, ask her any questions, or Discern any Realities about her or her accompanying forces, now's your chance.

* * *

SERENITY
While the tritons' envoy is touring the Hvalreki, you wend your own way through the press of unwashed bodies, following in her wake or getting out ahead - chatting, reassuring, flirting, and jesting. The mutie colonists have gotten precious little of this from the Ikarians, few in number as they are and a little bit elitist-minded on top of that...and while the defectors from ESCO are ostensibly on the good guys' side now, there's a chilly distance between them and their new protectees that doesn't seem likely to just up and vanish. It's hard to look past the possibility, after all, that the person now your ally might once have been paid to hurt your family. But for all that, a subtle wake of hopeful humor nevertheless spreads behind you as you walk the decks. Things may look bleak now, true; but there's nothing to fear here. If the tritons wanted you all dead, they'd be fighting, right? -- and for the most worried, you have a few extra (and not-at-all-embellished-for-once) tales of victory at arms to tell. You've seen these fish-sticks try to ambush your people twice now, and each time you drove them off and kept on going. (Although maybe you should conveniently leave out the parts about the casualties your side took, or almost took. The scar in your thigh still pains you a little.)

Unfortunately for you, however...Ramona’s over-loud whispering to you about that "secret thing" only serves to pique the envoy’s interest! Her careful questions about the purpose of this ship’s former mission, both to you and Ramona, and to the colonists she stops to converse with, bespeak a sharp and clever mind...and it’s not like you can tell Serat to stop talking to everybody without tipping her off that there really is something to hide. Her diplomat’s manner gives little away...but there’s a sinking feeling in your guts that tells you the cat may be well and truly out of the bag here.

Her interest in this little matter is only piqued further when, a few minutes later, there's a bit of a scuffle outside the hatchway of the ship’s geothaumic labs. “GET OVER HERE!” somebody yells - there’s a frantic thudding of feet, a pained grunt, and the heavy slam of a body hitting metal. You and Serat leave the labs as quickly as her locomotion permits - only to find a pair of ESCO defectors wrestling one of the colonists to the deck!

“LET ME GO!” the hapless man writhing beneath their pinioning arms shrieks. “Į’M̸ INNOCE̡N̷T!҉” Shouts of dismay and fear come from all around - “What’s going on?!” “Hey, LET HIM GO!” “What the hell are you thugs DOING?!”
Your senses that pierce lies tell you this man is decidedly not innocent. What do you and Ramona do?

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
20/24 HP; 12/12 XP; 4 Armor; 11/11 Load, Confused
I try not to mess up anything Serenity is doing and keep my mouth shut other than the rumor planting. I do make sure people get out of the envoy's way and that I'm there to catch her if she trips on some idiot but I don't try to make any plays. I especially don't drop my guard during this little distraction in case someone uses it to get the drop on anyone.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

I've earned my fee. Ta-ta!

Serenity
HP 20/20 | Weak | Armor 2 | Load 4/9 | XP 5/13
Hold 2 on Isurus


As Serenity crossed paths with the envoy, she put on her best behavior and proceeded to try and charm the daylights out of her. Subtly shading her voice to be more appealing to a triton's ear. A subservient mien to reassure Serat that she was the most important person present. Compliments carefully calculated to be flattering, without giving Serat an opening to call Serenity on them. Dealing with important people was always a tightrope; feeding their ego without making them suspicious.

So of course something had to happen to complicate matters. Shouts, and man being wrestled to the ground by security. What nonsense was going on now?

"Pardon me, your grace." Lowering her eyes, Serenity curtsied to the envoy and stepped over to the scuffle. "Gentlemen, please. Help that man to his feet and let's clear this up." She slipped into another mask, her eyes big and soulful, lips on the verge of a pout. The very face of a young lady who only wants to help. In her experience, people had a very very hard time rebuffing or saying no to that look.

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Nori
23/23 HP | 1/1 Armor | XP 2/11 | load 8/14

I ponder for a moment. His words were both flowery and threatening, but I think we got our points across.
They aren't ready to ally with us, but not having to fight a war on two fronts would be a huge help on its own.
"I think we have ourselves a deal, with one small change. We will abide by all your terms, but we have many non-combatants down here, we are working on a way to evacuate them to keep them from harm.
If I can swear to you that we will only send civilians to the surface, and that they will not return until Karthas Murgo lies dead, will that satisfy you?"
I ask him bluntly. We're both fighters after all, and speaking plainly has worked out well up until now.
Parley 8
No clue what kind of assurance I can offer for this, but I hope this works!

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ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Madi Keller
HP 22/22 | Armor 2 | XP 9/11 | Load 5/8


"If you have need of anything Lady sh’Phth," Madi's voice manages to switch from the common tongue to native tritonese, despite being a language not made to be spoken outside of water. "You need only ask. I have spent some time at the undercity Strongoath as part of certification with Ιερή Τάξη του Ερμή and have aided more than a few tritons during my time there."

Spout Lore (+Int): 2d6+3 12 hit me up with some triton physiology facts so Madi can help make this as smooth as possible for Serat

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