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Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011






“I ran with a cutter,” Kamula growls, sipping his Rannusan brandy, “always bragging on his krumping shield. Turns out,” Sip. “That battery lasts a lot slotting less than 15 centicycles when you've got a squad of slotting Khaldeans pounding on it with slotting concussion rifles.”

“Not really a situation I envision myself in,” you comment.

“Neither was getting krumping blown up and drowned in a slotting hole, I drokk-well imagine.”

“Point.” You scratch idly under the emitter harness strapped over your hips. “You have to break any arms getting here,” you inquire casually, changing the subject.

“Neg, now that you bring it up. Noticed you also got rid of that krumping smell in the corridor.”

“Nice, right? Vrade sent over some mechs to fix up the place. Oh, speaking of...”



“Is this a krumping Lancejet?”

“Figured you for someone who wanted to be able to shoot tiny rockets out of a pistol. Underwater.”






“I'm sorry, sir,” Lt. Baltzer replied to the image of Sephua Manes, laying a comforting hand on the terrified comm officers shoulder, “but the sector is entirely closed; we can't get anyone down there. Have you tried your Verdugar...procurement specialist?”

Manes' face on the comms display scowls darkly. “Yngado fled the moment things became questionable, drat his alien eyes. Midship Anselm, put me through to the Synod immediately.”

Anselm looked back over their shoulder, a fearful look in their eyes, but Baltzer simply nodded.
“We...There is still no response from the Gigantes, Sir.”

Manes' face twisted in an incredulous sneer. “Have those wretched worms forgotten that we have a fully-equipped cruiser in orbit above their wallow? Contact Strategic Command, and let us demonstrate the folly of defiance.”

“N-no response from Command, Sir.”

What? Use the proper damned codes, you lackwit! I have Blue-6 Clearance!”

“It says...it says your clearance has been revoked, Sir.”

The increasingly apoplectic visage of Commander Manes suddenly went still, and all the air seemed to leave the Prestine's bridge. All had experienced that calm, and what it presaged.
“Midship Anselm. When I return, you will--”



A silence descended as the feed suddenly cut out. Lt. Baltzer withdrew her finger from the controls, a faint smile creasing the corner of her mouth.

“Midship Anselm,” she said, “hail Celetarius. Inform Lt. Commander Selaus that they are to assume command.”

“Aye, sir.”





You slash and bite furiously, pale ichor filling your mouth and splashing your skin, but the writhing mass of feeding tendrils drags you inexorably closer to the gnashing feeding orifice. The stench of undigested meat wafts over you as the rippling, toothy sphincter opens wide, and you scream.



Ramadi topples off your bunk, caterpillar fingers detaching from you with a faint pop, laughing uproariously even as she thuds squishily to the deck.

"Matron-blazing drokk-merchant," you slur, barely intelligible through the haze of sleep and terror, jolting upright. "How high are you right now," you demand, blinking away the fog.

"Not as half as high as you jumped just now," she tease.

"And hilarity failed to ensue. How the drokk did you get in here, anyway?"

"Eh," Ramadi shrugs bonelessly, "your hatch wasn't locked in any serious way..."

"Oh, for grife's--"

"You really need to move into a place that's less...The Worst. You're lucky I wasn't an organlegger, here to jack your lobes." She pauses, eyestalks turning inward to regard one another in thought. "Although..." she singsongs, wriggling her fingers in faux-menace.

"That's it Kinu," you threaten playfully, brandishing one foot's worth of talons, "time to dance."

"Oh!" Ramadi slaps the side of her head with a sound like a dropped fish. "I entirely forgot to remember why I came in here in the first place."

"The mind boggles..."

"Right? My mnemonic discipline is known far and wide."

"The reason?"

"Oh...yeah." She glances nervously from side to side. "Comm for you."

You quirk a brow ridge, and glance down at your wristlink. "I'd know if I had any tones, Ramadi."

"No," Ramadi says anxiously, pulling a disposable burner comlink from her pocket. "The big comm."

"I...Oh."

Fury Praxis.




Go to the Limpet Beds, Green Cluster. Your contact will be a Vordubiri named Tone Tonez, who will transport you via sub to your destination: Meropus, a mothballed Praxis mining station. Your target is the navigational data locked in a datavault in the Captain's quarters.



“No, not work for hers all the time,” Tone says, whiskers trembling. “Not liking to do violent? So moving. Moving peoples, moving things. Moving.”

“I imagine she's got no dearth of beings more than willing to do violent for her,” Ramadi offers.

“Yes. Much violent. But moving only, so yous here. Hello!”

“Hello,” you grin, despite your trepidation about the forthcoming mission. “How much longer until we get to Meropus?”

“Tonez, the best at moving, take you to there in...four decicycles?”

“Getting shot hurts,” Kamula rasps conspiratorially, “but it's the waiting what'll krumping kill you.”

How will you kill the time from here to Meropus? You may choose up to two.

A. Spend time with Ramadi.
B. Spend time with Kamula.
C. Spend time with Tone.
D. Do some calibrations with Scuzzy.
E. Carefully study the facility map.



You are shaken from a doze by the bleep of a proximity notice from Tone's console.

"Here soon," the pilot says, nimble fingers flying over his panel, "prepare youselfs."

You feel the engines throttle down, the sudden absence of their constant thrum jarring. Tone guides the vessel in under its own momentum, making slight, occasional adjustments with his attitude thrusters. Peering out the fore viewport, you see the dark bulk of the station resolving out of the murk as the sub's searchlights pierce the darkness; its smooth artificial lines in stark contrast to the craggy seamount from whose near-vertical slope it juts.



"Very welcoming," Ramadi comments, "like a cooling corpse."

"Slotting security lights should have tagged us," Kamula rasps, "even in a coffin-job like this."

"I disable security," Tone replies, turning around in his seat in a manner alarming in a pilot currently performing docking maneuvers. "No enforcement mechs to make problems. Legit Praxis code, no hinky business. Convenient only."

"Right," Kamula says impassively. "Eyes on the krumping road, poz?"




You watch with growing trepidation as Tone guides the sub toward the docking structure, the pilot leaning forward and squinting as the massive shadow of the station falls over the relatively tiny vessel. Tongue protruding from tattooed snout, Tone spins the sub and edges it into position, before throttling up the ventral thrusters. Your stomach leaps into your throat as the pub lurches upward, claws digging into the arms of your seat and eyes screwed closed. The expected collision does not occur, however, as the vessel surfaces with a splash.

"Sploosh," Tone proclaims earnestly, stretching his shoulders.

"Uh--" you begin, trying to reorient yourself.

"Moonpool," Ramadi says softly, laying a hand on your shoulder.

"Right, right." You quickly bring up the facility layout on your wrist link and activate the holodisplay. "So," you say, pointing, "we're...here. The crew quarters are here, and this is the place we're looking for.



"So, here's the plan:

"In and out, no tourism. Ramadi, you deal with any sealed hatches or narrow grates in our way. Kamula, you're there if--" You can feel the dubious looks fired in your direction. "--Okay, when things get complicated. Scuzzy for tech support, extra eyes, and those hard-to-reach places."

Poz?

F. Chel. Time to work.
G. Kamula: "We're in more slotting danger from--" He gestures with his chin at Tone "-- deciding to leave us dangling with krumping cods in hand than from deactivated security mechs. I should stay here, keep things krumping civilized."
H. Ramadi: "I can handle things here...Bring up our squadlink on the sub's system, and I can coordinate from here. While also..." Her eyestalks tilt cagily toward Tone. "The thing Kamula said."
I. Regal: "If...'that' is really a concern, why don't I just stay here with the sub? I can do anything technical with Scuzzy that I could in person, and I'm also...equipped to deal with...'that'."

Tone squints through beady eyes at your group, whiskers twitching.
"Not entirely scrods-brained, yous know. Will not roll on yous, but leave someones if wanted...Less boring with talking to someones.

Adbot
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Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



E H

Ramadi can read the plans and such to us while relaying any additional info the awesome space russian weasel's sub finds.

Scuzzy on point, us in the center, Kamula brings up the rear.

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




BE - We still don't know the new guy so well and he's probably pretty decent at reading hostile grounds. Might as well spend the hour doing both.

ANYTHING BUT H - Sure he won't just leave for kicks, but do we want to give him a possible payday he might not be able to resist by leaving him someone worth kidnapping as a traitor to her community? (If I have to positively vote, F is fine.)

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


C E F

I like this little bugger. Get some time getting to know him in case we need a "best at moving" sometime later. And more familiarity with the territory is a good plan as well. Gotta trust that our employer's rep will keep the pilot in line.

Also, see that lack of a hatch lock at the start? Told y'all we need better digs. Forget the neighborhood outreach and get someplace we can fortify and deck out.

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





DE G I.

How far is Scuzzy's range compared to the distance between Docking and Personnel? Might be better for Regal to stay in the sub if Scuzzy can be our avatar the entire way.

HBar fucked around with this message at May 17, 2016 around 02:15

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



HBar posted:

How far is Scuzzy's range compared to the distance between Docking and Personnel? Might be better for Regal to stay in the sub if Scuzzy can be our avatar the entire way.

You've upgraded Scuzzy's range quite a bit. Barring significant active interference, you should be able to link anywhere in the facility from the sub.

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





Thanks! In that case, switching from G to I.

Lazaruise
Jan 25, 2009


So what did we end up voting on from the last update?


Also BDF

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



Lazaruise posted:

So what did we end up voting on from the last update?

Standard Lifestyle, you upgraded Scuzzy's storage capacity, installed a cutting laser, bought yourself the personal shield, cleaned up Habstack East-3, and got Kamula a present.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011





If your last job has taught you anything, it's that an exhaustive knowledge of all the ducts, conduits, and maintenance infrastructure underpinning a facility can be the difference between life and being crushed into a small, fleshy ball of ooze and bone chips. You whiled away the decicycles playing with the various overlays on the facility map, and are now relatively certain you can fabricate whatever shortcut or escape path might be required by circumstances.

There's only so long one can peer at a display, however, before the data starts to get fuzzy, and the characters swim like a run of scrod. Ramadi seemed quite capable of keeping herself occupied with a pressure helmet and a healthy shake of flaked argonic, so while making a handful of tweaks and calibrations to your drone, you engaged Kamula in a bit of conversation.

“...so he's drifting out the krumping lock and I've got no way to follow, poz? He looks back, drokk-eating grin on most of his grife-damned mouths, and what can I do? This sleeb-humper spaced my whole squad, and here I am clinging to the slotting wall like a slotting scrab. So of course, I disengage my slotting boots and send him a baradium missile for the krumping road. Jets me back to the launch while I watch the krumping pyrotechnics. You ever see a proton charge go up inside a methane-breather's suit? Thing of krumping beauty. That does remind me of another op...”

Perhaps conversation is overstating things.



Under standby power, the station is dimly-lit and eerily quiet. Only the faintest of reactor noise hums up through the decks, and equipment and security mechs loom gray and motionless in the gloom. Scuzzy's sensors detect no anomalous activity as it scouts ahead, but that does little to assuage your anxiety as you creep through the sepulchral corridors.

Ahead looms the pressure door to the primary access lift, broad enough to admit two laden cargo sledges abreast. The control panel is dark, but as you send in Scuzzy to link with the system, a soft backlight appears. Checking your wristlink as your drone's datajack interfaces with the door, it seems that you can avoid having to use the laborious manual controls if you can spoof a command signal. You hail your pilot on comms.

“You tone to Tone,” he chirps.

“Hoy, do you have executive access to the lift? Would save us a skitch of bother...”

“Negs,” Tone responds sadly. “Tone only best at moving, only have dockings code.”

A. Spoof the command (with drone assist). There is a slight chance of triggering a security response if you fail to correctly transmit the signal on the first try.
B. Have Kamula operate the manual controls. It will take roughly half a centi-cycle of cranking to open or close the gigantic door in this manner.
C. Have Ramadi (with drone assist) hot-jack the panel. Running a physical bypass will take about the same time as the manual controls, but the door can then be closed instantly by removing the bypass. This method bears a slight chance of security response.
D. According to your research of the facility map, there is a maintenance shaft running parallel to the lift. The climb would be time-consuming and onerous, but would eliminate the chance of security entanglements.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


C

Fortune favors the bold. So let's knock.

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



Let's go with C.

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





D. The mechs are liable to wake up sooner or later. By taking the duct we make sure it won't happen too early, and we get familiar with the escape route where they can't fit.

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




HBar posted:

D. The mechs are liable to wake up sooner or later. By taking the duct we make sure it won't happen too early, and we get familiar with the escape route where they can't fit.

Good an argument as any. D.

Lazaruise
Jan 25, 2009


Xiphopagus posted:


“...so he's drifting out the krumping lock and I've got no way to follow, poz? He looks back, drokk-eating grin on most of his grife-damned mouths, and what can I do? This sleeb-humper spaced my whole squad, and here I am clinging to the slotting wall like a slotting scrab. So of course, I disengage my slotting boots and send him a baradium missile for the krumping road. Jets me back to the launch while I watch the krumping pyrotechnics. You ever see a proton charge go up inside a methane-breather's suit? Thing of krumping beauty. That does remind me of another op...”

Perhaps conversation is overstating things.



D for the reasons stated above

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

I like option D because sneaky.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


Fine fine. But when we're being chased through the ducts by a horde of arachnislugs or some such and you really wish there was a blast door to slam in their freaky faces, think of your non C votes and despair.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011





"The increased diameter," Ramadi comments as she scales the narrow column of rungs stapled into the wall, "while a positive, is, I feel, more than canceled out by the inherent...verticality."

You don't look down at Ramadi, fearing what glimpsing the inky depths of the shaft would do to your peace of mind, and instead look upward. Above you, however, the shaft ascends to dizzying heights, inflicting a hint of the vertigo you'd tried to avoid. You decide to keep your eyes on the next few rungs, instead.

"Which leaves the fact that this particular tube isn't flooded," you reply, trying to distract yourself. "Seems like a largeish tick in the 'pro' column to me."

"See, Reeg, I can't help but feel it's easier for you and Kamula to downplay the extreme upness of this leg of our enterprise, given that neither of you are the owner-operators of a pair of meat arms."

"Granted, if you'll accept that drowning in a tube might be a larger motivator for someone who isn't an amphibian."

Ramadi is quiet for a moment, and the only noise is the grunting of effort and the ringing of appendages on rungs.
"Call it a wash, then," she pipes up finally.

"Or, let's...just put a pin in this one until after the job is over, let's."

"Whatever you want, Reeg, I can compile our Worst Tubes list on my own time, I suppose. I'm just saying, you know, we'll be climbing this thing for a healthy sector of the immediate future, and one needs delay the onset of Space Madness somehow. Scuzzy got any torchy tunes loaded?"

"Being bored does not constitute space madness," you groan. "And Scuzzy is a sophisticated reconnaissance instrument, not a beatslang. But...yes. Hey K, you like Grazl mecha-pop? I have the new Arachnislug Menace..."

Kamula climbs in silence, his musical tastes remaining a mystery for the ages.







"Are we there yet?"

"You can be replaced, Kinu."







After what seems like a deci-cycle of laborious ascent, Scuzzy's searchlight illuminates the hatch leading to the crew section.

"Praise Jubah and Her writhing young," Ramadi groans, clambering breathlessly onto the landing with a heavy squish.

Once you've gathered your squad on the narrow landing, you twist and pull the release mechanism, the hatch sliding open with a dull hiss.

"Looks like more of the same," you comment, bringing up your wrestling as Scuzzy zips out into the corridor. "Poor lighting, powered-down mechs, looks cl--Hold on."

"Whatcha got, Reeg," Ramadi inquires, as she and Kamula peer over your shoulder at your link.



"That look like a bloodstain to you?"

"Unless someone spilled their krumping juice box," Kamula growls.

As Scuzzy surveys the corridors, you see more bloodstains, as well as some alarmingly deep gouges and punctures in the deck plating.

"What in the Hegemon's balls made those," you gasp breathlessly.

"Not small arms fire," Kamula rasps. "Punched through the krumping decks without melting the slotting edges. But it's the neg sighting that's got me the itchy eye,"

"No bodies..."

"Poz. Either they straightened the krumping place up a bit before they left, or..."

A. Ramadi: "If we were hypothetically going to jet, now would be an exceptional time to do so. Hypothetically."
B. Regal: "Neg on jetting. Looks like whatever happened already happened. We keep Scuzzy on wide scout detail, and we get this done last cycle."
C. Ramadi: "So I'm totally not saying it'll happen...but, you know, just in case we have to exfiltrate with alacrity, how's-if I jack the lift on this level while you worthy stalwarts assume custody of the paydata and stuff?"
D. Kamula: "Not the worst plan, but drokk if we're leaving you exposed out in the krumping corridor. Regal can well handle herself and the data for a tick or two while I cover you."
E. Regal: "Actually, I'm hazy on the and stuff bit of it. How about, Kamula goes in with drone support; I can grab the data remotely via Scuzzy, while keeping Ramadi company out here. That way we're covered wherever trouble starts?"
F. Scuzzy: "Beep, boop, weeoo~..." (Write-in)

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


Not Alex posted:

Fine fine. But when we're being chased through the ducts by a horde of arachnislugs or some such and you really wish there was a blast door to slam in their freaky faces, think of your non C votes and despair.



And E. Buddy system!

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





B. Stick together, don't go anywhere that isn't well-scouted.

It looks like there's some kind of beast on the loose. The mechs shot it while it was attacking something and making those gashes on the floor, but it survived and whoever's in charge here could only stop it by evacuating and shutting everything down to trap and starve it. If the bloody floor gash is where it attacked a person, the body might be gone because it was eaten later.

If the owners are determined to get this place running again, they could be returning at any moment with superior firepower.

Tran
Feb 17, 2011

It's a pleasure to meet all of you. Especially in such a fine settin' as this. Just need us some music an' a brawl an' we'll be set.

D: Kamula knows violence. Trust the cyborg.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



Notice to lurkers:
If we can get a consensus today, I can roll out the next update this weekend. Otherwise, it'll probably be Monday.

got some chores tonight
Feb 18, 2012

honk honk whats for lunch...


E

Gravedust
Nov 2, 2011

You're going to die.


Finally got a chance to check out this thread and it is just great.
Love the art and especially the writing.

Anyway, E.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



Ramadi's nimble fingers squirm inside the guts of the lift door control, her lack of bones rendering impediments like awkward angles and lack of space moot.

“For all that this is a big-time secure facility,” she comments, eyestalks weaving in concentration, “I think this is actually easier than on Thoon. There, you can never entirely anticipate what flavor of scrod-flipper hack-job you're going to be dealing with. This? This is pristine, out-of-box business. Kind of amazing how much easier it is to deal with legitimate electronic components than scrap wire and lumps of hardened Grazl puke.

As Ramadi fiddles, you split your attention between the empty corridors and the images on your wristlink. Remotely deploying a simple dataspike, you make short work of the lock on the captain's quarters via Scuzzy's datajack. As the hatch hisses open, you hear a short grunt from Kamula.

"Everything Chel, K?"

"Place stinks of krumping corpse," Kamula whispers harshly.

"I'll take a look," you reply, steering Scuzzy inside.



The interior of the cabin is lit only by the faint glow of various displays blinking on and by Scuzzy's searchlight. Stretched out on the bunk, you find the station's captain, or at least the mortal remains thereof. A bright splash of phosphorescent blood marks the wall behind his head, a hand pulser lying next to him. The side table bears a well-depleted bottle of Vrantic truth-water, as well as a scriv illuminated with an active document.

Scuzzy executes a low sweep of the scene, and you read the filter-enhanced text off the surface of the captain's scriv:

If you're reading this, you either already know more than me, or you're as slotted as the rest of us. Sorry about that.
We put the station to sleep; hoped the thing would go dormant once the EM emissions diminished. It didn't. We shut down the mechs, but most of our people have implants of some kind, and those we can't just shut down. Confined all hands to quarters; it doesn't care about doors, but it served to keep the crew contained...
Company rules are very clear about this kind of disclosure, but the rules also dictated the deep scans that woke the grife-damned thing up, so Praxis can oscillate.
Maiden of Archival keep me, because I don't deserve it.


You jerk your head up, eyes darting to and fro as you peer and listen intently for any sign of trouble.
“Not to rush you,” you whisper loudly to Ramadi, “but--”

“But you're rushing me anyway,” Ramadi finishes.

“Let's...let's just say our rapid completion of this objective has been incentivized.”

“Most pleased to hear that,” Ramadi replies, flinching away from a small spark, “because I'd really been dragging my feet before.”

“K,” you murmur into your comm, “you get that? We need to move.”

“On it,” Kamula rasps. “Get your little toy humping this console, already.”

Scuzzy zips over to the executive console built into the wall. As it interfaces, you note that among various station status telltales, the screen bears an ominous statement:

Terminus Protocol Complete...Vent crew quarters? Y/N _

“He gassed the entire crew,” you mutter, ice settling in the pit of your stomach.

“But took the stylish exit himself,” Kamula scoffs. “Even wrote a little note. Precious krumping princess drama.”

Scuzzy whirrs and clicks as its datajack slices through layers of encryption to pierce the datavault.

“Fifteen percent,” you declare. “Shouldn't take more than...” Your words trail off into shocked silence as you see the...thing emerging from a vent.



An extrusion of dark, glossy fluid squeezes out into the corridor, snapping into a perfect hovering sphere. It floats, silent and motionless, for a moment, before drifting steadily in your direction.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...


“K, Ramadi” you choke, “incoming!”
“On my way,” barks Kamula in your ear.
“Reeeeg? What in The Great Effervescence is that,” blurts Ramadi.
19%, reads Scuzzy's progress.

A. Fire your pulser at the orb.
B. Engage the orb in melee.
C. Evasive maneuvers!
D. Evasive my aunt's cloaca! Back into that maintenance hatch and run!
E. Cartel qwags probably tried to shoot or dissect it. Try communicating with it.

Activate your shield?
F. Yes
G. No

Kamula is currently on his way to you while Scuzzy accesses the objective and Ramadi bypasses the lift controls. Would you like to change that?
H. Ramadi: _________________
I. Kamula: ________________
J. Scuzzy: _________________

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





1. C. Looks like it could navigate the hatch faster than we can, and we don't want to lead it back to our one and only ride out of here.
2. G. Try not to use anything high-energy or electromagnetic, judging by the captain's notes that'll make the situation even worse.
3. H (Ramadi): Slot the controls, just run!

edit:
I (Kamula): Keep a safe distance from the blob. Do not engage unless it's about to kill someone. We don't have to kill it, just keep it distracted during data access and escape.

HBar fucked around with this message at May 21, 2016 around 02:33

Tran
Feb 17, 2011

It's a pleasure to meet all of you. Especially in such a fine settin' as this. Just need us some music an' a brawl an' we'll be set.

1.C: We're bait. Draw it off Ramadi. Regal is built for sprinting, we can buy time to finish the job.
2. G; F: Only flip the shield on if our floating blob antagonist tries to change target.
3. H & I: Powering up parts of the station sounds like a really bad idea right now, and K and his extensive bodywork need to stay far away from the black blob.

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


Plan Tran

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



E because EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Elfface
Nov 14, 2010

Da-na-na-na-na-na-na
IRON JONAH

If this thing feeds off of EM energy, then Ramadi is probably the least tempting meal for it. Which is a good thing, since as competent as K is, we don't want to lose our stoner-buddy best friend totally-not-girlfriend.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Stars emit electromagnetic radiation. If it's intelligent offer to hurl it into a star if it doesn't eat us.

Then betray it and hurl it into the void between stars.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



As the uncanny black sphere levitates toward you, every instinct screams at you to run (except for one inexplicable impulse that assures you everything is fine, that you should try talking to it). The low thrumming of the thing makes your bones ache and your teeth feel loose, and a dull pain begins to radiate from the linkages of your bionic arms. It is an ever more difficult struggle not to simply bolt.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
21%.


"No," you bark to Kamula over comms, "stay with Scuzzy. This thing has some kind of anti-synthetic capability. Ramadi, slot the controls, get back to the sub. I'll hold this thing off while we get the data." Ramadi protests, but her words wash over you without being heard.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
24%


The orb's slow but inexorable approach continues. You feel the noise more than you hear it now. From this distance, you can see your own distorted reflection in the orb's featureless, blue-black surface, see your eyes widened in fear, see the trickle of blood from your nostrils.



...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
You run.

With a deft pivot, you dash down the corridor away from the orb. The orb follows. Your sprinter's body eats the meters, but you feel the entity keeping pace. Every time you skid into a turn, you feel it gaining, its seemingly inertialess propulsion cornering effortlessly.



...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
You run.

Your pulse pounds in your tympana, but your mind commands your body to transcend the effort, and a kind of euphoria begins to wash over you. A springy lightness fills your legs, and you redouble your sprint, the darkened corridors becoming a blur.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
52%.


You slip.



You enter a turn too fast, claws scrabbling on the decks as you attempt to arrest your skid. You feel the entity closing in as you slam broadside into the wall with a breathless bark of pain, feel a sudden hot pain as something gives way in your side. You tense tortured muscles and throw yourself forward, as much leaping as running, as a cluster of long, tapered pseudopods penetrate the spot you held half a tick before. You feel feathers tearing free of your crest, hear a series of sharp impacts in the floor behind you as you run, but you dare not stop.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
63%.


You can't keep on like this.

The near catastrophe has shattered your sprinter's fugue. You are awash in pain; ribs bruised on the right side from your impact with the wall, legs pounding with black-hot heat at every step. You don't have the breath to both run and comm your crew, so you can only hope that they're doing better than you. You run, but you can feel your tail sagging, your hips losing their perfect alignment. Sooner or later, you're going to mess up again, and then you're going to die.


...vrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmrrrrrmmmmmrrrrmmm...
72%.


You have to do something.

A. Break for the shaft. You don't feel great about your chances to evade this thing, but if Ramadi followed your instructions, it's the only way out, now.
B. Head for the Captain's quarters. Try to blurt out a breathless warning to Kamula, then 'tag out'.
C. Attack the orb. Maybe it won't be expecting that?
D. Maybe you could try talking to it?
E. Something else. ___________________.

Will you do anything to possibly buy yourself time and/or opportunity to do this? (You may select more than one, though multiple selections may have additional consequences, as appropriate.)

F. There are emergency bulkhead releases regularly spaced throughout the corridors as a safety feature. If you slam some doors in this thing's face featureless leading surface, it might slow it down a bit. You might also lose track of it, however.
G. Activate your shield. You don't know exactly what will happen, but maybe it will give you some slight margin of survival if the thing engages you?
H. Bring in Scuzzy for a distraction. You'll probably lose your drone and potentially the mission, but maybe you'll live?
I. Have Scuzzy reactivate the security mechs from the Captain's console. This may slightly delay progress on the datavault, and be advised that the mechs will probably shoot at you as well.
J. Have Scuzzy perform some other executive task from the Captain's console: ________________________________.
K. Bonus: Your studious perusal of the facility map has informed you of the location of major utility conduits. There should be a primary power feed running behind the wall not too far away, but what interests you is the coolant feed running in parallel. It's a lot to demand in your current strait, but if you could find it, and bait the thing into attacking it...?

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



A K

Do a slip'n'slide and rebound off the coolant thing. It attacked last time we bumped into something, could work to freeze it or something. Then we GTFO.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Blasphemaster posted:

A K

Do a slip'n'slide and rebound off the coolant thing. It attacked last time we bumped into something, could work to freeze it or something. Then we GTFO.

This and slice it open with our hyper claw

Elfface
Nov 14, 2010

Da-na-na-na-na-na-na
IRON JONAH

A, G, E: Activate then ditch the shield, maybe it'll be drawn to an easy meal and give us time to get away.

HBar
Sep 13, 2007

I LOVE THEM APPLES





Blasphemaster posted:

A K

Do a slip'n'slide and rebound off the coolant thing. It attacked last time we bumped into something, could work to freeze it or something. Then we GTFO.
This. Don't touch it even with a claw. There were claw marks on the floor earlier, it's safe to say those attacks were completely ineffective. And a single point of contact could be all it needs to adhere and engulf us.

edit:
On second thought, AGKE. Activate and throw the shield at the conduit as we pass by. A bounce might not be enough for the blob to break into the cooling line, we need to goad it into a full attack. And we can't afford another bruising wall slam in our current state.

HBar fucked around with this message at May 25, 2016 around 01:20

Gravedust
Nov 2, 2011

You're going to die.


Blasphemaster posted:

A K

Do a slip'n'slide and rebound off the coolant thing. It attacked last time we bumped into something, could work to freeze it or something. Then we GTFO.

Voting for this, it's got Pizzazz.

Bee Bonk
Feb 19, 2011



You sweep your eyes frantically around the corridors, looking for the segment of wall you know bears the coolant channel. Silently, you curse the lack of Scuzzy's optical overlays, and make a mental note to look into an eyejob if you live through this.

The maddening hum of the entity behind you drives you onward, and you put on one last burst of speed, ignoring the screaming of your oxygen-deprived muscles.
There, your memory insists, between the doors with nameplates reading Coure, N and I-Kraff, P, that's the place.

You drop and slide, feet-first into the wall, weary leaper's muscles coiling in readiness to spring away. You face your inexorable pursuer, who does not disappoint, staring warily as and willing your legs not to fail you as the orb glides ever closer.





Wait for it...

You hear the faint modulation in the entity's droning before you see the first budding of its deadly blades, and the tension in your legs explodes into action.





You spring out and to the side, leaping clear as the orb launches a cluster of deadly blades into the wall behind you. There is a furious hiss of released gasses, and you fall heavily to the deck, nearly spent. Frigid vapor begins to pour out of the ruptured pipe behind the wall, filling the corridor with snaking coils of freezing fog. You think you see the entity's blades, still embedded in the wall, beginning to change color, growing duller and whiter, but you have more pressing concerns...





The orb doesn't turn or change direction, merely extrudes another killing limb. It seems sluggish, but you are still struggling to stand. You reach for the control to your shield as it raises the fluid scythe high, and...









CRACK!











The frozen orb's extended blades snap as the entity drops out of the air, striking the ground with a thunderous crack. It does not move.

Struggling to your feet, you glance at your link. Scuzzy has fully penetrated the vault and uploaded the target contents. Time to go.
“Data secure,” you groan over comms.

“Reeg,” comes Ramadi's concerned voice, “you okay?”

“I will be,” you reply, “when we're well out of here and well into a bottle of shimmerswig. Copy, K?”

“Just let me pack up my krumping picnic basket and put my shoes back on,” he rasps, “and I'll be with you presently.”

There's plenty of other potentially sensitive data in this vault; would you like to take a little time to grab that, as well?
A. Yep.
B. Nope.


What do you want to do with this thing?
C. LEAVE IT. LEAVE IT AND GO.
D. Try to shatter it or crack it open.
E. Have Kamula blow it up.
F. Roll it to the maintenance shaft and drop it all the way down to who-knows-where.
G. Try to get it back to the sub and Haha, no. Something else: _________________________.

Blasphemaster
Jul 10, 2008



A C

Have Scuzzy keep datamining while we leg it. While we're at it see if it can tap into a security camera to keep an eye on murderorb. The team heads back to the bus, and Scuzzy keeps mining until all interesting leads are exhausted. If the orb so much as shivers, Scuzzy heads home at best speed. Freefall through the access shaft we used to get here and hit repulsors halfway down to slow down in time to not crash ifit can. If we can't keep an eye on the orb, ALL GTFO full stop.

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Gravedust
Nov 2, 2011

You're going to die.


A
C (in the strongest possible terms)

Jerb's done, let's not test our luck with Superdeathspheres any more than we need to...

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