/mlpol/ - My Little Politics

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OiE: Razorback Expedition Group
>OiE: REG is an offshoot game of Operators in Equestria.

>Currently recruiting is closed, as the story is ongoing, but you can apply for the main game here:

>If you're going to lurk, read over the main pastebin to get familiar with the story and characters:

>And look over the main game, as well:
128 replies and 49 files omitted.
Offworlder Jim
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in the end, the candies were mine- it had to be this way.png
"Er...ye. Whatever a 'kangaroo' is..."
>Was this how people felt around him whenever he yammered on about his world?
>It was....an interesting feeling.
>Focusing on the train in the distance, Jim examined the chunky looking vehicle.
>'Well, I know who we're gonna be hidin our asses behind once the shit starts comin'.'
>And one of the blokes even had a rifle similar to his own, but doubtlessly without the micromachining done to it.
>Though, considering the design had lasted since Jim's Earth got it's shit pushed in, it should be fine.
>Jim returned the salute with a two fingered one of his own.
>And as the other boss man in charge began to speak, Jim drifted back to his days drifting around the galaxy with his old group, basking in the memory for a bit before exhaling.
"Pleased t'meet'cha, Royce. Gotta say, you remind me of me ol' boss man. Though I gotta question for ya'; One o' ye mates called me a 'kangaroo jack' or summats. What I wanna know is what that is."
>Perhaps a creature that used to live on earth?
>If so, what was the connotation?
>Curious and altogether pretty erratic minds wanted to know!
>Jim mussed the back of the unicorn's mane up.
"Aw, settle down, lad. Yer gonna get it all twisted, then you'll be in even more a bind."
>Cute kid.
>Wait, how old was Citrine, anyway?
>The inhabitants of Tallus tended to look quite ageless, and Jim wasn't just talking about the literal goddesses.
>Jim nodded in assent to Noah's inquiry.
"Ye, not that I mind havin' some time to immerse myself in another peoples'....er, beings' culture, I'd at least know when I should have me last call!"
"'E means trinkets. Ye know, like this'n."
>Jim lifted the pendant looped around his neck.
"Maybe summats like a Cats-eye thing t'help all of ye out. I'd be lookin' for it meself, but me goggles tend to take care of...pretty much everythin', really."
>As the Dagor nears the heavy lifting crew, Joel takes a chance to dismount, not wanting to be particularly close to any possible way that magic and a minotaur could load the vehicle onto the train.
>The old man puts two and two together and makes a point of committing this "Vanilla Espresso's appearance to memory."
>After waiting his turn, he introduces himself to Royce with a tip of his hat.
"Joel Williamson. Former US Army."
>Everyone else having already asked the pertinent questions, Joel simply waits for the answers.

>At least he was until Jim piped up with an unexpected question, and he started puzzling out how to explain such a weird animal to somebody that had never seen one.
"Think... Lahk a rabbit the size of a person... and it stands on just its back legs..."
>He gives up after a while, discouraged by the equally bizarre but not terribly similar picture he knows he must be painting.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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the roo that you do.jpg
>Both Royce and Yuri catch your greeting, the boss giving you a chipper two-fingered salute back and the other a lackadaisical nod in between puffs of his cigarette.
"'Cheers, mate."
>Yuri gives you a once over, leaning back in appraisal before removing his smoke and letting out an obnoxious puff into free space.
"Bow and sword there, Robin Hood? Hegh, you and Kenny'll are gonna get along."

>Royce mimics your salute back to you, his eyes obviously trailing along your uniform and armor and idling on your pulse rifle.
"Oi' there, Marine!"
>Out of your peripheral, Jeff is also eying your gun... again.
>It takes a long second for both of them to realize the nickname you uttered, Jeff covering his mouth to contain an instant ear-to-ear grin.
>The receiver looking at you both with amusement, and mild offense.
"Whadyou' call me-"
>Yuri lets out a blast of laughter at the nickname, completely cutting off his boss, and slaps his hand against his knee shamelessly as he settled.
"Haha! Oh shit, I am so using that one! Why didn't I think of that!"
>Having his momentum severed by his teammate, Royce decides to just silently shake off 'The Australian Wonder' and gives you a little more focus for a moment.
"So, er 'Colonial Marine, yeah?' Jeff mentioned you fight giant bug aliens. You should talk to Jan, when she shows up. She's fought 'er share of aliens too."

>Royce tips his worn red ball cap your way, eyes pining to Jeff inquisitively.
"Cheers, cowboy! Ey, an Army buddy for ya, Jeffy!"
>Jeff looks over at the other commander, then away dejectedly.
>Familiar voices, in Saddle Arabian, trail in your ear from the blind side of the Dagor.
<Saddle Arabian> "The one talking to Mr. Byron?"
<Saddle Arabian> "Just get ready with the refreshments..."
>Royce nods at your greeting, but gives Yuri a knowing look at the title.
"Oh did he now? Wait you don't know what a 'roo is?"
>The Russian, who barely gives Royce the courtesy of an eye glance as he widdles down his cigarette to the butt.
"I said what I said... wait. You don't know what a kangaroo is?"
>To follow up on Joel's initial description of said animal, Yuri lightly hops on the balls with his feet- easily amusing himself.
"Don't forget the big ears and tail! Oh, and the pouch, for the Bobby!"
"Joey, mate..."

>Before either of you can get a reply out of Royce or Jeff, or anyone else, an elegantly blue and gold trim dressed brown saddle arabian mare and a stallion wearing an upper-uniformed Dragonspine conductor's uniform butts their way into the center of ongoing conversation.
"You will all be delighted to hear that the Neighmara Express has an entire car dedicated to snacks and refreshments for its passengers, including coffee and chocolates, as well as other amenities for your time through the Southern Saddle Arabian desert!"
>The last bit being clearly directed at Citrine's outburst of a request.
>The saddle arabian mare submits a polite bow to all humans and crystal pony in present as well as prostrates herself with a introductory forehoof.
"Greetings, everypony! I am Vanilla Espresso! One of Neighmara's council marembers, primary overseer of coffee trade, and host for Royce Contracting and Razorback travel needs. You are Jeff, correct?"
>She looks over to the commander, who gives her a confirming nod, and follows up with ears flattening in a curt second bow.
"That'd be me."
"As with Mr. Byron, I would like to apologize for the delay of departure. We needed to include additional cars for your... vehicles."
>Vanilla Espresso glances over at Royce's Husky, then over at the Dagor. Jeff waves off her apology, his voice carrying to include everyone in attending.
"It's fine. As long as we get where we're headed. If anything it'll give everyone time to explore and see the markets."
>The councilmare is more than pleased at Jeff's nonchalance, and beams over the entire group as if preparing to sell you all something.
"Then by all means! Please all of you, enjoy everything Neighmara has to offer while we finish preparations! It should be no more than an hour and a half. Oh, speaking of!"
>Espresso stomps a hoof twice, and literally attend of nowhere several uniformed in pony-styled fez suits appear within clusters of you. Each of them producing a silver ornate serving tray on serving saddles of iced water in classy short tumbler, clearly for your enjoyment.
>Jeff and Royce take no time taking glasses, Yuri grabbing one after grinding his spent cigarette into the worked ground.
"Well, it's not vodka..."
>Jeff takes a big swig of water, before addressing everyone.
"Welp, we got time to hang out and walk around. Leave whatever you don't need in the Dagor... the lift crew looks almost ready to move it."
>Swirling the *clinking* ice, he glances over at the burly overalled minotaur with only two of the unicorn lifters limbering up for another cargo load.
"I'll stay here and keep and eye on the Dagor. Stay or go, don't let me keep you."
"Oh Mr. Jeff! You have yet to finish payment for a pending order with us. Would you like to take care of that invoice before your departure?"
>He looks at Vanilla Espresso with an enthusiastic nod, as the councilmare pulls a few papers from inside her robes. Royce and Yuri gravitate together, matching gulps of water as they talk about something to themselves momentarily before saying aloud.
"Hey if any of you bump into Kenny, make sure he comes back with you. Drongo doesn't have any comms on him."
Citrine Blaze
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>While everypony was chattering away with their variety of accents Blaze stood there, still as a statue with only his ears flicking in the direction of those talking. Eyes slowly but surely glazing over as the words began to be incoherent white noise.
>"Imma just head out of this circle and-"
>Rudely butting into this huddle of close comrades came two other ponies, the nerve of them!

>One was a stallion dressed in the uniform of the Dragonspine, but crossed with a Conductor while also looking fancier than the rest of the uniformed ponies.
>The other...
>"By the Princesses Pink Flanks!"
>Blaze mentally swore as he laid eyes upon the Arabian mare. She had a beautifully rich brown coat that complimented her Saddle Arabian features and body, her clothing was as refined as the best refined goods money could buy for.
>Which were her goods.
>And her goods in the coffee trade.
>Citrine blushed like a young colt and nodded his head enthusiastically at Vanilla Espresso's greeting, forgetting about the cappuccino for later.

>Wait an hour and a half?!
>They went through so much preparation to wait again!
>Before he could sharply breath through his teeth in annoyance Vanilla's stomping and subsequent appearance of more ponies in funny clothing stopped him. And immediately his eyes honed in on the pure silver wares they had, their precious metal glinting sunlight off of their polished surfaces much like himself.

>He was transfixed like a magpie before he heard Jeff give him the all clear to leave.
>Nosing around in his saddlebags he saw he had plenty of room for more items, and with pure silver on his mind he set off into the markets.
"Right then! If anypony needs me I'm going to see what precious stuff I can buy to sell for a profit later! So if you need me...uh, talk into my ear with the ear-piece thingie that's in there."
>Blaze told everypony as he pointed to one of his ears.

>As he trotted off into the thronging herds of equines he took an image impressing glance at Vanilla Espresso.
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception

Using both perception and bartering to find any shops, stalls, vendors, merchants or dealers that are selling precious items that could be sold for later.

[1d6 = 3] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 3] >B.Bartering
[1d6 = 4]
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>Noah looks over to see Nevil addressing him
"Eh, I guess it depends on what kind of stuff they have over there."
>At the mention pocket money, Noah slaps his pants pocket to ensure he does have some money with him
"Already got some, sir."

>While waiting for everyone to be done and be dismissed, Noah notices a couple ponies come in and advertise their food car
>Which works because Noah's ears perk at the mention of free coffee
>"Ah, so these two are responsible for our train traveling..."
>While listening to what sounds like a tourist spiel, he notice the mare stomp and groups of ponies coming to them, drinks in hoof
"Oh, that looks fancy. Thanks."
>Noah goes ahead and grabs himself a tumbler and takes a swig of the water
>Refreshed, Noah glances to the Dagor, knowing that his shield and pack is still on it
>With nothing to worry about and seeing Citrine take off already, Noah starts to make way to the market
"I'll be in the markets if you guys need me."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
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>Nevil's smirk grows slightly more in Royce's direction as Yuri laughs, emanating a distinct middle-aged smug aura. If only for a moment.
>Said smirk dies down again as Royce focuses on him and lets him know about Jan...
>Nevil's left brow rises slightly with interest at this piece of information. Shifting his eyes a little with a split-second of thought, the rest of his smile flattening as he nods once in acknowledgement.
"Hmh, I'll keep that in mind. Maybe we'll hit it off."
>Nevil's voice carried an almost half-hearted flatness to it, but the interest in his eyes remains even as they shift off of Royce, now known as The Australian Wonder.

>Giving a passing glance to Jeff, staying quiet as he does while he briefly catches the look he look he puts on when 'Army Buddy' is mentioned.
>He couldn't help but smirk weakly, empathically.

>Then continues turning his head in Lucius' direction as he asks that question.
>Bouncing a look towards Jim as he answers first with his own example, prompting Nevil to briefly nod once in the Offworlder's direction. His eyes remain on Lucius however.
"It's a term that was coined by a certain... Let's say "author" even if that's not the correct term--film director would be it, that you definitely wouldn't know since it's ahead of your time."

"The actual term is meant to describe something that is used to move a 'plot' along in some form, and that is the entire purpose of the McGuffin in a story. However, in this instance, I refer to a McGuffin as all magical items because they're several flavors of bullshit and they move the operations along more smoothly."

>Nevil then gives a light shrug that makes the shoulders of his armour clack softly. Smiling weakly to the Ranger in an almost amused way, if it weren't for the perenially weary look the Marine carried.

>He then turned to look away more briskly, looking at the elegant mare and stallion that come to greet them, seeing how they enter the conversation.
>Nevil remains mostly still, spectating the conversation mostly by just shifting his eyes between the speakers and staying firmly in the background from all of this.
>There almost a hint of distaste on the Lieutenant Commander's face, though it quickly goes away once the servers appear from nowhere, head shifting to look downward at the glass of iced water.
>After what is maybe a split-second of hesitation, he reaches over to carefully takes up a glass himself, drinking the cold water in a more slow, savoring fashion.

>Hasting himself ever so slightly to drink through the water after Jeff's words, he puts the tumbler back.
>He made sure to answer to Royce as well.
"You got it."

>Watching Citrine quite quickly start to leave for the markets during all of this, Nevil begins to turn to leave as well. Adjusting the brim of his cap to shield his face a bit more.
"I'll come along. My first time around here, might as well see what they're selling for myself."
"Maybe they sell some magical sunscreen..."
>Nevil, tagging along with Noah, follows closely behind to go explore the markets.
Offworlder Jim
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Hans, stop swaggering about, we're supposed to be marching.jpg
>Jim just stares, dumbfounded.
"Er, nah, can't say I rightly do."
>At the other man's impression of the 'kangaroo', Jim lightly chuckles.
"Sorry mate, ain't helpin' me figure it out. Maybe if you kin tell me the scientific name of it, ye know, the genus, I'd be a little more in the right sector."
>Then again, not many people he'd met were knowledgeable about the genus name.
>When you dealt with hundreds of different aliens, it tended to be easier to narrow them down by their genus instead of a name.
>At least, for Jim.
>But he was weirder than most.
>Maybe that's why he was sent to Tallus?
>Ah, well, no use in thinking of it now.
>Jim accepts the glass of water, tilting it back and knocking it all down in a moment.
>'Not the best idea in a desert biome, but ruckin' around with a tumbler isn't high on my list of stuff to do.'
>At the request, Jim tips his goggles.
"Will do, boss mate. Don't wait up for- Actually, do wait up for us. We don't wanna miss our ride, ye?"
>Jim begins to walk off, going to follow the rest of the operators when a though occurs to him.
"Right, first, can we get a brief debrief of what the bloke looks like? I know we's pretty much the only lads round here so there ain't much mistakes to be made, but hey, shit happens, ye?"
>And with that, he headed off to follow the rest of the group.
Lucius the Weary
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>Lucius gives Yuri a strange look
"R-robin... Hood, did you say? Afraid I'm not familiar... Though I do look forward to meeting this Kenny character!"
"After a little wandering around, of course..."
>Quietly listening to everyone greeting and talking to each other, the Ranger graciously accepts his glass of water from the nearest silver tray, marveling a bit at the silver on display.
>Once the meeting seems to have adjourned, hearing that he could leave some of his belongings behind, Lucius ducks past the others towards the train, stowing just about everything aside from his clothes, his money, and his family sword in a safe place.
"Er, you're right, I have... no idea what a film is. But I do understand bullshit that moves operations along! My thanks for the explanation."
>Seeing Citrine bolt off on his own, however, Lucius gets a funny feeling
>"He's going to wind up in some sort of trouble, I just know it..."
>Silently the ranger slips into the markets after the crystal pony, trying to keep one eye on him without him noticing, while also keeping another eye open for any good-looking booksellers
>"Might do to get some light reading for the train ride, maybe brush up on the local critters..."
[1d6 = 6] >M. Stealth
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 5]

[1d6 = 2]>E. Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 4]
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>'So, Jeff's an old soldier, too?'
>The look on Jeff's face said that he didn't want to talk about it, however, so Joel let him be.
>Joel tips his hat at the arrival and introduction of Vanilla Espresso, his momma having raised him right.
"Thank ya Ms. Vanilla. That's awful kahnd of ya."
>He produces his everclear and splashes a bit into his water before sipping it down as he listened to everyone else discussing the wait.

>At Jim's question, Joel stays behind a little while as well and makes a careful mental note of Royce's answer before returning his cup and heading out after the others.
"Ah'm sure one of us'll find him. Many hands makes fast work n'awl that.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
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>You take the initiative to go breaking from the group and take the lead to go adventuring into the steppes of Neighmara.
>Before you venture off too far, you look back to take a good up-and-down of Vanilla Espresso.
>She was in the process of hoofing a clipboard over to Jeff, who was taking appraisal of what was on it.
>A proper side view of the Saddle Arabian mare shone off her luxurious shiny coat(whatever wasn't concealed by her merchant robes), and even perfectly curled and flowing mane- which was left free to flow with her movements. Her royal blue robes draped over from her withers and cut right above the fetlocks to keep from being dragged through the sand or getting caught while she walked. Densely stitched gold thread not only lined the cloak with a intricate braided pattern, but also adorned the entirety with elegantly swirling tribal-like schemes. If they held any cultural or societal importance, they were lost on you but they were still pretty to look at!
>Although most of her form was covered up, her silhouette rounded and curved nicely for a young and fit mare and her hooves were kept expertly trimmed and polished. You spot a bit of her tail poking out behind her, but it matched the color of her mane.
>Despite all of this, you finally take note of her regal amethyst eyes, which contrasted against her earthy colors. She was clearly from good stock, and undoubtedly attractive.
>Having taken in Espresso's for for memory, you finally focus on making your way toward the markets.
>But before you make it to the markets, the lowest level appeared more residential.
>These were the nostalgic buildings you remembered from when you first arrived: domed roofs, sweeping curves, wide windows, fancy doorways, elegant pillars, polished decorations, and large glass 'yards' filled with chairs and tables. Other than the fact most of it was not actual Empire crystal, but instead bitter-glass, the sentiments were hitting warmly.
>The residential buildings were mostly identical, and tightly packed, save for one large four-story building built into further down toward the center of the steppes.

>Ultimately the living area wasn't your target, as you make your way up to the next level of steppes.
>HERE is where the more practical and industrial-looking, two-storied semi-open stalls for merchants, and artisans.
>Six rows of stalls jutted out from the wall to the next level, creating neat rows of alley-ways full of business with no more than four meters of space to walk between them; spanning far down enough to loom over the entirety of the residential level right underneath.
>Your keen nose picks up a myriad of cooking foods and snacks, coffee, and chocolate aromas coming from stalls dotted between them. Moreso to the front.
>Figuring a grilled veggie skewer won't re-sell for much, you trot deeper into the rows to find yourself right up to the wall.
>These stalls were carved right into the wall itself, and you noticed the sand-blowing wind was already noticeably cut down this close to the wall.
>You immediately spot several stalls with ponies working on either textile weaving, statue sculpting, and several grindstones going away at what you can guess were gems being cut and polished.
>The last one was most likely you best bet at finding something to flip for bits later on, or a pricey statuette that you can sneak into the Dagor.

>Vanilla Espresso smiles at your graciousness, as well do the servers proving the water with a curt nod at your acceptance of the refreshment.
"You will all find that most merchants will be providing complimentary ice water at anypony's convenience. We understand it's hot and dry here, so please don't hesitate to quench your thirst while you're perusing the markets!"

>Leaving your gear with Jeff, you take off to follow Citrine's lead away from the train depot and into the heart of Neighmara.
>Quickly passing through the stark contrasts of the residential area's architecture, which may as well have been a recreation of the Crystal Kingdom itself, you push up through toward the lower market area where artisans were more hard at work focused on their particular trade than peddling goods and services to passerby's.
>The stalls were neatly yet claustrophobicly crammed back-to-back, creating six neat rows of two-story merchant stalls.
>You smell coffee, chocolate and a myriad of food stalls wafting through this level, as well as most serving ice water atop of what you assume to be Crystal-enchanted melt-proof ice bins.
>The stalls closer to the edge were focusing more on food, where the farther they went back yielded more crafts and artisanal goods; you lose pace with Citrine to the more expensive stalls in the back.

>You tagging along with Noah yielded a good view of the train depot as you climbed the beaten carved slop to the next level.
>The train's front stretched far out passed the steppes, only being ably to catch sight of the caboose indead well passed the depot's limits. All in all you counted almost two-dozen cars visible, implying there were even more!
>Noah passes the residential area, which looked more like a worn out crystal chandelier forms of houses.
>The next level up was where the markets started, Citrine hurrying to the back of this steppe's territory leaving you with Noah to choose a stall alley to meander.
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>Jeff, Royce, and Yuri look at eachother incredulously before shrugging and shakingtheir heads, your commander's attention went to the datapad attached to his left forearm.
"Heh, sorry mate. Wouln' know 'at off the top of my head. Always been roos and joeys to me."
"So... is the kangaroo supposed to be a genius?"
"Osphranter, the largest species being rufus. Or the red kangaroo."
>Looking over at Jeff, Yuri and Royce shot him impressed looks. Who looks barely affected at their gazes.
"What? I have a flora and fauna database on here. Human stuff's included, apparently."
"Shit, that's pretty cool."

>Following up on your last question before taking off with the others, Jeff waves you off with a carefree shrug.
"Unless you know what a samurai is, you're looking for a Japanese guy wearing armor and two swords around."

>You store your belongings in the Dagor's back seat, as the heavy cargo-moving team seemed ready and waiting to begin loading the Dagor.
>Falling in with the others you slink up the carved slope right past the residential level and to the stall markets, but you keep on Citrine's tail from an inconspicuous distance away.
>Despite your stealthing technique being on point, you notice the acroline was having a hard time blending in with the backround of constant shifting shadows against the sand-covered stone.
>His attention to the alley full of respectable artisan stalls leads you to the back, several passerby's snickering at your audacity for sneaking around a public area in the middle of the day being the running comments.
>Despite the mild commotion, Citrine didn't seems to notice you staying several stalls over.
>The stalls with food vendors were placed further forward, and crafters were further in.
>You still gave yourself plenty of time to scan down each lane of stalls for the opportunity of some reading materiel.
>Coincidentally, you do spot what looked to be a small library several carved stalls down. If they were for sale, or something else you couldn't tell from here.

[1d6 = 2]>Alert

[1d6 = 3]>Alert

>Espresso bows her head to your thanks, as you spike the ice cold water with your indulgence of pure alchohol.
>Yuri eyeballs your flask enviously, having caught sight of you adding in the crystal clear, but it pulled away by Royce to tell him something out of earshot. The Russian rolls his eyes, a nods in defeat.
"Fiiine. You got it, boss man."
"Just until it's time to leave."
>He breaks off from Royce and Jeff and over to the minotaur lifting crew to observe them.
>Jeff was busy looking over a clipboard given to him by Vanilla Espresso, the mare's eyes fluttering with the prospect of a business transaction as she goes over the invoice with him.
"One fifty pound breakfast roast. Two fifty pound Neighmaran Select. One Sumaretra blend. And one twenty-five pound Lunar Reserve... do you have a Starborn voucher for that?"
>Taken aback by the mention, Jeff pats his own pockets down as the mare starts melodically giggling at him until he realizes she was punking him.
"Very funny Miss Espresso."
"Teehee, I thought so. Please sign here, and I'll bill Razorback accordingly."
>Signing off on the pad, Jeff hands it back to Espresso to collect and bows her head and giving the Dagor a berth so it can be moved.
"A pleasure doing business with you. I will see you before departure."
"Jeffy, cm'ere mate."
>Free of his coffee transaction, Royce pats your commander's arm and leads him deeper into the depot near the train as the minotaur and two unicorn's begin approaching the Dagor.
"Now about this Scholar bloke..."
>Their conversation fades off as you take off with the others making their way up to the markets.

>You pass by the residential level, which resembled more the Crystal Kingdom than a steppe city in Saddle Arabia. Considering Neighmara solely exported water, ice, bitter glass, and a slew of other common items from the kingdom it's no surprise the residents took up their architecture so accurately.
>Passing up to the lower markets, the aromas of food vendors wafts over you and everyone else. Food and concessions were held closer to the steppe shelf so the down wind attracts from the lower levels. Farther stalls further back into alleyways beheld a number of small specific craft and items sellers, and all the way in the back is where the best artisans had their stalls carved directly into the steppes itself. Those sought-after spots drastically cut down on wind and sand blowing around the market, and allowed for more delicate and intricate work; thus yielding better quality products.
>Whether he knew or not, you spot Citrine peeling into the artisan alley with Lucius stealthily tailing him.
Citrine Blaze
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>Noah was tagging along by going in the same direction, good, that meant he could carry what ever was purchased.
"The more the merrier, we can become rich if we think smart. Like I did before in our last outing!"

>Then came Nevil too.
"We may of not collectively gotten richer but I sure did get my dick wet, and honestly isn't that worth its weight in gold?"
>He asked rhetorically, of course it was worth its weight in gold and he will stand by that position until he finds it advantageous to regret it later.
"Also I have sunscreen if you need it!"

>Citrine was too busy thinking of that time he had with that mare he totally remembers the name of to notice that Jim had tagged along.
>At first.
>That is until he glanced behind to track the swaying hips of a trio of Saddle Arabian mares, only to see a third human joined the group.
"Hi Jim!"

>As Blaze cantered around the sprawling place as defacto tour guide to reach the markets he would occasionally look behind him to see if the others were still following, and if he was being followed by those that meant him harm. Possible harm.
>With a keen he saw he was NOT being tailed by Lucius, whom he presumed actually went to some other district instead.

>Being the very last to join the party and being furthest away Citrine did not know Joel was coming with, though at this point the Crystal Pony should of assumed everypony was coming along with him by now...

>"Damn, that is a fine mare. Would be a shame if we were to be booked into the same train booth for the entire journey."
>Blaze thought, face turning redder at the thought.

>As the stallion moved through the residential area to reach his destination a wave of nostalgia gifted him a fuzzy warmth across his body, this place did really look like home.
>If it were not for the Saddle Arabians and the climate he might of actually of been fooled into thinking he had stepped right back into the Empire once again.
>...But he wasn't home, and could not go back until he paid his due's to Jeff and collected enough money to be welcomed back anyway.

>Once passing by memory lane and reaching the markets a new sense took over, the overwhelming intoxicating stench of freshly made food.
>It was all around him, the aroma having soaked into every surface of the place. It threatened to make him drool like a fool.
>And would have if he had come here for such things, but he was on a mission here, possibly one more important than the reason he was in a desert in the first place!
>To make fat stacks of money!

>Letting his mercantile expertise guide his hooves Citrine came across the stalls carved into the very wall itself. This is where he should be, and where he will find what he wants.
>He went for the gem cutters first, as a statue or three would be too much of a burden and majestic weaves could be blown away due to high wind currents. Though the latter could be used as a fancy carrier for the gems he recognized.

"Hmm, perhaps combining all three.."
>He muttered to himself as he examined the wares of the gem makers, specifically searching for a selection of the most colourful, shiniest and finely cut stones on offer.
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 6]
305966 306512 307686
>Following Citrine and listening to what he explained his sex life, he began to take in the sights like a tourist
>Going through the residential district almost made Noah forget he was in the middle of the desert and made him believe he was strolling through the Crystal Empire
>The heat was a constant reminder of where he was however
>Looking back and seeing Nevil and the rest, Noah had a thoughtful expression
>Magical sunscreen would be a boon, especially for the back of his neck

>Following Citrine to the more crowded markets, the myriad sweet and bitter smells enticed Noah
>Noah kept his temptations aside as he remembered the same stuff would probably be at the train
>For now, he kept perusing the stalls and see what they had to offer
>Maybe they have a nice silk shemagh or head wrapping to help cool him off
Lucius the Weary
306512 307687 308336
>The ranger does his best to ignore the snickering and jibing - they could see him, sure, but his quarry could not, and that was what mattered to him
>However, seeing Noah and Nevil both fall in line behind Citrine, Lucius decides that he has no more need to keep his watch
>"Nevil is too much a stickler for the rules to allow any funny business, and if Noah can pilot such a terrifying contraption as that Dagor, I'm sure he can handle an errant bard pony, even if his hat IS fabulous..."
>With this decision made, the ranger drops his stealthy demeanor and walks like a normal human being (which ironically is very much not normal in this realm) past Citrine, Noah and Nevil
>As he passes by, the ranger taps >>305923 on the shoulder
"Hey, you may not have spotted me, sorry - wanted to keep watch over that one-"
>Points to Citrine
"But I can see he's in fine hands between you two. I'm headed down the way to yon library - if anything goes wrong or it's time to leave and I am late, look first for me there."
>With a final small nod of the head the ranger departs the three of his companions, walking quickly towards and moving into the library, taking in as much of the exterior as he can as he does so.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
306755 306765 307686 308121

>Looking briefly over the shoulder towards Jeff as he catches the the mention of a 'samurai' when Jim asks for Kenny's description.
>This made Nevil arch his brow with interest, making a mental note while otherwise not saying anything as he turned his gaze forward and he marched along with his arm lazily resting on the butt of his rifle.

>As he moved along the street and the smells and sights hit him, nothing really changed his expression or seemed to make him smile. He almost continued to observe everything with an alert gaze, never relaxing too much even here.

>He didn't look down towards the crystal pony as he gave his reply. Though Nevil couldn't help but smirk broadly at Citrine's sheer confidence.
"I can respect that. Just don't tap into the communal fund without at least telling one of us, you dashing bard."
>Nevil replied, mild amusement breaking through the otherwise flat, emotionally drained tone of his.
"I'll be sure to watch to see how you strike deals. I'm eager to see how it's done."

>Then he widens his eyes a little at the mention of Citrine having the fabled Sunscreen(tm).
"Oh, hey, I'll take some sunscreen if you'd lend it to me for a use or two, but it's no problem--I can probably afford my own and there might just be something better around here if we look for it. Maybe something that straight-up insulates from the elements. That would be a great catch."
>Nevil, tagging along with Noah moreso than Citrine--sticking at a respectful distance by the man's side, looked towards the crystal pony now with a hint of sudden curiosity in his dullen eyes. But if he had something to say he kept it to himself for the time being, as he quarter-turned his head in the direction of Jim and Joel instead, as he couldn't see Lucius yet.

"Royce mentioned our Samurai-man Kenny was likely stuffing street food into his mouth. If you don't have an urgent need to buy anything specific, can you head towards the food stalls along this level and peek around for Kenny?"
"Just let them know Royce would like him to come back soon now that we've arrived."

"And to wear his comms, if he has any to begin with... 'Ain't cool to go off with no way to keep in touch."
>Nevil's tone descends to a mildly irritated grumble at that one, but it rises back up to his normal evenly calm tone quickly enough.

"They should stick out. Two swords, ye olde samurai get-up, low-tech probably? You'll probably spot him with a glance."

"If not,"
>Nevil taps his headset twice, and nods at the two.
"We'll look for him all together later. Can't go back without them anyways."

>With that said, Nevil turned suddenly as he caught Lucius in his peripheral re-appearing from stealth, making his brow rise briefly as he looks to them intently.

>Nevil smirked faintly at Lucius' reasons, and nods. Waving a hand lightly at them to wave off the apology.
"Right, Lucius. See if you can't find anything interest on Eldritch subjects while you're there. I'm looking for reading material to continue my studies. Or even any journals regarding expeditions to where we're going. Might be useful."
"Let me know the prices for renting or buying books as well, if that's possible. Use your radio for that, so you don't have to come back to me if you don't feel like it."

>With that, Nevil focused back ahead. His eyes seem to mostly stare off towards nothing in particular for a good second, then sideglanced Noah once.
>Not really saying anything, Nevil seemed to simply follow Noah's glance towards the stalls himself.
"... Maybe we could afford something with elemental silk in it. We're fairly well-funded, aren't we."
>Nevil mused out loud.

>Nevil was more aware that they were FILTHY rich given the available budget. It was probably worth trying to look around for anything expensive-ish to invest in; namely anything with 'elemental silks' in it that might stave off the heat for the long term.

<E. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 1]

>Of course, he also did keep his eyes on Citrine. Keeping track of them and looking to see how he went about the market.
>Having already started looking around by the time Nevil spoke up, Joel gave him a brief nod.
"That's mah plan, more'r less."
>Armed with a surface-level knowledge of what a samurai even was, Joel located the direction that the smell of food was coming from and got going.
"C'mon space man, we got a real old-timer to find."

On arriving, Joel did his best to take in the scene, keeping a special lookout for Kenny, who would hopefully stick out like a sore thumb.

<E. Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 4]
Offworlder Jim
307688 308121
i'm goin in.gif
>'Osphranter rufus'?
>So, Big Toe, Red?
>Well, it had to be kingdom Animalia, possibly Mammalia.
>Most arthropods lacked a toe, so that ruled them out but didn't excise enough of the doubt.
>Eh, not enough information, but then again, it wasn't important in the first place.
>Either way, it was time to hit the trail.

>The offworlder tilted his head slightly, then shrugged.
"Ye, makes sense. I'd rather like to keep an eye on the li'l bloke 'ere, 'e seems like the type to find himself in all sorts of messes...but ye, the comms'll help. Wish I didn't have these ol' pieces of scraptech an' had a proper set o' SuperFreqs at hand, but eh. Least I got to keep me goggles!"
>These people didn't know laughably far they were behind him in terms of tech, and he had to suppose this is how the rest of them felt when they were first transported to this low-tech of a world.
>Nevil was the only one who came close, but his sort of tech seemed to be bruteforcing its way into working, whereas Jim's universe had literally hundreds of civilizations worth of tech research to call on.
>Still, no use lamenting lost tech...

>Jim took a moment from staring at the multitudes of shops nearby, smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
"Hey there, li'l guy. I'm gonna go and look fer this 'samurai' near the food stalls. Ye keep in contact by comms if'n ye find yerself diggin' a hole two sizes too wide fer ye'."
>The offworlder calmly broke from the company of the bard to trace a path towards the food stalls.
>Of course, keeping his head on a swivel to find the 'samurai'.
[1d6 = 2]<B. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6+1 = 6]<Goggle zoom
>The word itself tugged at the memory, though he couldn't place it.
>'Was it the blokes that wore bathrobes into battle? Or those synthheads? Bah, doesn't matter."
>Though Jim had to wish that he had been given more information than 'bloke with two swords on his back.'
>Ah, well.
>His goggles highlighted various signs as he moved past them, to which Jim frowned.
>'Ah, blast it all. I got thousands of different languages and dialects programmed inta this thing, and not one of 'em can translate any o' this crap.'
>He really needed to get a firmware update....if that was even still possible at this point.
>The man brought himself into a loping jog to distract himself from 'what-ifs', and to try to find the missing man quicker.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
308121 308336 308686
just red sapphires.jpg
>Ignoring sculptors, weavers, and other quality artisans down the alley you zero in on two gem related stalls right next to each other.
>The closest stall was handling already cut and polished stones and gems, a variety of gold and silver pieces adorned the front kiosk in advertisement with price tags. Most of them weren't even fitted with gems yet as fully finished products were further inside the stall and out of hoof's reach.
>In the back, an elderly pale red Saddle Arabian stallion was nose-deep in cutting a purple colored gem on a hoof-assisted gem cutting table; adorned in a simple brown merchants robe and grey mane tied back and out of his work. His rear leg, slowly pumped up and down on a pedal on the floor which spun a horizontal grind wheel at chest height. An angled boom arm above him held the precious stone in place to the stone with a complicated set of adjustment dials for his mouth and hooves to operate.
>He lifts it from the stone for a moment, analyzing his work with a pair of magnified jewelers spectacles, then sets it back down to the still-spinning stone.

>The second stall bore a younger earth pony mare of a dark purple hue and violet mane. Her front kiosk counter hung a clearly legible sign in big bold Common: "Uncut Gems and Stones: Cut to Order, All Types!".
>This simple marketing strategy seemed to work, as she was already dealing with a dark veiled customer. A unicorn, you guess, going by the frontal jut from inside the hood.
"So you don't have Ewerup onyx either?!"
>A picky and disgruntled customer, at that.
>The stall owner clopped a hoof down against her kiosk, shaking her head almost disgustedly.
"I'm sorry sir, but I don't have any imports from Ewerup or Rushya. And don't even ask about Stalliongrad either. I do have plenty of Dragonspine onyx that should suit your needs."
>Even you know better that no pony wanted to deal with either countries.
>Despite trying to alleviate the situation the cloaked customer only seemed to become more aggravated, stomping a revealing green hoof impatiently against the steppe stone.

>Their conversation trails off on you as your attention is brought back to the stall you were previously eyeing.
>The old saddle arabian had put his work down to approach you, glasses still affixed to his face, and bowing to you in greeting.
"Greetings there, Crystal pony. Care to browse my fine little gems? Haha, and the jewelry as well!"
>Easily amused at his own joke, his head dips below his counter for a brief moment before producing a quartz-carved tumblr already sweating with ice water.
"Something to quench your throat. You may call me Old Ruby; everypony else does. Number one ranking jeweler in Neighmara. I work in finishing rough-cut gems into final pieces and set them into whatever adornment you'd like."
>Old Ruby looks you over for a hot second, eyes googely peering through his glasses, appraising your hat more than anything else and smirks knowingly.
"Might I recommend some embellishments for your hat? I have a batch of blood sapphires from the Moors that would go around its band quite splendidly..."

>You both take on the hunt to find some stylish and practical head wraps for the already hot and dry journey in Neighmara.
>And the fact that Citrine had drawn the majority of you into the pricey section of the market, the quality was nothing to scoff at.
>There were stalls both in the cliff and in the free-standing adjacent ones offering a wide variety of textile specialties: carpeting, area rugs, robes, cloaks, hoof shoes, saddle bags.
>Luckily there was a stall that dealt in scarfs, shawls and the other sorts across from and a couple stalls down from where Citrine had stopped at a jeweler's stall.
>Whatever conversation he was having with the owner was effectively droned out from a heated argument in the neighboring stall. A cloaked customer shamelessly complains about game dice to the stall owner, who has all but began ignoring the belligerent patron.

>Refocusing your collective attentions on the clothing stall, you approach its open entrance as the owner pops her own-wrapped head out to greet you: a young golden yellow saddle arabian mare adorning what you could guess one of her own products looks over you both with wonderment.
"Oooooh humans! Greetings! Welcome to Shay's Shawls! I provide head wraps of all kinds made from the finest threads Snootzim can provide!"
>Assuming to be Shay she happily trots through hanging racks of silken garbs to a large steamer chest and flips the lid open with a hoof, revealing a set of tightly-packed and neatly-folded patterned fabrics of every color you could imagine.
"I heard you humans enjoy keffiyehs, from the one that called me a... she-lah? I'm currently having a four-for-three sale, on them! Prices vary, based on material and whether or not they're interwoven with special or enchanted threadings."
>She bows to both of you and gives you space to peruse, but not before directing a hoof to a tucked corner of her kiosk which stood a side table full of trayed ice water on a bed of enchanted perma-ice.
"If you get thirsty, please help yourselves to some refreshments. And feel free to ask me if there's anything you're looking for, in particular."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>As you voluntarily emerge from your stealth and break off onto your own to go bookshopping, you glance back behind you to notice two Neighmaran Bronze Guard looking at you incredulously from inside their helmets. They take a look at each other, exchanging a few words in Saddle Arabian, shrug their shoulders, and laugh before turning and walking off on some sort of regimented patrol of the area.
>You feel like they might have been laughing at your expense...
>Either way, you walk past a fancy jewelry stall Citrine had stopped at, and a clothing vendor for Nevil and Noah to continue down to the cliff-carved kiosk with books on display.
>As you near, signage comes into view which momentarily falters your efforts: "Tome & Journal Restoration".
>But upon closer inspection, all the books on display had price tags on them so at least you knew you can buy something. Most of them had titles in languages you couldn't understand, and those that were legible had dry scholarly titles to them.
"Greetings stranger!"
>From the alley a vibrant orange unicorn stallion with a jet-black slicked mane quickly trotted up to and passed you to slip into the book kiosk. He quickly ducked under his front counter and reappeared with a short-cut burnt yellow cloak.
"My apologies, sir. I was away on an early lunch, forgot to put up my away sign."
>He bows apologetically, but you can tell he wasn't a Neighmaran native. From your travels you would deduce he was from Canterlot, giving his accent and mannerisms.
"Right, where are my manners. Name's Hoof Note. I specialize in tome and text restoration, as well as custom journal making. I also sell most of what I fix up, so if there's anything you're looking for just ask."
>Expecting more from himself, he takes focus off of you to cross his eyes for a moment before shaking his head and dipping back down behind his counter. Only to emerge again with a pair of fitted and square cut reading glasses now sitting up on the bridge of his muzzle, adjusting them slightly with a dabble of magic before feeling satisfied.
"Ah, there we are..."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
307935 308740
>Deciding that looking for the samurai Kenny would be a team effort, you tag along with Jim and stick to the forward stalls where the scents of alluring concessions and delicacies loomed heavier.
>As you both trail down the alley, you notice the stalls starting on the stair-end with lighter peckish snacks like iced coffees and mixed drinks topped with chocolates and snack cakes to more filling fair like platters of grilled vegetable kebabs and pock-marked kiosks with actual marinated meats skewered over open embers. The stall owners purposely fanning the delicious aromas into the alleyways to draw in potential customers.
>The further down you went, the more congested it got to the point where ponies were rubbing up against your leg armor and the end of the stalls opened up to an end-cap of sorts on the rock shelf for this level. A packed crowd of ponies, all with their backs to you and Jim as if all observing a singular entity out of eyeshot.
>Luckily for you both you were at least over a foot taller above the tallest pony, giving you full access to the spectacle of a colorfully armored man of Asian decent balancing a pineapple at the end of an outstretched katana.

>Leading the way through stalls, both your naked vision and through your goggles scan clear through the crowded food stalls.
>Although you couldn't translate most of the signs through your tech, it wasn't hard to decipher that the kiosks were putting out refreshing drinks, snacks, and full-blown meals; even trying to coax you over to sample.
>Of course, your main focus is to find the samurai.
>Luckily you don't have to wait long or look far as the end of the alley comes to a crowded mess of onlooking ponies and other sentient being mixed in.
>In the center of the fixed commotion: a man clad in marbled purple and black armor with white decals, black hair tied up in a top knot and a black headband bearing metallic purple symbolism, held out a mirror polished sword straight out in front of him. On the very tip was a steadily balanced pineapple hanging over a wicker basket, with little effort from the man keeping it there. If anything he was more preoccupied by the trio of assorted grilled meat skewers in his free fist, taking a bite from one as the crowd starts to grow restless.
>Chewing and swallowing, he eyeballs the fruit at the end of his sword intensely and he cocks a smirk; and the crowd quiets save for the sounds of sizzling grills, backround music, and ongoers moving on uninterested.
>Still tracking him through your goggles, you catch a glimpse of his sword shoulder raise slightly in anticipation, but his eyes catch your attention the most. For a split second the color of his iris glow a bright golden yellow before he moves his arm faster than your goggle's movement tracker can pick up.
[1d6+10 = 12] <M.Melee:???
[1d6+10 = 11]
[1d6+10 = 14]
[1d6+10 = 15]
[1d6+12 = 14] <M.Reaction Speed:???
[1d6+12 = 13]
[1d6+12 = 17]
[1d6+12 = 18]
>His body barely moved as his sword instantly went from holding the pineapple up to appearing to the right of it, as if it had been cut in half horizontally.
>And as the fruit hung in the air for a brief moment, almost cartoonishly, you witness it break into two at the middle as expected.
>... but also in half vertically, leaves and all, falling into the basket as four perfect quadrants.
>Your brain can't comprehend him making a vertical cut, or when he even had time to make it.
>Bewilderment aside is cut short as the onlooking crowd explodes into a fanfare of cheering and hoof stomps at the performance; the man brandishing his sword upward and gives it a full-bodied flick downward to rid the blade of any residue from the fruit, spins it around into the crook of his left elbow and runs the blade through the fabric on his arm to thoroughly clean it, and smoothly sheaths it into its empty scabbard with an audible click.
>All one-handed while still holding the grilled meats in his left hand.
>Almost expecting a closing encore he smiles at the cheering crowd, he gives everyone in attendance a curt polite bow before breaking out into a wide grin and randomly waving at no ponies in particular as everypony begins to disperse.
>Several merchants come up to him, bowing respectfully as one of them takes the basket with the pineapple away from the middle of the walking path.
>The man bows back to them, shaking his head with a smile on his face and pointing to the concession in his hand.
"No no! Arigatou gozaimasu! Much appreciated!"
>You get it now. He was performing for food. Free, most likely.

Offworlder Jim
308740 309142
get in loser, we're going ivan removing.jpg
>The offworlder slows his pace down as he comes upon the mass of spectators, coming to a stop.
>'Well, I'll be. Subtlety clearly ain't this bloke's business... though it sure is payin' off for 'em."
>Jim zoomed in on the details of the man, particularly his sword.
>'Ah! So it is the bathrobe wearers, then! 'Cept this bloke ain't wearin' one. Fancy gear, though.'
>Jim's finger twitched despite himself as the telltale twitch of a muscle signaled a strike...
>And oh, what a strike it was.
>For a moment, it appeared to ignore the laws of physics before it fell apart in half...two different ways.
>Jim raised a hand to his goggles, resetting the device, though he knew damn sure that they worked perfectly fine.
>Jim leans towards his compatriot who followed him, Joel.
"Fuck me, couldn't even see when he'd have time for that second cut. Mate's got a few tricks up his sleeves, ya reckon?"
>Either it was extensive bio-modification, a cyber implant, or perhaps magic.
>In any case, he certainly wasn't one to mess with.
>But Jim wasn't there to scout talent, and began making his way to the strange swordsman.
>Though, moving through a tide of half-pint horses was a bit of a challenge, considering the amount that was there.
"'Scuse me, sheila- Love the mane!"
>Jim apologized to the Saddle Arabian mare he nearly bumped into, only to almost run into another.
"Sorry mate. Noice shemagh!"
>And eventually, Jim made his way to the expert bladesman, looking him up and down once more before shifting his goggles above his eyes.
>A friendly smile surged to life on Jim's face as he thrust a hand towards Kenny.
"Afternoon, Kenny! Full business name's Offworlder Jim, but ye can just call me Jim fer short. Me n' me associate here'r from Razorback out in the Everfree."
>The offworlder chuckles a bit as he shakes the other man's hand.
"I'd say you were a hard bloke t'find, but ye stick out like a chemplant inna harvest world."
>Taking back his hand, Jim rests it on his rig.
"Now, if I were yer boss mate, I'd chew ya out for leavin' yer comms behind...but from what I can see, ye can sort out any drongo that staggers yer way."
>Polite bullshit out of the way, Jim made to continue on but the proximity to the other man's kabobs had the scent wafting over to his nose.
>After having a light lunch because they were going to translocate, walking through the food market was absolute torture.
>He'd have to stop by on the way back and grab some for himself.
"Anyway, I was told to find ye and bring ye back. Boss mate's gettin' all of us ready n' mustered fer the expedition out into wherever the money's blowin'. Though, I am curious. How in the hell'd ye move so fast? Me goggles didn't have a chance'a trackin' ye."
>Jim's stomach tugged at him, forcing him to smile sheepishly.
"And, uh, where'd ye find those kabobs? I'm gonna have t'get some of them to 'fress on. Though I've not got those fancy skills to, ah, pay with entertainment."
>A man was only as strong as what grub he had, and that looked like some powerfully good chow.
Citrine Blaze
308686 309143
"Right then! Take it out of my saddlebags whenever you need it, BUT tell me before you do it or else I'd buck you. Got a lot of bad experiences on my travels."
>Citrine told Nevil, some hints of past memories flashing behind his eyes.

"Eh? Sure sure I will call if I need more money than I have on me, not like I will, I will be all fiiiiiiine~"
>Said Blaze, with perhaps too much confidence in himself.

>Initially drawn in by his keen eye for quality gems which led him to the two stalls, the Crystal Stallion was now more interested in watching the wizened Saddle Arabian work his craft.
>Though he did glaze down to the products on the kiosk before him.
>He could -possibly- swipe something as a Full Hoof Discount however he did not want to cause any trouble nor did he believe the train would be ready for him. In fact the train might not even leave if he does do anything foalish.

>Citrine side eyed the other stall, its kiosk and sign, the pretty mare and the hooded Unicorn she was dealing with.
>Something in the back of his mind was trying to click at the sight of that green hoof, but surely he would recognise the voice of the whiny Unicorn first?
>"Mmmm, could be my imagination..."
>Could be.

>Snapped back to where he was and what he wanted at the sound of scuffling hoof steps, Blaze met the eyes of the old stallion and gave him a bow in return.
>And chuckled at his joke.
"Ha, I get it."
>He's funny.
"Thank you Ol' Ruby I think I will."
>Thanked Citrine as he sipped at the tumbler as Ruby talked on, and finished when he offered to bling out his hat.
"My hat? Oh how kind! I think they will look splendid, you can do that before we can get down to why I came here."
>With that deal seemingly sealed Blaze took off his hat and placed it onto the kiosk.
"If it this costs less than four thousand Bits than start right away, I will be back to you in a second!"
>The Crystal pony said as he gave an apologetic and sincere bow of his head as he turned fully to the neighbouring Stall.

>Citrine Blaze was a stallion of action, he played hard and worked harder, he knew what he wanted and he took it.
>A real wild card.
>A real stallion, a Stallions' Stallion.
>Some would say he was a slave to his curiosity or had small attention span but only his worst enemies would say such slanderous lies of him!
>So when he approached the disgruntled draped Unicorn from behind, it was not because he had the mind of a colt, it was because he had to know if this was a friend or foe!
>Breaching somepony' else's personal space and privacy be damned!

>He crept as close as he could to them like a cat, low to the ground, then-
[1d6 = 2] >U.Stealth

>POUNCED! Aiming for their cloak with teeth and hooves he wanted to throw it off of them to see who this potential enemy was to him!
[1d6 = 6] >E.Assault (ripping the cloak off the Unicorn)
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
308686 309143
>Noah was surprised at the touch of his shoulder but looking back it was only Lucius
>Like Nevil, he too waved off the apology
>"Man, he really is good at sneaking around."
"Of course. Hopefully nothing goes wrong though."
>Returning his nod, he looks over to see which library he is headed to and then takes a mental note of it before continuing to follow Citrine

>Looking ahead, he sees that Citrine stopped a couple stalls ahead
>"He found his jewelry stall. Wonder if he'll get anything good."
>Pushing the notion of jewelry appraisal out, he returned to
>He looks ahead and pays attention to the mare speaking to them, assuming to be Shay
>Seeing her walk to the trunk and open to see many more head wraps, Noah perks at the thought of the sale and the enchanted threading
>Reaching out, he touches a dark blue keffiyeh, making up his mind on which one to get
"You said something about enchanted threading? Which ones are those?"
>Still rubbing the material between his fingers, he intermittently glanced over to where Citrine was and tried to spot him, see how he was doing

[1d6 = 3] <E. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 6]
Lucius the Weary
>Lucius' eyes drift over the market stalls as he moves through the space, eyes lingering for a few moments over the jewels and fine fabrics, before arriving at the interesting little stall
"Ah! Not to worry, not to worry, 'tis I who ought to apologize for interrupting your meal."
>The ranger reaches up with both hands, pulling back the fur-lined hood of his cloak, revealing his lined facial features and short-cut mousey hair, flecked here and there with gray and white
>The crows feet around his eyes scrunch somewhat as he gives the bookseller a warm smile
"Good to meet you, Hoof Note. I am Lucius, though some may call me Weary."
>As Hoof finishes his little spiel, Lucius bends over slightly and begins scanning the volumes on display, searching for titles he could read
>Once the stallion finishes, the ranger straightens back up, addressing Note again
"Yes, well you see, I am a part of a larger group. We're traveling south of here, you see - strange goings on, and we've been called in to help."
>Lucius continues speaking as he bends back over to examine the books again, one hand plucking at his short beard all the while
"I'm looking for some material to pass the time as we travel on. Specifically, if you have anything on any kind of animals or plants native to the southern regions here, I'd be delighted to see it. A friend of mine also requested that I look for something on, 'Eldritch,' matters. I'll be transparent, Sir Note, and admit that I know little of such things, but my friend seems quite interested, and I am keen to do him a favor."
>Once more Lucius straightens up, looking back at Note again
"Have you any volumes like that? Bear in mind, too, I am somewhat language-locked. Though, if you have anything that could help me learn a new language, I would be interested in that as well..."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
>Nevil made sure to nod deeply in earnest agreement to that condition. His face softening in understanding, but says nothing more. Merely following the stallion with his glance as they went for a moment longer.

>The Marine couldn't help but let his eyes idly wander over the stylish and obviously quality garments and clothes all around them. He was silent while walking next to Noah, giving off a token presence In the form of the clacking of his rifle at his side.
>And though their eyes were starting to refocus on a particular clothing stall which seemed to fit his bill, he briefly stopped for a brief second to look at things from a short distance, his eyes shifting in thought. He looked a little paler for some reason. Then he moved forth, lip partly pursed into his cheek with a hint of mild annoyance that had just suddenly appeared. This faded away very quickly once he had crossed the threshold of the stall into a prompt, small, but genuine smile.

>Then nodded his head deeply in muted gratitude at the typical greeting, but remained very quiet as the stall owner spoke on. Shifting his eyes to the refreshments when they're pointed out, and taking a couple steps towards it while his hand wiped some sweat from his brow.
>Though he lifts his brow questioningly at the notion of particularly liking keffiyehs.
>He thought about it...
>Then gave a slight nod to Noah's questions and follows up with his own.

"We need something we can wear under or over armour. Helmets and masks specifically. A cloak as well if you have any of those--but a keffiyeh would probably work really well I'll say."
>Then he sideglanced Noah once, taking note of his eyes directed in Citrine's direction, then back to the mare.
"Elemental silk, enchanted threading. Robust. Comfortable. Need something long term that can withstand the heat of the desert for long expeditions."

>In the meantime, Nevil approached the refreshment to grab himself a glass of water to drink slowly, and stave off the heat just a bit longer...
Joel !!7000000

>Joel's jaw drops a bit on seeing the samurai do his trick.
"Hot damn! The feller's like magic."
>He rubs his eyes, knowing he must not have seen what he did see.

>The old timer pushes throught the crowd right behind Jim, echoing his apologies, his hand hardly leaving his hat the whole way to Kenny.
"Sorry miss. Beg pardon, mister."

>After a bit they both arrived at the front of the dissipating crowd.
"God awlmahty that was sure somethin'! You musta' been swingin' that thing a long time to pull that off.
>Soon, Jim brings him back on topic by mentioning Royce.
"Oh that raht, Royce wanted us to getcha from wherever ya ran off to.

>The mention of food (and especially the smell) sets Joel's stomach to growling as well, and he begins looking around at the nearby stalls for something hearty and meaty to bring back. Prancing around the desert toting guns is hungry work after all.

<E. Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 6]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
309191 310113 310114
book satchel.jpg
travel journal.jpg
>After pleasantries were exchanged you begin explaining yourself to Hoof Note who hangs on your every word.
>Note's muzzle scrunches up detestably at your destination point, be it vague, but he adjusts his spectacles and clears his throat.
"South? You're traveling South? Lucius, hrrhmm. You'll have to forgive me, but nopony goes any further South than Saddle Arabia's border. I've heard talkings of multiple humans congregating around the freighter, so I'm assuming that's your group. It veers South for a time, before running the border Eastward for the majority of its travel."
>Lifting himself on his haunches and both forehooves clack onto his service counter, the originally amiable stallion takes on a rather somber expression.
"As you may or may not know, Neighmara is a rather isolated city from the rest of Saddle Arabia; we skim the southern Border by only a dozen-ish miles. The region directly South is named Horsepen: it's been long extinct by its original inhabitants, but its riddled with active leylines that spew all kinds of otherworldy beings we must fend off occasionally. Just to the East of Horsepen... is Maren-"
>Note looks to the side in hard thought, eyebrows shifting, and eyes almost closed as if trying to block out the world around him. Recomposing himself, he looks back to you sternly.
"What I have read up on Maren is that in ancient times, a large temple was built in the middle of the region by unknown inhabitants; some say it was Horspens, but it doesn't fit their cultural history to do as such. There it's said that forces we still can't comprehend forced the ends of four ley lines together to form the infamous Marem Ley Junction: quite possibly one of the most powerfully chaotic areas of otherworldy Eldritch activity on all of Tallus! That area is so corrupted nopony's been able to reliably study it for centuries!"
>Catching his hysterics rising, Note takes himself back and lets out a relaxing sigh before continuing.
"I will be honest, Mister Lucius, I don't envy you and your group. The fact that you're searching for anything on the Eldritch natures tells me everything about where and what you're headed into."
>With a dutiful look to him, he turns and heads into his kiosk. He hovers a sturdy leather satchel into his magical grasp and grabs a softcover from a stack of identical ones near the front, but heads further in to begin scouring much older-looking hardcovers. Murmuring to himself, he pulls out two leatherbacks and adds them to the satchel and hovers the whole bag to you and places it on the service desk.
"One Southern Arabian Guide to Flora and Fauna, not like there's much living down here. The other two are Horsepen texts, translated into Common. One is a transcript of past Eldritch events in Maren that have occurred from ancient times, recorded by the Horsepens. The other is Horspen history and a full breakdown of their language. They historically have the most involvement in Maren, so if you find anything there they'd be your best bet for referencing. I'll only charge you for the Guide: two thousand bits. The other two are more than even I can afford, and they're not technically restored to the point of reselling anyway. To keep them from you out of monetary obligation could mean the doom of you and your friends. I'm only asking two things of you in return: One, that you return them in one piece... if you return at all. And two-"
>Note produces a new but worn-looking leather travel journal with snapping clasp and sets it on top of the book satchel. He reassesses you hopefully, mostly reassuring himself.
"-is that you record anything you bear witness there. I have heard of some incredible feats you humans have accomplished in the few years of existing here. Maybe you will all make it back in one piece."

>You both push through the crowds in order to close in on Kenny, his show now over. The onlookers and those complimented give you all appreciative looks and pleasant 'thank-yous' in either a native tongue or in Common.
>Making your way up to the samurai, Kenny notices you both and cheers through a mouth full of food and swallows quickly to greet you with a wave with his free hand.
"Ah! Konnichiwa, hello! You with Jeff-san, yes?"
>Noticing the hand greeting, Kenny straightens his stance and politely bows first before outstretching his free hand for a handshake.
"I am Kenichiro Kajiya. But everyone just calls me Kenny. It is easier."
>His heavy accent lays on his words thick and a bit broken, but he's understandable enough.
>Both of your concerns over his whereabouts are quickly waved off by him with a hearty chuckle, clearly not much of a worry for him as he take a talkative bite from one of his kebabs.
"Then it is good you found me! I shall accompany you both back to the train!"
>As Jim gets to questioning Kenny's abilities, the man lightens his friendly expression a bit to clear his mouth of food.
"Not where ponies can hear. Later on train. But ah! You are both hungry too, yes? One. Moment."
>Kenny directs his attention toward the stalls the faced the alley end-caps, all of them steaming and smoking with hot grilled food. Coincidentally he goes up to the stall owner that took the pineapple away earlier and mimics to the kebabs he was still working on, holds up two fingers, then points toward both of you.
>Almost instantly the stall owner produces four char-grilled meat kebabs mixed with equally marked pineapple chunks, hands them to Kenny which he bows in thanks and saunters back to you both with a pars of kebabs for each of you in his right hand.
"He does not speak Common, but he has plenty of business. So here! Free! Haha!"
>Kenny hands the kebabs out towards both of you in offering.
"Also. I believe it is chicken?"
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
309147 309345 309875
>Nodding at you leaving your hat with Old Ruby to mull over your offer, the old Saddle Arabian laughs out loud to himself as you sneak your way to the neighboring stall.
"Hoho! Not even close kid..."

>As you focus your efforts on the hood figure harassing the stall mare, you sneak you way over to ambush him.
>'Ambush' is a loose term. Your hasty approach in broad daylight was hardly sneaky, and you could even hear Old Ruby behind you cheering you on with a 'Go get him, kid!'
>Luckily your target's attention was still on belligering the mare, until the very last second. It was too little too late, at that point.
"Further more-hey what. Who are-"
>Your chompers bite into the thick heavy cloak, and with a hard yank you wrench it right off of the unicorn.
>The effort pays off. The tie around his neck resists for a moment before even it yields and the cloak flies off.
>Out from the commotion the stall mare begins cackling manically at your assault, and her obscenities start flying out at the offended unicorn.
"Beat his ass, crystal pony!"
>Sure enough your suspicions were right. Out from under the cloak was a young full green unicorn stallion with round-rimmed glasses, even garbed out in that ridiculous yellow scalemail armor.
>Quill's rage was in full flair from your attack, and his horn lights up full force about to hit with you with something until his face drops through the packed dirt walkway. Ears dropping flat out of confusion.
"What is your fucking prob- WAIT! I know you! You're from the outpost! With the humans! What did you-did you follow me?!"
>He starts back up, in panic, looking in every direction but your's.
[1d6+4 = 7] <E.Perception
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 6]

>Shay smiles at both of you for having the same thought process, and rushes into an inconspicuous corner out of sight for a moment before returning with one folded article each for you to sample. It was all white with black patterns running all across it like the others.
"Please. Examine them for yourselves!"
>You both already heard her pitch, which meant you were going to be paying out for more. Which business pony wouldn't be happy about that?
>Taking the samples, the clothe was soft and breathable like all the others. But at a closer inspection, you see shiny metallic silvery and blue threads running through the keffiyeh in patterned intervals.
"So. Those ones are dual weaved with two different types of enchanted spider silks. The first is an ice enchantment, which will keep your head cool in this kind of climate. Naturally they are a big seller, I recommend them to everypony. The second silk is from a rare species of runic spiders from the southern region of the Crystal Empire. When worn over the head properly, they will create a runic barrier around you strong enough to keep the wind, and especially sand, out of your face."
>While one of you enjoys a free refreshment and the other keeps an eye on your crystal pony companion, Shay continues her business pitch.
"They go for five thousand bits each, and are part of the sale. So fifteen thousand for four, if you are interested. I also have them weaved with one or the other thread for three thousand each, and in every color and pattern."

>As you both check out the fabrics, you also keep a look out over at Citrine from several stalls down.
>Turns out he had falling out with the jeweler, and before either of you knew what was happening he had assaulted the cloak of a pony the stall next door.
>A quick struggle between the two and the crystal pony rips the cloak off, revealing a green unicorn with glasses and light yellow mail armor.
>He was familiar, and it clicked to both of you that it was one of Golden Gadget's friends: the whiny unicorn Quill.
>As he began throwing a fit from Citrine's attack, he immediately backs off out of sight of him. He was clearly scared and confused from the entire incident, and his shouting can be heard from Shay's kiosk.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
309345 310846 311684
>Nevil himself seemed almost excited. His smile was a little more genuine and his eyes a little more "awake" than they usually are as the mare slinks off to grab the sample, then comes back.
>The Marine smiled in earnest at the sight, drinking through the rest of the water before carefully setting the glass back down and stepping over again to examine the fabric. Being from an age of corporate monopoly, he doesn't often see things of this quality. He seemed to nod slowly in appreciation.
"These certainly look more than good, Ms. Shay. And the price seems fair. Do you mind if I take a moment to deliberate though? We will need more than four, there's quite a few of us and I've gotta ask them if they want one or whatever."
"... Would the deal apply if we buy more than four, or if we buy a mixture of dual weaved and some of a singular type of thread, ma'am?"

>Then Nevil pauses, crossing his arms and tapping on his elbow as his eye lingers on the fabric a moment longer to think and do some math. That's when he absent-mindedly let his eyes trail off to the side, and out of the corner of his eye and his hearing he could witness the slight commotion that was going on in Citrine's direction.
>Nevil double-takes. Then his smile instantly falls flat, as does the rest of his expression.
>Then his left brow rises as he noticed who Citrine had stripped.
>He, with a distinct slowness, taps into his earpiece to transmit a mildly annoyed message over comms. Which most of the others could hear.

"*Citrine..... Try to calm Mr. Quill down, please. I'll come over in a second to have a word. Please don't have him panic and run off, if you can manage that much.*"

>Then he turned towards Shay with an apologetic smirk.
"I'll be right back, sorry. Have to talk to a friend causing a small fuss further down."
"If you could answer my questions to Noah here, I'd appreciate it miss."
"Sorry again,"
>As Nevil apologises multiple times with a small frown to him, he steps back towards the exit of the stall, walking backwards at first as he gave Noah a glance.
"I'll go see what's going on."

>Then he turned around, walked out, and starts to stride out onto the road and starts to calmly approach the scene. Gently holding up a hand in the general direction of Quill in a disarming gesture, if the unicorn would even stay there that long for him to get within speaking distance before they run off.
Lucius the Weary
>The Ranger cocks an eyebrow, accepting the satchel with a grin
"My my, I daresay that I am beginning to like you, Note. You are indeed a shrewd one, or perhaps I am simply lacking in subtlety."
>He scratches his beard for a moment
"Perhaps a bit of both? Either way, your information is much appreciated - four ley lines, you said? By the nine Hells... I'll bet some foul sorcerers are to blame. From the tales I'd heard by firelight back home, those who meddle in dark forces do tend to wind up the worse for wear."
>He casts Note a somber look
"Typically those old tales ended... poorly, to say the very least."
>Taking the journal from Note and giving him a wide grin and a small, deferential nod of his head, he begins to count out his money
"I thank you for your generosity, and your concern doesn't go amiss, I admit. Frankly I too am worried about this journey - It is no exaggeration to say that we are as well-equipped and outfitted as one might be for something like this, but, well..."
>Still holding the journal in one hand, the ranger hands over a pouch containing 5,000 bits
"Here, thats five thousand. Two for the book, and three... well, think of it as a promise. A promise backed by something more than just empty words and sentiment."
>Now he pockets the journal and slings the satchel over one shoulder, adjusting its to fit comfortably with the rest of his gear.
"I hereby swear an oath to you, on my good coin and my name, that both I and your books will return in one piece. I'm a naturalist and survivalist after all. At one time I too kept a journal, though that one became lost during my... transition to this place."
>Again he nods deferentially, wearing a solemn expression and making purposeful, direct eye contact
"I do not swear an oath lightly. Where I am from, breaking an oath often means death. Your generosity may well save many lives, and that sort of kindness commands my respect in a way that nothing else can."
>He grins again, breaking the eye contact and laughing quietly to himself
"Hell, maybe when I come back we can arrange some kind of payment plan for these two unfinished volumes. I know of more than a few ponies back home who would love to lay hooves on tomes like these."
>Then the ranger pats the flap of the satchel
"Well, I must be off, still more shopping to attend to I'm afraid. Oh, that reminds me - could you point me in the direction of a fletcher, by chance?"
>He mimes the action of pulling and firing an invisible bow and arrow
"I use a bow, you see, and I was interested in maybe finding some good ammunition. Could serve well, hah!"
Citrine Blaze
310761 310846
fuck you bread.png

>'"Not even close kid" Resounded in his mind as he snuck closer to the hooded figure, not registering if he was about to be out of 4 thousand Bits or not, as he grew closer to his prey the thought process was gone.
>Only the shrouded pony before him is all that mattered.

>Being a master sleuth and basically the bestest wannabe spy in all of Tallus Blaze grinned as he pounced with mouth wide open and nom'd the buck out of the fabric that hid his vile enemy. And with a powerful tug he revealed the identity of this pony that was probably, possibly, maybe, sorta, kinda a danger to him.

"AHA! I knew it! It was you all along...!"
>Shouted Citrine at first in triumph, before his confidence faded slowly as he tried to remember this Unicorns' name.
"What's your name again?"
>Asked the Crystal Pony in earnest, now also noticing the Unicorn was panicking.

>Then suddenly, the voice of Nevil spat into his ear, making Blaze tilt his head to one side, than the other with a pan face expression.
>He sounded annoyed.
>He did not appreciate that tone from his human team mate.
>He will have to find a rolled up News Paper later, but first! Stop this "Quill" from running off in a panic.
"Easy enough."
>Citrine whispered to himself as he once again pounced at the Unicorn, this time attempting to tackle him to the ground.
>Screamed Blaze as his plan was to shout the panic out of the Unicorns' system.
[1d6+2 = 3] >E.Assault (Tackling)
[1d6+2 = 6]
[1d6+2 = 6]

[1d6 = 2] >E.Negotiation
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4]
>Noah raises an eyebrow at the blue and silver strands and sure enough he can see them
>He shared Nevil's smile as he listens to Shay's pitch
>And these are certainly the best quality shawls he's seen
>Looking toward Nevil to see how he will hash out this deal, he notices his change of demeanor
>As he was about to speak, he hears a familiar voice
>What a surprise that Quill would be here
>Seeing Nevil take the initiative, he returns Nevil's glance before turning back to Shay
"A little bit of trouble but nothing major. But, we would need around six and whatever my friend wanted weave-wise."
>Joel gives an internal sigh of relief at Kenny's first couple of sentences.
>"Was really worried this guy would be off his rocker some way.
>Watching him score some free lunch, Joel began to think that their own smooth-talker could stand to pick up a few things from the samurai.
"Thank ya kindly, Kenny, now let's get movin'. Ah got a feelin' the less time we've got the other's outta our sight, the better."
>As they walk, Joel begins tucking in to the kebab. While it certainly looked like chicken, Kenny's lack of confidence made Joel a tiny bit more suspicious of it than he might have been.
Offworlder Jim
more scopes.jpg.jpg
>Ah, of course.
>How could Jim forget, everyone had their trade secrets!
>It was one of the most important rules in the offworlder code.
>He supposed that some things were universal constants, at least, that was what was comfortable to think of it as.
>That's why he had the Nanoweave armor, made him durable, stealthy, and it was breathable!
>Of course, that was because the clothing was basically billions of nanomachines working in perfect harmony, so of course heat would dissipate a lot easier on account of all the microscopic holes between them.
>But trade secrets were neither here nor there, as there was food to be had!
>Jim watches on as Kenny exaggeratedly gestures to the vendor, retrieving two sets of kabobs.
"Ah, 'tis a shame. Least the bloke understands the language of hands!"
>Jim eagerly takes his set of skewers from Kenny, copying the bow the man had performed earlier.
>When in Space Rome, right?
>Now that he thought about it, why was it named that?
>If it was based off of an old Earth location, just name it New Rome.
>Perhaps it was funny to some people?
>All that mattered was that Jim now had food.
>The mercenary tore off a good quarter of the kebab, gorging his needy stomach.
"S'pretty good, mate. Not sure how I feel 'bout the pineapple, though. Still, thanks, mate."
>That was, however, mainly because of the fact that most yellow colored fruit that was traded on the galactic market was usually a class three bio-weapon to humans.
>Ingesting was easy enough, preventing it from turning your stomach into a roiling hurricane of agitated acid was another.
>And it wasn't indigestion that was the worst.
>Some could actually turn your stomach acid into something that would eat straight through the lining and kill you from the inside out.
>But, once again, that was neither here nor there.
"Alright then, mate, time to put boot t'path. Let's get back to our boss mates for they start layin' eggs, ye?"
>But this was a market, after all.
>Perhaps he should see if there's anything that catches his eye on the way back?
>Surely, they're used to Kenny disappearing for larger chunks of time than it took to locate him?
>Smiling to himself, Jim brought his goggles down off of his head again, letting the neural interface zoom and focus as he needed.
[1d6 = 3]<B.Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6+1 = 6]< Goggle zoom
[1d6+3 = 4] <E. Evasion: Quill
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 6]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
310896 311684 312280
>Note nods his head solemnly at your assumption, adjusting his spectacles thoughtfully.
"Hence why we don't have much modern research on the Marem Ley Junction. In fact, Anypony that can gather information from within it is quite valuable. I would even go as far to say your efforts would be rewarded, if you return with enough useful material."
>As you pass over your end of the bargain, the unicorn takes the bits from you and listens intently at your own oath, taking in your words with an understanding smile.
"When you return Lucius, you may be able to earn those tomes at no cost to you. And if you don't... well, they're insured. That aside, I do wish you the utmost luck."
>You final request cause the stallion to look behind you at your bow and quiver, a hoof coming to his chin before nodding to you.
"You are in luck, Lucius. There is one in the upper markets. Minotaurs from Goska: some of the best fletcher and bow crafters on Tallus, considering they're the few species that can HAND-dle bows. Snrrrt."
>Chortling at his own joke Note settles down and continues.
"They're more than capable of making arrows a size to accommodate you, and not something suited for a ballista. Just head back to the stairs, and up to the glass walls. The guards will let you through."
>Having felt business was concluding, he looks back into his kiosk quick before back to you.
"Unless you needs anything else, Lucius, I wish you and your friends luck on your expedition. These old books won't restore themselves. Heh."

>Kenny smiles and gives you both a curt nod as you takes the kebabs from his grasp, going back to finishing up his own.
"You never have pineapple? Sweet! Juicy! Delicious grilled! But what isn't?! Haha!"
>The samurai follows you both out of the cap on the market stalls, tossing his empty wooden kebab sticks into one of many trash receptacles meant to keep the place tidy. Kenny dusts off his hands and wipes his mouth with a finger before polishing any lingering flavor off in the only way appropriate, then casually rests his left hand on top of his sword's handle as he saunters.
"Hai. Royce can be impatient. When it comes to deadlines. I respect promptness, when necessary. Have you located Jan-san? She is escorting our client. Top markets, I believe. Client... very interested in human technology."
>As you trio make your way back tot the train depot, you keep a watchful eye out for anything out for the ordinary throughout the stalls.
>The crowd that had previously been cheering on Kenny's performance had long dispersed, and everyone had gone back to normal business.
>You do notice several pairs armored guards from the edges of the stalls were keeping watchful eyes on you three. They were probably there the entire time, allowing the performance to go on seeing as it drew business. And that was always a good thing, right?
>Security aside you didn't pick up anything else useful throughout the stalls that weren't either food, clothing, or knick-knacks.
>The top markets guarded by the glass barrier were still a prospect.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
311359 311368 312112
>The panic'd unicorn looks at you incredulously as he continues taking short shuffles away from you.
"You what?! Y-you attacked me and you don't even know my name?!"

>Already in flight-mode, the unicorn sizes you up and is already anticipating a move from you.
"NO! Fuck you!"
>He sees your second attack coming, but is too slow to fully get out of the way. You manage to get your hooves around him just enough to throw him off balance and sloppily push him to the ground. The both of you now a flailing mess of hooves, cloak, and armor in the dusty alleyway.
>Passerbys look on in distress, the ore salesmare continues to jeer Quill as wella s cheer you on, and you spot Nevil approaching from down the lane to assist.
"Stop panicking! You're-UGH-wrestling me AND yelling at me to CALM DOWN?! GETOFF ME!"
>He starts fighting back, awkwardly trying to fend you off still on his side.
[1d6+3 = 8] <E. Melee: Panic'd Hoof Kicks
[1d6+3 = 9]
[1d6+3 = 5]

>Throughout the commotion, you catch a commanding presence quickly approaching from the deeper end of the alleyway. A pair of Saddle Arabian Bronze guards actively strut toward your scuffle, lances straight up at ready, loudly scolding the pair of you!
"Hey! You two! What is with commotion! Stop at once! No fighting in the market!"

>Shay takes in your specifics of your offer, her face lighting up at the amount your wanted to purchase.
"Why yes! You can mix however you'd like, and if you're going to buy in bulk- eh?"
>Your distraction stops the mare mid-sentence, but nods in understanding once you explain your interruption.
"O-of course! I will await your return- hopefullybuylotsofstuff!"

>Putting your shopping on hold, your open comm channel is caught and responded to by Jeff.
*"Did you say Quill, Nevil, as in one of Golden Gadget's game buddies? Question him, but be subtle. Pretty coincidental he's here the same time we are..."*

>Exiting Shay's Shawls, you powerwalk over to where Citrine was currently openly assaulting one of Golden Gadget's friends.
>And unfortunately it was causing a bit of a scene- so much that a pair of Bronze Guards were approaching from the far end of the alleyway, already barking at Citrine in heavy yet understandable accents.

>Hearing Nevil over the radio, he dips out of Shay's store to deal with Citrine outside. Leaving you with Shay to conduct business with.
>Having no one else in her little store, the Saddle Arabian mare turns her full attention to you to continue her pitch she had started with Nevil.
"As I was explaining to your friend, we could work out a bulk discount and adjust the final price if you'd like to mix weaves. You'll still have to buy intervals of fours for the sale, so eight... twelve... sixteen?"
>She smiles at you expectedly at her offer, a business pony she definitely was.
Offworlder Jim
312280 312313
"Nah, mate, I've had pineapple, jus'...not a fan. S'alright, though, so don't feel bad 'bout gettin' yer mate to toss one t'me fer squat."
>Let no food go uneaten, the Offworlder code extolled.
>You never knew when you'd have your last meal, so why not live for the excitement of trying new things!
>A new name was brought up, one that may have been told at the meeting, but was either forgotten or straight up unheard by Jim.
>Hey, there was a lot of information dumped, it was only normal, right?
"Jan, eh? Ye, thought I heard yer boss mate jabbin' about her. Somethin' bout aliens. Now that I think about it, he said the same 'bout that Nevil bloke..."
>Just how many people had dealt with aliens like Jim had?
>Questions for later, possibly on the convoy.
"Regardless, nah, mate, we 'aven't. Me an Joel can track the sheila down, if'n ye want to head out to smother yer boss's smokin' noggin. Or, if ye want t'join us, I won't have nothin' to whine about. More blokes, more jokes, less croaks, so says I."
>Jim never was one to say no to extra help, especially from lighting hands Kenichiro.
>Not that there was much danger in the markets, but prudence always paid.
"What'cha think, Joel?"
Citrine Blaze
>This nerd was a feisty one, but he had wrangled and tangled with mares feistier.
"Sorry I am not good with names!"
>Shouted Blaze, meeting and matching the Unicorn in volume.
>He was so pre-occupied with holding him in place with his forelegs he did not account for Quills' hindlegs, and how they were in perfect bucking position to kick the Crystal Ponies' Family Crystals.

>Time stopped, colour ceased to exist, and anything remotely positive in life became a foreign concept to Blaze. Mind blank, body numb save for a deep burning sensation between his hindlegs.
>One that grew in intensity and gradually overtook the all consuming numbness, leaving his body in an inferno of staggering pain.
>His mind finally registered his mouth was wide open and his lungs were hurting. Why? Was he screaming? Couldn't be, for if he was he'd hear himself scream but he heard nothing escape his throat.
>Oh, he realized. He had exhaled all the air from his lungs in a prolonged whimper that was still going.
>Two sources of pain, wonderful.
>And he was becoming lightheaded, also wonderful.
>In fact it felt great because the pain was fading now, it could not hurt him now in the tranquil bliss of oblivion...

>Citrine slumped to the ground next to Quill, onto the flat of his back with all four legs straight in the air.
>Nap time.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
>Nevil's stride broke into a jog as he sees Citrine quite literally ASSAULT Quill in public and scream in their face.
"Citrine! Stop it!!"
>Called out Nevil in the hopes of getting the pony's attention qucikly enough before this escalated further.
>Alas, he is already too late.

>The marine FLINCHES and hisses through his teeth as he gets front-row seat to Citrine getting their nuts pushed inwards by a nerd, his hand faltering down as he slows down to a slower walk.
>The only thing he can say in that moment, as the guards begin getting involved, is:


>As Citrine slumps with their legs up in the air like a dead spider.
>For about a second he casts a worried glance down at the now seemingly unconscious Citrine, then over at Quill, then over at the guardsponies who were responding to the issue.
>This was... Awkward. Very.
>'Goddammit Citrine' echoing in his head, Nevil resumes walking forward and sidesteps whoever might've been in the way at that point, trying to excuse himself onto the scene.

>He gives the guards an apologetic, albeit lopsided frown. He holds up one hand while the other gestures to the crystal pony.
"Sorry about this, guards. The crystal pony's with me. It's my bad for not being able to keep him from getting into trouble."
>Nevil's tone was mild. Disappointed. He gives Citrine another look. To see if he was even moving at this point; if he needed actual, genuine help.

>He doesn't approach however, staying a few paces away in case the guards had other ideas on the matter.

"I can handle him. He's--done, anyway. I hope nothing broke down there..."
>He looked over towards Quill once, pursing his lip briefly as he speaks up towards him once. He had to at least try to salvage this.

"... Sorry about this. If you stay here a moment I'll try to make it up to you, mister Quill. I need to talk with you."

<E. Negotiation
[1d6+1 = 6]
[1d6+1 = 7]
[1d6+1 = 2]
Lucius the Weary
17802 312280 312313
"Ah but you are quite possibly the most helpful pony I've met lately. Good books and good directions! Imagine!"
>He grins and bows himself out of the stall, calling behind him as he returns to the main market
"Take care, Sir Note!"
>As he leaves the stall, he registers Nevil's message over comms
"Now how does this contraption work again..."
>Fumbling with his comlink, Lucius manages to find the correct button, broadcasting his own return message
"Ah! I think it's working. Hello all! How strange this is... Anywho, looks as though I ought to have kept watch over Citrine after all! Shame on you, Nevil. In any event, I am heading up to a fletcher in the upper market - if you have need, seek me out there. I also managed to procure some books pertaining to the area we're headed: the Marem Ley Junction, apparently! I'll fill you all in on the train!"
>Once again adjusting his gear, Lucius leaves the others to handle the situation with Quill, heading up to find the Minotaur stall in the upper market
>Trying to set the disturbance down the street aside, he focuses on the polite businesspony
>Adjusting his belt, Noah ponders her proposition and doesn't seem to bothered by it
>The base's pay was really good anyway
"Well, I think we would at least take the cold weave. The amount of wraps would be up to my friend..."
>Noah then cranes his neck to look a couple stalls down to see what is happening
>The only thing he would be able to see it a couple of guards and Nevil speaking to them
>Looking at Nevil's body language, he seems bashful at the situation
>Noah looks back to Shay
"Hmm, to make it even amongst us all and for CYA, I'm looking at twelve and weaved with both. But we gotta wait for my friend."
>Noah then keys in to his radio
*"Noah to Nevil, everything good down there?"*

>Joel turns to his buddies and thinks for a moment before beginning to respond.
"Well, ah s'pose it'd save us some steps if we went to check on miss Jan before headin'--

>At that moment the comms come alive. Notably with Lucius' message about Blaze making trouble.
>On hearing this news, Joel hits his transmit button and relay an update.
"Jim and Joel to all: We've got a hold of Kenny without much trouble. Says miss Jan is ahead in the upper market. Ah figure we ought to get after her as well before the guards politely ask us all to leave on account of whatever Blaze got up to."
>The last bit he says as much to Jim and Kenny as to the others.

"Lookin' to me lahk the choice got made for us, fellers. Let's get movin'. We don't know how long we have 'fore we might get kicked out.
>With that, the old timer turns the direction of the upper market and leads on, keeping an eye out for anything interesting enough to stop for on the way.

[1d6 = 6] <E. Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>Realizing there was a potential sale to be made, Shay keeps her attention on you as your own is obviously split between her and the commotion outside.
"Of course! I can have a dozen dual-weaves ready for you to pick for color in a few minutes, sir."
>As your attention is on outside of the stall, you notice Shay also joins in on you in the peeping.
>Her ears perk up, as if trying to listen in on their conversation as you await a reply from Nevil, then flatten followed by a shake of her head.
"It sounds like there was a scuffle between two ponies. One of your friends? The guards are really strict about physical confrontations in the markets. A little heated arguing during haggling is fine, sometimes encouraged, but there's zero-tolerance for hoof-fighting. I will get your products ready for you, in the meantime..."
>The kiosk mare turns from you and disappears into the back of her stall, you hearing intermittent rummaging going on.

>It wasn't your proudest moment, rolling around with Quill in the sand-swept markets of Neighmara. In retrospect it probably wasn't your worst moment, either.
>Both of you entangled in eachother's hooves and robes sent passerby's into a tizzy, the ore stall mare still cheering you on in the backround! You even think you gave Quill a good hoofle to his face by accident, not like it quelled his frantic flailing.
>You managed to keep the unicorn down long enough for Nevil to appear out of a nearby stall to come over and help take over the situation.
>But that's the last coherent thing you remember before a sharp exploding pain erupts from you lower hanging boys.
>Several gasps and 'Ohhhhh!''s can be heard in your quickly fading hearing as you collapse onto your back in a numbing blackout.

[1d6 = 3] <Turns Unconscious For
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>Your attempts to break up the scuffle between Citrine and Quill before anyone got seriously injured turned out to be futile.
>You, the ore stall mare, passerby's, even the pair of guards all froze in a moment of shock as Quill inadvertently plants a hoof-kick square onto your teammate's dirty bags.
>The fight breaks up almost instantly as Citrine rolls onto his back out cold, and the other pony fights out of his own cloak for a second to right his person. Quill manages to situate himself onto his haunches to shake the stars from his eyes, now glasses-less and sporting a shiner on his left eye.
"OW! You hit me, you jerk!"
>Rubbing the left side of his face with a hoof, he grits his teeth to keep on fighting but immediately looses steam as he looks over at his unconscious assailant. He takes a moment to put one and one together to come to the realization he had clocked Citrine out cold... somehow.
"Oooooooh did I do that? It was an accident, I swear! He attacked me first!"
>His ears flatten to his head, as he bashfully scoots away from you only to bump into the armored legs of the Bronze Guards behind him. Quill peers up at both helmeted Saddle Arabians, and shrinks down at their gazes as they eyeball him from above.
"He attacked me first, guards! I was... defending myself!"
>The left guard frowned deeply at Quill while the other stayed silent and shook his head as both shrugged their shoulders to clank the pommels of their side-mounted lances authoritatively into the ground.
"Ohhhhh no! We saw you harassing Miss Quartz a ways back, before coming over to break you two up!"
"That's right! He was being unreasonable, wanted product I told him multiple times I didn't have! Then the crystal pony jumped him! It was awesome!"
>The ore mare, now Miss Quartz as far as you were concerned, had both forehooves on her kiosk literally screaming at the guards who only acknowledged her with a confirming nod.
>Quill stopped his quivering, the rush of the fight most likely dying out from him, and dropped his head down to accept his fate of being taken in by the guards.

>Before the pair can make a move to apprehend Quill or Citrine, the one that spoke up draws his attention to you with apparent interest to your apologetic approach.
>The guard looks over at Citine, frowning sympathetically, then at you, then down at Quill. He then growls to himself in deliberation, looking over at his partner, who mulls over a silent response before nodding in agreement.
"It is apparent that justice was brought to all affected parties in some form or another. Miss Quartz, do you wish to file charge with this belligerent?"
>The mare, who looked excited for a moment, shook her head and rolled her eyes as she calmed down behind her kiosk before blowing a raspberry at Quill.
"Eh, I guess not. That black eye's justice enough for me!"
>The left guard rolls his eyes at the Mare's response before nudging Quill with a hoof boot.
"You. You were technically assaulted by the crystal pony, which is not tolerated in the markets. Despite his... current state, you are entitled to file charges against him if you wish."
>It was more of a statement than a suggestion as the entire situation felt tricky and gray to everyone at this point.
>Quill looked like he was considering to do so, until you step in to try and talk him down.
>The green unicorn looks at you rubbing his injured face with a hoof again, your sincere words clearly cutting into him, before looking over at Citrine apologetically.
"I suppose I was... being unreasonable, also I hit your friend in his junk. No... I won't press charges."
>The left guard 'hmmms' to himself, before clanking his lance against the ground again.
"Very well. We will take our leave, now. Enjoy the rest of your day at the markets. Out condolences to your friend."
>The other guard, silent up to this point finally speaks up with a much deeper voice and broken common.
"Least ice is free to chill balls with! Hehehe!"
>Both guard snicker to eachother before the left one eyes Quill once more before both turning to take their leave.
"We catch you making a scene again, we'll drag you through a matrice ourselves. Understand?"
"Y-yes sir."
>Now that the whole thing was over Quill let out a huge sigh and took the time to find his glasses, which had somehow made it in one piece. He hovers them back onto his face, his left eye squinting in pain and as they touched the bridge of his nose.
"Just wanted some fucking rocks... Amethyst could I trouble you for a glass of ice water for my eye?"
"Yeah no. Suffer, four-eyes."
"That's fair... ow."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
313514 313553
>Hoof Note waves you goodbye for a final time as you take off, he himself disappearing into his stall to continue working.
>Retracking back down the same alley you had entered, you pass by the same pair of guards you were sure were tailing you earlier.
>The were somehow both amused and aggravated at the same time, going off their faces and mumblings to eachother.
>You continue on down the alleyway - casually and awkwardly passing by quite the scene between Nevil, a unicorn you think you remember from that junction outpost, and a passed-out Citrine in the sand.
>Nevil seemed to be handling it so you decide to keep pressing on toward the steps up to the upper-level.
>Making your way out of the market stalls, you merge onto the main steps and start making your way up to a visible high glass wall painted in glowing ruins. Closing in onto it, you approach two heavier armored Bronze Guards from what you saw down in the lower market. They had no visible weapons, but they certainly weren't put there for show.
>As you close in on them, a noticible archway was envgraved into the wall as both gaurds closely flanked it. They both take a protective step in front of it, barring you from entering. Which was fine, seeing as you really didn't see and obvious opening access point in the wall.
"Halt there... a human? State your business in the upper markets."
>The spoken guard, telling by the pitch of voice was mare under the heavily clad armor, was a mare. The way she addressed you sounded more of intrigued curiosity than authority. The other guard, going by similar frame, you guessed was also a mare who instinctively peered over to you as well.

>Kenny nods to you about Jan, scratching the stubble on his chin.
"Hai. Jan is from twenty... second century? Always talking about EE-zoh and mass-something that powers her armor and weapons. Apparently she's worked with and killed aliens. So strange, to me... My armor, bow, and swords are enough for me."
>He pulls his katana out of its sheath a quarter way before accentuating it back in with an audible 'CLACK'.
"I will accompany you. There are few sitting places to eat in upper market. Full meals. Could use a bite before we depart."
>Despite putting away several kebabs just minutes ago, Kenny still seemed to have room for more, apparently.

>Taking the lead of you trio, you cut a path through the rest of the market alleyway until reaching the opening for the steps going up to the encased market.
>The radio channel opens up. Royce chimes in before being tailed by Jeff.
*"Sure you found him stuffing his gullet, ye? At leas Jan's got a comm on her. Guess I haven't radio'd her to adjust her channel yet. W'ever, she knows when to return."*
*"If Nevil has everything covered, better to keep the situation to a minimal."*
>Radios cutting out. The three of you merge onto the steppe-steps ascending to the upper markets. Kenny adds onto his earlier conversation about Jan.
"I heard the client can be a handful. Glued to Jan's side. Loves her armor. Her weapons. Her... om-nee tool. Jan don't take her shit, tho. Is why Royce put client with her."
>As you lead up toward the upper markets, you peer down into the level you were just on and spot Nevil and Citrine next to some of the stalls carved into the steppe wall.
>Citrine appeared to be laying on his back, unmoving, while Nevil was looking over a green unicorn. He looked familiar. You remember hearing over comms the name Quill mentioned. Wasn't he one of Golden Gadget's dice game friends from the other day?
>Mulling over the coincidence, you approach the high glass walls of the open air market. There, the three of you spot Lucius having already beat you up here along with two heavy armored Bronze Guards protecting the entrance.
>One of the guards was unoccupied, the other currently vetting your comrade for entry. The saddle arabian's eyes behind its full helmet widen excitedly, doing a little hoof tap as you all stop a couple steps down.
"Ooooooh, look! All the humans are coming up now! Ahem! Welcome to the Upper Market, humans. Do you have business with the quarry, shopping, or looking to dine away from the blowing sands?"
>Going off of the guard's high-pitched bubbly tone, you took it there was a very extroverted mare inside the Elite Bronze Guard Armor. Her flanking guard took notice and leaned over to her not-so subtly.
"Don't break your posture. We're supposed to be professional."
>The mare addressing you waves an armored hoof at her nosey partner to shoo her away.
"I asked them the criteria, already, Dancer. Lea'me alone."
Citrine Blaze


>The darkness was did not hurt Blaze.
>It comforted and shielded him from the insufferable pain.
>The all consuming void was his friend.
Lucius the Weary
>The ranger cocks an eyebrow at the question, but answers:
"Yes, my business is with a minotaur here, whom I've heard is an arrow-maker of some renown."
>as the others arrive, Lucius turns to greet them all with a wave of the hand and a jovial 'Ho there!'
"Oh! I may also sit down to a meal as well, depending on the weight of my purse following my other business."
>as he waits for the guards to reply, Lucius takes a casual glance over the archway and some of the runes surrounding this new area with a banal sort of interest, the way one does when waiting in the lobby of a building waiting to meet someone
Offworlder Jim
yehe boi.png
>Jim raises an eyebrow slightly, but smiles regardless.
"Twenty-second century? Blow me down, did the sheila's earth not have a dark age or summats?"
>To have mingled with aliens bespoke of a certain level of technology, and though Kenny didn't understand it (and neither did Jim, because divergent realities were a bitch) from what he'd gathered she was pretty far ahead.
>He'd have to check, but it was reassuring knowing that there were some others who had worked with aliens.
>Well, besides Nevil, but that poor bloke was a frayed bundle of nerves, though he hid it well.
>Jim thought, at least.
>His smile widened at the last though, patting his own AKM on his sling.
"Same with me AKM. Old pattern of rifle, back to when Earth was still a singular piece and not plural pieces. Got some different manufacturin' shite in it, but somethings are timeless. As ye no doubt found out with yer stickers there."
>Jim listened to the radio, absorbing the information but remaining silent, as he had nothing to add.
>Still, he followed Kenny up to the upper levels, trusting the man's knowledge of the local markets more than his intuition.
>Jim responds to the bubbly voice by giving off a wave and shifting his goggles up to rest atop his head.
>'Finally, some bloke or sheila that ain't got craftworld grade superstructure jammed up their rear end!'
"Unfortunately here on business, sheila. Got a client to meet up with in the markets, 'n she's currently being escorted by one of Kenny 'ere's mates. Jus' gotta link up with 'em real quick."
>Jim paused, turning to Lucius.
"I may just join ye on that, mate, but a bit o' advice: Listen to Kenny here, this bloke's got 'is 'ead on straight when it comes to eats."
>Jim turned back to the guardsmares.
"Though, I'd like to get yer opinion, little sheila. Ye prolly know the best eats this place's got t'offer."
>An easy smile grew on Jim's face as the other guard tried to get her sister in arms in line.
"Aw, settle down, mate. I think it's kinda endearin' t'show a bit o' personality. People, er, sorry, ponies are prolly a lot more happy if'n they got someone friendly t'chat with. Let's 'em know there's more than just a bronze-clad statue in front of 'em."