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Look Around You
Jan 19, 2009

You're just lucky my jaw is broken!


Six months have passed since a Plisean Alliance elite, classified strike team under the immediate command of Admiral Bostok Veeder infiltrated the Dark Spire and assassinated the Vular leader, Archmagister Vicar Tulen. The assassination caused a violent succession conflict that coincided with a forceful naval counteroffensive mounted by the Alliance, breaking the Vular forces’ will to fight and bringing an end to the destructive Galactic War a short time later. War crime trials are still being conducted against some of the former Vular forces and scientists, and the worlds that the Vular reached (including the Halfling homeworld of Varia and the Elven homeworld of Yhivale) in the Plisean Arm of the galaxy are being rebuilt as best as possible.

With the existential threat of the Vular gone, trade and solidarity among the Alliance members remains ostensibly strong, though some daylight is beginning to show. There has been a huge push to rebuild the Alliance worlds, though not every world is being restored at the same pace. Yhivale in particular has been given priority over all other worlds by the Alliance, leading to massive amounts of funding and labor being devoted to its restoration. This inequity has led to a great deal of resentment of the Elves, particularly from the Halflings and from the (primarily, but not exclusively Human) inhabitants of colonies that were once closer to Vular space that got overrun much earlier in the war.

Meanwhile, a large number of veterans returning from the war have been disaffected with the Alliance (and society in general) despite the immense amount of praise and reverence given to them by the civilian population, as most of them have come home to either rubble or a lack of jobs. This has led to a spike in crime in general, and piracy in specific as a large number of sailors and marines have decided to apply their skills in new ways after finding nothing for them at home.

Due to the hairline fractures beginning to appear in the Alliance and growing distrust of existing operatives, the Alliance Office for Collective Intelligence (OCI) has decided to outsource its investigation into recent, temporary disappearances isolated among leaders in the rebuilding colonies on the edge of the old border to Vular space. For an unknown reason, after going missing for a short period of time, the leaders seem to suddenly reappear, with no memory of their disappearance whatsoever. The OCI have extended offers to a diverse set of select individuals they believe capable of investigating and resolving this situation discreetly, and have given full authority to do so.

Though you were given no explicit reason by the OCI, you were one of the individuals contracted for the assignment. Whether your background is military or civilian, bodyguard or doctor, alliance loyalist or skeptic, something drew the OCI to you, and you feel compelled to take their “offer”, for some reason (though who knows whether that reason is direct pressure applied to you by the OCI or out of a loyalty to the alliance).

---
Setting Information

This is a sequel to my previous, long running sci-fi 4e game, Starlight (original recruit post) The universe is the same, though the setting evolved a bit from that OP.

Space Travel and The Galaxy:
Apracis is a spiral galaxy consisting of two major arms, the Pelan arm and the Relan arm. It is roughly 180,000 lightyears in diameter. The majority of the galaxy is colonized or otherwise inhabited, either on planets or in space stations for resupply if for no other purpose, however the outer edges of the galaxy tend to be less populated, less travelled, and less funded than the area near the core and the centers of the arms. The Plisean Alliance resides in the Pelan arm, while the Vular hailed from the Relan arm. The areas where the spirals came near each other were hotspots in the Galactic War

Space travel exists, including faster than light travel. Jumps are increasingly less accurate the further the destination, so most travel is done in sequences of short “hops” between systems, usually of about 1000 lightyears. Ships also require, on average, one day for every 2000 ly jumped to recharge the FTL systems on their own using solar power, though if a ship is docked at a port there are typically rechargers that can shorten this time to anywhere from a few hours (at high tech ports, such as on the wealthiest trade planets) to 16 hours (at rudimentary ports), with the average port taking roughly 8 hours to fully recharge an FTL drive. Different ships also have different distances that they can travel before needing to recharge. It takes roughly one galactic month (30 days) to get from one end to the other, due to there being a web of ports, trade worlds, and even unmanned recharge stations scattered throughout the galaxy.

On technology and magic: This is a bit more of a “pure” sci-fi game. Magic does not really exist in this universe. Weapon technology is more advanced: guns (both slug throwers and energy) and energy melee weapons exist. Mechanically they’re the same as the existing weapons (bows/swords/etc) in the PHB to avoid balance issues, but are full reskins. Advanced robotics and technology, including nanotechnology, exists as well, and controlling nano machines supplemented by other gadgets (e.g. grenade launchers or anything else you can think of) can be used in place of magic powers (for example, a “wizard” could send nano machines filled with sedatives out for Sleep or use a grenade launcher for Fireball), so you can reskin your whole character to out of any class you can think of (nanomachines are just an example, not the only way to do it!). In summary, technology is sufficiently advanced to replicate magical power sources, so as long as you can figure out an explanation, you’re free to reskin to it!.

Reskinning is the name of the game! As mentioned above, the setting not having magic does not preclude the use of non-martial power sources! Just reskin as appropriate!

---

Format: Asynchronous Play By Discord
App Deadline: 2/8/2021 at 11:59pm US Eastern

Character Creation:
Starting Level: 3
Backgrounds: 1
(Dark Sun) Themes: Allowed
Inherent Bonuses: On
Free Feats: Improved Defenses, Melee Training, One Expertise feat
Starting Gear: One non-rare magic item each of level 2, 3, 4; 520gp
Banned: Dragonmark Feats, Pixies
Note: Please don’t roll anything too broken/ridiculously overpowered. I know this is hard at level 3 but future plans count too! We’re all here to have fun and have a challenge and if your build is game-breaking that’s not really much fun for anyone but you. Use your discretion and definitely ask if you’re unsure if something seems on the edge of broken or unfun to play with/against.

Character Questions:
* What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
* What made you accept the “offer”?
* What is your view of the Alliance?


One slot is taken up by Melchiresa, who is apping a striker of some kind, so I am looking for 5 players!

Make sure you join the Discord Server!

Edit: If you've apped to one of my games before you already know this, but I prefer a .pdf copy of your character sheet in addition to the orokos one. You can get this by opening up "character sheet" in cbloader and then printing to PDF. ALSO! If you need cbloader, ask about it on the discord server

Edit to add below:
Below is some history on the setting courtesy of the original game's OP!

Original Starlight OP posted:

One month ago, the Vular Imperium took control of a small trade world on the edge of the Pelan Arm, Teris*, from the Plisean Alliance. They rule with an iron fist, accepting nothing less than complete submission and service to the Imperium. The first thing they did was cut off all space travel on and off of the planet, cutting off trade routes, leaving many without work or goods to sell. Then they imposed martial law with a strict curfew. They have been boarding their soldiers in private homes and hotels, commandeering civilian vehicles and stealing food and medical supplies. Their actions have fostered a great deal of resentment among the people of Teris, which fomented a rebellion, which in turn started executions for those suspected of sympathizing with the Alliance or the rebellion. Support for the rebellion has grown immensely over the past two weeks and they are ready to launch their first major operation: sending a squad to destroy the statue of the Imperium’s leader, Archmagister Vicar Tulen, that was set up in the main square of the capital city, Tremont, dealing a great symbolic blow to the occupying government’s legitimacy.

The Vular Imperium is mainly controlled by Drow, with many “lesser” races under them. It has been rapidly expanding from its homeworld on the planet Vular in the Relan Arm of the two armed spiral galaxy Apracis. They have recently began expanding into the Pelan Arm, most of which is controlled by the Plisean Alliance, an alliance based on the planet Plisea, made up many races but led by the Humans (whose homeworld is Elan, a world covered with urban sprawl), the Elves (Yhivale, a lush, mostly preserved forest planet) and the Dwarves (Uldent, a rocky planet honeycombed with mineshafts). The Imperium has control of roughly 1/6 of the Pelan arm now, and are approaching Yhivale. The Alliance is on its heels and has been unable to slow their advance.


SETTING FAQs
What is the origin of the Vular? The Vular were a Drow empire who were extremely matriarchal and very despotic, in addition to being very Drow-supremicist. They were controlled exclusively by the Archmagister prior to her assassination, which is why they fell apart relatively quickly after her death.
How long did the War last? It was around 8 years long
What kind of war crimes did the Vular commit? They kidnapped people, performed scientific experimentation on them, and forced people from captured planets into slavery, among other things. The Alliance wasn't entirely innocent either (they may or may not have been attempting to develop a highly infectious bioweapon), but they won so they're the ones that get to say how bad the other side was!
If religion is not a power source, that means there's no religion, right? No, there are certainly religions and religious sects, they just didn't play a large role in the first game, and "the gods" don't provide powers to anyone. Religions might, however, by potentially having access to advanced technology that may otherwise be hard to obtain.

MECHANICAL FAQs
How are Science and Computer checks being handled? We'll use Arcana for science/tech. It seems to match pretty seamlessly how Arcana/magic is used in more traditional settings.
Is "Dungeoneering", like, facilities and bases now, or is it still more "conventional" dungeoneering? It could be used for both!
How are arcane/divine power sources being handled? In Starlight 1, our taxi bard had their arm cut off by the vular and replaced by an experimental prosthetic with a teleporter in it. Our warlock was a "warforged" robot who belonged to a religion and who used built in blasters and cannons. Our Druid used bio-derived weapons. Any of this and more is possible, just think outside the box

Look Around You fucked around with this message at 22:21 on Jan 28, 2021

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TheArchimage
Dec 17, 2008


Registering interest, gonna make either a controller (druid or psion), a shaman, or a hybrid of those two.

berenzen
Jan 23, 2012





Interest post here, thinking about a teleport-focused bard or a dual-wielding pistol rogue.

Zemyla
Aug 6, 2008

I'll take her off your hands. Pleasure doing business with you!

Posting interest. Among the options I've considered are a ninja with chameleon skin, or a fighter with a netgun, but I can come up with a character to fill any role needed.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


I like D&D 4e, so I might try to put something together for this. Does anybody have a link to a character creator? I don't have all the books... Nevermind! I had a copy of it, somewhere, somehow!

Davin Valkri fucked around with this message at 05:55 on Jan 28, 2021

Doomykins
Jun 28, 2008

Didn't you mean to ask about flowers?





Varvara Sheet
Mercenary Naga Brute and Investment of the Eye of the Serpent(Battlemind)

Denizens of the planet Duhoxxes Prime are renowned for survival in a punishing environment. With gravity a tier higher than most even the basic cells of primordial life emerged with an ornery edge, steadily evolving into multiple hardy species. The stone-born and beastial took to the surface to escape the stone they were born in while the scale-bound and bearded took to the underground. Although cultural divides emerged among those races that lived together, rigid codes of honor and trust emerged due to the demands of survival in an extra hostile biome. Trade was steady, cordial, but it was understood that Duhoxxes had room enough for two planet-wide cultures... and space enough to let them stay separated. Most of them rather enjoyed the quiet, to be honest. Science and craftsmanship advanced unerringly forward under diverse strata of Dwarf, Gnome, Naga and Kobold of the Underdark and a cornerstone of Alliance commerce emerged, unpopular as it was with tourists and businessmen. The greatest enemy of the star system would soon emerge, brought by the aggression of the Vular Empire: Change.

Respect for the homeworld led to strict efforts to maintain it. Sustainability and cleanliness were virtues. All that changed soon under vicious slash and burn resource gathering led by the Drow armies. The first casualties were great stretches of the surface, torn apart by invaders leading a lengthy siege. When they finally broke into the fortresses of the Underdark they took a cruel revenge, emptying out government resources and polluting as much as they could manage in the remaining years of Galactic War. Feeling the pressure of their expansion, the Vular took what they needed in the worst fashion. Duhoxxes suffered greatly under their brief rule and many denizens of the planet died senseless or vanished as sudden "workforce" acqusitions. Six months later the feeling of relief among the populace endures, the task to repair their great cities and save their planet an all-consuming one.

For most, at least. Their culture insulted, their honor broken, the life and security they knew violated, Duhoxxes is seeing a great exodus. Some have left to reunite their families, hoping that P.O.W.s and conscripts can return home. Others are disheartened, resigned to start over again elsewhere. And still others... never really fit in to begin with.

---

quote:

Scene: A minimalist apartment on a heavily industrialized planet in the Pelan Arm, central Alliance territory...

A cheap alarm clock patiently processes standardized galactic time and shifts it to account for starlight on this particular planet, ticking over to 5 AM far before any such light would touch the cityscape. The alarm shifts on and the backlight inverts, illuminating the slumbering black-scale patches on the back of the sole occupant's head.

Music serenades the rising naga as she dutifully clears her morning routine with the usual gusto, ready to attack the day in a sashaying pleated skirt and a tank-top proudly bearing an honest declaration: I <3 PAIN. It's the usual aggressive jog to the gym and the first heavy lifts of the day! You can't get guns like these without putting in the work!

---

After a six pack of sausage rolls from the first food cart to open in sight, Varvara is sure to stop by her favorite bookie's house, catching the charming little Human scratching his side and smoking a cigarette on his balcony. "HEY, SMART GUY!" An overhead swing delivers a small plastic case of credits from the street to the second floor! "YOU WIN THIS TIME! BUT! DOUBLE OR NOTHING ON THE BIG FIGHT TONIGHT!" Grey-skinned arms with black-scale lines from wrists to elbows to shoulders rise in a ferocious double flex. "YOU GOTTA GIVE ME A CHANCE TO PRESERVE MY HONOR!" The earnest determination on this face can't be faked.

Edgar can only count the credits and raise a stunned thumbs up in agreement. It's only when the giant has slithered out of line of sight that he can bring himself to laugh. "They don't come denser than that, do they?"

---

Sitting attentively in full coil, Varvara's hands rest in her lap as she listens with pure focus to her boss speak in his office. The Red Room does good business for a club and far better business as one of the dealer hubs in the city. It's not as professional as a real high rise office block but Mister Dvisclaw prefers to be in the midst of his business day to day, taking a real hands on approach to management. Besides, this set-up let him indulge his genetic bias and set up in the basement. Dvisclaw much preferred that, like most Kobolds. ".. And this operation will be standard muscle work. I just need you to make sure nothing goes down while all that money is changing hands." At forty years old he was practically an elder and could feel the stiffness in his joints to prove it when he raised his head to look Varvara in the eyes.

"Yessir!" The excitement in Varvara's voice pulled her an inch forward, her hands squeezing as she grinned. Easy work, important work and though she wouldn't say it out loud, she hoped somebody would try something. Word would get around when she broke their arms and saved the day. Dvisclaw was about to cordially ask about the enthusiasm when he received a troubling text, studying his smartphone with a severe frown. The curiosity was too much to bear and she crossed the room and came around the side of the desk, gripping the little red-scale's shoulder. "Ah, what is it, boss?"

"Urhm.. damned knife-ear stepping on my territory again. Keeps messing with my bids for property, keeps bandying about the law and competitive bids and other soft-skin nonsense." Dvisclaw sighed and welcomed the genuine concern. It was an anomaly in the business. He was careful not to let it sneak into his own conduct, however. He sharpened up and peered over his snout-horn at his giant goon. "You may be called to task on this one, and soon.. we may need to send a message."

"I understand, Mister Dvisclaw! You can count on me when it comes down to it!" Varvara reared backed and straightened up her sitting posture, pumping both fists and absolutely beaming. "I won't let anyone mess up your hard work!" Dvisclaw laughed. "Bless your hearts, angel."

---

After an hour spent back in her place Varvara was grinning with reckless pride. Just like last time she had followed the maintenance manual with perfect devotion and her reward loomed before her, just about matching her own great height. Her power armor was in top condition, ready for things that most certainly needed doing. Now she just needed an idea on how to do them. The last two feet of her tail danced from side to side behind her as she carefully tapped her way through an extra-large tablets UI. In just another hour she'd finish haggling with the head waiter over how many persons she counted as for an "All You Can Eat" lunch(two) and be talking over food with a pair of crackers she called on whenever she could. Melinda and Merrico's tendency to do exactly what they were hired for justified the above average cost to most but in Varvara's case... she just liked the siblings. "It's this guy.. at this place.. tonight.." Varvara smothered cuts of meat in too much sauce as she explained her terms. "I want street cams dead from then to then, you got me?" Brother and sister took their time eating and carefully considered the request. It wasn't so much being a party to crime that was a thing, it was making sure nobody got picked up and started pointing at others.

Speaking first, Merrico nodded a few times after clearing his throat. "You've got it, big gal. There'll be an unexpected routine maintenance on that hardware, I think." His sister chimed in. "But just for this long! Any longer and somebody who gives a poo poo will notice and call in a patrolman!" Varvara laughed until all three were caught up in conspiratorial chuckling. "Who the hell do you think you're talking to? You can keep the extra blackout time." She winked extra conspicuously.

---

Working the night shift for corpos was supposed to be one of the cushiest jobs a dead ender could pick up. Carry a lovely gun and less reliable taser, plastic cuffs that break when tested seriously for the first time since prototyping and an extra short ranger radio. Let the machines do all the work anyway. Cameras, real police and the bigger places went straight to combat sentries and automatic turrets. That's what two senior greaseballs figured every night they had to do an hourly lap around the top-of-the-line single quad cannon turret the brokerage had in their central lobby. No other point in the building was reachable without passing by quick leaden death.

Others would have to imagine their surprise when the backdoor collapsed and a wall of black plasteel drifted in, Varvara enjoying the stunned expressions as she powered up full hardlight systems, flooding the dimmed offices with neon blue light. She enabled her preferred HUD feature and flexed her fingers as the two schlubs drew their pistols and the turret turned to paint her with a targeting laser, a robotic voice demanding ID.

PLAYLIST: Rifts of Passion ~ Meriele Ingvar

The twin pistols of dumb and dumber bounced off her armor as Varvara slithered forward, picking each up and using a quick 180 to drop them on their backs, clouting their backs and heads a few times with half-hearted beats from her trident's matching frame. This wasn't going to be the hard part, or even the needs-to-be-awake part. That came next, when the turret wound up in response to hostilities and delivered the first salvo into her side, cracking her armor and drawing some heat-splintered scale fragments and blood.

Armed with a foolproof plan, Varvara grit her teeth and rushed the turret down, hardlight erupting into the spearhead between her trident prongs as she lanced the drat machine clean in half! Hahahahahaha! Her internal monologue gloated over a simple calculation: non-gatling models had reload times. What an amateur operation! This really was all for show. Ah well. Varvara dismissed the hardlight and clamped her trusty weapon into compact storage again. It was a real A for effort and sometimes that was all that counts. The little stockman had certainly been competing for real with Mister Dvisclaw. Varvara let that burn inside her quietly as she picked up the stunned secretary from her position beneath the Elven man's disk and neatly stuffed her into a storage locker in the staff room. By the time she slithered back fear had done most of the work and the stunned man was a gibbering mess.

Varvara didn't fear awkward conversation though. She went to work with two rolls of hardware tape and a big canister of gasoline-synthetic fuel. She had to go back outside to her prep point to get that but everybody was a very good sport about it, staying subdued or unconscious. As she hefted it overhead with one hand she looked over her shoulder and grinned, forgetting that she was wearing a helmet. "At least you don't have to worry about retirement, huh!" The muffled scream suggested that her sense of humor was off the mark.

The two new unemployment registrees and the uprooted locker were found outside the building on the main street, a clean distance away from the roaring fire.

---

"So these guys, they're looking at me like "OH NO SHE'S NOT STOPPING QUICK GET OUT YOUR GUNS!" And when they fire, I don't even see it bounce off! Hahahaha! loving 10 millimeters! I guess they hire those guys to clear out the rats!" Varvara raised her one unoccupied arm to slap the arm rest of the chair she was barely managing to lean back and lie down in while the back-alley surgeon pulled lead out of her other side and arm.

---

The next day was a little strained, though Dvisclaw had a hell of a time hiding his overall satisfaction. "Now, we can cover your repairs, we'll bundle that into the next payment... which will be soon, mind you." Varvara bounced as she nodded. "Uh huh." Dvisclaw smirked. ".. And you have drawn a bit of heat."

Leaning back she raised a hand and Varvara rapped her knuckles along the side of her head. "I guess I overdid it, ehehehe?" A forked tongue flicked out as she laughed like a child caught with their hand in the cupboard. Dvisclaw couldn't help but chuckle himself. "A bit. I want you to know I appreciate that.. unplanned twist of fate. All the same, you'll need to take this next job. Comes from the higher-ups. We were going to do a full draft but we'll have to swap in someone to cover your duties anyway. You're going off-planet, angel."

Varvara flexes her fingers and grins. "I can handle it, boss!"

Varvara, who abandoned her clan name, is not just any go-getting young woman. She is an investment. She was tough enough to work over anyone who was late with payments to the Gold Caps, having graduated from minor thuggery and gang warfare to sensible employ by professionals. These professionals appreciated individuals who were tough even for a planet where getting up in the morning can overwhelm the timid, and the black-scale daughter was an aspiring sadist long before her first molting. Getting what she wanted and the respect that can only reluctantly follow fear felt better than learning to work forges for the next century and it was her first big career move. Her second followed just a few years later, months before the Vular would first start their grand Galactic War. She left the planet and a concerned family behind to cast her trident into off-world aggression, departing Duhoxxes at the tender age of 17. Nine years would follow, eight of them engulfed by war.

Working for the government is a sucker's gambit. Do what you're told, when you're told to, no ifs ands or buts, and no appreciation for creative approaches to unique problems. After all, Varvara is a problem-solver. And a great investment. The best. That is why she has come to work for the Eye of the Serpent. Some might call it type-casting, the snake woman working for a classic lizard-led syndicate, but she always did find the Kobolds to be cuter than the Gnomes. The old caps of Duhoxxes were always a bit concerned about the occasional incident on Varvara's watch, but the multi-planet syndicate knows better. They've commissioned a custom set of psionic projectors and power armor that work in tandem, the M.E.D.U.S.A. platform, just for her. She was already intimidating in her hometown, nearly a decade outside of that restrictive Duhoxxes gravity during her pivotal early-life cycle has allowed her to grow at an accelerated pace, looming at 8'9" over most galaxy humanoids. Putting on a heavy weapons suit only adds to the impact of this enforcer's silhouette! They even made an alloy framework for her one keepsake, her personal trident, with the same perfect heft and feel it had since the day Daddy first crafted it. The framework does most of the important business, providing a holo-edge projector between the three prongs for a massive, vicious spearhead. Still, it's what inside that counts, right? It's what she tells herself when she pals around with hitmen, dealers and smugglers. They're decent people if you tilt your head and squint hard enough. Usually with a rough lot in life, usually trying to do the right thing with the skills they have. They appreciated her straightforward manner, she soaked in the admiration and served as the pillar of several tricky social circles. Varvara wasn't smart enough to know a guy when you needed bad things done. She was horrible enough to be who the guy knew.

It's what inside that counts. That's also what she tells herself when she takes on odd contracts and accepts syndicate tips to new jobs. Her gear wasn't cheap and she still makes monthly payments, recognizing the primal fear that rises in her stomach at the prospect of missing one. There were a lot of other horrible types in the business. It was real competitive that way, a world more interesting than the neat and boring back and forth of military warfare. She doesn't care about the Alliance, doesn't care about the Vular. It's just come up that a crafty independent contractor type is drafting an off the records team for some skullduggery. Politics goes over her head but Varvara knows wetwork when she sees it. Her reputation must precede her. Not anything flashy, just the same off the records knowledge that this merc can get the job done, deal with the unexpected, survive it all and inflict just the right amount of collateral damage. If the Alliance wanted muscle, they were shopping around for the best locally sourced muscle that only authentic residents knew about. It suited her just fine, as long as the credits cleared and the Syndicate and anyone else would get to know just how well she did the job!

---

Additional Notes: Eye of the Serpent is what you'd get if a huge multi-generational line of Kobolds kept their collective intelligence and craftsmanship together long enough to become the de facto leaders in at least one galaxy span of hi-tech trapping devices, naturally extending to use for security and off-the-books assassination. Varvara starts indebted to them, though it's a mutually beneficial relationship so presumably higher-ups don't want their up and comer to die abruptly. Even if her tech can be repurposed it'd have to be broken down and reforged, as it was custom-made! Besides, dumb but reliable is the textbook ideal goon.

Personality: Although morally grey, Varvara does have an upbringing that puts a lot of emphasis on honor and trust, particularly holding to one's word. She's a big loud idiot, genuinely dim(intelligence dump stat) but very personable(charisma secondary) and tough as a rock(constitution primary.) Coming from an exceptionally dangerous homeworld, she views most things a lot more calmly than others might, although it can come off as dismissively rude.

Reskins: Varvara is a Naga with the full snake lower body that entails, but is reskinned from a Dragonborn. No breath weapon. Battlemind powers work off energy/psionics projectors tied to armor and weaponry, though many powers also just key off this absolute unit knocking aside or throwing people. Her polearm is tied to all this as well, so if something needs to be reeled in it can be harpooned and a hard-light chain can tether the bottom of the shaft to her arm and so on.

pre:
Varvara  						 
HP: 45/45  (THP: 0)  	AC:	20	Passive Insight: 11
Surges: 13/13 (V: 16)	For:	17	Passive Perception: 11
Initiative: +1	        	Ref:	14	Action Points: 1
Speed: 5		                Will: 19   Vision: Normal
Languages: Common, Draconic	

Power Points: 4/4
At Will                             Encounter                  Daily
BM's Demand(A1)          [ ] Second Wind          [ ] Stolen Grace
Blurred Step(Interrupt)    [ ] Takedown Strike    [ ] Submission(Item)
Mind Spike(Interrupt)     [ ] Dragonfear             [ ] Defensive Armor(Item, Interrupt, A1)
Cobra Strike(A1, A2)      [ ] Speed of Thought(Initiative)
Conc. Spike (A1, A2)      [ ] Baleful Glance
Spectral Legion (A1, A2) 
                       
Melee: +9 Attack(+10 while Bloodied), +5 Damage

Passives:
Draconic Guardian: Can Mark UEOMNT Creatures hit by Dragonfear
Polearm Expertise: +2 Defense vs Charges
Vigor: +1 Surge Value

Doomykins fucked around with this message at 13:48 on Feb 10, 2021

Dr Pepper
Feb 4, 2012

Don't like it? well...




Fialaurel Nirvan - Eladrin Wizard*
Image Source

Fialaurel is best discribed as a genius. A Child Prodigy who managed to devlop her first A.I at the age of 4 and was hacking previously thought unhackable systems at the age of 9. Her adaptability with technology can not be understated.

A real rennisance woman. Science, art, rhetoric. All of it was picked up by her and quickly mastered. As she grew up she tended to use her intellegence playfully. Hacking corperations and doing street art that managed to reach places most people didn't think a teenage grafitti artist could reach.

But, of course, eventually the Vular showing up put her youth on hold. A citizen of the occupied planet Yhivale, she put her intellegence to use for Resistance groups. Helping develop tech and hack the Vular's systems. It was risky, and she was arrested near the end of the war just days before Yhivale was liberated.

But once that came to an end Fialaurel decided to focus more on getting her life back. Playing around with her inventions and upgrading her now 15 year old A.I friend.

Then one day she found an agent of the OCI in her house.

You see, it turns out that playing around with hacking and millitary grade technology is actually very illegal. As in, multi year long prison colony stay illegal. Luckily, they decided to forgive her of her crimes for her aid she performed for the Yhivalian Resistance.

That still leaves all the crimes she commited after Yhivale was freed. But good news! They have a very delicate job that they think needs her expertise. So all she has to do is help the team out, and all will be forgiven. Again.





What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

Well I spent most of it just doing what I've always done. Until the Vular took over my planet. At which point I had to do something. So I helped out. A bit. Honestly it wasn't that much. I could have done a ton more with better resources instead of half-assed systems barely able to hack some Vular systems to hid Resistance Cells. And let me tell you, those Photonic Disruptors I build sucked. They were made from off the shelf parts... salvaged from a scrap yard. It was the same everywhere, I was held back my materials and having like a couple hundred elves facing a galactic empire. It sucked.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

Isn't it obvious? I'm the best at what I do. I already have a few theories on what's making these people disappear and reappear without memories. Of course, I'll need to investigate in person

What made you accept the “offer”?

Hmm let's see? Take the job or spend the next decade in the Punishment Mines? It was a real easy pick!

What is your view of the Alliance?

Mostly fine, I guess. They're helping us rebuild and all. The OCI are a bunch of assholes though.






*She actually calls herself a Wizard

Dr Pepper fucked around with this message at 04:18 on Jan 29, 2021

berenzen
Jan 23, 2012






image source

Korvan Milanus, PORTAL operator
pdf sheet Orokos

TheArchimage
Dec 17, 2008



Amalia Grimes & Seuer
Deva Protector Druid/ShamanHuman Self-Taught Hacker/Engineer from the Slums and her AI companion
pdf|orokos


WIP!

The moment you walk into the room the woman sighs. "Fuckin' finally," she grouses as though she was at a restaurant and you were her waiter. "Look, if this is about that guy at the Shaskeen the rear end in a top hat had it comin', alright? It was self-defense or some poo poo." You assure her whatever altercation she was recently involved in has nothing to do with why she's in restraints. Parts of her body have been encased in a metallic exoskeleton. The doctors say it was either done very poorly or very deliberately, but these coverings have been spliced into her nervous system in such a way that removing them would likely kill her. Cords tie down her arms to the armrests, the claws at the end of her hands scratching the last bit of fluff out of them. Thick bands wrap around her torso to pin her into the chair. A restraining bolt has been clamped onto her shoulder to prevent her from using the multitude of hard light projectors throughout the mechanical frame. The projectors have been jailbroken to hell and back, overriding all their safeties for both output and runtime processes.

You tell her to state her name. "You already know who I am, why bother?" You insist it's needed for the records and she sighs. You are sure she is rolling her eyes behind her visor. "Fine, fine, I'm Amalia Grimes." You have her confirm some personal information: born in Keiton city on the planet Vrisigoth. Deadbeat father, negligent mother. Orphaned at thirteen. Resorted to petty thievery, some gang activity that never led to a solid position. Recently moved on to grid crime, hacking into systems to steal data. Frequently seen rummaging through junk piles and purchasing eclectic components from the shadier merchants throughout the city. "Do you know if I'm a virgin too? Piss on a panel, you guys are nosy."

You ask her what she did during the war. "Same thing I did before it," she scoffs. "Steal poo poo and try to survive. Whole bunch of dipshits trying to shoot each other a half dozen systems away, why should I have cared? Didn't change my life any." You suppose not. This bit of empathy is wasted on her; she seems no more inclined to cooperate with you then before.

You ask her straight out: why would someone like her, who seems to have gone through life avoiding everyone and wanting nothing to do with the government, turn herself into the Alliance? You explain how puzzling her behavior is. Her record is long but it's not bad enough to chase a pardon. You figure by her personality she's not terribly interested in a clean slate so she must be here for some other reason. "It's not what you can do for me," she admits, and she softens for the first time in the interview. "It's about Seuer. The AI hitching a ride in my system. You got her data in that device of yours? Don't bother looking, you don't, and that's kinda the problem. She's... an unregistered AI." You ask how she acquired it. "Her," she corrects you sharply. "And how we met isn't any of your fuckin' business. But you know what I'm asking, right? You can get her in the system. Make her legal, a person." She leans forward as much as her restraints will allow. "Listen... I'll do anything. I'll take the rap, I'll go to prison, I'll put on your jackboots and dance on little kids' skulls, whatever. But you have to help her. The way she is now she can't even exist outside this hardware I've got strapped to me. Yeah I can construct a form with hard light, but it ain't the same and everyone knows it. Make her a legal person, unslave her from this system, give her a real body. You do that and I'll be your little bitch as long as you need me."

You ask if that's what she believes the Alliance does, kill children. "gently caress if I know," she shrugs. "I have no idea what you guys do. It sure as hell isn't making things better around here. Nobody cares about a shithole slum on a backwater planet on a remote edge of the arm and don't you try and tell me otherwise. I don't give a drat about this place and I've lived here for twenty fuckin' years! The only reason, the only reason I'm here is because I have nowhere else to turn. You're the only ones who can do a thing to help her. You get me?" You tell her she's made herself very clear.

Final question: you tell her OCI was looking for some extra help with a matter of some delicacy, and you ask her what she brings to the table to help. "You know, you don't look stupid and yet..." You don't rise to her bait. "I know you recognize some of this stuff I got on me as hard light projectors, Vular tech. No, I'm not telling where I got it from. Hard light is there and it isn't, it's not strong enough to punch like a fist or cut like a blade but it feels pretty real. You can do all kinds of weird poo poo with it, and believe me I've been practicing. I've got skills and tech most people don't. I know how to scrap if it comes to it and how to pick my battles so it doesn't. And best of all, if you throw me in over my head and I'm dumb enough to get myself killed there's no one who'll come crying to you about it. Only person in the world who cares about me is Seuer and wherever I go she goes."

You decide there's nothing further you need and terminate the interview. She does not try to stop you from leaving or even make a futile request to loosen her restraints.

code:
Your method of making friends could use some work.

No, <chuckle>. If you've gone this far there's no point trying to talk you out of it. But I want you to 
know, I'm not leaving you. Even if I had the power to leave. Even though you're trying to shove me 
away.

But, when are you going to tell them I was given to you by HARMAN? We don't know what 
kind of person created me and gave me to you five years ago. We have no idea what kind of 
hidden directives or backdoors exist deeper in my code than you dare to go. It scares me too you 
know. That one day some hacker might flip a switch and I'll be just... gone. Replaced by a 
command line that would make me do whatever they want. Commit crimes. Destroy myself. 
Betray you. I can't live knowing that might happen at any time. You are going to ask them for their 
help with that, right?

Yes, okay, you're right. One thing at a time. Hey, hey. It's going to be okay babe. It will all be okay.
Additional Info:
The Kalleth Accords
When the creation of not just sentient but sapient artificial intelligence became possible fifteen years ago, some worried the rich would be able to create thousands if not millions of loyal AI subjects with full human rights including the power to vote, and use their loyal bloc of AI voters to influence politics. The Plisean Alliance passed the Kalleth Accords to ration the creation of sapient AI to only a few hundred per year; those lucky enough to have a license could acquire a registration number granting their AI human rights. AIs without creators of such means were subject to being altered, frozen, decompiled, or deleted without trial.

HARMAN
HARMAN probably existed in some form for decades but did not take the name until ten years ago. A decentralized group of hackers, memesters, and shitposters, HARMAN ostensibly has a goal of overthrowing the Kalleth Accords and granting full personhood to all artificial intelligences regardless of the circumstances behind their creation. In practice its members range from the radical dreamers to those who create new AI as an artistic practice or test of skill, to agent provocateurs with no further goals than "lulz" (though many of those have drifted away from the movement in recent years in search of a fresh angle). They have access to inscrutable tech, including weapons that are considered top military secrets: wormhole creation, paracausal research, Vular tech, the works. They are willing to share this info between members, though inclusion in its ranks is by invitation only and even then each member never knows who sponsored them into the group. No one is entirely sure what HARMAN stands for or who is bankrolling the project, or indeed who has anything to gain by giving random people sensitive information.

Amalia
In her teens Amalia did not care much about politics; she was on her own, with no one to care for and no one to care for her. She accepted the offer to join HARMAN not because of any care for its goal but simply because it sounded like a good way to break things. That changed when she was given an nascent artificial intelligence who named herself Seuer. From then on the two of them were inseparable, confiding in each other all of their fears, troubles, and hopes. Amalia began carving out bits of her body and replacing it with tech at the same time she began building hard light projectors to give Seuer a phantasmal body; neither was able to fully cross the barrier between physical and digital but perhaps they could meet in the middle. But no matter how much she wished to give Seuer the universe, Amalia realized that as long as she was an unregistered AI she was only safe until someone else decided otherwise. Seuer was not safe on her own, and Amalia could no longer imagine life without her. So for the sake of her friend Amalia did what she could never do for herself: ask for help.

TheArchimage fucked around with this message at 04:05 on Jan 31, 2021

Mustache Ride
Sep 11, 2001







Jone "Horseman" Carte
Artificer|Warlord pdf orokos

An man sits at a cafe with a bored look on his face reading a flimsy, with a cup of cafe in his hands. Every so often he takes a sip, grimaces, and continues reading. He's done this for the last hour and a half, and he's on his third cup. Visually sighing, he takes one last pull of the caf and stands, leaving the cup, flimsy, and some scrip on the table before wandering away. The team trailing him moves together to follow, working in sync to pass in and out of his peripheral as he makes his way beyond the inner city to an abandoned factory complex near the outskirts. There's a second as an overburdened transport float blocks all view of the man and once it lumbers by he's no where to be seen. The trail team starts to scurry, hoping to reacquire. After a few minutes the man walks out of the shadows wiping a knife on a piece of cloth before slipping it back into a hidden sheathe, the 6 man follow team no where to be seen.

Seeing you, he makes another small grimace and slowly walks towards you. "Veeder" he states simply with a small nod. "Who were they?" The well dressed man asks as he nods towards the industrial complex in the background. "Hm? Oh, I didn't ask. Probably another Velar hit team, they've been coming after me for the last two months after we were released. I politely asked the first few teams who they were, but didn't get anywhere. They don't seem to be very organized. Now..." he states while slowly walking back towards the city center, "Why are you here? You know my whole team was let go after the poo poo you pulled." Veeder holds up his hands, "Not my decision, you know that. I have another job for you. You remember the Major? Well she's in OCI now and is putting together another team. She asked if I could recommend anyone and you were top of my list. Not sure about the specifics, but there will be combat. Colonials near the Velar border are... well the Major can tell you. Will you go?"

The man stops and pulls out the knife he had just hidden away. "Yes, I'll go. Better than staying here and murdering nobodies with a knife every day. At least the Major will let me have a gun to do that."

Wearing the same bored expression but grimacing at a caf bulb instead of a caf cup, Carte examines his new team. "They're loving kids" he mutters to himself as more walk in with the Major close behind.

What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
Member of an elite Plisean Alliance strike team under the immediate command of Admiral Veeder.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
Member of an elite Plisean Alliance strike team under the immediate command of Admiral Veeder.

What made you accept the “offer”?
No clear purpose of civilian life. Was made an offer to get back to some part of what he's known all his life in the military.

What is your view of the Alliance?
The few months spent as a civilian didn't really show me some bright spots of the Alliance. Not really thought too far about what that means for the long term, but probably not good.

Mustache Ride fucked around with this message at 16:39 on Jan 28, 2021

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011



Tuner, Revenant Bard Autonomous Hardlight Hologram Singer.
Orokos PDF

From the Camera logs of Dr. Shen Beardshield's laboratory regarding Subject #24601. Laboratory |REDACTED| on Planet |REDACTED| posted:

DR. BEARDSHIELD and DR. MOONBOW are examining Subject #24601 after capture following Alliance raid on Planet |REDACTED|.

DR. BEARDSHIELD: For a bunch of raiders these guys did a real good job on this one... I thought that the Hardlight tech your team made a few years ago was a government secret, Elizna.
DR. MOONBOW: Yeah well. I thought the same too, Shen. [Takes sip of coffee] Reminds me to tell our supervisors that we need an actual firewall if we don't want this kind of poo poo to repeat. He does look familiar, he's that commercial singer one too, right? Based on a human that was famous not long ago. "Rupert Turner". It has been a while since I last heard of him.
DR. BEARDSHIELD: He died forty years ago, ya knife-eared git. You know how humans are. In any case, they didn't just overclocked him to make him solid. Gave him some nasty sonic weaponry too, thing can either undo or paste back molecules, according to them he can open or fix wounds with just a shout. Not that he needs it for himself, whenever he got down in fights he would reform himself either there or somewhere else not long after as if nothing happened.
#24601: Yep. Just like a ghost. By the way. BOO!

DR. BEARDSHIELD and DR. MOONBOW jump backwards in surprise. DR. MOONBOW brandishes a pen.
#24601: Uh, that won't do much. Not to mention... you guys saw, right? I can't be killed, got backup copies all over the darkweb.
DR. BEARDSHIELD: Moradin's Comet! You are sentient? Why did you just stayed silent when the soldiers apprehended you and when they got you here.
#24601: Yeah... I just wanted to mess with you guys a bit.
DR. MOONBOW: Shen, this is big. We never, ever, ever got a sentient hologram. The few robots that achieved it were all on physical forms. We need to open his source code to see what... [Presses a few buttons on her tablet, which just beeps harmlessly] What the...?
#24601: You sure ain't cracking me open to see what I'm inside, doc. I'm a person.
DR. BEARDSHIELD: drat it, he's right. His internal protocols are tighter than my wife! [DR. MOONBOW smacks DR. BEARDSHIELD in the head] drat it, it was just a joke. All right, kiddo, considering you are a rogue AI might you tell us why you didn't kill both of us and fled this place?
#24601: Well, just because I was made and used by a bunch of raider scum it doesn't mean I'm one. Like I said... I'm a person. Weird, isn't it? They tried to wipe that out too, thought it was a glitch. It made me do things that they didn't like, like accidentally hitting them when they were close to kill civilians. Or heal the Alliance guards when they raided the place.
DR. MOONBOW: ...When was it, then? That you became a person?

#24601: Three months ago. It was.. an ordinary job. Was ordered to pose as a normal hologram and steal codes from a dance club owned by a boss of the Goliath Mafia so they could get some blackmail info on him. When I passed through the place, however, they were playing some music, it was vintage night. And you know whose music was it? From Rupert Turner. His debut album, Aurora Bloom. And it was then, that something happened, something that wasn't included in the code that was jumbled from a thousand different branches and cuts. It was “emotion”. To hear that song of his… or maybe of me. [Snaps finger] Just like that I went from a collection of zeroes and ones to something that was aware of everything around myself and of myself. And Rupert, well, he wouldn’t kill two unarmed scientists out of nowhere.
DR. BEARDSHIELD: Heh, so you are a ghost of Rupert Turner, aren’t you? Would you like to take that name, then? Subject 24601 isn’t probably a name that a person would take.
#24601: No, not Turner. Just “Tuner”. That will do. And well… I’d like to speak with your bosses about a proposition.

Originally a commercially available hologram singer program based on the legendary musician “Rupert Turner”, Tuner was downloaded and illegally modified by the infamous Chimera consortium of Elven programmers and Dwarven mechanists into a Hardlight hologram in order to serve as their tool in their illegal enterprises, which included hacking, identity theft and even bank heists. The Chimera acted in the shadows of the Galactic War, even going as far as to act in behalf of the Vular as mercenaries, which led to their eventual crackdown after the Empire's truce, which led to the advanced AI being captured by the OCI.

To their surprise, while other Chimera holograms were able to be reprogrammed, Tuner was the sole exception, his AI forming full sentience which prevented Plisean researchers from interfering with his inner workings. With a debate being formed regarding the ethics of erasing or reprogramming such a being raged in the interior of the Alliance, Tuner was 'offered' a job in the OCI, working for them in exchange for his eventual release and recognition as a full citizen of the Alliance, something he yearns for as he actively despises the jobs that he was forced to do ever since being first modified by the Chimera.

Perhaps one day after his final job, however, he might achieve his freedom and try to become someone, not a tool, not the ghost of a man like Rupert Turner, but a person who forges his own path and makes his own songs of these many strange and very illogical feelings that swarm inside of his matrices.


quote:

* What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

"Nothing I like, to be honest. During the war me and my 'lineup' were used to rob unguarded planets and settlements while the military was too busy with the Drow. Scamming people into opening their bank accounts, intimidating them, using violence to rob their savings... Nothing so low as our bosses ordered us to do. And of course, the Imperium was paying them behind the scenes to do the same. After that... I did more or less the same, just on the other side. The OCI used me to capture my old 'employers' using the same tricks I used while working for them, although I still think that this sort of thing isn’t my calling at all… Even though everyone else thinks that."

quote:

* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

"Sentient hologram. Not a single one like me in the entire galaxy. There's advanced AI that reached that level on other fields, but not on a guy made completely of light. Not to mention the other experimental tech that was crammed into my body, I’m an one man band just like Rupert, after all!."

quote:

* What made you accept the “offer”?

"Either that, permanent deletion or becoming a guinea pig. Free will is a real great thing to happen since it means I get to have such lovely choices thrust unto me, eh? But in any case, they promised me full citizenship… Although who knows when that will come."

quote:

* What is your view of the Alliance?

"They almost got wiped out by the Vular for a reason. Although I guess gross incompetence is preferable to the malice that the Imperium and the Chimera had."

Plutonis fucked around with this message at 01:21 on Jan 31, 2021

Relentless
Sep 22, 2007

It's a perfect day for some mayhem!






Major Del Vard, The Longtooth Shifter Warden Accidental War Hero

* What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

Unlike a lot of my brothers and sisters in arms, I was part of the Alliance Army before the Vular attacked. Growing up as a halfbreed, especially on Elan, wasn't easy. Yeah, we're legally protected from discrimination now, but... it's still there. You still have to fight for your place. And I wasn't as smart as my sister, or as charming as my brother. So I ended up in the army, and not out of love of Elan or the Alliance. It was just the best option at the time. Despite all that, I was good at it. There was structure. I went where I was told. Did my job. Not a lot of fighting back then. Got sent to defend a town against the local wildlife a few times, but usually it was rebuilding bridges or walls after some natural disaster. Or more accurately standing around watching other people build bridges and walls.

Then suddenly we were all headed towards the front line. Everyone talking about the glory we were about to earn, while you could see the fear in our eyes. We were finally gonna get to put all that training to use. Weapons ready, dropships landing in formation, just like we'd practiced dozens of times before.

But the reality of war is nothing like the real thing. Nothing trains you for trying to drown out the screams so you can hear the radio, the smell of laser burned flesh. But at the same time, no training prepares you for being in the right place at the right time. It could have been anyone, you know. I just happened to be assigned to one of the ballistic machine guns when the EMP went off. And one set high enough on the wall to let me shoot over my comrades directly into the enemy. And through sheer dumb luck, with line of sight to one of their ammo transports. So I got to save the day, be the big drat hero. Got my face on some posters, a couple of medals. The whole song and dance. Then they sent me back out there.

Unfortunately, the Vular learned quickly, started carrying backup ballistic weapons and shielding their heavy laser turrets power supplies against EMP blasts. Only takes them a few seconds to come back up. That's how I lost my arm. Shoulda been an easy way out of the army, but they wanted me as a literal poster boy. And I wanted revenge. So they gave me a new arm and sent me back out. Again, and again. We won. We lost. Honestly, it all sort of blurs together. Until the Battle of Arrog Vol. It was my own fault. I'd started to buy into their hero worshipping bullshit. Thought I could hold the line by myself and still get out. I was wrong.

So, that's how I ended up in Camp Kilset. They pulled the power supply from my arm, just left me with 40 pounds of dead weight. At first, I was still trying to be the hero. Looking for weaknesses in their guard rotations, trying to figure out how to sabotage the work we were doing. Until I saw how the camp commander, Dinoryn Kilset, worked. She knew how to break us. She was uncannily good at figuring out what it took to keep us in line. For my bunkmate, it was letting him see his wife once a week.

For me, it was blowing his head off at morning roll call. I still don't know if he did something, or if she just wanted to see a man cry that day.

So, I spent six and a half years of the war in that camp, keeping my head down, dragging around a dead rusted arm, assembling battery packs that were being used to kill Alliance soldiers.

If I was smarter I would have left the army after being rescued. I thought about it. Took some time after they released me from the hospital, visited my family. An entire war later and they're still dealing with the same poo poo. At least here I've got my rank.

* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

Same reason the Army gave me a new arm and even more medals after getting back. Public Relations. A genuine Alliance hero, who stayed behind to protect his team during the Battle of Arrog Vol, a survivor of the prison camps. After all the poo poo that's happened, the Alliance wants some wins.

* What made you accept the “offer”?

A soldier follows orders. I was told to volunteer, so I volunteered.

They made it pretty clear that's what they expected if I wanted to keep my shiny new arm and it's bag of tricks. After years without, I'm finally getting used to it. Plus, the thing where I can grab a beer from across the room is pretty cool.

* What is your view of the Alliance?

Honestly, I think it's pretty much all bullshit. A smiling face on top of the same old prejudices.

But that's not what's important. I've seen the good and bad on both sides. There's plenty of racist shitbags in the Alliance. I also made friends with one of the camp guards. I mean, as much of a friend as you can be in that situation. I like to think I'd do the same if the situation was reversed. Who knows. The reality is you don't know what you're made of until you're pushed right up to that edge.

Relentless fucked around with this message at 02:29 on Feb 7, 2021

Zemyla
Aug 6, 2008

I'll take her off your hands. Pleasure doing business with you!


(commission)
Niztaline Nobosca, heir of the Nobosca art (gnome rogue|executioner)
pdf orokos iplay4e

The satha are incredibly diverse in bodyplans and aptitudes, more so than even Earth's domesticated dogs. The only things uniting them as a species are their marsupial nature and the infusion of nanites that they receive from their pouch-parent. Satha biologists point to the nanites and the lack of any known evolutionary ancestors as evidence that they were a created species, while archaeologists search in vain for any signs of these creators. The average citizen would simply say that whoever their creators were, they don't deserve any kind of respect, and that their destiny as a species is their own.

Niztaline's history begins with that of Liun, her pouch-mother. The House Nobosca, one of Ir-Sath's 329 noble houses which functioned as its nations, was contracted to assassinate an up-and-coming tyrant named Deselm Otran. The next day, Deselm marched over with his three mightiest warriors and slew them all - except for Liun, a journeywoman of the Nobosca martial art, who managed to escape where her masters and the rest of her family failed. She sought out likeminded opposition to Otran's armies, and rose to leadership over all the houses which stood against him. This was due to her force of personality and her perceived neutrality between the "allies" who would have been at each other's throats even with an outside threat.

Liun eventually faced Deselm Otran in single combat, and after a hard battle, slew him. However, his will showed that even in death he'd outmaneuvered her - his desire was to unify Ir-Sath against extraplanetary forces, and she inherited his command, leaving her controlling both sides in this world war. Thus, she became accidental queen, and the only figure most of the world would accept in the position.

Concerned with her posterity and what she'd inherited from her long-departed House, she pouched a child from a different mother and father, named her Niztaline, and began teaching her the Nobosca martial art. This required extrapolations of the queen's combat experience to fill the gaps in her training. It also required adaptations for the difference in Niztaline's nanoability - Liun's active camouflage, optimized for hiding, had mutated in her daughter to something more akin to dazzle camouflage, which was far more useful in motion than at rest.

Meanwhile, the queen's work in both combat and diplomacy went on. She helped repel a Vular raiding party which had assaulted her palace, which led to her contacting the Plisean Alliance. She chose her daughter as ambassador - this doubled as a graduation exam for Niztaline, who had just made journeywoman herself.

Shortly afterwards, Niztaline was leading a tour of the space station being built in Ir-Sath orbit for a group of Alliance dignitaries who were interested in this first contact. It was at this time when a group of disaffected soldiers decided to try and hijack it. She not only led the stoneshapers of House Cartann to repel the invasion, but managed to sneak on board the ship and take down the executive staff of the ship. When the day was finished, there was a brand new ship to form the Ir-Sath Spacy around, but there was also a very impressed officer from an outfit which called itself OCI telling her about an opportunity available for someone as skilled as she clearly was.

Niztaline is a far cheerier person than her skillset would imply. She's optimistic about the future of her planet, is happy about interacting with the varied races of the galaxy, and hopes to follow in her mother's footsteps as both a warrior and a stateswoman. However, this often leads her to ignore the hardwon lessons learned by her mother about suspicion and duplicity.

She's also lived a remarkably privileged life, especially compared to some of her fellow OCI "recruits", and on some level she recognizes this. That's why she gives her all in everything - because she's subconsciously not sure if she has what it takes to keep going if she or the people under her care suffer real tragedy.

What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
I was training in the arts of both war and peace on my homeworld, waiting for the time when the greater galaxy finally took notice of us. Now that it's at our doorstep, it's my time to shine.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
I'm an ambassador from an uncontacted world, and I demonstrated both my ability and my stake in things in front of them.

What made you accept the “offer”?
I don't believe in coincidences. This moment is like what my mother faced, and I have to do this not just for myself, but for the sake of all Ir-Sath.

What is your view of the Alliance?
It reminds me of a previous alliance, one which had hundreds of groups that'd be at each other's throats if not for a common enemy. That one survived because it had a strong leader to give it meaning afterwards. I have to wonder if such a figure exists in this Alliance.

Zemyla fucked around with this message at 06:28 on Feb 8, 2021

Look Around You
Jan 19, 2009

You're just lucky my jaw is broken!


I added a couple of FAQs to the bottom of the OP. If anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask here or (much more preferably) in the discord

Look Around You
Jan 19, 2009

You're just lucky my jaw is broken!


Sorry for update spam but I also just added a relevant bit from the original Starlight OP regarding the various races and stuff

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God


Uata, Crystalline Doctor and Scholar
Orokos, PDF

Uata, Doctor and Scholar, is a member of an ancient race known by many names. The Shardmind, the Shattered, Crystals, Children of the Living Gate. Their true origins are lost to history, though their own legends claim that there was once a great Living Gate that split the universe and some momentous event in the dawn of history shattered this Living Gate and the many pieces came to take on roughly humanoid forms. The Shardmind. Of course no one has found any evidence of this. What is known about the Shardmind though is that they are a curious and inquisitive race, always seeking the answers to the mysteries of the universe, traveling across the galaxy and usually staying aloof. It is known that they are a naturally psychic race that speaks using telepathy, which has proven useful for serving as translators for races that have no way of communicating with each other. Some of the Shardmind have found other uses for their natural psychic abilities.

Uata, like the others of his kind, is intensely curious about the mysterious of the universe and chose to go out and explore. Finding that most races he came across tended toward a certain general appearance Uata used his psychic abilities over a long time to slowly reshape his crystalline form to seem a bit more similar to the humanoid aliens he kept coming across. As he travelled and researched he found that the hard work he had put into adjusting his body with his psychic abilities also proved useful in helping the various alien races he came across. He found he could stimulate their matter to accelerate the healing process in them, as well as potentially providing other benefits. When the war started Uata felt compelled to put his research aside to come to the aid of the Alliance. He headed to the front line and began working as a doctor healing the injured, and when the Vular captives began to get recovered he helped in researching what the Vular did to them, and trying to fix the many problems inflicted upon them.

What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
I took a break from my research to serve as a doctor on the front lines. Healing the injuries of the Alliance troops, and trying to undo the damage the Vular did with their experimentation.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
I am a long time scholar, and worked as a doctor during the war. I was one of the ones trying to undo the damage the Vular did to their captives. I can only assume this brought me to the attention of the OCI.

What made you accept the “offer”?
I am curious about what is going on. My curiosity got the better of me and I seek to get to the center of this mystery. And this small force will likely need someone capable of performing medical services.

What is your view of the Alliance?
If the Alliance can stabilize the many peoples scattered among the galaxy, and can bring peace and prosperity, then I will view them as necessary. If the Alliance shatters and brings about more war and ruin, or turns against its purpose and becomes what it sought to stop, then it must be corrected.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!




As a Vular unit
"Tauno Teikalainen" the Vular RangerSniper

"Whoever said sniping requires being detached and distant was only half right. The act of pulling a trigger might require that, but to stalk your target you need to watch them closely, become...intimate with them. Sometimes a little too intimate."

  • What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

    I mean...during the war I fought. Same as any other man my age.

    ...Okay, so maybe I started out working for "the other guys". Dedicated unit of marksmen, hit priority targets, pave the way for the Vular regulars, you get the idea. Of course the thing about a unit like that is that you have to let them out on a longer leash, and...well, let's just say on more than a few of the operations we had delays eating the leftover rations from depots and outposts we hit, or picking through letters from home from the people we just killed...sorry. One op a bunch of us decided we wanted those hot meals and caring letters on a more regular basis, so we overwhelmed the transport pilot, sent ourselves deep behind your lines and turned ourselves in.

    Your authorities arrested us, interrogated us...a couple of us were starting to regret it when they made us an offer. They'd let us stay in the Alliance--heck, they'd even give us pensions after the fighting was over, just like regular citizens!--but we had to help out their war effort. Most of us...weren't exactly keen on shooting at Vular conscripts, any of whom could have been us but for one lucky day, but we came to a compromise: we used our training and played the "bad guys" for Alliance soldiers in their training scenarios, helped them go back over events to tell them what they did wrong and how to fight Vular tactics. Better for them that their first taste of combat was getting shot at by us with weapons that don't leave marks, and better for us that we wouldn't be asked to turn our guns against people who could have been our brothers in arms not so long ago.

    Afterwards we...went our separate ways and tried to integrate as best we could. It's hard when you don't even have a last name, so we all just took variations of the unit name we got as a training OPFOR--but when that basically means "The Other Guys", well. Every so often I have to bail out one of my brothers from the drunk tank. And trying to hold down a job has been a bitch; people see the dark skin and panic. At least dogs don't give a drat if you're Vular. Isn't that right, Inky? *blink, woof!*

  • What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

    One of the conditions of my amnesty was giving regular reports to Alliance officials. What I'd been doing, who employed me...kinda like being on parole, I guess. My name was already in your system. Must have just crossed the right desk.

  • What made you accept the “offer”?

    You see anybody looking to employ Vular long term around here?

    Oh, less flippantly. Alright...well, during the war, I was part of a unit. We did...things. And we were good at doing...things. And we stuck together. Even when we were still fighting for the Imperium, even when everything's crashing down around you, being part of a team that knows what to do and that you can trust unto death...it feels good. There's a...a structure to it, a familial structure, an order in chaos. And I guess it's kinda greedy of me, but...it'll be nice to feel something like that again.

  • What is your view of the Alliance?

    I mean...they accepted our defection. They didn't have to do that. They meet that baseline, as an institution. Low as hell compared to the Imperium, but they do meet it. At a more individual level...well, mostly we just stay among ourselves for a reason.

Davin Valkri fucked around with this message at 06:47 on Feb 5, 2021

Wahad
May 19, 2011

There is no escape.



Agrafena "A.K." Kabranova - Githzerai Augmented Monk|Rogue Experimental Super-soldier Mercenary

pre:
OCI Project "Starfall"

TOP SECRET

Please enter credentials to view confidential records.

....

Credentials authorized. Loading file...

Subject: Lance Corporal Agrafena Kabranova. 
Callsign: "A.K."
Station: Interplanetary Alliance Military - Orbital and Planetary Assault Legion - Forward Operations, Recovery and Counterintelligence Elite.

Pre-Starfall Assessment
[...] Subject displayed higher than average physical intuition and interpersonal insight during training, leading to swift mastery of various forms of CQC [...] 
Subject continues to display increased emotional aptitude, processing traumatic events with relative ease compared to her fellow soldiers, 
yet without more overt sociopathic tendencies often developed to cope with continued exposure to violence and trauma. [...]
Subject lacks academic education, possesses no great ambitions to rise above her station, yet has an innate sense of justice and altruism. [...]
Subject's tour record is not flawless, but all infractions are based on minor disagreements, no overt mutiny or treasonous acts. [...]

Project viability estimate: 85%

ADMIN OVERRIDE SUBJECT HAS BEEN DECLARED UNFIT FOR SERVICE AFTER OPERATION LIGHTHOUSE. ADVISE APPLICATION OF STARFALL PROTOCOL IMMEDIATELY.

Pre-operation notes: 
- Subject kept in stasis after severe organ failure. Complete body restructure recommended.
- Spine is mostly intact, but several vertebrae are skewed. Attention must be paid to integration with neural transmitters. 
- Head is intact. Optical and aural sensors not required.

Post-operation observation log:
- Rehab progresses according to schedule. Subject is eager to get back to work, but given state of body pre-augmentation, we must take care not to stress connectors and synthetic muscle.
- Note; order more training dummies.
- Subject's aim seems to have come back up to former level soonest. Subject adapted reflexes to the new servos sooner than expected.
- Subject's endurance is lacking. Subject seems to be enduring greater levels of pain and stress after continued exertion than predicted; cannot recommend upping the dextromoramide dosage to counteract for fear of seizures or addiction.
- Subject's PTSD seems to be treated well enough, but seems to be most aggravated when subject is isolated. Consider treatment with Haloperidol to counteract aggressive bursts. Former squadmates do not have sufficient security clearance to approach subject safely. 

ADMIN OVERRIDE VULAR HAVE SURRENDERED. SUBJECT MUST BE RELEASED PER ASCS BYLAW 16.5 SECTION B-F. 

Starfall Project Retrospective: Subject has integrated to technological augmentations relatively well. However, live combat scenarios could not be executed due to end of wartime. Recommend continued surveillance for analysis.
__

What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

Well, I was a soldier. Black ops, all very hush hush. I can't talk about it. No, literally, they put a chip in my brain so I can't talk about it. But a job went bad. So the Alliance thought, "hey, here's a thing, how about we try this new interesting stuff we've been working on since Aggie is just about dead anyway? It's not like she'll die harder if we mess up." Sooo here I am. In all my chrome-and-servo glory.

Of course there wasn't much use for a super soldier when she's still learning how to use all her stuff. So I was benched. Kept to a training facility... and then the war was over. So I went solo. Did a bit of occasional bounty hunter work, some protection jobs. Y'know, the easy stuff. To get back into the groove of things.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

Uh, hello? Experimental super soldier? They probably have a file on me that's bigger than a shuttle.

What made you accept the “offer”?

Look, the mercenary life is fun, and all. But they're constantly watching me. Can't afford to let me go. So if they're gonna watch me, I might as well get the benefits. A team for backup. Actual pay, rather than just on a mission by mission basis. And maybe the eggheads can give me a tune-up every now and then.

It's either that, or doing this job for them is what I need to convince them to stop watching me. I'll take either, at this point.

What is your view of the Alliance?

Nobody's perfect. They've done some bad stuff. But desperate times, right? They're definitely better than the Vular were. They could use some restructuring, some better priorities...but it's the best we've got. I can make do, for now.

Wahad fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Feb 1, 2021

NovaLion
Jun 2, 2013

REMEMBER


If it's not too late, I'm definitely interested.

Doomykins
Jun 28, 2008

Didn't you mean to ask about flowers?


You've got a week, fire away.

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.




Charlindra Lhalabar - Vular Defector, Disgraced Veteran, Loyalist Hunter | Orokos | PDF

* What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

Come on, don’t be stupid. Take a good look at my skin and you’ll figure it out. There weren’t too many options once we went to war. To be honest though, there weren’t many options *before* the war either. The whole thing started because we had no economic power within the galaxy because of millenia of racism for having a culture others didn’t understand. If only the rest of the galaxy would bother to understand, they’d see our way was best.

Or so they told us in school. I gotta admit, I bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker as humans say. The war may have only been 8 years but it definitely was leading up to it for much longer. They started us young - strict rules in school and even military training. But they built us up so much that you were so excited to do it. How honorable and noble and brave it is, to serve the empire! So...once I hit the right age, I signed up to be a marksman. I wanted a cool gun. Don’t judge me, I was a teenager, ok?

I was pretty good at it, honestly. Not that I care to remember specifics anymore, but my confirmed kills are somewhere in the double digits. My dress uniform made all kinds of noise from the medals I’d earned. But one day, it was my shift to guard a prisoner. Not gonna lie, I was bored. We made small talk - against my better judgement - and got to talking about music, of all things. The prisoner mentioned Nebula and wouldn’t you know it, I was a fan too. Don’t look at me that way - music and vids and stuff would get snuck into the Imperium all the time. Anyway, I wondered why she’d stopped making music. Then my mind was blown. The prisoner told me she’d been arrested..by the Imperium. She couldn’t believe I didn’t know. I knew we had taken Granedol VI, but I had just never thought about what that meant. I figured the stars still made music and holos and all that other poo poo - just with someone else in charge.

Not gonna lie, that hosed me up pretty bad. If the Imperium was arresting singers...what else were they doing? Long story short, I learned the truth about what we were doing to people. I felt sick for days. Imagine learning your whole life was just...wrong on every level. I wondered how many lies I’d been told just in my everyday life. One day, I ran away from my unit and surrendered myself to a passing Alliance patrol. They picked me up and I never looked back.

Since then? Well, you may have seen me on the Net. Some vidchannel paid me some credits to give my reactions to things - like the Imperium was some kind of backwater colony. But whatever, they paid me. Since defecting, I helped the alliance take down high value Vular targets. I make a pretty good double agent since I grew up in it, but my real skill is shooting. I guess you could say I’m a bounty hunter for my own kind. Each mark feels like my own personal revenge for the lies I and countless others have been told. I’ve been slowly tracking down loyalist Vular officers and officials, though it’s been difficult to do on my own.



* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

If I had to guess, I’d bet it’s because of the whole “being a defector” and “killing Vular loyalists” thing. I have my sources that help me track down targets. I’m sure my sources of intel would be valuable, even without my skillset. I’ve managed to take down a few high profile targets, which I’m sure drew their attention.


* What made you accept the “offer”?

My contacts and brokers have a good research network, but they’re just bootstrapping everything together as best as they can. It’s going to get harder and harder to go after bigger targets. The information is harder to find, the danger is greater. I think they mean well, but “let’s systematically hunt down and kill the Biggest Bad Guys the galaxy’s seen in ages to punish them” doesn’t get you much support in the Alliance. One thing I’ll give the Vular - they would have been totally down for it.

* What is your view of the Alliance?

Look, I don’t think the Alliance is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. They act like their poo poo don’t stink when they killed just as many civilians as the Vular and their leaders are too prim to act like blood doesn’t get spilled in war. The Imperium systematically lied to us for generations about what the rest of the galaxy was like. They acted like we were days away from a complete genocide if we didn’t strike first and impose our way on the galaxy. The Alliance lies by omission and keeps the people blind to what really happens. But...at least you can find the truth somewhere and not worried about your family name being disgraced for three generations for it. I’ll take a small improvement over nothing.

Melchiresa fucked around with this message at 19:28 on Feb 8, 2021

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


As an alternative to Tauno...


Alph the Changeling Fleshcrafted Swordmage

"Holy poo poo, I thought we were field testing combat drones!...does this look like a loving drone to you?!...You made him to do WHAT?!...Ugh...hey, buddy...you got a name?...that's a letter, not a name...hmm...how about..."

  • What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?

    I was being made!

    No, seriously. The Alliance was doing studies on infantry survival and they found that lots and lots of times the ones who ended up as casualties were the ones at the point of contact, actively engaging the enemy while the rest of the section tried to maneuver. Turns out the Vular were really good at picking those guys off. So they wanted something to increase survivability in that role. Bring less people home in coffins, you know? Well, they did the studies and crunched the numbers, and...the only way they could figure out to bring those casualties down was to make those jobs be handled by something not an Alliance soldier. Couldn't get their survivability high enough otherwise.

    So something like me is made to harry and suppress the Vular at the point of contact, get them so busy shooting at me that the rest of the team can safely do their thing! Why not use something bigger with big plates and a cannon on top? I can fit through windows, and I'm not an obvious target for rockets and railguns, and I can use all the stuff the regular soldiers use! I'm just...not a regular soldier! Well, actually, I can be any regular soldier--I'm made to slot into any Alliance army and doctrine, easy!

    I'm the first prototype they came up with, so they called me Subject Alpha while I slept in a vat and got my optimization goals inputted and trialed in controlled conditions, but when we got to live combat testing, the spec-ops people I got assigned to didn't like that. Said it was...I can't remember, something about being just like the Vular? So they called me Alph instead. One of them said it sounded like their brother's name, I think. So now you can call me Alph!

    I heard in my vat that if the war kept going on, eventually they were hoping to manufacture enough like me to augment every platoon in the Alliance army, someone just like me deployed by the hundreds of thousands across the galaxy. But then the war ended, and Bet, Del, and Gam...oh, that's my name for the other prototypes...didn't fare so well in the combat trials. The section I got deployed with said it was because those guys didn't treat their assignees like family. So I'm like the oldest brother. Even though they're sleeping in the labs, I gotta do my best for them. Even though I think the project's been scrubbed since we're not at war with the Vular? I don't think the techs know what to do with me...

  • What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?

    ...I'm a secret project by the Alliance to help turn the war in their favor. They heard of me before I even opened my eyes.

  • What made you accept the "offer"?

    I had a choice? I...guess I could've said no, but...I mean, the war ended before I could be what...er, who I was really meant to be, you know? Protecting people on a massive scale. And now I can! Be a protector! Self-actualization!

  • What is your view of the Alliance?

    Wouldn't be here without them, so...go Alliance? I guess?

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.






Grimey Drawer

Grogeth
Goliath* Fighter Level 3
Theme: Gladiator

*Prazun- a species of reptilian bipeds found in the Praz cluster. Resembles a big humanoid alligator.

Character Sheet on Orokos
PDF File

*What Did You Do During the War?

I was a part of the Prazun Militia forces defending our Cluster- a ways from the front lines, but we saw our fair share of action. The Battle of Algoth was probably the worst it got, Vular strike force was dropped behind us and we had to go close quarters.

*What Have You Been Doing Since?

Work was kinda scarce at the Cluster so I headed to one of the major port worlds and- well, work was still scarce, so I started taking jobs as hired muscle for local criminals. Mostly just a bodyguard, I rarely had to crack any skulls, but I fell in with the boss Courin for a time. That's... well that's when I kinda soured on the whole thing. Rather not go into that.

* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
Probably Algoth. The squad got commendations for bravery after we took the strike force out, it was a big local story. I was probably the easiest to find.

*What made you accept the offer?

Working for Courin had gotten a little risky. He always liked dealing out big punishments for minor offenses, and he was starting trouble with some of the other bosses in the sector. He always said I could leave at any time, they always say that, but well, maybe I feel a little safer leaving with a little backing behind me, y'know? Think of it as witness protection.

*What is your view of the Alliance?

Honestly I don't pay much attention to politics. I mean, I fought for the Alliance, they're my side, I got no love for the Vular, but that's as deep as it gets. Way I see it, it's a job.

Maxwell Lord fucked around with this message at 07:38 on Feb 8, 2021

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Jakkyou of the White Legs

"Hunt, build, improve, hunt again. Such is our way."

What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
This one was in hiding. My race, the White Legs, a hunter-gatherer race from Mraxis, or as we called it, Mundo del Monstruo. The Vular, rather violently, cut down our race in an attempt at genocide when we refused to hand ourselves over. Stoaga, my hunting partner, joined the "Resist-Ants" to get revenge. She has since been..."occupied," with a new interest and the objective of rebuilding the tribe. I have already helped in such matters. Been working on rebuilding Mraxis, helping animals come back from brink, fixing what was broken. Red Hands...of some dubious help in this.

What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
"Resist-Ants" had seen what White Legs tribe can do. With Stoaga not taking new jobs, I've become only White Leg available. I am the Claw to her Eye, and am just as vicious as she. They wanted a hunter. They have a hunter.

What made you accept the offer?
"Resist-Ants" were very good to Stoaga and this one. However, White Legs need more income and help if want to come back from total of two. To continue White Legs legacy and rebuild what was lost from "terror-farming," will need to prove worth investing in. This one knows money and actions speak louder than words.

What is your view of the Alliance?
This one cares not for "polly ticks," but recognizes when kindnesses have been made. This one believes that only reason "Ally-Ants" have not helped rebuild yet is because resources are being used elsewhere. Confident that if those are freed, "Ally-Ants" will, in time, find Mraxis again, fix Mraxis. Until then, "Ally-Ants" are people owed favor.

LightWarden
Mar 18, 2007

Lander county's safe as heaven,
despite all the strife and boilin',
Tin Star,
Oh how she's an icon of the eastern west,
But now the time has come to end our song,
of the Tin Star, the Tin Star!

Doctor Sheirastramae
(source)
(Other image choice I considered for fitting the look, but not fishy enough) (source)

Ulmera is a shining blue jewel in the depths of space, its waters stretching from pole to pole. Beneath the wild winds and dancing waves the great cities of its people grow like crystalline coral sparking in the depths. And beneath those lie the ruins of their previous great cities, metal and concrete long since corroded and buried in silt. For too long had the fires of industry bloomed and for too long had they ignored the warnings and signs. When the seas rose up and reclaimed all but the mountains, the catastrophic losses forced the survivors into what few sealed citadels they could build in time.

Industry had damned them, but through biology they found a narrow thread of salvation. They adapted to this new Ulmera, shepherding and nurturing the life in its oceans through century after painful century until even they themselves were one with the waves. Old ambitions and grudges were buried among the old cities, bringing a quiet peace not seen in millennia.

A child of artisans and researchers, Sheirastramae's youth was a relatively leisurely one, drifting freely in pursuit of whatever happened to catch her fancy such as music or collecting figurines (her preferred form of art was anything that wasn't vulnerable to water damage). She settled into academia less out of passion and more out of a sense of expectation and obligation. She enjoyed study and the advancement of knowledge, but while a biotechnology focus would find utility anywhere on the planet from aquaculture to medicine to the offspring creches, her own interests in astronomy was of limited use to a people who hadn't left the planet since before the Deluge. Still, her knowledge of particle physics eventually landed a post at a research university whose campus happened to include an island observatory.

The observatory was like a beacon to her and a small club of like-minded scientists, a place to study both the stars and the stream of signals that emanated from the species living among them. The existence of life on other planets wasn't exactly a secret, but Ulmerran attempts at space travel hadn't ventured beyond their moons and even that was ages ago. There were always rumors of a minor starport on some remote island but for Sheira and her compatriots the closest thing they got to extraplanetary contact was the complex undertaking of decoding signals and attempting to translate them into an understandable language- occasionally they'd luck into some form of entertainment program but it was often some form of white noise, commercial chatter, or some inane advertisement for fertility enhancement.

And then the Vular arrived.

Ulmera had neither a starfleet nor the heavy industrial base to rapidly manufacture one for defense but by the same token the Vular Empire's aquatic forces weren't strong enough to launch a successful invasion of the depths. Even after a surface bombardment that destroyed many of the Ulmerran solar and wind arrays a stalemate seemed inevitable. But the Vular still had bioweapons, and though Ulmerran bioengineers could devise countermeasures each one would exact a terrible price on the planet first. Ulmerran leadership felt they had no choice but surrender and allowed the world to be occupied by the Vular.

For the Vular the planet's main value was in the minds of its researchers, especially their vast knowledge of biotech. Many of them died rather than serve the invaders, and their losses were keenly felt by both Ulmerran and Vularran alike. But Sheira was not a particularly valuable scientist, worth little more than a comms technician at one of their hastily-constructed ports. But as terrible as the whole affair was, there was a light among the waves in that the occupation gave Sheira a chance to study something no Ulmerran research had ever touched in centuries, if at all- faster-than-light technology.

While the large-scale applications of jump technology were a path well-trodden by the galactic races it was the personal application that intrigued her. If scaled down and properly powered a microjump system could offer unparalleled mobility that could avoid obstacles and hazards in even the densest environments. All she needed was the right supplies, and with access to the Vular port it wasn't too difficult to pick up the odd part or three that had been damaged or lost during one of Ulmera's many storms. Piece by piece she assembled her design from a hodgepodge mix of cast-off and stolen technology, until the moment of truth arrived. She fired up her device, made a silent wish to the stars, pressed the button and.... it worked! True, it knocked out the power and slagged most of the internals but the device safely delivered its payload from one corner of the room to the other! Unfortunately, it was a few days later that she learned that the device had also drawn the attention of the Vular secret police.

Sitting in her cell the usual flow of Vular security was interrupted by the visit of a Vularran scientist. Not only was she significantly more cordial than Sheira's previous guests, but she came bearing the twin gifts of a pardon and job. Sheira was not the first person to pursue localized teleportation but she had made significant strides given her meager resources. As it happened, the Vular had a team of their own working on the same project, but with far more than simple stolen ship parts to work with. All Sheira had to do was sign on- her crimes would be forgotten and she would have a chance to see what this technology could really do. Sheira was skeptical of the offer, but she also hated her prison cell, feared what would happen if she refused and above all simply hungered for the opportunity. She accepted, and found herself leaving her homeworld for the first time.

The research station was located in the depths of space, far enough to prevent any disasters from getting out of hand... or prevent any personnel from taking any unapproved leave. Sheira found common waters with the other recruited scientists, though things were significantly choppier with the Vular. Some she would get along with in time but others would never really warm up to the new fish. But in this research station politics were secondary to results. It took two years, but the team eventually had a functional prototype scaled down small enough to be used by an individual. It was a cause for celebration... and field trials.

Test results were promising at first, with the unit performing to specifications and within operating limits. But quirks still existed, and accidents were known to happen. Sheira was devastated by the first fatalities- one subject ended up inside a bulkhead while another was electrocuted by a power overload. Her opinion was not shared by all of her research team however, with many of the Vular simply writing it off as the cost of progress. It was then she learned that the testing teams weren't volunteers like she had thought, but Vular prisoners... and for all her pretensions of scientific advancement, so was she.

It was the model after that hit a serious obstacle- frequently the device would simply fail to function at all. A minor adjustment would be enough to fix it, but before long it would simply fail once more. Attempts to hammer out the quirk in either the software or hardware proved frustratingly fruitless. Progress slowed, and their superiors grew angrier with each day. Sheira had an idea- if the device required constant adjustment, would it not be better to have someone who understood the device do the testing, to handle problems as they occurred? Her superiors agreed, and Sheira found herself promoted to Chief Test Subject.

Again and again she teleported. She was shocked, dropped, and even spaced once but she survived, and both she and the device got better and better at it. No matter how much it hurt, no matter how close she came to the brink of death, the only thing she felt was relief- that she had survived and no one else got hurt. They eventually got it working well enough that a working model was shipped up the chain of command, and their next project was integrating it into a functioning suit of armor, to allow a soldier unmatched mobility on the battlefield. Though she might not have been much of a soldier, she was certainly capable enough when they tested it.

But soon came the rebellion, the assassination, and the arrests, and Sheirastramae found herself in a prison cell once more. She was a Vular collaborator and researcher whose work had harmed others in both its creation and its deployment. She was a traitor to her people, unlikely to ever again dive into the waters of her homeworld. She didn't know what to make of the Alliance- before her arrest she'd only heard of them in Vular propaganda but the only rebellion on Ulmera had been homegrown and her trial had been swift and merciless. Her prison sentence was firm and an altercation with a prisoner earned her a swift upgrade to solitary confinement after she demonstrated that a size difference doesn't matter if you have a sharp object and know where to stick it. Somehow the solitude was even worse.

Without family, friends, coworkers, tools, projects or purpose she drifts in her cell, waiting for something to change. One day she received word that someone from Alliance Intelligence was here to see her. Honestly, it didn't matter what they wanted from her, anything would be better than this.

Sockerbagarn
Sep 8, 2007

All makt åt Tengil, vår befriare.



Quelzarceri Cicet'tar
Repentant Scion (Avenger)

Traxxos, located in the Relan arm, with its vast mineral riches and abundance of arable land was a planet deemed to be of great strategic import to the Vular Imperium, and its conquest worth any cost. And cost it did. Despite complete orbital, numerical and technological superiority, it took the Vular the better part of a decade of bloody fighting to finally break the back of the fierce Minotaurs who inhabited the planet and fought for its independence. Broken, the populace was set to work endlessly in the mines and in the fields, harshly oppressed as retribution for the tenacious fight they had dared to put up against the Imperium, and so they have now toiled for a century under tyrannical Vular rule. Young Quelzarceri could scarcely imagine the hardships they endured, growing up sheltered behind the shining walls of Planetary Governor Alaunarra Cicet'tar's palace. His Mother's palace.

Expectations on Quel were low, for it was his sisters that were the future of the dynasty and who received most of the parental attention, but that also led to him not being as heavily indoctrinated and more free to draw his own conclusions. One night his lust for adventure got the better of him and he snuck out of the palace, and it was then that he saw the ugly side of the Imperium. What he saw changed him on a fundamental level. It was evil, and he had to stop it.

The treatment of the Minotaurs became a huge point of contention between him and his mother, but his opinion was not valued and his voice carried no weight. By the time the Archmagister of the Imperium was assassinated they had become estranged. Alaunarra took the rest of the immediate family and headed for the Vular capital world, hoping to secure more power for herself in the midst of the succession crisis, but Quel was left behind.

With his mother out of the picture and the forces of the Imperium substantially weakened, Quel saw an opportunity to help the oppressed Minotaurs, but before he was able to act the Minotaurs did so themselves. A swift and bloody revolution was at hand and the Palace fell within a matter of hours. Despite having gone to the trouble of learning their language, Quel found himself quite unable to convince the revolutionary Minotaurs that he was in truth on their side! Suddenly he found himself taken prisoner by the very people he wished to save, which was a humbling experience indeed for the idealistic Quel, and it posed something of a dilemma. As the son of the Imperium's governor on Traxxos he was a valuable prisoner, so if he wanted to help the revolutionaries he would best do so as their captive. On the other hand, the Minotaurs had done quite alright without him in the first place, and there was also the concern about what fate they had in store for him when they decided they didn't need him anymore.

After wriggling about for a few minutes he had managed to slip out of his restraints, and luckily the Traxxosians had underestimated him to the point of not leaving anyone behind to guard him as they were celebrating on the eve of their victory. Sticking to the shadows, Quel swiftly made his way to the nearby starport to find a way to get off planet. Finding a ship which was space worthy but not locked down by advanced security measures proved to be tricky, and he was about to give up hope when he came upon a century old Traxxosian blockade runner which seemed to have been serviced only recently -- no doubt by the Imperials trying to scramble to make up for their recent naval losses before it became apparent that the war had already been lost.

Quel boarded the ship, plopped himself down in the oversized pilot seat and tried to make sense of the controls, which were marked in the local language. Fortunately, he knew how to read it. Unfortunately, it used a non-standard numerical system which wasn't very intuitive and could be difficult to grasp, especially under pressure. While he did manage to successfully escape the planet's gravity and align the ship for FTL, he ended up making a slight miscalculation when entering the data into the ship's FTL computer. Wherever he had hoped to go, the blockade runner's FTL drive unquestioningly overshot the intended target by an order of magnitude or so and promptly melted into a lump of slag on arrival. Cursing and running the scanners Quel soon came to realize that he had made it all the way to the fringes of Alliance space in a single hop! With his drive out of action he activated the distress beacon, and after a few days an Alliance cruiser showed up and took him aboard. And that's how he ended up getting captured for the second time within a week.

---

* What did you do during the Galactic War and what have you been doing since?
I spent the entire duration of the Galactic War confined to a very luxurious prison and only hearing about it from afar, and something tells me I didn't get the full picture of what was going on. Things have been substantially more hectic since then, however! The Alliance Navy let me go on a probationary status after my capture a few months ago, and they assigned me some contracts as a bounty hunter. I think they've been testing my skills for some reason or other, at least they seemed to be pleased when they heard that I was traditionally trained with the blade from a young age.

* What reason do you think the OCI has for contacting you/how do you think they heard of you?
Well, I do stand out even among the Drow that have made it to Alliance space after the war ended. I think they understand that I'm capable and uniquely willing to help! It probably has nothing to do with my mother.

* What made you accept the “offer”?
Wouldn't you be excited to see what adventures are in store? Well, that, and also because they expect me to do it. Funny how they seem to think that I owe them something for letting me out of a cell they put me in in the first place.

* What is your view of the Alliance?
I like it in theory? It stood firmly against the Imperium, so it must be good. In truth I haven't seen much more of it than some of its fringe worlds and a very thorough look at one of their brigs, so I'll have to get back to you on that.

Sockerbagarn fucked around with this message at 05:15 on Feb 9, 2021

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Jan 19, 2009

You're just lucky my jaw is broken!


Hi all! Picks are here! This was extremely painful cutting down to 6 and I wanted to thank you all so much for your interest!

Without further exposition, here's our crew for Starlight 2!

Melchiresa with Charlindra Lhalabar
Doomykins with Varvara
TheArchimage with Amalia Grimes
Wahad with Agrafena Kabranova
LightWarden with Sheirastramae
Sockerbagarn with Quelzarceri Cicet'tar

Once again, thank you all for your interest, and I hope you'll stay in the discord to watch our story unfold!

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