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Razorback Company.png
#Operators in Equestria: The Dark Horse Arrives
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.

>Fortress Map:

>Overall Pastebin:

>Bulletin Board:

>Previous Thread:
>>279343 →
605 replies and 79 files omitted.

>An apparent reconnection has been made.
>An often lauded and much maligned "third sense" that from his Earth at least, never bore much fruit beyond a specific project that was certainly much different from the common idea of the concept.
>Yet, yesterday's delusion has become today's reality.
(Command would have a hard time believing this. Research's occultic branch would probably be having a field day... )

>A strangely familiar intuition actualizes itself within the operative's mind.
>A model, a framework of perception that achieved its results based on intuitive understanding.
(Not far removed from some models of magic in fantasy novels and anime. The "Art of Visualization" where rules are defined by the user's cognitive limits and an energy resource. Does this mean I can genuinely claim to have an evil power sealed within my arm? )
>It thankfully felt hale and wholly familiar as if acknowledging something that had long been present but never named.
>One of the benefits of an intuitively driven power.
>The impetus for this actualization seemingly traced to an understanding of the nature of utilizing enchantments, treated as an extension of one's self despite not being an original part of it.
>The potential for this power was staggering...
>And the implications were disturbing.
(Initial guess was correct. Any human is capable of developing these powers. Then the potential for contamination is extreme beyond measure. Possibly even greater harm than mere technological introduction or cultural contamination.)

>The need for a firm, effective methodology to control its development would be critical.
(Both for myself and for other human psionics. Another structure that will need to be implemented alongside even more Damage Control.)
>Razorback may have some viable teachers for the "types" of psionicism, but current pressing issues need to be addressed first.
(Would prefer not to involve even more ponies into human affairs. May be best to seek out Tipper given her unfortunately copious experience with human affairs already, but only if this operation succeeds fully... otherwise the stress may damage her.)
Sunny Feathers
>Well, that didn't work. In fact it had made matters a lot worse.
>As the vortex of hostile opposing energies began to form around her, Sunny realised it would be a very, very bad idea to remain amongst them.
>Somersaulting off the cloud and away from the epicenter of the vortex, Sunny examined what she could of it with what little she knew.

[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] < M.Evasion - K.I.A
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]

>The Void energies appeared much more violent and insistent than the other two, but there was a good chance the Overdark and Ethereal energies would tag team it in a sense. It was hard to tell which would come out on top.
>She may be able to do something about the Void breach given the energies that suffused her, but only if it overwhelmed the other two and only if she was very, very lucky. At least something positive would come of that particular inconvenience, but then, this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't been suffused with those energies to begin with.
>Opening her mouth, nothing came out, whatever Mercy had done to her still held its sway, she had not even succeeded in breaking out of the Overdark.
>No communication whatsoever, no tools, no reinforcements.
>Further, she wasn't tall enough for this ride, nothing in her arsenal would have any effect. Her hoofclaws may, but so much as getting near a breach like this was much too dangerous, to say nothing of what would be coming out of it shortly, and what it would be dragging in.
>So she wouldn't be able to tip the scales in any way.

>Mercy seemed to be having a rough time, she couldn't be sure, but it looked as if two of the conflicting energies were conflicting inside of her.
>Sunny felt at once remorse, and no sympathy for the mare. She could look after herself, as she had just made very clear.
>José's shoulders sag a little as the two mares briefly scuffled a little more, mentally cursing his mistake, before finally letting out a little sigh of relief as Shanis directs her focus towards him.
"I appreciate the check, miss Shanis."
>However, he soon turned pensive, lightly inspecting Lann's spare coat by pinching the fabric with his fingers.
"What does your cloak look like, if I may ask?"

>Now directing his attention towards the slightly more cheerful, Gallo happily nodded in understanding.
"It may be because I am not used to swimming, but I find it fascinating to think about how the body can move underwater. It has this feeling of flow that I can't grasp on land."
>He soon chuckled softly at his admittedly plain observation before gingerly continuing.
"As for gem carving, do you think it'd be a worthy skill to have if I wanted some seal friends?"
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room
GM Strangler
>Self-isolated thoughts filter calmly as your body recuperates through vague skeins of time, the Elemarental Plane's mostly helpful exterior comprehensions were silent.
>No, there wasn't an evil power, Only responds.
>What you have was a decisively engineered, analogous bond of Lightning, resulting from a combination of intellectual greed, purposeful overcompensation, and semi-reckless experimarentation to grant then-future equines of the later Middle Dynasty Era specific properties which could be passed down to future generations.
>Project 220 of Refined Batch 11 was labeled inconsistent by researchers frightened of Tallus' Elemental Cores, potentially returning to destroy their work, yet proved to be successful.
>The specific one Denra randomly hoofed to you managed to bridge thousands of divides between human and equine genetics.
>While he fully responsible for the Enclave Party's rather nasty end results, Denra did suffer from several weeks of painful Elemarental imbalances, and minor digestive tract distress, from it.

>Cognizant long before your eyes open in the sealed partition, neural pathways, muscles, tendons, and vascular systems throughout the body prepare for activity.
>Waking into a thoroughly energized, and for once, fully restored state, it felt as if 18 hours had passed, though you'd only slept right before Dusk.
>Tallus Entropy had little claim on sapients here.

>Outside of the ionic barriers, Katyal, Lonestar, and Hodch were sitting in the rug's center, Nibbles lounging atop the stallion's saddle, surprisingly normal deliberations occurring between them as the first two share rations.
"Nah, none of the Overlander's systems are good as the originals. If I wanted print outs it'd take a while. "
"Understood. Likewise my maps on the surrounding region and virtually every piece of knowledge is excruciatingly out of date. I think it best we do not head east or west greater than five human standard miles at most from the main road. Is that acceptable?
And good Dusk to you, Pare. We are planning a travel route."
"What's up sleepyhead, feeling great like the rest of us do?
Ehhh, make it ten miles and I'll agree. Been around enough Ess-Ay's Dynasty ruins to know staying near paths like this one are just as bad as avoiding them."
"Why's that? And good Star's evenin' to you."
"That Abomination Hodch was talking about before we came in here is.. basically like a standard suite of mutations. Small predators half my size become about a third the size of your APC. They'll start developing unusual behaviors, become omnivorous or worse, have mutated weapons, armor, and abilities they shouldn't."
"Have you studied them enough to know whether or not they are related to the creation, production, deploymarent, use, or potential loss of Elemarental Cores?"
"Not me directly, no. The Circle's researchers have a few hundred stacks of pages solely on Dynasty related Abominations. So far as they've been able to pin down in Early to Middle Dynasty records, there was a definite contamination vector in nearly every Lab and research facility. Personally I think there were two, at, worst three.
There's maybe five ponies in Ess-Ay that can read the language. Er, some parts of the language. Or languages. Which doesn't help, I know."
"I can translate a few words thanks to Spiral but the vast majority are too far condensed to comprehend. Any indications on what influenced such vectors?"
"Nothing beyond 'we know X1 did Y5L, therefore L500XY is a huge threat we have to avoid'. In other words: not one single fucking idea."
"The same as Lunars, Moorites, and my Order. We remain dumbfounded."
"......this is partial speculation on my part, but Silverbitch was much smarter during the Early Dynasty. She set out huge goals in broad terms back then. So, those Labs, research bases, Temples, and whatever else work for centuries, entire generations from different schools of knowledge and most species start adding up.
They make thousands of breakthroughs, record what they can, but don't know what to do. Then in the Middle Dynasty Era shit starts getting out of control. Between the variations of Elemarental Cores, biological research, and motherfucking Anti everywhere, everything starts breaking down."
"Hm. The only groups that did not contribute were the Crystal Conclaves, Kingdom, Empire, and Changelings-"
"You're forgetting the Crystal Lorekeepers."
"...I was about to exclude them. They, and I mean the Crystal Lorekeepers, kept all of their records. Activities, research, production quotas, food, everything. None of which directly aids us but the information may prove useful.. if we could cross-reference their own records against the Fallen and Remnant Dynasties.
Harpies, whether native, Extra-Planar, or Otherworld hated her as well, though we've no contact with them outside of individuals here and there.
The vast majority of Dragons, sapient wyrms and drakes, Neighsians, Ewerup, and a large amount of Argentum wanted nothing to do with the Dynasty."
"So, what's the plan?"
"I will agree to ten miles east or west, but we will deviate the second any of us pick up so much as a single unusual sensation or particle. We need to avoid all possible contacts and conflicts."
"Agreed, With that outta the way I'm gonna step out, check and see what's gone on since we took this damn nice rest stop."
[1d100 = 41]
The L.O.N.T
>Lont stood there, brow furrowed as he listened. He was confused. They were using battlesong to communicate.
>He then noticed that Vokreed was the only one from the Crystal Host to pay him any heed, staring him down.
>Then the Ethereal spoke. Confirming and bookending the private conversation of the Host. What piqued his curiosity was it was in plan Common.
>"Did he speak in Common due to me being here?"
>Before he could ask himself why, the Minor Champion moved up on him. He tracked the Ethereals' axe and breathed in relief that he put it away behind his shield.
>This relief however was cut short by Vokreeds question.

>Lont's mouth opened then closed as a flood of memories wracked his mind.
>The Anti in their radios Spiral made, as a means track those that use them and to protect against tampering. And of course he fought a core of the Solar Tyrant, made out of Anti, which he bashed at with his sword. He must of stunk to high heavens of the stuff.
>Razorback was guilty of using Anti, which is a threat to the Empire.
>He felt his throat dry up, forcing him to cough.
>That threatening look. What will happen to him or Razorback if he pleaded guilty? Will he be cut down on the spot. Perhaps that's why the Empire forces were so distant. What better opportunity to snuff out a bunch Anti-infected when they are too tired to fight back.
>But in the Basin Village of all places? Maybe this was their golden moment to do this rather than assault the Fortress.
>"Yet I was in the Empire numerous times and nopony batted an eye at me nor anyone else, not even Belregard said anything! So if its a threat to the Empire surely death isn't the only solution for it. No, no I'm overreacting. He has that look in his eyes because I am an Otherworldly being that reeks of Anti. He wants the truth, so I'll will oblige him."

>The winged Operator was silent for a heavy moment when the Ethereal asked his question. A cough escaped from Lont as his mouth was dry. Rapidly blinking he focused on Vokreeds four eyes. Determination was in his own.
>"He is an Ethereal, so I must lay out my case like one."
"Guilty. Guilty of harbouring the element known as Anti."
>Now or never.
"Addendum! It must be noted that Razorback was ignorant of the dangers Anti posed towards the Crystal Empire. For we used this element as a safety measure within our communication technology. If we had known the threat it has towards our esteemed allies we would not have used it to begin with, and in this regard we will remove all Anti from Razorback to ensure the security of the Crystal Empire."
>He waves off the Commarender's worries with a small smile.
"It's fine, Ma'am. It was offered to me by those who originally wielded them. They woke up, right when I was checking their crypt for the restoration. I don't intend to use it for anything other than its original purpose. Hopefully, I never have to."
>Jeff looks over at another Lunar nearby scarring themselves.
>His turn, now. Or never.
>The Channeler focusing back onto him, he takes her words in and considers their meaning.
>On display for all to see. A mark he'll have to wear for the rest of his life.
>A mark only those who have felt the loss of other ponies... loss of your herd. The feeling is a universal pain to him. Human or pony, it didn't matter.
>A dedication to the sacrifice all here have made, to everyone that ever makes it.
>He looks back down at the blade, eyes close lost in thought as what to etch onto himself.
>Lots of cliche words that hold little meaning to the memorial go in and out of his mental list.
>What is something that anyone that looks upon him can relate to?
>Not just a word with a single meaning. Something that can transcend, apply to various aspects.
>To ponies, giving their lives for an honorable cause is almost to a fault. But it comes at a cost to those that survive. To not be able to have those family, friends, comrades, even would-be's beside them, herd or not, takes a massive toll.
>He felt that enough through Vestal, hours ago.
>But here's not much else you can do after they're gone. You can mourn, remember, carry on their will. What else CAN you do for those that are already dead?
>Jeff opens his eyes, focus set on a word.
>He drops to his knees for a more stable yet dignified position, bringing the blade up to his face. As if a dignified warrior of bygone eras.
>Mulling over his options for a canvas, he rules out the throat. His skin is a lot thinner than pony hide, and his armor usually covers his neck.
>Around the eyes and his nose were too small to etch anything worth across them.
>Jeff aims the tip of the blade toward his left jaw, closer to his chin and right before the corner of his mouth.
>Taking a deep breath and softly clenching, he touches the edge against his skin to get a feel for what's to come.
>He wasn't afraid of cutting himself, but merely silently bracing for the pain that the Void enchantment was going to bring.
>Remembering to use the verbal form of the word in EnKee, he starts the first letter near his chin and carves across his jawline up to his ear.
>For those that have selflessly given up that right, so that others may cherish it. To experience life fully is to honor their sacrifice.
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <Synaptic Voidcleanse
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <E.Iron Will
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <Junior Batponies
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Proficient Lunar Military
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Proficient The Moors
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Senior Starborn
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
>A response approaching amusement crosses Pareidolia's mind.
(It was a cultural reference, but I appreciate the information. The confluence of these circumstances feels orchestrated despite everything. Likely paranoia on my part. One can hope.)

>Feeling awake in a deep seated sense, he braces himself upright off the bed and inhales deeply.
(Strange clarity. Best to avoid attachment to these sensations. Long term residence on this plane is not part of the plan.)
>Clasping his helmet to his palm with a quick Sticky application, he dons it.
>Staring at the empty display, he reviews the recent events he experienced with the sort of lucidity only found from a deep, effective REM sleep.
(The controlled state of this room should be safe for electronic activation. Prolonged stay has determined the climate to be stable. May have been safe from the beginning. Not a major loss to do so now, however.)
>He reaches behind his head uncovering and pressing the activation switch before closing the protective cover once more.
>Nodding to Shiibo as she boots up, he quickly provides a concise elaboration of the current state of affairs including his efforts in creating a conceptual weapon and psionic discovery.
>Manifesting his unnamed graviton pulse "pistol", he provides a full encompassing view of it to the helmet's sensors as he attempts to contain a graviton.

[1d6 = 4]<Gravitic Coaxing

>He parts the canopy and steps out with his pack carried behind him.
>With a glance behind him, he wills the bed to return to its former state.

>Seeing the rest of the group congregated, he makes his way towards them and seats himself next to Hodch and Nibbles.
>Katyal's question garners a shallow nod from him as he unclasps a glove, presenting his hand towards Nibbles for a standard introductory inspection.
"I seem to have uncovered nascent psionicism. Nibbles, is there anything else on or in me that I should be aware of?"
>Noting the topics of potential threats and charting a travel route, he also switches his helmet's projector on with a free hand to display the maps from Spiral's Lab.
"For cross reference in the event they're needed."
>Clemency gives the harpy aircraft a good walk around, almost as if he was conducting a pre-flight checklist on the thing
>So far, the theoretical aerodynamics the aircraft seemed to be made for impresses Clemency
>The aircraft looks like it can perform and handle most aerial maneuvers and with the weapons, provide good CAS
>He was a little confused by the symbols on the harpy vessel
>Only appearing when he was close to it
>"Thought it was dead, unless..."
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Senior Advanced Aerodynamics
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Senior Advanced Post-Orbital Technologies
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6 = 6] <Apprentice Aeronautics Engineering
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Proficient Aeronautics Theory & Implementation
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3] <Observer Aerospace Navigator
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] <Graduate Advanced Human Aviation
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Senior Dual Jet-Turbine Aviator
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6 = 1] <Apprentice Engineer
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11] <Teacher Fighter Jet Aviator
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <Teacher Pilot
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6 = 2] <Apprentice Researcher
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <Graduate Single Engine Propeller Aviator
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6 = 5] <Expert Wingman
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 6] <Expert Aviator
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <Expert Perception
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]

>Hearing the Guillotine, Clemency is relieved to hear that she is fine all things considered
>Her initial question did make Clemencyy check the Airstreams in his immediate vicinity
>He did expect them to be more calm now since the fighting is over
*"It's good to hear you are well, Guillotine."*
>It's not surprising that she noticed the Construct fleet incoming
>But they really are focused on the Riftseeker's destruction to ignore the Guillotine's presence
>More credence given to the messages Clemency seen from them and Mercy speaking for them
*"The Constructs. They are only here for the Riftseeker. We are already in agreement with them to only allow them to fight and destroy it."*
>With the amount of Constructs coming, he was even more glad to not have stayed for the fighting
>Clemency does wonder if there would be any Basin Arena left after the Constructs are done

>Hearing the Cultist mare walk towards him, Clemency looks down to meet her gaze
"I'm just glad it isn't trying to kill me."
>Clemency did share a grimace with the leadmare
"Watermelon rind? Why that?"
>Nodding to agree with her, Clemency begins to search around for the silver case
>After pulling it out, he brings it before the pillar and inspect the digital symbols more
"It's Harpy alright. Ancient otherworld Harpy but there's extra symbols. I'm also not fluent in it."
>Hopefully the hardcase does something to help out
Two Breaches: A Renewed Struggle on the Surface & In Depths Untouched
GM Strangler
Myrrir King.jpg
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_aUIls1fwQ

>Vomiting a stream of negligently absorbed hostile energies out, Mercy's state was not-quite-hating-everything-yet-but-I'm-getting-closer-every-second-to-it.
>Twisting about and diving straight into the encroaching Void, contamination of realspace heavily distorts the swamps and bogs surrounding her-
[1d6 = 4] <B.Iron Will
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 5] <Spectrum Dive: Breach
[1d6+7 = (4+7) = 11] <E.Flight
[1d6+7 = (1+7) = 8]
[1d6+7 = (4+7) = 11]

>Erratic, geometric crystalline ripples and breathing, erratic dark shapes flood into reality as you attempt to leap, dragging the mostly damaged cloud with all four hooves into a slightly slowed backwards roll.
>Void and Ethereal clash into each other, the first a profusion of claws, blades, tendrils, teeth, wrenched out shadows of Void Divers, among far worse sliding into view.
>Sections of the Ethereal Plane itself swing open, endless rows of subdued, barely functioning, damaged, or repairing Golems in lines far longer than you could rationally visualize, massive right handed weapons and left shields snapping upwards.
>Millions of quadruple eyes pulse, archaics turning to face down inherently hostile Void creatures, the closest already being torn apart by monstrosities that you had no names for.

>Then... he arrives:
>One of the few known beings that Moorites and Lunars had both agreed upon a name for, with no need to move in order to comprehend the infinite or less, he knew you existed, yet did not mind.. but was far less forgiving towards the Spirit Walker.
>At the extreme edges of vision and comprehension, far below you, vast fragmarents of murky, tinged silver coalesce, solidly transparent one-tenth of a second, corporeally transient the next, the form reflects Moonlight into the Void, back again, between, apart, and through.
>What might pass for a mountainous shard, or perhaps more correctly an imprint, extends towards you, or it may have been doing so.
>Thousands of hushed, whispering voices congregate together as it points.. elsewhere.
This is no place for an Equine, finite one. The Blasted wake. Escape, swiftly.
>Unbearably precise motions of fractal patterns shake realspace as backlashes from the Myrror King's mere presence rend the far less stable waves of higher spectrums, smashing into the cloud-chariot-raft, sending it, and you, on a rapid crash course you had no idea where-
[1d100 = 83] <Altitude
[1d100 = 57] <Backlash Intensity
[1d100 = 15] <Spectrum Overload: The Blind
[1d360 = 167] <Direction

[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Myrror King: Desecration
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Critical Void Infestation
[1d6 = 5] <The Black
[1d6-1 = (2-1) = 1] <Archaic Ethereal Golems
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <Archaic Ethereal Moss-Wisp Host: Return
[1d6 = 2] <Ethereal Plane: Realspace Subordination
Sunny Feathers
>There went Mercy, gone beyond her ability to keep track of. Odds were that she would head back to the Arena after a spell, but perhaps not. As far as Sunny knew, she was as good as removed from consideration.

>Turning back to sights-she-could-barely-comprehend and regret-for-bringing-into-this-phase-of-existence, all she could do was pull the cloud away from it.
>She felt the Overdark recoil and all but cease to exist, and yet what Mercy had done still held, only forcing her higher and higher into the spectrum, right to the very edge of what managed to remain.
>Then something much more coherent and at the same time less punctured her perception.
>She knew of this one, though could not quite remember from whom she had learned of it.
>Sunny was still unable to speak, she couldn't ask either of them to stop.
>She had been about to attempt to respond when she and the cloud she rode in on were suddenly and forcibly ejected, all she could do was cling for life as the sudden g forces very nearly knocked her off the cloud, her barely honed pegasus magic kicking in on instinct.

[1d6 = 6] < U.Flight
[1d6 = 4] < B.Cloud Shaping
[1d6 = 5]
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
"Pure silverine sheet exterior atop five ultra tight, stranded black Spectral silk layers from the Moors. Interior was an ultra fine, incredibly soft, fluffy, and warm sheaf of multicolored Crystal Empire lamb wool. Sixteen emeraldine braces across the saddle, Middle Dynasty pieces salvaged from a shipwreck.
Bright rubynine heart-shaped shield on the left side, black iron tower shield on the right in gold. Covered in pegasi decorations, mostly silver trimmed clouds, serrated hoofclaws and wingblades, short twin-beamed lances."
>Glaring southwards for several momarents, Shanis rolls her head onto the hoofrest heavily, left wing flicking in a tight, dismissive motion.
"You're a year and a half too late for that one. It's about four thousand miles southeast of here and buried under a hundred hooves of ice and snow, if not more now. One hoof is four inches by the way."

>Testing the thick, multilayered material, it had significant tensile strength under finely brushed, almost fuzzy outer weave.
>While it looked and felt like cotton there was little air transfer, easily trapping warmth.
>Probably waterproof, too.

>Left flipper raising, Nao curls it inwards to touch her side, then slowly uncurls it, flexing each claw out.
"Humans, being bipedal, do not have the same center of mass and stride that ponies do. It is easier for you to maneuver in tighter locations due to more flexibility, but you also do not have the same easy forward momarentum.
When we must travel on land it is easier to roll, but that makes us dizzy rather quickly. Most prefer the use of a chariot, sled, or occupying a pony's saddle. That is, if they do not mind our weight. We have technically the opposite problem."
>Snout crinkling briefly, the Polar seal's eyes squint before shaking her head in tiny motions.
"The inherent value of each depends on the individual in question. My Colony does not like extravagant or unnecessary, or both, modifications of gems, stones, and natural materials. We prefer objects to be left native if possible, unaltered is perhaps a better word, so I do not know for sure. Round is our favorite shape though."

"I tried to swim once. Sank faster than my last two jobs."
>Rapid scribbling and paper creases halt, an envelope set to the side in a dull purple cloud, Starglow picking up another to stare at.
>Shanis eyes the younger looking Crystal mare, ears flat in visible distaste as she writes.
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3] <E.Appraisal
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <E.Bartering
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
"And what were those?"
"Not dying, and not screwing up. I dislike manabombs more than Constructs, and I really hate walking face first into an ice gouger."
"Never heard of one, but I don't like the name at all."
"Similar to a giant ten-legged wurm without the six eyes. Half the body is a mouth filled with diamond teeth, never see the rest unless they're dead."
"Ethereal or Ice Plane?"
"Marental note number I-don't-know-which-this-is: never visit the Empire Wastelands."
Basin Village: The Crystalline Compromise 2
GM Strangler
>Rigidly unmoving until you cough, Vokreed's eyes shutter closed and open multiple times.
"Admission of cri-"
>Colors rippling at your interruption, the Ethereal bends forwards one degree, which took up at least half a meter of space.
>The crystalline Golem's head swivels to note a number of Operators before settling back on you, silent for half a minute.
"Primary, secondary, and tertiary admissions of long standing criminal behavior recorded. The actions of Razorback Company are deemed willfully hostile and willfully negligent against the Crystal Conclaves, Kingdom, and Empire. The inactions of Razorback Company are deemed the same: willfully hostile and willfully negligent against the same.
Primary Razorback Company affiliate-liasion to the Crystal Empire admitted to unauthorized and illegal ownership of objects capable of producing, storing, and-or utilizing the corrosive Otherworld effect known as Anti."
>Right hand lifting, the forefinger points at your helmet, a thin, coherent line emitting from the tip, then at the armor, Mural blade, last the Spellslinger in quick order.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Traceline
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Ethereal Eye
"Your primary admission of guilt is accepted and recorded as absolute truth.
Primary evidence collected: examination of helmet, armor, close combat weapon, unknown hybrid close combat-ranged weapon, severe Anti contamination. Biological disruptions detected, moderate.
Secondary evidence collected: moderate to extreme Anti exposure detected throughout Razorback Company.
Admission of willful ignorance: negligent. I deem this statement as suspicious, further investigation is required.
Possibility of innocent behavior: zero."
>Pulling the massive shield back to rest against his lower chest, the Ethereal's left shoulder brightens, sprouting five tiny, diffuse plant-like tendrils.
"The Ethereal Plane, under Grand Champion Belregard's proven claim, disallow Razorback Company from entering all regions claimed by the Crystal Conclaves, Kingdom, Empire, and Changeling Hive. Furthermore, the stated regions are granted unrestricted and irrevocable rights to receive at-request reinforcemarents with no limitations allowed.
Exclusion One: lead stallion of venerated Naliyna Remostrine, Crystal Kingdom, former Third Siege Mareauder. Unrestricted access is granted.
Exclusion Two: lead stallion of Sapphire Kiwi, Lunar General. Unrestricted access is granted."
>Giant hand setting down on the shield, the Minor Champion stands upright, unmoving for another ten seconds, then all four eyes narrow again, tapping the shield's top with both thumbs.
"Where and when did Razorback Company gain access to Anti?"
Basin Village: An Old, New Again Ritual
GM Strangler
>Pushing the Channelger out of her way with an undignified grunt, another Lunar Guard unicorn takes her place, offering a pair of ritual blades to the next ponies in line.
"Don't mind her, but do be careful what you use and why. Right now all Lunar crypts, vaults, armories, reliquaries, barracks, Arenas, you name it, are considered off limits for reintegration. We don't have the numbers and trying to make batponies not fill one with entire militias is impossible.
Besides, there's only five platunes of Luminaries right now and four of them are here trying to remove everything contaminating this place."
>Aiding an earth mare in scoring her ears, another squad leader chimes in with a dry tone.
"You must mean the Lumineighers. There are four full platunes with one mostly filled squad and two individuals currently in training. After tonight I do believe there will be calls for new battlelines to be formed."
"That's not the right name to call them."
"It is an honorable and amusing term. They use it quite often for themselves as well."
"Why do I have to keep hearing puns?"
"For the same reason that I have to keep breathing: to correct mistakes and prevent new ones when possible. Mistakes, not puns."
"Are you honest or do you just tell everypony that?"
"Only the ones I like."

>Shutting down your physical perceptions to barely perceptible amounts, the familiar, initial burning-freezing-tearing of Void subsides to minor annoyances.
>Cleanly holding the blade's tip against skin, as you trace the crawling energies firmly upwards in precise motions, mental pain strikes as the first symbol is completed, a second, third, then the final one.
>Holding still as the ritual blade quiets, a bitter sense of calm descends from the Moors itself while an equal one rises within your psyche.
>Flickers of comprehension fold into themselves, images of the short, nearly catastrophic defense pan outwards.
>What was given freely had been honorably kept, and would be upheld as a standard to rally behind.
>Though Basin Village was once held as holy, little knowledge remained of how or yet, yet newly bound by will and blood once more, you hear them:
>Every action, breath, motion, and thought is accompanied, or accompaneighed, by the Moors itself, as much a part of the inhabitants as they were macrocosms to it.
>As it lives, so must you.
>The only expectations that remained were individual.

>Dimly aware of a human, rather, a woman that you had never seen before, standing in front of you, two vibrantly green eyes sparkle.
>Bending forwards at the waist, the woman's left hand raises to place the forefinger on her lips, speaking in a completely flat tone.
>It wasn't a voice.
"Isn't this the strangest place to meet again, but oh well. It happens.
So, how does it feel being here, hm? Is it rewarding? Enticing? Fulfilling? Depressing? Or maybe, just maybe this is the only time you've ever felt honest remorse?
See, there's this problem called 'I don't know much about this human other than he's a real smug bastard some times', but I can forgive that. Really, it's not that hard. Most of the time. Although.. some of us have been known to hold grudges. For centuries even!
After all it took a whole lot of work to build the most perfect, great big entrance until it's just right. And some millennia later a bunch of bipeds stumble by, then it's gone, just like BOOM!"
>Right finger and thumb snapping, an impression of complacency burns off, exposing a furious visage that didn't move even as ponies walk through it.
"Since you can't seem to find yourself all that well, I'll help. I am quite good at that. Honestly it's like a hobby but I treat it as work. Keeping score is awful petty, which I can be. Keep this in mind: I don't like being told no."
>The right hand reaches out to you, palm upwards.. entirely covered in small, green thorns as the figure smiles coldly.
"Normally this sort of thing takes a while, but I'll make this tiiiiiny little exception because you seem to be sincere right now. So, you can either accept, OR, you have no choice other than to take the first punishmarent that crosses my tiny little pink and green bird brain."
[1d6 = 2]
>The conversation regarding the Luminaries is muddled in Jeff's mental backround as he focuses on the task at hand: marking himself for the rest of his life.

>Jeff carves one symbol after another across his left jawline. Finally he finishes the word he decided on, the Void burning on multiple senses across the side of his face.
>But then it subsides. All his senses numb up. His head de-clutters more than it has ever been in the last several years.
>He idly thinks over the importance of the Moors, and its entire system of inhabitants all intertwined as one. Every aspect cannot live without the other. The Moors... was its own little universe.
>Just like how Tallus as a whole was. And whether or not Razorback and humans as a whole were concerned, they were all part of that universe now. They had to live in it, just like everyone else. Within it.

>As Jeff remains kneeling to let the burning stave itself off, a presence makes itself known to him. Right in front of him. Not the Channeler, or the other Lunar just talking to her, or any others around just now.
>A woman, but just the presence. He can sense the form, without a visual of it. Only the eyes make it through his perception. Piercing sparkling emerald eyes.
>She speaks, but there is no voice. Yet he hears her monotone in his head.
>Despite not recognizing her, this is apparently not the first time they've met.
>Any fear or apprehension gave in to exhaustion and curiosity, at this point.
>SHOULD he know this entity?
[1d6 = 2] <Intuition

>He keeps his inner thoughts to a minimum, not sure if she can read him like a book. Given the circumstances, it was probably.
>She asks how he feels, having been brought to this point. Inevitable was a good word. This feels... pivotal to him.
>Daring not to talk back and potentially piss her off, Jeff remains silent as he observes her monologue at him, about him.
>What entrance? What had she built or helped build that they destroyed?
>A snap of her unseen fingers, and the flat face burns away to a much more appropriate angry facade.
>That's more like it, assuming the shit he and humanity have apparently pulled against this entity so far.
>She'll... help? Find himself?
>Yeah. That's what he's felt like, for a while, hasn't it?
>He's felt... out of sorts. He can't commit... not sure what he should be doing anymore.
>She extends a hand out to him. Covered in thorns. A cold smile.
>This offer wasn't out of the goodness if its heart.
>Should he really trust this entity, at a time like this, offering such a thing?
>Jeff looks at to where the entity's hand should be.
>For all he knows, she could be an after effect from the Void blade. Some interesting trick from a caster? Or is he really crossing paths with some obscure being who's only focus was on him right now?
>So it was either help him unfuck himself, or take a mysterious punishment.
>What did it mean by that last part, though.
>...my tiny little pink and green bird brain.
>A hint to its true form? A gryphon, maybe a harpy?
>The long night was taking its toll on him. Jeff was too tired to refuse, but that didn't mean he was going to agree to something blindly.
>He begins to raise a hand to meet her's, but stops halfway toward the thorny hand.
"As nice as helping straighten myself out sounds, as I'd willingly accept your offer, why should I trust you? Who, what are you? What guarantee do you have that you actually want to help me?"
Taking A Lead, Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room
GM Strangler
>Functional and online in record time, 'Shiibo' checks her previous background task list, then offers a short, acknowledging bow.
>The AI studiously records your words, facial expressions, and runs a voice analysis, just in case, which clears as truthful.
>Adding new topics to correlate later, the limited technological systems register minute shifts in local electromagnetic spectra, which the avatar stiffens at.
>Examining the weapon as best she could, then comparing to her library, what you felt was not sensing external electrical fields: an unappreciatively fast particle had moved into close proximity, remaining around you, as if to find competence.
>It was expecting, and appraising, at the same time.
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]
'This is highly uncomfortable. And nonsensical. I can feel unknown pressures throughout the helmet's material. Local EMF distortions present, causes speculative, sir. Note that my following words are implied under consensual duress.
The implications of a single semi, fully, or autonomously magical Graviton becoming acclimated and attuned to the usage of a single individual are.. possible.
There remains a potential for direct neural connection based upon your physical, mental, physiological, psychological, and Elemental attunement to Gravity-based conceptual particles.'
>Regardless of Shiibo's words and phrasing, a selection of respectful Gravitons stay in the vicinity of the Storm King's Room.
>Each remains potentially accessible, though wary.

>Sitting back from her unidentifiable MRE remnants, Katyal's right hand lifts to cover her mouth, a deliberate expression of sincere apology on her face.
"You got the worst result. Don't want it, ignore it until there's a better something or other."
>Lonestar stares at her in disbelief, Hodch merely curious, the woman's eyes snapping between them.
"...the fuck is with you two? It is! Look dude, just ignore any urges until they change, then something better might roll up."
"Such as?"
>Stone faced at the not-at-all-innocent unicorn's question, Katyal points her left pinky finger at Lone.
"I'm not saying another word unless or until YOU experience the first offering from Tallus. I'm staying here despite all odds, so fuck you, but-"
>Switching to her forefinger, now pointing at you, Katyal's expression softens, a mixture of severe worry and regret apparent on her face.
"I don't know you, neither does Tallus, so this is your choice: you can let her understand what you need, or tell her that you're not interested. If you don't like her first choice then all I can say is this: wait until you feel different offerings.
Best I can say is this: don't push against, or for, something you don't want to live out. Different world, different rules."
>Arms folding together, Katyal leans backwards as she shrugs.
"And I just remembered the dipshit's name that joined the Rogues Circle in Las Pegasus: Pikeman. A few Elites grabbed him from Tartarus Isle, they asked Shanis first of course. Brought him back and slashed his throat, then dumped his body."

>Dark eyes narrowing at you briefly, the Moor cat stands up on Hodch's saddle, giving a sharp nod.
>Both wings flop outwards as she makes a full body stretch and yawn, pausing to sniff at one front paw, then the other.
>Leaping up and streaking across the Room, Nibbles lands on your right shoulder, clinging to the armor's exterior briefly before flailing around in panic.
>Jumping off and hanging in the air before you, her face creases heavily in distaste, sniffing the air around her several times.
>Making a severe frown, Nibbles stares into the black sapphirine helmet, right eyebrow raising as the left lowers.
>Head cocking, the outermost left claw points your chest, then her, creates a precise circle in air, mimics retching, and finally holds the left paw over her mouth.
>Wings flapping backwards in a somersault and spinning around in air, the Moor cat lands on Katyal's lap, sitting down politely.
>Performing a series of expressive motions for half a minute, the First Responder's face shifts from stolid to concerned.
"If I'm getting this right, she says your armor's emitting a non-physical acid, but some burning-cold sphere is now keeping you safe. It doesn't hurt her when she's not.. directly touching. Is that why you don't like being near him?"
>Receiving three quick nods in a row, concern shifts to revulsion as her left hand twitches.
"Neither corrupted or tainted, acts like Acid but isn't, and simply touching it.... your armor's fucking CRAWLING with Anti dude, I-"
>Paused by a hiss, Nibbles' head swivels around, nodding at Lonestar.
"Him too? Where and what?"
>Sitting back, the bat winged feline flexes out all of her claws, pantomiming swinging a bat with both legs, then mimics a club.
"Both weapons?"
>A final nod is given, Nibbles flopping on her side to stare at Hodch, tail flicking slowly as the Reservist's face blanches, half-shouting at the feline.
"How was I supposed to know?! I've never studied, touched, or seen a single object containing Anti outside the Sunglobes, and those are safe unless fractured! And if YOU knew it, why not tell me!?"
>Whiskers twitching once, the batcat takes on a glare, pointing at you, then Lonestar.
"Whomever said I could recognize Anti was, or is, a liar, so I w-"
"Hold your ass for a minute Hodch!"
>Reaching around to pick up the mythril branch and lay it across his legs, then removing his baton to wave it in a small circle, the naval man scowls.
"Spiral shaped this one, and made this because my old baton was in bad shape. You're saying Pare's armor and both of these contain that shit?"
"Dude's armor burned her paws, but not physically, so.. yeah. Both of you and probably every human in Razorback are super-fucked, so whatever happens don't touch me or I will break your faces."

>Glancing at the projections, Hodch sighs as Lonestar stands up fuming, stepping out from the circle entrance into the OL-3.
"We have a much bigger problem than where we're going.."
The L.O.N.T
>"Good he accepted my addendum. Oh. Oh piss."
>Lont's jaw tightened as Vokreed stated that Razorback, himself included, were being "wilfully hostile" towards the Empire by not knowing about Anti.
>Ignorance wasn't a valid defence in the Ethereals' eyes.
>Why, why did none of the ponies in Razorback bring up this issue with Anti before?

>He pinched the bridge of his brow in growing frustration.
>After all this time of helping the Empire, he has now been barred from entering any of its territories because of the word of this one Ethereal.
"Explanation on Primary Evidence. My weaponry, armour and other equipment along with my own person being contaminated with Anti is due to fighting against a Core of the Solar Tyrant. Its destruction had saturated me with Anti."
>Lont gestured with a hand back towards the other humans that were around the Basin Village still.
"Explanation on Secondary Evidence. It was not just the one Core of the Solar Tyrant that was destroyed within the Fortress of Razorback. Their destruction saturated all personnel, both human and pony. These explanations along with our use of Anti within our communication technology is to highlight that our intentions are not 'wilfully hostile' towards the Empire and all related territories."
>The Operator glanced towards the Empire Host then back to Vokreed, particularly the tendrils sprouting from his shoulder.
"I must plead that there be a distinction made between 'wilfully hostile' and wilful negligence. Razorbacks' actions, MY actions, in assisting the Empire adds credence to our claim of general ignorance of Anti and its contaminating properties."
>None of the ponies told them that Anti was a danger to the Empire, not Tipper, not Naliyna and not even Spiral.
>The Marquis was the one that fitted Anti into all their radios, he must of known of the dangers surely. But where did he get Anti from? Lont didn't know. It was dawning on him in his fatigued state that this situation has occurred because no one asked him where he got it from.
>"Lucky and now Spiral. We just accept things at face value don't we? Never once doing the most basic of background checks."

>Lont looked towards one of the Matrices longingly before answering. His bed was there, so close yet so far.
"Over a year ago a highly esteemed pony within Razorback known as Spiral supplied and fitted our communication equipment with Anti as a protective measure. I do not know how he had access to Anti nor where he obtained it. It never occurred to us to question him, for why would we do so to one of our most respected members of Razorback on a subject matter we knew nothing of."
>How stupidly naïve of everyone. Then again none of the other ponies brought it up as an issue. Did...Did they not know of the use of Anti at all? That has to be it, that is the only logical explanation.
Basin Village: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
>Making a series of comparisons to standard aircraft and running into multiple walls, an idea forms that the potential of this one functioned as a moment's notice, modifiable hybrid design with absolute certainty:
>Visualizing the subjectively stock, barely modified weaponry against Guillotine's, this one was similarly intended to utilize every possible weapon at the same time.
>It could definitely support prioritizing specific weapons at will, particularly given the unusual damage around each barrel resulting from high energetic charges and overloads.
>Variable rear surface wings fit the theory well, while minimal air resistance and efficient multistage engines would allow switching roles at whim.
>The exoatmospheric craft could, whether out of necessity or at-will needs, fit the roles for nearly everything: extreme to close range interceptor, long ranged target acquisition, kill-on-pass multi-strike fighter, in-range close combat fighter, long to close range air support, and potentially bomber.
>Which, at a quick check underneath, there were six inactive bays: three that could easily fit a 100 pound bomb, the fourth a 300 pounder, and the remaining two were most likely special purpose.
>In your own estimations, it was definitively produced and barely modified from original specifications, unlike the near-organic processes and capabilities that Guillotine had.
>While capable of acting in nearly every role, this example was best suited to function as a variable range heavy gunship, deploying heavy, massively energy-efficient long range support fire until closing in on a target larger than itself, then providing extreme damage until the target was destroyed.

>Satisfied that the multirole theory wouldn't fit either human, pegasi, or batpony standards, you begin thinking of a second, potentially likely explanation:
>Upon the Otherworld Harpies reaching Tallus, they would have had a massive amount of assistance from their planetary, or possibly sector based, production facilities.
>Earlier examples and records of their species, well known for the most part, did indicate their need to compensate for unknown physics, their eventual induction to becoming native among the Airstreams was another key asset that could not be ignored.
>Similar to Twisted Wing's near-spiritual teaching on the Airstreams themselves, how they functioned, could be bent to her own needs, and were able to shift in conjunction with the needs of pegasi and batponies, the Otherworld Harpies were capable of analyzing the same.
>They were, from what you could accurately recall, purely physical and wholly scientific based, though their later states would show a much greater psychological, physiological, and Air Elemarental-infused need upon later generations acclimating to Tallus.
>Dating the hard, recognizable Airstream currents throughout the interior, weapons, armor, hull, internal structures, and tech-arcane components within, this specific production line, variable role gunship was slightly less than 15,000 years old.
>Possibly their last refining of aircraft knowledge that would be felt as native, the extent of combining pure science with native magic became a near-religious movement.
>Their efforts had succeeded after multiple generations, but the costs were severe: in order to belong on this world, each pilot would become one with the Airstreams yet in doing so they were forced to suppress, prevent, and destroy every individual condition that would prevent their newfound heritage.
>Becoming entombed as they were in a sarcophagus, the Otherworld Hapries could never leave their chosen vessel, but they would, theoretically, gain more than they had lost: becoming able to feel each particle, wavelength, and shift of matter across their newfound skin of silver-like material.

>Reaching both hands out and testing through the gloves, the Airstreams were severely perturbed
>There were degrees of corruption, taint, and damage here that were being restored, but would take time to recover; a week at best, you figured.
*"Mineself be wellest as caen be ye grace. Untouched an' unharried ye be, 'tis honorous!"*
>A sharp, cheerful noise emitting, Guillotine's connection falls silent, except background thrums that you'd heard while aboard.
>Speaking after nine seconds, her voice was tinged in mixed wonder and curiosity amid deep, brittle hatred.
*"Ye sayeth thine words true, ye grace? Aen agreemarent? How knoweth thee Constructed Twos tae speak an' translate language? How doth they havest contact, unbidden or t'wise?"*

"Same, but I would like to stop being surprised. Starting to think going back to my tree, eating, sleeping, visiting friends, and being lewd whenever I want is a better idea. But that would mean giving up reading, learning, asking, writing, knowing.. which I'd hate in a few hours."
>Tossing a deep seated stare at, but probably through, you, the Cultist allows herself a full body cringe, mane bristling, wings shivering, and face scrunching as if she'd bitten into a horribly unripe giant grapefruit.
"An earth pony said it would be good and I didn't doubt her. Haven't trusted anypony's word since without checking for myself."
>Pulling the hard case you'd been carrying next to the one she'd acquired, most likely taken from the gunsihp, the batmare sits down, snorting half-heartedly.
"From what I've read there's at least twenty different Otherworld Harpy languages and ten or so dialects. They're contiguous, lot of cross-translations that don't make sense to us. It's like comparing Middle EnKee to Pre-Modern Pegasi: some words are easily exchanged, others have connotations that're shared and distinct that earlier or later dialects don't have."
>The cases emit paired loud, unusual beeps, each fold outwards, exposing large, holographic interfaces covered in symbols.. that neither of you could read, the mare bending forwards with raised eyebrows.
"Deeeeefinitely not a language I know. Do any of these look military to you?"
[1d6 = 2] <Translation
Central Moors, Location Unknown
GM Strangler
>Sinking tightly into the cloud raft-chariot with all four hooves and realigning it's molecular structure to withstand incoming Gravity-shocks, the Myrrir King's head turns.
>You regard the partially exposed, silver-black face plate, unseen by aeons forgotten, as he regards your own unknowable and primal connections elsewhere.
Existence are the parameters between finite and infinite meeting again, Equine. Until we convene once more, take Rage anew into storms forward.
>Faceless, nameless dimensions behind it bow, calm amidst the utter disconnect between a renewed, volatile, and barely impeded assault into the Ethereal Plane's deepest sectors.
>The Descendant shifts wordlessly, leaping forwards while shrieking cacophonies of Void sapients following in his wake, millions of archaic Ethereal Golems enveloped, shredded, torn apart, shattered, and irrecoverably destroyed.
>Legions of Elder Moss-Wisps in the thousands blink into existence, overrun before the first could so much as defend themselves.
[1d6+7 = (2+7) = 9] <Myrrir King: Devastation
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Void Host
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <The Black
[1d6-1 = (6-1) = 5] <Archaic Ethereal Golem Host
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <Archaic Ethereal Moss-Wisp Host

>Rising higher into the last Blind remnants, the cloud's direction was knocked well off course, from directly eastwards to almost straight south.
>Kneeling into the cloud's reinforced material, snapping out both wings to guide your path is rewarded by a controlled ascent, though old fractures threaten every movemarent.
>No muscle survives the colossal efforts, from hoof to ear straining to hold against 5.3 gravities of acceleration while feathers spark, harsh, cold blue Airstreams screaming across each.
>Wingblades bending and finally shattering at each micro-degree adjustmarent to retain stability, instinctive movemarents of self-preservation successfully take hold.
>Flight, from ways and in means that were no longer clear, gratifying in all others.

>Gazing across near endless banks of fog, mist, and low clouds that keep the Moors safe, the Sun's first rays show far across Eastern Equestria.
>Small, warm traces of yellow, orange, red, and white that would soon become Dawn flicker as you reach an apex curve.
>Far above gnarled, twisted, and darkly colored fruit trees below, streaks among them flit from branch to branch, wings blurring in rapid paces as they dive down.
>Now was the time for Moorites to forage before sleeping through the much warmer day, baskets and loosely woven saddlepacks being filled with careless joy.
>But stress, and strain, always reap their tolls.
>Riding the severe adrenaline high into agonies that you could not even scream to release and holding fast to the cloud, your last sight is that of a vast aerial presence.
>Bright orange spheres in the tens of thousands, guarded by two that could easily fit Tartarus Isle inside and have room for part of another, holding station, perhaps a few minutes flight away.
Sunny: 0/120 Morale, Unconscious.

[1d1000 = 744] <Recovery
Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
>Dull traces of green and pink click together.
>Lacking physicality as it chose to, the figure's eyebrows raise, appearing in a mockingly wounded state.
>You had met her before at least five times now though not in a similar capacity, and never this close.

>Rocking back outside of realspace, the visage's arms lift and spread outwards, words flowing as concepts quicker than the motions of ponies or Operators throughout the Basin.
"Such an extremely easy question to answer that any foal would know! The best answer is: you don't deserve a choice. Especially since you didn't take the time to listen and certainly refused to care when a lovely Crystal mare and her dutiful stallion tried their best to warn you of terrible consequences that might occur.
But then you ignored and later shamed them, after all. Harassing both for attempting to keep matters quiet and outside of human reach, was that really the best you could do?
But that wasn't enough. To you their actions were absolutely wrong, preventing dangers and threats that humans had no rights interfering in. Pure ignorance is excusable under some circumstances, but unadulterated arrogance with purposefully nasty behavior? Such pettiness."
>Lips curling inwards briefly, the eyes squint as if considering the greatest joke imaginable.
"Let's play not-so-pretend for your benefit.
Imagine that six great big, hulking, brutal Minotaurs find your little Fortress out in the New Everfree. Quiet, unoccupied, no sapients around, and filled with all sorts of shiny materials that they consider valuable for one reason or another.
Now, those Minotaurs awaken and blow up the semi-living entrance to that great big place, without any provocation whatsoever. They don't even attempt to speak! Is that murder? It should be, so I will say it was indeed murder!
Then those Minotaurs stroll in, stuffing everything they can into whatever soft and hard containers they have before leaving. Oh, how horrible, they don't even apologize for their deplorable actions! Why, what despicable and oh so difficult to rationalize individuals they must be! Murder, breaking, entering, mass theft.. but worst of all was their desecration."
>Losing all positive semblances, the human-shape bends forwards, sneering.
"Why would you care now, especially when you should have been a whole lot more reasonable then? I mean, you REALLY tried your best to waste their efforts, which hurts my existence thinking that your species might have been worthwhile keeping around.
But sadly, no, you didn't care then, so why bother now. Ego? Inability to be proven wrong? The fact that you don't truly belong here? Or was it plain, simple, basic jealousy?"
>Instantly reshaped as a small, bright pink winged and green bodied hummingbird, leering black eyes squint without humor.
"This is what I prefer to look like for reasons you haven't even tried to comprehend, although I'm not all that important. One little piece of a huge puzzle which doesn't matter since it'll never be solved. Or it could, just not to you. Neither option means much, really.
But I'm not going to answer. You don't deserve one. An answer, that is. Unlike you, ponies knows when to apologize yet you haven't done that once. Until you did a few minutes ago. Funny, isn't it?"
>Restoring to the indistinct human shape, she takes a half-step backwards, left arm crossing to hold the opposite, right hand lifting to hold her chin.
"Ancient to modern Crystal ponies describe me as 'Linear-In-Nature'. I absolutely love and adore how equines discover the world around them. How they think, feel, consider, and learn. Such excitemarent and wonders they share! They always seek to understand what is complex so they can teach their progeny more concise, simpler methods than what they know.
Isn't it amazing how native life grows and improves upon itself, generation after generation? Why is it so immarensely difficult for you to share that?"
>Shoulders lifting, the figure's arms fold behind her as she leans forwards.
"Since you so easily forgot what I just said, I'm taking your words as a no, therefore I'm not helping you. Just the opposite, but a small caveat might be enough to convince you otherwise! Now you'll have to earn each chance . Or maybe you won't, but that's not my problem. And what good is an insult if said insult isn't repaid equally?"
>Swiping the previously offered hand forwards to grip your own and drag you to a half-standing position, small, hot pinpricks are felt throughout fingers and palm.
[1d6 = 6] <Pain
>Stinging nettle, of a highly toxic subspecies.
"It'd be a shame for new flora to not be thoroughly tested. Those will certainly hurt. But they're not lethal, after all I only created them as a deterrent. Some ponies will assuredly find them tasty of course, though I rather enjoy viability more than appearance or use.
Consider each one like the thorns that you shoved against Naliyna and Thrill. Pain for pain, as it should be-"

>Shifted to a brightly lit, glowing underground bowl at least a mile around, you were standing in front of a small, slow flowing stream.
>The hummingbird reappears, seated atop a giant sparkling emerald, easily weighing eight tons, and behind her are great crystalline trees, strange avian-like creatures flitting between them, choruses of shrill chirps ringing clearly.
"There's a lot of options here so you'll have to choose which one or two to pick. Three if you're daring. Feel lucky? Four. That's always a nice round option. Four hooves for four ponies, the perfect number for a herd... usually."
>Raising the left wing in warning, the aspect's left eye closes.
"But don't push me. I don't think like the rest of us so-called Ancients. Where they prefer to recognize change, I know what succeeds over what does not. Success is after all measured in degrees, so what I really want to see is how worthwhile you, the individual, can be, could be, are, or are not.
My name is Lin, by the way."
371694 371695
>Noting the Gravitons that remained, he makes another attempt at coaxing one to be contained as he walks towards the gathering on the rug.
[1d6 = 4]<Gravitic Coaxing

>Nodding grimly at Katyal, Pareidolia replies.
"That was my plan. Not that I wanted any of this to begin with. Forced to adopt changes based on a higher order being's involvement. I already have to find a suitable culture if I survive on top of this."
>Waving his free hand in a dismissive motion, he rests it back down on his legs.
>He looks up as news of Pikeman's death is provided.
"Noted. Death logged. One less idiot to contain and remove."

>He keeps his body relaxed as Nibbles begins her inspection.
>However, this turns to a rigid flinch as Nibbles suddenly leaps off his shoulder.
>Looking to his right shoulder in alarm, he glances back between it and her despite knowing he wouldn't be able to see whatever caused her severe reaction.
>He leans backwards in disbelief and confusion, internally consulting record logs for possible Anti exposure as the unpleasant revelation is expanded in scope.
"Possible vectors for Anti exposure should be limited to-, yes those Sunglobes which I have not encountered. Spiral..."
>Frowning, his mind races to recall the past events of his optical camo suit's acquisition as he mutters to himself.
"Spiral personally worked on my equipment... he must have known. Why would he do this? Possible Anti manipulation vector? Purposeful tracking? Negligence? Need to consider cleansing procedures."
>He sighs in frustration while his hands work to fish out the Rime Lattice Orb Naliyna gave to him.
"Then apparently the Anti's presence was masked with this Rime orb Naliyna had made on Spiral's request. I do not know how it is achieving this effect. But if it could be utilized to cleanse or remove Anti, or if there are any methods of such available to us, we need to pursue it."

>Looking towards the portal exit as Lonestar leaves, he squeezes his thigh in agitation.
"Knowing our luck, that likely won't be an option will it."
>There goes that little opportunity out of the window.
>José hid away a little snicker at his silly question by gently clearing his throat before nodding at Shanis with a smile.
"I'll keep it in mind. Have you obtained a suitable replacemarent for it?"
>Surely by the useful attributes his own coat had, the assumed pegasus marecenary queen may enjoy another one.

>Gallo smiled wide, fascinated with her well of life experience in Tallus.
>The temptation to try and pull off The Worm dance move was tantalizing after what she said, but he'd rather not offend anyone.
"I believe I understand what you mean. Round shapes are pretty nifty with their lack of jagged edges and ease to push and hold."
>He soon opted to rummage through his stuff to try and find a cool round object in his possession, humming pensively all the while, until he pulled out one of his Spirit Candies for Nao to appraise.
>He couldn't help but to smile earnestly, wondering how a pinniped would react to what probably was an equine treat.

>The human promptly was stunned slightly from Starglow and Shanis's anecdote, once again reminded of how dangerous this place really was undeneath all the pastel ponies and squishy seals.
"May I inquire the purpose of your presence in the Empire Wastelands, miss?"
>Keep it simple and concise.
>No assuming.
Basin Village: The Crystalline Compromise 3
GM Strangler
>Head tipping down slightly, the Minor Champion speaks in a brisk, flat tone.
"Primary statement is non-factual. Probability of indirect lie: minimal. Probability of external misdirection: extreme. Probability of incorrect context: high. Omissions noted, record appended.
Primary correction: the event you state was recorded in early Octember of 29,996. Current cycle: pre-Dawn Septimber 39th, 29,998. The corrosive effects of Class 10 Anti are critically self-destructive and considered unnecessary to treat.
Relevant data: Class 9 Anti exposure requires two treatmarents, Class 8 requires five treatmarents, continuing in order. Extended Class 3 exposure to Anti is responsible for numerous beings listed under the following common classifications: 'Abomination', 'Infected', 'Malformed'.
Class 2 Anti exposure is inherently lethal to all biological lifeforms and derivatives. Class 1 exposure is unknown, there are no recorded survivors.
Addendum: the Enchained individual known as Sweet Dreams, an Independent Assassin formerly of Manehattan, now residing in Stalliongrad, is the only known carrier of a Flawless Anti Core. Threat level: zero, individual does not constitute a hazard unless willfully engaged by hostile factors.
Secondary corrections: helmet, armor, close combat weapon, and hybrid close combat-ranged weapon are currently emitting Class 3, 3, 4, and 3 levels of Anti."
>Pausing to stare down at you, the top pair of eyes blink.
"You should not be alive at current. Addition: no relevant data found on human biological standards to analyze or assist identifying unit damage.
Speculative theoretical: similar Otherworld interfacing prevents thorough contamination and mutation. Probability: marginal.
Tertiary correction: the Class 11 object producing Anti features extensive modifications, methods unknown. Contamination risk: unknown, presumed minimal."
>Standing ramrod straight once more, Vokreed's eyes shutter once.
"You have been recorded as transferring into the Crystal City-State from thirty to fifty times per Tallus year. Each instance preceded deleterious states and side effects against individual Crystal equines. Witnesses have been independently verified and subjected to factual analysis; all witness accounts confirmed to be truthful. Medical access records updated, threat downgraded from willfully hostile to unwillingly hostile actions.
During this Night Cycle one Lorekeeper was located in a nonfunctioning state approximately one local hour after an unarranged meeting with you. Imperial diagnostic records indicate direct Class Three exposure and probable contact with Anti effect. Estimated time for sufficient recovery: ten to twenty Tallus cycles.
Primary conclusion: extreme willful negligence. Supplemarental data recorded and logged."
>Hefting the shield back into his right hand, the Ethereal half-turns to face east, gazing upwards.
"Information collected and aggregated, now verifying.. complete. Cross-referencing: there are no equines under the herdname of 'Spiral' located in currently accessible Archives.
Searching storage Archives...... complete. Two thousand to three thousand equines under multiple descendant herdnames of 'Spiral' located: all listed as deceased prior to 29,130 Tallus year cycle.
Distant living relatives presumed to inhabit Caneighdia, region access prohibited. All further data is classified.
Preparing aggregate summary to uplink.. no connections available. Verifying lack of connectivity.. significant process failures noted. Attempting to locate nearest Empire Hololith.... no uplinks, sockets, or relays in range. Locating nearest Consortium Branch Office..."

>Silent for two seconds, the Minor Champion's form erupts in wild, spastic colorations, geometric runes streaking across the shield and axe, voice booming in disbelief, which quickly turns into fury.
>Quadruple eyes twitching, Vokreed twists right, snatching the war axe from his shield and breaks into a storming run at the northmost translocation matrice.
[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12] <Protocol: Rush Them Down
[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12]
[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12]
[1d6+10 = (4+10) = 14]
>The entity runs its voice through his head faster than perceived time. Ponies and humans crawl to a halt.
>She talks to him about a Crystal mare and a stallion, warning him of consequences. Him ignoring their plea, shaming them, harassing them?
>He has no idea what she's talking about. Is she talking about Nalyina and Thrill?
>He's never done anything like that to them. And she calls hims arrogant, nasty, and petty for it?

>Next up is an analogy of sorts. Specifically six Minotaurs attacking an undefended Fortress, looting the place clean. Murder, desecration, etc.
>He tries to think of an instance he was involved in that would match that sequence of events.
>He draws a blank, nothing comes to mind.
>The being reforms itself into a green and pink hummingbird.
>It's the hummingbird that hung around Thrill and Nalyina.
>There was that red finch too. He wonders if it was also a being like her.
>She expected him to apologize for something. He doesn't know what for, since she doesn't elaborate.

>Monologuing about herself as she reshapes, Jeff surmises she's a powerful entity. Enough to do what she's doing right now. Linear-in-Nature.
>Jeff's confusion grows as he truly doesn't see how he's become the center of this being's ire. It's starting to become a little awkward.
>And just like that, whatever chance he though he had, she took it away from him. Earn his chances? She was never going to give him an easy way out to begin with.
>The hand he left out half-way was grabbed by her. Instant searing pain courses through the contact point as he's hoisted up from his knees.
>He instinctively grasps at his wrist of the afflicted hand. It felt like nettle. He'd gotten stung enough times between training and ops to know that feeling.
>Staying hunched over he grits his teeth as he holds back an excruciating wail, coming out as a growling hiss.
>His already exhausted body and mind were further draining from the pain. He's surprised he hasn't collapsed yet...
>Too occupied with his hand burning like hell itself, she speaks about the potency of this one in particular she cooked up personally.
>Retribution for Nalyina and Thrill? Why does she think he's ever scorned them in any way?

>He's taken somewhere else. A stream ran in front of him. The hummingbird form perches itself on top of a colossal emerald. Crystalline trees, big ones, appear behind along with some sort of bird-like creatures flying between them.
>Surprised he was actually being given choices from here on out. It was a test. To prove his worth.
>To this Ancient. Lin.
>Jeff stops his panting for a split second. Lin is an Ancient, a legendary being.
>Thrill mentioned them that one time right after what happened with that reliquary...
>He tries to even his breathing the pain in his hand refuses to subside, and stands to full height and looks at Lin. A solemn tone in his voice.
"Lin, was it? Mmmph... you're talking about Vulgroz's guardian and reliquary being destroyed, right? I... jeez I wasn't involved in either of those. I've never seen one, been near one, or even have the time to go and visit one. I only know about them from what Thrill's told me from his travels and witnessing Synxfaldir putting Void on trail for blowing up Vulgroz's."
>Jeff exhales sympathetically.
"I understand it hurts all of you Ancients if even one is destroyed like that, but the perpetrator is already serving their time for it. He's tasked with helping rebuild Vulgroz's, if I recall. If you've felt like no one has never apologized to you or him personally for it, then I will. Right here, and now."
>Pain still coursing through his hand, he gives Lin a strained yet sincere apologetic bow.
"I apologize, on behalf of Razorback, for taking away that which is precious to you."
>Was this all a big misunderstanding, or was he getting a blanket punishment for humanity?
>Jeff stands slightly more straight as he continues with his second matter.
"As for Nalyina and Thrill... I'm honestly confused as to where you're getting your accusations from. We share a herd-second, for Luna's sake. Thrill and I have been friends since the beginning. First one-hundred off of Celestia's summons. I've never done him dirty. As for Nalyina..."
>He thinks for a moment, and exhales sharply, raising a nettle stung finger in contemplation.
"I'll admit... I didn't fully grasp everything she had gone through at first, and it took me time try and understand her. Once I learned of what she's had to endure, and how she's overcome it with Thrill..."
>The thought of him scorning either, and being accused of it irritated him. Not angry. But he smiles faintly up at the hummingbird.
"I have the utmost respect for her. She's my friend, just as much as Thrill is! She's done so much for us, for Razorback. Between me, her, Tipper, and the Support Staff we've been keeping the Fortress above water for over six months now. I would put my life in her hands if needed. I've only ever wished nothing but happiness for her and Thrill. Out of anyone in that place, they deserve it more than anyone!"
>Jeff settles down, last part came out more as an unintentionally resolute than he expected. He clears his throat, composes himself. Hand still burning, though.
"Now that we've both said our piece, unless you have something else against me I'd rather not get raked over hot coals for acts I didn't personally commit. If you're as powerful as I think you are, then you can tell I have no true recollection of anything you're holding against me."
>He sighs out of exhaustion and acceptance.
"But if you're still set on watching me try and prove my worth, then I will."
>Jeff shifts his eyes from Lin to the emerald. Then the stream. Then to the trees. Not sure how to proceed.
>Whatever fanfare he had built up during his time to talk had been exhausted. Much like the rest of him. He was back to calm, tired, and nonchalant.
"So what options do I have? Am I choosing the trees, or those bird things flying around?"
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room 1/2
GM Strangler
371695 371701
>Feeling shifts throughout spectra once more, numerous Gravitons were still in local vicinity, yet not convinced to accept being contained.
>Recording nearly the same electromagnetic fluctuations once more, 'Shiibo' turns an annoyed expression at internal monitors.
'Unsuccessful, sir. And impossible to translate. Interferences catalogued but I do not have sufficient capabilities to analyze them.'

>Standing in front of the predator's pelt now, Katyal bites her lips several times, then shakes her head, speaking in a questioning tone.
"Tallus isn't a being in the way most think. She's an actively involved, living world.. if that means there aren't any differences? Maybe? My world didn't have deities so I don't know, and neither the alicorns or Discord count. I'm just glad belonging to somewhere that I'm wanted."
>Viewing you seriously for once, Katyal's expression turns downcast.
"Most of us didn't ask to be here. Way I see it, that can't be a negative. And so far as I can tell you're still doing well, but if you need guidance or stability, say so. I'll try and keep you from getting screwed over but I'm nowhere close to a Mystic."

>Combing through recordings, images, and files throughout Razorback, the avatar succeeds in locating four which were relevant:
>An old after-action report was first, dated to less than a month after Razorback's arrival.
>Detailing Sweet, then listed as 'Black Diamondine Juggernaut', her unusual, inherently hostile memory-damaging and altering capabilities were to be regarded with extreme caution, especially since Twisted Wing became incapacitated, vomiting after only a single exposure.
>Second was a complete breakdown of an incident that occurred two months after arrival in both Razorback Fortress and Razorback Enclave, at the same time.
>An unknown individual deemed "Horizon", which had numerous further documents listed elsewhere, in the shape of an alicorn had led numerous poorly Enchained earth mares with corrupted Sunglobes and Anti Cores, both embedded in the chest, during The Siege.
>Subsequent notes describe Anti causing severe and widespread temporal halting effects against native ponies, including the near-destruction of Spiral's Elemarental forms.
>Medical analyses from Tipper list short term memory damage, unnaturally high electrolyte depletion, moderate dehydration, chemically-caused mood swings, and enchantmarent disruption as key factors in isolating Anti exposure.
>The efforts of Thrill, Lont, and Gas Man in the Enclave were enough to kill three Enchained white earth mares infused with Anti Cores, though they would spend the next two weeks recovering under Tipper's irate hooves.
>Hollow exited the Fortress to Tartarus Isle, where Sweet would then self-dispatch to take on "Horizon" in the Fortress itself, followed by approximately 800 marecenary pegasi and Shanis deploying after her.
>A short note adds "Horizon" was accompaneighed by two more earth mares in control of Anti-infused Sunglobes, suspected to be of much better quality than the trio which attacked Razorback Enclave.
>Shanis would deliver the final blow, severing the alicorn's head, though would quickly suffer unnatural aging by a factor of three in the following weeks, physically appearing closer to 60 and suffering numerous permarenent health issues.
>More documarents signed by Tipper state extreme doubts in reversing the effects, followed by dozens confirming numerous suspicions, and while she believed there might have been alternate treatmarents to halt or slow the process, none were available due to being cut off from most of Equestria.
>The third was Jeff instructing that each radio would feature a specifically Anti-infused perfect gem, among several lots created by Spiral, to link into the Marquis' relay network, acting as both a tracker and protective measure in the event of equipment capture.
>Fourth was a strict request to help out Sweet whenever she arrived to the Fortress for work, or to keep her busy, but mostly AWAY from Shanis.
>Multiple followups spread throughout the next year state that Sweet's version of Anti was incapable of harming neutrals, friends, and allies.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room 2/2
GM Strangler
>Sitting back with a scowl, Hodch's left hoof lifts to press into his chest, bending forwards and exhaling raspily.
"Much as I knew Spiral had access to Elemarentals that nopony theoretically should... there are no excuses or reasons for my failures to protect Razorback. There are circumstances that I will not explain. However, I can not blame you or most other humans that I now know for sure have no involvement, or are unconnected to certain events. I will.. try to explain what I can later.
Likewise, I am not sure whom to blame regarding the unusual lack of unicorns opting to aid Razorback. Most would have noted the specific discrepancies which I am now painfilly aware of. I know. Well off track of our current objective. Relevant to other problems all the same."
>Tapping a hoof on the pelt several times, the deep purple stallion nods.
"I know Rime Lattices fairly well. As Crystal ponies age, they become more capable of extracting trace Rime essence from themselves to create multipurpose.. let's call them devices. Whether to carry for themselves, grant to others, apply to armors, shields, devices, ExoFrames, though more often used as gifts. Some are used in Skinshields and static defensive shields, though tend to be incredibly difficult to properly.
They do greatly increasing resistance against Construct weapons, certain esoterics, most energy and particle weaponry as well. To lesser extents, a Rime Lattice protects against Crystal Runes and earth pony Psionic capabilities in equal measures, including the unique acidic-infused Changeling variants.
Known but rarely used in such fashions, Rime Lattices are able to nullify physical heat to a variable degrees, similar yet far better than the long extinct frostame, and especially Crystal Rune produced coldstones. Hot, burning, freezing burns, acids, some toxins, and acid-likes, of which there are... acid. Acidic. Acrid. Acid-likes... if capable of non-direct exposure... I know of numerous non-physical Acidics which burn and freeze at the same time-"
>Head swiveling to stare at Katyal, then down to
" Acid-like, hot, freezing, cold, and burning at the same time. Indistinct yet inseparably distinct.. the same as Anti does to an individual. Spiral didn't know precisely what Anti incurring to him. How could he have acknowledged what to guard against other than the basic definition of heat?
If he knew, he would requested one specifically from Naliyna other than an object specifically intended to soothe the worst sensations of burning. He'd asked me dozens of times while I was there. Loaned him hundreds of objects from both my collection and.. certain others. He said none of them aided him. The problem now is I don't know more than Tipper's reports of what Anti causes."

"Much as I want to dropkick you out that portal and throw a bunch of grenades, I'm going to walk out on this figurative limb for all our sakes. Take that Rime thing out so we can all it, then activate it."
>Tossing a sharp glance your way, Katyal lifts the Hero(ine) of the Moors in both hands.. whom takes on a faux-innocent face.
"Nibbles, you tell me the second whatever that cold thing is starts working... I'm not a pony. No? What do you mean? They aren't THAT big. ...you LITTLE SHIT!"
>Grasping both wings and shaking Nibbles around, meowing raucously, the Responder shouts in her face.
"Say that again and I'll duct tape you between Folu's teats for an hour!"

"Anyone got a minute? There's a bunch of reeeeaaa-"
>Head popping through portal, Lonestar's face seizes in a myriad of emotions at Katyal angrily smothering Nibbles in her chest, the Mystic butterfly on her head appearing to snicker aloud, and Hodch rolling his eyes.
"...rrrright, bad timing, Yeah, I'm.. gonna see if Anon can restore the Overlander to full specs."
"Please do."
[1d6 = 5] <Silver Wish Disc: Improvement
[1d6 = 6]
>Clemency runs through most of this knowledge concerning aeronautics and military application, deep in thought of the strange craft in front of him
>It's obviously designed as a multirole but not up to known standards
>Instead, Clemency decides that these ships were essentially an adaptation to their exposure on Tallus
>The Airstreams was essentially their way of acclimating all the way into becoming entombed in these ships to become one with them
>Feeling the Airstreams himself, the locals currents are not as calm as he thought
>His concentration was broken by the Guillotine's response, allowing himself to grin
*"I'm surprised I made it out unscathed myself."*
>Of course, she was surprised at the thought of Constructs communicating
*"Yes, true. Me and another operator started getting messages electronically from them, the Common being very...machine-like and unexpected. So unexpected, everypony and everyone questioned our claims until we had to show proof from our messages. The agreemarent came from them talking to two ponies belonging to Razorback."*

"Yeah, well, I don't blame you after that incident."
>As the cases open, more harpy symbols appear
>Very quickly Clemency is finding himself out of his own depth
"I really wouldn't know. Hmmm...."
>Clemency keys into his mic again
*"Guillotine, can you see our location with the harpy vessel near us? Are you able to translate this device for us?"*
The L.O.N.T
Lont stressed!.jpeg
>Lont listened to Vokreed intently. He did not enjoy the Ethereal dissect his earnest attempt at speaking the truth and finding it lacking, yet nevertheless bit his tongue and absorbed the critical information about Anti.
>"Lower the Class for Anti the worse it gets. Got it."
>He blinked.
>He muttered under his breath in disbelief.
>That can't be. All his equipment were emitting Class 3 and 4 Anti? All that time ago from his encounter with the Core of the Solar Tyrant?
>He denied again. Those dangerous levels he was emitting for so long and yet he has been waltzing around the Empire the entire time.
>Why didn't any of the ponies say anything.

>Whatever positive feelings he would of had from hearing his and Razorbacks actions being downgraded to a "unwillingly hostile" was snuffed out by this newest revelation.
>Lont stepped back several feet, as if physically struck.
>The helmet he held in the nook of one arm fell to the ground, forgotten as both hands ran through his hair.
>This was madness. For 2 years. Potentially hundreds of ponies were made sick by his Anti contamination.
>But when he met with the Head Lorekeeper he wasn't in his equipment, he was in a plain shirt and shorts. Was his body also emitting Class 3 Anti? The kiss on the hood he gave to Rubelline almost killed her!
>His knees were threatening to buckle under his own weight while his new wings twitched and rattled in response to his state of mind.
>It was happening again.
>New Canterlot all over again. It was happening again. Except this time it was moulded into his own personal hell. No one else to truly share the blame. He has been singlehandedly poisoning hundreds of ponies through the Empire with every step and breath. The Empire and ponies he wanted to start fresh with after the disaster in New Canterlot, ponies that took him and the rest of Razorback in despite what had happened. Names and faces were flashing in quick succession. Cadence, Shattered Glacier and her foal, the Conclave Matron and even that one baker! Sourdough Roll her name was.
>He hurt them all. Despite doing his best to help he ended up harming them. Instead of a nuclear bomb going off killing hundreds in an instant it was a mass poisoning, singlehandedly perpetuated by him. It was New Canterlot with Celestia all over again! No matter how much he tries to assist and make up for his mistakes it always turns out to be doing more harm than good!
>Even when playing with colts and fillies he was hurting them.
"Void Crasher. By the Iron Kings no!"
>Lont was in a world of his own, crumbling around him while the real one was dead to him. Vokreed inanely trying to connect to a functioning landline went unnoticed to the panicking Operator.

>However, it was Vokreeds sudden outburst that snapped Lont out of his spiral into utter misery.
>He stood there as the Ethereal sped away towards a Matrice. He caught his breath as he tried to regain his focus, his composure.
>It took longer than he liked.
>It was then he noticed a hand was whiteknuckling the hilt of his sword, he shakily let go of it. He assumed he grabbed it on instinct when the Ethereal in front of him suddenly brandished his own axe and shield while roaring in anger.

>Lont stood there. Shoulders and wings slumped, arms hanging limply by his sides. Mind, body and soul were spend.
>Sluggishly he retrieved his helm, he didn't want to leave that biohazardous material lying around and doing more damage towards the Basin.
>With that thought in mind he clicked his radio on and announced to all of Razorback.
"*This is Lont. By order of Grand Champion Belregard of the Ethereal Plain -all- members of Razorback are barred from entering the Empire and all related territories for the foreseeable future. In addition, I am putting out a direct order that interaction with anyone outside of Razorback ceases immediately as well. Reasons for why and further details will be given as soon as possible. Failure to comply with these will be met with harsh punishment. Over and out.*"
>His voice was low energy for most of his broadcast, but took a darker tone near the end. He has harmed too many. He will be damned to allow this to continue. Not until the Anti was all gone.

>With fatigue slowing his movements the Operator looked towards the Empire Host, defeat written across his tired features.
"I am truly sorry. I-I don't...If you can't forgive me, I understand.."
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
"Nope, but a cloak isn't the same as-"
>Left wing hefting to pat heavily on the black winter suit once, Shanis smiles broadly, accompaneighed by an amused side eye.
"This is. Can't compare something around eight centuries old to a bodysuit that's been custom fit and tested for over a year. Damned good, even if hard to climb inside without some help. Does fit better on my legs, neck, barrel, and flanks. Lann made it so those are foregone conclusions. Has lots of adjustmarent points if I need them.
Also keeps my teats warm. That's a huge plus for me."

>Face creased in simple expressive joy, Nao delivers a short nod.
"That is most of why my species and related enjoy spheres so much: they lack the capability to poke or stab us. While our hide is equally tough compared to equines, we do have a marginally higher amount of nervous system endings."
>Whiskers twitching several times, her left flipper raises to pantomime rolling an object around several times.
"Also we like to touch objects when possible, especially if they are smooth. But that is an attribute specifically derived from older Polar Seal culture rather than necessities dictated by biological or learned survival imperatives."
>Peering closely at the unusual paper tube covered in metallic foil as you extract the first dimly glowing Spirit Candy, Nao rolls forwards to sniff at it twice.
>Politely, of course.
>Reclining once more into Shanis' barrel, her head tilts, whiskers twitching in serious thought.
"I do not recognize that item, though it is quite sweet to my sense of smell. It is, unfortunately, not engaging to me as I am primarily carnivorous. I would expect the majority of equines to enjoy the taste and scent though. However, there are faint traces which are unfamiliar to me. I do not know what to think of them."
>Inhaling deeply, the Marecenary Queen's head snaps up to gaze at the sphere for five seconds, then stares at you.
"Real Spirit Candy. From Neighsia. Rainpontan scented.. and fresh too. You don't have to answer this question, but, where'd you get that roll from? Same for this one: how'd you acquire that roll? And third, same for the last two: when did you get that roll?"

>Finishing her chosen page, Starglow's head lifts to offer a contradictory expression: half-smile, half-scowl, but thoroughly angered, her ears flat and voice strained.
"If a pony takes on a contract, they either fulfill the contract, try and succeed in variable degrees, try and fail in variable degrees, or the attempt is a negligible to complete failure.
Depending on all the stipulations and allowances in each contract that are negotiated on, there's always coins, gems, or both given up front regardless of success or failure. Standard necessities like armamarent and armor repairs, food, water, and shelter are automatically covered, but other accommodations are on the contractee to come up with if necessary."
>Holding for three seconds, she gives up, settling with a touchy frown, slouching forwards and collecting another opened envelope.
"For reason I'm not going to explain, I prefer removing Constructs over all other potential targets. There's about five thousand mines across the Crystal Empire, Kingdom, and Conclaves that're still infested and haven't been reclaimed. Yet.
Two weeks ago, the marecenary squad I joined ran face first into an ice gouger. Middle Conclavist Era crystal mine, lot of good stuff there. Marenaged to kill it but that was far closer to one that I ever want.
Few days later I joined a different squad after my sister restored everything. They'd been repelled twice by a pair of Argus Eliminator Constructs trying to recover a newly claimed Imperial mine. The Constructs were trying to recover it, that is. Must've been fifty archaic models frozen inside. Took these-"
>Right forehoof lifting to point at the unusual burst-like scar on her snout, then several more energy-caused ones on her chest, the younger fuchsia Crystal mare's expression tightens.
"No losses other than pride, nine manabombs, and half a week in a fucking Clinic.
In other words: reclaiming all the locations the Changeling Hive and Crystal Conclaves, Kingdom, and Empire once had."
371770 371773
>He directs a brief glance at Shiibo's display to acknowledge her report.
"Understood. I can also sense them due to recent developments, their in depth particle analysis is low priority."

>Giving Katyal a pointed turn of his helmet at her offer, he simply shakes his head before turning back to Nibbles.
>Speaking to himself, he adds a personal note.
"Katyal's personal psychological profile corroborated with initial assessment. Personal sense of identity suited to integration with preexisting, alien culture. Likely driven by personal emotional needs previously unfulfilled."

>Rapidly scanning through the logs and records of Anti exposure and its effects, the inconsistencies between them and the fact that he had been exposed for far longer without any apparent symptoms prompted him to press a glove against his helmet visor in frustration.
"All accounts indicate severe exposure effects within moments to minutes. Likely nearly all of Razorback is contaminated. Why have I not experienced any symptoms lethal or otherwise? Jeff even specifically had Spiral infuse it into the tracker gems in our radios!"
>Staring down towards the pelt, he clicks his tongue in a mixture of anger and focus attempting to parse out the possible explanations with Hodch's audible contemplation serving as a parallel backdrop.
(Inconsistency in symptom incidence. Humans and ponies capable of experiencing contamination. I have not experienced any symptoms. Would the Nightmare recognize the presence of Anti? Would anyone other than Tipper? But she should have noticed-would she have noticed Spiral's condition? Surely Dr. Heartbreak would have experienced effects, but nothing was reported and her condition seemed nominal for the duration... )
>As the unicorn starts musing on the characteristic sensations of Anti however, he looks up.
"Then Spiral was unaware of the dangers and this was his attempt to treat them..."

>Having fished the Rime Orb out, he leans forward to rest his right elbow against his knee as his glove presses against his helmet with even greater force while muttering to himself.
"Can't be certain of exact contamination vector yet, but if this is a result of human action... "
>His left palm cradles the small orb in his lap as he stares at it.
>As Katyal speaks, he turns his head up to cock it sideways at her in disbelief.
>His right hand moves off his helmet to gesture at her.
"You want me to activate this Rime Lattice Orb here? Now? Will you be responsible for cleaning and containing the Rime deposit left here in this Plane? As far as we know, this only masks the presence of Anti. It hasn't cleansed it from me or my equipment. Unless you can provide a mechanism of action for achieving that effect with this, I'm not going to introduce Rime into this environment."
>His irritated posture remains as she starts suffocating an unfortunate Heroine of the Moors.
>José let out a little chuckle out after Shanis's in-depth description of her new winter bodysuit, nodding in earnest.
"I'm glad to hear that, miss Shanis."

>Seeing Nao's joy manifest at his understanding, Gallo practically beamed back in satisfaction.
(Vamos carajo)
>A part of him pushed it down to a more gentle smile just in case, however.
>He promptly opted to stay silent and listen as the pinniped explained further plus appraised the item before looking up at the inquisitive Shanis with mild surprise.
"I was sent this in a package along with other trinkets during breakfast today in the Mess Hall via a Ferron Clan pegasus if I recall correctly."
>He promptly offered the treat to Shanis with a smile.
"You can take it if you want it, miss."
>He briefly considered pulling out some beef jerky for Nao too, but figured it was too far away from common sea foods to be accepted.

>Listening intently to Starglow's detailed explanation with a serious expression, he soon nods neutrally.
"I see. I appreciate your input, miss Starglow."
>It was a little hard to tell if any of this was deemed as commendable, so he stored such comments away for the time being.

>Feeling pretty good with how things were wrapping up thus far, Gallo slowly but surely stood back up again with a small grunt and a soft sniff followed by a curt bow.
"Thank you for your time. Excuse me."
>He promptly stepped off towards the Remnant while recalling how to interact with it.
>It should be as simple as talking to it last time he sent that letter for Frost.
"Morning, Vortex Remnant. I'd like to know any and all information about travelling to Argenta, please."
>Hopefully this time it isn't shy about speaking.
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"You certainly knew about the Reliquary Guardian, yet no punishments were given for murder, desecration, and looting? By that statement I should treat all humans as automagically guilty. Simple association and lacking the necessary cultural developmental concept called justice would suffice. The rest wouldn't even blink."
>Tiny head cocking, Lin's voice drops into a nearly gleeful tone.
"I know. The others don't. I'll keep it that way until there's a convenient enough reason to share. Besides, you certainly don't know what defending a home is like. I was there when you weren't. Or perhaps you do. Reliquaries are created for others to use, not that such a point matters."
>Right wing flicking up in warning once more, a bright red line on her throat appears.
"That's close to funny. How can you speak for others when you don't know what they might state? The act of speaking words is a complex organic series of electrochemical reactions originating in an individual's brain which are transmitted by neurons relaying information throughout the rest of the body. 'What I think is whom I am' sort.
All nonsense. Little more than individually predisposed self-programming. But most likely a biologically conditional response to being out of your element and threatened, really. Consciousness is merely a state of an individual being aware that the individual is aware. You're not doing well with that concept right now."
>Staring rigidly for some time, the hummingbird's beak clacks.
"No, you obviously don't. Worse, I simply can't possibly understand all those incredibly complicated Otherworld mental processes, contexts, and linguistics. They're such a puzzle. But I'm surely not recalling you delivering certain attitudes to any other humans. Or maybe I'm confused and you were merely having multiple bad nights in a row. Then again there's always arrogance and an individual sense of self-preservation overriding proper judgement. Or common sense."
>Lying down outstretched and setting her beak on the boulder, beady eyes twitch coldly.
"Have you visited the Scarred Crags before? Northeastern Moors. Not pleasant anymore. Used to be. Can't remember that far back, sadly. A hundred some thousand Eternal Marchers were killed there. Not that there were witnesses to count. Destroyed who knows how many years of progress. It's the only barrier keeping the damned Crystal Moors from spreading and I'd like nothing more than to burn that rotten mess out.
Spent what little time I had creating newer and faster evolving species. Didn't help then. Still hasn't. Not much is able to grow there and little even bothers to pass through the smallest sections. Most creatures despise being near Otherworld essences, much less sensing, and absolutely hate conta-"
>Lin's head snaps around, tracking something out of sight.

>In the stream, hundreds of varying sized green gems sparkle, everything from unusual pebbles to nearly adult Ferron size, flawless pieces that wouldn't be out of place in a natural museum, or a unicorn's arcane lodge.
>Tiny, brightly colored inland shrimp, beetles, fish, and water skimmers cluster around sections of river grass and algae mats dotted with clams, or hunting each other.
>Beyond the immense emerald, the avian-likes you'd seen flying earlier had either left or had settled in to sleep, and the crystalline trees were slowly darkening.

>Rotating back, she emits a thin, loud and shrill exhale, left wing flapping out in a blur and smacking the boulder.
"Why would I want you to touch a single iota here? I was debating whether to call a certain not-a-friend here to judge just how awful you are as an individual. Then I remembered how painfully slow that process is and I'd have to kill myself. Again. For the unknownth time. No, I have ideas.
Option one: find a hidden exit and climb this Reliquary. Without dying. I'd give that a one in one-thousand chance in your state. This is my other home after all. Lot of hours have been spent here creating the various creatures that aren't nice, but those are the most important ones to make a thriving ecosystem.
Two would have been me making an offer and you swearing to serve the Moors regardless of injury, suffering, death, you get the point. Except for that shitty little section corrupted by Rime and Ethereal garbage. But my tiny little bird brain simply doesn't recall a whole lot of kindness originating from you, so that's off the boulder permanently.
>Eyes narrowing slightly, Lin sits up.
"Revoke all dedications you have towards the Moors, including inhabitants, and give back every object that came from here. That also means never returning and interacting with a single organism or grain of sand that belongs here. A reasonable decision to make, really.
Option three: take a drink from the pond. Stream runs to it. Should be phenomenally easy to find. You might live. Or not. Could die. Possibly forget everything. May even be reduced to constituent molecules or worse yet atoms, but then I'd have to clean up the mess before some poor creature takes a sip. Doesn't cause any problems for me since I made it.
Option four: leave this world and take the humans that don't belong here. I don't care where. Lot of places take garbage in but the sorting processes usually aren't nice. Not my favorite insult but it should certainly leave an impression.
Option five: kill each and every human of Razorback that doesn't or shouldn't belong on Tallus, but I'll be a touch nice so let's say twenty can plead their case. To Vulgroz. He gets to choose which ones at random. In the impossible event that all ten are accepted, then another ten are chosen. That will continue until there are no more humans remaining.
Option six. Hmmmmmmmm. Hmhmhmm. I hate thinking longer than the time it'd take to find a new flower that isn't mine. Or one that evolved from those I created..."
>Wings flicking in and out of view in spastic thought, the hummingbird stops, head craning at a 90-degree angle.
"How about.. you leave."
Basin Village: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
*"Thy havest bountiful spans ahead, ye graces. Harry theeself little aside risks taken an' chances granted, mineself asks."*
>Background thrums slowing to a pulsing, relaxed state, distant bomb rotor cycling continues for half a minute until the archaic Harpy returns with a shrill, aerily discontented noise.
*"......'tis scarce times mineself desireth thoughts unbidden. Nae words come. Nae words form."*

>Flashing a merry fanged smile at the pair of cases, solid energy forms into a single coherent screen above, studying the sharply defined symbols with a suitably stumped expression.
"Met her a few weeks later at Stonehat Lodge. She couldn't tell the difference between ripe red lemons, limes, pomelos, and citronal fruits. That last one has nothing to do with grapes as it's a crossbreed. Guess what I snuck into her bowl when she asked for the sweetest ones.
And don't worry, this might take me a few hours to understand the word 'the', but that'll at least be a start."
>Snickering quietly, left wingclaws raising to point at specific symbols, right set tracing lines in air, halting after a few seconds to screech in rage.
"COLT OF A SPRING HORSE! I sent my saddlepack with them!"
>Rolling her eyes after a few seconds, the Cultist snorts, but continues once more, trying, and continuously failing, to translate.
"And there isn't anything left to write on either... you know Lann's shop, yes? Behind her counter is a Moon Orb, pick it up and ask for.. what was she called? Some berry name. I think? Meh."
>Head lifting to settle a flat, strict gaze on you, the mare's jaw tightens before speaking in low tones.
"I'm trusting you not to step on this opportunity the wrong way. Basin City does not open for outsiders, EVER, but you are leadstallion of a certain mare that most of us have complete and total respect towards. Just say the Dark Horses need twenty charcoal sticks and at least five untouched record tomes. They'll have no choice but to open for a few hours. If we're lucky they might even offer some trades."
[1d6 = 5] <Translation

>Responding near-instantly this time, the Otherworld Harpy shriek-screams in sincere, absolute rage, loud booms in the background heralding probably-not-positive reactions from either her weaponry or the hull she was bound within.
*"TOUCH NOT THEE SARCOPHAGUS WITHIN THAT VESSAIL! Be not lured tae suffer, accursed unsleeping an' undreaming 'pon waves tae never touch aegin!"*
>Sharp inhales and exhales that definitely weren't organic fill the channel before a sharp, almost snarling tone grinds through.
*"Nae, an' nae twinned. Only water mayest mineself rest 'pon, or within Arena cradles of auld... mayhaps Basin City havest afirst. Realspace fold engrams alight. Touch nae thee vessail afore mineself arriveth shortly-"*
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8] Intact Realspace Fold Drive: Slow Transitional State
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
>Keeping a portion of his awareness trained on the still present Gravitons, he again attempts to coax one into joining him.

[1d6 = 4]<Gravitic Coaxing
>Jeff shrugs his shoulders at lIn's follow-up on the Guardian.
>The punishment Void got was ONLY for the Reliquary's destruction? Not for the guardian or anything else?
"Then I and all the humans, ponies, and whoever else among Razorback are under the impression that Void's punishment included the other crimes against Vulgroz. Why would Synxfaldir put on a trail only for the Reliquary? Why wait all this time to only now seek justice?"
>He sucks a bit of air in, re-actively.
"Did you witness what happened at the Basin Village about three-ish hours ago? All those Tainted ready to level it. Whatever problems I had, I dropped and came to its aid. And I called on whatever Razorback had to help defend it, side-by-side with both allies and enemies."
>Raising a pained finger, he taps it against the fresh reminder Void burning on his left jaw.
"We may have stopped them and finally put their souls to peace, but I was ready to die right there with... those that ultimately did. Even after the survivors were pulled to the Basin Arena to what would have most likely been a suicide-mission-via-Riftseeker, I was ready there too. All of us. The Village and the Moors is... probably the closest thing I've ever considered a home, even more than Razorback in some aspects. So yes. I do know how it feels to defend my home."
>Jeff takes the backlash on Nalyina and Thrill with little reaction. He's never know them to not be his friends. If that's the case, and they don't say they have a problem with him, wouldn't they be just as much in the wrong?
>Perhaps she is too much different of a being compared to him and the humans to fully understand them. Such as himself, and other humans, to Tallus.
>Eventually Lin settles down, conversation changing to the Moors. He shakes his his sympathetically, to her most civil question so far.
>He knew of the Crystal Moors pushing against the Scars there.
"No. I was told to leave it be when I was planning and managing the Moor's restoration efforts. Kept insisting it was beyond saving, so I've been doing wherever else I could. I worked with the Village, the Lunars, locals, allies, even Razorback to allocate funding and resources to help. Roads being re-pathed, locations and ruins long lost to time being rediscovered and pulled from the muck for refurbishing. I heard Scars in some areas were starting to heal, and now recently... almost all of the Tainted are no longer an issue."
>It couldn't have gone unsaid. It was one act of selfless kindness he can attest to.
>Jeff makes an honest attempt at connecting with Lin, regardless on his current predicament.
"Despite your anger toward me, could I ask you for an opinion on the state of the rest of Moors now? I figured if anyone would know if my and everpony else's efforts have helped, it would be you."

>As he observes the environment around him Jeff shudders at Lin's clear offense.
>She lists off every opportunity he has to garner any sort of aid from her.
>The first being a hunt for an exit from the realm, and full of what sounds like dangerous flora and fauna.
"If was was in any shape to, maybe. You've caught me after a very long and tiring night. Sounds like an easy way to kill me off."
>The second one, after she changes her mind, he tightens his lips.
>Object and prizes be damned, he can give those back no question. After all the work and dedication... The VIllage bustling every time he went at night. Going to the Cafe to get a break, after a grueling day pushing papers. Belltower and Malyne... he needs to make sure Belltower's okay. He can't walk away from her, like it is now."
"It would be, if I haven't already given two big reasons why I wouldn't do that. I've put too much effort trying to help the Moors reach a better state of being. Too many relationships, friends, and family I care about for me to turn them away completely like that."
>The third... he looks down at aforementioned stream and its flow.
"That sounds like, again, a pretty easy and quick way to get rid of me doesn't it?"
>The fourth sounds impossible. But if it's being offered, then it should be?
>Leave Tallus all together, take the bad apples with him? So many variables are at play with that one.
"I didn't even know I could leave Tallus, until just now. Trying to convince others, finding a where, and arranging the means to would take time. To pull humans away from environment by force... could cause even more problems."
>The fifth... made his stomach churn. Kill? Razorback members? Fear aside, he doesn't think he could ever cause such a betrayal tot he Fortress like that.
"That is... quite vicious. Is that what Vulgroz's wishes? Make me executioner, blood for blood?"
>The sixth, at first was going to what would've assumed to be an impossible flower hunt... turn easy?
>Far too, suspiciously dumbfoundedly easy.
>The phrasing was vague and ominous.
"Leave? Just like that, with no worth proven? Just dump me back in the Village where I was just now?"
Basin Village: The Crystalline Compromise 4
GM Strangler
*"What, NOW?!"*
*".....shut up. You heard him. Everyone, do NOT approach a human, pony, other sapient that isn't directly part of Razorback."*
*"Seconded, and don't ask any fucking questions. Reports later, security first. Whomever gets done at the south entrance, gather around me, east side of Basin Village, or you'll be eating solid copper faster than this bitch can deliver it."*
*"Don't screw this up people, it's a bad fucking night to test any further limits."*

>Sharply turning about to face you, the lead Spireguard mare tosses her lance backwards, stomping forwards.
>Stopping at barely 2M away, the crystal-unicorn glances down to study the Mural Blade, frowns, then lifts her head, speaking in a tightly clipped Canterlot accent.
"Against multiple standing orders, I am willfully breaking all imposed restrictions solely of my own cognizance and equinity. Therefore, no party is liable for harm caused to me-"
>Shade larger than the Moon fills her voice, visibly snarling under the crystalline mask.
"'Whether out of suspected willfulness or negligence'. None of us have the full details or reports, but I must state the following under severe distress and duress.
One: precisely nine of us have been negatively effected by Anti exposure, from Class Ten to Class Eight. Direct contact acts as the primary vector but as of yet there is little proof to back our own theories.
At this distance I do not feel, detect, nor sense entropic effects which would be similar, and none of us are capable of recognizing Anti.
Two: we do not believe Razorback was aware of causing exposures, nor do the majority think the actions of Razorback to be hostile. Negligence a matter for much later.
While Minor Champion Vokreed via Grand Champion Belregard has verbally ordered such an isolation in good standing and trust, Vokreed is fresh, untested, and unknown. As such, once we return to the City-State there will be an immediate summoning of all those able to recognize Anti, in its known and theoretical forms, and conduct thorough examinations.
In addition, not a single proto-sapient Ethereal, and especially not the ignorant, idiotic, zealotry-ridden Moss-Wisps shall be allowed contact with humans. I am not alone in stating that the addition of an Ethereal shield or weapon to my family's honors would be tremarendously celebrated.
Three: the vast majority of Razorback does not understand or know how such an incredulous amount of Anti exposure has occurred, therefore if the majority of ponies within Razorback have not suffered from harm... there must be individuals, factors, vectors, or items within and around Razorback Fortress to explain such a critical discrepancy.
If possible, order an examination and survey of every last micron."
>Glancing back at the majority of Spireguard, Kingdom, and Conclavists sharing a brief hum, her expression remains bitter.
"Four: a small number of Spireguard, myself not included, have suggested a highly consolidated, rather logical, but as of yet unsupported theory. We know that Princess Cadenza brought three Kingdom Generals to Razorback Fortress, thus we are requesting that when you return, to, politely, insist they perform thorough medical analyses for negative and potential Anti-related side effects.
Send their completed logs to Imperial Task Force Five, codename Fractured Cliff, Section Three, Building Nine, Squad One, preferably using one of the top five Consortium crystalplates."
>Eyes rolling at numerous dissonant battlehums ejecting from the Crystal forces behind her, the mare exhales slowly.
"Rather, any of the top ten Consortium brands will suffice, though the more expensive plates have significantly fewer recording failure risks."
"And they sound a lot clearer!"
>Shaking her left foreleg twice, a small, bright blue sphere falls from the knee armor segmarents, hoof bending back and kicking it towards you.
"This is a Subrefined Rime Matrix, carry it at all times against your skin. It may be capable of purging small amounts of Anti within a short radius, but we do not know for sure. If not, and it becomes damaged, that will be vital information to test contact exposure."

*"Hate to say this right now bu-"*
*"Can it. People, Emerald's missing. Last I saw her was at the fountain, shouting at a whitesteel cube, could've been a crate or box. Didn't get a good look at it either."*
*"Like what? Poof? Gone, no traces?"*
*"Look, I'm tired but not hallucinating or stupid. Okay, definitely SOME stupid given all the shit tonight. Between nothing and nada, she WAS there, then she WASN'T."*
*"I didn't see her enter with us, or anyone else."*
*"No one?"*
*"Kind of remember the box. Shouting.. yeah, that too."*
*"So she DIDN'T march with us?"*
*"Now that you mention.. that's a no. Anyone else?"*
*"Big no from this squad, we were on the east end."*
*"Same here."*
*"I heard something about.. fuck! My everything hurts from all the pollen I can't think straight!"*
*"Think she was talking about sleeping horses, or maybe lazy ones?"*
*"...check what can be seen in Basin Village. Eyes, senses, and gear only."*
*"Thermals, infrared, night vision, all other optics, starting looking right now. We better see fingers STAYING off triggers or the first dipshit gets wall duty for the next year straight-"*
[1d6-1 = (5-1) = 4] <Search
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room
GM Strangler
>Placing that option on a tiny digital shelf marked Odds & Ends, 'Shiibo' performs a low range EM sweep of the room.
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]

"Any time, but it ain't gonna be a massage!"
>The avatar regards Kaytal with mild dubiousness, hands spreading out while speaking in faint sarcasm.
'Willful acceptance and complete dedication? A truly unique position to be in.'

"Anti is Otherworld-derived, so thematically speaking, humans must have some innate protection. However, the known symptoms are of such broad natures that they could fit into most categories of illnesses and injuries."
>Glancing at his collection briefly, Hodch eyes those atop the kanpri anvil in particular.
"Unfortunately none of those will be useful in determining potential Anti contact and exposure. And why am I not degenerating more rapidly due to the inherently corrosive effects? Since I've been with Razorback the progression has slowed by three, perhaps five percent. Not enough to matter but that cannot be a coincidence."
>Raises his left foreleg to eye the bright white and blue lightning scars covering it, then the right, he frowns heavily.
"Subconsciously, or unconsciously, he knew that he had a negative condition, yet did not understand the dangers nor what extent of the same was affecting him. That still brings us back to the same initial question: where did he acquire the means to produce Anti from?"

>Pinning Nibbles by her wings and hind legs, refusing to let the furiously wriggling cat go, Katyal's face tightens in realization.
"So that ACTUALLY contains Rime. Shit, I didn't know, thought it was a metaphor. Forget that idea then."
"What did you think a lattice means?"
>Tossing the First Responder a mock-irate glance, Hodch sighs at her before glancing up at you.
"You most certainly know a wide variety of methods to activate enchantmarents independently or interdependently. Instead of invoking the Rime itself, focus on what else it can or may enact, perform, and affect. Derive that knowledge into a classification. Or allow me to study it."

>Taking on a small, cryptic smile, 'Shiibo' folds both arms together, bending forwards as if peering into you.
'Search your feelings, sir. You know his words to be true.'
>Leaving the archaic reference, her left hand points at numerous EMF disturbances in the Room.. in rather large numbers.
'And, please, stop teasing them.'
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Eyebrows raised, Shanis returns the nod with a thin, tired smile.
"There's over two thousand Ferron allied to Razorback, three small clans worth or so. Whenever they get a chance they deliver letters and packages."
>While Nao studies the candy once more in sheer fascination, the pegasus shakes her head slightly.
"Nah, was more curious than anything else. All I know is some Lunars go crazy whenever they're marentioned."
"Nah is my sister's name. She is not particularly nice most of the time."
>Pausing to blink down at the Polar Seal, Shanis' face twists, trying to process, and utterly fails to.

>Gazing at you for a half-second, visibly unsure of what to say, Starglow's shoulders lift, dragging the pen over once more.
"You're welcome."
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6] <E.Appraisal
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <E.Bartering
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]

"Catch you later."
"Of course."
"Be safe."

>Raising from the matrice's center, an unusually dull metallic eyeball forms, blinking once, then speaks in a flat, rocky monotone.
"VIP status confirmed. Access granted to the following two destinations in Argenta's Lands as per contractual agreemarents: Marequipa, Yurikay."
>Sinking down into the stone, a large, directly overhead view of a massive continent appears.
>While each region had a few similarities to certain countries you knew, the names were nearly all equine puns.
>One in particular is a brightly glowing mountain chain that descended into surrounding highland forest and jungles, simply labeled as prohibited.
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"I don't know. Why didn't you ask him? Besides, expending words without explicit action can mean everything. Or a whole lot. Maybe some. Possibly little. Potentially nothing."
>Blinking slowly over the course of five seconds, the hummingbird is replaced indistinct woman's figure, legs crossed and sitting forwards, palms supporting chin.
"What would it matter if I did or didn't? All of the Moors, except that one little stain, is my home. When this world began to exist I became a part of it. THIS part of it. While I can travel, I don't like to."
>Unmoving, you get the sense that Lin wasn't staring down, or even at you, as she shrugs.
"Why do the Tainted exist? Such a silly question, but are you ready for an even sillier answer: two stupid alicorns. It's becoming harder for me to recall, but watching Solar and Lunar striking each other millions of times across this world was like watching two Eldritch wannabe deities clashing. Then the widespread destruction between their followers and others. If I said a twentieth of this world was corrupted or tainted that'd be the biggest understatement tonight.
Also, Tainted haven't been a threat for a long time now, except for tiny numbers throughout the Moors and sections of Old Everfree. They appear and are put down as they should have been. The better question: whom caused them to coalesce where they did? An even greater one: why?"
>Reverting to the hummingbird once more, it stands up and turns, sweeping both wings out in slow, dramatic fashion.
"Yes, there certainly was a tremendous effort.. but it wasn't specifically for this region as a whole. Building new roads atop old ones? Recovering, reclaiming, and repairing lost buildings? Adding new towers everywhere?"
>Halting as the left wing points at you, Lin's head snaps towards you.
"Those actions were for the benefits of equines and your species, but no others.
Do you understand how selfish, hypocritical, and arrogant the words you just spoke are? Probably not. Definitely not. What have YOU done to further shape and evolve the Moors itself?"
>Gazing for a second longer, the hummingbird hops about to face you once more.
>Eyes closing while sitting down, Lin's tone is brittle in anger.
"Net negative in every major aspect. And still deteriorating."

>Remaining utterly still and not answering a single question, after your last word the right eye opens halfway.
"So close, so often, and so many times. The inability to take a single step in any direction that won't lead to disaster, death, or destruction. A few humans have demonstrated that they are capable of belonging here. Far too late and not enough."
>Silent for nearly a minute, she shakes her head twice in slow, firm motions.
"It's clear that you do not understand a single offer I've made."
>Jeff again shrugs halfheartedly at the hummingbird.
"I wasn't there for the entire trial. I saw it begin, already in what I figured were capable hands and a crowd, and didn't hear about the verdict until everything was over."
>So the battle was insignificant to her? She is the embodiment of the Moors, in a sense. It was vast enough for the Basin to be of little worth in the grand scheme.
>She goes on about the origins of the Tainted. Souls from the Lunar-Solar war, he knew that much.
>The who and why were valid questions. Even he never got that far from anyone.
"I had just arrived right before they attacked the Village. I had no time to ask the who and why, only defending the Basin was important at that point. And before I could ask once the fighting was over, I was whisked away before I can ask. And now again, with you bringing me here."
>As she adds body to his efforts, she throws it all in his face again.
>He's seen her pattern, now. Nothing he has done is going to please her. Nothing he says will sway her.
"Yes, I suppose I was just enacting on gratitude to the inhabitants that took us in as friends. Shaping and evolving the Moors that way... didn't cross my mind."
>None of it was helping the Moors. Just the ponies and them. No one ever suggested anything else otherwise. How would he have known?

>She says nothing to his comments regarding the options.
>Whatever humans she's talking about, he isn't one of them.
>Jeff sighs, crestfallen at her final comment.
"What am I not understanding, here? All you've given me are options to either throw my morals, convictions, relationships, and even my life away. And at a chance for what? If I'm so hopeless and insignificant to this world, why are you even bothering with me?"
>Jeff just stares at the giant emerald, empty of any fight left with this God-like being.
"If we're at an impasse, just send me back. If you know what's keeping Razorback and myself so miserably disconnected from Tallus, at least there I have friends that I know can help me figure it out."
Lin's Sanctuary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"I see."
>Wings flicking once more as she nestles down, Lin emits a low trill.
"Then Razorback completely and utterly lacks communication. With a few exceptions. Little wonder more than half of Tallus is beginning to hate your species."
>Peering off to the side, her feathers bristle.
"I'm not the original Druid, merely the.. only remaining one. Was probably a hundred. Maybe. But I can't remember that far back anymore."

>Snapping focus onto you once more, the hummingbird's thin beak clacks.
"That is precisely what I was requesting. And why shouldn't I? When a single individual takes the willingness to sacrifice their life in search of the best possible outcome is a standard. This WORLD'S standard, in case you haven't noticed, but no. Humans arrive as outcasts, derelicts, renegades, or whatever they all are, then start imposing their own damned wills when they're no longer wanted, and especially not desired! I'm not insulted... tired. Sick. Disgusted."
>Springing up and throwing her wings outwards, toxic nettles burn worse than before.
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7] <Pain
"FOR WHAT!? You've refused every single offer I made! You act like a leader when the authority and role benefit you, yet when was the last time you used those without any potential for gain!? Every single word you've spoken only serves to tell me that you don't want to be here! In MY home no less, the same place that you've dedicated yourself as belonging to multiple times!
AND for reasons I CAN'T fathom you've been refuting those SAME dedications with your own words! Which means this entire time has been WASTED! FOR NOTHING! You've been a guest this long but you can't even decide whether or not you want to be here?!"
>Sharp talons grip the emerald tightly as she stands, left wing pointed at you.
"But I will keep this promise: if I so much as hear a rumor that ANY being of or from Razorback so much as takes the tiniest possible piece from a Reliquary, active or otherwise, I will tear apart each one of your rotten species and wipe every trace out to the last!
Excluding only two.. unless they happen to turn out like their sire-"

>Blinking after a few moments, you realize the Druid was gone.
>Pareidolia gives Shiibo a wry look.
"Don't mistake a Katarn for a Skywalker. 'You know in your heart that you'll never truly be one of them.'"
>He pauses briefly to focus on the errant particles.
[1d6 = 1]<Gravitic Coaxing
"I'm not trying to. The probability of holding their interests this long is extremely unusual."

>Glancing down at the orb again, he purses his lips.
"I am nowhere near trained or knowledgeable enough to take that risk here with the mission we are on. You are better equipped to potentially derive something useful."
>He rolls the orb from his palm into his fingers before flicking it across the pelt rug to Hodch.
"Can we confirm that it was Spiral producing Anti and not simply cross contamination from another source? Humans corrupted by Horizon or the Tyrant? Logs indicate that Sweet's variant of Anti was selective and capable of discrimination. If Enchains can alter its properties, is this some sort of result of such?"
>Upon her now clear explanation of the options, Jeff blinks stupidly.
>He's irritated. And confused. Why did she have to give him the run-around on that?
"Then why didn't you just say that? I thought I was going to sacrifice myself for nothing. You explained nothing to me, expected me to choose with no clear goal."

>Before he can get anything else out, the nettle in his hand fires right back up.
>Jeff screams this time, no longer having the fortitude to hold it in. He drops to his knees, gripping his wrist again out of habit.
>His ears ring, and his head gets light-headed from the pain.
>She's yelling at him but it's only half registering from the nettle's fresh stinging.
>The vow to wipe them out the next time they loot a reliquary catches his ears, at least.
>IF he gets out of here, he needs to warn Razorback.

>Trying to regain his focuses, he realizes Lin had left.
>Sweeping around, he was alone. Which was worrying... he was still here.
>She kidnaps him, hurts him, yells at him for things he knows nothing about, gets madder when she doesn't explain herself clearly, hurts him again, and leaves him there.
>Of course, why would she send him back?
>Getting in enough breathes to think straight, he activates his emergency distress beacon on his TacPad and immediately drops Anon's iron ball he picked up during the Basin's resupply.
"Come on Anon. Get me out of here. Someone, please..."

>While he waits for any kind of response, he uses whatever energy he has left keeping an eye on his surroundings.
>Lin did say she cooked up the nastiest creatures in the Moors here...
[1d6 = 4]<M.Scouting
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>Head cocking while examining the local atmosphere, the avatar's left eyebrow raises in mild surprise.
'Which would you prefer to be?'
>You feel the closest Graviton rippling out, attention dragging to her own screen.
>'Shiibo' twitches once.
'No. I am not laughing. Perhaps you should sweet talk the next one, sir.'
>Then almost imperceptibly convulses.

>Reaching forward to collect the heavy sphere and bring it up to eye level, Hodch's ears perk interestedly, muted colors swirling across his coat.
"Don't worry, I have.. probably fifty of each Rime lattice and matrice safely stored elsewhere. This SHOULD offer some clarifications due to being in contact with your armor. Structural damage, Rime degradation containmarent failure, disruption, and what not-"
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E.Crystal Alchemy
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15] <GM.Mysticism: Reveal-Thy-Secrets
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10]

"That's a definite no to the first, I'm afraid. Without a Core there's no Anti."
>Releasing Nibbles and setting her down, not before running both hands across the smooth fur, Katyal closes one eye, looking upwards.
"Huh. Hold on. Hodch, how come there's no records of individuals being able to sense them? Wish I'd brought my laptop now, have a bunch of records on it."
"I... fair question, but with a much more sinister answer. At a calculated guess: it's not possible. Anti functionally burns out all memory at close range, which would include senses. Effects drastically scale upwards per each stage. The most volatile Dynasty Cores are known as 'Supreme Flawed type', opposite that are Flawless, Perfect, and Untouched. Of course, I have NO idea what those even mean..
As for 'Horizon', the event which occurred in Razorback Fortress and Enclave at the same time is still a complete unknown. Nearly every human did witness a single alicorn, accompanieghed by numerous Anti Cores and corrupted Sunglobes.
Sweet does indeed have a Flawless Anti Core, though that is another no: proper Enchains reinforce and increase the capabilities of an item's metaphysical functionalities. It is... terrifying and horrifying to think what she may be capable of with it. Unfortunately, again, I do not know."
>A crow blue cloud lifts the Rim Lattice towards you, Hodch glancing upwards.
"Then again.. my theory depends on the following three calculations being correct.
One, there is enough of a protective and connective Otherworld spectrum overlap that Anti may not be directly or indirectly harmful to humans. The sheer amount of exposure Operators have sustained should have killed them all.
Two, Anti may be, based on the prior, negligibly harmful to humans in total, which would make the same unwilling hosts. The reports and records Tipper wrote down should be enough to confirm whether or not ponies have been negatively impacted.
Three, there is a potential that Spiral did not know he was utilizing Anti, at all. Which brings up this question: are there micro-Anti Cores embedded in, or throughout, each weapon, armor, and device?"

>Ocean blue glove grasping at the portal's entrance/exit, Lonestar's head slides in sideways, half-shouting in pure joy.
"You all gotta see her now, my baby's got the BIGGEST tune up possible! Cannons are perfect, armor's nearly triple what she had before, even got a repulsion lift system! She's ready to go!"
>Disappearing briefly, then poking in again, he coughs, poorly trying to hide further excitement from Hodch.
"And uh.. so's Dul. She brought some, let's call it 'stuff' in-"
>Pareidolia watches Hodch begin to examine the orb in a swirl of multi-colored energy while sighing inside his helmet.
"You quoted Vader. I quoted Dessan. I know my rec room on station had Jedi Outcast in its catalog, but I see you don't have knowledge of it in your memory. It wasn't a 'I'd prefer to be' one or the other situation. Just a sentiment that I will never truly be spiritually compatible with Tallus. At least, not for now. The Protocol takes priority."
>As Katyal and Hodch converse, he takes a moment to reach out to the remaining Gravitons.
"Everything in this world being sentient or sapient is very... troublesome. Potential for Class threes or fours is staggering."
[1d6 = 2]<Gravitic Coaxing

>Glancing up at Lonestar's mirth, he narrows his eyes as Dul is mentioned.
>Directing his voice towards the portal, he asks.
"What stuff?"
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
>Finding the buttons much harder to remember, the screen lights up, a single strobe appearing as the command initializes, slowly fading back to its standard dim level.

>The trees had virtually ceased illumination, leaving only vague pillars and branches jutting out, though the highly active stones and gems in the stream were enough to see the nearest five meters around it.
>While you couldn't spot obvious nests or creches, there were enough scents here to recognize the tang of blood, though not fresh.
>Now considerably darker than the area around Basin Village on most worst nights, and utterly quiet save for water.
>Distant, hollow keening from a predatory avian far to your left rings downward, bouncing multiple times before eventually terminating.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
'If that is a stock program or updated then it may be found in archives, searching now.'
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8]
'Then I do not need to remind you potential risks and dangers mu-'
>Unsteadily orienting or moving in patterns that would fuel a Chaos Theory Designer's mind with decidedly unwholesome thoughts, a few of the closest ones.. twitch.
'...must be studied first. A sentient particle would confirm a clear evolutionary improvement over a purely mechanical version, magic or not. Multiple claims have been made yet no evidence exists to describe a proto-sentience in nature outside of chemical-derived biology. Excluding interference during experiments, that is.
If true, it may be possible to utilize your capabilities to effect one without causing successive catastrophic failures. Theoretically.'
>Bringing up a small though neat selection of records on Empress Silver, the avatar side eyes Katyal.
'Your records state she was present at the.. Enclave Party. Her awareness of the three Dynasty Eras appears to be routine knowledge; facial expressions denoting deep recall are irregular at best. Perhaps a conversation might help.'

"Bunch of old Dynasty coins, gems, a few medals, and a bunch of others she dug outta somewhere. Said she left the sketchy pieces or reactive ones a few hundred meters out. Speaking of which the cabin's real comfortable now-"
>Leaving quickly, Katyal and Hodch share A Look.
>Finishing at the same time, except the woman was 0.01 seconds faster, they shrug together before gazing down at Nibbles.
"Your turn. Remember the first rule of archaeology-"
"Get the longest stick you can and poke everything at least a hundred times! Or make one."
"Not technically standard procedure, but that's the second rule."
"So what's the first?"
"Watch how fauna and flora in the vicinity act, react, function, or do not function in the presence of an unknown."
"For.. how long exactly?"
"Until you become bored enough to find something else to study."
>Standing with a slack, relieved face to stretch out, the stallion chuckles as two middle fingers wave at him, Nibbles taking the chance to scramble out.
>Collecting her kit bag and slinging it over the right shoulder as she walks to the portal, Katyal stops.
>Left hand reaching into her pouches, then presents a brightly shimmering, blue and purple cylindrical crystal, which takes the Starborn Reservist's full interest.
"I'll bet this baby he's going to give it a pet name. Any takers?"
"Well isn't that a surprise. I'll bet two 29,920 red diamondine discs it's a woman's name. Is that acceptable?"
>Tossing back a grin, Kat spins it while stepping out.

[1d6 = 6] <Choice
>His eyes close at the mention of Silver while his face twists in a mixture of resignation and disgust.
"I detest invoking her, but given the extenuating circumstances you may be correct."

>Setting his backpack in front of his lap, he fishes through one of the side pockets for any on hand rations or energy bars.
>He would begin eating while again trying to connect with a graviton as Katyal and Hodch's banter and antics continue.
[1d6 = 3]<Gravitic Coaxing

>Eyeing Katyal's backpack disappearing through the portal leaving him and Shiibo alone with Hodch, he then speaks up.
"Should we request Silver's presence for information on Anti and the ruins we're moving towards? I'm not fond of invoking high Class beings, whether they stepped away from their ambitions or not, but it seems like we can't afford to not make use of everything we can at this point."
>Distress signal activated, it didn't give him any odd feedback. Worst case he was somewhere where it wasn't going to be picked up.
>And with Anon's iron ball supposedly activated, all he can do now is wait for the gestalt to respond. That smart phone of his should alert him if a Razorback member strayed too far from normal areas. That was assuming he was even capable of reaching him, or if he hadn't recovered from that close call in the Basin Village.
>Jeff picks the iron ball back up and drops it back onto the ground.
"Come on, man. Don't hold out on me."
>He recalled Thrill saying the reliquaries were all over the Everfree, so he has a general idea where he is outside of here. Or is this some sort of pocket dimension?
>Await rescue... or for Lin to return? Maybe she'll be in a better mood, and let him go? Maybe she'll bring something worse back with her.
>Who's he kidding... definitely the latter.

>Jeff slumps down from his kneel and into a sitting position on the ground.
>Right now he just needs to stay put, and try to rest. The pain in his hand wasn't doing much for that, though.
>He's got water, rations, near a noticeable body of water with light.
>Although everything sounds quiet, that doesn't mean something won't show up eventually. Not like he's in any shape to fight anything right now.
>And if he did... Lin mentioned earlier that she didn't want him touching anything in here. If he managed to spill blood, and she returned and saw it...
>Fuck himself at this point. He's more worried she'd twist her own promise around and go after the others if he did anything in here.

>Removing the TacPad from out the underside of his gauntlet, he switches it to video recording and unhooks his helmet from his side.
>Making sure the camera was on, he switches the side mounted headlight to its red lens setting and points it at himself. Making sure he's in shot from the pad's screen, he starts to record his last will and testament.
"If you're watching this video, then I am dead and you have found my body..."
>He glances to the side morbidly.
"or what's left of it. The details of my death are unimportant. I only bear warnings for Razorback, and, humanity as a whole. One: The death for Vulgroz's Guardian as well as the looting and desecration of his reliquary have yet to have justice served for them. Void's sentencing ONLY covered its destruction. If possible, seek Vulgroz out for forgiveness and accept whatever punishment he sees fit. Two: Lin or Linear-in-Nature, an Ancient, has vowed to slaughter all of Razorback if any of us loot from ANY reliquary. Active or derelict, one single piece will be enough to set her off. Three: DO NOT come into contact with Lin. If you find yourself in a situation where she might be involved, turn the other way and LEAVE. And if you can't... I only hope you can make better sense of her than I did."
>He pauses. Should have though a little further out, before starting this.
"Let's see, what else? Obviously distribute my stuff across the Fortress, repurpose the Batcave if Belltower and Malyne don't want to stay in it. Right. Belltower, if you're seeing this: I know, and if you kept them I'm sorry I couldn't be there with you and them. Whatever anyone says or what has happened, I do love the both of you."
>That caught him for a second. He might never see her, Malyne, or anyone else again.
>He sighs into the camera.
"So much shit left unsaid and undone. I'm sorry... I'm sorry for everything, all they way back to Sharonel. A lot of stuff sounded in-play to change Razorback, hopefully for the better. Shame I won't be around for it. Some humans just don't belong here, and I guess I'm one of them."
>Trying to think of anything else to add, Jeff stops the recording there.

>Waiting for rescue, last message recorded. Might as well take a look at his hand.
>Removing his backpack, he grabs his emergency medical pouch and opens it to check on its contents before committing to anything.
>Nettle rashes were localized and go away on their own, but he doesn't know what else Lin had done to this strain to hurt so much.
>He then removes his gauntlet and pans his helmet light onto his afflicted hand to see how bad it was.
>As he assesses the wound, he keeps his ears open for any sound cutting through the silence around him.
[1d6 = 3] <M.Perception
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 5]
Razorback Fortress: The Clinic
GM Strangler
371792 371794
"There will ever be some whom are unfortunate to accept a fact of life, and those whom act irrationally. Those are the ones that must be watched carefully and 'treated' a bit faster than the rest."
>Pupils rapid flicking at the pistol multiple times, Nova allows herself a short giggle.
"Indeed. She will marenage how she always does: drag her opponents up a mountain and roll them off when they're tired. Then grant them the best possible treatmarents."

"They are indeed biologically fascinating in several mareners.. which reminds me. There have been reports of substantially more dangerous and physically larger Nickel, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Predatory-Elk encroaching into the native Copper Pred-Elk ranges and wiping them out.
The Minotaur Hegemony's marshlands and low forests specifically, though some have been noted throughout the eastern Moors regions and Ferron claimed lands as well."
>Hoof off the stasis, the Ward frowns at small tics in the static field surrounding her horn.
"Ten minutes was ever the maximum, though she could immediately resummon it for twenty, thirty hours straight. It should not be functional now, which is quite concerning. ..there is a signature which I am unfamiliar with."

>Performing indepth, layer-by-layer analysis from bruised hide, fat, soft tissues, muscle, down to bone, then into the brain, the worst indications Dr. Carlos expected were still visible:
>Non-vital tissues remained damaged while crushed neural pathways and collapsed arteries had been, mostly, restored.
>Post-set skull fractures around the horn would heal, albeit slowly, but the unusual copper composition would take significant time to regrow, if it could.
>Small arteries throughout the skull cavity and frontal lobes were less affected, these Pred-Elk biologically more robust than their wild kin, two tiny bleeds had been halted, unlikely to pose a threat.
>Examining the orbital socket, multiple severe fractures had occurred then partially set, the injuries more complicated and would require significant care to fully recover from.
>The eye itself suffered from compression shock, partially restored but would need to be closely monitored.

>Turning around on bed to study the roof quickly, Nova's eyes glance downwards, then faces north.
"That is quite unfamiliar to me. It does not sound like the typical Lunar or independent Druid's name either."

>Sleeping soundly on her left side, Snowfall could easily tell Astral thoroughly drained herself, few sparks of lightning traveling across antlers and teeth.
>Her normal pattern of inhales and exhales was rough, though not physically injured.

"I beli-"
>A loud, bizarrely wet and hard thump on the Clinic's north wall interrupts the hybrid, head whipping to stare at the spot the sound occurred, then whispers quietly towards Carlos.
"Doctor, lock the door when I leave. There is a.. not a creature, it is partially sapient. One which I am entirely unfamiliar with, and it is HIGHLY angered."
>Streaking apart in bright crystalline blurs, tinges of lower spectrums darken her exit-
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <E.Assault
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <M.Casting: Voidshear
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8] <M.Teleport
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <???
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <???
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9] <???
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <???
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15] <???
371794 371799
"Gold and platinum too ey? They should call them Pred-Elkements, instead. Hehehe! Do they come in any non-metallic or conductive variedad?"
>Carlos examines the continued stability of the spell.
"At any rate, it is still operacional. We must use is for a long as posible."

>Blume Gales examination is fascinating, considering the amount of damage he can originate.
>Most, if not all, circulatory and nervous damage had already healed to the point of being very minor.
>The eye's restoration was fifty-fifty, but he's confident whatever this Lin had done would probably put it on the mend.
>He notes mostly the more complex fractures that, while already partially set, were still far from fully healed.
>The nature of the Pred-Elk structural makeup needed copper, no surprise.
>Perhaps an actual copper transplant into the fractures to help fuse bone back together? No, it's not like like putting a plate in. It needs to be a more cohesive homogenization. A high copper diet? He'll have to infer with Nova, when she is no longer on the hunt. Perhaps Snowfall would know.
>Carlos jots down more notes, juggling methods.
>Re-examining Blume Gale again in ten or fifteen minutes to see if there is any noticeable improvement could give him a rough time table on this Lin's recovery... he's not sure what to call it.
>Deciding on seeing he was here, it wouldn't hurt to ask.
"Senior Snowfall, a moment of your time, por favor. Do you Pred-Elks ever suffer from copper deficiency? Siento... If you needed more copper in your diet, how would you normally go by doing that?"

>As he continues his note taking, Nova Flicker hones in on the intruder. He HEARD that thump on the North end as well.
>Whispering the game plan to him, he nods as she
"Entendido, Señorita Flicker. Keep it away from Taco Loco, si? Buane suerte, and stay safe. I will hold down the clinica."
>As the hybrid mare teleports out of the clinic, Carlos hurries over to the main door and locks it up tight.
>Heading back over to the care area with the patients, he looks over at Snowfall.
"It is just you an me, Senior Snowfall. Protect the pacientes, if needed, but I am aware how well fortificado this building is. We should be safe."
>Taking this Lin's restoration abilities into consideration for a quick round, Carlos decides to a quick monitor on SnakeBite and Lejura.
"I am going to check on the more injured patients from before you arrived. Please be mindful of the entrada."
>Starting with the human, Carlos checks SnakeBite's vitals, fluid and medicine levels, as well as a quick visual check og his body for any abnormalities. His samples were in his truck, still processing... no they would be done soon. Hopefully he can retrieve them, before they start to deteriorate. Taking any more samples from the already debilitated operators would only hinder his recovery.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <M.Physician
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <M.Research
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <Teacher: Biology
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <Teacher: Human Physiology
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>Still for a split-second, 'Shiibo' tosses a large warning sticker across the helmet's interior.
'I did not mean the giant whore-of-a-mare. My intention was to open a dialogue with Katyal as she has demonstrated relevant familiarities, more so than Hodch.
There is a cracked copy of the stated program in archives.. and corresponding unofficial patches.'
>Having packed a few of the best MRE's available from the Armory's stockpiles, you come across one of the more satisfying and hoarded ones.
>At least according to the contents, which had no synthetics or chemicals, also guaranteed to have a 10 year shelf life.
>As you eat, the avatar displays a reading of surrounding electromagnetic fields within the Room, pointing out deviations that mirrored twitching.
>Denoting individuals deliberately orienting in your direction, 'Shiibo' runs through comprehensive simulations before speaking.
'Unfortunate, but the data is excellent. Reactions begin occurring precisely at the apex of each attempt, possibly due to distance or preoccupation.
Probability of particle sentience is minimal at worst, negligible at best. Magical and modified analogues are possible.'

>Squinting as patterns dissipate from his coat, Hodch rocks from side to side in thought.
"Hm. I can indeed confirm that particular Rime Lattice is, rather passively and effectively, removing a constantly regenerating entropy-based effect which I believe is Anti, but I do not know which classification. It is adeptly destroying residual Rift corruption and negating Tallus-based essences which you are unattuned towards, though the-"
>Glancing you up and down three times, he experiences a brief, full body wince.
>But was more likely cringing internally.
"Hyfalgryph.. scales.. are halting further spread, however, not efficiently. I am unable to confirm the presence of a single or multiple Anti Cores, neither can I objectively state the opposite.
At a worst case estimate I would expect approximately twenty to thirty Anti Cores of standard play small marble size. There is a high probability they would not be spherical, a few of the defunct Cores we attempted to retrieve were geometric or featured native styled shapes. Those that Spiral did retrieve were naturally shaped according to their Elemarental property."
>Pausing, the sheer amount of existential questioning between the stallion's smile and speckles in both eyes causes a warning from 'Shiibo' as indicative of murder-through-nonstop-interrogation.
"You know.. there IS someone that should."
>Stepping out quickly through the portal while you finish, Hodch's low, definitely suspicious voice is overridden by Katyal's glee, but quickly stopped by Lonestar shouting angrily.
"Yeah? Yeah, I'll do it! Bitch can't read me, might get a few shots in her face if I'm fast enough."
"The fuck dude? I wasn't going to summon her ten ton ass here so chill! I'll do it outside.. where's the buttons at?"
"Left and right of each door. .....the DOWN button, obviously!"
>Sounds of quick acting hydraulics occur, and ten seconds later, muffled shouting.

>Leaning forwards to plant both palms on her digital face, 'Shiibo' only shakes her head.
Snowfall The Pred-Elk
The GM L.O.N.T
>Snowfall listened intently as Nova Flicker and Dr.Carlos talked.
>It was one of his many past times after all to simply observe others interact. It was right up there cataloguing every type of snowflake, such fun activities.
>His ears did rise in alarm however at the mention of other Pred-Elk species intruding on his baser siblings.
>He wondered if there was something disrupting their native habitats, making other Metal Antler species migrate towards their smaller cousins.
>"Will need to investigate these encroachments."

>Snowfall shook his head, Lin was anything but typical.
"For the little time I was with her she had the aura of something far greater than anything I have ever witnessed, greater than Oldhorn even."
>It was more powerful than him, but he stood by that he was the more wizened one, which made his snoot wiggle in cheeky delight.
>Observing his sister, the Pred-Elk was content with what he saw and was about to tap his antlers to hers when something hit the Clinic wall from outside.
"Not good."
>Is all he said as he took an alerted stance. Closing his mystic eyes he went ahead and tried to discern -what- was out there.
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] >E.Druidry
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11] >E.Perception
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]

>Ear turning to face Carlos, followed by his head to look at the good Doctor while one ear was swivelled at the door.
"Before Oldhorn we would go down to any moving body of water and smell for copper deposits and waterborne nuggets. Much like herbivores would sniff around for roots to eat."
>He thought for a second before adding.
"Or humans panning for gold."
>Stepping away from Astral, Snowfall stood between the doors and the reception desk.
"Now we actively dig out chunks of copper ore from the dirt and rock, grind them down and add them as seasoning for our meals."
>His tail wags slowly.
"Which makes me curious as to why other Metal Antler species are intruding into Copper Pred-Elk territories, since they cannot gain much benefits from eating lesser ores."
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
>Taking the heavy sphere once more, it didn't feel any different than normal.
>Watching as it drops, the orb rolls partway towards the stream before stopping in a small print.
>It didn't move or flicker like previous uses.
>Examining the print closer, five externally splayed short claws were reminiscent of common reptiles, similar to a gila rather than a monitor lizard.
>Ridge definitions and short, careful strides indicate a predatory inclination, though smaller than common iguanas; around the size of a common house cat at best.

>As you sit down, a barely heard, low croak occurs far to your left.
>Similar to the keening from before, it bounces multiple times, and ends as a shrill, organic snapping noise occurs.
>Recording completed, the Reliquary's internal space remains silent.

>The EMS kit contained everything after revisions from the last inspections and subsequent overhauls by Tipper, Nova, Roust, Hodch, Naliyna, and Dancing Eyes:
>Four rigorously inspected, thoroughly sealed, silk alchemical-infused wound clotting pads, 6"x6", six 4"x4", four 2"x4" wound pads, a small variety of improved bandaids, a pair of 12' and one 6' similarly infused alchemical-infused bandages.
>Four hi-alloy human styled tweezers for various applications, a thin crab pincer forcep, a fine needle-type forcep, one diamondine surgical scalpel with four quick exchange blades, a small magnetized disc and another version for nonmagnetic metals, and a cauterizing heatstone cylinder mounted atop a temperature neutral Empire Crystal grip, 6" long, rounded out Tipper's planned-to-be-exchanged tools.
>Two each of low, moderate, and high grade painkillers, two medium and high potency antiparasitics, four inflammation relievers, two small titanium alloy tubes of human and equine safe styptics, two vials of stabilized temperature burn semi-liquid creams, and a multiuse vial of maximum strength Waker pellets.

>Between 1MM to 2.5MM upraised skin lesions across the palm and fingers were focused across a standard human hand print pattern, smaller when compared to a man of equal size than the approximately 5' human figure had appeared to be, while above the wristbands was untouched.
>Considerably more pain inducing than both the nettles of your own world and the few varieties you'd come across on Tallus, this species was worse when the hairlike structures become triggered upon motion, though Lin had been able to excite it into a hyperactivated state, possibly as an enhanced but shorter lived biochemical deterrent mechanism.
>The pain itself was abnormal: sharp pulses occur at predictable, regular intervals, but alternated between hot and cold reactions which were easily exacerbated by movement.

>Focusing mainly on locating sounds in the near-dark Reliquary, muted, keen avian squawking amid faint, distant commotions commotion of creatures you couldn't recall analogues of.
>Reverbs and echoes finalize somewhere left at a distance around 600M, poorly bouncing off the crystalline trees and ending around you.

[1d6 = 2] <Time
[1d6 = 1]
[1d200 = 79]

[1d6 = 2] <Time
[1d10000 = 4599]
[1d2 = 1]
Razorback Fortress: The Clinic, Septimber 38th
GM Strangler
371813 371816
Estwynna Panris.jpg
>Shoving all five brightly marked, interlocking sections of the Clinic's immensely heavy sealed door into position, acoustic Void fractures north are overpowered by intensely shrill, long winded double shrieks.

>Returning to Operating Room #1, Snakebite had moved little.
>Arms and legs spalyed out into more comfortable positions, his head was turned right, eyes underneath the lids moving in slow-to-high, pre-REM twitches.
>Mentally noting the motions and positioning as relatively normal unconscious or subconscious behaviors, the Operator's skin was abjectly different:
>The external creases had solidified, visually thicker now with compact, small ridges pronounced.
>Comparing between the thousands of hours spent in his own practices and on-hand instruction in Canterlot's College of Magic, Snakebite had forcefully taken multiple drastic and extremely high grade Dracosine mutations.
>Checking the young man's pulse, it was marginally lower than normal though steady given the sheer amount of Dampener he'd been doped with.
>Feeling for fluid uptake across the neck, armpits, then stomach, slight subdermal swelling was increasing, though at a a glacial rate, yet had a comfortable temperature accompanied by above average human perspiration.
>The fluid wasn't sticky or acrid, but thicker than normal, it was clear enough to pass for sweat.
>Examining the IV line, it was clearly being considered a foreign object, but most bizarrely Snakebite's skin was tightly wrapped around the needle.
>While Carlos writes down minimal to maximal estimates for recovery, regaining full motion, sensation, and transcribes neural pathway regeneration figures, the Operator's skin changes coloration multiple times, finally settling on burnt bronze-white.
>Pausing to inspect Snakebite once more, a deliberate, slight tap was entirely stopped.
>Trying to poke him results in a near-completely unyielding barrier, acting more like solid steel than biological flesh.
>Odd.. wasn't even close to the proper word.

>Easily gazing through evershifting panes of Nature into the native reality of Razorback Fortress, facing north of the Clinic, Snowfall... does not understand.
>Refuses to understand.
>Then tries.
>Far newer than Tallus itself was, the lack of recognizable organs and unrestrained, inorganic movements was worse than the few Abominations his sapient herd of Pred-Elk had survived against.
>The large crest running atop the head down to the being's neck, then from pelvis to tail, should have been aquatic, but would never be submerged in water.
>Hollowed, ichor-leaking sockets for eyes above a pronounced nose, then shearing teeth below, an external, oily structure from forearm to elbow lending extraordinarily powerful strength for false-muscles, seeking to grip and tear what the barely human-like hands could reach,
>Barely covered and exposed ribs ripple above rapid, uninterrupted moving legs, an external structure from the calf muscles to the heel aiding in oily, unpredictable strikes.
>A name surfaces, one older than all of the known Druidic earth pony, Ferron, Minotaur, and unicorn lineages combined, one that Snowfall could not speak aloud.
>Struggling to translate it, the concept was clear: slaughter.
>Neither Planar nor spectrum derived, it was not from Tallus, and could never fit here.
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4] <Horror
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <Terror

>Snarling between every short, spit out epithet in Kingdom Crystal pony dialect, Nova Flicker dives into successive teleports for one strike each, the Ward's unusually bright, enraged presence barely comparable to the being seeking to crush her.
>Soft, glowing carnelian sheathed by raw Void slams against solid white little-to-nothingness multiple times, the hybrid scarcely able to harm or effect it's movements.
>Returning her hoof impacts with attempted grabs, the being was unaffected by Tallus entropy, yet seemed to sneer amusedly, and derisively, at each touch of Void able to mar it's false-skin-
>Nova Flicker: 2 turns of Critical Enrage remaining
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Vile Taunt
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11] <E.Assault
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15]
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <M.Casting: Voishear
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <M.Teleport
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <???
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] <???
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <???
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12] <???
>Staring down at the iron sphere for a lot longer than he would usually have to, it settles into the print of a small cat-sized lizard.
>Jeff picks up Anon's ball, eyes it for any abnormalities, then stows it back on his person.
>Either he's incapacitated, or this place is outside of the gestalt's signal range.
>Every time he heard a creature, so far, nothing sounded large enough to kill him. Smaller critters. Birds or... that sounded like a frog maybe?
>Then again, any real predators wouldn't be revealing themselves so easily. Or quickly.
>Whatever he needs to do he needs to be quick about it.
>Before he starts on his hand, he plucks Luna's feather out of his helmet and takes out his Moon Orb. He mentally calls into both of them simultaneously before storing them on his person.
'Luna, or whoever can hear me, it's Jeff. I've been kidnapped and trapped in an Ancient's reliquary, don't know where or how to get out.... I haven't stopped since the Basin Village was attacked. I'm spent, injured, and in grave danger. Someone, please hear me.'

>Waiting for any response from either, he starts thumbing over the updated medical pouch on top of his pack.
>It had all the latest pieces in it. Luckily, he at least knew how to deal with nettle. Special cocktail of it, aside.
>If he's going to be stuck here for a while, he needs the use of both of his hands.
>Slipping of his left gauntlet, he notices the hairs of the nettle still embedded in his hand. Lesions had formed all over the contact points. They were hyper sensitive, just getting his gauntlet off was a struggle and confirmed the were triggered by movement.

>He takes a dose of the anti-inflammatory and a high-dose pain-killer, sucking them down with water from his pack, and picks out a finer-sized tweezer and a anti-clot pad ready in case he starts to bleed.
>Placing his helmet back on his head he reattaches his combi-goggle to the tilt mount and gets into a more comfortable position.
>Taking his helmet's straps and firmly biting into the nylon and padding, he takes the tweezers and aims the red light at his left hand.
>Until he hears commotion to his left. Far away, but still unsettling. He rotates himself in its direction so he can keep an eye out of his peripheral.
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <E.Stealth
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]
>Now ready, he aims the tweezers at the tips of his fingers. Even if he gets interrupted and has to stop, at least he can get function of his digits.
>Starting on his thumb, and planning on working his way around, he starts to pluck out the nettle hairs. He tries to take his time, as quick as he could.
[1d6-3 = (3-3) = 0] <U. Medical
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <E.Iron Will
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
>He notes the warning sticker with a shrug.
"While that may be true, considering this mess is partly Silver's fault I think it's fitting to attempt to bring her in. She'll know more than Katyal about Anti and our target Ruins. We need to exhaust our best options for information first."

>Nodding at Hodch's analysis, he stows his gear before standing.
"Understood. Thank you."
>He pockets the Rime Orb once more after Hodch sets it down on the pelt.
>Looking over Hodch's devious grin, he leans away from him slightly.
"I'll leave you to that."
>He watches him leave, heralding an ensuing ruckus on the other side of the portal.
>Exhaling and picking up his pack, he focuses his mind again before stepping through the portal back into Lonestar's supposedly revamped carrier.
[1d6 = 3]<Gravitic Coaxing
>Arching the center of his brow in resignation at Shiibo, he remarks.
"Consider it a fair price for Silver to pay if nothing else. I'm certain she'll hate this interaction far more than any of us."
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
>Still damp from constant exposure to Moors air, the Nightmare's feather was cold as usual cold but unlike previous uses had no reaction to your touch.
>Hundreds of rapid hoof taps on stone transmit through the Flawless Moon Orb, indescribable sensations felt in the Lunar Overherd's background as attempted connections pass down the chain of commard.
>That is until an exhausted, mid-50's or early 60's pegasi mare answers, her inflection either a Lunar cloud city, or possibly a Villager.
"Velvet Cloudstrike, Lunar Guard, Watchkeeper in Armistice Vault Two. I don't recognize your.. name, or codename."
>A loud thump occurs as multiple crunches follow, speaking stiffly in severe pain.
"Have you been able to identify the region you're trapped in? And can you locate any visible local structures, possibly landmarks? There's at least.. ..eight hundred to a thousand ancient Lunar reliquaries..... probably fifty times that around Tallus."

>Halfway blacking out from removing the gauntlet alone, the external damage wasn't yet beginning to swell but would do so soon.
>Tenuously slipping into the Void, you were far too wiped out to do more than enter the lower adherent spectrums.
>Mentally clouded by fatigue and unsure of what to do with an unknown strain, the first attempt at a likely one on the thumb provokes a minor, quickly searing flash of hot-cold.
>Ignoring the vast majority of pain responses, the second try results in the same as the first, as does the third and fourth.
>While you could deliberately focus on a single task, there wasn't enough mental coherence to concentrate on the same, motions sloppy and barely able to function.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>Loading the game in a corner window, 'Shiibo' runs through the patch notes with a minute expression of distaste.
'In the unlikely margins that a Class Three, Four, or Five, is able to feel regret over their actions, should that place more blame on each willing participant or is this an attempt at looking a gifted horse in the mouth?'
>Taking on a short, self-chiding expression, the avatar makes a rapid, utterly graceless and sarcastic pirouette.
'I will not apologize for an unintentional pun even if I hate it.'

>Watching twinges of movements and EMF spectrum deviations, the AI slams her fist against the helmet's interior, a small feedback in algorithms erupting, then outfeeds a poorly translated insult.
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
>Holding off a glare, both arms fold as she takes on an attitude of molested umbrage.
'Good. She deserves to suffer.'

>Boot landing on an appreciably semirigid substance, as you exit into the crew compartment, the interior was vastly improved:
>Two feet taller than the cut-down original, the sides had been extended the same, now long enough to comfortably stretch out in or exercise without touching another passenger.
>The uncomfortable bench seats had been entirely replaced by twelve much better, heavy duty crash chairs with multiple adjustments, able to fold against the wall.
>The style a curious mix between aviation and naval, they were on obvious swivel mounts, yet you could sense the bases to be a non-ferrous magnetic composite.
>Clipped into the headrest side of each is an adjustable, one-size-does-fit all rubber mask, and below that was a fold out digital display, marked as a flexible, sensitive bioplastic.
>Both armrests now had a variety of protected electronic ports across the inner length of each, heavy duty albeit simple snap-locking mechanisms keeping those safe.
>The underchair lockers had doubled in size, next to each is a separated floor-to-ceiling locker, made from heavy gauge alloy that featured a glittering sheen in direct light.
>Partially recognizing the material coating the entire compartment, it was a drastic plus over the prior thin layerings.
>'Shiibo' points out a large number of heavy attachment rings, U-bolts, and eye-bolts at precise intervals through the interior, hidden yet easily accessible under cutout metaramid circles.

>The rear hatches were drastically upgraded, no longer several thin layers of titanium sheets, instead a solid, most likely ceramic coated monoplate; 'Shiibo' labels the obvious UP and DOWN buttons next to each as inaccessible in sincere humor.
>Eight pairs of high pressure hydraulic cyldinders on each assured rapid opening and closing.
>Standing roughly 20M inside the partial cavern, Katyal was constantly checking around her in quick 15-degree combat shuffling maneuvers, arms outstretched although her jacket was open, both gunbelts exposed wide.

>To the left of you, the original piloting cabin door had been moved to the center, able to slide either way either from one hydraulic ram in the floor and ceiling, or using a simple disconnect lever and brute force.
>Accessing revised schematics, the AI lists the vehicle as the newly renamed OT-4 'Landbarge', eyebrows lifting with an unrestrained smirk.
'They both lost. I am.. surprised. Personally I thought it would be the name of a preferred pond, stream, river, or ocean. ..I wonder what the cylinder's composition is and why Nightblade Hodch desires it so much.'
>Displaying a fully revamped pilot's seat on the left side, gunner-operator in center, and technician on passenger side.
>All three were inside a fully enclosed, individually temperature-atmosphere regulated cockpit, featuring a 360 degree radius, seamless internal screen.
'The material is a form of metastabilized diamond composite. It was created via particle synthesis, close to diamondine specifications.'
>A complex foldout seat that would be comfortable for a large human, unicorn, or pegasus, between each chair was listed in schematic form.
>Browsing through the electronic packages, the capabilities of each were increased by nearly 250% while the plasma weapons improved by 1/4, also having far less limited firing arcs.
>The PD laser systems had been slightly improved for lethality, armor penetration, and an additional hypercapacitor allowing for a second rapid fire cycle.
>Saving the best for last, 'Shiibo' displays the complete diagram of an 8-limbed, octopodal android exoskeleton and interface; six arms were dedicated to repair functions, and two multipurpose.
>Responding to a short communication from the avatar, the processing speed was slightly better than 'Shiibo', though had zero personality.
'Or tact. Meet the Rerculon Artificial Enhanced Hyper-Intelligence. It operates on brute force logic algorithms under a semi-energy post-quantum state. Octodecimal is indeed faster. Has no finesse and can be confused rather easily. It is capable of processing individual facial expressions to understand emotion when supplied with necessary data, though is incapable of forming a mood.
..would this be ten technological steps forwards and one back, or anti-Uncanny Valley?'

>Intercepting a technically lossless short range, direct-beam transmission from the pilot's cockpit, Lonestar was sitting back in a naval officer's chair, hands above his head and grinning.
*"Welcome to the OT-4! Calling her Landbarge. It ain't an insult, it's a threat now! Better range, bigger guns, lot better protection, hardened system packages, way more comfortable, got plenty of stowage. Itching to start up the repulsion lift but that can wait 'til Hodch gets his archaeology done."*
*"I heard that!"*
*"Of course you did. Also got him a sneaky little radio. So?"*
*"...haven't even seen them yet. Which way?"*
*"Further east then south, in a big pile next to a... tree that makes my old medium warcruiser look malnourished."*
>Correcting Shiibo slightly after her slightly amusing outburst, he responds.
"It's still too early to apply Class designations to gravitons in this... dimension. The nature of their existence is too limited for that to apply. They're still following rules laid out by their respective Plane of origin. Apparently I have to persuade them to lend me themselves. Though if they were doing that as they left... it's best I didn't convince those ones."
>Giving a brief glance at the corner display of a game running, he involuntarily recalls a memory of one the station technicians sneaking installations of DOOM onto everyone's onboard HUDs.
"If you start taking an interest in retro games like that, just don't start getting too invested yet. I'd rather handle cultural dataset building for media when not on an active operation."

>Passing through the portal, a new spacious interior stretched out before him in a curious mix of styles.
(Ocean planet background must have dictated minimal delineation between airborne and naval operations... )
>Looking around the improved cabin, his helmet shifts in a firm nod of approval.
"Uparmored, improved functionality, expanded storage space. Starting to remind me of something reminiscent of a downsized combat Landship."
>Finding suitable give against the floor for his suit's boots, he makes his way towards his new storage locker and sets his pack away as Shiibo provides a schematics briefing.
>The unusual design of the RAEHI catches his attention and he checks its description three times rather than twice.
"I see. Appears to be a model suited to specific applications of combat with minimal questions. A design meant solely for war, rather than one to champion the humanistic strengths of the mind like your model. It cannot hold a spark to the fruits of Amadeus and Salieri systems. Five steps forward in a narrow band of weaponization application. Two steps back in the advancement of humanistic philosophy. Should be suitable for menial calculations you could save processing power on."
>Taking the opportunity to manifest his personal conceptual weapon in his gloved hand, he attempts to persuade any nearby gravitons.
(Maybe it will be more effective if it has physicality.)
[1d6 = 6]<Gravitic Coaxing

>Receiving the communication as he finishes securing his gear, he replies.
*"The upgrade was effective. Can only hope we won't need it. Has Silver responded? And where is Dul?"*
>Snickering softly from the surprise reveal of Nao's sister's name, José would carefully peer closer on the globe where Argenta was supposed to be.
"What kind of 'access granted' are we talking about? Do you have the ability to outright teleport me there, schedule appropriate transport to authorized destinations or does it simply allow me to see the city states on the map?"
>He pensively tapped his chin as his gaze briefly went over the prohibited area before softly pointing at it.
"What does prohibitied mean in this context? Is it a simple matter of not being allowed to travel there or is it considered sensitive data that needs to be classified?"
>Hopefully Vortex Remnant was alright with all these questions about how it works.
>He's gonna need all the help he can get to properly set off to do some work.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>Left side of her face twitching, the avatar appends her linguistic sections, adding the updated terminology, then searches through libraries and archives for more precise phrasing.
'I was referring to the as-of-yet unclassified individual known as Empress Silver. Sir, are you experiencing abnormal thought processes or patterns? This is the second time you have either lost or mistaken a direct topic of conversation.'
>Both eyebrows raise, biting her lips at the title screen while examining the game's processes on a side display.
'Noted. It functions at the least. The graphics could be greatly improved, and the coding.... there is more spaghetti than one hundred knockoff Italian restaurants.'

*"I'm trying to make her into a dual purpose asset, both land and naval, but that'll take a lot of effort. Long time ago my faction had a near completely energy-state ground hovering system that didn't rely on magnetic repulsion. Weighed about a third this one, but they also had way better particle synthesis systems, access to loads of trace elements, and lots of time."*
>Kicking back and swiveling around in the chair slowly, Lonestar's gaze quickly bounces across the multitude of readouts in visible familiarity.
*"Problem is balancing the fusion-core with energy consumption, maintaining fire support and PD weapon capabilities, and keeping weight scaled. She's currently sixteen tons, minus a bit here and there."*

>Shutting down the game and switching to the android model, the AI requests a self-diagnostic from it.
'Visually neutral. Easily visible yet non-threatening. Highly useful for intended roles. Logic faults are few in number. It understands a few complex illogic concepts: this statement is illogical, how can you be perfect when your creators are human, and similar with ease. Also some non sequiturs. An excellent support model within designated operating parameters. Outside the same parameters performance decreases by a factor of three.
The inbuilt limitations and aesthetics were designed by a human faction.. pseudo-Luddite in spirit, not nature or culture. Technological capabilities and applications are distinctly considered as tools first, weapons last. In their own words, they believed the Rerculon species would not accept similar-in-appearance artificial beings due their native partial energy-state.
A system and interface which would function in specialist support roles that a human could not, and would not cause conflict with the Rerculons themselves. An interestingly adaptive multispecies thought process.'
>Closing that screen down, 'Shiibo' returns to her former task of modeling equine cultural and civil interactions.
'With your permission I will assign marginal tasks and median to long term calculations to the AEHI interface.'
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]

>Stopping the spin to rotate facing directly forwards, Lone reaches out to tap nearly solid keys.
*"Same, but I'll always hope for the best and prepare for everything else. Dul's outside, hundred fifty-eight meters. And now I can actually pick her up on scans. She's taking Hodch to the cache she dug up."*

>Sensing the exact opposite of mood, a single Tallus-bound Graviton escapes it's position in chaotic patterns and streaks to the weapon's barrel, politely slowing to a mere several thousand miles per second in order to enter the containment chamber where it nestles.
>The avatar's expression is beyond dead flat.
'The second I collect data which confirms a probability of emotionally bonded particles acting upon perverse inclinations, sir? Delete me. Immediately. That is not a question.'

*"What do you mean?"*
*"I don't feel her. The so-called Empress? Not even a shift in the world. The absence of some THING and SOME thing in part, sum, and totality. She used to be the opposite of a gigantic black hole, a... million villages on a million roads branching off a million pathways, always leading to her."*
>Glancing up at a display off screen, Lonestar frowns, right hand reaching out to center the forward view on Dul and Hodch close together.
*"Look, I know how touchy Ferron, batponies, and unicorns get when they start talking about ka, the soul, spirits, and other stuff, but that don't sound right for her."*
*"Because it is not. By now she would have arrived to humorously punish and mock Katyal in equal measure for her own flaws."*
*"Thanks for the vote of confidence. I guess? ...why don't y-"*
*"No. I only want to kill her through endless interrogations."*
*"Fiiine. ..hey Lone. You got a minute to spare? Try calling out to the biggest bitch in the whole wide world! It's a lot of fun, I promise!"*
*"... sure, why not. Ain't even the weirdest or craziest thought I've had this week.
Empress Silver, Empress Silver, Empress Silver, you're a real cryptic bitch when you shouldn't be, your skin makes me wish I never saw it because that STILL creeps me out, and I hate the fact that your posterior is forever burned into my brain.
Also don't land on my Landbarge or I swear to every God and Goddess of this world that I'll throw ground hot pepper mixes in your face every time I see you!"*
*"See? That wasn't hard at all!"*
*"That was kinda fun."*
*"Wait.. the wh- damn it! Hodch, we both lose this round."*
*"Then, next time?"*
>Luna's feather turns out to be a dud, as well. Any times he has used it, there was a response of some sort. Either its signal could not reach past here, or the Princess was still in critical condition from... that was HOURS ago. He hopes she's okay.
>However the Moon Orb takes his message in, feeling himself being transferred to and fro until it settles on an older mare from the sound of it.
>He apparently didn't give her enough identification.
'My apologizes, Watchkeeper Cloudstrike. I am Nightblade Jeff, from Razorback. The one human that got initiated, a while back. I know my creds are good with the Councilmembers, if any of them are available to vouch for me. Can't really think of anypony else, right now.'
>Looking around at the forest, he wasn't going to get any good land-wait she thinks he's in a Lunar reliquary.
'No, I don't. I was taken... transported inside here directly from the Basin Village. And it's not a Lunar reliquary. It's owned by a very old Druid. Calls herself Linear-in-Nature, Lin for short. She says the Moors is her home, that she was born into being when it first emerged from Tallus. She even attests to creating all the plants and animals within it. That old! I can try and triangulate my position. I tried calling for Luna but she didn't answer. I know she's been hurt really bad since the siege, but what's going on up at the Citadel? Last I heard something about the Nahtmare Flowing Spark, but that was a few hours ago. You don't sound too good yourself, ma'am. Are you alright, on your end?'
>Grabbing the TacPad, he opens the GPS to try and pinpoint his position on Tallus. Knowing Lin's reluctancy to leave the Moors for whatever reason, he should at least be somewhere there. He calls out his position the best as he or his tech could.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <TacPad: GPS
'Here's my coordinates. Do what you can with the info I shared with you. I need... a minute to try some impromptu field medicine. Please stay connected. I don't want to be alone, right now.'
>It was less out of fear, but more of a small comfort that he can talk to someone. The last company he has was less than pleasant.

>The process of trying to remove the nettle was excruciating. Everytime he tried on one it was like it was reactivating all over again.
>He was already too tired mentally and physically to keep doing this. At some point he's going to injure himself more.
>Jeff decides to stop after a handful of attempts, stashing the tweezer and wound pad back into the med pouch and attaching it to his hip for quick access later. He can try again, if he finds himself in better shape.
>He touches base with Cloudstrike on the other end of the Moon Orb.
'Cloudstrike, you still there? Sorry if you heard any of that. I was... unsuccessful. This Lin caught me with what I swear is weapons-grade stinging nettle.'
>Strapping the TacPad back onto his arm, he's reluctant to slip it his gauntlet fully back on over the barbs. Instead, he just fastens and stickies the forearm section back on, the gloved end slumped limply over the uninjured backside of his hand. At least this way can can still use his left to block.
>Finally carefully slinging on his pack, he looks down at the stream.
'I need to get moving. Not feeling safe where I am. I was told there was a hidden exit out of here, but I would still have to climb out once I did. The reliquary is bowl shaped, going off the acoustics. At least twelve hundred meters in diameter, assuming I'm in the center. There's a huge emerald in front of me, maybe around eightish tons worth. Giant crystalline trees that were glowing but have dimmed out. And a stream in front of me filled with emeralds of all different sizes. There are signs of life, small. So far. She mentioned she bred the meanest the Moors has to offer in here.'
>Letting Cloudstrike sink his descriptions in, he inches toward the only light source available to him. At least it was a constant source, and an easy guide so he won't get lost. He observes the direction of the flow, downstream would be the gamble pond Lin mentioned earlier. What would happened if he followed it upstream? There would have to be a source, somewhere. Perhaps the source also held the potential exit?
>Signs of obvious life on the banks an a clean flow told him it's probably drinkable. No way the Druid would let dirty water flow through her home, right? She did warn him of touching anything.
>Then again, wasn't he touching the ground? If something happen to attack him, he'd be touching that too.
>His hand was killing him. Leaving it open to the air should help, but he wanted to flush it out at the very least.
>It wasn't the pond. And it wasn't his own drinking water. And she wasn't here, right now.
>Unless she was silently observing him. No time for THAT level of paranoia, yet.
>He keeps his ears open around him, now that he's calmed down enough to get his senses in place again.
>Although anything he's heard earlier were a ways off, he could be getting honed in on.
[1d6 = 5] <M.Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 4]
>The only weapon he could think of handling right now would be the tomahawk, Lunarite blade, or the Spellslinger. The Honeybadger needed two hands. And he didn't want to spill any blood if he didn't have to.
>He checks the elemental chambered, rotating it to the Air element and cocking the hammer back.
>Jeff kneels down next to the bank, reaching out and over the surface of the water.
>And skims the top of the water with enough of his hand to wetten the afflicted areas for a few seconds.
The L.O.N.T
>Lont was about to turn away, to go back to the Fortress, to sleep away the rest of this awful night when he saw the Lead Spireguard march towards him from the corner of his eye.
>He didn't really expect that to happen, he wasn't sure what to expect anymore.
>He was going to take a step back if she got any closer but she stopped far enough away.
>His mouth opened, then promptly closed as she spoke.
>The Operator listened to the mare with as much focus he could muster. She didn't leave room for him to talk much and he didn't have much to say or ask.
>No. There were a few questions he needed to ask.

>Lont picked up the blue crystal ball when he felt it bounce off his boot. He was slow when picking it up, his knees audibly popping. His fatigue was an oppressive weight on him now intent on dragging him down to the dirt where it'll force him to sleep. He fought it off with what little energy he had left in him.
>He spun the orb around in his hand a few times before looking back to the Spireguard mare. Stressed and tired human eyes met hers.
"I will tell these Generals that, maybe they have been doing there own research already."
>"Unless they didn't detect Anti either."
"And I will endeavour to not contaminate the Crystalplates with too much of my Anti."
>He said with a small wry smile.
>It didn't last long.
"I need somepony to seek out Matron Farezith of the Conclaves, there is a high possibility of Anti contamination with her. And in the Conclave that she resides over there is a Shell by the name of Shattered Glacier, she and her foal are definitely contaminated. You might find Grand Champion Belregard there still along with one Shining Armour, they too might be contaminated."
>He only hoped somepony had already checked on them in the interim.
"Also, I wish to know a few things. Firstly; the number of ponies contaminated. And-"
>His grip on the Rime Orb grew tight, so tight the sphere threatened to slip out of his grasp.
"-Were there fatalities?"
>Lont stared at the orb before focusing on his sword. His contaminated Mural Blade left clattered on the hallowed Basin Village ground.
>Again he bent down, but this time with the aid of his sword he stood up much faster. A perfect allegory of himself really.
"What of Cadence? Was she contaminated too? Did she...Did she know? Know about Razorbacks negligence, about my own?"

>The din of chatter going all around him by his fellow Operators finally registered in his mind.
>He could not recall what happened to Emerald, so he turned his head to sweep his vision across the Basin to see if anything or anyone was amiss.
[1d6-3 = (2-3) = -1] >E.Perception
[1d6-3 = (3-3) = 0]
[1d6-3 = (3-3) = 0]
[1d6-2 = (2-2) = 0] >H.E
Snowfall The Pred-Elk
The GM L.O.N.T
371816 371862 371871
>The young being, the novice Druid and freshly sapient Snowfall could not move.
>Something instinctual had bolted him down in place. All his muscles were locked up. Eyes unblinking as he stared north.
>The only thing he could hear was his heart pounding in his chest.
>This thing.
>This utterly unnatural thing was here, in the Fortress, in his home.
>His home.
>That thought brought some lucidity back to the Pred-Elk.
"Calm down, breath, think."
>So he attempted to do so by breathing deeply through bared copper teeth. He was eventually able to break eye contact with the northern wall of the Clinic, and dared not to look out of the Clinics' doors. He did listen however.
>Shakily stepping backwards then turning around he made his way towards the Clinics desk, there he would have more protection if/when this Horror broke in.
"Nova can hoofle this."
>Snowfall said to himself as a measure to calm himself down some more.
>Nova was powerful. And not wholly alone, nor was the Fortress completely unstaffed. If she needed backup she will get it.
>The question that made him gnaw at his lips and tap his hooves on the desktop, would he and his herd b part of it?
>Stopping on the other side of the portal, he gives Shiibo a confused stare.
"I won't discount potential confusion from recent events, but Silver is already classified hence why I assumed you were referring to the gravitons. Silver is a Class Two, formerly Class One or on the verge of becoming a Class One."
>He shakes his head before moving on.
"Or the temporal discrepancies Katyal had mentioned are creating further miscommunications."

>Finally receiving a graviton, he deconceptualizes the weapon and tests the chair nearest his storage locker.
"Noted. And permission is granted, so long as the information offloaded is of non-classified clearance. Since this 'Rerculon' species is somewhat emulated in this design, then it seems Lonestar's origin faction attempted some level of integration with them. More adaptive than I was expecting. Likely still problematic, but technologically I'll give them credit."
>He quickly stands again however, as Katyal's reply brings an uncomfortable premonition to mind.
(First the Nightmare's critical status with those clouds... now Silver's complete non-presence. This feels like a nonsensical portent.)
*"There isn't anything out here strong enough to block out Silver's presence entirely, is there? First the Nightmare, now this, it all seems too coincidental."*
>With a vague sense of unease, he makes his way out the rear hatch to survey Katyal and the nearby surroundings in the massive den.
371862 371878
>Now able to focus on Snakebite, he makes little of note to his more comfortably neutral position on the table.
>His skin, now much thicker than before and reminded him of more lizard-like.
>Checking his pulse through the new dermal layer, he found his pulse was keeping up well with the drugs in his system.
>The levels were measured for regular human tolerances. Would the infusions have given him a heartier constitution, higher metabolism to handle more?
>Observing and also feeling a slight increase in fluid buildup, along with more-than usual sweating, Carlos gets a sample kit for a nearby supply station. No temperature change meant no inflammation or infection. He collects several generous vial samples of the thicker-than-usual perspiration.
>Certain reptilian species prefer to keep their skin constantly moist. He wonders if his body is overreacting to the liquification of the fat layer, and is taking in extra fluid to build it back up. He'll mark the new absorbtion rate of the saline/dextrose solution for an earlier change-out.
>As he check the lines, he notes Snakebite was subconciously forming a combative layer around his IV. It reminded him of a tree growing around an object in contact of it.
>Skin change fluctuates as he updates his notes. Fascinating! Chameleons are known to change their skin tone based on their emotions. Pair that up with the pre-REM sleep, Snakebite's skin may be reacting to him dreaming.
>And a tap on his skin made it tense up. No, harden? Almost completely.
>He wasn't sure how to put it.
>When he was palpating before he didn't experience this. Hmm... perhaps a sharp strike over a certain force threshold activates a sort of reactive dermal hardening. Muscles under the skin could be hyper-contracting along with an instantaneous no tolerance alignment of skin laminars.
>He would have to test it, during outpatient recovery. With Snakebite's permission, of course.

>As he wraps up their human patient's current status, he looks over at Snowfall.
>The Pred-Elk must be able to sense the entity that Nova Flicker is now facing. He's definitely shaken up a bit, as he cowers behind the front desk.
>He takes a concerned pause, before he goes and checks on Lejura.
"Is it that powerful, Senior Snowfall? The Fortress is rather undermanned. Should I radio for help?"
>He idles up with the Pred-Elk at the front desk, before continuing his rounds.
"Well I still feel pain and stuff so I know it isn't. You usually don't feel anything in dreams."
>Probably the case here too.
"Wild do not have an existential crisis right now, that can be postponed indefinitely."
>Or occur at a more convenient time and place.

>While I had no real basis of how she looked besides the Mini-her, I knew she was pretty fucked up.
"Well uh..."
>I mull my words over for a moment.
"You wouldn't be able to get a first date with anyone, I'd say."
"Yeah you're all kinds of fucked up, aside from your legs which are mostly intact. Aside from the seams. And cabling that's exposed."
>I grimace as I inspect her upper body a bit.
"You're going to have a lot of work replacing all of this."
>Hmmm...she's speechless
>But hopefully she understands and stays away from the Riftseeker or the Constructs
>Watching the screen form from the two cases, he still has no idea what the symbols mean
>The cultist mare has more of a idea than he has though but it ain't much
>Clemency flinched at the mare shrieking in frustration
>The fatigue fully set in and was making Clemency jumpy
>But she is hatching a plan at least
"Lann's shop? I know where it is. But I didn't know she had a Moon Orb."
>At the mention of a berry name, Clemency tried to remember who she is referring to
>It had to be somepony back at the Citadel
>Basin City?
>He was unaware that a city exists in the Basin
>Maybe it's just a very good secret
>More code words though
"Ok, 20 charcoal sticks and 5 tomes. Anything else to expect from them?"

>After asking the question, Clemency winces against the harpy's screaming
>He didn't realize the sarcophagus still had some effect considering it was dead
>He instead deigns to not even enter it
>As much as he want to sleep, he rather have one he can wake up from and not be comatose
>"So, no and no. But she also mentioned the Basin City."
*"Don't worry, I won't. I'll be waiting in the meantime."*
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Either unable to resize, or refusing to, the map's northern edge was centered on two broad regions, Mareixico and Mexicolt, sharing a thoroughly unmarked border, excepting small villages and a few towns.
>Hundreds of clustered islands and a wide variety of archipelagos dot the western ocean off Argentum's Lands, the majority listed as unknown, prohibited, dangerous, tainted, corrupted, or both of the previous two statuses.
>More than 40% had previously inhabited markers, current indications of lightly inhabited below 2%, and only the largest archipelagos or island chains were moderately inhabited.
>In total, the uninhabited number was nearly 98%.
>Far west however, Cuteba is listed as the largest Caribean Island, mostly jungle with a broad, wide beach that looked uninterrupted around the landmass, and currently inhabited by numerous Ferron Clans spread throughout.
>A mixture of smaller islands around Cuteba weren't individually distinguished, instead, patches of claims by the main Ferron and two sister clans, the Malurians and Arkadians.
>On the eastern side of Argentum's Lands, of the approximately 600 islands, less than than 50 were inhabited, entirely functioning as small military ports, research outposts, or both.

>Sorting through envelopes once more, Starglow emits a moderately snide snort as the metallic eye twists around in a full rotation.
>Sighing and folding her lift wing over her head, Shanis speaks in a slow, nonchalant tone before the Crystal mare can cause further damage.
"That stone circle covered in symbols and runes you're standing in front of is a translocation matrice. Translocation is a near-instant dimarensional travel through the Vortex Remnant's network across Tallus. It's safe unless you're carrying a Planar being or creature that thinks, 'hay, this would be a good time to dive back home real quick'. Worse case scenario, everything inside that tunnel gets spit out to where they entered.
Each matrice is usually connected to all other matrices, but the owner of one can set any limitations or stipulations they want. For example I've limited the two major matrices on Tartarus Island to only accept translocations that've been verified by the Remnant and and deliveries from direct allies. The rest are used for inter-island transport.
The map is accessible by everypony and everyone so long as they ask first. Each matrice has to be accessed by the Remnant, so some aren't up to date. If possible ask a sub-Remnant to provide an immediate view.
Most regions that aren't listed, darkened, sectioned off, marked with large borders, and so on, either have a travel ban, are prohibited, or restricted. That region's been prohibited for.. over a decade."
>Pausing to blink upwards, the pegasi's snout twitches morosely.
"I think. Nopony knows why and asking questions about it is probably a bat idea."
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"You're a Starborn then."
>Constant paper noises are accompaneighed by short, hard three-hoof steps, then a partial tap after.
"Four of the Lunar Council are deceased. Three are awaiting their last hour or less. One is in critical condition. One is severely crippled, unlikely to recover. One is moderately injured, currently absent. One is lightly injured, also absent. The last has been missing for over four hours, possibly five.
Until replacemarents are vetted, approached, questioned, then accepted or rejected, five previous Lunar Council members have been brought from stasis to assume temporary duties. One more per each will follow. We ha-"
>Crystalline fractures in the background and a distant explosion drifts, the mare quiet for some time, then speaks in low, firm tones.
"I'm stating the following so that there are zero future consequences, ramifications, and repercussions: I have no idea what you are speaking of, and I do not understand the same. For the purposes of not being dragged in another shitshow... everything you have seen and will experience is to never be shared. Not a single bloody word shall ever be spoken aloud. Do you understand?
If you do, and accept my words have been spoken as significant matters of existential security, continue speaking. If not then I will disconnect you from the Lunar Network.
.......a ritual is being prepared to aid the Lunar Princess. I am not allowed to speak on that matter further.
...that one. Beyond insane. Dreams that shouldn't occur when awake. Half-alive in unreality. Half-dead in mind, spirit. Sings for the flames that can't speak any longer... carves names for each one. Only cares for them now.
She pushed together most every piece of Construct debris, hulls, fluid, and everything, then proceeded to melt most of it, but not all. The lowest tunnels are flooded, entire Underworks is filled with cooling orange metal. There were a few parts she.. 'prevented from being touched by extreme force'.
........I was supposed to be off the Citadel three hours ago. Medical retiremarent. Permarenent. In short, a complete mess all the way around.... we didn't even have time to enact catastrophic measures, that's how quick the Constructs burst down and through."
>Wingblades clack together followed by loud tearing, Cloudstrike huffing irritably.
"Horseasses, this map's at least five years old. Some of the new ones are marked, should work. You're in the Deep Moors, trying to find latitude and longitude, need a few minutes. ..I'll be here."

>Hoof clicking on stone and barely muttering now, her tone shifts to brief accusation.
"Awake for now. Alive, not so much. Unless Heartbreak storms in for another useless check up..
...Nigthblade, if you're in such bad shape that you can't even treat yourself, moving is the worst option. Then again mostly I ca- ...nevermind. Hold on, let me see if these open-"
>Metallic and crystalline locks clicking multiple times, she exhales calmly at a dull thud.
"Nope, don't even know where the slots are. ..the good and bad news: I've found your probable location-"
>Reading off a series of coordinates which you compare to the TacPad, the entire central Deep Moors grids matched them.
"Been little explored before the Early Dynasty, majority is prohibited. No Warp Gates, and no teams are willing to set down translocation matrices.
..and I've just confirmed the last orbital crashdown pod was taken a few hours ago... there's not even a horsefucking name on the log sheet! Why do someponies never follow protocol?! Those are for emergency use only!
I know this much: the Lunar Druids, their warclans, orders, brotherhoods, sisterhoods, allegiances, and allies disappeared before 29,400 or shortly after. They claimed the Deep Moors and parts of the New Everfree. Few descendants remain in Equestria, and weren't fond of Malurians. There might be some records left in the Hall's Archives, will bitchfit someponies into going down for a search.
They left behind all of the.. ‘modified’ Warguard and Vanguard Wolves in specific locations. Independent Druids use those as neutral trading grounds sometimes. They can inherently detect sapience but won't willingly help an uninjured non-Druid, so if you see one they might let you stay with until recovering. ..do NOT piss them off for any reason, they were.. 'shaped' to kill Minotaurs and similar equivalents during the Middle Dynasty.
Tidelock Bog's in the southernmost Deep Moors, close to Ferron lands. Could be anywhere from two to four thousand miles south. Mirekeep is west, three to five thousand where Central touches Deep. Nothing southeast, east, or northeast, those are the Crags. North.. twenty to thirty medium Ferron villages, loads of smaller ones. Lot of batpony colonies; dots, campfires, or outpost signs. About the same distances.
Look, Nightblade, I can't even tell you what my duties are but that whole region is NOT a place to be in, much less wandering around. Could travel a hundred miles in any direction and not be seen by a living, but most importantly untainted AND uncorrupted batpony. There's enough insanity near the inhabited regions they won't even fly twenty miles over the Deeps.
Unless I can find or force another crashdown's production, you'd better have a fourth or fifth option available.. and I don't mean suicide."

>Focusing on the last echoes bouncing down into the Reliquary, whatever had occurred wasn't being repeated.
>Ebbing to a bare few lumens each, diffracted traces of green were all that marked the crystalline trees while the boulder and gems in the stream remained bright.
>The water was freezing, numbing palm, fingers, and thumb, intensity welcoming enough to blunt the constant pulsing.

"..I think you're inside a spawning chamber. That's where young are created, fed the first few times, then released. That'll be the safest place until noon, after that reptiles, insects, hybrids, and big predators start hunting. Look for a small place you can hide and defend from if need be."
Basin Village: The Crystalline Compromise 5
GM Strangler
371879 371907
"It is improbable they will be aware of Anti contamination as each General's ExoFrame is thoroughly examined by Princess Cadenza. Likewise I do not believe Crystalplates will degrade unless subjected to prolonged direct contact by Class Four or worse exposure."
>Glancing over her back at the Conclavists and Kingdom adherents, her head swivels about to give a firm nod.
"You have my word we will search for Matron Farezith and her Conclave, but we must undergo precise decontamination procedures before a next course of action may be approved. As for the Crystal-Revenant, he and..."
>Taking on a thoroughly dumbfounded face, the Spireguard squints before returning to a neutral tone.
"They will be unaffected, that is assured.
While we understand that the majority of Razorback is exhausted or worse, fatigue should not resemble being incapable of remembering previously marentioned facts.
As was previously stated: we have shared what we positively know; numbers and individual statuses are as of yet unknown.
It is unlikely Princess Cadenza can be negatively affected due to her..."
>Turning a derisive sneer downwards, she snorts in a flatly hostile marener.
"Prior history with a certain incomprehensible silver-skinned whorse, may all suffering be etched within that one's crooked mind one hundred thousand times over.
Similarly improbable she was or is contaminated, and the latter questions do not have sufficient facts on hoof to answer. I am most tired of endless speculation, guesswork, and quarter-flanked calculations with which to throw hypotheticals or theories upon."
>Offering a slight, formal bow, the Spireguard swivels on hoof in short measured hoof steps, calling over her shoulder as she clanks towards the Crystal forces.
"Warn Razorback of the words we have shared-"

>Blearily surveying around Basin Village, there was no sign of the short Korean woman, her prominently fashionable white coat missing among the thousands of Day and Watch Guard still exiting south of the fountain.
>Surveying the Operators arranged in groups, most sitting down, kneeling, or standing close to the east building walls, you try matching known armors, helmets, preferred colors, patches, weapons, and other identifiers.
>Besides Clemency occupied with the unusual aircraft, it seemed all of Razorback was still here.
>...except for Jeff, his helmet and mask would've been highly visible from where you were.
*"I've got nothing."*
*"No sign anywhere?"*
*"There's nowhere to hide and we've have seen her moving around real easy."*
*"Nada. Bunch of those cold armored unicorns though."*
*"Can we be sure she didn't, y'know, fall in a swamp or bog?"*
*"If she did, and I'm playing along here, there'd be twenty to fifty ponies dragging her out immediately afterwards."*
*"What about some Void critter that could've grabbed her?"*
*"I'm cutting you off right now. There were Lunar unicorns and psions in the thousands, they knew EXACTLY where everything bigger than a micrognat was at all times."*
*"Crystal ponies too..."*
*"Where's Jeff?"*
*"He was.. with us at the the south entrance?"*
*"Right before Lont radioed in."*
*"Saw him there too, had one of those blades in hand, scarring himself."*
*"Yeah, same."*
*"I got out of there around the same time he did."*
*"Hold on, I saw him starting to get up when I was leaving."*
*"....then what?"*
*"I don't fucking know, was thinking about checking the rooftops."*
*"Didn't see him when we left either."*
*"That's two people missing now. Is there anyone else?"*
*"We made roll call right after getting in, so, all squads sound off, Rooks first."*
Razorback Fortress: The Clinic, Septimber 38th
GM Strangler
371871 371878
>Huddling in front of Tipper's strongly scented wood desk, the level of safety was a marginal increase.
>Except the surface clutter and interior contents would have to be removed, then filled before it could be turned over, around, and shoved against the door.

>Nova Flicker 1 turn of Critical Enrage remaining
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <Vile Taunt
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14] <E.Assault
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <M.Casting: Voidshear
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <M.Teleport
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <???
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <???
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <???
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14] <???

>Nudging open the #2 Operating Room to peer in, Lejura was still on her side, little moved from earlier.
>Forelegs tucked into a comfortable crossed, calm, moderately deep, rumbling inhales and exhales are accompaneighed by slow, minor ear twitches.
>A heavily drugged, albeit standard rhythmic sleeping pattern for a full dose of Dampener.
>Taking a quick feel across the mare's soft neck from throat to below her skull, each pulse was average for heavy sedation, though considerably stronger than normal, a definite response from being critically overdosed by potent restoration mixtures.
>Performing a snout pinch test, then a ten second frog hold to check proper blood flow, each was within satisfactory conditions, though her bodily temperature was closer to 105, within normal for a Saddle Arabian.
>Waiting to overhear possible lung constrictions, nasal hitching, teeth grinding, whistling, and other disruptive sounds for two minutes, none occur.
>Peeling open the mare's left eyelids, the pupil remains fully expanded.
>Testing the responsiveness with a split-second penlight check, delayed minor dilation occurs and is subsequently restored in nine seconds.
>Performing the same test, this time the dilation and expansion occurs in eight seconds.

>Rotating through the remaining patients, the earlier two injured humans had long since left, clipboards with affixed charts marked by Nova Flicker's neat writing; times, later treatmarents, and scheduled checkups were more constricting than standard, but otherwise workable.
>Returning to the heavily distorted stasis capsules containing Kraut, Novus, and Caliya, visual examinations reveal no changes or alterations of the temporal containing field.
>Panning the diagnostic disc over the first..... Carlos bleakly wishes he hadn't.
>And that anything resembling minced meat or corned beef hash could disappear. Forever.

>Taking a bit to recover from those wholly unforeseen shocks, a base layer inspection of Novus was barely distressing in comparison.
>Far less tenderized, but equally unsurvivable, the entire combined medical staff of Canterlot College and the Crystal Empire's alchemist teams would never be able to safely restore Novus' vital organs in the half-second or less it would take to physically expire, even with significant temporal delay.
>Considering the man's apparently conscious state at his technical time of pre-death, Carlos notes a number of significant, yet barely studied and poorly understood, parameters that weren't possible to replicate in lab conditions.
>Taking in the conditions of combining extremely violent force and speed-induced fractures, impact deformations across bone, muscle, tendon, nerve, and blood vessel compactions, along with shearing forces to all of the same, a suitably comprehensive human physiological study could be made.

>Deliberating on whether or not to attempt surveying Caliya, the beyond-first-degree burns, visibly charred exposed musculature, near-carbonized bone, and whiplashed tendons alike were beyond any method of categorizing.
>And stomach churning.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
'Testing both the prototype's theoreticals and my records for clarity.'
>Setting up six windows, two for video, two for audio, and two for text, 'Shiibo' sets the last five minutes into extreme playback speeds.
>Slowing down multiple points of each for comparisons, the avatar's face creases scorfully.
'Temporal divergences are not what occurred sir, rather, the opposite. A correction is necessary: my algorithms blended together causing me to speak of both Empress Silver and Tallus-linked Gravitons at the same time; whether intentional or not is unclear. My original processes intended information solely on the individual known as Silver. The second was spoken in a near-failure state specifically focused on Graviton particles.
I do not have sufficient data to determine a likelihood or potential cross-contamination of future incidents. The best I can offer is: possible yet unlikely.
Clarifications have been archived and should not fail when subjected to temporal anomalies. Pattern and divergent vector studies would be recommended... but you do not have the necessary equipment to conduct such indepth analyses, sir.'
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8]
'Understood. There are numerous data volumes contained within the AEHI interface to peruse.. approximately four thousand near-standard years of surface level information is publicly available.'

>Stepping onto the deployed hatch, the ambient light level was below dim though comfortable enough to see by.
>Wide, blunted, 10' to 12' claws, or extremely crude scraping tools, had widened out a cavity between two of the gigatrees, the cavity sheltered by three smaller ones piled atop.
>To the right was, mostly, evenly flat, the ramp leading up and out looked to have weathered a number of recent heavy rainfalls, deep semicircle impressions barely able to be called tracks.
>Left and deep inside the den was an irregular, elongated bowl, partially filled with loam colored water, the same peculiar markings surrounding it.
>'Shiibo' marks out the dimensions for an estimate while you notice there were no stones, boulders, sticks, or plant life inside.

>Katyal's arms drop to her gunbelt, head swiveling towards the OT-4, then turns in quarter-circles as she speaks.
*"If there was, Hodch and Nibbles could tell immediately. Might take me a few minutes, but so far, not so much as a twitch. Maybe Dul can sense what we don't, or can't. Don't know how she experiences Tallus though."*
*"Other than worldwide Construct jamming in effect? It's gotten stronger but otherwise nothing on scans. Been in a few places where I can feel making enchantment work's more difficult than normal. Has this hard to forget tingle in the mind, between an electrical sting and a resistor not quite blowing out. Here? I feel good. Normal's a stretch."*
*"No, not in the slightest Pare. This region is among the least tainted and corrupted I have felt."*
*"Through all four hooves, or just you?"*
*"Both, in fact. Here reminds me of.. certain locations which are best described as pure. Freed from all non-Tallus essences, influences, and traces; harsh or primal Elemarentals, Planar, Otherworld, Spectral, Animus, a list of lists that are often negative in association and totality. If there is a proper name for this sensation, I do not know it."*
*"Then that brings us back to the same problem: if Silverbitch isn't listening like she should be, then what?"*
*"I do not know. It is both a sincere, vast relief knowing that Tallus is not currently suffering from her vagaries.. and an iota concerning at the same time. Unfortunately that means lacking information which we deserve access to, especially given the precarious objectives and nature of our mission. The- oh, there it is. That is...... quite the pile. Hm.
And quite fortunately for you Miss Alvugarde, she will not be here to offer sincere advice on choosing an excellent stallion, or colt, using your womanly attributes, and most certainly will not be commarenting on your fairly lacking hip to teat ratio."*
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12] <GM.Mysticism: Reveal-Thy-Secrets
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12]
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15]

>Scrambling Katyal's half-laughing, half-shouting before she could flood the current channel, Lonestar sits up in his chair, frowning painfully while thumbing controls on the right piloting stick.
*"Why'd I have to be stuck with the two biggest jokesters around? At least Finny doesn't ask if she should walk or fly behind me ten paces any more."*
[1d6+8 = (2+8) = 10] <ExoTech Optronic Particle Scanners
[1d6+8 = (6+8) = 14]
[1d6+8 = (1+8) = 9]
>Standing at the foot of the ramp, he folds his arms and scuffs the soil once with his right boot.
>He listens on as everyone offers their considerations.
>Despite Hodch's good humor to Silver's lack of presence, the sense of uncertainty does not dissipate in his mind.
>Responding first to Shiibo, he blinks in acknowledgement.
"AEHI data likely pertains to world history relevant to Lonestar's background. Not a current priority for analysis. Will be relevant in future technology and cultural risk vector assessments for his profile. And yes, current equipment suites are substandard given the total strategic goals dictated by the Protocol. Noted for if this operation succeeds."

>Fishing into his pack for a flashlight, he slaps it twice before turning it on, Sticking it to the top of his helmet, and pointing it towards the pool of water.
>Scanning around it and the edges of the den, he checks for anything unusual or out of place.
[1d6 = 3]<Expert Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 6]
>Once finished, he would then shift his pack again to find and turn on the 5CTA tablet.
"This should have fauna detection functionality and additional sensory tools... "
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]<Flora Detection
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]<Fauna Detection

>Sighing, as he uses the tablet he speaks into the helmet radio.
*"Then it seems we have no additional options at present other than asking Katyal to probe the function of the Rime Lattice Orb's enchantments in an attempt to find a property capable of cleansing the probable sources of Anti in our equipment... and this den is devoid of any expected debris. Is that something to note for what kind of creature would make a den like this?"*
>Giving Lejura a comprehensive once-over, he is satisfied with her progress.
>Despite the Dampeners and toxic-levels of Restoration, the Saddle Arabian was faring quite normally.
>Blood flow, temperature, breathing, reaction, and dilation under sedation were satisfactory.
>He updates her chart with his check-up, and moves on.

>The next three... were still in stasis, at least.
>He doesn't even know what he was expecting looking at Kraut. Just as bad inside as he looked outside.
>The doctor was literally at a loss for words he even remained intact. Just ground meat, in a skin suit, at this point.
>Assuming his ka was still with his body, it was going to be a tough position for him to be in. Some sort of transfer into a shell body, would be the only viable option, at this point. Or allow the man to pass, naturally.

>Novus was not as bad, but the damage to his body was beyond fatal as well. At least there was more substance to observe. He did all he could to take plenty of notes on what could be salvaged information-wise from the Operator's body.

>And last, Caliya, who may as well have been third degree barbecued. Fourth degree, if it can be categorized.
>Charred and flesh and bone along with flayed tendons and ligaments...
>More reactionary than a conscious act, Carlos makes a sign of the cross with his pen hand.
>The fact that at some point, the stallion was probably awake and feeling every bit of that...

>Having completed his rounds on all current patients' recoveries... or barely alive in stasis, Carlos looks over at the Pred-Elk.
"Senior Snowfall, how does Seniorita Nova fare? You seemed nervous, earlier. Like you could see la lucha unfolding."
>He starts heading over to the Clinic's radio.
"Shall we call in for assistance? I am not much of a fighter, myself. If whatever it is gets in here, well... I guess you'd be our last line of defensa!"
>Now having confirmed his identity, Cloudstrike gets down to the meat and potatoes of the Citadel's situation.
>They were some pretty depressing meat and potatoes...
>The entire council was either dead, dying, or missing.
>Chuz`Ain, Cracked Eye, Oranti, Ridgeback, Sleethoof? He was well enough with them, especially after their training. The others were less, unfortunately. There was the baticorn that berated him at the crypt, and an earth pony he swear he hasn't seen since she voted against him at his induction.
>And going off of what Clem mentioned... that was hours ago. No way Twisted was part of the casualties.
>And pulling more out of stasis, of all things, just to keep things together. He was aware enough of such emergency procedures, just never thought it's get that bad to implement them.
'Shit... hmm. I was acquainted with most of them. The... I forget the bat unicorn's name right now. She came crashing down to my aid along with Marshmallow Moon uh... four and change hours ago actually. Unrelated to my current predicament. She was barely standing, but left on her own power and left Diplomat Marshmallow with me and my team. Not sure where she went after that.'
>After leveling his predicament with the Guardmare, he could feel he may have divulged too much. Her voice shifts to a no-nonsense tone. Either out of disbelief, or the implications were far too fantastical to quantify.
>Once she gives him an ultimatum to keep his mouth shut or lose her aid, it was the latter.
>Jeff clams up, not wanting to squander the only aid he has right now. But what Lin said to him regarding Vulgroz and the reliquaries weighs heavy on his mind.
'Understood. I don't think Lin would let me live long if I was blabbing her existence to everypony I bump into. However, she did express two unknown dangers to me that could threaten every human's life in Razorback. Unless if there's an acceptable way to pass those warnings on without divulging my current situation...'
>Jeff sighs through the Network to the older mare, conflicted.
'Consider myself classified, ma'am. As much as I want to help the others, you're my only life line out here right now.'
>She continues on about Luna, and Flowing Spark in greater detail. It seems the Nahtmare was truly raising hell in the Citadel's underground, slagging
'Here's good luck to the Princess then... Jeez, she's really razing hell up there. I hope you're able to evacuate, before things get any worse. No wonder Clem-'
>He pauses for a second, cutting himself off. His inner voice becoming concerned.
'Clemency. Another human from Razorback, General Twisted Wing's mate. He's not a Starborn member, but he's in the know. I've been gone long enough for the others to have probably noticed. Once they have exhausted any immediate means to locate me, he's probably going to try and contact me through the Network. What's the play, if-no when he does?'
>Cloudstrike finally gets a bead on his general location.
>The Deep Moors. Fantastic.

>She continues to dial him in as he calms down from the freezing coolness from the stream. He wasn't expecting a miracle cure, but it didn't harm him further.
>Lin hadn't showed up to mock him for touching something. She wasn't observing him from the shadows at least.
'They're all in my left hand. I can still move and defend myself, if needed, just may as well have a clipped wing. It doesn't help that I'm somewhat... egh medically inept.'
>As Cloudstrike begins detailing his current position, he stands up and places a pin at his current location. The giant emerald can serve as a set point, in case he starts to explore.
'Okay, so definitely Deep Moors. These Wolves... are they actually wolves, or is that a title? Just so I know what to look out for. I'll have a hard enough time trying to explain I'm NOT a Minotaur to them. Humans, myself included, have been mistaken for... heh calves before. So other than that, middle of nowhere in every direction. Got it. Still figuring over long term. There IS a being that should be able to reach me here, in theory, but either my request isn't getting to them or they're unable to right now. The only other way would be to connect with Clemency and try to get a direct line to them that way.'

>Letting his hand drip try to refrain from agitating the nettle any more, Jeff checks the time on his TacPad. He remembers it being early morning at the Village, once he arrived there.
>A spawning chamber, huh?
'Makes sense. There's no natural light in here, only what the crystal trees were giving off and they've dimmed out a few minutes ago. Only real light source is the giant emerald, and the stream.'
>He takes note of the direction of the streams flow, and decides to follow it up.
'There's only trees from my position, no topography worth taking shelter on or in. I'm going to follow the stream up. I was told at the end of it was a pond that could potentially liquefy me into a puddle of my own biomass, if I drank from it.'
>He shudders at the thought.
'There was also mention of a hidden exit, one I'd have to climb out through. If the stream originates outside of the reliquary, that could be my way out. If not, there might be more suitable shelters near the edges of the chamber.'
>He starts off upstream as fast as he could without agitating his hand or his stealth.
[1d6 = 4] <E.Sprint
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4]
>Despite the lack of surroundings around him, he does keep an eye out for anything he'd possibly consider to be a shelter.
[1d6 = 3] <E.Wilderness Survival
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 5]
Snowfall The Pred-Elk
The GM L.O.N.T
>The latent aroma of Tipper helped calm the young elk down, he sat up higher with a straight posture as he recomposed himself as if she was with him now.
>He wondered where the old mare was at this time.

>Snowfall glanced away from the Clinics front doors to the human doctor for a moment, carefully considering if he should tell Carlos to call for help.
>"The sooner Nova defeats this horrid foe the sooner she can return to helping all those in the Clinic."
>His gaze moved from Carlos to all the patients, his vision lingering on his sisters before turning to the inquiring doctor again.
"It is best you call in reinforcements. I believe Shanis' Mercenaries are around."
>His ear flicked quizzically.
"Around somewhere."

"She is holding her own. Whether she can dispatch it by herself in a timely manner is beyond me. If only Tipper was here to care over the patients, it would free up Nova Flicker."
>He exhaled, dropping his head against the desk making all the loose appliances clatter about.
"I have only heard of such a thing. And now I wish I did not know what it looked like in the flesh."
>The Pred-Elk watched as Carlos made his way to the radio.
"Humans are otherworldly beings, and to an extent so am I and my family. Yet I can see both of us joining in the harmony of Tallus-"
>Snowfall stabbed a foreleg towards doors.
"-However that thing out there is truly unwelcomed here. It must die tonight."
The L.O.N.T
"I see. I will nonetheless keep contact to the bare minimum, better safe than sorry."
>Lont was...Not spiralling down into total abject depression anymore.
>He was still exhausted in all forms. Still emotionally drained.
>Yet he saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It is accepted Razorback are guilty of merely being ignorant of the dangers of Anti towards themselves and the Empire, and innocent of any malicious intent on using Anti too. Cadence was most likely unaffected by Anti and was just as ignorant of it as they all were. He knew when she had time she will be one of the first to study it in-depth. To help the ponies effected. It bothered him that the exact numbers of ponies was an unknown, but that too won't be a problem for long.
>And knowing all this will lead Razorback to being decontaminated and allowed entry back into the Empire, for himself to be allowed back in to continue with his help.
>Without the unwanted baggage of Anti.
>"Even seemingly good deeds will lead to more harm."
"Be safe, to you and the rest of your Host."
>His weary eyes looked up from the marching away Spireguard mare to the floating ghostly forms of the Crystal Moor Batponies that as of yet have not been noticed by anyone.
>Anyone except him.
>He gave the Batponies a knowing wink before turning his attention elsewhere.

>Putting his sword away he used his free hand to listen to the radio. Voices buzzed away at how Jeff was now missing too.
>His brow furrowed deeply at this.
*"I believe Emerald was waving around a box, no? Look for that box.*"
>The winged Operator looked towards the Lunars. Jeff would of been with them, or at least they would of seen him last if none of the other humans saw where he went.
[1d6-3 = (4-3) = 1] >E.Perception
[1d6-3 = (2-3) = -1]
[1d6-3 = (6-3) = 3]
[1d6-2 = (3-2) = 1] >H.E
>Taken away from his studious nature considering all his questions and snooping, José would turn his head towards Shanis with a couple of blinks before offering a grateful smile.
"Ah. Appreciate the help, Miss Shanis. This is my second time using this."
>Having said that, his feet would ensure to be in the matrice as he rolled the pressure off his shoulders.
(Okay. Momento de la verdad.)
>After one long, deep inhale followed by a steady exhale, he cleared his throat to utter what he thought were the magic words to start off this new experience.
"Vortex Remnant. I wish to travel to Marequipa."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"Usually? That's acceptable, but if I ever dream of aquatic creatures then I'm going to construct the biggest possible warhead and launch it straight into the nearest body of water."
>Swinging around with precision cut metal sheets, four of the repair tendrils halt, twitching uneasily at the chest cabin's voice breaking down.
>Externally groaning, quietly, Wild forces her repair systems to continue their work.
"Panic is temporary, stupidity is forever.. wait, that seems wrong. Panic is momentary, stupidity can be learned from. And internal. Or would that be eternal in this case?"

"From what I've accessed in my data nodes there are few beings or creations I would WANT to interact with, especially those categorized as other. And don't even think of setting me up on a date."
>Hand lifting higher and curling in closer to the remains of her head, the little finger stops below where the eye would have been.
"I know, but reconnecting those isn't important right now. Less than twenty percent of the head unit's lower components remain intact."
>Taking another look, the Rilvenni's still glowing core was set atop what looked like a custom pilot's seat surrounded by debris, mostly scraps of odd metals.
>While you could climb to it easily, there was enough damage that the words 'structural integrity' would probably kill Wild.

"Update: eighty-nine percent of my legs have been replaced.. maybe I should downsize some, I feel far too tall."
[1d6+14 = (6+14) = 20] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (6+15) = 21]
[1d6+15 = (3+15) = 18]
[1d6+13 = (3+13) = 16] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (2+13) = 15]
[1d6+13 = (3+13) = 16]
[1d6+20 = (2+20) = 22] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <RT-#2
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <RT-#3
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <RT-#4
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <RT-#5
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4] <RT-#6
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <RT-#7
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-#8
Basin Village: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
"This is definitely out of my league. I can understand four letters, one character, and what I think are two numbers, but that's it."
>Visibly playing connect the dots in her head, the Cultist nods slowly, splaying left wingclaws outwards and pulling the robe, then smoothing it with her right.
"Lann's done a lot of textile work for Lunar Guards, Starborn, but mostly us since she moved here. For example this wonderfully soft piece took her five minutes. Other than that she gets special orders from the City whenever they need protective work clothing, a particular style and diameter of rope, woven metal cables or meshing for some crazy project, that sort."
>Head raising to stare upwards, the mare freezes, crashes, and reboots in the space of ten seconds.
"...there's one thing that might help. Request a hoofheld inspection mirror, preferably white platinum or clear diamondine. They should have at least two rattling around down there somewhere. If not there's a few dozen craftsponies that can put one together."

>Airspace over Basin Village briefly illuminates in bright silver, Guillotine's pockmarked lower hull smoothly, and this time much more carefully, entering realspace from a gleaming ring.
>Gliding to a halt directly overhead at nearly 40M, a low pitched, comfortable thrum from the destroyer occurs, rolling 90 degrees left.
>Stabilizing and holding still, faint streaks of blue haphazardly wash across the armor.
*"Nae calmed they yet be, peace needest time tae heal thee Airstreams."*
>Silent for a short time, a third screen takes shape in the center above the two hardcases, the Harpy's voice deeply somber, yet wistful.
*"This vessail be thrice times thrice old tae use Mama's Tone, mineself nae hearest asince thee Ninth Fleet formed. Long afore mineself interred, shaped an' renewed aplenty t'was, piece by piece.... 'built', t'was thee word. Oft untouched mine logistics be, but farest well they yet be."*
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Intact Communication Protocols
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]

>Head craning up to study the archaic exoatmospheric vessel briefly, the Cultist's snout twitches.
"Is it just me or is there somepony talking?"
"There is a fountain in the middle of Razorback, I do not advise bombing it. The fillies will be pretty upset if you do."
>Yes but now is NOT a good time!
"When we aren't potentially going to get murderfucked by anything is a vastly better time for a crisis, not right now!"
>She'll have to learn how to not have a crisis at inopportune times.

"You're less than a day old, you won't have to worry about me setting up dates for you for a long time."
"Even if you're some sort of eldritch robot thing, still."
>While I've never really touched welding gear, I knew that we'd need more than a few torches to get her up and running again.
"You'll uh... definitely need some work. All over."
>Grimacing, I looked down at the ground below.
"Eh, you're not as tall as some buildings, you're fine."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
'Histories, cultures, full pantheons of living deities on each world inhabited by sapients, descriptions, elemental and conceptual alignments of each, specific artistic styles, sciences.. limited technological excerpts. Some recordings.. equally limited explanations. Curious.'
>Examining rapidly scrolling directories, articles, then pages, the avatar's face tightens in heightening confusion.
'And incomprehensible. High brane functions interacting with unknown interdimensional waveforms. Cross references to a pangalactic feature known as skipspace. Artificially projected wavelengths between the same. Controlled interstellar travel below or above speed of light... no. No more. I am done.
Placing that last archive on the LOWEST priority until thorough explanations are obtained.'
>Tapping her chin before taking on a philosophical front leaning pose, 'Shiibo' nods to herself.
'The rest are of moderate to extreme interest. Checking.'
>Running a series of modified simulations in the background, the advanced AI frowns sharply.
'Rerculons. Neither hive mind or collectivist. A frightening species were they not peaceful. Dissimilar to... all known beings. Logic first, reason and rationale second or third, interchangeable metrics. High objectivism to violent conduct without well supported logical necessities.
Could be swayed to act in well defined parameters when exposed to reasonably logical arguments. Using one's moods and emotions was considered a substandard method of honorable interaction. Humans excluded. As partial energy-state beings they exhibited paradoxical yet rigidly defined principles, mentalities, moods, and functionality.
Tallus equines do not function similarly to Rerculons. In fact, they are.. entirely opposite. ......sssssir. I may have stumbled upon a significant cultural breakthrough. It will take some time to explore the ramifications and potential consequences.
Standard psychological predictive models for humans and equines updated.'
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]

>Sticking the heavy L-flashlight bottom on the helmet's top, then sensing it gripped firmly, sweeping its visible beam across the pool shows a perfectly flat surface.
>The loam coloration was natural due to surrounding earth leaching in over time, while the mixed sediment was long settled.
>Studying a number of heavily washed out prints, an equal number were close to 2M in diameter, the others barely 2.5M wide, and sunk in nearly 3M.
>On much closer inspection there was no debris whatsoever, not even a small leaf or pebble.
"Hey Pare, you look more like a unicorn every time I see ya! Do you get bigger and badder when engaged or is that just on the first date?!"
>Katyal cackles at the obvious physical image you were presenting, 'Shiibo' holding her face while the word SUFFERING covers her.

>Fishing the heavy crystalline device out, tapping the screen once into active status, then selecting the two functions, the surface unfolds a series of small hololiths around it while surveying the local 900M.
>A vastly scaled down gigatree, 2 types of vines, 3 miniature fruiting vines, 4 archaic ferns, 9 species of grass, 11 berry bushes or shrubs, 18 mushrooms, and 29 shrubs appear in a large external ring.
>Rotating through the specifics of each, one vine, three berries, one grass, fifteen mushrooms, and half of the shrubs were listed as either poisonous, toxic, containing hazardous elemarents, Elemarentals, or combinations of the same.
>In the center six species are displayed: house cat sized armored beetles, individual tunnels running deep under half the surrounding trees, and, unfamiliar, angular proto-termites with extended jaws the size of a standard rottweiler in giant clusters underneath every other tree.
>Two species of ants, the first 5-11" in length, the second 15-28", from drone, digger, planter, harvester, worker, guardian, warrior, noble or royal guard, and queen, were likewise under each tree, much deeper than the previous.
>A 6-toothed, potentially non-Elemarental armored wurm estimated to be 18' long was currently lying in the vines atop the center log above the den, the 3 internal eyes triangular ovals.
>High and south in a large nest was a poorly defined avian with a wingspan from 30-36', listed as either a predator or scavenger.

>Staring up for a moment, the woman shrugs, turning around to gaze up the earthen ramp.
*"I'll try to at least. Not feeling sick or ill. Yet."*
*"As stated last night, an Abomination, unique. Originally an herbivore, now thoroughly mutated beyond recognition. Those markings on the walls are not from teeth nor indicate a tail. Modified hooves are most likely."*
*"And it hasn't returned in weeks?"*
*"Three months, give or take a week. The clumping grass species here is similar to one we studied on expedition. In this region it would take that long to fully develop a root system. Had the Abomination returned numerous clumps would be dead."*
*"Unless it could fly."*
*"Doubtful. There are no landing sites or significant impacts close to the entrance. Based on the better preserved tracks I would estimate it to be from fifty to eighty tons.
...now THAT is a surprise. Raw falkite, and barely damaged! There's only five known examples in Equestria, and two of them are in Stallion... grad.... this isn't raw at all. It's been refined.. twice? And.. functional. Lonestar, please meet us out here, there is too much for me to bring back and Dul is rather limited."*
*"I thought you said it was a pile?"*
*"Yes, however I... did not know how large. The majority is Middle and Late Dynasty coins, gems, a number of trade items, but there are three quite intriguing objects here. ...Dul, you discovered this cache and committed the work to bring each piece out. Would you care to take any? ....no, I understand. ...of course, I will create an imprint once we are safely inside the vehicle."*
>Flicking a switch ahead of him, Lonestar's eyes roll.
*"All right then. Pare, Kat, if you two are done, load up please."*
>Closing his eyes, he replies to Shiibo.
"Noted. Save the explanation for after the operation unless relevant for immediate situation."
(Wish I had Command's Operators for data analysis. Sheer amount of information is staggering.)

>Opening them after feeling the slight weight of the flashlight firmly mounted on his helmet, he looks over the nearby earth and incredibly large prints.
(Massive mega fauna... even a section would be hard pressed without specialized weaponry.)
>Hearing Katyal's snickering, he turns to face her while keeping the flashlight active and on his helmet.
"Don't compare unicorns to humans. They don't deserve that. And I hope you never need to find out that answer."

>Turning away and looking down to the tablet he had taken out and activated, he scrolls through the listed species displays.
(Equipment appears functional. High proportion of inedible plants. All fauna just as large in size standardization as flora. Subterranean scans also functional.)
>He looks upwards towards the indicated position of the wyrm, apparently just beyond the thick trunk of the mega tree serving as a roof.
(Lucky we didn't need to deal with any local animals... )

>He turns back, powering down and stowing the tablet as he steps back up the ramp of the Landbarge.
>As the radio chatter continues, Hodch's remark on a refined ore being 'functional' catches his attention.
(Falkite... if it is 'functional' now, does that mean it can be used?)
>Once past the ramp and inside, he turns off the L-flashlight on his head, unSticks it, and clips it onto the front of his vest.
>His pack is stored into his locker along with his P90 and SPS-18.
(If there are other underground caches, scanning with the tablet may be prudent.)
>Moving to his seat, he seats himself and Sticks to it.
*"The 5CTA tablet I brought with may be able to locate more caches, if they're buried near the surface. Though I don't know how Dul found this one."*
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"Malformed don't have names and may all of them rot for what they've become!"
>After snarling the words out, the Lunar pegasus is quiet for nearly twenty seconds, flipping through heavy pages before speaking again, this time firmly neutral.
"Diplomat Marshmallow Moon is mostly regarded as an Independent regardless of her direct lineage from Princess Luna.. fourth or fifth generation descendant I believe. She prefers mediating between Ferron, Lunars, aligned, and unaligned Independents. It's rare she takes an active stance. On anything. ..other than baking mallow into funny shapes or wearing hats.
......she must've taken that last fucking crashdown without so much as leaving a hoofprint-"
>Angrily cutting herself off, Velvet returns shortly to mutter.
"In the fewest number of words possible.. yes. But I won't have the Citadel being attacked on account of your prior history, current predicamarent, negligence, failures, and whatever else might or might not have occurred.
Underworks were going to be overhauled starting next week, but they don't matter much. And Moonborn don't evacuate, they either die here or are laid to rest around the Citadel.
..only share strictly necessary information."
>Pages folding in the background, the mare sniffs several times.
"What i- ..hm. Both. Warguard and Vanguard Wolves were developed by crossbreeding more than four hundred species originating from the Old Everfree Forest. Started in the middle 25,000's. No records on which lineages were involved. We do know most of the armored, Major, Greater, noble, royal, metallic, magical, and Elemarental species were used.
Roughly a third of the earlier hybrids had specialist roles among Druids, Lunar Guardians, Arkadian Divides Ferron, two or three batpony clans, and.. that's all. Some of their descendants can be found in parts of Equestria; guards, scouts, hunters, or trackers mostly.
Stack two to five earth ponies on top of each other, then three to eight in length in the shape of a large feral canine, that's what to look for. Possibly natural or living armor covered in plants, Elemarental effects, glowing blue eyes.. and the sense of creatures that know exactly what, where, when, who, and how you are."
>Pausing for six seconds, her voice tightens harshly.
"A hand is nowhere near close to losing a wing."
>Flipping through pages again, numerous dull thuds in the background are talked over.
"Not marely details to offer here but that's Druidic from start to end. Couple of notes regarding ponds partially match that description. Don't approach, that's where flora and fauna shaping occurs.
Stream could be an underground pressure seep or from a near-volcanic upswell, there's hundreds of those in the Central Moors alone. Most of the larger Equestrian volcanoes feed out through underground tunnels towards the ocean, often push a lot of water upwards. If the water's cool then it's a seep, if warm or hot that's from an upswell."
>Tapping the screen once, the clock showed 8:04AM, slightly after Dawn.
"...shit, none of these are useful. I'm going to take precisely two risks. One, check if there's a damaged crashdown that might have been restored and simply wasn't listed in logs. Two, send somepony to jump into the Archives and see what they can find regarding Lunar Druid activities in the Deep Moors. If both turn out negative, then I have no means to aid you further.
I'll check back in... five to twenty minutes. That is if neither of us are caught."

>Taking off in a fast jog and keeping close to the stream for illumination, the ground was thoroughly rigid, harder than clay though not sticking.
>Turning around a partial bend into a widened out section, spindly clumps of green, faintly bioluminescent water grass was clustered in the middle, barely visible webs trailing off each.
>Passing close to one of the crystalline trees, the thick, cylindrical heartwood, or similar, deep within brightens fractionally, a low pitched, raspy chitter occurring well above.
>Rounding a half-bend, a wide, shallow and highly reflective pool was ahead of you, smaller emerald boulders, chunks, pieces, and hundreds of large gems scattered throughout.
>Now facing what felt like southwest, the pool's center was a 4 to 6M tall cone, water exiting it in a constant stream.
Basin Village: The Crystalline Compromise 6
GM Strangler
371907 371910
>Receiving no further answer from the Spireguard's leadmare, the Crystal forces scatter into mixed squadruns with no apparent basis on presumed rank, species, weaponry, armor, or specialties.
>Disorganized wouldn't be the correct word, and chaotic was a stretch.

>Noting six of the Crystal Moorites staring at you, several more surrounding them speak.
>....which you couldn't hear or recognize.
>In less than eight seconds a raging scuffle breaks out between three apparent crystalline plated militia and, presumably, an officer covered by an ultralight weave.
>Which doesn't end well for the last mare.
>Plenty of frontal hoof stomps, headbutts, fruit-eater wingclaw 'punches', shoulder smashes, snapping rear kicks, and bodyslams are rapidly delivered.
>Ending with the more official looking crystal-batpony savagely mauled, armor dented, and thoroughly unconscious on a superior float two feet above stone, the three flip middle wingclaws at each other.
>While no blood was spilled, there was deep consternation among the crystal-unicorns, deliberately staring in any direction, other than their volatile charges.

>Surveying the dwindling number of Lunars south, each making their own appreciation to the lances and spears, there was no sign of Jeff, his weapons, identifiable helmet or face mask.
>Likewise there wasn't a single sheen of whitesteel in view, the closest approximation coming from hundreds of streamers and ribbons adorning weapons.

*"Ain't a white box around here."*
*"Nothing in view north."*
*"Or gray, platinum, silver, steel. East is clear."*
*"I've got Jack and shit, but Jack's starting to fall asleep. Anyone got smelling salts?"*
*"Don't do that, seriously."*
*"Not even a pebble or leaf south."*
*"Zero tracks, skid marks, hoof, boot, or shoe prints-"*
*"No clay, mud, or dirt either."*
*"Got no traces north."*
*"Emerald's been missing how long?"*
*"Little over three hours now."*
*"Jeff's been missing less than five."*
*"Fuck. Anyone with mounted radios and comms take 'em off and start checking. Step by step, run through each band for distant spikes, traffic, network signals, the whole works."*
*"What if we set up a repeating signal?"*
*"And let the orange fucks that AREN'T currently hostile know where we are?"*
*"...right. Nevermind."*
Marequipa: Shoalbarge Villa
GM Strangler
>Raising her free wing and flicking it in a human-like dismissive motion, Shanis offers a dry expression.
"Don't mention it. Been asking Naliyna for months now on putting instructions of how to use the translocation system. Can't blame her though. She does more for Razorback every hour than I sign off in a week."

>The dull metallic eye rotates again, this time counterclockwise.
>Pitching forward a degree, then sinking down into the translocation matrice, the map zooms in to display a southwestern oceanic locale.
>A long, capsule shaped town roughly 500M west from a thin, spread out jungle-lined coast featured well organized, short, one story buildings arranged in rows.
>The appearance was remarkably similar to the top level of a grounded ocean superfreighter, only much more inhabited.
"Nonspecific location request accepted. Random destination chosen. VIP passage granted to Shoalbarge."

>Catching Starglow raising a hoof in farewell, streaks of every metallic color you knew, and dozens more inbetween, flick by.
>Arriving on a flat, hard steel deck without any sense of motion, the air was fairly cool albeit salt-laden, the surroundings quite familiar:
>Orderly lines of barely waist height, single pony stalls and stands, mostly comprised of thin wood slats, a few having bamboo trim, in front of small, barely lit warehouses behind each.
>Dimly colored earth ponies, the vast majority being mares due to their rounded snouts and far more appealing visual characteristics, also a bit shorter than the few you'd seen in Razorback Fortress, wandered with utterly carefree attitudes from stall or stand to the next.
>Scents of grilled arepas, roasted ensalada, cheese enpanadas, gallo pinto, feijoada, pastel de choclo, fritos platanos, and pico de gallo waft about, half of the stands specializing in one specific dish, though you quickly realize there were no meat scents in the air.
>Proudly, and visibly loud, signboards proclaimed what was being cooked at each, the dialect an easy to read form of Simplified Spanish.
>Or as a few helpful ones noted: Common Spaneigh.
>Half of the remaining stands and nearly all of the trade stalls were materials: bagged charcoal, driftwood of numerous varieties, organic creature plates, and incredible selections of bright, neutral, dim, or gleaming sea shells.
>A few stalls held only produce:
>Sacks of maize, whether on cob, sheaved, or ground, whole, preservedm, and glass-like canned chiles, bundled coca leaves, chayote, sacks of jicama, large glass canisters of over twenty tomatillo species, stacks of cilantro, sacked mama and papa cribolla, pickled and whole purpara, then ulluco in colors that definitely weren't native to your homeworld.
>Tiny to giant cassava roots, shoots, clusters, and seedlings of thirty varieties, cactus leaves and fruits from hundreds of species, at least a hundred tomato variations, about the same number of squash, then pumpkins, oca, yacon, achojcha, then callaloo, amusingly named as 'efflo'.
>Colored papayas ranging from tiny to basketball sized, guava berries or fruits, barely identifiable feijoa, profuse strains of pozzifloras, around forty bola verde, thirty plus avocados, pineapples both archaic and exotic, five dragonfruits, six chañar, nine carob, twenty barberries, ten fuchsia, insanely packed clusters of myrtle, nine separate yerba flowers and fruits, more sweetsops and soursops than you could name, then three strains of sumac round out the identifiables.
>Stacks of tightly woven, sacked and dried quinoa, dozens of beans, ten long grained rice species, taro, a perplexing array of wide leafed grasses, swamp grains, peanuts, Brasil nuts, sorghum, then further legumes, nuts, and more that weren't familiar.
>Large glass canisters with bronze or steel lids containing rica-rica, pingo-pango, canelo, and hundreds more spices, the minority familiar to you, seemed to be the major takeaways,
"Hello hu`um!"
>A deep, teenaged mareish Spaneigh voice from behind you speaks out, the second word stretched into 'hyu-oohm'.
>Clopping into view, one decidedly average mare barely 3'6" tal, unusually a dark, reflective brown with a dirty gray mane and tale.
>Friendly burnt red pupils glance you up and down, eyes closing merrily as a broad smile creases her entire face.
<Spaneigh> "Enns'k'ta vul-nal!"
>You recognized the up-down phrasing, sharp pronunciations, and linguistics as a late Mayan Era dialect translated into a comfortably Spanish-simplified language that you had no issues translating, but had no idea what the words meant.
<Spaneigh> "Welcome to Shoalbarge! Fifth biggest trading villa in Marequipa, in case you haven't been here before."
>Eyes opening to gaze up at you, both of the younger mare's ears fold backwards, flicking rapidly in reasonable excitemarent.
<Spaneigh> "I'm Sallinas Pren, greeter and sometime courier. No relation to the Pyren or Poran familes among the Ferron clans. What brings you here, and can I help you find anything?"
>Cloudstrike appeared to have had an issue with a unicorn batpony... baticorn? Baticorn existing. He's heard of Malformed before, saved for true taboo oddities. Most ponies seemed to feel that they were not worth existing, in the first place.
>Mercy acted oddly hostile toward the mare, as well, THAT entire hostile assistance situation aside.
>Obviously a batpony unicorn was considered a taboo pariah, even more interesting she was capable of acquiring a council position.
>Marshmallow on the other hand, Cloudstrike doesn't bring up any new info on the Lunar descendant. Was Razorback considered an aligned independent? No, definitely a dependent. And she didn't like dealing with mercenaries.
>It was an odd condition to force her into being their new upstart maretriarch.
>Jeff internally sigh in relief for the small leniency.
'Thank you. No, I don't want to put the Citadel in any jeopardy. If you don't wish to hear, I will save it for Razorback. I know Clem and a few others will trust me at my word, and carry the warnings along without much else to hang onto.'
>Almost feeling a little silly for asking, Velvet replies with a clear and detailed description of the Wolves.
>They sounded like something out of ancient mythology. Elemental giant wolves able to see your entire being.
'Okay. I'll definitely know when I see one then. Thank you for clarifying.'
>The awkward silence on the other line, along with the sharp intake was more than enough for him to take his wording back.
'My apologies, poor comparison.'
>As the pain begins to radiate through his palm again, he gets a good warning on the pond. He'll stay away from it, unless needed. No wonder Lin had challenged him to drink from it.
'No pond, got it. Also the water's ice cold, so it's a seep. I'll follow it to the end, and progress from there.'
>Checking the time, having just under four hours until it got real dangerous in here, Cloudstrike makes some plans over the network.
'You're risking a lot for me, Cloudstrike. I truly appreciate it, even if you come up empty hoofed. I'll try and get my bearings in here0 and try to find some shelter. If we don't hear from either in thirty... good luck to both of us.'

>The connection going quiet for now, Jeff starts to follow the stream flow upward.
>He's got less than four hours to either escape or find somewhere to hide and wait out the bigger fish in this underground pond.
>Gotten tired of slinging the Gepard under his shoulder he sticks it lengthwise onto his right side in line with his pack. He could have done without the heavy rifle, but ditching it in here might not have been the best idea.
>Other than being a bit lopsided, it freed up his good hand for now.
>Taking a couple bends and turns following the lit body of water, he finally comes across the end- or starting point.
>Opening up in to a pool with a tall cone-shaped protrusion in the middle, water flowing out of the top like a natural fountain.
>This must be the seep Cloudstrike mentioned.
>Realizing he hadn't walked that far to reach it, it meant he clearly hasn't hit the edge of the chamber.
>A little discouraged, his only option now is to venture out and into the crystal trees and in the darkness.
>He checks his heading on the TacPad, deciding to continue in a soutwest direction until he is stopped by a wall. From there he'll follow it clockwise until he can find a place to hold out in.
>If he's going to leave what he hoped was the safety of the stream and light, he needs to do something about the nettle first.
>Approaching the pool the seep resided in, he dips his hurting palm into the water again for some quick relief while he thinks over his options.
>Trying to pluck them out is out. He's too tired to concentrate enough to remove them conveniently or consistently.
>Not really coming up with any other method or tool that he thinks could reliably remove them.
>Damn this nasty druidic nettle.
>He has that one ability he could try. The one Silver bestowed upon him, along with the the others. He's only practiced it a handful of times to get the hang of it. He recalls it can deflect attacks of Druidic nature, among other types and extends outward instantly from his center.
>If he can't pluck out the nettle from outside, maybe he can push them out from the inside?
>Moving away from the water, he finds a clearing nearby with over twenty meters of space.
>Not too bothered by the darkness, still within the shallower veil, he stops at the center and kneels down. He reaches for his medical pouch to pull out the wound pad from before as well as the smaller roller bandage. If it's a clean removal or not, the bandages will help. Not to mention the Dusk Film. It's more than dark enough in here for that to kick in and start healing him.
>Here's hoping doing this in here won't upset anything. Or anyone. Nothing's happened, so far. It's just a barrier, it'll go away after a bit.
>Jeff extends his left arm out halfway while bracing the wrist with his right hand and bends his palm upward so the barrier will extend flush across the back of his hand; the nettle facing outward and away from him.
>Taking a deep breath in, he mentally prepares to slow the barrier down once it activates so the nettle doesn't get ripped out of his hand too fast.
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <E.Iron Will
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
>He activates the barrier, picking its starting point at his center. Prepared for however it affects the nettle.
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <Anti-Surge
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
371932 371934
>Clemency nods at the cultist mare
"Yeah, that would make sense."
>He waits for the mare to seemingly come back from her stupor
"An inspection mirror, clear diamondine or platinum. Also, got it."
>Thinking for a moment to remember all the info given to him, including the passphrase for the Citadel, he looks up at the cultist mare
"Oh, before I forget! What's your name?"

>Looking up, Clemency again sees the Guillotine enter realspace and maneuver towards them
*"They should be healed sooner or later. As long as no other disturbances occur."*
>The little one is even older than the Guillotine and seems like its language is an older dialect
>Even if we did know harpy, it still would've given us issues
>Looking over to the mare, Clemency checks the volume of his radio before answering
"Is the "talking" a little hard to understand with the language it uses? You might be hearing the Guillotine."
>For emphasis, Clemency points up towards the ship
"She might help out with the glyphs but I'm still going over to Lann's."

>The radio chatter from the rest of Razorback finally registered with Clem
>Jeff and Emerald's missing?
>The last time he saw Emerald was during the battle yelling at her box and warning against the use of radios
>Jeff though, he was sure he went with them through the gateway then back
>Last time he was seen was at the spear wall memorial
>While he gave the memorial a salute fit for fallen pilot's, Jeff took one of those scarring blades
>Clemency left him alone out of respect but he didn't expect him to go missing
>Turning to the mare, Clem gives her a farewell wave
"I'll be back soon."

>Walking away, he navigates through the village towards Lann's shop
>During the walk, Clemency continues listening in to the radio chatter
>Both of them are now completely missing
>No tracks or traces
>Now he's getting concerned
>Clemency keys into his mic, checking all radio bands
*"Jeff, this is Clemency. Status?"*
>He made sure to repeat the message a couple times before switching bands
>To make extra sure, Clemency takes out his personal Moon Orb
>He uses it trying to locate Jeff's orb and contacts him
*"Jeff, this is Clemency? Status...where did you go?"*
The L.O.N.T
>As Lont slowly walked around aimlessly while listening to the chatter from his radio, he took care not to get close to anyone or anything, giving them all wide berths.
>Movement. Violent movement was happening in his periphery. And it was coming from Crystal Host' direction.
>He turned his head and bore witness to an invisible beatdown. It made him stop and stare, he was utterly confused by it.
>It was for but a moment however, and with a headshake he returned to acting as someone who couldn't see the Crystal Moor Batponies.
>"I don't know what the hell that was about."
>Nor could he do anything to help, for it would blow the Batponies cover and he would contaminate the victim with Anti. He would just have to leave the poor mare to be healed by somepony else.

>The Operator clicked his tongue upon seeing the Lunar's behaviour. It piqued interest and he made up his tired mind.
>He marched towards the Lunarites. The need for an answer to this mystery gave him a boost of energy, enough to straighten his back and stop his wings from dragging across the ground of the Basin.

>Jeff (and Emerald) disappeared. He was with the Lunar ponies. He was scarring himself. He was right under their noses when he disappeared. Yet they seem nonplussed by his absence.
>"Surely they must have taken notice of Razorback looking for our missing members?"
"Excuse me."
>He called out to the closet Lunarite before stopping. Keeping a good 5 metre distance.
>Should he tell them that Razorback is Anti contaminated? Perhaps it was for the best. Why should one ally of theirs be in the know and not the other? This of course relied on them not knowing about that already, he thought dryly.
"Have you seen Jeff? He was last seen with your group not 10 minutes ago?"
>Dazed, José blinked several times as his body refused to move until all those streaks of colors faded away.
>He promptly exhaled sharply and sagged his posture the momarent only the tropical sights encompassed his vision.
>It might be a simple trick of the mind who's not used to teleportation.

>Taking a second to compose himself once more, he properly took in all the sights he was surrounded in, taking tentative steps to get a full panorama.
>It's as if he somehow found some sort of portal back to his reality, only enhanced to a ludicrous degree
>Even with all the dangers this world may bring, it sure can provide with unmatched beauty.

>Catching himself from mentally gushing any further, he was about to start checking out the various stalls until the friendly voice called out to him.
>He promptly turned around and smiled earnestly, practically raiding joy at hearing his mother tongue in such a warm, inviting locale.
<Spaneigh> "Greetings, amicable Pren. It's a pleasure to meet you. I came here to learn, make friends and find opportunity."
>He was incredibly tempted to outright pet her head, fingers wiggling on his sides.
<Spaneigh> "Could you please tell me about Shoalbarge? Maybe walk around and show me some points of interest around these parts?"
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"Fountains are too small and vital, therefore I will not damage it. If there are no sufficient ponds available, then a medium stream or small river will suffice."
"Shut up.
According to my previous environmarental scans there are no hostiles large or close enough to injure you. I will double check to be sure."
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Arcanum Sensors Array
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Omni-Sensor Arrays: Close Range Scan
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]

>Hearing the inside voice fully melting down, it stops long enough to crack.
"This is inane. We are the same existential being. Cease being a pain in, on, and around our collective flanks or I will silence each and every component allowing you to speak."
>Swinging around a single tendril to, probably, stare at you, Wild's external speakers rumble briefly.
"Fine, but I will hold you to those words."
>While you couldn't see them, the electrical cables sparking below had finally ceased.
"I'm trying. But if a certain annoyance continues her resistance then the first bomb will be lodged in her face."
>Gazing around from the much too tall hand, and realizing you were at Wild Ride's chin... there were definitely large scale problems that hadn't been taken into account for a bipedal transport.
"Mom, the top of my head unit was precisely twenty meters of height, excluding antennae, which makes me a far larger target. My skin is from one to two-point-one millimeters thick, meaning external armor integrity is minor. My hull, endoskeletal structures, and motivation systems are adequate yet can be degraded and destroyed with relative ease due to their size.
I am much too tall to mareneuver effectively. I have few means to retaliate, which includes BREAKING EVERYTHING FROM MY HANDS TO MY SHOULDERS after a few strikes.. and a small cannon with limited range. Among other weaknesses, those three are concerning.
Should I reduce my height by five meters, my armor and internals can be reinforced by approximately thirty percent. That is why I am calculating the necessary modifications to downsize. And before you say the cabins require a specific amount of space, the interior size of each can be safely reduced by fifty-five percent.
Update: I have REPLACED all necessary interfaces, cables, systems, and biomechanical components throughout my legs.. excluding armor. Now attempting to... I don't have a word for this yet. Would you like to return to the cabin, or stretch your legs?"
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <Sensory Node #2: Ratio Scaling
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Sensory Node #3: Ratio Scaling
[1d6+14 = (6+14) = 20] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (2+15) = 17]
[1d6+15 = (1+15) = 16]
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18]
[1d6+13 = (1+13) = 14]
[1d6+20 = (3+20) = 23] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <RT-#2
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <RT-#3
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <RT-#4
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <RT-#5
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4] <RT-#6
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <RT-#7
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-#8
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>Nodding, 'Shiibo' steps aside into a desk platform and reduces her avatar's size by half.
'Understood. ...insufficient cultural and cross-species data available to continue refining predictive algorithms, returning to human-interfaction dispute simulations.'
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]

>Performing a rapid gunbelt, vest, and pouch check, the woman spins around, tossing a rough grin at you.
"Just keep acting like one, that'll attract either the cutest super-genius, softest snuggle friend, or the prettiest walking war crime around. Maybe you'll get real lucky and find one that's all three!"
>Glancing up, Katyal shrugs to herself after a few seconds, strolling back towards the hatch and around you as she walks up the ramp.
*"Hodch, couple background flickers and distortions here. Can't tell what, or when. Know what it is?"*
*"-ome of these coins ha- what? Yes, ten seconds please. A few of these have seals. Not the sapient and adorable pinniped variety. Dynasty City-State seals, noble and royal both, mint marks, years, and their damned engrammatic language. Rather unusual. Then again there aren't marely examples in Equestria anywhere.
That one is a Coldlands neytarm, not a threat. Scavenger, minor nuisance category, will flee from loud noises.
Veyurms are the original species, most of Tallus had fifty variants or more. Frequent and long distance underground travelers, not so much on land. Large numbers spread on boats, both water and sky, some survived river and ocean traversal on logs, and for the rare Air Elemarental ancestors, the Airstreams. Dusk Strider records state some of the Harpies, native, Extra-Planar, and Otherworld, kept them as companions. A few still do as they are easy to train and not picky.
Their descendants are known as wurms. You know them as having eight, twelve, or sixteen blades, stone or metal, protecting three, six, or nine eyes. The majority are considered degenerate subspecies due to mutation and surviving in suboptimal conditions. Nearly all have an Elemarental alignmarent. Feral and destructive without exception."*
*"Meaning the one around here isn't degenerate?"*
*"Correct. I must advise leaving it be, their numbers are unknown but presumably threatened."*
*"Hey, I'm all for keeping native populations safe, you know that!"*
*"Does that exclude the Bronze Guardians?"*
*"....looooow shot there, spikehead. True, but still. Damn."*

>Trying to match the wurm's position on the underside without an indicating distance showed clustered growths on the dead tree where bark had long since fallen or rotted off.
>Sweeping flashlight beam across each one, they looked to be fairly large asymmetrical burls, without holes to indicate pest damage.

*"A.. what tablet? Some kind of detection alchemical or drug?"*
*"No, a crystal device in service with biotechnicians, armorers, explorers, surveyors, scavengers, and the Underground's Pathfinders. I did toy with one some time back, has several functions quite similar to what the OT-3 did."*
*"Good, great, or amazing?"*
*"The second since there's a 6CTA undertaking trials right now. Better clarity than the previous model, multiple language translations, and, as always, quite durable. Exorbitant cost however, they were sixty thousand Bits each when introduced. Perhaps the price has dropped by now.
I would suggest keeping it on hand, but now is the best time to travel. Most creatures are either settling in, finding a safe location to sleep, not quite awake, or leaving.
Miss Dul, how did you find these? ...........really? ....Of course, the simplest methods are usually the best to use no matter how complicated a situation is. ....no, I thank you, this is highly interesting.
She patrolled the surface in a clockwise spiral outwards for threats, went around, up, then into the trees. Dul then explored underground, starting with the outer roots and finishing at the taproot. Two of the local.... antilar colonies guarded their nests, the rest did not seem to view her as a threat or take notice.
This tree however grew atop a large rectangle, sinking it deep underground. I know the shape well; heavily built trade containers used from the Early to Late Dynasty Eras. Quite difficult to break those damned locks. Could be any number of materials but it is too deep to excavate and I am not about to initiate a teleport without an absolute necessity.
.....Dul describes the material as hard, able to bend greatly without shattering, and caused a buzzing sensation when she attempted to phase through, but did not cause harm nor hinder her efforts. Two cycles, rather, two hours was spent bringing objects to the surface between further patrols as she is unable to carry more than... four, perhaps five pounds during continuous solid-phasing."*

>Settling her kit bag into the upright locker, Katyal leans over to push the UP button.
*"We're in and down navy man."*
*"Just say hatch sealed."*
>Lounging onto the chair next to the ramp as it closes, she snickers as a potent EM field accompanied by peculiar low pitched whines emanate from the Landbarge's subframe.
*"Got it. Say, if I paint a bunch of cute seals on this thing will it swim faster?"*
*"...please don't. .....shouldn't need seatbelts this time, if Green Man got his calculations right and tuning to spec. "*

>Finding the revised, actual seat rather comfortable, and highly adjustable, a solid holographic display in the center unfolds, showing the OT-4's current state in exacting detail.
>Lofting upwards to remain at 2M off ground for ten seconds, the Landbarge twists around in a smooth 180 turn, pitching back five degrees, then skims up the ramp with barely any sensation of gravity or speed.
*"Damn dude, this is smoother than.. words I probably shouldn't say out loud."*
*"Good. Also purrs like a sleepy Moor cat. Can't change the screens back there much, let me know if you want 'em facing a certain direction."*
*"Eh, I'll take the passenger side once we stop."*
[1d6+8 = (3+8) = 11] <M.ExoTech Optronic Particle Scanner
[1d6+8 = (4+8) = 12]
[1d6+8 = (2+8) = 10]
>A twinge of disgust crosses his face as Katyal leaves with her parting jab.
"Pairing with a pony would be the opposite of luck. Misfortune, which this world has enough of already with humanity on it."
>He shakes his head and turns back towards his tablet.

>Multitasking between the tablet's display and listening to Hodch on the radio, he gives a long look towards where the apparent Wurm was resting.
(Best not to interfere with local wildlife then. Unclear just what will upset the Druidic factions that likely claim these locations and species. Assuming they even have any logic beyond their nature obsession.)
>He exhales in an attempt to loosen his brow and consider something other than Druids.

>Leaning back in the appreciably more comfortable seat, he manifests his unchristened graviton weapon in his hand to stare at it.
>Hodch's explanations providing commentary that piques a potential option.
*"I have... a weapon that may be able to bore a path to or into the container. If it's within subterranean scanning range of the tablet, I should be able to plot an accurate shot. Situation permitting, it's something to consider. Would allay the need for constant phasing from Dul."*

>Glancing up as the hatch seals, he watches the holographic display of the Landbarge's new ascent.
>Instinctively bracing for a sensation of movement or weight that never came, his shoulders take a second longer than normal to relax.
*"Impressive. I can only imagine the logistical cost of having to maintain the repulsor systems for this, but the ride is smooth."*
>Squeezing the grip of his conceptual weapon, he looks down at it once more.
(The weight of this weapon and the weight of a human's intent held in my hand. I'm no Oppenheimer or Leskinen, but this feels... only a few steps below. Need to ensure I don't contribute to further destabilization of Tallus' cultural ecosystem while somehow integrating into it. Need to check possible factions, if I survive. Ones capable of handling such potential power.)
>He closes his eyes and cocks his head while running a thumb over the containment chamber of the device.
(Fundamental strength, inherent power, discerning usage... dragons? Potentially accessible. Better option than Minotaurs at least. All this just to avoid erasure by an arbitrary god.)
Lin's Reliquary of Cold Logic
GM Strangler
"Please do so, I have enough problems trying to find a replacemarent. .......have a small piece of news for you: Lunar Councilmare Vestal Gardenia of New Canterlot was listed as comatose... little over two hours ago. She has no family there, relatives in Stalliongrad ar-...... Starborn or not, all further details are classified."
>Letting out a sharp exhale, Cloudstrike can be heard sorting through rough paper sheaves.
"Wouldn't suggest trying to bribe or make friends with them either. Few scattered reports from Ferron subclans.. Vanguard and Warguard strains get real pissed when offered food. More I read, less I want to remember.
...think first, act second, apologize later."
>Hoof stomps and shuffling in the background occur, heavy doors closing, then a low, barely recognizable voice speaking.
"Half? No, I've been locked in here since the first few Maniples were distracted. The Medical Wing was evacuated but... yes, get them checked out. Send anypony else straight to... I... wouldn't advise it, but if they refuse slash a few throats. Gut one if you feel like it. If they won't listen to reason, make 'em suffer. .....no, I'm closing this place down. Go on ahead, I'll be out of here once these are set."
>Metallic locks shattering, the mare snarls aloud for a few seconds, spits, then is quiet until a door slams, speaking in a harsh subtone.
"Look, if keep the damage from none to minimal at most and you won't ever hear my voice again. I'm not keen to go on reliction duty. Keep that in mind.
First of rule of survival in a hostile region: a reasonably defensible location is worth more than having unlimited food and water without shelter, and.. did you say 'the water is ice cold'? That's... not possible. ...then again the central Deep Moors regions are basically unknown. Study that when or time permits.
......also, don't make contact on the Lunar Network unless it's from or to a specific individual that you know. Most connections are registered in the Archives, just not all of 'em. Winging off for now-"

>A loud click of hoof on stone confirms the dismissal, leaving the Moon Orb firmly silent.
>Making out what you could from the screen, on approaching the geyser-like seep it was clearly shaped at some point in the distant past, no projections or sharp edges, though appeared entirely natural.
>Feeling your exposed hand chilling slowly in air, the locale was nearly freezing.
>The same image of the unusual trio flickers across your consciousness, defending their home from an invasion that was much harder to recall now, fuzzy and barely recognizable.
>Directing the ruthlessly efficient hybrid shield to expand under firm control, streaks of unrecognizable agony jolt through the entirety of palm, fingers, and thumb, much faster than you can process.
>Maintaining nearly solid willpower as the barrier streaks into its predefined shape, as you mostly disconnect from your own body, intensely bright blue energies splash forwards, spraying the pool, stream, and ground to both sides in a wide cone.
>Where the blue touches, water immediately flash boils, chunks of earth vaporize before chain detonating, and miniature airbursts rebound throughout the Reliquary.
>Both the pain and erratic surging had been removed, but loud chatters, hisses, and mixed, low roars in the distance are immediately followed by an extremely high pitched, keening shriek far to your right.
[1d6 = 6]
>Jeff does a mental spit take at the news Cloudstrike had just divulged to him.
>Vestal was a Lunar Council member? Why does he never recall seeing her around...
>He goes all the way back, back to his induction hearing. Most he knew by name and face.
>The one earth pony on the voting board, that down-voted him and left immediately after he was accepted.
>Shit, no wonder he doesn't remember her. Either they're paths have failed to cross, or she has actively avoided him this entire time.
>And he gave her so much of his bullshit, yesterday. That interaction was already plenty bad on his part, now he'd had done it to a superior. Why didn't she identify herself at the beginning? He would have kept his mouth shut real tight then.
>How could she also be a Chairmember of the Councilerge? Seems like a conflict of interest.
>It ultimately didn't matter. His actions to her were wrong, now matter who she is. Hopefully, he can get out of here and help make amends.
'I see. Thank you for sharing that. Here's hoping she recovers.'
>Taking in the latest info on the Wolves, the conversation shifts from him.
>Cloudstrike was conversing with someone else.
>Quite dubiously forceful, things were going. Yet again the situation on the Citadel was far worse than what he was presently dealing with. Whatever it took to get everyone moving, he figures.
>She then addresses him again, and he gets the warning.
'Understood. I have a short call list I can trust, anyway.'

>As the barrier activates, any attempt to slow it down was futile.
>It generated so quickly, he barely registers the nettle popping out of his hand. Before he knows it, it was over. His hand was freed, if bleeding a little.
>But despite having cleared the area around him, the ability had traveled far enough to affect the pool. Water instantly converted to steam, and loose earth explodes. What sounded like a barrage of fireworks echoes through the chamber.
>That was the least of his problems. The following uproar of unseen creatures obviously reacting to the commotion was only the beginning.
>His small victory turned into a shorter race against the clock.
"Shhhhould have seen that coming."
>Wasting no time, Jeff stows the bandage roll and opens up the wound pad. For now he adheres it against his hand to stop any bleeding and sterilize it. He'll get his hand back into the gauntlet once it's healed up. For now he keeps a grip on the wound pad, until the Dusk Film cleans up whatever remained.
>Standing up, Jeff places a marker on his current location. The seep would make a good reference point, as he navigates. Checking his heading on the TacPad and sticks to his earlier plan. Head SouthWest and keep going until he hits a wall. Hopefully he can lose whatever he managed to piss off.
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <E.Stealth
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <TacPad: GPS
[1d6 = 5] <E.Sprint
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 5]
>As he moves forward, Jeff flips down his Combi-Goggles and sweeps the area ahead of him in both night vision and thermal.
[1d6 = 1] <M.Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <AdvNVG
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <AdvThermals

>Feeling his Moon Orb activate, he expected Cloudstrike with an update. Instead, it was Clemency!
>Still on the move, he response back to his friend mentally.
*'Clem, great timing! I'm in a hell of a pickle. First off-'*
>He recites his current grid coordinates, same he gave Cloudstrike.
*'That is where I am right now, also underground at an unknown depth. Middle of nowhere, Deep Moors central. Thousand of miles to the nearest matrice, hundreds from anything civilized. Share it with the others, locals, that satellite of your's, whatever helps get the ball rolling. I can't divulge who or how I was taken from the Village for everyone's safety, so just trust me what I have to say from here on out.'*
>Jeff pauses as he huffs through the chamber. He attaches his deathmask as he continues on.
*'I've already got a handler on the Citadel checking if there's a crash pod available for me but I'm not holding my breath. I can't get a hold of Anon, his iron ball isn't responding. He got partially spaghetti'd earlier, so maybe he's healing from that still. Need to check on him pronto. Other than maybe Hodch, I can't think of anyone or thing that can get to me urgently. I've got more, so get something to write on. By the way, what's going on at the Village? Anyone else disappear, or is it just me?'*
Basin Village: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
"Stellar Claws."
>Left set of wingclaws lifting, the Cultist flicks them from side to side, the sweeping motions creating small, dark nebulae lit by tiny moonbeams.
>Gazing fondly at the esoteric displays, she turns a highly scrunched snout towards you, motioning at the web-like scars across her face and wings, lips pulling back in a warm smile.
"But you can call me Skitter. Used to be real stupid as a filly, always running around without a care in the world. That's what caused these. Got tangled in an abandoned Spectral orb-weaver nest and couldn't get out for a couple hours. Spent the whole time staring at the Oceans Above.
Might not be as dumb as I once was, but I'm certainly not pretty like modern mares these nights.. unless you happen to like that sort of thing."

>Frontal weapons brightening quickly, then darkening, Guillotine's point defense systems glow in sequential measures, though her transmitted voice is calm.
*"Canst only hope 'til then. Awash they were 'tween hybrid chiropteran, pegasi, Germane, an' mineself's flows. Voices tae speak they havest... somber, forlorn, an' quieted.
Simple codices translated, ye grace. Transcribed they not be yet. Mama's Tone be not concise nor modernized tae Common Equine. Atime mineself needeth tae register meanings."*
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Intact Communication Protocols
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]

>Pursing her lips twice, Stellar Claws lifts a hoof at you, then gazes back up at the archaic Harpy Destroyer, left eyebrow raised humorously.
"Yep, real similar to the First Independent League cloud-town pegasi dialect, but the tones and inflections don't match."
>Flicking her right wing out in causal acceptance, the batmare snickers quietly.
"I'll be here. Wish I could talk to her.. but watching is neat, too."

>Striding towards Lann's formal shop, the second building east from the north entrance, informal squadruns of Crystal ponies, Conclavists, Kingdomites, Imperials, and small numbers of Crystal Minotaurs march south towards the fountain.
>Receiving a puzzling number of passing hoof, wing, and massive hand salutes, it was apparent they recognized you as both an ally and a welcomed friend.
>Entering the cleared out trade post, there wasn't a single bolt of cloth in sight on the tables and racks the chunky earth mare regularly kept track of.
>Reaching her low, rather normal height counter and spotting a brightly glowing Flawless Moon Orb on the second shelf, Jeff's transmission was spotty and fragmented.
>Stellar Claws
>Apt given the little astral flourish she does
>Clemency didn't even notice the scars on her face until she motioned towards them
>There not thaaaat bad
"Well, considering who my mate is..."
>Clemency then shrugs and flashes a sheepish smile

>Looking up at the Guillotine, is relieved when the Guillotine translates the runes from the hardcases
>However, the Guillotine also needs the understand what the message is
>Maybe it's like reading very VERY old English
*"I appreciate the help. When ever you get it transcribed, contact me..."*
>Whatever these hardcases say, they better help against the Constructs
>These ones at the Moors are the only ones that can communicate as far as Clem knows and at least they learned how to make agreements
>He hopes there's still a Citadel by the time Clemency is able to get up there

>Passing all the groups, Clemency does make an effort to salute them back
>As he enters Lann's store, he sees how empty it is compared to the last time he was there
>No doubt part of the evacuation before the battle
>Spotting the Flawless Moon Orb, his own responds back
>"Jeff! Finally!"
>Clemency quickly focuses on Jeff's message but notes the spottiness
>If he's that far out for comms between orbs to be scrambled, the he's really far away from us
>Through it all, Clemency does hear coordinates
>Trying to piece it together, Clemency flicks his visor down and access the M-S.O.L.G
>With what he hears, he begins to move the satellite over the coordinates he can make out
>The rest of the message only concerns Clemency more
>He thinks he heard "Deep Moors" and he's far from civilization
>The rest is him talking about what he's done
>Hearing about something to write on, Clemency does get a notepad and pen out but speaks to Jeff
*"Before you start, communications is spotty for you. Gotta make sure I get those coordinates. Repeat those grid coordinates."*
>That one statement of trust was concerning but Clem is going to have to roll with it for now
*"Ok, trust. It took a good moment for the groups to notice you AND Emerald missing. We have no trace of you two. For the armies, they seem to be forming back into their factions but that's all I know."*
>If he was in a dangerous situation, he can only hope that he stays safe
*"Remember your SERE training now. I've got the M-S.O.L.G en route and I'll get the message about you out."*
>Clemency then waits and listens to Jeff's reply