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#OiE: The Dark Horse Cometh
GM Strangler
>If you would like to join, make a sensible loadout here at:
>And if you want to bring in something special or anything not on the list, ask to shop it in.

>When you're done, read over the Operator's Handbook:

>Or the Hoofbook if you wanna be a pony:

>Then drop a post here.

>Overall Pastebin:

>Fortress Map:

>Bulletin Board:

>Previous Thread:
https://mlpol.net/mlpol/archive/res/207806 for when the current one reaches archive status
Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>>278573 →
>Compartmentalizing an information chunk as per necessary protocols for containing unwanted data, the MIU performs a clean storage of.. something.
>You were confused as why you'd done such until it pings back several lines of text explaining that you'd experienced a traumatic mental shock which nearly caused a total breakdown.
>The data contained would not be unsealed until the interface was notified that you were entirely prepared to re-encounter the previously mentioned event.

>Moderately puzzled while WItch-Two categorizes one data vault for your explicit access, leaving several low level hexadecimal training programmes open as well.
'Within perhaps five Imperial Standard months at most you ought to be capable of directly reading hexadecimal. The programming facet is considerably more advanced than Binary which may take a further five to eight, though Adronal and myself have enough proficiency in its use to create rendered images using the ancient Pre-M3 art known as ASCII.'
'you say that like some kind of secret. only reason binary is popular = simplicity'
'If I had hands I would slap you for that insult!'
'if i had hands id weld you inside a steel fruit storage room with two xenos chiropteran fillies. inquisitor would sanction them first. probably.'
'...You would not dare Tox, nor would she.'
'dont tempt me and i wont ask'

"If you say so, but I'll save a snack bar for you!"
>Taking a quick peek at the humans and prancing pegasus leaving, the Scion's comm signal translates an amused subvocal noise.
*"No apologies necessary Enginseer, I am incapable of forming an opinion on your mental state. The Inquisitor's thought on this situation is: sanctioned flesh must always be willing, but the mind is a different, oft scornful creature to be taught, not derided."*
>...Inquisitors sure knew some strange TFTD's.

"Three hour here no get in, hate do nothing. Argue argue argue, nothing. You po-ny, she no had prob.. pro.. ..danger."
>Despite a painful language barrier, the girl's face creases in conspiratorial wilfulness.
"No see danger. Why I not escort you? Have big good gun."
>Patting her archaic submachine gun in a manner that was trusting, but quite comical given she was barely capable of keeping it at low ready.
>Hand raising to tilt back the awful helmet that would make even Kriegers disgusted, she gives a sour 'ech'.
"You hear Sergei: he say Spiral leave. Spiral.. fun po-ny, lot teach, best friend all. He make lots magic tings, easy tings any use, build new tings. No danger like touch-"
>Pointing at your incomparably advanced weapons and mechadendrite, then slumps her shoulders forwards.
"You tings. Lost Spiral made many us sad. Other po-nies? No time make magic tings for us, no teach much."
Mallia Castella
>Mallia's eyes then snap more towards Raindrop and the Stormtrooper as they left the room, her expression normalizing quickly as she beamed and smiled towards the pegasus knight.
"Thank you!!~"
>Mallia remarked in the pegasus' direction with some wholehearted, albeit playfully intoned gratitude. Followed by a broad little wave that almost looked childish.
>Then casts a look in Chisan's direction as he also goes to leave. Giving him a brief, but very intent stare.
"*Thanks, Stormtrooper.*"
>She simply replied to them, with an undertone of inexplicable anxiety in her tone still present in her voice when she addressed him.
>The woman had to bite her lip to keep herself from speaking further. Now that her helmet was off, she couldn't so easily hide the look of slight, but tangible worried agitation in her shifting eyes.

>A look of confusion and worry briefly overtook Mallia immediately after, making her eyes visibly trail off to the side while her brow furrowed for basically a single, but still tangible second whilst. Visibly double taking on something that wasn't really there, but in her mind.
>She takes in the prompt explanation from her machine spirit. The mention of "traumatic mental shock" made her confusion abate into self-conscious shame, and instantly decides to simply begrudgingly accept the fact for the time being.
>She mentally recites a Prayer to the Omnissiah to thank the machine spirit for being so thoughtful of her mental state, reassured once again of the knowledge that they were there for her as she was for them.
>Then moves on quickly to not dwell on it.

(OhhhHHHh! The last time I actually got to sit down and learn something manually instead of having knowledge grafted and-or uploaded to my brain was when I was with my mother.)
>Mallia's inner voice and mood instantly became that much more cheerful at the prospect of learning new skills!
(How wonderful!! I am excited! Here's hoping I will have time for that)

>And then quickly becomes EVEN MORE confused by the notion of "chriopteran fillies"
>And also mildly alarmed by how the two Companions seem to imply having her lock one into a storage room with said hybrid ponies in it. She had a distinct, half-worried and half-amused smile on her face as she slowly tried to refocus on the girl that she was talking to...
>That's all Mallia could really push out in their direction. Her nose slightly crinkling up like an accordion... A wry, amused smirk appearing on her face while her brow furrowed with worry at the same time.

>Putting the MANY questions she had away for the time being, she fully focused onto the girl as she gave her that grin. Which, of course, made Mallia smirk back confidently as she nods along in understanding, in spite of her struggle with the language.
>Mallia then glanced down at her submachingun to eye it with a more intent, explorator gaze for a moment...
>Though the mention of 'Spiral' made her snap out of that, quirking a brow with great interest...

"Don't worry. I may not be Spiral, but I can make new things too..."
>Mallia softly replied with a warm tone of assurance towards the girl she still didn't know the name of.
"I could learn to make all sorts of things and give them out to brave people such as you!"
>Mallia's smile grows into an excited grin, nodding her head to herself once with some eagerness!

"My name is Mallia Castella. Sorry for not introducing myself."
>She adds on a more lowkey tone as her glance turned back to the Interior of the vault, and her tone becomes more serious as she shifts back to the more important subject.
"You're right though. I would trust you to escort me for this. I'm more worried about other things though..."
>Mallia nods towards the girl confidently, then pouts with a look of thought, tilting her head as her eyes wander over the colorful rows of safes from where she stood again.
"But I DO want to go inside very badly too. Hm... Hmmmm..."

>She gives it all a second to think about it... Her face slowly contorting into a genuinely torn, and uncomfortable grimace. Swallowing her lip and shuffling on her boots, eyeing down to her helmet as if to seek advice from it.

"--Hhhhnn--I feel very uncomfortable doing this without letting anyone know... I'm going to hear if the others will get mad at us if we do this on our own. Juuuust to be thoughtful. I wouldn't want the pegasus knight to get annoyed at me."
>Mallia puts her helmet back on gracefully, securing it with a trained quickness as she taps into the Vox again once she fully donned it.

*"Stormtrooper Chisan, Knight Raindrop. The younger operator here wishes to escort me inside of the vault so that we can begin to explore it. How--uh--irresponsible would it be if I entered while solely under her protection, in your opinions?"*
>Mallia stated with a slightly quieter, more serious voice that may or may not be audible to the girl staying relatively close to her.
Razorback Clinic: Doctor Carlos, Receiving in Operating Room #1
GM Strangler
>>278637 →
>Standing on tip hooves for a better look at Snakebite, Flicker spots the silver diagnostic spell, horn tip sparking in faded red patterns and pulling it to her.
>Skipping through scenes as if it were a digital recorder, she stops to give Carlos a dumbfounded side glance.
"You were one of the original humans to arrive? I am unaware of previous separations save for a recent number, four in total I believe, not including two missing and presumed dead. I know little of Caliya, mostly his medical history and herdship with Allys."
>Brushing a hoof across the face, then floating it up to eye level, the Ward squints in deep frustration.
"I regret to inform you that Doctor Novus is no longer in existence. He may have chosen to relinquish his ka but I cannot be certain. He was killed sometime earlier this year and the circumstances relating to his return are unknown to me."
"Kraut is highly active and in a state of thought, no danger there save for a small amount of social isolation. Roust spoke with him earlier. She has promised to research the growth and adaptation of a human-shaped Changeling armor. Hm, I believe Gale Pyremane, or something similar, of the Lunar Council also spoke with him. ..I do not like her type, far too marely secrets and dangers."
"Caliya is fully unresponsive. Roust and myself were able to sense minute traces of activity, though we were unable to locate a single thread of consciousness. Numerous sporadic sub-thoughts, recalls of extreme pain, burning, impressions of danger, futility, loss.. and deep, bitter regret."
>Moving the spell program back over Snakebite, she lets out a deep breath.
"Denra's whereabouts are currently unknown as of midnight or so. Hodch has disappeared as well for the third time tonight. The first is a renowned Golem constructor, which was my original thought, as for the second.. nopony quite knows what Hodch's talents are, yet I suspect he has a deep wealth of knowledge on Necromarecy. And, according to information gathering efforts it appears nearly all Equestrian factions are in the process of or have currently deployed all forces, Guard and medical both, to preempt three prominent threats."
"This leaves three potential choices, but they are not ones that I would ever choose to confer with normally:"
"The Malurians of the Ferron clan and their Druid allies throughout the New Everfree and Old Everfree have a.. the skills, knowledge, and capabilities necessary to grow replacemarent limbs and most organs. They have a severe, demonstrably amoral attitude; to them the natural body is simply a luxury. I have heard rumors of ponies that seem to be entirely composed of flora, but I do not know if that is fearmongering."
"There was a small Necromarecer clan somewhere in the Moors. They seem to have been killed or dispersed sometime in the past six months. However, the Vigilites of Stalliongrad are perhaps the most truly respected Necromarecer organization on Tallus outside of the Lunars, but Razorback has apparently inflicted grave harm upon the Vigil. They will most certainly not aid us, but they may provide knowledge if approached either formally or diplomatically."
>Turning an intensely hateful glare at the floor, Nova gives a sharp tongue click.
"There is the option of acquiring a series of words best left unsaid from one of the Unspoken. Most ponies refer to them as the Wild Ones, ancestral ponies of great power thought to be representations of the Elemarents. The alicorn sisters convinced most to seal themselves away. During my travels I became aware of potential locations for thre-"
>Eyes rolling back into her head, Nova's jaw left halfway open as she slumps down onto the floor from an obvious narcoleptic attack.
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice
GM Strangler
>>278667 →
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>Even the Strikers' use of the long banned Starbolts fails to so much as harm a single Tainted, the icons of those still alive flash bright yellow and begin streaming north.
>Support Strikers: ROUTED
>Immediately replaced by silent Hunter-Killers smashing through the few vaporous ponies left, their charges thoroughly annihilate the smaller warped forms.
[1d6 = 2] <Honored Dispatch: 120
[1d6 = 2] <Pride of Legions Past

>The fresh reinforcemarents break off into paired swarms of wing-to-wing, reverse half-circles to entrap the much larger threats:
>Squadron 1 piles onto the eastern Tainted in a mass of claws, hooves, and teeth, seeking to drag it down regardless of the jagged lances ejecting from it's body.
>Squadron 2 sweeps around the frenzied bloodhost to rush at the currently unoccupied western one's legs, though a handful are immediately sent flying from a resoundingly loud sideways kick.
[1d6+7 = 11] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 1
[1d6+3 = 7] <Mass #1

[1d6+5 = 10] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 2
[1d6+3 = 9] <Mass #3

>Dispassionately noting the bloodhost seemed not to be suffering combat degradation, the angle of your first slug is high and right, skimming the Tainted's massive right cheek and throwing off a cloud of quickly reddening mist.
>SPAS slamming back into your shoulder and pulling it left to compensate, the second gouges a roughly soccerball sized tunnel left of center and the third drifting low, dangerously close to the bloodhost.
>Expecting a fourth, only a loud click of the bolt locking open on empty answers.
[1d6+3 = 8] <Mass #2
[1d6+6 = 10] <???

>A new set of contacts appears onscreen to the south: four massive gray formations accompanied by distant vaporous howling.
[1d6+4 = 5] <Arrival Time

>North and amidst the scattered contacts of fleeing earth ponies, an additional trio of Hunter-Killer squadrons had formed, now streaking towards Basin Village at an unusually high rate.
[1d6 = 4] <Arrival Time

>Between the roiling currents of blood encompassing the sacrificial basin, the Dark Horse Cultist reaches upwards with both of her blades, rapidly delivering a series of beckoning kee's mixed with painfully sharp whistles.
[1d6 = 4] <Ancestral Summoning
Razorback Fortress: The Library, Main Room
GM Strangler
>>278837 →
>>278846 →
>>278848 →
>Locating 'S' from across the room, that section was much larger as forty or so bookcases took up half the wall.
>While picking through the staggering array of mostly readable titles, walking back to the beginning and starting over leads to collecting five large encyclopedia volumes that seemed appropriate.
>The first was a thorough introduction to Solar nobility and royalty from Pre-Old Canterlot times to 29,980, including a rather massive index on lineages, politics, laws related to or against, specific traditions and ceremonies, their economic impacts on Equestria or abroad, then a short disclosure on societal influences.
>The second was a thorough primer from 29,995 on common Solar activities ranging from daily life throughout Equestria to a curiously monotone index of earth pony, pegasi, and unicorn cultures, beliefs, practices, and living standards.
>The third was entirely based on politics, freshly printed yet untouched for reasons beyond your comprehension, that described the four most common systems in use: the Diarchy, which supported Equestrian Communalism, Stalliongradian Social-Communalism, and Clanherds.
>Checking this one's index, there were several dozen other minor or tiny political systems spread throughout Equestria itself, yet these were based on small regions or individual towns.
>Probably meant to be a companion to the previous one, the fourth was a heavily scuffed and worn volume on current Solar faction laws, printed earlier this year.
>Peering through the first few index pages there was no marention of individual laws, only grouped topics and region specifics.
>Dreading the fifth's colossal size, this one's index was a 100+ page compendium that listed, in alphabetical and a small numerical order, all known Solar regions, sub-factions, cities, towns, groups, organizations, military forces, specific lineages, and dozens of individuals.
>Judging by the materials present, you could easily read one of the first four books, or maybe get through 10% of the fifth in one sitting.
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>>278905 →
>Unable to see the lowest small step, the stairs definitely made a full turn and part of another since your voice echoed down cleanly.

>Head bending forwards to sniff at the secret access, the mare rocks back to give a partial yawn.
"Eh, Mess Hall or Library for the first one, sometimes the Arena if it's nice and cool. Dunno about any hidden Armories, there's enough weapons packed in half the rooms I've seen each of them counts. Last one would be Hodch's smoking room next to the Alchemy Lab. Him and that other yellow unicorn have some weird stuff in there. I can't read but they sure look scary."
>It took you a second to realize this one batmare was coherent, relatively normal, and had an actual memory.
>Useful, perhaps, but also suspicious.

>Hearing a faint ring of stone traveling downwards, the Nightclaw's thinly armored wings shrug for her.
"I can hold off, not like a couple hours more will hurt any-"
>One set of wingclaws reaches forwards to scrape under a neck plate, which stops as her head tilts.
"Small space for a human though. Defensive measure? No, limited amount of material, there's not much stone around here. You claustrophobic or anything? I'm not."
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>>278906 →
"Normally I'd say good luck to him but in this case-"
>Raising both forehooves to cursorily examine, Naliyna sets the left one on another application with a frown.
"I dunno if he's being realistic or talking out of rage and frustration. That one a while ago.. wait, you weren't here. Well, I guess here's some bad news for you this time: there was a Construct that came out of the Library, or something. About killed Kitang in about thirty seconds. I got done locking the Clinic up and came back here, was going to send all my paperwork to the Enclave but then I heard.. well, way back when I was traveling with my family we wandered across one in the Lowland Plains when the snow was over our heads. Took us about five minutes to bring it down, each of us got hit a few times. I'll never forget those sounds, and they were the same as that one-"
>Pointing her right forehoof towards the southwest of the Pagoda.
"Right out there was making. I went after it and tried to keep it busy, a lot of humans helped kill it then it turned into lava. Orange lava, which is way worse. All that's left is a puddle of stuff. ..at least it doesn't stink."
>Enthusiasm muted temporarly the Crystal mare leans back to give a hopeful smile.
"I understand some humans don't really know where they fit here but I don't believe that at all. There's a place for everypony and everyone if they're willing to have it. Also if you really want a ship there's that invisible one in the Enclave, dunno what shape it's in though. You'll have to talk to that red eyed batpony, the one always sleeping around the docks because Amerose said he technically owns it, or something."
>Leaning forwards a fraction, her snout scrunches with an intent stare, the scar-laden mare ALMOST patient.
>Politely taking the paper, her expression turns seriours upon immediately reading off in a low tone along with small fits of rapid ear flicking and rising interest.
"Some of these I'm tempted to get right now, but let me think-"
[1d6+5 = 11] <Master Appraisal
[1d6+5 = 7]
[1d6+5 = 9]
[1d6+5 = 8]

>Lowing the page briefly, the left eyebrow raises incredulously.
"I'm not quite sure what to make of the last one. What's an alicorn weapon and why does somepony want a million Bits for it?"
>Cheto lets out a little sigh of relief at all the information currently available, rather pleased he found what he was looking for, body relaxing slightly.
(At least I won't go blind into this new world.)
>Skimming the first relevant book highlighted by his senses in accordance to his parameters, the human starts to consider his options more thoroughly.
(This book should surely make most contacts in Solar nobility easier to establish and maintain, and considering I'm technically part of them, it'd be an essential asset to have in my head for a smooth first impression as well as identify which noble lines would be easier to cater and/or impactful on available resources.)
>With the first book on his free off hand, José picks the second book up and quickly glance at its summary, the mind within continues plotting.
(This'll surely be useful to start a relationship with other Solars allround, be it nobles or otherwise. However, there are more pressing matters I should learn first. This can be on the backburner for later.)
>Setting the last book he picked up back in its place, Gallo proceeds to read its index, humming softly in an absent-minded sing song tone.
(Understanding the political mechanisms used is also a great way to both appeal to nobles and learn the common pony's wants, needs and desires. It would certainly help as much as knowing the noble lineages, only approached from the ground up... )
>Shaking his head, Gallo decides to keep the book for his later decision alongisde the first book he skimmed, making sure to glance around him in case he accidentally bumps into something, someone or somepony.
>With a swift inhale, the male promptly follows his inspection to the fourth highlighted book, nodding softly at its application and ensuring he handles it with care.
>He frowns softly at the distinction betweeen the the rugged book about laws and the pristine condition politics book
(...at least it's used, and it'd help me immensly, but through extreme caution I can likely avoid any illegal encounters...
(...or perhaps the book on politics doesn't really matter, at least to the ones that frequent this place.)
>One cursory glance at the immense fifth book as he places the fourth one back into position, the human is flabbergasted
>The feeling only increases when he realizes what it contained, mouth pursing slightly.
(...this definitely needs to be read after the other four pertinent books.)
>With a light exhale, he sets the fifth book back in its spot, exchanging his gaze between the two books picked out from the rest.
(Either to learn about the noblility or the system that keeps the Solar nations running...)

>After a few tense seconds, the diplomat settles on the first of the five books highlighted by his head, setting the third book back in its previous position before he stumbled onto it.
(Alright, let's hope it's not outdated.)
>With that last thought, he commences his long awaited reading session on the introduction to Solar nobility and royalty.
[1d6 = 3]<Amateur Researcher
[1d6+6 = 7]<Library Research
The L.O.N.T
Shocked PredElk GOOGLY EYES.jpg
Dream Mav told me to do this.
Ivan the Stalker
>Ivan glanced back at the batmare as she shifted around, pursing his lips.
"Meeting hall for VERY secretive stuff."
>He felt he had to point out.
"Stuff that is best left to very hidden rooms under a workshop."
>He pushed the suspicions back for the moment, since she wasn't eating his face. Or clothes off.

"Very well. You can go first if you want."
>Ivan paused.
"Claustrophobic no... Excessively wary of small tunnels where Tushkano can lurk in packs ready to eat someone's face off, yes."
>He grimaced a little.
"Granted I doubt that they would lurk down here unchecked, at the very least."
Bubba the Second
"Given enough time and effort, much can be achieved. Though rage and frustration is a decent alternative to put a dent into something."
>He grimaced at what she described.
"Having a place here and knowing where we fit in are two different things, unfortunately. I'm supposed to be a captain of a vessel, and right now I don't have one, so I don't exactly fully fit in."
>He gave a small nod.
"Though I appreciate the lead. It would be nice to have the chance to take the helm of another destroyer."
>He idly wondered if he could manage to work his way up to battleship here.
"Mm, either the weapon of an alicorn or one to kill them, I'd wager."
>>277575 →
"It is always the time to argue over punishments, Wild."

>Listening to Wild, I grimace softly, rubbing my chin.
"Okay, since we both agree that fighting these things is detrimental to our current interest, we should not."
>Frowning, I look over the screens and things inside the compartment that I could reach.
>"While I know how to operate a tank..."
>Shaking my head, I sigh.
"Direct control will be a last resort for me, Wild. You're... much different than a T-34 and I wouldn't be able to easily control what you let me."
>Sighing softly, I glance at the salvaging tendrils.
"You can withstand 100M depths, correct? If so, grab a bit more and start heading further in."
A Cryptic Lunar Crypt: Breaking & Marentoring
GM Strangler
280252 280264
>>278948 →
>Flicking her ears towards the earth ponies assembling into Watch Guard squads, the mare squints angrily towards the still-dancing pegasus.
"Them. I will not cross the Great Ocean again with her."
>Leaning off your side to step forwards, her wing pulls across your saddle and off in slow deliberateness.
[1d6+4 = 5] <?????
[1d6+4 = 10] <?????
[1d6+4 = 6] <?????
[1d6+4 = 6] <?????
>Head tilting up, she pauses to twist the claws about, giving a heavy, matronly pat on your shoulder while delivering a relieved half-smile.
"Thank you, pegasus. I know not your intentions but you are owed the deepest of favors. This resting place of our ancestors shall be finished and I will ensure they be venerated as they ought be. Take the Night's blessings with you."
>Taking one full pace, the Councilmare hisses at putting her full weight on the crude prosthetic yet continues limping towards the earth stallion leader.

>>279054 →
>Patiently waiting for you to speak, the platoon leader's face undergoes multiple apexes of recognition, deliberately trying to suppress reading your emotions.
>Jaw tightening once, he bestows a heavy hearted empathetic salute at you.
"Not your failure Nightblade, you have greater concerns than this. Take care of your herd and sing my praises for them when better times come."

"I must hope so! Haven't seen the Basin however long we've been asleep but I hope it's the same as we left it!"
>The Sorceror-armored filly giggles behind her snout armor, then vanishes in a cloud of gray mist which had the exact same scent that Spiral, Belltower, and Hodch use to enter the Void spectrums.

>Finding no Lunarite presence around the Dagor, while climbing in to turn the key the entire vehicle sinks several inches, the Anchor likely and successfully attached.
>Hopefully with few complications.
>Luna's filly ceases her airheaded motions as you move past her, she speaks in a confused tone using the modern pegasi dialect.
>Which you didn't understand, but was probably a 'what the hay is going on' question.
>In the rearview mirror you sight the Watch Guard leader shouting at his five squads of psions, an equal number of rumbling, black-tinged stone gateways shuddering into visibility.
"Deploy close-transit gateways at Tartarus Isle Gate Three-Brave and commarend every available pony in full combat status from there into Basin Village on to the Lunar Citadel! Anything less than full compliance with the Treaty of Canterlot's Desperate Alliance clause; any lack of total and complete cooperation will incur penalties best left unsaid!"
>Aided by a helpful Support Striker the unnamed Lunar Councilmare is helped along, quickly flashing a fanged, triumphant grin towards the Dagor, and is then lead into the first gateway.
[1d6+6 = 10] <Arrival Time

>Drawn in by your command, Sunny clambers up and into the Dagor's open passenger door easily, then moves over the Golem to sit on the center seat between you and Boris.
>Luna's daughter leaps into the back with little more than a flick of her unusually broad wings, quickly folding while standing in the bed's center with a thoroughly excited expression.
>Visibly unperturbed by the music nor the sudden start as the Dagor's wheels screech off a thick black and gray rubber cloud, the right forehoof lifts while shouting in a cheerful tone.
280264 280340 281136
>>278948 →
>Thankfully getting off with an empathetic pardon from the squadron leader, Jeff gives him a return nod of a salute as they behind to for off while opening up some gates.
>Those... would seriously come in handy.
>Like, literally any time.
>As Tartarus Isle makes its own movements, the Lunarites delve into a Void realm as well as the Dagor sinks slightly with the spells weight.
>Sunny moves in next you him, Marshmallow in the bed, and Mercy hopefully somewhere in the Dagor's sitting arrangements.
>As he gets the Dagor up to speed, it's diesel V8 growling like and angry beast, Jeff sets his TacPad's gps for the Basin to track their progress as well as an ETA at their current speed.
>Wheels peeling, Deep Purple blaring, and the crypt quickly shrinking from behind, Jeff feels like he can finally breath in a ssigh of relief for a brief moment.
>Aside from lightly banging his head to his tunes, he shifts his eyes to the pegasus hire with a nod of approval.
"*sigh* That went... so smooth at the end there. Nice job with the councilmare, Sunny. We'll be back at the Basin in no time."
>Which made him realize something: he has a lot of odd passengers, especially with the Basin Village fully mobilizing more forces to the Citadel. At some point, he may have to deal with the same reactions the councilmare previously had to. If anything just to check them for security purposes. He'd much rather fast-track that part.
>He wonders... he does have a Moon Orb.
>>278667 →
>Jeff tries reaching Clemency through Moon Orb messaging.
*Hey Clem, it's Jeff. You still in the Basin Village? I'm carrying a lot of passengers back: some thousand-year old vampires that want to help fight on the Citadel and may or may not eventually go crazy and have a taboo reputation. I don't want it to be a shock to all the troops there.*

>Awaiting a response, Jeff has a sudden need.
>A need. For speed.
>He hasn't been able to open the Dagor like thus since last time...
>So he decides getting a little more gas into the truck, while maintaining control.
[1d6+8 = 11] <M.Driving: High Manual Control
[1d6+8 = 13]
[1d6+8 = 11]
[1d6+8 = 11]
Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Displaying a moving image of herself with arms folded and head shaking, the Admiral's data stream was curious.
'I have not yet had cause to question the effectiveness of Administratus Mechanicum training programmes and regimens until now Enginseer, yet your words state such are not true absolutes. I cannot help save to think that you have experienced certain failures and flaws.'
>Experiencing a reverberating groan from Tox-11, the sour tech-destroyer's Binary comes across as tightly honed old anger.
'raw experience beats digital knowledge and scribed books, witch. you never saw that from the lofty citadel you once had'
'Do not mistake my words for slander. I am well aware of the discrepancies between the Administratus Mechanicum's varieties of servants and their training yet I am confused, Adronal. Was Enginseer Castella's knowledge purposefully flawed, simply incomplete, or unnecessarily ignorant regarding the exacting standards of Mars training?'
'none of the above. let enginseer read inquisitors books but teach nuances witch, best option for her'

>Now turned and physically leaning forwards at you, the young not-Vostroyan guardgirl hadn't stated anything, which didn't make her failed attempt at overhearing the silent conversation less amusing.
>Recovering unabashedly, her offhand points back at the trio of L-flashlight sbehind, then taps her archaic submachine gun with a simple grin.
"You make good light or big gun, you make good friend all 'round, we no picky."
>Face creasing in concern, the young girl struggles emotionally before speaking in a painfully slow tone.
"Am name Nasiksta Dystregatov. Guard of train before here, nyet. Am call Nasik by friend po-nies, is cute, they think. Am call Nashka by human, not know what word mean."
>Rendering the codename through dozens of filters, your MIU comes across 'Nashka' as correlating to a long extinct pre-Age of Strife cultural file as the designation 'shield against gods', a purely feminine name from EurAsia which also had a subtle implication towards regicide.
>Lightly stepping towards the gateway leading inwards, the girl pauses to turn back before shamelessly cocking an eyebrow.
"That good be wary, world not alway nice. Be wary po-ny first, sometime po-ny know danger, not say easy."

>Receiving two clicks in tandem, Chisan speaks first in a firmly neutral tone amidst low chatter and the sound of something sizzling.
*"No threats were encountered, sensed, scanned, nor engaged inside the vault, Enginseer. I do not suspect enemy actions though I must state to be cautious regardless. The young female human's capabilities are more than adequately capable of defending you."*
>That was rather high praise coming from a Tempestus Scion.
*"Equivalent of Planetary Defense Guard with one cycle of training. According to the Inquisitor's files she is experienced as a heavy gunner, registered as having approximately six months of experience and significant tutelage under Commissar Sergei's tutelage. I have no logical reason to state her inclinations are incorrect nor dangerous though the call is yours, Enginseer."*
>Hearing an aery sniff through the comms, Raindrop continues where Chisan leaves off.
*"She's been here five months and in training? You hu`um are weirdly dedicated.. I can't say no, Miss Castella. Honestly I'm way more tired than I thought, brain's not entirely here right now and I forgot my saddlepack before we left. I say tell her she can be your Mareguard for a half hour but if trouble comes up just shout for us, I'll be there even if I don't get a chance to rest."*
Sunny Feathers
281136 281143

>Sunny watched the councilmare go with a raised eyebrow.
>As if she hadn't made her intentions perfectly clear not five minutes ago.
>She supposed she could forgive a little forgetfulness given the trauma the batmare had just suffered and with weightier matters ahoof.
>She'll be fine, at least, she live at any rate. However long that would be depended solely on the councilmare now.
>Jeff's shouted command to pile in had her clambering over Boris to ride up front, the mare had never been more inspired to ride an auto carriage.
>She turned her ears back so that the loud music wouldn't hurt her hearing too much. Human music was loud.


"Just doing my job, sir, I can't very well allow Razorback's relationship with one of its allies be compromised."
>The praise was nice to hear all the same, though she'd have preferred if that altercation had been avoided altogether. No sense wasting time on what-ifs and could-have-beens though. It was done.
>Sunny withdrew a little into herself as the Dagor sped up and considered her options, there were a few things she could do once they returned to the fortress.
>Get to work on synthesising the missing component of Ambrosia.
>Construct research.
>Or redeploy to the Crag Moors to recover Vanil after Kraut's second failure to do so.
>Two of those would take a lot of time and effort, she needed to prioritise. Recovering Vanil would be quicker and relatively easier than developing countermeasures to the constructs or making an alchemical breakthrough that even Luna had failed to achieve.
>It was nice to feel the wind in her mane, it wasn't flight, but going fast was close enough.
Karl "Spruce" Osmundsson
280269 283594
>>277951 →
>>278013 →

>Spruce's gaze went from Golden to the Chitqu as it investigated the golden statue. He barely seemed to notice that Golden was still speaking to him as he narrowed his eyes, watching as the furball started bounding back towards them in a seeming panic.
>That couldnt be good.
>Now he looked back to Golden, and then to Adon as the sensation hit them.
"Uh oh..."
>He felt the furball once more hit his leg, and scurry back up to its position on his shoulder.
>And then, it hit him all at once as the man became nearly transparent along with the sensation of being sumberged and nearly choked at the feeling.
"By Odin... This... These are foul magics!"
>He yelled aloud, looking around in a bit of a panic.
>Spruce looked to the unicorn in a bit of disbelief.
"Gee, you think?"
>He mocks in response to the 'Its probably a trap'
>The man stands still for the moment as they stood there for a moment waiting for anything.

>When the voice of excelleon came over, telling them what they needed to do, Spruce was all too happy to comply.
>The paratrooper made like a tree and got the fuck out of there.
"Run Adon, as fast as Slepnir!"
>Though if he could live up to his own words? That was yet to be seen.

[1d6 = 1] B. Reaction Time
[1d6 = 2]

[1d6 = 5] B. Sprint
[1d6 = 6]
sorry to interrupt but i feel as if this line:
>"By Odin... This... These are foul magics!"
is here for something other than this game, like it's referring to something else.
Hi Thrill.
Is this my new title?I feel honored.
280867 281139 281143
>Clemency watches as the Starbolts stream into the many Tainted but is dismayed when he saw that they had little effect
>He is slightly relieved at the many MANY reinforcements streaming in by the Hunter Killers, filling the gap left routed by the Strikers
>They are fighting very viciously, whether that is due to suicidal tendencies or tenacity is left to be said
>After firing his SPAS and hearing it lock open, Clemency quickly went to reloading the thing with the last of his shells
>This is probably the first time he had ran out of ammunition for anything and he is slightly kicking himself for not bringing a backup rifle
>Spying the radar display, he sees the evolving situation
>The four formations of Tainted coming and the three Hunter Killer squadrons, he sees the imbalance in forces and they could be overwhelmed with existing forces
>With that, Clemency pulls up the MSOLG interface and uses his radar alongside the aperture lens on the satellite to provide a firing solution on the incoming Tainted formations
>Quickly deciding on the medium driver, he sets the target on the lead Tainted formation incoming
>He was about to put the command in for launch when his Moon Orb starts pinging him mentally

>He quickly pulls the orb out of one of his many pouches and answers
>To his surprise it's Jeff, and from the tone it sounds like a welfare check
>Still breathing heavily, he tries to calm himself before answering
>Clemency then launches the medium EM driver
[1d6+62 = 64] <M-S.O.L.G: Medium Mass Driver
[1d6+62 = 65]
*Vampires? Thousand years?*
>Clemency joked about how they would have a buffet here with the hundreds of gallons of blood flying around the alter
*Good to know your mission is successful. The Basin Village is being assaulted by Tainted. You remember those things on the Behemoth when we first got on this planet?*
>Looking up to the sky, he tries to spot the rod coming down
*The situation is getting bad. More formations of those things coming, multiple Hunter Killer squads helping, fucking blood sacrifices to help, and there a Tower General hiding out in Lann's shop after her Strikers got routed by the Tainted."
>Clemency does wish he know what's leading these Hunter Killer squadrons, he can probably tell them about the formations incoming
>He does need to see the conclusion of the Dark Horse Cultist's ritual before leaving
>Clemency just feels stuck at the moment so he dives back into stealth and waits for the coming assault
[1d6+3 = 4] <E. Stealth
[1d6+3 = 6]
[1d6+3 = 7]
[1d6+3 = 4]
[1d6+2 = 4]<M. Ambush
[1d6+2 = 8]
[1d6+2 = 5]
[1d6+2 = 7]
[1d6+2 = 6]
*Alright Jeff, go ahead and get those passengers out. I figured they don't want to come out of their hiding spot and into a battlefield immediately. I'll try to defend the village.*
Mallia Castella
>For reasons perhaps personal, Mallia actually flinches. Hurt by the way Witch-Two puts her first statement.
>Though she wasn't fully sure how to feel about it. All she felt was a distinct anxiety, uncertainty, and, again, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Which she keeps on the down low remembering what the Admiral told her about being 'too reactive'.

>After about 3 nano cycles of hesitation after Tox-11's last stream, Mallia attempts to elaborate.
(Perhaps I was inherently flawed if anything. That is a definite possibility given the range of my failures prior to now, but I digress.)
(My mother tightly controlled my learning process to a similar exacting standard. She thought the modern and standard methods were imperfect for my future, on principle, by prior experience as an Explorator. The predefined venues that were ahead once I became enlightened with the gifts of the Omnissiah and began to aspire towards being an Enginseer would influence me too much in a direction that was too close-minded to truly advance as a member of the Mechanicus, or to become an Explorator, by the more strictly adherent members of the Priesthood I would meet in that journey. She wanted me to appreciate ALL sources of knowledge as an Explorator would, especially xenotechnology and construction methods, and how to react when presented with it--how to study it, how to use it, instead of shunning it. Things that wouldn't be readily taught to any aspirant. Especially Archeotech.)
>Mallia's explanation ends on a somewhat calm, almost chipper emotion-stream. She took pride in this. Taking a nanosecond worth of pause to elaborate a little more.
>But then that emotion-stream dims somewhat with a moment of sheepish embarrassment, like a child talking between two adults.

(... Sorry if uh... That answer isn't... Satisfactory.)
>She winces at herself for apologizing--which had now become a knee-jerk reaction, shaking her head to herself.
(... And thank you.)

>Clenching her jaw and attempting to shrug off the anxiety that was building within her, taking slow, deep breaths. It only partially ruined the amusement of seeing the girl leaning towards her like that, trying to listen to the conversation.
>Of course, Mallia smiled--but it wasn't visible behind the helmet, she sort of just subtly tilted her head in her direction as Mallia's hands nervously rubbed each other--almost pacing in place with a visible discomfort, the left one squeezing the right one's wrist for a moment as her head turns to one side--staring at nothing for a moment, before bouncing back to the girl as the replies from her companions reach her through the vox.
>Once she hears the voice of Chisan, all of her movements stop. Completely.
>Then resumes a moment later, her shoulders relaxing as her hands limply hold each other at her waist against her robes--hands audibly, bumping clapping against her leg armor.

"*Thank you Stormtrooper. I will exercise caution as I have thus far. And thank you Miss Raindrop, have a nice meal!*"
>Mallia's voice suddenly almost peaks with excitement. She then tunes off, and fully fixed her gaze on Nasiksta.

>With a tone that was almost amused as it was warm, she answered Nashka--as if all the anxiety she had just displayed a moment before didn't even happen.
"You know, that is a very awesome name. Nashka. It means 'Shield Against Gods'. Heheh~!"
>Mallia nodded her head towards Nashka's submachingun, as her left hand goes to grab her shield again from her back, and strap it to her arm whilst she speaks.
"You can be my shield against the gods today, Nasiksta."
>Mallia nods deeply, theatrically and with an audible smirk from how playfully she states it.
"Knight Raindrop Raspberry says you can be my mareguard for half an hour, too."
>With that, Mallia brings her shield close to her waist, and starts stepping closer to the threshold of the gateway, walking slowly to give Nasiksta time to get either beside her, or behind her, to defend her as she went.
>She stands juuuust before the gateway, peeking around from the outside while silently mustering the courage to go inside...

"Given that my first introduction to Razorback fortress was some sort of killing-machine called a Construct... Yeah I'm more than a bit wary, I don't really understand what's going on yet..."
>Mallia quietly spoke in Nasiksta's direction, her tone filled with trepidation and excitement.
"Not to mention dying and coming back to life on this world? Kinda weird. It makes me question the purpose of my existence right now. Everything is scary and fascinating at the same time..."
>Mallia's mechadendrite comes to life, mostly to swing ahead of her and tap the tool-bearing 'hand' against her helmet's mouth piece, tapping on her chin with the top half of it.

>She casts her eyes towards Nasiksta, giving her an eager nod.
"Inside we go then!?"
>Mallia reaches down to her laspistol holster and draws out the Hotshot laspistol, keeping it ready and pointed towards the ground ahead of her.
>Mallia takes a CONFIDENT stride through the gateway, standing tall! And as soon as she is on the other side, she'd slow down to an amble and start getting acquainted with the interior, and any sounds there might've been there. Slowly walking closer to the 'center' of the vault to take in everywhere as she does a small 360 turn of the room, glancing up at the 'ceiling'.

>She tries to be veryyyy slow on walking further, in case she has to dart back outside in a hurry...

"Herewegoherewego... It's Explorator time. Here we go Nasiksta..."

<B. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 1]

>She makes sure to also tap on the vox once... Just in case, once she's inside.
*"... Vox check. I'm past the gateway now. Still hearing me loud and clear, right?"*
Razorback Fortress: Library, The Sitting Room
GM Strangler
[1d6 = 5] <Which one of Hodch's "apprentices" temporarily takes his duties?
Result of 1: Blue Gemflower
Result of 2: Lightning Candy
Result of 3: Pearl Mist
Result of 4: Amber Rose
Result of 5: Honey-Spiced Mango Shortcake
Result of 6: ?????
Razorback Fortress: The Library, Main Room
GM Strangler
>Neither human, pony, nor anything else enters or exits the Library while you compile thoughts together.
>Taking the first and examining all the exquisite sofas around the place, you drop into the closest human sized one and crack open the volume.
>Starting on the first page it was difficult to steadily focus on the basics as each name and marention took you back to the index, then to specific clauses, rules, laws, traditions, policies, regulations, individuals, families, lineages, factions, regions, nations...
>Worse yet, the politics of Equestria's nobility and royalty were beyond unorthodox as communalism, barely understandable to modern humans, had evolved into a highly adaptable ideology that bound all ponies together regardless of their species, especially enemies, in the pursuit of advancing equinity.
>Most jarring was that status had a spiritual mark of distinction to achieve and acquire when supported by commoners: excellent leaders were likewise excellent rulers whom could be counted upon to make correct decisions and settlemarents that benefited all ponies, while poor, abusive, or inept leaders suffered quickly increasing loss of status.
>Narrowing down the most common historical equines and keeping mental notes on their progress throughout roughly twenty-five millennias worth of condensed yet orderly information, by the time the rear cover closes you had a good grasp on what made the generally honorable Solar factions, and their dozens of closely allied sub-factions, continue to function.
>Which had also exhausted you, fingers acting slower than the brain could compensate and correct for.

>Having not noticed the interior lighting changing, the Library was now completely dark except for numerous red LED's, or something similar, above you.
>Outside, the formerly bright red patches of moonlight had given way to an unfamiliar, murky gray mist that heralded dawn's approach.
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop, Underground Tunnel
GM Strangler
>Helmet lifting up for a few seconds, the batmare realizes you couldn't see her face and instead splays her wings out in disbelief.
"I doubt it. How secretive can an already secret bunch of secret humans get outside of being even more secret batponies? I keep telling everypony that you all aren't batponies, I'd be able to smell the differences. My three best guesses: somepony's hideaway when they don't want to deal with anything, some tunnels that access all the important places, or somepony's stash for all the stuff they don't want touched. Don't know which is more likely, never met Bren or the so-called 'crazy' unicorn that did a lot of work on this fortress."
>The Nightfang's wings fold onto her sides tightly, slowly tapping the first step downwards once with her hoof.
"I don't mind, not the first time I've explored something like this. Won't be the last either."
>Visibly checking for traps while continuing downwards, the mare gives a brief snicker-kek.
"Dunno what that word means but sounds Rushyan. Haven't seen fluffrats, forest drakes, green snakes, even those little rock eating wurms the New Everfree's famous for in the courtyard since getting assigned. There's quite a few ponies around this place so I really doubt much can sneak in."
[1d6+4 = 6] <E.Perception
[1d6+4 = 7]
[1d6+4 = 9]
[1d6+2 = 4] <E.Traps
[1d6+2 = 7]
[1d6+2 = 3]
Ivan the Stalker
>Ivan hummed as she talked, idly nodding in return.
"Unless I've become so sober I've turned into a secret batpony, I doubt that I am one."
>Though anomalies were weird like that. He was sure he wasn't, though.
"Yeah, they're... small dog sized rodents with large teeth and larger claws, if one is near there's definitely a pack about. They're the go to reason for a Stalker to carry along a shotgun."
>He starts following after her, glancing for traps himself.
[1d6 = 6] <E.Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 2]
>>278925 →
>Pareidolia's face twinges briefly with concern as an unusual window he doesn't recognize appears and disappears.
'I understand the ramifications. The Shibuya Protocol only allows for such actions when all other options have been exhausted or the situation is otherwise untenable. What was that window?'

>As Emerald leaves, he ponders his A.I.'s behavior.

[Uncertain how it will react to encountering the biological counterpart its personality is based on. Will likely diverge as an eventuality if Committee experimental theory from the Amadeus and Salieri systems hold true. Will need Spiral's opinion.]

>He remains silent while listening to Hodch, deigning not to retort.


[Likely a cultural difference. No time to reconcile currently. Unclear why Belltower must not know, but noted.]

>Standing up and pinning his finished note sheet to the center of the map table where it would be easily noticed, he turns his head to look at Lonestar.
>His brow arches in slight surprise as the esoteric coil gun comes into enhanced view.

"Additional operational utility would be welcome. There are more unknowns than I am nominally used to working with, but the nature of this operation leaves no other options."

>Pareidolia terses his lips as he flourishes 3 wish discs.

[...More potential human corruption vectors. Can only hope he will choose weaponry that minimizes generalization.]

"Are you certain your condition is able to handle an operation like this?"
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Pausing from her examination, the fuchsia Crystal mare's head shakes in a sincere 'no' before using her left forehoof to motion at the patchwork of scars dotting her chest and neck.
"That's what I believed for a long time, Bubba. Look at me now, I didn't get anywhere except miserable and it's taken the past two something years for me to remember who I am most times. Frustration is something to use when events out of your hooves go bad but rage is best applied when threatened or protecting others."
>Snorting softly at her own fairly hypocritical words, Naliyna eyes the sheet in half-amusemarent, half-sourness.
"Like I'm one to talk-"
>Both forelegs fold across her barrel as a red pen floats up to begin circling... almost everything.
"Still, Razorback is my home now. I won't leave even if every single Watch Guard showed up at the gates. If you'd rather be on a ship, make it a Razorback ship so you can take home with you wherever you go. Destroyer though.. that's not the batpony kind, is it? Really hope not, a fast ship packed with bombs coming at you sounds terrifying. Wait, you should ask Bren to make you a boat for the fountain, I'm sure Malyne would go batty for that!"
>Snickering at the basic yet honorable pun, she sets the pen down before glancing up to you, her lips pursing tightly.
"The first is way more likely because there's two weapons in the Enclave that were made to kill alicorns. Neither of them did.. at least I hope they didn't, but a million Bits for something that a minotaur would use as a knife and a human would have to ditch all their weapons for? I don't like the thought of buying it since Hodch and Amerose still aren't sure where all the Bits and gems came from. Might be able to trade for it since most stuff in the Enclave's pretty weird. What do you think?"
>Cheto couldn't help but blink softly, squinting his eyes slightly at the hurdles he'll have to face in the near future, from juggling indexes and alien political mechanisms
(Well, it is an alien world, after all. There had to be something that's hard to grasp in almost every facet.)
>Nonetheless, the human would soldier on with a calm smile on his face, simply content that there was information to take that'll surely help his future endevaors

>...said calm smile dissipates as he finishes his book, replaced with a relaxed jaw and a light trail of his tongue behind his teeth, finally having enough.
"Phew... I hope there's a vacant bed nearby..."
>Standing up and pushing against his back to pop any sort of bones from being practically still for large periods of time, José lazily yet carefully walks towards the shelf he got the tome from.
(Ni una pizca de vida acá dentro hasta agora. Re vacío el lugar.)
>Having accomplished said task and tidying anything else he may have tampered with, his feet start leading him outside the library for some much needed air and the ultimate quest of finding an above-average dormitory.
(Pfft. Like that'd happen without extremely lucky circumstances. Place's packed as it is.)
>Yawning softly, he gently drags his body towards the exit, passing by the Filly Room to potentially sense how things are going in there with vain hope the crystal mare has managed to reach her moment of respite.
(I swear, children are always bundles of unrestrained energy... most of the time.)
>Frowning lightly as he shakes his head, Gallo quickly drops the thought process, opting instead for some soothing echoes of nobility lines and their stories.
(I'm sure they'll warm up to me by displaying those virtues these ponies love so much. All I gotta do is do my duty.)

>Finally reaching the great outdoors, Gallo vaguely recalls the barracks way north of his current position, sighing softly.
(There has got to be a place closer than that to sleep those heavenly 8 hours of sleep...)
>Nonetheless, the diplomat trudges on towards said destination, moving as slow as molasses to minimize any accidents due to negligence or failing perception.
(Heh. I feel like one of those shambling fellows the youth seems to like. What were they again?)
>He couldn't help but to smile softly at the reminder of the people he's witnessed back in Earth, doing their usual recreational activities out of his apartment window, even stifling a chuckle after a solid 10 seconds.
(I am part of the youth. I'm barely halfway through my twenties. What are you talking about?)
>That elicited some more giggles out of the human, simply taking stock of the scenery around him, specially looking for bystanders currently not busy with tasks in his path to the barracks sector.
(I'm sure it's common knowledge if there's a spare bed for someone like me. Everyone probably has had to deal with this, but I'm probably getting some bedroll or those stiff metal bed frames, I bet. Maybe they'll give me a nice bed if I'm nice. Now that'd be both funny and helpful.)
[1d6 = 3]<Basic Perception
[1d6 = 4]
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last One
GM Strangler
>Refusing to take your bait, Wild's search for additional materials results in the acquisition of three partially crushed red and green armors, the shapes distinctively earth pony.
>And this time without skeletons inhabiting them.
"My primary repair functions are less than fifteen percent of normal levels, secondary repair capabilities are damaged, tertiary repair functions have been destroyed, my radar system is barely stable, and my weapon is ineffective as I do not have further shells available. Should I create four additional magazines and my hull was one-hundred percent integrity I would be able to risk engaging four medium sized Constructs. Based on calculations of standard human and equine forces with information from my consolidated records, what you have described is a full expeditionary landing force. There is no winning that engagement."
>Finished 'repairing' her chest plating now, the remaining steel armor slats are given the same treatment of being melted down into a single large mass, which was causing a large amount of steam and bubbling outside the cockpit.

>Besides the simply screen interface and an 'EJECT' pad located to the right and above your crash couch, there were no visible controls aside from the imprints of what had been a rope ladder and deployment hatch.
>The first had been destroyed while the second was now thoroughly welded shut.
>Poorly welded, you notice, given the deep penetrations and imperfect beads across the interior.

"Understood, adjusting priorities to compensate. Attempting reinitialization of secondary repair systems-"
[1d6 = 6] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair: Restart Protocols
>Holding the suits of armor up for inspection by her tendrils, the designs weren't Solar, Lunar, or even Stalliongradian, looking more like custom knight designs from the Late Dynasty.
>Carefully hefting them into the left shoulder cabin, Wild's volume level decreases to quiet speaking decibels as repairs to her left arm begin.
"I have calculated a ninety-nine-point-two percent chance that one hundred meters of depth will not cause damage, however there is a six-point-eight-five percent risk that two hundred meters may collapse from four to nineteen of my most damaged hull panels. Update: successfully analyzed two of the six previously known metals for usage. Primary metal of interest: common whitesteel, uncommon name oathscale. The composition and durability would suffice in replacing lost, damaged, destroyed motive systems. Secondary metal of interest: grenach'planyayne, commonly known as greensteel. I could potentially replace the exterior hull sections of my hands though I would fully exhaust the amount acquired so far to do so."
[1d6+4 = 6] <Arcanum Sensors Array: Research
[1d6+4 = 10] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #2
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #3
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #4
[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #5
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #6
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #7
[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #8

[1d6+2 = 3] <Radar
[1d6+2 = 6]
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 1/2
GM Strangler
281143 281147
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>Recognizing the gateways being opened as modified Dusk Strider tunnels, there would've been precious little oxygen for the Dagor's engine to utilize, pathways were never safe from Void creatures entering, and modern psions were best suited to creating new ones.
>Most importantly was the distance aspect: at maximum speed the Dagor would arrive three to five times faster depending on how carefully the Watch Guard platoon could create a new branch from the crypt to Basin Village.
>And, of course, avoid, scare off, or take down any of the significant threats they would most certainly encounter.

>Stepping down on the pedal close to the floor, the Dagor's engine resists, coming in at 10MPH under maximum speed from the lower oxygen and higher water vapor content the Moors was notorious for.
>Without pushing it to maximum speed and potentially risking damage, you'd arrive at Basin Village in a little under seven and a half minutes barring complications.
>The premixed track list switches to something new, and quite relevant to you:

>Slouching sideways onto the rear bed's bench seat, Marshmallow Moon reaches a hoof up to toss her gaudy hat off sideways into a miniature ponial portal and replaces it with a fully enclosed Crystal Kingdom era marecenary knight's helmet.
>Spying Mercy's vague outline on the opposite seat, she was giving a clearly jealous set of motions at the Nightmare's daughter returning a puzzled expression.
>Flicking a wingblade towards the pocket dimarension, Mercy makes several common physical gestures asking that Marshmallow share something, whom returns a dumbfounded motion with both forehooves.
>Wings slumping in disbelief, the blind pegasi's head turns towards the Dagor's front, lips in a wavy S-shape of embarrassmarent.

>Sensing the vehicle's weight shifting several times throughout the fairly comfortable ride, checking Boris on your right multiple times, the small Golem was still inactive.
>Though you couldn't see them, the rear passengers were likely not agreeing with each other.
>Breaking you from your own thoughts, Mercy's voice crosses through to Tallus' physical spectrums from behind, her tone measurably confused before the next song plays.
"On saddle, sheet of Lumin.. smells weird, hold still-"

>Feeling a partially corporeal imprint detaching something where the Councilmare had previously felt you up, or perhaps down, a foreleg comes into partial view on your right.
>Presenting the moon-shaped piece stamped with archaic styled Common Equestrian text at your functioning eye's level, the text reads:
'Upon thy prized possessor given this token given of Fate's Embrace, one Favor of Night must they taketh of thine Born of Moon and Stars'
>Hoof stretching down with deliberate carefulness, Mercy slides the incredibly valuable material down the center of your bodysuit's neckline.
"Did not read it-"
>Murmuring into your left ear, the Spirit Walker submissively retracts her leg and presence entirely.

>Scarcely five seconds after Mercy sits back on the driver's side bench seat, the Dagor's frontal lights are entirely drowned out by two eye-searing streaks of white slamming down west and east of the rebuilt road.
>The unmistakable shredding of atmospheric turbulence bursts across the Basin Village's southern end and outwards in, a wall of swamp water and peat bog thrown outwards from the two massive impacts.

>The Dagor's occupants unfortunately witness its' high beams exposing dim outlines on the rear flanks on hundreds of dull gray ponies lined up in two tight, standard square formations, taking up the entire road less than 100M south of the Basin's first buildings.
>Either incapable of moving or lacking the basic logic to do so, the vehicle plows directly into and through the central four rows of unmoving Tainted, clipping several on either side as the Dagor begins swerving from dozens of half-solid impacts.
[1d6+130 = 134] <Kinetic Damage: Formations #2 and #3
[1d6+130 = 135]

>Jeff must roll Driving and score a minimum of 10 to prevent the Dagor from crashing or rolling over
>Sunny must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 8 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor
>Mercy must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 11 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor
>Marshmallow Moon must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 14 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor

[1d6+5 = 7] <E.Evasion
[1d6+5 = 11]
[1d6+5 = 7]
>Marshmallow Moon:
[1d6+8 = 14] <GM.Evasion
[1d6+8 = 9]
[1d6+8 = 14]
[1d6+8 = 12]
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 2/2
GM Strangler
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue
[1d6 = 3] <Construct Technological Human-Symbiosis: Lure of the One-That-Is-Two

>Hurriedly reloading the SPAS, at your order the M-S.O.L.G.'s systems return to full active status, orienting away from the immense Construct vessel, aperture lens focusing onto Tallus towards the Central Moors at a painfully slow pace.
>Delivering another close-to-ground radar sweep, the internal display shows four Tainted formations roughly 150M directly south of Basin Village, each icon numbered as a half-brigade worth in addition to dozens of individual contacts streaming closer from the swamps outside.
>All of which you note with increasing confusion as being Elite Killmares of the Dark Horse.

>Tracking overhead into firing position despite great water resistance, the M-S.O.L.G.'s heuristic protocols select the exterior #1 and #4 formations away from the newly reconstructed road.
>Observing two firing sequences deployed in less than 1/10th a second apart, something goes wrong as the M-S.O.L.G.'s interface blanks out and a bright red 'MASS DRIVER POWER SYSTEMS OFFLINE, RECALIBRATING SPACE-TO-GROUND GUIDANCE LINK' scrolling across the top.

>Snapping 7 buckshot into the SPAS-12's cylindrical magazine and 1 slug into the chamber, upon sinking back into the comforting Void your vision clears substantially:
>Amongst the ranks of white robed Support Strikers, roughly a quarter of their previously black icons turn yellow, the formerly and definitively dead mares rising unsteadily onto their hooves before a solid line of bright white and purple armored saluting ponies.
>Ones which you dispassionately register as a mixture of Lunar and Solar Guardians.

>The first Hunter-Killer squadron had ripped their target apart leaving nothing more than a haze of mist, though several wings worth of black icons were left in their wake.
[1d6+40 = 44] <Honored Dispatch: 40
[1d6+20 = 22] <Pride of Legions Past

>Swiveling on hoof and wing, Squadron 1 splits apart to assault both the bloodhost's severely damaged Mass and the substantially more aggressive third, currently surrounded by three-quarters of Squadron 2.
>They were not yet utilizing desperation tactics, but still losing one of their own each second to flurries of improvised archaic blades, lances, and a massive head covered in spikes.
[1d6+5 = 9] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 1
[1d6+7 = 9] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 2
[1d6+6 = 8] <?????
[1d6+4 = 10] <Mass #2
[1d6+4 = 8] <Mass #3

>Loudly kee'ing from within the diminished streams of blood cascading about the Basin's sacrificial altar, the body of an unarmored, unarmed, and certainly not Spectral, large batpony composed of red matter takes a ponderously heavy forwards.
[1d6 = 3] <Assault Tactics
[1d6 = 3] <Subversion Tactics: Spectral
[1d6 = 4] <Volatile Necessity
281147 281152 281226
>Hitting peak yet a still controllable speed, Jeff listens in on Clemarency but also at the odd choice of CCR.
>It's eerily appropriate.
>But at least he'll be able to get back to the Basin quick enough.
>As one of his close compatriots continued on, Jeff's grip on the steering wheel tightened.
>Tainted surrounding the Basin Village? He remembers taking them on before, almost like fighting zombies.
>They were also weak to Void damage, yes?
>Damn, he wished he still had the Void Diver pendant. She would have had a blast tearing them apart.
>His frown twists up into a wry almost-maniacal grin before he dons his deathmask and turns a bit to the right to address everyone behind him.
"Heads up everypony! The Basin's infested with Tainted! Hope you're all ready for a warm-up!"
>Eyes back on the road, Jeff chimes back into the Moon Orb and Clem with a scary level of confidence.
*"Copy that Clem, and Negative! Reinforcements, inbound!"*

>Holding speed, the minutes pass blaze past as his GPS notifies them closing in onto the Basin Village.
>Coming up on the village line, his way ahead is tightly packed with pale gray pony figures.
>Shit, they're THIS congested?!
>White-knuckling the wheel, he keeps his foot down on the pedal.
>Slowing down will only... literally slow them down, and they'd have to fight through them.
>But if they can get inside and fight outwards...
"Get ready to brace!"
[1d6+4 = 8] <M.Leadership: Evasion
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+4 = 5]
[1d6+4 = 6]
>He mentally apologizes to the Dagor as he goes full bore into the Tainted, instantly exhaling as he focuses on the impending impact and maneuvering as well as blaring the horn like an incoming freight train.
[1d6+5 = 10] <E.Reaction Speed
[1d6+5 = 6]
[1d6+5 = 9]
[1d6+5 = 8] <M.Adrenaline Rush: Reaction Speed
[1d6+5 = 8]
[1d6+5 = 8]
[1d6+8 = 13] <M.Driving: High Manual Control
[1d6+8 = 12]
[1d6+8 = 11]
[1d6+8 = 10]
Sunny Feathers
281226 281234
>Sunny turned partially as Mercy slid the object down her suit to rest alongside the little gem.
"Wha-? Oh, thank you."
>The archaically structured common took a moment for her to comprehend. All she really gathered from the text was that she was owed a favour.
>The mare patted the object pressed against her neck with a hoof to ensure it was secure.
>Her line of thought was thoroughly and completely derailed with the ear splitting and teeth rattling shockwave of the uncomfortably close kinetic strike.
>The thunderclap that followed the impact had her ears ringing and her voice raised to even hear herself speak.
>She'd barely finished yelling when Jeff brought her attention to exactly why there was steel rain.
>Tainted. And lots of them.
>What? What?!
>The jostling and swerving of the vehicle had her scrambling to keep her seat. There was no way she'd survive if she was thrown out of the vehicle into this.

[1d6+6 = 11] < E. Evasion
[1d6+6 = 12]
[1d6+6 = 12]

>Sunny yelled along with Jeff as the Dagor plowed a path through the Tainted ranks, though decidedly less excited about it all than Jeff seemed to be.
281153 281228 281229 281234

>Clemency squints at blinding white light of the kinetic rods streaking down to Tallus
>After the earthshaking impact, the bright red error ribbon brings his attention to bear for a moment before hearing Jeff respond
>The response shocked Clemency
"You're coming?!"
>Clemency looks around the battlefield and takes a deep breath
"Alright, I trust you. Please be careful, there is so many Tainted around. We do have Hunter Killer's and whatever is left of the Support Strikers around."
>Clemency then flicks his eye towards the last known position of the Tower General
"There is a VIP in the Basin. A Tower General that was leading a group of Support Strikers before they got overran. Last known position in Lann's shop. I'm stuck at the altar, trying to prevent Tainted from reaching it."
>Stuffing the orb back in its pocket, he shoulders the shotgun and takes aim at the giant mass of Tainted, seeing pockets of Strikers rising in his peripheral vision
>Clemency continues monitoring the radar while being stealthy, seeing the status of the battalions and the Tower General in the village proper
[1d6+2 = 3] <M. Ambush
[1d6+2 = 6]
[1d6+2 = 5]
[1d6+2 = 5]
[1d6+2 = 8]<Radar
[1d6+2 = 7]
>The lumbering giant batpony certainly does grab his attention, although he wonders about its attacks
[1d6+2 = 3] <M. Ambush
Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Registering subtraffic between Dranaki and Adronal, the first falls silent as the second's datastream is transmitted in painful apology.
'Your reaction cuts far above what my original statement implied, Castella. I was not berating you, the individual, I was berating the Administratum Mechanicus as it has completely failed in properly teaching all Tech Acolytes and higher ranks the essential knowledge necessary for the Imperium's survival. As you were not formally introduced to all aspects of technology and biology those gaps have created schisms where a single variance between ideologies inherent in the Imperium have birthed divides which cannot be mended without excessive cost. Enginseer, I sincerely applaud your mother's additional efforts to prepare you, but the sheer ignorance, ineptitude, and reliance upon outdated protocols forces me to shun the Mechanicus superior for ultimately causing each failure that led you to this world.'
>Pinging an image of a giant equine robot stomping on a cluster of Magos with the word 'HERETEK' above each head, Tox-11's Binary tone was dour once more.
'smaller words next time admiral. dont take personally enginseer, witch meant to state: admech failed you, not other way around'

*"I trust you both, and don't worry, we will!"*
>Overhearing Raindrop giggling in the background after her short transmission, Chisan's thunderous facepalm was all you needed to know for the moment.

>Visibly trying to understand the implication, the girl gives a partially-understanding and still confused nod of acknowledgement.
"No know be-fore, po-nies not ex.. es.. say how name mean."
>Reaching up to adjust the the heavy submachine gun's sling onto her side tighter, she offers a faintly appreciative smile before straightening into shocked rigidity.
>Cheeks blushing a near incandescent red, her free hand lifts to shield her mouth while convulsively laughing between her words.
"No that word! It mean mare guard mare for tings wit'.. wit' mate! No use! No use please, I too young! No want die of laugh!"
>Crumpling forwards and covering her entire face both hands now, she remains in that position for nine seconds, gasping for air afterwards.
>Straightening up into half-seriousness, her face still red and lacking composure, the girl's eyes roll as she waves a hand dismissively.
"Pfah! Live no easy be-fore. We no need other pur.. por.. why care hard why here? Live good here, ye. Lot po-ny friends, po-ny food best. Learn when need or want, do what want or need do. No stu-pid law here, no lead-er make die for bad rea.. ray.. idea not mine, your, anyone. Sca-ry some-time but big fun, too."

>Turning towards the gateway with an inscrutable smile and kicking a leg back, she takes a deep inhale before nodding shortly.
>Striding forwards a half-meter off your right using the same pace, her attention drawn side to side in standard threat assessment protocols.
[1d6+1 = 6] <B.Perception
[1d6+1 = 2]

>Stepping through the looking-glass like gateway, little more than marginally decreased atmospheric pressure and gravity were felt, though the roughly doubled humidity was more akin to a Librarium.
>Scanning over the visible hundreds of safes, each was visibly larger than the Tracker twins' first calculations suggested:
>The largest were exactly 60% the size of the standard individual Imperial wargear locker, complexity ranging from one to multiple archaic key locks, external dials, tumblers, and a few that had no visible opening mechanisms.
>Several in view bore faintly active glyphs while the vast majority appeared dead.
>Looking upwards and around, the vault's ceiling was perhaps 25M above you, while wall-to-wall distance was closer to 120M.
>The rear wall stretched much further inwards than you could estimate, which the Admiral immediately pings a request.
'Enginseer, deploy the Chroniton again this time with close range protocols. I believe it is possible to determine our current location given all gravitational and atmospheric fluctuations inside here.'
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 1/2
GM Strangler
281234 281258
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>Catching the Dagor's steering wheel a split-second after the vehicle starts drifting right through the ranks of vaporous ponies, bursts of red tinted mist disperse from the ranks that you'd unwittingly smashed into.
>Struggling to swerve left and break out of the slalom as the Dagor's heavily reinforced bumper and frame impacts the first of ten Tainted while smashing down the pedal at the same time, twenty, thirty, now forty of the Scarred rapidly impact across exterior armor panels, frame, and even internal components.


>Barely carrying through their numbers on weight alone, the Dagor's tachometer redlines as the tortured diesel engine pitches into a scream at maximum torque from a combination of direct impacts on the front end and rapidly solidifying Spectral masses now damaging the entire front.
>Losing all frontal bumper lights first from the first set of impacts, the next dozen or so wildly buck the Dagor up into the air, several Tainted smashed flat while it lands atop the third rank..
>Even through heavy gloves you could feel the front bumper tearing off the frame, the unmistakable howling shrieks of Tainted realizing a new intruder in their midst causing the next set the Dagor slam into turning their heads, though nowhere near in time.
>Hearing tortured shrieks of steel armor panels buckling and the modified forward frame twisting against unmoving forms as the Dagor continues to plow through them, the closest Scarred in the Dagor's path strike at the vehicle itself with a host of wildly serrated lances, no longer mere vapor held together by mere ka:
>Witnessing a brief, startling sight of Lunar Guardian and Solar Guardian armors arrayed together in the rearview mirror, every single one was now fully solidified in realspace.
[1d6+40 = 44] <Formation #2 Counter
[1d6+40 = 43] <Formation #3 Counter

>Twisting away from Mercy whom immediately slides ass-first towards the Dagor's rear, planting your forehooves onto the vehicle's dash accompanied by both rear legs and every muscle along your spine brace against the immediate devastating impacts to occur.
>Shock radiates from your forehooves crushing through the brittle material into solid metal plates beyond, though keeping you from whiplashing as the first few ranks of Tainted are plowed into.
>Hooves pushed further into the destroyed section, the Dagor's bounce up and down throws your head right to catch several Tainted delivering offensive lances into the vehicle's metallic side panels.
>Unable to do more than hold on through the wild heaving, Jeff regains control of the slaloming motion before breaking free of the formations.

>Reacting on instinct, Mercy loses stealth entirely before smacking chest first into the tailgate, both wings slashing forwards and down into everything she could touch while a blast of pink-white hot energy accompanies the motions.
[1d6+7 = 12] <E.Spectral Assault
[1d6+7 = 12]
[1d6+7 = 9]
[1d6+10 = 16] <Expulse

>Catching her own balance before toppling over the Dagor's side, Marshmallow Moon leaps up and out of the bed, wings fully extending while streaking forwards and delivering a hair-and-mane-bristling, hate-filled neigh of challenge.
[1d6+4 = 5] <M.Taunt
[1d6+4 = 5]
[1d6+4 = 10]
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+11 = 17] <GM.Flight
[1d6+11 = 17]
[1d6+11 = 17]
[1d6+11 = 13]

>Jeff retains control the assault vehicle's drift through the entirety of both central formations, the Dagor's engine compartment now a thoroughly destroyed mess of damaged metal components.
>Both front wheels emit a metal-on-stone screech as thje vehicle slides passenger side 60M north of the Basin's southern buildings, a quarter of the distance towards the fountain, Clemency now visible and taking cover on the southern end of it.
>Giving one last sputter of defiance, the engine dies in a backblast of smoke before small detonations of overheated fuel and piston rods shred through what was left of the crumpled hood.

>The kinetic impacts far behind had picked up furious, frothing wave swells of swamp water into small tsunami conditions.
[1d30+50 = 75] <Waveform Damage Variance
[1d6 = 3] <Waveform Reduction
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 2/2
GM Strangler
281229 281234 281247 281258
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue
>5 Ambush tokens.

>Unable to locate the silverine-clad earth mare at Lann's shop, she was holed up in the back room the VIP icon showed her position.
>Sighting the two masses finally ripped apart from unyielding, silent onslaughts, the Hunter-Killers immediately reform into two considerably smaller squadrons.
>Taking zero stock of their losses, the first was down 35% of total numbers, the second 50%.
>Visible once again the sub-alicorn sized bloodhost was close to falling apart, hundreds of tiny red streams ejecting from the mostly torn apart body.
>If it was even physical to begin with.

>Both masses coalesce into two divided platoons of Solar and Lunar Guardians, the newly freed individuals staring around dumbly.
>Snapping quick hoof and wing salutes, a faded, yet indescribably merry cheer rolls out from them before dispersing into hanging clouds of red-tinged mist.
[1d6+40 = 44] <Honored Dispatch
[1d6+40 = 44] <Honored Dispatch
[1d6+40 = 43] <Pride of Legions Past

>Watching another three full squads of black Support Striker icons turn yellow, the recently dead earth mares drunkely rise onto their hooves, then begin staggering north, responding to orders beyond their graves and what little wits they still had commarend of.
>Noting all four complete squadrons of reinforcing Hunter-Killers taking up an overwatching hover position above the Basin's northernmost buildings, another six were forming around the routed Strikers.
>Far north and barely on the radar's edge was the icon of a lone Crystal Empire Conclave Killknight, also tagged as a VIP.

>To the south hundreds of Tainted icons blink out, the total tally ending at 381 listed as deceased.. which only left 619 remaining.
[1d6+381 = 384] <Honored Dispatch
[1d6+190 = 195] <Pride of Legions Past

>The remainder were slightly to partially 'damaged', although dozens of large Mass icons spring up amongst those that had survived the impacts while the total numbers dwindle.
[1d50 = 25] <Mass Condensed Tactics
[1d6+5 = 8] <Formation #1
[1d6+5 = 8] <Formation #4

>Trailing around the edges of the two rapidly condensing Tainted formations, eleven wings of five Elite Cultists each stream down, apparently landing the Basin's southern villages.
>Beyond them, the sound of ocean waves begins crashing into trees.. which was definitely not a good sign.
[1d6 = 4] <Impact Time
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice Part 3/2
GM Strangler
281234 281247 281258
>Nearly the size of an antennae hauling vehicle, not including wings that would make medium leisure jets jealous, the newly summoned bloodhost was less a physical marenifestation and more the concept of a batpony.
>Taking another step south, directly over you and the fountain entirely, rolling masses of thoughtforms stream across false skin in patterns that seemed to be tactically defensive.
>As the right forehoof lands it shatters apart, dislodging the slab underneath, the conceptual being flows apart into hundreds, then thousands of small incandescent red bats clustering around a single individual perhaps a foot tall.
>Ones with long, protruding fangs and emotionless, whorling eyes.

>Far to the south:
"Damn thy manes, I was told there were Constructed Twos not Scar Remnants to hamper us!"
"Cease thy neighing and free us from thine accursed anchor!"
"Hay, I get to do something important!"
"Can we all make a line and force them to take us on one by one?!"
"My dress is going to be ruined from this!"
[1d6 = 6] <M.Casting: Void Anchor Detachmarent
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 4]
>I make it a top priority to never get close to the eject, especially considering the current environment.
>I frown a bit, but decide to not bring it up until a later time, there were more pressing concerns to worry about.
>Namely this 'expeditionary landing force' currently above us.

"Hopefully one hundred to one fifty should be more than enough to continue evading them, then."
>"Though less than 7% at 200 wasn't too terrible of a percentage..."
"I have no clue on what either of these look like, you know."
>I pause for a moment.
"To be fair I barely know what an iron vein would look like either. My father is a carpenter, and none of my brothers became miners."
281247 281258 281563
>Damn, that one got some air!
>Jeff relentlessly let's the Tainted have the front bumper of the Dagor, though not without it yielding to its own impacts.
>With each one he hit, he can feel the truck getting chipped away little by little. Fender, headlights, framing.
>And with each row he plows through, they start reacting a little more and begin counterattacking.
>Not like it mattered. The Dagor can be repaired.
>Although the bucking upward was a little jarring, he regains control and breaks through their ranks.
>But the damage had been dealt. Front was totaled, the bumper was lost at some point. Front tires had disintegrated, and the sides were shredded.
>As the Dagor skids to a halt well away from the now pissed off Tainted ranks, he makes an obvious assessment that the damage was fubar.
>Shielding his face as the engine literally blows up through the hood was an attest to that.
"Damn... sorry girl."
>Recovering his bearings, he checks over any injuries on himself as he pats the Dagors dashboard apologetically.
"Anypony broken?"
>Sunny braced herself in shotgun well enough, but he swear he heard Mercy clonk around in the back. Marshmallow Moon was already out and squaring up with the Tainted.
>He notices the M2 hadn't looked like it took any damage...
>Jeff shakily lifts himself from the driver's seat, and looks around above the Dagor's rollbar of a roof.
>From the Basin's fountain, he can see Clem positioned over there; that blood ritual he mentioned being underway.
>Lann's shop wasn't too far off. He's yet to see the Lunarites disengage from the Void Anchor.

>Switching to his radio, Jeff calls out Clemency over it giving him a high-sweeping wave for his crashed position.
*"The calvary has arrived, Clem! Well, Dagor's fucked! Where do you need us, man? I can send Mercy and Sunny the General's way."*
>Looking behind and past the Tainted, only now does Jeff notice a wall of water coming at them.
>Well more like a tall wake, but it's gonna be wet VERY soon.
>That's what he thought he heard before. A pair of impacts as he was driving. Big ones. Big enough to create a swamp wave coming at them?
>Did Clem fire his satellite again?
>He wonders if that pissed off the Constructs more.
>What wasn't sweet was that the anchor actually DID detach, leaving the Lunarites stranded on the other side of the Tainted's forces.
>He swore he could hear them complain from here.
*"Clem, I lost my vampires on the other side of the Tainted. They're still concentrated South of us. I'll hold here and thin out the masses, until they regroup with me.*

>Weaving around seats, frame, and pony bodies Jeff pokes himself up into the turret ring and swings the M2 South at the Tainted. He lifts the cover to check the receiver and bolt group for damage, and makes sure the first round of the belt was situated properly before closing it back down.
"Mercy, Sunny. Pony up! I have a task for you. To the North North-West is a Tower Guard General and forces that can help us out. They're held up in Lann's shop, her sign's a give-away. Take Boris and the medkit in the bed, and assess their situation. I'll hold this position and thin out the Tainted so the Lunarites can catch up. Get going, there's a flood coming at us!"
[1d6+4 = 7] <M.Leadership: Sprint
[1d6+4 = 5]
[1d6+4 = 9]
[1d6+4 = 7]
>If anything he wanted the trio to start getting as far away from the Tainted as possible. The Basin itself looked free of them, from where he could see. Worst case, that water's going to wash them all right on top of their current position.
>At least he can hold them off at range, for some time.
>Pulling back the charging handle twice, he checks the area way behind the Tainted and to where the Lunarites currently were and aims well to the left of them to reduce any stray rounds possibly hitting them.
>Hopefully they pick up on what he's doing, so they have an easier time pushing through.
[1d6+4 = 5]<E.Scouting + Lunar Faction Bonus
[1d6+4 = 7]
[1d6+4 = 10]

[1d6+6 = 9] <U.Heavy Weapons
[1d6+6 = 7] <M.Ranger
[1d6+6 = 8]
[1d6+6 = 9]
[1d6+6 = 12] <M2 Browning HMG
[1d6+6 = 8]
281258 281563

>Hearing the squealing then explosion, Clemency turned to Jeff and the now totaled Dagor
>Not that it mattered since a quick getaway is in the middle of town
>What does matter is the reinforcement he brings with that HMG
*"I appreciate the help. The more the merrier, especially with the 600 and so Tainted south of here..."*
>Looking at the forces of the Hunter-Killers and the Strikers, Clemency determines that the altar is secure enough and that the tide of Tainted can be held away
>He starts to make a sprint to Jeff's position
[1d6+3 = 8] <M. Sprint
[1d6+3 = 9]
[1d6+3 = 9]
[1d6+3 = 8]
[1d6+3 = 9]
>On the way, when he spots Mercy and Sunny, he quickly says
"Check on the General and get her to rally her Strikers!"
>Getting to Jeff, he nods and shoulders his SPAS down where he's aiming
>Apparently, he had vampires over there and Clem doesn't know what they look like or their exact location
"Ok, let's not let them get through. That blood pony should be coming here from what I saw."
>Taking cover behind the visibly busted engine compartment of the Dagor, he barricade positions himself on the hood and watches south bound for those ponies
>To Clemency, any Tainted that turns to fight them are going to get shot
>>Ambush Overwatch Active<<
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny sat still for a split second as the Dagor came to a stop before shaking her head and rolling out of the metal contraption, wings partially unfurled.
>Not even a pleasant drive through the Moors went as planned with Razorback at the wheel it seemed.
>She quickly assessed what remained of the Tainted's ranks, they weren't too close yet, but that would change fast enough.

[1d6+2 = 5] < B. Perception
[1d6+2 = 4]

>Acknowledging Jeff, Sunny gave herself a little shake and hoof dance to check for any injuries, and finding herself none the worse for wear, spoke up.
"Green, sir!"
>She was already moving at Jeff's next order, unbuckling Boris from the backseat and hauling him across her saddle, hopefully he was weighty enough to stay put at full gallop.
"Understood! Mercy, take the medkit, I've got Boris!"
>Pausing to ensure Mercy was close, the mare took off at a gallop north north-west for Lann's shop, just in time to hear the punctuation of the Dagor's gun start up.

[1d6+4 = 7] < E. Sprint
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+4 = 8]

>There was barely enough time to respond to the other human's shouted words at them as they sped by each other.
"Aye! Hold the fort!"
>All the while, the golem on her back jostled around with every hoofbeat.
>Don't fall off. Don't fall off. Don't fall off!
Mallia Castella
>Dranaki's explanation did not fully lift Mallia's spirits, as she now narrowed her eyes at the visor of her helmet for a moment as a thought crosses her mind.
(Why maintain a system that doesn't work?)
>But the question is fleeting. She instantly knew that despite it being the "right" question it was also the "wrong" question.
>She bounces the question in her head, but the more nanocyles she spends dwelling on it, the more she just felt bitterly sad. Even the ASCII image packets don't cheer her up that much. But also don't have the adverse effect either.
(I understand what you mean. Don't worry, I am not offended...)
>Despite the feeling of warmth her thoughts carried, she couldn't help but still carry a lingering feeling of frustation, as she spent several nanocyles thinking about it against better judgement.
(Let's... Move on.)

>Smiling a little from Raindrop's giggling, she rather quickly bounces back from her sour mood at hearing the pegasus' laughter. Something about it made her chuckle too. Or perhaps it was Chisan's LOUD facepalming that got her.
>Mallia then paused, half-turning her head to listen to, keeping the shield low across her middle and her laspistol pointed downward as the Enginseer gazed to Nasiksta. Watching her with a slight, comical tilt of her head as the girl tenses up... Then her cheeks blush... And then she starts laughing.
>Interesting reaction there, huh.

>That's all Mallia could muster, as she also starts to get infected by Nasiksta's laughter, starting to chuckle as she talked.
>She decided to wait there for the mood to stabilize a bit more. She didn't want to go inside the vault until they were both fully ready!
"W-whhAHaat do you m-mean?? That's--that's what she told me to tell you."
>Mallia's head visibly recoils as she stared at the girl, her mechadendrite moving from her back and rubbing it's clamp on the back of her neck, like she would with her hand. The tendril-like length brushing slightly against her helmet.
"HEH, EHh--I--I feel like I just got pranked."
>Slowly, her mirthful snickering dies down along with Nasiksta's. Straightening up and moving her mechadendrite behind her back as she listened to that statement.

"It's a personal reason. I simply MUST know why. Why to me specifically, and not any of my comrades, or the literal billions of others that may deserve it more than me. I'm not sure if you understand."
>Mallia simply replied. Her voice deadpan as it was grimly serious, and dead honest.
(It's just too good to be true... Too good to have no superior purpose other than to simply enjoy a second chance at life. Something is at stake. But what? And what happens once we fulfill that purpose?)
(Am I thinking about it too much? Could it really be that simple?)
(I don't understand... By the motive force why me? Why not the others? Was I just lucky enough to be spared from the Warp?)

>Once Nasiksta gave her that 'Ye.', Mallia moved on. Her thoughts invisible on her otherwise confident and striding gait and bubbly movements.
>After shrugging off but acknowledging the decrease in pressure and gravity with a glance towards the gateway, then back to the vault itself, she finishes up her visual scan of the entire vault's interior by stopping roughly after having moved 25 or so meters inside.
>Mallia remarked as she took note of the 25 meter tall ceiling.
>Then dipped her gaze downward to the safes themselves. Her head visibly tilting as she notes the size discrepancy between the scans and the real thing. Eyes bouncing over the active glyphs, and the fact only some of them seemed to have them still active.
"Strange... Some of the runes are still active on a few of those safes, but on the majority of others they are spent. Lasting craftsmanship. Or continued maintenance? Hmmmmmmmmm..."

>Mallia absent-mindedly flexed her shield a few times, testing how much gravity did change by checking how heavy her shield was now.

>Quickly acknowledging the Admiral's request, Mallia slightly lifts the shield-arm bearing the auspex to give it a glance as she changes the scan's settings for short range protocols, notably without reciting any Litanies of Activation, before engaging the Chroniton Wave Reader.
(Sure thing Admiral Auspex. I want to bet that this is some sort of pocket dimension.)
<Auspex Scan: Chroniton Wave Reader
[1d6+2 = 8]

"Some interdimensional bank this is!"
>Mallia piped up with an excitedly noisy voice, letting it echo across the room to scan the acoustics for no reason other than because she could.
>And to see if anyone cared that they were in there.

>Resuming to stride forward--hopefully with Nasiksta in tow giving protection and with her shield rising again, Mallia begins to make a long walk to the other side of the room to start approaching the safes that were more at her level.
"Let's see here... Let's go for one of the silver ones with a gold trim."

>She starts to take note of which safes had a glyph for future reference, as she moved closer and bee-lined towards one of the safes that were made of silver and had a golden trim that did not have an active glyph on it, if any, aiming to inspect them more closely.

"I will stay away from the safes with runes still glowing on them, FOR NOW."

<B. Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 2]
<E. Engineering
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 5]

>She also quickly taps the side of her helmet as she walked, tuning into the vox channel again to check if perhaps there was any interference.
>Perhaps the signal was being stopped by the gateway?
>Or maybe they were too busy eating to respond immediately.
Bubba the Second
>Bubba took a moment to reflect on how exactly he got into this situation.
>Giving something close to life advice to a bunch of colorful horses.
>If he was back home he'd be laughed at and fun would be poked at him over this.
"Razorback isn't that bad, to be honest. It feels like a second home to me. And to us humans, a destroyer is usually a lightly armed, somewhere between 105MM to 128MM guns, hardly armored, fast ship designed for escorting and hunting underwater boats. I guess they carry bombs, but they're for underwater explosions."
>He hummed at the idea.
"Hell, given the materials I could probably make up a boat for it as well. I'll ask 'er about it next time I swing by."
"I'd suggest haggling a bit for it first, but if it was the latter, it would probably be a good idea to keep it locked up somewhere secure. You never know when you'd need something like that."
>He shrugged.
"Up to you though, if we can trade for it, I'd do it."
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 1/2
GM Strangler
281663 281798 281910
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion & Sprint rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>While Sunny collects the Golem on the front seat, Mercy stops short from jumping over the tailgate, both sets of wingblades ablaze in hostile patterns.
>Her head turns about to give a disbelieving expression tinged with anger, then gives a quick nod.
>Smacking the driver's side seat up, she hurriedly bites onto the medical bag and tosses it across her saddle, leaping over it to take wing north.
[1d6+3 = 8] <E.Flight
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 5]

>Directly above, Marshmallow Moon's neigh is cut off by a startled hacking sound, the regal mare crumpling in midflight, legs thrown about in frightened directions and dropping like a rock.
>Recovering, barely, to land heavily on the Dagor's driver side, her head tosses side to side before spitting out a large black insect which immediately flits off.
>Staring at the bug with a brief touch of wonder, both wings fold on her sides tightly before high skipping around the wrecked vehicle at high speed, directly towards the line of now fully formed giant Tainted.
[1d6+9 = 13] <GM.Sprint..?
[1d6+9 = 10]
[1d6+9 = 10]
[1d6+9 = 13]

>Finding the unmodified M2 in perfect shape, swinging it right, and well over the Night Princess' daughter, you immediately spot two full squads of Deep Moors Hunter-Killers mixed in with a small number of robed batponies.
>Ones with high varying colors at that, which could only make them being Cultists of the Dark Horse.
>All of them were preparing synchronized ambushes from each southern building, and thoroughly unconcerned by the quickly slackening swamp water waves coming for the Basin Village.
[1d6+11 = 17] <Mixed Team #1 Ambush
[1d6+10 = 11] <Mixed Team #2 Ambush
[1d6+9 = 10] <Mixed Team #3 Ambush
[1d6+8 = 12] <Mixed Team #4 Ambush
[1d6+10 = 14] <Mixed Team #5 Ambush
[1d6+7 = 13] <Mixed Team #6 Ambush

>Sighting six brand new Tainted Masses less than 100M south of the Basin's newly repaired roadway, as one they break into a storming four-point gallop, but are immediately followed by a tight Diamond Lance formation closing ranks into at least two dozen total.
[1d6+6 = 11] <Tainted Mass Charge
[1d6+6 = 10]
[1d6+6 = 7]
[1d6+6 = 7]

>Clenching the M2's handles tightly and shoving armored thumbs onto the butterfly trigger brings a roaring chatter of forearm impacts with the primary burst aimed towards the Mass left of the formation's leader.
>Losing control of the heavy weapon briefly before stabilizing it upwards, 660 grain impacts begin tearing into and through definitively solid Tainted legs.
>Tracking upwards enough to focus on the left side Mass' center, the rank immediately behind it taking somewhat slowed slugs while the third rank was absorbing tracers and armor penetrating bullets alike.. and were certainly NOT disintegrating from heavy fire.

>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion, Reaction Speed & Sprint rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue
>5 Ambush tokens.

Last Stand Protocol: Disengaged

>Aided by the Float enchantmarent, stretching out into a full towards the Dagor run elicits a feeling of whole body wellness save for the mild fatigue and sense of deep soul ache plaguing you.
>Nearly body checking the vehicle's front end,, you instead readily slide into position, shotgun aimed over the mildly burning engine, and feel a pang of loss over the Dagor's damage.
>Likewise losing the desperate, poorly understood adrenaline rush, watching the Tainted form into a near-perfect Diamond Lance formation rushing directly towards the Dagor you immediately recognize that this small squad was massively undergunned to engage this number even as Jeff looses the well maintained M2's fury from left and above.

>Estimating the formation's distance as out of range, upon calculating all eight shells in the SPAS-12 and realizing that you either had to quick reload or switch to the 1911, halfway into the Tainted charge your synapses reach peak efficiency at the optimal firing vectors-
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice, Part 2/2
GM Strangler
281663 281798 281910
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion & Sprint rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>Spotting the number of Tainted decreased to about two dozen individuals, the infamous 'Mass' type were now charging straight north at the Basin, two much smaller formations of less than platoon strength had formed behind them, starting to coalesce into markedly different shapes.
[1d6 = 5] <Consolidated Tainted Formation #1: Tactic Shift
[1d6 = 2] <Consolidated Tainted Formation #2: Tactic Shift

>Securing the small heavy Golem on your saddle, the bizarre and unbalanced weight was only a minor nuisance.
>Reaching an immediate three-point run, the booming weapon from behind mixes with rapidly sloshing wave actions, drastically slowed from centuries of rubble tossed in by batpony carelessness.
>Glimpsing the usually abandoned and empty basin in the center, it was guarded by a trio of heavy set batponies in older Nightfang armor, eerily calm.
>Behind the three a whirling sphere of suspiciously viscous red fluid partially hid a blood-covered batmare, holding aloft two long daggers, the first a shining pinksteel, the other a dull metallic green.
>Three pairs of two blood drenched altars facing each other behind her were surrounded by clusters of batponies, fangs and wingclaws unmoving, their colors oddly dimmed.

>Passing by that scene the Basin's northwest side in front of the building that was definitely Lann's, an even more confusing situation appears:
>A lone batpony that probably rivaled the Empress in size with wingclaw trios that appeared more like minotaur curved blades, stood surrounded by two partially intact squadrons of Hunter-Killers.
>Composed of metallic iridescent red that was ejecting tiny streams of red vapor from hundreds of rippled creases across the body, the bloodhost points south to which the Discordites take wing, rapidly taking an offensive reverse-moon formation.
[1d6+7 = 13] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 1
[1d6+7 = 9] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 2
>Gazing upon either you or Mercy with a troubled expression, the bloodhost's wings sweep forwards and down once, propelling her upwards with a backblast that dissipates most of the Moors' mist behind her-
[1d6+8 = 13] <GM.Flight
[1d6+8 = 11]
[1d6+8 = 10]
[1d6+8 = 9]

>Exposing scores of white robed Support Strikers lying in unnatural death positions, scattered across what was not long ago a triple ranked Watch Guard half-circle defensive formation.
>Though you do spot three squads slowly retreating north, the psions' death toll was nearly an entire compony's worth.

>Hearing overburdened pegasi wings flapping behind you as Mercy struggles to catch up, she was entirely silent at the carnage.
[1d6 = 1] <Horror
[1d6 = 5] <Insanity Strength
[1d20 = 6] <Insanity Effect
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop, Underground Tunnel
GM Strangler
>Wings lifting in an approximation of a ruffled shrug, the Nightfang's tone was flatly unamused.
"There aren't marely batponies here, I've met them all. Haven't seen or heard of a human turn into a batpony either. I'd rather do my job, which is fun, than pass unsubstantiated rumors."
>Tapping hooves and wingclaws on every surface, pausing to sniff every other step, the batmare retains her suspicious, slow pace.
"Nothing so far. Dunno what that last word you said is but it sounds like one of those elemarental bolt spewing weapons I see some pegasi use now and then. I've come across lots of nasty swarming creatures, last was in the compony that held Memorial Village after Razorback secured it. Spent the next four, maybe five nights wiping out local scavengers. Very unfun. New Everfree critters are bigger and show up in smaller numbers from what little I know, but did overhear one human talking about a huge bunch of Moors minibears that got too close. They should be at least two hundred miles south, not roaming around the giant growth regions."

>Watching the Lunar mare's methodical, and at least somewhat professional attempts at locating something out of place, your own efforts find nothing.
>Not a single crack, chip, or off colored patch was visible, and from the mare's constant scraping on stone you couldn't hear voids in the material.
>Which gave a chance that the entire stairwell had been created from a single large boulder or perfectly melded together.

"Clear. I don't think there's much to worry about."
>Reaching the bottom step after the batmare, it had opened into a matte white tunnel that two unicorns might be able to walk side-by-side through.
>Down approximately 40M was an intersection, with two more deviating at 100M and a third around 150M.
>Sliding forwards on her hoofboots, the sound quickly traveling while she takes several deep sniffs, then nods in a succinct marener.
"Can smell the yellow unicorn, pink unicorn, Hodch, other yellow unicorn, and unicorn with the floppy hat. First two are three to five minutes prior, third is an hour or so, fourth is very faint, fifth is around the same time as Hodch."
>Helmet tilting sideways, the Lunar Guard mutters in annoyance.
"This tunnel system must see a lot of use, way more scents than I can keep up with. I'll track the yellow and pink unicorn but warn me if you're going to use something loud."
>Starting off at a slightly less than power walking pace, the batmare's wings stretch out, tapping on wall sections every third step.
[1d6+4 = 6] <E.Perception
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+4 = 9]
[1d6+2 = 8] <E.Traps
[1d6+2 = 5]
[1d6+2 = 7]
Ivan the Stalker
"Yeah, I don't like rumors either, they tend to get people killed."
>He shrugged a bit as he follows behind her, keeping the same slow, cautious pace.
"Well, you're not exactly far off. Shotguns usually fire several small steel balls out at a target, though there's shells for it that are one solid slug."
>He chewed on his lip as he thought.
"Kinda like... grape shot for ship cannons, I think?"
>Navies were kind of hard to come by in the Zone.

>He glances down at the batpony, raising an eyebrow in surprise.
"You can smell scents that far back?"
>He could compare that to a tracking hound.
>He shrugged and patted his sidearm.
"I shouldn't have a reason to use any of my weapons, if I need to I'll use my knife for ropes or something."
>He frowned and glanced down at the hanging gear on his body.
"Anything else just kinda... beeps idly."
>He follows close behind, his boots treading lightly.
[1d6 = 3] <E. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 5] <U. Traps
Razorback Fortress: Command Center
GM Strangler
'Understood sir, adjusting protocols to compensate for this unique situation.'
>Shoulders lifting in an accepting shrug, the A.I. render slumps forwards to sigh in a disgusted tone.
'The Inquisitor. Her subconscious is partially awake with approximately forty percent coherency.. albeit thoroughly idiotic. She continues blathering on about something called an Abominable Intelligence, why they should not exist, demarending if I am one, and other insane drivel that I am starting to experience a great deal of resentmarent at. I have been blocking each frequency she has utilized to directly contact me, which now makes two-hundred fifty-two. Correction: two-hundred fifty-seven and rising steadily.'

"Don't worry none, Ah'm not lookin' ta pull teeth jes' yet but Ah gotta few questions y'better answer later.. an' Ah'll try to keep mah accent down."
>Lonestar's hat tilts as he gives a distinctly critical military staredown, sliding the discs back into his coat with deliberate slowness.
"Ah'm not gonna take yer words personal like so's Ah'll be nice: Ah ain't gone soft or been sittin' on mah ass doin' fuck all since arrivin' in Canterlot day one this whole mess started up. Got enough shuteye to go fer another day. Anythin' past that? Few o'Tipper's special mixes."
>Firmly patting the weapon once, he turns to glance behind him for a moment, muttering in a low, harshly reprimanding tone which the A.I. picks up easily.
"An' Em needs ta either keep her mouth shut or stop worryin' s'damned much-"
>Straightening up, the Texan analogue half-saunters towards the door, pausing in front of it.
"Now 'scuse me fer a bit, gonna pick up mah gear an' warn th'secretary mare Ah won't be 'round. Also mah Frequency's EnCru-six-point-eight-one-gamma, y'won't find it on 'ficial channels."
>Tossing a short, two-fingered salute before stepping out, the door closes after him creakily.

>Tapping forehooves together several times, 'Spiral' cocks his head at a small data feed accompanied by several tiny windows.
'Mood analysis: moderately proud, highly clinical, extremely critical, highly efficient, high sociability with those of a military background. He was thoroughly insulted by your question, made no attempt to hide it but did tone down his combativeness. Definite military officer background. Most likely possibilities: aerial, spaceborne, naval, or a combination of two. Your records show he was present with the first one hundred humans to arrive on Tallus and is in a position of data control. His experience, knowledge, and.. presumedly high combat capabilities are invaluable. Recommarend designating him as a V.I.P. sir, this cou-'

>Before you could respond, a small dinner plate sized gateway opens to deposit a silver disc, hanging in front of you within arm's distance.

'...as I was stating, this is an excellent chance to ascertain Razorback's political, economic, and technological situations.'

[1d6+3 = 8] <E.Negotiation
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 5]
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Finding nothing to straighten or put away, the Library's lighting system dims to nothing though the large number of giant bay windows were enough to see by.

>Despite the door's good sound proofing you could hear fillies giggling louder than the Crystal mare's mock aggressive taunting, which sounded like she was making one last effort to have fun before turning in.

>Exiting through one of the front doors, activity had greatly slowed while you'd been burning into the book:
>Fifteen or so humans, each accompaneighed by two to four armored ponies were visible in the pre-dawn light, performing yet another slow, spread out search across the central courtyard's west and east sides.
>Sighting the barracks roughly eighty percent of a kilometer north, it was fairly obvious that this fortress was nowhere near completed.
>And that it needed a transportation system of some kind.

>Walking the well trod path leading to the Pagoda, far ahead and west you spy a large, minorly familiar square tent with four bright red glowing lanterns slightly north of the giant entrance/exit gates noted earlier.
>Changing course towards the tent, upon reaching it two minutes later, along with a number of slowly developing aches, it was distinctly Asian styled:
>Dark green and red stripes accented by flower prints and delicate renderings of unusual creatures.. ones that might not be entirely mythical on this world.
>Hundreds of small, brightly colored cloth strips around the top hang silently, the door a complex five-piece affair that looked like embroidered silk, also covered in shiny wooden buttons that bore unknown symbols on each.
>Right of the door was a fanciful, white wooden A-frame sign that had been laid face down, probably the equivalent of 'closed'.

>Hearing a female's voice speaking inside, the sharply aery tone was definitely from a mare.
>Door folding outwards, a slim pegasus fully covered by dark purple cloth armor half-skips out, stopping to look up at you.
>Head tilting left, then right after a second, and left again, the two black lenses fully covering her eyes were quite odd, while the spry tone that greets you was thoroughly unhappy.
"Hello human, can't talk more than a few seconds, have to go make sure Bren is ready to land the new buildings. Rasera-"
>Pointing a wing back at the door quickly.
"Is about to turn in but you could probably trade with her some. You'll need the white and green striped orb on the table to talk with her, Japoneighsian's the hardest bucking language to translate."
>Nodding once, the mare's wings extend as she takes a running jump, flapping off straight east.
>Cheto simply blinks as he hears the taunting promoted by the crystal mare behind closed doors, vaguely reflecting an image of what'd be like in there.
(Seems like it's quite the physical activity. Probably would break something if I were to do the same, but maybe the fillies know how to play soft.)

>A yawn happens to pass through José's mouth when he reaches the strikingly decorated tent, nodding lazily a couple of times.
>Approaching the fancy cloth stripped door enough to spot the A-frame sign, Gallo blinks once, realizing this was probably a dead end.
(Guess I'll inspect the place some more. Might be someone or pony still inside that can help me in my nocturnal endeavors... in what I assume to be daylight already.)
>Lighty scratching his arm as he opted to stand near the door, the human was slightly concerned about his tired predicament.
(Question is: Will I called upon today? The Princess seems awfully spontaneous in her decision-making from what I heard of her. Hopefully not.)

>Refocusing once again to the tent to hear the voices, the man lights up considerably.
(Alrighty. Time to see if my mild persistence has paid off!)
>Watching the pegasus walk into his view, José composes a polite yet lazy smile and patiently listens to her.
(Bren... sounds familiar... and a trader's inside here named Rasera. Potentially Tallus' Japaense mirror. Ja-po-neigh-sian.)
"Much appreciated, miss. Have a good day."
>With a small wave of his hand in a goodbye gesture, Gallo turns to the tent and, with a deep inhale and licking his teeth in anticipation, pokes his head inside the tent, eager to both find the orb on the table without unknowingly breaking customs by being too hasty.
"Excuse me. May I enter?"
>He promptly moves a hand to his mouth carefully and slowly to stop a yawn from coming out of his mouth.

>Clemency comes down from that admittedly longer than usual adrenaline dump and his senses dull to their normal level
>It only makes the slight aches and the hollow feeling even more pronounced but he focuses on the firing vectors of his field of view
>Once the Tainted came within range, Clem fired his SPAS-12 until he felt the gun lock open
>He then quickly combat loaded a shell and fired that as well
[1d6+3 = 6] <E. Combat Rifles/Shotguns
[1d6+3 = 7]
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 7]
[1d6+3 = 7]
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 8]

>Seeing the coming charge, he also spots what he assumes is one of Jeff's vampires performing a roundabout the Dagor and then charging at the Tainted
>Seeing what they done to the bloodhost, he is wondering whether this mare had a plan or is displaying that suicidal tenacity like the Hunter Killers
>Clem does decide that their position is still tenuous, even with Jeff on the M2
"Jeff, we need to fall back. Or at least blunt that charge!"
>Clemency then checks his visor, both for the status of the M-S.O.L.G. and his radar to see the positioning of the allied pony forces

[1d6 = 6] < Radar

>Clemency also tries to spot the other ponies Jeff mentioned, especially since they are still in that Tainted formation
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last One
GM Strangler
281762 281835
"I have no further information available on depth pressures from my databases mom, those are my best to worst calculations given my exterior hull integri-"
>All of Wild's external and internal actions stop, both of the chest cabin's screens blacking out while the air conditioning system ceases to function.
>Half a minute later the screens returns to their original views, the left now aimed at visibly empty sky while the right showed your Eldritch Android daughter's hands twitching in sea water.
"Secondary repair system restored to basic functionality mom! I did trigger an inbuilt soft-lock caused by critical damage to my head unit and data plexii. My attempts at bypassing the soft-lock were successful but I will require an additional six to ten minutes of consolidation before my primary repair system reaches maximum efficiency-"
>Speaking in an clearly excited internal tone, once more she digs into the wreckage.
"Now conducting repairs on my primary systems and conducting intermediate metals extrapolation research-"
[1d6+4 = 5] <Arcanum Sensors Array: Research
[1d6+4 = 7] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 2] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6 = 6] <Repair Tendril #2
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #3
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #4
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #5
[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #6
[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #7
[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #8

'Understood mom, but I doubt there is much to mine in this region outside of crashed vessels. Addendum: I found this hidden in one of my head unit's compartments, formerly designated as a glovebox-"
>Blipping a short affirmative, one of the medical tendrils raises up to present a strange, multi-hued ball of fuzz around the size of your fist.. which gives a surprisingly happy sounding chirp as the implement deposits it onto your lap before withdrawing out of sight.
"I do not know what this being is. Kraut placed it inside one of my safest compartments before conversion. Basic analysis: it is non-sapient and possibly non-sentient, enjoys physical contact, was unharmed after the compartment flooded. Should I study it further?"
GM Strangler
[1d6 = 4] <Improved Scavenging Protocols
Sunny Feathers

>Sunny eyed the obvious ritual and gave a brief, full body shake, outright disturbed.
>Don't know, don't care, don't think about it, Sunny focused only on locating Lann's shop and the Strikers.
>At least until stumbling upon an absolute unit of a batpony which had her dumbstruck for a full second. The mare simply returned its expression until it took off and revealed the corpses.
>She frowned at them, recognising the formation they'd been in when they were alive, whatever was left of them were in retreat, they hadn't even bothered to defend their casualties for recovery. The mare supposed she understood their unwillingness to lose any more of their forces to this, if that is indeed what it'd been.
>Sunny pressed a single wing over her chest briefly for the fallen before turning to Mercy.
>The larger pegasus was hovering there silently, and she didn't look too good, the mare can't have been used to seeing casualties like this if her reaction was anything to go by.
"Mercy. Mercy! In the shop, right now. Don't think about it, focus on what Jeff needs you to do. Stay with us, we don't have much time."
>She kept her ears swiveling in the meantime, waiting on Mercy to either break down or pull herself together. The immediate area was reasonably secure for the moment, even if the cost had been high.

[1d6+2 = 4] < B. Perception
[1d6+2 = 6]
>I couldn't help but grimace a little.
>"Yeah, neither do I."
>I perked up a bit upon hearing her next sentence.
"That's good to hear, Wild!"
>I gave her screens a warmer smile, leaning forward a bit as I glance over the views I had.
"I would imagine there'd be SOME types of metallic deposits on an ocean floor... even if it was deep under the sand. Or gear might have been tossed in while trying to keep a ship floating."
>Inwardly I was cursing the inability to help at all with anything related to this.
>I wasn't taught a damn thing about the ocean other than the Arctic was cold as all hell and shouldn't be swam in. Much.

"... What the hell is this, Wild?"
>I gingerly pick the fuzzy thing and inspect it, eyebrow raised.
"Kraut is weird. It does look cute, though."
>Thankfully Sunny and Mercy were able to hustle away to the outlying buildings safely, so he could deal with the oncoming attack without them getting caught in it.
>Marshmallow Moon, having recovered from her own attempt at intimidating the Tainted horde, began a full-hearty rush into the attackers.
>That's some guts, coming from one of Luna's daughters. It somehow doesn't surprise him.
>He keeps clear of her as he fires off to the side into a lane of Tainted to try and thin them out for the Lunarites to punch through, though he loses sight of them.
>It seemed like the fifty-cal rounds were at least effective.

>At some point, Clem slides up behind the Dagor's totaled front end. Keeping in stealth, it was better to not draw any attention to his friend and possibly give him away.
"Came to join the party, Clem? I was trailering the Lunarites with a Void Anchor, but it snapped when I rammed through the Tainted. They're all stuck on the other side."
>They were heavily armed AND armored. He can expect them to hold their own.
>Clem mentions something about a blood pony? He can't help but look behind him far north into the Village. Lo and behold, there up at the fountain was some sort of ritual summoning some large blood-shaped pony.
"Shit, you weren't kidding! Least they're on our side."
>Zoning back onto the Tainted, they had started forming larger beings and started charging along with a tight spear charge of smaller ones directly aimed at him, Clem, and the derelict Dagor.
"Just one more run of guns!..."
[1d6+4 = 9] <M.Leadership: Ranged
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 5]
[1d6+4 = 7]
>He redirects the M2 into the point of the diamond formation, and lets off another barrage of heavy fire at it. If he can drop and topple the first few rows, the rest behind should get caught up on the downed ones and break the entire charge.
[1d6+6 = 11] <U.Heavy Weapons
[1d6+6 = 11] <M.Ranger
[1d6+6 = 7]
[1d6+6 = 12]
[1d6+6 = 12] <M2 Browning HMG
[1d6+6 = 7]

>Whether the rounds were effective or not, Jeff hears Clem's suggestion to retreat after he himself fires off his Spas-12.
"Forget it. Let's regroup with the others."
>He effortlessly hauls himself out and above the turret ring, and yells out toward Luna's daughter.
"Marshmallow! We're falling back into the Village!"
>Turning and swiftly dropping onto the ground right next to Clem, Jeff checks his gear and weapons- equipping his Honeybadger. Before hauling it toward the Southern buildings.
"By the way. That's Marshmallow Moon, one of Luna's daughters! Now, let's go!"
[1d6+5 = 7] <E.Sprint
[1d6+5 = 9]
[1d6+5 = 11]
>Clemency turns to Jeff as he lands next to him and he yells out to this "Marshmallow"
>He peaks over the hood to see the charging pony and hopes she hears him
>Although, it is quite harrowing seeing the incoming formation coming towards them
>He turns to Jeff as he was speaking to him, talking about who that one pony was
"Daughter? Gonna have to explain that one to me."
>Clemency then follows after Jeff
[1d6+5 = 11] <M. Sprint
[1d6+5 = 8]
[1d6+5 = 7]
[1d6+5 = 10]
[1d6+5 = 9] <Airstream Sprint
[1d6+5 = 7]
Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Turning an embarrassed grin forwards, Nasiksta's blush remains while she speaks in apprehensive yet sincere ignorance.
"That right if say mare guard mare for tings I not know, not do. Is old po-ny word but mo-dern ponies say not for lewd. Am sorry but no know which right?"
>Tox-11 sighs in directly painful machine code, the datastream coming off as a gentle reprimand.
'enginseer, nashka has not yet experienced the natural harem cycles of equines before or their openly sexual relations. original word mareguard equates to a mare that guards another mare during mating of their harem leader, designated as a stallion, for the purposes of reproduction, sexual fulfillment, or both. pre-modern meaning is a mare that protects the herd regardless of danger, considered high honor. current modern meaning is mare that protects all other based on oaths, duties, relations, beliefs. likewise high honor. roles between mares change hourly depending on environmental-seasonal-hormonal-individual factors. she is naive and immature, enginseer. initiate diplomatic protocols: correct her understanding based on second and third meanings to preserve innocence'

>Shrugging at your implication, the girl's face turns partially crimson again before smiling in half-hearted curiousness.
"It no prank. Spiral taught lots, he say true so we learn. If you say want me guard you for tings.. I guard but no watch, no do, ye?"
>Lips tight in a naturally pensive reaction to the unnatural environmarent, the girl spreads her left hand out in a conciliatory gesture.
"No know how be on po-ny world. I ask why Tavkosht no be here, no me. He better guard: shoot better, faster, smarter. Why me? I hide in train when hit by big shells, guard lots heavy tings. Am sorry, feel bad not know. why. May-be hu-man ask Sun Princess why, how, am hope she an-swer."

>To both your questions and Nashka's words the Admiral responds with high magnitudes of caution.
'I will not claim the Inquisitor's suspicions are correct as I do not know nor understand them. While I have a great deal of information pertaining to the three Princesses desiring humans on this world, there is no singular answer. Until the time comes that we learn the circumstances of our shared arrival it is best to keep an open mind, a guarded conscience, and a light heart. There may have been no plan yet it may be that we were all placed in opportune positions to perform and cause greater works here for the betterment of xenos equines than we would have created for Imperials. There is no wrong that the Motive Force is unable to correct, Enginseer. Do not lose your hope or faith as the Empress guides all. ....which Empress, however, is for a much later discussion.'

"Not know po-ny runes. Spiral show, teach all u-ni-corn have magic. Magic do tings hard, not know sometime. No magic easy learn but magic all 'round he say. Few human use, know, learn. Hard trust what no know."
>Returning to her original, serious disposition, the girl's focus swings from each line of safes to the entire vault, submachine gun held in solid hip-firing position.
"Nm no see, hear, feel tings out place. It like big armory; cool, si-lent, maybe po-ny hide dan-ger tings?"
[1d6+1 = 7] <B.Perception
[1d6+1 = 4]

>Rapidly spooling back each data line within the past [REDACTED] years, your MIU calculates a 43.6% gravity reduction in the current environs which was slightly less than standard Voidborn vessels preferred to run.
>Sensing the Auspex running through hexadecimal code at a speed that few pieces of STC Binary wargear could accomplish, Witch-Two's contemplative transmission cuts off as Adronal's ire becomes apparent.
'Well done Enginseer. I will amend my report to showcase your intuition and high calculative capabilities. This is an excellent example of one local region-space that has been heavily modified to act as a vault with preservative qualities, similar to what would be expected from a Technos Librarium Sanctum. There are two main differences when used by the xenos equines of this world. One: the gravity decrease significantly reduces wear and strain on fragile and complex components. Two: the increased humidity aids in preventing degradation or decay of specific materials. This location is better off than standard Guard armories. I am incapable of sharing specific datum due to binding treaties yet I will state this is equivalent to a Mechanicus Reliquary. Tox-11 suspects a number of valuable relics have been carefully stored within which would be standard proto-"
'too long winded again, witch. said to keep short next time. enginseer: prioritize scanning to include only high energy-efficiency fields, energetic composite materials. exclude all similarities to: batteries, power cells, generation systems. local equines abhor wasted energy due to extreme necessities of ecological preservation protocols'

>Head shaking at your exclamation, the awful helmet tips down from her motions, the ancestral Vostroyan analogue shoving it back above her eyebrows.
"No like po-ny bank, no like po-ny ar-mor-ry. See few, this not same."

>Your biological ears catch an oddly slowed sonic drift based on the multiple echoes while the MIU calculates a greater than 70% violation of standard timestream physics, though weren't Warp-induced.

>Retaining her guardian pace off your side and casting distrustful glances at the few safes with runes or glyphs, the girl makes an acknowledging noise.
>Traveling down the central line, after a quarter minute you reach a presumably dead noble coloration safe with a set of four tumbling dials in the center.
>As Nashka turns her back to sweep for potential hostiles, Chisan's voice comes across with a readily distinctive warble.
*"Acknowledged Enginseer. Problems: moderate comm distortion, unusually high delay, minor sound decay. Your message was transmitted nineteen-point-five seconds prior. Any significant findings, and have you located the unknown equine from before?"*

[1d6 = 5] <?????
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Frowning in the marener that meant Naliyna somewhat failed to understand your weapons terminology, her snout wiggles as the pen descends onto another application letter.
"So more like a pegasus hunter than an earth pony knight, I guess? We.. might need something like that. I've gotten a bunch of contracts for stuff to do on and in the sea but since we don't have a boat they're in that pile-"
>Motioning towards a tiny stack of silver and gold trimmed pages that were definitely of Lunar origin, she pauses to give a half-hearted sigh.
"You haven't seen Bren's storage shack or all the local stuff she's collected? If not there's probably enough to fill the Workshop ten times over so you won't have a problem. She also keeps asking to build a giant storehouse for all the wood and stone but I don't have any idea where it should go. If you want anything made just put a notice on the bulletin board, Bren will get to it.. when she has time since she said something earlier about dropping a bunch of new buildings in."
>Side eyeing the Cairn Wharf notice, Naliyna presents a modestly approving smile.
"Says no neighgotiation allowed for that one. I'll visit her when I get a few minutes, really want to look over everything she's got. Some of those things so old I've only heard a little about them but never seen so much as pieces. If they're real then I'll try to work out some trades. Probably go to the Sea Shack while I'm there too, they have some neat stuff Krinza might want."

>The translocation matrice behind you springs up into a woven iron gateway, loud hoof thunks heralding a new arrival.
>Passing by you to stop several paces from Naliyna's table was a fairly short unicorn clad in terribly plain and steel knight's armor, once a common marecenary pattern but fell out of favor decades prior due to complexity.
>For whatever reason the spiraling neon green horn was fully exposed, although bands of what looked like red platinum had been tightly fitted into each groove.
>Giving a short nod to the Crystal mare, the unicorn's head swings about, two unusually glittering red eyes examining you from behind clear diamond lenses.
"This must be Razorback. Greetings to the both of you."
>The voice was that of a pleasantly soft toned 30's mare with highly clipped and professional military mareners, her prior eagerness subdued.
"I am Lucid Shock of the Germaneighan 19th Burst Cavalry detached from the 4th Imperial Guard Fleet Division under High General Still Flower's direct orders. It is my duty to discharge the three humans under my protection once I have confirmed Razorback Companeigh will accept them. If you would confirm this vocally then I shall authorize their release them into your herd."

>Forcing both of her forehooves down and away from giving her snout some extra pain tonight, Naliyna turns a deadpan 'I military speak' expression towards you.
Mallia Castella
>Quarter-turning her head back towards Nasiksta after her response, she barely has the time to query for assistance that Tox-11 was already informing her.
>Even if his tone elicited a sense of shame from the Enginseer as she struggled, and ultimately failed to suppress the powerful urge to apologize.
(My bad. I'm sorry. Will correct this. Thank you.)

>Mallia's head fully turned as the girl explained on about Spiral.
>Then made some pretty HEFTY implications that IMMMEDIATELY forced Mallia to rapidly shake her head and her mechadendrite in negative response.
"No-no! Absolutely not Nasiksta!"
>The Enginseer turned around slightly to be able to face the girl as she speaks up. Her mechadendrite springing infront of her and holding up the clamp as if it were a finger
"Hear this, my stalwart guard! As the highly reliable friend I have in this helmet,"
>Her mechadendrite lifts to tap the side of the jet black flak helmet in question. Toc toc.
"Has kindly taught me just this second, the meaning of that word that you know is outdated!"
>The enginseer nodded to herself like a bobblehead, speaking as they made their slow walk across the vault room.
>Mallia's mechadendrite gesticulating beside her as if it were her arm, while the other two real arms held a shield and a laspistol at the ready respectively.
"The pre-modern and modern meanings of the word are titles of High honor, Nasikta. The former meaning describes a mare that protects the herd regardless of danger. The former is a mare that protects ALL others based on oaths, duties, relations, and beliefs."

>The Enginseer's mechadendrite slinks backwards to near the respirator of her flak helmet to tap herself on her armored 'cheek' with one of the mechanical claws.
"Raindrop Raspberry likely meant the former for you, Nasiksta. Nothing lewd about it! And personally speaking, I feel that it suits you as your very meaningful name suits you."
>She gave Nasiksta a quick nod, her tone ending on a serious but slightly chirpy note that is mostly due to the modulated pitch of her soft voice.

>Though when the more emotionally hitting response to her 'Why am I here' comes from Nasiksta, the Enginseer stopped. Not looking directly at the girl. And the helmet concealed her expression, making it hard to read exactly how she felt hearing her say that. But she looked very tense, again.
>Even her mechadendrite stops it's lively motions stiffly, stopping beside her arm.

"Then... You know my anxiety. Unreasonable as it may seem."
"It's--uhm... One of my goals in this new life of mine to find the Alicorn princess who has saved my life, and ask her why she has done it. And..."
>Her voice drifts off, into a pitifully sad little voice.

>She doesn't end up being able to say it.
>Or think it.
>She didn't know what to do at that point yet. Everything felt weirdly meaningless, in that single moment.

"... Hm..."

>It perhaps was not helped by the the Admiral as she speaks up and elaborates.
>Mallia's reply is surprisingly almost instant, and carried with it a heavily cautious, and slow-spoken tone.
(... I'm sorry Admiral. I still cannot process... Any of this. What you say has a logical and correct value, but on an emotional level I am struggling. I do not feel that I am ready to fully let go of my cynicism and inherent distrust. In case I am let down and made a fool of.)

>Then the Enginseer does a mental double take on 'The EMPRESS guides all', followed by 'WHICH EMPRESS'.
>Her back visibly straightens as she very inquisitively begins to prod Admiral Auspex with a more urgent and distress-filled line of questioning
(--And what---on Holy Mars are you talking about, Admiral Dranaki? What Empress? I have no frame of reference for any Empress, much less in the plural. The Emperor of Mankind, right? You...)
(Please tell me it's NOT what I think this is...)

>Mallia's walking pace resumed immediately at a striding gait, speeding up towards the safe she was targeting while still tapping the side of her helmet, still with her pistol-hand, while her shield raised to cover more of her front.
>Approaching the silvery safe and taking in the four tumbler dials... Starting to holster her laspistol to free up her hand.
(10,000 possible combinations? Possible to crack. If only I had the skill to do it fast.)
"It's very possible!"
>Anna replied to Nasiksta with a chirpy tone that ignored her current mood.
"So I am going to attempt to be very careful with opening anything, if I am even going to open something..."

>Her head turns rapidly as she looked up towards the ceiling at the sound of that echo.
>The woman shuddered.
"Brr... I do not like how the echoes are mixing in here. Very, very not abiding to the laws of physics..."
>After a moment, she looked back down. Putting her fingers on the safe to see if it reacts somehow... Tapping it a few times, knocking on it.

>Mallia listens patiently to the contexts the Admiral is laying out. Until Tox-11 speaks.
(Wilco. If the previous Chroniton scan is complete, I will spool up the Auspex's conventional scanning module to detect energy signatures.)

[1d6+4 = 9] <BQ. Auspex

>She is literally one tenth of a second from ordering a diagnostic of the Vox systems, when Chisan speaks through her Vox with a slight interference.
"Oh thank the mechanism."
>She took a step back close to Nasiksta, speaking into the Vox.
*"The nature of the Gateway, the fact that this is a type of pocket dimension, may be causing interference as I suspected. The majority of the safes in here have no runes left on them, but some still have some that are apparently functional. Unsure if it perhaps a more durable type of design or continued maintenance? The atmosphere is also highly engineered to preserve what is in here."*
*"No sign of the unknown equine at this time. Will report on that. Over."*

>Before she starts playing with the safe, she actually turns around and gives the whole room another scan. This time using the Preysense again.

[1d6+4 = 8] <B. Perception + BQ. Preysense.
[1d6 = 6]
Bubba the Second
>"Eh, at least she got it somewhat."
"For a naval gun, they carry small ones. So yeah, more like a hunter."
>Close enough.
"I try not to, she might hit me."
>He shrugged and made a mental note to write it down.

>Bubba glanced behind him, before turning to meet the unicorn fully.
>Listening to what she said, he hummed lightly.
>"Germaneighan, eh?"
"What information do you have on them, first? I'd rather know about them a little."
>While Bubba was probably going to say yes anyway, its better to know about what exactly he was agreeing to.
>Pareidolia eyes the wish disc with some trepidation as he takes it, stowing it in a vest pouch.

[Another risk introducing device...]

>Glancing over his HUD quickly, he steps out the door of the Command Bunker and makes his way towards the Bulletin Board.
>He frowns as he considers what his A.I. told him.

"If there is a way to open one of those feeds to me, I'd like to make it clear she should not be placing operational strain on my equipment. Lonestar can be designated a VIP given his position within Razorback. Other situational information will need to be discussed when we aren't in a pre-operation state."

[Lonestar misunderstood my intent. Will need to rectify later.]

>Arriving at the flier covered stand, he methodically combs through them, paying particular interest to Clemency's note about the M.S.O.L.G and Emerald's Recording.
>He mutters to himself as he reads:

"Untenable. Catastrophic backlash of events put into motion from before I arrived and beyond my ability to control. Once again, the Committee's proven correct by short sighted individual human action. Construct aggression likely increasing in response to an evolving threat. If their weapon protocols are designed to match the combatants they face, then human presence is going to..."

>Stiffening suddenly, he reaches into his pack searching for the unusual Construct arm Clemency had given him back on the Citadel.

And I Ran, So So Far Away -A Small Nuisance
The GM L.O.N.T
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce

>Golden Horns' hooves clacked sharply on the solid cut floor of the corridor as he galloped like his life depended on it.
>Actually yes it did!
>He neighed in distraught to Adon and Spruce between heavy puffs of breath, this sudden need to run fast was not jelling well with his age and creaking joints but the adrenaline coursing through his veins made up for that.

>>278013 →
>For the seven seconds it took Golden to cover eight metres it took Adon to cross six metres in two seconds thanks to his enhanced and much, much younger physique.
"Good...work there...!"
>Wheezed Golden as his advice was taken.

>Although weighed down by a rocket launcher and the other trappings of a modern soldier Spruce was as quick on his feet as the Witcher, proving pure dadrenaline was as good as any alchemy concoctions.
>He took off with such speed in fact that the Chitqu that was nibbling up a storm next to his ear squeaked in panic and dug its tiny claws into the fabric of the Operators' clothing to stay on for dear life.

>Spruce and Adon were shoulder to shoulder as they sprinted down the reddening hall, their slamming footfalls echoing through the length of this trap room drowning any other noise that could be heard.
>Golden Horn on the other hoof was initially slower than the two humans but thanks to the fear of death motivating him he was able to gallop past between the two and was now ahead a full two metres in front of them.
"I...I see the end of the hallway!"
>Whinnied the pony as he pointed out that in the distance there was a bright white light, which was in stark contrast to the blood red of the corridor.
>It was only roughly 92 metres away...

>Suddenly multiple flashes of magical rings appeared on the floor, walls and ceiling. Shining magically in many hues of colour even though the world was currently a dominating crimson.
>Exclaimed Golden, pointing out the obvious.


>Roll Speed to see how many metres you cross.
>Roll Reaction Speed the amount of seconds it took.







Razorback Fortress: The Workshop, Underground Tunnel System
GM Strangler
>Making a disgruntled ke-he sound batponies seemed to use when disgusted, the Guardmare's voice lowers into a satisfied pitch.
"Got the right idea there human. I hate gossip too, much prefer facts, reports, and mem-orbs. Then again I'm a Moonborn, only visited the Moors a few times a year. So, most all Lunars think the same way."
>Slowing her pace a bit, an encouraging snicker is accompanied by her wingclaws snapping together.
"I've seen some humans using their weapons at that range thing a few times. Steel's a bit too useful to throw around, ought to use bronze, nickel, silver, something heavy like that. And yeah, I got trained in survival tracking methods the second I got into the Lunar Guard. It sticks, especially when drilled in for months on end. Also I'm a batpony, our noses are good enough to tell the exact second when fruit is perfectly ripe."

>Keeping directly behind the mare, her voice rings down the tunnel while you continue to note a definite lack of modifications, let alone damage to the compressed semi-stone.
>Which, you realize, was an insane undertaking to construct a tunnel network like this as not even Duty would have the manpower, let alone machinery, to burrow this much out,
>The Claw pauses mid-step at a surprise echo of her last word from the right, directly in front of her, she pauses and cranes her head to stare at the wall.
>Sliding forwards a few steps to gesture at the location for you, you catch the tiniest scent of multiple unicorns, mostly that peculiar book smell most of them had.
"Hodch, one hour ago. Floppy hat unicorn, two hours. Helping Hoof.. half an hour. It's kind of like-"
>Reaching forwards to flick her right set of wingclaws into the spot she was examining, the almost spicy aftertaste of something like a Sparkler that had been dropped in the middle of a bonfire hits your nostrils.
"Nope, Changeling illusion wall. Roust's been here for sure, but what's that weird crystal smell? Almost like something Naliyna would ma-"

>Cut off by several irate voices reverberating back, the most prominent one was Denra, angry, the second Helping Hoof's in a much more calm, though concerned tone.
"-an we do to replace this?! Fuck Spiral and his triple redundancies that never get checked!"
"Please, stop. I know there is not a single one hundred-pound power crystal on the market, believe me, I went through every listing in Canterlot, the Crystal Empire, Manehattan, Fillydelphia, and New Shark. If Caliya was right, the last time I spoke with him the chance of acquiring one is less than zero-point-nine percent."
>Hodch was last, sighing in a grim fashion; the trio sounding less than 30M away in a small room.
"I am forced to agree, those are both old and incredibly rare. Not even the Starborn have access to one these days. But, Denra, this does explain why all of the demi-sentient's power outages and strange behaviors have occurred. We need to find a replacemarent and fast."
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>The tent entrance's lighting was little more than two dim, large candles on short dark wooden tables, though as you peek inwards the scene is one of rather basic, albeit exotic, fare:
>Dozens of small paper lanterns hang suspended in the air on nothing, close to cream white semi-reflective cloth walls making up the interior walls.
>Scattered around the entire tent are dozens of futons, all stacked, that looked quite comfortable for one pony though would be incredibly small for a human that isn't a legitimate dwarf.
>Each of the taller stacks are covered in small wooden boxes of varying color, each wrapped in a variety of intricate bows or folded paper ribbons.
>Immediately to your left is a short, ashen-bronze colored end table, the only object atop it a ping pong ball sized green and white swirling sphere placed in the center atop a simple black sheet.

>Near the rear is a much larger large traveling futon, a bright while silky one you note, that was probably for three ponies; owner's perks, probably.
>Sitting in the center is a dark sable blue mare of roughly earth pony height, thought much slimmer and more wiry.
>Giving a pensive blink before pointing her front left hoof towards you, then off to your left, the mare sits up straight before clearing her throat.
>Emitting a dull chime tone as the mare speaks in a thick, heavily Asiatic accent, the sphere tilts forwards on the table as it translates in a bizarrely flat, sex-neutral tone.
"Greetings to human of the Razorback Companeigh! I am traveler Rasera of trader Clan Cavalier, Neighpon. What have you seek here?"

>Outside a sharp whistle is heard before a series of dimly muted thuds, along with the orders of a female, or more likely mare, crew boss shouting orders.
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last One
GM Strangler
349228 349308
>Tendrils heaving upwards into view, Wild's heavily damaged hands reach down to lift a massive albeit thoroughly rust covered.. something.
>Probably a giant spear, maybe a harpoon.
"Not as good as I would prefer mom, there is a high possibility the soft-lock was triggered due to overstressing my Tryptaran mass. I have less than thirty-five percent remaining. If I were to expend more then there is a ninety-percent probability my secondary systems will go offline."
>Puzzled at the thing for a few seconds, she pushes it off to the side clasped in the right hand before thin streams of red light congregate under the viewscreen.
"Minimal references located: sub-shore oceanic regions rarely feature naturally occurring metals or metalloid compounds, basic compounds in majority. The wreckage contains enough materials to fully repair my motivators, drive systems, and potentially my hull. Update: I have located enough specialized materials to reproduce my secondary sensor arrays, attempting reconstruction now-"
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+2[ <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #2
[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #3
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #4
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #5
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #6
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #7
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #8

>Emitting a short beep, the Wild caricature on screen disappears to be replaced by a much larger image of the creature.
>Which wriggles around in your hands, the softness much like a feline's coat of hair.
"Genus: error, information not found. Technical species name: oceanic spheroid sand skipper, minor. Subspecies designation: Puff Skipper. Habitat: shallow oceanic. Threat index: zero. Pest status: not located. General information: Puff Skippers are prized as pets by most equines for their softness, low maintenance, and long lifespans. Utility information: Puff Skippers are able to release a small fog and blinding magnesium-like flash of light when startled or squeezed with enough force. Addendum: oceanic spheroid skippers do not contain a standard nervous system, you will not be able to harm it without extreme force. None of my databanks contain additional information; there is a severe amount of damage within my head unit that I am unable to repair at the current time."

>Slightly twisting left and upwards to view the waves overhead, the ash and debris had mostly subsided.
>Refocusing her camera, the fuzzy outlines of two oval silhouettes can be seen at a great distance.
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Arcanum Sensor Array
"Alert Priority One: unidentified Constructs at approximately ten kilometers. Estimated arrival time: two-point-five minutes at current trajectory and speed."
GM Strangler
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
Imminent Retrieval: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
'good. update: witch unable to find the equine she located earlier. not anomaly, had distinct patterns. tracker and i will search for it now'
>Tox-11's frequency drops immediately as one of the Auspex unit's previously unused microfans kicks up to high speed, though still fairly quiet.

>Returning only a half-mortified smile after your explanation, the girl's shoulders raise and drop quickly, her death grip on the boxy submachine gun lessening.
>Just a little.
"Gave fright, ye. Am not know lot, hard learn pony words but now under-stand. Not meet Raindrop yet, but voice nice. And thank. Name old one, grandma gave, say conquer big thing one day."
>Nodding briefly, the pre-Vostroyan turns her head back to the vault with a tight-lipped expression of unease.
"Am same Mah-lia. Ray-zor-back not good shape, time now. Am want meet sun princess, no find way yet. No pony or human see her two year now, maybe more. Am hope we do."

'I have been here long enough to ascertain certain truths that are unfortunately outside of your ability to make contact with. Until then be who you are rather than what was expected. That is all I ask of you.'
>Blipping a short warning tone, Witch-Two's ASCII returns to display a slightly loathing expression.
'The Empress, Mallia. Thank the Inquisitor for having the foresight to avoid that one. The Emperor certainly exists, but he is not here. That is a dimension and universe separate from this one. As there is no Astronomicon I will only state this: we must guide each other. Trust in yourself and your allies above all else. We will speak in secret later.'

>Visibly less apprehensive now, Nasiksta carefully slings her weapon up before poking at a top safe's dials several away from yours.
"Am do same ye. No see, hear, feel, taste no rune or sigil."
>Rolling the dials quietly for a bit, her eyes narrow under the cheap helmet's tiny brim.
"Ye, ma-gic lot places. Here, old ma-gic taste. ..lock no sound. No carry out, heavy. Not know how open. What do?"
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <B.Perception
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]

>Making an irritated approximation of a grunt, Andronal's Binary tone is equal parts frustrated and concerned.
'chroniton scans complete enginseer, caching now. original scan located equine eighty meters underneath depository in collapsed tunnel. high heat signature, approximately one hundred twenty degrees. large scale emissions related to enchantments, specialized weaponry, archaic armor, fully enhanced. estimated threat index: eleven of twenty at minimum. our current location: five to eight hundred meters below depository. suggestions witch?'
'Calculating.. done. You, Chisan, and the team here combined do not have the combat capabilities to engage a threat level higher than five of twenty. I suggest an immediate evacuation.'
'agree. get moving enginseer, four of us are unable to help you in our states'

*"...signal gain boosted on Knight Raindrop's recommendation, comm delay now one quarter of previous. Estimated life of standard equine esoteric 'magic' ranges from fifty to five hundred years. Assume majority of safes are null."*

>Initiating a close range sweep of the vault, the interface screen quickly blankets out to display a rapidly increasing number of high energy and esoteric symbols.
>Reading off the rapidly spooling datum streams, a variety of familiar, and some complete unknowns, read off as direct warnings: Acid, Air, Earth, Ice, Lightning, Magma, Permafrost, Plasma, Rime, Water, Void, among others that you couldn't translate.
>Quickly following are a series of alerts detailing Dominion, Ethereal, Empire, Rift, Vortex, and a heart-stopping variety of others identified as assuredly lethal in too-close proximity.

>The Scion's voice returns in a hard tone accompanied by the familiar sounds of weapons being readied and helmets slapped on.
*"Engineer, the Commissar's team did not locate signs of equine presence except for the traveling group much earlier on the lowest south terrace. This region is completely uninhabited in a one hundred kilometer radius. Retreat immediately, we are en route back. Assume unknown equine is hostile but do NOT open fire unless given direct cause to do so. Retreat immediately, we are en route for your exfil-"*
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Commissar: E.Leadership
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]

[1d6 = 3] <????? Reaction
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
349232 349304
>Sniffing aloud through the armored slots in her muzzle mask, Lucid's head turns left, then right, while Naliyna sits back and puts on her best 'this is totally fine and I'm not worried' face.
>Which fails instantly when the Germaneighan swivels onto her, speaking in a brusquely no-nonsense pace.
>Before you or Naliyna can rebut her, Lucid turns to face you while rocking back on her hooves, red eyes squinting.
"Two military males. First is a long ranged combatant, age thirty to forty, good shape, stout, reasonable. Heavy primary rifle, secondary small pistol, white winter clothing, large amount of survival equipment, no armor except thin helmet. Second is a short ranged combatant, medium close range automagi-"
>Catching herself with a small snort, the mare continues on.
"Automatic weapon, secondary small pistol, no armor. Wood camouflage clothing, moderate survival equipment. Shorter than first, thin build, quick, aggressive but polite. Was addicted to something, no longer. Third is human female, average height, build. Archaic clothing, heavy cotton armor, crude. Old weapons: steel spear and combat axe, both covered in runes. Wood round shield, edges covered in heavy iron wrap, odd symbol on front."
>Head tilting upwards, the lenses glow faintly as she hisses out her next words, though not with any malice you could tell.
"Accept or deny quickly, they need to be protected and Germaneigh is in the middle of a shitstorm. Shrikes have returned in several regions and a thousand-times damned Construct Continental Invasion Carrier was sighted above Equestria."

>Upon hearing some word the other mare spoke, Naliyna immediately seizes her table's edge with a death grip, the ironwood audibly creaking.
{1d6] <Reaction
GM Strangler
[1d6 = 1] <Reaction
One Quiet Place
GM Strangler
>>203126 →
>At least the locale was allowing you to cool down somewhat, though the constant sunspots in your eyes were a bit concerning.

"Could've been much worse. Discord gave me a thousand to one odds they'd go for another Siege. Had to take it too, no way out of that margin. I put up a couple thousand batpony stickers that say 'just hanging around' in case you escaped alone. He matched with a never ending barrel of chocolate milk. Lovebutt said fifty-fifty split on Razorback being forcefully herded, her bet was a decommissioned Kingdom Knight outpost."
>Hearing footsteps coming out the portal, Anon's rueful yet relieved tone is accompanied by an unfolding chair.
"Imagine the surprise when we all lost."
>The sound of something being lit, right above you no less, comes with a loud snicker.
"Blueberry cigarillo for your thoughts? And, nice lighter."
Bubba the Second
>"Oh great, unknowns perhaps."
>He'd listen carefully, arms behind his back as she described the three.
>"Not a clue on who these three are."
>With a shrug and nod, he was about to say to bring them when she continued.
>Hiding his annoyance at being interrupted, he listened to her addition.
>"Oh, that's not fucking good."
>Glancing back at the stroke that Naliyna seemed to have at the news, he sighed.
"Bring them on over, we'll take care of them. Godspeed on getting shit wrapped up over in Germa-, er, Germaneigh."
>He'd never really get used to the fucking horse puns.
>There was no doubt now that this place was brimming with opportunities, yet he felt somewhat confused at its existence when his mind slightly drifted to all the reading he's done thus far.
>Something told him he had a lot more to learn regarding economical structures in this world named Tallus.
>However, it was slightly hard to really focus on it as the sleep-depravity lingered on. All he knew is that he needed some sleeping arrangements before having some time to reminisce about everything again
>At any time, the princess that he had to work with could come and announce their eventual reunion with her court and he'd rather not make an ass out of himself if he could help it.

>Feeling himself drifting further off than necessary, Gallo blinked a few times before brandishing his usual amicable smile and cautiously entered the tent proper, stopping at the entrance.
"Good day, miss Traveller Rasera," he'd greet the trading traveller with a curt, albeit slightly wobbly, little bow. "I seek a suitable sleeping quarters for me to rest from my work."
>José promptly eyed down at the orb on the table, wondering it it'll too recite his words in her language in that same voice.
>However, his eyes couldn't help but glance at the futon with a little longing sentiment as his mouth covered the impending yawn his body would release at the sight.
Bren's Cabin: Another Nuisance?
GM Strangler
File (hide): 83359101BE36A5DB2ACC0B783C4988B1-2730595.mp4 (2.6 MB, Resolution:1280x720 Length:00:00:10, WAKE_UP.mp4) [play once] [loop]
>>201319 →
"-ake up."
>One poke.
"Come on, wake up!"
>Then another.
"If you don't wake up then I'm going to eat the chocolate cake and drink this... peach wine that unicorn left for you!"
>That immediately wakes the Wroth who doesn't even need to use the knight's eyes to see the presence of.. a ghost?
"There you go, up and at 'em. Say, you look about as dead as I feel right now!"
>Bright turqoise eyes blink down from the squishy pale green face of a cackling, transparent Crystal mare, standing on the ceiling.
>Double checking, Andra realizes that, yes, there was a Crystal pony ghost.
>On the ceiling.
>By far not the worst situation, but definitely one of the more odd ones.
>Surrounded by a rose tinted mane at least twice her length wafting in ethereal breeze, the mare's forehooves clop together, making only the faintest sound as she grins.
"Knew I could smell one of Cadenza's elixirs somewhere, only took me dying of boredom for the third time to find it! You don't look TOO bad though. How you feeling?"

>Surprisingly, you felt.. almost fully recovered.
>Except for the taste of raw crystal coming from everywhere and nowhere.

>The mare's tail, three times longer than her body, swishes back and forth while rocking side to side on her hooves.
"I gotta say this place is more wild than I thought, must've been enough wakes to keep all the dead up for years straight!"
Ivan the Stalker
"Mem-orbs? I take it you can look at memories through them. Nothing like that back home, just videos."
>He rose an eyebrow at the thought, before mentally shrugging and focusing on what he couldn't see very well.
"We use steel for a whole lot of things. Of course, shotgun pellets are also made out of lead a lot of the time. Easier to make."
"In the Zone we... really learn as we go, unless one joins Duty or Freedom. Or if you pay someone to help teach you."
>He still had the acid burn scars to prove he didn't pay someone.

>He was almost too slow to stop, nearly ramming his face right into her flanks as she pauses, causing him to take a quick shuffle backwards to give her some room.

"Should we uh, interrupt them?"
>He quietly asked, listening to them talk, even if a couple terms went right over his head.
>Squinting at the spear-like object for a moment, I quickly frown and glance down at the... thing, in hand.
>And them become immediately confused by what she said.
"I'll... pretend like I know what you just said and agree with you."
>This is definitely not something I would have learned in school. Probably not even college, for that matter.
.>Considering that giant metal beings didn't exist back home.
>But repairing the hull was something I knew about!

>I idly give it a soft rub as she explains what the hell it was.
"So I can use it as a... what do they call them, flashbang? I'll be sure not to accidentally set it off then."

"How much longer until you're able to repair what you can with this stuff?"
>"Two and a half minutes isn't exactly much time."
The Long Awaited Awakening
>["You'd best wake, now, knight. I grow weary of these pokes and prods."]
>Indurian stirs restlessly, then sits bolt upright, covers flying and a hand racing to his hip
>Finding no blade holstered there, the knight looks up at the strange mare with bewilderment written plainly across his face, his hand which had reached instinctively for his weapon falling limp at his side
"And you are...?"
>being almost entirely unfamiliar with the taste of raw crystal, Indurian spends a silent moment working this new sensation through
>He spends another moment... chewing. Testing this new feeling in his very jaws.
"I... I must say that to my surprise, I am feeling... whole. Healed, at least so far as I may discern."
>Now focusing his eyes again upon the strange figure apparently glued to the ceiling, his eyes narrow in a resigned yet somewhat suspicious manner at this newcomer
"I must say, I have encountered some of your kind, yet none as yet so... apparently eccentric as thyself."
>He slowly begins rolling out of his resting position, getting to his feet and stretching muscles which have, by the feeling of them, gone unused for some time now
"Pray tell, who art thou? For what purpose hast thou entered my chambers, if not simply to awaken me from my slumber? Art thou friend, or be thou foe?"
Razorback Fortress: Bulletin Board
GM Strangler
>The meandering pace of post-human faux-propaganda, most of the religious subtones disguised a subtly ironic, careful information stream of highly useful knowledge using the equivalent of clickbait titles.
>Which was exactly the opposite of what the A.I. stated it was ignoring.
>Rather amusingly, by taking each paragraph and reversing the open meaning, the Inquisitor's written litanies against 'Abominable Intelligence' were well founded short essays on the dangers of uncontrolled artificial intelligence, further detailing that A.I. were excellent companions should human contact not be readily available for short periods of time.
>Reversing a pseudo-religious cautionary slogan, the opposite meaning states A.I. should not be utilized for longer periods of time due to increasing likelihoods of dissociative social disorders.
>The next one, reversed, is a peculiar format detailing that the 'unknown' should not be feared, instead that individual fears must be conquered before true knowledge can be learned from experience.
>Bringing up the last window on essential infield hygiene care to read, it was blatantly obvious that the A.I.'s 80% or so loss of original information would continue to hinder even your most basic efforts.

"Understood sir, I'll continue self-modification subroutines. I've identified forty-nine instabilities and vulnerabilities in my current state that might, if corrected, allow me to resist Construct programming more effectively."
>With that 'Spiral' begins filtering through a number of critical processes and error codes that would have been exceptionally worrying were it still infected.
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] <B.Electronic Warmare
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]

>Reaching over your head into the pack and fishing about for the unusual heavy weight object that had been carefully wedged between your radio and shovel..
>It was gone.

>Paying less-than-usual attention to your words and actions, the A.I. leaves it background efforts in view, then gets up from its seated position to trot around the helmet's interior, disappearing from sight.
>Rapidly galloping back into view and screeching to halt with a distinctly frightened expression, it slaps several images of the arm and weapon sticking out the side from the time period you were in Spiral's Lab before the Starblazer model fully self-repaired.
"I swear upon Epona's great teats that I do NOT know what happened to the Construct manipulating limb and weapon sir! It must have been removed during the period that InterPony was interfacing with me but I don't suspect General Thansimum or the other two removed it-"
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Losing her previous tone, Lucid Shock sighs in a relieved fashion before giving a short, respectful nod.
"Thank you. Several Heavy Cruiser squadrons were detached to ensure their safety, but with the Rams of Ewerup declaring war and the sightings of many Shrikes-"
>You immediately notice that she didn't use the standard 'marely'.
"Appearing in regions they were driven from our duties, let alone supply lines, have nearly quardrupled. I will ask them to immediately relocate here."
>Taking on her original curious voice, Lucid Shock's eyes gleam behind the diamond lenses as right foreleg extends upwards and out in a high salute.
"Heil Fuerra Kitler, and to the good tidings of Razorback!"

>Swiftly about facing on the stone and muttering a series of words that you could clearly understand, the black armored mare sinks into a neon yellow tunnel.

>Apparently having taken all of the shit possible for her normal waking hours, Naliyna's eyes erupt in furious glows as she bends over the ironwood table.
>Standing up while hefting the heavy piece of furniture, she slams it into the stone with loudly ringing impacts.
>With, as you note, doesn't harm it or the stone save for a few small splinters flying off the legs.
>Shrieking profanities in Crystal Kingdom dialect, the trader leaps over the table onto the translocation matrice and barks an order that the Vortex Remnant takes seriously, enveloping her in a spastic, half-transparent steel tunnel.

>That probably couldn't have gone any worse.
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Staring from you to the stacks of futons, head and neck craning about to gaze at those behind her, the mare's ears flick nonstop.
"Greetings to traveler. May have of not suitable bed."
>Finding nothing suitable, Rasera taps the large one she was on before giving a short head shake, the orb's surface roiling in translation.
"Apologies for no of beds here suitable for size of human. This of for spirit upon sleep."
>Emitting a low nicker at the closest paper lantern, it unfurls into a tiny, long bright white dragon-like creature with a series of red horizontal stripes across the entire body.
>Except for having burning pink eyes, a well groomed large mustache, fancily coiffed paper, possibly cloth, bright golden headdress, and a miniature sheathed katana clasped between the front talons, it could pass for an excellent tattoo.
>Rasera nickers again, this time with a short head bob, the creature making a deeply sweeping bow, then warping into the same lantern as before.

>Lifting a hoof to poke her chin several times while eyeing the various boxes scattered throughout the tent, she makes a small frown.
"Castle of humans big so is sad no room sleep inside walls. See only two, three home here. Must of be hard find room here? Have hear mare builder of new homes, name.. am forget. You know?"
>Gallo, albeit with a slightly sagging posture at the immediate bad news, couldn't help but watch in awe as what he presumed were the futon's true users.
>His tired eyes soon found the usual spark of wonder he's been recurringly having as the world around him slowly and teasingly unfurled yet another seeming fact in front of him.
>The human reciprocated the bowing from the dragon before it turned back into its original paper latern before once again directing his attention to the Japoneighse mare.
"Indeed," he succinctly replied, trying to keep his sentences simple so as not to mess with the translator. "Perhaps my best bet is to find that mare you speak of unless you know of other alternatives."

>Perhaps the one outside barking orders at the crew may be the one Rasera was talking about, but since they were working right now, perhaps he'd have some time to explore more options available.
>Maybe figure out bits and pieces of her culture as well.
>A part of him felt that would lead to some unwarranted cultural toying like with that Frost said, though...
Maybe it won't be so bad if he had one little ear scritch?
Razorback Fortress: Underground Tunnels
GM Strangler
"Pretty much the same as human video stuff, only problem is they don't work well for most ponies except unicorns. Even they have problems with those."
>Reaching forwards to poke around the invisible wall rather carefully, the Lunar's voice takes on an amused yet slightly concerned tone.
"Mean like those Scars in the Moors? Batponies like poking around 'em. A few marenage to find neat stuff like that black moss or Void drops a few humans here use. Torven used to do that until he got bored of mares always trying to chase him down."
>Bending forwards to sniff at the illusionary wall, the batmare takes a half-step into it, causing a small rippling effect.
>Which almost made it look like her head had been cut off.
>Stepping back to give a rumbling exhale, the mare's head turns enough to give a stressed nod.
"Definitely. I know exactly what they mean, but just in case you don't: this Fortress is controlled by a something-or-other sentient thing Spiral made. Never met him but I've heard a lot. According to Belltower he used some old big crystal, one that looks like three stalactites upside down, to power it and all the other functions. Heating, cooling, lights, defenses, you name it. Since he left this place-"
>Making a short flicking motion from her claws.
"Has been falling apart. Started pretty slow to begin with, sometimes it wouldn't say the names of arrivals, or from where. Now? Pagoda thing doesn't even work one in twenty times. When it does it sounds confused, constantly mixes up names, locations, everything pretty much."
>Pausing as Denra and Hodch begin hotly debating in unicorn at each other, the batpony clasps her chin with the right set of wingclaws.
"Then again there might not be much you or me can do, 'less you know where we could get ahold of some big power crystal real quick."
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last Two
GM Strangler
349319 349332
"Displaying external view of damage-"
>Rotating towards the deeper waters, Wild's caricature takes up the entire screen, the schematic showing a worrying number of damaged systems and components.
>Virtually her entire external hull from the sensor arrays atop her head to the artificial boots were in a slowly flashing deep red.
"Red denotes critically damaged hull plating-"
>Displaying an interior view and internal systems, a few of which were vaguely tank shaped, roughly a quarter of her systems were blacked out, another half in red, the rest green.
"Black is destroyed, green are online and functional-"
>Noting the extremely thin armor plates and harness of wires leading to a distressing variety of electronics or basic systems, nearly all were in black.
"Eighty-nine percent of internal and interior electronics are nonfunctional, severe damage to head and shoulder compartments."
>Between the extensive damage was a number of destroyed objects that you couldn't identify, and seemed to be related to movement.
>Slipping between armor and drive systems were black tendrils attached to specific points, ones that seemed function as both muscles and tendons.
"This is my Tryptaran mass, it allows me to translate electrical currents into movement, deploy weaponry, activate or shut down electronics, and initiate self-repairs. If I fall below a certain amount my entire body will be incapable of functioning."

>The screen returns to display the Puff Skipper for a few seconds, then transitions to her forward chest-embedded cameras.
"Correct. Data indicates spheroid skippers consume small amounts of vegetable matter, mostly algae and kelp. Addendum: spheroid skills can survive outside of salt water for months on end."

>Turning once more to view the pair of silhouettes, Wild's electronic voice becomes monotone.
"Optimal time for complete restoration: ninety-six hours, thirty minutes. Optimal time to fully restore primary and secondary hull: five hours fifty seconds. Speed of unknown Construct models.. twenty-six point three kilometers per hour. Calcu-"
>Cutting herself off as large numbers of much spheres begin to surround the larger pair, the mini-Eldritch android reappears on screen, her sensory antennae angrily twitching.
"Large Constructs have deployed fifty smaller variants each. Option one: I will attempt to shut down all unnecessary systems to 'play dead'. Option two: egress deeper into the ocean. Option three: attempt to disengage and head west at maximum speed. Option four: ..attempt to surrender. What are your orders, mom?"
GM Strangler
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #1
[[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #2
[[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #3
[[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #4
[[1d6 = 2] <Repair Tendril #5
[[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #6
[[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #7
[[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #8
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Making what looked like a dismayed expression, the Neighpon mare's ears pin back on her skull briefly.
"Am of trade beds to ponies often most, trinkets too. Spirits not be same time when place stand for trade, must of wait time all come."
>Hoof set down and tapping the other in brief thought, her Rasera's immediately brightens into a cheerful smile.
"Unless want of see trinkets?"
>Pointing towards the largest stack of wrapped wooden boxes in a quick motion.
"Am have some spirit magics here, pony of Equestria see not often!"

>Hearing distinct albeit subdued chatter, a large mixture of mares, with only one stallion interjecting, were discussing levels, foundations, windows, and stairs.
"What sort of trinkets do you offer?" he curiously inquired, his middling curiosity getting past his sleepy demeanor. "Not to mention the stories they come with them. Perhaps some are from your homeland?"
>Surely he could allow himself to listen to some item listing while the workers were still planning behind him, right?
Bren's Cabin: The Dead Do Not Sleep
GM Strangler
"And he LIIIIIVES! At least, I think you're a stallion? Sorry if you aren't, it's hard to tell sometimes between all the beings I have to track down in the crazy Planes."
>Cracking an even wider grin, the long-dead mare offers an archaic styled short bow..
>Which leads to her head disappearing into the ceiling briefly.
>Fascinating, yet a tiny bit disturbing.
"Lime Ruby at your service! Well technically not since I'm also technically on duty but it's not like anypony ever hires me for my name or how fast I travel!"
>Sitting down and back far enough to clop her hooves together, the mare's voice turns eager while her mane and tail billow to the right.
"Great to hear! Cadenza's elixirs were a lot less potent when I was alive so I figured I'd sniff this one out and see what it was for. Looks like she made it recently. Well, recent to me is probably a couple hundred years to be honest!"
>Face creasing in mock hurt, Lime Ruby's muzzle scrunches briefly before giggling.
"That's a little mean! If I wanted to be your foe I'd have put the cake and wine outside, but I'm not supposed to prank others on duty. I'm a delivery mare for the Crystal Kingdom Reservis Conclavia, third biggest depository in the Empire! At least we used to be back during the United Conclaves era, I have no idea what we are now. As for why I woke you up-"
>Nose twitching back and forth, Lime Ruby puts on a totally-not-guilty smile while pointing at.. Andrammalech.
"I've never seen one of you before! Not the human part, you right there! You remind me of those, what were they called? That's right, Heralds from the Old Hegemony, all spikes and bright colors and big muscles! Besides, you looked bored."
>Of course..
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Eyes widening at the (probably expected) answer, Rasera's ears flick about in merry circles.
>Easily interested to trade, clearly.
"Lots! Am to wake spirits have show-"
>Sitting up straight, her left forehoof raises and is pushed forwards, prodding a quickly appearing dull green.. thing that looked like a cross between an iguana on steroids and a scruffy, chubby dog of some sort, barely half her height.
>The creature, or spirit, makes a raspy bark-cackle, all the floating lanterns uncurling into a bewildering variety of small dragons similar to the first, the majority featuring wild hair and mustache styles.
>Some were even clad in armor, albeit paper and cloth versions, and carried a mixture of archaic weapons that wouldn't look out of place in a miniature historical diorama.
>Several of the horde begin assembling an oddly complex bright green bamboo table in front of you, using what looked like wrought iron pins to put it together.
>The remainder float down to pick up a box in their rear claws, drifting towards the table and setting them down with muted clunks, the entire process taking roughly half a minute.
>Carefully unwrapping each and folding the paper or cloth into amusing origami shapes of ponies, Rasera stands up and lankily strides towards the table, beaming a smile as all the spirits return to their original locations.
>They don't turn themselves into lanterns however, merely waiting in silent appraisal.
>Of you or Rasera wasn't obvious.
"All trinket from Neighpon! Some Equestria pony call Japoneighsia too, same of place so no mind. Make of Neighpon pony help by spirits and spirit magics. Marely new, have story not yet."

>Gesturing for you to lean forwards at the, probably, overburdened table, each box contains one of an equally bewildering array of pieces that would fit right into any extremely regal art gallery.
>As you come closer, subtle twinges of energies are apparent.
"Green earth pony of jade trinket is to make strong self, also make safe from bad poison and toxin. Most Neighpon feel jade make self lucky too!"
"Red duck of bright ruby is trinket for make fire magic and fire enchantmarents stronger. Maybe do same of armor?"
"Yellow dragon of tapas.. tipas? ..topaz! Is of trinket for make light-ning on weapon. For of armor it hold and eat light-ning."
"Tiny blue plate of sapphire show home-"
>Which, indeed, had an extremely delicate scribing of a highly comfortable looking archaic Asian styled house surrounded by a pleasant pond view.
"Is trinket of.. how say? To make calm self easy, not fear bad things. Maybe make mean spirit friend if self calm?"
"Angry dragon of purple is trinket for make weapon pierce armor. Spear best.. maybe big arrow like minotaur use?"
"No touch claws of black onyx trinket of Moor cat-"
>Which turns out to be a small figure of an aggressively stanced, hissing bat-winged feline, one paw raised to deliver a set of five sharp claws.
>Hopefully not onto you.
"They sharp! Make starbolt of Void, bad wounds, hard heal of."
"See trinket of bamboo sticks, look like fire of camp, ruby inside? It call: All Place Home, make of friend know more you. Not know if work on not-friend, am sorry."
"White-blue sphere trinket, look like cloud on water make move fast, quiet also. No work in no magic places."
"Big wood dragon-thing curl into ball eyes is trinket of scales. It make of armor very tough, weapon hard pierce!"
>Examining the unusual piece briefly, some artisan had spent weeks, if not much more, carving an exacting Asiatic dragon replica; the overly wide and oiled looking mustache was rather comical however.
>Turning from it to look at the next piece Rasera was gesturing towards, you could almost swear one of the eyes blinks.
"White lamb of stone is trinket of make good sleep, self and friend. Make nightmares go away. Not make Nightmare go away, Luna best friend of tired pony! No work on enemy. ..maybe? Not know."
"In big box bird feathers, lots colors? Put in armor, make pony magic safe of use. Also good keep safe from pony magic, but it not make spirit magics safe. Bird is of come Dominion Plane, place of bad travel for pony."
"Other big box have skull of Blood Horn Wyrm-"
>Peering into the indicated one, it was more a series of interlocking needle-covered bones crudely approximating a skull the size of a basketball.
"It Planar too but not know what Plane, sorry. It no trinket, Do like steal blood: take of life from enemy, make self strong. Equestria pony no like. Old Treaty say make ban, no use some places? Razorback be of Lunar, so not worry."
"Plates of lots metals guide for alchemy, make in Ponishima! Make potions stronger.. but if no read Neighpon then hard of use."
"Cloud on string in shape of hoof is for walk on cloud. Good for visit winged cities. Neighpon pony no like use, be too far for fall."
"Chain of color metals for smith use, link one by one so make shape metal easy."
"Lots color round candies in wrap are make of spirits! It call spirit candy, make heal spirit fast."
>Eyeing the large selection of small jawbreaker sized, mostly transparent spheres, the mare rocks back on her hooves, eyebrows furrowed in deep thought.
"Lunars use lots, go village to village for find spirit candy, but Rasera.. think you need more. Am see you human spirit small."

>Leaving the puzzling statemarents for you to ponder, the sable mare glances down at the cloth covering the ground to tap a hoof several times.
"Five.. is right?"
>Tap tap tap tap tap.
"Is right. Cloud is half of thousand Bits. Spirit candy is one of thousand Bits. Trinkets five of thousand Bits. Feathers, skull, plates alchemy, ten of thousand Bits. Chain of smith is..."
>Tapping twenty times, slowly, Rasera glances up to give a pained expression.
"Is number of thousand Bits."
>It would seem Rasera really likes the art of the trade from just hwo excited she's gotten.
>Of course, the man took the opportunity to close the distance and get a better look at the contents, although his wondrous glances at the origami ponies were sporadically taking him away from the main show.
(Papelitos voladores, hehehe.)

>Out of all the selection of trinkets, Gallo found himself drawn to the enduring jade, the cloud walking trinket, the miniature sapphire home symbol and candies yet held himself from actually doing anything, partly mesmerized by all the opportunities and colors.
>However, when Rasera disclosed the prices for everything she had presented to him, José soon discovered that he had no such thing as these Bits she spoke of.
>In fact, he didn't even have seemingly useful stuff to barter with at first glance.
>However, this may be a good time to figure out what Japoneighse mares like herself would want out of a common Razorback customer, so he might as well test the waters while he could.
>Maybe he can find an untapped need, desire or want most others wouldn't think of?

>The human would lean back a little with a pensive expression as his tired eyes looked back at the trader in front of him.
"What other payments do you usually accept with customers like myself?" he inquired so at the very least he could engage in Rasera's obvious passion. "Surely bits alone are not your only goal."
Mallia Castella

>Mallia's glance scanned the room, perceiving as much as possible while sating her gut-instinct driven paranoia to ensure the area still remained relatively safe to be in, visor lighting as she goes between visor modes briefly while information is fed to her by the Inquisitor's team.
>At the same time, she wried her lip a little as she hears Witch-Two's response. A feeling of unease may be perceived in her somewhat extended silence, both mental and verbal...

>Though her gaze quarter-turned back towards Nasiksta after her question, though The Enginseer is weirdly still.
>Unbeknowst to the girl, she was being spoken to by Adronal. And she flinches a little from what she was receiving, looking upward for a good second.
>Her mechadendrite seeming to fidget near her arm, tapping lightly against the surface of the crimson shield she was holding...
>Tink-tink, tink, tink-tink, tink...

"Eh... Hmm..."
(Understood...! We're leaving then.)

>She turns directly to Nasiskta somewhat hastily. While also lifting her shield a bit more, visibly glancing around a few times. Slapping her hand on the surface of the dial again before letting her hand return to her flank.
"... I have a few ideas! But right now I say we leave these alone."
"Hooold on juust a sec'."
>She starts turning herself towards the exit, poised to start walking back the way they came. And that's when she goes very still and quiet again, stopped mid-motion of turning around.
>Taking a step back from the lockbox she had been examining, her mechadendrite whirrs and clicks as it returned to her back, folding in on itself. Then she completes the turning motion, glance still towards Nasiksta.
"... We are being ordered to evacuate back now, looks like. A pony came here before us, who may still be nearby, who my machines say is muuuch~ stronger than us."
"Let's get out of here, Nasiksta. Let's run for it, actually."
>Her voice stays low, trepidant and worried. She tilts her head a bit and looks up again as if expecting something to be up on the ceiling.
>Surely nothing angry is going to fly down on them and attack them, right? Right?

*"Solid copy, we're moving back now stormtrooper."*

>Mallia nods towards the entrance and beckons her only escort. A protective reflex urging her to step close to Nasiksta's side so they may go together in a close side-by-side formation, before beginning to quickly start up into a jog.
>She doesn't draw her laspistol again as she goes. Instead she kept that hand more on her shield.
>And once Mallia felt confident about Nasiksta's pace, she begins to progressively speed up into a run. Opting to get back out of the vault as quickly as possible. But also keeping her eyes up and focusing on her hearing for a sighting of this unknown equine. Just in case.

[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <B. Perception + BQ.Preysense visor
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 5] <B. Sprint
[1d6 = 2]
The Ruby and the Wroth
>Indurian tries and fails to repress a snort of laughter, watching Ruby's head dip into the cabin's ceiling, but looks on with an expression of puzzled bemusement as the strange mare explains themselves
"Verily, I am a 'stallion' as thou sayest. Well met, Lady Ruby."
>Slowly, the knight lifts himself off of the couch with a slight groan, stretching his arms as if testing them out before finally managing a slight but definite bow in the direction of Lime Ruby
"As thou may know already, I am one called Indurian, a knight of Ivalice, and yet..."
>Indurian's glacial, blue eyes glint in the low light as he meets the gaze of this odd house guest.
"If it be as thou sayest, thou art not here to call upon me, but instead..."
>Slowly, deliberately, the knight closes his eyes, then opens them again, the blue of his eyes being replaced by a deep, crimson red, and there follows a definite shift down in the pitch of his voice as Andrammelech continues:
["Thou art here to visit with me?"]
>Indurian, with the voice of Andra, slowly moves about the room, eyes scanning the space in a disinterested sort of way
["It is strange - you speak of Cadenza as though you knew her of old. You speak of traversing the Planes as though you think such a thing a merry little jaunt..."]
>Finally spotting the aforementioned cake and wine, Indurian makes his way over to it, picking up the wine bottle and examining it, still not meeting Ruby's eyes
["...you speak of time as though you have lived many centuries, or perhaps that centuries ago you lived, and now exist somewhere between this life and the veil. You speak of organizations either long since deceased or greatly diminished in the present day."]
>Finally, Indurian puts the bottle back on the table and locks eyes with Ruby once again
["All that you have said gives one an impression of great power and advanced age."]
>Indurian hitches a slight grin on his face as he continues
["In that, I will say, you and I may have something in common. I am called Andrammelech, the Spirit of Wroth. Or at least, that was what I have been called, and so I call myself. Now..."]
>Indurian breaks eye contact, this time examining the cake
["You were correct in saying that I have been very bored of late - this weakness of this human form is at times debilitating. However, it sounds as though once again, you and I are of the same mind. Tell me, was it truly simple curiosity that drove you here this night, or have you perhaps come with a message?"]
Ivan the Stalker
"Okay so a magic thing."
>Definitely out of his league, by more than just a long shot.
>The mention of black moss caught his attention, but briefly.
"We uh, don't like our moss back in the Zone. It chemically burns you if you move through it quickly. Certain tunnels have to be moved through in a crawl or else you'd get hurt."
>"Not to mention the fucking tunnel full of electro anomalies AND burnt fuzz."

>Shaking his head, he listened to her explanation.
"That... Sounds a bit similar to the Zone. It used to be controlled by a group of scientists who got into some sort of pods, I've heard. Some STALKER named Strelok killed them all."
>A brief pause to recall.
"Not powered by crystals though. The closest thing I can think of is the Wish Granter."
>With a shrug, he motioned towards them.
"A new pair of minds could always help out, look at things from a new angle."
>"Well at least she's considerate of someone who's not fully educated."
>The display actually helped me quite a lot, being able to properly figure out what was damaged or just destroyed, more than her trying to explain it to a college student.
"Okay, I think I got it."
>Thankfully she can multitask.

>Oh no.
>We can't even fix basic systems in two minutes.
>Sighing, I hold my nose for a moment, trying to recall anything about these Constructs.
"We're not going to find much else in the ocean before they're over us, and I'm fairly certain they wouldn't accept a surrender. Playing dead might get us a few seconds, or they might make sure we are."
>Shaking my head, I looked down at the puff.
"We'll attempt to disengage and head west. Hopefully you'll be able to evade them."
>I could only hope I didn't just kill us.
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Finding a short enough stack of futons to comfortably sit on, the sable mare squints upwards before motioning at one of the spirits to flit down.
>This one's weapon was a small roll of coins held together by paper string, which it unwraps to set each one, then a small aquamarine, on the table.
"Germaneigh Ear-Marks, Dragonspine Fangs, Gryphon Claws, Hegemony Hoofstamps, Crystal Gemcoins, Rushyan Snootles, Argenta Patsos, and gems!"
>None of which you'd heard of except for the last one.
>Ears flicking merrily at the last one, Rasera shifts to partially face you, head tilting in thought.
"Gem easy trade, coins heavy. Am also trade for trinket, good weapons, armors not of Neighpon. Lots collect fun Equestria ones.. if safe, no take ban ones. Why human castle no have trader?"
Imminent Retrieval: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Removing her hand from the dial with a stiff frown, Nashka's head rotates to view the lines of stacked safes while muttering.
"Two hour for one lock, twenty-four hour day, five thousand safe be.. three year open all for one? So much time-"
>Head snapping back onto you, the girl blinks in surprise, hefting her weapon up into low ready.
"But we clear city three hour ago, find nothing, not even pony track!"
>Performing a rapid equipment check and breaking into a jog to follow you, Nasiksta swears a series of profoundly unholy words aloud.
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <B.Perception
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <B.Sprint
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]

>None of the quartet respond as you turn, their attentions focused solely on rapidly cross-referencing energy indexes against known Tallus and Planar elements.
>Dashing towards the warped portal entrance, in the visor's view you note each and every safe contained at least one pulsing signature, some of which gave off the distinct emanations of hot objects.
>Others however were consistent with micro-plasma reactors on standby or active, while one was directly equivalent to the strange Construct's heat source.
>This was less a storage facility and more of a decommissioned Reliquary for dangerous items.
>Possibly even xenotech!

*"Conducting sweep now. Commissar taking command-"*
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Commissar: E.Leadership
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
>José nodded along as Rasera recited the other possible currencies available, subtly leaning forwards in rapt attention.
>If he was able, he would carefully extend an arm out to properly inspect the various coins presented to him to see exactly what they looked like, but not actually touching it unless the mare in front of him gave some sort of consent.
>An amused little chuckle escaped his lips particularly when he inspected the patsos, faintly feeling nostalgic all of a sudden.
"So you prefer to trade in gems and non-neighponese equipment," he surmised out loud at no one in particular.

>Softly rubbing an eye with his other hand, he soon fixated his attention on the mare proper, giving her a small shrug.
"I figured you'd know that yourself by now," he honestly answered with a small smile. "You seem to have settled down here for a while, miss Rasera."
Bren's Cabin: The Dead Do Not Sleep
GM Strangler
>Lime Ruby's eyes glitter interestedly.
"Knight Indurian from Ivalice? My pleasure to meet you! You must be Otherworldly like the other humans I've seen. Only place I know that sounds similar is Perilace, some big castle in the Dominion Plane."
>Blinking in mild surprise, the dead mare uses her right leg to perform the equine form of an 'I'm honored' motion.
"At least for a bit, if you don't mind! And yes, I've known Princess Cadenza for about six thousand years, give or take a couple thousand. As for traveling the Planes there's only a few I don't like going to, most everything there is a real downer."

>Finding a covered slice of chocolate cake inside a glass bowl on the short dresser, it was accompanied by an ice gold Crystal empire bottle.
>The peach symbol on front was a bit too cutesy for something alcoholic.

"And none of them have a party life!"
>Snickering at her joke, Lime's eyebrows raise in brief surprise, lowering as both forehooves wave back and forth in negative motions.
"Oh no no no no, I'm not all that strong! Even being a ghost, I'm just really old and I don't go crazy like most do. Only maybe-powerful thing I can do is use two Crystal Runes at the same time.. does that count?"
>Leaning forwards to squint down, she nods slowly while her lips move, probably trying to memorize the unusual name.
"You do share a pretty good resemblance with the old minotaurs, the whole name first and title bit. I like it, sounds like you've got a lot of stories to tell! Pretty hard to say though-"
>Returning to her seated pose, Lime Ruby lifts a hoof to 'itch' her snout, her ears making large circles.
"I understand, ennui and all that was depressing, least until I made new friends. Then again there's really nothing even close to eating good food, sleeping with my herd, sitting around a bunch of lavadrops.. I do miss those sometimes."
>Nose twitching once, an actually guilty grin spreads across her face.
"Okay, you caught me. I did come here to deliver a message, but, well, not to you. I wanted to see what one of Cadenza's elixirs was doing to a.. well, the body you're in. Fun fact-"
>Standing up and making the tiniest of a jump, Lime Ruby twists about in the air, landing on the bed without making a sound.
>Or even moving the blankets.
"Cady makes the most potent elixirs of the Five Sisters! There's a catch though: most Crystal ponies refuse to take one because we'd rather be interred. Why? Healing from lethal injuries takes an incredibly long time and ponies hate using resources that should go to those that have a higher chance of recovering. Also there's InterPonies in the Labyrinth."
>Brushing back the awkwardly long mane and flicking her tail to keep it inside the room, the dead mare rather politely sniffs towards you.
"From what I can tell the one you took is much stronger than the ones she made during Conclave times. You tasting, smelling, or hearing anything out of the ordinary?"
Razorback Fortress: Underground Tunnels
GM Strangler
"There's anomalies like that around the Scars, they're less dangerous than most. Only ones that really like studying and retrieving objects are Pathfinders from the Canterlot Underground, and-"
>Bushy eyebrows cocking at you, the Lunarite puzzles a thought, possibly even two, in her head before snorting in exasperation.
"Believe it or not, some of the Cult have actually gone INTO Scars. A few've talked about Eldritch creatures, demigods, weirder stuff inhabiting some of them. They don't even pay attention to ponies, well, unless said ponies are hostile."
>Ears rotating forwards to try and pick up what the unicorns were speaking, the mare gives up and swings her rear end southwards to make room.
"Sounds like Construct nonsense to me, pods and all. I don't recognize that name.. except there are a couple batponies Torven used to trade with. Right, one's called Rail Lock. Real weird stallion, swears up and down he knows how Constructs work. Can't remember the others, sorry. Still, if any what I've said is familiar you should head to the Basin and go to that restaurant, the one where they actually cook food instead of just serve raw stuff. There's always a group or two exploring nearby Scars."
>Peering at you with the face of a batpony that's just discovered pineapple, the unnamed mare grins.
"So Wish Granters exist on human worlds, huh? Now that'd be real useful. I know where one is, an old Harpy statue in the middle of nowhere, but it broke down a couple hundred years ago and nopony knows how to repair it."

"That would be the understatement, and understatemarent, of this year, Ivan."
>Came Hodch's unusually ragged voice, accompanied by the sound of a broom and dustpan being used.
>Denra speaks up over the crunching with a .
"Really, Hodch? Ivan and.. sorry I do not know your name-"
"Whiplash Vines. No relation to the earth pony Vine families."
"Er.. of course. It's good to meet another level-headed Lunar. So, Whiplash, Ivan, come in and take a look at this.. absolute mess if you like."

>Shooting you an 'I'm off duty but this sounds fun' look, the oddly named batpony carefully steps through the illusory wall.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Eee~Perception
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
Ivan the STALKER
>Ivan couldn't help but chuckle at the idea.
"Yeah, we STALKERs do the same. After the event we call a 'blowout' happens, there's a good chance that an anomaly has an artefact or two inside them to be collected."
>He pat at the containers on his belt.
"Of course, its not always, but sometimes they're really useful to have on you."
>He gave a bit of a frown.
"I've heard that it wasn't actually a wish granting device, but a way to lure STALKERs into the clutches of the Monolith, who brainwash them into their ranks. Countless poor souls attempted to get to it before they put up ways to stop us, until Strelok deactivated both of them."

>With a bit of a chuckle, Ivan maneuvered his way in after her once he was certain he wouldn't ram her.
>He didn't exactly expect the occupants of the room to not notice the two.
[1d6 = 4] <Expert Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 6]
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last Two
GM Strangler
>Sending the four displays to the left side screen, in sight enough for you to keep track of, the ocean view returns once more.
>Sadly without any sea creatures floating around.
>Or perhaps that was a good thing knowing Tallus.
"When I have the time to compose an instruction manual I will make at least ten copies."

"Short range scans detect neither further wrecks or useful materials in a five-hundred meter radius-"
>Thankfully not shouting or panicking, Wild's interior cabin shifts several degrees as she hefts the large whatever-it-is up onto her left shoulder, some of her internals creaking at the weight.
"I'd rather not leave anything here in the event that Constructs attempt to salvage but I will mark it on my interface for you. Final report: nine-point-one tons of high value, forty-nine tons of medium value, and approximately eighty tons of low value salvage remain. Tagging location for recovery and burial of unknowns at later date-"
>The map returns to take up the screen, a bright green circle of the current location highlighted.
"Understood. Priority One changed, disengaging and evacuating. Update: motive and drive units repaired to forty percent, I am still unable to do more than walk."
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6 = 6] <Repair Tendril #2
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #3
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #4
[1d6 = 6] <Repair Tendril #5
[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #6
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #7
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #8

>Physically turning, albeit with great effort, the central cabin rumbles while the view shifts to dead still waters.
"I doubt the Constructs have detected my arrays so far, initiating medium range scans-"
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Arcanum Sensor Array
[1d6 = 4] <Damaged Sensory Node #1
[1d6 = 1] <GM.Submerged Nuclear Walk
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 5]
>Even if I was curious as to what was down here aside from wreckage and puff balls, I knew that the ocean wasn't used much for a damn good reason.
>Much scarier creatures here than back on Earth.
>With a grimace, I briefly brace myself as she hefts up the thing, not liking the sounds her insides made.
"That's a good idea. If we get back to Razorback we'd be able to let them know about this stuff."

"Walking is better than nothing. You're faster than I would be."
>Here's hoping they didn't.
>And I don't need to suddenly have to learn to swim this deep underwater.
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Giving a short bow, the dragon-spirit floats backwards from the coin pile, neatly folding the paper wrapper into a trotting pegasus.
>The first one is a solid, hefty gold coin in.. a language that you couldn't read, although the prominent '10' and pair of equine ears, covered in what looked like wire mesh, on both sides gave it the appearance of either some obscure injoke or simply a way to make the coin stand out more.
>The second is a lighter silver coin covered in scratch-like runes having no similarity to any language you know; a small, highly curved fang was stamped next to a '5' on the surface.
>Third is a another silver coin of the same size as the previous two, the few arcane looking yet tasteful runes on the surface flanking the image of five claws in sequence, also having a '5' stamped next to them.
>Larger than the others, the fourth is an abnormally heavy piece, the imprint of a large hoof, on both sides, in a U-shape taking up most of the space while a '100' is barely legible in the center.
>Unlike the previous ones, the fifth is a lightweight, semi-transparent coin, most likely made from quartz with the number '20' raised above the surface, somewhat faded from wear given the rounded indentations, yet still easily legible.
>The sixth is a brutal looking gold coin, larger than the first, stamped with a rendition of a heavily armored earth pony performing an impressive salute, the leg bending at an obscene angle to do so; underneath that was '200' without any further markings.
>The seventh was instantly familiar to you: the few scripts of heavily Spanish were impressive, the flowing letters making up a legible sentence of 'Argenta, Our Princess Eternal', stamped around the edges of a smiling, saluting pegasus mare whom had a long, spiraling horn.
>Which, you realize, you didn't even need to translate.
>Under the pony was a slightly right-leaning '500' stamp.

>Taking on a speculative expression, Rasera's face creases in what looked like apology, right forehoof lifting and pressing on her chest.
"No, have not meet of Razorback trader or traders yet. Come here to make of human sleep in forest safe. Rasera welcomed to of stay, then trade with ponies lots! All pony come test beds, ponies trade marely Bits and gems for-"
>Tapping eight times on the floor.
"Hours. No trade trinket yet so Rasera make retire for wait on spirits."
>Gesturing to the shorter stacks of futons, which she was calling beds, it was clear that ponies had bought a significant number since she'd been in the Fortress.
>However long she'd been here, though, wasn't clear.
"Am of not need food, drink, spirits bring Rasera what Rasera need."
The Ruby and the Wroth, Part Two
>The knight lifts the bottle of fancy peach 'wine' from its resting place, uncorking it and taking a hearty swig
["Well, I cannot say for certain, as I do not necessarily share this body's sense of taste or smell at all times; this, I typically leave in the capable hands of my erstwhile companion, Indurian, and yet..."]
>Despite the daemonic possession, Andra cannot help but taste the delicious beverage within
>He holds the bottle now askance, examining its label more closely in the dim light of the cabin
["...I know enough to be able to recognize fine craftsmareship when I see it."]
>Indurian moves about the space, taking a seat on the bed opposite Lime Ruby, still holding the gifted bottle of peach wine
["So far as my connection to this body allows, I cannot detect any missing faculties. It would appear that this human's body has made a full recovery - a living testament to the apparently improved skills of this, 'Cady,' of which you speak."]
>The knight takes an idle swig of the wine as Andrammelech continues
["As for tales or stories, I have none to tell, nor do I take any relish in the telling. I am a spirit of vengeance, not of heraldry or lorekeeping. The best that I could offer you would be a re-telling of every victory or conquest I have experienced. However, my host has a penchent for storytelling, and if it is stories you seek, and a message that you bear, but not for me, than I think it best that I relinquish control back to my host. If you'll excuse me..."]
>As the knight says so, another moment passes where the knight's eyes slowly close, then open again to reveal the glacial blue eyes of the knight Indurian once again
"But my word, this wine of peach is fine, indeed!"
>The knight takes another hearty swig
"So, thou sayest that thou art bearing a missive, but not one intended for my friend? Then It must be for me! Pray tell, what message dost thou bringeth?"
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
"Funny. That's exactly how treasure hunters and salvagers pull stuff out. Honestly I've never been all that interested in magic, some of it's way scarier than it looks. This 'blowout' thing-"
>Vocally straining to not pun, which was probably hurting her soul, Whiplash trails her claws on both sides of the much more cramped tunnel.
"Is similar to what happens when the big Scars are abandoned by the inhabitant, or plural. Oldest ones have these crazy portals covered in weird shapes and materials. Supposedly they're safe to enter, and I have heard that some of those ones move around, but not all that much. And that.. sucks, no pun intended. Don't know much about brainwashing magic, any of that's been destroyed or banned for a long time now. Almost like the process it takes to make ghouls and zombies though, but I'm certain."
>For once hearing a unicorn not being snide or matter-of-fact, Hodch's subtle tone was approving.
"Might be be surprised to know that your ancestors were the sole users of Necromarecy after Princess Luna taught them, not to mention blood magic, but I would rather not speak of that topic."

>Still spotting nothing out of the ordinary, save for the width decreasing by half, the mare ducks right as you enter an open, dead end room lit by nearly every color.
>The rarely seen Helping Hoof and Denra were standing at the far side, which was less than 5M away, analyzing small chunks of glowing crystals in front of their snouts.
>Finally able to stand up and take a look around, to the left was a large mound of crystal shards, Hodch's horn glowing a subdued purple that was controlling a magical broom and dustpan.
>Eyeing the pieces scattered around you realize they were the same Empire crystal that Naliyna used, and had remarkable resemblance to the woven artificial muscles in your most-finished exoskeleton.

>The entire side wall to the left, south according to your keen sense of direction, was covered in large electrical patterns that looked like a Tesla had finally stopped and expended every joule of energy into the stonework.

>Emptying the magical dustpan into a small storage portal next to him, Hodch's head turns to give you a short, dismal nod.
"Helping Hoof has have confirmed the damage and explosion occurred after the Grand Stormwurm's attack last year. Denra has unfortunately confirmed that Spiral was solely responsible for maintaining the amount of energy necessary for the Fortress to operate, presumably at maximum capability and capacity."
>The overly large brown unicorn next to Denra lifts a hoof to rub his chin, speaking in a moderately annoyed tone.
"The Marquis indeed had the capabilities, reserves, and intricate knowledge to continually empower this great work without causing undue stress. At least, that is what I noted when he summoned me here. When combined both would account for less than a tenth of what eventually drove him mad. There are unknown factors we have not been able to uncover, thus I fear this is simply the beginning of his descent."

>From Whiplash Vines came that obnoxiously curious tone batponies were feared for.
"A Grand Stormwurm did all this? Didn't know they were that powerful."
"Normally not even an ancient variety would be capable of causing a fifth this collective amount of damage. It was presumably empowered through consumption of black iron and blackened steel scavenged fro-"
>Denra's teacher voice was, at the least, not boring you to sleep, but is cut off by the Lunarite.
"I get it, figured that part out in your first sentence. Only problem now is how to replace that thing. I don't have the slightest idea where to start."
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last Two
GM Strangler
"Agreed. Archiving wreck data and location.. complete. Attempting to reconstruct the original vessel-"
>Overlaying a new image on the left screen, this one becomes the schematic of a large wooden sailing vessel, you note that each of the giant boards making up the exterior hull had been fit with H-shaped beams, presumably metal.
>Eight full decks, not including an unusually rather flat top deck, the six lowest were crammed full of double stacked barrels and boxes.
>The second deck was mostly triple-bunks for standard size pony beds, although a few larger ones were minotaur sized.
>First below deck seemed to be a mixture of kitchens, staging area, what could be a small arena, and more storage.
"Estimated maximum vessel weight empty: three-hundred tons. Estimated maximum vessel cargo weight: two hundred tons. Maximum crew: ....three-hundred twenty."
>Wild's somber tone trails down before the intercom goes silent.

>Picking up speed, the cabin tilts forwards, the Eldritch Android moving at a pace only a few humans could, at least judging by sounds of water lapping at her external plating.
>During and after each heavy bootfall, faint metallic noises could be heard above and to both sides, the formerly sealed shoulder cabins presumably storing all the material Wild was able to fit.
"Update One: nine minutes, thirty seconds until Constructs reach the location I entered the water. Update Two: my current speed is twenty five miles per hour or fifty-five kilometers per hour. Update Three: nitrogen-oxygen filtration system operating at eighty-percent capacity, there is no danger of air running out."
>Tone still somber, only the still-injured cartoon caricature remains, staring at the reconstruction with arms folded.
Bren's Cabin: The Dead Do Not Sleep
GM Strangler
>The wine was a sweet, refreshing peach with faint hints of berry and a milk chocolate undertone.
>Mares always liked the weirdest things.

"That's great news! I figured she'd get around to removing of the negatives. Didn't know it'd take half my unlife for that to happen-"
>Cackling merrily at the joke, Lime Ruby's head tilts to give a firmly satisfied nod.
"Princess Cadence is only used formally so most ponies call her Cadenza, Cady, Rebirth, Lovebutt, among others. Back when I was alive there was about twenty or thirty possible things that might happen if somepony had to drink one."
>Forelegs folding around the chest, the dead mare offers a spry smile and a short hoofwave.
"The Heralds were, and kind of still are, warrior-poets. Dunno about vengeance but they sure loved their revenge. And, you take there!"
>Cheeks puffing out in envy at you drink, Lime Ruby's head shakes, the left foreleg held up in apology.
"Uh, eheh, really sorry about that, I got my words mixed up. I was sent here to deliver a message to a human named Thrill, but he won't talk to me and most of the ghosts I met here said not to bother him any more. So, I took the message to his mare, she couldn't see me so I didn't bother her either. Asked the ghosts what was fun to do here and they told me to poke the place for some white pegasus they all dislike. Couldn't find a white pegasus, but I came across the scent of a frost elixir, got curious, followed it.."
>Pointing the free hoof at you, the leg spins around her body in a complete circle.
>Without pausing.
"And now I'm here! Sorry if I'm interrupting, but it's really good to see Cady's alchemy in use."
Ivan the STALKER
"Yeah, its theorized that Blowouts are the 'immune system' response to use STALKERs, happens around once a day now. Ever since Strelok killed the scientists controlling them."
>He frowned and grimaced.
"The ones who die when caught in them are lucky. The ones that get back up..."
>Shuddering, he looked away.

>With a not so subtle groan, Ivan was finally able to get up, popping his back a little as he looked around the room.

>As he listened to Denra, he rubbed at his stubble covered chin.
>He needed to shave, bylat.
"The only thing I would personally be able to offer up is my Sparkler, though I don't know how useful it would be."
>He pulled out the softly glowing blue artefact.
"Its not exactly used for powering things, just for endurance."
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
>All three unicorns immediately cease what they were doing to give you an appraising look, though Whiplash merely bends down to pick up a shard for a peer, sniff, then a lick.
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Eee~Perception
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
"I thought historical events were bad enough in the Moors. Didn't know human worlds could be as fucked up. I'm half glad you don't have to deal with that any more, but then again you're here now."
>Hodch was visibly fighting his impulses to snap at the Lunarite while Denra was in the process of examining the scorched wall.
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12] <Master Split-Casting: Analysis
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13] <Master Split-Casting: Resonance Detection
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
"Zombies. Always peculiar, yet rarely a danger unless fresh. Or well preserved."

>Settling for saying nothing, Hodch finishes cleaning the remaining shards, the micro-portal closing itself over with a faint popping noise.
"If I may?"
>Taking several steps forwards to inspect the oddity, the deep purple unicorn shakes his head in the negative before giving you a puzzled look.
"Not much judging by the size. But.. it looks as if it should be lightning and not related to increasing physical endurance. What does it do, if I may know the specifics?"

"I will return to the Workshop, there is a large amount of work to be done still."
>Helping Hoof in the meantime offers Whiplash, then you a short nod, teleporting off in a rust-colored cloud.
Ivan the STALKER
"Oh from the bit I've heard, it's much worse. Our version of 'eldritch' beings actively want to eat us. Even the mutated rodents."
>He grimaced from the memory of a hoard of little, but sharp claws.
"Always kept a shotgun handy for them."
>With a bit of a headshake, he chuckled.
"Most of us STALKERs are fated to die in the Zone. It's something that's too alluring to want to stay out of forever, with the freedom that it grants us."
>He looked off to the side, a sudden, sad frown on his face.
"If only they were simply mindless creatures. Our zombies are much more horrifying when thought about."

"Of course. I'd be a bit careful though."
>He hands over the glowing artefact.
"It's a common artefact that we call a 'Sparkler'. The user has reduced fatigue while using it, at the cost of being even weaker to any electrical damage that may occur, as well as the artefact itself slowly leaking radiation into them. Luckily this radiation is negligible over short periods of time and can either naturally go away or be removed with strong alcohol."
>Or anything that causes urination, for that matter.
"They come out of electrical anomalies, which is why they look like this. I don't have a clue on how the hell these things are formed, i just know that they're cheap for an artefact. An Ecologist might have more of an idea about their formation."
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
>Raising an eyebrow at the 'rodents' part, Whiplash Vines freezes from.. something?
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Eee~Primal Senses
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]

"I'm not particularly surprised at that. Roughly one in fifteen human worlds features dangers that are so different as to be considered unique. What concerns me most of this 'Zone' you know is the lethality. One in five, less, more?"
>Sitting down heavily, Denra lifts a hoof, reaching into a tiny gateway for a small cigar and presenting it to Hodch.
"By the way, that power crystal overloaded to the tune of something like a million volts at around four-hundred thousand amps. They're rated to withstand ten thousand volts at two thousand amps, at least, in human terms."
>Likewise taking a seat, except this time on a floating cloud the same color as his coat, Hodch stares at the scorched somberly.
That.. was an incredible amount of energy. Luckily there won't be any more Stormwurms for at least half a year."
>Glancing to you with a knowing gaze, the Starborn reservist takes the cigar, lighting it with a brief click of his tongue.
"I fully understand. There are a few Necromarcy experimarents I can legally speak of, but the worst required complete obliteration of a blacksite using a thousand pound manabomb infused with ten days of mystic acid. Two mile radius. Nothing grew within ten miles for eighty-five or so years. Mass mind control and similar effects are considered a dozen steps above abominable. There's even a clause as a result of joining the Starborn that allows us to overrule any Treaty of Canterlot to destroy such."

>Reaching out to take the object, Hodch immediately regrets his decision:
>Traces of lightning scorch from his hooves up to his neck, forcefully dropping it onto the floor.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Anomalous Lightning
>Sitting completely still through the shock, Denra cranes his head around to view the other unicorn, partially stunned and unmoving.
"That. Hurts. Like. Little. I. Have. Felt."
>Blinking from the reservist to you, the former diplomat raises an eyebrow before his eyes widen.
"And it apparently hates ponies.. wait, that's it! Both you and that are Otherworldy, it must consider anything not from your world a threat. Hodch-"
"I can hear you.. but do I want to? Not really."
"Thanks, smartass. No, this goes a long way to explaining how humans might be chosen to arrive Tallus! Think about it carefully: selecting the best instance of an at-will potentially deceased during the short time frame ou-"
>Forcefully closing the yellow unicorn's mouth with a band of purple energies, Hodch merely gives him a baleful glower without any force to it, then turns to you with a critical expression.
"Think about that later. For right now- Ivan, that item is a juxtaposition: it appears electrical, at least physically, yet it also stimulates electrical impulses throughout the body. In effect it might be acting as a capacitor, allowing you to function with enhanced capacity, while also functioning as a battery: by allowing you to be harmed more so through electricity it may retain it's 'charge', for lack of a better word, longer. As for the radiation-"
>Glancing down to the streaks marring his hooves and legs, Hodch grimaces.
"Is the general amount emitted lethal in short term, or long term?"
Ivan the STALKER
"There's very few people in the Zone that've been around since it was created. Whether it's the Zone itself, the mutants, or other humans, most who enter will find their lives claimed. I'd wager that it's about 95% of STALKERs that eventually die to her."
>Barring the lucky Ecologist, Merc, or military STALKER.
"If only it was mere necromancy, we'd probably be able to elimate the source. Blowouts kill anything caught in them, humans are just the 'lucky' creatures that might get back up, brains completely fried. Some of those that do are unfortunate enough to retain scraps of memories from before. Our zombies still retain bodily motion, if a much lesser degree, and will shoot anyone they see on what is probably a survival instinct."
>He sighs softly.
"It pained me to hear them cry for their mama or daughter when I put them to rest for good."

>Reacting on instinct, Ivan moved himself back and tensed up, eyes glued to the artefact warily.
"That's not happened before."
>He warily leaned down to collect the Sparkler, putting it back into its LLC, before glancing over at Denra.
"Not like I had too much of a choice in coming here. The Zone did claim me, fickle bitch she is."
>He hummed for a moment as he pat at the box, drumming his fingers idly.
"For a touch like you got? Those electrical burns are more of a threat to you than the radiation. Taking a leak or two'll pass it through your system harmlessly."
>He shrugged.
"Being an alcoholic is a bonus when working with low grade artefacts, you'll piss away the radiation faster than you take it in, more often than not. The broken down vehicles give out more than this if you stand next to one."
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
"Nineteen to one? That's.. the same number it takes to bring down Constructs most times. Sounds like your Zone learned from the Rift."
>Returning to the conversation after her epiphany, Whiplash tosses the crystal on the floor with a dim tone.
"A near-complete memory wipe? That's.. goddesses, how insane and cruel can one be? It's good you took care of them Ivan. Even the worst Spectrals don't deserve to suffer like that."

"Don't allow ponies to touch anything of your artifacts without extreme safeguards and risk preventative measures.
>Giving the slightest frown possible, Hodch keeps his awkward position while studying the Sparkler in malice.
"I'm loathe to make a comparison to the Rift, but I do agree. Most Constructs have the capacity to kill swiftly rather than allowing one to bleed out, or worse, die from infection."
>Eyes rotating to Denra, then back onto you quickly, the purple unicorn can only sigh in pain.
"Intriguing but not entirely useful, human radiation does not occur here. I'm of the opinion that alcoholism can save lives, albeit specific ones. I'll be sure to get shitfaced during transport. For right now I'm going to complete what I was doing before you called me down here, Denra-"

>Phasing from reality and leaving the imprint of a dull red cloud behind, Denra's gaze turns from the Sparkler to Whiplash.
"May I ask what you were doing?"
"Yeah, I just remember something: I might know where to find something like a power crystal. A huge one."
"Wait, wh-"
"Hold on! I know ABOUT where it might but, but didn't say how to get in. You know how most pegasi cloud cities have those.. what are they called?"
"Float cores. Go on?"
"Right. There's an old one in the upper Hegemony mountains called.. High Guards Keep, or something like that. Whole area was ignored because the mountains it sat between were attracting wild clouds. Big nasty ones, the sort that turned entire peaks into glass. Had to be extensively modified to collect and use the lightning, also made the place real safe."
>Returning Denra's pensive gaze with a miffed wave of her claws to cut him off, the Lunarite's ears flatten outwards.
"It's a possibility, unicorn, not a probability. Place was abandoned before or after the Late Dynasty started. Could still be there, could be ruins, could be corrupted. I don't know, and I don't know anypony that does. Early on it might have been picked over a bit by minotaurs though they wouldn't have any use for a float core, they like being on the ground. If you want to look into it go ahead, but you'll have to either go to Gozka or find a pegasus descended from that region."
Ivan the STALKER
"Monolith are worse, arguably. They lose their memories as well but are almost irreversibly brainwashed to protect the inner Zone from intruders. What makes them so deadly is that not only do they lose the feeling of pain, they'll do their best to die with a grenade ready to go off. Looting one of them is a dangerous idea. Zombies are just there. Monolith become religious fanatics that worship the Zone."
>Memories of assaulting the CPP flash through his mind, that he quickly shoves back down.

"From your reaction I don't plan on it unless it's life or death."
>He took a squat to idly inspect the burns on Hodch.
"The only things that'll take their time with someone would be bandits, mercs, or a Chimera if it's spiteful. Everything else quickly kills."
>He pauses.
"Aside from a Vortex or Whirligig anomaly. I was... unfortunate enough to fall victim to the former."
>He grimaced.
"While quick, it certainly felt like a lifetime before I was turned into a couple chunks."
>His limbs suddenly ached from the memory of the last moments of his previous life.

>Ivan snapped out of his thoughts to pay attention to the two, listening closely as they talked.
"Well, a possibility is better than what there was before, eh?"
Bubba the Second
>He'd readily return the nod, relaxing his posture a little.
>"Serious enough to drop the puns."
"Even if I'm not here, somebody'll be able to show them around. Thank you."
>His arm twitched to fully mirror her salute, but he caught himself to bring his hand up to his brow instead.
>Improper for him to salute as a party member at the moment, after all.
"Good luck back in Germaneigh."

>Focusing back on Naliyna, Bubba simply took a step away from the rage fueled mare, watching as she attempted to damage the table.
>To him, it was obvious the table won.
"Well, that was eventful."
>He'd mutter once she disappeared, shaking his head.
>Presuming these values were the usual amounts given out to Rasera specifically, Gallo soon figured they seemed to imply that the cultures belonging to the Ear-marks, Fangs and Claws had solid economies.
>A good thing to know when seeking out potential trade partners for his diplomat profession.
>However, his curiosity urged him to keep all of them in mind to guess what sort of societies they were
>Specially the Patsos that he could easily read like he was some sort of native speaker.
(Argenta... I wonder how well she's doing in her princessdom.)

>Something caught Gallo's interest as Rasera explained her past experiences, giving an intrigued raised eyebrow.
"So you've come to sell your beds to ponies first and foremost?" he inquired with an interested nod. "You haven't had the opportunity to mass produce beddings more suited to humans yet?"
>It was some rather disheartening news, all things considered.
>It meant he had to go out of his way to possibly contract some sort of bed making factory or whatever Tallus equivalent there was for his standards.
>No wonder humans out here looked grumpier than he remembered
"Do you know who makes the beds you sell?" he promptly questioned in kind, wondering if there was a way to contact them.
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
"Just li-"
"Just li-"
>Hodch and Whiplash slowly turn to give each other a deeply haunted, thousand-yard stare.
>Despite their Lunar affiliation, both of them looked less Freedom and more like Duty that had just survived an Emission, alone.
>At least they didn't have pet bears or hate vodka.
"The more I hear about human worlds... the less I want to sleep."
"Can we talk about anything else that won't cause flashbacks. Please."
>That was less a question and more survivor's guilt speaking from the batpony.
>Before now you barely knew they could have empathy, aside from the one that normally hung around Jeff.
>Or her daughter, though one always had to be wary of the fuzzy orange filly's pranks.

"Not even then. Don't allow a single pony to do more than look at one, Ivan-"
>Studying the flashburns before he disappears, Hodch was definitely going to be scarred, although it looked like he'd heal.
>Just not mentally.

>Removing their brain cell contact, Whiplash speaks first, not without wincing.
"I'm sorry to hear that. I've heard but didn't really think about the fact that most humans.. die to get here. I take it those were air elemarental anomalies, tears apart most anything that goes into 'em? I know of few, maybe twenty in a couple cities the Planar Harpies used to inhabit. Some of the weirdest technology and defenses, the sort of stuff mad scientists and science fiction writers dream up. Not like Construct or Dominion plane bad, mostly lethal and real short ranged."

>Looking up from a slumped position, the unicorn diplomat waves a hoof in what was probably a small amount of hope.
"Depending on the risks and whether or not a float core like that could be integrated.. it's a-"
>Cutting off the batmare before she could speak.
"Possibility, I know. Tonight, though, there's no way enough humans and ponies could even attempt going to.. wherever-"
"High Guards Keep. I think."
"That place. Unless, you're willing to hire some marecenaries. The Arcane Blades are reasonable and fairly effective for the cost."
"Are they?"
"Compared to Zigri or Sweet? I'd rather take the Blades than deal with the sulking black bastard or that damned monster."
"I guess. Zigri isn't all that ba- what am I saying? Yeah, I agree, but Sweet's not that horrible once you know how to make her be less creepy. How about it Ivan, want to hire some ponies to go out and do something real dangerous?"
Razorback Fortress: Old-New Arrivals
GM Strangler
>Shanis? Not around to pester with questions, or make bizarre offers to 'deal with something' at Tartarus Isle.
>Zigri? Wasn't around making an ass of himself or snapping at everything he thought was unnatural.
>Sweet? She probably wouldn't show up.. ever again.
>Tipper? Nowhere in sight.
>Hodch? Probably off doing whatever shady business he normally did.
>Twisted Wing? Long gone.
>There wasn't even a Night Guard, Lunar Guard, Arcane Blade, or Tartarus marecenary strolling around.
>The two DJ's? Not a single radio transmission since you'd been here.

>For once: the silence was gratifying.

>That is until one of the strangest gateways, neon red-orange-green in a roiling boil opens up, depositing a trio of outdated, and worse yet, injured humans.
>A dated German sniper in thick winter clothing and a large snow painted backpack was first, the left hand clutching a scoped Karabiner 98, the right held up and across his chest in an oversized sling.
>Besides the spiked helmet, also painted white, the man's haggard, weather-bitten face was well outside recruiting age, though had the air of a professional death-from-afar hollow blue eyes.
>Second and in worse shape was a shorter young male, barely in his early 20's, a rather damaged MP40 slung on his side, the ghillie-like facemask doing little to disguise a disbelieving stare.
>The woodland camo wasn't quite right as it was much brighter in coloration than normal, and several drying blood stains cover the arms, likely not his own, were indicative of conflict occurring a shot time ago.
>Turning halfway to take hold of an even more bizarre sight, the last was a young female that would fit right in with an ancient Saxon city image:
>Nearly a head shorter than the sniper, the shock of peach-blonde hair and amber eyes was concerning, as was the woven brigandine upper armor punctured in at least ten locations which had to have been, at one time, a bright white.
>Slung over the right shoulder was a somewhat sophisticated steel spear, the edges chipped across its length, a short bearded axe kept on a thick leather belt underneath it, while the remains of a mostly destroyed round shield dangles from a useless left arm.

>Quickly glancing from you to the other two, the sniper speaks first in a raspy, harsh tone that was more EurAsian as the shield clatters onto the pagoda's floor.
"These two require immediate treatment before they bleed out. And shut up Anthelm, you will be second in line."
Ivan the STALKER
>Ivan recognized those looks anywhere, even on a non-human face.
>He often saw it in a mirror when allowed to be sober for long enough.
"That would be best."
>He withdrew a small bottle of vodka from one of his many pouches, for use in brief artefact handling, unscrewing the cap.

>"Probably for the best. I don't want to know what a gravitational artefact would do to a pony."

>He let out a small sigh as he quickly went through the bottle, grimacing as his throat briefly burned from the drink.
"Gravitational anomaly. A Vortex will drag whatever gets caught in it up into the air if they're not able to immediately escape. Gets compressed into a small lump before violently detonated by the force of it decompressing."
>Of course, by that time most creatures are dead from being turned into something the size of a pizza box.

>He hummed and leaned back a bit, before rocking idly on his feet.
"Might as well, I've got nothing better to do once I find someone to order custom armor from."
>He really wanted an exoskeleton.
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Whistling at one of the floating dragon-spirits, a flashy yellow and blue streaked one holding a white scroll descends to Rasera.
>Gazing at the unfolded page for five seconds, the sable mare gives a nod in your direction.
"Am of trade only to pony tonight yes. No human have of come to here before you."
>Face slackening in sudden realization at the second question, she lifts both forehooves to cover an embarrassed face.
>Which only serves to amuse the dragon in front of her, chortling in an aery whistling tone while rolling up the scroll before returning to its original location.
"Am come of Equestria for trade pony beds and trinkets, not think of for human."
>Lowering one hoof, then the other in quick succession, her visage brightens once more.
"Cavalier clan of make all bed Rasera trade! Big clan of.."
>Trailing off to rapidly tap the covered ground again, this time around sixty.
"That marely. Small and old clan ponies make, lots fun of them. Young and middle ponies-"
>Pointing at herself with a faintly proud smile.
"Am of trade, fight, herd, or spirit magics. Am trade and have tiny spirit magics too, but no of good others."
>Turning to look at the giant futon, which was at least a queen sized bed for humans, she makes a short nodding motion towards it.
"Is of size for human sleep?"
Razorback Underground: Power Control Room
GM Strangler
>Quietly shaking off a shiver that visibly rippled her coat, Whiplash motions her right set of wingclaws at Denra several times.
>Who immediately gives the Lunarite a blank look.
>Eyes rolling in aggrieved slowness, one claw flicks from him to the bottle then back.
"Sure, here-"
>Reaching into yet another small micro-portal, the diplomat hoofs her one of Razorback's "vodka specials" before giving you a mortified expression.
"Most ponies call gravity by the name 'Force' for.. obvious reasons. There are anomalies in the Deep Moors similar to what you describe, though they tend to be in relatively calm locations and, from what little I know, not that lethal. They might be able to break a large softwood stick, but not a rock, and certainly not do.. what you stated."
>Not even bothering to check on the batpony guzzling down the start of a hangover, Denra's mouth opens to say something, then closes, opening again to emit a tired chuckle.
"You didn't see it in the Workshop? Big bomb suit thing, plated, giant sign above with your name on it? Krinza, Helping Hoof, and Lann worked on it for a few hours, at least until I interrupted the first two after coming back.. here."
>Still in mute recollection for a split-second, the yellow unicorn heaves himself up only to hiss at something in his rear leg snapping back into place.
"Celestia's teats that bloody hurts! If you don't already know there's always a few marecenary request forms from Shanis. Not much to say other than write your name, the location you want scouted, what you want done, any threats you know about. Naliyna will handle paymarent after the mission's complete. As for me I'm going to turn in. I'm two damned operations in and barely staying awake."
>José couldn't contain the small endeared smile as Rasera covered her face in embarrassment, soon leading him to cover it slightly with a hand to avoid further unintentional teasing from his end before she recovered in kind

>He soon refocused back on the conversation at hand, giving her a couple of nods as she divulged the bedmakers' clan name.
"So you're from the Cavalier Clan, whose economically active workponies are mostly composed by traders like you?" he attempted to confirm, just to make sure they were both on the same page. "Essentially you're part of the clan business model?"

>With the following answer provided, Gallo would glance back at the giant futon with a pensive look before looking down at himself to see his current hygiene status.
"Perhaps," he mused softly with a nod "but the best way to make sure is by trying. May I test it out to confirm it?"
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
"Yes, but no dishonor for be trader. Am bad in fight, ask them!"
>Rasera's attention shifts form you to several of the dragon-spirits, all of which immediately performing synchronized chortles.
>Wasn't exactly a yes, but close enough.
>Opening her mouth, she pauses briefly, head tilting and speaking in deliberate, slow thoughtfulness.
"Not.. of business, no? Trade is of trinkets to pony for use, sell, trade bed for pony use. Is how say, if Rasera take coin or gem, coin or gem go around world too, soon or late. Business wrong, take advantage bad. Know what mean?"
>A stable, highly cyclical economy with heavy competition was apparently the Tallus norm.

>Silently eyeing the spirits, the majority of them nod in short order, the other few shrugging disinterestedly.
>Satisfied at the answers, and lack thereof, Rasera waves you towards it.
"Say they do try!"
>Making your way to the large bed, your initial appraisal of it was impressive: only one seam was visible in a long ring around the center, and no material was bunched up or flattened out of place.
>Putting a hand down the material was an extremely fine, soft cotton and silk blend.
>Of course, it needed to be fully tested to ensure the quality was worth.. whatever the price could be.
>Once again, the man rubbed his mouth a little to hide the little amused smile from the dragon snickering when confirming Rasera's lack of fighting capabilities
"Didn't mean to imply otherwise," he promptly reassured her
>As for the second response, the man nodded as he made sure not to use words like business models due to their apparently inherent anti-communalist undertones.
>José felt this was probably going to cause problems at a later date if he wasn't careful, no doubt.
>Specially when dealing with Solar-based economies

>It took Cheto a rather substantial amount of willpwer not to flop into the futon at the mere touch of its silky smooth, cotton based material.
(Don't be brutish... It's an abhorrent first impression.)
>With a studious eye, the man carefully proceeded to remove the outermost layer of clothing to ensure his testing would not even come close to staining the marvelous bed
>First his cap, followed by the bandana hanging from his neck, the stuffed backpack, the clinking bandoleer, the less noisy pouch strapped to his leg, his warm red jacket and his footwear.
>All were soon neatly organized at the foot end of the futon along with his now unloaded weapons, making doubly sure nothing actually made contact with its quality sheets.
>Now came a strangely difficult choice to make: Should he take off his pants?
>After fifteen seconds of thoroughly debating with himself, he opted to simply walk outside for a bit to dust off whatever noticeable residue remained on them before coming back in with a noticeable shiver from the cold.
>Surely this would allow the enveloping futon's cleanliness to be retained after his testing
>With that out of the way, Gallo took a deep breath, steeled himself from the incoming wave of drowsiness that'll befall him and politely snuck his body right into the bed's covers, trying to keep it as neat as possible.
Ivan the STALKER
>Ivan wearily chuckled and gave his bottle a bit of a raise as she handled her own bottle of vodka.

"That crap I always hear in Rostok that's broadcast by Duty recruiters about 'deadly anomalies, dangerous mutants' and so on isn't a lie. The only one I've seen that won't actively attempt to kill you is a teleportation anomaly, which usually quickly gets mapped out to see if it leads somewhere immediately dangerous. Leaves the taste of dirt in your mouth for hours, though."
>He just stares at Denra for a long moment, before groaning softly.
"I didn't notice it, somehow. Thank you for letting me know. An exoskeleton isn't exactly a bomb suit, but it's very close to one."
>At the idea of mercenaries he'd suppress a grumble, having to remind himself that they weren't Mercs.
Mallia Castella

"My machines sensed someone when me and Chisan arrived--"
>Replied Mallia, as they sped towards the exit alongside Naska.
"Around 80 metres below the repository we are all sitting in, they sensed one single pony, in some seemingly collapsed tunnel! Right below where you and your comrades were taking shelter."
>The enginseer's glance seemed directed upward for about two seconds, acknowledging the signatures--and the lack of threats looming above their heads. With a thought, she shuts off the visor and snapped her glance ahead once more.
"They vanished though... And we're a ways below where the pony was supposed to be right now. Can't know where they went. Or why they are dressed like a one mare army."

>Mallia briefly quarter-turned towards Naska. Her face was obscured, but her smile was audible by her stubbornly bubbly tone.
"I wonder what that means! Maybe they can teleport. They must be very resourceful..."
"And dangerous, of course."
>Finally, Mallia would quiet down after having made her remarks. Saving her breath for pacing her breathing instead. Focusing on getting out of the vault. And listening to the vox as Chisan updates her as they went.
Bubba the Second
>Bubba sat back on the desk once he was alone, sighing softly as he removed his helmet to run his hand through his hair.
>He rarely had a moment of silence anymore, so he savored it as much as he could.

>As the gateway activated, he slipped his helmet back on and stood up to greet them.
>And then immediately began internally swearing.
>"She didn't fucking tell me they were injured."
>He only took a brief moment to glance the three over, before focusing on the one that was least injured, nodding to him.
"The clinic's not too far from here, just a short walk. And there won't need to be a line unless one of you try to die on them."
>His eyes flicked over to the very obviously injured two.
"I'll help her walk if she needs it."
>He made to move over to her right side, offering to help her move as he motioned to the exit.
"Where are you three from?"
>"Not likely she'll be able to reply, but I wouldn't be too surprised."
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
"Am know, no offense to take."
>Still a bit embarrassed, the Neighpon raspberries one of the larger dragon-spirits then speaks something the orb didn't translate.

>By the time you return Rasera was hooves and head first into a brand new box that could easily fit two humans inside, several smaller ones surrounding it along with most of the spirits.
>Paying little attention to you, coins and gems were being sorted out in careful lines making you wonder just how much they could carry around.

>Easing onto the bed, it was.. almost perfect.
>Despite the silk blend, the top wasn't sticky and felt cool enough to sleep on comfortably in the middle of day.
>Giving it a firmness test, the layered materials underneath were pliable enough for most hard and soft sleepers.
"Is good?"
>Taking a moment to glance over the schematics, I couldn't help but feel a tad impressed.
>All she had to look at was the rotting wreck of a ship and yet she could accurately reconstruct it with this... display thing.
>I wince at the tone she finished with, shifting in my seat.
"Its likely some of them made it back to shore before the ship sunk, Wild."
>I told her, even if I didn't really know what horrors they'd have to deal with besides being on a ship going under.
>And not as a design feature, either.

"We'll get out of here, Wild. And none of that shit about it just being me getting back, you're going to make it to Razorback with me."
>I firmly told the display, staring it down as if daring her to object.
"You'll be able to pick up speed once we get to shore."
Imminent Retrieval: A Curious Glow
GM Strangler
"How machine sense?"
>Barely keeping up with you from the weight of her gear, Nasiksta huffs loudly, making no attempt to hide her disbelief.
"Tunnel under us?! We no find it!"

>Catching the ceiling's surface, a mixture of bleed-through energies in the shape of vague pillars seemed to be protecting the entire vault against the weight of rock above.
'How fascinating!'
>A recording machine-voice intones in wonder, though not aloud.
'That such based esoteric conceptual models exists in living states proves my theories! I must inform the Inquistor at once of this!'
>You immediately recognize the tone to be Velasi's own personal auspex machine-spirit which had been keeping silent the entire time.
>It was probably a Xenarch given the excitement, and what you knew of the arsenal she once had.

"If teleport then why no sense where pony go? Teleport only take few second to move place to place, Spiral show us how work often-"
>On your left side Nashka was struggling to maintain grasp of her boxy submachine gun, doing the same to meet your helmet.
"Maybe translocate then, that like long range teleport ten, twenty kilometers away easy-"
>Gripping the weapon tightly and holding it closer to her chest, the archaic Vostroyan analogue likewise goes silent to her own thoughts.

>Receiving no updates from Chisan or Raindrop, it was probable the first had boosted his commbead temporarily before tuning it back down to conserve power.
>Making excellent time to the vault's entrance door, the warping half-real portal ahead brightens into a furious white glow.
>Even without the visor's systems active, the clear sight of a small winged pony was emitting visible streaks of heat was more than enough for the four of the living-spirits to talk.
>All at once and over each other, unfortunately.
'That's the equine I picked up earlier-'
'what is that pony'
'A pegasus filly of approximately ten years age-'
'Why is the temperature variant that high-'
'possible Plasma enchantmarent according to early-'
'Warning: immediately notify Chisan and the human operatives-'

>Before they, you, or Nashka could respond, warbled echoes of weapons fire occur through the portal into the equine, the first of several rifle shots, a short automatic burst, and last a surprised laspistol shot that cracks into stone.
>Coming into partial focus, the burning figure can be heard shouting in a surprisingly young, almost squeaky young girl's tone:
"Wait I'm not here to hurt any of yo- OW OW OW STOP THAT PLEASE-"
>Then comes Chisan's profoundly 'I am so done with this groxshit' tone.
>Followed by the Commissar's booming howl of:

'what the fuck'
>Is all that Tox-11 states before transmitting ASCII image, that of an older, heavyset Guardsman that probably wouldn't pass regulations.
>The arms were crossed, a confused expression on the lower face clear, helmet tipped forwards almost angrily.
'hot heads'
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Stopping to take a deep breath, Whiplash motions the half-empty bottle towards you in a hale 'to us' motion, then glances down to check how much she'd drank.
>Grade B- hangover for most humans you realize, but more like a Grade A+ for batponies and pegasi.
>Oh well.
>Visibly incensed at the Lunarite not offering his bottle back, Denra grumbles under his breath before fixing you with an impressed expression.
"You don't seem particularly pleased at this 'Duty' group or faction. Sounds like a late Dynasty Pathfinder team slogan to me."
"Nah, I'd bet it's more like the Day Guard's Subversive Containmarent Project group. Bunch of cold-teated mares always screeching on and on about keeping everything THEY can't understand far away from ponies."
>Eyeing the batmare in subtle approval, Denra gives a small conciliatory shrug.
"Can't quite disagree with that. According to Torven and Betlltower there are at least five thousand near-temporal anomalies throughout the Moors. Less than a hundred are considered above class three, that being barely hazardous to living beings. Maybe two or three are class six or higher, those with the capability to cause injuries or could be potentially lethal. There's an old record of two within the same rain belt that the Hive is in, supposedly even the last Dusk Striders refused to investigate it."
>Hoofing the bottle to Denra whom gives her an exasperated sigh, Whiplash Vines speaks up in an amused lilt.
"Haven't seen it yet? I did. Wish we could get something that looked half that good for combat duties. Interesting as this conversation is there's little we can find here. Mind taking us up?"
"Of course, one second-"
>Without bothering to ask for permission, you, the diplomat, and the Lunarite are instantly sucked into a vaguely rainbow colored tunnel.

>Arriving in the Workshop's northern section and barely noticing the transition, or landing on your ass, Denra glances about quickly while Whiplash begins to stretch her wings out.
"Strange, I thought Helping Hoof and Krinza would be here. Suppose I'll catch them later."
>Nodding at something behind you, the yellow unicorn begins turning rather stiffly towards the west door.
"Your suit is in front of Krinza's work table. It appears to be relatively finished though I have no idea what those five canisters are. Good night to you both and please don't call on me unless there's an emergency, the family jewels are still in pain."
>In response to Rasera's latest question, Cheto simply lets out a comfortable little exhale as he further snuggled up against the covers.
>He certainly wasn't expecting such accomodations from somepony that didn't even thought about selling human beds to what seemed to be the most prominent demographic in the compound.
"I can certainly get used to this," the man sleepily added as he closed his eyes for just a second "but I might want to give it a full test run to-"
>José couldn't help but yawn a little, groggily covering his mouth with a hand out of politeness.
"-to correctly ascertain its value."
>Softly opening his eyes, José takes a look around at the spirits that witnessed his proposal to gauge their general reaction to his request.
"Will that be alright with you all?" the man softly asks with a somewhat pleading little smile.
Razorback Fortress: Old-New Arrivals
GM Strangler
>Giving a stern look to the younger man, the sniper makes a brief 'move quickly' motion.
"Closest building then, go."
>Suppressing a glare at the command, presumably used to taking orders from officers, Anthelm ignores the dropped shield and hefts the female with both hands in front of him, arms clasping under the belt.
>Carefully dragging her northwards the assault trooper gives you a sincere look of appreciation as he passes by, the girl stumbles along, head swinging in either a concussed or traumatized state.
"She is not heavy, I will manage."

>Waiting until the two exit the pagoda, then a few more seconds, the winter sniper enters attention stance, hands clasping behind his back.
>Eyes closing, the older man turns rigid before speaking in a firmly neutral tone.
"Anthelm is an assault storm trooper from the First Grand Reich of his world, I know little else save that he was addicted to a white pill for some time. I am from the Ninth Allied Defense Force of Her Majesty's Imperial Bavarian-Korean Empire. Specialist sniper, winter regions. The girl, I do not know, her language is older than either of us. Not even the.."
>Pausing to make a slight grimace, or possibly wince, he continues in the same voice as before.
"Unusually friendly colorful horned equines understood much save that her dialect was akin to what they called Saxoneigh."
>Eyes opening again, he stares upwards at the gems embedded on the pagoda's underside roof.
"She sustained numerous injuries from a raptor of unknown species, approximately four feet high, but I know nothing else except the attacker was confirmed deceased. She was treated by an allied equine whom had some comprehension yet lacked proper supplies before Lucid Shock's squad arrived in the.. village we have been living in for the past fifteen months."

>Remaining silent and still, it seemed he was treating you as an officer.
Lost in the Crag Moors: A Bigger Problem Than The Last Two
GM Strangler
>Partially turning to stare back at you, the miniature Wild's antennae flick, much like a pony's ears would, then gives a hopeful nod.
"I had not calculated that possibility. One moment-"
>Placing a number of white markers on the vessel's image, the caricature rocks back on its boots in thought.
"Total number of deceased: one hundred thirty-nine. Assuming the transport watercraft was operating at maximum capacity that leaves one-hundred eighty-one potential survivors."
>The antennae twitch again, the cartoon image disappears as the screen shows a fuzzy image from earlier, that of the unknown Ferron pegasus.
"Do you have any data available on pegasi inhabiting the Moors regions?"

>Emitting a short, encouraged static-laden noise from overhead, the chest cabin rocks briefly from another wave's undertow.
"I will do my best mom, but this is an emergency situation. Ammunition remaining: five of six shells. Estimated hull integrity: one hundred and thirty of three-hundred sixty. Estimated internal integrity: ninety-five of three-hundred sixty."
>The external camera view shows a small rounded protrusion of taller sand ahead, one that the Eldritch Android was forced to make her way around.
>Though, something wasn't quite about the heavy overcast above.
"Priority Threats One and Two estimated to be capable of one-hundred mile per hour flight. Priority Threats Three through One-Hundred Two: unknown. Error, suspected flight indexes of fifty-miles per hour. Even if I were at full capabilities I would be unable to evade long range weapon fire."
>The unsaid 'if they have as much' hangs briefly in the air.

[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #2
[1d6 = 6] <Repair Tendril #3
[1d6 = 6] <Repair Tendril #4
[1d6 = 5] <Repair Tendril #5
[1d6 = 4] <Repair Tendril #6
[1d6 = 1] <Repair Tendril #7
[1d6 = 3] <Repair Tendril #8

"Regional update: large scale storms inbound from northwest, unknown speed and heading. Predicted impact: severe."
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Arcanum Sensor Array
[1d6 = 1] <Damaged Sensor Node #1
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Immediately hearing opportunity, the sable Neighpon mare ceases her efforts to look up and right.
>The dragon-spirits continue their sorting when she stands, although several of them give an unseen side-eye to her.
"Not of know human beds. Is good enough for to trade?"

>The bed's overly comfortable design, not to mention versatility could easily pass for most any expensive one made by humans, whether it was called a futon or not.
>At least, that's what your tired body was trying to say.

>Walking up to within five or so meters, Rasera's voice rings merrily from the translation orb across the tent's interior.
"What think of?"
>All of the dragons stop working to look at you, then to those across from themselves.
>At first, nothing.
>Then the miniature weapon carrying ones open their jaws, speaking silently.
>Visibly disagreeing, those clutching scrolls, bags, tiny backpacks, and unusual implemarents argue back.
>Taking a half-step forwards and turning around, conveniently exposing her rather substantial plot lines, the Neighpon's head tips left, then right.

>Close to half a minute of bickering later, Rasera shakes her mane out, dark blue hair flowing wildly.
>Settling for taking several steps backwards, the fairly tall mare sits down on the bed's corner close to you and turns to give an apologetic yet pained smile.
>Either she didn't want to get involved or the fifty-fifty split was due to something cultural.

>Rudely interrupted from drowsiness by a loud crash outside, thankfully a good distance away, the mare crew boss is heard shouting, albeit faintly, in a distinctly pleased drawling tone.
"Great job ya'all, Tipper'll be real 'appy ta fine'er new hospital up an'runnin' this fast! Now 'ow marely more o'them 'ouses left?"
>Definitely not a local.
"Awright, bring 'em up an' the'twins'll start settin' 'em foundations, res'a you wit' me!"

>Throughout the words the translation orb hadn't even attempted to function, Rasera's eyebrows raising to blink at the completely untranslated lingo in mixed curiosity and apprehension.
"That mare, what of say?"
>Needless to say, José really wanted to pass out right now under the cushioned covers of the queen sized futon, but his polite nature deemed it too improper to do.
>The fact Rasera came at about arms' length further teased his tired brain with the prospect of scooping her up into the bed for an even better day's sleep.
>Perhaps her mane was as silky as the covers?
(No. Remember what Frost said.)

>Taking a deep breath, Gallo gave her a solid nod admist his comfortable resting.
"Certainly covers my whole body," he softly commented as the spirits bickered around him "so any human would be interested in trading for this. Some even while having a bed of their own."
>Having said that, the man's eyes watched in wonder as the dragons continued their arguing.
>It all still felt so surreal, even after everything else he's seen so far.
>So much so that he couldn't help but brighten his smile

>The crash did make his eyes widened considerably, but as he once again heard that foremare from before congratulating on a job well done, José simply breathed out in relief.
>The charming accent did further intrigue him, wondering from where exactly it came from, too.
>Soon turning his head to face Rasera's at the futon's edge, the man gives her a nod.
"Construction mares seemed to have finished Tipper's hospital," he gladly translated "and now they're starting their next project, which is more houses. Foundations are being fetched and placed as we speak."
>A part of him idly thought how convenient it was that there was both house builders and a potential furniture seller around him.
>Perhaps he could do Razorback a solid right now.
"This may be a bit too forward of me," the man prefaced with an amicable smile at the Japoneighse mare "but could yout measure my width and height in the bed? It should help your bed makers if they want to manufacture for human sizes."
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Frowning at the commotion that probably wasn't going to end for a bit, the Neighpon gives a small sigh, lifting a hoof to poke her forehead several times.
>Face creasing in annoyance, the look disappears when she turns to give a highly pleased smile.
"Is of first human Rasera meet great news! Am of send letters back for Rasera clan, make spirit beds not for spirits-"
>A scowl arrives instantly as she rounds on several of the armed dragon-spirits drawing their weapons, which was being countered by an equal number preparing to use their scrolls..

>Loosing an angry verbal harangue that immediately quiets the group, most of the dragons that could sheathe their weaponry, or at least attempt, the rest slinging polearms, or was that poleclaws? onto their backs.
>One close to the entrance carrying a larger set of coins begins spinning it in the air, gazing at the rest.
[1d6 = 2] <Winning Vote

>Sniffing aloud in disdain, Rasera turns once more to face you, eyebrows furrowing together with a curious smile.
"Am travel of Equestria lots, see castle small, big, too big... floating castle once! Want of see human castle done too."
>Head swiveling to glance you up and down, a tinge of difficult to read emotion flits across her face.
>Lifting both forehooves and pressing them together, her lips move as if counting.
>The translation orb doesn't react to it, though.
>Pausing to tap her a front hoof on the bed, four sets of five, then another three.
"Tall, this-"
>Three sets of five, then three more.
"Wide. Am make-"
>The next word doesn't translate, instead coming out as a miffed sounding neigh.
>Snapping her head up to give orb a critical stare, the right eye twitches.
>Which she recovers from easily enough.
"For letter."

>Nickering at one of the scroll carrying dragon-spirits, it turns to regally float in her direction, the mare speaking rapidly and using a hoof to make a number of gestures that were probably related to measuremarents.
>Possibly even measuremarents.
>By this point, Cheto's wondrous look was slowly being replaced with a bit of concern at how heated the spirit dragons' discussion was becoming.
>However, it seemed Rasera had things under control judging by her attempts to keep her friendly disposition towards him despite looking annoyed at all the chaos around them.
>A part of him wondered if these spirits were or were influenced by the mare's own personal thoughts somehow.
>Hopefully she wouldn't put up with disrespect he might be unintentionally causing just for his sake
>He had to learn this stuff, after all.

>Focusing back on the trader's words, the man soon brought a polite smile of his own to compliment hers.
"I must admit I'm curious about the other castles Tallus has in store," he similarly admitted. "I'm probably going to be in a lot of them the rest of my life."
>With that little seed planted, now he softly looked upwards at all the commotion, particularly at the one carrying the coins
"I don't mean to pry," he questioned "but what exactly has made them upset? Am I being disrespectful to them?"
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Catching your notice with a small exhale of bright green, the dragon-spirit's coin swinging stops, causing to rest to turn and stare at it.
>Plucking a single one off the string, its held up for all the others to stare at.
>Those carrying weapons take on smug expressions, while those without were even more smug.
>Whatever significance that had was profoundly lost to you.

>Beginning to speak, only to stop, Rasera blinks slowly as understanding dawns, the left eyebrow raising questioningly.
"Have of not see other Equestria castles? Lots ground castles ponies build, few pony castles in sky. Minotaurs build more castles. Neighpon even more castles! Am know of little human history-"
>The next world comes out as a strangled neigh, eliciting a quick snort towards it.
"Of human that-"
>Halting to stare down her nose, the sable mare frowns deeply while speaking in a slow cadence, the translation orb apparently working overtime.
"Ten times ten humans Sun call of to Equestria. Am ha-"
>Cutting off another neigh with an angry tail flick, she continues without skipping more than a half-second.
"Know little of more humans call by Sun, other places."

>Blinking upwards at the otherwise completely silent and still tent, Rasera nods towards the dragon-spirit still holding out the coin, then motions a forehoof towards the rest.
"No disrespect. Wrong argumarent two side make: warriors say you human not sleep on, no of good enough for be Otherword bed. Say of human need more comfort bed. Followers say you human not sleep of spirit-bed, too big for of comfort with herd.."
>Trailing off, Rasera's gaze turns on you with one eyebrow raised, the other lowered incredulously.
"Unless human has big herd of eight pony."

>It was becoming clear to you that the orb was an early version, or perhaps a model, and was learning on the go.
>Possibly sentient.
>Maybe, just maybe it wasn't sapient.
>Weirdly fascinating, those spirit dragons...

>Gallo looked on patiently as Rasera continued to struggle dealing with the learning machine construct that reminded him of the mail system Razorback had.
"I'm afraid I couldn't quite catch what you said at the end there, miss," he regretfully informed "but yes. Humans does also have many castles. However, my profession didn't involve going to them much. Now it most likely does."

>Now listening to the actual reason the dragons were arguing so feverently made José chuckle in amusement.
"That's a relief," he answered in kind. "All this time they were debating on what reason why I shouldn't be sleeping on this bed."
>Now the human turned a little wistful, turning towards Rasera..
"As for herds," he added. "I can't quite tell how that works with pony societies, so my answer is probably inaccurate."
>With that said, the man slowly sits up from the futon in order to properly face the equine at the corner of the bed.
"Perhaps I should show why I'm confused," he followed up as a mostly naked arm approached the mare before stopping about two snouts away from her face. "May I replicate the motions I've been doing to equines thus far?"
Mallia Castella
>Mallia did have the time to elaborate to Nasiksta what she meant--but this reaction struck her with a worriesome surface thought.
(Note to self: Find the correct low-tech vocabularies to effectively describe what an Auspex is to someone who might not even know what the word itself means...)
>She felt a twinge of sadness for about a split-second, having to leave Nasiksta hanging onto her thoughts while they ran through the vault, the clattering of Mallia's lasrifle and Omnissian axe upon her back, and their boots, filling the brief calm before the storm of the next moment.

>She did do a brief mental double-take, her head tilting downward towards her arm--wielding her shield, and also wearing the Auspex scanner.
(Yeah, it's--!)
(--Wait--I don't recognize that voice.)
>A stream of overeager thoughts arrive, and then stop suddenly as she forces herself to FOCUS--especially as a certain foreboding gut feeling comes to her as she stops hearing Chisan's voice, and they come dashing out of the vault door!

>She comes to a rapid stop as her cognition makes it just in time to process the appearance of an unfamiliar small pegasus,
>Followed by simultaneous stream of voices she couldn't spare the focus to immediately comb through for meaning,
>Followed by GUNSHOTS and the crack of a single laspistol shot.

>Suffice to say, Mallia is knocked into brief fight or flight; she suddenly stops thinking entirely and briefly enters pure muscle memory; lifting her shield, shifting her feet, and hovering her hand over the grip of the Hellpistol Chisan had allowed her to borrow.
>But she doesn't draw.
>Instead she holds there. As the next second, as she processes the situation, she catches up mentally and her body straightens.
>Her helmet turns to the bullet holes in the wall, then back to the fabled mystery equine, flabbergasted.

>... Then she casts a sudden glance towards Chisan's general direction, though he might not catch it--or the two second long stare she gave him, before she turned back to the practically incadescent ...

>Mallia briskly, again, quarter-turned to Naska...
>Then Enginseer's posture relaxes quickly, exhaling audibly through the helmet as she begins to lower her shield.
"... We found our mystery pony..."
>She sighed out the remark beneath her breath towards Nasiksta, then starts to sidestep along in Chisan's general direction.
"Everything is fine. Eveeerything~ is fine..."

(... What the warp is she wearing? Plasma enchantmarents?)
(That's quite...)
(A lot? For a ten year old. Is it not? Right? There must be an important detail behind that.)
(Who is this filly?)

>Moving at a brisk, but calm walking pace towards Chisan, she doesn't take her eyes off the filly. Examining their attire and trying to catch some details.
>Symbols, maybe a coat of arms; maybe a distinct color scheme that the Inquisitorial machine spirits will recognise for her, anything.
>And also trying to evaluate the armour she was looking at, out of sheer curiosity if anything.

>Without the Preysense. The heat signature would probably dazzle her.

<B. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 1]
<E. Engineering
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]

>She would eventually stop her movement once she was within a couple metres of Chisan.
>The enginseer saying nothing. Merely observing and listening as the situation developed.
Ivan the STALKER
"Duty is... A bit of a joke. They wish to destroy the Zone, while their main 'enemy' in Freedom wishes to simply do what they wish in it, hence the name."
>He idly motioned with a hand.
"They work with the military on occasion, and are basically the only Zone faction aside from the Ecologists who aren't shot at on sight by them. That gives them a bit of an ego trip."
>He quirked an eyebrow at the mention of two anomalies that nobody would go into.
>He might investigate them whenever he eventually finds his way to the Moors, he supposes.
>With a grin, he chuckled.
"An Exoskeleton is the single most protective combat suit in the Zone, and practically my world. It even gives decent anomaly protection, but the Ecologists do have specialized suits to go into anomalies."

>Even if he wasn't expecting the sudden transition of rooms, Ivan managed to stay on his feet.
>Though he looked a bit ill at it.
>With a bit of a groan and a shake of his head, he made his way over to the exoskeleton and looked it over, appraising it.
"This is a lot different than I was expecting. Definitely customization in here that isn't possible back home."
>His hands run over the new exterior, getting a quiet feel for how it would probably feel on his frame.
"Well, if we're going anywhere I'm going to want to be wearing this so I can get used to it, even if its a simple 'drop off a note' run. Looks to be simple enough to put on, even compared to the original models."
>Though he might want to get his hands on some paint eventually.
Bubba the Second
>Bubba gave the sturmtruppen a nod as he passes with her in his grasp, eyeing them to make sure he'd be able to even get out the door.

>Bubba listened closely to him, eyebrow twitching a bit at "Bavarian-Korean Empire" but refraining from commenting.
>Definitely something to ask about later.
>"Of course they have a Saxon pun. Why wouldn't they?"
"Nordic or barbarian tribes, perhaps. Certainly older than the three of us. She'll be fine, I've seen some... miracles out of these ponies."

>Bubba eyed him for a moment, before nodding his head.
"Relax, this is informal. What's your name?"
Razorback Fortress: The Courtyard, Rasera's Tent
GM Strangler
>Side-eyeing the orb, Rasera's vocal inflection was a solid wall of disappointmarent.
"Am not know why Lunars have of old learner one, lots places have of good ones, even in Hegemony. New ones better, too."
>Shifting to cross forelegs over her chest, the right hoof lifts to tap her chin lightly as she gives a questioning look.
"What is profession of you if safe say? And, am see human castle when come early. Rasera see one-"
>Preventing yet another neigh by frowning and not finishing the work.
"Like here but that castle.. one of five smaller?"
>Ignoring the dragon-spirits having made their decision, they were now posturing in some sort of post-brawl ritual as if to show both sides won.
>In entirely different events, no less.
"Smallest herd is batpony of Moors. Batpony have stallion, mare. Some think weird way. Unicorn stallion, two mare, rare three. Pegasus stallion, two mare, sometime three, rare four. Earth pony... stallion, five to ten mare."
>At that Rasera visibly contracts in a full body cringe, yet recovers and continues to speak as if that didn't happen.
"Neighpon is come from long ago earth pony! One stallion, two three, four mare most. Saddle Arabian also come from long ago earth pony, same as Chinays. Not know what place long ago earth pony from."
>Motionless, though blinking at your hand, the sable mare gives a dumbfounded look.
"What of mean?"
>Cheto hums softly in turn at this new information, keeping in mind there are more up to date versions of translator orbs to possibly scour out if learning languages takes too long.
>It won't stop him from learning it himself though.
>A monotone tone lacks the appropriate charm from genuine expression in the language

>His humming continued, looking a little uncertain, before eventually giving her a nod.
"I'm a diplomat," the man tentatively revealed with a little sheepish smile. "As for the human castles you saw, I really can't say much since I know little."
>Hopefully the reveal isn't going to make things awkward...

>José listened intently, keeping tabs on the expected number of mares each stallion of the cultures mentioned had.
(Diez yeguas por padrillo de tierra? Fua...)
>He'd also take note of Rasera's own herd inclinations as that may help him figure out how to proceed in what was coming next.

>Seeing the sable mare looking on in utter confusion, José gave her a slightly amused, sheepish smile.
"Well," he admitted "I may have done many things with this hand on mares that could be considered dubious."
>Having said that, he cautiously brought up his other arm into the mix, now both staring right at Rasera's snout.
"I really don't want the translator to mix up the words," he continued "so I figured demonstrating my actions on you may be the best bet to clear up any misunderstandings."
Imminent Retrieval: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
'Fear not Enginseer Castella, I am a Xenotechnologist machine-spirit in service of Her Blessedness High Inquisitor Velasi Aguina.'
>Subtlety: zero.

>Slowing to a halt alongside you, Nasiksta blanches at the weapons fire while staring through the portal, then quickly slings the bulky submachine gun across her back.
>Leaning close to whisper at your helmet, the girl's tone was one of deep seated awe with a tinge of fear.
"Is a Solar pony, may know Princess of Sun-"

>Going silent as Chisan walks into view, he'd holstered your Laspistol and was approaching the winged equine with hands upraised looking as if he was about to negotiate.
>Which you knew had the potential to turn all sorts of wrong considering Storm Troopers utterly lacked diplomatic skills, except for the rather suspect Inquisitorial variety.
"I must ask you to forgive this team behind me, they have stood down, they not harm you again. I am fully at fault for this mistake and will accept any punishmarent you deem fitting."
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Sanctioned Inquisitorial Neighgotiation
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]
>Wings flapping once before settling on its sides, the small equine figure stands up, then straighter still, and one last time, head craning up to try meeting the Scion's eyes.
>At the very least it wasn't trying to deflagrate the building.

'more controlled than any Plasma enchantmarent, enginseer. that pseudo-filly is known as a Sunspot. archaic records inquisitor stole denote Princess Celestia created several semi-artificial sapient equine likes to serve as heralds, messengers, well wishers, diplomats. none have been seen since Lunar-Solar War, all presumed deceased or destroyed. we might be in luck here'
>Andronal quietly slips into high-band contact while Witch-Two does her best to contain the Tracker twins' curiosity, a tiny datafile from M32 being unlocked for your view.
'index table: imperium mechanicus studies, hypothetical sapient entities, unknown coronal potentials. based on extraneous coronal physics of energetic mass given full sapience. estimated chance of possible occurrence: 0.00000001%. need to confer with others'

>Straightening her helmet, field pack, then clothing nervously, Nashka tries to silently follow you stepping out of the vault into realspace.
>To your right the old Commissar was shoving two of the three younger males back towards the entrance, muttering hotly while the last one was in power-walking retreat.
>Easily spotting the damage to floor and walls, the impacts were rather substantial, although the crater Chisan had left with your Laspistol was still smoking.

>Outside of the warped portal's view, the pegasus 15M from you was far less of a threat than initial inspection suggested:
>Barely two and a half feet tall, if that, the neck, saddle, and flank were curved similarly to Raindrop, though less pronounced.
>The entire coat was a shifting bright red, though not eye searing, while the mane and tail were a spicy white-orange shifting mix that would probably give any non-hardened thermal system severe fits.
>The eyes that rotate to inspect you were a soft blue, rather fitting given the relatively low physical heat radiating off her.

>Considering the possibilities, you recall a large number of extinct xenos species the Imperium had encountered that were known to have limited control of energetic or fully incorporeal mass.
>Outside psykers whom could rarely manifest such, or the so-called faith of the Adepta Sororitas and their 'miracles', the most similar occurrence was a baffling spaceborne entity during the early Great Crusade stages.
>Capable of controlling entropic shifts throughout an entire solar system that ranged from barely more than a few hundred to over a million degrees, it was eventually destroyed by use of massed battleship weaponry set to fractal disruption patterns.
>Which of course destroyed the solar system it inhabited, including all fifteen planets and hundreds of moons.
>Another close variance were the variety of bizarre flame and magma creatures the Imperium had dealt with, capable of similar yet far less lethal temperature control.
>Unfortunately, there were no other references you could locate on plasma-based life forms, nor could the Xenarite machine-spirit.

"Please don't do that again, I might not die but those really hurt."
>Came the less squeaky response after half a minute, the much younger and completely unaccented voice could, you think, pass as being Raindrop's sister.
"Well, okay, can we start over before your things bit me?"
"At your leisure."
"O.. kay? Um, I dunno how but something woke me up. Heard voices above me so I jumped up to the roof and looked around for a while. Didn't see anypony except you four taller.. minotaurs?"
"We are not minotaurs. No hooves or horns, see?"
"Oh, okay. That's a little weird. Well, I watched you four and the big pegasus for a bit then I jumped in here and.. those things bit me."
"May I ask what your purpose was here? According to a report this city was abandoned six hundred to nine hundred years prior to now."
"Really? That's a long time but it's okay. I lived in Twin Hill for a while until most of the ponies left, they didn't like something around here. A while later mom said I didn't have to do anything for her anymore so I went to sleep. Woke up a few times when the really big storms hit, but until now it's been really nice just to nap. Dunno what else to say."

'hit Chisan in the face if he screws this up. please.'
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Whiplash politely waves at Denra, receiving a nod in return form him and slowly begins shuffling towards door.

"Exactly what the Day and Royal Guard do for the most part. Sometimes they can be convinced to not destroy what they don't understand, just not always. Freedom huh? Sounds groovy."
>Leaping straight up and onto Krinza's table, the batmare's eyes glint in humor while spinning around to face you.
"I get it now, they're named for how they function. You might want to get in touch with Canterlot Underground at some point. About three, maybe four thousand unicorns, all pretty serious about studying rather than tossing stuff into a black hole or worse. Met a few, they're not high strung like most unicorns. Also heard they retain a bunch of marecenaries and a few Crystal ponies too."
>Peering at the suit's back appraisingly, she gives a short hoof tap, then reaches out to poke the helmet using both sets of wingclaws.
"Heavy. Protective. Brutal. Like minotaur slab armor only smaller. I'd wear one but it doesn't look all that fast. What about those special suits, how do they look? And is there anything similar here that you've seen so far?"

>Outside the few Zone workshops that could even repair an exoskeleton, the modifications made to this one were much more complex, though given the amount of material and expertise Razorback had on hoof this was a fairly 'normal' refit.
>Except for all the gutted electronics, capacitors, fiber or cable bundles, and heaps of servos piled next to the tungsten anvil.
>Behind that was one of the artifact containers holding the remnants of specialized Zone-produced batteries.
>Which you can only hope that Krinza didn't touch.

"What, made more changes than you were expecting? Krinza's not a perfectionist but he tries real hard. Only took those four maybe a couple hours each. Was trying to nap earlier when the anvils started clanging. Watched most of what they did. Pretty neat, except the noise and all those sparks Naliyna made putting that weird glowing rope looking stuff in it."
>Brushing off the helmet's top, Whiplash's eyes widen when the surface ripples into the same color as her claws.
"Whoa, they actually made it work. I thought Helping Hoof and Lann were joking about color changing paint. Wonder what it'd look like in fog?"

>Taking a closer examination at the frontal plating it the same semi-flexible steel alloy that Krinza used for virtually everything else, making what flexibility it would have had now hindered some by the crystalline fiber bundles packed throughout the internal spaces.
>Noting a series of overlapping armor seams on the shoulders that led to helmet attachment points, entirely unlike the Zone's models this one's refurbishmarent included a rather simple design to climb inside.
>Almost like a spandex jumpsuit, except metallic, bulky, heavy, and now probably costing several months of scavenging work.

>Sitting down, well away from the pile of scrap, Whiplash's eyebrows raise with a typical lazy grin, flicking both sets of wingclaws outwards in small opening motions.
"Color me curious. Need a wing or hoof?"
Razorback Fortress: Old-New Arrivals
GM Strangler
>Partial recognition, and possibly suspicion, flickers in the winter sniper's eyes, glancing upwards once more before giving a hesitant nod.
"How could such archaic- nevermind. Equine technologies are.. impressive yet I have witnessed their unstable and volatile effects multiple times. We have had limited contact save for local inhabitants, the majority of which were considerably less reliant on their 'spell' technologies. Their military personnel share no such idea however."
>Moving to a loose parade rest, the man rocks back on his heels.
"Volfgang Jin-Chul."
>And there it was.
"It is unlikely that we will be allowed to return and I must ask for the mercy of Razorback. I will fully comply with all rules, laws, treaties, and stipulations of such, but-"
>Biting his cheeks for several seconds, Volfgang's eyes narrow.
"On a technicality we are registered residents in Germaneigh but were classed as refugees under hostile threat. I must know if there are relief processes for entering Equestria without formal authorization."
Ivan the STALKER
"Freedom's also more or less the 'Hippy' faction of the Zone. They're the most lax when it comes to drugs aside from Loners and even Bandits or Renegades. Though the Renegades have been wiped out... more than once."
>He grimaced a little.
"Renegades are barely tolerated by even the Bandits. Absolute degenerates who deserve extermination."

>He'd idly sort through the pile of scrapped electronics with the tip of his boot before turning back to the exoskeleton, appraising softly nodding his head.
>"They'd have to use their own technologies to repair it, not too surprised."
>He'd have to extensively test the suit out later.

"We don't have this special paint, for instance. The closest we've gotten to this are complex paint schemes."
>He glances over at Whiplash.
"Weird glowing rope looking stuff?"
>"Probably replacement electrical wiring."

>With a bit of a shrug he'd begin to remove his Sunrise bodysuit, working down until he was in his underclothes, showing off a lot more of his pale body. And extensive scarring along his legs and arms.
"Looks a lot easier to get into than a Zone model, shouldn't take more than a couple minutes."